Times 28348 – Shirley Crabtree?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 10:32.

I found this one a touch tricker than recent offerings, and the times for the early solvers seem to agree with me.  Several entries where you have to think hard about the wordplay which I like.

Away we go…

1 Literary set in a punt on river in opium dream (8)
ALPHABET – A BET(punt) after the river ALPH from the opium-induced poem Kubla Khan
6 Part of wall fitted with extra breadth: that’s hard to understand (6)
GABBLE – GABLE(part of wall) with a double B(breadth)
9 British sailor returning to port (4)
BAKU – UK(British), AB(sailor), all reversed
10 Well-informed deputy, good and honest (10)
UPSTANDING – UP(well-informed), STAND IN(deputy), G(good)
11 Boxes, and gets involved in conflict on playing field (10)
RECTANGLES – TANGLES(gets involved in conflict) next to REC(playing field)
13 Watch weight, facing contest (4)
VIEW – W(weight) next to VIE(contest)
14 Powerful leader rigged the odds going to bust criminal (3,5)
BIG DADDY – alternating letters in rIgGeD inside BADDY(criminal)
16 Most skilful answer? Lucky (6)
ABLEST – A(answer), BLEST(lucky)
18 As a woman, I am surprised to be holding a gun (6)
AGATHA – AHA(I am surprised) containing GAT(a gun)
20 Removal of free social event (8)
RIDDANCE – RID(free), DANCE(social event)
22 Drive to clean out, with no pressure (4)
URGE – PURGE(clean out) minus P(pressure)
24 Dopey elder, sacked, given new job (10)
26 Pass year with novel, not quite satisfactory (7-3)
TICKETY-BOO – TICKET(pass), Y(year) and then BOOK(novel) minus the last letter
28 Discharge, old and bowed (4)
ARCO – ARC(discharge), O(old) – referring to playing a stringed instrument
29 Material wonderful, almost sumptuous (6)
FABRIC – FAB(wonderful) and RICH(sumptuous) missing the last letter
30 Free to air, do we half listen to this? (5,3)
RADIO TWO – anagram of TO,AIR,DO and half of We
2 Large part of day filled with a ferment (9)
LEAVENING – L(large), then EVENING(part of day) containing A
3 Often visited relative man had welcomed (7)
HAUNTED – AUNT(relative) inside HE’D (man had)
4 Disaster, taking on black bear (5)
BRUIN – RUIN(disaster) under B(black)
5 This is the end of many inflammatory diseases (3)
‘TIS -many diseases end in -iTIS
6 Grazing animal left in splendid meadows (9)
GRASSLAND – ASS(grazing animal), and L(left) inside GRAND(splendid)
7 Torment is base and wicked (7)
BEDEVIL – BED(base) and EVIL(wicked)
8 After breather, energy to spring forward (5)
LUNGE – LUNG(breather) and E(energy)
12 Induced to admit philosopher in courses (7)
LAYERED – LED(induced) containing the philsopher A.J. AYER
15 Turning over papers, a judge giving mark (9)
DIACRITIC – ID(papers) reversed, then A, CRITIC(judge)
17 Something you can’t touch landed in boat (6,3)
SACRED COW – ACRED(landed) in SCOW(boat)
19 One slightly adjusting tea, we hear, with extra milk? (7)
TWEAKER – T(sounds like tea) and WEAKER(adding extra milk would make it weaker)
21 A greenish-yellow colour, but endlessly eloquent in a party (7)
AVOCADO – VOCAL(eloquent) missing the last letter inside A, DO(party)
23 A piece of jewellery shortly turned up in Indian dish (5)
RAITA – A and TIARA(piece of jewellery) minus the last letter, all reversed
25 Arrogant poke round university (5)
PROUD – PROD(poke) surrounding U(university)
27 A little music in the pub (3)
BAR -double definition

72 comments on “Times 28348 – Shirley Crabtree?”

  1. I walked through the right side; the left side walked on me. No idea why, but I agree with our blogger that this was a little tricky in an off-beat kind of way.

  2. 19:20
    I knew I knew a port ending in U, but I couldn’t recall it; it didn’t help that I took ‘British’ to be B.

    1. Similar: Until 3d HAUNTED went in very late in the piece, all I could come up with for 9ac was BARB (BRitish AB backwards) and that’s no port I’ve ever heard of.

