Times 28487 – all’s well that ends well


Half man(ageable), half beast. Plenty of highbrow GK, and enough imaginative definitions to have me scratching my head. Only one (22dn) remained unparsed until blogging time, though, so I’m counting it as a success.

Definitions underlined.

1 Times welcoming back visitors in stable, extended partnership? (6)
BIGAMY – MAGI (visitors in stable) reversed (back) in BY (times)
4 Minister has a place in the mountains? (8)
CHAPLAIN – A and PL (place) in CHAIN (mountains).
10 One floored by warmth showing passion right through embrace (9)
HEARTHRUG – HEART (passion), then R (right) in HUG (embrace).
11 Did not live in penury, Pole (5)
WASNT – S (south, pole) in WANT (penury).
12 Sentimental Tennyson poem, bird avoiding net (7)
MAUDLIN – MAUD (Tennyson poem) and LINnet (bird).
13 Receive and look after a long time prisoner (7)
HOSTAGE – HOST (receive and look after) and AGE (a long time).
14 One avoids convenience available at a price (2,3)
TO LET – TOiLET (convenience) minus the ‘i’ (one avoids).
15 Covered container over in various colours (8)
CANOPIED – CAN (container), O (over), and PIED (in various colours).
18 Coming again with note, bringing apology (6,2)
PARDON ME – PARDON (coming again?) and E (note).
20 Country lane — palatial houses (5)
NEPAL – hidden in (… houses) laNE PALatial.
23 Swearing in English on the Bible to retain half the trade (7)
ABUSIVE – AV (authorised version, bible) with E (English), containing (to retain) half of BUSIness (trade).
25 A Hindu melody, in reverse, falls between two states (7)
NIAGARA – reversal of A + RAGA (Hindu melody) + IN.
26 Took one’s part and succeeded having help, not the first (5)
SIDED – S (succeeded) and aIDED (help, not the first). ‘On my side/for my part’, apparently.
27 In fury it’s me having to call (9)
TISIPHONE – ‘TIS I (it’s me) and PHONE (call).
28 Constant rallies disrupted city (8)
CARLISLE – C (constant) and an anagram of (disrupted) RALLIES.
29 Boy’s day at Clare’s place (6)
DENNIS – D (day) and ENNIS (county town of Clare).
1 Two insects admit horse to be a huge creature (8)
BEHEMOTH – BEE and MOTH (two insects) containing (to admit) H (horse).
2 Part of church service proceeding slowly (7)
GRADUAL – double definition.
3 Disabled adult struggling with item (9)
MUTILATED – anagram of (struggling) ADULT with ITEM.
5 Arrogance in a royal address passed over (4-10)
HIGH-HANDEDNESS – HANDED (passed over) in HIGHNESS (royal address).
6 Soldiers encamped around unknown border area (5)
POWYS – POWS (prisoners of war, soldiers encamped) containing (around) Y (unknown).
7 Hazarded where witch could have ended up? (2,5)
AT STAKE – definition and cryptic hint.
8 Gossip here would be a concern, if head is replaced (6)
NATTER – would be mATTER (concern) if the head were replaced.
9 Managed small caps in a number of teeth: excellent (14)
TRANSCENDENTAL – RAN (managed) + SC (small capitals), in TEN (a number) + DENTAL (of teeth).
16 Long drink very quietly consumed, a juice? (9)
PINEAPPLE – PINE (long) + ALE (drink) containing (… consumed) PP (very quiet).
17 Sticky plant caught on pupils not expected back (8)
CLEAVERS – C (caught) + LEAVERS (pupils not expected back).
19 A city disposing of land in pieces (7)
ASUNDER – A + SUNDERland (city).
21 Philosopher writing about military group (7)
PLATOON – PLATO (philosopher) + ON (writing about).
22 Pub with no end of sherry wine (6)
BARSAC – BAR (pub) + SACk (sherry, with no end). This was the one I had to look up – I knew the wine, but had no idea sherry was also known as ‘sack’.
24 Drive through one part of the UK to see endangered species (5)
INDRI – DR (drive) in (through) I (one) and NI (part of UK). A species of lemur.

56 comments on “Times 28487 – all’s well that ends well”

  1. 24:22
    Several DNKs: GRADUAL, CLEAVERS, ENNIS. I knew CLARE was an Irish county, and inferred that Ennis was a town in it. Similarly, I knew POWYS was a writer, and had a vague idea that it was a Welsh place name; so inferred it’s on the border with England. I couldn’t figure out PARDON ME, although I was sure it was the solution. (I think the note has to be ME, not E.) Do people over there say “Coming again?” to mean “Come again?”? I liked the definition of BIGAMY, and indeed the clue itself. Also liked CANOPIED.

