Times 28225 – Hateable speech

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
What a few days it has been! While things unravel in Eastern Europe, the New York Times attends to really serious matters by imposing sanctions on the popular word game WORDLE, which it recently bought off the creator, Mr Wardle (naturally). Words that are rejected by the guardians of our morality include SLAVE, BITCH, and CHINK. For some reason best known to those who might be said to combine ignorance and arrogance in equal measure, F*CKS and C*NTS are given a pass. Is there possibly a hidden message here? Could they be describing themselves subliminally?

On with the puzzle…


1 Conservative member not happy making U-turn (9)
6 Pilgrim‘s greeting, welcoming a couple of judges (5)
HAJJI – A JJ in HI; ‘a Muslim who has made a pilgrimage to Mecca’
9 One trembles, sent without cover after killer (5)
ASPEN -ASP [s]EN[t]; a shimmery tree
10 Edgar gutted by cryptic containing nothing designed to be easy (9)
ERGONOMIC – E[dga]R O in GNOMIC (cryptic)
11 Lack of feeling shown by Richardson? (4-11)
HARD-HEARTEDNESS – HARD are the medial letters of [ric]HARD[son]
13 Crack about taking in queen’s minder (8)
CHAPERON – ER (queen) in CHAP (crack as in lips needing balm) ON (about); alternative to chaperone
14 Woman I see hiding gun (6)
16 Half of news two journalists wanted (6)
18 Compose music for the monastery, showing taste (8)
PENCHANT – PEN (compose) CHANT (music for the monastery)
21 To a militarist, an awful approach to government (15)
TOTALITARIANISM – anagram* of TO A MILITARIST AN; sadly, such an approach is a feature of two major powers in Asia; my family and I suffer under one of them. Ten of my daughter’s eleven closest friends (nine in their 20s, one in his early 30s – all ethnic Chinese born in Hong Kong) will have left their home, Hong Kong, by the spring. It’s a similar story for my tennis, Scrabble and quizzing buddies (Occidental and Oriental). Fortunately, the women and children among them do not need to leave their menfolk behind to fight invaders.
23 Degenerate bum stealing pounds (9)
25 Fellow feeling California escapes disaster (5)
26 Clare’s town losing time in activity in court (5)
27 Something corny cut by Irish writer, one from Dublin or Antrim? (9)
EASTERNER – STERNE (Laurence – author of the wonderful Tristram Shandy) in EAR


1 Train, or alternative to it? (5)
COACH – double definition
2 Passing one chap pinning hairstyle with fancy net (11)
3 Source of distress overwhelming woman’s spirit (7)
BANSHEE – SHE in BANE; a product of Irish superstition which was adopted by Siouxsie
4 Artwork flipping rubbish, which may be a minus (8)
OPERATOR – OPERA (artwork – well, a work of art, anyway) ROT reversed; a mathematical operator (any symbol, term, letter, etc, used to indicate or express a specific operation or process) may be negative – or so I am told
5 Deny wife gets released from prison once (6)
NEGATE – NE[w]GATE; a prison in London which closed 120 years ago – much featured in Dickens
6 Guilty-seeming way to fall foul of the RSPCA? (7)
HANGDOG – if you hang a dog (or indeed kick and slap a cat), you are likely to incur the wrath of this august body
7 Preserve agreement to put in German marks (3)
JAM – JA (agreement put in German) M (marks)
8 Cat’s nine lives ultimately running non-stop (9)
12 Actor with speech not having caught handover (11)
13 Where criminals eat is top drawer? (9)
CONSTABLE – a CONS TABLE may have been a feature of Newgate
15 Bold female lugs around large, empty ewers (8)
FEARLESS – L E[wer]S in F (female) EARS
17 Recruits being regularly on the field of combat once (7)
ENLISTS – [b]E[i]N[g] LISTS (field of combat in jousting days – thus ‘enter the lists’ against)
19 After drink, read novel that’s flimsy fiction? (7)
CHARADE – CHA READ*; ‘a pretense or fiction that can be seen through readily’ (Collins)
20 Band‘s tour plugging covers of single (6)
STRIPE – TRIP (tour) in S[ingl]E
22 Public official dressing king (5)
24 Where Americans go around noon (3)
CAN – CA (around) N (noon); American for ‘loo’

