Times 28351 – The takeaway place

Time: 19 minutes

Music: Thelonius Monk Quartet, In Action

I did not find this one particularly difficult, despite numerous mis-biffs, and managed to trot home in a decent time for me.   Lack of any attempt to conceal the literals was certainly helpful.   I quickly discovered it was not blue-eyed, and not high-jumper, as the crossing letters popped my balloon.   I was also awfully slow on some of the obvious ones like Togo and overs.

I believe we will see some fast times from the usual crew on this one, while those who have never managed to finish the big one may get a chance.


1 Ring obtained over in West African state (4)
TOGO – O GOT backwards, where over is a reversal indicator and does not mean O.
3 Athlete’s particularly protective knitted garment? (4,6)
LONG JUMPER – A silly cryptic hint, although I’m not sure what is being protected.
9 Let in again to study at US university (7)
READMIT – READ + MIT.   I read somewhere that MIT is the only US university where all students must pass calculus and physics, and not watered-down versions either.
11 Artlessness of surgeon standing by major road in north-east (7)
12 State Pierre’s agreement to meet Welsh girl in Hollywood area (9)
13 Hallucinatory experience produced by drug? Nonsense (5)
TRIPE –  TRIP + E, the setter’s favorite drug.
14 Wonder at his men’s not unusual (12)
ASTONISHMENT – Anagram of AT HIS MEN’S NOT, easy to solve when you see men as an element in a long word.
18 Again set up old seat of learning, losing one by park (12)
RECONSTITUTE – REC + O + [i]NSTITUTE.     Many will try to biff reinstitute.
21 Deliveries sweethearts initially rejected (5)
22 In theory, no friend receives maidens at home (9)
24 Quiet rescuer loses head — a worker by the way (7)
25 Berceuse in two keys penned by French composer (7)
LULLABY – LULL(A,B)Y, not the first French composer you think of.
26 Eccentric lord with a role protecting universal currency (10)
EURODOLLAR –  Anagram OF LORD + A ROLE around U.   Not really a currency, but close enough.
27 Slide sideways, initially striking young child (4)
SKID – S[triking] + KID.
1 Austrian novice of slender build (8)
TYROLEAN – TYRO + LEAN, simple and elegant, should be a chestnut but is not.
2 Finally going for a tryst involving university degree-holder (8)
GRADUATE – [goin}G [fo}R A + D(U)ATE.   I used 23 to solve this one.
4 Outstanding note on a historical Italian town (5)
5 Police officers right to go into data on titled ladies (9)
6 Fortuitous, a Parisian camping on Scottish island by loch (13)
7 Summary — not quite exact (6)
PRECIS – PRECIS[e], a genuine chestnut.
8 Advert covering e-cigarette? (6)
REEFER – RE(E)FER.   Lift and separate carried to extremes.
10 Ill-judged refurbishment of modern studios (13)
MISUNDERSTOOD – Anagram of MODERN STUDIOS, with a MER at the literal
15 Villain caught breaking into safe on fifth of April (9)
16 Withdrawal of power defending player (8)
PULLBACK – PULL + BACK, where pull refers to political influence.
17 Innocent inventor of decimal system this writer had talked of (4-4)
DEWY-EYED –  sounds like DEWEY I’D.
19 Bird house originally opened by American writer (6)
HOOPOE – HO + O[pened] + POE.
20 Dam constructor’s extremely brittle state (6)
BEAVER – B[rittl]E + AVER.
23 Island 2 keeping key (5)
MALTA – M(ALT)A, a rather uncalled-for cross-reference.

95 comments on “Times 28351 – The takeaway place”

  1. 12:59, but I flung in OSTEA. Same MER at MISUNDERSTOOD. In DEWY-EYED, ‘talked of’ applies to ‘inventor of decimal system’ (Dewey) as well as ‘this writer had’.

  2. Also 19 minutes. 1dn is a bad clue because both the novice and the province can be spelt with an ‘I’ rather than a ‘Y’. As the letter is unchecked the clue needed rethinking so that solvers could work out which vowel the setter had in mind.

