Times 28581 – have your cake but don’t eat it.

I rattled along though this one, filling in from bottom to top, ending with a few blanks at the top right. For some reason, being hung up on SLAB cake and 4a ending in ING, it took me another ten minutes to see the rogue at 4a and then explain what the cake was about. I’m not very conversant with native Indian tribes, but this one has been seen here before and I remember looking up the word in connection with those monster vehicles that block our country roads and tempt you to overtake in the wrong place.
All in all, a jolly good puzzle, half an hour to do and sort out the parsing.

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

1 Discharge flipping drunk bishop going AWOL (5)
DEMOB – BOMBED meaning drunk, is reversed and then a B is removed.
4 Rogue has loot, including ring, back from burglary (9)
SCALLYWAG – SWAG = loot, insert CALL (ring) Y (last letter of burglary).
9 A writer’s giving a twirl in hot pants? He eases your discomfort (9)
OSTEOPATH – insert POET’S reversed into (HOT)*, pants being the anagrind.
10 Belief leader of expedition is perhaps camping? (5)
TENET – E (leader of exhibition) in TENT (in tent so camping).
11 Place selling booze maintains constant service (6)
OFFICE – an OFFIE (off licence) sells booze, insert C the constant speed of light in a vacuum.
12 Ill fortune besetting European? This comes next (8)
FOURTEEN – E inserted into (FORTUNE)*, and the next clue is number 14.
14 Catching cold almost, a northerner’s back in hot wrap (9)
ENCHILADA – A DANE (a northerner) reversed, with CHIL[L] inserted.
16 Tips in French for the answer (5)
LEANS – LE (French for the) ANS (answer).
17 Clergyman loses face giving offence (5)
ARSON – PARSON loses his first letter.
19 Trendy couple entering outside area in coat (9)
PAINTWORK – IN (trendy) TWO (couple) entering PARK (outside area).
21 Show nerve in cryptic clue for “bag” or “sag”? (4,4)
TALK BACK – reverse BAG or SAG to get GAB or GAS, both of which can mean “talk”, so bag and sag are “talk, back”.
22 Egyptian king admits slip, going around in tank top (6)
TURRET – King TUT has ERR reversed (slip going around) inserted.
25 Spades taken out of the case for undesirable digs (5)
HOVEL – spades = SHOVELS, remove the “case” i.e. the outside letters.
26 Shredded packaging of Indian vegetables, with tons getting eaten (2,7)
IN TATTERS – IN (Indian) TATERS (potatoes) has T for tons inserted.
27 Don brand’s clothing? This may be considered rude (5,4)
SWEAR WORD – WEAR (don) has SWORD (brand) “clothing” it.
28 Only females getting this classical appellation (5)
NOMEN – NO MEN so only females. NOMEN being Latin for name, used in classical times for the birth name or middle name of a Roman citizen, e.g. Gaius JULIUS Caesar.
1 Ignore a character as seen in EastEnders? (4,4,7)
DROP ONES AITCHES – once again we are talking about how the residents of London’s East End (real or in the TV soap) are supposed to speak ‘avin dropped their H’s.
2 Design outfit periodically welcomed by both genders (5)
MOTIF – the alternate letters of O u T f I t are put into M F.
3 Wife leaving Norwich, travelling with British Airways (7)
BRONCHI – (NOR ICH)* with B at the front.
4 One maybe seen on the box for a cake (4)
SOAP – double definition, a soap opera on TV, a cake of soap. I tried hard to rationalise SLAB cake before thinking what was on TV, perhaps prompted by the mention of EastEnders above, not that I have ever watched EastEnders.
5 Receiving honour, having a bouquet devoid of colour (10)
ACHROMATIC – AROMATIC has CH (Companion of Honour) inserted
6 Error made by learners about current time period (7)
LITERAL – L L (learners, insert I (current) T (time) ERA (period).
7 Amerindian‘s north-eastern land, lush all around (9)
WINNEBAGO – NE (north-eastern) BAG (land, win), inside WINO a lush. At some point a few years ago I had wondered why motorhomes were called Winnebagos and so looked it up on Wikipedia.
8 Hurry to do a small amount of fish shopping, say, shepherding small boy (3,4,6,2)
GET ONES SKATES ON – to GET ONE SKATE would be to do a small amount of shopping for fish, insert S for small and add SON for boy.
13 Top gangster seizing most of composer’s drink (10)
CAPPUCCINO – CAPO (the top Italian gangster) has PUCCIN[I] inserted.
15 Elvis act jazzed up Elvis’s no. 1? We must accept it (4,2,3)
CEST LA VIE – (ELVIS ACT)* with E added (first letter of Elvis). French for “that’s life”, and an idiom in English.
18 Long-distance runner receiving bravos on run is a dainty eater (7)
NIBBLER – NILE (a long river or “runner” has B B (bravos) inserted, and R for run added.
20 Continue to ridicule English county town (7)
TAUNTON – if you TAUNT ON you contine to ridicule. County town of Somerset.
23 We’re told chamber, say, is for discharge? (5)
RHEUM – sounds like ROOM = chamber.
24 Boss showing diligence discharging debts (4)
STUD – STUDIOUS (showing diligence) has its IOUS (‘I owe you’s) removed.


