Times Cryptic No 27190, Thursday, 8 November 2018 Second Wave

Not too much to frighten the horses in this one, though a Czech play and a much-loved (by those of a certain age and disposition) comedian might cause a few scratch marks to appear on furrowed brows. Lots of anagrams, and no sneaky hidden make for a pleasant enough workout. Today’s random girl might have just as well been a random chap, perhaps more so, though the reforming Spice Women (surely, by now?) might have something to say about that. I have to acknowledge that I parsed a couple post solve, partly so that I could squeeze in two seconds short of 20 minutes.
One of those crosswords which stirs pleasant memories by association. Clues are presented in italics, definitions underlined, and solutions captalised in BOLD.

1 See terms reorganised as one (8)
SEMESTER A sweet &lit-ish to start with, this version of one term being a reorganisation (that’ll be an anagram, then) of SEE TERMS
5 Meat product in crate (6)
BANGER And a generous (-ish) pair of definitions to follow, a banger being a sausage in the UK (snag in Oz, I believe) and also a dilapidated car.
10 Kind group almost always billets old dog (6,9)
GOLDEN RETRIEVER I believe this is GENRE for kind plus TRI(o) for group almost,  plus EVER for always, with OLD for –um- old inserted towards the front end. Extra points if you took time to work that out.
11 Advocate having second beer brought round (7)
APOSTLE The first (only?) I wasn’t sure of: obviously we have ALE for beer which means second stands for POST. The best I can do is to refer you to post- as a prefix, so war comes first and post-war comes second. Am I missing something obvious? (On edit  Indeed I am: if only I’d put the accent on the second syllable, or checked Chambers “to transfer (an officer) to another post or unit; to transfer (an employee) temporarily to another branch or company, usually to undertake some special task”. Thanks to more perceptive minds below.)
12 Club in weapons collection (7)
A***NAL  Allegedly a football club, should be called Woolwich, where bits of the former royal armaments store still stand
13 Insane expert better after reversal (8)
CRACKPOT I think this is still an acceptable alternative for insane, expert giving CRACK and better reversed giving POT
15 What may constitute hangover goes without beginning (5)
EAVES Goes is LEAVES. Knock off the beginning as instructed.
18 Alumnus, represented at centre, having much to lose? (5)
OBESE O(ld) B(oy), our alumnus, has the middle of represented tacked on
20 Short while back put money into trust (8)
RECENTLY So here back is not a reversal indicator. CENT is money, RELY is trust
23 Let’s not have cold chicken — it’s uncivilised (7)
HEATHEN Look, I don’t make up these definitions or mean anything ungenerous in reporting them. HEAT HEN is given as a charade in the not-definition part of the clue. Any (obviously) civilised heathens please address your pique to the editor, who may tick off the setter if he so chooses.
25 Comedian takes tips from debtors and pays out (7)
UNWINDS “Are you all sitty comftybold two-square on your botty? Then I’ll begin” If you know who that comes from, deep joy! If not, O folly folly! “Professor” Stanley Unwin is the comedian you seek, add both tips from DebtorS. Oh, and here’s a samplode
26 One’s doctrinaire formulation provides review (15)
RECONSIDERATION Ooh, “formulation. An anagram? Indeed, of the first couple of words.
27 Portion to keep dry that remains in pipe (6)
DOTTLE A (small) portion is a direct synonym of DOLE. TT (for teetotal) is dry. Dottle is the (usually disgusting) remains at the bottom of a pipe bowl.
28 Follower died in this place, clutched by worker? (8)
ADHERENT D(ied) and HERE, in this place, are absorbed into the industrious ANT

