Times 28630 – The walrus, leopard and harp, OK?


No time for me  on this, as I left the clock running during a necessary absence, but probably around 25 minutes, as I stumbled over rather a lot of the clues.
As ever, spotting the definition was key, not least when you expect a long clue to be a place name. The only word I didn’t know was helpfully the “hidden” clue, so you just had to pick out the right letters. It’s good to be back in harness after my enforced break: just hope I can still do this thing without to many solecisms and misprings

Definitions underlined in bold italics

1 Present small in size: a foot? (8,6)
STOCKING FILLER – DD The sort of thing Father  Christmas picks up from Poundland to pad out the children’s hopeful hosiery. A foot also fills out the hosiery any other time of year
9 Threats to peace from law as yet without weight (4,2,3)
ACTS OF WAR – Law is ACT as in of Parliament the as yet gives SO FAR, and weight gives you the W. Without is a positional indicator, here meaning outside
10 Scores, being virile, making answer acceptable to Her Ladyship? (5)
MUCHO – Meaning lots in Spanish. Virile: MACHO, change the A(nswer) to U, Her Ladyship Mitfords characterisation of what was acceptable in her circle
11 Stars performing across river (5)
ORION – Performing: ON across/ surrounding the specific river RIO
12 Unusual to tuck into great British fish with beef (9)
GRUMBLING – Unusual: RUM tucked into G(reat) B(ritish) LING, a kind of fish
13 Risk going on outside having abandoned trunks in Welsh town (8)
ABERDARE – Risk is DARE, which leaves you to find ABER, which I think is cABERs, Scottish tossing trunks with the outside removed.
15 African city, a centrepiece for semiurban guidebook (6)
BANGUI – Today’s hidden, and the capital of the Central African Republic
17 Puff pastry’s first up (6)
PRAISE – First of Pastry plus up: RAISE
19 Minister to put on sporting event, displaying impartiality (4,4)
OPEN MIND – Any of several sporting events for OPEN, MIND from minister via care for.
22 Bilbao got hammered for performance regardless (9)
OBBLIGATO – Musical notation for “play it or else!” An anagram (hammered) of BILBAO GOT.
23 Go together well before beginning advance (5)
BLEND – The beginning of Before plus LEND for advance
24 Girl from a good home to duck, perhaps, out of convent finally (5)
AGNES – From A G(ood) home to duck NEST (with) out the last of convenT
25 One elderly relative, one with partner still (9)
INANIMATE – One: I, elderly relative NAN, one: I again and partner: MATE
26 Attack of French army initially — anxieties to be ignored (4,2,4,4)
FALL ON DEAF EARS – Attack give FALL ON, of (in) French gives DE, A from the initial of Army, anxieties for FEARS. Respace.
1 Green light in the form of a grey one? (4,2,8)
SEAL OF APPROVAL – Other than that a grey seal is – um – a grey one I can’t see how this works. Open to suggestions!
2 Huge groans heard by public (7)
OUTSIZE – Groans are sighs, which are heard as SIZE put that by (unusual in a down clue) OUT for public
3 Familiar with how mike’s come to be mine? (5)
KNOWN – If mike becomes mine, the K is NOW N. Cute.
4 Left wingers somehow miss flogging daily? (8)
NEWSGIRL – An anagram (somehow) of WINGERS plus L(eft)
5 Note heavy defeat for champion (3-3)
FAR-OUT – Champion masquerading as excellent, possibly best heard with a Yorkshire accent. Note: FA, heavy defeat ROUT
6 Silly dog smothering me: throw it down? (9)
LAMEBRAIN – The dog is a LAB, which “smothers” ME. To throw it down is to RAIN
7 Female leaving attractive artwork (7)
ETCHING – Attractive is FETCHING: the F(emale) leaves
8 Rambling among pines, end somehow in Cheshire town (4-10)
LONG-WINDEDNESS – Working from the back, the Cheshire town is WIDNES. Throw in  an anagram of END, and put the whole thing in LONGS for pines. Took me a while to stop looking for a Cheshire town of 4-10
14 Getting out one’s prayer book after synod’s ending (9)
DISMISSAL – One’s becomes I’S the prayer book is a MISSAL, both after D at the end of synoD
16 Well-informed and capable of engagement (2-2-4)
UP-TO-DATE – Two definitions, though the second probably wouldn’t have the hyphens
18 Outlaw with false name cut across country (7)
ALBANIA – Outlaw is BAN, the false name is ALIAS which suffers a cut before absorbing BAN
20 Using one short skewer, upset an arrangement of blooms (7)
IKEBANA – Back again after a short absence. One again is I, the short skewer is a KEBA(b), followed by AN upset to give NA
21 Run down, or even up, motorway to the north (6)
MALIGN – Even up is ALIGN, and M(otorway) goes to the northern end of the light.
23 Not going on to give instructions (5)
BRIEF – A double definition to finish with

84 comments on “Times 28630 – The walrus, leopard and harp, OK?”

