Times 28528 – connected to the hipbone

Time taken: 20:04.

I struggled with this one, and a check of the early times has me in good company. Welcome to the stinker!

The wordplay isn’t too bad, but there’s something Mephistoish about today’s puzzle begging you to trust the wordplay for several unusual words.  I was relieved when the grid showed up all green!

How did you do?

1 Whip-round for depressed area in the countryside (4,6)
CROP CIRCLE – CROP(whip) and CIRCLE(round)
6 Pinched stuff from comedian going on second (4)
SWAG – WAG(comedian) after S(second)
10 Buzzer a girl presses makes one cross (7)
BEEFALO – BEE(buzzer) then A inside FLO(girl). A cross between a cow and a buffalo
11 Lively do with brandy to start, then port (3,4)
CON BRIO – CON(do), the first letter of Brandy, and RIO(port). Musical term
12 Tense over tethering stray (9)
13 Decide to join switch components in metal work (3,2)
OPT IN – swap TIN(metal) and OP(work)
14 Not an ounce lighter (5)
ZIPPO – double definition for nothing and a brand of cigarette lighter
15 Film-maker’s expression of disgust after endless kissing (9)
PECKINPAH – PAH(expression of disgust) after PECKING(kissing) minus the last letter. Director Sam, known for Straw Dogs and The Wild Bunch
17 Reactionary getting drunk on wine (9)
REDNECKED – NECKED(drunk) on RED wine.  Not what I think of when I see this word, but the definition in Collins is “reactionary and bigoted”. One of the definitions of NECK in the same place is “to swallow something, especially a drink”
20 Piece taken dal segno maestro turned in (5)
AMONG – hidden reversed in dal seGNO MAestro
21 Second of concerts by celebrity, mainly for charity (5)
OXFAM – second letter in cOncerts, then X(by), and FAME(celebrity) minus the last letter
23 Avoiding key work by sculptor? (9)
ESCHEWING – ESC(escape key) and HEWING(work by sculptor)
25 For which there’s prize money after dismissing opener? (7)
INNINGS – WINNINGS(prize money) minus the first letter
26 Hugo or Charlie’s eccentric comic brother (7)
GROUCHO – anagram of HUGO,OR,C(Charlie)
27 A lot of a certain breed of cat, appropriately, unknown (4)
MANY – a MANX cat, minus the last letter, since Manx cats have no tails, then Y(unknown)
28 When nothing is restricting, as one’s slaughtered? (4,6)
OPEN SEASON – O(nothing), then PENS(is restricting) and an anagram of AS,ONE
1 One often hailed monarch once as icon of the Highlands (5)
CABER – CAB(one often hailed), and ER(monarch once)
2 Want to drop page journalist replaced when editing? (9)
OVERTYPED – POVERTY(want) with the P(page) at the bottom, then ED(journalist)
3 Money, after reflecting, no object after cardplayers have a rethink (6,4,4)
CHANGE ONES MIND – CHANGE(money) then NO reversed, and MIND(object) following the card players E and S
4 Mean to turn to drink a lot: it’s on the house! (7)
ROOFTOP – POOR(mean) revered, containing OFT(a lot)
5 Short of people — not ministers — to embrace the Tories (7)
LACONIC – LAIC(of people, not ministers) containing CON(the Tories)
7 Without trio to follow cue you can hear, defeat (5)
WORST – W/O(without) and the three letters after Q(cue) are RST
8 Rodent with reason to keep to itself (9)
GROUNDHOG – GROUND(reason) and HOG(keep to itself)
9 Put up with black stuff in one part of leg (10,4)
INNOMINATE BONE – NOMINATE(put up), and B(black) inside IN ONE.  Got the bone part well before the rest.
14 An element of unknown in our mic malfunctioning (9)
ZIRCONIUM – Z(unknown) and an anagram of IN,OUR,MIC
16 Maybe sticks kinky Rose in PVC (9)
PROVINCES – anagram of ROSE,IN,PVC.  Territories away from the capital city, hence the sticks
18 Loud party in joint, with drink (5-2)
KNEES-UP – KNEE(joint) and SUP(drink)
19 Figure no longer living in the past, note (7)
DECAGON – DEC(deceased, no longer living), AGO(in the past), N(note)
22 Vestment from back of shelf with no name tag (5)
FANON – last letter of shelF, and ANON(with no name tag)
24 Complaint spread from mouth to ear (5)
GROAN – sounds like GROWN(spread)

