Times 28,229: A Good Blog Spoiled

I liked the first row of this very much, with the interesting device at 1ac and “details of damage on label” being a classic sneaky definition part. But a lot of the rest was relatively standard fare and I finished in a fairly zippy time, only much held up at the end by 20ac where the “QU” made it trickier than usual to see the word from the crossers. 15dn gets bonus points from me because I like crossword clues about crosswords, and 5dn is the kind of bang-up-to-the-minute pop culture content I really enjoy in the Times, but I do think 1ac was my favourite clue in the end, and nothing wrong with putting a good clue front and centre. Good work and thanks setter!

Definitions underlined, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Prepares space for game of golf in grounds (6)
GROOMS – G{round->ROOM}S. Take grounds and replace “round” [game of golf] with “room” [space]. Cool and unusual clueing
4 Pig crate needs repair — details of damage on label (5,3)
PRICE TAG – (PIG CRATE*). “Damage” as in “cost”
9 Exhausted, failed to play one’s part? (5,2)
DRIED UP – double def. To “dry up” on stage is to forget one’s lines
11 A line slipped into big report for added weight (7)
BALLAST – A L slipped into BLAST
12 Finished last in event, that’s clear (5)
OVERT – OVER [finished] + {even}T
13 Set aside organ, one of two not in pristine condition (9)
EARMARKED – EAR [organ, one of two] + MARKED [not pristine]
14 Catch kid adopting Linnaeus’s term for pansy (10)
HEARTSEASE – HEAR TEASE [catch | kid] “adopting” {linnaeu}S
16 Workers’ groups put together gear for Kirov, perhaps (4)
TUTU – T(rade) U(nion) twice over. As in the Kirov Ballet
19 One’s told to heighten beams (4)
RAYS – homophone of RAISE [to heighten]
20 Familiar master, inwardly curious, heading for dormitory (10)
ACQUAINTED – ACE with QUAINT within, + D{ormitory}. LOI
22 Solution for hygienist opening laundry (9)
MOUTHWASH – MOUTH WASH [opening | laundry]
23 Gardening aid welcomed by more women on retirement (5)
MOWER – hidden reversed in {mo}RE WOM{en}
25 Bountiful dynasty needing initial support, of course (7)
TEEMING – MING needing initial TEE [support, of (golf) course]
26 Junior guy, one mixed up with Resistance (7)
27 Malformed sardines maybe, about a kilo netted (8)
FREAKISH – FISH, “netting” RE A K
28 Paid our dues when we dined with daughter? (6)
ATONED – AT ONE [when we dined] + D
1 Male boxer possibly making a comeback with different sponsor (9)
GODMOTHER – M DOG reversed + OTHER. If you see me in real life you are allowed to call me M-DOG, though I will of course accept V-DOG too
2 Compound in hydrogen-depleted animal skin (5)
3 Consider change for the better, inspired by spouse (8)
MEDITATE – EDIT “inspired” by MATE
5 He wrote the story our disheartened bloke adapted (6,7)
6 Part of shirt buttonhole (6)
COLLAR – double def. “Buttonhole” as in “accost”
7 Recorded number on case for trainer’s loose kit (9)
TRACKSUIT – TRACK [thing on a record] on SUIT [thing in court]
8 Gun with enamelled casing kept within college (5)
GATED – GAT + E{namelle}D
10 Want no unpaid help to initiate action? (6,7)
PREFER CHARGES – double def with the whimsical idea that if you literally “prefer charges” you don’t like getting things for free
15 Like the solvers, the setters are back to square one (2,3,4)
17 One who’s up robing duke with unusual grandeur (9)
UNDERGRAD – D “robed” with (GRANDEUR*)
18 Minds out for shocking gymnast’s last move? (8)
21 Reduce drill (cut by hour) (6)
SHRINK – SINK “cut” by HR. Not 100% sure how “sink” is “drill”, maybe in sense of drilling/sowing seeds?
22 Single decoration, apt reward when viewed in retrospect (5)
MOTIF – FIT O.M. reversed
24 Go to and fro aboard carrier (5)
WAGON – WAG [go to and fro] + ON [aboard]

52 comments on “Times 28,229: A Good Blog Spoiled”

  1. Forgot to record my time but I’d estimate 35-45 minutes. A steady solve with no major hold-ups. I also wondered about drill/sink but SOED has drill as: produce (a hole) or sink (an oil well) by or as by drilling.
  2. About an hour for me. But with a typo. I went to type the correct answer but my fingers had other ideas and typed PREFER CHANGES. I guess my fingers preferred “changes”. It was my LOI and I hit submit without checking anything.

