Times 28395 – ” … no new taxes”. Did I hear correctly?

A plethora of ‘leave out a letter or letters’ clues in this one, pleasant enough and rather Mondayish. Nothing to cause grey-cell strain except my LOI 22a which I deduced from wordplay and a sketchy knowledge of OT books. 23 minutes. I liked the cheese and the sex workers on the beach best.

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

1 Minister’s secret token of bargain with God (4,5,4)
LORD PRIVY SEAL – LORD (God) PRIVY (secret) SEAL (token of bargain).
8 Island battle from two months back (4)
GUAM – M (month) AUG(ust) reversed. Scene of WWII battle.
9 Let me make this clear: you don’t have to listen (4,2,4)
READ MY LIPS -cryptic definition.
10 Without energy, a devil is hard to reprove (8)
ADMONISH – A, D(E)MON, IS, H(ard).
11 Linen putting lines on back of neck (6)
NAPERY – NAPE (back of neck) RY (railway lines)
13 In one drop, rain oddly glittering (10)
IRIDESCENT – I, DESCENT = one drop, insert R I odd letters of R a I n.
16 Crop farm animals initially ignored (4)
OATS – GOATS with out the G.
17 Not a way for waiter to produce dish of meat (4)
STEW – Waiter = STEWARD, lose the A RD (not a way).
18 Forced to agree with dandelion being uprooted (6,4)
20 This system gives compiler no end of artifice (6)
METRIC -ME (compiler) TRIC(K) = artifice with no end.
22 Sets about leaving OT book in assembly (8)
ECCLESIA – Ecclesiastes being an Old Testament book, lose the STES which is an anagram of SETS (“sets about”). Assembly of Christians, or of citizens in ancient Greece. EDIT reversal of SETS, although also an anagram.
24 Formidable woman writer, one with blue veins (10)
GORGONZOLA – GORGON a formidable woman, Emile ZOLA the writer. Delicious blue cheese.
26 A feature of Scotland: golf course with eagles? (4)
GLEN – add eagles to get GLENEAGLES the hotel and 3 golf courses complex in Scotland which I used to visit regularly, ideally but not always when someone else was paying. Gleneagles hosted the Ryder Cup in 2014 and the Solheim Cup in 2019, so is well known (if you follow golf!)
27 Irregular activity from sex workers on suitable beaches (4,3,6)
FITS AND STARTS – FIT (suitable) SANDS (beaches) TARTS (sex workers, in some cases).
1 Short communication about a junior cleaner (11)
LAUNDERETTE – LETTE(R) = short communication; insert A, UNDER = junior.
2 Capital love letter read out (5)
ROMEO – ROME (capital of Italy) O (love). Romeo for R as in the NATO alphabet.
3 Lawman almost leaving car with boy (9)
PARKINSON – PARKIN(G) = almost leaving car, SON = boy. As a result of his time spent in the British Civil Service, Cyril Northcote Parkinson (not Cecil!) wrote that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”. That was 1955, not much has changed, except many of them fill the time “working” from home now.
4 Rowena’s husband in one front garden (7)
IVANHOE – I (one) VAN (front) HOE( garden as a verb). If you ever get to the end of book 3, she marries him.
5 Longing to tour Middle East country (5)
YEMEN – YEN (longing) around ME (Middle East).
6 Badly spoiled one line in solid figure (9)
7 Cut and run? Not quite (3)
LOP – LOP(E) = run, not quite.
12 Litter replaced with worse pups perhaps (11)
14 Unequivocal, in writing with one hand (9)
DOWNRIGHT – DOWN = in writing, as in “put down (on paper)”, RIGHT = one hand.
15 Ditch worker perhaps is cutting (9)
TRENCHANT – TRENCH = ditch, ANT = worker insect. A chestnut clue.
19 Quite unemotional senior detective about to arrest Green and Liberal (3-4)
ICE-COLD -DCI = Detective Chief Inspector, reversed = ICD, insert ECO (green) L (Liberal).
21 African country stopping short a line of dancers (5)
CONGA -CONG(O) = short African country, A.
23 Impatient to turn up half-hearted rhythmic music (5)
EAGER – Reverse REGGAE and leave out one G.
25 Yob partial to a fight (3)
OAF – hidden word as above. No Teds for a change.


62 comments on “Times 28395 – ” … no new taxes”. Did I hear correctly?”

