Times 28783 – “To statesmen would you give a wipe….”

Time: 22 minutes

Music: Brahms, Violin Concerto, Perlman/Giulini

This was not a terribly difficult puzzle, although some of the cryptics were obscure.    Since I had decided to solve the puzzle as fast as possible, I pushed ahead.    Obvious answers were entered without parsing, so I had quite a few biffs by the end of my solve – these are noted in italic type.

My plan was also to do the blog as fast as possible, but I was delayed by having type in all the answers, since the Times newspaper site is stuck on Sunday.     Oh, well…..


1 Dog in New Jersey, one attached to army HQ (7)
BASENJI – BASE + NJ + I, a bit of a chestnut.
5 Small tree father brought back, inspired by member’s support (7)
SAPLING – S(PA backwards)LING.
9 Month amphibious troops originally introduced Dutch soldiers (9)
THERMIDOR – THE R.M + I[ntroduced] + D + OR.
10 Soft rock prince found in the Kent area (5)
11 Odyssey of pair keeping 1987 car before one race (13)
13 Protractedly taken in about northern form of writing (8)
15 Restrained introduction to history in class (6)
CHASTE – C(H)ASTE, a bit of a chestnut.
17 Conclusion: pig, frog and bulldog all do it (6)
ENDING – END IN G, of course.
19 Walker’s extremely smart luxury car (8)
22 Acquisitive individual tucking into my food, a former crooner (5-8)
25 Retired fellow at home in cattle-raising country (5)
NIGER – REG + IN.   An African industry that has recently faced difficult conditions.
26 Deficit which can possibly lead to lengthy cold spell? (9)
SHORTFALL – SHORT FALL, followed presumably by a long winter.
27 Better thus to pen extremely leisurely song (7)
CALYPSO – CA(L[eisurel]Y)P + SO
28 Twelve new rings Andy distributed (7)
NOONDAY – N + OO + anagram of ANDY.
1 Black Aussie truck in Scottish island (4)
BUTE – B + UTE, an island well-know because of the 18th-century PM.
2 Become more inclined to visit writer penning tango (7)
3 Rugby fellow going over part of Belgium (5)
NAMUR –  RU MAN backwards – where Uncle Toby saw action.
4 Needy girl kept by funky bloke (8)
INDIGENT – IN (DI) GENT.    I’m not sure if funky usually means fashionable.
5 Foul reportedly observed by police officer and daughter (6)
SORDID – SOR, sounds like saw in some dialects + D.I. + D.
6 Nut cooking chips at Vigo regularly (9)
PISTACHIO – Anagram of CHIPS AT + [v]I[g]O.
7 Wine a woman briefly describes at last in slanting script (7)
ITALICS – IT + ALIC[e] + [describe]S.
8 Misguidedly get near her tropical tree (9)
GREENHEART – Anagram of GET NEAR HER.  The enumeration is wrong, which caused trouble for the script that generates blog skeletons.
12 Like some senior councillors raving under tree (10)
ALDERMANIC – ALDER + MANIC, the third semi-chestnut.
14 Polish gang set up attractive lure for victims (9)
HONEYTRAP –  HONEY + PART upside down…..er, that doesn’t really seem very convincing.   Discuss.  As discussed by Guy du Sable, the correct parsing is HONE + PARTY upside-down.
16 Intractable objections raised principally by old sailors (8)
STUBBORN – BUTS upside-down + B[y] O[ld] R.N.
18 Abandoned Legoland, heading off for the Lifford area (7)
DONEGAL -Anagram of EGOLAND.   I had no idea where Lifford is, but it does sound Irish.
20 Young chap carrying goods, a right dawdler! (7)
21 Art work little Albert’s left in the open air (6)
23 Knowledgeable about getting hold of Rachmaninoff’s first prelude (5)
INTRO – INT(R[acmaninoff])O
24 Carry on adopting Oscar’s ruse (4)

90 comments on “Times 28783 – “To statesmen would you give a wipe….””

  1. That you were in a hurry is obvious, Vinyl, unless there is some hidden significance to two answers’ being underlined.

    I started at the bottom again (just perverse, I guess) and found half of this very easy and only slowed down a little at the top. I also noticed that the enumeration was wrong for GREENHEART, and on top of that I was reading “Got” for “Get,” which left me an E short for a while. Similar problem with my LOI, where I was reading “starting” instead of “slanting” or I would have gotten ITALICS long before!

