Times 28571 – O, woe is me

22:42 plus one cheat.

I rattled through this one until the last clue. I was unfamiliar with both the city and river, so couldn’t even guess. Hope you all did one better!

Definitions underlined.

1 Frenzied attack stopped by bachelor (5)
RABID – B (bachelor) in RAID (attack).
4 Flipping gloomy end for Ted and paramour in The Go-Between (9)
MIDDLEMAN – reversal of DIM (gloomy) + teD + LEMAN (paramour).
9 Add padding to covers of Elgar by leading composer (9)
UPHOLSTER – UP (leading)+ HOLST (composer) + ElgaR.
10 Drop in velocity — could that be right? (5)
VISIT – V (velocity) + IS IT (could that be right?).
11 Dirty plate where our food’s served, lacking time? (13)
DISHONOURABLE – DISH (plate) + ON OUR tABLE (where our food’s served).
14 Maybe gents with ball back in sports ground (4)
OVAL – LAV (maybe gents) + O (ball) all reversed.
15 Suit may be thus taken off, gently going on peg (10)
PINSTRIPED – PIN (peg) + STRIpPED (taken off) minus one ‘p’ (gently going)
18 Tries to ensnare Republican politician in piece of fiction (5,5)
SHORT STORY – SHOTS (tries) containing R (republican) + TORY (politician).
19 Retailer guided around Italy’s capital (4)
DELI – LED (guided) reversed + Italy.
21 Wet weather interrupting sport — test fancy anoraks (13)
TRAINSPOTTERS – RAIN (wet weather) in an anagram of (fancy) SPORT TEST.
24 Get misty winter period heading west? Turn the other way (5)
BEFOG – FEBruary (winter period) reversed (heading west) + GO (turn) reversed (the other way).
25 Full B&B has to change light source (9)
FLASHBULB – anagram of FULL B + B HAS.
27 What overzealous Remainer did is exposed, gathering support (9)
OUTSTAYED – OUTED (is exposed) containing STAY (support).
28 Sunshine, we hear, giving boost (5)
RAISE – sounds like “rays” (sunshine).
1 Beside northern river, drinks hot punch (10)
ROUNDHOUSE – ROUND (beside) + OUSE (northern river) containing H (hot).
2 What are the odds of brash remark showing disdain? (3)
BAH – odd letters from BrAsH.
3 Perform work without a couple of learners helping (6)
DOLLOP – DO (perform) + OP (work) containing LL (a couple of learners).
4 Believer has drug overdose first (9)
METHODIST – METH (drug) + OD (overdose) + 1ST.
5 Renaissance man rebuffed somewhat more rudely (5)
DURER – reverse hidden (rebuffed somewhat) moRE RUDely.
6 Funky vibe welcomed by peer’s inamorata? (8)
LOVEBIRD – anagram of VIBE in LORD (peer).
7 Engineering team with precise, great work (11)
8 I refuse to keep attending western country club (4)
NATO – NO (I refuse) containing AT (attending).
12 Get angry drunk to recover quickly (4,3,2,2)
SNAP OUT OF IT – SNAP (get angry) + OUT OF IT (drunk).
13 Allowed bad similes to be rewritten (10)
16 Struggle with reversing vehicle? Cars are destroyed here (9)
SCRAPYARD – SCRAP (struggle) + reversal of DRAY (vehicle).
17 Direct channel on the radio (8)
STRAIGHT – sounds like “strait” (channel).
20 One making an impression in film dear to the French (6)
ETCHER – ET (film) + CHER (dear, in French).
22 Humming Beethoven’s Ninth without certainty (5)
NIFFY – beethoveN (‘s ninth letter) + IFFY (without certainty).
23 West Bank city out of bounds for Spanish runner (4)
EBRO – hEBROn (West Bank city). River (runner) in Spain.
26 Where one might study e.g. Watt or Kelvin briefly (3)
UNI – UNIt (e.g. Watt or Kelvin).

59 comments on “Times 28571 – O, woe is me”

  1. 21:00
    This felt harder than my time (and the SNITCH) suggests, and I did a good deal of biffing and demi-biffing (TRAINSPOTTERS from RAIN, PINSTRIPED from PIN, etc.). It took me a while to get the SNAP to add to OUT OF IT. And I never did see how the extra P was deleted in STRIPPED. (William, at OUTSTAYED OUTED is ‘exposed’ not ‘is exposed’.)

