Times 28654 – a whole column of chemistry!

Solving time: 10:00 – I thought I was going to come in under 10 minutes, but spent a long time stuck on 1 across, my last in. I thought it was amusing that the left hand side had two clues using chemical element names in wordplay, so that chemistry degree I got is not going to waste!

Very good wordplay I thought in this puzzle, though a number of the answers are biffable, so let’s work our way thorough it.

Away we go…

1 PERSONALISE: PER(a), SON(boy), then IS inside ALE(beer)
7 COP: half of COPPER
9 BEELZEBUB: Old Nick is the definition – BEEB(auntie)
containing L, ZEBU(ox)
10 LASSO: LASS(girl) then (rode)O
11 CHEROOT: HERO(star) in COT(bed)
12 EARPLUG: very nice clue, I thought- “baffle” in this case means to block (I work in a lab, and the metal overhangs that help seal fume hoods are called baffles). So it is EAR and LUG surrounding P
13 LAGOS: LOS(“the” in Spanish, not indicating EL this time)
surrounding A, G. I did a double take as I thought Lagos was the capital, but silly me is not up on African politics, Abuja became the capital of Nigeria in 1991
17 FOLK MUSIC: O(Oscar, NATO alphabet) inside an anagram of UK,FILMS then C
19 THETA: HE(his excellency, ambassador) inside two T’s(times) then A
20 REPLETE: REP(theatre), LET(rented) then the middle letter in fiEld
22 OVULATE: O(round), V(very), U(classy), LATE(after hours)
24 INGOT: hidden in entertainING OThers
25 GRENADINE: GRENADE(pineapple) containing IN
27 MRS: sounds like MISSES
28 OPERATIONAL: OPTIONAL (not compulsory) containing ERA(a long period)
1 PUB: U(university) inside Pb(atomic symbol for lead)
2 REEVE: double definition, the one that was a little foggy to me was the female of the RUFF sandpiper
3 ODZOOKS: empty O(l)D, then ZOOS(menageries) containing K
4 ALBATROSS: double definition, an ALBATROSS is one better than an EAGLE in golf. I’ve only had one eagle, never an albatross
5 IMBUE: reversal of EU(european), BMI(body mass index)
6 ENLARGE: anagram (ground) of GREEN containing LA(city)
7 C’EST LA VIE: anagram of VALETS inside CIE(abbreviation for Compagnie)
8 PLOUGHSHARE: PLOUGH(a nickname for part of Ursa Major), SHARE(split)
11 CALIFORNIUM: atomic symbols Ca, Li, F then OR, and back to Ni, then UM
14 GALAPAGOS: P, AGO(in the past) inside GALAS(festivities)
16 ROCK OPERA: the filmed Who rock opera Tommy. ROCK(diamond) and Norma is another OPERA. Odd side-note, a friend of mine who passed away just on a year ago was a good friend of Ken Russell who directed the film of Tommy.
I never got to meet Ken, but his widow Lisi visited Asheville often and is good for a laugh
18 MAESTRO: MAE West, then STRONG missing NG
19 TSUNAMI: end of (eas)T, SUN(star) and AMI(mate in Paris)
21 EAGLE: remove the head from BEAGLE
23 ALIGN: Muhammad ALI then G(ree)N
26 EEL: alternating letters in rEvEaL

65 comments on “Times 28654 – a whole column of chemistry!”

  1. 30 mins on the clock, but I did a couple of chores in the middle so probably more like 20 minutes or so. Verlaine got one wrong so I’m ahead of him!
  2. Fast for me, too, but hard to give a time as I did it on paper while watching the post-season baseball. Baseball, like cricket, lends itself to being the background for puzzle solving; the fact that beer can be involved is only a plus. In the solve, I didn’t know Odzooks, and the only unusually named steer I am familiar with is BEVO, but in the one case it was follow the instructions, and in the other follow the GK. Nice blog, GH

    Edited at 2017-10-12 02:11 am (UTC)

  3. Easy one! Which I appreciated at the end of another very long day. I nearly thought I had accidentally started the Quickie. But at the end I couldn’t parse PERSONALISE, because I didn’t see PER for “A.” (I’m sure I would have seen that if I worked this after a good night’s sleep.)
  4. Almost finished, put cap for 7a.
    For 3d I had o_zooks and still got it wrong.

