Times 28203 – no Bette Davis eyes for me.

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Not as tough as last Wednesday’s, I thought, but still quite chewy in places. Some I liked – notably 21a, 15d, 17d. Some evoked a mild eyebrow raise, such as 14a; one – 3d – at the time of writing I don’t fully understand, although I’ll amend the blog when someone explains it to us.
EDIT Lou weed gets the hats-off for explaining 3d, before others; see below, I don’t know why I didn’t see it myself.

1 Punched by knuckleheads, youngster declines (6,2)
PASSES UP – PUP = youngster, insert ASSES which presumably equals knuckleheads Collins has ‘fools’ as a synonym.
6 Go over weakness (6)
DEFECT – double definition, different pronunciations.
9 Mythological entity has brought voting system into place (6)
SPRITE – PR (voting system) inside SITE = place. Whenever I see ‘voting system’ in a clue, I think PR, which few democratic countries seem to have.
10 Word: redacted one penned by fool (8)
LOCUTION – LOON = another word for fool; insert CUT I = redacted one.
11 Weaken signal (4)
FLAG – double definition.
12 Soldier’s possible cue to neglect briefs (2,8)
GO COMMANDO – self explanatory, I hope; origin North America in the 70s.
14 Briefly queue for disinfectant (8)
FORMALIN – if you FORM A LINE, you queue. Briefly = delete the ending E. Formalin is a preservative solution of formaldehyde and methanol in water. Not really a disinfectant.
16 Honey, not a sausage (4)
LOVE – double definition, as in 1. darling and 2. nil, nothing in tennis.
18 Let it be said that Europa turned heads (4)
STET – initial letters of Said That Europa Turned.
19 Not well done, what convicts do: that’s most unusual! (4,4)
RARE BIRD – RARE as in a rare steak, BIRD meaning prison time.
21 Presumably picking up nothing in fishing lure with plenty of grit? (10)
FEARLESSLY – IF you’re EARLESS you’d presumably hear nothing; insert this concoction into FLY a fishing lure.
22 Recalled in feud, Russian language (4)
URDU – today’s hidden word, reversed as above.
24 Skewered dish last seen on menu in Slovakia, not entirely cooked (8)
SOUVLAKI – insert U (end of menu) into (SLOVAKI)*.
26 People finally mention jackets — such as this one? (6)
REEFER – REFER = mention, insert the E of peoplE.
27 Stop queen entering Irish house (6)
DERAIL – The lower house of the Irish Parliament is called the Dáil; insert ER for the Queen.
28 Husky, shaking off lead, plunged into meat sauce (8)
GRAVELLY – not the dog, a husky voice could be gravelly. GRAVY has (F)ELL = plunged, without its ‘lead’, inserted.

2 Outrage in a writer of letters to the auditor? (5)
APPAL – A, PALL sounds like PAUL as in Saint Paul who wrote a few letters to various city dwellers.
3 Might this illustrate when left or right in a little trouble initially? I’m not sure (11)
SWINGOMETER – I see the definition but not the reason why; please elucidate and I’ll credit when I amend the blog. EDIT see first comment below.
4 Charmer leaving snakes under schoolboy’s cap (8)
SVENGALI – S (cap of Schoolboy) (LEAVING)*. I never quite knew who Svengali was, real or fictional, but now I’ve looked him up in Wikipedia I do.
5 Building eclipsing cars: no safe place for pedestrians (7,8)
6 Leader sportingly beaten up, scarper (6)
DECAMP – PM (leader ACED (sportingly beaten) up = reversed.
7 Suit burst (3)
FIT – double definition, fit = burst e.g. of anger.
8 Couple raised in great comfort and luxury, it’s suggested, become gloomy (5,4)
CLOUD OVER – if you’re in CLOVER you’re in comfort and luxury; insert DUO reversed (couple raised).
13 Old picture indicated in A-level, by inference? (3,5,3)
ALL ABOUT EVE – well, if you put All about EVE, you get A L(EVE)L, … a 1950 movie of which I had vaguely heard; but have not seen, nor am likely to watch.
15 Location of bridge where stake may be placed? (2,3,4)
ON THE NOSE – double definition; bridge of the nose, and to bet on the nose is to bet on a horse to win only, with no place bet.
17 Neither one thing nor the other where the sun doesn’t shine? (4,4)
GREY AREA – cryptic definition; not the usual meaning of ‘where the sun doesn’t shine‘, which is rude.
20 Particular Greek character breaking cover when set up (6)
DETAIL – ETA goes inside LID reversed; particular as a noun.
23 Hang out first of washing in valley (5)
25 Wings clipped, bird passing through (3)
VIA – AVIAN = bird, or bird related, as in avian ‘flu. Clip off the A and N.