1 Extraordinary gesture (6)
SIGNAL Two definitions one an adjective, the other a noun.
2 Girl carried round university city (9)
MELBOURNE I’ve worked this out now (it’s not hard) MEL is your random girl (Brooks? Smith? Tormé? Gibson? I fear I can’t spell Giedroyc, which would otherwise help) BORNE is carried, and U(niversity) the insertion.
3 One with doubts about contaminated houses (7)
SCEPTIC C for about, a legitimate abbreviation of circa, housed in SEPTIC for contaminated. Septic for me will always be the pilot from Angels One Five
4 Strange passion arising in midweek? (5)
EERIE Midweek is, of course EE, and IRE the passion “arising” (this is a down clue) therein
6 First-rate paper under discussion (2,5)
AT ISSUE Bless you. A is first rate, TISSUE your paper
7 Assuming soldier is on discharge, briefly (5)
GIVEN …the assumption that the two words are interchangeable, GI, our Stateside soldier takes his place on VEN(t), discharge.
8 Play a record for one loving country (8)
RURALIST Rossums Universal Robots (Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti) is a 1920 play by Karel Čapek, though the title is as we have it here, RUR. It is the origin of the English “robot” and of the much-hyped fear that AI will supplant humans. Oh, add A LIST for a record or you won’t have the rest of the entry
9 Craft loses wings in space above the pond (8)
ATLANTIC It’s arguable that in order to work the pond needs to be Pond, but who’s counting? ATTIC is the space above, LAN a plane with its wings clipped.
14 Hurried round, one in flat being very suspicious (8)
PARANOID Hurried is RAN, round O, and flat encompassing both is PAD. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you (Joseph Heller)
16 One secretly loved Latin — even in translation (9)
VALENTINE Only 98 days away. An anagram (in translation) of LATIN EVEN
17 Made effort to have more between the sheets? (8)
BOTHERED More translates to OTHER, and between the sheets places it in BED. (Very) mildly risqué?
19 Restructuring the loan makes you solvent (7)
ETHANOL Another anagram (restructuring) THE LOAN
21 Movement from English wives in approach to altar (3,4)
NEW  WAVE We had this the last time I was on duty (Artistic movement of green and white horse?). This time it’s E(nglish) plus 2 W(ives) in NAVE, the main body of a church and hence (sort of) the approach to the altar.
22 American clear about Eastern newsgroups system (6)
USENET Precursor to the WWW, still in use though not as much as it was. Cue real IT people telling you how grossly inadequate that definition  is. Sorry. Here, it’s US American, NET clear and E(astern) within.
24 Adoptee supposedly lucky to miss first course (5)
ASCOT A slightly lengthy definition of MASCOT which is to lose its first letter to produce the (race, duh) course.
25 Author in guide regularly making stand (5)
UPEND Fortunately, the author is the generic PEN, enclosed in the (even) letters of gUiDe


*** RSE, might be censored by LJ’s robot.

51 comments on “Times Cryptic No 27190, Thursday, 8 November 2018 Second Wave”

  1. Never heard of the ‘comedian’ Stanley Unwin, but had heard his gibberish somewhere. No clue what was going on with the APOSTLE, so thanks to V for that. Not sure I’d ever heard of USENET, either, looking through the clues again. Definitely the sort of word an IT guy would coin…
  2. Enjoyed your comment about the Gunners, Zed, who my daughter chose to support aged six despite having been brainwashed to support the team that can’t stop beating Juventus. (Away at any rate.)

    Spurs’ new motto should be ‘Build It But They Can’t Come.’

    1. It’s been a while since we’ve sung “Spurs are on their way to Wembley” with any great enthusiasm. We’d much prefer to be gridlocked on the A1010 than gridlocked just off the A406.
  3. Hard work and very enjoyable up to the point at which my solve passed the hour, I ran out of steam and became careless as I just wanted to finish and move on.

    Deep joy indeed to be reminded of Stanley Unwin who drifted into light entertainment and eventually films purely by chance and without design after working for 20 years as a BBC sound engineer. I imagine the age barrier for knowing about him is likely to be around 60 although he was still performing occasionally up to the time of his death in 2002.

    DK RUR or USENET but they had to be. My first piece of carelessness was putting PARANOIC at 14dn which works apart from fulfilling the final bit of wordplay. The second was considering ATRAFTIC as my LOI at 9dn, thinking it might be a scientific word connected with pondlife. I got as far as looking it up to see if it existed and was immediately presented with the obvious correct alternative so I never got a second bite at it.

    On 11ac, although I see where vinyl1 is going with ‘posted’ and ‘seconded’ I’m not entirely convinced the meanings can be applied to ‘post’ and ‘second’ in the same way, but it’s the best explanation we’ve got so far so it’s probably right. At one time in the UK we had first and second posts (i.e. two postal deliveries each day) but that concept has long since been done away with.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 05:37 am (UTC)

