Times 28378 – a world tour

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 9:46.

The early solvers seemed to find this one more difficult than recent puzzles, and I hit on a few lucky guesses that I now have to unravel for the blog. Quite a few place names today, most of them familiar to regular solvers.  How did you do?

Away we go…

1 Were a couple of hours fairly employed in school? (9)
COHABITED – H(hours), A BIT(fairly) inside COED(school)
6 Firm support for committee in crisis? (5)
COBRA – CO(firm) BRA(support). Got this from the wordplay, it comes from Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms
9 Odd man out: one must enter playing field (7)
DIAMOND – anagram of ODD,MAN containing I(one). The field is for baseball
10 Proceed clumsily — you fall behind, reversing at speed (7)
GALUMPH – U(you), LAG(fall behind) reversed, next to MPH(speed)
11 Hood for one to prepare in vestry (6,4)
ROBING ROOM – ROBIN Hood, then GROOM(prepare)
12 Finally, feeling poorly, you get a breather (4)
GILL – last letter of feelinG, then ILL(poorly)
14 Groups tramp through my local area last of all (5)
PHYLA – final letters of tramP througH mY locaL areA – biological groups
15 Ruse native maybe’s done in lab with airgun (9)
BULGARIAN – anagram of LAB and AIRGUN. Don’t think I’ve heard of Ruse, but it is the fifth-biggest city in Bulgaria
16 The city of Charlotte located east of Fairfax? (9)
ROCHESTER – I expect this will be the clue that generates the most discussion. The whole is a reference to Charlotte Bronte having a character Edward Fairfax ROCHESTER in Jane Eyre so it would be to the east of Fairfax in the name.
18 Passage one’s going to broadcast (5)
AISLE – Sounds like I’ll(one’s going to)
20 Strikes clues: a certain number removed (4)
HITS – HINTS(clues) minus N(a certain number)
21 Getting one’s fair share to eat, after clinching English league (10)
FEDERATION – if you got your fair share to eat you could be FED RATION, insert E(English)
25 Capital made of one “very naughty boy” holding nothing back (7)
NAIROBI – I(one), BRIAN(very naughty boy from Monty Python’s Life of Brian) all reversed, containing O(nothing)
26 Our team had row before golf match (7)
WEDDING – WE’D(our team had), DIN(row) then G(golf)
27 Enquiry’s led with nothing odd in mind (5)
NURSE – alternating letters in eNqUiRy’S lEd
28 Source of power in the Information Age at peak (9)
GENERATOR – GEN(information) ERA(age) then TOR(peak)
1 Sound of one planting tree (5)
CEDAR – sounds like SEEDER(one planting)
2 Whiff of something unpleasant in impetuous senior pupil (4,3)
HEAD BOY – BO(whiff of something unpleasant) inside HEADY(impetuous)
3 Part of treatment for Jack’s brother to have daily (5,5)
BROWN PAPER – BR(brother), OWN(to have), PAPER(daily).
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after
Up Jack got, and home did trot
As fast as he could caper
He went to bed to mend his head
With vinegar and brown paper
4 Workers organised party on river for Mary? (5)
TUDOR – TU(workers organised), DO(party), R(river)
5 Trouble leading to arrest: ring for the minister! (3,6)
DOG COLLAR – DOG(trouble, bother), then COLLAR(arrest)
6 Copper, officer who inspires devotion? (4)
CULT – CU(copper), LT(officer)
7 Young Italian graduate doctor with two November visits (7)
BAMBINI -BA(graduate), MB(doctor) and then II(two) containing N(November)
8 Beholds an unusually fair lady (3,6)
13 Being flameproof, vests ultimately a hit with US hospital department (10)
SALAMANDER – last letter of vestS, then A LAM(hit), AND(with), ER(US hospital department)
14 Some chicken leg remains from a classic order (9)
PARTHENON – PART(some), HEN(chicken), ON(leg)
15 Serving in household, however large, royal home included (9)
BUTLERING – BUT(however), LG(large) containing ER(royal), IN(home)
17 Row after whip becomes more spiteful (7)
CATTIER – TIER(row) after CAT(whip)
19 Mountain transport being cut back interrupts take-off (3,4)
SKI LIFT -LIFE(being) minus the last letter inside SKIT(take-off)
22 Old king hoarded wine bottles (5)
EDWIN – hidden inside hoardED WINe
23 State name, number after one is hauled up (5)
NIGER – N(name) and then REG(registration number) reversed after I(one)
24 A duck or ducks (4)
LOVE – double definition, the first referring to zero

63 comments on “Times 28378 – a world tour”

  1. I really wanted Hood at 11 to lead to Battle Ship, but the crossers didn’t cooperate and neither did the rest of the parsing. Thank you for Rochester, where I could take a guess but had no chance of solving, and also Brown Paper where ditto. I liked Love.

  2. DNF
    I gave up without getting BULGARIAN–completely misled by NHO ‘Ruse’–BUTLERING, GENERATOR. Didn’t understand what was going on with ROCHESTER, and I’m not sure what led me to it. DNK the second part of the nursery rhyme, but I recalled BROWN PAPER from ‘Our Mutual Friend’. I knew COBRA from newspaper articles on covid, although I never knew what it stood for. All in all a disappointing performance on my part.

  3. I found this fairly straightforward. I got ROCHESTER from the helpers, without knowing why. I never figured out the parsing of NIGER.

    Isn’t BAMBINI plural? “Young Italian” sounds singular to me.

    1. ‘Young’ can be plural, though I’d expect ‘Italian young’ in that case.

      1. Yes, ‘Italian young’ sounds plural. But not the other way round, for me at least.

        1. We get this all the time ‘the French’ = LE, and similar. It is a bit clumsy but quite conventional.
          Edit: and now I see that the editor has said more or less exactly the same thing below!

    2. Yes, it is stretching a point to have ‘young’ as a noun followed by its adjective rather than preceded by it (I’m assuming the setter hasn’t confused ‘bambini’ with ‘bambino’). Not the best clue.

  4. Same MER as brnchn at BAMBINI, and same guess at Rochester knowing it was a city and guessing it was classic literature somehow. Was hoping our blogger would tell us whether or not there was a Fairfax in NC west of Charlotte.
    NHO Ruse, but guessed it was a variation of RUSS, Russian/Slavic people, so Bulgarian no problem for all the wrong reasons. Never heard the full Jack and Jill, so no idea about BROWN PAPER but the clue was helpful.
    Really liked WEDDING and PARTHENON, very tricky.

  5. 53 minutes. Grid filled OK (slowly) but I couldn’t parse BULGARIAN (thought ‘Ruse’ might be an ethnic group), ROCHESTER, BROWN PAPER or NIGER. I agree with brnchn’s comments about BAMBINI, for which I initially had BAMBINO, making it impossible to see BULGARIAN as an anagram. Having NAIROBI (and also NIGER) on Monday helped and the quotation marks were a generous hint from our setter.

    After GALOSH yesterday, favourite today was GALUMPH.

    1. Bad Solving Week #4: Same issue with BAMBINO, never considered Ruse had a geog. meaning. Gave it the full 60m but failed to solve BULGARIAN, BUTLERING or ROCHESTER (though the latter two were obvious when former revealed).

    2. I had BAMBINO too, and could parse it as: graduate BA, MO giving the doctor with Bi ( two) N ( November) visiting ( inside the MO ). So I was fairly confident, though couldn’t make any sense of 15a. I finally considered it might be an anagram, which revealed the recalcitrant Bulgar, who forced the Italians to have twins.

  6. BROWN PAPER was my LOI, and I read about the folk remedy without getting to the fact that it is included in the continuation of the nursery rhyme (so that’s what “Jack” was about!).
    I forgot to check COBRA (somehow vaguely familiar).
    ROCHESTER was recognized as from Ms. Brontë’s book, but I didn’t remember his full name.
    Gave up on parsing most of NIGER but knew that had to be it. (We’ve been there a lot recently, it seems.)
    GALUMPH we owe to Lewis Carroll, and thank ye very much!

    1. COBRA familiar as it was in the papers often in the past few years – something Boris Johnson avoided like the plague during emergencies, exactly when he should have been there.

  7. 47 minutes with several unparsed as I stopped the clock but sorted out later. I also had a MER at BAMBINI as a plural but wasn’t unduly bothered by the strain it put on the grammar of the clue. ‘RUSE’ unknown, but guessed it was a place. NHO PHYLA. Didn’t understand SALAMANDER. Guessed a Bronte connection re ROCHESTER but I never read any of those books or watched any TV or film adaptations. I thought COBRA and the ‘very naughty boy’ clue may cause problems overseas. LG for ‘large’ was unusual and possibly not seen before in a crossword.

  8. Usual time. Never spotted the BAMBINI issue but did pause over the ‘The’ in ROCHESTER. Liked ‘Were a couple’, ‘Some chicken leg’ and ‘Being flameproof’.

  9. DNF. I failed to come up with FEDERATION, having parsed the clue incorrectly. I thought the definition was ‘Getting’ which could loosely be REVELATION. I parsed the cryptic as RATION = “one’s fair share to eat” containing E for English and VEL for league. I had no idea why VEL would be league and should have discounted my answer for that reason, plus the tenuousness of the definition I’d come up with.

  10. DNF—I was still staring at what turned out to be one of the easier ones, NURSE, as my hour bell went off. Just took too long on the rest of it. FEDERATION took me ages, and I never worked out what was going on in BULGARIAN, NIGER or ROCHESTER even though I’ve read Jane Eyre relatively recently.

  11. Life of Brian’s a very fine show
    Where George Harrison just says “Hello”
    He got laid when near forty
    And if Brian was naughty
    Then hell is the place we’ll all go

  12. 39 minutes with LOI NURSE. COD to BROWN PAPER. With no TLS this week, it was only fair we had ROCHESTER. Seemed easy, then hard, and then tough but fair. Thank you George and setter.

  13. 46 mins with some unparsed especially salamander
    Never heard of Ruse but Bulgarian was the only word that would fit

  14. Another one here who says BAMBINI is plural.
    RUSE sounds to me like the sort of football club you might be drawn to play away in the first leg in a European competition and wonder which country it’s in and how you might get there.

  15. I was glad we had NAIROBI recently. The BULGARIAN was a bugger, as I mentioned above. Thanks to our blogger for the parsing of NIGER. Mer at “reg” for a number. Really? We call it “rego”. It’s in the same group as arvo, smoko, servo and bottle-o

  16. DNF. Gave up on the hour with the CEDAR/COHABITED pair and NURSE/LOVE not solved. Had BAMBINO for a while as it is clearly NOT plural, as has been discussed. NHO Ruse either. I thought maybe it referred to Russia. Bunged in ROCHESTER without having an idea what it was about.

    Oh well. Thanks g for the explanations the setter, to good for me today.

  17. 79:52
    Time says it all. Like pulling teeth from start to finish. The salamander reminded me of the imagery of the lyrics of ‘Carpet Crawlers’.
    Thanks, g.

    1. Now there’s a song I haven’t heard in a while. The only musical salamander I recall is in Miami by Baxter Dury (Ian Dury’s son).

      1. Genesis played it as their final song at the O2 shows in March 🙂
        Didn’t know about Baxter; will check him out.

  18. 17:37, enjoyed even if I didn’t fully understand what was happening with ROCHESTER (I knew Charlotte Bronte had written about a Mr Rochester, and I’m familiar enough with the city in Kent from watching the cathedral spire recede as I go past on the Eurostar, but after that…) It would also be embarrassing to admit quite how long it took me to see the alternate letters wordplay in plain sight for NURSE. So I won’t do that.

  19. I am what you would call a fairly average solver but I seemed to whip through this for my standard. All bar two solved in under 20 mins, with NURSE and LOVE being the last to fall. 28:45

  20. A bit of a dose of reality today after a series of good times (for me). Struggled with this one although was pleased to get ROCHESTER, BULGARIAN and SALAMANDER without really knowing fully why and still came in just under 20m so a huge improvement on where I was a year ago.

    After a lot of hard work though I was stuck looking at NURSE and LOVE for far too long at the end until the duck/ducks thing finally came to the fore. Still didn’t see the alternate letters though – must need more coffee!

    Thanks G and setter

  21. Struggled for 15 minutes with LOVE and NURSE, completely missing the hidden and going by mind as the definition, only to find I had a typo at 5d with DOF COLLAR despite already having GALUMP in. Bu**er! Didn’t manage to parse ROCHESTER. an irritating 47:18 to no avail. Thanks setter and George.

  22. In baseball there’s something called the “curse of the Bambino” (nickname for Babe Ruth). Here I was left cursing “at” the bambino like just about everyone else because it made a horlicks of the BULGARIAN. Otherwise no trouble with this one and there were some nice clues like PARTHENON and BROWN PAPER. 23.23

  23. Mostly I really liked this. I gave up at 30 mins with 3 unsolved and one wrong. The error was Bambino. Nurse, Love and Bulgarian refused to reveal themselves.

    I wasn’t mad for Bambini, Bulgarian or Rochester but I really liked Brown Paper, Parthenon, the well disguised Nurse and the amusing Love.

    COD: Parthenon. I will never look at a chicken leg in the same way again.

  24. Bambini is plural of Bambina or bambino. Shouldn’t the definition be young Italians not Italian?

    1. Chris – it’s always a good idea to skim through the previous comments before posting because this had already been extensively discussed.

  25. No problems with this, saw ROCHESTER being a Bronte thing, liked PARTHENON. Put in BULGARIAN from the anagram and ‘native’; I have driven around Bulgaria but only remembered Sofia and Plovdiv. Not sure why a Salamander is flameproof, thought it was the chef’s pass thing for keeping food warm, but the wordplay was clear. 25 minutes one coffee. I agree, should be Italians plural. Thanks George.

    1. In myths and legends Salamanders were thought to be born in fires. Pliny described them as ‘so cold to the touch that they could douse the flames’

  26. 28 mins but went for none rather than love. I think ducks is a term of affection in the East Midlands but I didn’t think it was more widely used .
    Seems to be a bit of repetition in some cluing. How many times have Nairobi and Niger figured lately?

    Bit miffed over the ducks clue but apart from that minor whinge, enjoyed the rest of the puzzle so thanks setter and blogger. Rochester and nurse my candidates for COD.

  27. 40 mins. A bit like pulling teeth for me. Got exceedingly stuck, and the SALAMANDER BULGARIAN crossers were not what I was expecting at all.

  28. From the editor:

    As a few have commented on this, the clue to BAMBINI is correct:
    “Young” can be a plural definition. I agree that the post-positive “Italian” is slightly unnatural but it’s pretty much a convention in crosswords otherwise we wouldn’t have that old chestnut “the French” 😉

    Sneaky yes, but that’s cryptic crosswords for you

    1. Thanks Richard for the explanation.

      On a separate subject, could you let me know your thoughts on my Weekend QC (see the link on johninterred’s blog to Mara’s QC on Friday 26th)? Many thanks.

    2. Absolutely, RR: but you had this solver fooled quite a bit of the way. Loved DOG COLLAR, GALUMPH, BROWN PAPER, and NAIROBI and not just because I “got” them, but the reminder of Jack and Jill and The Life of Brian. Setter 1, Solver 0.

  29. 74:40. This took me a long time, and quite a few went in without being fully parsed, so thanks glh for the much needed blog.

    Thanks too to the Editor above. Like almost everyone else I started out with BAMBINO but I switched to the plural when I had to, without too much of a MER. And it parses better.

