Times 28353 – a puzzle for the curious

Not a difficult puzzle, but one of those that required a little literary knowledge and led me into the depths of Wikipedia to explore the stories or origins behind some of the answers.

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

1 Days after five in a moonwalk perhaps made great strides (8)
ADVANCED – A DANCE for a moonwalk (à la Michael Jackson), insert V for five, add D for days.
9 Oberon is left partially rebuffed in a Shakespearean setting (8)
ELSINORE – my FOI, reversed as above. Hamlet’s location.
10 Surfeit eaten but not swallowed is a problem for some diners (6)
GLUTEN – GLUT = surfeit, then EATEN with ATE removed.
11 Vegetable is planted by school in grassy area (5,5)
SWISS CHARD – SWARD a grassy area, insert IS and SCH.
12 Clip nails back (4)
SNIP – PINS reversed.
13 Gullible person led by visionary’s material (10)
SEERSUCKER – SEER a visionary, SUCKER a gullible person. I wondered how the name came about so looked it up. From Persian Shir Shakar apparently which means milk and sugar. Wiki can explain.
16 Pointed thanks for each editor (7)
TAPERED – TA (thanks) PER (for each) ED(itor).
17 Forbidding expert to sneer (7)
GRIMACE – GRIM (forbidding) ACE (expert).
20 Horsey English pursuit run by Scotsman? (10)
EQUESTRIAN – E(nglish) QUEST (pursuit) R(un) IAN (typical Scotsman).
22 Go ahead and cable (4)
LEAD – double definition.
23 Rotten page note on the subject of perfume (10)
PUTRESCENT – P (page) UT (note) RE (on the subject of) SCENT. The first name of the diatonic scale was (I learnt) called UT before it was called DO as in Do Re Mi.
25 One can initially walk steadily over a lot of compacted snow (3,3)
ICE CAP – I C (one can initially) then PACE reversed (‘over’).
26 City custom mainly associated with a sprout (3,5)
ABU DHABI – A, BUD (sprout) HABI(T) = custom mostly. Capital of Abu Dhabi and the UAE; Wiki tells us the name in Arabic means “father of the gazelle”, and why, if you’re interested.
27 Attractive place providing facility (8)
PLEASING – PL(ace) EASING = providing facility.
2 Don’s love of a clue I’d rewritten involving Newton (8)
DULCINEA – (A CLUE ID N)*. Don Quixote’s imaginary but essential girlfriend.
3 Change still reported in image of church (10)
ALTARPIECE – ALTAR PIECE sounds like ALTER PEACE = change still.
4 Pleased about sister agreeing (10)
5 Was crazy about having suffered patricide? (7)
DESIRED – If you were DE-SIRED, you’d have lost your Dad and been the victim of a patricide, perhaps.
6 Goddess of India succeeded more than once (4)
ISIS – I for India, S for succeeded, twice.
7 Offer follows second skater’s move (6)
MOHAWK – MO (second, moment), HAWK (offer, sell). An ice skating turn of some sort. All to do with edges.
8 Policeman’s good aim with weapons, mostly (8)
GENDARME – G (good) END (aim) ARME(D). In France the Gendarmerie is part of the military, not the police, but they are responsible for civilian law and order.
14 Leap year. Perhaps in April? (10)
SPRINGTIME – SPRING for leap, TIME for year, seems a bit loose.
15 Arrives carrying actor’s part showing fair quality (10)
COMELINESS -COMES (arrives) with LINES inserted. Wenches used to be comely, but it’s probably not in the PC dictionary now.
16 Actor one’s seen in The Bridge (8)
THESPIAN – THE SPAN = The Bridge, insert I.
18 Clergyman is a cutting comedian (8)
CHAPLAIN – Charlie CHAPLIN with A inserted.
19 Fish breaking journey in rough water (4-3)
TIDE-RIP – IDE (a fish often caught in crossword-sea) inside TRIP for journey.
21 Disloyal peacekeepers leading to ceasefire killing hundred (6)
UNTRUE -UN (peacekeepers) TRUCE loses C for hundred.
24 Pass up plans for processed meat (4)
SPAM – MAPS are passed upwards. Apparently SPAM was launched in 1937 and the name was derived either from “SPiced hAM” or as “Special Army Meat”. Hormel, the makers, weren’t telling.


92 comments on “Times 28353 – a puzzle for the curious”

  1. 17:02, but I typed in ALTERPIECE and never noticed the typo. Very irritating. Biffed ADVANCED, SWISS CHARD, & ABU DHABI, parsed post-submission. LOI MOHAWK (DNK), which took me 5 minutes.

  2. Pleasant stroll, no problems. Didn’t know mohawk or that Dulcinea was from Quixote, but neither a holdup. Thought SPRINGTIME loose as I entered it, but maybe not. Ignore the punctuation and attach PERHAPS to YEAR to indicate the DBE, with IN APRIL? – with the question mark – as the definition?
    Liked the corny desired, the well-spotted Elsinore, and putrescent where rotten was an obvious anagram indicator.
    COD ice-cap, my last one in.

  3. Just under 50 minutes Many not fully understood until reading the blog-MOHAWK, ADVANCED,UNTRUE especially. I assumed UT must be the note in PUTRESCENT because I remembered “gamut” was something to do with music. Enjoyed DESIRED and ALTARPIECE most.

  4. At 47 minutes I was back in the saddle after the Tuesday Tsunami!

    LOI 4dn DESIRED as I mistakenly entered ADVANCES and not ADVANCED at 1ac!
    COD 25ac ICE CAP
    WOD 13ac SEERSUCKER – l well remember back in the late sixties the fashion for seersucker shirts down in the Chelsea and Kensington areas. I was more ‘Tie & Dye’and of the floral persuasion, with outrageous primary-coloured suits from ‘Grey Flannel’, behind Baker Street and stack-heels from ‘Kween’ in the King’s Road. Anyone remember ‘Seven Miles Out’ in Manchester. Elton!?

    Mohawk and Choctaw (turn) from Alan Weekes!

    1. I was definitely into seersucker shirts from Kensington Market, Ken high st.
      Also cool was Granny Takes a Trip on the Kings Road.

      1. Indeed it was. I attended Stockport College of Art, opposite Stockport Town Hall on Wellington Road South. SMO was just off Wellington Road North which was closer to Manchester. Meldrew.

  5. 28 minutes. I agree with isla3 about ‘in April?’ being the SPRINGTIME def, with ‘year. Perhaps’ = TIME. I had come across UT for ‘note’ which helped with 23a and managed to avoid the E for A trap for ALTARPIECE.

    I remembered “lutz”, “axel” and “salchow” from Torvill and Dean days, but did they ever do a MOHAWK?

    1. When you say you remember “lutz” etc from Torvill & Dean days, I wonder if you mean from commentary by Alan Weeks. That’s where I learnt such terms. He was definitely the go-to man for sports such as ice skating and ice hockey.

      1. You could be right. We may well have had the UK commentary here then, although Alan Weeks is not a name I remember in the same way as say Peter Allis for the golf. Torvill and Dean were certainly a big “thing” here anyway at the time.

        1. I don’t know but perhaps I’m a bit older. However, I certainly remember Peter Alliss

  6. I put DULCINDA for the nho Quixote’s imaginary gf. I assume I was going for one of Don Juan’s. Careless looking at the anagrist. Otherwise no real problem. I knew Do used to be Ut but I just biffed it and never analyzed the details. I didn’t know MOHAWK was an ice-skating term but it seemed plausible (I only know salchow and axel and lutz, and maybe a few more if pushed). I know a “thrown double axel” is a thing, but I have no idea what. Sounds more like a mechanical failure in Formula 1.

      1. Come on, in comparison to that dude Lothario, Romeo,Casanova and Porfirio Rubirosa were shrinking violets.

  7. Easiest this week so far, I thought, but I knew all the words for this one… though the skating sense of MOHAWK was worked out from the wordplay. That was the antepenultimate one, with LOI SWISS CHARD and POI DESIRED (I saw the answer a lot earlier, but didn’t get the—groan—pun).

  8. 42 minutes. Slow but steady progress and a couple of fortunate guesses got me through this unscathed.

    I didn’t know DULCINEA but assumed a reference to Don Juan and took a stab at he most likely looking placement of remaining anagrist when all the checkers were in place. I put MOHAWK having assumed MO for ‘second’ and the rest was only thing I could come up with to fit MO?A?K.

    I didn’t complete the parsing of GLUTEN because I was trying to reconcile ‘eat’ with ‘not swallowed’.

  9. Usual time but put in DULCENIA. The 3 remaining vowels could have gone in any order.

    1. I’m with you there. Third DNF of the week after failing on OSTIA on Monday and BEARD yesterday. I can’t decide if it’s poor clueing or sour grapes.

        1. 26:13

          Couple of hiccups in spelling of DULCINEA and thinking of the word GLUTEN. Easing back in after a few busy days.

  10. 24m – pleased with the time, but add me to the DULCENIA list. 45 years or so since I read Don Quixote, the correct solution was too far in the deepest recesses of my memory. Given the anagrist and the crossers, it was a complete toss-up for those who don’t know that name – I’m calling that a poor clue.

  11. 8:51. NHO DULCINEA but I managed to guess the order of the vowels right. It’s a nasty one because if (as I did) you assume a Don is Spanish and so his love is likely to be dulce then you’re off to a false start. It just didn’t look right to me somehow that way round, so I wonder if I’ve come across the character before and forgotten her. I’ve never read Don Quixote.
    I don’t think I’ve ever encountered TIDE-RIP in that order before.

    1. Granted that one man’s GK is another’s esoterica and all, still I was surprised to see how many people didn’t know DULCINEA (I’ve never read DQ either).
      I also wondered about NHO TIDE-RIP, as I only knew ‘rip-tide’; which, I find from ODE, is another term for ‘rip’, which I didn’t know.

      1. Interestingly Sancho Panza is perfectly familiar to me and has been for most of my life. An example of culturally engrained sexism?

        1. That’s a stretch. Dulcinea is fairly peripheral figure, a very conventional idealised lady who doesn’t exist outside Quixote’s mind. He thinks as a chivalrous knight he ought to be in the service of such a lady so he invents one.

          Panza is a much more prominent, original and fully realised character . As Quixote’s faithful companion he also tends to turn up in pictorial representations of Quixote, including cartoons and other forms of popular culture. There’s no need to invoke sexism to explain why he’s better known.

          1. Well my tongue was at least partially in my cheek but I stand corrected! Now you mention it he does appear a lot in pictures, doesn’t he?

        1. I tried going and figuring, but it didn’t help me much with Jarrah. Plants and vegetation.

          I’ve got the same comment as Keven and keriothe regarding rip-tide and tide-rip. It went in easily, but I’d not heard it that way around.

        2. I only knew Jarrah only as the brand of flavoured instant coffee that my better half consumes in vast quantities. Not sure why it’s named after a tree.

  12. 22:17
    Interesting puzzle. Dulcinea a write-in, as aged 20 I had to read Don Q cover to cover in the original Spanish, an ordeal that took a fortnight. That said, it beat the hell out of Rabelais’ G et P, which struck me as unspeakably silly; I never did make it all the way through that.
    NHO mohawk in this context, but the wp was fair enough.
    Thanks, pip.

    1. I never read Don Q in English, let alone Spanish, but I enjoyed Rabelais (in English); but then I was only about 12.

      1. I think it was the endless pages of impenetrable Joycean wordplay that did for me. My tutor, AJ Krailsheimer, loved Rabelais and wrote books about him, so I was respectful and tried to find something positive to say about the texts, but I was glad when we moved on to something else.

  13. Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, …

    15 mins pre-brekker. All neat and tidy… sort of.
    I knew Dulcinea but not UT.
    Then put in LOI ‘PleasANT’ not really understanding it. No wonder.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  14. 26min so about average for my standard
    Never heard of Mohawk or Dulcinea (LOI)
    Several biffed clues including chard, seersucker and equestrian
    5d made me smile

  15. Both QC & backpager much easier today, and pleased to record sub-9min “double” (2.53 and 6.02) which is fastest for a while. Thankfully all GK well known today after yesterday’s grumbles – so smile firmly back in place and thanks all round to setter, blogger and any English female who plays footy…

  16. 50 mins with the last ten spent on DESIRED (quite clever clue I will have to begrudgingly admit) and MOHAWK when the pennies finally dropped.

    DULCINEA NHO but, like Jack, I fortunately managed to get all the letters in the right order. Today’s only anagram, bah.

    To continue Pips définition above, to make sure we citizens here keep out of mischief there are, in fact, four levels of police in France. La Gendarmerie at the top, mainly responsible for the countryside, Police Nationale, main towns and cities, Police Locale, small towns, and Police rurale, usually just one local policeman in a village. No wonder we are so well mannered:-).

    Anyway, I digress, I liked SEERSUCKER, EQUESTRIAN and ICE CAP most.

    Thanks Pip and setter

  17. “Donkey” hoe Tay was a bit of an ass
    No windmill was too good to pass
    Dull see “neigher” of course
    Sounds more like a horse
    San chow panzer, now he was a gas!

  18. 34 minutes but with DULCENIA. PUTRESCENT was in with a shrug, not knowing of UT. Happenstance: I bought three new SEERSUCKER shirts this week. COD to ALTARPIECE. This looked easier than it was. Thank you Pip and setter.

  19. 31m 25s
    I found this very pleasant. The only clues I was unable to parse fully were ABU DHABI and PUTRESCENT. I had no idea about UT being the predecessor to DO. I have transited ABU DHABI and worked a flight out of Dubai but the only Emirate I have spent any time in is Fujairah.
    Never read Don Quixote but I did know how to spell DULCINEA. Will ROCINANTE (or alternative spellings thereof) be next? Followed by a romp through famous horses of history…..Incitatus anyone?
    I liked DE-SIRED but COD for me is GRIMACE. The clue had me looking at ‘forbidding’ as the definition.
    PS…I had a SEERSUCKER shirt in the 70s.

    1. I’ve been meaning to buy a seersucker suit for years…! Would go well with my (authentic, made in Ecuador) Panama hat. Moths destroyed half my suits during the 2020 lockdown, but I haven’t had to go to the office since March of that year and it doesn’t look like they’re going to drag me in there before autumn anyway…

      I own some great ties that I have yet to wear. It’s sad, in a way (but I don’t miss the commute! It is almost too short—can barely finish a decent puzzle—but not sweet!).

      1. Seersucker shirts I knew, but not suits. Together with your Panama hat you would probably resemble Tom Wolfe!

  20. I’ve heard SPAM described as ham that flunked the physical. Husband had a SEERSUCKER suit in the late 70s. I don’t know what possessed him although it’s true the subway wasn’t air-conditioned then. Only knew MOHAWK as a hairdo or a river (tributary of the Hudson). We’ve had UT=note before but not any time lately. 12.11

    1. I hope you’re not criticising my choice of shirts, Olivia. Mind you, a suit does sound excessive.

    2. I think of Pip being fed “those obscure corners of pork of which the pig, when living, had had the least reason to be vain”.

    3. Mohawk Airlines was a regional airline in the USA ‘back in the day’, Olivia, but were taken over in the early 70s. I remember them for flying British BAC One-Eleven aircraft.

  21. 08:15; didn’t know / had forgotten (probably the latter) UT, but as I was pretty confident that the rest of it was P_TRESCENT, not a major hurdle to clear at the last.

  22. My problem was that I didn’t think of Don Juan or Don Quixote (not that it would have helped if I had, actually). It looked like a reference to some novel where a university don lusts after a young student, so I gave up and entered Dulcenia, although perhaps the correct one was a bit more likely. For no good reason I couldn’t do pl___ at 27ac and had to look it up. Otherwise fine. 42 minutes.

  23. No problem with DULCINEA – I may not have read all of Don Quixote, but I loved Man of La Mancha. Interestingly, I also hated Candide as a book, but love the Bernstein musical/opera – what does that say about my cultural predilections, I wonder? However, having got through most of the crossword in what for me was a speedy time, I failed at the last with MOHAWK. I’m sure I would have got the answer if I had thought, as others clearly did, of MO rather than S, but was fixated on a word for offer beginning with O, and when I looked up the totally unfamiliar skating terms I realised what the answer was, but generally equate Hawk with sell, not offer. Always disappointing to fail on one clue, especially if nobody else does!

  24. 23 mins LOI SPRINGTIME. Was trying to decide between that and SPRINGTIDE, which is probably not a thing. NHO DULCINEA unsurprisingly, usual complaint about anagramming unknowns. Liked DESIRED when I eventually got it. MER HAWK for offer. Doesn’t convey the same meaning to me.

  25. Myrtilus and I agree that 27a wasn’t pleasant. It had me seeing red.
    The rest was fine. 25:45

  26. As a regular in QC-land I don’t always try the 15×15, and even more infrequently complete the grid. So I am doubly disappointed to find that having guessed Putrescence correctly (Ut was new to me), and Mohawk (hawk = offer? Spose so …) and even Dulcinea (complete random guess as to where the vowels went), I fell down on Springtide/Springtime. I concede -time is marginally more likely, but a poor surface IMO, made worse by two plausible answers undifferentiated by either checkers or cluing.

    A shame – so nearly a rare completion.

  27. Rather surprised/gratified that so few people knew Dulcinea. I was also ignorant, but assumed everyone else would find it a write-in. For me as a non-Spanish speaker it was the only possible permutation of vowels, but agree it was a horrible obscure word as anagram.

      1. Personally, I sounded out « DOOL-THIN-EH-A » and then «DOOL-CHÉ-KNEE-A », thought the first sounded more likely and bunged it in. Pure luck.

      2. A racehorse – Ninja turtling? Back in the day the best horse in Australia was Dulcify. Won all the top stakes races, then was people’s and bookies’ favourite for the Melbourne Cup . Big race – European horses travel 20 000 km to participate in it. Dulcify loomed up on the outside, 200 m (a furlong) to go, ready to swamp the pretenders and win convincingly. Fell over, broke his leg , ambos – Oz slang for paramedics in ambulances, not pulpits – pulled out the shotgun and boom! Dead! Didn’t even pull up the screen. 100,000 spectators were shocked.
        Also speak a bit of Italian: Dulcinea might or might not be a name. Dulcenia wouldn’t be – it’s just wrong. Spanish might or might not be similar.

        1. I’ve just read it’s based on the Spanish word “dulce” for sweet (I didn’t know this but knew Italian dolce). That even has the E where I put it!

          1. An instrument that has appeared in these puzzles is the dulcimer, also from Latin dulcis.

  28. Another “DULCENIA” from us. Probably should have known it but still, unknown word as anagram. At least it’s no NAGORNO KARABAKH. Think SPRINGTIME basically fair, with the above posters that the intent was likely “time perhaps” for “year” and “april?” as defn.

  29. Another DNF. DULCENIA looked more likely to me. 37 minutes was a fairly good time for me, but….

  30. In early colonial southern Ontario and Upper New York history the Iroquois allied with the British against their traditional enemies, the Hurons and Algonquins ,who were allied to the French. The Iroquois were called The Five Nations as they were a confederation of the Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida , and Onondaga peoples. ( When the Tuscarora were included it became The Six Nations).

  31. 41 minutes, but another DULCENIA (corrected, but not enough, from DELCUNIA — the DULCE made me change it and led me to the wrong spelling). I found this a very weak puzzle with rather arbitrary surface readings detracting from the elegance of the clues. The only one I liked was COMELINESS (after trying for ages to fit ROLE as the actor’s part into it).

  32. The late and much missed Marguerite Patten gives the origin of the name SPAM as “shoulder of pork and ham”. The name was invented at a boozy party by the Hormel vice-president’s brother Kenneth Daigneau, a minor actor.
    “Spam The Cookbook” published by Hamlyn 2000

  33. DULCE with allusion to sweet might have influenced letter order, perhaps?

  34. 10:32 late this afternoon. A fun crossword I thought. On this occasion my GK covered most of the bases although I was lucky with LOI 2 d “dulcinea” where I assumed the Don was Juan which didn’t help me and I biffed the answer only realising the Cervantes connection after submitting. At least I got the spelling right.
    Never really associated 17 ac “grimace” with a smirk specifically but Chambers says otherwise.
    23ac “putrescent” entered without the remotest idea of what “ut” was about.
    Liked the surface of 26 ac “Abu Dhabi” – slightly wacky.
    5 d “desired” reminiscent of my worst puns so I’ve just been told.
    Thanks to setter and Piquet for entertaining puzzle and blog respectively

  35. It’s a good job I was able to recall Don Quixote, which I haven’t read since I was a child, otherwise I would have fallen into the “Dulcenia” trap. Tried for too long to start GRIMACE with ‘pro’. Took a ridiculous time to get THESPIAN while tinkering with various dead actors – only then did I manage to shout ABU DHABI doo !

    TIME 12:39

  36. I appear to be the only one who bunged in IBIS at 6d, which slowed me down hugely in the Northumberland corner of the grid.
    An enjoyable challenge.
    Thank you setter and Piquet.

  37. 31.01. Got stuck at the end for a long time on de-sired. Just couldn’t see it. Mohawk from wp.

  38. DNF in about 50 mins defeated by desired. Now I’ve seen the answer, what a headbanger. Very good clue so no grumbling about that.

  39. Did better on this than the previous few days, so enjoyed it more… however, never spotted the groanable pun at 5d, or the veggie at 11a ( in Oz it’s known as ‘Silverbeet’) . But happier to have entered ELSINORE without a blink, likewise SEERSUCKER ( like Olivia, my husband had a suit of it in the 70s, which, thankfully, I did not allow him to wear). One of these days I’m hoping to return to occasional complete grids with my morning tea and toast!

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