Times 28534 – hope it wasn’t a 14

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 12:06.  A little bit slower than my usual time, and a survey of early solvers suggests this is a tricky one. I liked that few clues fell immediately, there was something to think about in most of them.

How did you do?

1 Cut what bridegroom did (5)
HEWED – what did the bridegroom do? HE WED
4 Very obvious trail grew confused (4,5)
9 Mentioned having purchased everything available around river (7,2)
BROUGHT UP – BOUGHT UP(purchased everything available) surrounding R(river)
10 Serviceman: see one at attention endlessly (5)
VICAR – V(see), I(one) and most of CARE(attention)
11 Ring again to cancel (6)
REPEAL – ring again would be RE-PEAL
12 Put sport back in modest setting, showing consideration (8)
COURTESY – SET(put) and RU(sport) reversed inside COY(modest)
14 Disappointment ain’t turned about by acquiring capital (10)
ANTICLIMAX – anagram of ANTI, then C(about) and X(by) containing LIMA(capital)
16 Obstinate, not born to be a butt (4)
STUB – STUBBORN(obstinate) minus BORN
19 Irritable in overheated gym (4)
EDGY – hidden in overheatED GYm
20 Figures sulphur preparations in lab must be contaminated by phosphorus (10)
SCULPTURES – S(sulphur), CULTURES(preparations in lab) containing P(phosphorus)
22 Small garden area, plain with patches of colour (8)
SKEWBALD – S(small), KEW(garden area), BALD(plain)
23 I appreciate that popular number one: it’s in South Pacific (6)
TAHITI – TA(I appreciate that), HIT(popular) and I(number one)
26 Rubbish in middle of ship picked up (5)
WASTE – sounds like WAIST(the middle of a ship)
27 Bright and shiny chap in elite force not taking sides (9)
ARGENTINE – GENT(chap) inside MARINES(elite force) minus the exterior letters
28 One spread out on back of board, as shown (9)
DISPLAYED – I(one), SPLAYED(spread out) after the last letter of boarD
29 Travels with no man born in British Isles (5)
RIDES – remove HE(man) and B(born) from HEBRIDES(British Isles)
1 Breathe in groggily and go to sleep (9)
2 War cry from that corps regularly (5)
WHOOP – WHO(that) and alternating letters in cOrPs
3 A couple of hours pet-sitting? (8)
DOGWATCH – referring to a short watch on a ship, the second part referring to what pet-sitting could be
4 Engineer’s question heard by some (4)
WATT – sounds like WHAT(question)
5 I can be shown to be less than perfect (10)
IMPROVABLE – if I can be shown to be, then I’M PROVABLE
6 Historian covering royal uniform (6)
LIVERY – LIVY(historian) containing ER(royal)
7 For City, the scorer is unusual (9)
8 Like an aristocrat perhaps to be in plenty of time? (5)
EARLY – EARL-Y(like an aristocrat)
13 One’s little room covered in a lot of jumble (10)
MISCELLANY – I’S(one’s) CELL(little room) inside MANY(a lot)
15 Gets side-tracked, needing time for introduction for Cats (9)
TIGRESSES – DIGRESSES(gets side-tracked) with T(time) instead of the first letter
17 Luxuriant condition of hair is prominent in coach (9)
BUSHINESS – SHINES(is prominent) inside BUS(coach)
18 Riddle of shoes son moved to the furthest possible place (8)
STRAINER – TRAINERS(shoes) with S(son) moved to the other end
21 Let oneself down in trouble concealing disease (6)
ABSEIL – AIL(trouble) containing BSE(mad cow disease)
22 News at last due for broadcast (5)
SOWED – last letter of newS, then OWED(due)
24 Poem of the millennium overlooked by church (5)
ILIAD – CHILIAD(millennium) minus CH(church)
25 Bill for example’s taken first oath (4)
EGAD – AD(bill) with EG(for example) first

62 comments on “Times 28534 – hope it wasn’t a 14”

  1. 31:40, but I used aids to get DOGWATCH (I had ‘dogpatch’ for some reason) & SKEWBALD (I’d recalled it wrongly as ‘skewball’).
    I never did figure out how ILIAD worked; I thought that maybe ‘milennium’ was somehow 1 AD, but of course could make nothing of the IL. Not knowing the word CHILIAD didn’t help matters. I also couldn’t figure out RIDES. Are the Marines an elite force? I liked TIGRESSES & ANTICLIMAX.

