Times 28365 – skating on thick ice is easier

I’m not supposed to put people off by saying “this was easy today” when others might find otherwise, but I thought this was the easiest Wednesday puzzle I’ve blogged for a long while. But there again, I knew 11d because I once had a Ferrari (see below). Three straightforward anagrams and an easy “hidden” answer should help you crack it quickly.

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

1 Find fault with hotel vent stuck in awkward position? (5,5)
SPLIT HAIRS – awkward position = SPLITS, insert H AIR for hotel vent.
6 Stretch a point, to some extent, for one of the guys (4)
CHAP – hidden, not very, as above.
9 Placement of flyers plugging trendy joint (10)
INTERNSHIP – TERNS (flyers) inside IN (trendy) HIP (joint).
10 Exhibit gaping hole with little width inside (4)
GAWP – GAP = hole, insert W for little width.
12 Mimic boy dressed in Roman style (12)
IMPERSONATOR -SON (boy) inside IMPERATOR, Roman emperor.
15 Liberal France’s expression of agreement with troubled Asian state (9)
LOUISIANA -L (liberal) OUI (French for yes) (ASIAN)*.
17 Briefly suspended by church, creating suspicion (5)
HUNCH – HUN(G), CH(urch).
18 Scoundrel follows with revolver (5)
WHEEL – HEEL after W(ith).
19 Speculates or introspects at first in academic papers (9)
THEORISES – THESES has OR I inserted.
20 A senatorship arranged for classical writer (12)
ARISTOPHANES – (A SENATORSHIP)*. Ancient Greek writer of comedies such as The Birds, The Clouds, The Wasps, The Frogs…
24 Propose to maiden on return, clutching ring (4)
MOOT – All reversed, TO M(aiden) with O for ring inserted. I think you can moot, or propose, an idea.
25 Perhaps man on stage embracing female is a rogue (10)
MALEFACTOR – a MALE ACTOR being a man on stage, insert F.
26 Understand without opening file (4)
RASP – GRASP loses its opening G.
27 Outward pawn on reflection is under threat (3,3,4)
FOR THE CHOP – FORTH (outward), ECHO (reflection), P (pawn).
1 Something worn with diamonds, say (4)
SUIT -double definition.
2 After a thousand goes, clumsy person produces skating jump (4)
LUTZ – KLUTZ a clumsy person, loses K.
3 This paste needs salt with a mixture of spices, thanks (12)
TARAMASALATA – TAR (salt, sailor), A, MASALA (spice mix) TA (thanks).
4 The setter will read out passage (5)
AISLE – sounds like “I’LL”, the setter will.
5 Bring back controls on time at start of exam (9)
REINSTATE – REINS (controls) T(ime), AT, E(xam).
7 His earnest carousing may suggest this (10)
8 Broadcast Scrapheap Challenge’s final run across country (5,5)
PAPER CHASE – (SCRAPHEAP E)*, where the E is from the end of challenge.
11 Predictable contest named after Ferrari icon? (3-5,4)
ONE-HORSE RACE – if you didn’t know, or don’t own one, you could guess that the Ferrari’s icon is a (prancing) horse. I once had a Ferrari baseball cap, so I knew.
13 Tool made from carbon less effective muffling sound of impact (4,6)
CLAW HAMMER -C (carbon) LAMER (less effective) insert WHAM ! the sound of impact.
14 Those checking reports of prospective partners drinking in bed (10)
SUBEDITORS – prospective partners are SUITORS, insert (“drinking in”) BED.
16 Advice to visit a S American plain or plateau (9)
ALTIPLANO -TIP (advice) inside A LLANO (a South American plain, as seen before in TfTT).
21 A warehouse robbed of Old Master (5)
ADEPT – A DEPOT loses O for old.
22 Chuck’s missing 500 yen (4)
ITCH – DITCH (chuck) loses D, Roman numeral for 500.
23 Support publicity work (4)
PROP – PR (publicity) OP (work).


