Times 28657 – Club Monthly Invasion?

Not my favourite type of crossword this, where an essentially straightforward puzzle has one clue which is of a totally different character to all the others – an anagram of an obscure word, to boot. No time to record, since I looked up the outlier. Well, my outlier, anyway.

1 Diving bird endlessly showing signs of breathlessness (6)
5 More sprightly junior inspiring the BBC (8)
JAUNTIER – AUNTIE (term by which the BBC is [was?] affectionately known) in JR
9 Fascinating procedure for joining metal plates together (8)
RIVETING – double definition
10 Change tack fast, initially willing to wait outside (6)
SWERVE – W[illing] in SERVE
11 Difficult situation unknown in production of Times (6)
STYMIE – Y (unknown) in anagram* of TIMES; more common as a verb, STYMIE is originally a golfing term (the rule pertaining to stymies has changed now – as golf rules always are changing, not always in a way that guarantees uniform interpretation thereof from the officials)
12 Badly regarded at first, but collecting tithes regularly (8)
ROTTENLY – R[egarded] T[i]T[h]E[s] in ONLY (but); ONLY = but as in ‘Talk to granpa; only don’t give him a lollipop.’
14 Wearing glasses, run in to manage light-splitting instrument (12)
SPECTROSCOPE -R in TO (‘run in to’) in SPECS (wearing glasses) COPE (manage)
17 Singer’s forthright statements initially popular at Academy (5,7)
FRANK SINATRA – FRANK (forthright) S[tatements] IN (popular) AT RA (Royal Academy, London)
20 Beetle Scottish landowner catches returning by day (8)
LADYBIRD – reversal of BY D in LAIRD (Scottish landowner)
22 Modern decree keeping first of these unimpaired (6)
INTACT – T[hese] in IN (modern) ACT (decree)
23 Retired artist’s payoff, perhaps (6)
REWARD – reversal of DRAWER
25 Fearless traveller in current books and papers (8)
INTREPID – REP (traveller) in I (current) NT (books of the Bible) ID (papers)
26 Wander aimlessly, having unusual gravitas (8)
STRAVAIG – GRAVITAS*; N English or Scottish word for what it says. So now I know…
27 Down-and-out, one omitted from file (6)
DOSSER – DOSS[i]ERU (posh)
2 Presence of posh bishop that is extremely timely (6)
UBIETY – U (posh) B (bishop) IE (id est > that is) T[imel]Y; ‘the condition of being in a particular place’ (Latin ubi will help many people). How to present weird words, IMHO.
3 Loose woman disturbed by offspring’s secret practices (11)
4 Quiet islands head of Eton enters of all people! (9)
NOISELESS – IS (islands) E[ton] in NO LESS (of all people!)
5 Remind leftist to take gentle exercise (3-4)
6 Discombobulate the riding fraternity? (5)
UPSET – a clue depending on the not strongest play on words
7 Draw a native of Chiengmai, possibly, mentioned in speech (3)
TIE – sounds like Thai; I must be in a bad mood today, as I’m tyically the setter’s friend, but I don’t really see the point of using the hardly ever used English rendering of the northern Thailand city, which I have actually visited. Normally, it’s Chiang Mai or Chiangmai, which is variation enough for me…
8 Wrapper girl quietly sent off, containing verse (8)
ENVELOPE – V (verse) in [p]ENELOPE
13 She casts a spell in French song about ship (11)
ENCHANTRESS – EN (‘in’ in French, non?) CHANT (song) RE (about) SS ([steam] ship)
15 Old union leader, teased and got the better of (9)
OUTWITTED – O (old) U[nion] TWITTED (old word for teased)
16 Weapon made by millions, the last word in creative skill (8)
ARMAMENT – M (millions) AMEN (the last word of the Bible) in ART
18 Dropping off, like a casual acquaintance (7)
NODDING – dropping off as in falling asleep; a ‘nodding’ acquaintance is a slight one
19 One writing school essay originally without illicit aid (6)
SCRIBE – CRIB (illicit aid) in S[chool] E[ssay]
21 Fashionable medic meeting by a Hindu god (5)
INDRA – IN (fasionable) DR (medic) A (a); the king of the devas, apparently
24 Woman in commercial area, a US prosecutor (3)
ADA – a definition with two pieces of  wordplay, though I don’t know why: AD (commercial) A (area) & A (a) DA (district attorney, as always popping up in legal dramas – either heroically or villainously; there is apparently nothing in between)

75 comments on “Times 28657 – Club Monthly Invasion?”

