Times 28816 – a non-cartesian pangram

Time taken: 15:14.

This is the most difficult daily I can remember in some time. I had 20 minutes before an online appointment and thought I would have time to finish and get started on the blog, after a while I was wondering if I would even finish before my appointment!

I had a wry smile thinking of a since-departed blogger who would have really enjoyed 1 down hidden amongst the more classical clues.

When a Q, J and V appeared early, I thought we might be heading for a pangram but there are no X’s, Y’s or Z’s in the final grid, so  with Jim in mind, I dub this a non-cartesian pangram.

How did you get along?

1 Written from right to left, old Indonesian language (6)
NAVAJO – O(old) and JAVAN(Indonesian) all reversed
4 Barbirolli’s lead is helpful for musicians (8)
BASSISTS – the first letter in Barbirolli and ASSISTS(is helpful for). The reference is to the conductor John Barbirolli
10 Royal imprisoning current extremists in powerful rule (9)
PRINCIPLE – PRINCE(royal) containing I(current) and the external letters in PowerfuL
11 Maybe dreaded figure, one of the White Russians from the east (5)
RASTA – A, TSAR(one of the White Russians) reversed
12 English setters one’s perhaps seen on a farm (3)
EWE – E(English), WE(setters as a group)
13 Holiday for jazz fans, hosting broadcasting mogul (11)
BILLIONAIRE – Jazz singer BILLIE Holiday, containing ON AIR(broadcasting)
14 What could fasten loose cover back on stool (6)
VELCRO – anagram of COVER and the last letter of stooL. You could think of this as an all-in-one
16 Sober people hosting party — mum’s in a state (7)
ALABAMA – AA(Alcoholics Anonymous, sober people) containing LAB(Labour party), then MA(mum)
19 Beauty queen hasn’t succeeded, cutting line in phrase badly (7)
MISWORD – the beauty queen is MISS WORLD, remove an S(succeeded) and a L(line)
20 Models of Apple’s business transactions? (6)
IDEALS – Apple’s business transactions could be iDEALS
22 Select players in wigs inspiring joyousness regularly (6,5)
CHOOSE SIDES – CHIDES(wigs, one of the definition in Collins is “to berate severely) containing alternating letters in jOyOuSnEsS
25 Peer has no clothing, as coming from Rome (3)
QUA – EQUAL(peer) minus the external letters
26 Priest holding firm is a cause of complaints (1,4)
E COLI – ELI(priest) containing CO(firm)
27 Poem about area east of Himalayas? It’s effervescent stuff (9)
ORANGEADE – ODE(poem) containing A(area) after RANGE(Himalayas?)
28 Store diamonds bagged by gutless accomplice for fence (8)
STOCKADE – STOCK(store) then D(diamonds) inside the external letters of AccomplicE
29 Primitive man brooking no delay (6)
URGENT – A little surprised that there is no question mark at the end of this clue, a primitive man could be an UR-GENT
1 Specialist with logs put up a new platform (6)
NAPIER – A, and N(new) reversed, then PIER(platform). The logs are mathematical
2 Failing to drink round by bar that’s silent (9)
VOICELESS -VICE(failing) surrounding O(round) next to LESS(bar – think of “I have all the answers in the puzzle bar this one”)
3 Old Testament figure penning account for another (5)
JACOB – JOB(Old Testament figure) containing AC(account)
5 One may have a reservation in diner, out to lunch with a maniac (8,6)
AMERICAN INDIAN – anagram of IN,DINER and A, MANIAC. Maybe not the most politically correct clue…
6 Downsizing personnel occupies founder over long period (9)
SHRINKAGE – HR(human resources, personnel) inside SINK(founder), then AGE(long period)
7 Yankee boards transport that’s cut fare from Asia (5)
SUSHI – US(Yankee) inside SHIP(transport) minus the last letter
8 Way to separate characters in small pub ingesting speed (5,3)
SPACE BAR – S(small), BAR(pub) containing PACE(speed)
9 Eccentric apprised of Cold War’s cause (5,2,7)
APPLE OF DISCORD – anagram of APPRISED,OF,COLD – the war is the Trojan one
15 Cuts of meat? Approve of what’s put in chow mein, maybe (9)
CHOPSTICK – CHOPS(cuts of meat) and TICK(approve of)
17 Like a tie that’s uncool with a couple of lines on it (3,6)
ALL SQUARE – SQUARE(uncool), under A, L,L(couple of lines)
18 Horse and zebras periodically escaping pounds (8)
SMACKERS – SMACK(heroin, horse) and alternating letters in zEbRaS
21 Brand using digital tech is to prove a winner (4,2)
MAKE IT – MAKE(brand of a product), IT(digital tech)
23 Three rings interwoven with very large moulding (5)
OVOLO – Three O’s(rings) containing V(very) and L(large)
24 Flipping pasta sauces: dear! (5)
SUGAR – RAGUS(pasta sauces) reversed

