Times 28156 – and it’s goodnight from him

Time taken: 14:13.  I got off to a pretty good start but took a long time to piece together the ones I had to get from wordplay, and was relieved when there were no pink squares after the submission.

There are some very fast early times, so I may have made more of a meal of this than others. Fortunately the wordplay can be trusted.

Away we go…

1 Fly away after using this spray? (6,9)
INSECT REPELLENT – cryptic definition
9 Native of cold territory, one descending, having crossed mountain to the west (9)
LAPLANDER – LANDER(one descending) containing ALP(mountain) reversed
10 Victorian essayist‘s half-hearted idle chat? (5)
PATER – PATTER(idle char) with one T in the middle. Got this from wordplay, was not familiar with the author Walter PATER
11 Speculate about time these folk may arrive for dinner (6)
GUESTS – GUESS(speculate) surrounding T(time)
12 Change, say, when meeting old, trusted friend (5,3)
ALTER EGO – ALTER(change), EG(say) and O(old)
13 See a hundred relations making time for private drink (4-2)
LOCK-IN – LO(see), C(a hundred), KIN(relations). Not a phrase I am familiar with, Collins defines it as an illegal session of selling drinks in a bar after it is meant to be closed.
15 Behind river, exposed fish (3,5)
SEA TROUT – SEAT(behind), R(river), OUT(exposed)
18 Suddenly gets angry in front of sexy picture (8)
SNAPSHOT – SNAPS(suddenly gets angry), HOT(sexy)
19 David’s father’s making straps for falconers (6)
JESSES – Jesse was the father of David. Todays word paying a visit from Mephistoland
21 Roman Catholic father starting register (8)
PAPALIST – PAPA(father) in front of LIST(register)
23 Comedian gets someone to attract punters to show (6)
BARKER – the comedian is Ronnie Barker
26 One party has a grip on my part of America (5)
IDAHO – I(one), DO(party) containing AH(my!)
27 Raid, circumventing commercial security device creating obstruction (9)
ROADBLOCK – ROB(raid) surrounding AD(commercial) and LOCK(security device)
28 A warmer nest has to be configured to accommodate ten birds (4,11)
MANX SHEARWATERS – anagram of A,WARMER,NEST,HAS containing X(ten)
1 Bad girl admitting crime, finally banned (7)
ILLEGAL – ILL(bad), GAL(girl) contaning the last letter of crimE
2 Composer leaves meal unfinished (5)
SUPPE – SUPPER(meal) missing the last letter. Franz von SUPPE composer of Light Cavalry
3 Church article samples particular buildings for worship (9)
CHANTRIES – CH9church), AN(article), TRIES(samples). Got this from wordplay.
4 Participant in match, heading off for journey (4)
RIDE – one participant in a match is the BRIDE, remove the first letter
5 Fatter as a result of beer — pounds one’s hiding (8)
PORTLIER –  PORTER(beer) containing L(pounds) and I(one)
6 Pass or failure? (5)
LAPSE – double definition
7 Ensure no hint of tittle-tattle spreading! (5,4)
ENTRE NOUS – an all-in-one. Anagram of ENSURE, NO and the first letter of Tittle-tattle
8 Happen to be in crowd at game? (7)
TURNOUT – to happen would be to TURN OUT
14 Explorer gets cold thigh going over steppe maybe (9)
CHAMPLAIN – C(cold), HAM(thigh) over PLAIN(steppe). Samuel de CHAMPLAIN was all over place names in Canada
16 AA might be travelling around country (3,6)
17 Explain tricks, having got honest (8)
CONSTRUE – CONS(tricks), TRUE(honest)
18 Thus top politician conveys his dishonest argument (7)
SOPHISM – SO(thus) and PM(top politician) containing HIS
20 More than one flier cries with energy in decline (7)
SHRIKES – SHRIEKS (cries) with E(energy) moved down
22 Get lost regularly going round that French city (5)
LYONS – alternating letters in LoSt containing YON(that)
24 Lazy type’s beginning to change, making money (5)
KRONE – DRONE(lazy type) with the first letter changed
25 Fast runner briefly interrupted by a fog (4)
HAAR – the fast runner is a HARE, remove the last letter and insert A

