Times 28559 – it’s all in the mind’s eye


An average time in the end. The left hand side went in rather quickly, but the right required a bit more concentration. Still, a lot easier than recent Fridays!

Only 1ac was left unparsed until now; elsewhere I was lucky to have all of the necessary science-y knowledge (even the plant). I really liked 3ac!

Definitions underlined.

1 Scotland not getting its own back in Balkan country (4)
ALBA – ALBAnia (Balkan country) deleting (not getting) a reversal of (back) ‘ain’ (a Scots (its) word for ‘own’). Brilliant, if a tad arcane.
3 Bear east of port, coming across a storm (10)
HULLABALOO –  BALOO (bear, from The Jungle Book) after (east of) HULL (port) containing (coming across) A.
10 Begrudges housing costs around London area (7)
RESENTS – RENTS (housing costs) containing (around) SE (London area).
11 Tornado converted into Hummer? (7)
ODORANT – anagram of (converted) TORNADO.
12 Two Soups, claiming small screen broadcast: critique extremely glowing (15)
PHOSPHORESCENCE – PHO and PHO (two soups, of Vietnamese cuisine) containing (claiming) S (small), then an anagram of (broadcast) SCREEN, then outermost letters from (extremely) CritiquE.
13 Creativity encapsulated by senior European intellectual (6)
SARTRE – ART (creativity) contained (encapsulated) by SR (senior) and E (European).
14 Playing well, Arsenal’s wingers relaxed (8)
INFORMAL – IN FORM (playing well) and outermost letters from (…’s wingers) ArsenaL.
17 Bloomer from bloke on bike perhaps confusing whereabouts of A&E (8)
CYCLAMEN – CYCLE MAN (bloke on bike perhaps), swapping the letters ‘a’ and ‘e’.
18 Two men in Casualty (6)
VICTIM – VIC and TIM (two men).
21 Open venue in New York, finishing with WC Fields? (8,7)
FLUSHING MEADOWS – FLUSHING (finishing with WC) and MEADOWS (fields).
23 Car was leaking endlessly, in condition to be picked up (7)
AUDIBLE – AUDI (car) and BLEd (was leaking) without the final letter (endlessly).
24 Glibly repeat, left-winger expelled (4,3)
TROT OUT – TROTskyite (left-winger) and OUT (expelled)
25 Dali perhaps not unknown among county celebs (10)
SURREALIST – SURREy (county) without ‘y’ (not unknown), then A-LIST (celebs).
26 I’m found in transient employment (4)
TEMP – hidden in transienT EMPloyment. Semi-&lit.
1 Fitting a rugby player of exceptional size (7)
APROPOS – A PROP (a rugby player) and OS (outsize, of exceptional size).
2 See rib chops I demolished (9)
BISHOPRIC – anagram of (demolished) RIB CHOPS I.
4 Result of lob? (6)
UPSHOT – cryptic hint; a lob is a shot (tennis) made upwards.
5 Gents perhaps need whipping, and this one needs tying up! (5,3)
LOOSE END – LOOS (gents perhaps) and an anagram of (whipping) NEED.
6 Mustang, don’t peg out now, do you hear? This’ll help you breathe! (14)
BRONCHODILATOR – BRONCHO (mustang), then a homophone of (do you hear?) “die later” (don’t peg out now). Edit: But see Vinyl, below, for a more likely explanation. 
7 Hear name attached to limerick writer (5)
LEARN – N (name) on LEAR (limerick writer). To hear of… to learn of.
8 Blasted meatloaf finally going brown (7)
OATMEAL – anagram of (blasted) MEATLOAf, minus the last letter (finally going). A colour/shade.
9 Cold such as nothing comes close to (14)
UNAPPROACHABLE – double definition.
15 Underground no-good creature of myth that will move in time (9)
METRONOME – METRO (underground) and gNOME (creature of myth) missing the ‘g’ (no good).
16 Have good intentions from humble origin? (4,4)
MEAN WELL – MEAN (poor, humble) and WELL (that from which things spring, origin)
17 Back on board, wearing headphones and loose items of clothing (7)
CAFTANS – AFT (rear of a ship, back on board) contained by (wearing) CANS (headphones).
19 MPs set for reshuffle to accommodate ego trip? (7)
MISSTEP – anagram of (for reshuffle) MPS SET containing (to accommodate) I (ego).
20 Speck, among foremost of Europe’s smoked hams (6)
EMOTES – MOTE (speck) contained by (among) the first letters (foremost) of Europe’s and Smoked.
22 Lower organ, heading off vibration (5)
UDDER – jUDDER (vibration) missing the first letter (heading off). An organ belonging to a lower/moo-er/cow.

