Times 28693 – Happy as…

When I submitted this at just under the 20-minute mark I was so happy I could have kissed a Spanish football player. Sadly, though, I received a message telling me I hadn’t completed the puzzle, and finally submitted in 22:29.

Looking on the bright side, at least I was spared a social media tsunami.

1 Child with blanket nursing cold beginning to take cough medicine (7)
LINCTUS – C T in LINUS (of Peanuts fame)
5 Ride around we hear to purchase tool for harvest (7)
BICYCLE – sounds like (to some) BUY SICKLE
9 Bewildered G-man punched by knucklehead (9)
10 Settle in upper chamber (5)
PERCH -hidden
11 One returning to identify Charlie (5)
IDIOT – I + TO ID reversed
12 Open then shut local room (6,3)
PUBLIC BAR – PUBLIC (open) BAR (shut)
14 Funny elf, fourteen, who could be fair game (5,2,7)
17 Wonderful time in Brasilia — sun out, millions visiting (5,9)
21 Somewhat slowly, Clark uncovered poor sector of the city (9)
23 Hearts ace banking foreign currency — he could be laughing! (5)
24 Broadcasting elegant young socialite leaving (2,3)
25 Notable Greek nobleman talked regularly (9)
26 Sudden outbreak of anger as Florida salesperson goes round the bend (5-2)
27 Foot-dragging convict and warder missing uniform (7)
1 The French paper that is socialist (6)
2 Feed Canton, having grub to go around (7)
NOURISH – URI (Canton in Switzerland) in NOSH
3 Alluring woman exhausted, wasting year cutting hair (9)
4 Key player — oops! — hints carelessly about a vote (11)
5 Party turned up to support British person (3)
BOD – B DO reversed
6 Island initially celebrating All Fools’ Day (5)
7 Deer caught a bone round top of upland (7)
CARIBOU – C A RIB O U[pland]
8 Enter the complex network (8)
13 Expert account about a large old Western figure (7,4)
15 The cigar’s turned to a pile of ash long ago (9)
REICHSTAG – on 27 February 1933, to be precise. The Nazis claimed the Commies did it and passed emergency legislation the next day (did they know there’d be a fire?) abolishing constitutional protections, thus paving the way for their own dictatorship. THE CIGARS*
16 Severe redundancy leaving area strapped for cash (5,3)
18 Northern Irish leaders formula: ultimately a peaceful state (7)
NIRVANA – N IR VAN (leaders) [formul]A
19 Drink finished off by players mostly (4,3)
ICED TEA – ICED (as in what the Mafia might do to someone they don’t care for) TEA[m]
20 Butt of agenda uncovered (3,3)
22 Reportedly gather an enormous number (5)
HORDE – sounds like hoard (to most)
25 Starts to abseil, leaving Patagonian peak (3)
ALP – initial letter of the middle words

64 comments on “Times 28693 – Happy as…”

  1. I know just how you felt, Ulaca! This went down easy. And, for my part, nothing harshed my buzz.
    My LOI was ANNUS MIRABILIS. We had the late queen’s ANNUS HORRIBILIS in the Sunday New York Times non-cryptic today.

  2. I thought this would be my best time yet… I was at 6 or 7 minutes with ANNUS MIRABILIS, BADLY OFF, and ICED TEA left to go. It took me another 10 minutes to untangle these. 17:21. Ah well!

    1. I feel a bit like the Dutch lady (Bol I think) in that 400m relay at the world championships. Was at about 15 minutes when I got down to the same “last three”, but fortunately spotted BADLY OFF in about 20 seconds and then came storming down the home straight with the final two write-ins to finish in a fraction under 16 minutes.

      1. Whereas Jeremy was more like Bol in the mixed relay – leading to 10m from the line then fell flat on her face 😉

  3. BTW, I don’t much care for “redundancy” as a euphemism for a fired worker. Often, this is merely an excuse, and someone is left then to do their job plus the one of the person “let [i.e., forced to] go.”
    (Perhaps I should add that I have been happily employed at the same place since 1986, with my anniversary there coming up in September. No personal animosity enters into this political analysis.)

    1. At least ‘made redundant’, unlike ‘fired’ or ‘sacked’, implies no fault in the employee.

      1. Yes, at least. Or at most. I’m spoiled, by having been a denizen for 30-odd years of a virtual enclave of socialism right here in the US of A. The News Guild’s contract with The Nation has always stipulated that no employee would lose their job as a result of technological innovation. I started out there (when it was the Newspaper Guild—and I was not yet a member for a few years) by typesetting every word on every weekly page using a machine already nearly obsolete (also, as it happened, the only one I knew how to operate, the same that we used at Yippie HQ at #9 Bleecker St.).

