Times 28633 – Concise meets Quickie

This was super easy. 10:31.

1 New team doctor, a philosophical type (13)
8 Eyesore some tomfool Yankee erected first of all (4)
STYE – initial letters of words 2 to 5
9 Charmingly interacting with lady dropping leaflet, for example (10)
ENGAGINGLY – ENGAGING (interacting) L[ad]Y (a leaflet can de an ad)
10 Burning torch an essayist coated in iron and gold (8)
FLAMBEAU – [Charles] LAMB (pen name Elia) in FE AU
11 Buzz brought about by short time in farm (6)
13 Lower level press employee returning pastries with hesitation (10)
16 Intelligence organisation originally in North America (4)
NOUS – O[rganisation in N US
17 Opposed to article leading to mother’s ruin (4)
AGIN – A GIN (mother’s ruin is a nickname for gin – see Hogarth’s engravings)
18 Vague implication reportedly losing force (10)
DIMINUENDO – DIM (vague) INUENDO (sounds like innuendo)
20 Boarding vessel, choose the best oars (6)
22 Dull headgear ultimately — old, it may be felt (8)
24 Member of order such a train transported (10)
CARTHUSIAN – SUCH A TRAIN; a Catholic religious order founded in the 11th century and named after the Chartreuse Mountains near Grenoble; Marie Henri Beyle (or Stendhal, as he called himself, along with a thousand other aliases) was born in Grenoble and wrote a novel called La Chartreuse de Parme, in which he situated Parma on the wrong side of the Po. I have read much of this witty man’s voluminous writings and can recommend everything apart from this book (apart from the description of the Battle of Waterloo at the beginning) and his treatise on On Love. But be careful – he is addictive.
26 Animal shelter situated at end of forest (4)
SETT – SET [fores]T
27 Ongoing struggle, administering East Sussex town! (7,6)
RUNNING BATTLE – a pretty unchallenging double definition
1 Like some alloying — city police hypersensitive, we hear (11)
METALLURGIC – MET (Metropolitan Police) sounds like ALLERGIC
2 Amount of heat head of Harrow used during school session (5)
THERM – H[arrow] in TERM
3 Quietly passed on and given unexpected promotion (9)
PREFERRED – P REFERRED; I have no clue as to why the setter has used ‘unexpected’
4 Dairy product giving husband energy over in nomad’s tent (7)
YOGHURT – H GO (energy) revered in YURT
5 Bar disheartened architect finally left (5)
INGOT – IN[i]GO [Jones] [lef]T
6 Lack of knowledge of good woman visiting fashionable church (9)
7 Disappointing score, one inspired by new libretto initially (3)
NIL – I in N[ew] L[ibretto]; lots of these initial and final letters, aren’t there?
12 Coffee served outside below key washing-place (11)
LAUNDERETTE – UNDER E (musical key) in LATTE
14 Sleeveless garment worn by only child, perhaps (9)
SINGLETON – cryptic definition with minimal crypticity; actually not (thanks to Merlin and Kevin): we have SINGLET (sleeveless garment) ON (worn by)
15 Obsession of woman entertaining native of Muscat, possibly (9)
MONOMANIA – OMANI in MONA; Nora’s sister, wife?
19 Failing to notice girl during golf (7)
21 Middle Easterner’s second car (5)
23 Relax about current exam (5)
RESIT – I in REST; not getting any harder, is it?
25 A period of time in Scottish port (3)
AYR – A YR; no sting in the tail today

103 comments on “Times 28633 – Concise meets Quickie”

  1. 25.22 Close to a PB.

    MONOMANIA held me up, as some other obsessions end with -OMANIA. Just got back from Muscat myself two weeks ago, so OMANI was on my mind.

    I thought the sleeveless garment was just a Singlet, so where does the ON come from?

    The Surrey School, Charterhouse, calls its old boys CARTHUSIANS. Includes Baden-Powell, Thackeray, David and Jonathan Dimbleby, Jeremy Hunt, Max Hastings and Peter Gabriel.


