Times 28561 – I’m Otto. Fly me!

An easy one today – even by Monday standards. It took me 14:37, so the speed merchants will be breaking the 4-minute barrier.

Apparently, we have sizing issues, even though I didn’t knowingly make any changes. If someone knows how to solve same, a word would be appreciated.

1 Dance tango in New Orleans after church (10)
CHARLESTON – CH followed by T (tango) in an anagram* of ORLEANS
6 Swish hotel taken over by top military bod (4)
CHIC – H (hotel) in CIC (commander-in-chief)
10 Both sides in Salisbury getting agreement for clerical gathering (5)
SYNOD -S[alisbur]Y NOD (agreement)
11 Play part killing Romeo in a dazed state (9)
TOLERANCE – [r]OLE (part without its R) in TRANCE (a dazed state)
12 Ordering Lancelot a Kiwi-English or Australian novel (1,4,4,5)
A TOWN LIKE ALICE – LANCELOT A KIWI E*; one of Nevil Shute Norway’s two best known novels, the other being On the Beach. A talented chap, he was also a pilot and an aeronautical engineer.
14 Spouse Catherine who survived grappling with Stanley occasionally (7)
PARTNER – [s]T[a]N[l]E[y] in [Catherine] PARR (the last and happiest of Henry VIII’s wives)
15 Most tasteless supporter backed celebratory gathering (7)
17 Roughly stuffing tree in crater (7)
CALDERA – ALDER in CA (circa or about or roughly)
19 Scorn and loudly traduce a Scandinavian (7)
DISDAIN – sounds like diss Dane
20 George being one involved in gun conspiracy (9,5)
AUTOMATIC PILOT – I (one) in AUTOMATIC (gun) PLOT (conspiracy); RAF pilots referred to their airplanes as ‘George’ after King George VI who technically ‘owned’ the airplane. Forget all that boring stuff, though. Otto from Airplane! is the man! https://youtu.be/WMhYl74vw2c
23 Meddling when abandoning short term, in conclusion (9)
INFERENCE – INTEFERENCE without a shortened TERM, i.e. TER
24 Party head last seen in Truro (5)
BEANO -BEAN (head) [trur]O
25 Starts to throw out some household rubbish (4)
TOSH – initial letters of the third to sixth words in the clue
26 Er, Delilah’s gone mad — kicked up a terrible stink (6,4)
1 Economic collapse wiping out Republican money (4)
CASH – CRASH minus its R
2 Hardy companion, eschewing starter, eats fresh tuna plainly cooked (2,7)
AU NATUREL – TUNA* in [l]AUREL (Stan Laurel was Oliver Hardy’s partner in umpteen films)
3 Character synonymous with a fan of drama (4,10)
LADY WINDERMERE – cryptic definition; Lady Windermere’s Fan is a play by Oscar Wilde
4 Yours truly absorbing large, decisive blow (7)
SETTLER – L (large) in SETTER (our humble compiler). According to Webster’s 1913 dictionary, a SETTLER is something which settles or finishes, e.g. a blow deciding a contest. 110 years on, it is highly endangered, surviving only in crosswords.
5 Waterproof paint layer (7)
OILSKIN – OIL (paint) SKIN (layer)
7 Capital head regularly censored best-selling single (5)
HANOI – H[e]A[d] (regularly deleted, AKA censored) NO. 1 (top of the pops)
8 Fruit left in bond at home by European (10)
CLEMENTINE – L in CEMENT (bond) IN (at home) E (European)
9 Might one scoff at this during pillow talk? (9,2,3)
BREAKFAST IN BED – cryptic definition
13 Expert son training American spies on record (10)
SPECIALIST – S PE CIA LIST; just put it all together
16 Had meal following end of office work in the US? Fancy! (9)
ELABORATE – [offic]E LABOR (US spelling of labour) ATE
18 With which to pick up a northern male voice on the radio? (7)
ANTENNA – A N TENNA (sounds like tenor)
19 Writer‘s hell nursing broken neck (7)
DICKENS – NECK* in DIS (Dis Pater, AKA Hades and Pluto, was, according to Wikipedia, associated with death and the underworld because mineral wealth such as gems and precious metals, with which Dis Pater was associated, came from underground, wherein lies the realm of the dead, i.e.  Hades’ / Pluto’s domain).
21 Nobs, very loud, turned up drunk outside (5)
TOFFS – FF in reversed SOT
22 York  Stadium? (4);
BOWL – double definition, depending on a knowledge that if you york a batsman, you bowl a full ball that he is unable to wedge his willow down upon in time; the Ageas Bowl, Hampshire’s County Cricket Club’s ground, is an example of bowl used as stadium.

