Times Cryptic 27944

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

This must have been easy because I completed it in 23 minutes, 7 within my target half-hour.

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 Reportedly go stealthily after a wading bird (5)
STORK : Sounds like “stalk” (go stealthily after)
4 Position of titled person touring Eton by car (9)
BARONETCY : Anagram [touring] of ETON BY CAR
9 Articles by retired chap about Brussels club? (9)
ATHENAEUM : A + THE (articles), then MAN (chap) reversed [retired] containing [about] EU (Brussels). The London club was founded in 1824.
10 Rough path taking zigzag course across river (5)
TRACK : TACK (zigzag course – yachting) containing [across] R (river)
11 Badger about to leave African capital by ship (6)
HARASS : HARA{re} (African capital – of Zimbabwe) [about – re – to leave], SS (ship). I’m constantly irritated by UK newsreaders and pundits saying ‘haRASS’ and ‘haRASSment’.
12 Touchy about curtailed party a mockery! (8)
TRAVESTY : TESTY (touchy – irritable) containing [about] RAV{e} (party) [curtailed]
14 Fussy    detail (10)
PARTICULAR : Two meanings
16 Research establishment backing a Welsh lake (4)
BALA : LAB (research establishment) reversed [backing], A. I know of this lake only from crosswords.
19 Chinese currency your aunt regularly used (4)
YUAN : Y{o}U{r} A{u}N{t} [regularly used]. The basic unit.
20 Youth‘s rise incorporating state benefit (10)
ADOLESCENT : ASCENT (rise) containing [incorporating] DOLE (state benefit – colloquial)
22 Classical composer namely Parry, perhaps? (8)
SCHUBERT : SC (namely – scilicet), HUBERT (Parry, perhaps). Parry’s most famous and enduring composition must surely be his setting of Jerusalem.
23 A songbird, or a couple of bovines, do we hear? (6)
BULBUL : Sounds like [do we hear] “bull, bull” [couple of bovines]. Never ‘eard of it! We don’t get them round these ‘ere parts.
26 Girl‘s ultimately regretful feeling (5)
LAURA : {regretfu}L [ultimately], AURA (feeling). Random.
27 Spiritless detainee an Italian leader imprisoned (9)
INANIMATE : INMATE (detainee) containing [with…imprisoned] AN + I{talian} [leader]
28 E.g. James Stuart,    an indulger in make-believe? (9)
PRETENDER : Two definitions, the first – of course – by example. James Francis Edward Stuart (1688–1766), “the Old Pretender”, claimant to the thrones of England and Scotland.
29 Devout head of Giggleswick strangely lacking in heart (5)
GODLY : G{iggleswick} [head], OD{d}LY (strangely) [lacking in heart]. Giggleswick’s former residents included Richard Whiteley, late and best ever host of Countdown, and Russell Harty, ITV’s answer to Michael Parkinson.
1 Cheerfully casual friends from south very quietly lying in cut grass (4-5)
SLAP-HAPPY : PALS (friends) reversed [from south], then PP (very quietly) contained by [lying in] HAY (cut grass)
2 Alternative books originally recommended by governor (5)
OTHER : OT (books – Old Testament], HE (governor – His Excellency), R{ecommended} [originally]. I think by convention ‘A by B’ can be ‘BA’ (as here) or ‘AB’. Perhaps someone knows for sure?
3 Position of top man back at last in grand vessel (8)
KINGSHIP : {bac}K [at last], IN, G (grand), SHIP (vessel)
4 Brought up cash for speaker? (4)
BRED : Sounds like [for speaker] “bread” (cash – slang for money)
5 Striking, like schoolwork submitted a second time? (10)
REMARKABLE : A straight definition  plus a cryptic hint leading to RE-MARKABLE
6 Indigenous trees primarily planted in green (6)
NATIVE : T{rees} [primarily] contained by [planted in] NAIVE (green – inexperienced)
7 Change coaches delayed leaving India (9)
TRANSLATE : TRA{i}NS (coaches) [leaving India – I], LATE (delayed)
8 Disgusting yobs upsetting kindly Kent youths at first (5)
YUKKY : Y{obs}, U{psetting}, K{indly}, K{ent}, Y{ouths} [at first]
13 Precocious child supported by family in outskirts of Watford (10)
WUNDERKIND : UNDER (supported by) + KIN (family) contained by [in] W{atfor}D [outskirts]. WD also happens to be Watford’s postcode.
15 A door she used at first moving around wayside inn (9)
ROADHOUSE : Anagram [moving around] of A DOOR SHE U{sed}[at first]
17 Holding line, it rarely disturbed gunners (9)
ARTILLERY : Anagram [disturbed] of IT RARELY containing [holding] L [line]
18 Presumptuous fool with posh Chinese porcelain (8)
ASSUMING : ASS (fool), U (posh), MING (Chinese porcelain)
21 Wear down painter finally settled in Lincoln (6)
ABRADE : RA (painter) + {settle}D [finally) contained by [settled in] ABE (Lincoln)
22 Slosh around a county bordering on Wales once (5)
SALOP : SLOP (slosh) containing [around] A. It’s an old name for Shropshire.
24 Specific type of dramatic poem Ibsen wrote (5)
BRAND : Two meanings
25 Just a tree outside (4)
FAIR : FIR (tree) containing [outside] A