    2d didn’t get even with R_E_E.

    COD Tsunami.

    1. Same for me; never heard of either kind of 2dn, and I must have lived a sheltered life never to have expostulated 3dn, but plan to use the word extensively today.

      CoD 12ac. I will never see that word again without marking the ear at each end.

      1. I hadn’t heard of the birds in 2d, but REEVE as a law officer is worth filing away as it seems to come up in crosswords quite a lot.
        1. A reeve is one of the pilgrims to Canterbury, which is how I knew the word, although I forget his tale.
  5. Mostly completed well within 30 minutes but I took nearly as long again over the last three or four answers that were missing in the NW. I didn’t know ZEBU, nor CIE, nor ODZOOKS though I am familiar with the associated interjections ‘oddsbodikins’ (or ‘odsbodikins’) and ‘gadzooks’. There is also, I now discover, ‘gadsbodikins’! 50 minutes in all.

    I lost a lot of time over 13ac where I first biffed EARMUFF, then EARFLAP to accommodate the L checker before finally arriving at EARPLUG to allow for the G checker. I completely missed the parsing as explained by George and read the defintion as &lit, reasoning that one of the uses of a ‘baffle’ is to restrict the passage of sound so a single EARPLUG would protect one ear whereas the plural ‘earplugs’ would be needed to protect both and provide quiet.

    Edited at 2017-10-12 04:57 am (UTC)

  6. Amazed to find myself somewhat back on the wavelength, and coming in at 38m. FOI 1d PUB, LOI 8d PLOUGHSHARE, once I’d finally worked out that I wasn’t looking for a word for “familiar” and that there might be more than one meaning of “tiller” (the hazards of living in a port city!)

    WOD BEELZEBUB, COD 11d CALIFORNIUM, though I’ll probably have Tom Lehrer in my head for the rest of the day. Could be worse…

    Glad that “gadzooks” was familiar enough from Mr. Claypole’s exclamations in Rentaghost that I had sufficient faith in the possible alternative ODZOOKS to put it in…

    Edited at 2017-10-12 06:23 am (UTC)

  7. About 20 mins with croissant and blackberry jam (hoorah). And needed to be quick as on the road to York this morning.
    Straightforward after a trickier couple of days. DNK Odzooks – but knew Gadzooks, so that was ok. Couldn’t parse Reeve (note to self: swot up on gender names for seldom seen wildlife).
    Mostly I liked something between the ears.
    Thanks setter and George.
  8. Spent far too long on 7a before the PER (or PER x2) finally dropped. Finished in 25 minutes.

    Facts of the day: LAGOS isn’t the capital of Nigeria and a REEVE is a female ruff. As per usual with our avian friends, the female is pretty dowdy and can’t hold a candle to the male who looks quite the dandy in his breeding plumage. Have a look at the pictures in Wikipedia.

    Liked ODZOOKS, both the def. and the word itself, and the &littish EARPLUG.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

      1. I think he means it’s something he’s learned today, rather than implying an error.

        47 on the dot for me, so not too bad. It’s only recently I’ve been finishing under the hour on a regular basis.

        PLOUGHSHARES took too long, as did PERSONALISE (I got the ending straightaway but felt sure it must begin with “a” until PUB dropped the penny for me.

        Thanks for the blog – I missed the parsing of 19a and 4d but they were pretty obvious anyway.

  9. Held up by the the cheroot-smoking albatross, odzooks

    Didn’t parse reeve or ploughshare

    Liked ovulate and californium, and odzooks again


  10. 14:55 but with another silly typo: TSUMAMI. A wave of miso soup, perhaps. I don’t know how I failed to spot that when I checked my answers.
    Nice puzzle, even allowing for the error at 7dn: like ‘déjà vu’, C’EST LA VIE is an English expression you will never hear in France.

