28690 Hinge benefits


I managed an error free completion in 23.30, a lot of that trying unsuccessfully to work out what a sense of belonging was, even though I read Alex Haley not so long ago. Nothing much else gave much pause, though I liked many of the surface readings. The rather rare female’s name at 15a may not ring bells with people unfamiliar with legendary Greeks and 1970s transvestites* but the wordplay is nor too dense. There’s quite a compendium here of the single letter (and double  letter) abbreviations, my impression being  that there’s more than usual.

Definitions underlined in italics, everything else in styles of my choosing.

1 Ancient and backward Russian area: no good (7)
AGELONG – The Russian is OLEG. Add A(rea), reverse the result, put N(o) G(ood) on the end.
5 Two shakes and something to eat with it (6)
MODISH – MO is two shakes (of lamb’s tail) meaning a short time. Add DISH for something to eat.
8 One’s staggered and dived in recklessly, without hesitation (1,5,3)
I NEVER DID – Often with well in front of it. You’re invited to change the royal sort of expression into a more plebeian version. An anagram (recklessly)  of DIVED IN outside (without) ER as an expression of hesitation.
9 Resting place with a sense of belonging: time to go back (5)
ROOST –  I’m pretty sure this is ROOTS for a sense of belonging with the T relegated to the back. But I’ve only just worked that out: the crossing letters allowed nothing else.
11 Cipher to become one that’s serviceable (2,3)
OF USE – Cipher is zero, or for our purpose O, followed by FUSE, to become one.
12 Husband getting Scottish town councillor, finally, on the blower (9)
HAIRDRIER – H(usband) plus AIRDRIE, roughly in the middle of Scotland, and the R finally from the back end of councilloR. Airdrie was home to the mighty Airdrieonians, winner of the Scottish Cup in 1924, reborn as Airdrieonians FC after going bankrupt in 2002.
13 Area of SE Europe has flourished with style (8)
THESSALY – As you may guess/know, part of mainland Greece. Much ravaged by fire in recent weeks, so quite the opposite of the clue surface in which an anagram (flourished) is formed from HAS and STYLE
15 Name miss deliberately has adopted? (6)
EVADNE – The only Evadne I know is half of the celebrated drag act of Dr Evadne Hinge and Dame Hilda Bracket, from the days when nobody minded men masquerading as women to entertain all ages N(ame) adopted by EVADE for miss deliberately. Delightful clue.
17 Take out pills to have inside eatery on return (6)
EFFACE – From the Times’ stash of class A drugs, take two Es and put a backward (on return) CAFF, or eatery between them.
19 Comfortable space in one’s in-tray? (4-2-2)
WELL-TO-DO – SO anything in your in-tray is TO-DO, which I think means we need to make well mean SPACE. From Chambers “the open space in the middle of a courtroom.”
22 Press put out award in Germany once (4,5)
IRON CROSS – Press gives IRON, and put out (as in peeved, miffed) CROSS.
23 Mattress that’s folded or closed in amusement? (5)
FUTON – Curious definition: if it’s folded it’s no good as a mattress? Closed is TO, which we generally argue about because most of us think it’s only nearly closed. Which is probably why the setter surrounds it with FUN for amusement.
24 Deserter in east: old one behind the lines? (5)
ERATO – The muse of (especially erotic) poetry. So our definition is cutesy. Deserter is RAT, set between E(ast) and O(ld)
25 Go off to help a large retreating combatant (9)
GLADIATOR – Go off ROT, help AID, a -um – A and LG for large. Reverse (retreating) the whole assembly.
26 Approach police leading stretcher-bearer? (6)
METHOD – (London) Police: MET. Then another cutesy definition, in which you need to remember that bricks come as headers and stretchers, and are carried in a HOD
27 Intellectual urge by bloke to get promotion (7)
EGGHEAD – EGG is from urge as a verb, male is HE and promotion AD.
1 Mistress maybe rather like a team member (1,3,2,3,4)
A BIT ON THE SIDE – clued by a sort of Uxbridge definition.
2 Without echo, pleasing effect (7)
EXECUTE – It’s on my sports commentary bingo sheet. EX from without, E from NATO’s Echo, and CUTE from pleasing.
3 Bloomer concealed by cagey ex-officer on the way up (5)
OXEYE – Today’s hidden, reversed in cagEY EX Officer
4 One sponsored or in receipt of Washington greeting (8)
GODCHILD – The innocuous or gives GOLD. Insert DC for Washington, and HI for greeting.
5 Miss having drive in European city (6)
MADRID – Anther miss, this time as good as a….MAID. Insert DR for drive most often seen on street maps were the road is too short for the full word.
6 Bold attorney coming down on extreme left-wing immorality (4-5)
DARE-DEVIL – The rather topical surface suggesting what Republicans wish the US legal system would do instead of persecuting their beloved 45 just for being a criminal. He’s just posted his conviction that 2020 was STOLLEN. Maybe he can have his cake and eat it. So anyway: DA for attorney, RED for extreme left wing (odd it’s also Republican) and EVIL for immorality.
7 Celebrated editor’s being replaced (7)
STORIED – An anagram (being replaced) of EDITOR’S
10 Right to enter you once controlled — so old hat? (5-8)
THREE-CORNERED – R(ight) goes into THEE for the old 2nd person singular and then I guess controlled gives rise to CORNERED.
14 Ashes partner’s dismissal, caught, showing hesitancy (9)
SACKCLOTH – After a rather fishy smelling Jonah preached death and destruction, Nineveh is said to have repented in sackcloth and ashes. Dismissal is the SACK, C(aught) precedes LOTH for showing hesitancy, which is what Job did before the fish.
16 Get round pear used for cooking (8)
PERSUADE – An anagram (for cooking) of PEAR USED.
18 Some film for which you need to pay on time (7)
FOOTAGE – To pay: FOOT (the bill) plus AGE for time.
20 Eight clubs support, of course, holding races with preliminary round (7)
OCTETTE – The preliminary round at the front is O, the support of (golf) course is a TEE, Clubs gives you the C and races the TT. Assemble in a pleasing way.
21 Did Harry and his best friend, say, upset daughter? (6)
DOGGED – Harry’s best friend is a DOG, EG for say is “upset” and add D(aughter). I managed to resist mentioning Megan. D’oh!
23 Shy Yankee leaving in a plane, possibly (5)
FLING – In a plane could be FLYING, from which you extract the NATO Yankee.