    1. If it helps, Kevin, I don’t like ‘coming again’. I think it should be ‘come again’.

    2. My paper version says ‘come again’.
      Should have carried on reading, further down the blog, I see this issue has been addressed with an apology.

  2. Very slow. Lots of DNKs, I have the wrong education and domicile for puzzles like this. Did sort-of know Powys was in Wales (is it?) and Ennis was in Clare. Tisiphone a guess from known Persephone. Indri, sack as sherry, Maud, Gradual, cleavers all NHO. Same MER as Kevin for “coming again” instead of “come again”.
    Some great definitions scattered throughout: visitors to stable, falls between states, one floored by warmth, extended partnership, soldiers encamped and their ilk make me very happy.

    1. I agree with your list of great definitions.

      My garden is covered in CLEAVERS scrambling over and through the bushes. It’s a pain.

  3. Around 70 minutes but I used aids to finish off the last two or three. I had thought this was going to be a doddle as the upper half, including the two long Down answers, went in quite easily, but I hit a wall in the lower half where only NEPAL (yet another mention!) and CARLISLE went in without a struggle.

    Then eventually PARDON ME emerged, clearly the correct answer but not fitting the clue as far as I can see and already questioned by Kevin, above. At that point I began to lose trust in the setter. I’m not 100% on swearing/ABUSIVE either. NHO CLEAVERS as a plant of any sort, never mind a sticky one. I knew sack as wine but not as sherry so I never fully resolved that one. I amazed myself by working out the unknown and unlikely sounding TISIPHONE from wordplay, but if she’s one of the Furies, by convention if not rule, I think the clue should have spelt Fury with a capital F.

    1. In a speech in Henry IV, Part 2 extolling the virtues of alcohol generally but particularly for its role in producing valiant soldiers, Falstaff says “A good sherris sack hath a twofold operation in it……”

  4. I finally parsed ABUSIVE, but how is “swearing” an adjective? I am not alone, clearly, in having a problem with that and the same sort of question about PARDON.
    Glad to finish with all correct.

      1. I’d say that ‘he is swearing’ corresponds to ‘he is being abusive’, while ‘he is abusive’ corresponds to ‘he swears’.

  5. Well-beaten today. Made good start in NW with both BIGAMY and BEHEMOTH dropping in quickly.

    Made a mess of NIAGARA, where I had – – R I A -A, with RIA = “melody in reverse”, surrounded by two states, which was the misdirection the setter had in mind. Plenty of options for a NHO Hindu : VARIAGA, CARIALA etc.


    1. Had exactly the same fun with NIAGARA – even thought “Hindu melody = RAGA” on a first reading but still got sucked into the setter’s trap 🙂

  6. 90m 54s
    After a lot of b, s & t, I enjoyed that. However, as Kevin does, I have a mer with ‘coming again’. I think it should be ‘come again’.
    Like Vinyl, I found the RHS tough. I had to take a dinner break and then come back for my three LOIs: NATTER, HOSTAGE and CLEAVERS.
    CODs to NIAGARA (“falls between two states”) and BIGAMY (“extended partnership”
    Thank you, Mr Blogger!

  7. 39 minutes. A lot of half-known stuff here, as for others. At least a bit of homework sometimes pays off as I learnt the names of the Furies (agree that ‘fury’ should have been capitalised) only a few weeks ago so TISIPHONE was fresh in the mind. Next on the list are the Graces who don’t seem to appear very often.

    I was interested to learn that “Come into the garden MAUD” comes from the ‘Tennyson poem’.

    Thanks to William and setter

    1. Don’t forget the Fates: Clotho, Lachesis and, especially Atropos. It is she who cuts the thread so watch out for her!

  8. 43 minutes. 77 years an Anglican and I’ve never heard of GRADUAL, which I biffed wondering why the other part of the clue wasn’t GRADUALLY. As others, I also wondered why PARDON wasn’t ‘come again’. LOI TISIPHONE was unremembered, CLEAVERS was unknown. Yet the rest of the puzzle was enjoyable. COD jointly to BIGAMY and AT STAKE, the latter while gazing on the chimes of freedom flashing. Thank you William and setter.

  9. My tablet edition has “come again” for 18A but a strange clue for 22D that I can’t parse (and didn’t get – hence a DNF) “Pub with no end of white or other wine”.

    Biffing GLACIAL fro GRADUAL held me up, as did NATTER and WANT. No time though for a DNF

    1. Yes the print version has the same: ‘Come again’ in 18a and ‘no end in white or other wine’ in 22d. I took it as BAR + no end in SAC[k] (white wine).

      1. Unfortunately I didn’t know SACK as a white wine so it wasn’t helping me either way!! I shall try to file that knowledge for future, and retrievable, notice.

