Times 28117 – no caparison

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Thanks all for your patience. I’ve been travelling around within Hong Kong a fair bit over the weekend and have only just returned to our retirement nest on the beautiful island of Cheung Chau.

Crossword-wise, a tad harder than an average Monday, with the horsey gear at 21a my last in – and I imagine a lot of other people’s besides. I had never come across it before, albeit my knowledge of equine accoutrements tends to be limited to the head area: your blinkers, cheek-pieces, cowls, pacifiers, shadow rolls, sheepskin nose-bands etc. Around 38 minutes for me.


1 Waterside walk wife visits to caress horse (7)
TOWPATH – W (wife) in TO PAT H (horse)
5 Bunting British playwright placed around US city (7)
ORTOLAN – LA in [Joe] Orton; a bird I know through crosswords
9 Plant of advanced age captured by general staff (9)
GOLDENROD – OLDEN in G ROD; a plant I know through crosswords
10 English bishop caught in seedy joint (5)
ELBOW – E B in LOW (seedy)
11 Welshman possibly, with last of dairy’s cream (5)
IVORY – IVOR (Allchurch, say – splendid Welsh footballer of English extraction) [dair]Y
12 Turned out sadly to be lacking education (9)
14 Aren’t changes blocking give-and-take between heavenly bodies? (14)
17 Church wine in NW town, one mostly peaceful (14)
21 Posh churchgoer protected by solitary item of tack (9)
SURCINGLE – U RC (Roman Catholic – well, some go to church) in SINGLE for the strap round a horse’s girth for keeping a blanket in place
23 Revealing unskilfulness in record time (5)
24 Lassitude of Greek character in eastern part of UK (5)
ENNUI – NU (Greek character) in E (eastern) NI (Norn Irn, AKA Ulster)
25 Gnome circling wood, moving casually (9)
SASHAYING – ASH in SAYING (gnome, AKA apophthegm)
26 Simple song about an aromatic plant (7)
DITTANY – AN in DITTY; not sure I’ve come across this one before
27 Entice fish back to the sheltered side (7)
LEEWARD – reversal of DRAW EEL


1 Game teacher raised in river out East (6)
TIGRIS – TIG (game like tag or catch) SIR reversed
2 European name attached to everyone in court (7)
WALLOON – ALL in WOO (court) N (name); Walloon must be the most comic-sounding name for an ethno-linguistic group
3 Surprisingly clean yet ultimately effective gas (9)
4 Rushing round bum hotel, making disapproving noises (11)
HARRUMPHING – RUMP (bum) H (hotel) in HARING (rushing); word of the day, no doubt
5 Not even out of the ordinary (3)
ODD – double definition (DD)
6 Source of milk runt initially guzzled — a pleasant surprise (5)
TREAT – R[unt] in (‘guzzled’ by) TEAT
7 Old politician briefly accepting current state (7)
LIBERIA – I (current) in LIBERA[l]
8 Lack of procedures for securing publicity at present (8)
NOWADAYS – AD (publicity) in NO WAYS (lack of procedures); ‘for’ seems to be there for the surface reading
13 Errant Slavs working in the geometrician’s line (11)
15 Get rid of talking bird dipping into cream (9)
16 County man engaging a supporter for the retired (8)
BEDSTEAD – BEDS (Bedfordshire – home to Jack of this parish) A in TED (random man)
18 One-time cavalry officer carrying old woman’s jewelled headdress (7)
19 Country chap taking a degree externally (7)
AMERICA – ERIC (random chap) in A MA
20 Mounted print finally framed by rising French artist (6)
STAGED – [prin]T in DEGAS reversed
22 Russian girl’s part of fair in Arkhangelsk (5)
IRINA – hidden in [fa]IR IN A[rkh…]; the great Irina Szewińska – the only athlete in history, male or female, to have held the world record in the 100 m, the 200 m and the 400 m – was born in Russia of Jewish-Polish parents.
25 Opportunity for stating opinion, for example (3)

72 comments on “Times 28117 – no caparison”

  1. … thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon

    How attractive!
    20 min romp pre-brekker. Although the tack and the cavalry officer were tricky.
    Thanks setter and U.

