Times 27289 – The Silver Fox meets Bobby Moore

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Well, almost. It’s amazing what setters can get into a crossword if they try hard enough, or if the solver looks hard enough. Today, for example, we have Booby Moore (who was ‘Born Barking’ – which must have frightened the Beejusus out of his mum) meeting Marcello Lippi (Anglicised as ‘Lippy’), Italian World Cup winning coach, known to one and all as ‘The Silver Fox’. It is with a tip of my hat to such skill (or is it only serendipity? surely none dare call it conspiracy?) that I offer a challenge up to the setter: let’s see just how difficult it is to put BACKSTOP and TRADE AGREEMENT together.

28 minutes for this nice offering, which is certainly not deficient in the double definition department, but expecting much faster from many others, including the New Galspray down under.


1 Floor, from which relation picked up? (6)
STOREY – sounds like ‘story’
5 Fair Isle’s fool returns (8)
PASSABLE – reversal of ELBA’S SAP (fool)
9 Cold and windy, anything in desert (8)
10 Many East German leaders caught by hero (6)
11 Exciting thing a chore? That’s not right — very exciting! (4-6)
HIGH-OCTANE – anagram* of THING A CHO[r]E (no R for right)
13 A bit of skirt? Excuse me! (4)
AHEM – A HEM (the hem or hemline of a skirt is its lower edge)
14 Aware of batting side in cricket (2,2)
IN ON – IN (batting in cricket) ON (side in cricket, also called leg, and the opposite of off)
15 Zero in store after a reverse, marks for bridge game? (10)
POOHSTICKS – O in SHOP reversed TICKS (marks); game involving stream, sticks and simple people described by AA Milne
18 Convoluted clue I saw, explained (10)
20 Resist young man (4)
First of a fistful of double definitions (DDs); BUCK – as in ‘buck the trend’ and as in ‘that Verlaine is a young buck’
21 Rodent killer pumped with hydrogen gas (4)
23 Small-timer working as wheel turner? (10)
MILLSTREAM – SMALLTIMER* for this most crosswordy of crosswordy words
25 Asian elephant originally in sacred text (6)
KOREAN – E[lephant] in KORAN
26 God, I sat on nails! (8)
POSEIDON – I inside (nails) POSED ON
28 Hairy what comes before x-ray, with radius breaking (8)
WHISKERY – R (radius) in WHISKEY (phonetic alphabet stuff)
29 Figure very important to dismiss Head (6)


2 Dancing sailor not twisting (9)
3 Render coarse gallows humour initially in French city (7)
ROUGHEN – G[allows] H[umour] in ROUEN
4 Hard, always, to upset toff (3)
YAH – reversal of H AY for a sense I’ve never come across. Okay, yah?
5 Classes immediately below those in geography, lacking (5)
PHYLA – this is a hidden (geograPHY, LAcking) but I don’t get the wordplay; in that rather quaint old classification system we learned at school a phylum is below a kingdom, but kingdom is not referenced in the clue, so either my lack of sciency knowledge is blinding me to the obvious or it’s not a very good clue. Thanks to the New Galspray for the explanation, though I have to say I’m still not overly enamoured of the clue, which reads about as naturally as an MBA thesis.
6 Cuts fish (11)
SILVERSIDES – the first of a veritable plethora of double definitions
7 A foursome of neighbouring characters welcoming an Asian (7)
AFGHANI – A (from the clue) followed by AN (from the clue) in (being welcomed by) FGHI (consecutive letters in Afghani). As is pointed out in the comments, though, afghani is the monetary unit of the country, while the national is an Afghan.
8 Hanging Gardens ultimately seen in Cornish town (5)
LOOSE – final letter of [garden]S in the marvellously named LOOE
12 China vague on visiting US author (4,2,5)
CAPO DI MONTE – sounds like an author but is actually a type of china that had its albeit brief day in the 18th century: DIM ON inside [Truman] CAPOTE
16 Not fashionable — but striking? (3)
OUT – DD (striking as in having downed tools)
17 Friendly football game? There’s a fight after knock on the head (9)
KICKABOUT – KICK (knock on the head in the sense of quit something) followed by A BOUT (boxing match)
19 Boatsthose docking? (7)
CUTTERS – DD, the second one vaguely whimsical
20 Don’t allow man up the pole (7)
BARKING – BAR (don’t allow) KING (chess piece or man); ‘up the pole’, which, I’d never heard of, means only ‘slightly mad’, which perhaps explains why
22 Well up above church, moonshine (5)
HOOCH – OOH reversed (as in ‘Ooh, you are awful, but I like you’ [SHOVE] [LOOK OVER SHOULDER WHILE STUMBLING ON HIGH HEELS]) over CH for the dodgy liquor
24 Fresh item in handbag? (5)
LIPPY – DD (both of a slang persuasion)
27 Get to make out (3)
SEE – DD (both of a not especially tricky persuasion)

