Times 28653 – a wine or two for the fish course.

A real potpourri of unusual words in this one, needing a bit of general knowledge and inspiration. If you quickly got or guessed the two longer idioms (20a, 9d) you were well on the way with checking letters. I don’t know whether the fish at 12a will have extended its area of fame to overseas, or indeed far out of Scotland, it’s certainly an acquired taste and I am in no hurry to acquire it again.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics, [deleted letters in square brackets].

1 Foaming at the mouth while nursing broken toe, perhaps? (7,3)
HOPPING MAD – cryptic definition.
6 Fish that’s fat dropping by (4)
10 Drink containing old grape (5)
PINOT – PINT (drink) has O for old inserted. Pinot is a range of grape varieties, p. noir, p. grigio, p. blanc etc., used especially in the Burgundy region.
11 Human organ left in cup of tea? (9)
EARTHLING – EAR (organ) THING (“cup of tea”) with L inserted.
12 I ask more quizzically about bouillon that’s overwhelmed a fish dish(8,6)
ARBROATH SMOKIE – (I ASK MORE)* > AR SMOKIE, insert BROTH (buillon) with A inside it = BROATH. I have stopped in Arbroath to buy one, and was rather disappointed by the real thing, although I like most kinds of smoked fish.
14 Cleanliness elevated boy or girl, reportedly? (7)
HYGIENE – sounds like HIGH (elevated) JEAN / GENE (girl or boy).
15 I stop after short time — somewhere to get a little drink? (7)
MINIBAR – MIN (short time) I BAR = I stop.
17 Titanic battle, shower wiped from terrain (7)
MONSTER – MONS (WWI battle) TER[RAIN] where rain = shower.
19 Bread cut after vehicle leaves (7)
CABBAGE – CAB (vehicle) BAGE[L].
20 Under the circumstances, the Best     Picture (2,4,2,2,4)
AS GOOD AS IT GETS – double definition, the second being “picture” viz. the 1997 Jack Nicholson movie.
23 Wine in cooler shown to the left alongside last of Shiraz (9)
ZINFANDEL – Z (end of shiraz) IN FAN (cooler) DEL = LED (shown) reversed. Zinfandel is a black grape grown mainly in California to produce a rosé or red wine of the same name. I’m not a big fan.
24 Sound of sucker in drain (5)
LEACH -sounds like LEECH a sucker.
25 Back in bureau, a seriously hairy man (4)
ESAU – hidden reversed as above.
26 Filth originally inside an incisor unfortunately too deep to pick up? (10)
INFRASONIC – (AN F INCISOR)*, the F from filth originally. Not an everyday word, but guessable if unknown.
1 Composer stripped for Native American tribe (4)
2 Legendary king with weapon beating sword, battle-axe (9)
PENDRAGON – the PEN is proverbially mightier than the sword; DRAGON a battle-axe of a woman. I think he was King Arthur’s father.
3 Meeting client, senorita excited (14)
INTERSECTIONAL – (CLIENT SENORITA)*. Once I had sorted out the likely INTER… bit from the anagrist, the rest fell into place.
4 Potential killer, European breaking measure of work up (7)
GRENADE – all reversed, DANE inside ERG.
5 A heartless old F1 driver, father of many (7)
ABRAHAM – A, BRA[B]HAM. Jack Brabham, an Australian, was F1 World Champion 3 times from 1959, and died in 2014.
7 Pledge to collect one, finding lift quickly (5)
HOICK – to HOCK something is to pledge or pawn it; insert I = one.
8 Generous offer shipping the gear abroad (10)
BIGHEARTED – BID (offer) has (THE GEAR)* inserted. Odd sort of anagrind, ‘abroad’. I’m surprised bighearted isn’t always a hyphenated word.
9 It’s hard to imagine those people getting singled out on tour of Slough (3,4,7)
THE MIND BOGGLES – THEM (those people), then (SINGLED)* with BOG (slough) inserted. I am never sure if slough as in bog is pronounced as rhyming with bough, or ‘sluff’, as in snuff.
13 Animal with endless German ordnance: agree to confiscate that (10)
CHIMPANZEE – PANZER being a German type of battle tank; so we have CHIME (with) = agree )(with), with PANZE[R] inserted (‘confiscated’).
16 Ocean after the tracks initially in mind — on this? (4,5)
BOAT TRAIN – BRAIN (mind) has O A T T inserted, those being the initial letters of ocean after the tracks.
18 Wife invested in African currency, an African (7)
RWANDAN – W for wife inside RAND then AN.
19 Horror story German playwright hasn’t begun (7)
CHILLER – Friedrich [S]CHILLER the German playwright.
21 Will written finally with name in Indian state (5)
GONNA – GOA the Indian state has N (end of written) N (name) inserted. I’M GONNA = I WILL.
22 In church, vice out of bounds (4)
CHIC – CH for church, IC being the word VICE without its ‘bounds’ or outer letters.


