Times 28837 – At your convenience

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

An enjoyable, quirky and slightly more difficult than usual Monday offering, where the tricky vocab is helpfully clued. A couple of clues that stretch things a little, but none the worse for that, in my opinion.

A slightly belated Happy New Year of the Dragon to those who celebrate such things!


1 Card game with limits on pack, reportedly? (6)
PIQUET – sounds like P[ac]K (outside letters [‘limits’] of PACK)
4 As is surface of mirror, reflecting shops entered by minister (8)
SILVERED – reversal of REV in DELIS
10 Companion taking time out from first part of novel? (9)
11 Bill’s partner visited by doctor in group (5)
COMBO – MB (doctor – in Latin) in COO (one part of ‘bill and coo’ – not Ben!)
12 Hobson’s choice — with only sugar cubes? (4,2,2,4,2)
LIKE IT OR LUMP IT – slightly odd wordplay: if you use cubes rather than granulated sugar, you use lumps. Hobson’s choice refers to situations where you have no real choice.
14 Heading past it, leaseholder’s housing (5)
TITLE – hidden (and a clever one, to boot)
16 Flower put on garlands also by priest (9)
DANDELION – AND (also) ELI (priest) in DON (put on); or, if you prefer, DON  wraps (‘garlands’) AND & ELI
18 How to contain runs after evident result of fielding error (9)
OVERTHROW – first cricketing clue: OVERT (evident) followed by (‘after’) HOW containing R (runs)
20 Fighting earlier involving leaders in Glorious Revolution (5)
21 Note I tremble after death march’s beginning (14)
25 Poetry in very old language (5)
VERSE – V ERSE (old language)
26 Blunder in Caribbean location not initiated by an irregular soldier (9)
GUERRILLA – ERR (blunder) in [an]GUILLA
27 Monk’s home brewing Mary’s ale (8)
LAMASERY – anagram* of MARYS ALE
28 Music genre for example, a type of jazz that’s retro (6)
GARAGE – reversal of EG (for example) A RAG (type of jazz); not a genre I am familiar with
1 Risky investment — not the first — embezzlement! (10)
PECULATION – [s]PECULATION; naughty ecclesiastical practice
2 Phoney  call from pond life? (5)
QUACK – double definition
3 Recluse wound up watch in middle of week (7)
EREMITE – TIMER reversed (‘wound up’) in [w]EE[k]
5 Current transaction, visionary (5)
IDEAL – I (current) DEAL (transaction)
6 French nobleman failing to keep order, ending in defeat (7)
VICOMTE – OM (order [of merit]) [defea]T in VICE (failing)
7 Left at the crease doubled up, player upset about that (9)
REMAINING – IN IN (batting in cricket – twice) in GAMER (player) reversed
8 Portal with bar up, zero getting in (4)
DOOR – O (zero) in DOR (ROD reversed)
9 Enthusiastic volunteer having to improve before grammar lesson? (2-6)
DO-GOODER – if one’s English is really bad, one might think one has to ‘do gooder’ means to improve
13 Aggressive and popular solver’s champion, keeping fine (2-4-4)
IN-YOUR-FACE – F (fine) in IN (popular) YOUR (solver’s) ACE (champion)
15 At this point, Father carried by boy out of that place (9)
THEREFROM -HERE (at this point) FR (father) in TOM (boy)
17 Piece hot off the press, Times cryptic (4,4)
NEWS ITEM – NEW (hot off the press) TIMES*
19 Fuel in test that’s explosive, ladies and gentlemen (7)
TOILETS – OIL in TEST* (‘explosive’ being the anagram indicator)
20 Tanks in piazza stripped, one occupying area after evacuation (7)
AQUARIA – [s]QUAR[e] (piazza ‘stripped’) I (one) in A[re]A (after the middle part has been ‘evacuated’)
22 Hungry vampire, Dracula biting the vicar last of all (5)
EAGER – final letters of [vampir]E [Dracul]A [bitin]G [th]E [vica]R
23 House where burglar, say, drops in? (5)
24 Bad to be wrongly directed (4)
EVIL – LIVE (to be) reversed (wrongly directed)

66 comments on “Times 28837 – At your convenience”

  1. 26 minutes. This was mostly standard Monday fare but I didn’t know LAMASERY and I struggled with the spelling of the French for ‘Viscount’ which I had thought shared the S with the English spelling and had a vague idea that there might be a P somewhere in the mix. Fortunately the wordplay was friendly in both cases so they didn’t delay me by much.

