Times 28789 – In memory of Crisp and Devon Loch

In honour of the fact that I’m on no social media whatsoever (apart from fb, which I was forced to join by wife and daughter 15 years ago, and which I now only use for Messenger), I will do this blog with no Internet help (apart from posting it, obviously).

As I approach my 65th birthday, I reckon this is a good way to stave off the dementia, even if the wife says I’ve been showing signs of that since I turned 40.

So please feel free to correct me (living in China reminds one on a daily basis how argument, or ‘critical rational discussion’, as Karl Popper put it) is the cornerstone of civilisation, and censorship a sign of its death.  Only, please do so without ‘resorting to aids.’ Let’s wallow in the good old days when we used to talk a lot of gibberish and, until we met an expert in the field, get away with it.

After last week’s BRALESS, we have more ribaldry today, as well as a mild expletive – the less often heard cherubic younger brother of a more meaty expression.  I, for one, who would love to cancel cancel culture, am not complaining…


1 Bad attitude, say, during Christmas scene (10)
6 Letters penned by dilettante, a lazy dabbler (4)
TEAL – hidden; Silver Teal won the Grand National in the 50s. I wonder if it was 1956, the year Devon Loch had its mishap beside the water jump.
8 Novelist‘s desperate, lacking time and energy to break into television (8)
TURGENEV – URGEN[t] + E (energy) in TV; I’ve read one book by this fellow, which was I believe called Fathers and Sons. However, I may be mixing it up with the Cat Stevens number, ‘Father and Son’, which I much prefer.
9 Ambassador having pretentious tendencies is jovial (6)
10 Where to get a taxi from  station (4)
RANK – the first of several double definitions (DDs)
11 After selling out, what shopkeeper’s doing about legwear (10)
RESTOCKING – RE (about, from the Latin meaning ‘in the matter of’)  STOCKING
12 Handle isn’t working with frame (5,4)
14 Bust — or the opposite overwhelming society (5)
BOSOM – S (society) in (being overwhelmed by) BOOM (the opposite of bust in economic parlance); two words I associate with my parents’ generation
17 Close game that’s without odds? (5)
TIGHT – TIG (game – like tag, I think) [t]H[a]T; close and tight as in the eponymous antihero of the play referenced in 7 down
19 In Le Monde, a determined journo is without proof (9)
UNFOUNDED – UN (how English indefinite article ‘a’ would be written in the French newspaper) FOUND (‘the investigation determined/found that Biden didn’t have a case to answer’) ED (our chief hack)
22 E.g. TikTok star is awfully cruel, not primarily fine (10)
INFLUENCER – CRUEL N[ot] FINE*; anagram indicated by ‘awfully’
23 Madame Bovary is a classic novel (4)
EMMA – the character in Gustave Flaubert’s novel is called Emma, and of course Emma is one of Jane Austen’s six completed novels.
24 Force old banks in Berne to save 51 thousand pounds (6)
OBLIGE – LI (51) G (grand = thousand) in O (old) BE (the outside letters – ‘banks’ – of B[ern]E)
25 Doughty United supporter backing attack (8)
UNAFRAID – U (united) NAF (FAN reversed/backing) RAID (attack)
26 The main hazard for an experimental composer (4)
BERG – DD; Alban, as I recall, is the Christian name of this Austrian composer who I don’t listen to
27 One providing rapid delivery of dish received by person who won’t eat it? (4,6)
FAST BOWLER – our cricket clue: BOWL (dish) in FASTER; it pains me to say the best I ever saw was Dennis Lillee (first at Lord’s in 1972, when his Western Australian opening partner Bob Massie took 16 wickets), who was terrific both pre- and post- back operation. I modelled myself on Fred Truman.
1 Harry Potter in film’s premiere creating revenue (3,6)
2 Golden Age Hollywood actress to tear tabloid up (7)
GARDNER – REND RAG reversed; Ava Gardner was part Indian, as I recall, and also married to Frank Sinatra for a while. I remember her from 1956’s Mogambo, of all things, with, now, let me see, Donald Sinden of all people, I think. He was the cuckold of course. Was Clark Gable the lothario? All will be revealed.
3 Brushing off one good impediment to marriage proposal? (8)
IGNORING – I (one) G (good) NO RING (tee-hee!)
4 Staff admitted to wearing priestly garments in capitalist organisations (10,5)
INVESTMENT CLUBS – I’ve never heard of these, but then again, I’ve never been something in the City; it’s CLUB (staff – not MEN!) in IN (wearing) VESTMENTS, where ‘admitted to’ is the containment indicator
5 Comment made when contemptuous lout grabs bishop (3-3)
YAH-BOO – B in YAHOO (lout derived perhaps from the characters in the satirical Gulliver’s Travels); more familiar in yah-boo sucks, no?
6 Finally get hold of dog with fluffy hair (5,4)
TRACK DOWN – TRACK (trail or dog – verb) DOWN (fluffy hair)
7 Italian merchant‘s donation, wanting day off (7)
ANTONIO – [d]ONATION* (the word ‘donation’ lacking – wanting – D for day); the anagram indicator is ‘off’. Hands up all those who thought the Merchant of Venice was actually Shylock!
13 Austrians spent this start of September relaxing (9)
SCHILLING – S[eptember] CHILLING; the bankers and lawyers were the main beneficiaries (so what’s new?) when the euro replaced the schilling, with prices increasing overnight.
15 Maybe Brummie lad badly nursed by nanny (9)
MIDLANDER – LAD* in MINDER (‘nanny’ as in Dennis Waterman’s character in Minder, who was called Terry)
16 Dwell to the north, welcoming fix for part of entrance (8)
DOORJAMB – JAM (fix – ‘I’m in a right fix/jam) in  BROOD (dwell – ‘No need to brood/dwell on that’) reversed
18 Sign snobs flee without clothing, which is unseemly (7)
IGNOBLE – the first three words without their first and last letters (‘clothing’) will give you the answer
20 Nothing new in flipping commercial shopping centre (4,3)
DAMN ALL – DA (AD reversed) N in MALL
21 Concerned with this lady’s adversary turning up (6)
HEREOF – HER FOE reversed

