Times 28371 – no ruffled feathers.

An elegant challenge today, no obscurities or anagrams of foreign words but a layman’s knowledge of particle physics would help. I think 6d was the nicest clue.

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

1 Idle cop somehow to turn back his support? (6,3)
POLICE DOG – (IDLE COP)* followed by GO (turn) reversed.
6 First degree thus fundamental (5)
BASIC -BA (first degree) SIC (Latin for thus).
9 Bloke needing microphone repair after change of heart (7)
MICHAEL – MIC then HEAL (repair) has its heart rearranged.
10 Inexpert fellow invested in gold? Heading for ruin (7)
AMATEUR – MATE (fellow) inside AU (Au, gold), then R = heading for ruin.
11 Boy lied? Not good (3)
SON – Lied being a SONG in German, lose the G.
12 Study sounds of birds avoiding northern part of Europe (11)
SCANDINAVIA – SCAN (study), DIN (sounds) AVIAN (of birds), lose the N = avoiding northern.
14 Business information in current year (6)
AGENCY – GEN (information) inside AC (current) Y(ear).
15 Test offered by sequence in exposed cards? (5,3)
DUMMY RUN – DUMMY = exposed cards, as in the hand opposite declarer in bridge; RUN = sequence.
17 Imaginative architectural feature in mind — millions expended (8)
INSPIRED – SPIRE (architectural feature) inside MIND without the M.
19 Wrong answer — subsequently repeated in second test (6)
ASTRAY – A for answer, S for second, TRY for test with another A(nswer) inside.
22 Nothing blocks machine, all wrecked, attaining the dumps (11)
23 Bill almost crazy to return (3)
TAB – BATS or BATTY = crazy, delete the end and reverse.
25 Implausibly fast mover on yacht at sea (7)
TACHYON – (ON YACHT)*. I remember discussing this in 1967 when I was at uni. A tachyon is a hypothetical particle that travels faster than the speed of light (c), as opposed to a luxon (which travels at c) or a bradyon (which travels slower than c). The theory of relativity prohibits tachyons from existing. From Greek ταχύ meaning swift.
27 Instruments, black in appearance mostly (7)
GUITARS -GUIS(E) = appearance mostly, with TAR for black inserted. I think tar = black here in a verbal sense.
28 Cheat getting round a new rule (5)
CANON -A N inside CON = cheat. As in Canon Law and so on.
29 Alpine lake falling short — unknown quantity needed for stability (9)
CONSTANCY – Lake Constance or the Bodensee borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland at the foot of the Alps. Delete the terminal E and add Y an unknown.
1 Questions accessories needed for ballet? (5)
PUMPS – double definition, the second being ballet shoes.
2 Allow story about Conservative? Breaking news carrying no weight (7)
LICENSE – LIE (story) around C (Conservative), then (NES)* being an anagram of NEWS without the W. If you put LICENCE go to the dunce’s corner; in UK we spell LICENSE with an S when it’s a verb and C as a noun, certain other countries don’t bother with that.
3 Hopefully learning many are involved in this legal matter (5,6)
CLASS ACTION – hopefully those in a class in school are learning something, but not necessarily.
4 Everybody in staff raised money (6)
DOLLAR – ALL inside ROD (staff), all reversed.
5 Old relative was not happy about rising extravagance (8)
GRANDEUR – GRAN your old relative RUED reversed.
6 Fashion accessory obtained out of South American city (3)
BOA – BOGOTA in Colombia is your city; remove GOT (obtained).
7 Visit with estate agent, perhaps, getting invitation to check next option? (3,4)
SEE OVER – I’ve seen this as a double definition, you can SEE OVER a new house with an estate agent, or you can SEE OVER the page for more options.
8 A city rent is ridiculous? Sure thing (9)
13 Who’s got ready to study? (11)
NUMISMATIST – cryptic definition, a coin collector.
14 Self-evident Times article turned up with peculiar expressions I’d ignored (9)
AXIOMATIC – X A reversed, then (ID)IOMATIC.
16 Me, I will participate in most of opportunity to get fitter? (8)
MECHANIC – ME, then I inside CHANC(E).
18 Lithium company beset by wrong element (7)
SILICON – insert LI (Li, lithium) CO (company) into SIN (wrong).
20 Seek new skill? Picked up skill, staying in control (7)
RETRAIN – ART (skill) reversed inside REIN (control).
21 A lot of effort to get a new advertising feature (6)
SLOGAN – SLOG (a lot of effort) A, N(ew).
24 Military accessory at work, requiring billions invested (5)
BUSBY -BUSY (at work) with B inserted. Furry hat worn by Hussars.
26 Arab country offloading Middle East currency (3)
YEN – YEMEN an Arab country loses ME for Middle East.


76 comments on “Times 28371 – no ruffled feathers.”

  1. DNF
    NHO DUMMY RUN, and I doubt that I would have got it even if I had got GRANDEUR & NUMISMATIST. I also don’t think I’d have thought of GRANDEUR for ‘extravagance’.

    1. Oh, interesting! I wondered why an American friend looked confused when I used “Dummy Run” a few years ago.

  2. I couldn’t see GRANDEUR and bunged in GRANDMUM as the only thing I could see that would fit (“old relative” but the wordplay didn’t work at all). So DNF. It was a pity at 12A that you didn’t have to remove S for Southern since with the checkers and “northern part of Europe” it was obvious, even though the clue doesn’t actually work that way.

  3. 29 minutes. I took a RUNning jump at DUMMY RUN as I only had a vague idea about the ‘exposed cards?’ bit. I assumed TACHYON was some sort of sub-atomic particle, but the significance of the def passed me by. Managed to avoid the potential trap at LICENCE and was glad I didn’t spend too long trying to fit a B in for ‘black’ at 27a.

    Again, fortunate to see it with the help of crossers, but I liked NUMISMATIST.

  4. I had the Tachyon (and Silicon) Jimbo, but struggled with some of the other definitions. I thought there was a lot of figuring out a (maybe) synonym, then dropping letters, and those clues are never good to me.

    1. I agree with your last sentence. We had: NOT good, AVOIDING northern, millions EXPENDED, ALMOST crazy, appearance MOSTLY, lake FALLING SHORT, CARRYING NO weight, OUT of south america, i’d IGNORED, MOST of opportunity and OFFLOADING middle east.

  5. Licence and license have tripped me up more times than I care to remember. Thankfully the cluing made the right answer clear today.

  6. NHO of DUMMY RUN (though it made sense), so that was POI, GRANDEUR being, oddly it seems now, last… I was watching a movie and got thru this fairly quickly, considering. I worked the three-letter ones first—where we have both BO(GOT)A (the enumeration and definition gave this away) and YE(ME)N. Felt confident from the start, putting in the top part, at least, of NUMISMATIST right away. It seemed I’d come across some of these same words in other puzzles recently.

  7. 35 minutes but I fell into the same GRANDMUM trap as Paul (not in London) – a somewhat crazy error as none of the wordplay worked so it had to be wrong, but I simply failed to think of GRAN as ‘elderly relative’ and part of the wordplay. On top of that I never heard anyone refer to a GRANDMUM. Onelook shows it listed in Wiktionary but nowhere else so it couldn’t have been right in a Times crossword.

    1. “Paul.in.London” is not really in London either, y’know.
      I expect to meet up with him in person again one evening soon here in Gotham City.

      1. Indeed, sad that. Not sad meeting Guy for a whiskey, but not being in London except a couple times a year. I was, properly, P.i.L when the avatar was created and for quite a while thereafter; by the time I wasn’t there was another Paul, plus having all the historical records made it seem silly to change.

  8. Different than most: Had heard of NUMISMATIST, TACHYON and DUMMY RUN and DUMMY at bridge, so no problems there. LICENSE and GRANDEUR clearly clued, no problems there. My big problem was GUITARS – just couldn’t see it, was expecting a B or BAN or BAR for black. In the end I almost gave up on the alphabet trawl on getting to U as the second letter. Noticed a lot of deletions from words today in the clues, including not getting to the end of them.
    Quite liked AMATEUR and SON, amongst others.

      1. AMATEUR & SON: I think those were the two guys who showed up offering to repave my drive.

  9. 23:17. I managed to take several wrong paths in this puzzle and consequently I currently have the highest personal NITCH. For INSPIRED I thought the definition was “Imaginative architectural feature” so I’m giving that my COD for nice deception on the part of the setter. I also had MELANCHOLIC for a while which gave me difficulty with NUMISMATIST. I was pleased when I correctly remembered the term for one who studies money, but I did wonder if it was a little obscure to merit a cryptic definition and thus offer no other way in for someone who didn’t know the word.

  10. At 25 mins I thought this was easier than recent puzzles which seems at odds with other comments
    I knew tachyon from Star Trek which was handy
    Guitars had me struggling as it took me a while to get slogan I don’t like setters adding an a before clues and then not using it I spent ages looking for a word starting al
    I also liked 6d

  11. But when the melancholy fit shall fall
    Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, …

    25 mins pre-brekker. Mostly I liked the ‘fitter’. Not as keen on ‘see over’.
    LOI Inspired.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  12. 43 minutes, with shrugs at the eventual bunging in of SEE OVER and DUMMY RUN, but mostly some time kicking myself for taking so long to get “instruments” starting with a G when I was sitting in a room with three GUITARS in it. D’oh.

    1. RE three guitars: I was slow on that one and I’m sitting in a room with three guitars too 🙂

  13. 31:44. I wasn’t sure if I had heard of TACHYON but there were only two possibilities with the anagrist and I plumped for the right one. LOI GRANDEUR, after my struggles with grandmum and glum failed to convince me. COD NUMISMATIST

  14. 36m 12s
    I didn’t find this difficult but my two LOIs, GUITARS and NUMISMATIST, took me a while.
    Thanks for the blog, Pip, especially for BOA, CLASS ACTION and SEE OVER.
    Re TACHYON, I once visited the museum at CERN near Geneva. It was full of terms like that. I understood very little of it.

      1. The UK is brown and the smell after the torrential rain yesterday reminded me of 1976.

        1. I came across it this morning in an article in the Daily Telegraph. An intriguing word!

      2. What a great word! The correct response is, of course, ‘not while the train is standing in the station’!

  15. Back on paper. 40 minutes with LOI BUSBY after SLOGAN and the difficult GUITARS finally fell into place. COD to the NUMISMATIST. I wore my PUMPS for PE not Ballet. A bit tricky but enjoyable enough. Thank you Pip and setter.

  16. 10:35

    No real problems other than GRANDEUR, where failure to parse GRANDMUM eventually forced me to look at the other end of the clue for the definition.

    On pretty much all the other clues I was able to cotton on to what was going on almost straight away.

  17. 21:38

    Very happy with this. One of those where whatever I thought of quite often went in. Some thoughts…:

    POLICE DOG – though I wrote it in, it took a while to see the parsing
    MICHAEL – my own name – quite pleasing until I saw it was on the same row as AMATEUR
    DUMMY RUN – heard of the phrase of course but did not know of the bridge reference. Had TRIAL in for a while
    CONSTANCY – from two checkers, had heard of the lake but had no idea where it is. I have now.
    GRANDEUR – had GRAN in early but took a while to see the DEUR (esp with TRIAL in the way)
    NUMISMATIST – a nice ‘penny’ drop moment lol
    SEE OVER – never heard of regarding estate agents – made sense only for say, an illustration that it too large to fit on the current page, so ‘see over’ is used to indicate it is on the next page.

  18. 15 minutes or so. Only unknowns were TACHYON and NUMISMATIST, both of which were gettable with the checkers in place, and SEE OVER, which I put in with a shrug as it could hardly be anything else.

    FOI Police dog
    LOI See over
    COD Scandinavia

  19. Fail in 25 odd

    NHO TACHYON but the Greek tachy- prefix was helpful. My last two in were like BW SLOGAN and GUITARS taking a good 5 minutes. So overall I found it on the gentle side but need to visit two corners as not only did I fall into the LICENCE trap but also inserted a v lazy CERTAINLY

    Thanks Piquet and setter

  20. 38 mins but…. having avoided the LICENSE trap by reading the clue properly and parsing it, I carelessly, like a few others, bifd GRANDMUM so a DNF.

    GUITARS went straight in once I had the G, luckily. I liked AXIOMATIC too.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  21. 08:26, not the hardest overall, but sprinkled with a variety of clues, not least GRANDEUR, which required proper pause for thought, so certainly not a write-in either.

  22. He who would valiant be. When is a neutrino not a neutrino – when it’s a TACHYON. I was puzzled by some of the definitions – GRANDEUR=extravagance (as others have mentioned) and PUMPS for ballet shoes. In the days when I took dance classes ballet shoes were just ballet shoes (as in Noel Streatfeild) unless they were toe-shoes. Tricky one. 19.52

      1. Mrs. P took dance too! I think it may have been Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s who made ballet flats popular originally, but sadly the rest of us don’t look like her. To an American PUMPS are “court shoes” – the kind of thing the younger female royals have to wear but nowadays the rest of us can be kinder to our feet.

  23. I tore through two thirds of this in record time, then ground to a complete halt. Just couldn’t see GRANDEUR, NUMISMATIST, GUITARS. Now wondering what on earth made me so blind.
    Weird that SNITCH says it’s easy, but certainly not my experience – harder ones this week and last that I’ve finished successfully.

  24. License was my FOI, glad of the clear instruction for the spelling. BASIC and CERTAINTY were next. Needed all the crossers for SEE OVER which seemed a bit loose. Like others, wasted time looking for an aged relative at 5d, and dabbled with TRIAL RUN and PILOT RUN until GRANDEUR arrived. Didn’t know the Bridge term, but knew DUMMY RUN. Like Gothic Matt, I should’ve got GUITARS earlier, with one directly in front of me and two hanging over my head! Knew the TACHYON and NUMISMATIST. INSPIRED was my LOI. 24:25. Thanks setter and Pip.

  25. All was going pretty well until I became utterly stuck on my last two, the GRANDEUR/DUMMY RUN clues. I don’t play bridge and never thought of the bridge connection with dummy, wasting time with the baby’s comforter, but I did finally get this. Eventually I gave up and used aids, having failed to parse grandmum, and GRANDEUR was quite obvious, surely perfectly possible earlier. So I took 57 minutes in the end.

  26. All done bar an inability to spell numismatist! I saw the reference immediately and changed my first (correct) spelling. LOI was grandeur when I persevered ignoring the siren calls to enter grandmum!
    And so my perfect week ends on day 3!

  27. 21 mins. Nice and straightforward. I too pondered on LICENCE/LICENSE at the end, until I realised that NEWS was an anagram. I think my difficulty with GUITARS, when I too am surrounded by them, was that I was expecting a B to be in there somewhere

  28. 35:32. No problem with the money collector or the speedier than speedy particle (though have just spent 15 minutes googling them and am none the wiser). BUSBY, GUITARS and ASTRAY were what kept me in at the more sensible bradyon speed limit today.

  29. 8:17 here, pretty straightforward and no real hold-ups. As a big SF fan I knew what tachyons were but have never come across the terms luxon or bradyon. For me a light-speed particle is a photon and a slower one a tardyon, and I got those from Isaac Asimov so they must be right!

    1. As a dilettante fan of American football aka gridiron, bradyon has to be the word. Amongst quarterbacks, “Brady, T.” is the slowest/least mobile of them all. Greatest of all time, in Bradmanesque stats, but moves slower than my grandmother (who died more than 20 years ago).

  30. Got there in the end despite not knowing that Constance was an alpine lake, not really knowing what a tachyon was (though I knew it has something to do with particle physics), thinking a numismatist was as likely to be a stamp collector as a coin collector, and not knowing dummy in the bridge sense. I thought “dummy” was verging on the unfairly obscure given the number of alternatives that might have fitted the definition (what percentage of the population play bridge nowadays?). I thought the clues for “see over” and “class action” were weak. There were some nice clues (police dog, axiomatic for example), but overall I thought this was a crossword of slightly more than medium difficulty slighly spoiled by some obscurities and substandard clueing.

    1. According to the I newspaper, 200 million people in the world play bridge. We have 700
      Club members in Stamford (Lincs) in a town of 20,000, and I suspect the age / intelligence profile of bridge players is quite well in line with Times solvers. I don’t think that can be regarded as obscure (unless you have never played or read Moonraker / Ian Fleming).

  31. Went through this quickly and would have been on for a 30 minute solve, then hit the rocks on the Grandmum/Grandeur conundrum as a few others have done. Clever misdirection, I would say, as it looked as though “Old Relative” would be the definition. Good puzzle.

  32. Enjoyed this though DNF, being sunk by numismatist (NHO) and, for no good reason, astray. Agree with the comment that it’s difficult to construct the money-studier if hitherto unknown. NHO of tachyon but managed to put all the letters in the right place. Liked boa and busby, the two accessories.

  33. 14’03”

    … a reasonably tachys time. Thought 7 Down was hard, as I’ve never heard of the estate agent phrase. TAB occurring just above GUITARS raised a smile. And no fewer than 5 Greek words to enjoy today. I’m expecting a stiffer test tomorrow, though not as stiff as the test England are facing at Lords.

  34. Over the line in 40.25, nearly five minutes within target, and would have been a lot quicker if I hadn’t spent over six minutes on my LOI 27ac GUITARS. For some reason I didn’t think of musical instruments and only had thoughts for medical options.
    Although I have never played bridge, I know the dummy hand becomes the ‘exposed cards’ so this was a write in. Also spending part of a holiday at Konstanz on Lake Constance (known to the Germans as Bodensee), meant 29ac CONSTANCY came quickly to me.

  35. I, too, was undone by GRANDEUR. I discarded GRANDMUM as being a) implausible and b) unparsable and so in the end gave up and used aids. I also don’t equate GRANDEUR with ‘extravagance. Had ‘was not happy about’ been clued as ‘regretted’ I’m sure I would have got the answer, however. The rest of the puzzle was fair enough – NHO TACHYON, but it seemed more plausible than TOCHYAN. I’ve never actually played Bridge, so —–/RUN took some time to tease out, as did NUMISMATIST. All in all, a strange mixture of straightforward and very tricky.

    1. I see extravagance having 2 meanings: needless spending of too much money; and general richness/splendour/luxuriance. My thoughts, how I use the word – dictionaries might not agree. Grandeur matches (my) second definition reasonably well.

      1. Upon reflection I think you are right. It’s probably more used in literature than it would be in conversation – I would not use it to describe eg a luxurious tapestry, but I have read it from time to time.

  36. After yesterday’s success, a fail today. Got most of it done fairly quickly, but couldn’t see GRANDEUR, DUMMY RUN and ASTRAY (although wordplay very clear). The coin collector was a new word for me- so although I appreciated the cryptic definition, it didn’t help me solve it.
    Having looked at the comments, I feel I did ok under the circumstances.

  37. Biffed grandmum and as others it did not feel plausible and could not parse – but spelling incompetence had me write grandour. Licence and license was explained to me at school as following: C is when a noun as in ice Cream. S is when a verb as in I Scream.
    I had the idea behind the money studier but needed to look it up
    Thoroughly enjoyable – though a long way off the pace!

  38. 35 minutes and no real problems, but a few obviously wrong first guesses (COMO as the alpine lake, RUMMY RUN until I realised that I did not know how to play rummy and that the dummy did consist of exposed cards). SEE OVER seemed very strange, but I couldn’t think of anything else that would fit better. An enjoyable puzzle, but not quite the upper echelon.

  39. My mate MICHAEL is glad to find out
    He’s an answer today, but I doubt
    That’ll happen to me
    As no dictionary
    Has an entry that reads “Astronowt”

  40. Late to the party. 24.20 but failed to crack grandeur putting in the very lame grandmum. Very much enjoyed the puzzle with the SE corner giving a deal of trouble until I got retrain quickly followed by tab, busby and guitars- all good clues I thought.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  41. Completely walloped by this one! On first scan over, had very little (even though BOA and SON seemed likely enough. The rest was like pulling teeth: I’m another who fell into the GRANDMUM trap, but enjoyed BASIC and AMATEUR mostly. (Just spent 31/2 hours watching the Queen’s funeral, and yet BUSBY never sprang to mind!)

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