  10. Big DNF today, stopped after 30′. Just not on the wavelength. 🙁

    Thanks william and setter.

  11. Another struggle today. 1hr 12 mins. LOI TISIPHONE when I finally saw the wp and remembered the Fury. Same MERs as others above.

    I liked BIGAMY and BARSAC.

    A number unparsed so thanks William and setter.

  12. 33.05. A mostly very enjoyable puzzle. Some reservations: does it have a whiff of the Don about it ?

  13. Had to come here for assistance – too good for me today.

    What is the obsession with Nepal / Nepali this week? I think 3rd time?

  14. I had BAROLO for BARSAC at first. Barolo is an Italian wine (too high in tannins for my liking), and Oloroso is a sherry

  15. There were lots of nice things here, like the one floored by warmth and the falls between two states, but my goodness it was hard. I took 70 minutes and by the end was using aids. NHO Tisiphone, and surely Fury not fury? If the setter was thinking that to have ‘Fury’ was to make it too easy (which it wouldn’t have done) then the word could have somehow been at the start of the clue. I never understood, and still don’t, how pardon = coming again. Surely the ‘come again’ or whatever it is refers to the whole answer? Does swearing = abusive? And surely ‘could’ not ‘would’ in 8dn?

  16. 19:51. Very tough, and I got thoroughly stuck with three or four unsolved clues in each of the NW and SW corners. A very enjoyable challenge.
    ‘Coming again’ looks like an error to me, perhaps by the editor. The uncapitalised ‘fury’ looks dodgy too now that jackkt mentions it although I didn’t notice that when solving.
    Initial MER at ‘states’ in 25ac but then I realised you just need to read it as ‘countries’.
    NHO GRADUAL or CLEAVERS, TISIPHONE from wordplay, ENNIS a guess.

  17. I thought this was an easy Friday as I filled in the LHS in 10 mins. However this grid is a 2 halves grid, and I had to give up and come here to complete. I think we might have had TISIPHONE before, but I didn’t remember it. Living as I do in Flintshire, a bit embarrassing to miss POWYS not too far away.

  18. Lots of the same unknowns as others, and I also raised both eyebrows at “coming again” for PARDON. BIGAMY and BEHEMOTH were first 2 in, and I thought at first it wasn’t going to be such a beast, but it was! I eventually had a breakthrough with TRANSCENDENTAL after being becalmed for a while. That led to TISIPHONE and the unknown CLEAVERS, which left the NE corner, where 6d, 7d and 11a remained stubbornly unsolved. WASNT came along eventually and led quickly to POWYS , but AT STAKE took a while longer and an alphabet trawl. I submitted and heaved a sigh of relief at 47:22. Thanks setter and William.

  19. 62 mins. Quite a struggle – unknowns galore and lots of devious wordplay. CLEAVERS was the main hold-up and LOI, but it was a slow, unsteady solve all round.

  20. “Coming again” was indeed an error, those of you solving in the paper will have seen the clue as “come again”. For some reason several editorial changes did not carry through into the online version, for which I apologise.

    1. Did it occur to you to post a correction on the club forum? Not that it would have done me any good, but still.

      1. Fair question Kevin. I didn’t post there as no one had raised the problematic clues on the forum, maybe should have done that too.

  21. Super puzzle, pitched just at the very limits of my ability, though needed two mugs of strong tea to assist.

    1. Agree entirely, David, although I did not fare too well in the SW of the puzzle, with NHOs CLEAVERS, TISIPHONE and ENNIS holding me up. Couldn’t have thought of tackling without the (properly made) tea however. Liked lots, especially my FOI HEARTHRUG ,and BIGAMY, MAUDLIN, NIAGARA for clever clueing.

  22. Really enjoyed this, some fine clues and defs.
    I took coming again to be a typo, since “come” is so obviously better. There is a reasonably well-known medium sherry called “Dry Sack.”
    nho Gradual as part of a church service but what else could it be?

  23. Enjoyed this puzzle, but share others’ reservations on some of the clues, including the link between ABUSIVE and swearing, and reference to TISIPHONE as a fury (lc). I had never come across CLEAVERS as a plant, though it had to be right from the clue, hence it was my LOI. My dictionary tells me it is also known as goosegrass, so I shall be watching out for that too.

    Time taken was about 55 minutes.

  24. Failed miserably today even with the advantage of doing the printed version with the edited clues! The whole bottom-left corner defeated me although there’s nothing controversial in it. Only “wasnt” seemed a little ugly. Thanks for the blog.

  25. 85:11 but very pleased to complete a hard puzzle unaided although not unbiffed – WASNT and DENNIS eluded me and of course NHO the first sense of GRADUAL.

