28894 Cum On Feel the Noize


I managed this in exactly 18 minutes, on a par with the rest of the week so far, but I suspect some of the esoterica within will slow some solvers down. I was thrown, for example, by the Asian region of 23, thinking it more Greek and European rather than Asian, and the setter’s inclusion of much further east places didn’t help. The Persian/Iranian city may not be well known or spelled. Oddly, though, it was the four letter words that were most challenging, with proper but unlikely definitions giving pause for thought. Mostly harmless.

Definitions underlined in italics, and I represent excluded letters (of which there are rather a lot in this one) with [abc]

1 Book Hearts defender needing a way in (8)
HARDBACK – H[earts] as in cards, the defender is a BACK (Spurs could do with a couple). You (and it) need A R[oa]D, an abbreviated way, inside.
6 Dark and small Iberian chap covering face (6)
SOMBRE – S[mall] as in clothes measurement, plus HOMBRE, the chape from Spain, minus his H.
9 Back from dig, strike kind of rock (4)
GLAM – The back of dig is G, hit is LAM. Not some rare igneous, but such as Slade, T. Rex, and Gary Glitter.
10 Soda with lime or rum for convenience (6,4)
LADIES ROOM – An anagram (rum) of SODA + LIME OR
11 Forbidden urge to which writer’s admitted (10)
PROSCRIBED – Urge gives the rather prosaic PROD, into which the SCRIBE who is a writer is inserted.
13 To boot leader of government out of Lagos, a new order’s required (4)
ALSO – Believe it or not, an anagram (a new order’s required) of LAGOS without G[overnment]. Wiki gives this charming example of the usage: “my boyfriend is funny, and a pretty good cook to boot.”
14 American novelist caught in crime den (8)
SINCLAIR – Upton, for one, something of a polymath. C[aught] within SIN for crime and LAIR for den. If you prefer, you can have Sinclair Lewis, author of Elmer Gantry and much more.
16 One who copies head of Cardiff University’s resumé (6)
APERÇU – A summary exposition, as can be a résumé (Chambers has the extra accent). One who copies APER, plus the heads of C[ardiff] U[niversity]. Squiggly subscript optional.
18 One event with barristers concerning chambers (6)
ATRIAL – A TRIAL might well include barristers. Architectural or anatomical references.
20 One decides a set time, namely before holiday (3-5)
TIE-BREAK – To tennis what the penalty shoot out is to football or the superover to cricket. T[ime] plus I.E. for namely plus BREAK for holiday.
22 Ostentatiously good, a female performer with no regrets (4)
PIAF – A semi-&lit. I doubt Édith could ever be described as PI, ostentatiously good, but definitely A F[emale]. Mistress of the rolled R, best known for “Non, je ne regrette rien”. Manage your own translation.
24 Summer problem of boater, say, catching English butterfly? (10)
HEATSTROKE – A boater is an example of a HAT, insert E[nglish] and the ? after butterfly indicates we’re looking for STROKE, of which it’s an example.
26 Staying dry, mostly declining to conserve energy (2,3,5)
ON THE WAGON – Declining is ON THE WAN[e] (mostly) with GO for energy inserted.
28 Duck eating river weed (4)
DRIP – Fine surface disguises the required meaning of weed, an ineffectual person. Duck gives DIP, insert R[iver]
29 Save money in Asia the wrong way, creating dispute (6)
BARNEY – Save is BAR (all bar one) and Asian money YEN, which is reversed.
30 Organists wanting doughnut breaking the scales? (4,4)
STAR SIGN – Again the ? indicates “the scales” is/are an example. Doughnut being ring shaped stands in for O, removed from ORGANISTS before anagramming (breaking).
2 Expert handling bad reactions is to go for Parisian meat (9)
ALLERGIST – To go for Parisians is ALLER, and meat is GIST (suitable for vegans).
3 Rather dry month including odd times temperature drops (4-3)
DEMI-SEC – More French, usually referring to medium dry wine. The Month is DEC[ember], insert an anagram (odd) of TIMES without the T[emperature]
4 Maybe bitter king secretes billions, having more upstairs? (5)
ABLER – ALE is one version of bitter beer, R[ex] is king, insert B[illions]
5 Nanny’s little one is Josh (3)
KID – A nanny goat’s offspring and to josh, make fun of.
6 Male dabbler left in tool store with tool (9)
SHELDRAKE – L[eft] inside SHED for tool store plus RAKE, a tool. A sort of duck.
7 Spread around centre of Croatian seaside resort (7)
MARGATE – MARG[ARIN]E is your spread, and AT from the centre of CroATian to be included. Any excuse for Chas and Dave
8 Stands apart from British men put in the corner? (5)
ROOKS –  To BROOK is to put up with or stand, remove the B[ritish] and you put the (chess)men in their place.
12 Possibly battier accessory for father (7)
BIRETTA – An anagram (possibly) of BATTIER for a priest’s square cap usually with a pom-pom on top.
15 Calm down, maintaining strength completely (3,3,3)
ALL THE WAY – Calm down is ALLAY which maintains, holds THEW for strength.
17 Static car’s plate seen in capital (9)
CRACKLING – The car’s plate is that for a L[earner], set in CRACKING for capital, excellent.
19 Lives, I see, with lover around Persian city (7)
ISFAHAN – Make it up if you don’t know it. Lives: IS, I see: AH, contained in lover: FAN
21 Group of engineers with ruddy huge screen (7)
REREDOS – Usually a screen behind the altar, often extravagantly decorated. Group of R[oyal] E[ngineers], RED for ruddy and OS (OutSize) for huge.
23 Asian region in Chennai? No, Islamabad, on reflection (5)
IONIA – Fortunately a reverse hidden, in ChennAI NO Islamabad. An ancient  area on the western edge of modern Turkey, known for the city of Ephesus.
25 It restrains worker, perhaps a seasonal deliveryman (5)
SANTA – SA is it in the sense of S[ex] A[ppeal] and the possible worker is an ANT.
27 He conceivably needs flag raised (3)
GAS – Sneaky placement of He at the beginning means you may not see it as the gas, Helium. Anyway, it’s SAG for flag backwards.