  2. Biff City! I saw so many from the definition and two or three crossers that I lost count…

  3. 21:16. Seemed more like Monday than Friday, but I took a while to SNAP OUT OF IT and to see what was happening with BEFOG among a few others. I had forgotten the name of the ‘Spanish runner’ at 23d and was about to submit with “Ibro” until the name of the ‘West bank city’ came to mind.

    I liked the semi-related ROUNDHOUSE and TRAINSPOTTERS.

  4. A very rare Friday finish, made more special by a speedy (for me) time of just over an hour and zero aids required. I enjoyed many clues but NATO, ROUNDHOUSE, NIFFY (haven’t used or heard that in a long time, but will now. Isn’t it always preceded by ‘a bit…’?) and DOLLOP all up there for my CODs

    LOI was EBRO and I needed the B of BEFOG (POI) to call to mind Hebron to semi biff a river I’d never heard of – and only now see ‘runner’ as a river because I was guessing an Iberian athlete or a type of bean!! (explains why Friday finishes are a rarity for me 🤪)

    Thanks setter and Will

      1. Thank you – yes, I think I have seen the last two. Runner is now one to file away for future use. Not that it would have helped here as I’d never heard of the Ebro river anyway and learning of that obscure athlete or bean would have been equally revelatory to me.

  5. I went with OBRO and then kicked myself once I’d submitted and saw just the first letter was wrong and then I remembered Hebron. Otherwise pretty straightforward.

  6. I didn’t find this as easy as most so far and I was left with NATO and VISIT outstanding as my target half-hour passed, eventually finishing in 40 minutes.

  7. Sped through with barely a hold-up. Lucky – busy day today. Hardest parts were reverse-engineering the parsing of pinstriped and Ebro -> stripped and Hebron. And never did work out how UNI worked. Ebro known as the main Iberian river, and featured in the Volta a Catalunya on TV a couple of weeks ago.
    Never seen VISIT clued like that, but I really liked it, the lift and separate in drop in velocity, so it is definite COD.

  8. Well, I whizzed through this in 24 mins, definitely my fastest Friday ever. A lot of answers going in on the first pass. Only briefly held up in the end by the crossers ROUNDHOUSE (I didn’t know the punch meaning but did spend a lot of time in the Chalk Farm one in my youth!) and UPHOLSTERED. Nice clue.

    Knew EBRO, the second longest river of Spain.

    I also liked NIFFY.

    Thanks William and setter

  9. Whizzed through it today (by my standards ie 24 mins) but spelled admissIble wrongly… (which should have been obvious from the anagram grrr)

  10. 32:45 and pretty straightforward. DNK EBRO but I was happy to work with Hebron. Wasn’t sure about ROUNDHOUSE as a punch, but it had to be. COD VISIT and WOD DOLLOP

  11. So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise
    My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
    (Keats, Ode on Indolence)

    25 mins mid-brekker. I enjoyed this. Some good clueing. I liked “leading composer” and “on our (t)able”.
    Hebron immediately sprang to mind, but I did think this was a bit unfair. Luckily, the O rules out Nablus.
    Ta setter and WJS.

  12. 18′, with about three minutes staring at N-T-.

    I was careful with ADMISSIBLE.

    Thanks william and setter.

  13. Closest I have ever got for a Friday finish. Slow to see the simple MASTERPIECE, and a couple of aids helped get me over the line.

    LEMAN=paramour? New to me. I thought it was a lake In Switzerland. It crossed with LOVEBIRD, clued as “inamorata”. Are these all the same, or are there complex gradations as with teenagers describing their relationships?


  14. Relatively straightforward with a couple of biffs, only saw the parse for Ebro from this blog, but knew the river. Also never heard of roundhouse for a punch. Good (and rare) for me to finish a Friday puzzle, maybe setter in a holiday mood! Thanks though…

  15. 29 minutes with LOI MIDDLEMAN. I didn’t know Leman for Paramour so needed all crossers. But the clue was worth lingering over both for the honouring of a fine novel and for the memories of Julie Christie in the film. COD to EBRO because I saw it quickly! Thank you William and setter for a good puzzle.

