Times 28681 – Monday, Monday

Wow! This was easy. YMMV, but there will be PBs. 11:01.

1 Bring back the birch? This process might achieve it (15)
REAFFORESTATION -cryptic definition and a rather good one. Kudos to those who got this on their first pass.
9 Heavenly girl left, crossing end of village street (9)
10 Welshman’s old farm cart (5)
11 Share most of Latvian meat portion (6)
CUTLET – CUT (share) LET[t]; I rather liked this
12 Throttle criminal finally overcome by rum (8)
STRANGLE – [crimina]L in STRANGE
13 Pitch tents in French park, principally by river (6)
ENCAMP – EN (‘in’ in French) CAM (river that runs through Fenland Poly) P[ark]
15 Characteristic  belongings (8)
PROPERTY – double definition (DD)
18 Rule made by party in connection with flunky (8)
DOMINION – DO (party) MINION (flunky)
19 Cut capers, initially like one in short dress (6)
FROLIC – L[ike] I in FROC[k]
21 Bridge-player heads for park area walking boxer (8)
SOUTHPAW – SOUTH (bridge player) initial letters (heads) of Park Area Walking
23 Gloomy sergeant major wearing ring (6)
26 A legal right for a foreigner (5)
27 Oddly it blooms without resistance in a volcanic island ( (9)
STROMBOLI – R in anagram* of IT BLOOMS
28 Preferring to sit, nevertheless (15)
NOTWITHSTANDING – if you prefer to sit, you are not with (in support of) standing; moving right along…
1 Prepare to make further use of army corps transport (7)
RECYCLE – RE (Royal Engineers, a corps in the British Army) CYCLE
2 Distribute a complete set of religious books (5)
ALLOT – ALL (complete) OT (Old Testament, AKA set of religious books – is anyone really reading this?)
3 His catch originally flourished in a type of tank? (9)
FISHERMAN – initial letters of Flourished In SHERMAN (decent tank but not as good as some of the German ones, I believe; not a big issue if you have loads more, I guess)
4 Bar   wading bird (4)
5 Reclusive tailor working in outskirts of Sydney (8)
6 As some would say, a deeper-sounding greeting in Honolulu? (5)
ALOHA – sounds like ‘a lower’ – to many of us, anyway, although someone, somewhere…
7 A speaker may deliver it during month on Russian river (9)
INAUGURAL – IN (during) AUG (month) URAL (long river in Xi Jiping’s mate’s country)
8 Athlete blowing top in US city convent (7)
14 Leftist composed music, not including Mass (9)
16 A simple fellow, perhaps, gathering last of firm fruit (9)
PERSIMMON – [fir]M in PER (a) [Simple] SIMON
17 Dialect Swiss primarily used in Catholic church (8)
ROMANSCH – S[wiss] in ROMAN (Catholic) CH (church)
18 Verbally scorn Scandinavian, showing contempt (7)
DISDAIN – if you diss a Dane, you show contempt for her/him/them etc. etc.
20 Worn out, overwhelmed by extremely challenging vocation (7)
CALLING – ALL IN (worn out) in C[hallengin]G
22 Husband going over a most important Asian capital (5)
HANOI – H A NO I (number one, AKA most important)
24 I wander to north, finding indigenous people (5)
MAORI – reversal of I ROAM; not uncommon wordplay for these folk
25 UK national acted effectively, securing runs (4)
BRIT – R in BIT; Collins has ‘act effectively upon’ for bite; one can imagine a gear cog biting perhaps

78 comments on “Times 28681 – Monday, Monday”

  1. My sentiments exactly! Over in a flash! LOI CUTLET.
    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen OWAIN before.

  2. 7m

    Whatever 1ac is alluding to with “bring back the birch” was lost on me, so it was always going to be REFORESTATION – until it came up two letters short that is.

  3. 9:50
    First time under 10′ in ages. I can’t say I’ve ever heard ALOHA pronounced like (non-rhotic) ‘a lower’: the H is there for a reason. Biffed 16d, parsed post-submission. I’d call ROMANSCH–which I’d spell without the C– a language rather than a dialect (dialect of what language?), but then the distinction is arbitrary. (I have a friend who’s a native speaker of Romansh.)

