Times 28281 – this tastes fishy, or maybe salty.

Another masterpiece of misdirection from our Wednesday setter, it took me nearly 45 minutes in two spells with a break, to do this and parse it all. Four fishy clues for you, one of which conjured up nice memories of hoping to be crushed in a cupboard next to a girl I had a crush on. Not such happy feelings arising from RANGOON; spare a thought for 76-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi, about to get sentenced to another 90 years or so in jail or under house arrest, just for being more popular than the junta.

1 Out of sorts, hit catching back of knee: hit back! (5,3)
BELOW PAR – BLOW catches E (back of knee) then RAP reversed.
5 Breakfast perhaps for one in bed? (6)
KIPPER – double definition.
10 Offer made in local Post Office in Russian too: why translated? (5,4,6)
WHATS YOUR POISON – PO inside (RUSSIAN TOO WHY)*. Took me a little while to sort out which bits to use for the anagram, but I saw early on that we needed to look for something pub-related.
11 Up in arms, though one leg down? (7,3)
HOPPING MAD – Cryptic definition, my FOI.
13 Always at the front, mogul, as kind of big fish (4)
MAKO – ‘front’ letters of Mogul As Kind Of. A cool looking variety of shark, isurus oxyrincus, which can reach 150 kg, so a ‘big fish’ indeed.
15 Group touring Asian city sent the wrong way — that’s painfully irritating (4,3)
TEAR GAS – All reversed, SET (group) around AGRA (Asian city).
17 Doctor and I outside a house — in some state? (7)
IDAHOAN – doctor being the anagram indicator, not the usual MO or MB. Insert A HO into (AND I)*.
18 Cross-country’s such sport: better when it ends in gold! (7)
OUTDOOR – OUTDO (better, beat) OR (gold).
19 Island created by Gershwin (7)
MADEIRA – MADE by IRA Gershwin. Elder brother of George, they wrote songs together.
21 Summon bellhop (4)
PAGE – double definition.
22 Spinning recalled in folk tale (10)
25 New business premises ultimately ruined is uninsured: trial ensuing (7,8)
SUNRISE INDUSTRY – S (premises ultimately) (IS UNINSURED)*, TRY  = trial. Not an expression I remembered, but it seemed a fair guess; Wiki says “one that is new or relatively new, is growing fast and is expected to become important in the future.”
27 Too much carried the wrong way (2,4)
DE TROP – PORTED reversed.  Borrowed straight from French into English.
28 Catch, having run into touch (8)
CONTRACT – R for run goes inside CONTACT = touch; contract as in catch a cold.


1 Distance achieved by missile, front of boat’s on fire? (7)
BOWSHOT – the BOW’S HOT, the front of your boat is on fire.
2 Meadow where bit of foliage cut (3)
LEA – LEAF loses F.
3 Old patriot remains in faction, not turning (10)
WASHINGTON – ASH (remains) in WING (faction) then NOT reversed.
4 A marathon in one direction (5)
ALONG – A, LONG = marathon.
6 Worshipped object: might fraudster claim that? (4)
ICON – a fraudster might say “I CON you.”
7 Is a tropical cod fishy? (11)
PISCATORIAL – (IS A TROPICAL)*. I think ‘cod’ is the anagram indicator, but I suppose it could be fishy, and cod, the definition. Anyway, it’s a nice anagram.
8 Escaped gorilla in old capital (7)
RANGOON – I needed all the checkers to get this and rule out ‘ape’ for gorilla. RAN = escaped, GOON = gorilla, as in a gangster’s heavyweight thug. The capital of Burma, now called Myanmar, was Rangoon, it’s now Naypyidaw, an almost empty city built for the purpose by the military junta. Tricky word to spell, or write a clue for, Naypyidaw.
9 Being good, a lapse arising in class initially ignored (8)
ORGANISM – (F)ORM = class originally ignored; insert G A and then SIN reversed.
12 Spy after spy circling rear of White House (11)
PLANTAGENET – I had the answer to this, then parsed it. PLANT is one spy, then AGENT another, with the E of white inserted.
14 Desire to move baton, result being different (10)
WANDERLUST – as the setter no doubt intended, I was misdirected to variations on CONDUCT for a while, before seeing baton = WAND and (RESULT)*.
16 Fish or game? (8)
SARDINES – double definition. Brings back those childhood memories.
18 Work set in conflict (7)
OPPOSED – OP (work) POSED (set).
20 Head examiner a learner probes whichever way (7)
ANALYST – A L goes inside ANY (whichever) , ST for way.
23 Sound as a bell, old dog (5)
DINGO – DING, O. No dong.
24 Taste of umami: soup flavouring in Japan (4)
MISO – hidden as above.
26 Drink something salty, briefly (3)
TEA – well, it must be TEA(letter) for something salty. Teak, teal, team, tear, teat. Has to be TEAR losing its R. Apparently tears taste salty, although I’ve never had the displeasure.


