Times 28588 – I hope you didn’t get a 10

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 11:18, with a brief interruption when a friend asked me if I was doing the crossword and didn’t want to be interrupted. Doesn’t it always happen that way?

Even though I took a little longer than my average time, this puzzle is right up my alley and I enjoyed the surfaces of the clues a lot, along with the crafty wordplay. Clues like 11a, 27a, 7d and 14d are fine examples of excellent surfaces. Not one for the biffers!

How did you get along?

1 Like blocking shots by old Spanish maestro (7)
PICASSO – AS(like) inside PICS(shots, photographs) then O
5 Consumed fancy pâté sandwiches you heard (3,2)
ATE UP – anagram of PATE containing U(sounds like you)
9 Right medicine container keeps getting shared a lot (5)
VIRAL – R(right) inside VIAL(medicine container)
10 Maybe no gloom after Republican ousts Democrat (9)
REJECTION – DEJECTION(gloom) with R(republican) replacing D(democrat)
11 Way to dress during performance (7)
ROUTINE – ROUTE(way) surrounding IN(during)
12 Background of short story by playwright finally (7)
CONTEXT – CONTE(short story) X(by, multiplied by) and the last letter of playwrighT
13 Stress-free, crazy learner expelled ingesting ecstasy and speed (10)
UNEMPHATIC – LUNATIC(crazy) minus L(learner) containing E(ecstasy) and MPH(speed)
15 American crime fighter in cape (4)
NESS – double definition, the first referring to Eliot NESS of The Untouchables
18 For example, chips in “I won’t be quiet!” (4)
NOSH – I won’t be quiet means NO SH
20 Protections from criminal frauds eg on appeal (10)
SAFEGUARDS – anagram of FRAUDS and EG next to SA(appeal)
23 Capture Lauren’s heart in Parisian square (7)
SEIZURE – the middle letters of laURen inside SEIZE(French for sixteen, the square of four)
24 Diners admitting graduate is not irremediably wild (7)
TAMABLE – TABLE(diners) containing MA(master of arts)
25 Along with Russian agreed to tour capital — it’s a heavenly sight (9)
ANDROMEDA – AND(along with), DA(Russian for yes) surrounding ROME(capital)
26 Donne works in great quantities (2,3)
NO END – anagram of DONNE
27 Spot model hogging Good Housekeeping’s front (5)
SIGHT – SIT(model) containing the first letters of Good Housekeeping
28 Item waiter may use, one supplying milk and fish (3,4)
TEA TRAY – TEAT(one supplying milk) and RAY(fish)
1 Give a different order to retailer about keeping shtum (7)
PERMUTE – REP(retailer) reversed then MUTE(keeping shtum)
2 Manage to inspire everyone? I will be a source of inspiration (8)
CALLIOPE – COPE(manage) containing ALL(everyone) and I
3 NCO cutting e.g. soldier’s woollen cloth (5)
SERGE – SERGEANT(NCO) minus ANT(soldier)
4 This person’s after mind free from bias (9)
OBJECTIVE – I’VE(this person’s) after OBJECT(mind)
5 Bank account with very little cash? This could be grave (6)
ACCENT – AC(account) and CENT(very little cash)
6 Record one public row after son goes gender-neutral (7)
EPICENE – EP(record), I(one), then SCENE(public row) minus S(son)
7 Drink beer, drinking round (5)
PINOT – PINT(beer) containing O(round)
8 Tip plain vessel which may have tea in it (8)
OVERTURN – OVERT(plain) and URN(vessel which may have tea in it)
14 An inclination to defend team suffering decline (9)
ABATEMENT – A, BENT(inclination) containing an anagram of TEAM
16 American passes clothes, getting boots out for a while (8)
SUSPENDS – US(American) inside SPENDS(passes). Think of being kicked out temporarily
17 Chaucerian figure working during holiday period (8)
SUMMONER – ON(working) in SUMMER(holiday period). Reference to a part of the Canterbury Tales
19 Bash and jab tender part of body at first (7)
SHINDIG – DIG(jab) with SHIN(tender part of the body) in front
21 Job bishop dressed as judge found on line (7)
ROBBERY – B(bishop) in a ROBE(dressed as judge) on RY(line)
22 In Berlin, you leave, pulling over where coach is (6)
DUGOUT – DU(you, in German), then GO OUT(leave) minus O(over). Collins defines the British term DUGOUT to mean the covered bench where managers, trainers, etc sit
23 Figures that can go in opposite directions? (5)
STATS – ref the palindrome
24 What noble lady may put on a cucumber dish that’s cut up (5)
TIARA – A, RAITA(cucumber dish) minus the last letter all reversed