71 comments on “Times 28559 – it’s all in the mind’s eye”

    This was satisfyingly chewy, without being frustrating. I got the CD pretty early this time, with very few crossers.
    Quite irrelevant pedantic note (my specialty): The surrealist’s name is spelled properly only when there’s an acute accent on the I, “Dalí.”

    1. 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanišević is rendered properly as Ivanisevic in the English-speaking world. Accents are quite dispensable, so long as there is no confusion.

      1. Yes, I know (as I thought I implied).
        What is strictly correct is not always feasible nor necessary.
        As a web producer, I always make a valiant effort. I can input the odd little accent atop the G in “Erdoğan” in WordPress for The Nation, but the font that actually appears on the site doesn’t have it, so it’s a wasted effort… while the print production team resorts to a complicated workaround to reproduce that name with complete accuracy. (I pasted it in here; let’s see if it shows up.) We’re just crazy that way. But of course, no one is going to think someone else is meant if that little curve is absent!
        If, for example, the grave accent is left off the A in vis-à-vis, that is a misspelling, whether anyone realizes it or not; a in French means something quite different. That is one of the accents available on most keyboards.
        It took me a minute to see “Dali” rather than “Dail” or “Dall”—whatever that might be! “Dalí” would be clearer!

        EDIT: Hurray! The accent on Erdoğan is doable in this font. We are working on a redesign of our site. I want this font!

  2. Until I remembered the US Open I was also thinking Flushing Meadow might be a bit of inside baseball. Like Guy, I found this to be a Goldilocks puzzle – just right and with a lot to like for what turned out to be a busy day. Thanks for the ‘ain’ bit, and the blog wjs

    1. Coincidentally and apropos to “inside baseball”the New York Mets baseball team plays in a stadium in Flushing Meadows, Citi Stadium, and it’s former home , Shea Stadium (site of famous Beatles concert) was in Flushing Meadows too.

  3. Must have been right on the wavelength, sped through with nary a holdup. But a stupid error: UNDer for lower, having wondered what ‘organ’ was doing in the clue and being unable to figure out the _under word that meant vibration. Idiot!
    Very enjoyable as everyone says, liked my LOI the bronchodilator. FWIW I had the broncho bit as a homonym – football teams like Brisbane Broncos and Denver Broncos spell it thusly – but I see Chambers gives broncho as an alternate spelling of the horse.

      1. One too many letters, as per the unwritten rules of The Times. ‘Heading’ is a single letter.

  4. 28 minutes for all but the second part of 6dn which I failed to get, so this goes down as another 15×15 puzzle unfinished without assistance. I suppose BRONCHODILATOR is well-known to some, but not to me. Also NHO the soup at 12ac, but that wasn’t a problem when solving the clue.

    The rather clever ALBA went straight in although it took me a moment to understand the wordplay, initially wondering if it might somehow be using letters extracted from Balkan. ALBA is the name of the BBC’s Gaelic language TV service and also that of the political party led by Alex Salmond following his defection from the SNP.

    FLUSHING MEADOWS is well-known here, at least to fans of tennis. Those old enough will also remember Forest Hills, the previous home of US Open tennis where they used to play on grass, though towards the end of that era the surface resembled a dust-bowl so they ploughed it up and switched to clay.

    1. Our Forest Hills equivalent Kooyong still has grass courts, though of course hasn’t held the Open for over 30 years.

      1. Held boat races a few years ago. 1980s or 90s, big floods in Melbourne, a friend sent me photos of him & a few mates kayaking across the Kooyong courts in a metre or two of water.

  5. 23 minutes. Lucky to remember ALBA which helped in the NW. The ‘move in time’ def for METRONOME was sneaky and I was also fooled by the surface of UNAPPROACHABLE. Had the BRONCHODILATOR at the ready yesterday during an unexpected thunderstorm.

    UDDER as a ‘Lower organ’ was a good one to finish with.

  6. What fun on which to end the week. I bunged in ALBA thinking it was IAN removed from ALBANIA (Oh well, as long as the ball goes in the back of the net). I liked DIE LATER, the SURREY A-LISTERS and WC FIELDS.