    1. ‘….Peter Gabriel and other members of Genesis such as Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks’

      Singlet…ON (worn by)

  2. 10:44
    I took SINGLETON to be SINGLET (sleeveless garment) ON (worn by), the definition being ‘only child, perhaps’. THRILL was my LOI, as I couldn’t see how it worked; only twigged after submitting. I wondered about ‘unexpected’, too. I assumed, correctly it would seem, that there’s a town called BATTLE in East Sussex.

    1. It’s near Hastings, named, I believe, after quite a famous battle, but more a village than a town.

  3. I didn’t get to complete this in one sitting, got a few interruptions. I had to piece together CARTHUSIAN at the end.

  4. Hmm. Ulaca might have found this super easy but my experience was somewhat different. An interrupted solve didn’t help, I was probably about 35 mins. Post-solve the cryptics are mostly straightforward, but even so words like CARTHUSIAN, METAPHYSICIAN, METALLURGIC, SUBSTRATUM and DIMINUENDO are somewhat daunting and several leaps of faith were required by me. Knowing there was a town in East Sussex called Battle would have helped. I wonder how many decades it has been since anyone named their baby girl Nora or Mona. Many years ago somebody analysed the list of registered players in the national AFL competition (700+ individuals) and not one was named John.

        1. I can also remember Bruce Monteith (Richmond premiership captain think) and of course Bruce Yardley. Maybe there are more Bruces than I thought…

    1. Further to vinyl’s comment, according to our (Victoria, Australia) Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (aka Hatch, Match and Dispatch), of the baby girls born last year, 64 were named Nora, making it the 93rd most popular girl’s name. Mona didn’t make it in to the top 100 and for boys, you can tell ulaca that Bruce didn’t either.

      1. Thank you Rob. For some reason I always assumed the battle was on the coast (like, at Hastings) and Battle itself is some way inland. One way or another it’s a part of the world I wish I’d spent more time in – and not just to solve crossword clues.

        1. If King Harold had been more patient, he might have given his army more rest following their long journey south having defeated the Danes only days previously, and engaged William even further inland – the town of Battle might have been located somewhere else entirely – and Harold conceivably might have defeated William, changing the entire course of British history…

    2. Yes I wish some of the super solvers would recognise that we do not all have the brains or experience to dash these off in a few minutes

      1. Living near London probably helps too as there can be a lot of SE based clues. Usually helps to be a cricket fan too, though no cricket clues in this one.

      2. Agreed. As a (rather dense) beginner I find comments like this disheartening.

        1. Hi David, I got an email notification of your comment because apparently I started all this. I’m new (about 4 weeks) to this site but have been battling away at the Xword for a few years and lurking around the site without joining in for much of that time. I am now reasonably competent and my advice is to ignore all those supersolvers who get through a Xword in, oh, 4.25 when most humans struggle to get one clue in that time. Or much longer. It’s a most rewarding pastime but it’s a bit like golf, it’s between you and the course and nobody else. So don’t be disheartened, go at your own speed and take advantage of the fact that this site is the best education into Xwd solving any of us will ever get! It takes time, but the key is to stick at it and forget about the speed freaks…

          1. wahoo!!!! heads above parapets!! my husband and I have been ‘lurking’ around this site for 15 years (lol) we could barely do one clue, between us, in a week. We are congratulating ourselves on our first under an hour crossword today, so the advice of enjoy the learning whilst ignoring the speed freaks rings home.

            1. Many congratulations! You will of course soon be speed freaks yourselves and calling things easy, which has people throwing their arms in the air and asking questions in the House.

