Times 28595 – how do the violets smell?


A right royal romp! Today’s theme will be appreciated by those looking forward to tomorrow’s ceremony, but I’d say it’s a bit of a 10ac, so 3dn.

Two appearances of ‘other’ have me wondering if I’ve misunderstood something (16dn and 18dn), so I look forward to your comments.

Definitions underlined.

1 Dad succeeded inflating tyre: delightful! (9)
PARADISAL – PA (Dad) + S (succeeded) in (inflating) RADIAL (a type of tyre).
6 Suffer consequences of poison gas at mine (3,2)
COP IT – CO (carbon monoxide, poison gas) + PIT (mine).
9 Monarch to have something going on tomorrow (5)
CROWN – CR (monarch) + OWN (to have).
10 Business set-up with graduate function (9)
RIGMAROLE – RIG (set-up) + MA (graduate) + ROLE (function).
11 Where maybe to find doc loaded with tablet: blood pressure time! (3,4)
WEB PAGE – W (with) + E (ecstasy, tablet) + BP (blood pressure) + AGE (time).
12 Associate with Tory type (7)
CONSORT – CON (Tory) + SORT (type).
13 What can go with Coronation: sadly inadequate royal dish (7,1,2,4)
CHICKEN A LA KING – (coronation) CHICKEN + ALAs (sadly) without the last letter (inadequate) + KING (royal).
17 Place on board meeting for spells to sample eg Coronation on TV? (8,6)
COVENTRY STREET – COVEN (meeting place for spells) + TRY (sample) + STREET. A property in the classic version of Monopoly.
21 Keep flat after pal unexpectedly leaves university (7)
PLATEAU – anagram of (unexpectedly) PAL + TEA (leaves) + U (university).
23 Find uniform by Thursday (7)
UNEARTH – U (uniform)+ NEAR (by) + TH (Thursday).
25 One stops all owner-occupiers, presumably, adjusting (9)
ORIENTING -I (one) in (stops) O RENTING (all owner-occupiers).
26 United at home triumphed, we understand (2,3)
IN ONE – IN (at home) + homophone of (we understand) “won”.
27 Ribbons required for orb and sceptre (5)
BANDS – hidden in orB AND Spectre.
28 Parade for review now a new month has begun? (5,4)
MARCH PAST – cryptic hint.
1 Club’s founder has single out: a slow burner! (8)
PICKWICK – PICK (single out) + WICK (slow burner). Samuel P was the founder of the eponymous Dickensian club.
2 Diamond heads for royal head of monarch — belatedly (5)
RHOMB – first letters from Royal Head Of Monarch Belatedly.
3 Pass fellow work note (4,3,2)
DONT ASK ME – DON (fellow) + TASK (work) + ME (note).
4 Doctor’s offspring to press charges (7)
SURGEON – SON (offspring) with URGE (press) inside (…charges).
5 Sound made by entry: one short ring (7)
LOGICAL – LOG (entry) + I (one) + CALL (ring, shortened).
6 Succession sometimes linked to the throne (5)
CHAIN – cryptic hint referring to the chain one pulls to flush the toilet (or throne).
7 He for one must be supported by church and state (9)
PRONOUNCE – PRONOUN (he for one) on CE (church).
8 Jolly Yankee making pact (6)
TREATY – TREAT (jolly) + Y (yankee).
14 Wagging tail, one soon being cut off (9)
ISOLATION – anagram of (wagging ) TAIL I (one) SOON.
15 English think it’s somehow befitting a queen-to-be? (9)
KITTENISH – anagram of (somehow) E (English) THINK ITS.
16 Burning most of the other newspaper in box (8)
ITCHIEST – IT (the other?) + I (newspaper) inside CHEST (box).
18 Must one or other travel commercially? (7)
TOURISM – anagram of (other?) MUST I (one) OR.
19 Less experienced solvers no good, one hesitates to say? (7)
YOUNGER – YOU (solvers) + N (no) + G (good) + ER (hesitate to say).
20 Self-assurance of reflective secretary shot up, minutes in (6)
APLOMB – PA (secretary) reversed (reflective) + LOB (shot up) containing M (minutes).
22 These seabirds you might catch with nets? (5)
ERNES – sounds like (you might catch) “earns” (nets).
24 Meg’s elder younger sister in carriage turning red or white? (5)
RIOJA – JO (elder younger sister of Meg in Little Women) in AIR (carriage) all reversed.