  1. 17:38
    Off to a very slow start (FOI 27ac DOSSER). Biffed FREEMASONRY, parsed post-submission. Biffed ENVELOPE, never parsed it. RIVETING was a long time coming, even though I knew what I was trying to recall; all I could think of was ‘welding’ and ‘soldering’. DNK UBIETY, but the wordplay was clear, as Ulaca notes; and I thought of ‘hic et ubique’. DNK that STYMIE was also a noun. NHO STRAVAIG, and spent a lot of time juggling the anagrist; even when I had all four checkers, I had doubts, and in fact I went to ODE to verify it. I liked UPSET.

    1. It’s always good to broaden your vocabulary, in principle, but having STRAVAIG occupying that micro wisp of neuronal capacity is almost a negative, except once every nine years when it occurs in a Times crossword, or if you happen to be asked to give an English word ending in ‘aig’ which isn’t a proper noun.

      I write ‘English’ because it appears in an English language crossword; there can’t be many such words, except
      others of Scottish derivation.

  2. 9m

    Normally I would confirm a weird word like STRAVAIG via google, improbable as it looked – but no other combination of letters looked possible

  3. 19 minutes. Unlike LouWeed, I did check STRAVAIG with google before putting it in! Also DNK UBIETY but assume it‘s related to ubiquity. Otherwise very straightforward today.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  4. 34 minutes. Both STRAVAIG and DUBIETY join the ever-growing list of words that I think I’ve never heard of but instead find that I’ve forgotten. Apart from these and the 21d ‘Hindu god’, who seemed a fairly safe bet from the wordplay, the one to give me most trouble was _E_A_D at 23a at the end; I was expecting a specific ‘retired artist’ for the wordplay and even though it didn’t fit, Degas and his tutus wouldn’t budge for some time.

  5. Managed to be all corrrect with fingers crossed that STRAVAIG was actually a word. It seemed the only way to fit the checkers. UBIETY was also unknown but the wordplay was clear, so I was more confident that would turn out to be right when I looked it up afterrwards.

  6. North of the border, ‘stravaig’ is commonly used for to meander about.

  7. 26 minutes with a wrong answer at 26ac where for some reason I thought STIAVARG seemed the most likely option – and why not? A rotten clue in my view for the reasons already expressed above.

    Apart from that, I thought this was a very enjoyable puzzle.

    Other unknowns, UBIETY and INDRA, were resolved by helpful wordplay. I’ve no idea why it should have been, but NOISELESS was my LOI.

  8. 35 minutes with five or ten of them spent on STRAVAIG, where it didn’t help that I’d thought INDRI seemed the more likely possibility for 21d. Still, got there in the end, albeit with not much confidence I was correct.

  9. … and then there crept
    A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
    Born of the very sigh that silence heaves
    (I stood tip-toe upon a little hill, Keats)

    20 mins mid-brekker with only minor hold ups and eyebrow raises at Ubiety and Stravaig – cheeky, I thought, but doable from wordplay.
    Ta setter and U.

  10. 26 minutes with LOI RIVETING. With the crossers in place, I could only make it STRAVAIG, but can’t say I’ve heard it used in the North of England. I stravaiged lonely as a cloud? More enjoyably, I was taken back to the Clarendon to measure the wavelengths of the Sodium D Lines with a spectroscope. In Angstrom units of course, at the yellow end of the spectrum. Even so, COD to Ol’ Blue Eyes. Thank you U and setter.

  11. Dnf, no UBIETY.
    Don’t like guessing, as in STRAVAIG.

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  12. 40 mins, same thoughts as our blogger, and did look up the unknown and unlikely looking STRAVAIG.

    I liked JAUNTIER.

    U, you’ve got a U (posh) dangling in your comment at 27 ac.

