Times 28579 – Never heard of it!

Time: 46 minutes

Music: Prokofiev, Symphony #5, PCO/Martinon.

After completing my solve, I was wondering if the puzzle was really quite simple and I was just not on the wavelength.   However, on checking the SNITCH, it seems like this was quite a difficult Monday puzzle, and I may not be alone in my struggles.

Once I got going, I did biff a lot of the answers, and had to do some thinking to parse them properly for the blog.    Sackbut, blow a fuse, East Timor, air kiss, dogma, in transit, Britain, and Egypt all went in by the literal alone.   However, I definitely need the cryptic for my two unknowns, Satna and parotid.   Well, if there’s a Patna, there’s probably a Satna, and the gland is properly formed for a scientific term.


1 A king welcomed by girl’s affected greeting (3,4)
AIR KISS – A + K inside IRIS’S.
5 Container for all that old brass (7)
9 Country where old hands back in favour (4,5)
EAST TIMOR – EA(O MITTS backwards)R.
10 Defence always leaky, it’s Brighton’s infirmity, first of all (5)
ALIBI – A[ways] L[eaky], I[t’s] B[righton’s] I[nfirmity].
11 Indian city where navigator docked (5)
12 Find out sectarian is corrupt (9)
14 Stretching of legs authorised by precedent? (14)
CONSTITUTIONAL – Double definition.
17 Hit with tenth foul in poor kids’ game (4,3,7)
21 Comic beyond valuation (9)
PRICELESS –  Double definition.
23 Before sun at zenith, bringer of light travelling east in principle (5)
DOGMA – A.M. + GOD backwards.
24 Bird for birdwatching, say? (5)
HOBBY – Double definition.
25 See red shirt, with a female wearing it (4,1,4)
26 Glandular decay in mercenary (7)
27 Wood cut, backward edge supporting framework (7)
TRELLIS – TRE[e] + SILL backwards.
1 Unsympathetic prayer came up, loveless (6)
2 Dish is buried in cave, lid off (7)
3 On The Road: could it be eclipsing other books published? (2,7)
4 Sailors in similar European race (11)
SAMMARINESE – SAM(MARINES)E.   Hmm, similar is not the same, and marines are not sailors.    I believe the literal refers to auto racing.
5 Man honoured in wake, spirit finally released (3)
SIR – S[t]IR.
6 Short tweet about a speaker? (5)
7 Island using computers invested in personal one? (7)
8 Associated affairs maybe ending in disaster, one in mess (8)
TRIANGLE – T([disaste]R, I)ANGLE.
13 Desperate to go, having heard brief (6,5)
CAUGHT SHORT –  CAUGHT + SHORT, in entirely different senses.
15 Quick means of communication in time abroad (9)
IMMEDIATE – IM(MEDIA)TE, where the enclosing letters are an anagram of TIME.
16 Get a move on in pair of boots? (4-4)
CHOP-CHOP – CHOP + CHOP, presumably referring to adjustments in staffing levels.
18 Fix rail in high street establishment (4,3)
19 Joke that’s on jerk (3-4)
LEG-PULL –  LEG + PULL, a cricket leg, that is.
20 Secretary, individual missing on ID (6)
PAPERS – P.A. + PERS[on].
22 Country with French banks suffering (5)
25 Friend, a nuisance ultimately abandoning capital (3)
BUD – BUD[apest], a bit of a chestnut.

88 comments on “Times 28579 – Never heard of it!”

  1. Tricky in places – too tricky for me, as it turns out, failed completely on PAROTID thinking double definition glandular decay / mercenary.
    Last few were BUD – it might be a chestnut but takes ages to parse if you’ve never seen it; SATNAV which took an alphabet trawl looking for Henry the Navigator’s not so famous younger brother; which then gave AVERSE, where I was expecting an unknown prayer -O written upwards.
    Did enjoy it a lot, only unknowns PAROTID, SATNA and how CHOP could be boot. Thanks setter and blogger.
    Edit: SAMMARINESE might be a race of people? It’s what people from San Marino call themselves.