68 comments on “Times 28653 – a wine or two for the fish course.”

  1. DNF
    Never heard of the smoked fish, and the checkers didn’t suggest anything; especially as I didn’t know HOICK and put in HOIST. Anyway, no way I was going to get 12ac. I biffed ABRAHAM, thought–post-biff–that there may have been an F1 driver named Bradham. I liked EARTHLING.

    1. The Arbroath smokie’s fame hasn’t extended worldwide, I think, so indeed it was a bit of a smokey to biff it.

      Slough, apparently, is pronounced as ‘slew’ or ‘sloff’ in parts of the United States. Not a word you might hear often, whichever way it’s spoken.

  2. 46 minutes. Thanks to James Alexander Gordon for the name of the town at 12a from which I could work out the NHO ‘fish dish’. Great to see the legendary Sir Jack putting in an appearance at 5d; much better known to me than ABRAHAM(‘s) son yesterday. We probably had it only last week but I don’t remember seeing ‘confiscate’ (13d) as a containment indicator before. HOICK to me is doing something yuckier than to ‘lift quickly’.

    Looking at Collins and the ODE, ‘slough’ in the BOG sense is pronounced as rhyming with “bough” and in the sense of to shed or cast off as rhyming with “snuff”; something new.

  3. No problems here, except that I find it hard to accept GONNA as equivalent to “will.” “Will” is equivalent to “am/is/are gonna,” so it fails the substitution test, for what that’s worth (opinions will vary). But I’m sure “they gonna,” “she gonna,” “I gonna,” etc. are heard from time to time, and usage is everything…
    I got ABRAHAM from the definition, but then checked a list of F1 drivers.
    Forgot to finish parsing POI, BIGHEARTED, realize now I didn’t see the BID part.
    I didn’t recognize the Jack Nicholson movie either.
    LOI was CABBAGE, which is also slang for “money,” which “Bread” also is, making me wonder for a second by which end to pick up the clue.

    1. Gonna also appears often sans pronoun, as Rick Astley fans will know well (Never Gonna Give You Up).

  4. 44 minutes for all but one answer, then 10+ minutes later as the clock approached an hour I threw in the towel and resorted to aids. I was annoyed when I found the answer was BIGHEARTED because the word doesn’t exist without a hyphen in the given source dictionaries – the only support for it being in the American section of Collins online where it is an entry imported from Merriam-Webster.

    With a few checkers to jog my memory I was able to remember the fish at 12ac as my father was partial to them, but my problem was deciding between SMOKIE and SMOKEY. I reckoned that the -E ending was likely to be more helpful than -Y in constructing the aforementioned missing answer at 8dn, and I chose correctly, but in the end it didn’t help me with my difficulty there.

    I’m not feeling generous and big-hearted at this moment. Perhaps I shall look on YouTube for clips of “Big-hearted Arthur” (Askey) to cheer myself up.