    2. Is that the case in the USA?

      In the UK that would be illegal and in that barest form, open to tribunal. We can’t make someone redundant and ask someone else to pick up the slack unless you change the job description, change the responsibilities, change the chain of command, promote from within and assign a wage increase to any that take it up.

      In short, over here that is called a ‘restructure’ where ironically apart from the above, nothing actually changes and everything carries on as incompetently as before.

      Redundancy in the UK means the job no longer exists. The company is allowed to begin rehiring for the previously redundant position after (6?) months I think? Similarly a redundant employee can reapply to the company (for a different position after 6 months).

      Because of the complications and the cost, UK companies tend to use redundancy only as a last resort.

      1. I hope employers in the UK all abide by these strictures with the most scrupulous good faith (though it seems to me that changing a “job description,” for example, could be a way of pulling the rug out from under someone; and obviously, if there is “slack” remaining to be taken up after a position has been as classed as “redundant,” something that job entailed did not fit that classification…). Employers in the USA can pretty much do whatever they want to workers who are not part of a union, which is the vast majority of them.

  4. 10:15
    I would have been under 10′, but it took me a half-minute or so to figure out how LOI BADLY OFF worked. Biffed a bunch, including WHEEL & ANNUS, never bothered to verify the anagrist. The REICHSTAG fire was in 1933; is that ‘long ago’? And the building was hardly reduced to a pile of ash. Like Vinyl and Paul in London, I didn’t care much for this one.

  5. Missed BADLY OFF, because I was sure that leaving=OFF, and so had the clue inside out.

    Pretty rapid, though. Now on to the Jumbo.

    I thought REICHSTAG was a great clue.

  6. I found most of this very easy but there was enough meat in it to give me pause for thought and prevent me racing too far ahead of myself.

    I had all but half an answer after 25 minutes but BADLY of BADLY OFF required several alphabet trawls over another 6 minutes before coming to mind. Like Merlin, I had been distracted by thinking that OFF was clued by ‘leaving’ or possibly ‘leaving area’ and it was only when I saw ‘redundancy / L{a}Y OFF’ that the deadlock was broken. As synonyms they seem quite a good fit to me although in practice they may not be identical in meaning in every case.

    I enjoyed the distraction of ‘key player’ because the anagram was obvious but it took me a moment for the penny to drop – oh that sort of key!

    The foot-dragging LAGGARD made me look twice too.

    1. Be of good cheer! I had the dog as ‘ayredale’ twice before learning my lesson. I’ve also had my fair share of ‘sheerwaters.’

      1. My sympathies. Misspellings are the pits. Misspellings of birds are the absolute pits.

  7. 19.12 which is quick for me, the last three – BADLY-OFF, ANNUS and ICED TEA – taking the best part of five minutes. Thanks to ulaca for explaining BADLY-OFF, NOURISH (Uri is a place? OK) and NIRVANA where I thought NI = Northern Ireland and wondered (ahem) how RVAN meant leaders. I always like it when 1ac is my FOI, its rarely happens but this time LINCTUS popped in straight away and I thought of Zabadak.

  8. Very easy. Partly because I recognised that this was the setter with the penchant for first/last letter addition/removal – beginning, missing, wasting, initially, top of, leaving, leaders, ultimately, finished off and starts.

  9. Smooth down the Avenue glitters the Bicycle,
    Black-stockinged legs under navy blue serge,
    Home and Colonial, Star, International,
    Balancing bicycle leant on the verge.
    (Myfanwy, Betjeman)

    20 mins mid-brekker, held up slightly by thinking it was (4,10) and trying to construct Anni Something. Doh!
    Ta setter and U.

  10. I enjoyed this, particularly “child with blanket”, “knucklehead”, and the concept of a “Hearts ace” (Lawrence Shankland stood out in a VERY poor performance which I watched on Thursday evening. They seem to have been no better at Dundee yesterday).

