Times 28823 – many a time and oft, but not today


Easy to start and rather harder to finish, I found, with the 1s almost straight in but 5 or 6 scattered clues holding out at the end (LOI 9dn). I continue to wait with bated breath for my next proper Friday test.

After blogging I think this is quite a classy puzzle, much simpler than yesterday but not facile. I saw LOCKS before DrEAD, EID before ORGAN, and TELE before CASTER, and left feeling satisfied that I had won the duel against a worthy and generous opponent – thanks to the setter.

Definitions underlined.

1 Picked up Asian needing sunshine in Asian island (6)
TAIWAN – sounds like “Thai” (Asian), then WAN (needing sunshine).
4 Spooner’s relative speculates in toxic assets (3,5)
BAD DEBTS – Spoonerisation of “Dad Bets”.
10 Some stock pine things, periodically stocking gold (9)
LONGHORNS – LONG (pine) + tHiNgS containing OR (gold).
11 Magazine business means to make sound projection (5)
COMIC – CO (company, business) + MIC (means to make sound projection).
12 Perhaps one clergyman with less sensitivity (8,6)
CARDINAL NUMBER – CARDINAL (clergyman) + NUMBER (less sensitivity).
14 One of a couple particular about eating meat or fish (5)
SPRAT – double definition.
16 Ties braids of hair Romeo’s cut (9)
DEADLOCKS – DrEADLOCKS (braids of hair) minus the ‘r’ (Romeo).
18 Old exercise and food regime inspiring new, practical method (9)
EXPEDIENT – EX (old) + PE (exercise) + DIET (food regime) containing N (new).
20 E.g. caviar dressing queens sent back? One may get cross (5)
ERROR – ROE (e.g. caviar) containing 2 x R (queens), all reversed.
21 Revered figure, say, among trees with staff (5,9)
ELDER STATESMAN – STATE (say) contained by ELDERS (trees) + MAN (staff).
25 Kind of poppy composition starts off in upbeat medley (5)
OPIUM – OP (opus, composition) + first letters from In Upbeat Medley.
26 Take off and fly — go off on sortie originally (9)
SKEDADDLE – KED (fly) + ADDLE (go off), after first of Sortie.
27 Fruit given to wee model of diminutive stature (8)
FIGURINE – FIG (fruit) + URINE (wee).
28 Idiot guards empty space, which people are in until they come out? (6)
CLOSET – CLOT (idiot) containing the outermost letters from SpacE.
1 Person trying to package fancy lace, one responsible for what’s on the box (10)
TELECASTER – TESTER (person trying) containing an anagram of LACE.
2 Private place to drink Erdinger on vacation (5)
INNER – INN (place to drink) + outermost letters from ErdingeR.
3 One might shun temples where robbers are? (7)
ATHEIST – robbers might be AT HEIST.
5 Losing head, churchman gives offence (5)
ARSON – pARSON (churchman) minus his first letter.
6 Democrat with awful malice makes a kind of point (7)
DECIMAL – D (democrat) + anagram of MALICE.
7 Very great king accepting a fair option? (6,3)
BUMPER CAR – BUMPER (very great) + CR (king) containing A.
8 Belt in this fashion designer’s label (4)
SOCK – SO (in this fashion) + CK (Calvin Klein, designer’s label).
9 Material in publication on Muslim festival coming up (8)
ORGANDIE – ORGAN (publication) + EID (Muslim festival) reversed.
13 Bitter drunk neat, tucked into by saint with halo, say (10)
ASTRINGENT – anagram of NEAT, containing ST (saint) and RING (halo, say).
15 Disgusting case of revenge beating (9)
REPULSING – outermost letters from RevengE + PULSING (beating).
17 Might one take a group of workers for lunch? (8)
ANTEATER – cryptic definition.
19 Utopian article in Bild covering lots of paper (7)
DREAMER – DER (German ‘the’, article in Bild) containing REAM (lots of paper).
20 Look over confession of someone crying aloud (7)
EYEBALL – sounds like “I bawl” (confession of someone crying).
22 Sometimes lazy female star without appeal (5)
SUSAN – SUN (star) containing SA (sex appeal, appeal).
23 Servants bringing down article for legendary alchemist (5)
MIDAS – MAIDS (servants) with the A (article) moving further down.
24 What’s uttered by setter in court loudly (4)
WOOF – WOO (court) + F (loudly).

