Times 28264 – some self-assembly required

Time taken: 7:52

I found this one pretty breezy, though I had a bit of a leg-up with one of the trickier answers being a word used commonly in my field. Of the early solvers, there are several with one error, which may be in that entry (26 across) or the easy to mis-spell 23 across.

Away we go…

1 Cut into vehicle — someone trapped may be this? (8)
SHACKLED –  HACK(cut) inside SLED(vehicle)
6 Good-looker in a party turning evil (6)
ADONIS – A, DO(party) and then a reversal of SIN(evil)
9 Very distressing war never troubled China’s foremost ruler (5-8)
NERVE-WRACKING – anagram of WAR,NEVER then the first letter of China, and KING(ruler)
10 The old man exploits gaps in conversation? (6)
PAUSES – PA(the old man), USES(exploits)
11 Shout first to last to bring to king encouraging message (3,5)
ALL CLEAR – CALL(shout) with the first letter moved to the end, then king LEAR
13 Son put into river in a box is treated with disrespect (10)
DESECRATED – S(son) inside the river DEE, then CRATED(in a box – a term commonly used with pets in the USA)
15 Holiday period problem for US rail travellers? (4)
NOEL – the problem for rail travelers (especially in Chicago) would be NO EL(elevated railroad)
16 A British journalist is lying (4)
ABED – A, B(British), ED(journalist)
18 Radio announcement of how the enemy is advancing? (4,6)
TIME SIGNAL – cryptic definition – TIME referring to the enemy
21 Reforming MP, Liberal, I’m second in election (8)
PLIMSOLL – L(Liberal), I’M, and S(second) inside POLL(election). Referring to Samuel PLIMSOLL of the Merchant Shipping Act (thanks, Chambers)
22 Shot at Lord’s gardener’s head with old weapon (6)
GLANCE – first letter in Gardener, then LANCE(old weapon). A cricket shot.
23 Evil in sacred Bible is beyond words (13)
25 Caster of shadow in garden? Little fellow therein cut one short (6)
GNOMON – a garden GNOME missing the last letter, then ONE missing the last letter
26 Crystal read finally — aim with special procedure (8)
DENDRITE – last letter of reaD, then END(aim) and RITE(special procedure).  A self-assembled crystalline form (thanks, chemistry degree)
2 In kitchen ban every herb that could be lethal? (7)
HENBANE – hidden inside kitcHEN BAN Every
3 Ditch sermon? That’s bad for body of believers (11)
4 City drains needing black flushed out (5)
LEEDS – BLEEDS(drains) minus B(black)
5 Comatose fellow coming in walked the wrong way (7)
DORMANT –  MAN(fellow) inside TROD(walked) reversed
6 Company boy among experts gets honours (9)
ACCOLADES – CO(company) and LAD(boy) inside ACES(experts)
7 Sorcery of African people on the up (3)
OBI – IBO(African people) reversed
8 Thoughtless person put stuff to be burnt here? (7)
INGRATE – stuff to be burnt would go IN GRATE
12 Newcomer gaining ground? (4-7)
LAND-GRABBER – cryptic definition
14 Animal killer in ridiculous energy-wasting operations (3-6)
RAT-POISON – remove E(energy) from OPERATIONS and anagram
17 Like a market sometimes, one about to offer precious metals (7)
BULLION – a BULL market, then I(one), ON(about)
19 Woman is gentle, looking angry (7)
MILDRED – MILD(gentle) and RED(angry)
20 Most mischievous revolutionary’s limited in skill (7)
ARCHEST – CHE’S(revolutionary’s) inside ART(skill)
22 Country attire, not right when it’s getting worn (5)
GABON – GARB(attire) minus R(right) then ON(getting worn)
24 The first man lacks a mother (3)
DAM –  ADAM(the first man) minus A

61 comments on “Times 28264 – some self-assembly required”

  1. I needed some time to get PLIMSOLL, thinking that ‘reforming’ was an anagram indicator at first, and LOI DORMANT (=comatose?). The hyphen in RAT-POISON also threw me off. Biffed ALL CLEAR, parsed post-submission. A gentle puzzle for a Thursday.
  2. Couldn’t get PLIMSOLL but DENDRITE,GNOMON,HENBANE turned out to be right.They must be words I heard sometime in the past.Had “test signal ” for a while for TIME SIGNAL and similarly “heart-breaking” for NERVE-WRACKING. Needed to come here to parse GABON, PLIMSOLL and RAT-POISON. Thanks!
  3. DNF in 31 minutes – “gnomen”, not GNOMON. Couldn’t parse NOEL but we have had EL for “elevated railway” before. DENDRITE known to me from neuroanatomy rather than chemistry.
  4. Breezy sums it up, though fortunate to know gnomon and dendrite (from electronics – radar transmitters can grow fine metal filaments and short out). Didn’t know of a land-grabber, but no hold-up. Needed all the crossers for Christendom.
    No real standout for COD, give it to GLANCE.
  5. Defeated comprehensively by this one, with all the trouble on the left hand side. Which, coincidentally, was where Foden rolled around theatrically after being kicked out at by Atletico’s Felipe.