    1. An interesting point Jack, and possibly the reason for a high number of regular customers having an error this morning. Personally I’ve seen ‘Tirolean’ but never ‘tiro’, so I was never in danger on that score.

  3. 33 minutes. Needed to correct paverer and fullback before getting everything right. Liked TYROLEAN and LOUISIANA but COD to UNINTENTIONAL. ( I found the cross-reference in 23 down to GRADUATE useful in giving me MA to go around ALT).

  4. 16 minutes. I mis-parsed PULLBACK as P + [F]ULLBACK, but our blogger’s parsing makes much more sense. I dithered about E or I for OSTIA for a while but then remembered having seen the word recently in a crossword.

    LOI, with confidence only provided by crossers and wordplay, was the NHO PAVIOUR. Sounds like a word invented by Hyacinth Bucket.

      1. Thanks v. much. I think that’s a reflection of how gentle the puzzle is – current SNITCH is 61 – rather than being indicative of any improvement in my solving skills. There are already some fast times and I’m sure there will be more PB’s.

    1. Personally I was saved by the Paviours’s arms in Pimlico near the Dept of Energy where I worked.

  5. Monday, very easy. Paviour’s a funny word, but no holdup. Liked long jumper and scoundrel the best.

  6. 9:07, except it wasn’t FULLBACK. Shame on me for not even reading the clue.

    I should point out that this puzzle took me two minutes less to complete than the “Quick Cryptic”.

  7. A decent Monday outing for me at 29 minutes..

    FOI 1ac TOGO – never been!
    LOI 25ac LULLABY – Lully was new to me.
    COD 19dn HOOPOE – I once saw this beautiful bird in a Tuscan orchard.
    WOD 17dn DEWY-EYED

    I thought at first the dam(n) constructor @20dn was Herbert Hoover!

    1. We have a couple of Hoopoes who come and live in our garden for about a month each year. Very pretty birds.

      1. Indeed, and rather odd-looking with that showy crest. I see a few regularly at certain times of year outside my apartment block. They are fond of sunbathing.

  8. Despite the clue being clear, I managed to put TYROLIAN. Otherwise no problems other than the nho PAVIOUR, which turned out to be correct.

  9. DNF. I went with OSTEA. Not a great clue in my opinion given that the musical note can be TI or TE.
    On another note, whilst reading a novel at the weekend I came across the term “prie-dieu” which we saw recently and at the time I thought of as fairly obscure. Then within the next few pages I was met with Lochinvar which we saw on Friday and which I thought of as particularly obscure. I wonder how many “obscurities” I’ve actually read before and never remembered them.

    1. I only visited Ostia once on a drive, with my producer, from Torino to Zurich. We were recommended by writer and gourmet Mike Everett to take lunch at the ristorante named the Black & White Horse in Ostia. It was quite superb. So much so we missed our evening flight out of Zürich!

    2. Prie-dieu.

      Seeing your comment reminded me I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago after the unknown word ‘wicca’ appeared in a puzzle. I was reading a mystery novel later that day and there it was, ‘wicca’ three times on a single page! Prior to that day I’d lived nearly 75 years without encountering it before.

  10. Never heard of neither Berceuse nor Lully so some late pondering caused me to drag the Snitch up a bit.

    1. Lully was a prolific composer and very famous in France in his day. One interesting fact is that he died eventually as a result of a wound self-inflicted accidentally whilst conducting his orchestra.

      1. Indeed and in a most bizarre way. Conductors in those days tended to physically beat time by bashing the floor with a stick. Our Jean Baptiste managed to miss the floor and hit his own foot, which became infected and… The rest is history….

  11. Well, definitely a PB for me today by a long chalk at 18 mins. I really was on the ball. Didn’t even finish my tea!

    I hadn’t properly parsed LULLABY but hey, am I worried?

    I liked the long clues which went in pretty well straight away. SCOUNDREL and EURODOLLAR were fun too.

