Times 28515 – as you like it, if you will.

Three clues with a Shakespearean flavour to them, here, not enough for a themed puzzle but a nice bit of fun. It took me twenty minutes, and a few more to try to explain GET UP AND GO and AID which I thought were the weakest links.

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

1 Cleaner’s mother making personal appeal? (8)
CHARISMA – CHAR (cleaner) IS MA.
5 Fish, duck and butter twists (6)
MARLIN -All reversed, NIL (a duck) RAM (a butter).
8 Domestic needing no Frenchman’s encouragement (3)
AID – domestic = MAID, lose the M for Monsieur. A bit feeble.
9 Mink at odds with alpaca, llama or donkey? (4,6)
10 Drug baron’s end: caught with nothing stashed in lorry? (8)
NARCOTIC – N (end of baron) ARTIC with C O (caught, nothing) inside.
11 Brainboxes operated in group reliant on intelligence? (6)
CRANIA -RAN (operated) inside CIA, Central Intelligence Agency.
12 Lamb’s utterance about keeping king’s horse (4)
ARAB -all reversed (“about”) BAA with R for king inside.
14 Horse saddle ruined in cold caustic solution (10)
CLYDESDALE – C (cold) LYE (caustic solution, sodium hydroxide) insert (SADDLE)*. C/LY(SADDLE)*/E
17 Drive with crack on surface (3-2-3-2)
GET-UP-AND-GO – I just biffed this, but the best I can do is GET UP = surface, and/with GO = crack on.
20 Roué — Elizabethan explorer — died excluded (4)
RAKE – Sir Francis DRAKE loses his D.
23 Once wooded region, forest ultimately burning (6)
ARDENT – the Forest of ARDEN (as in As You Like It) with T the end of forest attached. Now a fine, wooded golf course.
24 Firm needing locations in Germany? That’s a riddle (8)
COLANDER – CO (firm) LANDER (German regions).
25 Government leader in luck backing spin (10)
CHANCELLOR – CHANCE (luck) ROLL (spin) reversed.
26 Masculine sailor finds the fairy queen (3)
MAB – M(asculine) AB (seaman). As in Romeo and Juliet.
27 Old official desirable? No sir! Corrupt! (6)
28 Soldiers move joyfully, bringing in November’s supplies (8)
ORDNANCE – OR (soldiers) DANCE, with N for November inserted.
1 Villains well-connected in this working group? (5,4)
CHAIN GANG – cryptic clue.
2 An artist having to accept party runs microstate (7)
ANDORRA -AN, DO (party) R (runs) RA (artist). Wiki says it is the “largest microstate in Europe, 181 sq miles”. I once tried to rent a car from the Hertz office in Andorra la Vella to go to Figueres (there was no snow to ski) and was told I couldn’t take the car out of Andorra. Plain daft.
3 This writer’s for and against spontaneous routine (6)
IMPROV – I’M (this writer’s) PRO (for) V (versus).
4 PM a Conservative joining fist-fight among staff (9)
MACMILLAN – MAN (staff) with A C(onservative) MILL (a fist fight).
5 Scam on the rise captured in spy’s single lens (7)
MONOCLE -CON (scam) reversed inside MOLE = spy.
6 Criminal damage upset passenger taken round area (3-6)
RAM-RAIDER – MAR reversed then RIDER with A inserted.
7 With current lines, Shakespeare showing Iago’s motivation? (3,4)
ILL WILL – I (current) LL (lines) WILL (Shakespeare).
13 Black couple welcoming composer over the road (9)
BOULEVARD – B (black) then RAVEL inside DUO all reversed. B/OU/LEVAR/D.
15 Band of clergy good to make arrest outside? (3,6)
DOG COLLAR – DO (make) COLLAR (arrest) with G inserted.
16 Really bad from City: Real Betis initially fantastic (9)
EXECRABLE – EX EC (from City) (REAL B)*.
18 Enraged at first, Spider-Woman drops new complaint (7)
EARACHE – E(nraged), ARACHNE (spider woman) drops N. Arachne was (in Greek myth as told by Ovid)) a woman weaver who challenged Athena to a weaving contest then turned into a spider. So she probably won.
19 Diplomat with strong desire to ditch the booze? (7)
ATTACHE – if you wanted to give up drink it could be A TT ACHE.
21 Belly bad with churning — sign of things to come? (7)
ABDOMEN – (BAD)*, OMEN a sign of things to come.
22 Customer parking right inside a lot (6)
PATRON – P, A TON, insert R.


