Times 28521 – a tale of two guesses

I whizzed through this one, starting with 1a and 1d and thinking it was heading for a personal best; then with two clues unfilled, 11a and 5d, one a suspected anagram, I ground to a halt and had to take an ‘informed guess’ for the two unknown answers then check them online to be sure. I had guessed correctly, but it’s not the way I like to do these things. I don’t remember either of these words appearing before, but I may well be wrong.

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

1 Star players given gold (6)
CASTOR – CAST (players  on stage) OR (gold). Twin star of Pollux in the constellation Gemini.
4 Chum protecting artist, thus providing cover (7)
PARASOL – PAL (chum) with RA (artist) SO (thus) inserted.
9 Commendation, when leader leaves, brings uplift (5)
RAISE – PRAISE loses its leading P.
10 Agent certain to carry round gun after end of war (9)
SURROGATE – SURE (certain) has R (end of war) O (round) GAT (gun) inserted.
11 A lot of money offered by a specialist mag for material (9)
BOMBAZINE – I’d never heard of this, so had to check it out after doing the wordplay; Mrs P hadn’t heard of it either, which is unusual where fabrics are concerned. BOMB is a lot of money; A ZINE is a specialist mag, usually online.
12 Number receiving satisfactory sign (5)
TOKEN – TEN receives OK.
13 Silly fellow ignoring wife or partner (4)
ALLY – WALLY loses W for wife.
14 Defensive position of British PM falling short, intended to be heard (10)
BATTLEMENT – B (British) ATTLE(E) = PM short, MENT sounds like meant = intended.
18 Past Socialist turning Conservative becomes offensive (10)
DEROGATORY – AGO RED = past Socialist, turned = DER OGA, add TORY = Conservative.
20 Go away, only half firing (4)
SHOO – half of SHOO-TING.
23 Firm facing endless shame to go under? (3,2)
COP IT – CO (firm, company) PIT(Y) = endless shame.
24 Turk? A national abroad (9)
ANATOLIAN – (A NATIONAL)*. As Anatolia is a part of Turkey, I don’t know why there is a question mark here.
25 Switching off, making room for love and silence (5,4)
SHOUT DOWN – SHUT DOWN = switching off; insert O for love; silence here as a verb.
26 Criminal division on the home front? (5)
FENCE – double definition, one cryptic.
27 Transfixed, like an extra on stage? (7)
SPEARED – a spear-carrier is a term used for any extra on stage, although it can be a real spear-carrier as in Aida, for example.
28 A few lines from the Home Counties that may stand (6)
SESTET – SE (Home Counties near London) STET (Latin for let it stand). A sestet is six lines of verse, or another spelling of sextet.
1 Spooner’s prohibited string as stuff for packagers (9)
CARDBOARD – Here, the Rev. William Archibald Spooner is saying BARRED CORD for prohibited string.
2 Describing shock of aimless drifting (7)
SEISMAL – (AIMLESS)*. An alternative word for seismic.
3 Letters in some message mostly taken the wrong way (6)
OMEGAS – hidden reversed as above.
4 Quiet advocate for a flushing out of the old order? (5)
PURGE – P (piano, quiet) URGE (advocate).
5 Pole should be freer — too tight (8)
ROOFTREE – (FREER TOO)*. I didn’t know this word, it was my LOI as a likely outcome for the anagrist. It means a ridgepole or beam at the peak of a roof.
6 Hamper in hut left half abandoned (7)
7 Hotelier has this — it may be associated with room service for breakfast? (3-2)
LIE-IN – the word LIE is IN hotelier.
8 Hopeful type with venom, I rave (8)
ASPIRANT – an ASP has venom, and I RANT = I rave.
15 Monarch visiting school’s grounds (8)
TERRAINS – TRAIN’S = school’s, insert ER for monarch.
16 Most tricky ordeal in which one is faced with a bit of a dilemma? (9)
THORNIEST – ordeal = TEST, insert HORN (you need two for a dilemma) and I for one.
17 Maker of ripples? A toothy reptile gobbles it (8)
AGITATOR – A GATOR (toothy reptile) swallows IT.
19 Demonstrate again, bringing rebuke (7)
REPROVE – if you re-prove something, you show it again.
21 One making lock secure? (7)
HAIRNET – cryptic definition.
22 Sweet person of means starts to express emotion (6)
TOFFEE – a TOFF being a man of means, E E being the initial letters of express emotion.
23 Reasons for rejecting upper-class eccentrics (5)
CASES – CAUSES = reasons, delete the U = upper-class.
24 Duck? Eager to eat it! (5)
AVOID – AVID = eager, insert O, zero, a duck.


