Times 28137 – a puzzle with teeth – grrrr!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I thought this was the best, and hardest, Wednesday puzzle for quite a while (since 28083 in fact), with hardly a poor clue among the thirty. Fortunately I’d seen the answers to 3d and 11a before else I might have struggled more; as it was, 29a was unknown to me but a fine clue once I had it sorted. I don’t have a solving time as I was interrupted a couple of times, but it certainly exceeded 30 minutes. Thank you, Mr Setter, I take Ma Hat off to you.

1 Abrasive having advantage over the timid? (6)
PUMICE – PU (UP, advantage, reversed), MICE (the timid). My FOI.
4 What’s white and sparkling as teeth? (8)
CHAMPERS – brilliant double definition.
10 Catches held in serious practice session (9)
REHEARSAL – HEARS (catches) inside REAL (serious).
11 Lemur revealed in signs Darwin oddly ignored (5)
INDRI – an animal I remembered, found in the alternate letters of s I g N s D a R w I n.
12 Means to get hold of rudely fit swimmer (7)
CATFISH – CASH (means, money) has (FIT)* inserted.
13 Poet, having released book, remains active (7)
EMERSON – EMBERS (remains) loses its B, then ON for active. I vaguely remembered this American poet because of his odd middle name, WALDO, but didn’t get him until I had all the checkers, then deduced how it was constructed. A bit too TLS, if you ask me.
14 City — it sits in quite nice area (5)
OSAKA – Well, once I had O-A-A, the choice of cities became limited (to two, OMAHA and the right one). SA (sex appeal, IT) goes inside OK (nice) A (area). But I needed to get 1d first.
15 Grant say for keeping young sheep round in group (8)
CATEGORY – It took me a while to realise ‘grant’ wasn’t the definition; here he’s CARY Grant and he has TEG (a young sheep, two years old) and O (round) inserted. I wanted TUP at first but that’s a ram.
18 Ancient governor reverses positions coming into Asian city (8)
AGRICOLA – well there were a few Romans of inportance called Agricola, but one was Governor of Roman Britain; I remembered him from Latin O Level nearly sixty years ago. AGRA (city in India, site of Taj Mahal) has LOCI (positions) reversed, inserted.
20 Liberal as paradigm taking out erstwhile partner (5)
AMPLE – EXAMPLE (paradigm) loses EX (erstwhile partner). If you knew that erstwhile means former, you were going to find this easier to solve.
23 Official in trouble breaking strike (7)
BAILIFF – AIL (trouble) inside BIFF (strike). An easy one, by the standards of this puzzle.
25 To set off, cartoon cat crosses river (7)
TRIGGER – TIGGER (as the cartoon cat selling Frosties cereal, and in The House at Pooh Corner and then the Disney cartoon) has R for river inside. Fortunately top of mind, as one of our previous standard poodles was aptly named Tigger because of his habit of bouncing excessively (he once bounced through a high open window on to our dinner table, to the horror / amusement of the guests). I tried to work with TOM for a while as in Tom and Jerry, but TO****M wasn’t productive. EDIT as pointed out below, the Frosties cat was Tony tiger not Tigger, my faulty memory.
26 Spenser’s enough to keep duke and bequeath permanent income (5)
ENDOW – I was able to put a D into ENOW which sounded like an old fashioned spelling of ‘enough’. I had no idea whether Spenser wrote poems with ‘enow’ featuring; no doubt one of our super-literate solvers (Olivia perhaps?) can clarify.
27 Clean out potty with iodine to prevent infection (9)
INOCULATE – (CLEAN OUT I)*. Another brilliantly relevant surface.
28 Tasters in a mixture masking new pungency (8)
29 Magnificent group, as an example, needs leader to accept point (6)
HEPTAD – My LOI for which I confess I needed an aid to trawl the 33 or so words which fitted *E*T*D. Once I found that a heptad was a group of seven the penny dropped and I groaned and remembered the “Magnificent Seven” movie and music; I should have seen it faster because I was once involved in making a TV ad for a soft drink using the theme. The word play is simple enough – PT inside HEAD (leader) but I failed to see it until afterwards.

