Times 28648 – Let him make a 15 of me

Solving time: 7:25.

I found this one on the easier side, though one of the terms that might give people trouble I knew from the Falstaff quote above; though in Henry IV Part 1 it has a different meaning, it is a word that has stuck with me.

I suspect some of the longer entries are biffable and there will be some slick times, I suspect I was the first to finish this since I started almost on the stroke of midnight but there is already a better time than mine.

How did you do?

1 Cake lacking icing at first (5)
POORI – POOR(lacking) then the first letter of Icing
4 Dallying in game with King missing lines (8)
COQUETRY – the game is CROQUET, remove the R(king), and add RY(lines)
8 Movie star reads Metamorphosis and hams it up (14)
10 Fashionable style of art with peculiar lack of taste (9)
INDECORUM – IN(fashionable), then art DECO and RUM(peculiar)
11 Romeo cutting facial hair in pan (5)
TRASH – R(Romeo) inside TASH(facial hair)
12 Clowns one spots touring island (6)
IDIOTS – I(one), then DOTS(spots) surrounding I(island)
14 More difficult to pull in lace underwear ultimately (8)
TRICKIER –  RICK(pull) inside TIE(lace, as in lace ones boots), and the last letter of underweaR
17 Accessory in Tamworth criminal group on edge (4-4)
NOSE-RING – RING(criminal group) on NOSE(edge, move slowly). The Tamworth in question is a pig
18 Awkward delivery bowled on repeat, endlessly (6)
BREECH – B(bowled), RE(on) then ECHO(repeat) minus the last letter. Apologies for having an incorrect parsing originally and thanks to commenters for the correction
20 Hint of rum in double in sailors’ bar (5)
SPRIT – first letter of Rum in SPIT(double, spitting image)
22 Dan Dare adaptation receiving award for stars (9)
ANDROMEDA – anagram of DAN,DARE containing OM(award)
24 Silly to pamper cats and dogs inside? (7-7)
FEATHER-BRAINED – FEATHER-BED(pamper) containing RAIN(cats and dogs)
25 Learned about character in part of history (5,3)
STONE AGE – SAGE(learned) surrounding TONE(character)
26 Cricket sides drawing in India — it could bring tears to your eyes! (5)
ONION – the cricket sides are ON and ON, surrounding I(India)
1 Life on crisps affected fertility (12)
PROLIFICNESS – anagram of LIFE,ON,CRISPS. Fun clue, I will admit I’m rather fond of crisps and after eating a bag, I’m not that productive
2 Nymph in rock poster? (5)
OREAD – ORE(rock), AD(poster)
3 Shower one new pet with designer clothing (9)
INDICATOR – I(one), N(new) then CAT(pet) inside the designer Christian DIOR
4 Tea chest turned up in yoga centre (6)
CHAKRA – CHA(tea), then ARK(chest) reversed
5 Bog paper hiding naughty mag (8)
QUAGMIRE – QUIRE(paper) containing an anagram of MAG
6 John briefly upset George perhaps (5)
ELIOT – TOILET(John) reversed minus the last letter for the writer of Adam Bede amongst others
7 Check about test case finally and investigate again (2-7)
RE-EXAMINE – REIN(check) surrounding EXAM(test), then the last letter of casE
9 Building close to New Forest is one used for smoking (12)
CHURCHWARDEN – CHURCH(building), the last letter of neW, and ARDEN(forest).  Got this from wordplay, did not know it was a pipe
13 Revolutionary man is under cover briefly (9)
INSURGENT – GENT(man) under INSURE(cover) minus the last letter
15 Diamond found in C&A party (9)
16 Stormy romance with leader of America being filmed (2,6)
ON CAMERA -anagram of ROMANCE, and the first letter of America
19 Book with twenty per cent off by journalist: good for the consumer! (6)
EDIBLE – the book is the BIBLE, remove the first letter
21 Screw up in audition for Superman? (5)
TITAN – sounds like TIGHTEN(screw up)
23 Boredom at night in Paris cut short (5)
ENNUI – in French, “at night” would be EN NUIT, remove the last letter

76 comments on “Times 28648 – Let him make a 15 of me”

  1. Is there a record for solving the crossword and posting the blog? 33 minutes, impressive!

    I was a bit slow with CHAKRA and had the same shrug over CHURCHWARDEN . Also put CARBONADO in, removed it, then finally parsed it and re-entered. I liked QUAGMIRE, schoolboy memories there. Excellent clues throughout.