    Edited at 2017-10-12 07:06 am (UTC)

    1. “C’EST LA VIE is an English expression you will never hear in France”

      Yes, I can vouch for this. Embarrassing memory.

    2. TSUMAMI – storm in a tea cup?

      No problems with the crossword generally but put in OHZOOKS.

    3. No, that’s not true, about “c’est la vie.” (People like to say that about “bon appétit” too, a phrase I have heard numerous French people say, in France, and not just restauranteurs entertaining tourists.) “C’est la vie” been the title of several French films, many songs and albums by French musical artists, French radio and television shows, etc. It is certainly a bit old-hat, but today I see the cyclist Marc Sergeant (well, he’s Belgian) quoted as saying, this year, “C’est la vie, on ne peut toujours gagner.” (“That’s the way it goes, you can’t win every time.”) See www-dot-internaute-dot-com-slash-expresssion-slash-langue-francaise-slash-15466-slash-c-est-la-vie: “Employée dans le langage courant, l’expression c’est la vie vient du fait que certains moments de la vie semblent écrit d’avance par le destin, par la fatalité, et qu’ils sont donc inéluctables.” “As it is used today, the expression ‘c’est la vie’ comes from the fact that certain moments in life seem written in advance by destiny, by fate, and that they are therefore unavoidable.”

      Edited at 2017-10-12 08:02 pm (UTC)

      1. Hmm. This is something I learned when I was at school in France. The school had a regular supply of new English (as well as American, German, Spanish, etc) pupils arriving and having to learn French in short order, so discovering faux amis and learning not to use them was something we all went through and encountered on a regular basis. C’EST LA VIE was quite definitely one of them, and I can also say with some confidence that I have never heard a French person saying it (I’d have noticed). I don’t really know how to explain this.
        You’re right about ‘bon appetit’ of course. Entirely commonplace.

        Edited at 2017-10-12 08:46 pm (UTC)

        1. It’s certainly part of the English language now, and Anglophones use it more than Frenchies. Néanmoins, here are some French people typing the phrase online. “C’est la vie” by itself can be entirely positive, in a phrase like, “L’eau, c’est la vie.” I didn’t find so many French-page cyber-quotations with the phrase (aside from its use in titles of various sorts), and with the relevant sense, sans “hélas.”

          Depuis notre rencontre elle ignore mes appels. hélas c’est la vie et ce n’est pas nouveau.
          bititi.net › Société

          C’est comme ça hélas, c’est la vie.

          Naturelle , j’ai beaucoup aimé ce que tu as posté, un peu triste, helas c’est la vie.

          There were many more.

  11. Around 15 minutes but with a typo and a very dim mistake. I had no idea what was going on with 4d and threw in AMBITIOUS. I won’t share the ‘theory’ behind that one.

    Fun puzzle, though. Liked the Oscar-winning device. Also admired REPLETE. I’ve always wondered, is someone who keeps running out of restaurants without paying a replete offender?

  12. Yes, much quicker than of late. 30mins, but would’ve have been significantly quicker had loi PLOUGHSHARE not taken up more than its fair share of time. Bottom half flew in, but had more problems in the top: ODZOOKS is not a word you (I?) hear everyday. Also PERSONALISE took its time. dnk REEVE, the bird (and I’m usually not too bad on birds), and couldn’t see how EARPLUG worked so thanks for those.

  13. Several definitions stood out like a sore thumb today – “Issue eggs”, “big wave”, “Eg Tommy” enabling me to get my third solve of about 15 minutes this week – good going by my standards.

    OURSELVES put me in mind of when I had a news programme on TV at the weekend and the presenter opened with “Myself and my guests will be discussing the Sunday papers”. Terrible that standards of grammar have slipped so far – and on the BBC!

