Times 28819 – The best-laid schemes….

Time: 23 minutes

Music: Scheherazade, Reiner/CSO.

Here’s a perfectly simple Monday puzzle for your enjoyment.   Yes, there were some things I didn’t see as I solved, or didn’t know,  but that didn’t stop me from writing in the correct answers.

The only things that might possibly give difficulty is campion as a flower rather than a composer, a martyr, or a detective, and what a fedora might have to do with Indiana.    If you just follow the cryptics, you won’t ask.


1 Contribute 100? Doubly cool! (4,2)
4 Chilling mostly after injury — that’s good to hear (8)
HARMONIC – HARM + ON IC[e].   Actually, odd order harmonics give the sound an unpleasant edginess.
10 Confirm a north-eastern shipping route (3,4)
11 Victor ignores second flower (7)
CAMPION – C[h]AMPION, where second is the second letter, not S or MO.     A flower I had nearly forgotten.
12 Be inconsistent, with indignant cry interrupting informal greeting (2-2)
13 Scorned AA invention twice by the road, ultimately (4-6)
POOH-POOHED – POOH + POOH + [th]E [roa]D,   AA Milne, that is.
15 Screen finally put between hot drink and letters for protection (5,4)
CHAIN MAIL –  CHAI + [scree]N + MAIL.
16 Hiked and had something to eat, skipping starter (5)
18 Initially, banana skin repelled censor (5)
BLEEP – B[anana] + PEEL backwards.
19 Fruit from gloomy northern town you might gather (9)
BLUEBERRY – BLUE + sounds like BURY.   I think I know a fellow from there…
21 I understand that you may bring home this philosopher (5,5)
ROGER BACON – ROGER + BACON  as in roger, wilco, bring home the bacon.
23 Instrument seen during family reunion (4)
LYRE – Hidden in [fami]LY RE[union].
26 In the middle of a very entertaining new song’s finale (7)
AMONGST –  A MO(N,[son]G)ST.
27 Maybe hotter place in Africa (7)
TANGIER – Double definition, hotter in the sense of spicier.   I alwasy thought it was Tangiers, but the answer is only seven letters.
28 Gifted man secures a fast time (8)
29 A trial to net billions, if everything goes perfectly (2,4)
1 Plum to throw at the bottom of copper (5)
CUSHY –  CU + SHY, where bottom is a positional indicator.
2 Canine, say, is barking regardless (2,3,4)
3 State the words of a coward? (4)
5 All hooch nearly drunk? Here’s more! (7)
ALCOHOL – Anagram of ALL HOOC[h].
6 Parent and child clipped plane? Rubbish (5,5)
MUMBO JUMBO – MUM + BO[y] + JUMBO, sc. jet.
7 Hear no sound from stable (5)
NEIGH – Sounds like nay.
8 Is a father able to briefly vote for national celebration? (6,3)
9 Iron bar sent north over area that covers Indiana? (6)
FEDORA – FE + ROD upside-down over A.    I built this from the cryptic, and just realized it is Indiana Jones that is meant.
14 I have the same women’s clothing on, and a flower? (10)
SNAPDRAGON –  SNAP + DRAG ON.  The slang use of snap comes from the card game.   NHO, so I biffed with all the crossers present.
15 Internet whiz nearby cut off (9)
17 Official opinion of the conga, perhaps? (5,4)
PARTY LINE – Double definition, one jocular.
19 Small creature in wine drunk by queen, possibly (7)
BEASTIE – BE(ASTI)E, a queen bee, presumably.   I was thinking of the queen of the Netherlands, not sure if she was still alive or not, but now I see what the setter meant.
20 Worried about small vessels (1-5)
U-BOATS –  Anagram of ABOUT + S.
22 Become large and emit a threatening noise (5)
24 Greet cuckoo and another bird (5)
EGRET – Anagram of GREET.
25 Muscle problem hit hard when standing up (4)
KNOT –  TONK upside-down.

