Times 28763 – dost thou not know?


After 1ac went straight in, I should have noticed that the setter was toying with me. I spent a frustrating 53 minutes guessing, half-parsing and hoping, before throwing in the towel at 3dn. Maybe I should have had one last guess, but I felt thoroughly beaten.

I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the challenge either, but hope you got more out of it…

Definitions underlined.

1 New science lab is difficult to get to (12)
8 Decide to work out again (7)
RESOLVE – double definition, one with a silent hyphen.
9 Person with no faith in country where Democrat gains advancement (7)
INFIDEL – IN FIELD (in country), with D (democrat) coming earlier in proceedings.
11 Continuous exercise almost causes stroke (7)
SOLIDUS – SOLID (continuous) + almost all of USe (exercise).
12 Wooden support used to raise contents of beds (7)
STILTED – STILT (support used to raise) + innermost letters of bEDs. My first mistake was putting in ‘sleeper’, and sort of realising the plural-ness didn’t work.
13 You are wearing top that’s brightly coloured (5)
LURID – UR (you are, in text speak) contained by LID (top). Less of this please.
14 Bold daughter wanting sisters of parents? (9)
DAUNTLESS – D (daughter) + AUNTLESS (wanting sisters of parents).
16 How long it will take obligation to overwhelm spirit (9)
TIMESCALE – TIE (obligation) containing MESCAL (spirit). This was a biff-and-back-into-it effort for me.
19 Advocate spending week in bed (5)
LAYER – LAwYER (advocate) minus the ‘w’ (week).
21 Most of team learning endless filth (7)
SQUALOR – most of SQUAd (team), then LORe (learning) endless.
23 Half of people in cast like glamour models? (7)
TOPLESS – that half of peoPLE, which went in with a couple of checking letters, followed by a long wait for the required mental image. Contained by TOSS (cast).
24 Sweeten start of contract providing opening fittingly (7)
DULCIFY – first of Contract + IF (providing), all contained by DULY (fittingly). Not a word I’m familiar with, but guessed DULCe-something, and backed into it again.
25 Spotted duke in Berlin dancing (7)
BRINDLE – D (duke) in an anagram of BERLIN. Easy clue, but a word on the very edge of my concsiousness. It’s like a spotty/stripey animal coat colour.
26 Difficult test checked by German and not disputed (12)
UNCHALLENGED – CHALLENGE (difficult test, you’re telling me) contained by UND (German for ‘and’).
1 Narrow strip of land lacking enclosure for animal runs (7)
INSULAR – penINSULAR (strip of land) minus ‘pen’ (animal enclosure). ‘Isthmus’ tried and failed, first.
2 Referred deal, subject to review involving Law Lord (7)
ALLUDED – anagram of (subject to review) DEAL, containing LUD (of the m’ variety, law lord).
3 What flows when measuring unusually dry places? (9)
CLEPSYDRA – obviously an anagram of DRY PLACES, with which I had little chance, despite all the checkers being in place. Like an egg timer with water instead of sand.
4 Decreases 40 per cent of lines in text (5)
SLIMS – LInes (two fifths of) contained by SMS (text).
5 Angers policeman involved in international deal (7)
INFLICT – FLIC (Angers policemen, i.e. ‘cop’ in French), contained by INT (international). OK, I admit to liking this one, but refer to my previous comments about having to know more and more French! The penny finally dropped for me, only because we used to drive to France in a car with the registration number FL10 UEE, and everyone laughed at us in petrol stations, until I eventually asked what was so funny. Were it not for a chance encounter with some mildly amused random strangers, I would never have known the slang word for policeman in French!
6 Lively girl cut short character embracing Bill (7)
LADETTE – LETTEr (character) without its last, containing AD (bill).
7 Converted period styles in a novel way (12)
PROSELYTISED – anagram of (in a novel way) PERIOD STYLES. Needed a lot of checkers for this one, too.
10 Mistress places importance on flowers (5-7)
LADYS-TRESSES – LADY (mistress?) + STRESSES (places importance on). Got the second bit, guessed the rest.
15 Terminal losing one-third of trains is not right for board? (9)
UNEATABLE – UNtrEATABLE (terminal) minus the first two letters of ‘trains’.
17 Sentimental alumni upset about closure of Harvard (7)
MAUDLIN – anagram of ALUMNI containing the last letter of harvarD.
18 Inconsiderate bank is putting husband down (7)
SELFISH – SHELF (bank) + IS, but with H (husband) further down.
19 Drinking game finishing midway after friend’s return (7)
LAPPING – PING-pong after PAL (friend) reversed.
20 Bore gave way under pressure (7)
YIELDED – double definition.
22 Republican replacing head of firm in support of monarch (5)
ROYAL – R (republican, for balance, naturally) replacing the ‘l’ in lOYAL (firm). I spent too long fruitlessly trying to justify ‘support’ = ‘foyal’/’fegal’/’felic’. You?