56 comments on “Times 27289 – The Silver Fox meets Bobby Moore”

  1. Under 38 mins, so good for me without being very easy. Held up by the unknown LOOE and CAPO DI MONTE. The latter would have annoyed me with two potential obscurities (the answer and the author), but Capote came reasonably quickly to mind.

    For 5D, U, “class” is immediately below “phylum” in the hierarchy of biological classification.

    Thanks for the early and entertaining blog.

      1. No worries, mate! I love it when you remind me how to speak Strine 😉

        And I agree with you on the clue – not the best one in the bunch.

  2. re- 12dn

    Sorry Mr. Setter. but Capo di Monte ain’t China – but porcelain – made in Naples. There is nothing Chinese about it whatsoever! There is no china-clay in the Naples area and none imported. Thus Capo di Monte porcelain is not a fusion of kaolin and feldspar.

    Unlike Meissen porcelain for example, which is ‘chinaware’ as it contains kaolin – china clay. Herr von Tschirnhaus would turn in his grave. I will be over in Albrechtsburg Castle in late March.

    Ebay and other department stores have misled this setter!
    Irish Cheddar OK with you?

    FOI 27dn SEE

    LOI 12dn but….DNF



    Edited at 2019-03-04 03:14 am (UTC)

    1. The setter maybe guilty of no more than referring to, or indeed knowing, his dictionary, which defines china as ‘any porcelain or similar ware’ (Collins).

      Edited at 2019-03-04 04:01 am (UTC)

    1. The second sense in Chambers online is ‘articles made from similar[to the fine translucent earthenware] materials’.

      What would words be if they never developed? Like a human being stuck in a time warp and trying to demand that everyone else joined him or her there, perhaps.

      1. Have you ever seen the film ‘The Others’ with Nichole Kidman?

        And please do note BW’s piece. China it ain’t even in parts of Bolton!

        Edited at 2019-03-04 10:33 am (UTC)

        1. Kidman is like a fine wine – improves with age. The highest-paid actress with no big box-office hits, so she must have something. Not seen that one, but Dead Calm and Flirting are worth a look.
  3. Quite a lot of unknowns for me in this relatively easy puzzle which I completed in 36 minutes. For a start, I’ve never heard of YAH meaning ‘toff’ so despite the wordplay being fairly obvious I didn’t write in the answer until I had both checkers confirmed. Other unknowns were PHYLA (nor ‘phylum’ for that matter), SILVERSIDES as fish and TORSIONAL although I was able to get to it via anagrist and knowing the word ‘torsion’ from my father talking about the torsion bar in our family car.

    This clue I struggled with on Friday helped 28ac to go straight in today:
    8 This Yankee succeeds by right, indeed (4)

    Edited at 2019-03-04 08:42 am (UTC)

  4. 21:13 … quite tricky in parts but a very enjoyable challenge. It helped, as it always does, that there were some nice moments of humour. LIPPY earned a particular chuckle.

    Excellent stuff. Thanks setter and ulaca

    1. I think the definition is *far* too vague
      “item in handbag” could be almost anything (or is that just Mrs jb?)


  5. I could falsely blame jet lag. I bunged in ALAS and MILLMASTER. Took and age to unravel but really enjoyed the crossword overall.
  6. 13:14. A few tricky bits in here but nothing too difficult and the wordplay was always a reliable guide. I didn’t know the china or the expression ‘up the pole’. Did anyone else wonder how TORSIONAL meant ‘dancing’?
  7. When I saw ‘bridge game’ early on and immediately thought POOHSTICKS I thought I was going to be on the wavelength for this one, but it didn’t last as it took me an age to realise that the full word whiskey comes before xray, where I’d just been trying to get a W in there somewhere. And as per keriothe I did wonder how TORSIONAL meant dancing (albeit not for too long!).

    COD to MILLSTREAM as usually anagrams are my strong point but this took a long time to arrive as my LOI today.

  8. With another typo. EIGHTT for EIGHTY.

    Tricky enough for a Monday I thought. COD: POSEIDON.

