Times 28727 – this son of York is not 23dn


On the easier end of the Friday cryptics I’ve had the pleasure of blogging. I had, predictably, never heard of the painter (7dn), and a few other bits of GK (4dn, 16dn, 21dn). I think the science-y clues, which were more or less write-ins for me, more than compensated. Good fun.

Definitions underlined.

1 The exit for Spooner’s pet that’s worn at the top (4,3)
FLAT CAP – (C)AT (FL)AP (exit for pet, Spoonerised).
5 Leaving vehicle, dropping the last cake (6)
PARKIN – PARKINg (leaving vehicle) missing its last letter. Yorkshire specialty.
8 Decoration is perfect, fitted with new bow (9)
OBEISANCE – OBE (i.e. the medal, decoration) + IS + ACE (perfect) containing N (new).
9 One who wrote with twice the energy at length (5)
GOGOL – GO (energy) twice + L (length).
11 Old boat at hand carrying extra weight (5)
TUBBY – TUB (old boat) + BY (at hand).
12 Enemy confined to camp with several bonds (9)
TRIVALENT – RIVAL (enemy) contained by TENT (camp).
13 That won’t work? Not a coincidence (2,6)
NO CHANCE – definition and cryptic hint.
15 Timid type eating second dessert (6)
MOUSSE – MOUSE (timid type) containing S (second).
17 Lively exam, not very old (6)
VIVACEVIVA (exam) + CE (common era, not very old). VIVA voCE (exam) missing v (very) and o (old).
19 Large head on president that should be recognisable (8)
LIKENESS – L (large) + NESS (head) containing IKE (president).
22 Time referee retired, having fallen ill and struggled (9)
TRAVAILED – T (time) + VAR (video assistant referee) reversed + AILED (fallen ill).
23 Angel at last stands in for a goddess (5)
FLORA – last of angeL contained by FOR + A.
24 Big wins? But the way forward’s missing the fifth! (5)
ROUTS – ROUTe’S (the way forward’s) missing its fifth letter.
25 Visitor from space tricked properly, we hear (9)
CHONDRITE – sounds like “conned right” (tricked properly). A type of meteorite.
26 Secret policemen’s arrest (6)
STASIS – double definition.
27 Hair piled up to sides of peak? I don’t think so (7)
TOPKNOT – TO + outermost letters (sides) of PeaK + NOT (I don’t think so).
1 One at sea unsure about position of “X”? (8,5)
FLOATING VOTER – cryptic definition.
2 Sarcastic card, first from rude writer (7)
ACERBIC – ACE (card) + first of Rude + BIC (pen, writer).
3 Young creature no end timid but comfortable (5)
CUSHY – CUb (young creature) missing its last + SHY (timid).
4 Water regulator stalls one after tick? (8)
PENSTOCK – PENS (stalls) + TOCK (one after tick). If you often go walking in UK woodlands, I bet you’ve seen one (or the pipes that lead from one).
5 Condensation as small freezer initially packs up (6)
PRECIS – S (small) + ICER (freezer) + first of Packs, all reversed.
6 Fix up mother with part that’s rather complicated (9)
RIGMAROLE – RIG (fix up) + MA (mother) + ROLE (part).
7 Admission from painter: his last gets duplicated (7)
INGRESS – INGRES (19th century French painter) with hid last letter duplicated.
10 After review, settle pattern for official document (7,6)
14 Are endless ravines about one? We don’t use these now (9)
ARCHAISMS – ARe endless + CHASMS (ravines) containing I (one).
16 Innkeeper conceals worried mind, being possible prey for the Devil? (8)
HINDMOST – HOST (innkeeper) contains an anagram of MIND. From the idiom ‘the devil takes the hindmost’.
18 Film, cut badly, featuring a bridge (7)
VIADUCT – VID (film) + an anagram of CUT, containing A.
20 Chief annoyed about persistent small loss (7)
EROSION – NO I (number one, chief) + SORE (annoyed), all reversed.
21 Slope leading aircraftman to block soldiers (6)
GLACIS – LAC (leading aircraftman) contained by GIS (soldiers).
23 Discontented, but not hungry? (3,2)
FED UP – definition and cryptic hint.