93 comments on “Times 28588 – I hope you didn’t get a 10”

  1. 24:22
    I never did figure out REJECTION (‘maybe no’) and DUGOUT (‘pulling over’). CONTEXT, ROUTINE, SUSPENDS parsed after submitting. I wasted a lot of time over 20ac, thinking the anagrist was (frauds eg on), before finally seeing the light. Lots of inclusion clues: keeps, dress, admitting, hogging, inspire, drinking, defend, clothes.

  2. Great puzzle, but tough. Maybe just me having an off day – nothing looks too hard after it’s complete, and only one NHO in EPICENE. Think the dugout is British? That’s the only one I couldn’t parse, had DU and GO but couldn’t see the UT anywhere.

    1. Collins has DUGOUT in this sense as American English relating specifically to baseball, but also as English English relating to no particular sport – it just says ‘at a sportsground’.

    2. It used to be in every football manager’s post match interview, as in, “I didn’t see the incident as I was on my way from the stand to the dugout at the time.”

        1. Some clubs do use “coach”, more in Europe than UK. It’s very rare that the guy described as manager has unfettered control of all financial matters, or indeed wants them, so the distinction between the two titles has become so small as to be indiscernible.

  3. Reminded me of yesterday: nothing esoteric, nothing unheard of, everything clear when I finished, but a nice little workout nonetheless.

  4. 47 minutes with much time spent on the final two intersecting answers, PERMUTE and ROUTINE. Earlier I lost time after writing ON END at 26ac having thought that in the context of e.g. ‘weeks on end’, ON END for ‘great quantities’ was a bit of a stretch. That delayed me coming up with SUMMONER at 17dn.

  5. Nearly an hour here, and I never really got into a flow, so definitely not one for this biffer! On the other hand, glad I could biff DUGOUT by knowing it from baseball (I imagine it’s come up in some TV show or other for me in the past) as I didn’t know that DU was German for “you”. Loved 21d ROBBERY.

  6. 14:26. I was nicely on the wavelength today, just slowing down to a finish with SUSPENDS, NESS and EPICENE. If you’d asked me what epicene meant I’d have guessed it was an epoch so as with most days I’ve learned something new.

  7. 34:32
    I really enjoyed this. Plenty of challenge, but I never felt as if I wouldn’t get to the end. As g says, some nice surface readings.
    Thanks, g.

  8. 29:02. A really fun one with nothing too obscure or unfair but some tough clues to unpack. 13a my favourite – couldn’t imagine what could fit with the checkers and had trouble seeing the definition until (l)UNATIC clicked (although perhaps minus PC points here!).

    Thanks both.

  9. 20:31. I found that really hard. I was a bit slow on the uptake with quite a few of them (most notably PICASSO). My last in – PERMUTE – took me ages at the end: just couldn’t find a way into it. Eventually I alphabet trawled and spotted the relatively uncommon form of the more familiar ‘permutation’.

  10. A good challenge today, with many fine clues – UNEMPHATIC, CALLIOPE, and PICASSO (it helped that he featured in another broadsheet recently).

    ROUTINE POI, and PERMUTE LOI – misled by the fact that I used to be a book publisher’s representative – we were definitely not retailers, the term being used for bookshop workers.

    27′, thanks george and setter.

  11. About 40 minutes while also on doggy daycare duties. LOI a constructed EPICENE. I’ve wondered what it meant before. COD to UNEMPHATIC. PERMUTE took me back both to A level Further Maths, where probability was introduced to us, and a decade even earlier, doing the Littlewoods pools. Knowing how to spell Keynsham was no help in either. Thank you George and setter. Now for a game of ball in the garden.

    1. Horace Bachelor!
      I often wondered why, if his system was so successful, he needed to earn funds by selling it to others …

  12. I biffed SUSPENDS but, having been interrupted twice, I gave up. I might have got ROUTINE, but PERMUTE totally stumped me, particularly as I’d never have considered “rep” as a synonym for retailer.

  13. 29 minutes. I see I’m not alone in having come across EPICENE before without having any idea what it meant. Of the rest, the one to give most trouble was SUMMONER; everything I know about “The Canterbury Tales” I’ve learnt from crosswords. Favourite was ROBBERY for ‘Job’ à la “The Sweeney”.

