Times 28294 But everyone knows it’s unnavigable.

That may be, but we came down it though, didn’t we, Charlie? And in the African Queen”. Rather a gentle puzzle I thought, free from treacherous rapids and sticky muddy bits.

The setter quite often throws bits of of the words you’re looking for straight at y0u in plain sight. I completed 15.36, but thought I could have been quicker.

A puzzle to suit those aficionados of the TLS, perhaps, with its four arty works which should really be somewhere in your repertoire. I’ve enjoyed using the tools I now understand to generate the outline of the blog, and filling in the gaps on the new site is simple. I hope it looks OK and is sufficiently informative.

Definitions underlined in italics, solutions in BOLD CAPITALS

1 Damage part of wheel caught in catch (9)
DETRIMENT – So I thought the part of a wheel was TRIM and smudged the rest of the clue, but that’s at least in part because I didn’t know DETENT, “a catch, especially for regulating the striking of a clock”. Now I do, and so do you, and it’s easy to work out that the part of a wheel caught therein is a RIM.
6 Butterfly perched by westbound railway (5)
SATYR – Perched gives SAT, and one convectional abbreviation for RailwaY, reversed (westbound), is YR. Didn’t know a SATYR is also an orang-utan.
9 She perhaps goes after article in film (3,7,5)
THE AFRICAN QUEEN – The first of out literary/cinema references. A CS Forester novel and a John Huston film. And another novel, She (Rider Haggard) refers us to an AFRICAN QUEEN. The article She follows is, of course, THE. Bogart and Hepburn in sparkling form as the ill/perfectly-matched Rosie and Charlie sailing down the “impossible” Ulanga river.
10 Petty individual that is on express (6)
MEANIE – That is gives I.E., tagged onto MEAN for express.
11 A growth promoter for a heavenly body (8)
ASTEROID – Well, that’s A STEROID, then.
13 What some do with onion and melon ices, removing energy for super-chilling? (10)
CRYOGENICS – A bit trickier, this. What some do with onion is CRY, the melon is an OGEN, and then just take the E(nergy) out of ICES
14 No way back when oxygen fails? What a bore (4)
YAWN – Well, yes, just NO WAY back(wards) minus the O(xygen).
16 Fruit initially puréed with some corn (4)
PEAR – The P from the front of Purée (initially) and an EAR of corn.
17 Fancy case City men carried? (10)
DECORATIVE – Pick one case from all those you learned about in Latin, let’s say DATIVE, and insert (carry) EC for city, (the London postal district) and OR for men, Other Ranks in the military.
19 Some retiring parrot, a timid mimic (8)
IMITATOR – A friendly reverse (retiring) hidden (some) in parROT A TIMId.
20 Bark that surprises me on what sounds like a major branch (3-3)
BOW-WOW – WOW for that surprises me and a homophone of major branch bough for the BOW bit.
23 Oratorio is ruined if choir modulate (1,5,2,3,4)
A CHILD OF OUR TIME – Michael Tippet’s fine work, incorporating settings of African-American spirituals. Here, the composition is an anagram (ruined) of IF CHOIR MODULATE
24 Record detailed a certain racecourse (5)
EPSOM – Record is EP, and a certain translates to SOME, which you “de-tail”
25 Small answer elsewhere needs brains to come first? (9)
SPEARHEAD – Not a device you see often S(mall) is added to an answer elsewhere in the grid (I suggest you pick 16ac PEAR)  and translate brains to HEAD
1 Finally fined a corporation, in fact (5)
DATUM – The last letter of timeD, plus A, plus TUM for corporation in its meaning of stomach.
2 How Gladys makes good second film (3,4,8)
THE LADY VANISHES – Hitchcock’s 1938 comedy-thriller. So Good Second abbreviates to GS. If GLADYS is to become GS, then LADY must disappear.
3 Where one might appear at Edinburgh, getting break (8)
INFRINGE – The Edinburgh FRINGE is a significant part of the world’s largest arts festival, IN which one might appear. Infringe is to violate a(especially) a law, hence our definition.
4 Harmful insect we eradicated (4)
EVIL – Again our setter is being generous, just take WE from WEEVIL.
5 What you need shortly is held by farm vehicle dealer (10)
TRANSACTOR – What we all need is the ANSwer, and the farm vehicle can’t be a combine harvester because it’s too big. Must be a TRACTOR
6 Upshot of a lot of silence after short set (6)
SEQUEL – Gosh, this setter is kind, letters in plain sight like the SE of SET (short). QUELL for the verbal silence is also short (a lot of).
7 Book time to carve Arab nation’s leader, a little European (3,5,2,5)
THE WOMAN IN WHITE – Wilkie Collins early example of a detective novel. T(ime) to carve: HEW plus Arab OMANI plus N(ations) leader plus a little WHIT plus E(uropean) Phew!
8 What has one spinning round ending with car crashing (4,5)
RING DANCE –  Turns out it’s an anagram (crashing) of ENDING and CAR. Perhaps more commonly known as a round dance, but not difficult to sus out.
12 Improper duo I censor with rewriting (10)
INDECOROUS -Another anagram (with rewriting) of DUO I CENSOR
13 Use charm to engage captain that is needed around vessel (9)
CAPTIVATE – CAPT short for captain, that is (again) round VAT for vessel.
15 Left a bee with our queen and worker (8)
LABOURER – When I solved this, I thought left gave LABOUR (political party) with our queen being the  completing ER. But that doesn’t work. It’s L(eft) plus A, plus a spelled out B(ee) plus OUR and the ER.
18 Damage seen outside empty low-rise in NY district (6)
HARLEM – Damage is HARM, this time, which you place outside L(ow-ris)E “empty”.
21 India participating in joint exercise (5)
WIELD – A WELD (joint in that sense) with NATO I(ndia) inserted.
22 Drill jade (4)
BORE – And a double definition to end with. Chambers gives “to satiate or weary with excess” which kind of slides into bore.

