Times 28323 – someone who herds pottery perhaps.

Nothing too alarming in this gentle offering, one insect I’d never heard of but the wordplay was clear enough. Oddly, the hidden word at 8d was my LOI. I liked the poisonous spider best.

Definitions underlined in bold, anagrinds in italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc.

1 A significant volume where mine’s sent? (4)
TOME – Mine, or my thing, would be sent TO ME.
3 One such as Victoria‘s fearsome spinner? (5,5)
BLACK WIDOW – double definition.
10 Dish with zip and zing primarily — and flair (7)
PIZZAZZ – PIZZA a dish, plus Z and Z.
11 Underground trapper‘s a hero hoarding books (7)
ANTLION – A LION (a hero) has NT inserted. I didn’t know this, an antlion is an insect whose larvae trap ants underground and eat them. I had heard of doodlebugs, which is another name for the same thing.
12 What may need tightening in the City possibly or leafy suburbia? (11,4)
STOCKBROKER BELT – double definition, one prosaic.
13 Perhaps cramp lookalike, say, heading west (6)
TWINGE – TWIN (lookalike) EG  (say) reversed.
14 Want to have to remain outside yet heavily involved (4-4)
17 Smarter daughter limits team leader’s part of vessel (8)
POTSHERD – POSHER (smarter) D (daughter) has T (leader of team) inserted.
18 Ring about North Pole’s first foreign correspondent? (3,3)
PEN PAL – PEAL (ring) has N P inserted.
21 Anti-aircraft fire moving left, one coming in twice secures disputed territory (8,7)
FALKLAND ISLANDS -FLAK has the L moved to get FALK, then LANDS (secures) twice, with I inserted. FALK LAND(I)S LANDS
23 Stronghold originally contained elaborate detail (7)
CITADEL – C(ontained), (DETAIL)*.
24 Eastern city hack houses new family (7)
NANKING – NAG (hack, horse) has N KIN inserted.
25 Mean thing to have you, daughter and Irish boy keeping tryst regularly (5,5)
DIRTY TRICK – D (daughter), IR (Irish) RICK (boy) insert TYT the alternate letters of TrYsT.
26 It may be served on board after that at regular times (4)
FETA – ‘regular’ letters of aFtEr ThAt. I’d have thought more often served in a Greek salad than on a cheese board.
1 To arrange characters in line sort scenery (7)
TYPESET – TYPE = sort, SET = scenery.
2 Picture of note with unknown bovine in dry pens (9)
MEZZOTINT – ME (note) Z (unknown) ZO (bovine, Tibetan ox), TT (dry) with IN ‘penned’.
4 Medic with a Soviet limo climbing SW point (6)
LIZARD – All reversed (climbing); DR, A ZIL. My FOI as I was familiar with that part of Cornwall. Zils were ugly Russian limos made until 2012.
5 Excellent solving! (8)
CRACKING – double definition.
6 Peter, Len and Walter, swimming, like drysuits (5-9)
7 Urge golf club to close early (5)
8 Some following tipster where primary might end (7)
WINGTIP – hidden as above; the end of the primary feather in a bird’s wing.
9 On which adult initially and a kid go cheaply abroad? (7,7)
PACKAGE HOLIDAY – (A A KID GO CHEAPLY)*, the first A from Adult.
15 Dear old writers this writer’s pursuing (9)
EXPENSIVE – EX PENS (old, writers), I’VE (this writer’s, this writer has).
16 Gritty mature lady left in former Arab union (8)
GRANULAR – GRAN (mature lady) UAR (one time United Arab Union) insert L for left.
17 Old female has walked round stern (2-5)
PO-FACED – O F(emale) has PACED put around it.
19 Dish and large articles engulfing sink (7)
LASAGNA -L, AN, A (large articles) insert SAG for sink.
20 Walk in the park to eat out (6)
PICNIC – double definition, something easy being a ‘picnic’ or ‘a walk in the park’.
22 Ignoring individual, sell up afterwards (5)
LATER – sell = RETAIL, reversed (up) = LAITER, ignore the I.


82 comments on “Times 28323 – someone who herds pottery perhaps.”