    1. It’s true (I find) that there is a Grand Prix in San Marino, but I read the clue the way you do. It’s a loose sense for “race,” maybe, but that’s a dodgy concept to begin with.

      1. I assumed that the word referred to the people of San Marino. I’ve objected here to the setters’ use of ‘race’ on a couple of occasions, for all the good it did.

        1. Being really picky the San Marino Grand Prix was never in SM, but there was at the time an Italian GP at the other circuit so they named it after the next nearest country, SM.
          It was always called the San Marino GP, never the Sammarinese GP. I am fairly sure the setter just means people from SM, not really a race IMHO.

  2. Very Fridayish for a Monday, but all the more enjoyable for that. Nho SAMMARINESE, but parsed my way to it, with the same objection as our blogger to classifying a marine as a sailor. I was tempted by SITKA for 11a, as the only place( is it a city?) I could think of fitting the checkers, though it’s in Alaska not India. Then Satnav occurred to me, which parsed much better if Satna might be in India.
    A hard fought 41:54

  3. Well I’m glad I wasn’t alone in finding this tough. This being Monday when we normally have a fairly gentle ride I had started to wonder whether my solving skills were beginning to desert me.

    Possibly fortunately I had neglected to note my starting time otherwise I might know for sure what I now suspect, that after about 30 minutes I had no more than 5 or 6 answers in place. I certainly know from that point onwards I needed around another 60 minutes to get within 1 answer of completing the grid at which point I threw in the towel with the Indian city still missing. On looking it up I was at least pleased to confirm it as a place I never heard of.

    Elsewhere after a mighty struggle I came up with PAROTID and SAMMARINESE from wordplay and took the unusual step for me of confirming the answers in a dictionary before continuing. MARINES as sailors didn’t bother me, although on reflection it probably should have, but I didn’t like SAME for similar.

    Both CHOP-CHOP and IN TRANSIT had occurred to me quite early on but I was unable to parse them at that stage so I waited until checkers confirmed they had to be the answers. But the checkers were very slow in coming.

  4. I will never admit how close I came to locking in HINT THE WHUMBLE.

    Having dodged that bullet I came unstuck with SATRA. I thought of satnav but convinced myself that SATNA was an unlikely city name. Instead I tried something that doesn’t exist and doesn’t parse. Not a recommended strategy.

    Tough gig for a Monday. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  5. Having read others’ comments, I’m delighted to have finished! Time eternal. Same reservations as already noted. I assumed the Sammarinese lived in San Marino.

  6. Another “eternal” time. Grid filled correctly but had NHO SAMMARINESE (agree with others) and after spending ages trying to parse 1d in the same way as isla3, I eventually saw the light and was then able to put in the unknown SATNA as my LOI. Very surprised to see no pink squares but after such a slow time, I almost felt I deserved at least one!

  7. Stopped after 30′, with all done except SAMMARINESE, despite ten minutes of alphabet trawl. I agree that marines are not sailors, and ‘similar’ is definitely not ‘same’ (think triangles).

    An enjoyable puzzle, thanks vinyl and setter.

    1. The distinction between same and similar caused quite a stir in early Christianity.Was the essence of God the son the same(homoousios) as that of God the Father or rather just similar(homoiousios)? Many words and much passion expended over the single letter i!

  8. Re: DOGMA – shouldn’t it be travelling “west”, if it is meant to be backwards?

    1. This always does my head in. If you think of the word DOGMA as a train, with the engine (the D) at the front, as it sets off to the east, with the carriages (O,G,M,A) following behind, it ends up backwards

      The puzzle? DNF after more time than I’m prepared to admit

      On edit: on reflection, you need to think of AMGOD as the train, then it works the same

  9. Quite pleased—not to mention surprised—to have finished after pushing out my usual hour to 75 minutes, ending with SATNA from a guess at the wordplay only and SAMMARINESE while typing with crossed fingers and a vague impression that I’d heard the word before.