62 comments on “28894 Cum On Feel the Noize”

  1. I lost concentration and think I must have drifted off at some point because I finished with 68 minutes on the clock. I admit I got stuck a few times, but it really wasn’t that hard a puzzle.

    We’ve had APERÇU quite recently defined as ‘revealing glimpse’ or similar but I don’t think I ever knew it could also mean ‘resumé’ or ‘summary’. Still, it went in easily enough.

    I missed the parsing of ON THE WAGON and CRACKLING. NHO SINCLAIR or the Persian city.

  2. 25:48
    Took me a long time for various pennies to drop, e.g. that ‘duck’ in 28ac was not a bird, or that He was helium (I thought I’d learned about He and As by now, but oh, no). Never figured out ON THE WAGON. A MER at APERCU; ‘resumé’ just doesn’t seem right. Fortunately, we had BARNEY recently, so it was easy to get this time.

  3. Same here re the parsing of Jack’s two, constructed the city from checkers and wordplay. I found this to be a challenge and was pleased to finish when I put in ABLER and got the congratulations! message at 53.36. An enjoyable crossword with (for me) plenty of obscurities that rewarded careful application of wordplay, always the sign of a good puzzle I think. Unlike our speedy blogger (thanks Z for the much-needed explanations) I am a fan of the Little Sparrow. Je ne regrette rien? Je regrette not paying more attention to French in school, it would have helped a lot today. Seeing Margate in the grid I sense an opening for Myrtillus…

    1. No disparagement of the wondrous Sparrow intended: she was far better than good! Pi, here given as ostentatiously good, is the disparaging word, meaning prissy, holier than thou. That she wasn’t!

