Times 28691 – get thee gone


I found this a slog – not really awake enough to appreciate the artful clueing. FOI 9ac, LOI 27ac, COD 18ac. Slight MER at the *too* short 17ac.

Definitions underlined.

1 Boast about compound somewhere in the Midlands (9)
WORCESTER – CROW (boast) reversed + ESTER (compound).
6 Succeeded after initially disregarding rotten tips (5)
DOFFS – S (succeeded), after first letter of Disregarding and OFF (rotten).
9 Wine from lidless container knocked back (7)
RETSINA – cANISTER (container) reversed.
10 Stigmas at heart causing indignity, mostly (7)
SAFFRON – middle letter of cauSing + AFFRONt (indignity) mostly. The stigmas (and styles?) from this crocus plant.
11 Ham in the end became speck (5)
EMOTE – last letter of becamE + MOTE (speck).
12 Guys in hamlet manufactured cheese (9)
EMMENTHAL – MEN (guys) inside an anagram of HAMLET.
13 Lack of transport in southern metropolitan area (8)
SCARCITY – CAR (transport) contained by S (southern) and CITY (metropolitan area).
14 Immediately provides some info (4)
STAT – double definition.
17 A short film showing great passion (4)
AVID – A + short VIDeo (film).
18 Farm workers finally produce sweetcorn after flood retreats (8)
DAIRYMEN – last letters of producE and sweetcorN after a reversal of MYRIAD (flood).
21 Money that is covering either empty restaurant (9)
BRASSERIE – BRASS (money) + IE (that is), containing EitheR minus its contents.
22 Plant overturned military intelligence plot (5)
IMBED – MI (military intelligence) reversed + BED (plot).
24 Groups of ordinary people put down endless connections (7)
LAITIES – LAId (put down) endless + TIES (connections).
25 Scandinavian girl beginning to enjoy riding a bike so? (7)
ASTRIDE – ASTRID (Scandinavian girl) + first of Enjoy.
26 Standard chapter, unattributed (5)
CANON – C (chapter) + ANON (unattributed).
27 Small and badly fitted with one metal frame for drying material (6,3)
SILICA GEL – S (small) + ILL (badly), containing I (one) and CAGE (metal frame).
1 Put on clothing that’s ultimately inferior (5)
WORSE – WORE (put on) containing last of that’S.
2 Correspondence Italians swapped regarding business streamlining (15)
RATIONALISATION – RATIO (correspondence) + anagram of ITALIANS + ON (regarding).
3 Testimony from key study probing immorality (8)
EVIDENCE – E (key) + DEN study in VICE (immorality).
4 Attempt to acquire a sleeveless garment for burlesque (8)
TRAVESTY – TRY (attempt) containing A + VEST (sleevless garment).
5 Go on, take it … no pressure! (6)
RESUME – pRESUME (take it) minus the ‘p’ (pressure).
6 Excellent result for champion (6)
DEFEND – DEF (excellent) + END (result).
7 Energy in fire might not be dispersed temporarily (3,3,4,5)
FOR THE TIME BEING – E (energy) in an anagram of FIRE MIGHT NOT BE.
8 Just one snitch spilled the beans (9)
SINGLETON – SING (snitch) + LET ON (spilled the beans).
13 Disorganised mafiosi centrally involved in violent mob clash (9)
SHAMBOLIC – centre of mafIosi in an anagram of MOB CLASH.
15 Husband had trouble accepting the first of many nasty messages (4,4)
HATE MAIL – H (husband) + ATE (had) + AIL (trouble) containing first of Many.
16 It’s shifted inside lorry with skill (8)
ARTISTIC – anagram of IT’S contained by ARTIC (lorry).
19 Grant is like Leo? (6)
ASSIGN – AS (like) SIGN (leo?).
20 Shows distress about small emergencies (6)
CRISES – CRIES (shows distress) containing S (small).
23 Live and be successful, but with an absence of love (5)
DWELL – Do WELL (be successful) minus the ‘o’ (love).

