Times 28,199: 4m50s From Paddington

After a really tough and interesting puzzle in the middle of the week, I thought to myself or may even have said out loud, “well that’s that then, Friday’s is going to be no great shakes now.” And so it proves: you could barely get more straightforward than the below number.

Bonus points for rekindling fond memories of the 1987 BBC adaptation alluded to in the blog title; COD goes to the chucklesome 17d (at that price, I’ll take two!) with the vegan-friendly surface of 18ac earning runner-up status. Thank you to the setter for a gentle close to the working week!

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

1 Efficient assistant in office gets message sent round (7)
5 Someone in boat heard birds (5)
COCKS – homophone of COX
9 An occupant of Oxford maybe on the way (5)
AFOOT – A FOOT occupies a shoe, which could be an Oxford
10 Acolyte of a Swiss hero kept in place (9)
11 Italian boss and minister holding on (7)
12 Gangster and policeman work together — and drink (7)
ALCOPOP – AL (Capone) + COP + OP
13 Unacceptable behaviour through educational institution — three leaders sacked (10)
15 Nonsense, and vulgar, mostly (4)
18 This biryani is sent back — bones in it! (4)
RIBS – hidden reversed in {thi}S BIR{yani}
20 Those hoping for job open a paper with ads for teachers (10)
CANDIDATES – CANDID + A T.E.S. (Times Educational Supplement)
23 Poor actor to make fun of Drake’s resting place? (7)
HAMMOCK – HAM to MOCK, making a sailing man’s bed
24 One to map out place right for queen to inhabit (7)
25 Being a yes man presumably to get advancement (9)
PROMOTION – if you voted yes you were probably PRO the MOTION
26 One’s thrown out material, time and time again discarded (5)
27 Little person to jerk, dropping whiskey (5)
28 Sound boisterous in exclamation of surprise — one may have got an award (7)
1 Food the German provided — a possible first course? (7)
CHOWDER – CHOW + DER to make a soup course
2 Help root out someone who may be stuck underground after accident? (8)
3 Strike animal — its energy will decline (5)
BASTE – BEAST with its E sinking to the bottom. Not the commonest meaning of baste, these days
4 Old religious piece journalist hacked out? (9)
5 Revolutionary resin — one firm makes this material (6)
CALICO – reversed LAC + I + CO.
6 Vessel that is used by barber (7)
CLIPPER – double def
7 Having a great inclination to get soaked (5)
STEEP – double def
8 Music-maker to chirp aboard barge travelling around (8)
14 Securing looped cloth around cut (9)
16 Gave an account of missing bishop being caught sight of (8)
17 Next-door shop’s offer for extremely cheap formal attire (8)
ADJACENT – Bargain formalwear! A DJ – A CENT!
19 Make homeless crowd turn up ahead of fight (4,3)
BOMB OUT – reversed MOB + BOUT
21 Character collecting money for subscription scheme (7)
TONTINE – TIN in TONE. “An annuity shared by subscribers to a loan or common fund, the shares increasing as subscribers die until the last survivor enjoys the whole income”, so apparently designed with Agatha Christie novel plots firmly in mind
22 Pagan divinity of moon manifest round end of April (6)
MOLOCH – MOOCH around {apri}L
23 House in position that may cause subsidence? Don’t hang around! (3,2)
HOP IT – HO. on top of PIT
24 Criticise American lawyer for being a beast (5)

69 comments on “Times 28,199: 4m50s From Paddington”

  1. Not straightforward for me. DNK TES, so I had no idea how CANDIDATES worked; DNK DJ, so had no idea how ADJACENT worked; DNK the ‘nonsense’ meaning of CRUD, so that took me a long time. Got MOLOCH from the H, and only then recalled the relevant meaning of ‘mooch’, which is not in my dialect. I wonder if anyone is going to object to the definition of BAGPIPER.
    1. I think Merzbow makes music, so no objections from me to the bagpipes being described as such 😀
  2. Yesterday I was locked out of my email connection and was unable to see much of anything!

