Times 28300 – general knowledge abounds!

Time taken: 8:11

I got off to a slow start with this one, but once I got into it, the answers came pretty quickly.

There’s a lot of proper nouns and phrases here, so reliance on the wordplay was key to a quick solve, particularly with one where I thought I knew the word but couldn’t put my finger on the meaning.

1 Worthless audio device has vital second application (6-5)
MICKEY-MOUSE – MIC(audio device), KEY(vital), MO(second), USE(application)
7 One not yet out? European leaves Cornish town (3)
BUD – remove E(European) from BUDE(Cornish town)
9 Reversed major error bringing in monarch’s rubbish (9)
GIBBERISH – reverse BIG(major) then BISH(error) containing ER(monarch)
10 Radiating soft warm light in silver and blue (5)
AGLOW – AG(silver) and LOW(blue)
11 One who steals something from the pot? (3,4)
TEA LEAF – double definition, the first being rhyming slang
12 Clothing torn violently when defending goal (7)
RAIMENT – RENT(torn violently) surrounding AIM(goal)
13 Live as good person, being cruel and brutal one? (5)
BEAST – if you live as a good person you would BE A ST(saint)
15 Mark in time a new dawn, initially reforming nation (9)
ANDANTINO – A, N(new), then the first letter of Dawn, and an anagram of NATION
17 Northern trade union mired in pretty abusive comments (9)
CONTUMELY – N(Northern), TU(trade union) inside COMELY(pretty)
19 Bounder in scrap touring Californian city (5)
ELAND – END(scrap) surrounding LA(Californian city)
20 River in Siberia reporter’s identified as foul (7)
OBSCENE – the OB river, then sounds like SEEN(identified)
22 Greek breaking shackles displays annoyance (7)
CHAGRIN – GR(Greek) inside CHAIN(shackles)
24 Minor key used by hotel singers backing (5)
ISLET – hidden reversed inside hoTEL SIngers
25 Game goddess eviscerated Kallone’s twin? (9)
LOOKALIKE – LOO(game), the goddess KALI and the external letters of KallonE
27 Occasionally steamy Irish brew (3)
TAY – alternating letters in sTeAmY
28 Oscar being claimed by one down grated with a late screen star (7,4)
NATALIE WOOD – O(Oscar) inside an anagram of I(one),DOWN,A,LATE
1 Attack in street, thinking to disregard offence (3)
MUG – MUSING(thinking) minus SIN(offence)
2 Firm female support for lethal Asian striker (5)
COBRA – CO(firm), BRA(female supporter)
3 First woman, others in tow, to find Chomolungma (7)
EVEREST – EVE(first woman), and REST(other)
4 Old Lady Walker seen around in processing unit (9)
MAINFRAME – MA(old lady) and FRAME(walker) surrounding IN
5 Guide Penny away from aggressively ambitious person (5)
USHER – remove P(penny) from PUSHER(aggressively ambitious person)
6 Joy telling Romeo to leave (7)
ELATION – RELATION(telling) minus R(Romeo)
7 All-in wrestling with bear: one’s up on points? (9)
BALLERINA – anagram of ALL-IN and BEAR
8 Oppressed duke to have pistol hidden in ultimately secret lair (11)
DOWNTRODDEN – D(duke), OWN(to have), then ROD(pistol) inside the last letter of secreT and DEN(lair)
11 Quid in pocket as one leaves this trader’s premises? (11)
TOBACCONIST – cryptic definition based on quid meaning tobacco
14 Target some Plantagenet’s supporter? Not good! (4,5)
AUNT SALLY – the supporter would be John GAUNT’S ALLY, remove G(good)
16 Where education provided in cool and shady ground (3,6)
DAY SCHOOL – anagram of COOL and SHADY
18 Still at crease, not bowled: not taken in (7)
UNEATEN – UNBEATEN(still at the crease in cricket) minus B(bowled)
19 Bean dish and cheese served with meat, no starter (7)
EDAMAME – EDAM(cheese) with GAME(meat) minus the first letter
21 MDMA with powder taken up produces striking effect (5)
ECLAT – E(ecstasy, MDMA) and TALC(powder) all reversed
23 Money one might charge incautious tourist (5)
RHINO – double definition
26 This religious holiday over, you’d have to stop (3)
EID – if you reverse it you get DIE(stop)

54 comments on “Times 28300 – general knowledge abounds!”

  1. Had no idea about GAUNT’S ALLY but once I had all the checkers it was my second to LOI. Did not know the river OB either so I needed all the checkers for that which was my LOI. Took me the best part of an hour albeit without 100% concentration. EDAMAME got me mixed up since the last AME is an anagram of MEAT, but with no tail. And AM is HAM with no starter but no explanation for E. Still, this felt harder than the last couple of days although I got there in the end.