1 Means to enter with surgery to save Kelvin’s rib (4,4)
PORK CHOP – PORCH (means to enter) OP (surgery), insert K for Kelvin (as in degrees Kelvin). My pork chops are not always ribs, it’s a bit vague, but a nice bit of word play.
2 Sage Derby perhaps feeding old women? (7)
MAHATMA – I thought of Derby = HAT first, then arrived at MA HAT MA, and vaguely recalled that, aside from the celebrated Ghandi version, a Mahatma was a general term (in fact Sanskrit) for a spiritual and learned person.
3 Big noise in sedan with one delayed going over states (9)
CHARIVARI – Fortunately, I remembered this word from the last of several times I’ve seen it in crosswordland, otherwise I’d never have got it from wordplay. CHAIR (sedan) has its I moved back (delayed) then add Virgina and Rhone Island = VA RI. If you’re still in the dark about “big noise” read here.
5 Patronising hot and bothered author in hotel (6-4-4)
6 Corn one stored in puzzling place (5)
MAIZE – I inside MAZE.
7 Frenchman taking in French south upset ultimate consumer? (3,4)
END USER – our crossword Frenchman RENE makes another appearance here, having SUD (French for south) inserted to make RESUDNE and then all reversed (upset).
8 Very thin air that surrounds watering hole (6)
SKINNY – SKY (air) around INN (watering hole).
9 Witches for Salem endlessly travelling by direct route (2,3,4,5)
AS THE CROW FLIES – like me, you probably biffed this in, then worked out which fodder you needed to anagram. It’s (WITCHES FOR SALE)* without the M of Salem.
16 Acknowledgement given in Greek view expressed (9)
GRATITUDE – GR (Greek) then ATITUDE sounds like ATTITUDE = view expressed.
17 Help to turn round ultimately tiresome day (8)
BEFRIEND – BEND (turn) goes around E (end of tiresome) FRI (day). I didn’t much like help as a definition for befriend, but the wordplay works well enough.
19 Smile expensive when losing a tooth (7)
GRINDER – GRIN (smile) DE(A)R = expensive losing A.
21 Insect shouldering leaf in elaborate display (7)
PAGEANT – PAGE (leaf) above ANT (insect).
22 Sailor posted away (6)
ABSENT – AB (sailor) SENT (posted).
24 American radio wanting shows (5)
IOWAN – hidden as above. I wondered about INCAN (IN CAN, ready to show, wanting shows) then saw I was over-thinking it and W was the middle letter.

82 comments on “Times 28137 – a puzzle with teeth – grrrr!”

  1. Great puzzle, and I really enjoyed the battle, but in the end it came down to what letter might go into CHARI_ARI. I eventually chose G.

    My fault I know for lacking the GK, but it would have been nice to have been given a chance.

    HEPTAD was pretty good wasn’t it?

    Thanks Pip and setter.

    1. You were given a chance … you could have read Punch magazine, as I did, which had a whole column by that name 🙂
    2. Was I the only one to have Nicea (an ancient Greek city in northwestern Anatolia) as a hidden word answer to 14a? Thus messing up the NW corner!!!!?
  2. Another tough one, which I wasn’t sure I’d finish; LOI BEFRIEND took me a few minutes. I biffed 5d and 9d, assuming the anagrist was there and only checking post-submission. Also biffed END USER, and demi-biffed CHARIVARI (got the VA RI after submitting). I thought of Tom, too, but it wasn’t promising; DNK the cereal cat (he’s Tony the Tiger in the US). I thought of the Magnificent Seven right away, but never thought of HEPTAD (POI) until I had the E and T. “Spenser’s enough” was enough to get ENDOW; Spenser was given to using words that were already archaic back then, although I believe ‘enow’ was still in use (I think Shakespeare uses it). EMERSON wrote poems–his ‘Concord Hymn’ is in anthologies (Here once the embattled farmers stood/And fired the shot heard round the world)–but he’s known for his essays and his Transcendentalist philosophy.
  3. Tough. Started badly thinking 1ac would end SHY e.g. bolshy or similar. Last 2 in befriend where help as a definition didn’t; and heptad where again the definition didn’t help, but my fault this time for not making the Magnificent Seven connection. Seemed a bit obscure in places – less to my liking than Pip’s. Emerson biffed not seeing embers as remains. Charivari remembered from crosswords past. Teg, enow… seemed like they could be words. I was stuck on Sylvester for the cat.
    Liked the two teeth clues best.
  4. I gave up with the unchs unfilled white space in Charivari. I liked Heptad and Champers for the wit, and pretty much everything else for the tight cluing.