123 comments on “Times Cryptic 27944”

  1. Easy, all right, although my last two, BRAND & BULBUL, gave me trouble. I couldn’t get past cow and ox for bovines, until I finally got the B. Only knew BALA from a recent Mephisto. DNK PARRY. For a rhoticist like me, STORK was anything but obvious, and I needed all the checkers before I could come up with it. I liked HARASS.
    1. Agreed. Pretty straightforward apart from the dodgy homophone at 1 across.
        1. It’s in my blog so I didn’t need to be told, but it wouldn’t be the first time that an anon anon posted a comment without apparently reading anything that’s gone before!
          1. Sorry, Jack, I was hoping my sarcasm would be more evident! (In my more optimistic moments–few and far between–I like to think that there is just one obtuse Anon who supplies us with all the redundant explanations.)
            1. No worries, Kevin, and I assumed something of the sort but just thought I’d get my dig in too.
  2. All very easy but SALOP, BULBUL, BRAND, BRED, HUBERT, and STORK (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) held me up considerably.
    1. You live in New Yawk, no? I imagine some of your fellow-residents wouldn’t find the stork/stalk pair that different. (Not really relevant, but I just remembered seeing a Virginian (Piedmont?) explain the difference between ‘oil’ and ‘all’; to these ears, there was none.)

      Edited at 2021-04-06 02:42 am (UTC)

      1. In parts of New Yawk it would surely be “stawk” where you can clearly hear the W. In those same parts I believe “oil” and “earl” may be indistinguishable.
        1. Wait a second: 1) which would be ‘stawk’? stork or stalk?; b) you can’t hear a W; try it. I suspect, without evidence I grant you, that for those speakers whose ‘oil’ and ‘earl’ are to us indistinguishable, they aren’t. Like the Virginian with ‘oil’ and ‘all’.
  3. I was familiar with the name of our avian friend, but wouldn’t know one if I saw or heard one. We get the Red-whiskered (v. descriptive term) variety down here as an introduced species. Previous crosswords helped with the two ‘Welsh’ clues.

    Guilty as charged for ‘harASS,’ but I don’t feel so bad as the OED gives both pronunciations for British and US English.

    My knowledge of Ibsen’s works is sadly lacking (? they’re a bit gloomy, but what would I know) so the second bit of the double def for BRAND held me up at the end for a 24 minute solve.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

    1. How are you on Febyuary? I just looked at ODE and found that it’s “now the norm, especially in spontaneous speech, and is fast becoming the accepted standard.” I’m definitely out of the loop.
      1. I hear a lot of FebUerry around here but can’t complain because with me it seems to come out Febri.
        1. Having looked up ‘harass’ in ODE, it occurred to me to look up ‘February’, because over the last few years I’d been hearing TV newscasters and such saying what sounded to me like ‘Febyuary’, and I couldn’t believe it when I read ODE’s ‘usage note’ that I quoted from. To me (I hope mauefw isn’t reading this) ‘Febyuary’ was as illiterate as ‘liberry’ (now I’m afraid to look up ‘library’). So as I said, I’m out of the loop.
          1. As far as I’m concerned the first R in February is and has always been silent. I don’t really understand how a particular pronunciation can be deemed ‘illiterate’.