81 comments on “Times 28727 – this son of York is not 23dn”

  1. DNF
    Definitely not the easiest Friday puzzle for me; or for many, judging from the SNITCH. It didn’t help that I didn’t know PARKIN, CHONDRITE (thought of ‘con’, but), FLOATING VOTER, PENSTOCK (biffed without a clue as to TOCK), GLACIS (and LAC; I was stuck on ACE). Finally thought of VIVACE, although I only got the VIVA; not very impressed by CE for ‘not very old’. William, at 6d “that’s” needs to be underlined.

        1. How does CE=”not very old”
          Oh, CE (common era, not very old). – I really don’t think so! You should change the blog

        2. Not really. CE is a period of time spanning more than 2,000 years. Old by any standards.
          (Also I don’t like the term. BC and AD are so well known that only an eejit with a point to prove would try to replace them. And I don’t even believe in C 🙂

  2. Not easy down here, either, and I’m a sciency type. Felt like wading through treacle, but at the end nothing too difficult. Unknownns included FLORA, PARKIN, GLACIS (and LAC), VIVACE – and VIVA VOCE, I guessed it must be Common Era as not very old, too. CHONDRITE’s meaning and provenance unknown. I suspect just a wavelength thing, took ages to see simple ones like FLORA and VIADUCT.
    COD to the CAT FLAP, though I think we’ve seen it before.

  3. Wow, a Friday special IMHO. Slogged away for 43 minutes and was delighted to have finally nailed FLAT CAP, OBEISANCE, TRIVALENT, PARKIN, PRECIS, TRAVAILED, CHONDRITE, GLACIS, FLOATING VOTER and VIVACO*.

    *You know, VIVACO, the little-known musical term, where C = Circa = not very, if you squint really hard. I’ll check with Keriothe, but I’m pretty sure he’ll ok it.

    Anyway, thanks Branch for resolving that one. And thanks setter for a great puzzle, and William for the blog.

    1. Applying my entirely reasonable and correct approach from yesterday, it’s officially allowable if you can 1) find it half-referenced in a dictionary somewhere and 2) ignore the fact that it’s obviously wrong.

  4. Having read William’s remark about the puzzle being at the easier end of Friday cryptics I was relieved to find a couple of early comments with solving times that more closely reflect my own experience.

    Actually for me it was a DNF because after an hour (much of it spent on half-a-dozen clues) I eventually gave up and resorted to aids for the unknown CHONDRITE which would have been my LOI. I feel a bit peeved about that as the answer was clearly going to be a homophone and I had actually thought of “conned right”. RITE would have fitted but I couldn’t see how to get a soundalike for “conned” to fit the spaces available C?OND. Of course I should have realised that H would do it, but I’d never heard of the answer so I didn’t recognise it when I got near to it. The archive has it in one 15×15 puzzle in 2009 where it passed without comment from me.

    Elsewhere I struggled with LETTERS PATENT which I didn’t remember from its one appearance in 2015 but eventually managed to unravel the anagrist.

    TRIVALENT needed all its checkers to bring it to mind. I knew the word from chemistry lessons 60 years ago, but chemistry was one of my two worst school subjects and I had no idea what it meant so the definition didn’t help me.

    PENSTOCK was another unknown. It appeared once before in 2013 when I also didn’t know it.

    Finally I must add GLACIS to my list of ignorance. It appeared in a Jumbo in 2022 by which time I was solving them every week although I didn’t always comment on the blogs. In any case, on that occasion it was clued as a reverse hidden answer that may have presented itself so obviously that I entered it without much thought and moved on.

    Other than all the above I’d agree that the rest of the puzzle was quite easy and I was chuffed that possibly for the first time ever I solved a Spoonerism clue (1ac) at the first reading and with no checkers to assist me.

    1. Well, I certainly didn’t evaluate it so in order to cause hairs to bristle. I’m often slower (sometimes a lot slower) than average, so I’m happy it was my turn to be on the wavelength.

      Having got FLAT CAP PARKIN and FLOATING VOTER off the bat, and being quite familiar with the vocabulary that gave others a hard time, I found the rest of the clueing straightforward, as you say.

      1. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I begrudged your success or that you reported it here, as I’m very pleased for you. As a former blogger of Friday puzzles (my original slot in the schedule) I know very well how tricky they can be. I only mentioned it because having struggled with some of today’s puzzle, my first thought was that perhaps I had really messed up on a relatively easy day, so I was then relieved to read from the early comments that I was not alone in finding it hard.