  5. Ha ha, the great Bruce myth. I think Eric Idle has a lot to answer for! The only Bruces I’ve come across are Springsteen and Chatwin though I’m sure there are a few more lurking around. Ah, Forsyth! I was about to say they don’t do entertainment like that anymore but back in March I saw Rob Brydon’s stage show…

    1. There’s Willis, Robert The, and of course our own brnchn, inter no doubt many alios.

      1. I just remembered there was a guitar player for the Seekers and the sports commentator Bruce McAveny, well-known in Oz. So there are two Aussies right there, but they are not exactly common as BR has pointed out. I’m slightly terrified that Nora is creeping up on us, I haven’t yet encountered one of them but I suppose if there are 93 in Victoria the chances aren’t that good!

        1. The Seekers’ Bruce Woodley co-wrote the song “Red Rubber Ball” with Paul Simon.

          1. Hello BUSMAN, it’s good to know there’s someone else in the world who knew that. As I recall it was a hit for a band called The Cyrkle (?) and it was a pretty good song.

            1. Yes; but the Seekers’ own version of the song is far, far better. Judith Durham, one of the unique voices of the world

              1. Never heard it Jerry. The band lost me when they started singing approvingly about human-animal relationships.

                1. What in the world…?! Is this a joke about “Wild Rover” or what?

                  I did “I’ll Never Find Another You” in karaoke on July 17 of last year. When Judith Durham died that August 5, it was like I had done a premature tribute. But then in September, my former lover Judith Rosenblum—who dubbed me “Sandy,” actually—died. So I had another reason to sing that song…

  6. 16 minutes. Not too difficult though I take LindsayO’s point about the not commonly used words of which MONOMANIA and ENGAGINGLY were the ones I found most difficult. I liked the ‘it may be felt’ def for SOMBRERO.

  7. 27 minutes, so not quite as easy for me as for our blogger, and not helped by having METALLERGIC at 1dn because I constructed the answer from wordplay without paying attention to the homophone indicator or to the correct spelling of the answer arrived at. This delayed me solving the intersecting SUBSTRATUM.

    Elsewhere I wondered about CULL being defined as ‘choose the best’ as I’d have thought it meant the exact opposite, but I now see it can be both, and if the order of the listings in Collins is anything to go by ‘best’ takes precedence over ‘worst’ or ‘weakest’.

    Another meaning that has passed me by until now is SINGLETON meaning an only child, I knew it only as an unmarried / unattached adult or a term used in card games.

    Do we class RUNNNING BATTLE as a double definition? I thought of it as a straight definition plus wordplay: RUNNING (administering), BATTLE (East Sussex town).

    1. I don’t think SINGLETON means this specifically, it’s just an example of the more general meaning of any single thing.
      I agree on RUNNING BATTLE. Even if you read the whole thing together you can’t (IMO) class it as a definition because it’s not a recognised lexical term.

        1. Thanks – a dictionary I don’t have access to! But I see the full-fat OED has something similar: ‘one who is alone or unaccompanied, as an only child or unmarried person’.

      1. Running battle is in Wiktionary as a recognised expression.
        I too was thrown by sCULLs.

        1. Yes but not one that means ‘administering East Sussex town’. The first bit (ongoing struggle) is a definition, the second bit isn’t.

    2. I haven’t played golf in years but the term SINGLETON used to apply to a player going round a course on his/her own. Some courses, in my experience, didn’t allow them at certain times.

      1. I ran into a fellow SINGLETON/ LONE WOLF on the dog-leg (10th?) at Girton. We joined forces and I immediately hooked into the wood. He complimented me on my wedge out of the undergrowth; I replied “Shame it was the fifth attempt!”. When he gave me a look which suggested ‘Why did you admit to that?’, I was glad I’d turned down his suggested wager.

  8. Ahhhhh – birds are singing outside the open window, strawberries from the allotment with my yoghurt – and a proper Monday puzzle to ease me into the week!

    Started off still half-asleep (unable to figure out the META bit of 1a – duh) and enjoyed the ride with few difficulties. Worst hold-up was assuming that 13a ended in the other hesitation – ER. After fixing that, and spending a minute dealing with the permutations of the 24a anagram, finished up with PREFERRED, ENGAGINGLY, and LOI INGOT. 17:54 – thanks U and setter.