  2. Blimey! I’m usually bottom of the class for time but this was 21 mins. Surcingle with aid tho’ which would have added. Odd FOI. Going for lie down now
  3. 32 minutes with LOI the unknown SURCINGLE. I found the whole SW tricky with DITTANY also unknown and ECCLESIASTICAL late to fall. I’m not that keen on cooked currants, so an Eccles Cake was never a favourite. WOD to SASHAYING. BOD to ORTOLAN, POD to GOLDENROD, COD to INTERPLANETARY. Thank you U and setter.
  4. Strode off down the TOWPATH and never looked back. SASHAYED towards the finish, with SURCINGLE and CORONET bringing up the rear. DITTANY remembered from a previous puzzle. 16:36. Thanks setter and U.
  5. Mondayish … no problem with surcingle, though not sure why, as I refuse to ride anything that doesn’t come with a brake pedal. Nho dittany
      1. It came up in April 2009,and I hadn’t heard of it then either.
        In February 2016, and again in May 2016, I had heard of it.. but today, I hadn’t heard of it again .. 🙁

        Still, I HAD heard of surcingle 🙂

        Edited at 2021-10-25 09:46 am (UTC)

        1. As Gelett Burgess would say (did, in fact):
          The other day, upon the stair,
          I met a man who wasn’t there.
          He wasn’t there again today;
          I wish, I wish he’d go away!
  6. 24 minutes. Only knew the flora and fauna on show here courtesy of previous crossword appearances. The ‘item of tack’ was my last in too and I wasn’t confident about it, even though (in retrospect) the wordplay showed the way.

    Maybe not very exciting, but I liked the adjectival sense of ‘Church’ and the tricky parsing for ECCLESIASTICAL, even if it did include good old ASTI yet again.

    Thanks for the reminder of IRINA Szewińska who I remember beating our Raelene (Boyle) in the 200 m at Mexico in 1968.

  7. I wasted some time trying to figure out how CRONE could get into CORONET. (Actually, it can’t.) I knew SURCINGLE for the same reason Jerry did. I was hoping that 11ac wouldn’t be TAFFY, and sure enough. Biffed INTERPLANETARY, never bothered to parse it; oh, wait, I did, post-sub.
  8. Definitely Mondayish. SURCINGLE learnt from previous crosswords. DITTANY and GOLDENROD, both got from the wordplay. HARRUMPHING the COD and a very enjoyable pastime

    President Mitterand is said to have eaten roast ORTOLAN as part of his last meal, dying shortly afterwards (post ortolan but not propter ortolan).

    Thanks to U and the setter.

  9. Defeated by the unknown GOLDENROD – I thought ‘of advanced age’ was giving ‘elder’ so put ‘Gelderrod’. Slightly annoying given that I got two other NHOs from the wordplay (ORTOLAN and SURCINGLE), but I suppose three was too much to hope for.
    1. Goldenrod well known as a herbal cure for kidney problems. I used to take it to support my kidney after my daughter purloined my other one.
      1. I had to chuck my KDC away – when at the age of 61 I found out I was born with one, much enlarged kidney. My daughter too had a kidney valve replacement, but I was not the donor!
  10. I had the same difficulties as myrtillus and it was a little unfair that those two obscurities intersected. For all that, I still managed to complete the puzzle within my target half-hour and with a minute to spare.

    It’s true I am in Bedfordshire, but only by a whisker and until 1965 my corner of LB was a separate town within Buckinghamshire.