  2. 28:20
    The SNITCH has this as ‘easier’, which it certainly wasn’t for me. DNK OB, FRAME=walker, MDMA (looked it up), DNK BUDE. DNK AUNT SALLY, although on looking it up afterwards I realized I’d looked it up once before. Didn’t understand the ‘not good’ until after submitting; a clever clue, at least if you know what Aunt Sally means. [On edit: Gaunt’s the founder of the House of Lancaster; was he a Plantagenet?] I had the same problem with EDAMAME that Paul had, but finally decided it must be [g]AME. BIFD UNEATEN. Worked out NATALIE WOOD after submitting. My main problem was the NW, where I bunged in STEER at 5d with a mental note to go back to work it out, and of course failed to. Finally getting GIBBERISH led to USHER (and MUG), thence to LOI MICKEY-MOUSE. (Why did someone feel it necessary to add MIC to the lexicon?)

  3. Well a quick solve, but more than a few “well I guess it has to be”, so less enjoyable than the usual plethora of penny-drop moments. I did like the definitions of ballerina and eland. Thanks setter and blogger.

  4. Couldn’t see AUNT SALLY so surrendered after 45 min. Didn’t know loo as game, frame as walker, or TEA LEAF as rhyming slang. Taking last letter from den instead of lair, and using game for meat threw me off too. Also sure for a long time clue for BUD was cricket-related. COD was MICKEY MOUSE even though I’ve never liked spelling or pronunciation of mic. Really needed blog-thanks!

  5. Once again I forgot to note my finishing time but the puzzle occupied me for no more than half-an-hour. Sadly I had one incorrect letter because my unknown bean dish ended -ATE instead of -AME. I found the top half of the puzzle a lot easier than the bottom.

    I took the unknown mountain name and drug on trust, and CONTUMELY constructed from wordplay even though the end result looked more like an adjective or an adverb than the noun the clue so clearly demanded.

  6. I declared after 50 minutes on this rather sticky wicket. Leaving the terribly IKEAN 28ac NATALIE WOOD unsolved. As was her mysterious drowning, a cause celebre in Hollywood for many years. May she rest in peace.

    FOI 1ac CHOMOLUNGMA – the well known double-glazing specialists
    (LOI) 27ac TAY made with Scottish river water
    COD 1ac MICKEY MOUSE – now at the mercy of the dastardly Ron de Santis.

    And tomorrow is Friday, all day!

  7. 37 minutes, with about 27 of them spent on the bottom half after a much more promising start upstairs. Now I’ve read NATALIE WOOD’s Wikipedia entry I remember reading it before, so presumably she’s come up in a previous puzzle; I’ve not seen any of her films. I also recognised the Ob once I’d worked backwards from the answer, though the Gaunt bit of 14 was a complete unknown (it seems the more local Maurice de Gaunt, of whom I had heard, is no relation.)

    FOI 1d, LOI 20a.

  8. 26 minutes with LOI LOOKALIKE. Penultimate was NATALIE WOOD. Once I had the crossers there was a place for her. COD to TOBACCONIST. I biffed AUNT SALLY from TARGET but I should have thought of John of Gaunt as arguably the first Lancastrian. A loyal toast to the Duke of Lancaster, please, particularly from those on the dry side of the Pennines. EDAMAME took some spelling as for years I have insisted in calling them endgame beans to the family’s irritation. Good stuff. Thank you George and setter.

      I still don’t understand the parsing.
      Can you please explain.

          1. You’d possibly have a quid (bit o’ baccy) in your pocket after leaving a tobacconist’s. Simple CD for me.

  9. 10:22. Steady solve. I don’t think I’ve come across the Ob before, or the Irish word for tea. I have come across the other name for Everest, but didn’t remember it. CONTUMELY familiar from Hamlet.

    1. I’ve never seen ‘tea’ spelled that way, although it is how you folks used to pronounce it, as in Pope:
      There thou, Anna, whom three realms obey,
      Dost sometimes counsel take, and sometimes tea.

      1. See below – an example from Juno:

        “Tay, tay, tay! You’re always thinkin’ o’ tay. If a man was dyin’, you’d thry to make him swally a cup o’ tay!”

        1. Actually, for all I know it’s how we folks said it back in the day, too.

          1. Indeed. You folks and us folks were, linguistically, more or less the same folks at the time

  10. Several clue words I’d never heard of and LOI was “contumely” which I’ve never heard before and I was looking for a plural noun!!!
    37mins but cheated with contumely 😕

  11. As though a rose should shut, and be a Bud again.

    30 mins pre and during pancakes with blueberry compote and maple syrup. Delicious.
    I took a while to parse Mug. It seems much harder to find a word that another has been extracted from than to find a word to go into a word to make another.
    Thanks setter and G.

