Times 28228 – I’ll take my grapes sour, please.

Time taken: 12:03 but with one incorrect, and my incorrect answer was my pet peeve in crosswords, a proper noun clued as an anagram. I could picture the sculptor’s pieces, those very thin metal men.  Could I spell his name from the given letters? Not on your nellie.

So an excellent chance for you all to beat your blogger!

Away we go…

1 Crazed legal expert dismissing judge as handy operator (10)
MANICURIST – MANIC(crazed) then JURIST(legal expert) missing the first letter. I liked this clue a lot with the crafty definition.
6 Present-day graduate rejected Bede? (4)
ADAM – AD(anno domeni, present day), then MA(graduate) reversed.  Reference to the George Eliot novel
10 Mostly nasty about US city recordings (5)
VINYL – VILE(nasty) missing the first letter surrounding NY(US City).  Hey, look, it’s one of our bloggers in the grid!
11 After surprise, I will abandon unfussy office layout (5,4)
FLOOR PLAN – FLOOR(surprise) then remove the I from PLAIN(unfussy)
12 Getting quite drunk with ales ruins cocktail (7,7)
14 Sort of motor — or band — I refitted (7)
INBOARD – anagram of OR,BAND,I
15 Harsh Republican political meeting ditching leader about nothing (7)
RAUCOUS – R(Republican) then CAUCUS(political meeting) minus the first letter and including O(nothing)
17 A hot-looking French lake recalled as product of volcanism (7)
CALDERA – A, RED(hot-looking), LAC(lake in French), all reversed
19 King Edward possibly suppressing odd bits of talk and gossip (7)
TATTLER – TATER(King Edward) containing alternating letters in TaLk
20 Absence of work still involving some labour? (9,5)
MATERNITY LEAVE – cryptic definition
23 Philosophy briefly for every single European leader (9)
TAOISEACH – TAOISM(Philosophy) missing the last letter, then EACH(for every)
24 Completion of table leads to spare wood (5)
EBONY – last letter of tablE then BONY(spare)
25 Island valley, not area offering no fruit? (4)
IDLE – I(island) then DALE(valley) minus A(area)
26 Inducement to abandon English for French city, making measure of similarity (10)
COMPARISON – COME ON(inducement) with the E(English) replaced with PARIS(French city)
1 Second volume ending in case for advocate (4)
MOVE – MO(second), V(volume) and the last letter in casE.  Advocate is a verb here.
2 Unusual ban on lover expressing love using hand gestures? (9)
NONVERBAL – anagram of BAN,ON,LOVER, minus O(love)
3 Worked out fast, avoiding first chance after some thought? (10,4)
CALCULATED RISK – CALCULATED(worked out), then BRISK(fast) minus the first letter
4 Airmen took flight offered by chance? (7)
RAFFLED – RAF(airmen), FLED(took flight)
5 Patron succeeded with little money, securing bridge team (7)
SPONSOR – S(succeeded) and POOR(having little money) containing N and S(bridge team)
7 I steered northwards, skirting hot Indian region (5)
DELHI – I, LED(steered) reversed, containing H(hot)
8 Educationalist provoking storm and noise (10)
9 Be final: propose that location has area reduced by 50 per cent (5,2,3,4)
BRING UP THE REAR – BRING UP(propose), THERE(that location) and half of ARea
13 Sculptor, Swiss at heart, came and got it wrong (10)
GIACOMETTI – anagram of the middle letter of swIss, CAME and GOT IT. And not GIOCAMETTI, as I had.
16 Unaware first pair of lions occupies plain (9)
OBLIVIOUS – first two letters of LIons inside OBVIOUS(plain)
18 Rapid with notes, I’m accepted by a military association (7)
ANIMATO – I’M inside A NATO(military association)
19 Nonsense about unknown work being source of material for play (7)
TOYSHOP – TOSH(nonsense) containing Y(unknown), then OP(work). Another crafty definition
21 Malicious blogger? Right to block impact (5)
TROLL – R(right) inside TOLL(impact)
22 Printing ink: no source of colour used up (4)
CYAN – NAY(no) and the first letter of Colour, all reversed.

52 comments on “Times 28228 – I’ll take my grapes sour, please.”