*I have learned that Evadne Hinge, alias George Logan, died only in May this year. I initially had Hinge and Bracket pegged as much earlier than the ’70s.

83 comments on “28690 Hinge benefits”

  1. 24:31
    Not that I found this easy, but I was surprised to see it rated ‘harder’, close to ‘very hard’ on the SNITCH. I biffed AGELONG, EXECUTE, GODCHILD, & SACKCLOTH, parsing post-submission. NHO AIRDRIE. I spent some time trying to think of another T area of SE Europe besides Transylvania, while also taking ‘flourished’ to be FL. I’m re-reading Dance to the Music of Time, and EVADNE Clapham shows up there, which made 15ac easy. COD to MODISH.
    One folds a futon and puts it away when not in use.

    1. With futons, yes, that’s the idea… Although I sleep on a futon frame with two (old and older) futons atop it and the latter have only ever been folded, briefly, when I’ve flipped one of them over. (Recently noted that it will soon be time to replace the top layer.) This was my cheapest option for a bed, offered by a couple briefly associated with my employer around the time I moved into my current apartment, some thirty years ago. (Man, time flies!)

      1. Never heard of a futon frame; got to be a US concept. I should admit that when I had a futon, in my first years in Japan, I never folded it up and stored it. I figured the only guests I’d have would be sharing the futon with me, so why bother?

        1. Actually, “frame” may be my coinage. Futons normally or often rest directly upon the floor but the structure that holds mine (as I now recall) was built by the male member of the couple who sold it to me. I think it folds up, even, but I’ve never bothered.