  4. 13:59
    Thanks, U, for the blog. I must be getting a bit better at these things – under 14m and not even in my top 5.

    I was helped by immediately thinking of REAFFORESTATION for 1ac, without (like LouWeed) knowing what was meant to be cryptic about it, and recalling the word as unusual from the last time it appeared.

  5. 19 minutes. I got the reference at 1ac immediately but had to work a bit harder to extend REFORESTATION to fit the spaces available.

    With no checkers in place I wrote BRIT at 25 with a query against it, prepared to think again if it clashed with anything, but fortunately both STROMBOLI and NOTWITHSTANDING came to me easily and fitted in perfectly.

    At 10ac the wordplay was clear and I remembered that the anglicized Owen Glendower was actually called Owain Glyndŵr.

    1. And don’t forget Owain ap Maredudd ap Tudur, known to the English as Owen of Tudor, who was Henry the Eighth’s great-grandfather and who gave his name to the Tudor dynasty.

      1. Thanks. But I can’t forget what I never knew!😊

        Very relevant, considering an answer in today’s Quickie.

  6. Certainly a PB here ulaca, my 13.40 carved some six minutes off its predecessor. While I’m not that hung up on speed it’s fun to get one that you can really fly through every now and then, just as it’s fun to take ages grinding through a real stinker and finally emerging victorious. No problems here but because it was a BIFF-fest I’m grateful for the explanations for several, including CELESTIAL and STROMBOLI. I wonder what day-to-day life is like for Mrs Xi

  7. Easy, as already noted. I liked the Latvian meat portion.
    I don’t tend to think of Maoris as indigenous, any more than Normans or Saxons are. They came from Polynesia, didn’t they (Maoris, not Saxons)

    1. Everyone came from somewhere. I think we all originated in Africa if you go back far enough, but it would seem weird to call Sioux “African Americans” on the basis that they are not truly indigenous. Not to mention, it seems weird to call Elon Musk an African American but he is.

      1. Since his attempted intervention in the Thailand cave rescue, he’s been called a lot of other things.

    2. Yes, they did, Jerry; about 500 years before Cook arrived so not indigenous, as you say.

      1. Define indigenous (on a crossword blog…good luck). I’d say it’s just whoever got there first – so not the saxons or the normans, and not Cook, but the Maori, sure – assuming we’re not counting the Moas.

        More interesting is the settlement history of Madagascar – the Pacific Islanders got there first too, believe it or not…

        1. OK, here goes: “Indigenous people or things belong to the country in which they are found, rather than coming there or being brought there from another country.” (Collins Online)
          Australian aboriginals have around 60,000 years of history in the country; not so the Maori.
          I know Madagascar has some unique wildlife species. You have now made me curious about the human history of the island!

  8. I read the clue for 1A and promptly typed REFORESTATION before being bemused that it was too short. Later, with a few checkers, I realized that REAFFORESTATION must be a word.

    Since I’m left-handed, I think of SOUTHPAW as just left-handed, and I just checked in in Chambers and discovered that in boxing it means “leading with the right hand”. Not quite sure how that all works, I assume leading with the right hand and then landing the real punch with the left, I suppose.

    1. 26 mins so as good as it gets. I also started writing in REFORESTATION before having to have a rethink.

      Lots to like.

      Thanks u and setter.

  9. 14 minutes, slightly held up by the extra two letters in reforestation and by ROMANSCH which I have to confess never having heard of before. COD to PERSIMMON. It might have gone to 11a but are we back in the days of meat rationing if a single cutlet constitutes a portion? Nice start to the week. Thank you U and setter.

  10. 8’42”, no issues. Knew ROMANSCH from a primary school project I did in 1963.


    Thanks ulaca and setter.

      1. I worked it out without Google as “Yes, My Mother’s a Virgin”.
        He’s not the Messiah…

        1. I think it is Your Mileage May Vary; it took me a while to work it out. But the virgin thing is a good joke.

    1. Just like to say that Romansch is a language not a dialect. Spoken by about 30000 people in Graubunden in Switzerland. The various iterations of Schweizer Deutsch are dialects. Just saying.