  7. Super puzzle, some really excellent clues. I wondered if the setter has escaped from another broadsheet which frequently has surfaces involving toilets and other things I will not mention.

    I knew ALBA from the TV listings. A couple of years ago I visited the far north of Scotland where I was told that only 1.5% of the population speak Gaelic, but maybe many more are learning.

    I use BRONCHODILATORs ever since I had COVID last summer.

    NHO PHO 🙂

    21’23”, thanks william and setter.

  8. Well, all done in 52 mins so on the tougher side. All parsed though and very enjoyable. LOI BRONCHODILATOR made me laugh once the penny dropped.

    I particularly liked HULLABALOO, CYCLAMEN, FLUSHING MEADOWS and METRONOME. All very clever.

    Thanks William and setter.

    PS. Before this new site my handle was Rosedeprovence with no accent. Horryd thought I was a woman, others too probably. Now I have an accent, hopefully it is clearer!

    1. Your handle is an excellent example of the use of accents to disambiguate. No affectation about that!

  9. 11’05”
    Excellent! FLUSHING MEADOWS and BRONCHODILATOR actually made me LOL.
    Non-British solvers may not have spotted the reference in 12 ac to the famous Victoria Wood sketch ‘Two Soups’ – YouTube has a truncated version, but if you’re on FB you can watch the whole thing here.

  10. 48 minutes, interrupted by the alarm service guy. Some great clues, including CYCLAMEN, FLUSHING MEADOWS and my COD TROT OUT, and some stinkers, PHOSPHORESCENCE when I didn’t know one let alone two Vietnamese soups, and LOI BRONCHODILATOR, which I didn’t know at all, but would have been another brilliant clue if I had done. Great stuff.Thank you William and setter.

  11. DNF. I wouldn’t have got the NHO BRONCHODILATOR in a month of Sundays.
    WC Fields = FLUSHING MEADOWS is an old chestnut.

  12. 22:11
    Pretty much breezed through this. Bronchodilator was fun.
    Thanks, w.

  13. 33 minutes, with the last 10 or so spent figuring out the wordplay for the unknown CYCLAMEN and then getting CAFTANS (I keep forgetting headphones can be cans, and ‘back on board’ took me in lots of different directions until I got the ship reference).

    Like one or two others I didn’t know the Pho soup in PHOSPHORESCENCE, but I could parse the other bits of the clue so it went in without too much hesitation. And I can never remember what animal a mustang actually is, which held up BRONCHODILATOR until I had all the checkers. FLUSHING MEADOWS is a lovely clue, though I think we’ve had it (or something very similar) before.

    Very enjoyable crossword, so thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Apropos
    LOI Caftans
    COD Loose end

  14. Biffed phosphorescence from parsing the ending and some crossers, nho pho. which the gave upshot rather than toss up, leading to Loi Hullabaloo. Some tough ones but not crazy like some Fridays ! thanks setter and blogger.

  15. Not a massively Friday-ish puzzle, and I whizzed through it in – for me – a rapid time of 25 mins. I thought CAFTAN took an initial ‘k’, which held me up a bit, and though I knew ALBA had something to do with Albania, the precise parsing eluded me; thanks for explanation. Wasted time on 15dn by getting mysteriously obsessed by morlocks. Liked EMOTES, UDDER and AUDIBLE.

  16. 07:04 and really enjoyed this. Nothing too obscure (your mileage may vary on that, of course) but lots of wit. It must have been thirty years (oh lord, now I check, it’s actually 37, how did I get so old) since I saw the sketch which John has linked to above, but I still invariably do a Julie Walters impression whenever I present my wife with soup for dinner – it’s a treat being married to me, it really is.

  17. 24:01. I found this fairy tough so was pleased to complete it with no errors.

    COD x 2. Flushing Meadows and Bronchodilator.

  18. A very enjoyable and clever puzzle, with plenty of wit. It took a little time to get into gear, but then progress was steady as I just had the feeling that the solutions had to be right – no queries as to whether I had got hold of the wrong end of the stick. All done in about 32 minutes, around average for me but good for a Friday.
    LOI – CAFTANS (though I too am more familiar with an initial ‘k’)
    Thanks to william and other contributors.

  19. Crossed wires and a flashback re 12 across – I remember eating phosphorescent soup made from the leftovers of a Chicken Kiev back in 1986.