    1. I’ve been told by a better writer than I am, at least in his opinion, that I overuse reflexive pronouns. I claim it to be a sign of a reflective personality. I’d agree though that starting a sentence with one as subject doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that.
    2. Absolutely! And in 15a the setter’s grammar seems suspect to me. (“we” = “ourselves”?? Certainly not.) The most egregious examples are those where the reflexive form is used when the meaning cannot possibly allow any reflexivity — you know, when the professional adviser says to you “And if you have any problems, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with myself”. Aaaaaaaargh!
      1. Every day in response to being asked “How are you?” one of my colleagues replies with “OK, yourself?”. As you rightly say, “Aaaaaaaargh!”.
  14. Saw BEELZEBUB straightaway now I’ve learnt in crosswordland that the BEEB and not Fanny is my auntie. I’m taking his appearance as another sign that he’s running the show right now. Took 24 minutes overall, taking my time on C’EST LA VIE, as like any true Englishman I’ve never mastered the shoulder shrug. I know I’m old but I’ve never used LOI ODZOOKS and I wasted a long time on gazooks, thinking that it should have a D in it. COD PLOUGHSHARE, I think, although EARPLUG was neat. Any Pointless viewer, as all those of us retired are required to be, will have found CALIFORNIUM a write-in. Thank you G and setter.
  15. Biffs aplenty, but I did go back and parse them all post solve. ODZOOKS my LOI. I wondered about LAGOS, having the wrong parsing.
  16. Think we had Beelzebub almost identically clued a few weeks ago. One of the smoothest surfaces I can remember was for Grenadine – simply ‘Pineapple rings in syrup’
    Gandolf 34
  17. Running out of an Indian restaurant after a vindaloo liberally covered with onion salad, she (I’m assuming you’re the guilty party) could be a replete, repeat offender.
  18. Nice crossword, easier than recent ones and with a pleasing number of element-abbreviations. Some nifty clues, I especially liked 4dn which took me a few moments to parse properly.

    George, I suspect that for anyone married to Ken Russell, (and there were four of them) a good sense of humour would be a prerequisite.. he was quite the eccentric. A rather good film maker though, his films were often controversial but always interesting. Tommy is excellent, and now name another interesting rock opera..

    1. There’s not much rock in it but, if you’re in London, go and see Girl from the North Country which has just transferred to the West End from the Old Vic. It’s brilliant.
      1. Two come to mind, though one I’m kind of biased about, since I sang one of the priests in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” last year. I’d say that is my favorite rock opera. It’s not everyone’s cup of acid, but I like “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”
        1. Not seen JCSS for about 40 years, so mainly remember the title song and ‘I don’t know how to love him’, both fine songs. The storyline is to my taste! I don’t know Hedwig and the Angry Inch and just read Wiki on it. As someone who started with fifties rock, I never took to prog and glam didn’t appeal either, so I may not fully enjoy it. Punk as a reaction to prog was fine though and Elvis Costello/The Pretenders are on my ‘greats’ list if behind Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Don and Phil, Beatles, Kinks and of course Dylan and Leonard Cohen. I guess for me rock is the music and words fused as one entity, and a musical tends to separate them out, which is maybe why there aren’t many good ones.
        2. really liked the JC superstar in regents park this year, and enjoyed girl from the north country so much bought the cd today. pendrov
        3. The last one I performed in was Blondel where I was the leader of the monks, who act as narrators through the story. We called ourselves, ahem, “Brother John and the Dirty Habits”.
  19. Our blogger today seems to have missed out 15a: OURSELVES, anagram of “EU SOLVERS”.

    Thanks for the blog, BTW!

  20. COD ALBATROSS, having thought 21d particularly easy. Knew BEELZEBUB from Lord of the Flies at school. PLOUGHSHARE LOI. 22′, thanks l and setter.
  21. I finished well before midday – relatively quick for me. Done piecemeal as usual – I have x-word breaks instead of fag breaks. I don’t have to go outside in the cold for those.

    LOI was ODZOOKS. Online Collins says “Obsolete form of gadzooks” which implies that gadzooks is NOT obsolete. Haven’t heard it much around here these last 40 years.

