Times 28132 – and he dropped it!

Solving time: 17:01 – though with the pink square syndrome as I had a very silly typo. I will admit, other things were on my mind tonight as I just found a spec script I wrote has been approved for development into a play, so I went out to celebrate. A large number of drinks later, I am not in the finest solving form, but I think I have everything worked out here. The early solvers do not appear to have lightning times, so I suspect this is on the more difficult end of the solving spectrum.

I will be passed out when most of the comments come in, so check the comments if you have a question. I will add a postscript in the morning, most likely during the nail-biting Australia vs Pakistan semi-final in the smacky-smacky series.

Today is Armistice Day. Three of my cousins and my brother-in-law served or currently serve in the Australian armed services. Lest we forget.

Away we go…

1 Starts joint exit illicitly during service (4,4)
JUMP SHIP – JUMPS(starts), HIP(joint)
5 Tap on bottom that may disturb one’s rest (6)
BEDBUG – BUG(tap) next to BED(bottom)
9 Son, no longer effective, determined to quit (5,3)
SWORN OFF – S(son) and WORN OFF(no longer effective)
10 From which “mother” dispenses liquid, note, and a drug (6)
TEAPOT – TE(musical note), and A POT(drug)
12 Succeeded in winning holiday that begins and ends here? (7,5)
LANDING STRIP – S(succeeded) inside LANDING(winning), TRIP(holiday)
15 Party reflected my family’s quality (5)
ODOUR – DO(party) reversed, then OUR(my family’s)
16 Large university with originality, but no energy, raking in money (9)
LUCRATIVE – L(large), U(univeristy) then CREATIVE(with originality) missing the first E
18 Composer‘s new edition with tango and waltz, finally (9)
DONIZETTI – anagram of EDITION with T(tango) and the last letter of waltZ
19 Weaken a magnet when picked up (5)
ABATE – A, then sounds like BAIT(magnet)
20 With two runs failing, could cute programmer produce it? (8,4)
COMPUTER GAME – anagram of CUTE,PROGRAMMER minus two R’s
24 Twice old guards left Iberian city (6)
OPORTO – O and O(olds) containing PORT(left)
25 Careless pugilist punching explorer in the dark (8)
CAVALIER – Muhammad ALI(pugilist) inside CAVER(explorer in the dark)
26 Poser, easy one (6)
SITTER – double definition, and my typo
27 Roof opening to allow passage of beams (8)
SKYLIGHT – cryptic definition
1 Barely fitting (4)
JUST – double definition
2 Low bar ultimately fell (4)
MOOR – MOO(low) and the last letter of baR
3 Regular winter visitor on voyage told of Californian resort (5,4)
SANTA CRUZ – the regular winter visitor is SANTA claus, then sounds like CRUISE. I’ve been there, and if you haven’t been, you aren’t missing much
4 Treacheries scuppered if I listened in, mostly (12)
6 What’s the betting contracted game won’t start? (5)
EVENS – the contracted game is SEVENS, remove the first letter
7 Multinational blocked by current worker involving two factions (10)
BIPARTISAN – the multinatonal is BP. Insert I(current), then ARTISAN(worker)
8 Heartless harassed men on board lose control (2,2,6)
GO TO PIECES – remove the middle letter from GOT TO(harassed), then PIECES(men on board)
11 Being critical of second boozer’s action (8,4)
KNOCKING BACK – KNOCKING(being critical of), BACK(second)
13 Vitriolic sodium or calcium symbolically mixed (10)
MORDACIOUS – anagram of SODIUM, OR, CA(calcium)
14 Request for exemption from noble marquise on vacation abroad (5,2,3)
COUNT ME OUT – COUNT(noble), then M(arquis)E, OUT(abroad)
17 Early warning, marine style, with justification (5,4)
ALARM CALL – marine style would be A LA RM, then CALL(justification)
21 Release article rejected by BBC (5)
UNTIE – remove A(article) from AUNTIE(BBC)
22 Band from north in fix (4)
RING – N(north) inside RIG(fix)
23 Worry about featuring in paper (4)
FRET – RE(about) inside FT(paper)

55 comments on “Times 28132 – and he dropped it!”

  1. About my average time, and felt like that. I biffed BIPARTISAN and COUNT ME OUT, parsing post-submission. DNK MORDACIOUS. LOI JUMP SHIP, where I took ‘Starts joint’ to be just J; it didn’t help that in fact J starts. A fairly garden-variety puzzle.
  2. Yay! Got to this one early enough to post right after Kevin!
    I had the left side all filled in before there was anything on the right but FRET (with INFIDELITIES almost the FOI). Finally crossed the Continental Divide (to use a US-centric metaphor) on the LANDING STRIP.
    MORDACIOUS seemed previously unknown.

