Times 28363 – Today’s man, in more ways than one

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic



Time: 19 minutes

Music: Beethoven 9th Symphony, Fricsay/BPO

A rather typical Monday puzzle, with one or two surprise entries.   But if you follow the cryptic, it all falls rather easily into place.   The two larger answers were particularly easy,  which really opened up the middle of puzzle.

I usually start with 1 across, but today that was my LOI.   I needed all the crossers, and then I saw the cryptic – well, that must be the answer.    I do hope everyone remembered the poet who fills in the gap between Gower and  Spenser.


1 Representative body starts to deal with something left behind (8)
5 Hairy-footed midget’s pastime, mostly just what’s needed (6)
8 A university man breaking into a mechanised system (10)
AUTOMATION – A + U + TOM + anagram of INTO A.
9 Sobbed quietly, kept in by rain (4)
10 Old PM lands with English navy, making spectacular display (8,6)
11 Replace soldiers, as it happens, touring East (7)
13 Steps taken to deceive left-wing extremist (7)
15 Most senior woman swindled about Japanese currency (7)
18 Early poet’s lad catching salmon or sea trout (7)
21 A rare, laborious alternative name for 10 (6,8)
AURORA BOREALIS – Anagram of A RARE, LABORIOUS which anyone who has already solved 10 across will just biff.
22 Bird lost height quickly over the pond (4)
DOVE – Double definition.   Anglo-Saxon had both dufan and dyfan, one a strong verb and one a weak verb, so the confusion is understandable.
23 Plundering gang takes a long time pinching gear (10)
BRIGANDAGE – B(RIG)AND + AGE.   I saw the answer right away, but couldn’t remember the actual word – fortunately, you can always construct it from the cryptic.
24 Attempt to stop tree going west — or shrub (6)
MYRTLE – EL(TRY)M backwards.
25 Luxury car in outskirts of Derby? That’s funny (8)
1 Kitchen amenity daughter found on coach? Not initially (7)
2 Books supporter’s written about King Edward, truly (9)
3 Footwear sticks on top of scraper (7)
4 Exclusive group’s simple dwelling overlooking great lake (7)
5 War on kid initially harming complex creation (9)
HANDIWORK – Anagram of WAR ON KID + H[arming].
6 Prows of vessels steaming in arrow’s range (7)
7 The writer’s father’s books about technique in art (7)
IMPASTO – I’M + PA’S + OT backwards.
12 Never, sadly, having capacity to be like Bede! (9)
14 Hit back about woman losing son in gallery (9)
16 Disheartened over a politician’s speechmaking (7)
17 Serious pledge (7)
EARNEST – Double definition.
18 Freeloader’s son, one that smells nasty (7)
19 Permanent cross removed from outside (7)
20 Eating-place’s lack of wine, excluding Riesling at first (7)

95 comments on “Times 28363 – Today’s man, in more ways than one”

  1. 10:19
    Easy even for a Monday. DNK KELT, but that was no problem. Biffed HANDIWORK, ETERNAL, & VENERABLE, parsed post-submission. Biffed AURORA BOREALIS, of course, and didn’t bother to parse. I don’t like cross-referencing clues generally, but this one was beyond the pale. I’d say the definition for VENERABLE is just ‘like Bede’.

    1. I have to agree with you on the cross-reference here. Wouldn’t it be nicer for the solvers if the lovely duality of NORTHERN LIGHTS / AURORA BOREALIS was a surprise reveal, rather than just given away?

  2. 24:30. I found a lot of this easy, but slowed to a near-crawl at the end.

    Couldn’t see LEGACY. Didn’t know KELT or BRIGANDAGE, which was tough to put together. Most embarrassing was GUMSHOE, which seemed obvious, but I was parsing it as “footwear (SHOE), sticks on top (GUM)”, and was trying to convince myself that ‘scraper’ was a term for a detective I didn’t know…

    Let’s not discuss how long I spent trying to get H + (CREATION)* to mean ‘war on kid’. Please don’t ask what I possibly thought that could mean.