65 comments on “Times 28691 – get thee gone”

  1. This was a Friday, all right. I didn’t try to rush and enjoyed it well enough. We’ve seen VID used this way plenty of times before (it’s the word that’s short, not the format). I had no idea about “Stigmas” as SAFFRON, but the wordplay led me unerringly down that garden path. POI SINGLETON, LOI DAIRYMEN (“myriad” as “flood” was elusive!). I got FOR THE TIME BEING before I figured out which words were the anagrind.

  2. FOR THE TIME BEING and SINGLETON led me to believe this puzzle would be on the easier side. It was not meant to be. Had a hard time with ASTRID, MYRIAD, and myriad other clues.

  3. Thanks for the parsing of Dairymen. This felt like a lot of bitty and very precise wordplay as I worked it. Some was clever and enjoyable; a few (Dairymen indeed) gave me a headache.

  4. I started by quickly scanning through all the clues looking for easy pickings and didn’t find any . Eventually on the second run through I found EMMENTHAL at 12ac, but a good 5 minutes had passed by then. After that things improved a little but I was still very slow and my last answer didn’t go in until 58 minutes were on the clock.

    The LOI was SAFFRON which I had thought of some time earlier as a word that fitted the checkers, but I couldn’t make it fit either definition or wordplay so it didn’t go in. I had been thinking of the wrong type of stigma.

  5. DNF. Not having a good run at the moment. I liked the way the ham became bacon (in German).

  6. After two DNFs in a row I was determined to slay this dragon, which I eventually did – with not a little dumb luck at the end – in 57.39. Totally befuddled for ages by SAFFRON, RESUME, DEFEND (DEF means excellent? Right!) and STAT (means immediately? Right!). Spent too long seeking a Midlands town starting with C and ending in W. Indebted to William for several, especially DAIRYMEN. An enjoyable challenge with no hiddens, no antelopes, no fish.

    1. Excellent question. It is a slang term but I don’t recall hearing it for years. It was used like phat which also seems to have gone out of fashion.

      but why does a cage have to be metal?

    2. Chambers has ‘def’ in this sense as originating in hip-hop culture, whatever that is.

      Collins specifies ‘wire or metal’ for ‘cage’ so I suspect that’s what the setter was going by. SOED adds ‘or wood’.

    3. Wiktionary has this for def:
      def (comparative deffer, superlative deffest)
      (African-American Vernacular, slang) excellent; very good
      Synonyms: see Thesaurus:excellent
      I was sure it was NHO until I found DEFFEST in my cheat sheet, so OBV I have looked it up in the past.

  7. Put a good hour in, and ended up a few short in the NE, including SINGLETON which I have already solved recently, clued in the same way.

    Like Lindsay, NHO of DEF and STAT , I guess it’s like ult. and inst. that old lawyers use. Never did parse WORCESTER which needed all the checkers. NHO ESTER.

    MYRIAD backwards in DAIRYMAN was clever, too clever for me.

      1. Indeed. I remember seeing a US hospital drama on TV, some years ago now. Someone was brought into the ER with an impaired conscious state following a head injury. The order from the doctor, a real man of action, was: CAT STAT.

  8. 41 workmanlike minutes on this earnest puzzle, unredeemed by any pennies dropping. LOI SILICA GEL. I came to ASTRIDE via Stuart Sutcliffe having recently read Ray Connolly’s Lennon biography, so I’ll make that my COD. I thought of MOTE for speck straightaway but was unsure if hamming it up was emoting. Eventually, I decided it was close enough. I wasn’t mad about SAFFRON, or Donovan for that matter. And I only knew one of the STAT meanings. Thank you William and setter.

  9. She Dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
    And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
    Bidding adieu; …
    (Ode on Melancholy, Keats)

    Nearly gave up after 30 pre-brekker with several big gaps. But another 10 struggled it over the line.
    Stigmas! I ask you.
    Ta setter and WJS.

  10. Defeated by NE, stopped after 30′ without STAT (nho), SINGLETON or SAFFRON (good clue). And I was so pleased to get DEFEND.

    Thanks william and setter.