    Edited at 2021-11-11 04:20 am (UTC)

  3. MORDACIOUS took a bit of thought to get the letters in the right place for a word that seemed likely but I’ve NHO. But the bottom right was a disaster since I put KNOCKING DOWN and ALARM BELL. Eventually, I realized that SKYLIGHT had to be even though it didn’t match the checkers, and then finally I could get ALI into CAVALIER (ALI being the only boxer who ever appears) to finish. Enjoyable but not as special as the one earlier this week (Monday?).
  4. Congrats on your achievement, George! At 21 minutes this must be the nearest I ever got to your solving time, so I hope you have more reasons to go out celebrating on blogging days as the project develops.

    I also solved in exactly half vinyl1’s time, which must be a first. There were very few clues where the answer didn’t go in at the first attempt though I wobbled a bit on SWORN OFF and MORDACIOUS which I wasn’t sure was an actual word. I thought later of being ‘SWORN OFF drink for the next month’ and that sounded right though it would not be welcome in my case!

    I wondered if the appearance of DONIZETTI indicated the puzzle might be by the Don himself, but it doesn’t feel like one of his – far too easy, for one thing.

    1. Impossible: no ecclesiastical clues, no chemistry and no single word at the end you can’t get cos you’ve never heard of it and the parsing is bloody difficult!
  5. Congratulations to George and the Kiwis.

    Looking forward to the match tonight. Could be a high-scoring cracker in Dubai. (Even if it is porn…)

  6. My LOI was 5ac BEDBUG which at first I thought might be JETLAG, until the swingers from Belgrade tipped-up.

    FOI 2dn MOOR



    I initially surmised GAUSS at 19ac but it was ABATE — unfortunately!

  7. Like vinyl I struggled to see BEDBUG and spent time wondering how teabag could fit the clue. Maybe I was influenced by the TEAPOT directly below. LOI SWORN OFF which also took some time to see, with an alphabet trawl of the fourth letter then the second letter performed before the penny finally dropped.
  8. Pleased to finish this in under the hour.
    For a while I wondered if 5ac was going to be TEABAG to match TEAPOT in 10ac. I also toyed with ALARM BELL for a while.
  9. Reasonably fun solve, though it turned a bit sticky towards the end.

    FOI TEAPOT then steady progress in various parts of the grid, and the last 15 mins consumed by about 5 recalcitrant entries. Spent quite a while trying to construct a composer’s name with two Os and one T (tango … finally) but eventually even my meagre knowledge of classical music was sufficient, and I figured out the clue properly.
    Biffed a few:
    – ABATE because I never realise “picked up” can mean homophone, rather than reversed
    – BEDBUG because “tap” = BUG is opaque to me even now
    – OPORTO out of sheer relief, when I came up with any valid word to fit the grid O-O-T-

    LOI MOOR, an obvious write-in when POI JUMP SHIP was entered. Great to get a completion before the (scheduled) morning stroll with friend – thanks George and setter.

    Edited at 2021-11-11 07:37 am (UTC)

  10. She has deceived her father, and may thee.

    15 mins pre-brekker, so I must have my mojo back after yesterday’s DNF.
    No dramas. Minor eyebrow twitching at ‘quality’, ‘magnet’ and ‘justification’ but there was no ‘call’ for it.
    Thanks setter and G.

    1. Snap on the mers. Not quite MERs, but I sure didn’t think of them until crossers forced me to.
  11. 42 minutes with LOI the relatively straightforward TEAPOT, so I’m standing here in dismay with hands on both hips. I constructed MORDACIOUS when I had sufficient crossers to make it the most promising candidate. It took a while to convince myself that SWORN OFF was an expression. COD to CAVALIER although I was disappointed I couldn’t get POTHOLER to work. I think I should have picked COMPUTER GAME but I can’t stand the things, one of the perils of being an old father. An excellent puzzle. Thank you George and setter. Yes, we will remember them.

    Edited at 2021-11-11 08:16 am (UTC)

  12. DONIZETTI did not RING a bell
    The FRET over BEDBUG was hell
    Although MOOR was too easy
    And SITTER’s JUST cheesy
    COMPUTER GAME worked very well
  13. 16:06. I thought this average difficulty and my personal NITCH of 100 bears this out. DNK MORDACIOUS, but the checkers and thinking of “mordant” got me there. My last two SWORN OFF and CAVALIER were the ones to hold me up today. I liked the cute programmer. Thank-you George and setter.
  14. Well… there really should be a composer with that name… ho hum… hoping for a clean sheet tomorrow!
          1. I did… in the late 70s in the Sydney Opera House… at least that is what my Ma tells me… I only just remember it. Sorry to be such a philistine!
  15. I hr and 2 mins. I found this a bit of a struggle, and was definitely off wavelength. LOsI BEDBUG and BIPARTISAN. Not that difficult now I look back at them. Also took an age to complete the SE corner (I too had ALARM BELL). I liked TEAPOT.

