Times 28678 “Dost thou not suspect my years?”


Not unpleasant, and not too demanding either, though the demands of careful parsing for your benefit stretched my time to 20.19. Some bits of the TLS are on display, and some may not be familiar with the Shakespeare reference, but the cryptic are pretty generous. I am still unconvinced by the clue for one of the longer answers – I’ve had a shot, but I was relieved to see no pinks.

Definitions underlined in italics,

1 Rustic suffered injury and was lame (7)
HOBBLED – This is rustic as a noun, meaning peasant, translated to HOB, which feels a bit antique. Add BLED for suffered injury.
5 Misfortune of Spooner’s boy, young tearaway? (3,4)
BAD LUCK – Reverse the initial characters of LAD (boy) and BUCK (tearaway). For those who are unaware, Rev William Spooner was famous for transposing the initial letters of word pairs, with hilarious results, occasionally.
9 My character (3)
GEE – A succinct double definition. My can lead to a wide range of exclamations. Character to at least 26 possibilities.
10 What a performance! It’s this decorator’s material! (7,4)
MASKING TAPE – The best I can do with this is to go via MASK as masquerade, a form of drama involving dance and music. Take it as a verb, and record it and you get a form of performance preserved as a masking tape. Something tells me I’m missing something obvious. Please be kind! George/GLH has indeed been kind: see the first comment below. So foul and fair a clue I have not seen…
11 Check one performing in selection procedure (8)
AUDITION – Presumably to assemble your cast for the mask. Check: AUDIT, I (one) and performing: ON
12 Bring hell to lecturer beginning to expound? (6)
HECKLE – Audience participation in the above? HECK a mild euphemism for hell, plus L(ecturer) and the beginning of Expound.
15 Irish house ending in unexpected trouble (4)
DÁIL – The Lower House of the Irish Parliament, pronounced Doil. End of unexpecteD and AIL for trouble (what ails you?)
16 Taker of risks intended, they say, to get improved situation (10)
BETTERMENT – Simply BETTER for the taker of risks and MENT which sounds like (they say) meant, intended.
18 Criminals: one is facing politician in court (10)
CONSISTORY – Criminals: CONS, I (one) IS (in plain view) and TORY for politician. A Consistory is an ecclesiastical court or governing body. [On edit: I have too many Is in this: should be I’S (one’s) for one is. Thanks Starstruck]
19 Not happy when eating cold fish (4)
SCAD – Not happy SAD consumes C(old). A scad is also known as a horse mackerel (especially when  there’s a lot of them?)
22 Something to be watched that is coming after prison sentence (6)
BIRDIE – BIRD for prison sentence, IE for that is
23 Honour given to pilot who sits in front seat? (8)
CHAIRMAN – Honour in this case is C(ompanion of) H(onour) given  to AIRMAN for pilot. The existing 63 Companions of Honour include Paul MacCartney, Judy Dench and J  K Rowling.
25 Greek philosopher’s cunning idea men redeveloped (11)
ARCHIMEDEAN – The ‘s means we’re looking for the adjective form. Cunning is ARCH, and the rest an anagram (redeveloped) of IDEA MEN, helpful for getting the spelling right.
27 Profound respect shown by a couple sat facing one another (3)
AWE – A plus W(est) and E(ast) who face each other across a bridge table. Profound disbelief as to why your partner bid 3 hearts is much more common than awe.
28 Intellectual, say, and good leader (7)
EGGHEAD – EG for say, plus G(ood) and HEAD for leader.
29 Does this particle actually exist? Chat about that (7)
TACHYON – It’s a theoretical particle that moves faster than light, hence the tachy bit. An anagram (about) of CHAT plus YON for that. “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look.”
1 Rider worn down by care? (7)
HAGGARD – The author of King Solomons Mines is Rider HAGGARD
2 What successful stud did, stabling a money-maker? (11)
BREADWINNER – The mind briefly boggled over a stallion’s stud activities, but it’s only BRED WINNER with an A “stabled” appropriately.
3 Learner is kept outside US university bounds (6)
LIMITS – L(earner) IS surrounding Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an American Uni.
4 Junk being dumped on one filthy place? Certainly not the best policy! (10)
DISHONESTY – Junk gives DISH, then (A rarity here!) one gives – um – ONE, and filthy place STY. A play on “honesty is the best policy”.
5 Russian saint losing heart — assurance wanted (4)
BAIL – That conglomeration of onion domes just off Red Square is St Basil’s Cathedral. In Russia he is venerated as a Holy Fool. Just take his name and knock out the middle
6 Do good by admitting sin as Shakespearean character (8)
DOGBERRY – The hilariously illiterate (honest!) police boss in Much Ado. DO plus G(ood) plus BY with ERR for sin inserted.
7 A Parisian male meeting a female (3)
UNA – A male (form) in “Parisian” gives UN and then add A.
8 Most intense lament is evident across the Channel (7)
KEENEST – Lament is KEEN then is, more French from across the channel, gives EST.
13 Associate to stave off takeover bid? (4,7)
KEEP COMPANY – Two definitions, the second whimsical.
14 Most formal Catholic hemmed in by nasty atheists (10)
STARCHIEST – Catholic is RC, and an anagram (nasty) of ATHEISTS is parked outside.
17 Discordant den interrupted by short call (8)
DIVISIVE – My last with a bit of head scratching. It’s DIVE for den surrounding a short VISIt. I was looking for something more (un)musical.
18 Vegetable in vehicle getting black over time (7)
CABBAGE – Vehicle CAB plus B(lack) plus AGE for time.
20 Room with muck, one that’s awful? (7)
DUNGEON – Technically the definition could be just “room” but it’s obviously much better read as an &lit. Muck is DUNG and then one crops up again, this time as an anagram (awful) giving EON
21 Select prison reportedly offering pleasant experience (6)
PICNIC – Two homophones (reportedly). Select PICk and prison NICk
24 Act thought not to involve your setter (4)
DEED – Your setter is ME, which is plucked from DEEMED for thought.
26 Small bit of machine must be firm and strong ultimately (3)
COG – CO for firm plus the last of stronG.

