Times 28888 – … and travel

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 12:11 – and about  third of that on the last two answers!

I had to piece together the measurement and the war zone, and I was relieved to find that those turned out to be correct. There’s some very tricky wordplay in this puzzle, and although there are not a lot of solving times in yet, I think this is on the trickier end and I suspect my last two in may be the downfall of a few solvers.

How did you get along?

1 It’s most unlikely one’s to adopt Broad Church article (1,3,6)
A FAT CHANCE – ACE(one) containing FAT(broad), CH(church), AN(article)
6 Sign of healing in Charlie’s back muscle (4)
SCAB – C’S(Charlie in radio code) revesred, then AB(muscle)
9 Capable of a lack of sentiment, daughter’s planning mischief? (2,2,2,4)
UP TO NO GOOD – UP TO(capable of), a lack of sentiment could be NO GOO, then D(daughter)
10 I must encounter resistance: a big blow (4)
ONER – ONE(I) and R(resistance)
12 No longer kept a secret from pupils, put on pedestal outside? (12)
DECLASSIFIED – CLASS(pupils) inside DEIFIED(put on pedestal)
15 A number needing to change footwear after tango (3,3,3)
TEA FOR TWO – anagram of FOOTWEAR after T(tango)
17 Frequent shortening spoils books (5)
HAUNT – HAUL(spoils) minus the last letter, then NT(books)
18 Germany’s daily looking back on island’s war-torn province (5)
IDLIB – the German daily is BILD, reverse that after I(island) for a province in Syria. This was my last in, and I only remembered the name of the newspaper from some trivia about the comic strip in it that inspired the doll that inspired Barbie.
19 Revealing all the latest: that is expert, outwardly (2,3,4)
IN THE BUFF – the latest is the N’TH. Put that inside I.E. (that is), BUFF(expert)
20 Maybe don’t fancy this immediately? (4,4,4)
JUST LIKE THAT – if you don’t fancy this, you JUST LIKE THAT
24 Admission from one who does people’s picture? (4)
ICON – one who does people might say “I CON”
25 Girl being smart a liability, reportedly (10)
BERNADETTE – sounds like BURN(smart) and A DEBT(a liability)
26 Assigned work, heading off to find shade (4)
TINT – STINT(assigned work) minus the first letter
27 Son leaving school with gypsy misbehaving in the head’s study (10)
PSYCHOLOGY – remove s from an anagram of SCHOOL and GYPSY
1 Neighbour roughly chucking out ball? (4)
ABUT – ABOUT(roughly) minus O(ball)
2 As high as a man can get, climbing in Scotland (4)
ALTO – hidden reversed in scOTLAnd. This one might set off the indignometer amongst solvers. The first definition of ALTO in Collins is “the highest adult male voice; countertenor”
3 Transporter, one covertly shifting black blocks (8,4)
CONVEYOR BELT – anagram of ONE,COVERTLY containing B(black)
4 Sponsor and brief come together (5)
ANGEL – AND missing the last letter, then GEL(come together)
5 Boasts loudly and excessively, reflecting evidence of ageing? (5-4)
CROWS-FOOT – CROWS(boasts), F(loudly), then TOO(excessively) reversed
7 In a row with TUC, union so put out (10)
8 Sound of quarrel among directors leaving one thoroughly fed up (5,5)
BORED STIFF -sounds like BOARD’S TIFF(quarrel among directors)
11 White rag being waved, road closed! That’s concerning (4,6,2)
WITH REGARD TO – anagram of WHITE,RAG then RD(road), TO(closed)
13 Band has not performed solo in seedy venue? (5,5)
STRIP JOINT – STRIP(band) and JOINT(not performed solo)
14 Bill especially silly person accepts for larger server (10)
TABLESPOON – TAB(bill), then ESP(especially) inside LOON(silly person). Took me a long time to piece this one together.
16 Ply trade primarily with unsophisticated local head (9)
THICKNESS – first letter of Trade, then HICK(unsophisticated local), NESS(head). Think ply applied to toilet paper.
21 Fresher after this first degree? (5)
TONIC – double definition – the second refers to the first degree of a musical scale
22 Chap not touching alcohol getting in rounds (4)
OTTO – TT(not touching alcohol) inside O and O(rounds)
23 Alluring bottom right by monkey’s tail (4)
SEXY – in a map, the bottom right would be the SE corner, then X(by) and the last letter in monkeY

62 comments on “Times 28888 – … and travel”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crossword with so many multi-word answers. I managed to work out the wartorn region having dragged BILD out of some recess in my brain. Most of my time in Germany was spent in Munich, but Süddeutsche Zeitung was never going to be the right one.