76 comments on “Times 28294 But everyone knows it’s unnavigable.”

  1. This felt harder than it actually was for some reason. DNK DETENT, probably DNK SATYR, DNK the oratorio. I biffed CRYOGENICS–vaguely knew OGEN but didn’t parse this until after submitting. The Y suggested THE LADY VANISHES–just as the Q suggested THE AFRICAN QUEEN–and I biffed it, parsing post-submission after a long hard look at the clue. I only understood SPEARHEAD thanks to Z. COD to THE LADY VANISHES. 25:11.

  2. Interesting and a bit unusual, but no problems. Ogen vaguely remembered; the only actual unknown was that the eponymous She was an African Queen, so I was fully beaten by the wordplay, but the film was obvious. One more unkown, the oratorio. Not my thing. Deep Purple’s version, anyone: Child in Time?
    Liked captivate and labourer most.

    1. Yup – I too had Ian Gillan’s ungodly screeching going round in my brain – something no-one deserves so early in the morning. Luckily the oratorio name was easy to unscramble, and the other unknowns OGEN and DETENT weren’t too troubling.

      Found this one quite daunting at first, thinking “this is never gonna happen…” – then the solutions came at a steady pace. Finished with MEANIE and THE LADY VANISHES – I’ve never been fond of Hitchcock, though I adore his #1 fanboy Truffaut.

      in the end, a pleasing and satisfying puzzle, completed in 41:46 – thanks z and setter.

  3. A question for the technical people who built the site:
    Have you somehow disabled Google’s indexing bots from gaining access?

    This morning I tried searching Google for the word “Donation” (in yesterday’s puzzle) on the site “site:timesforthetimes.co.uk” and it came up with only 4 hits, from 2010/2011 and 2012.
    OK, tried again searching “Haydn” who appeared last Saturday and got only 3 hits from 2007 and 2010.

    Or is it just that you’ve uploaded gigabytes of data in a couple of days – 15 years of blogs and comments – and Google’s web-crawlers haven’t had time to traverse the whole site yet?

    1. Using our own site search for donation Search comes up with 5 pages of hits and for Haydn 16 hits. I’d always try that rather than rely on an external crawler.

