Times 28537 – Overegging the omelette?

No fewer than five, perhaps, six, cryptic definitions (of varying efficacy) make this quirky piece more difficult than your average Monday fare. I tripped up on one of them (one of the better ones, so no complaints here).

50-odd minutes, with a look-up, for me, so well off the pace. How did you do?

1 Badge from Britain GI sniper brought back (8)
INSIGNIA – well hidden reverse hidden
5 Argument as result of being oddly selective in formal clause (6)
FRACAS – alternate letters of formal clause
9 Sex returns in erotic festival (8)
CARNIVAL – reversal of VI (sex: Latin 6, AKA VI) in CARNAL (erotic via sensual)
10 One’s piano tune better? Just the opposite (6)
IMPAIR – IM (one’s unhappy = I’m unhappy) P (piano) AIR (tune)
12 Times editor’s leader subject to deletion (5)
ERASE – ERAS (times) E[ditor]
13 Silly person in rogue’s embrace carried on amorously (9)
CANOODLED – NOODLE (silly person) in CAD (rogue)
14 Running in  fear (12)
APPREHENSION – double definition (DD); the first sense as in something the police might do to you
18 Level playing area for would-be kingmakers (12)
DRAUGHTBOARD – the first of our plethora of CDs; the one that foxed me, largely because I had the final five letters as ‘court’
21 Singer making mess of carol, not keeping time (9)
CONTRALTO – T (time) in anagram* of CAROL NOT
23 Panama, perhaps, annexing island with one Caribbean state (5)
HAITI – I (island) in HAT (Panama) I
24 Article is about singular line of argument (6)
THESIS – S in THE (article) IS
25 Cultivate area on right side of hill to provide food in Mexico (8)
TORTILLA – TOR (hill) TILL (cultivate) A (area)
26 Restrict food from ten to nine, say, finishing at noon (6)
RATION – 10:9 is an example of a ratio, followed by [noo]N
27 For example, that’s what’s seen in some poetry (3,5)
EYE RHYME – ‘that’ and ‘what’ look as if they should rhyme but don’t (perhaps they did once?): such are called eye rhymes in poetics. Is this a CD? Comment below.
1 What does foot have three times as many of as hand? (6)
INCHES – in equine terms, one hand is equal to four inches. Geddit now?
2 Stamina required to cross river or brook (6)
STREAM – R in STEAM (I ran out of steam doing this thing)
3 Where this isn’t from and the kind of animal it isn’t (6,3)
GUINEA PIG – another CD, and a bit contrived for my taste
4 Popular work in art gallery in recycled clay? Not exactly (12)
INACCURATELY – CURATE (work in art gallery – clever) in IN CLAY*
6 November is equally far away for him and his beloved (5)
ROMEO – I like this – you’ve guessed it – CD; in the NATO alphabet, which all setters worth their salt communicate to each other in, N is three letters from R and three letters from J (for Juliett). A clever artifice, IMHO.
7 Service provider for other service providers? (8)
CHAPLAIN – this…no, you know what it is…is not quite so good, as the setter plays on two of the different senses of service, church and military
8 Piercing, small missile (8)
STRIDENT – S TRIDENT (nuclear thingummy)
11 Right work among collected writings for man’s study? (12)
15 In short, disoriented sailor following new navigational aid (5,4)
NORTH STAR – N (new) followed by SHORT* (the anagram indicator is disoriented – disorientated in old money) TAR (sailor)
16 Oddly cued a Conservative cut, as one not liking to see class struggle? (8)
17 Minimal idea following article in examination (8)
FAINTEST – F (allowing) A (article) IN TEST (examination); as in ‘I haven’t got the faintest’ with the definite article removed, as if in a newspaper headline
19 Lose track of mass whisky producer (6)
MISLAY – M ISLAY (island in Scotland where whisky is produced)
20 Ending article uploaded into document (6)
FINALE – AN reversed (uploaded) in FILE
22 You need to be careful when one charges you  money (5)
RHINO – DD; we have cash, setters have rhino

60 comments on “Times 28537 – Overegging the omelette?”

  1. Yes, this was quirky but I enjoyed it very much. Too many contenders for COD. Thanks Hugh and setter.

  2. Me too (liked it), sort of and mostly. Thanks for the other sense of Apprehension, ulaca.

  3. Quirky, but not so enjoyable for me. Just an opinion, it’s a perfectly fine puzzle, but took a bit to get into the setter’s mode of thinking. Ended up about average time.
    Slow, unfinished top half; fast bottom half; then returned to get guinea pig, carnival, stream, fracas and chaplain. Liked ANTHROPOLOGY and INACCURATELY most, good charades.