40 comments on “Times 28281 – this tastes fishy, or maybe salty.”

  1. 10:43 – pretty tricky stuff, fortunately the checking letters were generous enough for me to get my last few ORGANISM, PLANTAGENET and ORGANISM. After solving I thought PLANTAGENET was really clever.
  2. I put IDOL instead of ICON so DNF (it seemed a bit weak that a fraudster might be idle). But lots of lovely clues. So 48 minutes for me with the one mistake. I had the same problem with TEA since none of the obvious letters struck me as salty (and I was thinking it might be something to do with sailors). My lOI was MAKO since I’d never heard of it and then when I went to submit I was told I was only 98% finished since I never went back to the clue. Then I saw the first letter thing so I figured it must be right.
    1. I tried IDOL first too, but fortunately remembered in time that we’d had the same thing one day last week when I’d put IDOL instead of ICON and my sense of déjà vu saved me from myself!
  3. As Pip says, a masterpiece of misdirection. DNK SARDINES, and wasn’t looking for a plural fish. I biffed WHATS YOUR POISON from W_A_ and the enumeration, never went back to parse it until after submitting. No problem with TEA(r). COD to PLANTAGENET.
  4. Never heard of sardines as a game, but the obvious answer. Didn’t bother to parse sunrise industry, which I believe we have seen before. I did use the cryptic for Plantagenet, and was a bit surprised by the result.
    1. Jonathan, I have sent a message to your Live Journal box. Apologies for the typos, but my eyes were a bit blurry from sleep when I wrote it.

      Edited at 2022-05-04 09:45 am (UTC)

  5. A 73 min DNF. Didn’t look at the wordplay carefully enough and spelt PLANTAGENET with an extra A instead of an E. Lucky with a few others such as SARDINES so could have been worse.
  6. Enjoyed this. No rush, while watching TV.
    LOI ORGANISM… which for some reason took forever.
    SARDINES is a game? News to me!
    Not being a Vulcan but rather an emotional type, I’ve certainly tasted my own tears more than once in my life. And occasionally those of others. The taste is oft alluded to in poetry and such. As in Longfellow:
    “The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
    The salt tears in her eyes”

    Edited at 2022-05-04 05:25 am (UTC)

    1. What it is is, tears contain electrolytes; I looked it up, of course. Evidently there are 3 types of tears, and emotional tears are the least salty.
  7. After a very smooth start in the NW I then found myself hopping around the grid looking for easy pickings and things became untidy.

    Nevertheless I surpised myself by finishing in exactly 30 minutes with the unknown MAKO as my LOI. I didn’t think it looked promising as a combination of first letters but in the absence of any other ideas I took a chance and it paid off.