61 comments on “Times 28816 – a non-cartesian pangram”

  1. 75 minutes, but pleased to finish all correct without aids however long it took as I never ran out if ideas to pursue and didn’t suffer a moment of boredom. Jimbo would indeed have been pleased that my first thought on seeing ‘specialist in logs’ was NAPIER as I’m sure he had cause to remark on more than one occasion that I really ought to know the man.

    NHO APPLE OF DISCORD but that was what the anagram gave me and I knew people had fought wars over all sorts of unlikely-sounding things such as Jenkins’ ear.

    I wish I had settled on BILLIIONAIRE earlier in the proceedings. I even wrote it in at one stage, then rubbed it out because I was unable to parse it. Much later I realised, ‘Oh that Holiday!’

    My longest delays were in the SE with ALL SQUARE, QUA, MAKE IT and ORANGEADE taking me well over the hour.

  2. Whew, I thought it might have been just me, after a long day at “the office.” I could not get started, until after I’d eaten. Then I soon picked up speed, staying stuck here and there just long enough to appreciate—and enjoy—the originality of the clueing.

  3. Tough one this, but enjoyable. I fell at the final hurdle, with ‘napper’ hazarded for the unknown sciency chap.

    AMERICAN INDIAN was my favourite. Not only a reminder of horrendous and shameful acts in the past, but also a reminder of that truly great American novel, Little Big Man.

  4. 29:20, with one of the poorer WITCHes so far. Looking at the puzzle now, I’m not sure what caused my slowth. I (thought I) knew the story of the apple of d, but didn’t know its connection with the Trojan War. Not that it mattered; I biffed it. I was sure from the start that ‘specialist with logs’ was a mathematician, but I persisted in thinking of a generic (are mathematicians called nippers? nappers?) until the penny dropped and I got my LOI. I liked RASTA (another time-c0nsumer) and URGENT.

  5. Surprised to find myself bang on the wavelength, apparently, finishing in 31 minutes with my only real slowdown being the unknown APPLE OF DISCORD. Perhaps I’m less tired than I feel today!

  6. 47 minutes for me. Some wonderful misdirection in some of the clues like the “dreaded figure” or “Holiday for jazz fans” or “specialist with logs”. I’ve never heard of APPLE OF DISCORD but that’s what the letters seemed to give. I assumed it was about Adam and Eve rather than the judgment of Paris. I found it hard but I loved it.

  7. 17:27. Nice to finish for a change after only managing 1 of the previous 5 puzzles. I was glad I remembered OVOLO from my time working in a DIY store, as my initial instinct of OS for “very large” would have given the most unlikely OOOSO!

  8. 27:32 and I feel really proud of myself for finishing inside my half hour target. What a great crossword though, the clues were not hard as such or the answers obscure, they were simply devilishly misleading! Only NHO was OVOLO but I was pretty sure that had to be right.
    Thanks setter and blogger, good start to the day

  9. 16:50
    What a peach (not an Apple) of a crossword! Some beautifully misleading definitions, and a couple of long anagrams to get the grey cells jumping.
    NHO APPLE OF DISCORD, but it reminded me of Lord Dunsany’s poem:

    “And were you pleased?” they asked of Helen in Hell.
    “Pleased?” answered she, “when all Troy’s towers fell,
    And dead were Priam’s sons, and lost his throne,
    And such a war was fought as none had known,
    And even the gods took part, and all because of me alone?
    I should say I was!”

