Times 28,349: My Mate Marmion

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I polished this off relatively quickly (video solve here, with bonus Guardian Enigmatist at the end) but it certainly had its tricky bits! The somewhat fusty feel to the vocabulary, two cricket clues back-to-back, and a proper TLS-style lit clue gave this a retro feel, perhaps the work of a slightly older setter? Though I can tell he or she is very young at heart.

Grudgingly, as I totally couldn’t parse it at the actual time of solving, 3dn is a really good sporting &lit; props also to 6dn for being really quite hard to parse – we spent a minute or two at the end of the stream puzzling it out mob-handed. I liked this puzzle in any case, it was above-averagely educational and its vocab choices are my vocab choices even if I was never much of a cricketer. Well done to the setter!

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Officials showing excessive charm with female stars around (13)
FUNCTIONARIES – UNCTION [excessive charm] with F(emale) ARIES around
8 One in charge of NY paper, say, lacking freshness? (4)
USED – U(nited) S(tates) ED(itor)
9 Asian individuals tucked into curry maybe? (10)
10 Former PM to show lack of respect for artist and priest (8)
DISRAELI – DIS [to show lack of respect for] + R(oyal) A(cademician) and our old friend ELI (from the Books of Samuel)
11 Agency no longer in a slippery situation? (6)
13 Comment critically, notice given after a game (10)
16 Not half incautious, producing alcoholic drink (4)
CAVA – CAVA{lier}
17 Old bar providing port (4)
OBAN – O(ld) BAN [bar]. In the Argyll & Bute area of Scotland
18 Agent tore around with anger. presenting a range of items (10)
REPERTOIRE – REP [agent] + (TORE*) + IRE [anger]
20 Endless ordeal involving your old heavenly body (6)
TETHYS – TES{t} involving THY. A mid-sized moon of Saturn discovered by Cassini in 1684
22 Mistake wearing gem that’s only cheap paste? (8)
24 US President getting little right, helping to create anomaly (10)
ABERRATION – ABE [Lincoln] getting R(ight) + RATION [helping]
26 Short note written about part of speech (4)
VERB – reversed BREV{e}
27 Candidate finally finishes speaking with husky voice in the auditorium (8-5)
STALKING-HORSE – {finishe}S + TALKING with homophone of HOARSE
1 How to make Elba popular (11)
FASHIONABLE – reverse cryptic; to make ELBA, “fashion ABLE”. Though it’s more of a reversal than a proper anagram, ig we were being picky
2 Managed to conceal identity, on the way up from rock bottom (5)
NADIR – RAN concealing I.D., reversed
3 Kind to bag excellent 50? That’s more than is expected of me! (9)
TAILENDER – TENDER bagging A1 L. A tailender is a player very late in the cricket batting order, often a bowler, and not expected to contribute much to the team’s total.
4 Sporting hit in area at front of house? (2-5)
ON-DRIVE – if you are ON your DRIVE, you are in the area at the front of your house. Two cricket clues in a row? Man!
5 Naomi’s tricky medical procedure (5)
6 Thereby, one understanding nothing must keep quiet mostly (4,5)
IPSO FACTO – I [one] + PACT [understanding] + O [nothing], keeping SOF{t}
7 Prophet with small house disappearing in water (3)
SEA – {ho}SEA
12 Protection ahead of assault means an additional expense (5,6)
COVER CHARGE – COVER [protection] + CHARGE [assault]
14 Fellow standing on court outside hotel somewhere in China (9)
MANCHURIA – MAN on CURIA [court] outside H(otel)
15 Diseased tree to get rid of — most of the tree (9)
TEREBINTH – (TREE*) + BIN [get rid of] + TH{e}. Tree in the cashew family, formerly a source of turpentine
19 A Welsh female maybe “catty” in a certain way? (7)
PERSIAN – PER [a] + SIAN [Welsh female, maybe]. “Catty” in a certain way, as in, very simply, “a cat”. A == per as in”The cost of petrol has gone over £2 per/a litre”
21 Suggestion of story comes to writer in hut (5)
SHACK – S{tory} comes to HACK [writer]
23 A combination of elements making Scott’s hero abandon his lake (5)
INVAR – {loch}INVAR. Lochinvar is the romantic hero of Walter Scott’s Marmion; INVAR is an iron-nickel alloy with the useful property of expanding very little when heated
25 Vessel surfacing? One is designed to carry passengers (3)
BUS – reversed SUB(marine)

41 comments on “Times 28,349: My Mate Marmion”

  1. 25 min to finish this which was great by my Friday standards especially as I’d never heard of terebinth, Tethys and animadvert (LOI)
    Didn’t parse 6d but I found 1d amusing

  2. 37:49, but I’m here to confess to looking up ANIMADVERT and TEREBINTH. It seemed such a shame to DNF after doing so well with the rest

  3. Struggled again today with this leviathan. On the hour, but had to look up ANIMADVERT, a NHO that I was never going to get. Other new words include AMNIO, TETHYS, INVAR and TEREBINTH which, I probably should have known from the French Térébenthine.


