Times 28081 – I’ll have whatever Emma’s having

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Born in Canada to a Romanian dad and a Chinese mum, Emma Radacanu is as British as you can get, and I would like to dedicate this blog to her fabulous run to the US Open, its pint-sized trophy and its hefty cheque. An all-rounder in the sports arena, a straight As student and a dedicated petrolhead, as Baroness Schrader, AKA Eleanor Parker, might have said, ‘My dear, is there anything you can’t do?’

I seem to have channeled a wee bit of Emma, as I came home on this one in 14:12. I’m not sure it was that easy – it may have been that I was just on the wavelength, or, as Emma might say, ‘doing my processes and staying in the moment.’


1 Main cloak worn by Seurat at first for painting (8)
SEASCAPE – S[eurat] in SEA (main) CAPE (cloak)
5 Heads of lodge in extremely distinctive clothing (6)
LIVERY – L[odge] I[n] VERY (extremely)
9 Curb control, securing backing for cultural pursuits (8)
RESTRAIN – ARTS (cultural pursuits reversed) in REIN (curb); I once watched ‘Curb your Enthusiasm’ because Ricky Gervais raved about it. I didn’t laugh once and hardly understood what was going on. It was the first time that I wished a TV show had a laugh track, so I would have some clue which bits were meant to be funny.
10 Cake served in City retreat (6)
ECLAIR – EC (city – of London, East Central) LAIR (retreat)
12 Distant object associated with girl’s old bike (5-8)
PENNY-FARTHING – PENNY (girl) FAR (distant) THING (object)
15 Language once used in school at Inverness? (5)
LATIN – hidden in [schoo]L AT IN[verness]
16 In Paris she accepts call ultimately for skilled workman (9)
ENAMELLER – NAME (call) in ELLE (she in French) R (final letter of [fo]R)
17 Endless recceing by peacekeepers around east (9)
UNCEASING – UN (United Nations, who attempt to keep the peace, at any rate) E (east) in CASING (recceing); my dad was always ‘recceing’, so this brings back memories of the Humber and point-to-points at Kimble
19 Hoard money, it’s said (5)
CACHE – sounds like ‘cash’
20 Behave stoically, but let the bile out (4,3,6)
22 Sexually pure son consumed by constant loathing (6)
CHASTE – S (son) in C (constant) HATE (loathing)
23 Study dance, having postponed payment once (8)
CONTANGO – CON (study) TANGO (dance); I’ll leave Collins to explain this bit of financial mumbo-jumbo: ‘(formerly, on the London Stock Exchange) postponement of payment for and delivery of stock from one account day to the next’. The sort of thing that would have Goldman Sachs salivating, I reckon.
25 Corrupt French nobleman in Canterbury, perhaps (6)
SEDUCE – DUC (French nobleman) in SEE
26 Taught English journalist about old European coin (8)
EDUCATED – DUCAT (old European coin) in E (English) ED (journalist- ‘one who has an air of being an expert in everything’, as CS Lewis memorably put it)


1 Principled old American curls up awkwardly at first (10)
2 Idiot biting girl’s head off (3)
ASS – [l]ASS
3 Continue to cause a commotion (5,2)
CARRY ON – double definition (DD)
4 Letter introducing recent catalogues for certain collectors (12)
PHILATELISTS – PHI (Greek letter) LATE LISTS; I believe horryd dabbles in this pursuit
6 Rise that has Charlie opening fashionable branch of business (7)
INCLINE – C (Charlie) in IN LINE
7 Bible-bashing woman inspiring saintly girl in the end (11)
EVANGELICAL – ANGELIC (saintly) in EVA (random woman) L (final letter of [gir]L)
8 Overturned cart in enclosed ground (4)
YARD – reversal of DRAY; a bit of a chestnut
11 Odd place to store cargo, putting learner in complete control (12)
STRANGLEHOLD – L (learner) in STRANGE (odd) HOLD (place to store cargo)
13 Clock surmounting management’s information site (11)
NOTICEBOARD – NOTICE (clock, as in ‘Did you clock what Arthur Daley was doing?’) over BOARD (management)
14 Dire photos misrepresented ministers collectively (10)
18 Potentially moving article thus containing inferior material (7)
ASTATIC – TAT in A (article) SIC (thus); a sciency word, evincing no great imagination, meaning not static, unstable or having no tendency to assume any particular position or orientation. They do like to cover their bases, do those boffins.
19 Corrosive agent mostly leading to spasmodic twitching (7)
CAUSTIC – CAUS[e] (agent mostly) TIC (spasmodic twitching – as evinced by Darling in Blackadder Goes Forth)
21 Sicilian shepherd about to go north on island (4)
ACIS – reversal of CA in IS; in the Greek mythology of Ovid, Acis, the son of Pan and the nymph Symaethis, was a beautiful Sicilian shepherd and lover of the Nereid Galatea. His rival, Polyphemus the Cyclops, surprised them together and crushed Acis with a rock. His blood, gushing forth from beneath, was metamorphosed by Galatea into a river bearing his name, Acis or Acinius, at the base of Mount Etna (the modern river Jaci). So now you know
24 Ultimate catch (3)
NET – DD; net in the sense ‘ultimate; final; conclusive (esp in the phrase net result)’ (Collins)

