Times 28867 – A mob of judges?

Music: Thelonius Monk Quartet, Monk in Action

Time: 14 minutes

Well, the streak of easy Monday puzzles continues.   I only had to think a little, as most of the answers wrote themselves in, especially after a few checking letters were available.     Why did I think of Enoch Powell and Jacques Chirac almost instantly?   Why did I put in paint the town red while hardly even reading the clue?   Too many years of doing these things, I suppose – you just develop a nose for the answer.

I am teaching a beginner in my Friday club, and let me assure you, the skill levels we have take a long time to grow.

1 British papers covering Powell perhaps, heartless exercise (5,5)
6 Smart former President shunning Republican area (4)
CHIC – CHI[ra]C.
9 Personnel I introduced to television editor flourished (7)
10 Run aground acting as sentry (2,5)
ON GUARD – Anagram of AGROUND.
12 Lines about classical theatre (5)
13 Waving “ta-ra now!” outside Greek temple (6,3)
ANGKOR WAT – Anagram of TA-RA NOW around GK.
14 Rod, home doctor, left Daisy dressing (8,7)
17 Party hard to find with mobile phone and Twitter (5,3,4,3)
PAINT THE TOWN RED – Anagram of PHONE AND TWITTER.  Eminently biffable, with this enumeration.
20 King’s guard exploit last of free ale bottles (9)
21 Competitor very invested in Middle East cash (5)
23 Golf club supporters smile occasionally (7)
24 Dose of subatomic Röntgens that’s symbolised by O (7)
OMICRON – Hidden in [subat]OMIC RÖN[tgens].   Presumably, diacritics are disregarded in these puzzles.
25 Making sound spoils instrument (4)
LUTE – Sounds like LOOT.
26 Underground column’s wasted time at POW camp (10)
1 Lowest odds about United being toast? (7,2)
BOTTOMS UP – BOTTOM S(U)P, where SP = starting price.
2 From Scandinavia once Spanish chap, cycling (5)
NORSE – SENOR, moving the first to letters to the rear.
3 Nervous as an expectant queen? (6,7)
HAVING KITTENS – Jocular cryptic hint.
4 Northern prison officer turned up, drafted again (7)
REDRAWN – N WARDER upside-down.
5 Makeshift plug hole? (7)
STOPGAP – STOP GAP, it doesn’t get any simpler.
7 Senior restaurant employee leaving India in spring, perhaps (9)
8 Police trainee detective on vacation given whip round (5)
CADET – CA(D[detectiv]E)T.   It was the cat!
11 A hot topic: worldwide conflict with China? (6,7)
GLOBAL WARMING – GLOBAL WAR + MING, where dinnerware has joined the conflict.
15 I can rave about the ultimate in Apple roaming (9)
ITINERANT – I + TIN + [appl]E + RANT.
16 Suggestion concerning charity formerly bestowed on new church (9)
18 Uncomfortable position pinched bottom (3,4)
HOT SEAT –  HOT, i.e. stolen + SEAT.
19 Work hard to contain university room disarray (7)
20 Infant sat on large racket (5)
22 Italian barman maybe burned, skin peeling off (5)
VERDI – [o]VERDI[d], in the sense of overcooked, the only tricky one – but most solvers will just put in the obvious answer.

64 comments on “Times 28867 – A mob of judges?”

  1. Similar experience to you, Vinyl. A biff fest given a checker or two. Only “ SCARED WITLESS” didn’t hold up for 3d. Though it fitted it didn’t parse in any sensible way.
    11mins – joins my top ten.

  2. 24 minutes with a wrong answer at 13ac where a foreign, and to me unknown answer was clued as a partial anagram with ambiguous wordplay. I remembered WAT as a temple from previous puzzles but didn’t know ANGKOR which is making its first appearance in an answer although it has appeared at least once in a clue some years ago. The ambiguous wordplay is Greek which can be abbreviated to GR, and that’s what I thought of, giving me a 50/50 choice between ARGRON WAT and ANGROR WAT. But no, apparently Greek can also be GK, and that was what was required. I’m pretty sure we’ve had GR before but not GK, but I can’t be certain. It’s unlikely to be as useful in wordplay as GR.

