Times 28612 – the day I was 25-headed

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 34:33.  One of my slowest solves ever, and only part of it is because I was watching a friend play the new Zelda game.  This puzzle had me scratching my head and even though I had a complete grid, I am still at a loss as to why.

There are several faster times than me in so far, which means maybe the general knowledge is just way way out of my ken.

How did you get along?

1 Further busy folk including James, for one (7)
BESIDES – BEES(busy folk) containing SID James, comic actor of the 60s and 70s
5 That’s disgusting about getting fingerprints on jimjams (7)
HABDABS – BAH(that’s disgusting) reversed, then DABS(fingerprints). I kept trying to work pyjamas into this clue, but jimjams can also mean heebie-geebies
9 County town likens Lenin to rock (11)
10 Couple wanting anything from Yorkshire in retirement (3)
TWO – OWT(anything, from Yorkshire) reversed
11 Boy with odd bits of ideas where girls may go (6)
LADIES – LAD(boy) and alternating letters in IdEaS
12 Valve casing in Triumph dry in part (8)
THROTTLE –  external letters in TriumpH, then TT(dry) inside ROLE(part)
14 Job done en bloc by us and our shift (4,4,5)
17 Spread nap out in hide streaked with grey (6-3-4)
PEPPER-AND-SALT – anagram of SPREAD,NAP inside PELT(hide)
21 Slow Conservative hotline maybe deleting its first answer (8)
DILATORY – the Conservative hotline would be DIAL-A-TORY, remove the first A(answer)
23 Satellite towns regularly visited east of Gong River (6)
OBERON – alternating letters in tOwNs after OBE(gong), R(river). OBERON is a moon of Uranus
25 Thick part of disc (3)
FAT – this was my last in, and it looks like a double definition… could it be referring to an old computer term that FAT is a type of filesystem on a disc?
26 Experts using second-rate checks tied up when caught? (6,5)
BRAINS TRUST – B(second-rate) then sounds like REINS(checks) and TRUSSED(tied up)
27 Tedious stretch before Fourth of July (7)
LENGTHY – LENGTH(stretch) and the fourth letter in julY
28 One pressing to stop extremely smarmy MP’s consultation (7)
SURGERY -URGER(one pressing) inside the external letters of SmarmY. MP can mean Medical Provider in the USA, but I don’t see it as an abbreviation for such in Collins.
1 Insect, note, crossing line in pursuit of another (6)
BEETLE -TE(musical note) surrounding L(line) after BEE(another insect)
2 Polish expert finds fish (4,3)
SAND DAB – SAND(polish), DAB(expert)
3 Pretend I’m blessed in action (9)
4 Dispatch poverty? Not difficult (4)
SHIP – HARDHIP(poverty) minus HARD(difficult)
5 Case, not the first to pursue small fiends (10)
HELLHOUNDS – SHELL(case) minus the first letter, then HOUND(pursue), S(small)
6 British language not appearing initially in House (5)
BINGO – B(British), then LINGO(language) minus the first letter
7 When French director once, caught changing (7)
ASTATIC – AS(when), then the director Jaques TATI, C(caught)
8 Arguably, one proving journalist is clean? (8)
SHOWERED – SHOWER(arguably, one proving), ED(journalist)
13 Crikey: large commercial interrupting fine, heavenly musical (2,4,4)
MY FAIR LADY – MY(crikey), then L(large), AD(commercial) inside F(fine) and AIRY(heavenly)
15 Istanbul releasing first unusual list around capital (4,5)
ULAN BATOR – anagram of ISTANBUL minus IST(first), then ROTA(list) reversed. Capital of Mongolia
16 Gym shoes picked up European variant of flu — you’d get this from spitting (8)
SPADEFUL – DAPS(sym shoes) reversed, then E(European) and an anagram of FLU. Spitting can refer to digging
18 Basque sport curtailed in contact with pack from another (7)
PELOTON – PELOTA(Basque sport) minus the last letter, then ON(in contact with)
19 University, primarily for effect, pursuing biting hypocrite (7)
TARTUFE – U(university) and the first letters in For Effect, after TART(biting). I have only seen this with a double F, but Collins has both versions
20 Rowan eg may be so difficult (6)
KNOTTY – double definition
22 New Year abroad, touring centre of prohibited region (5)
TIBET – TET(Vietnamese lunar New Year), surrounding the middle letters of prohIBited
24 Burden at the expense of The Times? (4)
ONUS – ON(at the expense of), US(the Times).