53 comments on “Times 28225 – Hateable speech”

  1. Very Mondayish, but none the worse for it, enjoyable and no quibbles. Only very minor holdups on the two long ones – guessed hard-centredness first, corrected by Newgate; and had a typo in totalitarianism corrected by stripe. Liked climbdown and Constable.
    LOI & COD Penchant – a bit unexpected.

    Edited at 2022-02-28 01:32 am (UTC)

  2. 28 minutes. No major hold-ups though I’d never heard of LISTS as a ‘field of combat’ either and I needed all the crossers for PENCHANT, my LOI. I didn’t know what your “Siouxsie” comment for BANSHEE was referring to so I looked it up. Good to hear I’m only 45 years behind the times.

    TOTALITARIANISM was indeed apt, as well as being an interesting example of a clue for which the answer was the opposite of the surface reading, ie a sort of reverse cryptic def.

  3. An enjoyable puzzle I thought. The only unparsed clue I had was for BACKSLIDE so thank you, ulaca.
    I read the whole of the Wolf Hall trilogy last year and I remember the word ‘lists’ in the jousting sense cropping up there.
    LOI: CHAPERON…not familiar with the male version
  4. Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr’d;

    What a woman!
    25 mins pre-brekker, so about right, I thought.
    One tick: Cons’ table.
    One ?: Lists (only vaguely remembered)
    One cross: Hang Dog. Poor taste for the brekker table.
    Thanks setter and U.

    1. Lovely bit of Keats, Myrtilus, but please tell me why you’re quoting it (prob being blind)?
      1. Hi
        Only just seen this.
        20d was Stripe which brought to mind…. Striped like a zebra, etc.
  5. INCESSANT solving! Great time. 😀
    For once there’s no reason to CLIMB
    Not HANGDOG; just pride.
    All that’s NEEDED right now is a rhyme.
  6. 28 mins so quick for me. Yes, very Mondayish, but I enjoyed it. I liked the trick at 11ac and the long anagram for TOTALITARIANISM, very apt? Nice to learn that Americans only go to the loo around noon:-)

    Thanks ulaca and setter. Sorry to hear about your Ts and Ts in HK.

  7. 17 minutes with LOI FEARLESS. I particularly liked COD HANGDOG. HARD-HEARTEDNESS, CONSTABLE and BACKSLIDE. Good Monday offering. Thank you U and setter.
  8. FOI HAJJI (don’t think I’ve seen this with a double-J before) followed by a pleasant canter through the grid. No major difficulties, though I thought CHAPERON had a trailing “e”, and did have to correct HALF-HEARTEDNESS before finishing off…

    …with the last 5 minutes spent on the CAN / BACKSLIDE crossing – neither of which I could properly parse, eventually settling for one biffed and one from the cryptic. Enjoyable start to the week, thanks U and setter.

  9. 34:02 FOI ASPEN, LOI EASTERNER after taking ages to spot the EAR. A good puzzle, the Setter’s favourite device today being the outside letters thing: empty ewers, covers of single, Edgar gutted plus sent without cover. I liked BACKSLIDE and CONSTABLE
  10. 7:53. Quite easy this morning. I held myself up a little bit by putting something wrong in at 3dn but now I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.
  11. 14:11 but it felt slower as I stumbled over clues that should have been easy. How did I think TUTOR could be the answer to 1D, for example? DNK LISTS for “fields of battle”. I liked BACKSLIDE for the surface and CONSTABLE, although I think “top drawer” may be a chestnut. Thank-you U and setter.
  12. Semi-beginner, so understand the word play, but can someone please explain the connection of “Constable” and “top drawer”. Ta muchly.
  13. Definite Irish flavour to the puzzle today, which may have helped (as I probably mentioned the last time it came up, my parents live near Ennis, so it usually springs to mind quite readily). Nice Mondayish stuff, anyway.
  14. …I could not possibly comment”. My (actual) namesake, playing F.U. probably would not have minded being seen as HARD-HEARTED. But there’s something slightly alarming about seeing your own name leap out of the clues.
    That aside, a pleasant trundle through the grid, with a smile at CONS’ TABLE and a hello-old-friend at PEN CHANT – I think it’s been in a Christmas cracker. Or was that swan song?
    At the risk of upsetting our host, and reflecting still further U’s musing on (expletive deleted) I gather the extraordinary people facing down lunatic TOTALITARIANISM have set the electronic signs on the roads heading towards Kyiv to read “русский корабль иди на хуй” both as a message to the hapless invaders and a tribute to the immortal heroes of Snake Island.
  15. But now I realise I can’t explain as it would spoil it for those who have yet to do the quickie. DOH.
  16. 37 minutes, which is fast for me, so thanks Setter for getting my week off to a good start. Lots to like here, with no real difficulties. LOI AGATHA, didn’t spot CHAP or LISTS synonyms, and I really liked ‘top drawer’ even if it is a chestnut. Thanks U.

    Did anyone else think that the Six Nations was ruined yesterday by the perfectly legal application of a bizarre and obtuse law?

    1. Yes! I felt sorry for the spectators who’d paid their money to see the match. It completely finished the game off as a contest barely 20 minutes into it. Following the injury loss of the first hooker and the sending off of the replacement it seems that if you have a prop on the bench who can play at hooker you can bring them on to play contested scrums and only go down to 14 men but if you don’t have a prop on the bench who can play at hooker you play uncontested scrums and go down to 13 men. Can’t be right that going down to 14 men or 13 men hinges on something like that. One for the Rugby authorities to review.
  17. A very political Monday offering. The across clues:
    CLIMBDOWN Mr Putin!

    And the downs ,in contrast:
    MAYOR ( Klitschko, of Kyiv)
    FEARLESS ( citizens of Kyiv)
    ENLISTS as above

    Took 15minutes odd

  18. ASPEN and COACH got me moving, and not much held me up en route to LOI, CHAPERON. I did have to ponder over Crack/CHAP, but the penny dropped eventually. BACKSLIDE and CONSTABLE preceded the aforementioned minder and elicited chuckles of appreciation. Let’s hope the moron of Moscow gets his Gadaffi moment soon. 21:04. Thanks setter and U.
  19. The part of my brain that knows how to do crosswords did not show up for work this morning so it felt as if this was a “cryptic containing nothing designed to be easy”. So after all I didn’t need to try to remember anything about Clarissa or Pamela or Virtue Rewarded. Hard-hearted Hannah the vamp of Savannah would do just as well. Don’t be too hard on the NYT Ulaca, have you ever glanced at the NY Post? Not that I disagree with you about the bowdlerizing of Wordle. And just wait until they put it behind a pay-wall. 20.55
    1. I for one won’t be going behind their paywall, for Wordle or otherwise. There are numerous unlimited versions online and I am already bored with it. The stupid bowdlerising of their Wordle is just ridiculous.
      1. I have a subscription to the puzzles and work them Thursday thru Sunday. Old habit. Some of my friends are doing Wordle, but they don’t work crosswords, let alone cryptics. I don’t find guessing a random five-letter word to be an interesting pastime at all. How long does that even take? Short attention spans these days, eh?
  20. A bit slow this morning, and something of a seizure in the SW. I haven’t seen the ‘top drawer’ used before, and having seen CONSTABLE, I still didn’t twig.
    And I had to come here to get the reason for CHAPERON.
  21. Good puzzle, not so easy for a Monday, 25 minutes. Liked BACKSLIDE. A CHAPERON is a male, chaperone female, in French, in English both spellings seem to be allowed.
  22. 12:21 — about as fast as I can ever hope to finish. I wasn’t familiar with the various spellings of HADJ or the change of meaning occasioned by the addition of an i but that’s about all I can think of to say.
  23. A little Tennyson reference on 9A which I don’t think has been covered elsewhere in the blog or comments, ‘Willows whiten, ASPENs quiver/Little breezes dusk and shiver’ from The Lady of Shallot. Trembles=quiver
  24. Happy Monday.

    Relaxed start to the week — didn’t have to think too hard except for the BANSHEE/CHAPERON crossing where I’d pencilled in HER at the end of the former before the scales fell from my eyes.

  25. One hour. FOI needed, LOL. LO’sI can and backslide. I had cold-heartedness, which coach and impermanent corrected for me. ?g????a looked like iguana, which had a gun in it, but I couldn’t see the woman’s name except Anna missing an n, and why the i? So I left it, and saw Aha! then the Gat. Much to enjoy here, many nuances in the parsing explained in the blog. (Clue for 4d should be artworks, surely, as “opera” is plural).
    Thanks, U, and setter.

    Edited at 2022-02-28 02:34 pm (UTC)

    1. It’s not plural when it refers to a sung drama, which I think is the meaning here – you go to see and hear an opera, which is (arguably, in some opinions), an artwork.

      Edited at 2022-02-28 05:55 pm (UTC)

  26. About 2 hours of application across 4 visits over about 6 hours of the day. Was about to concede defeat twice but found enough progress on each revisit….apart from ENLISTS where I was looking at every variation in the clue to come up with some old or legendary battlefield.

    Really liked BACKSLIDE, EASTERNER and CAN.

    Thanks setter and Ulaca.

  27. ….only limited enjoyment, with a typo sting in its tail because I didn’t check before submitting, having lost interest by then. 10:44 with the typo, nothing else worthy of comment.
  28. After a number of years of solving Times Crosswords, or attempting to do so, with gradually increasing success, I am finally moved to register on TftT, though not from any sense of my own worthiness; rather,the comments of last week about possibly disappearing from the Live Journal site into the ether where Anon could not follow have prompted a hasty decision to attach myself officially. I have posted the odd comment in the past, though always adding my name (Gill D). I couldn’t hope to emulate the quick times posted by many of this august company, but I have to say that if I could do the puzzles in 10 minutes I’d have to find a new hobby for my mornings. I also print out and solve on paper by preference, so have no registered times anyway. I have learnt so much about solving and much else from this blog, so thank you all!
    A good Monday offering, no problems with parsing or vocabulary, apart from NHO Hajji, but it had to be. Thanks to setter and Ulaca.
  29. 13.45. An enjoyable quick solve. Nothing to hold me up. I wondered about the one trembles definition for aspen but the word play seemed clear.

    This week’s Listener puzzle (4700 Hear, Hear! by Vagans) is at the easier end of The Listener spectrum. It would be a good one to start with for any solvers who haven’t done a Listener puzzle before but would like to try one.

    If the solution to tomorrow’s Wordle is either f*cks or c*nts I shall eat my h*t!

    1. From Wikipedia: ‘In North America, the aspen is referred to as quaking aspen or trembling aspen because the leaves “quake” or tremble in the wind.’

      Tennyson also uses the verb ‘quiver’ to describe them in The Lady of Shallot

  30. Felt I should have been quicker because it wasn’t hard. But I’ve been off crosswords for a week, so maybe that explains it. Second time we’ve had Ennis recently, methinks though perhaps last time it was part of the answer not all of it. I remember going there as a child, and have an image in my head of racing water in a weir. The French for lists in this sense is lice. To be en lice means to be in the running for something, like the presidency.
  31. For some reason I spent 3 minutes puzzling about EASTERNER at the end — just couldn’t unravel the w/p but I couldn’t see what else the answer might be. No one else seemed to have the same problem so it was probably just last clue brain-scramble

    Pleasant enough otherwise and liked the Richardson clue

    Thanks all

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