  1. 33 minutes with one error. I didn’t know MEZZOTINT and from wordplay as my LOI I came up with the unlikely looking MEZTOXINT which I then checked and Collins offered up the right answer. DNK ANTLION either, but the wordplay was more helpful.

    Pip, could I request not putting such a heavy hint to an answer in the heading please? This one rather gave 17ac away before I had tackled the puzzle. Ta.

      1. The blog “title” appears on the home page. jackkt could have been coming here to read the Quick cryptic blog, check an old puzzle, respond to a reply on another thread…

        1. Thank you, Penfold. I posted a QC blog here on Monday and a 15×15 blog on Tuesday which between them received (so far) 151 replies. I came here to check out the latest of these when I saw the headline title. It’s not a big deal and I mentioned the matter only as a polite suggestion.

  2. I was convinced that 21A was going to be that territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan that I can never remember the name of, but I know from previous appearance(s) it has 15 letters. In the end it was a lot easier. For some reason I struggled at the end to come up with PICNIC and had to do an alphabet trawl. I think to call a drysuit “water-repellent” is a bit of an understatement. I didn’t know ANTLION either but I couldn’t see anything else that fitted the clue, and saw it was.

  3. 26:12, but I had to look up ZO and ZIL to be sure. Having typed that says all I really can say about this puzzle.

  4. Finished in just over 50 minutes. Enjoyed LIZARD, LATER,and KNEE-DEEP. COD to POTSHERD for misleading me into thinking of a ship as the vessel and for utilizing “posher”. Put in many- MEZZOTINT, PACKAGE HOLIDAY, FALKLAND ISLANDS – without understanding all that was involved so appreciate blog for explaining those and more.

  5. 20:13 but
    I typed in …repellAnt, I don’t know why; I know the correct spelling. Of course, I didn’t bother to check the anagrist. Biffed FALKLAND IS, DIRTY TRICK, POTSHERD, WINGTIP (typically for me, I never spotted the hidden; I wondered what shoes had to do with the clue). I knew The LIZARD, took ZIL on trust; ditto for ZO. Barely remembered STOCKBROKER BELT, which I learned here.

        1. Kevin, Collins also has repellant and I understand that both spellings are over 300 years old! Relevant!? Probably not in the Greggorian Gazeteer?

    1. Same misspelling for me. To be fair, Chambers and even the OED offer both spellings for the adjective, so we have half a claim for a retrial.

      1. Only if you can find a way to make WATER-REPELLANT from the letters of PETER, LEN and WALTER!

  6. I knew Antlion, and I am more than 100% sure that the only way I could have done was from a different puzzle. (Same for antbear, and I’m disappointed in the setter for not also including an above ground trapper). I didn’t know either Zil or the geography, but luckily couldn’t think of anything else to fit the crossers, and now I know both. thanks, pip

  7. 31 minutes. I didn’t know ANTLION, biffed FALKLAND ISLANDS and couldn’t work out what the ‘(to have) you’ bit of the def for DIRTY TRICK was doing. MEZZOTINT held me up for a while at the end but those crossing Z’s can be helpful. Speaking of which I liked the reminder of the ZIL; sort of like a kitsch Cadillac, if that’s not a tautology.

    When I saw ‘Victoria’s fearsome spinner?’ and the enumeration at 3a, I immediately thought of “Shane Warne”, very sadly now a candidate for inclusion in The Times puzzle.

    1. Snap! Warney was my first thought for 3ac! His five day tribute on SKY last week at Trent Bridge, was very special. Headingley here we come!

      1. Not many funnel-webs make their home in Victoria though K. Probably only the ones that have fallen on hard times.

        Most of them subscribe to the Paul Keating philosophy.

            1. Some of Keating’s insults were wonderful, weren’t they! I liked the way he described Peter Costello as “all tip and no iceberg” and I think he said about Andrew Peacock, when Peacock was seeking to make a comeback: “a soufflé can’t rise twice”!

              1. He certainly had a way of cutting through. His descriptions of Costello as “a shiver looking for a spine to run up” and the execrable Downer as “the idiot son of the Adelaide aristocracy” were just perfect.

                (Worth remembering that colourful insults were just a hobby for Keating though. He was also Australia’s best Treasurer by a country mile).

