Times 28787 – puff’d and reckless


Nothing too scary in here, with the long across answers holding out satisfyingly until the end. The stone monument was a half-guess for me; the tea and glasses I know only from this blog.

Definitions underlined.

1 Speaking out, you spill the beans on drugs (5)
USING – sounds like “you” + SING (spill the beans).
4 One keeps stocking up pubs, periodically interrupting consumer (9)
SUSPENDER – every other letter from pUbS inside SPENDER (consumer).
9 Fixed this person’s shoe worn by Bill in America (9)
IMMUTABLE – I’M (this person’s), then MULE (shoe) worn by TAB (bill in America).
10 Like Sprite? A German drinks litres loudly (5)
ELFIN – EIN (‘a’ in German) containing L (litres) and F (loudly).
11 Think e.g. ham sandwiches fine? This makes me despair (4-3,6)
FEEL-BAD FACTOR – FEEL (think) + BAD ACTOR (e.g. ham) containing F (fine).
14 Ways for Edith Piaf to show regrets (4)
RUES – ‘roads’ (ways) in French (for Edith Piaf).
15 Love to slip in appreciative remark for soldiers (5,5)
OTHER RANKS – O (love), then ERR (to slip) inside THANKS (appreciative remark).
18 Fail to see sign introduced by European delegates (10)
EMISSARIES – MISS (fail to see) + ARIES (sign), with E (European) at the start.
19 Queen once performed last in Glasto (4)
DIDO – DID (performed) + last of glastO.
21 After some green tea, pressure group attempted coup (9,4)
GUNPOWDER PLOT – GUNPOWDER (green tea) + P (pressure) + LOT (group).
24 Old lady carries you across the Channel in fact (5)
DATUM – DAM (mother, old lady) containing TU (‘you’ in French).
25 Hedonist not half like Mr Wooster around noon (9)
LIBERTINE – half of LIke + BERTIE (Mr.Wooster) containing N (noon).
27 Glasses upset — ten Grolsch bottles overturned (9)
LORGNETTE – reverse hidden in upsET TEN GROLsch.
28 Seek someone the church approves of for a date (5)
TRYST – TRY (seek) + ST (someone the church approves of).
1 Ignorant, as police may be about how investigation ends (10)
UNINFORMED – UNIFORMED (as police may be) containing last of investigatioN.
2 Upright character recalled writing practice (3)
ISM – I (upright letter, character) + MS (manuscript, writing) reversed.
3 “Great” millionaire happy to save high-street bank (6)
GATSBY – GAY (happy) containing TSB (high street bank).
4 Bottom pinched by admirer, one checking for dodgy characters? (9)
SUBEDITOR – BED (bottom) contained by SUITOR (admirer).
5 Why don’t we put up a stone monument? (5)
STELA – LETS (why don’t we) reversed + A. Slab-like ancient monument.
6 Participants in equestrian competitions never set off (8)
EVENTERS – anagram of NEVER SET.
7 Criminal relented, if receiving answer showing respect (11)
DEFERENTIAL – anagram of RELENTED IF containing A.
8 Possibly magical symbol that has left Potter unexcited? (4)
RUNE –  hidden in potteR UNExcited.
12 Making smooth arts broadcast, Sky’s brilliant feature (7,4)
EVENING STAR – EVENING (making smooth) + an anagram of ARTS.
13 Agree to keep frames of Monet and Rothko around in collection (10)
ASSORTMENT – ASSENT (agree), keeping the outermost letters of MoneT and RothkO reversed.
16 English chaps are dilettantes, only half-heartedly open to improvement (9)
EMENDABLE – E (English) + MEN (chaps) + DABbLE (are dilettantes, with only half of its middle letters).
17 On same ground, a header from Newcastle United (2,3,3)
AS ONE MAN – anagram of ON SAME + A + first of Newcastle.
20 Boring rhubarb — this can make fruit crumble (3,3)
DRY ROT – DRY (boring) + ROT (rhubarb).
22 Young flier heading skyward without impediment (5)
OWLET – W/O (without) reversed + LET (impediment).
23 Learner sinking in swimming pool one’s adored (4)
IDOL – LIDO (swimming pool), with L (learner) lower down in the word.
26 Yours truly drained cloudy bitter (3)
ICY – I (yours truly) + outermost letters from CloudY.

57 comments on “Times 28787 – puff’d and reckless”

  1. OK, that really was the hardest this week, a respectable Friday, right?
    FOI 1A!
    SUBEDITOR was my POI, despite my being one, with SUSPENDERS being last.
    I liked this! It was clever enough to keep me guessing for a while, despite there being nothing very unusual in the vocabulary—though I did wonder if FEEL-BAD FACTOR has dictionary status… FEEL-BAD tout court is in Collins and Dictionary.com as an adjective.
    The blog has informed me that I basically biffed GATSBY (didn’t know the bank, but didn’t even think about it).