102 comments on “Times 28612 – the day I was 25-headed”

  1. 24:31 Cripes, what a workout. Having survived it I’m happy to sing its praises, but I suspect there’ll be letters.

    Jimjams may well be heebie-geebies as well as pyjamas but that wasn’t getting me any closer to HABDABS. Eventually got there via checkers and crossed fingers.

    George, I saw FAT the same way you did, with the same “what, really?” reaction.

    Think I’ll go for a little lie-down after that. Thanks George and setter.

  2. Well FAT has to be the ‘file allocation table’ as per Chambers, but I had to hit and hope with that one.

  3. Jimjams are only pyjamas for me too, but after finally getting HABDABS via parsing and submitting I realised I hadn’t gone back to reconsider BEEFLY as the insect required in 1d. I should have remembered Darwin’s advice that God appears to be very fond of BEETLES.
    If this is Thursday, what hell awaits on Friday?

  4. Very hard. Put it down with 6 or so empty and went off to read the rest of the paper for a brain reset. Came back and filled in all correct, but missed the (known) file allocation table part of FAT, and didn’t know/had forgotten jimjams were heebie-jeebies or that habdabs was a word.
    Quite liked it, no MERs or quibbles, no letters to the editor from me.

  5. I spent an hour on this, eventually giving up and resorting to aids having spent the last 15 minutes on the intersecting clues at 18dn and 25ac. I was never going to get PELOTON as I never heard of it, nor of PELOTA, and I had been working on POL{o} as the game referred to in the wordplay. I guessed that 25ac was likely to be FAT but had no idea why, so it didn’t go in until the T checker had been provided by 18dn after cheating. Even then I was unable to explain it as I had never come across the acronym.

    Elsewhere DAPS was unknown as was HABDABS as ‘jimjams’ and I don’t recognise BAH as meaning ‘that’s disgusting’ (that would be ‘ugh!’ or ‘yuk!’) it’s an expression of contempt, annoyance or disappointment. Finally I don’t understand why Rowan is defined as KNOTTY.

  6. The Rowan tree is a mountain ash, could be knotty, or Knotty Ash is an area of Liverpool, beloved of the comedian Ken Dodd. Take your pick!

  7. 49 minutes. Many of the same unknowns as already mentioned, to which I would add ‘spitting’ for “digging”. I was especially fortunate to get HABDABS, mainly thanks to the crossing first H from HELLHOUNDS, not exactly a common word either.

    Satisfying to finish, even with a few half guesses along the way.

  8. Crikey as well as cor, cripes and strewth. Struggled through three quarters but the SW quadrant remained largely blank. I know the accepted term is DNF but I’m going for CNF (could not finish) because ‘did not’ carries a faint implication of choice: I chose not to finish as opposed to I was completely undone by a lack of ability that was River Deep, Mountain High…

    1. Love the topical comment. Sadly for me neither this puzzle nor today’s QC were “simply the best”.

  9. Before King Oberon’s bright diadem,
    Sceptre, and mantle, clasp’d with dewy gem,
    Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns …
    (Keats, Lamia)

    40 mins mid-brekker with several trying to justify Spadeful and Knotty.
    Ta setter and G.

    1. Rael got involved with the Lamia and turned into a Slipperman. Ouch! 🙂

  10. A challenge today, struggled through in 23’46”. PELOTON LOI, ridiculously as I’m a keen follower of cycling.
    No idea whatsoever about SPADEFUL, HABDABS sounded right, but again no idea about pyjamas, and I agree that ‘bah’ is not an expression of disgust.
    Also FAT, still don’t understand even after reading the comments, and TARTUFE seems like a typo. Rant over, off to listen to Tina’s greatest hits.

