Times 28335 – ye gods, and no little fishes

I started this apace, solving the top half in a few minutes and enjoying some of the quirky surfaces and well-hidden definitions. Then it became more tricky, although none the less entertaining; I finished in 35 minutes with the parsing of 18d and 20a my last to sort out. I’m thinking there is a present / past tense conflict in 25a, but perhaps I’m wrong.

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

1 First to abandon lots of work demands (4)
ASKS -TASKS = lots of work, lose the T.
4 Old Andeans only in touch with European for insurance? (4,2,4)
JUST IN CASE -JUST (only) INCAS (old Andeans) E(uropean).
9 Obsession shown in hunting bird with cavalry (10)
HOBBYHORSE – HOBBY = bird of prey of falcon family, HORSE = cavalry.
10 Donkey’s stealing heart from governess Grey (4)
AGES – AGNES Grey being the eponymous governess in Anne Bronté’s novel, lose her central N to get AGES, as in donkey’s years.
11 Gained an advantage, committed to staff (6)
SCORED – double definition, one music related.
12 Elected, given ample time for U-turn as necessary (8)
INTEGRAL -IN (elected) then LARGE T all reversed.
14 An educationalist retired? (4)
ABED – A Bachelor of Education, B.Ed.
15 English bully arrives outside port fighting activist (3-7)
ECO-WARRIOR – E (English) COW (bully) ARR(ives) insert RIO a port.
17 Like compulsive buyer heading out in rage? (7,3)
HOPPING MAD -a compulsive buyer could be SHOPPING MAD, lose the heading S.
20 Notes are foolish (4)
DOTE -DO and TE being musical notes, they DOTE = they are foolish.
21 Military alliance in combat ultimately possesses death instinct (8)
THANATOS -NATO (military alliance) inside T, HAS (end of combaT, possesses). The Greek word for death, and the God who personified death. Freud wrote about the concept of thanatos and eros being the instincts for death and life, bringing the word into present day usage.
23 Reverse vehicle into space initially unavailable: good advice? (6)
ORACLE -CAR is reversed into (H)OLE = space, initial letter unavailable.
24 Someone adored at home entertaining company (4)
ICON – IN (at home) has CO inserted.
25 Youngster turned out for walk in park (6,4)
CHILDS PLAY – CHILD = youngster, SPLAY(ed) = turned out. Seems like a conflict of tenses here, to me.
26 Crawl as cops seen in room (6,4)
SNAILS PACE – NAILS = cops, inside SPACE = room. Crawl as a noun. Not that snails crawl, they slither.
27 Hammer-thrower in village rendered powerless? (4)
THOR – THORP (old word for a village or hamlet) loses its P for power.
2 Soup‘s borscht, hot, stirred with bit of cream (6,5)
SCOTCH BROTH – (BORSCHT HOT C)*, the C from cream.
3 Dried out? Bowled in almost drunk before party! (7,2)
SOBERED UP – B for bowled, inside SO(T) = almost drunk, ERE = before, DUP = party (as in Northern Ireland politics).
4 Man unknown across the pond can take ecstasy (4,3)
JOHN DOE – JOHN = can, toilet in USA, DO E = take ecstasy.
5 Sound manoeuvre at sea, if in storm, when crossing succeeded (6,2,7)
STRAIT OF MESSINA -(AT SEA IF IN STORM S)*, the S included from succeeded.
6 Sloth and one near it disturbed (7)
7 Prophet or a swami putting foot over head? (5)
AUGUR -A GURU = a swami, has his U moved to the top.
8 Move gradually left, drawing support (5)
EASEL – EASE = move gradually, L.
13 At Boxing Day party: earlier sick on a sherry (11)
AMONTILLADO –  MON (day) ‘boxed’ by AT = AMONT; ILL A = sick on A, DO = party.
16 Special welcome Yorkshire town cherished (3,6)
RED CARPET -REDCAR a seaside town in N. Yorkshire, PET = cherished. I had thought Redcar was in Teesside, not Yorkshire, but is seems Teesside no longer exists as a County Borough (since 1974). I’ve never visited Redcar, or wanted to.
18 Freedom to squeeze many spots? (7)
NOTICES -This was my LOI as I couldn’t see the logic for a while. I think it is NO TIES (freedom) with C (a hundred, = many) squeezed in. Nothing to do with liberty to attack your acne.
19 Access exit with desperate determination? (2-2-3)
DO-OR-DIE -DOOR = access, DIE = exit.
21 Catches on thin branches (5)
TWIGS -double definition, one a verb, one a noun.
22 Back hawk-headed god seen in Athenian market (5)
AGORA – well, I knew that AGORA was a Greek market-place, but I thought the hawk-headed god in Egypt was HORUS, which when ‘backed’ gives SUROH. Then I saw, AGO could mean back, as in ‘some time back / ago’. And RA is the Egyptian sun god who can also be hawk-headed.

