Times 28492 – bowled or stumped?

Time taken: 12:17.

A bit slower than my usual, but in the end I am stuck on the wordplay for several clues, hopefully I can work them out as I write up this blog. From the early times it appears this is a more difficult one than usual.

How did you get along?

1 Closeness of daughter not left in submissive state (8)
HUMIDITY – D(daughter) instead of L(left) in HUMILITY(submissive state)
5 One that’s written to Joy, possibly recalled a ship in port (6)
ODESSA – the ODE to Joy, then A, SS(ship) reversed
10 Hairy beasts shown in still lives (5)
YETIS – YET(still), IS(lives)
11 Inevitably, journalist’s letter found in home (5,4)
NEEDS MUST – ED’S(journalist’s), MU(letter) inside NEST(home)
12 Account receives peer review, initially a tough task (4,5)
TALL ORDER – TALE(oral account) containing LORD(peer) and the first letter of Review
13 Army officer departs in cut (5)
PADRE – D(departs) in PARE(cut)
14 Business opposed to European scientific collaboration (7)
CONCERN – CON(opposed), CERN(European scientific collaboration)
16 Coming out is hard to understand (6)
GNOMIC – anagram of COMING
18 Hairpin apparently in wooden dish (6)
TUREEN – U(the shape of a hairpin) inside TREEN(wooden). I got hung up on hairpin = turn and was trying to figure out how the ee worked
20 Bet about top soldier shortly becoming sharp (7)
PUNGENT – PUNT(bet) surrounding GEN(General, top soldier)
22 Nowadays wine is short, used for a special purpose (2,3)
AD HOC – A.D.(nowadays), and HOCK(wine) missing the last letter
23 Accuracy of copies in run being turned out (9)
PRECISION – anagram of COPIES,IN,R(run)
25 Wonderfully absurd, to put on special offer? (9)
PRICELESS – if you put something on a special offer you might PRICE it LESS
26 An article on Mercury reversing a hot state (5)
GHANA – AN, A(article) next to HG(mercury) reversed
27 Wager about right length of planking (6)
STRAKE – STAKE(wager) containing R(right)
28 Made another revolution? Disposed to be responsible (8)
RECYCLED – RE-CYCLED(made another revolution)
1 Here perhaps needle, always the way to interrupt journalist (8)
HAYSTACK – AY(always) and ST(the way) inside HACK(journalist)
2 Uranium for example opposed by Einstein potentially (5)
METAL – MET(opposed by), AL(bert Einstein)
3 Turned up to vet, a step towards getting a mate? (10,5)
DISCOVERED CHECK – DISCOVERED(turned up) next to CHECK(vet), reference to the chess term
4 Prepared to listen: piece of music a horrible noise (5,2)
TUNED IN – TUNE(piece of music), DIN(a horrible noise)
6 Inspector on his own inviting recruit without much success (15)
DISAPPOINTINGLY – DI(inspector), SINGLY(on his own) containing APPOINT(recruit)
7 Perhaps politician’s few words showing thorough grip (9)
SOUNDBITE – SOUND(thorough), BITE(grip)
8 Big cat quietly sacrificed reproductive organ (6)
ANTHER – PANTHER(big cat) minus P(quietly)
9 Extremely rude bore that may be infuriating (3,3)
RED RAG – external letters of RudE, DRAG(bore)
15 When upset about anything, control becomes more undisciplined (9)
NAUGHTIER – AUGHT(anything) inside REIN(control) reversed
17 Regular seating area commonly not upholstered (8)
STANDARDI think this is four definitions  nope – thanks to early commenters. STAND(seating area), and ‘ARD(not upholstered)
19 Little boy who runs nimbly (6)
NIPPER – two definitions this time
20 Offering that is pounced on by the media (7)
PRESSIE -IE(this is) under PRESS(the media)
21 Father’s banked millions, that’s plain (6)
PAMPAS – PAPA’S(father’s) containing M(millions)
24 Everything together, requirement for final list (2,3)
IN ALL – hidden inside fINAL List

72 comments on “Times 28492 – bowled or stumped?”

  1. A few pinks in the NW caused by TIMIDITY=“submissive state”, which made HAYSTACK impossible even though I had seen HACK ( not ED). Shame, as I had winkled out a few tough ones like the NHO STRAKE, and TUREEN where I was fixated on hairpin=BEND. NHO TREEN, seems a very odd word.

    20a (PUNGENT) had a few near misses like potent, poignant with bet=pot before finding another bet that worked.

