Times 28438 – the puzzle that drove me over the edge

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

The leaderboard shows me at 10:57, but I don’t really have a time for this puzzle, since something went haywire while I was trying to fill in the grid and the screen froze up, then I couldn’t type in adjacent cells.  I seem to recall this happening once before, maybe a Java issue?

After a few restarts and no luck, I went to the absolute last resort and loaded the puzzle on the Edge browser… and it worked. Please don’t make this a permanent change.

Because of all of this, I didn’t really get a feel for the crossword. How did you do?

1 Dances quietly, held by leader mostly (4)
BOPS – P(quietly) inside BOSS(leader) missing the last letter. I was held up for a while by putting HOPS in here, thinking the leader was a HOST
3 Party-pooper left after presentation of prizes (10)
SPOILSPORT – PORT(left on a ship) after SPOILS(presentation of prizes)
9 Reformer to pardon gangster after turnaround (7)
LATIMER – REMIT(pardon), AL(gangster), all reversed.  Got this from wordplay, it refers to Hugh Latimer, 16th-century martyr.
11 An injury, see, to display with sensitivity (7)
ACUTELY –  A(an), CUT(injury), and ELY(see)
12 Wonderful person expecting to get married and looked after (13)
SUPERINTENDED – SUPER(wonderful), INTENDED(person expecting to get married)
14 Artist born to be prominent Indian (5)
RANEE – RA(artist), NEE(born)
15 A function with navy fellows — time for dressing up (9)
ADORNMENT – A, DO(function) and RN(navy), MEN(fellows), T(time)
17 Reduction of dimple maybe with cosmetic filler (9)
DECREMENT – DENT(dimple) containing CREME(cosmetic)
19 Show deference meeting monarch in enclosure (5)
BOWER – BOW(show deference) and ER(monarch). The abbreviation lives on!
21 In favour of career measure bringing rapid development (13)
PROLIFERATION – PRO(in favour of), LIFE(career), RATION(measure)
24 Area on sports field that is very hard (7)
DIAMOND – double definition – the World Series of baseball is going on at the moment, with a chaotic rain-affected schedule
25 Devil showing familiar blemish (3,4)
OLD NICK – OLD(familiar), NICK(blemish)
26 Day with bed rest organised with companions between the sheets? (5,5)
TEDDY BEARS – anagram of DAY and BED, REST
27 Saw retreats, letting out a mild oath (4)
EGAD – ADAGE(saw) reversed, minus A
1 Rail most of all, being stuck in vehicle traffic (10)
BALUSTRADE – most of ALl inside BUS(vehicle), TRADE(traffic)
2 Exploited don keeps ahead (3-4)
PUT-UPON – PUT ON(don) containing UP(ahead)
4 Servant receiving a payment in background (9)
PARENTAGE – PAGE(servant) containing RENT(a payment)
5 Angry thief quietly put away (5)
IRATE – PIRATE(thief) minus P(quietly)
6 Giver of opinions, one no good interrupting trustworthy bosses? (8,5)
SOUNDING BOARD – I(one), NG(no good) inside SOUND BOARD(trustworthy bosses)
7 Finished short musical composition, certainly not before time (7)
OVERDUE – OVER(finished) and DUET(musical composition) minus the last letter
8 Drunk turning up around end of party flirts (4)
TOYS – SOT(drunk) reversed surrounding the last letter in partY
10 What’s exciting to money-maker — embracing Conservative financial system (6,7)
MARKET ECONOMY – anagram of TO,MONEY-MAKER containing C(conservative)
13 The misled daren’t ask about king “in the altogether” (5-5)
STARK-NAKED – anagram of DAREN’T,ASK containing K(king)
16 At a precise moment when hand is fully raised? (2,3,4)
ON THE HOUR – the hand on a clock is vertical ON THE HOUR
18 Composer’s scheme — nonsense written about it (7)
COPLAND – PLAN(scheme) with COD(nonsense) surrounding it for the composer Aaron of Fanfare for the Common Man and Appalachian Spring
20 Wife ill and crying (7)
WAILING – W(wife), AILING(ill)
22 Run down to follow trendy pop genre (5)
INDIE -DIE(run down) after IN(trendy)
23 Change when course of events goes the wrong way (4)
EDIT – TIDE(course of events) reversed

59 comments on “Times 28438 – the puzzle that drove me over the edge”

  1. 33:48
    Ridiculously slow–I’m a sore thumb on SNITCH–and I’m not sure why (please don’t tell me that I wasn’t on the wavelength). The SW corner was the most recalcitrant; but I finished with EDIT DIAMOND, COPLAND, & DECREMENT in about 3 minutes. Didn’t expect a hyphen in STARK-NAKED.

    1. Collins offers up both hyphenated and unhyphenated as options. Chambers only has hyphenated.

  2. Enjoyed that. Not real quick, after BOPS and PUT-UPON struggled to get a foothold in the top so a rare bottom-up solve. Fingers crossed for ACUTELY being sensitively, and life for career measure. Liked TEDDY BEARS and EGAD, but COD has to be MARKET ECONOMY.

  3. Considering I had glanced through most of the clues before I managed to solve one, and that having eventually got started and raced through the RH side only to grind to another halt on the left, I was very surprised to find the clock was on only 29 minutes as I wrote in my last answer.

    Like others I considered HOPS at 1ac but knew it was wrong so it didn’t go in . BOPS came to mind somewhat later when the B-checker had arrived.

    I was distracted by ‘presentation’ in 3ac as I can’t see it as part of the definition and it seems rather too long a word to be just a filler.

    After something of a battle over 17ac I came up with the unknown DECREMENT as the only thing I could fit with the checkers and deduced it might mean the opposite of ‘increment’. Then the wordplay gave me a problem as I fixated on CEMENT perhaps accounting for ‘filler’ in the clue and wondered how the R might be inserted. Of course it couldn’t work that way and eventually I spotted the correct parsing.

    I know COD as ‘sham’ and ‘phoney’ but not as ‘nonsense’. The Concise Oxford advises that this meaning is ‘dated slang’ originating as recently as the 1960s as an abbreviation of ‘codswallop’, and gives it a separate entry from ‘sham’ etc.

    The intersecting answers EDIT and DIAMOND presented me with a final hurdle to overcome. Anything referring to areas of sports fields is likely to give me trouble, let alone American ones!

    1. DIAMOND was my antepenultimate one in; I needed the D, O, D before I saw the light. I just assumed that the field would be a cricket pitch or maybe rugby or soccer.
      I had a ? at 3ac, for the reason Jack gives (I note that George includes it in the def).

    2. Like you, Jack, I had HOPS for a while; and also like you, the RH side went in fairly quickly but only after I had run through most of the clues looking for one I could solve. Thanks for explaining COD in the sense of nonsense.

  4. A pretty straightforward solve in 45 minutes with HOPS holding me up.

    FOI 9ac LATIMER – never knew he was Hugo!
    LOI 24ac EDIT
    WOD 13 dn STARK-NAKED – l did wonder if the hyphen in the middle was surreptitiously representing a missing word!?

    Aaron Copland’s ‘Appellation Spring’ is to me a gorgeous landscape painting, much like Dvorak’s NWS, which was played most mornings as we filed into ‘Assembly’, at the William Alvey School in Sleaford .

  5. Weird one – the vast majority of this I found to be QC-level easy, and I thought I was heading for a very fast time – but it wasn’t to be. Another HOPS caused a significant delay, also felt dubious about REMIT = “pardon” up in that area. BALUSTRADE sorted that bit – it was only then I started to get really stuck. PARENTAGE took a while, then DIAMOND ages, immediately followed by LOI EDIT.

    I felt like 29:41 was a very sluggish time for an imagined 65-ish SNITCH – until I came here and saw the other comments. Thanks George and setter.

  6. All done in twenty-two twenty-two
    But I made the same error as you
    Wasn’t happy with hops
    And changed it to BOPS
    When I saw BALUSTRADE and thought “Phew!”

  7. Some of this was easy, for me, but not all. I was another who went for HOPS as my FOI at 1ac. But eventually I got BALUSTRADE since nothing fitted with an H. At BOWER I was wondering if it was some sort of trick since ER is no longer the queen and so it was something else, but she may have passed on in the real world but is still living in crosswordland.

    1. But she doesn’t have to be living; ER could be Elizabeth I or II or any of the Edwards, for that matter. It was when she was alive that she was the exception to the rule that living persons are not referred to in the puzzles.

  8. A pretty straightforward 24 minutes here. I only had the vaguest recollection of LATIMER; I don’t think I’ve come across him outside a crossword. Wasn’t too sure about creme being a cosmetic, either. FOI BALUSTRADE (which certainly helped me not go down the wrong path with BOPS) LOI PARENTAGE.

  9. 65m 29s
    I thought this was very enjoyable, with no unparsed clues…which makes a change.
    I join the ranks of starting with HOPS iso BOPS. Like Jack, the RH side went in reasonably quickly but the SW corner I found the hardest. It also took me ages to solve my first clue which was somewhere deep in the SE corner.
    Thank you, setter for giving my stepdaughter a mention in 14ac!
    The CREME in DECREMENT reminded me not of cosmetics but of Lol CREME, member of one of my favourite bands of the 70s, 10cc!
    Liked STARK NAKED and BALUSTRADE but COD to 16d ON THE HOUR. In my expat days in the Gulf, listening to the BBC World Service, I had a secret ambition to be the person who either preceded or followed Lillibullero at the top of the hour with the solemn announcement that “This is London”!

  10. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
    A Bower quiet for us, and a sleep …

    Was this a thing of loveliness? 20 mins got me to the last two… and I had put in Hops! A few mins of alpha-trawling convinced me it wasn’t Hops and the last two fell immediately.
    So lovely for the Boppers. Thanks setter and G.

  11. Another fast time for me this week at 21 mins
    Everything went in fairly quickly and my only issue was 17a. Decrement was the obvious answer but I failed to parse it Can’t say I like crème as a cosmetic !!!!

  12. About 23 mins, but I too had the intermittent freezing problem on my laptop for the first five minutes or so. Stark-naked: well, yes – I guess any adjectival phrase is hyphenated if it’s used attributively (other than phrases where there’s an adverbial component ending in -ly, plus a couple of other exceptions that I won’t drone on about). That said, I don’t recall ever having to factor that into my thinking when looking at the enumeration. I’m probably forgetful, though. Copland for me comes via ELP’s ‘Hoedown’ and ‘Fanfare’.
    Thanks, g.

  13. Re 6a, isn’t a sounding board someone to whom opinions are given (to test their validity) as opposed to a “giver of opinions”?

    1. But a sounding board is also someone who gives opinions back otherwise the test would be pointless.

  14. Another who put in HOPS first. Rewatched the film ‘Elizabeth’ recently, which portrays LATIMER’s execution. DECREMENT POI, strange word, and, like jack, I tried to fit in ‘cement’.

    13’15”, thanks george and setter.

  15. Late start today with walking duties in torrential rain as part of doggy day care for daughter’s Cavalier King Charles. About 40 minutes with further interruptions. LOI DIAMOND. My mind seems to have its own way of blocking out all US sports. COD to BALUSTRADE. Didn’t 1066 and all that attributed to LATIMER the invention of a light bulb that would never burn out? Thank you George and setter.

  16. Liked this one, a quality effort I thought.
    I would like to say I thought of BOPS immediately and unlike nearly everyone else did not write in HOPS at first. Sadly, it would be a lie. 1dn my LOI, as a result..
    Decrement, not a word I would ever use. Slightly too close to excrement, for my comfort..

  17. At 24.29 I was not far off the average time, which is unusual for me (normally firmly in the bottom quartile!). The last 5 minutes was taken up by the NHO Copland. Not a surprise – most days my LOI is a dead composer, poet, politician, royal or biblical character! That’s what you get for focussing on the sciences at school…..

  18. Half an hour or so. Luckily I avoided the ‘hops’ trap that lots of people seem to have fallen into – BOPS went in very quickly here. Tried to justify ‘aground’ for 24a (A + ‘ground’ for sports field) for quite a while until EDIT set me straight, and had to rely on the wordplay for the unknown RANEE. Can’t recall seeing SUPERINTENDED as a verb before, only as the noun superintendent, and I got the ‘plan’ part of COPLAND long before I figured out which composer was being referred to.

    FOI Bops
    LOI Parentage
    COD Put-upon

  19. Detriment was the only major hold up, and I couldn’t parse stark naked.
    COD market economy.

  20. An enjoyable puzzle. I drew a blank in the NW, having discarded HOPS for 1a, so began with 8d, TOYS. The NE then populated nicely, and I was able to proceed apace in a clockwise direction. BALUSTRADE then opened up the NW, with BOPS following, and I finished with LATIMER and the MARKET bit of the ECONOMY. 17:10. Thanks setter and George.

  21. I rarely do the puzzle in the morning – maybe that’s why I felt “off-wavelength” today and this took me over one hour. Failed to parse “Egad”.
    Thanks for the blog.

  22. 53:31. Way off the wavelength today. Slightly reassured that my experience matched most other peoples (starting with HOPS, struggling in the south-west, etc) but still dismayed at the time it took. Never mind, tomorrow is another day. Oh no! It’s Friday

  23. 11:03. Held up by doing as others did by having HOPS for 1A before I got stuck as a result on 1D. I also wrote OLD NICK in the space for 24A, which confused me a bit. Nice crossword, on the gentle side. Thank-you George and setter.

  24. 16:13. An apparently rare BOPS on the first pass and not much delay thereafter. This seemed quite QC – though the misdirection in PARENTAGE held me up for some time at the end, even though the crossers shouldn’t have left much room for dither.

  25. I also was thrown by bops/hops, neither of which seem entirely satisfactory. I’ve seen looser equivalences than host = leader in the Times (specifically the Sunday Times — not you, Bob!). I thought ‘bops’ was just a word mysteriously beloved of undergraduates at my old college. Was heading for sub-30, but in the end took 33 minutes. One or two rather clunky words used to fill out the surface I thought: presentation of, stuck in, to display (not in my opinion part of the def at 11ac).

  26. 6 mins exactly, and the same HOPS diversion as several others. TOYS & TEDDY BEARS was nice; two lots of quietly = P in the same puzzle was a little careless.

  27. Avoided the HOPS trap as had BALUSTRADE as a near write-in.
    Nit picky I know, but in 4d the insertion in PARENTAGE is not RENT but A RENT.
    Paused about SUPERINTEND being a regular verb, but decided it was OK if a bit rare.

  28. 18:11 Very enjoyable.
    Only fair to have DIAMOND for those in the US as compensation for AVIEMORE the other day.
    Learned something new with SPOILS.

  29. Just over my half-hour target – LOI 1d, being one of the HOST. Also had problem with 10d as didn’t notice a typo in one of the checkers – glad to find it quickly, as far too often I only see one after submitting. Grr.

  30. Unlike most, I found the first 3/4 very easy, starting with BOPS and going on immediately to fill in the NW corner. As with most, the SW was the tricky bit, not helped by having INDIS, thinking the run down bit was ‘dis’ (albeit with a MER as it’s normally spelt diss), so unsurprisingly TEDDY BEARS failed to reveal itself. A MER at ‘creme’ for cosmetic (or indeed, anything else not French!). As a consequence, the unfamiliar DECREMENT held out for ages, though once it went in the rest of the clues fell straight away.

    1. Under crème SOED has ‘usually creme’ (i.e. with no accent) as dating from the early 20th century and defined as: a substance, esp. a cosmetic product, with a thick, creamy consistency.

  31. 20:58

    Pretty comfortable birthday solve.

    Nothing unknown except maybe LATIMER though it rang a bell, perhaps an Archbishop – recall that my junior school had houses named after four who died for their cause (Campion, Fisher, Latimer, More)

    1. I remembered LATIMER from the stirring exhortation he addressed to fellow martyr , Nicholas Ridley, just
      before they were burnt at the stake in 1555.
      “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as shall never be put out.” However, after checking on the correct wording of this speech I learn there is some doubt whether these words were actually spoken! What will they be saying next, Julius Caesar never muttered “Et tu, Brute” on being stabbed?

  32. FOI was BOPS so didn’t even think of hops, fortunately. LOI was IRATE which is a bit odd. POI PARENTAGE was a tougher one.

    Have now completed 4 in a row, which is unchartered territory for me. I think that tells you that it has been an easy week, so far. Expect something really tricky tomorrow.

  33. Another enjoyable crossword, half an hour or so. Like others I had trouble with the SW corner, Diamond being my LOI. Sporting clues aren’t my thing either and I needed the blog to parse it. NHO decrement but what else could it be? Pleased to dredge up Latimer. COD Sounding Board. My first thought was something like Queen/Kings Counsel but obviously that wasn’t going to fit. The proper answer is much more sophisticated.

  34. In colloquial usage the whole field is usually referred to as the diamond, and the actual diamond-shaped bit as the infield. I liked finding Latimer in the grid, plus his was a nice clue. Thanks gh and setter

  35. An enjoyable, but slow solve. Got there in the end, after a trip out in the car, and several cups of tea.
    Four in a row correct. Hoping the SNITCH not too extreme tomorrow!

  36. Another who began with HOPS pencilled although wasn’t convinced, ended with 1d as jerryw above.
    Good puzzle. No MERs. No time as I had to go out do the final third later. Liked TEDDY BEARS and LATIMER.

  37. My FOI was HOPS like so many others, which eventually had to be fixed. No problem with DIAMOND since I live in the US now (and I skied at Aviemore so I didn’t have a problem with that in the recent crossword). I didn’t even have a MER at DECREMENT, maybe from living in France. For me, the whole thing went in relatively easily until the SW corner got harder.

  38. Amazing how many people thought 1ac was HOPS. I was one of them, but stopped myself putting it in until I got 1dn because I wasn’t convinced with the H. A wise decision. A similar story with the SW corner, where I almost biffed THREE BEARS (who kipped between Goldilocks’ sheets) until the penny dropped with COPLAND. Those two and EDIT were my LOIs.

  39. Very late getting to this today after a Christmas shopping expedition to Cardiff. Fairly straightforward with no long holdups, only hesitating at the description of Latimer as a Reformer. He was certainly a martyr to his cause, but I felt Reformer would more accurately reflect the deeds of Martin Luther and such like.
    LOI was ACUTELY, where I was fixated with Q possibly being the second letter. Crossed the line in 32.15.

  40. I enjoyed this one, which occupied a pleasant 40 mins. I didn’t find the east-west difference in difficulty that several have mentioned, but found something to stretch the grey cells throughout. Inexcusably, as a one time musician, failed to parse OVERDUE, but then I was either an orchestral player or, rarely, a soloist. Long, long ago.

  41. No major hold-ups today, probably around 35 minutes which is quick for me. LOI was BALUSTRADE due to joining the HOPS club. I wasn’t familiar with the term RANEE but felt confident it had to be that.

  42. Not quick but fairly straightforward for me and completed 🥳, which is still my measure of success.

    Thank you setter and blogger

  43. I thought your title was referring to filling in the grid as I got almost all the edge clues quite quickly (including BOPS and BALUSTRADE, first two in) but then really struggled with the interior. COD: TEDDY BEARS.

  44. A few unusual words here threw me a bit (DECREMENT, PARENTAGE, SUPERINTENDED eg) ; also ashamed to say I couldn’t think of either BOPS or HOPS, as I was fairly certain I was looking for a verb here (!). Not my finest hour…

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