Times 28689 – like old boots

I thought this was one of the toughest Wednesdays we’ve had for ages, although we’ll see, it might have been me not on the right wavelength. I went astray a couple of times before finding the right path, and I had to check a couple afterwards, notably 25a and 28d. There was some clever misdirection from the setter, such as the “diet” reference in 14d. I don’t have a time for it but it took two sessions with some domestic chores in between.

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

1 After restraint, finding outlet for being creative again (11)
REINVENTING – REIN a restraint, VENTING = finding outlet for.
7 Inappropriate to beg for seat (3)
BUM – double definition, to “bum” being a slang word for to beg for.
9 Not exactly concerned with odours in suburban streets? (9)
CRESCENTS – C (circa, about) RE (concerned with) SCENTS (odours).
10 Character in Lewis inclined to leave tip (5)
ASLAN – ASLANT (inclined) loses its T. I believe Aslan is the lion in the Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, by C S Lewis, which I have never read.
11 My hosts left pork pie for worker of mine (7)
COLLIER – COR ! = My! insert L[eft], LIE (pork pie in CRS).
12 Excursionist originally travelling first class down under (7)
TRIPPER – at first I pencilled in TOURIST without knowing why, but it was wrong. T the first letter of travelling, followed by “RIPPER” which I assume is an Aussie expression for “jolly good” or similar. I may have heard it in relation to a Shane Warne leg-break, but not as a general synonym for first class.
13 One sounding retreat after advance of large German battle formation (5)
BULGE – A bugle sounds the retreat, so we ‘advance’ the L to make bulge. I’d heard of the Battle of… but didn’t know why it was so-called. It wasn’t the official name in English or German circles. Quote Wikipedia: “The phrase ‘Battle of the Bulge’ was coined by contemporary press to describe the way the Allied front line bulged inward on wartime news maps.”
15 Rebellion and a number of revolutions, once (5-4)
FORTY-FIVE – double definition; the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and the reference to vinyl EPs and singles which played at 45 rpm.
17 US aircraft whisking one away? (9)
EGGBEATER – a cryptic definition because apparently early American helicopters were nicknamed eggbeaters. We called them choppers.
19 Tag in new sort of suit for taking off? (4-1)
ANTI-G – (TAG IN)*. I thought it was just a G-suit, but it seems it is “anti-G”.
20 Replaced scythe, originally ok, cuts some grass (7)
TUSSOCK – (S OK CUTS)*, the S from scythe originally.
22 Old enough to be a model (7)
EXAMPLE – lift and separate, EX = old, AMPLE = enough.
24 Refuse request ultimately not considered (5)
TRASH – T (end of requesT) RASH (not considered).
25 Prophet brought back a light weight chicken for dinner? (9)
ZOROASTER – ZO = OZ reversed, a light weight, ROASTER a chicken for dinner. This was my LOI, only got because prompted by the Z from 21d, my next to LOI. I knew of ZARATHUSTRA, from the R. Strauss work, but that didn’t fit; apparently it is the same chap with an alternative spelling.
27 An aspect of Chaucer regularly overlooked (3)
HUE – alternate letters as above.
28 Brave, like multimillionairesses (11)
LIONHEARTED – this was a struggle, because I had PETTY at first for 23d which gave me a wrong Y to work with. The LION bit is eight letters from each end, so it’s in the “heart” of the word.


