Times 28519 – Not our responsibility!

Music: Richard Thompson, (guitar,vocals)

Time: 42 mintues

It seemed a bit like the Friday puzzle had been held over to Monday for this one.    I was dismayed to get only two answers on my first run through the across clues, but fortunately found the down clues more amenable.  If you are willing to trust the cryptics, everything will eventually fall into place.

I think this puzzle is an excellent one of its type; the obscure answers are clued by clear and direct cryptics, while the more common entries may use more devious cluing.   Reiki is an excellent example of a word you may not know, but should get, while Iona and stylus are examples of tricky cryptics leading to well-known answers.

1 Continual concern before forces invaded? (13)
PREOCCUPATION – PRE-OCCUPATION, one I should have seen at once but  did not.
8 Arrive with missing new ship (4)
9 Potentially open to battering like yachts after a storm’s beginning (10)
ASSAILABLE –  A + S[torm’s] SAILABLE.   I thought the AS was from like, but that doesn’t work.
10 Enthuse everyone around with security system (8)
FIREWALL – FIRE (W) ALL.   The correct number of P’s and R’s in chaparral is crucial here!
11 Drunk is held for protection (6)
SHIELD – Anagram of IS HELD, my FOI.
13 Miss Rogers takes break for a small snack (10)
GINGERSNAP – GINGER + SNAP, and not nap as I was thinking when I solved.
16 Island capital set back when hotel doesn’t open (4)
IONA – [h]ANOI backwards.   A tricky one.
17 Mother has what could be Chelsea dress (4)
MAXI – MA + XI, a football eleven.
18 Not much ringing heard for one who sadly died (6,4)
20 Pen where pig is kept with mostly extravagant appetite (6)
STYLUS – STY + LUS[t], where it is important to see that only “where pig is kept” is used to clue sty.
22 Star sign Aries? Tsk, that’s wrong (8)
ASTERISK – Anagram of ARIES + TSK.
24 Reprice rum freshly packaged as superior drink (7,3)
PREMIER CRU – Anagram of REPRICE RUM, where rum is  NOT an anagram indicator.
26 Plant, one only half coming up (4)
IRIS – I + RIS[ing].
27 Fluid pressure with tiles? Use a sealant for this (13)
1 I gasp following quiet lorry — one involved in trial (11)
PARTICIPANT – P ARTIC + I PANT, where trial seems to be something like a second-stage test of a new drug.
2 Maybe a glen provides cover for such a bird (5)
EAGLE – Hidden in [mayb]E A GLE[n].
3 Rough vegetation that was high in TV series? (9)
CHAPARRAL – Allusion to The High Chaparral, an old Western series.    I’m not sure if it was even shown in the UK.
4 Increases one half of capital letter (7)
5 When leader’s gone, transmits farewell (5)
6 Lack of enthusiasm showing in an issue editor cancelled (9)
7 Endlessly queue up for nothing (3)
NIL – LIN[e] upside-down.
12 Ache left with a poisoned wound is not going away quickly (4-7)
LONG-LASTING – LONG + L + A + STING, i.e. a bee sting.
14 Bird’s responsibility about slaughtered mole (9)
GUILLEMOT – GUIL(anagram of MOLE)T.   I spent a long time trying to make remit work.
15 Awfully poor housing built badly for Moscow executive (9)
POLITBURO – Anagram of POOR around an anagram of BUILT, indicating an executive agency.
19 Transport market rising? About right (7)
TRAMCAR – MART upside-down + CA + R.   My LOI, as I was looking at a different sense of transport, where TRANCE_ almost works, but doesn’t.
21 Tons invested in visionary guide (5)
23 Healing technique is concerning with current flayed skin (5)
REIKI – RE + I + [s]KI[n] – just follow the cryptic.
25 Inside of crustacean’s not cooked (3)
RAW – [p]RAW[n] – yes, remove the outer letters from a word that is not explicitly given.

66 comments on “Times 28519 – Not our responsibility!”

