Times 28429 – Not quite getting the mizuage

A bit of a cock-up for me on the lift & separate front, as I failed miserably on the very unknown 17 down. That apart, this was, I think, a little tougher than an average Monday, with some tricky clueing and a bit of Anglocentric stuff (19 down combines both).

Anyway, how did you lot do? Answers on a postcard, please…


1 Keep asking family for carriage after midnight (7)
PUMPKIN – PUMP (keep asking) KIN (family); referencing the Cinderella story
5 Very keen intent to dump one pompous girl (5)
MADAM – MAD (very keen) A[i]M
9 Selling no alcohol? Notice wood spirit (5)
DRYAD – DRY (selling no alcohol) AD (notice)
10 To spread my wings, I had turned to write poetry (9)
DIVERSIFY – ID reversed VERSIFY (to write poetry)
11 Even in pencil, makes public sweet little items (7)
ECLAIRS – even letters of [p]E[n]C[i]L  AIRS (makes public)
12 Seek and find in dilapidated condition (3,4)
RUN DOWN – RUN DOWN (seek and find, as in ‘The wife ran me down in the red light district’)
13 Sort of order British installed in restored caliphate (10)
ALPHABETIC – B (British) in anagram* of CALIPHATE
15 Sign of submariner’s return (4)
OMEN – NEMO reversed; Nemo as in Jules Verne’s creation, not the little fish
18 A bit of a problem in one’s ear (4)
SOME – sounds like SUM; I could have underlined ‘a bit’ or ‘a bit of’, instead of ‘a bit of a’, but I didn’t want old Myrtilus moaning about an otiose indefinite article
20 Ride — up the aisle, do we hear? (6,4)
BRIDLE PATH – a BRIDLE PATH is a path dedicated for horsey types (i.e. a ‘ride’) in Britain; BRIDLE sounds like ‘bridal’, which accounts for the ‘up the aisle’ imagery in the clue
23 Boat half removed by hooligan — it may have been chartered (7)
BOROUGH – BO[at] ROUGH (hooligan); I looked up chartered boroughs on the internet and rather wish I hadn’t. This will suffice: ‘Borough status is granted by royal charter to local government districts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.’
24 Quite a blow as aborted process throws one out (7)
MISTRAL – MISTR[i]AL; it always strikes me that there are more of these (mistrials) than there ought to be
25 Josh succeeded joining available Chinese course (5,4)
SPARE RIBS – RIB (as in josh or joke) S (succeeded – in history; think monarchs) after SPARE (available); a bit confusing, as SPAR can also have a joshy (bandy words) sense
26 Sign is inconsistent? Not very (5)
ARIES – [v]ARIES; ‘is inconsistent’ = VARIES
27 Check covers a source of power (5)
STEAM – A in STEM (check, as in ‘stem the flow of blood’)
28 Chap packing weapon in trousers, say (7)
GARMENT – okay, settle down, this isn’t Private Eye; we simply have ARM (weapon) in GENT (chap)


