Times 28285 – His is a double!

No fewer than four double definitions (DDs) here and plenty of deletion too, certainly contributory factors to making this a rather easy offering. Only the papal mini-bull held me up to any extent, but even that was pretty tractable. As a bull – of whatever size – should be.



1 Transport lots of collected works (9)
6 Herb associated with Don in Essex town (5)
BASIL – if you add DON you get BASILDON, famous for its stationery
9 Reliable fellow‘s powerful tugboat? (5,2,8)
TOWER OF STRENGTH – well, a powerful tug might be called a ‘tow-er’ of strength
10 Ready to work briefly at one time with everyone (2,4)
11 Rodgers and Hart song: low, low number (4,4)
BLUE MOON – first published in 1934, this song is the unofficial anthem of Manchester City, whose hapless defending in what should have been the final minutes of their match against Madrid means that Liverpool may win the quadruple. For a lifelong Manchester United fan, I can’t tell you how painful that prospect is.
13 Potential difficulties from Moscow and far north somehow (3,2,5)
14 Extremely short, angular celebrity (4)
STAR – S[hor]T A[ngula]R
16 High liver from Central Tibet? Wrong (4)
IBEX – [t]IBE[t] X
17 Plant one of many used in café (6,4)
FRENCH BEAN – café is French for coffee, so you would find many beans (not just one) in a cup or pot, say
19 King and knight in order losing heads for model (8)
20 Car attendant (6)
ESCORT – DD; the first of two Fords in the puzzle and the first of three automotive clues
23 Trivial insolence; quaint variety (15)
24 Course records gaining award (5)
EPSOM – EPS (extended play, for those under 40) OM (Order of Merit)
25 Station wagon, say, in race, overturned (6,3)
ESTATE CAR – STATE (say) in RACE reversed


1 Surpass alfresco party (5)
2 Few sense concern about press meetings (4,11)
3 Two sentences for the avian community (8)
BIRDLIFE – BIRD and LIFE are both slang for jail terms
4 Very loud, but ultimately quiet (4)
SOFT – SO F [bu]T
5 Camp clearing (10)
6 Papal letters bishop cut up (6)
BREVES – B SEVER reversed; bullocks, as it were…
7 Ram, potentially, indicator of 50s Ford car (4,2,3,6)
SIGN OF THE ZODIAC – the Ford Zodiac (originally Zephyr Zodiac) was launched in 1953
8 Most of Rheingold arranged with new, alternative opera name (9)
LOHENGRIN – RHEINGOL[d] N*; Lohengrin is not part of the Ring Cycle, as Rheingold is – just another opera from Wagner. Me, I care little for the music or the man.
12 Reporting from 2 maybe sinking beers during short trip (10)
JOURNALESE – ALES in JOURNE[y]; with a cross-reference to 2d
13 Reportedly cold, long for one to supply wood (5,4)
CHILE PINE – sounds like ‘chilly’ (sort of) PINE (long – as for the fjords)
15 Brown’s old joke (8)
18 Hoover, say, setting me back about £25 (6)
EPONYM – ME reversed around PONY (25 quid); the vacuum cleaner is named after Mr Hoover (not J Edgar)
21 He lays slates, 50 in a row (5)
22 Ashes of the French saint (4)

51 comments on “Times 28285 – His is a double!”

  1. CHILE the country sounds nothing like “chilly” the way I say it…I assume that is where the PINE comes from. We had EPONYM very recently somewhere, and PONY for £25, so that was a lot easier than it might otherwise have been. 26 minutes for me. Got held up at the end by SIGN OF THE ZODIAC since my knowledge for 50s Ford is limited and I thought “ram” was just sign. Curiously, “ram” is actually Chrysler/Dodge’s logo not Ford, but I was thinking to clever by half.
  2. Had my fingers crossed over CHILE PINE, BREVES and FRENCH BEAN, but the rest of this went in at a first glance – 5:31.

