Times 28881 – talk of Kings, but no cabbages.

A neat if relatively straightforward puzzle, with nothing to scare our equine companions. After completing it in 15 minutes, I spent time looking up King Edwin and the origins of the phrase “dog in the manger”, which were slightly interesting. I thought the clue for OFF SEASON was good, if it’s not been seen before.

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

1 Wow! Female in New Jersey, say, making bloomer (10)
CORNFLOWER – COR (wow!) N[ew], F[emale], LOWER (a cow).
6 Member has pounds, investing one million (4)
LIMB – LB (libra, pounds), insert I M.
10 Money-spinner goes on line in The Apprentice (7)
LEARNER – L[ine], EARNER = money-spinner.
11 Showed anger in society, like brothers in the hood? (7)
SCOWLED – S[ociety], COWLED = in hoods.
12 Swallowing umpteenth tablet, unsettled in flight (2,3,4)
ON THE WING – OWING (unsettled, as in a bill), insert NTH (umpteenth) E (tablet).
13 Most of this person’s large feet (5)
IAMBI – I AM BI[G] would be [most of] this person’s large.
14 Hardy female grasping right head adornment (5)
TRESS – TESS (of the D’Urbervilles, as in Thomas Hardy’s novel) with R inserted.
15 Wasn’t sure English model despised clothes (9)
HESITATED – HATED (despised) with E SIT (model) inserted.
17 Switch positions round areas for sailing in quiet time (3,6)
OFF SEASON – OFF and ON being switch positions, insert SEAS where you can sail. Nice one.
20 King of Northumbria emerged drained by victory (5)
EDWIN – E[merge]D, WIN = victory. I have no idea who Edwin was or when, but the word play is clear. Ah, I’ve looked him up, to save you the trouble. He was King of Deira and Bernicia, from 616 to 632 approx., which region after his time became known as Northumbria. Seems a bit like saying “Alfred was King of Hampshire” because most of Wessex came to be called Hampshire, but never mind.
21 Place this person left, backing out of it? (3,2)
LIT UP – all reversed, PUT (place) I (this person) L[eft].
23 Four-letter word from guy probing complex matter (9)
TETRAGRAM –  (MATTER)* with RAG (guy, tease) inserted.
25 Work to improve image and appearance that is plain (7)
PRAIRIE – PR (work to improve image), AIR (appearance), I.E. (that is).
26 E.g. pine to put on odd bits of bling that’s unimpressive (3,4)
BIG DEAL – DEAL (e.g. pine) after B[l]I[n]G.
27 Huge amount of money for a swanky residence (4)
PILE – double definition.
28 Caught in squall, egret toppled pretty quickly (10)
ALLEGRETTO – it’s hidden as above.
1 It’s played in place people are confined with ball (5)
CELLO – CELL (where people are confined), O (ball).
2 Criticise and maybe drone on loudly, getting meal (5,4)
ROAST BEEF – ROAST (criticise), BEE (maybe drone), F (loudly).
3 Oddly, finer dress stores maintain no returns policy (7,7)
FINDERS KEEPERS – (FINER DRESS)* with KEEP (maintain) inserted.
4 Monstrous error when defending dissolute heirs (7)
OGREISH – OG (own goal, error when defending), (HEIRS)*.
5 Even heartless crimes stopped by good standards (7)
ENSIGNS – E[ve]N, SINS (crimes), insert G[ood].
7 Periodically miss old cover of Adam Faith (5)
ISLAM -m I s S o L d, A[da]M
8 Ordered to imprison lousy red for not rising (9)
BEDRIDDEN – BIDDEN (ordered) with (RED)* inserted.
9 Selfish hoarder of alcohol those people put out after party (3,2,3,6)
DOG IN THE MANGER – DO (party) GIN (alcohol) THEM (those people) ANGER (put out).
14 Cheers small canine, pointer according to Spooner (6-3)
TOODLE-PIP – Doctor Spooner might have said POODLE TIP, he obviously hasn’t met our poodle, Ted, who isn’t a small canine.
16 Least tasteful twit dares to get a make-over (9)
18 Poet one introduced to Eliot, initially, around spring (7)
SITWELL – Eliot was Thomas Stearns knows as T S, “around” is S T, insert I (one), add WELL for spring. There were three Sitwell siblings who wrote, but Edith was the poetic one; I’m not likely to read their works but I have visited their stately “pile” at Renishaw Hall near Sheffield, which has some nice paintings.
19 Stick up banks in Lancashire, which is interesting (7)
NOTABLE –  BATON (stick) reversed, L[ancashir]E.
22 Fish like sashimi, say, in wrapping of tinfoil (5)
TRAWL – T[infoi]L with RAW inserted.
24 Musician’s very beastly utterance about officer (5)
MOLTO – MOO (beastly utterance) with LT (officer) inserted.