  2. An easy Friday. I was expecting it to be tougher after Thursday’s stinker.
    17 minutes, with the last few puzzling over LOI 8d: R-N-. Beatrice or Harry Potter? Snooker player?An alpha trawl yielded RING and RUNE as possibilities for magical symbols, but I couldn’t see the parsing until the doh moment I realised it was a hidden!

  3. I also found this less difficult than I had been expecting, 24.36 for me. Some really nice clues here, and thanks to William for explaining how several – ISM, OTHER RANKS (never saw the err) and loi GATSBY worked. NHO TSB and thought there was something dodgy going on involving st for high street and B for bank and was all set to be annoyed. Ha!

  4. A rare complete of the biggie for me and in a one-go 33 mins too, about which I am very happy, especially having struggled to get anywhere near finishing yesterday’s grid, the blog for which made me feel overawed with admiration for those who seemed to breeze through it.

    Biffed ISM and LORGNETTE and guessed/half remembered STELA, then really enjoyed the PDM for my LOI FEEL-BAD FACTOR.

    Thanks setter and WJS

    1. Posts like this are a great encouragement to regular head-scratching DNFers like me! You are not alone and neither am I. Around 35m for me but very pleased to have completed unaided.

  5. Very biffable; hadn’t heard of a “feel-bad factor”, but suppose there must be one.

  6. I thought I was heading for a rare sub-15 minute finish but hit a brick wall in the NW quarter with 5 answers missing. USING at 1ac was the one that eventually got things moving again and I crawled home to complete the grid in 24 minutes.

    The other missing answers had been UNINFORMED, FEEL-BAD FACTOR , GATSBY and my LOI, IMMUTABLE. The factor is in Chambers but this is the first I heard of it although ‘feel-good factor’ has been commonplace for some time now. According to my AI assistant who sadly cannot always be relied upon, ‘feel-good factor’ first appeared in an article in The Guardian in 1976 but was given a new lease of life in the 1980s in the speeches of Tony Blair and his gang.

    NHO DRY ROT as a disease for fruit, only of timber but now understand that the causal funguses are similar but not the same.

    LORGNETTE was a great reverse hidden that I didn’t spot until afterwards as the answer was easily biffable from ‘glasses’ with help from enumeration and a couple of checkers.

  7. 15:23, which must be a Friday pb for me, although achieved by a good deal of biffery. NHO FEEL-BAD FACTOR, which is one I biffed and parsed post-submission, but if GOOD, why not BAD? (But why GOOD?) MER at ISM=practice. Like Guy, DNK TSB, and like him didn’t care. Like Vinyl, I’ve always written/read it STELE, but we’ve had STELA here a couple of times. LORGNETTE is another I biffed, typically of me missing the hidden but thinking I saw the anagrist for an anagram; saw the hidden post-sub. Enjoyed this a lot–some great surfaces–but would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been rushing to catch a train.
    What happened to Magoo?

  8. 23 minutes. I agree with RobR above about FEEL-BAD FACTOR, even if it is in the dictionaries. Several biffed including LORGNETTE for which I missed the reverse hidden. I didn’t know GUNPOWDER for ‘green tea’ and for GATSBY had forgotten TSB, like LindsayO thinking that B for ‘bank’ was odd.

    It was good to see OTHER RANKS being given due recognition at last as an answer in its own right, rather than just as the usual OR making up the letters of another answer. Nice and simple, but I liked Edith Piaf’s appearance in the wordplay for RUES.

    1. I didn’t like Edith Piaf’s mention as it tricked me into entering RIEN and spoiled what would have been a good time of 20min for me. 🙁

  9. I was fine until my LOI, where it was a toss-up between RING and RUNE. I didn’t see the hidden (happens all the time, I missed CARDIFF ARMS PARK once) and plumped for RING since neither choice worked as something to do with Harry Potter (since I’ve not read the books nor seen the movies so I didn’t expect to have any idea). So DNF,

  10. She took me to her Elfin grot,
    And there she wept and sighed full sore,
    And there I shut her wild wild eyes
    With kisses four.
    (La Belle Dame sans Merci, Keats)

    25 mins pre-brekker. Just my cup of tea. Nice wordplay and it is clear that effort has gone in to produce some lovely surfaces. Good stuff.
    Ta setter and WJS

  11. 47 mins but with ring for 8d.
    Don’t really get dry rot/crumble unless fruit just means wood?
    COD Elfin

  12. 12:53. This felt like something of a respite after yesterday’s struggle. The only slight hold up I had was initially putting in ICING at 1A. The parsing of “I SING” worked and with ice being slang for a particular type of drug I thought that maybe if you took that drug you were “icing”. It seems far more dubious with hindsight!

