Times 28708 – 19 in my head

I don’t have an accurate time for this one, as I got a bunch of messages that needed attention just as I had settled in to get started. A look at the times so far suggest it is average difficulty, I think there could be a few unfamiliar terms that might slow some down. The setter has given very clear wordplay to the unusual terms, so I enjoyed this one!

How did you do?

1 Gaul once died horribly here in France? (9)
LANGUEDOC – glad for the checking letters here, anagram of GAUL,ONCE,D(died)
6 Obscure error in field by troops in France once (5)
BEFOG –  OG(own goal, error in field) next to BEF(British Expeditionary Force)
9 Fellow feeling the way back from Turkey: it’s me back first (7)
EMPATHY – PATH(the way), and the last letter of turkeY, with ME reversed at the beginning
10 Basil for one is different when in the lead (7)
POTHERB – OTHER(different) inside PB(lead, the element)
11 Jump short, so slide (3)
SKI – SKIP(jump) minus the last letter
12 Warm feelings, receiving thanks for posing (11)
AFFECTATION – AFFECTION(warm feelings) containing TA(thanks)
14 License what might I do with hair? (6)
PERMIT – with hair, you might PERM IT
15 For an element, name for example gold and another metal in turn (8)
NITROGEN – N(name), EG(for example), OR(gold) and TIN(another metal) all reversed
17 Moan, missing a start of evening service (8)
COMPLINE – COMPLAIN(moan) minus A, then the first letter of Evening
19 Sins without love can be active or passive (6)
VOICES – VICES(sins) containing O(love)
22 Note how Joan was called to get part of a degree (6,2,3)
MINUTE OF ARC – MINUTE(note of a meeting), and Joan was OF ARC
23 Rue taking only half what’s on one’s plate (3)
REG – REGRET(rue) minus the second half. The plate is on your car
25 Range across long room (7)
KITCHEN – KEN(range) surrounding ITCH(long)
27 Swear parking is needed in capital (7)
PROMISE – P(parking) then IS in ROME(captial)
28 Discharge ambassador that is in drink (5)
RHEUM – HE(ambassador) inside RUM(drink)
29 A Midlands team losing last support, as mentioned (9)
AFORESAID – A, then the midlands team is Nottingham FOREST, remove the last letter, then AID(support)
1 Wind-blown soil’s disappearance around middle of field (5)
LOESS – LOSS(disappearance) surrounding the middle letter of fiEld
2 More chilly, child cuddles one (7)
NIPPIER – NIPPER(child) containing I(one)
3 Centrepiece of Louvre has it reduced: we can’t see it (11)
ULTRAVIOLET – the middle letters of loUVre are an abbreviation
4 Bribe to relinquish power, instead departs for short break (3,3)
DAY OFF – PAY OFF(bribe) with P(power) removed and replaced by D(departs)
5 Monkey breaking china cup (8)
6 Club but no hospital in city (3)
BAT – remove H(hospital) from the city of BATH
7 Charge with racket, ending finally in a sort of frenzy? (7)
FEEDING – FEE(charge), DIN(racket) and the last letter of endinG
8 Spit on pineapple in rage (2,7)
GO BANANAS – GOB(spit) and ANANAS(pineapple)
13 Atmosphere almost calm for plane (3,5,3)
AIR FORCE ONE – AIR(atmosphere) and then on the Beaufort scale, almost calm is FORCE ONE
14 By leave of the composer, one corrects the beat (9)
PACEMAKER – PACE(by leave of), MAKER(the composer)
16 Trouble at night in one decaying mansion (8)
INSOMNIA – I(one) and an anagram of MANSION
18 Being herbivorous, cattle regularly covered in long hair (7)
MANATEE – alternating letters in cAtTlE inside MANE(long hair)
20 My free allowance upfront, an old Spanish custom (7)
CORRIDA – COR(my), RID(free) and the first letter of Allowance
21 Poet shows energy, the first in publishing house (6)
SAPPHO – SAP(energy), the first letter in Publishing and HO(house)
24 Intemperance admitted: starting a bit late (5)
GREED – AGREED(admitted) starting from the second letter
26 What’s up on motorway border? (3)
HEM – EH(what) reversed, then M(motorway)

69 comments on “Times 28708 – 19 in my head”

  1. FOI LANGUEDOC (where I’ve been a few times), whose crossers came quickly, and then I was solidly on the wavelength for the left half—except for COMPLINE, which took a minute because I had become overconfident and biffed “complain” (rudely awakened by INSOMNIA). After finding the frequency again, I finished the right about as quickly, but the slightly odd wording of the clue for NITROGEN (opening with the “helping” or connecting words “For an…” instead of outright with the def) made it my LOI.

