Times 28807 – On to Constance…..

Time: 26 minutes

Music: Vaughn Williams, Antarctica Symphony, Boult/LSO

This should have been a very easy puzzle, and I did race through most of it.  Most of the across clues went in on the first go-round, and I had plenty of crossing letters for the downs.

I was, however, slowed down by a few of the more difficult clues.   I had the recently solved dedication in mind as I looked at 10, so I was looking for a similar sort of word.  Maybe deduction, or induction, or reduction, or redaction?    I finally found the cryptic and solved the clue.   In the end, I was left with the unhelpful _ E _ R _ E for 28, and the cryptic didn’t help at all.   An alphabet trawl followed by a back-fill was required.

I suspect everyone else will be much faster – if you biff decree, your are golden.


1 Old socialite facing endless danger? Rubbish! (6)
4 Calling social worker to meet reticent person (7)
CLAMANT – CLAM + ANT, giving a word that some solvers may not know.
9 The people in protests briefly (5)
DEMOS – Double definition.   Demos is Greek, but demonstration is Latin – no etymological connection.
10 Act bound to be bad with one being captured? (9)
ABDUCTION – Anagram of ACT BOUND around I – a clever &lit.
11 Girl in daily prize draw losing track (9)
12 Weapon knight’s hidden in fine material (5)
LANCE – LA(N)CE, an escaped Quickie clue.
13 Expression of disapproval you heard for skimpy garment (4)
14 Family needing inner energy eats plants (10)
18 Delicacy isn’t fashionable in attire — not right! (10)
20 Secure provincial party with nothing smuggled in (2,2)
DO UP – D(O)UP, the Democratic Union Party again.
23 Second contest in film (5)
24 Gee — a right baddy! (9)
GARROTTER – G + A + R + ROTTER, another &lit.
25 Proper drink I have, being unsophisticated (9)
PRIMITIVE – PRIM + IT + I’VE, as in gin and It.
26 Grab old boy to become overseas ruler (5)
27 The woman, a lefty that’s somehow sheep-like? (7)
28 Get less, having cancelled a second order (6)
1 Dutiful editor in charge, old-fashioned on the outside (9)
2 Dangerous device on a street makes one rant (7)
3 Slight gains ultimately reduced all round (6)
INSULT – Hidden in [ga]INS ULT[imately].
4 Notice soldiers under colonel initially, a small fighting force? (5)
CADRE – C[olonel} + AD + R.E.
5 Taking care of boy in a church is an honour (8)
6 Go in van around French city (7)
AVIGNON – Anagram of GO IN VAN.
7 Numbers with minimal English — something they need to learn about? (5)
8 Criticise the performing group of all-time greats? (8)
15 Deeply interested brothers sitting up in a bunk maybe (8)
ABSORBED – A  B(BROS upside-down)ED.
16 Like sheep and goats, extremes in some Bible story (9)
17 Guide needing to conceal untruth? That’s harder (8)
19 Bill‘s trendy way of speaking (7)
21 Commander to be facing resistance in time of revolution (7)
22 Attack quietly with little weight (6)
23 Miseries of work, being surrounded by endless muddle (5)
24 Learner in good Scottish organisation (5)

60 comments on “Times 28807 – On to Constance…..”

  1. 19:42
    I biffed just about every clue, guessing the word from crossers and then parsing it. I knew CLAMANT, and didn’t think ‘calling’ was a good definition for it. I liked the well-hidden INSULT, and PANTHEON. V, you’ve got a typo at DAINTINESS: should be D(AINT) IN [r]ESS.

  2. Mostly a snap, but slowed up by blindly biffing OBSESSED for ABSORBED, which GARROTTER set straight, thus enabling LOI CELANDINES.

  3. 24:58. CLAMANT was indicative of the whole puzzle for me. It was all straightforward enough, but there were many things I simply didn’t know and so didn’t feel confident about.

    Thanks for the blog!

  4. 33 minutes with some delay in the SE. DO UP was tricky until the P-checker arrived leaving no doubt about the second word. I already had DO in mind because of ‘party’ but as things turned out that wasn’t the correct parsing.

    I knew CLAMANT existed without knowing its exact meaning. Having now looked it up I see it can carry overtones other than than simply ‘calling’, but the first definition in Chambers is ‘calling aloud’ and the second in Collins is ‘calling urgently’ so the clue seems fine to me.

