Times 28675 – What kind of gypsies, Steve?

Music: Steve Hillage, L

Time: 24 minutes

This was not exactly what you would call an ordinary Monday puzzle.   Fortunately, I was able to biff my way through the most difficult parts by calling on that most able officer, General Knowledge.    That left me with a correct answer I couldn’t explain, so I had to use the phone a friend option, which in my case is text a blogger.   Even the cryptics I did understand were rather elaborate, and involved unlikely elements.

I suspect some of those who usually finish might struggle on some of these.   Many of the clues are chestnuts or beginner level, so this one is definitely a strange mixture.


1 Express disapproval with uniform dress for dancers (4)
TUTU –  TUT + U, a beginner clue to make you think this is an easy puzzle.
3 Grim quality of nasty sneers after end of Christmas Eve (10)
SEVERENESS – [Christam] S EVE + anagram of SNEERS.
10 Canine ailment? Oh, the coat is mangy (9)
TOOTHACHE – Anagram of OH, THE COAT.   The question mark told me right away the canine was a tooth.
11 Old official always about arresting English (5)
REEVE – EVE(E)R backwards, a chestnut.
12 Hour joining a line by hospital department entrance (7)
ENTHRAL – ENT + HR + A L.  Using the dual meanings of entrance is an old trick.
13 Twist editor queried to some extent (6)
TORQUE – Hidden in [edi]TOR QUE[ried].
15 Recite fictional broadcast adding points? (15)
ELECTRIFICATION – Anagram of RECITE FICTIONAL, where the points have their UK meaning.
18 What might blow up tent in another case using no energy? (15)
TRINITROTOLUENE – Double definition, but….the second one is in cryptic form: T[e]NT, where tent is in upper case and losses an E.   Thanks and a hat tip to our resident professor of chemistry.
21 What’s acceptable in clothing for imprisonment (6)
23 Setter confused about round diamond (7)
ROSETTE – Anagram of SETTER around O.
26 Minor actor is remarkable, not ordinary (5)
EXTRA – EXTRA[ordinary].
27 Turn up day before new gallery closes in university (9)
EVENTUATE – EVE + N T(U)ATE.   Remember, there is only one gallery in cryptics.
28 After that drug stashed in a specific roof beam (10)
THEREAFTER –  THE R(E)AFTER – and only one drug.
29 Retained cap, changing bits of it? (4)
KEPT – KEP(-i,+T)   In upper case, you only have to remove a few serifs from the I, which are bits of it.
1 Child chased by adder regularly in moorland the whole way (2,3,5)
TO THE DEATH – TOT + HE([a]D[d]E[r])ATH.   Tricky parsing.
2 Swimmer’s time leading to defeat (5)
TROUT – T + ROUT, another chestnut.
4 Does exceptionally well gaining one gold and upwards (9)
5 Priest leaving bar incident (5)
6 English city demolishing round one area where Wedgwood worked (7)
ETRURIA – E + TRUR[o] + I + A, another one I just biffed.
7 Controlling river channel and river — not two rivers (9)
8 Staunch supporter of gardens (4)
STEM – Double definition.
9 Drought reduced Yorkshire town over time (6)
THIRST – THIRS[k] + T.   I wasn’t sure of the town, but this had to be it.
14 Neat and decent reformed prior (10)
ANTECEDENT – Anagram of NEAT + DECENT, with antecedent as an adjective.
16 Gets piqued with its item requiring uncovering in protocol (9)
ETIQUETTE – [g]ET[s] [p]IQUE[d] + [i]T[s] [i]TE[m], a tour de force that most solvers will just biff and move on.
17 Get involved to help bury Edward in church (9)
19 Repeat over and over — it takes a long time, note (7)
20 Preparation of cells is behind, including last two in Strangeways (6)
LYSATE – L([strangewa]YS)ATE.   A little tough, but once you have the crossers it can’t be anything else.
22 Stalks bound to be mostly cut fine (5)
SHEAF – SHEA[r] + F.
24 Exchange of invective I missed (5)
TRADE – T[i]RADE, another chestnut.
25 Try one’s luck introducing European vegetable (4)

98 comments on “Times 28675 – What kind of gypsies, Steve?”

  1. I thought this was a fairly straightforward Monday puzzle, to be honest. I didn’t know ETRURIA, but with E-R-RIA, the Truro bit just sort of leapt out at me, though I assumed the connection had to be with Italy and Etruscan vases etc. rather than with Staffordshire. I also didn’t know LYSATE, but worked it out from the cryptic, similarly with ROSETTE. DURESS seemed a little odd, but was clearly the answer and kepi is from the French, so not problematical. I thought STEM was a bit poor, and put it in when supported by crossers. Otherwise, quite fun and reasonably quick (for me!).

  2. With a chemistry degree I breezed through the TNT and lysate parts but came unstuck with DURESS which just seems wrong to me. I also swapped I to T in KEPI / KEPT, has to be. Used to collect Clarice Cliff so Etruria was also a write-in, and never bothered to parse ETIQUETTE. Thanks jackkt for explaining that.

  3. Weirdly the one I couldn’t untangle was EXECUTIVE although the answer was obvious enough. LYSATE was only vaguely familiar but clued clearly enough. I raised an eyebrow at DURESS and drew a frowny face next to ELECTRIFICATION – I guessed the intended sense of “POINTS” but I continue to think question marks should be allowed only to excuse very clever clues that are bending the rules, not justifying weak ones. But no real complaints, thanks for the blog.

  4. Like others I got off to a flying start with the first few across clues, but then struggled a bit, completing the grid in about an hour. SE corner held me up for a long time and I eventually biffed LYSATE and ROSETTE without being confident about either. Agree with others’ comments on the quality of some of the clues, expecially THEREAFTER. But regular boyhood reading of ‘Luck of the Legion’ meant that KEPI was not a problem in resolving 29ac.
    FOI – TUTU
    COD – not awarded
    Thanks to vinyl and other contributors.

  5. 34.14 Faster than the QC today and one of my quicker 15x15s. My cryptic crossword skills are poor so the reliance on GK suited me. EVENT was a guess. Thanks vinyl1.

  6. After a fast start, slowed down by NHOs, notably the full name of TNT (which it had to be, despite – and I use that word advisedly – the unhelpful wordplay. Others were ETRURIA (obscure knowledge) and LYSATE . All entered except these few, but left with an unwelcome taste in my mouth: DURESS=imprisonment?; after that =THEREAFTER? and so on. Not a happy bunny, despite nearly finishing in a fairly quick time (for me).

  7. Nho Thirsk, so spent an inordinate amount of time on 9 d which should have been a write in.
    I agree with our blogger that this is a little chewy for a Monday, so thanks to him and to the setter for a pleasant Saturday a.m. in Australia.

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