Times 28589 — I did well

13:14. I was held up in the beginning, bracing myself for another hard puzzle, overthinking many clues. A few minutes in, I started to realize this was on the gentler side. That loosed me up and allowed me to finish quickly.

I found the confluence of main and quick puzzles today rather. It was a first for me in any case.

1 Mobile yet static in Monaco for instance? (4-5)
6 Join together protecting area in forested country (5)
WEALD – WELD (join together) around A (area)

Didn’t know the term, which is poetic.

9 Miscreant dragging no-good prude into false religion? (7)
CULPRIT – PRI{g} (prude) in CULT (false religion?)

I wanted CANT or something here. Not exactly sure how CULT works.

10 Directions given on stop as departing bus is seen? (7)
ENDWAYS – WAYS (directions) on END (stop)
11 Element in legalese judge denied (5)
ARGON – {j}ARGON (legalese)
12 Ample opportunity? Hardly (3,6)
FAT CHANCE – FAT (ample) CHANCE (opportunity)
13 Cat wants mouse’s heart for stuffing as soon as (5)
OUNCE – {mo}U{se} in ONCE (as soon as)

I like Chambers’s definition: Sometimes vaguely any moderate-sized wild beast of the cat tribe

14 Intimacy of miss chasing chapter head (9)
CLOSENESS – LOSE (miss) after C (chapter) + NESS (head)
17 Woman holds infant fed with a Mexican dish (9)
ENCHILADA – ENA (woman) around CHILD (infant) around A
18 Poet in monastery needing year off (5)
PRIOR – PRIOR{y} (monastery)

On A Fart — Let In The House of Commons

Reader, I was born, and cried;
I crack’d, I smelt, and so I died.
Like Julius Caesar’s was my death,
Who in the senate lost his breath.
Much alike entomb’d does lie
The noble Romulus and I:
And when I died, like Flora fair,
I left the commonwealth my heir.

Matthew Prior (1664–1721)

19 One having stiff test perhaps taking look round posh home (3,6)
SEA URCHIN – SEARCH (look) around U (posh) + IN (home)

‘Test’ is the hard shell of various sea creatures, notably sea urchins.

22 Wanderer bathes old woman in green light (5)
NOMAD – MA (old woman) in NOD (green light)

‘Green light’ as in, to give the go-ahead.

24 Old clubs song involving new instrument (7)
OCARINA – O (old) + C (clubs) + ARIA (song) around N (new)
25 Man’s between dry lake’s shores to see plant (7)
THISTLE – HIS (man’s) in TT (dry) + L{ak}E
26 River claiming last of Olympian youth (5)
TEENS – TEES (river) around {olympia}N
27 Catch with line at sea in accordance with strict rules (9)
1 Two firms beginning to advertise drink (5)
COCOA – CO. CO. (two firms) + A{dvertise}
2 Erected film set with alien looking good on screen (9)
TELEGENIC – CINE (film) + GEL (set) + E.T. (alien) reversed (erected)

CINE = ‘film’ as a prefix mainly.

3 Plain ties and green buckle (9)
4 Beater’s replacement misusing air rifle hit a cat (10,5)
5 Elite Catholic saving good quote about employing a certain force (15)
ELECTROMAGNETIC – ELECT (elite) + ROMAN (Catholic) around (saving) G (good) + CITE (quote) reversed (about)

A lot of work for a clue I biffed off the first E.

6 Diameter inside accompanying measurement across (5)
WIDTH – D (diameter) in WITH (accompanying)
7 Stove lit for second time (5)
AGAIN – AGA (stove) + IN (lit)

Thanks to commenters for explaining IN = ‘lit’. Collins has the example: Do you keep the fire in all night?

8 Chemist is pounds in red needing turnover (9)
DISPENSER – IS + PENS (pounds) in RED reversed
13 In Open drive off — hit too far? (9)
OVERSHOOT – OVERT (open) around SHOO (drive off)

I confess I had no idea how the wordplay worked until writing the blog. I’d been looking for an anagram of OPEN DRIVE.