  5. 30.13. A fun puzzle, with a number of clues (eg CELANDINES, GARROTTER, OCTOBER) that seem impenetrable at first but once cracked turn out to be quite straightforward. FOI was 1ac which always helps, encountered most trouble in the SE. I had the correct elements for SEPARABLE but for a while I had the definition for sheep and goats as being PARSEABLE, and wondered if I had stumbled upon some crossword in-joke whose meaning was lost on me. Thanks to V for the helpful blog.

  6. 23 minutes. I liked the two &lits, even if it took me a while to see ABDUCTION. I wondered if the forgotten CLAMANT was a noun for ‘Calling’ as “vocation”, but no. Some original defs in ‘Like sheep and goats’ and ‘time of revolution’ and the satisfaction of remembering the name of the ‘plants’ made this a good start to the week.

    Thanks to vinyl for the blog

  7. 26:54
    I did this in the wee hours pre-blog and I raced through most of it before spending about 5-10 minutes on the last clue.

    Was it CLAMANT or CELANDINES I hear you say? GARROTTER perhaps? Nope. For some reason I just couldn’t see DECREE, a clue which surely lies towards the top-end of the Chestnut Scale.

    All said and done a nice start to the week, with a few meatier clues to test the little grey cells. Thanks to both.

  8. I found this very hard and took 50 minutes today. NHO CLAMANT or CELANDINES. LOI was clamant which even with just two letters to get took me ages, and I had to hope it was right. Celandines I was pretty confident of, once I worked out the wordplay. Several other clues like separable took me a while. Maybe I needed some coffee first this morning!
    Thanks setter and blogger

  9. 10.58, and happy with that – I had unhelpfully stuck in THEME (numbers = them?!), but sorted myself out reasonably quickly. Not heard of CLAMANT but got it from crossers, wordplay, & presumed relationship to ‘clamour’.

    Thought ABDUCTION very clever, GARROTTER less so, but you can’t win them all.

    Thanks both.

  10. 28 minutes with LOI DECREE, which I didn’t get around to earlier. I found the LHS easier than the right.I’d have been hard-pushed to give a definition of CLAMANT in the first place, and the cryptic there was none too helpful. Haven’t we been sur le pont d’AVIGNON quite recently? COD to CELANDINES. This looked easier than it proved to be. Thank you V and setter.

  11. 10:17. I started quickly on this and slowed down steadily until grinding to a halt on the unknown and (to me) unlikely-looking CLAMANT. Got it eventually. CLAM for a shy or reticent person is something I’ve only ever come across in crosswords. It’s perfectly logical of course but a bit old-fashioned I suspect.

  12. 7:10
    My second fastest ever, with the exhilarating sensation that this must be how the Champions feel all the time (not the 60s TV characters, though maybe them too).

  13. 10:46. Nice one. Fairly Mondayish, I thought. I liked ABDUCTION, SHEARED and SEPARABLE. LOI DECREE once ‘decrease’ came to mind. Thanks V and setter.

  14. 16:59. Count me as someone unfamiliar with CLAMANT. When trying to think of words for a reticent person CLAM didn’t come readily to mind. Like keriothe I’ve never heard it used as a noun, though “clam up” is common enough.

  15. 45 mins and I’m awarding myself a gold star, curtesy of our blogger, as I did I bang in DECREE straight away. What I did not get quickly were my last two in which took an age, POI PANTHEON which gave me the A for ABDUCTION. As the old saying goes, give me an unch and you won’t see a smile!

    DNK CLAMANT but worked out from wp and CELANDINES was late to the party after the penny dropped with CLAN.

    Apart from all that, there was a lot to like. ACCOLADE, DAINTINESS, GARROTTER & SHEARED were all fun.

    Thanks V and setter.

  16. 30:31 with the bottom right corner the last to fall with OCTOBER (where i was trying to do something with ORBIT as the revolution), GARROTTER and LOI DECREE

  17. Last two in were the easy-when-you-see-it DECREE, and the (nho) CLAMANT that I assembled from wordplay and had no idea if it was a word or what type of calling it might be.

    Not quite sure why DEMOS are “short” protests. I suppose because DEMOS is short for demonstration.

