Times 28467 – pop goes the weasel.

A pleasant, light offering for a Wednesday, knocked off from top to bottom in 15 minutes.  Nothing controversial except perhaps the potato at 27a. I liked 16d and 25d best.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics.

1 Opposed to bread lacking key element (8)
ANTIMONY – ANTI (opposed to) MON(E)Y – bread lacking the E key. Element 51, in group 15 of the Periodic Table below arsenic.
5 Sandwich, for example, set me back around £25! (6)
EPONYM – ME reversed around PONY = slang for £25.
10 Try and scale down Barking police headquarters (3,8,4)
11 Researcher yet to cover outdoor sport (7)
ARCHERY – hidden, slightly, as above.
12 Somehow alive inside box of computer keyboard (7)
CLAVIER – (ALIVE)* inside C(ompute)R. French for keyboard, also used for a keyboard instrument. As in The Well Tempered Clavier, as Bach’s work is usually translated.
13 Discount event with beer cans at the front (4,4)
FIRE SALE – FIRES = cans, gets rid of; ALE = beer.
15 Firm on leaving later today (5)
TIGHT – TONIGHT (later today) loses ON.
18 Pointer — remove tip from vegetable (5)
ARROW – MARROW loses its M.
20 Turning in circle to embrace ritual from the east (8)
RETIRING – RING (circle) has RITE reversed inserted.
23 Digital nomad’s first rum mixed with ice (7)
NUMERIC – N (nomad’s first) (RUM ICE)*.
25 County‘s bad mood inspiring poorly bowled over (7)
SUFFOLK – SULK (bad mood) has OFF reversed inside, off meaning poorly.
26 Trainee pilots may need this type of tuition? (6,9)
HIGHER EDUCATION – slightly amusing cryptic definition.
27 Old man with chopped potato and fruit (6)
PAPAYA – PAPA (old man) YA(M). Well, for me a yam is not a potato, but I think this is what is meant, as PA + PAYA doesn’t parse either.
28 Fools back dull American swimmer (8)
STINGRAY – NITS (fools) reversed, then GRAY = dull, presumably this is how Americans spell grey. I thought gray was just an alternative in English English.
1 Void filled by a plant (6)
ANNUAL – ANNUL = void, as a verb; insert A.
2 New co-writer upset old news reporter (4,5)
TOWN CRIER – ( N CO-WRITER)* where N = new.
3 One who might be best to hide revolutionary weapon (7)
MACHETE – MATE could be your best mate, insert good old CHE Guevara the usual revolutionary.
4 Vote against eating toast crusts? That’s smart! (5)
NATTY – NAY (vote against) with T T (edges of toast) inserted.
6 Listen to this marine group start fishing (7)
PODCAST – POD, as in a pod of whales, CAST as in begin fishing.
7 One supporter upset about a canteen where you serve yourself? (5)
NAAFI – I (one) FAN (supporter) with A inserted, all reversed. The NAAFI is the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes company, which provides canteens and shops for the military. I think the “where you serve yourself” is a reference to the user “serving” in the forces, or maybe these places are self-service canteens, or both.
8 Way to evaluate chair (8)
MODERATE – double definition. I thought so, and still do, but others below propose ‘chair’ as the sole definition, with MODE = way and RATE = evaluate. Fair enough.
9 Campaign funds western, with most knowing to support it (3,5)
WAR CHEST – W (western) ARCHEST (most knowing).
14 Shows pilot and flight attendants the propeller (8)
AIRSCREW – AIRS (shows) CREW (of a plane).
16 Rudely ignore old person on a boat (9)
17 Pieces bound for store (8)
PAWNSHOP – PAWNS (pieces) HOP (bound). I expect such shops are doing good business in the current climate.
19 Breeding facility problem is consuming me (7)
WORMERY – WORRY (problem) consumes ME.  Obviously, a place for breeding worms, if you wanted to; I expect somebody does.
21 Hold back repeated melody (7)
REFRAIN – double definition.
22 Like some lattes from pub in island that closes early (6)
SKINNY – INN (pub) inside SKY(E) – island without the E. Don’t ever give me a skinny latte, or indeed any form of latte, I want a proper coffee. Double espresso please.
24 Study upset dog? Let me think… (3,2)
MUG UP – All reversed (upset); PUG (dog) UM (let me think).
25 Exercise spot that’s unlawfully occupied (5)
SQUAT -very neat double definition. It took me a mo to get the PDM, just remember, see a U, think of a Q.


58 comments on “Times 28467 – pop goes the weasel.”

