Times 28792 – A Shropshire Lad

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 10:06.

I thought I was going to race through this one, but it turned out that the answers I did not see immediately took a fair bit of sorting out. Checking the early times there’s a some faster and some slower, so it may be a puzzle that appeals to some more than others.

Whose side are you on?

1 Chops given to a wife, one with teeth (7)
HACKSAW – HACKS(chops), A, W(wife)
5 Like some robbers in film, angry to be tailed (7)
PIRATIC – inside PIC(film) insert IRATE(angry) minus the last letter
9 Here cast your vote and get some tea (3)
URN – double definition, the latter probably more common than the former
10 Bidding to get digital assistance is inviting trouble (6,3,2)
ASKING FOR IT – ASKING FOR(bidding to  get), IT(digital assistance)
11 Abuse: polite not to speak if you have it, they say (8)
MOUTHFUL – sounds like MOUTH FULL(what you should not speak with)
12 False star explodes in middle of freeze-up (6)
ERSATZ – anagram of STAR inside the middle letters of freEZe up
15 Sleep easily at first, with this on pillow? (4)
NAPE – NAP(sleep) and the first letter of Easily
16 Be found almost before noon on terrace, just the job (10)
OCCUPATION – OCCUR(be) minus the last letter, then N(noon) after PATIO(terrace)
18 Derisive remark cut short during Wendy’s family tea (10)
DARJEELING – JEER(derisive remark) minus the last letter inside DARLING(in Peter Pan, the character was Wendy Darling)
19 Thrust in the back perhaps, mad to spin round (4)
STAB – BATS(mad) reversed
22 Country way, one guarded by police once (6)
RUSTIC – ST(way) and I(one) inside RUC(Royal Ulster Constabulary, police once)
23 A minor way abroad is as wide as possible (8)
BROADEST – the minor way is a B ROAD, add EST(is, abroad)
25 Fast, table d’hôte initially unavailable as ordered (2,3,6)
AT THE DOUBLE – anagram of TABLE,D’HOTE and the first letter of Unavailable. I originally ignored checking the anagram and put in ON THE DOUBLE and was scratching my head later
27 Strong emotion of father losing son (3)
IRE – SIRE(father) minus S(son)
28 Fail to pawn garment (4,3)
TANK TOP – TANK(fail), TO, P(pawn)
29 Intros from old radio broadcast (7)
EXORDIA –  EX(old) and an anagram of RADIO
1 Poet being interrupted by love and later by onset of senility (7)
HOUSMAN – HUMAN(being) containing  O(love) and the first letter of Senility separated. A Times setter once told me I should read more of him, so I wonder if this was one of his?
2 Group with warden question inspector, confused about uniform (6,5)
CINQUE PORTS – anagram of Q(question) and INSPECTOR surrounding U(uniform). Referring to the post of Lord WARDEN of the Cinque Ports
3 Wide strip of bandage finally applied to heavy blow by hospital (6)
SWATHE – last letter of bandagE after SWAT(heavy blow) and H(hospital)
4 Alarming effect of the dawn chorus? (4-2,4)
WAKE-UP CALL – double definition
5 One of the equines — some nicker (4)
PONY – double definition, the second referring to a pony as 25 pounds
6 Create new shape from frame riddled with rot (8)
REFORMAT – anagram of FRAME and ROT
7 Peak time, middle of work (3)
TOR – T(time) and the middle letters of wORk
8 Townsman’s spot over in nice development (7)
CITIZEN – ZIT(spot) reversed inside an anagram of NICE
13 Anonymous informant given a short stretch (1,6,4)
A LITTLE BIRD – double definition, the second referring to a short prison sentence
14 In precarious health like Bede, needing fuel regularly to replace some energy (10)
VULNERABLE – the VENERABLE Saint Bede, with alternating letters in fUeL replacing the first E(energy)
17 I’m sorry, exercise books seem to be about a total of eleven (8)
PENITENT – PE(exercise), and NT(books) surrounding I and TEN which can add to eleven
18 Resting bouncer missing nothing at entrance to theatre (7)
DORMANT – DOORMAN(bouncer) minus an O(nothing) in front of the first letter of Theatre
20 Plead to keep too much in a workshop (7)
BOTTEGA – BEG(plead) containing OTT(over the top, too much), then A
21 In lookout try to capture a grazing animal: artist failing (6)
GAZEBO – GO(try) containing A ZEBRA(grazing animal) minus RA(artist)
24 Aeroplane manoeuvre not entirely crazy (4)
LOOP – LOOPY(crazy) minus the last letter
26 Money, and where to keep it? (3)
TIN – two definitions