  9. For a while there I thought I might have been in for a rare sub-10-minute run but, frustratingly, 1a held me up – just had a blindspot there for some unfathomable reason.

    DNK “up the pole” either, so wasted a bit of time trying to reverse a 4 letter man’s name after “BAR” to get something to describe a stick of some kind. Yes, I know….

    1. I was thinking ban rather than bar but I did contemplate the BANYRAG stick.
  10. 18:11. Didn’t know the “china”, but made it from the wordplay. I liked AFGHANI, but cod to LIPPY.
    1. It helped that my Mum used to keep a piece in pride of place on the display unit when I was younger
  11. I’ve obviously not had as good a night’s sleep as previous posters. I was about 55 minutes on this and thought I’d done well to finish with everything parsed. I wasn’t helped by first solving MILLSTREAM as millmaster, that crucial post in any self-respecting windmill. I was pleased to solve CAPO DI MONTE, thinking it was that china brought back home by package tourists in the seventies, which my sister was sniffy about but I quite liked. I hadn’t realised its heritage. Wiki says: ‘In the 20th century a style of “raggedly dressed peasants of Walt Disney cartoon appearance” developed.’ I won’t be getting that job at Christie’s any time soon. COD to POOHSTICKS, although of course I wasn’t refined enough to read Winnie the Pooh as a child. Thank you U and setter.
    PS Nice to see Chief Superintendent Bright did get another day in the sun in last night’s episode, having been saved by schoolgirls in New College Lane who recognised him as the road safety celebrity. It brought back the terror I felt when I first walked down there on my way to my entrance interviews and examinations.

    Edited at 2019-03-04 11:10 am (UTC)

    1. It was brilliant – did you notice the graffiti in the flat – the one Morse subsequently moved to?
      1. I saw there was graffiti but didn’t pick up what it said. Please enlighten me, Rob.
        1. It said “Dexter was here” 🙂

          So he continues to make cameo appearances

            1. It was a great episode. I wondered how they would bring it all together in the last 15 minutes – was concerned that we would have to wait another year for resolution – but, hey presto, they managed and the Oxford City boys are back at the helm.
  12. Ten minutes into this and I was feeling good: half of it filled in and I seemed to be on the wavelength — POOHSTICKS from ‘bridge game’ was a quick win and I saw ELBA’S SAP promptly. KOREAN was a QC clue, no? Then I hit the ‘author’ clue at 12d and doggedly searched for thingy-DE-wotsit authors like Simone de Beauvoir or Marquis de Sade. China had to be ‘mate’ or ‘pal’, obviously. When I saw the solution I certainly wasn’t bothered whether it was china-clay or porcelain.
    I had never heard of a YAH, but it seemed plausible in the context of Hooray Henries and “OK Yah”. It took me ages to realise that MILLSTREAM was an anagram clue. Net result was a time of 30 mins.
    DDs? I love ’em! No need to fret about it, ulaca. And thanks for your blog.
  13. Fortunately have stayed in a hotel called CAPODIMONTE in Sorrento so checkers brought it quickly to mind. No idea that it is porcelain though. Also YAH for Toff, never heard of. Pretty straightforward otherwise.
  14. ….PASSABLE, but I didn’t much enjoy it. I feel I would have been quicker if I hadn’t stopped to argue with myself over CAPO DI MONTE (I’m with Horryd, and I think the ornaments are horrid too !), wasted a good minute trying to parse POSEIDON (thanks Ulaca), wondered about the piscine definition of SILVERSIDES, and tried to enter “clippers” at 19D before realising it wouldn’t fit.

    Didn’t care much for YAH.

