Times 28,421: Pangram’s People

I made pretty swift progress through this pangrammatic puzzle: have lots of unusual letters and curious words means that the crossers are often more helpful than might otherwise be the case. But I liked a number of the clues: props to 9ac for its impressively extended “take every other letter” device, and as a classicist I very much enjoyed the ultra-Latiny 14dn. I notice that the surfaces are really good throughout, as well. Some won’t like the NHO avian at 3dn, but that’s just the way the cassowary crumbles.

One thing that must be wondered: is there a mysterious Nina beyond the A-Zness? Row 5 reads SHARE, always good advice or so my parents seemed to think, and column 7, ONE PEON. Sheer coincidence? Or leaked military codewords, of the sort that almost scuppered the D-Day landings? Only time will tell. Thank you setter for the entertainment.

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Love given to cleaner reforming strict policy (4,9)
8 Stole hit repeatedly broadcast (4)
WRAP – homophone of RAP [hit repeatedly]
9 Paraphrases vignette — proper text is regularly ignored (10)
INTERPRETS – {v}I{g}N{e}T{t}E {p}R{o}P{e}R {t}E{x}T {i}S
10 Cook entertains news boss and European publisher (8)
BAEDEKER – BAKER [cook] “entertains” ED(itor) + E(uropean)
11 OS showing circuitous routes? (6)
ROUNDS – double def with O’S [the plural of O]. FOI
13 Approve recording 50 in random sporting format (6,4)
STROKE PLAY – OK EP L [approve | recording | fifty] in STRAY [random]
16 Academician getting measure of wit around Asian land (4)
IRAQ – R.A. getting I.Q. around
17 Jack at hostelry serves spirits (4)
18 Branching chart complete: right to divide dog and sheep (10)
DENDROGRAM – END R [complete | right] “dividing” DOG + RAM. I spent way too long looking at this stupidly and wondering how “den” could mean “to complete”
20 The wine in Provence is sent back? Complain tearfully (6)
SNIVEL – LE VIN ‘S, reversed
22 Wasteful gourmand round bar with beer in short measure (8)
PRODIGAL – PIG [gourmand] “round” ROD [bar] + AL{e}
24 Brownish-orange peels from the tikka covering grated carrot (10)
TERRACOTTA – T{h}E + T{ikk}A, “covering” (CARROT*)
26 Old German wants no second extension to cell (4)
27 Mature males on staff in film showing organisational incompetence (13)
MISMANAGEMENT – AGE MEN [mature | males], on MAN [staff], in MIST [film]
1 Believer in Arizona sort that needs conversion (11)
2 Fleet applying pressure in attack (5)
3 Australian bird‘s hangover symptom? (9)
THICKHEAD – double def with THICK HEAD. Related to flycatchers and shrikes, apparently.
4 Unimaginative drunk left after considerable time (7)
LITERAL – LIT [drunk] + L(eft) after ERA [considerable time]
5 Painter Foster’s spilled a thinner on the ground (5)
RARER – R.A. [painter] + RE{a}R [foster, “spilling” the letter A]. LOI
6 Speed up Bletchley Park genius, providing support (9)
NURTURING – reversed RUN [speed] + (Alan) TURING
7 Cold-blooded creature clever duke abandoned (3)
EFT – {d}EFT
12 Unable to catch fast doe running without delay inside (4,2,1,4)
DEAF AS A POST – (FAST DOE*), with A.S.A.P. [without delay] inside
14 Everyone in Rome crowds quartet there: men who’d take it all in? (9)
OMNIVORES – OMNES [Latin for “everyone”] “crowding” IV [four, in Roman numerals] + O.R. [men]
15 Long drink in beer garden? (4,2,3)
YARD OF ALE – double def with a garden where you drink beer, that is to say a yard for or of ale
19 Horse adopted by Pathan represented fiery mixture (7)
NAPHTHA – H “adopted” by (PATHAN*)
21 Edges to lightly cover with a stretchy fabric (5)
LYCRA – L{ightl}Y C{ove}R + A
23 Seeing red in abattoir at Edgware (5)
IRATE – hidden in {abatto}IR AT E{dgware}
25 Line the writer grasps when climbing tree (3)
ELM – L, “grasped” by ME, all reversed

62 comments on “Times 28,421: Pangram’s People”

  1. Golden whistlers are outside now in the birdbath as I type this! I have never heard of them called thickheads, but it didn’t hold me up once the checkers were in place. Verlaine’s FOI was my LOI as I didn’t twig OS as ’rounds’ – surely that would be Os? Outsize, operating system and overseas didn’t work, so rounds put in with fingers crossed.
    Liked the axons and the dendrites in the dendrogram. Is the setter brainy?
    20:24- quite good for a Friday

  2. 22:00
    This was tough, and I did a lot of biffing to finish: ZERO TOLERANCE, INTERPRETS, DENDROGRAM (DNK), TERRACOTTA, AXON. Never did figure out AXON; I was stuck thinking Old German was ALTE. Also never figured out RARER, or ROUNDS; never got past OS=oversized. I liked DEAF AS A POST.