74 comments on “Times 28595 – how do the violets smell?”

  1. 32:45
    I started off slowly (FOI 23ac), and spent ages on the last few, ERNES, PLATEAU, ORIENTING, & TOURISM. Biffed WEB PAGE, CHICKEN A LA KING (never parsed, NHO coronation chicken). Having missed a couple of As’s and He’s in the past, I thought I was clever in thinking ‘helium’ at 7d, wasting some time. DNK the Monopoly street–they’re of course different in the US–but it was easy to infer, and the wordplay was easy. I interpreted the two ‘other’s as William did; don’t see any problem with either. I liked SURGEON. [on edit] I didn’t notice William’s reading of CROWN, but Vinyl’s correct. I think that’s the second CR we’ve had.

  2. Really enjoyed that. Some devilishly well-hidden cryptic bits. Saw them all except C.R.OWN thinking just a cryptic definition. Last two in ITCHIEST – burning most another fine cryptic – and Coventry Street, which was on the board we grew up with, luckily.
    COD SURGEON, but plenty of competition.

    1. Of course you’re right (he says, having just looked it up). I’ll leave the blog as is, since that is the parsing of the clue, I believe. Perhaps it’ll be updated…

      1. Someone has commented in the club forum; no reply from the editor yet, and the clue is unchanged.

        1. Richard Rogan has now acknowledged the error and the clue has been changed to ‘younger’.

      2. It has been updated to ‘younger’ in the Crossword Club and Richard Rogan has acknowledged the error in the comments.

  3. 19:31. Turned out to be not as hard as it seemed.

    Thanks William and setter.

  4. 36 minutes. ORIENTING was the one that delayed me at the end and was responsible for the missed half-hour target. I wasn’t helped by not being 100% sure of the N checker because ERNES sounds like ‘earns’ = ‘nets’ seemed a bit of a stretch.

  5. 42 minutes for me, all green. LOI ITCHIEST because I always forget that I is a newspaper since it never was when I lived in the UK. No problem with COVENTRY STREET since, despite having lived in the US for over 40 years, I’m still more familiar with the streets on the British version rather than the (original) American version, which somewhat oddly, is based on Atlantic City rather than, say, New York.

  6. 41 minutes with LOI IN ONE, yet again unable to make WON and ONE homophones. I liked DON’T ASK ME and the design instructions for COVENTRY STREET were perfect. Thank you William and setter.

  7. I may be missing something so am happy to be taught. for 20 across, lobbed means shot up (past tense). Lob is shoot up, or am I wrong?

  8. 22.30
    Very enjoyable, even for a non-Royalist. I must admit I didn’t spot the wordplay in 9 ac, and initially entered CONFORM for 12 ac, missing the Camilla reference entirely.
    I did wonder whether 24 d was aimed at the Duchess of Sussex (she has an elder half-sister), or even the late Countess of Snowdon – probably not.
    (I think “shot up” in 20 d is the noun lob, not the verb, Glen.)

  9. 12:25. Another good one. Sometimes a theme makes for a rather forced feel to a puzzle but I didn’t get that today.

  10. 17:43. Nice one. I liked the clues for CHAIN and YOUNGER best and enjoyed the theme. Thanks William and setter.

  11. 47 minutes. Not hard to spot the theme. All in slowly, though missed the CHICKEN for ‘Coronation’ in CHICKEN A LA KING. I learnt that RIOJA makes white wine, not just red as I’d thought.