    Thanks george and setter.

      1. FAT is a now defunct file management system. The relevant File Allocation Table occupies a specific place on a Microsoft/PC DOS disk, and shows the O/S where to find stuff. For FAT to work the disk must be formatted for it. It is defunct because it cannot address enough data to be useful with today’s disks, nor can it manage filenames longer than 8char.3char filename.filetype.
        So for me, a MER, not in any useful sense “part of disc”.
        If you have a floppy disk, prob 1.44 MB, then it will have a FAT, but when did you last see a floppy?

  11. I had to spin a coin on Eniskillen/Eneskillin – got it wrong. The rest of it was okay, though.
    Tartuffe = Tartufe. Never knew that.
    Thanks, g.

    1. I looked twice at TARTUFE as I know the play well and it’s always been -FF-, but a little research reveals that the single F is the French spelling.

      1. No it isn’t! At least, not in the play. It does seem to be a variant of the more general ‘pious hypocrite’ sense, as in English.

        1. Quite. Hate, hate, hate this clue. It’s bloody TARTUFFE, whatever the bloody dictionary says.

          1. This interloper with only one F to his name is clearly a faux-monnayeur 🙂

            1. Saw what you did there 😉

              They’ll be spelling it Isabel any day now….

  12. 23:24. Yesterday I struggled to get HIGHLANDS, when in the absence of parsing I was sounding out hag-something, heg-something, etc. Today I nearly threw in the towel on ASTATIC, where I wasn’t sure of the director, and I was sounding out ast-something. There’s a lesson there I’ll be sure to forget by tomorrow.

    As for FAT, I work in IT but I don’t reckon half my colleagues would have heard of it.

    1. Even director is almost always TATI (good vowels for the composer). And “friench director” is always TATI. Do you know any others that might fit in a clue, “truffaut”?

  13. 16:37. Last one in, the innocuous SHIP took an alphabet trawl. Great fun and I somehow managed to avoid getting stuck by the lack of GK trusting to the definitions/wordplay… HABDABS with an H, DAPS for shoes, SAND DAB the fish, ASTATIC and TET for New Year. I liked the Knotty ash, but COD to Dial-a-Tory. Thanks George and Setter.

  14. Finished in 52 minutes with SPADEFUL and KNOTTY biffed, having usefully pencilled in FAT with no conviction. I did enjoy DILATORY and also the mention of Sid James. I think it was Hancock who said his face looked like a contour map of the Himalayas. Definitely the fifties too, George, on the wireless.Thank you to you for the enlightenment and setter for the torture.

  15. 24:30. not helped by guessing INNESKILLEN. Loved Dial-a-Tory, hated FAT.

  16. DNF and CNF! Gave up well passed the hour. Guessed HABDABS, FAT, OBERON, ASTATIC (did know the director at least) but just could not see SHOWERED and KNOTY for some odd reason.

    Very tough today. I did like BOBS YOUR UNCLE, which he wasn’t, of course, Roland was!

    Thanks g and setter.

        1. Yes the song lends itself well to that sort of promotion. But we got more than the song, we got Tina.

          They used What You Get Is What You See for an ad in 1989. It went so well that we had Tina regularly dropping by to dance on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, play footy with the boys at the beach and memorably perform live at the 1993 Grand Final.

          Not sure what she made of it all but she always gave the impression of enjoying herself. And from all reports was a class act to deal with, as you’d expect.

          1. Indeed.

            I have watched many sports in many countries, but it remains an ambition to go to a State of Origin game …

            1. It’s an ambition that I have fulfilled (Sydney 1990) and it remains one of the finest and most memorable sporting events ever – and Rugby League is not one of my top sports. The intensity was second to none.

  17. 30 minutes. As others have said, this was tough.

    I dredged up HABDABS from somewhere (and I share jackkt and RobR’s reservations about bah=disgusting), I didn’t know spitting=digging or daps as gym shoes so was very uncertain about SPADEFUL, I had no idea what was going on with FAT, I had to trust that TARTUFE is a word, I hadn’t heard of the pelota sport for PELOTON, I relied on the wordplay for the unknown ASTATIC, and I wasn’t familiar with PEPPER-AND-SALT in that sense.

