Times 28201 – Patriot Games

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
16:05, so a pretty straightforward Monday puzzle on my watch after one or two trickier ones. Quite a few anagrams, two relatively less obscure items of flora, accessible vocabulary and generous cluing makes this a puzzle that even members of the Slow Coach Club may enjoy and conquer.


1 Announcement of Fellini’s farewell dinner? (4)
CHOW – sounds like ciao
3 Maverick landlord’s generous offering? (4,6)
FREE SPIRIT – gin, rum etc on the house
9 Holes up, being behind with story (4,3)
LIES LOW – LIE (story) SLOW (being behind)
11 Oil producer briefly visiting pub in S American capital (7)
BOLIVAR – OLIV[e] in BAR; Venezuela is up there for the title of world’s most needlessly stuffed up country; one Bolivar (its currency unit) is worth 0.00000218382 USD. NOT a place to visit if you value your life…
12 Faithfulness of surprisingly canny Scot (9)
13 Collector’s item inquisitive American rejected (5)
14 Sly nature of athlete’s sins found out (12)
STEALTHINESS – ATHLETES SINS*; quite cunning in the anagram indicating department, as the setter indicates that the letters in ‘athlete’s sins’ need to be found in an ‘out’ condition or state.
18 Crowd rushes to make accusation (5,7)
21 Milk consumed by irascible editor (5)
BLEED – hidden in [irasci]BLE ED[itor]
22 Release old con, almost at end of sentence (9)
EXTRICATE – EX TRIC[k] AT [sentenc]E
24 Doctor gone AWOL with ecstasy missing? That’s a mistake (3,4)
25 Relatives most cheerful when unconfined (7)
26 Eat together, using holiday money (5,5)
BREAK BREAD – BREAK (holiday) BREAD (money)
27 Note US city’s on way back (4)
ONER – reversal of RENO – divorce capital of the world


1 Unsolved mystery of GP returning without large bag? (4,4)
COLD CASE – L (large) in DOC (GP) reversed CASE (bag)
2 No dealer can supply this shrub (8)
4 Tree where Cicero perhaps has change of heart (5)
5 Just beginning to be harassed by incomer (9)
6 See Constable collection here? (6,7)
POLICE STATION – cryptic definition; simple but effective
7 US rider, one coming out of daydream (6)
REVERE – REVER[i]E; Paul – American silversmith and jockey
8 Attack someone who inflames your lust (4,2)
TURN ON – double definition; the latter a bit spicy for the Times
10 Chairman’s thoughts in volume not much consulted, I hear (6,3,4)
LITTLE RED BOOK – sounds like ‘little read book’, which is exactly what this tosh deserves
15 Innkeeper serving most of crowd at counter (9)
HOSTELLER – HOS[t] (crowd) TELLER (counter)
16 Article on Greek heretic, land reformer (8)
AGRARIAN – A GR ARIAN; Arius (thanks, Kevin) came up with one of the better known early Christian heresies, which typically had to do – unsurprisingly, really – with Jesus’ divinity. So, here HERETIC is adjectival. Still on the subject of syntax, as a noun, ‘agrarian’ means someone who supports a redistribution of landed property. So, presumably, someone who doesn’t have much in the first place.
17 Judge’s son enthralled by clowns and soldiers (8)
ASSESSOR – S (son) in ASSES (clowns) OR (Other Ranks)
19 Monopolise rating’s world (6)
ABSORB – AB’S ORB, where AB is an Able Seaman
20 Scrooge’s hat — top needs replacing (6)
23 Expensive bit of headgear? I’m going to nick one (5)
TIARA – I in TARA (common English word for goodbye – sometimes hyphenated, sometimes not)

83 comments on “Times 28201 – Patriot Games”

  1. Slowed down a bit at the end by my last three, OWN GOAL, MEANIE, HOSTELLER. I wondered about AGRARIAN, not knowing the relevant meaning. (It’s Arius, by the way, U, not Arian.) I also DNK the relevant meaning of TELLER. I liked EXTRICATE for its lovely surface.
  2. An easy Monday again, but most enjoyable. My hat off to the setter for the wonderful surfaces throughout
  3. Easy one indeed!
    I knew the dissident theologian and sect.
    Agrarianism has a very long history and is a much more interesting set of ideas than one might be led to believe by Ulaca’s dismissive remark, which seems cynical about both that philosophy and human nature in general.

    Edited at 2022-01-31 04:35 am (UTC)

    1. Agree. The reason many people don’t have much in the first place is that a few other people historically have taken it from them.
      1. That may be true, but arguably truer yet is that most attempts at redistribution end in tears – or in smaller groups yet of landed ‘gentry.’
  4. 25 minutes. No really tough ones, but I had trouble with TIARA and the parsing of AGRARIAN. Eventually I remembered having heard (in a crossword of course) of ARIAN for ‘heretic’ before, though had no idea about Arius or his beliefs.