    Favourites were the cryptic def with wordplay CROWN, CHAIN and the ‘Burning most’ def for my LOI ITCHIEST.

    Thanks to William and setter

  12. March past?
    Sorry for the Mega error re the sisters. There is no intended reference to the Duchess of Sussex by the way. Or indeed to any other living person with the exception of CR and, possibly, QC

    By the way, RIGMAROLE is not intended as a comment on the Coronation, before I am reported to the Tower …

    RR – Editor

    1. You may have been destined for the Tower if Meg’s elder sister had turned out to be Meg’s elder half-sister Sam! 😀

  13. A theme which I actually anticipated on my FOI, and quite enjoyed – certainly far more than I shall enjoy tomorrow’s events, which I shall be doing my best to avoid.

    I had no idea which of the March sisters was older or younger than any of the others, but I knew all four names so had no problem. I’ve never read “Little Women”, and I’ve no intention of ever doing so.

    TIME 13:16

    1. I’ve read Little Women. During the first Covid lockdown I included it in a virtue signalling spurt of classic novel reading. I rarely would re-read a novel anyway but Little Women was “March-ed” off to Oxfam as soon as the last page was turned. Along with The Scarlet Letter. Great Expectations however made the whole enterprise worthwhile.

      1. Dickens truly is timeless – even the mention of Pickwick made me want to re-read it.

      2. No disagreement at all with your assessment of those three books. But I must put a word in for Hawthorne’s Mosses from an Old Manse, a collection of tales. He was a superb writer – limpid. Available online (eg Project Gutenberg).

  14. 50 mins and very enjoyable. Haven’t seen CHICKEN A LA KING for ages.

    LOI RIGMAROLE took a while to see. Good clue.

    Liked KITTENISH.

    Thanks william and setter.

  15. 13:31

    I was a bit confused by there being insufficient squares to accommodate CHICKEN A LA REINE so I left the last word blank until KITTENISH gave me the necessary to conclude that A LA KING might be a thing.

    The Little Women had been corrected by the time I solved but, like Phil, I only knew the sister’s names anyway, not their relative ages, so I wouldn’t have noticed the error.

    I’m another who didn’t parse CROWN, I need to start to recognise CR.

  16. Enjoyable for a Friday, finished in 30’24”. DON’T ASK ME LOI. Found it hard to parse all the Ks, nho CHICKEN A LA KING.

    Thanks william and setter. God Save the King.

  17. 41:10

    Not sure I would have noticed if JO had been younger or elder sister, but clue had been fixed by the time I visited.

    Enjoyed how the themed grid gradually gave up its secrets, though was stuck for a good while in the SW corner, partly through entering GULLS at 22d (sounds a bit like GOALS i.e. with nets). On rethinking seabirds, PLATEAU worked itself out and plumped for TOURISM (travel commercially? was thinking salesmen). Last in was ORIENTING, the clue for which I felt wasn’t terribly clear.

    Thanks William and others for unravelling

  18. DNF. NW corner beat me as I never got pickwick (not a Dickens man) so never got the “w’ that might have led me to web page. Had assumed crown as a
    simple cryptic re the upcoming “rigmarole ” and parsed no further than that. Otherwise fun (unlike the telly tomorrow I suspect!). thanks setter and blogger.

  19. 42 minutes, made a bit of a meal of this. DONT ASK ME took me a ridiculous amount of time to cotton on to as I was thinking about obscure mountain passes in the Himalayas or whatever, doh! Also nho CHICKEN A LA KING (shouldn’t it be AU KING?) so took me longer to get than it should have. LOI ITCHIEST. Many good clues my personal favourite might be PICKWICK. Thanks setter for a great fun puzzle. Steve

    1. AU is à contracted with le, the male definite object, not with la, the female version, which doesn’t contract with à. Compare du and de la.

      As long as I’m here (nice puzzle, despite the awful theme), TO HELL WITH MONARCHY.