    My last two were THICKNESS and TINT after I finally abandoned the idea that it had to be TONE.

  2. About 2 hours but all finally correct. Didn’t have a clue how many were parsed. I had a lot of trouble with BORED STIFF until I corrected SCAB for SCAR, IN THE BUFF for IN THE NUDE. Had to look up ONER and
    IDLIB seemed the only possibility but I had to do research to verify it did actually exist. Not a clue about Germany in the clue but found Germany was giving $100 million in assistance. Liked BERNADETTE since I could parse it. Finished in a daze and was pleasantly surprised to find all the biffed answers were actually correct.

    Did anyone notice in 22D OTTO is in “nOT TOuching” That’s where I got my answer. I saw it instantly. No wonder I couldn’t understand the hidden word.

  3. Well, what do you know. My POI was TABLESPOON and LOI IDLIB.
    Was distracted and dawdled over this a good while, but quite enjoyed it. I literally laughed out loud at JUST LIKE THAT. SE clued as “bottom right” seemed very fresh—I wanted SEXY long before I could explain it.

  4. 48 minutes with a good 5 of those spent on an alphabet trawl at 23dn for my LOI.

    I constructed the unlikely-looking and NHO IDLIB from wordplay and was rather surprised to find it was correct. I used to buy Bild very occasionally when I was learning German.

    Was sorry the setter missed the opportunity for a Tommy Cooper reference at 20ac.

  5. Maybe I’ve led too sheltered a life, but I have never come across the word ONER and have no idea what it’s supposed to mean and after a plod through google I am none the wiser so that’s another DNF. Nothing produced by an alphabet trawl (including the correct answer) looked remotely feasible so I gave up at 55 and hit reveal. Otherwise an enjoyable and very challenging puzzle, especially for those of us au fait with the provinces of Syria. Thanks to glh for figuring out how SCAB, TABLESPOON, WITH REGARD TO and IN THE BUFF were put together. Thought SEXY, ANGEL and OTTO were clever little clues but not you, ONER.

    1. I think as a heavy blow ONER refers to boxing, or fist fighting anyway. Perhaps as in ‘one in the eye’. I never met it before crosswords but it comes up quite regularly.

    2. I thought ONER was either a conkers or marbles thing, but in a deep dive (very deep!) on Google there is a definition of: a heavy blow. I have only encountered the word in crossword land, dare I say it, not a chestnut really.

      1. You dove deeper than I did, Kid. I found ‘a unique person’ and said f’get it. But let’s face it, this is just another little quirk in the weird, wild world of Times crypticism which is what we come here for.

  6. 28:25. A mighty struggle to get on the wavelength, but got there in the end. The unknown IDLIB my LOI only after the L confirmed it. I thought of BILD reversed quite quickly but didn’t put it in as it looked unlikely. Lots of lovely clues. I liked TEA FOR TWO, ALTO, BORED STIFF and SEXY most. Thanks George and setter.

  7. The smiles that win, the Tints that glow,
    But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent!
    (She Walks in Beauty, Byron)

    30 mins of tooth-pulling ending Just like that. Not my cup of tea. I couldn’t parse N’TH and you know my views on some wordplay for Os. Balls.
    Ta setter and G

  8. 49 minutes. Slow for me too with the unknown ‘war-torn province’ taking up the most time. If I had come across ONER for ‘a big blow’ before, I’d forgotten it but it seemed the only possible answer with crossers in place. I missed N’TH for ‘the latest’ in IN THE BUFF. Like Paul, I was about to put in TONE at 26a until I saw STINT for ‘Assigned work’.