  10. This just took me 90 minutes. LOI SAMMARINESE (with fingers crossed). I think this was hard but not as hard as I made it today. I guess I’m still at beginner level really 😉
    Thanks setter and blogger

  11. Nearly an hour with an error for my troubles. I thought SIM might be “similar” so parsed it as SIM + MARINES + E = race. Tough Monday. Thanks both.

  12. 11:05. I submitted with fingers thoroughly crossed for the unknowns SAMMARINESE, SATNA and PAROTID constructed from wordplay, and the unparsed BUD. That one strikes me as not quite cricket. I don’t think you can describe the last 5 letters of an 8-letter word as ‘ultimately’, and the word doesn’t really contribute anything to the clue so it’s just gratuitously misleading.
    ‘Going east’ in 23ac is just wrong, surely? Not the first time this has happened.
    No problem with describing marines as ‘sailors’. They part of the Royal Navy which broadly covers it IMO.
    I did enjoy the tussle with this one though.

    1. Going east. Please don’t say it’s just wrong. Yes, we have had it before and I had to rewire my brain then to get it. So I stand by my explanation above

      1. It’s a heroic attempt to justify it but I’m afraid I do think it’s just a mistake!

        1. I need Marshall McLuhan to step into frame here, otherwise I stand alone believing that if a word is “travelling east” the front is on the right

        1. It’s tricky to follow the indents to work out what your comment relates to. I’m taking it to mean my explanation works perfectly well for you. Thank you, MangoMan. It’s just the two of us

  13. DNF. Time off the wall. I echo exactly what Jack said. SATNA a NHO. Had to look it up.
    A number unparsed and altogether a bit of a struggle.

    Thanks v.

  14. 30:07. Stuck for well over 10 minutes in the NW corner. I fail to see how EAR can be “favour”, so couldn’t parse EAST TIMOR. NHO the city SATNA, which I see is 160th by size of the cities in India. Also NHO SAMMARINESE meaning people of San Marino. 22A is just wrong – it must be “travelling west”. LOI AVERSE. Quite a stinker for a Monday, but enjoyed eventually completing it without aids. Thanks Vinyl and setter.

    1. You made me look it up: Chambers thesaurus takes a U-turn through attention. In “flattered by one’s attentions” attention can be respect, courtesy, politeness, civility, compliments, gallantry any of which can be favour. In “give me your attention” attention can be ear.
      A stretch…

  15. Enjoyed it even though ultimately beaten by SACKBUT (NHO and pretty ungettable as a result) SATNA and AVERSE.

    Satna, as the 160th most populated city in India (Wikipedia) is quite obscure to my mind, whether or not you use the cryptic as a clue.

    Took a while to see chop as boot too, despite the blog.

    The Royal Marines may not be sailors but according to http://www.defence.gov “marines in most countries are specially trained sailors” so no issues there for me and same/similar feels ok to me in crosswordland.

    Why does EAR = favour in 9ac?

    Thanks all

      1. I wondered if that was it, but it still seemed a stretch as a synonym, even in crosswordland.

        1. Collins defines it as ‘attention, esp favourable attention’, which gets you pretty close.

          1. Agree ‘pretty’ close – but still no cigar in my opinion! Won’t die in a ditch for it though.

    1. Re Indian cities, there should be a rule that they can only use those that feature in the IPL…

  16. Damn near the hour with LOI PAPERS. As a result I’ve missed my CONSTITUTIONAL and without a break could have been CAUGHT SHORT , which I feel at my age I have to give COD. I didn’t know SATNA (not a cricket location I’ve heard of) or PAROTID so needed all crossers for both.Toughie but fair in that all could be constructed without any help. Thank you V and setter.

  17. 29 minutes for this excellent puzzle, with CAUGHT SHORT worth the price of admission alone.