  4. 15:59
    4d had me nicely misled, trying to get IN (popular), OP (work) and TATE (art gallery) into the solution; it took a while, and probably the C, to get the right idea. I thought of DRAUGHTSBOARD right away–it would have been my FOI–but it’s too long, and for some reason–stupidity is my guess–I didn’t try DRAUGHT. But the real troublemaker was LOI FAINTEST; took me a long time to come up with it, longer to understand it. I rather liked GUINEA PIG.

  5. 32 minutes. Rufus rides again. I pencilled in most of the CD’s without too much delay though I only properly parsed some like CHAPLAIN later. I didn’t know EYE RHYME was a poetic term, but as it is, 27a works for me as a CD. Took a while to get the correct sense of FAINTEST as my LOI.

    I quite liked GUINEA PIG, probably helped by having a soft spot for the creatures. Favourite was the three appearances of the NATO phonetic alphabet (even if it is properly “Juliett”) in ROMEO.

    Thanks to ulaca and setter

  6. 47 minutes. I lost time by bunging in INACCURATELY quite early but without fully parsing it, and a little later when I was having difficulty with some of the answers intersecting with it, I decided it might be wrong and took it out again. My problem with the parsing was that I had been fixated on ‘art gallery’ being TATE.

    CANOODLE, APPREHENSION, CHAPLAIN and GUINEA PIG were also major stumbling blocks. DRAUGHTBOARD went in with fingers crossed because I’d never heard of it, only DRAUGHTSBOARD. An alternative might have been ‘checkerboard’ but fortunately letters already in place prevented me going down that route

    Despite the difficulties I really enjoyed this as it was an entertaining solve containing several PDMs.

  7. The required sense of “[a] running in” was the last penny to drop. I liked this well enough.

    DRAUGHTBOARD, sans S, was a surprise, but CHECKERBOARD (d’oh!) didn’t work at all.

  8. I think EYE RHYME is defined by “seen in some poetry” and “that’s” / “what’s” is given as an example of one.

  9. 35m 26s
    I really enjoyed this puzzle. My only unparsed clues were FRACAS and INACCURATELY so thank you, ulaca.
    I agree GUINEA PIG was contrived but they are such cute creatures I didn’t mind.
    The mention of ‘sex’ in 9ac -CARNIVAL- reminded me of one of my favourite clues from a few years ago: ‘Roman sex position daughters came to see’: VISITED.
    Today I thought IMPAIR and DRAUGHTBOARD were very good but my COD is definitely ROMEO.

    1. Famed from the 1990s I think is:
      ‘In which three couples get together for sex’ (5): LATIN

  10. 26 mins. Tx for the explanation Antsinpants. My wife is just now a published rhyming poet, but she will keep putting eye rhymes in much to my dismay. As a song writer personally, eye rhymes simply don’t work! I even dislike rhyming time with line etc.

  11. 17:17. From comments this seems rather a marmite puzzle, and I’m on the side of those less keen on it. The cryptic definition is my least favourite type of clue, so having got through the typical Sunday puzzle I’d rather not have more of them on a Monday morning. Just my opinion though.
    Predictably I got stuck on two crossers, both of which included a CD – INCHES/CARNIVAL and IMPAIR/CHAPLAIN. For INCHES I thought the foot might relate to poetry and wondered if you could spell IAMBS with an E in it. Eventually I was disabused of this thought when I finally realised sex was not IT in CARNIVAL. I needed IMPAIR to then finish with a hopeful CHAPLAIN, which was one of several words that for me mean “person who does something in a church”, much like dean and sexton.

  12. One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half Impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
    Or softly lightens o’er her face;

    25 mins mid-brekker. Just my cup of tea this one. Some lovely clues and no wild obscurities. Running in fear is great and Mass whisky producer is inspired.
    Thanks setter and U.

  13. 51 minutes with LOI FAINTEST. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it and there was APPREHENSION in my enjoyment. I couldn’t make up my mind if that was APPREHENSIVE too. There were some crackers among the cryptics so overall this was a good thing. Thank you U and setter.

  14. 9:58. Another who’s LOI was FAINTEST, which I failed to parse. Thanks for explaining, U. Clearly I was on the wavelength with this one, despite the quirkiness. I liked INCHES, APPREHENSION and MISLAY but COD to ROMEO. Thank-you Ulaca and setter.

    1. 10:27 So definitely on wavelength for me. LOI FAINTEST (again). Did not parse the CURATE or see the second definition of “service”. Thanks for the explanations.