    My trivia fact of the day. The Russian October Revolution has its anniversary on the 7th November. Russia was very late to switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar and the consequent adjustment to bring them in line with other countries. In fact, they did it in 1918. Britain (and its then colonies, including the US and Canada) did it in 1752, which was also relatively late since many other countries such as France did it a couple of centuries earlier.

    1. “Give us back our eleven days!” and all that.
      I believe this the origin of the oddity that our tax year starts on April 5th. Rents used to be paid on ‘quarter-days’, one of which was March 25th. At the calendar switch people had lost eleven days’-worth of tenancy — hence the complaint quoted. Can anyone confirm this?

      1. That’s certainly what I was told when training as a chartered accountant a few years after the calendar changed.

  18. About 20 minutes, finishing with CLAMANT – like others, I hadn’t heard of it, but I managed to get the first bit right after first considering ‘crab’.

    Tried to justify ‘debunk’ for 1a before getting DEBRIS; didn’t spot that INSULT was a hidden; and thought 2d might be ‘lambast’ before deciding that, on balance, a bomb is more dangerous than a lamb.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Lance
    LOI Clamant
    COD Charlotte

  19. Much the same experience as the blogger, though my time was longer at 35 minutes. Perhaps I should have biffed more. I saw GARROTTER long before I committed myself. Ditto TENSE. I thought some of the definitions were loose. And if the clue to ABDUCTION is supposed be & lit, for me it’s one of those that don’t quite make for a neat package. CLAMANT was familiar, but I had to check Chambers for the definition. Until then I thought it was synonymous with ‘clamorous’.

    1. I also thought that one of the definitions of CLAMANT was ‘clamorous’ and after your comment I checked the online dictionary and indeed the first definition there IS ‘clamorous’:

      clamorous; noisy.
      compelling or pressing; urgent:
      a clamant need for reform.”

  20. Happy with my 1 hour as no errors this time. It was the CLAN in CELANDINES that held me up longest, as I was trying to work out how to mutate ‘genus’ into the answer.

    DEMOS as ‘people’ was a new one on me. My classical education began and ended with Julius Caesar’s ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ in the Asterix comics, so I’m just glad to be here most days 🙂

    COD to GARROTTER, which had me chuckling when all was revealed.

  21. 14.49 with no real problems. TENSE is a better clue than I thought it was when solving, as I couldn’t understand why numbers would need to learn about tense. Comes from being too quick to do the wordplay version of the clue, I suppose. Good to have two decent &lits in the same puzzle.

  22. Quick today, Mondayish but with a couple of spiky bits. Vaguely heard of clamant, but..

    Garrotting doesn’t necessarily make you a baddie, it has been used as an official execution method in various places: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrote#Execution_device
    I like the bit that says “It was intended as a more merciful form of execution than death by burning, where heretics who converted to Christianity after their conviction would receive a quick strangulation from the Spanish Inquisition.” So, not baddies at all!

    1. That something was sanctioned by law does not necessarily make it good, nor the person carrying it out blameless. “Just following orders,” right…?

  23. 26:17
    Somehow managed to do this outside the aegis of the Crossword Club so not sure if my time will register on the Snitch. Beforehand, I tried the GK puzzle for the first time, so that may explain it.

    Fairly straightforward apart from CLAMANT (which brought an unwelcome mental image of Norman Lamont), CELANDINES and DECREE . Assumed it “must be” AVIGNON but needed vinyl to point out the anagram. COD GARROTTER.

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  24. 38 minutes with no major problems. INSULT struck me as a very good hidden — it only revealed itself after a while. Liked the &lits and no problem with CLAMANT.

  25. 36:21
    Held up by putting a wrong answer (a non-word, beginning in B) for 15d, making it impossible to get 14a. Only on convincing myself that nothing would fit did I go back and check all the checkers, finally getting ABSORBED and then CELANDINES.


    Thanks vinyl and setter

  26. 20:15 – Didn’t see the secure angle to DO UP until post-solve — too much DIY going on — but most of the rest went in without any protest, including the separable goats and sheep, which tickled me for some reason.

  27. NHO CLAMANT, but it didn’t hold me up too much, though I was worried for a pink square or two. DECREE was the head scratcher for me. Unhelpful checkers! Liked CELANDINES and GARROTTER.


