Times 28575 – lots of items for debate

An entertaining puzzle which took me twenty minutes to fill in all the answers, but with a couple of clues I wasn’t 100% comfortable with when it came to parsing them fully. EDIT see below re 18a.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics

1 Appreciating notes left after American’s probed glass substitute? (7)
MUSICAL – MICA being a (sort of) glass substitute, insert US and add L for left.
5 Stink filling middle of dustbins is something in hand (5)
THUMB -HUM (stink) inside TB the middle of dusTBins.
9 Army soldiers ousting one from concealed position (5)
HORDE – OR (soldiers) replaces the I in HIDE.
10 Bridge player, say, engaged in some work, producing unexpected feature (6,3)
EASTER EGG – EAST (bridge player) EG (say) insert ERG (some work). I don’t quite see the unexpected aspect, I was expecting one and it arrived! EDIT I have now found it is in Collins, “Easter egga bonus or extra feature hidden inside a website, computer game, or DVD, that is only revealed after repeated or lengthy viewing or playing.”. As I don’t do video games or watch DVDs I was unaware of it. Obviously, the setter was more au fait.
11 Wet season securing island fruit (7)
RAISINS – RAINS (wet season) with IS inserted.
12 Acquisitive King invading this territory’s borders (7)
THIRSTY – R (king) inside THIS, TY (territory’s borders).
13 Major work getting OUP excited, investing in lots of champagne (6,4)
MAGNUM OPUS – MAGNUMS of champagne, insert (OUP)*. Latin for great work.
15 Obscure publicity material ignoring second book (4)
BLUR – BLURB drops its second B.
18 Reputation held by pair of Americans? (4)
NAME – I don’t see how this works. I think it is an error, supposed to be a hidden word but perhaps LatiN AMEricans was intended? Or perhaps the answer should be FAME not NAME, as FAME is hidden? There isn’t another hidden word clue and there is usually one.
EDIT it seems, as was spotted below, that the setter knows what he is doing and I didn’t spot the correct parsing. I’d never seen the “indirect hidden word” trick before, apparently not used since 2007, so the AMERICA[N AME]RICAN idea wasn’t on my radar. I’ll be ready for it next time.
20 Rational to accept house standard? Try several places (4,6)
SHOP AROUND – SOUND = rational, insert HO (house) PAR (standard).
23 Hydrogen lost in explosion about to circulate in rod casing? (7)
HOLSTER – H (hydrogen) then (LOST)* then RE (about) reversed. ROD as in gun, not as in nuclear reactor.
24 Up-to-date tent, with electric current, mostly cool (7)
TOPICAL – TOP (big top, tent), I (current) CAL[M] = mostly cool.
25 Thin time acquiring Volume One’s opening? Good luck as you go (3,6)
BON VOYAGE – BONY (thin) AGE (time) with V, O[ne], inserted.
26 Control sword, switching hands (5)
STEER – STEEL (sword) changes L for R.
27 Limits of truce probed by border topic (5)
THEME – TE (limits of truce) with HEM (border) inside.
28 Fine source of confusing statements but not primarily a cheat (7)
FIDDLER – F (fine) then RIDDLER loses its initial letter (I think).
1 Observing vessel entering China (7)
MARKING – ARK (vessel) inside MING (variety of China).
2 Small and highly-regarded, though not right and not accurate (8)
SPECIOUS – S (small), PRECIOUS (highly regarded) loses its R for right.
3 That fellow’s blocking Civil Service game (5)
CHESS – HE’S (that fellow’s) inside CS (Civil service).
4 What may help you make slam or blast? (4,5)
LAST TRUMP – I think this is best described as a double definition, one related to bridge and one meaning blast or trumpet.
5 Article poses timeless item for debate (6)
THESIS – THE (article) SITS (poses) losing its T (timeless).
6 University prepared to be stretched, having disposed of latest device (7)
UTENSIL – U (university) TENSIL[E].
7 Vehicle with problems? (5)
BUGGY – cryptic definition. Or double definition, if you prefer.
8 Fielder sees large number of people reduced after interval (5,3)
THIRD MAN – THIRD (musical interval), MAN[Y].
14 A second drink for the wife? (5,4)
OTHER HALF – witty double definition.
16 Radio’s studied later, after accident or crisis? (3,5)
RED ALERT – RED sounds like READ = studied, then (LATER)*.
17 Revision of poor plan’s outputting new suggestion (8)
PROPOSAL – (POOR PLA S)*, where PLAN’S loses its N (outputting new).
19 The writer with viewpoint promoting Liberal mix (7)
MELANGE – ME (the writer) then ANGLE (viewpoint) has its L moved up. French for mixture.
21 Relative harm after undressing in the dark (7)
UNCLEAR – UNCLE (relative) then [H]AR[M].
22 Straight man mostly to halt rise of self-assertiveness (6)
STOOGE – STO[P] = mostly to halt, then EGO reversed.
23 Clothing is hot, to some extent (5)
HABIT – H (hot) A BIT (to some extent).
24 Scots not great between banks of turbid river (5)
TWEED – WEE (small in Scottish) inside the outer letters (banks) of TurbiD.