  1. 14:01 and some head-scratching over ABERDARE, where the DARE part jumped out but the rest took a while. I think you have the right idea about 1 down, kind of a cryptic definition with a reference to a type of seal.

  2. 36 minutes today. LOI LONG-WINDEDNESS. Don‘t get the grey seal thing either, but maybe there‘s just nothing to get. I remembered IKEBANA from the last time.
    Overall I think I made this harder than it was.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  3. I’m not sure how long this took, as I nodded off for a while; well over a half-hour, anyway. I took 1d as Z did; don’t think much of the clue. Nor, like Vinyl, do I care much for FAR-OUT for ‘champion’ (sc. excellent). I got ABERDARE from DARE, could make nothing of the ABER; I wasn’t sure it was in Wales (the only Aberdare I knew is in Kenya). And like Z, for too long I was looking for a 4-10 Cheshire city. I actually had heard of Widnes, of course not knowing what shire it’s in. I liked KNOWN.

  4. Seeing I have never heard of Aberdare, and the cryptic as outlined in Zabadak’s most helpful blog is incomprehensible, I can say with some pride that I got everything except that one, in an hour and a bit. Ditto re the seal, ditto re the town in Cheshire which turned out to be something else. I enjoyed this but there were a lot of toughies, the long ones around the edge took me an eternity. I haven’t heard or seen a newsboy in over 30 years, and never saw a NEWSGIRL in my life.

  5. Same same. Slowish. Aberdare known, not that it was in Wales though, but couldn’t think of cabers. I was OK with the vaguely cryptic grey seal. Long-windedness LOI, looking for an unknown town like Long Biddlecome or something. The hyphen should have given it away, a town wouldn’t have one. Had heard of Widnes.

  6. “Risk going on outside having abandoned trunks” – I find the grammar a bit sus here, where the elements could be switched for better sense (at the expense of a logical surface reading).

  7. 64 minutes having started well and completed ¾ of the grid before becoming completely stuck in the SE corner. Gradually the answers came but with each new arrival I expected the dam to break so that the rest would follow easily but that never happened.

    Like others I thought the answer at 8dn was going to be some godforsaken town in Cheshire called Long-something-or-other and it took me forever to abandon that idea and find an alternative way into the clue.

    Also like others I had no idea about the ABER in ABERDARE, but fortunately I knew the town and that it’s in Wales.

    In a recent Puzzles newsletter Mike H wrote about coincidences in crosswords. I was reminded of it today when I noticed something at 1ac in today’s two puzzles.

  8. 18:19. I remember in a very recent puzzle someone commented that you only ever come across IKEBANA in crosswords and here it is again! ABERDARE went in half parsed and with fingers crossed. BANGUI was parsed but unrecognised despite doing a quiz on all African capitals last night! To be fair, I didn’t recognise at least half of them. If anyone enjoys a geography quiz there are hundreds here: https://www.geoguessr.com/quiz/seterra

    Welcome back zabadak and thanks to George for having stood in.

  9. Kicking off with ACTS OF WAR and BANGUI (which I knew) then a long, long struggle to make any decent sort of progress, with the 14-char answers taking ages, especially 1a and 1d. I must have been 50m in when I finally cracked 1a, immediately followed by 1d and thereafter a reasonably orderly completion. Closing sequence AGNES (only female name that fitted) LAMEBRAIN, and finally MALIGN.

    Feels like I’ve done a long day’s work, before clocking on for the real thing – 58:48. Thanks Z and setter

  10. There’s an ABERDARE Rd in Subiaco in Perth, so that was my best guess. Was never going to see cABERs though. Tough clue.

    Was a pretty tough slog all round actually. Really, really hoping that someone comes up with a better explanation for SEAL OF APPROVAL. It can’t be just “some seals are grey so…”, can it?

    Thanks Z and setter.