    The clue about crosswords is 15D (there is no 15A).

  3. I think you can sink a well or drill it. The basketball commentators use the same sense when they talk of either sinking a shot through the net or else drilling a shot.
  4. Excellent crossword, but could only be appreciated in retrospect here. Way off the wavelength, just couldn’t see all the correct synonyms or what belonged to wordplay & definition. Afterwards it seems obvious, why was it so hard at the time? Also a MER at drill/sink, I decided oil-wells.
  5. A good Friday time for me, but that involved some biffing: GROOMS (no idea), HEARTSEASE (HEARTsomething, and I knew EASE), ATONED (stuck on ATE; and I dine at around 7), SOUTHEY. POI WAGON, LOI ATONED took a bunch of time.
  6. Biffed ACQUAINTED and GROOMS, and still hadn’t figured out the latter when I arrived at the blog. Resisted SHRINK until I could think of a plausible synonymous sense for “sink.” Rather surprised to meet up with ROBERT SOUTHEY!


    Edited at 2022-03-04 05:15 am (UTC)

  7. I liked As You Were for the nice wordplay, the quirkiness of many of the other definitions, and the just-inside-the-realm-of-knowledge vocabulary. In my usage Atone is different to paying ones dues, and I was slowed down due to thinking ‘male boxer’ meant ‘dog’ (as compared to a female boxer = bitch). It’s easy to overthink a clue when the rest of the puzzle is a little tricky. Thanks setter. you too, dog

    Edited at 2022-03-04 03:20 am (UTC)

  8. V-Dog, for those of us down the back, can you please expand on your parsing of 14ac? Is it term as in “terminating character”? If so I think that’s a new one on me. Or is it something specific to the good* scientist?

    *Not just good, Google has him in the frame as the most influential person who ever lived. Cripes.

  9. Terminating character. Comes up reasonably often. Chambers’ very first definition for TERM is: An end.
    1. Thanks Isla. I’m ok with that usage, but I swear I’ve never seen it before (cue the link to last time I said the same thing).
      1. Did a google, and… nothing. Came up in Mephistos, which I don’t do, but not the daily. So I don’t know where, but I’ve seen it often enough to be wise to it.
    2. Makes you wonder what “Terms of Endearment” is really about, doesn’t it?
  10. Ripped through 80% of this at the fastest pace I’ve ever done Friday, feeling really switched on (but also noticing numerous QC-style clues). By 25m found myself with a gap in the middle…

    – Was pretty sure the ROBERT had to be SOUTHEY – though not a name familiar to me
    – HEARTSEASE (NHO) never came, I had no idea that “term for” could mean final letter
    – ACQUAINTED – forgot to try a Q before the U crosser – a shortcoming of my solving I thought I’d fixed

    But the trut6h is my heart wasn’t really in it, after my full-week-completion bid failed yesterday by 1 dumb pink. If I had been going for my first-ever complete sequence today, I would surely have been pulling my hair out over HEARTSEASE – don’t think I’d have cracked it. Anyway on reflection I should take the positives, and look forward to the next one. Thanks V and setter.

  11. Quoth little Peterkin.
    “Why that I cannot tell,” said he,
    “But ’twas a famous victory.”

    25 mins pre-porridge, so just right.
    LOI was Acquainted. All together now, “If you see a U, try a Q.”
    Thanks setter and V.

