Times 28687 – If you are the deer….

Time: 28 minutes

Music: Britten, Four Sea Interludes

This is not a difficult puzzle, and I should have finished in good time.    My momentum carried me to within three answers, but then I seemed to have lost all solving ability and was stuck for a good 10 minutes – I just couldn’t see the obvious.

Many of the clues here are quite simple, which sometimes makes it hard for good solvers to come down to the puzzle’s level.    Not being able to see obvious ones like tears up and abreast really hurt.   I suspect we’ll get quite a few sub-10 minute times from those who got onto the wavelength and stayed there.

1 Bosses traversing land — two to shine on journey? (10)
6 Hurtful remark in pub with beer always going off (4)
BARB – BAR + B[eer].
10 Player calls sailor back (7)
BASEMAN – NAMES AB backwards.   A player is never called just a baseman, but is always prefixed with his base: first baseman, second baseman, third baseman.
11 Be a star involved in a row (7)
ABREAST – Anagram of BE A STAR.
12 Locum office worker with long hair — Eve? (9)
13 European among strangers we’d embrace (5)
SWEDE – Hidden in [stranger]S WE’D E[mbrace].
14 Was bad or excellent, given guidance? (5)
15 Like sheep and goats? Extremes in some Bible story (9)
17 Grand Old Man protecting daughter? Different female sponsor (9)
20 Slave in male group (5)
HELOT –  HE LOT, a chestnut.
21 Deservedly get to have chapter put in summary (5)
23 Calming down pal acting out of order (9)
25 A solitary type embracing male officer in hospital once (7)
26 Trendy shop ready for future needs? (2,5)
IN STORE – IN STORE, what can I say?   World’s simplest cryptic clue.
27 Block up colon? (4)
STOP – Double definition, one a punctuation mark.
28 Part of a bigger story provided by Mantel isn’t bad (10)
1 Hotel given not much custom (5)
2 Got together in a muddle, upset and drained (9)
ASSEMBLED – A + MESS upside-down + BLED.
3 Scot is devout fellow with this sort of firm (7,7)
LIMITED COMPANY – Double definition, one jocular – S(CO)T, a ST who contains (limits) a CO.
4 Looks for birds for Christmas? (7)
GANDERS – Double definition.
5 Makes useless drop to drink (5,2)
7 A club with little energy to become less active (5)
8 Most cold beer is foreign (9)
9 Last chance to get script right? Make shambolic lass re-read hers (5,9)
14 Reign alas unfortunate for certain Africans (9)
16 Warning signal that is overwhelming because aggressive (9)
18 Bird injected with what you’d expect, one chemical compound (7)
19 Sort of philosopher about to be put on a register (7)
22 Band seen from dress circle (5)
24 Huge gun probed by engineers (5)

90 comments on “Times 28687 – If you are the deer….”

  1. Nup – don’t get the Scots joke! I can see that S(CO)T “limits” CO, but why a “devout fellow”?

    Ah – at last. The ST is limiting CO.

      1. Not a great clue, in my opinion, but ‘Scot’ is a devout fellow – a saint, or ST – with COMPANY (‘CO’) contained within or LIMITED by him. I couldn’t parse it and struggled even with our blogger’s help. If it needs that much work to sort it out, I’d say the clue is overly contrived at best. From several comments below, I see it had lots of us scratching our heads and a predictable split of opinion between those who thought it clever and those, self included, who think it too clever by half.

        Overall reasonably Mondayish, but not, in my view, as easy as our blogger suggests. About 35 minutes or so.

  2. 12:22
    Not particularly difficult, but I had to biff 3d, which I still don’t get the Scot part of. Also failed to parse ASSEMBLED. DNK HEPARIN.

  3. 22 minutes. BASEMAN and HEPARIN from wordplay and taken on trust. On checking the latter I found there is also a compound called ‘heparan’ usually combined as ‘heparan sulfate’, though not always. Its usage seems pretty rare so it’d be unlikely to cause confusion as to the intended answer and I think it’s covered by a convention about ‘one’ not cluing ‘a’ in Times puzzles anyway.

    I wondered about EVE as a temptress as her role in the affair of the apple is open to interpretation with some arguing that she gave it to Adam in all innocence having been tempted herself by the serpent.

    I had no idea what was going on with ‘Scot’ but the answer nearly wrote itself in. .