    Favourite was SEXY for the clueing of SE by ‘bottom right’, which like Guy I don’t think I’ve seen before.

  9. 40 mins but one letter wrong as I misremembered the German daily and so tried ITLIB for the unknown province. Ho hum.

      1. Thank you, that does actually make me feel slightly better, Kevin! Maybe my unconscious at least knew that much…

  10. 27:09 WOE & OT (one typo)
    I submitted this off leaderboard as I wasn’t sure of NHO IDLIB, or SEXY (fooled by ‘by’ yet again), and quite sure TONE was wrong at 26ac. I’ve never seen or heard ‘A fat chance’, only ‘Fat chance!’ Couldn’t parse HAUNT. I hesitated over ABUT because I found ‘ball’ hard to take for O; glad to see I have Myrtilus on my side. Liked ALTO.

  11. I took exactly 30 minutes. LOI was ALTO. I was annoyed with myself for taking so long, so relieved to see I’m not the only one!
    Thanks setter and blogger

  12. 51 mins, definitely tricky. Last two in TABLESPOON & TINT. TONIC & BERNADETTE also gave me problems.

    I liked JUST LIKE THAT. & BORED STILL though for a while I had bunged in BOARD which didn’t help with ONER, which I finally remembered from some previous outing.

    Thanks g and setter.

  13. OK yes, SE is the bottom right of a map. But I think the setter is being a bit cleverer than that as we often describe crossword grids in the same way. I think it was a way of saying “The answer is right under your noses!” Certainly that’s how it hit me when I saw it anyway. Also SEXY is one of the two most south-easterly clues in the puzzle.

    A lot of fun. Thanks setter and George for the blog.

  14. For ONER I had always thought of it as a blow that was so heavy that it knocked someone out ‘in one’.

    Also I have heard it (through crosswords) as being someone or something original, a ‘one-off’.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if golfers also refer to a hole in one as a ONER.

  15. NHO of IDLIB, but knew the paper from somewhere and worked it out correctly. Couldn’t parse SCAB or ANGEL – cheers George. Took ages to spot LOI SEXY, but it was the SW where I had the most trouble, and it was there that I committed the typo (tablespoin) that means that my time of 15:12 hasn’t adversely affected my Snitch rating. COD JUST LIKE THAT.

  16. 34:55, longest time so far this year. Not helped by misbiffing UNCLASSIFIED and CROW’S FEET, or by NHO IDLIB (even though I’m currently reading David McCloskey’s Syria-set spy novel ‘Damascus Station’.
    LOL JUST LIKE THAT (Ahar-har)

  17. 25:10 but with not 1 but 2 incorrect answers.

    I didn’t know the province in Syria at 18A and as I mistakenly thought the German newspaper was called BILT, ITLIB it was. The other was a biff that I didn’t check before submission, CONTIGUOUS went in for 7D from the checkers and it stayed that way, even though it was an obvious anagram.

    I live and learn. Thanks to both.

  18. 09:17, so finding myself bang on the wavelength, it would appear, and unsurprisingly I enjoyed this. I can’t remember which entertainer I saw on a chat show, describing how he went to Morocco some time in the 70s or 80s and wandered round the stalls in the local souk, including a non-English speaking hat seller who had been baffled for years by the fact that so many tourists would try on a fez and immediately turn to their partner and say “just like that”.

  19. You somehow think that setters are a breed apart from solvers, so it comes as a surprise when a setter uses a convention us solvers use to indicate corners of the grid. Add that annoying “by” which I never see, and that explains why my time was extended from around 20 t0 25.30 agonising over SEXY. Otherwise I’m still not settled on whether this was too clever by half or just clever. It certainly teased a lot, and I would have had my work cut out explaining all the wordplay – for which much thanks, George.

  20. I just scraped in within the hour. Very slow to start, with the first three in being down clues on the right-hand side: BORED STIFF, SEXY, OTTO. MER at N’TH for the latest – n is any number – but I didn’t let it spoil a good clue. LOI (s)TINT, having abandoned the shade of (s)teal early on but with (s)tone almost becoming a last desperate throw

  21. Just couldn’t see sTINT as ‘assigned work’ or let go of bill being ‘ad’ rather than TAB which would have made TABLESPOON obvious if unlikely for ‘larger server’, so never made sense of the SW corner. COD to ANGEL. A very neat surface.

