Times 28216 – why don’t you come to your senses?

Time taken: 11:25.

Took me a long time to figure out some of the anagram answers in this puzzle, which has some interesting words, and a lot of fun wordplay. Rather enjoyed this one.

Even though I am doing the puzzle a little later than usual, I don’t see a lot of times on the leaderboard that tell me if it was overly tricky, I am just a scratch above my average time, so I found it more difficult than usual, though at least I didn’t have a silly typo, which I have managed to slip in the last two days.

Away we go…

1 Old queen calming undisciplined bombast (13)
9 Castigated what assessor did (5)
RATED – double definition
10 Agents journalist backed bother reckless criminal (9)
DESPERADO – REPS(agents) and ED(journalist) reversed, then ADO(bother)
11 Particularly sound judgment, English admitted, not essential (10)
EXTRANEOUS – EXTRA(particularly) and NOUS(sound judgement) containing E(English)
12 Police raid not working (4)
BUST – double definition
14 Uniform adopted by active forces to divert one’s attention (7)
REFOCUS – U(uniform) inside an anagram of FORCES
16 Abbreviated, like everything in manual? (7)
DIGITAL – DIG IT ALL(like everything) missing the last letter
17 Steamy sections of highway crossing America to the west (7)
SENSUAL – LANES(sections of highway) reversed, containing US(America)
19 One flying flag initially defies all warnings (7)
JACKDAW – JACK(flag) and the first letters of Defies All Warnings
20 Those opposed to sacking current social workers (4)
ANTS – ANTIS(those opposed to) minus I(current)
21 Gets passionate approaching time for Scots celebration (5,5)
BURNS NIGHT – BURNS(gets passionate), NIGH(approaching), T(time)
24 Vatican-related Bond film with new line inserted (9)
CONCORDAT – COAT(film) containing N(new) and CORD(line). I really liked this cryptic as it has a film that isn’t ET and “new line” not meaning an anagram of line. Sneaky!
25 Chaucer’s steward by any chance keeping end of tale back? (5)
REEVE – EVER(by any chance) containing the last letter of talE, all reversed
26 Scams involving drink for game? (6,7)
1 Devious racketeer harms pollster’s task (6,8)
MARKET RESEARCH – anagram of RACKETEER HARMS, and a really lovely surface
2 Small bird, for instance, climbing twig (3,2)
GET IT – TIT(small bird) and EG(for instance) all reversed
3 Support mounting within local association for gym equipment (6,4)
INDIAN CLUB – AID(support) reversed inside INN(local), CLUB(association)
4 Peculiarity that couples never have? (7)
ODDNESS – since couples would be in twos
5 A French channel not to be relied on (7)
UNSOUND – UN(a, in French), SOUND(channel)
6 Gordon finally used up water for his veg (4)
NEEP – last letter of gordoN then PEE(water) reversed
7 Withdrawn copper distressed in heart of Nevada (9)
EVACUATED – CU(copper), ATE(distressed) in the middle letters of nEVADa
8 Extremely specious white lies not unusual when one’s questioned? (7,7)
HOSTILE WITNESS – anagram of the outside letters of SpecioS, WHITE,LIES,NOT
13 Self-seeking crank first caught leaving for game (10)
EGOCENTRIC – ECCENTRIC(crank) with the first C(caught) replaced by GO(game)
15 Tweaks to improve grand airs (4-5)
FINE-TUNES – FINE(grand) TUNES(airs)
18 Virgil’s last poems about ancient city where healing sought (7)
LOURDES – last letter of virgiL, then ODES(poems) surrounding UR(ancient city)
19 Start-of-year return for corrupt concierge (7)
JANITOR – JAN 1(start of year) then ROT(corrupt) reversed
22 Flier taken over Eastern mountain (5)
GREBE – E(eastern) BERG(mountain) all reversed
23 Veggie food content of uneaten sandwiches (4)
TOFU – hidden inside contenT OF Uneaten

64 comments on “Times 28216 – why don’t you come to your senses?”

