Times 28883 – are you ruminating in the cool shade?


Thinking cap firmly on for this tester, but all straightforward enough to explain after the fact. Great DDs, and plenty that could have been very difficult without checking letters.

Definitions underlined.

1 Beat guttersnipe lacking modicum of respect for religious figure (8)
CAPUCHIN – CAP (beat) + UrCHIN (guttersnipe), lacking the ‘r’ or the first letter of, or a bit (modicum) of respect. A friar.
5 Officer who might appear tight-lipped? (6)
PURSER – a naval officer, and who might pucker their lips.
9 Male friendship beginning to bother Catholic Church (8)
BROMANCE -first of Bother + ROMAN (Catholic) + CE (church).
10 Be full of anger having lost almost everything for sure (6)
ABOUND – Anger (having lost all-but-the-first letter) + BOUND (for sure).
12 Learning assumed by one that runs a course in France (5)
LOIRE – LORE (learning) is clothing (is assumed by) I (one).
13 Inimitable type of music making a comeback in on-line broadcast (9)
NONPAREIL – RAP (type of music) reversed (making a comeback) in an anagram of ON-LINE.
14 Best place to start job on staff (4,8)
18 Plant business barely increased activity to begin with (12)
TRADESCANTIA – TRADE (business) + SCANT (barely) + Increased Activity to begin with. Note to self: now you have seen it, you can’t claim to have never seen it before. #WJSNHO
21 State-controlled newspaper in Cologne? (9)
FRAGRANCE – RAG (newspaper) inside (controlled by) FRANCE (state).
23 Unique case of atypical individual (5)
ALONE – first (case) of Atypical + LONE (individual).
24 Viewer’s complaint is about critic after taking sides (6)
IRITIS – IS (containing) cRITIc (after “taking” side letters).
25 Area 51 opens up belief in invisible controlling powers (8)
RELIGION – REGION (area) that LI (51) opens up.
26 Watch person with a particular interest in game? (6)
HUNTER – double definition.
27 Evergreen shrub with upright stem (8)
STANDARD – double definition.
1 Work at last in stone (6)
COBBLE – double definition.
2 Competitor who’s earning very attractive return (6)
PROFIT – PRO (competitor who’s earning) + FIT (very attractive).
3 Escort a former president under revolutionary compatriot’s protection (9)
CHAPERONE – A + PERON (former President) contained by CHE (revolutionary compatriot).
4 Shining Path traced back to Peruvian empire? (12)
INCANDESCENT – cryptic hint. INCAN DESCENT = path traced back to Peruvian empire?
6 University management course covering right shady area! (5)
UMBRA – U (university) + MBA (management course), containing R (right).
7 What helps one remember work over in US (8)
SOUVENIR – anagram of OVER IN US.
8 Suggestive note about “fast” clothes (8)
REDOLENT – RE (about) and LENT (fast) contains (clothes) DO (note).
11 Declaration in the year peacekeepers unite (12)
ANNOUNCEMENT – ANNO (year) + UN (peacekeepers) + CEMENT (unite).
15 Mock leader out of weakness (9)
IMITATION – lIMITATION (weakness) without its ‘leader’.
16 Rather formal attacks upset members of school (8)
STIFFISH – FITS (attacks) reversed + FISH (members of school).
17 Categorised groups into different types of duty (8)
TAXATION – TAXA (categorised groups) + anagram of INTO.
19 Scandalous book all about keeping love and sex apart (6)
LOLITA – reversal of ALL, containing O (love) and IT (sex) but not contiguously (apart).
20 Drink in every gesture showing approval (6)
PERNOD – PER (every) + NOD (gesture showing approval).
22 Increase in wage level accommodates union’s core requirement (5)
RAISE – RASE (level, as in ‘raze’, to the ground) containing the middle letter of unIon.

63 comments on “Times 28883 – are you ruminating in the cool shade?”

  1. After a very encouraging start in which the NW quarter and some of the NE went in easily I ground to a halt and struggled at snail’s pace through most of the reminder.