63 comments on “Times 28203 – no Bette Davis eyes for me.”

  1. WING (left or right) in SOME (a little) T (trouble initially) ER (I’m not sure)

    Does this make it a semi &lit?

  2. 65 minutes. Mainly held up in the NE. I’d never seen LOCUTION without the “e” as the first letter, took a while to dredge up the ‘neglect briefs’ colloquialism and needed all the crossers for my LOI, DECAMP. My understanding is that FORMALIN can be used as a ‘disinfectant’ as well as a preservative or embalming agent.

    Interesting that the apparently unrelated words SVENGALI and “trilby” both come from the same source.

    I couldn’t parse SWINGOMETER either, other than seeing that the answer referred to the graphic on the election night TV coverage, but I think Lou Weed has nailed it.

    Thanks to Pip and setter

    1. For disinfectant use it needs diluting from 37% formaldehyde to around 5%, but you are right, it is used like that.
      1. I think lexicographers are not particularly noted for their scientific knowledge but of the usual sources only Lexico mentions ‘preservative’ first. Collins and SOED have ‘disinfectant’ then ‘preservative’ and Chambers (printed edition) has ‘antiseptic, germicide or preservative’.

        Edited at 2022-02-02 09:11 am (UTC)

  3. 3d LOI by some distance, but eventually parsed as Lou did.
    For too long I was trying to force SNICKOMETER to fit, as it shows whether the ball was left, or got a nick, but the word failed after many slow-motion replays in the corridor of uncertainty.

    Edited at 2022-02-02 02:39 am (UTC)

    1. Thank you for reminding me of Bob McKenzie! I could see his face but couldn’t remember the name.
    2. I remember one election night in the primitive days of Bob’s SWINGOMETER when the swing to one side was so great that the arrow pointer needed to go beyond the predicted range of the scale and came off in his hand!
          1. Hard as it is to believe, in Canada there is a much better known Bob McKinzie. This one has, as near as I know, no knowledge at all of Swingometers
            1. Yes, when I put “Bob McKenzie” into Wikipedia, up came the other Canadian Bob Mckenzie! Quite remarkable!
  4. 3dn SWINGOMETER suddenly hoved into view and I was able to clear up the Upper West Side, after the rest of it went in without too much trouble. My COD.

    FOI 23dn DWELL

    LOI 2dn APPAL

    WOD 5dn PELICAN CROSSING — Dali’s zebra flashed across my febrile mind. These do not occur naturally in the US, or do they — in Des Moines?

    My time was exactly an hour, but included a toilet break. (But I don’t think we’re supposed to mention those!)