    Thanks V and cunning setter.

  4. 34 minutes with LOI a constructed unknown, TETHYS. TEREBINTH was also assembled from the instructions. I didn’t parse IPSO FACTO either. COD in INVAR. pleased when young Lochinvar finally came out of the west. Decent puzzle. Thank you V and setter.

  5. 20:10
    Easy for Friday, for me; I even had no problem with the 2 NHO cricket clues. TEREBINTH I somehow remembered from the Old Testament (the terebinths of Mamre). DNK INVAR, but remembered Lochinvar from the poem (never read Marmion). DNK NIM, but inferred it was a game. Biffed IPSO FACTO cluelessly. Liked FASHIONABLE; got the -ABLE in early, had to wait for the FASHION.

  6. 47 minutes with one error where my version of wordplay (get rid of = BAN) led me to TEREBANTH at 15dn – I didn’t know the correct word anyway. Other unknowns, but worked out correctly, were TETHYS and INVAR. At first I could only think of IVANHOE as ‘Scott’s hero’ and although it obviously wouldn’t fit, the presence of the V-checker made it harder to dismiss from my mind. Fortunately I’d heard of Lochinvar and eventually dredged his name up.

    I wasn’t sure of ON-DRIVE though it had to be, and when checking it in the dictionary later I was disturbed for a moment by not finding it in Collins – the first place I looked. I wonder why they don’t have it. Fortunately Lexico soon put my mind at rest.

  7. My get rid of was can, so started with terecanth before rubbishy reared its ugly head. Not my favourite puzzle ever, too many total obscurities you’ve got to take a wild guess at: terecanth, tethys, invar, amnio. I actually knew the alloy invar, which was lucky – allowed me to back-engineer lochinvar. Crap definition – everything in the universe is a “mixture of elements”. Was Scott a Scot? Who nose?
    To quote the famous one: mood Meldrew.
    Did like tailender, COD by far.

    1. I had water as the answer: it’s at least quite well known as a mix of elements; what else do most people know the chemical formula for? Walter losing ‘his lake’ = water. Didn’t quite work but I was very confident nevertheless! Anyway too hard for me overall, gave up halfway through.

  8. 58:47
    Astonished to finish this. I was left with -N-M-D-E-T and had NHO ‘nim’, so threw in a guess after about 20 mins of staring at it blankly. Same with the NHO -ETHYS, where I just relied on the wp and went for it. Fully expected to see ‘Unlucky’ pop up, but no – I had stumbled on the correct answers. Terebinth was okay, as being a French teacher I knew the French word for turps and sort of got it from there. Might buy a lottery ticket later 🙂
    Thanks, v.

  9. Totally off the wavelength yesterday and gave up after an hour with half the grid empty. Today though finished in 40 mins, even though there were quite a few unknowns and it wasn’t straighforward IMHO. NHO TEREBINTH or TETHYS, but wordplay worked so bunged ’em in. INVAR a pure guess, because I didn’t know the Scott hero OR the alloy. COD ANIMADVERT. Love to see the idiomatically dated word ‘bish’ – a blast from my past. Certainly helped to know your cricket!

  10. This went in surprisingly smoothly considering the number of things I DNK. I thought golf was the likely candidate for the sport in ON DRIVE and rugby for TAILENDER (yes I know). DNK the tree but recalled a place called Terebinthia from the Narnia books. Realized that all this time I didn’t actually know what a STALKING HORSE was. Etc. etc. Had an AMNIO some years back – husband very nearly passed out. Shades of Jennings and Darbyshire with “bish”. 20.52

    1. I thought for a minute you had gotten confused with the children’s book “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson, but no, there is indeed a Terebinthia island-kingdom in Narnia! Nothing new in YA fiction under the sun.