75 comments on “Times 28365 – skating on thick ice is easier”

  1. DNF
    This was pretty easy for the most part, although INTERNSHIP took some time, but 27ac did for me. I had no idea how the clue worked (and I doubt that I’d have got FORTH from ‘outward’), and I didn’t know the phrase FOR THE CHOP (I was thinking it might be WHIP). I thought I didn’t know PAPER CHASE in the relevant sense, although having looked it up it does seem vaguely familiar; maybe saw it here. (Pip, you need to include ‘run’ in the definition.) I wondered about ‘style’ in 12ac IMPERSONATOR, failing to think of the relevant sense of the word.

  2. 21:13. I really really wanted to get under 20 minutes today. With the last few puzzles I’ve been doing well until the last few clues, and then I get stuck. The same happened with this puzzle, with SUBEDITORS, ALTIPLANO, and FOR THE CHOP taking many minutes to work out. I didn’t know the expression FOR THE CHOP, and I felt quite lucky to have figured it out from wordplay (and crossing letters) alone.

    MOOT was also a bit tricky to see.

    Personal disappointment aside, I quite enjoyed the puzzle.

    1. I’ve had the same experience this week, spending about half my total time on a handful of clues each day. This morning it was SUBEDITOR and MALEFACTOR, which I largely put down to the word forms not following a regular pattern and thus being less guessable. This reflects on much of my solving being done by getting an answer and working back to the clue.

  3. Just under 15 minutes. I knew there was a weird crossword-only word for plain, but was sure it was “laano”. Fortunately I couldn’t make that work, so a bullet was dodged.

    Thanks PK for the parsing of GAPE (“exhibit gawping”, very good) and FOR THE CHOP, which I didn’t bother parsing once the checkers were in place. And I didn’t know “imperator”, but it had to be.

    Good week for me so far, which has now been severely jeopardised by me saying “good week for me so far”.

    1. Many of us might remember “Imperator” from our coins, pre decimal, that had “IND IMP” on them for “India Imperat(or/rix),” being emp(eror/ress) of India. From Victoria to George VI I think; India was independant when ER came to the throne (16 Feb 1952).
      From Wiki “The letter ‘I’ for ‘Imperatrix’ was added to Queen Victoria’s monogram after she became Empress of India in 1877”

  4. 34 minutes with a one-letter error in my last one in, ALTIPLANO. The word was unknown to me so I was trying to construct it from wordplay and checkers which were all in place at that time. ‘Advice’ was clearly TIP and I thought S would be S so I wrote these in. Then I thought ‘plain’ might be LANO so in that went too and gave me ASTIPLANO as the completed answer. Of course I knew the plain was spelt LLANO so I should have gone back and checked the wordplay again, but I didn’t. I searched later and found that this is the first appearance of ALTIPLANO in a daily puzzle but it has been seen once in a Mephisto and once in a Club Monthly, neither of which I ever attempt.

    ADEPT as a noun was unknown to me but I was confidant it was correct.

    Although I know nothing about Ferraris I guessed their trademark might involve a horse but I don’t get how ONE-HORSE RACE is named after it.

    1. I think ONE-HORSE RACE only works if you allow the definition to also be part of the wordplay. ie, a contest (predictable or not) named after the Ferrari icon could be a ONE-HORSE RACE.

      1. I can only see ONE-HORSE RACE as perfectly sufficient as a synonym for “predictable contest”—and vice versa—and the wordplay as formally an entirely separate part. The trademark is one horse, so the predictable “one-horse race” could, in a punning stretch (!), be named after it.

  5. FOR THE CHOP was new to me (if not very vaguely remembered from a puzzle long ago…), and I got the paste at the end by guessing that all the blanks left were As! Was in the dark about Ferrari. Worked out MOOT from wordplay but then it still took a moment to remember the relevant meaning.

  6. Not the easiest, not the hardest. Subeditors in the end took a few minutes, embarrassingly, with BED staring me in the face. For the chop had to be, but was difficult to see the parsing at first. Not sure I understand how Roman style is imperator, but no problem. Liked MOOT and ALTIPLANO.

    1. It’s ‘style’ as in a name or title . ‘Imperator’ in Rome was a commander or emperor,

      1. Thanks. Not previously familiar with that meaning of style; and hadn’t looked in the dictionary.

        1. I only knew ‘style’ in this sense it because I’ve occasionally seen it on application forms in the Name section where you are asked to fill in Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir, and so on. Perhaps even more relevant than ever these days!

          1. I knew “style” in this sense from the C.P. Snow novel sequence, “Strangers and Brothers”, in which main character Lewis Eliot remarks grumpily on several occasions after he is knighted that he is not addressed with the appropriate style.

    2. Yes, using “bed” to clue BED was a level of misdirection I wasn’t prepared for either.

  7. Except for the obvious CHAP, a bit of a shaky start up top – but I was chuffed to get ARISTOPHANES right away, giving me some purchase on the lower half. NHO LLANO, though I’ve taken a few very long bus rides across the Chilean ALTIPLANO, and my initial careless TWO-HORSEr needed a correction.

    Moving back up, I was a bit surprised to have GAP clued as “GAPing hole”, but there wasn’t a better alternative, and I finished off with SPLIT HAIRS then LOI the unknown LUTZ. 25:35 is an on-target time for me – thanks P and setter.

    1. Me too, on the gap / gape / gawp and even gawk all being variations of the same word.

  8. Good surfaces and an easy crossword.

    I needed that today as a large tree has fallen across my drive overnight and I am off to jury service now.

  9. The Wheel is King today, And speed’s a god;
    Yet when I see the way My feet have trod,
    Like pilgrims who to shrine Of Beauty kneels,
    I pray: O Peace divine
    Damn Wheels!

    25 mins pre-brekker. No dramas. Luckily Llano is a crossword regular.
    1ac reminded me of the old clue:
    Balls in underwear – they split hairs (7)
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  10. 17:04
    Straightforward. Llano/altiplano from Spanish. LOI subeditors.
    Thanks, pip.

  11. 19 minutes with LOI LUTZ ventured uncertainly. It did sound vaguely familiar, and ‘klutz’ did too, but neither are in my normal vocabulary. FOR THE CHOP required all crossers with FORTH for ‘outward’ only becoming apparent after the event. COD to CLAW HAMMER. Thank you Pip and setter.

  12. 32 mins with subeditors taking a few min on its own
    Like several puzzles recently I found the solutions easier than the parsing!!!

  13. Thought I’d done well with this, but like Jack I had one letter wrong in 16d. I’d started off with ANTIP… (thinking that “a” could certainly be “an” and figuring out the TIP) but even though I’d remembered “llano” correctly I still managed to leave my “n” in there and come up with ANTIPLANO, which seemed perfectly plausible as an unknown word. Fiddlesticks.

  14. One wrong in 23 25. Astiphado was my plateau and my S American plain was S + Phado.

    COD: For the Chop. Well disguised – from me anyway.

  15. 36 mins, so not the easiest. Last two in SUBEDITORS and MOOT held me up for a bit. Like Pootle and plusjeremy I too seem often to get stuck on a couple of clues at the end which can add up to 10 mins on the time. Very frustrating.

    Having said that, I did enjoy today’s offering. For some peculiar reason I thought ARISTOPHANES was a character in Cats! He’s not.

    No probs with FOR THE CHOP, but I réalise I hadn’t properly parsed it.

    I liked SPLIT HAIRS, CLAW HAMMER and the aforementioned « cat »

    Thanks Pip and setter.

    1. The cat is Mistoffelees Francois. Yesterday it was the Sound Of Music and today it’s Cats – I sincerely hope there are no musical cues/clues tomorrow.

  16. 41.29. I enjoyed this one but, at 16dn, DNK LLANO or ALTIPLANO so had to look it up. CODs FOR THE CHOP and SUBEDITORS

  17. Been hovering around the half hour mark for a while, and thought I had beaten it until altiplano did for me. FOI lutz then the malefactor, steady solve thereafter until the last.
    There’s always tomorrow…

  18. 31 minutes. Not too difficult though I bunged in FOR THE CHOP from enumeration and def, didn’t know what ‘style’ was doing at 12a (thanks for explanation above) and took a while to cotton on to SUBEDITORS as my LOI. ALTIPLANO helped by having been there and seeing Chris Tarrant on the Bolivian and Chilean railways only last week.

    The good (‘Exhibit gaping’ def) and not so good (repetition of G, A and P in def and answer) at 10a but maybe I’m being fussy.

  19. Also one wrong in 16d (ABtiplano!) which is annoying as I have seen llano lots of times here.
    COD split hairs.

  20. 28 mins. Mostly straightforward, but with some tricky bits. NHO either ‘llano’ or ALTIPLANO, so had to construct from crossers. SUIT took longer than it should have, as did MALEFACTOR and ITCH. Overall a pleasing mixture and a satisfying finish.

  21. 21:56

    LUTZ was on the tip of my tongue but needed SPLIT HAIRS to bring it into the light.

    Had heard the word ALTIPLANO somewhere before, so tried it out with the checkers available.

    SUBEDITORS and MOOT held up the longest.

  22. 08:35, so roughly the same time as yesterday, with a similar SNITCH, but this felt twice as straightforward while I was solving it. Explain that, psychologists. Obviously helped by a couple of gimmes for the smug classicists among us, but nice all round.

  23. On proofing I saw that I had indeed typed in “aNtiplano” which is far too close to antipasto for comfort. The setter kindly made it clear which was the spelling of TARAMASALATA that was wanted so “ta” for that. Failed to see that “gaping” went with “exhibit” rather than “hole” so I was a bit mystified by the definition (thanks Pip). 14.26

  24. Not easy for me, and an eventual DNF due to NHO LUTZ and ALTIPLANO. I liked SPLIT HAIRS, which was my LOI, and TARAMASALATA which I think we have had a couple of times of late. Did not parse FOR THE CHOP and I’m not wholly convinced by ‘forth = outward’ even now. Enjoyed what I did though, and thanks to our blogger as usual.

  25. 18:45

    Far from easy for me Pip, but I think a lot of that is just slow-wittedness on my part.

    2d. I could readily bring to mind axels, toe loops and salchows, but not the LUTZ. Only when I got the L from SPLIT did Alan Weeks pop into my head. Mind you, I don’t know why they need so many different names for those jumps, they’re all the same aren’t they?

    20a. I’m not a smug classicist so didn’t spot that AristophEnes was wrong until I got badly stuck on ADEPT.

    25a, 14d, like POOTLE I was a bit thrown by the composite forms of SUBEDITOR and MALEFACTOR.

  26. This was going fine until SUBEDITORS, which took me about 4 minutes to get – embarrassingly not trying out bed = BED until that point (I see I’m not the only one). 10m 53 in total.

    ALTIPLANO was unknown to me, but LLANO is a crossword favourite so it was gettable.

  27. All was going well until I reached 1dn. I couldn’t believe that The Times now allows ‘with’ as a link-word (I’ve moaned tediously about this practice in the past: it had always seemed to me that you only found it in cheap imitations, but now it seems that the Times setters and the editor have accepted it). I was looking for something like W… or …D, but eventually used aids for this and found it, taking 34 minutes.

  28. 24 mins. Pretty straightforward although not quite a Monday quickie. The PAPER CHASE reminded me of The Railway Children. Saw a wonderful version of this in York railway museum.

  29. I was held up in the NE by a biffed EARTHINESS, but GAWP eventually corrected that. Sadly the earthiness remained, as my careless proposal was a MOON. Remembered Llano so was able to construct the unknown plateau. 22:46 WOE. Thanks setter and Pip.

  30. Easier fare than usual. Share the MER at ONE-HORSE-RACE above; clear from definition but not convinced by Ferrari half of clue.

  31. 27.27 with a few minutes spent on gawp. I just couldn’t believe it was that easy. Split hairs was another troublesome customer. Nice to see Aristophanes making an appearance . I remember reading his plays in modern translation for Ancient History A Level. Cue for much sniggering at their outrageous bawdiness and funny too.

    COD claw hammer.
    Thx setter and blogger

  32. 7:41. No real problems today, lots of biffing. ALTIPLANO from wordplay, and you can put me in the ‘fooled by bed=BED’ club. I’ve heard the phrase PAPER CHASE before but always assumed it was something to do with bureaucracy.

    1. In the States it is exclusively bureaucracy. There was a movie of that name, about law school, back in the 1970s. Here they do the cross country thing either with flour or spots of spray paint.

  33. Getting closer, just a few short today at the 1 hour mark. Also got my trusty “Bradfords Crossword Dictionary” in the mail, which I needed for LUTZ (was trying to make AXEL work).

    Was never going to get ALTIPLANO, as didn’t know “llano” either. Needed to check spelling of TARAMASALATA which has way more A’s then I expected. A 12 letter word with 6 letters the same? I’ll challenge anyone to beat that.

    FOR THE DROP held me up.


  34. Found this very difficult and gave up early. EARTHINESS, as one of first in, did not help.
    Must be the heat.

  35. Well it was too difficult for me- I would never have got lutz, and misremembered the plain as liano – so assumed plateau might be a musical term- altipiano!! I’ll hope for more success tomorrow

  36. Perhaps inspired by our blogger saying how easy it was, I did indeed find it far easier than usual coming in at 25.28, almost 20 minutes under target. This even included spending over 6 minutes on the last two answers 16dn and 27ac. Never heard of an ALTIPLANO and made it difficult for myself by continually thinking of llama instead of llano. Only got FOR THE CHOP because I knew the expression but failed to parse it.

  37. Started off all bright and breezy with lots (lutz) of smiles along the way but ALTIPLANO and SUBEDITORS took almost as long as all the rest put together. Good stuff.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter.

  38. Took 6 clues to get started, and was held up near the end for a good 30 seconds by having to back out ‘earthiness’. NHO ALTIPLANO but the parsing was clear enough. Biffed FOR THE CHOP, which took a while to parse afterwards.

    TIME 8:30

  39. 11’19”

    A steady solve for me, with last entry ‘gawp’: I didn’t like this on account of the double gap, as Denise mentions above.

    Best in show (forgive the pun): Aristophanes. Nice anagram I thought.

    SNITCH’s on the low side so far this week, so I expect something to give tomorrow.

  40. 23:46. Found this quite tricky. LUTZ was unknown, but fortunately “klutz” wasn’t – just about. ALTIPLANO was another blank spot and INTERNSHIP took forever to see. I didn’t know MASALA as a mix of spices and, given my liking for Indian food, there doesn’t seem much excuse for that. Just not my day, I s’pose.

  41. 50 minutes, and when I saw the pink squares for ANTIPIANO I immediately knew what the correct answer should have been (NIANO as a plain didn’t sound very likely anyway). But making one obscure answer (ALTIPLANO) depend on another (LLANO) is not really fair cluing for a daily cryptic — if I want a crossword where you have to KNOW uncommon terms rather than being able to figure them out I could start doing hard American ones instead.

  42. DNF in 13.35 with another annoying typo, this time at Aristpphanes. Thought this was pretty easy. Was mistrustful of Gap in the clue and Gap in answer to gawp so hesitated over that one. Was also not entirely convinced by the clue to one-horse race. Failed to parse ‘for the chop’ so was fortunate to know the expression.

  43. I saw that Piquet thought this was easy, so after doing the QC I had a look. Way beyond me – could hardly do any at all!! I’ll stick to the QC!

    1. If so, sorry for the misleading intro, lichdb, I can only say I found it easier than the usual Wednesday fare I have to deal with. I think solving crosswords like these is 80% practice and 20% ability, so keep practising!

  44. Today’s setter showed rather more art
    Using TERNS as a clue’s major part
    That’s a bit sneaky-beaky
    (Like the pun? It’s quite cheeky!)
    But please give us a break. Have a heart

  45. Trundled through this at (what I thought !) was a good clip, but got stuck at MOOT and SUBEDITORS for some reason, and even missed the rather neat clueing at 1d (that ‘with’ led me astray). Had fun, despite not finishing, with MALEFACTOR prob my CD.

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