  22. 18.51. Held up at end by 7 ac. and 8. ‘Odzooks!’ should be the title of something. – joekobi
  23. $£*#@**! to reprise my comment on the QC after a typo spoiled my entry. This time I managed to interpret “Empty old” as OL and submitted OLZOOKS as my LOI. Eeejit! Otherwise 25:57 for this enjoyable puzzle. FOI was PUB, followed by the Lord of Evil. I wonder if 11d is a message from the setters that Neon was the intended parsing of our much discussed brass the other day! Knew REEVE as a law officer of yore, but didn’t know the bird or her mate. Like Sotira, I toyed with AMBITIOUS at 4d, but fortunately discarded it despite missing the golf reference below it, as I mentally added “bird” to “much travelled”. Thanks setter and George.
  24. Like others, lots of biffing. This is the kind of puzzle where I keep expecting to be tripped up by one clue where I don’t know either definition – fortunately for me, I knew half of the REEVE definitions so I needn’t have worried. 6m 26s.
  25. Managed the overnight flight to Joburg and to find a workable internet connection, probably for one night only, and to complete this rather more straightforward affair, though not in a respectable time because of repeat interruptions. Liked the two golf scores
    I knew both odsbodikins and gadzooks so figured Lewis Carrol might have had a hand in conflating them.
    Many thanks George: posting today would have been very and littered with typos!
  26. 39:40 held up at the end a bit by ploughshare, personalise and reeve. A very enjoyable crossword with some quirky devices like the halfpenny, the Oscar-winning and the East end used to clue “t” and not aitch-dropping cockneyfication. I liked getting Beelzebub and the half-remembered zebu at the same time. I mis-parsed Lagos as “las” around “g” and “o” not twigging that it was actually no longer the capital. Reeve entered like kevingregg on the basis of the Canterbury tales and not the lady sandpipers. Like gothick-matt odzooks called to mind Timothy Claypole and Rentaghost.
  27. Gadzooks yes! His twin brother – ODZOOKS…. No!? Never heard of him! But he’s in Chambers – a judge perhaps?

    Just over an hour with much time on the aforementioned 3dn. Gadzooks! My LOI

    Another fine puzzle.


    COD 25ac GRENADINE not so difficult but lovely surface!


    Edited at 2017-10-12 03:45 pm (UTC)

  28. My rule of thumb is that any word I haven’t heard of is unreasonably obscure and unfair. Add to that the fact that I didn’t finish (on account of ODZOOKS), and am in a grumpy mood anyway, and I have scored a hat-trick of grumpth.
  29. I hope Tsunami is not a Times prediction of a catastrophic event from the Canary Islands. Solved this anticlockwise from SW corner and spent ages in the NW, finally biffing Odzooks with fingers crossed for “my” being the definition. Took 40 mins. The smell of a lasagne in preparation is causing problems – surely 3.43pm isn’t too early for a glass of red??
  30. While ODZOOKS was a fairly weird item to come across, this all went in fairly easily. My only problem was with the ROCK OPERA, because I hadn’t bothered with the enumeration and was trying to find a 9-letter word. Dope. So that was my LOI. Regards.
  31. Knew REEVE and also that a Reeve for a shire was a Shire Reeve, which mutated over time into Sheriff, as in Sheriff of Nottingham. I believe that our Murcan friends have picked up this word. Took the full 25 minutes but enjoyable so thanks setter and George.

    Edited at 2017-10-12 06:36 pm (UTC)

    1. And the best part is that a principal responsibility of a Reeve is to capture a Riever.
  32. Pleased I solved ODZOOKS without recourse to aids. Thanks for the explanation of REEVE and ALBATROSS, George, although as an (ex) golfer I should have seen the connection. You mention Ken Russell; reckoned to be one of his best films was “Savage Messiah” a biographical film on the life of the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brezska. For my money it was most memorable for a young Helen Mirren walking naked down a grand staircase!
  33. After dinner solve, 25 minutes all done except ODZOOKS which crosswordsolver dot org didn’t know either, so DNF. The rest was good and chemical too.
  34. 19:10… after bunging in Gazooks for 3d and then getting stuck on 1a until I recognised the error of my ways. I enjoyed the array of elements in 11d.

Comments are closed.