    And then I was dismayed that having taken so long and submitted so late the snitch-bots were still out looking for me. I came in at 80. And my dreadful time is now there in the stats

  30. A comprehensive DNF with NURSE, LOVE and FEDERATION eluding me for 40-odd minutes. Sub-10 seems very speedy for this one, so a doffed hat to glh and my thanks for the much-needed explanations.

  31. LOI was nurse. Definitely the case of experience helping here- fallen for REG = Number (in cars) before and DUCKS as a term of endearment
    Could not parse HEAD BOY or ROCHESTER but they had to be.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  32. Managed to GALUMPH my way through ROCHESTER and BULGARIAN, without really knowing what was going on. Nearly tripped over a BAMBINO and finally came to grief with REPERATION instead of FEDERATION. Sleepily thinking that EP might be English Premier and the rest would come out in the wash. It should be REPARATION anyway. Stupid boy.


    Thanks to George and the setter.

  33. I had trouble with Bulgarian, and salamander but got there in the end. Hummed and hawed over bambino/i like everyone else but decided the word play definitely meant two ‘i’s. Shame I had to consult a list of trees for cedar. All I could think of for the planter was digger, obviously no use. Good puzzle though, felt the brain had been exercised.

  34. I was pleased to finish inside target time at 40.38, even more so when I read some of the difficulties experienced by some solvers who are far speedier than me. Didn’t have a clue how 16ac worked although it had to be ROCHESTER didn’t it.
    I remembered the nursery rhyme from childhood, so 3dn was quickly solved. I remember thinking as a child,’why did the paper need to be brown’?
    I also remember an alternative version of the rhyme that caused a few sniggers in the playground –
    Jack and Jill went up the hill
    To get a pail of water
    Jill came down with half a crown
    She knew she shouldn’t ‘oughter.

  35. 54 minutes. Happily entered bambino but have to accept what the editor said. Put in BROWN PAPER, SALAMANDER and RUSE in the hope, and was lucky. I wondered if the ROCHESTER answer was something about the position of Jane at the wedding in church.

  36. No time today as I was watching the Test Match while attempting to solve the puzzle.
    I very seldom get really grumpy over a clue in the Times puzzles, however 7 d “bambini” annoyed me, especially as I was able to parse it but felt the definition was unequivocally singular. Anyway I see I’m far from the only one…
    Otherwise I had biffs for 16 ac “Rochester” and 15 ac “Bulgarian” and LOI 27 ac “nurse” where I doggedly kept applying “nothing odd” to “in mind” as opposed to “inquiry’s led”.
    So far from my best day but it was a tricky puzzle and deserved a more focused approach from me I guess.
    Thanks to setter and to George for his helpful blog.
    And now to concentrate on how many more wickets England are going to lose today!

  37. 13:34. Like others I had BAMBINO initially and so was a bit bamboozled by BULGARIAN (especially as Ruse was unfamiliar) but then I realised that ‘young’ can be plural too which resolved everything. Attention to the wordplay might have got me there a bit quicker!
    I got ROCHESTER from the Charlotte Bronte reference without understanding what Fairfax was doing in the clue.

  38. 80 minutes, but I did finish after a few audacious guesses led me to the correct answers, for example for PARTHENON (not as obscure as I expected) and ROCHESTER (well, ROCHESTER first, then PARTHENON). I also took ages to see the alternate letters in NURSE. COD to LOVE, actually.

  39. In at 23’48” with the love-nurse combo holding out longest. It had to be Bulgarian but couldn’t see why. One vague theory I nurtured was that it was a triple defintion, with a Bulgarian being a word for a ruse. Bit unfair on Bulgarians. Like everyone else, was slightly peeved by the plural bambini. But thought maybe in Italian there’s a plural-for-singular thing I don’t know about. After all we say ‘ducks’ for just one lovey-duck, don’t we? cf 24d

  40. 38.53. This was a struggle. Took ages to see part hen. Spent too long trying to place ration around an English league before LOI federation finally dawned.

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