                1. I didn’t know the Downer quote. That had me laughing out loud. But I thought the “shiver” quote was directed at someone else and not Costello. Howard? Hewson? I would loved to have seen Keating being interviewed by someone as acerbic, say, as Jeremy Paxman on British TV.

                  1. Yes it might have been Hewson, although probably more applicable to Costello. Hewson was also the brunt of the delicious “because I want to do you slowly mate”.

                    Howard was generally just the “desiccated little coconut”.

                    1. 🤣
                      I think he would have had fun with the likes of Peter Dutton, as well,

        1. I was sure I had heard friends in and around Melbourne refer to funnel-webs. From googling there does appear to be a variety called the Victoria Funnel-Web, so either they were talking about those or it was friends in Sydney and I’m just misremembering.

  8. LOI LIZARD… I had to check that it was a “point.”
    But who is Victoria?

      1. That’s what I assumed, but why black? Other than that she was a widow and dressed in black.

          1. Yes, Meldrew, I know what a black widow is; the question was Who is Victoria?

            1. Yes, Kevin,do you not mean – what or where is Victoria?!?
              The Australian State!? A London Station!? A sponge cake!?

        1. I think that’s it. Queen Victoria famously wore black for the rest of her life after Albert died.

          1. And, by reputation, asked that all the wrought iron fencing and grillwork in London be painted black.

  9. Another to consider Shane Warne. I had to resist biffing many of these. Liked WINGTIP when I saw it.

    1. Warney. The definition and enumeration was so obvious that I spent about five minutes trying to see how “one such as” could work as the wordplay.

  10. Just spent a worthwhile few minutes watching this BBC Earth video on the ANTLION. Fascinating stuff. I did vaguely remember the word from a previous crossword outing, I think.

    This was a 27-minute oddly anticlockwise solve, as I worked my way down from the NW while trying to get enough crossers for TYPESET or the unknown MEZZOTINT. In the end I crawled my way widdershins around the entire grid and back to them, where I found them relatively easy to finish off.

    1. Didn’t know ZO, or ‘widdershins’ for that matter. So I’ve looked them both up.

      1. I learned “widdershins” from Terry Pratchett; I think I learned its opposite, “deosil”, from a Times puzzle.

    2. Thank you for the link; I am pretty sure I have seen it before as I remember the ant struggling in the pit with the sand flying around. Had misremebered that the antlion was throwing the sand AT the ant, more than undermining it. Gruesome!

  11. What little town by river or sea shore,
    Or mountain-built with peaceful Citadel,
    Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?

    30 mins pre-brekker with LOI Antlion.
    Not my cup of tea, needing to resort to Zo, Zil and UAR.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  12. 16:43. I enjoyed this – some lovely clues. I particularly liked KNEE-DEEP. TYPESET, EXPENSIVE and my LOI TOME for the PDMs. I was held up for a while by that old problem of reading STERN as STEM in 17D and only realised when I saw the answer. DNK MEZZOTINT. Thank-you Pip and setter.

  13. 42m fail …this went well for me until the point (two clues out) where I ran out of solving horsepower and prerequisite knowledge..
    – Entered POSTHERD at 17a – on reflection I guess I should have zeroed in on the POT
    – As for 2d …failed to decode “dry” = TT (maybe this marks the point when I start remembering that one). ZO I learned as a Scrabble word around 40 years ago, and forgot for at least the last quarter century. This left me with MEZACOWINS – ugh
    …so it was no surprise to see the “Unlucky” banner, but I couldn’t stand the feelings of frustration and impotence any longer.

    Three wrong ‘uns so far this week – though strangely I feel good about my solving progress. Maybe because I very frequently figure out clues that would have stumped me 6 months ago. Thanks P and setter

  14. 23 minutes but like Jack with MEZTOXINT, which I knew wouldn’t be right. I knew the point but had forgotten the Soviet limo. Some are more equal than others. It was a good job WINGTIP was a hidden or I’d not have got ANTLION either. COD to BLACK WIDOW. Good puzzle if it wasn’t for the ZO picture. Thank you Pip and setter.