      1. I was confused by ‘old German’ as Saxon because the term is still very present in modern Germany. Three of the 16 official regions have Saxony in them- Niedersachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt and just plain Sachsen. I guess from an English historical context though “Saxon” is of course an old term.

  3. More familiar with the thick-knee (curlew) than the thickhead! A wonderful read about Australia’s songbirds is Where Song Began by Tim Low.

  4. My LOI by a long way was AXON, which I’d have got a lot faster had I realized it was a pangram missing an X. POI was ROUNDS, since I had no idea how the clue worked until I had all the checkers (an anagram of “routes” maybe). I didn’t know the bird, of course, but that didn’t hold me up. I had a MER at PIG being a gourmand. One seems just greedy and the other more sophisticated.

    1. A “gourmand” is simply one who enjoys eating and who may eat too much. A trencher(wo)man.
      A “gourmet” is someone who has refined culinary tastes.
      Collins has for an example of “gourmand” The food here satisfies gourmands rather than gourmets.
      It’s true that “gourmand” has been misused so often for “gourmet” that it has acquired in some dictionaries (usage being everything, you know) a secondary definition that at least borders on being identical with the latter. But I hope that the two words will not ultimately be utterly confused and the distinction lost.

        1. Both “gourmand” and “pig” are used as synonyms for “glutton” (one who eats too much)

  5. Wow, I didn’t realize until I saw V’s avatar that this was a Friday puzzle!
    DENDROGRAM was fun working out. I can’t immediately read Vinyl’s Greek, but I do know the root. “Dendrite” I probably encountered first in its neurological application.
    STROKE (no relation to neurology) PLAY was, of course, my LOI. My time, though unclocked, was surely far below my par for Friday.

  6. 43 minutes, but once again this was a technical DNF as I needed aids for the unknown AXON as my LOI. Okay, I should have got to it via ‘old German / saxon’ but it didn’t come to mind.

    Nevertheless this was a very enjoyable solve and I was pleased to arrive at other unknowns, such as THICKHEAD and DENDROGRAM. For the latter, checkers and some of the wordplay were helpful and whilst constructing the answer I managed to recall that the prefix DENDRO- had something to do with trees.

    Damn! I just noticed I had IRAN rather than IRAQ at 16 and I had noted it as a parsing query which I intended to go back and check, but then forgot.

    1. Re Iran, snap, or as my daughter, now assimilated Borg-like into American cultural memes, would say: ‘jinx’. Disney has much to answer for: I also mourn the replacement of a good English uuurrrgghh with ‘eeuw’ and don’t get me started on ‘wait, what?’.

      Two errors actually for me, with an unspotted typo in the excellent DEAF AS A POST. But the puzzle was fun and stretching in both GK and cryptic dimensions. I’m off now to look for an irate limerick about the Aussie avian.

      Thanks V and setter.

  7. Off to a good start with FOI ZERO TOLERANCE, then made steady progress, slowing a little in the SE and leaving a few blanks to come back to along the way. DENDROGRAM should’ve gone in quicker, as I learned about dendrites (and AXONs) while studying neural networks, but I got a bit hung up on it starting DIVER… before NAPHTHA set me straight, then was trying to crowbar in “done” for “complete”. D’oh. My own person neural network wasn’t firing so well this morning, given that I’ve got enough Greek to recognise δένδρον.

    Anyway, I went back to fill in my blanks including COD ROUNDS, and finished with a quick alphabet run for AXON (I’d assumed, wrongly, that I wouldn’t have heard of the Old German, just like I’d assumed I’d not have heard of STROKEPLAY but it’s definitely been clued here before as one word or two.)

    34m all told. Not bad for a Friday.

  8. For me, this was an example of a setter aiming for a pangram and the surfaces suffering a little.

  9. Another DNF here as I had to look up the NHO DENDROGRAM. No Greek scholar I. I also checked the unknown ZOROASTRIAN, but at least that was after completion. Very tricky today. I liked NURTURING, and SNIVEL was fun.

    Thanks V and setter.

  10. 49m 04s but like Jack, I needed aids to solve AXON.
    I think the former PM of Australia, the late Bob Hawke, still holds some sort of record for downing the equivalent of a YARD OF ALE when he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.
    I thought there were some very clever clues in this:
    9ac INTERPRETS; ROUNDS; DEAF AS A POST (“unable to catch”)
    LOI: Unsurprisingly, DENDROGRAM and AXON

    1. Indeed, there is a plaque on the wall of the Turf Tavern in Oxford commemorating Mr Hawke, very much the sort of achievement which gives young students inspiration.

  11. 44 mins but the last 15 spent on 12d 16a and 26a
    If i’d realised that catch meant hearing that would of helped a lot
    That said the vast majority of clues were easy for a Friday

  12. 13:01. Nice one – lots of fun. Like others, I see, my LOI was AXON once I realised when I got the A and O checkers it could include ALT. DNK the Australian bird, but what else could it be? I never parsed RARER and forgot to go back and work out why it was the answer. I liked YARD OF ALE but COD to DEAF AS A POST. Thanks V and setter.

  13. A 45 minute ret. hurt. 26ac Axon the little Saxon causing mischief.

    FOI 15dn YARD-OF-ALE – only tried it the once, in a pub in Solihull – DNF.
    (LOI) 18ac DENDROGRAM but I wasn’t entirely convinced.
    COD 20ac SNIVEL – a Billy Bunter word!
    WOD 1dn ZOROASTRIAN – they came to notice in Fifth Form comparative religious studies – did they not carry brooms!?

    The IKEAN 10ac BAEDEKER was the Luftwaffe’s Geography Primer.

  14. Bits of classical knowledge helpful today, both Latin and Greek. Some (not I) used to wind up our Latin teacher by asking, every lesson, whether ‘omnibus’ means ‘for all’ (it does). Greek certainly helps with the tree thing, as noted, but particularly with the spelling of νάφθα (NAPHTHA).

    Didn’t notice the pangram. STROKE PLAY LOI, didn’t bother to parse.

    20′, thanks verlaine and setter.

  15. 29 minutes. Not too bad for a Friday, though the unknown THICKHEAD gave some trouble as my LOI. I’ll own up to semi-biffing OMNIVORES. YARD OF ALE reminded me of our ex-PM Bob Hawke, as mentioned by Martin.

    Also saw SHARE and ONE PEON in the grid but doesn’t look like it’s come to anything.

  16. 11:40, so not a Friday beast, but interesting all the same. Never heard of a THICKHEAD, but have certainly had a thick head, not least after a YARD OF ALE.

  17. So far I seem to be the only one who wasted time trying to make an anagram of “routes” in 11a. Thanks for the parse on that V, it baffled me. I suppose I should have thought of BAEDEKER as a publisher but I only recalled it as a travel guide used by conscientious tourists in Italy 100 years ago. Although it’s too dark to see it there’s a rhododendron (rose tree) outside the window as I solve which helped nail the chart along with my rudimentary knowledge of Greek. This was harder than it looked at first. 20.19

    1. No, you weren’t alone, Olivia, I tried that more than once, even after I’d decided it was a hopeless cause.

      1. Not alone: spent ages trying to shovel in an anagram of routes. Couldn’t parse RARER, NHO AXON nor DENDROGRAM, and BAEDEKER only rang the faintest of bells. But I wasn’t unhappy with my effort, even though I probably should have heard of THICKHEAD (being in Oz). Liked the clever clueing at 9a and 20a.

    2. I made the anagram time waster too – discarding “tours” plus a redundant e needing to be squeezed in somewhere because I had the first crossing R in place.

  18. 8m 36s, with fingers crossed for AXON & the unknown BAEDEKER (although the crossers helped for that one). I made my paper very untidy by entering MANAGEMENT in 27a and wondering what the last few letters could be, before realising my error.

  19. I was a bad bad boy and put in ATOM for no reason. Wrecked an otherwise very enjoyable 21’50” (8 of which on aforesaid ATOM)

  20. I found this a bizarre mixture of the absurdly easy (ZOROASTRIAN, RAPID etc) and the very tough (AXON, EFT – me neither, and both missing from my grid). Loved BAEDEKER.

  21. 8:55. Another highly enjoyable wordplay puzzle. When the Z went in I thought ‘I wonder if this is a pangram’ but never got stuck for long enough to make use of the possibility.
    I like the words JINN and the singular JINNI: they look the wrong way round.

  22. 50 minutes. Became stranded for a while in the middle of my solve until I realised, which I should have done earlier, that 1dn was an anagram. In the end very stuck on DENDROGRAM and THICKHEAD, both nho. Tried to use aids on DEND… but for some reason they failed, so I had to work it out, which was good for me.

  23. Liked this one, been a good week overall, I think.
    I thought of Iran but couldn’t make it work and after a bit Iraq popped up.
    PDM with ROUNDS, having failed to make anything of Linux, or the Ordnance Survey.
    Failed as per usual to spot the pangram.. you would think starting 1ac with a Z would have given a hint, but no
    Surely only Australians could call such nice birds thickheads? Mind you I said that to mrs W and she said it looked like a great tit, which is not much better. We are so cruel with our naming conventions, sometimes

    1. I suppose that sadly I’m a product of my time, but I wonder if I was the only solver on seeing ‘Australian bird’ to think immediately of ‘Sheila’. Or perhaps I’m the only one who would admit to it.

  24. 32 mins. Had I stopped to consider a pangram, I might have got AXON, however it required a little help from my friends for that one, fixated as I was on ALT.
    Which left ROUNDS for which I had to come here for the explanation, bit obscure for me…

  25. Thanks to setter and to Verlaine. Really enjoyed this one. LOI was Axon – I was trying to remember the German for ‘old’, last seen circa 1971 in “Spec” Watson’s German class at Bridlington Grammar – before I recalled the pre-Norman invaders from Chas Ball’s history classes at the same establishment.

  26. DNF with ROUNDS penny never dropping at all, AXON NHO but no excuse, and too THICKHEADed to get DEAF AS A POST. Doh!
    Also knew dendrites only from metallurgy so cheated to get that. One of the drawbacks of a science-oriented education.
    THICKHEAD – where is Astro_Nowt when you need him?
    I thought 5d RARER was very wierd, still not 100% convinced about the REaR bit, it doesn’t feel like a synonym of Foster.
    PS – how do you get to Cockfosters? Ans: Leave yr glass (of lager) in the sunshine for a while.
    PPS – I only ever got to Cockfosters by drinking too much ale at Heathrow and nodding off on the Piccadilly line tube.

  27. 41 minutes. Found this quite tricky, and almost failed at 26a, but saw AXON at the last minute. I didn’t notice the pangrammatic grid. DENDROGRAM was unfamiliar, and BAEDEKER didn’t jump out at me from the checked letters, but the wordplay helped.

  28. 23:46 with all parsed except OMNIVORES so thanks for the explanation.

    This is at least the third time Alan Turing has featured recently. I went to Bletchley Park last week and I’m going back tomorrow to see the bits I didn’t have time for. I’d thoroughly recommend it for puzzle fans.

    1. I’d second that. The boggling thing, of course, is taking a picture of the reconstructed Colossus (which tajes up a large room) with your everyday smartphone (which sits in your hand) and contemplating the path which leads from one to the other…

      1. The Colossus is a thing of wonder. You can certainly see why they called it that! Making one, in in the 1940s in wartime, was a most trememdous feat and in his own way, Tommy Flowers deserves as much credit as Turing and the rest…

  29. DNF in a little under 25 minutes. My complete was one rather than end. I had already entered that in the grid and did not think to reconsider so once I had taken a punt on Thickhead being an Australian bird it gave me a donerogram, which on reflection sounds like an x-ray of a kebab, instead of a dendrogram. Particularly frustrating as once I had axon I really should’ve had dendrites and synapses on the brain. One of those occasions when I conscientiously fulfilled the wordplay requirements but paid insufficient regard to the resulting nonsense.

  30. Failed the DENDROGRAM test (DO,NA(RT)G,RAM anyone?), and I put AL(nO)T in at 26, and didn’t get the answer- surprise, surprise.
    I like the clue surfaces, particularly TERRACOTTA and OMNIVORES.

  31. I found this relatively easy for a Friday. As a golfer, I had no trouble with 13a. Never heard of the Oz bird but saw a kestrel on the course this morning.

  32. Some critters are just not wanted
    They’re the birds, as I’ve often said
    But as you can see
    They don’t listen to me
    Today’s setter now has a THICKHEAD

  33. Very good puzzle, nice entries, and not too hard. ‘Unable to catch’ in that context = brilliant I thought.

    Thanks V and setter.

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