  11. 34.02 but terebanth rather than binth. Easy mistake when you’ve never heard of that particular tree . Disappointed after dredging up animadvert from somewhere.

    Was really stuck till I got functionaries and then many a clue quickly followed. So, not a great week but looking forward to the next one. Thx setter and blogger.

  12. It was while looking up ‘terebanis’ to see if it was a tree that I came across TEREBINTH, nho. It’s an obscurity (part)-clued by an anagram, so perhaps one should grumble, but the anagram part is pretty obvious. It’s when the whole word is clued by an anagram that one has every right to grumble. AMNIO and TETHYS entered in the hope. 33 minutes.

    1. Mind you “terebanth” would have been valid imho, unless one knew the tree. We don’t have turpentine trees in my neck of the woods unfortunately

  13. 17:37. This was tricky, and there were a few too many clues that tipped just the wrong side of fair for me. I considered both TEREBANTH and TEREBINTH and decided in the end that ‘bin’ was a better synonym for ‘get rid of’, but I wouldn’t have been remotely surprised to find it was wrong.
    My last in was INVAR, where like jackkt I couldn’t get Ivanhoe out of my mind, even when it was obviously not going to lead to an answer.

  14. V I wanted to look at your video solving, but now I scroll up to it there doesn’t seem to be a link there, although the word ‘here’ was in blue and so a link when I first saw it. Have you decided to amend it?

    1. I think it’s still there but doesn’t appear in the “preview” – so you would need to click through to the full post. Or if you really can’t find it still, let me know and I’ll hook you up!

  15. Two letters wrong, following the wordplay for 15 to get TEREBANTH, and taking a guess at the unknown trademarked alloy at 23a based on the wordplay and a guess at the unknown Scottish hero and coming up with INVER rather than INVAR. Found this something of a RUBBISHY experience, all told.

    1. I plumped for TEREBINTH but also had INVER. I thought neither clue was great given the obscure answers.

  16. A bit of a workout for me today! For quite a while I was stuck with only NADIR(FOI), SEA, OBAN and BUS in the grid, but I managed to populate more of the bottom half, starting with ABERRATION and PERSIAN. Then it was an unmitigated struggle to progress, but eventually I managed to fashion 1d which opened up the top half via FUNCTIONARIES. I then managed to construct TETHYS and TEREBINTH, leaving ANIMADVERT as LOI. Fortunately I knew the game, and had come across the word previously. 46:55. Thanks setter and V.

  17. 33mins but as above I had to look up ANIMADVERT. 2 unknowns in one clue was too much for me. Not being very literary, Lochinvar only came to me after getting INVAR. And I’m now wondering whether Astronowt might want to add obscure trees to his limericks

    1. How to rhyme with the lovely moon TETHYS?
      Well our setter has kindly used OFFICE
      TEREBINTH was unknown
      But I’m not going to “moan”
      ANIMADERT’s the posh way to dis

  18. Lots of obscurities today, and I fell at one I thought I’d got right – with I?V?R I noticed that I could take NESS of INVERNESS, both of which seemed plausible as a lake and a hero relating to Walter Scott. Add INVAR to the list of words I didn’t know – although I knew a little about Lochinvar, from references in P.G. Wodehouse.

  19. P.S. As our blogger says in his intro, there’s an Enigmatist (John Henderson) in today’s Guardian. He did the puzzle for the 10th anniversary of TFTT. I’m not doing this one on the clock – I can’t.

    1. I didn’t time myself but from my recollections of livestreaming this is must have taken a good 20 minutes… ergo over 3 times as long as the Times puzzle.

  20. 47 minutes. Saved at the end by changing “inver” to the NHO but slightly more plausible sounding INVAR. Just managed to dredge up ANIMADVERT and TETHYS and had to put in TEREBINTH by following the wordplay recipe. Liked the two cricketing clues, especially TAILENDER.

    I felt pretty happy having solved this, but the confidence didn’t last. “Able was I ere I saw… Enigmatist”.

  21. 52 minutes. Was just about to throw in the towel when FASHIONABLE came and that made FUNCTIONARIES clear and gave me enough impetus to keep going. TEREBINTH and ANIMADVERT were last in but there were enough checkers to make both doable. Needed blog to understand the roles of cavalier ,nim and pact in parsing. Probably enjoyed ABERRATION and TAILENDER most.

