Times 28737 – ye gods and no little fishes

By Wednesday standards I thought this was a walk in the park, quite a few Quick Cryptic level clues and nothing to stress the grey cells too much, expect guessing the word I didn’t know at 1 ac.  The woodland god was equally guessable. 13 minutes.

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

1 Suddenly surprise American baddie opening a medal from the palace (9)
AMBUSCADE – A MBE has US CAD (American baddie) inserted. A word I guessed was a synonym for ambush, and I was correct.
6 Yarn running short has maiden in a rage (5)
STORM – STOR[y], M[aiden].
9 Learn about word to describe bodily organ (5)
10 Adding a new end-piece to sale operation (9)
RETAILING – re-tailing could be adding a new end-piece.
11 The indisputable leader? (8,7)
DEFINITE ARTICLE – Double definition.
13 Single composer given part in return (8)
BACHELOR – BACH a composer, ROLE (part) reversed.
14 Student, slightly hollowed out — to be this? (6)
LEANER – LEA[R]NER hollowed out.
16 Stand by one in group with hesitation (6)
LOITER – LOT (group) I (one) ER (hesitation).
18 Murderer crossing valley to the west made brief visit (6,2)
CALLED IN – CAIN the usual murderer, has DELL reversed inserted.
21 Eager young nut in revamped old musical (5,3,4,3)
ANNIE GET YOUR GUN – (EAGER YOUNG NUT IN)*. Heard of it, never seen, never will.
23 Plant, say, with insect in groove? (9)
EGLANTINE – E.G. (say) LINE (groove) with ANT inserted.
25 Daughter to wander round in crowd (5)
DROVE – D for daughter, ROVE for wander round.
26 Bishop in dance, not a conformer (5)
REBEL – REEL a dance with B inserted.
27 Leader’s dangerous point (9)
SPEARHEAD – double definition.
1 A revolutionary around India given publicity (5)
AIRED – A RED has I for India inserted.
2 Blessing has been surprisingly followed by loud fighting (11)
BENEFACTION – (BEEN)*, F (loud) ACTION (fighting).
3 Quiet woodland god starts to cheer everyone (7)
SILENCE – as you would have guessed, SILEN is a woodland god, add C and E the starts to cheer everyone.
4 Something bringing effervescence — a fixed amount to get inner energy (8)
AERATION – A RATION has E inserted.
5 Capture mate briefly turning up (6)
ENTRAP – PARTNE[R} reversed.
6 Liquid from tips let out (7)
7 Charm of bird hiding its wings (3)
OBI – [R]OBI[N].
8 Strange garment being worn is a sort of tube (9)
MAGNETRON – GARMENT)*, ON = being worn. A kind of vacuum tube for making microwaves.
12 Canoe’s unstable with a dog and a bird (6,5)
CANADA GOOSE – (CANOE’S A DOG O)*, the O for over.
13 One making song and dance over a wild animal (9)
BALLADEER – BALL (dance) A, DEER (wild animal).
15 Good man ye’d fancy — originally exceptionally handsome boy (8)
GANYMEDE – (G MAN YE’D)*, add E the start of exceptionally.  He was described by Homer as “the most beautiful of mortals”. Now famous as the largest moon of Jupiter.
17 English bird on a lake, immortal? (7)
ETERNAL – E, TERN (bird) A, L[ake].
19 US city less than ”clean” (7)
LAUNDER – LA (Los Angeles) UNDER (less than).
20 God’s priest seen in OT book briefly (6)
HELIOS – ELI our usual priest, inside HOS[EA]. The sun god.
22 Number with aim? Very much so! (2,3)
NO END – No for number, END for aim.
24 Dog in scientific centre (3)
LAB – double definition.


89 comments on “Times 28737 – ye gods and no little fishes”

  1. One short at 45 mins : just could not see how EGLANTINE worked. As a NHO, there were quite a few possible endings, like -ICE, -IVE, -ITE. I thought the “say” went with plant, so was looking for a six letter word for groove.

    Pleased to have unpacked AMBUSCADE, which I guessed from enfilade and cannonade. Was fast with the anagram ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, though an early biff of DIRECTOR GENERAL for 11, “The indisputable leader” was a dead end.

    Why are there quote marks in 19d, surely the clue (and surface) works fine without them.


