Times 28,379: Safe As Houses

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I found this chewy enough at time of solving, with the bottom half in particular taking a while to yield up its secrets, but parsing it I don’t see anything that looks too advanced, in hindsight! Some of the vocab is medium hard, I guess, and cryptic/double definitions can always take a while for their pennies to drop.

Favourite clues today, hmm. I did quite like “very good pickle”. Who doesn’t?

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Way to extract essence, taking two months (6)
DECOCT – DEC(ember) + OCT(ober)
4 Child tailing father is getting a thrill (7)
FRISSON – SON tailing FR. IS
9 Remaining untruthful (5)
LYING – double def
10 Supplying online banter? (9)
EQUIPPING – or E(lectronic)-QUIPPING
11 Careless chaps clearing verges put at risk (9)
HAPHAZARD – {c}HAP{s} + HAZARD [put at risk]
12 Crooks no good for goats (5)
13 Standard choice of sides for Mancunian (4)
NORM – {mancunia}N OR M{ancunian}
14 The times we’re living to the full? (4,6)
ANNO DOMINI – cryptic definition; we’re all living in years A.D.; write A.D. out in full
18 Prolonged event, enthralling plays wanting a little new content (3-7)
20 Boss in reproduction business? (4)
STUD – double def; a STUD farm is in the business of horse reproduction
23 It’s played to annoy Luddite on vacation (5)
BUGLE – BUG L{uddit}E
24 Peter concentrated prior to fight (9)
STRONGBOX – STRONG [concentrated] prior to BOX [fight]. A peter is a safe
25 Preserve crumbling red column (5,4)
26 Poet’s finished penning page, a lyrical piece (5)
OPERA – O’ER “penning” P(age) + A
27 Loss of workforce a second time, cutting remuneration (7)
WASTAGE – A S(econd) T(ime), “cutting” WAGE
28 Coy Juliet ousting maiden by right (2,4)
1 Hide plain pants and fancy bloomers (9)
2 Animated device used on King Edward perhaps (7)
CHIPPER – double def with a device you’d use on a King Edward potato
3 Gearwheel turning container for high-quality spirit (6)
COGNAC – COG + reversed CAN
4 Start with nothing in kitty (5)
5 Society incorporated by popular SA president himself (2,6)
IN PERSON – S(ociety) “incorporated by” IN (Juan) PERON
6 United, within limits, thrashing Spurs (7)
STIMULI – U “within” (LIMITS*)
7 Hot drink for one, in Students’ Union (5)
NEGUS – E.G in N.U.S.
8 Begin again on meal, without starter of avocado (8)
RELAUNCH – RE LUNCH, “without” A{vocado}
15 Past fairground attraction set aside (8)
OVERRIDE – OVER [past] + RIDE [fairground attraction]
16 First patient model since axed (5,4)
17 Capital in Haiti, oddly, and also a European island once! (8)
HIBERNIA – BERN in H{a}I{t}I + A
19 Pulse of Aussie runner raised in stages (7)
LEGUMES – reversed EMU in LEGS
21 Display disreputable author’s trousers (7)
TABLEAU – hidden in {disrepu}TABLE AU{thor’s}
22 Keen on Tyneside chant (6)
INTONE – INTO [keen on] N.E.
23 Times leader agreeing minimally with company regulation (5)
BYLAW – BY [times] + L{eader} A{greeing} + W(ith)
24 Very good pickle (5)
SOUSE – SO [very] + USE [good, as in “what’s the good of…”]

60 comments on “Times 28,379: Safe As Houses”

  1. 11:34. Quite tricky. After the debate about ‘young’ as a plural yesterday, today we have ‘pulse’. Can you say ‘lentils and peas are pulse’? I wouldn’t.

    1. Chambers says ‘pulse’ meaning ‘legume/s’ can be either singular or plural, so no complaint today!

    2. Yes that was a funny coincidence. I paused to think about it and saw it works in reverse (salad greens=lettuce) so it must be ok.

  2. I thought LEGUMES would be pulses, rather than pulse. Having looked it up I remain confused! Thanks Verlaine for parsing SOUSE, which was LOI for me , after trying the alternative SAUCE and finding it wanting.

    1. SAUCE was LOI for me – d’oh! Thought perhaps a double definition, “That’s the sauce!” Otherwise found it enjoyably tricky, same as others. Unbothered by LEGUMES due to ignorance about usage of pulse.
      A well-hidden hidden, and some well-hidden anagram indicators. Or maybe I was just off the wavelength and slow to see them. Thanks setter and blogger.

      1. Same with SAUCE. I reasoned sauce = good with reference to ‘what’s sauce for the goose…’ I’m still not convinced it doesn’t work, even though I completely buy Verlaine’s parsing of SOUSE.

  3. 35 minutes. I didn’t know ‘pulse’ could be a plural noun either, but the answer seemed clear enough from the wordplay. HIBERNIA needed a bit of working out and although I entered SOUSE from the def, I took a while to see ‘good’ as a noun for USE. It wasn’t hard but ALL-NIGHTER was my LOI.

    Hardly a highlight, but a K lipogram to spot at the end.

  4. 38 minutes, delayed a little by the unknown INDEX CASE. The missing K could have been accommodated by having NARK at 13ac so I assume its omission was deliberate.

  5. I did this in a desultory fashion in a hospital waiting room so I have no idea of the time, but it was a long wait (but worth it to get good news). LOI SOUSE; never got the ‘good’ part. Also never understood how ANNO DOMINI worked. DNK WASTAGE in the relevant sense, INDEX CASE. BUGLE took a while, even though I had the LE from the start; I did come up with IRKLE, however. TABLEAU yet another example of my obtuseness with hidden clues. And a new example of obtuseness at 22d, where it was late in the day before I finally realized I’d been trying to figure out what to put on top of SE! I liked DE JURE.

    1. Hospital waiting would be intolerable without these puzzles. Glad to hear that Kevin.

    2. Good to hear things have worked out fine. I had a similar experience earlier this year

  6. A quick 32 minutes for me. This week I’ve been reading several old books, full of wisdom and bursting with archaic words, and what actually helped? The TikTok I saw of a section of the QI TV show where they explained that “Patient Zero” actually came about because people mis-read “Patient O” during coverage of the HIV outbreak in the US and that the medical name is actually INDEX CASE. Oh well, help is help, I suppose!

    I found this one diagonally difficult, with a broad stripe from SW to NE holding out the longest after the other corners went in, and finished off with SOUSE after reconsidering an initial thought of SAUCE.

  7. 39 minutes with LOI INDEX CASE, not an expression I knew. I think we had NEGUS recently, but if so I had forgotten its meaning. The clue fortunately was clear. I hesitated on SAUCE or SOUSE before coming up with the right explanation. COD to STRONGBOX. Thank you V and setter.

  8. 18:44. SOUSE was my POI, though I had no idea why USE was good. Chambers has it as the 6th of 12 noun definitions after 32 adjective ones. Clearly a handy word for the setter! I had considered SAUCE as pickle in its condiment form is quite saucy.
    I finished with HIBERNIA where I’d thought I was going to need the H from Haiti but hadn’t got much further with the parsing. I then tried sticking the H at the front of the answer and HIBERNIA jumped out at me.

  9. A son of Hibernia the Ireland of today
    Of the Boggeragh Ranges from here far away.

    30 mins pre-brekker. Much to like… but I didn’t like Pulse or the ‘minimally’ device. NHO Index case.
    Thanks setter and V.

  10. The North West was easy, I thought
    The North East an average sort
    The South West was tricky
    If not downright sticky
    And the South East was really hard fought

  11. 66m DNF – the end of my first complete wipe-out week in many months (1 bad choice of anagrist ordering, 1 absolute howler, and 3 where I just didn’t have the solving horsepower). Even an emergency Somali brekkie (suqaar and rotis) didn’t get me over the line.

    4 clues short today, I won’t do blow-by-blow detail, but could someone please comment on why “on vacation” decodes as “take the first and last characters”? Is that a recognised clueing device? Thanks

      1. Uh …thanks Isla ,on reflection that’s not entirely unknown to me. Think I’ve had some sort of forgetful (or possibly just gormless) week.

  12. The SW quadrant was the last I conquered (though BUGLE was FOI and then I had BYLAW).
    I thought of LYING early but kept second-guessing “remaining,” till I ceded.

  13. 38:36
    Fun puzzle – good level of challenge. Didn’t know index case, but the clue made it evident.
    Thanks, v.

  14. Carelessly biffed “sauce” at 24D. Had taken 15:32 and it was LOI ☹️

  15. 64m 06s
    Another very good test. Thank you verlaine for explaining the clues I failed to understand like ANNO DOMINI, INDEX CASE, HIBERNIA and SOUSE.
    FOI: DELPHINIA. I know the names of flowers often end up as women’s names (Hyacinth, Rose etc) but I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone with the name DELPHINIA.
    LOIs: SOUSE and ROUES.
    CODs: OPERA and DE JURE.

    1. Martin, It is hardly surprising that the name Delphinia doesn’t appear as it derives from the female dolphin. However, a slightly abbreviated version is the name of actress Delphina Belle.
      Victor Dandelion Meldrew

  16. Re Dictionary.com
    Further to Jack’s ‘heads up’ about Lexico being subsumed into dictionary.com, today is the first day of the ‘takeover’. I’ve noticed that there is now a tab at or about the top of the page in dictionary.com which you can click on and which says ‘British’. I just used it for Labor/Labour.

    1. It would be useful if one could save that tab and go straight to it but it seems one has to enter a word first and then select ‘British’.

