Times 28642: Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?


I did OK on this one, completing in 22.32, but I should own up straight away to looking up the Trojan priest. I’ll be quite surprised if it turns out I’m the only one. Otherwise it’s pretty standard fare, with a lot of “first letter” activity and a low anagram count. I’ve included a query for climatologists and geographers concerning what looks like a solecism: I promise I won’t mind if it’s me (and Wiki) that’s mistaken.

Definitions in bold italics.

1 Relating to several terms in case about reversing on motorway (9)
TRINOMIAL – That’ll be x+y-z for example. I did wonder if several was a bit too many for three, but let’s not quibble. Case is TRIAL and it’s about ON reversing to give NO and M(otorway). Lost time working with “in case”, and terms to suggest word endings. [tilbee correctly points out that we need a second I in the wordplay, so it’s not just a Motorway but the M1.]
6 Indian state importing high-class, primarily Dutch, cheese (5)
GOUDA – The Indian state is GOA, high class is U according to Nancy Mitford*, and D is the first (primarily) of Dutch. Nice that Gouda is actually Dutch cheese.

  • Alan Day of Birmingham University got there first.
9 Birds of prey inhabiting remoter nests (5)
ERNES – Another word for (usually fish-) EAGLES, and today’s hidden in remotER NESts
10 Look around initially observing very large duck (9)
GOOSANDER – Look gives you the GANDER in Arthur Daley speak, insert the first (initially this time) of Observing and OS for very large, a standard abbreviation for outsize. That a goosander is a large duck is congenial.
11 Opposed to what in France is a period piece (7)
ANTIQUE – Opposed ANTI and “what” in France is QUE
12 Get too big for blooming argument about key (7)
OUTGROW – Flowers that are blooming are OUT, argument is ROW, and the two are surrounding G, a random key. Stick to music for that: fewer choices than on your keyboard.
13 Person of wide culture avoiding con in survey by crew (11,3)
RENAISSANCE MAN – Biffed from definitions, but it’s survey giving RECONNAISSANCE minus the CON, and the verbal crew for MAN
17 Arab maybe introducing play finally enters a turbulent area (5,9)
HORSE LATITUDES – Wiki unhelpfully but probably accurately says “these are are the latitudes about 30 degrees north and south of the Equator. They are characterized by sunny skies, calm winds, and very little precipitation. They are also known as subtropical ridges or highs. It is a high-pressure area at the divergence of trade winds and the westerlies.” Perhaps more knowledgeable geographers than I can justify the “turbulent” tag. Anyway the Arab is an example of a HORSE, play is LATITUDE, and add the S from the end of (finally) enterS
21 Sibling allowed to go on excursion (7)
TRIPLET – Allowed LET tagged onto excursion TRIP. They don’t come much easier.
23 Conventional way to keep home (7)
ROUTINE – Way is ROUTE, insert IN for home
25 Short-lived English friend crossing border with hesitation (9)
EPHEMERAL – E(nglish) friend: PAL crosses (includes) HEM for border and ER for hesitation.
26 Excuse boxer breeder intended to begin with (5)
ALIBI – The boxer is the immortal ALI, and then take the first letters (to begin with now) of Breeder Intended.
27 A second set of books required on Charlie’s course (5)
ASCOT – A first letter-fest: A Second O(ld) T(estament) set of books and C(harlie) via Cocaine.
28 Modern man welcoming daughter after coffee (6-3)
LATTER-DAY – The man is the random RAY with D(aughter) included, after LATTE ( it’s really just) coffee.
1 Word books somehow suit her admirably at first (8)
THESAURI – An anagram, the first of the day, of SUIT HER plus the first letter (another one) of Admirably.
2 It’s supporting the Dog and Duck perhaps, is that not so? (5)
INNIT – Get with the yoof. The Dog and Duck we’re meant to see as a quintessential pub or INN, supported by IT in plain sight.
3 Old boy with shiny accessories having come finally for November’s funeral rites (9)
OBSEQUIES – So a substitution clue: O(ld) B(oy) plus shiny SEQUINS with the N(ovember) replaced with the last letter of comE
4 French painter’s right of access (7)
INGRESS – The painter is Jean-Auguste-Dominique INGRES perhaps best known (by me at least) for his Odalisque, a lady with an improbably long back in – um – plain sight. Add the S that comes after the ‘.
5 Large stripy creature losing head, biting old Trojan priest (7)
LAOCOON – This is where I ran out of GK, and I was not much helped by the wordplay. I mean apart from that comedy burglar’s mask  and its tail is a RACOON (from which you detach the head) a stripy creature? A zebra, sure, and a tiger, and at a push a wasp. If you know this particular detail of the Troy story, you can surmise that the L comes from L(arge) and the inserted O from O(ld). Hm. Must watch the film again, but I’ll bet he’s not there.
6 Hard work loading flyers into posh car (5)
GRAFT – Your posh car is a GT, throw in the magnificent men in their flying machines from the RAF
7 Sly subsidiary worker (9)
UNDERHAND – a straightforward charade: subsidiary: UNDER, worker: HAND
8 Like pointers in a line entering track (6)
ARROWY – A bit of a heffalump trap? That Y on the end comes from R(ailwa)Y track. A is in plain sight, and line gives you ROW.
14 Like some ancient stone tools transported into Chile (9)
NEOLITHIC – Our second anagram (transported) of INTO CHILE
15 Persuade clubs to make way for first of these followers (9)
ENTOURAGE – Another substitute clue. Persuade leads you to ENCOURAGE: change the C(lubs) to the first of (again) These
16 Bitterness of a pro abandoning riches (8)
ASPERITY – A once again in plain sight. Riches is (are?) PROSPERITY, take away the PRO.
18 Genuine / error made by printer (7)
LITERAL – And add a third definition indicated by a pink square.
19 Small pastry cooked later during races (7)
TARTLET – An anagram (cooked) of LATER inside TT for races
20 Articles about the goddess of wisdom (6)
ATHENA – AN and A circling THE in plain sight. Apparently Athena’s wisdom led her to blind and the throttle LAOCOON. It’s possible you heard it here first.
22 Restriction of note in written material (5)
LIMIT – The note MI (a nami I call myself) within (eg Eng) LIT
24 Greek poem newspapers served up, ignoring French art (5)
ILIAD – IN which LAOCOON has his somewhat unfortunate role. Here it’s newspapers DAILIES backward (served up) minus the second person singular of the verb to be in French, which is ES.

