Times 28093 – Racing Demons

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
What a weekend of sport it was! For me, disappointment followed disappointment, as Europe was handed a lesson in the Ryder Cup set in one of the scarier states of old US of A, and Manchester United demonstrated the folly of having a ton of forwards and virtually no creative midfielders. For my mate Mal, there was the indignity of his team, the Western Bulldogs, failing to get even half the number of points of their adversaries, Melbourne – that after leading at half time. The only silver lining in my cloud was to see the Davids of Brentford coming back to draw with the Goliaths of Liverpool.

As for the puzzle, it was just the pick-up I needed: a bit of classics, no sciency stuff, some vaguely obscure vocabulary and to cap it all one of my all-time favourite dishes! Perfect with plenty of burnt bits and a shedload of tomato ketchup.

20 minutes


1 African state‘s brief ploy, spiking articles (3,6)
THE GAMBIA – GAMBI[t] in (spiking) THE A
6 Missile launcher putting to sea leaves capital (5)
SLING – S[ai]LING; AI means excellent or capital. In this clue, finds one rather Yoda-ish word order, thinks me
9 Spin dry fabric, causing worry (7)
PERTURB – reversal of BRUT (dry) REP (fabric)
10 Keenly observe what’s in orbit (7)
EYEBALL – double definition (DD); one’s eyeball may be found in the boney cavity of the skull, AKA orbit
11 Prepare most of cereal order (5)
DORIC – DO RIC[e]; from memory I can recall one other order of classical architecture, the Ionic
12 Controlled ray and bream sale at sea (5,4)
13 Current agreement’s the last word (5)
IDEAL – I (electrical current – okay, one sciency bit) DEAL (agreement)
14 Part of joint held by Bill regularly paid off (9)
AMORTISED – MORTISE (‘a slot or recess, usually rectangular, cut into a piece of wood, stone, etc, to receive a matching projection [tenon] of another piece, or a mortise lock’ – Collins) in AD (bill)
17 Record communist facing Italian calumny (9)
18 Waste processor’s name set in concrete (5)
19 Rubbish English landowner ignoring Irish like Hyde? (9)
GROTESQUE – GROT (rubbish – why do I think of Reggie Perrin? Here’s why: https://youtu.be/93bWZV3485I) ESQU[ir]E; think Dr Jekyll’s alter ego
22 Stone barrier adjoining rear of villa (5)
AGATE – [vill]A GATE; well done, you Villans!
24 Make an entrance under it after a fashion (7)
25 Zulu found in a deep gorge, initially staggering (7)
AMAZING – Z (zulu) in A MAIN (deep) G[orge]
26 Craft of university’s last rowing team in Berlin? (5)
YACHT – [universit]Y ACHT (eight in German)
27 Vital action in pool for typist’s depression? (9)
KEYSTROKE – KEY (vital) STROKE (action in pool)


1 Apathetic leader of party in regime overthrown (5)
TEPID – P[arty] in reversal of DIET, which is a kind of regime
2 Impeccable European Republicans with various roles succeeded (9)
ERRORLESS – E[uropean] RR[epublicans] ROLES* S (succeeded)
3 Kind of bible used by a French cult abridged by Arabian (9)
AVUNCULAR – AV (kind of bible – really ought to be Bible, I reckon) UN (a French) CUL[t] AR (Arabian)
4 Cook squabbled with EU bank for recycled food (6,3,6)
BUBBLE AND SQUEAK – SQUABBLED EU BANK*; nice surface, suggestive of food snobbery, non?
5 Off-putting remedy, a kind the Gunners pity, not having it (8,7)
AVERSION THERAPY – A VERSION (kind) THE RA (Royal Artillery, AKA Gunners) P[it]Y; not such a felicitous surface
6 Sybil absorbs temperature guide (5)
7 Fancy scrapping up-to-date copy (5)
IMAGE – IMAG[in]E; don’t even get me started on the dreadful song!
8 Miss crossing familiar sea for first prize (4,5)
13 Set off shortly in US races in shame (9)
15 Expression on worker catching a good shrew (9)
TERMAGANT – A G (good) in TERM (expression) ANT (worker)
16 Enclave Romanians damaged (3,6)
20 Choose one conservative measure in bar (5)
OPTIC – OPT I C; not overly taxing
21 Become active in English sport, joining gym (5)
ERUPT – E RU PT; ditto
23 Explore a glen, coming across one of its residents? (5)
EAGLE – hidden in [explor]E A GLE[n]; pretty much an all-in-one, I think

82 comments on “Times 28093 – Racing Demons”

  1. Glad for the wordplay in TERMIGANT where I can never convince myself if the second letter is A or E. I was born in Footscray and got up early to watch the game on Saturday morning – it was a good tussle until about three minutes before the end of the third quarter then the doggies lost the plot.