    But in the end as an hour arrived on the clock I ran out of patience with the elusive plant at 18ac and resorted to aids for its three missing letters. I had deduced TRADE (business) and I{ncreased} A{ctivity} but the middle section of wordplay had me beaten and I gave up my pursuit of an answer I simply didn’t know. As things turned out, TRADESCANTIA (wavy-lined in red by my spell-check, btw) has turned up once before in the TfTT era in a Sunday puzzle I solved in March 2016. I didn’t know it then either, but I commented that the wordplay was quite friendly on that occasion so I didn’t need to look it up.

    The other answer that gave concern was 17dn, which I assumed was likely to be TAXATION but I wasn’t aware of ‘groups / TAXA’ so I was unable to confirm it from wordplay. I never got as far as noticing TION as an anagram of ‘into’.

  2. A fail in 47 minutes. I was feeling very pleased with myself for remembering, or thinking I’d remembered, TRADESCENTIA. Pride cometh…

  3. O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
    Alone and palely loitering?
    The sedge has withered from the lake,
    And no birds sing.
    (La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Keats)

    25 enjoyable mins pre-brekker left my LOI which I guessed was Trade,Scant,IA.
    Phew. I always blench at plants.
    Mostly I liked the excellent: Purser, AnnoUNcement and Lolita.
    Ta setter and W

    1. I always enjoy being reminded of “palely loitering”- what a lovely image. And I think I did some of that myself as a lovestruck youth.

  4. Not too hard for a Friday, all done in 21 minutes, with RAISE unparsed; DK the spelling RASE for RAZE and not very happy with that. The plant was got from wordplay and seemed a reasonable guess.
    TAXATION was a good one, on the last day of the UK tax year.

  5. 23A Case refers to the first and last letters so the parsing is AtypicaL+ ONE (individual)

    After 90 minutes I had 6 answers offering almost no crossing letters and I gave up, a complete wipeout. Like flogging a dead horse it was too hard for me. I read LOLITA in the 1950s but forgot all about it. Had POLE POSITION, IRITIS, CHAPERONE, UMBRA, ANNOUNCEMENT and PERNOD. The others got me with their wording. A lot look easy after seeing the answers. 1D had BASALT which mucked up the top. Even discovered a 12 letter word for the Incan empire ie TAWANTINSUYU or to the Spanish TAHANTINSUYU.

  6. 20:56. Held up by a few unknowns – the plant, constructed from the wordplay, TAXA and RASE spelt with an S. LOI TAXATION held me up for a good couple of minutes at the end. I should have got CAPUCHIN quicker as I have some twin cousins who are both Capuchin monks, but I got stuck on the word starting RAP until I finally saw COBBLE. I parsed ALONE as KensoGhost above did. A good Friday test. Thanks William and setter.

  7. SHINING PATH was clever because of course SENDERO LUMINOSO was a Peruvian far-left group. I raced off at the start, but stuttered at around three-quarters done, with STANDARD the LOI. That was put in with fingers crossed, because I did not know of any EVERGREEN connexion. The plant at 18ac I must have seen before because it came to mind when I saw the TRADE bit of the answer. Thought for too long that 25ac was a belief that ended in -ISM, which would have made possible PERMIT as APPROVAL in 20d. Luckily I couldn’t find any hidden drink. Some great clues, especially IRITIS, LOLITA and PURSER. All done in 32’00”. Not surprised to see highish SNITCH.

  8. 26’29”, pleased to finish as it nearly all came slowly.

    Knew TRADESCANTIA from when I lived in my own and had houseplants to keep me company. From memory, named for the Tradescant family who imported them. Also had a now-unacceptable name.

    LOI was RELIGION, possibly the worse definition I’ve ever seen.

    Thanks william and setter.

    1. While I pretty much agree with the sentiment, Rob, you may have seen an almost identical definition in The Other Bible, Chambers: “belief in, recognition of or an awakened sense of a higher unseen controlling power or powers.”

      1. What’s wrong with this definition? Seems perfectly accurate to me, and not in a particularly derogatory way. See also Collins: ‘belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered to be divine or to have control of human destiny ’ (my emphasis).