65 comments on “Times 28335 – ye gods, and no little fishes”

  1. 15m
    Been playing a lot of Hades, which helped with Thanatos
    DOTE is a pretty useless clue, but NOTICES made up for it

  2. Relief after yesterday to be back to almost normal, though held up here and there by sticky bits. Liked donkey’s for ages, augur where I was expecting a biblical prophet’s name, the Boxing Day lift-and-separate and notices, which luckily I saw quickly.
    COD to scored, as I didn’t see the musical staves and entered it with trepidation.

  3. 34:14. Can’t seem to finish these main puzzles in half an hour lately, but I’m glad to be finishing them!

  4. 16:20
    Did a heap of biffing: AMONTILLADO, NOTICES, AGORA, SNAILS PACE, parsing them post-submission. Something prompted me to biff STRAIT OF MESSINA when I just had S, O, and I think M; and I never did get around to parsing it. Didn’t understand SOBERED, but then I don’t know from cricket. AGES took me a long time to associate with donkey’s, and I didn’t remember who Agnes Grey was (never read it). I liked JOHN DOE, SNAILS PACE, AND NOTICES. I took ‘splay’ to be adjectival (splay feet, turned out feet).

  5. I’m surprised that Isla seems to have found this easier than yesterday’s puzzle as I solved that in 29 minutes and my description of it as ‘straightforward’ gave rise to some comment, whereas I struggled with at least half of this one and was left with one clue unsolved when I resorted to aids after an hour.

    The one I abandoned was 10ac where I had no idea what was going on. AGES had occurred to me but since I have never heard of Agnes Grey the wordplay was of little help to me. I’m also not convinced that ‘donkey’s’ = ‘a long time’ unless followed by years. Before the G-checker arrived I had written in GRIS as the answer here based on an assumption ‘donkey’ might be a nickname for a GI (to go with ‘grunt’ which turned up last week). The R was the ‘heart from goveRness’ and the S from the apostrophe S in donkey’s .

    I had a niggle along the way with TASKS at 1ac being defined as ‘lots of work’. I have tasks to do this morning but I doubt they will occupy me for more than 20 minutes.

    NHO THANATOS but worked it out eventually.

    1. I see what you mean about TASKS. I think ‘lots of work’ may mean portions of work, rather than a large amount of work.

    2. I thought GRIS as well, for the same reason, which might have made the prophet ABRAM, though there’s a lot against that, not least lack of wordplay.

      1. As I didn’t have the R-checker (provided by INTEGRAL) at that stage I was working on AARON as the prophet (and even looked him up to check he was one). I couldn’t justify the wordplay but assumed the dictionary is full of words for a swami that I’ve never heard of.

    3. Although I wouldn’t say it myself, there are people who say “donkey’s”, without bothering to add “years”, to mean a long time, as in “Hello, mate, ‘aven’t seen you in donkey’s.”