91 comments on “Times 28575 – lots of items for debate”

  1. 19:03
    DNK EASTER EGG, which I biffed from EAST. Also biffed HOLSTER, BON VOYAGE. Once I had the M from MELANGE, I thought of NAME for 18ac, but I couldn’t see how it worked (and I didn’t know, and hadn’t got, THIRD MAN, or I would have gone with NAME anyway). Then I saw the hidden and put in FAME, but that would mean MAF/MEF/MIF/MOF/MUF. So I went with NAME, ‘interval’ gave me THIRD, and after wasting some time I was done. I hope we hear from the editor.

    1. I thought was so clever getting the cricket clue and biffed SHORT LEG without parsing, which held up the top corner, until the NAME (also unparsed) dropped. Lots of adding and subtracting here, but quite entertaining.

  2. I was also forced to conclude that the clue for NAME has an error (probably more likely than that a clue for FAME was misplaced).

    I often start more or less at random, and rarely with the first clue. This time, I began with the last Down, and after that worked 21 across, a clue that works in the very same way. I then worked the clue symmetrical at the top with my first one at the bottom, and, lo, it was the very same kind of clue (insert this in that). OK, I thought, so what about the one at the top symmetrical with my second one in—and it was the same kind of clue too!

    LOI was the cricket term, THIRD MAN, of course (would’ve got it in a flash if it had been clued by the movie).

  3. DNF in 39 minutes; “bogey” at 7d which sort of works but BUGGY is clearly the correct answer. Sorry, can’t help with NAME, though I wonder if that question mark is significant.

    After yesterday’s distinguished setter “outed” himself, I wondered if we were in for another surprise today with EASTER EGG and THEME but despite a few related clues there wasn’t anything consistent and no hidden goodies in the grid that I could spot.

    Maybe over to you, distinguished setter?

  4. Pretty straightforward, except for the puzzling Name (I wondered if the setter had been toying around with State abbreviations – ME is Maine – but that didn’t work, either) and my not really getting the “blast” part of Last Trump. I had Buggy as two definitions more than as a cryptic. Thanks Pip

  5. 20 minutes.

    I trust that the entertainment provided here, as calls for heads to roll gather momentum, will at least equal that given by the puzzle….

  6. I took NAME as coming from AmericaN AMErican, being the pair of Americans with a hidden clue between them.

    1. That’s how I parsed it, too, confidently enough to put it in from the parsing and the “M” alone. It was more the obvious-in-hindsight ones like UTENSIL and SPECIOUS that held me up. 37 mins all told.

  7. One of those unsettling puzzles – NAME unparsed, two crossing unkowns in LAST TRUMP and EASTER EGG (in that sense). At least easter egg was clearly clued. Also missed riddler in my alphabet trawl, and didn’t see how tent could be top, so thanks for those.
    I liked ‘undressing in the dark’ and third man.