    TIME 11:38

  15. On the wavelength in spite of a lot of hooing and yahing, only some of which I understood. I wondered idly if a “hoo” might be Anglo Saxon for a well but didn’t really need to know. POOHSTICKS was memorable from the puzzle Vinyl mentions. 17.57
    1. Nice try Olivia, but I reckon you know your hoos from your yahs. I am hoping to move this year, to a location within walking distance of the poohsticks bridge.
      Did you know that Brian Jones of the rolling stones bought AA Milne’s house, up the road, and then drowned in his swimming pool?
  16. Very entertaining for a Monday morning. I knew that CAPO DI MONTE existed, but without the definition, I’d have been prepared to believe it was a liqueur, or a species of lily. Today’s earworm is “Living on the Ceiling” by 80s synth-wizards Blancmange, who were “up the wall” rather than “up the pole”, but the meaning is the same and it fits just as well (there’s no accounting for ear-worms, or possibly that’s just my brain…)
  17. A rare solve these days and over the 50 minute mark as well as needing to check the China or porcelain and the phyla. Clearly absence hasn’t improved my solving speed. Enjoyable challenge and an entertaining blog. Thank you to the providers.
  18. Thirty-three minutes for this – a quick start followed by prolonged head-scratching over HIGH-OCTANE and CAPO DI MONTE. The latter fell into place after a moment’s thought, but it took me forever to see HIGH-OCTANE, despite having all the component parts to hand.
  19. POOHSTICKS, marvellous answer. Had vaguely heard of the china. Didn’t parse SILVERSIDES, thought IDES were the fish. About 20′, thanks ulaca and setter.
  20. 12d
    Wictionary and I agree that the word china is generic of porcelain. Bone china has a meaning in UK (and probably EU) which does require kaolin and translucency rather than generic clay. The expression “bull in a chinashop” surely does not imply that the wares in the store were made only using china clay? The clue was fair IMHO.
    Dancing is the anagrind, twisting is the def.
    1. Indeed. AFGHANI as a citizen appears in a number of on-line dictionaries but not in any of those that source the Times puzzle. Wiki has it too: An Afghan, a person or thing of, from, or related to Afghanistan, but at least adds: (although this usage is viewed as improper).
  21. This couldn’t have been very difficult, because I did it in under half an hour and I give up very easily.

    Slightly surprised to see more than one comment to the effect of “never heard the expression ‘up the pole’ meaning mad/furious”. I certainly have, my parents used it; but I’m 62 now, they are long gone, and so maybe it is something that has dropped out of use, or maybe it was always regional (I’m from Kent) – just suppositions though.

    The one I didn’t like was ‘YAH’; really? does anyone use that as a noun?

    And I agree with your comment about “PHYLA”; I got it straight away, being of a scientific bent, but I don’t think the wordplay in the clue logically leads to the answer.

  22. I only managed to spot the parsing for WHISKERY after I confirmed it with the final crossing letters as the recalcitrant second half of 11a, 12d, 15a, 23a and 24d finally yielded to my efforts. YAH and DRAUGHTY were my first 2 in and CAPO DI MONTE my last. Despite knowing of the porcelain, I was looking for an author right up to the end. Liked POOHSTICKS. Some tricky wordplay. 29:40. Thanks setter and U.
  23. But totally failed to find the author or the mate (China) so gave up and came here to discover that there was no author so a DNF. Too obscure for me methinks. Otherwise pretty straightforward
  24. 28:52 an enjoyable puzzle a bit more testing for a Monday. FOI 14ac. LOI the unknown capo di whatnot satisfyingly teased out from wp. Liked 15ac when I twigged that it wasn’t some variation of the card game that I’d never heard of. Yah was an unfamiliar usage and up the pole not an expression I knew. Always nice to see the blogger work a bit of Dick Emery in there somewhere.
  25. Didn’t know Capo di Monte and didn’t know Barking = Up the Pole. So, a DNF. Did, however, remember Silversides from an earlier puzzle.
  26. Whilst I was able to get “Poohsticks” I am clearly a bear of very little brain, because I cannot understand the cryptic element of 1ac, even with the explanation that it’s a homophone clue.

    Could someone put me out of my misery?

    1. A relation can be something you relate: you can relate a tale, relate a story.
      1. Ah – thank you.

        Not wholly convinced by “picked up” as a homophone indicator (presumably as in “picked up the phone”) but will endeavour to remember it for future reference.

    1. Galspray was a time lord, according to the venerable Horryd, not from Gallifrey, but rather the land of Oz. ( Western Oz, I believe.) He posted fast times and entertaining comments. His presence is sorely missed. There are other time lords, including lords Ulaca and Verlaine.
      There are previous contributors to TFTT who are also missed. Tony Sever, where are you?
  27. Thanks setter and ulaca
    Struggled through this over a couple of elapsed days where I could grab some time. There were a number of terms that I wasn’t aware of – SILVERSIDES, YAH, POOHSTICKS, KICKABOUT and CAPO DI MONTE. In retrospect they were all very fairly clued though.
    Even without a higher degree, having seen the hidden PHYLA could remember that it had something to do with taxonomic names. ‘Up the pole’ was a commonly used term down here when I was growing up. Finished in the bottom central area with LIPPY (which I thought was quite witty), MILLSTREAM (which was harder than it should have been) and that CAPO DI MONTE (which I had to start typing into google to find).

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