    1. It’s a teeny bit more than that, as a Grey Seal is a thing. As my headline suggests. the grey could just as well have been harp or leopard, though I suppose grey was chosen because it’s a colour. I also think the clue could have been improved with the addition of an OK to suggest the approval bit.

      1. Yeah I don’t see anything that accounts for the “approval”. But if I stick to my guns I’ll find myself at loggerheads with Keriothe and that rarely ends well!

        Nice to see you back by the way.

        1. I think you just have to read the whole thing as a sort of cryptic definition. And squint quite a lot. A SEAL OF APPROVAL is a ‘green light in the form of a grey one’ as a puppet show might be a ‘show of hands’. Of course this presupposes some rather unconventional office practices.
          Anyway I’m not really defending the clue. It’s like a dodgy homophone: dreadful in a way that will appeal to some.

          1. I pictured a creature with the authority to OK projects, the Seal of Approval. But, on reflection, “by way of” or some such would have fit that better than “in the form of.”

        2. Galspray, I went on a round the world ‘Treasure Hunt’ for your bridge and posted my X-marks-the-spot on Friday, 26th May. Is it anywhere close?

          1. Sorry, missed that comment at the time. Just went back and had a look. You got the right country and the right state, but missed the mark by about 500kms, which is neither here nor there.

            My avatar is the bridge that connects my home town Harwood Island with the mainland. Not quite as exotic as it sounds, Harwood is an island in the Clarence River and the bridge forms part of the Pacific Highway. When the bridge opened in 1966 it replaced a lovely old ferry service and marked the completion (I believe) of the uninterrupted “Highway 1” around Australia.

            It also meant we could now catch a bus to nearby Maclean to attend the Convent School, the major downside being that we could no longer attend school bare-footed.

            The bridge completely dominated the landscape of my little town throughout my childhood, but in the last few years it has been dwarfed by a mammoth structure more suited to the modern traffic loads. The old bridge remains however and is still used for local traffic.

            Apologies for rambling on. I didn’t even get to the Christmas tree incident…

    2. OK, that’s embarrassing. At one time (c1978) I lived in Yilgarn St, Shenton Park, with ABERDARE Rd being the nearest intersection about 50m away. Never knew it was a town in Wales – and still have no idea how the clue works!

  11. Lord Aberdare has been a fairly regular attendee at the Championships, reaching the final a couple of times.

    1. Let’s hope the opportunity arises again this year following the hiatus. Presumably you are from Aberdare?

      1. No, I have no connection with the place – his name simply stuck out in the results as there aren’t any other peers (that I know of) that have competed in recent years.

    2. Yes, that’s where I got ABERDARE from but if pressed I would have said it was in Scotland not Wales.

  12. 16:50. I found that difficult and a bit awkward in places for reasons already mentioned.
    I hesitated over ABERDARE. I had heard of the town but if asked to guess I would have said that it must be in Scotland. If I had thought about it a bit more I’d have remembered Abergavenny, and it might have occurred to me that the root meaning must be the same, which of course it is. In Scotland INVER is an exact equivalent and more common. It means ‘river mouth’, which is a bit puzzling if you look at the geographic location of Abergavenny and ABERDARE but there it is.
    1dn makes sense if you imagine an organisation in which, rather than using stamped documents or whatever, they approve projects by giving you an ash-coloured pinniped. This stretches the meaning of the phrase ‘makes sense’ somewhat but I would argue is a permissible bit of crossword whimsy.

    1. “Pinniped ”

      I’m impressed – thank you for adding to my vocabulary.

    2. While solving, I just imagined a grey seal in a circus clapping for fish. However, I can see that your ’emoji’ solution is what was intended, probably.

      1. I’m envisaging an organisation where they give you an actual seal. They would presumably need a big pool to keep them in. When not needed for project approval marketing could use them to conduct phocus groups.

    3. ABER in Scots place names also means ‘river mouth’, as in Aberdeen etc., and is directly cognate with the Welsh prefix. ABER is Pictish, whereas INVER is Gaelic. INVER is the more common.

  13. Out out Brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage …etc
    (Macbeth, obvs)

    45 mins mid-then-post-brekker. I found it chewy, but delicious, so gave it the extra. And the crossword.
    Luckily I know Aberdare, but would never have got cABERs.
    Ta setter and great blog Z.

    1. The Seal of approval reminds me of a comedian I saw once who worked the Periodic Table into his act and proved that he could recite it all. He went through it quietly, but when he got to it screamed ZINC! It was the ‘element of surprise’.