  20. 40 minutes. NHO Flushing Meadows and I had to google it to make sure it was real. Interesting for other people it was FOI! (my FOI was UDDER). Was held up a bit by creating a word LADABLE instead of AUDIBLE. LOI BRONCO DIE LATER ha ha, never heard of it but clever.
    Good puzzle today I thought.

  21. Well, failed on 1a ALBA as although I thought of ALBA I had NHO or had forgot [anyone for new NHOOHF?] it as an old name for Scotland. It had occurred to me I needed to subtract “ain” for Scots “own”, but penny refused to drop.
    NHOOHF the soup of Vietnam in 12a
    Was until now unaware of BRONCHO as OK for BRONCO.
    Was surprised that a person who often drives past FLUSHING MEADOWS omitted the “S”! LOL. BBC usually refers to the park when discussing the tennis.
    Felt the south was a totally different level of easiness compared with the top.
    Tried to make UMBLE work for 22d lower organ, but I see umbles (internal organs esp of deer) is plural-only.
    Liked the Audi turning up again.

    1. Andy, BRONCHO for Bronco would not be OK, but here it’s indicated as a homophone by ‘do you hear’.

      1. Yes, but Wiktionary says its ok, and I think others above have said it is in other dictionaries. Works either way.

        1. Yes, you’re right. I’ve checked and found BRONCHO in SOED, and Collins (online). Perhaps it’s just a misspelling that’s been accepted over the years as I can’t find any connection in the etymology.

  22. 17:40. Not the usual Friday fare I have come to love and dread, but none the worse for that. ALBA, among quite a few others, was a write-in, the parsing somewhat more tortuous. I’ve no problem with Sartre being described as an intellectual- he usually is – but it did get me thinking why we only use that epithet for French and possibly continental writers. Is there some reason we use the term for him and his ilk but would hardly ever apply it to any number of equally smart British writers and thinkers?

    1. CS Lewis would always deflect letter writers who called him an intellectual or a scholar by saying he was a thinker. I think this is a reasonably common trait among even modern thinkers, such as Stephen Fry.

      Cambridge alumnus George Watson wrote a slim volume called ‘Never Ones for Theory’, in which he both acknowledged the distaste for appellation or self-appellation of the type Lewis touched on among Cambridge literary theorists of the twentieth century, and, of course – he had to find a gap and fill it, being a run-of-the mill academic-proclaimed that in fact England was miles ahead of the US and France.

  23. WH Auden explained why France has the intellectuals:

    To the man-in-the-street
    Who I’m sorry to say
    Is a keen observer of life,
    The word ‘intellectual’
    Suggests straightaway
    A man who’s untrue to his wife.

  24. My starter today was APROPOS followed fairly quickly by two soups. Actually those were interrupted by ALBA and BISHOPRIC. The definition, and P_O followed by decoding “critique extremely,” made PHOSPHORESCENCE a write in. Never heard of PHO as soup though. Loved BRONCHODILATOR and FLUSHING MEADOWS. METRONOME was good too. LOI was EMOTES. 22:02. Thanks setter and William.

          1. Yippee! For only the second time in living memory the puzzle favours Australians over the British. The Brits colonised then totally messed up India, so ended up with loads of Indian refugees and Indian restaurants. Meanwhile Australia was part of the unmitigated disaster that was the Vietnam war, and close enough that millions of Vietnamese refugees came here by boat and opened Vietnamese restaurants. There isn’t a person in Australia who has never eaten pho. It’s as common here as vindaloo/curry/bahji is in England.

  25. 34:54. A fine end to the week. LOI 6dn where I’d had BRONCHO for a while but needed a (pleasantly short) alphabet trawl to get die later. Once assembled, it looked like it would be a thing

  26. A lovely Friday challenge – but not so difficult as to cause misery. FOI BISHOPRIC, LOI HULLABALOO – who didn’t waste a few seconds looking for Rio- something along the way? Many to admire for their delightful surfaces – CYCLAMEN, FLUSHING MEADOWS, EMOTES, AUDIBLE. COD to the great BRONCHODILATOR, but really, there wasn’t a bad clue in there!

  27. I laughed quite a lot as I worked my way round this one. The witty clues were just what I needed with Covid. Foi Loose End. Got phosphorescence from initial P and glowing but did parse it all as we have a Pho restaurant locally. Am a tennis player which helped. Took a while to see audible and unapproachable even though I saw earlier that approach would fit in it.

