Times 28399 – To the moon!

Time: 17 minutes

Music: Spriguns, Revel Weird and Wild

This was a typical Monday puzzle, and I whipped through it without parsing some of the clues.   It was a big help to see three of the four long ones almost instantly, which gave me plenty of crossing letters.

I don’t think the vocabulary will give seasoned solvers any trouble – you all know verbena and termagant, right?    The only thing that gave me trouble was that some of the clues were just a little off, and as I was putting in the answer from the cryptic I was asking myself how that answer fit the literal: do they launch missiles or rockets at Cape Canaveral, is a catchpenny novel necessarily trashy, is there a message on a notelet?

1 Top European waterway skirting state missile launching site (4,9)
9 Dark period man on board talked of (5)
NIGHT – Sounds like KNIGHT, a chess knight.
10 Word silver worker used for shrewish woman (9)
11 Be lumbered with harvesting at first by more senior squire (4-6)
LAND-HOLDER – LAND + H[arvesting] + OLDER.
12 Avoid drill sergeant’s shouted command (4)
SHUN – Double definition.
14 Dull, going over sierra in damp part of US (7)
MIDWEST – DIM backwards+ WE(S)T.
16 State sector briefly featuring in vocal piece (7)
17 Jet starts to near airport in Italian city (7)
RAVENNA – RAVEN + N[ear] A[irport], as in raven hair.
19 Plant everyone observes at end of field (7)
ALLSEED – ALL SEE + [fiel]D, where it is important to take ‘everyone observes’ as a phrase – do not lift and separate!
20 Gull-like bird — in water, normally (4)
TERN – Hidden in [wa]TER N[ormally]
21 Inconvenience male in nightclub fashion (10)
24 Worker’s musical production originally viewed in formal wear (9)
25 Teacher openly revered at first by boy king (5)
TUTOR – TUT + O[penly] R[evered].
26 One divining secrets unfamiliar to her daughter (7-6)
1 Mass converted clan go to in Rome (14)
2 Ungodly composer missing in India (5)
PAGAN – PAGAN[in, i].
3 Fastener on animal enclosure, extremely nasty and trashy (10)
CATCHPENNY – CATCH + PEN + N[ast]Y.   Not necessarily trashy, but often so.
4 Forbidden to frame message finally — on this? (7)
NOTELET – NOT ([messag]E) LET
5 Part of speech in French introducing a garden plant (7)
6 Bring up? It’s brought up by the laggardly (4)
REAR – Cryptic hint, referring to bringing up the rear.
7 Obnoxious son arrested by Labour leader over party (9)
8 Typical helper on expedition, one carrying the flag? (8-6)
STANDARD-BEARER – STANDARD BEARER, in very – or not so very – different senses.
13 Small measure girl’s taken to cover new term (10)
15 Conflicting information received in delight (9)
18 Tolerating a heartless order (7)
19 Very old eat in canteen, just outside, strangely (7)
ANCIENT –  Anagram of EAT IN C[antee]N.
22 Officer commanding little group (5)
23 Prince given ring, a symbol of saintliness (4)
HALO – HAL + O, a symbol of the chestnut.

45 comments on “Times 28399 – To the moon!”

  1. I went for DISCOMPOSE — it gave me the O for OCTAD and hence I assumed it must be right.

    Otherwise I had a similar solving experience to vinyl, I could see the long ones right away and that helped crack the puzzle open.

  2. 18:17
    This felt slow, and I see from the early SNITCH returns that just about everyone else found it easy. Biffed CAPE CANAVERAL, THOUGHT-READER, & ANCIENT, parsed post-submission. DNK ALLSEED.

  3. Monday, very quick. Very Timesy, in style and vocab. Almost a grand slam – everything entered and parsed on first read of the clue except ANCIENT. Same Unknowns: allseed, catchpenny’s meaning, notelet’s meaning.
    COD Loathsome.

  4. 22m 24s was my posted time but I’m sure it would have been a PB had it not been for the lady from Porlock. This felt like a QC and the only clue I had a query on was LOATHSOME so thank you Vinyl.. I had forgotten a party could be an AT HOME.
    OCTAD required a modicum of care in order to avoid ‘octet’.
    PS….I don’t think I’ve seen HAL for a while!

  5. 34 minutes. Slower than it should have been, but at least I did parse everything and managed to get the NHO’s in CATCHPENNY and ALLSEED. I was going to submit earlier but then had a nervy about NOTELET and did a semi-alphabet trawl as I had trouble seeing NOT LET for ‘forbidden’ rather than “forbid”. The perils of biffing; an initial “discomfort” at 21a and “octet” at 22d also held me up.

    All those derogatory terms for ‘shrewish woman’. Makes you feel a bit uncomfortable as a bloke that there aren’t anything like as many male equivalents.

  6. 21 minutes but I had to return later to parse LOATHESOME where the S for ‘son’ was the only letter I had accounted for. ALLSEED and RAVENNA were unknown but had to be.

    SOED defines CATCHPENNY as: adjective intended merely to sell readily, superficially attractive but of little intrinsic worth, which seems to fit ‘trashy’ perfectly. A NOTELET is used for writing messages on so I’ve no problem with that one either.

  7. 12 minutes with LOI OCTAD, a couple of which were wasted deciding on what was the anagram fodder for ANCIENT. It could have been a sub 10 if I’d been happy to biff it. Thank you V and setter.

  8. She walks in beauty, like the Night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies

    15 mins mid-brekker. No ticks, no crosses, no MERs.
    No PDMs.
    Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  9. Really weird one …started by getting 1a and 1d almost immediately, and made fast progress through the grid up to a point – then the last 20% was a real struggle. Was rather pleased to remember (from seeing it here) TERMAGENT (except that I remembered it wrong, and paid insufficient attention to the cryptic). So LOATHSOME took ages and I never got close to parsing it. Then I completely bogged down, taking another 20 mins or so for the last four clues. Eventually decided, in a fit of petulance, to just enter half-assed guesses for the final three…
    OCTAD – solved it whilst making the dumb guess
    ALLSEED – seemed pretty unlikely but what the heck
    RAVENNA – most Italian-sounding word I could fit in the grid

    Genuinely shocked to get the Congrats banner – thanks V for the parsing (I needed it) – 39:46 but at least not a fail

  10. I took this one at a leisurely pace and finished in 43 minutes; it certainly seemed a bit harder to me than most other people, by the sounds of it. NHO RAVENNA or ALLSEED, but I think I remembered the other crossword-only (for me!) words that appeared.

  11. 14:17. I was a bit sluggish at getting going. It didn’t help that I wrote in HOLD at the start of 11A thinking the defintiion was “be lumbered” and failed to see THOUGHT-READER was an anagram until I found the answer from the checkers. DNK ALLSEED and wondered about missiles being launched from CAPE CANAVERAL. I liked TERN. Thanks setter and vinyl.

  12. 30mins. Back home now after a mammoth tour. Enjoyed this one though, like our blogger, had a few «  can that really be the answer » moments.
    NHO CATCHPENNY or OCTAD but followed instructions.

    Thanks v and setter.

  13. 6:33. Not hard but few in here that required some thought, so not among the very easiest either. NHO RAVENNA, ALLSEED or CATCHPENNY. I biffed OCTET but THOUGHT READER came quickly so it didn’t slow me down.

  14. Quick today, though slightly held up in the Midwest, towards the end.
    No problem with Cape Canaveral, which has launched many missiles in its time, including Polaris, Poseidon and Trident, though they tend not to talk about them. And the distinction between a rocket and a missile can be a bit tenuous. The Titan II/III launch vehicles were technically missiles, starting life as ICBMs.

    1. Indeed the first American manned rockets – Gemini? – were Titan missiles. Very scary – I wouldn’t have done it. Back in those days they used “rocket fuel” – hydrazine – with red fuming nitric acid as the oxidiser. Look on youtube – no yellow flames or smoke, just an almost invisible blue flame. When they moved onto Apollo they used the much more forgiving kerosene as fuel, liquid oxygen as oxidiser. Big yellow flames and grey clouds of water vapour.

  15. 1ac was a bit slow because I tend to think it’s Carnaveral, so thought it wasn’t the answer until I remembered how to spell it. And I lifted and separated beautifully with the ALLSEED clue and couldn’t think why it wasn’t ‘sees’; eventually put it in and the thing came up saying I’d solved the puzzle in 22 minutes, so I shrugged and thought it was a mistake. Was perfectly happy with CATCHPENNY and NOTELET.

  16. All correct- guessed PAGAN because the composer was NHO, likewise fingers crossed for OCTAD and RAVENNA. Probably inside 30 minutes so ideal fare- thanks setter and blogger.

  17. 19:15
    Monday, Monday. As vinyl says a few clues seemed slightly off but no real problems. OCTAD and ALLSEED were new to me but easy to see. For once I didn’t get TERMAGANT and PTARMIGAN mixed up.

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  18. Yes, “discompose” was very plausible and I’m glad I didn’t think of it first. CAPE CANAVERAL was Cape Kennedy for a while after the assassination of JFK but Floridians wanted the original name restored. I had more than half an eye on the Queen’s funeral procession so I’m not sure about my 14.52.

  19. 14 minutes no issues. Don’t PAGANs have their own gods, so not ungodly? Can’t believe someone hasn’t heard of Paganini. And Ravenna is worth a visit.

  20. Even I, the ultimate classical music PAGAN, have heard of him. Although I hadn’t come across ALLSEED. Sounds unlikely, a plant having all seeds in it?
    Unfortunately mistyped KILLIMETRE. Otherwise, very Mondayish.

  21. Not that it really matters, but I wonder if the definition for OCTAD is just group, rather than little group, since “little” gives TAD. I’m not sure eight counts as a particularly little group, either!

  22. No time to give as I solved this over several sittings. All parsed along the way other than my LOI.
    LOI: LOATHSOME. I had written this to one side early on but couldn’t parse it so left it until the end still unparsed with like Jackkt only accounting for the ‘S’ and in all honesty, I still don’t quite see. Is ‘party’ AT HOME?

    1. An “at home” is a party, backformed, I imagine, from polite invitation cards informing you that “Lady Trend will be at home at 4pm on Thursday etc”

    2. I had a very posh colleague years ago and we were invited by his mother to an AT HOME to mark his engagement. It was held at one of the posh clubs in St James’s. 🤷‍♂️

        1. Exactly! The invitation was a big thick piece of card that said something like ‘Mrs [poshname] will be at home, on such and such date to celebrate blah blah’, and then the address was given as (I think) Boodles. There was some sort of special dispensation to allow women to attend.

  23. I made quick progress on most of this with TV on in the background.
    I had a long pause over LOI ALLSEED which did not seem to parse. I knew the plant would be LOI when I first read the clue. Will re-read to see how the parsing works but thanks for the explanation.
    THOUGHT READER was late in and I see I had DISCOMPOSE so one wrong.
    I had to correct a biffed OCTET.
    London looking good on TV.

  24. DNF. 18-ish minutes but once I had thought of discompose I didn’t feel the need to look any further, though it may be that pose for fashion requires a three-point turn in the dictionary.

  25. 12:57. As Mondayish as everyone else seems to have found it. I didn’t know ALLSEED but it was easily guessed.

  26. CAPE CANAVERAL got me off the ground and I made steady progress. ALLSEED and RAVENNA were unknown but gettable, the former being my LOI. THOUGHT READER corrected OCTET for me. CATCHPENNY was unfamiliar but not unheard of. CONGLOMERATION was a helpful early entry. 18:21. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  27. Careless with OCTAD- I put OCTED (thinking of TED talks being small meetings!). NHO TERMAGANT, and this was last one in.
    Thank you for the blog. Thank you Setter.

  28. 17:14

    Comfortable stroll – might have been quicker if no interruptions but everyone is home today….

  29. Another DISCOMPOSE here but the rest correct even though a certain amount of guesswork was required.
    Thanks for the explanations.

  30. No time for this one as there were too many distractions today. Thought it was on the easier side however, and my time would have been under 30 minutes I think. The only one I had trouble parsing was LOATHSOME, and thank you for enlightening me.

  31. 14’06”. As above. A gentle jog round the track. With a cup of lemon verbena tea by my side.

  32. Just under 27 minutes, with the last five minutes stuck on Loathsome. Eventually put it in as the only word I could think of meaning obnoxious that fitted, but quite unable to parse it. Thanks for the explanation.

  33. I have just returned from Fiji
    (Scuba-diving’s a pricey hobby)
    CAPE CANVERAL – great
    But the TERN I just hate
    I vacate, but nowt changes, I see

  34. Finished (phew) after a few hours of dipping in and out and felt it should have been easier but NHO CATCHPENNY VERBENA RAVENNA ALLSEED OCTAD DISCOMMODE so relatively pleased to be honest.

    Feel like I’m making some progress albeit very slow with the 15 x 15….

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