77 comments on “Times 28763 – dost thou not know?”

  1. 39:40
    A similar experience to William’s, although I did finish. Like William, FOI INACCESSIBLE, and tried ISTHMUS; and stuck with it for a while. Biffed UNEATABLE, never figured it out. Ditto SELFISH. DNK SMS at 4d, thought MS was manuscript but could make nothing of the initial S. (The setter has ‘40% of lines’ for LI, ‘Half of people’ (23ac) for PLE, and ‘one-third of trains’ (15d) for TR.) 5d was annoying, as I got ‘Angers policeman’ right off but could not recall FLIC. I suspect there will be complaints about FLIC, and justifiable ones. I had a vague recollection of CLEPSYDRA, enough to guide me in filling in the leftover letters. A tough puzzle, that I enjoyed at least more than William seems to have.

  2. I worked 1A and several other Across clues right off the bat, so at first this felt like it was going to be a breeze (one of those answers was a three-quarters-confident biff, which quickly proved to be wrong). I think this setter really has the knack for making what is at bottom quite simple wordplay appear abstruse on the surface. The only word I didn’t know was DULCIFY, but this certainly took me longer than I expected, and I finished with the one I had erroneously entered early as a CD for TRELLIS… STILTED!

    Got my three vaccinations late this afternoon (3!—because I’m old AF). Starting to feel it a bit. G’night…

  3. Just snuck under an hour, but with a NITCH-preserving ‘timeshare’. Tough but enjoyable – especially the French cop, known from watching French films. Like ‘Night for Day’…naturally.

      1. I only knew it because I am currently watching (with subtitles) the excellent French show Lupin on Netflics.

  4. I found this a real struggle and was pleased to finish in 43.05, though I did use the check function on CLEPSYDRA and SOLIDUS and was mildly amazed that my best-guess deductions were correct. I agree with Guy about simple wordplay appearing abstruse and enjoyed this puzzle much more than our esteemed blogger whose elucidations were most valuable. Many clues – LAYER, DAUNTLESS, STILTED (another trellis here), ALLUDED, LAPPING, among others – required the sort of sideways thinking that makes these things fun if you’re somewhere near the wavelength and hellish if you’re not.

  5. 48 minutes. Pretty hard graft, with “isthmus” sucking me in at the start and TIMESCALE holding out as my LOI. Happy to have the I and the Y in the right order for PROSELYTISED and that I was able to retrieve CLEPSYDRA from the outer reaches of somewhere. Exactly the same experience with ‘Angers policeman’ as Kevin for which I had a mental blank for FLIC. French slang, but I didn’t think it was too obscure, ie I’ve heard of it.

    For the unknown flower LADY’S TRESSES, I thought Lady of the house=Mistress of the house.

  6. 18:26 for a real Friday toughie. From memory I’ve only had run-ins with police in California, New York, London and three states of Australia, so had no idea about the French Bill.

    Like others I originally bunged in ISTHMUS without much thought, and needed all the crossers to have a decent guess at CLEPSYDRA. Happy to escape unscathed from this rather meaty challenge.