1 Ignoring service, doesn’t respect note from employer (7)
PAYSLIP – If a woman ‘PAYS LIP SERVICE’ to her husband’s words, she doesn’t respect them. I know…
2 Extremely busy girl struggling with a piece of music (8)
MADRIGAL – MAD (extremely busy, as in ‘It’s been mad here since the travel ban was lifted’) GIRL A*; ‘Now is the month of Maying’ and all that sort of caper
3 Well, peer almost fixed up credit (5)
KUDOS – reversal of SO (well) DUK[e] (peer almost)
4 Nest turned up full of rats? None of your business (5,4)
NEVER MIND – VERMIN (rats) in DEN (nest) reversed;  it’s a bit of a stretch from ‘Don’t concern yourself’ to ‘None of your business’, but if you say the expression in a peremptory way you get the idea
5 A soldier, one taking part in WW1 battle (6)
MARINE – I (one) in MARNE (horrendous maiming and killing event in 1914)
6 Godlike experience at last provided in bedroom (7)
DEIFORM – [experienc]E IF (provided) in DORM (bedroom)
7 Old American never embraced by woman, it’s implied? (5)
MAYAN – AY (always) in (or ’embraced by’) MAN; so never by a woman
8 Gay Swede worried, so unable to get a word in? (8)
EDGEWAYS – GAY SWEDE*; interesting anagram fodder – all the Swedes I know are a bit morose
14 Man of the world, wretch regularly visiting area of London (9)
16 Philistine stripped and thrashed sceptic (8)
17 Communication about university building and grounds in legal terms (8)
MESSUAGE – simply U (university) in MESSAGE; there’s the legal definition for you
19 Early spring: keep in seaside resort (7)
MARGATE – MAR (March – early spring) GATE (keep in – as in gate students at a boarding school as a punishment)
21 Emergency transport’s appearance, a free ride (7)
AIRLIFT – AIR (appearance) LIFT (free ride); NB the errant ‘a’
22 Where exhibits are of medium benefit? Not sure (6)
MUSEUM – M (medium) USE (benefit) UM (not sure)
23 Ground’s breadth unchanged (5)
BASIS – B (breadth) AS IS (unchanged)
24 Hoarder’s never-ending distress (5)


57 comments on “Times 28429 – Not quite getting the mizuage”

  1. 35 minutes for another quite lively offering.

    BRIDLE PATH appeared very recently in a puzzle I blogged. No problems with MESSUAGE as I used to work with legal documents, title deeds etc. Didn’t understand how MAYAN worked, so thanks for that.

    The duplication MAD (extremely busy) and MAD (very keen) might have been better avoided.

  2. 17m

    SPARE RIBS (Chinese? I think of them as very American) in MARGATE made for a frustrating finish. But I got there

    1. I’m with Lou W on Spare Ribs not necessarily being Chinese, and with Ulaca on a lot of the other definitions being tricky because they seemed just a little tangential. I liked the rising vermin.

      1. I would associate SPARE RIBS with Chinese cooking as would most Brits of a certain age. I doubt anyone here had heard of the dish before Chinese restaurants opened and then came to every High Street in the 50s and 60s.

        1. I’m with LouWeed, ribs in general are something I associate much more with American barbecue than Chinese cuisine. A generational thing I’m sure. It’s a bit of a definition by example but it didn’t cause me a problem.

  3. 18:46
    Never thought of SPARE RIBS (POI) as Chinese, whatever they say in Hong Kong. I never did parse ECLAIRS. LOI MARGATE; getting the A finally enabled me to recall the town, and then I twigged to GATE. So far as I know, a bridle path is called a bridle path in the US, too. The setter uses ‘one’=I three times: twice to delete it–5ac (dump one), 24ac (throws one out)–and once to insert it–5d (one taking part).

  4. I think my FOI was ECLAIRS. MESSUAGE came very late and seems an interloper from Mephisto (said facetiously—it’s quite all right by me). Surprised, as others here, to see SPARE RIBS tagged as specifically Chinese. MARGATE was LOI because of the lesser-used sense of GATE.

    I thought similarly as Ulaca about NEVER MIND. I use that most often when I follow one critical or questioning email immediately with another to say, essentially, “D’oh!” “None of your business!” is a response to a perceived intrusion.

  5. FOI the very obvious DRYAD followed by quite slim pickings for a period – I was wondering of my shortfall of practice was making me rusty…
    …but then I realised this wasn’t particularly easy, and the solving juices started to flow when the VERMIN made their appearance. “Pump kin” is a device I’ve seen within the last few months, but I totally failed to spot how NIHILIST worked, and had to biff it. MESSUAGE a leap of faith (though it seemed reasonable) and LOI the stray SOME didn’t detain me for long.

    21:54 is a very fast time for me on a 90-plusser – great start to the week, thanks U and setter.

  6. Forty seven minutes, with the last seven annoyingly persuading (and I use the word advisedly, as “PERSUADE” could fit _E_S_A_E and kept springing to mind) myself that MESSUAGE might actually be a word. COD 7d MAYAN.

  7. 32 minutes.Good puzzle, I thought, with LOI DEIFORM. Perhaps I prefer the puzzles to be anglocentric. I particularly liked PUMPKIN and EARTHLING. Take me to your leader. What, that’s your leader?
    I had heard of MESSUAGE and there was no other answer I could see. Thank you U and setter.

  8. That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
    In some melodious plot
    Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

    30 mins pre-brekker. I really liked it – chewy, witty, and generous when it came to obscure-ish stuff, e.g. Marne, Messuage.
    Mostly I liked the “Bridal” Path.
    Thanks setter and U.

  9. 39m 39s
    I agree with ulaca’s opinion that this was a bit tougher than the average Monday.
    The only clue I couldn’t parse was MAYAN, so thanks, ulaca.
    With 22d (‘medium benefit’) I wondered if ‘seance’ might come into it.
    I was quite surprised when MESSUAGE proved to be both a word and correct!

  10. 30:48
    Tricky. Never mind = oh well, c’est la vie. Not really NOYB. Never you mind, however, is nearer to what the setter intended.

  11. 16:08. A minute or so at the end before bunging in the unknown MESSUAGE and looking it up to see if it was a real word. I liked PUMPKIN. Thank-you Ulaca and setter.

  12. 39 mins with the last three Ms (MARINE, MADAM and MAYAN) all going in together once I’d got the NHO DEIFORM from the wp. I also didn’t parse MAYAN so thanks U. Definitely tricky for a Monday, especially with all the omissions and additions.

    Down here in Provence we certainly have too many MISTRALS, don’t know about the MISTRIALS!

    I liked DIVERSIFY and ALPHABETIC best.

    Thanks U and setter.

  13. 45 minutes. Slow, but I wasn’t too unhappy given the difficult ones mentioned. I spent a while at the end thinking of that Hong Kong racecourse (I was too lazy to look it up but Ulaca will know what I’m talking about) for the, to me also, non-Chinese SPARE RIBS.

  14. 30 minutes, with the unknown MESSUAGE eventually going in as a hit-and-hope. DRYAD didn’t immediately spring to mind as a wood spirit either, but the wordplay was kind.

    FOI Aries
    LOI Messuage
    COD Madrigal

  15. Just under 50 minutes for a tough but fair Monday puzzle. I thought this both elegant and clever. Don’t remember seeing M for medium and B for breadth before – perhaps older devices that don’t pop up much now? – which made the SW corner a little Alamo, resisting my best efforts for ages.

    Surely ToL puzzles should be Anglocentric?

    Thanks U and classy setter.

    1. See the QC blog, where a contentious non-Anglocentric clue is discussed. There are too many Americanisms creeping in here of late…..

    2. “a little Alamo.” What- a reference to American history in comments to a blog of a ToL puzzle?

  16. A tad ‘Solomon Grundy’ for a Monday, so Earthings, 47 Meldrew minutes.

    LOI 25ac SPARE RIBS – from 1970-1995 I adored those served-up in Gerrard Street and Soho. ‘The Yantze’and ‘Kwok Man’ in Manchester were very fine.
    From 1996 – 2003 ‘Spare Ribs’ in Hong Kong were much the same but out on the floating islands they were traditionally served with a garlic sauce and unglazed with soy. From June 2003 -2022 in Shanghai ‘Paigu’ (A line of pig bones) are cut into one inch squares and served boiled, with finely chopped spring onions, garlic to form a broth. The best are on the menu at outlets of ‘Din Tai Fong’ (of Taiwanese origin). I have much enjoyed American BBQd Spare Ribs from Poughkeepsie to Atlanta, Florida, LAX, San Francisco and Chicago. Not been to Texas unfortunately.
    COD 16dn NIHILIST- I originally looked at ‘naysayer’, however…..

    The best pork I have ever had is the soy-glazed roasted knuckle, a speciality of Hongzhou and Souzhou. Simply Heaven!

  17. Didn’t realise you were back U, why wasn’t I told? Good to see you.

    Felt like I was punching above my wait at 11:59 today. Hesitated for a while at the end before committing to the NHO MESSUAGE. DRYAD put me in mind of my old mate the OREAD, and I remember MARGATE form a book I read once. Something about disposing of a bloke’s ashes.

    Good start to the week. Thanks setter and welcome back blogger.

    1. Just dump the ashes in the harbour there, nobody would notice. Or think twice about it if they did .. it would help to dilute the sewage

    2. “Last Orders” was made into a very good film and with an excellent cast: Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, David Hemmings, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone and Helen Mirren.

  18. 9:24. No real problems although I did slow down in the SW corner.
    The BRIDLE PATH is a road and residential area in Toronto where squillionaires (including notably the Canadian rapper Drake) buy enormous mansions, knock them down and replace them with even more enormous mansions.
    I know 17dn from Wodehouse: ‘The morning sunshine descended like an amber shower-bath on Blandings Castle, lighting up with a heartening glow its ivied walls, its rolling parks, its gardens, outhouses, and messuages.’

    1. As mentioned on its recent appearance I have a BRIDLE PATH within a few yards of my door. Sadly there are no mansions around here though!

      1. Most of the mansions on this BRIDLE PATH are ghastly. Google it, you’ll see what I mean.

  19. Lots of stuff that I found quite tricky, and I ended up using a few mild aids for this and still only managed 45 minutes — I’m ashamed to say that I used a list for the very easy STEAM. All I could think of was stoap etc. MESSUAGE of course entered in hope, but it was very vaguely familiar, probably from that PGW quotation that keriothe gives. Omen/Nemo a bit of a chestnut? I’m unsure about the otiosity of a: should setters not use ‘a’ when it isn’t strictly necessary? What then about ‘to’ as in the clue for DIVERSIFY? Diversify = spread my wings, to diversify = to spread my wings. (Never mind about my/one’s.)

      That’s just one example. The word occurs quite frequently in his evocations of Blandings.

  20. 25 mins. However I gave up on 17 down and got some help, only to discover that I’d typed BRIDAL PATH. Whether I’d have got MESSUAGE anyway is a moot point.

    1. A lot more time than that to achieve exactly the same result. NHO MESSUAGE but BRIDAL meant I never was going to get it.

      1. Luckily saw my error with BRIDAL and corrected in time to get NHO MESSUAGE, which had to be, I suppose. The rest (apart from a misleading “Chinese” element to 25a ), went in quite smoothly with 1a going in immediately with a chuckle. ( Always happy to see references to fairy tales, nursery rhymes, etc). Only difficulty in the SW with BOROUGH (as I’d determinedly put in LOUT for the hooligan) …otherwise an enjoyable romp!

  21. As our blogger says, a bit harder than the usual Monday fare, but no problems except for MESSUAGE bunged in at the end from word play alone. I liked the carriage after midnight and the bridle path (we walk the dog on one daily). I would have thought RIBS alone was more American that spare ribs, which are Chinese in our house more often than not. I remember ordering a chicken & ribs combo at some US golf resort and getting enough food for several golfers on one huge plate. Those were the days, when dollars were cheap.

  22. Slightly tricky by Monday standards, but certainly not a stinker. MARGATE seems fair play to me, particularly as the location of the Turner Contemporary Gallery, and the birthplace of Tracey Emin.

    TIME 9:19

  23. I was a lot more attuned to this than I was to the QC, finishing with all parsed in 34.05. My LOI was 17dn MESSUAGE, but only because I had wrongly inserted BRIDAL PATH as the answer to 20ac. MESSUAGE is an archaic word I think, as it figures in lots of ancient wills, and I came across it many times when researching old documents back into the sixteenth century as part of my family history research. It also took me a while to parse MISTRAL, but I got there in the end.

  24. Went for “PUSHKIN” assuming it had a meaning I didn’t know, which stopped me getting MADRIGAL. MESSUAGE also seemed pretty nasty! DNF

  25. Found the North half was a big no-no for ages. Also, like eniamretrauq wrote 20a BRIDAL even though I was perfectly aware it was wrong, delayed 17d MESSUAGE as the first E was an L.
    Was delayed in NE by feeling stuck and looking for DEIxxxx words. DEIFORM wasn’t in the dictionary I was using, so I almost gave up, but then tried another dictionary.
    I was interested by 23a BOROUGH as had never thought a charter was a requirement of becoming a borough.

  26. 30:05

    Nothing too difficult – I must have heard of MESSUAGE as I thought of it without too much trouble, but couldn’t have said what it was. DEIFORM from cryptic once I’d secured the final checker.

    Can’t say I think of LOI SPARE RIBS as being particularly Chinese either.

  27. In common with others, I was slow in the SW corner – “Spare Ribs” was my last one in and took far too long.

  28. 27:18
    Got there in the end but it was a struggle. Must have got out of the bed on the wrong side because I was made tetchy by a few here: MAYAN, SPARE RIBS, NEVER MIND. Now I see that others have merely remarked on them politely and moved on. Sigh…Write out 100 times “Dont sweat the small stuff”

    I did like PUMPKIN and MARGATE, the latter bringing back childhood memories of family holidays in nearby Ramsgate.

    Thanks to Ulaca and the setter

  29. After lunch solve. Got everything but MESSUAGE. REUSTATE was my effort.

  30. Bertie Wooster often occupies himself at country houses he visits by wandering around the gardens and MESSUAGES while trying to avoid other guests he has upset, girls wishing to entrap him into matrimony or the long arm of the law, so no problem with that one for this Wodehouse fan. My problems were all in the SW, which took a while to unravel, and I never did parse MAYAN, so thanks to our blogger for that. 45 mins, so not your usual Monday fare, I’d say.

  31. No problems today, loved 1ac pumpkin, which put me in a good mood for the rest.
    Margate may seem Anglocentric but to a Londoner it is actually quite cosmopolitan .. not many get further than the Isle of Sheppey

  32. Got home in about 45, for a rare finish of a puzzle with a 3 digit Snitch. Very slow start, eventually KUDOS opened up the grid.

    Guessed MESSUAGE, on the basis that many legal forms seem to be based on Norman French. Didn’t really get DEIFORM as didn’t see the elements at all.

    24a MISTRAL probably my favourite, but lots of great clues today.

  33. I squeaked over the line with aids for 17d. Give me cricket / medical clues all day. Legal isn’t my area.
    Delighted that I am in tune with most other contributors. SW corner especially. Some clues IMHO worthy of the QC , but one hopes for a leisurely coffee with the 15×15 on a Monday morning.
    I too was led up the bridal path ( read the question ) which made 17d even harder until I made the correction.
    Does anyone think that a Marine is not a soldier? Please correct me .
    I liked 14d and 23d.
    Thank you to setter, blogger , and all contributors.

    1. marine – A soldier trained to serve at sea, or on shore under specified circumstances.

      That’s the first definition as a noun in SOED, similarly in Chambers.

  34. Bit late to this – took me a couple of hours interrupted by all the faff involved with getting on a flight which had been delayed overnight by Heathrow storms.

    No problem for me with the SPARE RIBS link to a Chinese meal as I first had them, as a 1970’s 8 year-old, on my first ever visit to a Chinese restaurant, which strangely happened to be on a holiday in Addis Ababa. I thought the waiter said “bears ribs” and I was intrigued -but thought it was a pretty small bear to be honest.

    Struggled through with MESSUAGE and it was the massively biffed LOI. Will never see or use the word again bar crosswords, I suspect.

    Really enjoyed MISTRAL and the clueing and anagramming for NIHILIST.

    Thanks Ulaca and setter

  35. 34’26” Definitely harder than the normal Monday fare, and I’m surprised to see the Snitch at only 99. Mind you, there was only one serious retardant for me and that was MESSUAGE. I’m a keen Wodehouse fan, but somehow that one passed me by. Got it in the end, so it must have registered somewhere. Glad to make its acquaintance.

  36. I’ve seen the expression “messuage and dwelling house” numerous times in old conveyances. Unfortunately I dwelt far too long over 17d however.

  37. Failed in the SE corner. I’ve been reading Wodehouse of late, but haven’t seen MESSUAGE. I had NOH of MISTRIAL either.
    Never mind. The rest of it was very enjoyable.

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