Times 28503 – where to find Mickey

For me, a steady top to bottom solve, in twenty minutes, with nothing difficult to explain. I’m expecting a sub-100 snitch.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics

1 Note queen occupying house, say (10)
SEMIQUAVER – SEMI (house) QU (queen) AVER (say).
6 Love last of chess captures winning back piece (4)
OPUS – UP (winning) reversed in O (love) S (last of chesS).
10 Cutting time on ring road fellow circles (7)
MORDANT – MAN (fellow) with O RD inserted and T added.
11 On vacation, amusement in that place in play area? (7)
THEATRE – insert A T (vacated AmusemenT) into THERE = in that place.
12 Procession of figures not unknown in part of Ireland (9)
COUNTDOWN – COUNTY DOWN loses its “unknown” Y.
13 Short introduction to Armenian song and dance (5)
DRAMA – DRAM (short drink) A (intro to Armenian).
14 Drive, coming out of Malmo, to Riga (5)
MOTOR – hidden slightly as above.
15 Low Head of News turned to round of features (4-5)
MOON-FACED – MOO (low as cow does) N(ews) FACED = turned to.
17 Increase in sweet food taken into kind of blue movie (9)
SKYROCKET – SKY (kind of blue) ROCK (sweet food) ET (that movie again). In case you don’t have it in your bailiwick, ROCK is a stick of sugar confectionery with letters (e.g. BLACKPOOL) cleverly running through it.
20 Delayed expression of approval? (2,3)
ON ICE – O ! NICE being an expression of approval.
21 East to west, head for German city (5)
ESSEN – E then reversed NESS (head as in geog.).
23 Examiner not precise in translation out of English (9)
INSPECTOR – (NOT PRECIS)*, the E being removed from precise.
25 Nab criminal wearing soft fabric, one running the cooler (3,4)
FAN BELT – FELT (soft fabric) with (NAB)* inside.
26 Somewhere in California I see in Maine, surprisingly? (7)
ANAHEIM – (MAINE)* with AH ! (I see!) inserted. I remembered this from a trip to Disneyland with the kids in mid eighties.
27 In France the art remains shunned by consumers (4)
LEES – French for “the” = LE  and “art” = ES as in tu es.
28 Animal trainer securing right means to get milk (6,4)
BREAST PUMP – BEAST (animal) insert R for right; PUMP = trainer, old name for a training shoe or plimsoll. My LOI as I’ve never seen one of these in action.
1 Amount added to account? It may bear fruit (5)
SUMAC -SUM (amount) AC (account). Sumac or Rhus trees have fruit which are ground to use as a spice in some countries.
2 Decorative veneer sample with leading brand (9)
MARQUETRY – MARQUE (leading brand) TRY (sample).
3 Put up with one hammering meat (7-7)
QUARTER-POUNDER – QUARTER (put up, accommodate) POUNDER (someone hammering). Burger time.
4 Maybe music class getting answer right at first (3,4)
ART FORM – A(nswer) RT (right) FORM (class of pupils).
5 Corrode a metal in periodically scratched section (3,4)
EAT INTO –  A TIN inside alternate letters of s E c T i O n.
7 Aide saving regular tranches of venture capital once (5)
PETRA – PA (aide, personal assistant) with alternate letters of v E n T u R e inserted. Famous “rose city” in Jordan, inhabited for some 7000 years, but having read up on Wiki it’s not entirely clear to me what it was the capital of. The Edomites, perhaps.
8 Start to scarper, fly, go off and leg it (9)
SKEDADDLE – S(carper), KED (sort of fly) ADDLE (go off). Think I’ve seen this clue before, or very similar. The etymology of the word seems to be unknown.
9 What witches do with e.g. worker’s legal agreement (4,2,8)
DEED OF COVENANT – a DEED of (the) COVEN would be what witches do, and ANT = worker.
14 Old lady’s looking sad, abandoned by a virtuoso (9)
MASTERFUL – MA’S (old lady’s)  TEARFUL (sad) losing an A.
16 Strong drink stirred reaction, you heard (9)
COINTREAU – (REACTION)*, U sounds like you.
18 A thousand I withheld from lousier clothes-maker? (7)
KNITTER – K (a thousand) NITTIER = lousier, take away an I.
19 Hosting East German, bit a kind of pancake (7)
TOSTADA – TAD (bit) A, with OST (German for east) inside.
22 Feel this could make 21 (5)
SENSE – anagram of ESSEN.
24 Concerned with politician concealing a plot again (5)
REMAP – RE (concerned with) MP (politician), insert A.