    1. Eve, and women in general, have been vilified and oppressed for millenia because of this story.

  4. Oh, shoot, I forgot to go back and parse LIMITED COMPANY. Very good!
    Pretty easy, ideal for a Monday. LOI ALMONER.
    * * *
    The clue for LIMITED COMPANY is not a DD.
    The first part is a cryptic hint, not a definition by any stretch!

  5. 20 minutes. LIMITED COMPANY initially bunged in from enumeration and a few crossers, then I went back to look at it and sort of saw what was going on. I was slow getting BASEMAN, my excuse being that I’ve only ever seen it preceded by first, second or third as explained in the blog. I didn’t know separating the sheep from the goats was a PARABLE from the Bible (Gospel of Matthew), which makes the clue even better.

    The “World’s simplest cryptic clue” didn’t give any problems today, but probably will the next time it appears.

  6. Didn’t parse LIMITED COMPANY, and as a Scot was expecting something a bit disparaging!! NE corner held me up for no good reason (ABREAST/ABATE) but late 20’s is perfectly acceptable for me. Thanks Vinyl1 and setter.

  7. Unlike vinyl1 I did think this was difficult, or at least a long way from easy. Still don’t really get LIMITED COMPANY and am grateful to the blog for explaining GODMOTHER and ASSEMBLED which I thought were quite complicated cryptics. I was held up by some simple ones as mentioned: RECAP, STOP, ABREAST to mention three. Got HEPARIN rather shakily from wordplay, ditto ALMONER though at least I’d heard of that. All up an enjoyable workout, 25.57.

  8. Perhaps getting on the exercise bike before relaxing with the puzzle warmed me up, because 17 minutes is pretty good for me, though I never parsed LIMITED COMPANY.

    HEPARIN seemed familiar to me from some controversy about a particular use in the UK in the 1990s that was big enough to make headlines, but I can’t find any reference to that through Google, so I may be misremembering.

  9. A full house of typos this morning. One pink per puzzle. Finished in 5:58 but in vain. COD SEPARABLE.

  10. Sheep and goats are usually easily SEPARABLE nowadays, but at the time when they were kept together only the herder could tell the difference – which is one of the interpretations of the parable. (Think about it).

    Didn’t like the LIMITED COMPANY clue, my LOI.

    16’37”, thanks vinyl and setter.

    1. I think the interpretation given to me was that of course countryfolk can tell the difference and know to keep them apart because goats tend to pull grass out by the roots, destroying the pasturage for sheep, whilst sheep cut the grass with the teeth.
      Maybe my teacher didn’t know any better.

  11. 9:24. I finished in the NE corner with the same two that held up Gerry – ABREAST and ABATE. Normally anagrams are a strong point for me but I couldn’t make anything with “Be a star” until I had nearly all the checkers in place. And for ABATE I got sucked into thinking the club was just going to be C. Other than that, pretty straightforward.

  12. 19 minutes with LOI AILED. I didn’t parse LIMITED COMPANY, which was clever. As it is, COD to SEPARABLE. I constructed the unknown chemical. I assume that BASEMAN is a baseball fielder at one of the bases. Has baseball not dropped the use of ‘man’ its descriptions yet? Using them is not cricket.

  13. 11:17. I see I failed to go back and work out the parsing for LIMITED COMPANY. DNK HEPARIN and hesitated over STOP for a while being a little unconvinced and wondering if there was another word for intestine that fit. COD to SEPARABLE. Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  14. Not overly taxing and I parsed everything today. Wasn’t comfortable with STOP and relieved at no pink squares. 30 mins or so

  15. ‘Good speed!’’ cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew;
    ‘Speed!’ echoed the wall to us galloping through;
    Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
    And into the midnight we galloped Abreast.
    (…Ghent to Aix, Browning)

    30 mins mid-brekker and I admit to a few mins on my last two: Tears Up/Abreast.
    I liked it. Some nice touches and lovely surfaces. I saw the Co in St but am still not sure the clue quite works.
    Ta setter and V.

      1. Thank you Myrtilus and John; the equine suffering in the former nearly brought a tear to my eye. And the second, while quite a merciless travesty, I can quite see why it had to be done.

  16. Finished it in about 45, which I suspect will be outside my target of Snitch/2.

    I have a few questions:
    And is Grand Old Man(=GOM) grand+old man ? Or grand + old + man? Or Grand Old Man ? Each way, I don’t know the abbreviations.