    HONE then PARTY<=“set up”

    Biffers miss half, at least, of the fun.

  2. 16:55
    My LOI was GREENHEART (DNK), where I wasted a lot of time trying to get ‘get near her’ into 9 squares; I finally counted the squares. It also took me a while to see SOR=saw. Didn’t know that NIGER was a cattle-raising country. I biffed PEREGRINATION from INATION, didn’t understand what 1987 was doing; still don’t.

    1. Took me a minute, too, to think of “saw” for SOR-!
      As for 1987, that’s, uh, the one I biffed. Googling indicates that “E-Reg” (whatever that means) cars started coming out in that year. Haven’t gotten to the bottom of it yet.

      According to this page, E as the first character on a UK license plate means the car was registered between August 1987 and July 1988. (I’m sure this is common knowledge! HA)

      1. E Reg in 1987 was the second time round. That was when the year was indicated at the front of the number. I’m old enough to remember the first time round, when the letter came at the end, so an E reg was a 1967 car. My mum’s Mini (back when they really were mini) was CCO 7B, a 1964 reg.

        1. Snap! I worked temporarily in the stores of a number-plate factory from January to September in 1963 having accepted an offer of a place at Uni of Liverpool during the 1962 Christmas vacation. There was a big run on the letter ‘A’s…

        2. My mum’s mini was DNP468B, also 1964. I crashed it on my way to give evidence at some court or other. Not my fault honest guv.

        3. First car I owned was a 1968 mini van SLL 818F. Strange that I can’t remember any of the number plates of all the cars I’ve owned since then, apart from the last that is.

  3. I sought your allusion, Vinyl—very entertaining, thank you!—and landed on a page where the word “italick” was missing from the line after this one, which thus seemed defective. I assume a font change didn’t come across. The precise sense of the line you cite still somewhat eluded me… but I’ve found it used to illustrate an archaic usage for “a blow; a stroke; a jeer; a gybe; a sarcasm.” (A gybe!)

  4. After writing in BUTE, PISTACHIO and ITALICS I was unable to solve anything more in the top half first time round so I adjourned to the lower half of the grid and worked my way up from there.

    I had all but 8dn completed in 34 minutes but then stared blankly at the clue for another 5 minutes before deciding to resort to aids as I knew I wouldn’t know the answer and the wordplay was of no help since what I thought might be anagrist was one letter too many for the enumeration. It never occurred to me to count the spaces in the grid! It was only when I went to put the checkers in Crossword Clue Solver that I realised the enumeration error. Confidence restored in the anagram I returned to the puzzle for another go and came up with GREENHEART as the only thing that fitted. I was right about not knowing the word though.

    Yet another unsignalled Americanism in a Times puzzle left me wondering about 26ac and questioning why a short fall of snow might lead to a lengthy cold spell.

    Is NIGER particularly noted as a ‘cattle-raising country’? The Wiki page mentions ‘cattle’ only once under ‘Pre-history’.

    1. I’m with you, jack, on Niger as vs Brazil, Argentina, Oz, or Texas as the obvious cattle ranches, but if you really want to get steamed, the only place I’ve ever been where saw = sor or sawr is middle east coast of the US. If it’s used anywhere in the UK I’ve not heard it.

      1. Thanks for support re NIGER, Paul, but sorry if I’ve missed your point on ‘saw/SOR’. They sound alike to me and probably the vast percentage of UK solvers.

        1. There is also a distinct NY area SAW-R pronunciation of saw which sounds, to my ear, even more like the first syllable of sordid (using either US or UK pronunciation of sordid) than that first syllable sounds like SAW.

  5. Pretty easy except for wasting time on GREENHEART since there seemed to be 10 letters in the anagrist and 9 in the enumeration. It was only when I put it in that I realized that the grid had 10 spaces and it fitted. I lived in the UK for long enough to at least understand E-REG although if you asked me I couldn’t have told you which years it was. When they ran out of the old 3 letters and 3 numbers they added the extra letter and made it switch in August since people refused to buy cars until January (so that they could say it was a 1972 vehicle). In the US they do something similar with model years which are introduced in the fall.

