Times 28643 – oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises

One cheat for my LOI after 35:08

Disappointed in myself for not knowing/guessing my LOI 18dn, because I had worked hard to get the rest completed from the bottom up. I found that any checkers I got didn’t really help me, so felt I was starting afresh several times, and had to concentrate to get to the 80% mark.

Fairly middle-of-the-road, I think, but that might be due to my anti-climactic solve.

Definitions underlined.

1 Set up clubs supported by important individual (9)
CONFIGURE – C (clubs) + ON (supported by) + FIGURE (important individual).
6 Note duplicated carbon copy (5)
MIMIC – MI + MI (note duplicated) + C (carbon).
9 Draw cover for anti-racist leaflet (7)
ATTRACT – cover for Anti-racisT + TRACT (leaflet).
10 What may symbolise one rule man breaks (7)
NUMERAL – anagram of (breaks) RULE MAN.
11 Shy couple’s brief relationship (5)
FLING – double definition.
12 Solitary TV presenter cut short piece (9)
ANCHORITE – ANCHOR (TV presenter) + ITEm (piece) cut short.
14 Tiresome activity removing length of cloth as standard (3)
FAG – F{L}AG (cloth as standard) minus ‘L’ (length).
15 Parent organised engagement around name changing (11)
REARRANGING – REAR (parent) + RAN (organised) + GIG (engagement) containing N (name).
17 Grumble about state briefly wishing to please (11)
COMPLAISANT – COMPLAINT (grumble) containing S.A. (South Africa, ‘state briefly’), or SAy (‘state’, briefly). Thanks Simbo!
19 Anticipated means of obtaining satisfaction fails to reach conclusion (3)
DUE – I got this from DUE{L} = means of obtaining satisfaction? But I suspect the setter meant DUEs?
20 Company initially recognising China controls mineral material (9)
CORPOREAL – CO (company) + Recognising + PAL (china) containing ORE (mineral).
22 Children‘s lives pursue action (5)
ISSUE – IS (lives) + SUE (pursue action).
24 Levelling up happening late in the day (7)
EVENING – double definition.
26 Abridgement of large-scale literary volume? (7)
EPITOME – EPIc (large-scale) abridged + TOME (literary volume). &lit.
27 Keen reporter’s start to the day (5)
MOURN – sounds like (reporter’s) “morn” (start to the day).
28 Blew up school with unfashionable exterior (9)
DETONATED – ETON (school) contained by DATED (unfashionable).
1 Humorous ridicule which affronted nurses (5)
CHAFF – hidden in (…nurses) whiCH AFFronted.
2 Complex number precedes zero (7)
NOTHING – THING (obsession, complex) after NO (number).
3 Maiden‘s promise hampered by endless exams (9)
INAUGURAL – AUGUR (portend, promise), contained by fINALs (endless exams).
4 Fanatical airmen deployed overseas (11)
ULTRAMARINE – ULTRA (fanatical) + anagram of (deployed) AIRMEN. My first lesson for today – not just a colour.
5 Use heroin regularly for a long time (3)
EON – hErOiN regularly.
6 Way of working involving a large number of bits and sequence of steps (5)
MAMBO – M.O. (modus operandi, way of working), containing A MB (megabyte, large number of bits).
7 Damage can start to impair it? (7)
MARTINI – MAR (damage) + TIN (can) + start to Impair. As in, ‘gin and it (Italian vermouth)’.
8 Partner institution welcomes a university accepting teaching ultimately (9)
COLLEAGUE – COLLEGE (institution), containing (welcomes) A + U (university) containing (accepting) teachinG. COLLE(A(G)U)GE.
13 Docking terminal moved within canal (11)
CURTAILMENT – anagram of (moved) TERMINAL, in CUT (canal).
14 Experience — the best preparation for features (4,5)
FACE CREAM – FACE (experience) + CREAM (the best).
16 I turn bananas into processed food (9)
NUTRITION – anagram of (bananas) I TURN + anagram of (processed) INTO.
18 Piece of music is heard to a greater extent (7)
MORCEAU – sounds like (is heard) “more so” (to a greater extent). Lesson No.2 – I have never heard of this word, meaning a short piece of music.
19 Misrepresent policeman’s reason for seeking compensation (7)
DISTORT – DI’S (policeman’s) + TORT (reason for seeking compensation).
21 Bulb working with electricity generator (5)
ONION – ON (working) + ION (electricity generator).
23 Revise pieces penned by journalist (5)
EMEND – MEN (pieces) contained by ED (journalist).
25 Man with outstanding physique died after game (3)
GOD – D (died) after GO (game).