    I was sure 10a was going to be BATSMAN.
    And was trying to get a HERON in for HEPARON.

    LOI ASSEMBLED where I thought the anagram was (A MUDDLE)* containing an abbreviation for “got together”, meaning drained (as an ending ED looked likely). With the T from BATSMAN in there, only a cheeky check showed my error.

    I usually like reverse cryptics, but didn’t think much of SCOT.

    COD SEPARABLE, good surface

    1. Collins:
      LIGHT (verb) (esp of birds) to settle or land after flight. To get down from a horse, vehicle, etc
      DRESS: to comb out or arrange (the hair) into position ..

        1. It most certainly does. There is a whole page about this meaning, eg:
          “intransitive. To descend (esp. by flying, falling, jumping, etc.), and land or settle in a place or on a surface; to alight”

          To be fair “light” is a word with a multitude of meanings..

          1. Ah yes. I forgot to check the “intransitive” option. Lots of good examples in there.

    2. Interesting question re GOM. I checked in Chambers and though it has G for Grand and O for Old there is no M for Man. However there is GOM for Grand Old Man, “used of an elderly and venerated person, esp in a particular field of endeavour”.

      1. On further research (OED) The acronym G. O. M .,(Grand Old Man), was used to describe Gladstone. Disraeli reconstructed the initials and said that Gladstone was “God’s Only Mistake”. Although, this usage is contested.

        1. It was also fashionable to reverse it to ‘MOG’ in 1885 as ‘Murderer of Gordon’: deliberate use of colon intended. . .

  17. Raced through much of this until ABATE held me up for ages, crossing the line in a still quick (for me) 20 minutes – only to discover a pink square in HEPERIN, where I construed ‘what you’d expect’ as your portion, often appearing in crosswordland as PER. NHO the substance so no reality check was available. Good surfaces today and thanks V for revealing the very oblique wordplay for the company.

  18. 26m 21s
    I just about get LIMITED COMPANY but I’m afraid I’ve missed something in 22d COMBO. Comb = dress?
    And I’m afraid I don’t see how TEARS UP = makes useless.
    As for separating sheep from goats, I worked at a US military base in Sicily about twenty years ago. Neither I nor the Americans I worked alongside could tell the difference between flocks of sheep and goats in the surrounding countryside so the animals were referred to as ‘Geep’!

  19. Just under 20 minutes. Didn’t understand LIMITED COMPANY at all, so thanks for the explanation. Hadn’t heard of HEPARIN but the wordplay was kind, and ALMONER was dredged up from somewhere. Like Merlin above, I wasn’t sure about dress=comb for COMBO or the abbreviations involved in GODMOTHER.

    FOI Great
    LOI Helot
    COD Dress rehearsal

  20. It’s always good to come in under half an hour. I found LIMITED COMPANY baffling, and then impressive. I lked GANDERS and COMBO

  21. Over 40mins, held buy the same three as others, ABREAST, ABATE, and LOI, BITTEREST. I spent ages looking for an anag of MOST C(old) BEER. Doh.

    HEPARIN NHO and worked out from wp. Not a nice clue.

    Like others, never parsed Co Ltd. I liked DRESS REHEARSAL.

    Thanks v and setter.

  22. I was struggling but persevered after I saw the snitch.
    I had heset at 20a which made bellicose hard.
    COD bitterest

  23. Found this easy, 12 mins nearly a PB, no issues, groan for another Americanism with BASEMAN.

  24. Didn’t like SCOT. I don’t think I have ever heard of a baseman, but BATSMAN wasn’t going to parse, but I tried for a while. Didn’t parse 2d ASSEMBLED, but now I see it is a good clue.
    NHO or have forgotten HEPARIN.

  25. 7:35
    Nice Monday-level one. After a week spent among the fleshpots of Edinburgh I was bemused by the Scottish references above, until I realised I’d biffed LIMITED COMPANY without thinking.
    I was expecting BASSIST at 10ac, so almost went for BASSMAN.

  26. With the G, and seeing Grand Old Man, I almost biffed GLADSTONE (his nickname). Never got the parsing of the Scot. Thanks all.