  11. 18:12. Stuck at the end for ages on SAFFRON and DEFEND… ah that sort of stigma and DEF vaguely remembered from another crossword. DNK that meaning of stat. COD to EMOTE as I thought what Sawbill has already said. Thanks William and setter.

    1. I’m being very dim today. I remember, as a child, thinking how much more civilised the Americans were than the English; in the films ham and eggs seemed to be standard fare in the diners and Mrs. Timbrel fed me boiled ham with a soft-boiled egg for supper. It was years later that I learnt that bacon is ham, over the pond, and fried. It was also years later that I learnt Mr. Timbrel’s hefty pension was a result of years of being a bookie’s runner.
      But how does the German thing work ?

      1. From ODE…
        SPECK ▶ noun [mass noun] a smoked ham of a type produced in north-eastern Italy.
        via Italian from Dutch spek, German Speck ‘fat bacon, whale blubber’ (in which sense it was formerly used in English): related to Old English spec.

        aka Prosciutto di Speck. I sometimes use it as a cheaper alternative to Parma Ham.

  12. I started badly by biffing Leicester at 1A, and that resulted in a tortuous finish in the NW corner.

    FOI (correctly) RETSINA
    LOI EMOTE (which I just biffed)
    TIME 12:29

  13. I thought this easily the hardest of the week, as befits a Friday I suppose.
    Nho the relevant type of STAT
    Saffron got a groan when I eventually twigged what sort of stigmas we were dealing with..
    Good stuff, though Friday is not my best day, I would rather the tricky ones came a bit earlier in the week

    1. I’ve seen ‘immediately/STAT’ in a puzzle recently but haven’t been able to find it in the archive so perhaps it was The Guardian. It stuck in my mind as something that doctors write on prescriptions as an instruction to pharmacists.

  14. Unlike others I found this very much easier than the last two puzzles and finished it last night in 26 minutes before going to sleep.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  15. 22:50
    Bit of a struggle, but worth it in the end.
    One is reminded of an episode of ‘Kojak’ in which Theo’s nephew asks his advice on which RETSINA to buy for his wedding reception.
    “It doesn’t spoil, does it?”
    “Spoil? You buy it rotten. You could drop a dead cat into it and it wouldn’t make any difference.”

  16. 46 minutes. Slow and steady. I knew DEF for ‘excellent’ (only ever seen in crossword land) and just remembered seeing SAFFRON for ‘Stigmas’ before without knowing anything about how they are related. In the end I was left with the intimidating non-crossed letters for RATIONALISATION; I stared in desperation for a while until it finally appeared out of the ether, so in it went unparsed.

    Favourites were RETSINA – the clue anyway – and the tricky wordplay for DAIRYMEN.

  17. 26.50 so not a bad end to the week. A few unparsed answers stat , defend and saffron. Stat NHO in the context of immediately, def ditto for excellent. I knew saffron came from the stigmas of crocuses but didn’t see affront.

    Another enjoyable puzzle. Thx setter and blogger. Enjoy the weekend all.

  18. DNF
    I couldn’t justify defend, as def = excellent didn’t compute. Didn’t know about saffron and stigmas, so that was that – shipwrecked on the jagged rocks of the northwest corner.
    Thanks, w.

  19. Another teeth pulling exercise today. 1h 22mins.

    Held up in the NE where I just could not see for ages the trio of DOFFS, SAFFRON and DEFEND. This seems to be happening rather a lot lately. A bit of a worry.

    I liked the wine, SHAMBOLIC (definitely me), DAIRYMEN and ASTRIDE most.

    Thanks William and setter.