76 comments on “Times 28642: Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?”

  1. The SNITCH has this one pegged as incredibly easy. Ha ha ha. TRINOMIAL, HORSE LATITUDES, and LAOCOON took me 15 minutes alone! And I needed to look up a list of striped animals because RACOON escaped me (and I think we spell it RACCOON here).

    1. Didn’t notice the spelling, but I see that ODE and Collins both give RACOON as a variant spelling.

  2. 10:12
    I could have squeaked in under 10′, but having failed to catch a typo in the QC, I was extra careful proofreading this time. Biffed several–RENAISSANCE MAN, INNIT, OBSEQUIES, LAOCOON–parsed post-submission. I knew LAOCOON from the statue, but was delayed by thinking of large stripy animals like tigers and zebras. Never figured out ILIAD. Seven clues with initial/final letters is rather a lot.

  3. I didn’t have to look up the priest, but he was my LOI, after TRINOMIAL, which was where my blazing speed thru the rest of this slowed up. I remember so well the statue in Vatican City that I put the answer right in once all the crossers were there. My FOI was 1 Down and all the words connected but that one at the top were filled at the outset.

    “Horse Latitudes” I know from The Doors:
     When the still sea conspires an armor
     And her sullen and aborted currents
     Breed tiny monsters
     True sailing is dead
     Awkward instant
     And the first animal is jettisoned
     Legs furiously pumping
     Their stiff green gallop
     And heads bob up
     In mute nostril agony
     Carefully refined
     And sealed over

    …and Jim Morrison was found dead in a Parisian bathtub. The sense of “Horse Latitudes” evoked in the eponymous song is an example of folk etymology; there are more likely explanations.

    ARROWY sounds dumb.

    1. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing Morrison’s ode. It is how I knew this answer, but great to read it like this.

  4. Fairly easy indeed, except for the clues that weren’t!

    Like our esteemed blogger, I looked up the priest. I don’t spell RACCOON with one C, and didn’t know they had stripes.

