Times 28631 – it rain’d down fortune

I’m very lucky to get an easy Friday this week, as I’m busy with work and other commitments. No time, as I was distracted by my neighbour’s puppy, who I am sitting for this evening, but it took around 35 minutes in total.

The parsing of 15ac eluded me until blogging time, but I think all is straight below.

Definitions underlined.

1 Trashy American town regularly passing notice (3-3)
TWO-BIT – ToWn (regularly) + OBIT (passing notice).
5 Nervous, say, in the middle of journey on plane (8)
FLUTTERY – UTTER (say) in FLY (journey on plane).
9 Billions blown in the end protecting fine seaside resort (8)
BRIGHTON – B (billions) and blowN (in the end) containing RIGHTO (fine).
10 Weight in opening shot towards net causes deflection (6)
SWERVE – W (weight) in SERVE (opening shot towards net).
11 Have second thoughts about prisoners getting free ride (10)
RECONSIDER – RE (about) + CONS (prisoners) + anagram of RIDE.
13 Bring in each one of the Armed Forces (4)
EARN -EA (each) + RN (one of the Armed Forces).
14 Wow with crazy somersaulting (4)
STUN – NUTS (crazy) reversed.
15 Comprehend by embracing love and kindness (10)
COMPASSION – COMPASS (to grasp, get, comprehend) + IN (by) containing O (love). ‘In’ = ‘by’ is what I’m struggling with – perhaps I’ve totally missed the parsing. But, IN writing this I hope I have explained.
18 Technical detail briefly included in specialist trade union’s brochure (10)
PROSPECTUS – SPEC (technical detail briefly), contained by PRO (specialist) and TU’S (trade union’s).
20 Old French artist heading west, not south (4)
AGED – DEGAs (French artist) reversed, no ‘s’ (south).
21 Box mostly surplus to requirements (4)
SPAR – most of SPARe (surplus to requirements).
23 A group performing in front of gig-goers leaving (10)
ABANDONING – A + BAND (group) + ON (performing) + IN + first letter of Gig-goers.
25 One inventor recalled giving away organisation’s first secret (6)
INSIDE – I (one) + EDISoN (inventor) reversed, missing ‘o’ (organisation’s first).
26 Limit restricting endless tendency for waffly language (8)
VERBIAGE – VERGE (limit) containing endless BIAs (tendency).
28 Father almost completely broken apart by split from mother? (8)
PARENTAL – PA (father) and almost AL{L} (completely), containing (broken apart by) RENT (split).
29 Call placed primarily for digital currency (6)
CRYPTO – CRY (call) + first of (primarily) Placed + TO (for).
2 Dispute arising about trees being moved around cathedral site (9)
WORCESTER – ROW (dispute) reversed, then C (about) and an anagram of TREES.
3 Toilet with blue stall (3,4)
BOG DOWN – BOG (toilet) + DOWN (blue).
4 Empty text filled with a bit of ink? (3)
TAT -empty TexT containing A. As in, a tattoo.
5 Judge to be reportedly punished, in a way (5)
FINED – sounds like (reportedly) “find” (judge to be).
6 With no defeats, two points sit between United and Spurs, remarkably (11)
UNSURPASSED – S + E (two points, of the compass) contained by (sit between), U (united) + an anagram of AND SPURS.
7 Mythical hero seen from time to time inside America? (7)
THESEUS -SeEn (from time to time) inside THE US (America).
8 Partygoer in right state! (5)
RAVER – R (right)+ AVER (state).
12 Spy teenagers staggering outside clubs close to midnight (6,5)
SECRET AGENT – anagram of TEENEGERS, containing C (clubs), then the last letter of mignighT.
16 I felt ultimately satisfied (3)
MET – ME (I) + felT (ultimately)
17 Her voting changed incredibly quickly (9)
19 Suspect male is breaking into safe (7)
SURMISE – M (male) + IS, contained by SURE (safe).
20 Night in Paris covered by some payment (7)
ANNUITY – NUIT (night in Paris) contained by ANY (some).
22 Animal identified from front pair of paws? (5)
PANDA – the first pair of letters from ‘paws’ are P AND A.
24 Dye used to outline very small bone (5)
ANVIL – ANIL (dye, indigo) containing V (very).
27 Fabulous creature found in deeper oceans (3)
ROC -hidden in deepeR OCean.