        1. In Collins’ case, ‘supernatural’ is an unjustified qualifier to the definition. As is the ‘have control of human destiny’.

          1. I don’t agree on your first point but the definition doesn’t say ‘supernatural’, it says ‘invisible’, which I would say is unquestionable.
            The control point is fair enough though, now that you mention it. That’s not how it works in Christianity, at least.
            As with ‘standard’, though, if it says it in the dictionaries I think we have to give the setter the benefit of any doubt.

        1. Precisely. A classic case of a dictionary ‘loading’ a definition with their own unjustified qualifiers.

          But you put it better and more succinctly than me.

      2. Well that’s Chambers for you unfortunately. Going beyond their limitations yet again.

        If their definition was just ‘ belief. . . in a controlling power’ that would be perfectly ok, and absolutely correct. It’s when they insert their own qualifiers such as ‘unseen’ that they run into trouble, for the obvious reason that ‘unseen’ doesn’t mean ‘invisible’. But the setter seems to have gone with that.
        Also unseen by or invisible to whom?

  9. 21.28 having initially thought I’d stumbled on another Friday Easy. ABOUND and SOUVENIR were my last two, the first because of that other way of saying “first letter”, the second because it didn’t look like an anagram, and then didn’t look like it was an anagram of the letters available. The plant that was and the evergreen one that wasn’t and then was were both holdups, and the “wandering Aramaean” (I looked it up and mildly sanitised it) was entered on wordplay and fingers crossed. INCAN DESCENT looks like a chestnut, but I can’t peruve it.
    A decent workout, with a certain freshness about it.

  10. A tough one, I thought. Gave up on the hour, beaten by TAXATION and HUNTER. Should have got the latter, but had become a little jaded by then. Never parsed ABOUND or LOIRE, so thanks for that. Liked PURSER and COBBLE, but this felt like pushing water uphill overall.

  11. 22:47. I found that very tough, and there was enough in it that I thought pretty dodgy that I didn’t really enjoy it. How does BOUND mean ‘for sure’? How does ‘scant’ mean barely (this ones in the usual dictionaries but I still don’t understand it)? How does STANDARD mean ‘evergreen’? Obscure plants and Latin… pfft.
    There was also some good stuff of course but I’m still sulking.

    1. Evergreen – Of enduring freshness, success, or popularity. Often used in connection with popular songs especially in the 20s 30s 40s and 50s, hence also ‘standard’.

      1. This is another – highly tenuous IMO – three-point turn in a thesaurus!
        Edit: having poked around in dictionaries a bit more my disagreement here is more with their definitions of ‘standard’. To me this refers to a song or tune – that is regularly performed by a variety of artists. An ‘evergreen’ might be that, but the term is much vaguer. So Night and Day is a standard, but Twist and Shout (or the Parrot Sketch from Monty Python for that matter) is not, although it is an evergreen.
        However in the usual way I must – grumpily! – allow that the setter is entitled to rely on dictionary definitions.

        1. It’s not a highly tenuous three-point turn in a thesaurus. Chambers Dictionary specifies: evergreen – a piece of music that retains its popularity throughout the years.

          Later note: This comment was posted before your edit. I note that you have opened out your argument but since you have allowed the setter his due, I see no point in pursuing the matter further.

          1. I had no problem with a standard as an evergreen and, in fact, I thought it may even refer to the Barbra Streisand song Evergreen as a standard. My struggle on the clue was that I’d never heard of the other definition for a shrub with an upright stem😊

            1. Yeah I’d never heard of that either which didn’t help!
              Evergreen would arguably qualify as a standard (it seems to have been covered many times) but the definition by example isn’t indicated.

    2. I think that ‘for’ is just a link word. A(nger) has ‘lost almost everything’ ‘for’ (ie replaced by) ‘sure’ – “I’m bound / sure to forget that tomorrow”.

      About 45 mins, I think – I solve on paper and only have a rough idea of when I start and finish.

      1. Ah yes, good spot, thanks! So basically all of my objections are just me being dim. I still don’t understand how ‘scant’ is an adverb though.