    HORSE LATITUDES also went in late, from wordplay and helpers. I can imagine the Roaring Forties are turbulent, but I doubt they are Horse Latitudes!

  5. Fail on NHO Laocoon, gave up quickly. Didn’t know raccoons were stripy, and I’ve even been in close proximity to one – went to sea on a small boat with one once, out of Fourchon, LA. A Cajun colleague wanted to catch and eat it, but couldn’t – it eluded him, then escaped when we got back to shore.
    Otherwise not so easy – didn’t know what asperity meant, so that took some thinking. And I see reading the blog I forgot to parse alibi. Another who thought horse latitudes were near the equator, more famous for doldrums than storms.

  6. I had all but two answers in 25 minutes, even including the unlikely-looking HORSE LATITUDES which I managed to construct from wordplay. But as so often, it was intersecting answers (this time at 1ac and 5dn) that prevented me closing out with ease as I came to realise that I wouldn’t know either of them.

    Actually I nearly got 1ac where I had all the necessary elements of wordplay, TRIAL ON and M1 but failed to interpret the assembly instructions correctly, coming up with TRIMONIAL as I had been fixated almost from the start on the answer being some sort of variation of ‘trimester’ used with reference to terms in schools and universities. So I wrote my word in and checked it with Collins online which rejected it but offered me the correct alternative, so I never got to have a second go at it.

    At that point I gave up on 5dn, used a word-search and was very glad that I did as I’d never come up with LAOCOON

    Apart from the three answers mentioned above I found this really quite easy and didn’t need to visit many of the other clues more than once.

  7. Certainly helped having studied Classics. Funnily enough, meeting my fellow graduates later today for the latest Greek play done by our old College, a version of Iphigenaia.

  8. 46 minutes. I was v. surprised to see no pink squares after tapping the “Submit” button. I did work out the wordplay (including taking a punt on RACOON as the ‘stripy creature’ ) for the NHO LAOCOON but it seemed such an unlikely name and I thought it just had to be wrong. I was almost as surprised by HORSE LATITUDES, for which at least the wordplay was clearer. I missed the parsing of ASPERITY which maybe should have been in plain sight but wasn’t for me today.

    I forget all the other new words I come across in crosswords, but I’ll be sure to remember today’s less than memorable ARROWY.

  9. Completed with no aids, in about 45 mins. I knew Laocoon from Greek O-Level, so that went in early from definition. I thought the HORSE LATITUDES were a becalmed area around the equator, where a ship would get stuck and the crew were forced to eat the horses.

    I once worked for a company called Ingres (an early rival to Oracle), which is how I knew the painter.

    ARROWY is surely not a word, I avoided a pink square (arrows) just.

    COD GOUDA with the “Dutch cheese” in the surface.

    Thanks Z, I like your style of blog.

    1. Sorry to disappoint, but ARROWY has two entries in Collins: 1, Having or comprising arrows; and 2, Shaped like an arrow.

      1. ARROWY sounds, to me, more like a Barry Cryer joke:
        “Irony is like steely, only different”.

  10. I believe that the wordplay given above for 1a is missing an I. Motorway contributes MI.

    I was pleased to discover that my study of the Aeneid at school finally came in useful.

  11. 35 minutes for all bar LAOCOON, then five more minutes to give up. Oh well…

  12. At 20.08 I was a few seconds longer than I took to do today’s QC, which either says something about today’s QC or about me. LAOCOON, HORSE LATITUDES and GOOSANDER emerged from some deep well of memory, TRINOMIAL was a wordplay-based leap of faith. Thanks to Z for explaining several cryptics, especially HORSE LATITUDES and RENAISSANCE MAN. Not sure about the cocaine reference in ASCOT and never thought of a GT as being posh. Inexplicably put ALIAS for ALIBI which made ASPERITY tricky. In fact made it impossible until I twigged. Have looked in vain for ARROWY in several THESAURI.

  13. 14 minutes for all but LAOCOON. I faffed around for ten more minutes before cheating, never once thinking about Rocky Racoon. If only there’d been a Gideon’s Bible to hand. POI TRINOMIAL. Delusion of the day RENAISSANCE MAN. Straightforward apart from one clue. Thank you Z and setter.

