Times 28621

Barring one or two pieces of tricky vocabulary, this is all very straightforward. So much so, that I was disappointed with my time of 16 minutes. Not often will you hear me say that.

I expect PBs from not a few…

1 Reportedly regret dig in simulated chatter on stage (7)
RHUBARB – sounds like’rue’ BARB (dig/ negative comment)
5 Employed regularly at first in Surrey town (7)
WORKING -R[egularly] in WOKING; a nondescript railway town in Surrey put on the map by a pizza allegedly ordered by Andrew Windsor
9 Disloyal ultimately thus to amend promissory notes (9)
SEDITIOUS – [thu]s EDIT IOUS; very difficult to avoid being jailed for this in Hong Kong these days if you disagree with the views of the unelected oligarchs on either side of the border (oops!) boundary
10 Dull, but finally played minster organ (5)
DREAR -[playe]D [ministe]R EAR
11 Exotic inn accommodating artist in Lambeth Palace area (5)
SERAI – RA in SEI; I guess a country pub in England would be exotic to someone from the middle-east, if they were just popping in for an orange juice
12 Frantic burst of speed leading to charge (9)
DESPERATE – anagram* of SPEED RATE (charge – noun)
14 See way lessee keeps place for crown representative (4,10)
LORD LIEUTENANT – LIEU (place) in LO (see) RD (way) TENANT (lessee)
17 Eccentric English poet, he, transfixed by Irish county (14)
CAMBRIDGESHIRE – CAM (eccentric in a mechanical sense) [Robert] BRIDGES IR (IRrish) in HE
21 Defame prudent woman hiding second pill (9)
DISCREDIT – DISCREET with the second E (pill as in ecstasy) replaced by DI
23 Bid dyke-builder talked of (5)
OFFER – sounds like Offa, who only did one thing in his life, but what a thing!
24 Stoneworker’s mother’s old name (5)
25 He scores one, oddly, but she succeeds jointly (9)
26 Spoilt daughters left in school (7)
27 Customer outside entrance to shop, a jocular type (7)
1 Oppose others touring islands (6)
RESIST – IS in REST; when I was studying at that hothouse of radicalism that is Lancaster Univerity, I took a Language & Feminism course, run by an assortment of very serious women and one bemused-looking man. They taught us the importance of ‘contesting and resisting the hegemony of powerful institutions’. A friend of mine attempted to resist theirs and barely passed the course.
2 Endure French and German articles on energy (7)
UNDERGO – UN DER (articles in Frnech and German) GO (energy, as in ‘she has lots of go’)
3 Legal process once secured, we’re told, by King Edward (9)
ATTAINDER – sounds like ‘attained’ ER (choose from any of eight)
4 Looked after by American woman with liberal views (5-6)
BROAD-MINDED – BROAD (American woman – probably not one of the contesting and resisting persuasion) MINDED (looked after)
5 Wrasse regularly used to be! (3)
WAS -W[r]A[s]S[e]; I used to say that this was the sort of clue that even an Australian could get, but I was subjected to a bit of cancel-culture, even though I was just trying to engage in a bit of banter. So, instead of saying that, I will toe the modern line, be sensitive to the needs of disadvantaged groups and merely say that this was quite a simple clue. Notwithstanding that, I applaud the setter for catering to the many different groups that attempt this crossword and not just to the middle-aged whi… [okay – enough of that, Ed.]
6 Travel across top of Grampian elevation (5)
RIDGE – G[rampian]  in RIDE (travel, on a bus etc.)
7 Flower arrangement president originally admired propping up bar (7)
IKEBANA – BAN (bar) in IKE A (‘originally A[dmired])
8 Blokes adopting a jolly set of clothes (8)
GARMENTS – A RM (‘royal marine’) in GENTS (blokes)
13 Fellow dropping art damages joint position at college (11)
STUDENTSHIP – STU[art] DENTS (damages) HIP (joint)
15 African national primarily involved in playing the piano (9)
ETHIOPIAN – I[nvolved] in THE PIANO*
16 Scholarly friend in Paris caught sheltering rebel (8)
ACADEMIC – CADE (crossword rebel – look him up in Wiki if he’s a NHO) in AMI C
18 Badly-treated girl embracing aristocratic boy (7)
MISUSED – U (aristocratic, according to a silly system invented by toffs like the Mitfords) in MISS (girl) ED (a random boy who’s not Stuart)
19 Think about French leader suppressing the French court (7)
REFLECT – RE (about) F[rench] LE (‘the’ in French) CT
20 It expunges Times leader dismissing heavy metal (6)
ERASER – ERAS (times) [lead]ER; geddit?
22 Like kidneys finally eaten in proper setting (5)
RENAL – [eate]N in REAL
25 Ungentlemanly type originally courting publicity (3)
CAD – C[ourting] AD