63 comments on “Times 28792 – A Shropshire Lad”

  1. Similar experience, finding a lot of easy clues at first, but then having to work out the NHO CINQUE PORTS from the wordplay, realize that GAZEBO could mean “lookout” (the etymology in Merriam-Webster says the first part is just maybe from “Gaze”), remember Wendy’s last name… I had ON THE DOUBLE at first too. Didn’t get the “nicker” part for PONY. Thought the clue for BROADEST was far from optimal, as it includes “abroad,” which made me think that couldn’t be the answer, until it had to be.

    1. Gazebo is a bit of cod Latin – if gaze were a Latin verb, it would mean “I will gaze”. The Victorians liked this sort of joke.

  2. I somehow managed to finish with BROADEST, even though I was straight onto ‘abroad is’ and studied B roads assiduously back in the 60s when receiving my co-driver training from my dad. How dumb can one be! What hope is left?

    EXORDIA and, notwithstanding overuse, CINQUE PORTS, may slow down the Bletchleyites, so get my vote for joint CODs.


      1. Having done a little check, it hasn’t popped up much, maybe a Jumbo here and a Quickie there. I think what I remember is the discussion around them whenever one of the places is clued: Sandwich, Dover, Hythe, New Romney and Hastings.

        I had to look that lot up. The only one I ‘knew’ was Rye, which isn’t even on the list!

        1. Along with Winchelsea, Rye is officially an ‘Ancient Town’.

          Both were added in 1190, but they couldn’t be called a Cinque Port as it would have changed the numerology and obviously make the description false. And a lot of it was down to the original members assiduously guarding their status.

  3. 32 minutes. It didn’t OCCUR to me that ‘Be’ by itself, rather than ‘Be found’, was the bit of the wordplay to be looking for at 16a, so I couldn’t parse OCCUPATION. URN for a place to ‘cast your vote’ was new and I had to guess ‘Wendy’s family’ in DARJEELING, which was helped by the pangram.

    As it did when it last appeared back in 2016, CINQUE PORTS reminded me of the ex-Australian PM Sir Robert Menzies who was made Lord Warden after he retired from politics in the mid-60’s.

    1. Just realized that I biffed OCCUPATION! Knew the voting sense of URN only from reading the French press (where it’s spelled with a terminal E).

    2. No, it IS ‘be found’ that’s required, as in ‘Honesty may be found/ occur in politics, if rarely.’

      1. Sounds correct now you’ve explained it, though I couldn’t see it at the time, nor after I’d had more time to think it over when writing my comment.

  4. I only know of GAZEBO as a sort of structure in a garden, although depending on if it is at the top of a hill it could be a lookout, I suppose. I was not confident of the final O since I didn’t know if EXORDIA was a word. But I put GAZEBO in since it was the only thing I could fit. Apparently, I could have gone for SAPEGO, which is a Shakespearean word for ringworm. I didn’t know of BOTTEGA but I assumed it must be an alternative spelling for BODEGA, which I knew only as somewhere to make/sell wine (and anything else in New York City) so “workshop” seemed a stretch.

    “I and TEN which can add to eleven”. That makes it sound like other totals are available!

    1. Bottega (Italian) and bodega (Spanish) are related in that they can both mean shop. The workshop sense of bottega can be found in the name of the luxury brand Bottega Veneta, who are a comparatively discreet alternative to the likes of, say, Gucci or Louis Vuitton.