  1. A Monday puzzle for me, or just one that suited me. Couldn’t solve preoccupation cold, but BRIG went straight in and then steadily solved anticlockwise. L2I INANITION on trust and finally SHIELD of all thiings – took too long to see it was an anagram. Had enough crossers to spell CHAPARRAL correctly when I got there, and for GUILLEMOT to be a write-in when I got there, and surprisingly saw Hanoi/Iona instantly.
    Quite liked the TRAMCAR and ADIOS, both took some thinking to parse.

    1. Reading comments below… I knew of reiki, which helped… once had a housemate who was a practitioner.

  2. 13:36
    No problems, other than LOI REIKI. We’ve had it before–NHO the first time–but I couldn’t recall it, and it teook me a while to see the wordplay. I was unsure of the spelling of CHAPARRAL, but GINGERSNAP settled that. Somehow I knew the Western–never saw it. Liked IONA.

  3. This didn’t seem very rough at all, and I’d had a number of drinks… karaoke night!
    Oscar Wilde, or someone very like him, is reported to have said, “One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of LITTLE NELL without dissolving into tears… of laughter.” (Or something like that.)
    Was glad to think of INANITION, maybe the most infrequently encountered word here… well, along with GUILLEMOT, though that came to me readily.

      1. Yes .. no firm citation anywhere. Possibly to be expected though, if he said it and didn’t write it .. if he didn’t say it, he should have done 🙂

    1. Your quote about Little Nell reminded me of the opening line of Bare Nell “i knew that one day i could become perhaps a famous writer or a famous whore. It was my spelling let me down.”

  4. 47 minutes. The crossing pair IRIS / REIKI delayed me for ages as the healing technique was unfamiliar and finding a four-letter plant to fit ??I? was a tricky remit until I realised that ‘one’ was cluing another ‘I’.

    I have no recollection of meeting INANITION before but no doubt it has come up. [Just checked. Only one appearance, in March 2017, apart from a couple of Jumbos before I started doing them regularly.]


    Does ‘arrive’ really mean BRING?

    The High Chaparral was indeed shown in the UK. It was a little after the golden age of TV Westerns (1950s to mid-1960s) but had the advantage of being made in colour and shown here at a time when ownership of colour TVs was really taking off

  5. 12:52. I solved much of this around PB speed then ground to a halt with INANITION and CHAPPARAL left. INANITION sounded too much like a momble for me to have any confidence in it. I was more confident about CHAPPARAL but it had to be dragged from the recesses of my mind – the TV series rang a vague bell but it seems a bit obscure to me. I wait to be proved wrong by hearing how everyone else is perfectly familiar with it.

    1. Chapparal is how I spelled it too, making firewall unobtainable. Inexcusable as I initially wanted to spell it with double p and double r, and dropped the wrong superfluity.
      Thank you setter and blogger, for respectively mystifying and elucidating that Chelsea was an XI, I’m not a follower of any type of foopball.

  6. 32m 18s.
    At first I thought this was going to be one of those Monday puzzles that was delayed from Friday but it all fell into place eventually.
    COD: STYLUS/MAXI. At first I wondered if “Chelsea” might refer to a postcode but SW1 is not near Chelsea and SW10 uses up too many characters.
    I have always found it curious that BRIG can mean a ship and also a prison on a ship or a naval base.
    Finally, I find it difficult to resist the old saying about Ginger Rogers: she did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels!

  7. 22 minutes, mainly of delicious enjoyment. I particularly liked LITTLE NELL, GINGERSNAP and ADIOS. I had to construct INANITION and the unknown REIKI though. Thank you V and setter.

  8. 15m, 5m on just one clue

    “the obscure answers are clued by clear and direct cryptics” – I suppose, if by “clear and direct cryptics” you mean obscure tv shows that no-one under the age of 70 has heard of, then uh sure.

    1. It used to be on TV well into the 90s and relentlessly in the 70s and 80s. Epitome of Sunday boredom.

      Under 50 is probably the cut off!

  9. I loved THE HIGH CHAPARRAL. Uncle Buck, Manelito, John Cannon, all came flooding back.

    Unaccountably, I couldn’t get MAXI this morning 🙁 otherwise about 15′.

    Thanks vinyl and setter

  10. 24 mins and very enjoyable. Definitely on the wl. LOI FIREWALL as I had carelessly misspelled CHAP(P)ARRAL. I remember the show well.