    FOI Enniskillen
    LOI Spadeful
    COD Dilatory

  18. I’m a computer guy, familiar back in the day with the intimate details of the DOS File Allocation Table, and even I didn’t get the FAT clue. I suppose I never thought of it as a tangible part of a “disc” (“disk” usually, in the computer context.)
    I think that knowledge is a bit too specialist for a crossword.
    Quite a few hit-and-hopes there. SPADEFUL, which involved not one but two definitions I’ve never heard of, likewise HABDABS, and TARTUFE.

    1. The FAT clue is a bit dodgy I think, I would normally think of FAT as the format like NTFS.
      I go back to writing programs in octal and sending off punch cards in boxes to compile overnight 🙂

      1. Can I demur? There are formats FAT12, FAT16 and FAT32, to go with NTFS and all the others. The number indicating how many bits per entry in the FAT – File Allocation Table. But the FAT itself is a section of data on the disk, not a format?

        1. The same word FAT (or FAT16 or exFAT or whatever) is used for both the format and to mean File Allocation Table. But I think most people would think first of FAT in its meaning of the format, is what I wanted to say.
          Sorry it’s getting a bit angels on a pin maybe 🙂

  19. 61m 12s but I put BANCO instead of BINGO. Why, I do not know.
    NHO DAPS, JIMJAMS as Heebygeebies or that ‘spitting’ could relate to digging. Tartufe with one F added to the general level of difficulty.
    Still, I did like DI(A)L A TORY.

  20. DNF after 46 minutes because NHO PELOTON, was thinking about POL for POLO but had to give up. The SW corner i found hard in general. SPADEFUL was also a guess, had the EFUL but NHO DAPS or the dig/ spit thing, but nothing else fitted. Got TIBET after remembering the TET offensive, clever clue in fact once I realised. DILATORY I probably should have got quicker, another clever clue.
    I’m a bit disappointed not to have finished, first time in ages, but I had no chance with PELOTA/ON words I’ll now not forget 😉
    Thanks setter and many thanks blogger for the explanations.

    1. Post-solve I actually looked up the Gong River, to see if it was in Tibet, a prohibited region. It isn’t. Would have scored an extra point if it was.

  21. I can’t find it now, but we had ‘spit’ as ‘a spadeful’ very recently or I doubt I’d have thought of it today.

  22. A bit tricky this one! NHO dabs as gymshoes, but did know, and have used a spit for digging, so worked SPADEFUL out eventually. BEETLE was FOI but BESIDES was POI and SHIP brought up the rear. Didn’t notice the single F in TARTUFE, just followed the assembly instructions. Liked DILATORY, which took a while but was key to the aforementioned SPADEFUL. PYJAMAS was an early and immediately discarded candidate for 5a. HABDABS arrived after ASTATIC and SHOWERED and led to HELLHOUNDS. KNOTTY took a while to see. 32:13. Thanks setter and George.

  23. 25:07. Very hard, and I for one am in the mood for a stiffly-worded letter to the editor. The difficulty here is almost all down to gratuitous obscurity. Loads of examples, but the double-obscurity in SPADEFUL is probably the most egregious example. And spelling TARTUFE like that (particularly when TORTURE was available) just seems like a deliberate provocation.
    Bah humbug.

    1. I wasn’t troubled at all by SPADEFUL, which was my second or third one in. We’ve had DAPS before, I feel sure, though it’s not a common word in my part of Hampshire. Digging a spit or two is common though, or at least common enough that I remember my dear old Dad ‘just going to turn over a spit or two’ on many a summer’s evening. It was partly an excuse for a post-prandial cigarette or two and a natter over the garden fence with Mr Next-door, but he’d dig two or three rows across the vegetable plot while he was at it. I guess nothing’s obscure if you’ve heard it.