  14. 20:19. Hesitated over ABERDARE even though I thought of cabers at one point, unable to make sense of the wordplay. I’m still unconvinced by 1D. COD to NEWSGIRL. Welcome back Z and thanks to you for the blog and our setter for the puzzle.

  15. A whisker under an hour. ABERDARE sounded and looked as though it could be the just recognised name of a ‘Welsh town’ and like many others I saw the DARE for ‘Risk’ but had no idea about the rest. The def for SEAL OF APPROVAL was a bit kinder, but I’m another who still didn’t really get the wordplay. I liked LONG-WINDEDNESS and have learnt a new ‘African city’ which I’ll probably forget by tomorrow.

    A few lucky ones lately so I must be in Karma’s sights.

    Welcome back to Zabadak

  16. All green for me in a couple of sessions. NHO BANGUI but since it was a (not very) hidden that was not a problem. I also spent time looking for the CHESHAM BOIS of Cheshire before seeing the light. Another one who came here to find out how the grey seal worked to find out that it..well…didn’t.

  17. IKEBANA again eh? Just like the 74 bus, you don’t see one for ages……..

    Had to look up the Welsh town though, oddly enough at exactly the same time as Jackkt, 1 hr 04 mins so technically a DNF. Quite tough I thought. I’m another who doesn’t really get the grey bit of 1d.

    I liked KNOWN.

    Thanks, and welcome back Z.

  18. Am I the only one who tried to invent LONG WINDERNESS, a little-known Cheshire enclave in Lancashire? Luckily BLEND (LOI) saved me. I am really struggling to believe that NEWSGIRL is a real word, and like others have no idea what’s going on in 1d. Otherwise a tough and enjoyable workout that finally yielded in 37:59. COD to the brilliant KNOWN. Thanks setter and welcome back Z.

    As Orkney bakes in uncharacteristic mid-20s temperatures (that’s a heatwave for us) I am looking forward to a great few days of sport: Ashes by day, US Open by night. Heaven.

  19. Back in OWL (One Wrong Letter) club today, with ‘macho’ rather than MUCHO – couldn’t figure out what was going on there at all.

    Like others, didn’t see how the first part of ABERDARE worked. Hadn’t heard of BANGUI but didn’t need to, didn’t know that FAR-OUT can mean excellent (I associate it more with being weird or eccentric), and managed to piece together LAMEBRAIN without being familiar with it.

    COD Known

  20. 39m 38s
    Welcome back Zabadak! And thank you for ALBANIA and ABERDARE (Are they twinned by any chance?)
    I liked FALL ON DEAF EARS and, particularly, SEAL OF APPROVAL. There are a lot of road repairs going on near me and I am coming across signs that say “Seal repair in progress”. I imagine driving round a corner and seeing a vet apply sticking plasters to a grey flipper.
    COD: KNOWN. Very clever.

  21. 57 minutes, finishing with the MUCHO/ LAME BRAIN crosser. That’s me. And I know it changed under the blasted Heath’s government, but Widnes is forever at the Lancashire end of the transporter bridge. It was a good job I have a friend from Aberdare or I’d still have my head in my hands. Testing puzzle. Thank you Z and setter.

  22. 21:09

    Mostly much enjoyed (especially FAR OUT and MUCHO).

    Nothing else to add, except welcome back Z!

  23. DNF, with MACHO left in as I couldn’t see MUCHO for the life of me.


  24. You got a doozy for your return Z but it’s good to see you. Not so much a DNF as a GU (gave up) for me.

    1. Hi Olivia. A comparative newcomer, I recently proposed that CNF (could not finish) was more appropriate than DNF because the latter implies a degree of choice. Like, ‘I chose not to finish’ as opposed to ‘I had no idea.’ But I am now firmly in your camp, let’s see if we can make GU a permanent part of the vocab. I am sure there are plenty of us who will have many opportunities to make use of it…

      1. DNF is convenient as a blanket term. But racing terminology is quite descriptive.
        FELL – a wrong answer
        UNSEATED RIDER – mental aberration on the part of the jockey/solver
        REFUSED – came to a complete standstill in front of a fence/clue
        PULLED UP – jockey, horse or both decided this isn’t worth the candle
        I used two of these describing my failure today.