  6. After an hour I too jacked it in! What a nasty, spiteful puzzle! I was left with
    AUGUR, AGES, THANATOS (a bathmat from IKEA) and NOTICES unfulfilled.
    I don’t play ‘Hades’ nor do I wish to, or visit REDCAR.

    FOI 14ac ABED
    (LOI) 26ac SNAIL’S PACE – well it would be wouldn’t it!

    Re- 9ac HOBBYHORSE – the hunting bird – the hobby- Falco subbuteo gave its name to the famed table-football game, courtesy of Peter Adolph c. 1946. That’s what he wanted to call it – ‘The Hobby’. But the trademark people wouldn’t allow it as it was considered too generic. Subbuteo gave us lads hours of fun in the sixties, before Emma Peel showed up!

    1. Ah, Subbuteo! “Us (5) lads” had great fun with it in the sixties, too! I played as West ‘Am.
      At the time it was made in a factory unit in the village I grew up in in Sussex, called Wadhurst.

    2. Thank you. As a young ornithologist I was delighted but puzzled to see that the hobby had the same name as my favourite table football game. Now I know why!

    3. Yes indeed, Victor! I was similarly stumped by most of the wordplay, and there were no PDMs when I cracked one…
      So little comfort when I found (most of) the regulars had not too much difficulty. I also gave up after the hour, with the hope that we see less of this setter.

  7. 39 minutes. Quite a few either barely recognised (eg AGNES ‘Grey’) or semi-parsed (eg CHILDS PLAY and AMONTILLADO), but the only ones I didn’t know were the ‘foolish’ sense of DOTE (noted as archaic in Chambers) and my LOI THANATOS which was an NHO.

    I liked the ‘committed to staff’ bit of SCORED and working out STRAIT OF MESSINA, with all those possible anagram and homophone indicators.

  8. Setter may be suffering from INERTIA after appearing twice in three days

  9. A fast start slowing to a crawl for me, too, but at least I was all done in 45 minutes, rather than giving up after an hour like yesterday. NHO THANATOS, only vaguely remembered Agnes Grey once I’d thought of AGES for “donkey’s” (which does work for me; I can imagine some of the Londoners I grew up around using it.)

    I also managed to mis-read the anagram fodder at 5d and pencil in STRAIT OF MERSINA for a while. As it turned out, that was a familiar word only because an acquaintance of mine’s daughter is called Mersina, which I realised when 21a went in and I had to overwrite my pencilling with the right letter. Not my finest hour.

  10. And gentlemen in England now Abed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap …

    25 mins pre-brekker, without being able to parse Notices.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

    1. Chaps from England are lying ABED
      And holding their manhoods, you said
      That sounds rather rude
      If not downright crude
      Please quote something wholesome instead!

      1. Well, that’s an image I probably won’t be able to get out of my head- and won’t be able to attend a performance of Henry V without waiting for and grinning at this passage.

  11. 28 minutes with LOI SNAIL’S PACE. Penultimate was the STRAIT OF MESSINA. COD to AMONTILLADO. It took me a while to think of that meaning of DOTE, because I’m in my dotage. A steady solve. Thank you Pip and setter.

  12. DNF. I had TOOL for “Hammer” instead of THOR for “Hammer-thrower”. I parsed it as a P removed from Topol, who I thought could conceivably be a “thrower in village” given I knew the name from Fiddler on the Roof but I knew nothing about the film. To top my morning off I submitted the concise not noticing I had one clue unsolved. Roll on tomorrow.

    1. Yes, I thought ‘tool’ for a long time, also trying to force a parsing involving Topol, before the penny dropper. Glad I wasn’t the only one.

  13. 21:33. A bit of a tussle, this one. I finished in the NE corner not knowing know the governess and taking ages to think of GURU, wondering if there was a prophet AALAM. I failed to parse NOTICES – thanks Pip. I enjoyed the Ikean ECO-WARRIOR and AMONTILLADO most. Thanks Pip and setter.