  28. A nice evenly timed solve for me breaking the 30 minute barrier in 29.30. Like others never heard of CLAMANT and this went in with fingers crossed. I also initially couldn’t get LAMBAST out of my mind for 2dn, even if a lamb could hardly be described as a dangerous device!

  29. 7.06, I went through this like a hot knife through butter. A slight pause at do up where I had the improvement sense in my head rather than the fasten sense for too long. Also took a moment over garotter which felt a bit of a random definition. A nice confidence boost to start the week.

  30. LOI DECREE which I just couldn’t see and resorted to an aid. And after seeing the blog realised I’d fallen into a biff trap. Was convinced it was ADDICTION, despite (a) being unable to parse it, and (b) having failed to spot the ‘bad’ anagrist. Grrr!

  31. No real problems in solving this one, though it took me longer than it maybe should have done to shuffle the anagrist for ABDUCTION.

    FOI CLAMANT (I apparently know it better than this spell checker 😂)
    TIME 7:36
    EOD Obviously “Sur le pont d’Avignon”, even though I don’t know all the words.

  32. Needed aids for my LOI Clamant which I would not have got otherwise.
    Enjoyed the puzzle – my COD Insult.

  33. 30:30

    Mildly surprised by the lowish (?) Snitch – 73 when I looked, which equates to a target time for me of 26:30. I did get off to a slowish start, just three in from the first pass of acrosses, but found the downs more forgiving. I don’t think I really slowed to a grinding halt at any time, though I did give considerable thought to CELANDINES and CLAMANT. Oh well – tomorrow’s another day…

  34. A few visits interrupted by a cold morning golf game and making lunch, so not sure of the time. All felt very Mondayish until the last few clues. Somehow tried to squeeze “kin” into 14ac before seeing clan for a biff at NHO CELANDINES. Similarly NHO LOI CLAMANT was a guess with only 2 letters required, but after a long trawl it had to be.. So not quick! Some enjoyable clues though, such as PANTHEON and DECREE. Thanks Vinyl1 and setter.

  35. I started off with AST at the bottom of 2d thern added DEMOS and BOMB. Fairly steady progress ensued until I was left with 4a, 5d and 14a. Much cogitation was needed before ACCOLADE arrived giving CLAMANT, which rang a vague bell, then more cogitation finally produced CELANDINES. 20:40. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  36. 24.43

    Very straightforward apart from the bits that weren’t. Apart from CLAMANT really struggled with GARROTTER OCTOBER and DECREE. Got there though

    Nice puzzle – thanks all

  37. Am kicking myself for not getting my LOI, DAINTINESS. It looks so obvious now and clearly no one else had the problem of failing to remove the R from dress.

  38. Didn’t earn even a putty medal over DECREE, much shame.
    Well tickled by SEPARABLE as defining feature of sheep and goats.
    Knew CLAMANT, as it is a handy device for use in spoof heraldry, if used sparingly.
    Nice Monday and nice blog. Thanks

  39. In Jersey, the haro de clameur is an ancient, but still enforceable way to claim one has been wronged.
    One must recite the Haro three times on the Royal Court steps, and that’s it in action

  40. Solved late this afternoon, without too many problems. I didn’t stop to question CLAMANT once I had 4D – seemed obvious. DECREE also. But not particularly happy with TENSE or SHEARED as clues. They seemed very loose. Bifd SEPARATED at first, then NABOB gave the proper parseable answer. LOI CELANDINES, without a clue about clan as family. Fortunately, the answer finally suggested itself from definition and crossers and I unearthed the parsing.

  41. Didn’t know why DEMOS worked and struggled with the SE – OCTOBER, DECREE and GARROTTER. All easy when you see them. Thanks for the explanations.

  42. 24 mins but fell at the last with degree instead of decree. Disappointing mess up but there were other clues I could have missed as well.

    Celandines was very good, clamant unknown but parsable, absorbed, daintiness, primitive and – my favourite- garrotter.

    Thanks setter for an absorbing puzzle and setter for the solutions.

    My 100% for 2024 didn’t last long😞

  43. I left you on the debris
    At the Sunday morning market … The great Ronnie Lane.

    Back from Xmas break when I ne’er a crossword did. Glad to polish this off in 17’14” without too much difficulty. Just CELANDINES and DECREE slowing me down. Many thanks.

  44. Nearly done, but a few missing in the SE.

    Nice to see our contributor, The Rotter, memorialised in this puzzle.


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