Times 28513 – Of thrones, dominations and principalities

Welcome from Tasmania, where the wife and I have wended our way after a couple of days watching the tennis in Rod Laver Arena. This was a pretty regular offering for a Monday, I thought, with a couple of words that we have seen recently popping up again, and nothing too tricky in the wordplay department.

20:32 for me. How did you go?

1 Small dose maybe overwhelming male player (5)
THESP – HE (male) in TSP (teaspoon – used in recipes)
4 Spiritual being to evolve in a couple of ways? (9)
ARCHANGEL – CHANGE (evolve) in A RL (right and left – couple of ways)
9 A brief walk with a live navigational device (9)
ASTROLABE – A STROL[l] A BE (live – verb)
10 Half-heartedly make for island (5)
CRETE – CRE[a]TE (CREATE with one [half] of its medial letters deleted)
11 Cross king with nothing on sandwiches (6)
NARKED – R (king) in (sandwiched by) NAKED (nothing on)
12 A bug to move slowly if necessary (2,1,5)
AT A PINCH – A TAP (bug – think Watergate) INCH (move slowly)
14 Friend initially meets composer outside European resort (4,5)
PALM BEACH – PAL (friend) M (first letter of meets) E (European) in BACH (Johann Sibelius or any of his myriad sons)
16 Calm bit of music on the radio (5)
PEACE – sounds like piece
17 Thanks charity, say, for steps taken in Latin America? (5)
19 Heft of punishments accepted by workers, possibly? (9)
21 Book written backwards by one fool combined symbols (8)
EMOTICON – TOME reversed I CON (fool)
22 Gentleman I ditched for a fuddy-duddy (6)
SQUARE – SQUIRE with the I replaced by an A
25 Pinot Noir seen regularly near a region of Greece (5)
IONIA – [p]I[n]O[t] N[o]I[r] A
26 Wrong meal cooked — tongue! (3,6)
27 Duly hire new housing minister, ultimately in a rush (9)
HURRIEDLY – R (final letter of minister) in DULY HIRE*
28 User doesn’t open skin care product (5)
TONER – [s]TONER; STONER is not a word I’m familiar with for an addict/habitual user, but I have lived a sheltered life
1 Coaches author, one quiet and nerdy (15)
TRAINSPOTTERISH – TRAINS (coaches) POTTER (e.g. Beatrix, Dennis) I SH
2 Chemical to decay with lid taken off (5)
ESTER – [f]ESTER; ‘For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds’ (Shakespeare, Sonnet 94)
3 Saw dog held by lead (7)
4 Greek warrior with a javelin’s tip and short weapon (4)
AJAX – A J (initial letter of javelin) AX[e] (singular British axes have an E)
5 Handy guide teaches the cooks (5,5)
6 Drink cola mixed by old man (7)
7 Fruit grower’s head to hire once again (9)
GREENGAGE – G (initial letter of grower) REENGAGE
8 One from a small place in Leicester then relocated (15)
13 Confused deer mostly ran very slowly around lake (10)
BAMBOOZLED – BAMB[i] L (lake) in OOZED (ran very slowly)
15 One with property left over an unhappy experience (9)
18 Nice friend supporting one in organisation that’s folding? (7)
ORIGAMI – AMI (friend in French) after I (one) in ORG (organisation)
20 Study one knight before a suitable activity? (7)
INQUEST – I (one) N (knight in chess) QUEST (suitable activity for a knight)
23 Organisation essential for badminton (5)
ADMIN – hidden in [b]ADMIN[ton]
24 Note means “not at home” (4)
AWAY – A (musical note) WAY (means)

75 comments on “Times 28513 – Of thrones, dominations and principalities”

  1. I noticed it would likely be a pangram, as it indeed was, but it didn’t help to complete the puzzle. It rarely does.
    FOI TRAINSPOTTERISH, which was useful for an abundance of starters. EMOTICON I’d have thought would be a singular symbol, but I see it is formed by a combination of keys. I toyed with EMOJISMS before discarding them.

  2. 26 minutes. Not too difficult though I had no idea about how TONER worked either. I did find spotting the likely pangram (yes, it is a rather 1d activity) useful in the SE corner for INQUEST and then SQUARE. We had IONIA in the QC last Wednesday when it was clued as ‘ancient part of Asia’, for Western Anatolia in Turkey. As was noted in the discussion on the blog, the Ionian Islands are part of Greece, so quite confusing.