51 comments on “Times 28503 – where to find Mickey”

  1. 31:04, which should help raise the SNITCH
    A couple of DNKs contributed to my slowth, but mainly I think it was just dimness on my part; I suppose I could say I wasn’t on the wavelength, if I thought there was a wavelength to be on or off. NHO DEED OF COVENANT. DNK PUMP as ‘trainer’, so while I got PUMP fairly quickly, I kept trying to think of an animal trainer. I’d like to say DNK ROCK, but I’ve read Brighton Rock; but I just wondered how ROCKET could be called sweet. LOI DRAMA; it took me forever to recall that sort of short.

    1. Blackpool Rock. I was reminded of this George Formby song, but many may be unfamiliar with it. Sorry. I commented here before seeing BW’s comment below.

  2. Interesting mix of French, German (a real German word too, not just the usual G), and American. Plus the Brit sweet.
    I had Essen as E(ast) then just Ness to the west. Nice clues, nice blog.

  3. 30 minutes for me. Surprisingly, DEED OF COVENANT was my LOI needing all the checkers (well, I had DEED OF early on but it was unclear what the last word was). I also had ESSEN as E + head to west. It doesn’t quite work as an all-reversed answer. I think describing a TOSTADA as a pancake is a bit of a stretch, but with OST in the middle there wasn’t going to be any other choice.

    It is interesting how they get the letters into the rock. They make a huge circular construction with the letters, and then turn it into something conical and roll it until it is about an inch thick. Probably use a machine these days.

  4. 44 minutes. Just about to submit with “head” for DEED OF COVENANT until a thankfully truncated alphabet trawl put me right. I don’t know what the ‘e.g.’ is doing in the wordplay; we’re usually just given ‘worker’ (without the e.g.) for ANT and it doesn’t seem to add to the surface.

    Helped by having had ANAHEIM appear elsewhere within the last week. Good to see KED (though maybe not if I were a sheep) which occurred to me more quickly than the similarly infested ‘lousier clothes-maker?’, my next to last in.

  5. 29 minutes with the intersecting answers ANAHEIM /TOSTADA responsible for my longest delays. I’d heard of both but took a while to bring them to mind. I used to work with title deeds for a living so DEED OF COVENANT posed no problems.

  6. 28 minutes with LOI MARQUETRY. COD to DEED OF COVENANT and SKYROCKET jointly. (I’m going to be singing about my little stick of Blackpool rock all day now, Pip. Did you know that George Harrison was President of the George Formby appreciation society?) A very pleasant puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.

      1. Yes, the BBC had problems with George’s seaside postcard humour. “With my little ukulele in my hand” was the first song ever they took off their playlist. They were still banning things when Chuck Berry wanted to play with his ding-a-ling.

  7. 67m 13s so I obviously found this more difficult than many.
    LOI was SEMIQUAVER. Like Vinyl I thought ‘queen’ must mean ‘cat’.
    One of my objections today was in 18d where I thought ‘nittier’ was a forced neologism by the setter.
    The other mer was in 28ac. As far as I’m concerned you can have PUMPS in the plural but not in the singular.
    COD to SUMAC. Nice to see the clue not refer to Albert Camus for once.
    I had to stop myself from focusing on cooler = jail in 25ac.
    Final thoughts;
    I wonder if there is a sandstone carving of a Blue Peter dog in PETRA?
    I always thought MORDANT was on the Northern Line…
    Thanks, Pip!

    1. All the usual sources have ‘nitty’ as ‘infested with nits’ dating from the 16th century. Collins specifies ‘nittier, nittiest’ as the comparative and superlative forms.

    2. There was a Peruvian singer Yma Sumac who was very famous in the 1950’s for her 5- octave range. Supposedly descended from the last Incan emperor my dad smelt a hoax and claimed she was just a French singer Amy Camus who made up the exotic backstory to enhance her career.

  8. How sing the splendour of the revelries,
    When butts of wine are drunk off to the lees?

    After 20 mins mid-brekker I struggled a bit with LOI Lees. Shameful.
    I liked it, mostly Count(y)Down.
    Thanks setter and Pip.

  9. Steady solve today, with TOSTADA LOI.


    Never knew what MORDANT meant. Have you seen Penny’s letter to the bishop?