  2. 45 minutes. There were several less than familiar answers here but attention to wordplay got me through it all correctly. I knew MINUTE as a 60th of a degree from schooldays but MINUTE OF ARC was new to me. I biffed POTHERB and then forgot to return to check the parsing.

    1. As an amateur astronomical navigator, it’s always beaten me why 1/21,600-th of a circle, or one arc minute, or one nautical mile, isn’t the universal measure of distance.
      That’s two geometric clues in two days and, for those with that bent, one Chicago-based Nicholas Rougeux has concocted an absolutely marvellous interactive version of Oliver Byrne’s beautiful 1847 colour edition of Euclid’s elements. Blue angle = blue angle is far better than faffing with ABCs.

    2. Fortunately astronomy makes frequent use of degrees, subdivided into 60 minutes of arc, each of which are then further subdivided into 60 seconds of arc.

  3. No time, as I was interrupted–by computer–but over half an hour. Aside from just general slowth, I took a long time to come up with the MINUTE to go with OF ARC; in fact never got it; I took ‘moan missing a’ to be MON; I know no Midlands team, and biffed AFORESAID. DNK that LOESS was wind-blown. The wordplay for AIR FORCE ONE came to me suddenly after I’d submitted. I liked PACEMAKER.

        1. It is in the OED too, so I agree with you it is a word 🙂
          And it is a very old one, the first quote is from 1175ad. Mainly just a variant of sloth, the meanings are much the same. But it has a descriptive charm of its own

  4. 16:49. I’m impressed that Guy had LANGUEDOC as his FOI. It was my last but one, after I’d resorted to writing down the anagrist, which I seldom do. CORRIDA, LOESS and COMPLINE were all either unknown or unremembered (always good to add the latter in case someone tells you when it last appeared 😉).

    COD to CAPUCHIN. The slick surface didn’t immediately reveal the anagram to me – I was looking for a monkey in a word for friend (China) to give a word for a cup.

  5. Quick today, and no undue problems.
    Languedoc, My favourite part of France and one of the places I like most in all the world.
    Mediterranean, Pyrenees, Cathar castles, and the biggest area in the world under vines. What more could you want?

  6. Ditto Pootle’s unknowns, plus REG (in Oz we add the obligatory O). Working steadily through the wordplay this took me 38.06, I feared it would be a lot longer after the first couple of barren passes. Thanks to glh for explaining the UV thing and also MINUTE OF ARC, I took note to be ‘mi’ and had no idea where the ‘nute’ came from. Too many good clues in this enjoyable puzzle to mention, though a special shout-out to NITROGEN, PROMISE and PACEMAKER.

    1. Your comment about the O leads me to wonder whether your handle, as an Aussie, also has the obligatory O added (only just caught up with this one, so came to the blog for elucidation on the parsing of BEFOG)?

      1. Haha no, I just couldn’t think of a snappy handle so jammed together first name/initial as some others have. You could call it an abbrevo. BEFOG befuddled me as well…

  7. 13:53. I hesitated over BAT wondering if BAHT was a a city. Doh! I (eventually) enjoyed another appearance of the Beaufort scale in 13D, parsed only post-solve like Kevin. Thanks George and setter.

  8. Just 20 seconds over my target 30 mins. I’m happy with that after the initial trawl didn’t reveal much, and also pleased that a couple of unknowns were correct having trusted the wordplay. Really enjoyed this, with many smiles along the way. I particularly liked GO BANANAS, AIR FORCE ONE and ULTRAVIOLET.

