Times 28825 – Smargana City, Arizona

A great weekend of sport saw a German-speaking Italian win down under, England triumph against the odds in Hyderabad, Real Madrid come back to win yet again, little Girona go top of La Liga, Manchester United stutter past Newport County and Michael van Gerwen edge out Luke ‘The Nuke’ Littler.

It doesn’t get much bigger than that.

Oh, and the West Indies won as well. Didn’t beat much, perhaps, but a win’s a win.

15:55 for the crossword. Standard Monday fare.

1 Fish dish containing potassium (4)
3 Renouncing a bitcoin ad that’s circulating (10)
10 That is The Times boss purged (7)
SCOURED – SC (scilicet, that is) OUR ED
11 Page including verbiage (7)
12 Barking “woof!”, dog tiring at play (7,3,5)
13 Former leader emerging from Korea gang (6)
REAGAN – hidden
14 Say a reverend bishop popped round to guzzle energy drink? (8)
BEVERAGE – E (energy) in a reversal of EG (say) A REV B
17 Backing singer of swing, Yankee jazz fan and wild thing (5,3)
ALLEY CAT – ELLA [Fitxgerald) reversed Y (Yankee) CAT (jazz fan)
18 Sharp expressions of disapproval about being stuck in A&E (6)
ASTUTE – TUTS reversed in A E
21 A true Damascene conversion holding mass in leisure centre (9,6)
23 Percussionist daughter getting increasingly weird (7)
24 Robust line in figurative expression that hurts (7)
TOWROPE – OW (that hurts) in TROPE (figurative expression)
25 Knife work unfortunately put Dan in prison (3,3,4)
NIP AND TUCK – PUT DAN* in NICK (prison)
26 Turning tap to conserve key non-renewable fuel (4)
PEAT – E (musical key) in TAP reversed
1 Job with Head of Alsace Resistance after VE Day? (7)
POSTWAR – POST (job) W (with) A[lsace] R (resistance)
2 Flipping obsessive expert, one high in stature, smart Alec (4-2-3)
KNOW-IT-ALL – WONK (obsessive expert – never heard of this) reversed I (one) TALL
4 Wine store putting up mature old Burgundy principally (6)
BODEGA – another reversal! this time AGED O B[urgundy]
5 The setter’s visibly embarrassed to admit papa, behold, was begging (8)
IMPLORED – P (papa) LO (behold) in I’M (the setter’s) RED (visibly embarrassed)
6 Ready for a fight by obelisks, with honours even (2,7,5)
AT DAGGERS DRAWN – AT (by) DAGGERS (obelisks – obeli is also used –  characters (†) used in printing to indicate cross-references) DRAWN (with honours even)
7 Parliament rising to support Ireland’s premier epic work of literature (5)
ILIAD – reversal (naturally) of DAIL (Oirish parliament) on I[reland]
8 Dark edges of intimate clothing (7)
9 San Marino ready for manufacturing salt (8,6)
15 Higher class work performed by tree surgeon? (1,3,5)
A CUT ABOVE – I dare say they sometimes work below them, but the tree typically presents superior challenges
16 Riverbank creature having earth in Buddhist temple (5,3)
17 Light rubber and aluminium device extending PC performance (7)
ALADDIN – tee hee! AL (aluminium) ADD-IN (device extending PC performance: an add-in (common styling) is a software program that expands the capabilities of bigger programs)
19 Always empty eateries on top of Table Mountain (7)
EVEREST – EVER (always) E[aterie]S T[able]
20 Second in command collecting junk still (6)
22 Take command of moneylending business, assuming power for years (5)
USURP – USURY becomes USURP when power (P) replaces years (Y)


62 comments on “Times 28825 – Smargana City, Arizona”

  1. 29 minutes. No hold-ups other than my LOI TOW ROPE which took far too long to see.

    One minor point, the first I in ILIAD comes from ‘Ireland’s premier’.

  2. 11:06

    For those dum-dums like me who got a big WHOOSH at 17d – Aladdin rubs a lamp (a kind of light). Easy when you see it! Very nice Monday offering.