63 comments on “Times 28881 – talk of Kings, but no cabbages.”

  1. At 38 minutes I didn’t find this particularly easy, but my solving was steady and solid and there was enough in the clues to keep me amused and interested.

    My last two in, adding a good 5 minutes to my time, were TOODLE PIP and LIT UP. I have an aversion to Spooner clues anyway, and today I was not helped by being convinced from early on that ‘small canine’ was going to make the second word PUP.

    In the LIT UP clue it was hard to spot the definition (‘out of it’) and I only found it eventually by constructing the answer from wordplay and working backwards. I imagine LIT UP in this sense (meaning ‘drunk’) is already on Merlin’s list of ‘Pet Peeves’, or will be after today.

  2. CORNFLOWER went straight in so I was hoping for a fast solve. But it was a steady solve in 31 minutes. LOI PRAIRIE. I put OGREISH together in my head from the wordplay and at first I rejected it as not an actual word before realizing later that it was.

  3. One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impaired the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven Tress,
    Or softly lightens o’er her face
    (She Walks in Beauty, Byron)

    20 mins pre-brekker. Nice. Neat and tidy.
    Ta setter and Pip

  4. 16:50
    Like Jack, my LOI was LIT UP; I dithered for some time between LET & LIT until finally I was able to parse the thing. It didn’t help that I didn’t know ‘lit up’ for ‘out of it’, or even for ‘drunk’. I biffed 14d from the T, one of the Ps, and the hyphen; DOG similarly. Parsed post-submission. In keeping with my chronic inability to spot hiddens, it was only when I started to type in ALLEGRETTO that I saw it. I liked FINDERS KEEPERS.

    1. LIT-UP or just LIT meaning ‘drunk’ has come up several times before time but working back to LIT-UP from ‘out of it’ took some doing. There’s a wartime song I have mentioned more than once in this connection called I’m going to get lit-up when the lights go up in London . During its three choruses it also gets through ‘pickled’ ‘canned’, ‘stinking’ and ‘pie-eyed’.

  5. What a clever crossword! There was so much going in so many clues, but for me the many stand-outs included SITWELL, FINDERS KEEPERS, CORNFLOWER, ISLAM, ENSIGN…I won’t got on. I’ve probably seen Hardy female before but it still gets the thumbs up. Thanks to Nelson for explaining LIT UP, TETRAGRAM (I couldn’t make the guy = rag connection, looked for a bloke), OGREISH (in disbelief I used check function on that) and ON THE WING. 32.32, slightly longer than a Robert Johnson song.

  6. Just under one hour 40 minutes. FOI ON THE WING It looked right because of in flight but parsing not a clue. FINDERS KEEPERS kept try to use odd letters couldn’t parse it (never thought of oddly as an anagrind). Liked CORNFLOWER. Guessed DOG IN THE MANGER early, couldn’t parse. LOI MOLTO Got word lists and but couldn’t find it. Finally saw beastly utterance as MOO, the very moved over to musician’s very and it just fell out. Slowed by BIG DEAL since it can often mean something impressive whereas the unimpressive side is more about how it is said (with sarcasm)
    Quicker than yesterday but around half looked right but were unparsed. So to me the puzzle appeared a lot harder than yesterday

    1. Hi KensoGhost, I meant to add my welcome to the others when you posted for the first time yesterday but got distracted.

      I remember yesterday though that you and the others were discussing your preferred methods of completing the crossword and I thought I would mention my favourite way in case it was of interest.