  2. Like vinyl1 I also found this difficult and although at 1 hour exactly I needed somewhat longer than yesterday to finish it, at least when I got my answers I knew they were correct and, with one exception, how the clues worked. The exception was ROOST.

    I had a MER at OCTETTE which I don’t recall ever seeing before. It seems that all the other musical groups ending in ‘-et’ can also end in ‘-ette’ apart from ‘nonet’, which seems odd.

    Z, you have a stray D re the promotion at 17ac.

        1. You might be interested (or not) to know that your e-mail version of this was :-D, which I wasn’t sure the significance of.

          1. That’s how we used to do it before emojis. My copy editor colleague Haesun says she still prefers emoticons to emojis. I always include the nose, which tends nowadays to get left out, giving one a rather frog-like visage. Clever of you to manage to do that without it turning into an emoji.

            That’s exactly how I typed it, as I don’t have the emoji button on this keyboard, and I know how it translates on this page.

            1. How I managed to do what? I typed what I saw on my email message, :-D. I have from the beginning sedulously avoided emoticons and emojis, so I don’t know what you mean by the nose; no need to explain.

              1. I don’t know why, then, the same sequence of letters in your comment did not transform into an emoji as they did in mine (the hyphen is a nose).

  3. I actually used the word STORIED within the hour before starting this puzzle… which I worked (most of) while watching the Republican “debate” (and I use the term loosely), but it would probably have taken me longer than my average anyway. The first part of WELL-TO-DO seemed iffy. It took a while to remember the British slang CAFF.

  4. Arraigny night in Georgia
    That’s not politics: it’s the pilot for the revival of Miami Vice!

    1. After I read Vinyl’s comment (which I did only after posting mine), I was tempted to say virtually the same thing (sans the wit).

    2. I was definitely in the arms of Morpheus when I entered this reply: it was meant to be a response to Vinyl a bit further up.

  5. 52 minutes. I found this about as difficult as yesterday’s with AGELONG for ‘Ancient’, GODCHILD for ‘One sponsored’, spotting the anagram for THESSALY and the unusual spelling of OCTETTE holding me up among a few others. I also initially put in ROISTED for 7d, which works for ‘Celebrated’ as a verb, until crossers pointed to the correct alternative answer. I thought of WELL for ‘space’ as in the footwell of a car.

    Favourite was the ‘stretcher-bearer?’ for HOD at 26a.

    Thanks to Z and setter

  6. DNF – never heard of Evadne, and it was even less likely a name/word than Eva-Dee . Though probably should have seen she’d need to be Eva-Der, not Eva-Dee. Oh, well. Otherwise enjoyably chewy, lots of intricate parsings where it was hard to reverse-engineer the answers to get the clues.

  7. DNF (again). There were some lovely surfaces MADRID, EVADNE, MODISH etc. I also liked the stretcher-bearer. Thanks setter and Z for ‘Arraigny night in Georgia’.

  8. I’m another who found this very hard and I, too, DNF. That’s two days in a row. Yesterday was some stupid lion, today it’s the NHO EVADNE which I specifically rejected as impossible in the desperate alphabet trawl. Threw in the towel at 42.22. Many challenging and enjoyable clues here, and a number of Hail Mary solves. Thanks to Zabadak for explaining what was going on with (for example) GODCHILD, MADRID and OF USE. Still not sure where A BIT comes from. In the end I was pleased to get all but one of these completed.

    1. I think A BIT is accounted for by the “rather like”suggesting a player who’s only sort of part of the team. Uxbridge English Dictionary comic definitions often use the same sort of device, as in “IRONY: a bit like/rather like iron.”

  9. Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
    Has Flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
    (Rubaiyat, OK. Fitzgerald’s brilliant translation)

    15 mins to get going and on wavelength (with only about 5 solved), the 15 more to leave one, then 5 more convincing myself it was Evadne.
    Ta setter and Z

  10. Threw in the towel after 27′ without EVADNE, after completing all but the NE in half that time. Not helped by an invented ‘roisted’ for celebrated.

    Thanks z and setter.