    As Kevin noted — RWEmerson has one or two well-known poems and a larger number of essays. His house, now a museum, is about a mile from Ms p_in_l’s home in Concord MA (the Old North Bridge, where the shot heard round the world was fired, is about half way in between). But mostly if Emerson had lost his pen before he ever wrote anything, offices all over the world would have been spared a great many motivational posters: “Life is a journey, not a destination”; “Without ambition, one starts nothing”. And etc.

    Edited at 2021-11-17 02:17 am (UTC)

    1. A bit unfair to RWE: he was perhaps America’s first intellectual, a major influence on thought in the US. A major bore, I grant you, but.
      1. “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.” RWE
        I’m figuring grades of A, A+, D- for my comment. (though I’d up the D- to a B+ if I could find an image of a poster with that quotation on it)

  5. At which point began my befuddled attempts to fill in C _ A _ I _ A _ I. I eventually got ‘sedan’ = CHAIR, but that only got me as far as CHA _ I _ ARI. Rhode Island was a gimme, so I had CHARI _ ARI. The problem here is that, if you don’t know the word, why couldn’t it be CHARICARI (California, as I guessed) or CHARILARI? (Louisiana) Or CHARIGARI? (Georgia) Or CHARIWARI? (Washington) Or CHARIIARI? (Iowa) Okay, I suppose that last one is not realistic, but I had no chance of getting the answer right, and honestly CHARICARI had a charm to it so I thought it might be right. Oh well!

    EDIT: I should leave my complaining aside to add that I thought this was an excellent puzzle and really enjoyed it. Always bummed to not finish, though.

    Edited at 2021-11-17 02:41 am (UTC)

    1. Further complicated by the fact that it also could have been C_A_IHARI. At that point I realised my chances of a correct guess were slim.

      Of course now that I’ve seen it a thousand times it seems obvious. And it’s bound to come up again one day, when we’ll both slap it in with an off-handed smugness that will make up for today’s frustration.

      Unless we forget.

    2. …or CHARIPARI (Pennsylvania), or CHARIMARI (Massachusetts). (The origin of the word is unknown, and I’ve only heard it pronounced ‘shivaree’.) Perhaps not the fairest of clues.
    3. I’m very late to this because I didn’t get time to solve it on Wednesday, but just popping in to express sympathy and say that I think this clue is ridiculously unfair for the reasons you explain. It should never have made it through the editing process IMO. And I say that knowing the word from past puzzles.
      1. Perhaps perhaps perhaps. In retrospect I wish I hadn’t written this rant: now it’s even more likely I will misremember the word the next time I see it!!
  6. Friday came early this week! Quite a workout. After recent blunders I carefully parsed everything ( except CATEGORY- thanks Pip!) and laboriously checked the final grid for typos. LOI CHARIVARI, which produced the faintest tinkling of a bell rather than a big noise. I saw the sedan chair and trawled for the correct US state abbreviations to stumble upon it. Recently reading Mary Beard’s SPQR helped get AGRICOLA quickly. 32:41
  7. 45 minutes for all but HEPTAD which I gave up on as there were so obviously too many possible words that fitted to embark on an alphabet trawl – 46 actually, as I discovered later. I had thought of The Magnificent Seven immediately on reading the clue the first time but was unable to find anything in the wordplay to lead me toward HEPTAD and make the connection.

    Elsewhere I learned that BEFRIEND can involve giving assistance whereas I had always thought it meant nothing more than making friends with.

    I wasn’t entirely happy with TRIGGER as Tigger is a character in a book i.e. Winnie the Pooh, and not a cartoon cat just because Disney bought some rights and made some vulgar film adaptations. I never heard of Tigger on a cereal packet either. He was Tony the Tiger here too, at least in the days when I used to eat the stuff.

    I knew CHARIVARI, and not just because it has turned up here before.

    I’m feeling grumpy as I was solving a Sudoku last night (8020 rated as Tough though I usually only do Deadly) which inexplicably went off the rails. On checking the solution to find my error I found that several rows in the revealed solution contained two 9’s and some of the numbers in the cages didn’t add up to the given totals. What a waste of time!

