Times 28665 – easy come, easy go? Not at all.

This was one of those puzzles that found me completing most of the clues in quick time but struggling with a few at the end. I’m too old to have known the expression at 1d although it seemed the sort of thing AI buffs would talk about, and 19d had me flummoxed at the end for a while.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics, [deleted letters in square brackets].

1 Run off incline, changing direction at first (5)
ELOPE – SLOPE = incline, change South to East.
4 Promotional industry replacing content of billboards in part of South Dakota (8)
BADLANDS – B[ILLBOARD]S (contents of billboards) is replaced by ADLAND (where I used to work). Now a National park, the area has an unfortunate history (as far as the Sioux are concerned, at least).
8 Cosmetic treatment transforming pert and saucy girls (7,7)
PLASTIC SURGERY – (PERT SAUCY GIRLS)*.  A nice surface for the anagrist.
10 Obstruction, wide, first to last leading to jam (9)
ROADBLOCK – BROAD (wide) has the B moved to the front of LOCK = jam.
11 Male embraced by lover not entirely a source of religious inspiration (5)
SWAMI – SWAI[N] has M for male inserted.
12 Mostly underhand offer? (6)
SUBMIT – SUB MITT could be “under hand”, so mostly omits the end T.
14 Scorpion? A sudden sally will protect chief, note (8)
ARACHNID – A RAID  = a sudden sally, insert CH (chief) N (note).
17 Boxer observed accepting inadmissible payment method (8)
SOUTHPAW – SAW (observed) with OUT (inadmissible) HP (hire purchase) inserted.
18 Be part of a lot of work I put into pub (4,2)
JOIN IN – JO[B] = a lot of work, INN (pub) has I inserted.
20 Cut back openings for computing trainees? Absolutely right (5)
EXACT – EXA (AXE = cut, reversed) then initial letters of computing trainees.
22 Unexpectedly needing a forte — or even louder? (9)
24 Standing behind stuff inside motorway shop (7,7)
FILLING STATION – FILLING = the stuff inside, STATION = standing, as in “she married below her station” as my mother was wont to say.
25 Society rebuffed my fake orchestral piece (8)
SYMPHONY – S (society) YM (my, reversed), PHONY (fake).
26 Proposition left a married French woman taken aback (5)
LEMMA -L for left, then A MME (Madame) reversed.
1 Form of AI no longer fresh, surely lacking core support (6,6)
EXPERT SYSTEM – EX (no longer) PERT (fresh) SY (surely lacking UREL = core) STEM (support). Apparently, a common expression in AI research.
2 Wartime beach: second that’s turned over, I see (5)
OMAHA – MO (second) reversed, AHA! = I see!.
3 Arrange peace after lab site vandalised (9)
ESTABLISH – (LAB SITE)*, SH ! = peace.
4 Summon Bishop and judge to depose King (6)
BECKON – B for bishop, [R]ECKON = judge with R removed.
5 Drank foolishly after a lot of narcotic, did one? (8)
DRUNKARD – DRU[G] = a lot of narcotic, (DRANK)*.
6 Naval area upset about member of US military offering protection (5)
AEGIS -SEA upset = AES, insert GI the US general infantryman. The Greek word αἰγίς has a few meanings, originally the shield of Zeus.
7 Exclamation of annoyance about two different names given to a swordsman (9)
DARTAGNAN – DARN ! with TAG and N for name inserted.
9 Dead — hanged in awfully secret plan (6,6)
13 Initially tense year after Asian island suppresses routine violence (9)
BRUTALITY – BALI the Asian island has RUT (routine) inserted, then TY = initially Tense Year.
15 Narrow escape in visit to cathedral personnel? (5,4)
CLOSE CALL – If you made a call to the Cathedral Close residents, you’d be visiting the cathedral.
16 Dance supporter coming round with energy (8)
FANDANGO – FAN (supporter) with AND (with ) inserted then GO = energy. I’ve only heard of this dance through the familiar words of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. “I see a little silhouette of a man; Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?” and so on. Earworm time.
19 Male set up by antihero in fiction (6)
GATSBY – STAG = male, reversed, BY. This my LOI  took me the longest, even with the checkers, as I didn’t think of him as an antihero and have not read the book. There must be several thousand other fictional anti-heroes to think of, so that wasn’t surprising.
21 Flower blooming, nothing less, up on border (5)
TULIP – a flower which is OUT would be blooming, reversing (up) OUT and removing the O (nothing) gives you TU then LIP = border.
23 Man, after one day, displaying specific way of speaking (5)
IDIOM – I (one) D (day) IOM (Isle of Man).


