Times 28749 – warming up in the heat

The 112 of you who entered the Championship (and managed to get there in spite of storm Babet) will recognise this one as the first puzzle of the three in the heat. I wasn’t there, so it was new to me; it took me just under the 20 minutes to finish it correctly, although there are three clues (2d, 5d, 18d) where I was sure the answer was right but the parsing not 100% understood. Fortunately there were enough easy clues to create crossing letters for the harder clues to be got in time.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics, [deleted letters in square brackets].

1 Daughter, being devil-possessed or divine? (6)
DEDUCE – D inside DEUCE for devil. Not my FOI, took me a while to see that meaning of divine.
4 Finding out about odd bits of cheap jewellery (8)
RUMBLING – RUM (odd) BLING (cheap jewellery).
9 Grimaced, being given hard work around Durham region? (7)
GRINNED – GRIND around NE for Durham region.
11 Brilliant, a foreign court no longer in existence (7)
DEFUNCT – DEF (slang for brilliant) UN (a foreign) CT (court).
12 Significant empowerment, but somewhat reduced speed (5)
TEMPO – hidden see above.
13 Profession involving writer turned soldier (9)
CARBINEER – got from wordplay; CAREER with NIB reversed inside.
14 Insult team, awful and desperate? (4-6)
16 With leader of Conservatives ousted, order change (4)
EDIT – EDICT (order) loses C.
19 Place of vision reportedly (4)
SITE – sounds like SIGHT
20 The fellow’s English, settling in European country as one granted concession (10)
22 US serviceman embracing a rude Italian warlord (9)
GARIBALDI – GI our US serviceman has A RIBALD inserted.
23 Maiden in difficulty facing a series of steps (5)
RUMBA – M in RUB (difficulty) add A.
25 Looks at powerless arthropods (7)
26 Cold refreshment offered by Greek woman (7)
GRANITA – GR for Greek, ANITA a woman.
27 This not part of the dramatic Manhattan story? (4,4)
EAST SIDE – cryptic definition, referring  to “not part of” West Side Story.
28 Belittle this person being entertained by head of faculty? (6)
DEMEAN – ME (this person) inside DEAN.
1 Plant with numerical identification on island (9)
2 Belief is conveyed by ultimatum, not half (5)
DEISM – I presume the “ultimatum” synonym is DEMAND, to insert IS into DEM[and].
3 Class engaged in tricks follows the crowd (8)
CONFORMS – FORM = class, inside CONS = tricks.
5 Getting down? Not getting down (13)
UNDERSTANDING – well, standing = not getting down, does under = down? Not sure I get it.
6 Expert away probing wine store (6)
BOFFIN – store wine in a BIN, insert OFF for away.
7 Watering-hole of top people to finish with huge accusations nastily made? (9)
INNUENDOS – INN = watering hole, U for upper class, END for finish, OS outsize for huge.
8 Men with weapon aloft to get dangerous animal (5)
GATOR – OR (ordinary ranks, men), with GAT (kind of gun) aloft i.e. in front, above.
10 Fairly good getting brought up outside capital finally — being taken outside London, say? (13)
DECENTRALISED –  DECENT (fairly good) RAISED (brought up) insert L = capital finally.
15 Sends up flowers after end of week? (9)
SATIRISES – SAT[urday], IRISES = flowers.
17 The knight must have a win, on the other hand (4,5)
THEN AGAIN – THE N (the knight, chess) A GAIN = a win.
18 Result of too much demand? Er, possibly! (8)
SHORTAGE – possibly a d.d.,  obviously one definition is not cryptic, I think the other could be that “too much demand” could shorten your age? I’m not sure why “Er” is there, though. EDIT thanks to aphis99 below who pointed out that ER = short ERA, hence SHORT AGE.
21 A heathen god church discarded? You could count on that (6)
ABACUS – A, BACCHUS (Roman god of wine) delete CH.
22 What may sound like conspirator’s false front? (5)
GUISE – sounds like GUY’S as in Guy Fawkes.
24 This has sea to south and east (5)
MAINE – MAIN is a word for sea, add E for east, &lit.


58 comments on “Times 28749 – warming up in the heat”

    1. My reading was definition: “Getting” (“down” is not necessary”); charade: UNDER, “down” + STANDING, “not getting down.” If “Getting down” is the definition (my first thought too), there’s no wordplay for “down” (though I see that UNDER is in the third tier of synonyms for “down” at Thesaurus dot com, and “down” in the same place (though there are no entries for the preceding red and darker orange tiers there) for UNDER.