    1. Surprise, surprise in fact you didn’t invent “roisted”.
      From Chambers:
      roist or royst intransitive verb
      (back-formation from the noun) to roister = 1. to bluster, swagger 2. to revel noisily

      It therefore does work for ‘Celebrated’ as a verb. Pity about those crossers though for the correct answer.

      1. Wiktionary doesn’t think it is a back formation:
        roist (third-person singular simple present roists, present participle roisting, simple past and past participle roisted)
        (intransitive, archaic) To roister.

    2. I had to read Ralph Roister Doister by Nicholas Udall(1566) for a course in Elizabethan Drama. It was reputed to be the first comedy play written in English.

  11. 57 minutes with LOI and COD EXECUTE, once penultimate AGELONG went in. I didn’t parse ROOST. I was too lazy to crow today. I couldn’t remember if EVADNE was Hinge or Bracket, so thanks for the reminder. LG for large was shrugged through as I was getting weary, but I don’t remember that before. A difficult but not impossible puzzle. Thank you Z and setter.

  12. Another who gave up after the hour and looked up EVADNE. NHO the goddess.

    Like LindsayO that’s two days fail in a row. Are these crossies getting harder or am I just getting thicker?

    I found a lot of the clues needed time and energy to fathom out, which, I suppose, is the sign of a good crossword. But It does drain one so that in the end, one gives up through lack of steam.

    I liked I NEVER DID and the stretcher bearer.

    Anyway, thanks Z and setter.

    1. Ditto here: have suspicions that I’m getting thicker each day as I hardly ever finish this crossie that , even two years ago, I would have polished off a lot more easily. Sure that the addled, aged brain has something to do with that. This is a tough week for the solver, and I DNF yet again. Liked IRON CROSS and HAIRDRIER most.

  13. 15:28. I failed to parse 1A, but got there in the end with everything else. LOI EVADNE after staring at _V_D_E for a while. MODISH was my second last and it took a while to see too. I knew AIRDRIE – my grandfather used to work there. and I was born about 10 miles north-west of it. Nice puzzle… and blog. Thanks Z and setter.

    1. When I used to scan the Scottish football results I noted Ayr, Alloa and Airdrie all started with A’s and all contained more vowels than consonants.

        1. I thought the Y was a vowel in Ayr. I learned it was a consonant for example in YOUR but a vowel in for example SATYR.

    1. It’s “Did harry” – i.e. harried. Harrying in the sense of pursuing or harassing.

  14. 30:43
    Another good challenge with fair clues. Wasn’t sure about Harry and the dog, but it had to be that.
    Thanks, z.

  15. DNF, with ‘Thessyla’ rather than THESSALY. Not having heard of it, my answer looked a bit more likely to me than something ending in Y, though being aware of the Thessalonians really should have pointed me in the right direction.

    Like a few others, I found this tough. I parsed EVADNE, but only put it in on the basis that Ariadne exists so another name ending ‘adne’ seemed plausible. I initially ruled out HAIRDRIER as I thought the ‘drier’ part was spelled with a Y, and only with enough checkers did I go back and see how it worked. And I took an age to figure out OCTETTE, even with all the checkers and having seen the ‘support of course’ trick.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Hairdrier

  16. Gave up at the 20 min mark with just 7 clues completed, and glad I did. Would never have got EVADNE in a million years, nor AGELONG.

  17. 18:20
    I like the description of ‘cutesy’ definitions. They’re always tricky – I suppose the one for DOGGED could have been worse. My favourite UED definition is ‘Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks you up when you’ve been run over by a steamroller’.
    LOsI ROOST and EVADNE, which I didn’t get until afterwards.

  18. Again on a French train, so not ideal conditions. Finished it all correctly, but it took a while – nearly an hour. Flummoxed in the top left corner, with AGELONG and GODCHILD causing particular difficulty. Loi EVADNE. Great fun thanks

  19. I have to take issue with your comment re men masquerading as women. It seems to be a much more regular thing now than, say, when Hinge and Bracket were doing their thing.

