Times 28119 – No terrorists are holding hostages in lunatic asylums.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Noah’s family and his rescue boat feature strongly today in this nicely constructed puzzle, as does yet another antelope to make me happy; thank you, Mr A Setter. I knew all the words, although had you asked me to define adumbrate without the clue to read, I might have adumbrated. I liked the drunken insect and the homeless gent, but my CoD was the maritime coastal officer, which took me a while to twig. I’m not 100% convinced I understand 19d, but I’ve come up with a parsing of sorts. 25 minutes and a bit more to decipher 20a and 19d perhaps.

1 Those folk, hard to miss, quietly spoken, and not around for long (8)
TEMPORAL – THEM missing H, P (quietly) ORAL (spoken). Temporal can mean ‘related to time’ or ‘temporary’ as well as the opposite of spiritual.
5 Rants, seeing no one does business (6)
TRADES – TIRADES (rants) has no I in it.
9 Cardinal showing gravity — not weak, even at the end (8)
EIGHTEEN – Gravity here = WEIGHT, remove W for weak (is this a new abbr.?) add E’EN for even.
10 President as leader of Republicans featured in article (6)
PIERCE – R inside PIECE = article. Franklin Pierce, 14th President, 1853-57. Later he featured in MASH.
12 Broadcast from detectives beside house to the west of the country (13)
DISSEMINATION – DIS (detectives) SEMI (house) NATION (country).
15 Trouble squashing publicity when bloomers become evident? (5)
APRIL – PR (publicity) inside AIL (trouble).
16 Does tar at sea notice possible place for anchorage? (9)
ROADSTEAD – (DOES TAR)*, AD = notice. For example, Carrick Roadstead outside Falmouth in Cornwall.
17 Huge group of soldiers seizing part of hospital — big shock may be felt there (9)
EPICENTRE – EPIC (huge) RE (soldiers) insert ENT (Ear Nose & Throat department, as usual).
19 A smile from one side to another on journey? (5)
ABEAM – A, BEAM = smile; abeam =of a ship, at right angles to the stem to stern line.
20 Bedlam as terrorist is seen to do this — coastal officer appears (13)
HARBOURMASTER – took me a while to spot what was going on here; MASTER is HARBOURED i.e. hidden in these words.
22 One senses them being so backward, gloomy inside (6)
ODOURS – SO reversed, with DOUR inside.
23 What accounts for insect being drunk maybe — or cow? (8)
RUMINANT – RUM IN ANT would make the ant drunk.
25 One learner thus gives family disrepute (6)
INFAMY – if FAMY had I L inserted (IN), it would become FAMILY.
26 A theologian holding leading position, wanting the church improved? (8)
ADVANCED – A, DD (Theologian) insert VAN (leading position) CE (Church).
1 We dart and tear around hopelessly — and fail to progress (5,5)
2 Stick raised for attack (3)
MUG – GUM reversed.
3 Food nothing at all? Not quite — this person tucked in (7)
OATMEAL – O (nothing ) AT AL(L) insert ME = this person.
4 Making better sermon, perhaps, after declaration by priest? (12)
AMELIORATION – (I) AM ELI = declaration by the usual crossword priest; ORATION = sermon.
6 Bringing up son — no good providing fruity nibbles? (7)
7 Disorder with Eden garment being abandoned? (11)
8 Son on edge — one of those in rescue vessel? (4)
SHEM – S, HEM = edge; SHEM was Noah’s second son, so he was on the ark being rescued.
11 What could be a drape where troops assemble (6,6)
PARADE GROUND – if you have GROUND the letters of A DRAPE (i.e. made an anagram) you can make PARADE.
13 Homeless gent must be heard immediately (8,3)
STRAIGHT OFF – sounds (quite) like; STRAY TOFF for homeless gent.
14 Bad, mad true drunk is portrayed in outline (10)
ADUMBRATED – (BAD MAD TRUE)*. To adumbrate is a jolly nice word meaning to portray without any details.
18 Not all heard rumours — one’s needed to listen! (7)
EARDRUM – today’s second hidden word, in a relevant surface.
19 Like a number commonly seen having a coffee (7)
ARABICA – I’m not sure about this, I assume it is referring to ARABIC numerals or numbers being the common variety, with A (having A); arabica being a good quality of coffee.
21 What one discusses is tailless antelope (4)
TOPI – TOPIC is tailless. I am a happy blogger, nyala last week, another antelope this week.
24 Bow of rescue vessel in the sound (3)
ARC – today’s homophone, sounds like ARK.