            Edited at 2021-04-06 02:58 pm (UTC)

  4. I don’t recall finishing in under 10 minutes for a while so as Jack says this must have been on the easier side. I did have two nagging doubts on submitting though. Firstly I didn’t get the Ibsen reference for BRAND but the definition seemed clear enough so I hoped I was just lacking the knowledge for that one. As for SCHUBERT I had no idea what was going on thinking that the Parry reference was going to be something to do with sword fencing. I also hadn’t remembered SC for namely, but I’m aware that does crop up sometimes so I’ll commit that to memory until I forget it again.
  5. 22 minutes with LOI BULBUL, biffed once I ventured BRAND as a specific type and an Ibsen poem I didn’t know. Ray Parry used to play for Bolton, and Stephen Parry for Lancashire, but I only remembered Hubert after mental fight and seeing SCHUBERT. I’ll have Jerusalem and a Platters ear worm all day now. Thank you Jack and setter.
  6. …unless I’m left with -A-A for a Welsh lake.
    Not my cup of tea. 25 min struggle.
    Thanks setter and J.
    1. It very probably has come up here before, but I think I knew (or thought I knew…) this because I’ve heard of the town in the Welsh part of Pennsylvania called Bala Cynwyd, and somewhere I heard that “Bala” meant “lake.” But—and I just looked this up—it’s actually the name of a specific lake in Wales, which the US town was named after before joining with the neighboring Cynwyd. “The Welsh word bala,” I read (Wikipedia, of course), “refers to the outflow of a lake.”

      Edited at 2021-04-06 04:28 pm (UTC)

  7. Nearly 50 years on and Paddy McGuinness can spend an entire edition of Top Gear telling us that Bolton’s in Lancashire. And he’s right!
  8. 14′, ni re Ibsen. Wasn’t sure of BULBUL, isn’t there a poem about a bulbul emir? STORK a horrible homophone.

    Thanks jack and setter.

    1. Oh it’s a mondegreen of a music hall song, and bulbul is Arabic for nightingale.
    2. When they wanted a man to encourage the van
      Or to harass the foe in the rear
      Or to take a redoubt they would always send out
      For Abdulla Bulbul Ameer.

      (NB: HARass)

      1. Thanks for posting the lyric, Kevin, and Rob for mentioning the song. Those aware of my interest in such material may be surprised that I didn’t post a link to a YouTube clip, however since the lyric and therefore the title got changed by repeated error over the years (to Abdul Abulbul Amir) I was unable to find an example illustrating today’s word. However I have now found one (not very good and it takes a moment to get going). Incidentally the word ‘harass’ appears in an early verse and the singer stresses both syllables.
          1. Thanks, Wil. The link was posted when I got to it so someone else must have obliged. I know this recording as it’s in my LP collection on a ‘Best of…’ album. I love hearing the story told in the Lancashire accent and I like the way Skellern multi-tracked all his own harmonies. I was a big fan back in the day, only really disliking the song that brought him to fame.
            1. You didn’t like “You’re a Lady”? It was so evocative.I had a vacation job at the Municipal Gardens, Southport selling tickets for the brass band concerts. That mournful sound brings back memories too of my grandparents on sunny Sunday afternoons, while the Kinks would be playing about similar subject matter on the tranny when I got home. I’d like both brass and rock bands at my funeral. Mind you, my favourite Skellern is Still Magic. It’s still tragic.
              1. I agree the ‘sound’ of Your’e A Lady is great and very evocative (I love the whole LP he made with the Grimethorpe band) but the lyric makes me cringe, I’m afraid, so that I can’t listen to the song any more.
      2. I would like this twice if I could.. Abdul the Bulbul Amir .. is how I remember it, I will leave the others to give youtube links but happy days 🙂
    3. I didn’t have a problem with STORK and STALK sounding identical — maybe it’s because I’m a (saaf) Londoner
    4. Abdul Abulbul Amir is the song, so actually nothing to do with the bird, so far as I am aware.
      1. The song as written by Percy French was ‘Abdulla Bulbul Ameer’ which later got changed to the one you quote – don’t know why but I suspect it was a misspelling that got repeated. Wiki advises: Percy French wrote the song in 1877 for a smoking concert while studying at Trinity College Dublin. It was likely a comic opera spoof. “Pot Skivers” were the chambermaids at the college, thus Ivan “Potschjinski” Skivar would be a less than noble prince, and as Bulbul is an Arabic dialectic name of the nightingale, Abdul was thus a foppish “nightingale” amir (prince).
  9. Just a further note on SALOP. In 1972 county’s name was changed from Shrewsbury to Salop as a result of Grocer Heath’s Local Government Act. This was the legislation that buggered around with several historical county names and boundaries and sought to abolish some completely, including Rutland and my home county Middlesex. The Salop decision was reversed in 1980 and the Rutland one was never fully implemented, but Middlesex was lost except in the minds of locals. However I was pleased to note a couple of years ago when making a rare visit back, an official sign on the road leaving Hertfordshire saying ‘County of Middlesex’.
  10. …a PB by some margin!
    I was on track for an even quicker time but Ibsen stalled me. With the checkers in place (I know the Bulbul) I just took a stab at BRAND.
  11. 10:38 Anyone else for CUCKOO as the songbird? I had to think again when I found ARTILLERY. Off to see my daughter LAURA shortly. COD to SCHUBERT.
    1. A koo is definitely bovine north of Hadrian’s wall:
      “Upon the hill I saw a koo,
      It must have gone, it’s not there noo.”
  12. Another quick time (for me) of 12.54 wrecked by an unspotted typo. In capitals, Y and T can pass for each other to my fuzzy eyesight, and so they did.
    I pronounce HARASS any dam’ way I choose. But I’ll concede that STAWK is pushing it. I’m pretty sure I (almost imperceptibly) pronounce the L when I’m out detectiving, but as with orl near homophones, it helps if you’re slightly deaf.
    I felt smug (a bit) for remembering that Parry was Hubert, brought down to earth by not knowing that Ibsen’s Brand was originally a poem.
    I wouldn’t spell YUKKY that way.
  13. I see quite a few dodgy homophone claims for STORK and STALK. I can confirm that pronounced properly (that is in Estuary English) they sound identical.
    1. I confess I find these objections to homophones like this pretty baffling. Sure not everyone pronounces them the same (rhotic speakers, notably), but in many English accents — including notably the one you will hear in the home city of the Times — they are completely identical.