91 comments on “Times 28561 – I’m Otto. Fly me!”

  1. Frustrated by the two in the SE corner after a good run. BOWL (never thought of York=bowl, or bean=head). Plenty of NHO, George=plane, SETTLER= blow, Dis=hell. Uneasy about using “loudly” as a Homophone indicator in DISDAIN. Finally did not think of play=tolerance, but I think it’s something like “there’s a bit of play in this clue”.

  2. 7:22 with a slight pause to refill my wine glass. Nothing too difficult here. I liked the clue for PARTNER a lot.

  3. 18:13
    Like Merlin, I was uneasy about ‘loudly’, and unfamiliar with SETTLER. ‘George’ rang the faintest of bells–we had it here once upon a time–but even with AUTOMATIC it took me a while to think of PILOT (the faint bell came after, when it was useless). DNK the fruit, DNK that Parr survived. Can one scoff AT food?

      1. One of those things that sounds delightfully decadent but always turns out to be more annoying than it’s worth.

  4. 6:39 As luck would have it, I had watched the last episode of The Six Wives of Henry VIII last night, the one about Catherine Parr. Biffed it anyway. Had to think about bowl, even though I’ll be at Lords next week (weather permitting).

  5. 22 minutes for this one. I looked at AU NATUREL several times before writing it in to make sure I understood the wordplay and had the spelling right – E rather than A as the penultimate letter. I was pleased to remember CALDERA as I had been trying to construct an answer based around ELM as the tree.

    I didn’t know the RAF origin of George as AUTOMATIC PILOT but I see it’s disputed, another theory being that it comes from George De Beeson who developed a pilot device in the early 1930s. A third option, the one that sounds most likely to me, is that George was originally military slang for an airman so when the automatic pilot was invented it would have been understandable to call it George.

    1. The OED says origin obscure but suggests that it may come from a better-known American phrase “Let George do it,” meaning let someone else take the responsibility…

  6. 17 minutes. The unusual sense of ‘Play’ and the misleading surface for 11a fooled me for a while and I didn’t cotton on to the intended sense or part of speech for ‘York’ at 22d until the very end; I was interested to see it is in the dictionaries as a verb in the cricketing sense.

    I saw ‘George’ and the enumeration for 20a and went straight into AUTOMATIC PILOT mode, something which happens all too rarely.

    Thanks for the “Airplane!” link; very silly but we need a bit more silliness in the world these days.

    1. It was called Flying High in Australia for some reason. We saw it at the cinema only because Ordinary People was sold out when we arrived and there were no other alternatives. A fortunate turn of events in hindsight.

      1. [Off-topic: Maybe, or then again maybe not such a fortunate turn of events. Just between you and me, I always had a bit of a thing for Mary Tyler Moore].

        1. Fair call. And now I don’t recall whether I ever got round to seeing Ordinary People.

  7. Took a minute to remember “George,” and didn’t know the novel nor the culinary sense of AU NATUREL (though “naked” in similar reference to snack foods is common over here—and I eat Half-Naked Popcorn nearly every evening with my apéro).

    (That the system is turning the apostrophe backward in “Writer‘s” must be because there is code intervening between it and the underlined R. I can’t see the code, but things often fall out of line like that in the Downs. For my own entries, I replace the close-table open-table sequence that the script produces with close-body open-body.)

  8. 9:45. It’s been a while since I snuck under 10 minutes but just managed it today.
    I’ve not heard of A TOWN LIKE ALICE but I guessed it from the name of The Jam song A Town Called Malice, which I presume took its name from a play on the book name. I guess that counts as Ninja Turtling.