  9. 16 minutes, with LOI DIMINUENDO. COD to RUNNING BATTLE. I was disappointed when I drove through there that the welcome sign wasn’t Let Battle Commence. Nora is a fine old name. My Mum was one. On the easy side, but sometimes I need a boost to my self esteem. Thank you U and setter.

    1. 🤣🤣 The local council definitely missed a trick there!
      Possibly the most famous Nora, apart from your sainted mother of course, would be Nora Batty from ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, I guess.
      PS….I remember ‘Let Battle Commence’ being the last line of the lovely Stanley Holloway monologue: “Sam, Sam, pick oop thy musket”.

      1. In researching Nora I learnt that the expression ‘flaming Nora’ is a corruption of ‘flaming horror’ as spoken by Cockney types.

    2. I thought the name was usually Norah with an H – at least, that was how my grandmother spelled her name.

  10. Not as easy for me as some found it, and a fat-fingered “batile”awarded me 2 errors after 8:36 (though I’m not too unhappy – my time wouldn’t have helped my SNITCH average 🙄)

  11. This truth fand honest Tam o’ Shanter,
    As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
    (Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses,
    For honest men and bonie lasses.)
    (Burns, obvs)

    20 mins mid-brekker. Neat, tidy, gentle.
    Ta setter and U.

    1. I’ll accept its Burns, but if the spelling had been more conventional, I might have essayed McGonagall:
      This truth found honest Tam o’ Shanter
      As he from Ayr at night did canter
      On first of September 1749
      Which will be remembered for a very long time
      Old Ayr which never a town surpasses
      For honest men and bonny lasses

  12. 16 minutes so yes I found it easy also.
    I don’t know what Carthusians are so needed all the crossers for that. Thanks blogger for the enlightenment on that (maybe I’ll try this Stendhal one day)

  13. 8:02. I didn’t find this particularly easy, at least to start with. I only got two or three from my first pass through the acrosses, and those were the short ones.

  14. 8:30. My quickest for quite a while, although I did biff MONOMANIA and ENGAGINGLY and didn’t fully work out INGOT. The only NORA I can think of is Nora Batty of Last of the Summer Wine fame. Thanks U and setter.

  15. 40 mins and not quite so easy I thought. LOI DIMINUENDO held me up for a bit and I had to think hard to get ENGAGINGLY, PREFERRED, and SOMBRERO.

    I liked FLAMBEAU.

    Thanks u and setter.

  16. Half an hour, with the last 10 minutes spent on the frustrating (for me at least) SOMBRERO. For a long time I thought the first R was the last bit of headgear, so I was looking for a 4-letter word S_M_ meaning dull, then a 3-letter word _R_ meaning old. On this occasion it would have helped to think of the headgear in the clue rather than disregard it completely.

    Not too tricky otherwise, though CARTHUSIAN took a while to come, I never remember Inigo Jones the architect as needed for INGOT, and I didn’t parse SINGLETON.

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

    FOI Nil
    LOI Sombrero
    COD Sculls

  17. How odd – I found this the hardest Monday in ages, and came here expecting similar responses. 11m 30s, with PREFERRED taking a long time, and finishing on the hopeful CARTHUSIAN as the most plausible anagram.

    Clearly off the wavelength today. Maybe I’m better solving at lunchtime than just after breakfast.

  18. 10:35, but felt like it should have been five seconds faster.

    Thanks setter and U.

    1. Many thanks for the X-marks-the (wrong) -spot elucidation and tales; I erred by 500 miles and by 2,074 feet 8 inches in term of span. I found a name for the Bridge Engineer of the Hexham bridge – Mr. L.W. Laws – and still feel his design was repeated for yours.

      1. Yes I’ve seen a few carbon copies around the place. Harwood certainly wasn’t the first, though it may have been the biggest.

        Looks tiny now.

  19. 18:56 – Under 20 mins is definitely a new record for me.