68 comments on “Times 28119 – No terrorists are holding hostages in lunatic asylums.”

  1. 35 mins. I parsed 19d as in your explanation, but I think the “a” should not be underlined. Surely it is the last bit of the wordplay. Didn’t know ROADSTEAD so had to assemble it from the components provided, a bit confused since I thought “rode” meant an anchorage. And I didn’t know this week’s antelope, but it seemed plausible and fitted the wordplay. And I was the same on ADUMBRATE, I knew it was a word but I couldn’t have told you out of context what it meant.
  2. Slow today; the long ones were all recalcitrant, even DERANGEMENT, which should have been easy. I had the TOFF of 13d from the start, but couldn’t think what to do with ‘homeless’. An MER at TEMPORAL, which I’ve never seen to mean ‘temporary’, but I see Collins does include that meaning. Biffed HARBOURMASTER; I needed Pip to explain it. Now it’s my COD.
  3. 12:43 – I started off quickly, but it took me a while to put together PIERCE and thus confirm SHEM. Nice clues for HARBOURMASTER, DISSEMINATION and ADUMBRATED
  4. There were a lot of long words, and a couple of those reverse cryptic clues, Harbourmaster, Infamy. I usually see the bits in them, but then slow down putting the logic together. I liked it a lot.
    (I will say that its mighty optimistic to expect to find much familiarity with Franklin Pierce).
  5. Mostly straightforward until the end. Was never going to get Shem or Pierce, the bible and American presidents being two of my spheres of particular ignorance. Otherwise an interesting, quirky crossword, lots of reverse or self-referential cryptics going on – harbourmaster, ruminant, infamy, parade ground.
    Interesting snippet about MASH – I’d always assumed Hawkeye was named after Benjamin Franklin.
  6. An early morning stroll in the Zoological Park here at Rainbow Bridge, Meldrewvia, close by the EIGHTEENth at Hong Qiao, my LOI at 9ac.

    FOI 1dn TREADWATER — the shopping mall off the M25 with the ginormous IKEA.

    COD 20ac HARBOURMASTER — with his Virgin Island ROADSTEAD at 14dn

    WOD 14dn ADUMBRATED with Franklin PIERCE a contender; America’s most obscure President who invented the ‘comb-over’.

    AOD 21dn TOPI

    Time: 32 minutes

    Edited at 2021-10-27 03:23 am (UTC)

  7. I got 1 Across right away, and then all its crossers and made steady progress from there. But SHEM was my LOI (after PIERCE), as the name occurred to me long before I remembered that he was a son of Noah. Some nice devices here, but seemed easier than yesterday’s. I briefly tripped over a couple of the British spellings.

    Edited at 2021-10-27 03:22 am (UTC)

  8. First, yes Jack, I got that as well.

    Held up at the end on 8dn, never knowingly having heard of SHEM. It sounded plausibly biblical though, and nothing else would have worked.

    Similarly, ADUMBRATED seemed the most likely arrangement of the anagrist. AMELIORATION was constructed in stages, and I completely missed the parsing of HAROURMASTER.

    Nice workout overall. Thanks Pip and setter.