61 comments on “Times 28528 – connected to the hipbone”

  1. OVERTYPED: I think the P of POVERTY is dropped (lowered) to follow the Y; I read it as minus P and got nowhere.

  2. 55m 42s
    My queries were with BEEFALO, WORST, INNOMINATE BONE and ROOFTOP so thank you, George.
    I dithered over 27ac because I wasn’t sure if it wasn’t a ‘double-helix’, to quote Val of fond memory. Plumped for the correct answer over MANX in the end.
    LOI: INNOMINATE BONE. Took ages to solve.
    PS…I was pleasantly surprised to find that my time is just under Verlaine x 4. That’s a definite plus for me.

  3. 36:45

    A definite meh for the NHO bone. Spoiled the rest of the quite-gettable grid. Wasn’t sure about REDNECKED or MANX/MANY – had to recheck a few times to make sure I had the right unknown!

  4. Definitely a stinker. Or my solving skills have deserted me. DNF – innominate bone – a NHO and I reckon I know most of the bones in the body. Did an alphabet trawl and intoxicate was the only word I could come up with. So I’m with Mike Harper in giving it a meh.
    Otherwise really enjoyed, managed to parse it all except don’t really understand the INNINGS clue… what’s the definition? It doesn’t work for me as an &lit.
    COD to crop circle, with an honourable mention to worst for the rst.

  5. DNF
    NHO INNOMINATE, and never got it, although I had BONE. Is the pelvis a part of the leg? Never seen REDNECKED, although ‘redneck’ of course is quite familiar. COD to WORST.

    1. Re the bone, I think we had ‘hip’ clued as a leg bone recently which gave rise to some comment too.

  6. 70 minutes. I knew I was in for a bad day when I stared blankly at 1a at the start; I only solved it with the help of all the crossers as one of my last in. Wasn’t quite sure how to parse INNINGS (I agree with isla3) and took some time to figure out OVERTYPED. I liked PECKINPAH; I remember “Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia”, gory but with a terrific performance by Warren Oates.

    NHO FANON, or ZIPPO for ‘lighter’ so despite being so slow, relieved to see an all green grid after submitting.

  7. I was struggling through this when the wind was taken out of my flagging sails by the unsolved clue at 9dn (the bone) in an otherwise completed RH of the grid. With not a hope in hell of working that out and the unknown FANON at 22dn I lost motivation on the LH side and eventually as the hour approached I started to resort to aids. TBH I was tired and had lost interest by then. I worked out ZIPPO for myself but never got to grips with some of the others. A couple of answers went in as best guesses because they fitted the grid and the definition but I couldn’t see the wordplay – OVERTYPED was one of those and ROOFTOP was another.

    Is the CABER really an ‘icon of the Highlands’?

  8. LOI CABER. REDNECKED seemed odd; I’m from West Virginia, where rednecks abound, but I’ve never heard anyone called (or called anyone) “rednecked,” just “a redneck.” Got MANY really early, but the NHO INNOMINATE BONE really late, and even had to cheat (a little) for that—of course, I checked it before I moved on (not playing to compete). Like with FANON: The wordplay spelled it out, but I had never heard of it (and when you Google, you get the famous Frantz filling up a page or two, if you don’t specify “vestment”—and then it comes right up).

    1. As I said above, I’ve never come across ‘rednecked’; and I can’t imagine it being used. Collins, oddly, has separate entries for ‘redneck’ (“also red-necked”) and ‘rednecked’, the latter as British English. “2. reactionary and bigoted”, ex. “the rednecked regulators in Washington”; which looks very odd to me, and which isn’t a corpus example. (“Redneck regulators in Washington” is pretty odd, too.)

  9. DNF but stopped after half an hour as I want to watch the end of the cricket. Didn’t have the bone or ZIPPO, neither meaning of which is in my vocabulary. COD to WORST. Come on Jimmy! Thank you George and setter.

  10. Finally we have an obituary for David Horry in today’s Times, well worth a read.

    As to this crossword, I was enjoying it but eventually lost motivation and gave up. INNOMINATION BONE, BEEFALO and FANON were a step too far.