15 Lover no longer criticises one on increase in size (9)
EXPANSION – EX (lover no longer) + PANS (criticises) + I (one) + ON
16 Imagine this clue initially turning cryptic! (9)
ENIGMATIC – anagram of IMAGINE + T{his} + C{lue}
20 Humble when welcomed to Lincoln? (5)
ABASE – AS (when) in ABE (Lincoln, for example)
21 Washing cycle showing movable energy controls (5)
REINS – RINSE (washing cycle) with E (energy) moved
23 Live and prosper where nothing is sacrificed (5)
DWELL – D{o} WELL (prosper)

60 comments on “Times 28589 — I did well”

  1. We’ve had this ‘lit’ usage in 7d before, referring to a fire being ‘in’ as being alight. I believe it only appears in Times crosswords and Georgette Heyer novels.
    Thanks Jeremy for the parsing of NOMAD and SEA URCHIN.

    1. I think it is a northern dialect thing – I’ve definitely heard it in Lancashire, and my grandmother, who was from Yorkshire, would have used the expression.

  2. “False religion” defines “cult,” no question about it.
    A breeze all the way. I got the two 15-letter Downs from just their first letter and the definition; did check the parsing of ELECTROMAGNETIC before putting it in, though.
    “IN” must be “lit” as the opposite of a fire in your AGA being “out.” Collins: British | (of a fire) alight | do you keep the fire in all night? (Corymbia’s post hadn’t appeared yet—on my computer, anyway—when I posted!)

    1. What exactly is a “false” religion? Come to that, what is a “true” religion? Is there a list somewhere specifying which religions are true?

      1. As an atheist, I nearly added a remark along the same lines.
        “Cult” is a pejorative term applied to non-mainstream religious sects, distinguishing them from the major religions, which of course regard them as “false.” Of course, I’d call all religions “false,” but the definition seems sufficient for crossword purposes.

  3. 18:44
    I knew of the Weald as a geographic term, although not knowing what it referred to (a [formerly] forested area i.e. weald, in SE England: My Collins atlas shows it just south of Royal Tunbridge Wells. It’s a government designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)– http://www.highweald.org ). Learned ‘in’ here, the hard way, some time ago; it’s appeared a few times since. (‘Out’ seems fine for an extinguished fire; why should ‘in’ be so unfamiliar?) No idea what was going on with SEA URCHIN, but SEA URCHIN it clearly was, so wotthehell. I never did try to parse ELECTROMAGNETIC.

    1. The Weald of Kent (there are others) begins south of the Greensand Ridge, which my house stands on. On a clear day I can see twenty miles of Weald, not all that many trees though! It is a long time since the Weald could be regarded as forested..

      1. ‘Open or forested country’ according to Collins, which also opines that the word is archaic. Just below that we see The Weald, which is described as ‘formerly forested’.

        It must be nice living there though, Jerry!

    2. The Weald and Downland Museum is the openair collection of mostly original buildings. One section is the filing site for The Repair Shop.

      Having visited last year, fortuitously on the day of a calliope and fair organ display, the answer came to mind straight away.

      The visit was fun, despite the clash at times of several tunes playing simultaneously. The contrast of this against medieval and later structures makes me smile still.

  4. 11:34. I motored through this and almost broke the Ten Minute Barrier. A TECHNICAL challenge delayed me – and saved me from a pink square due to a typo. Had I not been held up by 27 across, I would have pressed submit at 9:59 without checking my homework and SERENGELI would have tripped me up.


  5. At 26 minutes I found this one of the easiest Friday puzzles in a very long time. There were a couple of unknowns, PRIOR as a poet and ‘test’ as a SEA URCHIN but in both cases the answers were clear. If I lost time unnecessarily anywhere is was over ENDWAYS, a word I would not use, having always said ‘endwise’.

    The parish neighbouring my birthplace was Harrow WEALD, so I had no problems with 6ac.

    1. Pretty much my own experience, Jackkt. However, I had a false start, as when the crossword was printed, there was a Friday one on the back of it (I don’t waste paper!). Because I use an erasable pen, the heat of the printer erases the entries, with the result that I breezed through it, thinking ‘I’m sure we’ve had this word recently’ on a few occasions. It was only when I triumphantly finished it that I suddenly noticed that the date was Friday April 7th, so I’d done it a few weeks ago! The new one (today’s) took somewhat longer, and since I didn’t remember any of the parsings from before, I reckon it was fairly gentle. 🙂

  6. Enjoyed that, some interesting clues – ENIGMATIC as an anagram, OVERSHOOT as not an anagram, bathing as an inclusion indicator, the surface where the beater shot the cat, your ex criticising your expanding waistline. More like this, please. Didn’t know Prior or TEST, but both easily solved.

  7. 39 minutes. I didn’t do well, spending a long time on my LOI ENDWAYS, not helped by being unconfident about IN for ‘lit’ (not the only one I see) in the crossing AGAIN. A couple of unknowns in the ‘Poet’ at 18a and the sense of ‘test’ in 19a kept me on my toes, even though this was fairly gentle for a Friday.

  8. 9:38. I seem to have been on the wavelength this week, having a weekly WITCH of 76. Today I was helped greatly, like others, by biffing ELECTROMAGNETIC from the initial E which opened up much of the grid. A few clues held me up, not least ENDWAYS, where I thought the “Directions” mentioned were the initial E and N which scuppered my initial passing attempts.

    It was interesting to learn that WEALD is poetic, as like Jack I know it from some prosaic UK place names, in particular North Weald Airfield.

    1. Yes, me too-my Air Training Corps squadron occasionally manned the avgas pumps at North Weald in return for being taken up for the occasional flight, if memory serves. I think it was the place where I first flew in a Cessna.

      1. When I posted I thought to myself I bet Matt knows North Weald! If I remember correctly I went there as a child to watch drag racing (in the original sense, nothing to do with Ru Paul!).

        1. North Weald has a distinguished wartime record as well. If memory serves Wing Cdr Stanford Tuck was based there for a time.

  9. Over an hour to be beaten by the, now I see it, relatively simple ENDWAYS.

    Thanks setter and Jeremy for the fine blog that clarified OVERSHOOT and SEA URCHIN, both of which I entered but simply could not parse.

  10. Very breezy to the extent I checked back to ensure it wasn’t the Quickie. Never did parse sea urchin (obv no idea re the meaning of test) but a reasonable biff. What do I do with the rest of my Friday? thanks to all.

  11. … Mov’d in the orb, pleas’d with the chimes,
    The foolish creature thinks he climbs:
    But here or there, turn wood or wire,
    He never gets two inches higher.
    (A Simile, Matthew Prior)

    25 mins mid-brekker. Luckily Sea Urchin leaps out from the checkers – and I had heard of the Poet. I liked it.
    Ta setter and PJ.

  12. A pleasant puzzle. As noted, ENDWAYS caused some delay. Waiting at the stop, one also sees an arriving bus endways.

    WEALD well known to SE Englanders like me, I wouldn’t qualify it as either poetic or archaic.

    SEA URCHIN went in fairly quickly, evoking memories of treading on one when swimming in Yugoslavia.

    13’13”, thanks jeremy and setter.

  13. 28 minutes. I don’t think anyone’s asked the question yet. Why did the razor bill raise her bill? So the SEA URCHIN could see her chin. No, I didn’t parse it either. I also put in ELECTROMAGNETIC without bothering with the anagram. And I was a bit nervous about ENDWAYS. But the rest went in smoothly. COD to ENIGMATIC. Thank you Jeremy and setter.

    1. [Hello BW, Off topic, so please ignore if you like, but if you haven’t done it already you may be interested in today’s Independent puzzle which can be found here; click/tap on the blue “Play” button, endure 15 seconds of the ad before being able to select “Skip”, then click/tap on the puzzle for today, Friday 28th.]

      1. Thank you, Bletchley for drawing my attention to this. I’ll do the rest of the puzzle later but 16a did catch my eye. It’s always a boon to have a lieutenant involved in town planning.
        I’ve now had chance to look in more detail. 100 years ago today and a whole tranche of clues to commemorate it. Thank you B and thank you to Raich. Most of all, thanks to Billy the White Horse.

        1. Apologies for the late reply, BW. Glad you enjoyed the puzzle and it was good of you to post on Fifteensquared to thank the setter there as well.

  14. 12:10 with the last 2 minutes on CULPRIT. DNK the poet but I am a literary Philistine. Forgot IN for lit until coming here, although it didn’t stop me bunging in the answer. Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  15. 42 mins so medium weight for me. Held up a bit in the SW with OVERSHOOT and SEA URCHIN eventually seen but unparsed (thanks blogger).

    I quite enjoyed this, particularly ARTIFICIAL HEART and ENIGMATIC.

    NHO TELEGENIC but I thought, hey, there’s photogenic so why not telegenic.

    Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  16. 25:12. Nice one. I romped through it even without knowing the poet or the sea urchin shell. Sat staring for a while at LOI ENDWAYS. It had to be, but it went in without the usual satisfying click

  17. 15 minutes, with the only uncertainties being in=lit in AGAIN and that meaning of test in SEA URCHIN. Like plusjeremy, for 13d I tried to make an anagram of ‘open drive’ before getting the T from TEENS and rethinking.

    An enjoyable Friday workout – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Fat chance
    LOI Reins
    COD Artificial heart

  18. A rare Friday outing for me and back home in 24 minutes. Enjoyable puzzle with plenty of anagrams, so it seemed. My COD to TEENS for the mention of the local river and my happy fishing place. We had an AGA in the farm kitchen and it was my parents’ regular dialogue: is the AGA still in? Yes/No. So a common usage for ‘lit’ in that part of Shropshire at least.

  19. Liked this, not too hard but still learnt a thing or two. Nho “test” with that meaning but knew testa, the hard shell of a seed or nut, so no great leap. Never did bother to unravel 5dn, an easy biff.
    When I was a child the fire was always kept in overnight.
    A search for “weald” on my mapping software produces about 30 results in England, so fairly common geographically speaking. Sadly they mostly mark where a forest was, rather than is.

  20. 19:24
    A jolly romp for a Friday. I needed Jeremy to fully explain SEA URCHIN and ENDWAYS. Like others I was surprised to find that WEALD is regarded as poetic.

    For me ARTIFICIAL HEART was COD and PRIOR was blog of the week.

    Thanks to Jeremy and the setter.

  21. 10:47 but with a careless error. I somehow read ‘one’ in 15dn as ‘one’s’, so put in EXPANSIVE and then didn’t notice when TECHNICAL made that impossible.
    Nice puzzle. I learned a new meaning of ‘test’ today.

  22. 20 mins. Shocked to find an easy Friday. Although I had to come here for some of the parsings, especially SEA URCHIN.

  23. Found this an enjoyably easy solve for a Friday. I’d bought a paper to distract myself from the blood test at the GP surgery. Seemed about same level as Wednesday’s puzzle.
    Thank you for explaining SEA URCHIN and OVERSHOOT. There’s a house just beyond the runway at Lee-on-Solent airfield called ‘overshoot cottage’.

  24. 30 minutes – I can’t remember doing a Friday puzzle faster. Ounce and Ocarina are words one seems to encounter only in Crosswordland.
    Thanks for explaining Sea Urchin.

    1. Many years ago, my parents brought my daughter an ocarina back from one of their holidays. In all honesty, it’s the only reason I know it exists outside of Crosswordland !!

  25. SEA URCHIN a problem with its test, as for many, but the wordplay was clear. PRIOR also entered with a shrug, but the wordplay made it very likely that it was my own ignorance. A bit unsure about youth = teens but I suppose ‘in one’s youth/in one’s teens’. 36 minutes, which for a nice straightforward-enough crossword should have been better.

  26. A lot easier than yesterday’s, which I left unfinished last night after 50 minutes with four unsolved clues, but got them quickly this morning.

    This was plain sailing, with just the odd definition or wordplay that I didn’t get (definition for SEA URCHIN, and wordplay for NOMAD). I didn’t know the poet, so toyed with FRIAR at first. Since the name is almost certainly derived from the religious person, it strikes me as a poor clue.
    20 minutes.

  27. I wonder if a socialist Irish crossword compiler with a lot of ginger hair and a fulsome beard would be known as a red setter?

  28. It didn’t help that I spelt 16d ENNGMATIC which meant I just couldn’t get anything where PRIOR should be. In the end, all was revealed and I managed to finish all green in over an hour. Quite a few unparsed so very grateful for the blog. Thanks both.

  29. Like several others, I couldn’t see how SEA URCHIN got defined. Otherwise, all straightforward. 31 minutes, but that included making a pot of coffee and pouring some cups!

  30. As I had to vacate the holiday residence by 10am today, I was relieved that this wasn’t the usual Friday Beast. I finished it with enough time to pack everything into the car and have a cup of tea before setting off. I’d been warned of failed traffic lights at roadworks on the A59 causing massive delays, by my co-resident who had set off earlier, and decided to go the scenic route through Kettlewell and Leyburn, which turned out to be a wise and pleasant choice. As for the puzzle, I progressed from CITY STATE to SEA URCHIN in 17:31. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  31. About 20 mins
    Learnt something about sea urchins. I once stood on one in the Med; it was fairly uncomfortable for me but probably more so for the sea urchin.
    Thanks, pj.

  32. Managed to finish, but quite a struggle in places and not even the consolation of an above average Snitch. Like others, I had no idea what was going on with Sea Urchin, and I wasn’t too impressed with Endways, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say. Culprit was another one that took ages to see, until it was suddenly obvious. Telegenic, on the other hand, was a pleasure to parse. Invariant

  33. All good, guessed the intended meaning of “test” correctly and only IN=lit was left unparsed. Thanks for the blog.

  34. 31 minutes, so quite easy, but very enjoyable because of the many clues with surprising parsings. By that I mean they didn’t work quite the way I was expecting when starting to solve them, OVERSHOOT , TELEGENIC (I thought ET would be the film erected at the start), even EXPANSION (rather than EXTENSION) being examples. So this was a lot of fun, even if not very Fridayish.

  35. No time, as done in multiple sessions over several hours. Stopping, going for a walk and coming back to the crossword made impossible clues solvable.

    Last two were ELECTOMAGNETIC (which I kicked myself for not spotting earlier), and ENDWAYS.

  36. 14 minutes to get all but 10 ac, another 6 minutes to get ENDWAYS, not a word I‘m familiar with (well I am now!)

  37. So pleased. Yet another Friday finished without any problems though I did have to work hard to parse endways. Either I am improving or Friday is getting easier !

  38. I had a much better shot at this one than the usual Friday offering: nearly all done within 50 minutes (with interruptions), only surprised by some of the more ‘obscure’ definitions, like TECHNICAL for “in accordance with strict rules”, and “one having stiff test” for SEA URCHIN. Got off to a good start with CITY STATE, COCOA and FAT CHANCE, and worked my way around the grid steadily from there. Hold ups were TELEGENIC and the crossing ARGON, SEA URCHIN (where I was looking for something starting with TEA…, as I’d already guessed at OVERT for ‘plain’ being the start of 13d). Shrug at ENDWAYS, but it made sense. Rest of the grid an enjoyable ride, with no unknowns. Many thanks to Jeremy for some of the explanations, and the setter, of course.

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