Times 28113 – no more PDMs for me.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Well this puzzle is 13d with good things, I think; two types of wine, an antelope, a capital city I knew, and an egg cell which reminded me of my off piste adventure last week in parsing OVA. Then the best bit was looking up the etymology of 22a (which was something I’d never thought about) and finding it was fun too! Thank you Mr Setter once again.

1 Space travel in chaos (8)
6 Just not opening original text, leading to unease (6)
QUALMS – (E)QUAL = just, not opening; MS = manuscript, original text.
9 Release document one has to vacillate about (6)
WAIVER – I inside WAVER = vacillate.
10 Field boundary run exhausted energy (4,4)
GOAL LINE -GO (run) ALL IN (exhausted) E (energy).
11 Queen of fish? (4)
PARR – double definition, a young salmon and Catherine, 6th wife of Henry VIII.
12 Liberator of Brazil from drugs in turn corrupt (10)
NUTCRACKER – CRACK (drugs) inside (TURN)*. EDIT: CRACK and E, two drugs, as pointed out below. Apparently they don’t use real brazil nuts in the purple ones in Quality Street any more, yet another sign that the end of the civilised world is getting closer.
14 Wine Soviet intelligence secures with credit (5,3)
GRAND CRU – the GRU was the foreign intelligence branch of Soviet forces: into it insert AND CR for ‘with credit’.
16 Keeping a sort of light twinkling all around cell (4)
OVUM – After last week’s debacle when I invented a complicated and obscure explanation for OVA, when it was simply “cells”, I was more ready for this one. UV (sort of light) is reversed, with MO (twinkling) also reversed, around it. Or create MUVO that way then reverse it all around, if you prefer.
18 In the past, at this straightaway (4)
ONCE – if you say “at once” it means straightaway.
19 Attempted robbery, good sort of news? (8)
BREAKING – a BREAK IN is an attempted (sometimes successful) robbery, add G for good.
21 Peak stuff, something that sounds a warning (10)
MATTERHORN – MATTER = stuff, HORN = a thing that sounds a warning.
22 On tramp, force paperwork (4)
BUMF – BUM = tramp, F for force. If you’re ready to know, it’s of 19c origin and short for BUMFODDER.
24 Write chapter in story “A Defence against Demons”? (8)
PENTACLE – PEN (write) TALE (story) insert C for chapter. A talisman against evil.
26 Cynic heartlessly keeping our redeveloped hotel for a squat (6)
CROUCH – C C (cynic heartlessly) has (OUR)* inside, then H for hotel.
27 Promise of power, large advantage (6)
PLEDGE – P (power) L (large) EDGE (advantage).
28 The tanks destroyed Asian city (8)
TASHKENT – (THE TANKS)*. Capital of Uzbekistan, home to 2.5 million people.
2 Some to choose from many a large antelope (5)
NYALA – hidden as above. I just love it when an antelope I know comes along.
3 Inventor failing to maintain staff living conditions (11)
ENVIRONMENT – insert MEN (staff) into (INVENTOR)*.
4 Flower girl sick at heart in Romeo’s home (8)
VERONICA – Romeo came from VERONA, so into that insert IC, being the ‘heart’ of sICk. A flower and a girl’s name.
5 Sudden awareness no great importance attaches to cry that floats up (5-4,6)
LIGHT-BULB MOMENT – As my FOI I was about to pencil in “penny-drop moment” until I thought, how does that work? Cry? Then I had the B from 19a and the light came on. LIGHT MOMENT (one of no great importance) insert BULB (blub reversed, cry that floats up)
6 Where to dig out one’s prey? (6)
QUARRY – double definition, or witty &lit. if you prefer.
7 I bore a well — its first litre (3)
AWL – A, W(ell), L(itre).
8 Chap, born one of large family, is a dummy (9)
MANNEQUIN – MAN (chap) NÉ (born, French) QUIN (one of 5 born-at-same-time children).
13 See pawn and a bishop boxed in with nowhere to move (5-1-5)
CHOCK-A-BLOCK – to CLOCK means to SEE; into that insert HOCK (pawn) A B (a bishop).
15 Signal pupils to assemble perhaps: sound familiar? (4,1,4)
RING A BELL – double definition, one referring to calling children to class in a school. It still happens at my granddaughters’ primary school.
17 Gives repeat performance of scene, adapted with art (2-6)
20 After the start, rowing boat is a source of revelation (6)
ORACLE – I looked first for things beginning with T and then a type of rowing boat, but no, it’s CORACLE for the boat and ‘after the start’ to drop the C.
23 Red cape worn by revolutionary leader torn at the bottom (5)
MACON – C for cape has MAO around it (C wears MAO) then N from the end of torN. A red wine appelation from the south of Burgundy.
25 A little bit of information shortly turning up (3)
TAD – DAT(A) (information shortly) is reversed.