    1. Curarists 99th law is always ignore all the punctuation marks UNLESS you think they might be the definition

      1. But why put them in if they are not needed for the surface? US city less than clean makes more sense than US city less than “clean”

  2. Quick and mostly straightforward, just the odd zinger out of left field like SILEN. Knew AMBUSCADE and EGLANTINE, saw ANNIE GOT (sic) YOUR GUN immediately. L2I were unknown but guessable HELIOS, which also made GOT GET; and LEANER, after correcting the spelling of MMAGNETRN.
    Liked LAUNDER, LEANER and BACHELOR – probably a chestnut but don’t think I’ve ever seen it.

  3. A pleasant, scenic perambulation indeed. Have heard of the musical so threw that in as soon as I had ANNIE (that’s Oakley, y’all). Had SILEN in some puzzle somewhere just the other day (in a clue for SILENCE, too). For that puzzle, I postulated that it was a form of Silenus, whom I had met. I really liked DEFINITE ARTICLE. LOI MAGNETRON.

    HOS. is an abbreviation for the book of Hosea (there’s an entry in Collins, for example), which is a better justification for the short form here than arbitrarily lopping off two-fifths of the word. The latter kind of clue, not referring to a standard abbreviation, would typically mean coming up short by only one letter.

    1. Exactly, Guy – very neatly explained. I was a bit reticent about Hos[ea] until the notion of the abbreviation hit me.

  4. 40 minutes. Most of this was easy and enjoyable and I was well on target for a half-hour completion, but nagging away at me much of the time was my inability to solve 1ac despite having had all the checkers in place from quite early on.

    Perhaps not unreasonably I had assumed that the answer would begin with AMBUSH leaving only A?E to resolve, but of course that led nowhere so eventually I abandoned the H and tried to find a three-letter word with middle letter A that means ‘baddie’. When I got to CAD in the alphabet trawl it didn’t seem the likeliest of fits but AMBUSCADE rang the very faintest of bells, so I decided to take a chance on it. The word has come up twice in the TfTT era, in 2008 and more recently in 2017 when I also didn’t know it.

    In researching the 2008 appearance in the archive I was reminded that for a while some bloggers used to include an early form of difficulty rating based on the level of GK required by category, and wordplay. Points were awarded and totalled, but how the scoring was supposed to work I don’t remember. Can any of the old-timers who were around in those days spread any light? Peter’s blog for that particular puzzle can be viewed here and the table of scores is beneath the main blog content.

    1. I think I had a leg up with AMBUSCADE because I knew the French embuscade. That old rating system sounds a bit complicated, and potentially open to dispute. But I don’t even time myself.

      1. Yes, I’m sure the old system was subjective for the most part but it added interest for a while. I think I may have attempted it myself but gave up after one or maybe two because I didn’t find it easy to assess. I also now think that Peter may have issued guidelines on how to compile it but I very much doubt I would still have them.

        Correction, I do still have them and post them here for general interest. I see now why I found it too much like hard work!

        This to confirm the list below as our set of categories.

        1. Religion: Practices, beliefs, texts. (Architecture if churches, temples etc)
        2. Literature: novels, plays and poetry – except for those in ‘Popular Culture’. Includes mythology, but not religious texts.
        3. Music: Classical music, including contemporary music for the same instruments/groups, Opera, Operetta, Ballet.
        4. Visual Arts: painting, sculpture.
        5. Popular Culture: Jazz, Musicals, Popular Music, Music Hall, nursery rhymes, folk songs, TV series, non-ballet dance, uncommon slang.
        6. Sport and Games:
        7. Natural World: Includes animals and plants, constellations, rocks
        8. Science & Tech: Maths, Physics/Chemistry, Engineering and Technology.
        9. Geography: Place names and the occasional geomorphology stuff
        10. History: people and events from the past – if people, not ones strongly associated with other categories. (Architecture if buildings such as ancient ruins, fortifications)
        11. Other: a catch-all for stuff that doesn’t fit elsewhere.

        Additional guidance from PB 23/5/08 Where does architecture go? I’d say Science and Tech. for modern stuff like ‘trimmer’ a week or two ago, History for the kind of stuff that wouldn’t be built these days (glacis, barbican and so on), and Religion for temple, church and cathedral stuff – pronaoi and clerestories.

        Total: the number of points summed over all categories.