      1. Similar: had HABITED at 3d (not fully parsed) and assumed BARB was somewhere among the 8 sorts of ‘port’ in the BRB.

  3. I wasn’t sure whether TICKETY-BOO could be spelled TICKITY-BOO, and since ‘tick it’ could be to pass something, and ‘ticket’ also passed muster as a pass, I was at something of an impasse. The former spelling was preferred and therefore proffered with fingers crossed.
    I thought a gable was a roof feature rather than a wall one. Initially I had BABBLE for the hard to understand 6a, thinking a bable might be a nho obscure building term, perhaps found in the writings of Georgette Heyer.

    1. Collins lists a gable as a wall fixture that connects two sides of a roof. I knew Anne had some green ones.

  4. The bottom half went in easily, and the top part was much harder, especially the NE.

    I had no idea about ALPH and opium at 1A but I got it from the checkers. I was also tempted by BABBLE.

  5. I’m a combination of the Pauls: bottom and right went in steadily, but top-left very slow at the end. Excellent puzzle – the only unknown ARCO yet it was pleasingly tricky throughout.

  6. Like Paul (just above), I flew thru the bottom half, and then took much longer to finish the top.
    LOI RECTANGLES, which was harder than it should have been.
    And where might the river Alph have led Coleridge, had the man from Porlock not knocked on his door? (I actually think the poem might be all the more powerful for its brevity.)

  7. A 74 minute DNF. I knew BAKU but not ARCO, so I was in trouble. I put in “arch”, hoping it was an old term for ‘Discharge’, but no such luck.

    Here’s hoping for a friendly Friday.

    1. Me too. But dissatisfied with ARCH I ran A-C- through a wordfinder and “finished” all green in 85 minutes

  8. 59 minutes. Like Paul in London, the RH went in very easily but I struggled LH where for a long time my only entry was TICKETY-BOO. Eventually I spotted AGATHA which gave me a better foothold in the SW and I very slowly filled in the rest of that quarter. Progress then slowed to a trickle in the NW with long gaps when nothing was being added but eventually I battled my way through it.

    I had considered BIG DADDY at 14ac long before writing it in because I wasn’t sure that ‘powerful leader’ defined it and I was unable to back it up with wordplay.

    I wondered if TANGLES on its own mean ‘gets involved in conflict’. I’d have thought it needed to be followed by ‘with’.

    ‘Opium dream’ confused me at 1ac and prevented me solving the clue for ages. Having at last come up with ALPHABET I recognised the River Alph but knew nothing of its origin in the poem by Coleridge or the reference to opium .

    I was annoyed with myself for considering Bruno as the bear at 4dn, dismissing it and not realising how close I was to BRUIN. Even more annoyed over BAKU at 9a which was my LOI, as it has come up twice this year in QCs (on 22 February and 22 April)..

  9. Took a while to build momentum, but after struggling a bit in the top half I found things flowed more easily in the SE, and worked my way back around the grid to give myself some more crossers and finish off with BRUIN and UPSTANDING, oddly. Maybe my brain had just woken up a bit more by the time I got back up top…

    Got started with 2d LEAVENING—funnily enough, I was only admiring Arthur Machen’s description of suburbia a couple of days ago, which includes “It seemed as if in those dull rows of dwellings, in the prim new villas, red and white and staring, there must be a leaven working which transformed all to base vulgarity”, so that probably helped. No problems with BAKU or ARCO, either, just because they’ve come up a few times before. GABLE remembered as part of a wall as well as a bit of a roof, just as “dado” can be the bit of the wall underneath the rail.

    On the whole I probably had most problem with BIG DADDY, where Shirley Crabtree did indeed spring to mind, but I was also distracted by thinking that “Powerful leader” might be leading to PIG rather than BIG, and 12d/24a, where I carelessly bunged in REEMPLOYED for a bit before remembering the philosopher that made LAYERED the obvious answer and corrected myself.

    39m all told, which isn’t bad for me at the moment.

    1. That’s an interesting use of “leaven” in the Arthur Machen description. I’d always thought of leavening as inspiring, uplifting, or at least just improving. Here it seems to lead to a negative outcome. I guess leavening can simply mean transforming whether for good or bad.

    2. Collins lists Big Daddy as someone important, wealthy or powerful. I thought of the wrestler first when the wordplay came together, which is why I put Shirley Crabtree (the wrestler’s real name) as the blog title.

  10. DNF. I should have trusted the cryptic for ARCO. Instead I thought the definition of “bowed” had to be ARCH. Ho-hum.

  11. 21d: I know colour vision is complicated, but
    is avocado greenish yellow?