  9. 38 minutes, with LOI a constructed CORRIDA. My FOI was also LANGUEDOC, not that I know where it is, apart from France. Well, it was 1a. I’d have been a bit quicker though if I hadn’t gone on a DAY OUT before AFFECTATION put me right. I’m well used to degrees being split into minutes and seconds but I’m not sure if I ever used the expression MINUTE OF ARC. Still, somewhere in the Quisling Clinic there’s a shorthand typist taking seconds over minutes. COD to GO BANANAS. Thank you George and setter.

  10. Steady solve, 14’37”.

    Liked MINUTE OF ARC. I once annoyed a staff member in the Rouen tourist office by looking blank when she said ‘Allez par rue Jeanne d’Arc…’.

    Also used to sing COMPLINE, Friday nights during Lent, once it was dark.

    Thanks george and setter.

  11. 36 minutes – with LANGUEDOC my LOI, unlike most it seems!
    I thought that was a good puzzle, which I probably made a bit of a meal of.
    Looking at others here, I had some of the same problems. I had the P of CAPUCHIN, so assumed it would be APE inside something. CORRIDA is a word I’ve heard but don’t know what it means. I got REG being half of regret, but took a minute or so to realise why it was something on a plate. And so on.
    Thanks setter and solver 🙂

  12. Definitely a game of two halves. Cruised through the top half then ground to a halt in the bottom. 57mins, LOI PACEMAKER. MINUTE OF ARC, PROMISE, AFORESAID and SAPPHO all giving me problems. Still don’t get MANATEE. My dictionary says “mostly” herbivorous and shouldn’t it be “being, herbivorous” anyway?

    I did like the wine region, NITROGEN, NIPPIER and CORRIDA.

    Thanks George and setter.

  13. 6:49. Lots of semi-biffing, spotting the answer from one or two elements of the clue and ignoring the rest. Then I accidentally submitted without leaderboard.
    LANGUEDOC was my first in too. I know it as a wine region and I was there (Carcassonne, a beautiful place) on 11 September 2001 which has rather fixed it in the memory.

  14. DNF, back in OWL Club with ‘rag’ rather than REG – completely misunderstood the clue, and was left hoping that rag can mean rue and that ‘what’s on one’s plate’ was giving ragout, to be halved.

    LANGUEDOC went in quickly for me too, though I needed NIPPIER to be sure. Never heard of LOESS, but the wordplay helped. Didn’t understand the Force One bit of AIR FORCE ONE, and hesitated over SAPPHO because I wasn’t sure about sap=energy (I’m sure it has come up before, but it has yet to lodge itself in my brain). Didn’t know the MANATEEs are herbivores either.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Capuchin

  15. In under 15 minutes for this, but would have been longer if I’d needed to work out AIR FORCE ONE and POTHERB – not my Thursday, deo gratias.
    I couldn’t have volunteered the information that MANATEES are vegan, only that (presumably short sighted) sailors thought they were mermaids.
    I did like the mildly theological clue for VOICES, and indeed noted fine surfaces throughout.

  16. 35:07
    Cracking puzzle, coco pops and coffee. Best half hour of the day. Compline was new to me.
    Thanks, g.

  17. 41:06 which I’m happy with. Loved the puzzle, with some really good wordplays (Air Force One COD). somehow dredged LOESS from the depths of my pre GCSE geography memory.

  18. It took me two cups of coffee and a bowl of granola but I finished, unlike yesterday. The cryptics must all have been fair because the few unknowns revealed themselves as I went clockwise from the SW, hence FOI RHEUM and LOI GREED. Satisfyingly tidy.
    COD CORRIDA. This is what I like about cryptic as opposed to straight crosswords, that you can still find the answer without having the GK.

  19. 17:43 without much dithering except over minute as note, which I entered confidently enough but couldn’t see the obvious parsing of until coming here. “Satisfyingly tidy” seems to sum up proceedings, as Casey notes.

  20. 23:06

    Enjoyed this – well-clued and nothing unheard-of – a few notes:

    LANGUEDOC FOI – saw the anagrist and it jumped out at me – not the first French location I would have thought of.
    LOESS – word probably stored on a dusty shelf in a cupboard in a rarely-used storeroom at the back of my mind, from third form georgraphy, though if you had asked me what the word meant, I would have had no idea.
    COMPLINE – nearly automatically wrote in COMPLAIN before checking myself.
    MINUTE OF ARC – term unknown but straightforward to parse
    PACEMAKER – assumed PACE to be Latin – I really must learn that one.