    I really liked the anagram for INCONSEQUENTIAL.

  3. Fell short on BREVES, EPONYM and EXEMPLAR. The latter was my COD — would have been great if I could have solved it. Was Rex Templar Simon’s ne’er-do-well brother?
  4. 17 minutes, which is about as fast as things get for me when annotating my print-out to indicate parsing and definitions. But like others I had fingers crossed for a few unknowns: CHILE PINE, BREVES and above all FRENCH BEAN which I’m still not entirely sure works. We needed a K for the pangram.
  5. Straightforward enough if you remember LOHINGREN from previous puzzles. Personally I remembered it as LEHINGRON. Elsewhere I thought Status Quo were making an appearance when I thought “low, low number” was going to be Down Down. However it turned out the only Down Down was me on the leaderboard!
  6. Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet.

    Don’t ask what she buried in the basil.
    15 mins pre-brekker, so very gentle. The long ones were fun.
    LOI was the French Bean which pushes the envelope a tad.
    Thanks setter and U.

  7. 14 minutes with LOI FRENCH BEAN, which I’d thought of earlier on, but wasn’t quite sure enough of. COD in this puzzle in memory of Henry Ford, SIGN OF THE ZODIAC. I remember an early girlfriend showing up in her Dad’s Zephyr Zodiac as I arrived in my Ford Popular 100E. I should have known then she was out of my league. Will United avoid relegation next year, by the way, U? Nice Monday confidence builder. Thank you U and setter.
    1. I just hope they get rid of Ronaldo and Cavani and attempt to build a team and a style.

      I’ve always liked Ancelotti (and Madrid), so will wake early to watch the European Cup final.

      Edited at 2022-05-09 06:57 am (UTC)

      1. I too am a Manchester Red,
        BLUE MOON’S not appreciated
        But henceforth this season
        For a very good reason
        I’m a Man City supporter instead!
  8. Vision problems (developing cataracts) have recently been keeping me away from the puzzle, but today it seemed a bit easier to read, so I gave it a shot. Record-setting pace for the first 80%, then slowing up to a crawl for BREVES and the SW corner. I initially entered EPSON (I’ve had a lifetime of getting that place-name wrong) and found myself solving —N-N, also unable to remember £25 = PONY in dodgy-geezer-speak. Eventually fixed the racecourse, leading to final completion with a biffed EXEMPLAR.

    Thanks U and setter

  9. 20 mins so quick for me. Nice way to start the week. I actually owned an ESCORT once and it was an ESTATE CAR! My mate had a ZODIAC too, column gear change I seem to remember. Got the long anag quickly which pleased me. Same NHOs as above but clueing was fair. I liked the old CHESTNUT:-)

    Thanks U and setter

  10. 8:45. I thought that was quite easy but judging by others’ times and the SNITCH I seem to have made relatively heavy weather of it. I had my fingers crossed for FRENCH BEAN, and I think the clue needs a question mark at least because ‘café’ doesn’t mean coffee in English. CHILE PINE rang a vague bell somehow but NHO BREVES.
    1. My LOI. I saw it a lot earlier, but a FRENCH BEAN is an haricot, and the coffee “beans” roasted in France are probably grown in the same places Starbucks buys from (my favorite has always been Sumatran).

      I had a very quick start last night, seeing the longest ones right away, but didn’t finish a few others until just now… had to guess BASILdon existed, what “pony” might mean here, and the papal reference…

      Edited at 2022-05-09 08:57 pm (UTC)

      1. Indeed. Whichever way you look at it a question mark seems appropriate, and wouldn’t detract in any way from the clue.
        I don’t consider that the stuff they sell in Starbucks qualifies as coffee, wherever they get it from.
        1. I brew it myself at home, and what they buy from Sumatra is fine. I started drinking Sumatran from the coffee place on the ground floor of my building when I moved in at the end of 1992. That place was replaced by another coffee place and then some other things, but now Starbucks is two doors down. Anyway, it sure tastes like Sumatran (which is a unique kind of bean).