        1. Ha! I know all these failings, far too well. But we keep getting back on the horse…

  25. DNF, like ChrisLutton in the OWL club with MACHO, never grasped the clue.
    I’m with BW on thinking Widnes was in Lancs. I see that the bridge that replaced the transporter bridge has been supplemented by a new bigger one but BOTH now have tolls. Humph! Fortunately I won’t need to cross it any time soon; last time was in about 2000.
    Do know of ABERDARE and that it is in S Wales, but the clue was gibberish to me so no credit for getting it.
    Never got 1d like lots of us.
    Totally missed the clever KNOWN.
    Thought FAR OUT had to be followed by Man, and don’t think it means champion.
    NHO BANGUI, but found the hidden easily enough; I’m appalled by my ignorance.

  26. For 1dn I didn’t think of any pinnipeds (a word I had to look up), rather the original meaning of ‘seal of approval’, probably, referring to a bit of sealing wax. I’m not an expert on the history of the colours in sealing wax, but have the impression that it used to be grey (although nowadays — if it’s ever used — it tends to be red). Lots of difficulties here, all very much the same as have already been mentioned. 64 minutes, with one look at lists for up = raise, not an obvious equivalence but I suppose if you treat ‘up’ as a verb it’s OK.

      1. Yes but very strictly speaking I was a DNF as I used a list for UPRAISE.

  27. 12:01 and welcome back, Z. One of those puzzles where everything seems clear in retrospect but it might take you a while to look at the wordplay from the right angle. I knew ABERDARE, and that it was in Wales (not that I could reliably point to it on a map, mind) but the ABER part of that clue was a leap of faith – not sure I’d have seen cABERs however long I’d stared at it, to be honest, so a good decision.

  28. I gave up without ABERDARE, and I’m afraid that I still don’t understand it at all – your valiant attempt to parse it notwithstanding. One of several dodgy bits of wordplay, unfortunately, along with BLEND, OPEN MIND and of course SEAL OF APPROVAL, where half the clue seems to have gone missing.

    On the other hand, AGNES & FAR OUT were lovely.

  29. I managed to fill in all the squares in 33:05, but having entered MACHO early in the proceedings, without much conviction, and with an intention to return to it, the inevitable happened, thus leaving me with a pink square. KNOWN and the ABER part of the Welsh town, which I knew, were unparsed. Thanks setter and Z, and welcome back.

  30. Enjoyed KNOWN and MACHO, biffed ABERDARE, BANGUI took too long to see.

    Making some progress on these more difficult puzzles now, even if they do take me a while.


  31. It took me ages to see “Fall on Deaf Ears” for some reason.
    Thanks for the explanation of the “Aber” in “Aberdare” – I was thinking maybe some anagram of “bare”!
    “Ikebana” twice in quick succession, if I’m not mistaken – maybe I’ll remember it now.

  32. Refused twice, then fell 2nd last when tailed-off….
    The watch had already passed 60′ minutes and at 75′ GO-TO-MATE (GOT 0 MATE -geddit) not only caused the fall, but made the final obstacle impossible. This pal would be well informed, but I just knew it was grammatically unjustifiable.
    Pleased to have parsed all in retrospect, but beaten fair and square.
    No complaints: compliments to the setter and best wishes to Zabadak on his return.
    Will be curious to see how the low-handicapped do on the SNITCH-ometer…

  33. Had to come back with 3 left then quickly saw FALL ON DEAF EARS which gave me BRIEF, LOI shortly after was RAISE. Glad I forced myself to change the vowel in MACHO. Didn’t read it as LAMEBRAIN til seeing it written in the blog. After two OWLs this week was pleased to see it all green here. Thanks setter and blogger.

  34. 39:58

    Enjoyable grid which gradually gave up its secrets. Another here that wondered about the 4-10 Cheshire town – got the answer OK but forgot about WIDNES. ABERDARE went in from three checkers though didn’t parse the ABER part.

    For SEAL OF APPROVAL, had been thinking it might be STAR OF something – needed all of the checkers and a rethink to get it – I quite liked the clue myself once I’d got the answer. Last two in (having pencilled in the unknown hidden BANGUI from the G and I checkers) were OPEN MIND (didn’t get the MIND part until coming here) and NHO LAMEBRAIN.

    Thanks setter and welcome back Z

  35. Something is just not clicking this week. Although I’ve not had time for crosswords every day, I haven’t finished one in The Times or The Guardian since last Thursday. On this one, it took me ages to get a start and I ground to a halt after six or seven solved clues and loads of re-reading from the top. Does anyone else have runs of failure like this, or is it just me? Either way, it gets very annoying!