  11. Compared with most I seem to have been pretty slow today, about 45 minutes: I didn’t want to look up surcingle and was sure I knew the word and it would come (actually it was martingale I think) but eventually gave up and looked up a word I’d never heard of. I’d thought of this but couldn’t believe it was a thing. And I just couldn’t think of ecclesiastical even though I had most of the checkers, so relented there as well; Eccles isn’t the first NW town that comes to mind.
  12. Not a difficult puzzle from a technical “decode” perspective – however I found myself relying on the cryptic a bit more than was comfortable…

    – Knew ORTOLAN was a word, but until I looked it up after finishing, I assumed “bunting” to be the decorative type
    – Didn’t realise SASHAY implied casual, I thought it was just showy / sexy
    – NHO DITTANY or GOLDENROD (it’ll be a glorious day when there’s a flower or plant name I actually do know)
    – POI CORONET biffed, making me feel pretty dubious about LOI SURCINGLE – but went with the cryptic, as it seemed fairly clear

    So, under the circumstances, very happy to get a fully-correct completion in a reasonably respectable time – fun and rewarding start to the week.

    Thanks Ulaca and setter

  13. Same last ones in as above. NHO SURCINGLE but worked it out in the end, or DITTANY. Checked TIG post solve but all I could find was: Scottish, to poke fun at someone! I liked INTERPLANETARY (AN will be pleased) and SASHAYING. WOD.

    Thank you Ulaca and setter.

    PS has anyone else got a strange advert at the top of the page in LJ?

      1. What I saw was more like another blog after Jack’s. It has now vanished. I have Malwarebytes Ad Blocker on this laptop as well as AdGuard. They seem to take care of most things, although they make it enough of a chore to stop me trying to do the Independent and other crosswords, which tell me I’m using an Ad Blocker and stop me proceeding without disabling them. I tried adding to excluded sites but gave up eventually.
  14. Fairly fast. NHO surcingle went in with only the G and E in the grid as it “had to be”, even semi-guessed it: SUR = around, CINGLE = belt. Coronet soon after, like Kevin seeing CRONE holding O then T(ime), conveniently ignoring the cavlary officer… no, you can’t do than, CR must be the NHO cavalry officer, with a literal ONE T carrying it, all holding O(ld)… no, that doesn’t work either. Eventually gave up and left it there when all the checkers fit. Goldenrod, dittany, mina (not mynah), ortolan, Orton all remembered from previous puzzles.
    LOI ecclesiastical, I was looking for a peaceful person for too long.
    COD to Tigris for out east meaning out east, not drop an E (in the alphabetical sense). Though of course the Tigris is to the north-west.
    WOD to Eccles – anyone who names a town after Spike Milligan gets my vote.
  15. with a lot of HARRUMPHING going on. The trouble with SURCINGLE was that I was convinced that solitary indicated SOLE and I couldn’t find anything that remotely fitted. Not that I’d ever heard of it anyway. So, a quickie with a sting in the SW.
  16. …no anode.

    ACETYLENE came to me quick,
    INTERPLANETARY was fairly slick,
    But poor Astronowt
    Will say, I’ve no doubt,
    That ORTOLAN made him feel sick

    Those placed higher than me on SNITCH all seem to have given the lie to my thoughts that this was quite tricky — certainly distinctly un-Mondayish.

    I only live 8 miles from Eccles, yet I tried Barrow, and Oldham before the truth dawned (I found the parsing tricky).

    My dalliance with the equestrienne Dastardly Denise made SURCINGLE a write-in, while DITTANY came to me quickly despite me thinking it was a material.

    FOI ORTOLAN (but I wasn’t flying)
    LOI AMERICA (but I wasn’t in a State)
    COD NOWADAYS (lovely surface, “for” justified aesthetically)
    TIME 12:04

    1. Delight at INTERPLANETARY
      But I do wish our setter could see
      That their INEPT plan
      To use ORTOLAN
      Would lead to displeasure from me
  17. …cheated with NHO SURCINGLE which doesn’t look like it should be a word. I rankle a bit with RC as churchgoer, having been born one. I haven’t been to church since my mid-teens. I guess that compared to CofE, RC might be considered more likely to? Anyway, the word in question I did not like much.

    As for the rest, it didn’t help writing in DAIRY (welshman = DAI) where IVORY should have gone. Given that dairy was in the clue — doh! Held up finishing 1d and 2d for several mins until the issue was rectified….