    1. Not sure that I agree that the wordplay was friendly for lamasery. If you don’t know the word (as I didn’t) then lemasary (my choice) or lamesary are equally valid answers. This falls into the category of an anagram for an obscure word that can’t be solved by wordplay which is one my pet peeves. We had a pie related one on Saturday also.

      Other than that very enjoyable puzzle – thx U and setter

      1. I didn’t know LAMASERY, but it was easy to believe the monk would be a LAMA; that pointed in the right direction.

        1. Yes as I commented below I’d missed that association so I apologised to jackt and setter, it was gettable after all

  2. Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.
    (This be the Verse, Larkin)

    30 enjoyable mins pre-brekker left my LOI, Do-gooder, which took a few mins more. Must do gooder.
    Neat and tidy.
    Ta setter and U.

  3. 13.02. A bit chewy, although a decent time. LAMASERY my LOI, and I’m glad I paused on it to think of the Dalai, as I could easily have entered something else.

    I think VICOMTE has come up in the not-too-distant past.

    Thanks setter and ulaca – and to piquet, as his username helped!

    1. I’m pretty sure it came up too in a December Telegraph Toughie I did while in Phuket last week!

    2. Thx for the pointer – I had not twigged that link – so I could have solved it after all!! Apologies setter and jakkt above – still a bit obscure though😊

  4. 31 minutes. I found this a bit harder than the usual Monday puzzle too, not helped by 1a and 1d which both needed crossers to be confident about. I see what LIKE IT OR LUMP IT is getting at but I’m glad I didn’t have to explain it. I liked the DO-GOODER and the surface for PECULATION.

  5. 27 minutes with LOI DO-GOODER. I got on well with this one and had all the knowledge, although it did take a time to work out where the lamas lived. Get thee to a LAMASERY. No, doesn’t quite work. COD to CHAPERONE. Thank you U, and setter for a really good one.

  6. I did this in several bursts in different locations and gave up on a time, also gave up on GARAGE so a DNF. In retrospect it seems like it was a good puzzle that I wasn’t really able to appreciate. Thanks U.

  7. Yes, a little tougher for a Monday I thought, 45 mins.

    LOI PECULATION after I’d seen PIQUET. Thank you pip! LAMASERY NHO but gettable once the crossers were in.

    I liked CHAPERONE.

    Thanks U and setter.

  8. 30:03 …. And to my dying day I will wonder why I biffed CROAK for QUACK and rue the time it cost me on this puzzle. Dagnabbit.

    The COD which made me coo wasn’t COMBO but rather DANDELION. Nice surface I thought.
    Thanks blogger and setter!

  9. I tried to print this morning and it wasn’t possible on Safari or Firefox, only on Chrome. Harrumph

  10. I had 35 minutes on the clock but was interrupted by a 5 minute phone call when I left the timer running, so I think I just about beat the half hour.
    I was also thinking about frogs for the pond life, I needed piquet to finally think of ducks.
    Not easy but a very good crossword I thought with many very elegant clues, not the common “mechanical” stuff. I did know all the vocab today, too!
    Thanks setter and blogger, good start to the week in my opinion

  11. DNF, defeated by PIQUET and LAMASERY, where I guessed the wrong places for the As and the E, despite thinking it might relate to a lama.

    I completely messed up 16a, as I had what I thought was a flash of inspiration and started writing ‘leilandii’. I didn’t realise the third letter of that plant should be a Y rather than an I, and I thought “Yes! ‘Lei’ is a garland! ‘And’ can mean also! And… oh no, where does the priest fit?” Having already put most of it in using a pen (I solve on paper), it was then harder to get the intersecting clues. I did eventually get DANDELION, however.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Combo

  12. PECULATION was my FOI even though I’d not heard of it. I didn’t know where LAMAs lived either and carelessly put LAMASTRY (based on an analogy with “monastry”) and didn’t check the fodder carefully enough. I have heard of PIQUET but never played it and it was obvious once I got the Q. GARAGE was my LOI. I do know “ragtime” (think the movie The Sting) but don’t think of it as jazz since it’s not improvised, but close enough.