      1. From Wiki:
        The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK’s special operations capable commando force….
        As a specialised and adaptable light infantry and commando force, Royal Marine Commandos are trained for rapid deployment worldwide and capable of dealing with a wide range of threats.

      2. And in the US they are the Senior Service – the oldest of the four (five with the spacemen?) services

  2. Stuck in a rut of getting most of it quickly then really struggling on the last 3 or 4. Today SKEWBALD, RIDES took forever to parse, ILIAD unparseable as NHO chiliad, and finally DOGWATCH – knew it as a marine thing but not what it was.
    Really enjoyed the puzzle, very tricky and interesting words with CHILIAD the only unknown for me. Many clues vying for COD, too hard to pick.

  3. I really liked this, because I needed the wordplay for most clues to glimpse the answer.
    I put in RECALL at first too, like Vinyl, but that was my only write-over.
    The three other quarters were filled before there was anything in the SE. As it happens, I was watching video of carnaval in ARGENTINa as I worked…! I wrote “Wow! CHILIAD!” on my copy… and was quite surprised, and slow to realize, that the same trick (involving one more subtracted letter) was used for the crossing RIDES.

  4. 52 minutes with ILIAD biffed once all the checkers were in place but it remained unparsed even after the event. ‘Chiliad’ came up in a puzzle in 2015 with friendly wordplay so I was able to work it out but it didn’t stick – not for as long as 8 years anyway. It was pointed out at the time that a chiliad is about a tenth of a myriad yet it remains obscure whilst ‘myriad’ is in common use.

    This was a puzzle of 3 parts for me. The whole of the top half went in easily with most of the clues yielding at the first attempt. In the SW I found it hard to get a foothold but even when I had achieved that, progress was slow. Ditto the SE except substitute ‘very slow’.

  5. 37 minutes. Not a 14a for me. CHILIAD unknown (don’t even remember it from Y2K bug days) and ARGENTINE uncommon in the ‘Bright and shiny’ sense, but I was mainly held up by the crossing DOGWATCH and ANTICLIMAX, my last two in.

    Favourite was RIDES, with its echoes of Felix Mendelssohn.

  6. 36 m today, my experience very similar to Jack’s. LOI was SKEWBALD which probably took about 6m in itself, as I didn’t get KEW as a garden ‘area’ but eventually just put it in anyway. In Western Australia at the present time, hence the early, and sunny, solve today.

    1. Welcome back, G! At least, I don’t recall seeing you around for a while.

      Then again, I don’t recall much these days!

      1. Thanks, U. Don’t get around much anymore and only an intermittent solver/lurker these days. Nothing wrong with that bit of your memory anyway!

  7. 52m 07s
    Enjoyable but I had never heard of (ch)ILIAD before and until I read Jack’s comment I didn’t know myriad had a precise definition.
    22ac was SPECKLED for a while but in the end I couldn’t find a way to make it fir the clue
    Isn’t it a bit of a leap to go from ‘silvery’ to ‘bright & shiny’ to describe ARGENTINE?
    LOI: IMPROVABLE. I dithered over whether it should be IMPROBABLE or not.

    1. I think ‘myriad’ doesn’t have to be precise but one meaning in SOED is: Chiefly Classical History. Ten thousand. rare.

      1. And don’t get pedants started on “decimate”. It originally means “reduce by 10%”, it now means “devastate”, and has changed its meaning over the last 100 years, just like myriads of other words. The Times Online comments (a murky pool) always light up when a journalist uses “decimate”.

        1. This hadn’t appeared when I posted below (hadn’t refreshed the page) – great minds etc. See also disinterested and countless other examples.

      2. I had always thought it was also related to Myrmidons, Achilles’s lot, which I knew to be named for ants. (Zeus populated an area with people created from ants, with the ants which are “myr-something”), and I almost surely incorrectly figured lots and lots of ants – myriads in fact – and Bob’s your uncle.

  8. 26:04. This was a very uneven solve for me, completing about 80% in around 10 minutes then taking around 15 minutes to complete the other 20%, mostly in the bottom right corner. I was completely off the wavelength there, thinking of the whole UK for “British Isles”, numbers for “Figures” and train for “coach” amongst others. I also nearly mixed up my Middle Eastern dips with my islands when thinking of “in” for popular gave me a partially parsed TAHINI.
    Other than that, I guess there was a small sign of improvement as the last time Kew was used for “garden” as part of a clue it never came to me but I thought of it fairly quickly this time.