  18. Frustrated that I didn’t time this as it would have definitely been a personal best (i.e. below 35 minutes). Started online, completing about six clues. Came back later to the printed version which I completed in 21 minutes, including the NHO surcingle and dittany, my L2I. Felt more like a QC than a main puzzle.

    Thanks to the setter for a gentle start to the week and to ulaca for the blog.

  19. 14.40 with a little frisson before I replaced bedsheet with the correct answer. Also took a while over America. Isn’t that more of a continent than a country? Probably being a bit too pedantic and I got there eventually. Towpath was interesting, initially failing to see it despite having walked down the Thames version only 20 minutes before!

    All in all a very pleasing start to the week so thanks setter and blogger.

    1. Also a MER on America as a country. Definitely common usage, rather than technically correct.
      1. O beautiful for spacious skies,
        For amber waves of grain,
        For purple mountain majesties
        Above the fruited plain!
        America! America!
        God shed His grace on thee
        And crown thy good with brotherhood
        From sea to shining sea!
  20. 8:47. I did most of this very quickly but then got a bit bogged down in the SW corner with the unlikely-looking word clued with clear wordplay and the likely-looking word clued with unclear wordplay. I wasted time trying and failing to fit a CRONE into the latter and only put it in when the crossing letters made it inevitable.
  21. 20.39. I got off to a fast start and soon had the top half done but like others got bogged down in the SW with ecclesiastical, surcingle and coronet all requiring a little more application.
  22. A good time for me, did it on paper for once. Second fastest solve I think.

    I don’t see GNOME=saying, can someone help with that?

    I thought DRAGO(O)N might work for 18d, but it doesn’t, I suspect that might well be a chestnut. Also tried CUSTER and HUSSAR to see if an O could be slipped in.



    1. What Ulaca said; or ODE sv GNOME: ‘a short statement enapsulating a general truth: a maxim’
      1. NHO that one. I learnt “saw” from crosswords as well. I’ll stick with epigram, axiom etc and other fine Hellenisms.
    2. Collins has ‘a short pithy saying or maxim expressing a general truth or principle’.

      Perhaps more common adjectivally as ‘gnomic pronouncement’ etc.

  23. 28 mins with LOI SURCINGLE like most others. I started thinking solitary would be sole, but then I realized that solitary is too like sole and a different word would have been used in the clue, and I immediately realized it must be single and that a SURCINGLE must be some horsy thing, which it is.
  24. Well I managed a (temporary) error with a confident TETRIS at 1d, pleased to see an inverted SIR and believing the E-less river would sort itself out. Pushed my time to 16.29 trying to sort out TELDERROD or something, which is probably a plant somewhere.
    Other wise, a pleasant romp, with the “unknowns” above all within my compass.
  25. 5m 32s… but with ACELYTENE. I would complain about obscure words clued as anagrams, but this one probably isn’t all that obscure so I’m kicking myself. I put in the first thing that seemed plausible, and since it tied in with IVORY once I got that as my LOI, I was happy enough.

    My only consolation is that Magoo also got one wrong today.

  26. Mondayish indeed, except for Surcingle and Dittany. I, too, liked Nowadays. Thanks, Ulaca
  27. America isn’t a country. It’s two continents including a good number of individual countries, one of which is the baffling and baffled United States OF America.
    1. Canadians all over the galaxy are lining up to be the first to suggest a different view of North America
        1. Yes — i misread the original comment as meaning that one of the two continents was USA. that isn’t what anon actually said.
  28. Nice surprises, remembering DITTANY, SURCINGLE, and ORTOLAN. LOI was CORONET, after I realized that there was no “old woman” (“crone”) involved.

    Edited at 2021-10-25 03:22 pm (UTC)

  29. 12:13 My LOI too, but somehow I remembered SURCINGLE when I saw the crossers, even though I’d no idea what it looks like or where on a horse it goes, except that it goes round somewhere. DNK CORNET the cavalry officer but deduced it from the biff and wordplay. COD and WOD to HARRUMPHING. Thanks Ulaca and setter.
  30. No unknowns although I have never knowingly used 13dn. 1ac SURCINGLE was a write-in. A lovely Monday ‘Puzzlement’ which was unravelled in a 33 leisurely minutes.

