Times 28857 – hence the penguin.

Nothing frightening here, with a Latin and Italian flavour.

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

1 Could men possibly like The Times’ pages? (8)
5 Minister’s aide’s retreat about key company (6)
DEACON – DEN (retreat) about A (key), CO.
8 Those used to sea voyages following one existing stomach remedy (5,5)
LIVER SALTS – SALTS = sailors, after LIVER one existing. In my early advertising days, when Andrews Liver Salts was a Sterling Health brand, I had the joy of creating a series of radio ads for RTE and getting Terry Wogan among others to record them. I think they won an award; there can’t have been much competition.
9 Fish that is lacking tail (4)
IDES – Fish here is plural; ID EST is Latin for that is, normally abbr. to i.e., and IDE is a fish found in crosswords and fresh water.
10 Working police train son, having authority over him? (2,4,8)
IN LOCO PARENTIS – (POLICE TRAIN SON)*. Some more Latin for you.
11 Functions introducing eastern European school of painting’s style (7)
SIENESE – SINES (trig functions), insert E for eastern, add E for European. 13th – 15th C school of art in Siena. Nothing to do with Chinese sino-.
13 Gets on “soundly” without women in general (4,3)
FAIR SEX – FAIRS sounds like FARES = gets on, EX = without, excluding.
15 Issued blood without too much kept stored (7)
BOTTLED – BLED with OTT (over the top) inserted.
18 Stuffing cod, say, work with a bit of pasta like macaroni (7)
FOPPISH – FISH (e.g. cod) has OP and P[asta] inserted. “Macaroni” was a 17th C term for foppishly dressed men. Allegedly the penguin species was so-called by sailors because of its yellow head crest like the foppish fashion of the era.
21 Is Israel concerned with splitting element for source of power? (7,7)
FISSION REACTOR – FACTOR (element) has IS SION RE (= is Israel concerned with), inserted. Dunce’s corner if you biffed NUCLEAR early on and had to change it.
22 Official record showing a court answer (4)
ACTA – got from wordplay; A, C[our]T, A[nswer]. ACTA, another Latin plural, meaning an official record of events, simply “acts”.
23 Make poor group of African warriors keep quiet about past (10)
IMPOVERISH – IMPI our warriors, insert OVER (past) add SH (quiet).
24 Poet mostly reserved about source of rhymes (6)
BROOKE – R[hymes] inserted into BOOKE[D]. Rupert the poet.
25 Boyfriend is guy Manon treated roughly (5,3)
1 Transparent sheet for animation, one in suspect scale (7)
CELSIUS – a CEL is used for creating cartoon animations, SUS[pect] has I (one) inserted.
2 See porky in undergarment? Extremely far from ugly (9)
LOVELIEST – LO (see!) VEST (undergarment) insert LIE (crs porky pie).
3 Astonishing feat of vehicle moving up in race (7)
MIRACLE – CAR reversed inside MILE race.
4 Cut up over politician on the French case (7)
EXAMPLE – AXE reversed (cut up), MP, LE the in French.
5 Criminal chap for a bit of bovver? (9)
DESPERADO – DES (a chap) PER (for) ADO (trouble, bovver).
6 Who may take characters (or letters) from Alberta via Toronto? (7)
AVIATOR – hidden word as above.
7 Supervise setting poetry in Old English (7)
12 One nursed by tireless flying doctor? (9)
STERILISE – (TIRELESS)* with I inserted.
14 To him, sins destroyed religious belief (9)
16 Where one sees retired skater run for captain? (7)
OFFICER – a retired skater would be OFF (the) ICE, add R for run.
17 Fuss about station food in Mexico (7)
TOSTADO – TO-DO = fuss, about STA[tion]. I thought it was a cheese’n’ham toastie in Spain.
18 Pelt round after one so wildly (7)
FURIOSO – FUR (pelt) I (one) O round) SO. We’ve progressed from Latin to Italian.
19 Cautiously introduce power — owns home without energy (5,2)
PHASE IN – P (power) HAS (owns) E (energy) IN (home).
20 Make rough speed north round outskirts of Slough (7)
HARSHEN – HARE = speed, insert S[loug]H, add N[orth].


63 comments on “Times 28857 – hence the penguin.”

  1. I didn’t find this at all easy, although the top half was more straightforward than the lower apart from one answer – my LOI SIENESE, which I can’t say I ever heard of as a school of painting.

    Elsewhere I never heard of ACTA which may be making its first appearance outside Mephistos and Monthly Specials.

    How does ‘doctor / STERILISE’ work? Is it something more than just a procedure that’s part of doctoring / treating patients, or is it really as loose as that?