  14. Not so keen on this as some, and found it hard to finish off.
    How is a rep a retailer? A middleman, usually I would say..
    Seizure hard to picture, for those of us brought up to believe that i comes before e except after c. When often, it ruddy well doesn’t ..
    Pinot is half of a grape variety. Several, in fact.
    I could have sworn epicene was the one after pliocene..

      1. It is Islingtonspeak, usually short for pinot grigio which is what you order if you are cool, but know 0 about wine …

            1. I drink pinot noir all the time and it’s almost always referred to as just pinot. People only generally specify if they’re referring to one of the others.

  15. 13:58

    I enjoyed this. Virtually nothing was a write-in but each clue gave up its secrets willingly when looked at in the right way.

    I was delayed a little at the end by PERMUTE, which I didn’t know but confidently back-solved from PERMUTATION, and ABATEMENT, which I wanted to be ABASEMENT, but as I couldn’t parse it I remembered (and applied) the golden rule and reassessed.

  16. About 34 mins. I thought this was tough – and very good. Really had to work hard to unlock many of these.


  17. I’m with JerryW on this one. Never got into the groove and gave up after an hour, having failed to crack the Americans at 15ac and 16dn. I fear this puzzle simply didn’t hit the spot for me. The writing was on the wall when I could get only one across clue on first reading. Agree with comments on retailers and coaches.

  18. Too hard to enjoy, esp in the South.
    I can’t spell either seize or seizure.

  19. 19:25, not unenjoyable but I was another of those who needed to examine some of the clues from several angles before working out which way the elements combined. Not sure I’ve encountered PERMUTE rather than PERMUTATE before, and similar difficulties assembling ROUTINE and UNEMPHATIC made the NW corner a bit of a quagmire for me.

  20. I found this hard, failed to finish. Eliot NESS? NHO him. Couldn’t see 14 ac. Some very good clues though, like TIARA and SUMMONER. Thanks for the blog George.

    1. Not surprised you couldn’t see 14 ac as there isn’t one. I wonder which you really meant?
      COD for me was SEIZURE Thought of EPIGONE at first but CONTEXT scotched that theory. Not too happy with SIGHT for SPOT, which in the context of seeing is a verb, not a noun.

        1. ?
          As an Australasian, like you, I have no idea what you are referencing when you say “not sighted off Nobby’s”.
          Google is no help.
          What does it mean?

          1. Well I’ll be sending a strongly worded letter to Google.

            But no, it’s probably just very localised. Presumably had its origins from maritime observations made (or not made) from Nobby’s beach in Newcastle. But generally used to refer to someone who has unexpectedly failed to appear.

            And now that you mention it I’m not sure you hear it much from the youngsters (ie the under-60s) these days.

            1. Know of Nobby’s Beach – where they park coal ships during storms – but its use in slang hasn’t crossed the Nullarbor.

        1. It was very prominent at the time (1987), got Kevin Costner’s career really cooking, won Sean Connery an Oscar, starred Robert de Niro as Al Capone and was directed by Brian DePalma. In short I’m not sure how you missed it!

          1. The movie is another take on the eponymous Elliot Ness autobiography that inspired a 1959 TV series.

      1. Good movie. Several memorable scenes, but hard to beat “Did he sound anything like that?”.

  21. 28:28. This one had a bit of the Dinsdale Piranhas about it, harsh but fair. UNEMPHATIC was my LOI and COD.

    Enjoyable workout, thanks George and setter.

  22. So the blogger did this in 10 minutes!!! It just took me 50, with LOI DUGOUT. My penultimate answer was SEIZURE, which I thought was really clever and probably my COD, when i finally cottoned on (after about 5 minutes staring at it). It took me several more minutes to get DUGOUT, even with the DU*O*T, but I think that was just obscure.
    Obviously I need to keep practising!
    Good puzzle and many thanks to the setter, Im just jealous of the blogger though 😉

    1. Don’t be jealous. I am a bit of an addict and do a ridiculous number of crosswords and other puzzles a day. When this blog started it was mostly for comparing times so there was more of an emphasis on speed and less on explaining all the clues (once upon a time we were asked by the Times people to leave some of the more difficult clues out so people would use a service where you could call and get an answer). According to the snitch my average time is 10:30ish.
      I didn’t comment much more on dugout… when I saw it I thought that I had seen it in crosswords to refer to a canoe but not the baseball use so I went to Collins to see if it was listed under British English, and it was with the definition I put in above. Other commenters have pointed out that it has been used a lot recently in T20 cricket so I thought it was a more widely known term than it appears to be.

