28282, Thursday, 5 May 2022 A preponderance of Conservative Women

I can’t say I found this particularly difficult, and after trying to fill in the missing letters from M_R_H_S_A_ for a short eternity, finally completed in 15.37

A curiosity of this one was the recurrence of cons and misses, clued differently each time, with Tories turning up more than once, balanced for todays election purposes, no doubt, by at least one Liberal and, for NI purposes perhaps, a Republican. I have attempted to show my working below, and as usual, clues are in italics, their definitions also underlined, and their solutions in BOLD


1 Recommend a chap to Sue? (8)
ADVOCATE Two definitions, the second suggesting a person who is able to sue (no capital), a lawyer.
6 Sum of £1000 in cash (6)
MONKEY A slang term for £500 pounds in cash, derived for K for a thousand in MONEY for cash.
9 Gamble when duke retreats, eliminated (4)
ICED Gangster slang for killed. Gamble is DICE, the D(uke) retreats to the back.
10 Rogue president entertaining a streetwalker? (10)
PEDESTRIAN An anagram (rogue) of PRESIDENT plus A
11 Censor right-wing writer (4-6)
BLUE PENCIL From the use of blue pencils for editing and by extension censorship. Right-wing gives BLUE, in the UK the traditional Tory colour, and writer is the PENCIL.
13 Might I have a word with cardinal in the morning? (4)
AHEM Cardinal is H(is) E(xellency) to be placed inside AM for morning
14 Egg-laying creature quietly burrowing into ground (8)
TERRAPIN P for quietly, as in musical notation, inside TERRAIN for ground
16 Thus female must enter church on time (6)
THENCE Female is HEN. Place CE for church on T(ime) to produce TCE, and put your HEN inside that.
18 Harry succeeded in safe surroundings (6)
PESTER You need to know that a PETER is a safe in slang, so that you can put S(ucceeded) inside it.
20 Twice finished burnt? (8)
OVERDONE Two words for finished concatenated.
22 Colonel losing millions: not what one expected? (4)
BLIP The usual British government term for a catastrophic collapse in the economy: a temporary blip, nothing to worry about. The Colonel is BLIMP, originally a cartoon character, reactionary, pompous and jingoistic. developed into a rather good Powell/Pressburger film. For our purpose, he loses his M(illions)
24 Reason things go wrong with potato salad? (7,3)
MURPHY’S LAW Murphy is a slang term for a potato, the cited law similar to Sod’s. If anything can go wrong, it will.
26 Amateur player from incredibly rich nation (10)
CORINTHIAN An anagram (incredibly) of RICH NATION
28 Found among sarcophagi on ancient island (4)
IONA The hidden for today, in sarcophagI ON Ancient
29 Solicitor having bite to eat in pub (6)
BEGGAR Perhaps not the sort of solicitor you first thought of. The bite to eat is an EGG, in BAR for pub.
30 English teacher suspicious in absence of head’s representative (8)
EMISSARY E(nglish), the MISS for teacher, and WARY for suspicious without its head (letter)