84 comments on “Times 28521 – a tale of two guesses”

  1. (You still have AU instead of OR in 1ac.)

    This was pretty easy for me. I think I finished in 14 minutes but all I could think of was SPEARED, which seemed like a stretch. So I dithered and alphabet trawled for another four minutes, and finally did not submit. But whaddyaknow, SPEARED was right…

  2. Maybe there is a question mark after Turk as while Anatolia is the Asian part of Turkey, Turks in the much smaller European section would not be Anatolians.

    1. I only know what I’ve just read in Wikipedia but maybe the ‘Turk?’ question mark in 24a could also have something to do with what is now Eastern Anatolia (and part of Turkey) having once been Western Armenia. Therefore not all ANATOLIAN(s) could be considered as Turks, at least historically speaking. It all sounds very controversial and maybe someone more knowledgeable can confirm if this is correct.

      1. Anatolia comes from the Greek for ‘east’ or ‘eastern’, which of course works fine for Greeks. I don’t speak Turkish so I’m wondering what word they might use for what we call Anatolia. Perhaps our setter knows that Turks themselves don’t call it that, hence the question mark.

        1. The Turks call it Anadolu, but that is just their transliteration of the same Greek term.

  3. I was pleased that this was so easy, because I was on the verge of nodding off as I worked (have to eat something!).
    BOMBAZINE was maybe POI, certainly very late; finally remembered BOMB as “a lot of money.”
    My LOI was SHOUT DOWN, which now seems obvious.
    SPEARED took me back to a clue involving SPEAR-CARRIERS as extras in a Sunday offering it was my duty and privilege to blog.

  4. 24:18
    Like yesterday, I was unaccountably slow, with almost the only 3-digit NITCH. I knew BOMBAZINE, which I associate with 19th-century mourning clothes, although the only example I can think of is a Chancery Court usher in Iolanthe: “A servile usher then, in crumpled bands and rusty bombazine, led me, still singing, into Chancery Lane!” . It took me some time to think of ‘shock’ in 2d as actually meaning shock; I was thinking it was hair. I wasn’t sure about COP IT, which I didn’t know.

    1. Knew BOMBAZINE straight off, from Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood” (one of my all-time favourite pieces) in which the introduction (beautifully spoken by the late-and-much-lamented Richard Burton) talks of the night being “bombazine black”. And, coincidentally, I was a ‘spear carrier’ in my school’s production of Iolanthe.

  5. 33 minutes. A mix of the mostly easy but with a few not so easy ones. For some reason I had heard of BOMBAZINE (appeared once before, in 2011) which is surprising as I have never read the works of a certain author often referred to by one of our senior contributors here. ROOFTREE (no previous sightings in TfTT era crosswords) was barely remembered from somewhere and seemed plausible enough.

    Held up by initially putting in “hairgel” at 21d and like vinyl1 “reproof” at 19d. My LOI, like Guy was SHOUT DOWN, which I found confusing, thinking ‘silence’ was part of the wordplay (SH) until I saw how ‘Switching off’ fitted in.

  6. A sub 40” DNF beaten by BOMBAZINE and SESTET but no complaints, ‘cos if you don’t know it, and have never heard of it, then no amount of checkers will help. Having said that I’ve never heard of ROOFTREE either so could have been ‘roofteer’ for all I knew but the coin landed my way up for a change.