  13. Cracking Monday puzzle, not much of it made of easy pickings, and pushing me to 23.47. DO GOODER was fun, as was TOILETS – ladies and gentlemen, be upstanding, or not as the case may be. PK and QUACK (not croak) took a while to dawn and raised a smile two. Took a long time to finish of with OUR ACE and DANDELION.

  14. 19:16
    I thought this slightly tougher than usual for a Monday with several witty clues. Groaned when I finally got PIQUET and QUACK. LAMASERY and THEREFROM were new to me. COD OVERTHROW.

    Thnaks to Ulaca and the setter.

  15. Isn’t 17d ‘Piece hot off the press’ all underlined, clued as Times cryptic? Ie Times cryptically is the equivalent of ‘new S,I,T,E,M’.

    1. But then ‘new’ would be doing double duty, of a sort- both part of the target phrase and the anagram indicator. Also, it would be an indirect anagram indicator, which isn’t a thing!

    2. I agree that this is one of the (relatively) new fangled “reverse clues”.

      I parsed this as:

      Piece hot of the press = News Item

      Times cryptic = “a cryptic way to define Times” = new SITEM

      So a reverse clue.

      Having reread it though, I agree that it also works the way suggested, with “cryptic” merely being the anagrind to the Times anagrist. I guess we’d have to ask the setter which way they intended to know for sure.

  16. Submitted off leaderboard as cat sat on keyboard (it’s warm!) seemingly before I had a chance to pause the puzzle – by the time he’d moved, perhaps ten minutes had passed but I’m not certain.

    Enjoyable puzzle – NHO of LAMASERY so had to be careful with vowel placement, fortunately the penny dropped – not sure I’ve heard of PECULATION but with all checkers, the wordplay made it the most likely answer. Pleased to get DEMISEMIQUAVER for once – I often forget which way round the prefixes go, but DEMISE helped muchly.

      1. Very good – more often than not, he’ll somehow put the laptop into airplane mode and I find that t’interweb doesn’t work anymore!

  17. I’d never heard of a LAMASERY and had to look it up to confirm its existence. LIKE IT OR LUMP IT got confused with take it or leave it and I had a T at the beginning, which didn’t help with PECULATION. But otherwise no great problems, 39 minutes. My mirrors have a glass surface: the silvering is at the back. Liked PIQUET and NEWS ITEM. I can never remember if it’s a SDquaver or a DSquaver. Good thing there was some wordplay to help with that.

  18. No probs today, although quicker on the top half than the bottom.
    No problems with lamasery, having read Seven Years in Tibet, by the remarkable Heinrich Harrer. But given it is where lamas hang out, how else could it be spelled?
    Piquet is that rare thing, a card game for two that rewards skill. A lovely game, worth learning.

  19. Put PAQUET thinking it was a sort of small pack but now I see the answer it’s my COD.
    Apart from that all ok even though some NHO’s.

  20. DNF as I had REMAINING remaining in the end. Not too hard on rhe whole but tricky for Monday with LIKE IT OR LUMP IT the FOI

  21. 10:20

    No dramas, lots of biffing, but I had to follow the wordplay for the long word for a short note to get the components in the correct order, even though we had it fairly recently.

    LAMASERY guessed from LAMA.

  22. 45:16. I felt I was making heavy weather of this (and I see I was, as it turns out) but it was still a chewy one. LOIs QUACK then PIQUET. The name check should have clicked sooner. I liked REMAINING (at the crease twice) and CHAPERONE

    PS, on edit. I have just discovered, and I thought I would share, that if you like your music molto allegro you can have hemidemisemiquavers

  23. 17:49 – thought this was going to be a super fast time, but progress slowed as I descended the grid. Needed to read the cryptics carefully to work out the spelling of some of the more arcane words. LOI DO-GOODER, which I could not parse so thanks for the explanation. “Quirky” is an apt description.

  24. I wanted 2d to be NYMPH, but it was not to be.
    13d was slow to come. I thought at first it was IN GOOD FORM, but could not make any sense of it.
    27a NHO lamasery; more likely have forgotten; JerryW says it is in 7 years in Tibet which I have read, albeit 60 yrs ago. Only pronounceable use of the letters, (oops Astonvilla1, harmonic_row and ChrisLutton) and obv where a lama lives.
    COD 9d DO GOODER just for the surface.

  25. Like several others I had not heard of LAMASERY, but it was an obvious anagram and I thought that must be the correct word when I thought of LAMA.

    Yes, slightly more difficult than a usual Monday, but my LOI was actually one of the more Mondayesque clues: DANDELION. Conditioned by years of misdirection, my first reaction on seeing the word flower is to think it must refer to a river. But to paraphrase the apocryphal Sigmund, “sometimes a flower is just a flower”. Particularly on a Monday it seems, where hiding in plain sight can be an effective form of misdirection (for me, at any rate).

    1. I was pleased to see the cheerful, beneficial (and tasty) DANDELION identified as a flower and not a noxious weed!

      1. A weed is just a flower, somewhere you didn’t plant it .. if you (not you specifically, curryowen!) take the trouble to examine a dandelion, a daisy, a nettle etc closely, you can see how beautiful they are

  26. 20.41 without really feeling on top of the puzzle. LOI garage after aquaria which had me guessing as I initially thought piazza stripped was pa. Loved demisemiquaver- so much I felt the need to record it in full- very neat. Have to confess to guessing eager.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  27. As the man says, slightly trickier for a Monday. Good workaday stuff, with some of QC level, others more demanding. Minor quibble: I hesitated putting in IDEAL until I had crossers, as (for me) the ideal is what the visionary sees, not the one doing the seeing.
    TITLE was v well hidden. DNK LAMASERY. Liked QUACK. I’m no card-player so 1ac was my LOI.

  28. I biffed at least 8 answers, and parsed most of them after submitting the puzzle, but needed Ulaca’s interpretations to understand PIQUET and AQUARIA. All of which means that my enjoyment of this “too clever” puzzle was minimal.

    FOI LIKE IT OR LUMP IT (poor clue)
    TIME 11:27

  29. has anyone else been having continuous problems with the crossword website since saturday and less frequently the times site? i must have cleared cookies on about five separate occasions which is what i was told to do.

    1. Yes, me too. Maybe the Times techies will read this, as they certainly aren’t taking any notice of the numerous complaints on the Crossword Club site.

      1. I’m afraid that’s The Times for you these days. They do seem to take their subscribers for granted.

        I like it how the puzzles editor will pop up on here from time to time, but almost never on the Times forum which we actually pay for.

  30. 18’47” but I admit to checking LAMASERY. Could easily have put something else in. Thought BILL’s partner might have been BEN. Glad to learn what PECULATION actually means. Bit like LARCENY – I’ve never been entirely sure. Many thanks

  31. Reading the Jamaican newspaper, The Gleaner, you will find cattle theft referred to as “praedial larceny”.

  32. Slowly plodded my way through this one in just under an hour. NHO LAMASERY (but sounded appropriate) or EREMITE which I looked up early on, then wished I hadn’t as I would have got there from the wordplay. PECULATION was also new to me but was generously clued. Very enjoyable. Favourites were DO-GOODER and LOI PIQUET. Many thanks U.

  33. 25:58 but with VICOMPE. I’d originally biffed VICOMPT, without reading the wordplay carefully. This held up DANDELION for ages, and I forgot to reasses the P before moving on. DANDELION finally unlocked DO GOODER, and TOILETS was then LOI. Thanks setter and U.

  34. A steady solve completed during some gaps in a busy day. I’ve come across demisemiquaver in a crossword before.

    1. I may be mistaken, but I think ‘hemi-demi-semiquaver’ came up in one of the Jumbos over the Christmas period.

  35. I was not in the correct frame of mind for this, or not on the wavelength, so Mr Ego and I joined forces and cracked it together. FOI AGGRO, LOI DO-GOODER (which he had to explain to me – doh!). Some really nice clues when I got into it. Liked PIQUET, TOILETS, REMAINING, the ‘note’. COD to THEREFROM.

  36. Didn’t know PECULATION nor LAMASERY, and failed to think of the mirrors surface as SILVERED, but otherwise fared pretty well: especially liked CHAPERONE, DANDELION and a hidden I saw immediately (!) TITLE. Good, solid crossword.

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