Times 28525 – Nice and easy does it…

This was your friendly Monday offering, with a token unknown word thrown in, but so generously clued that it’s unlikely to stymie too many seasoned solvers. Not much else to say, so upwards and onwards…

17 minutes for me.

1 Herb, one originally cultivated next to a colonnaded hall (8)
BASILICA – BASIL I C[ultivated] A; from Collins ‘in ancient Rome, a rectangular building with a broad nave ending in an apse, and flanked by colonnaded aisles’
5 Evaluate a couple of ships touring East (6)
ASSESS –  A E (east) in SS SS (two lots of steamships, AKA SS)
9 Old Russian liberal originally obstructing court over son stabbing UK citizen (9)
OCTOBRIST – O[bstructing] CT O (over) S in BRIT; Collins again ‘a member of a Russian political party that favoured the constitutional reforms granted in a manifesto issued by Nicholas II in October 1905’. Liberal after a fashion, then. Obviously, they didn’t win.
11 Climber surgeon encountered by church (5)
12 Mother’s blunder mostly taking in European conductors (7)
MAESTRI – E (European) in MAS TRI[p]
13 Entertained English girl in brightly coloured clothing (7)
REGALED – E GAL in RED; ‘in’ and ‘clothing’ seem to be doing the same job
14 Cat from wrong part of France initially suffering torment (13)
TORTOISESHELL – TORT (wrong) OISE (region of France) S[uffering] HELL
16 Is it a jump ahead of others holding unfair trials? (8,5)
KANGAROO COURT – not sure this cryptic definition really works
20 False step leading to oil spill in capital (7)
TRIPOLI – TRIP (again) anagram* of OIL; with RIGA, TRIPOLI is one of the setter’s favourite capital cities
21 Single gathering for men only, in the audience’s view (7)
23 Part of contaINER Train still (5)
INERT – hidden
24 Health worker, one who believes criticism must be accepted (9)
THERAPIST -RAP (criticism) in THEIST
25 Trouble prince experienced at first assimilating directions (6)
HASSLE – SS (directions – two helpings of south) in HAL (Shakespearean prince beloved of compilers) E[xperienced]
26 One grabs a few notes here, in the middle (8)
SNATCHER – SNATCH (a few notes) [h]ER[e] (medial letters of here); bravo, setter!
1 Entrance to bower, spacious and full of shrubs (6)
BROOMY – B[ower] (quite a few of these initial letter clues) ROOMY; full of the bush with small yellow flowers, to be precise
2 Eccentric French composer’s link with South Africa (5)
SATIE – SA (South Africa) TIE (link)
3 Throw up most of hard seafood (7)
LOBSTER – LOB (throw up) STER[n]
4 Student of wrongdoing caught China expert heading off across border (13)
CRIMINOLOGIST – RIM (border) in C (caught – cricket abbreviation) [s]INOLOGIST
6 Wise men importing Bible version for barbarians (7)
7 Praise from former partner to officer protecting soldiers (9)
EXTOLMENT – EX (former partner) MEN (soldiers) in TO LT (officer)
8 Extremely dubious clue he prepared for list (8)
SCHEDULE – anagram of D[ubiou]S CLUE HE
10 New priest given task, article relating to dancing (13)
14 Girl welcoming an alcoholic drink’s pungent taste (9)
15 Lively piece of satire it’s hard to follow (8)
SKITTISH -SKIT (piece of satire) TIS (’tis = it’s as in ’tis true) H
17 Marginal note revealing worry about appointment (7)
APOSTIL – POST in AIL; apparently, ultimately derived from probably from Latin post illa (verba) after those (words); what those lexicographers come up with!
18 Parvenu’s way to fill university role (7)
UPSTART – ST (street = way) in U PART
19 Native of Riga, perhaps — extremely eager character (6)
LETTER – LETT (Latvian) E[age]R
22 Scotsman loses capital, belonging to Mennonite sect (5)

61 comments on “Times 28525 – Nice and easy does it…”

  1. Didn’t know APOSTIL and HAMISH (or BROOM, etc) but that didn’t stop me from finishing in 13:09. I biffed TERPSICHOREAN (like a diligent student, I’ve been waiting for it to show up again).

  2. BROOMY was odd, APOSTIL snuck in from Mephisto, and EXTOLMENT (LOI) seemed the result of painting oneself into a corner. Otherwise, yes, quite easy. I biffed TERPSICHOREAN too (before parsing)!

  3. 25 minutes.

    POSTIL had to be constructed from wordplay but having got to it I remember seeing it previously . Can’t have been in a Times puzzle though as a search reveals it has only appeared in Mephistos (3 times) and the Club Monthly (once), neither of which I do.

    I knew BROOM but was rather surprised to find BROOMY in the dictionary.

    Fond memories of the late Barry Cryer at 22dn: You’ll have had your tea?

  4. 15 mins today, close to a PB and pretty much a top to bottom solve. Only slight hold up concerned the Scotsman who isn’t Ian, but of course Dougal’s mate came to mind pretty quickly. After all, there are only the three of them, aren’t there?

    1. I think Angus qualifies as a fourth. And in fact either Hamish or Dougal was originally Angus.

  5. 18 minutes. Not too difficult, but I won’t even pretend I tried to parse TERPSICHOREAN and I see what you mean about KANGAROO COURT which I also bunged in without thinking. I didn’t know a BASILICA was a ‘colonnaded hall’; I just thought it was a very big church.

    I liked APOSTIL. It’s not quite a ‘marginal note’ but when I had some documents certified which were to be sent overseas a few years ago, something called an “apostille” (an alternative spelling) had to be completed by the lawyer. This means (I think) that if a document is certified in one country it is accepted as being certified in the destination country without the need to jump through any more hoops, as long as both countries are signatories to the Apostille Convention. I remember seeing the APOSTIL spelling at the time and have been waiting for “apostille” to appear in a crossword ever since. Not quite, but seeing APOSTIL today is the next best thing.

    1. I think that the the Foreign and Commonwealth Office attaches the apostle, the document having been sworn before a notary public,

  6. No problems today. In 1981 I was told to fly back from Saudi Arabia to get an APOSTILLE in London. I had no idea what it was. I sat in an office for an hour or two then flew back to Riyadh.

  7. There have been two comments about KANGAROO COURT being unsatisfactory in some way but I’m having difficulty seeing anything wrong with it. It seems rather good to me.

  8. 31m 26s
    I wondered where I had heard APOSTIL before then I remembered that apostilles came into play when having to get certain documents translated from English into French or vv when selling my house in France.
    No problem with 10d TERPSICHOREAN for anyone familiar with the M.P. Cheese Shop sketch.
    In 20ac, with some checkers in place, I wanted to put TBILISI but then couldn’t make sense of the clue.
    Thanks, ulaca.

  9. 20 minutes with LOI SATIE after I saw OCTOBRIST. APOSTIL was an unknown construct. I wasted a bit of time thinking the alcoholic drink’s pungent taste was tannin, before tasting the tang. COD to OCTOBRIST. Ideal Monday fare. Thank you U and setter.

  10. Slowish start, but finished in 10′ 33″. The nho APOSTIL was LOI.

    BASILICA in NT Greek means ‘kingdom’.

    Good Mondayish puzzle.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  11. 20 minutes or so, held up by hesitating over the unknown APOSTIL, though as mentioned the wordplay was generous. Couldn’t see the link between ‘snatch’ and ‘a few notes’ when I put it in, but I see it now. TERPSICHOREAN was worked out from wordplay, and like BletchleyReject I have previously only thought of a BASILICA as a big church. A nice way to start the week – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Assess
    LOI Apostil
    COD Skittish

  12. PB for me (after 50+ years) 6:25, so delighted when I checked APOSTIL in Chambers. Perhaps staying up until 3am to watch the Super Bowl is the way forward.

  13. Hampered by being slow with two of the long ones – TERPSICHOREAN, and my LOI TORTOISESHELL.

    Still a reasonably good time for me.


  14. Agree with all, a Monday job, 14 minutes. Like Martinp1 I knew APOSTIL(LE) both from France and from buying and (thankfully) subsequently selling a house in Greece. 14a a clue for @jerry to approve of, perhaps.

  15. Played dangerously when I saw I might get in under ten, and raced the last few, but all was good: 9’48”. Guessed APOSTIL, and spent too long thinking of a wild species of cat. Went down a bit of a blind alley on 13A, thinking that an entertained English girl had to be RITA. Many thanks as ever.

  16. Agreed, Mondayish, but none the worse for that! Some enjoyable unknowns for me – OCTOBRIST, APOSTIL, EXTOLMENT, which had to be constructed entirely from wordplay, and I wasn’t sure VETCH was a climber, nor BASILICA just a colonnaded hall, since it’s normally a church. So a puzzle with several new words and a satisfying completion time, too – nothing like the above quick times, but good for me in that well under 45 minutes. LOI the perhaps obvious TORTOISESHELL!

    1. Could echo your sentiments almost exactly on this one , alto_ego, with this being the first puzzle I’ve completed successfully in a while and in a reasonably short time . Hoorah! There’s hope for me yet!

      1. It’s partly down to the setter’s ingenuity in creating a puzzle with several very obscure/unknown words, but clueing them so that we can take them on trust. I’ve just had a Thursday and Friday puzzle that I simply couldn’t complete and yet the two words that held me up were not unknown. Ironically, though, I got the one that fooled over half of the rest of the posters – it was one of my first in! I won’t say it, as you’ll be meeting it in the next few days!

  17. 3m 57s, a very Mondayish offering. Like some (but not all) others, I found KANGAROO COURT weak, unless I’m missing something clever about it.


  18. All went in quite easily until I guessed at APOSTIL, knowing that it was a word but not having any idea what it meant. I took OCTOBRIST on trust but never knew, and still don’t, why the Russian was specifically a liberal, presumably something to do with the October Revolution. 20 minutes, entering answers fairly regularly, and I can’t understand how people manage to complete in only a few minutes. Doing it on a tablet can hardly slow me down, indeed it might even be quicker.

  19. BROOMY started me off on a gentle stroll, briefly interrupted by having to think hard about the unknown APOSTIL. Thankfully following the wordplay did the trick. CRIMINOLOGIST, TORTOISESHELL, TERPSICHOREAN and KANGAROO COURT all tripped off the fingers with barely a pause. SNATCHER brought up the rear at 13:22. Thanks setter and U.

  20. A gentle start to the week, despite having to take a few things on trust (I didn’t know that VETCH was a climber, and the definition of BASILICA was new to me, while APOSTIL was a word I’d seen somewhere without knowing what it meant), but the surfaces were flawless.

    TIME 5:53

  21. 19:49
    Generally Mondayish but a couple of landmines here and there -APOSTIL was new to me and EXTOLMENT just didn’t look right. LOI TORTOISESHELL took me a long time. OCTOBRIST was COD though I’m more of a Decemberists fan myself.

    Thanks to ulaca and the setter.

  22. PB for me, I am sure, at 22 minutes (which is why you are unlikely to ever see me at the Championships!). I really motored (relatively) on this one, despite NHOs OCTOBRIST and APOSTIL. Many thanks both.

  23. A fairly gentle Monday morning canter, but slowed up a little in the SE corner where I got the wrong end of the stick and played with OBSERVE for 21ac (OBS=old boys=men only) until the truth dawned. Completed in 17 minutes.
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  24. This must have been very ‘Monday’ because, even though I didn’t feel like I was zooming along, I finished in a PB of 5:34, my first ever time under 6m. And I started by not seeing BASILICA straight away. DNK APOSTIL, but it was very helpfully clued. I wasn’t too sure about HASSLE, so crossed my fingers submitting. I don’t think EXTOLMENT is a very nice word. Apart from that no problems. COD CRIMINOLOGIST for the ‘Sinologist’ element, but I like SKITTISH as a word.

    Thanks to the Setter, and ulaca for the blog.

  25. 18 minutes.
    I found this pretty easy, mainly because I was able to biff the long answers as soon as I had a few letters in place. I didn’t get OCTOBRIST until the near end as I just waited for all the crossers to be in place. The main holdup was APOSTIL, which was unfamiliar to me.
    I agree with ulaca that the clue to kangaroo court doesn’t work very well. It would make more sense if there were other stock expressions for unfair courts. Still, I didn’t query it much when I solved it.
    I spent a minute after filling the grid to parse some of the ones that I’d biffed.

  26. I seem to be the only person unfamiliar with LETT for a Latvian so that was my LOI. Some other unknowns, as usual, but nothing which couldn’t be deduced, or guessed. Happy Monday.

  27. 19:39. I knew APOSTIL as a word but couldn’t have defined it – similarly VETCH and OCTOBRIST. The long ones mostly went in unparsed and I fleetingly assumed I was missing something clever about KANGAROO COURT as a wrote it in, but apparently I wasn’t.

  28. Nice and easy introduction to the week as my time of 21.28 would suggest, but having said that, it looks quite pedestrian compared to some of the speed merchants!
    My only hold up was with HASSLE where I have trouble with the spelling of it for some reason. Working out the unknown APOSTIL put my mind at rest that all was well with the spelling of my aforementioned LOI.

  29. 9:00

    PB – a whole lot of biffing for this grid – more or less everything I thought of went in – however I missed a ton of parsing alongside the VHOs (vaguely heard of) BROOMY and TERPSICHOREAN and NHOs VETCH and LOI APOSTIL:

    Not (completely) parsed – all bunged in from definition and one or more checkers:

  30. Embarrassed to say I’m in the OWL club again- I misspelt KANGAROO (!), which left me wondering how 17d worked. Silly me.
    10d was an unknown, but I managed to get it once I had checkers

  31. 11:43 At least 4 PBs today if I’ve counted correctly. Well done speed merchants.


  32. Nice start to the week. I was pleased to be given clear instructions on spelling TERPSICHOREAN, and CRIMINOLOGIST, both of which i originally spelt incorrectly. Like many others APOSTIL LOI. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  33. I should have done better, but ground to a halt after 30 mins with a few unfilled on the RHS.

    Mis spelt TREPS… for TERPS… and was sure 19d was BALTER, NHO LETT.

    But pleased to get OCTOBRIST, as they were vaguely familiar, though they do sound like a crowd of anarchists in Tintin.


  34. Easiest one I have come across so far in my short 15 x15 career. Had never heard of apostil but filled it in from the parsing before checking spelling and meaning on Google.

  35. 23.40. All going well until I hit a block in the SW corner. Not helped by thinking the alcoholic drink was cider. NHO apostil and having looked it up wasn’t convinced this was a wonderful clue. Being picky, I’ve never considered ail as the same as worry though I suppose if you ail that might cause you to worry.

    Aside from that whinge, enjoyed the puzzle so thx setter and blogger.

  36. 6:13. Like a few others I have come across a version of the APOSTIL in various cross-border legal contexts. The least familiar word to me was BROOMY.

  37. About 30 minutes – held up by entering “Masteri” initially.
    Agree that this was a good Monday puzzle – not too hard but tricky enough.

  38. Like BW, LOI SATIE after deriving OCTOBRIST.
    This was a pleasant 35/40 minutes after a pleasant lunch in London.

  39. I don’t care if this was a ‘typical Monday’ puzzle, a successfully completed 15×15 (especially with four nho answers: Octobrist, Terpsichorean, Apostil and Extolment) is still a thing of joy in the Invariant household – I can only dream of the day when this becomes boring. I’m also releaved that others wondered what on earth was going on with 16ac . Invariant

  40. 21:42, saw the snitch and hoped it would be a day when I could complete inside 30 minutes. It’s nice to have an easier one to encourage strugglers like me. In fairness, there were still quite a few words I was unsure about (BROOMY, TERPSICHOREAN, OCTOBRIST, VETCH, APOSTIL) but the wordplay was sufficiently generous. Thanks s & b

  41. The Marxists in Russia said “Wow!
    We’re Gregorians!” And that is how
    For calendrical reasons
    They shifted the seasons
    And OCTOBRISTS are Novembrists now

Comments are closed.