          But I anticipated just such a remark. You question my taste, sir? Ha.

          1. Well I can’t comment on home-brewed Sumatran! But the standard stuff they sell in the stores here is disgusting.
  11. Easy but fun (and a generous grid). Never parsed FRENCH BEAN so thanks U.
  12. 32:46
    The snitch suggests that this one is easier than I found it.
  13. 6:25. …which I see is my 3rd fastest 15×15. I did the QC first and then started solving this at much the same rate. I hesitated only over BREVES which was unknown, CAN OF WORMS where I needed the checkers and FRENCH BEAN, my LOI. As others have said – easy but fun. I liked IBEX best.

    Edited at 2022-05-09 07:16 am (UTC)

  14. Straightforward enough for me. FRENCH BEAN was a bit of hit ‘n hope so, thanks ulaca.
    Is ‘alternative’ not superfluous in 8d?
    1. Ran aground on the last clue—I hate it when that happens—and ended up inventing a FRENCH FERN.
      1. In this part of the world Australian sporting teams have many different nicknames, mostly including marsupials like the national rugby team the Wallabies or the national rugby league team the Kangaroos.
        Over here in NZ, it’s simpler; well, it’s a smaller country. All you need is ‘black’, ‘silver’ or ‘fern’ in there somewhere…unless you’re the national football team; then you’re the All Whites. The Black Ferns, for example is the name of the national women’s rugby sevens team.
        1. The best one being the NZ basketball team, who are, of course, the Tall Blacks.
    2. No because the anagram fodder is Rheingol(d) with the n from new.
      1. Thanks, but I see the anagrind as ‘arranged’ and the clue reading just as well without ‘alternative’.
  15. Came within a twitch of my first sub-9, and in any case a PB at 9.01. I got as far as 17 just doing the across clues, but “plant” and something “used in café” were two very broad definitions and needed some help from the downs.
    BREVES as Papal letters I didn’t know, but it couldn’t be much else.
    We can only hope that the inclusion of BLUE MOON is not a prescient celebration of this year’s Premiership winners. Don’t blame Spurs: we took all 6 points of them this year.

    1. Don’t blame the mighty Crystal Palace either who took a further 4 points from Citeh
  16. 19 minutes, a rare for me sub-20, but the Snitch does explain. nho Breves but pretty obvious. Never know my ponies from my monkeys, and possibly others, but pony was clear. I liked the high liver, but suspect this definition will become a 15dn, if it isn’t one already.
  17. ….a ZODIAC ESTATE CAR, but you could possibly find that variant in an ESCORT. My employers had Mark III Cortinas as company cars — I’d have been happy to receive one, but my boss called his a Dagenham DUST bin.

    Relieved to get through this on my phone after scrupulous checking and no less than six corrected typos !

    LOI BREVES (took a full minute !)
    COD BLUE MOON (I’m delighted to offer Ulaca membership of the ABC club — Anyone But City)
    TIME 9:10

  18. Not too speedy this morning (I get a brain freeze on old car names) but this was enjoyable. DNK the tree as a CHILE PINE, only as a monkey puzzle or araucaria (of blessed crossword memory). 20a made me think how nice it will be when we have the much-anticipate switch-over of TFTT and no longer get ads for Russian ESCORT services. 14.37
    1. Araucaria: chile pine: (cinephile)*. He used to set in the FT under the name Cinephile, which was appropriate because he was a cinema-phile.

      Edited at 2022-05-09 12:21 pm (UTC)

      1. I think I knew that once but had entirely forgotten so thank you wilransome – how appropriate.
  19. Nice Monday puzzle. I didn’t know these particular BREVES, but it clearly was what it was, and was equally prepared to accept FRENCH BEAN as one of those “look, we all know what it means, just don’t try to analyse it more than you need to”. It must be the onset of spring giving me an unusually sunny disposition this morning.
  20. The long ones made this fairly straightforward,
    but there was fun to be had on the way. BREVES was biffed.

