Times 28753 – O Tempora! O Mores!

A quirky offering for the start of the working week, and one which was rather more tricky than your average Monday, I think.

21:10 for me. How did you do? And how did you find its quirks?

1 A little place in the county, the very thing (6)
BEDSIT – BEDS (Bedfordshire) IT (the very thing)
5 In dark, run over sunshade (8)
SOMBRERO – SOMBRE (dark) R O (two abbreviations from the game of cricket – a game England used to play)
9 Be arrogant as actor, concealing source of wealth (8)
10 Beginning to avoid betrayal in moderation (6)
11 A daughter wearing bracelets at hotel in the country (10)
13 Sympathy as prime minister fails to complete year (4)
14 Position for diving for fish (4)
PIKE – double definition (DD), the first referring to a position in diving in which the diver’s body is bent at the waist and their chest lies flat against their thighs. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME!
15 Rock resident as two pubs finally close, full of foolish chatter (7,3)
BARBARY APE – YAP (foolish chatter) in BAR BAR (two pubs) last letter of [clos]E; YAP has a nominal use meaning annoying or stupid speech
18 Mint producing something less than the King’s Shilling? (10)
PENNYROYAL –  there were I suppose twelve pennies in a King’s shilling, which is  a slang term referring to the advance (earnest) payment, which used to be given to recruits in the UK armed forces; PENNYROYAL is a species of flowering plant in the mint family. I assumed it was something you sucked…
20 Pursue female, as dog may? (4)
21 They poetically address European port, mostly (4)
ODES – ODES[sa]; it’s a bit unusual to be asked to delete the two final letters of a word, but never say never…alternatively, they changed the spelling of the city while I wasn’t looking: ODES[a]
23 Cobblers put up with endless pressure after cash arrangement (10)
CODSWALLOP – COD (cash on demand – cash arrangement) SWALLO[w] (to put up with something without its ending letter) P (pressure); alternatively, just biff and move on
25 Manifest horror, about to be caught by swindle (6)
SCREAM – RE (about) in SCAM
26 Contradicted, gets help (8)
28 Cinema-lover maybe is at a bizarre film (8)
FANTASIA – FAN anagram* of IS AT; Disney film of the 40s
29 Thirty-one days hail, the length of a festival (6)
OCTAVE – an octave is a Catholic festival with an (inclusively counted) eight-day length; Luxembourg, I learn, has an Octave Festival which is actually a double-octave one, celebrated over two weeks.
2 Bringing to mind corrupt 29 I have as support (9)
EVOCATIVE – OCTAVE* IVE (I have > I’ve supporting it, or propping it up in a down clue); the editor likes to pop one of these Guardianesque cross-referencing clues in from time to time, so we can all throw our arms up in the air and talk about declining standards, policemen getting younger each year, kids having it too easy at school, comedy shows no longer being funny, etc. etc. ‘Corrupt’ is the anagram indicator.
3 Stones record, about an hour (7)
4 One curled in disgust, not from ecstasy (3)
TOE – ‘not from’ is TO, ecstasy is, I am told, E; well, you have toe-curling things, so you could have one curled in disgust. A tad Guardianesque, peut-être?
5 Welcoming pair to spend time with in bout of self-indulgence (5)
SPREE – PR (pair) in SEE (to spend time with)
6 Sweet world, getting permit for king to visit (11)
MARSHMALLOW – HM (His Majesty > king) in MARS (world) ALLOW (permit)
7 Ask again about what cider is like (7)
REAPPLY – RE (about – again) APPLY (what cider is like – geddit?!)
8 Decline to accept too big a bed (5)
ROOST – OS (outsize > too big) in ROT (decline)
12 Novelist Marcel, but as translated (6,5)
ALBERT CAMUS – MARCEL BUT AS*; I liked  L’Etranger a lot, La Peste a little less so. Or was it the other way round? I must read them again and find out. Unless, of course, I have changed my tastes, in which case it would be a waste of time, if that were the only reason I were performing the exercise. Anyway, much better than Sartre…
16 Man who painted  a little light (3)
RAY – DD, the second referencing the coolly named Man Ray, American visual artist
17 Composer’s verification about Köchel number that is “5” (9)
PROKOFIEV – just a matter of getting the spelling right in this one. I’ve tried hard to like other stuff of Sergei’s apart from Romeo and Juliet but have never quite pulled it off. Oh! the parsing: K (Köchel number, AKA K, referencing the fellow who catalogued Mozart’s music) in PROOF (verification) IE (that is > id est) V (five)
19 Finally discern a nice smell that is arising (7)
20 Long-established oil producers, not in Middle East (4-3)
WELL-SET – WELLS (oil producers) ET (we have a bit of Yoda speak here; if you were asked to provide the word ‘east’ but without the middle bit (‘not in middle’), you might offer E[as]T)
22 Ace hospital scoundrel turned over in Russian retreat (5)
DACHA – reveral of A H CAD
24 Follow parent, in principle (5)
DOGMA – DOG (follow) MA (mother)
27 One and the same language (3)
IDO – I DO (i.e. ditto > the same); an invented language derived from Reformed Esperanto. I rest my case…