    Whizzed through the rest of this – 6:27. Some of the usual early crowd are faster than me.

    1. Footscray is named after Foots Cray, in Kent, where the river Cray ran at the bottom of my garden, once upon a time ..
  2. I biffed BUBBLE etc from the B and K, never bothered to parse; ditto for AVERSION THERAPY. DNK GROT, though I knew ‘grotty’, thanks to the Beatles; I saw ROT, and wondered where the G came from. There’s also Corinthian.
    1. I wondered about the “G” too Kevin. Obviously it checks out in the dictionaries, but round these parts we would only use “grot” to describe a dirty person.
  3. Comfortably under my 3V target, so a good start to the week. A bit of biffing in the Cape York corner at the end, and definitely needed the wordplay for the spelling of TERMAGANT.

    Commiserations to Mal and George, 100 points to 7 from halfway through the third quarter must have had your heads spinning.

    Thanks setter, thanks blogger guy.

  4. My FOI 4dn BUBBLE AND SQUEAK is quite disgusting – as a so-called ‘supertaster’, brassicas are an abhorrence. Brussels Sprouts total yuk! A recurring nightmare: I fear that when I am offered my final meal, before facing the firing squad, I will be served up cauliflower cheese! horryd!

    LOI 13ac IDEAL

    COD 1ac THE GAMBIA – the 25 mile-wide country, on the banks of the river Gambia, entirely surrounded by Senegal.
    The Gambians eat fried oysters with rice three times a day, according to CNN.

    WOD 19ac GROTESQUE – an early sans serif type face – often only capitals. And Reggie Perrin of course!

    This took me 35 Monday minutes. I believe the mention of Bubble & Squeak slowed me down – and at 23dn ELGIN!? – Have I lost my marbles!?

    Edited at 2021-09-27 01:50 am (UTC)

    1. I have eaten a fried oyster omelette in The Gambia in a restaurant on stilts while looking at the oysters growing on the supports of the toilet block.
    2. I go to my local at 2pm every Monday for bubble & squeak – topped off with bacon and a couple of fried eggs and washed down with a pint. I’m usually the only one there at that time. It’s the way the pub uses up the leftovers from Sunday lunch and is absolutely delicious. Only available until they run out of cabbage – usually by Tuesday. I’m not a great cabbage fan but I make an exception for this. De gustibus etc… Ann
        1. Pubs round here have very little custom in the afternoons. But it’s not the bubble and squeak that keeps the punters away! Only the regulars know it’s on the menu. I admit that I can’t stand great wodges of brassica. Broccoli is my pet hate. And I despise lettuce – it has so little taste that I don’t know whether I like it or not.
  5. Quick and easy. I liked Eyeball, but wasn’t keen on Renal being clued as a noun instead of an adjective. Thanks ulaca
    1. The ‘s is part of the definition, making it an adjective? The kidney’s/renal function is waste-processing.
      1. Hi Isal. The way I would use it a kidney is a waste processor, but “a renal” sounds awkward or not meaningful. Waste processing is definitely a renal function, but we’re asked for the processor not the task. I don’t have a Collins, but the OED only has renal as an adjective.
  6. Sailed through, though sailing -> sling took a lot of thought, and never did parse INTRUDE not seeing the anagram indicator. Liked the San Marino anagram, but COD to AMORTISED for the mortise.
  7. Managed to avoid the A-Z trawl for my last in IMAGE and scraped in under the half hour at 29 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever had BUBBLE AND SQUEAK and certainly am in no hurry to try it. There are an embarrassing number of words for ‘shrew’ (more than for the Y chromosome equivalent anyway) but wordplay and crossers helped for TERMAGANT. Even though I’m not an uncle, I like to kid myself I’m AVUNCULAR, so that was my pick today.