    1. A Town Like Alice was written by Nevil Shute, who was a well-known English writer in his day (around the 40s) who lived latterly in Australia. It was made into a film, I remember. He also wrote On The Beach and numerous other novels, many of which I read as a child, since my father had a large number of his books. I suspect they would seem quite dated now, so ripe for Times Crosswords! 🙂

      1. I have recently re-read most of Neville Shute and reckon he has stood the test of time pretty well.

  9. Not convinced that York = BOWL quite works, but I guess it’s close enough for engineering.

    Nice Monday fare today, possibly helped along by the Oz-friendly A TOWN LIKE ALICE (Alice? Who the…?)

    Thanks U, don’t get too hung up on your size issues.

      1. U, when you go to edit the entry you can see the table around the text, and for the downs it was wider than the acrosses. You can click on the edge to resize it, so I did.. perhaps you inadvertently caught the edge with your cursor earlier. Anyway, prob. solved ..

        1. Now that’s the sort of explanation I appreciate!

          Thanks for correcting things and for the heads-up for future reference.

    1. “He’s bowled him!” “He’s yorked him!” are interchangeable if the latter is a more precise description of the means of dismissal

      [Sorry, I see others beat me to it long ago]

  10. A nice simple 20 minutes, only held up by either not knowing or, more likely, not remembering, Lady Windermere.

    U, the inline table style for your “Down” clues table appears to have a width of 117.668% set, which is making the clues break out on the right-hand-side. Don’t know what’s generating that, but pages from earlier this month have that width as 100% and seem to display fine.

  11. Wavelength indeed today, a lifetime PB of 6’52”.

    Bit of a biff-fest, didn’t parse AUTOMATIC PILOT, LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN, A TOWN LIKE ALICE (great book).

    Thanks to setter and, once again, to ulaca and all bloggers.

  12. 19 minutes with LOI TOLERANCE. That sort of play! COD to SPECIALIST. There was always a Nevil Shute book borrowed from the local library lying around at home when I was a kid. Nice Monday fare. Thank you U and setter.

  13. About half an hour, with BREAKFAST IN BED eventually coming and helping me to get TOLERANCE (an “Oh, so it’s that kind of play” moment).

    Didn’t know the George in AUTOMATIC PILOT, and despite being a cricket fan I didn’t realise that was the meaning of York in BOWL (I thought like how an Oxford is a shoe, a York might be a pudding-bowl type of haircut…). York=bowl definitely works as a verb, as you can imagine a commentator saying “He’s yorked him!” / “He’s bowled him!”.

    Like Pootle, I only got A TOWN LIKE ALICE thanks to The Jam, though as the song has ‘called’ rather than ‘like’ I had to go through the anagrist to figure out what the third word of the novel was. And AU NATUREL was a biff once I had enough checkers, as I didn’t realise which Hardy was being referred to.

    A nice start to the week – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Chic
    LOI Tolerance
    COD Charleston

    1. Yes, I thought of the verb context but I still don’t think it’s quite right. Yorking the batsman isn’t the same as bowling him. A yorker might bowl him, or it might trap him leg before, or it might miss everything.

      Prepared to overlook it if Starc can get his yorker working in the next few months!

        1. Just can’t see where you could use the words interchangeably without changing the meaning. But I seem to be alone in this contention, and not really prepared to die in a ditch over it.

              1. Fair enough for crosswords to use dictionary definitions I suppose, so that wraps that up.

                You’ll forgive me though if I continue to use the actual meaning of the word.

                1. Yeah I think we have to accept dictionary definitions even when they’re demonstrably wrong (which certainly happens).

      1. I was also troubled by this, but then decided that if a commentator says “Flintoff yorked Ponting” they usually do mean that he bowled him with a yorker. If the ball had been a yorker that didn’t get the batsman out I think they’d more naturally say “Flintoff bowled Ponting a yorker”, or even “an attempted yorker.”

        28’30” which is a personal record.