60 comments on “Times 28753 – O Tempora! O Mores!”

  1. 24:58
    A slow start–I think PIKE was my only across–and a slow finish–LOI BEDSIT, SHINGLE, & POI TOE took me about 5 minutes. DNK PENNYROYAL. I liked TOE. U, the Ukraine city is now spelled Odesa, so only one letter, as always, is being deleted.

  2. Similar experience to Kevin Gregg, not many acrosses solved on a first pass so I thought I was going to be up against a stiff challenge, but I got most of the downs on a first pass and was done in 9:12. Lots of words that can be easily misspelled, I made sure I did a last pass of the words before hitting submit.

  3. 25:54. Felt like I was fast out of the gate, quickly getting deeper cuts like I+DittO and BEDS+IT. But nevertheless I had a rough go of it, everything taking more time than I expected. Satisfying to solve!

  4. I started well but ran into difficulties and by the end I had put in several answers where I only partially understood the clue. PIKE (knew the fish, not the diving position), OCTAVE (got the wordplay not the definition), and PENNYROYAL (knew nothing here, but King suggested ROYAL once the checkers were in place and I put PENNY just because it fitted).

    NHO WELL-SET as ‘long-established’ but again the wordplay meant it had to be. I also wasn’t completely sure of IDO as a language because it could have been IBO until I managed to spot the parsing.

    52 minutes.

  5. Failed to start in the NW so 13a PITY got me going in the NE instead, and I circled back around. The shorter clues proved surprisingly hard and I finally finished off with PIKE and TOE. 46 minutes with no idea why PENNYROYAL sprang into my mind so readily—maybe I absorbed it during a recent garden centre visit. DNK the diving PIKE or the OCTAVE festival and I didn’t spot the full parsing for the APE, either.

  6. 37 minutes with LOI SOMBRERO. I wasn’t sure about PIKE but I thought I’d heard of it. In general, I found the bottom much easier than the top. COD to BEDSIT, although the reminder of those seedy post-university years starting out on a career living in such accommodation is bitter sweet. Tough in places. Thank you U and setter.

  7. 39 mins so trickier than I was expecting after a quick start. Held up in the NW until, like vinyl, I saw SHINGLE, then DOMINEERING and BEDSIT went in. LOI PIKE. Didn’t know the diving position and I don’t like the fish, too bony. Here in France it’s generally made into a kind of moussey type thing, quenelle de brochet.

    Did not like the clue for TOE. Did like CODSWALLOP!

    Thanks u and setter..

    1. I agree with you regarding the Toe clue – as I am solving, I mark clues I like with a tick, clues I dislike with a cross, clues I am unsure of with a question mark – this one got a cross.

  8. 16’12”, with at least half the time spent on the NW. I used to grow mint for fun, had 22 different sorts, but never took to PENNYROYAL with its tiny leaves. I have since learned that it is toxic.

    A double-octave is presumably fifteen days, in French une quinzaine

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

    1. Yes, I’ve often wondered how we French managed to squeeze 15 days out of a fortnight.
      Maybe « le pont » was always included!

  9. 15:55. I was familiar with PENNYROYAL from the Nirvana song Pennyroyal Tea, which I presume implies its typical usage. PROKOFIEV has tripped me up before with a biffed V in place of the F, so I was pleased to use the parsing and come through unscathed today.

  10. 58 minutes. I found this very hard, clearly well off the wavelength. And I needed the blog to understand some, including OCTAVE and DOMINEER. I even refused to consider the required meaning of “cobblers” – inappropriate in The Times, I thought – although I now see a note in Collins saying it is so mild that hardly anyone these days is likely to be offended by it. Fair enough. The crossword was more like work than fun, but I think I enjoyed it

  11. A nice puzzle. Felt like APPLY as a cheeky adjective could have benefitted from a question mark but still very gettable. Interestingly, ORANGY is look-upable but I can find no reference to anything apple-ish.

