Times 28606 – fool me once

Time taken: 21:00.  I think a combination of being tired, having a bunch of distractions while trying to solve and missing some of the general knowledge slowed me down a lot. Looking back over the grid, it doesn’t seem as difficult as I made it out to be.

The same device was used twice (doubling some letters in the answer) and it took me forever to spot it each time.  How did you get along?

1 Seeing out guests? Only the first (6)
NOTING – if you are out you are NOT IN, then the first letter in Guests
5 Place to save game point, suffering losses (8)
BANKRUPT – BANK(place to save), RU(game), PT(point)
9 What should be sweet dream, curiously filled with ecstasy and divine sun (8)
DEMERARA – anagram of DREAM containing E(ecstasy) then RA(divine sun)
10 Races to get hold of smart electronic device (6)
TABLET – TT(races) containing ABLE(smart)
11 What consumer of junk food did after cycling spin (6)
ROTATE – the consumer of junk food ATE ROT, cycle it
12 Nobody let off steam, which is a disappointment (3-5)
NON-EVENT – NONE(nobody), VENT(let off steam)
14 Travelling high in icy area after day playing golf (5-7)
DRINK-DRIVING – RINK(icy area) after D(day), then DRIVING(playing a golf shot)
17 Spanish girl wearing indoor accessories, being evasive (12)
SLIPPERINESS – INES(Spanish girl) inside SLIPPERS(indoor accessories)
20 After split, decline to show evidence of sorrow (8)
TEARDROP – TEAR(split) then DROP(decline)
22 Vehicle which needs a steer? (6)
OXCART – cryptic definition
23 One single soldier keeps blooming rodent (6)
AGOUTI – A(one single), GI(soldier) containing OUT(blooming)
25 Scrap extremely garish suit jackets after trouble (8)
DOGFIGHT – external letters in GarisH inside FIT(suit) after DOG(trouble)
26 New cat food bags good in case of sudden damage (3,2,3)
ACT OF GOD – anagram of CAT FOOD containing G(good)
27 Partners accepting stake in French football team (6)
NANTES – N and S(partners in bridge) containing ANTE(stake)
2 During autumn time in Spain, cheer up feline (6)
OCELOT – OCT(autumn time) containing OLE(spanish cheer) reversed
3 Crystallised mineral in two supermarkets (7,4)
ICELAND SPAR – ICELAND and SPAR are both supermarket chains. I remember SPAR from a previous crossword, ICELAND was new to me, making this my last in
4 Blame energy cuts given wrong rumours? (9)
GRAPEVINE – RAP(bame), E(energy) inside an anagram of GIVEN
5 Young maverick is to attend prison, about to leave (7)
BEATNIK – if you attend prison you could BE AT NICK, remove C(about)
6 I shan’t put on weight — this is beyond the pale! (3,2)
NOT ON – NO(I shan’t) on TON(weight)
7 Start of royal book tours you heard to create friction (3)
RUB – first letter of Royal and B(book) containing U(sounds like you)
8 Long to eat something on plate before noon, eating for two (8)
PREGNANT – PANT(long) containing REG(registration, something on the plate of a car) and N(noon)
13 Classical sextets with part in experimental work (11)
VIVISECTION – VI and VI(classical sixes) then SECTION(part)
15 Leftie gathering English magazine is Melody Maker (4,5)
REED ORGAN – RED(leftie) containing E(English), then ORGAN(magazine)
16 Parisian’s to go and smoke, upset and liable to react badly (8)
ALLERGIC – ALLER(to go in French) then CIG(cigarette, smoke) reversed
18 Blocked tiny amount of cash divided by Mike Edwards (7)
IMPEDED – the tiny amount of cash is 1 P, insert M(Mike in the NATO phonetic alphabet), then ED and ED(Edwards)
19 Diminutive fellow knowing that is from Rome (6)
ARCHIE – ARCH(knowing) then IE(that is)
21 Feeling sheepish about having donned toupee going outside (5)
RUING – IN(having donned) with RUG(toupee) surrounding
24 Love following United making comeback? Sky might show this (3)
UFO – O(love), F(following), U(united) all reversed