  11. And death shall have no Dominion,
    Dead men naked they shall be one
    With the man in the wind and the west moon
    (Dylan Thomas)

    15 mins pre-brekker. One for the QC brigade.
    This felt more like the start/end letter fiend.
    Ta setter and U.

  12. 12:34. Happy Monday. PB for sure.
    As a child I spent time in the Isle of Man where we always knew that if we misbehaved too badly we could, after the age of 16, be birched. The IoM was the last place in the UK to have the birch as a punishment, and they eventually bowed to pressure and abolished it. But there were always calls from the disciplinarians, every time a bit of juvenile delinquency hit the news, to bring back the birch.

  13. 22 minutes. Not difficult but delayed by the ‘Cut capers’ def for FROLIC and by trying to work out exactly what the def was for FISHERMAN. I was taken in by the ‘army corps transport’ at 1d, expecting a lorry or similar, so RECYCLE was my LOI.

  14. 17 minutes. Knew STROMBOLI as a food but not as an island and couldn’t have told you what a PERSIMMON is, but no problems otherwise. I tend to think of ‘reforestation’ rather than REAFFORESTATION, but I got what the clue was driving at fairly quickly and I eventually remembered the extra ‘af’ from before.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Allot
    LOI Stromboli
    COD Communist

  15. Should have finished this off but did not see how Latvian=LET? Was also missing RECYCLE, so this blew my good time.

    1. Latvians are Letts and Latvian is Lettish. I was always curious about the similarity of lat and lit in Latvia and Lithuania(not to mention the let in Lettish). Apparently it wasn’t until around 800 AD that Latvians and Lithuanians separated into distinct languages and cultures.

  16. 17.16

    REFORESTATION straight in, except. That rather threw me and the correct word was my LOI, still not completely sure it existed.

    Thanks Ulaca and Setter

  17. My best time ever in my 3rd incarnation, currently Zabadak 3. I really never expected to get below 10 again, since my incompetent typing has been slowed by the stroke, but hey: 8.51 today. The slowest entry was also my last, as ROMANSCH, which is I think how I’d spell it.
    Enough time to appreciate FISHERMAN, obviously also going for speed by going after fish in a tank.
    Wasn’t STROMBOLI one of the villains in Disney’s Pinocchio, in the days when racial stereotyping was still legal?

    1. I knew Stromboli from the movie of the same name, starring Sophia Loren or someone else whose name I forget. Famous director, whose name I also forget.

      1. For the record, it is a 1950 Italian-American film directed by Roberto Rossellini and starring Ingrid Bergman. Perhaps best known for the fact that the pair started a torrid extramarital affair during filming, which resulted in Bergman being denounced as a ‘powerful influence for evil ‘ by a US senator. Plus ça change…

        1. There is a Billy Bragg song called Ingrid Bergman (about the making of the movie) that references the Island of Stromboli, which helped me get the answer very quickly. It’s a nice song but the lyrics are a little prurient.

  18. 19m 41s
    I do like it when a long clue at the top goes straight in.
    Rösti, which is yummy, looks like a ROMANSCH word to me but I’m not sure it is.
    As JerryW indicates, Maori are not indigenous to NZ/Aotearoa. They came from elsewhere in Polynesia about 500 years before Capt Cook arrived.

  19. Obviously REFORESTATION, oh, it doesn’t fit. NHO the actual answer but it couldn’t be anything else sensible.

    That, CUTLET and FISHERMAN stopped me from scoring a rare sub-10.

    Otherwise straightforward.


  20. Very pleasant and I managed to spell everything correctly which is always a bonus- now I’ll have another look at Friday’s one from my printed newspaper as I am finding that hard going! Thanks blogger and setter.

  21. I tiptoed over from my customary place in the SCC in QC land and slowly worked my way through this. DNK the dialect, LOI, but prised it out of the clue after much head scratching. 1A, same issue as many others but it clicked eventually. Otherwise an enjoyable large QC, mostly parsed but a few helpful clarifications in the blog, thanks.

