Times 28552 – teach me, Don Juan

Time taken: 8:19.

I submitted this one with my fingers crossed as the author at 7 down had to be pieced together from wordplay, as did the adventurer at 28 across. Those two might trip people up, but apart from that it was pretty straightforward.

How did you get along?

1 Celebrity autographs for Leo and the others? (4,5)
STAR SIGNS – STAR(celebrity), SIGNS(autographs)
6 Side with expert featured in business paper (5)
FACET – ACE(expert) inside FT(Financial Times, business paper)
9 Reptile showing love for a voodoo priestess (5)
MAMBO – MAMBA(reptile) with O(love) replacing A
10 Much of East Anglia redeveloped — effect of numbers? (9)
ANALGESIA – anagram of EAS(t) and ANGLIA
11 Industrious worker with plainclothes officers detaining a settler? (7)
ANTACID – ANT(industrious worker) and CID(plainclothes officers) containing A
12 Wolves after kill in America — this could be a chiller (3,4)
ICE PACK – a PACK of wolves after ICE(kill in America)
13 Mistakenly seek, with hideous man, joint tenderness? (10,4)
17 Either of two men to talk about Newton’s sacred song (9,5)
GREGORIAN CHANT – the two men are GREG OR IAN, then CHAT(talk) surrounding N(Newton)
21 Easily approached a story with repeated introduction? (7)
AFFABLE – A, F-FABLE(story with repeated introduction). A clue like this brings back memories of Araucaria
23 Tree house abroad entered with unending caution (7)
CASCARA – CASA(house abroad) containing CARE(caution) minus the last letter
25 Most sickly-looking Gunners seen around a training facility (9)
PALAESTRA – PALEST(most sickly-looking), RA(gunners) surrounding A
26 King cutting an old soldier’s head off (5)
AVERT – R(king) inside A, VET(old soldier)
27 5 in city imbibing rum (5)
NODDY – NY(city) containing ODD(rum). The answer to 5d is SEABIRD, and NODDY is a type of seabird
28 My cat has unusual name: “Chichester”? (9)
YACHTSMAN – anagram of MY,CAT,HAS then N(name). Reference to Francis Chichester, first man to sail single-handed around the world making only one stop
1 My northbound route taken through Salisbury’s suburbs? Pity (8)
SYMPATHY – MY reversed and PATH(route) inside the exterior letters of SalisburY
2 A daughter getting US university grant (5)
ADMIT – A, D(daughter) and MIT(US university)
3 Drink for example supplied with good snack (6,3)
SCOTCH EGG – SCOTCH(drink), EG(for example) and G(good)
4 Two pianos a part of the family (7)
GRANDPA – GRAND(one piano), P(another piano), A
5 Creature wanting fish braised in the cooking? (7)
SEABIRD – anagram of BRAISED
6 Failure to remember polyphonic composition (5)
FUGUE – double definition
7 Writer thrown by Scots hooligan entering sober society (9)
CASTANEDA – CAST(thrown) then NED(Scots hooligan) inside AA(alcoholics anonymous, sober society).  Reference to the writer Carlos, known for The Teachings of Don Juan
8 Henry having stopped defeats gets cheers (6)
THANKS – H(henry, the SI unit of inductance) inside TANKS(defeats)
14 Holding trump, not played as first card, and not bothered (9)
UNRUFFLED – RUFF(trump) inside UNLED(not played as first card)
15 Give up advantage and get moving (4-5)
KICK-START – KICK(give up), START(advantage)
16 Limit small space below second property (8)
STRAITEN – EN(small space) under S(second), TRAIT(property)
18 At no time turning, go for comeback (2-5)
RE-ENTRY – NEER(at no time) reversed, then TRY(go)
19 Old seat almost brought into curving line (7)
ARCHAIC – CHAIR(seat) missing the last letter inside ARC(curving line)
20 Discourage females? (6)
DAMPEN – the females are DAM and PEN
22 Muscular — like some bully? (5)
BEEFY – you could get BEEF from a bull
24 Running across a fish leaving river (5)
ABEAM – A then BREAM(fish) minus R(river)

75 comments on “Times 28552 – teach me, Don Juan”

  1. Failed on not one but 2 unknowns. CASTALENA sounded most likely to be a name; Scots yobs completely unknown. And the tree – guessed in desperation save for caution, to get the cassava – though I see it’s a plant, not a tree. Otherwise no worries – remembered Chichester from childhood somehow, and palestra (sic) known as Italian for gym. Took a while to see how unruffled worked – I’d initially thought RUFF must be play trump as not the first card, rather than just trump.