  5. This started easy, but turned more like a proper Friday, as we say. Reading Will, I thought I might’ve just gotten soft this week, but the other comments reassured me. LOI the NHO PARKIN. Never heard of PENSTOCK, either, or LAC for “Leading aircraftman” (I was reading that as plural too!). May have heard FLOATING VOTER at some time, not sure…

  6. 39 minutes. Nice and quick (for me) today after a slow one yesterday. NHO PENSTOCK or GLACIS and only the faintest recognition of CHONDRITE. I too arrived at VIVACE via Common Era. I liked PARKIN (the clue but, I think, not the cake)

  7. Another DNF here. Beaten by a few, including GLACIS and OBEISANCE, and not being too confident on the unknowns of PENSTOCK and CHONDRITE that crossed them wasn’t helping.

  8. DNF. All but 5 done in about 16 minutes but defeated after another 11 minutes by the unknown GLACIS, where I had a despairing GLACES, not knowing the LAC acronym. DNK PENSTOCK or LETTERS PATENT either, but got them from the wordplay. Thanks William and setter.

  9. O Tubby Ningland!
    Now that April’s there
    (apologies to Browning)

    I gave up after 50 mins. Too hard for me.
    Ta setter and WJS

    1. Well! Thanks SO much for that honesty, Myrtilus; I gave up half-way through ( even though I had more time to solve than usual) as half the words were not known to me and the references too oblique anyway. Came here expecting to see most defeated utterly, only to find William had the proverbial walk in the park, and some others didn’t find it particularly hard. I guess it’s a wavelength thing….

  10. DNF. This was one of the hardest puzzles I can ever remember attempting, resulting in me propping up the leaderboard with my three errors after about 40 minutes. I had PANSTOCK for PENSTOCK, thinking that stall and pan might both be synonyms for toilet. I had a guessed MOONDRITE, where I had thought of conned but never thought of putting in an H to make a homophone which fitted. And I had GLAMIS for GLACIS, guessing that LAM might be Lieutenant Air Marshall. With hindsight I might have done better but I was too wearied to give further thought by the end.

    EDIT – I see I’m in good company in finding this hard with Magoo taking 32 minutes!

    1. Magoo was probably solving online with a detailed commentary while riding a unicycle round Piccadilly Circus

  11. 52 minutes with LOI CHONDRITE. I found this pretty tough but with lots of pleasant PDMs. The NE particularly finished on a high with RIGMAROLE, INGRESS, GOGOL and TRIVALENT all coming in a rush. And I’ve loved PARKIN since I was a young kid, a special treat in the days of rationing. COD has to go to FLOATING VOTER though. Thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you William and setter.

  12. If that was on the easier end I wouldn’t want to see the harder end!!
    45 minutes with 3 NHO words
    NHO penstock but I did feel very confident on that one
    NHO parkin, felt pretty confident but far from 100%
    NHO glacis and I wasn’t at all sure of LAC for leading aircraftman either so that was a real hit it and hope
    Phew!!! I need a coffee now.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  13. I didn’t enjoy this very much, but my early position of 6th on the leaderboard was a pleasant surprise. First I must thank William for enlightening me on PENSTOCK. I feel I was fortunate to get away with biffing it and it could easily have resulted in pink squares. I also biffed GLACIS but parsed it afterwards, and VIVACE was a lucky shot. NHO CHONDRITE but my homophone detector was working well this morning.

    TIME 12:31

  14. LIked this one. No complete unknowns but several very nearly unknowns .. vivace sounded close enough to vivacious, a chondrite landed in someone’s bedroom earlier this year.
    Parkin I vaguely remember from my Sheffield childhood, gingery, wasn’t it?

  15. 20:52, so a pretty good time for a puzzle where I had to “invent” a few words to finish it off. As usual, not sure if I’d never encountered the likes of PENSTOCK, GLACIS and CHONDRITE before (possible), or come across them before and forgotten them (much more likely tbh). Despite these TRAVAILS, quite a satisfying work-out.

  16. No condensation now I dread.
    Beauty! What comes after tick? Who’s prey to the Devil? Why was the chief p*ssed off? The writing on the damp wall. Great moments, even if the first came in a word I didn’t know until today. And how clever (prescient?) to work in a controversial VAR. I didn’t mind in the least being pushed to nearly 30 minutes, with quite a lot of them convinced that the X seeker was after TREASURE.
    Compliments to the setter, and to WJS for not only finding it easy but daring to say so to us lesser mortals

    1. I thought that “One at sea unsure about” implied an anagram and at a glance it looked like the letters for TREASURE were in there. Looking more carefully I see a second R is lacking but that passed me by at the time.