  8. About an hour of actual solving for me, with NAME unparsed like most other people. No problem with EASTER EGG since I work in software. I remember enough cricket to get THIRD MAN. In fact I nearly put it in from the enumeration before I had any crossers (and without thinking much about the wordplay). I too thought BUGGY was both a vehicle (like a horse-drawn carriage or a beach buggy) and also meaning with problems. But no necessarily a vehicle with problems.

    1. BUGGY is definitely a DD. Both definitions have dictionary status, and remain distinct in any reading of the clue I can come up with.

  9. 37 minutes failing on SPECIOUS. At 18ac NAME had to be the intended answer rather than FAME because I knew the cricket term at 8dn but I couldn’t see how it worked and concluded there had to be an error of some sort.

    Indirect hidden words appear so rarely that when they do turn up the question as to whether or not they are ‘allowed’ tends to be asked and the comparison with indirect anagrams is made although no-one has come up with a definitive answer on that one either.

    On today’s clue I would say that it’s unfortunate that the word ‘fame’, another synonym for ‘reputation’, is hidden directly in the clue and perhaps this should have been spotted and some sort of adjustment made to remove any ambiguity. Admittedly on reflection in that case the word ‘pair’ would be redundant but one might argue that it was necessary in the surface to facilitate the appearance of ‘of’ which provides the first letter of ‘fame’.

    This previous example of an indirect hidden word appeared in Cryptic 23627 back in June 2007:

    Travelling, wanting two seats together? Not entirely (2,3)
    to which the answer is {se}AT SEA{ts}.

    This seems to me to be a much better example since there is no ambiguity and unlike today’s clue it’s not necessary to remove the plural ‘s’, but the duty blogger (richardvg) admitted to not being sure about it and wondered, if that was the explanation what the word ‘wanting’ was doing. Peter B in his comment that day concluded that it was ‘one of the optional link-words used when it suits in the Times puzzle’. That might also have accounted for ‘pair’ in today’s clue had the answer been FAME.

    1. I thought (and still think) that “pair” here would be a serious flaw if it were a hidden-word clue for FAME—which would not work like that clue with “two seats.”

      The “two seats…” clue does work like the clue for NAME, where “pair of” indicates how to construct the frame AMERICAN AMERICAN for the hidden word. But in “held by pair of Americans,” “pair” would be quite an obstacle if we were meant to find the word hidden in “oF AMEricans.”

      1. Yes, I tend to agree about ‘pair’, although opinions may differ on this sort of thing and flawed clues do sometimes appear. I have changed ‘would’ to ‘might’ in my final sentence to clarify my view on this point.

    2. I briefly considered the hitherto unheard-of fielder SHORT OFF, just across the pitch from SHORT LEG. Fortunately magnum opus was a first-look solve so OFF had to be wrong.

  10. I found this crossword too ‘mechanical’.
    There are 11 insertions: probe, filling, securing, invading, investing, accept, acquiring, probed, entering, blocking and between.
    There are 8 removals: ousting, ignoring, not primarily, not right, timeless, disposed of, outputting and undressing.
    It also includes other switching, promoting devices.

  11. By the pricking of my thumbs,
    Something wicked this way comes.

    25 mins mid-brekker with some of this trying to justify some of the dodgy clueing. The double American was one example. Others are: (R)iddler to get fiddler; and the “mostly to halt” which has the ‘dangling’ “to”.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  12. 17:24. About 10 minutes of my time was spent on my last five answers – MUSICAL, MARKING, HORDE, SPECIOUS and LAST TRUMP. I had no idea about LAST TRUMP beyond trump and slam both relating to card games so the absence of pink squares came as a surprise. I still didn’t understand the blast bit, but I’ve since seen that Collins has the definition of last trump as “the final trumpet call that according to the belief of some will awaken and raise the dead on the Day of Judgment”

      1. I thought the “last” bit was redundant until I read that “last trump” was something specific.

        1. It’s a bit of an odd clue, because the very specific nature of the LAST TRUMP isn’t referenced at all. So the definition is very vague. Hence the question mark I guess.