    1. To be fussy it was in 1967 that the switch was made between calendar years and years ending in September to give a boost to the motor trade in a slow period. So the swap to AAA999F was made on 1 Sep 1967 rather than wait for 1 Jan 1968.

    1. The crossword has now finally appeared after the Scotland section online. Editor, please check what went wrong.
      Cars registered in 1987 were either D REG or E REG (pre- or Post -Aug).

  6. Annoyingly not in the classic or live app but it is on the puzzle club….! Why dont they check the app for completeness before publishing?

  7. Just solved this after waiting 90′ for it to come online.

    Liked the puzzle, slightly chewy for a Monday. Spotted the wrong enumeration and put in GREENHEART as the only thing that made sense.

    I passed my driving test in 1972 in my Dad’s 1963 Mini – it had an A reg from the first iteration. It used to be fun to identify the year and original home of cars from the number plate.

    13’42” thanks vinyl and setter.

    1. I was at the other end of the first iteration: my first car was a 1983 Y-reg Talbot Samba (they skipped “I”, “O”, “Q”, “U” and “Z” in the year lettering system, so there was only a 20-year span. My Talbot must’ve been made in the latter bit of the 1982 registration year, which ran from August 1982 to July 1983…)

  8. To me an E-REG car is one registered in 1967 so I thought perhaps it was another numbering error.

    Sorry, once again I was too slow!

  9. 29 minutes with LOI GREENHEART. I ruled that anagram out earlier because of the wrong enumeration. Shame because otherwise I enjoyed this, with PEREGRINATION being my COD. I didn’t know about NIGER and cattle either. You live and learn, and then forget, Thank you V and setter.

  10. Dead on 30m today, helped a lot by the Patent Slip in Bristol recently having been refurbished using GREENHEART (denser than water and extremely strong, apparently ideal for a moving wooden slipway as well as ships like Shackleton’s Endurance), so I just threw it in without even noticing the enumeration.

    It was mostly the bottom half that slowed me down, with the last bit of ALDERMANIC somehow eluding me long after I’d got the ALDER bit. FRESCO also took me a while (I’m just like Michaelangelo!), even though I’d thought of al fresco almost immediately. D’oh.

  11. Can someone explain to me why for 7 down, ‘wine’ is synonymous with IT? I ended up just biffing it .

    thanks a lot,


    1. “It” is short for Italian, a reference to the ‘sweet’ (rosso) vermouth, which was traditionally Italian while French vermouth was dry.

  12. ‘Tell me of that lady
    The poet stubborn with his passion sang us
    When age might well have chilled his blood.’
    (Broken Dreams, Yeats)

    30 mins pre-brekker left me with tree-manic and I needed a minute or two to come up with the dreadful Aldermanic. Shame about that, and Greenheart, otherwise I liked it.
    Ta setter and V

  13. Slower than I expected at 45 mins. Held up in the NW with NAMUR, THERMIDOR (should have got straight away, d’oh, French calendar etc…) and finally, STEEPEN.

    Otherwise quite fun.

    Thanks v and setter.

  14. 16:25 EXCEPT I put moneygrabbing instead of moneygrubbing. NHO either basenji or greenheart so quite annoying to get them both correct and then fall down on a stupid mistake like that. Namur is on the road through Belgium if you drive from Lille to Aachen, so I had heard of it without knowing it was a region.

  15. 12:14. Held up for a while with GREENHEART as there appeared to be 1 letter too many in the potential anagrist. I never did spot the answer was actually 10 letters! Luckily I remembered THERMIDOR from another puzzle, but I’d never heard of NIGER being a cattle-raising country. Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  16. Oh dear, a pink square already this week. I guess I should have tried to parse MONEY-GRABBING (although I’ve never been aware of MONEY-GRUBBING as an alternative before).

    Still not entirely convinced by the definition for NIGER but I’m no expert in African livestock.

    As Guy has pointed out above, HONE + PARTY for 14d.

  17. Well, turns out I’m a money-grabber. Also, found some of these very hard to parse even though I squinted my best squint at the clues for quite some time. E-REG: obvious in hindsight but why on Earth didn’t I see it?