90 comments on “Times 28113 – no more PDMs for me.”

  1. 28 minutes. Held up by ORACLE, for the same reason as our blogger. Took a while to see the parsing of MACON.

    Under pentangle, Chambers has “1. A PENTACLE 2. A pentagon”, and under PENTACLE it has “A pentagram … used as a defence against demons”, so I think PENTACLE does have something to do with five. I associate a pentagram or pentangle with something a bit spooky or occult anyway.

    Yes, love those ‘antelope(s)’. Keep ’em coming.

    Thanks to Pip and setter

      1. Thanks. Yes, I see what you mean. This question of “what is contained in what” has come up before. I parsed it as C ‘worn by’ (=surrounded by) MAO but I agree the alternative interpretation is possible.
        1. The Macon answer was clear, which helped, but to me “Joe wears a jacket” means Joe has a jacket outside of him; I can’t get my mind to see how the jacket could be inside of Joe.
          1. Hello again. I can’t argue against your example, but if you put it in the passive voice (as in the clue), “A jacket worn by Joe” could be interpreted, admittedly for the purposes of a crossword clue, as the “jacket” sort of being surrounded by / contained within “Joe”. Have I convinced myself? Not really, but it’s the best I can do!
  2. This was a hard nut to crack for me, but l made it in a tortuous 55 minutes. Pip managed to solve this meaty puzzle and write his blog in much the same time! Glory! Much queuing in the North East noted.

    FOI the very easy 1ac INTERVAL

    LOI 6dn QUARRY

    COD 4ac QUALMS

    WOD 22ac BUMF

    AOD 2dn NYALA that came in second.

    I did not fully parse 13dn CHOCK-A-BLOCK in my ‘haste’ missing the pawn/hock equivalence.

    Plenty of 5dns, and 21acs to climb for the old man. Mood: ever so slightly Meldrewvian.

    Edited at 2021-10-20 12:33 am (UTC)

  3. The last 3 or 4 minutes were spent trying to figure out 14ac and 16ac. GRAND CRU had to be, but not knowing GRU, I couldn’t see why (got the CR), so finally just biffed it. I was totally clueless with OVUM, and was relieved to see no pink. Isn’t a BREAK-IN (attempted) burglary not robbery?
    1. if you’re being pedantic. If it is a daytime break-in that is just robbery.
      I am another who didn’t parse CHOCK A BLOCK at 13d
      1. Pedantic? Moi? I’ve never seen the day/night distinction with burglary, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the lexicographers hadn’t either.
        1. I can’t be bothered to research it at this moment but my understanding is that burglary is at night and in the daytime it’s housebreaking. Robbery is simply robbery and covers both, plus a number of other crimes such as shoplifting and pick-pocketing.
        2. Merriam-Webster defines “burglary” as
          : the act of breaking and entering a dwelling at night to commit a felony (such as theft)
          broadly : the entering of a building with the intent to commit a crime

          Collins makes the distinction for American but not British English.

          The legal definition seems to utilize the broader sense.
          Burglary occurs when someone “intentionally enters [a place] without the consent of the person in lawful possession and with intent to steal or commit a felony.” Robbery occurs when someone “takes property from the person or presence of the owner by either… using force…or by threatening the imminent use of force.”

  4. After yesterday’s disaster this was a confidence-restoring bit of bumf. MACON I thought must be a shade of red, perhaps maroonish, until put right by Pip. Doh! A wine , of course- just as white is almost always ‘hock’ in crosswordese.
    Initially saw the hidden STAT for ‘straightaway’ in 18a, and put it in at once. Anyone else fall for this?