  5. Raced through most of it, then slowed down markedly for Pendragon and hopping mad, then ground to a halt for a few more minutes for the smokie – after correcting hoist to hoick. Which I think of as an uncultured cricket shot out towards cow corner; as well as the meaning BeltchleyReject alludes to above. We must have had the Arbroath Smokie before or I wouldn’t have known it, but it still took a long time to recall, and couldn’t see how the cryptic worked until after the biff.
    Interesting but not quite obscure vocabulary adds to the enjoyment, spot-on today.

  6. Just about done in an hour.

    I had ARAGON (the Lord of the Rings guy) for “legendary king” at 2d, which held me up.

    Pleased to see ARBROATH SMOKIE early. I knew what was going on at 1d, but the only 4 letter tribe I could think of was “Cree”.

    We had ISAAC yesterday, and ABRAHAM and ESAU today. Should be Reuben, Simeon and Levi “next in line”.


      1. Aragorn is just the Somerset (Glastonbury) pronunciation, as in Authurrrrrr and Gunieverrrrrre.


    1. As for next-in-line Abrahamic offspring I think Ishmael deserves the honour. “Call me Ishmael”- the first words of Moby Dick.

  7. It took me a long time, 68 minutes, but very enjoyable. I think it was when I got the big anagram INTERSECTIONAL that I finally got going.
    LOI CABBAGE because I was thinking of a kind of tea or compost but not a leafy plant, also BAGEL for bread was not so obvious. COD HOPPING MAD because it made me smile.
    I really enjoyed this puzzle – thanks setter.

  8. … Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
    Of cabbages — and kings —
    And why the sea is boiling hot —
    And whether pigs have wings.
    (TW&TC, Lewis Carroll)

    25 mins mid-brekker. Not much effort has gone into the surfaces here, I thought. Why would a fat fish drop by? Why an organ in a cup of tea?
    No probs but a MER at Gonna=Will.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  9. Knew 12a from doing crosswords but still took a while. Wanting 5d to be Acronym and putting the e before i in 14 slowed things down. Didn’t notice myself put in 1d ; it was just there at the end. Chopin always a name to conjure with which reminds me I am out of rand . . .

  10. Diligently following the wordplay I arrived triumphantly at ARBROATH ESKIMO, and was quite disappointed when the relevant down clues proved it wrong. Dragged smokie from some deep well of memory. All up I thought this was a terrific challenge which took me 51.22 to complete. I quite enjoyed the several assembly-line clues, with a bit of an anagram bunged into a CD and all inverted (or something). Not keen on GONNA, nor on thing = cup of tea, but worked it all out in the end and was pleased to finish.

    1. When I was a lad there was a protest song ‘The Glasgow Eskimos’: perhaps they moved North Eastwards 😀

      1. I am pretty sure that will eventually be proved correct. As for what such a song might be about, THE MIND BOGGLES…

  11. 46 minutes, which felt like longer. Had to take ABRAHAM on trust on both levels, but nothing out of my ken apart from that. I’ve had an ARBROATH SMOKIE fresh from the smoker on the coast of Islay, at the Ardbeg distillery if memory serves, and I enjoyed it. Then again, being at a whisky festival tends to enhance most other experiences somewhat, with the possible exception of the mornings after.

    1. A visit to Islay is definitely on my mental bucket list, with visits to Ardbeg and Laphroaig a must.

      1. They’re pleasantly close to each other, and you can include Lagavulin and do the Three Distilleries Walk: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/islay-jura/three-distilleries.shtml. Ardbeg have a very nice restaurant, too.

        On the north side, I find Bunnahabhain one of the nicest spots on Islay, with a lovely distillery and a little pier you can walk and enjoy the view over to Jura. (Caol Ila, nearby, has similarly nice views but the distillery buildings aren’t much to look at. Great whisky, though!)

  12. 52:35 some tricky words. got quite confused as others by HOICK, I had put in HEIST in the sense of hest being a vow. took the Arbroath Smokie to sort the error.

  13. 35m 19s More on my wavelength.
    Thanks, Pip, especially for ZINFANDEL and BOAT TRAIN. In my train spotting youth I sometimes used to travel to Tonbridge station just to see the Golden Arrow boat train thunder through enroute to the coast.
    CODs: CHIC and HOPI.