        1. Respectfully disagree.

          It took me five seconds on Google to find a thousand examples of batsmen being trapped lbw by a yorker. English, Pakistani, West Indian, Indian and Australian commentators, all of whom apparently don’t read Chambers or the Shorter Oxford.

          The act of being yorked is separate to the act of being bowled.

  14. Quick today and no nhos, right up until the last couple which took another coffee to solve .. BOWL and BEANO.
    Good crossword, I thought

  15. All very pleasant and straightforward with no MERs and no unknowns except that meaning of SETTLER. I remembered ‘George’ once AUTOMATIC revealed itself and worked out TOLERANCE from the cryptic, but still thought it was a play I hadn’t heard of until coming here. D’oh! LOI ELABORATE – another mis-reading, of ‘fancy’ this time, looking for a noun.
    Thanks for the ‘Airplane!’ link, Ulaca! Reminds me I must watch that again. One of the silly greats!

  16. All set for a v. rare sub-10, but LADY WINDERMERE and George had something to say about that. The pilot fell first, which gave me the final checking “M”, which enabled me to guess Windermere. NHO it though. Still a v good time for me, despite the relative ease of the puzzle.


  17. Nothing to hold me up for long here.

    TIME 5:42

  18. 12 mins, but would have been quicker were it not for the very dodgy BOWL clue.

  19. Swift by my standards at 20.45, but the shine taken of by discovering I had misspelt AU NATUREL with an A instead of E. I knew how it was parsed and the spelling of Stan’s surname so it was just careless. I almost fell into a similar trap by initially putting in DISTAIN, but of course couldn’t parse it. I did at least return to this one and get it right. Frustrating …. grrrr!

    1. I thought about it before putting A instead of E in AU NATUREL so I can’t claim carelessness. But, after reading the rest of the comments, I see we are not alone. Still…Grrrrr

  20. Nothing of much interest for me to say. All went smoothly, with no problems. 23 minutes. Liked CHARLESTON and PARTNER. I noticed that the setter clued ‘dis’ in two different ways.

    Guy, you seem to be an expert in these matters and may be able to help me with ‘smart quotes’: I do other things using the computer and often want the quotes to be the nice curved things one often sees, but don’t know how to do them (on a PC, anyway: they are easy on my antediluvian other system that uses RiscOS). On a PC they just come out straight, as here, and Googling blinds me with science.

    On edit: I notice the software on this site makes them nice and curved; they were straight when I wrote them.

    1. I think whether your quotes are straight or curly is a simple result of the font that has been chosen.

      1. But in that other thing that I mentioned, if I use the font that we regularly use, the quotes are straight, yet people send stuff in using the same font and the quotes are curved.

        1. I created some lines of text showing double and single quotes in various fonts, including serif and sans serif types. Unfortunately, the WordPress engine doesn’t allow me to import them into my comment, converting everything I type or insert here into the standard font used on the site.

          In my experiment using word, the following fonts showed these quotes;

          Calibri nearly straight with a little hook at the end
          Arial curly
          Century curly
          Times New Roman curly
          Verdana very straight
          Script MT bold curly
          Book Antiqua nearly straight
          Tahoma straight

          1. You can make your browser display any font you choose, including on this site.. but you can’t pick and choose line by line.

        2. I may have misunderstood, but in Microsoft Word you can set Smart(curly) quotes to be your default via Spelling and Grammar. If you google smart quotes or curly quotes this will be explained.

  21. 11 mins, quick for me, though NHO of George for a plane or Dis for Hell. Only HANOI and TOLERANCE offered any significant resistance. Unlike some, I rather liked BOWL. When you know it’s cricket, ‘bowl’ – to me – summons the Ageas Bowl, thus justifying the clueing. Some may differ.

  22. I thought the bowl clue was ok for york=bowl a yorker; york verb back-formation from yorker. Not sure we generally call stadia bowls, but.
    However just noticed I can’t spell AU NATURaL. Didn’t notice as I work on the actual paper, no pink squares.