    Edited at 2021-10-20 01:45 am (UTC)

  5. The left side populated itself, then I needed some thought about the right. With the exception of Macon, which I still can’t see as Mao wearing the cape but rather the other way around, I thought most of the cryptics were both tidy and clever. I liked Once. Thks Pip
  6. All correct but no time since I had dinner in the middle of solving. Most words in French with a C only exist in one form (like garćon) but MACON exists in both, with MACON a place (and a wine from there) with a hard C and maçon is a mason (with a soft C). When driving from Nice to the UK, Macon (sometimes Mâcon) is a relief since it means you have got through the dreaded tunnel in Lyon. GOAL LINE required a LIGHT BULB MOMENT to see!
    1. Paul, your garçon has the wrong accent. Probably, if your computer is anything like mine, it will bung in any accent it sees fit. I was going to say, also, that Pip has his MAC ON wrong. Yours is of course right. I know the awful tunnel too. Pass it regularly. Dreadful journey up this year, very easy (for once!) back.
      1. A friend (called François!) told me the Açadamie Français had voted to get rid of the çedilla! Surely that çan’t be çorreçt??
          1. As it’s l’Académie Française, I guess you’re right. There is another François out there, surely not! I would say the said illa will be around for a while yet.
      2. Hmm, not sure how the cedilla got changed into one of those weird polish accents. But I meant garçon of course.
  7. Quite speedy, only slowing slightly in the NE. GRU rang a faint bell while Maĉon didn’t, but crossers allowed nothing else. Failed to parse chock-a-block – had just C for see (text-speak) leaving LOCK to be boxed in? Not really.
    Question: was Catherine Parr a queen? A princess? What’s the protocol – now and then? E.g. most recent royal spouse Philip was a prince, not a king.

    Edited at 2021-10-20 03:07 am (UTC)

    1. I think that (then and now):

      – the wife of a king is a queen consort (e.g. Parr)
      – the husband of a queen is a prince consort (e.g. Victoria’s Prince Albert, Liz’s Prince Philip)

      I am not a royal expert, but fairly sure

      1. Thank-you. Seems the clue is correct. Things you might not know:
        1. Her maj was given the title “Queen of Australia” by a republican PM who knew he’d never get a referendum to ditch the monarchy, back in about 1975. She’s now Queen Elizabeth the First of Australia.
        2. A monarchist PM decided to reintroduce knighthoods – ditched downunder in about 1975 – but only one was ever awarded before normal people told him to pull his head in, then binned him. So Queen Elizabeth the First’s husband was officially Sir Prince Philip. Or maybe Prince Sir Philip. Who nose?
        1. In 1898 Queen Victoria was ‘Lady Supreme of Jamaica’ and not ‘Queen’, apparently. Edward VII and George V were Lords Supreme so as not to upset us Yanks!
  8. Got lucky with my GRAND CRU guess, but failed to notice that ANON at 18ac had become ANOE after ENVIRONMENT went in. So getting the pink squares was no surprise, but their location was.

    ONCE was pretty obvious after that (probs should have already been obvious), but you don’t get to re-think the pink.

    19:33 otherwise, with CHOCK-A-BLOCK being the favourite. Reminded of the probably-not-true story of the Aussie airline traveller being refused access to an over-booked flight:
    “Sorry Ocker, the fokker’s chocka”.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  9. This one sat up nicely I thought, but took me ages to get PARR and (annoyingly) OVUM. My LIGHT-BULB MOMENT took a long time to come too.

    COD NUTCRACKER for the excellent definition.

  10. After yesterday’s error I was pleased to avoid any similar slips today. I was held up for a while by MANNEQUIN, where I didn’t remember the spelling, and thought the family bit indicated an ending of -KIN, leading me to wonder where the spare letter was coming from. I thought I was going to spend time alphabet trawling at the end when I returned to the fishy queen, but on coming back to it I recalled our salmony friend quickly enough.
  11. I seemed to be struggling throughout this, hopping around the grid trying to create some flow, so I was very surprised on completion to find only 35 minutes on the clock.

    My two unparsed were OVUM, having immediately recognised ‘cell’ as the definition following on from last week’s discussions, and GRU, though I vaguely knew the Russian secret service consisted of 3 letters unknown to me.