71 comments on “Times 28621”

  1. 12:29
    As always, I had no idea where Woking is, nor did I need to; also didn’t know the post code for Lambeth Palace, oddly enough. Biffed LORD LT, ETHIOPIAN, parsed post-submission. [on edit]: Shouldn’t ATTAINDER be ‘legal process once’?

  2. 10m

    I found the complicated parsings of the long across entries were enough to prevent a super-fast solve but there’s some pretty simple stuff here

  3. Love the blog – thanks, U. I think we should revive the Australian TftT Resistance movement for the entertainment of seeing if any of our attempts at Ulaca-cancelling prevail against the hegemony of TftT bloggership. I doubt it, but we might have some fun on the way.

    Oh, and the crossword? Pretty straightforward at 22:51 for me.

    1. Does Ulaca support Spurs, or is that Zabadak? About to get a new Australian manager, untried in the premier league… what could possibly go wrong?

      1. I’ve been a Manchester United supporter since 1965, all on account of a certain George Best. Yes, Zed is the masochist.

            1. As things stand, unless he goes to City, who have the joyous Haaland already and so wouldn’t play him, he’ll still not be at a trophy winning club. At least we play next season without the distraction of Europe and all those long treks to Kazakhstan and such.

              1. If he goes to Man U, they are a trophy winning club, even if it is the somewhat devalued League Cup, and they are of course in the Champions League next season. I hope he stays in this country if Spurs can’t keep him. I think he is a far better player than Haaland, and is not given enough credit for his pure footballing skills and for the goals he creates for others. Only his age perhaps prevents him from being the leagues most valuable player.

  4. Indeed quite simple, but even so I couldn’t parse eraser or discredit. Not too keen on all the boys and girls in there, especially Stuart dropping art, but that’s just me.
    If you’re toeing the modern line you’re probably towing the line, judging by the majority of comments on websites?

  5. 26 minutes, superfast through the top half of the grid but quite slowly through the rest of it. After a while I managed to open up the lower half by spotting CAMBRIDGESHIRE as I suddenly recognised the clue’s similarity to one that gave me grief in March: Eccentric poet to take on, becoming a handicap (14). At least today’s definition ‘county’ was more friendly than ‘handicap’ on that occasion.

    I had no idea how the parsing worked for DISCREDIT, so thanks for that. I had got as far as DI being ‘woman’ but of course I’d placed her at the beginning of the word which left the remainder unfathomable.

    1. I’d have preferred HANDICAP as a definition as, bizarrely, I was studying last year’s race minutes before starting this and so frittered away a minute or two trying to shoehorn I don’t know what into CORK. Hey-ho.

  6. I’m not sure I knew SERAI but I did know “caravanserai” and what it is, so I assumed SERAI could be an inn for things other than caravans or something. I found this very easy except I wasted a bit of time at 21A trying to remember who was a prudent woman (like a patient man is Job) before I saw the answer and just biffed it without understanding the wordplay at all.

  7. Very easy. This crossword didn’t seem to have much substance. Too many words, clues and techniques I have seen so often.

  8. Aha! The old ‘Cam means eccentric in a mechanical sense’ trick! Can’t believe I missed it, if I’d twigged earlier the county would have fallen immediately into place and I’d have a time a bit less than 27.34. Like jakkt I Verstappened the top half and then it was something of a grind. Thanks Ulaca for explaining DISCREDIT and how art damages worked in the unattractive STUDENTSHIP. I too thought a serai followed a caravan. So I assume the SEDITIOUS COHEIRESS lost the estate in CAMBRIDGESHIRE when the LORD LIEUTENANT seized it under the law of ATTAINDER…and they say The Times doesn’t do themed crosswords eh?

  9. 25 mins, so about as good as it gets. CAMBRIDGESHIRE held out to the last as I was sure the answer was going to mean eccentric. Doh.