1 Legendary winger not using all of pitch (3)
ROC – faced with R*C, I wrote in ROC without much thought. I think it must be pitch = rock, not all = remove the K.
2 Admission from one who’s pushing a principle (5)
IDEAL – One who is pushing , selling, says “I DEAL”.
3 Break for taking photos: this is in shot? (7)
VACCINE – VAC = vacation, break; CINE for photos. Clever.
4 Gaining nothing from turning snippet of film into porn (9)
NONPROFIT – (F INTO PORN)*. The F from “snippet” of film.
5 Small picture contains etching, somewhat reduced (5)
INSET – hidden as above.
6 Indulge in golf with light keep fit, climbing (7)
GRATIFY – G for golf, RAY (light) with FIT reversed (climbing) inside.
7 Writer of book everyone aims to follow (9)
BALLPOINT – B for book, ALL for everyone, POINT for AIM(S). I think it ought to be aim or am I missing the syntax?
8 Playing small part in track race and not fit (5,6)
MINOR LEAGUE – took me a while to explain this one. MILE  track race, insert NOR (and not), AGUE (fit, as in have a fit). I thought ague was more like a fever or shivering but that can be a sort of fit I suppose. Yet another Americanism?
11 Some needlework clubs, most equipped with IT, at church (5,6)
CABLE STITCH – C for clubs, ABLEST = most equipped, IT, CH. I was thinking of CROSS not cable at first, I thought cable was a knitting thing but I guess that’s also “needle work”.
14 Work with diet, perhaps, on one’s behind (9)
LEGISLATE – Diet in the sense of a parliament. LEG = on in cricket, I’S = one’s, LATE = behind.
16 Like some elements far from well done — huge cost? (4-5)
RARE-EARTH – RARE = not well done, as in a steak; EARTH as in “it cost the earth”.  The fifteen metallic elements from lanthanum to lutetium in the periodic table, plus scandium and yttrium, aren’t all particularly rare but they have very similar chemical behaviours so are hard to separate. Several are needed to make your i-Phone screen work. Being a chemical nerd, I can recite the PT from hydrogen to fermium (element 100) in the correct order, including these rare earth metals. It’s better than counting sheep.
18 Rotten old peach, days out of date (7)
EPOCHAL – (OL PEACH)*, old with the D removed (days out).
19 Type of novel, something delightful, then again, too short (3,4)
AGA SAGA – A GAS something delightful, AGA[IN] = again too short. I’ve never knowingly read one, but seen it in crosswords before.
21 Buzzer tip for quick answer at end of quiz rounds (5)
KAZOO – K (end of quick) A (answer) Z (end of quiz) OO (rounds). We had kazoo recently, else it would have been much slower for me to remember.
23 One thing most favoured, the other less important (5)
PETIT – PET = thing most favoured, “the other” = IT, sex. As mentioned above, I drafted in PETTY wrongly and had to amend it when it wouldn’t parse.
26 Fine US broadcaster in need of satellite (3)
RAD – RADIO loses IO a satellite of Jupiter. Faced with R*D I wrote in RAD as a best guess, then checked it. Apparently in the urban slang dictionary and in US it means “good” as in “that’s a rad computer game, man”. I only knew RAD as a scientific term.


78 comments on “Times 28689 – like old boots”

  1. I didn’t find this so tough, although a few comments on the day it appeared in the paper made me expect otherwise (so maybe it was just easier than expected). CABLE STITCH was my LOI, and that’s about the only thing my paper copy notes, from so long ago… but my favorite must have been multimilLIONairesses.

    1. I guess most of you on here do the online crossword (or live somewhere with a very early delivery!) however some people (me included) do the pen and ink version…so is anyone going to enter their reasoning behind the 28689 paper version..I’m stuck on two.. please help

      1. My version of 28689 is completely different to the version explained here

  2. 36:03 WOE
    I bunged in the wrong year (’49) for the rebellion, never thought of the record, and never went back to examine the clue. My FOI was 13ac BUGLE, unfortunately; it was a long time before I realized I’d read the clue wrong. CINE=photos? Are crescents particularly suburban? My first time in London, I stayed at a hotel on Something Crescent. [on edit:] I forgot to say, what BR and Vinyl have both said, that I saw BUM as a triple def.

    1. I had the same thought as you about CRESCENTS Kevin. I went to dancing class in Hans Crescent behind Harrods as a small kid. I don’t think the residents of Knightsbridge would consider themselves suburban.