    58 minutes.

    1. I wondered about ‘doctor’, but ODE (just now consulted) has ‘remove the sexual organs of (an animal) so that it cannot reproduce.’

      1. Thanks, and to Guy, that explanation makes perfect sense and it’s a meaning of ‘doctor’ I am fully aware of – I just never thought of it when solving.

    2. I’m afraid (very) that the explanation for the question mark for the STERILISE clue is not that it is merely loose. Collins has for “doctor” as a transitive verb “to castrate (a cat, dog, etc).” And of course for STERILISE we have (to painfully spell it out)“to make incapable of producing others of its kind, as by removing the organs of reproduction or preventing them from functioning effectively.”

  2. I had the same question as Jackkt about STERILISE, but I settled on it easily enough, as with most of the rest. SIENESE took some alpha-trawling, though SINES was on my mind from the beginning (I’ve even been to Siena). Then I was stuck almost interminably on the poet, merely because I had carelessly put in TOSTADA and had to correct that final letter before I could see rhymin’ Rupert there!

    “Stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni,” the wannabe FOP!

  3. 23:50
    Yankee Doodle (18th century) ‘stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni’, a line I never understood as a child. NHO the SALTS, and somehow couldn’t think of the word, so looked it up. I wasted some time taking (isisrael) as anagrist before I finally remembered SION. Couldn’t make any sense of DESPERADO until finally several hours later.

    1. Me too, with not understanding Yankee Doodle’s ‘macaroni’. I put that down entirely to having been given the explanation in about third grade (about 9 years old, for non-Americans). If they had just waited a couple years for the onset of early teen-age fascination with awkward sarcasm to properly develop I would have gotten it right off.

  4. 56m 15s
    Fell at the last hurdle which was 1d. Failed to see the definition required was ‘scale’. ‘Suspect scale’ made me think there was a nanagram involved.
    10ac. IN LOCO PARENTIS translates from the Latin as ‘Dad lets me play with his train set’.

  5. 27:12 which I think will probably be on the slow side for an easy puzzle. Possible slowed down a bit by biffing epsom salts. Didn’t worry my head about STERILISE too much, though it definitely seemed odd when I put it in. LOI was SIENESE.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  6. Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
    And is there honey still for tea?
    (Brooke. No marmalade?)

    25 mins mid-brekker. I see round=O is becoming de rigueur.
    Has your dog been doctored? – is, I think, a more polite way of asking if it has had its taters lopped off.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  7. 51 minutes with LOI FOPPISH. Since finishing, I’ve read up about the words of YANKEE DOODLE. I trust the Americans on here are FURIOSO, another unknown that needed all the crossers and an act of faith. Someone with Physics and Divinity degrees who worked for the CEGB shouldn’t have struggled so much to parse FISSION REACTOR either. I assumed that an ACTA was a list of acts and that HARSHEN was a word. COD to LOVELIEST. A mixed bag. Thank you Pip and setter.

  8. 23:38

    Crossword much enjoyed though performed poorly on the initial pass of acrosses (and yes I did pencil in NUCLEAR REACTOR). Improved on the downs particularly on the RHS and built from there. Held up at the end by the CELSIUS/SIENESE crossing – no idea about the transparent sheet for animation. COD to LOVELIEST.

    Thanks P and setter

  9. 35′ A bit chewer than yesterday but doable though not all fully understood till my visit here. My Latin is a bit better than my almost non-existent French. Thanks to Kevin G for the macaroni reference, I’d always just thought it a nonsense rhyme, but seems it was quite political. FURIOSO was a partial biff, musical terms being a bit of a blind spot (though improving since I entered crosswordland).

    I also think there’s additional wordplay going on with FISSION REACTOR where fission = splitting elements (whereas fusion = combining elements). It was the “splitting elements” that first made me think of fission. Therefore my COD

    NHO ACTA but wordplay plus crossers made it obvious. Thanks Piquet and setter

  10. 15’05” today, delayed by FOPPISH / FURIOSO, although I knew of both.

    CELSIUS was FOI, and then a steady solve.

    I’ve been to Siena too, it was wonderful, but nho the school of painting.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  11. 37:17 with a typo
    After yesterdays race through I felt off-message today. Only one real unknown in ACTA which I saw early but didn’t add until OFFICER fell into place. All fairly clued so no complaints.
    Thanks to both.

