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Time: 19 Minutes

Music: Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition, Joselson

Well, this was an easy Monday for me, but lurking at the back of my mind was a suspicion that not everyone will agree.   Long-time solvers will have seen 'buckram', 'Chateaubriand', and 'thimblerigger' before, but that may not be the case with everyone - we shall see.    I am not sure how helpful the wordplay might have been, since I mostly just plugged in the evident answers.    The only thing I had never heard of was 'scabious', but in this case the wordplay is perfectly obvious, and the checkers confirm what the answer must be.  

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting with our Friday blogger Verlaine in New York City.   In the blog for that day, I didn't have the pictures that Paul's friend David took available, but now I do.   The light was not very suitable for photography, but I have made a few basic adjustments in the color and contrast to one of the pictures: http://home.earthlink.net/~vinyl1/gingerman.jpg.   From left to right around the table: me, Verlaine holding a copy of the Times, Paul_in_london, Jon88, and Guy_du_sable.  

1 Gradual assimilation of silicon in universe, not carbon (7)
OSMOSIS - [c]OSMO(SI)S, where the definition is a bit loose from the technical scientific point of view.
5 Dollar horny male laid out for coarse material (7)
BUCKRAM - BUCK + RAM, in very clever aliases.
9 Old preacher touring north finally offered beer and cheese (11)
WENSLEYDALE - WE(N)SLEY + [offere]D + ALE, a fine cheese.
10 Hanger-on recognised in most of Lancaster (3)
BUR - BUR(t).
11 Disreputable thug wasting time and energy casing church (6)
12 Shifting him risks a minor set-to (8)
SKIRMISH - anagram of HIM RISKS.
14 Briefly meet bright girl reforming cheat (13)
THIMBLERIGGER - anagram of MEET BRIGHT GIRL, one we had a couple of times about six months ago.
17 French statesman talked heartlessly about a university man (13)
CHATEAUBRIAND - CHA[t]TE(U BRIAN)D, who is perhaps better known nowadays as an author.of rather lush prose.
21 German opposed to music that’s sung in bar (8)
23 Part of brief is calculation of public revenues (6)
FISCAL - Hidden in [brie]F IS CAL[culation].
25 Admit wife into cricket side (3)
OWN - O(W)N, one from the Quickie.
26 Gardening aid scoundrel concealed in West Cumbrian town (11)
27 Relentlessly back Liberal youth leader (7)
STERNLY - STERN + L +Y[outh].
28 Circumnavigating America, be at helm of ocean greyhound? (7)
STEAMER - STE(AM)ER, with a rather fanciful literal.  

1 His literary works a gold mine? (6)
ORWELL - OR + WELL.   I don't know why I wanted to put 'Oswald', which didn't make any sense.
2 Vandal caught by male worker in police operation (7)
3 Slim hips Kelly developed (9)
SYLPHLIKE - Anagram of HIPS KELLY, not the first word I tried, but gettable.
4 Underworld river remains audible (4)
STYX - sounds like STICKS.
5 Fruit shortage in B&B initially explained on right lines (10)
BLACKBERRY - B(LACK)B + E + R + RRY, a rather convoluted cryptic.
6 Festive fare honoured companion always provides (5)
CHEER - CH + EER, Companion of Honour.
7 Making fun of knitting pattern? (7)
RIBBING - double definition, another easy one.
8 They may demonstrate gear ultimately in the borders (8)
13 Old boy properly restricting speed in stubborn way (10)
15 Lifeless? It’s where one finds friendship around part of UK (9)
INANIMATE - IN A (N.I.) MATE, as part of the UK is nearly always Northern Ireland.
16 Strikebreaker promises to pay for plant (8)
SCABIOUS - SCAB + I.O.U.S, which is indeed a plant.
18 Counsel sacrifices one for an early payment (7)
ADVANCE - ADV(-i,+AN)CE, a simple substitution clue.
19 Good form and spirit underpinning a style of art (7)
20 Phone bishop north of Hereford, perhaps (6)
BLOWER - B + LOWER, i.e. a Hereford cow.
22 Tree Reagan planted outside Washington (5)
ROWAN - RO(WA)N, the correct abbreviation for the state of Washington
24 A city boss’s conclusion, sad to say (4)
ALAS -  A + L.A. + [bos]S


( 65 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 14th, 2017 01:55 am (UTC)
The modest SCABIOUS
As Donald Trump will tell you 16dn SCABIOUS is not native to North America and therefore will have escaped Vinyl's attention. Neither is Modest Mussorsky - our esteemed blogger is no stranger in that department.

I too hit 19 minutes with FOI 4dn STYX and LOI 10ac BUR my COD.