    1. I actually thought of PARANOIC first, but rejected it as a non-word (it’s ‘paranoiac’ for me; only afterwards did I check my dictionary and find they both exist).
    2. Secondments are temporary or time-specific postings – this was a frequent occurrence for advisory types posted abroad by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (when I worked at ODA (now DFID) back in the 1980s)
    3. I agree. 11a doesn’t work. Ruined what was otherwise a pretty decent crossword. Mr Grumpy
  4. I don’t know what–or who–made me type in PARANOIA–but I suspect terrorists. Not bothering to parse the clue completely may have also had a hand. RUR shows up every few weeks in the NYT, almost as often as (Mel) OTT and (Bobby) ORR. NHO UNWIN, and judging from Z’s quotelet, I was better off; I’m not about to click on that link. My thanks, too, to V for POST.
    1. Ditto Kevin. By the way I notice you’ve been (ahem) POSTing some rather good times lately. Pipped me at the you-know-what yesterday and today. I hope this doesn’t take me 5 minutes and 4 tries to um post.
      1. Not today, I’m afraid: a bit faster, yes, but also a tad less correct. (I forgot to add my Alec-inspired ‘but’ to the 15:27.)
  5. Only utter unknown was UNWIN. I wasn’t sure about POST, either. But this was a good one, which I was glad to get through fairly quickly, after finishing yesterday’s (late night at the office Tuesday, as the midterm results came in) and before working the last three QCs. Now I’m all caught up!

    Edited at 2018-11-08 06:00 am (UTC)

  6. About 40 mins with toasted fruit loaf (hoorah).
    Well I’m quite pleased with myself for knowing the comedian, the play and the pipe dregs.
    I used to like Stanley Unwin: times were different then.
    Mostly I liked: Restructuring the loan.
    Thanks setter and erudite blog, Z.

    PS Massive eyebrow raise at second=post.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 08:31 am (UTC)

    1. A quick thank you for TLS 1250 – hoorah. The literary reference in 12a made me laugh into my elevenses. JerryW too probably. I enjoyed a similarly welcome and unexpected laugh pre-election in the US when I drove past a lawn sign for our local Congressman named Faso. He was rather unpopular and someone had carefully inserted a large handwritten T into the middle. He lost.
  7. I think I’m coming down with something, which made for a slow start this morning, working my way upwards from a toe-hold in the bottom half. A few unparsed at the time, so thanks for the workings! As it turned out, the only unknown was the play, though I must’ve known it at some point in the past as the robot origin story rang a bell.

    54 minutes in total. Enjoyed 15a EAVES and the heated chicken at 23a.

    Wrote in USENET from the definition while working out the wordplay, but then I was a newsgroup regular back in the day. In fact, it was mostly because the core of uk.misc abandoned USENET for LiveJournal to avoid regular deluges of posts from a PARANOID spammer that I ended up here in the first place…

    Edited at 2018-11-08 08:45 am (UTC)

  8. 36 minutes with NEW WAVE LOI. And we had it a couple of weeks ago when I was preening myself for liking Elvis Costello when I was already well past my prime. I kept thinking it must be something like a pew lane until RECENTLY dawned. I’m always concerned when Sidesman that the love of God celebrated in Communion will manifest itself in a punch-up in the fight to get to the altar rail. DNK the RUR put before ALIST of course, but I doubt if many did. ‘Post’ for ‘second’ does seem a stretch, as was CRACKPOT. I was far too late an adopter to know USENET. But all could be guessed from the crossers. Why UNWINDS means ‘pays out’ still hasn’t hit me, but the memory of Stanley Unwin was sufficiently powerful to remove all doubts. I’ve tried hard to forget him too. A tricky puzzle in places. Thank you Z and setter.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 09:19 am (UTC)

    1. Pay out 2. (transitive)
      to release (a rope) gradually, hand over hand.

      Have you considered CRACKPOT as an adjective (a crackpot/insane idea)? It doesn’t seem a stretch to me in that sense.

      Edited at 2018-11-08 09:23 am (UTC)

      1. It wasn’t adjective or noun that was my hang-up but TOP for better. I was thinking that the TOP is the best, not the better. I guess though that if you topped someone’s performance, you’ve done better than them. I was being dense. Thanks for the pay out clarification.

        Edited at 2018-11-08 10:11 am (UTC)

        1. Yes, SOED has: top (vb) – now chiefly US Sport. Get the better of.
          But I don’t think it’s confined to US sport as suggested.
      2. Re CRACKPOT I think that must have been the intention.

        Edited at 2018-11-08 01:03 pm (UTC)

  9. No problems for this civilised heathen with this one. Didn’t bother to parse 10A “Dog in 6,9 starting G” was enough. Don’t understand POST in 11A. Stanley Unwin used to drive me completely round the bend and back again. Nice blog Z
  10. 27 mins. I remember Unwin and USENET. My old English teacher used to spend half the lessons digging around with a little metal spike in the bowl of his pipe — and so I learned about dottle (and the versification of “Rape of the Lock”). HNO RUR and so that was the only one I didn’t parse. My COD to APOSTLE: nicely tricky and I am fine with second (vb) = post.

    Thanks for great blog, z8b8d8c. And thanks, also, to the setter.

  11. FOI Semester (always nice to get I ac in straight away). LOI Ruralist, because I’d never heard of the play. Golden Retriever I initially just pencilled in, because I couldn’t parse it and had a vague idea there is another type of retriever that fits and which has been my undoing in the past. Had to assume Unwin was a comic, and now I remember. Never found him especially funny – and he nearly ruined an otherwise great album : The Small Faces’ Ogden Nut thingummyjig.
  12. Fine crossword this, much enjoyed. Nice concise clues.
    In 11ac it is post as in second, eg “I was posted/seconded to the HR department.” “We are going to post/second you to the Washington embassy” etc.
    Isn’t DOTTLE a brilliant word? My father was a pipe smoker and I can attest that the word is better than the stuff it represents
  13. 15:04. A few unknowns in this one, notably the crossing comedian and USENET, which caused me some problems. RUR also seemed very unlikely but it obviously had to be a U.
    DOTTLE has come up before, in November 2017 (puzzle 26882). I didn’t remember it while solving today but when I saw what it meant it rang enough of a bell for me to check. Unlike last time today’s wordplay was unambiguous.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 10:44 am (UTC)

  14. 29’something. Didn’t know the play or the comedian, thankfully the latter if the quotation is anything to go by. Or Usenet, come to that. All neat enough if not perhaps quite as nifty as yesterday’s.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 10:57 am (UTC)

  15. Nice to see ASCOT appear in conjunction with MELBOURNE after the weekend British whitewashing of Australia’s finest horses.

    Alas, I wasn’t at the races, and a DNF today. After 14 minutes I was left with 9/14D, and although I nailed PARANOID after a further two minutes, it was a case of “I wish I could but it’s too late” (thanks for today’s earworm Ozzy) and I remained defeated by ATLANTIC after 20 minutes.

    I was one of thousands who didn’t get the “post” this morning (nothing to do with Royal Mail for once), and I biffed USENET.

    LOI PARANOID, but of course I was left with ATLANTIC unsolved.

  16. The main problem I had with this puzzle was trying to get it to submit after I’d completed it. I must have hit submit 8 times (and opened another browser which came up blank but with a time of 31:56 and counting) before I managed to get it to work in the original browser. Luckily it only added 4 seconds to my original stop time of 31:38. It took me ages to get my LOI, APOSTLE, mainly because I’d managed to type SCEPTIC as SCEPIIC. I knew the verbally challenged “Professor” and DOTTLE. Didn’t know RUR, but it couldn’t be anything else. Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Z.
  17. DNF in 36:12. One error. Like jackkt my LOI was ATRAFTIC. I made a quick start to this but then ground to a halt. As soon as I pressed submit and the two pink letters appeared I saw the correct answer.

    I didn’t know RUR or USENET and couldn’t work out POST. Having clicked on the link I see that I have unfortunately come across UNWIN before, (I’m 57 but I didn’t know his name), and I would query the definition, “comedian”. I would have gone for “Annoying Garbler”!

  18. What Sherlock used to do (combine all the remains of the previous day’s pipes and smoke them) turned 221B into a toxic air quality area. Poor Mrs. Hudson.

    I was very slow to see BOTHERED but otherwise no problems although I didn’t know Unwin either. 17.28

    Again I’ve been having trouble loading Live Journal – I know it’s not just me because Falooker said she was having the same problem yesterday.

  19. Tackled in leisurely fashion while watching the Test from Galle, which meant I was already in rather a good mood, and this puzzle did nothing to change that. Plenty of less run-of-the-mill stuff, which needed more thought to conjure up, but, once spotted, happily met my definition of “general” knowledge.
  20. Another completed with no help from anyone. Either I’m improving or…
    No extra points for GOLDEN RETRIEVER I’m afraid. Nothing controversial, but a COD to OBESE as someone with something here to lose (or at least so my wife says)
  21. 10m 56s with fingers mightily crossed for APOSTLE. Despite poring over it for a while, the alternative pronunciation of ‘second’ didn’t occur to me at all.

    Like others, RUR was unknown to me and Stanley Unwin a vague notion at best. Having now seen some of his work, I’m not convinced I’ll be seeking out more.

  22. This was on course to be my best time ever, by miles. Would have been 23:53 had I not unbelievably written in PARANOIC – clearly I need to slow down! Guessed DOTTLE from the checkers, and did not know RUR. Biffed GOLDEN RETRIEVER – really couldn’t be bothered to parse that one!!
  23. Is ‘second’, then, not a form of DBE here? (Not that I mind in the least, I hasten to add.) Secondment is a kind of posting, but posting is not a kind of secondment.
    1. I would say no, since there are examples as given where the words are substitutable .. nor do I much care, tbh. I always prefer to cut setters a little slack.
  24. Very nice offering with neat clueing. Some nifty definitions going on here and there.

    23a v. amusing. I’m a heathen and not necessarily uncivilised, but if my dictionary chooses to insult me in that particular regard, I’ve had it. 3d 9d 19d too.

    Good puzzle, and thoroughly amusing blog from z8 too, for which many thanks.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 01:10 pm (UTC)

  25. I was on the finishing straight with only 18a & 17d still to solve, but hadn’t previously come upon OTHER = “more” so instead I found myself plumping for FATHERED at 17d on a dual meaning of both siring offspring and simply making determined efforts (e.g. Thomas Edison *fathering* his various inventions). I then had an incorrect starting crosser (an A) at 18a which prevented me from seeing OBESE so rather annoyingly it’s a DNF for me.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 01:29 pm (UTC)

    1. I rather smudged my way over the equivalence myself, but Chambers has “additional” under both other and (unsurprisingly) more. “These and other issues will be discussed for as long as we can be bothered.”
  26. One and a half hours to complete. Biffed GOLDEN RETRIEVER, APOSTLE, UNWINDS, RURALIST and guessed DOTTLE and USENET from wordplay. A few checkers seem to make all the difference to my solving time. LOI 9d ATLANTIC…very clever.

    Edited at 2018-11-08 01:39 pm (UTC)

  27. Well, it wasn’t quick and it wasn’t pretty but I got there in the end.

    Slightly raised eyebrow at the inclusion of the random comedian – I can’t imagine too many people under 50 will remember him – but there were sufficient checkers to help the confused.

    Since I haven’t signed in here for a while, belated congratulations to all who took part in the Championship – I can only dream …..

    Time: 50 minutes.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.


  28. Comedian to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory ? (5)

    I never found him remotely funny when he was popular.

    1. Like the clue!

      My impression was that the (even) older Stanley Unwin was himself not that keen on being wheeled out to do his party piece. “We only keep him on out of cruelty” (ISIRTA). The parallels with Spike are, perhaps, instructive.

  29. Okay puzzle today, with my only unknowns being the comedian and RUR. The crossing letters helped solve those clues, and otherwise not much to say. Around 20 minutes or so. Regards.
  30. Thirty-three minutes for this one, after a week spent on the wrong continent which completely interfered with any attempts at puzzling.

    I quite enjoyed this slow, steady solve and was pleased to see Prof. Unwin visiting from a gentler age. I can’t, alas, claim the extra points on offer for parsing GOLDEN RETRIEVER, which seems to be far too much trouble to assemble from the kit of parts.

  31. It’s been a jolly afternoon. I spent it singing along to Britten’s War Requiem (choir practice tonight!) then I come here to find you lot disparaging Stanley Unwin. The link Z posted is pretty dire, but at his best he was brilliant. It was a slowish but steady solve for me with everything except APOSTLE fully parsed. Thanks for the explanation of POST. I wasted a bit of time on 13 across trying to find a definition that would fit PROCURED (expert better). 33 minutes. Ann
  32. Unwin must have been some kind of genius. But I’m sure he slowed down a few of us today!

    Really enjoyed the solve today, and the blog was rather witty too.

  33. Home late and three sheets to the wind after a very entertaining quiz (rounds included rivers, the 12th word in popular song lyrics and Prime Ministers who have also served as Chancellors of the Exchequer) followed by a session in the pub. The puzzle took me 35:10 at lunchtime so nice and steady solving. DNK dottle or Usenet but wp was clear, DNK RUR but def. ruralist was clear. I also failed to see the correct pronunciation of second but advocate and beer brought round were enough to get 11ac. Oh, and I knew who Stanley Unwin was too.

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