  2. Ran out of steam at the bottom, not seeing DAMPEN, which is a clever doubling up like GREGORIAN and GRAND+P, which I did get.

    NHO PALAESTRA, and ILLEST looked pretty good for “most sickly looking”. Also tried CASSAVA which needed “save” to mean “caution”, which felt possible, somewhere in the depths of Roget.

    EN, that printers unit comes up now and again, and I never see it. Today being a case in point. Also was looking for a headless old soldier at 26 (AVERT), like lancer, archer.


  3. I went with CASSAVA , never having heard of the Cascara tree, though I did know it by its other name ‘Cassia’. This was a tough but enjoyable test. I finally parsed my way to the PALAESTRA, and took a while to recognise ( though spellchecker wants ‘recognize’!) Sir Francis in the SE.
    35mins , but kiboshed by the tree.

    1. I’m sure you are aware of the S / Z controversy and debate in the QC blog this morning, but Fowler (mentioned there) legitimises the IZE ending in recognize quite emphatically, including citing The Times as an authoritative source.

      1. Haven’t looked at QC blog, so might be repeating this, but I believe the ‘-ize’ spelling goes back to Elibethan times, the ‘-ise’ being more recent. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it in a facsimile of the First Folio. Like a number of other such conventions it has persisted in the US and could be seen as the more authentic.

        1. I think you’re right. My COD, which is from Elizabethan times (well, Elizabeth II, but definitely pre-Carolean III, and by a few decades), prefers -ize for everything, listing -ise as an acceptable alternative. I’m sure I have always preferred -ise as a Brit and seen -ize as an American usage, but -ise is definitely a newer variation. Don’t ask me to date it though – I’m 61, and my guess is that the -ise variant was fairly well established by the 1960s, even if the Oxford dictionaries were still preferring -ize at that time.

      2. Indeed, my comment was an oblique reference to the QC for which I also blotted my copybook with this error.

  4. I’m impressed by your time, George, though I will insist that my own (unrecorded, bien sûr) wasn’t indicative of my solving skills but only of a distracted frame of mind after my weekly visit to the office of the magazine I work for—and my still being somewhat traumatized after finding out this morning that not only half, as I’d previously thought, but all of my suits are now unwearable because of hungry insects taking advantage of my leaving things unworn and in the dark too long (so here I am with a couple hundred—fantastic—ties and hardly anything to pair them with). I did have an undamaged jacket for today… I’m the only staff member who regularly wears suits, or even a tie, but I must maintain my image. Oh, well. It will be fun shopping for new suits and (gradually) replacing my collection. I’m saving money by not commuting most of the week.

    I figured the mysterious “Chichester” would have to be my last, but I got it with only three (ha) crossers, and the utterly NHO PALAESTRA was LOI instead. CASCARA was as obscure to me as it was to Vinyl, Corymbia and, no doubt, many others. DAM PEN is kinda goofy, enjoyed it. I needed this entertaining distraction—along with others—tonight. I appreciated seeing the printer’s unit again (the language I speak).

    1. I commiserate with you on your wardrobe disaster. I do applaud you on obviously wearing clothes from natural sources , since they appealed to our buggy brethren. Also applaud your maintaining a decent sartorial standard in this age. After putting a lot of weight on I have some suits I can’t fit into but on offering them to younger generation received only mocking chuckles-“Who wears a suit anymore, Gramps”?

    2. My heart went out to you regarding the inadvertent purchase of insect food rather than apparel. The probable cause is clothes moths and they will still be there as eggs VERY SOON to turn into munching grubs. Your new clothes will be eaten too unless you get the professionals in to chemically blitz the area or alternatively, heaven forbid, stick to nylon suits.