  13. 41 mins with LOsI DRY ROT/TRYST.

    Good fun and a fair challenge with some excellent surfaces as has been mentioned. DNK the stone (biffed) or FEEL-BAD FACTOR, but, hey, it had to be. GUNPOWDER for green tea was another first.

    I liked ASSORTMENT & LORGNETTE (my French grandmother used to use one!).

    Thanks William and setter.

  14. 28 minutes with LOI STELA. COD to GATSBY. Banking at the TSB could perhaps have given the show away that he wasn’t all he seemed. Like others, I’ve never heard of a FEEL-BAD FACTOR. Not solving the crossword before coming here is one though.Today, I feel fine. Thank you William and setter.

  15. 15:19. Another who had heard of only FEEL-GOOD FACTOR and was surprised to find the opposite was also a term. My LOI the spotting of BAD ACTOR for ham was a pleasant PDM to finish with… we see it often enough the other way round. DNK DRY ROT could apply to fruit…. my bit of education from the crossword for today. Thanks William and setter.

  16. 31:37, which is slightly faster than average for me, and most enjoyable it was. Chapeau to the artful setter: I love seeing witty, elegant surfaces like these (especially COD 17d, with 5d and many others close behind). NHO a feel-bad factor and don’t really want to again. I thought only one hidden was allowed per grid in the cryptic?

  17. 20 minutes. Didn’t know (or had forgotten) mule as a shoe for IMMUTABLE and tried to justify ‘immovable’ until GATSBY set me straight; spotted the hidden LORGNETTE quickly without knowing the word; biffed RUNE as I completely missed the hidden; and hadn’t come across FEEL-BAD FACTOR before, but it was nicely clued and it makes sense as a term.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI As one man
    LOI Ism
    COD Other ranks

  18. 8:58

    My first two in were USING and SUSPENDER which set things up nicely for a fast solve. I biffed a few, including GUNPOWDER PLOT and OWLET, with my only real hesitation being over FEEL-BAD FACTOR where I struggled to see how FEEL BAD equated to THINK. Duh.

    I liked the way unlikely looking wordplay elements TSB and OR/TM yielded GATSBY and ASSORTMENT.

  19. Brilliant clues today, each a credible “normal” stretch of English telling a micro-story. I found everything to the right of the centre line much more amenable than the left, and while FEEL-BAD FACTOR is the logical opposite, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in the wild. Is it a thing?
    LORGNETTE a completely invisible hidden, until it wasn’t. 21.22.

  20. Unfortunately I left the timer running in the background, so no time for me today, but I think around 25 minutes. “Feel bad factor” new to me too. Got gatsby without understanding the construction, is tsb still a thing? LOI was the subeditor, before that immutable, before that gatsby.
    Thanks setter and blogger, good fun today

    1. TSB has been a separate bank again since 2013, when the European Commission ordered a break-up of Lloyds’s UK branch network. I don’t think that what was spun off bore any relation to what had originally been TSB but they brought the brand out of retirement.

  21. About 45′ for this one with a lot of headscratching. NHO LORGNETTE, so needed all the checkers to see the reverse hidden. IMMUTABLE baffled me as I tried to understand where “in America” came into play – I never now think of “tab” being American (though I know it is). A few other biffs, eg NHO GUNPOWDER = green tea, though PLOT gave me the answer. Thanks William and setter. And I was auto logged in today after a few weeks of daily logging in, happy bunny..

  22. Quite easy for a Friday I thought.

    FEEL BAD FACTOR LOI, took a surprising amount of time, even with all those crossers. Lots of very good clues, but that long reverse hidden for LORGNETTE wins my COD. A puzzle in my goldilocks zone.


  23. 20 minutes or so door-to-door with only a few hold-ups on the way.

    I’m always thankful for an easier Friday puzzle as I spend Thursday nights doing my bit to prop up the pub trade.

    An enjoyable solve nonetheless so thanks to both setter and blogger.

  24. Some ingenious clues here. I managed to delay myself by trying to make 5d STUPA – after all, it is a stone monument, and it includes PUT up. Other than that, of course, it doesn’t work, but it took me some time to see what would work.

  25. 7:38. No real problems today, although I slowed down a bit in the NW.
    MER at FEEL-BAD FACTOR but it’s in ODE as well as Chambers.
    Surprised to learn that GUNPOWDER tea is green.

  26. I wondered what Friday would have in store after a bad week for me, so a blessed relief. No need for any aids and no real difficulties. Parsed everything ok except RUNE as I failed to see it was a ‘hidden’, but it had to be right.
    Incidentally, not having seen the ‘hidden’ I hesitated even with RUNE, as I was unaware of any magical association. AFAIC, it’s just an old Nordic or German character. But Chambers does confirm this.

