Times 28354 – hope it didn’t wig you out

Time taken: 11:32.  Early indications are that this is a tricky one, and I had to work through a lot of the wordplay before being confident in most answers, there’s not a lot biffable here.  Worth it, though – the wordplay is excellent throughout, I expect there will be some love for this one.

1 Business star about to manage light work (5,5)
COMIC OPERA – CO(business) then the star MIRA surrounding COPE(to manage)
6 How feast begins with cut turkey (4)
FLOP – feast begins with an F, then LOP(cut)
9 Concerned with new blunder, knocked over drink (7)
PILSNER – RE(concerned with), N(new), SLIP(blunder), all reversed
10 Inch falteringly behind relative in narrow passages (7)
BRONCHI – anagram of INCH after BRO(relative)
12 Common clothing turned to kind of blue or red (10)
TROTSKYITE – TRITE(common) containing TO reversed, and SKY blue
13 Character in Antigone say guzzled rolls (3)
ETA – ATE(guzzled) reversed
15 One’s chased fancy car through waterfront area (6)
QUARRY – RR(Rolls Royce, fancy car) inside QUAY(waterfront area)
16 No chance to compose a stately dance tune (8)
18 Wearing suit, to a large extent (2,6)
IN SPADES – IN(wearing), SPADES(suit)
20 Superior copper wants start on case of sedition (6)
SNOBBY – BOBBY(copper) minus the first letter after the exterior letters of SeditioN
23 A hundred euros initially, which is non-returnable (3)
ACE – A, C(hundred) and the first letter of Euros, referring to tennis
24 Uncovered van Gogh memoir — it’s explosive (10)
INCENDIARY – VINCENT van Gogh minus the outside letters, then DIARY(memoir)
26 What boozer craves more than old bottles (7)
ETHANOL – hidden inside morE THAN OLd
27 Bagel flipping ass leaves in the kitchen (7)
OREGANO – O(the shape of a bagel) then ONAGER(ass) reversed
28 One that bites back showing pronounced taste (4)
TANG – GNAT(one that bites) reversed
29 An electrician’s work is almost a disaster (1,4,5)
A NEAR THING – AN EARTHING(electrician’s work)
1 Take off collar, back from party (4)
COPY – COP(collar) and the last letter of partY
2 Return of hit song Fever (7)
MALARIA – reversal of LAM(hit) then ARIA(song)
3 Commander on land inspiring serious fear (13)
CONSTERNATION – CO(commander) on top of NATION(land) containing STERN(serious). I always thought this meant anger or confusion, but Collins confirms it as great fear or shock
4 Covering queen, bring up aristocratic adornment (6)
PERUKE – ER(queen) inside PUKE(bring up)
5 Low quality red tucked into by mistake (8)
RUBBISHY -RUBY(red) containing BISH(mistake)
7 Choose to delay opening service? Stand in church (7)
LECTERN – ELECT(choose) with the first letter at the end, then RN(service)
8 Dick, Tommy and yours truly, we’re told (7,3)
PRIVATE EYE –  PRIVATE(Tommy) and sounds like I(yours truly)
11 Crook, awful fiend in public, with excessive conviction (13)
OVERCONFIDENT – CON(crook), and an anagram of FIEND inside OVERT(public)
14 Counterpart I see in uniform by medical department (10)
EQUIVALENT – I, V(see) inside EQUAL(uniform) and ENT(medical department)
17 Trip facilitator has setter endlessly climbing (8)
MESCALIN – ME(setter) and SCALING(climbing) missing the last letter
19 Hawking, say, with bird following animals around (7)
STEPHEN – HEN(bird) after PETS(animals) reversed, referring to the late physicist
21 Spicy food this person thrice added to bran (7)
BIRIANI – I(this person) three times inside BRAN
22 Silky material in African country changing hands (6)
ANGORA – ANGOLA(African country) with L changing to R
25 Chinese dynasty‘s seventh child (4)
SONG – the seventh child might be SON G

49 comments on “Times 28354 – hope it didn’t wig you out”

  1. At 52 minutes this was a somewhat pedestrian effort.

    LOI 13ac ETA terrible clue IMHO!
    COD 8dn PRIVATE EYE whose cover last week, regarding the Boris departure, was a tad lavatorial! Nasty one Mr. Hislop!

