Times 28929 – spot the difference.

Another pleasant but undemanding Wednesday puzzle, which took me 16 minutes. I liked the Moby Dick clue.

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

1 The only soldier without a grave (6)
SOLEMN – SOLE = the only, M[A]N = soldier without a.
4 Flounce downstairs after no end of rage (8)
FURBELOW – FUR[Y], BELOW = downstairs.
9 Predicted month no way looking hot (7)
AUGURED – AUGU[ST] = month, no ST (way); RED = hot.
11 Taser which is initially fired into one getting tanned (7)
STUNNER – Insert T, the initially letter of TASER, into SUNNER one getting tanned. From the wordplay I was looking at inserting the F of FIRED but SFUNNER is not a word.
12 Pack turning towards vermin (5)
TAROT – TO RAT reversed (turning).
13 Discuss terms say on new set of books I took in (9)
NEGOTIATE – N[ew], EG (say), OT (set of books) I ATE (I took in).
14 Be busy skewering folly and cruelty (10)
INHUMANITY – HUM (be busy) inside INANITY = folly.
16 Flower   shirts (4)
TEES – double definition, the River Tees and tee shirts.
19 It’s bloody to travel by train (4)
GORY – GO (travel), RY (railway).
20 I break into office cabinet, delaying speech (10)
FILIBUSTER – I BUST (I break) inside FILER = office cabinet.
22 Savoury mince of game the hotel put out (9)
CROQUETTE – CROQUET the game, T[h]E.
23 Objection chapter is tough (5)
BUTCH – BUT (objection), CH[apter].
25 Spots long tie being knotted (7)
LENTIGO – (LONG TIE)*. In my opinion, lentigo is singular, the plural is lentigines, so the definition should be SPOT.
26 Industrial plant gave off stench: years, on and off (7)
SMELTER – SMELT = gave off stench, [y]E[a]R[s] = years on and off.
27 Unconcerned being unable to drive round rear of village (8)
CARELESS – CARLESS = unable to drive, insert E the end of village.
28 Angled strike and cut on back of leg (6)
GLANCE – [le]G, LANCE = cut. A cricketing term.
1 Remarkable time bird is around (9)
STARTLING – STARLING with T[ime] inserted.
2 King’s up for a drink (5)
LAGER -REGAL = king’s, reversed.
3 Start of month: occasion for going to sea (8)
MARITIME – MAR[ch] I = 1st of March, TIME = occasion.
5 View audience has in burst of sun shows displeasing quality (13)
UNSIGHTLINESS – SIGHTLINE, the view the audience has, inside (SUN)*.
6 Youngster holds search, not the first, for reward (6)
BOUNTY – BOY (youngster) has [h]UNT inserted.
7 Keen to take in one nearly new feature (9)
LINEAMENT – LAMENT (keen) has I (one) NE[w] inserted.
8 Was sporting about loss eventually, having come off this? (5)
WORSE – WORE = was sporting (clothes), insert S the end of loss.
10 Acted in unison to scupper public attacks (13)
15 Marx, at a single reading initially, who aimed to finish Moby Dick (9)
HARPOONER – HARPO ( a Marx brother) ONE (a single) R[eading].
17 Brat, not at home, collared by policeman informally for a fine perhaps (9)
SURCHARGE – URCH[in] = brat not ‘at home’, inside SARGE a policeman.
18 Weight of stupid one out of three authors? (8)
DUMBBELL – DUMB = stupid, BELL = pseudonym used by the Bronté sisters.
21 Stalin’s colleague left to introduce uranium for energy, his final farewell? (6)
BURIAL – Lavrentiy BERIA was a crony of Stalin, change the E to a U and add L for left.
22 Wind timepiece up briefly that one’s broken (5)
COLIC – CLOC[k] reversed, with I inserted.
24 Giant bird given a name (5)
TITAN – TIT (a bird), A, N[ame].


72 comments on “Times 28929 – spot the difference.”