    1. I wouldn’t beat yourself up. The last three crosswords have been three of the worst offerings I’ve ever encountered in the once-mighty Times. Although in fairness it’s probably my age. I no longer possess the attention-span or the patience to deal with what I perceive as looseness and imprecision. I’m amazed that 1D made it past the editor.

  36. There’s a Widnes in God’s Mersey
    I have to admit to only working out the town was Widnes once I’d chucked the other letters out, and from my point of view south of Watford it might just as well be Cheshire, and I didn’t check. I gather it used to be Lancs, but is now in the Borough of Halton in Cheshire.
    Tricky things, counties.

  37. I couldn’t finish this till just now, and cheated for LOI ABERDARE.
    Also just biffed LONG-WINDEDNESS, forgot to parse.
    Very enjoyable, though. Merry Christmas! (couldn’t see that at all last night).
    I (still) say “Far out!” but the definition made it a bit hard to see.
    Nice to see Z back on blog duty!

  38. I assume that all solvers who have never heard of Aberdare are not UK residents.

  39. 25:15. I went to university in Cardiff, which helped with ABERDARE, although I couldn’t parse ABER – and grew up in Cheshire, but didn’t realise Widnes was there too (just a general ‘Merseyside’ for me). I’ve seen the seal of approval on silly birthday cards, so it went in with a confident shrug.

    Thanks both.

  40. Widnes is on the Lancashire side of the bridge, and Runcorn is on the Cheshire side. The perverse decision to lump both it and Warrington into Cheshire in 1976 annoys me every bit as much the movement of my home of Altrincham into Greater Manchester (we still have a Cheshire postal address, but perversely our post town is Warrington 🙄)

    Anyway that’s my excuse for 8D being my LOI. ABERDARE Athletic were founder members of Division 3 South in 1920, but quickly vanished again. I was actually in the town briefly in 2019.

    I really laboured with this, taking a 6 hour break halfway through it. It was simply a chore.

    Good to see you back Z.

    TIME 15:43

  41. Completed this in 37 minutes, or so I thought, but it turned out to be an OWL as I had not progressed from MACHO to MUCHO. One has to be adept at so many languages these days. No problem with SEAL OF APPROVAL or ABERDARE, even if the clueing is a little loose or obscure, as the answer seemed clear enough, but I thought FAR-OUT was itself a bit far out. Welcome back to Zabadak and to IKEBANA.
    Thanks to Zabadak and other contributors.

  42. 50 minutes, with some pretty good clues (MUCHO, KNOWN, FALL ON DEAF EARS for example) and some pretty terrible ones. I give my seal of disapproval to SEAL OF APPROVAL — what a weak clue! And I don’t think the wording of 23ac works: the wordplay is B + LEND, but “before beginning” does not really mean “the beginning of ‘before’,” which is what is required. “Initially before” would be more correct, but of course terribly overworked. I did know ABERDARE, but couldn’t explain ABER for the life of me, and was hesitating a bit out of fear of confusing it with other Welsh place names beginning with ABER, such as Abertawe, until I realized that was the Welsh version of Swansea and so not a name used in English as well. I did once try to learn Welsh, without getting very far, but I do still have the Welsh edition of the Decimal Currency Guide issued in 1971, which with some difficulty I managed to obtain in the information office open in Oxford Circus tube station.

  43. Widnes has been in Cheshire for 10 years longer than I’ve been alive, so far from complaining about it being clued as being in Cheshire, I’d’ve been complaining if the clue said it was in Lancashire. I’m surprised that no one’s mentioned Aberystwyth and Aberdovey yet. In any case, this one was way too hard for me.

  44. Time: who knows?
    Did it; took ages; Aberdare and SoA clues were iffy.
    Thanks, Z, and welcome back 🙂

  45. Took me two days to get everything except Aberdare. Might be something of a record? I’m sure no one is still listening in any case.

    Thanks Z and welcome back.

    1. Not a record, I’m afraid. I quite often refuse to give up on a particularly chewy crossword, meaning that I revisit it days later, and sometimes end up solving it! This is particularly the case with weekend ones, where I know who the setter is on Sundays, and have more time before the blog comes out on Saturday ones. However, unless I’m enjoying the difficult clues, I won’t bother finishing – it becomes a chore.

  46. Not listening, perhaps, but my computer goes ping when a new reply comes up. You might have a record, though I’ve probably gone back several times in a week for a particularly tricky one. Then again, there’s the Listener. Good one, this week, by the way, somewhat educational with lots to find.

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