Times 28,385: Atlas Shrugged

I did this in under 5 minutes, so no matter how much I enjoyed some of the clues I am duty-bound to call into question its Fridayishness. And I *did* enjoy the cluing: fun definition parts and superior examples of double and cryptic definitions abound. I also very much enjoyed the atlas fodder represented by the capitals of the (Democratic) Congo, Mongolia and Azerbaijan. WOD of the day and possibly non-definitionally-based clue of the day to, of course, PIGGERIES. What a word that is.

Thanks setter for the all-too-brief Friday fun!

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

1 Proposal one before court entered in flawless film (6,7)
MOTION PICTURE – MOTION [proposal] + I before C(our)T entered in PURE [flawless]
8 Land covered in Virginia creepers (4)
ACRE – hidden in {virgini}A CRE{epers}, FOI
9 About A Boy — accomplished and well-thought-out (10)
10 Tribe owns a housing society in DRC location (8)
KINSHASA – KIN HAS A, “housing” S(ociety)
11 The setter backing his editor to provide raise? (6)
EMBOSS – ME reversed + BOSS [editor, to the setter]. Good duplicitous definition part
13 Bottom’s part given full expression too much? (4,3,3)
OVER THE TOP – hidden in {b}OTT{om} you will find three letters that are an abbreviation for the desired answer
16 Fall heavily where hunting party returns (4)
TEEM – reversed MEET [hunting party]
17 Luxurious hotel removed sign of the cross? (4)
PLUS – PLUS{h}, +
18 Go for broke with forest where domestic growth high (4,6)
ROOF GARDEN – (GO FOR*) + ARDEN [forest]. No question mark for this definition? I liked it either way
20 Victory immediately required for fan (6)
WINNOW – WIN [victory] + NOW! [immediately!]
22 Burning bodies Shechem at last removed in Genesis (8)
CREATION – CRE{m}ATION. Shechem is of course the location where Abraham stopped at the tree of Moreh and received God’s promise of the land. Not quite sure if that’s perfect for the surface, but it is in the relevant Biblical book for sure
24 Celebs get trial arranged to cover the crucial point (10)
26 Footballer, about to be dropped by United or City (4)
BAKU – BA{c}K + U(nited)
27 Extra floor announced to hold new sets for musical (4,4,5)
WEST SIDE STORY – WIDE [extra] + homophone of STOREY, “holding” (SETS*)
1 Scheming man and evil woman brought up to speed? (11)
MACHIAVELLI – ILL EVA reversed after MACH 1, the speed of sound
2 Citadel without key or lock (5)
TRESS – {f}{or}TRESS
3 Old fear and hurt transformed in prayer (3,6)
4 Game bird losing height — was one entitled to land? (7)
PEASANT – P{h}EASANT. Playing off the definition of peasant, “any member of a class of persons who till the soil as small landowners or as agricultural labourers”
5 Conservative treasure split (5)
CLOVE – C + LOVE [treasure]
6 Alban deployed to Sumerian city walls in capital (4,5)
ULAN BATOR – (ALBAN*) + TO, “walled” by UR
7 Odd characters leaving real ale measure (3)
ELL – {r}E{a}L {a}L{e}
12 Master performing reliably in the opening movement? (8,3)
SKELETON KEY – very nice cryptic def; a skeleton key is a MASTER key that should reliably move in locks so as to open them
14 Rebukes about reversible nose rings (9)
RESONATES – RATES, around reversed NOSE
15 Dishes filled with Irish product from hen raised in farms (9)
PIGGERIES – PIES [dishes] filled with reversed IR(ish) EGG [product from hen]
19 Picking scene where killer gets tough? (7)
ORCHARD – ORC [KILLER whale] gets HARD [tough]. A scene of much (fruit) picking
21 Clears bed clothes after loss (5)
WEEDS – double def; one weeds a flower bad, and in mourning wears e.g. “widow’s weeds”
23 After cheers, negative utterance forbidden (5)
TABOO – after TA, BOO!
25 According to Voltaire the wife makes the rules (3)
LAW – LA [according to Voltaire, i.e. in French, “the”] + W(ife)

56 comments on “Times 28,385: Atlas Shrugged”

  1. You must have been on fire, V, I found it pleasingly tricky. Though not devilishly Fridayish. Really enjoyed lots of it – PIGGERIES, ORCHARD, BAKU, RESONATES amongst others.
    STOREY can be spelled STORY according to the dictionaries – it came up in last year’s Christmas puzzle. One of the answers was GHERKIN, and one of the unused proffered clues that I really liked was:
    Multiple London stories concerning her kindergarten nurses! (7)

  2. I also found this quite hard enough, thank you very much, and needed 54 minutes to finish it. I was slowed by the less than familiar place-names.