    Today I cashed-in after an hour. I ended up with 2 errors..I bunged in GHASTLY at 28ac nb Mr Setter is a far better word than GRANTEE
    At 21dn l preferred TENUITY to TONTINE, which I believed was The Lone Ranger’s brand of chewing gum.

    FOI 24dn PANDA

    (LOI) 26ac EXILE

    COD 15ac CRUD

    WOD GHASTLY — it’s funny how bagpipes turn-up to ruin one’s morning. Madge has ‘em for breaker!
    Over you Mr. Myrtilus!

  3. The top half went straight in, but the bottom half was very knotty. Candidates a guess, like Kevin not knowing a TES. Moloch a desperate guess thinking moon was part of the definition and trying to find a word meaning manifest. Most of the others gave trouble. Different setters top and bottom? Or my brain switched off half way.
    COD steep.
  4. The only tontine I was aware of before today is a brand of pillows. But it parsed so well that it had to be, though it was the last on in. Thanks V for the more interesting definition. I’d like to remain anonymous if I were in such a scheme!
    I’d heard of the Times Educational Supplement, but not known that TES was an acceptable abbreviation for it, hence CANDIDATES was unparsed, so thanks again V.
    I toyed with HAMMOON at 23a. Mooning being mockery performed by an ass. And isn’t there a west country town of this name where Sir Frank might have been buried? Except he wasn’t. I see he died of dysentery in Panama and was buried at sea in a lead coffin with his cousin Admiral Sir John Hawkins on 27 January 1596.
    1. Apparently, TES is now the official name of the publication formerly known as the Times Literary Supplement.
  5. 30 minutes for all but two unchecked letters in the unknown MOLOCH. The wordplay proved unfathomable apart from the L, as for ‘moon’ I was expecting one attached to a planet that could have been anything, possibly taken from Greek, and I wasn’t sure if ‘manifest’ was of importance or just a distraction.

    Other than that I didn’t know the figurative meaning of CRUD, nor BASTE other than as a culinary term, and I failed to parse ADJACENT.

    Edited at 2022-01-28 05:32 am (UTC)

  6. LOP (Last One Parsed) was CANDIDATES; I guessed there must be a TES.

    Didn’t know about the poem, oft set to music, referred to by “Drake’s” but looked it up after writing the answer. Everyone must know the verse over there, as the blog did not mention it, but I didn’t need the reference to the famous Francis to get HAMMOCK from “resting place.”

    Was hesitant to write in ADJACENT, though it seemed obvious, because I didn’t remember that DJ can mean “dinner jacket.”
    I had the NE and SW filled in first, and NE was last to fall.

    Edited at 2022-01-28 09:28 pm (UTC)

  7. Was on course for a sub-50 but spent 13-14 minutes on EXILE, MOLOCH and TONTINE. NHO of the last two.
    MOLOCH was a good clue but COD, as Verlaine says, to ADJACENT.
    Definitely not easy, though.
    Sad to hear of Barry Cryer’s passing. One commenter in The Times offered this from among B.C.’s many gags:
    “I was once asked by a female reporter for an example of a double entendre, so I gave her one.”

    Edited at 2022-01-28 07:30 am (UTC)

  8. Crossword 28199 on the Android App is different to the 28199 on the Times website and in the puzzle club. This also happened at the weekend which made me wonder if I had submitted the alternative, would I have been eligible for a prize?
    1. I just checked the Times app on my Android tablet and it’s the same puzzle as in the newspaper and Times online (puzzles) and in the Crossword Club. Perhaps you need to clear out cache or saved webpages?

      Edited at 2022-01-28 08:30 am (UTC)

  9. Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch!
    Moloch the heavy judger of men!

    How apt. 25 mins pre-brekker having devised Moloch. I thought the extra distraction of ‘manifest’ was a bit tricksy if intentional.
    I liked Candidates, but can see that TES is a bit tricksy too.
    Thanks setter and V.

  10. Gave up on the hour with TONTINE and EXILE not answered. Some very tricky stuff I thought all mentioned above. How does that boy V do it? Not sure which programme the allusion is to though.

    Thanks V and setter.

    1. It’s an adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery Francois. The book is ho hum but the BBC series was pretty good as I recall. I’d forgotten that it featured a TONTINE.
      1. I learned the word working in a public library in high school: Thomas Costain (anyone remember him?)’s “The Tontine”.
      2. For some reason there is no scene from Agatha Christie that I remember better than that lawyer and his tontine/tocsin play on words. It must be because a crossword was involved.
  11. I did not find this straightforward, finishing with only four minutes of my hour left.

    I was pleased to be able to ninja-turtle in a couple of places, knowing “si PADRONE!” as a regular phrase from Stiletto the evil crow in Danger Mouse and MOLOCH from the eponymous Blake’s 7 episode. I also only knew TONTINE from Chris Fowler’s The Darkest Day, whose plot revolves around a Victorian TONTINE with a side-helping of clockwork and zombies…

    Anyway. It’s possible that this was a lot easier for those of a more classical education!

  12. …as a kid, I thought it was a place. In fact, I’m still not sure! Are you trying to give us all an inferiority complex, V? No need, we know already. 41 minutes including a painfully slow start. LOI MOLOCH dredged up from the depths, as was TONTINE. I liked HAMMOCK but COD to CANDIDATES. I did think of of the Times Educational Supplement. I didn’t know the phrase BOMB OUT though but it soon became clear it couldn’t be BOOT OUT. Decent puzzle. Thank you V and setter.
  13. 25:36
    Steady solve.
    Back in the 70s and 80s the TES used to come out on Fridays, and everyone would make a beeline for the jobs section, which at certain times of the year was thicker than the actual Times Ed itself. Even the grimmest jobs were scrubbed up to sound irresistible in the ads, and so Fridays were all about planning the great escape. Frying pans and fires, of course, but you could still dream 🙂
    Thanks, v.

    Edited at 2022-01-28 09:16 am (UTC)

  14. Not easy here: the lower half froze with mostly blank spaces, and answers were squeezed out painfully over 30 minutes and some. Both MOLOCH and PLANNER got entered and erased twice. “Looped cloth” was mean, and Drake’s resting place too person specific for comfort. Plus I bet he didn’t sleep in a hammock at home in Buckland Abbey. Plus (and I looked this up) “Drake’s cabin has the only bed on the ship.” Boo, hiss!
    Didn’t like the CANDIDATES clue: too many words. From memory, there are times in the year when the TES has virtually no ads for teachers.
    PONZI, of course, didn’t fit, so eventually I settled for the TOTNINE (marshes?) and EXILE was my last in – too many possibilities for the vague material with (probably) two Ts.
    Oh, and BASTE for strike? Too many possible animals for a word that has pretty much lost that meaning.
    Mood, as Horryd would say, Meldrew.

    Edited at 2022-01-28 10:40 am (UTC)

  15. A 58 minute DNF. Doing OK before hitting the wall at MOLOCH which was never to be. I liked TONTINE which I remember from “The Wrong Box” many years ago.

    Thanks to Verlaine and setter.

  16. Cap’n art thou sleeping there below? You didn’t need to know the Newbolt poem for this though. I get MOLOCH mixed up with the critters (morlocks) in H.G. Wells so had to take some time to sort that out. DNP CANDIDATES and ADJACENT (thanks V). DNK BOMB OUT but it’s what unscrupulous landlords used hire an arsonist to do in NYC to empty a building and sell the lot for development. 20.04
  17. Good puzzle. Not easy but no more difficult than the last couple of days. Needed Verlaine to explain the excellent ADJACENT. COD the cleverly structured POTHOLER.

    My wife can play the bagpipes, but being a decent sort, she doesn’t.

    A tontine is at the centre of one of my favourite films, The Wrong Box, based on an R.L. Stevenson story.

    Thanks to Verlaine and the setter.

    1. Interestingly one of my American trivia colleagues writes a fun-facts-of-the-day blog called The Wronger Box. I’ve always wondered why exactly, I probably should ask him…
      1. Nah! islafree – you’ve spelt it wrongly – you’re thinking of Boloch horrydus!

        gothic-mutt and chlamydia are both in detention and have lost their privileges.


  18. I got off to a flying start with CAPABLE and its danglers, although I was a bit unsure of that meaning of BASTE, but PADRONE confirmed it. Didn’t quite parse ADJACENT(saw the cheap CENT) or CANDIDATES(biffed). MOLOCH rang a faint bell. I finished with TONTINE which was familiar both as a local hostelry, The Cleveland Tontine near Mount Grace Priory Osmotherly, and the financial scheme. Thought EXILE was rather clever. 19:23. Thanks setter and V.
  19. 25m for all but 22d then another 15m to hit on Moloch! I was convinced Io must be in there somewhere… Oh well. Really enjoyed this one, thanks setter, and V for his nonchalant erudition.
  20. I certainly didn’t find this as simple as Verlaine – the top half was a breeze, sure, but I slowed down in the bottom half and spent 2-3 minutes on MOLOCH, trying to think of anything plausible to go in. 11m 9s in total, but at least there were no pink squares, unlike a few days this week.
  21. Well I shall daringly contradict our esteemed blogger and say that I found this one a delight (although admittedly I have lower standards than him in pretty much everything, of course). Also, while the top half was a near write-in, the bottom half was occasionally much knottier, so a definite challenge in the end.

    Also glad to see I am not alone in fondly remembering The Wrong Box, a film which is based around the hazards of the tontine, and the incentive it can give for Person A rather wishing Person B would hurry up and die.

  22. V says that you can hardly get more straightforward than this. I also beg to disagree: there’s plenty in it for the regular solver, and the SNITCH is over 100. MOLOCH was a struggle since I looked it up and Chambers said that it was a semitic god, so I rejected it because it didn’t seem to be a pagan divinity. I should have read further or looked in Wikipedia. Liked the cheap DJ. 39 minutes.

    Edited at 2022-01-28 12:12 pm (UTC)

  23. Most clues solved as I read them. No unknowns, so it should have been a quick time. Unfortunately, on a whim, I shoved in SNICKLING for 14d, which made CANDIDATES impossible. I didn’t have ADJACENT either. In the end I used an aid to check other possibilities for 14, after which CANDIDATES and ADJACENT fell into place.

    I rather liked the clues to AFOOT and PROMOTION.

  24. Did no one other than Olivia, Martin, and moi know of Moloch? Shocking. How about Baal? Beelzebub?
    1. Known as an imaginary thing, but not as a Pagan god. Might have been Greek classical monster, or fictional character from e.g. Pratchett, or Monty Python invention, or any number of other possibilities.
    2. I knew of Moloch. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you anything about him, which probably helped.
      1. As I recall, he was big on child sacrifice, which no doubt contributed to his generally bad reputation.
    3. I certainly did.
      Both from the Bible and from Allen Ginsberg’s Howl:
      What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
      Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
      Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
      Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments!


      Edited at 2022-01-28 03:39 pm (UTC)

    4. I knew — and good thing, too, as I would’ve struggled with the hesitant moon if I hadn’t known where it was going
  25. 57:47. Completed, and mostly parsed, but this week won’t have done my averages any good. FOI ALCOPOP LOI MOLOCH which seemed vaguely familiar when I wrote it in. MER at RANT = sound boisterous, in 28ac. COD BAGPIPER not least for the provocative definition
  26. More twitchy shoulder action as the shrugs mounted.

    I didn’t find this as easy as our blogger makes out.

    BASTE (my first thought but wondered if BESET (Beest with a dropped E) was a possibility), DESCRIED (I was trying to make OBSERVED fit somehow before deciding that there was nothing else that Nonsense could be than CRUD), TONTINE and MOLOCH were all unknowns and took painstaking minutes to piece together then check and re-check before submitting.

  27. 29:55. I also found this quite tricky and glad to find myself in similar company after my heart sank on reading V’s opening remark. “O, the difference of man and man!”
  28. 19:24. I didn’t find this easy at all. I felt I was making heavy weather of it, an impression confirmed by my very high SNITCH score. I knew all the words though, so it seems I was just a bit slow on the uptake this morning.
    MER at the definition at 23a. Like z8 I thought it unlikely that Drake had to sleep in a HAMMOCK and it seems he didn’t.
  29. I agree that some of this might have escaped from QC-land but I had problems in the SE as well as the NHO MOLOCH.
  30. This took me two goes, but I got there in the end. Didn’t know lac as a resin or the material itself, so CALICO was a hit-and-hope. Another NHO for me, TONTINE, went in based solely on wordplay, and I couldn’t have told you what DESCRIED means.

    FOI Ribs
    LOI Tontine
    COD Adjacent

  31. I thought this was much easier than Wednesday and Thursday. There is a Nina consisting of several synonyms for some of the answers. Have had a lovely week combining the Australian Open with the crossword.
  32. An expat friend of mine owned and ran a bar in NYC called Drake’s Drum (2nd Ave and 83rd, now long gone) which had the relevant poem on the wall behind the bar, so with years of proper study behind me I didn’t have any fuss with Drake being in a hammock.

    Otherwise I liked it, finding the cluing just tricksy enough and the not quite known senses of words just close enough to what I did know to work.

  33. Yes I knew Moloch, Hammoch and Alcopop from the OT Book of Daniel. COD 20ac Candidates. WOD Descried. TGIF!
  34. 50 minutes with a very slow start (RIBS was my FOI), but it all gradually came together. LOI was the never heard of before TONTINE, which I only managed via the wordplay. But despite some obscure meanings of well-known words, nothing else seemed unmanageable. This has been a week of very strange puzzles, though.
  35. Got SATELLITE — my smile was wide
    Because COCKS was a dud,
    Just some more birdy CRUD
    And the setter is thus vilified
  36. After a string of tricky travails this week, finally got one over the line in 32.01. LOI baste which I would never have considered another meaning of strike, any basting I’ve done has generally been pretty gentle over a nice piece of meat.

    Satellite proved troublesome but only because I thought of stoop as the crosser before realising my mistake.

    Enjoyed it so thanks setter.

  37. DNF, Gave up after about 45 mins with Moloch still to get. Had already spent some considerable time on it. I thought of Moloch but wasn’t confident enough with the definition to put it in and was baffled by the moon / mooch equivalence. Perhaps if I’d turned it over in my mind a little more I might have seen it, then again, perhaps not. As with others I found the top half went in with no problems but the bottom half was much harder.
  38. As far as I know Agatha Christie never employed the tontine for one of her plots. J J Connington did though, with the added novelty of one of the sleuths being a subscriber to one where the other subscribers are being killed off.
    1. The only tontine I’m familiar with is the famous Sherlock Holmes story. I’ve never read an Agatha Christie with one in either.
    2. Are you telling me I *hallucinated* the scene in 4.50 From Paddington where the lawyer clues Miss Marple in to a tontine by talking about tocsins? Oh man!
  39. Not too difficult for my ancient brain — and entertaining. Some puzzles are tediously convoluted in their search for new ways to fox the smartest solvers.
    1. This is a very fair appraisal. I still reckon Friday/Saturday makes for best end of the week to have the hard puzzles at — that way if you get stuck you have the weekend to keep plugging at it!

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