      1. Thanks for that. I thought Bottega was a footballer, but that honour falls to [Roberto] Bettega, I now see.

  5. I did about 10′ online, then most of it in a hospital waiting room, then finished in a pharmacy waiting room, so I have no idea what my solving time was; but I did manage to finish. I had no idea how OCCUPATION worked, or PONY. DNK that the CINQUE PORTS have a warden (actually, the post is vacant; any of you in with Charles might want to write him). I liked EXORDIA.

  6. 52 minutes, so quite hard for me. NHO BOTTEGA, or GAZEBO meaning ‘I look’, nor of URN as a place for casting votes – but Collins hasn’t heard of that one either, nor has the ODE, but Chambers lists it. I gather that was in Ancient Rome, but has it ever been used since?

    1. It started in ancient Greece around 500BC, where either two urns were, or one with black and white pebbles was, used.

    2. BOTTEGA and BODEGA are the same thing I think, so I just remembered my Paul Simon:

      And she said honey take me dancing
      But they ended up by sleeping
      In a doorway
      By the bodegas and the lights on
      Upper Broadway
      Wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes

  7. 27 minutes. LOI Mouthful which I was staring at for ages until it came to me. Before that, LOOP also took an alphabet trawl till I got to L. I couldn’t remember Wendy’s surname, so I needed every crosser till I got Darjeeling and remembered the Darling family. DNK Bottega so I thought b(ott)eg-a had to be right but relieved no errors at the end.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  8. That is the land of lost content,
    I see it shining plain,
    The happy highways where I went
    And cannot come again.
    (AE Housman)

    After 30 mins pre-brekker, I had come full circle clockwise (spotting the pangram) to come back to the poet and then LOI Urn (poor clue).
    Ta setter and G

    1. Thank you for that sublime piece of verse which has sent me down a rather wonderful Housman rabbit hole.

    2. When I was recovering from my stroke, that was the first thing I actually managed to write with my hesitant right hand. You cannot believe how wonderful it felt.

    3. I was surprised nobody had mentioned the pangram! I assumed it had accounted for some of the rather abstruse words, such as EXORDIA, though I’d got that already by the time I’d realised.

  9. 17:11. Quite a few unknowns for me – that the Cinque Ports had a Warden, that you cast your vote into an URN and BOTTEGA. I also took a while to parse the unknown PIRATIC and MOUTHFUL. I liked A LITTLE BIRD best. LOI was BROADEST not expecting to see a broad in both the clue and answer. Thank-you George and setter.

  10. 39:11
    Decent challenge – ‘occupation’ eluded me for a while: what is ‘just’ doing in that clue?
    Thanks, g.

    1. The clue in toto conjures up for me a great picture of drinkies at a hotel or some fancy place, so I can ‘forgive’ the superfluity. I think one can be too ‘Bletchley’ about these things.

  11. 42 minutes, having gone all the way round the Wrekin to get HOUSMAN, as well as from New Delhi to DARJEELING with Peter Sellars. I was nearly outfoxed by LOI EXORDIA, but the crossers gave no real choice. A mix of easy and tough, but good fun. Thank you George and setter.

  12. About 25 minutes. Didn’t parse OCCUPATION; hadn’t heard of EXORDIA so relied on wordplay and checkers; had assumed that HOUSMAN has an E after the S until I figured out that clue; had absolutely no idea what the CINQUE PORTS are but eventually figured out the anagram with enough checkers in place and thought it sounded like A Thing; didn’t know that a GAZEBO can be a lookout.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Tor
    LOI Exordia
    COD Darjeeling

  13. I find it quite hard to believe I finished this one in 38 minutes, as that’s two minutes shorter than yesterday’s, and this puzzle felt about twice as hard. I was missing or had forgotten similar bits of GK to everyone else. Glad I at least remembered that CINQUE PORTS was a thing, even if I didn’t know about the Warden. The SW might have been a fair bit faster if I’d remembered Wendy’s last name, which I definitely recognised when I finally came up with DARJEELING. COD 17 for the “total of eleven”

  14. I ninjaturtled CINQUE PORTS from the golf club and had to trust the process for the NHO EXORDIA, BOTTEGA and URN (in that context). Otherwise there were many satisfying tussles with a classy setter, all done in just over the target 30 minutes. Very enjoyable.

