Times 28231 – Monday, Monday……and an important blog announcment!

Time: 39 minutes
Music: Rimsky-Korsakoff, Scheherezade, Kondrashin/Concertgebouw

I was quite impressed with this little number.   Unlike most Monday puzzles, it definitely stretched me out a little.   Perhaps I was expecting an ordinary Monday puzzle, causing me to fall into all the clever traps that the setter set.   If someone had told me in advance that this had a little bite, I would have proceded more cautiously, and looked suspiciously at any seemingly innocent words.   As it was, it was one penny-drop after another, as my expectations met the setter’s little tricks.

Now for the important blog announcement.    As everyone is aware, the situation right now is a little iffy, and unfavorable developments are possible.   For this reason, I would like to collect the email addresses of our commenters in case we need to communicate with you.    Anyone who wants to be on the list should send an email to me, vinyl1, at earthlink.net.   In the subject line, put TFTT, comma, your Live Journal Handle, comma, your email, e.g. TFTT,Londonsolver,pfsmith@gmail.com – no spaces!  This will allow me to process the emails with a Unix script and build a spreadsheet of our community.   You can put whatever you like in the body of the email, or nothing at all.     I also ask you not to discuss this matter in your comments in the blogs, as there is no need to stir up trouble.   Thanks in advance!

1 Hawker briefly meeting cad in European city (8)
TOULOUSE – TOU[t] + LOUSE.   I thought of Toulouse at once, but didn’t see briefly, delaying my solve.
5 Cheap flier containing gesture from the right (3-3)
TWO-BIT – T(BOW backwards)IT.  The former price of a shave and haircut, now $55.
10 Score’s steady, so sent out afresh (9)
SOSTENUTO –  Anagram of SO SENT OUT – the difficulty is in the literal.
11 A drop for all to see in vale (5)
ADIEU –  A + DIE + U,   Not the vale your were expecting?   Join the club.
12 Change pocketed, I took bags (4)
EDIT – hidden in [pocket]ED O T[ook].
13 A gun having gone off, I took off in distress (9)
ANGUISHED – Anagram of A GUN + I SHED.
15 Get made newly redundant having pinched rear of boss (10)
UNDERSTAND –  Anagram of REDUNDANT + [bos]S.
17 Clearjust (4)
FAIR – Double definition – weather and ethics.
19 Cry: something kicked, did you say? (4)
BAWL – Sounds like BALL.
20 Aware of current trends, lit up? (8,2)
SWITCHED ON – Double definition, hipster and lamp.
22 Plastic as central, going some way back? (9)
24 Queen in synopsis, no problem! (4)
MARY – [sum]MARY.
26 One removing last of haemoglobin from large vessel (5)
TAKER – TA[n]KER, where the N is the last letter of haemoglobin.
27 Minor issue in novel with adventure story in collection (4,5)
NEWS SHEET – NEW + S(SHE)ET.   Yes, there’s only one novel in cryptics.
28 Whisper and take stock (6)
RUSTLE – Double definition, a chestnut.
29 Visit tiny empty church, work of art (8)
1 Challenge Hampshire runner (4)
TEST – Double definition,  the verb and the river.
2 Cryptically snub desserts? (6-4,5)
UPSIDE-DOWN CAKES – SNUB is BUNS upside down – in a down clue, that is.
3 Upset on account of shift (8)
OVERTURN –  OVER + TURN in entirely different senses.
4 Gathering coral primarily, diver with a tank etc for descent (5)
SCUBA – S(C[oral])UB + A.   Confusingly non-deceptive – I was wondering if this was a blatantly obvious cryptic definition until I saw how it worked.
6 Suppose wife has lost faith (4,2)
WHAT IF – W + anagram of FAITH.
7 Jolly smart — fresh too? (6,3,6)
BRIGHT AND BREEZY –  BRIGHT AND BREEZY, in different senses.
8 Very great article short of lines (10)
THUNDERING – TH(UNDER)ING.   If you thought it begins with TH[e], then you may get it, but you won’t parse it.
9 Sweet thing produced by cook: that’s yucky fruitcake (8)
14 Lifting device, one crushed by dense liquid (10)
DUMBWAITER – DUMB WA(I)TER, my LOI, very clever indeed.
16 Mighty sovereign in traction (8)
TOWERING –  TOW(ER)ING, the favorite sovereign of constructors.
18 Approval as Tom maybe gets drink (6,2)
21 Stellar, like short refrain (6)
23 Cow perhaps with shorter legs? (5)
LOWER – Double definition, one definitely jocular.
25 Long playing field with no parking (4)

56 comments on “Times 28231 – Monday, Monday……and an important blog announcment!”