  14. I believe you can have a good day at the races at REDCAR but I’ve never been. JOHN DOE’s female equivalent (one of them) has been much in the news lately in these parts so that went right in. For some reason the one I had trouble with was INTEGRAL, just not seeing what the 2 letters in the middle were. I thought Boxing Day was rather good. 17.05

    1. Thank you, only now understand why it is Roe v Wade, as I looked it up.

    2. I’ve had a good day at Redcar Races a few years ago (Ribblesdale went in for me at 12-1, and never won again thereafter). Horrible town, but a half-decent beach.

  15. 48m DNF (same as yesterday, but got a bit nearer completion). NHO AGORA, AGNES Grey, or the second meaning of DOTE, 3 other solutions absent when I abandoned the struggle.

  16. 59m 43s but a total of four pink squares gave me three errors. Somehow I managed to type STRAIT OF MESSIAN (two errors). 20ac completely foxed me. I finally entered DITZ in case there might be a shortened form of DITZY. I didn’t know DOTE could mean foolish. Lexico says it’s an archaic meaning.
    AMONTILLADO was interesting. Decades ago I used to do the Telegraph crossword and one of the clues I remembered from that time was “Sherry waiter’s lament” which I thought was very clever.
    Thanks, Pip, particularly for AGORA, SOBERED UP and AMONTILLADO.
    PS….There have been plans for ever and a day to build a bridge between Reggio Calabria and Messina in Sicily but given it took around 24 years to complete the autostrada between Palermo and Messina along the north coast, I somehow doubt it will ever be built.

  17. 09:11, enjoying the ride (agree that perhaps DOTE stood out as being a bit weak, precisely because the rest of the puzzle was often very interesting, so one shouldn’t grumble). At least it wasn’t, as I originally feared, one of those “assemble a random selection of letters from A-G” musical clues.

  18. Struggled home, but failed to parse SCORED, AGES AUGUR, AGORA and NOTICES. Worried about DOTE.

  19. Tough one. Was pleased to be missing only one by the time I gave up – DOTE, which I don’t much like as a clue, TBH. Biffed NOTICES, but like it now I see the parsing. Also liked SNAIL’S PACE, AUGUR and THANATOS (which I only guessed because I know the Greek word – didn’t know there was an English meaning too).

  20. Did most of this in 30 minutes, but having NHO Agnes Grey, spent the next 11 minutes plus alpha trawling for AGES, which I decided was more likely than EGGS. Submitted without much conviction, but had no pink squares. Had to construct THANATOS. Biffed STRAIT OF MASSINA before buckling down to sort out the anagrist. 41:15. Thanks setter and Pip.

  21. Didn’t augur well.
    I left STRAIT OF MESSINA until last, imagining I might work out the wordplay before submitting. Flummoxed by “sound” not being part of the wordplay and wondering where the definition was.
    Rather surprised at the assumption we would all know THANATOS: Chambers only knows it in Greek (where it just means death) or as a combining form.
    AUGUR and AGES took a fair bit of untangling: again Chambers doesn’t give donkey’s on its own as a long time, but I think I’ve heard it so used.

    1. I think the bed manufacturers did the right thing, naming their company after Hypnos rather than his brother Thanatos …

  22. Some of these were entered without my understanding how the clues worked. I knew Agnes Grey although I’ve never read it, because I knew that that and ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ (and possibly others, which I don’t know) were written by the third Bronte sister, who hasn’t achieved such fame as her sisters. But as some have said, ‘donkey’s’ doesn’t = ages; ‘donkey’s years’ does. It’s not CRS. In 4dn is John Doe specifically American? So far as I can see he is equally well-known in the UK. So the definition is surely ‘Man unknown’ and ‘across the pond’ refers to ‘can’? In 25dn I assumed that ‘splay’ can be an adjective, and this was confirmed by Chambers. 68 minutes.