    1. You’re probably right. In my (relative) youth we had the aforementioned Hinge and Bracket, Dick Emery, Some Like It Hot, Danny La Rue and occasional acts on the Good Old Days. Much else was furtive and not spoken of. Now we have Drag Race personas popping up all over the TV (sic) and a much more assertive strain insisting on their rights, out and proud: rather a different world.

      1. Of course, there’s a grey area between drag and transsexual, as evinced by the debate over the Kinks’ ‘Lola’, who some say is one, and some the other.

        1. Whatever the modern way, which I don’t claim to understand, H&B were a totally innocent act without the slightest hint of innuendo or ‘knowing’ humour relying on the fact that they were two blokes playing old ladies. They simply lived their characters. They were also extremely talented musically.

          Men playing women, and vice versa perhaps to a lesser extent, has a long history in family entertainment, in pantomime of course, ‘Charley’s Aunt’, Arthur Lucan as Old Mother Riley etc.

          1. I revere Evadne Hinge and Hilda Bracket. I would say they were not totally without innuendo, but indeed they were harmless, and in a long line of easygoing comedy like Eric Sykes, Flanders & Swann, etc which seems to have more or less disappeared.

  20. 13:18, good chewy puzzle where I had all the requisite knowledge but still had to unpack quite a lot of wordplay to get to the answer. My main hold-up was being convinced that Harry’s best mate was obviously RON, which wasn’t such a wizard idea. And I don’t remember seeing “stretcher-bearer” used this way before, so that was amusing.

    On the other hand, I got HAIRDRIER pretty quickly and immediately remembered a previous appearance which (I have found by using the excellent search facility) goes as far back as Finals Day 2012, when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge at Old Trafford and the clue was “Personnel admitting Scottish team gets this shock treatment”. Very nice.

  21. I found this not nearly as hard as yesterdays, but still far from easy, finally battling through in 36 minutes.
    Amusing blog today.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  22. 36 mins with a typo. Struggled at the end with EXECUTE and OF USE. They were obviously correct but couldn’t work out why. My ROISTED at 7d held me up for a while

  23. Gave up after 55 mins with Dame Evadne defeating me totally. I found this really tough today after three decent finishes earlier in the week.

    I will now take a look at other comments to see if it was just me or a general feeling. No complaints about the puzzle, it all made sense .

    Having studied the above, I now feel a bit better.🙁

      1. Thanks. I do remember Hinge and Bracket. Not so long ago when wit was delivered with a scalpel not a sledgehammer.

  24. 37:20. Even tougher than yesterday for me. Some really good clues in an excellent puzzle – HAIRDRIER among them – making for a slow NE corner.

  25. Found this pretty tough and glad to get there … but for me the wit-and-whimsy factor was shuffling, awkward, rather than light on its feet. With the exception of the old tricorn.

  26. Pretty tough. 1d a giveaway, as was OXEYE, OF USE, and IRON CROSS, all early entries, but then lots of answers entered without understanding the wordplay. ROOST was particularly obscure. Lots of good, deceptive wordplay elsewhere. I didn’t care for EVADNE, only familiar to listeners of Hinge and Bracket, and WELL-TO-DO is a bit of a stretch.
    Shouldn’t ‘Ashes’ have an apostrophe after the S?
    55 minutes.

    1. Strictly, yes, because in the definition it’s partner of ashes. But the surface plays it a different way, setting us in a cricket match and The Ashes, in which the apostrophe doesn’t work. Crossword setter’s licence, I think.

    2. I’m an absolute pedant for strict grammar, but I think this one passes. The partner of ashes is the ashes partner. Works without the apostrophe? No setter’s licence needed.

  27. Another struggle but finished just outside 20 min

    Was expecting a pink square as put in EVADNE with a shrug and expected it to be wrong. Disappointed not to bring SACKCLOTH to mind earlier but at least I finished.

    Another good blogging workout Z and thanks setter

  28. Ref 1dn – a side-note.
    In Stephen Fry’s radio series, Fry’s English Delight, he was talking about how most puns are weak and drag you down, while a few are upliftingly clever. His example of the latter is:
    The definition of a Mistress is found halfway between a Mister and a Mattress.