    1. I’d blame the heat again, if I were you. I’m going to; it’s just as stifling down here.

  20. 47 minutes, that felt like hard work. Lots of misdirection throughout to struggle with and enjoy. DEFEND and SAFFRON last ones in. I liked SILICA GEL and SINGLETON

  21. Got off to a reasonable start with EMOTE, WORSE, EVIDENCE and RETSINA rolling in. Also made some progress in the SW corner. The SE also yielded without too much heartache once DAIRYMEN and SILICA GEL were in place, leading to FOR THE TIME BEING. The NE, however, was like pulling teeth. DOFFS was the eventual key, allowing me to get SINGLETON and STAT(only knew the data sense of that). DEFEND took ages to see, with DEF for excellent finally dredged up from the depths. That allowed me to get POI, SAFFRON, leaving 24a, which I had made impossible by typing CRICES at 20d. With that corrected, LAITIES dropped into place. 33:27. Thanks setter and William.

  22. NHO of ‘def’ as ‘excellent’. I’m obv not down with the kids. But it couldn’t be anything else with crossers. Struggled horribly with SAFFRON and LAITIES, which eluded me until well after the hour mark had come and gone. Wasn’t wild about the SAFFRON cluing. Actually, this puzzle irritated me throughout and I finished it with relief, not pleasure.

  23. STAT, DEF and SAFFRON for stigmas completely defeated me in the north east corner. Not seen any of these devices before and completely unfamiliar with the first two and ignorant of where SAFFRON comes from😊 Other that this a very enjoyable puzzle

    3 DNF in a row – very tough week.

    Thanks William and setter

  24. So, amongst all the tooth-pulling, hard working and slogging, put me well on the side of the excellent and enjoyable for this one, 18.14 of crosswording pleasure. Just the reversals, cANISTER and MYRIAD, had the wow factor, but those clues full of mini scenarios for decent VIDs made taking time worthwhile. I look forward to Godfather 4 from 13d, Fatal Attraction 3 from 15d, Tinker Tailor 2 from 22a, and a new one “Inside Southern Rail” from 13a.
    Then there’s British ham being exported to Germany, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern improbably getting into the Edam industry. Fabulous stuff, witty and creative, even if I never managed to parse RATIONALISTION.
    I DOFF my imaginary chapeau to the setter and to WJS for agreeing to slog his way through.

  25. 11:51, so not for the first time this week, I felt as if I might have over-performed on what felt like a nicely chewy puzzle. Plenty of things which needed unravelling, but all the required knowledge and vocabulary was there.

  26. DNF, defeated by NE corner. Even though I had recently seen the parsing for a recently biffed SINGLETON I failed to spot that the clues were essentially the same.
    Had forgot DEF=excellent, but am sure have seen before.
    SAFFRON too too clever for me.
    STAT=statim was news to me I think.
    BIFFed WORCESTER although I went to school there and was looking for xxxCESTER. Crow! DOH!
    DAIRYMEN and RETSINA joint CODs for me.
    Thank you blogger and setter.

  27. 27:47 – easier than some this week with plenty of cracking clues – SAFFRON top of a sizeable list.

  28. Two goes needed. Didn’t parse RATIONALISATION (so I had, er, no rationalisation for it), and I didn’t know the stigma meaning of SAFFRON so I hesitated over it even once parsed – that wasn’t helped by taking ages to remember def=excellent and get DEFEND. In that same corner, the clever SINGLETON held me up for a long time too.

    A mix of straightforward clues and some pretty tough ones. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Worse
    LOI Saffron
    COD Doffs

  29. DNF in a little over half an hour. This one needed a bit of thought and consideration. Sadly I didn’t give it enough consideration with a wretched typo in safrron even though I had taken the time to work out the correct parsing. LOI dairymen although I’m sure I have seen a similar clue elsewhere in the not too distant past. Def from Janet Street Porter’s Def 2.

  30. I had no idea of the needed meanings of def and stat. Got them both, but am less interested in the puzzle’s verbal playground than I have been.

  31. If you watch a U.S. medical drama such as House you’ll hear “STAT!” used all too often.

  32. Low-gear grinding in several sessions but got there eventually, bit like the way I go up hills these days, all the speedy folk zooming past while I plod on doggedly. STAT definitely medical. Americans tend it to use adverbially, as in “We need to get him to the OR stat!”, while Brits more often use it adjectivally, as in “I’ve given the patient a stat bag of saline.” These days all that Latin is discouraged, especially when prescribing, for fear of misinterpretation. So no more “ac” for ante cibum, before food, or tid for ter in diem, three times a day. Just as well really. Now we just have a plague of acronyms to confuse us.