    That JS Bach certainly left a wonderful musical legacy. As well as being the father of several sons who were prolific composers, it seems he may have been the great-great-great or whatever grandfather of a certain Finnish composer.

    Thanks to ulaca – hope you’re enjoying your time in Tassie – and setter

    1. There used to be a joke about Bach, all his children, and his organ having no stops.

  3. I agonised over CRETE. When we’ve seen it before, “half-heartedly” has reduced a repeated double letter to just one: eg MEET -> MET.

  4. Agreed, I can’t recall seeing this device used to mean ‘delete either of the middle letters’.

    1. I can’t recall any examples, of course, but my feeling is that we’ve had such clues before; I certainly wasn’t surprised by this one. And I can’t see any reason why the ‘heart’ should be a double letter.

  5. As I have noted elsewhere, today has not been my best of days for crosswords. I solved all of this apart from four clues in 30 minutes but after another 10 minutes I hadn’t made any further progress so I resorted to aids. And even after that I needed to reveal the answer at 1ac because Chambers Word Wizard didn’t find it. I imagine most solvers started as I did by thinking ‘M’ for ‘male’ in this clue. I eventually moved on to the possibility of ‘HE’ which with checkers would have given me ‘THE?P’ but it still didn’t prompt me to come up with THESP as I was thinking in terms of musicians and players of sport.

    The others that stumped me were the intersecting SQUARE and INQUEST, the second of which I was unable to parse fully because I hadn’t spotted that ‘suitable activity’ referred back to ‘knight’. The T of QUEST confirmed my earlier suspicion that 19ac was TONER but although I considered that ‘user’ might refer to drugs I was unable to parse this as I have never heard of ‘stoner’.

    I had no doubts about TANGO being correct but I didn’t understand NGO = charity. Now that I have established this stands for ‘Non-Governmental Organisation’ I realise ‘charity’ is only an example as indicated by ‘say’ in the clue, as many of them are not charities as such. It’s an abbreviation that doesn’t get quite as much usage these days as the associated QUANGO in which QUA can stand for ‘Quasi-autonomous’.

    1. SQUARE/INQUEST were the source of my DNF. I had trouble thinking of any way to read the clues, beyond trying INSPECT at one point. I tried an alphabet trawl on the down clue, and, typically for me, overlooked Q.
      THESP was my FOI; saw TSP for ‘small dose’, and HE followed; M never came to mind.
      For me, STONER–not that I ever used the word–is (was) someone who smoked marijuana a lot; it has a rather archaic, 60s feel to it. But then so does smoking marijuana.

      1. I hardly ever smoke marijuana now!
        Strictly only vape. Unless I let the flowers get too hot under the ceramic filter.
        But I can assure you, from my daily perambulations all across Brooklyn Heights, that smoking marijuana is hardly redolent of a bygone age.

    2. I, too, got TONER long before INQUEST, but didn’t put it in for similar reasons. I knew stoner, but thought it rather a poor clue. As for INQUEST, I got it only after SQUARE, and even then I didn’t understand it, assuming it to imply that you would wear a suit to an inquest.

  6. I slowed down in the SE and finally finished with… of all things… (-s)TONER!
    Though (if not because…? Ha) I am a confirmed “user” in that sense (I hadn’t checked the anagrist so had LIECHTENSTEINAN before I did).
    I’ve never seen THESP in the wild.
    Seemed there should be an indication that ADMIN is itself an abbreviation, and not just part of “badminton.”

      1. I see that Collins has it as “informal short,” which isn’t strictly an abbreviation. Not surprising.

        1. For what it’s worth, ODE has “[mass noun] (informal), chiefly (Brit.) the administration of a business, organization, etc.” “–origin 1940s: abbreviation.”

          1. In education circles where I worked, sections of staff were ‘academic’ or ‘admin’.

    1. Well THESP is an abbreviation that wasn’t indicated. I was quite surprised to find it with its own entry in the SOED.

      1. I hate to say it but I did a little search and found it was in the wordplay for a clue in this crossword you blogged in November and wasn’t indicated as an abbreviation there.

        1. No surprise. I’ve written a lot of stuff here! Actually the point I had in mind today wasn’t so much the abbreviation was not indicated but rather that Guy hadn’t queried it whilst he did query ADMIN which I’d have thought was used very widely.