67 comments on “Times 28631 – it rain’d down fortune”

  1. “Easy” is the word all right. I was wary of some answers that seemed to come too quickly: I know there could be other seaside resorts beginning in B and ending with N, but it was indeed BRIGHTON.
    (William: That’s B[-illions], RIGHTO (“fine”) and [-blow]N. There’s only one N.)
    Have lost count of how many times I’ve seen PANDA clued that way (how many have been here?).

  2. Hi William, I like your explanation of 15ac! I came to the same in the end.

    The compass points for 6dn are S and E. The N is in the anagrist.

  3. 15:02
    Easy, and rather ho-hum. I had the same feeling as Guy about BRIGHTON–suspiciously easy–and waited for a checker or two before biffing it, parsing post-submission. Also biffed COMPASSION & VERBIAGE, parsing post-sub.

  4. 27 minutes.

    I had no difficulty biffing COMPASSION but the parsing left me stumped even after the event. I might have thought of ‘comprehend = encompass’ eventually but never COMPASS on its own. As for ‘by/IN’ I get it now as in William’s example but given the thousands of cryptic puzzles I must have done over the years I wonder why it wasn’t immediately familiar. Perhaps setters don’t use it much, but why would they not, I wonder? The same applies to ‘for/TO’ at 29ac which also seems alien and at the moment I’m struggling to think of a substitution that works.

    What’s the function of ‘in a way’ at 5dn? I thought of FINED immediately there, but delayed writing it in until confirmed by checkers as I couldn’t account for the last three words of the clue.

    1. I agree, the ‘by/IN’ and ‘for/TO’ clue elements are both worthy of the MER label.
      As for ‘in a way’ at 5dn, could it be an alternative to a question mark (suggesting an example)?

      1. I considered that, but if we’re thinking of DBEs (definitions by example), ‘punishment’ is not an example of a fine, although the reverse would be true and may require mitigation by means of a question mark etc.

    2. The train for/to London is the example I always think of for this one.
      I agree on ‘in a way’. The words seem entirely superfluous both to the wordplay and the surface reading!

    3. I wonder whether the to/for issue could be a hangover from Latin teaching. As in, translating the dative case as either ‘to’ or ‘for’.

  5. 22 minutes for me. Pretty easy, as everyone else found. I also biffed COMPASSION and just assumed that “love” was the PASSION bit, but COM is not anything so this totally doesn’t work. I also wondered what I was missing at FINED because of “in a way”.

    1. I think it’s just the setter being generous by telling us we’re looking for one form of punishment among many. Could have left it off.

  6. Like our blogger, I need to attend to other priorities – so pleased to find this didn’t need the usual hour-long Friday grind. FOI RECONSIDER and steady progress with a bit of a finishing hold-up in the NW, until I remembered “dispute” = ROW in 2d. Then the rest dropped into place immediately. COMPASSION unparsed and one stray down the bottom …LOI CRYPTO. 32:39

  7. 32 minutes with LOI TAT, which I’d hesitated about earlier. I know nothing about TATTOOS with my body a temple to all that is wholesome if that includes pies and red wine, but it did fit the rest of the clue. COD to BOG DOWN for the chuckle when it emerged. Bog is so much a better word than loo. I just shrugged at not understanding the last three lettters of COMPASSION. Tricky in parts but OK. Thank you William. and setter.

    1. RED WINE ????

      There’s nowt wrong with a pint of Magee’s Mild as tha well knows!

      1. I like to bring a little sophistication to proceedings. I also bring a 77 year old bladder. And I never liked mild much.