  1. 23:04
    I didn’t understand STEW or GLEN, but they seemed safe; finally saw how STEW worked after submitting, DNK Gleneagles. ECCLESIA was my LOI; it took a long time to figure out what was the definition. STES is not an anagram of ‘sets’, it’s a reversal (‘about’). COD to ECCLESIA.

    1. Well I agree with you Kevin so it is probably a bit pedantic of me to point out that “about” can easily mean an anagram .. not in this case though, I reckon

    2. There’s an interesting connection here with our friend TYNDALE from yesterday. One of Holy Mother Church’s objections to his translation was his (in my view perfectly legitimate) use of the English word ‘assembly’ for the Greek ‘εκκλησία’/ecclesia, rather than ‘church’. Evidently it dented their authority rather too much, causing Thomas More (among others) to pursue him to his fiery doom in the Low Countries. Not quite the man for all seasons, then.

  2. 14m but was too EAGAR to submit and missed a typo

    Otherwise same as Kevin except I also didn’t understand OATS till I came here – somehow I blanked goats

  3. DNF. NHO ecclesia, forgotten ecclesi-whatsit since I last looked in a bible 50 years ago, and wouldn’t have guessed we needed to remove an anagram. A few other unknowns where the cryptic was kinder: Rowena (and Ivanhoe having 3 books), Parkinson’s law – I was thinking a Pinkerton-type lawman, what a Lord Privy Seal actually was. And that privy meant secret. So not my favourite puzzle, but through my ignorance of the GK rather than being a bad puzzle.
    Roll on tomorrow.

    1. You will be pleased to know that the Apocrypha features the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, better known as Ecclesiasticus.

      It contains the well known lines: ‘Let us now praise famous men and our fathers that begat us.’

    2. Can’t remember if it’s here or in the Guardian but we do sometimes see the “lawman” as Murphy or even S-d.

  4. 34 minutes. Not so Mondayish for me. Slow to get going with the first across and down clues, so worked from the bottom up. NHO ECCLESIA, but wordplay helped; it’s the removal of a reversal, rather than an anagram, of ‘sets’, as pointed out by Kevin. Also relied on wordplay for ‘Rowena’s husband’ (no idea) and missed the parsing of DOWN = ‘in writing’ at 14d.

    Needed my POI LORD PRIVY SEAL for my LOI, the ‘Lawman’ at 3d – v. good.

    [Off-topic. For those who did find this too Mondayish, today’s Aardvark in the FT may provide a sterner test.]

  5. 28 minutes to solve all but one clue, but after a further 3 I gave up and used aids as I was getting nowhere with finding a word to fit E?C?E?I?. Chambers WordWizard advised there are only two, both unknown to me, but I plumped for ECCLESIA as I could at least relate it to a book of the Bible and religion more generally.

    I got 4dn from checkers and confirmed it from wordplay but my knowledge of IVANHOE is limited to a few scraps gained from watching occasional episodes of the 1958 TV series starring Roger Moore. Evidently the producers were more interested in thrills and spills than in romance as according to the info on imdb Lady Rowena appeared in only one of its 39 episodes.

  6. 38m 36s No, not Mondayish for me either.
    Thanks, Pip, for FITS AND STARTS, STEW and NAILED DOWN.
    In my B747 Loadmaster days, I occasionally operated in and out of Andersen Air Base, GUAM. If the plane was scheduled to be sat on the ground for longer than a certain time, we had to have a visit from the ‘snake dog guy’. The dog was trained to sniff out brown tree snakes which infest the island. Fortunately there were none found when I was there.

    1. As I understand it, the brown tree snake was inadvertently imported on military aircraft from Vietnam, and are responsible for devastating the native bird population, there having been no native tree snake.

    2. A friend of mine hails from Guam (and the magazine I work for has run articles about the island’s… fraught relationship with the US military). I’ll have to ask Tony about those tree snakes. He might have some stories.

  7. I was missing bits and pieces of knowledge for this one, and it stretched me to 41 minutes. No idea about the IVANHOE reference, wasn’t sure about the GLEN and only guessed there’d been a battle on GUAM from randomly knowing about the existence of the military base Martin mentions above. LOI the unknown ECCLESIA; once I saw how it might work I did at least remember Ecclesiastes and figure out the wordplay.

  8. Ah, well… Gave up on parsing GLEN before coming here, and I see now that the full explanation would never have dawned on me.
    Got to the end, though, fairly quickly, with no wrong turns, and enjoyed the trip.

  9. Where the wandering water gushes
    From the hills above Glen-Car …

    35 mins pre-brekker. Not Mondayish for me. I liked it and gave it the extra 5 mins to crack the NW. There are some very nice surfaces here and neat wordplay. IMO the ‘remove: STES, A Rd, eagles’ were unusual and added to the fun.
    Thanks setter and U.

  10. At 46 min a struggle Not helped by the time I took to get 1a
    Like a lot of others it didn’t seem Mondayish to me

  11. 33:34. I got very held up at the end with GUAM, ROMEO, ECCLESIAS and GLEN, the latter two going in with fingers firmly crossed. I’ve not heard ECCLESIAS before, but had a feeling Ecclesiastes might be a book of the Bible. I’d parsed GLEN as starting with G for golf, leaving “len” meaning “a course with eagles”. So I might have the worst NITCH by far, but I’m just pleased to have all correct.

  12. Not Mondayish for me, I really liked this clever setter’s work. Nho Ecclesia and no idea who Rowena was married to but got them anyway so good clueing..
    I remember a sketch on the Frost Report highlighting the tendency of news programmes to use far too many explanatory pictures, where the name Lord Privy Seal was accompanied by three separate photos of a lord, a privy, and a seal.
    Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVlfvdH7qwY

  13. 55 mins. Trickier than yesterday’s offering. Had the same problems as everyone else, having to resort to aids for ECCLESIA – and then kicking myself for not seeing it. NHO PARKINSON as lawman and ROMEO baffled me for way too long. Liked GORGONZOLA. GUAM was LOI and would never have got it without both crossers.

  14. Not Monday-ish at all for me. Is that comment just intended to wind people up!

    Couldn’t even get to the finish line here and continued a disappointing week. Thought there was some clever and fun stuff here though from the setter but took me an age to see GORGONZOLA but didn’t get anywhere near ECCLESIA and didn’t even know the Minister!

    There’s always tomorrow….

  15. Off to a quick start with LOP, YEMEN, ELLIPSOID, READ MY LIPS, ROMEO and GUAM tumbling over themselves to get into the grid. At that point inspiration faded and I had to move south to progress. NAILED DOWN, OATS and ROTTWEILERS got me moving again and steady progress ensued until I was left with half a dozen clues which I managed in 27a. LAUNDERETTE helped ADMONISH and IVANHOE to materialise. I’d NHO Rowena in that context. PARKINSON was POI, leaving me to ponder over 22a. I eventually thought of Ecclesiastes and drew a sigh of relief. 24:17. Thanks setter and Pip.

  16. DNF. Life’s too short to waste time trying to drag up OT books from the depths of memory, especially when a significant proportion of them aren’t there. I guess I might have got this one eventually but no regrets.

    1. I came here with the express intention of finding out what you had to say about that clue. You didn’t let me down 😊.

  17. Not at all Mondayish for me, who took 59 minutes and had to use aids for ECCLESIA and IVANHOE. Also guessed on NAPERY since the word was only vaguely familiar. I was pleased to see that it was spelled LAUNDERETTE as you so often, probably as a result of the film, see laundrette nowadays; not that I should mind — it’s just the evolution of language.

  18. The clock said 60 minutes and a few seconds, but I unfortunately kept dropping off as I was sitting in my conservatory with the sun beating down on me. My best guess would be about 45 conscious minutes to solve.
    Like many my LOI was ECCLESIA but I did actually parse it to solve it. I particularly liked GORGONZOLA as a clue, and it took me a while to think of the cheese reference.

    1. I particularly like Gorgonzola! Sadly not as popular in the UK now as I remember it in the late 1950s and early 1960s when it was one of the earliest foreign alternatives to mousetrap. I think the cheaper Danish Blue did for it here.

        1. Yes, I agree it’s available but maybe it has become somewhat lost amongst so many other options. I remember it as being particularly popular as one of the first ‘exotic’ imported cheeses at a time when there was little choice.

      1. I have bought both Danish Blue and Gorgonzola in the last few months. I bought the former out of pure nostalgia as I hadn’t tried it since my mum bought it in the late 50s and 60s as an ‘exotic’ treat. I found it quite disappointing! Maybe my taste buds have changed, but it wasn’t as nice as I remember it. The Gorgonzola was delicious however!

  19. DNF
    Considered ecclesia but couldn’t see why it fitted, as I didn’t know what it meant and couldn’t see the wordplay either.
    27ac not the sort of clue I like to see, but there it is.

  20. Definitely not Mondayish. NHO ECCLESIA, and thought it very Mephisto-ish. I was bought a copy of IVANHOE as a boy, but gave up on it about 25 pages in, so Rowena meant nothing to me. Despite these two handicaps I managed to break 10 minutes, only seconds slower than Verlaine – who clearly wasn’t feeling Mondayish either !

    TIME 9:17

  21. 19:34, so very much not a Monday in my calendar either – that said, I must have enjoyed this puzzle as I didn’t feel as if I was making heavy weather of it, even though the clock begs to differ. A lot of the dawdling was wondering whether I could justify ENCAENIA at 22ac: apart from not being in any way justified by the wordplay, it also seemed quite arcane for a non-Mephisto puzzle, but there again, it’s not as if the actual right answer is one that I hear especially often in regular conversation.

  22. Put me in the “like” column. No I haven’t actually read IVANHOE either but I have seen the 1952 movie on late night tv with Joan Fontaine in the role (and Elizabeth Taylor as Rebecca) and I always get them mixed up. I believe the former Princess of Wales referred to the now Queen Consort as the ROTTWEILER. Oh dear. 19.27

  23. Liked this puzzle!

    For me, ECCLESIA well-known as it’s the word later translated as ‘church’, although no such thing existed in Jesus’s time. Having said that, it was LOI, me doubting the spelling of the dogs.

    16′ 37″, thanks Pip and setter.

  24. At 23 minutes, this was right up my street.
    Like Jackkt my knowledge of Ivanhoe is of a youthful pre-Bond and pre-Saint Roger Moore back in the ’50s – I can even remember the theme song (qv YouTube if you’re interested). And of course the film with a stunningly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor.
    I’ve actually read the article that begat Parkinson’s Law, which was originally a tongue-in-cheek critique of the Civil Service. In it, a seemingly overworked clerk persuades the powers-that-be for an assistant which then spirals into the formation of an entire department doing the work one man previously carried out. He also pointed out that there were more desk-bound Admirals in the Royal Navy than there were ships. Plus ça change.

  25. Most of this was absurdly easy. A few were decidedly tricky. I got off to a good start with LORD PRIVY SEAL thrown in immediately, just from definition and word divisions. I found 27 across in poor taste, and, frankly, rather offensive. I’m not a stickler for political correctness, but Chambers designates this use of ‘tart’ as derogatory or offensive, which is reason enough to avoid it. Why be gratuitously offensive to sex workers?
    No time as I had constant interruptions, but it seemed on a par with yesterday’s.

    1. Collins says:
      1. derogatory
      a promiscuous woman
      2. old-fashioned
      a prostitute

      .. so perhaps the setter is just being old-fashioned

  26. 29:12 but…

    …cheated/used an aid for ECCLESIA for which I couldn’t think of anything – was looking for a short name within a surrounding word rather than a longer-named book with a third shaved off. Oh well.

    No idea who PARKINSON might be, IVANHOE from parsing rather than anything to do with Rowena, and though I’m well aware of GLENeagles, failed to connect the two when entering my answer.

  27. Late arrival at the Ball. It was the Comms switchover day between old and new properties and amazingly the internet and the phones work, as does BT and Sky Sports. We’re short of nothing we’ve got. About half an hour on this with COD FITS AND STARTS, waiting to be admonished for so describing sex workers. I didn’t parse STEW, never seeing a steward as a waiter. Thank you Pip and setter.

  28. 22:38, so I’m probably with the Monday crowd, though GUAM and IVANHOE were a bit of a stretch.

  29. I enjoyed this, though I’ve no time today, having completed it in FITS AND STARTS throughout the day. COD definitely to ECCLESIA, my LOI and taking a long time. It’s also a NHO for me, so I was pretty chuffed to get it from the word play and a full set of checkers.

  30. 24’04” What wasn’t to like? Challenging clues which yield after mucho brain-churn. That’s crosswords.

  31. Pleased to get an all correct with the SNITCH over a 100. I did check NAPERY in Chambers after I’d worked it out from the wordplay. I liked many of these clues, so thank you setter. 10a was a smooth surface.
    Thanks as ever for the blog. I learn so much from it.

  32. 30.53. I found this pretty tough. Took a while to recall Ecclesiastes and whilst checkers and definition pointed to glen that one was a bit of an odd construction to parse.

  33. I bunged in ENCAENIA just because it would fit (it’s an assembly of sorts). Maybe I should read the bible more often. Or at all.

  34. It should be ‘law man’. It’s a law after Parkinson. He doesn’t/didn’t pursue or administer law.

  35. As someone above suggested, a puzzle chock full of ‘deletions’: never been able to get my head around them! Too many blanks to count, so…not my finest hour (or so).

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