    Edited at 2022-02-02 05:20 am (UTC)

  5. Very tricky, though a few easy bits. Becalmed for a while then finished in a rush from SE to NW: gravelly, grey area, fearlessly, swingometer – from the cryptic – and formalin, which I also MERred over the definition. Forgot Dail again – also forgotten the IoM one – and also misread/misparsed the solution I’d put in, wondering if a deil was an Irish hovel.
    Liked sevngali and decamp the best.
  6. Agonisingly slow, even the easy ones like FLAG and SOUVLAKI taking undue time. Biffed ALL ABOUT and DECAMP and NHO SWINGOMETER (I got the -TER, figured it was some sort of ingo-meter, and looked it up). DNK the betting sense of ON THE NOSE. Never got the -ELL of 28ac. Well, tomorrow, rumor has it, is another day.
  7. I kept going back and forth—set this aside till tomorrow, or keep at it tonight? LOI the NHO SWINGOMETER (I had seen it earlier but couldn’t quite believe it). This was the hardest of the week so far, and I’m just glad to see that’s not just my impression! The rude version of the idiom evoked for 17 is usually “where the sun don’t shine.”

    Edited at 2022-02-02 09:23 pm (UTC)

  8. This fully justifies my avatar for this one. Nevertheless I got a great deal of satisfaction from solving it w/o aids.
    Thanks,Pip, as ever, especially for GRAVELLY; and thanks to Lou Weed for SWINGOMETER.
    Lots of good stuff today: SVENGALI and PELICAN CROSSING which were cleverly disguised anagrams I thought. I also liked ALL ABOUT EVE but FORMALIN gets my vote for COD.
  9. 50 minutes with one use of aids, the skewered dish unknown to me that I might have been able to work out from anagrist if I’d not had an incorrect answer crossing it at 15dn. I know very little about gambling but I had heard of the expression ‘betting ON THE BANK’ (it’s used in baccarat, for example) and ‘the bank’ is the location of many a bridge, so it seemed a good answer to me. Having looked up SOUVLAKI and changed the checker from A to O, ON THE NOSE fell into place.

    I think the definition at 3dn extends as far as ‘trouble’.

    A very enjoyable puzzle, and so far this week each day has been just a little more tricky than the previous day.

    Edited at 2022-02-02 07:26 am (UTC)

    1. I also had ON THE BANK at first but luckily knew SOUVLAKI and then got NOSE once I had the E checker.

      Otherwise generally sleepy and slow (24 minutes but forgot to submit), LOI SWINGOMETER unparsed as was GRAVELLY apart from GRAVY. Thought LOVE for not a sausage a bit of a stretch but got there from LOVE = nil = nothing = not a sausage.

      Roll on tomorrow

      Edited at 2022-02-02 10:52 am (UTC)

  10. Very much on the wavelength today, apparently, though naturally I got ALL ABOUT EVE from the band rather than the film. Strolled home in 27 minutes, all parsed, which is just as well now I’ve started walking to the office again, so have forty minutes less crosswording time in my mornings!

    I really should read Trilby, but my “to-read” pile has become a “to-read” entire bookshelf, so it’ll probably have to wait.

  11. What sweet thoughts are thine:

    Several left after 35mins so I packed in. I think getting Swingometer but not seeing how to parse it convinced me I was terminally flummoxed.
    Tomorrow is another day.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

    Edited at 2022-02-02 07:59 am (UTC)

  12. 31 minutes with LOI a biffed DECAMP. There were some great clues, particularly FORMALIN, SVENGALI, ALL ABOUT EVE and COD ON THE NOSE. URDU gives me chance to refer to the reason for Cilla’s visit to the stylist again too. I thought of Robert McKenzie’s genial face and Canadian accent as soon as SWINGOMETER became likely from the crossers. Nice puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.
  13. I struggled to finish with the three less familiar words in FORMALIN, SWINGOMETER and LOCUTION. SWINGOMETER was nicely constructed, and it became harder to parse when I thought that “left” might be OWING.
    I thought ALL ABOUT EVE was particularly good.
  14. 7:42. SWINGOMETER was my last in, and I thought ‘blimey, if any non-UK solvers get that I’ll be very impressed’. I think you could call it &Lit or semi-&Lit depending on whether you think the words ‘might this illustrate when’ form part of the wordplay (where ‘it’ refers to the clue or the answer) or not. I think I’d call it a semi-&Lit if forced at gunpoint to choose. Fortunately this is unlikely.
    1. Prepare to be impressed K. Speaking of which, that’s a pretty impressive time you have there.
  15. Pleased to finish correctly after a typo yesterday. Liked FORMALIN, although the nuances of the definition escaped me. LOI SWINGOMETER, parsed bit by bit.