  1. Café brandy here, thank you, otherwise no problems. In the US everyone knows that sweet potatoes and yams are different, but everyone uses the names interchangeably. I liked Tight best. thanks pip

      1. I think of it more as a Parisian workingman’s shot and a chaser for a 5.00AM start. Maybe I don’t know the right French to describe it.

  2. Wow, another easy one! Good that I knew NAAFI, just from these things. I put in the first three Acrosses one right after the other, and pretty much kept up the pace. I think what slowed me down the most was the reluctance to contemplate the word WORMERY, which occurred to me a while before I overcame my revulsion to write it in.

  3. 31 minutes. It was the ‘potato’ at 27a that did for me too; after thinking of only half the intended ‘Old man’, I spent a fruitless few minutes trying to come up with a PAYA + one more letter sort of ‘potato’ before just bunging in PAPAYA from the def. I missed it at the time, but the ‘a canteen where you serve yourself?’ def for 7d was v. good.

    A WORMERY, aka a “worm farm”, is a way of recycling organic waste to produce plant food and fertiliser for the garden; said to be “fun for the whole family and a great way to get everyone involved in nurturing the environment and making your home more sustainable”. Mmm…

    A ‘latte’ for me please and the “SKINNY(ER)” the better.

    1. That’s how I read it, and I don’t see any way it could be a DD. (I obviously didn’t read the parsings above closely or I would’ve already piped up.)

  4. 20:11
    Paused at 15′ with the RHS in bad shape, went to the gym, came back and got the remaining 9 clues in 5′. DNK WORMERY, and couldn’t remember PONY until I got the P__M. (I parsed MODERATE as simbo did; don’t see how it would be a DD.) I don’t drink coffee, and wasn’t familiar with SKINNY, but it worked. I spent too much time trying to make ‘firm’=CO.

  5. All green, but several where I didn’t understand the wordplay until later. LOI was annual, which seems so obvious now.

  6. 27:09 for a third good time for the week.

    FOI and COD EPONYM. LOI ANNUAL. Parsed them all apart from PAPAYA.

    Tempted by the unknown ARROT or PROUT for pointer (maybe anatomical for finger?) I also wanted YARD SALE, where “yards of ale” seemed to be involved.

    Expecting a stinker tomorrow.

  7. 9:35. Can only assume the next two days are going to be stinkers.

    Had a pretty feeble PARTSHOP at 17dn, which had me scratching my head about how TUMERIC could be a digital nomad, not to mention the unaccounted-for T. Once that was resolved it was giddy-up for consecutive sub-10’s.

    I had about 10,000 fat juicy worms in my worm farm (wormery), then one day they were gone. Not escaped, not dead (as in there were no visible corpses) just…ceased to exist. Absorbed into the ether, or maybe into their own castings. I still lie awake at night wondering what happened to them.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

    1. Rapture of the Worms!
      My brother used to keep worms under our house, for later impalement on fish hooks.
      Nowhere near 10,000…

    2. If that happened here in Ontario I would blame raccoons or skunks. Possibly a cuddly, innocent- looking hedgehog was the culprit? I can picture a dainty hedgehog getting in and out so carefully as to leave no trace of his vicious incursion.

  8. 29 minutes, so my third solve within target this week although creeping nearer the borderline each day.

    I didn’t know ‘can’ meaning ‘dismiss’ which my dictionary says is an Americanism, but I was sure of the answer at 13ac so I bunged in FIRE SALE and moved on hoping I will remember it when it appears again.

    Fortunately I didn’t know enough about yams to let 27a worry me as I’d already thought of PAPAYA as the fruit in question. I now see it’s defined as ‘sweet potato’ which seems fair enough to me for crossword purposes anyway. Then I found that ‘yam’ is a Scottish word for the ordinary potato although it has fallen into disuse and is now considered obsolete.

  9. FOI EPONYM followed immediately by N.S.Y. (biffed without spotting the anagram). A similar punt of FLIGHT SIMULATOR – which made it not really a cryptic clue – was quickly backspaced when I solved SQUAT. All went rather well until I bogged down in the SE, trying for a while to fit STURGEON or STARFISH into 28a. GONDOLIER eventually unlocked the puzzle, leading to an immediate cascade of four further solutions with LOI STINGRAY.

    27:34 – thanks P and setter

  10. 8:39. It’s rare that I finish under 10 minutes two days running so it’s definitely been a gentle week so far. I started with half an answer – ANTI____ at 1A and it took all the checkers to finish that one. Second in was a biffed NEW SCOTLAND YARD, which means I didn’t appreciate the clue at time of solving but now I see it’s a good one – given time it’s nice to go back and appreciate any biffed clues.
    I’m off for a cappuccino now. No SKINNY one though thanks.