    1. Really liked this untypical Monday effort. Struggled to parse East Timor, though the answer was clear enough, but reluctantly accept that if you have someon’s ear you have their favour. Ish.
      But guys, marines DEFINITELY are sailors, in the UK anyway. Isn’t the name a clue? “Soldiers, and sailors too,” as Commodore Hornblower remarked to Tsar Nicholas …
      12ac is a lovely clue. So neat it must surely be a chestnut, though I don’t remember it.
      I agree that East should be West in 23ac, despite Kapietro’s very ingenious idea.
      I thought I had heard of Satna but cannot think why. Apparently it has ten cement factories, must be a great place to live ..

      1. And Kipling also wrote of ‘er majesty’s jollies, soldier an’ sailor too.

  18. 24:06 with at least 5 mins on the last two which were AVERSE and SATNA.


  19. 11:51, and, perhaps somewhat swimming against the tide, enjoyed. The only ticklish moment was deciding I was 100% convinced by SATNA, but it certainly worked for satnav, and until the S appeared I’d already wondered about PATNA, which definitely exists, so it seemed to be a likely enough Indian city name.

  20. DNF, DNE (Did not enjoy.)
    Failed to parse several of the ones I did put in, which were all of the bottom half and a very little of the upper.
    BIFfed Hunt The Thimble, and gave up on finding suitable anagrist.

  21. 29:48 but undone by SATNA which, unlike my tortuous justification for “satra”, was annoyingly straightforward.

  22. I’m not convinced that CONSTITUTIONAL means “authorised by precedent”. The latter means established by a court in a previous judgment, while the former means allowed by the constitution, no?

    While it might just about work in the U.S., since it can be said there that a particular case establishes what is constitutional (e.g. Brown v Board of Education, Roe v… oh dear), it doesn’t really work in the UK.

    1. We don’t have a Constitution, but our law decides what is ‘lawful’ and constitutional in principle. In effect the law is the constitution.

      That isn’t necessarily the case in the U.S where the Constitution is the framework for the law, and the fight is often over whether the constitution is compatible with the law, and vice-versa. You might get a different result each time.

  23. 31.45, with a wild stab at NHO SAMMARINESE.
    Had to write out the putative answers to EAST TIMOR, DOGMA and HUNT THE THIMBLE before I could see the parsings.
    Doesn’t French have a different word for ‘with’? And wouldn’t 25d work just as well without the ‘ultimately’?
    Apologies for being a bit mumpish (see PAROTID) today, after three nights with hardly any sleep; X/6 on Wordle as well.

    1. With would strictly be “avec” in French, but, as and =with in Crossword land, I suppose “et” is ok.

  24. 45 tortuous minutes. I thought of SAME for similar but rejected it as the two are not the SAME. And surely the occupants of San Marino aren’t a race? More a nationality, but I am being pedantic again, aren’t I?
    Some good clues, but overall a 5/10.

  25. 29: 40 . A slightly retro feel about this puzzle: CHOP- CHOP, HUNT THE THIMBLE, BLOW A FUSE.
    COD CAUGHT SHORT. Tricky for a Monday. I enjoyed it.

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  26. I prefer Monday puzzles to be reasonably accessible. I did not like this at all. After twenty minutes I had but a handful of answers, and as I had no wish to spend an hour or more on a puzzle (life’s too short) I was about to abandon it. However I saw one or two more, and things started flowing a little more quickly. Most of the time I found the wordplay no help whatsoever. I was filling the gaps from the definitions. On the odd occasion when I did work out the obscure wordplay I wrote an expletive beside the clue on my print-out (E.g. EGYPT). The wordplay to BUD (which I didn’t work out) is just ridiculous. I agree with keriothe that ‘ultimately’ is both otiose and misleading.

    I’ve never heard of the obscure SATNA and resorted to TEA to get it, so technically DNF after 45 minutes.

    1. Don’t rely on Monday puzzles being easy, or in fact on Friday puzzles being hard. No editor in living memory has ever admitted to arranging things so. Many think it is purely confirmation bias on our part .. though there is a little bit of supporting evidence from the SNITCH.