    Early on I lost time thinking MANNEKIN at 6dn and wondering why it didn’t fill the available space.

  12. Didn’t feel good about this to start, first pass of across clues gave me just PENTACLE, but the downs threw up a few easy ones …including P-DM, which I never trusted and was eventually disproved by BREAKING.

    Wasn’t at all confident of a finish, with NE proving the most troublesome – QUARRY the breakthrough that got me going there, leaving just the awkward little ‘uns to deal with – OVUM – ONCE – BUMF and LOI MACON.

    Despite that SCC time for such an easy puzzle, I feel inordinately chuffed to get an all-correct completion of this one – thanks Pip and setter.

  13. Usual time. I drink Mâcon but only the white which caused me to pause. COD to CHOCK-A-BLOCK
  14. … while I pondered, weak and weary

    20-ish mins pre-brekker. I liked the Brazil liberator and the Light-bulb Moment.
    But, as has been said, the Cape is wearing Mao.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  15. 31 minutes with LOI GOAL LINE. I assume MO to mean twinkling in OVUM is as in the twinkling of an eye, but that came as an afterthought, probably a bad one. PENTACLE was an unknown but with crossers it could be nothing else. I did know of the GRU but I was a bit puzzled about where GRANDU came from for a while. The light bulbs were low wattage. COD to NUTCRACKER, with also a special mention to MATTERHORN with fond memories of a weak joke on Beyond our Ken or was it Round the Horne by then? This seemed tough for a while then yielded. Thank you Pip and setter.
    1. Didn’t see your “Round the Horne” reference before I pressed submit on mine! Sorry, B!
  16. Thanks, Pip, especially for CHOCK A BLOCK and LIGHT BULB MOMENT.

    I wonder if 21ac ever featured as a joke in “Beyond Our Ken” as in “What’s the Matter Horne” I’ll leave you to pen a suitable riposte….

    1. It definitely did, Martin. They had a whole riff about climbing the Matterhorn just so that they could crack the joke
      1. At one time Charles Kenneth Horne was Chairman of Chad Valley Toys. His father was a Methodist Minister
  17. I finished this all correct in 21m which give or take a minute or two is abot my par(r). I always look at the SNITCH and cannot understand why of late it seems so low! There was one a couple of days ago which I thought was a stinker and took much longer than usual yet the SNITCH was still hovering around 80. Perhapps I am just getting dimmer in my dotage. What does anyone else think?
    Good crossword today though, thanks setter and Pip.
  18. Pip, I just noticed the parsing of NUTCRACKER is incomplete. “Drugs” is used to clue CRACK and E, both of which are surprisingly popular in crossworland.
  19. 11:05 Not stumped by any required GK for once. COD to the Brazil liberator, but I liked the chess position too. Thanks Pip and setter.
  20. A lot of biffing for me, but I got there in the end.

    – Trusted that PARR was a type of fish
    – Didn’t have a clue what was going on with OVUM
    – Didn’t see how ONCE worked
    – Wasn’t sure which first letter was being removed for ORACLE
    – Relied on the wordplay for MACON
    – Had to assume that GRU was something to do with Soviet intelligence
    – Thought ‘no great importance’ simply gave ‘light’, so was unsure where the ‘moment’ came from in LIGHT-BULB MOMENT, then a MER at ‘attach’ being used as an insertion indicator.

    Nonetheless, a very enjoyable crossword. Thanks to setter and blogger.

    FOI Interval
    LOI Parr
    COD Nutcracker

  21. Done in 39 mins. I liked MATTERHORN, BUMF (I’ve always spelt it BUMPH) and L-BM. Heard of the queen but not the fish.

    Most “Mâcon” produced is, in fact white. The red having the right to call itself Beaujolais too, and much is.

    I was recently in Vosne-Romanée and spoilt myself with a Grand Cru or two.

    Very enjoyable. Thanks pip and setter.