      Liked the GUINEA PIG but we seem to have had a lot of sex = six = VI recently.

  15. About 15 minutes. Didn’t understand ROMEO at all, so thanks for the explanation. Took a while to remember that CARNIVAL has an I in the middle, rather than an E or an A, and only then did I spot the sex=six device. EYE RHYME was remembered from not getting it the last time it came up in one of these crosswords, and FAINTEST was held up by trying to do some insertion before the penny dropped.

    FOI Insignia
    LOI Faintest
    COD Contralto

  16. I liked this a lot (but don’t like marmite. Bovril all the way). Some lovely, inventive clues. Mislay, Romeo.. and a Guinea Pig too. I suspect maybe it is the stricter Ximeneans who aren’t so keen on the more whimsical aspects.

  17. I liked it, but found it an easy Monday, nearly a PB at 13 minutes. Top to bottom with FAINTEST the LOI.

  18. After a poor performance last week it was good to get back to winning ways today.
    LOI EYE RHYME (without understanding but relieved to see correct)

  19. I’m glad I came here because the beauty of the APPREHENSION clue would have been lost on me. Everything (despite all the tiresome CDs) was going so well and then the DRAUGHTBOARD/FAINTEST pair did for me and I eventually finished in 38 minutes. I was thinking that the definition of 18ac was probably a plural and so it would probably end in -s. Not that that was the main reason: its CD-ness wasn’t obvious.

  20. 7:31. I noticed and enjoyed the quirkiness of this. I thought it made a nice change.
    Does 10:9 have any particular significance? Seems a bit weak if it’s just a random pair of numbers.

    1. Struck me as odd, too. Obviously wanted it to sound like a time, and chose a random one a few hours before noon. As well, the first number had to be larger than the second to be ‘restricted’.

  21. Failed to understand 14a APPREHENSION, so thank you Ulaca.
    Had a MER at TRIDENT=missile, as the 3 prong spear isn’t usually thrown, so thanks again U
    Thought blogger’s Juliett was a rare error, but no, it was I who was wrong.
    Liked 3d GUINEA PIG and 6d ROMEO and 9a CARNIVAL.
    On edit, thought I would mention that I ate a guinea pig in Peru and it was excellent, but forebore to mention this to daughter 2 who is a pescetarian and kept guinea pigs.

    1. I’m sure you are aware that Trident is also submarine-launched missile with nuclear capabilities so the clue works with that in mind.

      I wasn’t aware of the Juliett thing until today. On looking it up I read that the double-T ending is to ensure that the T is articulated clearly in radio transmission. But according to some sources the single-T is a perfectly acceptable alternative and may even be the favoured spelling now simply through (mis)usage.

      1. When is Juliet ever spelled with two Ts?!
        It seems the ballet is sometimes spelled like that but the Shakespeare character isn’t.
        Sorry I see from Tim’s comment that I’m just being stupid. Sometimes it seems to be spelled ‘Juliette’.

      2. It wasn’t until (comparatively) recently that I realised the first letter of that alphabet is ALFA rather than ALPHA, for similar reasons of clarity.

  22. 26′, with CHAPLAIN LOI. Chaplains can be attached to hospitals and other workplaces, cathedrals and housing estates.

    Used to keep GUINEA PIGs, so straight in. The French also preserve the inaccuracy, the animal being a ‘cochon d’Inde’. It is said that guinea pigs and humans are the only two animals unable to store vitamin C.

    Didn’t parse APPREHENSION, so put it in and out and in again. Another also fixated on TATE as the gallery.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  23. An enjoyable start to the week. I was definitely on the wavelength, even though last 2 in FAINTEST and RATION delayed me somewhat. INCHES got me off to a flying start. Really liked APPREHENSION and MISLAY. 13:54. Thanks setter and U.

  24. 09:53, I enjoyed this: definitely more thought required than is often the case on Monday, especially when it came to fathoming out the inches (no pun intended, but now I’ve seen it, I’m having it) and the phonetic alphabet.

  25. I found this tougher than average, despite a number of easy clues. After 30 minutes I was left with five unsolved answers: IMPAIR, DRAUGHTBOARD, RATION, CHAPLAIN and RHINO. I took me another nine minutes of pondering to get those. I almost resorted to aids, but at the lat minute I saw DRAUGHTBOARD, then the others fell quickly after.
    I agree with some others who dislike too many CD’s, especially if they cross each other or two cross another answer.

  26. 18:40

    Blasted through this – must have been right on the setter’s wavelength as no real problems or issues.