    17dn MESCALIN was fun was it not!?

  2. Excellent puzzle, very difficult, lots of interesting, unusual words and great wordplay, as George says. Impressed by 11:32 – I was closer to 300 on my personal NITCH, but enjoyed every minute of it. Particularly liked, amongst others, TROTSKYITE, PILSNER, MESCALIN, INCENDIARY.

  3. 50 minutes with MIRA as ‘star’ unknown and somehow the SONG dynasty seems to have passed me by until now. Several of the clues appeared recently familiar but may have been in Times or Guardian or Observer.

  4. 39 minutes. I didn’t know ANGORA was a ‘Silky material’ and would have been happier with 28a as a ‘Chinese dynasty’ rather than my LOI, SONG, which I’d only vaguely heard of in that sense. PERUKE didn’t wig me out, at least in that I knew it as a word, even if I didn’t remember exactly what sort of ‘aristocratic adornment’ it was. A NEAR THING has become a bit of a “thing” in crossword land recently.

    Held up most by SNOBBY – did the (admittedly only one letter) run through the alphabet to exclude “snooty” and “sniffy”. Favourites were the ‘flipping ass’ at 27a and working out TROTSKYITE.

  5. Gave up on this one after 50 minutes, failing to get 12a TROTYSKYITE. Perhaps I’d have persevered if I’d not been thinking that my correct CHACONNE could just as well have been CHOCANNE for all I knew… It didn’t help that I was trying to do something with a half-remembered Klein blue!

  6. I set her on my pacing steed, And nothing else saw all day long,
    For sidelong would she bend, and sing,
    A faery’s Song.

    20 mins pre-brekker. Didn’t know Chaconne but guessed right. Mostly I liked Vincent Diary.
    Thanks setter and G.

  7. Chaconne à son goût (or Chocanne à son goût?). Enjoyed this, especially VINCENT and the flipping ass.

      1. Roughly translated as “the pain in my big toe is particularly bad when I dance…”

      2. You learn something every day. Thanks.

        (Actually, I’m more of a Mâcon à mon goût).

    1. Beat me to it. At least I read everyone’s blogs before my own late postings!

  8. I struggled to get going, then made steady progress, then struggled to finish. COPY and FLOP were first 2 in. Liked STEPHEN. No problem with PERUKE. TROTSKYITE was LOI when I separated “turned to” and “kind of blue.” 32:39. Thanks setter and George.

  9. 37 min with one error 25d Didn’t like that clue
    Never heard of chaconne
    Otherwise very enjoyable
    I was stuck on the NE corner due to submitting ermine in 4d but once I got pilsner all became clear

  10. 60m DNF, missing out on TROTSKYITE, PERUKE, RUBBISHY, CHACONNE (though I got that with the crossers in place). This felt at the limit of my solving ability, progress was slow but satisfying, and I sorta enjoyed it, even though hard work isn’t my thing. “Error” = BISH, “bring up” = PUKE, “common” = TRITE – all of ‘em have caught me out before – onto the aide-memoire list. Thanks George and setter.

  11. 37m 40s. I really enjoyed that. As George said, the wordplay was excellent. “Trip Facilitator” was really good as was the whole of 24ac: “Uncovered van Gogh memoir – it’s explosive”.
    Podium finishers: TROTSKYITE and SONG but the gold medal to AN EARTHING!

  12. 26:35
    Great puzzle – wish it had lasted longer! On the sofa with this puzzle, a latte and an orange Club biscuit: a perfect start to the day.
    Thanks, g.

  13. 37:12. A high quality offering throughout, I thought. TROTSKYITE and SONG were last in, having enjoyed many great surfaces along the way (such as MESCALINE, FLOP).

    Stephen Hawking was attached to my college at Cambridge and I well remember seeing him about as he lived by my freshman hall in 1976. Bought his book and understand almost none of it. What a mind.

  14. 17:56. I got held up at the end by CONSTERNATION, TROTSKYITE and my LOI PERUKE, groaning at the ‘bring up’. I too liked vINCENt’s DIARY, but COD the the neatly hidden ETHANOL. Thank-you George and Setter.

  15. Gave up on 50 mins ish after a long telephone conversation, which completely ruined my concentration, with TROTSKYITE and PERUKE unsolved. Too clever for me. Didn’t know the dance but guessed right. SNOBBY unparsed.

    Favourites were PRIVATE EYE and PILSNER.

    Thank you G and setter.

  16. Did this at the garage while the car was serviced. 50 minutes plus or minus interruptions. Just waiting for a wash now. So is the car. COD to A NEAR THING.

  17. 24:29. I must have spent at least half of my time on EQUIVALENT and QUARRY at the end. I didn’t help myself by thinking that “fancy car” was going to lead to something fitting __ACR_.
    Elsewhere I managed to get today’s ambiguity CHACONNE, which could easily have been CHOCANNE. Therefore I think it an excellent clue.

    1. I was the same with QUARRY. These days I seem to find that with clues with two parts to the wp, e.g. fancy car/waterfront area, I get one part, then comes the answer, and only then do I see how the other bit works. For quarry, only saw RR last.

  18. 11:38, enjoyable and smooth solve if you’re familiar with the sort of words like PERUKE and CHACONNE which occur far more often in crosswords than in real life (unless your real life is a great deal more glamorous than mine, obvs). I had that same hold up as others in the SW corner, looking for a word with ACR in the middle to represent the fancy car, so that was nicely deceptive, but suddenly saw the answer, and the Q made EQUIVALENT drop straight in as well.

  19. This did wig me out a bit actually because (without stopping to parse, duh) I OVERCONFIDENTly entered “purple” at 4d which made TROTSKYITE unworkable. Concentration wandered a bit but I did note that INCENDIARY was particularly good. Confused by “silky” ANGORA – in my early teens I was the proud possessor of a bolero of that material (which I considered le dernier cri) and it was fluffy and rather itchy but not silky. George Balanchine composed a ballet called CHACONNE for his ballerina muse at the time. Just to put the lid on a self-inflicted poor outing I made a typographical “bish” and landed a pink square. 28.06 when finally sorted out. P.S. George you have a typo in 1A – star[t].

  20. And it was going so well. I was on for a time below 30 minutes, but came to a complete halt on COMIC OPERA, PERUKE and TROTSKYITE and eventually finished, after using an electronic search on the red even with all the checkers, in 47 minutes. Mira the star was unknown but eventually I guessed that it probably was. PERUKE was only got after I found ‘puke’ in a list. The red was I thought a type of wine.

    Liked the Vincent clue and the trip facilitator.

  21. 38 mins. Befuddled at the end by SONG. I was trying to fit a Y in there as the seventh in dynasty. Normally spell it as BIRYANI but hey ho.
    Special mention for late solving were TROTSKYITE and FLOP, which I had the wrong literal for. One of the easiest clues too.

  22. Lovely puzzle, and I must have been on the setter’s wavelength, finishing in 5m 28s with the hope that it was CHACONNE rather than CHOCANNE. Obscure foreign words & anagrams…

    TROTSKYITE was great, but COD for A NEAR THING.

  23. Did 2 thirds of this, got a bit stuck, walked to Winspit and back (tough trek back uphill) then cooled off and did all but 25d in ten minutes more. Didn’t know the dynasty (TONG? SONG? WONG? ) and forgot about the child G thing so a DNF. Some good stuff with MESCALIN my COD.

  24. 12:56. I started very slowly on this (only three answers after my first pass through the acrosses) but then accelerated as checking letters appeared. I liked it.

  25. I had ERMINE instead of PERUKE; it works (bring up = mine), and it messed me up horribly with everything. By the time I realised it was wrong, I’d sort of lost interest. Not sure I’d have got TROTSKYITE even with the ‘K’ crosser. Liked STEPHEN, MESCALIN and SONG.

    1. But your alternative seems to lead to MINEER? Or perhaps MINERE, MIERNE, etc.

  26. Stretched to my limits on this one but got there in the end. My time of 63.05 was substantially over target but was mainly caused by the crossover of 4dn and 12 ac. PERUKE eventually came to me but TROTSKYITE remained stubborn until the light finally dawned. I was even desperately trying to think of obscurely named clarets at one point!
    Compliments to the setter on an excellent offering.

  27. Bet you 10/- you will never encounter CHACONNE again if you live to be 100…

    1. I’ll take your 10/-, whatever that might be. Chaconne’s a regular: 3 times in the past 10 years, no doubt it will appear another 2 or 3 times in the next 10.
      Send me your bank account details, to nigerian_scammer@criminals.com.ni so I can extract the balance from your account. Ta.

    2. Bach’s music, and that sort of thing, is full of chaconnes.

      (I wrote this before seeing Dvynys’ post below, with which I heartily agree.)

  28. 45.50 and the first one I’ve finished this week, so what a relief. Health matters, now being resolved, may have been part of the problem but , to be honest, I think I’ve just not been at the races.
    There seem to be similar if not so dire difficulties experienced by others so I’ll try not to take this five days too much to heart. Not made any easier with the use of alternative spellings- peruke being the latest.
    Still, it it nice to feel a sense of achievement when the last letter goes in.
    Grudgingly, thanks setter; not so grudgingly thanks blogger😊

  29. PERUKE and TROTSKYITE took about as long as the rest of the puzzle. I only knew peruque although obviously PERUKE is hardly a stretch. Guessed right on the two choices for CHACONNE although I wish the setters would stop cluing obscure words as anagrams with more than one plausible option.

  30. 26:37 today and rather a struggle, but a lot of satisfying clues to solve.
    I’m recording an MER for my LOI 25 d “song”. The seventh child wouldn’t be Son G if the previous six were daughters, so shouldn’t there be a “perhaps ” at the end of the clue?
    Thanks to setter for an entertaining puzzle and to George for his clear blog. Clearly you found it much easier than I did!

  31. Indeed a good puzzle, after a number of mediocre ones this week. It took me 55 minutes to finish after a very slow start (CHACONNE my FOI) and a plodding continuation. There were many clues I really liked, TROTSKYITE, PERUKE, TANG, to name only a few. I stared at A NEAR THING for ages before I saw what electrician’s work it was referring to, and the hidden ETHANOL also took a while to see. Very enjoyable, thank you, setter.

  32. 31 something

    It’s going to be me who comes out with the “astonished no one’s heard of chaconne”

    Greatest ever composer = Bach
    Greatest piece of music = his final chaconne at the end of the second Partita for solo violin. Without bigging it up too much it has been described as one of the greatest achievements of man in history. Check it out. Sublime

    So yes kinda astonished general bafflement of the word

    On the other hand don’t ask me about characters in Don Quixote…

    Last three – the drug the wig and the red took a little unravelling

    Thanks George and setter – nice one

  33. Having struggled with some of the more recherché vocab this week, I was pleased with my effort today (14:44), until submitting revealed a pink typo on a crossing square, leaving me with ‘mesdalin’ and ‘indendiary’ and two errors. Pfft. And it spoiled Vincent Diary which I thought was a super clue when the penny dropped. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow.

  34. 29.38. A tough nut to crack. Plenty of clues where I didn’t know where to start but managed to puzzle it all out in the end.

  35. Enjoyed what little I did of it! But had to come here to get the answers for the drug (and I knew it was going to be one!), the red needed , the ‘light work – NHO Mira- , the drink nor the hidden at 26a. So all up, a bit above my pay grade. 😦

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