      1. Ha ha I never got fully across the various meanings of Pi I’m afraid. Et maintenant un verre de vin, je pense…(To be pedantic, I suspect somebody who regrets absolutely nothing is a psychopath but I digress).

  4. 13:08, with my fingers crossed for ISFAHAN and to a lesser extent, BIRETTA. Also didn’t know THEW for strength.

    I really liked ROOKS. Solid puzzle all round.

    Thanks Zabadak & setter.

    1. I wasn’t sure of THEW as ‘strength’ or as anything else really, but I vaguely knew of the word as used regularly (or rather ‘thews’ was) in the ‘Julian and Sandy’ sketches in Round The Horne. I still can hear them imbuing it with lascivious undertones.

      SOED defines it in the plural as: attractive physical attributes or features; esp. good bodily proportions, parts, etc., as indicating physical strength; muscles, muscular development; might, vigour.

  5. 16:48. Lots of neat misdirections. I constructed the Persian city and then it vaguely rang a bell, but I’d no idea who SINCLAIR was. LOI SOMBRE. Plenty of ticks on my copy, GAS, ROOKS, ATRIAL, HEATSTROKE inter alia. Thanks Z and setter.

  6. 22:52
    BIRETTA came up in another puzzle recently I am sure
    NHO Sinclair but luckily sin-c-lair was obvious
    LOI the GAS, I needed G-S to catch on
    Thanks setter and blogger

  7. 33:42 but with another blinking typo. Not a good week for me.

    I enjoyed this one and fell for many of the tricks therein before the pennies dropped. A couple of unknowns (ISFAHAN, SHELDRAKE) and a couple where I’ve seen the words before but only have a tenuous grasp of their meaning (APERCU, REREDOS).

    Overall I thought it a great puzzle. Thanks to both.

  8. 35 minutes or so.

    NHO thew=strength for ALL THE WAY; tried to justify ‘alert’ for 4d for a long time before seeing ABLER; couldn’t name a specific US author called SINCLAIR; for 6a was looking for a specific Spanish name before the S from SHELDRAKE pointed me towards SOMBRE; and pieced together the unknown but likely-sounding ISFAHAN from wordplay.

    I found this a really nice challenge – tough but gettable clues and a puzzle that gradually came together. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Kid
    LOI Brook
    COD Star sign

  9. FOI KID
    LOI ROOKS, which nearly did for me, but saw at the last moment to finish in 32 mins

    Thanks setter and Z

  10. 48m 53s
    It was 8d that held me up the most as I convinced myself that the definition was ‘stands apart from’.
    In 28ac, I came up with a solution that fitted the clue…but not, unfortunately the crossing clues. I started with NIRL. One meaning given in Collins Online is ‘small person’ which could be taken to mean ‘weed’.

  11. 32.08 with lots of humming and hawing. Spent ages trying to get reg into crackling- my last one in- before seeing L. Similar with allergist in terms of a French meat. Allergist was my COD.

    Enjoyable puzzle so thanks setter and blogger.

  12. American who’s been doing the Times Cryptic for eight months now, here.

    I find it quite humorous that, despite you far-more-cultured folks having what to me is a wildly impressive, near-encyclopedic knowledge of obscure diarists, essayists, playwrights, etc., Upton Sinclair appears to have drawn a complete blank. Whereas anyone over here who’s taken even a high school-level American History course had Sinclair’s “The Jungle” drilled into our heads, with only English Lit graduates having even the vaguest clue about the Samuel Pepys’s of the world.

    14A was another reminder of our cultural differences is what I’m saying. And it’s humorous (to me at least) because I’m usually the one doing the NHO’ing.

    1. I did check on Upton Sinclair, since no Sinclair sprang to mind: it is indeed extraordinary what holes there can be in our GK and, indeed, education. I was fascinated and impressed by his CV, and I imagine British ignorance could be seen as the equivalent of “who is this Dickens character anyway?” Our apologies!