2 Remove arresting officer? That’s quite revealing (9)
DÉCOLLETÉ You can’t put the accents in the grid, but pretend they’re there. “Wearing a low cut dress” according to Chambers. The word DELETE for remove “arrests” COL(onel) for officer.
3 Doctor adored Liberal woman past her prime? (3,4)
OLD DEAR An anagram (doctor) of ADORED plus L(iberal). I coudn’t work out if this was mildly insulting or not.
4 Plenty of beer drunk by backbencher? On the contrary (5)
AMPLE The backbencher is an MP, and the beer ALE. In a reverse of the usual procedure (on the contrary) the ALE drinks the MP.
5 Nothing odd in Kennedy’s demise (3)
END Remove the odd letters of Kennedy
6 Mischievously stole time, finding excuse for a kiss? (9)
MISTLETOE An anagram (mischievously) of STOLE TIME
7 Hurried back with judge for recount (7)
NARRATE So recount with the accent on the second syllable. Hurried is RAN, which you reverse (back) and judge gives RATE.
8 Get rid of Republican, keeping quiet about it (5)
ERASE Just the R of Republican needed. Quiet gives EASE to surround it
12 Profile of Tory leading expedition (7)
CONTOUR Tory gives CON, and expedition TOUR
15 Bounds of empire shifting over time? I’m not sure (9)
PERIMETER EMPIRE shifts (so it’s an anagram, then) on top of T(ime), and you get the remaining ER from I’m not sure.
17 Case of criminal instructor having run off (9)
CONTAINER It’s criminal this time that gives CON, followed by TRAINER from with the R(uns) – um – runs off.
19 Sauce that’s very nice indeed (7)
TOPPING A double definition.
21 Insult female cashier (7)
DISMISS So we have MISS again, but this time, just a female, which this time is not a hen. Before it (her?) DIS for insult. Cashier here is a verb.
23 Behold very large European general (5)
LOOSE …which you could say applies to the definition. Behold LO, very large OS (Out Size) plus E(uropean)
25 City hotel, an old one (5)
HANOI H(otel) plus AN in plain sight, O(ld) and I (one)
27 Cockney put on payroll, creating resentment (3)
IRE The traditional dropped Cockney Haitch from the front of HIRE for put on payroll

44 comments on “28282, Thursday, 5 May 2022 A preponderance of Conservative Women”

  1. Nothing much to frighten the horses here, but I was held up by wanting to put ‘decollage’ (also a word, I subsequently found) at 2d, perhaps as a contracted form of ‘decolletage.’ Obviously need to mug up on my plunging necklines. After sorting that out, I finished with the hypervocalically presented ADVOCATE.
  2. A gentle one for a Thursday. DNK CORINTHIAN, but the checkers took care of that. I don’t recall ‘cardinal’ cluing HE before.
    1. Z has it slightly wrong: the formal salutation for a Cardinal is “His Eminence”.
  3. 35 minutes. Not too hard looking back on it, but I made heavy weather of a few including ICED and for no good reason my LOI ADVOCATE. Yes, another one to add to the possibilities for ‘cardinal’. I liked 25d for the way it suggested the HANOI Hilton and MURPHY SLAW, which has appeared in a few versions over the years.

    Favourite was DÉCOLLETÉ. Here’s another variation on the theme (can’t remember if it was from here or elsewhere): Revealing blouse that might be tough for ladies to get into (3-3).

    1. 37 minutes with a little time lost because I didn’t know HE as anything to do with cardinals, only diplomats, so I hesitated a long time over AHEM. BEGGAR and LOOSE also made me think several times before writing them in.

      Oddly enough I knew CORINTHIAN because before I developed my aversion to football (i.e. pre-12 and before I went to a school where it was treated like a religion) I was persuaded by friends to attend occasional matches at the home ground of my local amateur team, Wealdstone FC. They were in the Athenian League but I also became aware of other local amateur leagues, one of which was Corinthian, so the word has associations for me.

  4. Charioting foremost in the envious race,
    Like a young Jove with calm uneager face,
    And fell into a swooning love of him.

    Well, who wouldn’t?
    Excellent crossword, especially the Slaw. 15 mins pre-brekker.
    Thanks setter and Z.

  5. 29:46
    Nice puzzle. Steady solve. Egg = bite to eat … Well, all right then. I’m feeling generous 🙂
    Thanks, z.
  6. 19 minutes, back-to-front, with LOI ADVOCATE. COD the delicious MURPHY’S LAW. Enjoyable throughout with a slight MER at LOOSE. Thank you Z and setter.

    Edited at 2022-05-05 06:57 am (UTC)

  7. 41 mins so about average. Last two MONKEY and ERASE took a time. Didn’t really get (and still don’t , despite Z’s explanation) the monkey. Surely £1000 should be Lm Lk or something like that?

    I liked MURPHYS LAW, the neat surface of BLUE PENCIL and CORINTHIAN.