  12. 28:26, with a bit of relief to finish. CELSIUS was responsible for most of the delay as I too looked for an anagram of SCALE. Never mind that SCALE* around I wasn’t enough letters! I’d thought of CELL (which made me even more certain the def was the sheet…), and later SUS as I desperately looked for alternative parsings, then eventually the penny dropped. Super bit of misdirection, I thought. And I must remember the single-L CEL.

    None of this was helped by my uncertainty over SIENESE, which I cobbled together from wordplay.

    Then after all that I realised I’d never got round to entering the plausible but NHO ACTA, so went back and did so.

    Thanks Piquet & setter.

  13. Beaten by CELSIUS (NHO a ‘cel’) and the NHO SIENESE. Had everything else, so irritating. Otherwise quite easy.

  14. I thought this was easier than most. Only FOPPISH and LOVELIEST gave me pause for thought. Quite a lot of biffing once a few letters were in place. I often struggle to finish, or end with a few unsolved ones. CELSIUS was LOI, rapidly corrected after an initial entry of CELCIUS
    30 minutes

  15. Not too hard. Nho the Sienese school (nor has the spellchecker!) but knew Siena so not hard to guess.
    Held up a little by thinking 12dn must end -IST.
    If harshen is indeed a word, well, it shouldn’t be.

  16. Well, I found this tricky too, with a few words bunged in with fingers crossed, ACTA & SIENESE which was vaguely familiar. I also spent far too long with F followed by an anagram of is Israel! 50 mins.

    Finally, stuck in the SE with last three in FURIOSO, FOPPISH & HARSHEN. Odd word that last one.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  17. 46 minutes. I took a long time to get going but things eventually fell into place. CELSIUS and SIENESE were the ones I found most difficult and I didn’t help myself by falling into the trap and taking a spot in Dunce’s corner with NUCLEAR REACTOR. I liked LIVER SALTS (? level of evidence) and FOPPISH for ‘like macaroni’.

  18. DNF, defeated by LIVER SALTS. I ran through the various terms for sailors in my head, including ‘salty sea dogs’, but never thought of just ‘salts’. Gah.

    Found this fairly tough. 13a eluded me for a long time, as I thought that ‘without women’ in the clue was giving ‘stag’ – not helped by assuming ‘gets on’ was giving ‘ages’ and thinking those two aspects might go together somehow. I had to trust that SIENESE is a style and that macaroni can mean FOPPISH; I completely failed to parse DESPERADO; ‘cel’ as a transparent sheet wasn’t familiar for CELSIUS; and I only moved away from ‘nuclear reactor’ to FISSION REACTOR once I got OFFICER.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Shintoism

  19. 15:55, but with one error. I thought that I had put IS and an anagram of ISRAEL into FACTOR to get FISSILE REACTOR, failing to notice that I had a surplus of Es and a deficit of As. Oops.
    Having failed to notice that I got badly stuck at the end on three clues: the unfamiliar SIENESE, the tricky CELSIUS and finally 13ac, where I failed to lift and separate ‘without women’ (assuming it was an indication to remove a W) for a long time. The fact that I thought it was always the fairer sex didn’t help.
    I sorted it all out eventually but to no avail.

  20. Gave up after 35 mins with the same two
    missing as Gideandre. Should have thought of THAT function to make SIENESE which would probably have revealed CELCIUS and stopped me trying to work an anagram fruitlessly.

    Thanks Pip and setter

  21. DNF
    Hardly started, in fact. Got snookered immediately in the NW corner (the first bit I tackled) by celsius/Sienese and couldn’t be bothered to solve the rest of it, not least because I need to start work and am behind already. Ars longa vita brevis, as the Nice said.
    Thanks, p.

  22. 12:05
    18ac reminded me of the BtF sketch ‘The Great Train Robbery’, with Peter Cook as the deputy head of New Scotland Yard Sir Arthur Gappy describing the wonderful system of the Identikit, or L’Identikit “as the French FOPPISHly call it” – a useful phrase in many situations.

  23. Like Keriothe, above, I put FISSILE REACTOR thinking there was anagram fodder, not realising that Israel could be SION. Had heard of Zion, but not this alternate spelling. Still, liked CELSIUS once the penny dropped and the rest was good fun too. Thanks Pip, setter.

  24. Pleasant puzzle, with a few unknowns, ACTA, SIENESE, but gettable with crossers in. I stupidly bunged in EPSON SALTS at 8 across without reading the clue properly. All became clear when I saw MIRACLE at 3 down.