  1. Enjoyed that – I liked “expressing love” most. No problem spelling Giacometti, slight problem spelling Montessori even though there’s a Montessori school a few ks away that I often drive past. Taoiseach clued clearly enough to have no trouble spelling it. Needed all the crossers for LOI raucous, I knew caucus was the needed word but it wouldn’t come out of hiding. Beat the blogger in correctness, but nowhere near in time taken.
  2. Less than an hour is all I’m admitting to. Although I took a short break. No real problems I remember. LOI wsas ANIMATO. I knew what was required but could only thinkk of andante and a couple of others that didn’t fit.
  3. I flung in AGITATO at 18d, making a mental note to go back and look at the clue, then crumpled up the mental note and tossed it in the mental waste basket. I had memory problems with both MONTESSORI and GIACOMETTI, and needed the checkers in both cases. I think I’ve finally learned how to spell TAOISEACH–who the hell is responsible for Irish spelling?–but as isla said.
    1. ….the same person who was responsible for names such as Siobhan being pronounced as ‘Shivawn’ and Niamh as ‘Neve”, I think, Kevin.
      I started with AGITATO, as well.
        1. Hello, Olivia, Another one I learnt not long ago is Grainne…. pronounced ‘Gronya’.
    2. In part due to my Welsh ancestry I prefer the easier spelling — Toshack. Also it’s a nod to the great Liverpool footballer, John Toshack , who unfortunately is seriously ill with Covid now.
      1. Toshack! I’ve learnt something new today! But I’m sorry to learn the great John Toshack is ill with Covid.
  4. Nho the sculptor, but GIACOMETTI looked a better bet than our blogger’s alternative, thanks to a sports commentator here named Dennis Cometti. Toyed with ALLEGRO at 18d until dismissed by crossers. All parsed and correct in a slow 35:33

    Edited at 2022-03-03 04:46 am (UTC)

  5. 29 minutes. I’d NHO the ‘Sculptor’ but GIACOMETTI sounded more likely than the alternative, so in it went. I wasn’t all that confident about IDLE for ‘offering no fruit?’ either but it fitted the wordplay and I didn’t feel up to doing an alphabet trawl.

    An MER at NONVERBAL not being hyphenated; I suppose it must be in a dictionary somewhere, though not Chambers or the OED.

  6. Giacometti !! Oh, joy, finally. My LOI, although I know his work (and am particularly fond of The Palace at 4 a.m.) and can’t imagine how else his name could be spelled, if you know how it is pronounced, and that it is Italian—but I was taking the wrong end of the stick and looking for a word for “got it wrong”!

    Agree with Isla about NONVERBAL, which was my FOI.

    Nothing terribly hard this week. What does that bode for tomorrow… fateful Friday? Ha

    Edited at 2022-03-03 05:43 am (UTC)

  7. I thought there were some very nice surface readings there.
    12ac was a clever anagram and I also liked COMPARISON but COD to TOYSHOP
    The word TAOISEACH once featured in a lovely surreal, Milliganesque scene in one of my favourite sitcoms: “Drop the Dead Donkey”:
    The two newsreaders, were discussing the name TAOISEACH but ‘Silly Sally’ couldn’t get her head around the name and ended up asking “But why would the Irish Prime Minister want to open a Tea Shop?”
    PS….I thought ‘crosswordistes’ were a pretty knowledgable lot across a broad spectrum, so I’m surprised that, already, there are some admitting to not knowing Giacometti. I look on him as a major figure in art.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 07:04 am (UTC)

  8. 35 minutes with the NHO GIACOMETTI as my best guess given the anagrist and checkers (all but the T) in place. I’d spotted -ETTI as being the most likely ending. For the first time ever I was able to construct TAOISEACH correctly from wordplay and checkers. Same MER as others over IDLE/offering no fruit, but it had to be.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 07:11 am (UTC)

  9. 25 mins pre-brekker.
    Luckily I knew the anagram people.
    I quite liked Tequila Sunrise.
    Thanks setter and G.
  10. Just under the hour as well. Had to check spelling of the Irish leader, but otherwise AOK. Knew GIACOMETTI from somewhere.

    I liked the cocktail and MATERNITY LEAVE. TATTLER was fun too. NHO CALDERA but the clueing was friendly. Vinyl will be a happy bunny!