    Thanks U and setter

    1. dosseru. It’s still there at 5:30, but I quite like it with the u ending: posh, but a dosser. The opposite of a parvenu

  13. 8:36. After so many recent puzzles where I’ve struggled to finish it was nice to find one straightforward for a change, predictably finishing with STRAVAIG. I was curious about the etymology, and found that it comes from the same root as extravagant – the medieval Latin extravagari, meaning ‘wander, stray beyond limits’

  14. 52 minutes but technically a DNF as I sought help with the NHO STRAVAIG.
    UBIETY and INDRA also DNK but the WP was helpful.
    I needed the blog to fully parse SPECTROSCOPE, the R in TO bit which I should have seen as I had the rest.
    Favourite REWARD as this would have fooled me once.

  15. 30m 54s
    I thought this was going to take a lot longer but things eventually fell into place.
    NHO UBIETY but couldn’t make ubiquity fit.
    Also NHO STRAVAIG. Sounds like a malt scotch to me!
    SPECTROGRAPH kept nagging at me but couldn’t justify it.
    Thanks Ulaca.

  16. 25 minutes. As with almost everyone else, STRAVAIG was an unknown that seemed the most likely of all the unlikely options with all the checkers in place. UBIETY was also unknown, though it was an easier word to work out from the wordplay.

    I took ages to see that the definitions for 1a and 4d were at the start, rather than the end, of the clue – once I got PUFFIN, NOISELESS soon followed (though I didn’t understand it until I came here). I initially assumed that the latter would start with ‘sh’ for ‘quiet’.

    ‘twitted’ meaning ‘teased’ was another new one on me, though OUTWITTED couldn’t have been much else. And I’ll never see the word ‘laird’, as required for LADYBIRD, without thinking of the wonderful Jeremy Hardy and his terrible singing.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Jauntier
    LOI + COD Freemasonry

    1. Chris – are you a Charlton Athletic fan?
      In your avatar, I recognise the old west stand and the ground, maybe in the 1970’s.
      I first started going to watch the Addicks in 1973.
      Who is doing that somersault and why?

      1. I am indeed! It’s Brian Kinsey, taken in the 1960s. No idea why – perhaps at the time a footballer’s ability to do somersaults was considered more remarkable than now, so they thought it was worth capturing it on camera.

  17. I was born under a stravaiging star
    Well, I stravaig’d around this grid for 16.44, not helped by more stravaiging keyboarding than usual, making crossing letters unpredictable. It didn’t help either that I biffed NANCY for the SINATRA clue, thinking I’d stravaig through Google to confirm that she was on the cart (she’s not, but she’s getting on a bit). Otherwise the actual solving was pretty straightforward. I like the word UBIETY, perhaps because it resonates with my Cadet Bombardier’s cap badge and its “ubique…”
    I’ve been having an online debate with a fan of all things conspiratorial*, so I was not that pleased with FREEMASONRY described as “secretive practices”: it puts a dent in my assertion that they’re not actually in league with the Illuminati, the EU, the WHO, Bill Gates, Charles III, and the Vatican to enslave the world. Just (these days) a relatively benign group of men who like dressing in very silly costumes.

    * I feel duty bound to warn you that the Rapture, when all Christians will be removed from planet Earth as a prelude to unprecedented devastation, will happen on July 5th, 2023.

    1. Amazing how that date keeps getting put back, sounds a bit like my builder….

    2. Curses! Just when you need a Christian, suddenly they’re nowhere to be found. Glad the devastation seems to have by-passed my corner of the New Forest anyway.

  18. A 30-minute-or-so DNF as I had better things to do with my time than be bothered trying to fill in the blanks of STRAVAIG. Thanks to ulaca for helpful info re STYMIE, SCRIBE and OUTWITTED, also thanks to Pootle for the research re stravaig. That one aside I enjoyed this. Complaints? I had a few, but then again too few to mention.