60 comments on “Times 28823 – many a time and oft, but not today”

  1. 42 minutes.

    “Easy to start and rather harder to finish” sums up my experience too.

    I stormed through the top half and had some decent footholds in the south, but closing it out proved quite difficult.

    I was not helped by having entered REPULSIVE at 15dn which made 27ac impossible to solve until I’d spotted FIG as the likely fruit and realised the E-checker had to be an error. Collins and Chambers deny the existence of ‘pulsive’ and I was beginning to feel foolish for having thought of it, but SOED has restored my faith in myself:

    pulsive [from Latin puls- (see pulsion) + -ive.]
    Making a beating or throbbing sound. M20.

    So my answer was a valid solution to the clue but sadly not the one required as the final checker didn’t fit with an adjoining answer.

  2. On first glancing at this, I got DREAMER and ATHEIST, and felt really seen by this puzzle. CARDINAL NUMBER came next and it was off to the races. Way easier than yesterday’s! Last in were WOOF (ha!), OPIUM and FIGURINE.

  3. On the ball today, found this straightforward.

    I have a lazy SUSAN, never used as there’s only two of us.

    Just when did dodgems become bumper cars? The two have opposite meanings. Just saying.

    10’49”, thanks william and setter.

    1. ‘Dodgems’ describes what you’re supposed to do. ‘Bumper cars’ describes what you do.

    2. 1938. Clearly after a decade it was decided that evasive action was not the point of the exercise.

  4. 48m 27s
    As William and Jack say, “easy to start, rather harder to finish”. The top half went in quite easily.
    26ac SKEDADDLE. I didn’t know KED = fly, otherwise parsing I found straightforward.
    Now back to watching the cricket….

      1. I always thought it stood for Carolus Rex, but you are quite right. Very upsetting for a smug classicist…

  5. I found this fairly hard all the way through, but perhaps that’s just my overtiredness talking as I finished in 33 mins. One of those puzzles where I got hardly anything at first glance, but a second look once a crosser or two were in often made things a lot clearer.

  6. 13.06 for a speedy Friday finish. ORGANDIE provided a bit of resistance until I considered starting it with vowels, and trying REPUGNANT (pug from pugilistic) slowed me a bit, but very happy with that overall.

    Thanks setter & William.

  7. 10:00. I hit ‘submit without leaderboard’ by accident, which is mildly annoying. Why does it have to happen on a day when I didn’t make any mistakes? [shakes fist at cruel universe]
    I tried both REPUGNANT and REPULSIVE before landing on the right answer, which caused me a bit of a problem in the SW.
    No unknowns today. ORGANDIE from past puzzles, of course.

  8. 38 minutes with Mr and Mrs Sprat’s different dietary plans a nice PDM to finish on. ORGANDIE came from Emily, whenever I may find her. I’ve always called them BUMPER CARs. Dodgems are for wimps. Enjoyable. Thank you William and setter. Apropos of nothing, good to see Tom Hartley’s taken a couple after yesterday’s nightmare.

  9. 18:54. Quick to start and hard to finish sums it up for me too. I stared at SOCK as the only answer I could come up with that fitted definition and checkers for ages and still couldn’t parse it. I should have thought of CK, it’s come up before, but then my fashion designer labels are more likely to be Tu or George. ANTEATER and SKEDADDLE took a while to come too. Some great clues – TAIWAN, ATHEIST, ANTEATER, EYEBALL, SUSAN and WOOF all got ticks on my copy. Thanks William and setter.

  10. 16:40
    A lot easier than yesterday’s effort, with only a couple of holdouts, including my LOI/LOL DEADLOCKS.
    Status Quo fans are still trying to recover from seeing Francis Rossi (the ELDER STATESMAN of Rock) wielding his TELECASTER on a Marks & Spencer TV advert this week – presumably he’s the one responsible for what’s on the box.

  11. 40:15 and a much happier experience than yesterday’s, from which I am still recovering.

    Like my first marriage, this started off fine, had a tough middle section then a breezy finish.

    LOI – DEADLOCKS. I think I was trying to insert Romeo rather than eliminate him from my enquiries.