63 comments on “Times 28156 – and it’s goodnight from him”

  1. I’m keeping the snitch high. Struggled with this, spending many minutes on LOI HAAR. I had to resort to looking for a fast runner –R-, shortening it and putting in an A, and ended up grasping at HARE, which parsed but had little else to recommend it, never having heard of the foggy haar. I was pleased to remember learning a sea-mist from previous TfTT, but FRET didn’t work! 37:22
  2. …but determined to finish, after 2 DNFs in a row. Champlain, Suppe, Pater, chantries all unkown. Jesses known from reading Kes/Kestrel for a Knave at school, but no idea who David and Jesse are, presumably the bible? Haar known from being lost in it, out on about the 13th at Balnagask Links when it rolled in, and having some trouble finding the way back to the clubhouse.
    LOI Pater
    Missed the &lit of entre nous, that was excellent, but COD to the apposite SOPHISM.
  3. I hadn’t been aware of this definition, so checked it. On my second visit to London, in the late ’90s, when I came across the channel for a La Monte Young concert at the Barbican (which I had occasion to mention here the other day), the after-concert dinner for the composer, his wife, Marian, and their friends was at an Indian restaurant that seemed closed from the outside, as it was illegal to remain open and serving drinks after the ungodly hour of 11 pm.

    FOI INSECT REPELLENT, and then I got all the down crossers…
    LOI BARKER. Didn’t know Ronnie B.

    I now have to read the blogs for the past two days, both of which I just got through tonight.

    Edited at 2021-12-09 06:09 am (UTC)

    1. As an erstwhile restaurateur in Smithfield Market in the city, near the Barbican, I can assure you Guy that it is legal to sell alcohol with a meal, with a restaurant license, up to midnight. Drinking-up time is extended to 12:30. Pubs only until 11pm with 10 mins drinking up time, as you say.
      1. Gosh, I thought things might have changed since then!
        I said 11 pm because that was the time when I was informed on that trip—in a pub—that it was last call.
        Our Indian meal after the concert ran much later.
        1. The wheels of government and licensing laws in particular grind very slowly, imbued in history as they are. However, they have been relaxed a bit in recent years apparently.
  4. I was home in 38 minutes with 10ac PATER my LOI.
    A gentle reminder George, that should be Walter and not Water.


    COD 23ac Ronnie Barker I was one of his scriptwriters. A joy!

    WOD 14dn CHAMPLAIN the explorer – with whom I am familiar. He appeared on the fine $1 bright blue, Canadian postage stamp – his statue stands in Quebec. Sam also appeared on the 1958 5c stamp for the Tercentenary of the Founding of Quebec.

    Jesse is Biblical

    Manx Shearwaters again! their collective noun is ‘an improbability’ – how lovely!

    Edited at 2021-12-09 05:52 am (UTC)

    1. How remarkable! I’ll remember that one. Though the chance that I’ll ever get to use it is… improbable.
  5. FOI INSECT REPELLENT, which only gave me a couple of the downs. 2d was LAPLANDER, but I picked the wrong LA and wondered what LAP/PAL had to do with mountains. DNK LOCK-IN, the comedian (POI), or the bird. I couldn’t remember the explorer’s name, and put in CHAMPAIGN, which lasted until I got IDAHO. I biffed PATER, only later thought that patter could be chat. Can it? I didn’t know who David’s father was–it’s a wise child who does–but the falcon accessories were vaguely familiar.

    Edited at 2021-12-09 06:07 am (UTC)

  6. 48 minutes. I managed to pluck JESSES from somewhere (probably from one of those “local colour” segments in “Escape to the Country” or a similar high quality TV program) and also had a fret about a few others like BARKER (NHO the second part of the double def), PATER, LOCK-IN and yes, HAAR. A bit surprised but v. happy to see no pink squares. COD to SOPHISM.
  7. 44 minutes, delayed at the end by he intersecting LAPSE and unknown PATER – could it have been NAT{t}ER, I wondered.


    Knew both meanings of JESSE and knew from the start that I knew them, but I took ages to dredge them from the depths of my memory.

    Since we’re name-dropping I also met Ronnie Barker on several occasions, including selling him furniture for his kitchen.

    Edited at 2021-12-09 09:51 am (UTC)

  8. …by misspelling SHEARWATER.
    With 4d you could easily use (G)room and just change the definition to space iso journey but leave the rest of the clue as is.
    Thanks, George for KRONE. I didn’t know drone as a lazy type. Certainly NHO PATER.
    There’s a plaque in commemoration of CHAMPLAIN in that lovely Normandy port of Honfleur.
  9. Our setters are such naughty tykes
    Today it’s SHEARWATERS and SHRIKES
    But they’ll be pleased to hear
    That my verse won’t appear
    On bird-days. There will be strikes
    1. To find a bird raised expectation
      Of Astro Nowt’s great irritation
      But to find there’s a flock
      Must have come as a shock
      And caused him to vent his frustration.
  10. Very slow in comparison with the speed merchants (V sub-5, impressed) as too many umms and aahs and guess that must be rights (SUPPE? PATER? even CHAMPLAIN? … all fairly obscure, NHO, in truxland). HAAR much more familiar as so useful when setting barred puzzles; but again held up at end by one of my favourite comedians, not seeing the other bit, and rather disapproving of KRONE clue structure. Slight harrumph, but got there in the end. Thanks to blogger who seemed to share my experiences and def made me feel better.
  11. … more efficient ships (fish ‘n’ chips)
    R Barker c. 1976

    After 30 mins pre brekker I had the Krone/Barker unfilled. I thought of the Drone/Krone thing, but it is weak so I wasn’t confident. And I couldn’t remember the word for a Barker — which is worrying. I blame yesterday’s Moderna booster.
    I assumed Suppe was a composer and Pater an essayist.
    Thanks setter and G.

  12. 39 minutes while watching the cricket, finishing ENTRE NOUS in the NW. I knew all but the explorer and the composer, both in from the cryptics, and the falconer straps, where David’s father was known. For once, I saw the birds straight off and spelt them right too. COD to ALTER EGO, with a nod to Ronnie BARKER. Perhaps each clue should have given the answer to the next one. Decent puzzle. Thank you George and setter
  13. I’m starting to think they’re doing it on purpose. For the third day in a row I struggled through the obscurities until I arrived at an impossible one. I make it a point of principle not to learn superstitious mumbo-jumbo for these things and my technical knowledge of falconry is also somewhat lacking. At that point I still had several unsolved but I was clearly not going to finish so I threw in the towel. I’d never have got BARKER in a month of Sundays anyway. Like myrtilus000 I considered D/KRONE but it seemed tenuous. I’m listening to an audiobook of Stephen Fry reading the Blandings novels at the moment so at least DRONE came to mind easily.
    Triple harrumph.
    1. Which is the mumbo-jumbo? Chantries?

      I feel the same way about birth signs. Not a clue, apart from my own…

      Edited at 2021-12-09 09:26 am (UTC)

            1. To be fair, the books of Samuel and Chronicles in the Bible are an important source of material for historians and archeologists – religious and secular alike. Not exactly on a par with the Book of Mormon!
              1. Of course, and it’s the source of (or at least referred to in) a lot of literature and art so at a certain level all this mumbo-jumbo is fair game as general knowledge. I just resent being expected to know the names of minor characters and the more obscure books and events.
              2. My aunt is a Mormon and I’d like to say I take absolutely no exception to the implication of your comment 😀 At least it gave us the v funny musical
  14. Right up my street this one, no unknowns.. thought drone/krone a poor clue though.
    Now waiting to see what Astro manages to rhyme with shearwater and shrike …
      1. When I made the comment, there were only four or five, not including his. I claim a temporal disjunction… where’s Dr Who when you need him/her?
  15. DNF
    Like keriothe, I was never gonna get jesses. Lapse = pass? Help! Pater – no chance with that either. Worst week ever so far.
    Thanks, g.
  16. Almost everything I don’t like in a Times. No wordplay in 1ac to speak of, and a rather weak CD to boot. KRONE produced by a completely random letter change. An easy to misspell SHEARWATER (especially if you don’t count the As). A completely unknown essayist construed from a poor synonym for idle chat. I was alright on JESSE’S but I could already hear the rumbling of complaints from those who resent Bible references. Never having been to Canada, CHAMPLAIN was not at all familiar, though I’ll allow that the wordplay wasn’t too bad. Two other names that I knew but thought others might struggle with. AH from my! in IDAHO – I don’t think it really works. The verbose “these people might turn up for dinner”.

    Not a complaint, and not that it matters, but I had HART for the fast creature to be detailed.

    I shall repair to the TLS, where I usually expect there to be things I don’t know, and where that’s part of the fun.

    Edited at 2021-12-09 09:56 am (UTC)

    1. I feel your pain, z! I have puzzles like that more frequently than I would like, but on this occasion I wasn’t too far off the setter’s wavelength and the answers kept coming, if rather slowly at times.
    2. I sometimes cite this famous (well, to students of aesthetics) Pater dictum: “ All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music. For while in all other kinds of art it is possible to distinguish the matter from the form, and the understanding can always make this distinction, yet it is the constant effort of art to obliterate it.”
  17. For me, this was a no-brainer – just left it in automatic – leaving no time to overthink. FOI Insect Repellent – rather like driving a Duesenberg (just been watching Jay Leno in his). Through some tight corners and past the Road Block at turn 27. And finally onto my COD an improbability of Manx Shearwaters.

    Edited at 2021-12-09 10:51 am (UTC)

  18. Only completed one this week.
    NHO of Pater and couldn’t see how the wordplay worked.
    Lapse = pass?
    Didn’t know who David’s father was or the name for the falconers’ straps so 19ac was impossible even with the crossers.
    I’ve not seen ‘hint of’ indicating the first letter before so never did get any idea of what was going on with 7dn.
    Not heard the word ‘papalist’ before but it was clear.
    Several others not parsed.
    The main entertainment of the day was wondering how Astronowt would respond to the glory of Manx Shearwaters and a flock of shrikes.
    Thanks to the setter and to the blogger for the much needed explanations.

    Edited at 2021-12-09 01:17 pm (UTC)

    1. The collective noun for shrikes is either ‘an abattoir’ or ‘a watch’. A ‘glory’ is reserved for Unicorns!
  19. I got 1a immediately, then it was uphill from there, with a number of clues that I needed to work at. No unknowns apart from CHAMPLAIN, my last entry after 45 minutes. I thought I was going to have to resort to aids, but just before abandoning the puzzle I took a last look at the clue, and saw the elements in the grid.
    I knew JESSES, but ‘David’s father’ seems a very obscure second definition to one not steeped in the bible.
  20. Battled through the unknowns but fell over with POPULIST for PAPALIST, although I briefly wondered about the definition. I had POP for father U for catholic and list for register. I really ought to have got that one! Better luck next time. I also had trouble with PATER/LAPSE and the JESSES/SHRIKES/BARKER/KRONE combination. A half hearted guess at KRONE led me to the rest. 41:16 WOE. Thanks setter and George.
  21. This post didn’t seem to go earlier, so I’ve copied it and I’m trying again. Sorry if it turns up twice

    52:07 DNF, annoyingly, because I knew David’s dad and I struck lucky with PATER (despite not accepting idle chat is patter) but screwed up with POPULIST at 21ac with POP for father plus list, just ignoring the U and the definition. And I misspelled SHEARWATERS. Still, tomorrow is another day and we haven’t had the easy one yet this week

  22. DNF. A tough puzzle requiring a fair bit of GK falling into my category of the obscure (stuff I didn’t know). Most was ok: Suppe and chantries from word play. I wasn’t sure ham could mean thigh but couldn’t think of anything better and the checkers seemed to demand an mp in the middle to give the unknown Champlain. The rest was a slow grind. My ability to finish the puzzle ultimately hinged on whether I knew either David’s father (I naturally assumed the biblical David) or the falconer’s straps. I didn’t. I tried an alpha-trawl hoping something would leap out at me. It didn’t. In the end I looked it up and submitted off-leaderboard after around 50 mins.
  23. ‘Chapeau’ to all finishers and especially the speedy ones. I gave up with half the grid complete and even now reading the blog have massive respect for those whose brains work in such a way as to be able to solve this grid.

    PATER, MANX etcs ENTRE NOUS, JESSES, all way beyond me. Even those I now see, I know I would never have seen…

    All quite dispiriting for one trying to graduate from quickie to biggie 😕

    1. Do not be downcast. I think back to Primary School. After ‘school dinners’ venturing out into the playground could be very intimidating. But within a few years one picked up the rules and life was much easier as relationships and knowledge were picked up. At Secondary School one had to start all over again. Long trousers were donned and slowly as one reached the sixth form ‘we’ thought we knew it all. The playground then gave way to the Library etc. etc.

      All this covers perhaps twelve years of one’s life. This bears comparison with the ‘quickie’ and later the ‘biggie’. It can take several years to get proficient, know what you are about but even then one has bad days.

      So just grow into it and read every word of every blog and you might well become a speedy one! And don’t tell us what you don’t know, but what you do know and what you have learnt. It is far more interesting!

      1. Thank you Horryd. Good advice and I won’t give up. I’ve had a couple of good days in the library over the last year but got a proper playground kicking today! I will persevere.
    2. Might be a bit late replying to this, but I’ll check in on you as a commenter. I hope you got the impression from my write-up that this was a difficult puzzle, and I only got several answers from seeing them before and from picking through wordplay. I started doing cryptic puzzles in the early 80s so I’m bringing nearly 40 years of experience and nearly 15 years of writing up puzzles for this column. You can learn patterns, words that trip you up, and common tricks of setters. Speed I think is less necessary, but I am coming from back when that was the primary mode of this blog – to report how long it took you to finish the puzzle. Nil desperandum!
  24. ….proved extremely helpful, the only unknown being CHAMPLAIN — the parsing made it a write-in fortunately.

    Having to now explain away three separate illegal Christmas gatherings last year, Bojo will need to set his SOPHISM selector to overdrive.

    TIME 8:33

  25. Yup, yet another DNF (No. 3) with the same probs as some above . Guessed some, looked up the odd one and was never going to get Jesse. I won’t mention unches again in case horryd has another fit! Worst week ever, as someone mentioned above.

    Way past my pay grade, as the modern expression seems to go. Oh well, there’s always easy-peasy Friday to come.

    Thanks G.

  26. Another one of those days when quizzing knowledge proved at least as useful as the ability to decode the wordplay in the case of CHAMPLAIN and others (it’s a bit of a quiz chestnut to ask which bird has the scientific name puffinus puffinus, and see who falls into the trap of saying “puffin”). I am also old enough to remember the far less liberal licensing laws which made it useful to know where a LOCK-IN could be had from an obliging landlord. And while I’ve never had an after-hours drink there, I have been in the central Oxford Wetherspoons named in RB’s honour as The Four Candles.
    1. ‘Fratercula arctica’ is the Puffins’ latin name and they collectively come in ‘Rafts’.
  27. I got them all, even if I didn’t understand some.

    Heard of JESSES, but NHO JESSE. KRONE bunged in from crossers and def (I would have had a drone as a hard worker — I may have seen this argued about here before), NHO CHAMPLAIN, vaguely dredged CHANTRIES, but WP was clear enough, NHO SUPPE, but obvious enough once crossers hove into view, I had NATER until LAPSE. The SHEARWATERS arrived after some doodling with the anagrist.

    I live and learn. 29:09.

  28. Lord V. The long ‘Mauve Decade’ has become somewhat passe. I would add Wilkie Collins, Oscar Wilde, Anthony Booth, George Gissing, Rider Haggard, Trollope and my personal favourite Tennyson.

    I would assume that today Walter Payton is better known than Walter Pater. And thanks for putting The Gambia back where you found it!

    Edited at 2021-12-09 03:09 pm (UTC)

  29. I don’t understand the whingeing about this excellent tough puzzle which needed two sessions for me to finish. ENTRE NOUS is a brilliant &lit.
    1. No complaint about the crossword or ENTRE NOUS, but I did wonder about ‘hint of tittle tattle’ yielding the T. Not sure I’ve come across ‘hint’ as an indicator of an initial letter before. LAPSE as ‘pass’ also sent the eyebrows upward for a moment, but there is a question mark in the clue, so they settled back reasonably quickly.
  30. No problem with the birds, it was the fish that did for me. I bunged in red trout on the basis that it had to be right, even if I couldn’t parse it!
    The top half went in quite rapidly, thanks to a very accessible 1a, but the bottom half put up more of a fight.
    An enjoyable puzzle.
  31. Appalling start — just three in after 15 minutes — checked the SNITCH, is it really that hard? 106 at the time for which my target is 43 minutes.

    Speeded up somewhat after that, filling the whole of the SW, before THE GAMBIA (obvious once I’d written out the letters, but should have realised from the (3,6) configuration) fell, opening up quite a few answers (SEA TROUT, ROADBLOCK, SHRIKES) which was enough to work out the random bird from the anag. BARKER and KRONE (with a shrug — it was a bit rubbish) followed a while later, as did LOI HAAR which I vaguely remembered from a previous grid?

    Now for the top half which had only given up PORTLIER thus far. SUPPE, RIDE, LAPLANDER, ILLEGAL which finally revealed 1a INSECT REPELLENT. Shrug over NHO PATER and LAPSE (though I see why = pass now).

    If I’d gotten a better start, I might be laughing….

  32. Many of the same unknowns as others. Ended up with LAPSE and PATER to go. I went with NATTER (I don’t think PATTER is idle chat, more of either something on stage or a salesman’s pitch). So I couldn’t get LAPSE for ages. Eventually I realized and put in the NHO PATER.
  33. I was slightly surprised to see the Snitch standing at just 105. Because apart from one across – which foxed me by being too easy — I thought there were a lot of toughies in there which I was rather proud of myself for having solved. Jesses I worked oout from knowing David’s dad. There was a hymn with the words Jesse’s rod in it (referring to Jesus’s lineage from David), which used to make us schoolboys snigger. Bizarrely, just two hours earlier I had had to look up Creance in the dictionary. It occurred in the amazingly wonderful The Man on a Donkey by H.F.M Prescott. What does it mean? A falconer’s strap! Weird or what! I don’t really believe in these odd collective nouns. I think most of them are faux-learned inventions.
  34. I’m not keen on those clues where the letters are random. If the lazy type’s beginning is changing, we should be told to what. 36 minutes, but cheated quite unnecessarily for my LOI snapshot, because it was quite easy. Was in a hurry, that’s my excuse. Never heard of lock-in but it had to be. But I had heard of the other ones that foxed some, not sure how or why.

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