Times 28471 – Why the setter can’t find me!

Time: 34 minutes

Music: Brahms, Symphony #3, Furtwangler/VPO (18/12/1949)

I have to admit I did not find this very easy.    I only got three of the across clues and three of the downs on my first run-through, which is not exactly encouraging.   I am feeling a little off, but I think there are a few things that are a little off in the puzzle as well.    Maybe I just wasn’t on the wavelength, but it seemed like an odd puzzle.

However, solve it I did, and here are the results.


1 Team calls party organised “fantastic!” (7,6)
CRYSTAL PALACE – Anagram of CALLS PARTY + ACE.    The football club.
8 A big river, mostly deep blue (4)
ANIL – A NIL[e].
9 Is part of spreadsheet used to fill in scores and assorted items? (10)
10 Top display you might pick up for tech trial (4,4)
11 Correspondence still centrally stored by company (6)
PARITY – PAR([st]I[il]TY, a company as in a group of people.
13 Self-contained pit houses with a larder at the front (5-5)
16 Plan in principle getting cut down (4)
17 Fraud involving computers being recalled (4)
SCAM – MACS backwards.
18 Increase in destruction of a coastline (10)
20 Daring performances wow banks of theatregoers (6)
STUNTS – STUN + T[heatregoer]S.
22 Alcoholic drink almost better after the end of Lent (8)
24 Senior cop involved in settlement dispute (10)
CONTRADICT – CONTRA(D.I)CT, the Detective Inspector.
26 Colleague is friendly, but not initially (4)
27 Josh, visibly angry about guy stealing new carpet (13)
1 Join one canal somewhere north of New York (11)
CONNECTICUT –  CONNECT + I CUT.   Connecticut is to the east of New York, not to the north – take 95 or 84, you’ll see.
2 One-time conference venue set up by volunteers (5)
YALTA –  LAY upside-down + TA.
3 Fair charge ultimately included in cost for part-time staff? (9)
4 Lively ethos embraced by large old country (7)
LESOTHO – L(anagram of ETHOS)O.
5 Fancy starter of unusual pâté enjoyed with relish? (3,2)
ATE UP – Anagram of U[nusual] + PATE without the accent marks.
6 Medical specialist demanding every substance around emergency room (9)
ALLERGIST – ALL (E.R.) GIST – Americanisms continue to creep in.
7 Night of poetry held in Middle England (3)
EEN – Hidden in [middl]E EN[gland].   Annoyingly, I searched for a hidden word and didn’t see it.
12 Non-drinker needing support over summer (11)
TEETOTALLER – TEE + TOTALLER.   The second E is a crosser, so the ignorant can’t go wrong.
14 Potentially Oscar-winning drama made money outside America finally (9)
15 Gentle hint largely designed to impart information (9)
19 Deception hard to prove (7)
21 Fish beneath small rock (5)
23 Brown bread perfectly absorbs soup at first (5)
TOAST – TO A (S[oup]) T.
25 Area covered in fine wood (3)
OAK – O(A)K.

59 comments on “Times 28471 – Why the setter can’t find me!”

  1. 9:28 Not too much trouble today, possibly fortunate to have spent a memorable night in KIDDERMINSTER many years ago.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter. BTW Vinyl, I thought BETA TEST came from “beat” (top) and “attest” (display).

    1. I’d delete this if I could – everyone else said it first below, if I’d only read down before I typed. I read it as Galspray did, Beat Attest

  2. 5:46 – getting CRYSTAL PALACE and KIDDERMINSTER on a first look made for a pretty slick solve. I liked the clue for NOMINATED

    1. Could you help, I can’t explain why NO = drama in the parsing of NOMINATED?

      Edited….Ignore as I have now seen way below NOH/NO = Japanese drama. Can it be spelt NHO too?!?! That would be appropriate for me.

  3. 28 minutes; maybe a “top-10 time” when submitted, but last on the leaderboard! The parsing of CRYSTAL PALACE and working out MISCELLANY and NIGHTCAP were the main hold-ups.