  27. SAMMARINESE an utter mystery, but yes I think it’s a misuse of the word ‘race’, nothing to do with F1. PAROTID very familiar for anyone who watches Countdown, where it often appears along with carotid. I had never heard of SATNA (nor had Chambers Crossword Dictionary, which lists hundreds of cities, nor Pears Cyclopedia). Perhaps I should have guessed it from the wordplay — Sutra had occurred to me, but …, and failed on that, otherwise 73 minutes, most un-Mondayish, with a bit of help from lists. Agree that the east/west in DOGMA is almost certainly a mistake.

    1. The Wiki article about San Marino is very well worth reading. It claims to be the oldest extant sovereign state and democratic country… and note the frequent mentions of the sammarinese 🙂
      It would have been invaded and conquered in the 16thC, except that the invaders got lost in a fog and couldn’t find the place… priceless

  28. Did this on the boat from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly, so no time recorded as there were too many distractions. DNF in any case as I was short of two words in the NW corner. Looking at the preceding debate, I agree with the reservations about CONSTITUTIONAL, DOGMA, and SAMMARINESE, but I was not so bothered about BUD – the need to remove a pest was clear enough. We seem to have had a lot of clues involving the letters of TRIANGLE recently, though my favourite clue for this actual word, first seen about 50 years ago, is ‘Eternal musicmaker’.
    Thanks to vinyl and other contributors.

      1. Thanks. We are staying on St Mary’s. Lots of walking, and consequently less time for crosswords and other intellectual exercise!

  29. did anybody play hunt the tinfoil when younger? 1 down should have an o in the brackets.

  30. 38:20

    I really enjoyed the challenge – not too hard that nothing would come, but difficult enough that one had to work a bit at puzzling out the clues. Much satisfaction achieved from working through some of the answers. But there were bits I didn’t get…

    SATNA – NHO the Indian city
    CONSTITUTIONAL – not sure about the second definition
    PAROTID – NHO from cryptic
    IN TRANSIT – Saw NT within IS IT but don’t understand RAN – can anyone enlighten me?
    SAMMARINESE – from cryptic and checkers – not quibbling over marines vs mariners
    BUD – from definition only


    Thanks setter and Vinyl

  31. I tried HUNT THE SLIPPER – which I remember from childhood. It must have been an easier version – it’s not hard to hide a slipper. I had lots of problems with this. The European Race took me ages to work out, even when I had all the spoilers. And I completely failed to parse CHOP CHOP although the answer was obvious. No time recorded because I was interrupted but I guess it was about an hour. Not the usual Monday stroll n the park…

  32. It took ten minutes to get my first clue in, and I thought I was doomed. But then something clicked and they started tumbling. All done correctly at 32’13”. Definitely Friday material. Had to guess a few , like SAMMARINESE (which I took to mean the people of San Marino) and PAROTID. Had an inward chuckle at the game that never was: HUNT THE TINFOIL. If you take POOR as the anagrist, it works. (HIT with TENTH FOUL IN). Whoops, I see charles pendred had the same thought. The Latin name for hobby is subbuteo – whence the name of the football game.

  33. That was a challenge. At around the 30 minute mark I had 4 left. TRIANGLE came first. Then I noticed that ENCERTAIN didn’t work at 12a and so got the A to be able to construct SAMMARINESE. That left SATNA and AVERSE. I eventually Googled a list of Indian cities. Way, way down the list SATNA caught my attention and my suspected AVERSE went in unparsed. I then spent the next 10 minutes trying to get the Club Site to accept my submission, with expletives freely thrown in! It eventually responded but changed my actual time from 42:18 to 42:21. A bit of a chore, all in all. Clue for DOGMA seems wrong to me too. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  34. After seeing the heads up comments in the QC blog regarding the difficulty of this one, I was expecting a tough test and certainly it didn’t disappoint. After about 30 minutes I only had about a third of the answers, and was primed for a DNF. However, I was suddenly inspired and the answers started to flow. After 58 minutes I had just one to get and that was 4dn, where all the checkers were in place but I just couldn’t see it. I couldn’t gat SAMOA out of my mind, and the naval connection of AB or TARS neither of which worked. After another five minutes. MARINES finally dawned on me, and SAMMARINESE went in with relative confidence. Really pleased to finish this one in 63.20 with all correct and parsed

  35. Even if the clue were decent, my LOI belongs only in either Mephisto or Club Monthly ! Biffed half a dozen, NHO SATNA. Too hard for a Monday by some considerable way.