    Thanks Z and setter.

    1. I think K for £1,000 is at least possible: some dialogue from Line of Duty, perhaps: “that’ll cost you large, maybe 10K”. I toyed with the possibility that the setter was confusing his argot, and thought a monkey itself was £1,000, which might have made the clue rather cleverer.
      1. But that’s the point, isn’t it. It’s possible but not good. Sum=MONKEY is IMHO very loose. If the clue had read, for instance “Sum in the East End, a thousand in cash” it would have made much more sense.
  8. 12:06. No dramas. I tried to make 14A PLATYPUS to start with. I knew it wouldn’t be a bird! COD to MURPHYS LAW. Thanks Z and setter.
  9. If I might offer a slight correction, Z, the formal salutation for a Cardinal is His Eminence, not His Excellency.

    A kind of symmetry for the puzzle number: 28282….
    No problems with this. I think we’ve seen ‘peter’ for safe a few times recently.
    COD to MURPHY(‘)S LAW.
    I echo Bolton Wanderer’s slight mer at LOOSE.

    Edited at 2022-05-05 08:11 am (UTC)

    1. I should have remembered that, not least given the line in Carry on Henry, Barbara Windsor’s exclamation of “Ooh, your Eminence” as she brushes past Terry Scott as Cardinal Wolsey.
  10. I think this was my quickest ever solve, only held up by not being sure how ERASE worked for a while despite there being no other viable option. Didn’t know that murphy=potato or figure out the ‘slaw’ bit, but again MURPHY’S LAW was clear enough. The same applied to BLUE PENCIL, which was obvious once all the checkers were in place.

    FOI Decollete
    LOI Topping
    COD Advocate

  11. I thought that MONKEY was a genius clue, until coming here and finding that a monkey is £500 rather than £1000. It’s still good, just not quite as good as I first thought.
    I attended a quiz last night and was chuffed to remember that the Japanese art of flower arrangement is called Ikebana, which I’ve only seen before in Times crosswords. I knew doing these things would prove useful in life some day.
  12. According to our masters, during Covid restrictions a Scotch egg eaten in a pub was classified as a full meal, so definitely more than just a bite.
  13. 21:47 On an iPhone so slowed down by fat fingers but at least I knew it was all correct when the last letter went in.
  14. 43 minutes and one wrong, for no good reason: I was just careless with 15dn and entered PARAMETER without understanding how it worked, because it could just about be desribed as bounds. I liked the potato slaw. Was baffled by HE for cardinal and assumed that was my mistake when I got the ‘Unlucky’ message, but no, I’d entered it with a shrug and it was right. Why do we have cardinal anyway? It could perfectly well have been ambassador.

    Edited at 2022-05-05 09:48 am (UTC)

  15. Georgette Heyer to the rescue with CORINTHIAN – in fact it’s the title of one of her books. I’ve been so long this side of the pond with its blue and red states I tend to forget that in the UK blue=right wing so that caused a pause with BLUE PENCIL. Good puzzles this week. 16.09
  16. Not too tricky today, but some delights along the way, most particularly MURPHY’S LAW & BLUE PENCIL.

    CORINTHIAN held me up a little at the end, trying unlikely-looking alternative anagrams. More familiar to me when pluralised & in the Bible.