    Thanks G and setter.

  16. A light orange on the SNITCH shows that I was off wavelength, largely due to ages trying to justify ABASE (which doesn’t even mean the right thing) and the lack of alarm bells for the incorrect ALARM BELL. Like most, NHO MORDACIOUS and I don’t expect to meet it again any time soon.

    JUMPS HIP reminded me of Joe Jacksons’s Jumping Jive band, which I had the great pleasure of seeing live once. Brilliant players all, and how can you fail with songs like Five Guys Named Mo and Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby?

    Edited at 2021-11-11 09:00 am (UTC)

  17. 23.15 today, stretched by the ALARM CALL/CAVALIER crossing. CALL and justification wouldn’t meet anywhere my interior thesaurus recognised, until after I submitted and realised there was no call for such hesitation.
    Otherwise MORDACIOUS because there was no other way of fitting in the letters, SKYLIGHT once I abandoned the search for wordplay, and a switch from SWORN OUT to OFF once the treacherous clue didn’t work.
    I missed the parsing of LUCRATIVE, somehow imagining it was a clever clue in which you took out the letters of energy from large university before anagramming. Believe me, you really have to squint to manage that.
    Congratulations to our playwright in residence!
  18. Careful parsing / justification needed today — nho MORDACIOUS, didn’t get tap = BUG ( though it seems obvious now), CAVALIER LOI despite recent cave rescue news.

    It is indeed Armistice Day, and tonight I am delivering a webinar on some of those who served and died, specifically the fifteen who lived in one street nearby. Lest we forget.

    Thanks george and setter.

  19. Seems like quite a good time today, judging against Jason, which is a rash thing to do and normally humbling. Didn’t approve of “no energy” to remove just one of the E’s in CREATIVE, but thought rest was well worked and needed careful attention. Particularly admired wordplay of CAVALIER. Many thanks to setter (no sitter in my books) and blogger.
  20. Needed two goes at this, but at the second attempt the remaining clues (mostly in the NE corner) fell into place pretty quickly. Once I saw BIPARTISAN, seconds later I got TEAPOT and then ABATE, and then I finally saw that the definition for 9a was ‘determined to quit’ rather than just ‘quit’ and figured out SWORN OFF.

    I didn’t parse CAVALIER at all and I couldn’t have told you what MORDACIOUS means before today, but otherwise there were no major problems.

    FOI Moor
    LOI Sworn off
    COD Santa Cruz

  21. Had to have half-time tea in my 70 mins. (But no extra-time or pens). Slow going but last few went in quickly. FOI MOOR, LOI EVENS. MORDACIOUS ok when I remembered calcium is Ca not just C. Thanks to setter et al.
  22. I found myself on the wavelength for this one. MOOR went straight in, and although nothing else in the NW jumped out at me, EVENS got me going in the NE, quickly followed by GO TO PIECES, BIPARTISAN and TEAPOT. I put BEDBUG in but couldn’t parse it and took it out until later, when I still didn’t manage to parse it. Obvious now of course! Eventually I returned to the NW and SWORN OFF led to INFIDELITIES, JUMP SHIP and JUST, which just left me to rearrange the letters of 13d into a feasible order, making MORDACIOUS my LOI. 19:57. Thanks setter and George. Congrats on the script George!
  23. Definitely felt on the wavelength today, but sadly not enough to know who DONIZETTI was. DINOZETTI, anyone? 5m 24s with that annoying error.
  24. Very typical Times crossword, NITCH of 103, and the clues a model of clarity and conciseness (though I agree about the missing E in CREATIVE). We smug classicists will have been happy with MORDACIOUS, though it should have been guessable from MORDANT, i.e. literally “biting”. COD to BEDBUG for the arresting image.
  25. Fairly tricky end to what promised to be an easy one, led astray by having ALARM BELL at first making 25a impossible, and GANG for 22. Once that was all put right and CAVALIER arrived, I had passed the 30 minutes. I liked OPORTO and knew DONIZETTI wrote Lucia di whatsit.
    Feeling sad today after England blew it v. NZ, unlike Jordan to bowl so badly and let the Kiwis hit those sixes at the end. Just hope Pakistan can see off those Aussies, before Sunday’s final.
  26. Under the weather this morning after a feverish night from the booster shot. When it was all done I’m not sure why it should have been such a struggle. Congratulations George and let us know if it’s coming this way – on or off Bway. 24.06
  27. Two biffs (GANG instead of RING, LEAVE ME OUT) slowed me down somewhat today, making CAVALIER difficult to get, though the Z of DONIZETTI was enough to revisit LEAVE.

    In the NE, it took a long time to see past SUPERGIANT for the multinational with the P R and I checkers in place and thinking I ANT for current worker, which in turn screwed BEDBUG. Seeing EVENS earlier may have made things easier.

  28. 5 minutes — over the hour! Too tempted by knocking copy or even shop before back occurred to me, also swayed by alarm bells 🔔 until put right by CAVALIER. Shoot off or slope off for quit instead of determined to quit, I didn’t much like ODOUR for quality, and whilst I got BUG for tap it took a long time. On the other hand, I had no problem with MORDACIOUS. Thanks for filling in some of my parsing gaps G, and for the timely reminder of today’s significance, which I saw just before 11:00. Thanks for their (our) service.
  29. 48 minutes, with some cheating at the end because I just couldn’t see BEDBUG or BIPARTISAN. MORDACIOUS had to be, although I’ve nho it. Liked the definition at 1ac. DONIZETTI was obvious, and I was amazed that anybody could think it was anything else — but then the people on Only Connect are far brighter than I am and in the music round know all these pop songs that I’ve never heard of. By the way, am I the only person who is irritated by VCM’s tiresome little sneer when it is indicated? Not to mention her many other sources of irritation.
  30. 38:43 for a good right-in-the-middle puzzle today. Pretty much the same experience as others. FOI TEAPOT, LOI the NHO MORDACIOUS but only because I just left it right to the end to write in. I’m usually here on my phone so I never knew until today how much bigger and better it looks on a laptop. Wow
  31. Enjoyable solve, with the NE corner last to fall as the checkers gradually went in. Don’t recall coming across MORDACIOUS in English, but retained enough classical knowledge to enter it with the requisite smugness. Well done on the script, George, it’s a shame your cricket team let you down so badly in the semi-final / final (subs, please check and edit as appropriate)
  32. I see it’s an anagram clue
    Never heard of so what can I do
    This is something our setter
    Should clue rather better
    Please will you think this one through?

    As usual, my knowledge of composers is almost nil, so to Duck Duck Go I go. (Hate Google)
    And as for MORDACIOUS…..

      1. I’ll do more. Probably every time classical musician comes up. I’m a folkie, why do they have to be so highbrow all the time?!
  33. Got off to a slow start but the clues gradually responded to effort. By half an hour had the left hand half completed. With the checkers the right was much quicker until NE left me with bedbug, evens, bipartisan and abate. Confused by having both ‘contracted’ and ‘won’t start’ as indicators for removing the first letter of sevens.
    COD bedbug for its elegant simplicity.
    NHO mordacious but it had to be.
    Like Kevin, I was misled by ‘starts joint’ leading to a ‘J’. Clever clueing.
    This may be the first time that I have completed a puzzle correctly more quickly than some other commenters. Surprising how rewarding that feels!
    Thanks to the setter and to our blogger. (I’m always in awe of the bloggers but to do this after a few drinks….)
    1. I think contracted is a description of the actual game – only a few players on the field, not the full complement.
      1. Thanks. That’s a good thought. It could also apply to the name. I’m so used to sevens, I forgot that technically it is rugby sevens.
  34. 11:12. I started very slowly on this but gradually picked up speed before slowing down again at the end. NHO MORDACIOUS but it seemed likely. Like some others I was also waylaid by an ALARM BELL.
    Congrats on the play George.
  35. 45 minutes but one awful error — I could only see “Jump Suit” for 1a so entered that knowing it felt wrong. Dearie me.
    Apart from that, enjoyed the puzzle.
  36. I hope Australia beat Pakistan in the pseudocricket semi tonight. But it’s not starting well.
    LOI BEDBUG, like others I wondered about TEABAG. Primed for it because TEAPOT was already in?
  37. Got there in the end, but needed some help with Bipartisan (wasn’t expecting a named company for multinational) and Abate (just couldn’t recall the word). The parsing of Alarm Call was also beyond me. Pleased to get the unknown Mordacious, and a couple of nice pdms with Moor and Teapot. Slowly making progress. Invariant
  38. About 45 minutes, with some tricky definitions (quality/odour, bait/magnet, call/justification) offset by extremely fair cryptics. And a bit of wit. I mostly liked Moor, because I remembered low/moo quickly and so felt on top of my game.
  39. Isn’t that the setter’s signature? There might also be NZ 26acs named ‘Bedbug’ and ‘Teapot’, if only they could have handles. My COD to 13dn Mordacious – biting sarcasm.
  40. 26.45. Definitely on the trickier side for me. Didn’t help myself by having infiedlities in for a time.
  41. 51 minutes. When my children were small they had nightshirts saying “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the BEDBUGs bite”; so why did I find that so hard? (And I see I was not alone). That was not quite my LOI, EVENS was. BIPARTISAN also took ages to parse. And even for the “mother” the penny dropped very slowly. Otherwise it was not a very remarkable puzzle.

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