      1. Thanks John, I hadn’t seen the link. Tend to have a blind spot for things on the RHS as I never use them.

  4. Sneaked sub-20, helped by the long ones all being within my ken. I have never sung the Tippett, but had a bash at Britten’s War Requiem a few years back, under the baton of Lorin Maazel, in what turned out to be one of his last gigs. Nothing beats Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, though, for mid 20th century English choral pyrotechnics!

    Only unknown was DETENT – OGEN known from Scrabble. Nice stuff after yesterday’s outlier.

  5. SPEARHEAD – not again! A rather ragged clue today.

    LOI 14ac YAWN another BORE!
    COD 4dn EVIL
    WOD 13ac CRYOGENICS – Israeli Ogen melons were my mother’s favourite. Named after the Ha’Ogen kibbutz.

    The four rather forced TLS clues tumbled easily but it was 8dn that held me up as I thought it might be RING DRIVE, as found on a lovely old ‘Dansette’. But it wasn’t!

    My time was 52 minutes. YAWN indeed!

  6. I finished on target at 30 minutes so I didn’t find this hard, but coming after yesterday’s weird offering I did find it a little unnerving because it’s also strange in its way and not the typical style of Times puzzle that we have come to expect. All those long titles for one thing; was there a theme going on, I wondered? If there is one it hasn’t emerged so far.

    My unknowns didn’t present much difficulty, but I’ll mention them: DETENT as ‘catch’, SATYR as ‘butterfly’, and RING DANCE.

    SPEARHEAD was my LOI because I missed the unspecific cross-reference and the word only came to mind eventually because it was in yesterday’s QC and somebody mentioned that it is often used incorrectly to mean something that it doesn’t.

  7. 56 minutes. Even slower than usual on the uptake today, not helped by having forgotten OGEN and not knowing DETENT, the ‘Butterfly’ or the ‘Oratorio’. Just about tripped up by not seeing YAW(O)N until the end

    This had the feeling of an un-Times like puzzle with all the film etc titles. I wondered if there might be a theme or Nina too, but couldn’t see one.

    Shouldn’t whinge, but I thought the ‘answer elsewhere’ at 25a was a bit of a cop out.

    1. Alas, I never saw YAW(O)N. I entered DARN on the basis that this could more or less be a synonym for “what a bore” as an expression of annoyance. My parsing was N (short for “no”) on the end of DA(O)R. Quite ingenious, if I say so myself. Was anyone else tempted by this?

  8. I got there in the end, with lots of queries needing following up. SPEARHEAD was obvious from the definition, but the cross-reference eluded me (too). Thanks, Z.

  9. More proof that I should never try the TLS—I’ve not seen or read any of the four long answers, and entirely hadn’t heard of A CHILD OF OUR TIME. Pretty sure I’m not a child of the setter’s time!

    I don’t think 33 minutes was a bad result, given my unliterariness, so the rest must have come pretty easily. CRYOGENICS appears in a lot of SF, which is more my cup of tea.

  10. Went to the line but managed to finish in 30 minutes with the same unknowns as jackkt. COD to THE AFRICAN QUEEN.

  11. 41 mins so on target for me. Loi SEQUEL after finally seeing THE AFRICAN QUEEN, which I have several times.

    Like Jack, I thought there might be a theme going on with all the literary references, but nothing comes to light.

    Another who DNK DETENT but the answer came easily.

    Thanks Z for the explanations as a number had gone in unparsed. I liked BOW-WOW. WOOF, WOOF.

  12. There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
    24 minutes with LOI SPEARHEAD. As a regular TLS solver I enjoyed this, but I can imagine it won’t be to all tastes. I had to biff DETRIMENT, not knowing DETENT. COD to THE LADY VANISHES. Good stuff.Thank you Z and setter.

    1. Surprised you don’t know detent – the little click at e.g. exactly 0 when you rotate an oscilloscope knob, or similar. From back in the day when oscilloscopes had knobs on.

  13. DNF
    Stupidly tried to type in alights instead of vanishes; god knows why – not even the same number of letters. Brains of a rocking horse. No idea about the African queen reference, but it couldn’t really be anything else.
    Thanks, z.