      Edited at 2021-04-06 08:55 am (UTC)

  14. As a postscript, I looked up Brand to find out what sort of poem it was: it is proper poetry: the words don’t reach the edge of the page and as far as I can tell they rhyme in Norwegian, sometimes AA BB, sometimes ABAB. I found a 1913 version of it in English: the effort to reproduce the poetry is undoubtedly worthy, but often has hilarious results.
  15. 4:57. Definitely an easy one today. Some tricky stuff but the easy bits of the clue (‘bull bull’, ‘classical composer’/S_H_B_R_, ‘specific type’) were always sufficiently easy that I could just ignore the difficult bits (BULBUL, Parry’s Christian name, Ibsen) and bung in the answers.
    I pronounce ‘harass’ and ‘harassment’ with the emphasis on the second syllable and always have. ‘Harassment’ with the emphasis on the first syllable is still reasonable common but I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone say ‘harass’ that way. Not that it would bother me if I did!

    Edited at 2021-04-06 07:59 am (UTC)

    1. I say it with the first syllable dominant. I find it more calming. I also prefer not to have my pronunciation set by Michael Crawford, who I think popularised your way in Some Mothers do ‘ave ‘em. So maybe you will hear it at The George later this year!
      1. I sincerely hope so!
        I have no conscious preference either way: it’s just how I pronounce it.
  16. I found this slightly more difficult than others, taking around 45mins. Stuck in the end on SCHUBERT (never parsed, thanks J), BRAND, BULBUL and ABRADE. Had friends once who lived in SALOP so no probs there. COD HARASS. Can’t wait for AN’s wrath!

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  17. 10.10 so my best for yonks. I assume that means some spectacular times will be recorded. Nice puzzle, generously clued- I’m not complaining.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  18. Despite STORK being my LOI, stork and stalk sound identical in my North Eastern accent, so I’m unsure as to why it took me so long to get the answer. I think it was the hanging A that threw me. I was sure A was going to be the first letter and was looking for a 4 letter word for go stealthily to make a bird. OTHER was my FOI. SCHUMANN was my first biff at 22a, but I couldn’t parse him and then remembered Mr Jerusalem. BULBUL was unknown, and derived from wordplay. I did think of the song and wondered if it had any relevance. BRAND was put in from checkers and the first definition as I didn’t know Ibsen’s poem. Knew SALOP, so no problem there. An enjoyable puzzle. 19:10. Thanks setter and Jack.

