Times 28498 – maybe it was a Welsh song?

Time taken: 9:23, but I had a silly typo where I duplicated the first letter of 18 down, so another trip to pink squaresville.

I got off to a very slow start with this one, but once I started getting some answers in the rest of it fell into place pretty readily.

How did you do?

1 Working hours fixed by such enchanting folk, on paper (4,8)
TIME SWITCHES – WITCHES(enchanting folk) next to the TIMES newspaper. Got this from wordplay
8 Working group of small proportions fencing area in province (7)
ONTARIO – ON(working), TRIO(group of small proportions) surrounding A(area)
9 Taking out illustration (7)
DRAWING – double definition.  The second came to me readily, but thanks to Collins for reminding me of the first one, think of “drawing teeth”
11 Most gullible Scot brought back waistcoat from US (7)
NAIVEST – IAN(Scot) reversed then VEST(waistcoat)
12 Trying to reform smoker, I must take the lead (7)
IRKSOME – anagram of SMOKER with I in front
13 Protection from extremely aggressive soldiers (5)
AEGIS – external letters in AggressivE, GIS(soldiers)
14 Developing public disturbance in which Democrat becomes sanctimonious (9)
INCIPIENT – INCIDENT(public disturbance) with D(democrat) replaced with PI(sanctimonious)
16 Native repelled by daily fraud (9)
CHARLATAN – NATAL(native) reversed next to CHAR(daily)
19 Host runs off in very skimpy underwear (5)
THONG – THRONG(host) minus R(runs)
21 Complete sentence child finally spoke (7)
UTTERED – UTTER(complete) and the last letters in sentencE chilD
23 Foreign banker‘s gold in old firm (7)
ORINOCO – OR(gold) IN, O(old), CO(firm)
24 Almost every line judge pens becomes cloying (7)
TREACLY – EACH(every) minus the last letter and L(line) inide TRY(judge)
25 Old hat said to irritate hard patch of skin (7)
TRICORN – sounds like TRY(irritate), CORN(hard patch of skin)
26 Possibly a dish for Long John’s sports venue? (7,5)
BOWLING ALLEY – Long John Silver’s dish may be a BOWL IN the GALLEY
1 Naming bird and fish (7)
TITLING – TIT(bird) and LING(fish)
2 Sells fantasy film, cutting dirty bits (7)
MARKETS – ET(fantasy film) inside MARKS(dirty bits). I’m going to add an opinion here, since some of the early commenters are saying that ET is science fiction.  I think it fits fantasy better as the alien seems to keep pulling random powers out of his finger to move the plot along, it is a lot more magic than sci-fi.
3 Here top candidates, found lacking, go to one side (9)
SHORTLIST – SHORT(found lacking), LIST(go to one side)
4 Madagascan climber some find ridiculous (5)
INDRI – hidden inside fIND RIdiculous
5 Collapse with strain during competition (5,2)
CRACK UP – RACK(strain) inside CUP(competition)
6 Typical example I included in record book (7)
EPITOME – I inside EP(record), TOME(book)
7 Associate originally telling story that several may draw on? (5,7)
JOINT ACCOUNT – JOIN(associate with), the first letter of Telling and ACCOUNT(story)
10 Good surgeon with time for disguise becomes hard to find (4,2,6)
GOES TO GROUND – anagram of GOOD,SURGEON and T(time)
15 Partner set up first-rate business groups (9)
CONSORTIA – CONSORT(partner) then AI(first rate) reversed
17 Redcoat’s re-dressed, 30’s style (3,4)
ART DECO – anagram of REDCOAT
18 Like song racily composed by learner? (7)
LYRICAL – anagram of RACILY followed by L(learner)
19 Boundary of either kind in test is commonplace (7)
TRIVIAL – a boundary in cricket would be a IV(four) or a VI(six), put it inside TRIAL(test)
20 Head of obstetrics to register closure of busy hospital department (7)
OTOLOGY – first letter of Obstetrics, then TO, LOG(register) and the last letter of busY
22 Senior member‘s wish to support party (5)
DOYEN – YEN(wish) under DO(party)

78 comments on “Times 28498 – maybe it was a Welsh song?”

    1. I’ve added some context. Maybe it will open up Pandoras can of worms, but I think ET is definitely fantasy (and a pretty awful movie).

      1. That’s right, the magic godamn finger. I reckon you’re right: because there’s no attempt to explain – scientifically or otherwise – how this magic finger is supposed to work, it doesn’t qualify as sci fi any more than the avatar movies do

  1. Two short again. TIME SWITCHES seems pretty obscure, I’ve never really heard of one, we just call it a “timer”, on the microwave, oven, boiler etc. No excuse for missing SHORTLIST, but I couldn’t get TILT out of my head.