      I speak from bitter experience, we lost a complete house full of carpets £11k to replace 8 years ago. The pesticide treatment by comparison was £70. Not seen any moths or bare patches since.

      Good luck with it!

  5. 34 minutes with one wrong letter.

    The top half was dead easy apart from the unknown author at 7dn. I eventually found him from checkers and wordplay having dismissed TED as the hooligan (yes, I know!) but also because I knew that Teddy boys were not confined to Scotland, if indeed they ever operated north of the border at all. NED rang the faintest of bells as a Scottish yob as I think it has come up maybe once before. Even then I was surprised the unlikely-looking answer proved to be correct – just as I was about PALAESTRA, also deduced from wordplay in the more problematic lower half of the grid.

    NODDY was unknown as a bird but seemed likely, also MAMBO as a voodoo goddess rather than a Cuban dance.

    My error was CASCAVA based on CAV{e} as ‘caution’. Collins: cave 1. guard or lookout (esp in the phrase keep cave); 2. watch out!

    1. We did have NED a while back, which was a NHO at the time; remembering it enabled me to go with CASTANEDA.

      1. Quick search… most recently #26607, December 2016, a Championship puzzle. I would have seen it then, but had forgotten it.

  6. 36 minutes. I had problems in the SW corner with the NHO PALAESTRA and then the clever DAMPEN as my LOI. Luckily the ‘Scots hooligan’ had come up elsewhere not long ago for the just heard of ‘Writer’ at 7d.

    I well remember Sir Francis CHICHESTER’s single-handed voyage around the world in the 1960’s. He called in at Sydney and the newspapers here were full of news of his progress, especially when he rounded Cape Horn. There’s a famous picture of his yacht the Gipsy Moth IV battling very rough seas off the Horn, with only a ? storm sail hoisted. He was also a pioneer aviator and navigator in the 1930’s, so all-in-all an amazing man. Maybe the question mark was a nod to his achievements in these other fields.

    1. I believe the question mark referred to Chichester as being just one example of the answer, YACHTSMAN. It’s not “yachtsman” cluing “Chichester” but the other way round.

  7. 34:35 with one error for an iffy CASSAVA. But I had to look up the Scottish hooligan to complete the NHO CASTANEDA. Other DNKs (PALAESTRA and MAMBO) successfully constructed. It was nice surprise when the assumed Roman name for Chichester turned out to be the famous YACHTSMAN

  8. 39 minutes but with CASSAVA for the tree. I knew SAVE was weak for CAUTION but I had nothing better. UNRUFFLED was also a bit of a biff, not knowing RUFF for TRUMP. COD to AVERT for the misdirection. Toughish. Thank you George and setter.

  9. Another CASSAVA and another nho NED here. A pity after the hard work elsewhere in the puzzle.

    Thanks george and setter.

  10. DNF. Seems like I have company today. I was pleased with myself with having come up with CASTANEDA, not knowing the writer and not thinking I knew the Scots word. However an alphabet trawl of _E_ threw up NED which sounded right so maybe I have heard it before. It was all in vain though as I was another CASSAVA. As I was solving “save” felt close enough to “caution” to justify the middle letters. But even if save was justifiable as isla3 points out CASSAVA is not a tree so I have no argument.

  11. Divine ye were created, and divine
    In sad demeanour, solemn, undisturb’d,
    Unruffled, like high Gods, ye liv’d and ruled:
    (Keats, Hyperion)

    30 mins mid-brekker. I got Ned, but NHO Castaneda. And guessed Car(e) rather than Cav(e), and vaguely knew Cascara, but I thought these two were bordering on too tricky.
    Ta setter and G.

    1. Thanks for attributions lately. I always tried to remember to research those extracts I didn’t recognize but nowadays recent ideas disappear quickly from my brain!

  12. DNF. I had CASTARETA for the NHO writer. No idea about the tree or the training camp. Oh well.

    DAMPEN was clever.

    Thanks g and setter.

  13. 15:47 but one wrong – another CASSAVA here. At least I knew it was a plant – NHO CASCARA. PALAESTRA and CASTANEDA were vaguely remembered (the former rather belatedly after trying a guessed ILLAESTRA), saved by the quirky DAMPEN. Thanks George and setter.