    Edited at 2021-04-06 10:07 am (UTC)

  19. Some tricky references – BULBUL, ATHENAEUM, Hubert Parry – but not too tricky overall: 6m 9s for me. Given the relative obscurities, the generosity of the ‘Chinese’ in 19a was unexpected, especially given that the cryptic for that one was very easy.

    I would always pronounce harass with the emphasis on the second syllable, I’m afraid. What I get more frustrated by is people pronouncing WUNDERKIND with the English W sound rather than the German.

        1. Why? Where do you draw the line? How about the final D? which is [t] not [d] (in German, that is, not in English). I mean, I don’t see why, if W frustrates you, you shouldn’t go on to be frustrated by D.
          1. If we’re delving into this, I’d say that the W difference is more pronounced than the D difference or the U difference, which is why it would bother me more. Or, taking another example, I don’t love it when I hear ‘kindergarden’, but it’s better than if someone said ‘kinder-garden’ as those words as pronounced in English.
            1. But why are you bothered in the first place? (I don’t think I understand what you mean in comparing the 3 differences. [d] is contrastive with [t] in English, and so are [u] and [U]. [w] and [v] aren’t, and in some cases, like some foreign accents or earlier Cockney, are equivalent.) I’ve never heard ‘kindergarten’ pronounced (in English) with a [t] (mind you, I’m American).
              1. The reason I’m bothered in the first place is, I guess, the same reason that anyone gets rankled by hearing words mispronounced. I don’t think that marks me out as particularly unusual, does it?
                1. Mispronounced? So far as I can tell, by ‘mispronounced’ you mean ‘pronounced differently from me’.
                  1. No, no! Differently from the dictionary. And me. And the Germans, I guess. But mostly I’m trusting to Chambers, here.
                    1. Game set and match to you I think? Well done for sticking to your guns despite the brethren on here ganging up on you. They tend to do that when someone sticks their head above the parapet.

                      And I just LOVE the coup de grace of quoting Chambers at them, and saving it until last. Hoist by their own petard. . .

                      1. I see two people with differing points of view having a discussion. How exactly is that ‘the brethren ganging up’ on someone?
                        1. Ok, not ‘ganging up’ in this instance. But I’ve noticed that it does tend to happen on here-albeit unintentionally I’m sure. Someone pipes up with a reasonable point and they get the dictionary thrown at them.

                          I just felt in this instance it was good to see a contributor who’s not as intimidated, as I suspect many of us mere mortals are, when we decide to not bother contributing. And to see Chambers used as the trump card was particularly satisfying.

  20. A speedy 14m, with fingers crossed for the unknowns BULBUL and BRAND, a shrug for the unparsed SCHUBERT and some combo of shot in the dark and unreliable memory for BALA.
  21. 19m today, so a rare sub-20. Born and raised near Market Drayton so SALOP a write-in. A pleasant solve so, thank you, setter, and Jack, for the ever-helpful blog.
  22. I’m always pleased to complete especially without aids.
    Difficult enough for me and the old trick of going off to do some housework (which always seems to induce a PDM ) worked for me.
    Biffed BULBUL (NHO) , pleased that I saw 22ac.
    I had an outward bound weekend when young at Lake Bala.
    Thank you as always to blogger and setter.
  23. Absolutely no idea what was going on with SCHUBERT — understood neither part of the cryptic — pencilled in from the last two checkers.

    The other I bit my lip over was BRAND — obscure Ibsen work presumably.

    The rest was pretty comfortable.

  24. How does UNDER mean supported by? Being supported by would mean OVER, wouldn’t it?
    1. I thought there’d be an easy explanation for this, but I admit I’m struggling to come up with it. Perhaps someone else can oblige?
      1. I read it as ‘under the wing’ or ‘under the aegis’ of, which seemed fine at the time but now I’m far from sure it works.
        1. Yes, I was along similar lines whilst solving, but having been challenged by Anon it didn’t stand up to closer examination.
      2. I read it as under = supporting (as in an underpinning), then new phrase family = kin. If it had been an across clue that would still work, but wouldn’t have caused confusion.
  25. 21’26” but when faced with a Welsh lake -A-A , I plumped for the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Farnborough as the research facility, giving EARA as a plausible Welsh lake.
    (I would not choose British geography as my special subject in Mastermind). The simpler ‘lab’ alternative didn’t come to mind until the pink squares appeared.
  26. What is the problem with ‘stalk’ and ‘stork’? To me they are exact homophones.
  27. Definitely on the easier side but an enjoyable solve nevertheless. Schubert was COD for me and I had no problem with Stork. Is there still a margarine of that name?

    Thanks to Jackkt and setter.

  28. Lots of birdlife in our garden during lockdown but nary a bulbul in sight, so that wasn’t in my lexicon. Once I’d recovered the Ibsen from the lumber-room of my memory, it was pretty guessable, at least. This came after I went down a blind alley of nostalgia remembering the early days of the internet, when the tech company Tucows was a name you saw everywhere.

    Because of the holiday season, I am convinced it’s still Monday, and this puzzle, while pleasant, obviously did little to dissuade me from that.

  29. There are quite a few bulbul species in Africa and Asia. In South Africa, they tend to have a conspicuous yellow patch. I won’t tell you where the patch is, but the Afrikaans nickname for the bird is ‘bottergat’, anglicised as ‘butterbum’.
  30. FOI slap happy. The top half went in remarkably quickly, then the SE except for bulbul and brand, then the SW. I’d had cuckoo earlier but red squares forced a rethink. Bulbul took a long time coming, and brand was a complete biff as nho. Very pleased to finish a 15 x 15 relatively quickly — the timer said 53 mins odd, but solving was interrupted by a Tesco delivery and lunch. Both of these might actually have been helpful as I may have been processing meanwhile. If I had stared at the grid for 53 mins perhaps I would still be staring. LO’sI then, bulbul and brand. COD — all of them, I enjoyed the lot. Thanks, Jack, for the blog, and setter for the entertainment. GW.
  31. ….BULBUL (NHO) about 1A, where, try as I may, I cannot pronounce either word differently. But then I were born in God’s Own Country, and transferred across the Pennines at an early stage, so ‘appen owt’s possible.

    Nobody has mentioned the grid display changes, so maybe they’re peculiar to Smartphones. On the upside, I can now see the whole grid (or considerably more of it on a Jumbo), which makes checking easier, and the problems of slow response and incorrect movement have gone. On the downside, the smaller keyboard is a pig, and the “submit” button is too close to the “next clue” arrow. I was offered submit four times before I really wanted it !

    TIME 7:12

  32. Just finished it off after having to abort this morning. Nice to see local places on here BALA and SALOP both just down the road. LOI BRAND no idea about Ibsen whatsoever.
  33. It had to be, but I checked for the definitional connection before writing it in.
    Yeah, pretty easy. But 83 comments! I’ll scan them all now…
  34. Given ever-decreasing speed of letters appearing on my screen (reminder to self: update from my dinosaur system), seemed relatively speedy but then I see so many others recording PBs. Nothing exceptional and some slightly arcane wordplay references. Went to the Schools (oddly plural) in Shrewsbury so SALOP no issue, and BULBUL familiar. No prob with Stalk/Stork as I come from near the pottery town of similar sound… (or not).
  35. Reasonably quick today — just had no idea about the Ibsen poem nor the Jerusalem composer — but easy enough to biff.
    Nice to see my Dad’s school get a mention — he grew up exactly halfway between Giggleswick and Wigglesworth — in the beautiful Ribble valley.
    1. You will note from a post lower down that my Dad was a Yorkshireman — but he had the good sense to move to the correct side o’t’hills.
  36. I saw a couple of minor gripes from the old lags about anonymous posts. I’ve occasionally commented anonymously in the past, but rarely, and not today. I do drop in most days to find out by how many multiples I’ve been slower to reach the solution than some of the regulars here. Today, I’m glad to say, I have a rather satisfying (to me) 1.5 times the blogger, not a PB by any means, but better than usual. I always enjoy finding out how to parse those answers I’ve shoe-horned in and there are always some entertaining comments to read. So thanks to everyone for that. If I’ve ever anything useful to add, it will be under my new moniker, never again cloaked in anonymity.
    1. Welcome Norm0 – and now you can select a user-pic if you wish.

      Old lags won’t gripe about anons as long as they put a name of some sort (real or made-up) at the end their postings. And even then they’re unlikely to receive an adverse comment unless they come here only to post negative stuff.