    LOI ICED TEA (I had tea in place, but needed SLOI ANNUS MIRABILIS to see the first half)
    TIME 7:26

  11. Good start to the week at 29mins. LOI FAG END which is appropriate I suppose.

    Wasn’t sure about LARGHETTO but the. clueing was generous. I liked CAPRI.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  12. 14 minutes, with LOI ANNUS MIRABILIS. I started well, seeing LINCTUS straightaway while knowing very little about Peanuts. My only unknown was the canton and would have preferred that to have been clued as the forkbender, or was that title reserved by Harold Wilson’s secretary? Fortunately the crossers were kind. I liked this. COD to BADLY OFF. Thank you U and setter.

  13. 09:30. I thought I’d finished but discovered I still had _A_LY at 19D. ICED TEA was another where I got the second half first – I needed the MIRABILIS to reveal the sort of tea. I needed to write out all the anagrams and wait for crossers before they came. I liked CAPRI but mostly that the FT inside LEFTIE is pink. Thanks U and setter.

  14. 21:12. Off to a good start with 1ac LINCTUS. LOI BADLY OFF. I liked CAPRI and ICED TEA

  15. 11’16”, with a fair while spent on the LOI BADLY OFF.
    Agree with the comments re REICHSTAG. ICED TEA appeared in another puzzle recently.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  16. A fast but somewhat joyless solve would have yielded my third-quickest time ever at 13:04 but for my proofreading failing in the haste to submit – FAG EHD, dammit.

    Monty Python overtones in both this (Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle) and the Concise, where the Greek instrument is (for me) inseparable from the finest cheese shop in the district.

  17. 17’14”, LOI HORDE which took me a minute or so to think of.
    Thanks ulaca and setter

  18. You’re not going to believe this, but I thought 1a had to be LINCTUS, but couldn’t figure out why. Did eventually, but BADLY OFF and NIRVANA defied analysis during my 15 minute spin.
    You all know that the crossword brain tends to make connections it shouldn’t, so in the light of that may I confirm to our US friends that FAG END and ANNUS MIRABILIS don’t connect over here.
    My last in was WHEEL OF FORTUNE, because I was convinced there was a party game called Thief of something. I also wondered about it being a fair game, until I realised it wasn’t necessarily talking about the TV show, which is allegedly anything but.
    A slight hmm about ETHERNET being clued with NETwork, and if the REICHSTAG was a pile of ash that makes Norman Foster’s achievement even more amazing. “Britische Architekt.”
    Thanks Ulaca for bothering where I didn’t.

      1. I have an unerring talent for missing the bleedin’ obvious. It was my turn to blog when the puzzle was overladen with Zs. Didn’t see there might be a connection until it was pointed out!

  19. As others have said, easy Monday, 14 minutes ending with BADLY for which thanks ulaca for parsing before I thought it through.

  20. Agree about 1933 not really being ‘long ago’ for 15 dn. Mr Setter clearly wanted us to go looking for something like ancient volcanos — which I duly did. Vesuvius? Etna? Santorini? Nothing there… In that sense, quite a clever lure, but deffo a bit of a cheat.

  21. Pretty easy but I didn’t make it seem so, largely because I had the same problems as others with the BADLY OFF, ANNUS MIRABILIS, ICED TEA, TEMPTRESS quartet, which delayed me for ages so that I eventually clocked 46 minutes. SAXOPHONIST looked for a while like being something to do with a pianist because I failed to notice that there was only one i. Took the Swiss canton on trust.

  22. 22 mins LOI BADLY OFF. I’ve been to the REICHSTAG and there’s quite a bit left….

  23. Cough medicine seems to be doing the rounds in Crossword Land just now, so LINCTUS popped in promptly, with a smile as I spotted Z’s avatar. The only unknown was the canton, which I assumed was a place. LOI was BADLY OFF which happily didn’t delay me for long. 12:27. Thanks setter and U.

  24. Easy enough though had no idea of Linus and winced at bi-sickle. Sometimes I think the Times is losing its centre of gravity. I was also unaware of Uri as a canton but being expected to know that doesn’t seem to betoken the end of civilisation in quite the same way.

  25. I found this easy. Most of the NW quadrant was filled in two minutes, though the rest took proportionately longer. I knew 11a referred to LINUS, but couldn’t remember the name until I got NOURISH, which was easy, though I didn’t know URI.
    CARIBOU, PERCH, ICED TEA and BADLY off were my LOIs.
    19 minutes.

  26. I found this as easy as I found the QC difficult. I finished in a nippy (for me) 20.37, and would have been well under 20 minutes if I hadn’t taken two minutes over my LOI which was ICED TEA. Not being familiar with the mafia term for dispatching someone didn’t help, and the only other unknown was URI as the Swiss Canton, but I did at least assume that it had to be that.