      I have always preferred physically writing in the answers as I have never got used fully to the typing method. It just doesn’t feel right to me. But I gave up traditional paper and pen ages ago and now use an app called GoodNotes along with an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil (other note-taking apps, tablets and e-pens are available of course and may be better but that is my combination).

      Apologies if someone else has already mentioned this method but I haven’t seen it discussed on the forum before.

      Anyway, however you do it I hope you persevere and continue to enjoy it!

      Best wishes


  7. 30 minutes. TOODLE PIP was my LOI too, like Jack being unable to shift PUP and initially entering TA for ‘Cheers’. Helped by a few chestnuts such as IAMBI for ‘feet’ and TESS for ‘Hardy female’ but held up by ON THE WING which went in unparsed. Favourite was LIT UP.

    Thanks to Pip (BTW, there’s an N missing in the explanation for CORNFLOWER) and setter

  8. 29 minutes with LOI LIT UP. Having mentioned a couple of days ago how I first saw Dusty in Blackpool in 1960 singing in the Lana Sisters, I can now admit that they were way down the bill at the Adam Faith summer show. COD to ON THE WING, for the Nth. Not hard but enjoyable. Thank you Pip and setter.

  9. 22:20 with LOI 21ac, after finally getting the poodle tip. PUT-I-L backwards shouldn’t have been so hard, but it was. As the blogger says, a nice straightforward puzzle and another, by my standards, fast time.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  10. 18’44”, with the clever TOODLE-PIP LOI, after also writing in TA- and then stopping.

    CORNFLOWER took too long, fixated on getting ‘cow’ in again, after the monkish clue. Also, like Kevin, wondered why an anagram of ‘egret’ should be ‘egret’ before the PDM.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  11. 25 mins, fast for me. Must have been on the setter’s wavelength. NHO of LIT UP as meaning ‘drunk’ or otherwise intoxicated, but wordplay was pretty clear. The CORNFLOWER/CELLO nexus took me a while to tease out, but enjoyed the answers when they came.

  12. 14:43. Quite a few hold-ups in what wasn’t that difficult a puzzle – I struggled to see WING in 12A and , my LOI, DEAL in 26A. LIT-UP took me a while to work out too. I’d no idea what DOG IN THE MANGER meant but the wordplay was clear. Pip, you are missing the N in your description of the wordplay for CORNFLOWER. Thanks Pip and Setter (who I suspect to be John Grimshaw – we have a word in common in the grid with his QC today and the style seems quite similar and somewhat familiar ).

  13. 23:54
    and for once I can’t blame the dreaded Spoonerism for slowing me down.

    Lots to enjoy about this puzzle, a nice mix of vocabulary, no unknowns and all fairly clued.

    Thanks to both.

  14. About 20 minutes.

    Didn’t spot that ALLEGRETTO was a hidden; only parsed ON THE WING after entering it; saw the ‘rag’ part of TETRAGRAM, but not how the rest of it worked; and pieced together the unknown DOG IN THE MANGER from wordplay, with a MER over put out=anger – I only ever think of put out as meaning disappointed.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Cello
    LOI Dog in the manger
    CODs On the wing / Finder keepers

  15. 7:49. Steady solve with no major hold-ups. I misread ‘flight’ as ‘fight’ and put IN THE RING at 12ac but I reconsidered it quite quickly when I got to 1dn. I don’t remember coming across EDWIN before.

  16. Fine crossword this, neat, tidy, very slick and professional. If it were John Grimshaw, as Johninterred suggests, I wouldn’t be surprised.
    Liked several clues, especially the nth and the off/on .. good stuff.

    Point taken re Edwin, Pip, but to be fair to our setter his Wikipedia article is headed “Edwin of Northumbria” and includes phrases like “Rædwald installed Edwin as king of Northumbria.” Northumbria became a kingdom in its own right in 654ad, only about 20 years after Edwin died

    1. Fair comment, if I’d read to the end of the article I might have seen that. Mr Bede probably made up half of it anyway.

  17. 28 mins.
    I like LIT; it’s a Wodehouse favourite. Bertie and Jeeves contrive to accidentally give Gussie two doses of Dutch courage before he makes a speech at a school prize-giving day: “I think that there can be little doubt, Jeeves, that the entire contents of that jug are at this moment reposing on top of the existing cargo in that already brilliantly lit man’s interior. Disturbing, Jeeves.”
    Thanks, p.