  14. 25:05
    NHO Horse Latitudes. Arrowy sounds like an Uxbridge English Dictionary definition from ISIHAC. I knew Laocoon; not sure how. Bit of a classical antiquity thing going on in the down clues.
    Thanks, z.

  15. Easy until it wasn’t. With TRINOMIAL the only solution I worked out in the previous 20 minutes, abandoned without LAOCOON, ASPERITY, or LATITUDES. 39m fail.

  16. Well I was nearly all finished until the commonly (it seems) unknown LAOCOON reared it’s ugly head and left me running for on-line help after a long blank stare.

    I then discover that, like Jack, I have TRIMONIAL (another thinking M1) and the incorrect ASCETICY. Apart from all that the rest was pretty easy.

    Thanks Z for putting me right and setter for putting me wrong!

  17. I average a 45 minute plod most days so 19 minutes had me expecting that a few would be in single figures. Perhaps I too benefited from listening to the Doors and being force-fed the Aeneid 50 years ago . …….. ‘twin snakes breasting the ocean, licking their hissing lips ……’. It had to come in handy one day.

  18. About 30 mins, good time for me and early finish while awaiting take off of the overnight from JFK. Now landed and can post before a full day of migraines due to lack of sleep! Similar difficulties as others, though TRINOMIAL came quite quickly as eventually did racoon to help with the LOI NHO priest. A much better showing than the previous few outings. Thanks to setter and blogger

  19. 11.50. A rare occurrence for me to dip under 12 minutes, but I did not pause to parse them all. Glad that I didn’t fall for the heffalump trap at 8d.
    I’ve just picked up the sad news that the Grauniad compiler Margaret Irvine, alias Nutmeg, has died. Her puzzles were always of the very highest class. RIP.

    1. I’ve been joyously catching up on all the Listeners I’ve missed, and only three days ago completed (almost) 4752 A Few Far Between by presumably the same Nutmeg. Indeed high class.

  20. Just under 23 minutes. LOI was actually ENTOURAGE which I went back to after getting LAOCOON. I found it not so easy and was quite pleased with my time.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  21. Like other non-classicists, had to look up the priest, which compromised a fast solve well under my target half hour. Thanks for explaining all, Z – though in this community surely the Charlie in Ascot comes from the NATO alphabet rather than the regrettably increasingly ubiquitous Colombian export?

    1. You’re right of course. I checked whether C was a known abbreviation for Charlie in Chambers and did not check/unaccountably forgot my NATO alphabet.

      1. I always thought ‘H’ clued by ‘horse’ had something to do with racing until I discovered late in life that they are both slang for heroin.

        1. h (lower case) = horse (equine) is in the Concise Oxford and ODE and is also to be found among the racing card abbreviations on the Jockey Club website. H = heroin is a separate entry. The case, upper or lower, isn’t relevant when entering in the grid of course.

  22. No problems today bar 5dn, which because I spell raccoon with two c’s, i initially thought must be ACOCOON. But that sounded quite unlikely and once I got 1ac the answer became obvious. I had heard of Laocoon, and something to do with serpents.. though hadn’t realised or had forgotten he was a Trojan. There seem to be a lot of Greeks about, just lately.

  23. DNF. I found this a strange beast, largely feeling like a QC except for LAOCOON which seemed to have escaped from a Mephisto. I did manage to piece it together but still ended up with a DNF as careless reading of another clue had produced OBSEQUINS. So I actually ended up thankful for LAOCOON as if OBSEQUINS had scuppered a PB I’d have been annoyed!

  24. 25m 51s but fell into Z’s heffalump trap and put ARROWS. I also couldn’t remember the Trojan priest so I looked that up.
    2d: INNIT. Oh dear! Is that really in the dictionary?!
    LOI: TRINOMIAL/LAOCOON. Now that other crosswordistes have mentioned it, I remember the statue, serpents and all.
    PS….As others have also noted: HORSE LATITUDES are not turbulent.

    1. It’s in Collins: “A contraction of isn’t it?, used to invite agreement with a statement. “It’s a funny old world, innit?”
      As indeed it is..

  25. DNF, defeated by the unknown LAOCOON. I never thought of a racoon, and in the end I put ‘Liocorn’, hoping that there was something called a bicorn (I mean, unicorns exist, right?!) which is stripy.