  2. 40:55
    I did terribly on this one, and was happy to go off leaderboard, having checked both CHAKRA & POORI (which is not in ODE, only ‘puri’), and because I could make no sense of LOI TRICKIER. No problem with CHURCHWARDEN, which we’ve had before; I used to own one, God knows why, in my pipe-smoking days. BREECH was a long time coming; isn’t ‘on’ violating the putative rule that ‘A on B’ means B, A? NOSE-RING was another that took a lot of time, because I couldn’t get away from -GANG.
    George, you’ve left out the puzzle number.

    1. POORI is in Collins, and it appears it is my fate to run across it, as I have blogged it in two Mephistos and the last time it appeared in the daily Times, in 2014.

      I think since the clue to BREECH is an across clue, “on” for next to means the parts can come in either order.

      Ta – I’ve put the puzzle number in.

      1. There has been a tradition on the weekdays—though not for Sunday, as was discussed several Sundays ago—that if A is said to be “on” B in an Across clue, B is expected to come first (the opposite of how “on” works in a Down clue).

      2. Jackkt has explicitly said that, in an across clue, ‘A on B’=B, A. I doubt that he ever said it was a rule, but I can’t recall an exception, until today. ‘with’ or ‘by’, and all bets are off.

        1. It’s a convention and the current Crossword Editor, RR, wrote this in 2018:

          Yes the convention still applies
          Richard Rogan
          RR Crossword editor

          That was after an exception had slipped through the net and he said that had he noticed he would have altered the clue “to reflect the way we normally do things”.

          Anyway I’m pleased to see that none of this applies to the clue under discussion today, although as admitted in my earlier comment I had no idea how the answer parsed.

      3. Can’t we just have RE (on) and ECH (repeat = echo endlessly)? Then we don’t need to worry about whether on indicates following or not.

        1. was just about to say this, I think that is the intention: B + RE + ECH

        2. Yes, and that’s why I didn’t see any problem with “on,” come to think of it.
          I didn’t read the blog closely, so missed Pip’s “RE-ECHO,” which is redundant.

        3. Ironically, I actually was working on ECH[o], but didn’t have the B or ‘on’; when I got the B and thus BREECH, I forgot about RE. So no problem.

      4. I just realised I had parsed this differently and probably wrong.
        B(bowled) RE(on) ECH(O) repeat endlessly.
        Sorry, just read comments above.

  3. Took a while to remember the pipe (didn’t biff it!), and RICK for “pull.” Didn’t stop to consider the ostensible rule mentioned above regarding BREECH.

  4. I found this very tough indeed and resorted to aids several times, once to check an answer derived from wordplay (POORI) and three times to obtain answers which I would never have got as I didn’t know them and was unable to crack the wordplay, CHAKRA, COQUETRY and CARBONADO. Two answers I knew to be correct but was unable to parse, TRICKIER and BREECH added to my woes. I didn’t enjoy this one at all and I was glad to see the back of it. I don’t have a note of how long all this took but it must have been nearly an hour.

    1. I should probably mention that I had an awful afternoon and evening yesterday and I attempted to solve the puzzle at bedtime when I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

  5. 12:10 Having lived in Drummond Street (near Euston) with its excellent Indian vegetarian restaurants, I recognised (Diwana Bhel) Poori. Used to look into it from my bedsit window, 40+ years back, after a night carousing with Dillons bookshop colleagues, and hearing the chimes at midnight (to continue the Henry IV theme, though part 2 this time).