  12. After about 25mins I thought I was going to be here all night but slowly things came together.
    Like galspray, I had not heard of ‘term’ as ‘end’.
    Thanks, verlaine, for GROOMS, where I had to read your explanation a couple of times to understand it. Thanks as well for MOWER, ATONED, TRACKSUIT and AS YOU WERE.
  13. Ugh — convinced myself that INIDE was a compound and spent over 10 minutes at the end trying to work out what G_I_M_ could be, before finally realising my mistake. Started fast but the top left corner generally held me up. 28:45 all in.
  14. 37 minutes with LOI HEARTSEASE. I was familiar with the answer but I struggled to parse the middle S until I twigged what the ‘term’ was doing. I prefer my lunch earlier, so I’m not at one with the setter on 28a. We had our dinner at twelve when I was a kid and my stomach has never adjusted fully to waiting another hour. COD to TEEMING, liking PREFER CHARGES too. There’s no such thing as a free lunch even if you can’t see the PRICE TAG.. Quite a challenging puzzle. Thank you V and setter.
  15. Took a while to get started and I had to resort to having a crack at the four-letter words first, but after that I managed to get through it in 38m, which I don’t think is too bad. ROBERT SOUTHEY was born in a street I walked down just last night while taking in the Bristol Light Festival, and I remembered HEARTSEASE from a previous puzzle; without knowing those in advance I think this would have been trickier.
  16. Relatively easy for a Friday, no DKs but held up at the end by DISMOUNT and ATONED – slow to see 18d was an anagram. Biffed a few 1a, 14a, 20a. Also slow to discard CHANGES for second part of 10d, but what a good clue it was. Thanks V for usual good blogwork. 30 minutes.
  17. He was referred to by the cool kids (Shelley and Byron) as Dry Bob Southey, a reference to his distinctly uninspired verse, and to a practice known up here as ‘Getting Off At Haymarket’.
  18. A very high proportion of these clues were solved here with a sense of “I should have got that sooner”, which gets a bit irritating and may account for my 24.46, which is about as close to the current club average as it’s possible to be.
    The biggest hold-up came in the top left, with the very clever (but still slightly irritating) GROOMS which I entered several times before I finally read the wordplay properly, and the conviction that 2d was OZONE, which is a) not a compound and b) doesn’t have any link to animal skin.
    The (really obvious, dammmit)) OXIDE was my last in.

    Things I didn’t know (and can still hardly believe) First in an occasional series.
    ROBERT SOUTHEY wrote the original Goldilocks and the Three Bears

  19. GROOMS not parsed, but finished in < 17′. Worried about SHRINK.

    Thanks verlaine and setter.

  20. 42 minutes. I tried to invent an “inide” too and there were a few other delays before my last in GROOMS. A fairly gentle Friday, with my highlights being the ‘Malformed sardines’ and the original wordplay for GROOMS.
  21. Luxury of a day off to take this on in one (long) sitting.

    Incorrectly parsed GROOMS as G ROOMS, which I knew wasn’t right but fitted and was LOI.

    Got ACQUAINTED mid way through by following the advice on here in the past (and reiterated by myrtilus today) of trying a q with a u, especially for me when the spacing looks odd.

    Thought I didn’t know term to mean end(s) but it turned out to be my notes from blogs past.

    Thanks V and setter.

  22. 27:11, but lost my concentration on LOI, PREFER CHANGES. Drat! Thanks setter and V.
  23. Glad you brought that up Galspray – I wanted to ask but feared it was soooo obvious. Thanks Isla – new to me.
    1. I figured that was what it was — I didn’t go all the way to the dictionary to prove it to myself though, so thanks there. And I’m with Galspray that I thought I’d not seen it before.
  24. Without hitting the heights (or depths) of many Fridays, I found this quite enjoyable – though I should say, of course, I do have far lower standards than Verlaine in pretty much everything. I even took the time to parse 1ac successfully before submitting, and was glad not everything had that degree of cunning.
  25. Spent too long trying to justify “accustomed” at 20A otherwise fairly smooth. Southey told Charlotte Bronte (apropos of Jane Eyre?) that women didn’t belong in literature. I hope she told him to get some MOUTHWASH. 22.15
  26. Really dim today, because I had -C-U-I-T-D, also a feeling that it was probably ace, and yes I did follow the advice to expect a Q before a U, but in the end just biffed ACQUAINTED and the completion window came and it said 43 minutes. Another minute though to work out why it really was the solution. Took ages to equate quaint and curious.