79 comments on “Times 28665 – easy come, easy go? Not at all.”

  1. 23:30. I think we were held up similarly towards the end. Last one for me was GATSBY as well. The idea to put BY into the grid helped me see it.

  2. I started in the SE (just seems to be a habit) with DEAFENING, IDIOM and HIDDEN AGENDA and was well on my way, whizzing thru this with an increasing number of biffs as crossers filled in and winding up in the west, where my gears… suddenly… ground to a crawl… and I found myself staring a long time at what eventually became SUBMIT (surely the hardest clue here, right? Ha) and EXPERT SYSTEM, which I finally got from “ex-pert,” never having heard the term before.

  3. I thought some of the parsing particularly were tricky.

    BTW, I think the final A in 7D is the last A in the answer, not part of the definition.

  4. Raced through, then like others held up for a bit by Gatsby. Like piquet I didn’t know he was an anti-hero, and like plusjeremy I got it by trying BY in the grid. No problem with EXPERT SYSTEM, probably first heard of in uni in the 80s.
    COD to one of the anagrams, PLASTIC SURGERY or DEAFENING.

  5. 31 minutes for all but GATSBY but another 6 minutes were needed to come up with it, again from writing BY in the grid.

    Elsewhere I didn’t know EXPERT SYSTEM or LEMMA but they didn’t delay me unduly.

    I knew FADANGO from an early age as the title of a ‘light music’ piece by Sidney Torch, but the name of the dance came to prominence some eight years before Bohemian Rhapsody in the opening line of the 1967 hit by Procul Harum, A Whiter Shade of Pale: We skipped the light fandango…

    1. Yep, that’s my earworm which at least has replaced —– from the QC…

      1. As a blues and rock aficionado, FANDANGO! always reminds me of ZZ Top’s album. The live tracks are great, the studio recordings a little less so (although I do rather like”Tush”)

  6. 34 minutes. Same comment as others about GATSBY who I didn’t know was seen as an ‘anti-hero’. EXPERT SYSTEM went in as looking like a plausible ‘Form of AI’ though I’d never heard of it. Rather than as a ‘Proposition’, I’m more used to the lexical sense of LEMMA as used in the OED, but at least it meant I was familiar with the word.

    Favourite was the lift-and-separate ‘Mostly underhand’ for SUBMIT.

  7. 37m 11s
    Mostly straightforward. In 17ac I saw ‘boxer’ and immediately thought of Mohammed Ali.
    The only query I had was with FANDANGO so thank you, Pip. Like Jack, I see that word and automatically think of Procul Harum rather than Queen.
    Chuckle of the Day: An advisory from Radio NZ popped up on my mobile phone earlier to tell me that a town here in NZ had been closed because someone had found a piece of unexploded ‘ordinance’!

    1. Well, there are a lot of very weird laws still on the books in this country, and no doubt in yours, that are (thank goodness) unenforced.
      (Speaking of explosions and ordnance, I have a ticket for Oppenheimer tomorrow evening… Three more hours—or at least four, with waiting and trailers—of air-conditioning, after my weekly day in the office! Based on a book cowritten by a former colleague, BTW.)

      1. I hope you find the wait and the experience worthwhile. It’s had very good reviews. I’m hoping it makes it to my little local cinema. Back in my schooldays studying A-Level German I and my fellow students went to London and saw a play entitled ‘In der Sache J Robert Oppenheimer’.

        1. Some current and former colleagues, as well as my friend David Fontaine at Le Canard enchaîné (who admits that he didn’t see this under the best conditions, in an overheated Grand Rex after waiting an hour and a half for Matt Damon & Co. to finish regaling their fans), have found the director’s more sensationalistic tendencies—the bullying and very loud soundtrack, expressionistic camerawork, jumbled timeframes, pyrotechnics—to have distracted from the more subtle and profound character study that can also be found within the film’s three hours. I copy-edited The Nation‘s review (https://www.thenation.com/article/culture/oppenheimer-nolan-atomic-bomb/), and am most proud of contributing the phrase that accurately describes Oppie’s headgear, “a distinctive wide-brimmed hat.”