  1. Well I didn’t find this at all undemanding and struggled to get started and then to bring any sort of flow to the proceedings, just writing in odd words around the grid for the most part.

    As with yesterday’s puzzle a lot of the definitions were oblique and hard to spot, but other obstacles to progress were the small number of 4-letter words (only two) and anagrams (only two pure and one partial).

    MER at ‘one getting tanned / SUNNER’ which doesn’t appear to exist and if it’s intended as a play on words (like flower for river) doesn’t really work in my opinion.

    I got the Beria thing eventually but thought it very obscure.

    After an hour I had all but one answer but by that time I’d had enough and used aids to find SMELTER.

    1. Beria was head of the Soviet secret police; we were children when he was executed, shortly after Stalin died, but I remember him.

  2. I really enjoyed this and managed to get everything except the unknown lineament in just over the hour. Must remember lament for keen. Liked surcharge, negotiate and worse. COD to Moby Dick as I started reading it recently and thought I was looking for one of the characters from it, a hard read and not sure I’ll finish it. Had a chuckle at the two answers along the bottom of the grid – ‘careless glance’. Thanks setter and piquet.

      1. Yes, and to make it even harder, the version I bought is in the smallest font. I think I’ll call it a DNF after one try and move on to something easier. Norman

  3. 25:08
    Not that easy–took me a couple of minutes over my average time. LOI SURCHARGE. Like Pip, I took ‘initially fired’ to be F at first. If I have LENTIGO, I have spots most likely, not just one; I would use ‘lentigines’, if I knew the word, to refer to cases of lentigo. (ODE ‘a condition marked by small brown patches on the skin …’) No problem with SUNNER as someone who suns. I do have a problem, though, with ‘brat’ defining URCHIN; a brat is not an urchin, and an urchin is not a brat.

  4. 13:39. Didn’t know that meaning of “flounce” or what FURBELOW meant or LINEAMENT, but I knew they were words, so I learnt three things there. LOI CROQUETTE. I liked SOLEMN for the surface. Thanks Pip and setter.

  5. My first DNF in a while, throwing in the towel at 55m with 10 and 21 still to get. Turns out it wasn’t just because I hadn’t heard of Beria, but mostly because CAREFREE works so well at 27a that I never considered it might be wrong…

  6. 45 minutes with LOI LINEAMENT. It was the only word I could think of that fitted. I’ve always meant to look it up to see what it meant. That’s not the case with LENTIGO, which I’ve never heard of, nor FURBELOW, but the anagram and cryptic in either case just about gave the answer. I had heard of CROQUETTE potatoes if nothing else. COD to INHUMANITY, of which the setter’s to the solver knows no bounds. Even so, thank you setter and Pip. Undemanding indeed!

  7. 13:10
    Fairly demanding (and fairly demanding), I thought. I liked “Wind timepiece up” but my COD was HARPOONER.
    STARTLING is one of those words that can have one letter at a time removed, leaving a new word each time. Composer’s response to the offer of a fizzy drink: “Lager, Elgar? Large regal glare.”
    LOI (appropriately enough) BURIAL

  8. 52:03

    I was well off the pace today but took much greater care to check after another fat-fingered attempt yesterday. I needed to rely on wordplay alone and some luck for BURIAL (Beria not known) and LENTIGO.

    Thank you to piquet and the setter

  9. 12:20. Slow to start, then revved up a bit. BURIAL was hard – I recalled Beria from the film The Death of Stalin, where he’s brilliantly played by Simon Russell Beale. Just about remembered BELL as well.

    Thanks setter & Pip.

  10. Steady solve, but by no means undemanding I thought. But fair.
    No total unknowns but several very nearly unknowns .. furbelow. If that means a ruffle or flounce, would a fur hat be a furabove? Unsure about lentigo and I’m pretty certain I have been uncertain about it at least once before .. [on edit: it has appeared here at least six times before! On one occasion Piquet advised us that he had a lot of them …]
    No problem with remembering the horrific, genocidal Lavrentiy Beria.
    LOI was TEES, I often have trouble with two-word clues ..