    Didn’t know GOOSANDER or HORSE LATITUDES but got both from wordplay. No problems otherwise.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Neolithic

  26. 7:20
    Who said Greek O-level would never come in useful? (Except that I originally identified the goddess as ANTHEA, neither of whose British TV namesakes was particularly noted for her wisdom. )
    ATHENA, in one version of the Trojan horse legend, was responsible for sending the sea serpents to strangle LAOCOON and his two sons, having already blinded him. Bit excessive, I thought.
    At least Virgil gives him the famous line “Timeō Danaōs et dōna ferentēs” (“I fear the Greeks, even bearing gifts”).

  27. 14:07. I was a bit slow at seeing how a number of the clues worked, finishing with TRINOMIAL (which I tried at first to make some variant on MISCELLANY) and the Trojan priest. At least I remembered him eventually without resorting to aids and only then seeing the striped animal was a racoon. Not one I’d thought of. I liked that the cheese really is Dutch. Thank-you Z and setter.

  28. My Greek is koine, so I have been spared the academic rigours which clearly helped so many of you with LAOCOŐN. It remains that I have bizarrely got a complete hole in my mental map despite probably seeing him in the Vatican and knowing timeō Danaōs…. I think I’d better find out who that bird with no arms in the Louvre is and who that is on top of the column in Trafalgar Square.

  29. I thought this was going to be a DNF at around 70 minutes when I gave up with 1ac missing, then later I managed to come up with an NHO word from WP and crossing letters, TRINOMIAL before coming here and finding to my surprise correct.
    I couldn’t parse RENAISSANCE MAN other than ‘crew’ MAN so needed the blog for that and HORSE LATITUDES solely on ‘Arab’ and crossing letters.
    NHO LAOCOON got from WP with the help of crossing letters.
    Oh and BIFD INGRESS.

  30. 35 minutes on a crossword that was largely quite easy, but I had to look up LAOCOON and had never heard of HORSE LATITUDES, although I guessed it early, simply couldn’t bring myself to put it in until I looked it up. Chambers says nothing about the turbulence, so initially though it was just a mistake, but then I looked in Collins, which says they’re characterised by baffling winds. Posh car for GT seemed odd until I looked in Collins ‘… high-performance luxury …’. I always get the impression that ‘random’ is a bit scathing. OK Ray is a random chap just as Exe is a random river. Nobody ever complains about the river, but people tend to do so when the chap is involved, and I can’t see why.

    1. Random is not a complaint in my book, just a qualifier. I kind of agree that, by the same token, river to clue dee, exe and so on ought also to be flagged up as random. There is no particular reason why, in this case, Ray instead of any one of multitudes of other chaps should be selected, so it is a random choice, no? I feel much the same as “pick any one from seven” notes/keys and other selections where the setter is non-specific.

    2. <rant>
      I despise random names, because any 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 (and probably more) collections of letters is probably a name in some country. Just laziness by compilers, rather than making the effort to write a real clue. Yesterday we had 2 Spaniards – Pablo and Dolores. Though Dolores was inexplicably clued as Irish, probably to avoid having 2 Spanish names. WTF? In the past we’ve had abominations such as Inez as Spanish, and sundry “English” names which are very rare – so rare I can’t even remember them – they’re not real names, except perhaps 3 people in recorded history. Why don’t the compilers just say “a few random letters” instead of “random name?”
      Extra rant: Any collection of 3 or 4 letters is probably a Scottish word, generally unpronounceable. Scotland has about 200 local dialects? “Scottish” words despised just as much.

      1. I’m with you all the way on that. Inez is Portuguese, Ines is Spanish. Dolores isn’t Irish. There seems to be some kind of nonsense every day of the week. I’m getting more and more demoralised at the looseness on display, as more and more answers are just entered with a shrug.

        That’s not The Times crossword I used to know.

  31. A MER at 26a ALIBI=excuse. An alibi tends to prove one didn’t and couldn’t have done it. An excuse admits you did it but here’s a mitigating story. The other meanings of excuse are even farther away than this one.
    Lots of fun, really got fast for me in the South. 1a and 5d were hard and led me to think I would struggle. (I usually start at 1a and then it’s danglers and so forth.)