    1. I used to go to an excellent Indian restaurant around there many moons ago called Diwan-I-Am. They sold it and it became Diwan-I-Was!:-)

      1. Also on Drummond Street is Astanga Yoga London, friendly folk who could help explain 4 down.

        1. Funnily enough I do Astanga Yoga (not well) on Friday mornings, and my lovely teacher goes there to practise.

  6. Another who struggled, got round in 47.24 and was pleased just to finish. Resorted to the check function a number of times and was pleasantly surprised – on words like POORI, CHAKRA, CARBONADO, PROLIFICNESS, SPRIT – to find my checkers plus wordplay-based shots in the dark were correct. Despite my travails I thought there were some excellent clues here and I enjoyed it when it finally yielded. FOI INDECORUM, LOI CHURCHWARDEN. Thanks to glh for a number of explanations, especially TRICKIER. Didn’t get rick, thought trick was pull in (ie dupe) and wondered where the extra I came from…

  7. 61 minutes. NHO either POORI or CARBONADO and was slow to get many others that I did know, including CHURCHWARDEN. I was also held up by initially putting in an unparsed “scatter-brained” at 24a.

    I liked working out the parsing for BREECH and TRICKIER. Favourite was the semi lift and separate ‘C&A’ in CARBONADO. Unfavourite word was PROLIFICNESS; “prolificity” any day for me.

  8. Interesting mixture of the very easy and the very difficult. Churchwarden as pipe is an old friend in these puzzles, but Church as building was unexpected. Couldn’t pare LOI CARBONADO – vaguely knew it but was trying to get a synonym for ‘found’ in C&A. Never even considered CARBON as it’s not cryptic, same meaning in clue and answer, that just doesn’t happen in The Times. Prolificness was slow to come, and gave me the NHO POORI.
    Did like COQUETRY, BREECH and INDECORUM, amongst others.

    1. Well, it is a bit cryptic. Carbon as such is not in the clue and you have to extract it from the C of the misleading C&A.

      1. I didn’t really express it well enough – I meant that in a charade clue the various cryptic elements (almost) always have a different meaning as clued to their meaning in the answer. Here the carbon part of the charade is (seems to be – I don’t know Portuguese) the same as the carbon part of the answer.

        1. The other way round (carbon for C, silver for Ag, gold for Au, tin for Sn etc) is very common.

          1. Indeed, cryptic indicators for single or double letters. The big difference is: the C or AG or or AU or SN in the answer does not represent the element e.g. the answer is never SnCO3 in the grid (stannous carbonate).
            Occasionally we get a definition e.g. ‘As’ hiding in plain sight when the answer is ARSENIC. And again the cryptic meaning is the word like or as, not arsenic.

            1. In this case the C in the surface reading is part of ‘C&A’ so nothing to do with carbon, exactly the same as As for ARSENIC.
              Paul’s point below seems to be that carbon and CARBONADO share an etymological root, which I think is fair but a bit harsh in this context, where the use of ‘C&A’ is quite clever.

              1. That was my point , too: carbon and carbonado sharing the same root. I have no idea what C&A is… google says: A Dutch clothing store from the Netherlands. Well, there you go. Doesn’t excuse the clue in my view. YMMV.

                1. C&A was a fixture in British High Streets, as ubiquitous as Woolworths, Austin Reed and Freman Hardy and Willis. For me, the clue has to indicate the carbon bit somehow and disguising it (and the A) in this way was sufficiently devious to qualify as a proper cryptic clue.

                  1. C&A is very familiar in my world as the source of the Brenninkmeijer family fortune, still a force in European investment. Rather like the Kirkbi/Kristiansen (Lego) family.

        2. I’m with you, isla3. I had a mini-moan about the same thing the other day, “canton” being used as a subsidiary for the closely related CANTONMENT. In this case it’s even clearer.

          1. I thought today’s test being EXAM and investigate again being REEXAMINE was a bit obvious and so ruled it out until the end.