    Does one see the word IKEBANA anywhere but in a crossword?

    Thanks U and setter.

    1. I encountered IKEBANA in a quiz last year, though I guess that’s not much different to encountering it in a crossword. Anyhow, it was nice to be able to pull out the answer due to its crossword appearances.

    2. IKEBANA was a gimme for me, and it hadn’t occurred to me that it might not be for others.

      1. I think that’s my point. I first encountered it in a crossword (probably the Times) years ago and had to look it up. Since then one encounters it on a relatively frequent basis, in crosswords, quizzes etc but never in real life. I mean, if someone came up to you and said; « I’d like to offer you an ikebana », you’d probably thump them!

      2. For a while, I was looking for some South American river until I realised Flower Arrangement really meant Flower Arrangement.

  10. 18 minutes, quite disappointed in my final time as It seemed very easy. NHO IKEBANA so I was quite relieved that was correct. ATTAINDER also took me a minute or so to dredge from my memory.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  11. 21 minutes. I lost time in trying unsuccessfully to parse DISCREDIT and took a while to get ATTAINDER and STUDENTSHIP. Glad to have remembered SERAI after its appearance here not long ago.

    Favourite bits were ulaca’s commentaries on the WAS clue and the Language & Feminism course at Lancaster University.

  12. 11:04. I didn’t find that particularly easy at all, and I got quite stuck at one point with most of the NE corner missing.

  13. Way off the pace today – apart from a few obvious write-ins, this felt like a grim struggle. Ran out of time before setting off to work with (NHO) ATTAINDER unsolved – 45m fail. Ugh.

  14. Lost a little time by trying to enter Lord Chamberlai…….whoops, it doesn’t fit.

    I felt I made heavy weather of a couple of reasonably straightforward clues, and my LOI was a biff that I had to come here to understand.

    TIME 8:59

  15. Under ten minutes (just) ‐ a first for me. I wonder if the the Lancs Uni course lecturers would have been sufficiently 4dn to accept the clueing of its first element.

  16. 11:12. I was a bit slow getting started but the downs came more easily. Unimpressed by the ‘find a random man’s name and then remove some letters’ wordplay, but managed to reverse engineer it from the answer to the clue. Jackkt’s reminder of the previous outing of CAMBRIDGESHIRE as a horse-race in turn reminded me of a walk over the gallops at Newmarket (where that race is run) when the walk leader didn’t know what the numbers were for or what a furlong is. By one of the signs she challenged me to come up with a clue… “Hanker after coat seen on boat, worth one thousand guineas, perhaps (5, 8)” was my response after a few minutes thought. Thanks Ulaca and setter.

    1. I was at the Newmarket July Course once, when, at about the point you refer to, half the field forgot to turn right and headed down the Rowley Mile. I cannot remember if the back-markers that navigated correctly kept the race.

  17. 20.04. Would have been quicker but I couldn’t see how 21a worked so delayed entering it. Thank you ulaca for the enlightenment.

  18. 28:25. The easy ones were very easy but there were a few that weren’t, but I’m always pleased to come in under the half hour.
    COD the cheeky BROAD MINDED

  19. But the other swiftly strode from Ridge to Ridge,
    Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walk’d
    Larger than human on the frozen hills.
    (Morte d’Arthur, Tennyson)

    30 mins mid-brekker. Oh dear, it is the start/end letter fiend again. I count ten.
    The editor should have a quiet word.
    Ta setter and U.

  20. 25m 10s
    Reading through your blog, ulaca, was like reading the sleeve notes to an old Monty Python LP. That looked like a Deutsche Gramophon cover on the front with a big black cross scrawled on it and the title “Another Monty Python Record” written on it. The notes on the back resembled those for a straightforward D.G. record…until you read through them and hidden in the middle discovered you were reading Python nonsense.
    In other words I thoroughly enjoyed your entries on WAS and RESIST.
    I always thought it was a SERAIL but I’ve now discovered that although there is a crossover in terms of a sultan’s palace, the two words do have separate meanings.
    Thank you, ulaca, for DISCREDIT and ERASER. The only other point I have is that in 13d, I thought first of ARThur and not stuART. That held me up a little.