    TIME 12:28

  36. DNF as I entered “Pirated” instead of “Parotid” as my LOI, with a hopeful (or hopeless) shrug of the shoulders.
    Tough for a Monday.

  37. I failed twice, with SIMMARINESE (similar = sim. maybe?) and SATRA (thinking that maybe a satrap was also some kind of navigator). And, despite valiant attempts to justify it, I’m in the camp that thinks DOGMA was an error. Very tough for a Monday.

  38. I didn’t enjoy this. SAME was dismissed as not meaning similar. To make EAR a synonym for favour is a big stretch for me. SATNA a bit obscure. But worst of all, my pet hate, was the random girl Iris. And then of course we had DOGMA, written in with a shrug…

  39. Got there in 35 mins, but there were some tough ones in there. Also, perhaps a bit pedantically, I’m not at all convinced that BRITAIN is an island. There is, of course, a collection of islands which are geographically referred to as the British Isles, the largest of which is Great Britain. Politically, that term includes a number of smaller islands, including Anglesey, the Isles of Scilly, the Isle of Wight and Portsea Island. But there is no island called Britain. I’m also unconvinced by ‘et’ as ‘with French’ in EGYPT and I wasn’t too keen on CHOP-CHOP either, even with our blogger’s parsing which had eluded me. Overall, tougher than the typical Monday but not as tightly clued, in my view, as is usual in The Times.

  40. Never heard of SAMMARINESE, SATNA, HUNT THE THIMBLE or PAROTID. Should have got AVERSE, IMMEDIATE and BUD but by then I’d lost interest. Thanks for putting me out of my misery!

  41. A bit over 41 minutes with probably around 6 or 7 hours between the first 38 minutes and the last 3 minutes as I had to stop my lunchtime solve to go back to work with averse and Satna missing, not helped by uncertainty over ear for favour in the East Timor clue. Bit of a rude awakening for a Monday.

  42. Utterly defeated by this – SAMMARINESE, HUNT THE THIMBLE (never heard of it), PAROTID, TRELLIS (could only think of ‘trestle’), LEG-PULL, PAPERS, DOGMA and BUD all eluded me. Agree with the comments above about the latter: using ‘ultimately’ to indicate the last five letters takes the biscuit.

    Thanks for the answers and explanations. Here’s hoping for better luck tomorrow.

  43. 32.20

    I don’t mind a certain looseness if the clueing is clear and the surfaces are good so many of the legitimate MERs didn’t unduly bother me. Took some time to get going and needed to see AVERSE to crack open the NW but never got completely stuck

    Still not fully clear on the parsing of CHOP CHOP despite the explanation. What am I missing…?

    Thanks Vinyl and setter

  44. I quit after an hour with one clue left to go, and when I came back after a few hours that entry (PAPERS) came to mind immediately. This was a clue I rather liked. This was perhaps the only clue I rather liked. I found many of the others somehow a bit loose, that is, they fit the answers if one was generous enough, but the connection often reminded me more of Post-Its than anything more forceful. PRICELESS would be an example. A very strange puzzle, somehow.

  45. Since everyone else is being pedantic, I’ll point out that The Democratic Repulic of Timor-Leste is a country. East Timor is a colloquialism. There was a lot to like in this, and also some things to learn. Satna indeed.

  46. #Me Too, Melanie! ( But also a bit unfair, with the couple of loose definitions , very obscure cities and plain wrong things like “travelling east” in 23a)
    Roll on tomorrow.

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