Times 28835 – first, pardon me


One complete unknown and one I’m still unsure of (17ac – on which I would appreciate any help). Plus quite a few parsings that were reversed engineered from biffs. Nevertheless, I think I made heavy weather of what will turn out to be an average difficulty puzzle.

Definitions underlined.

1 Calamitous experience carrying disease endlessly spread (9)
MARMALADE – MARE (calamitous experience) containing MALADy (disease).
6 Sailor coming into boozer finding shoe (5)
SABOT – AB (sailor) in SOT (boozer).
9 Harry brought back jam Mike’s left in pot (5)
GANJA – NAG (harry) reversed, then JAm after ‘m’ (mike) has been deleted.
10 Lose with harpy playing rough sport (9)
HORSEPLAY – anagram of LOSE and HARPY.
11 One’s in large part agile (7)
LISSOME – I’S (one’s) contained by L (large) and SOME (part).
12 See Welshwoman’s delightful (7)
ELYSIAN – ELY (diocesan see) + SIAN (Welshwoman).
13 Bill about to receive care after a fever: strong tissue found (8,6)
ACHILLES TENDON – NOSE (bill) reversed containing TEND (care), all after A + CHILL (fever).
17 Theatrical work not however by one who’s gone through Yale? (7,7)
KEYHOLE SURGERY – cryptic definition (?), but I’m not sure how it works since the keyhole surgeon does go through the “yale”. Help please!
21 Blessing to have well in African country (7)
BENISON – SO (well) in BENIN (African country). I’m quite sure this vocabulary was completely unknown to me, but the wordplay plus checkers made it obvious.
23 Huge mass seen twice in turbulent Seine (7)
IMMENSE – MM (mass seen twice) contained by an anagram of SEINE.
25 Principal location not started by court designer (9)
ARCHITECT – ARCH (principal) + sITE (location, not started) + CT (court).
26 Wear armour occasionally? That’s a mistake (5)
ERROR – every other letter from wEaR aRmOuR.
27 With water drained away notice spirit (5)
DRYAD – DRY (with water drained away) + AD (notice).
28 Study with current framework is rubbish (9)
DENIGRATE – DEN (study) + I (current) + GRATE (framework).
1 Explorer from Crown Dependency keeping a set line (8)
MAGELLAN – MAN (Isle of, Crown Dependency) containing all of A + GEL (set) + L (line).
2 Was governor of prairie state maybe producing orders? (5)
RANKS – RAN (was governor of) KS (Kansas, prairie state maybe).
3 Governess holding a ring for ideological leader (9)
AYATOLLAH – AYAH (governess) containing A + TOLL (ring).
4 Do excellent outside church night before festival? (7)
ACHIEVE – A1 (excellent) containing CH (church), then EVE (night before festival).
5 Serious attention drawn to machine-gun emplacement? (7)
EARNEST – EAR (attention) + NEST ( machine-gun emplacement).
6 Shabby view on Doubleday’s limits (5)
SEEDY – SEE (view) + outermost letters from DoubledaY.
7 Port served with Indian dish, then seconds? (9)
BALTIMORE – BALTI (Indian dish) + MORE (seconds?).
8 Difficult day’s ending in Hertfordshire town (6)
TRYING – TRING (Hertfordshire town) containing last of daY.
14 Commotion bringing duchy near to ruin (3,3,3)
HUE AND CRY – anagram of DUCHY NEAR.
15 Bird run over crossing motorway in city (9)
NUREMBERG – GREBE (bird) + RUN all reversed, containing (motorway).
16 My aircraft from time to time so piloted? (2,6)
BY GEORGE – cryptic hint, ‘George’ being the colloquial term for the autopilot on an aeroplane.
18 Diesel adulterated to include new oil source (7)
LINSEED – anagram of DIESEL containing N (new).
19 Son, sober perhaps, up for some cheese (7)
STILTON -S (son), then NOT LIT (sober perhaps) reversed.
20 On boat, British crewman in a delta (6)
ABOARD – B (British) + OAR (crewman), all contained by A + D (delta).
22 Current should be introduced to belted saw (5)
SPIED – I (current) contained by SPED (belted).
24 Arkwright almost reserving room for girl (5)
NORMA – NOAh (arkwright almost) containing RM (room).

58 comments on “Times 28835 – first, pardon me”

  1. 45 minutes. I found a lot of this quite straightforward but I was delayed in the NW segment where MARMALADE, GANJA and RANKS resisted my attentions until the very end.

    I biffed ACHILLES TENDON but never managed to parse it as I assumed ‘bill = AC’ and that error put everything else out. I admit I didn’t try very hard though.

    I also missed Noah as ‘arkwright’, which was a shame as it was rather clever. I still had unfinished business in the NW and I was anxious to get back to it.

    I assume the idea at 17ac is that the surgeon doesn’t literally access the patient through a (Yale) keyhole.

    1. Thanks Jackkt (et al. below). Too long doing these things and the literal/metaphorical lines start blurring.

  2. I think the clue for KEYHOLE SURGERY is just saying “not literally, folks!”
    This was mostly pretty easy but LOI AYATOLLAH was a problem because I only remembered “amah,” not AYAH, almost the same thing.
    “If AYATOLLAH once, AYATOLLAH a thousand times…!” Ideology, the bane of the planet.
    GANJA was POI… although I have some right here.

    1. I thought the same, viz. that the surgeon hasn’t gone through Yale. But of course he could have; they do have a med school, after all.

      1. I thought that the clue referred to the fact that a yale keyhole does not penetrate all the way through, whereas a “normal” keyhole does.

  3. I’m not so sure about ‘average difficulty’ William, I found some of this really difficult and I suspect many others will as well. In the end I was pleased with 35.59, let’s call it 36. My LOsI were GANJA and RANKS which came just in time, I was about to throw in the towel. I mean, ‘Harry brought back jam Mike’s left in pot’ doesn’t offer a lot at first glance. I had no idea about KEYHOLE SURGERY and thanks for explaining ACHILLES TENDON and NUREMBERG, I was totally in the dark. Have a good weekend everybody.

  4. … My heart in hiding
    Stirred for a bird, – the Achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
    (The Windhover. Any excuse)

    25 mins pre-marmalade left me with my LOI. “By something” meaning My and that can fly a plane. It was on the tip of my brain. By Gum? But took an alpha-trawl.
    My mother used to call it Pee-hole surgery.
    Ta setter and W.

      1. I had keyhole surgery (with robotic help) for a bilateral hernia. My brother had it for colon cancer. Medical technology has come a long way.

  5. Exactly the same last three in as Jack, which held me up to the 50 minute mark.

    I agree with previous comments re KEYHOLE SURGERY. I’ll add that I guess the surgeon doesn’t actually go through a “Yale” lock which you would find in a door, say.

    I liked the above mentioned and HUE AND CRY.

    Thanks William and setter.

  6. My bacon was saved at the last minute when I luckily spotted I had DENEGRATE, so no pinks and 20:48, which for me is a Good Friday. I had been wondering whether ‘e-grate’ to clue ‘electric grate’ was sloppy defining, but of course it was the more typical sloppy spelling on my part.

    I had also biffed the wrong spread, and MARGARINE made it difficult to ACHIEVE a correct grid for a while. My inner John Shuttleworth was pleased to be rid of it, and so MARMALADE it was.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  7. I surprised myself by finishing in 23:51.
    LOI was GANJA, which was another word I had vaguely heard of once I solved the crytic.
    Yes I think there’s nothing complicated about 17ac it’s just saying the keyhole isn’t a yale.
    Thanks setter and solver

  8. 35 minutes with the NW proving sticky before everything came in a rush. LOI RANKS. If the ACHILLES TENDON is that strong, why do so many footballers snap theirs? I liked NOAH being an Arkwright but I did waste time both on the water frame guy and Ronnie Barker first. Enjoyable. Thank you William and setter.

        1. Um, probably not: athletes put a lot of strain on their hamstrings and tendons, probably more that they’re supposed to bear. Usually an achilles break is a disaster for a football player and his team. But they do get months off to recover often on 10s of thousands a month in pay!

  9. I’ve been flying this week, finishing with a Friday 10’52”. Would have been faster, but delayed in the NW until the jam / marmalade neurons fired.

    Thanks william and setter.

  10. 17.47. The rope-a-dope after this week’s friendly set of puzzles never quite came, although this was my slowest of the lot.

    I think I’ve come across BENISON in puzzles before, but left the unches empty in case of inspiration as I filled in the rest of the grid, not being quite convinced by well=SO. AYATOLLAH my LOI – AYAH another PHO (probably heard of), but I needed the H from KEYHOLE SURGERY to drag me away from the oddly tempting ANATOLLIA.

    The Arkwright was a lovely touch.

    Thanks William and setter.

  11. 8:20

    Easier than average for me (personal NITCH of 58) but I felt on wavelength (e.g. on the 1s I immediately thought of MARE for calamitous experience and GEL for set).

    I didn’t bother parsing A’s H and saw Keyhole S in the same was as Rosédeprovence.

  12. 27 minutes. I’ll own up to not bothering to parse ACHILLES TENDON, like Jack thinking AC = ‘bill’. I agree with Rosédeprovence about the explanation for KEYHOLE SURGERY, though again I only worked this out after finishing. I liked NOA(H) for ‘Arkwright’, NORMA not being an opera and DRYAD which I also think can be seen as an extended definition.

    Thanks to William and setter

  13. 44:11
    Enjoyed this – a good challenge. Still a bit hazy about how keyhole surgery works, but I’m happy to just go with the flow.
    Thanks, w.

  14. 7:53 but with a typo. Not for the first time I wonder why I bother checking my answers (which I always do) if I’m going to miss something like KEYHOLD SURGERY.
    Speaking of which I had two such operations on the same knee last year and I don’t remember any Yale locks being involved.

  15. 10A was FOI and 1A LOI. 15:32 in total, so not too difficult. The North West was the hardest bit of the grid.

  16. The so = well in 21ac is something which seems to be very common now. A clear example of it is found in contestants on Pointless who begin their little self-introduction with ‘So…’.
    I find it irritating as a general sentence starter replacing ‘well’. I’m getting old!

    1. Maybe it is a bit silly, but in the past people said things like ‘you know’ or even ‘don’t you know’ or ‘sort of’. The list could go on. They are equally silly so far as I can see.

  17. DNF after a pretty good start, esp for a Friday. NW foxed me for a while and, even with all the crossers finally in place, I still didn’t latch on to MARMALADE, not picking up on the definition. But a very enjoyable puzzle, GANJA and KEYHOLE SURGERY were fun. Thanks William and setter.

  18. So (!), a relatively quick 15.58 for a crossword that felt much harder, with some tricksy and intelligent clues to unravel. I did eventually disentangle GANJA right at the end, determined to have a full set of parsings but there were a lot of words in the clue for a 5 letter answer.
    I actually smiled at KEYHOLE SURGERY, satisfied for once with the rough association in a CD.

  19. 22:48
    Good puzzle. I thought it was going to take a lot longer at first, but eventually they all slotted in quite nicely. I biffed NORMA and, despite having read the blog, I spent a few minutes Googling Noah Arkwright before the penny dropped. Stupid boy .

    Thanks to Wlliam and the setter.

  20. 25:49
    Like others I generally raced through this before getting stuck in the NW. Once TOLL came to mind I saw AYATOLLAH and the rest fell into their respective places.

    A relatively easy Friday to end what has been quite a straightforward week but I thought this one had a nice spread of General Knowledge.

    Thanks to both.

  21. SNITCH also suggests I made heavy weather of this. Got it into my head I was looking for a bird at NUREMBERG, a delusion it took a long while to shake off. BY GEORGE unparsed, too, since NHO the autopilot. But otherwise a fun puzzle I thought.

    1. “Got it into my head I was looking for a bird”.

      Around here, that’s a very forgivable error!

  22. Deffo difficult. DNF as I resorted to aids, being in a bit of a rush to go out. Liked RANKS, NORMA, BY GEORGE.
    14 dn was easy enough, but isn’t a ‘hue and cry’ a bit more than just a commotion? I’ve always thought it meant pursuit of a malefactor. Chambers seems to bear me out.

    1. Wiktionary has 2 defs:
      hue and cry (usually uncountable, plural hue and cries or hues and cries)
      1) (historical) The public pursuit of a criminal, accompanied by shouts to warn others to give chase.
      2) (by extension) A loud and persistent public clamour, especially one associated with protest or the making of some demand.

      1. In Cornwall the huer was a lookout on a cliff who alerted the fishermen to a shoal of fish by his cry, thus hue and cry.

  23. 27 mins, but hummed and hahed about BY DEGREE at the end. Just recovering from SURGERY two days ago, so a little bit too close to the bone for me.

  24. At one or two points, when, like others, I was finding the NW hard going, I was tempted to use aids, but soldiered on and eventually, in 48 minutes, managed to both solve and parse it all. For some silly reason I wanted 1ac to be margarine, and was unnecessarily slow to see MARMALADE. Along the way I was wondering if there was a form of pot called bugja, and also if there was a blessing called a benokin. Suspected the ideological leader was something to do with Mao.

    1. Same here on the spread, Wil, couldn’t get margarine out of my head, and even was tempted to overhaul ACHIEVE to make it fit. But unlike you I didn’t persevere, so the NW mostly remained blank for me.

  25. 31:18 – I also thought I made heavy weather of this, but in retrospect it was quite tough. MARMALADE, GANGA and the associated downs proved the most intractable. Quite a few went in unparsed, the answers being obvious once the penny dropped.

  26. Well our setter totally flummoxed me today – looking for birds instead of cities, calamities instead of spreads, plays instead of hospital theatres, countries rather than benefits etc.
    Eventually defeated by the benison/ spied cross. My African country knowledge is terrible and I could not get away from boon containing something meaning well for a mysterious b-n-oon country which of course ruled getting spied out completely. COD Norma.

    Thx William and setter

  27. Personally lower nitch than most here it seems. Knew “malison” as a curse which of course helped with BENISON. Didn’t know George was slang for the autopilot.

  28. DNF, defeated by BY GEORGE. Now that I see it, I’m sure George=autopilot has come up before, but I completely forgot it and plumped for ‘By degree’, thinking that you might navigate/pilot a plane using degrees of the compass. It was my LOI, so by that stage I didn’t worry too much about whether the rest of it made any sense.

    Some unfamiliar vocabulary here, primarily GANJA, BENISON (albeit that was easier to parse) and the ayah in AYATOLLAH (though I just about remembered that). Also took a while to parse ACHILLES TENDON, as ‘bill’ usually clues something other than nose, and completely failed to parse STILTON. I didn’t immediately associate framework with grate (for DENIGRATE), but clearly it’s fine.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Norma (don’t know if the Arkwright=Noah trick has come up before, but I really like it)

  29. …”The benison of hot water ; furs to touch ;
    The good smell of old clothes ; and others such –
    Sleep ; and high places ; footprints in the dew ;
    And oaks ; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new ;”

    ‘The Great Lover’ Rupert Brooke – 1914

  30. Another good puzzle, half an hour with interruptions. Thanks @william for explaining NORMA where I put it in as a “must be” and missed the NOAH’S ARK reference, thinking it was something to do with “Arkwrights Open All Hours ” (!) No complaints about this at all.

  31. I was held up by several on the LHS but mainly in the SW. MARMALADE (having eschewed the margarine eventually) and AYATOLLAH set up the KEYHOLE SURGERY (which raised a smile, as did ark-wright), STILTON inspired the ARCHITECT and SPIED eventually granted the BENISON. I had Benin for ages but couldn’t get past OK for well until I had the S from 22d. ACHIEVE was FOI. 36:33. Thanks setter and William.

  32. Quick solve, but DNF. I was beaten by MARMALADE (which is not a sentence I ever thought I’d write.)

    Thanks William

  33. Overall it was easy apart from the impossible ones in the NW.
    DNF Was never able to see why MARMALADE could work; never though of “Mare”, too much of a new word for me. That meant that the NW was left largely blank, as GANJA & LISSOME were AWOL, so didn’t even get Magellan – was expecting a Brit for some reason.
    At 24d confidently entered NORAH, NOAH with R for room in; didn’t notice “almost”. DOH! Corrected by DENIGRATE, but failed to parse NORMA as just didn’t see rm=room. Double DOH!
    I’ll repeat my remark from above that Yale keyholes don’t go all the way through, so wouldn’t be OK for surgery.

  34. I whipped through this pretty quickly until getting bogged down firstly in the nw corner, and lastly by 17ac and 16dn crossers. I had less than 20 minutes on the clock with just five to solve. Another ten minutes or so was required to sort out the nw corner, and then another eight to sort out the elusive KEYHOLE SURGERY and my LOI BY GEORGE. Shamefully it took me some time to get ARCHITECT, even though I was in practice as one for nearly fifty years. I eventually staggered over the line in 37.55.

  35. The top half seemed to go in fairly easily but struggled towards the bottom with BY GEORGE, SPIED and ARCHITECT (doh) remaining unsolved after about an hour. Couldn’t parse quite a few including ACHILLES TENDON, AYATOLLAH (NHO ayah) and STILTON (DNK lit = drunk). Very enjoyable and (for me anyway) very educational. Thanks all.

  36. 33’40”
    Going well until swerving violently to avoid hurtling breeze-block final furlong….

    …or, to be more precise, going round in circles in the final furlong trying to shoehorn something into marge.
    A bit of a blot after four sub-30’s this week, but, ho-hum, still under my par.
    Five fab puzzles this week so I’m feeling spoilt.
    Thank you setter and William.

  37. DNF. Failed to get BENISON which is sort of understandable but annoyed that I didn’t get SPIED. I got hung up thinking that the saw in the clue was referring to an adage.

  38. FOI BENISON, LOI KEYHOLE SURGERY, having the final crosser revealed by the tardy AYATOLLAH. Funny how 1 letter makes all the difference suddenly between complete befuddlement and inspiration. A good, fun puzzle, all parsed, mostly worked out, which is preferable for me, and not too taxing for a Friday.

  39. First Times cryptic tackled this week. Was expecting to be a tad rusty. But pleased with all done, all correct, in 37 minutes.

  40. First of the week for me, too. I was rusty, or maybe slow-witted, and I’m plumping for rusty. Like Guy, I didn’t know Ayah, and I felt that inclusion of the two slighly obscure US geographical bits wasn’t completely offset by the two UK geographical bits.

  41. Couple of unknowns did for me : GEORGE being the autopilot, and GANJA for pot (must be too innocent like Computantis!) But it was, like for others, the NW corner, which I left until last, which did for me. Forgot AYAH, and was too set on margarine being the required spread. However, not a bad attempt from me for a Friday; some really enjoyable clues.

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