  11. If you don’t know the word, ‘burbelow’ fits the clue fine and arguably sounds more like a flounce of whatever hue.

    Apart from the dissatisfaction with that clue, I found this a highly demanding but enjoyable puzzle, taking around 40 minutes or so.

  12. About an hour. Found hard to start but once I got a few crossing letters I was writing in words like it was a quick crossword with no thought of parsing eg NEGOTIATE, INHUMANITY, FILIBUSTER, AUGURED, MARITIME, FURBELOW, GORY, SOLEMN and to my surprise they turned out to be right as I had no problems with finding crossing words. Saw STARLING as the bird from the first and last letters. Slowed by SE corner. Got SURCHARGE early but didn’t seem like a possible fine. Also BUTCH didn’t seem to me to fit tough. LOI COLIC since it took me a long time to relate it to the clue.

  13. 41 minutes. I’d NHO LINEAMENT either and had trouble working out UNSIGHTLINESS and WORSE; I may have it wrong but it looks like ‘eventually’ is a last letter indicator for getting S from ‘loss’, something I don’t remember having seen before. Whether LENTIGO should have been singular or plural went over my head; I didn’t even know a plural form existed. I’m not fussed but a MER at STUNNER for which part of the def – admittedly only one letter – contributes to the wordplay.

    Favourites were the very crossword land word FURBELOW and HARPOONER.

    Thanks to Pip and setter

  14. 36:51
    I started well and then found it tough going.

    FURBELOW and LENTIGO were total unknowns, up until 10 minutes ago I couldn’t spell DENUNCIATE, and I don’t know my Brontés.

    A good challenge so thanks to the setter and to piquet for filling in the blanks.

  15. 40:21 but…

    …didn’t know FURBELOW but assumed the final five letters were BELOW and looked up the rest.

    Contrary to our blogger, I found this fairly tough. Some notes:
    FILIBUSTER – I should probably know its definition by now, but did not, so worked out from cryptic.
    CROQUETTE – no idea that this is a savoury mince. Only know the ‘potato’ variety 🙂
    LENTIGO – no idea what that was but it fit the checkers
    BERIA – vaguely remembered from Russian studies at school
    LINEAMENT – knew the word, didn’t know what it meant

    I liked BUTCH and SURCHARGE

    Thanks P and setter

  16. About 20 minutes.

    Didn’t know LENTIGO, but with the checkers it was the most likely-sounding option; also not familiar with LINEAMENT or FURBELOW, but the wordplay helped in both cases; didn’t parse FILIBUSTER; have never really been sure what CROQUETTE is; should really have known that Bell was the pseudonym for the Brontë sisters, but got DUMBBELL anyway; and went through various cronies of Stalin before thinking of Lavrentiy Beria and getting BURIAL.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Lager
    LOI Lentigo
    COD Denunciations

  17. I finished in 39:30, so definitely didn’t find this easy. I took half an hour or so to do the right hand side, then went back to the left hand side and with a few letters in, it was all suddenly a lot easier. It was finally getting the long anagram at 10dn which cleared the way I think.
    Like several Furbelow was a word I recognised without actually knowing its meaning.
    Good puzzle I think
    Thanks setter and blogger

  18. 18:13

    Put me in the “demanding and not entirely pleasant” camp. The combination of just-about-okay definitions, silly words and fiddly wordplay made it a bit of a battle and there was no real wit, Harpo notwithstanding.

  19. 12m on the dot. I seem to have been on the wavelength for this one, I solved it steadily without many problems.
    As BletchleyReject points out the structure of 11ac is extremely unusual, in that the definition is apparently doing double duty as part of the wordplay. If you read the clue as an &Lit this problem goes away but the definition is a rather, um, specific one. But since double duty would be an absolute no-no I prefer to read it this way.
    I don’t really know what a flounce is, and I would certainly not have been able to tell you what a FURBELOW is, but I knew they were both words and that was enough.