  15. An hour on this. A bit slow. And DNF anyway as I didn’t complete 11a. I was held up in places by some unexpected or unfamiliar definitions (eg BOTTEGA). I’ve come across URN as a ballot container, but needed both checkers to get it.

  16. 15 minutes for this super, witty puzzle, with (as I now realise) OCCUPATION not disentangled. EXORDIA my last in, helped by both Mephisto and the need to find X somewhere to complete the pangram. Speaking of which, just in case the extra Z was intentional, thanks, but it’s George’s turn this week!

  17. 13:35
    Non-Cockneys may be interested to know that stretch = bird in 13d derives from the rhyming slang bird-lime, time (in prison). Or not.
    LOI EXORDIA which I DNK, but needed an X for the pangram (possibly the only time this has worked for me).

  18. About half an hour,after checking that GAZEBO was the only possible word, definitely not parsed.

    Dredged up EXORDIA as the plural of ‘exordium’ – the wonderful song ‘In the Year 2525’ has the subtitle ‘Exordium & Terminus’.

    I liked CINQUE PORTS – am reasonably certain that the late Queen Mother was once the Warden.

    Thanks george and setter.

  19. 48′ DNF

    Biffed RUSSIA for RUSTIC and saw some nasty reds indeed 🙁

    Apart from that, very good challenge. COD DARJEELING

  20. 52mins
    I confess I checked CINQUE PORTS was a thing before writing in. DARLING was on the brain with Alistair.
    Fun clues to untangle.
    Thank you G and setter

  21. 20:40
    A most enjoyable puzzle. Convinced myself that the second word in CINQUE PORTS “must be” party and spent some time trying to think of 6 letter synonyms for convict or chain.

    Was introduced to Housman by reading Colin Dexter’s Morse novels.

    Thanks to George and the setter.

  22. 31:02

    Unfortunately forgot to pause properly while attending to the cats, both of which seem to think there is a mouse at large under the kitchen units (the elder cat is a superb mouser but likes to ‘play’ with them at which point one or two have managed to make it to somewhere unreachable), so my time should have been perhaps 2-3 mins quicker.

    Started very quickly but slowed considerably in the bottom half until left with four in the SE corner: BROADEST, EXORDIA, GAZEBO, BOTTEGA – getting one of those saw the others fall in quick succession.

    Some stuff I missed:
    URN – didn’t know the voting reference
    GAZEBO – didn’t know the lookout reference
    EXORDIA – NHO but the checkers were kind enough to make an educated guess

    Thanks all!

  23. 38 minutes. I wasted time in the SE corner trying to make POTTERY work for the workshop, after having STOP in 19a. LOI was EXORDIA.

    Thanks glh and setter

  24. OED says GAZEBO is probably a humorous creation from the future of an imagined Latin word meaning to gaze (I will gaze). See also PLACEBO. However it also says it may be a corruption of some oriental word. The first appearance quoted in OED is from 1758. Completred puzzle in 15’58” and very much enjoyed it. Held up briefly by thinking Wendy’s family were the Bankses. But they were in M. Poppins. “Jane and Michel Banks”, as the children sing at one point.

  25. I failed to parse OCCUPATION correctly, thinking it was a shortened ‘occupy’ and then being unable to account for ‘atio’ rather than patio, but the answer was obvious once I’d seen it. Held up the most on LOI PIRATIC and PONY, not being aware of the money sense of ‘nicker’. Once I’d got that, the across clue was obvious and parsable. I imagine that the use of URN as a voting container derives from ancient Greece, since we now refer to (and use) a ballot box.

  26. No time as solved on paper over a couple of disrupted sessions.

    A couple of unknowns (EXORDIA and BOTTEGA) and a couple of others that slowed me unduly but all fairly clued.

    CINQUE PORTS posed no problem having lived in Folkestone for a couple of years. I also seem to remember the Barons of the Cinque Ports being involved in the pageantry of the recent Coronation.

    Not my quickest due to Christmas celebrations last night but an enjoyable solve so thanks to the setter and to our blogger.