        If you don’t want to bother with the choice between full and half points, just count the number of things you’ve listed, multiply by .75 and round to a whole number if necessary, on the assumption that roughly half would have been half-points.

        If you’re in doubt about the category, use the first one in the list.

        A clue may be listed in more than one category if it uses more than one obscure fact, but each fact gets only one category, which may change depending on the clue. If just ‘hymn’ in the clue, Abide with me is ‘Religion’, but if it’s ‘Cup Final hymn’, it magically becomes ‘Sport’.

        What gets included? “Easy” stuff, like bird=>HEN, doesn’t count. Something like bird=HUIA would definitely count for a full point. Half points (clue number in brackets) go to the moderately obscure (AVOCET, perhaps), or obscure but guessable (such WOOD OWL). I don’t think “crossword cliché” facts like novel=She count either, though what counts as a crossword cliché will depend on who’s doing the analysis.

        How much information you put in about each clue is up to you. Usually, the particular fact will already be clear from the comments.
        Showing the number of items for each category is good – in a separate table column if you can do that. If the blogger wants to do a ‘pie chart’ analysis as part of their posting, that’s fine (if they post a placeholder first, they say whether their posting later will include this analysis – silence is assumed to mean that it won’t). If the blogger opts out, anyone else is free to do the ‘pie chart’. If you want to avoid doing the work and then finding that someone else has got in first, add a comment saying “I’ll do the ‘pie chart'”, and complete it in the next half-hour. (If you’re able to, delete this comment when adding the analysis.)

        1. I remember that! But I was not blogging then, so was able to give it the lack of attention it deserved.. PB showing his IT colours

        2. If someone else wants to analyse my blogs by clue type and do pie charts, once they’re published, feel free; my life is too short and too busy for me to spend time on this IMO pointless exercise. If it’s going to be compulsory, I’ll resign my slot.

          1. Fear not, Pip, this is all ancient history now! I haven’t researched but I think the proposal died a death after a very short period for the very reason that it was time-consuming and wouldn’t have added much, if anything, to the sum of human knowledge or revealed anything worthwhile about Times crosswords and solving them.

        3. The system looks a bit complicated, but I wondered whether generative AI might be able to do something, so I spent a few minutes with ChatGPT, giving it today’s answer blog and the categories. Below is what it came up with after a few interactions.

          My guess is that it’s probably not worth the effort. It missed some of the key words (“Silen” for example). The categorisation is a bit limited (it only used three of the categories, HELIOS was in Science & Tech, not in literature). And the rating, although providing some insights, is pretty arguable (is RENAL really less obscure than AERATION? DEFINITE ARTICLE more obscure than RETAILING?). An interesting insight into the current state of play, but we might have to wait a few years for Generative AI to be a bit smarter.

          Category 5: Popular Culture
          “AMBUSCADE” – Obscurity Rating: High (Less commonly used word).
          “STORM” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Used in a less common context in the clue).
          “RETAILING” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Less common word for selling).
          “DEFINITE ARTICLE” – Obscurity Rating: High (Refers to a grammatical concept).
          “BACHELOR” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (May be less common in a crossword clue).
          “LEANER” – Obscurity Rating: High (Refers to a less common concept).
          “LOITER” – Obscurity Rating: High (Refers to a less common behavior).
          “CALLED IN” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Less common phrase).
          “ANNIE GET YOUR GUN” – Obscurity Rating: High (Refers to a specific musical).
          “MAGNETRON” – Obscurity Rating: High (Specific technical term).
          “ENTRAP” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Refers to capture).
          “SPITTLE” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Refers to saliva).
          “OBI” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Specific type of sash).
          “NO END” – Obscurity Rating: Low (Used in a less common context).
          “LAUNDER” – Obscurity Rating: Low (May be less common in this context).
          Category 8: Science & Tech
          “RENAL” – Obscurity Rating: Low (Medical terminology).
          “MAGNETRON” – Obscurity Rating: High (Specific technical term).
          “AERATION” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Technical term).
          “HELIOS” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Mythological reference).
          Category 7: Natural World
          “EGLANTINE” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Type of wild rose).
          “GANYMEDE” – Obscurity Rating: Medium (Moon of Jupiter in mythology).