    1. If you enjoyed the V-R, try the Chambolle-Musigny, a stone’s throw up the RN. 😉
  22. I got off to a rapid start with NYALA, but nothing else in the NW rang a bell so I moved to the SW where 15d did the business and allowed me to populate the corner with all bar MATTERHORN and LIGHT BULB MOMENT which both arrived a lot later in the proceedings. QUALMS was another LBM which allowed me to correct my unparsed, biffed GRID LINE (obviously influenced by Paul-in-London). CHOCK-A-BLOCK took a while to see and parse, but helped with POI, NUTCRACKER, which in turn helped with LOI, VERONICA. Nice puzzle. 26:18. Thanks setter and Pip.
  23. I couldn’t parse OVUM. I nearly went with OCUT, with C=cell and twinkling = out. But I then decided to try and identify an actual word I knew that might make sense. After rejecting OPUS I finally got the answer.


    Edited at 2021-10-20 09:15 am (UTC)

  24. ‘nuther enjoyable one. Thanks to The Times, my drug-related argot is pretty extensive these days.

    In fairness Pip, those purple quality street chocs have contained hazelnuts for as long as I can remember.. all my life, I think, though wouldn’t swear to it.

    1. I can definitely remember eating the purple ones with a Brazil nut in, as a child. It is listed as one of the discontinued versions in the Wikipedia article, but I cannot find the date on which it was changed to a hazelnut (nor can several other people who searched online). Probably when Rowntrees bought Macintosh, 1969, or Nestle bought RM (1988), (too late?). Allegedly the Brazil nut was too inconsistent in shape for modern manufacturing methods. Or too expensive!
  25. Very enjoyable and, as Pip says, full of good things.

    MANNEQUIN seems to be one of umpteen variants of the dummy in question. Through some synaptic mishmash, MATTERHORN always makes me think of Peter Sellers and The Case of the Mukkinese Battle-horn.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

  26. How odd: none of the items that puzzled others troubled me at all, and I floated through this one to complete in 11.54, which is (these days) quick for me.
    Even the cape worn by Mao didn’t worry me, once I knew I didn’t have to believe MARON was a colour. The “worn by” thing seems to be a fairly flexible inclusion indicator, possibly wrong in this case but not so it didn’t work for me.
    I liked the NUTCRACKER definition, though I always found brazils next to impossible to liberate with a standard hinged nutcracker. the nut usually emerged in sad fragments from that reinforced concrete shell.
    Cheers Pip for an excellent and entertaining blog
  27. Not sure how long I took as there were several interruptions and I forgot to pause the timer, but I think about 30-35 minutes. Agree that the wife of a king is called a queen, but not the other way round. Goodness knows why — as a small child I thought Prince Philip was the king, being so used to the Queen Mother.

    Wear: I have always felt that it is much more natural for ‘AB wears CD’ to be C(AB)D. But we do sometimes see it the other way round, as A(CD)B, which seems to make less sense. I suppose if you wear a brooch you sort of surround it.

    Yes I fear we get dimmer in our dotage, tringmardo.

    Edited at 2021-10-20 10:18 am (UTC)

  28. Nice puzzle today, with plenty of biffing (LIGHT-BULB MOMENT, OVUM, GOAL LINE), some “I only know it because of crosswords” words (NYALA, TASHKENT), and a bit of hope with GRU. 5m 46s in total, with the last minute or so of those alphabet-trawling to come up with PARR.
    1. Extraordinary that so many had problems with GRU when it was in the news a great deal not long ago with reference to tourists in Salisbury.
        1. Fair point. But! The thing is, what you know to be right is irrelevant. Chambers says a coracle is a rowing boat. Even if it isn’t/wasn’t, that doesn’t matter – crosswords are predicated on what the dictionaries say, not on what any individual solver might believe. Or what is actually true or not.
  29. Steady and pleasant enough solve, with some alphabet trawling required to make me realise I did know the fish and the cell, even though they weren’t immediately obvious. My brain always thinks of MACON as a white, so clearly I need to broaden my wine horizons.
    1. approximately 90% of macon is white. curiously this is the second time that i remember that it has been clued as red. maybe the same setter?
  30. I got becalmed in the NE corner, which doesn’t seem to have happened to anyone else. QUALMS is a very good word but I got stuck with spasms, alarms, whatever, for quite a while. That made QUARRY hard to see which was stupid of me because there’s a Slate Quarry Road a couple of miles from here. NUTCRACKER reminds me to see if I’m allowed to take the unvaccinated grandchildren to the City Ballet this year. 17.12
    1. I agree. I failed to get qualms, quarry, awl and ovum. Despite that, it was an enjoyable puzzle. COD to nutcracker for the definition.
      Thanks setter and blogger
  31. 41:23. Very slow start and an even slower finish, hindered by my perverse determination to spell MANNEQUIN with a K, some part of my brain obligingly filling in the resulting empty space with an extra N, which the rest of my brain noticed only on the point of throwing in the towel with OVUM.
  32. I must say that us non-wine drinkers are discriminated against. Otherwise after a slow start, it all fell into place very quickly. LOI GOAL LINE, straightforward clue but just couldn’t see it.
  33. Just sneaking in under the 20-minute mark, having only the last two acrosses in when halfway through the clues, the floodgates opened…..