  8. Count me as one of those who thought it was all going a bit easily in the top half, but fell back to earth as things progressed to finish in 27.42 which I thought was pretty good. Thank you William for unravelling THESEUS, UNSURPASSED and COMPASSION which, if that explanation is right, will probably not be clue of the year. I enjoyed this but a couple of definitions were dodgy, like PARENTAL = ‘from mother’ and OVERNIGHT = ‘incredibly quickly.’ It depends on the context, an overnight success is one thing but having to wait overnight for a cancelled flight to be rescheduled, or a baby to be delivered, is quite another.

    1. The definition of PARENTAL includes the quesstion mark: it’s a definition by example.
      OVERNIGHT has more than one meaning but so does nearly every other word in the language.

  9. What the hammer? what the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the Anvil? what dread grasp.
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
    (The Tyger, Blake)

    25 mins mid-brekker. A bit quirky, I thought. I don’t really like by=in or for=to.
    I liked the teenagers staggering outside clubs.
    Ta setter and W.

    1. Thank you for sharing Blake’s mighty poem, what a delight, I just went and reread it. Did he who made the lamb make thee? I was similarly delighted when Dylan wove a verse into his song about John Lennon…

  10. 16:21. I didn’t find it that easy and failed to parse BRIGHTON and COMPASSION (my LOI). I liked TWO-BIT and FLUTTERY. Thanks William and setter.

  11. 13 minutes, which must be my quickest ever time for a Friday.

    I tried to justify ‘two-bob’ for 1a for a while until realising that ‘American’ was part of the definition and getting TWO-BIT. The only one I didn’t parse was COMPASSION – I guess in=by works if you think “In doing so, we were able to…” / “By doing so, we were able to…” And I think the to/for in CRPYTO is OK too, as in “To him, it’s just a bit of fun” / “For him, it’s just a bit of fun”.

    A nice way to end a toughish week. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Bog down
    LOI Parental
    COD Worcester

  12. No time recorded as my solving was interrupted by a ‘phone call.
    Once again, I was irritated by loose definitions and slang.
    In response to jackkt, while I am critical of the puzzle generally, I don’t have an issue with the for/to equivalence: I would interchangeably say ‘I am heading for Brighton’ or ‘I am heading to Brighton.

  13. Finished in 28 mins, close to a PB, and felt the same level as the QC today, which I DNF-ed.

    Held up by PARENTED for PARENTAL. Didn’t see all parsings, as several clues were biffable : THESEUS, BRIGHTON. But I did work out INSIDE by starting from the back with Edison.

    A word like “gig-goers” screams anagram, but not today.

    COD and FOI ( that doesn’t often happen together). TWO BIT. Is that materially different from “fly-blown”?

  14. So I treated this as a Friday tester, and overcomplicated things, pushing me to 21.57, which is way down the list. Still, I like it when a setter goes a bit plebby, throwing in BOG, TOWIE with teenagers staggering outside clubs (4 in the morning in Epping, where once I lived), hip knowing about CRYPTO, and (for those masochists among us) footie savvy enough to work Spurs into the anagram. Mind you, in that last, once I’d seen the NS two points early on, it was tricky to see how the rest of the clue worked.
    Like Paul, I confused love with PASSION (so easy to do, don’t you find?) and decided COM was somehow indicated by what remained of the clue.

  15. Been a strange week with a DNF on Monday and a relatively straightforward Friday. Enjoyed TWO-BIT, esp “obit” as “passing notice”. Didn’t parse everything fully since some answers were fairly obvious, so a VG Friday time for me of around 25 mins.

  16. Gentle indeed, and a time of 9:24, which I would take any day of the week. TWO-BIT and THESEUS were my favourites.

    Thanks setter & blogger.

  17. 24:54

    Too many unlikeable bits in this crossword for comfort, though was pleased to see VERBIAGE (remembered from an early appraisal in my career where my boss suggested that my outpourings were so much flowery VERBIAGE – possibly still true today).