    2 d, setter had the choice of about 80 metals from the Periodic table, and chose Uranium (which I have never seen in metallic form), rather than tin or nickel. Set me off looking for a “U” or something radioactive. All part of the game, you’re not in the QC any more, Dorothy.

    FOI DISCOVERED CHECK, much helped by the enumeration, and opened up much of the grid. COD ODESSA

  2. 38 minutes. I just parsed 17d as STAND (‘seating area’) + ARD (‘commonly not upholstered’ = HARD (‘not upholstered’) without the H (‘commonly’) to make ‘ARD) with ‘Regular’ as the def, but maybe there’s more to it as you suggest. I couldn’t parse SOUNDBITE (not my favourite word) either, being blind to the first ‘o’ in ‘thorough’.

    The ‘Army officer’ at 13a took a bit of thought. I liked the misleading surface to DISCOVERED CHECK and the ‘dish’ that turned out not to be ‘wooden’ for TUREEN; again, thanks to “Bargain Hunt” for introducing me to TREEN.

    1. I could do without ‘common(ly)’ being used to denote e.g. H-dropping, or ‘ain’t’. There’s no reason to characterize a dialect (and by implication its speakers) as ‘common’ (i.e. not refined like me).

      1. Indeed. I don’t think you’d see, for instance ‘plebby’, but the sentiment is identical.

        1. I think Kate Fox has some nice comments about the English middle class’s use of ‘common’ (it’s not used in American English). I think I first noticed it in Mick Jagger’s “she was common, flirty, she looked about thirty, …”

      2. This irritates me also, along with some of the terms used to describe women.

      3. I can’t speak for other parts of the world, but in most of Britain, dropping aitches tends to be a good indicator of poor education. I don’t think they’re intrinsically part of any dialect, as plenty of folks retain their regional accent/dialect without doing it. And I say that as someone from a working class background in a region where the ’abit is extremely… um… common! 🙂

        1. There is absolutely no doubt that dropped aitches are a feature of certain dialects. People of course shed their dialects and accents as they ‘move up’ in society (thankfully a bit less than they used to) but that reflects snobbery in that society rather than any intrinsic default in the dialect or accent itself (there is no such thing). And I for one don’t think we should use pejorative terms based on the level of someone’s education either!

    1. Thanks – it was one of the ones I was not 100% on, but you are correct. I’ve amended the blog.

  3. 49 minutes with maybe the last 10 of those spent on TUREEN which I had thought of because of ‘dish’ and checkers but was unable to justify it. Before today TREEN appeared in a 2015 QC clue when it provided anagrist for the answer, ENTER, and in 2013 as the answer to a clue in a Times Championships preliminary round puzzle. Other than that it has come up a number of times in Mephisto puzzles and once in a Club Monthly, neither of which I ever tackle.

    I don’t think much of the clue to METAL. Einstein = AL? Really? Was he ever referred to as Al? I doubt it very much.

    1. Well, it does say ‘potentially’; and at least it’s a change from ‘gangster’. But I did raise an eyebrow.

      1. The trouble is, once this sort of thing is accepted there’s potentially no end to it.

  4. 17:40
    I biffed several in a rush to finish before I had to catch a train; never did parse DISAPPOINTINGLY, STANDARD. I had/have doubts about ‘Wonderfully absurd’ and ‘appoint’. PADRE took me a while, after I had mulled over general, colonel etc. DNK STRAKE, DISCOVERED CHECK, finally recalled TREEN after separating ‘wooden’ from ‘dish’. I liked NAUGHTIER.

  5. Very enjoyable, engrossing, many fun clues, like the one for GNOMIC, and the added spice of the Mephistophelean STRAKE and TREEN, the latter perhaps vaguely remembered.

  6. 21:31. I found this particularly difficult, so was surprised to see the SNITCH has it at about average. I can’t think why this puzzle was particularly difficult for me.
    Anyhow, I was pleased just to finish without errors where my LOI, STRAKE, was close to being STRIKE. I thought you could possibly “strike a bet” which would fit the definition of wager in the verb form. As I didn’t know the planking it seemed possible it could be a“stike”. But a quick consideration of alternatives led me to “stake” and avoidance of a pink square.

  7. 29m 19s
    In the end I was surprised I managed this puzzle in under 30mins. Early on I thought it would take much longer.
    A couple of slight ‘mers’: I thought the received spelling these days was ODESA and not ODESSA. Secondly, with 20d, I think of a PREZZIE not a PRESSIE.
    7d SOUNDBITE. I solved the clue but I’m not sure how as I read ‘through’ not ‘thorough’!
    18ac: NHO TREEN
    Thank you, George!

    1. QC solvers will have had an advantage re PRESSIE as it came up as recently as 22nd December when the -ZZ- spelling was also discussed.

      As for ODESSA, that’s been the accepted English spelling all my life and is perfectly valid historically and for crossword purposes despite more recent trends – see also Kiev. But I would acknowledge that the newer versions should be used in news coverage of current events if only for consistency.

      1. I imagine it won’t be long before, even in crosswordland, proper nouns such as Kiev and ODESSA will be clued with modifiers to indicate that they are no longer in fashion, just as we see with references to some older names for Indian cities. The defence that the historic Anglicised versions have been used for centuries really doesn’t wash any more, and defending Russified versions of Ukrainian names in present circumstances is arguably even more problematic. I guess we tolerated it in Stalin’s day, when the evils he perpetrated really were being inflicted on a distant people of whom we knew little, to borrow an unfortunate phrase once applied by an English politician to another such group. Nowadays we can’t justifiably hide behind our own national ignorance because it, happily, is itself less of a reality than it once was, at least as far as it concerns Ukrainians or Czechs. I’d like to hope that, in future, we might expect clues without modifiers to yield Kyiv or Odesa, and, one day, maybe even Praha (a city I called home for 22 years or so). And who knows? One day I might even make the case for Moskva, where I also lived for three years in the nineties – but right now I really don’t care about that one.

        1. The older names for Indian cities are a different case, no? They actually changed the names! Rather like St Petersburg/Leningrad. I don’t see any harm in anglicisations as such. I wouldn’t expect people to start saying München, for instance, or for the French to stop saying Londres!

          1. I agree, Keriothe, but you’ve reminded of what I think would make a good trivia question in a quiz: the Italian for which European city is STOCCARDA. A/Strasbourg B/Stockholm C/Stuttgart. Answer: C
            I was at Milan’s Malpensa airport once, searching the departure board for my return flight to Catania , when I saw a flight to Stoccarda and resolved to look it up on my return home.

          2. I don’t honestly know if Mumbai or Chennai came about from a change of name as such or just a recognition of the local languages where a foreign language had previously been dominant (for whatever reason). But Kyiv and Odesa have been the Ukrainian names for those cities for much longer than we have noticed or acknowledged and, while I take your point about Munich and Londres, neither of those names has been imposed by foreign powers on local inhabitants. Bombay, Madras, Kiev and Odessa certainly have. Maybe a better comparison might be with Caerdydd and Abertawe, both of which could conceivably become more fashionable if Cymru ever emerges from the shadows of English rule. That’s just speculation of course, but an interesting one to ponder for a moment or two. As MartinP1 says, it’s a tricky issue! Thanks for joining the debate though.

            1. Yes I take the point about colonial imposition, and I believe (could be wrong about this) that Bombay was changed to Mumbai at least partly as an explicit rejection of that imposition. But Ukraine has never been a British colony so Kiev and Odessa seem to me more in the ‘harmless linguistic quirk’ category like Munich and Londres. Equally I have no problem with Kyiv and Odesa so if that’s what Ukrainians prefer I’d happily adopt them.
              My favourite one of these is Marseilles, which is how the English used to spell Marseille. Very odd! It seems to have largely fallen out of use now.

  8. “An above-STANDARD grid” is my call
    For fast solving, the ORDER was TALL
    COD to fifteen
    Had a punt on TUREEN
    But no major CONCERN, all IN ALL

  9. 23:34, a tale of two halves – left hand side all went in quite quickly (though I couldn’t really parse TUREEN) but DISAPPOINTINGLY, STANDARD and the whole SOUNDBITE/PADRE/GNOMIC intersection held me up for ages. Tricky!

  10. I found this really tough, and it took all of my (admittedly very limited) self-discipline to avoid throwing in the towel – by 35m I was less than 50% complete and struggling badly. Finally managed to get enough “critical mass” of answers to drive me through to completion, finishing with SOUNDBITE and finally GNOMIC (which I failed to spot as an anagram until after solving).

    Felt slightly uneasy about the NHO word TREEN in 18a, especially combined with my incomplete parsing of NIPPER – but anyway happy with the completion when I wasn’t really in the zone. 50:56 – thanks G and setter

  11. 36 minutes with LOI DISCOVERED CHECK. I’m not a chess player. POI was TUREEN, with TREEN not springing to mind, perhaps because I’ve never heard it before. I didn’t know STRAKE, proving that I am thicker than at least one short plank. I’m making HAYSTACK COD, as it brought a smile to find a needle there. Thank you George and setter.

    1. I also struggled with DISCOVERED CHECK for the same reason.
      I also tried to squeeze SQUADRONE into 7d (don’t ask me why!) until GNOMIC came to the rescue.
      Good puzzle.