  18. Just under 20 minutes.

    Hesitated over ITALICS as I was unsure about it=wine (though I’m sure it’s come up many times before), so thanks RobR for the explanation above; had also forgotten THERMIDOR as a month, so I relied on the wordplay for that; likewise the unknown BASENJI was constructed from wordplay; couldn’t have told you what INDIGENT means; wrote ‘money-grabbing’ for 22a before looking at the wordplay and correcting to MONEY-GRUBBING; was unaware that NIGER is a cattle-raising country and that Lifford is in DONEGAL; and helpfully didn’t notice the incorrect enumeration for GREENHEART.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Bute
    LOI Thermidor
    COD Honeytrap (as parsed by Guy du Sable)

    1. You have written my post for me today – exactly the same comments – and the same FOI & LOI. Thanks!

  19. 33′. First pass yielded not much. Then the Eastern half started to offer some answers. 8dn was obviously an anagram which I biffed from crossers, albeit assuming “misguidedly” meant all the letters needn’t be used. I didn’t check to find that I did in fact use them all… My first new car was a 1988 F Reg, so not much working out required.

    Western half was harder for me, NHO BASENJI, biffed with all crossers, and LOI THERMIDOR, only seeing what type of “month” was being asked for once I saw the wordplay. Almost typed MONEY-GRaBBING, until I decided to parse it properly.

    Thanks Vinyl1 and setter

  20. 15.31 for another money grabber. I wasn’t really biffing – the clues were too involved for that, but failed to see why my food wasn’t my grab. All the more irritating because I rescued myself from perigrination by careful parsing and corrected another couple of typos with proofreading before submission.
    According to Wiki, “Fourteen percent of Niger’s GDP is generated by livestock production (camels, goats, sheep and cattle), said to support 29% of the population.” So now you know, and can fairly argue whether or not that makes it distinctively cattle raising country. No African nation appears in the top 20 cattle raising countries (India’s top).
    A puzzle with a rather off-beat nature.

    1. I failed to rescue myself from PERIGRINATION, so a 19.12 DNF. Having left the UK in 1978 the E-REG component did not help.

    2. If you have to find a short description for Niger, cattle raising is as good as any, as apart from uranium ore it’s not got much else except subsistence agriculture and desert. Only distinction (says Wikipedia) is it’s the largest landlocked country in Africa, which surprised me, I’d have said Ethiopia and got the quiz question wrong.
      Now I look again, Chad is a tad larger, if they measured it right, the borders are somewhat vague in the Sahara.

  21. I’m going to blame the misnumbering of 8 down for not getting in under the half-hour, as I was puzzling over which letter in ‘get near her’ had to be sacrificed to make a 9-letter word. A mistake? In The Times? I nearly choked on my marmalade. Thanks setter and blogger.

      1. Sadly, no. The crossword and certain columnists keep me coming back long after its views and mine should have forced a separation. But I usually find the crossword has been checked more thoroughly than the rest of it…

  22. Aldermanic? Really? If vinyl is right and it is a chestnut, says here it’s a chestnut full of worms. Otherwise the same hiccup as others trying to see something other than an anagram for the unkown to me 8d due to the numbering mix-up.

  23. 14.05, having missed the enumeration error altogether and just gone off the fodder for GREENHEART. Loved E REG – couldn’t possibly have told you what year it was, but it was a nice PDM while parsing. MONEY-GRABBING more familiar to me, but thankfully I was awake enough. The chestnuts were all new to me!

    Thanks Vinyl1 and setter.

  24. Despite spotting the “grub” reference to food, I still somehow managed to type in the, to me, more familiar MONEY-GRABBING. I was also thrown for a while by the “Short fall” and the wrong enumeration for 8, so not my finest half-hour.

    Thanks to the setter and vinyl ( though the “statesman …wipe” refrence has beaten me)

  25. Hmmm, mostly fine, but a fatal MONEY GRABBING from MY, ONE and BING, for some reason I elected to ignore the food part of the clue.

    THERMIDOR was last after INDIGENT, both of which took a while.

    DNF after 15:32

  26. Not particularly quick, but no problems. Didn’t notice the (9) enumeration for 8dn, looked at the grid and searched for a 10-letter word. L2I INDIGENT, whose meaning I didn’t know, and Thermidor known from previous puzzles but forgotten. My first thought was Thermoplae. Sordid works for me, because it’s pronounced without an R. And I think everywhere in the world pronounces saw without an R, including Texas etc. in USA.