    2. Hi there i (that’s an abbreviation for a long handle), I don’t recall seeing you here before so welcome. Those of us who are not UK-based (I’m in Australia) are from time to time wrong-footed by the UK-centric nature of the puzzle but it’s something we happily accept given that it’s the Times of London. I think the cultural differences you mention give the crossword its mystery and give this blog its vivacity, and I think that is implied in your comment. Look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

      1. Oh yes. My intention wasn’t to kvetch — I’d love to see that bit of Yiddish, by the way. I completely appreciate that the Times Cryptic isn’t geared towards us Yanks, just like the NYT crossword isn’t geared towards Brits or Aussies or really anyone in the rest of the world (as is our wont).

        The allure to me has always been the mystery, as you say. I’ve fallen in love with the challenge of deciphering the clues.

        Over the past eight months, my average time has dropped from 150 minutes to 50 minutes, for which I can thank this blog, as well as CtC.

        And as I said, I’m in awe of everyone’s knowledge, general and/or specific.

        1. I think that challenge is why we’re all here, and like you I have found this blog of immeasurable benefit in deciphering what’s going on. I seem to recall the odd bit of Yiddish popping up from time to time, those words that I know are just about all utterly perfect. As for the cultural differences, at least we Aussies are at no disadvantage when it comes to clues that reference cricket. Which is most days…

    3. Hi “i”
      From Wiki re SINCLAIR: Time magazine called him “a man with every gift except humor and silence”.
      Sinclair said “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
      Excellent and quotable if I can remember!

    4. I have great respect for our American friends who can complete these crosswords. I do the NY Times one occasionally and am hopeless at it.
      I knew Upton’s name but haven’t read any of his work. Mind you I could say much the same about Sir Walter Scott, Trollope, or Thos. Hardy.
      Sam Pepys is another matter. I have read his entire diary twice.. here is a brief extract from yesterday’s date in 1661:

      “And a pleasant day it was, and all things else, but that my Lady was in a bad mood, which we were troubled at, and had she been noble she would not have been so with her servants, when we came thither, and this Sir W. Pen took notice of, as well as I. After dinner we all went to the Church stile, and there eat and drank, and I was as merry as I could counterfeit myself to be. Then, it raining hard, we left Sir W. Batten, and we two returned and called at Mr. —— and drank some brave wine there, and then homewards again and in our way met with two country fellows upon one horse, which I did, without much ado, give the way to, but Sir W. Pen would not, but struck them and they him, and so passed away, but they giving him some high words, he went back again and struck them off their horse, in a simple fury, and without much honour, in my mind, and so came away.”

  13. 35:00

    I really like ROOKS in this one. Did a lot of mouthing of OH v AH to get which one fit more with 19d’s ‘I see’. May have alarmed some fellow passengers in fact…

  14. 27.45
    I really enjoyed this despite having to do on my mobile on a train Lots of witty surfaces and some nifty word play. ATRIAL was new to me along with this meaning of APERÇU. Long Time since I’ve eaten, or even heard of,CRACKLING. Do think I’d risk my teeth on it now .

    Thanks to Zabadak and the setter

  15. DNF 90 minutes
    Missed GLAM, ROOKS, DRIPS, SANTA, GAS, BARNEY, STAR SIGN. Got most of longer words/phrases. Found clever wording very hard to parse. FOI LADIES ROOM then KID, HARDBACK and then did top half but got into real difficulties with bottom half. Seeing the parsing did not make many easier.

  16. 22:45 – quite a workout but nothing too controversial, with any unknowns (ISFAHAN, APERCU, IONIA) easily constructed from the cryptic fodder.

  17. About 45′ but happy to finish after a couple of DNFs. However a whole lot of biffing going on. NHO THEW, never studied French (? Spanish for some reason) so ALLER was beyond me… though I did know APERCU. Couldn’t parse STAR SIGN (but probably should have) etc etc. So although completed, no great sense of achievement! Thanks Zabadak for the necessary explanations and to the setter.