    3. I couldn’t quite make “ABOUND” mean “full of” either. Either the plentiful things themselves ABOUND or a place can ABOUND with them.

      1. I read the definition as ‘are full’, with ‘of’ as a link word. Still not quite sure though, now that you mention it, since things are full of but ABOUND with.

    4. I took bound in the sense of ‘something is bound to happen’ meaning it will for sure. Agree re scant and barely, they are both in the same general area but I can’t think of a sentence in which they could be interchanged. ‘Scant regard’ means ‘barely any regard’ for instance, without the any it’s nonsense.

      On edit…doing this a couple of days late, I think I might have just doubled up, apols

  12. All very hard for me and I gave up on TAXATION after a few minutes over the hour, only just understood it, didn’t know taxa, but taxonomy etc gives it to you, so 67 minutes dnf. Surely naval officers are only part of the Royal Navy; pursers are part of the Merchant Navy. But in a loose sense perhaps OK. Strangely TRADESCANTIA came quickly, because I used to pass Tradescant Road in South London and looked it up to see how it was pronounced and found out about Tradescant the gardener and his flower. I thought the description of RELIGION, which could have been controversial, was very gently done.

  13. 51:11

    Another who found this very hard. Had about two-thirds done in twenty-five minutes but groups of answers in each corner except the SW would not come. Thinking of U{r}CHIN prompted completion of NW; NONPAREIL and UMBRA opened up the NE (though SOUVENIR would be my LOI); and PERNOD precipitated a deluge of answers in the SE. Didn’t know STANDARD as a shrub with an upright stem, but pleased to fill in the long plant at 18a without knowing what it is.

    Thanks William and setter

  14. DNF – plain sailing until I returned to the NE and came a cropper on SOUVENIR and ABOUND, the former which I should have seen, probably giving me the latter, though I doubt I would have confidently parsed the origin of the A and the BOUND.

  15. Area 51 in the US is a secret location which conspiracy theorists link with aliens. So I got a bit fixated with ALI…. which didn’t help. Thanks to all contributors who help me a lot

    1. The town of Roswell is entirely devoted to this story. Even the streetlights are shaped like alien heads

  16. 11m 47s for a tricky puzzle with plenty of hold-ups. LOI was the unknown TRADESCANTIA, pieced together without much hope, especially as I don’t recall coming across SCANT as an adverb before. Apparently it’s legit, though.

  17. DNF

    Over the hour mark with no plant nor 1, 8 or 17 down.
    Great puzzle I thought with clever misdirection and very satisfying PDM’s.

  18. 29:21
    Quite a few unknowns for which I had to rely on the wordplay, which on the whole was excellent. Both RAISE and STANDARD went in without being 100% understood, but otherwise all parsed.

    No typos or silly mistakes this week but normal service will no doubt resume on Monday.

    Thanks to both.

  19. 14.45. Got stuck on the 1A/1D corner for a couple of minutes, very pleasant internal thud in the noggin as the penny dropped. Great puzzle! Thanks to setter & blogger.

  20. I solved 1a as I read the clue, so was off to a quick start, but soon slowed down. I managed most of it without too much anguish, but was left with a few in each corner, apart from the NW, which seemed intractable but eventually yielded. SOUVENIR and ABOUND, PERNOD, STANDARD and RELIGION, and finally TRADESCANTIA and LOI, TAXATION. The plant was purely from wordplay and crossers. Took ages to alpha trawl to get TAXA. 32:26. Thanks setter and William.

  21. My grumbles – quite a few (most discussed above) related-to-but-not-really-exact definitions, a product placement, and finding the linking word “in” not fitting either the surface or the precise assembly instruction in several clues – were offset by my glee in decrypting both of my NHOs.
    The sleight of clue referencing Area 51, plus a lot of the gramatical construction in the clues gave this a extra-Britain feel.
    Thanks, Wm; you were very clever in a couple places setter.

  22. Wow that was tough, probably one of the hardest I can remember tackling. Very very pleased to complete in 66 minutes. Loved incandescent with its political reference to shining path. Tradescantia I biffed as my LOI – I thought it almost unfair as a clue to be honest but it was gettable from wordplay just.