  1. I never did figure out EGOCENTRIC or DIGITAL. Biffed MAGNILOQUENCE, parsed post-submission. BUST took me a while because I took ‘not working’ to indicate deletion of ON. COD to LOI CONCORDAT; I really liked ‘Bond film’.
  2. NHO. Had all the crossers…
    That was POI. BUST was last! Two four-letter words. So I really enjoyed this! Hadn’t come across MAGNILOQUENCE for a good while. Some really original stuff here.

    Only now do I realize that I hadn’t parsed EGOCENTRIC. Dang!

    Was a little wary about going to the club site today because it seems some tech person at The Times has made a mistake in filing the certificate for the URL. So Safari warned me that it was not a securely private connection and could be someone impersonating The Times for nefarious purposes. Times customer service has not written back.

      1. Thanks! That works for me too.
        But now my old bookmark is also working sans warning.
        Go figure!
        1. I got the link from Jerrywh; my old bookmark still has the warning, and Customer service still hasn’t replied to my inquiry of 2 weeks ago.
  3. It seemed like a lot of anagrams and partial anagrams when I was solving. Sadly for me, they were all (except 1a) wasted on words I would have figured out otherwise.

    I owe the Christmas Turkey team for having no problem with Digital — my word to set back then was digit and I played around with some versions of Dig It (Bowler’s exclamation when umpire raises this) before I went in a different direction, so the idea was ready to hand (so to speak) today.

    Edited at 2022-02-17 03:40 am (UTC)

  4. 44 minutes for me, so I found this harder than my 30 minutes ‘normal’ time. I’m not sure I’ve come across MAGNILOQUENCE before, but I worked it out from the anagram since it was the only way to reasonably fit the letters. My LOI was CONCORDAT since the clue is nicely misleading, and I was trying to end the answer with ET and fit in either NL or an anagram of LINE. Funny having BURNS NIGHT and NEEP since neeps are traditional to have with the haggis. But there doesn’t seem to be any mini theme going since I don’t see anything else.
  5. Also BUST LOI, knew I was looking for police raid but the word wouldn’t come. 2LOI EVACUATE which took a bit of working out.
    The 4 around the outside fell easily, so lots of checkers to work with. Liked NHO CONCORDAT for the Bond film. Couldn’t parse DIGITAL, wondering if it was a double definition. Happy the Scots celebration wasn’t some unknown foreign words. No MERs or quibbles, so a happy-making puzzle.
  6. 34 minutes. I couldn’t parse EGOCENTRIC (should have got it) or DIGITAL (would never have got it) either. I’d NHO 1a, but it didn’t seem too much of a stretch from “grandiloquence”. Glad to have the wordplay for REEVE and the v. good CONCORDAT.

    DESPERADO appears with three of our feathered friends, but not an Eagle in sight.

      1. Definitely their best album, but my favourite track is Outlaw Man. Linda Ronstadt is a great favourite of mine. Not everybody could tackle a Roy Orbison classic as she did with Blue Bayou.
        1. I tried, but failed, to add a link to a YouTube video of Ronstadt performing Desperado live with just a piano accompaniment. Superb!
  7. 45 minutes. Very enjoyable.

    I was slowed a little by writing in ONENESS at 4dn when I wasn’t really sure of it and then taking the E-checker it provided for 10ac as being set in stone. Eventually I worked out DESPERADO by other means which made ODDNESS at 4dn unavoidable.

    After completing the grid I forgot to revisit EGOCENTRIC to have another go at parsing it.

    NHO MAGNILOQUENCE but I spotted the anagrist early on and the ending -QUENCE by thinking of ‘grandiloquence’ and the rest of the unravelling was easy.

  8. Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!

    20 mins pre-brekker. I liked it.
    I know they are both sort of ropes, but I can’t think of any Cords that I might actually refer to as a Line.
    Thanks setter and G.

