Times 28845 – a goddess pour moi.

A perfectly reasonable puzzle, I thought, but not as much fun as some of recent Wednesdays. Too many easy clues. I wasn’t keen on the termite or the technojunkie. 20 minutes.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics, [deleted letters in square brackets].

1 Pay for entertaining day (4)
FUND – FUN (entertaining), D[ay].
3 One denies I will be engaged in recording Debussy piece (10)
DISCLAIMER – DISC (recording), I (one) inserted into LA MER (piece by Debussy).
9 Word from Paris about a seedy swimsuit (7)
MAILLOT – A, ILL (seedy), inside MOT = French for ‘word’.
11 Youngster and old man returning in drink (7)
SAPLING – PA returns inside SLING (e.g. Singapore…).
12 Hispanic dish about to be introduced into Pacific island — cheer from Spain (9)
GUACAMOLE – GUAM (Pacific island), insert CA (about) add OLE!.
13 Penetrate American heartland to eliminate leader (5)
ENTER – American ‘heartland’ being ‘CENTER’ rather than centre, delete the leader C.
14 Nerd or nut with niche joke, possibly (12)
TECHNOJUNKIE – (NUT NICHE JOKE)*. Not a word I knew, but obvious enough.
18 New, on the radio, putting out a broadcast for performer with limited success (3-3,6)
21 Source of drink in Oscar picture about origin of tea (5)
OPTIC – O[scar], PIC with T inserted. A chestnut clue.
22 Persistent fool is keeping couple unsettled at first (9)
ASSIDUOUS – ASS (fool) IS, insert DUO, and U[nsettled].
24 Wise female, source regarding various authors, primarily (7)
MINERVA – MINE (source), R V A (initial letters of regarding various authors). Minerva is often depicted with her OWL, and owls are also wise, as we know.
25 Word that is used to cover tail of malignant ant (7)
TERMITE – TERM (word) I.E. (that is), insert T the tail of malignant. Termites are not in fact ants, they’re more closely related to cockroaches. While we were in France, getting our ancient house checked for termite presence in timbers was an expensive procedure, but legally necessary for a sale.
26 Cover evidence of firearm usage in computer image (10)
SCREENSHOT – SCREEN = cover, SHOT = evidence of firearm usage.
27 Stir grain, removing article (4)
WHET – WHE[A]T. I suppose to whet one’s appetite is to stir it up, stimulate it.
1 Remove undesirable elements from United in game fit for distribution (8)
FUMIGATE – U inserted into (GAME FIT)*.
2 Hint about one’s pain (8)
NUISANCE – NUANCE (hint) with I’S inserted.
4 Very keen on adopting speaker’s latest opening notes (5)
INTRO – INTO (very keen on) with R (end of speaker) inserted.
5 Ready with air circulating around initially weak tree fruit (6,3)
CASHEW NUT – CASH (ready), TUNE (air) reversed, insert W[eak].
6 Everything perfectly aligned in request for later course (5-3,5)
APPLE-PIE ORDER – mildly cryptic definition.
7 50 per cent offered by the writer from France yet to be translated (6)
MOIETY – MOI (me in French, so the writer), (YET)*. I knew that moitié-moitié means fifty-fifty  or half and half in French, and the English word derives from that but is archaic.
8 Observe rising anger in thoroughfare (6)
REGARD – RAGE reversed inside RD.
10 Student getting solution that involves very educational experience (8,5)
LEARNING CURVE – L(student), EARNING (getting), CURE (solution) with V[ery] inserted.
15 Former President, old hand at work in stoppages (4,5)
JOHN ADAMS – JAMS = stoppages, insert O[ld] and (HAND)*. Not IKE, for a change.
16 Reprimand a good-looker adopting flash name (8)
ADMONISH – A DISH (good-looker), insert MO (flash) N[ame].
17 Look for gold? Favouring muscle when drilling stone (8)
PROSPECT –  PRO (favouring), PEC (muscle) inside ST[one].
19 The whole firm, with request for help, will receive millions (6)
COSMOS – CO (firm), SOS with M inserted.
20 Manner adopted by Arab penitent (6)
ATONER – I parsed this as TONE (manner) inside AR as an abbr. for ARAB, but I haven’t seen AR used as that before. I might have seen it for the Arabic language.
23 Scrap of earth above hole? (3-2)
SET-TO – SETT (earth, animal’s den), O = hole.


88 comments on “Times 28845 – a goddess pour moi.

  1. I had problems early on with this one and after 15 minutes had only around 3 answers in place. In fact I seriously began to think that I would have to abandon the puzzle for the night and try again in the morning. But I persevered and gradually it all came together in 42 minutes. DNK or had forgotten MAILLOT and TECHNOJUNKIE, so they had to be derived from wordplay and checkers. I thought of WHET from wordplay when there were no checkers in place but was not convinced that ‘stir’ was valid as a definition. The arrival of checkers made it inevitable and my thesaurus says it’s okay even if the dictionaries don’t have the exact match..

    1. Collins uses the word ‘stimulate’ to define both words in the appropriate entry, which I think covers it.

  2. 18:49 Not much to add, just bumbled through it one clue at a time. Tour de France came to the rescue for MAILLOT, and I took ages to see FUMIGATE. Also kept trying to get FOOT to work for 1ac.

    Thanks for parsing LEARNING CURVE Pip. (BTW, you have “to be translated” underlined instead of italicised in 7dn).

  3. 17:19
    Didn’t MAILLOT come up quite recently? It was fairly fresh in my mind, to the extent that anything is ever fresh in my mind. ‘Debussy piece’ gave me DISCLAIMER, and ‘cheer from Spain’ gave e GUACAMOLE (is it a dish?). Like Galspray, I had to come here for LEARNING CURVE; I got the CUR(V)E part, but failed to separate ‘earning’.

  4. … the sad look
    Of Jove – Minerva’s start – no bosom shook
    With awe of purity …
    (Endymion, Keats)

    20 mins pre-brekker. I quite liked it. MER at ant=termite.
    So why is hole=O? Is this another ‘it looks a bit like a hole, if the hole happens to be O shaped’. That way lies roundabout, rugby posts, stepladders.
    Ta setter and Pip.

    1. I’ve seen hole = O before, and recently, if not here then in The Guardian. No worse than egg, bagel, doughnut etc in my opinion. I’m sure we’ve had a reference to rugby posts clueing H already.

      1. ‘Bagel’ and ‘doughnut’ are specifically used to mean ‘zero’, so not quite in the same category. I don’t remember seeing ‘egg’ but you could (just about) defend it (like ‘circle’) on the basis that it is specifically defined (in Collins, for example) as ‘something resembling an egg, esp in shape’. There is no equivalent for ‘hole’, largely no doubt because holes aren’t necessarily round!

          1. There’s no doubt that holes can be round, indeed they often are, but its not an intrinsic characteristic.

  5. 16:14. Would someone mind explaining ‘source of drink’ to me? This was a very straightforward puzzle until I got to the lower-left corner, where I was totally stumped by COSMOS, OPTIC, and SCREENSHOT for what felt like an eternity compared to the rest of the puzzle. I have been waiting for MOIETY to appear in a puzzle since I learned the word (in the summer of 2013, while working on Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia). I recognized it immediately and felt very satisfied.

    1. Optics are the serving gizmo attached to the bottles hanging upside down behind the bar. They are there to properly measure shots of spirits. Maybe a UK thing. Anywhere I go on holiday they just tip the bottle.

    2. An optic is the device used in a pub to dispense measures of spirits. With the bottle inverted.

    3. Whereas I found it easy apart from the top-right corner (DISCLAIMER, CASHEW NUT, SAPLING and MOIETY) – music is not my strong point and I spend some time trying to put ILL into DISCLAIMER. I did like MOIETY once I saw it.

      Thanks setter and blogger.

    4. Back in the day, Scottish and (I think) Irish pubs would serve a shot of whisky or other spirit as a 1/4 “gill” (about 35ml) whereas in England the standard measure was 1/6 gill (about 24ml). Caused a lot arguments if visiting a pub south of the border… Generally now all UK pub measures are 25ml, though social clubs, rugby clubs etc in Scotland will still serve you 35ml.

      1. I think it was 1/5th of a gill in Scotland, although why they didn’t just call that an ounce always puzzled me. It was, as you say, 1/4 of a gill in Northern Ireland. It was ever a pleasure to travel outside England.