    LOI – DIMINUENDO, and although this was rather easy I was pleased that I’d remembered FLAMBEAU from previous puzzles 🙂

  20. So I did this in an apparently sluggish 11.52: apart from PREFERRED (odd definition?) and CARTHUSIAN (forgotten the monks, might have got it from Charterhouse) everything went pretty much straight in. FLAMBEAU, of course, from Father Brown.
    A minor query on “might be felt” SOMBRERO. Every sombrero Google shows is straw, apart from a few fancy dress ones. But then I remembered Three Amigos. Must be my Lucky Day.

  21. I’m sure I pressed submit at 9:58. I’ve been under 10 mins maybe twice, so quite pleased.

    I’d seen comments that it was easy, and so it proved, but somehow it didn’t seem that easy when I was solving. Lots of longish, slightly unusual words, one of which, DIMINUENDO, was my LOI.

    10:00 according to the site.

  22. At last a Mondayish puzzle on a Monday I thought. With one to go I had taken 25 minutes. But although I had all the checkers I just couldn’t think of DIMINUENDO and eventually used aids. I wasn’t very happy with dim = vague, or with losing force = losing volume, but I would say that wouldn’t I. No doubt they are justified by some dictionary or other, but apparently Chambers doesn’t give a direct equivalence for either and Collins not for force = volume. Otherwise all quite pleasant and gentle. Why was there an exclam after the East Sussex town? Ho-ho, but …

  23. 18:42

    Not sure I would have described this as ‘super easy’ or even ‘easy’ – perhaps ‘easy in parts’? There were a few jumps of faith for me: ENGAGINGLY from three checkers finally giving LOI PREFERRED; MONOMANIA (containing OMANI – guessed that was where Muscat derived from – didn’t Neighbours actor Craig McLachlan have a hit with ‘Mona’?); didn’t see the architect at 5d either – INGOT bunged in with all checkers.

    1. I like to say it’s easy, because K will always invariably say it isn’t. Just feeding my contrarian nature.

  24. Stayed up far too late watching the US OPEN golf so was pleased to finish this in my groggy state.

    1. Same here. Very much wanted to see Rory win but by the end I was just happy there wasn’t a play-off!

  25. 16 mins. LOI DIMINUENDO, a bit DIM in reconstructing the cryptic after getting the literal.

  26. More like a Monday puzzle, so I won’t get my days confused as I did last week! About 30 mins for me which is ok but would have been great deal quicker had I not spent a lot of time trying to solve S_G_T for 5 down not realising I’d fat-fingered METAPHYSICIAN for 1 across. Otherwise no biffs for a change and very happy to get DIMINUENDO given my general ignorance of musical tempos. Thanks to all for a pleasant intro to the week.

  27. I’m among the ones who found this easy. The only clue that held me up at the end was CARTHUSIAN. Until I got it I was trying various obscure (non-existent) monastic orders from the anagram fodder. However, it wasn’t my LOI, which was AYR.
    20 minutes

  28. 11:12 – I think I might have broken 10mins for this if I hadn’t had to do it on an iphone, painstakingly mistyping and retyping almost every answer. Nice to see Monday back to normal.

  29. 07:25, occasionally distracted by Joe Root, who really is in the mood this morning, and probably would have knocked this off in three or four minutes with his wrong writing hand. Pleasantly Mondayish, anyway.

  30. I’m with our blogger on this one. A fairly easy Monday offering, all done in 16 minutes (possibly a PB never to be repeated). A mer at the use of INIGO as an architect. Would we accept a first name such as CHRISTOPHER or NORMAN as an architect without more?
    FOI – STYE
    LOI – SETT
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

    1. No, but who else famous is called Inigo? You wouldn’t clue him as Jones, after all, would you?

      1. The only other Inigo I know is the wonderfully named Inigo Jollifant, a prominent character in the much-filmed JB Priestley novel The Good Companions. He was played by John Gielgud in the original 1933 film.