    Thx William and setter for a belter of a puzzle. Off for a lie down and a stiff drink

  23. Found this tough, and needed two goes to complete it.

    TRADESCANTIA was a complete unknown which I eventually pieced together from wordplay; didn’t know PURSER; didn’t work out how to get the A in ABOUND; like Barry Moss above, spent a while trying to fit ‘ali’ into 25a before I worked out that the definition was the last five words of the clue rather than just the last three; STANDARD went in with a shrug as it was all that would reasonably fit; didn’t know the rase spelling for RAISE; and agree with KensoGhost re the parsing of ALONE.

    Thanks setter and blogger

    FOI Bromance
    LOI Purser
    COD Chaperone

  24. Gave up after 45 mins in two sittings, I had to go out, and looked up the Tradyscantypants plant. Quite tough I thought. PERNOD? I’d rather have a cinquante-et-un.

    I liked STIFFISH & POLE POSITION which I was clearly not on!

    Thanks William and setter.

  25. 61 mins and very glad to finish in the end. Had a lot of trouble with the bottom half with tradesetc my LOI. Cobble was a puzzle but guessed right.

    A very good puzzle . Thx setter and blogger.

  26. 14:28

    I found this reasonable but felt it would be perceived as hard, owing to the number of well hidden definitions and cunning wordplay. LOI COBBLE, which I really ought to have got immediately.

    TAXATION has a particular relevance for us here in the UK, as 5th April is the end of our tax year for individuals (not companies though). Why 5th April? it all goes back to the old “quarter days” when rents were historically paid. One of these was 25th March, and marked the end of the tax year. However when the UK belatedly moved to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, we lost 11 days overnight. In order that no one should lose out, the quarter days were shifted 11 days forward.

    1. More surprising is that the date that the year ticked up by one used to be 25th March, not 1st January.

      1. Not so surprising given that the Romans held that the vernal equinox should traditionally be 25th March, which makes some sense. In his calendar reforms Julius Caesar changed the start of the year to 1st January, in part to be nearer the winter solstice.

  27. Glad to finish, with LOI TAXATION since I’d never heard of TAXA (although with taxonomy it was very plausible) that I got the following morning having given up the night before.

  28. 35.48. Relative slowness of time is due to persistent slowness of brain. I knew ‘tradescantia’ from growing them more than fifty years’ ago. I dithered for quite a while before entering ‘raise’ as, like others, the alternative spelling of ‘raze’ in this context was new to me.

  29. Just on the hour

    I also found this very tough – needed to think of lots of synonyms when after a long week I just wanted write ins

    Not helped by wanting the non-word OPLATE then something beginning OP then realising there was a pack of hounds making a lot of noise underneath a tree. And so it went on

    Pleased to finish to be honest

    Thanks all

  30. I took 38 minutes so it was back to reality after my almost-record time yesterday!!!
    Only unknown was the plant, but that was completely fairly clued. Over and over again I was kicking myself for being misled by the cleverly phrased clues.
    Many thanks setter for a great puzzle, and blogger of course.
    Cheers Steve

  31. Defeated by Standard, Lolita and Taxation.
    However, I did like Incandescent and Announcement.

  32. A tricky one and a DNF. I’ve not got much to add to others comments about strange definitions, wordplay and the NHO ‘tradescantia’ other than to question what role the word ‘requirement’ plays in the clue for 21D and to say that I have actually encountered the non-PC phrase ‘wandering Jew’ for the plant before, though only in writing not in speech. No one would dare say it these days but I suspect that the phrase is more widely known than the obscure ‘tradescantia’ even now.

  33. Did this a couple of days late and many dollars short. I found it a real struggle, doing it in a couple of sessions over an hour or more. Was very pleased just to finish. What everyone else said about just about everything.

  34. Yes, too tough for me! I only scored a third of the answers, with FOI HUNTER. No idea about the plant, but I have heard of (and unfortunately experienced) the term “wandering Jew”. It was rampant all over our backyard! Don’t think I would have got too many of them, as the definitions were a little hard to define, and a little off-centre too. Can’t say I enjoyed the struggle.


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