    Bemusing scenes followed, not least the sight of home manager Simeone remonstrating with the referee over the kind of chicanery he pulled off to such good effect in 1998, leading to the sending off of Beckham.

    1. The important thing was that Foden rolled back on the pitch before he made his bid for an Oscar, thus preventing a quick restart.
      1. Not quite sure how quick the restart would have been wherever Foden’s roll had ended up given the presence on the pitch, off the pitch (and in the tunnel) of the aptly named Savic.

        Made namesake Robbie look like a choirboy…

        1. Notwithstanding Giggs,Bale,Allchurch,Speed to name a few, my son has always maintained Robbie Savage was the greatest Welsh footballer of all time.
          1. I reckon John Charles might just shade the Class of ‘92 star.

            I’m not sure Speed or Giggs are actually more Welsh than I am.

    2. Without wishing to condone the theatrics, the fact that Beckham kicked him immediately in front of the referee also had some bearing on the situation.

      Edited at 2022-04-14 12:15 pm (UTC)

  6. Hardest of the week by some margin

    Can someone explain LAND-GRABBER? What does “newcomer” have to do with it? Am I just being dense? Can’t find anything on the first page of google, or in my hard copy of Chambers about it

    1. I wondered a bit about ‘newcomer’, too; thought it might be referring to settlers (in the New World, in Africa) grabbing land from the inhabitants, but didn’t really pause over it.
    2. From Collins: “a person who seizes land illegally or underhandedly.”
      The newcomer bit is unstated, but I guess is implied in that if they had been there a while they would have settled already.
  7. Yes, The Times’ match report is saying that Atletico, and particularly Simeone, got some of their own medicine.
  8. Another enjoyable puzzle to follow on from yesterday.
    My favourite was TIME SIGNAL because I remember a previous occasion when the ‘enemy’ device was used.
    Not so much the pips but, in my expat days I harboured a desire to be that person on the BBC World Service who preceded (followed?) the strains of ‘lilliburlero’ immediately before the news at the top of the hour with the solemn announcement that “This is London”!
    1. I have been that person, Martin! Many years ago, I worked in World Service Bush House as a Studio Manager (Sound Engineer to the rest of the world), and in between cueing up live broadcasts and recorded ones, we were required to make that ‘This Is London’ announcement, particularly on the External Services and the through-the-night broadcasting where we didn’t have a continuity announcer. I can reveal that the excitement didn’t compensate for the exhaustion of a nine hour night shift.
      1. Wonderful! I’m sure you would have been aware of the somewhat stirring effect those three words would have had on expats in far-off lands!
  9. Bang on 30 minutes here. I got lucky in a couple of places—my nearest statue of an MP here in Bristol is of Samuel Plimsoll, and I knew the word DENDRITE from its use in neuroscience. I think I learned it in a university module on neural networks. I also have Nick Harkaway’s Gnomon somewhere among my tsundoku piles…

    My last ones in were GLANCE and DENDRITE once I’d figured out the last word of LAND-GRABBER, but nothing caused me too much problem along the way. Having read the blog I quickly scanned for something that might have sent me one letter wrong, but everything seems to be in place. I wonder if 7d, which relies on GK for both wordplay and definition, might be the problem?

  10. Unfortunately once again I forgot to note my starting time.

    I got off to a very slow start with only one or two answers scattered around the grid but gradually I made progress and it started coming together and rapidly fell into place. I’d estimate my time as 35 minutes at most, but possibly I was just within my target half-hour.

    I agonised over 25ac as I knew the word but couldn’t remember whether it ended -EN or -ON, and had difficulty unravelling the wordplay in the second part of the clue. In the end I plumped for GNOMEN. I now see that there are two deletion indicators, so GNOM{e} (little fellow therein – in the garden) [cut], then ON{e} [short].

    MER at TIME SIGNAL (radio announcement) as it’s not an announcement but a signal – 5 short pips and a longer one on the hour.

    I knew PLIMSOLL of the the line on ships but not that he was an MP, nor that he was noted as a reforming one.

    I knew DENDRITE as a word but had no idea what it was. The wordplay was helpful here.