    I loved BLUE MOON by the Marcels, but unfortunately I now have an earworm of Frankie Vaughan singing TOWER OF STRENGTH.

    Thanks to ulaca and the setter

  21. Blew through all of this in 14 minutes, loving it, until faced with 5d B*E*E, didn’t know anything about papal letters except bulls, so couldn’t justify any word and came here to find out. If it had been a comp I’d have guessed BREVES because it fitted.
    Loved the Ford tribute, remembering my beloved Cortina 1600E, going on honeymoon when it was sabotaged by mysterious kippers tied on the engine block. And my Granada 4X4 which was a great car in its day, if thirsty.

    Edited at 2022-05-09 10:36 am (UTC)

  22. I think Americans pronounce CHILE differently from us, which may cause confusion. My brother lives among the Araucarias, they are amazing. Is that the same as a CHILE PINE?
    1. They are the same. Funny enough I mentioned this when my wife and I saw one when out walking yesterday.
  23. 17:23. A solid MoR puzzle. Didn’t know the CHILE type of pine and BREVERS went in with a question mark, but no real hold-ups.
  24. A gentle solve starting with OUTDO. I had one of each variety of ESCORT over the years, starting with a Mk1, then a Mk2 1600 Sport, before switching to Company cars which evolved from the Mk2 to the Mk3 and lastly an Orion, before the Company switched to Vauxhall Cavaliers. As a student I had a reputation as a car fixer and one of the college staff asked me to fit a radio in his Zodiac. It had a bonnet the size of a billiard table! Anyway I charged through this puzzle, delayed slightly by BREVES and FRENCH BEAN. JOURNALESE was LOI. 14:45. Thanks setter and U.

    Edited at 2022-05-09 11:10 am (UTC)

  25. A rare foray into sub-15 territory, but a slow start, filling in only ESCORT from first scan of the acrosses.

    Did much better from then on, 1d OUTDO prompting fairly swift completion of the NW, providing hooks to hang the rest on.

    A few moments’ pause towards the end before JOURNALESE and finally FRENCH BEAN hoved into view.

    Liked EXEMPLAR.

  26. 18 minutes. Like others, not certain about FRENCH BEAN but I was too lazy to think of anything else, and I entered the unknown BREVES from wordplay.

    Nice to have the K lipogram and the cars. My old ESCORT brings back some fond and some not so fond memories.

  27. But should have been quicker, judging from incredibly low snitch. Held up by Breves at the end. Couldn’t get Brevet out of my mind, and half convinced myself revet was a verb meaning cut up.
  28. All done quickly over lunch apart from 6d, the Papal letters. I seem to get a lot of Paypal letters.
    Anyway I had a haircut scheduled for 2.15pm.
    Returning shorn, the BREVES emerged.
    Same queries as others over FRENCH BEAN. CHILE PINE guessed confidently.
    I was on theme alert -Ford motor cars (Escort/Zodiac) and transport generally? Maybe not.
  29. Straightforward enough and a rare sub-20 mins for me. Thanks for explaining the subtlety of FRENCH BEAN. I read the clue as ‘… in a café’ rather than ‘… in café’, shrugged the shoulders and bunged in the only adjective which seemed to fit, but without the indefinite article the clue works very nicely.
  30. 09.00 and I almost forgot to report in! A blue moon moment as it’s my first sub ten for a while. NHO breves so that’s one for the database. Other than that, a straightforward but very enjoyable exercise.
    I’m now going to take a peek at other entries and discover how unremarkable my time was!
    Ths setter and blogger.
  31. Realised from above comments that this was an ‘easier’ 15 x 15, but very glad to have got all but 3 clues over 2 very long sittings (as I graduate from the QC…). JOURNALESE, FRENCH BEAN and EXEMPLAR eluded me. Liked BASIL and SIGN OF THE ZODIAC best. Many thanks for the blog and community.

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