    Last few in were all in SE corner: VOICES, CORRIDA, SAPPHO, AFORESAID, GREED and REG (oh that sort of plate – doh!) in that order.

    Thanks George and setter

  21. Took a long time, particularly VOICES at 19a. Couldn’t make anything with “tenses” as wordplay wasn’t there. Forgot for ages about active VOICE.
    18d MANATEE, felt that “being herbivorous” was a bit terse as definitions go, with thousands of potential answers. I was aware they are vegetarian (too slow to catch anything). They are threatened because they are often hit by speedboat props, and die.
    Missed the Pb=lead in POTHERB, missed FORCE ONE in 13d as Beaufort. Never thought of that kind of plate in REG, so biffed. Never saw that UV, although I was trying an anagram with it.
    So all-in-all made heavy weather of it.
    On the other hand I was lucky to have the GK for LOESS (O-Level Geog), COMPLINE (Cadfael on TV). Oh, and loathing footie I wasn’t expecting to see a memorable FORESt in a clue.

  22. 39:19. A splendid puzzle. FOI LANGUEDOC which just jumped out from the anagrist. The MANATEE somehow just jumped out too, and left me wondering what on earth she was doing there.

    LOI KITCHEN, mainly because I didn’t have the H for HEM crosser. I had R for RIM, taking “What’s up” to be RI instead of HE, as it should have been.

    COD GO BANANAS, but GOB? Kevin warned us recently that after URINATE and VOMIT we should expect DIARRHEA next. But no, it’s GOB. I’m still ready though, and I’ve checked both spellings

  23. 43 minutes. Held up by the sneaky ULTRAVIOLET at the end. As for a few other commenters, LOESS was at the outer limits of my ken and I only parsed AIR FORCE ONE and POTHERB post submission. Maybe not a very exciting ‘element’, but I liked NITROGEN. Overall a good Thursday puzzle – hard enough but not unreasonably so.

  24. My time of over an hour is irrelevant really, as it would have been much better if I hadn’t been such a fool. In the old days I wasn’t given the option to ignore checked and entered letters and got into the habit of typing the whole word, a habit that I find it hard to break now that I’ve changed app and have that option. So it was GOBBANANS and I never saw it until the very end. Several answers were therefore impossible and eventually I gave up and used electronic aids, which still told me that nothing fitted. And I was pretty sure of AIR FORCE ONE and that wasn’t in Chambers’s vaults. Otherwise fine!

  25. 16.02, a much better performance that yesterday! Some new bits that held me up, like COMPLINE, LOESS, MINUTE OF ARC. I liked PERMIT, LANGUEDOC, and PACEMAKER. Missed what FORCE ONE referred to, but couldn’t be anything else.

    Thanks both.

  26. 25 mins. A bit slow today on my birthday. Main problem was that I saw the ATE and having a final E assumed that the MANE went first. My unknown MANEATE then blocked progression until PACEMAKER and KITCHEN appeared.

  27. Not a breeze, but not too hard either. COMPLINE was the only unknown, but at least the wordplay was clear. In some others I missed the wordplay and entered the answer from the definition (notably the obscure wordplay to BEFOG, and POTHERB). Apart from those, I found the top half easier.
    I liked the clues to VOICES and KITCHEN, both late entries.
    33 minutes.

  28. A rather laboured solve for me today with the first pass yielding little. 35 minutes give or take though, as once I got a decent toe hold in the SW it all fell into place. No unknowns for me but I needed the checkers to correctly spell LANGUEDOC.
    Overall a nice mix of clues so thanks to the setter and blogger.

      1. Thanks for the explanation/translation, very kind, the spelling seems blindingly obvious when you put it like that. I’d heard of the place before but I hadn’t put any thought into what it meant. I’ll file that away for future use.