77 comments on “Times 28789 – In memory of Crisp and Devon Loch”

  1. Ulaca, thanks for reminding me of Bob Massie’s demolition of England at Lords in 1972. Surely the finest spells of swing bowling ever seen. Yet he only played 6 tests for Australia. There are echoes here of Pradeep S Mathew in “Chinaman” , a fine book by Shehan Karunatilaka – highly recommended for those requiring more cricket knowledge in order to complete these crosswords.

  2. NHO YAH-BOO before, but what else could it be? Needed an Irish coffee to finish this after all the bourbon at karaoke (the waitress gives special big pours to Humans Against Music regulars), where I did, among other favorites, my seasonal climate-change parody song (with reference to Villon), to the tune of “Let It Snow,” “Where’s the Snow?”—already several years old…

    I don’t consider Berg an “experimental composer” (had the same thought about Ives last week). All his music is through-composed, utilizing a strict, albeit heretofore relatively unfamiliar, serial method.

  3. A lovely crossword finished in regulation time. Thanks Hugh for entertaining me on this dark December morning.

  4. DNF. Half an hour for all but two (22 and 25ac), but I might add another 15 minutes as the time I spent pondering those clues before deciding to give up for the night.

    On returning to the task this morning I brought logic to bear, i.e. the two missing answers both crossed with another word so perhaps that word was wrong. I was then encouraged to note that I had been unable to fully parse INVESTMENT BANKS so I deleted BANK and tried again, but still had no luck with any of the now three missing words.

    Eventually I resorted to aids for 4dn and Chambers Word Wizard gave me INVESTMENT CLUBS, a term I have never heard in my life, although I suppose one can have any sort of club just as one can have any colour of paint. I was not surprised to find that Collins and the Oxfords have never heard of it either, but Chambers Dictionary allows the setter off the hook. I would that mention I worked in finance for 16 years.