65 comments on “Times 28606 – fool me once”

  1. 23:29
    Had no idea what was going on in 2d–failed to lift and separate– and simply biffed (LOI) OCELOT from the def. Similarly with ICELAND SPAR, where I assumed, evidently correctly, that the two words were names of supermarket chains. It took me a very long time to recall TT in 10ac; the E of TABLET gave me the final checker for 8d, and I finally saw POI PREGNANT, although I only parsed it after submitting. The only ARCHIE I know, other than Bunker, is the cockroach; is that what is intended?

  2. 21:38. Meh. I’ve heard of Tesco’s and Harrod’s, and there are SPAR supermarkets in rural Australia. But ICELAND seemed unlikely, unless it was some tortured drug reference. Submitted with fingers crossed.

    Survived another day. Thought DRINK-DRIVING was pretty good. Thanks George and setter.

    On edit: Forgot to add, October’s in Spring. Incredible how some of these howlers get through.

    1. Well, October’s in spring where you are, as well as in Argentina, among other places—not including Spain (but if it were, it wouldn’t hurt the clue, which doesn’t work that way). Oh, wait. You’re joking…

      1. Tongue firmly in cheek of course. But the clue would work either way I think.

    2. Harrods dropped its apostrophe in the 1920s for unknown reasons. It may be the negative and definitely downmarket associations of the greengrocer’s apostrophe; Selfridges and Waterstones are similarly upmarket and unapostrophied. Tesco is rarely seen in the possessive as it’s not a person’s name. According to Wikipedia: ‘ The Tesco brand first appeared in 1924. The name came about after Jack Cohen bought a shipment of tea from Thomas Edward Stockwell. He made new labels using the initials of the supplier’s name (TES), and the first two letters of his surname (CO), forming the word TESCO.’

      1. Always wondered about the Tesco name
        My absolute favourite store name, though, is Piggly Wiggly stores in the USA

        1. The excellently named Piggly Wiggly chain comes up a lot in quizzes, being the first stores to basically invent the modern supermarket by having trolleys, checkouts and individually priced items.

  3. No idea about the supermarket chains, and I got frustrated and resorted to an aid to correct my EMERALD SPAR, after finding that this is not a thing.
    Was glad to have seen DEMERARA so recently.
    Over here, we say DRUNK(en) DRIVING, with no “icy area” involved. DRINK-hyphen!-DRIVING seems odd, but each to his own (side of the road)…
    A lot of these were very clever, looking much harder than they turned out to be. We have both NOT ON and NOT IN. NOTING (or “noted,” or “notes”) is the word most overused by a couple of The Nation’s national correspondents, and I’m constantly plugging in alternatives to eliminate the redundancy. Yet, after an alpha trawl, this was my LOI!
    I still haven’t finished yesterday’s…

    1. I think that like ‘Affray’ yesterday DRINK DRIVING is the legal term for the offence that offenders are charged with. Possibly without a hyphen, but with hyphen is in Collins.

      1. Day before yesterday, right… Unless it’s popped up again! (I only have the top half finished.)

    2. It probably fits neatly with, or derives from , a publicity campaign “Don’t drink and drive” which must go back to the 70s

  4. 15m

    I thought the supermarkets were going to be Icel & Spar… “Icel”, sounds like “I sell”, some marketing monkey’s idea of a pun or something I don’t know

  5. Tricky, slowish, but no real hold-ups. Enjoyed it a lot, made you think but no NHOs and all parseable.
    An outlier here, as a non-Brit who knew both supermarkets. Spar all over Europe, and even in the bush here according to galspray – though maybe not left of the Nullarbor? Iceland from who knows where, maybe UK news articles.

    1. NSW, Qld and ACT apparently. One appeared in my home town in northern NSW after I left there, not sure I’ve encountered them otherwise.