  14. 32 minutes, the last 5 of which were on (NHO) CASCARA. I almost had CASSAVA also but was thinking and thinking and finally guessed CASCARA.
    I was thinking the setter is from my generation because Carlos Castaneda and Francis Chichester I recognised instantly! Castaneda was huge if you were a teenager when I was…

  15. NED is quite old, apparently deriving from EDWARD. Somewhere along the line, it attracted a ‘backronym’, which is ‘non-educated delinquent’. So if it wasn’t already, it’s now considered ‘derog’. I knew that one from the last time it appeared, but had to check on CASCARA, which is, as the setter says, a small tree (or a shrub), Rhamnus purshiana.

    Sluggish progress here, but I enjoyed this.

  16. 8:18. I found this quite straightforward in spite of a frankly ridiculous obscurity level. My only real problem was with the unknown writer, where my experience matched that of jackkt exactly: consider and reject TED, alphabet trawl, NED sounds very vaguely familiar, still surprised not to see a pink square.

  17. Another CASSAVA here plus a careless and unparsable GRADMA spoiling what would have been quite a quick solve for me. Thanks George for explaining several that I entered with a shrug, including UNRUFFLED, STRAITEN and CASTANEDA, though like Steve B I knew him well, having read him avidly as a 17 year old.

    Verlaine’s time on this one is incredible – nice to know Matthew is still on his game, blog or no blog.

    Thanks to the tricky setter.

  18. DNF. For the second day in a row I’m in the OWL club, with ‘mumbo’ rather than MAMBO. Not sure why I thought the reptile was a mumba.

    I managed to figure out the unknown CASTANEDA, CASCARA and PALAESTRA from wordplay, I didn’t know that a NODDY is a SEABIRD, and I didn’t parse UNRUFFLED. Thanks setter and blogger.

    CODs Avert/Analgesia

  19. CASSAVA for me too – NHO cascara. I really hate clues that depend upon others, and since NODDY as a seabird was unknown, and I failed to spot the SEABIRD anagram for ages, these two baffled me until inspiration struck on the seabird (with an almighty self-kick for stupidity) and NODDY went in simply because it fitted the wordplay. NHO of CASTANEDA, either, so that went in with a shrug only when all the crossers were present. ABEAM resisted for the longest time. This one was not easy. Liked UNRUFFLED.

  20. Agree that this turned out to be tougher than expected. Instant spot of STAR SIGNS at 1ac was a false dawn. Completed in 34 minutes but with another CASSAVA (it was either that or CASCAVA and I went for the word I had heard of). NHO the non-musical meaning of FUGUE but fortunately one of the definitions was enough. A pleasant puzzle despite all that.
    Thanks to george and other contributors.

  21. Bit of a stretch vocab-wise this, so right up my street 🙂
    Only nho was NED, so a bit disappointing that it has apparently been seen here before. Oh well, will hope to know next time ..
    I remember watching (on TV) Sir Francis Chichester being knighted on Plymouth Hoe by the queen, on completing his circumnavigation. Such voyages seem to be ten a penny now, but he was the Roger Bannister if you see what I mean …

  22. Oh dear. Went astray with this one, for some reason putting in BARMEN for 20d (not DAMPEN) which made 25a impossible, and I didn’t know it anyway. Knew the tree and the yachtsman but NHO the 7d author or NED for a Scots yob so a miserable DNF. Some good clues, though, I liked SEABIRD and FUGUE. Well done, George.

  23. I was tripped up by the wrestling arena, having mombled ILLESATRA until DAMPEN came along. I then spotted PALEST but left it as PALESATRA, not noticing BEEFY had become BESFY. Drat! 17:52, BUT. Thanks setter and George.

  24. Like others I’d never heard of CASTANEDA so was surprised when my pieced-together answer turned out to be correct. But I did remember Sir Francis CHICHESTER, quite well. The following year Alec Rose, who I think had a greengrocer’s shop in Portsmouth, repeated the feat and was also knighted. I wondered if anyone else would do the same thing and whether the knighthoods would continue. Who remembers Sir Alec Rose now? 43 minutes with CASSAVA. Never knew the meaning of MAMBO and thought it was a dance. Mambo No. 4 (Channel 4 cricket coverage I think).