    Having a PREOCCUPATION with Ier Crus I would be a keen PARTICIPANT in a bottle of Vosne-Romanée Les Suchots, with a hint of GINGERBREAD and IRIS, the finish would be LONG-LASTING, I’m sure.

    Ahhhh Fairport Convention, now there was a band..

    Thank you v (and for the memorial) and setter.

      1. Yes, agreed but I was referring to their heyday which your comment about Sandy Denny would seem to underline.

  11. 10:52. I tried to make 27A out of an anagram of PRESSURE and TILES for a while not realising i was one letter short but RAW and GUILLEMOT let me see the light. INANITION my new word for the day. Thanks vinyl and setter.

  12. 21.53. Luckily ‘Chaparral’ was clued in a way that didn’t require me to remember the spelling, which would have floored me.

  13. 22:06. Would have been quicker if I hadn’t got stuck at the ADIOS/ASSAILABLE interchange. Fairly Mondayish on the whole

    Lots to like here. In particular LITTE NELL. CHAPARRAL and POLITBURO.

    A minor quibble; ADIOS seems, to me, counter-intuitive – with the wording suggesting that “transmits” is the result AFTER the removal of the first letter of the solution rather than before .

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  14. Good effort, but the carelessly entered ARGO (AR + GO) for the ship at 8A stuffed up EAGLE. I just misread the clue. Just could not see PREOCCUPATION, even though I knew how the clue would work. And the “battered” in 9A left me looking for an anagram in ASSAILABLE.

    But apart from that, clues went in at a fair old rate.


  15. I started off too hastily with 1a being PREPOSSESSION but soon righted that with CHAPARRAL , Thereafter it flowed smoothly until my LOI INANITION in 19 minutes. LITTLE NELL was the best one.

  16. Quick today, as befits a Monday.
    I remembered the High Chaparral, though not how to spell it which meant firewall took a while to arrive ..

  17. 7:26 but with a really annoying error. I got REIKI from wordplay but managed to type RAIKI, and my (very slight) familiarity with the word wasn’t sufficient to enable me to spot the error when I checked my answers.
    Fortunately I had vaguely heard of the TV show but CHAPARRAL is sufficiently obscure to merit some wordplay IMO.

  18. 23 minutes, and agree that this was good. Somehow I had no problem with the spelling of Chaparral and must have had some checkers there. But it did strike me that it was hardly cryptic, and as LouWeed says it may be a complete mystery to anyone under a certain age (although 70 seems a bit high). I’d have said that UPSILON is far less common than epsilon, not sure why, perhaps from my maths learning in the distant past. Had thought that POLITBURO was linked to the Soviet Union and no longer exists, but I’m wrong.

  19. Neat one. I got stuck on INANITION because of the definition. I only knew the word from Jane Eyre where she suffers from it (exhaustion and starvation) after wandering on the moors – DNK it could also mean lack of enthusiasm. 14.50

  20. I was lucky to see PREOCCUPATION at once, which set me up for most of the top half, and I then to my surprise found everything falling into place. After 15 minutes I just had two left. REIKI was generously clued, though I had never heard of the word, but it took several more minutes to find MAXI, having dabbled, like others, in postcodes and other irrelevant material. So total time was 18 minutes, a PB which I shall probably never improve on. I was puzzled about BRING=arrive, so thanks for the explanation.
    LOI – MAXI
    Thanks to vinyl1 and other contributors.

  21. A fairly Mondayish puzzle, I thought, with the exception of INANITION (obscure but gettable from the cryptic) & CHAPARRAL, which was impossible if (like me) you don’t know the vegetation or the TV show. DNF, retiring hurt after about six and a half minutes with no guess for C_A_A_R_L.

    There’s some nice stuff in here, but the repetition of ‘one half of’ & ‘one only half’ for the same device was a little unfortunate.

    COD for the ‘star sign’ in ASTERISK.

  22. Cryptic means ‘hidden’, and Chambers also gives ‘unseen’, so Wil Ransome’s plaint seems a little harsh. One assumes the clue is cryptic to start with, so surely clueing so that it isn’t ‘hidden’ is as valid a way of hiding it as any?
    In my schooldays one was either pro- ‘Chaparral’ or ‘Bonanza’. I think I favoured the latter, but they were much of a muchness.
    RIP Horryd. As a relative newcomer to the blog I always assumed he really was Richard Wilson, which I suppose was intentional.

  23. Another quick start, followed by a slowdown. I thought of CHAPARRAL immediately, but couldn’t remember which letter was doubled, P or R. I didn’t know the meaning of the word, either. Last ones in were INANITION, ASSAILABLE, PREOCCUPATION, UPSILON, and FIREWALL. The lower half was far easier despite the unknown REIKI (very fairly clued).
    40 minutes.

  24. A gentle start to the week, with a couple of outliers needing some thought. The High CHAPARRAL was popular in the TV room at college in my student days, but like a few others I wasn’t sure of the spelling, and my first attempt held up FIREWALL for a while. REIKI was vaguely remembered but needed constructing. INANITION also had to be assembled from the instructions. EAGLE and PARTICIPANT got me off to a good start, immediately followed by PREOCCUPATION. INANITION and the parsing of IONA finished the job. 13:18. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  25. 20:58 but with one wrong. I thought it had to be the unknown INANATION but no. I had spelled CHAPARREL like that, with an E. It’s always harder to spot duff spellings in down clues

  26. Knew the TV show but misspelt it (CHAPARELL) and also put a Y instead of an E on the end of ASSAILABLE.
    But still enjoyed it. Just right for me.

  27. 11:18

    Not the finest start – first entries: SHIELD, ADIOS and MAXI but things seriously picked up around the bottom of the grid, then worked my way up – bang on the wavelength for 95% of it. Thought the Snitch would be lower than 73 when I checked. Only hold-ups were the spelling of CHAPARRAL – two Ps or two Rs? – and then what to enter as the second and fourth letters of 6d – had already thought of EDITION without the ED. Held breath on submission…

    Thanks setter and Vinyl1 for unravelling.

  28. 32 mins very slow for a Monday. Admit having to look up the spelling of CHAPARRAL after the P didn’t seem to work for 10a. My undoing was NHO INANITION and LITTLE NELL crossers.

  29. I remembered the TV show, but not how to spell it. I vaguely remember a stirring theme tune and an attractive hispanic lady.
    Having entered a double PP for 3d, I was looking for -I-E-P-L, and thinking it was something related to INTERPOL.
    Eventually I checked the spelling of CHAPARRAL in Chambers, and then 10a was easy!
    So, technically a DNF today.
    I did like the ASTERISK and GINGERSNAP clues!
    Thank you for the helpful blog, and thanks Setter.

  30. A near record for me of 9’06”, so obv it must have been easy, and I took a bit of a punt on the spelling of CHAPARRAL. Until recently I’d always assumed the CHAPARRAL was a person. If anyone wants to hear an interview with Horryd aka David Horry , it is here: https://davedye.com/2023/01/12/podcast-horry/comment-page-1/#comment-13098. A friend of mine worked under him, and was full of reminiscences. Funnly enough on the website there is a photo of an old Times crossword (apparently he never started work before completing it). Bottom left is ILLYRIAN, which we had the other day.

      1. Totally agree: loved the link and the introduction to what ‘Horryd’ was all about – took me a while to view it all, but worth it to understand the man and his mind a little bit better. Thank you.

    1. Thanks very much for the link!
      There is so much on this page. I’m going to spend more time later (after work) studying it.
      A very nice tribute, recommended to anyone wondering about the regretted international man of mystery.

  31. DNF. Defeated by CHAPARRAL (I had no idea what TV series was being referred to, and I didn’t know the vegetation) and LITTLE NELL, where for some reason I put ‘Little Noll’ – I got mixed up between my grassy banks and ringing sounds, and shamefully I’m not familiar enough with Dickens to know the character.

    COD Little Nell (despite not getting it!)

  32. Thought I’d have a go at this as I know Monday puzzles are meant to be a bit gentler… After an hour I was left with TRAMCAR, CHAPARRAL (so cross as this was one of my dad’s favourite programmes when I was growing up), MAXI and FIREWALL. Very happy with that! Many thanks for the blog and all your comments.

  33. 14:42 It could have been longer, but fortunately I deleted MERRIER CUP before it caused any problems.

  34. Felt pretty straightforward and my time of 23 mins is up there with my better days. REIKI came from the cryptic (always trust it, they say) and my LOI was a cross-fingered and unparsed LITTLE NELL where nothing else would fit. The homophone was obvious once I saw today’s blog. Thanks to blogger and setter as usual.

  35. DNF, as couldn’t think of ASSAILABLE and had to use aids. I was looking for a word for potentially or else potentially open to… LOI SHIELD, as like someone else I failed to realise it was an angram for the longest time. No problem with the spelling of CHAPARRAL, as I already had FIREWALL in and also, it’s a Spanish term and there are no double Ps in that language. Useful to remember, perhaps? Chelsea also fooled me for quite a while, as I searched mentally for postcodes, but no problem with LITTLE NELL or GINGERSNAP. IRIS had to be the answer, but I couldn’t see why ‘sir’ was only half! COD to ASTERISK, clever clueing.

  36. 26.16 NHO INANATION but followed the wordplay and crossed my fingers. Had heard of the High Chaparral, but no idea of how to spell it, so needed FIREWALL to correct my initial wrong guess.

    Enjoyed IONA and ASTERISK.

    Many thanks.

  37. Stared at this for ages without much progress, then walked the dogs and returned re-invigorated to complete the grid quite speedily. Except – forgot to fill in 17 across although I had the checkers, and managed to spell 3 down as Chapaaral, which didn’t interfere with the other clues but was unfortunately wrong. Hey ho. Liked Little Nell and Reiki.

  38. 06:52, so no delays to speak of, apart from the one where I wrote in CHAPPARAL slightly hesitantly, while thinking “this is a 50/50 guess, so I must remember not to be too wedded to whichever spelling I choose”, and soon realised I had, indeed, got it wrong. Never been a big fan of Westerns, but there you go, I had at least heard of the show.

    Thank you for the obituary to Meldrew, sadly the price of being part of any community for years and years is having to bid farewell to its other members from time to time.

  39. This PREOCCUPATION with “Bird”
    Is bordering upon the absurd
    But just think on this,
    With ibis for IRIS
    We might even have suffered a third

    1. And yet, without the knowledge of the “birds and the bees” re sexual awareness, let alone the crucial role of the stork in childbirth, how could mankind carry on?

  40. Finished in a couple of sessions broken by looking up trains along the West Coast main line in February and March. It seems Avanti have problems.
    Anyway I mirrored others on the puzzle. LOI ASSAILABLE. Constructed INANITION. Misspelt CHAPARRAL at first.
    Enjoyed it. COD narrowly to FIREWALL.

  41. 39 minutes and no real problems, with ADIOS and MAXI as my LOI. Well, no real problems except for GUILLEMOT, which reminded me of the French quotation brackets guillemets, so that I had no idea whether it should be GUILLEMOT or GUILLOMET. I did guess correctly, but with an anagram of MOLE and both vowels unchecked the wordplay was less than a perfect help in constructing this unknown bird. Incidentally, my Larousse, in which I looked up guillemet to be sure of the spelling, does have the bird guillemot right under it.

  42. All fine except didn’t know how to spell chaparral- so guessed chaparrel! Will have to remember it only has one of the vowels present. So a fail on day 1 of the week! Drat!

  43. 12.28. This one was a gentle stroll. Needed a moment to decide whether Chaparral was one P and two Rs or two Ps and one R. I note with interest Alto-Ego’s observation that there are no double Ps in Spanish. I also missed the blindingly obvious definition of stylus and wondered how it meant appetite.

  44. Good puzzle for me – very nearly finished in my (allowed ) time of over morning tea and toast, apart from getting the wrong end of the stick with LITTLE TOLD ( as in ‘tolled’?) which made the NHO INANITION impossible too. Like many others, didn’t link ‘with’ with ‘arrive’ in 8a, thereby not understanding ?R?G, but enjoyed GINGERSNAP ( does anyone under 70 know Fred & Ginger?), STYLUS and ASTERISK of many others.

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