  18. 25 mins. Enjoyed this, including an appearance for Rupert SHELDRAKE, one of my favourite scientists.

  19. 33’40”
    Fairly quickly into stride, stayed on gamely.

    The old jade has bettered his handicap mark again; it can’t last.
    All parsed, but our novelist was taken on trust.
    A CRACK(L)ING puzzle with too many great devices to single any one out.
    Congratulations to both setter and Zabadak.

  20. I took 73 minutes for this, with a bit of help from aids at the end, where SOMBRE and ROOKS defeated me. Wanted to have simian and the made-up abors, quite impossible.

    But no complaints. It was an excellent puzzle and I entered several without understanding until I looked very hard at them and saw how they worked, like ON THE WAGON, where I wanted e to be the energy, and CRACKLING, where I was stupidly hunting for Rome and Pretoria etc.

  21. THEW unknown but it didn’t hold me up. With the M and R in place, I was convinced 7d was going to be MARMITE but I couldn’t see the wordplay (obviously) so resisted the temptation to biff it and then I saw the definition was at the other end of the clue. Then “Croatian seaside resort” is obviously SPLIT so that all took some sorting out. Nice crossword overall with lots of well-disguised stuff.

    I too was surprised how many people have not heard of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, even if (like me) they were brought up in the UK and never read it. The book led to the creation of a lot of US food safety and inspection laws.

    Upton Sinclair is also famous for the well-known quote “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

    1. Thanks for the quote, which I had encountered but not properly appreciated before today. Much enjoyed….

      I have now noticed Andyf also drew our attention to it, above.

  22. 35:08

    Nice puzzle with few long pauses between entries but some bits missed:

    Failed to parse:
    PROSCRIBED – just bunged it in
    ON THE WAGON – thinking E for energy rather than GO – DOH!
    ALL THE WAY – didn’t spot ALLAY or THEW (!)

    SINCLAIR/IONIA (I too would have thought that to be Greek?)/ISFAHAN


    Thanks Z and setter

  23. 41 minutes. I couldn’t parse ON THE WAGON either and for some reason GLAM and SOMBRE only occurred to me near the end. It’s confusing that IONIA is an old region of Turkey (in Anatolia) to the E. of Greece and IONIAN is the name of a group of Greek islands in the Ionian Sea off the W. coast of Greece.

    Favourite bits were the ‘One decides a set’, ‘Male dabbler’, ‘men put in the corner?’ and ‘He conceivably’ (yes, a bit of a chestnut) defs.

  24. Didn’t know THEW for strength so had to go by definition and checkers for ALL THE WAY. ALLERGIST and KID were my first entries. Had to construct the Persian city. DRIP took a while to see. ROOKS was LOI, the penny dropping as I hit submit! 30:05. Thanks setter and Z.

  25. Rather misleading to have Sinclair as American. Andrew Sinclair was very British and, to me, the only one I was aware of. Still the parsing made it easy. The Breaking of Bumbo was marvelous when I discovered it as a teenager many moons ago.

    1. I thought that had to be Sinclair Lewis, though it would be odd to clue him by his first name—Main Street (1920), Babbitt, (1922), Arrowsmith (1925), Elmer Gantry (1927), It Can’t Happen Here (1935)! (Who the hell is Andrew Sinclair?!) Anyway, never thought of Upton, though he was a very politically engaged writer (who wrote a helluva lot), whose The Jungle raked the mud (as they say, sort of) about the meatpacking industry, but he must be the Sinclair meant here.

  26. Biffed 26a ON THE WAGON, was locked into E rather than GO for energy. NHO SINCLAIR, but the wordplay was generous. Not sure when I heard of 19d Isfahan, and anyway the wordplay was enough. Was pleased and surprised that I spotted the 27d He(lium) trick straight away.
    I thought that 29a Barney rubble, trouble was CRS but it is apparantly Mockney rhyming slang.
    DNK that an allergist is a thing, but it was guessable.
    Couldn’t parse 30a STAR SIGN, DOH, thicky!