    1. I felt 11 was a flaw in an absorbing but accessible puzzle. I even blew up the page (I print at 80%) with my phone camera to be 100% sure it said “fired” and not “tired” (which wouldn’t have made sense, but…). The wording of the clue doesn’t seem right for what it’s trying to do. An &lit may indeed have been intended; many such are failures—mere wannabes.

      The rest I quite enjoyed. Took a while to remember Beria!

  20. 18’29”, with SURCHARGE LOI. Dredged up LENTIGO and FURBELOW. Went through Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Molotov, Malenkov….all resulting in non-words. FILIBUSTER took a while as I’d got UNSIGHTLYNESS written in.

    When I was teaching it took me a while to avoid saying ‘straightforward’, or indeed ‘undemanding’.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  21. 34m 46s
    It took me about 4 minutes to solve my first clue but then it was fairly straightforward except for FURBELOW which I had NHO. I had seen the word LINEAMENT before but didn’t know what it meant but that was the only word I could think of that fitted the checkers. With down clues I have trouble with I find it helps to write down the known letters rather than just try and solve the clue within the online grid.
    I remember Simon Russell Beale as the evil BERIA in Armando Iannucci’s very funny film, “The Death of Stalin”.
    Thanks, Pip!

  22. i found this harder than yesterday’s puzzle, but both had similar features for me. Much of the time I was entering answers from letters already in the grid, or definitions. Wordplay often dint feature until I had the answer. It took me ages to get any of the long answers. LENTIGO was vaguely familiar, but FURBELOW was a complete unknown.
    45 minutes

  23. 43 minutes, not as Piquet says undemanding, but OK. For FURBELOW I was very stupid on the wordplay, and vaguely associated ‘no end of rage’ with ‘flying fur’, not bothering to look for the obvious. I never batted an eyelid at STUNNER, reckoning that sunner would be in some dictionary, and didn’t notice the fact that taser was doing double-duty; which I should have, although the &lit. version as has been suggested is not I think what the setter intended. Enjoyed Harpo, having stopped at Groucho and Chico.

      1. Like Z in the next comment, I was so focused on whether ‘sunner’ was a word that I didn’t notice the double duty so I didn’t have to think all the way to possible &lit. Kind of a competition clue – it’s so clearly the right answer, and all the parts are kind of there and visible, so if you’re pressing for time in it goes half-parsed and you never notice or sort through the glitches.

        1. I did wonder about ‘sunner’, and I’m still not entirely happy about it. To tan is to sun oneself, surely? There is a transitive verb meaning ‘to expose to the sun’ (‘the birds are sunning their wings’), and ‘one getting tanned’ can be considered transitive (‘the birds are getting their wings tanned’), so on that basis it seems just about OK.

  24. I enjoyed this challenge, possibly for the reasons others didn’t: some very tricky wordplay, dubious words, and not very general knowledge. Some observations:
    SUNNER Rather surprising it has no dictionary confirmation, as the verb to sun includes the sunbathing idea. OED has three versions, all OE variations on summoner, sooner and the like. I didn’t flinch, but presumably Susie wouldn’t allow it on Countdown.
    LENTIGO Chambers cheerfully opines “a freckle or (as sing) freckles” which seems ok.
    CARELESS/FREE As someone who now rides a registered invalid carriage, not quite a car, around my home village I can confirm I prefer CAREFREE to CARELESS, however much my maximum 8 miles an hour annoys other road users.
    A slow-start 19.29.

  25. 35 mins At last I finished one without a typo. Held up for ages by, as above mentioned, a CARELESS CAREFREE. Eventually I realised that the F wasn’t going to help with the Stalin clue. A testing crossword, not as easy as our blogger found it.

  26. Knew BERIA and saw answer quickly, likewise dragged up FURBELOW from somewhere. FILIBUSTER and LENTIGO also posed no problems. NHO of LINEAMENT, but constructed from wordplay and put it in with fingers crossed. Only DUMBBELL resisted, so DNF. Wouldn’t have got it; NHO the Bronte pseudonym.