  3. This was a tricky one – 17:44, with EGGBEATER as the last one in. RIPPER was around in the 70s in Australia.

  4. 52 minutes of hard work. I was very glad to see my LOI EGGBEATER, for which the ‘whisking one away?’ reminded me of the role of helicopters in the Vietnam War. I parsed BUM as a triple def, though I admit I’m struggling to come up with an example for the ‘Inappropriate’ sense; BUM steer perhaps. Some tough parsing, with MINOR LEAGUE only worked out after submitting. Yes, RIPPER reminds me of Barry McKenzie although you still hear the term every now and then.

    I liked AGA SAGA; never read one, but I always remember the “a tale of illicit rumpy-pumpy in the countryside” description of the genre, which the wordplay may be referring to.

    Thanks to Pip – our very own Tom Lehrer it seems – and setter

  5. I lost track of my time but I think it was around 40-45 minutes.

    As my time indicates I didn’t find this easy, but more to the point I didn’t find it at all enjoyable as so many answers went in with a shrug and the thought that ‘it must be that but I’m not entirely sure why’. I would expect one or two like that most days but today I counted 10 answers with queries against them, indicating I did not fully understand the clues for one reason or another. I had been planning to resolve these after completion by looking things up, however when the time eventually came I couldn’t be bothered and decided just to wait for the blog instead.

    For what it’s worth, my queries were against: BALLPOINT, TRIPPER, ROC, IDEAL, ZOROASTER, ANTI-G, BULGE, MINOR LEAGUE, RARE EARTH and RADIO.

  6. Had no idea about ASLAN (missed the aslant ref) and gave it away at about 55 for a DNF. Liked quite a few (LIONHEARTED when I saw it, CABLE STITCH and LEGISLATE though I missed the cricket reference, thank you piquet). I think ‘ripper’ is still going strong in Oz, especially in sporting commentary – ‘you little ripper!!!’ As for 45, it’s ‘a number of revolutions, STILL’ around here…

  7. 27:24. When I looked at the SNITCH I wondered if I’d done the right puzzle, having finished in 14:13. Lots of the clues seemed familiar and then I realised this is the one that was in the printed paper on Friday 11th, so I’ve put my time for that when I did it at the front of this comment. Thanks Pip and setter,

  8. Who steals my purse steals Trash; ’tis something, nothing;
    ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands
    (Iago in Othello)

    After 30 mins I was struggling with Bum, Aslan and thereby Minor League – and couldn’t be bothered.
    Oh that Lewis.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  9. Got a different crossword in my times this morning seems itt was from 11 th of August eg 1ac tongs 9 ac tonbridge .Anyone else with the same problem?

    1. Different puzzles were inadvertently published in the print edition and the online edition on August 11th. Today those puzzles are reversed between the two editions.

  10. 26:38. I found this very tough but satisfying, because everything I entered was accounted for, as compared to some toughies where I submit with fingers crossed for a clue or two.
    Piquet – For BALLPOINT I assumed the POINT to be as in “What’s the point”, though I’m still not sure that works for “aims” in the plural. I suppose if someone had multiple aims you wouldn’t ask “What are the points” so perhaps “What’s the point” could cover multiple aims. I’m not convinced though. Incidentally, “point” has 75 definitions in Chambers!

    Edit – I see Jerry has given a better explanation of BALLPOINT below.

  11. Came up short. I thought “in Lewis” was “in Scotland”, like “in Paris” means French, so I went for a Scottish name, ALLAN.

    Missed PETIT, I guess petit-treason is a good example, opposite of high treason.

    RAD and RIPPER sound a bit like the setter is trying too hard to use contemporary language, and as for “the other”=“it”, I mean, really? “My”=“cor” is also extremely dated.


  12. 35′ but fatigue left me unable to get ASLAN. Good fun otherwise, enjoyed the parsing.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  13. No particular problems today.. no nhos.
    Re 7dn, “All point” seems equivalent to “Everyone aims” to me.
    Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest of all religions. In fact nobody seems to know exactly how old .. “Likely second millenium BC” is not very precise.

    1. Good spot on POINT: that works, with “to follow” in there to make sense of the syntax and (slightly unnecessarily) as a position indicator.