71 comments on “Times 28081 – I’ll have whatever Emma’s having”

  1. DNK ASTATIC & CONTANGO, but neither was a problem; nor was anything else. U, I watched “Curb Your Enthusiasm” once, too; didn’t get more than halfway through.

    Edited at 2021-09-13 12:40 am (UTC)

  2. 23 minutes. ACIS and CONTANGO were unknown (the latter is still a mystery despite your explanation and looking it up afterwards) so went in, with the usual degree of incertitude, from the wordplay alone. Is ‘Behave stoically’ the same as BITE THE BULLET? Sort of I suppose.

    Pleasant enough. I liked ENAMELLER, which I don’t remember having seen before. Bad word of the day: ASTATIC.

    [Maybe not in quite the same league as your Emma, but our Daniel had a good win last night too.]

    Thanks to setter and ulaca (the Super Snipe perhaps?)

    1. Dad pined for the Super Snipe, but his company (Henry Wigan, latterly INCO) offered his grade only the Hawk.

      My daughter has gone into mourning after her hero was beaten by Medvedev. First of many, I reckon.

      Nice to see Rod Laver keep his record.

      1. [Thanks. Maybe not the legendary Super Snipe, but the Hawk has that unmistakable Humber sleekness and elegance. They’re both real excitement machines. Well, you know what I mean.

        Yes, a pity that The Joker was beaten but it’s good that Rod Laver’s record is still intact after 50+ years.]

  3. I was away the day they did ACIS at school, but it was eminently gettable if I hadn’t panicked in pursuit of a good time (reminds me of that girl on the school bus, but that’s another story).

    Nice way to start the week though. Thanks setter, and congrats to the blogger on his vicarious victory in the US Open. I myself had a win over the rugby world champs, a triumph in the Italian Grand Prix and a famous upset over the mighty Panthers. An exhausting but exhilirating weekend.

    Oh and since we’re doing a poll, I think Curb Your Enthusiasm is absolutely brilliant.

  4. The acrosses were patchy, but I picked up a lot of speed on the downs which were mostly write-ins. Only paused for thought on ACIS, wondering about COS as the island for a while – but I am partial to a bit of Ovid, and there is a Galatea Park not three kilometres away from me in Melbourne.
    1. It was COS that did for me as well aphis, but I still can’t explain how I thought I could justify ICOS as a solution. The pink squares came as no great surprise.
    2. Congratulations on the time, aphis! Your fourth fastest in the SNITCH era.

      It looks like we’ll get a few top 10 times today – seventh fastest for me. I also considered COS for a while, but took ACIS from the cryptic eventually, having never heard of the shepherd.

  5. 18 mins for me, so easy. NHO ACIS but I went with the wordplay. Was wondering about ANTATSO at 18d, which seemed like it might be a musical direction, and ASTATIC was word I’ve never seen before but a lot more plausible once I thought of it.
  6. 31 minutes delayed for 5 at the end by the intersecting LIVERY and YARD.

    NHO CONTANGO and it seemed unlikely, so having thought of it early from wordplay I delayed writing it in until all the checkers arrived and fitted the idea. I was quite surprised after the event to find that it was correct. It has come up once before today in a 2019 Jumbo but that was before lockdown when I started doing the Jumbos every week.

    I knew of ACIS from the title of the work ‘Acis and Galatea’ by Handel. I didn’t know he was Sicilian, nor a shepherd, but having arrived at the answer from wordplay, knowledge that the name existed was enough.

    Edited at 2021-09-13 04:21 am (UTC)

    1. Exactly the same solving experience as you and the same time also — only that I haven’t previously heard of the Handel work.
      Solved sitting in the car outside Tesco’s whilst the missus went round with the trolley.
    2. A&G featured in the JMB music O Level of c1970 (along with Stravinsky’s Petrushka), so that one at least was a write-in.
  7. at 21dn I had ICIS who was I believed was a miltant Syrian shepherd!

    For a Monday, I had a frightening amount of blank squares after three minutes.

    FOI 1ac SEASCAPE talking seascapes and SEURAT, have you seen the work of his fellow pointilliste Paul Signac? His ‘Le Port au soleil couchant'(1892)- (The Harbour at sunset) – is simply divine. $20m – worth every penny.

    (LOI) 21dn Bah!

    COD 16ac ENAMELLERs – Gounouilhou et Francois

    WOD 4dn PHILATELISTS – Tapling and Ferrari

    We are on a Typhoon warning!

    Edited at 2021-09-13 05:36 am (UTC)

  8. Like starstruck and aphis99 a top 10 SNITCH time for me. I did have some hesitation at the end over ACIS, of whom I’ve never heard. I was also tempted by trying to fit COS in there.

    As I believe the pundits are saying, Emma Radacanu could be the Magoo of tennis.

    1. That’s a sizzling time Pootle. I think you once said that you used me as a benchmark, as our completion times tended to be similar. Safe to say you’ve moved into a different division since then! Great to see.
      1. Thanks galspray. I’ve found lack of much else to do during a pandemic has benefited my crosswording ability.
  9. Biffed too many to recall — but not too many to finish! Nearly another sub-10 time, which I would have cherished dearly. I had a frightening amount of the puzzle done in just about 3 minutes, but had to go slowly in the upper-right and lower-left, especially with ACIS, ASTATIC, and SEDUCE. Not used to IS = island. If I’d seen the clue for CHASTE I might have gone faster in that corner but I was focused on the ones I couldn’t get!
  10. Enjoyed this, even succeeded in guessing the most obscure word without dictionary assistance …but failed, due to lack of diligence and undue haste, to eliminate a very obvious blunder.

    FOI the super-simple PENNY FARTHING, and the NW – SE axis falling pretty easily. LIVERY – YARD and ACIS – SEDUCE took the most time, ACIS solved without parsing the relatively straightforward clue. I eventually guessed that SICA was an Italian word for shepherd (thinking of the great film director Vittorio de Sica), and got the right answer for totally the wrong reason. Not sure if that qualifies for ninja turtling, but it’s in the vicinity.

    Dropped LOI LIVERY and got the dreaded “Unlucky” message only to realise I’d messed up early on, and had RESTRICT instead of RESTRAIN with 4d broken to match. I think it was pootle who warned me a few days ago to beware of putting in stuff that doesn’t parse properly – but evidently I’m the kinda gal who needs to be warned twice before mending her ways. I should have seen it coming, should have checked more thoroughly, because the fix was dead obvious.

    Anyway, enjoyed that – thanks to ulaca and setter

    1. I should’ve restrained myself as well but probably overjoyed to trawl Acis from memory ; acos didn’t parse
  11. 19 minutes with LOI ACIS with fingers crossed. Otherwise a quickish, steady solve. I vaguely knew of CONTANGO. ASTATIC also needed all crossers before I could construct it. COD to PHILATELISTS. Thank you U and setter.

    Edited at 2021-09-13 07:25 am (UTC)

  12. O sweeter than the berry!
    O Nymph more bright
    Than moonshine night,
    Like kidlings blithe and merry!

    What rubbish. This is John Gay on Galatea (channelling Benny Hill).
    20 mins for the crossword. No ticks, no crosses, no questions, no need for scratch space for the anagrams and no previous knowledge of Contango.
    Thanks setter and U.

    1. Now I’ve got an earworm. Terrific song in spite of the daft words. I used to play it for my grandfather to sing. I’ve still got the music in an old album of baritone songs. I remember seeing the words “Acis and Galatea” on the title page which jogged my memory when faced with today’s clue. I knew it was a pastoral opera and that Sicily is famous for nymphs and shepherds and suchlike. So it was a lucky punt… 18 minutes and 3 of these were spent dithering over that Sicilian shepherd. Ann
      1. I read somewhere that the words are deliberately daft as Polyphemus is a bit of a comedy monster
  13. It always surprises me when I find that words such as CONTANGO and ASTATIC really do exist.
    No problem with ACIS. We lived just outside Catania for 3 years and were close to Aci Castello and Aci Trezza and not that far from Acireale.

    Slow start and called away at one point for about 2m but otherwise this was reasonably straightforward. Struggled with ACIS, but trusted to wordplay, and parsing LOI took a little while.

    Thank you to ulaca and the setter

  15. About 20 min, in one sitting so I found this easy. Maybe it was the run beforehand that stirred up the grey matter. LOI was YARD, following LIVERY. NHO ASTATIC but clueing was clear. CONTANGO was dredged up from the recesses of my brain. Thanks setter and blogger.
  16. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Emma was the complete lack of freeze during the match. At Wimbledon, there was the desperately sad moment when things (apparently) became too much and she dropped out with “breathing difficulties”. I nearly didn’t watch her final fearing something of a like disappointment, for her and us, given the BBC’s hype.
    When crosswords are as easy as this one, I have more of the Wimbledon tendency these days, starting promisingly but freezing unaccountably when a fast time is on.
    Not today! Sub-10 for the first time in a while and a bit at 9.50, even allowing for a reasonably thorough check.
    ACIS from opera not Sicily, of course, CONTANGO from some stray memory, ASTATIC from wordplay and assumption, only EVANGELICAL biffed. Enough time to appreciate STRANGLEHOLD as a decent clue.
    All adding up to a rather good weekend, with Hamilton generously crashing out to give the Aussie Ricciardo his day in the sun together with his Woking crew’s first win in ages, and Spurs beating Manchester City (yes, really – it was the women) via a delicious Hand of Goddess moment.
    Thanks U for giving us leave to celebrate.
  17. A mostly steady 33:33. Went with the wordplay for the unknown ACIS and ASTATIC, and put CONTANGO in with the vague feeling that I knew it was a word but I didn’t know its meaning. I still don’t. Took ages to get the LIVERY/YARD north-east corner, which now looks so straightforward
  18. ….”ACIS and Galatea” but could have told you nothing about it. Biffed ASTATIC but parsed it straight away on completion. Knew CONTANGO, but couldn’t really have defined it.

    My time is a new personal best — I shall consider it as being inspired by the sensational Miss Raducanu !

    TIME 4:38

  19. Briefly had hopes of a personal best but ACIS and ASTATIC put paid to that. Good fun all the same. I liked the bible-bashing woman.

    Congratulations to ms Radacanu but the sporting story that caught my eye was that of the All-Ireland Gaelic Football final in which Tyrone beat Mayo. It’s worth googling “Mayo Curse” to read the entertaining story behind it.

    Thanks to Ulaca and the setter

  20. I was going really quickly on this and took a conscious decision to just bung things in with minimal care in an effort to get in under 5 minutes. The ones I was worried about (ACIS, ASTATIC, CONTANGO) all turned up green but one I hadn’t thought twice about — FINERY — didn’t.
    And I missed my target anyway: 5.23.
    Oh well, it was worth a try.
  21. I note that Mr. Jordan had a frightening amount of the puzzle done in just 4:38! Congratulations, Sir! I further note Lord Humblebrag does rather set himself for a fall. I was over the line in 8:42. COD CONTANGO

    Edited at 2021-09-13 01:19 pm (UTC)

  22. Having written in most of the NE on sight of the clues, I slowed a bit on arriving further east, but nevertheless had a good run to the end, despite not knowing ASTATIC, CONTANGO or ACIS, and clocked in at 14:40. Thanks setter and U. I was looking forward to watching my recording of the Grand Prix, but it hardly seems necessary now.
  23. Same NHOs as others and the same “I suppose so” reaction to biting the bullet being clued as stoicism. Arguably it was in its original battlefield surgery application (an occasion when the ensuing lead poisoning was evidently a secondary concern) but doesn’t it just mean getting on with a postponed task nowadays? 14 minutes
  24. …sailed through this only to have to think about ASTATIC.

    Cheated though with ACIS by googling ‘sicilian shepherd’ which I had never heard of and the cryptic was a bit too vague as well.

  25. For some reason, it took me an age to get the first one in, after which all was easy until ACIS which was completely unknown. NHO CONTANGO either, though the cryptic made it very obvious.
  26. Nice mondayish crossword but I am still coming down from watching the wonderful and extraordinary Emma …
  27. 10.40 with last one in Acis. Had a vague recollection of a mythological figure and the parsing worked so after some hesitancy, in it went. As to the rest, seemed a reasonably typical Monday offering- no complaint inherent in that comment.Astatic was new to me. COD probably seduce.
    Thx setter and blogger.
  28. DNF the QC, and despite this being sub-60 on the snitch, I struggled to 14:22, and fluked the NHO ACIS, having meant to put ACOS!! LIVERY and YARD also dragged on a bit, and I was very surprised not to see pink squares for the also NHO ASTATIC and CONTANGO.

    Though 3 years ago I would never have thought that I would type that I “struggled” to 14:22 for a 15×15.

  29. Coupled with a (PB) 2:36 in the QC, new combined PB of 8:47.
    But this is mere bagatelle in comparison with the fantistically British Saturday night triumps: the marvellous Latvian accordionist, the re-rendering of Barber’s Adagio for Strings and all the pomp & ceremony at the end of the Last Night melding sublimely into Miss Emma’s triumph in NY … couldn’t be better (and I doubt I won’t be bettering today’s times for a while either. They were cruciverbal gimmies (except for ACIS perhaps).
  30. 12.51. A gentle canter with little thought required. Only contango unknown. Sounds like something Elvis and chums would be doing if the warden were to throw a party at the county jail.

    U, I’m not sure I understand your parsing of seascape in the blog: C (cape) in S[eurat] CAPE (cloak).

    I parsed it as SEA (Main) and CAPE (cloak) containing (worn by) S (first letter of Seurat).

    No big deal though. Que Seurat Seurat as Doris Day would’ve put it.

  31. On Saturday night, even my (normally very sports-averse) wife voluntarily suggested we watch the final, so British tennis has definitely found someone to connect them with a new audience. Like Emma and our blogger, I executed my skills and controlled the controllables today, pausing only briefly to let CONTANGO ring a bell which was faint, but enough to convince me I was drawing the right conclusion from the wordplay.
  32. Surprised to find myself on here with another 15 x 15 finished all but two squares. FOI penny-farthing, eight on first pass … going well for me. The checkers helped the rest. I put continuo in at 23 ac, despite thinking it must be contango from the clueing, so I looked it up in the dictionary, and changed it to the strange-looking financial term, which of course I had NHO before. Everything else was clear enough, although as usual I find from the blog that there were nuances in the parsing which I hadn’t seen. I had heard of Acis and Galataea, but did not know the story. I thought the island might be Cos, but could not think of a letter that would precede it. So I left it and came here to see what on earth it was. Thanks, U, and setter. I thoroughly enjoyed this almost-finish, and it didn’t take me as long as it usually does. I gather the crosswords are easier on Mondays, I will remember that, Monday ones might ease me on to Friday ones eventually.

    Medvedev looked determined, and Djokivic looked tired, more so than I’ve ever seen him. Zverev might have lost the semi, but he seems to have taken the final away from Djokovic, who may well decide that he cannot afford to drop sets in tournaments and rely on his fitness to hold up. Intriguing. GW.

  33. Having glanced at the Snitch, I was hoping this was going to be straightforward, and for a large part it was, but it took me ages to see Stranglehold, Livery, Astatic and loi Enameller (I was fixed on En as the French part and wondered who on earth Amelle was). Similarly, if only I had gone with the nho Contango on the first pass, but it seemed such an unbelievable word. The upshot was I limped home having taken longer than with some of the harder puzzles last week. Invariant
  34. 29:57 here in sunny Beckenham. The Park Langley tennis club is just round the corner but I have never played there. Amazing performance by Emma.
    My performance was OK. All correct in 29:57 after LOI ACIS which was all I could get from the parsing. I’ve never heard of him and thought COS had to be involved until the last minute. ASTATIC also unknown but I did know CONTANGO.
    Hats off to Phil who must have chanelled his inner Raducanu.

  35. These were the three I failed to get, before other things pressed in on my day. Greek mythology is a weak area for me. I thought about ENAMELLER, but was convinced it had only one ‘L’. And yet, ‘trust the wordplay’ yet again, as it tells you how to spell it. Damn!
  36. 10:40 this afternoon, with around 1/3 of that time spent on 18 d “astatic” and particularly 21 d “acis” neither of which I had heard of.
    Otherwise a pretty rapid solve, although I realise I’m far from alone in this regard with a SNITCH well within the “very easy” category.
    I recalled 23 ac “contango” somehow from Finance exams I took over 45 years ago. I knew it would come in useful sooner or later, but perhaps not this late!
    COD 7 d “evangelical”.
    Thanks to Ulaca for the blog and setter for a gentle start to the week
  37. 33 minutes. I found this puzzle something of a mismatch between the 93% of exceedingly easy clues and the remaining two that absolutely weren’t (ACIS and CONTANGO, of course). I would have preferred wittier clues with somewhat less arbitrary surface readings and a more even-handed distribution of the difficulties.
  38. I saved the problem of the only clue that caused any problem (ACIS) by leaving it to the end then forgetting to go back for it 😬

    Would have been a top ten time for me too

    Thanks all

  39. Thanks ulaca for the explanatory note on ACIS, a new word for me (along with ASTATIC and possibly CONTANGO) but all clued fairly, the mark of a fine puzzle.
  40. 17.5 minutes, but stumped by ACIS. Turns out his blood morphed into a river. Mine just merged with my sweat and tears when trying to solve this clue

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