    1. It is in New York state. And the football club in the Kent one seems to be still Rochester City FC.

      1. Pedant alert!
        Rochester NY is nothing to do with a clue in The Times of London, unless flagged as such. Rochester Kent lost its city status in 1998, following the foundation of the Medway Unitary Authority (same as eg Rutland :-)). Its football club is called Rochester FC. There is also a club called Rochester City FC but this was formed in 2013 and so is less than authoritative in this regard ..

  9. 19:20. I’m another who DNK CHILIAD so 24D went in with a shrug. LOI STRAINER after SCULTURES. I liked TAHITI for the surface and ANTICLIMAX for the wordplay. Thanks George and setter.

  10. About an hour.
    Wowzers, this frazzled me brain. Glad to get through it. NW corner – flying start, and I thought we were in for a snitch in the 60s. Little did I know …
    Thanks, g.

  11. 21 minutes, glad to get (CH)ILIAD and work out ARGENTINE, then got a pink square by carelessly putting in IMPROBABLE not IMPROVABLE without seeing why. Otherwise good stuff.

  12. Heavy weather and 34’43”. After I saw ILIAD — and not before — I remembered the existence of CHILIAD – or at least I thought I did. And I was right. Guessed DOGWATCH after wondering for a time if it might begin with DI- , for the TWO hours. Glad to have remembered that RIDDLE does not always mean poser.

  13. 13:19. This was somewhere in the zone where the welcome challenge of the refreshingly unfamiliar becomes the irritating chore of gratuitous obscurity. For me it fell on the right side of the line although I was half-expecting to be righteously outraged when the unlikely-looking SKEWBALD resulted in pink squares.
    The wordplay for RIDES is a bit out there: I thought this was RI DES, where RI stands for Republic of Ireland, which it doesn’t of course. As you might imagine I didn’t think it was a great clue!
    Another confident RECALL here, which I didn’t reconsider for ages.
    NHO CHILIAD so that was a biff.

    1. Solvers who also do the QC may have had an advantage over SKEWBALD as it appeared in a puzzle on 14th December last and was the subject of much discussion.

  14. This puzzle appeared to have more than its fair share of letter-chopping clues but was none the worse for that. All done in 35 minutes, but held up for a long time in the SW corner after mistakenly putting in BILGE at 26ac. An enjoyable challenge.
    LOI – SKEWBALD (even though Kew is not that far from here)
    Thanks to George and other contributors.

  15. DNF as careless Improbable and couldn’t get Dogwatch. Courtesy took a while as I got fixed on ‘sty’ forming part of the clue. Was lucky in the SE as I would never parse Rides and Iliad. But hugely enjoyable for a mid-level solver as I learned quite a few techniques and words and was rewarded for paying more attention to how the clues are put together. Nice blog too.

  16. Gave up on the hour, with two thirds done, and rather glad I did: not a hope in hell that I’d have got the NHO SKEWBALD and anything deriving from ‘chiliad’. I actually realised it must be ILIAD and played with the idea of taking ‘ch’ off ‘chiliad’… but not a word I’d heard of, even vaguely. Wouldn’t have seen BUSHINESS either .

  17. 29:59 with that all-important fraction of a second keeping me below 30 mins. Thought I was in for a speedy time as I whipped through the upper storeys then ground to a halt in the basement. NHO of chiliad so pleased to see that one correct.

  18. 20′. No problem with CHILIAD, E. P. Thompson mentions it a lot in ‘The Making of the English Working Class’.

    DOGWATCH is a corruption of dodge watch…

    Thanks george and setter.

    1. Not according to the OED. In fact it’s a direct translation of either Dutch hondenwacht or German Hundewache. ‘The watch was probably so called because on land this was the period when the household slept and only the dog kept guard’.

      1. Or of course the old joke (c.f. Captain Jack Aubrey, c.1800) that the dogwatches are so-called because they are CUR-tailed

  19. I found this tough, taking more than an hour to finish, but with one pink square for putting in IMPROBABLE instead of IMPROVABLE, like one or two others. I enjoyed EARLY for the light relief

  20. 21:58 Tricky and satisfying solve.

    Knowing the meaning of CHILIAD is was always going to come in useful one day. I’m not sure how but the fact that non-digital photography here in France is refered to as argentique helped me to get ARGENTINE.

    Thanks to George and the setter

  21. Having done all the hard work in 36:01 with ILIAD LOI, Chiliad being NHO, I found I’d carelessly typed WAIST at 26a giving myself 3 errors in the process. $£%^**&!!! A careless mis-spelled MICELLANNY also caused a major delay with SCULPTURES until I noticed it. Thanks setter and George.