    Edited at 2021-11-17 04:00 am (UTC)

  8. Was the first thing I thought of but one of my last in, of which there were several! Wonderful puzzlement and like Pip would nominate it as the best of 2021, so far.
    My time was the same as Jack’s yesterday.

    FOI 22dn ABSENT

    LOI 1dn PORK CHOP after I sought —— CODE making DHAKA the city which it clearly wasn’t.

    COD 29ac HEPTAD — magnificent!

    WOD 3dn CHARIVARI a gimme as ‘Punch Magazine’ was formerly known as ‘The London Charivari’, to which my grandfather was a contributor back before the First War. A Charivari is a cacophony of Italian cats. A cat’s chorus.

    There were some other goodies hereabouts, 2dn MAHATMA with the misdirection to cheese; 12ac CATFISH and 24dn IOWAN where I sought an unspeakable homophone.

    Edited at 2021-11-17 03:14 am (UTC)

    1. CHARIVARI, once I had a few crossers, was a write in for me as well, as to my left is a bookcase with an almost complete set of Punches from 1900 to 1930. Could you tell me what name your grandfather wrote under, I would love to dig a few out to read, that is so long as I don’t get side tracked and re-read all the A.A. Milne ones about the Rabbits.
      1. Hi Tim, my grandfather Hedley A. Mobbs was not a writer, but a cartoonist. The only one I have the original artwork for is from early 1912 (from memory possibly 1913). It shows an unfortunate motorcyclist attempting to fix his broken-down machine in the middle of nowhere. A passing ‘diddycoy’ is asking if he wishes to buy…….. – well see if you can find it. I’m sorry I can’t be more precise about the date, presently.
        1. Thanks for the info Horryd. When my grandfather died and my grandmother moved to a smaller house in Rutland (Pip knows the original) she gave me her bound volumes of Punch from 1845 to 1945 and I still have them although they are in storage at the moment. Once I get them out I’ll have a look for any Hedley Mobbs cartoons and let you know what I find.
        2. Hello Horryd. Oh dear. I have the full 1913 volume and the Jan-June 1912 but I am afraid you grandfather does not appear as a contributor, I am missing the July-Dec 1912, blame my great grandfather. However having googled your grandfather it would suggest that he contributed more than one cartoon, or sketches as they called them then, did he do it under a pseudonym? Boston Eh, so that’s why you have that weird love of samphire. When I get the chance I will go through both volumes to see if the drawing you describe is there.
  9. Yes, this one had CHAMPERS and GRINDER(s) aplenty. No time as I had a couple of interruptions (= sleeps) but would have been about just on the hour. Satisfying to work everything out except for the ‘states’ bit of CHARIVARI. I also thought of “seven” straight away for my COD, 29a, but then spent a long time doing the translation and working out the “simple enough” wordplay. This then gave me BEFRIEND – not so simple wordplay or def – which was LOI.

    Very good all round and worth the effort.

    Thanks to Pip and setter

  10. Abandoned ship after 50 minutes with HEPTAD and BEFRIEND proving beyond me. Also hazarded Georgia instead of Virginia for the Indian-sounding thing.

    With many weird investigations happening in the world these days – not to mention, a growing tendency to show trials – these words of CS Lewis (from his essay ‘The humanitarian theory of punishment’) seem more relevant that ever/

    ‘ Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.’

  11. I messed up at the end by going for SEPTET instead of HEPTAD. Hey, they are seven and magnificent, but SEET was not a word but might have been a Mephistoish one. But that left me with REORIENT for 17D which made no sense but I was past my limit/interest so I bunged it in anway. So pink squares for me.
    1. Also plumped for SEPTET, parsed wordplay as SEE (as an example) T (leader [of] to) accepting PT (point).
  12. ….resorted to aids for 17d but still got it wrong. Like paulmcl I opted for REORIENT after I had already put in SEPTET FOR 29ac.
    I didn’t know Emerson was a poet but that’s the only thing I could think of to fill the gaps.
    I would love to have seen your Tigger leap through that window, Pip! Must have been quite a sight! Don’t recall our ‘Alice’ ever being so bouncy!