    NHO OTOLOGY, but it is apparently subtly different from Audiology, and is a branch of Otorhinolaryngology, which could only be clued in a Jumbo.

    Is ET really a fantasy film? More Sci-Fi or children’s, I would have thought. I was considering DUNE, that use of “cutting” to mean insertion rather than removal is a device I’ve not seen

    I liked INCIPIENT, very clever. Also TREACLY.

  2. 13:11
    I couldn’t figure out MARKETS, BOWLING ALLEY, or TRIVIAL; not a chance I’d get the IV/VI, but I should have worked out the other two.
    I got a reply from Times customer service, consisting of a list of things I should do (clear cache, etc.)–no indication that there was something they could do– and a questionnaire to fill out and reply in order for my complaint to be referred to their techies. So far as I can tell, Customer Service didn’t read my complaint but just stuck on a one-size-fits-all reply.

  3. 26ac. It’s worth noting that Long John Silver was hired as the cook on the voyage in Treasure Island.

    I completed this in exactly 30 minutes and found it very enjoyable. Some of the clues were really inventive, the one to TRIVIAL being my favourite.

    1. Interesting that the GALLEY is the kitchen as well as a ship. I only had the sailor / ship in mind when solving, so thanks for the reminder. I still have my copy of Treasure Island, with wonderful colour plates, given to me when I was seven.

  4. Parsed a few after the fact, including INCIPIENT. One of these days, I’m sure I’ll run across “pi” used in the relevant sense in the wild—or IRL, comme on dit aujourd’hui—but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Quite neglected to parse TRIVIAL. Or to try to.

    1. You’re quite unlikely to come across it. It’s pretty archaic and I’ve never heard it even in the UK.

  5. I do recommend Treasure Island (and all of RLS’s work, come to that); I read it every couple of years or so. Long John, while cook aboard the Hispaniola, was known to his villainous co-conspirators as “Barbecue”.

    1. I agree about RLS. It’s a long time since I read “Treasure Island”, but I’ve read “Kidnapped” relatively recently, which these days means sometime in the last twenty years. It’s as good an adventure story as you could hope to read and for me is more than “just” a children’s book. I should give both books another try.

      1. The Master of Ballantrae, about two brothers who hate each other (jealousy over an inheritance has something to do with it) is a good read and not untopical.

    2. That was the first time I had come across the word “barbecue”. I was about 7 years old and my grandfather liked to read Treasure Island to me although I was far too young to understand most of it. (His reasoning was: It’s a children’s book. She’s a child. Therefore it’s ok bedtime reading) He died in 1947 and it was not until the ’60s that I heard the word again.

    3. I don’t read much fiction but I have read Travels with a Donkey and also a book about a canal trip in Holland and France. Both are excellently written and reveal RLS to be an intrepid traveller ..

  6. 20 minutes. Same problems as a few others with TIME SWITCHES which was my LOI. JOINT ACCOUNT parsed after the fact and I didn’t know the ins and outs of BOWLING ALLEY. What hospital has a separate OTOLOGY department? Precious few I would have thought, as opposed to our old friend the ENT department, of which OTOLOGY is a part, of course. “Medical speciality” would be better but wouldn’t fit the surface as well.

    I liked the IV/VI bit of TRIVIAL which I don’t remember having seen before.

    1. As my son was diagnosed some years ago as suffering from vestibular migraine (which we are now thinking may not have been the correct diagnosis, but that’s another story) we often find ourselves passing in and out of OTOLOGY departments. In fact as I solved that clue it reminded me to check up on when one of his clinic appointments has been rescheduled to in the current chaos that is the NHS.

      I do love it when the daily crossword seems to contain personal messages from the universe.

      1. Hope everything works out OK with your son. Here the ENT departments don’t have a section of the department with a specific OTOLOGY designation as far as I know, but things are obviously different in other parts of the world. Yes, it is strange how often matters of personal relevance seem to pop up in crosswords.

  7. 12:33. No great hold ups today, though I wasn’t sure about TRIVIAL at first so left that and came back to it at the end, at which point I thought VI is a boundary in cricket which was good enough for me. Now I see it could be IV or VI I think it is an excellent clue.
    Regarding ET, Chambers defines fantasy as “A story, film, etc not based on realistic characters or setting” which is pretty vague and would cover most sci-fi films as well as your Lord of the Rings type of films.

  8. Made quite heavy weather of this one – including initially entering GONE TO GROUND in 10d, and about 4m on the second part of LOI TIME SWITCHES – but at least I did it properly, and filled in the last square with very high confidence of the right outcome. 31:57 – thanks G and setter.

    1. Snap! Failed to check the anagrist. I left it in, and then could fit only INKHORN into 12a so DNF. Doh!

    2. Me too – realised when I constructed IRKSOME and then checked the anagram properly (instead of just biffing without thought)

  9. I’m getting better at these. Just over 20 mins fully parsed is a good time for me, and not far beyond the average score today. My ambition is one day to be absolutely average!
    Really liked Trivial and Incipient.