  27. 19.40 with the LOI eye rhyme. Faintly, remembered from a clue a while back. SW was trouble with draughtboard and faintest taking a lot of working out. Not the almost usual Monday adrenaline rush but good puzzle.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  28. A reasonable effort for me, having looked at the snitch. I quite liked the CD’s.

    CARNIVAL LOI, and I didn’t parse sex = VI, but I liked that too.


  29. 3m 55s. As a rule I don’t enjoy CDs, but about half of these were pretty decent, CHAPLAIN probably my favourite.


  30. Enjoyed this, but then I do like a CD. Like many others, faintest was the last one in, although fully parsed. It seems I am the only one who had a query with 12 across, erase. Erase to me is surely a verb, so how can this equate to “subject to deletion”?

    1. I wondered about ERASE too, but it makes sense if you read ‘subject’ as a verb – i.e. you subject something to deletion.

  31. I went wrong on this one, and didn’t get EYE RHYME- never heard of it. I liked the ROMEO and FAINTEST clues though.
    Too many cryptic definitions though for my taste.

  32. Not a bad day with 12:10 and a bit of head-scratching over EYE RHYME even though I know the phrase through crosswords ha. But it isn’t something I use or come across everyday so it took a while for it to bubble up in my head. GUINEA PIG and CARNIVAL are awesome.

  33. I thought this was pretty tough, but there are some good times being posted so perhaps it was me not being on form. No time recorded as it was completed in a number of sessions, but I’m sure it was over an hour. In company with many my LOI was FAINTEST and before that CHAPLAIN. I was on the point of raising the white flag after about ten minutes on these two, but the solutions finally dawned; although FAINTEST remained my only unparsed answer.
    I can’t make up my mind for COD between 1dn and 6dn, both of them excellent, but if pushed I’d give it to ROMEO.

  34. 10:43

    Enjoyable, quirky puzzle. IMPAIR and CHAPLAIN took me over the 10′.

    EYE RHYME was front and centre of mind as I used the term this morning in respect of WORDLE, where following a trail of actual rhymes instead of going with an eye rhyme led to my needing all six goes.

    I must have a taste for the contrived as I loved GUINEA PIG

  35. About 45 minutes. Not a massive fan of some of today’s cryptics. Also, I haven’t seen Sex= VI before so had no idea what was going on there (Roman or Latin would not have gone amiss).
    I remembered “Eye Rhyme” from a previous Times puzzle.

  36. 13:02 late this afternoon.
    My first thought was that overall the puzzle was “quirky” but on reflection I think “inventive” is more appropriate. I guess the setter is running the risk of creating a few more MERS, by designing some of the clues in the way he/she did but although one or two may not have been absolutely perfect, it all made for a most enjoyable challenge.
    I particularly liked “Romeo”, “Inches” and “Mislay”. Ironically, my LOI was 2d “stream” which was one of the most straightforward clues but where, by that time, I was looking for complications – double bluff by setter perhaps? If so, touche!
    Thanks to setter and to Ulaca for a good blog and for explaining”Chaplain” which I had biffed.

  37. The above comments say it all, really. LOI FAINTEST, as most others. FOI APPREHENSION. I’m not overly keen on CDs, as I’m not generally very good at them! It was a bit of a slog, on a day when I was suffering post-weekend exhaustion, and going out for a bracing February walk after lunch helped clear the cobwebs, so that it got finished over tea. I particularly like EYE-RHYME now as I missed the subtlety pointed out of that’s/what’s by AntsInPants above. I did contemplate SPERSHING for 8D for a second, but fortunately it didn’t fit.

  38. Nothing much to add. LOI FAINTEST here too. Plenty to play with here and enjoy. Thanks setter and blogger.

  39. 30 minutes
    My LOI was also FAINTEST, though EYE RHYME was a total guess which luckily was right
    Started off fast but slowed down a lot at the end. Enjoyed it though.

  40. Polaris is now the North Star
    From here, seen wherever you are
    But for an ancient man
    The pole was Thuban
    And precession has moved it quite far

  41. An average (for me) time of 30 minutes for a puzzle which was more challenging than expected. I am not too worried about CDs and just tackle what I am given. Had a MER on 12ac, but happy to accept explanation given above.
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  42. Tough one for a Monday – couldn’t work a few out at all. I’m always grateful to read the wisdom in this blog to explain things to me!
    I don’t understand the RHINO answer at all – what am I missing?

    1. Nice to hear from you, Susie.

      It’s always a good idea to have the Collins Dictionary website open. There, you will find for ‘rhino’: (chiefly Brit slang) money; cash.

      Always popping up in cryptic crosswords.

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