    1. Boat train drawn I assume by one of those fabulous Bulleid Merchant Navy (on edit: more accurately Battle of Britain class) beasts, second in style and beauty only to the Gresley Pacifics.

      1. Yes, magnificent weren’t they! As I remember it there was also a West Country and Battle of Britain class. It was quite a sight seeing them come round the left hander into Tonbridge Station.

  14. Nearly half an hour for this puzzle, taking ages over THE MIND BOGGLES, and then having a typo.

    I once challenged a class to find the eleven different ways in English to pronounce ‘ough’. It’s fun. I think -uff or -ow for SLOUGH is a matter of preference, or at least of local accents. I do wonder how John Bunyan pronounced it.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  15. 23:49

    Not the fastest start with only PINOT in the top half and ZINFANDEL and LEACH in the bottom half from the first pass of acrosses. Built up from the bottom – assumed INFRASONIC must be right – CHIMPANZEE and THE MIND BOGGLES opening up the SW and giving ARBROATH SMOKIE (never tried it). That was enough to polish off the stragglers – my LOIs were BIGHEARTED and GONNA with the same misgivings as previously mentioned.

    Thanks setter and P

  16. 15:34. This had rather a culinary feel to it, with the ARBROATH SMOKIE washed down with a PINOT and a ZINFANDEL from the MINIBAR. I guess one might consume a CHUB as well, which wasn’t the first answer I came up with from the parsing for that clue. I seriously entertained the idea there might be a fish called a FLAB until the checkers thankfully put me straight. It’s amazing what I can convince myself might be right in the heat of solving!

    1. My son and I caught some chub once years ago, cooked them up and tried to eat them,but gave up after a bite or two. Even the cats wouldn’t touch them.

  17. 45 minutes with LOI CHIC. COD to ABRAHAM. I liked THE MIND BOGGLES too. I was slow getting going on this and for a while thought it was a hopeless case, but then things clicked with the crossing letters of Arbroath, whose football team once beat Bon Accord 36-0 if my memory serves me well. I could do without native American tribes though. A toughie but worth the effort. Thank you Pip and setter.

  18. No probs today. HOPI are the tribe that apparently think that putting a candle into your ear and lighting it, will have a beneficial effect of some sort. Hard to believe.
    Agree with Myrtilus that surface readings aren’t this setter’s strong suit.

    1. Paleface slander! Wikipedia: « Although Biosun, a manufacturer of ear candles, refers to them as “Hopi” ear candles, there is no such treatment within traditional Hopi healing practices. Vanessa Charles, public relations officer for the Hopi Tribal Council, has stated that ear candling “is not and has never been a practice conducted by the Hopi tribe or the Hopi people.” The Hopi tribe has repeatedly asked Biosun, the manufacturer of “Hopi Ear Candles”, to stop using the Hopi name. Biosun ignored the request for over a decade until sometime after 2014 when the product was rebranded as “traditional earcandles” in Germany although the product is still marketed by third-party US resellers as “Hopi”.

      « Many advocates of ear candles claim that the treatment originates from traditional Chinese, Egyptian, or North American medicine. The mythical city of Atlantis is also reported to be the origin of this practice. »

  19. All done in an enjoyable 70 minutes but with some confusion.
    I wrote in GONNA with a shrug just from the wordplay and guessing ‘Will’ as the definition. And CHILLER BIFD not knowing the German playwright.
    I couldn’t see where the DE came from in ZINFANDEL as I had L for left so I needed the blog to sort that one.
    I did get THE MIND BOGGLES just from three crossing letters H, M and N then reverse engineering.

    1. The wiki list of German playwrights is remarkably short, and I am slightly embarrassed that I only recognised Schiller and Brecht among them.

  20. 56 mins for me. LOI CABBAGE. Liked both wine clues and MINIBAR. All drinks and fish today.

  21. No time as too many interruptions but, in any case, I had bunged in GENOA earlier on with a view to relooking at it later then forgot. I also had HOIST but changed it when the fish dropped by!

