Times 28605 – I’ve done the donkey work.

Another fun, if somewhat quirky, puzzle for a Wednesday, taking me half an hour and a visit to Wikipedia afterwards.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics, [deleted letters in square brackets].

1 A yard short? Just a shade (4)
AQUA – A QUA[D] = a yard short. Aqua being a shade of blue.
4 Very upset of course one will be loud (10)
VOCIFEROUS – V[ery] then (OF COURSE I)*.
9 Area for rides maybe just turned to dust? (10)
FAIRGROUND – FAIR = maybe just, GROUND = turned to dust.
10 Hide from army officer on exercises (4)
PELT – PE (exercises) LT (Lieutenant).
11 Old physician from this country heartlessly pinched clothes (2,4)
ST LUKE – UK (this country) inside ST[O]LE = heartlessly pinched.
12 Become keen on following act (4,4)
TURN INTO – ACT (turn, as in stage act), INTO = keen on.
14 Flaw ultimately slowing down legal document (4)
WRIT – W (end of flaw) RIT. short for the musical term ritardando.
15 Concrete parking area, note, daughter’s given once more (10)
REALLOTTED – REAL (concrete) LOT (parking area) TE (note) D for daughter.
17 Invented wonderful new act? Dire! (10)
FABRICATED – FAB (wonderful), (ACT DIRE)*. I stupidly tried first to make a word out of (NEW ACT DIRE) but failed.
20 Run for charity to cross desert (4)
ARID – AID with R inserted.
21 Agree in short to put on Los Angeles, a musical (8)
OKLAHOMA – OK, HOM[E] (agree, IN short) insert LA (Los Angeles) add A. The proper name of the musical always has ! at the end, but punctuation in crosswords is omitted.
23 City professional, indeed very good, apparently close to title (6)
YUPPIE – YUP (slang for yes) PI (very good) E end of title.
24 Giant act of self-harm concerning (4)
OGRE – OG (own goal) RE concerning.
25 Biblical tale Muslim’s greeting, first to last, in a low voice (7,3)
BALAAMS ASS – SALAAM is a Muslim greeting, move the S to the end and surround it by BASS a low voice. With all the checkers in, I guessed it (my LOI) and then read about Balaam and his ass. Never having read the Bible, or been taught the story, the only hope was that I’d heard of the famous painting by Rembrandt. But I hadn’t. A quite silly story, which today would prompt animal welfare groups to ask for jail time for Balaam.
26 Swapped tips on cool place for wellies that walker can use (10)
FOOTBRIDGE – a Spoonerism without reference to the good Doctor. A BOOT FRIDGE being the cool place for wellies.
27 Eject from seat on bus at terminal (4)
SPEW – S (end of bus) PEW (seat). Faced with S*E* it took me a while to see it wasn’t that complicated and had nothing to do with buses.
2 US director of play returning after three months (11)
QUARTERBACK – QUARTER = three months, BACK = returning.
3 Mock playing of messed up tragic aria, never finishing (3,6)
AIR GUITAR – ( U TRAGI ARI)* where up, tragic, aria without their  last letters form the anagrist.
4 Painter to alter course without sign of hesitation (7)
VERMEER – VEER has “ERM” a sign of hesitation inserted.
5 As soldier maybe apprehended and ordered for hearing? (5-10)
COURT-MARTIALLED – I’m a bit vague about how to describe the clue type. Apprehended = CAUGHT which sounds like (“for hearing”) COURT, and likewise ordered = MARSHALLED which sounds like MARTIALLED. So it’s a double homophone &lit?
6 Put up in full a redefined description of eg Australia’s government (7)
FEDERAL – hidden reversed as above.
7 Waves round cane after beating (5)
OCEAN – (O CANE)* where O = round.
8 Fight  to begin (3,2)
SET TO – double definition.
13 Publication of article on whacking children (3,3,5)
THE BIG ISSUE – THE (article) BIG (whacking) ISSUE (children).  I’ve never bought or read it, in spite of being hassled to do so, and was surprised to read on Wiki that it’s now mirrored in ten countries.
16 Revolutionary way to drink a little bit? Little passes their lips! (9)
TRAPPISTS – all reversed (revolutionary); ST (way) SIP (drink) PART (a little bit). Trappist monks “only speak when necessary”.
18 One supplying purchase of humble pie over the counter? (7)
CROWBAR – CROW (humble pie, as in eat crow) BAR = counter in pub.
19 Welfare service not keeping you in the dark? (7)
DAYCARE – somewhat witty cryptic definition.
21 Someone unique, exuding energy — not seen every day (2-3)
ON-OFF – a ONE-OFF is someone unique, drop an E for energy.
22 Watch that has fifty percent silver inside going slow (5)
LARGO – LO ! = watch ! insert ARG[ENT] half of silver. Another musical term.