      Edited at 2021-04-06 08:24 pm (UTC)

  37. I agree with most of the above, except that I pronounce Harass with the emphasis on the first syllable — that seems to go better with the easiest (only?) pronunciation of its cousin, Harry.
    1. Apparently not: according to Chambers harass is from an Old French word for inciting a dog, whereas harry is a from an Old English word for army.
      1. OED seems to think the two meanings ran together in middle English

        Harass — French harasser (1562 in Godefroy) ‘to tire or toyle out, to spend or weaken, wearie or weare out by ouertoyling; also, to vex, disquiet, importune, harrie, hurrie, turmoile, torment’ (Cotgrave); perhaps a derivative form of Old French harer to set a dog on

        Harry — In Middle English the native word [as noted, related to army] may have run together with Old French harier, herier, herrier, in same sense.

        1. Interesting (I love the OED) but I would say that makes them less cousins and more a mid-life fling!
  38. Middlesex survives, of course, as one of the two stations taken by the crews at the start of the Boat Race. Not this year though.
  39. at 23ac was my WOD as they are the most common bird to be found in the gardens of suburban west Shanghai. They have the sweetest song at this time of year, and an attractive little, white eye-flash under their crest.

    FOI ATHANAEUM – home to Sir Harry Luke, the man who wrote over sixty books, including a very decent cook book, but still has no biographer!

    LOI 29ac GODLY and Creme

    COD 8dn YUKKY!

    Time 25 minutes in a taxi; then a delicious luncheon at ‘Vesta’ off Fuxing Lu, Pusi; with a further 7 minutes in a taxi heading back to Bulbul-land.

    Edited at 2021-04-06 05:40 pm (UTC)

  40. I found this remarkably easy until I reached the last two which I couldn’t complete. Bulbul and brand were somewhere in my subconscious so went in easily enough. I’ve sung Jerusalem so many times (mostly while drunk) that Parry’s name was well known.
    However, I couldn’t work out what ‘after a’ was doing in 1ac. Even so, I should have seen it. Also in 3dn, was completely thrown by ‘in’ being a write in; was trying to fit k in a grand vessel. Oh well.
    Thanks to blogger and setter and commenters for your wonderful stream of comments, reminders of old songs, bizarre old adverts and all round entertainment.
  41. Having pulled up short by about half a dozen yesterday, I was relieved to finish today, thereby confirming just how easy it was. Even then, I thought I was going to end up be a couple short — Bulbul was completely unknown, and so I was sorely tempted with a stab at Tubull, until I finally realised that the grossly unfair, unknown Ibsen poem was also a perfectly reasonable ‘specific type’, aka Brand, so Bulbul it had to be. 21ac Abrade also needed more than a few minutes careful thought. If this carries on, I might be tempted to start timing myself again. Invariant

    Edited at 2021-04-06 05:58 pm (UTC)

  42. All very easy apart from the BULBUL/BRAND crossers which caused a good deal of head scratching. ABRADE also suffered from the Hokey-Cokey (in out in out) before I trusted the w/p whilst I also dithered over FAIR as for some reason that particular tree seems to elude me.

    Off to watch the footie with son on some get-together-on-BT-sport thing so pleased this one wasn’t a beast

    Thanks Jackkt and setter

  43. 37 minutes, but only because I was so tired and so annoyed about the BULBUL-BRAND crossing (neither of which I have ever heard of) that I decided to just leave them in and submit, rather than spending years pondering more likely alternatives. I am not fond of puzzles which are VERY easy and then finish with two very special and exotic crossing entries. Somehow the setter hasn’t put his heart into it, if that’s all (s)he can come up with.
  44. 18.55. I paused like others over brand and bulbul but once the bird went in brand seemed pretty clear. Needed an alphabet trawl to find a better answer than blew at 4dn. I had an Abdulla Bulbul Ameer earworm post-solve. I’m pretty sure given my age that this came down to me from the Whitbread advert. Such a pleasure to listen to the song in the various links posted above as it is in the advert and then the Peter Skellern version which I didn’t know.
  45. Wow, a triple record-breaker today …
    … as i finished this in 19 minutes. This is a personal best (something that has happened several times before), faster than our blogger (which I think has happened once before), and faster also than it took me to read the considerable number of comments (which I don’t think has ever happened before!).

    Good fun all round, and for the record I side with those that say HARass, and that can’t tell the difference in sound between Stork and Stalk.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  46. It’s certainly very bad news
    Now the birds are arriving in twos
    I’ve had quite enough
    Of this avian stuff
    It really does give one the blues

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