    16′ 13″, thanks Pip and setter.

  10. You COUNTDOWN SKYROCKETs perforce
    Major DRAMA should they MOTOR off-course
    A MOON-FACED destination
    And a SENSE of elation
    A safe landing does much to endorse

    1. Inspired by this gem to search out and reread From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne. (or maybe at least just the Classics Illustrated comic book version!).

  11. 45:31, but with one typo. Lots of good clues that felt quite hard all the way through. i liked DEED OF COVENANT even though that’s where I had my pink square

  12. 16 minutes or so. Agree with others that in ESSEN it’s just the ness that’s heading west. Not a fan of 22d referencing it – firstly it’s basically impossible to get it without getting 21a first, and secondly it’s then a write-in once you get the first one.

    I didn’t know SUMAC or LEES but the wordplay helped a lot, and I also didn’t understand the ked part of SKEDADDLE. Hesitated over faced=turned to in MOON-FACED, but I guess it’s OK. Straightforward enough otherwise.

    FOI Countdown
    LOI Drama
    COD Masterful

  13. 14:27. A nice middle-of-the-road 15×15. LOI COUNTDOWN (which I liked). I tried cutting the T out of ORBITAL for 10A at first, but soon saw it wasn’t going to work. I liked NITT(I)ER, SKEDADDLE and FAN BELT the most. Thanks Pip and setter.

  14. 50 mins. Quick start, slow finish with last 4 in FAN BELT, MASTERFUL, SKYROCKET and (LOI) LEES. I feel ashamed too when I think of the tons of them I’ve shovelled around!

    Favourite word SKEDADDLE.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  15. 42:12

    Right on the money with the current Snitch of 106 – everything parsed OK. A slowish solve taking time to tease out the answers. Was a bit concerned at first having solved only three clues on the first parse, after which things gradually picked up.

    I recall mentioning to a previously good-humoured work colleague that his beloved intended was a bit MOON-FACED – he was distinctly cooler with me after that! Oops.

  16. DNF. I might change my TftT name to DNF. Defeated by Tostada and Anaheim going instead for the implausible Tostiba and Inaheam.

    COD. COUNTDOWN. Hosted by “Dirty Wheelchair” when I was a contestant in my callow youth. In the earliest episodes, the young woman who put up the numbers was a former Miss England known as Beverley Isherwood. Also known in our student household as “We love her body sire!” The original dictionary corner “celebrity”was Ted Moult. Less imaginatively rearranged as “Mud to Let”.

    1. I went on once, probably about 1990, got soundly beaten. It was that dog food salesman, Freud, when I was there.

      1. I was a Countdown series champ way back. Went to dinner with Richard W, Carol V and Richard Stilgoe, then RW got breathalysed on the way back from the restaurant, then banned for 18 months.

  17. I liked this. The surfaces were almost universally good, there were very few link-words and floating ‘a’s (not that that’s necessarily bad, but their absence indicates a tightness in the clueing). The only three criticisms I could make are the fact that in two successive clues (5 and 7dn) we have the alternate letters device; and as has been said, you couldn’t really solve 22dn without having 21ac and once you have, it’s a write-in; also 26ac is an obscurity (to me, anyway — I’ve never been to Disneyland and am very unlikely to do so) clued by an anagram. 28 minutes. For some reason setters often clue ‘ant’ as ‘worker, possibly’, or perhaps the other way round. Seems a bit pedantic but I suppose you can get ants that aren’t worker ants and workers that aren’t ants.

    1. Anaheim appears in the title of a great track by Jan and Dean … “The Anaheim Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association”.

      1. I had to look that up. Obviously an attempt to capitalize on the success of their “Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” of the same year.

  18. Incidentally why has my avatar disappeared? I couldn’t really care about it but it was there before and now it’s disappeared.

    Now it’s back, perhaps because I logged in again and it’s just caught up with the fact. But the question remains, why did it disappear in the first place?

  19. 10:42, and in agreement with the suggestion from our blogger that there was nothing too obscure or complicated, just a puzzle which required you to correctly identify the parts from wordplay and assemble, IKEA-style. Though obviously anyone who’s spent the day with an Allen key, a screwdriver and a pile of boxes inscribed “Sven” or “Ytterby” will know there’s always the possibility of missing something vital along the way.