      2. Meaning the language in which “Yes” is “Oc” – as opposed to the Langue d’Oil (later Oui) of the north of France or the Langue de Si (the Italian of Dante)

  29. EMPATHY was my FOI, quickly followed by ULTRAVIOLET and CAPUCHIN. The U and C an the top line brought LANGUEDOC sharply into focus. A certain amount of biffing followed. NITROGEN was reverse engineered with a few checkers in place. CORRIDA was assembled from the instructions. Liked MINUTE OF ARC, which allowed me to biff FORCE ONE. AFORESAID, together with the aforementiond M of ARC allowed the construction of SAPPHO. VOICES was LOI. 24:!0. Thanks setter and George.

  30. About 45 minutes. Very nice puzzle – well clued – possible to figure out the two NHOs (Compline and Loess) from the wordplay. Very enjoyable.
    For NHO, read Probably Have Heard Of Previously But Forgotten (PHHOPBF).

    1. Oh, I see.
      I thought PHHOPBF was the noise your toast makes when it lands butter-side-down. 😄

  31. Hi,
    This reply does not pertain this puzzle particularly.

    Are you or your readers aware of a fast way to enter the words into the Times Crossword Site? I, on the average , enter the answers in between, 3-4 minutes. I see some entrants in doing it in less than a minute! One cannot solve and enter in that short a time!

    1. Gotta ask, do you solve the puzzle from e.g. the newspaper, then try to enter your 30-odd words into the website as quickly as possible? Or do you solve and enter the words in 3-4 minutes, in Magoovian speed or even quicker? Are you likely to win the Championships in a few months, or are you a neutrino?

    2. Hi GolfDocAndy,
      I believe that the fastest solvers often use a keyboard and can touch type. I think I have seen mohn solve the concise in under a minute including typing and submitting which shows it is possible to enter answers in under a minute (though clearly with the cryptic no one could solve and enter in that time).
      Thanks to one of our fellow solvers, starstruck, and his excellent SNITCH site, we do have a view on which solvers times are genuine: https://xwdsnitch.herokuapp.com/solvers/neutrinos.
      Out of curiosity, why do you solve before entering your answers rather than solving the crossword directly on the site?

      1. I once scraped under 1m for the Concise, whereas I think Heyesey, verlaine, and hilarym have gone several seconds faster than that multiple times. Pen(cil) and paper feels so slow by comparison.

    3. There have been many genuine solves under 3m and a few under 2m30s. A competent typist who already knows the answers should be able to fill in the grid in less than 45s. There are programmatic methods to give solving times of just a few seconds.

  32. Did it in 32 mins. Didn’t know manatees were veggie but as they’re known as ‘sea cows’ I’m not surprised!

  33. 35’33”
    Spoiled chances by veering off a straight trajectory final stages.
    Should have been under 30′ with all parsed and no unknowns, but I stared at R-G from every possible wrong perspective for over five minutes until the penny dropped. It was a repeat of yesterday’s NOTABEAR.
    And also like yesterday, lots to praise both in the puzzle and on this page.
    Thanks to all.

  34. No time today and a DNF – didnt get the poet. On the parsing, am sure I am being dense, but why does Sap=energy?

  35. On the wavelength today, and managed a 14’34”. Not super-easy, but there was no clue that caused particular trouble. I was a bit puzzled by MANATEE, for the vagueness of the definition, but realised it could be nothing else. Languedoc wonderful. Was in Quillan a few weeks ago.

  36. 19.52

    Also on wavelength. DAY OUT caused a slight delay and I thought I might be long delayed on REG and AGREED but they suddenly came. Couldn’t parse FORCE ONE but in it went.

    Excellent puzzle

    Thanks George and setter

  37. Enjoyable 35-minute solve while sitting in my garden in a gentle Force Two — “Leaves rustle. Wind vane moves,” according to my Beaufort Scale coffee mug.

  38. Started ok with EMPATHY and AFFECTATION, but all went south after that. Probably not believing the word LOESS was right was the start of my decline .A few other unknowns didn’t help matters: COMPLINE, POTHERB ( though I know I’ve heard the word before!) CORRIDA and MINUTE OF ARC, where I had no idea what was going on, despite knowing it must end with OF ARC. (Not a mathematical atom in my brain). Didn’t see ULTRAVIOLET,🤭, and still can’t parse AIR FORCE ONE – so overall not a good day for me. Liked GO BANANAS and MANATEE.

Comments are closed.