    1. Jumbo solvers were rewarded as LEMAN appeared in wordplay to a clue to ‘enamel’ in February. I was duty blogger and it was recent enough still to be in the memory bank.

  16. 21 minutes, no issues, have crossed the EBRO often. driving to Costa Blanca. Liked my LOI NATO.

  17. 13:11. Held up at the end by NATO and then EBRO, where it took me a while to remember the city and DNK the river, so that one went in with fingers crossed. I liked ADMISSIBLE best. Thanks William and setter.

  18. 14 minutes.

    Didn’t know the leman in MIDDLEMAN, hadn’t heard of NIFFY, and needed all the checkers to get ROUNDHOUSE (which I only knew as a kick), but otherwise this was fairly straightforward for a Friday.

    FOI Rabid
    LOI Roundhouse
    COD Dishonourable

  19. 7:17. No problems today. Luckily I knew both the river and the city. My geography is pretty patchy and rivers are a particular weak spot.
    Bit of a lovers’ convention today: the setter needed his or her thesaurus!

  20. 7:43. Quick for me, my only real hesitation was for my LOI, EBRO. I had a feeling I knew the river and once I had the checkers EBRO came to mind. I wasn’t 100% confident though – maybe it was ABRO? – but just as I was about to biff it Hebron came to mind and I was able to finish with greater confidence.

  21. I saw 1ac. right away, and for once this did not signal the start of a total brain fog. Then made steady progress and seemed to be on the wavelength, finishing in 21 minutes. I often struggle with the tricky three- or four-letter words but today’s did not hold me up for too long. Very friendly for a Friday.
    LOI – NATO
    COD – NATO.
    Thanks to william and other contributors.

  22. 16:34

    Nice grid. Some parsing missed:

    PINSTRIPED – biffed
    NIFFY – Missed the ‘N’ as Beethoven’s Ninth

    I parsed ROUNDHOUSE differently:
    OUSE (northern river) next to [beside] ROUND (drinks) H (hot).

    Thanks setter and William

    1. ROUNDHOUSE – yes, I think I ended up with that parsing too in the end, not helped by not being confident of the word

    2. I parsed it the same as the blogger,admittedly without over-thinking it mid-solve, but now not so sure. If drinks is round, what is beside doing there? For me beside was round – poor equivalence for nearby, maybe a thesuarus will support it? Drinks was the containment indicator : H drunk in round, ouse.
      That works… kind of.
      For drinks to equal round, you’d need “on top of” rather than “beside” for the positional indicator of where to put it in a down clue, surely.
      Not convinced either way.

  23. I biffed too many to mention, and was unconvinced by my LOI (but I get it now). It had its moments, but it didn’t really float my boat.

    TIME 9:28

  24. 30 mins. Like many, LOI NATO, couldn’t work out what the western was doing there, until the final eureka. Funnily enough, trying to think of 4 letter Spanish rivers, EBRO was first to my mind.
    A doddle compared with yesterday’s.

  25. Pretty vague on the words ROUNDHOUSE (as a punch) and leman, so I guessed successfully. I parsed ROUNDHOUSE the same way as Mike Harper — surely drinks = round is what the setter intended? Enjoyed VISIT and NIFFY. 34 minutes.

  26. Seemed relatively gentle for a Friday – and much easier than yesterday. All completed – but thanks for the explanation of why befog was the obvious answer.

  27. DNF – was blind about 8d NATO.
    I think I remember the Ebro being mentioned in For Whom The Bell Tolls, or it might have been a bit of reading around the Spanish Civil War, but Hebron never came to mind so I cheated by searching for _ebro_ and Hebron popped up. Should have remembered it as a neighbouring road in Hammersmith where I used to live is called Hebron. Hebron is a big place, oddly difficult to see on Google maps.
    I didn’t find the crossword very easy.

  28. I started off slowly and it had a sixty minute solve written all over it. I built up speed however and in the end crossed the line in 32.55. For me it was a crossword of two halves, with the left hand side proving more troublesome. Thought of ROUNDHOUSE as a punch relatively swiftly and then had to work on the parsing.

  29. Another NHO LEMAN for paramour, but I biffed it regardless. FOI was RABID. Last 2 in were NATO and EBRO. Liked METHODIST. 23:55. Thanks setter and William.