  14. 44 minutes with LOI MINOR LEAGUE, an expression I did know but would never use. RAD is in the same category. COD to FORTY-FIVE. I’d like to say that the first one I bought on my own account was something hip like Heartbreak Hotel, but it was Adam Faith, What do you want? No more confessions. Quite tough. Thank you Pip and setter.

  15. 38:11
    I really liked this. A tough challenge, but the clues were fair.
    Thanks, p.

  16. Just shy of 40 minutes , being bounced around on French intercity train. Loi PETIT. Couldn’t see the point of -IT. Great fun, many thanks

  17. Tough and chewy like a rather disappointing steak, this took 47m to consume. How does ROCK = PITCH or AIMS = POINT? Felt overthought to me, though I liked LIONHEARTED and FORTY FIVE. My first was Ride A White Swan by T Rex in 1969, still sounding good today. Thanks Pip and tricksy America-loving setter.

    1. Ah now I see PITCH as ‘to oscillate about a transverse axis’ could mean rock.

  18. I almost gave up when I was stuck with the same three clues as Myrtilus, but an alpha trawl brought up LEAGUE, and that was enough to see me home once I dismissed “major” as an option for the first part. I needed Pip’s explanation to see TUSSOCK which I nearly biffed at an early stage and maybe should have done.

    LOI ASLAN (who must have been LIONHEARTED)
    TIME 24:31 (my NITCH is astronomical, and actually the poorest on display so far – but I was just glad not see pink!)

  19. Solved this on paper on 11 August, so no idea about my time.

    Vacillated between FORTY-FIVE and FORTY-NINE for 15a, and luckily plumped for the right one by thinking of records. Didn’t parse MINOR LEAGUE or ZOROASTER, hadn’t heard of the EGGBEATER aircraft, and couldn’t have told you what a TUSSOCK is.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Inset
    LOI Minor League
    COD Legislate

  20. Bit of a disaster, with two wrong, one a simple (as in cretinous) typo, the other the wrong number in FORTY-FIVE. My record payer spun that bit quicker. Would a 49 rpm play square records?
    Otherwise slow, never parsing MINOR LEAGUE, and transfixed by Lewis’ (Carroll’s) ALICE until it couldn’t be. That despite watching the excellent Shadowlands a couple of days ago.
    KAZOO unlocked a rush on the bottom right section. I’m only slightly convinced by the buzzer definition.
    With multimilLIONairesses, S CO T a couple of days ago, and whaT A PEerformance on my last watch, this type of sneaky hidden (and then some) clue is something to look out for.
    I once had an Anti-G. She was married to my Uncle David.
    Well played Piquet: I’m a little anxious about what to expect tomorrow!

    1. 49 vs 45rpm: I have tried this, but it makes singing voices very squeaky. And makes guitarists sound better than they should…

      1. I was curious as a youngster why there seemed to be no clear arithmetical correlation between 33, 45 and 78 rpm’s. Why not 30,50 and 80 or 33,44 and 77?

          1. Fascinating-thanks-another mystery solved (that is, if I understand all the technical details)!

  21. To the crossword editor (please see blog for 11 August)

    I’m lying in bed here at home,
    I have Crossword Withdrawal Syndrome.
    It’s a bad situation,
    With no brain stimulation.
    Your despondent and desolate gnome

  22. Gave up way after the hour, with four or five left which were totally opaque to me. Still 40 degrees down here and slept very badly. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

    Thanks for the explanations Pip of my failures.

  23. As a side-note, there’s a technically brilliant Nina in today’s Guardian puzzle though you probably need to be British to get it all. I’m British, but still managed to miss the whole thing.

  24. Er. Is thus a replay? My crossword in paper Times is not this crossword. This was a week or so ago. Thanks but done previously.

  25. 26:27, with a lot of hard thinking to be done (quite often when I’d worked out what the answer had to be, and only needed to work out why…). Nothing unfair, though, when the penny dropped, there wasn’t any doubt. So I guess that makes it RAD rather than BUM.

  26. Found his hard to get going. Certainly an hour in between separating fighting grandkids (back to school in 10 days!). Quite a few not parsed, so thanks Piquet. Spent too long on the US aircraft, I had the EGG, but unfortunately for me I had heard of an Eggenfellner aircraft (shortlived I’ve since found), which threw me as I thought it might be a variation or contraction of that.