  13. 32 minutes with the same question marks next to NAME and EASTER EGG. I’ve eaten enough of the latter the last few days to be confident it was right. I didn’t come up with the ingenious two Americans explanation for the former and wondered if it was mistaken FAME. O ye of little faith! COD to LAST TRUMP. Ye shall be changed. And I can never write MÉLANGE without thinking of the constituents of HP Sauce. Good puzzle. Thank you Pip and setter.

    1. I didn’t know what you were on about BW re mélange and HP sauce until Dr Google revealed all.😀

      I am quite a fan of the mélange de fruits orientaux, d’épices and de vinaigre …

  14. Yes I had Fame at 18ac, thinking 8 dn would be something OFF, but then getting THIRD MAN meant it had to be NAME. Maybe it’s a North American with a MExican? (Ahhh – for the correct explanation, see Guy du Sable above! Very clever! That makes it COD for me)
    Anyway finished this in 25 minutes without any holdups, very much par for the course for me.
    Thanks everyone.
    PS as a dvd collector I know all about easter eggs 😉

  15. 7:17. No problems today. I even parsed NAME.
    I know about EASTER EGGs from the movie Ready Player One, where they feature prominently. Sometimes having kids comes in useful.

  16. I didn’t parse NAME but Starstruck’s suggestion above looks convincing to me.
    Pip, you may not be aware that Discord claims to have numerous easter eggs contained within it. Can’t say I’ve ever noticed one..

  17. 15:50. I enjoyed this. No problem with HAME as I’ve seen that trick recently (a MCS perhaps?). LOI SPECIOUS after eventually spotting MICA as the glass substitute in 1A. Nice one. Thanks Pip and setter.

  18. At least finished in 50 mins. I found this pretty tricky and totally agree with Sawbill’s comments re deletions/insertions. That meaning of EASTER EGG completely unknown. Thanks to our blogger for the enlightenment. I shan’t enter the fray re NAME as everything has been said. I also did not like
    « riddler ». HOLSTER and BON VOYAGE were fun.

    Thank you pip and setter.

  19. Entertaining comments today!

    An EASTER EGG is central to the very best David Tennant Doctor Who episode ‘Blink’ (which introduced the stone angels), which is from where I knew the term.

    Clearly not many cricket followers around in here. May I be the first to point out that the term THIRD MAN is now THIRD? All power to the women’s game.

    18’12”, thanks Pip and setter.

    I parsed NAME quickly, fortunately didn’t consider ‘fame’.

    1. I’m a huge cricket fan. ‘Third’ has been used by commentators on the women’s game for a few years now, and I’ve heard some female commentators using it when covering the men’s game, but officially I’m not sure the change you mention has (or can) occur. ‘Batsman’ has changed to ‘batter’ and the latest edition of the Laws of Cricket is clear on that. ‘Third man’, however, like ‘nightwatchman’ is not mentioned in the Laws and has no ‘official’ status, thus cannot formally be changed. The MCC, which, despite the efforts of other administrators, remains the owner of the Laws, has resolutely declined to take a view on these unofficial terms, at least as far as I am aware. I think it’s still perfectly acceptable to use the term ‘THIRD MAN’ if you wish, but I certainly won’t object to ‘Third’ if that’s your preference – especially in the ladies’ game. Fielding positions in cricket being somewhat flexible, ‘the bloke (or lass) over there’ is also quite acceptable in my view.

        1. I dunno, noted bunny Gillespie, J. went in as night watchman once and made a double century.

  20. 20 minutes, and I had similar problems with NAME as others. I put in ‘fame’ before I got THIRD MAN, thinking that the fielder would be ‘xxxxx off’, and only once I corrected myself there did I realise ‘fame’ couldn’t be right. Still didn’t understand how it worked though, so thanks for the explanation.

    Straightforward enough otherwise, though I didn’t parse TOPICAL or STOOGE.

    FOI Thesis
    LOI Steer
    COD Magnum opus

  21. 17:50

    I had all but one solved in 12 or 13 mins. Finally worked out my LOI which was STOOGE and is also my COD.

  22. Like some others, straight in with the easy “fame” and then “short off” until I got magnum opus and a rethink. Parsed “name” as North American and Mexican, which I thought a poor clue until the explanation above. Got last trump purely from Bridge so a 50% biff. Otherwise fairly straightforward, thanks to all.