WOD 20dn BLOWER - for British natives - the 'Dixon of Dock Green' for telephone.

Interesting pic of the NY Court - so many fully empty glasses!

See y'all in Sasha's Shanghai sometime.

Edited at 2017-08-14 01:57 am (UTC)
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:05 am (UTC)
RE: The modest SCABIOUS
Turns out that there was a handy solution to the empty glass problem, horryd. We hadn't been cut off at that point.
RE: The modest SCABIOUS - verlaine - Aug. 14th, 2017 08:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2017 02:09 am (UTC)
Was my downfall as I start to get used to online solving. Once I'd finished this rather easy puzzle (17:49 on the timer, inc. a break to make coffee), I hit Cmd-H to hide the browser. That put an H at the end of my LOI, STEAMER => STEAMEH; and didn't hide the browser. So the resultant window told me I had something wrong.

Otherwise ... not much to report. Hoping to get back to treeware soon.

Liked the pic. Always good to see the mugshots behind the usernames. Let's have more.
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:29 am (UTC)
Prof. McText - I take it your 'avatar' is an actual photo from the Telly-Goon period in your earlier life. Let's have more recent!
PS your Carborundum is sadly missed in the Shanghai Quarter of Crosswordland!

Edited at 2017-08-14 03:29 am (UTC)
More recent? - mctext - Aug. 14th, 2017 07:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: More recent? - horryd - Aug. 14th, 2017 01:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:04 am (UTC)
Biffed a couple--THIMBLERIGGER, CHATEAUBRIAND, BLOWER--but parsed them after. I also biffed 'obstinately', or would have if space had sufficed; win some, lose some. I was surprised to get through this so quickly, on the new system, but am still totally dissatisfied with said system. Thanks, vinyl, for the photo; always nice to put a face to a name.
Aug. 14th, 2017 07:04 pm (UTC)
I came in search of you Kevin for 2 reasons. 1. I gave you and Jason a mention in my Friday blog for 25d in TLS 1185 (ou sont les neiges d'antan). 2. I am finding the new Club Forum format completely bizarre with all these old puzzles etc etc etc and no apparent rhyme or reason. Have you figured it out? Not to mention that I posted a completely "scabious" time of 4+ minutes this morning with no idea how that happened - it was more like 12.
(no subject) - kevingregg - Aug. 14th, 2017 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mohn2 - Aug. 14th, 2017 10:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oliviarhinebeck - Aug. 15th, 2017 02:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:09 am (UTC)
Top went in quickly, bottom more slowly, but still a Monday stroll. Which means more than a half hour, less than 45 min. Wasn't sure of sternly for relentlessly.
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:21 am (UTC)
Well, you learn something new every day!
So there really is a cheese called WENSLEYDALE. I am relieved, because that's what the clue told me. Likewise, SCABIOUS. Whoddathunkit. I supposed that ROWAN must be a tree. Seemed harder than the usual Monday, but I had been lying in the sun all afternoon...
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:26 am (UTC)
Re: Well, you learn something new every day!
I'd swear we'd had SCABIOUS before; else why would I have known it? And surely you remember the proprietor of the cheese-free Natural Cheese Emporium, who John Cleese shoots?

Edited at 2017-08-14 03:27 am (UTC)
Re: Well, you learn something new every day! - john_dun - Aug. 14th, 2017 11:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:25 am (UTC)
Not meaty at all
Chateaubriand as a statesman never seen before and unknown, scabious and thimblerigger also unknown but pretty sure they've both been in crosswords I've done before. Barrow known, but not its Cumbriosity. Nevertheless a PB at 9:54, with every cryptic seen while solving - a bit surprising (on both counts) as the clues seem to be quite wordy and convoluted overall.
Aug. 14th, 2017 03:30 am (UTC)
5 across
In 5 across, I'm not crazy about "laid out," which is there only for the surface, but that kind of thing has stopped bothering me much here.
Aug. 14th, 2017 06:01 am (UTC)
35 minutes here, so I must be awake this morning. Clearly some of the puzzle vocab is starting to sink in, helped by how lovely a word THIMBLERIGGER is. The lesser-known stuff—BUCKRAM, SCABIOUS, and the like—all fairly clued. Not sure whence I dragged CHATEAUBRIAND.

Surprisingly, I even got the religious reference: John Wesley's New Room still exists in Bristol; the oldest Methodist chapel in the world.

FOI STYX, LOI ALAS, mostly because I got to it last rather than because it caused any gyp. Thanks to setter and blogger, especially for the excellent Spotters' Guide to Solvers :D

Edited at 2017-08-14 06:03 am (UTC)
Aug. 14th, 2017 06:03 am (UTC)
24 minutes though I failed to parse BUR{t} - not that I spent much time thinking about it.