  22. I am not worthy. 22 mins but most of it spent on three clues recycle, cutlet and the worst of the lot, frolic. Not helped by trying to make an anagram from caper and l.

  23. Did this while watching golf in the early hours after midnight hoping young Mr Fleetwood would win through. So no actual time but I suspect about 15 mins overall on the crossword which would be a PB, but I won’t claim it! Like others initially missed the letter count on REFORESTATION before getting AF from FISHERMAN.

    COD probably PERSIMMON, but only because I was watching golf….

    YMMV, your mileage may vary. Hadn’t come across that before, look fwd to seeing it in a clue!!

    thanks Ulaca and setter

  24. 20:11

    Disagreeing with most of you. Although I’m right on the Snitch (currently 60 = 20 mins for me), I struggled with this in places. Initially perplexed by 1a not being REFORESTATION, I had only STRANGLE in the top half while filling up most of the bottom half.

    There was a three or four minute period where, with about two-thirds done, nothing at all came, before a flurry of activity left me with 16d and 17d – all checkers in place but with no ideas.

    I had to exert the utmost of my powers to break down PERSIMMON (did not see the simple SIMON for ages) but gave up and cheated with the NHO ROMANSCH.

    As Chris Tarrant used to say, “It’s only easy if you know the answer”

  25. 6:59. Oddly a bit of a slow start with the acrosses with FOI ENCAMP, but the downs fell in place quite quickly. I hesitated over ROMANSCH thinking it was spelt -ISH at the end, but I see I was wrong. Thanks U and setter.

  26. Apart from a slight doubt over NOTWITHSTANDING, where the ‘with’ seemed and still seems a bit uncomfortable but not enough to stop it from obviously being the right answer, there were no problems in my 21 minutes.

  27. You know it’s an easy one when I comment. I don’t record times but am certain that’s a PB for me.
    COD CALLING (just to be different)

  28. Yes, very easy indeed. The only tricky ones for me were 1a, 11a and 3d. Most of the rest were shoe-ins.
    14 minutes.

  29. A nice easy one to start the week, and I finished in a respectable 23.05. Like others I confidently started to write REFORESTATION before grinding to a halt and abandoning it till later. My LOI was BRIT preceded by STROMBOLI. Why this should not have occurred to me earlier I don’t know as I’ve seen it from the safety of a boat. We could see it spewing lava from the top, and I was astonished to see quite a substantial township on the island. Rather them than me in terms of living there!

    1. I took it as pretty much an &lit: the whole clue is the (rather whimsical) definition, and also the wordplay. Probably someone will reply and tell you it’s really a semi-&lit, but then they’ll have to explain what that is!

      1. It’s not &Lit because not all of the clue is wordplay. If you read the whole thing as the definition it’s semi-&Lit, if you think the definition is just ‘his catch’ then it’s a standard clue.

        1. I agree, though I’m not convinced that “his catch” is much of a definition without reference to the contents of the tank.

          1. Yes I agree, so I think I’d call it a semi-&Lit if forced to choose at gunpoint. Fortunately that seems unlikely.

    2. I’m glad you asked. I don’t really know either but was thinking along the lines of Zabadak…but can’t fully explain it.

  30. Must have been easy – 33 mins for me and with sub 8 on the QC it’s been a straightforward start to the week.

    CUTLET, ROMANSCH, RECYCLE and REAFFORESTATION all slow in for me, the first two biffed entirely as NHO lett nor Romansch and the last only because I thought ‘reforestation’ was the word but I have vague memories of having been tripped up by that before.

    Thanks Ulaca for the fine blog.

  31. 13 mins. Held up at the end by RECYCLE and CUTLET. Largely because seeing the T there I assumed the LET came first. Lost a minute or two over that, shame could have been a PB.

  32. 6:53. I actually started quite slowly on this, with only two or three of the acrosses going in on my first pass. If I had started with the downs I’d have been a lot quicker.
    Pretty easy but a fun puzzle with some interesting words.