    Thanks G

  22. Beaten at the last by TABLESPOON. Stared at it for half an hour, then threw in the towel. And wouldn’t have ever seen it, so glad I did (‘larger server’ is just a tad too lateral IMO). The rest was surprisingly easy, since I knew IDLIB and was on the wavelength for the rest.

    1. In my neck of the woods “spoon” is an insult akin to “idiot” so I got that one early, despite parsing it completely wrong. If it helps, I also did not finish, as ONER was a mystery.

  23. Absolutely superb puzzle today. Delighted to have fought through it in 25:42.

    Thanks for parsing of SCAB and IN THE BUFF. Got NHO IDLIB from word play very early but did not dare put it in until the checkers arrived. Only ever heard of oner as something in conkers but would not have associated it with a big blow. COD and probably month to SEXY, very clever device.
    Thanks G and setter

  24. Had a break at 35’ and forgot to restart the clock, so somewhere between 35’ and 40’.


  25. Very hard I thought, but no complaints really: most of the clues were very good and I especially liked the board’s tiff. IDLIB a complete unknown so I just put it in from wordplay (Bild was fine) and hoped. It wasn’t in my Pears Cyclopedia. I certainly can’t get higher than alto; never could even reach it. But surely some countertenors get higher. And didn’t Hilda Bracket do so? 67 minutes, but for once no aids.

  26. I had to cheat with 8 left to finish this with TABLESPOON the LOI. I’ve most certainly heard of Idlib though, it was often on the news. I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who initially made the silly mistake of putting ‘two for tea’ before realising my error.

  27. 27:52 – very enjoyable except for IDLIB which took forever.

    COD to SEXY, very good very good.

    Almost biffed TONE as I was getting weary towards the end, but my spider-sense was tingling and I saw the trap. Thanks blogger and setter.

  28. Failed utterly on ALTO which was a very clever ‘hidden’. I assumed it would be some obscure Scottish Munro which, reversed, would be some equally obscure Scots-ism. Or vice-versa. And for that reason never bothered to use an aid, not expecting it to reveal a proper name.
    Also I had to use aids on a couple where I just could NOT decode the anagrists. Altogether a brilliant grid, and despite failure a very enjoyable 80 minutes.

  29. 26:33

    Very tough going and I seemed to be blundering around in the dark for some time. I struggled with TABLESPOON, ALTO, IDLIB and SCAB.

    I liked BORED STIFF and the Four Tops hit but SEXY is COD.

    Thanks to George and the setter.

  30. Like Casey and GideAndre, beaten by TABLESPOON – I never thought of tab for bill, which now I see it is a real face-palm moment.

    Didn’t parse SCAB; wasn’t sure about ‘nth’ giving ‘latest’ for IN THE BUFF, but it had to be; haven’t heard of IDLIB, but I’m familiar with the Bild “newspaper” so that was clear enough; MER over stint=assigned work for TINT, though Bazzock’s example above makes sense.

    Tough stuff. Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Haunt

  31. 44:50 – tough indeed, with LOI IDLIB falling only after discarding the slightly more unlikely Itorb (distant memories of an old German breadboard with “Unser taglich brot gib uns heute” carved round the edges), much merriment and head-scratching en route

  32. I liked this a lot – witty fill and witty and original cluing gave it a very contemporary feel. Thanks setter.
    I was held up with Idlib – I remembered Das Bild as a glossy weekly (not daily) magazine when I was learning German in 7th or 8th grade. There were dozens of back issues for the class to look through, and we well knew that German ideas of censorship as regards photos of naked people were different to domestic ideas. We learnt even more quickly that the teacher had carefully used a razor knife to remove all the photos we really wanted to see.