    21′ 43″, thanks Pip and setter.

  16. Whenceforth comes the term “COMMANDO”?
    If one were, why would one say so?
    Suppose you had the s**ts
    Or extremely hot bits
    Would you want other people to know?
  17. Nice one AN. Cor, needed the tooth pliers for this one. 1hr2 mins. LOI FLAG for some odd reason. Some great clues today, DECAMP,GO COMMANDO (do they really not wear drawers? I must ask next time I meet one!) FEARLESSLY and the trick in ALL ABOUT EVE. Very clever.

    Pleased to finish . Thanks Pip and setter and LW for the swingy whotsit explanation.

  18. SWINGOMETER and REEFER took a while to come, I needed all the checkers before I got FORMALIN, and I didn’t know the in comfort and luxury = clover bit in CLOUD OVER, but otherwise it all fell into place fairly steadily. ALL ABOUT EVE is the kind of clue I never used to figure out, so it’s nice to see that I’m getting a bit better at this crossword-solving malarkey.

    FOI Via
    LOI Reefer
    COD Pelican crossing

  19. 17:21 Held up by a few, e.g. by not spotting 5D was an anagram and thinking the definition for 28A, my LOI, was “sauce”. I liked ON THE NOSE best. Thanks Pip and setter.
  20. This was a lovely crossword, with plenty to smile at and no weaknesses. FEARLESSLY, FORMALIN, LOVE, REEFER, GRAVELLY, SWINGOMETER were all excellent, but COD has to be ALL ABOUT EVE. Very nicely done.

    7m 52s… but, alas for me, in my haste to press the finishing button I didn’t manage to type in the A of FLAG, so it’s all for naught.

    Oh, and I had ON THE DECK for a while, suggesting that I don’t know enough about either ships or cards.

  21. Struggled for a while, but finished at a canter when ALL ABOUT EVE fell into place. Some nice little sleights of hand here; I got the word play and definition the wrong way round on several occasions.

    FORMALIN made me smile, but COD for me was SWINGOMETER (not to be confused with the egregious Hughie Greene’s Clapometer.)

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

    1. Hughie Green! He was Canadian and quite unintentionally hilarious! ‘ Little frog in the throat there, folks!’ Formalin never made me smile, but……..
      a moment ago, The Speaker of the House in PMQT, told a conservative backbencher to ‘stop interrupting, else I’ll ring your mother!’

      Edited at 2022-02-02 12:30 pm (UTC)

  22. All Obout Eve.

    COD: On The Nose.

    Edit. On further consideration COD should go to All About Eve. Very clever.

    Edited at 2022-02-02 10:51 am (UTC)

  23. Back to reality after two easy days. This one took me just over the hour and I never understood the ELL of GRAVELLY, perfectly easy now once it’s been explained. Wasn’t quite sure about SOUVLAKI so that didn’t go in until all the checkers were there. Fit = burst? I suppose so but.
  24. Found this hard work but quite satisfying, until coming to a dead stop with the NW quarter looking very empty, 6 answers missing – and I had a strong suspicion I wasn’t about to crack any. STET and FORMALIN were both unknowns to me, and I failed to spot “snakes” as anagrind, so giving up feels like I made the right choice.

    Enjoyed GO COMMANDO as it amused me in a kinda lowbrow way…
    …and anyone who hasn’t watched ALL ABOUT EVE for a few years – get a copy now, it’s an absolute stonker.