    Thanks William and setter.

  7. I’d finished most of this after 70 minutes but was tired out and wanting sleep by then so I gave up overnight with much of the NE (5,6,9,10 & 12) unresolved. This morning with no progress after another 5 minutes I used aids to give me INFLICT which I would never have got from definition or wordplay as I didn’t know FLIC as a French policeman despite understanding what was required having been caught out by ‘Angers’ on a previous occasion. After that the remain clues fell within a further 5 minutes.

    I happened to know CLEPSYDRA from an illustrated encyclopaedia I had as a child so I recognised the word from the anagram.

  8. The kind of crossword we get occasionally that makes me feel like giving up on crosswords altogether. I certainly gave up on this one, with one of the worst performances I can remember, finally losing patience at about 55 minutes with about ten answers left to put in. Looking at a few of the blanks I had left there was no way I was going to finish this one, so that was probably a good decision…

    1. Entirely agree. I found this a ludicrous chore and gave up half way. When you get a setter that you know you dislike it is most offputting and ruins the
      Pleasure of old age

  9. Really liked this one .. a good stretch, all round.
    Dulcify nho but near enough to dulcimer and la dolce vita to go in .. clepsydra needed all the crossers, but then rang a faint bell..
    I agree with Kevin’s parsing of (PEN)INSULA + R, and I think the definition of loyal in 22dn is “Firm in support,” the def. for royal being just “of monarch”

    1. I ninja-turtled DULCIFY as the runaway winner of the 1979 Cox Plate and favourite* for that year’s Melbourne Cup.

      *Don’t google it, it didn’t end well.

        1. The one thing I have always remembered about 1979 is that it’s when The Empire Strikes Back came out.
          The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980.

      1. Hyperno broke its hip? Everybody’s favourite lying thrashing in pain on the home straight – they didn’t even put up the screen, just pulled out the shotgun and – BOOM – right in front of 100,000 people.
        Edit: google says he was put down later… my memory was it happened right there in front of the grandstand. My mate still uses Dulcify as Aussie rhyming slang for tomato sauce – dead horse.

        1. I think they brought the screen out but then decided against euthanising him on the spot. Not sure what method they used later on, but hopefully not a shotgun!

  10. 25:17. Surprisingly the anagram for CLEPSYDRA leapt out at me, though at the time I had no idea what one was. Consequently I wondered if I’d made it up so left it until I had all the checkers to be sure. Like vinyl at 7D I was trying to convert “period styles” to get a word meaning “in a novel way”. That is a pleasingly ambiguous clue, one of many things I enjoyed in this hard but fair puzzle.

  11. 75 minutes with a cheat for LOI CLEPSYDRA. I’ve never heard of a FLIC but INFLICT was the only word that fitted. TIMESCALE was unparsed also. What was it Oscar Wilde said about fox hunting? The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable? Replace unspeakable with unsolvable. Too hard for me, but thank you setter for the misery and William for putting me out of it.

  12. 24:04 but 2 wrong. I was not 26A by this. There were so many unknowns that I decided SLATTED for 12A was just too clever for me and I knew there was a word INFRACT (but not what it meant) for 5D wondering if a French policeman could be a FRAC. I did successfully guess where to put the missing letters in the anagram for the unknown CLEPSYDRA, though. Thanks William for explaining those I failed to parse and setter for the mental workout.

  13. Gave up on this after 30 mins, and now I see CLEPSYDRA I’m very glad I didn’t waste any more time on it. Sorry, setter, but if you’re going to use the slang French word for a cop – and I have no problem with that in principle – you must give some indication that it’s not an anglosphere policeman. Jeez, there must be as many slang words for ‘cop’ as there are languages. Very silly clue.

  14. Quelle horreur! Gave up at 1hr 15. The SW done for me. The last one I actually entered though was INFLICTED (before I YIELDED) as I looked at it for some time thinking, nah, they surely can’t put « flic »in the Times? Although Angers for angers is very clever.