  9. DNF after about 40 minutes. TRICKIER than some, I thought, and defeated in the end by POORI and CARBONADO, not knowing the words and not seeing the wordplay. Now that it’s been explained, i like the C&A trick in CARBONADO

  10. If by dull rhymes our English must be chain’d,
    And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
    Fetter’d, in spite of pained loveliness;

    After 30 mins mid-brekker, I bunged in Poori thinking “must be some sort of Indian bread – like Puri”, which left the even trickier Trickier. That took a couple of mins.
    Some great clues.
    Ta setter and G.

    1. Hello, thank you adopting my suggestion of a few weeks ago of attributing your poetry references – brilliant! Next question – do you know all the verses already, have to look them up, or a mixture? Whichever, you do a brilliant job on them.

      1. Hi
        Ta. Usually something is suggested by one of the words in the puzzle – and then I look it up to get it right.
        The ones that suggested things on this one – apart from Andromeda – were Titan, Eliot and Trash….
        “Who steals my purse steals Trash” – Iago in Othello.

  11. 13:20
    Nice trick with C&A in CARBONADO, and with John & George in ELIOT.
    (When George walking out on The Beatles John immediately responded “Let’s get in Eric (Clapton). He’s just as good and not such a headache”.)

  12. 26:30. I found this tricky so I was pleased to get through it one piece.


  13. I found this hard and was pleased and slightly surprised to finish in “only” 32 minutes. Though I googled POORI cake to make sure it existed. I don’t think I’d have got SPRIT without finally cottoning on to TITAN as all three of SPRIT, SPIT and R for a trace of rum were quite tricky (to me). Also CHAKRA was something I thought I’d vaguely heard of but wasn’t 100% sure. PROLIFICNESS was a new word to me though not a hard clue. My LOI and COD I thought was CARBONADO.
    Thanks setter and blogger 🙂

  14. I’m dog-sitting this morning but this took about the hour with interruptions. I used aids for the CHAKRA/COQUETRY intersection. Indian restaurants seem to be disappearing quicker than banks are, along with post offices and pubs, but prawn puri was always a favoured starter, never spelt POORI I have to say. I enjoyed this one, but didn’t really like it, if that makes sense. Thank you George and setter.

      1. I think you can enjoy something or someone while not really liking them. As a young lad I remember going on a blind date and arguing and disagreeing with a very feisty spirited girl all evening. When my friend who set us up asked how it went I said well it was fun, I enjoyed it, but I didn’t really like her and we agreed we wouldn’t be seeing each other again.

  15. Pretty tough but at least completed in 42 mins. Last two in BREECH and CARBONADO (NHO) once the penny finally dropped on the clever C&A. Did not parse TRICKIER.

    I enjoyed the two long clues and I loved ELIOT.

    Thanks Paul and setter.

  16. This took me 76 minutes from FOI the long anagram PROLIFICNESS to LOI the NHO but built from WP CHAKRA, I had this earlier but waited for checking letters to be sure. POORI also NHO but WP and crossers helped. I had RE-EXAMINE early on but again waited for checking letters and needing the blog to fully parse. I also needed the blog to fully parse NOSE-RING and the BIFD ENNUI as my French is lacking.
    All in all very satisfying particularly my FOI spotting a long anagram with help from the definition, I liked the surface too.

  17. Finished in 11:04, but a bout of (hopefully temporary) dyslexia led me to enter “reexanime” and two pink squares spoiled my morning.

  18. About 26′, with the nho CARBONADO LOI. Also some time on alphabet trawl for SPRIT, never realised until now that ‘bowsprit’ is descriptive. Liked BREECH, no issue.

    Headingley today, where hopefully the crowd will be better behaved.

    Thanks george and setter.

  19. Quick today, only CARBONADO nho.. some sort of cooking term, I thought? But easy to parse.
    I swear we had onions bringing tears to our eyes only two or three days ago..