    Thank G and setter.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 08:08 am (UTC)

  11. 31 minutes with LOI MONTESSORI, the boot camp for toddlers. COD to CALCULATED RISK. I liked MATERNITY LEAVE too. As someone who really has only ever drunk beer, wine and whisky, I always groan when I see mention of cocktails, but at least The Eagles sang about this one. A pleasant puzzle. Thank you George and setter
  12. 28:52
    Good puzzle. Okay with Giacometti. WP for Taoiseach means I’ll always remember how to spell it, so thanks to setter and also to g, of course.
  13. On Thursdays i ignore the clock
    And it came as a bit of a shock
    (Though the clues were involved)
    To find that I’d solved
    A grid that included TAOISEACH
  14. Not my spirit of choice, but TEQUILA SUNRISE one of the few cocktails I’ve heard about, via the 70s.

    The nho sculptor was LOI, like guy de sable using my very very basic knowledge of Italian.

    17′ 18″, thanks george and setter.

  15. 20:13 and no typos today. I spent a good couple of minutes at the end trying to work out IDLE which flummoxed me for some reason. I found this one fairly tough despite knowing my Giacometti from my Montessori (although struggled to spell the latter), but was able to make fairly steady progress
  16. I’d parsed the Irish premier as philosophy = TAO, briefly for every = A (as in “a head” = “per head”), single = S and as I’m typing this I see I’ve reused “for every” in my parsing. So I ended up with TAOASEACH which I thought was wrong but I went with it anyway. Nuts!
  17. twenty-five minutes, knew the sculptor and the Irish PM (have met two of them), steady plod and a very pleasant puzzle. I liked MATERNITY LEAVE, LOI BRINGING UP THE REAR brought up the rear.
  18. Fairly straightforward solve and a pleasant puzzle – until my LOI TAOISEACH where I found char 4 was a decision between I and A – and I chose the wrong one.

    After 3 complete error-free puzzles this week, my best-ever chance of a “coat+scarf+hat-trick” has been ruined. I am not at all happy.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 09:48 am (UTC)

  19. TEQUILA SURISE, which I failed to get for such a time, turned out to be the key to unlocking the logjam (gridlock?) that I reached after 20 minutes with only a few scattered clues in. Thereupon finished in 27.56, so a sub-George if you forget the first bit.
    A bit TLS with Bede (venerable didn’t fit) and Alberto (of whom of course I had heard, don’t be ridiculous), and a tiny bit MCS with the (usually) unspellable Micheál Martin’s (I thought it was still Leo Varadkar’s) office.

    Speaking of offices, FLOOR took ages to emerge as I was trying to imagine a specific rather than a general office (or in this case any old) PLAN. I even invented SHOCK PLAN as a possible style: I’m sure some of us have worked in one.

    Commiserations, George, but thanks for persisting with working out all the wordplay: I took a calculated risk with 3d and took TOYSHOP pretty much as an alternative spelling to the Irish PM.

  20. No real problems here. I dredged up GIACOMETTI from art lessons at school, CALDERA was a can’t-tell-you-what-it-means-but-it-must-be-right that I vaguely remembered from previous crosswords, and once I saw 19d wasn’t anything to do with the theatre and figured out TOYSHOP I then had all the checkers I needed to get TAOISEACH.

    FOI Cyan
    LOI Taoiseach
    COD Maternity leave

  21. All done in around an hour bar 9D, where I couldn’t make sense of the clueing, other than that it meant Be final. It took another 10 minutes of vocabulary dredging (DRINK UP THE BEER?, CRANK UP THE GEAR?) for the penny finally to drop and reveal the parsing! No problems with spelling, however, thanks to the excellent clue for Taoiseach, which would otherwise have been beyond me.
  22. Knew the vowel order in the sculptor but not which consonants get doubled and which don’t, so thanks to the setter for that (and also for making the prime minister manageable). Found the wavelength for this one. 17.17
  23. A couple of words which you might be less confident of spelling correctly without the help wordplay and checkers, but all good. Brief pause while I considered all the possibilities of DRINK UP, FRONT UP, GRIND UP etc. before the penny dropped at 9dn.
  24. 39:22, a good time for me, but with one pink square. I know and like the works of GIACOMETTI but I still gave him an O instead of his A, in total disregard of the anagrist. Oh well
  25. Surprised at the general ignorance of Giacometti. There is a lovely photograph (which I can’t trace) of him in his studio, stepping forward like his ‘Walking Man’ blurred. No particular problems here (37 minutes) but a MER like others at idle = offering no fruit?
      1. Yes that’s it. I’d forgotten how wonderful it is. Do you know who the photographer was?
          1. Actually a thought just occurred to me. Cartier-Bresson. I had missed it in Google Images, where it does after some clicking say who the photographer was.
  26. ….but at least it wasn’t a typo. Unfortunately biffed AGITATO, and as soon as the pink squares appeared ANIMATO stuck its tongue out at me without need to look any further.
  27. 15:46 so apparently on the wavelength for this one — grateful too for the bonus of a mnemonic for the spelling of TAOISEACH, though how long I remember it remains to be seen.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 11:46 am (UTC)