    I think I’ll just go up to the local bistro….

    Thanks William and setter. Beat me.

  15. 20:16 Lovely puzzle. Like everyone else seemingly I biffed “isthmus” as soon as INACCESSIBLE was in place, which caused all sorts of problems. Being a smug classicist no doubt helped enormously with CLEPSYDRA, SOLIDUS and DULCIFY, so there was nothing unknown here, just some very clever clueing such that biffing was next to impossible (around 10% vs 50% yesterday). Out of all the brilliant clues my COD was INFLICT. I had the final T early on, so knew Angers wasn’t the definition but the realisation took a while even so. I know some don’t like the obscure vocab but I’d appreciate more like this please, and I do look forward to Fridays for something a bit more of a “difficult test”.

  16. Obviously I also put in ISTHMUS, not least because it’s always a narrow strip of land and a peninsular isn’t. Expecting me to think of Loyal for firm was unkind, and to forgo SLEEPER for wooden support used to raise contents of beds was a wrench. OK, MESCALO is a spirit, but I was intent on resolving TIMEFRAME, which is spiritless. Even Chambers thinks DULCIFY is “rare”, I think it’s raw as in a deal. My temper is not improved by somehow having an unproselatysed typo.
    I quite liked TOPLESS, but my time was off the scale and irrelevant.

  17. Almost an hour of grim slog, ultimately fruitless thanks to a pink in SLIPS, where I assumed that SPS was some sort of Latin reference to a manuscript. The obscure anagram was unfair; it was pure luck I put the unches in the right places. Too many tenuous links for me (mistress/lady, yield/bear, field/country), on top of the repeated mathematical extractions pointed out by Kevin made this rather irritating for me. I did like the surface for RESOLVED.

  18. Glory be to God for dappled things –
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

    (With apologies to Myrtilus)

  19. Ugh – never got anything approaching momentum. Struggled through in 29 minutes and change, but still ended up with pink squares because I can’t spell PROSELYTISED/PROSYLETISED. Given Mrs Eddd is currently undergoing ministerial training I will be in trouble.

  20. I did something very strange on this: I was interrupted by something and meant to pause my solve, but some kind of misfiring autopilot made me submit (without leaderboard, thankfully) with less than half the puzzle solved. So I had to do the rest manually (on a pdf on my iPad, so no trees were harmed in the solving of this puzzle).
    It took me 16 minutes in total, and I thought this an absolutely superb puzzle, a real joy to solve. The ‘Angers policeman’ was a delightful PDM.
    For perhaps the first time in my life I noticed that this was going to be a pangram, so I was looking out for the inevitable Z.

    1. I agree, a superb puzzle, though I took a lot longer than you to solve it. I love these tough Friday challenges. ‘ Angers policeman’ was indeed a highlight. I usually notice a pangram in the making, although it is rarely of any assistance. This time I didn’t, but I don’t think it would have made me any quicker.

  21. 51:23
    I instantly regretted this as my first attempt to solve the 15×15 online. I struggled with the 2 tricky anagrams without my trusty pen and paper, and I didn’t really appreciate the time counter mocking me in the top corner!

    That said, I enjoyed this meatier puzzle, with quite a few unknowns and good wordplay throughout. My last in was INFLICT, which I entered with fingers crossed as I didn’t understand what the heck was going on.

    Thanks to the setter and William.

  22. I failed on two anagrams: PROSYLETISED for PROSELYTISED (a word I do know, but apparently can’t spell – now that I see them horizontally, it’s clear which is right, and no complaints there), and of course CLEPSYDRA which, after toying with various options including the right one, I plumped for CREPSYDLA. Obscure foreign word clued as an anagram? I hate to sound like a broken record, but…

  23. DNF — as the clock ticked past the hour I gave up and bunged in SOLIDLY and CLEPYSDRA with a defeated sigh. The rest went in correctly, even when I didn’t understand the clueing. (‘Angers’ as the 18th-largest city in France didn’t even begin to occur to me.) Glad to learn I wasn’t the only one who struggled. Enjoyable though.