88 comments on “Times 28819 – The best-laid schemes….”

  1. I got held up over POOH-POOHED because, with the crossers I had, PISH-POSHED came to mind and wasn’t easily dismissed, though the invention by the Automobile Association or Alcoholics Anonymous remained a mystery. This caused my LOI 9d to look -E-I-A, suggesting that the abbreviation for the state of Indiana(IN) might be covered by the rest of the clue. Good misdirection by the setter! It wasn’t until I wondered what the question mark at the end of the clue was doing that the pennies finally dropped.

  2. Goodness me. Not sure what was in my coffee today but I was a speed demon on both puzzles today. 8:18, which is my fastest time ever.

    Finished with the TANGIER/KNOT crossing. Originally I wrote in TAN + H reversed but once I had those letters in I saw what the answer should be.

  3. As Vinyl is surely aware, one definition of HARMONIC, equivalent to “harmonious,” refers to only the most smoothest, sweetest, most agreeable frequency relations—although the term has a broader sense in both science and music theory. On the other hand, La Monte Young would say (and other composers working with the harmonic series would agree) that between tones in just intonation it is only a matter of more or less distant consonance. (I didn’t know what Vinyl meant by “odd-order harmonics”; the most consonant interval is the tonic with the third harmonic, three times the fundamental frequency, the “perfect fifth” in diatonic-scale lingo; next-harmonious, in this sense, is the fifth harmonic, though this is fourteen hundredths of a half-step, or 14 cents, sharp in its equal-temperament approximation the major third. All the prime harmonics besides 2 are, of course, odd numbers. Turns out Vinyl is referring to electronic circuit design—or something like that, anyway not music theory. https://www.sonarworks.com/blog/learn/when-distortion-is-good Sure, you don’t want your sound system creating any harmonics other than octaves, duplicates, of the original tones, as all even-order harmonics are.)

    This was indeed very easy. My LOI was FEDORA, which is silly, because I own an Indiana Jones hat, stamped with the copyright of Lucas Films (and stained with the sweat from my own perilous expeditions).

      1. ‘harmony’ has an interesting etymology, deriving ultimately from Homeric Greek ‘άρμαω’ meaning ‘to fit together well’. The ‘swift ships’ of the Achaeans are described in the Iliad in several places as ‘fitting together well’ using this epithet.

        1. Very interesting – thank you! Will check out the Iliad reference. I hadn’t come across that before, despite living for 16 years in (Greek) Cyprus, but my somewhat basic Greek is the modern version, and I’m not at all versed in the ancient language. I wonder if there’s something similar going on with the Spanish verb ‘armar’, meaning to build or piece together.

          1. That’s an interesting point. I’m not familiar with that sense of ‘armar’. Spanish being fundamentally a Latinate language, I’d guess that ‘armar’ is more likely to be from ‘arma’ — as in “Arma virumque cano…” (I sing of arms and the man…)… and my trusty 1973 ‘Vox diccionario’ bears me out.

        2. Can you tell me when Breughel became Brueghel, as you seem to know this odd sort of fact!

  4. 9:49. Felt very bright after solving in under ten minutes but brought back to earth by failing to grasp Guy’s lecture on harmonics!

    Held up at the end by KNOT and TANGIER for some reason, but pretty straightforward otherwise. COD to FEDORA.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter. And Guy of course (I’m going to read it again and this time I’ll take notes).

  5. 24.57, with a shout-out to V for explaining what the AA was doing and also to Guy for going to all the trouble of writing a mini-essay on harmonics that has totally bamboozled me, galspray and probably many more to come. I too thought it was Tangiers but Dylan (If you see her say hello…) does not, so I guess the debate will continue to rage until someone looks it up. I know there’s still plenty of time for the QC blog to arrive, but has anyone seen Saturday’s?

    1. I thought Tangiers was one of those places, like Lyons and Marseilles, where English added an S for no apparent reason.