72 comments on “Times 28515 – as you like it, if you will.”

  1. 13:42
    I could make nothing of GET-UP-AND-GO, biffing from the enumeration. I biffed PACK ANIMAL, CLYDESDALE, & EXECRABLE, parsing post-submission. DNK MILL=fist fight. I put in BOULEVARD, couldn’t see how it worked, and pulled it out again; finally with all the checkers in I put it back and saw at last how it worked. I liked BEADLE.

  2. For 17ac go=crack (as in ‘have a crack/go’). Agree it’s not a great clue. Thanks for the blog as always.

    1. Yes, so the parsing is: drive = def, with = AND, crack = GO on = comes after, surface = GET UP

      I just bifd it at the time

  3. 27 minutes. Felt as if this was slow, but was held up by the wordplay for BOULEVARD and working out whether the def for 16d – good clue – was ‘Really bad’ or ‘fantastic’. I didn’t know LANDER as a plural for German regions.

    I wasn’t sure either but I parsed GET-UP-AND-GO as: AND (‘with’) GO (‘crack’, as in “have a go / crack at something”) after, in an across clue (‘on’) GET UP (‘surface’, as in humorously “get up / surface from bed at midday after a night on the town”).

    1. Actually, it’s Länder=laender, but umlauts, like apostrophes, are ignored. (Hence, e.g., Durer.)

  4. Slowed down a bit in the SE, but no problems. Liked boulevard and colander, did not know Mab so loath to put it in without both checkers.
    Useless embarrassing gap in knowledge fixed today: I’d always assumed the regularly-seen Forest of Arden was an anglicised spelling of the Forest of Ardennes, seen every year on TV during the Belgian spring classics. Didn’t realise it actually existed in UK… looked it up today seeing the unexpected reference to golf.
    Thought 1 ac was a bit off, until lifting and separating Domestic’s = char is and mother = ma.

    1. I had the same feeling about 1ac; I’m so used to ignoring the ‘s that I couldn’t at first see where the IS came from

  5. I got to Pack Animal by remembering that mink are solitary animals while the other three are social. The clue doesn’t quite read that way, and then I saw the anagram. I kind of liked this. thanks, pip

  6. 35 minutes. Going by the speed with which I concluded the top half I thought this was going to be really easy but the lower half was a different story. I thought I could see most of the answers but there were four that I was unable to parse so I hesitated to write them in. GET-UP-AND-GO, EXECRABLE and ATTACHE went in eventually when all the checkers fitted my proposed answers but I needed to read Pip’s blog to understand how the clues worked. I hope on my own blogging day I would have persevered and found out for myself.

    On reflection I think everything was fair with the possible exception that ‘Diplomat with a strong desire to ditch the booze?’ might have been preferable at 19dn, otherwise I’m not sure that the A is being clued.

      1. Surely if somebody has a strong desire to ditch the booze he (or she) has a TT ache, so the a is catered fot

        1. Yes but you’ve inserted an ‘a’ that the clue didn’t. The equivalent of ‘strong desire’ is TT ACHE.

      2. I’d wondered if the clue started with the idea of ache containing TT (giving the first A), then when the surface didn’t quite work going to the present structure but dis-remembering to now add something for the second A

    1. Another worrying about the lack of an A , after having one too many As yesterday in midbrain. So it goes.

      1. I thought it was fine. Why is it necessary to clue the A overtly?

        Didn’t have any trouble with GET UP AND GO either (parses GET UP/ AND/ GO).

      1. I haven’t been able to find a reference for ATT. = attaché. I’ve never come across AMB. = ambassador either, but checking after you mentioned it I’ve found it in various American sources, not in any of the English ones used by Times crosswords. ‘Ambassador’ in a clue usually gives us HE (His/Her Excellency).