  24. I suppose at 55 minutes I could have just given up, with about ten still to do, but I prefer to cheat, first of all with lists of synonyms and finally with fully-fledged electronics, so I finished in 20 more minutes. Didn’t like the fractions (40%, 1/3, 1/2) but otherwise no complaints — it struck me as a very good crossword and I learnt something new: I’d always thought that the flics was French for the cinema (I have the feeling that Angers as a French indicator is a bit of a chestnut).

  25. Another ISTHMUS slowed things down at the start, but I got going again, and went on and on until 50:55 had elapsed by which time I was frazzled! SELFISH finally arrived leaving 16a, 3d and 15d to do. UN(tr)EATABLE came first, then timespace, timescape and finally TIMESCALE floated into view. CLEPSYDRA appeared to be a weird but possible arrangement of the letters, but I did check it. Hard going indeed! Thanks setter and William.

  26. DNF, though in the end I was closer than I thought – STILTED was the only one I got wrong, bunging in a silly ‘shifted’ just as I reached the point of giving up.

    Somehow I got the anagram right for CLEPSYDRA, helped by an extremely uncertain SOLIDUS (I really need to remember what that word means), and my hit-and-hope that a flic might be a French police officer turned out to be right for INFLICT, having already spotted the ‘Angers’ trick. It also took me a long time to realise that ‘mistress’ wasn’t the definition for LADYS-TRESSES, where I caused additional problems for myself by putting ‘blinder’ for 25a. Only once I figured out 10d did I look at it again, though even then BRINDLE was a guess.

    Earlier on, I also stymied my progress by putting in ‘undaunted’ for 14a, thinking that in crossword-land someone whose parents have no sisters might be un-aunted, before the crossers (and the lack of a containment indicator) set me straight for DAUNTLESS. Also didn’t know – or had forgotten – mescal as a spirit for TIMESCALE, was tempted by ‘isthmus’ for 1d before figuring out INSULAR, and like one or two others was looking for a word starting with F in the wordplay for ROYAL.

    Kudos to all those who completed this one – thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Inaccessible

  27. 27:32
    Like William, I bashed in 1a immediately and assumed I was in for an easy ride, only for a long hard struggle to follow. I really enjoyed it and thought it nicely topped off a very good week. A few were only parsed once I had written them in. I knew Clepsydra having once read a very good thriller called The Water Clock.
    LOI and COD was INFLICT. I should have it got sooner as Angers was one of the two “finalists” in our choice of cities to live in France. Poitiers eventually winning out because of the better train connections.

    Thanks to William and the setter

  28. Another DNF, 2 days in a row: NHO Lady tresses and the should-have-gotten STILTED. FLIC for some reason known – an Alain Delon fillum from about 1970, perhaps, with subtitles 😉 Thought of ISTHMUS but it clearly didn’t parse so never put it in, knew dulcify as a horse and dolce as sweet, so … OK. Clepsydra an old crossword word but struggled to get the letters in the right place; similarly PROSELITYSE/PROESLYTISE.
    On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it: meh.

  29. I am commenting to restore the balance regarding times. I expect I am not the only one who finds the bewailing of taking getting on for an hour a bit amazing. I took nearly two (105 minutes), and that is with some aids and Mrs JdeBP helping on the difficult ones – SOLIDUS, DULCIFY, ROYAL and LADYS TRESSES. This last appears as LADIES TRESSES in the professor’s Illustrated Guide to Perennials.

    As with others nearly two hours is about double what I would class as a ‘good average’ time.

    It helped that my interest in ways of measuring things meant that the difficult thing about CLEPSYDRA was the surprise of seeing it in a puzzle!

    1. Thank you for your honesty about your time- I get a bit fed up with commentators here proudly stating that a crossword has taken 5 minutes or thereabouts which only serves to depress me.

      1. The recording of solving times on this site is a great way to get some objective assessment of a puzzle’s difficulty. And I think that was one of the main motivations for creating the blog in the first place (the clue is in the title).

