Times 28191 – Personally, I’d rather go back to the past.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I was quickly into this one, with 1d and the long clues at 14a and 17a opening up several more answers. It was all done in 20 minutes with ABUTTAL my LOI and no half-understood solutions (I hope). I quite liked 5d and the ‘last product to help an athlete’. This could be a good puzzle for those graduating from the Quick Cryptic to tackle.

1 Criminal striking line of workers outside pit (10)
PICKPOCKET – PICKET, a line of striking workers, has POCK, a pit, a mark e.g. on the face, inserted.
6 Southern feline polluting atmosphere (4)
SMOG – S, MOG as in moggy, cat.
9 Target area within terms of annual meeting (7)
ABUTTAL – BUTT (target) inside A, AL where AL are the terminal letters of annual.
10 Last product likely to aid athlete? (7)
TRAINER – cryptic definition, last meaning made on a last i.e. a shoe. And a trainer in the personal sense too, if you wished.
12 Miserable Hindu exhausted his devoted compatriot? (5)
SADHU – SAD (miserable) H(ind)U. A Hindu ascetic.
13 Exploit effective power such as child gradually loses (4,5)
MILK TEETH – MILK = exploit, TEETH = power.
14 Presumably facing what lies behind film series? (4,2,3,6)
BACK TO THE FUTURE – cryptic definition.
17 Makes contact after battle, showing signs of commitment (10,5)
ENGAGEMENT RINGS – RINGS = makes contact, after ENGAGEMENT = battle.
20 English leaving liberal gratuities for musician (9)
GUITARIST – (GRATUITI S)*, the E having left.
21 Wine we’re stocking of comparatively recent vintage (5)
NEWER – hidden as above.
23 Determined late series of games at Wimbledon? (4,3)
DEAD SET – DEAD = late, SET = games of tennis.
24 Maybe she‘s supporting sister without love (7)
PRO (supporting) NUN (sister) with O inserted (without love).
25 Elusive figure still leading India (4)
YETI – YET (still) I(ndia).
26 Chieftain pursuing game reaches good strategic position (10)
BRIDGEHEAD – BRIDGE (game) HEAD (chieftain).

1 Appalling pill abuse that might occur (9)
2 Half of us wrapped up in chilly May (5)
COULD – U (half of us) inside COLD.
3 Made to retire, as disturbed informer might be? (3,3,2,5)
PUT OUT TO GRASS – cryptic definition.
4 Case of unspecific metal being moulded into symbolic pipe (7)
CALUMET – (UC METAL)*, where UC = case of UnspecifiC. Native American peace pipe, or similar.
5 Is she crossing the channel? (7)
ESTELLE – “est elle?” being French for “is she?”
7 Name of horse briefly sat on by male model (9)
MANNEQUIN – MAN (male) N (name) EQUIN(E) = horse briefly.
8 Item tightened by jockey needing high tension apparatus set up (5)
GIRTH – HT RIG reversed.
11 Garfield’s successor published an impressive author (6,7)
ARTHUR RANSOME – Chester A. ARTHUR succeeded James Garfield as POTUS; RAN = published, SOME = impressive, as in ‘that was some party at Downing Street”.
15 Informed company worker reversed pipe plugs (9)
COGNISANT – CO (company) ANT (worker); insert SING (pipe) reversed.
16 Cherished sinner — he’d reformed (9)
18 Tiresome European leaves ground, carrying more water (7)
MOISTER – (TIRESOM )* where the final E has left tiresome.
19 Secretary in well-known office block (7)
NOTEPAD – PA (secretary) inside NOTED (well-known).
20 Righteous man‘s best friend turned fifty on fourth of July (5)
GODLY – GOD (man’s best friend, DOG, turned) L (50) Y (fourth letter of JulY).
22 Put down weight, something we can learn by (5)
WROTE – W (weight) ROTE (learn something by rote).

48 comments on “Times 28191 – Personally, I’d rather go back to the past.”

  1. 8:58 – pretty steady solve, though raised an eyebrow at CALUMET being clued as an anagram, and relieved that was correct. I thought the clue to ESTELLE was nifty.
  2. 20 minutes for the puzzle and just 17 for the blog! I was 26 minutes and would have taken the rest of the morning to blog.

    FOI 6ac SMOG


    COD 5dn ESTELLE nice even Nice!

    WOD 11dn ARTHUR RANSOME with unknown POTUS.

    ‘Er indoors’ got ‘er booster yesterday, l have to wait until after CNY

    I see Novax is back home.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 01:13 am (UTC)

  3. Calumet no problem; besides previous appearances here the Blues Brothers’ orphanage is in Calumet City. Knew of Garfield but never heard of Chester Arthur, or Arthur Ransome, so that was a bit of a guess. Leaving only TRAINER as had-to-be, I completely missed the cobbler’s part of the clue.
    Speedy except for those last two, and enjoyed it.
    COD trainer, now I’ve been told how it works.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 01:40 am (UTC)

  4. I knew both, but for a London audience I’m not sure if I were setting I’d’ve used the little known President at all and I’m with George about cluing a Native American word as a tricky anagram — I’d forgotten that Elwood and Jake had made it famous. I liked Estelle. Cute.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 05:03 pm (UTC)

  5. 23 minutes. Luckily I happened to know the required N. American GK. The YETI hasn’t been quite such an ‘Elusive figure’ in crossword land recently. I liked the TRAINER and GIRTH defs and was another to enjoy the cleverness of ESTELLE.
  6. That’s some catch, that catch-22…

    And that’s what held me up at the end until I spotted it, not really being aware of the author. Also took a while to see meeting=ABUTTAL.

    Very entertaining puzzle I thought. Thanks Pip and setter.

  7. I was surprised to see ARTHUR; I knew him, of course, but didn’t know that he followed Garfield. And I agree with George and Paul about CALUMET; I needed a checker or two to jog my memory. There are 3 initial/final letter clues: 9ac, 12ac, 4d. Definite COD to ESTELLE.
  8. But ABUTTAL is an odd word… apparently more common in the plural—I mean, Collins has the singular, but only in American.
  9. 27 minutes. NHO President Arthur but I knew the author and just assumed Arthur must have been Garfield’s successor.

    Usually I’m the first to complain about obscure words clued as anagrams but several posters have got in before me today. I didn’t feel quite so miffed about it today a) because for once I guessed it correctly, and b) I thought CALUMET seemed to be the only realistic option, or perhaps if it has come up before it may have been lurking somewhere in my brain.

    Edit: CALUMET has come up twice, in January 2017 and March 2018, both times using A LUM (very familiar as a Scottish chimney) in the helpful wordplay. I admitted to not knowing it on either occasion but evidently had no problems arriving at the correct answer.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 06:12 am (UTC)

  10. 29 minutes, joining the others who were held up a bit at the end by ABUTTAL. My scant film knowledge helped not just for 14a but also for 11d, as Chester A Arthur is an important part of the plot of Die Hard 3, where a presidential clue leads protagonist John McClane to Chester A Arthur Elementary School. I’m sure Garfield gets a mention along the way.

    It was here I first found out what the chain of photographic shops—now merged with Wex Photographic in the UK—was named after, so CALUMET was quite easy this time around.

  11. … Of Jove, those tears have given me a thirst
    To meet oblivion.

    15 mins pre-brekker. Nothing to scare the horses except the OWAA! (obscure word as anagram), but guessable.
    Mostly I liked the ManNEquin.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  12. ARTHUR etc. was fine for me, as I quickly made the POTUS connection. Incidentally, Garfield found an original proof of Pythagoras’s Theorem. On a good day I get 100% on Sporcle for US Presidents, which helped.

    The Beatles’ song ‘Sexy Sadie’ is about the Maharishi Yogi, so SADHU FOI.

    Agree re CALUMET, although it seemed plausible. Really liked ESTELLE.

    LOI ABUTTAL, took a while.

    13′ 56″, thanks Pip and setter.

  13. Started off at a moderate clip, but over the course of the first 10 minutes, realised I was fairly zipping through the puzzle, and started to press it a bit harder, also slacking off the rigorousness of my clue-solving. By 15m, I was aiming for a PB (amazed that this was even a possibility after last Monday’s super-easy offering.

    Finished off with a couple of biffs (ABUTTAL, MANNEQUIN) and finally the TRAINER / ESTELLE crossing, ten seconds under my previous PB…
    …but the dreaded UNLUCKY came up, I had junk in the 24a space, which I’d guessed as PONTOON, then overwritten with RANSOME.

    Would normally have spotted that and corrected it – I nearly always do a pre-sub check these days – but on this occasion I omitted that step, and was duly repaid for my corner-cutting. Anyway, that was lots of fun – thanks Pip and setter

  14. 17 minutes. Last three in were TRAINER, then ABUTTAL and finally CALUMET, the last two barely known. I had no idea who followed Garfield unless it was Sobers, but the cryptic and crossers gave RANSOME and the answer. I felt on wavelength with the setter’s logic but not with all of their knowledge base. COD to PUT OUT TO GRASS. Thank you Pip and setter.
  15. Enjoyable crossie all done at 30 mins on the knob. Last pair in ABUTTAL and the finally jiggled (correctly for once) CALUMET. I do
    Remember now the A LUM bit in the clue ages ago, thanks for that Jack.

    I did like ESTELLE, GUITARIST, the clever office block and nice TRAINER. Like Isla3 I completely missed the subtlety of the « last » bit. Great stuff.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  16. 9:48. I whizzed through almost all of this and then got completely stuck with TRAINER and MANNEQUIN unsolved. I really should have seen the common ‘last’ trick much more quickly, and I was too convinced ‘male’ was M. A couple of solving lessons in there.
    I knew the US President (whether from Die Hard 3 alone or also from less ninja-turtley GK I can’t say) but had forgotten the pipe — consciously at least. Like jackkt though I suspect I had retained some subconscious memory of it because I felt fairly confident of the vowel order. These OWAAs seem to be happening all the time at the moment, it’s most thoroughly not cricket if you ask me.
    1. CALUMET didn’t strike me as obscure at all, but that must be because it’s a North American (Native!) thing. Pretty sure I saw it in another crossword recently too, but I don’t even remember if it was a cryptic.
  17. 9:59 DNK CALUMET, but it looked right and DNK the president after Garfield, but the author had to be RANSOME. I liked DEAD SET and ESTELLE best. Thanks Pip and setter.
  18. I don’t quite see why 14ac and 3dn are CDs. 14ac is surely def. ‘such as child gradually loses’ and wordplay quite conventional: milk = exploit, teeth = effective power. And 3dn seems to be def. ‘Made to retire’, wordplay put out = disturbed, grass = informer, with ‘to’ a link-word I suppose. Nice crossword, plenty of good clues I thought, but I would say that wouldn’t I after 25 minutes.
    1. I disagree, I think. 3d I have underlined the definition, as usual. The other part is a cryptic version, an informer who was retired could be ‘put out’ i.e. unhappy, disturbed, to grass. You can’t just say ‘to is a link word’. But it’s a micro-debate.

      Edited at 2022-01-19 03:52 pm (UTC)

    2. I think you mean 13a not 14a, and again I have underlined the definition. I analysed it as you have.

      Edited at 2022-01-19 03:51 pm (UTC)

      1. Yes I was confusing 13ac and 14ac, sorry. The ‘to’ in the put out to grass clue does seem uncomfortable, though. A disturbed informer would be put out and would be a grass, but …
  19. GIRTH and SMOG were my first 2 in. I didn’t know the President, but did know the author, who then allowed me to dismiss PONTOON and spot PRONOUN. I missed the subtlety of “last product.” BACK TO THE FUTURE and ENGAGEMENT RINGS were very helpful with crossing letters. Had to guess the arrangement of vowels in CALUMET, but it seemed fairly likely. Liked ESTELLE. ABUTTAL was LOI after CALUMET. 28:46, which put me at 101 on the leaderboard, so off the SNITCH list again. Thanks setter and Pip.
  20. Half of us = u is slightly better than yesterday’s half am = a, but I’m still not a big fan.

    Otherwise all ok and not too tricky.

    1. I actually liked that… but because It was fiendishly sneaky—so we’re agreed on that!

      Edited at 2022-01-19 07:06 pm (UTC)

  21. Entertaining puzzle, finishing with the excellent ESTELLE. Always tricky to decide what it’s fair to class as “general” or even “quite niche” knowledge (especially when the wordplay is an anagram), but luckily I had it all today. Like lots of quizzers, I got fed up of being hazy about the likes of Chester Arthur and Rutherford Hayes, and decided that if you’re going to force yourself to learn any list, US Presidents is a pretty useful one; and like lots of other film-watchers, my main knowledge of Calumet comes from its appearance in The Blues Brothers – so not difficult to theorise that the name came from the same roots as Chicago and Pontiac and had something to do with Native Americans.
  22. All but four in the NE solved in 15 minutes, but another 9 minutes of head-scratching to get those four – TRAINER, MILK TEETH, ESTELLE, MANNEQUIN. A lot of the answers could be biffed.
  23. 28:02. Couldn’t find a way in until FOI 3dn PUT OUT TO GRASS. Then picked up the pace. DNK CALUMET but went with the most likely-looking arrangement of vowels. Then stuck at the end in the NE corner until it fell into place with LOI TRAINER. SMOG took longer than it should have. Liked MILK TEETH and of course ESTELLE

    Edited at 2022-01-19 11:18 am (UTC)

  24. Slightly horsey aroma to this (GIRTH, TRAINER, EQUINe). And CALUMET Farm is a very well-known stud farm in Bluegrass country which has produced a number of famous thoroughbreds. I nearly fell at the last fence by putting a Z in COGNISANT but went back and parsed it. 14.41 and a relief after the last 2 which were a struggle.
  25. I was very hopeful of breaking the Ten Minute Barrier here but tan into turbulence. I spent about 4 mins butting my head against LOI ABUTTAL.


  26. …mysteriously somehow entered SIDHU rather than SADHU — i and a are not even remotely close on the keyboard…

    Otherwise, everything went in pretty breezily apart from the unknown CALUMET.

  27. 16.15. Nice puzzle, felt like I was back on terra firma with this one after struggling with a couple of recent puzzles. Abuttal my LOI. I also liked Estelle.
  28. Very gentle, with the two long ones helping considerably. No problem with ABUTTTAL but a moment’s pause while parsing COGNISANT. Kept thinking of Nissan and Datsun Cogs.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

  29. Nice and easy till the last couple. CALUMET rang some kind of bell, but it was ABUTTAL which threw me at the end. I loved BACK TO THE FUTURE, a classic in its day.
  30. Usual hour plodding through this. NHO calumet, tried cloud before seeing it must be could for may. Also tried figurehead instead of bridgehead, corrected by moister and notepad. Biffed quite a few. FOI smog, LOI abuttal, nine on first pass. Liked all the clues. Thanks, Pip, and setter.
  31. If one reads “of horse briefly ” as the shortened adjectival form of equine then MANNEQUIN parses more precisely.
  32. You’re right about the puzzle being a good one for those making the transition from Quick to 15×15 — that’s been me in recent months, and I did this one in under half an hour. I have to say I’m really encouraged that at last I’m making progress — I can complete both crosswords more or less every day now, which certainly wasn’t the case even a few months ago. Sustained practice with other family members over Christmas seemed to make quite a difference to both our combined confidence and ability!
  33. From 1ac Pickpocket to 25ac Bridgehead. COD 9ac Abuttal. WOD Calumet – known as there is a Calumet Street, in Boston, Mass. which runs of Fitzgerald Park.

    Edited at 2022-01-19 03:51 pm (UTC)

  34. Exactly 30 minutes and no real problems, except for not knowing the author. ARTHUR was clear once I realised Garfield was not the cat. CALUMET not a problem, since I once bought (presumably a fake) one as a souvenir (I hope I’ve thrown it out). I rather liked ESTELLE, too.
  35. An infuriating misprint on mannequin. Earlier …. I was racing for an under-tenner, and would have made it had it not been for Abuttal. I guessed right but I’d long passed the mark by then. The rest slipped in very easily.

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