  1. 35:13
    Over 5′ spent on DIGITALIS and GRINNED, neither of which should have taken much time. I had T_LIS fairly early on, and still couldn’t manage to recall the plant. I wondered about -er; thanks to aphis99 for enlightening me.

  2. Quickest ever competition puzzle, fully parsed in 23 miuntes. Must have been easyish? But drinking coffee, for the mental boost (? or placebo) – are you allowed coffee at the championships?
    I’m with aphis99 on ER being short ERA, and with Piquet on DEM[and], and getting being the definition, under being down for UNDERSTANDING.
    Last few in UNDERSTANDING, RUMBLING – just couldn’t remember the word, SHORTAGE then GUISE which was empty, had to go back to it.
    Enjoyed it, COD probably FRANCHISEE or DEDUCE, both slow coming.

  3. Luckily we’ve had ‘edict’ as a bull in a recent crossword, which helped get 16a quickly. Did the qualifiers need to complete 3 crosswords correctly in 90mins? If so, my 32minutes would require improvement for the other two.

    1. Interesting question. The results are linked to on the top right of the page: 61 competitors got all 90 answers correct in the hour, the top 60 progressed to the semis. Seems 73 filled the puzzles, 12 had mistakes.
      So: yes is the answer.

    2. I think you have to do all three in an hour, so 20 mins each. Seeing I’m under 20 once or twice a month I might struggle…

      1. Yes it’s an hour for 3 – from what I remember (not much of a guarantee, I couldn’t even remember all the answers for this one!) all were round about this level.

        I was 35th in about 41 minutes, and there was no get out clause as more than 60 got 100% scores so speed came into the semi final qualification.

  4. The left side seemed easy enough, though I biffed DEISM and forgot to look at it again. Slowed down on the right, but got it all, and all parsed. Really liked SHORTAGE. MAINE was LOI, pretty neat &lit!

  5. I tackled this at bedtime when I was far too tired to do myself justice and after a few very early successes I slowed and started nodding off so I abandoned it for the night with only 13 answers in the grid. On resumption this morning the remainder fell into place quite neatly within a further 18 minutes. I can’t give an overall time as I completely lost track of my first session and sleep may have accounted for much of it.

    I didn’t have any queries along the way other than wondering if GRANOLA might qualify as a ‘cold refreshment’ and ANOLA might be a woman’s name. Once I’d thought of GR,ANITA I was confident of my answer although I couldn’t actually remember what sort of food it is.

  6. 24.06 but didn’t notice it was a championship puzzle, might have psyched myself up for a bit more speed if I had and maybe smashed the 23 minute mark. I thought this was a clever puzzle, fun to solve. Agree with others re ‘er(a)’, ‘dem(and)’ and get = UNDERSTANDING. Thanks to piquet for explaining deuce = devil (doh!) and def = brilliant in some world I do not inhabit. FOI TEMPO, LOI CARBINEER, COD UNDERSTANDING. I can’t imagine doing three of these in an hour, then three more harder ones after that. I admire all those who even tried, but I’ll probably stick to doing it just for fun.

  7. I’m not destined for the championships any time soon, but I gave it my best shot and biffed a few where I might otherwise have tried to figure out the parsing on a normal day. 33 minutes all told; FOI 16a EDIT after looking for a shorter answer as a way in when I failed to get started in the NW; LOI 18d SHORTAGE after finally figuring out that GRATINA wasn’t the name of the frozen dessert I’d been thinking of.

    Now I’ve been handed the parsing, COD to 18d SHORTAGE, but I couldn’t figure it out at the time.

  8. 35 minutes with LOI the unknown CARBINEER replacing a biffed CARPENTER after a hesitant BUFFER finally became a BOFFIN. COD to FRANCHISEE. As I always have been, I’m too slow to enter and I’m getting slower. Not as tricky as I expected though. Thank you Pip and setters.

    1. I tried Musketeer and Grenadier until crossers (and lack of pars-ability) got in the way.

  9. Well, this took me about 8 minutes: amazing how much easier they are the second time round, isn’t it?

    Still not entirely a gimme though! The SE corner took a minute or two to polish off..

    1. Absolutely easier the second time (even though I didn’t actually have full recall of the solutions!).

      About 6.30 but out of decency let the timer go round to 13 minutes (which I would say is about what this one took on the day) before submitting.

    2. I was surprised to see the SNITCH at about 88; then I realized that there might be a number of repeaters in the mix.

  10. I had almost no conscious memory of this but solved it in 6 minutes, considerably faster than the first time. As is my habit at the championship I moved on from this when I felt I was getting stuck, which was about two-thirds of the way through I think. My theory is that this speeds up my overall solving time for the three puzzles, because usually when I come back to a puzzle I quite quickly see things that had been stubbornly eluding me before.
    The first thing I did at the end of the heat was look up CARBINEER to check it was a word. Phew.

  11. I think I had this done all bar one clue (can’t remember which) in about 11 minutes on the day, and it didn’t take long to sort that when I came back to it.

    Done in 7:44 today (off leaderboard) and I certainly don’t remember a lot of it. I think I was a bit on autopilot having eventually made it into the room about 30 seconds before the start.

    On the day I took part of the UNDERSTANDING clue to mean not getting someone down by being understanding. I’m still a little puzzled by MAINE too.

    1. I found MAINE a bit odd too. I took ‘to south’ as an indication of the direction of the word MAIN (this being a down clue).

    2. I couldn’t see what south was doing in the clue for MAINE since when I called up a map of the US in my mind I visualized the east coast running roughly south to north so the sea would just be to the east. After consulting a real map,however, I see the coast of Maine veers strongly eastward and the Atlantic is indeed to the south(well, southeast).

  12. About 20 minutes, though not all understood. I didn’t see what was going on with EAST SIDE at all, though it clearly had to be right, and I hadn’t heard of GRANITA or CARBINEER so I relied on the wordplay for them. Still don’t fully get UNDERSTANDING either.

    I tried to justify ‘bodega’ for 6d, thinking ‘wine store’ was the definition and ‘bod’ was our expert, before the F from DEFUNCT (after remembering def=brilliant) set me straight.

    FOI Site
    LOI Carbineer
    COD Shortage

  13. 32 mins. Still don’t understand UNDERSTANDING. It went in with a shrug, faute de mieux. Everything else fairly straightforward, though on another day I’d probably have found it hard (some days I see ’em, some days I don’t). Liked SHORTAGE and FRANCHISEE.

    1. ‘Getting down? Not getting down’

      The definition is getting, as in ‘He’s slowly getting/understanding it.’

      down = under (‘He’s down/under there somewhere’)

      not getting down = standing (‘She’s not getting down [from her standing position]’, i.e., ‘She’s still standing’)

  14. I remember having a rising sense of panic when solving this as I got 1/2 way through the across clues before solving one and glanced at the clock after 13 1/2 minutes with only 2/3 done, so, like keriothe, went on to the next. This was the hardest of the 3, I think. It still took me over 10 minutes second time around. I liked UNDERSTANDING and SHORTAGE best. Thanks Pip and setter.

  15. Apologies if I’ve breached some etiquette here as I’m not sure I should have submitted to leaderboard as I have just smashed my PB…..but this was the second time round!

    On the actual day, I really struggled with this and found it hardest of the three and just couldn’t bring DEDUCE or GRINNED to mind and therefore struggled with DIGITALIS too so the NW corner was looking pretty bare for far too long.

    The fact I spent so long looking at this on the day may have been why I just managed to fill it all in today in a ridiculously quick 3.35!

  16. 5:50
    Yes, they do seem to get easier the more often you do them. I recall this being the most difficult of the three qualifiers, which took me 48 minutes in total. I can’t remember getting several of the answers, so must have biffed and hoped for the best.
    LOI MAINE on the day, RUMBLING now.

  17. About 35′, with NE and SW going in relatively easily with the other 2 sections being a bit of a struggle. Still haven’t quite understood SHORTAGE, even with the helpful explanations above. GRINNED seems to me a bit different to “grimaced” but the “g” crosser at least gave me DIGITALIS (I’m rubbish at flowers) and the “d” gave me DEDUCE (deuce=devil being new to me). Enjoyed the reference to GARIBALDI though never thought of him as a warlord. Thanks Piquet and setter.

  18. 15 minutes. I found this surprisingly straightforward. Sadly, I no longer go along to the championship. Not sure why – just have got lazy. Never had a hope of winning anyway of course with the sub-10 minute brigade around. But every competition needs some cannon-fodder like me.

  19. Good thing I didn’t enter the championship, not that I ever would, since even with aids to prod me when I was stuck I took exactly an hour on this. It’s strange how when you get one after being stuck, a whole lot of things that had previously defied solution go in fairly quickly. Unfortunately this time I kept grinding to a halt. Liked SHORTAGE and can’t see the problem. Wasn’t happy with GRINNED = grimaced — they’re quite different: one is happy, the other sad. FRANCHISEE good but difficult.

    1. Grin / Grimace is in Collins and the Oxfords but not in Chambers. Collins has : grin to draw back the lips revealing the teeth, as in a snarl or grimace. You may also come across rictus smile a fixed or unnatural grin or grimace, as in horror or death.

  20. So long as I can do the the next two in about 5 minutes each I might stand a chance of qualifying! The right hand side completely threw me, not least because I knew variations on CARBINEER but not that one. GALATEA (clever, eh?) would not go away despite not being cold, and ER refused to be anything but her late majesty. The sea didn’t want to be anything other than MED, and the jewellery insisted on being a NOSERING, nosing around ER borrowed from her late majesty. Is it churlish of me to say the odd bits of cheap are cep? Bewilderment mushrooms. I eventually cracked UNDERSTANDING by careful smudging, though the explanation here shows it to be (a bit too?) clever.
    I suppose adrenalin might have helped, but that wasn’t part of the puzzle.

    1. Me too. Different set of erroneous mind-worms but with the same distance from both reality and the correct answers.

  21. 21:40 – relatively straightforward but I am clearly not championship material. Had CARPENTER for a while at 13ac with carter and carpenter both providing the profession and the soldier not doing anything at all. Oh well.

  22. 55:52 – solvable, but I need to get three times faster before I could ever enter the championship. Held up for ages on the NW corner – L2I were DIGITALIS and DEDUCE. I had convinced myself that numerical identification must be TAG, but could not find a plant that fitted. COD to SHORTAGE.

  23. 30 minutes or so, fully completed but not all parsed, so thanks for the blogger and other contributors for enlightening me.

    Under exam conditions I think I would have been a fair bit quicker as I’m sure the champs didn’t take place in the same room as a 4 year old who is never knowingly quiet. Maybe next year.

  24. I was doing ok until I ground to a complete halt with GRANITA which took an absolute age to reveal itself. Was unsure what the other word was for DEISM so thanks for explanation. I won’t bother entering next year either based on my time here but at least it was all correct.

  25. Since I did not immediately see the answers to the two long down clues, this had to be solved quarter by quarter, starting in the SW where the answers came quite quickly (when I saw 22ac was GARIBALDI and not GAULEITER), and then proceeding clockwise to finish 41 minutes later in the SE. I share others’ quibbles on GARIBALDI, GRINNED, and UNDERSTANDING, but overall it was a fair challenge. Don’t think I shall be putting my hat in the ring for the competition any time soon!
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors

  26. Not really left myself enough time for the other two! But I could, in theory, do two puzzles in 34 minutes. Will keep an eye on the next two Wednesdays.

    DEDUCE was LOI, finally twigging that divine doesn’t have to be godly, but not helped by not knowing devil = deuce. Top right was the other slow part for me, but got there in the end.

    On edit – having read piquet’s excellent blog, I realise that I biffed quite a lot.


  27. 20.39 but

    Happy with that time but a horrible SATARISES. I just wanted to check the offending letter so glanced at the clue, saw “sends up” or at least the “up” part and thought “arises”. Note to self: read the clue.

    DEDUCE was last one in and rather good with the misleading devil.

    Thanks Pip and setter

  28. No time for obvious reasons. On the day, as others apparently do, I followed my usual pattern of doing as much as I could on each puzzle before hitting a wall, then starting the next. I can’t remember if there’s actual scientific evidence for the phenomenon, but I certainly find that when you come back to the first puzzle after a break, things just drop into place as if they’ve been brewing somewhere at the back of the brain. So, no time recorded for individual puzzles, but I did the first three in about 37 minutes, I think; and this one didn’t cause me too many nagging doubts, once I’d made sure it was RUMBLING not TUMBLING, and reassured myself that if you have musketeers, you can have CARBINEERS just as easily.

  29. 58 mins but……I thought a very mixed puzzle. Some clues almost wrote themselves in and others had me scratching my head. 1 ac and 2 d had me completely flummoxed. In the end, and for no good reason I put in DEISM and then DEDUCT. It was only then that I read the title at the top of the page! Yoiks. Lots to like including RUMBLING, the two long clues ( I didn’t have a problem with down=under luckily) and THEN AGAIN.

    Well done to all those who finished quickly.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  30. I had SATYRISES for a while until I realised 1) I can’t spell, and 2) Yrises aren’t flowers of any kind.
    Had OOMPH for 12a; should have seen the hidden TEMPO, but as so often I couldn’t see it.
    I DEF won’t be going to any championships. I DNK DEF=excellent as I had forgotten looking it up a few weeks ago. Oh dear.
    On another point I NOW remember looking at a map of MAINE and deciding that the coast was mainly on the south, and the E for East changed Main=sea to MAINE. So the clue must have been VERY similar. Anyone else remember that? Maybe it is just that my memory is v dodgey, or have we seen this Xword before (excluding the valiant championship contenders of course, of which I am DEF not one.)

  31. No mistakes today but I didn’t hit submit as I did this on the day. There were clues that I came back to on that occasion so not sure on my time. Today was under ten minutes but I’m not sure how much of that was familiarity and how much was being under zero pressure. A good mix of toughish clues and a plenty of easier entry points too. Excellent puzzle.

  32. Got off to a reasonable start with TEMPO, SITE and DEISM. BLING arrived long before RUM. BOFFIN made EXTINCT DEFUNCT. EAST SIDE needed the crossers. SHORTAGE, GRANITA and MAINE held me up at the end. 27:31. If there were 2 puzzles to do in the hour I might stand a chance of completion! Thanks setter and Pip.

  33. Crikey,if that’s a competition crossword, the compiler needs a word.
    def – brilliant
    gator – another Americanism
    shortage- very vague

    Could and should do a lot better for those travelling to London

  34. 43’30”
    Found the going sticky, never nearer.
    I wanted to parse everything, this being a special puzzle, but in the end bunged in 5d with no justification, and thinking fuzzily that Maine being an and lit. was feasible.
    Good job I did ! It took me the rest of the ruddy afternoon to see how 5d worked.
    I’m bound to ignore this.
    So, 16’30” in which to do the other two, which will mean bettering my PB by three minutes twice.
    Very enjoyable; thank you setter and Pip.

  35. This was second time around for me as well. I agree with many above that this was the hardest of the three puzzles on the day. It took me fully 2 or 3 minutes to put pen to paper on the day and I was beginning to wonder why on earth I had entered! With about two thirds done, I skipped to the next two puzzles which went in much more easily and fully correct. Unfortunately I made three mistakes in this puzzle, so didn’t make the semi-final and had to settle for an early pint at The George.
    Worryingly, I still made a couple of mistakes today, almost certainly the same ones as I did in The Championship!
    Good puzzle.

  36. I’m glad I finished (and understood all the wordplay) in just over an hour — it would have been just under an hour if I’d banged in SHORTAGE as a biff, but I did want to see how it worked. I found the across clues very hard at first, the down ones only a little bit better, but eventually everything fell into place. The one clue I didn’t like much was EAST SIDE, because I see only one indicator (the reference to West Side Story) of what the answer is meant to be. I thought that was rather weak, but otherwise, quite a challenging puzzle. No chance of my ever entering the competition, of course.

  37. I was doomed from the start with this one, as my FOI was OOMPH, which stayed there until the very end, when it had to be something different. Not helped by having the M justified. I see I’m not the only one… But that made CONFORMS and DIGITALIS impossible. I’m glad to see that this is reckoned to be the hardest of the 3 qualifiers, as it took me longer than any other puzzle this week, and indeed for some time! You won’t be seeing me at the championships – I’m way too slow – though maybe I’ll turn up to cheer the rest of you on next time.

  38. 36:14

    Though I was there on the day, only managed to complete about half of this puzzle (did better with the other two) and unsurprisingly failed to qualify for the semis. Did manage to slightly improve my score of 2019 too. Didn’t really find it any easier today though I did recognise a couple of answers as they went in. One I’d rather forget…

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