    Thanks to ulaca and setter

    [Off topic x2: 1. I was v. happy for the Melbourne FC (see current avatar) to win against Footscray (Western Bulldogs) in our Grand Final on Saturday. Fifty-seven years since our last win in 1964 – I was there! 2. If you’re looking for a sterner test than today’s pleasant puzzle here, you could try Gila’s offering in the Indy.]

      1. I’ve seen your subsequent post about the origins of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; very interesting and I didn’t know the Ian Fleming connection. The actors weren’t my era, but the TV series was, as a child anyway. I remember Napoleon Solo of course, but Ilya Nutcrackin’ was my favourite of the pair.
  8. A lot of biffing, but I got quite stuck on PERTURB, BUBBLE (where I couldn’t figure out the letters to anagram for ages), the TERM of TERMAGANT.
  9. Ian Fleming contributed to the concepts after being approached by TMfU co-creator, Norman Felton. According to the book ‘The James Bond Films’: IF proposed two characters, Napoleon Solo and April Dancer ( who later appeared in the spin-off series The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.). The original name of TMfU was ‘Ian Fleming’s Solo’.
  10. I struggled to finish today, not being able to see INDIGNITY, GROTESQUE or INTRUDE for some while. Pleased to finish ERRORLESS though!
  11. Well that was quite a bracing start to the week – FOI THE GAMBIA followed by 15-letter 4d was a heathy start, then a decent clip of progress, but increasing amount of biffing as the puzzle progressed:

    PERTURB – NHO REP as fabric, one for the crossword-only word list there
    DORIC – “order” for an architectural style seems really tenuous to me
    AMORTISED – I was really sure MORTISE ended -ICE, failed to parse “bill” = AD (recurrent failure for me)
    GROTESQUE – didn’t even attempt parsing, GROT is a word I haven’t thought about since …er… Reggie Perrin
    INTRUDE – didn’t even realise it was an anagram, spent far too long trying to parse before giving up
    TERMAGENT (LOI) – seemed pretty improbable, NHO of the word, but obeyed the Jedi advice I received some weeks ago: “Trust the cryptic, young solver!” (If only I actually were young…)

    After all that, I filled in the final blank with almost zero expectation of an error-free grid – but my pessimism was unfounded. Result!

    Thanks ulaca and setter

  12. I ran and wondered what the thing could be

    15 mins pre-brekker. No dramas.
    Thanks setter and U.

    Edited at 2021-09-27 06:46 am (UTC)

  13. 19 minutes with the NW last to fall, despite THE GAMBIA being FOI. I should have used PERTURBation Theory earlier on 9a and also accepted that 11a wasn’t an anagram. COD jointly to AVERSION THERAPY and EYEBALL. I’m with HORRYD on the brassicas. I gather recent research has shown that they contain enzymes which have a reaction with the bacteria carried in the mouth by the folk who dislike them, producing a foul taste. Decent Monday puzzle. Thank you U and setter.
      1. I’m not really a vegetable lover at all, and brassicas generally are something I avoid — but perversely I like sprouts !
      2. I agree, Jerry, I get to eat ll the sprouts as no-one else wants them, and even better fried next day.
  14. …which was roughly the equivalent of the Ryder Cup score. And to respond to Horryd’s question: The Postman didn’t deliver, or at least not until it was too late.

    Thank’s, ulaca, for clearing up some queries and providing some enlightenment. In 13d, I always thought it was INDIE not INDY; while in 14ac I thought the word was MORTICE and not MORTISE.

    Meanwhile, away from Aussie Rules and golf, other sports are available. I was very pleased that one of my favourite riders, Julian Alaphilippe, won the Men’s Road Race at the cycling world championships. I was also very pleased that the boring Boks got beaten by the ABs. Several people have commented on the time wasting tactics used by the Boks including faked injuries. As one wag said, the female SA medical person got more TV screen time than the Springboks back 3.

    1. As an Aussie, I’m nominally neutral. But the ABs play rugby, and the Boks play anti-rugby, so I was pleased with the result.
      1. I’m a Brit in NZ so also nominally neutral. I also lived in Sydney for a total of 15 years so I was heartened by the Wallabies’ two wins against the Boks.
        After the first Test in the recent Lions series, Sam Warburton, writing in The Times, said the reason the Lions won the First Test was because they stopped playing rugby and set out to play the same game as the Boks.
  15. FOI: 1D TEPID

    Did not fully parse GOLD MEDAL and PERTURN until afterwards.

    Thank you to ulaca and the setter.

  16. Thought this was hard for a Monday, FOI AMAZING taking a long time. Liked AMORTISED, DISCREDIT. LOI IMAGE.

    BUBBLE AND SQUEAK was originally leftovers, as well as being Cockney rhyming slang.

    19′ 24″ thanks ulaca and setter.

  17. 8:59. No dramas.
    I was a bit confused by AVUNCULAR: I took ‘kind of bible’ to be indicating AV so was left without a definition until the penny dropped.
    1. I take it you mean ‘kind’ is the semantic clue to ‘avuncular’ – I can’t see any explicit mention of this in the comments
  18. Didn’t parse AMAZING (couldn’t separate deep and gorge), didn’t remember rep= fabric in PERTURB and wasn’t sure about the second definition for EYEBALL, but I got all three in the end. Not too many problems otherwise, though it took me a while to remember ai = capital and get SLING.

    FOI The Gambia
    LOI Sling
    COD Bubble and squeak

  19. I did wonder whether there was a hidden message in the Gunners clue: certainly their dismantling of the Lilywhites yesterday will have cured a few Spurs fans of their enthusiasm.
    Fortunately, I was able to recover somewhat with a quickish (13.36) run through this one, like others finding my last one IMAGE hard to pin down.
    BUBBLE AND SQUEAK is fine if you fry it to within an inch of its life, when any connection with the taste or appearance of brussels is lost entirely.
  20. ….of arguably the most overrated pop song of all time, but I must still thank Ulaca for parsing IMAGE and also PERTURB. A painfully slow start, but picked up speed soon enough.

    LOI IMAGE (I quite expected a pink square)
    TIME 7:59

  21. 36 mins with the last five or six staring at 7d. I desperately wanted to put in INAPE but eventually decided that it wasn’t a word and thought again. Finally banged in IMAGE and hoped. Didn’t see the anag at 4d as I had BUBBLE for cook so couldn’t parse AND SQUEAK. A few clunky clues today I thought. Didn’t like OLD MED either. Otherwise enjoyable enough.

    Thanks U and setter.

  22. Just under half an hour. I agree that Brussels sprouts are magnificent and bubble and squeak is gorgeous. Not really “leftovers”, but prepared-in-advance doubled-up portions. Great with cold meat on Monday, using the second half of the veg from Sunday dinner. The crossword? Excellent too
  23. 10:58 I paused at the end, even doing an alphabet trawl to find an alternative, before finally being able to parse IMAGE, thinking “fancy” was the definition. Slim pickings on a first pass through the acrosses, but the downs got me going. Not a fan of BUBBLE AND SQUEAK, but I’m in charge of the cooking here, so can avoid making it.
  24. THE GAMBIA was my FOI and I continued with no particular holdups until finishing, appropriately, with ERRORLESS. The recycled veg and “this will be good for you” treatment were biffed. My own preference is to steam enough veg for 2 meals with a meat joint or chicken which will do maybe 3 meals, and microwave the 2nd day’s veg to make a second proper dinner, also keeping enough of the meat juices to make a decent fresh gravy, using up the last of the meat in a salad on the third day. I don’t dislike sprouts, but eat them in strict moderation occasionally. 16:28. Thanks setter and U.
  25. Pleasant Monday stuff, with only a minor delay while I tried to justify INDECENCY, and couldn’t, so took it out again. This household is in the camp which deliberately over-caters on the appropriate veg in order to have an “excuse” for making bubble and squeak the following day. When sprouts are involved, it’s the true meaning of Christmas.
  26. I smiled this morning as had never heard of TERMAGANT until yesterday when it came up on a 2017 puzzle that I was practising on so was a write-in today.

    Happy with sub-15 although wasted a couple of minutes struggling with my final couple – the SLING, IMAGE crossing

    Thanks ulaca and setter

  27. I think it’s E = English, then squire = landlord. Although an esquire is given by Lexico as, amongst other things, a country squire, what about esquires from Wales, Scotland or Ireland (I don’t know of any esquires from elsewhere)? Surely the setter intended it to be E then squire.
    1. I’m sure you’re right, but I’ll leave it as it is, in the hope of attracting a few fly-by anons. A rare sport around here.
  28. I agree with Isla’s parsing and example. You’re right that ‘a renal’ sounds awkward but putting a definite or indefinite article in front of ‘renal’ would require it to be a noun, which it isn’t.
    1. Ah. the penny drops. read it as a contraction, not a possessive. thx. I still think it’s awkward, but I’ll concede on the grammar.

      Edited at 2021-09-27 10:22 am (UTC)

  29. This would have been a very nice canter for me but I was having trouble corralling my concentration this morning and had to get to LASER BEAM before the board lit up. I quite like a few sprouts now and then with plenty of butter and pepper (and so long as they haven’t been boiled within an inch of their life) but B&S, boarding school food, noooo thank you. Before calculators and computers we had a heavy volume in the law library with the amortisation tables. Good clue that. 15.15
  30. I thought the ‘The’ in ‘The Gambia’ might be one of those ones we’re not supposed to use. Like ‘The Lebanon’. But apparently it is indeed part of the official title, so fair enough. Very much liked Avuncular. I suppose it’s more or less synonymous today with ‘kind’. Are there any other uncle-like attributes?
        1. The voice of experience! Thank-you Uncle Phil!

          The planned Boxing Day stir-fry will have you ‘Trafford-Parking’ well into the New Year!

  31. All seemed fine except the NW corner where I struggled to fill in the country for ages — was thinking something ARABIA but clearly on the wrong track — seemed like the key to the rest, and once gotten, the final half dozen went in quickly.

    Curiously I had already heard the word MORTISE this morning so filling in AMORTISED was a small jump with a few checkers in place.

  32. I struggled quite a bit over 2D, thinking there had to be EU for European, as there is a superfluous R in ERRORLESS, which I came here to seek enlightenment over, but nobody has commented on it so far. I can only assume RR = Republicans. Did not know Amortised or Mortise as part of a joint. Otherwise, a strange mixture of the very easily BIFD and the puzzlingly obscure.
    Gill D
  33. 15.04. A bright and breezy Monday solve. I thought bubble and squeak was a very good clue.

    When ‘midst the frying pan in accents savage,
    The beef, so surly, quarrels with the cabbage.

  34. 3.30 to 3.54 p.m., no issues, although missed that INTRUDE was an anagram. I love bubble and squeak.
  35. 12:47 this afternoon. An enjoyable Monday puzzle, with the SNITCH comfortably in the “easier” band. A pleasing variety of clues and particularly liked 5 ac “aversion therapy” and 26 ac “yacht” where, despite German being my foreign language at school, I was unaccountably delayed in the process of identifying the Berlin rowing team.
    13 d “indignity” was biffed with a fair degree of confidence in view of the crossers and then parsed after submitting.
    “Marmite” in the QC earlier, followed by “Bubble and Squeak”, have not exactly got the digestive juices flowing for the evening meal tonight.
    Thanks to setter and Ulaca for the blog. I share your sporting observations regarding the golf over the weekend and am heartened by your description of Liverpool as Goliaths — a few years ago pre-Klopp that wasn’t always the case. Assuming you are a Bees fan, I think you could have an interesting season ahead. I was impressed with their speed and organisation and hope they can work their magic on our major rivals in the months to come!
  36. Congratulations, all above, I didn’t get very far with this at all. 6/23. Thanks for the blog, Ulaca, and setter for the puzzle. GW.
    1. ‘Grotesque Agate’ would be a decent title for a thirties murder novel, he ventured. And ‘Doric Laser Beam’ a seventies Soft Rock ensemble. A most enjoyable outing which lasted all of 18:38 minutes. COD the chestnutty San Marino.

  37. 14 mins. Late entry after a very long round of golf and a fruitless search for petrol to get me to the NW for the weekend. Wasn’t panicking, honest.

    Good Monday puzzle.

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