  9. As with George, I spent several minutes trying to work out PIERCE / SHEM, the latter especially. Of course SHEM had been my first guess from the wordplay but if you’re not thinking about Biblical names, SHEM sounds like nonsense!
  10. Firstly, is anyone else seeing a message from LJ (a tip on referencing posters’ usernames) when the comment box first opens? I’ve never seen that before today.

    SOED has TEMPORAL as ‘temporary’ but says it’s now rare other than in the sense of pertaining to the present material world in contrast to a future existence and matters spiritual.

    I was delayed a little at the end having written SLIP at 8dn, arrived at from wordplay, and thinking of the slipway from which lifeboats are launched, but I had put a question mark in the margin as I wasn’t sure of it. The I-checker it provided as the last letter in 10ac looked increasingly unlikely so I later revisited and corrected it to SHEM whom I knew as one of the sons of Noah.

    Once that was in PIERCE came easily because he turned up as recently as August as one of the Presidents in a themed QC by Felix. Putting ‘Republican’ in the clue might have been devious had I known (which I didn’t) that he was a Democrat.

    1. Except in those days Pierce and the Democrats were all for Slavery!

      Edited at 2021-10-27 09:25 am (UTC)

  11. 18:35
    About as quick as I can go while simultaneously drinking frothy coffee and eating stollen. Fun puzzle – enjoyed it. Pierce took a while. NHO roadstead, but wp was generous.
    Thanks, pip, nice blog.
  12. … Lilacs out of the dead land, …

    25 mins pre-brekker. I had to construct the NHO Roadstead. I thought crossing an 1850s president with a minor biblical figure was a bit tricksy.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

    1. Well after the flood, according to the bible, there WERE only 8 survivors, and four of those were mere wives so get virtually no mention. … so calling Shem “minor” is perhaps a bit dismissive of one of your own ancestors

      Edited at 2021-10-27 04:38 pm (UTC)

  13. I had the same experience as George and Jeremy. After I’d discounted the usual articles of the, a and an, it took me about a quarter of my total time to come up with piece and thus get PIERCE and confirm SHEM. COD to INFAMY — very nice.
  14. I thought the setter had it in for me when I couldn’t parse infamy. I like it now you’ve explained it, thanks Pip.
    No trouble with ROADSTEAD. ‘Gage roads’ is the name of the anchorage off Fremantle.
    I semi-ninja turtled President Pierce. I knew there was an American named Ambrose Pierce, famous for God knows what, and thought he must have been the required POTUS. Turns out I got the name wrong, it was Ambose Bierce with a B, who wrote things. Nevertheless he got me to the correct solution, if by completely wrong reasoning. 18:21
    1. In the spirit of cryptic definitions, Abrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary is worth a quick Google
      1. It is one of the great works of literature. Among many gems my favourite is: “PATRIOT: a person who knows that his country is the best, because he happens to have been born in it”
  15. 47 minutes, the last five on the unknown antelope, and the previous two or three parsing the HARBOURMASTER. That was after I’d worked out PIERCE, making SHEM a write-in. I didn’t know ROADSTEAD, but the anagram and crossers led nowhere else. COD to RUMINANT. I liked PARADE GROUND as well. A mix of straightforward and tough. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2021-10-27 07:35 am (UTC)

  16. For me this felt tougher than the SNITCH would suggest. 1a went in right away, but after that the progress was sluggish throughout, with similar snagging points to others. I had no idea whatsoever how to parse EIGHTEEN, light relief came with COD RUMINANT.

    Finally, at the hour mark, found myself with A-A-I-A which I was convinced must be an AS- start. Filled in a stupid made-up-word answer, more out of frustration than hope, with no appetite for going past the hour mark. Consequently feeling slightly foolish – one to put down to experience. Thanks Pip and setter

    1. AS tempted me, too. It was a tough clue, two obscurities as Myrtilus says. I was lucky in being an engineer/mathematician (though haven’t heard “Arabic numbers” since about 1970s) and a caffeine addict, buying beans which advertise themselves as “100% arabica”. I don’t know what other sort of coffee beans exist.
      1. There are indeed four different types of coffee bean: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica & Excelsa – each with its own very different taste profile.

