Times 28402 – giving it a whirl

Time taken:  12:19.  I was interrupted twice while solving, but I don’t think it slowed things down that much. I found this one pretty tricky, though some of the early solvers have rather slick times. Maybe there’s a few pieces of general knowledge that will help where I was piecing things together from wordplay.

Speaking of wordplay – I thought this was a good puzzle for wordplay and enjoyed teasing out the full explanation for the blog.

How did you do?

1 Embellish book’s jacket, receiving retrospective grant (6)
BEDECK – the exterior letters in BooK containing CEDE(grant, allow) reversed
4 Judge leaving kid bearing crown is Walter Mitty type (8)
ESCAPIST – remove J(judge) from JEST(kid) containing CAP(crown), IS
10 Arab once struggling across line in Olympic venue (9)
BARCELONA – anagram of ARAB,ONCE containing L(line). Host city of the 1992 Summer games
11 Average temperature implied (5)
MEANT – MEAN(average), T(temperature)
12 Clothing for Tokyo‘s nobility largely unused (3)
OBI – hidden in nOBIlity
13 Absurd assistant sweeping around old cross (11)
PARADOXICAL – PA(assistant) then RADICAL(sweeping) containing O(old), X(cross)
14 Unfinished section of minster creating hazard (6)
CHANCE – CHANCEL(section of a church) minus the last letter
16 Coastal city below Wash (7)
LAUNDER – LA(coastal city), UNDER(below)
19 Detective officer, man of concern to women (7)
DISTAFF – DI(detective officer), STAFF(man)
20 Look at me outside Yemeni port, returning at some point (3,3)
ONE DAY – YO(look at me) surrounding ADEN(Yemeni port), all reversed
22 Soft glow is potentially charming, encircling loch (11)
CANDLELIGHT – CAN DELIGHT(is potentially charming) surrounding L(loch)
25 Noughts on end of digit in addition (3)
TOO – O and O (noughts) next to the last letter in digiT
26 Carry mark as symbol of clan membership (5)
TOTEM – TOTE(carry), M(mark)
27 Working on one line in poem, showing adaptability (9)
VERSATILE – AT(working on), I(one), L(line) inside VERSE(poem)
28 Continue speaking with an artist, getting final word? (8)
SAYONARA – SAY ON(continue speaking), A(an), RA(artist)
29 It links extremely healthy writer with hospital investment (6)
HYPHEN – external letters in HealthY, then PEN(writer) containing H(hospital)
1 Primate voiced displeasure entering bar (6)
BABOON – BOO(voiced displeasure) inside BAN(bar)
2 Recalled verse concerning boring food for Muslim ascetics (9)
DERVISHES – V(verse) and RE(concerning) reversed inside DISHES(food)
3 Steal lead from church and take a close look round (5)
CREEP – first letter in Church then PEER(take a close look) reversed
5 Gossips circulating primarily among shoe shop staff perhaps (14)
SCANDALMONGERS – first letter of Circulating inside SANDALMONGERS(maybe shoe shop staff)
6 Like to come round by Tuesday to see compound (9)
ADMIXTURE – ADMIRE(like) containing X(by) and TU(Tuesday)
7 Patriarch‘s untaxed investment about to be raised (5)
ISAAC – ISA(untaxed investment) and CA(about) reversed
8 Guardian‘s gripping article is utterly bizarre (8)
TUTELARY – A(article) inside an anagram of UTTERLY
9 A forceful, eccentric fan’s a rare find (4-4,6)
FOUR-LEAF CLOVER – anagram of A,FORCEFUL then LOVER(fan)
15 Region’s last Neanderthal? He didn’t quite make it (6,3)
NEARLY MAN – last letter in regioN, then EARLY MAN(Neanderthal)
17 Sorted out the law I’d broken, getting time inside (5,4)
DEALT WITH – anagram of THE,LAW,I’D containing T
18 East European charging money for Shylock’s tutors (8)
EDUCATES – E(East) then E(European) inside DUCATS(money for Shylock)
21 Single man disheartened and glum (6)
SOLEMN – SOLE(single), then MaN missing the middle
23 Indecent, having name for sergeant major’s barking (5)
NUTTY – SMUTTY(indecent) with N(name) replacing SM(sergeant major)
24 Emotional rent boy’s base (5)
TEARY – TEAR(rent) and the last letter in boY

82 comments on “Times 28402 – giving it a whirl”

  1. 17:23
    Biffed a bunch, parsed post-submission. An MER at SOLEMN=glum, but I see that Collins (Brit) gives ‘glum’ as one meaning. DNK NEARLY MAN; is the stress on NEARLY? Since TUTELARY is an adjective, I think the ‘s of “Guardian’s” should be underlined.

      1. Chambers would. This is nit-picking, but if a noun reading is intended, why bother with the ‘s in the clue in the first place?

        1. That was one of the answers I had to piece together from wordplay, so I looked it up and saw it was given as a noun in both Collins and Chambers. Feel free to pretend I didn’t underline as long as I needed to

          1. How odd; I was sure I checked Collins. I shouldn’t have raised the question in the first place.

          2. The underline’s fine, but the backward apostrophe is crying out for correction (only to compulsive types like me, of course). 🙄

            1. And me :).

              The solution is to extend the underline under the apostrophe. But don’t tell George I said so.

              1. But that would be wrong. The “’s” is not part of the definition.
                (On a Mac, the apostrophe is option-shift ] … probably very similar on a PC.)

                  1. This site changes “dumb” quotation marks (like you see when you type here, straight up and down) and apostrophes to “smart” ones, but it will automatically render an apostrophe incorrectly if it comes after a space, seeing it as an open single quotemark.

                    If you erase the space in editing, though, this should change the apostrophe. So I’m not sure what happened t0 put “Guardian‘s” in this blog.

                    The apostrophe can also be changed by typing it with the proper keyboard command for your computer or by copying one that already exists on the page and pasting it where you want it.

            2. If we’re being this picky (and why not) a compound is not the same as an admixture, at least in the chemical sense.

        2. Here the apostrophe-S is “is,” and the connection between the definition and the wordplay.

  2. This was all very clever. Just now parsed the biffed SCANDALMONGER, and find it pretty funny. Works about the same as CANDLELIGHT.
    FOI HYPHEN, LOI TUTELARY (never doubted that the definition is “Guardian”).
    Don’t think I’d ever heard of The Nearly Man—got that from wordplay, which was satisfying.
    We had ISA the other day, and I am glad.
    Got James Thurber’s Walter Mitty stories and others when I was a kid from the Bookmobile that passed thru my benighted backwoods hometown.

    1. ‘Bookmobile’ is entirely new to me. Sure beats the clunky British version, ‘Travelling Library Van’!

      1. We had one in the 1950s and 1960s and it was called a ‘mobile library’. This was written on its side and I never knew anyone refer to it as anything else.

        1. I was showing a Senior English class in Lesmahagow a tv programme about Hugh McDairmid. The only flicker of interest they showed was when the great man was shown visiting the mobile library in Biggar and they recognised the librarian!

  3. Very minor error, but at 6D you need TU for Tuesday.

    My POI was TUTELARY which I don’t recall seeing (just tutelage). That gebe me Walter Mitty for the LOI.

    1. Three little maids who all unwary
      Come from a ladies’ seminary,
      Freed from its genius tutelary,
      Three little maids from school.

      1. That is almost certainly where I first encountered the word, having been in the bass chorus during a production at school.

  4. This took me just slightly under an hour – but it was an enjoyable puzzle.

    FOI 20ac ONE DAY – my prints will come – the old Kodak complaint.
    LOI 23dn NUTTY – Barking – also a town inhabited by ‘Essex Girls’!
    COD 9dn FOUR-LEAF CLOVER l’ve found quite a few in our garden over the years. It has no relevance here in Shanghai, nor hen’s teeth, nor rocking horse excrement!
    WOD 5dn SCANDALMONGER as opposed to the lady who once sold footwear in the long-gone ‘Skegness Beach Bazaar’.

    Sayonara! Meldrew

    1. I first learned of Barking when as a student I wrote a paper on a Life of Edward the Confessor, written by an anonymous nun of Barking Abbey. A different sort of Essex girls, I imagine.

  5. 42 minutes but a technical DNF as I used aids to place the unchecked anagrist vowels at 8dn. It seems that TUTELARY has appeared 3 times before in the 15×15 TfTT era and gave me pause for thought on every occasion. The clues to it haven’t varied much over the years:

    (2019) Utterly wrong about article offering protection
    (2016) Guardian’s utterly embarrassed about article
    (2010) Like Guardian article, utterly misspelt?

    That aside, this was an extremely enjoyable puzzle with many inventive clues.

    I first heard SAYONARA in Tony Hancock’s The Radio Ham. “It…is…ah…not…raining…here…in…Tokyo.”

  6. 49 minutes. Stuck a few times and didn’t think I would finish, so slow, but not unhappy. PARADOXICAL and CANDLELIGHT entered from wordplay alone and forgot to come back to parse. TUTELARY barely known (as noun or adjective) but looked likely once I’d worked out ‘utterly’ wasn’t a homophone indicator.

    As mentioned, glad to have had ISA recently and the ‘Yemeni port’ also appeared only yesterday. I liked my LOI ADMIXTURE (yes, TU for ‘Tuesday’ as noted by Paul above) as one of those clues that looked like it was going to be an obscure unknown word, until the correct word magically appeared from the crossers.

  7. I was looking at the sad state of my ISA just yesterday (the idea is that if you keep bunging money into shares when the market’s down that it will eventually recover, right?) so that helped, and a few other things seemed to spring to mind more readily than I’d’ve expected, leading me to finish in 31 minutes. That felt speedy given the quality of the puzzle. Enjoyed “money for Shylock”, the smutty/NUTTY substitution and “can delight”, among other bits.

    1. I am a professional investor and my approach to ISAs (and pensions and whatnot) is 1) never try to be clever (e.g. timing the market) and 2) try not to look!

      1. In that case, I shall do my best not to look, because I’m already following your other advice 🙂

  8. Some candle clear burns somewhere I come by.
    I muse at how its being puts blissful back
    With yellowy moisture mild night’s blear-all black
    Or to-fro tender trambeams truckle at the eye.

    35 mins mid-brekker. I liked it but added no ticks, nor crosses, nor MERs.
    My margin is full of half-baked anagram fodder.
    Thanks setter and G.

      1. The Candle Indoors by Gerard Manley Hopkins. He devised what he called sprung-rhythm, which I love but is not to everyone’s taste. A great example is his masterpiece (IMO), The Windhover.

        1. Thanks very much! I do know several Hopkins poems but had never come across this one. My first thought reading your excerpt was Dylan Thomas . Must dig into more GMH!

        2. Absolutely, Myrtilus! My very favourite poet AND poem…of course, it did help having the best Welsh teacher of Eng Lit. reading (singing?) it out in class. Never much went for poetry before this…

  9. Slow-quick-slow for me – starting off badly with a biffed BONOBO at 1d (thinking it must be right because it gave me BEDECK…). Didn’t get the juices flowing until around 20m in, when I descrambled F-L C and then went through easily until the final 5 or 6, with the NE corner causing me serious headaches.

    Took an age for each of the final three…
    First to spot that TUTELARY was an anagram, then fit it together into an almost-unknown word
    Then ESCAPIST via (j)EST + alpha-trawling
    LOI ISAAC where “tax-free investment” had me totally stumped (and I suspect not for the first time, one for the memory-jogger list)

    51:37 but very happy to get through this – a 4/4 week so far for me, and the possibility of my first ever full house awaits – thanks a lot George and setter

  10. 17:33. Nice one. Held up at the end trying to parse CREEP. I Liked NEARLY MAN, SCANDALMONGERS andn CANDLELIGHT all of which took me a while to get too. Thank-you setter and George

  11. 36 mins for an enjoyable solve Took me a few min to get going and I ended up solving from bottom to top
    Didn’t know a dervish was an ascetic even though I’ve seen a few in the Sudan
    5d made me smile

  12. 8:38. Steadily solve, and another bog-standard Times puzzle, i.e. excellent. I did avoid a couple of self-inflicted heffalump traps by checking the spelling of SAYONARA carefully against wordplay, and reconsidering my unjustifiably-biffed SCANDALMONGERY (god knows why). It’s a sign of having been doing these things for a while that DISTAFF went straight in with a couple of checkers and the word ‘women’. I’m pretty sure I’ve never encountered this word outside these puzzles.

      1. That’s a different (literal) meaning though: ‘the rod on which flax is wound preparatory to spinning’. News to me!

      2. The Derby City Distaff stakes is a grade 1 race for fillies and mares, run on the day of the Kentucky Derby

    1. In 19th C literature Keriothe the female side of a family would sometimes be referred to as the DISTAFF side (the male being the spear side) in a rather heavy jocular kind of way.

      1. In that case I must have come across it before (I have read most of the major 19c literature at some point) but have forgotten it.

    2. The Breeders Cup Distaff for fillies. Run every November. Worth over one million dollars.

      1. See AlanG’s response above too: this seems to be a racing thing I was completely unaware of. It’s rather charming.

  13. About 20 minutes, with TUTELARY my LOI after eventually realising it was an anagram. DISTAFF was completely unknown and put together from wordplay, but otherwise I got there smoothly enough.

    FOI Creep
    LOI Tutelary
    COD Nearly man

  14. 47:05 but with one pink square for NUTYY. And I thought I’d done so well. LOI TUTELARY but most time spent on ADMIXTURE looking for a chemical term, say, until (as BletchleyReject says above) it just appeared. COD PARADOXICAL

  15. 09:21, not much to say, a routinely enjoyable puzzle (as per Keriothe’s comment above, it always seems like damning with faint praise to describe Times puzzles as bog-standard or whatever, when you mean they are hitting the usual very high standard, but such are the pitfalls of having high standards in the first place).

  16. Nice one, with accompanying sound effects – as Kevin says, the three little maids from G&S and also “ta pocketa pocketa pocketa” from Walter Mitty. I’m another DNK for NEARLY MAN but it was pretty neat. To think that Neanderthals have had a bad rap all these years. I still have “My First Book on Archeology” which includes the Piltdown Man as the real thing which shows its age. 14.16

    1. I was going to correct you and point out that it’s ka-pocketa etc., but in fact there’s no ka or ta, although the anesthetizer does start to go pocketa-pocketa-queep.

        1. Touché! I was thinking of the coriopsis surgery. Thanks for getting me to read this again.

  17. 31:48
    Another excellent puzzle. I was almost sorry to finish.
    I would have been a lot quicker if I hadn’t convinced myself that the cross in 13 implied a “paradoodle”, something which, I now discover, doesn’t even exist. Also wanted my gossips to be chatterboxes. Stupid boy.
    As George says, some very clever wordplay going on, with CREEP being my COD.
    Thanks to George and the setter.

  18. 9m 9s, with the last 3 minutes or so spent on TUTELARY, which involved some nice misdirection.

    Adding my two cents to the debate, for the cryptic grammar to work the definition has to be Guardian’s, with the apostrophe. I don’t think “[Definition] is gripping X is Y” quite makes sense, whereas “[Definition] gripping X is Y” does.

    1. Well, « [Definition] is [wordplay] » is very commonly the way clues are worded.
      True, the possessive could be dropped here:
      Guardian gripping article is utterly bizarre.
      But it adds a little extra confusion, for better or worse. Decrypting the apparent possessive (which makes “gripping” read on the surface like a gerund) as “is” makes clear that it isn’t “Guardian” in which one is to insert an A, rather than the anagram of “utterly.”

  19. Many of the clues were quite easy, but since so few people mention SAYONARA I have to conclude that most people know more words than I do. Actually I did know the word, but only because it was an Azed clue-word in 2014 and I thought it was the sort of obscure word you find in his puzzles. 40 minutes, after failing to understand why it was OBI: being a bit vague about what an obi is beyond some sort of sash, I thought the definition was ‘Clothing for Tokyo’s nobility’ and that the wordplay was obi{?]. Unused = obit didn’t work.

    1. It was the title of a 1957 movie starring Marlon Brando, which may explain it partially. That’s not why I know it, though: I’d never heard of the film before googling it but the word is pretty common in my experience. It’s just something people say sometimes, a bit like ‘hasta la vista’.

    2. As mentioned above, I only knew SAYONARA through the Hancock connection, so I’m in ‘Ninja Turtle’ territory here. A little research confirms it has appeared four times in Times puzzles in recent years, the most recent being on 28 May 2022. But its first appearance was in a QC by Mara in April 2015.

  20. BEDECK, BABOON and CREEP set me on my way, and I solved a few more before becoming becalmed for a while. Eventually FOUR LEAF CLOVER gave me a boost, rapidly followed by VERSATILE and SCANDALMONGERS, and the trot to the finish line was underway, although I almost fell in the last furlong as I struggled with LOI, TUTELARY. The breakthrough came when I realised it was an anagram. 28:09. Thanks setter and George.

  21. If we’re being this picky (and why not) a compound is not the same as an admixture, at least in the chemical sense.

  22. 45 minutes target solve for me but with one unsolved and one wrong. Foolishly decided that the hazard at 14ac was a TRANSE(pt) which made 2dn looking decidedly strange, and as it turned out impossible. I’ve got into a very bad habit of late of not looking for alternative answers when problems in solving arise elsewhere. Slap on the wrist, must do better!

  23. 24:55. Chewy enough.

    Once I had the V of 9 down I found it quite hard to shake off Long John Silver. But there were no pants in evidence for Long Johns, so I eventually dispensed with the Treasure seeker.

    COD: Candlelight

  24. 35:12 but…

    …managed to conjure up SAYOOARA and NEARLY MAO from a single pink square.

    Otherwise quite enjoyable.

  25. About 45 mins with interruptions. Took me an age to see that TUTELARY was an anagram, and it was my LOI. Got nearly all clues from wordplay without biffing, which is unusual for me. This was a clever and ‘just right’ puzzle, I thought.

  26. 12’57”

    Good fun this one, I thought. my only quibble is at 18 Down, which I’m surprised no one has raised. Surely the clue would make more sense with “charging” right at the start, so that the ducats are charging the East European, rather than vice versa? I can just about accept “charging” to be meant adjectivally with the following word “ducats”, but it’s not a natural association, to me at least.

      1. Sorry, to be clear, I meant “Charging East European money for Shylock’s tutors”, which I think makes more sense than the original. I should have stressed that the apostrophised s has to move too, and it’s ducat, not ducats!

  27. I don’t time myself by the clock.
    My aim is to finish before I finish my pint. Added advantage is that it can slow down my drinking.
    So today’s must have been easy as early completion prompted me to look at the blog.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the great discussion over an apostrophe or not. I hadn’t even noticed it was back to front.
    Nice to see Oliviarhinebeck joining in. When I first started doing The Times cryptic many years ago she very politely told me about Neutrinos.

      1. Olivia.
        You were very polite and gracious in accepting my explanation.
        I was “eyerate” in The Times forum.

  28. Took a very long time because a) it was hard and b) I’m on that fabled Scottish island only known to crossword solvers and it’s so beautiful and the weather is so good (for a change) that I am mightily distracted. Currently at St Columba’s Hotel, for those that know it.

  29. Around 30 minutes. Took a break online after 20 and when I returned had to start again. Toughie I thought with a few biffs. Most notable was creep where I thought it referred to a church without its first letter, NHO screep- or anything similar but took a punt. Admixture came with the crossers but I never worked it out. COD to scandalmongers.

  30. I also don’t time myself by the clock, I’m just happy to solve and parse every clue no matter how long it takes. The ones I can’t parse, I come here for, so thanks all you bloggers for the enlightenment. Now could someone tell me me how to get my picture on here, as I don’t know how to do it

  31. 19’54”. As per many previous comments, TUTELARY was my LOI – and you can be sure I took great care over the spelling. Like all this week’s crosswords, it felt slighter harder than the easy-ish ratings given on the Snitch.

  32. Much more pleasant than yesterday’s offering. ADMIXTURE my LOI. Fingers crossed over TUTELARY & DISTAFF. Thanks setter and blogger

  33. My digital version has a completely different clue for VERSATILE – All-round British Leader remained in base. ER is British Leader SAT inside VILE.

  34. Not so easy for Yours Truly, but I so enjoy this challenge every day that I’ll keep at it , even though I’m getting a bit worse at it as the year goes by! ( in the last 5 I got considerably better, but this year old age has robbed me of the synonyms of words – which used to be so easy!). It’s not just the challenge, but the bloggers’ witty and informative remarks which make for a great start to my days, so “Thank you guys!” ( which includes Olivia, Denise and any other ‘gals’ out there).

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