  22. Hard but I enjoyed it. Did not know Nim for game but it had to be animadvert. I parsed ipso facto a bit differently. I thought it was fact for understanding, then p for soft and so for mostly but fact is not as good as pact! It seemed very difficult at the beginning but gradually fell into place.

  23. Too tough for me today, just over half completed with the clock approaching an hour. On checking the blog, I find two answers were wrong anyway which didn’t help.
    Simply not at the races today.

  24. 63:40

    Some way over the snitch (117 when I checked = 48:30) – found this quite hard. Pleased of course to finish but some parts were a bit of a stretch.

    TEREBINTH – pieced together but an obscure plant that I’d never heard of
    TETHYS – pieced together NHO
    INVAR – INVER or INVAR – plumped for the more likely but couldn’t have told you where LOCHINVAR was from
    IPSO FACTO – one of those annoying latin phrases that I really should know by now
    AMNIO – shrug

  25. Did not enjoy this at all today.
    DNF and came here for the answers.
    NHO of terebinth, Tethys, nim, animadvert, Hosea, Invar, amnio. Strong personal MEH at clues such as fashion Elba.

    Did really enjoy tailender.

    Thanks v and setter.

  26. Somehow I landed on OBAN as my FOI, then got MANCHURIA and TETHYS, even, and soon had the SW nailed down, including TEREBINTH. “All right!” I says to meself. And so it went… But in the end I had to look up INVAR (the only word that fits the crossers!), at which point I did remember the right Scott character… (Was eagerly expecting to be an early poster, but I had to go to sleep before the blog finally appeared.)

  27. I got there all green in the end, with a lucky late change of heart just before submission switching from TEREBANTH to TEREBINTH. Spend far too long trying to get Ivanhoe to work for INVAR when I had the V, but then I remembered INVAR (which is often used in thermostats as one side of a bi-metallic strip with the other side being something that expands a lot when heated). I hadn’t heard of TETHYS but the wordplay seemed clear. I knew amniocentesis so AMNIO seemed a plausible short form. This was an odd combination of easy clues and obscure ones.

  28. I thought I was going to fail at the last hurdle with this one – I had the crossing letters for 13A, but no idea what the word was, not being helped by assuming that it was a game that held an anagram of Comment, Ad and A. Eventually, and after TAILENDER (brilliant clue) revealed itself, I saw that ADVERT fitted the second half, and a vaguely remembered ANIMADVERT (from previous puzzles) snuck into my mind. NHO Nim and was unable to parse IPSO FACTO, but it was so obvious that I let it pass for once. NHO TEREBINTH, or indeed, TETHYS or INVAR, but wordplay was helpful, though I agree I came close to putting TEREBANTH. Mr Ego came up with Cavalier for incautious, giving me the CAVA I should have guessed at immediately, given that it is my tipple of choice! V might think it’s old-fashioned, but I enjoyed today’s particularly – perhaps I am that old-fashioned girl… Thank you, V, for the elucidation and setter for a good work-out.

    1. I certainly don’t think of old-fashioned as a negative epithet – nothing wrong with harking back to a golden age.

  29. I didn’t get round to yesterday’s puzzles, and successfully cleared them first, before fat-fingering today’s QC. By this time, my patience threshold was on the low side, so I rather biffed my way through this. Nothing I actually didn’t know as a word or name, but a fair number of things I couldn’t actually define !

    LOI ANIMADVERT (took up my last 2 minutes)
    TIME 10:52

  30. 29:16 late afternoon. Found this tough, with plenty of mental treacle evident, relieved by a few breakthroughs to help me struggle over the line.
    Several NHOs – 20 ac “tethys”, 15 d “terebinth” and 23 d “invar” plus only vague awareness of meaning of “animadvert” and “stalking horse”.
    COD 3d “tailender”, nice surface although Mr Bumrah might bristle at the definition these days.
    Thanks to setter for a tricky puzzle and to Verlaine for the blog.
    Now to tackle Enigmatist if time allows…

  31. 29.01. Stuck for a long time at the end on invar and animadvert. Fortunately had heard of young Lochinvar so trusted to wordplay and removed the loch. Advert eventually occurred to me as the notice, I don’t think I was ever going to crack that one from the game. Terebinth and amnio were unknowns but gettable. A stiff test which I rather enjoyed.

  32. Went into the THB (too hard basket) as I stalled halfway, with no idea about ANIMADVERT ( NHO the game), TETHYS , STALKING HORSE or TEREBINTH.
    Such is life…

Comments are closed.