    Thanks Pip and setter

  25. I was fairly sure that the youngster in 1a was going to be PUP, but it took a while before the ASSES arrived. It didn’t help me get started though, and I had to jump around the grid trying to find low hanging fruit. VIA, STET, URDU and DWELL fell into that category and then the tooth pulling began. GO COMMANDO was the next inspiration and begat CLOUD COVER. SWINGOMETER went in unparsed. GRAVELLY took a while before I lifted and separated meat sauce as an item. SOUVLAKI was unknown but I dropped the remaining letters into the most likely spots after getting the checkers. Matters were brought to a close in the NE when LOCUTION made LOI, FIT, inevitable. 27:44. Thanks setter and Pip.
  26. Finally I manage one without a pink square. No idea what a LOCUTION is, but it couldn’t be LOCATION. Liked ON THE NOSE and SOUVLAKI despite being a veggie.
    Still not convinced about the &lit at 3d.
  27. Reminded me of the night we watched the UK election returns that made Blair PM. My husband was absolutely entranced by the thing. The closest thing we have here is Steve Kornacki and his election night maps (and very good they are). I got into the doldrums in the SW corner where there were twin *E*A*Ls and it took a while for the sun to shine there. Denise is quite right about All About Eve – it’s very very good and is the source of the Bette Davis quotation “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”. 17.54
    1. [Off topic reply. Please don’t feel obliged to tackle it, but if you haven’t already seen it, I think today’s FT crossword by Gozo may be right up your street. It’s at ft dot com slash crossword and is crossword no. 17,008].

      PS. I too agree about ALL ABOUT EVE.

  28. I thought this was going to take a really long time when I completely failed to get a start in the NW corner. NE corner proved much kinder after FOI DEFECT. COD ALL ABOUT EVE, just beating my LOI FEARLESSLY, which I also liked when the penny dropped. Despite not properly parsing ELL in 28ac (Thanks, Pip!), I really enjoyed today’s challenge.

    Hats off to the setter. And thanks, Pip!

    Edited at 2022-02-02 12:07 pm (UTC)

  29. I needed a full hour for this. SWINGOMETER and GO COMMANDO were my last in. The latter was completely unfamiliar, and, post-solve, I couldn’t confirm it in the dictionary. Quite a few needed close attention to see how they worked, such as the very nice clue to REEFER.
  30. DNF in 26.44 spoilt by a typo in All Abuut Eve. Second in a row, very frustrating. It took me a little bit of time to work my way into this one, nothing seemed to yield or open things up after a first pass. Nice to have something chewy to get ones teeth into.
  31. Last two in were DECAMP which took ages to see and LOCUTION from checkers only — failed to parse.

    Also found SVENGALI (didn’t spot the anag for a while), FEARLESSLY, FORMALIN (ho ho) and DEFECT took longer to come to mind than I’d hoped…

  32. Thanks, and well done! Although I’m not sure you entirely qualify as non-UK…

    Edited at 2022-02-02 03:58 pm (UTC)

  33. 35 .53 but put location for locution. Silly mistake but hey ho. I found this effort a bit of a trial. Nothing wrong with the puzzle just couldn’t get on the wavelength quickly enough. Some very good clues I thought especially go commando, formalin and gravelly.
    Thx setter and blogger.
  34. Here, and over on the QC.

    I never actually parsed SWINGOMETER, but assumed it was a (semi) &lit that I couldn’t quite unpick.

    21 minutes and change (for a puzzle that is currently >110 on the snitch, that’s v good for me) — the clock says 27:34, but I had to go and cut up a melon for my daughter and I forgot to back out of the puzzle, so I’ve given myself 5 or 6 minutes.

    Edited at 2022-02-02 05:40 pm (UTC)

  35. Yes, All About Eve is, absolutely! My COD, with WOD Grey Area. My time 11:58 mins. Souvlaki gave trouble as did On the Nose.
  36. Found this far harder than the 112 snitch rating. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the day. Mistake was On the Tote – yes I know it’s ridiculous! It and Fearlessly had me sweating for a good ten minutes at the end. Failed to parse Fearlessly but at least I got it right. COD definitely the A-level one – brilliant! But overall, there were some great clues there, and interesting vocab.

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