Times 28441 – In which the blogger pays the price for his inability to elevate and create schisms

I thought this was a very good crossword, despite the fact I ballsed it up. The 4s did for me. Mind you, I wasn’t going particularly quickly even before I hit the wall and went for aids.

How did you find it?

1 Loafer, perhaps, with small gardening tool (4)
4 Opening wooden instruments to cut plant (4,6)
SASH WINDOW – ASH (wooden) WIND (instruments) in SOW (plant, as verb)
9 Not crazy to collect silver — it’s very popular (3,3,4)
10 Dye made from vanilla extract (4)
ANIL – hidden in [v]ANIL[la]
11 Cool spell I learned by phone (3,3)
ICE AGE – sounds like (by phone) I SAGE (learned, as adjective)
12 Responsibility to deliver cut-price merchandise (4-4)
DUTY-FREE – DUTY (responsibility) FREE (to deliver)
14 Opposed to predatory insect shedding skin (4)
ANTI – [m]ANTI[s]
15 Epitaph for one expressing incredulity? It’s a humdinger! (10)
RIPSNORTER – ‘RIP Snorter!’ might be found on the headstone of a sceptic in a cemetery in Crosswordland
17 Terrible weather for every small hill, in sum (10)
SUPERSTORM – PER (for every) S (small) TOR (hill) in SUM
20 Bit one postman occasionally (4)
IOTA – I (one) [p]O[s]T[m]A[n]
21 Certain letters with kind features (8)
TYPEFACE – TYPE (kind) FACE (features)
23 Business  practice (6)
CUSTOM – double definition (DD)
24 Refusal, then agreement, for recess (4)
25 Time that guy gets threatening without a bit of drink? (10)
THIMBLEFUL – T (time) HIM (that guy) B[a]LEFUL (threatening without the letter a)
26 Called in to search movie’s last shooting location (5,5)
RIFLE RANGE – RANG (called) in RIFLE (to search) E (final letter of movie)
27 Revenue from wager, not small (4)


2 Felt raunchy turning fifty! (4-7)
3 Taxi meter fiddled — penalties might follow this (5,4)
EXTRA TIME – anagram of TAXI METER; don’t wager on England
4 Old kingdom right to imprison English female in fur? (3-4)
SHE-BEAR – E (English) in SHEBA (old kingdom) R (right); nice definition, nice clue
5 Hold water, rum and ice to accommodate old male entertainer (5-2,8)
STAND-UP COMEDIAN – STAND UP (hold water, as in ‘her argument stands up’) O (old) M (male) in anagram of AND ICE
6 Consume stuffing with chicken — it’s made from grain (7)
WHEATEN -EAT (consume) in (stuffing) W (with) HEN (chicken)
7 Took off identification when turning over money (5)
DINAR – reversal of RAN (took off) ID (identification)
8 Writer passed by talking (5)
WILDE – sounds like ‘whiled’ (as in ‘he whiled away the time listening to a podcast’)
13 Reckon flute is playing modern dance music? (7-4)
16 Antwerp is awfully wet and windy (9)
18 Final part of Madmen shown first? Fall to pieces! (7)
SHATTER – HATTERS with the s going to the front; a nod to Lewis Carroll and his quirky hatter
19 Ghastly creature pinching taxi (7)
21 Singer‘s  tone (5)
22 Academic holding over preliminary text (5)

85 comments on “Times 28441 – In which the blogger pays the price for his inability to elevate and create schisms”

  1. 22:23
    A bit sluggish today. I had STORM, but it took a long time to get SUPER; had WINDOW, but it took a long time to get SASH. I liked SHE-BEAR.

  2. 13:06. A fast start but spluttered a bit in the Cape York corner, WILDE being the last to fall.

    Thought HALF-CENTURY was the pick of the bunch today. Took me back to a time before storms were “super” and rain came in “bombs”.

    Thanks setter and U.

  3. I found it quite Mondayish – which was just as well when I should have been asleep hours ago. NHO SUPERSTORM, but it had to be.

    TIME 7:09

  4. Ala pj, I found it an easy entry to the week.

    Chestnut or no I enjoyed Extra Time, and like Galspray I liked Half Century. I only wish I was still looking forward to getting there.

    thx, ulaca

    1. A couple of chestnuts apart
      A fair helping of the setter’s art
      I am from yesteryear
      ELECTRO-FUNK? No idea.
      A RIPSNORTER’s a bloody great gaseous exhalation

  5. I had all but two answers in 22 minutes, the stragglers being the intersecting 4dn and 15ac. Also, although I had SASH WINDOW at 4ac I was unable to parse it at that stage so I wasn’t completely sure of the S-checker as the first letter of the unsolved 4dn. It took me another 11 minutes to come up with SHE-BEAR and RIPSNORTER bringing my total solving time to 33 minutes.