    Thanks v and friendly setter.

      1. Thanks. It was, as were a number of others including the aforementioned HOOPOE.

  12. I wasn’t particularly speedy at this one, coming in at 37 minutes. I am a little tired today but mostly I think it was the unknowns, especially the more unlikely-looking words like PAVIOUR, that slowed me down. Glad I remembered OSTIA from somewhere, otherwise it could easily have been OSTEA for me, too…

  13. 23 minutes with LOI PULLBACK finally accepted over a potential reference to Gary Neville. “Alleluia! What a PAVIOUR,”as I said when the bill came in for the new driveway. I didn’t know the word referred to the guy doing the job as well. LULLABY was the only word that fitted the crossers. I’ve just checked out Jean-Baptiste. COD to DEWY-EYED for reminding me that my sister was once a librarian. Good Monday fare. Thank you V and setter

  14. Adieu, ye joys of La Valette!
    Adieu, sirocco, sun, and sweat!

    20 mins pre-brekker. NHO Lully.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  15. Fairly straightforward at 20 min
    Never heard of paviour or berceuse
    I’ve heard of dewy decimal but didn’t realise it was a bloke

  16. 8:12. I was glad I stopped at the end to reconsider FULLBACK and, after some deliberation, change it to PULLBACK. Rather easy but I wasn’t convinced by the wordplay for LONG JUMPER, the definition for MISUNDERSTOOD and didn’t know the REFER meaning for ADVERT. Thanks Vinyl and setter.

    1. I rather liked LONG JUMPER. It would certainly offer more protection from the cold than a short one !

  17. 17m 56s…so not a PB but my best time for a while.
    Thank you, vinyl, for RECONSTITUTE, LULLABY and REEFER, clues I was unable to parse fully.
    As with others I had never heard of PAVIOUR before.

  18. Really happy with a PB today at 5.36. Appreciate it was quite an easy one but at least my practice is paying off.

    I still struggle on some of the trickier puzzles as often come across words that I don’t know, so lots to do to up my completion rate and/or lower my average time on say the 120-140 SNITCH rated puzzles, but very happy with being a flat-track bully for now!

    Thanks v and setter

    1. That’s an impressive time, even for a relatively straightforward puzzle. You’re obviously progressing very nicely !

  19. First completion for a while, in about 25 minutes. Had to construct HOOPOE and PAVIOUR from wordplay, and didn’t know Lully the composer (or what a berceuse is) so needed all the checkers before LULLABY went in. Pleased to remember key = something on a keyboard to get MALTA, as that’s something I’ve failed to get on multiple occasions before.

    FOI Togo
    LOI Lullaby
    COD Scoundrel

  20. 6:30. No great problems this morning. I did hesitate a bit over OSTIA, far from sure it wasn’t OSTEA, and struggled to believe that PAVIOUR is a word. I also had HIGH JUMPER at first, thinking ‘particularly protective’ was a separate reference to a wall or fence.
    Fortunately I didn’t know you could spell TYROLEAN any other way. The ambiguity is unfortunate: all the dictionaries support both spellings for both words and Chambers prefers ‘tiro’.

    1. Yes, both spellings of both words have appeared in Times puzzles over the years, either in clues, answers or wordplay.

  21. Very much the same story as Keriothe, above, with a MER over MISUNDERSTOOD. LOI was SCOUNDREL, for some reason, which I simply couldn’t see, trying Sure, Peter and Secure in turn before the O from 18A made me consider Sound. I expected the island to begin with B rather than M, as I would refer to an MA as a post-graduate, but NOMINALLY put me right. Also had WIDE-EYED for quite a time, having forgotten the long-distant Dewey-decimal!

  22. 06:53, technically a fail with one pink square, but as already pointed out by others, both TIRO and TIROLEAN are perfectly acceptable spellings, so I feel I can legitimately claim it, even with a pink square. OSTIA is familiar to all smug classicists, although PAVIOUR certainly felt like a word which belonged in a rather harder puzzle, but there you go.