    With CLUBS in place I solved UNAFRAID immediately but still had no joy with 22ac so used aids for that one too, suspecting that the reference to Tik Tok which I’m only vaguely aware of would put it beyond my ken. And I was right. Although I have heard the word INFLUENCER bandied about usually with negative connotations in discussions of current affairs, I’ve never considered for a moment how a person gets to be labelled one.

    Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln….? Actually before all the above I had rather enjoyed the puzzle.

  5. 49m 51s
    6ac: TEAL. Apart from being a dabbler, it was also the original name of Air New Zealand:
    Tasman Empire Airways Ltd
    Thank you, Ulaca.

  6. Nice puzzle, 31.32 for me with largely the same NHOs as others. Watching Dennis Lillee steaming in downwind at the WACA was one of the great pleasures of growing up in WA. Before the England tour Ulaca mentions he shot to prominence by taking 8/29 for WA against a highly fancied Rest of the World XI. I knew someone who was on the bus to the WACA from Fremantle and listening to the game on his transistor radio. By the time he got there the match was over. Poor old Bob Massie (I met him once, a lovely bloke) lost control of his action and his deliveries swung so much they were being fielded in the slips. Which is why he only played six tests I believe.

  7. Teal won the Grand National in 1952.ESB won it the rear Devon Loch subsided T ‘the elbow’ which is a feature or the run in at Aintree

  8. My grid was next to empty after 10′, when I quit to go to the gym, so I finished this over lunch–turned out to be a pretty long lunch, but I have no idea what the solving time was.
    And ‘solving’ in the sense of ‘putting the appropriate letters in the squares’ in some cases: no idea how TEAL worked (still don’t), or TIGHT (I did, sorta, know TIG, but); didn’t connect dwell/BROOD; NHO INVESTMENT CLUBS. I sort of knew BOO-YAH, having heard Christopher Hitchens say it, where he seemed to be saying, “So there!” rather than expressing contempt. Is FAST BOWLER something other than a bowler who’s fast? he asked, fearing there would be an explanation. An enjoyable, non-Mondayish puzzle nonetheless.

  9. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
    Close Bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    (To Autumn, Keats)

    25 mins pre-brekker. Neat and tidy, with some nice surfaces. No MERs but I took a while to get the Clubs part of the Investment orgs.
    Ta setter and U.

  10. 25:11
    I solved this in the wee hours thanks to struggling to sleep. In my slightly foggy state I was glad that this one presented itself as more of a typical Monday puzzle than of late with no unknowns and all reasonably clued.

    Nothing more to add that hasn’t been covered above so thanks to both setter and ulaca.

  11. 9:44, but with GARTNER. It seemed like a perfectly feasible answer but I should have noticed that ‘to tear’ really requires the verbal present tense. I’ve vaguely heard of the actress but never seen any of her films.
    MER at ‘revenue’ for NET PROFIT. Just not the same thing at all.
    The unfamiliar INVESTMENT CLUBS was my last in.

    1. Apart from here own achievements, Ava Gardner was famously married to Frank Sinatra for most of the 1950s.

        1. Nor for me, but sometimes these things are hard to avoid. I’m an admirer of Sinatra as a performer so I’m aware of his official liaisons from documentaries etc.

          1. I can take Sinatra or leave him, and I’ve never really enjoyed movies from this period, so it’s all a bit of a cultural blind spot for me.

    2. She’s alleged to have denoted Melbourne as the appropriate place to make a film about the end of the world (“On the Beach”) but this was invented by a journalist. So she’s to the front of my Aussie mind, once Garbo wouldn’t fit.

      Thankful as always for the puzzle and the blog (oh, that sort of dabbler), especially as I’m doing it on treeware in the aircon, as a distraction from thoughts of an imminent cyclone.

  12. 12:45, bringing the total for my morning constitutional (KenKen/Sudoku/Polygon/quiz picture/cryptic puzzle) in under 20 mins for the first time in a while.
    Starting and failing with 1d, I was afraid this might be one of those surface-over-substance affairs, but in the end it proved quite the opposite, a pudding stuffed with cultural plums – bravo!

  13. I gave up after 10 minutes, convinced that a copious amount of biffing was to blame for being totally stuck with the 3 remaining clues, but unable to spot where I’d cocked things up.

    Many thanks to Ulaca for identifying my two incorrect solutions (investment banks, and doorknob).

    Some days you just know you’re wasting your time.

  14. I was pleased with myself for finishing this one in 34 minutes, until the pink square for FAST BOILING. BOIL instead of BOWL. Can a “boil” be a dish? A “roast” can, and I think a “bake”….

  15. 29 minutes.I had all the knowledge, even Frank leaving Nancy for Ava, the repercussions still in the papers a few years later when I saw Lindwall and Miller bowl on the 1953 tour. My favourite 22a was one J B Statham, bowling against the Aussies for Lancashire that match. You’re still in infancy at 65, U. We called it TIGGY. COD to DAMN ALL. I didn’t need negativity to pull me through today. Terrific puzzle. Thank you U and setter.

  16. Flew threw this in 10’49”. Analysing why: cricket (obviously); have been known to use the epithet to avoid Fanny Adams; nho TEAL other than duck and (appalling) colour, but it was clear.

    I once spent a while researching Ava GARDNER. Q: What was her real name? A: Ava Gardner. A myth, both pre- internet and later, was that her real name was Lucy Johnson.

    Good start to the week.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  17. 35 mins held up by having bunged in BANKS which I was convinced was right! Never heard of INVESTMENT CLUBS but once I had given up trying to make N-A—A-D work at 25ac, looked for an alternative.

    I liked NET PROFIT.

    Thanks u and setter.

  18. 29 minutes and 45 seconds so just inside the half hour. I think I made a bit of a meal of this, as it definitely wasn’t as hard as I made it.
    Thanks blogger for the explanation of TIGHT (NHO TIG) and setter for a puzzle with some very nice clues I thought.
    Cheers Steve

  19. Just under half an hour.

    Didn’t parse TIGHT; hadn’t heard of TEAL as dabbler; knew INFLUENCER had to be right without figuring out the anagrist; didn’t know Madame Bovary’s first name was EMMA; didn’t know ANTONIO was a wine merchant; tried to justify ‘doorknob’ for 16d before UNAFRAID set me straight, though even then I didn’t quite see the brood=dwell equivalence; and I’m not familiar with INVESTMENT CLUBS and took a while to see that it was staff=club rather than staff=men.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Bosom
    LOI Investment clubs
    COD Berg

  20. Just over an hour but pleased to start the week with an iPad “congratulations” having finished last Friday’s puzzle with the same.

    Didn’t know Mrs Bovary’s first name, but did know Austen’s novel and just supposed something was going on that I hadn’t spotted in reversing ‘MME’. Like a scrappy goal, they all count.

    I’ve only heard (or actually only ever read) “Yah-boo sucks” – is it EVER actually spoken out loud, even across the pond?!?

    Thanks setter and Ulaca for a fine blog

  21. A very slow 64 minutes, most of that spent on INFLUENCER at the end. I knew the word, but just couldn’t see how the clue worked. I’d never heard of INVESTMENT CLUBS either but it seemed to be the only term that would fit in with wordplay and the crossing U.

    Ava GARDNER is famously supposed to have said when she was here for the filming of On the Beach in the late 1950’s that Melbourne was “the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world”; in fact the supposed quote was made up by a Sydney Morning Herald journo as a dig at what Sydneysiders perceived as their poor country cousin south of the border.

  22. Like others I bunged in BANKS which gave pause to UNAFRAID. Otherwise a pleasingly straightforward Monday. I liked the BOWL refusnik and the beautifully smooth 10a. Still not sure of FOUND/determined. Thanks U

  23. DNF
    Smashed to bits by this. SE corner – just couldn’t see it. At it for an hour, then gave up.

  24. The same problems as for many: INVESTMENT CLUBS, INFLUENCER, that meaning of dabbler. The clue for YAH-BOO doesn’t seem quite right. As it is it is saying that that this comment is made when the lout grabs the bishop. Not necessarily: I shouldn’t think it happens very often, indeed if at all. It would have been fixed easily by a question mark at the end of the clue, so that it’s now saying that the lout might make this comment. I should think that most composers are experimental to some extent, in their time. 43 minutes.

  25. 32′. Helped it seems from above by seeing INFLUENCER on first pass, so CLUBS was made easier. A couple of easy biffs, including not parsing TIG-HT and NHO BERG the composer. Like ULACA I’m not on social media, though I do have to look over my wife’s shoulder if I want to see the latest grandchildren photos on Instagram etc! I am on WhatsApp though, which to me is not social media; though quite a few govt ministers at current covid enquiries would disagree as they try to explain missing messages… thanks Ulaca and setter

  26. 14:55. Another who was held up by an incorrect and unparsed INVESTMENT BANKS, fixed only when I untangled INFLUENCER, and then I wasn’t sure about club = staff as I don’t associate the latter with being something you biff someone with. No biffing elsewhere today, but TIGHT took a bit of a squint to parse. COD to IGNORING. Thanks Ulaca and setter.

  27. 29:55

    One of those where I had to go away and come back to it, due to work. However, that breathed new life into the puzzle seeing a couple of answers that had foxed me earlier – INFLUENCER, UNAFRAID and DOORJAMB – which left EMMA (didn’t know this was Madame B’s name) and UNFOUNDED from definition, not quite getting the determined = FOUND bit while in flight.

  28. Terrific Monday puzzle – right up my street and quicker than I’ve been for ages. Looking at other entries, it must be a wavelength thing. No unknowns, all parsed except TIGHT, where I wondered if there was a game -T-I-G-H-T-. FOI was BOSOM, which was the first I looked at, and it made me chuckle. Very few hold-ups after that – I did have INVESTMENT —-S, but on the basis that ‘bank’ doesn’t mean staff, left it till later. INFLUENCER went straight in anyway; this morning was quite a bifd-fest, though, not being time constrained, I do parse after. LOI UNFOUNDED, when I realised that ‘found’ equated to determined. Thanks, Ulaca and Setter.

  29. Those who have been something in the city will know that REVENUE is not the same as NET PROFIT

    1. As a tutor at the OU Business School once expressed it to me “Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is reality”

  30. 20:03
    An enjoyable and reasonably taxing puzzle. On the first pass through I bunged in “dumb waiter” for the rapid delivery provider but quickly reailsed my error . It ended up being my LOI and COD as I was fixated on food rather than cricket. The idea of INFLUENCERs seems utterly bizarre to me. What are the job qualifications. Where do I apply?

    Thaks to Ulaca and the setter

  31. I was on for a Monday fast finish, probably better than my sluggish performance in the Quickie, until the SE corner arrived and the winter freeze fell like it was trying to deny global warming. Like others, the unparsable (but what else?) BANKS didn’t help, and I still don’t really think of a CLUB as a staff, probably because I was brought up on “my faith it is an oaken staff” where club is a very improper substitute. BROOD didn’t dawn early for dwell and live of even sojourn were no help. As for FAST BOWLER: I had the person who won’t eat it but couldn’t get anything sensible to add. And I was unsure on UNB/FOUNDED, figuring both worked sort of. Eventually UNAFRAID, laboriously worked from wp, unlocked the jam(b). 25.54 instead of the 15 or so it was going to be.

    1. Agree about the Clubs/Staff bit, plus I don’t think of Investment Clubs as organisations – more like (as vinyl points out) a collection of dabblers. I ran through Firms, Funds, and Banks before lightning struck.

    2. BANK (inside INVESTMENT….S) I think would’ve parsed perfectly well, had that been the right answer. Nursing “banks” are most often run by NHS health boards, where the bank is a register of staff who are prepared to come in at short notice to cover staff sickness, or to pick up extra shifts at busy times. 😊

  32. 39′ …. nosebleed-inducing speed for me and no mistake.