72 comments on “Times 28678 “Dost thou not suspect my years?””

  1. 10 across, the term whaT A PErfomance is masking the word TAPE.

    11:09, took me a while to piece together DIVISIVE and CONSISTORY

    1. I was nervous about MASKING TAPE. Thanks, George! (So… nothing to do with Yo Yo MA and a tribute to MLK.)

      1. I was going to add “Jr.” to “MLK,” but my editing window has prematurely closed.

        EDIT: Apparently, we now have only one hour in which editing is possible.
        It used to be a 12-hour window.
        Who asked for this change?
        Who was asked about it?

        Maybe I’ll just stop posting late at night. Too much risk of typos.

        1. Guy, there’s info from Johninterred about the need for the edit change in today’s QC discussion.

          1. Fine, but I have to work that before I go over there.
            Seems just as relevant to the 15×15.

    2. Thanks George, easy when you see it, not when you don’t. Dogberry’s next words after my title: “O, that he were here to write me down an ass!”

  2. Thanks, Z, a lovely blog as usual.

    Does the “I” appear twice in your parsing of CONSISTORY? In addition to the MASKING TAPE clue, I was not sure about this one on submitting.

    1. Parsed it as I is = I’s – not sure if you did too and are gently asking for the blog to be amended, or something else?

      1. Thanks, isla3, and sorry to be vague. I thought the blog might need to be updated. I convinced myself that “is” could be shortened to “‘s” in this context – but was a bit nervous, as I was also guessing that CONSISTORY was a word (having never heard of it :-).

  3. 46 minutes although I had all but 3 answers as the half-hour passed.

    I had a few queries along the way with HOB as a rustic as the first of them. I’m not doubting it now as I note it’s the very first definition in the SOED entry, but I just don’t recall meeting it before. Usually HOB is a ghost or sprite or male ferret or fireplace or cooker.

    Another I don’t recall seeing in The Times before is l = lecturer at 12ac, although it’s common enough in The Guardian where it seems that almost any word can be abbreviated to its first letter to get the setter out of a corner. Anyway, this one is in Chambers, but may be in breach of the conventions on single-letter abbreviations that normally apply here. There’s allegedly a list of the permitted ones but I’ve never seen it.

    NHO CONSISTORY or TACHYON but pieced them together from wordplay once all the checkers were in place.

    I was pleased to deduce that MASKING TAPE worked a bit like a reverse anagram clue.

    I had no idea what was going on with AWE, so thanks for that.

    MIT again so soon after yesterday and discussions about it here!

    DUNGEON was my LOI.

    1. “lecturer” isn’t in the (old) list I have of the approved words that can be abbreviated to the letter l

      1. Thanks. I’ve definitely seen it in The Guardian, most recently within the past 7-10 days.

      2. Can you tell me where the list of approved words that can be abbreviated to their first letters can be found?

        1. I’d like to see it out of interest but I doubt it can be relied on, especially on Sundays.

  4. Mostly quick and easy, but a few niggly unknowns – HOB and DISH in the junk sense. 2LOI was AWE needing an alphabet trawl. LOI MASKING TAPE where I failed to spot the reverse cryptic, so entered with trepidation. Even knowing the trick the clue seems ungainly.
    COD definitely to TACHYON, but liked BREADWINNER a lot, also.

  5. I’ll add SCAD to the other unknowns mentioned variously above. I registered 36.23 but resorted to the check function a few times when I did not quite believe the word I had deduced from the clueing. Like SCAD, TACHYON, CONSISTORY – I won’t go on. Thanks to Z for sorting some tricky ones out, all up a fun but challenging puzzle I thought. I’ll pay MASKING TAPE but not convinced by HECKLE, nor by the CHAIRMAN being defined as sitting in the front seat.

  6. Another who didn’t parse MASKING TAPE. A nice puzzle.

    18’39” thanks z and setter.

  7. 35 minutes. Mainly held up by the unexpectedly non-musical (as pointed out by Z) DIVISIVE at the end. Just remembered CONSISTORY and TACHYON. Definitely solved first, parsed later but I liked MASKING TAPE once I saw what was going on.

    Thanks to Zabadak and setter

  8. 46 minutes with LOI HECKLE, suspected much earlier but I was unhappy about L for lecturer. I spent too long on understanding MASKING TAPE. By the time the penny dropped, the coin was out of circulation. As a TLS regular, I still had to. construct DOGBERRY, with much ado, although HAGGARD was a write-in. COD to DISHONESTY. Tough in parts but fair.Thank you Z and setter.

    1. I love “By the time the penny dropped, the coin was out of circulation.”

      Was that a coinage or is it an old chestnut that has only just dropped into my brazier?

      1. Thank you. It wasn’t hoary or old to me and I hope I coined it myself, but expect I’ll now be told of three previous occasions when it’s been used!

  9. Man is of soul and body, formed for deeds.
    Of high resolve; on fancy’s boldest wing.
    To soar unwearied, fearlessly …
    (Queen Mab, Shelley)

    30 mins mid-brekker. I saw how Masking Tape was supposed to work but didn’t like it. Also not keen on one is=I’s nor Lecturer=L nor ‘being dumped on’.
    Ta setter and Z.

  10. 14:20. DNK HOB for rustic, but a short alphabet trawl to find GEE and then seeing HAGGARD confirmed. I’m another who had no idea about MASKING TAPE. Thanks Z and setter.

  11. Thank heavens for George, we would still be puzzling over the masking tape otherwise. I would be, anyway. No problem with the idea, but a clunky clue.
    Not hard otherwise but a few I wasn’t enthused by, mostly mentioned already ..
    Liked the tachyon clue.

  12. 30 minutes. Took ages to see MASKING TAPE, but managed to parse it in the end. Didn’t know hob=rustic for HOBBLED and can’t recall seeing L for lecturer before, which held up HECKLE. Hadn’t heard of DOGBERRY or SCAD either, but the cluing was kind in both cases. Also didn’t parse DEED, so that eventually went in with a shrug.

    A nice puzzle – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Una
    LOI Deed
    COD Keep company

  13. 36 mins of a little less than total bliss. LOI heckle, preceded by the equally resistant keep company, bail – having finally given up on Boris- and another one which I’ve momentarily forgotten and can’t be bothered to look up.

    I’ve relented it was divisive.

    Good puzzle and glad to have finished.

  14. Another one that seemed easier to me than my Monday DNF, and again under my 30 mins average. Biffed masking tape, lovely clue now it’s explained. Took time to work out HECKLE to give me KEEP, even though I had COMPANY (doh). DIVISIVE also fooled me for a while (as blogger, I was looking for a musical connection). I see MIT has moved from being a tech college yesterday to a university today, I’m sure the faculty will be delighted! Thank you Zabadak and setter.

    1. The Americans I know are crazy about diversity (well, of the requisite type), so I think most will be delighted about the MIT clueing.

  15. Lovely puzzle, quite a few biffs, MASKING TAPE among them. NHO DOGBERRY, HOB, DISH etc. Got there in the end though.


  16. I found this very hard. Had SCENIC for PICNIC, which made CHAIRMAN impossible, and couldn’t see HECKLE (is ‘L’ a known abbreviation for lecturer? Really?). Wrung out the rest of it with difficulty and some irritation. Not on the wavelength today, apparently.

  17. No idea what was going on with MASKING TAPE and entered it in because it fitted some of the clue and fitted the checkers, and to my surprise at 34 minutes I didn’t get the ‘Unlucky’ page. Otherwise all went in smoothly enough except that I used a list for the DOGBERRY that I in fact knew, the chap who was a Mrs Malaprop before Sheridan. We seem to be having Spoonerism clues more often in The Times: some people dislike them but I rather enjoy them and they seem a perfectly good weapon in the setter’s armoury.

  18. 25 mins submitted in hope rather than expectation but proved to be ok. Not come across L for lecturer before, a MER for me.
    Another puzzle which started off in quickie territory before branching into the arcane.

  19. I second much of what has been said. Thanks for AWE, MASKING TAPE and for lecturer=L.
    In Wiktionary I found:
    Etymology 2
    hob (plural hobs)
    (obsolete) A fairy; a sprite; an elf; a bogey.
    (obsolete) A countryman; a rustic or yokel.
    so a somewhat dusty definition.

  20. 20:28. Missed the neatness of MASKING TAPE – but the crossers made it a write-in – and pondered long and hard over DIVISIVE. Nice workout and thank you as usual for supplying the missing parsings.

    1. I was rather hoping no-one would ask! I think it goes via an informal meaning of dish to mean ruin, thence either to a heap of junk or a similar verbal meaning of junk. But I do feel it’s a bit of a smudge.

      1. Just seen it in Collins with the example ‘she dished her chances of getting a job’ but ‘junk’ would vibe an odd substitution here. Can’t say I’ve seen this slang sense used irl either.

  21. I wholeheartedly agree with thanks to George for explaining MASKING TAPE. I try to avoid entering answers I can’t fully explain, but this just didn’t seem like it could be anything else. Otherwise I was OK – I studied ‘Much Ado…’ at school, and knew others like ‘hob’ from too long doing cryptic crosswords.

    I would also like to query ‘L’ for ‘lecturer’, though. I’ve never seen it before, and I wonder of the clue was supposed to indicate beginnings of both ‘lecturer’ and ‘expound’ but failed to do so.

    Thanks to both Setter and Blogger!

    1. Oddly enough I put in L for lecturer without a second thought: it’s certainly turned up in the “specialist” areas, and (my go-to resource) it is in Chambers

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if L was in Chambers as the initial for ‘lobotomy’ or ‘laparoscopy’ or whatever begins with L that’s in Mephisto.

        1. For what it’s worth, here’s the main list:
          Learner (driver)
          Libra (Latin), pound sterling (usu written £)
          Lira or lire
          Luxembourg (IVR)

          If you want you can add:
          Angular momentum (physics)
          Inductance (elec)
          Luminance (physics)
          Molar latent heat (chem)
          ….and of course 50

      2. Is that a hard copy of Chambers? I’ve looked online and can’t see L for lecturer…

        1. The online Chambers (21st Century Dictionary) is not the same as the main Chambers dictionary. For that you need either the book or the app.

            1. The app is great, and not expensive. I have a hard copy but never use it: not much point when I can access identical content on my phone!

  22. Oof! BIRDIE, DIVISIVE, MASKING TAPE(had no idea how it worked), KEEP COMPANY and LOI HECKLE stretched me from around 2o minutes to 45:18 by the time I’d solved them. Feel as though I need a lie down now! Thanks setter and Z.

  23. Beaten by HECKLE- can someone enlighten me as to when L equals lecturer? And without that I couldn’t get the KEEP of 13d.
    Not my cup of tea today.

  24. 54:21 0 errors. found most of it fairly straightforward but the LHS was a pain. took ages to see Breadwinner (COD) and biffed Divisive as couldn’t fully parse the VISIt part. thanks setter and Z!

  25. 32:14

    First half good – second half a bit like pulling teeth. No idea what was going on with MASKING TAPE but needed that to get DOGBERRY (which I recall from here some while back). Didn’t know/had forgotten HOB as rustic. SE caused biggest delays – not believing SCAD is a fish held me up – when I eventually submitted, 13d and 20d went straight in. No problem with TACHYON – sure it’s come up in some sci-fi show at some time…

    1. Tachyons indeed a great deal in Star Trek due to its association with faster-than-light.

  26. 15:33. Very much a puzzle of two halves for me today: the second half took approximately four times as long as the first. Didn’t parse MASKING TAPE of course so thanks George.
    I didn’t think twice about L for ‘lecturer’, familiar from Mephisto I suspect. It does seem questionable in the daily puzzle. ‘Junk’ for DISH seems questionable in any context.
    Good chewy puzzle though.

  27. DNF.

    My mind was partly elsewhere and I bailed out after 40 minutes. Not sure I would ever have got MASKING TAPE, or CONSISTORY and I’d gone for BORIS as my Russian saint. MER for Junk/Dish but I did like BREADWINNER and BETTERMENT.

    Thanks to Zabadak and the setter

  28. 51:40

    I had over 80% complete within half an hour, but really struggled over the final few clues.

    My undoing was having HAMBLED for 1a, in the hope that HAM was a rustic, which prevented me from seeing BREADWINNER, as I was doing alphabet trawls for words beginning with M.

    Thanks setter and Z.

  29. Head in hands.
    Didn’t know HOB (guessed but couldn’t parse or enter with confidence). Could only come up with EDIT and never AUDIT. I was doing too much lifting and separating in HAGGARD and wanted TEND to be ‘care’ at the end. So even when I saw GEE I was way off. I was also looking for a musical term Z, and couldn’t let go of RIN(g) somewhere in the middle. DNK TACHYON and would have liked an indication that I was looking for an archaic word for ‘that’ but that would be for the QC, I guess. I was the wrong way round for DUNGEON, which I see is rather clever.
    On the upside I did solve everything else?
    Not really my week.

    Thanks Z and setter for the exercise at least.

  30. Late getting to this but glad I took the trouble. Managed to finish with all correct but wasn’t sure about the parsing of MASKING TAPE. LOI was HECKLE even though the answer came earlier to me, I wanted to be sure of the parsing. No time recorded as I was in and out like a fiddlers elbow, but I would guess 45/50 minutes.

  31. 58m. FOI was 5ac but I thought Spoonerisms were supposed to make some kind of sense both ways viz the infamous sly tricks. I just don’t get lad buck as having any meaning other than unrelated single words. Separatim given that misfortune is BAD LUCK and it was a 3,4 the clue wasn’t remotely cryptic simply a plain definition. COD: TACHYON

  32. So far as I can see nobody’s managed to conjure up a single example in which L is used as an abbreviation for lecturer, the only justification being that it’s in Chambers (along, it seems, with just about every other hard to clue combination of letters), I hope we don’t see it again here. Not a bad puzzle though, I was defeated only by my own general knowledge shortcomings (I could only guess at HOB, DISH and SCAD and failed as usual with Shakespeare). Thanks for the blog.

    1. Since l = lecturer turns up regularly in Guardian puzzles, a newspaper that’s read widely in Academia, I assume it’s used there.

  33. Thanks for explaining MASKING TAPE. DNF as couldn’t get DIVISIVE. I assumed HECKLE was parsed as hell plus LE from start of lecturer and hoped that it could mean expound. Liked CONSISTORY.

  34. 39’55”
    One paced final stages.
    Lots to like here; thank you Z and setter.

  35. can someone please explain 12ac. Does HECKLE = BRING? And 4dn, DISH for junk??? Many thanks.

  36. I should apologise: I didn’t underline the definition for HECKLE, which in this case is the whole clue: it’s an &lit.
    Dish and junk as equivalents are somewhat more contentious.
    How about “England just dished/junked Colombia’s hopes in the Women’s World Cup”. At least it’s up to the minute!

    1. thanks. I’ve been doing times crossword for a few years now and still don’t understand &lit (despite the glossary definition)! Dish the dirt maybe but not someone’s hopes.

      1. I’m with you on dish and junk: it’s quite a stretch.
        In an &lit, all the clue is the definition, if often rather elaborately expressed. At the same time, the individual words provide the wordplay in the normal variety of ways.

  37. After getting HOBBLED (only on definition!), thought that 2d had to start with BLOODsomething -like-Lines, which in turn held me up on GEE, etc. But! Did quite well otherwise, more by luck than judgement, with solving the Spoonerism (a first for me!), the bumbling DOGBERRY, and even MASKING TAPE without knowing where the mask came from. A few more biffs (SCAD, AWE) but mostly worked the parsing for all but the unknowns TACHYON, DAIL – that said, I’m sure I have it somewhere in my dictionary-length list of “Words to be remembered”!
    All up, enjoyable but on the tough side: DIVISIVE my LOI, BREADWINNER my COD.

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