    LOI (and LOL) RASTA

  10. Very tough, taking 70 minutes, with LOI the unknown OVOLO. I also didn’t have much idea about the White Russian backward Tsar. My COD is URGENT. It would have been BILLIONAIRE but I’m embarrassed by that. All these years I’ve thought she was Billie Holliday with two ls. It’s probably because the guy who sang Story of my Life when I was a young man spelt it that way. Also, I had ISAAC before I realised it was the begattee and not begatter. Great puzzle, a bit too good for me.Thank youGeorge and setter.

      1. Sorry to reveal my ignorance but have they got a band member called Holiday, had a song titled Holiday, or been on holiday?

        1. They did have a hit with “Story of my Life” (different song) … my granddaughters tend to control our background music when they visit..

  11. 18:02. Nice one. LOI SMACKERS epitomised the witty wordplay. Thanks George and setter.

  12. Just under half an hour.

    Slowed myself down by putting ‘shrinking’ for 6d, before my lack of progress with the state in 16a forced me to rethink and get SHRINKAGE followed by ALABAMA; failed to separate ‘powerful rule’ in 10a for a long time, and only got PRINCIPLE once I had all the checkers; hadn’t heard of the APPLE OF DISCORD but it sounded plausible; got the ‘choose’ part of CHOOSE SIDES a long time before I figured out the rest of the clue; relied on the wordplay for NAPIER and OVOLO.

    Can someone explain how ‘One may have a reservation’ gives AMERICAN INDIAN?

    A tough but fun puzzle – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Ewe
    LOI Smackers
    COD Billionaire

    1. Indian Reservations? (No idea what they’re called these days, or if they even exist.)

  13. 15:25. Great puzzle, tricky in the best way.
    I thought CHOOSE SIDES was a bit green-painty but Chambers has it. Interestingly ‘pick sides’, which I would have said is more of a recognisable expression (with a different meaning) isn’t in any of the usual dictionaries.
    I agree with vinyl that URGENT doesn’t really need a question mark, although it wouldn’t have done any harm. UR as a prefix meaning ‘primitive’ is in all the usual dictionaries.

  14. 46 minutes. I’d initially thought the ‘as coming from Rome’ had something to do with ancient Roman coins; I was glad to eventually see QUA which had the bonus of providing that precious crossing Q for ALL SQUARE. The ‘War’s cause’ expression was new to me and I didn’t know the meaning of UR- as a prefix, thinking it was tough on what I understood was an advanced civilisation to be described as ‘Primitive’.

    Favourite was the def and surface for RASTA.

  15. Brilliant puzzle, making us solvers feel brilliant for solving it and getting all the in jokes. So I wondered why RASTAs are particularly fearsome (“I heard a dark voice beside of me”?), what version of a busman’s holiday jazz fans went on, which king exercised powerful rule, why sloppy kisses were pounds, and which of my ingredients for a decent chow mein I should include. My only complaint is that in my current condition it’s going to take a while to pick up all the pennies.
    23.31 for the sort of puzzle you don’t mind paying for.

  16. 32’53” for this cracker. I presumed URGENT was a reference to Abraham. Nho APPLE OF DISCORD, which took ages and for which I had to resort to pen and paper. BILLIONAIRE also a big delay, eventually there came a PDM.
    MISWORD was LOI, not completely parsed.

    Thanks george and setter.

  17. 21.47, absolutely brilliant. Loads of grins as the pennies dropped, and another now I discover that NAPIER isn’t some old term for a carpenter as I had guessed, misremembering what material has a nap while I was at it.

    I whacked in OVOLO from the inventive-but-fair wordplay with an eye to returning to it later. I then forgot altogether, so pleased it was right.

    Among many ticks, BILLIONAIRE, AMERICAN INDIAN, and RASTA were my picks.

    Thanks George and setter.

  18. 47′ and very enjoyable. NHO APPLE OF DISCORD but easily found with a few crossers. Nor OVOLO but again generously clued. FOI NAPIER. POI URGENT, I know UR as the old city but not as a prefix for old. LOI RASTA which was just a great clue and my COD. Thanks George and setter.