        Edited at 2021-10-27 09:33 am (UTC)

  17. A bit of a stroll in the park
    With two “rescue vessels” as “ark”
    With no reference to birds like the lark
  18. 45 but dnf — I was PIERCEd. I’ll learn from that. Found left side easier than right with NW going in quickly. Then got overconfident? Thank you all, I love the comments.
  19. Had to trust that PIERCE was a president and SHEM was related to Noah, and that nothing more complicated was going on with the unknown ABEAM. I remember TOPI as headwear but not as the animal, which held up the SW corner for a while, and I didn’t see how HARBOURMASTER worked. I also didn’t know that ROADSTEAD has a maritime meaning, but with the checkers it couldn’t have been anything else.

    An enjoyable crossword, so thanks to setter and blogger for the explanations.

    FOI Arc
    LOI Shem
    COD Tread water

  20. Just a note on Pierce. Not a highly rated president but not surprising considering personal his life.
  21. Me too with the user name thingy, Jack. Anyway, when I started this I thought, hmmm it’s our friend who wants us to add this, take that away, and stick back the number you first thought of! We had: hard to miss, no one, no good, not weak (agree with weak=w?) tailless and all not quite. A lot of mental exercise today. None the worse for that of course.

    48 mins. Very much liked HM, even more so now that Pip has explained it, and PARADE GROUND. DNK ADUMBRATED or TOPI but managed to work them out.

    Thanks Pip and setter. Very enjoyable.

  22. MUG and TREAD WATER went in first, closely followed by TEMPORAL. No dramas until I arrived at my last two, SHEM and PIERCE, which required deployment of the reserve neuron. Biffed HARBOURMASTER, liked RUMINANT. 27:21. Thanks setter and Pip.
  23. Having a day off today was helpful. I nailed this one in just under ten. COD was 10ac Pierce. My LOI was 9ac Eighteen. Rather Monday-ish.
  24. 14:03 LOI ARABICA. DNK the antelope knowing only the homonym hat, but trusted to the wordplay. More than our fair share of reverse cryptics today; PARADE GROUND my favourite of them, but cod to RUMINANT
  25. Yes jackkt I also got a message greyed out in the box you write in when posting.

    I think life peers are sometimes called the lords temporal (because they are only in the House of Lords temporarily), as opposed to the hereditary peers, which are there, or at any rate their families are, for ever.

    29 minutes although I have to admit to cheating on the antelope, of which I’d never heard. And I also cheated on the coffee, thinking it would be something like latte or cappuccino and realising how silly, because it was quite familiar.

    1. My understanding is that Lords Temporal consist of both life and hereditary peers. The contrast is with Lords Spiritual who are bishops – concerned with things beyond this temporary existence, assuming that they believe in God which is not a given with the clergy these days!
  26. 18.21 today, with a fair bit of time deducing PIERCE and (eventually) working out that the TOPIC was tailless not the antelope, though I don’t recall seeing the latter in Kruger National Park. Apparently it also goes under the names sassaby, tiang or tsessebe, possibly to avoid being confused with the hat.
    I did appreciate the high count of reverse cryptics today: we’re usually lucky to get one. Perhaps a sign of things to come in the evolution of the Times.
  27. PIERCE was my LOI – even though a few years ago I was a devotee of Pointless and learned about several presidents I’d never previously come across.

    RUMINANT raised a smile, as did the definition for APRIL. For 4d I had A?E? at the start and assumed that ‘declaration by priest’ would be AMEN, with AMEND- seeming a sensible beginning for a word meaning ‘making better’. Probably not a deliberate trap, but sent me barking up the wrong tree.

    The ‘hopelessly’ seems a bit unnecessary in 1d, but that’s my only minor quibble. A fine and imaginative puzzle. 6m 36s.