  19. Seems everything’s been said, fairly straightforward apart from 2 NHOs which i was able to work out. Even being from north of the wall, and with Irish ancestry I’ve never heard of STRAVAIG so that was just a methodical biff.
    Thanks Ulaca and setter

  20. Obviously I biffed my LOI. A bit (stra)vague IMHO.

    TIME 8:01

  21. I biffd more clues in this puzzle than I can ever remember, parsing afterwards to check, then put in UBIETY and STRAVAIG from the definitions – I do have a vague memory of my Scottish friend using the word, so I was fairly confident of its unlikely layout. However, like Kevin, I got completely stuck on RIVETING, which slowed the finish down considerably, and then fell flat on REWARD, eventually passing it over to Mr Ego, who got it from his mental ‘database’, which fills in blanks that I can’t see for looking! So, a bit of a frustrating DNF, given that I thought I was in for a PB.

  22. 29 minutes for a crossword that initially seemed a bit tricky, as my first passes through the acrosses and downs revealed few answers, but wasn’t really. Except for STRAVAIG, which seemed the least unlikely combination of letters and to my surprise turned out to be correct. Not a good clue, for reasons often given above. ENVELOPE held me up for a bit, as it seemed to be about Eve loping off.

  23. 07:47, with UBIETY, and, inevitably, STRAVAIG going in because the wordplay and checkers didn’t allow for much else, even though they aren’t words in my everyday lexicon. Is it fair to have STRAVAIG in a gentle Monday puzzle rather than saving it for the Club Monthly (or, at the very least, Friday)? Not sure. As the footballers always say when discussing dreadful decisions made by officials, all we want is a bit of consistency (until, say, VAR allows the most marginal of offside calls to be made, at which point obviously we don’t want consistency, we want a bit of comon sense).

  24. STRAVAIG was LOI and NHO. However a very careless UNSET spoiled my 18:17. Thanks setter and U.

    1. Ditto, almost. I had a careless “Unsit” – I was probably thinking of “Unseat”. Tarnation.

  25. Stravaig not a problem to a Glasgow resident. Good restaurant in the West End of Glasgow called Stravaigin serving Scottish produce, very nicely cooked, worth a visit if you’re up this way.

  26. Wot everyone else said really.

    Even with the unknowns, it was pretty straightforward.


  27. 25 mins. Aside from STRAVAIG, my main difficulty was separating LOOSE from WOMAN. Maybe it’s just me……

  28. 14:23

    Fairly straightforward once I’d stopped trying to convince myself that there was a typo in 26 and that the answer must be STRAYING. I liked FREEMASONRY and NOISELESS. Nice to learn UBIETY but difficult to think of a situation in which it might be neeeed (PUBIETY might be more useful -for ascertaining in which hostelry someone might be found).

    Thanks to Ulaca and the setter.

  29. 11:59

    Very much on the wavelength today bunging in lots of initially unparsed items. Working in Glasgow, I’d even heard the Scottish term (though wouldn’t have known how to spell it). UBIETY was my only unknown.

    STYMIE – known as verb, not as noun and particularly not as a golfing term
    SPECTROSCOPE – bunged in from definition
    FRANK SINATRA – didn’t bother breaking it down until post-completion
    INTREPID – ditto
    FREEMASONRY – from definition and checkers
    INDRA – sure I’d seen this before and the parsing fit
    TWITTED = teased – assumed to be correct, assumption bolstered by checkers

    Thanks setter and Ulaca

  30. Cheated for STRAvague, couldn’t parse the obv SPECTROSCOPE, checked that UBIETY existed so another cheat. Wasn’t confident that RIVETtING could be spelt that way. OUTWITTED I tried to cheat, but that form not in my database, so had to add it. Twitting seemed familiar, hadn’t realised it was becoming obsolete. Ho hum.

  31. I found this easier than Mondays have been of late. Unknowns were UBIETY and STRAVAIG. As has been said, I couldn’t see any other likely way of arranging the anagram fodder in the latter.
    27 minutes.

    1. Andy Stewart used to be a Scottish singer who stravaiged around singing rather trite melodies.
      This was pretty straightforward stuff, and close to a PB.

  32. 12:42. Like others, DNK UBIETY (it wasn’t URRIET then) or STRAVAIG, although they both rang a faint bell of recognition once entered. LOI STYMIE which I should have seen quicker. Thanks U and setter.

  33. 17m. Stravaightforward enough, apart from the obvious one, and writing in spectrometer without parsing – different instruments, according to google, but variations on a theme.