56 comments on “Times 28581 – have your cake but don’t eat it.”

  1. They’re getting easier…18 tricky minutes on Monday, 16 yesterday, wading through NHOs, and only 14 today so average difficulty. Looking forward to Friday’s 10-minute special

  2. 14:03
    Biffed a few, never did figure out DEMOB. I also didn’t get the ‘box’ of SOAP; I biffed from ‘cake’ and some half-formed idea off soapboxes. DNK OFFIE, but inferred post-submission, that it was short for ‘off-licence’. An MER at STUD: IOU’s are not debts, they’re statements of debts. I liked TENET, FOURTEEN, & TALK BACK; COD maybe to SWEAR WORD. [on edit] Just looked at the SNITCH, and was surprised to see it’s at 103; still early, of course, but.

          1. I always thought a boob tube was something else and according to Collins it is so in the UK and Australia. The TV meaning is North American but of course such expressions have always crossed the Atlantic.

            1. OK, I looked up the British/Australian definition and having noted it I think it’s best if I immediately forget it!

  3. Really liked this, very interesting words and inventive clueing – see e.g. BRONCHI, FOURTEEN. The opposite of yesterday’s which I described as formulaic. As others say, not too hard, but excellent nevertheless.

  4. I especially liked the tricksy TENET (should have seen it sooner!), TALK BACK (sort of a backward clue, in more than one way) and FOURTEEN (ha!). OFFIE I’ve seen maybe once before.

    However, I was distracted and taking too long, so when I thought of Ulysses and the Cyclops, I bunged in NOMAN (“classical appelation”), though I know NOMEN too…

  5. 33 minutes. I was disappointed when ‘Discharge’ at 1a didn’t clue RHEUM but my faith in our setter was restored by 23d. I liked SCALLYWAG, both for the surface and the word, the clever FOURTEEN and the “reverse” TALK BACK.

    Had to do an alphabet trawl for my LOI SOAP, having immediately thought of “star” for ‘One maybe seen on the box’ but what do you know, there is such a thing as a star cake. You’ll never guess the shape and there’s an “easy” (I believe you) recipe here. OK, the computer says no, but you could make an argument for it.

  6. 44 minutes, so not the easiest of puzzles but I was never in any doubt that I would finish.

    I lost time along the way trying to justify MARASCHINO at 13dn and PUT ONE’S SKATES ON at 8dn.

    I also failed to parse HOVEL as I was thinking of spades / S / playing cards – spades and shovels being completely different implements in our household (one used for gardening, the other for scooping coal) so I never made the association.

    No problem in spotting the ‘next’ device re FOURTEEN as there had been a similar thing in yesterday’s Guardian using ‘last’, although it was somewhat more complicated as it was used to indicate letters to complete a set of anagrist.

    1. I didn’t know the SKATES expression, and also started with PUT, while wondering if it wasn’t actually GET. (Could one tell someone to leave in a hurry by saying, “Put your skates on and get on your bike”?)

    2. I also got side-tracked by MARASCHINO since what else could it be with the checkers I had at the time?

  7. 28581. Slightly odd experience here: this felt very easy but somehow it took me something close to my average time. Perhaps I’m just slow because I got up very early.

  8. 37 minutes for me, although also replying to a couple of emails so maybe 30 minutes real solving. I got off to a flying start with DROP ONES AITCHES which meant the left hand side was not too hard.

    I lived in Britain until I was 28 but I don’t think I ever heard OFFIE for an off-license (although totally plausible). It sounds more Australian, but do they call the off-licenses there? My LOI was SOAP, which seems really obvious once you see it, but it took me some time to think of it.

    1. Agree Offie sounds Australian but having lived in Australia twice I never heard the word there – so definitely British. They have bottle shops in Australia, and the only slang term I remember is grog shop. Surprised they don’t refer to them as a botto or a groggo!

        1. Always the offie up here in Northern England. I used to regularly visit our local one for the tuppence per bottle deposit that accrued. Washing bottles I’d found in waste bins was a chore, but it kept me in sweets !