  17. Wow, I didn’t think this was remotely easy. Took me 45 mins and I was absolutely delighted to finish it, albeit with Hail Mary biffs on the NHO PENSTOCK and LOI GLACIS. Having been beaten by far easier puzzles than this, I’m again reminded that sometimes it’s a wavelength issue, combined with whether or not you hit lucky with knowing unusual words.

  18. Pleased to correctly finish this, imho, very hard puzzle. PENSTOCK and CHONDRITE constructed from wordplay to make plausible words, i.e guessed. Never completely parsed VIVACE, either way. How many FLOATING VOTERs are there in Rutherglen? Got 1ac with a mental image of the character Andy Capp.

    Excellent puzzle, 36’23”, thanks william and setter.

  19. I think I deserve the sort of weary ironic applause reserved for the last few stragglers to complete the fun run. It’s not stylish, but we duffers get there in the end. 80 mins, (a few stretches at half time) and proud. My water engineering knowledge has just doubled in size. Looking over my shoulder for the devil…

  20. Not easy at all. PENSTOCK fooled me completely and I had to resort to an aid. Technical DNF at 43’24”.

  21. 25:34, but with an absolutely infuriating error. After puzzling over 4dn for a long time, I suddenly realised that ‘one after tick’ is TOCK, thought ‘oh good grief you absolute b******, that’s brilliant’ and promptly wrote in PENSTICK. Since I wouldn’t know either a penstick or a penstock from a bar of soap I didn’t spot the error when checking my answers.
    Incredibly frustrating after struggling my way through this very tough but, IMO, absolutely superb puzzle. My mental comment on 4dn applied to a very high proportion of these clues, and indeed the puzzle as a whole.
    Working out complete unknowns like CHONDRITE, GLACIS or indeed PENSTOCK from tough but fair wordplay is a very satisfying way of solving. Hats off and thank you setter.

  22. DNF. Should have got penstock, but didn’t.

    Didn’t know LAC so Glacis was missed. I liked the spoonerism and the floating voter best.

  23. DNF, defeated by GLACIS and CHONDRITE, neither of which I had heard of – in fact, I did exactly the same thing with them as Pootle above, so at least I’m in good company there. Worked out the unknown PENSTOCK and PARKIN from wordplay and got HINDMOST without knowing the expression.

    In the paper, RIGMAROLE was clued with ‘role’ right there in the clue rather than ‘part’. I thought that was a bit poor, so I’m glad the online version was improved.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Floating voter

  24. 67 minutes, and as SteveB says I wouldn’t want to see the harder end of the spectrum. But apart from the difficulty of some of the words (GLACIS, PENSTOCK, …) I can’t now see what the problem was, as all the constructions were fair and reasonably straightforward. Why do some crosswords present much greater difficulty than others? CHONDRITE was known, funnily enough. When I was on Countdown years ago we had those letters and the best I could do was cordite, but Mark Nyman, who was in Dictionary Corner, said chondrite. Nowadays Susie Dent would have come up with another 9-letter word as well. To be like those people who give crossword clues without giving the answers, I won’t tell you.

    1. Threnodic (using aids) – but encountered in real life in The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy, the second greatest book ever written. Or maybe it was threnody.

        1. In John le Carre’s Little Drummer Girl, the eponymous protagonist never awards “the best” to anything, only second best; I liked that so adopted it. The Ginger Man is right up there with Catch-22 and Roderick (John T. Sladek) as the best novel ever written, but they all come second, depending. Maybe a few others – A New History of Torments, a lyrically beautiful story, where at the end you want to slash your wrists and jump overboard.
          Note: all English language… that’s all I know.

          1. It was a Maxwell Smart thing as well. “That’s the second-biggest silencer I’ve ever seen”.

            And for a few years back in the day, the penalty amongst my mates for describing anything as the best / biggest / greatest was a round of drinks.

            1. I *loved* Maxwell Smart. Missed by that much. We’ll have to rely heavily on the element of surprise. The cone of silence. Haven’t seen it in 40 years… does it still hold up?