  27. What felt like a slow 25 minutes. I like feel-bad factor as a term and hope it gets more usage. Not terribly keen on the synonyms for seek and practice. And wearied to the bone by the hagiographic reference to a writer whose style is anything but magical. (Not that I don’t respect her as a person for her recent stands.) Didn’t see the parsing of owlet. Nice to see the old use of gay.

  28. DNF, in the NorthW.
    The South was surprisingly easy once I started on it. I should be less rigid in my top-down approach. However even if I had completed the South it didn’t help to cross into the NW especially as I had biffed GATSBY at 3 down while walking from the shop, but forgot to write it in and never read the clue again. Never noticed the TSB. DOH!

  29. I needed all the crossers to get USING, late in the solve, but finally getting GATSBY did the trick. I meandered happily through the rest of the puzzle finishing up with ASSORTMENT. FEEL-BAD FACTOR was new to me too. IMMUTABLE went in as IMMOVABLE until I couldn’t parse it and spotted MULE for shoe. 17:28. Thanks setter and William..

  30. 30:43

    COD to LOI GATSBY which took all the checkers and a couple of minutes exclusive thought for the penny to finally drop with a clunk. Thought FEEL-BAD FACTOR was a bit meh but what else could it be? Nice hidden in LORGNETTE.

  31. A steady 17 minutes plus change solve but shot in foot by a mistype on emissaries😡

    Very enjoyable puzzle, some excellent surfaces and one of the best reverse hidden we’ve had on lorgnette.

    Thanks W and setter

  32. Probably the easiest of this week’s offerings… except for my LOI, 2D, which I read as meaning ‘writing practice’. I had the I and the M, and went through the alphabet trawl both ways, and the only thing I could think of was IUM, with I as the upright and MU as the character recalled. I remember a crossword some years back that showed up some really obscure acronym for the teaching of reading, that some older solvers had heard of, so I bunged it in and hoped for the best. Bah! I don’t like the term ISM for practice, and that’s not sour grapes, as I’ve been able to work it out previously. Otherwise all correct and parsed. Liked GATSBY. TSB was the first bank I thought of…

  33. 16.23, fairly gentle but plenty of enjoyment, including TSB, the BAD ACTOR, and the smart SUBEDITOR and LORGNETTE.

    Thanks both.

  34. 35 minutes plus a minute or so of proofreading (or subediting), so fairly easy for a Friday, but very enjoyable. I liked GATSBY, although the sense of GAY it involves has unfortunately not been current since my (distant) childhood and I also had to make up an explanation for TSB, as TS for high-street, i.e. street, rising, and B for bank. I liked the heartless dabbling in EMENDABLE, too.

  35. 18:50 – elegant cluing and rather inelegant solving. Another NHO the DRY ROT/fruit link, and LORGNETTE went in without doing the maths as soon as had a couple of the crossers, meaning I missed the neat hidden reversal. Like Keriothe, I was surprised to see gunpowder tea clued as green. I see there is a black version too, but both looking pretty dark to me – all a question of oxidisation, apparently.

  36. A fairly fast time for me by my standards at 38.23. A full two minutes or so however were spent on my LOI 8dn RUNE. I thought of the answer but couldn’t parse it; what is it with me and hiddens? I initially couldn’t get Harry Potter out of my mind and then moved on to Grayson Perry before embarking on an alphabet trawl. In the end I decided on RUNE and put it in with a shrug of the shoulders.

  37. Most un-Friday-ish: I was going fine and heading for 25 or 26 minutes but even with all the checkers I just couldn’t see FEEL-BAD FACTOR and couldn’t believe that anything fitted. Fred-bed matter etc. So I gave up and did a search in my Chambers, which found no matches. (Yet the word is there in C — you can just type it in and there it is. Very odd.) So I gave up and asked it to reveal the word. Doh. So obvious, and what a good clue, as was that for LORGNETTE. I learnt that the word is not lorgnettes, as I had thought.

  38. A reasonably straightforward and positively un-Friday-like 7:16 here (probably my fastest Friday on record).

    As per others, an eyebrow raise for the feel-bad factor, but definitely only minor as worked on the basis that anything positive must have a cancelling-out negative so if there’s a feel *good* factor it logically follows that there must be a feel *bad* factor too.

    TSB sprang immediately to mind, probably because I came to the crossword as some light relief from sorting out a new mortgage deal with them (many more pennies now required).

    Have vaguely heard of Gunpowder Tea (I suspect only from the crossword) but as that was biffed based on a couple of checkers and “attempted coup” I didn’t even notice it was in there until I read the blog. A moral lesson that sometimes striving for speed can make you lose out on some of the nuances of the cluing?

  39. Finally this week a correctly completed crossword. Feel bad factor my LOI but my mood now is distinctly positive.
    Thanks thus to setter and blogger.

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