  9. 13’22”, no issues. HOVEL unparsed, didn’t pursue GET ONES SKATES ON either.

    As jack mentions above, the clue for 12ac has a similar device to one in another broadsheet yesterday – both were LOsI for me. I had a different parsing today, I thought the ‘ill fortune’ referred to 13, hence….

    Thanks pip and setter.

  10. 52 mins so on the trickier side. A good challenge that I enjoyed.

    I did enter a good number of clues from the definition and/or crossers and worked out the wp after. Another who had MARASCHINO for a while trying to puzzle out the composer.

    The NE held out the longest but once the penny dropped re SCALLYWAG, it all fell into place, except LOI, SOAP which I also had to do an alphabet trawl to get.

    I have ticks against BRONCHI, SCALLYWAG and FOURTEEN.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  11. Just under 30 minutes. Didn’t know the cake meaning of SOAP, and missed the reference to the next clue in FOURTEEN – I thought it was about the next number after unlucky thirteen. Also wasn’t sure about brand=sword in SWEAR WORD, though it couldn’t be anything else.

    Enjoyable stuff. Thanks setter and blogger

    FOI Bronchi
    LOI Soap
    CODs Bronchi/Turret

    1. yes unlucky 13 sold for 800 cash and i kerp apple care yall are cyberstalkers thats are doing exactly what needs to he done

  12. Just under 40 minutes in two stages, with a headache and a walk in between. I doubt I’d have put in SOAP if not for yesterday’s Corrie clue, and I was disappointed the answer wasn’t a luxurious cream cake to follow the ENCHILADA. COD to DEMOB. I would have been happy to see it but BRONCHI had already given the show away. Good puzzle.Thank you Pip and setter.

  13. 45 mins but DNF – just couldn’t see SOAP or LEANS for the life of me, even with all crossers correct. Now irritated that I didn’t.

    DNK WINNEBAGO was a native American, but wordplay was helpful. Liked MOTIF and CAPPUCCINO.

    1. and her awful husband christian pee tha bed so sad at 44 does it a fee times a week

  14. 22:02 Good fun. I liked TENET,LEANS and SCALLYWAG, one of mum’s favourite words when I was young. Never keen on dingbat clues like FOURTEEN. I think “taters” and “offie” might puzzle some non-Brits but that’s the way the ENCHILADA crumbles.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter.

  15. Winnebago isn’t any old motorhome, it’s a brand name, like Ford, Vauxhall, etc. Best known for their motorhomes, but I think they made other sorts of vehicles, too.

  16. 10:31, so a pleasantly breezy solve. Lots of nice stuff here, and like our blogger, I was glad that EastEnders was in my mind already, as I thought I was going to struggle with 4dn as my last one in and the unhelpful S_A_ in the grid. Got DEMOB when the B went in, after pondering a lot of possible words – I think it’s been suggested you can tell a lot about a nation from the number of euphemisms for “drunk” they have.

    Also wondering how many other solvers have given their Inspector Clouseau impression a run-out after solving 23dn. Just in case anyone doubted that ROOM and RHEUM are basically the same word…


      1. that damn lush smh its worse than the heron and the lovely needles so pretty that give you great stuff like added hep c

  17. Well I’ve drunk enough cappuccinos to know how they’re spelt, but apparently not today when I stuck an a in the middle of it instead of a u. Back to my old routine of finishing with one letter wrong again. Is there anything more annoying?
    Apart from this I finished in 32.20 for what would have been a reasonably quick time for me. I was only held up especially by my LOI which was WINNEBAGO, as I couldn’t get WINNIPEG out of my mind.

    1. Yes, NOT finishing! Which I seem to be doing more frequently, which is a bit of a worry.

  18. 20:37

    Right on the money and much to enjoy in this grid (TENET, OFFICE, FOURTEEN, PAINTWORK to name but four), only seriously held up by the last few in the NE corner. Once SCALLYWAG went in, the W gave the reasonable guess WINNEBAGO and LOI LEANS.

    A few unparsed:
    DEMOB – from definition plus M&B checkers – NHO BOMBED = drunk
    OSTEOPATH – from definition and middle three checkers
    ENCHILADA – got the CHIL but nowt else

    1. and as soon as 14 gets it they will be kicking off a big bond fire of memories with mom and i think a sale on i cant buy my son shit on asile 2 so it will be fun plus there are extra phones everywhere

  19. Well 19 minutes BUT first guessed STAR for 4dn got the “unlucky” message then paused used my brain and got SOAP. So by strict rules of crosswords thats a DNF I guess. Though I still feel Im steadily improving.
    A few clever clues today like fourteen coming after thirteen but nothing too un-parseable. Before getting TURRET I was thinking about FAROUK – I would say Tut was an emperor more than a king.
    Thanks again to setter and blogger. I always appreciate the daily challenge and comments.