    Still don’t get BULGE as a battle formation, certainly not if its a reference to the battle itself. COD LIONHEARTED, after looking at it for a while!

    thanks Piquet and setter

  27. I’m sure that it’s ‘a gas a ga[s]’ in the AGA SAGA clue, since otherwise we’d have aga[in] and ‘too short’ usually only indicates the last letter. I think. This took me ages (about 80 minutes, with aids by the end) and I never got ASLAN, not really knowing C.S.Lewis’s works although I had actually heard of Aslan. I was stupidly fixated on the tip being the first letter, and was wondering about AMPED and ANTED before the checkers scotched that. Surely 3 defs at 7ac. venting = finding outlets for? Ripper was often used on Prisoner Cell Block H, which I eagerly watched about 30 years ago.

  28. 38 mins. Was happily answering away when I suddenly completely seized up in the NE. Was eventually left with what I could only see as FORCE NINE which didn’t fit the clue at all, so I took one of my rare excursions into a little help from my friends, to discover that GRATIFY was very simple and FORTY FIVE was the rebellion.

  29. Tough Wednesday. Zephaniah? Zachariah? Any other prophets beginning with Z? Penny dropped eventually for ZOROASTER and parsed it afterwards. Time is a tower of silence.

  30. Found that very hard, finishing in 56 minutes.
    MINOR LEAGUE was my LOI and thanks blogger for explaining it.
    I thought ASLAN and FORTY-FIVE were very clever clues. I was thinking for a long time about Hebridean dialects before remembering the CS version of Lewis. And I got 45 from the rebellion having completely forgotten about the days of 45 and 33 rpm!
    I had never heard of EGGBEATER and even with EGG I still took ages on that clue.
    Anyway many thanks setter and blogger
    PS yes it‘s AGAS AGA[S] not AGA[IN] I‘m also very sure

  31. 16.36 a very good time for me today gave me a rare top 20 finish on the leaderboard. Found most of this straightforward, had to revise my cross stitch but that was no problem once the battle of the bulge (which I wage unsuccessfully everyday) went in. A little difficulty at the end with minor league and gratify in the NE but managed to parse gratify and took a punt on minor league being some sort of cryptic or double definition – I see it was a bit more involved than that. A satisfying puzzle.

  32. Sometimes I despair. Found this a really chewy puzzle and was pleased to get over the line in 18m+ but yet another brain fade with FORTY-NINE!

    Well blogged P and thanks for the challenge, setter

  33. I found that really tough. I started with REIN——- and ROC, then hacked my way through for 50 minutes or so until I was left with most of the NE still wanting. I eventually gave up. I had guessed FORTY NINE (1649 The Diggers at St George’s Hill) but looked it up to confirm and found I was wrong. I had a block at BALLP_I_S (the S was a guess), so I looked that up too and sighed melodramatically when I saw the answer. That allowed me to get ANTI-G and the LEAGUE part of 8d. I submitted off leaderboard at 53:13. At least I had the rest of the puzzle correct. Thanks setter and Pip.

  34. 43:52

    Some chewy stuff here. Saw both LIONHEARTED and ZOROASTER early on. you could slap me around the face with the periodic table and I wouldn’t have a clue. Luckily RARE was easy to guess and EARTH from two checkers. Had GROWING at 6d for a while (Golf + Rowing (light keep fit)) which made 15a less guessable. Rubbing out 6d made 15a easier. Bit of a ho hum getting MINOR LEAGUE (suppose if Major League exists then…) – not a well-known term in the UK – but did like the parsing once explained.