        1. Around here, anyway, a clothesline is likely to be a plastic cord, and I would hang my clothes on said cord, or line.
    1. The answer had me wondering if in old age I’d misremembered my A level Maths. and how to spell the chord of a circle.
  9. MARKET RESEARCH was an immediate write-in and confidence-booster, but I found the puzzle increasingly challenging as I progressed, and 30m had disappeared by the time I checked the clock. Initially had ONENESS for 4d, but corrected that via DESPERADO, COD TOFU for the cleverly misleading surface.

    Finished off with REFOCUS (long overdue spot of the anagram) then FINE-TUNING and CORCORDAT which required 5 mins or so of head-scratching. Error was to enter REELE (“e’er” with “le” inserted) imagining it to be the family name of a Chaucer character. On reflection, I knew the word REEVE and that it was Chaucerian, so this was a very avoidable error. Sometimes I hate that “Unlucky” message from the website – they ought to improve it by adding artificial intelligence, and reporting something more appropriate – variants including:
    “Insufficiently Skilled”
    “Shortfall of Diligence”
    “Invented Non-existent New Word”
    “Utterly Gormless”
    “What are You Smoking?”

    Thanks G and setter

  10. Well, it took me nearly my hour, but at least I finished it, unlike the previous couple of days. Definitely not my wavelength.
  11. 44 minutes with LOI EGOCENTRIC. I struggled with this for half an hour not expecting to finish, but then it solved quite quickly. I spent far too long over MAGNILOQUENCE. COD perhaps should go to DIGITAL but I’m giving it to EXTRANEOUS for the extra nous necessary to parse it. There were some great clues but the anagrams wouldn’t fall into place without crossers, which is what took the time. Thank you George and setter.

    Edited at 2022-02-17 08:09 am (UTC)

  12. MAGNILOQUENCE has come up once before, back in 2010. As luck would have it I happened to tackle the puzzle it was in within the past week! As such this went straight in followed by MARKET RESEARCH giving me a great start. I was glad of it as things proved more tricky from then on until I finished with the unfamiliar CONCORDAT. Like George I was trying the usual suspects of ET for the film and NL for new line until eventually I thought of cord and remembered the word.
    The GREBE and the bloody JACKDAW
    REFOCUS your words
    EXTRANEOUS birds
    Are UNSOUND and just such a bore
  14. A whizzy start promising a near-record finish, but the further east and south I got, the more the mists rolled in and slowed everything to a crawl.
    So for example, I didn’t see “active forces” as an anagram, and couldn’t work out how the definition could end in S.
    The brilliant CONCORDAT clue, defying you to work out how to lift and separate.
    Everything in the NE corner.
    So 21.41 in total.
    I was impressed that a grid that included BURNS NIGHT should also have room for at least one NEEP, though (shudder) TOFU in place of the haggis?
  15. Nho 1ac, but like others had heard of ‘grandiloquence’.

    No haggis or whisky, and not seen NEEP in the singular until now.

    Thanks george and setter.

  16. I really enjoyed this one that crumbled like fruit cake with a few glacé cherries.


    SOI 6dn NEEPS an’ tattles! I adore the Haggis but nay the

    LOI 12ac BUST — I wanted it to be DUFF!!? ‘ Hey, Jimmie, I’s jus’ bin duffed-up by the rozzers!’
    COD 8dn HOSTILE WITNESS — ‘Whose youse lookin’ at pal!?’

    WOD 1ac MAGNILOQUENCE — from my treasury of grandiloquent verbiage.

    With 21ac BURNS NIGHT to the fore I am sure there are more words from the RABBIE.
    I have no idea but howse about:-

    Th’ Reeve di’ ask th’ janitor,

    O’ where he speyed the grebe?

    By Jackdaw Wood, quite plain it stood,

    Wi’ nae sprat in tha’ beak,

    She then did plainly Speke.