  12. 43 minutes with LOI ARCO a construct I wasn’t sure about. I wasn’t totally convinced about BLEST being a synonym for LUCKY, but I guess so. I’d listen fully to RADIO TWO when it was the Light Programme, but not for me this morning. COD to TICKETY-BOO. Tricky stuff, and I was pleased to land. Thank you George and setter.

  13. Made a bad start by carelessly entering REEMPLOYED at 24a early in the solve. Managed to deal with the bottom except for ARCO, but found the top stubbornly unyielding. Felt particularly frustrated by 1a, having no inkling of what “opium dream” could indicate.

    Started hitting the Reveal button 6 or seven clues out for a 43m DNF – feels like I used up my week’s supply of solving karma with yesterday’s PB euphoria. Off to the Bluedot Festival for the weekend, back Tuesday.

  14. Not too hard today, but one or two subtle clues and some good surface readings. I got most held up on the simple ones .. had terrible trouble parsing rectangles, for some reason.
    ARCO refers not just to playing a stringed instrument, but to doing so using a bow. As opposed to plucking, for example.
    BRUIN is Dutch for brown, which makes the clue a wee bit cleverer

    1. That’s interesting, now you mention it. The plucking version is PIZZICATO, past participle of the verb to pluck. Most musical directions are present/past participles – glissando, rallentando etc. or adjectives/adverbs – lento, allegro etc. sometimes made from past participles e.g. staccato. Arco is a noun – the bow itself.

      1. I know a wide variety of musical directions. Every last one of them derived from crossword clues. I wouldn’t know which end of a violin to blow into ..

        1. I speak a bit of Italian. Every single musical direction I’ve ever seen is a plain Italian word. But not being a musician there might be others that aren’t.

        2. Thats why they put the f-holes in them for people like you Jerry. :- )

  15. 28:02 but slowed down by having to enter on an iphone. Is it my imagination or is the iphone keyboard less responsive when using it to fill in the crossword? Like others, I drew a blank in the top half on first pass and worked up from the bottom. ARCO unknown but no problems anywhere.

  16. 72m 12s
    A distinctly difficult puzzle for me. The top half took ages.
    COD: TIS
    Thank you, George, for explaining BIG DADDY and TIS.
    I had no problem with DIACRITIC. The New Yorker uses such marks in the form of diaereses.

  17. 55 mins but a technical DNF as I had ARCH, didn’t like it so looked it up. DNK the word. Many went in unparsed or half-parsed, if there is such a thing. ALPHABET being one. Like others, held up in the NE for ages. Finally saw LEAVENING and off I went.

    I liked RADIO TWO and BIG DADDY. Another where I had the IGD but not the BADDY.

    Thanks glh and setter.

    1. Clues can indeed be “half-parsed”
      They’re often the ones entered last
      There’s a similar word
      For the setters who “bird”
      As I’m sure you have guessed, it’s “half-arsed”

  18. TIS and LEAVENING went in first, but ALPHABET took a lot longer to arrive. NHO the river, but got the ABET from wordplay then crossers and definition did the rest. I then rambled around the grid picking off low hanging fruit before tussling with the tricky stuff. ARCO was vaguely remembered after following the instructions. BAKU took a while, but eventually emerged. Lots of nice PDMs as answers arrived surreptitiously from the instructions. Liked RADIO TWO, AGATHA and BIG DADDY. LOI was RECTANGLES. 31:09. Thanks setter and George.

  19. Definitely tricky. Nearly gave up after half hour then ALPHABET and TIS suddenly arrived and opened it all up. Finished with LOI ARCO derived only from wordplay so came here to see what it meant. Good stuff, thanks George.

  20. Same as others, top half moved like molasses but the bottom half flowed. BIG DADDY just makes me think of T Williams’s Cat On A Hot Tin Roof rather than a powerful leader. Close my eyes with holy dread of what’s in store tomorrow. 20.37

      1. There was a Sweet Daddy Siki this side of the Atlantic who was a very colourful and successful wrestler.

  21. 29 mins. For some reason I couldn’t anagram TOW resulting in variations of RADIO WOT. In the end I needed to get the SACRED COW to get it. Duh!
    Otherwise my LOI was TIS, which befuddled me.

    1. I had sis instead of TIS as it was hidden in the clue and I’d thought of necrosis,paralysis,sepsis etc. Oh well, had two thirds of correct answer.

  22. 22:47. I fund this rather tricky, struggling and failing to get on the wavelength, but I enjoyed the PDMs when they came. COD to RADIO TWO. Thanks George and setter.