          1. I saw the movie on Sunday and think those comments by your current and former colleagues are very perceptive. We also had some difficulty keeping track of who was who among the scientists and later among Oppy’s persecutors. So maybe it’s not perfect but overall were glad we had seen it and recommend it. Haven’t seen Barbie though…

          2. Thanks, Guy, for your thoughtful comments and for the review from ‘The Nation’.

          3. I have a huge sympathy for Robert Oppenheimer. He knew full well he was facilitating and enabling a very bad thing. He did it because he believed others would too, and his country was at war.
            Nobody should have to cope with that situation.

      2. I saw it the other day in Seville. A most thought-provoking film (far superior to The Theory of Everything), which is admirably non-preachy. Yes, it is quite Nolanesque, but no Inception. Highly recommended.

    2. Was a big fan of the Sam Waterston TV series, which had time to develop many of the main characters. Will watch the film (and I like Cillian Murphy) but managing my expectations.

    3. The result of the Uxbridge by-election could be seen as the upshot of a very much exploded piece of ordinance.

  8. This one was just about my speed and I was on track for a PB until I was beset by the same problems as everyone else – SUBMIT, EXPERT SYSTEM (huh?) and GATSBY. Was pleased to finish in 20.43 which felt quite quick in the end. Ta to Piquet for several explanations, especially BADLANDS (that is one helluva cryptic construction, I just bunged it in when I saw South Dakota and couldn’t figure it out) and SOUTHPAW.

  9. 24:57, giving me the worst personal NITCH so far
    Slowed down by memory problems for one thing: couldn’t remember DARTAGNAN or FANDANGO for a long time. I also couldn’t see how BECKON worked for another long time. LOI GATSBY, what else?; fortunately, G comes early in the alphabet. Flung in BADLANDS because what else is there in South Dakota? Parsed it later.

    1. What else is there in South Dakota? Doris Day sang of the Black Hills as she rode on the Deadwood Stage.

      1. And Bob Dylan did in “Day of the Locusts” (about his receiving an honorary doctorate at Princeton)…

        I put down my robe, I picked up my diploma
         Took hold of my sweetheart and away we did drive
         Straight for the hills, the Black Hills of Dakota
         Sure was glad to get out of there alive

      2. I did say I was having memory problems; Mt. Rushmore is in SD, too (although that’s part of the Black Hills). And I generally have trouble distinguishing South D from North.

  10. All straightforward and tidily done. I thought Southpaw needed a “?”, considering that only some boxers are. Nice blog, pip.

    1. This is just a standard definition. It would need a question mark the other way round.

      1. I wasn’t thinking DBE, I was thinking very loose definition to the point of almost being whimsical. Southpaw is used to define a number of kinds of people – spivs, baseball pitchers, any left-hander – and at the same time only describes 30% of boxers.

        1. Sorry, misunderstood your point, although in my defence the objection ‘only some boxers are’ is an objection that SOUTHPAW is an example of a category… 😉
          But fair point. I remember there is a theory that the word comes from baseball involving an elaborate theory about the direction that early fields used to point in relative to the sun. Completely bogus, of course. It was originally a boxing term that has spread to various other contexts.

          1. In my head I’m with you on the clue, but since it was my LOI, and as a consequence irked me, unlikely I’ll get my heart to agree. My memory of the last Southpaw discussion was that it started with the unethical and jumped to boxers. For what it’s worth, most semi-pro and pro baseball fields are still roughly oriented to have home plate to the west because of the danger of facing pitching which comes out of the late afternoon sun.

            1. Follow your heart!
              So the theory perhaps wasn’t as crazy as I had remembered it. However linguistically it seems clear that the word wasn’t used in baseball until several decades after its first appearance in boxing.

  11. 36 minutes with LOI SWAMI, suspected earlier. I didn’t know where the BADLANDS were. I thought they were a metaphor for where outlaws could escape to in gunfighter ballads. I felt I’d done well in finishing this only to find everybody back before me having a drink in the bar. COD to EXPERT SYSTEM and DARTAGNAN jointly. Thank you Pip and setter.

  12. Came up short on RECKON and GATSBY. Some of these parsings were tricky, and I biffed DARTAGNAN and FANDANGO. Knew LEMMA from my maths degree.

    An EXPERT SYSTEM is in fact “Form of AI no longer”, as that turned out to be a dead end and now AI systems, like Chat GPT, are based on neural networks. That’s why most people have never heard of them.