    I had ‘hairpin’ for a while not HAIRNET but even getting that right didn’t get me SESTET. I must remember ‘stet’ as I think I recall it being used a couple of times before.

    Thanks Piquet and setter

  7. 46 minutes. I knew BOMBAZINE from somewhere, but maybe not from crossword puzzles.

    I lost a lot of time at the end over my last two in, the intersecting SHOUT DOWN and TERRAINS. I can’t remember now which came to me first, but as soon as the N-checker had been provided by one, the other arrived immediately.

    Another delay was over the spelling at 17dn. I knew AGITATOR but I thought the abbreviation of ‘alligator’ was spelt ‘gater’ as I have certainly seen that in crossword puzzles in the past. That thought reminded me of the discussion here last week about -OR and -ER alternative endings and led me to wonder if the noun from ‘agitate’ might be one that could take either, in which case my reading of the wordplay would have made the answer AGITATER. In the end I went with my original instincts and stuck to AGITATOR as a word I knew for sure existed. It turns out that at least according to Collins both ‘gator’ and ‘gater’ are valid but AGITATOR can only be spelt one way.

    5dn had to be ROOFTREE or ROOFTEER so there wasn’t much competition as to the more likely, even though I hadn’t any idea why it might be defined as ‘pole’.

  8. Dylan Thomas uses ‘bombazine black’ in Under Milk Wood, but it took me forever to recall it.
    Thanks as usual for the blog.

  9. Castor has tamed the planet Lion, see!

    35 mins mid-brekker. I enjoyed this up to a point and then it annoyed me.
    I know most folk are more relaxed than me about ‘danglers’, i.e. extra letters, typically ‘a’s. But 11ac is an example of why I get agitated. ‘A’ lot of money is ‘A’ Bomb. Normally, I would have a MER, assume that was what this setter did and move on, but immediately we get ‘A’ specialist mag. So is this ‘Zine’ or ‘A’ Zine. Oh, this time we need the ‘A’! Pah!

    Don’t get me started on ‘Speared’ or School’s=Train’s.
    Ta setter and Pip.

    1. I agree about the ‘a’s and train’s, but didn’t want to rant at the setter! I liked SPEARED, what’s your beef? Speared meaning having a spear seems ok.

      1. Man knifed in restaurant! That’s not unusual: men are usually provided with a knife in a rstaurant. No, that is not my beef.
        My beefs are that: (a) ‘like an extra on stage’ is insufficient reasonably to suggest ‘carrying a spear’. Of all the stage productions I have seen in which there are ‘extras’, very few of said extras have carried spears, and, (b) as a double definition, both definitions rely too heavily on the same noun.
        It is even worse than: Stabbed like a man in a restaurant? (6)

        1. But in this context you don’t have to be carrying a spear to be referred to as a spear carrier.
          What’s the objection to school’s = train’s?

          1. I accept that an extra can be called a spear carrier regardless of whether he or she is actually carrying a spear. But in that metaphorical context, to describe him or her as ‘speared’ is a bit too much for me.
            While School (verb) = Train (verb), to me the apostrophe means we are dealing with nouns. School (noun) is not Train (noun) and you can’t just bung an apostrophe ‘s on a verb synonym.

            1. I see your point but for my money the question mark covers it. It’s a bit whimsical, for sure.
              I have learned to ignore all punctuation, so I just see this as SCHOOL + S => TRAIN + S. Or you could just imagine writing “train’s a verb”!

              1. As an aside, some years ago I entered the following for the Clue Writing Contest.
                Outspoken gent’s turn to be humiliated (4,4)
                PB made it the winner – but there was some outcry about the apostrophe and the following week, much to my embarrassment, he said he agreed with the complaints and shouldn’t have given it to me.

                1. Here late, but bravo for calling out the school’s/train’s which is just not right.
                  I’m also leary of double definitions where both definitions are the same: speared = with spear is fairly identical in my mind. But in this clue you probably get away with it as speared and transfixed are different words. I’d give the clue a pass.

                  As an aside… you’re a setter? Weekdays too, or Sundays only? Your editor is PB, not RR – he’s Mon to Sat only? Do you have much interaction with RR? Do you have much interaction with the other setters, discuss what is acceptable or not? You’re not afraid to raise the odd MER.

                  1. I just do ST and TLS which is plenty for me. PB edits both. I am not connected to RR. I only learn what is acceptable by doing other people’s and via PB’s edits. I think RR allows more through than PB would.

                    1. Ta. Sort of guessed that.
                      Entirely unscientifically and quite probably wrongly, I have felt the daily crossword getting a bit looser in the past few years. I wonder if anyone has ever looked at it scientifically, or if anyone even cares?

                2. That’s a completely different case. ‘Loos’, meaning ‘gents’, can never be spelled with an apostrophe so I’m afraid I agree with the objectors!
                  Another way of putting my point about today’s clue is that in the grammar of wordplay the words aren’t really nouns or verbs at all, they are just lexical units to be moved around. I look at SCHOOL and S as separate lexical units, so it doesn’t matter if the former is a verb or a noun. If you think the lexical unit is SCHOOL’S then you’re right it has to be a noun.
                  Whichever way you look at it the lexical units themselves need to conform to rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation internally. So gent’s can’t indicate gents (because it’s never written like that) just as a proper noun can’t be written without a capital letter at the beginning.

                  1. Hmm… that’s usually my argument. ‘S = S, ignore the punctuation. Above I was not happy with SCHOOL’S in the clue = TRAIN’S in the answer. I would have been entirely happy if the bloggers had written SCHOOL + ‘S in the clue = TRAIN + S.
                    I retract my previous gripe.

                    1. It’s a matter of taste of course, but I would argue it’s a little inconsistent to object to this but to allow – for instance – anagrams where there is punctuation (including apostrophes) embedded in the anagrist which we just ignore. [‘S] is arguably just a very short version of the same thing.

    2. Funny how these things spiral away on me. If I find a clue or two clever or amusing, then I start to find all the speared = spear carriers clever; if I find a clue or two irritating or clumsy, then I notice the flaws in pretty much all the rest of the puzzle. The trick for a setter, vis-a-vis me, is to figure out how far through the Acrosses I’m going to have to go before I get my FOI, and put something brilliant in that slot. (For me it’s probably not 1A)

      1. Excellent description of whether a puzzle is ‘brilliant” or “poor”. As you say, a very fine line.

  10. 28 minutes with LOI BOMBAZINE just vaguely heard of, perhaps from Dylan Thomas although it’s bible black I remember being used in Llareggub. The BOMB had been there a long time. ROOFTREE needed all crossers and went in with a shrug. I liked SPEARED and my COD FENCE. A good puzzle, but I never felt on wavelength. Thank you Pip and setter.

  11. Only got halfway through, today. STET came up recently, but did not believe that SESTET would be a word.

    Are Zines still a thing? I think they were basically the paper equipment of a blog.

  12. 37:40. I too thought school’s=train’s jarred a bit. I somehow knew ROOFTREE and BOMBAZINE (my WOD, I think). LOI SHOUT DOWN where I was thrown by the “ing” in “switching” and I’m still not sure about it. I liked THORNIEST

  13. DNF at 20 mins. Defeated by the unknown BOMBAZINE. BOMBANILE tempted me as it looked like it might be a word – but obviously it didn’t parse. So eventually I went with BOMBATIME and was branded as faulty by the Great Pink Adjudicator. At least TIME is a magazine that I’ve heard of, although admittedly not a specialist one.

  14. About half an hour, held up by the unknown BOMBAZINE and SPEARED, which eventually went in with a shrug as I had no idea that spear-carriers is a term for extras. Also had to trust that ROOFTREE is a word, relied on the wordplay for SESTET, and like one or two others didn’t really parse SHOUT DOWN. Enjoyable stuff, thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Seismal
    LOI Speared
    COD Derogatory

  15. Ha, bombazine! Another win for the Heyer brigade…
    Quick otherwise, steady top to bottom solve, despite initially having a hairpin instead of a hairnet.

  16. Good puzzle, managed to finish in 16′ 14″.

    Possibly tilting at windmills, as a mathematics educator I spent my career teaching that a demonstration is not a proof……..

    A SESTET is the second part of a sonnet.


    Liked SPEARED.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

    1. But in maths I had to write “QED” which I was informed was Quod Erat Demonstrandum, so prove and demonstrate do overlap?

  17. How lovely to start with CASTOR
    Does this RAISE the standard? For sure!
    Avifauna eschew
    PURGE all kin to cuckoo
    ASPIRANT for the star-stuff: encore!

  18. 31:48

    Left a shade underwhelmed by NHO BOMBAZINE and the SW corner – initially had REPROOF.

    Not so keen on CASES which seemed a loose term for eccentrics.

    On the other hand, there were some clues which were quite pleasing to solve – I liked BATTLEMENT and SURROGATE.

    1. Collins defines CASE as ‘an odd person; eccentric’, so you’ll have to take it up with them!

  19. All went smoothly and then I became bogged down on my last four or five, finishing in 30 min. BOMBAZINE is something I associate with the old biddies of my youth; Giles’s grandmother (Giles was a famous Daily Express cartoonist, endless collections of his drawings every year, for those too young to know) used to dress in bombazine I think. TERRAINS seems an odd word: already terrain is a sort of plural: I wonder if it would be allowed on Countdown, although this isn’t Countdown of course. NHO ROOFTREE and the old gripe about cluing obscurities with an anagram seems apposite here.

    1. TERRAINS wouldn’t be allowed on Countdown because it’s deemed to be a mass noun in the relevant source. However I’d argue that decision was unfair (i.e. I’m supporting our setter’s usage) because there are different terrains (rough, smooth etc etc) in different regions and I think I’ve just demonstrated in this sentence construction that it makes perfect sense to use the plural.

      1. I remember being offered a pork terrain once, in a Spanish restaurant. You could have two of those.
        Another dish was “sausages from my brother” ..

      2. I agree with you. Maybe Susie (Suzie?) Dent would also, since she sometimes makes exceptions.

  20. DNF after 40 minutes, as I was stumped by the NW corner, in particular 11ac where I could not escape from the conviction that a lot of money was A PILE and that this was the ending of the word. A pity as most of the rest fell into place quite easily.

  21. Pip BOMBAZINE would be the sort of material Mrs. Proudie’s most formidable dresses were made from. It’s probably in Dickens as well as Trollope and denotes armour-plated morality and worthiness. 17.40 with a longish pause while I figured out what to do with SE-T-T.

    1. I admit to only ever having seen the TV series, but I well remember Mrs. Proudie (Geraldine McEwan) – definitely someone not to be trifled with, whether she was wearing BOMBAZINE or not.

    2. Don’t we get it in Georgette Heyer as well? I know it’s in Under Milk Wood but think I’ve seen it elsewhere as well.

    3. I’m a bit embarrassed about bombazine, as I have a digital transfer of the 1954 Richard Burton version of UMW (superb!) and listen to it in the car quite often. So much alliteration. it flows like honey. As for Mrs Proudie, vraiment formidable, comme disent les français.

      1. Here’s an entirely different literary genre where the word occurs… Having said in my comment earlier I didn’t know BOMBAZINE a tickle in memory said I had come across it before, maybe because I am reading another of the first-mentioned author’s novels at the moment…. I’ve now tracked that usage down to The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, which I see is now regarded as a classic, establishing the conventions of the Steampunk genre. I was startled to find the novel is the subject of some exam syllabus and bombazine appears in the study notes’ Glossary.