    Thanks P and setter

  35. 62:27. Gosh, that was hard. I had much the same experiences as everyone else (except the ones who thought it was a doddle) but with some weird thinking peculiar it seems to me on 15ac. I wondered if Clementines father – a miner, a forty-niner – had perhaps been a veteran of some revolution? But I was steered straight by thinking of the Colt 45 (a revolver makes revolutions). They all count

  36. Definitely on the harder side.
    Mostly straight in but stuck on the end with Aslan (never read the book), Minor League and Forty-Five guessed from the record. 45 as rebellion is whatever the opposite of helpful is, to me. Last two in though were vaccine then crescents, of all things. Had the C and the RE and looking for streets, but just couldn’t fine SCENT. Cine as photographs? Always associate it with moving pictures, not photos?
    Missed the all points = everyone aims, but saw the triple def BUM. Zoroastrians known… Jains? No, according to Wikipedia (which is never wrong!)
    Really liked it, but no outstanding clue. Maybe LEGISLATE or EPOCHAL or COLLIER ofr COD.

    1. Suspect it’s probably CINE = “for taking photos” rather than just “photos”. Chambers has one definition for cine as cinematographic, with a cinematograph defined as “Apparatus for filming … a series of instantaneous photographs …”.

  37. 65′
    Started in first gear, and, unfortunately, stayed in it.
    It appears I was, deservedly, tailed off last of the finishers here. We also appear to be in transatlantic mode again with another ballpark reference and rad(ical) planes. I imagined the field rapidly disappearing and settled down to the long haul.
    Finally I was delighted to fall over the line with all accounted for, but the nor of minor league had to be teased out afterwards.
    “HERE’S TO THE LITTLE GENTLEMEN IN BLACK VELVET!”is, I believe, a toast that is made to this day at the end of a dinner attended by a band of Jacobites. A, for them, detested protestant monarch came a fatal cropper as a result of his GG’s hoof finding a molehill.
    Thank you Pip, and hats off to the setter for taking me beyond the full twelve rounds; I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

  38. DNF. I found this extremely tough, and gave up after 45 minutes with only half the clues solved.
    Some, such as FORTY FIVE I am kicking myself for not getting. Others such as RAD relied on a meaning I would never have got – I am familiar with RAD as a unit of absorbed dose equal to one cGy, but not as meaning fine.

    Thanks for the blog.

  39. A tricky one that I was still a way from finishing at the ten minute mark. I found the NE corner very chewy indeed, not helped by the fact that I initially read “Lewis character” as implying someone from Alice in Wonderland, somehow.

  40. This one should have stayed unpublished. A desperately poor crossword.

    You’re right, needle work is knitting. But the clue says needlework, which most certainly isn’t.

    Bulge a German battle formation? As you point out it refers to the accidental disposition of the Allied forces, not the Germans. And it took place mostly in Belgium, so we can’t even resort to geography.

    A gas = delightful? More like unconventionally and subversively satisfying according to Jumping Jack Flash.

    1. ‘The name Battle of the Bulge was appropriated from Winston Churchill’s optimistic description in May 1940 of the resistance that he mistakenly supposed was being offered to the Germans’ breakthrough in that area just before the Anglo-French collapse; the Germans were in fact overwhelmingly successful. The “bulge” refers to the wedge that the Germans drove into the Allied lines.’

  41. Nearly an hour with one mistake. Very hard, and the clues I got I found to be quite good, but the one I didn’t (ASLAN) was of course completely unfair. Actually, I would never have managed that one (I put in ALLEN instead, with FALLEN being “inclined” to lose its tip), but since the cause was lack of knowledge rather than insufficient cleverness I didn’t feel too bad about it. I was glad I could solve all the other tricky ones and understood enough of the wordplay to be sure my answers would turn out to be right.

  42. Oh dear! Way too hard for me! Because I started off with entering REINVENTING straight off the bat, I wrongly thought “Oh great – it’s not going to be that difficult.” Couldn’t gain a foothold after that, and I say with head in hands I only managed a few. Much was unknown to me: ANTI G, AGA SAGA, KAZOO (as a buzzer – thought it was something blown). Ones I did get went in with a shrug: ROC (pitch=rock?), IDEAL= principle?, BUM=inappropriate?. Only COLLIER was plain, and although I got BUGLE, couldn’t understand the rest if the clue to make BULGE! Nuff said…

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