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. Needed some help with a couple – Turgenev (nho) and Doorjamb (loi by a long way) – but generally found this OK, albeit an hour or two’s worth of effort. Also, I couldn’t parse Tight, and guessed that Emma had to be the Christian name. The pdm for Fast Bowler came with a smile. Invariant

  2. Previous comments an interesting read! When 1a went in immediately I was tricked into thinking that this was going to be a doddle, which applied only to the top half – very slow going in the nether regions. NHO BERG, so a look-up, which confirmed my SCHILLING, and as others, left the second half of 4d blank (NHO); HEREOF and DAMN ALL eluded me until the very last (both seem archaic to me!). Very much liked the literary references ANTONIO, TURGENEV and EMMA, but FAST BOWLER my LOI. Not unhappy.

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