    Stuff unparsed/unliked:
    TWO-BIT – POI – had been thinking TIN-POT until the W barged its way in
    COMPASSION – no idea what was going on here – bunged in from def
    CRYPTO – though it went in early, didn’t like for=TO though expect there is some rare occurrence where the two might substitute for each other.
    TAT – didn’t even think that ‘bit of ink’ meant tattoo, though have heard it before – thought it must be another name for an ink blot (which most tattoos would appear to be)
    UNSURPASSED – too convoluted to work out – bifd once COMPASSION had also been bifd

    Hats off to BOG DOWN though. Thanks setter and William

  18. Very gentle for a Friday, but none the worse for that. As for others, in/by and for/to elecited mers. TAT was FOI. Liked BOG DOWN and TWO BIT. LOI was SURMISE. 18:47. Thanks setter and William.

  19. 10:16, which probably includes a surcharge because I was watching the opening over of the Test match while I solved (this is likely to be a recurring theme over the next few weeks). Nothing to scare the horses, certainly by Friday standards.

  20. 19:50 so an easy Friday indeed. Many of the definitions were so obvious there wasn’t much point in worrying over the cryptics, so if there was anything clever going on I mostly missed it.

  21. As others have suggested it was easier to get the answer than to explain them, but I did get a few like Edison.
    2d Worcester rather easy to get as I went to W Cathedral King’s School.
    Mis-parsed 9a BRIGHTON as B and Right-On ignoring “blown in the end”.

  22. 9:51. I enjoyed this one, I like it when setters use slang and modern terms like CYPTO. Rich variety of the language and all that.

  23. 25 minutes with LOI VERBIAGE which upped my time by two or three minutes.
    I coukdn’t get persiflage out of my head for some reason.
    As everyone says an easy one.
    Cheers Steve

  24. The disadvantage of solving on a tablet, where you have to touch the screen, is that you can inadvertently do so. I had PANDL at 22dn and that made 28ac rather difficult until I realised. Eventually I gave up and used an electronic aid, which only gave ‘cliental’, and that didn’t seem to be the answer. As a result I took longer than I should have done, 46 minutes. I’m not a fan of prepositions being equivalent to other random prepositions by giving sentences where they are interchangeable; OK I suppose but what about ‘different to’/’different from’ in order to establish the equivalence of ‘to’ and ‘from’? That wouldn’t be popular.

  25. This is my first attempt at a crossword since admission to hospital with a collapsed lung two weeks ago.

    The experience has left me drained, so I was quite pleased to finish this in 31 minutes. No real holdups, but I was a bit slow at parsing some. I thought the puzzle was enjoyable. I didn’t find anything to complain about.

    1. Bad luck, that sounds horrible, I always think. Hope you are recovering well. Your time was well up on mine, if that’s any consolation!

  26. 28 mins. I couldn’t work out PARENTAL before coming here, thought the literal was the wrong parent! So tx.

  27. 19.49 without too many alarms and excursions. Thought bog a bit vulgar for The Thunderer but on reflection I recall a receptacle for a the same purpose was called a thunderbox and as we’ve had john, loo and lav before, I suppose I’m being a bit prissy.

    Thx setter and bogger.

  28. 32:23 but a telephone call from Porlock accounted for about 10 minutes of that. Easy enough but some nice touches. I liked CRYTPO, and SWERVE, Didn’t mind for/to but in/by made me pause.

    Thanks to Willam and the setter.

  29. Sometimes I don’t bother to try the Friday cryptic but after yesterday’s debacle, for me anyway, I had a suspicion that it might be doable. And so it was, although I was seriously held up by initially putting USELESS instead of THESEUS.

  30. Yesterday was Friday, Monday was Friday, but Friday is Monday(ish).

    A bit of a visit to biff central – VERBIAGE, PROSPECTUS, COMPASSION, and I came here for enlightenment. Thanks william_j_s.

    Nice to see bog in a Times puzzle as part of my COD.


    1. As the old song went, It’s a Friday kind of Monday, everything is fiiiiine, yeah

  31. 38 minutes. Slow to get many today, including not seeing the correct sense of ‘ink’ for TAT and only half-parsing COMPASSION. I then tried to over-complicate things by looking for the Latin word for the ‘small bone’ at 24d, so not a great performance for a fairly gentle Friday.