    I liked the grape and the wine. Unlike Pip I quite like the red Zins but definitely not the slightly off-dry pinks though.

    Thanks Pip and setter.

  22. 25:00. I spent ages trying to find ARBROATH SMOKIE, THE MIND BOGGLES and my LOI CHIMPANZEE even with all the checkers as I couldn’t fathom the wordplay for any of them until I got the answers. DNK the film so had to rely on the first definition. At least I finished without resorting to aids. A bit of a tester for me. Thanks Pip and setter.

  23. 10:56. I started very quickly on this but then got gradually more and more bogged down. None of the long ones came quickly, which didn’t help.
    I don’t generally like ZINFANDEL, or its Italian equivalent Primitivo, but there are some rare (and expensive) exceptions.
    MER at will=GONNA.

  24. 17.23 for this delightful offering, one of those where I could feel chuffed at knowing the GK needed. I’ve had Finnan Haddie (yum!) but not the SMOKIE, which I assume is more of a kipper.
    I wondered what the “yuckier” meaning of HOICK was (Bletchley above) and had to resort to the Suburban dictionary. Mildly disappointed that it’s just a form of hawk, a vigorous spit.
    Just because Rick Astley can’t fit “going to” into the selected meter does mean that we have to fit his version into even the bottom of the grid. Please don’t make me!
    Great blog Piquet. A match between your namesake and Jack Brabham would have been something to see.

  25. I found this one pretty straightforward for me, 26 mins being at the low end of my usual times. Quite a few on the first pass, the “z” helping out with CHIMPANZEE and ZINFANDEL and being from north of the border the smoked fish was an early solve. BIGHEARTED (even spellchecker tries to hyphenated it…) was parsed post biff and GONNA though easy from wordplay was so unlikely it was LOI. ARBROATH SMOKIE my COD and just to be pedantic the blog shouldn’t have “a” as part of the definition (a fish dish), the “a” is part of the wordplay.

    1. Pedantry is permitted here. “a” underline corrected, a slip of the finger on touchpad.

  26. Apart from ABRAHAM and CHUB, nothing much revealed itself in a first pass of the top half. A tentative HOIST was eventually removed when THE MIND BOGGLES and BIGHEARTED made the T rather unlikely. It took the very late arrival of the ARBROATH SMOKIE(which needed all the checkers) to remember HOICK. The SE filled up nicely, as did the SW, apart from 21d which was LOI. GENOA was rejected fairly quickly. CHIMPANZEE was biffed then reverse engineered after ZINFANDEL was biffed from the D_L at the end. Having given up on finding a stripped composer giving CREE, the arrival of INTERSECTIONAL provided inspiration for GRENADE, after which MAD led to HOPPING and the HOPI arrived leading to PINOT and PENDRAGON. Heading back to G_N_A, I finally saw the required definition of Will. 34:34. Thanks setter and Pip.

  27. Slow to see CABBAGE and CHIMPANZEE – the latter largely because ‘ordnance’ generally means heavy artillery, not tanks. But I see mobile guns are included in dictionary definitions, so I’ve learned something.

  28. I persevered with this, and eventually finished without resorting to aids, but I very nearly did at several points. HOIST at 7d threw me for ages.
    I lost track of time but around 90 minutes. I’d normally give up long before this, but I had some spare time on my hands.

  29. Very slow, 80 minutes. I could say that part of the reason for this was that I had hoist at 7dn, reckoning that host might be pledge in some sense, but silly really, as was the careless leech at 24ac, but they can’t have made much difference. A couple of irritating uses of ‘with’ as a link-word, just there to help the surface. Several of them needed a bit of help. Having said that, I did like the way 17ac worked out, although what it means goodness knows.

  30. more than an hour, with one pink square, but some splendid vocabulary and tricky clues to enjoy. LOI PENDRAGON, not particularly difficult, but when I finally saw it I banged it in and pressed submit having actually typed PANDRAGON. Don’t you just hate it when you do that after getting all those hard ones

  31. 18:01 – some stretchy vocabulary. Wasn’t convinced by GONNA but it turned out to be right – the rest was knotty but uncontroversial. Nice workout.