      1. Thanks so much for the reply 🙂
        My comment was meant light heartedly, I’m so sorry if it came across otherwise. I still have hopes of getting significantly better… though never catching up with you!
        The history is very interesting, thanks.
        I’ve done the crossword occasionally for a while and discovered the blog exactly from looking for explanations. The last year since I started paying for Times Online I’ve started doing the puzzle daily and finally got to a level to have the confidence to post here.
        I‘ve seen a lot about this snitch, can I ask where to find it?
        Wholehearted and sincere thanks to you and all contributors for this blog. I hope you all know how appreciated you are.

        1. No worries. There is a link to the snitch in “useful links”. If you are on a mobile device, as I am right now, useful links will appear waaaay down at the bottom.

  23. 49:24

    Found the NW corner tricky. With PICASSO already in, took UNEMPHATIC to break the deadlock which gave CALLIOPE and finished from there with a minute or two more thinking of LOI PERMUTE.

    Didn’t think much of judge = ROBE for ROBBERY.
    Didn’t know the meaning of EPICENE though the cryptic was fine.
    DUGOUT – standard UK soccer terminology for where the coaches and subs sit.

    1. It’s not just JUDGE = ROBE, it’s IN ROBE = DRESSED AS JUDGE, so you put B[ishop] inside ROBE. I thought it was rather clever.

      1. Ah I see – thank you for the elucidation. My opinion of the clue has risen a notch or two 🙂

  24. I thought this was very good, with plenty of clues that revealed their secrets only after a while. But I didn’t like rep = retailer. A slight delay caused by having ‘on end’ instead of NO END, so making the Chaucerian tale rather a problem. A few bits of help from electronics and lists and 61 minutes in two stages. Never understood CONTEXT until I came here, but excellent. TAMABLE a dreadful word. Surely it’s tameable? Chambers gives both but — as with all dictionaries it seems — won’t commit to which is the more popular spelling. Collins gives some trends, which is a move towards doing so, but they’re not much use apparently.

  25. DNF with six clues in the top half missing. One of those days when I don’t really understand why I was flailing. The answers I missed were all pretty obvious, in hindsight, but I was never on the wavelength with this one and struggled even with the clues I got.

  26. This is one I regretted starting but muddled my way through. I made life hard by EAT UP only changing to ATE when the penny dropped with ACCENT and the NHO EPICENE from wordplay.
    Finished but with just CONTEXT, SEIZURE and TIARA needing the blog to fully understand also SUMMONER which I worked out but didn’t understand the definition.
    Smiles at NOSH and TEA TRAY.
    Learning a bit of Russian, French and German along the way.

  27. I found this really difficult, and had to use missing letter aids to complete 1D and 11A. Added to which, I never understood the parsing of DUGOUT (the second part of it), SUSPENDS or PICASSO, which I vaguely thought must be ‘pica’ for like, with a mysterious SS for shots. Luckily, it was the only thing that fit. Never thought of photos! Oh yes, and I compounded it all by settling for ABASEMENT, thinking it was MEN in A BASE (T?). Overall not enjoyed, as too drawn out for a smooth solve. Thanks to George for the explanations.

  28. Tough for me and never got permute (don’t really see rep as a retailer) nor parsed context (not heard of conte). Pleased I got Calliope as non classicist! Question as a relative newbie, does the use of quotations eg in “I won’t be quiet ” have any additional significance??

    1. In that particular case they are just making the surface reading a bit more believable. With cryptic clues *all* punctuation (and capital letters) is/are suspicious and usually can be ignored completely so far as parsing is concerned.

    2. It often signifies an exclamation or interjection. In this case there’s two of them concatenated, so you might say it ought to be “I won’t, be quiet.”

    3. They usually indicate the definition to separate it from the rest of the surface. But here, a meaningless surface along with a completely random food item ensures an absolutely terrible clue anyway. So it’s not the best use in this instance.

  29. 41 mins. Not sure how I was supposed to get NESS without help, but there’s only one comment about it so he must be more well known than I thought.

    1. I’ve heard of Eliot NESS somewhere, but I’ve never seen ‘The Untouchables’, so I wonder where I picked it up from. He must be referred to in something I’ve read, because the clue was an instant write-in for me even though the source was unknown. Strange how the brain accumulates bits of flotsam over time.