  27. Thick as two short planks me on this one.

    Failed heavily. More than half a dozen short. The rest of it was OK!

    Lack of GK, lack of ability to unpick the clues.


  28. I found this puzzle (done and dusted in 23 minutes) much easier than yesterday’s (DNF). Not impressed by the clue to 23ac but no issues otherwise.
    Thanks to george and other contributors.

  29. After getting off to a quick start in the NW, I ground to a crawl for the rest of the puzzle. In particular, CINQUE PORTS and MOUTHFUL were very late entries. DARJEELING needed all the crossers as I’d forgotten Wendy’s family name. An unparsed POTTERY was entered tentatively, but gladly removed when STAB arrived. Didn’t know BOTTEGA, but it seemed likely. A LITTLE BIRD, together with VULNERABLE, dragged EXORDIA from the depths. GAZEBO was LOI although I’d NHO the lookout meaning. A sluggish 38:51. Thanks setter and George.

  30. Finally untangled the SE corner when I saw A LITTLE TIME wasn’t right- and BIRD gave the D to unravel EXORDIA -which forced my hand with BOTTEGA. Happy to have finished correctly especially as I didn’t know the other definition of URN. Missed it was a pangram.
    Thanks to setter and blogger, your work is appreciated.

  31. Essentially an hour for this enjoyable puzzle, not so much because the clues were so hard but because the wordplay was very slow to reveal itself. CINQUE PORTS didn’t come to mind until I had the right anagrist (for example, the whole word “question” is in there, so I didn’t realize that only the Q was needed). The warden seemed reasonable enough even though I didn’t know for a fact that they had one. The U let me see MOUTHFUL, but I’m not entirely sure why a mouthful should be abuse. Some clues, such as PONY, refer to terms I just barely know. PIRATIC was my LOI, because I couldn’t see the film, which I originally, gut reaction, took to mean ET. So I was wondering if PARETIC might mean “like” and PAR might be a murmuration or whatever of robbers and IC(y) could indicate “angry”. I’m much happier with the correct answer and parsing. Didn’t see the pangram. I never do.

  32. Rather the same as hopkinb. I struggled. URN in that sense quite unknown. Never knew that Wendy was Wendy Darling. Stupidly entered Russia for the country, of course not understood. Didn’t know that a BOTTEGA was a workshop. (I did know EXORDIA because it keeps coming up on Countdown.) (Housman’s fame magnified by Butterworth’s music.) Was unaccountably dim on the venerability of Bede. Why did 1 and 10 only seem to add up to 11? That was misleading and in my opinion the fault of the setter, unless I’m missing something. Didn’t like BROADEST/abroad — surely the setter could have found another word for ‘abroad’? 61 minutes, with plenty of electronic help at the end.

  33. I didn’t know that exact use of Mouthful, though it made sense enough; I knew the rest excepting Exorida. I noticed doubling up on TEA, two slang forms of rhino, WAY appearing as ST and ROAD, and maybe a couple other double uses/references I don’t remember now. thanks, gh

  34. There should be a question mark at the end of 18a. Otherwise it’s just a random Wendy.

    1. I think that Wendy did not exist as a girl’s name until Barrie created the character in Peter Pan, so Wendy Darling is the definitive Wendy, after whom all the others are named (directly or indirectly).

  35. Lots to learn from this ingenious crossie ( sorry, I’m a true blue Ausie now).
    Off to a flying start with HACKSAW and WAKE UP CALL,which gave me unwarranted confidence. Liked 10a and the other chosen phrases, but DARJEELING my COD along with VULNERABILITY ( once I remembered the VENERABLE BEDE) . Altogether a satisfying solve, but a lot harder than yesterday’s, and with the inevitable few blanks left.

    1. Hey true blue. I’m asking yoooo. You inflicted this ear worm on me, I hope I’ve returned the favour.
      Completed on treeware over two days, interrupted by cyclone Kirrily passing overhead. Lots of wind endured with little rain to repay the stress.
      Missed the pangram, had to check exordia, many thanks to the setter and for the blog.

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