  34. I join the long list of those that have never heard of STRAVAIG, but I surprised myself by choosing the right combination of letters to get it right. UBIETY was another new word to me, and I kept my fingers crossed that TWITTED may be a term for being teased. Surprised really to finish with all correct in 27.25

  35. I was never in a state of dubiety about ubiety. We met years ago and it was such an odd word that it
    stuck in my mind. I expect that the next time that stravaig appears I shall have been dead for years .

  36. 8:17. A strange one this, mostly very straightforward but with a few googlies as mentioned by others. I had fingers crossed for both STRAVAIG and UBIETY but my last in was RIVETING, where like Kevin I couldn’t get beyond welding and soldering for a while.

  37. “Stravaig” is one of the words I remember Ellis Peters’ detective monk Cadfael using. He was Welsh…

  38. NHO STRAVAIG, but I must find an excuse to use it next time I’m in Scotland or Ireland, if only to see if the natives understand it. UBIETY was another unknown, but easily gettable from the word-play (as, eventually, was ‘stravaig’). My OED says this verb requires an adverbial of direction which, I suppose, is why the poet Wordsworth settled for wandering, lonely as a cloud. I wonder if Burns would have made a better job of it.

  39. I am a very happy LADYBIRD today as this is the first Times 15 x 15 that I was REWARDed by finishing. Last time I attempted one (a few weeks ago) I did about 4 clues and was truly STYMIEd. Anyway had time today by the window, being INTREPID, and had heard rumours that Monday maybe a good day to go for it.

    So see you next week.

    Thanks to the setter for giving me hope and to Ulaca.

    1. Congratulations – completing these crosswords certainly will make you JAUNTIER!

  40. DNF in 27 minutes, having wandered aimlessly around 26ac, convincing myself it could not be an anagram and settling for the incorrect STRAYING, to cross with its companion in incorrection INDRI. I must now convince myself that a working knowledge of Scots is just as useful as the Latin, if not more so. COD JAUNTIER.
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  41. 26:52
    Anything under half an hour is good for me. Last two in were STRAVAIG (NHO but guessed as most likely combination of letters) and REWARD, where I had failed to see the reversal and kept trying to find a way to fit in RA.

    Thanks Ulaca and setter

  42. 12:13. A decent start to the week. Like others STRAVAIG was unknown. I checked it before committing and also found one typo in my pre-submission check. Its almost worth making a typo if you spot it before submitting and avoid the dreaded pink square.

  43. 32’40”
    Spooked and swerved violently final furlong, this nag clearly needs blinkers.
    What’s Scottish for flabbergasted; for that is what I was when I didn’t get a raspberry.
    I really cannot say what I made of this as I cannot think, due to the insane heat here.
    I’d take a cold shower if the water coming out of the cold tap wasn’t verging on hot.
    Well, I’m two words wiser.
    Thanks to all.

  44. This is the first crossword I’ve completely finished in a reasonable time in ages!
    I put in STRAVAIG without thinking having spotted the anagram as it’s just a common Scots word I would use naturally as there isn’t an obvious English equivalent. Like skite and scunner (for those fellow Scots in the know…)
    Thanks again to the setter – and also to those of you who produce this blog which is invaluable for those of us who are still learning.

    1. Much the same procedure as you, Susiemac: biffed a lot (with some confirmed after), but happy to finish in a good time – for me. Also confirmed that bothering to closely follow the cryptic is a good strategy when it comes to NHOs (UBIETY & STRAVAIG). Fell at the last hurdle unfortunately by entering SCRIVE (from scrivener?) at 19d. Learnt a few along the way, eg TWITTED for teased. CODs to FREEMASONRY, ENVELOPE and UPSET. And I’m still learning (from this blog) after ten years.

  45. 1hr15 for DNF with 3 wrong in SE – OUTWITTED, INTACT, SCRIBE which I managed to correct with a couple of checks. Had a go because it was snitching at 71, but I really struggled to get going outside of the SW. About 45-mins in though it all suddenly started going in. NHO UBIETY, STRAVAIG (wonder if it’s related to the exercise app) and only heard of JOGTROT the other day although it seems gettable. Had four left (DOSSER also) at the hour which is my usual cutoff point and had hopes I might finish it but just couldn’t see OUTWITTED. Overall fairly happy with that as a workout

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