    1. Not north of the border, we never drop an R! Therefore I always struggle with homophones…

      1. Of course! Worked a few times in Aberrrrrrdeen, so I should have remembered that. Fit like, loon?
        Note: north of the border actually means Queensland, where they don’t pronounce their Rs. But they do talk funny, eh?

        1. Not if they’re migrants from the southern states. Lots of NSWelsh and Victoriani in Qld these days. I’m one of the former, still mistaken for a Pom after 40-odd years in the Deep North. (Castle with a long a etc, viewed as a bit up yourself.)
          The eh is an endearing tic, lots of my co- workers used it as a narrative confirmation.

    2. Definitely not Texas, but very definitely outer boroughs in NYC for ‘sawr’ or ‘sor’.

  27. Unfortunately The Times does make mistakes fairly regularly nowadays. Only this morning (or was it yesterday) I saw ‘guard’ spelled ‘gaurd’. But they should get the crossword right, at least. The enumeration error at 8dn did delay me because it was so obviously an anagram. I’d never heard of Lifford (like probably many others), so to clue DONEGAL by an anagram seemed poor. Cattle-rearing isn’t the first thing one thinks of in connection with NIGER, which I had worked out but rejected. I never understood 26ac because the US meaning of ‘fall’ wasn’t indicated, and I wondered how a short fall of rain or snow would lead to a lengthy cold spell. 36 minutes.

  28. 18:23

    Not too many issues with this. Didn’t notice the incorrect enumeration for 8d – perhaps it had been fixed by the time I visited – assumed GREEN was the first half and built HEART from the second part, still never heard of it though!

    Lots cobbled together:
    Vaguely remembered THERMIDOR as a month then reverse-engineered the clue;
    PEREGRINATION – penny drop with the E-REG – I’ve driven many cars but never one with that registration;
    Glad I read 22a carefully;
    Didn’t know about cattle in NIGER specifically;
    Didn’t get the IT in Italics (thanks RobR for your interpretation – looks good to me!)
    Baffled by the wordplay in HONEYTRAP – still am!

    Thanks all

    Edit: Just read Guy’s parsing of HONEYTRAP – understood now 🙂

  29. 6:18 but with ELDERMAN constructed from wordplay. I’m going to claim that I was influenced by the Old English ‘Aeldorman’, because it makes me seem marginally less stupid and you can’t prove I wasn’t. Hwæt a plonker.

  30. As a new online solver, I find that I have access to the crossword club via my subscription for the times. I access this site by googling times for the times and the puzzle number. Today there was a hit, apparently from the Times uk site saying that they have tried to contact me several times as my payment has not gone through. Is this a scam?

  31. 32:51. Mostly straightforward but with some sticky bits. LOI BASENJI. I’m sure i’ve never encountered one. A chestnut that has passed me by.

    “Al fresco” always triggers in me the response: No! it doesn’t mean that. But of course it does, and we all know it does. It’s just that it doesn’t mean that in Italy. Over there it means “in the cool” or even “in the cooler (in prison)”. So if you go to Italy and you want to eat outside, be careful what you ask for

  32. 20:30 – NIGER seemed a stretch as a commonly known cattle-raising country; luckily THERMIDOR has lent its name to the lobster dish and the repetition of pen/penning in STEEPEN and clue seemed a little less than ideal. Otherwise, no quibbles for a harder than average Monday.

  33. 20 mins. Quite pleased, this tougher Monday crossword flowed quite nicely. Held up in the NW, where I took me a while to twig that the dog was the literal and I discovered that what I thought INDIGENT meant was wrong.

  34. Thought I had finished with all correct in 29.32, which is quick for me on the 15×15, only to discover a mistakenly spelt THERMIDOR with an A not a I. It was my LOI, and in my haste to stop the clock didn’t parse it. I noticed the incorrect number of letters denoted in 8 down (9) instead of (10), and this initially made me look for something other than an anagram. I was also confused by the reference to the car registration, as ‘e’ reg cars were introduced in 1967. My fathers car was LAX182E, and I passed my driving test in it in 1967.

  35. 34:11 with a typo in ALDERMAN so technically a DNF.