  32. I’ve again bucked the trend by having to really battle with this “easy” puzzle. There were too many messy clues, and I really don’t like COMPASSION. I needed a 3 minute alpha trawl for my LOI.

    TIME 11:32

  33. No time as done in three sessions, hence the tardiness, and family arriving direct from Aus. Agree re the COMPASSION clue.

    I tried FLUTTERY once but it didn’t get me anywhere !

    Thanks William and setter.

  34. 28’55”
    Steady pace, caught flat-footed final furlong, rallied.
    As others have said, I found this a pleasing mixture of the old and the new. Thank you William, especially for your (15a) example, and setter, not least for the excuse to stop listening, very nervously, to Test Match Special.
    Many thanks also for all the instances of interchangeable prepositions.
    I’m going to write them all down for my students.
    I have a handy rule of thumb for spacial prepositions: 2 dimensions ON,3 dimensions IN, no dimensions AT. Otherwise, I feel gradual assimilation is the best bet, so your additions are most welcome.

  35. 35 minutes, and yes, a bit easy for a Friday although it didn’t start that way for me. AGED was my FOI going through the across clues, but once I got started things continued swimmingly. And I rather enjoyed this puzzle. First of all, it was definitely solvable with no arcane knowledge required. But the clues were not entirely obvious and I often went off in the wrong direction before seeing how they were really supposed to work (UTTER and not EG in FLUTTERY, for example, or America being THE US and not just US in THESEUS). I did get just about all of the word play in the end, including seeing what TAT had to do with ink and which part of COMPASSION would make me “understand” — too tempting to equate PASSION with “embracing” or “love”, so a nice trap for the unwary. My LOI was CRYPTO, which took a minute because COYOTE was staring me in the face from the crossers and who knows, that could be the name of a digital currency (certainly from the point of view of safety it would fit).

    1. indeed there is a cryptocurrency called “coyote”, so I put it in the grid thinking nothing else would fit the checkers, even if the parsing eluded me. As soon as I saw the pink squares I saw what the answer should have been.

  36. Finished just as Joe Root got his century.
    Came here to understand the parsing of LOI PARENTAL.

  37. This certainly felt like a QC, with a time of 14 minutes (which must be a PB) to match. I have been convinced for some time that the crossword is becoming more lavatorial, so 3dn did not disappoint. Nice to get some free time on a Friday.
    Thanks to william and other contributors.

  38. Whether because I came to this this evening, rather than in the morning, and being tired, I don’t know, but I found it took longer than it should have done, given there were no unknowns and the parsing, by and large, was pretty straightforward. I had no worries about by=IN, though I did parse after biffing. LOsI were the 5A/5D pair, where I became fixated on STUTTERY, once I got ‘utter’. You would think, though, that ‘journey on plane’ might possibly make ‘fly’ leap into one’s mind, no? BOG DOWN made me laugh, and I liked ‘obit’ for passing notice.

  39. Another poor offering. The evidence is in the blog. On each of the last four days there has been a discussion on what the setter could possibly mean. Cryptics should be precise and unambiguous, not loose and open to interpretation.

  40. Had 4 left (FINED, FLUTTERY, THESEUS, AGED) and 1 wrong (SURvIvE) at the hour and managed to get it sorted with a few checks in 1hr06.

    Quite tough going for me and needed the blog for CRYPTO, VERBIAGE, ANVIL (nho dye) as well as the finer points of BRIGHTON, WORCESTER and PARENTAL. And of course, COMPASSION which I had assumed was some abbreviation of COM=comprehend with PASSION=embracing love.

  41. Very happy to complete (almost!) a Friday puzzle in around 30 minutes- couldn’t get my head around fluttery = nervous for some reason. All went in with a fair amount of biffing then parsing, SECRET AGENT for example (great surface reading!), and was appreciative of the mix of slang/modern lingo with conventional language: BOG DOWN / TWO-BIT/CRYPTO, as against VERBIAGE/PROSPECTUS, etc. And no unwanted NHOs!
    A very happy bunny.

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