  12. DNF 59m. Failed to solve a single across clue on the first pass, FOI DOWNTRODDEN, leading me to work through this E => W, finding it very tough going – for a long time I had no expectation of getting anywhere close. Eventually TEA LEAF opened up the LHS and led to a reasonably respectable effort. When I entered CONTUMELY I was pretty convinced I’d messed up somewhere else – surely that couldn’t be a legit word – and I gave up without AUNT SALLY (didn’t know the meaning) or OBSCENE.

    Didn’t know that TAY (apart from the river meaning) was actually a dictionary word, though it’s used copiously in “Juno and the Paycock”. I assumed it was just O’Casey’s phonetic spelling, as with the title.

  13. 17:49. I found this a bit tricky, but the answers fell in one by one. DNK TAY, but it had to be, nor CONTUMELY. LOI RHINO. COD to BALLERINA for the witty definition. Thanks George and setter.

  14. A run-of-the-mill solve in 17.16, pausing to be sure the wordplay for NATALIE was all there. EDAMAME and its spelling suggested I’ve never read my Wagamama menu properly. And I did wonder why MOUSE was clued as application: accessory, surely? Only after submitting did I realise second was a MO and not a placement indicator.
    Things I don’t think I knew:
    1 Everest is really called Chomolungma (that’ll confuse the double glazing people)
    2 Mr of Gaunt was a Plantagenet
    3 George looks great with a beard!

  15. 41m 15s
    A similar experience to George in that I got off to a slow start but then rattled along at a fair pace until the 29min mark. At that point I took a further 12 mins for the final two: LOOKALIKE and RHINO.
    ‘Quid’ as tobacco came up fairly recently but I had no idea about ‘rod’ meaning pistol. Collins Online tells me it’s US slang. I had no idea about John Gaunt. That was a tad esoteric for me but, fortunately, I had the checkers in place so AUNT SALLY it had to be.
    I was also unfamiliar with Chomolungma as the name for Everest. Tibetan? From two treks in Nepal I knew Everest as Sagarmatha.

    1. That’ll be why I didn’t remember Chomolungma: the other name for Everest I’ve come across is Sagarmatha.

  16. Oriental food and a musical direction: I have a shrewd suspicion who set this puzzle.
    Failed to take note of my exact time, but it was 20 minutes and some loose change.

  17. No great problems with this, although I entered EVEREST based on the very simple wordplay, and was rather vague about TAY. Also rather slow on [g]ame, couldn’t think of the right meat. 21 minutes.

  18. I agree with Jack that this was a puzzle of two halves, the top being (IMHO) almost QC level and the lower half rather more challenging.
    I believe the bean dish has appeared somewhere else quite recently. I didn’t know the Siberian river, so thanks to George for noting that (as well as the rest of the blog). Tay was also new to me, despite the West Midlands pronunciation.

  19. 48:45. Quite tricky. LOIs the LOOKALIKE/EID cross. Amazed that I’ve been doing crosswords this long without coming across the River OB. It’s a beauty. I’m sure we’ll see it again. COD ISLET

  20. Famous Shakespeare speeches in the SW corner – as others have noted, the “proud man’s contumely” from Hamlet and John of Gaunt has the one about “this sceptred isle” etc. I couldn’t have said offhand what MDMA was (MAGA, MSNBC?) but the reversed talc produced it. Nice puzzle. 19.05

  21. 08:17, very much enjoyed, especially the “minor key” and the one who is”up on points”. Nothing better than a quirky definition to please me as I solve, along with plenty of bits of knowledge which are staples in the quizzing world. As a long-term resident of Oxfordshire, I am a great fan of AUNT SALLY, though it tends to be played in pubs and accompanied by refreshment stronger than TAY.

  22. 30 mins
    Nice puzzle – good level of challenge. Contumely from the Hamlet soliloquy.
    No idea about lookalike, so just bunged it in with a shrug. Same with Aunt Sally.
    Thanks, g

  23. 18 mins. Very pleased with myself, especially as I’d NHO of TAY and JOHN GAUNT doesn’t immediately come to my mind, and still didn’t after I got the answer. Still don’t quite get TOBACCONIST.

  24. I also thought the SNITCH rating rather low: this wasn’t that easy.

    John of Gaunt came to mind immediately, so what would have been a tough clue without knowing it was pretty easy. I instead struggled with the SW corner, taking way too long to see ISLET and OBSCENE (NHO of river Ob). Liked ECLAT, EID and MAINFRAME.

    35 mins

  25. 32:49 but…

    …a pink square for TABACCONIST – somehow starting the word with the French for tobacco. But then again, really no idea what this clue was all about – can see quid = tobacco but where does the pocket come in?

    A few too many unsatisfying clues for my comfort – I didn’t parse MICKEY-MOUSE (from definition only); LOOKALIKE (from definition and checkers – horribly obscure parsing!); TAY (with a shrug); AUNT SALLY (from def and checkers – totally forgotten about what John O’Gaunt stood for even though there’s a pub of that name right here in Lancaster); CONTUMELY (NHO – another shrug).