    FOI 1ac – the riparian TOWPATH

    LOI 24ac ENNUI

    COD 26ac DITTANY as per Harry Potter

    WOD 17ac ECCLESIASTICAL – North by North West cakes!

    25ac SASHAYING brought a smile as did 4dn HARRUMPHING!

  31. 12:44 late this morning, a welcome improvement on my performance on the QC earlier.
    FOI 1 ac “towpath” then a fairly steady solve, although clues such as 14 ac ” interplanetary” and 17 ac ” ecclesiastical” took a bit of teasing out and parsing.
    A few interesting words were in evidence — surcingle, dittany, ortolan and walloon, all of which I had at least vaguely heard of and a reference to cornet which I’d never come across before.
    COD 14 ac “interplanetary”.
    Overall an entertaining puzzle. Thanks to Ulaca for his blog and to setter
  32. And my hopes of a correct week of solves goes west again on day 1 — I thought churchgoer might be RR giving me surringle as my LOI! Curses
  33. FOI towpath, but I didn’t put it in until I’d parsed it much later. This took the usual hour. I solved half fairly quickly, then another quarter reasonably soon after, but the last quarter, the SW, almost did for me. I had to decide which one of several to tackle. I tried the tack question, and cheated with it in the end, but it opened up the rest for me to solve on my own. NHO surcingle, dittany. Biffed loads from definitions. Liked interplanetary – calling occupants of said crafts. Last week we watched Titus Andronicus and read The Grapes of Wrath. The shortest review of Titus was, “Not a happy play,” with mastery of irony and understatement methinks. This week Troilus and Cressida. Thank heavens it’s quiz nite tonite. Thanks, Ulaca, for explaining everything, I needed the blog big time today. As for the setter – entertaining, Mr. Sloane. Thank you.
  34. Of which 15 minutes spent on “Bedstead” and “Surcingle”.
    Nice puzzle — COD for me — “Interplanetary”.
    I’ve always thought of Eccles as a district rather than a town but I think we’ve had that discussion before, years back — apologies to any Ecclesonians (Ecclesians?)
  35. Me too, wondering if the Tet was a river that had given its name to the Tet offensive, (but obviously miles off target, as it’s a holiday)
  36. Reasonably content with this, although, as our blogger says, it was slightly harder than the average Monday puzzle. Not entirely comfortable with an adjectival ECCLESIASTICAL being defined with a noun, Church, but the checkers didn’t allow anything else. SURCINGLE was unknown and will shortly be forgotten, but the clueing was fair enough. Thanks to our blogger (whose comment about Cheung Chau I heartily endorse) and setter.
    1. In some situations nouns can be used adjectively to qualify what follows e.g. church business, ecclesiastical business.
  37. A happy quarter of an hour before bed, for which many thanks. I was proud to have remembered Dittany, but then it occurred to me maybe I was thinking of Dimity. Anyways, I got it right. Otherwise all pretty easy. Surcingle in last, obv. I knew it was going to be something like that, but initially had sole instead of single as my outer bit.
  38. Late entry

    Lovely puzzle. Some off-beat words but fairly clued.

    ORTOLAN and DITTANY known but not sure from where. I thought the latter might have been from the Cadfael books but checking on Wiki it looks like it might have been Harry Potter.

    NHO SURCINGLE but remembered the RC thing and followed instructions

    Thanks Ulaca and setter

  39. Last two in were 21 and 27 worked out from wordplay- but I had to check they were in the dictionary. Had a barred puzzle vocabulary about it all, but wordplay all very clear.
  40. A rare completion of the big one on the day for me, though I was lucky to get everything correct given how many things I hadn’t heard of. ORTOLAN and SURCINGLE were the two I was most unsure of. I had to stop after 41 minutes with about three quarters done, but then resumed a bit later and completed in 80:41.

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