  33. 41:34

    Very chewy indeed (but very enjoyable also). It took six and a half minutes to enter my first answer (BORED STIFF) and another two minutes for the second (SCAB). Picked up some speed (?) in midsolve before the brakes went back on for the last half-dozen. MER over A FAT CHANCE rather than just FAT CHANCE. Thought of BILD once the B went in but needed TABLESPOON to enter with confidence never having heard of IDLIB. POI ICON and LOI TINT (after some thought on why I shouldn’t enter TONE)

    Thanks G and setter

  34. Tint , 26 across ? to make a paler version of – definitely not a shade which is to darken a colour .

  35. A struggle. I’ve marked lots of clues with a question mark. Didn’t know ONER and failed to parse SEXY and TONIC (though the latter was easy in retrospect). 36 minutes

  36. 25.36

    SEXY bunged in at the end without full understanding (= without any understanding).

    Really liked ALTO – even if it is wrong. A little inserted “almost” might have helped.

    Thanks all

  37. I thought this was very difficult, with TABLESPOON, ICON and SEXY slowing me down at the end, to finish in 54:29.
    IDLIB constructed from the wordplay.

    Thanks glh and setter

  38. 30 mins of toil with the SW corner proving distinctly unyielding. LOI sexy which I didn’t parse preceded by icon. Tablespoon, thickness and strip joint also found difficult but I had worked out Idlib and the crosses gave the confidence to enter it. I think there’s an Irbil not so far away from Idlib.

    COD tea for two which I finally solved by deleting feet for foot.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  39. After 23 minutes or so I had 2d, 18a and JUST LIKE T-A- left to do, but I had a funeral to go to so had to save the puzzle and get ready to go. I had managed to parse SEXY, TONIC and ANGEL, which was a relief. On my return ALTO jumped out from the previously impenetrable clue, BILD suggested itself as the German Daily and not like this, like THAT leapt out at me too. 24:55. Thanks devious setter and George.

  40. DNF, 2d ALTO. I assumed it had to be alto but didn’t enter it as I couldn’t parse it. DOH, yet another missed hidden reversed.
    Otherwise I found it went quite easily, except couldn’t parse 5d CROWS FeeT, but TEA FOR TWO put me right.
    14d TABLESPOON took me a long time to parse, as for blogger glh.
    Was worried about 10a ONER. Decided it might be a haymaker at boxing; can’t confirm that.

  41. About 1 hour, and I had to look up Oner. I wasn’t so keen on this puzzle as most of today’s contributors seem to be – I found that, for practically every clue, I saw an answer and then had to work out whether it could possibly be correct. (Backwards solving rather than forwards solving, if you see what I mean – is there a better expression to describe it?). I usually do that for a few clues in each puzzle – in this puzzle, it was almost every clue.
    I did like Declassified.

  42. 53 minutes. Some clues were extremely easy (or at least very easy to biff, like UP TO NO GOOD). But many of them weren’t, with lots of clever things that needed to be seen (like the reverse hidden ALTO in SCOTLAND or “by” giving the X in SEXY or for that matter “frequent” as a verb in HAUNT). I of course originally had IN THE NUDE for 19ac and of course couldn’t explain it, until I saw BORED STIFF, which rescued me (and would be my COD today).

  43. Did nobody else parse the SEX in SEXY as “bottom right” i.e M;- which is MALE a SEX.
    Just thought it was a poor clue ( no question mark!)
    Now I see it’s quite clever as opposed to myself being a bit dim 🙂

  44. Could someone explain the “closed!” = TO in 11d?

    Also, I new here. Can I get a glossary for COD, LOI, FOI, POI, etc.?

    1. Peter, I don’t know if anyone else has replied to your query, but if you go to the menu on the home page you should find a link to the glossary where many of the abbreviations and other odd things here are explained.

  45. I gave this a go after a successful Mon/Tues/Wed this week. (I don’t usually have time to tackle the daily, not the time it takes me!) Got stuck two-thirds through but I’m reassured to read here that it was a difficult one. I’m surprised no one remarked on 5d’s singular CROWS FOOT – I’ve only ever heard reference to them in the plural, given that they’re a feature of the eyes. Never come across anyone with them/it only showing at one eye!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *