Times 28377 – take a pain killer

I enjoyed this, although there are a few dodgy clues I’d take issue with, and one I’d never heard of but had to guess from the wordplay. 25 minutes, with a few more to get everything parsed for the blog.

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

1 Criminal’s demand to pass drink (5,2)
HANDS UP – HAND = pass (as in pass me a beer), SUP = drink.
5 Heroically resisting pizzicato, perhaps? (7)
UNBOWED – in pizzicato a string instrument is plucked not bowed.
9 Person checking lines succeeded as a linesman? (9)
VERSIFIER -VERIFIER = person checking, with S for succeeded inside. A poet.
10 Roman’s date is not a bit small (5)
NONES – NONE (not a bit) S (small). In the Roman calendar, the ninth day before the ides.
11 European and say a pair of Poles bring round Irishman’s work (9,4)
FINNEGANS WAKE – FINN (European) EG (say) A N S (a pair of poles) WAKE (bring round). I read Ulysses and quite enjoyed it, but have yet to make headway into Finnegans Wake, although I had an Irish pal who said it was Joyce’s best work. His father was a professor at Trinity College who ‘wrote books about people who wrote about James Joyce’, described by the son / my pal as “one the most famous people in Ireland, according to the twelve people who had heard of him”.
13 Pine and willow casing old vessel(8)
LONGBOAT – LONG (for) = pine (for), BAT = the willow as in cricket, insert O for old.
15 Zoom call only half about head of state (6)
CAREER – CA(LL), RE (about) ER (Her Maj.)
17 Going around a lake, my waterproof covering (6)
GALOSH – GOSH ! = my ! insert A L(ake).
19 Laughter about a scoundrel initially alleviating back pain (8)
HEADACHE – HE HE ! = laughter, insert CAD A (scoundrel, initial letter of alleviating) reversed = A DAC.
22 Wager miserable rozzers are authoritarian (3,4,3,3)
LAY DOWN THE LAW – LAY (bet, wager), DOWN (miserable), THE LAW = the police.
25 Post or beam with one end knocked off (5)
AFTER – RAFTER loses its initial R.
26 It precedes fast run in dip by one tot heading west (5,4)
MARDI GRAS – SAG = dip, insert R for run, I DRAM = one tot, reverse it all. Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday the first day of Lent.
27 Examining body stand out, holding drape at edges (7)
EDEXCEL – EXCEL = stand out, with D(rap)E inserted. I got this from the wordplay, it had to be EXEDCEL or EDEXCEL. Apparently it is the only privately owned UK exam board (owned by Pearson), I’d never heard of it. Is this an unfair clue? A brand name?
28 Peter out in gusty weather getting led astray outside (7)
DWINDLE – WIND inside (LED)*.
1 A passage of Beethoven in coastal resort (4)
HOVE – hidden as above, part of the city of Brighton & Hove.
2 For a number, the setter leaves four and nine out (7)
NUROFEN – (FOUR N NE)*, where NNE is nine with I (the setter) removed. Another dodgy brand name clue, and I don’t find Nurofen (just more expensive ibuprofen) particularly numbing, it’s an NSAID for treating pain and inflammation.
3 Descendant of dissolute cousin not upper-class (5)
SCION – (CO SIN)*, cousin without the U. Is this a first time for dissolute as an anagrind?
4 Proper English throne overturned from long ago (8)
PRIMEVAL – PRIM (proper) E, LAV reversed, the throne being slang for the toilet.
5 Wanting education and mostly ill prepared (6)
UNREAD – UNREADY without the Y.
6 Rings head of theatre as well as players here (9)
BANDSTAND – BANDS (rings) T(heatre) AND = as well as.
7 Hopeful prohibition gets lifted during decline (7)
WANNABE -WANE (decline) has BAN reversed inside.
8 Put off some food — consumed sandwiches last for dinner (10)
DISHEARTEN – DISH (some food) EATEN (consumed) with R (end of dinner) inserted.
12 Beat Iris and Ethel gutlessly on behind (10)
FLAGELLATE – FLAG (iris, the flower) E L (Ethel gutless) LATE (behind).
14 See guy turning up around store, in charge (9)
BISHOPRIC -RIB (guy, tease) reversed with SHOP (store) inside, then IC for in charge.
16 Bound to be in extremely terrible, indebted state (8)
TETHERED – T E (extremely terrible) THE RED (indebted state).
18 Something for a baby, a little poem? (7)
LAYETTE – if a LAY is a poem (I thought it was a song?) a LAYETTE could be a little one.
20 Did quail or chicken, we hear (7)
COWERED – sounds like COWARD, (almost?) = chicken.
21 Spinning plate, one lacks civilised instincts (6)
ANIMAL – LAMINA reversed (spinning). From Latin.
23 Italian bear touring island by India (5)
LUIGI – LUG (bear, carry) insert I for island, add I for India.
24 Sports champion remains after burning energy (4)
ASHE – If ASHES are remains, and you “burn” (remove) the E for energy, you get ASHS not ASHE. As in Arthur Ashe, the first black tennis pro to win the US Open (1968), Wimbledon (1975) and the Australian Open (1970). EDIT as pointed out below,  I was mis-parsing this, it’s simply E after ASH.


67 comments on “Times 28377 – take a pain killer”

  1. I wondered if “remains after burning” could just be ash and then add e from energy?

    1. I think you’re correct, I was trying to make it too complicated by linking “burning ” and “energy “. Apologies to Mr Setter.

  2. 34:53. Not as hard a puzzle as my time suggests, and once again I got very held up at the end, this time with BISHOPRIC, CAREER, and DISHEARTEN. I kept thinking ‘guy’ would be ROB, which didn’t help; also didn’t help to forget what a SEE was (I thought we might be looking for the name of one). CAREER was just tricky and I thought for sure there’d be a ‘head of state’ = S in there somewhere, until I got DISHEARTEN (also tricky).

    For some reason I had no problem with the two brand names which obviously I’d never heard of.

    Felt less bad about my time when I saw Kevin was also over 30 minutes.

  3. 31:04
    Very slow start–FOI 1d–and didn’t get too much faster. I spent too much time on mistaken guesses–‘willow casing’=WW, ‘rings head of theatre’=OOT, ‘spinning plate’=(plate)*, ‘my’=COR. NHO EDEXCEL. NHO NUROFEN, and was not pleased to have 3 vowels to insert in N_R_F_N. ODE sv ‘lay’3: ‘a short lyric or narrative poem meant to be sung. (literary) a song.’

  4. I fell at the last fence putting the vowels in the NHO NUROFEN in the wrong places. I’d never heard of EXEXCEL either, and there was scope for getting the letters wrong there too. FINNEGANS WAKE took too long once it wasn’t Ulysses or Innsifree or any of the other titles famous enough to make it into the daily. I had WANNABE (BAN up in WANE) for ages before I realized it was actually a word.

  5. 37 minutes and I parsed ASHE as in other comments so far. NHO EDEXCEL but trusted the wordplay. I don’t mind the occasional brand name, but two in the same puzzle was a bit much. I lost time in the NE corner expecting PLUCK to feature in 8ac.

    Fans of the panel game I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue will know the game in which the team members are invited to think of titles of books, films, songs etc where changing one letter turns them into something quite different, one example being Shakespeare in Hove.

  6. EDEXCELlent! LOI, that. Checked it before coming here. And I reminded myself that brand names are not forbidden, and guessed that it might be more familiar to folks in the UK. Eh?

    And I thought I knew drugs! NHO NUFERON, but spelled it right.

    Agree with the majority here on ASHE.

    I belong to an e-mail list that reads and glosses FINNEGANS WAKE a page a week. I’m always falling behind, but they start over when they reach the end and the annotations keep piling up.

      Joyce’s SCION’s a massive HEADACHE
      If his words DISHEARTEN
      Take a few NUROFEN
      And re-FLAGELLATE AFTER a break

  7. This morning I was visited by Lord Hiccups, he’s part of my ongoing treatment, plus the sound of a perniciously dull drilling sound from a neighbour’s refurbisment, which appears to be going just fine! Thus l wasn’t really in the mood for such a cacophony. So I took Pip’s wise advice and took a painkiller! A bit stronger than 2dn NUROFEN.
    Anglo/Western normality/normalcy is now restored. But DNfF

    FOI 1dn HOVE reportedly the dullest of all coastal resorts in the UK.
    (LOI) 23dn LUIGI – a little shocker!
    COD 14dn BISHOPRIC – Ely cometh to mind.
    WOD 21dn PILATE from spinning (anagram?) of plate and one. An IKEAN failure! After all, Pontius did lack civilised instincts, in my book.

    Two brand names in one puzzle. 27ac EDEXCEL is utterly delightless!
    Take two OTC EDEXCEL every four hours, for the relief of hiccups and tinnitus.
    Mood Meldrewvian

    1. I noticed your little f you naughty boy. I know how you feel with this one though. I have ordered my Edexcel tabs from the local Boots…

  8. 42 minutes. You can argue the toss, but I’m not a great fan of ‘number’ as a drug referring to anything else except anaesthetic agents either and was surprised to see the brand name. NHO EDEXCEL which went in with little confidence, though I do remember “Ofsted” coming up in previous crosswords; I don’t know if it serves the same sort of function. With only the central T in place for 25a, I was ready to put in “intel” until the crossers gave the correct answer. I don’t recall ever having seen GALOSH in the singular before.

    The crossing LAY(s) in the SW corner looked a bit odd. All topped off with a bit of S&M at 12d. What is The Times coming to.

  9. Top half straight in, bottom half a little slower, then a few minutes at the end convincing myself EDEXCEL could possibly be a word. I failed to convince myself, but put it in anyway just to fill the grid. Like some I misparsed ASHE, but what else could it be? Liked HANDS UP, UNBOWED, LONGBOAT and LAY DOWN THE LAW.
    No trouble with NUROFEN, common in Australia, but which seems to be outside the American lexicon. I have vague memory of Hunter S Thompson reporting (or inventing?) a story of the 1972 US Vice-Presidential candidate Tom Eagleton being hooked on the little-known drug IBUPROFEN, but google suggests I’ve mis-remembered that.

    1. Isla, as I recall Eagleton was McGovern’s running mate in 1972 against Richard Nixon and was forced to withdraw after it emerged that he’d had shock therapy for depression. I don’t recall Hunter Thompson’s part in any of that but another journalist (Robert Novak) suggested that McGovern was for legalizing LSD (he wasn’t). Then came Watergate.

      1. In my googling I found that, too: McGovern lost, amongst other reasons, because he was in favour of: “Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion”. True or not? More likely right-wing news outlets spouting lies – hello Fox. But I’m sure Hunter S Thompson mentioned ibrupofen in one of his books I read 40-odd years ago. Maybe The Great Shark Hunt, rather than Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail.

  10. 45 mins here, though I’m feeling a bit under the weather so I might have been a bit faster on a good day. Seeing LUIGI I wondered whether the setter might be a fan of the Super Mario Brothers, but I expect anyone who wields words like NONES, VERSIFIER, GALOSH, LAYETTE and BISHOPRIC might be from an earlier generation…

    Anyway. No great hold-ups—the NE was probably the most problematic; I remember failing to find a WANNABE at least once in the past but I eventually got there today. LOI, though, was the unknown EDEXCEL. I guessed it might be more familiar to people with kids once I found out what it was, but from the comments it seems hardly anyone has heard of it!

  11. Bloodied and bowed, I took 46 minutes on this, with LOI EDEXCEL, known from my children many years ago now. What happened to the JMB? Nothing came easily today. I enjoyed FINNEGAN’S WAKE and COD LAY DOWN THE LAW. Thank you Pip and setter.

  12. 17:59. I enjoyed this puzzle as I never felt stuck but often felt challenged, having to piece together more clues than usual from the cryptic rather than biffing then reverse engineering. I knew EDEXCEL but thought that many wouldn’t. The brand name of an exam setting company feels a bit niche. I’m sure all UK solvers will know NUROFEN. I’m not sure why anyone buys it though when you can buy the same product unbranded for a fraction of the price. The power of marketing I guess. Maybe it does work better if you believe in the marketing, the belief enhancing the effectiveness like a placebo effect.

    1. Marketing. Down here Nurofen got slapped with a huge fine after authorities discovered all their popular, higher-priced variants: for Back Pain, Period Pain, Migraine etc. were exactly the same pills as standard Nurofen.

  13. 27:59
    Edexcel went straight in; I was an Edexcel examiner for years. I was surprised to see it though. Ditto Nurofen.
    Thanks, pip.

  14. After two good days I struggled with this
    Very slow start but got faster until I ground to a halt on the SW corner

  15. 4d lav / throne …really scraping the barrel to find ways of being devious. Just silly. I’ve suddenly decided I’ve better things to do….

    1. ‘throne’ is an informal term for a lavatory. Fairly common in cryptic crosswords.

  16. 21:58. Held up at the end by persisting with thinking 8D ended in ATE, until I finally saw HEADACHE. Hence LOI DISHEARTEN. No problem with the exam board, having a teacher wife and spending some time working for Cambridge Assessment, but I was surprised to see it and the other brand name in the puzzle. I liked the clue for NUROFEN, though. Thank-you Pip and setter.

  17. I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but Unbowed.

    30 ish mins during brekker and much to enjoy… but
    there really is no good reason for creating a grid that includes Nurofen and Edexcel (unless the setter owns shares).
    With regard to 9ac, I note that on this occasion ‘lines’ indicates surrounding as in ‘a row of shops lines the square’. Sometimes it is used to mean ‘is inside’ in the way you line a jacket with a lining. So an ambiguous containment indicator.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  18. Bad solving week continues – three fails in a row for me. I found this a very tough puzzle after getting ten or so of the easier clues, but I struggled on, each solution seemingly needing a mighty effort to tease out. Finally gave up at 51m without HEADACHE or DISHEARTEN. My mistake was to assume the latter ended -RATE (and also thinking “put off” = defer or similar). -E-D-C-T for 19a should have been sufficient to indicate I needed a re-think.

    Having a new blackout blind installed in the bedroom today, hopefully it’ll help me get some much-needed sleep.

  19. I was also surprised by Edexcel. Although brand names are permitted, it does seem a little parochial.

  20. 63m 23s but one typo in NURAFEN.
    Like you, Pip, I didn’t like EDEXCEL or NUROFEN.
    LOI and COD candidate: WANNABE
    Another good clue for me was FINNEGAN’S WAKE
    Overall COD UNBOWED. I spent ages trying to some variant of ‘plucky’ in there.
    Now I have an unwanted earworm in Paul Simon’s “Take me to the MARDI GRAS”.

      1. I think there is a third reading too, Guy.
        Besides the after-burial party and the exhortation to wake up there could be just the statement- the Finnegans are awakening.

  21. I do the puzzle a few weeks behind, syndicated in The Australian newspaper, and so have just read the blog for our today’s puzzle, from 21 July, where somebody queried whether avocados are really greenish yellow. I thought people might enjoy the following ad which answers the question in the affirmative (“our green gold”) and was played fairly often during both the Olympics and Commonwealth Games coverage here

  22. Fast solve 20 mins then hit NE corner and stopped dead. EDEXCEL ok as ex-teacher tho’ it is brand. Had a friend who lived in Brighton WHA (Well Hove Actually).

  23. 12:59, and – rather like our blogger – I enjoyed most of it a lot, but was stopped in my tracks trying to remember if flat-out brand names (as opposed to those which have entered the lexicon as “normal” words such as Hoover) are something we should expect. Even though I’d heard of it, suddenly encountering EDEXCEL seemed wrong, somehow.

  24. I was also surprised to see NUROFEN and EDEXCEL in the grid. However I knew them both so raised an eyebrow and moved on. HANDS UP was FOI and DISHEARTEN was LOI. In fact the NE corner held me up most, with HEADACHE finally clearing the log jam. Weirdly, FINNEGANS WAKE just magically appeared as I read the clue! Liked MARDI GRAS. 20:52. Thanks setter and Pip.
    On edit: Having just looked at the SNITCH, I find I must have been particularly on the wavelength for this one!

  25. 45 mins after having to give up on EDEXCEL. Yet another curate’s egg of a crossword, some great clues (HEADACHE) and some awful ones.

  26. 54 minutes. I also initially made the same mistake on ASHE, and was surprised to see NUROFEN and EDEXCEL. But brand names don’t seem to be specifically outlawed. However, I’ve never seen an official list of what The Times does and doesn’t allow: we think we know that no living person is in apart from the queen, and no more than one hidden per crossword, etc., but does anyone really know apart from the setters? I didn’t think the clues for them were themselves dodgy, just that there was a possible element of dodginess in the answers.

    I have a vague memory of Suzie Dent on Countdown disallowing GALOSH. But why it isn’t in their dictionary (if I’m right) goodness knows.

  27. 52:28

    Got there in the end but long wait for ANIMAL and EDEXCEL to come (I can remember AQA and had heard of EDEXCEL but forgotten about years ago). I was thinking ENAMEL for 21d for ages but couldn’t commit as it didn’t seem have anything to do with being civilised.

    NE corner was a little troublesome too until DISHEARTEN and then UNBOWED fell into place.

  28. Well I might have enjoyed it but ended up with a jaundiced DNF. I guessed NUROFEN correctly (couldn’t we have had Veganin, which I do know) but threw up my hands at EDEXCEL and I’m especially surprised given that so many UK solvers didn’t know it either. When I had bad back pain my physiotherapist was called LUIGI and was far more effective than any pain-killer.

  29. Stopped enjoying this after about fifteen minutes when I realised that Nurofen was correct. Is the crossword now being sponsored?

  30. 33:15, so a bit of a toughie, for me at least. EDEXCEL eventually dredged up from somewhere (and I used to work for the owner of it!) and couldn’t quite bring myself to enter NUROFEN until all the crossers were in place, not least because I couldn’t see how it worked cryptically. No problem with it being characterised as a “number”.

  31. Was surprised to see EDEXCEL as an answer but as a teacher it was nice to have the GALOSH on the foot for once and be slightly ahead of the game. AFTER LOI.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  32. One error in 20:34. I got in a stew with 17 across where I had GOLASH.

    Like others, I didn’t really like Edexcel but I’m not sure why.


  33. 12:49 this morning. For whatever reason, I seemed to find the key to many of the clues on my first reading ( my way of saying I was on wavelength).
    Like others I was surprised to see the brand name “Nurofen” for 2d but it still gets my vote for COD because of the clever surface.
    For 7 d “wannabe” I must give thanks to the Spice Girls, which must be a first for me at least, on this platform.
    LOI and NOH was 27 ac “edexcel”. Even though I parsed it – and with all the crossers in place the solution seemed to be unique – it was entered with a fair amount of trepidation.
    Thanks to setter and Piquet for the blog

  34. Well, that was a bit of an ordeal. 38.30 after taking a break . Never really got going but that was more about me than the puzzle. Edexcel was my LOI and a good old fashioned guess, NHO the organisation. Some clever cluing but hard to get enthused when I was so off the pace.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  35. Was pleased to reach the end of this unaided until I realised I had put dishearted instead of dishearten – no, I didn’t parse it and did wonder if there was such a word, but the mind went blank as to alternatives and I put it in anyway. Doh! Still, I enjoyed the rest of the crossword and found the clues satisfying to solve, though agree with the adverse comments on brand names. Thanks to setter, and to piquet for a good blog.

  36. Far too old to have heard of EdExcel. I go back to the days of Delegacies and Syndics. So no problem with GALOSH or BISHOPRIC but dnf

  37. I suppose brand names are accepted if they make it into one of the recomended dictionaries (Oxford, Chambers & Collins) – Nurofen is in all, but Edexcel only Chambers, I think.

  38. Late to the party as done in two sittings and an almost « throw in the towel moment » saved by seeing DISHEARTEN which opened up my problem corner.

    Most has already been said. I did not like the very vague LUIGI and agree with others re the (unheard of in the case of EDEXCEL) two brand names.

    LOI NONES. Not my finest hour.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  39. Agree with almost everyone, these new, ie less than 50 years old, trade names are an uncomfortable fit.
    Really hope they are just a passing blip.

  40. 31 or so

    Nothing much to add. Was more surprised to see EDEXCEL than NUROFEN but my hold ups were elsewhere or rather I started this far too early sans coffee and with too many distractions so gave up after 10 mins still struggling with the Beethoven and completed it later in the day

    Thanks Piquet and Setter

  41. As the blogger mentioned, I always understood that brand names were not acceptable in crosswords

  42. NHO = not/never heard of
    Click on MENU at the start of TfTT and under Help you will find Glossary.

  43. First crossword in nearly a month (hols obligent) so delighted to be in at 20’36” – and the Snitch at 116! Clearly there is something to be said for leaving the brain to idle for a bit. Here in France the far-left party run by Melenchon (Jean-Luc Melly, the man very often on the telly – merci Viz) is La France Insoumise, now universally translated as France Unbowed.

    1. Or France pizzicato, as in a recent crossword you probably missed. I remember overdoses of Melly on tv, from the previous election.

  44. DNF in about 30 mins. Made a pig’s ear of the NE. It was too hard to un-see bellstand once entered so nones was impossible, didn’t really get what the clue was driving at anyway or know it as a Roman date.

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