Times 28265 – Normal service now resumed.

Sorry for the late blog.

1 For example, cat catching small rat? (4)
3 Be dynamite, writhing between the sheets here? (7,3)
AMENITY BED – Anagram of BE DYNAMITE.   An NHS thing, probably unknown to overseas solvers.
10 Pine touched by part of saw: it may need drilling (9)
11 Gather it’s prayer time (5)
12 Given funds, so finish in credit (7)
13 Remove impurities from cloak, regularly dipped in river (6)
DECOKE – DE(O[l[O[a]K)E.
15 Hand over money as TV dinner ad led to splurge (5,3,7)
18 Charge for cosmetic surgery maybe that star turns up for? (10,5)
APPEARANCE MONEY –  Double definition, the first one jocular.
21 Across river, a sort of bridge not available quickly (6)
23 Praise to God from prophet, including a couple of notes for the English (7)
HOSANNA –  HOS(-e,+ANN)A, a rather complex substitution clue.
26 Broadcasts not the first but the last word (5)
27 For example, Tolkien enthusiast is overwhelmed by endless choice (9)
FANTASIST –  FANTAS(IS)T[ic]…I think! FAN + TAS(IS)T[e] – thanks to Gypaetus44!
28 Tend to like such a formal shirt perhaps as party wear? (5,5)
29 Bring up behind tower (4)
REAR – Triple definition.
1 Ban on snooker player in dormitory town? (7,3)
POTTERS BAR – POTTER’S BAR, which describes the snooker player by what he does – pot snooker balls.
2 Rate son lacking in emotion (5)
SCOLD –   S + COLD, my FOI.
4 A comedian performs in Balkan region (9)
5 Extremely dark at first, gas light turned up (2,3)
NO END – D[ark] + NEON upside down.
6 Sun hat, large, keeping more or less for now (7)
TOPICAL –  TOPI (CA) L, where ca = circa.
7 Smash almost all the competition? Just avoid losing (5,4)
8 Over an hour spot does, very old (4)
DOTH –  DOT + H.
9 Worried chapter must get cut (6)
14 Intelligence is a boring topic (4,6)
GREY MATTER – Double definition, one factitious.
16 I press on with a false or slanderous allegation (9)
ASPERSION –  Anagram of I PRESS ON + A.
17 Crew put rings etc on maybe? (4,5)
DECK HANDS – Double definition, the second definitely Uxbridge.
19 Pardon a brother that accepts shelter (7)
AMNESTY – A M(NEST)Y, where my is simple an expletive like goodness or brother.
20 Lose bet, after card is turned over (6)
MISLAY – SIM upside-down + LAY.
22 Present chest, topless (5)
24 Frank and Jack, heading off around one (5)
NAIVE –  [k]NA(I)VE.
25 Iceberg is a little lower (4)
CALF – Double definition, one that will send many solvers to the dictionary.

44 comments on “Times 28265 – Normal service now resumed.”

  1. This demonstrates quite neatly how much we rely on our bloggers. I was expecting a grumble about “not really a Friday crossword” because I managed it quite easily, except for 20d. So I thought I’d check, only to find a blank till Vinyl nobly stepped in.
    So again, thank you to all our volunteer bloggers who keep us happy. We mustn’t take you for granted
  2. I took this as follows. For example, Tolkien = FANTASIST. Enthusiast is FAN, the IS is overwhelmed by TAST(E) for choice
  3. Thought I was on for my best ever Friday time but 10 minutes or so on my last three: ADIOS then the crossing pair of TOPICAL and PLEAT.

    Must admit to not understanding the third sense of REAR as “tower” at the time but get it now

    Thanks for stepping in Vinyl

  4. After 30 minutes I thought I’d finished apart from 26 (ADIOS). I was tempted to enter ARIAS, without understanding why. In the end I rsorted to aids to see the alternatives. ADIOS was the obvious one. Later I realised I hadn’t comleted entries for 8 and 11 (DOTH and PLEAT). The latter was a particularly nice clue.
  5. 44 minutes. No major problems though I had no idea what an AMENITY BED was; I wondered if it might be something like a camp stretcher.

    Favourites were the concise REAR triple def and the surface for GREY MATTER.

    Thanks to Vinyl for filling in and to setter

  6. DNK AMENITY BED, DECOKE, APPEARANCE MONEY, POTTERS BAR (I did have a vague recollection that snooker involves pots or potting or something). LOI ADIOS; I got stuck on ‘broadcast’ as either anagrind or =airs, which led me nowhere. Not a Friday puzzle, which may have misled Verlaine; thanks, Vinyl, for stepping in.
  7. Thanks for explaining so much , Mr V, I was only able to figure out completely about a third, got another third without total parsing ,and no idea of the remainder. I wondered what the “Uxbridge” reference was about re the second definition for DECK HANDS? I knew the term “Oxbridge” and that “Uxbridge ” is a town or suburb near London but couldn’t get anything further.
      1. Actually, I’d go further and say that, if you’re unfamiliar with the ‘Uxbridge English Dictionary’ rounds of ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’, you’re in for a treat.
          1. ….possibly being contemplated by many, after a front page article, with photos, in today’s ToL on the man in question!
  8. Most comfortable Friday solve ever for me, only major biff being HOSANNA – I continued with a shrug. Enjoyed this rather a lot, no major hold-ups, finishing off with the NAÏVE / REAR crossing.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  9. 38 mins, DNF. For some reason I was hung up on PUSS at 1ac, it’s not even an example. Perfectly easy clue. Had never heard of an amenity bed, but that was obviously what it was.
  10. 24:09. Not much to say other than, as Olivia suggests, it is not only overseas solvers who might be stumped by AMENITY BED. Slightly stickier than usual but not out of the ordinary for a Friday.

    Edited at 2022-04-15 01:10 pm (UTC)

  11. 12:52. Got really bogged down in the end by the CALF/ADIOS crossing. I had heard of AMENITY BED but didn’t know the exact meaning. I also saw the choice part of FANTASIST as TASTY, but good job on short notice, vinyl1!
  12. 29.08. I struggled with this, so a bit disappointed to find that it’s below 100 on the snitch and that others found it a relatively un-Friday-ish walk in the park. Perhaps I was just making heavy weather of it.
  13. Surprisingly, breezed through this in just under 10 minutes. I’d not heard of ‘Amenity Bed’, but the anagram couldn’t really be anything else as soon as you reckoned on ‘bed’. Otherwise, I must just have been on the right wavelength today, unlike a couple earlier in the week that I struggled with.

    Thanks, Vinyl, and setter.

    Happy Easter!


  14. 53:52
    Thought this was a handful – pleased to get through it okay.
    Thanks, v.
  15. 30 minutes to the second, so not a typical Friday puzzle for me.

    The tiniest MER at 10ac where I’m not entirely comfortable with the concept of drilling toothache, although the treatment of the latter may obviously involve the former.

  16. Thanks much Vinyl. It turns out that the UK solvers I regularly chat with DNK AMENITY BED either. I thought it might be some sort of cot you get the motel/hotel to provide if you’re travelling with a child, but it seems that under the NHS this specifically refers to additional and private services you can reserve and pay for while still being treated under the NHS system. Needless to say the US “health care” system is quite different – no further comment on that. As Myrtilus might say, I had a MER at NAIVE=frank. 20.25
  17. I started in the NE as the NW resisted my blandishments. DECOKE, which took me back to my early motoring days of head gasket replacement and valve grinding, was FOI. PLEAT and TOPICAL followed closely. BREAK EVEN wasn’t far behind and indicated a BED of some description, for which AMENITY was the only arrangement of the anagrist I could see. The SE steadily appeared, but there were stubborn gaps in the NW and SW. I eventually came up with AMNESTY and ADIOS, and POTTERS BAR and TOOTHACHE cleared the log jam above. Took a while to see CHEWED, but that led to ENDOWED and SCOLD. ADIOS was LOI. 34:35. Thanks setter and Vinyl.
  18. Attempting biggie for only the second time (usually just a QC-er). Managed about a third unaided so fairly happy with that. Thanks so much to the blogger, but still unsure of the parsing for TOPICAL… please could one of you clever people enlighten me?
    1. The sun hat is a TOPI (I’d normally known it referred to as a solar topi) as worn by the likes of Colonial Officials in the olden days. Large is just L. Ca, short for circa, Latin for approximately (more or less). Topical is what’s current, ie ‘for now’.
      1. Ah, ok, many thanks! DNK TOPI and had not thought of ‘more or less’ as meaning ‘about’, hence hadn’t understood the CA part 🙄 All very clear now — thanks again, much appreciated.
        1. Ha! Yes, obscure bits of vocabulary. It’s very rare for me to get through a week of crosswords without coming across at least a couple of unknown words/references, but I do tend to forget them afterwards, especially the science ones, which isn’t very helpful. But you won’t need to read this blog for long to realise I’m not alone – so neither are you!
    2. Also, as well as wishing you lots of encouragement, I’d note that lots of this is about familiarising oneself with the commonly used abbreviations. For example, the TOPICAL clue clued the letters ‘ca’ by referring to circa (about, around, more or less, approximately etc.) but could equally have done so by referring to California, for which CA is the state abbreviation. Beware of the word ‘state’. Knowing the US state abbreviations is helpful, I’ve found. Good luck!

      Edited at 2022-04-15 02:32 pm (UTC)

      1. As today’s puzzle exemplifies, a working knowledge of the books of the Bible, particularly the minor prophets, does not go amiss either!
      2. and, always to my confusion, “about” can also be just “c” for circa. good thing the chemist is good for aspirin when that happens/
    3. Good luck from me, as well … remember that The Times cryptic is England’s premier daily crossword, and doing a third of it is very good going for most.
      To complete it regularly needs a fair amount of general knowledge and familiarity with the cryptic “language” such as runner or banker or flower = river, that sort of thing.
  19. Oh dear — I just realised it was Friday today! Apologies for the missed blog — I was having a rocky time yesterday and missed a quiz as well but hopefully all good at this point.
    1. On the puzzle front, FANTASIST and REAR took me a while to parse full too, but there wasn’t much to scare the horses this Friday.

      Edited at 2022-04-15 02:52 pm (UTC)

      1. Over 8 minutes though … not bad I suppose, if you don’t know what day it is 🙂
        10 mins less than me, anyhow

        Edited at 2022-04-15 03:09 pm (UTC)

  20. Breezed through this after making a complete Horlicks of yesterday’s. Lots of nice stuff, with POTTERS BAR thrown in to slow down the furriners and AMENITY BED to bamboozle everyone.

    Of course, with all the money the NHS spends on consultants, spin doctors and restructuring, they are not going to call them ‘upgraded pay beds.’

    A nice NHS story from my brother, who went in for his scheduled lung biopsy on Tuesday. The biopsy was cancelled for reasons he did not go into (besides saying the NHS has problems with its systems) but the specialist insisted on keeping his appointment at which the test results would be discussed!s

    Edited at 2022-04-15 02:09 pm (UTC)

    1. Your brother’s consultant appears to be theorizing in advance of the data which Holmes would call a capital error. Perhaps he should take a leaf out of Sherlock’s book and remit his charge entirely.
  21. 34mins with a good ten of those struggling for ADIOS and, inexplicably, PEST. DNK AMENITY BED but it fell quickly as an obvious anagram once the first two crossers went in. Thanks to setter and our blogger, as ever, and best wishes to everyone on this Day Of The Sun. (It’s the 110th anniversary of the birth of President For Eternity Kim Il Sung, father of North Korea. Again, he’s not sent me a slice of cake.)
  22. It’s always great to do something for the first time. Thought I’d do the first clue on the iPad before getting up. 1ac went in straight away so I tried another. The problem with the iPad is that unless you complete the puzzle correctly it doesn’t give you a time. So having started I had to finish.
    DNK amenity bed
    Struggled with naive/rear crosser at the end. Still don’t understand tower for rear meaning.
    Finished in 34’55” which is slightly faster than my current target.
    I heard a story years ago of someone’s aged mother who completed the Times crossword in bed every morning to be sure it was still worth getting up. I can confirm today that it has been worth getting up.
    Thanks to the setter for giving us a pleasant start to the holiday weekend and to Vinyl for the clarifications.
    1. Rear is used here as a verb — the cliff reared menacingly ahead — the cliff towered etc.
  23. The SNITCH tells me I made slightly heavy weather of this, though I don’t really know why, and I think I was enjoying it as I worked my way through – I didn’t know the AMENITY BED either but it wa sone of those where the answer is pretty clear so you shrug and move on. Quickly spotted my own nom de plume in the grid, but it didn’t appear to be a coded signal for me to be activated by my controller, so I’ll stay under cover.
  24. 45 minutes, but not too hard, despite not knowing what an AMENITY BED is. A few others needed careful parsing (good I didn’t biff TYPICAL for 6dn). LOI was DOTH, since I thought “very old” was going to be the literal meaning. And I think this was also the clue I liked best. There’s nothing which really stands out.
  25. There was no blog up yesterday morning when I was ready to post. For the record, I found nothing to frighten the horses in it and solved in about 25 minutes but I’d not heard of AMENITY BED.

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