          1. Many thanks, Starstruck. Fascinating stuff! I have posted a link from the Thursday 15×15 blog so that it will be seen by a wider audience. Your efforts are much appreciated.

            1. Dorset Jimbo, about 2010 or so, compiled a detailed and pointed analysis showing that science and technology were woefully shortchanged in the GK used by setters. I’m sure I saw it on the TftT site (where else?), but I don’t remember how or where.

          2. Re: Ganymede – no-one knew Jupiter had moons in antiquity, so there’s no celestial “mythology” associated with the name when used in this sense.

            1. Good point, and one that I didn’t pick up in my quick reading. This is a great example of generative AI “hallucinating”, i.e. putting something down definitively when it’s wrong. We don’t usually expect this of machine-generated content, so you need to be on the lookout for this sort of error.

              In this case I don’t think the clue was referencing the Jovian moon at all, so if we’re going to classify GANYMEDE it should be under Literature and assessed there for obscurity. The use of the name as a moon might make the classical reference a bit less obscure, of course.

  5. Nice puzzle today, there were a few I didn’t know but figured out and ok I cheated and glanced at a list of OT books to get HELIOS having ruled out RELIUT for probably not being a god. Considering how long it took me to get going (FOI was CANADA GOOSE, 12dn) I was pleased with 31.38, especially so because I am currently enduring a God-awful toothache and waiting for the antibiotics to kick in. Was the discussion about ouzo earlier this year here or on the QC? The point is, yesterday my elderly Greek MIL wised me up to the fact that ouzo is the best anaesthetic going for toothache at that point where the (rationed) painkillers start to wear off. And a lot more pleasant than oil of cloves. Stin iyia mas!

      1. You’re absolutely right, of course, Snitchmeister. ACHELOUS and MOMUS are the sort of chaps we really need.

    1. My favourite too, for obvious reasons. Did you know that Ganymede is larger than the planet Mercury?

  6. 31:16

    One man’s walk in the park is another man’s trudge through the mud – mild disgruntlement that 1a was a word I had not come across; no idea that 8d is a tube; not keen on the clueing for 22d; and where was the indication that we should only use 3/5 of whichever OT book? Didn’t know SILEN as a woodland god either, but that was guessable. Thanks for the breakdown…

    1. Mike, as Guy mentioned in the top comment Hos. is an abbreviation for the Book of Hosea so there’s no need to indicate removal of two letters. I think it was established in a previous discussion that all books of the Bible (or maybe just the Old Testament) have official two-letter and three-letter abbreviations.

  7. I made heavier weather of this than Pip’s opening comment would indicate, and got stuck with 4 clues in or off the NE corner.

    My main problem was the NHO MAGNETRON, despite me seeing how it worked quite quickly – had I been quicker to see RETAILING (duh!) I could have shaved two minutes off my time.

    I also foolishly biffed “benediction” which slowed down my solving of my COD.

    TIME 12:44

  8. 14:05. Like Merlin I had a tentative DIRECTOR GENERAL initially, thinking that the clue referred to the title containing two words for leader. I also had an incorrect answer in the other long one for a while when I conflated the musical and an Aerosmith song, giving me JANIE GET YOUR GUN (the song is Janie’s Got A Gun).
    I must have remembered AMBUSCADE as when I had all the checkers I thought of it then had to work back to the “baddie”. Given I probably last saw the word when it appeared in 2017 (thanks Jack) I’m surprised at my power of recall!

    1. Janie’s Got a Gun was not in my conscious mind… but I wrote GOT instead of GET on first pass, no doubt nudged there by an 80s big-hair band 😉 Though I did know the musical, so had ANNIE, not Janie.

      1. I think of Aerosmith as a 70s band (Dream on, Walk This Way etc) but they’ve never really gone away!

  9. Quick again today, only SILEN nho but easy to guess.
    11ac is not a DD .. the definition is THE, wordplay is DEFINITE (indisputable) + ARTICLE (leader, eg an editorial)
    I agree that Hos. is a standard abbreviation for Hosea. But there is no rule I am aware of that “briefly” means remove one letter and one only. If it had meant to remove two, it would not be the first time ..
    (but then I am currently looking at a crossword from 1946, when there were no rules at all!)

    1. You may be right about ‘briefly’, Jerry, but I think it would always elicit an adverse comment re a Times puzzle these days. I’m pretty sure it would be acceptable at The Guardian though as almost anything seems considered okay there.

      1. I worry that there is a barbed comment in there somewhere Ulaca, that I am not picking up?
        Are you saying I can’t rite?

  10. 31:23
    A pleasant stroll. LOI was Helios. Reminds me of the pun about the two bomberos: Hose A and Hose B.
    Thanks, pip.

  11. 9:16. No major problems today but the last few proved slightly sticky. I had no idea what a MAGNETRON might be so I needed most of the checkers for that. Silen was vaguely familiar, and some of these old books of the bible must be finally sticking in my memory because HELIOS only caused a slight delay.
    Agree with Jerry about 11ac.

  12. Not good from me. Two errors in 24 mins. SHLANTE for SILENCE and RETAINING for RETAILING.

  13. No walk in the park for me. DNK Hosea, so HELIOS took an age and all the checkers. Also delayed by AMBUSCADE, NO END (which was easy, so God knows why it vexed me for so long) and – ridiculously – SPEARHEAD. Had all the crossers, but still had to stare at it for about 20 mins before the penny dropped. I fear the dementia is now well advanced.

  14. Just under 31 minutes. LOI HELIOS which took me several minutes with basically only the H to get!
    I wasnt sure for 1ac I thought ambuscade was a noun whereas ‚suddenly surprise‘ must be verbal?
    Had vaguely heard of silen
    6ac I read on my phone as Yam running short… which slowed me down!
    Thanks everyone

  15. 25′ today factoring in a busy doorbell this morning. Easier than my DNF yesterday (obv), maybe a bit of “Mondays” about it. First scan worked well for the bottom half and took it from there. Reticent/dubious(?) about GANYMEDE having seen it immediately but confusing it with Gallifrey (and I’m not a WHO fan) so only put in after a few checkers. Biffed AMBUSHCADE based on wordplay and HELIOS, not knowing Hosea (not a bible fan either). The rest dropped in at a reasonable pace for me. COD DEFINITE ARTICLE. thanks Piquet and setter.

  16. 31:14. First impression was that this was a hard one – FOIs RENAL and SPITTLE – but then I settled down all right. I got HELIOS from the definition supported by ELI of course and possibly an OT Book Hosanna. I liked DEFINITE ARTICLE

  17. Much better than yesterday’s attempt, with a successful grid in about 20 minutes.
    I almost fell at the first though as I was sorely tempted to put AMBUSHAGE for 1A, which when pronounced with a French accent in my head sounded like a thing. Thankfully I dithered and that regular crossword rapscallion finally came to mind.
    My only other slight fingers crossed moment was for HELIOS. It was surely the answer, but in spite of, or perhaps because of, spending my youthful Sunday mornings twiddling my thumbs in a Welsh Chapel, I couldn’t bring Hosea to mind.
    The only other clue of note was EGLANTINE for which I have to thank both Angela Lansbury and having a very limited VHS selection during my formative years.
    All said and done an enjoyable crossword, so thanks to the setter and blogger.

  18. 11:10
    I conflated the musical with the Squeeze song, which has probably left ANNIE GET YOUR GUN going round in my head for the rest of the day. Strum that thing and shout…

  19. DNF but only because the paper was out of stock this morning so I had to use the online, and lost track of the letters I was typing and wrote SPEERHEAD with a lot of forwards and backwards.
    I was so sure I had never heard of Silen the woodland god that I used Wikipedia. Wiki never heard of him either so he must be obscure. Online Collins had heard of him.

    1. There is a wiki entry under ‘Silenus’. As far as i can tell Silenus is a specific figure from Greek mythology and the term ‘silen’ (plural ‘sileni’) refers to a type of god.

      1. Oh, thank you. I was a bit foxed as Silenus was fairly familiar, but there was no mention of woods in his Wiki entry and that added to my dubiousness (if there is such a word.)

      2. I’d heard of Silenus, but not Silen (as a generic woodland god, from what I can tell). In fact, I once went to see a Greek comedy called ‘The Satyrs of Oxyrinchus’ (not sure about the spelling there…), where Silenus was a leading character. All the Satyrs were wearing body suits replete with enormous erect phalluses, only Silenus, their chief, being famously old and drunk, had an enormous floppy phallus. Very amusing, IIRC.