  19. A masterpiece which unravelled via successive PDMs, groans, slaps of the forehead and salutes to the brilliant setter in just under 48 delightful minutes. LOI was the polite caveman but my COD in a packed field was BILLIONAIRE for giving me a top-notch earworm in Lover Man. What a voice.

  20. Brilliant, witty, enjoyable. And right on the wavelength, WITCH about 75, saw all the trickiness straight away it seemed. LOI and only one unparsed, unable to make bar=less, was VOICELESS. Where I said what the blogger said: “I have all the answers in the puzzle bar this one”. Thanks all.

  21. 43:37
    A veritable game of two halves, with a relatively speedy start before griding to a halt.

    No real unknowns but with about 3/4s done I was held up by struggling to tease out APPLE OF DISCORD.

    Having felt on-form yesterday I’ll get back in my box.

    Thanks to both.

  22. I’ve only just fallen in to why RASTA means ‘dreaded figure’. Doh!
    NHO ‘Apple of discord’. Despite having read Homer don’t remember the image being used in The Iliad. Can someone give me a quote?

    1. The Apple of Discord was so named as it actually belonged to Eris(goddess of Discord), who, because she wasn’t invited to Achilles’ parents’ wedding, tossed in an apple to the celebration inscribed “to the fairest” to stir up trouble. Paris awards this apple to Aphrodite, who rewards him with Helen, but he thereby also incurs the wrath of losers Hera and Athena. Their animosity eventually leads to Paris’ death and of course the destruction of Troy during the famous war.(But on the positive side this also led to the founding of Rome ).

      1. Much more importantly than Rome, the founding of Totnes in Devon: check out the Brutus Stone, halfway up the High Street

        1. I thought that particular myth (from Geoffrey on Monmouth) had long been exploded. The supposed connection between the Prince of Troy and the French capital is an equally bogus claim. The medievals seem to have had a penchant for legitimising themselves with such myths.

          1. I think you’ll find the happily bizarre Totnes folk don’t care tuppence for myth detonators. Glastonbury commercialises its connections to myths and the occult. Totnes takes them seriously. If they find out about this, expect an elaborate hex to wing its way towards you.

  23. 71 minutes with one or two aids, including looking up to see if there was a biblical figure called Hacam. BILLIONAIRE and PRINCIPLE marvellous clues. Some of the connections, like less = bar and chides = wigs, seemed at the time to be a bit thin, but they don’t now and although I made rather heavy weather of this it was much enjoyed.

  24. 36 minutes, held up by LOI – NAPIER which I should know by now considering how often logarithmic references have cropped up in the last few months.

    COD to the cute BILLIONAIRE. Yes, I biffed his poorer cousin MILLIONAIRE before working out the Billie Holiday reference, very cunningly disguised.

    OVOLO was a NHO but figured the wordplay wouldn’t lead me astray.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  25. About an hour. Done in chunks in the recovery room after a shoulder op, so maybe literally dopy this morning. Certainly found this a challenge but an enjoyable one. LOI urgent, which now I’ve thought about it was pretty good.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  26. DNF. MISWORD absent from my cheating machine and now added. I couldn’t parse MISTOLD which oddly was also absent from my cheating machine. NHO APPLE OF DISCORD. I more-or-less guessed it and then had to look it up to see if I should put it in my cheating machine, which I did. Slightly surprised that the OF came across unaltered, but that’s OK. Had forgotten OVOLO; it is a very forgettable word, but the Wiki article was memorable.
    Failed to parse BILLIONAIRE and also thought Billie was spelt Billy Holliday.

  27. 42:02

    Nicely-paced and enjoyable toughie where I never felt as if I couldn’t finish, each of the latter answers just giving enough to make something of the next clue. My experience matched others in 1) biffing ISAAC at 3d; 2) struggling to remember NAPIER’s name having seen the trick early; 3) not having a clue about the APPLE OF DISCORD – I picked out the last word from the DSD checkers then managed to make something of the remaining grist; 4) not knowing that UR- is a prefix meaning ‘primitive’ – thought somehow the city of UR was being referred to as primitive; 5) NHO OVOLO but is was kindly clued.

    Thanks George and setter

  28. Strewth! A tour de force! NHO the APPLE or the moulding, but got there in the end. BASSISTS started the tussle. I never seemed to get completely stuck, but 11a and 7d stayed blank in the middle almost to the end. VELCRO took an age too. Each answer had to be teased out of bits of the wordplay before the whole appeared. Eventually ATSAR appeared through the mists, but I didn’t get the PDM until after submitting. SUSHI followed a while later with a huge clang. Proof reading then revealed that I hadn’t solved 1d. More protracted brain bashing finally revealed PIER as the platform and the job was done. 39:33. Thanks setter and George.

  29. Soundly beaten. Couldn’t let go of wanting to put a Y in the Asian fare so never found the food or the very clever RASTA. Obvious now! I thought brand would be ‘name’ and ‘coming from Rome’ surely via, which made what I thought was going to be a kipper tie impossible and then I just collapsed in a heap. Liked the AMERICAN INDIAN and what you put in a chow mien. Onwards..

    Thanks setter and G

  30. An absolutely superb puzzle today which I pink squared on MISWORD in 47 minutes. I’d worked out to take out the S from miss then was looking for a word for “cutting line”. Unable to see any word that fitted I settled on fold – as in cut along the fold – knowing that misfold had something to do with proteins and crossed my fingers from there. Would never have thought of the full miss world to get the unlikely sounding misword.
    This was but one of a set of superb clues with COD to Billionaire ( oh that holiday as the tumblers clicked into place).

    Slight mer at “like a tie” surely all square is a tie? That threw me for a long time.

    Many thx G and setter

  31. Long old battle, but got there in the end. Always good to have a chastening, though enjoyable experience!


  32. 27.14

    OVOLO went in without a thought but the APPLE was a struggle as I kept writing the grist down incorrectly. D’oh. But have seen that RASTA idea somewhere recently which helped.

    Excellent fare. Loved VELCRO and MISWORD. Dunno if Myrtilus does the daily but this has that feel with the wit and smoothness (that’s meant to be a genuine compliment Setter!)

    Thanks George and clever setter

  33. I can only repeat others’ compliments on the ingenuity and misdirection of many of these clues. It took me 46 minutes but I always felt I was in with a chance as I found the challenge so enjoyable. A lot of this time was taken up in unravelling the NE corner. It was helpful that both the long down clues were anagrams.
    COD – IDEALS, but also enjoyed SMACKERS and NAPIER, though I can usually see him coming.
    Thanks to george and other contributors.

  34. Brilliant puzzle, took me a thoroughly enjoyable 45 mins. I couldn’t get Napier’s Bones out of my head, and wondered what logs had to do with anything. Until…ah, those sort of logs!

  35. Sent myself well off the track by thinking that 3D was ISAAC (ISA and Ac)! So that properly messed up the top left of the crossword until I was forced to check the answer. Duh.

  36. Got to this a day late because of cricket/ tennis distractions, but what a fantastic puzzle. I got it done in 48.02 but for much of the time feared a DNF. Thanks to G for explaining several, including BILLIONAIRE. This Billie Holiday fan is ashamed to say he completely missed that reference.

    1. I wonder if you saw ‘Lady Day’ at MTC recently Lindsay, as a fellow resident of Melbourne? I thought it was excellent

      1. Hi aphis, I am ashamed to say I did not, tbh I didn’t realise it was on until late in the piece and it became the victim of a crowded pre-Christmas travel agenda. I have been disappointed by similar productions in the past but I gather this was quite superb.

  37. What fun. “oh that sort of holiday”. Misword for the clue, if not for the clunky result.
    Palm slap on missing 11ac, “dreaded” was brilliant.

  38. Yes, I liked RASTA a lot too, once I understood the very clever misdirection! Unfortunately I never did while solving…other great misdirections were the Billie Holiday clue (another Lady Day fan here), and the “specialist in logs”.
    NHO NAPIER, I’m ashamed to say (not a numbers fan), nor the APPLE OF DISCORD, which anagrist escaped me altogether. Struggled and was roundly defeated, but battle-scarred as I was, enjoyed the tussle. Setter 1, Solver 0.

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