    Th’ Reeve arose an’ then spat out,

    In all magniloquence,

    ‘Nae offence, young chap, an’ nae mishap,

    l somehow sense, tha’y’ watched it on th’ Beeb!’

    With apologies to The Great McGonogal and Mr. Asrtonowt.

      1. Thank-you, ‘Poet Laureate’ — do have a bash at McGonogal sometime,
        when there aren’t so many oiseaux in the field.

        I forgot my time which was 33 minutes.

  17. 16:31 The long ones took a while but I got there eventually. I failed to parse DIGITAL and forgot to go back and work out how EGOCENTRIC worked. LOI BUST. COD to CONCORDAT for avoiding the crossword cliches. Thanks George and setter.
  18. LOI was 6d where the crossers N-E- stood. This looked as though it would be a pangram , with only Y and Z missing up to this point. Hence NYEZ might be the unknown vegetable? Unfortunately I couldn’t parse it and resorted to an alpha trawl which yielded a parsable, if nho, NEEP.
    All for nothing though, as 20a ANTI entered instead of ANTS.
    Bit of a bear trap here, biffing on the basis of those opposed with the usual ant social worker and current I. Should read more carefully! 24:46 with a pink.
  19. Par for me and very enjoyable. CONCORDAT and BUST the last ones in, and I needed G to explain DIGITAL for me. COD was HOSTILE WITNESS.

    We had NEEPS and tatties on BURNS NIGHT but (whisper it) the haggis was tinned. Used to get them from M&S in PARIS. Brexit strikes again.

    Thanks to G and the setter.

  20. Finished this in 30 – unusual for me to finish at all so quite pleased! Is there a reason for the capital B for Bond in 24a or is it just a bit of misdirection? Thanks all
    1. Misdirection.
      Setters are allowed to add random capitals to confuse solvers. Note, though, setters are not allowed to de-capitalise proper nouns. If the wordplay refers to 007 you must write Bond, even if the surface reading has it meaning bond/stick together. Setters often circumvent this by putting the word at the start of the clue, the sentence capital tricking solvers into thinking it’s not a proper noun.

      Edited at 2022-02-17 10:48 am (UTC)

  21. 36:40. DNK MAGNILOQUENCE, of course, but it was NHO (Not a Hard One). Thrown by CONCORDAT being a Vatican thing; I thought it was just any old agreement. BUST went in early, once I had discounted STING from the other day. I liked DIGITAL
  22. Nice solid puzzle. Liked the NEEP and as George says, the fact that the film wasn’t a Bond film, and, more importantly, wasn’t ET for once either.
  23. Nice puzzle, nothing all that worrying, although I thought the clue for DIGITAL was a bit mixed up until I came here and saw how it worked. I can’t find my copy of ‘The Diary of a Nobody’, probably my favourite book, so can’t check, but so far as I remember Mr Murray Posh says ‘orthodox is a magniloquent word’, and there is a picture of this. Maybe it was grandiloquent but I think not. 32 minutes.
    1. You evidently had your copy to hand when it came up in 2015 and attributed it then to Mr Huttle (who I don’t remember despite having read the book several times):

      I was going to lament the lack of readers of The Diary of a Nobody and say that Mr Huttle said “‘Orthodox’ is a magniloquent word”, but then I looked it up and he didn’t: he said “‘Orthodox is a grandiloquent word”. So where I saw ‘magniloquent’ I can’t remember, for I have done.

      1. I lament the fact that I DID read “The Diary of a Nobody” soon after I had my letter in praise of “Three Men in a Boat” published in the Times last year. I found it far too dated, and a little forced.
        1. Shame! I’d have thought it timeless as it explores so many so many foibles of human nature that are every bit as relevant now as the day it was written. I must admit I have never read Three Men in a Boat; I’d seen the film as a child and that was enough to put me off. Mind you, the TV adaptation of Diary of a Nobody was awful too.

          Edited at 2022-02-17 01:24 pm (UTC)

  24. I would expect “Put Your Fingers on a Diet” to come back to me frequently on that basis 😂
  25. ….but it wasn’t the setter’s. I must begin by thanking George for parsing CONCORDAT, JACKDAW, and DIGITAL, all of which were confident biffs, but none of which were revealed by my post-match analysis. There were at least four clues where I was annoyed to have taken far too long to spot what should have been fairly obvious, especially SQUASH RACKETS and HOSTILE WITNESS. I’m dreading tomorrow’s puzzle if it’s a proper Friday, as I’m clearly out of form at the moment.

    TIME 15:30

  26. Usually I welcome the ones with long anagrams but the part of my brain that I rely on to solve them didn’t seem to have woken up yet this morning. Did not see ODDNESS (thanks George) and I’ll join the gang in praise of CONCORDAT. 23.35
  27. I’m another who saw the long anagrists and had to wait patiently for crossers before being able to solve them. They all fell into place eventually though. I failed to see BUST until I had both crossers. GET IT was FOI and CONCORDAT brought up the rear. 30:46. Thanks setter and George.
  28. 24.28 a very satisfying solve. I liked the long anagrams for hostile witness and market research. Concordat was from word play alone and very pleasing to crack all the elements where line was not L but cord and film not ET or pic but coat.
  29. Half an hour, but a few biffed. Pleased to finish, pleased with the time taken. Must have been on the wavelength. Thanks, George, and setter.
  30. Thought this pretty straightforward until the last 2 GREBE and REEVE, which had me befuddled. I was looking for a mountain not a bird, that was the trouble. And the Chaucer bit also had me confused.
  31. A fast time for me (anything under 35 minutes counts as fast). Failed to parse egocentric and concordat. For the latter, I was trying use concord for bond with ET for film but couldn’t work out how ‘new line inserted’ changed the E to an A. Oh well.

    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle and to our blogger for the explanations.

  32. Thanks, George, and Setter – really enjoyed this. Particularly on reflection, actually, as I didn’t really feel on top of my game while I was about it. Much to appreciate.
  33. It pains me a shade that at times I have to sacrifice sound parsing for biffing.

    This seemed very much like the latter kind of grid where instead of painstakingly building complex answers, I can bung them in from a couple of checkers with the vague notion that they might be right.

    After a slow first pass with just a pencilled RATED and penned GET IT and ANTS, things picked up though I failed to get any of the juicy anagrams off the bat.

    Was pleased with MAGNILOQUENCE from guessing the QUENCE and mangling the rest, but MARKET RESEARCH took a long time to come, and the less obvious HOSTILE WITNESS remained a bunch of mixed-up letters until the LHS was complete, bar the Vatican thingummyjig.

    EGOCENTRIC and EVACUATED were bunged in more or less unparsed (on reading the blog, an MER that the ‘heart’ of Nevada would be ‘evad’ rather than just ‘va’), before the JANITOR completed the checkers for LOI CONCORDAT which rang only a dim bell, but parsed well.

  34. Really enjoyed this but second pink square day in a row this time due to stupidity — biffed anti could not explain it and never went went back to it. 23 mins otherwise. Some lovely clues here — COD to 1d.
    Recently heard Linda Ronstadts 10 across for the first time in years — chune as I believe the younger folk say😊
    Thanks G and setter
  35. Found that pretty straightforward, though I hesitated over the neep, wondering if it might be spelled neap and therefore not the answer. I remember Indian club swinging in the Royal show or whwtver it was called – that thing on telly where the armed forces competed putting a cannon together etcetera in front of a relative of HRH. One of the few things our WW2 veteran headmaster allowed us boarders to watch on TV at prep school in Ireland.
  36. 12:37. Average time for a puzzle of average difficulty (based on the SNITCH). But I got more-than-average enjoyment from it.

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