  32. 33 mins. As a TT, I find that THE MIND BOGGLES with the different varieties. My LOI was MONSTER, a failure to lift and separate as usual.

  33. A very pleasant 25 minute solve, with plenty of food and drink. Like others I had a MER at 21dn, though the answer was clear enough from the clueing.
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  34. ZINFANDEL was a bit if a gimme with the ‘z’ indicated, and that gave me CHIMPANZEE which was also post-parsed. I was lucky enough to get the ‘smokie’ part as soon as I had the M and the anagram fodder, so ARBROATH followed quickly. Also I knew the film, and I know my Bible pretty well, so a good scattering of answers around the grid helped, plus getting the 14-letter ones quite quickly. LOI GRENADE, where I couldn’t think what to fit into G—-RE or GR—-E, not realising the whole clue was upended. Quite fun, with no unknowns.

  35. Very enjoyable tussle. No problems with the Arbroath smokie since I was introduced to it years ago by my Scottish wife.
    I assume that hoick is cognate with “hike”. That used to mean to raise quickly, I think, but is now uniformly employed whenever interest rates rise, even by a quarter of a per cent.

  36. Two goes needed. Hadn’t heard of an ABROATH SMOKIE so I’m pleased that I figured it out, and the unknown HOPI went in from wordplay. Eventually got ABRAHAM without knowing Jack Brabham, and tried to justify ‘Genoa’ for 21d (thinking that it must have been a city state or something like that at one stage) until I saw what kind of will was intended.

    A tough but fun puzzle – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Hopping mad
    LOI Gonna
    COD The mind boggles

  37. Didn’t finish as I forgot to go back to my pencilled-in “Hoist”, once I had the “Smokie”. For a long time I was convinced that it would be “Approach Vector” – which makes absolutely no sense at all, but sounds great, and it does have an overwhelmed fish in it!
    I learned today that Ordnance refers to guns/weapons – I had always thought that it referred to shells/ammunition.

  38. Having been put off by absent hyphen, BIGHEARTED was LOI, as it took far too long to think of CHUB, in spite of its alias having already been seen in another crossword this morning

  39. Bit of biffing around that Z. CHUB, the SMOKIE, then HOICK and BIGHEARTED were the last few in. One of those puzzles where I did better than I thought I would, given the SNITCH. I quite often struggle with the last couple of a 70-80, but this is >100 at the time of writing, and it just seemed to flow.


  40. A delight through gritted teeth. Wondered about maroc for too long before saw pinot. Don’t really go for gonna – what’s next, shoulda? – especially with the added elision so to speak. But gotta admit, it felt good to finish.

  41. 26.35.I’m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter and make believe it’s really a word. 😀

  42. Wow. So I found this tough. I was trying to solve between chores and hardly put a single clue in. Sat down to focus this evening but still came up 3 short.

    I missed that it was the ‘elevated’ that was reported as well as the boy and girl in HYGIENE, which I should have got just from the crossers tbf. I kept wanting it to be ‘high’ but didn’t think to change that to a Y so must have been half awake.

    I had the LEECH/LEACH the wrong way round (fume) so I was working with BRAT something.

    As soon as GONNA went in I thought, ‘there’s GONNA been complaints’

    Finally I was working with a simple E in 4d for European, not the whole chap so couldn’t drum up enough letters and was trying to get an asp in there. 🙄

    I’m not sure why I’m confessing all this really. Catharsis?

    Thanks setter and piquet.

  43. 49’58”
    Early pace, broke down two furlongs out, finished lame.
    Pleased to have got there with all parsed, having feared I’d be done like a kipper by the fish.
    Really enjoyed the struggle; thanks to Pip, Setter et al.

  44. Slow start – picked up pace with the long anagrams, but no idea at all about ARBROATH SMOKIE! Happy to get THE MIND BOGGLES and the film quite quickly; liked HOPI, and EARTHLING for the misdirection.

Comments are closed.