  28. Nice jog today, with some unknowns clearly shown by the cryptics. Disappointed that the setter didn’t mention Kenneth Williams in the INFAMY clue.
  29. Some more deftly clued words today, all of which happily fell into my very idiosyncratic definition of “general” knowledge (Pierce is one of those Presidents who is familiar to all list-learning quizzers, and well worth keeping up your sleeve in case you ever get accepted as a contestant on Pointless, along with the likes of Rutherford Hayes and Chester Arthur).

    Particularly enjoyed INFAMY, and astonished to have got this far into the thread without a mention of Kenneth Williams…

    edit: in the 2 minutes it took me to post this, both have now been mentioned, which makes me look even more foolish than usual

    Edited at 2021-10-27 10:38 am (UTC)

    1. Speed-posting is essential these days! However, you have never appeared to me to being the slightest foolish. My old friend Francis Howerd nicked the INFAMY line for ‘Up-Pompei’, but I suspect this was an age old Music Hall gag!
      1. The famous ‘infamy’ line is from ‘Carry On Cleo’ and was delivered by Kenneth Williams, not dear Francis. It originated in a ‘Take It From Here’ script by Muir and Norden and was lifted by Talbot Rothwell with full permission.
  30. About 50% done in 30 mins, gave up at the right time which is in itself a key skill.

    I like the new LJ capability, jackkt, you can do nice call-outs such as this. And thanks pipkirby for explaining those reverse cryptics, which always do my head in. INFAMY and HARBOURMASTER today well beyond me.


    1. I’m afraid the new facility is a waste of time, merlin, as bloggers are already notified by email when somebody responds. Also if you use the Reply option on any comment the person posting it will be notified. All this does is duplicate an existing system that works perfectly well, at least in the TfTT environment. It may have its uses elsewhere within Live Journal, but I wouldn’t know about that.
  31. A fine 45 minutes, but two wrong. I had EIGHTHED (which instead of ending with e’en, ends with the even letters of aT tHe EnD) and I invented a new antelope, the AOBI, from Any Other Business plus a tailless Is. Oh well. Roll on tomorrow.

    And yes, the comment box included a greyed out message saying Tip: You can write username to mention people

  32. …. and a bit surprised that I seem to be on my own in this. Never seen ‘w’ as an abbr for ‘weak’.


    1. Forgot to mention the MER at W = weak. Chambers has it in particle physics: W/weak boson is a hypothetical positive or negative, subatomic, massive (80.385 +/- 0.016 GeV/c2), charged particle responsible – in theory – for the weak nuclear force. That was 2011, but a quick google has CERN confirming it as real in 1983. Except then they say it needed the Higgs Boson to exist, and that was only discovered a few years ago.
      I think they’re making it all up 😉
    2. I was brought up on Horrobin’s ‘Japhet & Happy’ Annuals, which followed the
      Adventures of Mr. & Mrs. Noah and their animals from the News Chronicle.
      So along with my grandfather’s predeliction for the Old Testament, SHEM was a write-in.
    3. According to Chambers ‘w = weak’ is specifically related to physics. I also don’t recall seeing it before and Times crosswords are not generally given to using single-letter abbreviations that are not in very common usage.
  33. Late to the posting today as was trying to get a doctor’s appointment….eventually got one with the nurse practitioner, face-to-face.

    I knew PIERCE, eventually, from lists as mentioned.

    I once played SHEM’s wife in a school play, which helped, having toyed with ‘sark’. (I had to scream during the play, it was undoubtedly my best line.)

    27′ 41″, thanks pip and setter.