  10. 16 minutes, with LOI TIME SWITCHES, which in retrospect I thought was a good clue. I use Time Switch to mean when things come on and off, and timer for how long something may be on. I’d already given COD to BOWLING ALLEY though, even if Fings Aint What They Used To Be will now be today’s ear worm. It took me a while too to see the boundaries at the Roman cricket ground in TRIVIAL. Enjoyable.Thank you George and setter.

  11. A doctor told a patient to relieve his ailment by tossing his skimpy pants up in the air. Unfortunately… the thong ascended but the malady lingers on.

    30 mins mid-brekker. The shortlist/incipient held me up. I can’t think why.
    I enjoyed this a lot, especially bowl in galley.
    Ta setter and G.

    1. The doc must have been relieved when the moon was ended and he and the thong were gone.

  12. 22:21 but…

    …pink square for the wrong ology. NHO of the right one, so had pencilled in OROLOGY and forgotten to recheck before submitting.

    The rest was plain enough, though a leap of faith with INCIPIENT where I didn’t see the trick.

  13. 17 minutes. Didn’t parse BOWLING ALLEY, so thanks for the explanation. Straightforward enough otherwise, with the unknown INDRI clear from wordplay. I’m not too worried about the distinction between sci-fi and fantasy for MARKETS – as soon as I see ‘film’ in a clue I immediately think of ET, and here it could be either.

    FOI Drawing
    LOI Crack up
    COD Aegis

  14. 12’49”, no issues, liked TRIVIAL.


    Thanks george and setter.

  15. 11:09. Moderately tricky in places despite an absence of unknowns for me. My last in was TIME SWITCHES too, I got stuck thinking that ‘working hours’ referred to people.
    The ‘boundary of either kind’ device is very clever.

  16. 20:13. I thought it felt hard at first – FOI 11ac NAIVEST – but soon picked up speed to finish in a good time (for me). I enjoyed TRIVIAL and BOWLING ALLEY

  17. Straightforward 21 minutes no problems. Liked BOWL IN GALLEY and the LJS reference. Never seen ET and no wish to, as most above who have seen it seem to rubbish it. Thanks George.

    1. I love ET but I certainly wouldn’t suggest you watch it: it’s a kids’ movie. We showed it to ours a few years ago and they enjoyed it, much to my surprise. It’s very slow-moving by modern standards.

      1. We were having the very same conversation at home only a few days ago about how slow the pace of ET was. We, similarly, showed it to the kids – last year, I think – but it was also the first time I’d ever seen it from start to finish and I’m afraid I found it pretty tedious.

        1. Yes I think that to enjoy it as an adult you need to come to it with a healthy reserve of childhood affection and nostalgia.

  18. Slightly chewy I thought, definitely took me longer than the last few.
    19dn TRIVIAL clue is a thing of beauty.
    Wrote in BOWLING ALLEY, but only now see where Mr Silver comes into it
    Good stuff, although several clues looked familiar to me. We have had both doyen and th(r)ong very recently

  19. No problems here, passed the morning’s commute happily with it. Only OTOLOGY was new but I guessed it by way of OTOSCOPE which is a crossword staple. And now to work. Thanks for the blog.

  20. All green for me, although I fell asleep during solving so no time. No problem with TIME SWITCHES since I had one on my swimming pool pump that I had to replace at one point. I thought TRIVIAL was clever with the either 4 or 6 thing. My LOI was GOES TO GROUND since I’d not really analyzed the clue well and was trying to put GONE TO GROUND in, which clashed with a checker. I knew INDRI too, since it comes up reasonably regularly here (in fact any animal in Madagascar in a crossword seems to be Indri).

    1. …. or LEMUR. I was slightly flummoxed for a few seconds by not finding this embedded in the clue

    2. I had GONE TO GROUND in first which delayed seeing the crosser IRKSOME as an anagram. 14’58” so pretty good for a Thursday.
      Thank you GLH

  21. A fast start and a fast finish but quite a big lull between those two for some reason
    COD a toss up between BOWLING ALLEY and TRIVIAL
    Good fun.

  22. 18 mins. Held up by a tentative CONCORDIA which made the TRICORN hard to get. As a cricket follower I can’t believe I didn’t understand TRIVIAL until I got here.

  23. Nice crossword and I was on for one of my faster times, having done it all in 22 minutes except for TIME SWITCHES (which are definitely different from timers) and SHORTLIST, which took me another 22 minutes, for no good reason because they’re both good accessible clues. I eventually used got SHORTLIST but gave up and used aids on the first of these. Moral: when you do an alphabet trawl don’t rush it after T (I had the Times component), thinking the last few letters are most unlikely. In this case it was the W that I skated over.