  23. Despite having solved it ok, I’m still slightly baffled by the parsing of 1 ac. Why ‘appreciating’? Wouldn’t the clue have worked equally well without it? What am I missing? Something obvious, no doubt.

    1. I think it means musical in the sense of describing a person who enjoys/likes music – or ‘appreciating notes’.

  24. Surprised by SNITCH score – this seemed quite hard. Didn’t parse NAME, FIDDLER or LAST TRUMP, but they all had to be right with crossers. Was frankly just pleased to finish this, with SPECIOUS as my LOI (and it took me a lot of head scratching). Liked HOLSTER and UTENSIL.

  25. No particular problems with this. I rather liked the pair of Americans and it seems to me that if one tries to avoid ambiguity one is going against the whole idea of cryptic crosswords: surely if the wordplay uses ‘river’ one shouldn’t be led by the hand to ‘r’ or ‘Exe’ or whatever. But I do see the point that the clue should lead unequivocally to the answer, and shouldn’t lead to both ‘fame’ and ‘name’. 32 minutes.

    1. I’ve been reading the thread – I missed the parsing, so was interested – and I agree with Will that the point of cryptic is to avoid leading solvers directly to the answer. But I’d go further and say that it’s also fine if the clue has two resolutions, so long as the difference between them can be resolve by a crosser. The puzzle is a grid and I don’t think any one answer needs to stand entirely on its own. So Fame/Name is fine with me if the F/N crosses as it does here, and not if it doesn’t.

      1. I strongly believe that the ideal or perfect clue in a cryptic will only have one possible answer, in any grid. Non-cryptic crosswords often rely on ambiguity that can only be resolved by crossers. I feel that this is fundamentally different from how cryptics are supposed to work.

        1. Strongly disagree. Have seen more than a few clues which have 2 possible solutions, so you can’t be sure which is correct without at last one crosser. And I think that’s a good thing!

          1. I’m sure it happens, though I suspect that such cases are often inadvertent.
            Do you have an example in mind?
            Sometimes, too, solvers are mistaken in thinking that an alternative answer would be just as good.

            1. The first one I remember seeing was a book of the bible being non-fiction, except for the first bit. Or something. 4 letters. With no crossers both {t}RUTH and {f}ACTS were essayed by sundry commenters.

              1. Well, impossible to say anything definite without knowing exactly how the clue was worded, but “non-fiction” does not mean “remove F.” I would guess the answer was RUTH.
                Let me see if I can find it…
                It seems that was #24609.
                Unfortunately, the clues were not included in the blog back then (2010).
                But the answer was indeed RUTH, not ACTS.
                One person commented that they went down a “blind alley” and had ACTS instead. No one else had anything to say about that clue.
                But maybe that wasn’t the clue you were thinking of…
                Here, I found it, on the club site. The clue was
                3 Gospel not the first book in Bible (4)
                So if someone thought FACTS = “gospel,” they might be led astray.
                But “gospel truth” is the usual expression. And “truth” is more profound than mere “facts,” no?

                1. Well found, I searched but couldn’t find it. That’s the clue I remembered, and I reckon ‘gospel’ for crossword purposes could be either facts or truth. Notwithstanding that gospel truth is a ‘thing’.
                  I was impressed at the time that 2 valid answers existed, and I still think they’re both valid.

                  1. Any solver who would settle for {f}ACTS instead of {t}RUTH as the answer here simply didn’t think of the latter, which is clearly more apt.

    2. I am not sure that a clue “should lead unequivocally to the answer.” Most of my favourite clues do the opposite. What I do think is that once you have settled on the answer, you should be confident it is the right one.

      1. Jerry I must be being dim, because your two alternatives seem to me to be exactly the same in effect. Certainly that’s what I mean by leading unequivocally to the answer.

        1. I don’t want to be led. I want to be misled. I don’t know how to put it clearer than that.
          If and when I finally get there, it is nice if the answer is clearly right. But that has nothing to do with the process of getting there ..