    I’m a little confused by 8d – I guessed and parsed NATTER quite early but didn’t enter it because “here” threw me off. What role does it have in the wordplay or definition?

    Thanks W&S, a fun puzzle to unravel.

  26. Very tough taking a total of 61 minutes. After 50 minutes I had much unfilled on the left side and put it aside for lack of time. I came back to it tonight and the light slowly dawned with 5d once I questioned my B in the third cell (from a wrong answer to 10 – HEART-THROB with only one T!). HIGH-HANDEDNESS got me going again, and it needed only another 8 minutes to finish. TISIPHONE was only vaguely familiar, and it took me a while to tease out the wordplay.
    By far the best clue amongst many good ones was the clue to NIAGRA. I thad me looking at the wrong end for the definition for ages.

  27. After making a proper Horlicks of the QC, I seemed to have fared a lot better with this one, finishing four minutes inside target at 40.55. A knowledge of British geography with POWYS and SUNDERLAND came in useful, but I had to trust that TISIPHONE was a word even though I’ve used the abbreviated expression ‘to be in a tizz’.

  28. 28:48. Done in two session having to stop to feed the guests after 18 minutes with big gaps still in SW and NE corners. Was pleased to eventually get there without aids – LOI WASN’T. A good day it wasn’t, but thanks William and setter.

  29. 65 minutes. FOI 1ac BIGAMY, then rapidly completed the north-west corner, then hit a brick wall. The north-east corner held out the longest. I had to abandon it until this afternoon to finish off the difficult cluster of WASN’T, POWYS, NATTER, etc.
    Astonished to press submit at 4 o’clock with my time of 65 minutes and still find myself in the leaderboard top hundred

  30. Not my wavelength, this one. NHO CLEAVERS, GRADUAL as something churchy, INDRI, and failed to see the NIAGARA between two states (no excuse for that). The rest was good if testing, typical Friday fare.
    Just looked up CLEAVERS, I knew it as goosegrass, horrible stuff.

  31. Unfortunately, managed to stop my timer without noticing so estimated between 35-40 minutes. Started brightly with bigamy but then it all became rather dimmer. But I plugged away and my last one in was Indri, which I think I’ve seen before, but not in the wild!

    Good test with a couple of unknowns, Cleavers as a plant and Tisiphone. I did check the latter after parsing so a pleasant surprise. That clue was one of my candidates for COD but in the end I’m opting for abusive.

    I don’t get the Sunday edition so nice to finish my year on a high.

    Happy New Year to all my readers🍺👍🍷 and thx setter and logger.

  32. Pleased to finish in just under 40 minutes. Living in Carlisle, so CARLISLE an easy spot. BARSAC obvious, cos it wasn’t going to be INNSAC. Didn’t know the church meaning of GRADUAL. The rest went in fairly easily. Liked S for ‘Pole’, and ‘Times’ for ‘BY’. Haven’t we had NEPALI twice this week? And now NEPAL.

  33. Took an absolute age with gaps in all 3 corners. But I am quite stubborn so kept picking at it- eventually they all yielded- but last 2 BARSAC and TISIPHONE entered with fingers crossed. Wasn’t complete sure about WASNT. Very pleased to have finished and that’s another complete correct week. So very pleased (mind you last Saturday was a very different story so I’m not getting carried away yet!). Thanks blogger and setter.

  34. DNF in 60

    Toughest for ages for me

    Defeated by WASNT POWYS and NATTER

    Share puzzlement about purpose of “here” in the latter clue. Completely threw me tbh. Completely missed POWs as “soldiers encamped”. Why are POWs in a camp as opposed to other soldiers? Definition was so wide I needed the w/p there. And WASN’T for “Did not live”? Hmm. Just couldn’t think of another word for penury which was a bit useless to be fair

    Lots of good stuff in there but a slight “really?” when I came here for the answers

    Thanks all

  35. Gosh that was hard. But I finished in the end, with no aids and all green. If Verlaine was still blogging Friday puzzles, he’d have given it a “true Fridayish” award. I live in California (near Verlaine as it happens) so I did most of this on Thursday evening and then got stuck. But with three separate areas of 2 or 3 clues I couldn’t solve. Some, I could see (wrongly) how they worked. At 25A, for example, I was looking for a Hindu song I’d never heard of, which was a word for “falls” backwards between two states like ME. Everyday crosswordese. D’oh. Brilliant clue, designed with a garden path that I walked straight down.

    1. I was also looking for a Hindu song I’d never heard of, wondering if this was general knowledge I’d be expected to know. It’s possible there are more cruciverbalists doing the Times crypic in India than there are here in Australia. Or could it reflect Rishi Sunak’s influence on the UK since becoming PM?

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