Times 28396 – size matters?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 14:02. Though I was initially taken aback by the size of the grid, which appeared much larger on my screen than I am used to. Not sure if there was a site update or a Chrome update, but it didn’t fit on my screen.

The puzzle was definitely a notch up in difficulty compared to the rest of the week so far, and I spent a long time in the upper right hand corner working through letter possibilities before settling on answers that fortunately turned out to be correct. The wordplay is a great help in these cases!

How did you get along?

1 Rejects those who’ve acted in Fringe version of Friends? (4-4)
CAST-OFFS – CAST OF(those who’ve acted in), and the external letters of FriendS
5 Flap observed to lie the wrong way (6)
TISWAS – SAW(observed) and SIT(lie) all reversed
9 Everything we can teach about religion, perhaps, is sound (3,5)
ALL THERE – Everything we can teach about religion is ALL THE RE
10 Not just tasteful stuff in this display? (6)
TATTOO – the display contains TAT TOO
12 Pounds in the bank for one to do bathroom renovation? (5)
TILER – L(pounds) in the TIER(bank)
13 A large London college had resistance, offering places to everyone? (3-6)
ALL-SEATER – A, L(large), LSE(London School of Economics), ATE(had), R(resistance). Many years ago on this blog LSE caught me out, so I’ve been on the lookout ever since.
14 Demanding car rental? (4,2,6)
18 Freedom perhaps to explore the factory’s routine (3-2-3-4)
RUN-OF-THE-MILL – if you have freedom to explore the factory you have RUN OF THE MILL
21 Banned from working in Bedford (9)
23 On deck, maybe, stop sweeping after area (5)
AVAST – VAST(sweeping) after A(area)
24 Weaken, slowing down following a series of races (6)
ATTRIT – RIT(ritardando, musical term) after A, TT(series of races)
25 Shiny silver paper discarded? (8)
AGLITTER – AG(silver), LITTER(paper discarded)
26 Again tried to pass back small weapons (6)
TASERS – RESAT(again tried to pass) reversed, then S(small)
27 Original voting system, first popular with electorate, primarily (8)
PRISTINE – PR(proportional representation, voting system), IST(first), IN(popular) and the first letter of Electorate
1 Time on board yacht wasted gossiping (6)
CHATTY – T(time) inside an anagram of YACHT
2 Upset Argyle lost — not entirely just! (6)
SOLELY – hidden reversed inside argYLE LOSt
3 Possibly Dutch people we envy? (5,4)
OTHER HALF – double definition
4 Poorly from lead, one regularly turning back to doctor for solution? (12)
FORMALDEHYDE – anagram of FROM,LEAD then HYDE(one turning back to doctor)
6 Empty tin can we are consistently failing to open (5)
INANE – remove the first letters of tIN cAN wE
7 Just after one on Thursdays, visiting temple (4,4)
WITH THAT – I(one) on TH,TH(Thursdays) inside WAT(temple)
8 Severely punished, did well to hold firm (8)
SCOURGED – SURGED(did well) containing CO(firm)
11 Girl or bloke, a German store supervisor (5,7)
FLOOR MANAGER – FLO(girl), OR, MAN(bloke), A, GER(German)
15 Blues all I played, or music for rockers? (9)
16 Director having drawn winning card stops (8)
TRUFFAUT – TAUT(drawn) containing RUFF(trump card)
17 They are not obliged to reduce local golf charges (8)
INGRATES – INN(local) minus the last letter, then G(golf), RATES(charges)
19 Cocktail one’s knocked back: short to follow (3,3)
MAI TAI – I AM(one’s) reversed, then TAIL(to follow) minus the last letter
20 Sun, perhaps, going down on a day of celebration fast? (6)
STARVE –  STAR(sun, perhaps) on VE day
22 One day out of drink so reserved more? (5)
ICIER – I(one), then remove D(day) from CIDER(drink)

57 comments on “Times 28396 – size matters?”

  1. I loved a lot of these clues…. “one regularly turning back to doctor”, to name just one of my favorites.

    Most of the puzzle went in easily, but I was stumped for ages in the TISWAS SCOURGED TATTOO corner. I finally asked my wife, “what’s a word that starts with S that means ‘did well’?”. As soon as I said it out loud I understood the sense of ‘well’ that was meant. Must remember to talk to my wife more.

    Thanks glh for the blog!

  2. This was fun. Some tricky wordplay, especially in the NE corner. I biffed FORMALDEHYDE from the checkers I had and then I realized how clever the wordplay was with the Jekyll/Hyde reference. I wasted some time at 24A trying to get DIM in before I realized that means getting quieter not slower, and managed to rattle RIT out of my brain somehow. Why is the OTHER HALF people we envy? At 7D I realized the answer would be WITH THAT but couldn’t see where the TH of THAT came from before I kicked myself when I realized that it was another Thursday.