  29. Surely it’s fine to have Ashes not Ashes’, both OK I think. EVADNE I’d never have heard of without Hinge and Bracket. Nor Ralph Roister Doister without Flanders and Swann (Greensleeves). ‘Without echo, pleasing effect’ was the only one where I cheated, because I was sure it was a six-letter word meaning ‘pleasing’ outside E and I just couldn’t think of it. Deemure, anyone? Does ex = without? Just (ex dividend, according to Chambers). MODISH held me up for ages since I failed to see the definition, so 56 minutes that would have been 46 minutes if … But lots of excellent clues, no excuse.

  30. I was pleased to finish this with all correct in 48.32 as I thought it was fairly tough. I couldn’t for the life of me parse ROOST, but it couldn’t be anything else so in it went. EVADNE seems to have foxed quite a few, with some claiming they’ve never heard the name which I find surprising. I will admit however that if I see the name I immediately think of Hinge and Bracket. I’m not a great fan of drag acts, but I did find that pair very entertaining.

  31. I find myself in a very similar position to Kevin, first comment of the day, to wit, I was quite surprised by the Snitch, having found this a marked contrast to yesterday’s DNF (I had to look a couple of things up). Today I completed the grid, without too much trouble, and with quite a few smiles at the wordplay and surfaces, in a slightly-quicker-than-my-average time. Of course, it helped that I’d heard of all of today’s relatively obscure references (Evadne Hinge, say) whereas I hadn’t yesterday (eg ‘Eggbeater’ for helicopter). Anyway, I enjoyed today’s.

    Thanks, Z, for the entertaining blog, and the Setter, for an entertaining puzzle. I’m off to look up Hinge and Bracket on YouTube. Cheers!

  32. 44’53”
    Struggled to keep pace early stages, stayed on well when it was too late.
    However, the Snitchmeister has dragged my Witch back into double digits.
    All parsed en route, bar the semi-biffed godchild.
    Thank you Z, my Evadne must have been a subconscious Hinge too and compliments to the setter; most enjoyable.

  33. 34:20 but with a typo I missed during proof reading giving 3 errors. EEXECUE. Drat! Thanks setter and Z.

  34. Used to watch Hinge and Bracket with my mum but didn’t remember Evadne, so it was a DNF for me.

  35. 13:01, slightly handicapped by the crossword club website glitching so I had to switch to my iPad and lost half my answers in the process. Grr.
    I’ve been away canoeing and camping in the Ontario backcountry with my kids for a few days so this was the fifth cryptic in a row for me today. I really liked it.
    I had never heard of Hinge and Bracket until they came up here recently, so I obviously had absolutely no idea what their first names were, but I had no problem with EVADNE. I’m not sure where I knew the name from: I don’t think I’ve ever met one and I can’t think of any famous people with the name.
    In financial commentary the word STORIED has come to mean something close to the opposite of its wider meaning. To say that a company is STORIED is equivalent to saying it’s got a bit of a history.
    I hope it isn’t straying too far into political commentary to say that Z’s Trump observation reminded me of when one of my kids said ‘it’s not fair, you blame me for everything I do!”

  36. Usual grumble about “TO” as our blogger already noted, and a slightly raised eyebrow for “LG”, “WELL” and “OCTETTE”. Guessed ELATO but failed to parse the clue. But DNF in the end, failed even to guess AGELONG (even after trying OLEV and OLGA), OF USE or EXECUTE and did not know THESSALY. Obviously not awake today! Thanks for the blog.

  37. In the US this morning I woke up with a headache, only partly due to the whisky i felt I needed last night.
    The bottom went in more quickly than the top, so I worked my way up the page. Nice blog. Thanks for the H&B links

  38. 34:29

    Chugged along at a regular trot all the way through this enjoyable grid. With only a couple in from the first pass, continued to add a few more with each successive pass until there were half a dozen left at which point I focused more closely on each clue in turn.

    Great use of AIRDRIE, was less confident that STORIED meant ‘celebrated’ and LOI was MODISH once I had separated the definition from the rest of the clue. EVADNE known only from H&B.

    Thanks setter and Z

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