Times 28551 – meeting expectations

Another enjoyable Wednesday, with some witty clues and nothing to cause a dispute. It took me 17 minutes and a few more to be sure of the parsing.

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

1 Piece I have taken with pawn in retaliation (8)
PUNITIVE – UNIT (piece) inside P (pawn in chess) IVE (I’ve, I have).
5 Parking in Asian city where one used to go for cryptic advice (6)
DELPHI – DELHI has P inserted; the Delphi oracle, in Greece.
10 Work by Dickens, whom we both like (3,6,6)
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND – double definition, or a cryptic definition for the Dickens work, as you prefer.
11 French clown and I go off course in vessel (7)
12 Have legal support groups succeeded? (7)
POSSESS – POSSES being legal support groups (or lynch mobs?) S for succeeded.
13 Pub and its front I preserve in centre of London (8)
BARBICAN -BAR (pub) B (front of bar) I CAN (I preserve). IMO possibly the ugliest housing estate and worst concert hall in London.
15 Tree in shot taken from garrison town (5)
ALDER – ALDERSHOT an army town loses SHOT.
18 Range in Patagonian Desert, which it bounds (5)
ANDES – hidden as above.
20 Nominal inheritance, misguided on my part (8)
23 Lion pierced by wayward shot in part of Africa (7)
LESOTHO – LEO the lion has (SHOT)* inserted.
25 At least one of two leaders in really autonomous principality (7)
ANDORRA – AND / OR = at least one, R A the leading letters of really autonomous. Don’t bother going there, unless you want to pretend to live there for tax reasons.
26 Met expectations? (7,8)
WEATHER FORECAST – witty cryptic definition, reference to the UK Meteorological Service.
27 Like a score of ten from perfect substitute (6)
DOUBLE – I think this is a double definition, 1. a score is twenty i.e. a double of ten, 2. a double is a lookalike substitute.
28 Shrill voice of loud singer introducing song sequence (8)
FALSETTO – F (loud) ALTO (singer) with SET inserted, set as in what a band might play.
1 Help actor in play, in small part (6)
PROMPT – ROMP (play) inside PT (small part).
2 Servant whose charges are small but growing (9)
NURSEMAID – cryptic definition.
3 Loyal kid, finding bone to pick? (4,3)
TRUE RIB – TRUE = loyal, RIB = kid, tease. True ribs are those which connect directly to the sternum, as opposed to ones lower down which don’t.
4 Spring over, store things here (5)
VAULT – double definition.
6 Large amount of earth is turned over in area contaminated with uranium (7)
EURASIA – IS reversed (turned over) inside (AREA U)*.
7 Bishop, for instance, making ceasefire announcement (5)
PIECE – sounds like PEACE.
8 Hard work at home needing clean after river comes in (8)
INDUSTRY – IN (at home) DUSTY (needing a clean) insert R for river.
9 Error not pronounced — it’s easily undone (4,4)
SLIP KNOT – error = SLIP, KNOT sounds like not.
14 Conservative leading committee is part of the furniture (8)
CUPBOARD – C (Conservative) UP (leading) BOARD (committee).
16 Was pleasantly distracted by natural light (9)
DAYDREAMT – cryptic definition, when you’re distracted in daylight you could be daydreaming.
17 Having a consecrated property husband let (8)
19 Container of schoolbooks the class endlessly rearranged (7)
SATCHEL – (THE CLAS)*. My grandchildren all seem to have back-packs, a satchel like the one I had wouldn’t hold the volume or weight of the load they have to tote around.
21 Strange condition — one remains if twin daughters and sons leave (7)
ODDNESS – if you remove DD and SS you’re left with ONE.
22 Event in Edinburgh that’s superficially artistic? (6)
TATTOO – two meanings of tattoo.
24 Mess initially put together by soldiers (5)
SNAFU – acronym created by WWII soldiers, from Situation Normal All F***ed Up.
25 City of famous mausoleum containing old Greek meeting-place (5)
AGORA – AGRA where the Taj Mahal is to be found, has O for old inserted.


60 comments on “Times 28551 – meeting expectations”

      1. Thanks. I wondered about that but it could only be in the surface reading as RIB in the sense of ‘tease’ is already accounted for in the wordplay by ‘kid’.

  1. It was pretty clear to me that a less than pronounced error was a FLIP (as in a flip remark) FLOP, also describing easily reversed. Once I got that straighened out things went smoothly. Thanks, pip

  2. 15:10, of which the last 5 or so minutes were devoted to my last two clues, 27ac DOUBLE and 24d SNAFU. I wondered briefly about ‘to pick’; I thought that ‘bone’ was the definition, and that maybe ‘to pick’ was tacked on to put the def in the middle of the clue. It does seem superfluous.

  3. 41 minutes. Very slow to see some of the easier ones (in retrospect anyway) such as OUR MUTUAL FRIEND and TATTOO which was my LOI. I missed the ‘Like a score of ten’ bit at 27a and didn’t know what ‘bone to pick?’ at 3d was about either. I liked the explanatory wordplay for SNAFU.

  4. I’d call the clue for SNAFU a CD. It’s almost just a straight fact about the answer word, but plays on “Mess” to be a bit misleading.
    I’m wondering if I’ve come across this sense of TATTOO here before…

  5. Forgot to mention I also had FRINGE at 22, which was the main reason I ran over my target time. Plus I was far too long coming up with PIERROT at 11ac having convinced myself that I didn’t know any French words meaning ‘clown’.

  6. 8:17 Can’t parse “to pick” in 3 down, unless true ribs are in some way the “pick”, ie superior, to other ribs.

  7. 11′ 01″ today, only nho TRUE RIB – but I have heard of ‘floating rib’. I wonder now if the setter intended to set off a discussion about this unusual phrase (hence bone to pick).

    I have read OUR MUTUAL FRIEND, my least favourite Dickens. I found the story incomprehensible, and the moral slight – but I did learn a lot about dust.

    VAULT and EURASIA went in easily probably because they have appeared recently either here or elsewhere.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  8. 18 minutes with LOI SNAFU. Lots of witty clues. I think I’ve seen something similar to WEATHER FORECAST recently, but it’s still worth COD. Thank you Pip and setter.

  9. 25 minutes, NHO TRUE RIB which was also my LOI. Several of the clues like OUR MUTUAL FRIEND seemed more like general knowledge questions to me. But at least went through this one at a steady pace, unlike yesterday…
    Thanks to everyone
    PS I might very well be wrong but I thought of (spare) ribs as soon as I saw pick, because they are bones you specifically pick the meat off. I suspect the pick doesn’t mean anything more than that.

  10. Miss J.Hunter Dunn, Miss J.Hunter Dunn,
    Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun, …
    (Betjeman, obviously)

    25 mins mid-brekker, held up at the end by limited knowledge of garrison towns (and trees) and the unlikely Daydreamt.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  11. Steady solve today, 15 mins or so.
    Can’t disagree with you Pip about the Barbican. Concrete does not age well.
    Andorra has an unattractive main route through the middle which is mainly duty-free shops and petrol stations. Either side of it however it is a delightful place, wild and picturesque. I have walked through it twice and found it one of the best bits of the whole Pyrenees, ski stations apart.

    1. Andorra – I agree, the scenery is pleasant, as with all the Pyrenees, but the town is awful (as you say) and we had a bad experience on a ski break at Xmas one year, not to be repeated, and the traffic jams are tedious. Keep walking!

      1. I hitchhiked through Andorra in 1974. Took me 24 hours! Had to seek refuge in a youth hostel as it snowed. Also couldn’t purchase a stamp at lunchtime.

      2. We had a great ski holiday there a few years ago. It’s a good place for kids when they’re learning.

  12. 10:55. Another who didn’t know (my LOI) TRUE RIB and wondered what “to pick” was doing in the clue apart from making a sensible surface. COD to the concise clue for WEATHER FORECAST. Thanks Pip and setter.

  13. 40 mins held up by at least 5 having clumsily entered HALLOWER which made 27ac R———E ungetteble. Once I saw my error, DOUBLE and SNAFU dived in! Thanks Pip for the definition for DELPHI which I didn’t know exactly. Luckily I had the A and the T in 22d so TATTOO went straight in.

    I also agree re the Barbican, I had two reastaurants near there many moons ago.
    I liked the two long clues, And PIERROT.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  14. 10:47

    Like Kevin I lost time at the end trying to figure out DOUBLE and SNAFU. The former is very clever, the latter I’m not sure belongs in a cryptic.

    Re TRUE RIB, I just assumed (seemingly wrongly) that it was a food reference to a rib you’d eat with your fingers, like a spare rib.

  15. On the wavelength today. 12.16 with no real difficulty until I paused over snafu. I knew the term but isn’t the clue a bit too literal?
    Very enjoyable outing. Thx setter and blogger.

  16. ‘Like a score of ten’ doesn’t really work, IMO. To me, if anything that means ’20 times 10′, albeit that should really be tens, plural, to work. I don’t see how you can reasonably get ‘double 10 to get 20’ out of it. I wrote it in with a shrug, but hey. I’m prob being obtuse, as usual.

    The rest was quite fun, though SNAFU was too literally clued. Liked PROMPT and WEATHER FORECAST.

    1. ‘A score of ten’ would be ’20 times 10′ but the clue says ‘like a score of ten’ so suggests an example, the example in this case being that 20 is the double of ten.

      1. So you’re supposed to read ‘like a score of ten’ as meaning: ‘how to make 20 from 10’?, ie double [it]…?

        1. No, I see at as an example, e.g.

          Like Rome of Italy = capital
          Like hot of cold = opposite
          Like 16 of 4 = square

          You sort of need to imagine a comma or brackets in there. Or replace “like…. of” with “as… is to” i.e As Rome is to Italy, as 20 is to 10.

        2. With the ‘Like’ in there — which to my eyes could make it adverbial — I did wonder about ‘DOUBLY’ rather than just ‘DOUBLE’. But I suppose that would invalidate ‘perfect substitute’. NHO True Rib but it had to be the answer.

  17. 14:55

    A pleasant romp through this, with only TRUE RIB and DOUBLE causing a momentary pause. WEATHER FORECAST was COD. If you think ANDORRA is bad you should try Aldershot.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter.

  18. Like Kevin and Penfold, I was slightly delayed until I had a PDM moment with SNAFU, and then biffed my LOI. Thanks to Pip for parsing that one for me !

    TIME 7:47

  19. 32:09. A mix of some easy clues and some odd ones. Baffled as I wrote in ALDER with just Aldermaston in my head. I liked ANDORRA (the clue) and WEATHER FORECAST

  20. DNF
    Utter failure. Totally gave up on NW corner of this. Just couldn’t see punitive, vault, prompt. NHO true rib; assumed that’s what it was, but couldn’t figure out ‘pick’ in the clue. Dejected to see a green snitch at 76.
    Thanks, pip.

  21. An enjoyable canter, without any serious hold-ups, coming in at 24 minutes. My only momentary wrong turning was at 6dn, where I could see only ETRURIA, until the crosser at 12ac put me right. On 3dn I assumed you would pick at a true rib as you would a spare rib – there is not much to eat on either of them. Agree with Penfold on DOUBLE at 27ac, though it is a little clumsy.
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  22. 25 mins. DAYDREAMT my bete noir, trying to see too much into the clue. Didn’t help that I was looking for a synonym of shot, rather than shot itself, as ALDER would have helped. As usual, something of a curates egg.

  23. Quick, for me anyway, at about 25 mins. Some clues seemed more a general knowledge/wordplay clue than overly cryptic, which probably helped me. Never really saw punitive as “in retaliation” until I had all the clues so was LOI. Weather forecast my COD. thanks setter and blogger and agree re barbican, having had to walk past it for many years.

  24. Unhappy with the picking of the bone in the TRUE RIB clue, which just seemed to be there to make a nice surface; it didn’t help that the answer was a nho. 45 minutes, with misgivings over this and also the DAYDREAMT clue, which seemed a bit feeble/odd. 26ac a nice CD (although it may not be original), but as always with CDs how much better a clue it would have been if this had just been the definition and there had been some wordplay. I quite failed to see that the Barbican was a centre in London, rather than being the very centre of London: how does one determine that it’s the middle of London, I wondered. Nice misdirection.

    1. I had similar thoughts about about BARBICAN as ‘centre of London’ – certainly it’s a bit off the beaten track for regular theatre and concert-goers – but its official name I believe is the Barbican Centre so I assumed the setter was referring to that. But of course that would call into question the rules about capital letters in clues, so the clue might be considered unsatisfactory on that account.

      1. The Barbican Centre is a performing arts centre so I don’t think any capitalisation “rules” have been flouted. It’s a centre (of something) in (of) London. In the same way the Arndale Centre is a (shopping) centre of Manchester.

        1. Yes, I think that covers it, so its a centre in London rather than somewhere that’s the centre of London.

  25. My second very quick (for me) time this week, finishing in 17.37. I had a vague recollection that SNAFU meant a mess, but I wasn’t sure and spent nearly a minute checking for alternatives before making this my LOI. It’s nice to be on the right wavelength occasionally, but I’m now awaiting the stinker to put me back in my place!