  3. 21 minutes with LOI TOW ROPE. I was looking for an ‘ouch’, not an ‘ow’. I see Tom Hartley responded well to my words of sympathy here on Friday. What a win! Is POST-WAR after VE or VJ day? I’ve never asked but always assumed the latter. COD to ALLEY CAT despite Ella figuring yet again.. Enjoyably untaxing. Thank you U and setter.

  4. It was as deep as England. It held
    Pike too immense to stir, so immense and old
    That past nightfall I dared not cast.
    (Pike, Ted Hughes)

    Under 20 mins pre-brekker. One tick, for “light rubber”.
    Ta setter and U.

  5. 36 mins and a rare day when I crack the biggie (although it IS often on a Monday when THAT happens) but am beaten by the quickie.

    I enjoyed many of the clues, thanks setter.

    I didn’t know SC = that is, so that was LOI with fingers crossed.

    Thanks Ulaca for the fine blog

  6. 9:15
    The four long intersecting answers (three with well-flagged anagrams) made for a gentle start to the week. Don’t tell them, 1ac!
    LOI ALADDIN, not helped by memories of Linus’s GULLY CAT (as opposed to the mountain lion) in the Peanuts strip .
    (Speaking of Northern California, I’ll just add the 49ers’ magnificent second-half comeback in the NFC Championship game to the “great weekend of sport” list above – Mighty Purdy!)

  7. 18:37

    I biffed TOP AND TAIL for 25 across which rather slowed me down. We are expecting a tree surgeon to come and sort out a storm damaged silver birch later today. I might suggest ‘A CUT ABOVE’ as a name for his business.


    1. I’m afraid it’s already been taken by a nearly infinite number of hairstylists, along with the rather funnier Curl Up and Dye.

  8. 9:43. A gentle introduction to the week. I needed the checkers to see the long anagrams. I can never remember whether ALADDIN has two Ls or two Ds so I was glad the wordplay told me which was right. Thanks U and setter.

    1. I didn’t trust the word-play as I should, and spelled it Alladin …D’oh!

  9. 39 mins and another with LOI TOWROPE. I enjoyed the long ones and plenty of fun anagram fodder for me to get my teeth into. Perfect.

    I liked ALADDIN.

    Thanks U and setter.

  10. 9’43”, with ALADDIN LOI, nho the software.

    NIP AND TUCK came to me as a close-run thing, but I now understand it has acquired a meaning in the field of cosmetic surgery.

    Could I mention Stokes’s runout as a key moment? You couldn’t make it up.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

    1. You certainly can, though as a one not contributing to Sky/TNT it took me a long time to see it, eventually on YouTube. I still can’t see how it’s possible under the current laws of physics.

  11. About 20 minutes. Might have been quicker if I hadn’t been so slow to separate ‘energy’ and ‘drink’ in 14a and get lemonade, Lucozade etc. out of my head; had a similar problem with STATIC, where it took me a while to separate ‘second’ and ‘in command’ and move away from any words or abbreviations for a deputy; hesitated over ALADDIN until the PDM came for ‘light rubber’.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Pike
    LOI Beverage
    COD Abdication

  12. 14.13. I think that there will be some very fast times today. My time would have been a little better if the grid on my iPad did not keep jumping to the adjacent puzzle while I tried to enter a solution: very aggravating.

  13. 18:38
    A typical Mondayish puzzle with no unknowns and all generously clued. A good one for recent graduates from the QC.

    Thanks to both, and I echo ulaca’s sentiments re England and the West Indies.

    1. As someone else asked, have Australia and India both ever lost at home on the same day?

  14. Kindly for us masochists still struggling with this week’s Listener, around 15 minutes. I nearly invented the lightweight eraser known as ALADDON to finish with, since I was more confident of add-ons in my world of computers. The long anagrams also resisted, needing lots of checkers before light dawned. We need more CDs for me to moan about!

    1. I realise you may have done it already, but if not, you might want to have a look at the Vulcan in The Guardian today; possibly a few moan opportunities there.

  15. 23 minutes. Much as others have said, pretty typical for a Monday without too many difficult ones. Still, I did take a while to work out BEVERAGE and the whimsical ‘Light rubber’ def for ALADDIN, not helped by the misleading surface. Favourite was ALLEY CAT, even if ELLA never recorded it; the Peggy Lee version is good though.