    1. Hell of a fast time, Tim, even for a relatively easy puzzle. Well done. Had this been a competition puzzle, both TYROLEAN and TIROLEAN would in fairness surely have to be accepted as current answers to 1D. Interesting to know whether the setter agrees.

  23. Monday fare indeed, might have been a PB (less than 12 minutes) but was interrupted briefly. Never thought of spelling TYROLEAN with an i as TYRO always a Y I thought. We regularly had hoopoes in season in our garden in France, lovely birds; took some good photos of them pulling up worms to feed the young.

  24. “Why don’t we stop fooling ourselves ? The game is over, over, over” (Simon & Garfunkel : ‘OVERS’ from their great album ‘Bookends’). Surely one of the greatest songs about the death of love.

    As a “smug classicist”, albeit only to ‘O’ Level standard, I did know OSTIA, and avoided other problems until the NHO LOI, which I was able to parse, and then work out the answer with a little juggling.

    I was surprised by the Anglicised spelling of the usually American pavior.

    TIME 5:54

    1. Simon & Garfunkel came to mind for me too but in a slightly different way.

  25. This must be a low snitch, as I completed it in just about half my previous PB, a scarcely believable 20:30. Not going to claim it as I did a couple of cheeky checks, one of which caused me to re-think HALFBACK.

    Knew OSTIA, as its definitely worth a visit being very close to Fiumicino airport, has great mosaics, and parts are like Pompeii. And not busy.

    Spend ages trying to decide between LONG JUMPER and HIGH JUMPER, and still don’t really see it.


  26. It must be a pretty easy one if I can do it in 20 minutes, and the SNITCH confirmed this. No problem with PAVIOUR because the wp was so helpful and although I didn’t know the word I suspected it existed. What has happened to the arguments we used to have about MIT not really being a university?

    1. Will those arguments seem to have been settled in favour of Paul-in-London who is a graduate and therefore naturally a stickler.

    2. Hopefully long gone along with arguments over whether Eton can be clued by ‘school’.

      1. Not in my memory. It was clued as ‘school’ and pedants used to complain that it’s not a school but a college.

          1. Sorry, I think we were at cross purposes in the follow-ups. You were talking about MIT and I was talking about Eton.

            1. Ah yes! I was replying to Wil R. To confuse matters more Old Etonians refer to the place as just ‘school’ on the basis that it’s the only one that really counts!

  27. I did well over half of this today. About the same amount as today’s QC 🙂

    My first real go at the big one because it seemed straightforward

    1. Well done Tina, It was a good one for us QC-ers looking to make it to the Premiership.

    2. Managed to complete, but with a little help along the way! I think the QC was also much easier today.

  28. The first two down clues had me thinking of two blockbuster 60s movies. I’m hoping the Sound Of Silence drowns out The Sound Of Music. There were two famous Jean-Baptistes at the court of Louis XIV, Lully and Moliere. Nice puzzle. 14.05

    1. Where was Sound of Music set? Always assumed Salzburg, but looking at a map that’s not in Tyrol. And a long walk to Switzerland – not a short stroll over the mountains. Google google google… seems the von Trapps did live in Salzburg, but escaped to Italy, not Switzerland, and went by train, not Shank’s pony.

      1. Yes, if you climb over the nearest mountains to Salzburg to cross a border you end up in Germany!

  29. Fortunately I only knew the TYRO spelling of the novice, and during proofreading I reconsidered FULLBACK and changed it to PULLBACK. Dodged two bullets there! TOGO was FOI and RECONSTITUTE was LOI. Would’ve been under 15 minutes if I hadn’t proof read, but would’ve had a pink square! 15:19. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  30. I was patting myself on the back for being fairly close to my PB at 14.35 only to discover it wasn’t OSTEA (which now looks wrong even as I type it) and FULLBACK which was the only one I didn’t parse as I went. Always spelt TYROLEAN with a y so not a problem there at least. Never heard of Monsieur Lully even though I listen to a fair amount of classical music on Classic FM.

  31. A lot of shoe-ins from defintions made this a relatively quick solve for me (18 mins). Even the long anagrams didn’t need much unravelling.

  32. Put me down as another OSTEA – given the two options, it seemed slightly more likely to me. 5m 11s with that error, finishing on LULLABY where both berceuse & Lully were unknowns.

    I’m not a fan of clues like 8d where you have to pull apart words in the clue (even where there’s a hyphen). Rather surprised it appeared in the Times crossword, but I feel I’m fighting a losing battle these days.

  33. The Paviour’s Arms was a very popular pub in Westminster many years ago. It ran adjacent to Horseferry Road at the embankment end.

  34. A bit of extra time today, so noted the SNITCH and had a bash.


    Heard of OSTIA and unaware of TYRO = TIRO.

    Somewhat lucky to have not thought of FULLBACK.

    A top 10 time for me of 12:34.

  35. Finished this while eating the first course of my lunch. I knew paviour was a paving stone, but the other meaning is somewhat obscure.

  36. Finished (although not really cos I had fullback not PULLBACK) in less than an hour which is a rare achievement for me (both finishing itself and doing it in less than 24 hours)

    Agree re MER ( my new favourite TLA) for MISUNDERSTOOD.

    Only know TYRO with a Y

    Have learned today that such a job exists as is called a PAVIOUR (I know laying slabs is a thing that needs doing and gets done) and feel much smarter now than I did before as a result.

    Thanks setter n blogger

  37. 15 minutes but with toga and tyrolian. Can only blame a hallucinatory experience!

  38. I managed this in 23.23 which is very fast for me – I frequently DNF the 15×15. NHO Paviour, but able to work it out from the cryptic.

    Many thanks


  39. 10:42 this morning. Low SNITCH, so I would expect a raft of fast times on today’s Leader Board.
    Having one of my occasional woolly days post-COVID, so fairly happy with my time. Congrats to all those posting personal bests by the way.
    Agreed with our blogger that the literals were defined generously and for the most part my GK was up to the test, although there wasn’t too much of 25 ac that I’d heard of. But even without knowing what a berceuse was nor having heard of M Lully, it just shows that a clue can be solved with a few crossers and a couple of keys in place.
    Thanks to setter and Vinyl for the blog. Incidentally V, I was interested in your choice of music today – could listening to Monk in such circumstances be habit forming going forward? Or maybe not…

  40. Encouraged to give this a try by Merlin’s comment in the QC and, with a little help, managed to complete on line in about an hour (allowing for a hefty break to cook, consume and clean up supper!). It must have been easy as I usually find the 15×15 a much bigger step up from the QC. None-the-less, happy to have completed in a time that is sometimes quicker than the QC if I am off-wavelength!

  41. ‘History ill-judged him, but this was because he was misunderstood’.

    It sort of works?

  42. Doing this as a warm-up for the Tuesday offering – and because (you never know) this could finally be the full week of green ticks.

    Enjoyed it quite a lot, though I felt like I was playing a bit fast and loose. Didn’t parse some (PULLBACK, REEFER) properly, LULLABY guessed from the crossers, and OSTIA was trusted to luck…
    …so a successful completion was a great outcome, 26:17 – thanks V and setter.

  43. Under 20m but…

    ….flunked on FULLBACK and UNINTENTIPNAL. First errors for 6 weeks though…

  44. I did this crossword whilst in hospital. (8 D) The advert / reefer thing passed me by. Play on “advert” (verb)? “Inadvertent” more frequently found. (17 D) I don’t think “dewy-eyed” scans properly : Dewey the American librarian and educator leaves “Y E D”. Quo vadis? No doubt I’ll think of it later. “Wide-eyed” also contains “Dewey” and leaves “I D E”.

  45. Managed most in 30 mins, even PAVIOUR, which was generously clued, but NHO LULLY, nor BERCEUSE, and a hastyBLUE-EYED held me up for a long time. Advert=refer? ( just sour grapes 🙄)

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