  26. Very enjoyable. I took particular pleasure in SNAFU and AGORA because they were both dredged up from previous crosswords. It encourages me that I’m still managing to learn. Thanks for the blog and exactly how PIERROT worked.

  27. 16:30. SNAFU LOI and unparsed, the cryptic definition masquerading as the usual cryptic/definition style clue, so to speak. Same puzzlement as others about the pickable bone. Concluded it must be a culinary thing along the lines of barbecued spare ribs but it clearly ain’t.

  28. DNF, defeated by PUNITIVE and the unknown TRUE RIB. Didn’t understand how PROMPT worked either. Pretty enjoyable otherwise.

    COD Weather forecast

  29. Didn’t know the meaning of TRUE RIB, so had to trust the wordplay. Enjoyed the puzzle and solved in 24:56 but with an inexplicably careless POSSEES at 12a. Drat! DOUBLE and SNAFU were last 2 in. Thanks setter and Pip.

  30. 14:26

    A couple of virtual pencil-chewing moments for TRUE RIB and correcting a hastily bunged-in GOVERNESS instead of NURSEMAID, plus I didn’t bother parsing EURASIA which went in on checkers alone. But otherwise an enjoyably plain-sail!

    Thanks setter and Piquet

  31. Very enjoyable puzzle, which distracted me from my dental appointment for a while. A bit easier than yesterday’s. LOI was POSSESS, which I didn’t really understand properly- so thanks for the explanation.
    Where there’s a SNAFU, there’s usually a FUBAR

  32. 9:25. Steady solve, and a bit of a curate’s egg. Like everyone else I don’t understand 3dn. I took it to be a food reference (you might pick at a rib) but I’m not aware that the distinction between true and false ribs has any culinary relevance, which would be necessary for the definition to make sense.

  33. Held up momentarily by punitive, bit of a MER at true rib and double, loved weather forecast and patronym. Guessed industry immediately for 8dn, seeing the Indus river in there, before looking at the clue and parsing it. Nice one, setter!

  34. I assumed DOUBLE just meant double figures, something that a sports commentator might say.

    I had heard of SNAFU, but I do feel the cryptics should have helped towards getting the answer, rather than just winking at those who already know it.

    Rather a slow 46 minutes.

  35. 49.37 Two PBs in a row, 44 seconds faster than yesterday! Before getting HALLOWED I spent much too long trying to find a police reference for 26, TRUE RIB was new to me too and SNAFU and DOUBLE cost me about ten minutes at the end.

  36. Missed the whole 3 down confusion, because I had no idea what a TRUE RIB was and just bunged it in because it worked. Anyone remember BARBIGAN ALGOHOL-FREE LAGER, with Geordie football manager Laurie McMenemy? Horryd might’ve. A romp through really, with 11’54” on the clock. The Dickens clue was in my view not up to snuff.

  37. This took me a few seconds under an hour (2, to be exact) and was indeed a curate’s egg, much of it being very easy but a few bits eluding me for ages. TATTOO was my LOI, the NW corner with PIERROT, PUNITIVE and PROMPT (the clue I liked best) just before that. There was a discussion of ANDORRA (the place, not the clue) above and I have one fond memory of it. I have been there only once, riding a bicycle from Foix in France through Andorra to Spain in 1974 and then coming back by another route, through a thunderstorm. On the outward route I decided to ride the bike as far as the French-Andorran border and then push it the last kilometer or two to the pass. But it was Whit Monday and the entire road from the pass to the border was clogged with French cars full of cheap booze, I suppose, waiting to reenter France, and when they saw me on my bike they started clapping. So I just couldn’t dismount and had to ride to the top, where I took a cigarette break, I hate to say, and then had a wonderful 40 km free downhill ride to the city.

  38. V late entry – 25 mins

    The same last two as a few others and concur with many of the earlier comments

    Thanks Piquet and setter

  39. As others have already said, a bit of a curate’s egg this one. Dickens’ mate went straight in, which helped a lot with the rather neat PROMPT; guessed at TRUE RIB and PATRONYM, but jumped in feet first for the tree being a Cedar, which held me up considerably for EURASIA. The Met clue was a ‘gimme’, but very welcome to open up the bottom half. Failed on DOUBLE and DELPHI, where I was sure an alternative spelling of JODHPURS asked for!
    Enjoyable hour solving and reading the comments ( a major highlight for me).

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