  20. 42 min, dnf because I just couldn’t see SOAP and even after being told what the answer was could only parse it via soapboxes and thought the first definition was a bit poor. Also, I never parsed HOVEL, reckoning that it was s (spade) from shovel and wondering how case = shovel. I agree with Jack, spade and shovel are two quite different things. I do so dislike ‘pants’ as an anagrind but suppose we must live with it.

  21. Enjoyable puzzle with varied cluing. Ticks against a few clues indicating my appreciation. WINNEBAGO is completely new to me, and I spent some time constructing it from the wordplay.
    I didn’t see the equivalence of BRAND and SWORD but I see it’s in Chambers. Also I queried ‘ridicule’ for TAUNT. I took me a while to get the town with so many ending -ON.
    26 enjoyable minutes.

  22. DNF (again!) 16a I put a totally unparsed LEADS and never found leans, which is fairly straightforward really so should have.
    Missed the parsing on DEMOB, not sure why I didn’t worry about it.
    Never quite worked out sHOVEL at 25a, but kind of inferred that we had to remove the S(pades) from shovel.

  23. A lot of parsing done afterwards. Enjoyed this one.

    TIME 9:39

  24. No time today, but pleased to complete this. Like Chris above, I assumed 14 was after unlucky 13. LOI SOAP, needed an aha moment to get there.

  25. Biff central for me, much enlightenment from the blog, so thanks to Piquet!



  26. 35.40 so not getting easier for me this week. I dread to think what will come on Friday.
    Some easy, most not. Finished with scallywag having dredged up winnebago from somewhere.
    Fourteen , when I finally got it, was a head banging moment. Remembered literal from a puzzle a while back. Two contenders for COD. I thought- achromatic and paintwork.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  27. A failure on SOAP. I went for Star, thinking they’d be a star cake somewhere in the world.
    Pleased to have got all the other clues, including the clever TENET and FOURTEEN.
    ThanksSetter and Blogger. The only one I couldn’t parse myself was 8d

  28. I enjoyed this with MOTIF leading the field, ACHROMATIC taking longer than it should have due to a mis-biffed ENCHILADO, and TAUNTON last after some nifty PAINTWORK. 21:31. Thanks setter and Pip.

  29. 39:46. Held up for a long time on SOAP, trawling through the alphabet, but it made sense when I spotted it. I agree STAR would also work.
    HOVEL biffed without parsing.
    I read FOURTEEN as coming next after ill fortune (thirteen being unlucky), and did not spot that the next clue was 14a.

  30. Enjoyed the rest but achromatic and Winnebago proved too much for me. Hopefully will remember them for a next time.

  31. A pleasant puzzle, completed in 25 minutes, after dithering between STAR and SOAP for 4dn and finally plumping for the latter. I somehow dragged up WINNEBAGO from some recess of my brain, and BRONCHI and RHEUM were familiar from other recent puzzles.
    LOI – SOAP
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  32. A nice puzzle and even the words for which I didn’t know the intended sense were all guessable from the wordplay. My guesses were WINNEBAGO (as with most I’d heard of the motorhome), CAPO in the sense of head gangster (instead of guitar implement – also from “head”), brand in the sense of sword (although brandish had to come from somewhere), LITERAL in the sense of error and BOMBED in the sense of drunk. I did enjoy FOURTEEN. Thanks for the blog.

  33. A late post but pleased to finish this after thinking it was beyond me for quite a while.

  34. As Bletchley Reject, “Soap” was my LOI and required an alphabet trawl. Thought about Slab and Star and even Slap (in the cake = make-up=slap sense and slap=box sense).
    I found this puzzle quite tricky, took over one hour.

  35. Some years ago the then crossword editor – I think it was Brian Greer – remarked that in inferior newspapers (I think he meant the Daily Telegraph) “IOU” is clued as “debt”. An IOU is not a dbet (he said) but a document recording a debt.

  36. Started off well with TENET first in ( after deciding to trust more to the wordplay and less to biffing), thereafter getting 8d and 7d quite quickly, which left only one possible ending for 4a, being WAG. Should admit to owning a WINNEBAGO in my retirement years to become a “grey nomad”, so had looked up its provenance then. All complete apart from SOAP, FOURTEEN and TALK BACK, so a not-too-unhappy DNF.

Comments are closed.