  3. After 30′ I had 5 clues to go, and left it to go to the gym; when I got back it took me 5 or so minutes to get ROOF GARDEN, PIGGERIES, ORCHARD, WEEDS, & GLITTERATI. Hard. [I just looked at the SNITCH, where I stick out like a sore proverbial.] never got how OVER THE TOP worked. Once I got BAKU, I saw SKELETON KEY, and that enabled me to see ARDEN; but it took me a while to get past (not ROSE but) ROCK GARDEN. I can’t remember if ROOF gave me ORCHARD or vice versa. The setter seems fond of deleting single letters: 17ac H ‘removed’, 22ac M ‘removed’, 26ac C ‘dropped’, 2d ‘without’ F, 4d ‘losing’ H. I liked SKELETON KEY, but COD to 21d WEEDS.

      1. I have had a whole week without my Epson printer -now fixed. DNQF

        FOI 1ac ACTION PICTURE!! Until Machiavelli showed up!
        (LOI) 26ac BAKU
        COD 21dn WEEDS #Metoo!
        WOD 15dn PIGGERIES oink, oink!?

        A very puzzling puzzle!

  4. Thanks V for parsing SKELETON KEY and, more importantly, WEEDS which I now see as a good clue. I had parsed it as (T)weeds and thought that it was poor. My only excuse is that I did it during a power cut on my phone.

  5. 42 minutes, which I wasn’t that unhappy with as a lesser mortal. COD to ROOF GARDEN, although to me that’s a bit of an oxymoron. A decent puzzle. Than you V and setter.

    1. I remember from ages ago some hotel in Ohio I think inviting people to enjoy their rooftop rathskeller.

  6. Unnumbered and enormous polypi
    Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.

    30 mins pre-brekker after I managed to switch CreatING to CreatION and thereby convince myself it was a Skeleton Key CD. Then LOI, Teem.
    Very enjoyable. Never parsed OTT.
    Burns ’em in boxes (8)
    Thanks setter and V

  7. 48m 48s recorded on The Times’ site but about actual solving time was about 5 minutes less thanks to taking a phone call but forgetting to pause the puzzle.
    Thanks, verlaine for parsing the many clues I was unable to parse fully.

  8. 37 minutes here, which feels like a pretty strong performance for me, but I had the added impetus of having woken up late so I needed to rush through this to get to work on time. (Hopefully I’ll still make it; I have 16 minutes to get through the shower, clean my teeth, dress and fold out the work-from-home table in the corner of the living room! Wish me luck…) Think I enjoyed SKELETON KEY best, but I was also grateful that the geographical and biblical clues were fairly kind to someone without much ken in those areas.

  9. Just under 30 minutes, but with some biffing: I didn’t parse MACHIAVELLI, OVER THE TOP or SKELETON KEY, and I wasn’t sure about WEEDS as I didn’t see what the ‘clothes after loss’ bit was referring to. Also took a while to get BAKU, after resisting the temptation to put ‘Best’ for the footballer (especially with United in the clue). But enjoyable stuff, so thanks to the setter and blogger.

    FOI Acre
    LOI Skeleton key
    COD West Side Story

  10. 11:53

    For the sake of balance I’ll say this was more Mondayish than Fridayish.

    A very good puzzle mind, but biffing OVER THE TOP and WEST SIDE STORY meant I didn’t get to appreciate all the trickery at the time.

    I somehow managed to avoid bunging in BEST for the footballer when I just had the initial B. That would have had me scratting around for something SKY for what turned out to be SKELETON KEY, which I put in based on checkers and “opening”, not seeing that it was a CD.

  11. 19:26. I was back to my usual pattern today of solving most fairly quickly then spending about half my overall time on a handful at the end. Today’s handful consisted of CLOVE, SKELETON KEY, EMBOSS and BAKU. I toyed with Best (as in George) for the footballer, thinking the cryptic might involve the city of Brest. I also thought of back, but couldn’t make the leap to BAKU until SKELETON KEY unlocked it for me.

  12. 23:42. Wow. FOI 1ac MOTION PICTURE, LOI KINSHASA (which I had decided at first look I could not do, but then I could). Quite a few not fully parsed, as I whizzed through, and I totally missed OTT, but one of my best times, and on a Friday too

  13. Not Fridayish, so that gave me half a chance with 80% completed in 30 mins.

    Suffered from “forgetting to look at one of the clues”, which was one of the easier ones ( CREMATION), which might have opened up the remaining 3 in that corner.

    NHO widow’s WEEDS

  14. Knew KINSHASA from school Geography, when at the time (1960s) it was important to specify either Kinshasa Congo or Brazzaville Congo.

    SKELETON KEY LOI – I had ‘performing’= ON and ‘reliably’ = KEY first, was this part of the setter’s intention?

    22′ 48″, which is good.

    (NB do not compare yourself with outliers)

    Thanks verlaine and setter

    1. I was thinking along the same lines, but had the two words together: ‘performing reliably’ = ‘on key’. Presumably, this was happenstance or misdirection.

  15. I also missed OTT in bottom so just biffed the answer. Spent a while on skeleton key – I thought on-key was performing reliably and couldn’t figure the skelet bit. 30 mins and happy it wasn’t too fridayish!

  16. 26:20. I wasn’t on the wavelength for this at all and got stuck in the NW corner by bunging in a careless ACTION PICTURE for 1A. I was also held up by my last 3, TEEM, SKELETON KEY and BAKU. Thanks V and setter.

  17. 9:13. A steady solve, which would have taken me a lot longer if I had bothered to parse some of the trickier wordplay but those ones were generally biffable so I just biffed away.

      1. I did look at that clue: on my first pass through I registered ‘blah blah blah musical’ and moved on. I didn’t look at it again.

  18. Nice medium hard puzzle, 22 minutes, missed the OTT in bottom but understood the rest. Some cool definitions, liked TEEM and SKELETON KEY best. These days Ulan Bator seems to have become Ulaanbaatur for some reason. Well done Verlaine, impressive speed. If you go slower you enjoy it more.

  19. 45 mins and quite tough I thought. Not helped by having bunged in CREMATING which stuffed up the last three until I eventually saw the light.

    I liked WEEDS and PIGGERIES best.

    Why is it that I can’t do a Friday crossword without constantly musing « I wonder what Verlaine is thinking »?

    Thanks V and setter.

  20. Got a bit stuck at times, but managed in the end in 42 minutes. Not easy though, at any rate so far as I was concerned. For some reason I had trouble with TEEM, also KINSHASA (not helped by ignorance of what DRC meant). Liked WEEDS although it did delay me for ages.

  21. “I fought the LAW, and the LAW won” (originally the Crickets, but revived by the Clash). The LAW of Tough Fridays appears to have been slightly bent, but….

    ….I only picked up TEEM on the first pass through the Across clues, and briefly considered not bothering. However, the Downs proved more tractable.

    I was the best part of a minute over my LOI (sheets ? blankets ? Oh, I see !)

    TIME 10:05

  22. 20:51 and I would have been a lot quicker if SKELETON KEY and BAKU hadn’t held out for so long.
    Maybe not the toughest Friday puzzle but still an enjoyable challenge. WEEDS ,TEEM and EMBOSS are all good and I needed Verlaine’s help to get to the bottom of OVERTHETOP.

    I used to enjoy seeing some PIGGERIES on the delightful train journey between Ely and Norwich.

    Thanks to Verlaine and the setter.

  23. I must have been on the wavelength for this because I clocked in at 16.23 even after spending time sorting out the spelling of MACHIAVELLI which I seem to have had wrong all these years (with 2 Cs). I’d have been a lot slower seeing WEEDS if we hadn’t had WINNOW adjacent to it suggesting “widow”. I thought KINSHASA was in Zaire so I was confused about DRC but now I see they are one and the same in a manner of speaking. Good puzzle.

    1. I sometimes get the DRC confused with the DNC, but fortunately not for very long, usually.

  24. 35 minutes. Not a true Friday beast but challenging enough for me. Completely missed the OTT hidden but was happy to have solved KINSHASA, which like kapietro I thought looked impossible at first sight. Eventually seeing SKELETON KEY as a cryptic def was v. satisfying and I liked the def for the widow’s WEEDS as my LOI.

  25. 26 mins. Had this done in 15 aside from the last 2 WINNOW and WEEDS. Too fixated on the V at first, and then having got WINNOW, I’d never heard of WIDOWS WEEDS.
    I live on a 15 house barn conversion where most of the houses used to be PIGGERIES.

  26. 24.38 so reasonably pleased. Always feels good to complete a Friday even if not so comprehensively as Verlaine👏.

    LOI skeleton key which I think I’ve seen before. Didn’t get the workings of it but seemed a more than reasonable punt. Emboss gave me the confidence to take the plunge. Liked weeds and roof garden but I liked the construction of winnow most.

    Thanks setter and blogger. Have a great weekend all.

  27. 23:41 but with a misconceived ILL EVE rising at MACHI, and a mis-biffed ULAN BATUR. Drat and double drat! Thanks setter and V.

    1. I thought Ulan Bator was a bit cruel as it is Ulaanbataar these days and that presumably implies that you can transliterate it any way you like really. Fortunately the cryptic resolved any confusion for me. I hope you said “Et TU, Mongolia?” when you saw your pink square.

  28. 11’40” Definitely not traditional Friday fare, but plenty of fun for a’ that. Shechem is modern-day Nablus in the West Bank. Or to be more accurate when the Romans founded their latest Neapolis, they put it next to old town of Shechem. As I recall, there is a small heavily-protected Jewish settlement there today. Shechem was also a centre for the Samaritan people, and the biblical tale of Jesus and the Samaritan woman took place there.

  29. 34:12. A few Friday moments but nothing too tricky. SKELETON KEY was LOI, unexplained until coming here, for which thank you, with BAKU and TEEM.

  30. 14:21 here – probably about twice as long as it should have taken, but I had vast quantities of vodka and rum last night and was still feeling the effects this morning!

  31. In spite of Verlaine’s impressive time it seems quite a few found this tough like me. I thought I’d finished all correctly in 52.45 only to discover that EVA had been ill and not EVE. Having done A Level History well over 50 years ago, perhaps I can be excused for forgetting how the old schemers name was spelt.
    LOI was BAKU preceded by SKELETON KEY which was my COD.

  32. 18.31

    Started at the bottom so MACHIAVELLI straight in once I got the concluding i. No idea what was happening with OTT and had to change ROCK to ROOF to accommodate ORCHARD.

    LOI the rather good SKELETON KEY, unparsed but all green

    Thanks Verlaine and Setter

  33. Another LOI WEEDS and, like Sawbill, I was wearing tweeds for the parsing.
    The odd bump in the road. I knew ARDEN well having played golf at Forest of Arden more than once; but I wanted it to be ROSE GARDEN until I said I beg your pardon and found the roof.
    SKELETON KEY and BAKU were next to last in.
    Just over an hour.

  34. 16:47 – my quickest ever Friday time – spoiled by Eve rather than Eva in “Machievelli”. Ah well.

    1. That’s bad luck. I hadn’t realised whilst solving but now see that if you don’t know the spelling you are left with guesswork.

  35. 28:40. I started very quickly but then struggled to complete in less than 30 mins.

    COD: Skeleton Key.

  36. Not especially tough, but it took me 6 Verlaines, so not quite a stroll in the park either. I particularly liked SKELETON KEY and MACHIAVELLI.

  37. Quite Fridayish enough for me. I gave up geography at the age of 12 to study German, but managed to dredge up the 3 place names from the recesses of my brain.

  38. 19.45. Got through this one without too much trouble. tiptoed around the skeleton key cryptic definition for a little while before entering and also gave serious consideration to poggerits and paggerins before cottoning on to piggeries. Enjoyed the lift and separate of bed and clothes in the clue for weeds.

    1. I guess the seasoned solver should instantly go “bed clothes? bed clothes? WHY NOT BEDCLOTHES?? Oh right!” one seeing something like this clue…

  39. I started this last night and then got tired so finished this morning. I managed to avoid the tempting ROSE GARDEN (and didn’t even consider ROCK GARDEN). Interesting a few people had TEEM as their FOI since it was my LOI. No idea of a time since the timer ran all night on my laptop. I also managed to get WEEDS seeing both meanings and thinking it was a brilliant clue.

  40. I solved most of this today, Saturday, whilst on a plane to Switzerland from Scotland, and finished it off after getting to my hotel, so not that easy for me at all. Interesting clues though, and I was quite surprised to arrive at some answers (glitterati, Ulan Bator and the wonderful piggeries for example) as my mind had started off in quite different directions for all of them. Thought Orchard very neat.

  41. Who is Baku? ( will google) Also WINNOW not a word I knew ( disappointing, as a double major in English many moons ago). Enjoyable fare which I thought I would have more trouble with, but most went in smoothly, except for KINSHASA, (forgotten), PIGGERIES and WEEDS (too clever!)

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