  23. 30 minutes after being seduced here by a comment on the QC blog. My biggest hold-up was biffing AUTOMATIC RIFLE from the gun and wondering what George had to do with anything (likewise conspiracy)? That put an L in the middle of what should have been an easy enough ELABORATE, and all that took several minutes to fix. I was also slow on BOWL, but now think that a very good DD clue. Thanks both.

  24. As I get faster my typo rate is increasing too – a decent time for me of 6.58 ruined by a careless CNARLESTON.

    Pleased to spot the George reference immediately and write in AUTOMATIC PILOT without really reading the rest of the clue although am sure that sort of behaviour will catch me out now and again.

    A good fun Monday jaunt nevertheless – thanks setter and ulaca

  25. I was held up by a biffed PROSPECTUS, which I knew didn’t parse and was finally corrected by George, at 13d, and then delayed at the end by 9d, RAISED HELL, BEANO and LOI, BOWL, for which an alphabet trawl was required. BREAKFAST IN BED finally cleared the jam and I crawled over the line in 23:48. Thanks setter and U.

  26. No real problems but needed all the checkers to finish the final Chic/Clementine pair. Didn’t get the wordplay of au naturel but had moved on before it bothered me.

  27. 11:23

    Very gentle. All good except that I didn’t know the meaning of George as LOI AUTOMATIC PILOT, but with all checkers in place, not a difficult jump.

    Thanks setter and Ulaca

  28. More or less my first attempt at the 15×15. Only failed on BOWL and PILOT (biffed Automatic), so am quite pleased. Must be a gentler one. A lot of biffing won the day, kind of.
    Many thanks all.

  29. I enjoyed this puzzle. PARTNER was a lovely clue.
    Thank you for explaining 19d, which I couldn’t parse.
    Helen Hunt appeared in a very good film adaptation of the Wilde play- ‘A good woman’. Recommended.
    Thanks to the Setter for a pleasant solving start to the week.

  30. 5:35. I was just taken over the 5-minute mark by BOWL and then because I was over anyway I took a bit of time to check my answers. I don’t think it works for the reasons given by galspray but that’s not what slowed me down. Edit: I see jackkt has cleared this up now.
    Meant to say that 14ac reminded me of the handy mnemonic I’ve seen somewhere on social media for remembering what happened to Henry VIII’s wives: died, died, died, died, died, died.

  31. Came here to lick my wounds from silly pink squares in the QC and learned I couldn’t spell AU NATUREL. So that’s two crosswords for three pink squares today. Pleased with a 32m solve apart from that.

    1. To an engineer, TOLERANCE is the amount by which a component’s actual size can deviate from its designed size. It’s also called ‘play’. Thus, you can insert a 5mm peg into a 6mm hole. But if the design allows only 0.5mm tolerance, the hole can’t be bigger than 5.5mm – the 0.5mm being the TOLERANCE or play.

  32. A pleasant, gentle start to the week, home and hosed in 15 minutes. Not a lot to add, though I do find NAFF is a naff word and NAFFEST even more so.
    COD – BOWL
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  33. Nothing to say about the puzzle. Here simply to record my PB of 11’35”. SNITCH presumably in single figures.

    I see a couple of references here to sponsors attempting to rename sporting venues. To this Hampshire man, our wonderful cricket ground will always be the Rose Bowl. Just as The Oval will never be the Kia Oval.

  34. I don’t time myself, but this was gentle and didn’t take longer than 15 minutes. Quite a lot went straight in, but LOI was TOLERANCE because I couldn’t quite parse it; it was only after I’d finished that it suddenly occurred to me that the ‘OLE’ was clued by ‘play part killing Romeo’, and then I felt a bit stupid.

    I also entered BEANO without properly passing because I had the ‘B’, the final ‘O’ was obvious and the answer had to mean ‘party’ so it couldn’t be anything else. I decided that ‘bean’ must be a slang term for ‘head; I have since looked it up and, yes, it is – or should that be ‘was’? I have never heard it used in this way and assume it was before my time; I am only 66 years old… The Concise OED labels it ‘dated’; clearly even more dated than ‘beano’, which I have at least heard used at some point in my distant past.