  7. Been prioritising sleep over early rising and solving recently – think I’m going to continue that – but this morning I found myself with available time…
    …and it went very well indeed – 16:44 is probably my 3rd or 4th fastest-ever completion. Top half first, then a bit more effort required for the lower, but no major hold-ups.

    POI was A-T-C-E and the word ARTCLE screamed “put me in!” but I resisted, solved it properly, and finished off with AID. Sub expires Feb 7th, I’ll be back regularly when I retire some time in the next 2 or 3 years. Thanks P and setter

  8. Yeah… At the end, I had GET UP AND GO crossing BOULEVARD and had to pause quite a while to parse them both. Really liked EARACHE (odd thing to say). NHO RAM-RAIDER… my goodness!

  9. 11:47. I got through much of this quickly then slowed considerably on the last few, particularly the crossers of EARACHE/ARDENT and EXECRABLE/ORDNANCE. I particularly liked “Spider Woman” for Arachne, though I’m guessing many saw that quicker than I did – with hindsight it couldn’t really have been anything else.
    I’ll hazard a guess that most of us who have been solving for a while have seen the CHAIN GANG clue in some form before.

  10. A few seconds under 20 minutes for me, although it felt faster since I was never held up at all. LOI was BOULEVARD. Of course, I just biffed GET-UP-AND-GO like everyone else, but I could see how it parsed as I typed it in. I thought the clue to PACK ANIMAL was clever, although I’ve learned that when you have a list of 3 things in a clue, almost certainly two of them are part of the wordplay and the other is a definition, or the other way around (as today, two being the definition and the other part of the wordplay). I didn’t know MILL as any sort of fight, although it wasn’t as if I was going to get a different prime-minister by inserting anything else.

    With much of his income untaxed
    Lacking morals, we know
    He should GET UP AND GO
    ARDENT ILL WILL is pretty much maxed

  12. Made good progress with this one, bailing with only ARDENT/BOULEVARD left. Just could think of enough short composers: Bach, Bizet, Liszt then I ran out.

    CHARISMA is the kind of clue you read out to non-cryptic folks to explain how a cryptic clue can work.

    1. Agree about CHARISMA Merlin: I’m currently trying (being the operative word!) to explain to Cryptic students at the U3A the ‘how to’ of the craft. Like you, I don’t always complete this daily, but am still learning…after about 10 years!

  13. 24 minutes with LOI RAM RAIDER after I finally constructed MARLIN. I started in a rush and finished at a crawl. I liked CRANIA and EARACHE but COD to BEADLE. I don’t hear anyone saying, “…most of our people have never had it so good,” right now. Enjoyable puzzle though. Thank you Pip and setter.

    1. It was that very phrase of MacMillan’s that inspired my best buddy and I to perform our first (and only, I hasten to add) criminal ‘damage’, that being the red paint-over of as many of those dastardly billboards representing the well-to-do at dinner (with that phrase) as we could handle in the dead of night in Twickenham. We were duly ‘picked up’ by what should have been a passing Paddy Wagon, when we stopped by the roadside for a bite to eat, red paint dripping from our bike handlebars. Needless to say, we escaped ‘booking’ because of our age and our attendance at a ‘good’ school; the class wars ever in evidence.

  14. 32.02. Slowed down by thinking that 1d was going to be ‘crime ring’. Like others, I biffed a number of the solutions and struggled with ‘Get up and Go’, never really parsing it.

  15. For the first time in ages I almost broke the Ten Minute Barrier. 9:39 – but one pink square. Impros for Improv. Drat.

    COD: Charisma.

      1. IMPROV is in Wiktionary, with IMPRO as being the same. I stupidly put IMPROS too, drat!
        Gave up on parsing AID so left it blank. Weak I say!

      2. ‘Newness’ of course is relative. The word came into my ken when a Channel 4 ‘improv’ show called ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ was around. 1990s-ish? Greg Proops, Josie Lawrence, Mike Mc Shane and many others participated. I believe it was originally a radio show, and that it later spawned a US version.