    1. Thanks for the steer sawbill.
      I can’t find him in the printed version I got, but he’s there in the online paper. I am a bit foxed!

    2. Thanks, Sawbill. I’d have missed that. Very interesting read, and good to know what he looked like, finally. Not at all as I expected.

  11. 21:30
    When I was at medical school the name of the innominate bone used to make me chuckle, as though the early anatomists had finally thrown their hands up and said, “Oh, let’s just call it innominate”.

  12. Managed half of this, then ground to a halt. Looked up bones of the leg, knowing it had to be this, and found none at all – even in detailed medical diagrams – that fitted the crossers. When aids revealed INNOMINATE BONE, I gave up on the spot. When you have to be an actual orthopaedic surgeon to know something as obscure as this, it shouldn’t be in a crossword.

  13. DNF – a bit of a blank wall for me! I know that z can be an unknown but in maths the familiar unknowns or variables are surely x,y and n. Beyond that I wouldn’t say z is anymore special than any other letter – am I wrong there? Thanks though

    1. It’s a long time since I did maths at school, but I’m sure I remember three dimensional charts: the usual x and y axes plus a third z axis at right angles. Whatever, in Crosswordland all three are well established unknowns.

      1. Thanks – I think that’s the point – in crossword land – not necessarily in Maths land – at least not when I was teaching it 🙂

        1. N is clued in crosswords, at least usually, not by “unknown” but by “indefinite” number (as Collins has it) or words to that effect. (It’s always a whole number, n, while the unknowns can be any kind of number.)

          1. Thanks Guy – you are quite right about ‘n’ in maths and in crossword use!
            I do concede that z is used regularly in crosswords but I would assert that, unlike x and y, it has no special status in maths as an indicator of an unknown.

  14. Having invented the word “malleated” yesterday, I failed again today with a typo. I should have OVERTYPED “oveetyped”.

  15. 25:56. I found this extremely hard, and got stuck for ages at the end on the bone. I spotted NOMINATE, and a B for black (partly on the basis that the answer was probably a bone) but couldn’t for the life of me unravel the rest of the clue. ‘Stuff’ as a verbal containment indicator is incredibly well-disguised, very clever and extremely devious. I got there eventually. Can you take your hat off through gritted teeth?
    How’s this for stupidity: my initial thought for the letters after Q was PRS, as my brain somehow managed to fuse QPR with the alphabet. I needed all the checkers for the idea to be dislodged.

  16. DNF after an hour, with two outstanding and no hope of progress. NHO, and could not construct, BEEFALO, even when I finally saw how ROOFTOP worked, and had all the crossers including the O at the end. And, of course, the INNOMINATE BONE. Strewth. Like isla3, I’m still puzzled by INNINGS. Thank you glh (are you part of keriothe’s alphabet?) thank you for the blog

  17. I should have stopped well before the end as I found this a bore. I see others lost motivation. In the end I pressed on but after 50 minutes I resorted to an aid to give me the bone, which meant my CUT IN for 13 was wrong. Even if I’d had that right I would not have got the bone.
    I found many of the clues inelegant, and some definitions dubious. What a contrast with some other puzzles this week.

  18. DNF. It’s a long time since I last didn’t submit, as normally I will at least take a guess. However today I got nowhere near INNOMINATE BONE. I didn’t think of the right meaning of “put up”, and spent most of my time looking for a word for “put up with” such as bear or endure.

  19. I’m glad to see I’m not alone in failing to get the bone, even after looking up leg bones, knowing it had to be the answer. I got as far as IN to start with and B-ONE, but even if nominate had come to mind, which it didn’t, as I was trying to think of put up in the sense of ‘give a bed to’, I would not have entered it, as I didn’t think it could be a bone I’d not heard of at some point in my life. FANON also unknown, but easier to work out. A disappointing end to the puzzle, which I otherwise quite enjoyed, particularly PECKINPAH, CROP CIRCLE and WORST, my COD. My thanks to setter and to George for unravelling both ROOFTOP and the bone.

  20. DNF. I thought NOMINATE BONE, my undoing, was too obscure for a Times daily, but I seem to be in the minority.

  21. Gave up on the hour and looked up INNOMINATE BONE. I looked up bones of the leg and it didn’t appear so I had to Google the clue. Submitted off leaderboard and found a pink square for MANX. Feeling grumpy now. Thanks George.