    COD BOSOM, which seems apt considering Widow Twanky season is upon us 🙂

  33. 24 mins a slightly chewier than usual Monday. My LOI was HEREOF, which didn’t immediately come to mind looking at the available letters.

  34. I struggled in the SE corner, also not helped by INVESTMENT BANKS. INFLUENCER finally disabused me of this capital organisation, but the unknown CLUBS took a while. It crystalised when I saw the significance of Le Monde’s “a”. FAST BOWLER unlocked first DOORKNOB and then DOORJAMB. DAMN ALL and MIDLANDER convinced me that EMMA was correct, and UNFOUNDED brought up the rear as I finally connected FOUND with determined. A sluggish 29:22. Thanks setter and U. 65? Nobbut a bairn!

  35. I bought a copy of Fathers and Sons after learning that Turgenev stayed here on the island but I’ve never found the courage to start it. couldn’t parse TIGHT so DNF. Thanks for the blog.

  36. I enjoyed it many years ago- that Bazarov is quite a character. A good presentation of intellectual and revolutionary ferment among young 19th century Russians.

  37. A nice start to the week, but with a lot which I’d either forgotten (Tig, which we’ve had before) or just past my knowledge (dabbler as a genre of ducks), but also which were plausible enough that solving only slowed a bit. As above, Firms, Banks, Funds… crosser crosser Clubs??

  38. A wavelength hit, when you see them you just see them.

    No problems anywhere really, and they all fell into place, even the nho composer.


  39. A jog of memory brings a bit of Kenneth Grahame:
    “All along the backwater,
    Through the rushes tall,
    Ducks are a-dabbling,
    Up tails all!”

  40. All straightforward enough till the last in, Influencer, after staring at it a bit. My only grumble today is the all-too-familiar nod to the pap icon of modern children’s literature and the extra anagristic twitch now lurking in the grisly name.

  41. 20.27 . Reasonable pace with LOI door jamb which I guessed earlier but needed to work out properly. Steady , enjoyable Monday.

  42. The same problem as Jackkt encountered earlier in that I couldn’t solve 22ac and 25ac because I had 4dn wrong. Like others I’ve never heard of the term INVESTMENT CLUBS, and decided instead to put in INVESTMENT FIRMS which I managed to convince myself just about parsed.

  43. A sneaky look at the blog for INVESTMENT CLUBS, otherwise delighted to have managed the rest in two long sittings. Needed the blog again post-submission to explain the parsing of NET PROFIT and IGNOBLE. NHO BERG or TURGENEV although the wordplay was straightforward for both. Liked DAMN ALL best. Many thanks U and setter.

  44. Lords test in 1972 was my first visit to Lords, on the Saturday. Looking at cricinfo England we’re 86 for 9 at the close of play!

  45. 43 minutes, plodding steadily through it, but my LOI HEREOF held me up for a while until I realized that HER + FOE backwards really did make an English word, despite the unlikely EO sequence. I had no idea why TEAL might fit the definition although it was obviously hidden in “dilettante a lazy” and so must be right. I liked IGNORING and TIGHT.

  46. I thought this was a neat puzzle and pleased to have finished it eventually – I did it in stages and never time myself 🙂
    Unlike others I didn’t think that there were any obscure words so unusually didn’t have to resort to aids. There was a nice mix of types of clues rather than mostly anagrams. Some good literary references which you either know or you don’t – EMMA was clever. I have zero knowledge of cricket but FAST BOWLER came easily once I had got HEREOF (very common in legal documents!)
    However I did struggle with parsing YAH-BOO as I was trying to fit in “YOB” – not convinced that YAHOO is a lout but it created the obvious phrase so just went with it.
    Thanks again to both setter and blogger.

  47. No great difficulty. Completed in 19’55”. I don’t recall ever seeing even a mild swear-word like 20d before. Not complaining. Just find it interesting. Many thanks.

  48. My definition of an experimental composer is one I have only vaguely heard of, so BERG fits the bill.
    As often happens I didn’t think I was going to complete this crossword but all ok in the end.
    COD RESTOCKING (just to be different)

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