  20. DNF, foiled by CARBONADO – like isla3, I was looking for a 5-letter word meaning ‘found’ inside C and A.

    As others have said, this was tough. Vaguely remembered POORI and CHURCHWARDEN from previous puzzles, wasn’t sure about rick=pull in TRICKIER, keep forgetting that quire=paper for QUAGMIRE, and tried to put ‘bananas’ (‘silly’) in as the second part of 24a before realising that ‘cats and dogs’ was indicating rain and figuring out FEATHER-BRAINED.

    COD Andromeda

  21. 51m 32s
    Another enjoyable puzzle.
    24ac: I started with SCATTER-BRAINED.
    23d: Didn’t Thierry ENNUI used to play for Arsenal?
    Thanks, George.

  22. Having completed this fairly tricky puzzle in 26:11, I was feeling quite pleased with myself until I saw the pink square in OVERDRAMASISES. I’d originally biffed OVEREMPHASISES and missed the T when correcting. Drat! My FOI was ___AD at 2d which led quickly to INDECORUM. The ORE came later. CHAKRA was assembled from wordplay and crossers, after 8a was mis-corrected. FEATHER BRAINED was LOI. Thanks setter and George.

  23. 28:52

    Quite enjoyable, though with a couple of notes:

    POORI – not seen that spelling before so did check the word actually existed before submitting
    TRICKIER – failed to parse
    NOSE-RING – expected it to be something pig-related but forgot that NOSE can mean to move slowly
    FEATHER-BRAINED – got the BRAINED part quickly but took a while to see what preceded it.
    PROLIFICNESS – this anagram took a bit of working out – from 4 checkers and deciding it must end in NESS, the rest then fell into place

    Last two in: SPRIT (came to mind from BOWSPRIT which I saw somewhere the other day) and INSURGENT

    No trubs with CARBONADO (seen here before somewhere?) nor CHURCHWARDEN as a pipe.

    Liked COQUETRY and QUAGMIRE – both lovely words.

    Thanks setter and George

  24. Gave up due to lack of time, but wasn’t getting POORI (and therefore OREAD), CARBONADO, FEATHER-BRAINED (and therefore TITAN).

    Pretty hard.


  25. 17:43. Well off the wavelength today, but I did enjoy the challenge even if it was largely self-inflicted. LOI CARBONADO where it took me forever to see how the wordplay worked. Big penny-drop moment.

  26. Not sure of my time as I didn’t properly close the app on bits of the commute that require walking, which means the timer continues. A few hitches along the way, like entering SCATTER-BRAINED at first, but mostly pretty smooth.

    I was happy enough to think POORI was a word, and have probably encountered it before. OREAD is new to me, but very fairly clued.

    Thanks both.

  27. 2 wrong today where I ended up being SCATTER BRAINED and then to compound it put in INSURRECT which didn’t even fit. Wrong side of the bed this morning. NHO SPRIT or CARBONADO

  28. 23:50. Couldn’t – or didn’t bother to – parse TRICKIER. Ditto CARBONADO, where I briefly wondered if an “arbon” was some unknown/defunct compositor’s slang for an ampersand. Thanks for the correct explanation and the gentle diversion of today’s discussions.

  29. Needed a few aids for this. Several that I biffed correctly I couldn’t parse. Enjoyable workout, though. Thanks both.

  30. What a Babe
    A pleasant run through in 22.15, with CARBONADO inevitably last in strained by misremembering ADO for party and wondering where the other A went.
    I was nearly flummoxed by the Tamworth turning up in the NOSE-RING clue, since I knew it was conventionally a pig in this parish but couldn’t see how it was informing the wordplay. And is it an accessory in pigs: surely it has something other than a fashionable purpose. What next? Matching handbag and glove? Necklace and earrings?
    I was slow to get ELIOT as well, especially since its part of my favourite anagram for TS. I somehow reversed the loo as ELOIT.
    Liked INDICATOR because of the brilliant definition (perhaps with “Shower one new pet with designer clothing” the setter was already thinking of the accessorised Tamworth) and George’s informal and chatty blog.