  25. 46:50 – about as tough as they get, but PENSTOCK was the only unknown in the end, though it looked like there would be a lot more as impenetrable clues and hard-to-spot definitions slowly gave way to improbable-looking combinations of crossers. Great stuff

  26. Is it possible that the level of this crossword is close to that of those used in the Times Crossword Championship which is mentioned of as taking place later this month?

    1. I think this is much harder than those used in the Championship (at least in the first round). The two times I’ve attended I pretty much finished three puzzles within the allotted hour whereas this took me about 40 minutes.

  27. DNF in the best part of an hour. A bruising experience but worth the effort. Lots of slow teasing out of solutions and pausing to ponder and admire. Finally found the limits of my vocabulary with glacis. The wordplay served up too much uncertainty over what letters leading aircraftman would give (dnk LAC) and their position rendered by block, whether within or without, and too much choice given by soldiers to come up with something plausible. Was going for aces blocking in Light Infantry for too long as alices seemed plausible. Very tough.

  28. 34:48 but…

    Mostly OK with some nice new word discoveries (TRIVALENT, GLACIS) which parsed well – less happy with PENSTOCK which was too tricksy for me so a technical DNF as I used an aid to check on PENSTICK and found the correct answer. COD to OBEISANCE which was a mystery until I tried the I (from IS) between the E and S, the scales fell from my eyes…

  29. Submitted off the leaderboard because I looked up the NHO PENSTOCK. I had the tock (followed tick – in the Guinness ad, I believe), but couldn’t see the right meaning of stalls, even though obvious in retrospect. I started pretty brightly, seeing FLAT CAP straight away and racing through quite a few more, but then I found myself wading through mental treacle with the rest. Tough.

  30. DNF. Gave up on the hour. All has been said above and same unknowns as others.

    Thanks William. For the enlightenment.

  31. This was hard, but I managed to finish, with CHONDRITE and GLACIS both unknown (and crossing) my last two in. I also thought CE for “common era” was weak in VIVACE but VIVA VOCE without VO is neat. I knew all the other vocabulary like PENSTOCK and PARKIN, which helped.

  32. DNF — had to seek help with CHONDRITE and GLACIS. Pleased to have figured out PENSTOCK though. Enjoyably tough Friday puzzle.

  33. Well that was a bit of a fight
    But I really enjoyed the CHONDRITE
    Meteoroid when up high
    Meteor in the sky
    When it lands it’s a meteorite

  34. A very long time, 1h 28min to be more precise. I’d never heard of PENSTOCK or CHONDRITE (LOI) and of the other less common words, GLACIS was out there at the very limits of my knowledge and memory. PARKIN only known from crossword land.

    Satisfying to finish with all in green, but close to “too hard to be enjoyable” territory.

  35. I thought this was brilliant, but brilliantly hard as well, all 65 minutes of it. PENSTOCK went in with a prayer (fortunately I did understand what comes after TICK) and CHONDRITE after I vaguely remembered there was a word with a silent H in it which might fit both aspects of the clue. PARKIN was another unknown, but I finally twigged what you might be doing when you leave a vehicle (your own vehicle, not a public bus or tram or anything like that). COD to HINDMOST, definitely (not a Tasmanian Devil after all, as I first suspected). Beautiful puzzle!

  36. This balanced the fairly obvious (1A, 5A) with the completely obscure – GLACIS, PENSTOCK. I was chuffed to get RIGMAROLE, OBEISANCE, TRIVALENT etc without too much trouble and worked out CHONDRITE, but then found myself completely mired in an unfamiliar vocabulary that I felt I had no chance of unearthing. Ironically, the two that did for me in the end were the crossers of EROSION and FLORA, where I’d heard of the terms but could not parse the answers, not least because I was convinced the answer to 23a was FREYA. However, I am apparently in good company in finding this difficult, and enjoyed the challenge immensely.

  37. 118:38 apparently. I think the timer must have been left on while I did something else. BUT what a challenging puzzle. LOTS of nhos, PARKIN, GLACIS, PENSTOCK, CHONDRITE… difficult vocabulary but fair, as others have commented earlier.

    COD to PRECIS which had me fooled for ever so long.

  38. Rigmarole entered with a shrug, nothing to do with the puzzle..the treeware Australian version has “role” in it instead of “part”, depreciating the value of this clue in an enjoyable chewy offering.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *