Times Cryptic 27884

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I got through this eventually in 55 minutes but it was touch and go at times as to whether I would finish without resorting to aids. I’m glad I didn’t give in to temptation or I’d have been deprived of the sense of achievement when I finally dredged up the name of the Russian revolutionary at 8dn from the recesses of my brain and completed the grid. Much of the rest of it seemed very hard too, but perhaps I’m having a bad day .

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Experienced unease as one dismantled fences (8)
SEASONED :  {unea}SE AS ONE D{ismantled} contains [fences] the solution to the clue
9 Wellington is smooth, fitting round front of knee (4,4)
IRON DUKE : IRON (smooth), DUE (fitting) contains [round] K{nee} [front]. Wiki advises that this commonly used nickname originally related to th eDuke’s consistent political resolve rather than to any particular incident.
10 Maybe grave misfortune, suffering loss of identity (6)
ACCENT : ACC{id}ENT (misfortune) [suffering loss of identity – id]. A DBE (Definition By Example) but clearly indicated by ‘maybe’.  As mentioned elsewhere I have been doing research into the early days of TfTT and trawling through the archive I was interested to see a comment posted in 2007 by our founder Peter Biddlecombe, now Sunday Times Crossword Editor, saying that (then) recent notes to Times setters had advised that a DBE did not need to be indicated in the clue. That’s interesting because it’s usually a matter for comment even to this day, although it’s no longer the source of indignation it once was.
11 Agree to keep old tank mainly for one of our relatives (10)
CHIMPANZEE : CHIME (agree) contains [to keep] PANZE{r} (old tank) [mainly]
12 Buzzer loud, leading to complaint (4)
BEEF : BEE (buzzer), F (loud – music)
13 Image-obsessed female maybe changing a lot into one frock (10)
IDOLATRESS : Anagram [changing] of A LOT contained by [into] I (one) + DRESS (frock). The word exists. Let’s move on without further comment.
16 Flavouring from wine drink put back into pop (7)
PAPRIKA :KIR (wine drink) reversed [put back] and contained by [into] PAPA (pop). ‘Kir’ is a proprietary name for a blend of wine and cassis. Another supposed ‘rule’ is that product names are banned at least in the weekday puzzles, but it seems to have gone by the board these days, not that it bothers me a jot.
17 Competency rating, one linked with written material, variable (7)
ABILITY : AB (rating – sailor), I (one), LIT (written material – literature), Y (variable)
20 Body parts, large and small, found in canal (10)
INTESTINES : Cryptic with reference to large and small intestines and the alimentary canal
22 Oddly appearing if nobody has returned for the kids, funnily (4)
YOOF : {i}F {n}O{b}O{d}Y [oddly] reversed [returned]. The definition may extend to include ‘for the’. I associate the name Janet Street Porter with YOOF TV as she had influence in that sort of thing at one time, but I imagine she was not responsible for the invention of the slang word.
23 Team‘s salvation left up in the air (5,5)
ASTON VILLA : Anagram [up in the air] of SALVATION L (left). One of the two big football clubs in Birmingham.
.25 Put out note, second-hand (6)
DOUSED : DO (note), USED (second-hand)
26 Sounding extremely ecstatic when given appropriate stuff (8)
ECHOGRAM : E{cstati}C [extremely], HOG (appropriate – monopolise greedily), RAM (stuff)
27 New onboard motor’s last thing you should hit! (4,4)
BARN DOOR : Anagram [new] of ONBOARD, then {moto}R [‘s last]. An easy target because it’s so large. There’s an expression ‘couldn’t hit a barn door’ with reference to incompetence. I don’t recall seeing this in a puzzle before last weekend when it turned up in another publication, and that came in handy today.
2 Film Charlie climbing ridge with others (2,6)
ET CETERA : ET(film),  C (Charlie – NATO alphabet), then ARETE (ridge – arête, actually) reversed [climbing]
3 One all in purple initially summoned church guards (5,5)
SPENT FORCE : SENT FOR (summoned) + CE (church) contains [guards] P{urple} [initially]. One who is completely out of energy.
4 Hardly fair upsetting a large number, by Jiminy! (3,7)
NOT CRICKET : TON (large number) reversed [upsetting], CRICKET (Jiminy Cricket – a character in Walt Disney’s ‘Pinocchio’)
5 Appreciate one fight that you’d see on TV? (7)
DIGIBOX : DIG (appreciate), I (one), BOX (fight).They’rejust as likey to sit below the TV, but never mind.
6 Great display that sees champ finally clean up (4)
POMP : {cham}P [finally] + MOP (clean) reversed [up]
7 Cross when entertaining character at the end repeated gag (6)
MUZZLE : MULE (crossbreed) containing [entertaining] Z (character at the end of the alphabet) + Z [repeated]
8 Old revolutionary‘s name put up by king before once (8)
KERENSKY : K (king), ERE (before, once), N (name), SKY (put up a ball in sport). More here, for those interested. My LOI, and I was losing hope of finishing without aids when I suddenly remembered his name from history studies some 50 years ago.
14 A commercial, alternatively, featuring male singer in rep (10)
AMBASSADOR : A, M (male), BASS (singer), AD (commercial), OR (alternatively). ‘Rep’ short for representative, whether diplomatic or otherwise.
15 Support resistance with collaborator and some ammunition (5,5)
RALLY ROUND : R (resistance), ALLY (collaborator), ROUND (some ammunition)
16 Men of low rank rate mixing with VIPs (8)
PRIVATES : Anagram [mixing] of RATE VIPS
18 Farewell party visited by Pope, also earlier (6-2)
TOODLE-OO : TOO (also), then DO (party) contains [visited by] LEO (Pope). I think Bertie Wooster favoured ‘toodle-pip’, but I enjoy any such reminders of a byegone era.

As featured in the chorus of the WWI song::

Goodbye-ee, goodbye-ee,
Wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee,
Tho’ it’s hard to part I know,
I’ll be tickled to death to go.
Don’t cry-ee, dont sigh-ee,
there’s a silver lining in the sky-ee,
Bonsoir, old thing, cheer-i-o, chin, chin,
Nah-poo, toodle-oo, Goodbye-ee.
19 Maybe not exactly deprive of the lead (7)
UNPLUMB : SOED has this as obsolete but Chambers lists it without qualification. Collins doesn’t have it at all. In the other part of the clue ‘plumb’ means ‘exactly’ so ‘unplumb’ suggests ‘not exactly’.
21 Yacht: it moves after stopping a minute (6)
TITCHY : Anagram [moves] of Y{a}CHT IT [stopping ‘a’]. It’s actually a reversal rather than an anagram but there’s no reversal indicator.
24 Change your voting system after revolution (4)
VARY : YR (your) + AV (voting system – Alternative Vote) reversed [after revolution]

99 comments on “Times Cryptic 27884”

  1. I found this one to be rather straightforward, and figured that my 24 minute time would be on the slow side. Seems that I must have been on the wavelength with this one. The real question is, why do I know what ASTON VILLA is?
  2. A digibox must be the UK name for the thing we call a ‘set-top box’ in Oz.
    Alternative Vote was an unknown, but VARY was the only word which could be appropriately stuffed in.
    Challenging today. I like the mix of slangy terms such as ‘toodle-oo’, ‘titchy’ and ‘yoof’ with the staid GK of ‘Kerensky’ and ‘Iron Duke’
    1. TV’s haven’t had tops for a long time so it’s odd that ‘set-top’ box would still be around. That terminology may be in use in the UK but I was late to the digital revolution so I don’t have a vast experience of it, but iirc SKY was the first TV platform to require a decoder and it was commonly referred to as a Skybox. I think DIGIBOX came later as a generic term when other TV platforms arrived.
      1. I’ve got a digibox on top of my old TV set in the kitchen and another on top of an old TV in the bedroom, so no problem with that clue for me.

        Edited at 2021-01-26 07:49 pm (UTC)

      1. I’ve never come across it either. I thought it might be a trade name, but I discounted that possibility as a solution. Actually I’ve never really thought about what the device is called, I suppose because it just sits there and largely gets ignored. But on that basis, I wonder why the cat has a name?
  3. I liked finding Yoof, and I liked Spent Force. Like jack I found this a challenge, but rewarding.

    I was taught that the Iron in Iron Duke referred to the iron shutters he installed at Apsley House (Hyde Park Corner) to keep the mob out during the riots at either the time of the Reform Act or the repeal of the Corn Laws.

      1. Yes, the Wiki article I quoted from says much the same thing which was why I only mentioned the first suggestion of its origin.

        Edited at 2021-01-26 06:17 am (UTC)

      2. As I read Paul’s comment my immediate thought was ‘I bet that’s a myth’. These stories always are!
  4. Incidentally, thank you for explaining ARETE and UNPLUMB, both of which I hadn’t fully parsed.

    Interesting that you were stuck on KERENSKY. I’ve never heard of him, but the only other option seemed to be RERENSKY. What wordplay were you considering, may I ask?

    1. I wasn’t getting anywhere trying to construct what I assumed would be an unknown name from wordplay, but the name suddenly came to mind and I had to work through wordplay to confirm it which took a while and SKY for ‘put up’ was the last piece to fall into place.
      1. Ah! Seeing your approach, as well as others’, it would seem that I was greatly benefitted by not having heard of many of these words. I’ve missed SKY so many times that when I saw ‘put up’ it went in immediately and I set to work deconstructing the wordplay. I realize now that I had convinced myself ‘once’ = ERE and understood ‘before’ as ‘preceding’. That’s surely not right!

        Anyway I see that others struggled with DIGIBOX. A similar story for me. But then there were others like ET CETERA and CHIMPANZEE that I biffed. So perhaps “being on the wavelength” just means being fortunate enough to focus on first glance on the parts of the clues you know.

        Thanks for sharing!

  5. Totally defeated by the unknown KERENSKY. I gave up and put in HENESSEY since I know someone with that last name, and I couldn’t fit anything else. Apart from falling at the last fence, the whole thing filled in without any holdups.

    BTW TITCHY is not a reversal, it has to be an anagram since the C and H are in the wrong order.

    1. Quite right! I bunged in that comment on the final edit as it was a thought that suddenly occurred to me and obviously I misread the clue at that stage. It’s usually far better to stick to one’s original thoughts.
    2. I took a long time getting Henessey out of my head, too, though the cafe I frequented in the Beforetimes is actually spelled “Hennessey’s”, as it turns out. It was only after considering Russian names and remembering “sky” for “put up” from previous crosswords that I managed to put it all together, with not much confidence that I was right.
  6. This was a workout, and I almost threw in the towel after spending some time playing with the alphabet on 19d; UNPLUMB, forsooth. Also DNK DIGIBOX, but that wasn’t much of a problem. ASTON VILLA, SPENT FORCE, CHIMPANZEE each suddenly came to me, with the parsing coming second. KERENSKY was fairly easy once I had the SKY; one forgets that the Mensheviks were also revolutionaries.
    1. ‘Mensheviks and Bolsheviks
      And ‘Worker’s Daily’ too!
      Now Trotsky’s hist’ry, pooh!
      Wouldn’t you?’
  7. in the southwest corner – what is an ECHOGRAM! at 26ac.

    Turns out I had a ECHOCARDIOGRAM very recently apparently but you’ll be pleased/saddened that my original murmur (MUR) has disappeared. For an improved heart-rate I would have preferred a STRIPPERGRAM but at my age….look what happened to Roger Ailes.

    I also had 24dn as VETO which didnae help! And at 19dn UNPLUMB was a word outside of my etymological experience.
    Whereas getting a PLUMBER IN (INPLUMB) is the norm. Norm is from Warsaw.

    FOI 12ac BEEF

    (LOI) 7dn MUZZLE

    COD 16ac PAPRIKA

    WOD 9ac IRON DUKE I was earlier temped with JACK BOOT! But common sense prevailed for once.


    Edited at 2021-01-26 07:59 am (UTC)

  8. POI KERENSKY dredged up from confusion with Kautsky.

    BEEF a write-in after the Wellington clue.

    An excellent puzzle I thought. DIGIBOX LOI, I think I missed that part of the technical revolution, but have heard of such things.

    I don’t follow soccer but I do know that there are three (not two) big soccer clubs in Birmingham, and I have been to the Aston Villa Leisure Centre.

    25′, thanks jack and setter.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 07:42 am (UTC)

    1. Birmingham City FC, Aston Villa FC (Aston Vanilla the team everyone likes to lick) and…………….?

      West Brom, Wolves, Walsall Saddlers and Solihill Moors (once Motors) are all West Midlands and Coventry City are almost East Midlands.

      Edited at 2021-01-26 08:07 am (UTC)

      1. Yes – three Brummie Clubs:

        i. Aston Villa F.C.
        ii. Aston Villa Under-23s and Academy (aka Aston Villa Under-21 and Aston Villa Reserves)
        iii. Aston Villa W.F.C.

        1. I have only been to Villa Park the once – Germany 0 Argentina 0 – Group Game 1966! It was dire.

          There is only one team in Manchester – Newton Heath.

          Edited at 2021-01-26 02:45 pm (UTC)

          1. I’ve been to Villa Park three times to watch my team, Everton, play there. All three matches were 0-0.
  9. I often find that our solving times are similar, Jack, and so it was today. I also persevered without aids when I was having trouble in the SW corner.
    I had heard of Skybox as we used to have one but DIGIBOX was new to me.
    ECHOGRAM was very good but my COD to ACCENT.
    I had long believed that the last words of General John Sedgwick at an American Civil War battle were: “They couldn’t hit a BARN DOOR at this distance” before being killed by a sharpshooter’s bullet. However Wikipedia says his words were:
    “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”
  10. Would make a monkey out of me.
    “That’s fake news,” I said, “In fact,
    You mean a Chimpanzee.”

    After 30 mins I had the revolutionary unfilled. If I had seen ‘sky’ I might have guessed right.
    The footie reminded me of the old story about the Japanese man who learnt English by listening to the World Service on radio. He had loved the interesting names for football teams, like: Accrington Stanley, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston VillaNil.
    Thanks setter and J.

  11. Not just me that struggled with KERENSKY then. I’d thought it might well end in “sky” but it was well after that when I managed to equate that with “put up”, having previously assumed this was a positional indicator.
    I wonder if anyone else also wanted to put “camera” in 2D given the mention of “film”. Another of several places I was misdirected today, like trying to think which force wears purple or what type of ammo I was looking for. Hats off to the setter for the fair degree of cunning.
    1. was what I was trying to justify. I couldn’t though, so the biffable ET CETERA eventually came to mind.
  12. 24.25 but never felt in control. A few guesses helped get there in the end- the slang yoof being a prime example. FOI iron duke, LOI echogram . Liked idolatress, finally giving up trying to make iconoclast fit. Others barndoor, digibox and unplumb.

    One of our merry band must have been cheered to see aston villa get a mention.! How long will I have to wait to see Tranmere Rovers?

  13. 20:43. Pootle describes my experience with KERENSKY perfectly, and it held me up for absolutely ages at the end. I very nearly gave up.
    An excellent puzzle, but UNPLUMB is a very weird word. It looks it was chosen in desperation at the end, perhaps because the setter had come up with a neat clue for BARN DOOR so was reluctant to drop it. Odd to see it again so soon after its appearance in Another Place.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 09:21 am (UTC)

  14. Like Alexander Kerensky… I worked hard but failed and ended up exiled from the leader board…

    Never heard of him and was happy in my ignorance.

  15. Over the last 6 or so years I have graduated from only completing the QC every now and again to nearly always finishing the 15×15, thanks in the main to discovering TfTT. I now find myself in the odd position of taking very much the same time to complete the 15×15 no matter what the snitch rating. Yesterday 40.57 today 38.48 (helped by going to the same school with a KERENSKY, grandson I seem to remember). Today I am lying second on the personal NITCH, yesterday way down. What I would like to know is, have other people had the same same experience. I think it may be partly due to looking at the SNITCH before I start and if it is low I panic if I have a slow start and if it is high I am more relaxed. I would welcome your views.
    1. I know I would react the same as you if I looked at the SNITCH beforehand so for that reason I never check it out before solving.
    2. While I don’t check the SNITCH before solving, I do think there is often an early intimation that a puzzle is going to be easy or hard that affects my speed of solving. Today’s was a case in point, where I didn’t get any answers in the first few, assumed we’d got toughie on a Tuesday (!) and was slow all round the grid. I often start a Friday assuming it’s going to be tough to keep Verlaine happy and stagger my way round. I assume Mondays are going to be easy and whiz through. Neither assumptions are always true, but they do make a difference.
    3. My general experience of improving as a solver very rapidly (after a decade or so of slow and painful process) after discovering TfTT about 10 years ago definitely matches yours. My experience on times is different though: the variability in my solving times is wide but as I’ve improved I’ve found that it has narrowed significantly.
        1. Well yes in absolute terms, but not necessarily proportionately. If X is the average time for the slowest 10% of my solves and Y is the average for the fastest 10%, X/Y is a much smaller number than it used to be.
  16. Well, that didn’t go well. If I say my last one in was SEASONED, struggling for ages to make sense of the clue and only realising it was a simple hidden after writing it in you’ll perhaps understand.
    I assumed DIGIBOX was some whimsical term for a TV and didn’t think of the gizmo below my flatscreen.
    KERENSKY only emerged when I wrote the crossers down and thought of SKY as an ending.
    UNPLUMB: really?! (Chamber says yes)
    For way too long I had the CHIMP clue as a something-PARENT.
    In brief, everywhere I could mystify myself, I did. Even PAPRIKA didn’t spring to mind with the P and K in place.
    36 minutes and some of self-administered torture. But no BEEF – even that had to be F-something, didn’t it?
  17. Half an hour to do all except KERENSKY of whom I had never heard and didn’t bother to guess, the wordplay wasn’t clear enough; and thought of UNPLUMB but didn’t believe it would be a word. Never heard of YOOF either but it was clear in wordplay and sounded possible for kids. Otherwise, good stuff.
  18. 54 minutes after late arrival of papers. LOI was KERENSKY, who I didn’t have down as that revolutionary with my wide understanding of the Russian Revolution gained almost entirely from Doctor Zhivago. For a while, we did have a DIGIBOX for an old telly. It was a temperamental piece of kit. This was a tough puzzle for me but just about soluble, so therefore a good thing. ECHOGRAM was entered in despair. COD to TOODLE-OO. Thank you Jack and setter.

    I had guessed at 7D: MUZZLE but somehow managed to type MUUZLE

    Thank you, jackkt and the setter.

  20. Nice chewy puzzle, concluding like many other people with KERENSKY, where my penny-drop moment also came when I twigged it ended SKY and started thinking about Russian revolutionaries in particular.

    Are you sure about kir, Jack? I wouldn’t have thought it’s a trade name any more than sangria or Black Russian myself…

    1. I meant to mention this. I don’t think kir is a trade name. Lexico says it is but Collins and Chambers don’t and they don’t capitalise it. According to wiki it’s named after Felix Kir, a mayor of Burgundy, who initially allowed one local cassis producer to use his name but then ‘extended the right to their competitors’. The article also says the drink was originally made with red wine, which sounds disgusting.
      Edit: a bit more internet rummaging (can you tell I have work to do?) reveals that perhaps it is a trade name after all:
      I can’t imagine this is a particularly valuable trademark though, since buying pre-mixed kir seems a bit pointless!

      Edited at 2021-01-26 11:35 am (UTC)

      1. It’s not a drink I had any personal knowledge of but had always assumed it was a liqueur, so when I saw ‘wine drink’ in the clue I looked it up in SOED to confirm this, which it did. It also said it is a proprietary name (after Canon Felix Kir, the Mayor of Dijon) and I had no reason to doubt this.
        1. Yes it looks that way, although according to the article I linked to the trademark never belonged to Felix Kir! But it isn’t a liqueur: it’s a cocktail made by mixing creme de cassis (which is a liqueur) with white wine.

          Edited at 2021-01-26 01:45 pm (UTC)

        2. I fairly sure, having enjoyed them all, that:
          Cassis + white wine = kir
          Cassis + red wine = kir cardinal
          Cassis + champagne = kir royale
    2. According to Wiki it isn’t a trade name:
      Kir is a popular French cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine.
      In France it is usually drunk as an apéritif before a meal or snack. It was originally made with Bourgogne Aligoté,[1] a white wine of Burgundy. Now, various white wines are used throughout France, according to the region and the whim of the barkeeper. Many prefer a white Chardonnay-based Burgundy, such as Chablis.
      1. Kir Royales as a luncheon pre-prandial – a bottle of Chablis – served chilled at 5.30pm, on the dot – chabliss! Sancerre on Saturdays and ‘White Shield’ on Sundays – or Negronis if abroad.
        1. To misquote Viz:
          I was the third Horry twin!
          I opened my french office in Colmar in 1989 and sold it in 1994.
          6 years of Kir Royale, Chablis and Sancerrre (which the Alsatians told me came from France).
          1. A friend of mine, who is something of a beer expert, had some a few weeks back. He regards it as the pinnacle of beers.
  21. Very enjoyable and doable puzzle except NHO Kerensky and couldn’t work it out from the wordplay.
    Two more things I have learned here!
  22. In NYC we call it the cable box and it belongs to whichever company is monopolizing the signal in your part of town. And it sits under the tv. Took me ages to get this one.
  23. Thankfully missed the trap at Toodle-oo. My first entry was toodle-do, which comes more naturally. Very much enjoyed the sleight of hand at 3 dn: One all in purple. Kerensky went in late, though I certainly knew of him. And unplumb I guessed. Saw the lead as in metal connection early on after the p and the b went in. I’m not entirely happy with the clue, though. Digibox I’d never heard of, but assumed it was the actual tv. Kir was indeed a famous cleric and mayor from Dijon.
  24. Dnf. All but the revolutionary done in about 28 mins. I bunged in Neversay in the end. So one wrong.

    Aston Villa currently 8th in the Premier League with a game or two in hand over most of the teams above them.


  25. Hardly heard of him, although perhaps he’s somewhere in the distant memory. The only thing I could think that fitted was Pevensey, and perhaps there was a revolutionary Lord Pevensey back in the middle ages, or something …

    Of course I couldn’t parse him but I did find out some quite interesting things about Pevensey and coastal erosion.

  26. Another DNF as I had no idea about the Russian and was never going to get it. Darn. I was going to mention the origin of Kir but I see I have been preceded. I might add that the reason said Mayor of Dijon added the cassis was that the Aligoté vines that he owned produced a wine that was very acidic, especially in those days before modern techniques. The cassis softened the blow!.
  27. A bit of a grind. KERENSKY was the only unknown and had to be assembled — at some length — from the instructions rather than the memory.

    Jack — Janet St-Porter was indeed the inadvertent coiner of the word YOOF, though which unkind commentator (she did have rather a lot of detractors) first committed it to print is not known.

  28. I was another PEVENSEY and had the same thought but the cryptic didn’t work. In the end I decided that the cryptic was too obscure and looked it up.
    Everything else was eminently gettable, albeit quite UK oriented.
    1. Yes indeed! ‘Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.” from Milton Drake & Co. NY 1943. Even our Cockney ragamuffins like a bit of politics! Many other children’s songs have a political origin.
  29. Retired hurt (pride) again with the revolutionary and the tv box and the sounding not found. Thanks for the blog and clarifications, Jack.
  30. Would someone enlighten me as to the meaning of POI? I don’t see it in the Glossary.
      1. The structure of your abbreviation of choice certainly avoids the confusion which would be caused by someone commenting on their Preantepenultimate One In!
  31. 33 minutes to get all but the revolutionary. I too toyed with the infamous Lord Pevensey who was, no doubt, beheaded at some point in English history but could not justify the parsing and threw in the towel.
  32. Once again, my Russian ‘A’ Level studies come in useful. I’ve hardly spoken the language in 40 years but can remember the names like KERENSKY — typed in once I’d tried K as the first letter with all checkers in place, didn’t parse the SKY bit though.

    Some nice clues, none of which were overly-insurmountable after a little thought.

  33. As a Wolves fan, I’m always happy when people recognise that we’re not based in Birmingham – Wolverhampton being a city in its right these days, thank you very much. Although I might question if BCFC are a ‘big’ club…

    Anyway, all done in about seven minutes apart from KERENSKY, which I failed to get after another four minutes of playing around. Never heard of him, and that’s a convoluted cryptic to try and put together – I was unsuccessful, alas, going for the nonsensical REVENSBY in the end. From googling now, it seems to have been part of Lincolnshire once?

  34. Never heard of Kerensky. Getting fed up with answers involving unknown people — I think there were a couple last week, too.
  35. ….after spending 4 minutes playing around with 8D. NHO him, annoying, since I’d enjoyed the previous 17 minutes.


  36. …but not so glorious when one’s looking at -E-E-S-Y and only able to see Pevensey or Zelezny (javelin-thrower). Did the rest in 30 minutes, as some others, but a dnf, annoying as K. was a known unknown so to speak. Maybe its use by the setter was a fraction unplumb.
  37. DNF until resorting to a wordfinder for the old revolutionary after staring at if for a few minutes. Like Phil, I’d enjoyed it up till then and was on for a respectable sub-20 minute finish. Maybe if I had thought of SKY for “put up” I’d have got there. At least I’m not the only one. Oh well, we live and learn. Thanks for the link Jackkt.

    Edited at 2021-01-26 03:18 pm (UTC)

  38. Difficult, this … fortunately Kerensky rang a vague bell.

    Unplumb is in Collins online, marked “obsolete”
    Not sure letting somebody call a drink after you is quite the same as a trade name. Kir is certainly in general use in France, the drink is quite popular there, not keen myself though

    1. No but it seems kir is in fact trademarked, which was news to me.

      Edited at 2021-01-26 04:53 pm (UTC)

      1. How can it be a defensible trademark? It’s a variable cocktail, usually creme de cassis and white wine as noted, but “royale” with a sparkling wine; I’ve also had “kir peche”, “kir violette”, and “kir framboise”, all made from variable quantities of white wine plus peach / violette / raspberry liqueurs. It’s like saying “Bucks fizz” or Black Velvet” are trademarks.
        1. As I said above, it strikes me as a pretty useless trademark to own, since it would only really be enforceable for the purpose of selling the drink premixed, and why would anyone buy that? You could try and insist that bars shouldn’t use the term but a) you couldn’t possibly enforce it and b) even if you could people would just shrug their shoulders and call it a blanc-cassis.
          But nonetheless it does appear to be a trademark!
            1. Yes I saw that when I did the search that found the article I linked to. On the website they always write it ‘Kir® Royal’ and state that it’s a trademark in France. The idea of buying pre-mixed kir royal is if anything even more disgusting than the idea of buying pre-mixed kir vin blanc!

              Edited at 2021-01-26 10:16 pm (UTC)

  39. Enjoyed this one — just had to ask my wife for help with the revolutionary — she got it immediately.
  40. Would have preferred PEVENSEY even if it is decidedly pacific there, I hear. Biffed KERENSKY from the crossers and was delighted to find out he was indeed revolting some time back. Elsewhere, some well obscured defs and good cryptic devices.
  41. Second day on the trot where, after quite a long struggle, I was short by a couple at the end. This time it was the unknown revolutionary and Echogram. Not sure I would ever have got the Russian, but I had E*h*ram, so I have to count that as a slip on my part. A touch disappointing after having teased out Unplumb and Yoof. CoD to 3d Spent Force, where I had no idea what was going on until the pdm. Invariant
  42. In terms of precision and parsing, combined with level of difficulty, I thought this was the best crossword for a long long time. I really love precision me. Will probably have to wait six months for another though. Mr Grumpy
  43. 29.33. I found this generally tricky as I made my way round the grid and my last two in Kerensky and then Unplumb delayed me for quite some time.
  44. Was just about to comment when the Amazon delivery driver brought some accessories I’d ordered for my computer and a new printer to replace my expired Kodak All in One which had turned into a Scanner only. The accessories included new network cables and cable tidies and a gigabit PCI network card to add redundancy to my desktop machine. I ripped out a pile of redundant cables including the old dialup stuff. You can guess the rest. I was late for my Zoom Folk session and have just realised I didn’t even manage to read all the comments, so I shall read them now and content myself with noting that my LOI was 8d and having laboriously worked it out from wordplay(eventually), I checked it before submitting. Never heard of him(I think). 37:38 with a little self doubt. Thanks setter and Jack.
    On edit: I just remembered I was going to mention Digiboxes, as when satellite TV first appeared, the decoders were analogue, not digital, and were referred to, in the trade, as Set Top Boxes. I used to repair them. I’ve still got a couple of them in the garage/workshop, and the old analogue dish with its LNB is still on the wall outside(disconnected now).

    Edited at 2021-01-26 11:12 pm (UTC)

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