    1. It’s rare that I finish at all 3 days running. I am nervous for the rest of the week.

  11. 26m 09s Nothing requiring explanation and nothing particularly remarkable.
    According to Collins Online a YAM is “a root vegetable which is like a potato”.
    One of the more remarkable musical performances I have seen on YouTube is Sir Andras Schiff playing the whole of Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1” at The Proms. That’s nigh on 1hr 48 mins “without hesitation, deviation or repetition” and, indeed, without a musical score in front of him. It’s playing as I type this.
    Thanks, Pip.
    Personally I like latte…with soy milk.

  12. 18 minutes with LOIs WORMERY and PAPAYA. Get thee to a wormery. I wasn’t quite sure what a CLAVIER was but it sounded musical. COD to NEW SCOTLAND YARD, always Whitehall 1212. I prefer my latte without milk. Another very pleasant puzzle. We’re due a stinker. Thank you Pip and setter.

  13. 18:32 – a below-average time for me, but I struggled a bit on what should be easy clues. I could blame trying to help my sons practise the piano at the same time… or I could admit that I biffed BRAAI for 7d (see “supporter”, write “bra”…) and got very confused about 5a for a while. Anyway, thanks to piquet and the setter!

  14. Used to have a WORMERY, until one day it went all smelly, and……more trouble than it was worth, in retrospect.

    14′ 13″, thanks Pip and setter.

  15. This became a puzzle of different quadrants first the Nor’ West, then the
    Sarf East, followed by the Sowf West and finally Tyneside, with only 9dn in ‘no man’s land’!

    FOI 2dn TOWN CRIER -with fond memories of ‘Larry the Lamb’ & Co. on the ‘ steam radio’ – way before ‘Shaun the Sheep’!, on the Telly etc.
    LOI 9dn WAR CHEST – Warnock’s was far bigger than Walker’s, who was badly trumped!
    COD 15ac TIGHT – very neat
    WOD 7dn NAAFI –

    Nice to see SUFFOLK get a mention., the county that gets much mention in my recent memoires. My maternal grandfather was born in Oulton Broad, near Lowesttoft. His nemesis was Victor Hervey, the Sixth Marquess of. Bristol., who resided in great splendour at Ickworth and claimed to nave been on Heinrich Himmler’s Christmas Card list! His money came from cocaine dealing and gun-running during the Spanish Civil War – the dress rehearsal for WWII.

  16. Feeling pleased with myself until I discovered I had put Antimone for my FOI.

    LOI Tight

  17. Easy again…
    I have heard of wormeries, organic gardeners are keen on them. We have never had one ourselves but we do have a compost bin near the back door which occasionally fills up with worms. Then a while later, they disappear again. Where they come from, or go to, is a complete mystery.
    Struggled a bit with FIRE SALE having got the idea it had to start with W(ith). Wine sale? Promising but hard to parse. Got there after a bit.
    Black coffee with a little cold milk please.

  18. 15 minutes or so, with no real holdups. SUFFOLK was the only one I didn’t fully parse, as I didn’t see the ‘bowled over’=reverse device, but it couldn’t be anything else.

    FOI Antimony
    LOI Pawnshop
    COD Gondolier

  19. 6:30 but I somehow typed SUFFLOK without noticing, so two errors. Grr.
    27ac seemed doubly dodgy to me when I solved it because a yam is not a sweet potato and a sweet potato is not a potato, but the Scottish definition in Collins seems fair enough even if it is old-fashioned.
    Agree with others above that 8dn is MODE + RATE.

  20. As boltonwanderersays, we’re due a stinker. Three easy ones to start the week (judging by everyone’s times, Monday was easy despite my cricketing distractions). My 21 minutes would have been faster but I slowed down at the very end, unable to be confident with SQUAT although it was straightforward enough, and ignorant of cans = fires so I had to do an alphabet trawl for FIRE SALE and eventually entered it with a shrug.

  21. 27:00. Made heavy weather of this game of four halves, with a particular batch of self-inflicted problems in the SE – an object lesson in the difference between haste and speed.

  22. Got a bit stuck in the SW corner until my COD MUG UP brought PAWNSHOP and PAPAYA (agree that a yam isn’t a potato in my book). The rest fell quite quickly/easily. 25 mins.

  23. 16:35

    Seemed easier up top, had to think more down below. Liked SQUAT, my LOI was PAWNSHOP.

    Skinny latté for me please

  24. ANTIMONY went straight in, and then they kept coming. I invented an ABYSSA plant at 1d, but NEW SCOTLAND YARD soon disabused me of that. The SW quarter took longest to sort out and PAPAYA went in unparsed, but allowed me to get WORMERY. PAWNSHOP was LOI. 13:27. Thanks setter and Pip.