        1. And we are told it was going to be “Disturbing.”
          PG Wodehouse, one of our greatest authors; what he did, no-one has done better

          1. I’ve been meaning to respond to this for a while. I couldn’t agree more. I read English at Oxford and I wrote a dissertation on the sophisticated humour of PG Wodehouse and I think I got a beta-alpha for it, which is Oxford speak for nearly first class. His writing is superb, and inimitable.

            1. Very cool subject for a dissertation, k. Great result, btw – congrats. He was an amazing prose stylist – and as you say, inimitable. I did Mod Langs at Ch Ch in the 70s, so was stuck with ploughing through endless tomes of ancient and impenetrable stuff about monks by the likes of Rabelais and Pascal. Never really got past the 17th century, and was never spoken to in French or Spanish till the final oral exam. A shockingly outdated undergraduate course even then, but it enabled the dons to talk about their niche interests all day, so they had no interest whatsoever in updating it.

              1. The English course was similarly outdated: we covered everything from Beowulf but the 20th Century was deemed to have stopped with Joyce.

  18. 30:18
    A very entertaining puzzle that took longer than it should because of a stinking cold and fingers that wouldn’t behave. ALLEGRETTO was cleverly hidden and CELLO/CORNFLOWER took a fair while to crack. TAWDRIEST was a write in for an ex-Ely resident. St. Audrey was a later form of Etheldrida the city’s patron saint, and tawdry (cheap and nasty) lace was sold at fairs there .

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

  19. 13’59” with LOI MOLTO. Wasted time trying to find a musician before I noticed what would have been the redundant VERY. Just been reading about how Noel Coward liked to guy Edith Sitwell in one of his early stage reviews, creating a poetess called Hernia Whittlebot who recited such lines as “Round – oblong – like jam; Terse as virulent hermaphrodites; Calling across the sodden twisted ends of Time.” Great stuff.

  20. 14.19, though with neither of the long ones parsed. Just as well we don’t have to show our workings, and cheers, Pip for going to all that effort!
    I’ve made this point before, but I think there are two grades of Spooner clue: one (more common, I’d venture) where it’s just an indication that the initial letters be reversed, with the twisted version barely making sense. Today’s POODLE TIP might be “don’t own one”, I suppose, but it lacks the finesse. The higher grade indicates the same reversal, but the twisted version makes a bizarre sense, and crucially has an (un?)intentional level of amusement. Two genuine, if apocryphal, examples “Three cheers for our queer old dean!” at a dinner attended by Victoria, and “The Lord is a shoving leopard” allegedly in a sermon.

    1. Genuine but apocryphal?!
      According to Wikipedia, Spooner himself claimed he had only ever uttered one spoonerism in his life, and a pretty simple one that… it is a very strange way to achieve immortality!

      1. Granted, an odd concept. Either Spooner was unaware of his metathesis or was mischievous enough to play on it and be economical with the truth when asked. Whichever, there are many, many examples attributed to him, and even if he did only contribute ‘Kinkering Kongs their Titles Take’ his name is firmly attached to them. On balance, it seems unlikely that he only ever uttered that one, a low grade one at that. I prefer to think of him as someone who delighted in washing his birds, and polled talkie ties when asked about it.

  21. Thankfully I remembered to go back to LET UP because I couldn’t parse it, and substituted LIT UP.

    Otherwise, I enjoyed this puzzle, very agreeable.


  22. 10:39

    It took a while to get going but I then found myself biffing a lot, especially the longer clues.

  23. 18:40 with SCOWLED my LOI. Thanks to blogger for sorting out those I’d biffed like ON THE WING, the BEEF bit of that clue and CORNFLOWER.
    I did hesitate over the vowel in L*T UP, until I saw the definition.
    Thanks to the setter.

  24. This struck me as a good example of The Times crossword: neat, sound, pleasant clues. The only misgiving I had was that there seemed to be rather a lot of clues where the wordplay involved the outer letters of a word: 20ac, 5dn, 19dn and 22dn. The fact that two of them were next to each other was probably the reason for the impression. If the off-on clue is original (which I don’t know) it’s very good. 34 minutes. SCOWLED entered in the hope, couldn’t see how it worked.