SCABIOUS came up last in 2014 when I also didn't know it but then as now the wordplay was helpful. If I'd seen the word on its own without the clue to tell me that it is a plant I'd have assumed it was an adjective referring to an unpleasant medical condition.

The ROWAN tree is also called the mountain ash and there's a famous traditional song about it, though I suspect famous traditional songs disappeared from the school curriculum in about 1965.

Horryd might be interested to know that 'the blower' is referred to in just about every episode of 'The Sweeney' which I am currently working my through. I suppose it was used in 'Dixon' too, but they'd have been as likely to say 'dog and bone'.

Edited at 2017-08-14 06:09 am (UTC)
Aug. 14th, 2017 06:26 am (UTC)
Jack - a defining point -
I have a darned good memory for words - and at Dock Green Nick 'blower' was standard for Crawford & Co ie the Cops. If 'dog an' bone' would feature it would only be used by 'Chummie & Co' ie the criminal classes! The esteemed writer Lord Ted Willis was a stickler - criminals used CRS - The Law did not!

In 'The Sweenie' who uses 'blower' - just the rozzers?
Re: Jack - a defining point - - jackkt - Aug. 14th, 2017 07:02 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Jack - a defining point - - horryd - Aug. 14th, 2017 07:22 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Jack - a defining point - - jackkt - Aug. 14th, 2017 07:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Jack - a defining point - - (Anonymous) - Aug. 14th, 2017 09:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Jack - a defining point - - john_dun - Aug. 14th, 2017 11:23 am (UTC) - Expand
Joselson - jackkt - Aug. 14th, 2017 01:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Joselson - falooker - Aug. 14th, 2017 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 14th, 2017 06:43 am (UTC)
11:17 … nothing in the top-left to begin with made me think we were in for a rare Monday stinker, but things got a lot easier elsewhere. Last in BAVARIAN and the clever ADVANCE.

CHATEAUBRIAND means only one thing to me. If you’re ever in the vicinity of the Quebec’s Château Frontenac, book a table and order the Chateaubriand. You’ll thank me.

Thank you for the photograph of the NY gang and its honorary member, vinyl. Great to see. I hadn't realised Jon88 was in that neck of the woods. I see his name almost every day when looking at the forum comments to find out which nina I've missed in the Concise.

Edited at 2017-08-14 06:45 am (UTC)
Aug. 14th, 2017 06:48 am (UTC)
Just on the 20 mins mark with no real hold-ups but BUR going in on trust. As well as the compulsury cricket reference in 25ac, it is nice to see the soon-to-be-retired BLOWERs getting a mention. Thanks Setter and V
Aug. 14th, 2017 06:57 am (UTC)
Re- the "chateaubriand steak" etymology, the 'Larousse Gastronomique' indicates that the dish 'chateaubriand' was created by the namesake's personal chef, Montmireil, for the Vicomte François-René de Chateaubriand and for Sir Russell Retallick, diplomats who respectively served as an ambassador for Napoleon Bonaparte, and as Secretary of State for King Louis XVIII of France.
Aug. 14th, 2017 07:27 am (UTC)
Sylph importance
25 mins over Chateaubriand... just kidding, actually porridge (tempered with dates and pecans). No hold ups. Even the plant and tree were right-ins. 26ac had me thinking it was Workington or Whitehaven until the penny dropped. Even today's random man was a Brian, not a Les/Des/Al.
Thanks generous setter and Vinyl.
Aug. 14th, 2017 07:58 am (UTC)
6:46. Rattled through this with no problems straight off the red-eye back to London at the end of my holiday [sniff]. Not so long ago words like THIMBLERIGGER or SCABIOUS would probably have given me problems.
Like others I knew CHATEAUBRIAND mostly as a cut of meat. It's just a subsection of the fillet, the most overrated (and over-priced) cut of beef IMO. Which is not by any means to say that I don't like it.

Edited at 2017-08-14 09:31 am (UTC)
Aug. 14th, 2017 08:03 am (UTC)
I might have finished in a bit over 10 had I not thought RAGGING (easy, he says) was a knitting pattern and MARCHERS could be entered into the grid more or less randomly. Wondered for a while in what convoluted setters mind a BRA could be a hanger on, or whether BOAs were noted for their hanging prowess. Eventually got to BUR, but only by way of classic WWII planes, Houses and NW towns, eventually deciding BURY somehow constituted a substantial part of Lancs. Never thought of Mr Lancaster: if only the setter had cited Kwouk.
15.37 my clearly rather befuddled result.

PS WENSLEYDALE has a more recent comedy history than Pythons in Wallace and Grommit, whence in my mind it will always be "not even"
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