  22. 51 mins. What a stinker! Never got the subtleties of MANY, but fortunately had the right answer. Loads of NHO here. Worst mistake was misanagramming TETHERING as RERIGHTEN, which took a while to resolve.

  23. 21:32, so in the circumstances, I guess I escaped the labyrinth reasonably promptly. LOI was the body part, after quite a bit of thought about how to assemble the constituent parts of the clue, no surprises there. Felt very much like an outlier, even in an already quite testing puzzle

  24. I persevered with this even though the hour mark was well behind me. I’m glad I did even though I came up short. I confidently put in CUT IN instead of OPT IN, and therefore had little chance of solving the obscure bone at 9dn. Hope it’s a bit easier tomorrow, I wouldn’t like them all to be this tough.

  25. 21:08 but with MANX put in too quickly (I thought CAT could me a MAN, like “jazz cat” + X for “Many a breed”). Some things to admire but too much to gripe at for my liking: WHIP ROUND should be two words, and make perfect sense if shortened to “Whip round depressed ….”; FLO is just a random female name; DAL is entirely redundant (and thus should not be allowed in a hidden clue), THE TORIES surely are more than just CON, FANON and the thingummyjig bone are just too, too obscure for the back page… But perhaps I’m just peeved about MANX. RIP Mr Horry, a good man with a wicked sense of humour, and cause of many a smile in the sometimes rather sterile world of philately …

  26. I really enjoyed slowly working through this – several times thinking of answers but being unable to justify them until suddenly the penny dropped. LOI the NHO innominate bone which went in with everything crossed. 51 and change which at 3.5 Verlaines is good enough for me.

    Thanks G and setter

  27. I thought this was all pretty straightforward. Surprised so many didn’t finish or hadn’t heard of some words. Takes all sorts, I suppose. 41 mins, including doing some food prep for dinner.

  28. Did find this hard, but got there.
    Fanon nho but clear wordplay. Failed to parse 7dn; clever clue. I did know innominate bone because I broke one of mine (amongst other things) in a mountaineering accident a few years ago. Lucky, eh? I would not say it was part of the leg, but part of the hip girdle.
    Another one by the American setter, it would appear..

  29. From the blog I realise I should have got a few more clues than I did but I’m afraid I rather lost interest. There was no way I was going to get 9d or 15a, I didn’t like Zippo very much and didn’t think question mark entirely justified 28a. Never heard of FANON (admittedly that’s my fault!) and I could only guess at REDNECKED. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day. Thanks for the blog.

  30. Thanks for the blog.

    I thought this felt a bit American with BEEFALO, ZIPPO, PECKINPAH, REDNECKED, GROUCHO and GROUNDHOG and the use of “over” for “again” in 12a. Probably explains why I didn’t understand half of it.

  31. After three easy ones this week, a timely reminder that it’s not all fun and games. This was a DNF for me — gave up after an hour with the bone still missing and a rather doubtful ‘cut in’ at 13a.

  32. Had to look up INNOMINATE BONE
    So concluded with a mighty GROAN
    Setter’s pardon I beg
    But it’s not in the leg
    And you know how I love a good moan

  33. All done bar the bone, which I couldn’t get a foothold on how to solve – was it reverse a word for put etc
    Otherwise enjoyable.

  34. Congratulations to anyone who completed this without being an orthopaedic consulltant.
    It’s that setter again.

  35. DNF, defeated by BEEFALO and INNOMINATE BONE, neither of which I’d heard of. Though I did work out the wordplay for the unknown (and to me unlikely sounding) PECKINPAH.

    COD Con brio

    1. I always assumed the movie director Sam Peckinpah was of Native Indian extraction but apparently his ancestors were from the Frisian Islands and they were formerly named Peckinpough.

  36. No problem getting INNOMINATE BONE but it certainly isn’t in the leg. It’s part of the pelvis.
    Anatomically speaking the “leg” is from the knee down, it’s the “thigh” above that.

  37. I’m another who failed on the infamous bone – I entered “Indominate Bone” with a shrug.

  38. I take my hat off to those of you who cracked this one without resorting to any external help at all.

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