    1. I suspect expert systems, whether so called or not, are still in widespread use. Predictive text, for example …

  13. Well I struggled with this getting bogged down in the west. Finally finished with LOI EXPERT SYSTEM once I had all the crossers and my fingers crossed. 57 mins. I had EXPERT early but couldn’t see SUBMIT or SOUTHPAW til the last, which is when SYSTEM appeared out of the gloom.

    I liked DARTAGNAN and HIDDEN AGENDA. LEMMA NHO but got from wp.

    Thanks pip and setter

  14. Struggled with D’ARTAGNAN, SWAMI and GATSBY – so pretty much the universal experience. The rest were quite easy. 36 mins.

  15. Half an hour, not all understood. I was unfamiliar with swain=lover so hesitated over SWAMI for a long time, had to trust that BADLANDS is in South Dakota, and didn’t know that LEMMA means proposition. Like others, took a while to see GATSBY, and I feel like we’ve had that anagrist for PLASTIC SURGERY before, amusing though it is.

    A nice puzzle – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Elope
    LOI Swami
    COD Submit

  16. Really enjoyed it today, right up my street – all cryptic-y. Liked GATSBY, HIDDEN AGENDA, DARTAGNAN and BADLANDS.

    Pleased with my time of 9.05 although less pleased with the two typos!

    Thanks p and setter

  17. 24:10, most of it taken up by GATSBY. I wasn’t expecting “by” to give -BY, and aren’t all antiheroes “in fiction”?

  18. Squeezed in under the hour with 58 minutes and all parsed other than CLOSE CALL so thank you, blogger, for that and FANDANGO, I could see the FAN and GO but the ‘coming round’ had me looking for a reverse for DAN/NAD I should have read the clue with more care.
    LEMMA was an unknown but I managed to construct it from WP.

  19. My first thought on the anti-hero was Rigsby (the excellent Leonard Rossiter in “Rising Damp”), but perhaps it was the imaginary B that led me to my LOI once I nailed DEAFENING. I’m another who’s not read the book.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and was definitely helped on my way by remembering D’ARTAGNAN (not read that one either, but I watched some of the film once before deciding it didn’t float my boat).

    I’ve awarded my COD on the basis that I was able to work out a total unknown from the excellent parsing.

    TIME 10:01

  20. 21.14, so they’re getting progressively easier this week, though that GATSBY clue was a proper poser. LEMMA I got from the guess that a DI-LEMMA was two of them, plus the helpful cryptic of course.
    I’ve been thinking that our old friend Jimbo would have regaled us with tales of the EXPERT SYSTEMs he set up in his youth, probably on some unlikely antique operating system, which would put those of us who said “what?!!” properly in our place.
    I was briefly tempted by SERVICE STATION, which in my book is what motorway outlets are, but couldn’t make the wordplay work without an unsavoury reference to bulls.
    Thanks to you people for multiple earworms competing for attention, so I think I’ll revert to the 9th Symphony from Sunday night’s Prom to drown them out.
    Thanks also to Piquet for his mum’s example for station, “accurately” translated by Rattigan in French Without Tears as “Elle a des idées au-dessus de sa gare.”

    1. DI-LEMMA was a clever connection Z. Well done. And how I will remember the word in future.

  21. Expert Systems were all the rage back in the early 90s so actually a term that more or less predates AI for much the same thing.

  22. 45 minutes on this, lots of stuff that was tricky for me, such as GATSBY, SUBMIT and EXPERT SYSTEM. For SUBMIT I for a long time thought it was something to do with bid, but hardly morbid or turbid. But most of it was accessible enough and I have no excuses but incompetence.
    Count me among the Procul Harum FANDANGO people, although my guess is that the dance is referenced all over the place and it just depends how old you are.

  23. Slow start on first review and then things came quite quickly. Couldn’t recall LEMMA, though probably should know it, but wordplay was fine. Didn’t parse CLOSE CALL, and not particularly wiser now. Then an age on trawling GATSBY, almost gave up. But some nice clues, thanks Piquet and setter.

  24. No problems but pink square for dartagnon. At least it wasn’t Dogtanian (and the three muskehounds).
    COD establish.

  25. Successful completion despite not knowing LEMMA, not full parsing DARTAGNON and having caused no end of problems in the SW by putting SERVICE STATION. All sorted out in the end – thanks for the blog.