  20. A few tricky bits, but the easiest of the week so far. DEED OF COVENANT was the one that gave me most trouble.
    28 minutes.

  21. I’ll join the chorus of approval for DEED OF COVENANT. The only one I quibbled with was pump=trainer which may be a forgotten Anglicism. Around here a woman’s pump is a plain shoe usually with a highish heel; a man’s pump is something worn with evening dress and looks like a woman’s flat ballet-type slipper with a bow or rosette. 14.07

    1. Pumps is another word for plimsolls. You very rarely hear either these days. I suspect it may only be a matter of time before kids here start saying ‘sneakers’ and ‘trainers’ goes the same way.

  22. Irritated to be beaten by some of the (I see now) less difficult ones: DEED OF COVENANT (how could I not see it with all crossers!?!) and KNITTER. Gave up on the hour. Not my week.

  23. 35:50 – with interruptions, but I am not sure I would have been much faster without. Nothing too tricky, vocab-wise, but MORDANT, KNITTER, ANAHEIM and DEED OF COVENANT extended proceedings well into extra time.

  24. Another really enjoyable puzzle.
    Finished in one hour (again) without any issues but, post-solve, I did refer to the dictionary for the meanings of Mordant, Lees, Sumac and Ked – so also an instructional puzzle for me.

  25. 8:48. I started slowly on this and thought it was going to be tricky, but I did better with the downs than the acrosses and then constructed the rest steadily from available checkers. No unknowns, which always helps.

  26. I had a lot of interruptions during the solve, but nevertheless managed a reasonable time. SUMAC dived in at first glance, but SEMIQUAVER waited for the final push. Once I was able to concentrate again, the top left corner concentration of Qs dropped neatly into place. Eventually, MASTERFUL, FAN BELT, SKYROCKET and KNITTER finished the job. FAN BELT was held up by a mistyped SSENE at 22d which was corrected when MASTERFUL arrived. 25:59. Thanks setter and Pip.

  27. 35:46. All felt very fair, the right words just weren’t coming to mind and with a few NHOs it was an ongoing battle with wordplay which I just about won!

    I’m always a bit skeptical of clues referencing an intersecting clue, but in this case the reference saved me – got SENSE from “touch” and used the anagram to get ESSEN.

    Thanks piquet and setter.

  28. DNF, couldn’t work out LEES. Annoying to be one short for the second time this week. Favourite clues today were COUNTDOWN, BREAST PUMP and KNITTER (I liked “nittier” for “lousier”). Thanks b & s.

  29. 24 mins. Unusually for me, 2 long ones held me up, one being QUARTER POUNDER, hard for this vegetarian. Which left COD, SEMIQUAVER.

  30. FOI SEMIQUAVER, followed immediately by SUMAC and MARQUETRY. I suspected it was going to be the easiest one of the week, and so it proved, though I was only able to look at a clue at a time, owing to being at work. Only unknown was ANAHEIM, and the crossers left little to the imagination as to the distribution of the rest. Liked FAN BELT, constructed just from the cryptic and the E, with a little burst of glee as the answer emerged. LOI the devious KNITTER. Good fun, but not keeping me as occupied as normal!

  31. I really enjoyed this, with its many quirky clues (to my mind they are), although it took me 65 minutes to complete. My LOIs were DEED OF COVENANT (the first word stumped me until I stopped, but when I returned to the puzzle several hours later I saw it right away) and the crossing DRAMA. Many clues had to be stubbornly teased out of wordplay. I didn’t know the fly in 8 dn, but the answer could only be SKEDADDLE. COD perhaps to COUNTDOWN.

  32. 23.20. Musical terms and foreign foods seem to be current characteristics of this compiler. I suspect I know who he is.

  33. ROCK was indeed out of my bailiwick (thought it’s no doubt cropped up here before), so SKYROCKET was one of my last in. Just now finished, in fact. Not at all hard, but I have to start these earlier in the evening…

  34. Well, I might have to start earlier in the morning! ( start around 6.30 as it is…). Hopelessly defeated by this one , probably knowing that I had a lot on my plate today didn’t help. No idea about 1a as I stuck to my belief that the word started with the note SO – so no good, obviously. Got several, but mostly felt pushed to work faster, so gave up too early. Liked SKEDADDLE and ON ICE best.

  35. Late again from a couple of old Australians. 😉
    We originally thought of Patna as the old capital of Bihar. 🙄

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