  27. I think every day’s puzzle this week has been better than the last, and they’ve all been very good.

  28. 10:25. I started very slowly on this but gradually picked up speed. No unknowns in the answers but the definition for APERCU seemed a bit off and I don’t remember coming across the word THEW before.
    Z I don’t think 22ac is even half &Lit. Just standard wordplay + definition.

    1. The first definition of APERÇU in Wiktionnaire is “Vue d’ensemble, exposé succinct d’un sujet”; in Merriam-Webster, “a brief survey or sketch, OUTLINE”; in Collins, “an outline; summary.” Seems just the same as the definition of “résumé” that does not specifically mean a CV. Z calls the first accent in “résumé” “extra,” but of course this is the standard form (though venues like The Washington Post, even, have been using this word sans any accents”—horrors!).

      1. Leaving aside the fact that your first definition is French, which is irrelevant in an English crossword, I have to concede this. The OED definition is ‘a summary exposition’.

        1. Well, I was wondering why you queried the definition in the clue and thought it might be because of your French education. This is one case of a word transitioning between languages without utterly losing its original identity, but anglophones also give APERÇU the senses of “an immediate impression” (M-W) and “insight” (Collins), neither of which seem to be found in French.

          1. ‘Immediate impression’ is exactly what I think of as the meaning in French, and Le Petit Robert says:

            Première idée que l’on peut avoir d’une chose vue rapidement. Donner un aperçu de la situation

            This is not really the same as a summary, but I seem to be out of step with usage in both languages!

            1. Ah, I thought I had seen that in French too, but I didn’t dig out my tattered old hardcover (huge) Petit Robert and only looked at Wiktionnaire and Larousse online! But, lo, Petit Robert is online too, with two definitions for APERÇU, neither of which equate to résumé! I wonder when that was last revised.

                1. Yes, that’s what I was looking at.
                  But the third and last entry in the synonym list there is
                  abrégé, exposé, présentation.

                  1. Sorry I realised that immediately after pressing ‘post’. I hadn’t read your comment properly.
                    I find this sort of stuff fascinating. I particularly love the way the French adopt English words but give them a spin of their own. ‘Le shampooing’.

  29. After five or six sub one hour solves in a row (including my PB 25 mins) I found this one really hard and am not sure why. All fair and reasonable when explained.
    Three I gave up on for a non finish.

  30. Well, of course, I loved the Frenchiness of this puzzle. ALLER, DEMI SEC APERCU, &PIAF were all fun. Very enjoyable generally until I got stuck on ISFAHAN. No idea what was going on there so gave up.

    I particularly liked LADIES ROOM and TIE BREAK. Very clever clue.

    Thanks Z and setter.

  31. 24.16

    Never felt on top of this with ALL THE WAY in out and in again, wholly unparsed. Couldn’t understand the GIST bit but like it now. PIAF was very good though a reluctant minus point for the use of PI (see QC blog passim)

    Thanks all

  32. Enjoyable puzzle but I was defeated by Gas/Drip/Crackling in the SE corner.
    Crackling for Static seems a little odd – I would have said Crackling was a symptom of Static – but I suppose crackling noise = static noise, so it might work as an adjective. In any case, I didn’t see it.
    I liked Allergist.

  33. About 30 mins today, my first look at The Times for more than a fortnight as I’ve been away in Hong Kong with neither time nor particular desire for a paper. Didn’t parse GAS having completely failed to see that He is one, but otherwise a clean sweep of a fine puzzle.

  34. 51 minutes exactly. lovely puzzle but with some tricky wordplay – NHO THEW, and FAN = LOVER completely eluded me for some reason. thanks z and setter.

  35. All bar ISFAHAN and SINCLAIR in 19 mins. I’m getting closer to finishing Big Puzzle, but still can’t. KBO. Thanks Zabadak.

    PS waking up to this morning’s grim news … was ISFAHAN The Times’s “Daily Telegraph/D Day” moment?!


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