    1. I had a vinyl copy of that Python album back in the day. I remember it used to stick deliberately at the end of side 1 after the “Doug and Dinsdale Piranha” sketch, when the gangsters’ heavy man uttered the immortal words “Oh, sorry Squire, I’ve scratched your record (click) scratched your record (click) and so on until you physically rejected it. Brilliant !

  21. 10’02”, just missed a sub-10 after stumbling over the DISCREDIT / STUDENTSHIP crossing.

    Never parsed ERASER.

    Thanks ulaca (I wish I’d taken that course), and setter also.

  22. About 15 minutes. Didn’t parse DISCREDIT, figured out the unknown ATTAINDER from wordplay, only vaguely remembered SERAI, and didn’t see how the ‘er’ in ERASER worked even though ‘lead’ was right there in the clue. I’m more familiar with ‘dreary’ than DREAR meaning dull, but obviously both are fine.

    A nice way to start the week – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Resist
    LOI Attainder
    COD Academic

  23. My excuse for a relatively poor time was that I saw eccentric and county in 17a, and chucked in Camarthenshire without further thought.

  24. Like Ulaca (great blog!) I was slightly disappointed by my 15.18, but put it down to an increasingly dodgy mouse which only really clicks around one time in three, and a long pause trying to parse ERASER. I couldn’t believe taking lead away from leader for just for ER WAS that obvious, and I’ve disciplined myself to know that Times indicates X or by and sometimes TT, and forgot it might be some sort of times. Are ERAS times? I’ll ponder that for ages.
    I only parsed DISCREDIT when I saw there was a comment on it on the club site. Still tricky, because I struggle to recall which of discreet and discrete means which.

  25. A rare appearance for me in this place, but I’m happy to report a sub-30 minute time for today, which is a big PB for me. Having said that, I didn’t fully parse DISCREDIT or ERASER. Thanks both, excellent blog Ulaca.

  26. This seemed to me a fairly standard Monday offering. 21 minutes with no major hold-ups. I did manage to parse DISCREDIT, but not ERASER, though I think I’ve goddit now, thanks to the blog.
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  27. Pleased to finish under target at 37.55, but as with the QC the times posted suggest I might have done better. Just a steady solve with only the parsing of DISCREDIT eluding me.

  28. I’m another who spent some time not managing to parse DISCREDIT or ERASER. RESIST was FOI and I returned to the NW to finish with ATTAINDER and finally, SERAI. 19:27. Thanks setter and U.

  29. As usual a DNF on the biggie for me, beaten by three: SERAI (would never have biffed it even if I’d known that Lambeth Palace was SE1 and not SW1), ATTAINDER (NHO for me and wouldn’t have biffed it either) and DESPERATE (which I really should have landed).

    Fingers crossed on entering IKEBANA but a distant bell was ringing that can only have been from a previous puzzle.

    Needed the blog to parse DISCREDIT and CAMBRIDGESHIRE – thanks for your fine work Ulaca.

    Thanks too of course to the setter.

  30. 15:40. LOI DISCREDIT, which I imagine is – unusually – more or less impossible to derive from the wordplay without knowing the answer.

  31. 15:59

    Initially bunging in LORD CHANCELLOR didn’t hold me up for long as I’d spotted IKEBANA within a minute or so. However mistyping RESIST as RRESIT meant my entries for 9a and 11a were slow to appear – once the correct starting letters for each were in place, the answers fell into place.

    Trickier were ATTAINDER (from definition and all checkers) and ERASER (same) both of which I completely failed to parse.

    Batter my brain with enough random poets and they’ll stick eventually – luckily seen this one before as Jack pointed out.

    Thanks setter and Ulaca – my daughter may be at Lancaster Uni from September, I’ll warn her about ‘contesting and resisting the hegemony of powerful institutions’!

  32. Relieved to see my last two in were correct, SERAI and ATTAINDER, because both were guesses.

  33. I asked ChatGPT to solve the clue for 1 across. It responded THEATRE.

    Looks like the human race won’t be annihilated just yet.

    1. I’ve seen it demonstrated a few times now that AI can’t do cryptic clues. Can’t write ’em, can’t solve ’em. Some setters may be glad to have that to fall back on when robots take over most everything else. 😏

  34. 23:02
    Generally straightforward, but for once it was the longer ones that slowed me down. Completly bamboozled by CAMBRIDGESHIRE and spent some time rummaging through half-remembed bits of Gilbert and Sullivan trying to find a more exotic crown representative.