    The unknown ELECTRO-FUNK was another source of delay along the way as I assumed that the only 4-letter word I could make from the anagrist to fit the existing checkers was unlikely to appear in The Times crossword. Eventually I spotted ELECTRO as the first part of the answer and the remainder fell easily into place.

    I also looked twice at 8dn where the answer had to be WILDE but I assumed the clue to the sound-alike “whiled” was ‘passed by’ and I couldn’t reconcile that. I still can’t, so I now take it that the homophone indictor is ‘by talking’ which also seems a bit odd.

      1. Yes, I did too, but the arrival of the U-checker put paid to that and led my thoughts into murky waters!

      2. I arrived at an answer that I was sure was correct. TUNEFUL ROCK. Sadly the anagram doesn’t quite work!

    1. My experience was almost exactly the same. All but two answers finished in 20 mins but 4dn and 15ac took me over 30 mins. In hindsight it’s hard to see why they caused me so much trouble, but comforting to know I’m in good company! I also had bad thoughts when the U showed up for electro funk, but being a fan of Chromeo the correct answer came quite quickly.

  6. Several clues where I got one part early and struggled to see how the wordplay worked for the other. I got WINDOW but SASH took its time. I got RIP but RIPSNORTER is not a word I come across normally. Then at 13D I filled in the obvious ROCK only to find I couldn’t discover a word to put before it. Then I went for ELECTRO-FOLK which is not quite the right letters, and that held me up for my LOI THIMBLEFUL before I discovered there is something called ELECTRO-FUNK.

  7. 6:26. The left hand side felt like a QC to me, and though I slowed down towards the RHS this is still one of my fastest times. Unfortunately I can’t check this on the SNITCH as it looks to be having some sort of issue this morning. Hopefully starstruck will have it fixed later.

  8. 35m 08s
    Thanks, ulaca!
    No real problems. I enjoyed SASH WINDOW and STAND-UP COMEDIAN.
    I didn’t realise we had setters who knew about things like ELECTRO FUNK! I initially looked for some form of ROCK.

  9. 14 mins. Much biffing in the march to a fastish time (for me). Thanks U for the missed parsings. Did that make for a satisfying solve? I dunno.

  10. I thought I was on for a great time today, but the right-hand half held me up more than the left, and I ended up clocking in at 23 minutes, which is still not bad… As with U, the 4s did hold me up, but also a few that really shouldn’t have, like DUTY-FREE and CUSTOM. FOI 1a SHOE LOI & WOD 15a RIPSNORTER.

  11. Was on for a ten-minuter but then became becalmed in the north-east. 22 minutes overall. LOI was WILDE once I’d managed to open the SASH WINDOW. And I’m not the Queen of Sheba so SHE BEAR by herself must have consumed five minutes. COD RIPSNORTER was just that. I thought ELECTRO-FUNK was a linesman with a fear of heights. Good puzzle. Thank you U and setter.

  12. Fast start, then much slower, ELECTRO-FUNK, SHE-BEAR, RIPSNORTER awaited crossers and even then had to be carefully constructed.

    17′, thanks ulaca and setter.

  13. Half sunk a Shatter(ed) visage lies …

    Like Jack, I did this in par, except for the last two 4D/15A which took ages. Why didn’t I think of RIP for epitaph sooner? No excuses.
    Thanks setter and U.

    1. I thought of RIP as being possible right away but couldn’t think of anything to come after it other than -ROARING but that didn’t make any sense.

  14. 24 mins. Last two in, SHE-BEAR and RIPSNORTER. Same holdups as others have mentioned. Like Jack, needed the ELECTRO to see the dance music.

    A pleasant stroll. I liked HALF CENTURY, ALL THE RAGE and THIMBLEFUL best.

    Thanks U and setter.

  15. Started off vey fast then slowed and finally ground to a halt for several mins on 4d & 15a
    Ended up at 22 mins which isn’t bad for me but disappointing after a good start

  16. 7:52. One of my fastest times. I had to write out the letters for the anagram to get to ELECTRO-FUNK. LOI RIFLE RANGE. RAINSWEPT was my favourite, which quite accurately described our weekend. Thanks V and setter.

  17. 43:04. Much more of a struggle than it should have been. I had RIPROARING in for a while, which didn’t help. LOI WILDE

  18. Thought this was going to be a breeze, but came unstuck in the NE corner. Got SASH WINDOW after an age, only to be defeated by the NHO RIPSNORTER and never saw SHE BEAR. Gave up after 45 mins and came here. Thanks U and setter

    1. Same experience as Rookie, except never got SASH WINDOW, and defeated totally by RIPSNORTER and SHE BEAR; ELECTRO FUNK also held out as I was determined that ROCK was the second word. Enjoyed what I did of it though.

  19. 32:27. Plenty of biffs. Liked WOD RIPSNORTER. First few in NW flew in at QC speed.

    English is deficient in names for she-bear and she-wolf? Most other common mammals have a proper female form: vixen, doe, ewe etc.


    1. We are still sadly short of names for (eg) a ram that wishes to identify as a ewe. Though there are one or two .. eg capon, for a cockerel that has had gender reassignment surgery

  20. 9:40. Steady solve, enjoyable puzzle. Like others I saw the WINDOW before the SASH and the STORM before the SUPER. I’m not sure I’ve come across ELECTRO-FUNK before, I would just call it ELECTRO, and I was a bit sidetracked by ROCK. I would say I’ve certainly never come across ANIL but I expect it’s appeared somewhere before.

    1. I’m fairly convinced ANIL has appeared in a crossword in the last 4 years or so, since I didn’t know the word from anywhere else. Why would you?

        1. I found it most recently in QC 2063 on 3 Feb this year.

          Also two other appearances further, once in a 15×15 and once in a Jumbo.

          It has also appeared a couple of times in clues and wordplay.

          The search I did was on “anil ” with a space after the ‘l’. This is using the TfTT search field.

      1. 27304 (21 March 2019) and 27597 (26 Feb 2020) are the most recent appearances in a cryptic, but interestingly it was in quick cryptic 2063 on 3 February this year.
        Also been in jumbos and mephistos..

        1. Just as I suspected: I’ve seen it before and just forgotten it. Perhaps this will make it stick in my memory.

    1. I’m glad someone else besides me thought of Wolfe first. Though I’ve actually read Wilde, never Wolfe.

      1. I read The Right Stuff, years ago, and thought it rather good. Sensitive, in a way that books about astronauts usually aren’t (probably!). But haven’t explored further. I tend to prefer Gibbon, Proust and Pepys ..

              1. nho; but his wiki entry is actually quite entertaining.. “Wolfe was unable to sell any of his plays, because of their great length” etc ..

  21. My photo seems to have vanished, strangely. I found this rather too easy for the first half – the answers were going straight in, then being parsed, which is not how it should be. Then, like most of you, I ground to a halt in the NE. RIPSNORTER came quickly once I thought of RIP, which was after I deduced that 4D might end in R, and after I discounted Riproarer, which didn’t fit. My problem was with 4A and 4D crossers. Eventually WILDE gave me WINDOW, which suggested SASH, and thence SHE-BEAR, though I confess I didn’t actually parse SASH-WINDOW, on checking the blog.

  22. In all the dictionaries I’ve consulted (Chambers, Collins, Oxfords) SHE-BEAR is either not mentioned or simply given as a female bear, and I thought that was odd until I realised that the definition was a straight one and not some kind of allusion to a woman who is particularly alluring. So it took me ages, as did the parsing for SASH WINDOW, where I thought the definition was especially cunning: ‘Opening wooden’, although a sash window may not necessarily be wooden, not sure. And I was very dim over RIPSNORTER even though I had RIP … and all the checkers, eventually using electronic aid. Never heard of a SUPERSTORM.

    So my fast (?) time wasn’t fast at all. It looked as if it was going to be about 25 minutes, but ended up as 39.

  23. I trotted through the LHS and then tussled with the RHS. I was mainly stuck on 4a/4d and 15a. SHE-BEAR came along first, followed by an unparsed SASH WINDOW (missed wood=ash) with RIPSNORTER bringing up the rear. 26:10. Thanks setter and U.

  24. DNF. Similarly undone by the 4s, having ROSE WINDOW and ROE DEER, neither of which I could fully parse or justify – for very good reasons as it turned out.

  25. Like Kapietro I had put in RIPROARING, fairly early on, which created many problems, but got there in the end, though I wasn’t familiar with the word RIPSNORTER.
    COD a toss up between HALF CENTURY and SASH WINDOW

  26. 29 minutes. No major problems though I wouldn’t know what ELECTRO-FUNK was if I fell over it and I could have spent half an hour on WILDE on another day. Hardest was SHE-BEAR and best bit was the surface for HALF-CENTURY.

  27. 06:53, with a very Mondayish feel all round. Which is (*checks calendar*) absolutely fine.

  28. DNF due to RIPSNORTER, which I’ve never heard of. Suppose if I’d thought of SNORTER I’d have guessed it, but it eluded me.

  29. 14:06

    Same as boltonwanderer, thought I was on for a sub-ten-minuter until I hit the NE corner which took as much time as the rest of the grid had. Starting with only ALL THE RAGE, STAND-UP COMEDIAN and ANIL in place, WHEATEN was next to fall, giving DUTY FREE and then a punt on an unparsed SASH WINDOW which gave DINAR and WILDE.

    Liked the clever SHE-BEAR but took a few moments to think of RIP-something. A faint wicket-keeping memory of our deadly inswinging bowler giving me the signal that the next ball would lift somewhat – he called that his RIPSNORTER…

  30. Like most people, I found the LHS relatively easy- most of it done in 20 minutes, but then had to put the puzzle down and do other things.
    RHS difficult, and I took an age to see 4d and 15a ( a word often used by David ‘bumble’ Lloyd on the cricket commentary for an unplayable delivery). I couldn’t parse 5d and 18d, so thank you for your help on that.

  31. Exactly what Jackkt and others said. Super fast until the NE. Reluctant to put in SASH WINDOW until I saw how it parsed then bunged in WOLFE since I couldn’t make WILDE work either, which makes today’s experience for me both unsatisfyingly easy and unsatisfyingly hard. 🤔

    Thanks setter and blogger

  32. I was home late from the RAINSWEPT SUPERSTORM in the roaring forties today.

    FOI 1ac SHOE
    LOI 27ac TAKE
    COD 4dn SHE BEAR
    WOD 15ac RIPSNORTER – humdinger!

    I found 4ac SASH WINDOW a tad too IKEAN for my liking; l hadn’t a clue what was going on!

  33. All bar four in 20 minutes, but then could not see RIPSNORTER or the excellent SHE-BEAR. Dragged SHATTER up from somewhere and THIMBLEFUL was then the obvious one to enter, parsed afterwards. Monday and defeated by two, but, as I say, I thought 4D was just an excellent clue and I never mind being bowled by one like that.

  34. Defeated by Ripsnorter and Wilde. Got RIP ok, then got stuck. Good clue though. Liked She-bear too. I was looking for an old kingdom, not a female in fur, before light dawned. Very pleased to get electro funk and even more so to find it correct as I had NHO it. Thanks setter and ulaca.

  35. 20 minutes, which is very definitely a PB (I rarely finish any Times Cryptic without putting it down & coming back to it later). Enjoyed this one, but that probably has a high correlation to not getting bogged down with it. ANIL was a guess but it seemed likely. Thanks to setter & blogger.

  36. As always , satisfying to have finished . I know it’s Monday, but that isn’t always a more comfortable solve.
    The NE corner challenged . I got the window but couldn’t parse the rest. I was in the woodwind section.. ( away with the fairies then.. ) .
    I liked 25a and 13d . I was , as others mired in something ‘rock’.
    Thanks to setter, blogger and other contributors.

  37. I worked three-fourths of this rather quickly after karaoke last night but put it aside as I drifted off to sleep and finished this morning in just a few minutes.

  38. Enjoyable 25 minutes. Like many others I put in a tentative ‘rock’ before getting the ‘funk’.

    Tentative Rock — there’s a music style that should have happened.

  39. Granted it’s a Monday, but I actually found this fairly straightforward, with just the NE corner causing a few problems. Sash Window was an eventual pdm and Anil (rightly or wrongly) went in on the basis of making Anilene from benzene in the A Level organic chemistry lab many decades ago (plus the fact it was a hidden). On days like this, I can almost convince myself that I’m improving. Invariant

  40. 10 mins, although I did get bogged down by putting in SHE WOLF, then couldn’t get RIPSNORTER because of the F, finally saved by ICE AGE. Less haste, less speed.

  41. I was advised by Mrs S, who finished this faster than I could finish the QC, that this was worth me trying and for the first 7-8 minutes or so all was plain sailing as the LHS went in very smoothly – indeed many of the clues could like me have been from QC-land. Thereafter much slower, but a completion in 26 minutes is nevertheless very fast for me, with only Sash window and Thimbleful guessed from checkers and unparsed.

    All very satisfying. Many thanks to Ulaca for the blog

  42. Finally solved it after three sessions over the course of several hours. Most of the time spent on the NE corner. NHO of RIPSNORTER, but finally got it after trawling through all things one may do to express incredulity.

    Many thanks

  43. 30 minutes, so quite easy. Not entirely a RIPSNORTER (a word I last saw a HALF-CENTURY ago, I’m sure), but still quite enjoyable.

  44. Not so Monday-ish as I first thought it was going to be, alas! Several clues eluded me , but only ignorance on my part of SHEBA ( as an old kingdom) and ELECTRO FUNK (NHO), and the too-clever (as Horryd points out) SASH WINDOW. Enjoyed SHATTER, HALF CENTURY and THIMBLEFUL, even though took a long time to equate baleful with threatening.

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