Times 28360 – drinka pinta milka day

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 9:15

So far some of the early solvers have some slick times, and mine is a touch below my average but I think there is some tricky stuff here and definitely some crafty wordplay!

I was surprised at the definition in 11 across, though it is one of a few episodes of the show that I can name, it is a phrase defined as a TV show that first aired over 60 years ago.  As always the Times is embracing the zeitgeist.

Away we go…

1 Coercively given fare on behalf of church agent (5-3)
FORCE-FED – FOR(on behalf of), CE(church), FED(US government agent)
6 Regularly chop cold venison source, having withdrawn seafood (6)
COCKLE – alternating letters in ChOp, then C(cold) and ELK(venison source) reversed
9 Genuine article backing Conservative cut (4)
ECHT – THE(article) reversed containing C(Conservative)
10 Sailor‘s main dish cooked to entertain occupant of No 10 (10)
MIDSHIPMAN – anagram of MAIN,DISH containing PM(occupant of No 10)
11 Initiate opening, taking in new Hancock sketch (5,5)
BLOOD DONOR – BLOOD(initiate, start off), and DOOR(opening) containing N(new).  Reference to a 1961 episode of Hancock.
13 Set off briefly, grabbing a sheet (4)
LEAF – LEFT(set off) missing the last letter, containing A
14 Irish officer touring eastern part of UK plant (8)
GARDENIA – GARDA(Irish officer) containing E(eastern) and NI(part of the UK)
16 Lower or upper regions adjacent to Pole (6)
NETHER – the upper regions are the ETHER, next to N(pole)
18 Messenger once covered by other messengers (6)
HERMES – hidden inside otHER MESsengers
20 Endearing English and Polish stylish clothing (8)
CHERUBIC – E(English) and RUB(polish) inside CHIC(stylish)
22 Charges around, arriving at yard (4)
SPAR – RAPS(charges) reversed – the naval meaning of yard
24 Lioness left commotion in Victoria state (2,8)
EL SALVADOR – ELSA (the lioness in Born Free, a movie that came out five years after The Blood Donor, so a much more recent reference), L(left) and then ADO(commotion) in VR(Queen Victoria)
26 A foreign chap resolved to stop youths making catapults? (6,4)
LAUNCH PADS –  UN(A in French), and an anagram of CHAP inside LADS(youths)
28 A big shot at Old Trafford backs alliance (4)
AXIS – A, then SIX(big cricket shot) reversed
29 Queen’s consort caught cutting most of fruit (6)
TOMCAT – C(caught) inside TOMATO(fruit) missing the last letter
30 It bites your flesh, somehow avoiding uniform (8)
HORSEFLY – anagram of YOUR,FLESH minus U(uniform)
2 Seesaw transformed local site (9)
3 Man loves probing margins of field for mice, say (3,4)
CAT FOOD – CAT(man) then O,O(loves) inside the exterior letters of FielD
4 Noted bank trousering a million (5)
FAMED – FED(Federal Reserve, US Bank) containing A,M(million)
5 Lovelorn old queen cheated (3)
DID – remove O(love) from DIDO(old queen)
6 Clubs previously accepting present unity (9)
COHERENCE – C(clubs), ONCE(previously) containing HERE(present)
7 Flyer, one broaching business scheme (2-5)
CO-PILOT – I(one) inside CO(business), PLOT(scheme)
8 Liberal monk’s wool supplier (5)
LLAMA – L(liberal), LAMA(monk)
12 Subtleties one’s not seen in pests (7)
NUANCES – remove I’S(ones) from NUISANCES(pests)
15 Army’s building units designed to house exotic hens (6,3)
NISSEN HUT – anagram of UNITS containing an anagram of HENS
17 Leader to check over refuge on way up (9)
EDITORIAL – EDIT(check), O(over) then LAIR(refuge) reversed
19 Daft old chap interrupts Mike (7)
MORONIC – O(old), RON(chap) inside MIC(Mike)
21 Blue Berets are defending Washington in the dark (7)
UNAWARE – UN(Blue Berets are United Nations soldiers) and ARE containing WA(Washington)
23 Wise old Greek squad, running away (5)
PLATO – PLATOON(squad) minus ON(running)
25 Dinghy or cutter? (5)
LASER – double definition, though I only knew the cutter one – LASER is defined in Collins as a one-man dinghy
27 Like hotel in wood (3)
ASH -AS(like), H(hotel)

78 comments on “Times 28360 – drinka pinta milka day”

  1. 18:05
    I biffed MIDSHIPMAN, BLOOD DONOR, EL SALVADOR, & AXIS, parsing the first three post-submission. Since I had recently looked up Old Trafford (again) for a cryptic, I was at least able to infer that a six was some sort of cricket shot (or soccer; I’d already forgotten). BLOOD DONOR was my LOI; I needed all the checkers and even then I put it in faute de mieux, or indeed faute d’anything else. DNK Hancock, and the only blood donor sketch I knew of was Monty Python.

    1. “A pint ? That’s nearly an armful !”

      It’s probably on YouTube, and it’s well worth a view

  2. I fell back to sleep in the middle of this, after a late night. So no Time today – largo!

    LOI 14dn EDITORIAL – that sort of Leader!
    COD 11ac BLOOD DONOR – ‘A pint! That’s very nearly an armful!’ To the doctor, Patrick Cargill, ‘What are you, some kind of legalised vampire!?’
    WOD 15dn NISSEN HUT – ‘designed’ by Peter NISSEN!

    On edit: Keith! Monty Python did not do a Blood Donor sketch. It would have been sacrilege! This was Tony Hancock, written by Gaulton & Simpson and certainly not Cleese & Co.

    1. Keith? Anyway, the fact that Tony Hancock did a blood donor sketch doesn’t mean that Monty Python didn’t. 18 January 1973. Actually, Eric Idle doesn’t give blood at the blood bank, he wants to give urine.

      1. Anthony Hancock’s ‘The Blood Donor’ was aired on 23 June 1961. This particular episode has become part of British culture and a National Treasure.
        The Python sketch (series 3) was as you say the ‘Urine Donor’ Sketch – they were ‘taking the piss!’ It has been put on line as ‘Blood Donor’, erroneously
        I did wonder if you really understood British humour, eh! Keith?
        ‘Monty’ Meldrew

  3. 34 mins, most in the SW the only part where I slowed down. I’m old enough not to have any problem with the BLOOD DONOR nor ELSA the lioness (I read the book), but equivalent era references in the US would, I’m sure, cause both a big struggle and a raised eyebrow. I’ve also sailed a laser so problem with that one (well, sailing it is a problem, very easy to get more wind than you can cope with).

  4. I found this a doddle – I must have been on the wavelength as I can see how some of the cluing is tricky. I knew it otherwise, but we’ve had the sailing Laser before, I’m thinking within the past year and I’m thinking there was some discussion at the time. I thought there was an unusual mix of US and UK terms today; the/a Fed two ways, Editorial, vs a good knock at Old Trafford, Hancock, and the Irish copper.

  5. 27 minutes. The “Born Free” book on which the film was based was published in 1960, so The Times is keeping true to form with cultural references from the early, rather than the mid 60’s. Either suits me and who knows, we may get a Matt Monro related clue soon.

    ELSA was one of three felines appearing today, with TOMCAT holding me up for a few minutes at the end. From the surface of 4d, it seems banks are liked in the UK about as much as they are here.

    1. Re-Elsa – After the upset over oratress recently I do hope that Lioness has caused no bother.

    2. It used to be said that NZ was stuck in the 50s and 60s but there is indeed a current series of TV commercials here for an insurance company that features Matt Monro singing “Born Free”.

  6. 37 minutes. I thought we’d had The Blood Donor wrongly described as ‘sketch’ on a previous occasion but I haven’t been able to track it down in a search.

    I failed to spot the reversed ELK when parsing 6ac but I’m not sure I’d ever have thought of it as a source of venison. Since we’re doing British classic comedy nostalgia today, here’s another one “I hain’t a helk, I’m a G-nu”.

    I think LASER/dinghy may have come up before as it rang the faintest of bells.

    1. I have eaten moose (the same animal as the European elk, see recent discussion here!) and caribou (reindeer), but they’ve always been described as such rather than venison. But I guess they’re species of deer and people might not like to read ‘venison’ on a menu and find they were inadvertently eating Rudolph!

          1. My take was always that Rudolf made himself essential only after Donner,Blitzen and their buddies proved incompetent in finding destinations. However now with GPS and Google maps I’m sure Santa no longer needs Rudolf’s special feature and he can be let out to pasture(tundra?) to enjoy a well-deserved retirement.

  7. Found most of the top half very easy, but had to start thinking harder down below, plus a pure biff for EL SALVADOR. Finished off with AXIS (mighty relieved when my alpha-trawl got to X) and LOI LASER (an unknown-to-me counterpart to mirror and zodiac). Today is the glorious day when I finally remembered to think feline for “queen” – a device that’s fooled me so often.

    Solid completion in 27:58 feels like a good start to the day – thanks G and setter

    1. While working in Shetland in the late 70s, I took a young lady sailing in an Enterprise dinghy from a nearby sailing club. Almost immediately we had to go about but I didn’t have the centreboard down properly so over we went…..But we both had wetsuits and buoyancy devices on so all was well, and we were close to shore so she still spoke to me afterwards.

      1. That sounds chilly. I used to sail an Enterprise in Poole harbour, but the centreboard kept getting stuck in the mud as the tide went out.

        1. One of my favourite parts of the country. I’ve not sailed there, doing most of mine on a lake near my home in Hampshire. In my pipe dream I retire or semi-retire to the Poole area and spend much of my time sailing there.

        2. The reason I was in Shetland was to handle flights for the airline I worked for, Dan Air, in and out of an old WWII Coastal Command airfield called Scatsta. We ferried construction workers in and out who were building the oil terminal at Sullom Voe, a terminal operated by BP.
          I guess as part of helping the local community, BP built a new yacht club for the nearby community of Brae and I guess also provided the Enterprise dinghies. As you may imagine, it was pretty windy in Shetland…..except one year when the ‘Commodore’s Cruise’ had to be abandoned and boats towed back in due to lack of wind!
          As for ‘getting stuck in the mud’, back in those days a friend had a Royal Burnham One Design, a 20ft fixed keel day boat at Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. I used to help crew it. Depending on the wind and tide, in races, we were often beating against the wind to get out of the river and to that end it was often necessary to ‘lead’, a task which sometimes fell to me. Get it wrong, of course, and over the side you went!

      2. I have capsized Enterprise, Mirror and Fireball dinghies, which makes the Laser stand out, rather..
        I speculate that if you had offered to give the lady a good rub dry all might have gone well, Martin. They say it is not the problem itself but how you deal with it, that makes all the difference 😉

        1. Aha! Therein, lies the ‘rub’, or not as the case may be! Most people lived on construction camps and strict segregation rules applied. I was on the same camp as the lady in question. She and the other females lived, appropriately, in F Block. Men were not allowed inside the block let alone into a woman’s room! And v.v. for women in the male blocks. Transgressors weren’t fired though. They were merely ‘denied accommodation privileges’. In other words they had to find their own accommodation, which was pretty nigh impossible in that part of Shetland. The same applied to anyone who transgressed against travel conditions. The airline I worked for up there, Dan Air, flew workers to and from Glasgow. If anyone was deemed too drunk to fly, for example, they could have their travel privileges withdrawn. That meant finding their own way to/from.

  8. 27 min so fairly straightforward for me
    Biffed quite a few force fed, midshipman,Hermes, blood donor (brilliant episode)
    I like 16a
    LOI like several people was 17d

  9. 35m 32s
    Straightforward enough. Thank you, George for the VR in EL SALVADOR and the backward ELK in COCKLE.
    COD: NETHER. I racked my brain for sometime because I was/am convinced there is a word for ‘cow’ (lower) that contains N – T —.

    1. Were you thinking of ‘NEAT’, (as I certainly was on first reading). COD for me was PLATO.
      LOI which I stupidly semi-biffed as BOBCAT, expecting to discover an obscure fruit called a BOBAT- or something. Doohhh!

  10. 20:23. A quick start but then got stuck in the South West. I went with Nissan Hut initially which didn’t help. And I found it very hard to drop my French when engaging with 26 across.

    COD: Launch Pads.

  11. All easy but NHO ECHT, so unfinished. Couldn’t be bothered to do a full alphabet trawl. Liked TOMCAT, CHERUBIC and MORONIC.

  12. Steady solve in 24 minutes, LOI TOMCAT. I well remember Hancock and his Half Hour. Another guy somewhere between genius and manic depressive, or both, like Milligan.

  13. Done in two sessions so no time, but definitely not quick. Held up in the SW for a good while until I finally cracked LAUNCH PADS.


    Thanks G and setter.

  14. Late start today as I did the TLS crossword first then went for a walk. 39
    minutes with LOI SPAR, which I didn’t know but the crossers and cryptic made obvious. COD to CAT FOOD, sad as reality is. Hancock’s Half Hour was a radio show in my youth. I remembered Elsa too, and am delighted that Matt Monro’s Born Free is still playing in NZ. That’s staying power. Softly, as I leave you… Good puzzle. Thank you George and setter.

    1. Were you a fellow listener to Don Black on Sunday nights on Radio 2 ? I often think of him and Matt Monro “On Days Like These”.

  15. 22:31 with more than a few going in without any attention to the wordplay. Bogged down in the SW at the end and am still not convinced about “catapults” for LAUNCH PADS.

  16. Off to a quick start with FORCE FED. Liked CAT FOOD. BLOOD DONOR a write in followed by parsing. GARDENIA needed all the checkers. Vaguely remembered LASER=Dinghy from a previous puzzle. LAUNCH PAD and HERMES last 2 in. 18:34. Thanks setter and George.

  17. 08:26, stone me, what a life. Happily, today’s puzzle didn’t contain any “absolute nonsense” (things I happen not to know) but only “entirely appropriate knowledge” (things I do know), so that was all good.

  18. 39 minutes, having spent a bit of time over NUANCE and GARDENIA. ‘Eastern part of UK’ caught me out, although I’ve learnt now to look askance at ‘South American’. Didn’t like the sketch; well I did like it actually, except that it wasn’t really a sketch, although Collins does seem to allow it.

      1. Apologies, I said Collins by mistake. I meant Lexico. Def 2 under NOUN is ‘A short humorous play or performance, …’. But actually Collins has ‘A sketch is a short humorous piece of acting …’, which does it at a stretch.

  19. As usual a bit addled by the double FED in the NW corner. This was a puzzle of faint bells what with Hancock, Elsa and LASER all of which rang at a great distance and didn’t really help with solving. A pleasant 14.53

  20. 31.22 but had to take a mini break which refreshed the thought processes. As a result, Plato and spar( without knowing the naval connotation) suddenly appeared. Previously, couldn’t get Erato out of my noggin.
    Launch pads was another troublesome clue but IMO, a pretty good one. So the fault was all mine.
    Liked cockle and el salvador.
    Thx setter and blogger.

    1. I also took a mini break. Stopped to do the concise after which I came back and almost immediately finished with TOMCAT and NETHER. It’s amazing how such a break can reset your thought process. I presume the top solvers can perform such a reset mid-solve without having to leave the puzzle for any amount of time.

  21. 26 mins. Quite a bit of trouble at the end, what with being convinced that the catapults ended in CAPS and forgetting about the feline queens, something a solver should never do.

  22. I started off quickly but got stuck in the SW corner, especially on SPAR, TOMCAT and PLATO, eventually finishing in 37 minutes. I didn’t know the alternative meaning of LASER. It’s not given in Chambers.

    LLAMA seems to coming up with disappointing regularity, especially as thewordplay doesn’t seem to vary much. I didn’t think much of the clue to ECHT, where the past participle of ‘cut’ seeems wrong to me. It certainly wouldn’t pass muster in the Listener, and I don’t think it would meet with Azed’s approval.

    1. Andy, Chambers is only a secondary source for The Times QCs and 15×15 puzzles. Collins and Lexico are the main ones, and the dinghy/LASER is in Collins. But I share your view of the grammar of the clue to ECHT.

    2. ‘Cuts’ would have eliminated this problem, and improved the surface reading!

    3. Mention of whom prompts me to ask if anyone knows what’s happening? I heard that Azed got covid, also that he was on a family holiday, also that John Tozer, the master of the &lit. site, which normally posts the slip, is quite ill. Very sad all round, but unfortunately we have no slip for July — not even sure that there has been one yet. Does anyone know anything?

  23. 34:12. Quite tricky, so I was surprised to have been that quick (for me). ELSA didn’t click but I was OK with the BLOOD DONOR. Going back to the early discussion, Monty Python didn’t do Blood Donor but they did do a gruesome Liver Donor, possibly in one of their films

  24. Completed in two goes. Didn’t know LASER as a dingy, Elsa the lioness in EL SALVADOR, the naval meaning of SPAR or the BLOOD DONOR sketch, and I had to figure out GARDENIA from wordplay.

    FOI Force-fed
    LOI Gardenia
    COD Nissen hut

  25. Found this quite tricky in places and needed to come here to have EL Salvador fully explained. I have been in a laser dinghy and have no wish to repeat the experience

    COD BLOOD DONOR. I used to give blood in the England, but was rejected here in France; anyone who lived in the UK for more than a year between 1986 and 1990 is excluded because of the risk of BSE. Tant pis.

    Thanks to George and the setter

    1. Australia also banned people resident in UK for that long in those years. Just in the past few weeks I’ve heard the ban has been rescinded as medical advice is that CJD is no longer considered a potential problem. Everyone now free to give blood.

  26. 14.20. I flew through the top half but found the nether regions more of a challenge. Had no idea how El Salvador parsed and Elsa would never have clicked for me but couldn’t see what else it could be.

  27. 11:04

    Nothing too frightening for me today (a WITCH of 72), just a steady solve with LOI ‘editorial’ (had the wrong type of leader until all the crossers were in). I liked the 4 letter clues best, especially ‘spar’. Is the device in ‘nuances’ becoming a little hackneyed?

    Actually, I say nothing too frightening, but 30 Across brought back painful memories from last weekend, as one of the blighters bit me right on the inner elbow – ouch!

    3 Down sprang immediately to mind since one of my cats brought in a small mouse takeaway last night and proceeded to crunch it up in front of me. Delicious.

  28. A bit over 20 minutes, under a chestnut tree in sweltering Poitou. A perfect start to the afternoon. Thanks!

  29. Finished within target at 39.52. Remembered LASER as being some kind of sailing vessel after numerous British Olympic medal successes.
    Most peculiar word ECHT, seemingly only ever seen in crosswords like ENNUI.
    COD to 29ac for leading us down a royalty blind alley.

    1. I like to use ECHT. Recently did in a Facebook comment about the then-imminent French legislative elections, in a phrase contrasting “the ‘far left’ (comme on dit) and the (echt) far right”… I also use “ennui” assez souvent.

  30. 8:04. A curious puzzle that felt decidedly tricky as I solved it but then was done.
    I was born 11 years after the Hancock not-a-sketch but it’s entirely familiar to me: undoubtedly part of general British culture. I’m not sure you can say the same of the lioness: I assumed this must be a reference to The Lion King! SPAR also unknown.

  31. FOI FORCE-FED, and nothing very difficult, though still fun, after that, except for the clue to BLOOD DONOR, which was utterly hermetic, but there was only one way to fill the checkers…

  32. I must start with an explanation and apology. I only got to yesterday’s puzzle at 1140pm, and couldn’t get to the mathematical rods – so I came here, filled it in, then mistakenly submitted it. I think a 2 minute alpha trawl would have got me there on a wing and a prayer, but I needed my bed…..so today I actually finished in the time shown below, but waited 2 minutes before submitting so as to level out my SNITCH timings.

    Nothing to add to what’s been said here by others . Biffed EL SALVADOR.

    TIME 9:33

  33. 14:36. No dramas, just a steady solve while I rehydrated after a 13mile walk in the sun. I was surprised to see FED twice in the NW corner. I liked TOMCAT and HORSEFLY. Thanks George and setter.

  34. I gave this a really good go, but in the end pulled stumps with four to go: Nether, Editor and Axis on the RHS and Echt in the NW. I should have got at least one of the first three, at which point I’m fairly sure the other two would have become obvious, but nho Echt would have taken a month of Sundays. It doesn’t even look like a real word, and so joins neat/cow in the sneaky drawer. A pity, because Blood Donor, Launch Pads, and El Salvador had made this one quite enjoyable. Invariant

  35. 15:11 late this afternoon, after a relaxing time photographing in Saughton Gardens, a facility developed fairly recently in a part of Edinburgh where such an investment is to be welcomed.
    A slightly quirky puzzle peut-etre but none the worse for that – it was good fun.
    FOI 6 ac “cockle” then a steady solve, where I was helped out by my GK for several clues e.g. “midshipman”, “blood donor” (my favourite Hancock episode), “laser” which a friend of mine once owned and the Adamsons’ lioness in El Salvador.
    POI 3d “cat food” with MER at cat=man and LOI 22 ac “spar” where I assumed the nautical connection.
    I liked 20 ac “cherubic”.
    Thanks to setter and to George for his blog. Although his reference to Zeitgeist made me smile, he should be aware that such associations within a clue are welcome to us oldies, if only we could always recall them…..

  36. This took me just under an hour, with many, fortunately biffable, references to things I had never heard of like the BLOOD DONOR. I suppose I might have been much quicker if I hadn’t kept nodding off, but that made the puzzle rather relaxing. And some of it was even enjoyable, but I can’t quite remember which parts. Incidentally, I was wondering, in the comments above, about Santa’s kosher reindeer. I assume Jerry W meant this in a figurative sense, but since reindeer have split hooves and chew their cud, they actually are potentially kosher (if slaughtered in the right way). I once discovered this fact to my great delight on the website of the main synagogue in Stockholm, most appropriate since you can find reindeer on the menu in that city (at least I have, in a non-kosher restaurant).

  37. Enjoyed this one but sadly reversed E and I in GARDENIA so a DNF. Knew the Blood Donor and ELSA and dragged up EXHT from somewhere. COD: LAUNCH PADS

  38. Enjoyed (especially for the memories) but not completed, due to not knowing LASER or SPAR; once again failing to see the feline definition of Queen. All the ‘old’ references – no problem.

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