    A few unknowns (PEREGRINATION, NAMUR and GREENHEART) but nothing too difficult and all fairly clued. My time is slower than usual but this felt like more of a typical Monday puzzle than of late. As I biffed 8D I didn’t notice the error so I can’t use that as an excuse.

    As an aside, I should have solved the 1987 clue earlier as the number plate game was a feature of long car journeys in my youth and 7-year-old me would have been very excited spotting my first E reg car.

    Thanks to both vinyl and the setter.

  36. French Revolution months: Vendemiaire, Brumaire, Frimaire, Nivose, Pluviose, Ventose, Germinal, Floral, Prairial, Messidor, Thermidor, Fructidor.
    Thomas Carlyle translated these: Vintagearious, Fogarious, Frostarious, Snowous, Rainous, Windous, Buddal, Floweral, Meadowal, Reapidor, Heatidor, Fruitidor. (Sorry, Guy, still haven’t figured out how to add correct accents yet).

    1. According to Abelard.org , the English renamed them “Slippy, Nippy, Drippy, Freezy, Wheezy, Sneezy,Showery, Flowery, Bowery, Heary, Wheaty and Sweety”.

  37. A bit of a mess this morning, with mis-bifs all over the place, leading to much erasing and rethinking. My first attempt at 11A was PERAMBULATION – being unable to parse it, I took out everything after PER, which I assumed was E (reg) in pair. I also had NODUR for 3D at first, thinking it was unfamiliar! In point of fact, nothing in the puzzle was especially difficult or unknown apart from the ghastly ALDERMANIC, but I somehow misconstrued most of the clues at first. 8D naturally my LOI, as I the anagram fodder didn’t add up and I couldn’t work out what else could be required.

  38. After 55 mins I didn’t have the dog or the needy. Without those crossers I was reluctant to put in NAMUR even though it was clearly clued. Thanks for those last few V

  39. 12.56 so no real problems but as with a good few others, I found Niger an odd solution to 25 ac even if the clue did work. Greenheart NHO but once I counted the spaces it had to be correct.
    Nice start to the week.

  40. 25 minutes – bottom half went in easily as did NE but NW I found tricky. Let down by a lazy biffed money grabbing that I did not parse while solving. Thanks v and setter

  41. A few unknowns, but following the instructions got me through. I didn’t notice a problem with GREENHEART, but I didn’t tackle the puzzle until 14:15ish , so it had probably been corrected. I was surprised to be at 65 on the leaderboard this late in the day, so I presume that is down to MONEY GRABBING, which seems to have caught many out. Fortunately for me, MONEY GRUBBING was a familiar phrase. BUTE was FOI and ALDERMANIC LOI. 16:32. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  42. Fun Xword. Remembered greenheart from O-Level geog – it is (was I hope!) used in lock gates as it doesn’t rot. Looked at the clue, counted the letters, saw the enumeration and spent a minute foxed before counting the squares in the light.
    I remember Doctor Brown having a basenji (1a). Mum was secretary at his practice and the practice garden was adjascent to ours. It didn’t bark (the dog that is, because it can’t).
    Wouldn’t parse 7d ITALICS, couldn’t parse 14d HONEYTRAP, didn’t parse 21d (al) FRESCO. Clever all.

  43. 36:50
    THERMIDOR, BASENJI and BUTE were my last three in.
    NHO GREENHEART, but it sounded like the name of a tree, and fitted the anagram.

  44. Held up badly in the NW with NHO BASENJI and THERMIDOR (which I misspelt) so a failure. Also put ELDERMANIC. And the rest had gone in quite quickly, for me.

  45. The first car I remember was GNI 191. A mini-traveller. But this was Ireland in the 70s so no final letters.
    16’10” all up. Many thanks.

  46. 20.47 after waiting a day to do it because I got sick of waiting for the website to mend itself. It would have been nice if they had posted some kind of acknowledgment that there was a problem and they were trying to fix it. My first car in London was a C-reg ex-Sainsbury’s Morris van with no third gear. I bought it from a bloke who was running a car business out of his mum’s council flat in Elephant and Castle, for 30 quid. It went all over southern England and I finally sold it to a mate who pranged it the next day and wanted his money back. Meanwhile I had graduated to an E-reg Mark II Cortina. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, for obvious reasons.

Comments are closed.