  22. 15:58, this was a bit Zeno’s paradox-y, in that the closer I got to finishing, the slower my progress, but I got there in the end. Being a smug classicist led me to ILIAD early on, but I struggled to parse RIDES and ARGENTINE as part of a generally testing SE corner. All good in the end.

  23. Also NHO chiliad but I had heard SKEWBALD- I had assumed from a prior encounter with this crossword. LOI COURTESY after deciding against the unlikely looking HOURMELY

  24. 12m 13s, another tricky one today. There was about a 3 minute period from 7-10 mins where I didn’t enter anything at all; then, as so often the case, they snowballed: EGAD, and the rest fell.

  25. Thoroughly defeated. Gave up after 40 minutes with my last two in Iliad and rides being complete guesses. NHO chiliad so one for the diary. Argentine and egad totally escaped me.
    Oh dear, never mind.

  26. So 23a *isn’t* BALI HA’I ?? Shame 😉 With clues like SKEWBALD, I think I need to wash this crossword right out of my hair…

    A testy mix of very hard clues (for me, anyway) and some weirdly easy ones, so I was home & hosed in 36:12.


  27. I rattled through this until I reached the south east corner, which took me as long to solve as the rest of the puzzle.

  28. Completely defeated today – had to use aids for NHO dogwatch (knew it was dog something but could not get the last bit) and NHO skewbald (this was generously clued and gettable but not by me today). Biffed Iliad with no understanding so thanks for the Mephisto like parsing of that one. After all of that for some reason I thought sobriety was the right answer to 12a for some reason and this was before attempting the QC😊
    COD anticlimax
    Excellent puzzle today but defeated me. Thx G and setter

  29. 12:48 late this afternoon.
    Really happy with my time, one of these solving experiences where by luck – well, in the sequence I went round the grid – I came across otherwise tricky clues when helpful crossers were already in place.
    Some really neat clueing and clever surfaces e.g. 1 ac “hewed”, and 23 ac “tahiti”.
    Also liked 20 ac “sculptures” and 28 ac “rides”. Maybe helped by a recollection of my father always calling the islands in question the “He Brides” (intentionally as a joke), the irony being he always said he hated crosswords!
    NHO “chiliad” but as my LOI, the clue made sense at the time.
    Thanks to setter and to George for the blog.

  30. A solid defeat today. I would never have got SKEWBALL and although I thought of ILIAD, I couldn’t see how it worked.
    Lots to learn from this one

  31. Probably too late to ask and feeling a bit thick but why is V ‘see’ in 10ac and why is WHO ‘that’ in 2d?

    1. From the abbreviation q.v. (‘which see’ in Latin). I guess informally “that” and “who” can be interchanged (“the man who” is often spoken as the “the man that”).

      1. Thanks John, both now make sense. I did wonder if the who/that was as simple as you outline and it is! Not that it matters but I don’t like it as a clueing mechanism.

    2. ‘v’ is used as an abbreviation for ‘vide’, that is ‘see’ in Latin, in textual references.
      ‘that’ may be used as a relative pronoun as an alternative for ‘who’. I myself would avoid this, but my Oxford dictionary gives it as an acceptable usage.

      1. Thanks Ucalegon, both now make sense. I did wonder if the who/that was as simple as you outline and it is! Not that it matters but I don’t like it as a clueing mechanism.

  32. I was ultimately defeated by the southeast corner as I didn’t know chILIAD and couldn’t parse RIDES, but I enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks for the blog.

  33. Scraped in under the hour with all correct. Hadn’t heard of SKEWBALD but did remember PIEBALD and constructed it from that. Thought EGAD was tricksy in a good sort of way.

  34. My first thought, like witwoud, was PIEBALD and I should immediately have jumped to SKEWBALD because there’s a nursery rhyme which mixes them, but the small garden was so obviously S PLOT (chy) that, well, you know the rest. Nice to learn a new word (Chiliad), and some clever cluing.

  35. Only defeated by a very few, and those being the ones others had most trouble with: SKEWBALD, (despite bicycling to the Gardens regularly with my school pal), ABSEIL (where I was looking for an illness), and VICAR ( failed to see the requisite meaning of “serviceman”. Biffed, I own up to, ILIAD and RIDES – no idea of parsing.
    Overall pleased with my effort, as thought it was going to be seen as an easier one.

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