    ….though some biffing was evident: CHOCK A BLOCK from two checkers; LIGHT- BULB MOMENT from three; OM/MO in OVUM; GRAND CRU just from the R checker; ONCE; ENVIRONMENT from checkers; MACON from all three checkers (thought somehow the cape might be MAC but obvs couldn’t work out the O).

  34. DNF. This one took me just over 17 mins but I had one silly error and one careless typo. Some qualms about attaches as a containment indicator for the elevated blub in light-bulb moment though I can sort of see it. I also thought break-in would have to relate to premises and therefore burglary rather than robbery but perhaps the dictionaries are satisfied by the anticipated unlawful taking of property element. Didn’t quite parse chock-a-block. Enjoyed the Liberator of Brazil.
  35. DNK a fish of this name, and there were just too many possible Queens in history to go through in the hope of lighting on the one that was also a fish. Pity, because everything else came pretty quick. COD GOAL LINE

  36. Well done, everyone. I am much slower than all of you. Solving this sitting waiting for a parcel near the door because sometimes the delivery drivers hardly knock then swear we weren’t in then take the goods back to the depot and we have to do it all again, though most of the drivers are very good. So anyway, an hour and a half for two here. Husband supplied Veronica, as a random woman’s name, without knowing why, so as I worked it out I considered he had a lucky strike there. He also supplied goal line which neither of us could parse. FOI Tashkent, would like to go there. LOI Parr, oh yarr! Super puzzle. Always glad to finish one (DNF yesterday by a long way). Five biffed today from definitions that were enough on their own. Thanks for the blog explaining these and more, Pip, and setter for the puzzle.
  37. 19.40 but failed for the third day in a row . This time ovum did for me, preferring onus. I know, pretty dim ( despite the light) but made desperate sense to me at the time.

    Started off really slowly with my FOI being crouch but gradually got the measure till the last small step. Nice puzzle.
    Thx setter and blogger.

    1. Not dim. Know what you mean. I didn’t see the light either, just biffed from cell. I had anon for once until it messed up environment.
  38. was my COD with Matterhorn close behind, Brazil nuts are found inside a large cannonball type endocarp, arranged in up to three whorls something like a pomello. Quite delicious when fresh, but they rarely are. Brazil had no liberator as such. Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Portugal from c.1804 to 1820 – pub quiz chestnut.
      1. European Cup is a club championship not a national championship? Uruguay have never won it!
    1. Chambers is often wrong. They make up – invent – lots of words just for a joke, words that aren’t actually real words. Their editors seem to have a perverse sense of humour, taking the mickey out of setters and solvers who are forced to use their output as “gospel”.
      Do the times crossword daily and get used to it.
  39. “And now here’s Daphne Whitethigh with handy household hints: How to get rid of ugly “stain(e)s”.
    First, blow up the bridge!
  40. Slowed way down (as usual) when I’d done 90 percent. That could be because the last clues are the hardest; but it could also be a kind of mental block I have. Chock-a-block should have been a write-in but I stared at it for hours, thinking there was some obscure old-fashioned expression like Crook-a-brook. Surprised and depressed to see such a low snitch. Veronica makes me think of the great song by Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney. Ovum I never fully parsed (though I did see the UV).
  41. 8:47. Early start, long day out today so only I only just solved this. Just wanted to pop in to say 1) I really enjoyed it (especially the LBM, as we’ll have to call them from now on, ‘liberator of Brazil’ and… see 2) and 2) nice to see another of my kids in here, this time in nickname form.

    Edited at 2021-10-20 10:02 pm (UTC)

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