  12. I was perhaps fortunate that the only gap in my knowledge was the definition for OCTAVE. Certainly not your typical Monday puzzle, but none the worse for that.

    TIME 10:47

  13. About 32′. Slow start then answers came quickly; eg PENNYROYAL with a few crossers and Nirvana, MARSHMALLOW biffed, and not parsed PROKOFIEV once I had the “P”.

    Raised as RC but never heard of OCTAVE as a festival (I never did pay enough attention according to my mother..). Then came to a stutter in the NW corner where BEDSIT, TOE and DOMINEER came slowly, the latter because I tried to place W(ealth) in any random actor’s name. Slightly tougher for a Monday but enjoyable. Thanks Ulaca for the entertaining blog and setter.

  14. 9:44. NHO PENNYROYAL or OCTAVE, needed the wordplay to be sure how to spell PROKOFIEV.
    I experienced a bit of 20ac yesterday: my dog has been on heat recently but I thought it had passed so I took her to Wimbledon Common, where I discovered that I was mistaken.
    The spelling of Odesa prompted a discussion here a few months ago. That and Kyiv (vs the Russian spellings Odessa and Kiev) have been more or less universally adopted by Western media as a response to the war. So their use is a small act of political solidarity rather than merely (as in the case of say Munich) linguistic convention.

  15. DNF, defeated by PENNYROYAL, which I’d never heard of and couldn’t have guessed.

    Had forgotten who RAY the artist was, didn’t bother to parse PROKOFIEV, and had the same MER over ODES, forgetting that Odessa can (should be?) spelled with just one S. Also wasted a fair amount of time trying to fit a W (‘source of wealth’) into 9a before I got DOMINEER.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Codswallop

  16. 13:45
    Bit tricky for a Monday, but not excessively so. For some reason I initially had PENNYWORTH (Batman’s butler Alfred’s surname) for PENNYROYAL, but ALBERT CAMUS came to the rescue.
    Nirvana, Bangles, Stones, as well as PROKOFIEV and FANTASIA, but no Beatles (unless you count BANGLADESH).

  17. An interesting puzzle that went in fits and starts for me, grinding to a halt in the NW where SHINGLE, BEDSIT and DOMINEER held out for ages. As many others, NHO PENNYROYAL or that meaning of OCTAVE, so my world got a little larger, which is always half the fun. 46 minutes in all. Thanks, setter.

    Ulaca, many thanks for the blog and your musings on 2d reminded me of one of my favourite cartoons – two policemen strolling along with one saying to the other ‘Have you noticed how old the public are looking?’

  18. I rather breezed through this, though rather than going top to bottom, I was diverted to the bottom to get EVOCATIVE. DOMINEER was still my last, not being the first word coming to mind for “arrogant”.
    On PROKOFIEV, apart from Romeo and Juliet, there’s Cinderella (which I saw in the the Mariinsky in St Petersburg – nothing could be better!) the 1st (Classical) Symphony is approachable and rather pleasant, and off course there’s Peter, but for me the real eye-opener was the 2nd Violin Concerto, where he does something similar to Shostakovich in his Piano Concerto 2 in the 2nd movement. Wait until you get to the end of the movement – it’s special.

    1. Emphatic yes to his First Symphony- very cheerful listening. I always enjoyed Lieutenant Kije too.

  19. 26:22
    Quirky indeed. Only managed PITY at first pass of the Across clues, but gathered pace on the Downs. BEDSIT and TOE took an age. Didn’t fully understand OCTAVE till I saw the blog.

    Good to see M. CAMUS. I think L’Etranger and La Peste are both excellent.

    Thaks to Ulaca and the setter

  20. I enjoyed this puzzle and there were several nice clues which made me smile. After a bad week last week with multiple DNFs I was very happy to finish in 17 minutes, but then rather surprised and disappointed to see a pink square in ISO (I, + SO probably means ‘the same’, and there can’t be any other language words that fit I-O…). I now see from jackkt’s comment above that there are at least 2 others.

    If anything I’d been expecting to see a pink square in RAY which I didn’t understand, I had discounted Man Ray because I’d always thought he was a photographer rather than a painter.