      1. Hah, NormO, another one from Hampshire! We discovered the other day that Philb’stoke, Vaccarex and I are Hampshire – V and I from Winchester – you can guess Phil…

        1. I wouldn’t want to put my shirt on it, but …

          I’m originally from Southampton, but my family left the city in the late sixties. I now live in New Milton, jammed in between the New Forest and the Solent, both about 2-3 miles away. Not a bad part of the world at all.

      2. Indeed, obscurity is entirely subjective. I’ve certainly never encountered either DAPS or SPIT in the real world, and from comments here I seem to be far from alone in that. Fortunately I vaguely remembered the latter from its last appearance here: I’m not sure I’d have solved the clue otherwise.

  24. I gave up in the 14th minute without HABDABS, and now that I see the answer, I’m not sure I would ever have got there. I don’t recognise (or in at least one case don’t quite believe) HABDABS, BAH, DABS, or jimjams, so it’s a tough clue!

    DILATORY was very nice.

  25. Tough one, with FAT going in with a “they can’t possibly mean the filesystem, right”? and SPADEFUL without a definition. It’s good that I got OBERON before looking at 20d, I would almost certainly have gone with THORNY.

  26. 44 minutes but several I entered on trust: that daps are gym shoes; that spitting is connected with a SPADEFUL; that FAT is an acronym for … (I thought ‘well, there’s probably some body fat around one’s vertebral discs’, but I may be missing something’), that jimjams doesn’t just mean pyjamas, the meaning of HABDABS, that it can be TARTUFE. A wonder that I finished, really. ASTATIC unknown but it made sense. Very much liked DILATORY.

    1. YES! I decided it must be a reference to vertebral discs.
      I’ve been scrolling down to see who else would say this.
      Just you and me?!

      1. Looks like that. Surprising. It’s late in GB now (22.38) and I don’t expect many more to post.

        1. Vertebral disk was my first thought, not least because I slipped a disk a few years ago. Very painful.

  27. Yes, it was hard, but I liked it.

    SPADEFUL it had to be after SPITEFUL was ruled out by DILATORY. I didn’t know about the spitting connection but that’s useful knowledge for the future.

    Most annoying clue for me was PELOTON. I had the clue effectively solved with both of the words PELOTA and PELOTON spinning around in my head without actually making the connection for a couple of minutes. And that in spite of all those recent annoying commercials with the woman on the PELOTON-brand exercise bike gasping out ‘Don’t give out on me now PELOTON!” in a presumably endorphin-induced state of ecstasy. I mean, it’s an exercise bike. It’s not going to give out on you unless you give out on it. Other brands of exercise bike are (thankfully) also available.

    Thank you George and thank you setter – I think I enjoyed the workout almost as much as the woman on the PELOTON bike!

  28. Pleased to finish this in 40 mins. Even though not a fan of any sports, I thought PELOTa and PELOTON was/were straightforward. Didn’t like the FAT clue … thought it unimaginative and could have been clued in a much more interesting way. Both spellings of TARTUF(F)E well known to Scrabble players.

    1. => I thought PELOTa and PELOTON was/were straightforward.
      Everything’s straightforward when you know!

      1. I agree they were straightforward as both words were known to me. That’s why I found it annoying because I didn’t see the answer as quickly as I should have!

  29. 20:49

    Pretty wavelengthy perhaps with a huge dose of biffing in the absence of other options? Mostly straightforward, though did stop for a moment on seeing TARTUFE with only one F – not that I’m familiar with the character, but have seen it written several times with two Fs.

    Main hold-ups were in the SW but also: HABDABS – I had H_B_A_S and assumed DABS for fingerprints, so though have only seen the screaming ones without the H, considered it must be so – not aware of jimjams = HABDABS; and, SHIP which took some thinking out.

    Well, I had four left in the SW: PELOTON went in first from the P and N checker (forgot about the game of Pelota) – heard this word enough from televised cycle races; FAT – fortunately have dabbled with reformatting disks (the use of ‘disc’ in the clue was a MER – thought all computer disks were with a K, but I can see that compact disc (CD) and digital versatile disc (DVD) don’t support this thought) so was aware of FAT and FAT32; DILATORY was very amusing; which left the disappointing SPADEFUL – NHO either DAPS nor the answer in this sense – fortunately again with _P_DEFUL pencilled in, what else could it have been?