52 comments on “Times 28605 – I’ve done the donkey work.”

  1. 24:44
    Like Pip, I tried to do something with (new act dire)*, while wondering if ‘wonderful’ could indeed be an anagrind. I didn’t see how HOM worked in OKLAHOMA. Biffed BALAAMS ASS from ‘Muslim’s greeting’, parsed post-submission. I liked ST LUKE (‘heartlessly pinched clothes’).

  2. Yet another new act dire*. Quirky, as you say. NHO Balaam’s ass was gettable, daycare was a desperate LOI missing the humorous cryptic, and confused by Trappists, some of whose beers I like very much – couldn’t imagine them being teetotal (palm-slap to forehead)! So off the wavelength, confirmed by seeing 12ac as Become keen = TURN ONTO, for a pink.

  3. 24:03. Tough but fair. Enjoyed AIR GUITAR and THE BIG ISSUE, and like everyone else was temporarily vexed by the W in the apparent anagrist for FABRICATED.

    Worked out the NHO donkey story and, um, hesitated over ERM.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  4. Another new act dire*.

    52 minutes. I found this quite tough but enjoyable and rewarding. Although I knew the word QUARTERBACK I’d never have got it from the definition and it took me quite a while to deduce it from wordplay getting QUARTER first and BACK some time later when the K-checker arrived and nudged me in the right direction.

    Elsewhere I also took a while to work out BALAAM’S ASS from wordplay. I never heard of this although I was exposed to Bible stories from a very early age and I had thought that I knew them all. Edit: I now note that the ass came up as an answer in a Saturday puzzle in June 2015 but I seem to have been absent that day.

  5. Oh dear – abandoned with 6 or 7 to go in the lower half – and I should be harshly disciplined for my spelling of COURT MARSHALLED! Didn’t think it through despite, on due reflection, knowing MARTIAL LAW etc. Disappointed with this outcome, also because I pictured in my head a silent order of monks – without remembering TRAPPIST. Minor redeeming satisfaction from figuring out BALAAMS ASS (coz it’s obligatory to say “SALAAM ALECOM” when entering my favourite breakfast haunts).

    40m DNF – thanks P and setter

  6. Forty six minutes here, with most of the time spent on the bottom half. Lucky to have encountered BALAAM’S ASS in the Jeeves and Wooster books. Grateful for that Scripture Knowledge prize that Bertie won at school!

    1. I got it the same way. Would never have got the prize for Scripture Knowledge, but the Wooster archives are an open book to me and seldom far from hand.

  7. 43 minutes with LOI SPEW. I enjoyed playing AIR GUITAR with a CROWBAR, and the boot fridge for the Reverend. FAB was one of those words I could never bring myself to say, not being a dedicated follower of fashion. I found this difficult to finish in the SE but in the end it fell into place. Thank you Pip and setter.

  8. 13:48. If it’s stupid to have tried an anagram of NEW ACT DIRE then count me amongst the stupiderati!
    I think I’ve heard of BALAAMS ASS but I couldn’t tell you where. It did put me in mind of 1980s goth band Balaam and the Angel.
    I finished with WRIT and fingers crossed, having no clue where the slowing down bit was coming from. I might know my popular music trivia but musical terminology is not a strong point.

  9. The while they Pelt each other on the crown
    With silvery oak apples, and fir cones brown-
    By all the echoes that about thee ring,
    Hear us, O satyr king!
    (Hymn to Pan, Keats)

    35 mins mid-brekker, held up by Daycare and Boot Fridge among others.
    Yes, some quirky stuff.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  10. 10:05. I didn’t know that ST LUKE was a physician, but I had heard of BALAAMS ASS from somewhere, so I’m calling that a score draw for scripture knowledge. As-salaam-alaikum, and party on, dudes.