      1. I was going to say the same, except that I’ve never seen ‘Lyons’! In the case of Marseilles and Tangiers I think the extra S is becoming less common.

        1. I knew ‘Lyons’ long before ‘Lyon’. Our family radio back in the 1950s was one of those valve jobs in a wooden cabinet that had an illuminated glass tuning panel listing the names of European stations or transmitters broadcasting on Long, Medium and Short Wave. Lyons was one of these. I don’t remember many now, but Hilversum was another. And Droitwich, the BBC Light Programme on Long Wave.

        2. Lyons used to be standard in The Times e.g. the football team.
          I see the final S less and less of late.
          “Her comments came amid concern in France over the expected arrival of 3,000 Juventus fans for their team’s Champions League football match against Lyons last night. Local politicians called for supporters of the Turin-based team to be banned, but they were overruled by the government.”

      2. Come to think of it, the French call Tangiers Tanger, and Algiers Alger. So there is some sort of pattern here.

  6. 30m 42s but MUMBO JUMBU? If one is going to cross-check one’s work, one might at least do it thoroughly!

  7. Although I solved this in 28 minutes – 2 within by target time – I didn’t find it quite a straightforward as most others so far.

    Apart from IRAN, nothing leapt out at me in the early clues both Across and Down, so I moved to the bottom of the grid in search of easier pickings. I found them there aplenty, but working in reverse up the grid is always a bit slower than working down.

  8. 15:25
    I was relatively slow to start but it is Monday.

    Nothing too obscure and all generously clued. I think this would serve as a nice crossword for anyone looking to step up to the 15×15.

    Thanks to both.

  9. There is a garden in her face
    Where roses and white lilies grow;
    (Thomas Campion)

    20 ish mins pre-brekker. No ticks, no crosses, no Mers. No comment.
    Ta setter and V.

  10. 38 minutes with LOI SNAPDRAGON, which I knew, unlike CYBERNAUT. COD to POOH-POOHED. I Liked ROGER BACON too. I had trouble parsing AMONGST and should have just biffed it. Not that easy. Thank you V and setter.

  11. 8:30
    Excellent! (That punctuation may be relevant, if the Letters editor decides to print my contribution this morning on the subject of screamers.)
    CYBERNAUT was a new one on me, but I like it; EGRETs, we’ve had a few.

  12. About 15 minutes, with no real difficulties. CAMPION as a flower was the only unknown, and for a while I thought we needed a word with an S in it which then needed to be removed, but the checkers soon set me straight. Liked the new (at least, I haven’t seen it before) AA device for POOH-POOHED.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Chip in
    LOI Harmonic
    COD Pooh-poohed

  13. 15:35. I see I dawdled a bit over this in comparison to others. I liked the AA Milne reference, the extra hooch, SNAPDRAGON and CHIP IN. Thank-you Vinyl and setter.

  14. 19:58, I was slowed down by the Cybernaut, which word I only associate with being a killer robot from the 1960s Avengers TV series!

    1. I didn’t have any trouble getting the answer from the clue, but I must admit that I have never heard the word used in this context.

      Incidentally, the French for an internet user is “internaute”; they also say “surfeur/surfeuse”, but no doubt “internaute” is more acceptable to the (rightly in my opinion) Franglais averse Académie.

  15. I was a bit below lightning speed on this too and thought it was a bit TANGIER than the average Monday. 17 minutes. I was a bit worried about KNOT: it looked like one of those clues where you have what you think is a perfectly acceptable answer only to have it pooh-poohed by another and double pinked.

  16. 15a CYBERNAUT, I missed that it was an anagram. Oh dear!
    Didn’t the Scarlet Pimpernel use the 11a CAMPION?

  17. 9.57 for a pleasantly surprising sub-10. Some of the surfaces seemed more QC-ish than 15×15, but that’s fine for a Monday.

    BEASTIE was my favourite, for reminding me of Lord of the Flies.

    Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  18. CYBERNAUT?! All crossers present plus writing out the anagrist, and it still took a while. At least it gave me the R I needed to get LOI ROGER – the only BACON I know is Francis, or the type that comes with eggs.

    Otherwise, nice and Mondayish – I liked POOH POOHED.


  19. About an hour but an entirely unaided complete about which I am very happy.

    FEDORA, TONK and POOH POOHED were my LOIs and I thoroughly enjoyed the PDM for each and the fact that TONK meant I had to change ‘ab test’ to the correct AT BEST made this even more of a satisfactory solve.

    Thanks Vinyl for the fine blog.

  20. Liked POOH-POOHED, though that and FEDORA were my last in. Even with the O in place I couldn’t get FEDORA, even though I’d thought of I Jones. I think the problem was that I had spent ages rearranging the possible permutations of the clue earlier and then couldn’t go back to the beginning and re-appraise the instructions in the light of the letters I had. More fool me. Had to resort to aids ultimately, which was a shame for a puzzle that really wasn’t that difficult. Thanks, V and setter.

  21. Can’t really say why but I had far more trouble with this than I should have. Not helped by initially biffing MAMBY-PAMBY without really thinking. But I got there in the end. Couldn’t really parse AMONGST or FEDORA convincingly either but they had to be right. I specially liked U-BOATS, NEIGH, and good old Mr Bacon. Enjoyed, despite the heavy weather.

  22. For no good reason I invented ALONGST as a word, parsed as A LOT entertaining New and the end of sonGS. My only excuse is that using the wordplay to invent words often seems to work. So, a DNF in 22.30.

  23. Not quite as easy as I initially thought it was going to be. NHO CYBERNAUT. Hadn’t a clue over Milne (never read him as a child) and simply biffed it.

    TIME 9:34

    * The opening track from my favourite Jethro Tull album “The Broadsword and the Beast”.

  24. V says “perfectly simple” but it seems that not everyone was quite of this view. Yes easy enough, but there were some slight problems in places, which sent me out to 39 minutes. CAMPION not all that familar; BEASTIE small? (OK in the Scottish sense); AA not immediately obvious; UPPED = hiked; BLUEBERRY not that common a fruit, although they’re in Aldi; Indiana??; CYBERNAUT.

  25. 10:20 – straightforward on the whole and annoyingly deprived of a sub-10 minute time by LOI CYBERNAUT, where I was slow to see the anagram and slower to shuffle the bits into something that made sense.

  26. Argh – according to the Snitch that would have been my second fastest time ever, but I somehow wrote NEIGH with 2 Hs (my last one in so I assume I was rushing to press the submit button). Valuable lessons learned (until next time).

  27. All done in quick time except POOH-POOHED, took me too long to twig AA Milne although am a big fan; Wrote in FEDORA with no idea why, never seen Indiana Jones so didn’t know he had a specific hat. Liked ROGER BACON and SNAPDRAGON.

  28. 40:07

    Pretty hopeless time this morning considering the Snitch (69 when I looked, which for me equates to a target time of 24:30) by the look of things. I got there in the end, but seem to have taken a very scenic route, taking ages to see some relatively simple answers e.g. CUSHY, IN ANY CASE, ALCOHOL. Oh well, successfully finishing no matter how long it takes ranks higher than a pink square in my book. My only NHOs were CAMPION as flower (needed all of the checkers) and ROGER BACON philosopher.

  29. A steady solve finishing well inside target at 36.08. It took a while to twig the AA reference, with initially only the Automobile Association and Alcoholics Anonymous coming to mind. My LOI was HARMONIC, where for the life of me I couldn’t find anything other than DAEMONIC to fit, and I spent too long trying to fit that in.

  30. 26 mins. Somehow I made heavy weather of an easy Monday puzzle. Must be my sore toe…

  31. 27 minutes. Another to have missed the AA reference and there were a few others half-parsed. The ‘that covers Indiana?’ def for FEDORA was my favourite. For me, challenging enough to be enjoyable.

  32. YO-YO went in first and the rest of the NW followed quickly. I even twigged the Indiana Jones reference as soon as CHAIN MAIL gave me the A. I also spotted the Milne reference straight away with POOH POOHED going in confidently with only the O from FEDORA present. A short while later KNOT completed all bar 3 clues in the SW, 15d, 21a and 26a. CYBERNUT was my first thought, which made AMONGST impossible until I noticed I had CYBERNUTT at 15d. ROGER then arrived followed shortly by the BACON. 13:53. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  33. Yes Mondayish but none the less clever for that. I liked the ‘doubly cool’, the AA invention, a fast time, and area that covers Indiana. Lots of smiles.

    Thanks V and setter

  34. 12.17 and at one stage thought I might get an elusive sub ten but stuttered in the NE corner. Nothing particularly daunting in what used to be labelled a standard Monday puzzle.

    A few four letter clues which I occasionally and very annoying trip up over but today they held no malevolence.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  35. Not too difficult; solved over lunch.
    Assumed FEDORA had to be right.
    I found it very enjoyable.

  36. 13:17. COD SNAPDRAGON.

    The reference to a philosopher called Bacon brought to mind this tale which I love. Many will have heard it before but in case not, here it is. (Attributed to someone called Lard_Baran on reddit in 2010).

    When I was young my father said to me: “Knowledge is power, Francis Bacon.” I understood it as “Knowledge is power, France is bacon.”

    For more than a decade I wondered over the meaning of the second part and what was the surreal linkage between the two. If I said the quote to someone, “Knowledge is power, France is Bacon,” they nodded knowingly. Or someone might say, “Knowledge is power” and I’d finish the quote “France is bacon,” and they wouldn’t look at me like I’d said something very odd, but thoughtfully agree. I did ask a teacher what did “Knowledge is power, France is bacon” mean and got a full 10-minute explanation of the “knowledge is power” bit but nothing on “France is bacon.” When I prompted further explanation by saying “France is bacon?” in a questioning tone, I just got a “yes.” At 12 I didn’t have the confidence to press it further. I just accepted it as something I’d never understand.

    It wasn’t until years later I saw it written down that the penny dropped.

  37. 19.23. Felt more of a lion than a wee tim’rous cow’ring beastie today, that’s for sure. Thanks both.

  38. Not too keen on the use of nomenclature (anag. manure en clot) with A.A. and Indiana. Does censor=bleep? Cushy seems a tad off target for plum. A plum job or position is something definitely to aim for or be proud of having; a cushy one is merely comfortable. A slight accuracy drift seems to be part of the new dispensation. Not what the newspaper is about. Otherwise pleasant enough. 21 minutes.

    1. Chambers gives the second definition of ‘plum’ as an adjective as: choice, cushy. Take it up with the dictionary!

      If you censor a word (on TV/radio) you would bleep it.

      1. I thought this was a bit iffy, because the equivalent of ‘censor’ is ‘bleep out’. But ODE has just ‘bleep’.

        1. Chambers says ‘esp with out’, but either seem OK to me. I’ve heard e.g. podcasts offer ‘bleeped versions’ that do away with swear words and the like, although that could be an American usage.

  39. As Casey said above, not too tricky but lots to enjoy – I thought this was a lovely puzzle.
    Liked Pooh Poohed, Harmonic, Neigh, Snapdragon, Yo Yo, Chip In – pretty much everything, really.
    Thanks to the Setter.

  40. Would have been good, save for a stubborn conviction that 19a was sourberry, which made 19d impossible. Like most British politicians and football managers, I refuse to change a mistake.

  41. Very much enjoyed, as it gave me a bit of much-lacking confidence back in solving the 15×15. As Casey and Vaccarex said, a very pleasant puzzle, with clever allusions (most of which escaped me, tbh). Especially liked the POOH allusion, as has always been one of my favourites, but NHO CYBERNAUT nor ROGER BACON (to my shame 🙁 )

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