    Thanks setter and George

  30. On and off it all morning, gave me the Screaming Abdabs, one I didn’t get. Got a bit bored, if truth be told. Thanks for bringing me down to earth.

  31. One of those where I was pleased to almost have finished it. DABS and SPITTING for digging were new to me, and I was cycling through call-a-tory, ring-a-tory, ask-a-tory for way too long before I got to DILATORY.

    Friday have mercy!

  32. 43:30. Glad to find I wasn’t alone in finding this tough. Jimjams have never been more than pyjamas to me and I don’t think I have ever seen HABDABS written down: I always thought the screaming version came without an H. Spitting was vaguely familiar as a gardening term but initially having an invented Italian musical term for slow starting with C (for Conservative) kept it out of reach until the end. Rather a lot of vagueness all round really and surprised to finish with all correct.

  33. I enjoyed this and the 40 mins which it took me reflects the fact that it was one requiring some thought, but far from the stinker which some posts here seem to suggest. The NE corner held out longest, mostly because it took me a while to work out what kind of hounds we were after given that wolfhounds made no sense. Fingerprints were always going to be dabs, and the wordplay for HABDABS, which I would not have got from the definition, gave me the HELLHOUNDS as a bonus. ASTATIC works if we accept it as a very literal antonym for static, but the OED definition is much more specialised that simply ‘changing’ and it’s not in my Collins at all. But it could be nothing else. Thanks, as ever, to setter and blogger.

  34. I finally got this sorted in 35 minutes but with a question mark by FAT. I didn’t recognise the acronym. I wonder how many of you realise that MY FAIR LADY is a cockney homophonic phrase. It’s a revelation that came to me about 5 years ago after 60 years of familiarity with the musical. Eliza’s cockney accent is the driving force of the story…(Mayfair Lady)

    1. Good lord I never knew that: perhaps because it’s not close to being a homophone other than in Audrey Hepburn/Dick Van Dyke-style mockney!

    2. A factoid that gets repeated on the internet, but I have my doubts. It would make more sense if Mayfair featured or were mentioned at some point in the musical, but as far as I recall it isn’t.

  35. Once again, glad to come here and find myself in good company – I did find this pretty hard, and had much the same experience as Will Ransome with all the unknowns No idea what was going on with SPADEFUL and I wouldn’t have got HABDABS without getting HELLHOUNDS first – a definite MER at Bah! = That’s disgusting! KNOTTY went in with a shrug and SHOWERED required an alphabet trawl of the second letter before the answer came. I know DABs but hadn’t heard of a SAND DAB, though that was clearly indicated, so on the whole, pretty happy to have finished given the number of unknowns.

  36. I had HABJABS and even as I put it in I knew there was something wrong. Otherwise a tough 25’50”. Took me far too long to get SHOWERED.

  37. It would appear I am losing it as per yesterday and now the latest offering. Gave up after 45 mins with habdabs unsolved I got the dabs piece but thought of ugh rather than bah which doesn’t strike me as strong enough for disgusting. NHO jim jams as equivalent to abdabs either.

    Less contentious was showered, just didn’t recognise shower as a prover and thought of lingo for 6dn but didn’t make the connection. Disappointed but tomorrow is another day.

  38. I got all but one of the answers in 27 mins which isn’t bad for me and the one that held me up was actually ‘showered’ not ‘spadeful’. Though I’m from the Midlands and so would always say ‘pumps’ and never ‘plimsolls’ anyway, I’m aware that the dialect term used in the West Country and Wales is ‘daps’ and thought of it straight away. I didn’t know that meaning of ‘spit’ but ‘spadeful’ had to be right from the wordplay. Well done setter, thanks for a brilliant puzzle!

  39. Couldn’t finish last night, or get back to it till just now (when it may have taken me away a little too long from my work, so I’ll make this quick).
    Wanted HUB instead of FAT for so long, but PELOTON (which I know from French) ruled that out, and then I Googled “disc” and “fat” and got something at the top about “fatty disc” relating to those things in our spinal columns. Aha!
    The NW and SE (where BRAINS TRUST crosses the one-F TARTUFE) were finished in my first go, but the last few were like working a Mephisto. LOI HABDABS, which I may have heard before.