  17. 11:19

    I must be gormful today as that’s quicker than a lot of solvers in whose wake I’m normally trailing and currently gives a WITCH of 71. I had fingers crossed on the unknown DE JURE and not-fully-parsed SOUSE but all was good.

    Nice puzzle, with the harder vocabulary clearly clued.

  18. Another chump who ended with SAUCE although not convinced by it; failed to think of SOUSE even on an A to Z trawl. Otherwise a fine puzzle; 28 minutes; thanks for explaining OPERA Verlaine. Did you find any solvers in Portland OR?

  19. 26.30 with the last one in souse which saved the embarrassment of leaving my first answer, sauce in place. This clue and Hibernia gave me a lot of grief, so thanks blogger for the explanation on the latter.
    Nice to finish the week with a flourish.

  20. 44mins. LOI HIBERNIA. I enjoyed this one, mainly because I finished it !

    DE JURE, INTONE and LEGUMES all took a while to see. I liked FRISSON and HAPHAZARD. Very apt for my solving.

    Thanks V and setter.

  21. Another SAUCE in 41:11 after struggling mightily with HIBERNIA and ALL NIGHTER. Thanks V.

  22. Satisfying Friday romp. Hope I can manage to solve by candlelight this winter when the leccy hits £3,500 pa.

  23. Same experience as our blogger (top half speedy the rest slow), just took twice as long. And after all that, oh hell, I forgot to go back and correct “sauce” even though I saw SOUSE before finishing. Nice one to end the week despite the two pinkies. 23.33

  24. 42 minutes, with doubts about INDEX CASE, which was clued as an anagram and only easy enough once you had the checkers if you’d nho it, not good in my opinion. Also some discomfort with LEGUMES = pulse. Didn’t care for ANNO DOMINI. Otherwise a nice crossword.

    I think this business with the avatar not displaying is simply the result of not signing in. I did so yesterday and now it appears (no doubt I never signed in before). I presumably stay signed in in perpetuity if I don’t positively sign out.

  25. Mostly straigtforward, but some required a bit of thought. It took a while for the penny to drop in the case of the definition for ROUES. I’ve not come across INDEX CASE before, and HIBERNIA took me several minutes at the end.
    28 minutes with one error. I slung in SAUCE for 24d and didn’t stop to scrutinise the clue too closely. Glad I’m not alone.

  26. 35:07

    Thank heavens I thought of SOUSE before SAUCE.

    Steady solve throughout – late change of the pencilled PAISSON to FRISSON once I saw the kitty!

  27. 26:42, finishing with a hesitant LEGUMES and an even more hesitant SOUSE for the same reasons as everyone else. There seemed to be a lot going on in this buzzy puzzle. It’s a testament to the endless wit and skill of the setters (or perhaps the lack of them in this solver) that you get caught out every day by essentially the same tricks in different guises. Will they ever run out and will I ever catch on, I wonder.

  28. 11:09, an enjoyable puzzle requiring a little extra care and attention in places, most notably in wondering if the singular “pulse” deserved an eyebrow-raise, and thinking better of SAUCE (which it appears was tempting for lots of people, not just me) so mostly happy to have avoided a pink square.

  29. Had to construct the unknown NEGUS from wordplay, but otherwise this was a smooth enough solve for me, despite taking a while to see HIBERNIA and STRONGBOX.

    FOI Intone
    LOI Souse
    COD Haphazard

  30. Under half an hour, OK for Friday. Also didn’t like SOUSE, although I had parsed it. Spent a while recalling South African Presidents, which was no use.

    Have been out if things for many weeks, is this the new platform? Also have had longish-COVID for eight weeks so far.

  31. Souse. Soused herring – inedible. Being a chemist and working in a lab,the last thing you want is acetic (bloody) acid.

  32. Finished all but 3 in 28 minutes before meeting some old pals for a good lunch. On returning to it, took another 9 minutes to get the last three (Stella Artois and crossword solving don’t seem compatible for some reason). Even then I found I was a DNF as I was yet another one who thought SAUCE seemed just about OK.

  33. I was pleased to get there in the end, with wordplay helping give me the things I didn’t know. LOI was HIBERNIA, and looking at the wordplay now I don’t know why it held me up. I took an annoying length of time to come up with an 5-letter instrument ending in LE for BUGLE which was the answer than broke that corner open for me. I got SOUSE but wasn’t sure why USE=good. Nice and Fridayish.

  34. Failed to finish, but looking through Verlaine’s analysis, I should have done better. Covid seems to have left its effects on my concentration. I was pleased to get DECOCT though. What a lovely word!

  35. DECOCT may be a lovely word, Andrew, but it had passed me by. So happily entered DEDUCE without too much thought 😦, and struggled to understand the plural LEGUMES or that usage of “good”. Happy enough to have most of this fun puzzle, but ( in comprehensively) missed both foreign phrases, despite fore-knowledge of them! Not dissatisfied with a mostly completed Friday however.

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