  16. 13:23. RAM-RAIDER was unparsed a I failed to see RIDER = passenger and it took me a while to see the explorer was Drake. LOI ORDNANCE. I liked IMPROV and BEADLE best. Thanks Pip and setter.

  17. 20 minutes or so. Didn’t know MAB the fairy queen or that a mill can be a fist fight in MACMILLAN, and had to trust that Arachne was a spider woman to get EARACHE, but otherwise it was a fairly smooth solve.

    FOI Ill will
    LOI Clydesdale
    COD Boulevard

  18. I sadly had the alternative BEDALE, which delayed me with BOULEVARD. But once that was fixed, nothing really to frighten the horses here. Loved COLANDER.

  19. 40 mins with, like others, plenty biffed and unparsed. Couldn’t get BOULEVARD would you believe so looked it up! Shocking. Haussmann will be turning in his grave.

    I think my GET-UP-AND-GO got up and went as I raced through two thirds of it and then got bogged down. Having a Kiné appt didn’t help.

    Thanks pip for the explanations and setter.

  20. Started with a sprint and ended with a crawl, struggling in the SW corner. Total time was 30 minutes. Not at all keen on words like IMPROV, but that’s just me. And I thought several of the clues very clever. Setter is clearly a hippophile.
    LOI – BEADLE, after struggling to convince myself that my POI, BOULEVARD, was right
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

    1. Synchronistically, in the insomniac early hours today there was a programme on improv on the BBC World Service

  21. 08:24, so all went very smoothly. I went for a walk with some alpacas in the Peak District a couple of years ago; the organiser explained that a llama will happily carry your entire baggage, but an alpaca will spit on you disdainfully if you ask it to carry your hat for a few yards.

  22. 41 minutes looked like being faster but was delayed on ARDENT, BEADLE, EARACHE, BOULEVARD and ATTACHE. Never understood ATTACHE, but rather like it now. Wasn’t really convinced by GET-UP-AND-GO (surface = get up? Well I suppose so, but …), What I’m sure is the correct parsing for 1ac is in the blog, but I had ‘I in char’s ma’, with ‘making personal appeal’ rather tenuously acting as an inclusion indicator for I. I’m not very comfortable with ex =from in 16dn. Otherwise good I thought.

  23. Re GET UP AND GO: unless I’ve missed something I parsed it slightly differently: with = and, crack on = go, after surface = get up.

  24. 28 minutes.
    Easiest of the week for me, though not a walkover, despite a fair number of easy clues. CLYDESDALE rang a faint bell, but I needed most of the checkers before I could sort out the anagram fodder.. Biffed GET-UP-AND-GO early on but without seeing how it worked, and the wordplay to ATTACHE eluded me, but once it was confirmed by checked cells I didn’t bother to study it further. It’s one of those groan-inducing Times crossword puns that leave me cold.

    Re comment above from Will Ransome,’From’ to indicate EX seemed ok to me. Chambers does give ‘direct from’ (preposition), but the omission of ‘direct’ doesn’t seem problematic to me. It’s not uncommon to see it clued as here.

  25. I thought this was going to be a doddle after the top half flew in, but the Arachne corner was the sting in the tail. CHARISMA went in first and CHAIN GANG soon arrived, inducing a chortle. BOULEVARD, EARACHE, ARDENT and lastly BEADLE took ages to sort out! Didn’t fully parse EXECRABLE. 25:58. Thanks setter and Pip.

  26. Yes, BletchleyReject is surely right about “surface”=get up in 17a. From the teenage years I recall requests from my mother – could I please try to surface before 10a.m. Mill=fistfight appears often in the Georgette Heyer oeuvre, along with a wealth of accompanying regency slang. The magnificent team of Budweiser CLYDESDALEs is about to make its annual appearance in a Superbowl commercial shortly (the only part I look at). 16.02 which included an interruption of a couple of minutes so no real trouble here except for ATTACHE which I failed to parse (thanks Pip). P.S. Meant to add to the compliments on BEADLE.