  32. Thought this was easy, 15 minutes watching the cricket, knew LAOCOON and was a bit surprised that ARROWY was a word. Not surprised the SNITCH is low.

  33. 22 minutes. Most of this fell into place quite quickly, and I was fortunate in remembering the fate of Laocoon, thanks to Vergil, but I spent several minutes staring at all the crossers in 17ac before deciding HORSE LATITUDES had to be right. You learn something new every day. TRINOMIAL looked like BINOMIAL and then some.
    Thanks to Zabadak and other contributors.

  34. 24:51. Convinced myself I had heard of the reverend Laocoon once I saw racoon – possibly from listening the Stephen Fry’s Trojan War book, but I can’t honestly say I remembered him. TRINOMIAL arrived at, along with quite a few others, from the assembly instructions, plus more (or less) inspired guesswork.

  35. I worked out the unknown LAOCOON, then checked to see if it existed. Sadly a careless THESAURA messed up my grid. Note to self, “check the anagrist!” 18:44 WOE. Thanks setter and Z.

  36. 20 mins but almost confounded by horse latitudes. I’d put in natural instead of literal but realised my mistake in time to make the change. Can’t be that common to get three crossers in two different words?
    Thx setter and blogger.

  37. All done in around 30 minutes parked in sight of the glistening ocean. I could’t identify the stripy animal but remembered Laocoon from somewhere. This was much easier than yesterday’s.

  38. 20:58 but…

    …pink-squared myself by typing AACOT. Otherwise mostly easy bar the NHO HORSE LATITUDES, OBSEQUIES and LAOCOON – I would have spelt raccoon with two Cs normally, but am unsurprised that it can be spelt with one C – all of which were work-out-able from the cryptic.

  39. I’d solved all but one in about 18 minutes which was very swift by my standards, and then spent a further 10 minutes trying to figure out 5dn. In the end I opted without much conviction for LIOGOON, which sounds about as likely as the answer, based on a TIGON being the stripy creature. On reflection this doesn’t parse as there is an extra o unaccounted for, but I somehow failed to notice this at the time.

  40. 25 minutes. Managed to dredge up Laocoon from somewhere, though I had no idea he was a priest.

    Thought ‘French art’ for ‘es’ was good … or is it a chestnut?

    1. Yes it is, I finally twigged to it after being deceived about ten times…

  41. After warming up on today’s QC, this did not seem too hard.
    Despite never studying Greek I somehow knew Laocoon; but I was not sure how to spell raccoon (which didn’t matter in the end).
    LOI was ARROWY as I was sure ARROWS could not be right.
    POI was ENTOURAGE, a clue I rather liked.

  42. Had to get help too! Also didn’t help that I typed NATURAL, looking for help I was then considering HORSE ATTITUDES until the penny dropped.
    Stripy animal isn’t a lot of help for a word most of us have NHO.

  43. LAOCOON fail. Stripy animal indeed – zebras are striped, so far as I can tell, a raccoon has a striped tail.
    All else went in pretty quickly for me. ARROWY=mer.


  44. 41’15”
    Spooked and swerved violently final furlong.
    TROILUS AND CRETIN; the cretin being muggins.
    Neither Pandarus nor Calchas, nor tigon, ligon……..
    The priest went in with a despairing shrug after yesterday’s shambling marathon, and I was amazed it proved to be true.
    The Fitzwilliam Museum once displayed a fragment of thick watercolour paper on which INGRES had made a pencil study of a lady’s hand. He was so determined to get it right that there was a hole in the paper caused by his rubbings out; a man who really grafted to do his subjects justice.
    Alms for oblivion are what the cretin needs now.

  45. Laocoon – not a hope!
    You can hear Barry Cryer saying “ARROWY” can’t you?
    Like others, loved the blog. Thought its crowning glory was contained in the remark
    “It’s possible you heard it here first”.

  46. Almost exactly half an hour. LAOCOON was no problem not because of my extensive classical knowledge (the only thing extensive about it is its absence), but because the university at which I taught when I was doing productive things rather than solving crosswords has a small museum with a copy of the sculpture, among other oddities. This puzzle otherwise has absolutely no bright spots, not even a twinkle. It wasn’t hard, but I found the clues very heavy-handed with no spice at all.

    1. I remember a small museum like that; where was the one you mention?

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