  7. I had a really stupid error. I saw how SQUARE worked, with the A substituting for I, and then went and typed SQUIRE anyway (which doesn’t even fit since it knocked out an A checker in ADMIN which I already had filled in). It’s the kind of error I would never make on paper, of course, since you don’t bother to fill in the letters that are already filled in. I was surprised TRAINSPOTTERISH was a word, but I realized immediately it would start as it did, and the wordplay gave ISH clearly.

  8. O Peace! and dost thou with thy presence bless
    The dwellings of this war-surrounded Isle;

    30 mins mid-brekker with last two Inquest/toner without understanding either.
    I like half-heartedly to be doubles. I don’t like Thesp and Admin.
    Thanks setter and U.

  9. 31 minutes with LOI and COD BAMBOOZLED. I still resent TRAINSPOTTERISH. Such activity was hip for ten year old boys in the days of steam, or at least I thought so. I entered TONER in faintly, not totally convinced of the skin product or the drug user, neither my areas of competence. That wasn’t what Ian Allen meant by trainspotting. I use ADMIN as a word frequently enough now, and not always pejoratively. A good puzzle. Thank you U and setter.

    1. I still pop into Ian Allen’s bookshop in Waterloo for a mooch when I’m in London. A veritable treasure trove.

      1. I’ve still got my Ian Allen books from when I was a youngster. Buses and trains. I was not trainspotterish – I was full-blown anorak in those days. Better than being a stoner, I suppose.

  10. 17′ 10″, could have been quicker, held up by convincing myself that the Greek warrior began with J. Also LEICHTENSTEINER needed all the crossers.

    Didn’t parse THESP.

    In the UK one routinely refers to ‘admin’ staff.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

    1. FWIW, I was another Leichtensteiner… the I ending had me wanting to write in CAPRI at 10 ac. CRETE was LOI.

  11. 14:08. I spelt LIECHENSTEINER with an EI to start with which held me up on CRETE. LOI TONER when I eventually deduced STONER was a word for user. I liked PROVERB and GREENGAGE. Thanks Ulaca and setter.

  12. 6:55 but with a very stupid typo. I would have been quicker without a carelessly biffed INSPECT.
    No problem with THESP or ADMIN: I wouldn’t really call them abbreviations. An abbreviation arguably ceases to be such when people use it regularly in speech. Typo is another example!

  13. About 26 minutes, with the most time spent on the NW corner. Like others, I took a long time to move away from male=M in order to get THESP, and only then did ESTER and NARKED fall into place. I also hadn’t heard of ASTROLABE, though the wordplay was helpful.

    A nice puzzle to start the week. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Trainspotterish
    LOI Narked
    COD Liechtensteiner

  14. 10:20

    I was sent over 10′ by the SQUARE / INQUEST pair. Had I spotted that a pangram was on the cards I dare say I’d have got them much sooner. I was also a little confused by IONIA changing continents over the weekend, as note above.

    FOI was ASTROLABE and I think I only know the word from crosswords.

  15. Nice crossword (they’re always nice when you finish them in under 30 minutes, as I just did). No problems, just regular solutions. Have just understood the remark in the blog about J.S. Bach and a certain Finnish composer. Victor Borge asks for names of composers: “Bach”, “Which one, Johann Sebastian or Offen?”

    1. I am pretty familiar with composers, but don’t understand the thing about Bach and a Finnish composer. Am I being thick? The two most well-known are Sibelius and Rautavaara – I assume it doesn’t apply to either…

      1. Sorry for the late reply. You sound as though you know much more about music than I do so I’m probably teaching you how to suck eggs, but what about Bernhard Crusell? Here’s his “Introductions and Variations on a Swedish Song for Clarinet and Orchestra” if you’re interested or haven’t heard it before.

        1. I don’t think I’ve heard that particular piece before, BR, but it’s lovely. I knew Crusell was a keen composer of clarinet music and to be fair, I’d assumed he was Swedish, but I see now that he was born in Finland, and considered himself a Finn although he lived most of his life in Sweden and spoke Swedish, as indeed did Sibelius, who had no Finnish. I completely missed the reference to Johann Sibelius in the blog, so didn’t get the joke!

  16. 43:16. Felt like a standard Monday but like so many I got very stuck on the SE corner. Biffing INSPECT didn’t help, and several times I thought “does it have something to do with esquire?”.

    Next time I see a Z in a puzzle I’ll need to turn my pangram radar on. Thanks ulaca and setter.

  17. After 30 minutes I was left with INQUEST and SQUARE unsolved, and I wasn’t sure of TONER. After another fruitless 10 minutes trying various possibilities for 20d I gave up and resorted to aids. THESP was no problem once I realized ‘male’ was not M.

    I can’t think of many words as ugly as TRAINSPOTTERISH.

  18. 22:03

    Comfortable romp to start the week. FOI THESP.

    TRAINSPOTTERISH certainly helped to open things up quickly and entering CRETE before LIECHSTENSTEINER kept the spelling in order – i before e, then e before i.

    Bit of a guess for ESTER and wasn’t sure about TONER until filling in SQUARE and INQUEST at which point I understood.

    LOI BAMBOOZLED (after a few minutes thought)

  19. 24:20. Mondayish with a few head-scratching moments. Nice to see Potter clued as someone other than a wizard.

  20. I got stuck in the SE corner with INQUEST, TONER and SQUARE unsolved, so looked up synonyms for gentleman, which gave me SQUIRE, SQUARE and the other two then dropped into place. I’d previously considered TONER, but having NHO STONER, couldn’t parse it. I then had 13d left as LOI. It totally BAMBOOZLED me for ages. I eventually saw oozed and Bamb(i). Doh! 35:05 with a 5d. Thanks setter and U.

  21. 21:36

    An easy enough amble through this, with a slight pause in the South East where I tried to make INSPECT fit.

    I always thought TONER was used in photocopiers. I suppose Goths could use it for eye-makeup.

    STONER is a very fine novel by John Williams. There is no mention of any drug-taking.

    Thanks to Ulaca and the setter.

  22. Smack on target to the second at 45.00 for this, briefly being held up by 1ac THESP my LOI, where I eventually found the answer without parsing the TSP part of it. I didn’t really care much for TRAINSPOTTERISH as a clue, I feel it’s a bit of a convoluted word and not one I’d expect to see in the crossword.

  23. An easy stroll until I was left with T*E*P and couldn’t see THESP or believe it was a word. I’m just not enough of a theatre luvvy I guess. My FOI was 1d which opened it all up, then ASTROLABE. I toyed with Ether for 2d until I realised it was (F)ESTER. 15 minutes with 1a left unfilled until I came here. INQUEST gets Cod.

  24. Could not get beyond thinking HARRYPOTTERISH must describe a nerd. And also POOTERISH means something similar.

  25. DNF due to THESP. Had no trouble with taking half of the middle out of create but did with TONER – having led an equally sheltered life. Couldn’t get off LINES in the middle of BEEFINESS for some time – still, a decent time for me (except for thesp).

  26. Under 40 minutes for me, which is reasonably satisfying by my standards. No problem with THESP or ADMIN as abbreviations, in my experience they are very commonly used. Like a commentator above, I think TRAINSPOTTERISH is a very ugly word. Thanks both.

  27. 19’10”. Been off for a few days cos Internet down. Orange (ex-France Telecom) b****dy useless. Felt this should have been quicker work, but maybe I’m out of practice. I see Thursday was a 190+ on the Snitch. I look forward. I was slow on EMOTICON because of last-minute doubts about the CON bit. A CON’s a criminal, not a fool — I thought. Till the light dawned! Also spent too long thinking of a synonym for BACKWOODSMAN for 8d, before realising it was an actual small place that was referred to. Many thanks as ever.

  28. Quite quick today but with a big hold-up on my last three: TONER, INQUEST and SQUARE. I had also tried INSPECT.
    Had to think hard about THESP.
    COD to PROVERB , maybe a chestnut but I liked it.
    Agree with BW about trainspotting.
    Off to watch Fred Dibnah on repeat (Yesterday Channel).

  29. A steadyish work through initially, until I was left with 1A and 2D. I nearly gave up at this point, but in the end, having worked out there was no word T—P that made any sense either to the answer or the parsing with M in, I tried HE and THESP hove into sight. ‘Chemical’ was too loose a definition for –T-R for me, so it was frustrating to have two intersecting clues that seemed impossible to solve without one of them giving way.

  30. 26 mins. Quite hard for a Monday, never even thought about a pangram as I struggled in the SE. LOI THESP, male is usually M isn’t it?

  31. 42 mins with Last two in SQUARE and INQUEST which slightly annoyed me as I’d spotted the pangram but not the lack of a Q! Doh.

    DNK ASTROLABE but just followed the cryptic, and guessed at TONER.

    WOD BAMBOOZLED as I often find myself. TRAINSPOTTERISH sounds pretty clumsy.

    Thank you U and setter.

  32. No undue problems today. Liked PROVERB, did not like (s)TONER; or any other clue involving drug cant, of which there seem to be a lot.
    ADMIN is a word I use most days. THESP I knew because it regularly appears in Private Eye, often in relation to Pseuds Corner ..

  33. For the first time ever, spotting that it was a pangram did help me, as my last two were the intersecting “Square” and “Inquest”, and I realised that we hadn’t seen a Q.
    So – the opposite of Rosedeprovence above (sorry, can’t figure out how to type an acute accent on my phone keyboard).

  34. Most of this went in fairly quickly, but I had to leave it and break off to make a long lunch.
    The last two clues- BAMBOOZLED and BEEFINESS- took an age.
    Still, all correct and fully parsed. Nice start to the week.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks setter

  35. A pleasant outing, chewy in parts.
    Not worried about THESP or ADMIN.
    FYI: 2 Ajaxes, Lesser and Greater!
    Thanks to blogger and setter.

  36. Just over an hour (the time over the hour being spent pondering about whether STONER might really mean a “user”), but very inhomogeneously spread, the left side going in at a fair pace, but then leaving me with ARCHANGEL, LIECHTENSTEIN, CHEAT SHEET, BEEFINESS, INQUEST, SQUARE all unsolved. And they went in very very slowly (with a number of complaints: the R and L in ARCHANGEL are perhaps directions, but certainly not ways, LIECHTENSTEIN is a small place but with 15 letters not one that immediately comes to mind, even given the anagrist, and so on). I liked BAMBOOZLED and PROVERB. I do not like word constructions like TRAINSPOTTERISH even if they are strictly allowed.

    1. Policeman: ‘When the suspect entered the corridor, which way did she turn?’

      Witness: ‘Left.’

  37. Having decided to limit myself to 30 minutes / day, this has resulted in a string of DNF, but today I managed 30.31. Technically over time, but let’s not quibble. As my last two were INQUEST / SQUARE, for the first time ever I was helped by realising it must be a pangram, which gave me the Q. I liked TRAINSPOTTERISH, BAMBOOZLED and EMOTICON. Thanks b & s.

  38. AJAX and SQUARE/INQUEST went in easily suggesting a pangram, which was helpful in getting BAMBOOZLED. LOI was THESP.

  39. Completed this in 34 minutes, which was in my usual range. I am not keen on words such as ADMIN and THESP but recognise that they are now pretty standard crossword fare. It did not help that I failed to spot the two long ones at 1dn and 8dn until late in the day, nor did I twig it was a pangram as BAMBOOZLED and INQUEST were also late arrivals.
    LOI – TONER, having been held up, as others were, by not knowing stoner was a user
    On the subject of musical jokes I like the one about the customer who went into a music shop and asked if they had something by Verdi. The assistant asked ‘Do you mean Giuseppe or Monte?’ Or perhaps it wasn’t a joke.
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  40. Finished but took me around 45 minutes. Didn’t spot the pangram or much else to be honest.
    I wonder what today holds?

  41. Thanks to you U and for everyone who contributes. You all have helped me improve.
    Am late because I complete on paper from The Australian which runs about a month behind.
    Don’t know if you like these to be correct for posterity sake. If so shouldn’t the king in 11 across be “R” with naked around it?

    1. Just like you, Barry, I ‘attempt’ the Times crossword in the Australian newspaper about a month late, but don’t often complete it without aids! And, like you, am hugely grateful to all the regular solvers and bloggers on this site, without whom my morning tea and toast would be severely lacking , but I don’t understand your question re 11a, which is exactly how Ulaca has parsed it, no? Please reply if you can, as I don’t often (never before!) come across a fellow ‘better-late-than-never’ solver !

      1. I had a K (for king) instead of an R (rex). You can always pop a comment in, because it will go to the blogger’s email and you’ll probably get a response!

    2. Thanks, amended. I started off doing it in Hong Kong six weeks late, and coming here. Back in 2009 or 2010!

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