    I thought that the ATONED answer was an oblique reference to ‘Ah yes I remember it well’, but no. They wouldn’t have been dining at one, anyway.

    Edited at 2022-03-04 11:16 am (UTC)

    1. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
      Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
      1. This was the subject of the first Listener Crossword I remember solving (I’ve just checked and it was 20 years ago in November!)

        All of the letters “M” and “E” needed to be removed from the grid in accordance with the subject’s utterances.

  27. A successful week completed, but still over the hour today. No DKs, but was unable to parse 1 or 14A, though the latter was an obvious biff and went in straight after 1D, FOI. Thanks to V for the explanations and to the setter for an enjoyable solve.
  28. 34:18. Really not sure if this was as hard as I made it or if I was just having a sleepy moment. Some of the clues seemed impenetrable at first and easy in retrospect — mark of a good crossie I suppose.
  29. Nothing too difficult here, though did take a while to recall the pansy’s other name.

    Last two in ATONED and WAGON.

  30. Really enjoyed this one – strangely, my solving time was exactly the same as the time taken to consume a sausage’n’egg McMuffin, hash brown, OJ and coffee in a Motorway cafe in the teeming rain.
  31. 10:16. I resisted the temptation to submit without checking my answers to get in under 10 minutes. So of course I didn’t have any mistakes. Steady enough solve, finishing in the NW where I tried and failed to parse GROOMS before just bunging in what seemed the only possible answer.
    The only reason anyone’s even heard of Southey is because Byron hated him so much, which is a bit sad really.
  32. …have picked up loads from the blog and the puzzle itself today, including ‘term’ for end, HEARTSEASE itself (horticulture tripping me up again) and PREFER CHARGES which is a big NHO and still doesn’t make much sense to me as a ‘initiate action’ as I’ve never seen prefer used in that way.

    Did get SHRINK but had ‘sink’ as short for countersink i.e. the bigger drill bit that allows the screw head to sit flush…I now see that was unnecessary/lucky as I recognise you would ‘sink a well’ (oil or water) by drilling for it.

    Thanks all – appreciating the education.

  33. ….for a disgracefully poor weeks solving — or, in today’s case, not solving. Down to the last crossing pair in 11 minutes or so, but was quite unable to crack them. Resigned after 16 minutes without ever seeing ACQUAINTED or TRACKSUIT. No excuses — I simply had some sort of brain fade.
  34. Gave up on the hour with HEARTEASE not entered and was never going to be. Couldn’t see it at all. I liked PRICE TAG and managed to get the right answer at 10d. Guessed Robert from the anag.

    Thank you V for reminding me that I had a good round ruined yesterday by a missed birdie and two three putts. A bit like today really! Ta to setter too.

  35. Got thirteen of these and had some ideas about some others. Finished it off in the electronic version by trial and error. Did not parse about a third of these. Found this more accessible than some. Thanks, V, and setter.
  36. Too many obscure or inaccurate clues ( tracksuit is not loose kit).
    Stop thinking how clever you are, or think you are
    1. Whether or not actual reality bears it out, the Chambers definition of tracksuit begins “a loose warm suit” so the setter must be deemed to be off the hook here. It seems the lexicographer may have been in a jocular mode though as the definition ends with “sometimes worn by [non-athletes] in an error of judgment”…!

      Edited at 2022-03-04 07:05 pm (UTC)

  37. Thanks V for parsing “Grooms” – I couldn’t see that.
    I would question – is editing a change for the better or just a change – do we always dine at one – are malformations freakish – is an OM a reward or an award?
    Nevertheless, good puzzle.
    Mike Cowking
  38. Not to mention Lexico (‘loose, warm set of clothes’) and American Collins (‘loosefitting outfit’).
  39. 17.58. A good puzzle which I enjoyed and ran through in a decent time, managed to see things quite quickly and didn’t dither too much over anything.
  40. After an hour I took a break with three or four answers missing, then needed another 15 minutes to finish with one mistake. Never heard of HEARTSEASE, didn’t catch the meaning of “term” and put in HEARTLEASE, which seemed strange but not impossible. The rest was fun, though, and I did eventually manage to parse it all, including GROOMS.

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