    1. Used a lot by Bertram Wooster in the PG Wodehouse books- ‘used the old bean’

      1. I must confess to never having read any of them, which is probably my loss. Your reply sent me to the Wikipedia page on PG Wodehouse, to see when the books were written/set; yes, a little before my time, which makes my ignorance understandable, while not excusing it. Ignorance is never bliss.

        I discovered a couple of things about PGW. Firstly that, although he was born 24 years before my grandfather, he was still alive and kicking when I reached voting age; secondly, we share the same birthday, albeit 75 years apart.

        1. I find PGW good fun and there are plenty of words that come up in crosswords—I imagine a setter or two are also fans. If you’re into audiobooks, Stephen Fry has recently narrated most of the Jeeves and Wooster series as a single audiobook for Audible which is excellent value for money, I’d say.

  35. Nice Monday intro. 11 mins which is my fastest for a while, though I doubt I will be among the leaders in the clubhouse.

    Let’s see what the rest of the week brings.

  36. 58mins for the DNF 😒 Struggled through to the end, sure I wouldn’t get the York stadium or what happens in Truro then got inspired to put BOARD thinking surfing happens and “head of a political party” could maybe, perhaps, possibly be some kind of executive board. Then having put that in BOWL occurred and BEANO seemed the only thing that would fit and I know that’s a party. And then undone by AU-NATURaL.

    Didn’t find it that easy. All the stuff others have mentioned holding me up – particularly AUTOMATIC-PILOT, CALDERA, LADY WINDERMERE (complete guess / dredge),TOLERANCE, the DIS- of DICKENS, CIC in chic. I guess this is the way of the 15×15

    A bigger step up than those elsewhere suggested. But I guess I came close enough.

  37. A nice Monday ego boost . Literary clues and a nod to cricket in the off season. What’s not to like?
    Yes, my father introduced me to Nevil Shute . Along with Howard Spring, a writer of great yarns. ‘Requiem for a Wren’ is my favourite.
    Husband has a Kona Caldera bike. Never knew the meaning but Kona named it’s bike models on volcanic themes.
    Thanks to setter and solver .

    1. For me too, Jane! First one completed in a while, and a boost to confidence, as also completed without a hitch (apart from York =Bowl, but not too hard to fathom), and with the perfect (for me) mix of literature and drama therein. CALDERA vaguely remembered too. Long downs quickly in provided assistance. COD PARTNER.

  38. 4m 49s, COD to CHARLESTON for the nice use of New Orleans.

    Somewhat surprising to see ‘A stuffing B’ to mean B inside A for 19a, but it probably just about works.

  39. Good fun after lunch . I was another held up by LOI TOLERANCE; and it has held me up before.
    DNK that meaning of George. RIFLE did not look promising.
    I was watching Monty Python at the Hollywood Bowl last night; and it’s nearly the cricket season.
    And I’m a fan Of Oscar Wilde so the GK was generally kind today.

  40. I did nearly all of the top half in six minutes, which is unheard of for me. Returned to form in the bottom half and gave up after 45 minutes with AUTOMATIC PILOT, BEANO and BOWL unsolved. Enjoyable enough anyway.

  41. Automatic Pilot – nothing to do with G VI owning the aircraft. George was the standard reply to non-pilots who, on seeing none of the pilots wrestling with the controls, asked “who’s flying the aeroplane”.

  42. 07.59. A PB for me which now means that my personal top 10 results on the SNITCH are all under 10 minutes. Very satisfying from that point of view. A gentle solve with perhaps a few seconds dithering over bowl at the end.

  43. I would have finished this before finishing my mug of tea, had it not been for “Beano”/”Bowl” slowing me down at the end. About 15 minutes total.
    Being an engineer, I enjoyed “Tolerance” – more engineering-based clues, please.

  44. Some elegant surfaces, I thought — Charleston, and the ‘hardy companion’.

    24 minutes but I put ‘Celdera’, thinking of an elder tree.

  45. 8’28” which must be my pb or maybe not quite. Saw the NEW ORLEANS trick straightaway, and knew it was going to be a quick one. Thanks

  46. A TOWN LIKE ALICE reminded me of tge Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch. Available on youtube … …

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