  33. DNF.

    Beaten by the heat and humidity as much as the puzzle. That said I doubt if I’d have got STAT, SAFFRON or DEFEND unaided. DEF has passed me by, though my other half seems to think it’s old hat (if you see what I mean). I enjoyed the ones I did get, particularly EMOTE, DAIRYMEN and RETSINA.

    Thanks to William and the setter.

  34. It’s unusual for me to complete the Friday offering so I was feeling pleased with myself until I realised I had put LAIDIES, which was pretty stupid.

  35. After 40 minutes I was stuck on the crossing 6a, 6d and 10a. As I was shortly going out I used an aid to get the the possibilities for 10, which helped to get the other two shortly after. I think the definition for 10a is ridiculously vague, given the vast numbers of plants around. I’m very glad I didn’t waste any further time on it and resorted to an aid. It’s one of those clues where the wordplay is the driving force, never mind whether the definition is fair.

  36. 30.59 but..

    …with an amusingly incorrect SPARCITY. Too much bungage, not enough thinkage.

    Seen the RETSINA and DAIRY tricks a few times but not the RESUME clue which I really liked.

    Also struggled in the NE but getting END and then dredging DEF from somewhere unlocked that quadrant

    Thanks William and setter

  37. 16:02. What Zabadak said, basically. I thought this was excellent throughout and really enjoyed the struggle.
    I’m surprised at the number of people who don’t recognise DEF, which has appeared several times before and elicited similar comment. When it’s come up before I’ve always mention Def Jam Records (influential record label that introduced the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy among others), which is where I first encountered the term in the 1980s.

  38. I was up at an unearthly hour this morning and didn’t get much done before I had to go out. On my return later this afternoon I wasn’t in a fit state to do well on this, the fourth this week with a SNITCH significantly over 100. At least that’s my excuse. Eventually I finished, using plenty of aids, in well over an hour. But that doesn’t really prevent me from admiring this crossword, which was full of pleasant tricks. One or two words like DEF and STAT and STIGMAS (in that sense) that I found rather a struggle.

  39. Thanks for the blog. DNF. Should have got SAFFRON but no chance with DEF and STAT was only a guess. Is the Guardian crossword full of Americanisms too or should I switch my allegiance?

  40. The minutes required – forty-two
    Having wrestled somewhat with a few
    Immediate – STAT
    I had not heard of that
    And DEF is excellent? Who knew?

  41. This felt like the hardest puzzle I have done in a while with only EMOTE at the first passing. Fortunately the anagrams gave me a foothold and I ploughed on. Did not understand DEFEND, and never got DAIRYMEN, so thank you William.

  42. 36:00

    A day late as was out all of yesterday with only limited connectivity. More than half done inside 13 minutes, but then a good few minutes before securing a foothold in the top half – built around FOI EMMENTHAL and FOR THE TIME BEING.

    DEF = excellent? Think I’ve come across that somewhere before. I liked DOFFS and bunged in SINGLETON from checkers without pausing to parse. With an R at the end of 1a, initially pencilled in LEICESTER while thinking WORCESTER would fit also – WORSE helped though I couldn’t parse WORCESTER at all (ESTER = compound? No idea). Left with 2d and the three acrosses 11a, 17a, 24a which all eventually revealed their secrets.

    Thanks setter and William

  43. 73′
    Never at the races.
    However, I enjoyed the challenge very much.
    Thank you setter and William.

  44. Real toughie for me (and thank goodness for some others!), with EMMENTHAL FOI, TRAVESTY and RETSINA following on; then a long gap before ASTRIDE and CANON helped open up the south. But not successfully, unfortunately. Enjoyed working out FOR THE TIME BEING, but it didn’t help me get DOFFS, which I failed to associate with tips. Understood the ester=compound, but failed to see the backward crow, and so on. Not my best effort, but it was indeed a tough one, even for a Friday.

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