    1. Using “John Doe” to mean an anonymous person is vastly more common in the US than UK.

      1. Except in legal circles, where it is the title of a common UK legal procedure. In UK law there is no generally accepted alternative to John/Jane Doe

  23. My STRAIN OF MESSITA eventually sorted itself out, but knowledge of the governess was essential for this, and I’d never heard of her, and the donkeys clue passed me by, so AGES went in with a harrumph. I didn’t like DOTE either. Finally got there in 38 mins.

  24. Finished under target at 40.32 and was surprised to find I had done so, it as it seemed tough. It is something of a rarity to look at the clock and find that you were quicker than you thought, certainly in my case as it’s usually the other way round!
    Seeing 16dn began with a ‘R’ and the first part was three letters, I spent a little time trying to get RIPON into the clue, along the lines of Rip Roaring (although that didn’t fit). 21ac was left till last as I couldn’t parse AGORA, as Horus and not Ra kept springing to mind.

  25. 22:09. Elegant puzzle. Knew we were talking Bronte with 10ac but couldn’t recall the full title until AUGUR, my penultimate, provided the necessary prompt.

  26. 33:09

    Some biffing here but some clever constructions as well.

    AGES and AUGUR I really liked when they fell into place.

    AGORA I’ve come across lately – was it in a recent QC?

    Didn’t quite see how the Boxing Day part worked until coming here – very good.

    SOBERED UP – just bunged in without parsing.

    THANATOS constructed from the five generous checkers and hoped for the best. THOR was a guess too based on the same lines as the blogger’s interpretation.

    DOTE was a bit ho-hum.

  27. About 25 minutes I think. Not my greatest solve, but ultimately avoided disaster by changing BOOBCHARGE to HOBBYHORSE just before submitting.

  28. This certainly wasn’t CHILD’S PLAY, and I have to thank Pip for parsing the unknown THANATOS, and also NOTICES, and my LOI (which I thought was Latin rather than Greek, despite a semi-classical education. I blame Beaky Hodgkinson). I came within a whisker of biffing Strait of Malacca too.

    TIME 13:48

  29. 28.27 but checked thanatos as wasn’t a word I was familiar with. Guessed dote but not convinced by the cluing, I wouldn’t have said to dote on someone was necessarily foolish.
    Pretty hard going which seems to be the pattern for me this week. Hopefully I’ll get some form for the second half.

  30. DNF- beaten by DOTE- still don’t understand- my dictionary doesn’t mention “are foolish”- otherwise all correct. Disappointed!!

    1. It came as news to me too, but SOED has ‘dote’ (vb) as: Be silly or deranged; act or talk foolishly or stupidly. It also has ‘dote’ (n) as a foolish or weak-minded person aka dotard (which I had heard of)

  31. Between 1954 and 1974 West Indies cricket certainly benefitted from being SOBERED UP.

  32. Enjoyed this one, except for DOTE which was a poor clue.
    Like Pip I got half of it done in no time at all but unlike him I had to put it to one side and come back later to finish it off.
    Happy memories of Redcar, Filey, Hunmanby, Staithes, Whitby and other Yorkshire coast towns from holidays in my youth

  33. 21’58” Like a lot of others I started fast, but there were some tough clues in there, so it went quickly from a 70 to a 120 on the internal snitch. Those four-letterers can be trying. But I have no problem with either donkey’s for ages, nor dote meaning to be foolish. My still unread copy of Agnes Grey lies on the bookshelf, and I see from the blurb that it is a “trenchant exposé of the … conditions under which many governesses worked in the mid-19th century”. It’s only 143 pages so I must give it a go. I too thought of the Aaron-Gris arrangement, but thankfully dismissed it.

  34. 32.16. I really struggled to put this one away. Tough all over I thought.

  35. This took me just an hour with AUGUR and finally AGES entered after a long break. I also finally parsed NOTICES just at the end. The rest was not easy, but also not impossible. I didn’t know who AGNES was, but surmised her existence from the crossers in AGES and the donkey. So I even understood a clue whose answer I really had to guess.

Comments are closed.