    1. I actually watch the Superb Owl every year, even not being American. Aussie TV puts in Aussie ads, rather than the original… as a dog lover I was a bit miffed to miss the weiner-dog ad a year or five back, where 35000 dachshunds (weiner-dogs in US-speak) came running over the hill in bread roll suits . Weiners – hot dogs – geddit. Groan. Whatever, we didn’t see it. Clydesdales… pffft. Budweiser… even worse.

    2. We were less ambitious with our daughter: noon seemed a more reasonable target, usually missed. She’s at university now and we have given up completely.

  27. Last one in was BOULEVARD. Usually struggle when ‘composer’ is mentioned. Breezed through in 30 minutes, but that included emptying the washing machine!

  28. Again like the QC nicely under target at 36.47, and I thought all parsed correctly until the missing A in 19dn was pointed out by various solvers; it certainly bypassed me.
    I was only slowed down at the end by the ne corner, where solving CRANIA allowed me to get MONOCLE and my LOI MARLIN.

  29. 24:28

    A few not really understood and the SW held up the longest.

    Forgotten about ARACHNE the spider-woman.

    Didn’t parse BOULEVARD nor BEADLE and GET-UP-AND-GO seemed to not parse smoothly.

    MILL = fist fight

    Did like CLYDESDALE once I’d figured it out.

  30. Second day in a row I’ve completed without having to sleep on a clue..
    Started well despite listening to England’s dismal first 10 overs, now they seem on an even keel….
    Some clues I liked, MARLIN introduced a fish I hadn’t come across in the 15×15 before. I was mired in ling/goat/ etc. LOI BOULEVARD but only because I had all the crossers. I’ll take that.
    CRANIA was cute too.
    Thank you setter and blogger.

  31. Top half fairly straightforward, but struggled in the SE and SW. The Fairy Queen was an unknown, as was this definition of COLANDER.
    Thanks for the entertaining and informative blog and thank you setter

  32. 15.54 with LOI crania which almost had me panicking. Enjoyable puzzle . Thx setter and blogger.

  33. How about parsing 17 ac like this: remove the hyphens from ‘GET-UP-AND-GO’ and the ‘surface’ meaning of the answer is ‘crack on’.

  34. 12:03. This was a strange one for me: I had all but ARDENT, ATTACHE, ORDNANCE and BOULEVARD done in just over 4 minutes, then those four clues took me another 8. I have no idea why.
    I also had no idea about the parsing of GET-UP-AND-GO (‘surface’ for GET UP is rather brilliant) but it was clearly the only possible answer.

  35. A fun puzzle with much devious devilry.
    NHO: MILL = fight
    COD: EARACHE? BEADLE? PACK ANIMAL? Take your pick!
    Loved the Shakespearean allusions.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  36. 30 mins. Excellent puzzle, nothing to get too worried about but some misdirection held me up somewhat

  37. 14’37” with AID and BOULEVARD going in last. I always took MILL as in fight to refer to the way boxers in olden times used to circle their paws preparatory to moving in. No-one seems to do that any more.

  38. “Mill” in the requisite sense is found in Merriam-Webster (so it’s not just a Brit thing): “to hit out with the fists”

  39. Apologies for the lateness; we always do the puzzle a day in arrears. Am i the only person to parse 9a as an anagram of MINK plus the odd letters of AlPaCaLlAmA? That would make the definition “donkey” which would agree with Topical Tim’s comments.

  40. I’m glad I was able to recover my funds, I would have had to file for bankruptcy, thanks to Geminihacks -.- cohm. I was able to get a hold of these scam brokers and take back my money. I would gladly refer anyone.

  41. Started off well, seeing CHARISMA and CHAIN GANG straight away, but MARLIN held out, even though I was certain the “twisted butter” would be MAR. Which in turn held me up with RAM RAIDER (NHO as a criminal); and for the horse I was not looking for a breed, but a ‘caustic solution’ …ah well. Similarly didn’t spot the ‘riddle’ meaning of 24a, and spent a long time trying to fit a form of conundrum into the spot. Enjoyed the whole puzzle nevertheless, especially the Shakespeare references.

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