          1. In a maze there are many paths but only one of them is the unequivocally correct route to the middle.
            FWIW I don’t think the clue under discussion is equivocal, because FAME isn’t a valid answer. It leaves ‘pair’ unaccounted for and I don’t think (pace jackkt) that it can be glossed over as an ‘optional link-word’.

              1. That’s what I said.
                I do like this ability to correct posts even after they’ve been replied to 😉

            1. Ha, mazes with more than one route to the middle are by no means unusual. But once you reach the middle, unequivocally that is where you are ..

              1. Indeed. It’s reasonably common for clues to have more than one equally valid route to the answer. In a recent Sunday puzzle we had one that required us to take one of the middle Bs from SOBBER, without indicating which one.

  26. 06:54, so one of those days when you find yourself reading the clue the right way on first inspection pretty much every time, and it all just falls into place (even the AmericaNAMErica device, which may have been lurking at the back of my mind from previous usage). And always nice to see my own name in there as an Easter Egg, which reminds me I have the remains of a Lindt chocolate bunny somewhere which needs finishing off…

  27. Fairly quick for me, slow for most of those here.
    Thanks for NAME, I’ll remember in future (he lied).
    I struggled with TOPICAL, finally thinking there might be lots of ways of spelling tepee, including topi. Big top never occurred to me. Nor did calm, so it went in on the basis of prob only word that fits.
    I wondered what “people” were doing in 8d.

    1. Maybe large number of people could be mankind (with apologies to womankind) and drop the kind. Or the reduced many could be many people as in many are called but few are chosen. Both rather contrived and omitting of people would be neater?

  28. All done in less than an hour- quick for me- with the fielder and EASTER EGG and NAME unparsed. UTENSIL and BLUR were last in.
    A fair bit easier than yesterday.
    MAGNUM OPUS brought to mind Baldrick, talking about his magnificent octopus’ in ‘Blackadder’.
    Thanks for explanations and thanks Setter

  29. Got over the line with LAST TRUMP entered with fingers crossed and eyes closed because I was very unsure of it. Otherwise very pleasant and suitably thought provoking. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  30. Managed to crawl over the line in 46.12 but like others was flummoxed by the NAME/FAME conundrum. Having seen the explanation, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the device before, but a long time ago. I must have agonised over this last section of the grid for about ten minutes before finally deciding on NAME and trusting to luck.
    Will I recognise this device if it is used again? Maybe, but probably not if it isn’t used for another decade or so!

  31. 22:53 but with a careless BOGEY. Drat! Didn’t parse NAME. FOI CHESS, LOI, STOOGE. Thanks setter and Pip.

  32. 25:41. Also had FAME for a while until MAGNUM OPUS had me scuttling round for an alternative to “M?F” for the fielder. I’m sure I’ve seen the double word device recently – perhaps a Mephisto – which helped.

  33. Very enjoyable. No time today as I’ve completed it in about four sittings between various bits of work. Like many here, I struggled to parse NAME, so thanks to the contributor who did so. Now I understand it, it’s COD for me.

  34. After a reasonable start I was held up for ages in the NE corner, particularly EASTER EGG, BLUR, UTENSIL and BUGGY.
    35 minutes.
    I don’t really care for the indirectly hidden answers, which are becoming more frequent in the Times. I don’t think I’ve encountered them elsewhere, not even in The Listener. “Source of confusing statements” for RIDDLER was pretty indirect too. I didn’t understand the clue until I checked in here.

    Not an enjoyable week so far.

  35. 31:24

    Never fully satisfying when one doesn’t understand everything. Plenty of parsing missed and some things completely over my head!