      1. No ‘cos it’s eight letters. Though I’ll admit I did look at official.

  14. Too many literary clues for me Not my forte but I had heard of all of them
    Like many others OGEN and DETENT were new to me
    Last in 17a
    Bang on 30 mins

  15. 15:08. I had similar uncertainties to others – SPEARHEAD in particular – which caused me to submit with fingers crossed. I had at least heard of the four cultural references, though I’m not familiar with any of them. Indeed if you’d asked me to name an oratorio I don’t think I could have managed one, though I have an inkling that Paul McCartney once composed one.

  16. I thought this was quite tough. I did not know DETENT and RING DANCE. 34 minutes.

  17. Upon a time, before the faery broods
    Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods

    After 30 mins I gave up on last two: S(Pear)head and Yawn.
    One tick (Wield), one cross.
    Thanks setter and Z.

  18. When setters encrypt ASTEROID
    Growth hormones are always employed
    Is there no variation?
    “I DO TEARS in frustration”
    Is one option that might be deployed

  19. 18m. I found this hard, and very annoying. Trying to guess the names of antediluvian movies and obscure bits of music is not what I do these things for.

  20. SWOL in well over the hour. Used aids for RING DANCE, THE WOMAN IN WHITE and SPEARHEAD and could make no sense of YAWN or BORE.
    Not my finest hour.
    And now I cannot find my way to gravatar to add to/change my avatar. Glüm!

    1. I am trying to change my avatar (and I have a selection of owls !) I joined Gravatar and uploaded a selection of images, associated with email address as used on TfTT, and picked one, but it doesn’t seem to change my avatar in the WordPress profile… any thoughts?
      I tried logging out of TfTT and back in but no change.

      1. My avatar was happily logged in and used, first time out. Since then , like Will,‘Meldrew’ has etherised! There needs to be an ‘avatar dedicated’ button and with up to 15 choices as we had with the Ruskies!
        And why are these presently so minuscule? Everyone is a shadow of there former selves. Pip looks like marmoset!
        When I open up this site, the avatar and nomination are absent, so I am not really sure if I am logged-in or not.
        Is there a Doctor in the house?

      2. I’ve not looked at how the User Registration plugin works here, but I suspect if you upload an avatar image it overrides gravatar. Sadly, as vinyl says, it looks like a major project to implement variable avatars on a WordPress platform.

      3. I can no longer find any reference to gravatar. Underneath “Profile Details” there’s my current avatar, then a line saying “Upload your new profile” (which it’s not possible to click on) and then under that a big button that says “REMOVE” which I can click on. I’m VERY reluctant to click on that. I don’t want to “self-destruct in 5 seconds”!
        I’ve yet to try logging out/logging back in.

        1. The Remove button is how to change the avatar – I removed and uploaded my avatar multiple times, trying to get the crop right

          I agree the avatars could do to be bigger – I can hardly see my banana

          1. Thanks! I think I’ll stick with “Bianca” for now! Don’t want to tempt fate!

  21. 15.20. Very much enjoyed the tour of old movie hits. Stuck for a while at 15 dn. In my paper it was listed as 9 letters !
    Thx setter and blogger.

  22. Loved this one, got the films, book and music quickly so that helped, 21 minutes ending with BORE and SPEARHEAD which then took me a few minutes to see why (ref PEAR in 16a – Guardianesque).

  23. 28 minutes. Didn’t know the ogen melon, but once I had the Y it was clear that 13a had to be CRYOGENICS. Also didn’t see how THE AFRICAN QUEEN worked, and only got there after figuring out SEQUEL. Like a few others, I hadn’t heard of detent, but the cluing was generous enough to get DETRIMENT.

    FOI Datum
    LOI Bore
    COD The Lady Vanishes

  24. Well done on the new site!

    I found this chewy in places, such as DETENT and my LOI, BORE, where I was unsure if I’d remembered the right definition.

    Nice long answers, and I had thought they’d all have female characters in the title, but it turns out A Child Of Our Time was a man. And, I suppose when it comes to that, The African Queen was a boat.

    8m 02s

    1. Oops – I’ve now read this properly and realised I made an error at 14a, going for DARN. Although I think it just about works: NO ROAD reversed with both Os missing; stretching a point a little, the expression ‘what a bore’ is interchangeable with DARN. Well, maybe stretching it quite a lot.