  12. 10:06

    A steady solve throughout, completing the NW corner straight off and working from there.

    Like keriothe I fleetingly considered REPUGNANT at 15d thinking that PUGNANT might have something to do with fighting but didn’t type it in and managed to spot that PULSING was a better fit for the WP than pulsive.

    S&G earworm today thanks to organdie, but I’m not aware that Paul Simon ever played a Telecaster.

    Nice puzzle, thanks all round.

    PS, just tackled yesterday’s puzzle. Just wanted to say that I remembered SLOPE ARMS from the Pippin Fort drill in Camberwick Green.

    1. Indeed he has. He definitely played one duetting with Sting on Every Breath at the O2 during their joint tour in 2015. An unlikely artistic combination maybe but it was actually sublime …

  13. About 15 minutes.

    Like others, went pretty quickly until I was held up towards the end. Didn’t see how SPRAT worked so it went in with a shrug; only got SKEDADDLE with all the checkers, and forgot ked=fly; was fortunate with ORGANDIE because I’ve started doing the book of Times cryptic crosswords published a few years ago, and the one I did yesterday happened to feature it.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Arson
    LOI Sprat
    COD Repulsing

  14. Blast! After 35 mins, I went Broaddie with the material (Broadsheet/Broadcloth). No excuses.

    Thanks P and setter.

  15. Steady top-to-bottom solve, as 1ac and 1dn went straight in.. liked the sprat and the woof.
    Always called them dodgem cars meself, and would have thought bumper cars was an Americanism, though both Collins and BW above say otherwise ..
    One of my heroes, Albert Lee, plays a Fender Telecaster (amongst other guitars)

    1. A few years ago I went to see Nanci Griffith at the Lowry. In the restaurant before the gig I spotted a guy at the next table with long grey hair sporting a denim jacket. I nudged my mate and said something along the lines of “I bet he’s going to the gig”. The next time a saw him was when Nanci’s backing band came on stage. Yep, it was Albert Lee.

          1. 🙂
            I’m out walking so using my phone. I wrote “envy” but put it in these which made it disappear! : > <

  16. NHO ORGANDIE, so that finally defeated me. Everything else fairly straightforward, though I was also held up by the REPULSIVE issue until I realised it must be wrong.

  17. About an hour on this with a DNF which I’ll take exception to!!

    I had REPELLING rather than REPULSING. It fits the definition of disgusting and PELLING is an old Scots word for beating (it’s in Collins).

    Other than that not sure in retrospect why it took an hour… Though a few not parsed; I NHO KED = fly, SUSAN seemed over-elaborate so I didn’t get the parsing and biffed ORGANDIE.

    Nice puzzle but I await a VAR decision! Thanks William and setter.

  18. 8:36 On the right wavelength today, though I had the same issue as others with the pulses until I got the fig straight. I thought this was a very fine puzzle, which I wasn’t able to biff my way through. COD to ANTEATER.

  19. 32 minutes. Much as William has said about starting off well then getting held up by a few towards the end, including not being able to think of an alternative for DODGEM at 7d, like a few others it seems. I missed the whimsical first def for 14a but managed to parse the rest.

    Favourite was the etym dub – according to the OED if not Merriam-Webster – SKEDADDLE.

    Thanks to William and setter

  20. I took longer today for some reason, 38:16, but it was another very enjoyable puzzle. LOI Susan, I had forgotten about lazy Susan but with s-s-n it finally rang a bell. Nothing to add to what others have said really.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  21. My official time was 31.25 but I’m claiming about five minutes less because I kept stopping to watch the cricket, then flip to the tennis, then answer the phone when my wife wanted to know how the tennis and cricket were going. Really nice puzzle, very clever, thank you William, after a tough couple of days I was able to parse all of these without the help of the blog. I found the acrosses very hard to start with, but after 1dn TELECASTER (great guitar, I have a Strat) things started falling into place.

  22. DNF REPULSIVE made 27a impossible. Should have persevered.
    COD WOOF. Liked SUSAN.
    Sorry to have missed the LOL of the wee in figURINE.

  23. Fast start, DEADLOCKed finish, with the bottom half scuppering any chance of a Monday time. Let’s just say I’m glad (sort of) PULSIVE is at least possible. Tried for ages to shoehorn an anagram (off) of AND FLY GO +S(ortie) for something Dead Ringers do. Completely thrown by sometimes lazy female: you either is or you ain’t lazy. And I resisted taking the p*ss out of the wee clue on general “it’s The Times, for goodness sake” principles.
    I both CoD’d and hated ANTEATER for being obvious and funny, but only when you saw it after luvverly times going to Bangor crowded out more sensible ideas. 26 minutes, should have been half an hour less.

  24. 26:51

    Enjoyable solve today where there was plenty of spotting the answer from the definition and working backwards through the wordplay. Finally left with four scattered around the grid – WOOF, DEADLOCKS, ANTEATER and finally TAIWAN – COD goes to SKEDADDLE though.

    Thanks William and setter

  25. I PELLed this one into submission in 22:12, but sadly changing REPUGNANT to REPELLING earned me 2 pink squares. In my defence I later found this in Wiki: Verb
    pell (third-person singular simple present pells, present participle pelling, simple past and past participle pelled)
    To pelt; to knock about.
    Bah humbug!! Referee, I wuz robbed!
    Enjoyed the puzzle apart from that. Took a while to get started, but then I took off in the SE and kept going. Thanks setter and William.

    1. I’m with you re repelled, and I sort of knew pell (my granny used it.. whilst giving me a smack!). Those were the days!!

  26. Knew ORGANDIE from a Simon and Garfunkel song – For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her.

    After 2 consecutive DNFS, I was pleased to finish today, even if in a slightly over average time. NHO KED, (must file away), so SKEDADDLE was a biff, as was SOCK, which was LOI – after COMIC took an inordinate amount of time.


  27. I was far better on this than I was on the QC, finishing in 32.15. Unfortunately it must count as a DNF as I failed to get 17dn ANTEATER. My answer for this was ACTUATEE which unsurprisingly turns out to be a non-word. I persuaded myself that it did just about work in terms of parsing … but no! Enjoyable puzzle nonetheless.

  28. Totally in agreement with William’s assessment. I was flying for 3 minutes, and then the wheels didn’t quite come off, but became decidedly unstable. Still easy in comparison to the last couple of days though.

    TIME 9:46

  29. Always thought it was SKIDADDLE and that’s what I put, even though I couldn’t quite parse it. Which meant the ANTEATER was forever out of my reach. Ah well. Apart from that, enjoyable and not-too-hard puzzle.

  30. 30.14 with LOI anteater which was a guess based on using ant as a worker. Eventually realised what the joke was after the event and only when seeing it in print- thanks blogger. Lots of application needed on my part which I almost flunked.

    Good puzzle , thanks setter.

  31. I liked this quite a lot. It took 37 minutes and so was not too difficult, but not too easy either with many quite subtle clues. For one thing, the level of difficulty was homogeneous so the puzzle seemed more of a consistent whole than recent puzzles with very easy clues and one or two real stinkers making them impossible to finish. DODGEM CAR didn’t help much with the crossing clues (and didn’t fit the wordplay), but BUMPER CAR fitted much better. I never thought of REPUGNANT, but did think of both REPULSING and REPULSIVE, so reserved my opinion until my LOI, FIGURINE, went in. There would be many choices for a COD, among them FIGURINE, WOOF, SUSAN or SPRAT for that matter.

  32. It is ages since I have posted a comment here, but I enjoyed this puzzle so much that I owe it to the setter to show my appreciation. So many smiles along the way and ticks all over the place:
    12a, 14a, 16a, 18a, 21a, 27a.
    7d, 9d, 13d, 15d, 17d, 22d, 23d, 24d.
    Great stuff, setter. Take a bow.

    1. With you on this, Shabbo! Some of the neatest cluing I’ve seen for a while – all the ones you mention. Some will be going into my book of BEST CLUES; I intend to attempt compiling a puzzle containing as many of these that will fit! Many thanks to setter on this, and William for his blog.

  33. Anteater, Woof and Sprat were all hilarious and greatly enjoyed, but I’ve only ever come across Repulsing in the sense of “fending off”, not disgusting. However, everyone else seemed happy, so I’ll disappear again to wherever I came from.

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