  25. A surprisingly slick 16.47: I thought it was much longer. A bit mean, PK, to characterise us NUCLEAR family as dunces: I can count on the fingers of one finger the number of times I’ve seen FISSION REACTOR in print, even if it’s technically more accurate.
    Otherwise the same as everyone: with CELSIUS missing, the crossing SIENESE and STERILISE had nothing but Es and Is to go on, and that use of flying doctor was canny. Eventually stopped trying to spell SIENESE with two Ns, and abandoned the too short anagram of I SCALE. A bit of a d’oh because I knew the CEL.
    My other slow realisation was DEACON, because in some (Anglican) circles a Deacon is, to all intents and purposes, an ordained minister, even if s/he can’t do magic fingers, which left me wondering how an aide was NED backwards. You can know too much.

  26. DNF CELSIUS & SIENESE. I had thought it was CelCius.
    Sienese wasn’t in my cheating machine, but I should have worked it out. I was never going to parse C because Cel is a clipping of Cellulose/oid which seems to apply only to those actually making cartoons, not to us the great unwashed.
    FISSION REACTOR a total biff. Would never have parsed it.
    ACTA wasn’t in Wictionary (first entry was for Catalan) so I deleted it from my cheating machine, then found it by a google search on Miriam W, so it should have been in Wiktionary I would have thought. Re-added to machine. Found that HARSHENs was absent from cheating machine so added it. I don’t like the word so was a bit dubious about putting the “s” version in.

    1. I personally favour Chambers, which has its own cheating machinery in the electronic version and is the dictionary of first resort for the Listener. I believe the Times favours Collins since it was associated with the National Competition. Both have entries for ACTA.

  27. 16’31”. Trailed at end looking for a jumble of SCALE to put round … something. Before the light dawned. Have read about the macaronis somewhere so that wasn’t a problem. Never parsed DESPERADO, and now see CHAP = DES. Hmmm. Good fun. Many thanks to all.

  28. Some toughies here, 31.51 felt like a good time. Guessed FOPPISH from crossers and was completely in the dark about the whole macaroni vibe, so thank you Piquet. Thought COLUMNED and HARSHEN were both slightly weird words. LOsI were ACTA and BROOKE. Even though there were some odd moments I thought this was an enjoyable challenge.

  29. First post after many years following. Pleased with sub 20’ today (just) with a couple of those on LOI Ides. May I enquire of the regulars how one becomes relevant to he statistics you often refer to: the snitch etc?

    1. Congratulations on coming out from the shadows. Welcome to the community and well done on a sub-20-minute time. That’s not an easy feat for many of us (even if some of our number consider it normal :-)).

      If you are looking for the SNITCH site, there’s a link at the top of each post. For your convenience it’s https://times.xwdsnitch.link. There is information on the site about how it works if you follow the different tabs and links.

      If you’re wondering when your own results will become part of the statistics, that’s a bit more complicated and you should let me know by replying to this comment.

      1. Many thanks for your reply and the link, not to mention your sustained effort in maintaining the credibility of the stats. As I understand it from the website, a pen and paper solver like myself is ineligible to become a reference solver, although posting accurate times in the blog is of some use.

        1. Thanks – I’m glad you like the approach 🙂

          And, yes, if you solve on pen and paper I cannot include you as a reference solver. However, if you want to post your times daily in the TfTT blog, the SNITCH can track your results for you as a Blog Solver. You’ll see that lots of people routinely report their times (usually at the start of their comment) and some report their times even if they solve on paper. A few people (including johninterred, for example) have elected to have these times tracked with the SNITCH, and they are the Blog Solvers.

          This is very much up to you. I only include people who specifically opt in to this, as some solvers don’t want to be under any pressure. So, let me know (either now or any time in the future) if you’d like to join them.

  30. 08:11, so no hold-ups, no knowledge which wasn’t general, and no eyebrows raised. Slight nostalgia for the days of my childhood when every medicine cabinet contained a tin of liver salts.

  31. I was going along quite nicely with this one having done about 80% of the crossword in under thirty minutes. I then got bogged down with the remaining clues, but slowly and surely they revealed themselves to me, and I eventually crossed the line in 51.43 with all correct and only 1dn unparsed.
    Seeing LIVER SALTS took me back to my childhood, watching my father taking his daily dose of Andrews Liver Salts first thing in the morning.

  32. Surprised to see no refs above re: AVIATOR, nor further justification in the blog, so I’m probably being a bit thick, but despite spotting the ‘hidden’ fairly quickly I couldn’t get the parsing. Why ‘characters (or letters)’? Is the idea that an aviator may carry mail between these destinations? Or what? Seems obtuse and/or redundant. With all this confusion I wasted time and never entered the answer until confirmed by crossers. Help!!

    1. I took it as that an AVIATOR might carry people (characters) or post (letters) between those locations, so it’s an extended definition. A bit of an odd one, but not objectionable.

      1. OK, so I wasn’t far out, just not on the setter’s wavelength. Anyway, thanks for that, Amoeba!

  33. I found this a lot harder than Piquet did, with about half completed before I became bogged down in the SW corner. Lunch revived the brain, as BOTTLED, OFFICER, TOSTADO and FISSION fell into place, leaving LOI BROOKE to mull over for a while more. I didn’t know Cel or ACTA and HARSHEN was late to come, even with the SHEN in place. The only bif was IMPOVERISH. Liked FURIOSO and FOPPISH.

  34. I ground through this, some nice clues, but eventually came to a halt on 1dn, Even when I used the Chambers search facility I entered CELSIUS without understanding how it worked and was surprised to see that I was correct, so my 49 minutes was … Never heard of a cel. And for RobR it was the first one in! Was a bit uncomfortable with SIENESE, since I thought it had a double N.

  35. I biffed both EPSOM SALTS and NUCLEAR FISSION which slowed me down when I eventually saw the light. But I didn’t find this all that easy but go there in the end starting in the evening and finishing in the morning.

  36. Several times over the last few weeks I’ve got one or two wrong so I was determined to finish today. Took an age to get my POI CELSIUS and then even longer to work out SIENESE even though it was very fairly clued.
    All correct so I’m happy now. Thanks for explaining all the parsing.

  37. No problems here other than waiting for both crossers to put the NHO Acta in from the clear wordplay. thx, pip

  38. Medics will have no trouble with ACTA as there is a series of respected journals “Acta [name of specialism] Scandanavica”.
    CELSIUS, never saw through the transparent sheet and thought that SIENESE deserved another “N”
    Otherwise straightforward if approached at walking pace.

  39. 46 minutes.

    I was a double dunce by starting with NUCLEAR FISSION, changing it to NUCLEAR REACTOR and finally getting FISSION REACTOR. I get to keep the hat, right?

  40. 55 minutes, so not very easy for me, but very enjoyable. I think ACTA was my FOI, so it took me a while to get going. Many of the clues eluded me at first, revealing themselves only gradually as I wound my way through the grid. With “IS ISRAEL” plainly visible in NUCLEAR FISSION, it took a while to see that the other letters were not going to do anything sensible, and only then (and needing the F for OFFICER) did I see that FISSION REACTOR would actually work, though lacking the L of ISRAEL. SIENESE and then CELSIUS were my last entries. The clues were not obvious, but all of them fair, with my frequent complaint about trivial clues with a single booby trap certainly not applying to this puzzle.

    On another note, since the start of this week the online cryptic crossword no longer seems to be working in Edge. The grid does not appear, and when at the beginning I opened a partially completed grid the cursor did not move when I entered letters. I have now installed Opera just to be able to do the crossword online, but it would be nice if Edge worked again.

  41. My last two in were BROOKE (I was reading reserved as meaning shy, and trying in vain to fit in Shelley) and IDES (I must try and remember this fish which I have only encountered in crosswords). ACTA went in straight away, for the reason given by wasagasman – Acta Oncologica is a journal I have published in. All finished in 36:29.

    Thanks piquet and setter

  42. NHO LIVER SALTS, SIENESE or CEL so DNF and I also went for ‘nuclear fission’ then ‘nuclear reactor’ before finally deciding on ‘fission reactor’. Probably average difficulty overall though I’d say.

  43. I was on the wavelength for this one, and had most of it sorted in about 10 minutes. I then ground to a halt in the NW, like some others, until I realised that for 11ac I only needed one function in the plural rather than two in the singular, and SIENESE fell into place. 1dn took longer as it looked like an anagram and NHO cel. But I finally twigged that we were looking for a scale and CELSIUS was really the only option. So all done in 15 minutes, possibly a PB.
    FOI – IDES
    COD – no award.
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  44. After 25 minutes I was stuck with C-L-I-S at 1d. After 35 minutes I caved and looked it up. NHO CEL, didn’t think of SUS for suspect. Submitted off leaderboard and the rest was correct. NHO ACTA either. Thanks setter and Pip.

  45. Does anybody know a masculine foodstuff consumed toasted in Mexico? According to Chambers the feminine form “tostada” has passed into English but the masculine “tostado” has not.

  46. Stymied by this one: NHO SIENESE as a “style of painting” despite having studied the history of art at Uni. Thrown by a hidden definition in 1d, never thought of the doctoring meaning of sterilisation, nor that macaroni and foppish were connected. So all in all – not a good solve.


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