  12. 17′ 39″, with GNOMIC LOI.

    Nho TREEN, so TUREEN unparsed, I have now learned something. A DISCOVERED CHECK is always very powerful.

    Thanks george and setter.

  13. 13:26. Like a couple of others TREEN for wooden was unknown to me (or not remembered from previous crosswords) as was STRAKE. Hard to pick a COD. O liked HAYSTACK, GNOMIC and NAUGHTIER equally. Thanks George and setter.

  14. Tureen, Tureen, Tureen, Tureen,
    I’m begging of you please don’t take my man

    Found this difficult but plodded on. Couldn’t get tureen.
    COD gnomic.

  15. What a good one! 32 minutes, all correct, no real hold-ups but a good workout and some cracking clues. GNOMIC was my LOI, which needed all the checkers to make me realise it was an anagram. 12 minutes odd, George, “a bit slower than usual”, is quick in my book.

  16. 8:44. No major hold-ups, although I had my fingers-crossed for the NHO and unlikely-looking STRAKE. Last in TUREEN, where the answer seemed obvious but I was wary of biffing so took a bit of time to untangle the rather obscure wordplay.
    I don’t consciously remember seeing DISCOVERED CHECK before, but it went in sufficiently easily that I suspect I may have done. Chess has become a bit of a thing among a couple of my kids and a few of their cousins. Of course these days its easy for them to compare notes and play one another online on their phones at any moment of the day or night. I feel a slight sense of regret that I’m missing an opportunity to join in with something they enjoy but I can’t stand the game.

  17. On the harder side, but an enjoyable puzzle. The NW saw me off to a start with YETIS FOI. METAL was suspected, but I waited for TALL ORDER before shoving it in. HAYSTACK raised a smile. Lots of PDMs as I progressed. Liked TUNED IN. NAUGHTIER was good and allowed me to posit U as the hairpin, although TREEN needed the crossers and an act of faith. STRAKE was another unknown. GNOMIC kept me guessing until I had all the crossers, of which SOUNDBITE provided the PDM that it was an anagram. STANDARD and RECYCLED brought up the rear. 29:00. Thanks setter and George.

  18. I also thought this was harder than the SNITCH suggests. Took me 40 mins, held up by DISAPPOINTINGLY (Lord knows why it took me so long), TUREEN (for all the same reasons as others) and the NHOs STRAKE and DISCOVERED CHECK – but both of these couldn’t really be anything else. I at least realised I was looking for some kind of chess term, which helped.

  19. This seemed terribly difficult and twice I had to resort to aids, finishing in 65 minutes, so I was surprised to see that the SNITCH was only just over 100. I wasn’t helped by only knowing treen as a noun (also from programmes like Bargain Hunt). Had to do an electronic search for DISAPPOINTINGLY but I should have seen it as it was really quite simple.

  20. 34:19

    Some unknowns: STRAKE, T(U)REEN (though with the U and E checkers, it seemed a reasonable punt).

    Pleased to dredge up DISCOVERED CHECK from chess-playing days (not that I was any good, but did read up on chess theory).

    Most delayed by DISAPPOINTINGLY (was thinking SOLE or SOLO rather than SINGLY) and SOUNDBITE – took PADRE to show the way with both.

  21. 29 mins, but I admit to several peeks in Google to check that such things as STRAKE and DISCOVERED CHECK were a thing. SOUNDBITE had me for a while, as it failed the U->Q test and was wondering if a squidling was a politician.

  22. There was a politician called Quisling, so nearly right there eniamretrauq.
    COD 16a GNOMIC.
    It seemed very hard to me, I agree with those saying so above. Took an age to get started but speeded up towards the end.
    Liked TUREEN, 18a, remembered Treen from previous puzzles.

  23. 28:50. Found this quite tough with what felt like some laboured cluing and some surface readings. TREEN for wooden was a new (or forgotten) word. STRAKE I remember from T S Eliot’s mariner having a leaky garboard one, but I never found out what it was.

  24. 14:19, which indicates that I was compelled to think quite hard to reach the right conclusions / deduce the solution from wordplay. The Treens were led by the Mekon in their constant battles with Dan Dare, of course, though you’d have to be of a certain age to be led down that rabbit-hole.

  25. DNF, defeated by TUREEN – as I didn’t know the dish and hadn’t heard of treen, I didn’t have much chance. Didn’t know STRAKE either, but the wordplay helped. PADRE took a very long time to come, only falling into place once I’d figured out SOUNDBITE.