  24. 20:22 I got off to a flyer and thought I was on for a PB, but 1a and 14a almost doubled my time with repeated alphabet trawls until I finally biffed and hoped for the best.

    I took the definition of 2d to be “sells fantasy”, which is what most marketing people do in my experience.

    COD to 19d, very clever I thought.

  25. 07:38 with few hold-ups again. If you asked me to make a list of films I regard as “fantasy”, I’d be a long way down it before I tried to argue that E.T. belonged there, but it’s not a major stumbling block, especially when your brain has been conditioned over the years to try ET as a letter combination as soon as the word “film” appears in a clue.

  26. Really made heavy weather of this. Ground to a complete halt when half finished, and took ages to get going again. LOI was TIME SWITCHES, which even with all the crossers puzzled me. I’ve NHO of a ‘time switch’. The things I use to turn the lights on and off when I’m on hols I call ‘timers’ or ‘electric timers’ and so does everybody I’ve ever met. Must have been living on another planet.
    Was pleased to parse all the others as intended, and even construct INCIPIENT from wordplay alone – which gave me no end of pleasure. Also liked CHARLATAN and TRICORN (thanks, Napoleon). 70 mins.

  27. 13:38. Seemed fairly gentle for a Friday, then I realised it’s Thursday. The joys of retirement. TRIVIAL was clever – once it was explained to me. TIME SWITCHES was a bit of a gamble, but the crossers eventually made it unambiguous.

  28. Very enjoyable puzzle. All but 1ac solved in an hour, and then we went out for lunch at the farm shop. Finally solved 1ac on return.
    I didn’t understand TRIVIAL or BOWLING ALLEY, so thanks for that. CHARLATAN brought to mind a recent prime minister for some reason.
    Thanks George, and thank you setter

  29. 22@40
    I thought this a good puzzle with some nice touches .

    I hadn’t realized that Long John Silver was taken on as a cook.

    CHARLATAN, NAIVEST and SHORTLIST were all good but I thought TRIVIAL was really excellent.

    Thanks to George and the setter.

  30. 19’13” with LOI TIME SWITCHES. That INDRI is popping up so often I might have actually begun to remember it.

  31. 37:03. I’ll also join the “boundary of either kind” fan club. Most of today’s fine puzzle was parsed as I went along, but for JOINT ACCOUNT I had the hazy idea that JOINT was what several may draw on. INCIPIENT was another great clue, and my POI, with the last being SHORTLIST. Thanks s & b.

  32. 19:05 but with a carelessly unparsed and misspelled CHARLETAN. Drat! Thanks setter and George.

  33. Nice straightforward puzzle. 27 minutes. Btw, I don’t understand the blog heading. What am I missing?

  34. 9:41. Late to the party today, not doing this until I got back from my first 10mile walk of the year around the Sutto Hoo area. I failed to parse INCIPIENT but otherwise no hold-ups. COD to BOWLING ALLEY. Thanks George and setter.

  35. All correct in about 30 minutes- LOI SHORTLIST. Fingers crossed with OTOLOGY. All parsed too- so many thanks to setter and blogger.

  36. I’ve never seen ET and maybe that’s why I couldn’t parse MARKETS. Otherwise, a straightforward solve in about 20 minutes with an over-indulgent cheese plate perhaps slowing me down even more than the equally indulgent glass of port. I seldom drink at home, and almost never when alone, but somehow it seemed the thing to do with strong wind and rain battering the windows this evening.

  37. I managed to work through this without running into any serious problems, but had several interruptions so no reliable timekeeping.
    COD – BOWLING ALLEY, once I realised it was not BOWLING GREEN and why.

  38. Add me to the list of those who liked TRIVIAL (now I understand it). Thought this was fair throughout. No problem with TIME SWITCHES. LOI INCIPIENT.

  39. I seem to be catching up with these a day late (. . .and a dollar short), so wouldn’t normally comment, but I was so impressed with 19d, Trivial, that not just a tip but a full blown doff of the hat to the setter is required. Invariant

  40. Second success in a row for me…so maybe I still have what it takes after all! Only one I didn’t get was INCIPIENT, which was an excellent clue (on parsing). “Trust the cryptic” has become my new motto. Didn’t get the cricket reference in 19d, but very good. Agree with other detractors about ET.

  41. A bit behind The Times with our delayed access in The Australian, but my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed this offering and its blog, with all the various contributions from George and the rest, who now feel like old friends. Thank you to one and all!
    Thinking of RLS reminded me that he was also a poet as well as a novelist. Ralph Vaughan Williams set some of his work in his great song cycle “Songs of Travel” from RLS work of the same name. I sang these as part of a tribute to RVW last year on his 150th birthday!

Comments are closed.