  21. Like some others I was a bit slow at the start and thought that this was going to be harder than it turned out to be, because eventually things started flowing, if they ever flow in my case, and I finished in 22 minutes. NHO OCTAVE in this sense. PENNYROYAL a bit of a mystery but it seemed the obvious answer. A few were entered and then parsed: the advantage of doing it on a tablet rather than on paper is that you can avoid all the crossings-out. Never knew we should call it Odesa nowadays, just thought that mostly = 2/3 in this case.

    1. Yes, it wouldn’t be the first time that ‘mostly’ has been used to indicate 50+% of a word to be abbreviated, and that’s how I read it today. If there’s another explanation, then all well and good, but there’s nothing to scare the horses either way.

  22. Yeah me too (about Man Ray). Happy to get home in 35.29, thanks to U for untangling several including BARBARY APE, IDO and PENNYROYAL. I too struggled with the position of the consonants in PROKOFIEV. Good puzzle I thought, tough but fair, thanks all.

  23. 22:26 – Didn’t know the diving pike, but it was the only fish I could think of that fitted the crossers. Bit tough, as others have said.

  24. This took me over 30 minutes, with a few stubborn clues holding me up in the end.
    FANTASIA was the last in, but I also found myself struggling to parse SPREE as I read “welcoming pair to spend” to mean the opening letters of spend.
    I was then stuck trying to justify REE. Ockham’s Razor thus not applied and much time wasted.
    A nice start to the week though, even if I was off wavelength for most of it, so thanks to both setter and blogger.

  25. Once I got going it was all reasonably straightforward – except the parsing of spree as I couldn’t get away from sp being the welcoming pair to spend. But the answer was clear enough. I agree Camus is far better than Sartre as a novelist. It’s interesting a toe should curl in disgust and not from ecstasy. A long way away from the heart, maybe?

  26. DNF, having battled to get mostly done I just lost interest. Can’t imagine how long BEDSIT, SOMBRERO and DOMINEER would have taken.
    Ploughed through the 31 day months and found OCT and added AVE Caesar! easily enough but refused to believe it was a festival until I noticed EVOCATIVE. Found CODSWALLOP and MARSHMALLOW easily enough but struggled to parse.
    Nice to see Man Ray. Read a biog of Peggy Guggenheim who was a fan.
    I thought it was news to me about Odesa, but as usual I just forgot. I was quite happy to lose 2 letters anyway.

  27. Interesting bit of misdirection in the clue for ALBERT CAMUS as Marcel Camus(no relation) was a French film director whose 1959 “Black Orpheus” was widely hailed-Cannes, Oscars, Golden Globes, etc.

  28. Chewy and quirky indeed – 20.17 for me, which I’m happy enough with in the circumstances! COD and DO were tricky abbreviations for a Monday, and some of the definitions were on the more unusual side (e.g. ‘sunshade’ for SOMBRERO). I’d never heard of the ape, the language, nor the festival.

    Can’t say I’m a fan of ‘the county’ or ‘the country’, both of which pop up here, and the ‘cinema’ in FANTASIA was a bit paddy. But more observations than complaints.

    I liked ALBERT CAMUS, for the Proustian misdirection.

    Thanks both.

  29. 13:05, so definitely on the cheeky side for a Monday. NW corner was my main struggle, partly because I couldn’t work out whether I should be curling a TOE or a LIP at first. Looking up IDO, I see it arose from a Popular Front of Judaea-type schism in the Esperanto world. Presumably they call each other rude names, which they can all understand perfectly.

  30. It’s nice to once again have the time to attempt the crossword in the morning. I’ve been so busy lately (who said retirement is relaxing?) that I’ve either not attempted it, or had a late evening stab when I’m half asleep. I have managed to keep up with the QC however which is of course less time consuming.
    Anyway, I didn’t feel too rusty on this one managing to complete under target at 41.35. I had to trust that I had the correct cryptic interpretation on PENNYROYAL and OCTAVE, as I wasn’t sure of the meaning in each case. It was an enjoyable solve for me.

    1. Great to hear someone else has the same experience of retirement as me, Andy! I’ve never been busier in my life, and now that I don’t get to do the crossword first thing in the morning it’s not always finished (being attempted, that is). But today’s was chewier than I expected, with only PITY in on first pass. Had to cheat for SOMBRERO, which helped me get the punny REAPPLY, and traveled around the grid thereafter, looking for ‘low-hanging fruit’ – of which there were none. Luckily knew PENNYROYAL , IDO and BARBARY APE, which helped me with the composer and the author. Put in GAINSAID with a shrug, hadn’t heard the latest on ODESA, and failed to see IT for “the very thing”. So many things I learn every day, which is a good thing.