    2. I just updated Wikipedia (yikes!) lets see if the changes stick. I was tempted to give today’s crossword as a citation.

  20. More of a stiffly energetic jog in the park, with suitable breaks for alleviating stitch, but 20 minutes ain’t bad. RETAILING was my last in, but only because I had misentered AERATION and was trying to begin with A. ATTAINING≈adding was my best shot.
    Otherwise the bottom right of the grid proved hazardous: I tried to justify SHEERNESS as a pretty good dangerous point, but my list of former Prime Ministers and such didn’t include anyone of that name. DROVE resisted because of that “wander round” bit of the clue, and DMAOR refused to be a word.
    MAGNETRON conjures an image of a copper disc with holes, or a mysterious box in my microwave, so “tube” was taken on trust.
    Not as funny as yesterday’s, but pleasant enough. Thanks Piquet for a fine blog.

  21. 38 minutes but couldn’t manage DROVE so looked up words for ‘wander round’. Also gods or books of the Bible, unable to find HELIOS. MAGNETRON I know as a component of microwave ovens — in the old days, when it was worth having a microwave repaired, I had my magnetron replaced and always pictured a rocky shape, not a tube. AGYG a fine old musical apparently, but I see that for legal reasons it was withdrawn for 30 years, which may explain why I’ve never seen it. Agree that the inverted commas round ‘clean’ are just silly.

  22. 22 mins. The old curates egg in operation here. After rattling through, I got stuck with AERATION, which wasn’t quite what I was looking for. As an ex retailer, I should have found RETAILING, my LOI, a lot quicker.

  23. A pleasant mid-week puzzle, all done in 21 minutes. I was fairly sure AMBUSCADE at 1ac was right from the crossers, but could not parse it, so thanks for the enlightenment. For some reason I found today’s anagrams easier than usual. As mentioned, the inverted commas in 19dn are weird, especially as (in my printed paper at any rate) they start with a ’69’ and end with a ’99’. Shome mistake surely?
    FOI – CALLED IN (are there any other biffable murderers?)
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  24. Thanks for the blog, piquet. I think you have an error at 12d, where the anagram fodder is (CANOE’S A DOG A), not (CANOE’S A DOG O).

  25. Two goes needed. For 1d, I spent a long time trying to fit either PR or ‘ad’ into it but obviously got nowhere. Then, the moment I sat down for my second attempt, I saw AIRED. Funny – and slightly frustrating – how our brains work (or don’t).

    Pieced together the unknown AMBUSCADE and EGLANTINE from wordplay; hadn’t heard of Silen the God; was unsure about removing two letters from Hosea to get Hos in HELIOS, so thanks to the commenters above for explaining that ‘briefly’ meant use the abbreviation rather than lop letters off the end; agree with JerryW that DEFINITE ARTICLE is not a double definition; also agree with those who say the quotation marks in the clue for LAUNDER were unnecessary.

    A nice crossword – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Lab
    LOI Ambuscade
    COD Definite article

  26. Started off with AIRED and got most of the NW corner before moving on. SILEN was new to me but not too difficult to workout. Steady progress followed until I got to LOI, 20d, where I didn’t know the 3 letter abbreviation and ground to a halt. Eventually an alphabet trawl came up with HELIOS and I assumed that 2 letters were removed from HOSEA. As someone said earlier, “Every day’s a schoolday!” Must have spent best part of 10 minutes on that 1 clue. 32:15. Thanks setter and Pip.

  27. Eglantine, Eglantine, Hark to the Stars, Destiny calls us, The Future is ours.
    Sung by Mr Brown (wonderful David Tomlinson aka Mr Banks in Mary Poppins) to Angela Lansbury in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
    23’45” – made heavier weather of it than it apparently deserved. But fun was had so thanks.

  28. 23:25 – Slow to get HELIOS and SPEARHEAD, but the rest was straightforward and uncontroversial.

  29. 09:34, and it seemed to me that this is the sort of puzzle we’re likely to get on Saturday (in the first round, anyway) – not flashy but solid, not too much biffing, and requiring reasonably good and wide general knowledge if you want to be totally confident about some clues. We shall see.

  30. HELIOS and SPEARHEAD last two in, the latter coming immediately after an alphabet trawl gave me the former. I discounted the “pencilled in” RELIUT reluctantly when I couldn’t make anything sensible with a T at the front of 27ac.


  31. 32 minutes, but I cheated and looked up Old Testament books. Despite having won the prize for Scripture Knowledge at school (like Bertie Wooster) that was a long time ago and I’d certainly forgotten about Hosea.

    Otherwise no real problems, although biffing BENEDICTION held me up for a while.

  32. 26’22”
    Pushed along early stages, made headway home straight, stayed on well.
    All parsed and familiar, but silen, and obi having another meaning, rang only faint bells.
    Chuffed to bits as I managed a dead heat with Verlaine in the Witch Handicap, albeit in receipt of 31 lbs from he of the classic pedigree.
    My father was involved in the early development of 8ds; whilst coffee warming might have have been a by-product, what they were really up to he will never be allowed to tell.
    Helios went straight in as h was the letter I used for sun angle in a two year project to put together a Demos graph demonstrating a method for constructing sundials, taken from a book bought by an antecedent of mine in 1720.
    Lots to like here; many thanks to setter and Pip.

  33. About 30 minutes. Did the puzzle today today in tandem with a friend, Martin, who had, fortunately, heard of a Silen.
    As others have also written, enjoyed Definite Article. Nice puzzle.

  34. Another tidy puzzle and no difficulties except that SILEN was a guess. Thanks for the blog.

  35. Got rather sidetracked today with POD-I-UM instead of LOITER and D-ELI-AN instead of HELIOS (thinking that DAN just had to be Daniel ‘briefly’), both of which seemed close enough to fitting the clues to have confused me. Worked out LOITER pretty quickly but wasted a lot of time before I finally found SPEARHEAD. 28 minutes in the end.

  36. Very easy for a Wednesday, though it still took me 43 minutes. No real difficulties, although HOS for HOSEA did make me look for alternatives to HELIOS in 20dn (but I didn’t find any). A fun puzzle nevertheless.

  37. 20.08 with LOI spearhead having considered sheer for far too long. Everything else went in pretty regularly though I was very happy to dredge up Helios.
    Enjoyable puzzle completed late in the day after my best competitive golf in ages.

    Can go to sleep content.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  38. 50:22. quite slow perhaps but some non-trivial vocabulary slowed me up. last ones to go in were LOITER, BALLADEER (which I was convinced must end in BEAR), and DROVE. I particularly liked the musical one, on the basis of a typo which led to ANNIE GET YOUR GNU. luckily this was spotted on entry but did make me laugh. thanks setter and Pip.

  39. Not tackled until tonight, but not too bad, considering my weary state. LOsI were AERATION and RETAILING, as several above have said. With the former, as often happens, I became fixated on ‘portion’ rather than ration, and couldn’t think of an alternative. AMBUSCADE was worked out rather than bifd, with most of the crossers in place, and SILENCE had to be, since I’d heard of Silenus. EGLANTINE I know only from Shakespeare (MND or MOV, can’t remember which). Liked DEFINITE ARTICLE, though I started off thinking DICTATOR something… NHO MAGNETRON, so glad it was an anagram!

  40. Just the right puzzle for the doctor’s waiting room – enough to keep me busy, not so much as to need real concentration. Plus, I’m always pleased when I’m able to assemble unknown or almost unknown words properly. Plus plus I will not ever mis-spell and mispronounce Ambuscade by inserting an H into the middle ever again.

  41. 39 minutes. Didn’t know SILEN or the “official” HOS abbreviation but did manage to remember AMBUSCADE and EGLANTINE. GANYMEDE as ‘handsome boy’ – learnt today, forgotten tomorrow.

    You’ll probably be even less inclined to want to see ANNIE GET YOUR GUN after this but I like it.

  42. All said, but I had (as expected) more trouble than most – firstly by needing to confirm my hesitant AMBUSCADE by looking it up, secondly by not thinking “outside the box” for “charm” to get the more usual sash. And so on. Other main hold-ups were HELIOS ( no idea about books of the bible), and SPEARHEAD, which just wouldn’t emerge, for some reason. Liked the fact that I’m old enough to remember the musical ( had a guffaw at ANNIE GET YOUR GNU!) and that for once I recognised the part of speech immediately, and that neither MAGNETRON nor EGLANTINE were new to me. FOI SPITTLE, LOI HELIOS, COD AGYG.

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