Times 28897 – Lib Lab

I was going along quite nicely until I got to 19 down. Thereafter, I got no further. An early look at the leaderboard shows the expected fast times. I wonder how many others were nonplussed.

1 A half-hearted mob at theatre, possible to reform (9)
6 Immature creature picked up from volcanic discharge (5)
LARVA – sounds like ‘lava’ in non-rhotic varieties of English
9 A storm raging about European conductor perhaps (7)
MAESTRO – anagram* of A STORM around E *(European)
10 A pain being back in charge, supplying oxygen (7)
AEROBIC – A BORE reversed IC
11 Relative ease at first in part of Ulster church (5)
NIECE – Ease in NI (part of Ulster) CE
12 Endlessly aspire to put an end to game (9)
14 This place providing retreat for male sheep (3)
PUT – TUP reversed; I take the first word to be operating along the lines of ‘this word that follows, in other words,’ PLACE
15 Like some aerials originally located in outskirts of Izmir (11)
17 Stop luxury car rammed by a road-mending vehicle (11)
STEAMROLLER – A in STEM (Stop) ROLLER (luxury car)
19 Part of circle at heart of demo (3)
20 Accountant’s girl, one fated to be disbelieved (9)
CASSANDRA – CA’S SANDRA; daughter of Priam and Hecuba, cursed with a prophetic gift which no one recognised – quite a common complaint in these social media days…
22 In break, see lively dance (5)
24 Pardon girl taking in shelter (7)
26 Way being removed from calm leads to bad health (7)
27 Scope, some would say, for discharge (5)
RHEUM – sounds like ‘room’ to some people, some of the time etc etc
28 Irish county fellow accepting extremely light civic office (9)
MAYORALTY – MAYO (Irish county) LighT in RAY
1 Capital citizen managed to secure high honour (5)
2 Forestall gift, having change of heart (7)
3 Fish-eater in restaurant initially crazy about port (9)
ROTTERDAM – OTTER in Restaurant MAD reversed
4 Trouble involving leader of Romantic poet’s fraternity (11)
BROTHERHOOD – Romantic in BOTHER HOOD (Thomas – 19th century poet)
5 Woman Caesar’s greeting upset (3)
EVA – AVE reversed
6 Part of unusually rich contribution to songwriting? (5)
LYRIC – hidden; I guess you could count it as an all-in-one if you factor in the question mark in a certain fashion
7 Teases heavyweight, offering type of apple (7)
8 Short woman eating large salmon, a heavy drinker (9)
ALCOHOLIC – L (large) COHO (type of salmon) in ALICe; perhaps no longer a heavy drinker, of course. Should this one have got the question mark?
13 Oddness of English copper, one prevaricating in shame (11)
14 Constrain president to provide transport for the young (9)
16 Routine supporting Irish freedom fighter perhaps (9)
18 Extract from notes suppressed by German city (7)
ESSENCE – C & E (musical notes) under ESSEN
19 Curative plant a governor allocated primarily among Liberals (7)
ALLHEAL – HE (His or Her Excellency, aka ‘governor’) A (Allocated, aka ‘allocated primarily’) in A (‘a’ from the clue) LLL (bunch of liberals); putting on my Cassandra hat, I am certain that there are some who will like this clue…
21 Sort of tea service brought up at beginning of afternoon (5)
ASSAM – MASS reversed follwing Afternoon
23 Like a pallid person taking cake without resistance (5)
25 Starchy tuber a girl served up (3)
YAM – MAY reversed

68 comments on “Times 28897 – Lib Lab”

  1. 23 minutes for this, so it was easy or I was on the wavelength, or both.

    I was delayed a little at 7dn where I knew that I knew of a type of apple beginning with R but was unable to bring it to mind. Once the checkers were in place I arrived at RIBSTON via wordplay but didn’t recognise it. I later remembered the apple I had been trying to think of was ‘russet’ which wouldn’t have filled the spaces available anyway. RIBSTON has come up only twice before, 4 and 14 years ago. Btw, you have a typo in the wordplay explanation, Ulaca.

    ‘This place’ as the definition at 14ac raised an eyebrow and seems a little awkward, but I guess it works along the lines suggested in the blog.

    I also looked more than once at REPARABLE as I would never have spelt it without an ‘I’. It looks wrong to me, but both spellings are acceptable according to the usual sources. Previous appearances in Times 15×15 and QC puzzles stand at REPARABLE x 3 / REPAIRABLE x 1. I commented on the missing ‘I’ on one of those occasions. The dictionaries also have both IRREPARABLE and IRREPAIRABLE although SOED says the latter is ‘now rare’. I would have used the first spelling because that’s the way I pronounce it, but it’s odd the things that crossword puzzles make one suddenly question!

  2. 19 minutes, finishing at 6.52 BST and leaving me all dressed up and nowhere to post.The only stickers were in the SE with ALLHEAL LOI. COD to PECULIARITY. A friendly start to the week. Thank you U and setter.

  3. 16:30

    I was a little slow to get going but they all started to fall in place once I got a toehold.

    A couple of unknowns (RIBSTON, ALLHEAL) and a “surely there an i in reparable?” moment but the wordplay was clear enough so no issues. I also wasted time looking for some sort of bike for 14D as I’m so used to the unnamed President being either IKE or ABE.

    Overall I enjoyed that one so thanks to both.

  4. 8:40 so it must have been easy, although I dithered over ALLHEAL at the end before crossing my fingers and submitting. Not helped by only having 70% confidence in GALOP.

    Also didn’t know RIBSTON but the instructions were clear.

    CASSANDRA was a write-in as I’m married to one. She also happens to be named Cassandra.

    Thanks U and setter.

  5. About an hour
    Got off slowly until I got crossing letters. Then went smoothly. No problems, I knew ALLHEAL from SMH crosswords probably. FOI ARC then ALCOHOLIC, LYRIC, PREVENT. For me it was generally one of the most straightforward I have done. Possibly I am improving and getting used to them eg Friday, Saturday and Sunday came out in a similar fashion.
    I thought there should not have been “this” before “place”
    I have always thought REPARABLE as different from REPAIRABLE. “possible to reform” to me does not seem like repairing something. REPARABLE does not have REPAIRABLE as a synonym in Chambers.

    1. Chambers has:
      repairable – capable of being mended (esp. of material things)
      reparable – capable of being made good or (rare) being mended

      If there’s a subtle difference of meaning here, I’m afraid it’s lost on me. But you’re right that they don’t give either simply as an alternative spelling of the other. Nor does Collins for that matter.

      1. I think REPARABLE has to do with REPARATIONS – making good in that sense. And has been conflated over time with REPAIRABLE. Presumably both from the same original source (but I’m ready to be corrected).

        Fast time with LOI ALLHEAL and some time spent double checking as i’ve had some silly typos recently.

        1. Yes, both from the same ultimate source (Latin REPARARE, meaning repair or make good), and both via French, but REPAIR came first (14th Century or thereabouts) and English later added the ABLE, to make REPAIRABLE (with the stress on the AIR). REPARABLE was a second (somewhat more learned and closer to the original Latin) borrowing from the French a while later, and has the stress on the REP. I think REPARABLE is generally found in more abstract settings (e.g. relationships), but it would be a bit pretentious to say that your lawnmower was reparable (which mine is not).

          1. Not pretentious at all in my part of the world and for people of my vintage among whom I have never heard ‘repairable’, only REPARABLE, with the stress on the ‘rep’ and in relation to relationships, trousers and lawnmowers. (Hampshire, mid-sixties.)

  6. 10:56
    I might have made it under 10′ but I spent extra time checking my DNKs RIBSTON (my heart sank when I saw ‘type of apple’, since I know no names of British apples; except Ribston, now and for a few days more) and ALLHEAL (sort of renders feverfew redundant). Also DNK PUSHCHAIR, and wondered (wonder) about push=constrain. Lots of biffs, all parsed post-sub.

  7. Well I certainly didn’t GAL(L)OP through this one. I think my brain froze at a certain point with the inclusions, exclusions, putting backwards, take away the number you first thought of etc, etc. Cor!

    Didn’t like « this place » either. Gave up on 30 mins and looked up the NHO plant so, bah humbug is what I say.

    Thanks U.

  8. 6:40
    Now that’s what I call a Monday puzzle!
    A game of HOPSCOTCH featured in one of Milton Jones’s gags on Radio 4 this week, as the chalk outline of a murdered robot.

  9. 10:33. Held up at the end by a biffed MAYORSHIP, which PASTY helped me fix, and ALLHEAL, which I was slow to see. I was slightly disconcerted by “This place” for PUT, but I parsed it like our blogger. I did know the apple, though. Thanks U and setter.

  10. Now as they bore him off the field,
    Said he, ‘Let others shoot;
    For here I leave my second leg,
    And the Forty-second Foot.’
    (Faithless Nelly Gray, Thomas Hood)

    15 mins pre-brekker left me with the ungettable plant – and I was fed up by then after “This place”. I mean, there is no excuse for the “This”.
    Ta setter and U.

  11. Thank you ulaca and setter for a well-paced start to the week. I spent too much of my 54′ wrestling with bikes and trikes on 14d because I (like Rowlie26) expected Ike to be in there somewhere — so a nicely-turned clue even if I would not ordinarily equate “constrain” with “push”; the difference is more apparent, perhaps, if you compare “I am pushed” with “I am constrained”; better synonyms (“recommend”, “nudge”) readily available. I also bristled at “a heavy drinker” for “alcoholic” in 8d, the more so without a question mark, since many alcoholics are non-drinkers precisely they are alcoholics, often thanks to AA.

  12. 28 and a half minutes
    LOI the plant
    Glad to remember RHEUM. Had to trust in the apple. A fun puzzle.

    Thanks U and setter.

  13. 8:02, almost certainly a PB. But rather too many random names, random notes, and random changes of letter for it to have been hugely satisfying, alas.

    In the parsing for ESSENCE both C+E are notes, underneath (or ‘suppressed’ by) ESSEN.

    Thanks both.

  14. About 20 minutes.

    Didn’t know RIBSTON but the wordplay was gentle; also didn’t know ALLHEAL, and the wordplay was tougher – it was only thanks to the E from ILLNESS that I stopped trying to put a G in there and thought of HE instead; not familiar with GALOP; and NHO Thomas Hood for BROTHERHOOD.

    Agree with Amoeba about the parsing of ESSENCE.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Eva
    LOI Allheal
    COD Rotterdam

  15. About 18′ which is pretty fast for me. Much the same experience as others with the GALOP/ALLHEAL crosser causing most difficulty. LO (a word surely never, ever used in conversation) thankfully came to mind so a bit of a biff and then took a chance on the HE for Governor. Even the non-rhotic LARVA didn’t annoy me today! Thanks Ulaca and setter.

  16. 23’08”
    Rather pedestrian on this downhill five furlong stretch.

    I agree with Myrtilus; the THIS in 14a is as redundant as frontal lobes in anyone in a position of responsibility in London, if today’s Today programme is anything to go by.
    Thank you setter and Ulaca.

  17. I haven’t looked it up but ‘reparable’ feels more suggestive of ‘reparation’ than of ‘repair’.

  18. No problems in a smooth solve, though I did hesitate over RIBSTON (Not In Tesco’s) for a few seconds before submitting, taking my time to 10.41.
    I would pronounce REPARABLE as rep’rable and with the I as it looks, re pair able. If I was feeling up to it, I would suggest a subtle difference in meanings.
    I didn’t have an issue with “this place”, generously imagining inverted commas around place, so “this version of the word place”.
    I completely missed the parsing of BROTHERHOOD, probably confusing my romantic poets with my Pre-Raphaelite painters.
    I did think there were rather a lot of ladies allowed in the grid, two of them anagrams of each other.
    And did I detect a hint of Clouseau?

  19. 10.56. Probably a PB, but still with the aggravating flipping of the pages on my iPad which slows progress.

  20. Monday fare, 11 minutes, except for 19d which I didn’t know and was unwilling to guess between ALLWELL and ALLHEAL although the H.E. for governor should have made me twig. And the apple was a correct guess from wordplay.

  21. 18:15 today, so pretty easy but not the PB that others have had. ALLHEAL and RIBSTON were the LOIs (and NHOs) and MAESTRO the FOI. I always personally use REPARABLE and never ‘repairable’ every time I say or write either word and tbh I mentally pigeonholed ‘repairable’ as simply an Americanism but it looks like I’m wrong and there’s a subtle difference between the two words.

  22. 7:46. A bit of a breezeblock today, with almost all done in 5 minutes but a couple more to realise first that RAGSTON wasn’t right (I think RAGSTONE contributed to my unwarranted confidence here) and then that ‘liberals’ might refer to more than two.
    No problem with ‘this place’. As Z says, you can read it as something like ‘this word for place’.
    I don’t think there’s any practical difference REPARABLE and repairable. I think I would use the latter, which is a bit odd because I would never say ‘irrepairable’.

  23. A gentle romp from EVA to ALLHEAL, although RIBSTON and LOI, ALLHEAL relied heavily on the wordplay. BROTHERHOOD went in from the initial B and definition, as once EVA was in, I assumed 1a would finish with ABLE and stuck it in. REPAR came a while later. The SE corner was the trickiest, I thought. Knew GALOP once it appeared. A rare foray into sub-10 territory, despite dithering over ALLHEAL, at 9:09. Thanks setter and U.

  24. 16.55 DNF

    Just one letter missing in ALL_EAL but rather threw in the towel with all those ls. Maybe it doesn’t need to be two all the time but it did for me here assuming there was some three letter synonym for governor I was missing.

  25. A pleasant Monday outing, all done in 15 minutes, without any major hold-ups. Perhaps my brain was over-active in anticipation of an imminent visit to the dentist. No issues except for a MER at LIAR = one prevaricating in 13dn. To me prevarication suggests evasion rather than outright lying, but maybe the dictionaries disagree. I agree with Amoeba on the parsing of ESSENCE.
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  26. Almost as easy as you ever get, definitely Monday-ish for once, but still 25 minutes. I couldn’t understand why the setter had “This” in 14ac: was it because the crossword was too easy otherwise? Completely unnecessary in my opinion. The clue would have read perfectly well, perhaps better, without it. In the Chambers definition of reparable perhaps “Capable of being put right” would have made clearer the distinction with the def of repairable.

  27. 19 minutes. ALLHEAL new to me too but possible from wordplay and looked plausible. I didn’t think about the REPARABLE/ REPAIRABLE difference and found the above discussion interesting. I’m in the “did not approve of” ‘This place’ camp; what about just ‘Place for providing…’, as I think Myrtilus is suggesting.

    I didn’t know the ‘Romantic poet’ but I probably said that the last time he appeared.

  28. 13:43

    A few unknowns – HOOD, RIBSTON (thought could also be RAGSTON until B checker confirmed) and LOI ALLHEAL – stupid plants, spoiling a good crossword. Bunged in PECULIARITY from checkers, momentary MER for REPARABLE but not entirely surprised.

    Thanks setter and ulaca

  29. I think this could easily have been the kind of morning where ALLHEAL and RIBSTON slowed or stymied me. Luckily it wasn’t, so I was all done in 18m.

  30. 18:11

    Would have been quicker but for a foolish TUP. Once I had all the checkers for 14d I realised I had allowed PREVENP to stand. Finally twigged so LOI PUSHCHAIR.
    Not difficult, but still fun.

    Thanks U and setter.

  31. DNF – I briefly settled on ALLHEAL after trying almost every other combination, but it sounded implausibly convenient so I abandoned the effort and came here for enlightenment, which, as always, is exactly what I found. Thank you!

  32. Same as various above – pretty straightforward, unsure about “this”, but PUT it had to be. Entered RAGSTON confidently until AEROBIC put me right, making RIBSTON my LOI. NHO of GALOP, but wordplay was simple enough. ALLHEAL from checkers and “HE”, taking the sprinkling of L’s as read. ROTTERDAM biffed from checkers.

    A very sprightly sub-10 for me, though not good enough to make my top 10. Well under 18 mins for the three Times puzzles, even with the concise taking longer than the QC.


  33. More on the wavelength than usual, finishing in 24:08

    Luckily ALLHEAL rang some bell in the depths of my memory, as did RIBSTON.
    REPARABLE and ROMAN were my last two in.
    I took a while on 22a, trying to think of a dance containing ELY.

    Thanks Ulaca and setter

  34. Must have had not NHO but forgotten 7d Ribston Pippin before as it is in my cheating machine and it would only get there from the xword. I biffed RagSTON but Aerobic put me right and then as I was adding Ribston it showed up.
    I’m sure we’ve had 19d ALLHEAL before.
    Amoeba is right about ESSENCE, which took me a while as I was trying to make ESSnnEN.
    Didn’t understand 4d BROTHERHOOD as had forgotten the heard-of Thomas Hood. Had I been the setter I would have used HMS Hood or the Admiral after whom it was named, but the wordplay using the poet and Romantic was very good. PS Wiki doesn’t describe Hood as a Romantic poet.

  35. Like my solving the QC, nothing really held me up to any degree, and as a result a quick time for me in 19.24. I didn’t know the apple, and kept my fingers crossed for my LOI which was ALLHEAL. I couldn’t quite get my head around the parsing of ESSENCE, as others have noted, but it couldn’t be anything else.

    1. 30 mins before resorting to blog for Rheum, Galop and Allheal. Got many using checkers so thanks Ulaca for helping me parse many of them.

  36. Karaoke ran late so I worked this on my phone, for a change, and was grateful that it was such a breeze. I could see only one clue at a time and the environment was full of distractions, but I had only three or four still to fill in on the subway ride home. I parsed most of the clues here, but not for ALL HEAL, which went in anyway, as it fit the checkers and definition. LOI PUSHCHAIR, which I don’t recall seeing before (here or anywhere).

  37. Failed with my LOI PIT. Didn’t know a male sheep was a tup and didn’t understand “This place” though can see it now from Zabadak’s explanation above.
    Had a poor run the latter part of last week so it was good to get back to something more accessible today.

  38. It was going so well for a Monday but the healing plant eluded me.
    This was a gift for me at 7 dn:

    ‘I said to heart ‘ how goes it’
    Heart replied
    ‘Right as a ribston pippin ‘
    But it lied.

    Hilaire Belloc

    Occasional lines of verse stick in the mind.

    Thanks to setter, solver and contributors.

  39. A very easy 30 minutes (plus another two just to proofread). Nothing at all problematical except for the unheard of apple and healing plant, for which I just needed to believe the wordplay. I also didn’t much like “this place”, when only the verb “place” was meant, but that’s a minor complaint.

  40. A rare (for me) sub-15 minute solve, with only ALLHEAL, generously clued, requiring crossed fingers.

  41. Dnk RIBSTON but it seemed very clear from the cryptic. Put in PUSHCHAIR but wasn’t happy about the ‘push’ part – until realising the ‘force’ definition of constrain. At 19dn I went for ALLHELL – how many liberals does it take? 24 minutes for what it’s worth – so good going for me.

  42. Cute trick with the three Ls at 23d; not such a cute trick with the mis-leading unnecessary “This” at 14a. Seemed like a lot of ‘think of a word and drop out a letter’ as I worked it.

  43. 11.15 and thought I would get my first under 10mins in ages. Alas, I havered too much over allheal and missed the opportunity. Very much a Monday puzzle of yore but still enjoyable. Thx setter and blogger.

  44. 5:44

    … knocking 14 seconds off my personal best. Really as easy as they come, today. I was rather fortunate to recognise RIBSTON since I’ve just bought some apple trees and came across the Ribston Pippin while researching pollination groups.

  45. 34:10 for a PB. Reached my last two of GALOP / ALLHEAL at around 28mins. NHOs for both along with RIBSTON which I certainly don’t recall from my days working on the Fruit & Veg dept at Tesco.

    Couldn’t parse REPARABLE or the STEAM- part and the blog isn’t clear on DIRECTIONAL which postsolve I took to be an anagram of LOCATED IN with IR=outskirts of Izmir.

    SNITCHING at 57 when I looked earlier which is the lowest I’ve ever seen.

  46. 24.36. took me 6 minutes to get the LOI (and NHO) ALLHEAL, but still possibly a PB for me. also NHO RIBSTON, as a few others have mentioned. thanks ulaca and setter!

  47. Around 30 minutes – despite 3 NHOs: Allheal, Galop and Ribston.
    Not sure how Irregular means routine, isn’t it the opposite of routine?
    Also liked Peculiarity.

    1. The definition for IRREGULAR here is (as Z has it) “freedom fighter perhaps”—a guerrilla.


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