  11. I spent the obligatory time on (NEW ACT DIRE)* before seeing the light. My LOI was SPEW and I spent far too long thinking the definition must be “eject from seat”. Pilots say “punch out” for ejecting but that was obviously irrelevant. A guy I talked to at an Air Force base in the UK (who had once ejected) told me that the longest second in the world is the one between pulling the handle between your legs and the explosive/rockets going off. That second is for the explosive in the canopy to detonate and the way above to be clear.

  12. Finished all but one in fourteen minutes, then spent a full five minutes on CROWBAR, entered with apprehension. Is the phrase ‘eat crow’ used in England?

    ST LUKE is traditionally regarded as a physician, it’s not a fact, but a nice clue.

    FABRICATED POI, I also joined the new act dire* club.

    Thanks pip and setter.

    1. I definitely remember being taught as a child that Luke was a physician. And wasn’t Matthew a tax man? Of course at that tender age we just accepted whatever the teacher or clergyman said.

  13. DNF, defeated by BALAAMS ASS – I invented ‘Ballah’s ass’, hoping that sallah might be a greeting and completely forgetting about salaam.

    Like lots of people, it seems, I spent a while trying to make an anagram of ‘new act dire’ before getting FABRICATED. I didn’t parse OKLAHOMA, and I hesitated over CROWBAR as I’m not familiar with eating crow, and indeed I associate crow as a verb with basically the opposite of eating humble pie.

    For REALLOTTED, am I being pernickety for thinking that a parking lot is an American term and ought to have been indicated as such?

    COD St Luke

    1. Not clued as such, but the effect is the same and I think that’s what Pip was alluding to in the blog.

      1. The point is probably that boot doesn’t sound like foot. Didn’t notice during the solve, but it’s correct (in my opinion 😉 )

        1. There was nothing to notice, as it’s not indicated as a spoonerism! I agree though, it isn’t one.

  14. Just under the hour. Pretty tough with the SE holding out til the last. Same as most of the above. LOI SPEW. Never heard of the ass of course but somehow managed to work it out once I had finally seen BASS.

    I liked THE BIG ISSUE and the monks.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  15. 46m 52s
    I liked this. Thanks, Pip, particularly for 16d and 21ac. As you say, there’s an exclamation mark after Oklahoma! as there is after Westward Ho!, the village in Devon.
    I liked FOOTBRIDGE.
    18d…aka The Corvid Arms.

  16. I found this very tough but persevered. I made it hard work by writing QUARTERBACK wrong. I find that can happen with down clues and took an age to spot my error whilst trying to think of a musical.
    Several BIFD, WRIT not knowing the music term, OKLAHOMA (sorting out quarterback) I didn’t make the connection IN – HOME, CROWBAR CROW ‘humble pie’ and LARGO the silver bit.
    Other than that pleasing to finish and particularly enjoyed the parsing of FOOTBRIDGE.

  17. 39:29 with one wrong. I couldn’t spell BALAAMS ASS (or Salaam!) I liked TURN INTO

  18. Enjoyed this .. I knew about the ass and it is very strange, but I distinctly remember reading that very wiki article only a week or two ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember why.. was it in a GK crossword, perhaps? It has been seen on TfTT before, but not since 2015.
    I mean: “Balaam told King Balak how to get the Israelites to commit sin by enticing them to copulate with foreign women and worship idols. The Israelites fell into transgression due to these traps and God unleashed a deadly plague upon them as a result” .. not the sort of thing you forget in a hurry

  19. No problem with BALAAM’S ASS as I knew the title and dimly knew the story but would particularly recommend Nick Cave’s novel ‘And The Ass Saw The Angel’ which takes its inspiration from it.

    1. I never knew Nick Cave had written a novel and I’m always looking for book recommendations so that’s going on the list. Thanks!

      1. That novel was one of my first presents to my first wife – she found it somewhat weird….

  20. (new act dire)* for me too until I saw FAB. I never understood the parsing of OKLAHOMA, and still don’t: surely OK is ‘Agree in short’, then LA, then [to put ??], then A. What does Piquet mean by ‘HOM[E} (agree, IN short)’. BALAAM’S ASS only known via Bertie Wooster and his prize for scripture knowledge. 57 minutes. ARID a very unsatisfactorily parsed (ie not parsed at all) LOI, silly, because quite easy really apart from the noun use of arid.

    1. I think OK=agree and HOMe=in. The “in” is short so it loses its last letter.

        1. Thanks, I was misled by the placement of ‘agree’, which confused a stupid person. I was wondering how home = agree, and also wondering if by mistake ‘IN’ had been typed instead of ‘in’.