      2. Yes!! Another admirer of Dylan Thomas… I used to listen to UMW so often that I could quote a fair bit of it at (hopefully) appropriate moments 🥸, but now I’ve lost that ability. The characters are so memorable, even when hardly drawn, like “No-Good Boyo” who drifts along trailing his hand over the edge of the skiff and says : “I don’t know, and I don’t care” ( in the appropriate Welsh accent of course ).

  22. Much the same progress as some above, with a fast start in the upper half followed by a slowdown. ROOFTREE was unfamiliar. I thought it might be an informal expression for those old TV aerials erected on poles on roofs. I wasted minutes at the end trying to think of possible alternatives to SPEARED as the stage reference meant nothing to me.
    31 minutes.

  23. 16:31. I had the same two unknowns as our blogger, trusting to the wordplay to solve them. But the one that held me up for a good couple of minutes at the end was SHOUT DOWN where I persisted in thinking the definition was at the front rather than the back of the clue. Doh! I liked LIE IN. Thanks Pip and setter.

  24. 14:03. Had all the necessary vocab for once. ROOFTREE familiar from The Waste Land, BOMBAZINE from who knows where (though the wordplay helped) – I like the idea of it being from Giles’ cartoons of Granny – and SESTET from wherever I learned about The Waste Land.

  25. 26 mins. It was the specialist magazine along with a NHO wot did me in. Wasn’t my last one though, I held out then put in SESTET unlikely though it seemed.
    Oddly the ROOFTREE was no problem, because it was the only possible anagram, so a fair one for a change.

  26. 7:18. No real problems. I had HAIRPIN initially, and briefly wrote in SEXTET, but fortunately I was paying enough attention to correct the latter and it fixed the former. NHO of BOMBAZINE or ROOFTREE and the wordplay (‘zine’, and obscure-word-as-anagram) could have been kinder.

  27. 11:03, mostly standard fare, while also including words like BOMBAZINE, which I remembered as one of those things which I’ve only come across in puzzles (although I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the Georgette Heyer aficionados know it from there as well) and ROOFTREE, which I don’t remember encountering anywhere, but seemed to fall into place convincingly enough.

  28. SESTET was unknown, but the wordplay was unambiguous. BOMBAZINE rang a faint bell once I’d assembled it. ROOFTREE shouted out from the rooftops as it’s in a song I’ve been learning, which I heard on Steeleye Span’s album Below the Salt, called King Henry. It involves a grisly ghost whose head hit the rooftree of the house and whose middle you could not span! I quite liked today’s Spoonerism. The rest of the puzzle was easy enough and I clocked off at 20:08. Thanks setter and Pip.

  29. I’ve joined the OWL club today, with an S instead of a Z at 11ac.
    I didn’t understand 27ac, so thanks for explaining, and had NHO 5d.
    Otherwise, nice puzzle. Castor featured in an astronomy ‘zine’ I subscribe to (I’ve never used the word before).
    Thank you for the excellent blog

  30. 25:21 Mostly straightforward but I was stuck with a HAIRPIN for a while. ROOFTREE was new to me.

    B and M gave me BOMB and the AZINE was summoned up from somewhere in the depths. I must get round to reading a Georgette Heyer one day.

    I liked BATTLEMENT, DEROGATORY and FENCE but I agree with Myrtilus about the dangling A’s.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter.

    p.s. Does anyone know if there will be a Times Crossword Championship this year?

  31. Am I the only one to say “green paint” re 25a SHOUT DOWN? I suppose I am suffering from the totally missed SHUT DOWN and therefore I have sour grapes. I was so unconvinced by SHOUT DOWN that I didn’t enter it, so DNF. Doh!

