Times 28,145: Engineers, Artillery, Academicians – The Royal Family

I am feeling under the weather and this was not a super-quick solve, so the setter’s Friday duties can be said to have been discharged; but this is not my favourite type of puzzle I must say, with lots of very colourless vocabulary, and much requirement to stick together small and fiddly cryptic particles.

I did like 6dn once fully parsed (I cannot tell a lie, though, I biffed it immediately upon spotting that the second word was HAND). WOD may be 25dn as I never knew that underwriters could also OVERWRITE.

Thank you to the setter, and now, time to eat something and then back to bed with me!

Definitions underlined, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Locums, accepting pressure, give a lot back (8)
STOPGAPS – reversed SAG POTS [give | a lot], “accepting” P(ressure)
5 In the future, share whatever part remains (6)
OFFCUT – OFF [in the future, as in “a few days off”] + CUT [share]
10 Again tried to pass weapon back (5)
RESAT – reversed TASER
11 Sauce lost when cooking stew (9)
12 Leader of strategists in Carthage prepared to invade (4-5)
GATE-CRASH – S{trategists} in (CARTHAGE*)
13 Scavenger in middle of Sahara repressing thirst (5)
HYENA – {sa}HA{ra} “repressing” YEN [thirst]
14 Sucker repeatedly hit target (7)
LAMPREY – LAM PREY [repeatedly hit | target]
16 Clear out drain (3,3)
RUN OFF – double def
18 Gunners support non-firing weapon (6)
RAPIER – R(oyal) A(rtillery) PIER [gunners | support]
20 Trouper‘s safe, heading off aboard wagon (7)
VETERAN – {p}ETER “aboard” VAN
22 Term for online currency, such as pony? (5)
EQUID – or an E-QUID
23 Standard mass for cardinal (9)
PARAMOUNT – PAR AMOUNT [standard | mass]
25 Take on extra risk with service, chasing succession of balls (9)
OVERWRITE – W(ith) RITE, chasing a cricket OVER
26 Nameless dead artist’s intensely dark shade (5)
UMBRA – {n}UMB R(oyal) A(cademician)
27 Dad and I voiced early cartoon character (6)
POPEYE – POP and homophone of I
28 Canny guards somewhat short of rupees, like dad (8)
FATHERLY – FLY “guards” {r}ATHER
1 Ulster ground hosting grand golf contest (8)
STRUGGLE – (ULSTER*) “hosting” G(rand) G(olf). LOI, appropriately
2 Start running group (5)
ONSET – ON SET [running | group]
3 Goes OTT, as sit-down protester often does? (4,7,4)
GETS CARRIED AWAY – colourful double def with the image of a sit-down protest being hauled off physically by police
4 Porcine mammal upended mushroom with a piercing yell (7)
PECCARY – reversed CEP with A “piercing” CRY
6 In poverty since employee (male) exposed husband (4,4,2,5)
7 Named driver’s caution delivered verbally, being required (6,3)
CALLED FOR – CALLED [named] plus homophone of FORE!
8 Striking red songbird in another’s nest to start with (6)
TITIAN – TIT + I{n} A{nother’s} N{est}
9 For contracting, chooses the right book (6)
ESTHER – hidden in {choos}ES THE R{ight}
15 Allotment raised to meet specifications (7,2)
MEASURE UP – MEASURE [allotment] + UP [raised]
17 Irregular stay, with nude dancing (8)
19 Discharged agent gets help (6)
20 Initially viewing mountain peak in time to see flower (7)
VERBENA – V{iewing} + BEN in ERA
21 Enforced change of leadership after troops get back (6)
RECOUP – COUP [enforced regime change] after R(oyal) E(ngineers)
24 Open University finally given added distinction (5)
UNBAR – U(niversity) {give}N + BAR [added distinction, in heraldry?]

64 comments on “Times 28,145: Engineers, Artillery, Academicians – The Royal Family”

  1. The vocabulary was certainly not too challenging today, and unusually I note I found no unknowns in the answers, which undoubtedly helped me to finish quickly. The only slightly unfamiliar word was PECCARY, which of course should never be confused with a pessary.
  2. Continuing my decent run. Well, I enjoyed this and learned that TITIAN is a colour. PECCARY is just an all-round excellent word.

    Get well soon, V!

  3. That’s a sub-2V for me, so yes the blogger must have been having an off day. Get well soon Verlaine.

    Not sure about the vocabulary being colourless, VERBENA and PECCARY were both NHO for me. Another nervous journey into the pink void until I got the thumbs up.

    COD to GETS CARRIED AWAY, in lieu of any other stand-out candidates.

    Thanks setter and V.

  4. That must count as a relatively straightforward solve.
    The only queries I had were with STOPGAPS and LAMPREY so thanks to verlaine for those. I spent some time trying make Limpet, or variation thereof, work with 14ac.
    COD: GETS CARRIED AWAY with runner-up prize to OVERWRITE.

  5. Not too hard. But a stupid typo (REPIER) means a DNF. But a fun solve. Even if I didn’t actually “solve”.
  6. Sluggish today; after FOI VETERAN, I think I ran through the downs without a solve. DNK OFFCUT, OVERWRITE. Very slow to remember BEN, stuck on ALP and TOR. Rather humdrum for a Friday especially.
  7. Only a few moments over my target half-hour for this one. PECCARY was new to me and doesn’t seem to have appeared before other than in a Times Monthly. EQUID might also have been unknown but for a very recent appearance possibly in another place. No spinach in the clue to POPEYE this time out!
  8. 29 minutes, finished in NE with OFFCUT and TITIAN. COD to GETS CARRIED AWAY. I only knew LAMPREYs from Henry I’s fatal liking for them. Otherwise, no problems. Thank you V and setter.
        1. It was both perhaps. John had his surfeit (and apricots) at Swineshead Abbey, had a terrible I night at Sleaford Castle, and died a couple of days later at Newark Castle. He left his luggage in The Wash! Men! One Henry died playing poker — French or English? I forget! Whatever, avoid the lampreys and stick to the haddock and chips, mushy peas and a pickled onion, or two!
    1. According to Sellars & Yeatman Henry I died of a surfeit of palfreys not lampreys and we have an EQUID clue here. Per the same source King John liked to lie on the floor and eat the rushes that were strewn there to catch the dropped food. No wonder the ladies of the time preferred to eat separately.
  9. When I first read 8 Down i thought “S**T
    It’ll be some unCALLED FOR tit”
    Then my thinking head said
    “No it’s some type of red”
    Life’s a STRUGGLE when I’m such a twit

    Re 24 across. Dunno about heraldry, but bars are associated with medals awarded multiple times

    P.S. Hands up if you spotted the allusion to Worzel Gummidge in line 3

    Edited at 2021-11-26 08:48 am (UTC)

  10. 25a Does OVERWRITE really mean to take on extra risk? In my dictionaries that’s UNDERWRITE
    1. Underwriting is the normal acceptance of risk (my best mate was a liability underwriter), but you would OVERWRITE if, in your role, you accepted a risk that was far greater than the premium paid would justify.
  11. 17:30 Struggled with the NW corner taking a while to see STOPGAPS and finishing with LAMPREY and the only belatedly recognised PECCARY (although I don’t think I’d recognise one of I saw one, so I’ll google that now). COD to GET CARRIED AWAY. Thanks V and setter.
  12. Rather disappointed to DNF a sub-100 puzzle – but looking on the bright side that was my regular pattern 3 months ago. Couldn’t fully unlock the SE – four clues remaining at 42m IIRC, never got ‘em. Stumbling blocks were:

    – Never knew FLY could mean “canny” – spent an age trying to fit in “sly” or “wily”. (However failing to get FATHERLY from —H—Y is a bit feeble)
    – Failed to decode “with service” as W RITE to make the obvious but rather improbable OVEWRRITE. I’ve ignored “with” in clues once too often
    – Need to remember to try BEN in addition to the others (COL, ALP) for mountain

    Mood nonplussed – wondering when I’ll finally break the Friday hex

    1. Let me know when you stop getting tripped up by the “with” device. Still gets me every time. Suspect it always will.
    2. No smile today Denise? FYI and to avoid any future traps I think ‘col’ is a mountain pass rather than just beng a mountain.
      21.45 for me today; nho peccary but clueing gave it easily enough.
  13. At some point I’ll remember that cep is a mushroom. Unfortunately today was not that day, and I put ‘puccary’ for 4d, thinking only of cup-shaped mushrooms and pleased with myself that I’d figured out the wordplay. Gah.

    Really enjoyed this otherwise. Forgot that peter=safe, so I didn’t parse VETERAN and only got it once all the checkers were in place, and I didn’t know that TITIAN can mean red in colour, but bit by bit the clues fell into place. Thanks setter and blogger.

  14. After a series of late evening solves when tiredness took its toll, I found time for an early morning one – and what a difference. Brain clear as a glass of fresh water; words like peccary and lamprey popping without having to be asked. Not a particularly hard Friday, it has to be said, and some of the clues – like equid – felt a little corny. Isn’t the colour burnt umber? I dare say both exist. Many thanks.
  15. 11ac A favourite dish especially when made with ‘a little bird.’


    LOI 24dn UNBAR

    COD 8dn TITIAN red is commonly found In paint boxes


    Time: 34 Friday minutes

  16. 16 minutes (bar 2 seconds), so not too tricky for a Friday, especially given that 1a was my last in, expecting the P of PECCARY to be the added pressure.
    I prefer V’s “a few days OFF” to my OF for “in the” plus F(uture), but at the time it didn’t matter.
    I don’t think the BAR in 24d is heraldry, it’s a second or further award of a medal. It’s happened 3 times for the VC, but of course many times for lesser honours.
    I gritted my teeth as seconds ticked away and parsed UMBRA properly, having thought most (if not all) crossword artists are dead anyway, and wondering whether one of them was UMBRAN.
    Wishing the languishing V a speedy return to health.
    1. I knew this thanks to a collection of John Cleese sketches, ‘The Golden Skits of Wing-Commander Muriel Volestrangler, FRHS & Bar’.
  17. The end of a good week crossword-wise! Have bought and planted VERBENA as a bedding plant. Had a vague picture of a PECCARY as a big guinea pig (will check). Like others, knew LAMPREY from 1066 and all that. Agree that BAR is an additional award of a medal. Knew TITIAN, but cannot think of it as different from auburn (will check). STOPGAPS LOI with all checkers.

    13′ 50″, thanks verlaine (get well soon) and thanks to setter.

  18. Stuck to 60 min. limit. DNF — OFFCUT & TITIAN. I can’t do it without interruptions which sometime help but can hinder concentration. Should have seen TITIAN.
  19. Slow start, but once in the groove, the RHS went in very smoothly, except for one answer.

    Bits and pieces in the left half building up slowly from the bottom — finally left with the three near the top: STOPGAPS, ONSET, RESAT solved in that order, and UNBAR down in the SE corner, which took considerable thought.

  20. Quicker than some Fridays, though I did get a bit bogged down in the top right, having __O_ hand to mouth for a while and not seeing 5ac either. Got there in the end..

    Re lampreys, I remember the surviving one of the Two Fat Ladies doing a TV programme cooking Elizabethan food, which included a lamprey pie. It looked truly disgusting. Actually the whole meal did. I think I picked the right Elizabethan reign to be born in.

    1. It is not recorded if she eats the pie though.
      Lampreys are (were) a big problem in the Great Lakes. The pie is trying to start a demand for them. Meanwhile expensive lamprey-catching is used. Chemical – pheromones.
    2. Our esteemed blogger Verlaine has once again used the acronym WOD. This should surely be in the Glossary!?
  21. 53 minutes, which seems to have been on the slow side for this crossword. And also I had to use aids on the bottom R corner since I had ultra, entered with a shrug; I was pretty sure it was wrong. Poor setter: damned with faint praise, and I thought some of the clues were very nice, esp stopgaps and several others, like the called for and peccary clues.

    Edited at 2021-11-26 11:45 am (UTC)

  22. ….but more enjoyable than V’s blog might lead one to believe. Perhaps his indisposition, which I’m sure we all hope will soon pass, had something to do with it.

    FOI CASSOULET (which I must try one day)
    TIME 9:34

  23. A more gentle puzzle than expected for a Friday, but enjoyable enough for me. ONSET was the onset of a rush of answers in the NW, as I got carried away and kept on going. The top half was finished in short order but the SE took longer to vanquish. I was torn between UMBER and ULTRA until UNSTEADY gave me the A, then UNBAR wouldn’t come until I revisited ULTRA and saw (n)UMB. FATHERLY was LOI. 24:37. Thanks setter and V, and get well soon!
  24. I initially had a pony as an Equad(orian!) – awkward – but I fortunately plumped for Equid at the last. COD 9dn Esther.
  25. Loved the LAMPREY exchange above. PECCARY my FOI, for me CEP is the goto mushroom. Main difficulty was the 2 five letter U words at the bottom. Had unparsed UMBER for a while but didn’t see UMBRA till UNBAR. Still struggling to recover from the loss of Meg, so here she is again
  26. Unfortunately for me, I (repeatedly) read 20d as ‘with time’ rather than ‘in time’, somehow, so made up VERBERA with the hope that ERB was a mountain peak. UNBAR was the LOI, which I couldn’t really justify at all – thanks for the explanation(s) – and PECCARY was a toss-up between CEP and CAP, although having looked it up I see that CAP is only part of the mushroom.

    I wonder if EQUID was originally submitted without the ‘Term for’ part of the clue? I parsed its final version as ‘Term for online’ = E, but I guess either interpretation works.

    1. I wondered that too — it seemed unnecessary, and not in keeping with the generally tighter structure of the rest of the clues
  27. The wheel of crossword fortune turns, and after a zippy solve yesterday, I found myself wading through a swamp of tentative (and wrong) answers – OFFSET, LIVE HAND TO MOUTH, SPOKEN FOR etc. I have eaten plenty of CASSOULET but that apparently didn’t help me to see it as an answer; though once I did, it unlocked that corner. Pretty sure any slowness was down to me, not the setter, anyway.

    Frank Zappa took up one side of an album with a song called Greggery Peccary. It’s not up there with his really freaky stuff, but you’re unlikely to hear it played on the Radio 2 breakfast show.

  28. 39:04 so a good time for me after a slow cautious start, thinking we were due a stinker today. I still had to STRUGGLE with quite a few at the end. I knew PECCARY and liked the intriguing crossing with CASSOULET. Would that work? LOIs OFFCUT and TITIAN in the NE corner. I liked RESAT and RAPIER
  29. Cassoulet peccari would work rather nicely – with a drop of valpolicella!

    Edited at 2021-11-26 01:56 pm (UTC)

    1. These things are a regular occurrence, Denise. When they appear on my blogs I just delete them and I’ve no doubt someone will in due course.
  30. 9:52. Unlike the last couple of puzzles this was a steady solve for me, answers going in at a moderate but consistent pace. I’m not sure if I’ve come across PECCARY before but I’m pretty sure that in my reasonably extensive forays into the insurance sector over the years I’ve never seen the word OVERWRITE.
  31. Somehow managed to finish this in 39 mins, good for a Friday. Had to check PECCARY after entering as definitely a NHO. I liked CASSOULET and POPEYE. I thought EQUID could have done with a”maybe” or “say” as there is surely no such thing as an E-quid?

    Anyway enjoyed this one and thanks our sickly blogger (get well soon) and setter.

  32. I learned my lesson today – do not biff an anagram! I had CASSEROLE instead of CASSOULET so managed to bugger up the entire NE corner. The first DNF for many months… Ann
  33. 23.25 so a decent Friday time for me though the challenge was not in the arcane class we sometimes endure. LOI overwrite. Pretty steady progress with a couple of useful biffables, from hand to etc being a good case in point.

    Nearly came a cropper with umbra having encountered umber only this week in a previous puzzle.
    Ths setter and get well soon blogger.

    I’ve got a heavy cold but have found Lemsip with added fresh lemon juice, a teaspoon of honey and a good jigger of brandy/ whisky/ rum ( according to preference) works wonders! Repeat as necessary.

  34. An alternative limerick!
    While Titian was mixing rose madder
    His model reclined nude up a ladder
    Her position, to Titian
    Suggested coition
    So be nipped up the ladder and ‘ad ‘er!

Comments are closed.