  25. 45:56. I enjoyed spotting the old films but didn’t really parse them or some others. Thank you Zabadak for your entertaining and much needed blog. LOI A CHILD OF OUR TIMES which appeared to me once all the crossers were in and then looked familiar perhaps? If it hadn’t been for that one, SPEARHEAD would have been my hard-to-spot LOI two days running

  26. I think it’s Wilkie Collins’s Moonstone that’s usually considered an early detective novel (because there is an actual detective in it) and the Woman In White as an early example of the modern mystery but without a detective. In any case, as has been noted, this was very much a TLS-style puzzle and none the worse for that. WOW for “that surprises me” has a slight American flavour and makes a nice change from “cor”. There was a terrible movie of She (who must be obeyed) with Ursula Andress – my father dragged me to it. She was much better as a Bond girl. 17.44

  27. 18’27” No major problems though I had to assume an ogen was a type of melon. The literary/musical references were all familiar – but if I hadn’t checked I’d have put in A child IN our time (probably confusing with Deep P.). The Lady Vanishes starred (as the vanishing lady) the marvellous May Whitty, almost as recognisable as Margaret Rutherford as quintessential English ladies of a certain age. Whitty was also in Gaslight (origin of the ugly modern-day verb) playing with the still-with-us Angela Lansbury, in her first film. So there you have a living link going back to 1881, when May Whitty first appeared on the English stage. (By the way the popular notion that in Gaslight the evil protagonist deliberately lowers the lights to make the heroine, played by Ingrid Berg, think she’s going mad is not actually what happens. The lights do go down, but that’s because he’s prowling around in the attic and has put on the lights up there).

  28. Well, an odd one.
    Looking up Ogen to justify 13a CRYOGENICS was a failure on Wiktionary although in Wikipedia I got some suggestions including a redirect to Galia melon that mentioned Ha’Ogen. But “Ogen melons” on Google gave lots of hits so I was good. Then found Ogen on a list I have been making over the years so we have had it before.
    Was uncertain that She (“SWMBO” ninja-turtled from Rumpole of the Bailey) was African, as if I have read the book it was while still at primary school.
    Good fun!

  29. I got through this in 29 minutes, less time than it took me to do today’s Kenken, but was told that I was unlucky and spent about 8 more minutes trying to see what my mistake was, and failing. and discovering that like Mauefw I had DARN rather than YAWN. Not so good, perhaps, but quite OK I thought: (no road)rev. without the o’s. Perhaps people who say ‘darn’ aren’t the same types as those who say ‘What a bore’, and perhaps the fact that it wasn’t mentioned that o was twice omitted should have alerted me, but …

    Although ‘detent’ is a pretty unusual word, ‘detention’ isn’t, and so that presented no problems.

  30. “There is a rose in Spanish HARLEM” (Ben E.King), but this never flowered at all for me. I’ve barely heard of Michael Tippet, let alone his oratorio, didn’t know SATYR as a butterfly, unsurprisingly failed to parse SPEARHEAD, which was a ridiculous clue IMO, and thought a TRANSACTOR was somebody like Eddie Izzard. To cap it all, after almost 15 minutes of unenjoyable slog, my LOI was “devorative”. The time taken would have adversely affected my SNITCH rating anyway.

  31. 10:34. This certainly felt a little out of the ordinary, having a puzzle clearly built around the long artistic works, but, as per others, I still miss getting the TLS as part of the Crossword Club, so I didn’t mind. The wordplay for DETRIMENT and the RING DANCE had to go in on trust; enjoyed the oblique reference to SHE.

  32. I’d never heard of half of this stuff but the wordplay was pretty clear!

  33. I found this tough. I started easily enough with DATUM, INFRINGE and EVIL, but then got bogged down. It didn’t help that my Morrisons delivery arrived in the middle of the solve. I didn’t know the She reference to African Queen, but have seen the movie several times. I’ve read THE WOMAN IN WHITE, so that wasn’t a problem. A CHILD OF OUR TIME was familiar once the anagrist was unravelled. THE LADY VANISHES was my LOI. A sluggish 43:59. Thanks setter and Z.