    MUSICAL – had M___C__ – bung in US and finish with L – no idea about MICA being a glass substitute
    TOPICAL – didn’t see how this worked at all – was assuming some kind of reversal of AC (electrical current) but the rest, unsurprisingly, was a mystery
    THIRD MAN – completely missed the parsing, but fortunately pencilled in before SHORT LEG or anything else came to mind
    LAST TRUMP – saw the two meanings of TRUMP but didn’t know of LAST TRUMP as a recognised card term – shrugged as I typed in following entry of MUSICAL

    EASTER EGG – no problems with the def – a common thing on DVDs and software packages for the past twenty years!
    NAME – didn’t even spot the confusion as had already pencilled in THIRD MAN, so assumed NAME must be what was required
    FIDDLER – I liked this clue

    LOI – SPECIOUS – tough if you aren’t sure of the definition

  36. I’m another one who put bogey instead of buggy. Annoying because I use a buggy twice a week as an amputee golfer.

  37. Done in less than an hour, but with BOGEY rather than BUGGY, which seems to just about fit both definitions. But I lucked out with NAME not FAME.

    Also biffed SHORT LEG based on enumeration. NHO rod=gun, so HOLSTER was LOI.


  38. I enjoyed today’s puzzle – I had a bit of spare time, and used it all profitably! About the time I’d expect for the snitch.

    Late to the party, so not much to add. LOI and COD was STOOGE.


  39. Solved EASTER EGG, but never heard of it as an unexpected feature. Put NAME in, but misparsed it as AM (American) in NE (Nebraska, an American …). Never seen the ‘pair of Americans’ thing before. All done in 35 minutes.

  40. 18.10 but delayed in the NE segment with last trump and thirsty my last two. Don’t think I’ve seen thirsty as meaning acquisitive before. Didn’t parse easter egg and name was a guess having toyed with the hidden fame until opting for third man as the crosser.

  41. 35 mins but was severely held up in NW. Pressed submit with more hope than expectation.

  42. Delighted to finish today after a dismal showing yesterday. There was a radio interview yesterday with someone with early dementia , their first symptom was an inability to do cryptics. It’s always in the back of my mind although plain inability is something I’d rather accept .
    It’s always reassuring to hear that I’ve fallen down the same rabbit holes as others and struggled with the same parsing.
    The NE corner held me up, 10ac had to end with ‘eye’ , ‘buggy ‘ took me ages after buses, barges, biers etc.
    I’d gone ‘off’ without thought on fielding positions (8d) ( for some of us it’s now the county cricket season 🙂) .
    I liked 14 d ‘other half ‘, in Spanish you call your OH ‘media naranja ‘ (half orange).
    Thank you to setter , blogger and all contributors.

  43. 28’54”. Like everyone else on NAME and EASTER EGG. I assumed a mistake for NAME, and take my due chastisement. 88 seems a very low Snitch for what I thought was quite a tough puzzle. Anyone else consider SABLE for 26 ac? Fortunately I couldn’t think of a good reason why it might mean CONTROL. Not for want of trying.

  44. 33 minutes. I had the same issues as everyone else with the parsing of NAME and the definition of EASTER EGG.


  45. Very enjoyable. I couldn’t see how to get ‘NAME’ from the clue to 18ac, but since I had ‘THIRDMAN’ which was clearly correct, I went with ‘NAME’ and assumed that there was some kind of error with the clue.

    I was really pleased to finish this one – until I came here and saw that I had one wrong and technically it was a DNF. For 28ac I entered ‘FUDDLER’ not ‘FIDDLER’ , because to me it worked – F for fine, plus (m)uddler as someone making confusing statements, and why shouldn’t a ‘FUDDLER’ be someone who deliberately bewilders somebody in order to cheat them? I can see that FIDDLER is more likely to be correct. I don’t like ‘source of confusing statements’ for ‘riddler’; too much of a stretch in my opinion (too much of a stretch for it to occur to me anyway).

  46. My 1st successfully completed crossword without help! Time wise- couple hours yesterday
    afternoon + a couple more yesterday evening + last 4 clues at breakfast this morning. So not quick enough to record my time in minutes.

    Although quite a few not parsed so thanks for the explanations for Easter Egg, Third Man, Fiddler and Name

    LOI- Stooge
    Name- I made up from North American (NA) and Maine (ME)
    Last trump- I thought this was a fart joke!

  47. A fun crossword.
    The LAST TRUMP or “final trump” would be something recognised by sniggering choir boys and girls as from an ancient hymn referring to the end of days.

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