  34. Filled in clues pretty evenly around the grid without too much stop-start. The only unknown was ROADSTEAD as a word, but with all checkers, there wasn’t much else it might be – and I’d forgotten PIERCE as a president (I did have a book giving some details about all of the US presidents up to Clinton but haven’t read it for more than 20 years). Fortunately, SHEM remembered as a son of Noah (while still at school, I took part in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde — some things seem to stick), so PIERCE pieced together from all checkers.
  35. 15.07. I found this a pleasant, breezy solve. I was solving against the backdrop of a very noisy office environment today so pleased that I managed to maintain my concentration throughout. Roadstead was unknown and the unfamiliar Pierce crossing with Shem were temporal hiccups but fairly easily overcome.
  36. Shem should have been remembered as the father of the Semitic race (near-Eastern, e.g. Jews , Arabs etc.)
    Noah’s other sons were Ham (Hamitic = N.African) and Japheth (Japhetic = European) — I guess that the author of the Flood story knew nothing of the wider world.
    1. I’m sure he didn’t; but he also didn’t propose the idea of the 3 sons as founders of different ‘races’, although he does give tedious lists of descendants. The idea of Ham, who saw his father naked, being the cursed forefather of the black ‘race’, was used to justify slavery in the South.
    2. Well if you believe all that, there were only four survivors of the flood … plus four wives who barely rate any mention.
      Amazing, that we are still prepared to give it any houseroom. Perhaps it is because we are so inbred?
  37. Did well to get to 40 minutes with only three left. Then spent an inordinate length of time to get eighteen and to fail to get pierce and shem. I don’t feel embarrassed to fail to remember the names of Noah’s sons but to fail to think of a three letter word for edge is not my finest moment. Still don’t think I would have got the unknown president with all the checkers.
    Was particularly pleased to see the two reverse cryptics, infamy and parade ground, but had no idea what was going on with harbourmaster. Thanks pipkirby for the explanation and for the rest of your blog and to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle.
  38. Knew SHEM, but not PIERCE. A nice puzzle. INFAMY, ARABIC and HARBOURMASTER the pick of the bunch for me. ADUMBRATED and AMELIORATION, both lovely words.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

  39. Bit slower today — 35 mins bogged down in SW and NE. The unknown Pierce / Shem crosser was a knotty problem especially having desperately tried to find animals beginning with s.

    As yesterday excellent clueing, loved ruminant and dissemination but chapeau to harbourmaster.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  40. Around 30 mins. Quite a toughie I thought with my last one in being arabica- toyed with asarica for a while but inspiration struck just in time, though to be honest it wasn’t due to parsing merely knowing arabica was a coffee.

    Never quite convinced on eighteen so glad to see w is the new abbreviation of weak. Seems it should be multipurpose if that’s the case.

    Ditto with harbourmaster but couldn’t have been anything else. Saw Topi in the Serengeti so that at least was one clue I didn’t have to perspire over.

  41. 16:45 late this afternoon. A mix of some straightforward and some rather clever clues (e.g. 23 ac “ruminant” and 25 ac “infamy”) and a few minor obscurities such as 8 d “Shem” and LOI the increasingly, it would appear, “infamous Pierce”.
    Entered my COD 20 ac “harbour master” without parsing.
    Thanks Pip for the elucidation and for an entertaining blog and to setter..
  42. I consider it unreasonable that an obscure,log dead American politician should feature in the London Times crossword, especially with such unhelpful checkers. According to Wikipedia “Historians and scholars generally rank Pierce as one of the worst and least memorable U.S. presidents.” Least memorable would be underlined if I could. Stephen
  43. 36 minutes, so not too hard. Although I enjoyed clues like RUMINANT and INFAMY and the references to a certain rescue vessel, there were a few too many in this puzzle for my taste. Franklin PIERCE was not a problem, but he is a rather obscure president for a British puzzle — one horrifying fact that sticks out about him is that he lost his 11-year old son in a horrifying train accident (a derailment) in 1853.
  44. A day late, but much enjoyed. Thanks for explaining harbourmaster. No problem with Shem or Pierce, though I couldn’t have said exactly when he was president. I was vaguely aware of the sea-faring sense of ‘roads’ – and i see now it’s short for roadstead.

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