    I did like NATALIE WOOD though!

  26. One second slower than today’s blogger, and one error more. Never heard of EDAMAME so I had a stab at EDAMARE, with HARE the slightly unlikely meat option.

  27. Never heard of TAY and wondered if it came from thé in French? I liked the same ones as Tim. My High School was renamed John of Gaunt so that helped.

  28. 22 minutes. Helped by getting MICKEY-MOUSE early on. Several had to go in from def or wordplay (eg I didn’t know the ‘goddess’ at 25a) and I just couldn’t see how MUG worked.

    Thanks to ‘Midsomer Murders’ for introducing me to AUNT SALLY; good clue too. Other favourite was the surface and def for BALLERINA.

  29. 24:30. Fair but felt quite tough – more so than my time suggests. Liked TOBACCONIST though I tend to think of a quid as something a bit more messed around with, post purchase, than something you would necessarily buy and put in your pocket in a shop.

  30. I’ve lived in Ireland for decades and have never heard of TAY. Is it some sort of reference to the Irish accent? If so I find it a bit insulting. Justin.

  31. I was slow to start, but it became the ‘Afternoon of the RHINO’ (Mike Post Coalition) as I eventually rampaged my way through it, with no small amount of biffing (MICKEY-MOUSE, GIBBERISH, ANDANTINO, NATALIE WOOD, AUNT SALLY, and my LOI). Didn’t really enjoy it much in view of that.

    CONTUMELY is imprinted forever upon my brain after I failed to solve it in a Championship Final some years ago (remember those ?)

    TIME 9:10

  32. I started with MUG and galloped through the puzzle until I reached the SW corner, where I became becalmed. NHO the OB river, biffed TEA at 27a, thus delaying AUNT SALLY and went through biffs of OFFENCE and OUTRAGE, before settling on OBSCENE after getting UNEATEN. AUNT SALLY arrived after TEA became TAY. 24:19. Thanks setter and George.

  33. 21:21
    I’m another who started slowly but finished at a gallop. This brought back memories of my mum who at regular intervals would enquire “Who’s for a cup of TAY?”. Some nice touches : AUNT SALLY, ISLET, CONTUMELY (a word Terry Wogan was very fond of). Didn’t know the OB, but “it had to be”.

    Thanks to George and the setter.

  34. Hello to the new blog. This took me just under an hour in three visits. Busy time of year in the greenhouse and tunnel.

    LOI contumely.

  35. At first scan this looked impossible, with only BUD and TAY falling at the Acrosses. However, some Down clues restored the equilibrium a bit and the grid slowly filled out, though leaving the NW corner looking quite empty. 1D and 1A were almost last in, as although MUG suggested itself immediately, I couldn’t think of a word with Sin in it for ages and despite, or maybe because of working in audio all my life, my mind goes blank whenever a clue refers it! Last two in were RHINO and AUNT SALLY, as I failed to separate them out correctly, despite being acquainted with John of Gaunt, through historical novels. As ever, having done the crossword, I wondered why it had taken me so long.

  36. Very nice puzzle, lots of unexpected definitions, all accurately clued, and nicely chewy.

    I see some have queried words that would probably be familiar to most Brits. I feel slightly sorry for the international players, but I’m actually quite pleased, in a smug way, about that, even though I’m hardly a fan of Brexit. All of which babble means, I’m glad it was a thoroughly British puzzle.

    Thanks George and clever setter.

  37. 15.40. LOI edamame, thought for ages the bean had an n in it! Have to confess I didn’t work out the game bit but confident enough when I realised Edam was the cheese. Liked contumely- my COD- and eclat.
    Not so convinced by Eland. Being the biggest antelope – and seen one in the wild- I’d suggest it was more of an ambler than a bounder.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  38. Another puzzle I did not expect to finish, particularly the SW but it came together in the end. LOI was OBSCENE because I misspelled Tobacconist. Happily corrected.
    Knew CONTUMELY but a lot were guesses.
    I was going to give up much earlier but I got GIBBERISH and that gave me my second wind. COD to that.

  39. Didn’t manage to solve this on the first attempt this morning. I went for a ride on the new Elizabeth line in London, then after coming back I managed to get the last few clues.

    I eventually figured out CONTUMELY from wordplay; saw that TOBACCONIST was simply a CD (though I didn’t know that ‘quid’ means tobacco); realised that I – thankfully – didn’t have to know who Kallone was in order to get LOOKALIKE; put in OBSCENE despite now knowing the Ob River; and then finally got ECLAT. I also didn’t know the other name for EVEREST, though the wordplay was very helpful there, and parsed AUNT SALLY without knowing what it is. Tough stuff.

    FOI Bud
    LOI Eclat
    COD Mickey-mouse

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