58 comments on “Times 28643 – oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises”

  1. 17ac – instead of sa being abbreviation of South Africa it could simply be “say” meaning “state” without the y

    1. The extra ‘g’ was a mistake by the compiler! We already had a g from college, why he added another from the end of ‘teaching’ is a mystery!

      1. As I read it, he didn’t add another ‘g’, he indicated that the ‘a’, ‘u’ went around the said ‘g’ from college. Otherwise, it makes no sense, because they are separated in the answer, so it was necessary to indicate that fact…

  2. 26:47
    This was rather harder than ‘middle of the road’, and not just for me; current SNITCH (but it’s still early) 129. I biffed REARRANGING, parsed post-submission, biffed INAUGURAL and didn’t; thanks William for the explication. DNK MORCEAU in the required sense, but fortunately knew morceau=piece; otherwise this might have taken me some time. I liked MARTINI; but there were a number of clues with lovely surfaces, like 9ac, 11ac, 4d, 5d. [ON EDIT]: I parsed 17ac as simbo did. And I’m sure that DUE is ‘duel’ curtailed; ‘obtaining satisfaction’ gives it away.

    1. Re: DUEL

      Thanks Kevin; only now have I understood the required meaning of ‘satisfaction’, in respect of honour. Sadly lacking on my part today…

  3. My experience was very much the same as vinyl1’s + 12 minutes for the time it took me to get through it. Very tough going.

    I’ve mentioned before that I studied and taught music in another life, but I can’t recall meeting MORCEAU before in that regard, however I remembered enough of my schoolboy French to know that one of the words for ‘piece ‘ is ‘morceau’ so I applied that knowledge instead.

    According to SOED, ULTRAMARINE meaning ‘situated beyond the sea’ is ‘now rare’ which may explain why I never heard of it before other than as a shade of blue.

    1. Grove has simply “Morceau (Fr.) PIECE”. So just about a fair clue, in my opinion, but I’ve seen better. The homophone works with an anglicised pronunciation. Apart from Saturdays I only do most QCs and dabble about once a week in the 15×15. Tonight I spent about twenty minutes solving ten clues in the latter (not including 18d) before finding something better to do.

  4. Hard – needed a break mid-solve to forget locked-in misinterpretations. But an enjoyable challenge.
    Had DUE from Duel, South Australia as the state (but SAy is clearly correct), couldn’t parse INAUGURAL – didn’t see the fINALs. Failed to parse COLLEAGUE, and I don’t think the blog has either, seems to be one too many Gs. Took a while to figure out FAG, not a word I knew with that meaning (i.e. forgotten since last time). Ultramarine clear from its roots, but unknown except as a colour, or a Spitfire manufacturer!? I think of an Ultra as a noun – a fanatic – rather than an adjective. Probably from going to the soccer in Italy.

    1. I missed that extra G when solving but, yes, it now looks like a boo-boo. “Super” sort of means ULTRA, so ULTRAMARINE as the Spitfire manufacturer? Sounds good to me.

      1. I don’t think its an error, but it is unusual. COLLEGE is the institution, of course, and it “welcomes” the A and U(niverity) which themselves take on the (teachin)G of COLLEGE. I think it works, though more usually the clue would say something like “welcomes a university separately” to indicate the two letters don’t go in consecutively.

        1. OK, I can see that, it’s almost certainly the parsing. I would have added an extra word to the clue: …accepting its teaching ultimately
          And maybe change accepting to covering?
          Would improve it for me; your mileage might vary.