      1. I simply thought that it would be “le king / roi” and therefore au.
        I spent maybe several minutes worrying about this point before finally deciding it must be A LA KING

        1. Oh, right, but here it’s not le roi but a person’s last name. The phrase à la doesn’t vary when used before a last name, whether that be Hugo or Duras. Au is not used in the same way, but à la expressions abound, always followed by the feminine form of a word if not by a last name.

          1. Yeah I got that now, from Kevin Gregg’s post. But my mind was in royal mode, it didn’t occur to me it was someone’s name! It’s like all these things, obvious when you take a break and look back 🙂

  20. Really enjoyed this one, so many excellent clues and a nicely executed theme.

  21. Good crossword, pleasant unforced connections to the theme. I made rather a meal of it and took around an hour. Not knowing the ages of the March sisters was a help. For me 9ac was a double definition: the Crown is the Monarch (I think) and the crown is being placed on Charles’s head tomorrow, so it’s going on tomorrow (I never saw what was there originally). However, Vinyl’s c.r. own interpretation is better. Enjoyed COVENTRY STREET.

  22. 33 mins with several including PICKWICK and CHAIN bunged in without a clue what was going on. LOI RIOJA, as a teetotaller I know nothing of these products!

  23. RHOMB and CROWN were my only entries in the NW until I’d solved the rest of the puzzle. A hiatus then ensued until DON’T ASK ME opened the floodgates and the rest of the corner tumbled into place. RHOMB wa FOI and SURGEON was LOI. A sluggish 47:33. Quite enjoyable though. Thanks setter and Willliam.

  24. Well I think I am getting thicker; after reading all the clues missed all of the easy ones except 20d APLOMB and a lightly pencilled 26a IN ONE as a) dodgy homophone and b) too obvious to be right.
    Came here to get 1a off the blog and went back to the Xword. It was a slow trip but just by building on 1a I reached the end eventually after too long a time to mention. Just as well I am retired.

    1. DON’T ASK ME, either! Snookered by not getting 1a, and like Andy, having to look it up to move forward. Too many excellent divergent definitions to mention, but PDMs were the above, plus the clues for ITCHIEST, KITTENISH, COVENTRY STREET, etc. Took me about an hour, with a couple of cheats (to get moving again!). One of my many excuses may be that, doing this puzzle a month later than you lot, had quite forgotten the RIGMAROLE that went on back then – thereby not clocking onto the theme.

  25. Good puzzle, which took me around 1 hour. COD for me was “Don Task Me” = Pass.
    My LOI was Rioja as I wondered for a while if Meg’s elder sister were Rhona or Rhoda (never read the book).
    Those who originate from the north of England pronounce “One” and “Won” very differently (26ac) – so we don’t “understand”!! (Andyf just beaten me to the same comment, I see).

  26. Enjoyable Friday puzzle, with no gimmes even though the theme soon emerged. All done in 43 minutes. Is it me or are the clues tending to be a bit more lavatorial these days?
    FOI – CROWN (agree with vinyl on the parsing)
    LOI – RIOJA (I know nothing about Little Women but am happy with red or white)
    Thanks to william and other contributors.

  27. The “classic” Monopoly board is not the London one, but the Atlantic City one, on which I was brought up (a present from an American aunt).

    1. As came up here yesterday, it has to be borne in mind that everything geographical in The Times puzzle is intended to be viewed from a London perspective unless otherwise indicated in the clue. However original and classic the Atlantic City Monopoly board may be I doubt that many UK solvers could name a single street on it.

  28. Really struggled with this eventually finishing in 64 minutes. When I say finish, I mean a DNF in reality as I just couldn’t see ORIENTING for 25ac. After 5 minutes I thought enough is enough and stuck in the only word (or words really) that would fit ONIONRING!

    1. Working downwards, got there with O_I_N___ in place before reading the clue, and immediately said “onion ring!”

  29. 41:30. good time for me and a good crossword with lots of PDMs from some fine clues. I liked DON’T ASK ME, KITTENISH AND ITCHIEST.

    Since some comments a while back I have been keeping an eye open for indirect anagrams. I don’t want to be pedantic (I don’t know why I just said that) but do we have a couple here? the one at 15dn where “English thinks it” gives KITTENISH and particularly the one at 18dn where “must one or” gives TOURISM?

    1. Yes, they are slightly indirect but to a degree generally considered acceptable, especially the use of “one”, which so often stands for “I” in Crypticland.

  30. 30:28. Inventive and timely. I’m not familiar with the birth order of the Little Women (or anything else about them other than a name or two picked up from crosswords) and can’t now remember what my printout suggested about the relative ages of Meg and Jo, so I was happily unscandalised by Alcottgate. I am, though, very good at not spotting these things even if I have the requisite knowledge. It makes for a serene life.

  31. Gave up on the hour, defeated by RIOJA and ITCHIEST. Might have got them with a little more thought, but life gets in the way. A curious mixture of easy and very tough, I thought.

  32. Two goes needed to complete this one. Like Kevin above, I thought the ‘He’ in 7d was referring to helium, which held up PRONOUNCE for quite a while. Hadn’t heard of CHICKEN A LA KING, and even though I figured out the sadly=alas part, I didn’t spot that ‘inadequately’ was telling us to shorten it, so it wasn’t until I got KITTENISH that it all fell into place. Also didn’t parse CROWN, and didn’t know that PICKWICK was a club founder.

    A very enjoyable challenge – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Cop it
    LOI Ernes
    CODs Plateau/Surgeon/Kittenish

  33. Took all day over this between household chores and classes. Glad to be reminded of CHICKEN A LA KING, a staple of my father’s kitchen.
    LOI ITCHIEST with its clever definition Great fun. Pleased to finish.

  34. Can somebody please explain why KITTENISH means ‘befitting a queen-to-be’ ?

    1. A queen is a female cat (cf tom for a male). KITTENISH could be a suitable word to describe a creature who might become one!

  35. Saturday May 6 is World Naked Gardening Day. It occurs the first Saturday in May every year. Why wasn’t this the puzzle’s theme? Just askin’.

  36. On the theme if the pronunciation of ‘one’ and the royals, I remember Liz Coleman saying in an interview that one of the hardest things about playing the Queen is remembering to say ‘one’ as ‘wunn’ rather than ‘wonn’. I suspect she’s in a minority among Southerners in saying ‘wonn’ normally but I, a Midlander, say ‘wonn’ (‘won’ being pronounced ‘wunn’), so it’s not just Northerners who are sensible!

  37. I couldn’t see why other=IT and couldn’t place Meg and Jo but all good. I particularly enjoyed 9a. Thanks for the blog!

    1. I think “other” and “it” are ridiculous. No one has used such euphemistic terms for sex in decades. I realise that much cryptic crossword convention dates back to the 1950s, and that indicators for the letters IT are useful to setters, but there should be some kind of statute of limitations. I note that “sappers” for “RE” (or was it RA?) is now rarely encountered, so why can’t we retire other obsolete usages such as “it” for “SA”?

  38. I really enjoyed this once I’d gotten over my conviction that it was impossible – a first run-through yielding only CHICKEN A LA KING! However, I gradually overcame my convictions and we had a joint attempt this evening which ended up as an enjoyable solve. A definite MER at IN ONE for 26A – I felt it had to be, but everything was calling out for AT ONE to mean united. Also Meg – for goodness’ sake, if you can’t be bothered to read the book, at least root out the facts! It had to be a mistake, as there was no other Meg that I was able to reference. With regard to COVENTRY STREET, I have distinct memories of playing Monopoly for the last time when I was about 11, and cannot for the life of me remember that particular address, but the parsing left no other option. One of those good crosswords where once you get the answer, it cannot be anything else, so for that I forgive the setter their error over 24D!

Comments are closed.