  1. I thought of TH[e], could make no sense of the clue, and biffed, only to see the light after submitting. Biffed WHAT IF, parsed post-sub. At 10ac, I saw the anagrist and typed in SUSTENUTO, not bothering to check; serves me right. I liked how ‘novel’ was not SHE but SHE was part of the wordplay nonetheless.
  2. 1ac and it’s 4 down words straight in and I was away. Sostenuto known first as a racehorse, then as a musical direction, finally as an Italian participle: supported.
    Slowed at the end with THUNDERING which I couldn’t parse, ADIEU, and LOI NEWS SHEET which I didn’t know as a thing, so had to fully parse. Some nice clues in there, dumbwaiter and doughnut my favourites, and understand for the surface reading.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
  3. 34 minutes. A tricky def for the musical term at 10a, which I could only get from wordplay and the helpful U in the crossing SCUBA. I spent a while with TH[e] at 8d until working out the not so obvious parsing.

    Favourites were DUMBWAITER and the surface for TAKER which made it close to being a cryptic def. Here’s hoping we’ll get “phlebotomist” in a crossword some time.

    Thanks to vinyl and setter

  4. I found this quite hard, but some wonderful clues with nicely misleading structures to many of the clues. LOI was WHAT IF which I should have got a lot earlier.
  5. 34 minutes, so no major problems here. I was delayed just a little by ‘clear/FAIR’ but decided it was a weather thing although I’ve never been entirely sure what ‘fair’ means in weather reports. My other delay was ASTRAL where the answer came readily enough but I didn’t manage to parse the tra-la bit.

    I enjoyed UPSIDE-DOWN CAKES but cluing them as ‘desserts’ raised the same doubts as when in the past we have had both ‘cone’ and ‘choc ice’ defined as sweet. What’s served as a sweet course is ‘upside down pudding’.

    Edited at 2022-03-07 06:02 am (UTC)

  6. I have not been on the TfTT site for several few weeks. I and others have been lobbying American, Canadian and European Governing bodies etc to cease the use of Russian assets such as Chelsea and Everton FCs, Russian State Media outlets, including Russian platforms such as ‘Live Journal’. Jonathan please find a new platform for TfTT asap and forget ‘The Archive.’ It is not as precious as the lives of innocent women and children.

    If this message is deleted it will be notified accordingly.

    Edited at 2022-03-07 06:00 am (UTC)

    1. It appears that the site search function has been disabled. At least it no longer works. Somewhat suspicious in the current circs. David F
      1. The search function is powered by Google and I understand they have disabled certain facilities.
  7. That was more challenging than I thought it was going to be so thank you, vinyl, for NEWS SHEET, UPSIDE DOWN CAKES, BRIGHT AND BREEZY, ASTRAL and THUNDERING.
    With 7d, I saw ‘jolly’ and thought sailor/tar/Marine.
    MARY and ADIEU were very good, I thought, but COD to UPSIDE DOWN CAKES.
    At opposite corners of the grid I thought TEST and ITCH were QC material.
    I like Len Deighton’s “WHAT IF” novels like SS-GB, XPD and Horse Under Water.
    PS….Is Horryd on a sabbatical or have I just missed his comments?

    Edited at 2022-03-07 07:27 am (UTC)

    1. He has said that he will no longer post while TfTT is hosted by LiveJournal.
  8. 35 mins pre-brekker, held up in the NE.
    Eyebrow twitch at Tra-la.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  9. 43 minutes with LOI THUNDERING. You’re right, V, I still haven’t parsed it. I’d biffed THUNDEROUS before being SWITCHED ON. I think I dredged SOSTENUTO up from the dregs of a previous failure. COD to UPSIDE-DOWN CAKES, the pineapple version being the pudding of choice for dinner parties given by newly-marrieds in the early sixties but not seen much in my life since.
  10. I struggled a fair bit with today’s puzzle. SOSTENUTO was a particular issue, which I initially assumed had to be SUSTENOTO based on its similarity to sustain. Eventually SCUBA put me right. WHAT IF was another difficulty where faced with W___ I_, I spent too long thinking that the second word had to be IT or IN. Great clue though.
  11. A FAIR challenge today, the said word being my LOI, semi-parsed.

    Really liked THUNDERING once I got it. Like jack, missed the parsing of ASTRAL.

    In 27ac, there are indeed only a few novels in cryptics (Emma is another one) but SHE is clued as ‘adventure’, surely.