      1. No doubt you know it from Tupac’s classic track California Love:
        Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild west
        A state that’s untouchable like Elliot Ness


    2. A general knowledge question. Elliot Ness brought down Al Capone for tax evasion. Either you know it or you don’t. In the fillum Costner, K. was Ness, De Niro, R. was Capone and… I think Shhhhhhhean Connery was in it too.

      1. That will be it then. Like Norm in my avatar, I’m an accountant, and all accountants know that Capone was a tax evader. Somewhere along the line I must have picked up Ness as his nemesis.

    3. I’d heard of him, via Mr Capone I think. Certainly not cinema. I did a school quiz evening once, and someone came up to me afterwards and said “The trouble with those questions was, you either know the answer or you don’t.”
      My feeble response “That’s general knowledge for you!” didn’t satisfy him, sadly..

      1. I know what he meant though: a really good quiz question is one where you can hazard a reasonable guess, or work your way towards the answer by combining the various threads of the team’s knowledge.

  30. Not fast today, but steady enough and I’m slightly surprised that so many posters found it on the difficult side. Definitely a puzzle to be solved by finding and following the wordplay, but only one unknown for me – PERMUTE.

    I particularly liked the Parisian square in SEIZURE although I’m not convinced it’s fair for setters to throw in foreign languages like this. I have more than a smattering of French and pretty good German, but I seem to recall a recent clue relying on a Spanish word which probably comes up in lesson 1 but was completely unknown to me who has never picked up the textbook. My point is that it’s fine for setters to assume that we all speak one of the many overlapping forms of English; it’s not so fine to assume we all speak the same foreign language that the setter chooses, even at the most basic level.

  31. DNF, defeated by PERMUTE (would never have thought of rep for retailer, and with the U checker I couldn’t get away from mum for shtum), EPICENE (never heard of it) and NESS (never heard of him). Also hesitated over CONTEXT for a long time as I’d never heard of conte as a story, and relied on wordplay for CALLIOPE.

    COD Andromeda

  32. I thought this was a decent puzzle and was on track to finish it quite smoothly until I came to a grinding halt with EPICENE, NESS and SUSPENDS. I could see how EPICENE was going to work but didn’t know the word and couldn’t think of SCENE. I was never going to get NESS and perhaps being grumpy about yet more obscure American cultural references I gave up on SUSPENDS a bit too easily. I liked the Parisian square very much and didn’t mind DU either even though I don’t know a word of German. Thanks for the blog!

  33. 50:25, finishing off late in the day after not quite finishing this morning. Pleased to have cracked it. I’m with those who enjoyed the workout. DNK CONTE or EPICENE and did not like REP for retailer. PERMUTE was my LOI

  34. 25.49 but

    Decent time but I couldn’t see beyond ABASEMENT for my LOI even though I couldn’t parse it

    Tried to follow the w/p for the main part and that seemed to work. As others have said the opposite of a biff fest

    Thanks all

  35. DNF without SUSPENDS, EPICENE, PERMUTE. I found this the hardest for a while and was rather pleased with myself at working through some tricky word play to get the correct answer. Even though I knew what was going on in most clues the synonyms were by no means the first to spring to mind LUNATIC, ROUTE, even PICS where I was trying both tries and goes for ages. I’m annoyed about MUTE which wouldn’t come to me after MUM, SH and all the others. Couldn’t work out why it was EPICENE as I also thought it a prehistoric period, lesson learnt. NHO NESS and didn’t know it as a cape either so held up there without any crossers.

    Thanks all.

  36. Problems abound in this one! I gave it a quick glance over and realised that it was going to be, for me at least, a stinker. Not much at all on the first pass, except SERGE, ATE UP, PINOT and SUSPENDS. This setter is a master at hiding the definitions, especially in the longer phrases, like 9a, 16d, 22d, 24a, 24d. Most problematic was the NW corner (PERMUTE, ROUTINE), but NHO EPICENE, CONTE, and had completely forgotten the poor SUMMONER from The Canterbury Tales (even though I studied it closely at Uni back in the day – still keep the book on my shelves). Liked NESS and NOSH and CALLIOPE, but SEIZURE and UNEMPHATIC were a stretch too far.

  37. All correct after an alphabet trawl to get EPICENE, but CONTEXT misparsed as Con=with, TEX=short story, thinking it was a bit weak.

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