    I had the same take on the BETA TEST homophone as galspray; isn’t the American pronunciation of BETA as in “bayta”? Far be it from me to question the detailed local geographical knowledge of our blogger, but if ‘New York’ city (rather than state) is being referred to, it does appear that CONNECTICUT is to the ‘north’, or at least to the NE, of most of the built up area of the city, as shown on Google maps. I’m sure we’ll receive an authoritative answer.

    1. The parallel with Connecticut is the state, not the eponymous city, and the former is rightly considered implicitly intended if the latter is not specified.

        1. Not just in England: I would expect e.g. “She’s from New York/I went to New York last month”, etc. to be referring to the city, and I would expect one to add “State” if one meant the state. Still, it’s odd to say that Connecticut is north of NYC; would you describe Manchester as north of Liverpool? They both are in terms of latitude, but still.

          1. I wouldn’t disagree.. or agree, in fact, since until a moment ago I had no idea where Connecticut was in relation to NY 🙂
            Also had no idea it was so weeny, compared to New York State ..

            1. Teeny, perhaps; but weeny? I wouldn’t want to say to Vinyl that he lives in a weeny state.

        2. It’s OK of course to be a bit misleading here, but in any other context, one would properly juxtapose either two states or two cities.

  4. Another finding it somewhat tricky. Agree with beat attest, and wrote a confident SCARP for rock with only the first S. Though I see from the dictionaries it needs an E at the start to be rocky. Unsurprisingly Kiddedrminster and contradict were two of my last in. Thanks setter and blogger.

  5. 13:01
    I assumed that BETA was pronounced ‘beeta’, but still couldn’t parse BETA TEST; galspray’s reading sounds right. Biffed CRYSTAL PALACE, KIDDERMINSTER (I knew Axminster, DNK Kidderminster was a carpet), ESCALATION, parsed post-submission. ANIL is a longtime NYT chestnut. Major ER at CONNECTICUT. I liked NOMINATED & CONFIRM.

  6. I didn’t know Kidderminster, and had a hard time constructing it. Otherwise, I found this mostly tricky – but just when I was stuck something easy would pop up. Which left me not knowing whether to look for the simple or the complex in the next one up.

  7. Yes, this was a workout, and I feel like I deserve my NIGHTCAP on finishing it. KIDDERMINSTER was LOI, though I’m sure we’ve seen it before. I didn’t think twice about the location of Connecticut, but it is indeed east of all that terrain upstate. Was slow to accept that Brits say “beeta”—but it takes all kinds! 😉

    On edit, noting that I input a semi-colon, hyphen (I always include the nose) and close-parenthesis (winking smile) and the content managing system for our site turned it into the emoji you see above.

  8. Like our blogger I was off to a very slow start and thought I was in for a troublesome solve, however once I got properly under way it all fell into place and I finished in 27 minutes, 3 short of my target half-hour.

    Sometimes local or specialised knowledge may not be an advantage in solving or parsing clues. Bearing in mind The Times is a UK newspaper the majority of its target audience on seeing ‘New York’ without any other qualification is likely to think of the city rather than the state and travelling up the East coast of the USA Connecticut is north of it.

    Vinyl1, four Down clues are missing underlined definitions.

    1. Yep, having caught the train from NYC to Stamford for the ACPT back in March, I definitely felt like I was going ‘up’ on the map, so that’s probably where my head was when I wrote this clue!

      1. Probably worth saying that you go OUT west, DOWN south, BACK east, and UP north. I’ve never heard “back to CT” (in the directional context), but I have heard “up to CT” often. So the idiom is with you. If you try another New England state clue, you go UP to all the other New England states, as well.

        1. Idioms referencing direction of travel can be very odd. If I travelled to the UK capital which is some 50 miles south of where I live I’d be going UP to London!

  9. 33:19 fail – found this to be quite a toughie, after starting with TEMPERATE and LESOTHO I felt like I was working hard to get every solution. Felt pretty stranded for a while, even having to get a crosser for a 3-letter hidden word – but finally solved the 1a anagram, then followed through to the end. LOI CONTRADICT needed about 3 minutes.

    Today I found out that, despite no longer being in the first flush of youth, I never learned the correct spelling of CONNECTICUT (presumably due to the common pronunciation). When I realised the solution, I stopped using the cryptic, and used a double-T in the middle, because there was no other reasonable spelling – Duh! Thanks anyway V and setter.

  10. 11:14. When I had CRYSTAL at 1A it still took me quite some time to get to PALACE. I think maybe my brain is trying to avoid football since Saturday. Once I did have it, it confirmed ATE UP for me, which I’d assumed was the answer, but which I failed to parse, taking UP as “starter of unusual pate”. I guess that would have to have been starters rather than starter. Anyhow, a quick alphabet trawl to rule anything else out confirmed my penultimate entry before I finished with CONTRADICT.

  11. Seemed harder than usual for a Monday. My knowledge of the geography of North America is a bit hazy, but I did think of NY State and I spent some time trying to fit Ontario into the solution.

    And I should have got 1ac a lot quicker. The team used to have a player called Gerry Queen, which once led to the great headline “Queen in brawl at Palace”.

    14’57”, thanks vinyl and setter.

  12. The Earth is a sphere, as we know
    So it does depend which way you go
    From New York, head southbound
    Then go all the way round
    And Connecticut’s there. Hey presto!

  13. It’s always been a ‘beater’ test in my life, so I parsed it as BEAT ATTEST, but wondering if the setter meant something else. ATTEST as ‘display’ didn’t really work well. About half an hour, during the lunch interval and then with one eye on another sort of Test. LOI CONFIRM, COD KIDDERMINSTER. Thank you V and setter.

  14. Tall Oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,…

    40 mins mid-brekker. I thought this pretty chewy for a Monday, but I liked it.
    Thanks setter and V.

  15. 20:23. Slower than I should have been, but I think the snitch algorithm should put an asterisk next to any puzzle which is completed at the same time England are searching for the final wicket against Pakistan…

  16. 6:55. No problems today. I agree 10ac is “beat attest” and CONNECTICUT is north of the city of New York which is good enough for me.

  17. 30 minutes or so, ending with NOMINATED but not understanding where the ‘no’ came from. I see now that the Japanese Noh drama can be spelled without the H, which is good to know.

    No real problems otherwise – a MER at what I thought was the homophone in BETA TEST, but the explanations from other commenters make sense.

    FOI Scam
    LOI Nominated
    COD Stand-alone

    1. For what it’s worth, the ‘h’ is there to show that the ‘o’ is long. With other vowels the distinction is made as a/aa, e/ee, i/ii, u/uu; but oo invites (for English speakers) the wrong pronunciation, so you (often) get the h.

  18. 26 mins
    6dn … Every = all? I can’t think of an example where they are exactly interchangeable. A noun following ‘all’ needs either to be plural or preceded by the definite article. A noun following ‘every’ needs to be singular. I’ve considered other uses of ‘all’ and ‘every’ (‘every which way’, ‘all the same’, ‘all in all’, etc.), and I can’t find anything that allows me to unplug one and plug in the other without any further changes. It’s probably me being a dullard as usual 🙂
    Thanks, v. Great times from g, g and k, btw.

  19. 27:59. I somehow saw straight away that BRISTOL ROVERS fitted the enumeration at 1ac so I was on the right track, even though it took a while for CRYSTAL PALACE to emerge. Like others, I found this one tricky and was pleased and surprised to finish under the half hour. LOI NIGHTCAP. I liked STUNTS and TOAST

  20. After a slow start and thinking, as I often do, that it was going to be beyond me, turned out to be a steady and enjoyable solve.
    COD TOAST (No doubt used before but I liked it)
    Amongst others I couldn’t parse STAND ALONE. I always forget with can be AND.

  21. Once I had EEN and ATE UP, and considered ACE for “fantastic,” CRYSTAL PALACE dropped into place, helping enormously. I carried on filling squares apace and finished off with TOAST and ALLY, simply as they were last in order of processing. I knew Axminster as a carpet and had K_D already, so the leap to KIDDERMINTER was minimal. I briefly considered the pronunciation of BETA, but shoved TEST after it with hardly a passing thought, and moved on. 15:41. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  22. 09:00, ticklish for a Monday, luckily I waited to solve until after England had eked out the final wicket or I, too, might have been a bit slower. My main takeaway from the leaderboard (at least as it stands at 10:30) is the absence of the usual neutrinos…too much to hope that they’ve actually been purged, I suppose?

  23. I found most fairly straightforward, but a wrong entry of SCARP threw me in the bottom part. I might have avoided that if I’d gone with my instinct and biffed KIDDERMINSTER from ‘Josh.’
    19d is a great clue.
    31 minutes.

  24. 19’07” Same as above. Gave up parsing BETA TEST but now see the trick. TEETOTALLER was too simple in the definition part, no?

  25. It seemed to me that there were rather a lot of good clues here, the reason why we solve The Times crossword. The setter must be a bit miffed by being told that there are a few things that are a little off in the puzzle.

    Actually, though, I slightly agree with that statement (not ‘a few things’, but ‘one thing’). I think BETA TEST is meant to sound like ‘beat attest’ (it’s certainly beet — surely nobody in the UK says bate or bett), but attest = display seems a bit unsatisfactory. My initial problem was with test = display, but that would require beater to = top, definitely wrong. So long as we read ‘Brown’ as a verb in 23dn then it’s OK I think, since brown bread is not the same thing as toast. 33 minutes, after struggling a bit with the fish at 21dn.

  26. Well I liked it, done in 20 minutes once the cricket was won; a bit tougher than usual for a Monday but all the better for that, and no complaints here. As others, I took New York to be the city and knew CT was up the coast a bit. I liked TOAST.
    Thanks for the NO – NOH lesson, Kevin, I didn’t know about the OO thing.

    1. The Japanese drama is [no:] phonetically. A linguist would transliterate it as NOO. The long/short distinction is often ignored and the word written, incorrectly, as NO. The generally used Hepburn transliteration would be NO with a macron over the O, but that’s a problem if you’re writing, so the H is often used instead. A Japanese writing the word in kana would write NOU のう(as I just did to get the kana).

  27. After near-PB 2:43 for QC, was evidently in the mood for quick solve here too, and pleased to record 6:26, making for a near-9min “double”, which is exceeding rare for me. Enjoyed both puzzles – QC made me smile several times – and this main puzzle was elegantly construed, even if there are some “technical” quibbles (my geography and pronounciation are not up to a sufficient standard to enter the fray). Thought NOMINATED clue was perhaps the best of a good bunch. Thanks all round.

  28. After forgetting to pause, and thereby losing about 10 mins, I still got there in 26 mins. So fairly Mondayish. MER about CONNECTICUT, LOI CONTRADICT because I was looking for the cop as the literal.

  29. A long slog of multiple visits only to eventually be beaten anyway by CONTRADICTION (had all the checkers but still couldn’t spot it as was set on it ending …IST) and had biffed MALTA not YALTA so couldn’t see CRYSTAL PALACE.

    Thanks all.

  30. A bit of a struggle for me, probably because I don’t stretch myself enough – I normally self exclude if the snitch is >85 (being short of time)

    CONTRADICT LOI by some distance – curse of the missing first letter.


  31. 23:04

    BEAT ATTEST here too – took a long time to get going with just three in on the acrosses first time through.

    Shamefully, took a while to see my team at 1a as initially, I was thinking we were looking for a phrase meaning ‘fantastic’.

    Both 1a and 27a were in the English Football League in the early Noughties.

  32. 42:10 today, and unsurprisingly felt like a sluggish solve throughout. Enjoyed CONFIRM and TOAST. I didn’t know ALLERGIST and ANIL, although felt confident they must be correct. Also had to guess YALTA (yeah, my history is really embarrassingly bad). Thanks s & b.

  33. 32:20 An interesting offering for a Monday.

    On checking the locations of New York and Connecticut, I discovered that the road to Providence passes Coventry and Warwick. Curious, as the A46 near me also passes Coventry and Warwick, but I’ve never thought of it as the road to providence.

  34. Like others I was slow to begin with and got progressively faster as I got deeper into the crossword. Finished in 32.28 which is a respectable time for me. As a football fan (still in mourning after Sunday) Crystal Palace was my FOI. Although the town of KIDDERMINSTER is known to me, I didn’t know of the carpet connection. Axminster or Wilton are usually the go to locations in this respect.

  35. 11:46. LOI SHAKE having tried and failed to convince myself that a HALE was a fish. Wrong sort of rock. I concur with others that 10A is a homophone of BEAT ATTEST and, pace our blogger, who I think lives there, that Connecticut is further North than New York (the city not the state). COD to NIGHTCAP, which I think I’ll welcome after a long snowy walk in Cambridge (the city, not the county, in England not Massachusetts). Thanks Vinyl and Jalna (and thanks for dropping by).

  36. Found this harder than usual for a Monday. Took several trawls to see CONTRADICT, my LOI. I thought I was looking for more senior than “just DI”.
    Not sure about the pronunciation of BETA TEST, but at least I remembered the answer from a previous crossword. Was glad I’d spelt LESOTHO correctly too. Thanks to the setter and blogger.

  37. Never finished this, as I gave up at LOI 24A, having made heavy weather of most of the rest of it. I don’t know why I failed to get CONTRADICT, as I’d previously thought of DI and even ‘contra’ as the beginning. I just didn’t put them together or think of dispute as a verb. A MER at ALLY being synonymous with colleague. I have known plenty of colleagues whom I would not describe as allies in the slightest!

  38. Not much to say about the puzzle, which got off to a slow start and took me 45 minutes. But I do have some comments about geography. I spent the first half of my childhood in Port Chester, NY, which is on the Boston Post Road just before it crosses into Connecticut (at Greenwich, a very posh place even then).
    In my mental image, we would travel west to get to New York City, but in reality, looking at a map now, the road from New York to Port Chester and Greenwich follows the coast in a northeasterly direction, which may give a misleading impression. If there is any part of Connecticut at all that is due north of any part of New York City, their size is minuscule. As for the entire state of Connecticut, it does have a slightly higher latitude than NYC, but it is much more significantly to the east. In no way can one reasonably say the state of Connecticut is north of New York City, and of course in relation to New York State there is nothing to argue about at all.

  39. Found this quite tough, and had to leave the final three clues until v late. BETA TEST last one in, which I am familiar with, but didn’t spot in the clue surface. SHAKE and CoNTrADICT were the other recalcitrant ones.

  40. Never heard of Beta Test – so I went with Mega Test – which I have heard of but doesn’t really parse. Inglorious failure!

  41. Same here: NHO BETA TEST, so couldn’t pronounce it to get the parsing. As many others, got off to a very slow and dispiriting start, but unlike most others, didn’t pick up too much speed thereafter! My American geography is woefully lacking, so didn’t know the position of CT, but as I was looking for a word ending in NY, was doomed to failure anyway. Found nearly all of the puzzle ‘puzzling’ and missed its subtleties : missed EEN (NHO) even though I was looking for a ‘hidden’; NIGHTCAP as an alcoholic drink ( in my world it’s cocoa or somesuch 😩); and so much else. Do now appreciate the cleverness of many of the clues, and regret that I was “off the wavelength”.

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