  27. I have never heard of FURBELOW, but I knew RUMBELOW was a word (but no idea what it meant) so I put that in. So DNF. I knew BERIA was the head of Stalin’s secret police, so that clue turned out to be easy (if you didn’t know that, I guess it is impossible). I have read Moby Dick and so I know that Starbucks (the coffee shops) are named after a character in the book for some reason I forget. But a nice clue.

    1. Wiktionary has “Rumbelow, a surname”.
      Wiki has under Moby Dick:
      The three mates of the Pequod are all from New England.
      The young chief mate. A thoughtful and intellectual Quaker from Nantucket. He is married with a son. Such is his desire to return to them that, when nearly reaching the last leg of their quest for Moby Dick, he considers arresting or even killing Ahab with a loaded musket, and turning the ship back for home. Starbuck is alone among the crew in objecting to Ahab’s quest, declaring it madness to want revenge on an animal, which lacks reason; such a desire is blasphemous to his Quaker religion. Starbuck advocates continuing the more mundane pursuit of whales for their oil. But he lacks the support of the crew in his opposition to Ahab, and is unable to persuade them to turn back. Despite his misgivings, he feels himself bound by his obligations to obey the captain. Starbuck was an important Quaker family name on Nantucket, and there were dozens of actual whalemen of this period named Starbuck, as evidenced by the name of Starbuck Island in the South Pacific whaling grounds.

      1. Rumbelow’s used to be a chain of electrical shops a while back – tvs, radios, vacuum cleaners, fridges, washing machines, etc.

  28. I found this hard; well done all those who breezed through. Odd sensation, when the answer emerged it seemed simple but I couldn’t find the way in more often than not.
    22a had forgotten what a croquette is; had confused it with a croque monsieur, so took an age there.
    DNF, 3d, MARITImE, I had scrawled 14a INHUMANITY so that the M looked like an N and no word seemed to fit M_R_T_N_ except meriting which is obv wrong.
    Piquet, at 5d typo, the anagrist is sunS.
    Found 25a LENTIGO in my cheating machine as an addition so it must have come up before. Therefore not NHO. Cheated there of course; guessed the anagram but refused to believe it.
    18d DUMBELL I had wrongly attached Bell to only the brother, Branwell, who it seems didn’t use it. In with a shrug.
    21d BURIAL, after Trotsky (really NOT a crony of Stalin) I first remembered BERIA (whom I assume is the guilty party behind the untimely demise of Trotsky in Mexico City), so in it went, quick-time.

  29. Undemanding? Not in my case. I was stuck for ages in the SW corner, and eventually COLIC gave me CROQUETTE, so that I could biff my LOI (Beria? Nope, not somebody I’d ever encountered). I didn’t like 27A but I’m probably just being my pedantic self…..

    TIME 13:03

  30. 24:13 with the LOI – LINEAMENT. Couldn’t get away from ‘N’ = New for so long.

    Thanks setter and blogger!

  31. 27:33 – a well-constructed and well-judged toughie, with the obscurities stopping just short of NHOs – the exception being Beria, but the clue and crossers left little doubt.

  32. 26.05. I certainly found this towards the more demanding end of the spectrum with some tip of the tongue (or sometimes just beyond) vocab. I turned out to need the GK I didn’t think I would need to find burial and to not need the GK I thought I would need for harpooner.

  33. Very surprised to see that the SNITCH is currently only 106 – I was very much off the wavelength today and found this the hardest puzzle for a good while. DNF after about 40 minutes – beaten by FURBELOW (could only come up with HUM[P]BELOW). Solving this felt like wading through treacle from start to finish.

  34. 22.43

    Bunged in LINEAMENT at the end more or less knowing it fitted the definition, completely failing to see LAMENT. BURIAL came to mind quickly but FURBELOW was a NHO constructed after ___UNDER proved unpromising.