      2. Inigo Pipkin – the proprietor and puppet-maker from a 1970s children’s UK TV programme, known as ‘Inigo Pipkin’ and later ‘Pipkins’ following the death of the actor who played him. His creations included Octavia (an ostrich), Topov (a monkey), Pig (a….. um, pig), Tortoise (guess) and Hartley Hare (a sneaky hare)

      1. It’s not a big issue, but I just feel if you wanted to identify him as the architect of a building you would say it was designed by Inigo Jones, not just Inigo. It is not like Italian artists who are readily identified by their first names, like Dante or Raphael.

  31. Relieved to find a true Mondayish puzzle on the correct day! No problems except LOI, DIMINUENDO, which seems to have given some trouble to many of us. I kicked myself when I got it, as I always seem to have trouble with the ones I should get straight away – (musical terms, cricket and writers, fwiw). Anyway, that pushed my time up quite a bit, but would be my COD.

  32. Not that easy but still completed over a lunchtime with LOI CARTHUSIAN returning to the anagram fodder after an initially fruitless stab. SCULLS and SINGLETON were late in.
    Was puzzled by SOMBRERO.

  33. Disappointingly easy, I thought, too many clues where the definition leapt out at first glance. Only tiny holdup was having originally put metaphysicist at 1ac which meant I had to stop and think when I got to 7d.

  34. All complete with PREFERRED my LOI, like others pausing due to the unexpected bit. Still there was some serious words there to dissect using the well written clues so thanks to the setter and to the blogger.

  35. 28’48”
    Woefully one-paced closing stages.
    There were sufficient chestnuts here to remind me of a fortnight of meandering la vallée du Célé, very close to the neck-of-the-woods of that puzzle-cracker par excellence, Champollion.
    Despite my DIM. stumbling in the latter stages I enjoyed this lots; thank-you setter and Ulaca.
    Bravo George and Mudge, and any other record-breakers I’ve missed.

  36. A nice combination of complicated words and straight-forward enough cryptics. The only bit I didn’t like was the product placement.
    Thanks, ulaca. Getting from Carthusian to a review of Stendahl’s works is an impressive series of Only Connect intellectual leaps.

  37. Don’t know the time as I fell asleep solving this. Nothing too tricky.

  38. I found this plenty easy, polishing it off before going to bed earlier than usual after karaoke. LOI SOMBRERO, for which the definition was somewhat hard to see.

  39. Gave it a go due to the blog heading and it snitching at 64. Did worse on it than the two from last week that snitched at 76 and 78. Had 9 left on this one plus one wrong SUBSTRATer, 4-5 left on those. So it goes. NHO MONOMANIA, AGIN, DIMINUENDO and probably not CARTHUSIAN. Should have got RUNNING-BATTLE, SUBSTRATUM and maybe SINGLETON.

  40. 7’45” which must be a PB, or nearly. So yes, easy. Biffed like crazy when I saw I might be in for a record. Re. Stendhal, I’ve tried him in French and found both the Charterhouse of Parma and the Red and the Black just too painful. Endless scenes with nothing happening, and character motivation impossible to understand. Like Ulaca, I exclude the battle scene at the beginning of the Charterhouse, which gives a totally false impression that the rest is going to be readable.

  41. 30 minutes exactly and it was indeed very easy. DIMINUENDO was my LOI, METAPHYSICIAN my FOI, not much more to say. We have an English neighbour and good friend who is in Debrett’s Peerage and we have been to Battle to see where her ancestors immigrated illegally (but they got away with it).

  42. Not so easy for me, Ulaca! If only I’d seen the split between the “new team” and the “doctor”, all would have flowed much more easily…(doctor being one of those words where you never know whether it’s a solving prompt or a person). STYE (regular nasties in my childhood), FLAMBEAU and most of the other short answers went in quite quickly, but for some reason couldn’t get THRILL, despite having T- – ILL early on! Liked RUNNING BATTLE and SAUDI (sorry Paul). Not my finest hour (literally).

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