  27. 10:28 – all eminently gettable, with the same passing thought as others that the Reichstag was badly damaged in the fire but by no stretch of the imagination was it reduced to a pile of ash, though it seems churlish to begrudge the setter a little licence for the sake of the surface reading.

  28. Two goes needed. Didn’t know the kid Linus or LINCTUS, so that was entered with no certainty whatsoever – not helped by being unaware of the Uri canton which held up NOURISH. Eventually got BADLY OFF on the second attempt. Lummox as a knucklehead was new to me, though with the X already in place FLUMMOXED went in quickly enough, and I didn’t parse NIRVANA.

    Thanks setter and blogger

    FOI Leftie
    LOI Badly off
    COD Annus mirabilis

  29. Very straightforward but as others have said not particularly memorable. About 17 mins which would be close to a PB but somehow not excited by it, or maybe it’s just down to another dampish bank holiday …

  30. I don’t time myself but I think it was less than 30 mins today which is great for me. NHO URI but not a problem.
    LOI IDIOT (rather appropriately)

  31. 15:51
    I found this fairly easy with a few too many gimmes. I liked LINCTUS.

    Thanks to ulaca and the setter.

  32. Blundered my way through this pretty quickly. A rare write in at 1A for me. LOI was ICED TEA – took a while to get the first word.


  33. 12:38

    Having been off the pace with the QC, didn’t visit this until the afternoon. Blasted through the vast majority – didn’t bother parsing TEMPTRESS nor checking the letters of 14a and 17a and no idea about the canton. Hold ups at the end included NIRVANA (thought it was blissful rather than peaceful state) and BADLY OFF which only jumped out once I’d thought of LAY OFF for redundancy.

    Enjoyable start to the week – thanks setter and Ulaca

  34. 9:54. First time I’ve broken the Ten Minute Barrier in quite a while. I biffed LOI BADLY OFF and hoped I was right.


  35. 21:03 A steady solve. LTI were ANNUS MIRABILLIS and ICED TEA. The Mafia use of Iced was not known to me, but in the end it was the only drink that would fit.

  36. 22.11 PB! This is the third time I’ve seen LINCTUS clued recently so it was an easy start. I had about ten left when BADLY OFF and ANNUS MIRABILIS lead to a flurry of biffing with FLUMMOXED and LEFTIE the last two in. URI was new to me and I never did parse NIRVANA. Thanks to ulaca.

  37. Badly Off and Annus Mirabilis were LOIs – my problem was that I put MirabilUs and 19 dn couldn’t have been USED Tea – so I dnf and came here. Thanks for sorting.

  38. l have just started doing The Times Cryptic so I am on the slow side and I suppose a member of the SCC, I found the clues well written and had a few PDM’s. look forward to the next one, also a first time commenter.

  39. Funnily enough I did actually buy a sickle recently. Part of a general move to let some of the garden go wild then use hand-tools to cut back the long grass. Very good exercise, requiring a lot of bending double. Needs regular sharpening. Do mind out for your feet. I nearly ended up with a Christ-like stigma on top of my left one. Luckily I was in stout boots. Next purchase — the scythe. Puzzle done in 15’55”. Should have been quicker but a bit rusty.

  40. First ever proper finish of the Times crossword – plenty of technical DNF’s previously.


    Favourite LARGHETTO. – not heard of it’ll the word, but managed to get it from the Word Play

  41. Personal best at around 23 minutes (don’t keep exact time as work on the paper version) by about half an hour, despite not knowing URI or LARGHETTO. LOI: ARISTOTLE
    COD: LINCTUS (for the Linus reference)
    Isn’t two hiddens one more than we’d expect?

  42. 13’55”
    Good early pace, stayed on strongly.
    Cock-a-hoop! Best time this year.
    Thanks Ulaca and setter.

  43. Thought I was going well until the second (lower) half hove into view – with ANNUS MIRABILIS a NHO (believe it or not, and I ‘did’ Latin at school !) and struggled to see the laughing animal because I’d spelled REICHSTAG incorrectly. Then sloppy enumeration led me to enter 5/2 for 18d, which rendered that impossible, so 26a never got its middle ‘a’ which I needed to understand it. Ho hum – obviously not a difficult puzzle for most, and I liked LINCTUS, WHEEL OF FORTUNE and FLUMMOXED particularly. Not losing the marbles yet, but there might be a small hole in the bag, letting them to dribble out slowly!

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