          1. Hm. Not so sure. Are we perhaps being overgenerous in attempting to justify a clue that needed a little refinement?

    2. I like “forget locked-in misinterpretations”. It sums up perfectly what I often need to do, as today where I took 3 minutes break to do the concise and came back largely reset.

    3. See my reading of COLLEAGUE, above. It sort of makes sense…
      EDIT: Sorry, just seen Zabadak’s comment, which says what I thought, but I missed it somehow when reading through.

  5. Yes, you’re right about COLLEAGUE and your comment reminded me I had that same problem with it whilst solving but forgot to check it with the blog this morning. It doesn’t work, does it? Sadly another clue error that slipped through the net.

  6. 40 minutes. I needed what little French I can remember to get MORCEAU but had never heard of the musical term. Same as isla3, I had South Australia for SA as ‘state briefly’ but SA[y] is better. Didn’t know the ‘overseas’ sense of ULTRAMARINE either. It was satisfying to eventually work out the parsing of REARRANGING and INAUGURAL. I quite liked NOTHING and would have liked EPITOME even more if I’d appreciated it was an &lit.

    A not too fiendish Friday puzzle, made all the more enjoyable by the absence of a certain Trojan priest.

  7. 21:12. I struggled with a lot of this ending up using alphabet trawls to find CONFIGURE and LOI DISTORT and failing to parse INAUGURAL in between. I couldn’t get COLLEAGUE to work (because the clue is wrong, I see) and DNK that meaning of ULTRAMARINE nor that EPITOME can mean an abridgement. And, by the way, an ION is not an electricity generator it is a charged particle. I think I need another cup of coffee to take the taste away. But never mind. Off to the Stowmarket Beer Festival later. Thanks Willliam and setter.

  8. Dnf, no CONFIGURE, despite all crossers. 35′ otherwise. Some very tricky parsings, such as INAUGURAL. Like others, I couldn’t parse COLLEAGUE.

    Thanks william and setter.

  9. 52 minutes with LOI MORCEAU based on some misremembered French corresponding with the homophone. Fingers were crossed for ULTRAMARINE, a word only known as a colour I couldn’t describe. I didn’t manage to parse INAUGURAL either, but Finals certainly did seem endless at the time. COD to MAMBO.. Thank you William and setter.

  10. I found this a struggle and was relieved to get home in 48.22, including time spent opening a bottle and pouring a glass when the last few (CONFIGURE, ANCHORITE, NOTHING) drove me to drink. In a funny way some of these -NOTHING being an example – were easier than I had been conditioned to expect, which I guess means hats off to the setter. I’m in the dark about FAG, has it something to do with archaic practices at the sort of school seen in DETONATED? Also, GOD for man with outstanding physique? I’m in the same boat as most other solvers regarding ULTRAMARINE, MORCEAU and a few more, and thanks to William for several explanations. Had no idea about INAUGURAL and REARRANGED. This was hard but I enjoyed it – probably because I finished.

    1. Well done you – I did most of the puzzle quite quickly, but just got stuck on CONFIGURE, ULTRAMARINE and INAUGURAL, which all crossed, of course. I tried the bottle and glass trick too, but it still didn’t work! We do say something is a fag when it’s tiring, irritating etc. – it’s not just Tom Brown’s Schooldays sadism…

  11. 21:16. I needed a break mid-solve to reset, and quickly knocked off the rest barring CONFIGURE which took a fair bit longer to come up with. I was interested to see that others had found this answer difficult given that it seemed straightforward in hindsight. Also as a software developer it’s a word I use on a regular basis.

  12. 14:00
    I wasn’t sure about the definition in 7d at first, thinking of Italian vermouth as merely an ingredient of a martini, but then I remembered those aspirational TV ads in the 70s for “the bright one, the right one, it’s Martini”.
    (Not the Leonard Rossiter/Joan Collins ones, they were for Cinzano.)
    Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H claimed to have the perfect formula for a dry martini; a very dry, arid, barren, desiccated, veritable dustbowl of a martini. “You pour six jiggers of gin, and you drink it while staring at a picture of Lorenzo Schwartz, the inventor of vermouth.”