        1. Definitely used to be a quarter on a proper pub in the 60 sand 70s, I remember it well, though you would find some establishments, usually hotels and nightclubs etc, which would serve fifths. It did change though in more recent tines

  6. 32 minutes. I didn’t know MOIETY for ’50 per cent’ and like Kevin wondered if GUACAMOLE is really a ‘dish’. A few others such as SLING for ‘drink’ at 11a and SETT for ‘earth’ at 23d needed some thought so I never managed to get a better run for a quicker time. Good to see a new US President.

  7. About 19′ which is very good for me. So much so I completed it before going to bed. I found it very (too) straightforward even for someone who (for as yet an unknown reason) was taught Spanish instead of French at school. Hence I was very proud of MAILLOT. However I did come a cropper at NHO MOIETY and though I did work it out from wordplay, I checked before entering. Seems it’s archaic for general use, but still currently used in chemistry. ONE-HIT-WONDE(N)?? also held me up on PROSPECT till I noticed the fat thumb. Thanks Piquet and setter.

  8. Nice puzzle, completed in 15’15”. I wonder if jeremy was confused by the dreadful modern word ‘optics’, where politicians are more concerned with what the public perception may be rather than what is the right thing to do.

    ONE-HIT WONDER was my FOI, a write-in. There are long lists of these on the internet.

    I liked NUISANCE , and have now learned TECHNOJUNKIE. I didn’t know MAILLOT as a swimsuit.

    Thanks jeremy and setter.

  9. 37:18

    Great start banging in ten or so mostly in the bottom half. Top half had some unknowns which took bloomin’ ages to sort out:

    3a LA MER – NHO – I’d been thinking around CLAIR (de lune) once the C A and R checkers were in
    9a MAILLOT – NHO – guessed the MOT and A were involved but didn’t know what would go in the middle
    12a GUACAMOLE – my LOI – had forgotten about GUAM so even with all of the checkers, could not make sense of it. Once I’d thought of the answer (dish? though undoubtedly correct, one might not think of it as such), could see MACAU backwards leaving me wondering what the G was doing…
    7d MOIETY – NHO – got it from M_IETY when the penny dropped that the writer was NOT Moliere or some-such.

    Thanks P and setter

  10. I was on for another stonker. After 20 mins I had only four clues left, MOIETY, TECHNOJUNKIE, JOHN ADAMS & SCREENSHOT. These took another 8 mins to fathom. So 28 mins, still not too bad.

    For MOIETY I kept wanting to put moitié in but obviously couldn’t make it work! Luckily, ENTER went in early.

    I liked the other three long clues.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  11. 14:45. Didn’t know MOIETY or what a MAILLOT was, but the wordplay for both was generous. No standouts, just a good solid puzzle.

    Thanks Piquet & setter.

  12. 28:10
    For whatever reason I wasn’t on the right wavelength today and I made rather heavy weather of it. The QC clue 1A didn’t go in on first reading and that rather set the tone.

    No typos today though so there is that.

    I didn’t know APPLE-PIE ORDER, or MOIETY, but the cluing was on the whole generous and no complaints.

    Thanks both.

  13. About 20 minutes.

    Worked out the unknown MOIETY from wordplay; had heard of MAILLOT without knowing what it was; had forgotten sling as a drink for SAPLING; didn’t know that meaning of OPTIC; took a long time to piece together the anagrist for TECHNOJUNKIE, and only once I got that did JOHN ADAMS fall into place; the full phrase APPLE-PIE ORDER isn’t one I’m familiar with, but it sounded entirely reasonable and the checkers made it inevitable.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Fund
    LOI John Adams
    COD Moiety

  14. 33 minutes with LOI ATONER. Penultimate was moiety, when I remembered that a distant ancestor held one in a pew in Heptonstall Parish Church, the first one, not where Sylvia Plath is buried. COD to LEARNING CURVE. Dish of the Day to APPLE-PIE ORDER. I can taste those Bramleys now. I didn’t know the SWIMSUIT but had the crossers early. Tough in places. Thank you Pip and setter.

    1. Sylvia is deep in the church yard extension, not in either church. Frankly there are gravestones there all over the place! Good luck with finding your ancestor’s stone, if he has one
      That first church is looking rather sad and cast aside, in the shadow of its replacement.

      1. I know the graveyard well Jerry. That’s what I meant. My Uttley ancestors from the 18th and 19th centuries are all buried there and I can truthfully say that I walked on their graves.

  15. 14:13

    Held up at the end by the ATONER / SCREENSHOT crossers.

    For the former, in the end I just assumed that AR for Arab was some hind of horse racing shorthand, but I can’t find any evidence for that. For the latter I spent too long trying to do something with smoke and kept trying to think of jargon from crime series like shell casings, gunpowder residue and spiralling.

  16. 16:13. There were two politicians in today’s crossword. US President John Adams and in anagram form the lesser known Tim Yeo. Tory minister under John Major who shortly after Major introduced Back to Basics, was sent back to the backbenches.


  17. Chewy enough to be fun for me but all clear after 45 mins. I started in the SE after, like Galspray, having to relinquish ‘foot’ for 1a. When we bought our ex-B&B we walked in on completion day to find the bar still stocked with the optics. It was a good house warming party.
    Thanks Pip and setter

  18. Absurdly held up by the fabulously easy FUND, and therefore NUISANCE. The penny finally dropped on both, but my sub 10 min time thereby turned into 22 mins. Great to see MOIETY, a word I love. Liked CASHEW NUT.

  19. Quite liked this, not too taxing and no queries, once I had decided that whet = satir.
    We had maillot just the other day, fortunately.
    Ar for Arab is in Collins, but like Penfold I don’t remember seeing it before, at least not in the wild.
    Could have sworn there was a pop group called the Disclaimers …

    1. Collins has Ar for Arabic or Arabian, but not Arab. Chambers has it.
      The Disclaimers and their famous song ‘I’m Gonna* Be’

  20. 24:05 so it seems again a bit on the slower end of the field today.
    Termites definitely aren’t ants, even if they are colloquially known as white ants.
    MAILLOT was another of those words that I vaguely recognise once I’ve worked it out.
    Nothing to add, all pretty straightforward today
    Thanks setter and blogger
    PS Thanks for the explanation for ATONER, which I put in without being able to work it out

  21. 19.45. Things that held me up:
    FUND: kept trying to put the D into “for”.
    MAILLOT: Essayed MATELOT at first, reasoning that TEL was similar enough to TIL, a sesame seed, and why shouldn’t a swimsuit be named for a French sailor?
    JOHN ADAMS: couldn’t for the life of me figure what name was spelt –H-. Obviously that neural pathway has a blockage.
    TECHNOJUNKIE: couldn’t possibly be an anagram with those letters except in an MCS, when it would be Polish or Swahili for something.
    DISCLAIMER: I mean, I know La Mer, but only as the immortal Charles Trenet song or an unhummable sea of sound from Clod (Classic FM pronunciation)..
    All in all, I thought I did pretty well.

  22. 9:14. No major hold-ups. MOIETY appears a lot in Shakespeare. I was surprised it wasn’t marked as archaic but ODE says it is still used in formal technical contexts. ‘Because electronic polarization is accounted for by the choice of background dielectric, dipolar moieties are assigned charges consistent with their permanent dipole moments’. Well if you say so.

    1. It is still used in legal parlance. An undivided moiety is a half share of land held by a tenant in common.

      1. Thanks! The difference between ‘joint tenants’ and ‘tenants in common’ is something that I will never in my life remember, however many times it is explained to me.

            1. More to do with the ownership of property really, and absolutely essential to understand if you’re marrying, divorcing, re-marrying or, as you say, writing your will. Or relying on inheriting under someone else’s, I suppose. A competent solicitor (and that’s not me) can explain, and it might be the best fifty quid or so you can spend!

              1. It’s been explained numerous times to me by lawyers in the context of will-writing, and I think at one point we changed from one to the other in that context. I remember it costing me a lot more than £50 and my original point stands!

  23. 08:13, lots of nice stuff here, though ATONER went in with fingers crossed. As per others, I started by assuming those letters at 14ac couldn’t possibly make up an anagram, and it was only when the J appeared in the middle that I thought again.

  24. I was another who was flummoxed by the (eventually) easy 1A and tried to justify “foot” until SLOI NUISANCE resulted in a massive PDM. NHO TECHNOJUNKIE, but once I had the J from JOHN ADAMS it was an easy enough assumption.

    TIME 10:30

    * My Gerry Rafferty earworm (see QC blog) has now been replaced by Norman Greenbaum’s classic “Spirit in the Sky”.

  25. Being fluent in French was an advantage today. MAILLOT (de bain) is the French for a swimsuit. Moitié means half (sometimes) so MOIETY was very plausible. And MOI was in there too. And Debussy wrote LA MER. On the non-French language side, I’ve lived in silicon valley for decades and never heard the word TECHNOJUNKIE. Surprised at termites being clued as ants, even as a non-biologist I didn’t think that was accurate.

    And termite inspections are a thing in the US too.

  26. 35:38 but was distracted by persistent foot-wagglers in my line of sight for the whole train journey. Can’t we have signs put up to prevent this breed of ASSIDUOUS NUISANCE?

    It was plenty gallic today, I agree. Had half-heard of MAILLOT and MOIETY so just about got across the finish line.

  27. As tends to happen when the crossword isn’t all that easy I ground to a halt and couldn’t see SCREENSHOT and succumbed and used aids for it. And I had to write out the letters for TECHNOJUNKIE, not a familiar word. Why did I, and others too, find FUND so difficult, being hung up on foot? It’s very TQC. I think ‘moiety’ is also a legal term for ‘half’. I’ve certainly seen it in old wills, but whether it’s still used (and I can’t see why it should be) nowadays I don’t know.

  28. 21 mins. Stared long and hard at S.R.E.S.O. at the end but nothing came. Turns out I was looking for the wrong literal. MER at AR being used, never seen it before.

  29. I thought this was relatively easy. Some tricky anagrists and cleverly disguised surfaces (e.g. I spent far too long assuming the whole of 3 ac was a Debussy work). But no aids needed today. Liked OPTIC, COSMOS. FOI FUND, LOI REGARD (why?!). COD MOIETY.

  30. About 45 minutes, with the last ten spent on 27a, WHET. I just couldn’t see anything for the definition. I mad a quick star at first but then got bogged down.

  31. More than happy to break 30 minutes with this one, finishing in 29.35. I did hesitate a little at the end with my LOI, and was not overconfident that ATONER was correct. It was the use of AR as an abbreviation for Arab that I wasn’t sure of. As far as MOIETY was concerned, I always thought the word referred to a part or portion of something, and not something that was specifically 50 per cent, but plainly the answer had to be what it was.

  32. Surprised to complete this after a really slow start and with some answers semi-parsed, like ADMONISH where I had Adonis in mind for good looking. So thanks to piquet for the proper explanations.

  33. I never really got moving in this one. FUMIGATE was FOI, but I was unable to see POI, FUND, until NUISANCE went in. MAILLOT was then LOI. MOIETY from wordplay. SCREENSHOT and ATONER were other late entries. A sluggish 32:11. Thanks setter and Pip.

  34. 9a MAILLOT was a recent cause of discussion, last time referring to the yellow one in the Tour de France.
    14a TECHNOJUNKIE added to cheating machine. Apparantly TECHNOJUNKY does not exist.
    25a Was OK with TERMITEs as they are often called “white ants”; there was a discussion here recently. No they aren’t ants but are called ants so it works for me.
    27a Wasn’t so keen on 27a WHET=stir.
    7d was misled (in my family pronounced mizzled) for a while by shoehorning in MOITIE (upper case allows me to ignore the accent which I don’t know how to add) and ignoring the wordplay. I hadn’t noticed that in its transition to English the spelling had changed to MOIETY. Added moitie to my cheating machine, and removed it again after due consideration.
    Misparsed 10d LEARNING CURVE by taking student=learning, adjectival, which isn’t true.
    Misparsed 16d ADMONISH as ADONIS with random M and H thrown in afterwards. Oh dear.
    MER 23d SETT does not = EARTH. Badger, fox. I’m sure there could have been a circumlocution about animal holes/homes.
    Bottom half much faster than top half.

    1. Chambers has “a burrow esp of a badger or fox” as a definition of EARTH. So a SET(T) is a particular type of earth.

  35. DNF
    Loads of distractions today – couldn’t get it done and stopped with a couple unsolved. My fault.
    Thanks, p.

  36. Sorry, but I point-blank refuse to accept that ‘stir’ can be a synonym/definition for ‘whet’. It was my LOI because I just couldn’t justify it. Still can’t.

      1. Thanks. I could accept ‘stir up’ but not stir on its own. I guess that’s just me then.

  37. Not particularly difficult, but much to enjoy, particularly the French connections. I didn’t know MOIETY as such, but worked it out, and was amused, having read the disapproval engendered in the Quickie today by Izetti’s use of ‘French art’, quite familiar to any regular here. I didn’t parse LEARNING CURVE, so thanks for the explanation. Surprisingly, neither of the techy terms held me up for long, as TECHNO… suggested itself early, and it was just a matter of arranging the remaining letters. SCREENSHOT saved me from an unparsed STANCE, though I was surprised at AR for arab. Thank you setter and Piquet.

  38. 20.30 which is a lot quicker than I thought it would be after a first pass across . Guacamole was my first one in and then stuttered till I sorted the SE corner and worked up from there.

    Very pleased to work out Maillot which was new to me and disclaimer which was probably my COD. Technojunkie took a dog’s age as I just couldn’t rid myself of thinking of anorak, even if I had momentarily forgotten the word🙁

    Thx setter and blogger for a good but very fair workout.

  39. Relatively slow but enjoyable 39 minutes.

    Never heard of APPLE-PIE ORDER but it’s a great phrase.

    I’ve come across MOIETY in Shakespeare, but he tends to use it in the sense of a smaller share rather than half, so it went in on faith. Apparently (according to Google) this was once taken as further evidence that Shakespeare didn’t know his law. But the Yale Law Journal of 1902 points out that this was a fairly commonplace use of the word. In those days, even the word ‘half’ could sometimes mean a small portion or a quarter.

  40. After yesterday’s PB back down to earth with a DNF. Everything done except for the north east where I could see cashew nut as the only nut I could think of with a w but could not parse it to give confidence in the answer. My lack of knowledge of classical music let me down on disclaimer where I was determined the answer was going to be LIPC something and could not name anything by Debussy or what he is famous for – back to our bubbles again. Without the first checker I had no chance of the NHO Moiety.

    Excellent puzzle thanks P and setter

  41. A very silly DNF in 28 minutes –I did see that 18ac would be an anagram and I had the right extended anagrist, but instead of dropping the A, I dropped the I. That gave me ONE-HAT WONDER, which seemed strange, but unfortunately not strange enough to make me give it a second look. The rest of the puzzle was rather unremarkable (speaking French was quite a help, though, for MAILLOT and MOIETY, and I am not talking about the wordplay). What I disliked about the puzzle more than my regrettable mistake was the fact that I entered half of the answers without even looking at the clues, and then tried to justify what I had written, generally without great difficulty. So, unremarkable.

  42. DNF

    Left with ATONER and SCREENSHOT after 19 minutes but totally froze and could make nothing of them. Was looking for a synonym for cover and an ION ending. Not my finest hour

    Thanks Pip and Setter

  43. 27.24. Should have been quicker: I didn’t realise how much a heavy cold can affect the grey cells.

  44. 62 minutes. The right-hand side went in at a reasonable pace but the left was a slow ascent. I was distracted for too long by CASSEROLE, which had a couple of the components of 12a. FUND, NUISANCE and the NHO MAILLOT were the last three. As ever, pleased to finish. Thanks piquet.

  45. Finished in 14’01”. Definitely a French theme, which helped. The other LA MER is the beautiful song by Charles Trenet. JOHN ADAMS remembered from the David McCullough biog. (vg). He died on exactly the same day as his one-time political foe Thomas Jefferson.

  46. A much better attempt today than usual: had all the GK (apart from the Debussy origin of La Mer), liked the French flavour and nothing much held me up – the top row being the exception! Fond of the word MOIETY ( but still unsure of its exact measure); and of course GUACAMOLE is a dish – it is something to eat that is served in a ——! So an enjoyable romp pour moi.

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