  3. Typical Monday fare, but I started slowly – 34 minutes

    FOI 21ac AURORA BOREALIS. Which led quickly on to 10ac NORTHERN LIGHTS! Simples!
    LOI 22ac DOVE – sorry Lord K, but the dufan and dyfan comment is way over my head, as I don’t do weak, middlin’or strong Anglo-Saxon. However I do vaguely remember Duran Dyran. Whoops! Fat Finger!
    COD 15ac DOYENNE – what’s the woke word? DOYEN?
    WOD 20dn NOSHERY – we used to have a cockney carpenter and ‘wide boy’ (2dn) who went by the name of ‘NOSHER’ Nash. I believe he dined in a NOSHERY – full English breakfast three times a day!
    Monty Meldrew

    1. I didn’t realize, but inferred from the clue, that ‘dove’ is not a possible past tense form of ‘dive’ in UK English.

  4. I came over from the QC at Kevin’s suggestion. I managed the most clues I ever have on one of these. Maybe about a third! The others I understood the wordplay but my vocab let me down. It was nice to be able to penetrate one of these!

    1. Your vocab is just not your best suit, either side of the divide. Scrabble, Trivial pursuits, the GK crossword and large dollops of 20th c. literature and poetry will help, and read a decent newspaper everyday. I did all these things, as well as three kids and wanderlust! Meldrew.

      1. … Good for you?

        Meldrew, mate, you have been a great help and I try to read all your comments with the generous intent with which I’m sure they’re given, but sometimes your tone, even in written form, is just the worst.

        1. Meldrew will take that as a compliment Tina – there are those who suggest that his hobbies include writing poison-pen letters, but he just has an offbeat sense of humour, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly !

          1. Sure, I know he doesn’t mean badly! He has a lot of knowledge to impart and jokes to tell and of that I’m appreciative.

            But I’ve told him now that I’m not a huge fan of his tone, and I’m sure he understands if that tone continues to end up in my inbox that would upset me. And doing that on purpose *would* mean he means badly, no?

            Or at least wilful ignorance and we know that for everything that he is, father of three, husband, and wanderer he is definitely not ignorant.

            1. Tina, I have ceased commenting on the QC, so that your inbox should remain clear of Meldrew and his tone, whatever that is! horryd

              1. Enough of this. QC contributors are welcome and encouraged to post in the 15×15 discussion without being subjected to
                derogatory and patronising comments. Anything posted in future in the same vein will be deleted by me.

                1. Just Google ‘Millennial impatience’, it is highlighted on so many levels. Tina really struggles in the QC as do others. Kevin invited them all to come over to the 15 x15. The Old Blighter played a blinder in 42 minutes! I read his comment with great interest. He is ready! If Tina hopes ever ger to the 15×15 she will be sadly disappointed.

                  ,Jack, your ongoing comments about me I consider derogatory. So you’ll be pleased to here that l will be pulling out, yet again from TftT, with my last day tomorrow. Sorry Galspray, Phil, Sandy, Rose de Provence and others. I am an acquired taste but I have something to say , as Tina outlined early in this piece.

                  1. Hey, don’t let the door slam your ass on your way out!
                    You are, of course, running away instead of facing the music and tendering an apology, as a bigger person would have done.

                    Good luck to Tina in her future solving endeavors. I expect that she will gradually find things easier. She seems to be a person who can learn from experience.

                  2. Count me as another who makes a point of reading your comments – never a dull moment lol. But before you storm off into the ethernet, this millennial has to disagree with you on several points: Tina shows great promise. You don’t need to pay much attention to literature or poetry. A good GK quiz doesn’t go amiss, but most of what I’ve learned about doing cryptic crosswords, I learned by doing cryptic crosswords.


                  3. I didn’t expect you to *leave*, Meldrew, just to realise your tone had upset me and either stop replying to *me* or change it?

                    Just ignore my seldom visits into the 15×15 blog! Problem sorted!

                2. Bit of a dilemma here. I enjoy the contributions of our very own enfant terrible, but would agree that he could throttle back on the snideness, especially towards the newer contributors. Sometimes I think he just needs a hug.

                  Never been greatly in favour of censorship. Tina seems more than capable of handling herself, and would understand that the vast majority of us are supportive of her journey into cryptic-land. I find her posts to be an entertaining reminder of how we all got started here.

                  So come on everyone, play nice and let’s get on with it.

  5. 10m
    Setter should have doubled down on the cross-referencing and made 10ac “Old PM lands with English navy, making 21”. The resulting outrage in these comments would have contained enough schadenfreude to power a small town

    1. Hahahahah. Just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with the idea of cross-referencing. I’m just not sure why it wouldn’t be nicer to have a surprise reveal of the two thematic answers. Cross-referencing seems to give the game away.

      1. I agree, I just think the answer in this case was to add more cross-referencing

        1. Does anyone remember if there was ever a puzzle which took cross-referencing to an extreme?

          1. Not here, Jeremy, but they’re in The Guardian almost every week, especially the puzzles by their setter Paul. Actually I rather enjoy them there as a diversion from my usual crossword diet but I would not want The Times to drift in that direction.

            1. Yes, I immediately thought of Paul! I have to be in the right mood for stuff like “1, 7, 22d, 5. A 4-5 across 3 8 18d 4 reveals 12-3-3, just like 3! (1, 8-5, 3, 2, 3)”

            2. Come off it! Some of The Times setters are self-indulgent in the extreme. Not in cross-referencing maybe, but in other aspects.

  6. A rare sub-10, so this Monday Monday was all I hoped it would be-ee-ee.

    Didn’t know the fish, or Red Skelton’s ancestor, but the gamble was worth it as the clock was ticking. Agree that “alternative name for northern lights” is possibly the easiest clue of all time, but I’m not complaining.

    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

    Ba-dah, ba-da-da-dah….

      1. Good afternoon ‘orryd. I trust you’ve been playing nicely with the other commenters?

        1. Absolutely: yesterday I gave a lecture to our American cousins on ‘Body-Line 1932-3,’ I guess you missed it!

          1. Prompted me to have a look, with some trepidation. But you covered the topic splendidly, as well as providing an extra tidbit about Patsy Hendren. Thanks for that one, hadn’t heard it before.

            AND your paean to the great George Headley avoided the tired old “Black Bradman” epithet.

            Well done ‘orryd, I think you’re mellowing!

  7. 20 minutes. Not too difficult, but there was enough to keep up the interest level, eg the FOXTROT clue, EARNEST as a noun and the NHO KELT, speaking of which it was good to meet up again with the ‘Early poet’ at 18a.

    Sorry, but the NORTHERN LIGHTS / AURORA BOREALIS dynamic duo didn’t make a ‘spectacular display’ for me.

  8. An enjoyable 26 minutes of solving with only SKELTON and KELT unknown – two in the same clue being a bit much, but SON for ‘lad’ was obvious and that left only only one unchecked letter to deduce.

    I agree with the comments about NORTHERN LIGHTS and AURORA BOREALIS, not so much the cross-reference this time as the lack of imagination, and the setter has also neglected to indicate enclosure of E RN in the first of these.

    Edit: Thanks to Penfold for his helpful comment below. I see now that if one takes NORTH out of the equation, then ‘lands with English navy’ is non-specific as to placement of LIGHTS and E RN.

    1. …enclosure of E RN…

      That was my first though when I looked at the clue but then it dawned on me that it’s actually NORTH, then LIGHTS with E RN, with being one of those positional indicators that doesn’t imply any particular order.

  9. 12.31

    DROLLERY was nice as was FOXTROT. Didn’t know KELT but pretty confident about the poet.

    Cross references are always wrong in my humble view as I like each clue to be a perfectly formed stand-alone little piece of verbal artistry.

    Thanks Jeremy and setter

    1. You are welcome but I merely commented a lot. vinyl is responsible for the blog today!

  10. Easy Monday. Quite liked DOVE. Not a lover of cross-referencing clues (especially one as obvious as this one).

  11. 19:30 for this enjoyable jaunt – would have been faster if I hadn’t initially entered BOLEARIS – a misspelling that’s stuck stubbornly in my vocabulary for decades. Didn’t know KELT, but I’m pretty sure I’ve bumped into SKELTON here previously, as he came to mind very readily. Finishing sequence GUMSHOE – DELEGACY – DOVE …thanks V and setter.

  12. The “two larger answers” were fab
    And SKELTON was a bit of a stab
    But the DOVE is a bird
    Has our setter not heard
    That I think they are boring and drab?

    1. Your dislike, averred, is for birds
      Not poets or herbs or even for surds
      When letters need wheedling
      To come up with Reedling
      We know that you’ll post some cross words.

  13. 23 minutes with LOI SKELTON, needing the K from HANDIWORK and then wondering what Helen Skelton had to do with it and who was Red Skelton? I’ve sometimes wondered if “the goalie DOVE at the feet of the centre-forward” was correct. Yep, 10a and 21a were thrown away too cheaply by the setter. Get thee to a NOSHERY, my COD. Thank you V and setter.

    1. I thought Red Skelton was a big name in comedy, dating back as far as WWII I believe. His TV show amused us greatly as young children, but then lots of things make young children laugh.

      Is it possible that his work made it across the Pacific but not the Atlantic?

      1. Nothing comes up if you google Red Skelton BBC apart from Shirley Bassey once appeared on his US show. Googling Red Skelton UK throws up Red Skelton in London, an episode of his US show on which The Stones appeared. But there are remarkably few mentions otherwise. I knew the name but couldn’t put a face to it.
        And he wasn’t an old poet.

      1. The principal character in my first novel bemoans the fact that he could never jive but he could do simulataneous equations. Autobiographical or not?

    2. Skelton unknown as a poet. My knowledge of non-Australian poets ends at Rumpole: “I wandered lonely as a Claude.” But Skelton known as a ‘name’: won a Melbourne Cup? Yes, 1976, on Van Der Hum, after a rainstorm of Noah’s Ark magnitude.

  14. As with a couple of others, SKELTON put in with somewhat crossed fingers, as I’d never heard of him or KELT, or, indeed, Gower. Still, it seemed likely and with the rest only took me 34 minutes, which isn’t too bad for me. One of those days where either I write in an answer almost immediately or I have to come back to it later and stare for a while, with very little in between.

  15. For though my rhyme be ragged,
    Tattered and jagged,…

    20 mins pre-brekker. Not my cup of tea, despite the Myrtle drollery.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  16. 28 min for a stop start solution
    Like many solvers I didn’t know kelt and also didn’t realise dove was only American

  17. FOI DRAINER, LOI FOXTROT. Took me a while to decipher the deceptive “starts to deal” to figure where the E came from in DELEGACY. Didn’t know the poet, but we have a couple of villages called Skelton around here, and the SKE checkers were a help. Liked NOSHERY. 16:53. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  18. 16:09
    Steve Hackett’s ‘Foxtrot at Fifty’ tour this autumn. Have booked two shows. A flower?
    Thanks, v.

  19. Monday fare, 15 minutes, KELT was unknown but knew the poet. Nothing else to cause trouble. Agree the 10a and 21a were giveaways and so were a few more like 5a.

  20. 24 mins so quick for me. Most comments already made. A generally pleasant stroll for a Monday. I liked NOSHERY and HANDIWORK.

    Thanks v and setter.

  21. Haven’t had a sub-10 for a while. Of course Mohn was a sub-3 – yikes. I note that DELEGACY is flagged in red by spell-check here and it does sound rather like the way someone with a Henry Kissinger accent would pronounce “delicacy”. And who could forget the Venomous Bead. Mind wandered a bit. 9.21

    1. I thought my slightly-over-3m time was pretty good, but of course Mohn was going to come along and trump it 😀

  22. Surprised the SNITCH puts this in the ‘easier’ rather than the ‘very easy’ category. I took 16 minutes, which is just about as fast as I get. As I was doing it everything seemed to fall into place very easily and I was wondering if there would be anything I wasn’t sure about. Of course there was: nho kelt. And ‘dove’ struck me as ambiguous, although the answer was obvious: was the setter saying ‘over the pond’ to indicate the transatlantic sense, or was the bird just diving into the pond?

    A note for the programmers: I wrote more or less the above, then scrolled up to verify something in the blog/comments, then when I scrolled back down everything had disappeared and I had to start again. No very big deal, but a bit of a nuisance and it may be easily fixable.

    1. Thanks. It’s unlikely to be something we can fix (the software we use would have to have a “don’t be annoying when the user scrolls” checkbox), but good to be aware of. And while it’s a feeble work-around at best, you can always save your comment and then come back to it, at the risk of exposing your half-baked thoughts to the community.

      1. An alternative workaround would be to stay where you are in your message-writing and open up a new session for scrolling back on a new browser tab.

  23. Like Tina, I had a go at this following Kevin’s encouragement on the QC blog.
    42 minutes which is very good for me.
    As I said in the other place, I would have been quicker but I biffed SOLOMON for the early poet (Songs of Solomon etc.) which brought the SE to a halt. My mind was focussed on LOMO (de salmon) in SON. NHO Kelt. John M.

  24. “Destination outward bound, I turn to see the NORTHERN LIGHTS beyond the wing” (Renaissance).

    New tablet duly christened with a very comfortable solve. NHO kelt, but I’m sure the poet put in an appearance here fairly recently. DELEGACY seems a very clumsy word.

    TIME 6:45

  25. 07:12, and the blog puts into words what I was thinking, a typical Monday sprint but leavened with a couple of bits of more testing vocab to make me stop and think a little.

  26. Back again after a break of a few months from The Times membership. A bit rusty, and found some of the vocabulary a bit old fashioned- NOSHERY, BRIGANDAGE etc. Defeated by SKELTON.

  27. 14:05

    Back from Barcelona, and rewarded with a comfy shoe of a crossword, which I happily biffed and boffed my way through.

    Only hold up was in the SE where wasn’t sure that BRIGANDAGE was actually a word – took working out NOSHERY (for which I’d pencilled in the N from the unknown SKELTON, plus the penned-in S and Y).

    As for NHO SKELTON, I was mildly misdirected by the presence of SKERTON (suburb of my current home city Lancaster), but decided KELT more likely for the little fishes.

  28. Monday monday, so good to me. A very gentle stroll. DELEGACY and BRIGANDANGE not seen before in that form but straightforward. I liked NOSHERY, my kind of place.

    “A laborious rear” seems like more fun as an anagram of AURORA BOREALIS. I have seen a few of the former, though never the latter.

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  29. 16 minutes. A change from the last few Mondays.
    Many of the answers coud biffed, and the two connected long answers were a giveaway. KELT was vaguely familiar, but I wasn’t too sure about it. SKELTON wasn’t familiar at all.
    LOI: BRIGANDAGE, an unfamilar noun.

  30. 10:37. A sub-10 beckons but remains elusive. In spite of NOSHERY, BRIGANDAGE and the raked-up-from-somewhere SKELTON, it was tantalisingly close. Pfaff.

  31. SKELTON was the subject of some discussion here not too long ago; probably this year.

    1. Yes, it was June 13th this year, blogged by Vinyl. The clue for 25a was: Bony frame of English poet digesting opening of elegy (8).

      Came in helpful for me today.

  32. Over the line in 20.25, so a quick one by my standards. I have heard of SKELTON but not the KELT part of the answer. NOSHERY my LOI, a lovely word on which to finish.
    I had a different way of parsing 14dn RETALIATE with ALI(son) being the woman rather than LI(s)A. Nobody else seems to have mentioned it, I can’t imagine I was the only one.
    Thanks to the setter and to Vinyl for his blog. He must have worked up quite a head of steam solving and listening to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as his time suggests.

    1. Yes I was a bit unsure about how Ali appeared (thought Ali was probably a woman in fiction who had lost her son, but …). I’m pretty sure your suggestion is what the setter intended. Much neater.

  33. My regular Monday outing, and I think a PB.

    The bunged-in-from-checkers SKELTON (NHO the poet or the fish) and then NOSHERY were my last two. Otherwise it just clicked for me today.


  34. TGIM and I have an outside chance of finishing the thing. It seems ages since I managed an error free solution and, yes, I know it was easy for most of you guys but for those of us playing in the lower divisions much happiness.

  35. 7’56”

    One of those days when virtually every clue jumped into my head almost immediately, though I was let down by misreading ‘woman’ for ‘women’ in 15 Across, which wasted time.

    Nothing stood out as especially memorable to me, except the cute definition in 5 Across which instantly conjured images from The Lord of the Rings.

    I expect tomorrow’s to be a much sterner test.

  36. 10.30 so a rather easier experience than has been the case recently. Couple of wobbles with delegacy and Skelton, the latter being a definite double NHO as in the poet and the salmon/ trout connection. Aside from that reasonably straightforward . LOI brigandage, COD myrtle or drollery.

  37. 6:25, but I somehow managed to type AURORO BOREALIS. Not for the first time I wonder why I bother checking my answers if I’m going to do it in such a way that I don’t spot something like that.
    I’ll add my vote of mild disapproval of the cross-reference here. I don’t object to them on principle, and quite enjoy Paul’s cross-reference extravaganzas, but here it made 21ac too obvious.

  38. 15.59. Straightforward top to bottom solve. The cross referencing of 10ac and 21ac deprived me of the fun of having to do any actual solving of 21ac which was rather disappointing.

  39. Under 40 minutes but DNF as I had Control instead of FOXTROT- couldn’t see beyond con for deceive. Didn’t recognise DELEGACY or IMPASTO at first but both seemed possible. Most of the rest went in smoothly with SPONGER and NOSHERY raising smiles. Needed blog to untangle many details-thanks!

  40. A finish of sorts, with the unknown Kelt/Skelton accidentally gifted elsewhere. Brigandage was only vaguely known, but the cluing was kind. Couldn’t quite believe that Noshery both exists and has made The Times crossword, but there you go. Invariant

  41. 15:14 this afternoon with a sluggish start as exemplified by my first attempt at 1 ac being “dwlegacy”! By the end I realised I’d made rather heavy weather of this, as a glance at the leader board confirmed. Bad day at the office basically.
    Generally agee with earlier comments regarding the 2 linked clues – I was another who got the Aurora clue first and another who had NHO kelt but had HO Skelton albeit vaguely.
    LOI 20 d “noshery”. Saw how the clue was structured but couldn’t think of an eatery beginning with No until 25 ac “drollery” came to the rescue with the “y” crosser.
    Thanks to the setter and Vinyl for the blog

  42. Very easy indeed (23 minutes for me), but a few good clues nonetheless. What I did not like was “starts to deal” cluing DE, but that’s really the only complaint.

  43. First time I’ve ever completed a biggie online in less than an hour a day. I usually confine myself to the QC online & do the biggies over several days from a book. 40:52, super happy. NHO SKELTON, or KELT, but it sounded close enough to SMELT that it was feasible as a stage in a salmon’s life. As a Brit living in the US, all too familiar with the jarring DOVE as the past participle of DIVE.

  44. 14dn I parsed “…woman losing son…” as ALI(son), which also fits inside TATE

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