  31. Like z8 I started with 29a in order to complete the IVE at the end of 1d. Knew the required meaning from Sunday within the Octave of whichever feast it was being regularly announced at church. Nothing much else emerged from the NW so I worked out from the SE with BARBARY APE and ALBERT CAMUS providing a welcome set of crossers. BANGLADESH eventually was the key to the NW where SPREE and DOMINEER were the last 2 in. 26:22. Thanks setter and U.

  32. 19’20”. Roughly my average time, for a bang-down-the-middle SNITCH. SOMBRERO-SPREE-DOMINEER-SHINGLE was what held me up at the end. Assumed it was PENNYROYAL but didn’t know why. Many thanks.

  33. 9:07

    I found this very Mondayish, as my WITCH of 67* will testify, but I’m not sure what made it gentle. Getting bedsit straight off probably helped and I did a fair amount of biffing. I must have missed the quirks Ulaca has alluded to.

    * a far cry from Friday’s 174!

  34. 19:33, fully half of which was spent in the NW corner. Couldn’t believe there was a country that would fit the BANGLADESH gap, didn’t see SHINGLE or DOMINEER (LOI) immediately. In retrospect not nearly as hard as I somehow made it. At least I avoided any typos today!

  35. 50:27, also held up by the NW corner. Took ages to see PIKE, much of which was spent trying to see if LINE would work (line=position, but nothing else works). Kent was the only short-named county I could think of for a long time. L2I were DOMINEER and SPREE.

  36. 6m 17s BUT with a typo for DOGMA (DAGMA) so a technical DNF. I wasn’t aware of RAY so I wasn’t sure about him, and NHO of PENNYROYAL but eventually twigged.

  37. 29:34

    Speeding along nicely until grinding halt in NW + 10a around 18 mins. BEDSIT eventually broke the deadlock and the rest went in with not too much fuss. Still didn’t see the parsing for REASON when I shrugged, but couldn’t see anything else.

  38. I enjoyed this. It took me a while finishing with DOMINEER which I had to grind out.
    DNK PENNYROYAL, like many it seems, but it arose fairly easily from the clue.
    My PIKE started as a TUCK but COD SHINGLE changed my position.
    A lot of good clues in this, including WOOF.
    Thanks for the OCTAVE information.

  39. 36 minutes, much of it spent failing to get BEDSIT and feeling hard done by. But it’s a perfectly fair clue.

    Must admit I prefer the old spellings of Odesa, Kyiv and indeed everything else, but I can see why the Ukrainians don’t.

  40. Hard work. Only three quarters done in 45 minutes, and was then stuck like others in the NW corner. The ‘g’ in BANGLADESH was a mixed blessing as I could not direct my mind away from LOG as a constituent of 3dn. Eventually the penny dropped and I had cleared up in another 16 minutes or so. Certainly tougher than the average Monday.
    COD – REAPPLY – l always like another entry in the Uxbridge English Dictionary.
    Thanks to ulaca and other contributors.

  41. 30’12”
    Good early pace, stayed on fairly well.

    I was aware of the plant, but was grateful for setter’s kind confirmation of octave.
    This brought back happy memories of many years in a Cambridge bedsit, overlooking Prospect Row, which housed The Free Press; the original landlady gave the pub the name of a temperance paper.
    Well satisfied with a double digit Witch; thank you setter, lots to like here, and Ulaca.

  42. I agree with ulaca that this was not so Mondayish – I was slowed down by Bedsit/Toe/Domineer in NW corner.
    Gainsaid is a lovely word – sounds very old-fashioned.

  43. 26:23, definitely found it tricky
    LOI TREASON, penultimate was BEDSIT
    Nothing to add really!
    Thanks to setter and blogger

  44. 12:54. A pleasant diversion done on the train on my way to a day out in Norwich. DNK that definition of OCATVE and was unsure of IDO, so was glad to see they were both correct. LOI SPREE. I remembered the apes from a day trip to Gibraltar a couple of years ago. Thanks U and setter.

  45. Got here so late because I’m OUT OF INK and I didn’t want to sit at my desk last night to work this (can’t see it all on the phone).
    But I liked this one plenty, worked in between copy-editing tasks. Unusual definition for OCTAVE. Finished with SHINGLE (expected an S at the end) and DOMINEERING (kept looking for a word with a W in it).

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