    1. To qualify as ‘green paint’ the answer has to be a non-lexical term, but SHOUT DOWN is in Collins dictionary.

  32. I think “specialist magazine” for “zine” is a bit vague. I used to produce Star Trek zines in the 1970s and ’80s when the word was part of the Science Fiction lexicon. So a zine is a fan magazine. It started with SF but was taken up by football fans and other groups. Now the word seems to have entered the mainstream – but I can’t remember ever having seen it in a Times cryptic. BOMBAZINE I got as soon as I had B*M****** so my fanzine knowledge was not needed anyway. 23 minutes

  33. All went in reasonably easily except Bombazine, which defeated me, NHO Zine. Was hampered for a bit by not being able to see past hairpin whilst knowing it was wrong , but very pleased to get sestet. It did sound highly unlikely, though logical from the wordplay. Good crossword. Thanks setter and Piquet.

  34. I knew everything (so maybe I’m a teenager again) and was on the setter’s wavelength more or less straight away. I enjoyed this one.

    TIME 7:36

  35. Very happy to complete this correctly given the number of “educated” guesses. ROOFTREE, BOMBAZINE, SESTET and SPEARED could all have been wrong and I wouldn’t have been surprised.

  36. 45 minutes (plus a minute and a half more for proofreading). This was indeed a strange puzzle, mostly very easy but with a number of somewhat questionable clues (see the profuse discussion above) for some very obscure words like BOMBAZINE. I too found SPEARED a bit too vaguely clued, although it was all that occurred to me with respect to extras on stage, but maybe “spear bearers” really is standard jargon. I also never heard of ROOFTREEs, but I looked the word up, after solving, in my online premium subscription to the OED (very useful because of the many other languages it includes) and for the first time encountered a word defined differently for British English (the ridge piece of a roof) than for US English (the ridgepole of a roof). So it is indeed a pole! COD to THORNIEST, for the horn of the dilemma.

  37. 14:22 this afternoon. A fair set of clues for the most part, with the occasional obscurity as far as I was concerned.
    For example for 11 ac I had not heard of “zine” in the cryptic element but fortunately was aware of the answer “Bombazine”, somehow recalled from a sketch in “Round the Horne” involving Jules and Sandy!
    26 ac “sestet” – NHO but IHTB.
    Am I missing something but in 25 ac “Shout down”, what purpose does the “ing” in “switching” serve?
    Thanks to Pip and setter.

  38. BOMBAZINE was a bit of a write-in with the B and I, but I did wonder if it would be familiar to the many solvers who do not apparently specialise in clothing material! I think most people who read historical fiction would come across it, however… as Olivia says, Trollope and Dickens. Just as well, since I was unfamiliar with Zine as a mag, but the reference to it seemed to point that way. SESTET was generously clued, to avoid the ‘sextet’ trap, though I also had HAIRPIN to start with until FENCE put me right. I liked SPEARED. Spear-carrier is the rather derogatory way many actors refer to extras (who are largely other actors, but without lines) and was certainly common parlance in the circles I moved in when working in radio – though it goes without saying there were no non-vocal parts in radio drama!

  39. Emboldened by a fast time on the QC I thought I’d try the Big Boy and a rare finish was the result. I knew BOMBAZINE and guessed ROOFTREE. All done in 22:44 which definitely makes this an Exceptional Day.


    1. Your Exceptional Day brought a smile to my face at the end of my rather more mundane one 🙂

  40. Made heavier weather of this than I should have. Evening solve, I imagine. 24’38”. I annoyed myself at 22d by heeding the promise I made last time I saw SWEET in a clue : remember it’s probably a pudding. So I did, and it wasn’t.

  41. 24.07

    Late entry. Unaccountably held up at the end by PURGE which I tried to make more tricky than it was. Zine was known but the material not (or forgotten) and that held me up as my POI. And another HAIRPIN but otherwise enjoyable (though agree on the danglers)

    Thanks Pip and setter

  42. Definitely getting better at this. Thought it to be an ‘easy’ and romped through mostly, but for some unaccountable reason put in HAIRSET instead of NET, which threw me right off for 26a, and 25a I could not equate SHOUT DOWN with silence. But feeling like I’m beginning to belong to the club at last!

Comments are closed.