  13. DNF. Most of the outside went in quite quickly and I thought I was on for an okay time but then I got bogged down in the middle with none of the long clues showing themselves. Finally got ULTRAMARINE but totally failed on 1ac. Just couldn’t see it so, after 10 mins, resolved to aid.

    Not a good week, not helped by constant interruptions. I réalise that, as I get older, I need total peace to wrap my feeble brain around some of the more devious clues!

    Thanks William and setter.

  14. DNF
    A similar experience to Rosédeprovence and a similar realisation. It’s hot and muggy here and they are doing something noisy with the watermain outside. Not conducive to cryptic solving . I did like FLING and DISTORT.

    Thanks to WIlliam and the setter

  15. A fair time of 26.27, solving this mix of the absurdly easy like EVENING, and the fiercely resistant like ULTRAMARINE, which surely hasn’t been used for overseas since some pretentious Victorian writer or even Shakespeare.
    I struggled with that one for so long I tried to re-CONFIGURE 1a, and even after solving I thought “but marines aren’t airmen”.
    I submitted with trepidation: COMPLAISANT doesn’t look right, and I was confusing it with complacent, which scarcely means the same thing. That, and of course the Times allowing FAG just to annoy our transatlantic friends, possibly both the woke and the – um – asleep(?).

  16. Incidentally, I think William has the parsing of COLLEAGUE right (see my note above) but it’s hard to show with standard blogging notation. I don’t know how I would show “pick up the G and stick it between the A and the U” without some arrows that aren’t really in the WordPress set.

  17. 25 minutes, another who knew the French for piece but not that it was a musical thing. So MORCEAU and MOURN were my LOI. I liked yesterday’s puzzle much more.

  18. Somehow a typo crept in to give me DETONATEM but otherwise a tricky 90+ minute solve.

    LOI – CONFIGURE, which seems obvious once you’ve got it, but otherwise keeps you stumped for 10 minutes in my case …


  19. 32 mins . Strange curates egg of a puzzle with all but the NW going in in 10 mins. A game of three quarters and a quarter. Like most, I’d never heard of ULTRAMARINE with that meaning.

  20. One of those where I realise I have a long way to go before I can call myself competent.

    Gave up as a bad job half complete.

    1. We seem to often have similar thoughts and comments in puzzles and I had exactly the same sinking feeling as you on this one. Ground out all but CONFIGURE and INAUGURAL at which point I hastened to aids with nary a compunction. Didn’t dare look at the clock!

    2. With you, hopkinb: a sluggish trudge through the 3/4 that I managed, but gave up completely in the NW corner. Many NHOs: CHAFF, (in that sense), EPITOME (ditto – although parsed acc. to the clue), ULTRAMARINE (ditto), FAG (ditto); and the word-play never would have allowed me into NOTHING or CONFIGURE. NHO COMPLAISANT or MORCEAU in use, either. So all-in-all, not a very satisfactory conclusion was reached.

  21. Two goes needed. Like several others it seems, I took an age to get CONFIGURE. Eventually biffed COLLEAGUE without understanding how it worked, hadn’t heard of MORCEAU, and didn’t know that ANCHORITE means solitary. For FAG, I spent ages trying to think of a word meaning ‘tiresome activity’ that contained ell, which could then be removed to make a word meaning standard. Even when I got the answer, I still didn’t separate ‘length of cloth’, so thanks for the explanation.

    Tough stuff to end a tricky week. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Chaff
    LOI Configure
    COD Nutrition

  22. Finished, but I found this very tricky, but all fair except for COLLEAGUE which in my opinion is an error. Of course Zadabak may be correct though.
    COD To martini.