  35. I found this demanding, but in a nice way. Took a while to get going but then made steady progress until I reached the SW corner, which held me up for a while. Eventually clocked off after 29 minutes, about my average. I recognised LENTIGO from the Latin, and always thought of it as a condition, rather like acne, and not a specific spot. I enjoyed the Stalin clue which brought back happy memories (as to Amoeba and others) of Simon Russell Beale’s performance in the film.
    FOI – TEES
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  36. Started with furbelow and finished with solemn. Harder than yesterday’s but doable for me with persistence.

  37. 42 mins, so not undemanding, as our blogger found it, but not too tough either. NHO FURBELOW, but the word play was fair enough. Thanks to blogger and setter.

  38. Certainly not undemanding, and I don’t know why but found it unsatisfying, and not just because I had to resort to aids along the way. Toyed with the Brontës early on but dismissed them, totally forgetting about their noms-de-plume. Grrr. Really liked the clueing of COLIC.

  39. A few less obvious answers for me in this puzzle, but I managed to NEGOTIATE my way through it. SOLEMN was FOI and the rest of the NW gave little to worry about. I even managed to remember the spelling of AUGURED and confirmed it with the wordplay. After unravelling UNSIGHTLINESS, BOUNTY and WORSE, I managed to assemble FURBELOW. Having looked it up afterwards I now know what it means and what a flounce is. I knew the word as I’d heard it in a song Tim Hart and Maddy Prior recorded on their album Summer Solstice, which is very short and consists mainly of the line “Adam catched Eve by the furbelow”, which I had assumed was something more akin to how the Orange one behaves, but hey ho! POI, CROQUETTE took longer thaan it should have, but allowed me to begin an alphabet trawl for LOI, 21d, -U-I-L. Some time later BURIAL emerged from the mist and the unpleasant Mr BERIA rang a faint bell. 27:56. Thanks setter and

  40. Not for me, first one I’ve given up on in disgust (at my lack of ability) for a long time.


  41. Failed on 4ac with Rumbelow. Spent ages before i reembered Currer, Acton, and whatever Emily called herself. No way i would ever say Tees for more than one tee-shirt but it had to be. 61 mins which is way over my recent average of 35 and a fail.

  42. 44 minutes, but it was certainly not easy and full of very roundabout clues and totally unnecessary obscurities. The only positive thing to say about it is that, for me at least, it was solvable, because if I didn’t know the solution word (FURBELOW, LENTIGO) the wordplay was kind and if the wordplay was obscure (BELL?, or for that matter BERIA, although I did remember him) the answers were biffable. Not my cup of tea, coffee, whisky or anything else.

  43. Pink squared by fumbelow (fume shortened?) and linnament ( nn – nearly new??), the correct answers to which were NHOs.

    After mentioning my initial working experience to Boltonwanderer yesterday, inevitable that smelter would come up so I give that COD

    Thx p and setter

  44. Same only slightly know words as others, and same neither-“meh”-nor-“brilliant” experience.

  45. DNF

    A rare DNE (did not enjoy) for me. Doubtless Beria was in the hilarious “Death of Stalin”, but he hadn’t stuck. Nonetheless, my error was putting the perfectly reasonable FUM[e] before below. My bete noire: an ambiguous clue to an unknown word.

    Sumner? Butch/Tough? Years on and off or off and on?

    Did like the leg glance, colic and dumbbell very much though, so thanks setter for defeating me in 35’.

    Nice blog, thanks.

  46. 20.13. Fortunate that my General Knowledge was up to the challenge today: I expect humiliation tomorrow.

  47. No continuity with this one, as I’ve been too busy to do it in one session, and finally completed it tonight in my fourth visit. I would imagine it totalled an hour or so, but I’m glad I persevered. Having said that I then discover that I had one wrong when I went for LENGITO instead of LENTIGO. I debated for about a minute on which seemed the most likely, and of course I chose the wrong option. Grrrrrr….


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