  26. 18:19. Tricky one.
    I knew that LEMMA was a word, but not what it meant, so when I constructed it from the wordplay at 11ac (LEM(M)An) I didn’t think twice, but when it turned up again at 26ac I was a little taken aback!
    Otherwise my experience was like that of others, initial quite easy but then a few that needed grinding out at the end. JOIN IN, GATSBY, EXPERT SYSTEM (NHO), and my last in SUBMIT.

    1. I did exactly the same with LEMMA at 11ac, until AEGIS made me rethink. It did mean that it went straight in at the right place when I got to 26ac. Got EXPERT.. from just having read PERT in the clue to 8ac. I had the Queen earworm but have now got the P H one as well. About an average 10 min.

  27. I found this similar in difficulty to yesterday’s, and my time was about the same.. 1a was easy, but I didn’t see it at first, and raced through the clues to see which I could solve quickly. That was the penultimate Across clue, SYMPHONY. After that I built up from the bottom. Last ones in were SOUTHPAW, which meant nothing to me, and GATSBY.
    50 minutes

  28. 21 mins. Struggled at the end like many of you after an easy fill. My main trouble was lifting and separating under and hand. LOI GATSBY, those sneaky by’s in clues are hard to spot.

  29. Took 35 minutes, the last 5 of which were on GATSBY. In the end went a…b…c, felt really stupid when I got to G and saw how obvious it was. I see other people found it easier today, so maybe I just needed a coffee or something.
    Also thanks blogger for explaining FANDANGO I had a block there too, saw FAN-DAN-GO and couldn’t figure the DAN. Of course – AND inside FAN. Very pretty video on youtube btw “Your Fandango” by Todd Rundgren and Sparks.

  30. Technically a DNF, as I had to enlist the help of Mr Ego with the impossible 1D crossing with SUBMIT. Not that he’d heard of EXPERT SYSTEM, but between the two of us we teased out the answer. I honestly think my brain goes into ‘sleep’ mode whenever I see ‘computer’, ‘AI’, ‘programme’ or anything else technological, since most of you got the answer through following the cryptic, and although I’d put in EX, and had P-R-, I couldn’t think beyond EXPIRY or EXPORT. Anyway, GATSBY, as a contrast, went in quite quickly with just the S and the A, and DARTAGNAN from the N-N at the end, so it’s more the subject matter that suits me, I think. I hadn’t thought of SWAIN as meaning specifically a lover, but apparently the less specific meaning is now archaic, the current one described as ‘literary’.

    1. I had exactly the same response as you, alto_ego, in thinking that 1d would have to start with export or expiry, so never did crack that one . Nor many others I have to confess; the whole grid looked impenetrable to me from the word go! After my much happier response to yesterday’s, was very disappointed. Have no idea how so many solvers found this easy!

  31. 19:09. Had to grope around for LEMMA and SWAMI and wondered if lover needed a question mark or a maybe, but Chambers put me right on that. I also thought the drank/drunkard clue was verging precariously – and a bit untidily – on a repetition.

  32. NHO EXPERT SYSTEM, but the crossers and definition got me there. LEMMA took a while. Didn’t know where the BADLANDS were so needed crossers to help with that too. Gatsby didn’t take too long, but DARTAGNAN did! FOI was ELOPE, LOI was BECKON. 28:41. Thanks setter and Pip.

  33. Enjoyable, not too hard. The OED uses LEMMAS a lot. I did parse it, though I also thought of EMMA Bovary for a while.
    Not having heard of expert systems is roughly equivalent to not having heard of Tennyson, imo. Our ignorance of technology and engineering never fails to dismay me.

  34. Several not parsed so pleased to be green in 48:47. GATSBY not recognised as an antihero but then I haven’t read the book. Loved the surface for my COD PLASTIC SURGERY. Thanks setter and Pip.

  35. 46:16. had a lot of trouble with LOI GATSBY as the checkers weren’t very helpful. NHO EXPERT SYSTEM and didn’t associate BADLANDS with Dakota… otherwise a lovely puzzle with COD PLASTIC SURGERY for the fun surface.

  36. 28.20. What is it about Wednesdays? Seem much less solver friendly than they were.