    I have an email to send, and hope to see you all in another time and space. Hopefully ‘au revoir’ rather than ADIEU.

    22′ 48″, thanks vinyl and setter.

  12. 8:53, but another SUSTENUTO. Drat. Also failed to parse ASTRAL so thanks for that.
  13. SOSTENUTO is one of those clues
    The setters should really not choose
    And I’m losing my power
    As it felt like an hour
    When I finally spotted TOULOUSE
  14. Not on the wavelength at all today. Gave up on the hour with TOULOUSE (not far from me so I can’t see why I couldn’t see it, if you see what I mean!) and OVERTURN unentered. Damn.

    Thanks v and setter.

  15. 24:01 – held up unnecessarily by the top left hand corner and by DUMB WAITER. The latter was not helped by the fact that I had rushed in MEWL (something [that] kicked) rather than BAWL (something [being] kicked) even though it didn’t feel right.
  16. Still not sure I understand how THUNDERING works. I get that ‘article’ = ‘thing’ and ‘short of’ = ‘under’, but how does ‘lines’ here explain how to put ‘under’ inside ‘thing’? Given where ‘lines’ is in the clue, wouldn’t it have to be the other way round?

    No real problems otherwise, though put me down as another who didn’t parse the ‘tral’ part of ASTRAL.

    FOI Test
    LOI What if
    COD Anguished

    1. I had a similar lining problem years ago, thinking that if X lines Y, then it’s XYX. But then, if you think of eg the lining of your jacket, X lines Y= YXY. I, of course, spent hours dithering over whether ‘lines’ was LL or RY.
  17. 20:12
    Thundering was a pickle to parse. Nice puzzle with a good level of challenge.
    Well said, horryd.
    Thanks, v. Much appreciated.
  18. Well of course I entered THUNDERING mystified, wondering where the Ls disappeared from after TH(e). Very clever. I did, however, eventually spot the TRAL(A) refrain, though I’m not fully convinced it counts as one.
    20.51 for this chunky offering, last couple spent on MARY wondering what 2/3 letter word for synopsis could surround ER or R for something meaningful.
    Isn’t DUMB WAITER two words? It is in Chambers and looks slightly silly as one.
    Nice to have SHE clued as an adventure story rather than as novel.
  19. Some very good stuff in this one. I wasted time trying to stretch “re(sum)e” to fit 24a and never did get THUNDERING (thanks Vinyl). Glad to have the setter’s help placing the I and the Y in TRIPTYCH. My father’s awful dad joke about a Frenchman’s trousers always being Toulon or TOULOUSE came to mind inevitably. 23.53
  20. Some nice devices, such as the lining, made this a little tougher than the average Monday, so I was clearly on the wavelength. Enjoyable.
  21. vinyl, if I try to do what you say in the preamble, earthlink.net goes pink as soon as I go past it. In my experience that means it’s going to be a problem. Just my system?

    Everything straightforward enough and I took 31 minutes. DUMB WAITER I thought not DUMBWAITER, and Collins at least has the two-word form first; Chambers and Lexico don’t even recognise the one-word form.

  22. Some good clues that I really enjoyed, but I needed a full hour and in the end, in haste, bunged in CHECKS UP and CERT instead of THUMBS UP and MARY. I’m not going to challenge the official version
  23. I just posted and it was marked as spam (presumably because I quoted the email address vinyl gave), so I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day now and I’m trying again. When I put that email address in it went pink after I had moved on from it, and that in my experience spells failure. My system?

    No particular problems (31 minutes). Surely DUMB WAITER? Collins puts it before the one-word version, which Chambers and Lexico don’t even recognise.

  24. I see I wasted my time because some kind person unspammed my earlier comment.
  25. 13:58 I’m another who failed to parse THUNDERING and thought DUMB WAITER was 2 words. I liked UNDERSTAND best.

    Edited at 2022-03-07 11:49 am (UTC)

  26. Hours of choral singing paid dividends with SOSTENUTO, even if the whole shebang took me 40 minutes.

    I would never let anyone near my face with a razor blade, but my haircut at a stall ib Lek Yuen market sets me back less than 5 US dollars. Well, used to, until the useless Hong Kong government closed such establishments.

  27. 31:38. Tricky stuff but a fun — if unexpectedly Fridayish — workout. Anagrams seemed especially well-hidden and left me scratching around for the rationale long after solving.

    Particular thanks to our blogger today; I really appreciate the work you all put into maintaining this — to me — precious corner of the internet.

  28. I made rapid progress in the LHS of this puzzle, with TEST and TOULOUSE going straight in. The RHS was a bit trickier, especially the NE corner. I eventually got THUNDERING, with a posited TH(e) and a furrowed brow, but that allowed me to see TWO BIT and LOI, WHAT IF. I was surprised by the one word DUMBWAITER. 22:46. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  29. Pleased to finish this because it didn’t feel very Mondayish and I needed to revisit after a brain reboot.
    Some answers biffed so thanks for the explanations. WHAT IF came from a clever, succinct clue I thought and was my POI.
    Just finished reading a book on AI and wondering if a cryptic could be solved. I think the answer is probably yes but largely because of the opportunities afforded by big data.
  30. There were a few I didn’t fully parse:

    NEWS SHEET (what else could it be with all of the checkers?)
    THUNDERING (again, only entered with all checkers)

    MARY took a long time to come — I was thinking MER- e.g. MERE until the penny dropped.

    DUMBWAITER — LOI — very good clue.

  31. Vinyl,
    You have a small typo in the heading chat. You have TFTF instead of TFTT.
    It’s ok in the example just wrong in the writing.
    Thanks for all the blogs.
  32. Slow for a Monday but I would not have finished at all if I had not reverted to my plan of giving myself a full hour. After 45 minutes there were three left which I couldn’t get.
    Allowing more time forced me to think again….and to think differently.

    Not sure where ‘what if’ finally came from and didn’t succeed in parsing it. Nor could I parse ‘upside down cakes’ . On the other hand, ‘thundering’ was straightforward. For some reason, I particularly liked ‘anguished’.

    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle and to vinyl1 for the explanations.

  33. “In questa reggia”, Puccini & Verdi Arias, Oksana Dyka. 1ac European city is much too vague a definition for this airy double-seater

    Edited at 2022-03-07 02:55 pm (UTC)

  34. ….and I took a break with the NE corner + 24A incomplete. Tough for a Monday, but at least I finished correctly, which was a relief after the struggles of last week.

    COD TWO-BIT (when I finally saw it)
    TIME 13:44

  35. I made very good early progress with this, which became slower and slower. As others have already noted, there were some clues that were pretty devilish to parse. The only one I wasn’t sure of when (finally) entering was ‘astral’, so thanks, vinyl, for the ‘tra-la’ spot, although I can’t say it’s my favourite ever clue.
    LOI ‘summary’ which took what seemed an age before I twigged. COD to ‘adieu’ for the sneaky Latin.

    Thanks, setter, for a very enjoyable teaser, and vinyl for the blog. I’ve sent an email, as directed, so hope that’s all right.



  36. Met up with an old friend yesterday, and went on a particularly well-lubricated night out – when I first looked at the puzzle about 10am I was convinced it was a 180-SNITCH beast (but had my suspicions that actually it wasn’t)…

    …so I postponed till this afternoon, not feeling a whole lot more alert, and proceeded to give it my best shot. Very slow start indeed, but got going in the SW and grimly slogged my way through to a full completion – a very satisfying outcome given the circumstances. Biffed THUNDERING, NHO river TEST SOSTENUTO (but both gettable with the crossers), LOI OVERTURN.

    Hopefully tomorrow’s solve will be in less challenging circumstances – thanks v and setter

  37. This was a long, slow solve for me. DUMBWAITER was great. Lots of clues had me thinking the wrong way in the beginning.

    I’m glad I got there in the end after failing, by 1 letter, to solve my first complete week last Friday. I picked the wrong end of Linnaeus and it still hurts.

    This felt hard but fair with no nasty plants to mess me up.

    Thanks, as always, to the setter and blogger.

  38. this morning as the “news desk” is taking some time to warm up.
    Fittingly, FOI was EDIT.
    Last One Parsed was THUNDERING.
    Nothing but fun in between. I literally LOL’ed a few times at the surfaces.

    Edited at 2022-03-07 05:15 pm (UTC)

  39. Fully agree that this was an enjoyable puzzle and a bit tricky compared to a typical Monday.
    I didn’t parse “Astral” and my LOI was “Mary” which had me stumped awhile.
    Thanks to our setter and our blogger.
  40. Needed partner to explain Mary, and LOI Thundering was biffed and parsed afterwards. Never saw the anagram for What if either, or thought of Tra-la, so unusually failed to parse several clues although all correct and a very satisfying solve. Thanks V and setter.
  41. 36 minutes, so it actually felt quite easy. Maybe it was just on my wavelength today, although some clues, like THUNDERING, did need a fair amount of help from the crossing letters.
  42. 19.18. Some smart stuff to make sure we were all bright and breezy today.

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