  28. I drew a blank in my first glace at the NW corner, but DELHI popped up when I turned eastwards, with ADAM, _____ PLAN and MONTESSORI quickly following. I then spotted EBONY and OBLIVIOUS before jumping around the grid to look for more inspiration. It cam in the form of MATERNITY LEAVE. Having decoded CALDERA, I biffed AGITATO, nut couldn’t parse it, so had another look at the clue and saw that NATO might just help, and it did. I’m eternally grateful to the setter for the means to remember how to spell TAOISEACH! I was fairly sure that GIACOMO is an Italian forename, so popped in what I thought was GIACOMETTI. However during proofreading I found I’d actually typed GIOCOMETTI, so a narrow squeak there! BRING UP THE REAR didn’t today. That responsibility was left to the MANICURIST, who arrived after VINYL’s CALCULATED RISK. 25:16. Thanks setter and George.
  29. Mind not entirely on the job, so could have been quicker. Giacometti’s studio not a kilometre from where I sit, so that was easy. Did anyone else spot that another anagram that fits 8 down is monitoress? Not that the word exists, but I didn’t let that stop me putting it in. Couldn’t parse Taoiseach, because I had Tao as the philosophy, with left me with an unexplained i and s. But happily it couldn’t be anything else. Also mistakenly put in Caldero, which slowed me right down at the end when I tried to think of a musical instruction beginning with o. Much fun had, so thanks to all.
  30. 35 minutea, but I should have been quicker as many clues were easier than normal on a Thursday. I was stuck for ages at the end on TAOISEACH (thought the answer might end in -ALL, as well as -EACH, TOYSHOP and ANIMATO (unfamiliar to me).
    There were some good indirect definitions dotted around, such as that for TOYSHOP.
  31. 6m 19s, all fairly smooth going. I share your pet peeve relating to anagrams of obscure foreign words (proper nouns or otherwise), but fortunately the unknown GIACOMETTI suggested itself without too much difficulty.

    My other pet peeve is loose cryptic definitions, so for a while I left it at ?ATERNITY LEAVE… M was always more likely, but definitely a case for P.

  32. Got myself stuck in the top left a little but knew Giacometti – he’s even Swiss, making the clue nicer.
  33. 2/3 done in around twenty mins — fifteen minutes to finish the SE corner and some of the NE (MONTESSORI just wouldn’t come even though I could see it was an anagram and had the first three checkers).

    As it turned out, MONTESSORI was the key and got me going again, leading to TATTLER and OBLIVIOUS.

    Thought TOYSHOP was cleverly clued.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 01:04 pm (UTC)

  34. I had no chance as I never had any art lessons at school.. I was about to put GIOCAMETTI, but then I thought what the hell and looked him up.
    I agree with comment above, there are so many words with – – SH which mean nonsense that I was spoilt for choice. At one point I tried BIZSHOP which might be a place for showbiz props?
  35. Enjoyed this.
    No problem with Giacometti, though not a fan. The usual problems constructing the Irish bloke.
  36. After a very slow start this was not hard at all (35 minutes), since once I did get going there were almost no holdups. LOI was EBONY because I was having trouble identifying BONY as a single word (meaning spare). The only spelling that gave me any grounds for thought was TAOISEACH, but the wordplay was quite clear, although I don’t know why “single” was needed in the clue.
  37. 18.29. A par solve for me. No problem with the sculptor but I had to dredge the educationalist up from somewhere. The European leader was spelt with more confidence than might otherwise have been the case with less generous word play. I liked the idea of the manic (j)urist (I can picture one or two).
  38. Also mildly astonished about the number of nhos for GIACOMETTI — I mean, if even I’ve heard of him…!

    Flitted around but never got stuck. CYAN last in

    Clever anagram for TEQUILA SUNRISE

    Thanks George and setter

Comments are closed.