  28. 42:43

    Left with a bit of a ‘meh’ feeling. Rather too much I didn’t know or failed to parse:

    ALBA – didn’t know this meant Scotland though the cryptic was fairly plain
    HULLABALOO – even with the last four checkers, took ages to see this. Don’t really think of HULL as a port (though it plainly is/was), just one of those football teams where you can’t fill in the letters
    PHOSPHORESCENCE – a write in from the first two and final three checkers though didn’t get the soups from PHOSPHO. Don’t think there are any Vietnamese restaurants in Lancaster to try it….
    CAFTANS – LOI due to thinking this was spelled with a K rather than a C – maybe it’s both?
    UNAPPROACHABLE – not a very good clue, I thought – needed a ton of crossers, and then wasn’t clear whether began with I or U
    BRONCHODILATOR – never heard of this so had to painstakingly build from cryptic – even with BRONCHO filled in and all other checkers, still took several minutes to understand it

    As I said…… meh!

  29. 29 mins but, like Isla above, I’d chucked in UNDER, without knowing why, and never came back to it. Not too many Vietnamese restaurants in North Wales, so PHO was a NHO. (Alliteration intended). However, a Thai soup I can have, and it’s superb.

  30. Nice puzzle.. 18.52. Thanks for the explanation of ain meaning own. I wouldn’t have seen that. Otherwise all good.

  31. DNF in 30 but liked it a lot

    Couldn’t get the second bit of BRONCHO. Tend to give up a bit too easily on such ones. I contemplated a wonderful momble -LIVALOT – but wisely hurried here to find out what was going on

    Thanks all

  32. I ought to have heard of bronchodilators given that I used them throughout my teens and 20s … but anyway. Got the rest in about 50 mins.

  33. This was 40 minutes of unmitigated fun, actually, not too hard but with lots of misdirection in the clues (fortunately MINOTAUR wouldn’t fit in 15dn, so I got to enjoy each of the Underground, the creature of myth losing its good, and the device which moves in time, for example). Since I grew up in the suburbs of New York, I also wondered how FLUSHING MEADOWS got into a British puzzle (and Armonk into the blog), but then I don’t follow tennis or any other sport, for that matter. I enjoyed the LOOSE ENDs, even though I was able to tie all of them up, and my LOI BRONCHODILATOR, after having wondered for a while what really went in the middle of “broncoviolator”. Lovely puzzle. My only question (also now answered by the link given above) was whether there had ever been a film called “Two Soups”.

  34. Excellent puzzle finished quite quickly after dinner.
    Some great clues.

  35. Polished off in the morning’s ferry commute, I must have been awake today. NHO PHO but it sounded soupy and probably Vietnamese. Thanks for the blog.

  36. I don’t know how long I took because I had to do something before I’d finished, then I finally solved on paper. But quite a while, since I was slow to get the wonderful BRONCHODILATOR and had nho pho, and could never explain ALBA. My atlas (actually the middle pages of Pears Cyclopedia) is so old that when I looked at it afterwards to see the Balkan countries, they were mostly Yugoslavia. And I had UNDER of course without knowing how it worked.

  37. BRONCHODILATOR and PHOSPHORESCENCE were satisfying to finally get as NHO Pho. Sadly EMITES meant a DNF. COD HULLABALOO.

  38. 19:03. Doing this a day late and a bit slowly. LOI the excellent HULLABALOO after the equally goof BRONCHODILATOR. I liked FLUSHING MEADOWS too. A fun crossword. Thanks William and setter.

  39. A delayed all correct. Terrific clues and highly enjoyable solve.
    Took a long time to work out the wordplay for 17d and 20d, my last two in.

  40. Not being able to complete this meant I didn’t get the satisfaction others found in the cleverness and wittiness of this puzzle – I wish I had now that it’s all explained! Recently made aware of PHO as a Vietnamese dish, but not that it was a soup, so that was a ‘non-starter’ ( pun intended). As others, got the first half of BRONCHO only, which didn’t help trying to find which “open space” in NY was referred to: very good clue; and had not heard of ALBA for SCOTLAND, but knew “ain”. FOI ODORANT (well, if there’s a DE there must be an opposite), followed by easy-to-spot BISHOPRIC. Loved the few ‘sound-alikes’ in the puzzle the best, so hard to pick a COD.

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