  23. Also found this very hard, taking 52 minutes.
    Had to come here to get the parsing for 3dn and 12ac
    I’m sure DUE is short for DUEL not DUES by the way.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  24. 52’25”
    Not clear run due to jockey errors, one paced throughout.
    However, I’m glad I persevered and it seems quite a few here found the going sticky. All parsed bar 15; thrashed out in hindsight. Re COLLEAGUE I’m with Zabadak; a wee bit convoluted, but fair enough.
    Compliments to the setter, I liked NOTHING a lot, and thanks to William.
    I fear Test Match Special will not prove as entertaining.

  25. Not bad, towel thrown after 60 mins with still a few left. Should have got ANCHORITE, but others like CONFIGURE, ULTRAMARINE were always beyond me.

    I liked FLING, shy=thrown, very good.

  26. Not as hard as yesterday’s puzzle, but I dipped in and out and gradually chipped away at it without help. The clue for 8d is not to the same standard as the others.

  27. 51 minutes. I’m fairly well-versed in musical terms but had never heard of MORCEAU, but the dictionaries say it’s legit.

    Thought ‘Humorous ridicule which affronted nurses’ was a lovely clue.

  28. I liked this! I worked it at a leisurely pace while watching a debate and so it didn’t seem hard, just satisfyingly chewy… at least until the last few answers. Did manage to finish before going to sleep.

    Still wondering whether “it” was sufficient to clue MARTINI; surely, that’s just one ingredient. But it seems to have ruffled no one else’s feathers. (Really, it’s from that one ad?!)

    1. Not sure if this is a US/UK language thing or perhaps it’s generational, but the point you make relates to the Martini cocktail (vermouth and gin or vodka) as opposed to Martini the brand name of the neat vermouth. The term ‘it’ refers to neat vermouth and came into being through people in bars ordering e.g. ‘gin & it’ in preference to other popular drinks such as ‘gin & tonic’ or ‘gin & orange’. I’m sure things are different now, but back in the 1950s and 1960s in the UK if you ordered a Martini you would expect to be served with neat vermouth. You would never order simply ‘it’ as although it usually meant Martini (other brands were available) the term was only used in conjunction with the name of a spirit, usually gin.

      1. Ah, thanks! I note that John Burscough did capitalize “Martini” in his post above, but I (perhaps too wary of anyone else’s capitalizations) did not realize it was a brand name as well as the type of cocktail—which I would not normally cap!

        1. Although it has never occurred to me before today I wondered this morning whether ‘it’ ought to be capitalised in the clue in line with the usual rule, since it’s short for Italian. I consulted the usual sources which all have ‘It.’ = Italian, suggesting I might be right, but one of them (I forget which now) has a separate entry ‘it’ = vermouth, so that took the wind out of my sails!

  29. 11:19, with a minute or two at the end struggling to see CONFIGURE and then trying and failing to parse FAG.
    Z’s explanation for COLLEAGUE is ingenious but I’m not sure I buy it. There’s nothing in the clue to indicate that A and G are ‘accepting’ that G which I think is probably necessary. I didn’t even notice the problem when solving mind.

  30. I didn’t find this all that hard, but the last of my 47 minutes were spent trying to understand INAUGURAL, which I managed in the end, and the totally inexcusable COLLEAGUE. Enough (or too much) said.

  31. I started off with EON, and after what seemed like an eon, finished with DISTORT. Happily only 33:20 had elapsed. Biffed REARRANGING. Tough going in places though! Thanks setter and William.

  32. An error on the part of the setter used to be met with incredulity if it happened maybe once a year. But we seem to get them on a regular basis now.

    This is supposed to be The Times for heaven’s sake!

  33. DNF- was never going get MORCEAU and so threw in the towel with CONFIGURE and INAUGURAL unsolved.
    Found this very tricky in other places too. On to next week.
    Thanks blogger and setter.

  34. Started on Friday and gave up after 30 minutes but returned to the fray on Saturday . Glad I did but it must have taken at least 75 minutes in total. Just one of those puzzles for me when you never get in the groove. Good lesson in perseverance though!

    Thx setter and blogger.

  35. sunday night. v slow. but all correct at 53’37”. What held me up a lot at the end was putting in OUTREMARINE. Influenced by the French.

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