    1. Your comment about refined accessories for pigs reminded of the Flanders & Swann song about The Warthog.

  31. Much the same question marks over various words that others had — SPRIT, CARBONADO, POORI. For POORI I gave up and looked at a list of cakes and found POORI, of which I’d never heard. Some good clues I thought, 62 minutes although several could have been worked out sooner. It was surely echo not re-echo for repeat.

  32. 8m 34s, so not an easy one for me – pretty much no biffing or semi-biffing, except for SCATTER-BRAINED which was then wrong. POORI & CARBONADO weren’t in my vocabulary and no doubt still won’t be, next time they come up.

  33. Oh dear another DNF even though many of the clues others struggled with I was able to pop straight in. Missed the cleverly misdirected CARBON symbol and thought we were starting with CAND…I also had scatterbrained, which I knew was wrong but didn’t have any checkers to prompt a better answer. Gave up on TITAN which wouldn’t come to me and is actually great. I love having a good homophone pointed out.

    Thanks G and setter.

  34. Got my comeuppance today, with several unfilled:POORI, CHURCHWARDEN (I had it ending in “garden”) SPRIT and a few others.

    Liked ELIOT.

  35. No time recorded for this as I’ve been solving while watching the cricket from Headingly. Took me a while to get going, but then built up a head of steam. Ultimately defeated by CARBONADO though, where the use of C as CARBON just never occurred to me.

  36. 13:49, after methodically assembling all the required pieces. As per our Bolton correspondent, I’ve eaten more than one prawn puri in my time, and the alternative spelling of a word which has been imported from abroad didn’t seem unlikely.

  37. 16:30. i didn’t know POORI the cake not CARBONADO the diamond, but it was the tricky TRICKIER that was my last one in with a pause while I finally deciphered the parsing. COD to PROLIFICNESS for the surface. Thanks George and setter.

  38. 42’5”
    Clearly found the going testing.
    I was pleased to get over the line with all parsed, but fingers tightly crossed for POORI.
    I used to smoke a very long clay churchwarden; a lovely cool smoke.
    Lots to like; thanks to George, setter and Myrtilus for yet another, unknown to me, piece of Keats.

  39. Found that 17A: “Accessory in Tamworth criminal group on edge (4-4)” giving NOSE-RING brought the “Tamworth Two” to mind – a small, non-criminal group:-


    Another fan of the “C&A” misdirection but I can see it falls a bit flat if you never came across the chain of shops.

  40. Had to come back to this after choir practice, as there were 3 unsolved clues, with a question mark over NOSE RING, having failed to get the verbal sense of ‘edge’! ‘Insure’ finally made me realise that SCATTERBRAINED was a non-starter, and the correct answer was derived. I had divined early on that 18A had to do with childbirth, so goodness knows why I didn’t immediately get BREECH, but it remained blank until the POI. I think I was missing the ‘on’ direction which would have given me ‘RE’ and then suddenly, it’s obvious. LOI, unsurprisingly, was CARBONADO – I had the ADO, the C and an O, but had to get BREECH to fill in the gaps. It’s a clever clue – like others, I spent too much time trying to decipher ARBON before the penny dropped. Incidentally, I make ‘pooris’ or ‘puris’ or however it is chosen to be spelled, and I would argue that it is not a cake, but unleavened bread. It consists of flour, salt and oil, and is deep-fried, giving a puffy, crispy accompaniment to Indian curries, as a naan or a paratha would. Madhur Jaffrey supplies a recipe for them.

  41. Poori and Oread were tough crossers and Carbonado making three NHO’s. Pleased to work it out eventually.
    COD for me was “Indecorum”.

  42. Same problems as others: CARBONADO, POORI ( NHO – Indian restaurants not so prolific in Oz) and TRICKIER as never would have associated rick with pull in. EDIBLE also out of reach for me, as the BIBLE didn’t come to mind as book (rarely does!). Enjoyed IDIOTS, NOSE RING, CHURCHWARDEN (at last one of my ‘must remember’ notations paid off!) and QUAGMIRE. Oh and of course ELIOT!

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