  30. 22.43 but made the cardinal sin of not checking the letters of an anagram. Write out 100 times admissible ends in ible not able. Shame as that’s messed up a full house of correct answers this week. Was ever thus!
    Still, nice puzzle. Thanks setter and blogger.

  31. Home & hosed in 26:16. A kindly sort of Friday puzzle, all told. Loved TRAINSPOTTERS and OUTSTAYED.

  32. I checked the letters for 13D to see whether it was —IBLE or —ABLE, and still got it wrong, somehow not seeing the initial A and deciding it had to go in there while ignoring the double I! Apart from that silly error, no problems and no unknowns apart from the assumed ‘punch’ meaning of ROUNDHOUSE. However, I could not equate ‘beside’ with ’round’ and now Mike Harper’s parsing makes so much more sense, so I don’t need to complain. Not having seen or read The Go-Between, I feared I was looking for an unknown character in it, so was happy when MIDDLEMAN became obvious. Lots to like in this and unusually it was the shorter ones that held me up the most, such as OVAL and NATO. COD UPHOLSTER, with its pair of English composers and smooth surface. Thanks to setter and William.

  33. The Go-Between character (Ted Burgess, played by Alan Bates in the film) is in the surface reading but not needed to solve the clue.

  34. I can’t say I rattled through this, though it wasn’t particularly hard. Some of the wordplays took a little teasing out, and I wasn’t familiar with ROUNDHOUSE. The one that almost scuppered me was 18a, SHORT STORY. I was looking for a particular piece of fiction. I liked the clue to DISHONOURABLE.
    33 minutes.

  35. Finally completed one this week, which was a bit of a surprise on a bank holiday Friday. I knew Hebron, but nothing about Spain’s runners and was amused to find on coming here that it is a river (of course!) and not Spanish for beans. ‘I’ll have a side order of ebros, please, Manuel!’ Thanks also to our blogger for parsing the horrible UNI, clued, in my humble opinion, pretty horribly. Just under half an hour.

  36. 21:08. The Friday context led me to overthink some of the clues. A bit of a breeze in the end.

  37. 7:23, easiest Friday puzzle in a while – like many I biffed PINSTRIPED, and I agree with some other commenters that ROUNDHOUSE is a charade and not a container.

  38. Unusually for me I liked two long ones – Dishonourable and Trainspotters – best. With only the crossing B, and strongly influenced by the Master’s these four days, I assumed out of bounds was OB plus something. Glad I knew Ebro and Hebron well enough to fix the problem when the properly placed O appeared.

  39. Definitely a Good Friday. LOI and COD: NATO, although I liked VISIT and NIFFY too.

  40. 37:01, which is much faster than yesterday.
    I needed to study a map of the West Bank before I could remember Hebron.
    LOI was ROUNDHOUSE. I was not familiar with this as a synonym for punch.

    Several answers biffed. Thanks William for making sense of those I could not parse.

  41. With a solving time of 33 minutes, this was a very easy Friday. Still, it had some very good clues (I liked METHODIST and DISHONOURABLE best). The first place on the West Bank I could think of was Nablus, but ABLU didn’t look very convincing and once I solved OUTSTAYED I found the right answer very quickly. I can’t remember when I last saw a FLASHBULB (60 years ago?). Are the setters all octogenarians or just capable historians?

    1. You may not have seen a flashbulb, but their flare still features in lots of films as well as old but still aired news clips.

  42. Well I got 7 clues very quickly yesterday, then got stuck, and then was busy travelling to and fro most of the day. Finished it off today, once I had MIDDLEMAN, which opened the top half up.
    NATO and VISIT were very fine clues.

  43. My big flaw today was being convinced that 4a had to be MEDIATOR ( not getting the “flipping gloomy” bit right, so the corresponding clues were not teased out (LOVEBIRD, MASTERPIECE, NATO) . The left side went in ok ( guessing that ROUNDHOUSE had to be a kind of hit) and enjoyed DISHONOURABLE greatly. Remembered TRAINSPOTTERS from the film, oddly enough, and SHORT STORY biffed from Tory backwards. Unlike others had no trouble with the shorter clues ( EBRO vaguely remembered). NHO ‘leman’ for paramour ( even though I ‘did’ Middle English at UNI many decades ago)
    Good puzzle but I should have done better!

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