  17. Held up (or not as the case may be) by DÉCOLLETÉ where I was trying to fit LT into the word.
    Fortunately MURPHYS LAW didn’t apply here, it was all correct for a change.
  18. No hold-ups with this, 24 minutes, liked the MURPHY SLAW although coleslaw is disgusting stuff. Nice puzzle nice blog.
  19. Nice smooth solve, but like most other people, I still had time to stop and appreciate the MURPHY SLAW.
  20. 50 minutes, held up by LOI DÉCOLLETÉ which was a nice PDM when it came. I got the SLAW before the spud, CORINTHIAN was new to me in that sense, and I liked BLUE PENCIL. Thanks both
  21. 8:58. No problems this morning. I didn’t know this meaning of CORINTHIAN: I have read the relevant Heyer novel but took it in the other sense of dandy, man-about-town. Mind you the hero is no doubt said to be very good at boxing or some other sport, they usually are.
  22. 30 minutes. Some very easy clues, plus a few trickier ones that slowed me down (CORINTHIAN and MURPHY’s LAW especially). I needed all the checkers before I could complete ADVOCATE, my last entry. I liked the clue to BLUE-PENCIL.
  23. MONKEY held me up for ages, and delayed ERASE accordingly. Otherwise mostly straightforward, although NHO CORINTHIAN in this sense. COD TOPPING.
  24. MURPHYS LAW — nice pdm.

    I too was mildly puzzled at first by MONKEY being the answer to a clue with £1000 — concise piece of misdirection there.

    No probs with AHEM — bunged it straight in.


  25. I trundled through this with relative ease, apart from LOI, ADVOCATE, which suddenly loomed through the mist like a blinding flash of light, as I thought, “How did I not see that?!” Lots to like. 17:52. Thanks setter and Z.
  26. I agree with Olivia that his has been a good week for puzzles. Lots of fun in this one. Went with DICE for a while, which didn’t help. Colonel Blimp always brings the Beezer’s Colonel Blink (“the short-sighted gink”) to mind.

    Thanks to z and the setter.

  27. I thought this was a lovely puzzle – nothing too tricky, but there are some great surface readings. I cast my vote for COD to ‘mistletoe’.

    Thanks, Setter! And Z, for the entertaining elucidations.

  28. I set this aside last night with three unfinished in the SW, was able to finish after, hesitantly, putting in CORINTHIANS. (This word has a few unexpected meanings; I was already aware of the one Bowie used in “The Bewlay Brothers.”) However, I also see that I bunged in MONIES and didn’t rethink; this sense of MONKEY has surely come up before, but I would have had to check it…
  29. 36 minutes, the last eight of which spent wondering whether MONKEY really could be right. The rest was very easy, despite my not knowing this meaning of CORINTHIAN. Still, a few nice clues (MURPHYS LAW, DISMISS).
  30. ….I was held up by my LOI, and needed an alpha-trawl to finish off. A very enjoyable puzzle.

    TIME 8:14

  31. ‘Not too tricky’ seems to be the general sentiment, but it took me an age to crack even though, on reflection, there’s not much here that should have caused problems. MONKEY got the eyebrows heading heavenward for reasons covered above, and the memory of ‘peter’ for safe was buried deep, hence PESTER was my LOI. Why I couldn’t parse ICED is a mystery, but thanks to our blogger for explaining what should, after years of doing cryptic crosswords, have been blindingly obvious.
  32. 17.32. An enjoyable romp . Nothing particularly memorable but good fun . For a change I did the puzzle on the Crossword Club site and rejoice in being placed 117 th!

    A propos of nothing in particular, are the times entered on that site for real? I have performed the odd cheat in the past just to check by solving the puzzle on paper and then entering it on the Club site . But even knowing all the answers in advance, the best my thick fingers could do was complete it in under 5 minutes- nowhere near the leading scores.

    Is it a site inhabited by aliens or Russian hackers? I obviously exempt the names I recognise on this site who I have no doubt record honest times.

    1. Soe of those magical times are real, and some are entered by people who solve the puzzle offline and then embrace a fastest finger first competition which is nothing to do with solving times.
      This site includes the brilliant SNITCH (high up on the right hand column) which uses a variety of algorithms and brute IT magic to identify the genuine quicks and the fake ones. Check out in particular the “Neutrinos” heading. One dead giveaway is that the unlikely times vary very little, whereas genuine quicks will vary considerably depending on the perceived difficulty of individual puzzles. 4/5 minute times can be real: Verlaine, for example, publishes videos of real time solving in times most of us can only dream of. I personally belong squarely in the “I can’t even type that fast” bracket.
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