    That aside, I found this quite easy but inventive and enjoyable.

    1. Yup, same here. 15 minutes but with ANGROR WAT (which for all I knew could’ve been ARGRON WAT, too; I never even considered that there might be even more ambiguity going on…)

    2. We knew of ANGKOR WAT which clearly helps. We parsed the ‘GK’ as the outside (of) Greek, i.e. it’s first and last letters.

  3. 13:35
    Another biff-fest here, some, like CHIC and PAINT THE ETC, without checking the clue. But I started off slow, with next to nothing on a first pass of the acrosses and downs. I don’t think I’ve seen a scorer called a barman before; a refreshing change (and another biff).

  4. Positively easy street, nothing much to say. But I’ll relate a spooky story that CHIRAC recalls. Some years ago, at a late-afternoon union meeting at my office, the libation on offer was Corona beer and I remarked that this was the former French president’s favorite brew. Then I met our mutual friend Paul.in.london for dinner at Pete’s Tavern. Above our table was a photo commemorating Chirac’s visit to that historic watering hole, and I remarked that I had just evoked the man a little earlier. Later that night, it was announced that Jacques CHIRAC had passed away.

  5. Phew! I hate being the first to have to ‘fess up to a struggle when all who went before are in joyful agreement about how easy it was, and this time I don’t. All done in 15, getting close to PB territory from memory, and a fun puzzle to boot. I was held up trying to make ITINERANT out of the letters of I CAN RAVE + E, but other than that no probs. Several of the across clues went straight in from the start which always helps. Thanks vinyl, never saw what was going on with VERDI and, as you suggest, did not need to.

  6. 21m 47s
    As some have indicated I found this entertaining but a biff fest. The only queries I had were with 13ac and 22d. Like Jack, I toyed with GR for Greek as that is what I think of as the norm. With Verdi, I didn’t think of ‘overdid’ but the answer was obvious.
    I had to smile at Vinyl’s reference to his Friday club. About eight years ago when I last lived in France, I thought I would start a little crossword club in a British-run cafe in a nearby town. I felt there were sufficient British expats in the area for the venture to be worthwhile. The only person who attended the first session was a young Frenchwoman who wanted to improve her English….while nobody came to the second one. There wasn’t a third.

  7. Good morning 🙂 17:08, a good time by my standards, a nice straightforward puzzle:-)
    Thanks as always

  8. 17 minutes. Little to add to what has been said above, except the “it doesn’t get any simpler” STOPGAP did hold me up, mainly because I initially had the G and the K the wrong way round in ANGKOR WAT. Favourite was the GLOBAL WARMING surface.

  9. 14 minutes. Nowadays, I can’t write much faster. It’s nice occasionally to have these delusions of adequacy. COD to BOTTOMS UP. Thank you V and setter.

  10. 18:20 but with a typo.
    STOPPAP did for both STOPGAP and ANGKOR WAT.

    Otherwise it took a little while to get into the flow but once I got going it all fell into place easily enough.

    No real unknowns aside from the golf club.

    Pleasant enough Monday fare so thanks to both setter and blogger.

  11. Another one who biffed his way through several answers. 26a LOI.
    21 minutes, let down by my illegible handwriting.

    Chambers has both GR and GK for ‘Greek’.

  12. 10:32. Nothing to frighten the horses, I guess, but how long is it since golfers used BRASSIEs? COD to LUE. Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  13. About 12 minutes with one interruption.

    BRASSIE was the only unknown, but the cluing was kind; bunged in BEEFEATER, then doubted myself and took a few moments to parse it; it was some time before I moved away from American presidents, thought of a French one and got CHIC; saw the ‘barman’ trick quite quickly (have we had it before?), which combined with the V at the start made VERDI simpler than it might have been; like the blogger, biffed PAINT THE TOWN RED.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Bottoms up
    LOI Chic
    COD Global warming

  14. No time as interrupted several times, but pretty quick. I held myself up though with the NHO BRASSIE (and I’ve been playing golf for years) by having bunged in HOT SPOT at 18d. Finally worked it all out. Same comments as others with the WAT clue. Eventually got there.