        I don’t recall anybody bragging on here, and most are appreciative when one of the regulars (or newbies for that matter) reports a better-than-usual time.

  30. Decided very early on that cheating was the only way to get through this. We must have has LADYS TRESSES before because it is in my cheating machine, and was the first hit on the enumeration 5-7 plus L from INFIDEL.
    On several occasions I guessed a possible answer long before sussing it out. Didn’t work for ISTHMUS though.
    Several were really easy, 1a, DAUNTLESS and UNCHALLENGED were write-ins. Most were really hard.

  31. 26:36. A great Friday workout that included no fewer than three NHOs (LADY’S TRESSES, BRINDLE and CLEPSYDRA that were nonetheless gettable. So a learning experience, to boot. Loved the Angers deception. Surprised we don’t see that more often.

  32. 32 minutes on Dublin airport bus. I took roughly the same time yesterday for a Snitch that was 40 points lower! Go figure.

  33. I took 58:16, and was surprised that I nearly scraped into the top 100 on the leader board. CLEPSYDRA was a lucky guess – with all the checkers in place there were still several ways to place LPYR, but this seemed the most word-like.
    STILTED and LADETTE were my L2I. I initially had SLEEPER for 12a (wooden support for tracks, and the contents of a bed), but the plural beds and the need for a D in 10d eventually got me to delete that.

  34. DNF, defeated by 6, 7, and 12. I knew that getting one of them would’ve released the other two but none would come.
    I wasn’t happy with equating ‘strip of land’ with ‘peninsula’. What about the Iberian one? Pretty broad even at its narrowest Otherwise no beefs. Liked LAYER and YIELDED, both of which were a challenge until I had crossers. (The Y gave me LAYER, which had as yet not yielded.)

  35. 57:19

    One of those meh crosswords where there is too much that is too hard or too unknown for it to be truly enjoyable. Where shall I start?

    NHO CLEPSYDRA – only got this from all checkers and the wonky notion that something flowing might end in something like HYDRA – put the other letters in and then double-checked online that such an unlikely word was actually a thing.
    INFLICT – No idea about the French cop – did twig the Angers bit after a while but ‘gendarme’ wouldn’t fit. (My wife knew FLIC though, from watching plenty of films in French)
    NHO LADYS-TRESSES – bl**dy flowers!

    Had 7d ending in an S for a long time, failing to spot the anagram contained a D, resulting in DULCIFY being POI.

    Failed to parse – UNEATABLE, UNCHALLENGED (got the UND bit), ROYAL (well, I did when all of the checkers were there, but the clue wasn’t the greatest imho).

    However I will applaud TIMESCALE for shoehorning in the alcohol about which I learned plenty from Radio 4 on Sunday lunchtime…

  36. No time, but I did eventually finish after leaving things to marinate in the mental compost for a few hours. On the second pass, the holdouts ALLUDED, SOLIDUS and CLEPSYDRA fell in that order, finally giving enough crossers to assemble the components of the unknown clock in the right order with reasonable confidence. Was still slightly surprised to find it was correct.

  37. Failed to finish.

    This dinosaur is going to continue to attempt to live his life with as little interference as possible from the vagaries of battery life, Internet connections, constantly changing software written by cretins……
    Sixty dead post masters and mistresses, who were not compensated and four suicides; if only they had been allowed to keep an account book with a biro.
    His marks have slipped /Profits have slipped – the unchecked M of an unknown acronym spoilt my crossword yet again. I have no objection to technological terms or words, but I’ve better things to do with my life than familiarise myself with the bewildering number of acronyms associated with these wretched devices.
    Thank you William.

    1. I couldn’t tell you precisely what it stands for, but SMS is a very widely-recognised acronym that has been used for decades – no need for any especially technical knowledge there.

      Edit – Short Messaging Service, apparently.

      1. Clearly more work needs to be done on the AAP. Which is what I said to a bean-counting Australian, who had been appointed boss of the language school at which I was working.
        His first address to the the staff included unexplained acronyms in every sentence; forty wasted minutes of my life.
        He never forgave me and persecuted me for the rest of my time there, which amused me no end.

        1. “What on earth is the AAP? “, he said. “The Acronym Awareness Programme; I would have thought that was obvious; perhaps not. Q.E.D. ”
          This brought stifled laughter from the house. That was my unpardonable offence.

    2. Having cooled off, I have to say the timepiece was a great clue in a great puzzle.
      Well done setter.

  38. 29.10, with only one real unknown answer, and even then, once I had the crossers, it did seem the only sensible arrangement of letters (although I’ve thought that & been wrong before!). I had never heard of FLIC, but to deal a blow is to inflict a blow, so I was certain enough.

    A challenging but very rewarding end to the week, although I suppose that could be outcome bias (the opposite of sour grapes – sweet grapes?!). Thanks both.

  39. I was inspired to look out my LP copy of “Irma La Douce”, the musical, on the cover of which the French underworld slang is explained – the ‘flics’, the ‘poules’ and so on. But one of my sons must have nicked it! There are some great tunes and lyrics, if you like that sort of thing.

  40. This took me over 1 hour with more clues I didn’t like than clues I did like (Inflict being an example of the latter).
    I somehow got Clepsydra as being the only likely combination, similarly Brindle.

  41. Very difficult for me. Lots of cheating required to finish. Several NHO words in one puzzle.

    Was baffled by Solidus meaning stroke. Was not in my dictionary with that meaning but subsequent research revealed the sense of it being a forward slash punctuation mark.

    Thanks for the blog.

  42. The stopped clock on the puzzle says 44:44 and I am surprised that so many people found this all that difficult. There were indeed a number of anagrams which needed some judgment to sort out, but on the other hand in each case there was only one reasonable choice. Fortunately I did proofread before submission and saw that I had not yet sorted CLEPSYDRA out, but although I do not know this word, no other arrangement of the unchecked letters seemed to yield a likely word (of obviously Greek origin, considering the Y). For this …YDRA seemed the most likely way for it to end, and then with only the P and the L yet to be placed, CLEPS… was the only possible beginning. SOLIDUS was another unknown that could only be what it turned out to be.

  43. 36 minutes although submitted without leaderboard because I was anticipating a couple of pinks (wasn’t happy with INFLICT or YIELDED). Unlike some, I quite enjoyed today’s puzzle though.

    After reading the blog and having a quick google I still don’t quite see why ‘bore’ is a synonym for YIELDED.

  44. DNF. This took me to beyond the edge of boredom and reason. Had I enjoyed the challenge I would have carried on, but the unknown C-E-S-D-A and NHO plant at 10D did for me. Include a MER at BRINDLE for spotted (in my universe it would be brindled) and INSULAR and I’d had enough.

  45. A game of two halves. I started doing this during the longueurs (and there were many) in the England v Malta match. Then, having fallen asleep, took it to bed to finish in the morning. So no overall time, but I found it an enjoyable challenge. FLIC was not a problem for one who has watched all the episodes of ‘Les Engrenages’ (Spiral) on TV – and happy birthday to Caroline Proust. Some very smart clues and a good test of GK.
    Thanks to william and other contributors.

  46. DNF after an hour so gave up the ghost. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one to struggle. Some of the answers seem a bit Byzantine to me- layer for one . I thought solidus referred to a Roman coin, never heard of the stroke variety, dulcify just too obscure for me and clepsydra and proselytised I recognised as anagrams but couldn’t be bothered ploughing on.

    Didn’t get alluded either but I think that’s rather clever. COD Inflict which I thought even more clever.

  47. I did this on a transatlantic flight. I liked pretty much all the ones I got, and really liked some of them. Some, I have to admit, were a real stretch in the old “What Our Setters Think Are Proper Synonyms” department. On reading Wm’s enlightening blog, I realize that the drinks trolley came around just in time to help me avoid the ones I had no hope of solving.

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