    Edited at 2021-11-17 07:50 am (UTC)

  13. I was becalmed for some time in the SE corner until I eventually teased out BEFRIEND then HEPTAD revealed itself. I found those two particularly tough. My sympathy to those who didn’t remember CHARIVARI (I think it’s come up before) as without knowing it you’re left with a choice of random states to stick in as others have indicated.
  14. After 30 mins pre-brekker I couldn’t get the NHO Charivari or Befriend because, like others, I had decided the magnificent seven were a Septet. Clearly Seet is a word for leader.
    I liked it.
    Thanks setter and Pip.
  15. 37 minutes but with two wrong. Like others, I went for SEPTET instead of HEPTAD as it referred to ‘seven’ and had PT in, and then I biffed WEARIEST as the ultimately tiresome day. I knew it was wrong but I had no other ideas. I was also held up by putting NICEA for OSAKA until the PORK CHOP saved my bacon. NICEA was there as a hidden although I was puzzled why it had lost an ‘a’ since the creed was written. That’s what becomes of being HOLIER-THAN-THOU. COD to AGRICOLA. Thank you Pip and setter.

    Edited at 2021-11-17 08:37 am (UTC)

  16. In 1841 ‘Punch’ Magazine was launched with the alternative title of ‘The London Charivari’, in homage to a French satirical magazine of Le same name. (Punch was short for ‘Punchinello’ a short, stout hunchbacked buffoon (Paunchinello?)) ‘Punch’ magazine sadly closed in 2002. ‘The Oldie’ kinda took over its mantle.

    Considering that the first editor, Henry Mayhew, also published Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope – this a perfectly fair clue for the London crowd. My COD

    Edited at 2021-11-17 08:25 am (UTC)

    1. My school library contained bound volumes of Punch, but I never knew the meaning of CHARIVARI until now.

      1. horryd can be quite educational at times! I forget to log my time 27 minutes and shrapnel, as pork chop and befriend were difficult.

        Edited at 2021-11-17 08:37 am (UTC)

  17. Defeated by BEFRIEND / HEPTAD.

    Liked CATEGORY, there was a famous sign in the Lake District saying something like ‘Tek care tegs in road’. Like our esteemed blogger, I knew AGRICOLA from school Latin.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  18. Another who tripped up at the end with THOSE TWO clues unfathomed. Gave up after 40 mins and came here.

    I do agree there is some fantastic clueing going on here, but unches at the beginning of a word so often do for me. Oh well.

    Thank you Pip and setter.

    1. Agree! It is impossible to follow yer ‘unches hereabouts.

      Edited at 2021-11-17 08:41 am (UTC)

  19. Rather unhopefully I went for Chavipari at 3 down. My big noise was A VIP ( I considered A DIN) in CHARI. And Chavipari was supposed to mean “going over states”. As I say I had my doubts!


    Edited at 2021-11-17 08:44 am (UTC)

  20. Gave this my best shot – but even after playing extra time, didn’t get there.

    FOI REHEARSAL (I think – seems like a lifetime ago). SW corner felt pretty easy – NW significantly tougher – NE complete nightmare – SE never got there. Ended with five clues unsolved.
    – Guess I should have worked out “Grant” = CARY though TEG was completely unknown to me
    – “Greek” = GR has tripped me up before (I spent an age trying to dream up short words meaning “indecipherable”)
    – As for HEPTAD….

    Finally giving in and using the Reveal button at 93m, I found that I’d also messed up in the NW, stemming from 3d = CHARIDINI which led to other errors. All felt much harder to me than the SNITCH reported when I started (and I notice that the score is currently on the rise). Thanks Pip and setter

    1. Denise might I humbly suggest that you use a different ‘avatar’ for your very occasional bad days. Others do.
      Your lovely smile doesn’t quite match your report today. (I will not be using this image again.) Edwina
      1. What a fine suggestion, graciously expressed, and thank you for the thoughtful gift.

        If I can deal with the additional complexity – something I’m intermittently bad at – I’ll do just that.

  21. Like others thought this a very good puzzle.

    I was delayed for a bit by inventing a DOTFISH (DOSH instead of CASH) thinking 1 down could be something DOOR. When I eventually sorted that out was left with the last two in the SE corner. Entered SEPTET, then tried SEPTAD before eventually remembering HEPTAD and then managing to explain BEFRIEND. No problem with CHARIVARI and INDRI rang a faint bell.

    Lots of excellent clues, I enjoyed PUMICE in particular.

    However, I agree with jackkt: TIGGER isn’t a cartoon cat (otherwise where do you stop?).

  22. Was hopeful to get sub-10 “double” with QC done & dusted in under 3mins, but soon realised that was unlikely. Thankfully knew CHARIVARI (I thought the editors “deprecated” the use of “states” in wdp like this, but ho hum). Couldn’t really justify “for” in CATEGORY clue other than to make surface reading better. However, real grins at CHAMPERS and several others. A fine puzzle for which many thanks to setter and well done the blogger who unravelling some of those answers I biffed.
  23. 20:34 but 2 wrong… unparsed REORIENT for 17D and SEPTET for 29A. On coming here and seeing BEFRIEND, I immediately saw HEPTAD. Like others, I didn’t like Tigger being referred to as a cartoon cat. I liked CHAMPERS and CHARIVARI, though.
  24. I spent a lot of time thinking that the answer would be cryptically obvious… but there are too many options for Charivari given the word play… so gave up… wish I had done so earlier!
  25. There’s easy but good, and hard but good, and this was not the former. But it was indeed good.
  26. Quite a workout that. Thanks for the name-check Pip but I’m sure to go down in your estimation because I have to admit I’ve never read the Faerie Queen. I know ENOW from the Fitzgerald translation of Omar Khayyam – a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou beside me singing in the wilderness were paradise enow.

    I agree with others in objecting to the cartoon Tigger rather than the illustration by E.H. Sheppard. 28.42 a good chunk of which was spent dredging up HEPTAD. Good puzzle.

  27. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one initially led astray in the SE corner by SEPTET (got the thrust of the clue quite quickly, if not the detail) leading to REORIENT, though at least the next step was “I can’t actually parse either of these, maybe I need to think again” rather than “oh, that’ll do”, which hasn’t always been my modus operandi in the past.

    I was also another who inspected the old leather-bound copies of Punch in the school library, so picked up the word CHARIVARI at an early age, while looking at a cartoon referencing some unknown Edwardian politician and trying to work out why it might once have been funny…

      1. The older I got, the more I found myself reaching this (slightly uncharitable but regrettably accurate) conclusion…
        1. Yes, I grant you, h; but I had E.M. Forster’s opinion in mind. Actually, when I was a lad I had a collection of Punch stuff from I suppose the 50’s or early 60’s that had some quite funny cartoons.
          1. I think all the inhabitants of Crosswordland know the not specially funny but still relevant cartoon from the 1890s about the curate’s egg.
          2. I still have a large collections of ‘New Yorker’ cartoons. Some hilarious! Others wry!
            My collection of New Yorker covers is blissful. Charles Saxon a favourite. For
            ‘Punch’ David Langdon; I knew his son Ben very well.
  28. After drawing a blank in the NW, I headed to the SW and made some decent progress, with ABSENT, FOI, and ENOW, GRINDER and BAILIFF going in on a roll. The F from BAILIFF was enough for me to biff AS THE CROW FLIES. I then jumped to the NE and made more progress. REHEARSAL and MAHATMA had arrived in the NW in the meanwhile and enabled me to biff HOLIER THAN THOU once CHAMPERS came along. I saw the CHARI and the fact I needed another state apart from RI, but having guessed CHARICARI, looked it up to confirm, and was presented with VA instead of CA, so didn’t get that one without help. AGRICOLA wasn’t a problem, and EMERSON was late to the party, but HEPTAD and BEFRIEND held me up for ages. I missed the “Magnificent” reference but got the former from wordplay. LOI, BEFRIEND went in because it fitted the crossers and the definition, but I missed the parsing, being a bit frazzled by this point. A tough workout. 46:45 with a bit of help. Thanks setter and Pip.
  29. Undone by HEPTAD and BEFRIEND, the former being too clever for me and the latter seeming more than a little dodgy. I am not sure BEFRIEND really does mean “help”, but no-one else seems too worried by it and perhaps I wouldn’t be either if I had thought about it.
    1. For once it’s not Chambers that made up a new definition! Befriend: act as a friend to, help – is in my Oxford; Chambers has to favour which is close but not close enough.
      Agreed it’s a highly unusual definition, and I put it in because it fit the cryptic and the crossers, rather than because I thought the definition was OK.
      1. Fair enough. I think I was just peeved not to have thought of it, but yes — I agree it just about works. Just.
  30. I started off fairly well on this, then ground to a halt at the HEPTAD / BEFRIEND corner, with C?A?I?A?I also unfilled. Eventually I got the first two of those, but then plumped for CHAXISARI for the latter (AXIS = states, sort of), having rejected the possibility that we were supposed to guess which of the many possible US state abbreviations to enter.

    Anyway, didn’t matter too much because I’d foolishly put CHOMPERS in already. Ho hum.

  31. All done in 15 mins bar BEFRIEND and HEPTAD, neither of which was particularly hard, but it seems I’m in good company! First DNF in yonks, but after 10 mins gazing at those two clues without inspiration I decided to give up. Good puzzle though!
  32. 71 minutes, and I never got 29ac. ‘The Magnificent Seven’ never occurred to me — I was thinking it was far more recherché and involved Greek mythology or something like that. Good but annoying crossword in that the first half came very quickly and I thought I was on for a reasonable time by my standards. but ground to a halt. I agree with others who dislike Tigger being called a cartoon cat. Yesterday I was in a bookshop and saw (in a section of children’s books) a reference to something — can’t remember what — as the book of the film of …., when the film was itself an adaptation of the original book.
  33. I’m not sure I want to report on this because, after a 37 minute struggle and a full check I still ended up with a typo, blotting out my longish run without numbers in the incorrect column.
    I agree this was very clever/devious, and it certainly revealed at least one ignorance on my part: it simply never occurred to me that pock chops (which Chambers curiously hyphenates) were from pigs ribs. Can’t tell you where I thought they came from (I mean, pig, obviously, but..) but ribs I have knowingly eaten have precious little meat which gets stuck in your teeth and are usually covered in some brown sticky goo.
    That, and 1a, and the two in the opposite corner were much, much harder to crack than most of the rest of the puzzle: I mean MAIZE was hardly taxing, and not much in the bottom left corner required much thought.

    Edited at 2021-11-17 01:48 pm (UTC)

  34. Don’t think I would have got CHARIVARI if I hadn’t seen it before. Random states in unusual word — grrr indeed.

    I was stuck in the TOM trap for a long time but fixing that didnt help with BEFRIEND as I had SEPTET rather than the unknown HEPTAD so had to come here for help…

  35. 25.57. A terrific, challenging puzzle which I really enjoyed. I had most of the RHS complete before filling any of the LHS which the tricky charivari and agricola crossers were blocking. Working out as the crow flies allowed me to get a foothold though. I was another fixated on septet before heptad dawned on me and I saw LOI befriend.
  36. I struggled to a 60-min DNF with this one, the NW corner being the problem area. Enjoyed the three-quarters-and-a-bit that I cracked, though with some misgivings about BEFRIEND for which, as our blogger also felt, ‘help’ seems a weak definition. DNK HEPTAD, but it was gettable from wordplay. And NHO and would never have got CHARIVARI with its ‘perm two from fifty’ elements. Thanks to our blogger for explaining all.
  37. Finished this morning, having left BEFRIEND and HEPTAD incomplete last night, and also saw that an A was required in CHAMPERS (Cheers!). However, I still couldn’t parse CATEGORY, though it was evidently the right answer.
  38. ….but, although I confidently threw in CHARIVARI, I had to come here to see how it worked. It took a good 3-4 minutes to nail BEFRIEND, and then my LOI jumped out and bit me.

    TIME 18:30

  39. I do love a crossword that without being unfair, gets folk way out of their comfort zone as this one seems to have done..

    – to learn about tegs, tups and yaws watch “Our Yorkshire Farm,” the most popular programme Ch5 has ever shown, and maybe the best. It is all on catch-up, and if you DO want to watch it start at episode 1. You will be captivated and enthralled, I promise

    – heptad is just greek not latin, as eg heptathlon and tetrahedron are. Educational, to look at the first ten integers, first in latin and then in greek ..

    Calling Tigger a cartoon cat is just defamatory. He is a literary cat, of some renown

    PS: I did so like the potty clue 27ac

    Edited at 2021-11-17 05:16 pm (UTC)

  40. Not often I do that, but HEPTAD was completely beyond me. Even had I worked out the cryptic, I’d have gone duh? The rest, in comparison, was a doddle….even CHARIVARI.

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