    1. I think there’s a spine tingling MR James story about a mezzotint. Good for an empty house with the wind howling outside and the eaves creaking. So just right for an English July.😋

  15. No time today as I was on the road early this morning to The Bund (WeiTan).
    A beautiful day,☕️🥐🌞🌞🌹

    FOI 2dn MEZZOTINT – l clearly live in a different world!
    LOI 26ac FETA what a pathetic, cheesey clue!?
    COD 3ac BLACK WIDOW – in the US this appears to be the Queen of Spades only?
    I don’t think Pip’s intro gave too much away!
    WOD 10ac PIZZAZZ! Pizza with long white beard toppings?

    I draw issue with 24ac NANKING as the city, since 1949, has been officially named NANJING. Thus the clue should have read ‘Old Eastern City’ – perhaps? And we enjoy BEIJING 🦆 these days!

  16. Some of the long ones went straight in and I’d finished most in 20 min
    Had to cheat on 2d and never heard of antlion
    But it was straightforward to solve
    Got wingtip but I’m missing the primary connection
    In the end 35 min

    1. 2d? Give us a clue?
      A primary is a type of feather found on the wing of a bird. There are secondaries and tertiaries too, which are a bit shorter. ‘O’-level Biol.

  17. 28 mins so quite speedy for me. Two NHOs: ANTLION and POTSHERD, the latter I guessed right seeing the « pot » first. All fairly clued though. An enjoyable romp. I liked PIZZAZZ, KNEE-DEEP, BLACK WIDOW and DIRTY TRICK. FOI B,W, LOI TOME.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  18. 9:36. No problems and I enjoyed this one: not too much biffing.
    ANTLION appeared in a Sunday puzzle I blogged in 2014, perhaps I remembered it from that! NHO MEZZOTINT though, and had to construct it carefully. The wordplay could have been indicating MIZZOTINT but that seemed much less likely. The ZO (or ZHO, DSO, DZHO or DZO) is familiar to any Mephisto solver.
    3ac is a kind of double &Lit, in that the red-back spider is a famous resident of Australia including Victoria and a sub-species of the BLACK WIDOW.
    I never notice pangrams but today when I saw all the Zs in PIZZAZZ it did occur to me that this might be one. Sure enough, it isn’t.

  19. Submitted off leaderboard as I had to look up MEZZOTINT, which I wouldn’t have got as I didn’t know ZO. All in vain anyway, as having worked out the parsing of POTSHERD, I entered it as POSTHERD, which MEZZOTINT changed to POTTHERD. Gloom and despondency abound. 45:52 with a lookup and an error. Thanks setter and Pip.

  20. 13:46

    I’m not sure whether I enjoyed this or not. Some of it was clever, some of it was trying a bit too hard to be clever thereby resulting in weird surfaces (e.g. FALKLAND ISLANDS (which I biffed) and DIRTY TRICK).

    I’m also not sure whether or not I know my insects. I knew ANTLION but though a primary might be a butterfly (which would end at its wingtip).

  21. 34m 34s but with two errors. I typed ‘lasagnE’ followed by ‘meze’. Well, those are Middle Eastern hors d’oeuvres and might be served on a board.
    Another one whose first thought for 3ac was Shane Warne who might have been a great spinner but blotted his copybook here in NZ when he objected mightily to a young lad who had taken a photo of him smoking. Warne was promoting anti-nicotine patches at the time. Warne became quite nasty about it.
    Another ‘garden path’ was ‘black watch’.
    COD: POTSHERD which I had heard of before.
    LOI: ANTLION which I hadn’t and WINGTIP.
    Personally I don’t mind what our bloggers use as a headline. I only ever come to TftT AFTER I’ve completed the puzzle.

    1. Me too, but very occasionally I look at the quickie blog for some reason before tackling the cryptic and have to avert my eyes from the headline.

  22. 09:03, definitely an interesting puzzle. I was glad the wordplay only allowed one spelling of PIZZAZZ, as I’m sure I’ve previously come a cropper on the multiple variants thereof. And Scrabble players will be glad to see their old friend ZO making an appearance in the crossword as well.