    LOI Gatsby which I thought for a while I was going to flunk. NHO Lemma but just about parsed it. Liked brutality, badlands and filling station- when I realised it wasn’t service , but COD southpaw.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  37. 25’25”
    Not in his habitual mucksweat, smartly away, stayed on gamely.
    I was aided by the temperature plummeting from 43 to 26.
    It came as no real surprise to read here that the AI proved to be neither expert nor systematic. Redford’s portrayal I saw as a child and I thought there was something very dodgy about him from the word go; so Gatsby was last to fall but didn’t slow me down.
    I’m with Vinyl on the fandango; the Böhm/Ponnelle film of Figaro got me addicted at the age of eleven.
    Compliments to the setter, and thanks to Pip et al for the musical memories.

  38. 13:02

    I should have been a lot quicker but thanks to some botched plastic surgery (is there any other sort?) I had an S instead of a C as the third letter at 4d so wasted ages trying to justify BESTOW.

    1. Plastic surgeons (members of BAAPS) consider themselves (not without justification) a cut above mere cosmetic surgeons, and might take issue with your characterisation.

  39. 26:31
    Like others I found GATSBY the most difficult not least because, having got the A and Y, I decided that “Man set up” might be PATSY. Idiot. The long ones made the rest of the puzzle reasonably
    straightforward -apart from the clever SUBMIT and CLOSE CALL.

    Thanks to the setter and to Pip, particularly for explaining TULIP.

  40. Gosh I was slow slow slow. This may have taken me all afternoon even adjusting for interruptions (smart new library bookcases being installed today). I had the word play but was messing about with the order of things. I had UTLIP for an embarrassingly long time, convinced I was after a river 🙄, but no it was an actual flower today and not an unknown tributary. I needed the crossers to sort out the unknown LEMMA where I’d toyed with all possible variations of MME L and A. Others I saw but was nervous to write in unparsed. Otherwise it just took an age to find SEA and SWAIN, and peace/SH properly fooled me. A small pat on the back for putting Gatsby straight in. I’ve been held up by male/stag before so went straight to it. So I am capable of learning something it seems.

    Oh well. It’s raining anyway so an enjoyable way to pass the time as always.

    Thanks setter and Pip

  41. A rare sub-30m for me, finishing in 27:35. I was OK with GATSBY and EXPERT SYSTEMS.

    I initially had SERVICE STATIONS until Fandango forced me to change to FILLING. Last two in were BRUTALITY and SUBMIT.

    I entered TULIP without being able to parse it. Thanks for the explanation of how it works. On first pass I was trying to get TWEED to fit, thinking flower would be a river and the Tweed marks part of a border.

  42. All done and dusted in 22 minutes, so this seemed more like a Monday than a Friday exercise. NHO EXPERT SYSTEM but it was readily extracted from the clueing. (I have however heard of Tennyson, so perhaps I am not a total dunce.) Thought 5dn was a slightly disappointing clue, and had never before today considered GATSBY as an anti-hero, but agree there is always room for interpretation and debate in matters literary.
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  43. Steady solve, no real roadblock, a fair jog, some way short of a sprint. Liked the drunkard clue for some reason.

  44. Very late getting round to this today and nearly didn’t bother, but glad I did as I enjoyed this one. No time to record, but about 45 minutes I would guess which would be just about on target. All parsed which was handy in the case of DARTAGNAN, as I would have had an O instead of the third A as the spelling of the swordsman. LOI was GATSBY which held me up for about two minutes.

  45. 24:45

    Didn’t know what a LEMMA is, though diLEMMA makes sense.

    Didn’t have Jay Gatsby down as an antihero either – read it years ago.

    NHO EXPERT SYSTEM as anything to do with AI.

    Thanks for the blog P – it filled in the gaps.

  46. DNF, thanks to GATSBY (never read) and AEGIS, which I entered as ANGIS more in hope than expectation. Shame as I seemed to be “on wavelength” for the rest.

  47. I got most of it but couldn’t finish, in part because I had the B and the second A of BADLANDS and I put BISMARCK (capitol of North Dakota). I’m surprised nobody else made a similar mistake tbh.

  48. DNF, as didn’t think of GATSBY – a book I suppose I should read sometime. FANDANGO made me think of ‘dance the cacucha … etc.’ from Gondoliers, so I’m clearly a generation or so older than the rest of you, as NHO the other references

  49. Ooof!! Have to rethink my necessary abilities ( or lack thereof) for completing the 15×15 each day. Looked through most of the clues without any light-bulb moments at all, got the easyish anagram at 8a, then …gave up. The rest was impenetrable to me.

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