    BTW, there’s a diagonal NW to SE Nina which as far as I can see leads nowhere, so I presume it’s serendipitous.

      1. If you click / tap on the Menu button at the top right of the TfTT web page, then the down pointing arrow to the right of Help, then Glossary, it’s all explained there, together with relevant links.

  16. 8.50, which is possibly a PB (the app doesn’t record that, as far as I know). My habit of tube-solving helped me spot the anagrams nice and quickly without needing paper. I found PIKE oddly tricky; I was misled by thinking of POKE as the fish dish, which also fits the crossers. Knew that didn’t quite work with the instructions though, and got there in the end.

    Thanks setter & ulaca.

    1. If you go to the SNITCH on the right, you should be able to find a list of your best ten times recorded by TffT.

  17. Nothing for me to moan about, except perhaps that I’d say ‘know-all’ not ‘KNOW-IT-ALL’. For once all went smoothly and I didn’t grind to a halt. 19 minutes. I keep thinking that sooner or later Bazball will hit a brick wall, but keep being proved wrong.

  18. 14:43
    Short and sweet. Might have been a PB, if I hadn’t been so sure about TOP AND TAIL for 25. Needed Ulaca to fully parse KNOW IT ALL. COD was ALADDIN.

    Thanks to Ulaca and the setter

  19. Not one for me! All those long anagrams had to be written out, and I was just slow everywhere. A chastener.


  20. Ulaca, sorry to be picky, not WOOF DOG TIRING* but WOOF DOG TIRING*AT. I usually bung the anagrist into my cheating Anagrammer so I know I’ve got it right.
    I enjoyed the nagette at 26a non-renewable PEAT. But it can regenerate much more quickly than coal or oil.
    NHO 17d Add-Ins as a PC feature as far as I can remember. Added to my cheating machine.

  21. I found this a steady solve from beginning to end. The only pauses were in working out the long anagrams. After last week’s string of tough ones I was really glad of this.
    20 minutes.

  22. 18:10

    Fast progress mostly today, though slowed down at the end by bunging in TOP AND TAIL at 25a. Once that was resolved by following the cryptic, the others in that area went in smoothly (though I was wondering whether 17d would be ABANDON – it took a few moments longer to see the light (boom boom)). L2I were SCOURED and finally TOWROPE once I understood it.

  23. As for several others LOI ‘towrope’. Two of the long ones went straight in, two anags needed some mashing.
    On 9 dn I liked the misdirection as I had been looking for some chemical ending in -IDE for a bit, but was mildly doubtful of ‘salt’ for an OS. Isn’t a ‘salt’ someone a bit more experienced?

    COD ‘STATIC’. Nice start to the week.

  24. 29:07 LOI ALADDIN, not parsed. I needed to come here to understand how the clue worked. Thanks for the explanation.

  25. It took me 2 minutes at the end to alpha trawl BEVERAGE, only to get a pink for “Everezt” after 7:06. COD NIP AND TUCK.

  26. Abandoned ship after failing to get TOWROPE. In checking post-(not)solve, I couldn’t see any precedent in Chambers or the Shorter Oxford for it being one word rather than two, which is what I would have expected. No doubt it can be found somewhere. Pah.

  27. Fairly easy today, completed in 18:20. ALADDIN was the LOI and the only one I couldn’t parse.

  28. 17.41 with a typo

    NIP AND TUCK was v nice whilst I bunged in ALADDIN from all the checkers and “performance” so the clever “light rubber” was lost on me till coming here.

    The OS was also nice and smooth. Started by bunging in MARINE for the second word which left unintelligible nonsense for the first

    TOWROPE also LOI

    Thanks Ulaca and Setter

  29. Drew a blank on first pass of the NW, but ILIAD jumped out in the NE and got me going. AT DAGGERS DRAWN came next, followed by NIGHTIE, which made WAITING FOR GODOT a write in. That enabled KNOW IT ALL and a few more in the NW. Down below the SE pulled itself together although AMUSEMENT ARCADE took a while to emerge from the anagrist. TOWROPE didn’t cause any delay. Once NIP and TUCK had emerged, the ORDINARY SEAMAN did too and allowed me to complete the NW corner. POI, ALLEY CAT raised a smile; I was just listening to Ella in the car the other day. ALADDIN held out for a few minutes before the light dawned. 23:51. Thanks setter and U.

  30. Took a while over NIP AND TUCK as I hadn’t clocked the (3,3,4). I was another ALADDON until I got the ‘light rubber’ bit – nice to finish with a smile.

  31. I found this generally so easy that when I could think of nothing to fit the crossers in my LOI but ABANDON, I wondered if the wrong clue had sneaked in! It took… a while to see beyond “Light” to include “rubber” in the definition and for the light to finally dawn (from the East).

  32. A steady solve for me with nothing holding me up to any great extent, crossing the line in 29.25. I needed all the crossers for my LOI ALADDIN which I thought was COD.

    1. Yes, a very good clue. But completely out of sync with the level of every other clue in this offering.
      It would have been better to save it for a crossword of sterner test. It’s wasted here.

  33. 5:38. I whizzed through this but then ground to a halt with 14ac unsolved. I glanced at the timer at that point and it read 4:07, which is PB territory. I wonder if this induced some sort of brain freeze because in the end the four missing letters in the word BEVERAGE took me over a quarter of my solving time!

  34. 27.54 I made heavy weather of the anagrams and I was still wondering if ALADDIN was a grade of latex when I arrived here. Thanks ulaca.

  35. I think I took as long to get my last two in, ALLEY CAT and ALADDIN, as the rest of the puzzle put together which was a bit frustrating. But a good Monday xwd for me.

  36. I thought this was all fairly straightforward until I got down to my last half dozen or so. Towrope (one word ?), Aladdin, Alley Cat, Scoured (I keep on forgetting sc), and loi Ordinary Seaman (wrong type of salt), took nearly as long as all the others put together. No matter, it just prolonged the enjoyment. Invariant

  37. Not too hard, but it still took me 45 minutes. NIP AND TUCK is a square dance call, so I have now more or less forgotten all of its usual meanings and never knew the “knife work” one. My 10ac started off as SCOLDED (which almost fits) so I couldn’t see the ORDINARY SEAMAN until I corrected that. I liked ALLEY CAT (because I particularly like the singer and even more my oldest granddaughter, her namesake).

  38. No particular problems – same experience as most above – had TOP AND TAIL until STATIC put me right, then nice PDM at ALADDIN. LOI TOWROPE; having already entered the OW, it still took me ages to work out the missing R and P. The long anagrams had to be written out once a few crossers were in – well, the OS and the arcade did – the other two came very quickly. Nice Monday puzzle, thanks setter and Ulaca.

  39. Not so happy as Ulaca on the sporting front, as Everton were knocked out of the Cup and now only have survival as a target.
    30 minutes today with LOI Aladdin where I didn’t really know what was happening.
    My COD Usurp (nice word, somehow).

  40. 11:57, which is of course a fine time, although I thought I was heading for a PB until I ran into AT DAGGERS DRAWN / BEVERAGE. After the fact, perhaps ‘obelisks’ = DAGGERS rings a bell but it didn’t at the time. And the ‘popped’ in ‘popped round’ prevented me from seeing the simple reversal.

    Thanks very much for the explanations, ulaca!

  41. 17.35 but took an age to work out my LOI towrope. Put in daggers drawn without getting the reference to obelisks but the rest was pretty smooth.

  42. Ingenious but easy long anagrams, and good to end with a laugh at ALADDIN, once twigged. Thanks to setter and blogger for an enjoyable start to the week.

  43. Spelled Alladin wrongly, so that held me up more than a bit, and I never did get the ‘light rubber’: very droll. Felt like I was making steady progress with this until the OS emerged – was looking for a chemical of course. When that fell, along with it went ALLEY CAT and WATER RAT, but never did get the long anagram at 21a, because I had it starting with L! As usual, didn’t remember SC for ‘that is’ which made 10a unparsable, and like most others put in TOP AND TAIL before trusting the cryptic. Ah well – better than my usual efforts. COD to ALADDIN, of course.

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