  40. Another toughie, but I got it done in 42 minutes. I would echo the minor bleats about HABDABS, FAT, SPADEFUL, and TARTUFE. But, overall, a fair contest with some clever clues.
    LOI – BESIDES (the penny was slow to drop on Sid)
    COD – DILATORY, once I had abolished the fictional country of NIBAN.
    Thanks to george and other contributors.

  41. Even director is almost always TATI (good vowels for the composer). And “friench director” is always TATI. Do you know any others that might fit in a clue, “truffaut”? I got there in the end but it was difficult today. I thought “screaming abjabs” but HABJABS was plausible enough up itn the difficult NE corner. Slowed up by buffing WOLFHOUNDS instead of HELLHOUNDS, which obviously didn’t work even by wordplay or, eventually, realising that it had to be the NHO HABDABS.

  42. Given 10A, it is strange we have not heard OWT from Astronowt! Or as far as I could see from a quick scroll anyway…

  43. 31 mins. Definitely on the wavelength today, but even so, I had several dodgy holes to fill at the end. Eventually I just filled in FAT, TARTUFE and SAND DAB and fortunately no pink squares. Liked SHOWERED.

  44. 37.13

    HABDABS was the breakthrough enabling me to finish the NE.

    And knew DAPs (which enabled completion) though not that meaning of spitting. Loathe to disagree with Lord Keriothe not least as there are plenty of obscurities for me that others seem to use in everyday language, but I would have thought DAPs was not at a Mephisto level of unknowingness

    Anyways, I liked it but sympathies to those who were minded to reach for the quill and paper

    Thanks George and setter

  45. Well I fell a long way short on this one. Even after guessing SAND DAB, HABDABS (as with many others assuming jimjams meant something other than pyjamas) , TARTUFE and BRAINS TRUST, I was left unable to see SPADEFUL (didn’t know this meaning of spitting), FAT (even though I’ve written code to program them as they are still alive and well in most smaller SD cards (but not in “discs”) – the clue is, IMHO, like most IT-related clues, desperately weak) and TIBET (I didn’t know the Vietnamese new year). I didn’t write LENGTHY in because I couldn’t believe that clue could also be so thin. I should have got PELOTON but I couldn’t recall pelota. Still a good puzzle I think apart from those two grumbles! Thanks for the blog.

    1. I’m far from convinced that computer discs have anything to do with that FAT clue, finding the fact that fat is part of a vertebral disc compelling, but I do wish the setter or editor would let us know what they were thinking.

      1. File Allocation Table definitely used to be a thing in the Windows-dominated era. FAT32 particularly. I think that probably 10-20 years ago nobody would have said anything about this.

        1. I’ve used computers for decades, but the Windows world is virtually unknown to me. My own computers and the one at the office are all Apple. Ten or 20 years ago, I would have said, “Whaaa…?” But I’ll take your word for FAT. It nevertheless is also true that fat had been a component of vertebral discs for countless millennia before Bill Gates was even born and remains so to this day, with no known date of obsolescence.

  46. 57 mins. Last 2 were spadeful and fat. Correct but still no idea why. My Welsh granny referred to the screaming abdabs but she also read tea leaves and said doo lally tap (named after an Indian asylum I think) abbreviated to doo lally.

  47. Just over an hour with one mistake. There were some superb clues (DILATORY, for example) and many more simply obnoxious ones: HABDABS, which I got right despite not knowing any meaning of jimjams nor being sure that DABS were fingerprints, and SPODEFUL (my mistake), since SPADEFUL seemed to make no sense at all and I don’t call gym shoes anything that matches the pattern D?PS. Since every answer has two paths leading to it, obscurities are painful but acceptable if they only come up in one of those paths, but this puzzle has too many clues where the entire clue and its wordplay are obscure, and there is certainly no excuse for that in a daily cryptic puzzle. I don’t use aids, so please give me a chance, will you!

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