    COD Disappointingly

  26. 31:42
    Found this tough going with TUREEN the LOI. a long time afte everything else. Like Topical Tim. I knew the word TREEN from Dan Dare in the Eagle.

    Wasn’t too impressed by METAL, STANDARD or SOUNDBITE but I liked DSCOVERED CHECK and the wonderful GNOMIC (COD).

    Thanks to George and the setter.

  27. DNF. I found this hard. Never really got into a rhythm with it, just found myself picking away here and there at it. In the end I gave up on tureen and came here for enlightenment. I knew treen and I knew tureen just wasn’t looking at hairpin apparently in the right way.

  28. ‘The garboard strake leaks, the seams need caulking.’ TS Eliot in ‘Marina’. One of those lines that give pleasure (to some, all right a bat-eyed few) partly because you don’t know what they mean. joekobi

  29. No time as many interruptions. I found this quite hard.
    Finally completed after a number of EBNHOs (entered but never heard of) ANTHER, DISCOVERED CHECK, and STRAKE.

    Brain freeze continues….

    Thanks G and setter.

  30. 20.20 . Relieved after being stumped in the SW- howzat? NHO strake but seemed to fit and couldn’t understand why naughtily didn’t help till I plumped for strake. LOI soundbite when I got the crosser from padre.

    Good puzzle. Thx setter and blogger.

  31. An enjoyable challenge. Last one in, with fingers crossed, was “tureen”, thinking, like glh, that it must have something to do with turn.

  32. I thought about TUREEN, but couldn’t understand how it fitted with the clue. Thought of an anagram for GNOMIC, but couldn’t see the solution. DISAPPOINTINGLY and SOUNDBITE also defeated me.
    My struggles in 2023 continue.☹️

  33. Quite a tough one today, which I was pleased to bring home in 44 minutes. DISCOVERED CHECK took a while until a lot of the checkers were in, and STRAKE was a NHO constructed from generous word play. ODESSA was my FOI and gave a MER which it wouldn’t have a year ago – see comments further up on that unfortunate matter. Overall a nice workout with the afternoon Earl Grey.

  34. 33:29, I enjoyed this crossword as I never really got stuck anywhere for too long. NHO TREEN or STRAKE, but they were gettable. Is it a bit picky to observe that precision and accuracy (23ac) are not the same thing? You can be very precise, but wildly inaccurate. (I’m both a physics teacher and a pedant, which is a combination that tends to produce over-pickiness…)

      1. Lol, I thought so. Too much trying to drum it into 15-year-olds can make you mildly obsessional…

        1. There may be occasions when they’re different but often (usually?) the meanings are the same. Think archery, for instance…

            1. 😂 Bad example!
              I refer you instead to Collins:
              Precision: the quality of being precise; accuracy
              Accurate: without error; precise; meticulous

              1. I’d say Collins is wrong, except in the sense that confusing accuracy and precision is a common error. A statement can be precise but wrong; a statement that is accurate is always (by definition) true.

                1. To a linguist (and linguistics is a science, remember), ‘common error’ is a contradiction in terms.

  35. 26.15. Thought 2d was a terrible clue: whoever called Einstein ‘Al’ ? I suppose it makes a change from Scarface.

  36. Only got to this late in the day, and no time recorded due to interruptions. Like others found this tough and almost gave up, but decided to plug away and almost made it. In the end was defeated by 18ac TUREEN and 19dn NIPPER. Again like others I was fixated by Hairpin, and decided the answer must be AUBEND which I assumed may be a wooden dish. This of course made 19dn begin with a D, and all I could come up with was DAPPER which at least had a vague connection as a parsing solution.
    Although a DNF, still enjoyed the challenge.

  37. Strangely I plodded through this one quite easily. DISCOVERED CHECK and GNOMIC were guesses from the wordplay but no other problems, although I’m glad to see I was in good company misreading “thorough” as “through” at first. Thanks f0r the blog.

  38. NHO STRAKE but it was resolvable. Needed tools for the last couple but overall one of the best clued crosswords for a while. Really enjoyed it; thanks setter and blogger.

  39. 52 minutes, but I’ve never come across SOUNDBITE, so that’s the clue that defeated me in this very strange puzzle (STRAKE also an unknown and I misparsed TUREEN as TURN with EE in it, whatever that might have meant). I kept vacillating between SQUIDLINE or SQUIDWIRE, thinking politicians (especially the Republicans in the House of Representatives at the moment) might have some resemblance to squids and dropping someone a line or sending him a wire (in the olden days) would be just a few words. I would never dream of a connection between SOUNDBITEs and politicians in any other way.

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