  27. No problem with most of these, though a MER at ‘comb’=’dress’. To dress the hair is to arrange it or put it up, not comb it. Also didn’t understand 3D, so thanks for the explanation, Vinyl. BASEMAN and HEPARIN got from wordplay alone, NHO either. Liked SEPARABLE and ALMONER. Nice and easy Monday fare done mostly over first coffee.

  28. Well I DNF as I never heard of HEPARIN and was obsessed with the bird being a heron. Very easy apart from that!

  29. Going along nicely until the sw corner- HERAPIN and STOP entered gingerly, and wondered if amloner was a word until I saw the correct answer which gave me COMBO as LOI.
    Thanks to blogger for sorting 3d.

  30. Harrumph!

    Had worked it out as as HEPARAN (with A -one) which I’d never heard of . Looked it up in Chambers on-line and was delighted to find it there. Not the best of clues in my opinion.

  31. Stod in the hole
    It seems LTD COY is a brilliant clue that nobody, including me, understood when solving I guess that’s why we have TftT. So my time was pushed to 14.18, but not by that, which I threw in uncomprehending, but by the innocuous STOP, which I stared at for ages. I nearly entered the neologism STOD (dots backwards, clever eh?) because it looks as if it would be a good word for the yuck that clogs up my sink from time to time.
    I liked ABREAST for that neat definition. Congratulations to Vinyl for unravelling the contender for the cleverest clue ever, but I’m not sure IN STORE is the world’s simplest: there must be other contenders!

  32. I suppose people are objecting to the LIMITED COMPANY clue because they object to limited = put inside. Its parsing defeated me but now it’s been explained I see it’s very clever. HEPARIN and BASEMAN both unknowns and taken on trust. The sort of nice easy crossword that one should (?) get on a Monday and it enabled me to finish off Dean from yesterday. 24 minutes.

  33. I agree that Scot is marvellously clued within the clue. Not so keen on a plural of that kind of gander. Started off with House instead of Habit which held things up a bit. Straightforward enough once got going.

  34. 13.28. A good time for me, but several NHOs (HELOT, HEPARIN, ALMONER), which is rare for a Monday. As a result it *felt* tricky, despite the speed. And is a colon really a stop?

    INSTALMENTS and ABREAST were very good anagrams, I thought.

    Thanks both.

      1. Not on this side of the pond it isn’t.

        If the colon prefaces a list it’s not a stop. If it separates items in a list it’s not a stop either. I can’t think of any context where a colon is a stop.

        1. Collins has as a definition for STOP “British | a punctuation mark, esp a full stop” (it also has STOP as a verb meaning “to insert punctuation marks in,” a new one on me). Over here, we call a full stop a period. If a period is a full stop, what is a less-than-full stop? Certainly, you stop at a colon or semi-colon, however briefly. I don’t know if a comma would count, but the definition seems to allow it.

  35. 19:43

    Slow on the first pass of acrosses but picked up on the downs. I liked the LIMITED COMPANY clue which I entered from just the T and D checkers. Slow on the anagrams today – ABREAST was reasonably quick but had to write out the fodder for ALGERIANS and INSTALMENT at which point both answers instantly leapt out at me.

    HELOT was an educated guess – not sure it’s a chestnut for me – and NHO HEPARIN but generous parsing and checkers.

    Thanks all

  36. A very quick time (for me) of 20.15, and most answers came to me quickly. Like others, I had to rely on wordplay for HEPARIN and for BASEMAN, although I suspected it had to be related to baseball.
    Seeing ‘Grand Old Man’ in the clue took me back many years to my history A Level days, when GOM was used by the Victorians to describe William Gladstone our four times prime minister. Unfortunately later in his political career, the GOM was reversed to MOG by the people, as Gladstone was considered culpable for the death of General Gordon at Khartoum, as relief troops were not dispatched in time.

  37. I was heading for around ten minutes until I hit some tricky clues. I was held up by STOP and LIMITED COMPANY, TEARS UP and GANDERS. Is a gander a Christmas bird especially? I still don’t see how the clue to LIMITED COMPANY works,
    16 minutes. Easy, but not my favourite crossword. Best clue was the anagram for INSTALMENT.

  38. 21:20. Had to read the explanation for Ltd Co several times before seeing (and admiring) how it works. HEPARIN was a vague recollection but only after I had exhausted every other vague (and false) recollection involving heron instead of hen.

  39. Decent crossword with 22 down going in as CAMIO- would not have got COMB for dress given much longer. Enjoyed SCOT once I parsed it, but didn’t think much of PAL ACTING -> PLACATING; too few letters moving to be a good anagram imo.

  40. A very gentle start to the week. The NW was populated almost on reading the clues. Progress continued apace with BELLICOSE and HELOT holding me up briefly at the end. I had to inject myself with HEPARIN for a couple of weeks when I developed a DVT after my knee replacement, while they worked out what dose of Warfarin I needed to be on. Warfarin is a nightmare with regular bloodtests required to make sure the doseage is still correct. Didn’t stop me getting a PE either! I’m on Rivaroxaban now which is much more convenient. 12:31. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  41. Some good surfaces here I thought and I particularly liked PLACATING.
    LOI STOP ( had no confidence in this answer being right).
    Quite a few NHO’s including HELOT, HEPARIN and BASEMAN but the wordplay was generous.

  42. 26:56 0 errors. Fun puzzle, nothing too tricky. My brain’s been on strike for the past few days and it was good to complete one reasonably quickly. For some reason couldn’t see TEARS UP for ages – thought DRESS = COMB was a bit of a stretch. COD was BELLICOSE. Thanks setter and Vinyl!

  43. 3m 56s – a Monday puzzle in terms of difficulty, but nicely put together. DNK HEPARIN but generously clued.

  44. 18’35”
    Clear run, stayed on gamely.
    Chuffed to be sub-20; it doesn’t happen often these days.
    Thirty years ago in Cornwall I would listen to baseball on United States Armed Forces Radio Network Europe, a very erratic signal from Germany. I did not ‘adopt’ a team but decided I’d become a fan of the first home team I saw playing, in the unlikely event of ever crossing the pond.
    Ten years later I was involved in a “road movie” of a journey between Dallas and Albuquerque Heart Hospital to visit my partner’s father. Her Uncle Tom took me to Isotopes Park twice where I gleefully witnessed two home wins, involving pinch hitter Mike Colangelo (I kid you not) but mostly down to the sidearm submarines of closing pitcher Brad Clonz*, who, I learnt today, was a part of the World Series winning Atlanta Braves in 1995.
    “Could you see that pitch Tom?” “No.” “Neither could I.” To be fair Tom wasn’t helped by the Mexican beer I’d found to wash down the hotdogs when the Budweiser ran out. On both occasions the, to my eyes faultless, first BASEMAN was the victim of a stream of unceasing abuse hurled at him by one of his own fans. * He now flogs orange juice in Georgia.
    Happy days!
    Thanks Vinyl and setter.

      1. Thank you. There was a strange prequel to the “road movie”; a year before it I’d spent a bizarre week on a deserted Isle of Man with a friend who’d inherited a property there. The only watering hole open in Douglas was an equally deserted, grubby little nightclub, which always seemed to be playing “Is this the road to Amarillo?” Little did I know that I would be on it in less than 12 months.
        If anybody ever gets the answer “Yes” to this question, I would strongly advise them to get off it! However, I discovered today that despite its lack of charms, it, like Albuquerque, has a minor league baseball team: the Amarillo Sod Poodles. I’ve yet to get to the bottom of this appellation.

        1. Well, I can see Isotopes as plausible for an Albuquerque team’s name because of New Mexico’s connection to the nuclear power industry, but I agree Amarillo Sod Poodles remains a real mystery!

  45. 17 mins. Very easy but had a bit of a MER at STOP, until I realised that punctuation marks are STOPS and the full stop is a particular kind of stop.

  46. 15.40. Never worked out limited company and wouldn’t have succeeded if I had tried. However, having seen the debate on here, it is a very clever clue.

    Steady progress with my last two in being tears up and temptress, both of which I thought pretty good as well.

  47. Joined the club being unable to parse limited company. Usually in crossword land my name ,Ian, is the go to but not this time.

    In 8dn why is EST foreign ? Otherwise easy-peasy.

  48. Oh the shame! I thought I was so clever trotting along at pace that I bunged in GANNETS even though I knew they have NOTHING to do with Christmas.
    Like our blogger and others only the ABREAST/TEARS UP intersection gave pause so perhaps I was too relaxed and sloppy. In fact I’m pretty sure one or two of my school reports said something similar.

    Thanks for the puzzle and blog and SCOT explanation.

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