Times 28419 – milestones tell stories

Apparently (so WordPress says) this is my 500th effort here, which is 4.8% of all TfTT posts; all but an initial few being for the Cryptic on a Wednesday. At the time of my first, the bookies would have given you good odds against me still being here and blogging number 500; it seems I am a happy blip in medical statistics. If nobody stops me, I’ll soldier on towards the millennium. But if someone else wants the job, let vinyl1 know.
This was no disappointment for a milestone puzzle. After 25 minutes I had about three-quarters done, with gaps mostly across the centre. It took another 20 minutes to fill them all in and understand what was intended. 14d and 17a were the last. No complaints; a hard but fair test I thought.

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

1 Fix two garments, the second the wrong way (5,4)
TIGHT SPOT – TIGHTS and TOP reversed, two garments.
6 Officer means to be heard, one who may tickle others (5)
COMIC – CO (commanding officer) MIC(rophone). Ken Dodd, for example, had a stick for that.
9 Delivery: high grade stone and heavy material (7)
BALLAST – BALL (delivery as in cricket or football), A (high grade) ST(one).
10 One tucked into mature spirit in crude container? (3,4)
OIL DRUM – OLD RUM being a mature spirit, insert I.
11 Some alcohol is wrong, not right (3)
TOT – wrong = TORT, remove the R.
12 Clown‘s a hit, with trendy greeting in EastEnders? (11)
PUNCHINELLO – PUNCH (hit) IN (trendy) ‘ELLO (Cockney hello).
14 Poetic incitement to assemble given in speech (6)
ORALLY – O ! RALLY ! could be part of something poetic I suppose.
15 Police engaging a head? Some scoff! (4,4)
MEAT LOAF – MET (police) insert A, LOAF = head.
17 Jabber possibly anti-American slogan that’s empty (8)
RAVENOUS – RAVE (jabber) NO U.S. (possibly anti-American slogan).
19 Simple program? Tech company has tons (6)
APPLET – APPLE a tech company, T for tons.
22 What may suggest setter’s straitened circumstances? (5,6)
QUEER STREET – STREET “queer” i.e. in anagram form gives setter, or vice versa.
23 Part of working week The Times had shortened (3)
WED – WE here being The Times in first person, so WE’D = The Times had.
25 Model chapter extracted from great book (7)
EPITOME – EPIC (great) loses C, TOME = book.
27 A clothing item son put back dry (7)
ATHIRST – A, T-SHIRT has the S moved towards the end.
28 Not a contemptible person, flipping cross (5)
TIGON – reversed, NO GIT.
29 Port from shop European put away? Not a chance! (9)
STORNOWAY – STOR(E) = shop without E(uropean), NO WAY = not a chance. Major port of the Outer Hebrides.
1 Part of Asia close to Tashkent, for sure (5)
TIBET – T (end of Tashkent) I BET! = for sure.
2 Lass given a drink? She came to life amazingly (7)
GALATEA – GAL (lass) A TEA (drink). Galatea was a statue that came to life, as told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
3 Two sea-going vessels carrying old bouncer (11)
TRAMPOLINER – TRAMP and LINER being two ships, insert O for old.
4 Strong narcotic figure’s inhaled (6)
POTENT – POT (narcotic) with TEN inside.
5 City of Paris detailed by mostly tacky bits of verse (8)
TROCHEES – Paris was from TROY, detailed = TRO, CHEES(y) = mostly tacky. I knew a trochee was something to do with poetry, but I have no interest in knowing more about it.
6 Pass round case of casual clothes (3)
COL – case of casual = C L, it clothes O.
7 Fruit is extra large, see? (7)
MORELLO – MORE (extra) L(arge) LO (see).
8 Be successful using computers? Pull the other one! (4,3,2)
COME OFF IT – COME OFF = be successful, IT = using computers.
13 Inferior to elevated fashion, something a pirate has? (3,1,5,2)
NOT A PATCH ON – TON (fashion) reversed = NOT, and a pirate may HAVE A PATCH ON.
14 As a knight may be, capturing soldiers if asked (2,7)
ON REQUEST – a knight may be ON (a) QUEST, insert RE for soldiers. I spent too long thinking about how a knight may be.
16 Prop saving lock (8)
BUTTRESS – BUT (saving) TRESS (lock of hair).
18 Struggle with part of building inspection (7)
VIEWING – VIE with = struggle with, WING = part of a building.
20 Lightweight‘s hit below the belt, switching hands once? (7)
LOWBROW – a hit below the belt is a LOW BLOW, switch L to R.
21 Way of playing with toy? Cheers up breaking it (6)
LEGATO – LEGO the Danish toy, with TA (cheers) reversed inside.
24 Off-the-wall, like one of Seurat’s paintings? (5)
DOTTY – Seurat was into pointillism, which involved painting with a multiple dot technique.
26 Personal time wanted in residential area (3)
OWN – TOWN loses T for time.


57 comments on “Times 28419 – milestones tell stories”

  1. Congratulations on 500 posts!

    I didn’t find this too hard until I got to ATHIRST. I saw SHIRT but didn’t think of T-SHIRT. Also tempted by ASHORE. But nothing had enough letters. Finally I realized how it worked and pieced together ATHIRST which I assumed was a word although I don’t recall ever seeing it before. Luckily I knew who Seurat was, and GALATEA.

  2. Good job on 500! Less so good job for me, bunged in ORACLE without thinking about it at 14 and forgot to check if it made sense.

    I really enjoyed this, finding it chewy enough but not too tough. Starting in the NW, I worked in one quarter till my speed slowed and then moved to another, finally joining them together, with the SE last to be filled in. Don’t know if these puzzles have ever taken me to STORNOWAY before, but I just followed the map. FOI TIGHT SPOT, POI LEGATO, LOI ATHIRST. Some wonderfully deceptive wordplay here, among a few that were more obvious. TRAMPOLINE-R seemed a little forced, but c’est la vie…

  4. 33 minutes. Congrats on your 500 blogs.

    Not sure that I’d heard of PUNCHINELLO but it wasn’t hard to work out. I agree with your sentiments about 5d which, like the (I think) related “spondee”, is strictly a crossword land only word for me. I thought O! RALLY! was only fair and the ‘poetic’ bit could have been equally applied to ATHIRST.

    I liked the QUEER STREET reverse anagram and the piratical reference at 13d.

  5. Congrats on your 500!

    I enjoyed this one as being a little more testing and inventive than the past couple of offerings.

    I had all but 4 answers in the SE corner within 30 minutes, but needed another 20 to complete the grid. My problem was that one of my answers was incorrect and gave me checkers that prevented me solving two intersecting clues. This in turn had a knock-on effect on two others clues as yet unsolved. It took me a while to realise and correct my mistake.

    My downfall was 23ac where I had THU parsed as TH{e}+U{s} (Times) [shortened]. I wondered about the significance of ‘had’ but explained it as a link word needed for the surface reading. It didn’t help that although I knew of Seurat as a painter I had no idea what in particular he was famous for. STORNOWAY took some teasing out.

  6. Well done on the 500!

    The stars aligned on my sofa this morning, it seemed, and I steamed through this from TIBET to LEGATO without too much of a pause along the way. At least I paused long enough to make sure of the spelling of STORNOWAY, which I’ve only heard on the Shipping Forecast and would probably have spelled “Stornaway” without the wordplay to help. 21 minutes.

  7. Congratulations on the milestone!

    I was pleased to have avoided a tempting ANHIRST instead of ATHIRST, as it parsed perfectly. However I had a biffed STORNAWAY. Pah!

    1. My first instinct was STORNAWAY but seeing ‘away’ in the clue I thought, surely not?

  8. Congratulations on the 500 milestone and a big thank you.

    I thought that this was a clever crossword pitched just right.

  9. Well done, Pip. 34 minutes on this very good puzzle, with LOI LOWBROW. COD to QUEER STREET by a short head from STORNOWAY.

  10. 22:15
    Great achievement, pip. All best wishes and thanks for keeping us blogged!
    Nice puzzle – good level of challenge with some cool vocab.

  11. Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores
    All saints to give him sight of Madeline, …

    30 mins mid-brekker so perfect chewiness. Also nice clues and wit. I liked it, mostly Queer Street but also Legato.
    I couldn’t explain the T in T-Shirt (Doh!) so thanks Pip and great 500th.
    Thanks setter too.

  12. 33 mins and a good challenge. Congrats Pip on 500. A milestone indeed.

    LOI ATHIRST where I also missed the T. I wasn’t sure about GALATEA, but I’m sure I’ve seen it here before, and remembered it for once! Some lovely clues here. I particularly liked the bouncer and the clown.

    Thanks Pip, many more please, and street. Oops.

    1. Doesn’t need to be coastal. In my memory there’s been more than one inland town clued as port, because they’re on rivers or lakes and boats go there. Fun fact: in school we read 1984 – in the front of the treeware book were Orwell’s other titles, including Road to Wigan Pier. So between about 1975 and 2012 (when I saw it on a map) I’d just naturally assumed Wigan was a coastal town on the Irish Sea or North Sea.

  13. 500! Wow.

    Flew through today in 13’06”, but banged in an incorrect STORNAWAY – thinking ‘na way’ may be Scots. (Pip, there’s a typo in the blog, should say NO WAY).

    Didn’t parse ATHIRST properly, got the shirt but not the tee shirt.

    Thanks Pip and setter

  14. 37m 54s
    Well done, Pip! Please keep bxxxxxxxg on!
    Minor point: In your blog you’ve missed out the N from NO WAY.
    Yes, a good test and one about which I had no queries to resolve.
    I thought the clue for 6d -COL- read very nicely
    Double ticks for TROCHEES (City of Paris!), ORALLY and TIBET.
    PS: Joe MORELLO was Dave Brubeck’s drummer

    1. NO WAY amended thanks. Brubeck indeed, still very listenable. Amazing fact; Joe Morello was a concert standard violinist before he switched to drumming.

  15. 40 mins but enjoyable
    Struggled on 27a and 21d (hopeless at music)
    Got 5d wrong and had no idea so just chucked in any missing letters!!!
    Otherwise a steady solve

  16. 28 minutes, with a few unknowns.

    QUEER STREET was an unknown eventually figured out from wordplay, and I didn’t get the vaguely remembered TROCHEES until I worked out MEAT LOAF – I forgot that ‘scoff’ can be a noun. I didn’t know anything about Seurat so had to trust that his work is DOTTY, and I hadn’t heard of a tramp ship, though with enough checkers in place TRAMPOLINERS went in quickly enough.

    Like Paul above, I thought of ‘ashore’ before seeing ATHIRST (a word familiar to me from the line “My soul is athirst for God” in the beautiful Herbert Howells anthem “Like as the hart”).

    Enjoyable stuff – thanks to setter and blogger.

    FOI Col
    LOI Trochees
    COD Buttress (wonderfully concise!)

  17. 8For me this was a comedy of errors, and a tragic DNF! At 20dn I went eventually for LOWBALL. And I too had 23ac as THU, a day early! Last term ‘er indoors studied SEURAT ‘et les ‘Pointistes’. My favourite is Paul Signac and his ‘Harbour at Sunset’, which is a masterpiece.

    FOI 7dn MORELLO – cherries which my dear mother used to add to a fruit salad
    and her ‘mocktails’. They never lasted very long, as my father was a dedicated fridge raider.
    (LOI) 25dn LEGATO
    COD 10ac OIL DRUM – Oil Drum Lane in Shepherd’s Bush was where Steptoe & son lived. Bless!
    WOD 12ac PUNCHINELLO which I think we had last year!? The derivation of ‘Mr. Punch’ and his wife Judy.

    I wanted 3dn to be the more elegant TRAMPOLINIST, but it wasn’t.

  18. 28.19

    As others have said – v good puzzle – thanks setter. Fooled for far too long by City of Paris. Liked Queer Street. Athirst loi.

    As Sawbill said congrats and a big thank you for your blogs Pip – always pitched just right.

  19. 09:31, with congratulations to today’s blogger on his indefatigability. I liked the transition from LOW BLOW to LOWBROW, though, as it turned out, there was plenty of intellectual stuff in here for smug classicists and the like.

  20. 22:57
    Congratulations Pip!

    This was certainly a step up from the last couple of puzzles and very enjoyable it was too. I particularly liked TROCHEES, QUEER STREET and GALATEA. Last one in was TRAMPOLINER, solved once I had given up my obsession with TRAMPSTEAMER which didn’t even fit.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

  21. This one took some real concentration but was worth it. You landed on a good one for your 500th Pip – many thanks from me for all the owlish blogs. MORELLO cherries make very good jam (I expect Myrtilus knows this). QUEER STREET may have been a corruption of Carey Street which runs between the Law Courts in the Strand and Lincoln’s Inn and was the site of the old bankruptcy court. 25.16

    1. Thank you for that, I had never thought about it.
      I used to work in Fetter Lane, and used Carey St occasionally. I think there was a big silver dealer there.

      1. I can’t specifically recall a silver dealer in Carey St. itself but I did know the silver vaults off Chancery Lane not a stone’s throw away.

  22. Congratulations!

    Fairly plain sailing today, all done in 5m 39s, with TROCHEES the last one to fall, after PUNCHINELLO that was hovering somewhere at the back of my memory, I think.

    COD for the fun switch in LOWBROW. Not quite so sure about WED, where both definitions were abbreviations of a sort, side-stepping the marriage version that would have been safer.

    Lovely puzzle.

  23. Nice crossword and congrats on your 500th. 42 minutes on what seemed a medium-difficulty challenge, liked TIGHT SPOT and QUEER STREET. PUNCHINELLO dredged up from the recesses of my memory, but the wordplay helped. Nice reconstructions of things in the clueing, not always just straight synonyms.

  24. Although it is obviously WED in hindsight from the construction, the definition as indicated is an abbreviation which i didn’t think was allo-wed . Does that mean we can expect to see MON, TUE, THU and FRI as answers to clues sometime soon?

  25. 23:09

    Nice to see Mr Loaf popping up – always enjoyed Bat Out Of Hell

    Even the trickier vocab seemed to drop into place nicely today, but it does help when the parsing is clear. The few hold-ups were TIGHT SPOT and POTENT, along with the SE corner which took some painstaking working out. I liked LOWBROW, STORNOWAY and POI DOTTY (when I realised what was going on)

  26. Couldn’t see ATHIRST even with all crossers, but not too disappointed. This wasn’t straightforward and was pleased to have all but one answer. COD STORNOWAY.

  27. Took me ages to see why ‘Troy’ for City of Paris, needed its tail lopped off. This posting was going to be a plea for an explanation but I fell in as I started tapping. De-tailed indeed. I shall look out for that one in future.
    Congrats, O Blogger!

  28. 21:34, but with a careless GALATIA (Maria). Botheration!! Thanks setter and Pip, and congrats on the milestone!

  29. Well done Pip, good work. Looking forward to 1,000 …
    I liked this, excellent crossword I thought.
    No time as I had my seasonal covid booster yesterday and it has knocked me for six .. feeling a little better today but keep nodding off!

    1. 1000: That’ll be Wednesday 12 May 2032, the NHS and Mr Poot’n permitting. I’ll only be 84.

  30. I thought this fairly hard, and hadn’t parsed 22a Queer St, nor 28a Tigon, nor 1d Tibet, so thanks for that. I am not proud of failing to parse them, as having read the blog they are fine. Doh!

  31. Congrats on the 500!
    Got there, but very dodgy on a tricky puzzle. Even though I have a passing acquaintance with the Iliad I was looking for a French word for city that started TRO… I don’t speak French, so obviously it was TROP or TROX or TROI or something. Fortunately trochees remembered from puzzles past.
    Lots of really nice clues, but not overkeen on empty for ravenous.

  32. 44 mins. A game of 2 halves, in this case the upper half fell into place reasonably quickly, but utterly bogged down at the bottom. A knowledge of Saurat would have helped, and I was another baffled by the extra T. Liked NOT A PATCH ON when I eventually got it, had been trying to fit the TON at the bottom.

  33. 47 1/2 minutes and I found this very enjoyable, but not very easy (that may mean the same thing). It was one of these puzzles where I am very surprised, upon submission, to find that all of my guesses were right after all (TROCHEES being the one which surprised me the most). A number of obscure expressions or terms (QUEER STREET, GALATEA), but all of it cleverly and very fairly clued for LOWBROW and DOTTY poor me. COD to ATHIRST, but I also very much liked the poetic incitement to assemble.

  34. No time recorded for this as I had so many interruptions with aforementioned decorators and taking my car in for servicing. My best estimate would be about 45 minutes. Even though I thought I had finished with all correct, I found I had misspelt STORNOWAY with an A instead of an O, thinking like one of our previous solvers that ‘Na Way’ was a bit of Scottish dialect. Had my fingers crossed for TROCHEES which I’ve not come across before. A good test today for both this and the QC.

  35. I just lost my last, lengthy comment in the ether, so perhaps fortunately for all of you, I shall be brief instead. Right side straight in, Left very bare until I went off to clean the house for 2 hours, then a brain resit brought the puzzle to completion. LOI GALATEA, as I couldn’t think of the gal until I had the A and spotted TEA. Also forgot the term QUEER STREET, even with STREET! Then ruined it by misspelling STORNOWAY! At least I’m in good company. Thanks, setter and congratulations Pip. Here’s to the next D.

    1. Great puzzle.
      I was another who very nearly spelt Stornaway incorrectly and struggled with the extra T in front of the shirt.
      Congratulations on 500 posts. A great achievement. Keep on blogging!

  36. First of all, congratulations Pip – that’s some achievement. Just keep the blogs coming please!
    A special day for me too. The first time I’ve been a professional model. But just in case you think I’ve developed ideas above my station, I should explain that my dentist has been working towards a Masters degree and I required some relatively complicated remedial work on a wisdom tooth. So I volunteered for the various steps of the repair to be photographed as she went along. Even trimmed my beard specially yesterday!
    By the time I’d caught up with the rest of the day, I found myself having to do today’s puzzle while watching the Napoli-Ajax match, so no time recorded. Didn’t find this easy but it was good fun to solve while watching some impressive play by the Italians.
    Thanks to Pip and setter.

  37. Congratulations. I look forward to your continued instruction.

    Set off at what felt like a good pace today but ground to my customary halt with almost half unfinished. I ground on. Came here with the same 14d and 17a empty, as reported in your blog, so decided to have another go. As is often the way RAVENOUS suddenly appeared by finally looking at the clue in a new light which revealed ON REQUEST. Phew.

    I never understood the clever de-tailed city so only close with TROCHEEY. Why it took so long to let go of yo-yo as the toy, when I spent my youth building with plastic Danish bricks I’ll never know.

  38. Seemed harder than the Snitch’s current 105. I finished in 24’43” and I was pretty pleased with myself. Amaze your friends with this useless piece of information: there are two Galateas in Greek mythology. The one referred to here, and the one in Acis and Galatea. The first is the one Pygmalion fashioned and fell in love with; the second is the nereid whose lover Acis got squished by a cyclops. I only know because I was only this weekend admiring the statue of the lovers and Polyphemus on the Medici fountain in the Luxembourg gardens.

  39. I didn’t get round to commenting here yesterday but just wanted to say congratulations and thanks on the remarkable milestone!

  40. Found this one a joy ( and not just because I completed all but two answers). One of those was ATHIRST, of course , and BALLAST ( not into cricket terminology!). Especially liked the mix of classic and mundane – from GALATEA to I BET ; and being a former Arts Grad. DOTTY was one of my first in. Loved MEATLOAF and PUNCHINELLO especially.

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