    I haven’t looked it up, but Simón BOLIVAR said something about trying to govern the areas in S. America he had freed from Spanish rule being like trying to plough the sea. Given the health of the currency named after him, looks like he may have been right.

    Thanks to ulaca and setter (from a proud Slow Coach Club member)

    1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘The general in his labyrinth’ is an interesting alternative take on the life (especially the end thereof) of Simón Bolívar. Not in the class of ‘Love in the time of cholera’ but good nonetheless.
      1. Thanks. Sounds as though it’s well worth a try. I read and enjoyed “Love in the Time of Cholera” many years ago and before that managed to finish “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, an achievement in itself, even if it wasn’t really my cup of tea.
        1. This was easy enough and it felt like 25 minutes — but I was taken aback to see it was 35 minutes on my timer.

          FOI 2dn OLEANDER I have no fear of shrubs

          LOI. 23dn TIARA not my thing!

          COD 6dn POLICE STATION! I paused for thought.

          WOD 10dn LITTLE RED BOOK — the least read book in my study!

          We are on the brink of CNY in Shanghai. All rather muted in anticipation of the year of the Tiger — much will change as it did in 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 and 2010.
          Best of luck to one and all!

          Edited at 2022-01-31 07:55 am (UTC)

          1. How the hell did I end up here? I had no intention of pushing-in! Sorry, horryd

            On edit: 2022 is a Water Tiger Year. It occurs every 60 years. The last one was in 1962 and heralded The Cuban Missile Crisis. History seems to be repeating itself.

            Edited at 2022-01-31 08:19 am (UTC)

          2. when I was a child and we visited a particular great aunt’s house we were always warned not to eat the oleander blooms, which were meant to be highly poisonous. Since none of the children had any form whatsoever in flower eating the waring always suprised us and of course made us curious — but we were also watched very carefully. Local stories about a Boy Scout camping trip which had cooked hot dogs and then marshmellows skewered on oleander branches, with everyone dying (or going to the hospital depending on who “remembered” the event) were legion
        1. You could have a look at mine on Welsh Patagonia while you’re there if you’ve got an hour to spare!!
          1. Thanks. I’ve had at look at the Bolívar YouTube webinar you recommended which I found very interesting. I had read quite a bit about Bolívar before, but had forgotten what an extraordinary man he was. His two most famous observations, quoted at the end of the webinar, still ring true today, and not just in S. America.

            Yes, I’d love to see your webinar as well. I’ve had a look around YouTube and Last Frontiers. You can be non-committal in your reply if you like, but are you by any chance the eminent Jeremy Wood?

            Thanks again,


  5. Easy one, made harder than it should have been. Had lays low to stymie oleander, couldn’t see ‘found out’ as anagram indicator for too long, and couldn’t parse TIARA. As Corymbia says, many great surfaces: most enjoyed the doctor absconding with ecstacy.
  6. 19 minutes. Sub-20 for a 15×15 is rare for me and indicates a puzzle that has to be somewhat easier than the usual fare.

    I’m not sure that ‘monopolise’ and ‘absorb’ fit together exactly.

    I looked twice at POLICE STATION, expecting something more to it.

    I thought COLD CASE immediately at 1dn before any checkers were in place but it wasn’t until I wrote it down that I could see the wordplay to confirm it was correct.

    Edited at 2022-01-31 05:23 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks. Yes, that’s probably close enough although I imagined ‘monopolise’ to be a little stronger than ‘absorb’.
  7. Enjoyable start to the week with only minor hiccups
    – Another LAYS LOW had to be corrected by checking the 2d anagrist
    – OLEANDER took me 2 bites – 1st time struggled to fit in the characters, 2nd just looked from a distance and it was obvious
    – LOI MEANIE took about 3 minutes of alpha-trawling and head-scratching

    24:36 – thanks U and setter

  8. I was going well until I hit the SE corner.
    Thank you, ulaca for EMBRYONIC and TIARA.
    I regard myself as a slow coach so I’ve added an appropriate avatar.
  9. 21 minutes with LOI ONER. I think I’ve heard the LITTLE RED BOOK pun before, but then that’s true of every joke I tell. COD to AGRARIAN. I always thought that ARIUS got a bum rap, with his heresy on a par with a dispute over the type of clue it is in the crossword. The town has no need to be nervous. A nicely constructed puzzle.,Thank you. U and setter.
      1. it’s Sherman’s horse that has, according to cheap rhyme, cause to be nervous
  10. On finishing, I had the same feeling as ulaca that there were lots of anagrams but I think there are only 5. Loved the surfaces. Thanks setter.
  11. Bird thou never wert,
    That from Heaven, or near it,
    Pourest thy full heart …

    How lovely. 20 mins pre-brekker. No dramas — but an eyebrow raise at Oner. One ain’t been a note in the UK for 34 years. Would you Adam and Eve it?
    Thanks setter and U.

  12. I was also slowed not just by ONER being so out-of-date, but also that we called them “oncers” where I lived. Or at least my grandad did, so perhaps it was just a family thing.

    24 minutes, though, so nothing held me up too much. BOLIVAR came up as a minor plot-point in a Poirot I watched last week, the very first of the David Suchet adaptations, The Adventure of the Clapham Cook, which was handy.

    Edited at 2022-01-31 08:26 am (UTC)

    1. Pretty sure I’ve never used (said) either, but ‘crispy oncers’ comes to mind – maybe from a TV show.
      1. I think somewhere in Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister there is a mention of an envelope full of used oncers.
        1. It’s probably the episode The Moral Dimension, if I’m remembering correctly. Might have to get the DVDs out later. Any excuse!
      2. You’ve given me a sudden flashback to the very earliest days of my crossword solving, when – if memory serves, we are going back about 45 years – the prize puzzle(s) in one of the Sunday papers promised a couple of crisp oncers* to the weekly winners…

        *you could probably have a very good night out for a couple of quid back then, and all this was fields

  13. After a tough run of grids last week, this was a welcome respite. Managed my second best time ever and only my second sub-10 solve, coming in at 9.29.
  14. 29 mins so quick for me. Must be easy! A few mins spent on LOI ONER. Where I was bought up it was »a pand ».

    I liked the anagrams, COLD CASE and EXTRICATE. Felt the same way as Jack re ABSORB.

    Thanks U and gentle setter.

  15. 13:22 Got in a bit of a tangle with PRESS CHARGES which held me up for a while but finished with ASSESSOR and ONER when I’d sorted it. DNK Arius so thanks for the education. Thanks U and setter.
  16. 7:23. I slowed myself down by putting ASSESSES at 17d (I missed the apostrophe) which made 27a tricky until I reconsidered.
    Not difficult but fun.
  17. Pleasant xword, good surfaces.
    “Oner” relates purely to conkers, where I come from .. and “chow” is strictly US slang
    1. I would have said the same I think but the OED doesn’t say it’s American and has numerous citations in English publications going back to the C19. Lexico seems to think it’s English as a noun but American as a verb. Go figure.
      1. All four of the c19th quotations in the OED relate specifically to Asian food terms.
        The OED also says “This sense is supposed to be due to the use of the chow (‘the edible dog of China’) as food by poor Chinese.” … so maybe the word is best left in peace now, anyway!
  18. 14 minutes, with a couple of curiosities in a daily grid. One was the POLICE STATION, a cryptic definition which, as Jack says looked as if there should have been more to it.
    The other(s): twom , no less, random letter substitutions, for MEANIE and ROWAN. Perhaps, at a squeeze, the change of heart in ROM(W)AN was simply to turn the letter upside down, but still…

    Thanks U for EMBRYONIC: I couldnt see the anagram for looking.

    Edited at 2022-01-31 10:17 am (UTC)

  19. Hoist by my own biff — rogues gallery for 6 down seemed perfect but it took me 10 minutes to realise it wasn’t. Just over 30m in the end. Enjoyable, thank you setter and blogger for the explanations.
    1. Rogues gallery is very good – definitely deserves its own clue, if any setter is looking in. Pricey?
      1. That’s a great answer, better by far than the given one. Perfectly illustrates the issue with CDs. With nothing else to go on until checkers are in, there’s nothing to rule out either.
  20. Nice surfaces and all went in pretty smoothly, but not totally easily in every case. Noticed the datedness of the oner and also the fact that there were two answers where one letter had to be changed in a random manner, not very good in my opinion. 26 minutes.
  21. Enjoyable stuff. Didn’t know the rider REVERE, but the cluing made it clear. Slowed myself down by putting ‘Agrarist’ for 16d, which held up RENO until I remembered ‘Arian’ and got AGRARIAN. Thought the innkeeper in 15d was giving ‘host’ until I realised the clue worked the other way round to get HOSTELLER.

    FOI Curio
    LOI Reno
    COD Own goal

  22. I, too held myself up by starting with ASSESSES, and only realising I hadn’t accounted properly for the soldiers when I had a proper think about the city at 27ac. Nice example of the traditionally gentle-ish Monday puzzle, with some lovely clues: I now intend to refer to literature I don’t get on with as “little read books” all the time.
  23. Yes I had a MER over ABSORB as well. Despite being very easy, this had a feel of quality clueing about it.
    We haven’t had a ONER note for a long time. Is this old usage?
  24. Not difficult but very neat indeed. CONSTANCY: There’s no discouragement, will make him once relent, his first avowed intent to be a solver. Once it gets in there it’s hard to get the thumping metre of Longfellow’s poem about the midnight ride of Paul Revere out of your head. 11.08
        1. Great concert, Guy. Bob looked and sounded terrific. I paid my 25$ and watched on VEEPS at the time
          1. Cool! I saw it then too, a few times while it was available. Someone has put most of the songs from that show on YouTube, and I have an app (4K Video Downloader) that allows me to possess those videos. Maybe not quite legal, but… “to live outside the law, you must be honest.”
  25. A rare 13-minute solve for me. This was one of the easiest Times puzzles I have ever solved. Quite a few answers jumped out as soon as I read the clue, starting with first three across clues. Most of the other answers jumped out once I had some letters in place.

    COD to the clue for TIARA, the only one that took me a while to work out after I’d entered the obvious answer. The clues were rather good on the whole, even if they were easy to solve.

  26. The NW once again rattled in, with CHOW leading the way. The answers continue to trip off the fingers, but I was delayed slightly by ASSESSOR, AGRARIAN, PRESS CHARGES and, LOI, ONER. Enjoyable puzzle. 14:55. Thanks setter and U.
  27. 22:15 but with one pink square. I fumbled Scrooge’s hat and wrote in BEANIE. Some delightful clues including some good tricky short ones: CHOW, CURIO, ONER and TIARA. COD to BREAK BREAD
  28. 16:50. REVERE was unknown but reverie wasn’t. ONER needed both crossers and took a while to see.
  29. Healthy start to the week — nothing unknown except the heretic — entered AGRARIST initially, corrected by ONER.
  30. Very enjoyable with a few tricky ones in the SE corner. I’m afraid I still don’t understand how putting I into Tara meaning goodbye relates to “I’m going to nick one”. I was hoping one if the comments would explain but I can’t see anything. Thank you to Ulaca.
    1. You need to lift and separate the two halves of the cryptic: “I’m going” and “to nick one”.
      TA-RA=good-bye/I’m going    steals/appropriates/NICKS    a Roman “ONE”= capital I.

      Edited at 2022-01-31 01:24 pm (UTC)

  31. CIAO was not a good start, but fairly quickly corrected. After that good progress until my last two- EXTRICATE and TIARA (unparsed -back to Black, I see now). A quickish solve over lunch -say 40 minutes.
    COD to LTTLE RED BOOK and a fun puzzle overall.
  32. 13.45. Short and sweet but very enjoyable. Needed a moment at the end to work out meanie. Liked the holiday money.
  33. ….and I’d have been even quicker if I hadn’t entered ‘assesses’, which delayed the LOI by a good half minute.

    TIME 5:56

  34. I agree with those before me who wrote that this was not too tricky, but nicely clued. I enjoyed “Embryonic”.
  35. No time to report but easily and enjoyably do-able. Dnk Revere and got into all sorts of knots parsing aunties. It was a reasonably biff but I didn’t quite get it. I conveniently blanked ‘most cheerful’, but confidently put the answer in using when=as around unconfine(d) = tie.
  36. 14.20 with the only delay- which was a real pain- being to put in Ciao rather than chow at 1ac. When I finally accepted the floral answer was indeed oleander, the light finally came on. The rest went in pretty smoothly.
  37. I thought I was being extremely clever, but it turns out it was easy. Had a Baader-Meinhof moment with Meanie. Exactly 24 hours previously, being driven through Blackrock, County Dublin, I was reminded by my friend that the junction we were passing was commonly known as Meany’s Corner, because of the sweet-shop that stood there until a few years ago.
  38. FOI chow, LOI agrarian COD beanie (sic, so a DNF). Police station, little red book, aunties and others mentioned in despatches, so a class puzzle, not without challenge, two biffed, though it took only a little longer than today’s QC. Ta ta and tara to setter and blogger.
  39. 28 minutes for a very easy solve. This puzzle seemed to take me back to my youth (quite some time ago), since I cannot imagine that anyone under retirement age will remember what the LITTLE RED BOOK refers to, and even I, as a not too frequent visitor to Britain, am aware that I haven’t seen a one-pound note in a coon’s age (though I even remember 10-shilling notes when I first set foot as an adult in Britain, contemporaneously with the little red book). What a relaxing puzzle after last week’s lot.

    For the POLICE STATION I first tried POLICE ACADEMY in line with the artistic theme of the surface, but of course the crossing letters made me change my mind.

    Edited at 2022-01-31 11:20 pm (UTC)

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