  23. Lots to like in this, thought I found it a lot tougher than piquet. I’m another who was trying, pointlessly to remember Nagorno-Karabakh. No trouble with MEZZOTINT as it is in the title of an M.R. James story. COD KNEE-DEEP.
    All well and good but Water-repellant gave me a second pink square in two days, leaving me decidedly PO-FACED

      1. It certainly is. There is a recording of Michael Horden reading it, available on YouTube

  24. Again off the wavelength, found it a bit testing all the way through. Zo & antlion known from past puzzles, UAR not remembered/known. POTSHERD heard of & parsed, but when I came to write it in I’m another who inexplicably wrote POSTHERD. Made LOI the unknown MEZZOTINT impossible, till I went away came back, and spotted the error. Has to be ME- not MI- as mezzo is a word (Italian for half), mizzo isnt’t (he says confidently knowing he’s wrong).

  25. Thanks for explaining MEZZOTINT, which I biffed but didn’t understand. Spent way, way too long on TOME and FETA. Liked PO-FACED. The rest was a bit blah.

  26. When he wasn’t fighting roundheads Prince Rupert was a very skilled exponent of the art of MEZZOTINTing. Nice misdirection with “vessel” in 17a which sent me looking for part of a ship instead of the POTSHERD in that very peculiar OT story about Job scraping himself with one. WINGTIPs were famously a particular kind of shoe favoured by FBI agents in the J. Edgar Hoover era. Not sure why they were called that. 18.33

    1. ‘Wingtips’ as a type of shoe first noted 1928. Emanates from ‘the brogue-style patterning that resembles the wing of a bird.’ I think J Edgar preferred a pair of sling-backs for evening wear!?

  27. Pleasant crossword and my time of 49 minutes was the result of my slowness rather than of its difficulty. The only thing I didn’t like was that the two last across clues are (partly anyway) of the same type, which I should have thought was something the setter would try to avoid.

  28. 16:02. ZO, ZIL and ANTLION were all unknowns, but only the latter slowed me down as I struggled to think of a Greek hero called XION or something; fortunately there isn’t one.

  29. 32:23

    Some un- and vaguely-knowns today along with plenty of biffing.

    MEZZOTINT – thought somehow MEZZO might be the notey bit but then where was the bovine.
    ANTLION – shrugged upon entering having finally spotted the well-hidden WINGTIP. Not sure what ‘primary’ was doing in the clue.
    Know LIZARD Point well enough to be comfortable to bung in without wondering about ZIL

    Didn’t bother parsing FALKLAND ISLANDS nor PACKAGE HOLIDAY

    1. As someone noted above, in a bird, the ‘primary’ feathers are the large ones which extend to the wingtips.

  30. 24 mins, pleasant stroll until I hit the buffers with the NHO MEZZOTINT. Despite being a Scrabble player, I never thought of ZO.

  31. 2d did for me as I didn’t know ZO! Did consider mezzotint but rejected it so DNF! Try again tomorrow

  32. 12.34 with the LOI the unheard of antlion, presumably something similar to the antbear only more fierce.
    I liked the puzzle a lot, mostly straightforward but some nice twists, pen pal and feta for example.
    Potsherd familiar even though I’m not an archaeologist.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  33. Not too easy, not too hard, it took me 36 minutes to solve. I saw the hidden WINGTIP without understanding what “primary” had to do with it. And ZO in MEZZOTINT was already an unknown bovine to me, so the ZZO was an unknown unknown bovine, or a twice unknown one, if that is possible. Otherwise no problems anywhere.

  34. I was never “KNEE-DEEP in the hoop-la” (Starship : We Built This City on Rock’n’Roll) and despite biffing 5 or 6 answers, I was confident of all of them, and parsed them on completion. Pip : you’ll be pleased to know that I enjoyed both the puzzle and your blog !

    LOI FETA (do the Greeks do cheeseboards ?)
    TIME 8:11

  35. 20’21”. I remember potsherds from Greek lessons at school because they were what Athenians wrote on when they ostracised people. Could never work out what the difference between a sherd and a shard was. Antlions I remember from the Moomin books of Tove Jansson. Doesn’t the Mezzotint ghost story involve characters who move in the picture, like they’re trapped there? Great crossword, many thanks.

  36. 18.14. Didn’t know the Zil or the Antlion. LOI Falkland Islands – was baffled by the L*L in the first word for a time.

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