  34. Gave up after 70 min with no SPEARHEAD or INFRINGE. Oh well, pleased to crack the others. Thought valise for a while instead of dative and had deterrent till DETRIMENT appeared. CRYOGENICS and THE LADY VANISHES seemed right but no clue how to parse-thanks,Z, for explanations there and rest of blog. Didn’t know RING DANCE or SATYR (as butterfly) but they had to be. Enjoyed long ones ,plus WIELD and MEANIE.

  35. Enjoyable 28’15”, though with CRYOGENICS, which went in straight away on reading the onion reference, unparsed. A good job, as I’ve never come across OGEN before.

  36. 25mins. Felt quite tricky and seemed to lack the slickness to make it truly enjoyable. A bit of a stodge cake, I thought.

  37. Finished in 36.10 thinking I was all correct, although unable to parse 1ac, also not knowing ogen for melon in 13ac, only to discover I had 14ac wrong.
    I put in PAIN, again being unable to parse (not surprisingly!).
    A pain indeed! 😥

  38. 26:41

    Probably missed some of the finer points e.g. had forgotten that She was about an African Queen – enjoyed the challenge to find the four literary and cinematic answers.

    Same unknowns as others – DETENT, SATYR as butterfly, RING DANCE but nothing ungettable. I knew OGEN as a type of melon.

  39. 38 minutes after a very slow start, and I didn’t really like this puzzle. Too many literary references which you either knew or worked out painfully and too little wordPLAY (though THE WOMAN IN WHITE was rather good). Someone asked if there was a theme to this — yes, there was: YAWN BORE.

  40. 20:35 I found this a bit opaque and took an age to get the long answers. I did eventually remember the Michael Tippett oratorio which has a splendid selection of spirituals replacing the more traditional chorales. I liked THE LADY VANISHES when it was explained, but on the whole didn’t enjoy it much.

  41. 45 minutes. I’m another who didn’t know “Detent” and “Ogen” and the trick in “sPEARhead” went over MYhead but otherwise all OK.
    I would normally refer to a “Circle Dance” rather than a “Ring Dance”.

  42. 15.08. This was a nice smooth solve for me. The four works referenced were all familiar but their appearance did cause me to wonder whether I was missing a nina. I seem to have glossed over the detent part of detriment when solving.

  43. Very late today.. 35 mins held up by my philistinism, I know nothing of oratorios etc, and thought it was A CHILD IN OUR TIME, which left INDECOROUS hard to get. Probably slow because I’m on hols and too many distractions.

  44. Testing to see if my new avatar has worked.

    Yes it’s there OK. Can’t find the old one but this’ll do.

    1. Haha, new one seems rather like cradle-snatching – the old one was definitely quite sexy!

  45. 20.55

    Decent effort for me. I’m definitely no literary or musical expert but I did know all four long ones though they didn’t all spring to mind immediately.

    Totally missed the parsing of 1ac whilst I convinced myself that the SPEAR bit of 25ac was SPARE (small) with the A (Answer) elsewhere in the word. Great apart from spare doesn’t mean small and it’s the E that’s in the wrong place.

    Shouldn’t have admitted that should I

    Thanks Zabadak and Setter

  46. Unlike others I quite enjoyed this, but that probably follows on from successful completion even if I failed to parse several answers. And I thought SPEARHEAD was clever, not having seen such a device before.

  47. From above comments, I think I should be doing the TLS, which I’ve never attempted, as I enjoyed this one, with its literary and musical references, a lot. Didn’t parse LOI SPEARHEAD, I have to confess, and not heard of RING DANCE, DETENT, or SATYR as a butterfly, but fairly clued. 6D had the unknown SEQUIE, until ASTEROID forced a rethink of ‘quiet’ to come up with ‘quell’. Certainly a lot quicker than yesterday’s unrewarding slog!

  48. Finished this under duress. The conservatory roof was off, the workmen were either on another job, having a fag, eating or drinking coffee, and for want of something else to think about I tackled the crossword, which was positive, since I finished it. An hour later the new conservatory roof was on with just some finishing off required on another day. Result.

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