    I did like HAVING KITTENS and VERDI. Very clever.

    Thanks v and setter.

  15. About 25 mins
    As Vinyl says this was comfortable territory for the seasoned solver. Only half marinated as I still am ( lockdown rookie) much of this was recognisable crossword code. It’s a long time since ‘bottles’ has fooled me as being anything to do with glass containers and, however long it’s been since golfers stopped using BRASSIES, it’s a club I learnt here and has been well aired and useful over the years.

    Thanks V and setter

  16. 7:02. No problems today, and no unknowns. I did think ANGKOR WAT might cause the odd problem even if it is possibly the most famous temple in the world. If you don’t know it you don’t know it.

  17. 10’44”, but like jack, couldn’t sort out the temple.


    I saw Jacques CHIRAC once, campaigning in Arles during the presidential election in 1981 (?).

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  18. I enjoyed this, and took only two minutes longer than I did for the QC, finishing in 21:13. L2I were BOTTOMS UP and ODEON.


    Thanks vinyl and setter

  19. Boltonwanderer puts it nicely upthread – delusions of adequacy very much in evidence today.

    My second fastest time, CHIC and LOI VERDI were biffed in the interest of haste. Now I know how it works, VERDI was probably my COD.


  20. A few seconds between this and the Quickie, at 10.33, which suggests the Quickie was tougher than usual (it was for me) and this was a very gentle “Monday”. I would have been under 10, but delayed to be sure that LUTE was right: the wordplay took a bit of untwisting to verify. Liked the gigglesome HAVING KITTENS.

  21. BRASSIE brought back fond memories of my father. He was an enthusiastic golfer and when I was very young he introduced me to a card game based on golf played with a special pack called CARGO (CARd GOlf, geddit?). You looked up in a little book which course you wanted to play and it gave you all the hole yardages and then you played the holes by playing cards out of your hand. So this was probably about 55 years ago and he would have probably bought it when he was at school in Aberdeen so maybe 25 years before that. So the card game was probably current about 80 years ago, and it featured various cards that have since stood me in good stead with crosswords such as this one, depicting various ‘club’ cards such as MASHIE, BRASSIE and NIBLICK. And also STYMIE which is another golfing term that has survived although the golfing concept hasn’t. This was one of my favourite cards as it showed a court card ‘king’ looking very frustrated trying to putt on the green where there were 2 balls close together. It was a card you played to frustrate your opponent when they thought they had the hole in the bag. The origin of STYMIE, as I am sure you all know, was that if your opponent’s ball was blocking your path to the hole then by definition you would have to putt next (as the player whose ball is farthest from the hole always has the ‘honour’ and has to play first), so you would have to waste at least a shot by putting round your opponent’s ball instead of going straight for the hole. Of course nowadays the concept has been erased and players tend to ‘mark’ their balls when they reach the green so that everybody has a clear line for their putt.

    Apologies if I have explained any of this incorrectly; of course I never actually played in the era of MASHIES, BRASSIES, NIBLICKS AND STYMIES, I have just relied on my ancient memories of playing this card game so any corrections welcome. But the point is to give some kind of fix on when the terminology would have been current.

    A good Monday crossword, thank settle and Vinyl.

    1. Thanks Astarte. I was going to mention mashies and niblicks but I knew nothing of stymie’s golf connection. And I had no idea that there was a time when you didn’t mark your ball. Great stuff.

      AND I want that card game!

    2. IIRC, you used to carry 3 Woods in the bag back in the day: The Driver, the Brassie and the Spoon. At some point they were all renamed with numbers, “1 wood”, “2 wood” and “3 wood”. Driver persisted as a phrase but brassie and spoon disappeared. My first set of clubs, passed down to me from somebody in the family, contained a 2 wood, no subsequent set did.