    1. I do, remember Alec Rose that is, the grocer from Portsmouth. I had a vague memory of him having arrived in Melbourne in 1967 about the time our then Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming (he was picked up by a Chinese submarine of course) and looking it up now, I see that’s about correct – Holt watched Rose’s arrival and disappeared later that day.

    2. Sir Alec Rose…..after being knighted presumably? I’ll get my coat, as the phrase goes

  25. I finished this one in 43.52 but with two incorrect. I join the long list of those who put CASSAVA, and I also had CASTATEDA as the writer, never having heard of NED as Scots hooligan. Disappointed not to get it all right, but an enjoyable crossword all the same

  26. DNF, 7d CASTANEDA; I knew I had heard here of the Scots hooligan but couldn’t bring NED to mind and gave up. Am surprised that the “fraudulent” author was so popular in 1967 as I would have thought I would have added him to my list of authors I can’t be bothered to read.
    Had vaguely heard of NODDY, CASCARA etc but managed to my surprise to construct PALAESTRA despite it having left my memory immediately after entering it on all its previous outings.
    DAMPEN v clever. Perhaps too clever? But then I got it so maybe not.
    Sir Francis well remembered. Surprised to find him described as of New Zealand origin in wiki, but.
    Of 22d BEEFY I think this refers to “bully beef & carrots” as in the song.

    1. I don’t think you need a reference to a particular song, but you’re right that this is a reference to ‘bully beef’, which is also known as just ‘bully’.

    2. The song was, I’m pretty sure, ‘Boiled beef and carrots’, but Keriothe is right: for the clue here, no song is needed. ‘Bully beef’ is long-standing army slang (UK and Dominions at least: I came across it last week at the excellent Gallipoli exhibit in New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington) for corned beef, which, being canned, was a significant part of a soldier’s rations in World War I and, for all I know, may still be.

  27. 30:08 with another CASSAVA. No real problem with CASTANEDA (though NED needed excavating) and rather deeper digging needed for PALAESTRA – generously clued, fortunately. The parsing of UNRUFFLED was a mystery – I assumed it was something to do with bridge. A bit too much unnecessary obscurity for me.

  28. On a touch screen, letters quite often get changed after being entered without my noticing. I didn’t write fuguo or ico house! Am I being stupid? Or more stupid?

      1. When you enter a comment on this site, you get so long to allow any edits (I can’t remember how long the allowance is). The timer counts down until your comment is ‘fixed’ by the site, and no longer editable.

    1. Whilst letters do change due to spell-checker interference, I suspect that on this occasion, you may have inadvertently pressed O instead of P when entering ICE PACK, as neither ICO nor FUGUO are likely spell-checker interruptions. Mistyping like this is often described here as FFS – fat finger syndrome. Please don’t take this personally.

      1. The digits are still slender but clumsy nonetheless.
        I’d say that’s bang on. A touch-screen problem- I need to stop touching it!
        And I was so pleased with palaestra. Many thanks.

  29. Failed on “Casteneda”, sadly – nho of the author and I couldn’t recall “ned” for the Scottish hooligan (even though I have seen it before). Hopefully I’ll remember it next time – Machynlleth’s comment above might help.

  30. DNF

    Too many unknowns to be enjoyable – looked up the author (near impossible if you know neither the author nor the Scottish hooligan), and the tree to confirm my guess before hitting the submit button:

    NHO NED as hooligan nor CASTANEDA, NODDY as seabird, CASCARA, PALAESTRA, RUFF as trump, FUGUE as failure.

      1. Perhaps one for the Ninja Turtlers – in “Breaking Bad”, Walt fakes a fugue state in order to try to cover up for his illicit activities.

  31. DNF in around 18 mins. Deep down I knew cassava wasn’t a tree but I couldn’t find any alternative, cascara unknown. Unruffled went in unparsed from checkers and definition. Neds familiar from a relentlessly miserable film of that name by Peter Mullan and a Pavlovian response preferred to Teds when the qualifier Scottish is used for the delinquents.

  32. Managed to navigate the grid but finally failed on Castaneda. Dnk Ned and rather thought that ‘caber’ = thrown by Scot could have been in there somewhere. Thanks for the explanation.