  33. 23.29 PB! NHO Letts and I didn’t think of Simple Simon so CUTLET and PERSIMMON went in with shrugs, and I spent several minutes on OWAIN at the end. Thanks to ulaca.

  34. REFORESTATION went straight in and then came straight back out until I had enough crossers to confirm the existence of REAFFORESTATION. I then just FROLICked throught the clues, coming to a pause in the SW, until DOMINION yielded and provided the final crosser for LOI, ROMANSCH. 10:30, so a speedy effort for me! Thanks setter and U.

  35. After a rapid completion of the QC I decided that I was sufficiently ‘in the groove’ to attempt the 15×15, which I do from time to time. Didn’t time it but I imagine it was well below 30 minutes which is fast for me. Luckily knew all the vocabulary including the Swiss language /dialect and the elongated word for the replanting of birch trees. Never managed to parse FISHERMAN or PERSIMMON (thanks ulaca) but everything else rather straightforward.

    FOI – 13ac ENCAMP
    LOI – 1dn RECYCLE
    COD – liked the fisherman and his tank at 3dn

  36. Might have been a PB except I did it on the airport bus to Charles de Gaulle. Rer down again. So conditions poor. Came in around the 14 mark. Does the school cane count as the birch?

  37. 21:13 0 errors. found this probably harder than I should have. I saw something about forests straight away in 1ac, but like others was 2 letters short. will squirrel that one away for next time. thanks U and Setter.

  38. Why are all your solver correspondents so obsessed with how long it takes to complete. As for me ,I am just happy to finish !

    Pretty easy today but then I can only do Mondays and Thursdays so ‘way to go’.

  39. I usually stick to the QC but today comments on it suggested that the 15X15 was fairly straightforward. I had a go and did it quite quickly filling it in steadily from NITWITHSTANDING, my FOI, up. Very satisfying! Thank you for providing an easier one now and then to encourage some of us. And I learned that Ural refers to a river, not just the mountains.

  40. 07:27 for this Monday sprint (though as appears obligatory, let me state that I began by confidently typing in REFORESTATION before deleting it, and then getting halfway down the puzzle before entering anything else, so that was a slight surprise).

  41. Was pleased to try this and to complete it being one of the QCers. Can only manage one of these big beasts in a week!

    Started slowly with FOI 25D, nearly gave up then, slowly moved forward with SOI 28A and so on. Was amazed to get the words I had NHO.

    Thanks Ulaca and everyone above for enlightening me with all your knowledge.

    See you next Monday.

  42. Not often I finish the 15×15 in one sitting, so I’m reasonably happy with 55:50, but it would have been ALLOT quicker had it not been for the NW corner. Like others I was struggling to come up with a word that ended -FORESTATION and it was only when I did that I slowly figured out the rest of that corner, ending with CUTLET. So, not as easy as most of you found it, but maybe I’ll get there one day.

  43. 17’4″
    Kept up a cracking pace throughout.
    Cracking for me that is; chuffed to have finished in less than half par, but as expected, the high- handicappers have slashed the Snitch.
    Persimmon was the name of a Derby, St. Leger and Ascot Gold Cup winner; my theory is he was so named because his owner’s (King Edward VII) Sandringham greenhouse would have been one of the few in the country hot enough to grow them. I had never eaten one until I came here, where they’re known as CACHI, or KAKI in the local dialect. They are unbelievably delicious.
    Thank you Ulaca, setter, et al here.

  44. Slower than most with this one, as decidedly deflated by initially putting in DEFORESTATION at first and having to retreat! Thereafter didn’t find a foothold until SOUTHPAW , then filling in the lower half quite quickly. NHO ROMANSCH, which held me up for some time, and had to look up OWAIN to ensure it was the origin of Owen, but it was RECYCLE and CUTLET that “did for me”, as I was certain that 11a had to be RATION, even though I knew of Letts (“even Lithuanians and Letts do it”)- but I didn’t twig. Eventually went back and reworked 1a when it rang a faint bell, and (nearly) all completed in about 30 mins. Deflated when I came here to find most found it so easy 😩.

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