  22. 23a Somewhat tired by the overuse of supporter=bra. But even though I think golf spoils a good walk I am reasonably familiar with the old names like spoons and drivers and whatnot. 24a Never saw the hidden in Omicron as it was an easy biff. Was surprised that RONTGEN is a misspelling, Wiktionary came up with Indonesian language; ours has another E in it.

  23. A good one for QCers today. I was just into the QC SCC time so relative light speed for me fo the 15*15. Thanks @vinyl1 and btw, think you might have omitted a ‘w’ in two in two down.

  24. In Agatha Christie’s “Why didn’t they ask Evans” the golfer has at least a mashie and a niblick in his bag before hitting his ball over the cliff and finding the body. But that was 1933; earlier than Astarte’s card game

  25. Pretty standard Monday fare, but it took me a while to get going. Neat to use a French President rather than a standard US one on CHIC, really a French word. NHO BRASSIE, but clear from the wordplay. FOI REDRAWN, LOI ODEON, COD VERDI.

  26. Everyone seems to have found this easier than I did, although 31 minutes is reasonable for me nowadays. I suspect that brassies were last talked about in the 1930s, although I used to play with someone who called his 3-wood a spoon, a term that probably lasted longer, particularly in Scotland, where he grew up.

    I thought the ‘to find’ in 17ac was just gratuitous padding to make the clue harder, but if it had been left out then we’d have had ‘with’ as a link-word, something The Times seems, rightly in my opinion, to avoid.

  27. Fairly straightforward 25′ for me. Held up in the main by typing ITINERAte for some reason, which made LUTE quite hard to find…

  28. 17.30 and a definite game of two halves. Plodded for the first 10-12 minutes and then shot through the rest as I got the wavelength. Redemption began in the SW corner and then the long clues.

    Nice start to the week.

  29. 15:21

    No idea about BRASSIE but it seemed the obvious answer even without checkers. Had trouble remembering how to spell the first word of the WAT – had in mind that it was ANGORA but it fell into place once GLOBAL WARMING went in. Momentary pause too determining which type of STALAG it should be – missed the anag element at first. Finished with REDOLENCE, VERDI and RIVAL.

    Thanks V and setter

  30. 12:11 which makes up the unforgivable 3 typos in the QC today. (I was dashing for the doors so didn’t check)

    HAVING KITTENS was fun.

  31. There was indeed a lot of biffing in this one – and I don’t think it took me much longer than the Quickie today, but the clues, when you read them to the end, were witty and served me well if the answer didn’t come from the definiton. NHO BRASSIE nor the temple, and hesitated both over the distribution of the unchecked R and N and the K/R question, before going for ANGKOR as being the most likely-sounding eastern temple. With 15d it took a while to recall ‘dole’ for charity as I was sidetracked by ‘dona’ from the Latin, and then my last one in was VERDI, where, as usual, I failed to see the music clue staring me in the face while I struggled to make sense of ‘burned’ with 2nd letter V, instead of construing ‘barman’ in crosswordese. A relief after yesterday’s failure to finish, so far.

  32. One of the easiest crosswords I’ve completed and one of my best times to boot, 11 mins 30 secs. ON GUARD was FOI and the NHO BRASSIE was LOI.

  33. 9:13 – a very rare excursion into single digits for me. The temple and the golf club were in the vocab, but I needed the cryptic to tease out the spelling of the former. As Zabadak mentions, the QC was unusually tough today and actually took me a few minutes longer.

  34. A comfortable start to the week with a completion in 28.17. I had to work hard on the spelling of ANGKOR WAT, and eventually got there. Not a problem with BRASSIE, even though I’ve never used the term when referring to any club in my bag. I think Peter Alliss used to occasionally refer to a brassie and a niblick in his commentaries, just for fun.

  35. As an avid reader of PG Wodehouse in my teens, I had no trouble with BRASSIE. Along with the spoon and mashie niblick it was a regular feature in his novels. I biffed PAINT THE TOWN RED which was a good help. I frowned for a while over the temple, while trying to inser GR into it, but I knew it was pronounced similar to anchor, so eventually realised I needed GK. Liked HAVING KITTENS. NORSE was FOI and BEEFEATER was LOI. 13:18. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  36. I only occasionally tackle the 15×15. A DNF but pleased to get all but 3 of the clues. Entered many without Parsing. Thanks Vinyl for your blog

  37. I only occasionally tackle the 15×15. A DNF but pleased to get all but 3 of the clues. Entered many without Parsing. Thanks Vinyl for your blog

  38. A gentle start to the week, done in 18 minutes – it can only get harder. But I thought some of the clues very clever. I must have played Astarte’s card game as a young lad as the names of the golf clubs have stuck with me, even if the game itself hasn’t. I took it up when I retired but soon gave up when I found that the best footwear was Wellington boots.
    Thanks to vinyl and other contributors.

  39. Pretty straightforward, but I thought the clue for LUTE was very clunky.
    Andyf, there are two spellings of roentgen, one being the unit with the extra E, the other being the name of the German physicist, so no problem with the clue for me.

  40. 9:34, with no great scares and a few biffs. I knew the temple but still spent a bit of time wondering if it was somehow ANGROR before deciding GK was probably an alternative abbreviation, which let me stick with how I thought it was spelled.

    Thanks Vinyl & setter.

  41. 9:20 after taking some time over the temple at the end, so definitely a Monday puzzle.

    Managed to parse VERDI on the run but had no idea about CHIC. Not that it mattered.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  42. 54:38 for me, but I’m just pleased to have completed a 15×15. Most of the learning that Vinyl describes in the preamble is ahead of me, and I suspect I’ve started too late in life to ever be good at these things, but I’ll settle for slowly getting a bit better.

    1. Hope you stick at it mate. Don’t worry about the times everyone else posts – just use this site to learn how it all works. I’ve been here for about six years and have learnt a lot.

  43. Very easy indeed (25 minutes and lacking the usual impossible spoiler at the end), but still a lot of fun. My only issue with ANGKOR WAT would have been whether it was spelled with a K or a C, but “Greek” made clear it would be K. My COD might be GLOBAL WARMING, or STICKING PLASTER.

    1. Why did Greek make it clear- GR is also an acceptable abbreviation for Greek- at least in the dictionary I checked?

      1. I think H is saying he knew the temple and only had to consider the spelling, C or K. R (from GR) was never on his agenda.

  44. 10.12

    Only a bit slower than the Quickie

    Wrong country for the President but as my last one in, _H_C didn’t hold me up too much

    Rather liked the clue for the temple. Not been but hope to.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter

  45. please let me know if this if it’s untoward or dull.
    I’m a keen Times Crossword person and limericker.

    The Times – a crossword most British –
    Today lasted very few minutes.
    I raced through the clues
    As I sat on the loo
    And I finished before I was finished.

  46. ANGKOR WAT. Have to say ‘outside of Greek’ suggests ‘GK’, but the clue was ‘[anagram] ….outside Greek…’, suggsting the anagram was to be arranged outside GK or GR.

    NHO of the temple, so impossible to solve with certainty. Foreign words and anagrams, eh?

  47. 31:43 is a PB for me and only my 6th ever completion of the 15×15 which I don’t attempt often. Snitching at 60 when I attempted it. And only 1:22 slower than I completed the same day’s QC by Teazel.

    That is slightly sullied by seeing references to a Cambodian temple in today’s quick cryptic blog. Couldn’t remember its name until I saw the WAT part and as I know it I would probably have biffed the answer eventually.

    BEEFEATER was the only clue I couldn’t parse and looking at its explanation I can see why.

    Finished in the NW where I was thinking of Baden Powell, struggled to understand what NORSE wanted and ODEON was LOI with a bif and then later parse.


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