    1. I too thought that the caber might be part of the answer to 7d, which was the first clue that I attempted that resisted me, after a racing start. Of course that didn’t last, and the obscurities held me up no end. I’d heard of CASTANEDA in the 70s, but not read him and had forgotten, also forgotten was the Scottish ‘Ned’. NHO PALAESTRA nor RUFF in this sense, and didn’t see the clever GREG OR IAN device, but knew CHICHESTER. and the SEABIRDs.
      A puzzle of two halves for me: shame as I thought I was on a winner!

  33. I enjoyed this one and came home in 34 mins. Helped by knowing Ned from Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels, or perhaps from some of Val McDermid’s excellent stuff. Definitely one of those Scottish authors anyway who educated me on that bit of Glaswegian (I’m not sure it’s so commonly used on the east coast, but any Scottish contributor here will straighten me out if I have that wrong). I liked PALAESTRA, which I had to build from the word play, and the reference to Sir Francis Chichester was clever.

  34. Unsettlingly nostalgic to see Castenada pop up.
    Quite funny when Don Juan turns up in a suit
    Bought a suit today for a funeral tomorrow
    The crombie has done great service but sometimes . .
    Kids these days ; they going to live forever of course

  35. After 30 mins all done bar two. After 50 mins ditto so DNF.
    It was the SW corner what did for me. Didn’t know Palaestra and completely convinced illest was in there somewhere. Similarly, befuddled by dampen- a good clue – I have to admit but not when you think the ? makes barmen a reasonable answer.

  36. Another cassava here- wasn’t botanically aware to differentiate between tree and plant and though I did enter it with an it will do. Shame as I enjoyed the rest with STRAITEN my LOI, but it took a couple of minutes before I saw why! I’ll try again tomorrow.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  37. I had CASWARA – with WARN for CAUTION. Well, it could have been right. Otherwise 23’35”.

  38. My heart went out to you regarding the inadvertent purchase of insect food rather than apparel. The probable cause is clothes moths and they will still be there as eggs VERY SOON to turn into munching grubs. Your new clothes will be eaten too unless you get the professionals in to chemically blitz the area or alternatively, heaven forbid, stick to nylon suits.

    I speak from bitter experience, we lost a complete house full of carpets £11k to replace 8 years ago. The pesticide treatment by comparison was £70. Not seen any moths or bare patches since.

    Good luck with it!

  39. Castaneda came to me maybe because I came from (near) Glasgow (and maybe even was a ned according to my neighbour…!!). but didn’t get palastrea and don’t get the connection between analgesia and numbers though did biff the answer.

    1. It’s ‘number’ as in ‘something that makes you numb’ – this particular trick (or variations on it) seems to come up reasonably frequently so it’s worth remembering!

  40. 42 minutes, not on the leaderboard today because I had a longish interruption before entering my LOI AVERT, and with one mistake. Instead of DAMPEN I had TAMPON (reading it as TAMP ON representing “discourage” and “females?” for obvious reasons). The correct answer is much better. I wondered about using “author” to refer to CASTANEDA, not because he wasn’t one, but because I assumed he would be very obscure to anyone of much less than my advanced age. I read his books in the sixties? early seventies? And Chichester was of similar antiquity. Are the setters all octogenarians? Or just aficionados of ancient history!

  41. Funnily enough CHICHESTER was one of the first in for me as he is a local hero and his boat is (or was recently) still around these parts. But I failed miserably elsewhere. I could guess from the wordplay UNRUFFLED (but I know very little about card games), PALAESTRA (a pure guess), FUGUE (but I only know the musical sense), THANKS (but I have never heard TANK as a synonym for defeat), and NODDY (although it sounded a likely name for a seabird). I was completely defeated by CASTANEDA and CASCARA. I should have got STRAITEN and AVERT but was having a bad day of it by then! Thanks for the blog.

    1. I think it’s Hank as a nickname for Henry inside TKs being knock-outs, or defeats.

      1. Thanks, that sounds more plausible although both parts (Hank for Henry and TK[O] for total knockout) are also unknown to me so no chance of me parsing that clue correctly!

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