      1. How the Other Half Lives (1890) was a famous muckraking account of life in New York tenements by the social reformer Jacob Riis. A half hardly to be envied.

  3. DNF Struggled for 2 hours to get all but the NE corner which, too me, was impossible. Even if I had solved the parsing and got TISWAS I wouldn’t have believed it. That it developed as a colloquial/slang word to me is almost inconceivable. I have no real feeling for the meaning of WITH THAT as “just after” and I cannot put it into a meaningful sentence. I got SCOURGED and biffed ALL-SEATER but without the previous two words/phrases INANE and TATTOO are too hard to get.

      1. Tough for the Aussies to come up against the competition heavyweights in the first round.

    1. “With that” is analogous to “just like that” which was a catchphrase from a hugely popular US comedy series. Not sure if that helps at all.

    2. ODE defines ‘with that’ as ‘straight after that; then’ and give the example ‘with that, she flounced out of the room’.

  4. I got off to a very quick start in the NW and some of the clues seemed familiar so that I stopped and double-checked that The Times hadn’t republished a previous puzzle in error. It turned out that the clue that triggered this appeared almost word for word in last Saturday’s Jumbo and is still under wraps so we mustn’t reveal which clue it was.

    If it hadn’t been for four clues I’d have finished within my target half-hour but I hit a wall with ATTRIT (NHO), AVAST, TRUFFAUT and MAI TAI (probably forgotten) outstanding and I needed another 20 minutes to smoke the answers out. It seems that ATTRIT has made a single appearance previously, in a Mephisto in 2009, so I don’t count that.

  5. Tough one. Thought I was over-achieving to have sussed out TISWAS, ATTRIT, TATTOO and others, but TRUFFAUT was a bridge too far and I had to look him up. Now I can’t decide whether I knew the name or not.

    For SCOURGED I just assumed “surged = did well” as in a share price doing well, so thanks Jeremy for the more subtle parsing.

    HARD TO PLEASE was a case of “but what’s that got to do with…oh, nice one setter”.

    Great puzzle I thought, disappointed to have fallen at the last hurdle. Thanks setter and George.

  6. The upper right held me up for a while too. LOI TISWAS (“Whaa…?!”). “Surged” seemed a bit oblique for “did well.” (Oh, guess I get it now…)

  7. George, I forgot to say that I know there was an update to the The Times platform yesterday but it related to other matters that aren’t supposed to affect the puzzles directly unless perhaps solvers had partially completed puzzles in the pipeline at the time of implementation. I didn’t experience any change to size of puzzle display and no-one else so far has reported anything so it seems unlikely your experience had anything to do with the update.

    1. I noticed that the font in the grid is rather thinner/sharper and in my opinion easier to read and spot typos.

      1. Interesting. The update announced related only to moving times dot co dot uk to times dot com. The new domain is supposed to be an exact replica of the old one and whilst things are in progress there’s automatic redirection going on.

    2. Jack, one thing that definitely changed for the better is that the crossword site now works again in my browser (Edge) after several months’ hiatus in which I was reduced to solving the puzzles online in Opera. And everything seems to work a bit quicker and more smoothly.

  8. The full obituary for Richard Rogan appears in The Times today. It is excellent and well-deserved

      1. Please note that if you are a subscriber to The Times you get invited to log in; if you do you won’t get back again with the back arrow (well I couldn’t anyway.)
        The obit was good and interesting.

  9. Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
    Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
    Brought Death into the World, and all our woe.
    (Paradise Lost, Milton)

    After 25 quite enjoyable mins…. (I liked Tat,too and Hardtop lease).. I got to the NHO Attrit, crossed with Icier. Pity about those.
    Ta setter and G.

  10. DNF, gave up on 24 ac after 36 minutes, NHO either ATTRIT or ritardando.
    Annoying to give up with only 2 missing letters but I could see no amount of time was going to help me.
    Apart from that I had found the SW corner generally hard and getting Truffaut, tasers, and then finally icier had already taken me a while.
    That puzzle was definitely a good challenge and I’m quite sad to have fallen at the final hurdle!
    Thanks setter and blogger

  11. Never really stood a chance with ATTRIT, with ATTAIL my unconvincing punt. In hindsight, RIT has come up before, but it’s certainly not common, and nor is ATTRIT, although I can now see a link to ATTRITION.

    Thanks both.

  12. Worked out ATTRIT, took the wordplay on trust. Knew the director. From memory, TISWAS was the name of a children’s TV programme. Liked TATTOO and the very clever HARD TO PLEASE.

    Obviously on form again today in a good week, 10’47”.

    Thanks george and setter.

  13. Also fell at the last hurdle, in my case ATTRIT. 45 minutes until then. I biffed TRUFFAUT with no idea about RUFF. Some great clues and some horrible ones in this. COD to HARD TO PLEASE. That’s what we all are! Thank you George and setter.

  14. 29:08

    I enjoyed that one, similarly initially failing to see the wordplay on some of the clues.

    TISWAS the children’s TV show was before my time and I’d assumed it to be a made-up name. ATTRIT and TRUFFAUT were also total unknowns worked out from the wordplay. I liked HARD TO PLEASE, AVAST, and the new font in the grid.

    Thanks to both.

  15. 28:15
    Excellent! A Thursday(s) toughie, though British solvers of a certain age may recall that Saturday used to be TISWAS day.
    We seem to be getting more of what one might describe as ‘conversational’ clues these days (“cast of FS”, “all the RE”, “tat too”), demanding a pivot away from the usual solving mindset.
    NHO ATTRIT – I would have assumed the root of ‘attrition’ to be ‘attrite’, which I now see it more usually is.

  16. Took 35 minutes, and I’m really pleased that I managed to tease out this fantastic puzzle in the end.

    – Tried to justify ‘all right’ for 9a until I saw it had to be ALL THERE
    – Took ages to see that the definition for AVAST was the first 4 words
    – For 26a, spent ages thinking of a word meaning tried again where I could move the S back to give weapons before I separated them and got TASERS
    – Only thought of surge as in performing well for SCOURGED (you could say “Team X surged in the second half of the season”, couldn’t you?), but I see from Jeremy’s comment that another meaning of ‘well’ might have been intended
    – Didn’t know TRUFFAUT but eventually managed to get the right meaning of ‘drawn’, and then I moved away from thinking that ‘winning card’ had to be ‘ace’. I didn’t know that ruff has that meaning in card games, so that was a fingers-crossed moment
    – Took longer than I should have done to remember how to spell MAI TAI, which then meant I could parse it

    As I say, a fantastic puzzle. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Cast-offs
    LOI Truffaut
    CODs Hard to please / Forbidden / Formaldehyde

  17. 19:17. NHO ATTRIT so that was a guess from the wordplay. I loved HARD TO PLEASE and TATTOO. Thanks George and setter.

  18. 44m 10s
    Splendid puzzle with too many excellent clues from which to pick out a COD.
    Regarding the grid, as Zabadak has said the font is now thinner and sharper. Also, I can now check my entry prior to submission without having to scroll up or down slightly.
    I had difficulties with ATTRIT at first but then remembered where RIT. comes from.
    Thanks, George, especially for TRUFFAUT. Didn’t know about RUFF.

  19. 29:59


    Great puzzle, thanks.

    Some 5’ spent on LOI SCOURGED.

    COD, with many strong challengers, to HARD TO PLEASE.

    Thanks all.

  20. 36 mins, but never having heard of ATTRIT or RIT as above I didn’t have a chance and had to come here. The rest went in steadily, liked FORMALDEHYDE.

  21. Thanks glh for the parsing of biffed 1a CAST OFFS.
    COD for 14a Hardtop Lease.
    24a DNF didn’t find attrit, cross with self. Not in Cheating Machine, though ATTRITS was. Unusual for CM.
    4d FORMALDEHYDE COD for the PDM.
    7d thought WITH THAT was green paint, so with KensoGhost WITH THAT.
    11d thought that there was no instruction to drop man from GERman. Shrugged and moved on.
    16d TRUFFAUT, couldn’t parse, biffed, though should have seen the RUFF; didn’t see the TAUT either.
    22s ICIER was tricksy, well done setter.

  22. 25 minutes, my time kippered by ATTRIT (only known with an ION on the end) TRUFFAUT (ah, an actual director!) and AVAST, where I failed to lift, separate and otherwise interpret the wordplay. Anyone with a word for “stop sweeping”?
    RUFF came up as a (totally unrecognised) bridge term on BBC’s “Impossible” yesterday, but I only saw it when I’d twigged TRUFFAUT.
    I was a bit disconcerted by two, almost consecutive ALL- answers, and never quite saw (now obvious, thanks Jack) ALL THE RE.
    Much fine cluing: I especially liked TAT TOO and HARD-TOP LEASE.

  23. Surrendered after 30 minutes to look up ATTRIT, quite a jolly puzzle up to that point but no complaints.

  24. 34:44

    Not keen on the skinny font – mostly comfortable progress but ground to a halt in the SW. Eventually spotting that 21a was an anagram was key to breaking that – though I’d heard of TRUFFAUT and assumed the answer to be correct, I had absolutely no clue about the parsing! Assumed ATTRIT to be correct though it’s an odd word – I likened it to attrition. LOI ICIER. COD to FORMALDEHYDE.

    Thanks to G and setter

  25. Gave up at 45 mins, missing TRUFFAUT and ICIER, which would have made more sense – IMHO – as ‘more reserved’. But hey. Shame, because I enjoyed a lot of this, esp FORMALDEHYDE and TATTOO.

  26. 11:54. After a few minutes I had the NW and SE corners of this complete but almost nothing in the SW or NE corners.
    ATTRIT is a funny-looking word. Collins and ODE say it’s North American. The wordplay is a bit mean for a word like this.
    I’m glad TRUFFAUT was familiar to me because I had forgotten RUFF in this sense. I think it’s come up before though.
    I thought ‘did well’ was a bit loose so thanks to Jeremy for talking to his wife 😉

  27. 31 minutes. Very satisfying to solve. I remembered TISWAS from a couple of previous sightings and was happy to be able to work out the NHO AFFRIT and to eventually parse ICIER.

    Favourites were HARDTOP LEASE and TAT TOO.

  28. When I did my usual puzzles (Futoshiki, KenKen and Chess) all was fine, but when I tried to load Crossword Club it made it hard for me to get to it, presenting me with a thing about paying for The Times puzzles, something I’ve never done before, and since I’m paying £28+ a month to read the whole paper (which I want to do) it seemed a bit stiff to ask for an extra £5 or so a month. It wouldn’t let me out without my subscribing, but eventually I managed to do so after a whole lot of faffing around. Let’s hope tomorrow I won’t have all this.

    I quite like the new font. 45 minutes. NHO ATTRIT, but it was obvious from the wordplay and I looked it up to check that the word existed. Missed “tat too”, thinking it was a remark about the fact that some tattoos aren’t all that tasteful. Liked the hard-top lease. How does an ALL-SEATER offer places to everyone? MAI TAI seems familiar.

  29. Attrit went in on a wing and a prayer – the word is not in my dictionary (Webster’s) and I didn’t know “rit” – so had to trust to the link to Attrition.
    I liked Hard To Please, although I have a feeling I’ve seen that same clue somewhere before.
    Nice puzzle overall, which took me around 45 minutes.

  30. What a great puzzle! I loved the “one regularly turning back to doctor” too – made me smile. The demanding car rental was clever too.

  31. 19.33 fail

    Punted ATTEND thinking it might have meant something other than the obvious. A nonsense, even more so as I knew RIT but didn’t believe ATTRIT could be right. INNER was a consequential nonsense even though the w/p was clear and I knew what I was looking for. Should have taken a bit more care at the end

    As with Galspray I had no idea how the car clue fitted the answer. Brilliant!

  32. NHO RUFF as Trump card, NHO TRUFFAUT the director and had no idea on 24a, so was left with -R-F-A-T and ATT-I- after 30 minutes. After 18 minutes more I threw in the towel and looked up ATTRIT, knew RIT but didn’t think of it and wouldn’t have recognised the word anyway. Despite that confirming the A in 16d, I got nowhere with the director and looked that up as well. To add insult to injury on submitting off leaderboard to check the rest, I found a typo, FORMAKDEHYDE. Bah humbug! Thanks George.

  33. DNF. Was thinking Antrim be indicated by the reference to races as ATT-I- did not suggest anything, NHO ATTRIT or RIT. Had to check that TISWAS was a thing. A typo too, so a multiple fail.

  34. Loved this fine puzzle. Surprised to find ATTRIT is apparently a word. But knew rit/tardando which we have surely seen more than once.
    Loved the demanding car rental and the two Thursdays in 7dn. Oh, also the regularly turning back to doctor, what a fine clue that is!

  35. It seems many of us will now remember what RUFF means in bridge.
    ATTRIT may be harder to recall?
    My daughter is now 50, so TISWAS was very much part of her Saturday mornings and now to find it is a “real” word!
    Great puzzle even if I failed in the end
    As ever thanks

  36. DNF again- had ruff in the back of my mind but had no idea about the director’s name and was never going to get taut for drawn!
    Shame because I had sorted the rest.
    Hope for more luck tomorrow

  37. This was an excellent puzzle, except for TISWAS which as a non-Brit I was never going to get. My version was BIFWAS, which seemed more likely than EILWAS. But apart from that, there was a lot to admire: the Thursdays in WITH THAT, the cluing of HYDE in FORMALDE…., the tasteless TAT TOO …

  38. 38.15, with an awful lot of time staring at 24a, a word I had never encountered and looked most unlikely to exist.

  39. DNF — couldn’t see TATTOO to save my life. Duh. Got the rest after some effort. I only knew TISWAS as a TV programme adored by my elder brother. I just remember a lot of pies being thrown around the studio.


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