  21. Another (new act dire)* here, but FABRICATED the correct answer eventually. FOI, AQUA, LOI, FOOTBRIDGE. 28:21. Thanks setter and Pip.

  22. 10:55, with all the requisite GK (though I, too, had to think for a moment to make sure I wasn’t confusing Buridan and Balaam, and their very different asses) and the obligatory attempt to use NEWACTDIRE as the anagram fodder.

  23. 25:10. The tentatively entered SPEW was the penultimate to fall, along with its mates in the SE. CROWBAR went in last after I finally vanquished the crossing A in OKLAHAMA…

  24. 32 minutes. We had a checked Q in the NW corner recently and again today which helped me get a foothold. I agree with many of the comments above about a few of the potential traps and hold-ups. I was thankful that I avoided a couple of alphabet trawls for DAY CARE and SPEW.

    I liked the Spoonerism variant ‘cool place for wellies’ and the ‘One supplying purchase’ def for CROWBAR but my favourite was a sympathy vote for poor old BALAAM’S ASS – thrice smitten but still stuck to his guns.

    Thanks to setter and Pip

  25. 26 mins, a lot of holdups like looking for an American film director and not believing that it could be BALAAMS backside….

  26. 44 minutes today
    Not so good – I went through a phase of thinking I wasn‘t going to finish before finally getting a second wind.
    It was a few intersecting clues where I ground to a halt – 1 ac and 2dn, 13, 16 dn and 25ac
    My LOI was then 27ac
    Tomorrow is another day
    Thanks setter and blogger

  27. 26:23

    A tumbleweed moment for CROWBAR – NHO CROW = eating humble pie. Also for the alluded witticism of DAYCARE – thought it was a bit meh…

    However I did enjoy both VOCIFEROUS and FABRICATED once I’d puzzled out the correct anagrists, and BOOTFRIDGE as I enjoy a spood goonerism.

    BALAAM’S ASS reverse-engineered into the answer with help from Balaam And The Angel. Thanks to Pootle also for the reminder about Nick Cave’s book.


    Thanks setter and P

  28. DNF, never heard of the biblical ass and couldn’t biff it. Solved and parsed COURT MARTIALLED but really don’t think the homophones work… certainly not for “caught”. Biffed writ but couldn’t parse it. So somewhat bitty today. Did like footbridge though. Thanks to all.

  29. Never heard of balaams ass. Managed to get balaams, but still didn’t get the ass part. Who knows the bible these days! Seems old fashioned, yesteryear knowledge. Huh!

  30. I found this tricky. Took me several tea breaks to complete. I really like clues like 11a. Even without the GK, not only can you find the answer by following the cryptic instruction, but learn something new while you’re at it. Thank you for ‘IN short/ HOM.’ Very clever to hide such an innocent looking but essential element of the clue. Finally got to BALAAMS ASS but was held up for too long by forgetting Salaam has three As. Lesson learnt.
    Thanks setter and Piquet

  31. Half of this went in really quickly, then the other half didn’t… Held up for ages on FABRICATED, like most, and had several mistaken biffs, which didn’t help with filling the grid. Initially had WILL, rather than WRIT, and PLAYGROUND rather than FAIRGROUND and then REALLIGNED, which didn’t even look right, let alone parse! However, all was eventually ironed out, and no unknowns, though CROWBAR took a long time to come, as ‘eat crow’ is familiar only from crosswords, and not a term I’d use. AQUA was guessed at, but confirmed by QUARTERBACK, which took much longer than it should have, and I never got around to parsing it. LOI SPEW.

  32. BALAAM has an interesting entry in Chambers – ‘a prophet who strives to mislead like BALAAM in Num xxii-xxiv: unimportant paragraphs kept in readiness to fill up a newspaper’ – what we might term fake news these days.

  33. Bit too tough for me today: a lot of the clues looked impenetrable at first glance, but when explained…(!). Well, ended up with many blanks . Like others spent a long time trying to anagramise “up tragic aria” without success of course. FOI FAIRGROUND which was probably the fairest clue of the bunch, but NWHG (never would have got) OGRE from the clue (even though it was my first thought!), nor BALAAMS ASS (NHO). Liked VERMEER,
    DAYCARE, FOOTBRIDGE and CROWBAR (“one supplying purchase”).

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