  6. 44 minutes. I had no idea about either the ‘Crystallised mineral’ or one of the ‘two supermarkets’ at 3d so that was little more than a guess after toing and froing at the end; like Lou, I wondered if both supermarket names might be a four-letter words linked by AND but “Aldi” didn’t fit the checkers. I initially put in “Oxford” (as in Morris) for 22a which also held me up. At least I’ve now learnt how to spell DEMERARA, rum or sugar.

    I liked the ‘eating for two’ def for PREGNANT.

    1. Possibly I’m missing something, but the def for PREGNANT could just as well be “eating for three” if the lady in question were harbouring twins. “Eating for more than one” might have been a better def.

      1. ‘You’re eating for two now’ is something people commonly say to pregnant women.

  7. 54 minutes with at least the last 15 of those spent in the NW corner where I was stuck on all the answers other than ICELAND and DRINK. Particularly maddening as DEMERERA came up in the puzzle I blogged on Tuesday and OCELOT was in the QC only yesterday.

    For those who may not know, ICELAND is a budget supermarket chain specialising in frozen foods and the first thing one sees on entering is row after row of aisles filled with freezer chests and cabinets.

    Another challenging but very enjoyable puzzle.

  8. ICELAND specialise in cheap frozen food, but I thought this was a horribly unfair clue for non-UK solvers. I had this three quarters done in just under ten minutes, but then battled to to complete the NW corner (including the NHO crystallised mineral, where the SPAR part of the answer sat there laughing at me for ages).

    LOI GRAPEVINE (though it shouldn’t have been !)
    TIME 14:30

    1. I’m not sure that being fair to non-UK solvers is in the Times of London setter guidelines. I imagine it’s assumed that those who try to solve UK puzzles might expect to have to deal with UK-centric words and meanings.

      1. I think all of us non-UKites expect such terms (the complaint came from a Brit on our behalf). Still, I can’t say I cared much for the clue. I knew ICELAND SPAR, having thought of ‘spar’ from the def, and remembering ‘Iceland’; if I hadn’t known, I don’t see how I could have come up with a solution.

        1. Indeed. In any case, saying a clue is unfair to a particular group is not saying it breaches any guidelines. All clues are unfair to anyone who lacks the required GK.

          This one wasn’t completely ungettable though. It came down to a choice between Ireland and Iceland, the latter seeming a little more likely on balance.

      2. And, even more jack, I for one often get annoyed when American words are clued (sort of excluding things like bison, or proper world cities). Surprisingly, I don’t get annoyed at, for example, antipodean words (though I usually do get confused)

  9. Bring me a Tablet whiter than a star,
    Or hand of hymning angel, when ’tis seen
    The silver strings of heavenly harp atween:
    (Keats, On leaving some friends at an early hour)

    35 mins pre-brekker. I didn’t think was much cop. Sorry. Eight crosses on mine.
    Ta setter and G.

  10. Although this just took me 52 minutes, even longer than yesterday, I really enjoyed it and (apart from my LOI AGOUTI which Ive never heard of so was a bit unsure) I never doubted I was going to finish and just went through at a steady pace enjoying the clues.
    Many thanks to the setter, really would appreciate more puzzles like this.
    Cheers Steve

  11. 63 minutes with LOI ICELAND SPAR. That’s not why Mums go to Iceland and not why I do crosswords. Have Spar ever advertised on telly? I found this tough. I just can’t make VIVISECTION COD so that will be NON-EVENT. Thank you George and setter.

  12. 15:10. Tough one. I made extra problems for myself for putting in EMERALD SPAR and DRUNK-DRIVING.
    I’m perfectly familiar with ICELAND of course (although I’ve never been in one) but EMERALD fitted the checkers and seemed both a suitable name for a mineral and a possible name for a regional/defunct supermarket chain I hadn’t heard of.
    I’m not sure if I would normally say DRINK- or DRUNK-DRIVING, but I think I subconsciously associated ‘high’ with DRUNK and went from there.

    1. We definitely say drink-driving, but DUI (driving under the influence) is also pretty standard.

      Of course 40 years ago it was just called “getting home”.

    2. I’m glad I knew ‘drink-driving’; otherwise I might very well have biffed ‘drunk’, wasted bags of time on 4d GRAPEVINE until I finally looked at the wordplay and thought about ‘icy area’.

  13. 47:20. I enjoyed struggling with this one. I thought DRUNK-DRIVING at first and dismissed it because it didn’t work, until I got the I crosser. I was baffled after getting REED when bunting or warbler didn’t fit. LOI UFO. I liked SLIPPERINESS, PREGNANT and BEATNIK

  14. Much GK to talk about:

    ICELAND was previously known as Bejam, which may or may not help. SPAR is an acronym, but it’s also Dutch for ‘Christmas tree’ (look at the logo). I was grateful to Mike Oldfield for teaching me that there’s a thing called a REED ORGAN. It’s always been DRINK-DRIVING here in the UK.
    I liked the clue for PREGNANT. Is that solely a UK expression?

    I enjoyed the puzzle, but I have seen OCELOT, DEMERARA and BANKRUPT recently.

    15’27”, thanks george and setter.

    1. I knew there was a connection with Bejam which was why I checked it this morning, however I found that Iceland existed separately from Bejam and were so successful that they took them over. It’s certainly true that many Bejam stores then became Iceland.

  15. 48m 33s
    Non Brits look away here: Old joke: If Zimbabwe used to be Rhodesia what did Iceland used to be called? A: Bejam.
    As ‘Guy’ says, we have NOT IN(g) in 1ac and NOT IN in 6d.
    After the southern/northern hemisphere banter about seasons, I would just like to say that in Oz and here in NZ a car registration (8d) is a REG(o).
    Thank you, George, for DOGFIGHT, PREGNANT and RUING.
    COD: IMPEDED for the two Edwards.

  16. 16 minutes, with no real problems. ICELAND SPAR was the only unknown, but as others have noted, it was gettable. AGOUTI is the kind of clue I would never have got when I first started doing cryptic crosswords, so it’s nice to know I’m making progress. MER over BANKRUPT=making losses, but I guess it’s OK.

    Enjoyable stuff again – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Tablet
    LOI Noting
    COD Grapevine

  17. I had totally forgotten about Bejam. Spent some time wondering if there was a chain somewhere called Emerald.
    I should have just biffed PREGNANT. I spent ages trying to parse it, and worried that “long” might indicate PINE and it was some other word. It’s still not entirely clear how “long” means “pant”. Is it the trouser, or the breathlessness?

    1. I don’t think it’s anything to do with trousers. From Psalm 42: “As pants the hart for cooling streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God.”

  18. I’d have felt happier somehow if 13d had included the word beastly. “Beastly experimental work” being not only accurate but also expressing appropriate revulsion at the ghastly practice.

  19. All was going well enough until I became stuck on NOTING (perfectly easy, I even considered ‘not in’ for ‘out’) but was a little unsure of the NOTING – seeing equivalence, Having emerald spar didn’t help — like others I thought that there might be or have been a supermarket called Emerald. 4dn I took a long time on, but liked when I saw it. So because of the NOTING/GRAPEVINE problem I took approaching an hour.

    Myrtilus is a top setter, so his opinions are worth hearing: when he simply says that he has eight crosses he is teasing us. What were these doubtful clues?

  20. 25:30
    Found this very tricky but worth the effort. The SPAR was easy enough but ICELAND took a fair while. I went to the Iceland in Ely once. A far cry from Waitrose as Muriel Spark might say. That said, their mince pies came top of a national survey a few Christmases ago…

    Where was I ? Oh yes. I liked DRINK DRIVING and SLIPPERINESS but thought “young maverick” a bit of a stretch for BEATNIK.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  21. 10:13, so I was on the wavelength for this entertaining puzzle. Main pause was in the NW corner, where I too desperately tried to picture myself in the aisles of an EMERALD…it seemed more likely than a crystal called Budgens, at any rate. All sorted out pretty quickly once I got NOTING, and actually parsed OCELOT.