  25. 24’09” and all straightforward. Tomorrow, for the first time since Covid was invented, I have the joy of spending time in the hell which is Gatwick airport before renewing my memories of short-haul-but-just-too-far-to-make-the-train-viable flight. Hope there will be enough meat in the crossword to allow me to block out my surroundings for a while.

  26. Found this generally to be on the easier side finishing in 29.35. My main problem was my LOI at 13ac, where an initial alphabet trawl didn’t come up with anything except FILES for cans. Any one been to FILE SALE?, no I didn’t think so either! I persevered and FIRE SALE finally came to mind. I was still unclear as to how fires could mean cans, but now understand after reading the comments above.

  27. But of spare time in the lunch hour meant I solved this on the site so have an exact time- 12:53. Clearly the more of these one does the “easier” they become- have seen CLAVIER very recently which helped. Thought I was In trouble with LOI 1D but fortunately it wasn’t some random plant name this time. And I still have time for a coffee before the next lesson begins.
    Thanks as ever to setter and blogger.

    1. Life in Xwordlandia

      I have been ‘doing’ The Times since the ‘Summer of Love’ and The Daily Telegraph some five years earlier. And yes, they do get “easier”, until they don’t! It is only then that one realises that it’s just like I riding a bicycle, until you fall off or get knocked down by a reversing furniture van. And before long one realises as one grow older, one’s balance deteriorates or the knees give-in.

      The language of crosswords gradually corrupts and the jolly old memory memory faulters. The good old days of the ‘monkey puzzle’ are long gone
      and everything becomes more difficult, just like riding a bicycle, innit!?
      Here endeth today’s lesson.

  28. Well that’s three finishes on the trot – I would have paid good money for that six months ago. Just a pity I couldn’t parse loi Stingray, but if you start off with Sting for fool you run out of options quite quickly. I really enjoyed Naafi, Fire Sale and Tight, but CoD to Retiring for the pdm. Invariant

        1. Agree! Why cannot our icons be embedded and made permanent!?
          It makes the site look so very scruffy scruffy! It never happened on the old site unless one was anonymous. That at least has gone! WIP? John?

  29. 21:46, another one much quicker than my average pace. Wondering if I’m improving, but I’m sure either tomorrow or Friday will disabuse me of that notion. I had ROTATING for 20ac for ages, even though I couldn’t fully parse it, so POI was REFRAIN & then finally I got RETIRING. Thanks s & b.

  30. A very easy 28 minutes, but some very good and subtle clues nonetheless. For example, TIGHT and the “turning in” in 20ac (of course I had ROTATION and ROTATING at first, wondering if TATO could be a ritual). Oh, yes, and the American GRAY in STINGRAY. The level of difficulty seems to change weekly and I think we are having a very kind week.

  31. 11:18. COD, of course, to SUFFOLK, my home county of 25 years where I’ve been out walking today (hence the late solve and post). I’m another who struggled to parse PAPAYA, but I get it now. Thanks Pip and setter.

  32. A careless letter error for RiFRAIN (!)- I was thinking of RIF plus ‘RAIN’ (The Beatles’ song). I didn’t understand PAPAYA, so many thanks for explaining that in the excellent blog.
    An enjoyable puzzle- thank you Setter!

  33. More or less on a par with yesterday’s. 26 minutes, though I absent-mindedly wrote ANTIMONE.

  34. Gloria’s song has multiple uses
    It explains that one of today’s clues is
    Homonym, (not anagram)
    “I yam what I yam
    And what I yam needs no excuses”

  35. 17.11

    High quality puzzle – shades of my favourite setter who I see hasn’t commented. I wonder…(I’m probably talking rubbish).

    Anyway I found it neat, precise and fun. Lots of clues I liked – TOWN CRIER was excellent as was NATTY.

    I do like a latte but I tend to think of it as coffee flavoured milk rather than the real stuff.

    Thanks Pip and setter

  36. 13.30 spent on this very accessible Wednesday offering, even after pondering whether a yam was a potato. Nothing very taxing with LOI gondolier.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  37. Pleased to get as many as I did – with only two outstanding, those being FIRE SALE ( didn’t equate ‘cans’ with ‘fires’) and WAR CHEST, for which I was set on looking for a campaign with a foreign name, and gave up of course. But was delighted to romp through the most of it, especially liking TIGHT, EPONYM and SUFFOLK. But surely isn’t NAAFI a “canteen where you serve”?

Comments are closed.