    Thanks to the setter and to Ulaca for the excellent blog.

  35. I was galloping towards the hour mark with this one, so the crossword editor has a way to go to cater ‘to the many different groups that attempt this crossword and not just to the middle-aged whi…’

    Enjoyed the blog. No offence taken 😂

  36. Apologies to Ulaca but nowhere near a PB today! About 50 mins total either side of a much more fruitful golf game. Thought I was on track fot completing before leaving but became bogged down in the SE corner. Not much better when I returned and anyway had quite a few biffs (incl ERASER, DISCREDIT ). Also spent time trying to parse funster when PUNSTER parsed so easily. Nevertheless got there in the end and thanks to Ulaca and setter.

  37. I started well but ultimately found this oddly tricky, coming in just under the 30-minute mark. Didn’t parse DISCREDIT, and the nho crossing pair of SERAI and ATTAINDER held me up, as did ERASER.

    Thanks Ulaca & setter.

  38. That fellow Cade has appeared again. I think it was only last week I was saying I’d never heard of him. Like busses, I expect he’ll come along again quite soon.

    Straightforward today, pleased with my 15 minutes.

  39. 24 mins. Tx for the blog and explaining DISCREDIT and ERASER for me.

  40. I don’t have a time, not even an estimated one which is probably a good thing as I did this over two sessions and the second a very long one. I just seemed to take an age to dig out the answers and parse.
    The only unknown SERAI I did manage to get from parsing and crossing letters.
    BIFD both DISCREDIT and ERASER so thanks for explaining those.

  41. No time as I’ve been dipping in and out of the crossword today – which is to say I’ve been dipping in and out of the work I should have been doing, but enjoying the puzzling more than the work. Can’t say I found this especially straightforward, however, and I needed our blogger – to whom thanks – for the parsing of ERASER and DISCREDIT. Really must focus on the work tomorrow …

  42. I enjoyed this, with a leisurely 45 minute solve. Much of it was easy, but not all of it, and there were some clues I liked a lot (ERASED, for example). I also couldn’t parse GARMENTS until just before submission, trying to figure out what relate GARTS (clothing MEN=blokes) to jolly. At the end, the penny dropped, though.

  43. Completed but in 4 seperate attempts which made timings very difficult. Enjoyable and an interesting mix difficult and easy. Thank you.

  44. 30 minutes, quick for me. Didn’t parse “Discredit” and NHO the rebel nor the poet, but didn’t stop me completing.
    I had the pleasure of working in Woking for a few years, so that clue fell into my lap.
    “Coheiress” is not a word you hear every day – I suppose, by definition, there must always be a minimum of two coheiressesseses (acknowledgement to Count Arthur Strong and his Colossusseseses).

  45. Die Entführung aus dem SERAI(l):
    This evoked happy memories of meeting Sergeant/Inspector Lewis’ daughter, who was singing (extremely well) the coloratura lead in the above opera, by the stage door of the Cambridge Arts Theatre.
    Next to the stage door was a garden table belonging to Indigo Coffee House, where with coffee, crossword and roll-up, my musings were once interrupted by the voice of Nigel Pargeter, and on another occasion I looked up to find Richard E. Grant looking down at me. Not a word was said, for we were both a little startled – I’ve been mistaken for him several times.
    So SERAI went in easily, but this nag was completely outclassed in this CAMBRIDGESHIRE handicap with 30 of the field comfortably ahead of me.
    Early pace, soon struggling, tailed off:
    30′ 27”.

  46. Beaten by SERAI- tried serae which made the homophone impossible. Quite why I should know the postcode of Lambeth palace is beyond me. Thanks blogger

  47. Got held up in the SE corner, failing to spot the anagram at 25A, failing to parse ERASER even after I did get it and totally failing to get the ridiculous STUDENTSHIP from definition, eventually bunging it in when every other letter was in place. Has anyone used that word in anger, ever? I wasn’t helped by being another convinced that I was looking to put in HUR from Arthur minus ‘art’. So not a great time in the end…

  48. A curious experience today. I felt far from at ease throughout and never really thought I was making progress. The same unparsed answers and barely heard of words as others here. I was surprised, then, to achieve a completion time of just under my 30-minute target.

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