  22. 42 mins but completed in bits while trying to catch the ferry from Stromness. Huge holdup in NW where I was convinced it was EMERALD as I could see ALDI might be there. It was the potential ING in 1a that got me over the line.

  23. A toughie! The NE yielded nothing on the first pass, so RUB was FOI. PREGNANT, BANKRUPT and TABLET joined it fairly quickly, then things slowed down. NANTES, AGOUTI and UFO arrived next, then the slog began in earnest. DRINK DRIVING heralded the BEATNIK. DOGFIGHT and ARCHIE took an age! Eventually NOTING was LOI, and a sigh of relief was emitted as the all green grid appeared. 42:53. Thanks setter and George.

  24. 27:22. A tussle, but enjoyable. AGOUTI/IGOUTI was a toss-up but everything else eventually slotted into place with a satisfying click.

  25. 42:35

    Didn’t know the mineral but fortunately live in the UK so the supermarkets were both well-known (though I did flirt with EMERALD briefly). I’d forgotten about Bejam as well!

    A proper workout this, plenty of tip of the tongue words e.g. AGOUTI, but while I liked the clue for 22a, I didn’t care much for the answer – I dare say the word exists in dictionaries but you wouldn’t say HORSECART would you? – suspect it’s just the setter trying to make that answer extremely difficult by sticking an X between the O and C.


    1. By the same token you wouldn’t say pear-cart or plum-cart, but you would say apple-cart. It isn’t always (or even usually) logical!

  26. Two interruptions so no time recorded, but thought to be about 60 minutes. The north west corner held me up for quite a time with about six answers required. They eventually came slowly but surely with ICELAND SPAR my LOI.

  27. I liked this one, took me 35 minutes so quite hard but nothing impossible. I’ve never been in a UK Iceland store, but have visited the one in Javea (Costa Blanca) when there to escape French winters- they sell lots of UK frozen goodies including Waitrose labelled stuff.

    I’ve no sympathy for non UK solvers who complain about UK-centric clues in a UK newspaper.

  28. I liked Impeded. I knew Iceland the store and not Spar the store, but seeing spar the rock fit crossers I figured the rest was an anagram of Supermarket. Several minutes later…

  29. It would be nice if setters would occasionally give a nod to the Portuguese for ‘Inês’. While ‘Inés’ is of course popular in Spain (although often ‘Inez’), Inês is indisputably Portuguese. Not everything has to be French, Spanish, German or Italian!

    I also seem to remember some controversy a while ago over ‘va’= to go? While the setter has got it correct this time, I do hope they’re not hedging their bets as and when the clue demands?

  30. A slow burner for me. On the first trawl through the across clues I only found AGOUTI (always helpful to have a GI). Then I slowly started to see the light and finished in 36 minutes, after a delay in the NW corner. 1ac was assisted, subconsciously, by the old story about the butler who was umpiring in a cricket match between a team comprising the noble owner of a stately home and his associates and another team of staff and retainers. When one of the staff was bowling and rapped the noble owner on the pads, he let out a loud ‘howzat’. The butler, true to his calling, replied, ‘His lordship is not in.’
    COD – VIVISECTION – for the clueing, not the concept.
    Thanks to george and other contributors.

  31. Well, way too tough for me! I only got RUB and TEARDROP from the first sweep across, had PREGNANT from the definition, but couldn’t parse it,, so didn’t enter it…No idea at all about these two supermarkets, and the DRINK -DRIVING clue was too clever by half. Knew AGOUTI, NHO the French football team, but ACT OF GOD helped a bit in the SW. Thought ARCHIE was a bit unfair for “diminutive fellow”. Can’t say I really enjoyed the struggle!

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