  23. 11:11, I enjoyed this, though I can see why people use the word “off-beat” – my first reading of the across clues yielded so little in the way of immediate answers that I thought I was going to struggle, but clearly something suddenly clicked and I started to see where the setter was coming from, which was quite an interesting place.

  24. 11:27. I really enjoyed this: it wasn’t extremely difficult but the clues required close attention to wordplay. I started slowly but picked up speed, jumping around the grid and picking the clues off as more checking letters appeared.

  25. Enjoyable though tricky and I had one mistake. My tangle got inside pens for boxes and I thought a pentangle might be a pitch for an American sport. Never mind. An enjoyable hour . Really liked alphabet once the penny dropped.

  26. 36:07

    Slow start yielding nothing until AGATHA, URGE and REDEPLOYED arrived altogether. RH was quicker to fill in, then the NW, leaving just the SW which I finished in this order: TWEAKER, FABRIC, DIACRITIC (pencilled in), LAYERED and the unconvincing and unparsed BIG DADDY.

    Think I’ve previously only come across ARCO in one of these crosswords.

  27. Is it just me then? I always thought TIS was short for IT IS not THIS IS. Happy to be proven wrong but will remain bitter until such time. I had nothing so (daftly) plumped for TBs as “many inflammatory diseases” (I don’t know if TB is inflammatory) and thought TBS could be a latin abbrevation meaning “this is the end” – tempus babbius sum or summat like that. Otherwise all correct in 16:43 in what I thought was a generally enjoyable, but slightly odd puzzle.

    1. I assume “This” is being taken here as a synonym of “It” in the contraction.

    2. Re:TBS. “Tempus babbius sum” sure sounds like interesting Roman slang but how about “Terminus belli sit” instead-” let there be an end to war”.

  28. Failed to finish this one. Had REEMPLOYED for 24ac and failed to check it. Failed to get 12dn as a result, which I’m sure I would have got with the correct letter at the end.
    It would have been a DNF anyway as I had ARCH for 28ac hoping it might be some obscure triple definition.

  29. 11:17 this afternoon. Now gradually getting back to normal after a roller-coaster year so far for me personally, for various reasons.
    Most recently, Mrs P and I have been recovering from a mercifully mild dose of COVID, although the post-viral brain fog has taken a while to disperse and so I am grateful to the Times Crosswords in their various guises, for acting as an indicator that I may now just be getting out of the woods. (Don’t expect to see much improvement in my attempts at the high SNITCH puzzles which have always found me out from time immemorial!)
    A wavelength thing for me today I guess, so I would be expected to say that I enjoyed the setter’s style. I particularly liked 1 ac “alphabet” and 30 ac “Radio Two” but there were plenty of other candidates for my COD. Let’s see if I am so sanguine tomorrow….

  30. I’d always thought a gable was part of a roof, so 6ac was a bit tricky. MER at acred = landed. Helped by knowing that the great chess player Gary Kasparov was known as the ‘beast from Baku’. 28 minutes. In a crossword I produced once there was a criticism of lung = breather, although I thought it was OK.

  31. 1:25:31 but with assistance for NHO ARCO.
    I enjoyed wrestling with this one. Including BIG DADDY. My neighbour on the allotments grows Big Daddy tomatoes. I grow Mountain Magic. Perhaps that’s how I know Alph the sacred River.

  32. 46 mins but undone by arco which was a NHO . I put in arch with no great conviction. Tricky I thought but well crafted. Pleased to remember diacritic from an earlier failure, so something positive!
    Thx setter and blogger.

  33. Like Brenk1 I fell at the Arch. In fact I had it all done at 20 minutes except for three: avocado, arco and rectangles. And at that point I ground to a halt. Pentangles came quickly to mind for 11 across but despite much creative thought I just couldn’t see why. Finally saw the light. But in the bottom right it was worse. I was sure the colour was some obscure Italian arty word I’d never heard of. When eventually I clicked, I just bunged in arch because nothing else seemed to go. At least I’ve learned a new word. Many thanks. But that’s two days in a row with an error. Aargh. My time was 31’57”.

  34. 47.20. Ouch! I found that tough. Wrongfooted or stuck at every turn. Held up for ages on last couple avocado and arco. At least I managed to finish.

  35. I too felt immediately befuddled at the slightly odd stance of this setter, and struggled to get a foothold. NHO the river Alph or BAKU ( to my shame), and would not have thought of TICKETY BOO as a synonym for satisfactory. And the list goes on, unfortunately! I’m with Vinyl in thinking the setter may have escaped into Mephisto territory once or twice here. 🙁

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