  25. 15:44

    Flying fingers today for a fairly gentle grid, but delightfully clued. The only one I didn’t get ‘in flight’ (:-)) was my LOI 12a, though did bung in FINDERS KEEPERS with only a cursory look at the wordplay. I too wondered who the Italian musician MOLTO might be before the penny dropped. COD to DOG IN THE MANGER

    Thanks P and setter

  26. Very enjoyable. An interesting mix of clues, but nothing too outlandish. I was a bit becalmed in the SE but still managed to cross the line in 25 minutes.
    FOI – LIMB
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  27. Had to use aids for TETRAGRAM (couldn’t even parse it!), and SCOWLED, which I couldn’t see even with all crossers. (Thought it had to be SPOILED which clearly didn’t work.) Impressed by the very long reverse-hidden ALLEGRETTO. (Has there ever been a longer one?!) Also liked SITWELL, over which I laboured long.

  28. 13 mins – very polished puzzle. I have only ever encountered LIT UP in Times puzzles; it seems very Nancy Mitford – but then Times puzzles often do.

  29. Some 40′ split over an eye test appointment and resulting headache. The second half was also accompanied by whatever annoying music my doctors’ surgery plays on their call waiting system (presumably in the hope people will ring off..). Neither helped!
    As some others I wasted time on the spoonerism trying to change the first “p” in “pup”. NHO deal as pine and the parsing of “ON THE WING” eluded me. TOODLE-PIP and LIT-UP made me wonder if I’d entered a Noel Coward fan-site. OFF-SEASON was nice. Thank you Piquet and setter, I’ll go and look up DOG IN THE MANGER.

  30. CELLO was FOI and I made reasonable progress until left with 1a, 3d, 14d and 21a. PRAIRIE arrived first, then TOODLE PIP. I then made the leap from state to cow at 1a, which next precipitated FINDERS KEEPERS. It still took a while to make sense of the instructions to turn L-T -P into LIT UP. 23:32. Thanks setter and Pip.

  31. Couldn’t parse 12a ON THE WING, but could see that the last 5 chars of swallowing were filled in by an anag of the last 4 of umpteenth, so I shrugged and plonked it in anyway. Oh dear. Nth + E was clever.
    BIFFed 23a TETRAGRAM as well, so thanks for that.
    Couldn’t see Own Goal in 4d ogREISH either.
    Good puzzle though, I don’t mind being defeated by a good one.

  32. Slow and steady solve at 29 minutes but then a dreaded pink square. I’d never parsed LET UP but failed to think of the alternative LIT unfortunately. I was a little bit LIT UP watching Jonny Marr at Newcastle last night so maybe that slowed the old grey cells.

    COD to OFF SEASON very neat device – and why did it take me so long to realise that places for sailing are just seas?

    Thanks J and setter

    1. I’m wondering that one too! Very neat puzzle and some clever devices. Especially liked OFF SEASON and FINDERS KEEPERS.

  33. I decided to start with DOG IN THE MANGER, which made all the right side fill in quickly, and the rest was no struggle at all, although I was fighting to stay awake after a night on the town.

  34. 33:46
    I was held up by ON THE WING, which I resisted entering since I could not parse – I saw the NTH, but could not make sense of OEWING. Thanks for the blog, reminding me of the rule that crossword solvers need to be up to date on drugs terminology.
    I was fine with Edwin of Northumbria. Bede took a very dim view of Cadwallon of Gwynedd who defeated Edwin in battle.

    Thanks piquet and setter

  35. I’m all lit up like a Christmas tree
    Says Barnacle Bill the sailor

    A bit of a struggle today, in the newspaper. I’m on my hols. No wi-fi and almost no phone signal. Some tricky stuff but I liked SCOWLED and OFF SEASON

  36. 15.29

    Thought this was an excellent puzzle, and the usual high standard of blog from Pip

    FINDERS KEEPERS in early and it proceeded from there. LOI TRAWL as wanted a noun not a verb and TJAPANESEL didn’t fit the checkers

  37. Fine solid fare with no particular excitement, and I did like umpteenth=nth. But surely ‘lit up’ is scarcely half way to ‘out of it’?


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