    Edited at 2022-04-14 05:27 am (UTC)

  11. Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
    Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d

    25 mins pre-brekker. I liked it. I thought Land-grabber was a bit weak, but made up for by some clever stuff elsewhere.
    Do you ever feel like a ‘shackled Adonis’?
    Thanks setter and G

  12. 48 minutes with LOI GNOMON. Much earlier, I thought it must be something to do with a sun-dial, and with cryptic plus crossers I constructed GNOMON, but I didn’t know the link. I made a wild guess at LAND-GRABBER about halfway through, and it survived. PLIMSOLL emerged late on, not being generously clued. COD to ALL CLEAR. I found this pretty tough. Thank you George and setter.
    1. OK, I’ ll bite — Yootha Joyce? I remember her from movies The Pumpkin-Eater and Our Mother’s House but curious why she’s mentioned here. Was today her birthday?
      1. She played Mildred Roper in Man about the House and its spin off George and Mildred, both successful seventies sitcoms. Brian Murphy was her husband George. Apparently in 1980 they made a movie of it too. One to miss.
  13. Enjoyed this though I thought it sailed a little close to the edge once or twice.
    Having been brought up near Birkenhead, the Plimsoll Line that all cargo ships have was familiar. This simple idea to avoid overloading a ship is reckoned to have saved thousands of lives.
  14. Another finger-crosser here with HENBANE, GNOMON, PLIMSOLL and TIME SIGNAL, with the latter in particular bunged in only once all the checkers were in place. Tried to make ‘kindred’ fit ‘woman’ as a definition before thinking of ‘mild’ for ‘gentle’ and getting MILDRED for 19d. Otherwise this was a smooth enough solve.

    FOI Adonis
    LOI Gnomon
    COD Ingrate

  15. 10:37, with fingers crossed at the end for the unknown GNOMON. It looked an unlikely word but the wordplay was clear.
    I don’t think I knew PLIMSOLL was an MP but I did know that the line — an early example of Health and Safety Gone Mad — was named after someone which was more than enough.
      1. A stereotypical complaint about H&S regulations in the UK. You will generally hear it in response to any new safety regulation, occasionally with some justification.
        See also ‘political correctness gone mad’.

        Edited at 2022-04-14 12:00 pm (UTC)

  16. 24 minutes, no real problems except that, like others, I had my doubts about whether Plimsoll could really have been called specifically a reforming MP, and the newcomer was a bit odd, but guessed and I got away with them.
  17. DNF
    Nope. Threw in bullish without examining it further, so that was the end of my chances with gnomon as well. Props to setter – again 🙁
    Thanks, g.
  18. My second sub-10 in a week, at 9.47! It didn’t really feel that way, and I was surprised when I stopped the clock.
    I don’t know why LANDGRABBER was an instant hit. As a CD I thought it was pretty feeble, but for once didn’t lose time looking for the worplay. I was a bit more circumspect about the second CD: as Jack says, the TIME SIGNAL is not really an announcement (that’d be the speaking clock – “…precisely bip bip bip”) and there’s more words suggesting some of them might be playing.
    Is there a limit to the numbers of CDs in a standard puzzle?
  19. 12:18. Not too 9A today. I’m another who didn’t know the MP but knew the line on ships. I also had a question mark against “newcomer”, but I think jerrywh has it right. COD to the neat hidden HENBANE for making me try in vain to parse OREGANO as the answer.
  20. ….they seemed obvious and were parsed after submission.

    TIME 9:03

  21. If asked I would have said that a DENDRITE was a fossilized tree. Same as others with the PLIMSOLL line, not knowing the origin or the MP. When I was a kid we called our gym shoes plimsolls – I’ve no idea how that came about. GNOMON was very nice. 19.53 after a very slow start.
    1. I too wondered about the origin of this and looked it up.Wiki says (is it true?)
      The shoe was originally, and often still is in parts of the United Kingdom, called a “sand shoe” and acquired the nickname “plimsoll” in the 1870s. This name arose, according to Nicholette Jones’s book The Plimsoll Sensation, because the coloured horizontal band joining the upper to the sole resembled the Plimsoll line on a ship’s hull, or because, just like the Plimsoll line on a ship, if water got above the line of the rubber sole, the wearer would get wet.
      1. The OED agrees, Pip, and provides a further quote:
        “1975 G. H. Peters Plimsoll Line: Philip Lace, an energetic sales representative employed by the Liverpool Rubber Company, suggested the name ‘Plimsolls’ in 1876 for the new canvas rubber shoes or sand shoes then becoming fashionable for wear on seaside beaches. Their rubber band reminded him of the ‘Plimsoll Line’, marking the limit of safety to which merchant ships can be loaded. ‘Plimsolls’ are water-tight, so long as they are not immersed above the level of the water-band.”
  22. I interpreted the NOEL clue to be a reference to Americans spelling it TRAVELERS, but I admit that I couldn’t see the need for rail. Nice and easy once I got going. Note to self, check before submission!
  23. I find Thursday’s puzzle is usually a struggle, but this was comparatively easy. 24 minutes, with the main hold-ups being in the SE corner. Last entries in clue order were NOEL, TIME SIGNAL (didn’t get the wordplay), GLANCE, DENDRITE, LAND-GRABBER, MILDRED, and GABON. Most of the rest went in with little pause.
  24. Just less than an hour, but with a break to load the dishwasher, so I’m pleased enough with that. I knew GNOMOM, PLIMSOLL and DENDRITE (from material science), but really struggled to remember OBI for the witchcraft (and IBO for the Africans). A good, challenging puzzle. Thanks both.
  25. A steady 25 minutes, ending with PLIMSOLL and BULLION in that corner, assuming he was an MP of some sort and deriving from wordplay. I too thought LAND-GRABBER was a bit of a stretch from newcomer, but it fitted. Knew GNOMON and DENDRITE but had to think (and get from wordplay) whether it was spelt WRACKING or without the W. Thanks George, we chemists know stuff.
  26. 20:16. Fairly gentle in spite of spending too long trying to see how BLIMPISM could possibly mean “election” (answer: it can’t). MILDRED eventually put me right and the rest was plain sailing. GNOMON is a curious word with two usual meanings (at least that I am familiar with) which appear to be completely unrelated.

    Edited at 2022-04-14 11:52 am (UTC)

  27. Despite a number of interruptions(fortunately I remembered to pause) I made good progress with this one. ADONIS and OBI were first 2 in, but then I had to go down below to get any further. Eventually it all came together with MILDRED leading to PLIMSOLL, and BULLION, GNOMON and DENDRITE bringing up the rear. I’d put BULLISH in early on, but took it out again. For some reason, LAND GRABBER sprang to mind as soon as I had L_N_, but I waited for checkers. 22:09. Thanks setter and George.
  28. 23.47. I found this puzzle to be towards the trickier end of the spectrum. I was slow to unravel nerve-wracking, spotting it earlier might have speeded up my solve. From the checkers I took a punt on land-grabber. Guessed that Plimsoll must have been a reforming MP and was grateful for the word play for dendrite which I would have said must mean branched rather than crystalline. I thought the clue for Christendom was very good, it had me looking in the wrong directions for both word play and definition and turned out to be a very neat anagram.
  29. Pleased to finish this after a fast start in the top half ground to a halt. FOI nerve-wracking. Didn’t know why US rail travellers would have a problem without an L. Couldn’t parse land grabber or time signal. NHO dendrite or gnomon but the wordplay was accurate. Spent a long time assembling the correct anagrist to follow ‘Reforming’ before the M of christendom alerted me to the correct approach. Took an inordinate time before seeing that 14dn was an anagram. Only know obi and arch (in this sense) from crosswords.

    Thanks setter for an enjoyable puzzle and George for unravelling it all.

  30. For a little while, I did wonder if one of China’s foremost rulers was called Jang Ling or Ting Ling.
    Otherwise slowed down by a tricky (to me) SW corner — enjoyed this puzzle.
  31. Fairly blasted through this though double shrugs for NOEL (Elevated Railway? Really?) and LAND-GRABBER (Newcomer? Really? It fit the checkers and gave me GLANCE), followed by a five-minute coda working out BULLION/GNOMON — I had BULLISH for a long time which didn’t help.

  32. Under 25 minutes, I found this extremely easy (and this is close to my best time ever). I also knew PLIMSOLLs as shoes, but I could imagine they were named after a reforming MP, so no problem there or with anything else, for that matter. I found this a somewhat nondescript puzzle, nothing bad about it, nothing exceptional about it.
  33. Not quite sure how I managed to finish this given how many words I have never heard of, or was at least unfamiliar with the meanings used here, but I somehow ground it out in 97:48. Far from a record, but probably the most difficult puzzle I’ve recorded a timed completion for. The one I was most pleased to see correct was OBI, as there were so many O_I and I_O combinations that looked either equally unlikely to mean sorcery or equally likely to be an African language. Before I worked out what was going on in 14d I wondered whether there was such a thing as an EEL CORSET. It sounded reasonable at the time. Getting RAT POISON was the key to unscrambling most of the clues I had remaining.

    Edited at 2022-04-14 07:36 pm (UTC)

  34. The last handful took me half of that time – time signal, mildred, landgrabber, plimsoll. Did anyone else spot that kindred would also have answered the cryptic part of 19d? Spent far too long wondering if kindred could mean woman.

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