    Edited at 2022-05-04 07:01 am (UTC)

  8. Too earthly ye are for my sport;

    Just under 30 mins pre-brekker. Excellent fun. I have no crosses and several ticks, mostly the Kipper in bed and the escaped gorilla.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  9. I enjoyed the way that many of the clues today yielded nothing at first glance and I was made to work to prise out the answers. At the same time, nothing held me up for too long. I could have come a cropper on PLANTAGENET, where like bletchleyreject my instinct would have been for Plantaganet, but I must have had enough doubt to cause me to stop and parse it.
    Is there any relevance to all the fish today? Either way it was a nice supplement to our usual diet of red herrings.
  10. …guess where. Watch out for the flying fish. 48 minutes, with LOI the unknown MAKO put in with fingers (fins?) crossed. There was something fishy going on. This was a real toughie and getting going required PISCATORIAL to emerge from the fodder. WHAT’S YOUR POISON then hit me with the two crossers in POISON. I then thought it must be RANGOON, even though GOON makes me think of Harry Secombe more than a Chicago heavy. COD to HOPPING MAD. I liked PLANTAGENET and ANALYST too. Thank you Pip and setter.
  11. With SARDINES, KIPPER, MAKO to go on
    I deduce a PISCATORIAL passion
    And when dining in France
    Then in Franglais, perchance
    3 Across could be “WHAT’S YOUR POISSON?”
    1. I will find an excuse to ask “what’s your poisson” somehow.
  12. 43 mins and very enjoyable. A slight MER at the fishy cod clue, but I suppose it’s ok. I knew MAKO from time spent in LA where’s is quite a popular dish. Last two in, WANDERLUST and CONTRACT, when the pennies finally dropped. NHO of SARDINES as a game. I also did the alphatrawl for TEA? and plumped for tear

    Definite COD to WHATS YOUR POISON. great clue. ORGANISM was quite clever too.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  13. …berm! I misspelled CINDERELLA to include A for the first E.
    I’m doubly grumpy because it took me ages to get going but finally came home in 49m 52s.
    As Pip says there was some good misdirection.
    COD….I agree with Kevin. It has to be PLANTAGENET.
    * That’s me who’s grumpy and that’s my Tigger in the photo, not Jerry’s old cat!

    Edited at 2022-05-04 08:17 am (UTC)

  14. 14:07. I started very slowly on this, with only a couple in after my first pass through the acrosses, but I picked up speed after that.
    We’ve certainly had SUNSET INDUSTRY before so this was easy to deduce.
    Alexander cried salt tears when he saw he had no more worlds to conquer. No idea who said that or how I know it, but there it is.
    1. Who said Alexander wept for there were no more worlds to conquer?
      Plutarch says that Alexander wept, in the Moralia, for the exact opposite reason. Plutarch reports Alexander as having wept when he heard Anaxarchus’s lecture on the infinite number of worlds, because he thought it upsetting that there were an infinite number of worlds but he could not even be the master of one.
      1. A bit of further Googling reveals that Hans Gruber in Die Hard says ‘Alexander… wept for there were no more worlds to conquer’. However the connection with salt tears (a generic phrase with a much longer history) seems to come from this rather wonderful piece of darts commentary:

        It is said that at the age of 25, Alexander the Great wept salt tears because there were no worlds left to conquer. Eric Bristow is still only 24…

        I don’t think I’ve seen the latter quote before but it seems to have rather entered the cultural lexicon: I have found several instances of people repeating it.
        So in short this seems to be a reasonably common trope originating, via darts, in a misremembering of Plutarch in the script of Die Hard, which is a pretty fantastic example of a Ninja Turtle.

        Edited at 2022-05-04 09:03 pm (UTC)

  15. Glad to know that our blogger also struggled with this. Not so much as a whiff of a wavelength for me. Speaking of which, it’s a very long time since I had either a KIPPER or SARDINES for breakfast but I used to like them a lot as a kid, although the aroma does tend to hang about. I think of DE TROP as meaning, in effect, in the way rather than too much but that’s a quibble. Some good stuff in this one. 25.25
    1. That’s the fourth definition in Wiktionnaire…

      1. En excès.
      Nous avons des boites de trop dans ce colis.

      2. Qui dépasse le nombre ou la quantité exigée.
      Vous m’avez rendu dix centimes de trop. (en mentionnant la quantité de l’excès avec un numéral).

      3. Inutile, superflu.
      Cette dernière remarque était de trop.

      4. Gênant, importun, indésirable.
      Je me suis senti de trop pendant cette soirée.

      Edited at 2022-05-04 03:14 pm (UTC)

    2. Your comment about ‘wavelength’ struck a strong chord with me, Olivia. It took me an age to solve enough clues to give me checkers to help solve the real ‘brow-furrowers’.
  16. Excellent puzzle. I found that many of these were fairly clear from the crossers, but then took some time to parse.

    SARDINES, like Postman’s knock and Pass the Parcel, now seems from a different universe. Now everyone sits quietly playing WORDLE and Candy Crush Saga.


    KIPPERS and MADEIRA, breakfast of champions.

    Thanks to pip and the setter

  17. I was very slow getting started, and had to hop around the grid picking off the 3 and 4 letter clues. I gradually worked up to DINGO, then PLANTAGENET loomed out of the mist, along with TEAR GAS. BOWSHOT and WASHINGTON led me to WHAT’S YOUR POISON and the answers began to flow. ANALYST got me to the SUNRISE INDUSTRY and LOI, SARDINES held me up briefly. 33:02. Thanks setter and Pip.
  18. ….she sheds salty tears” (a very early piece of Elton John).

    I enjoyed this once I got going seven clues in, and my only real problem was injudiciously biffing ‘service industry’, which I quickly corrected one PLANTAGENET became clear. I only parsed WHAT’S YOUR POISON afterwards.

    TIME 10:28

    Edited at 2022-05-04 10:38 am (UTC)

  19. But got there in the end. Very pleased to get PLANTAGENET early, without any crossers, and was inspired to press on from there. Liked ANALYST and RANGOON. DE TROP and ORGANISM taxed me for the longest time.
  20. I too managed to convince myself that service industries were somehow “new”.

    A really enjoyable Wednesday puzzle, thank you setter and Pip.

    Edited at 2022-05-04 11:07 am (UTC)

  21. …bunged in IDOL and didn’t go back for something better. Oh well.

    On the whole though, a decent grid with plenty of challenging clues.

  22. I found this pretty tough, having trouble breaking through the misdirection (good examples in 10a & 9d). A slow 45 minutes, progressing in fits and starts. I almost entered IDOL for 6d – I DO might be a fraudester’s claim, but not I DO L.
    I liked the anagram for CINDERELLA.
  23. I did bung in IDOL! And my PLANTAGANET got rejected as well….
  24. A delightful puzzle which took me 51 minutes, because I wasn’t quite sure about SARDINES (never heard of the game, but no other fish would fit) and ALONG. Apart from that it was lots of fun with a number of excellent clues, my favourite perhaps being PLANTAGENET, or WANDERLUST, or WHATS YOUR POISON. I was a bit surprised by WASHINGTON as an old patriot (well, for my side of the Atlantic he was, but I believe we were having some differences then). And I still don’t know what the cod was doing in 7dn — I tried to include it in the anagrist, but then there was no S so I replaced it by IS A with more success.

    Today Live Journal is offering me Polish citizenship starting at 1600 euros, no advance payment required.

    1. That’s the anagrind. Collins: mock; shame | parodic or satirical
  25. but I emerged triumphant. No problem with MAKO, as one of my son’s friends goes by that moniker. COD to WHATS YOUR POISON. Such a clever anagram, it had me puzzling for ages. And I was totally bamboozled by ORGANISM, my LOI, failing to separate being and good, despite having —ANISM after parsing the lapse… Some very clever misdirection that really tested this late starter…
  26. 32.06 . Very glad to finish a puzzle I found very hard. Some of the clues seemed impenetrable even after a couple of readings but once cracked, I thought there were some pearlers. Organism, my LOI, fits the description but Idahoan, Madeira and wanderlust were almost as good.
    Sunrise industry was remembered from earlier puzzles- just as well as it helped mightily in getting some momentum going.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  27. Slept on this one overnight. Great puzzle. By coincidence, had cod & chips from the chippie last night and we are having sea bass this evening — feeling very piscatorial!

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