Times 28891 – οἶνοψ πόντος? Nope.

Music: Mozart, Horn Concertos, Seifert/Karajan/BPO

Time: 23 minutes

Not your average Monday puzzle, I would have to say.   Lots of novel constructions, and answers, made this a bit of a challenge.   I had a hard time getting started, but once I had a few checking letters I was able to finish in a decent time, a bit below my average according to the SNITCH.  I did find the puzzle very enjoyable.

I suspect some solvers will find this tough, particularly if you rely on stock cryptic elements.     Take 1 across – yes, one of the usual newspapers is used, but the other parts are tricky, and the answer is a new one, at least as far back as TfTT goes.


1 Lowland newspaper in competing field (4,6)
6 Fish that’s fat dropping by (4)
CHUB – CHUB[by].
10 Move round capital of Iceland, city in Europe (5)
TURIN – TUR(I[celand])N.
11 Ours quite polluted, how might the sea appear? (9)
TURQUOISE – Anagram of OURS QUITE, with a novel anagram indicator.
12 Tongue found in mouth? (7,7)
ESTUARY ENGLISH – CD – in the mouth of the Thames, that is.
14 On reflection, self-regard in a god reaching high point (7)
APOGEAN – A P(EGO backwards)AN.
15 One in eight, say, added to half of that in pitcher? (7)
THROWER – TH[at] + ROWER.  A pitcher of the baseball variety.
17 A matching pair, boy and his namesake less alike ultimately (7)
JIMJAMS – JIM + JAM[[alik]e]S.   The literal refers not to a fit of fear or depression, but to a matching pajama top and bottom.
19 Don’t stop vehicle: run that (5,2)
20 Unremarkable actions helping criminal (7,7)
23 Performance from old lady, character on main platform (9)
RIGMAROLE – RIG + MA + ROLE, a rig as in an oil platform.   The literal points to the complicated ritual performance meaning of rigmarole.
24 Expression I had in mind initially about love (5)
IDIOM – I’D + I[n] (O) M[ind].
25 China tea (4)
MATE – Double definition, the second of which needs a diacritic.
26 Important people, monarch and child welcomed by servants (10)
1 Timeless non-fiction book (4)
2 Rogue reformist fanned flames? (9)
3 Opening flower marvellous, money invested in new business (7,7)
VENTURE CAPITAL – VENT + URE + CAPITAL,  flower as in the River URE.    I just biffed this one.
4 Note tenor fluffed nearer to the coda? (5,2)
LATER ON – LA + anagram of TENOR.   Interesting literal.
5 Grave, resting place for listener? (7)
EARNEST – EAR NEST, a touch of Uxbridge.
7 Island, one south of hot country (5)
HAITI – H + AIT + I.   Haiti is a country, but not an island
8 Number wearing jewellery chattering (10)
9 A common mathematical expression? (6,8)
13 Big noise from piper before month on strike (10)
16 Itinerant getting on beyond route (9)
18 “Sir” gone abroad? (7)
SIGNORE – Anagram of SIR GONE, an &lit.
19 Wood and, in the absence of meat, cranberry jam (7)
CYPRESS – C[ranberr]Y + PRESS.
21 Intoxicated in snug? (5)
TIGHT – Double definition, an easy one.
22 Comrade of Robespierre’s an English novelist (4)

79 comments on “Times 28891 – οἶνοψ πόντος? Nope.”

  1. I liked Signore and Later On. Clever, those.
    Following the discussion last week, I’m not keen on ER for a random monarch. There are as many possible monarch initials as there are, for example, “note” to indicate any letter A-G plus do/doh, re, mi, etc. I’m hoping that the monarchs are puzzles drafted before Elizabeth’s death and which had clues that are otherwise too nice to change much, and that we won’t be seeing much more of them.
    thanks, setter. you too, vinyl

    1. As suggested in the discussion on Friday I suppose in theory there could be many monarchs abbreviated to something-R, but in practice there are very few such abbreviations used in Times puzzles so it really doesn’t take long to work through them. The dominant one in our lifetime has been ER for the late Queen which could also stand for King Edward. CR is understandably currently enjoying a revival. GR is King George. I can’t recall seeing VR for Queen Victoria, but I don’t doubt it has appeared despite its not being a very useful combination of letters for wordplay in a clue. There – it’s only four, with one of them slightly doubtful.

      As for the other monarchs, for crossword purposes it rather comes down to usage as reflected in the source dictionaries. Not even Henry or William make it, so if setters and editors are doing their jobs we shouldn’t see them. But things will have to change for our next King if the line of succession goes according to plan.

  2. 15:59
    I got off to a slow start–FOI IDIOM–but managed to pick up speed at last. The only rift valley I know of is the Great one in East Africa, and ‘lowland’ is not the first word I’d think of to describe it; but with the R and F in place, it was inevitable. I biffed it, and with the V in, biffed VENTURE CAPITAL, parsing them post-submission. I liked ESTUARY ENGLISH.

  3. Google Translate thinks your heading says “point wine”. Surely not! Vinyl 1, Google translate 0.

    I liked the cypress jam!

  4. Around 90 minutes with one error JIMJAMS. Cannot understand where “alike” comes from so you can remove it. I would appreciate assistance in this regard.
    My 9o minutes includes continual research time eg ESTUARY ENGLISH. The ENGLISH end was obvious. After I finally biffed ESTUARY part I spent a significant time verifying the term existed and exactly what it meant. I do this with many clues so my time always balloons out.

      1. Thanks that makes it crystal clear. I didn’t know the namesake’s name since I thought of the same name JIM again. I didn’t think of James. I have a brother-in-law James who we all called him Jim whilst my sister, his wife, called him James

  5. 20 minutes. Not too many problems till CYPRESS at the very end, with ‘the absence of meat’ an interesting way to indicate deletion of all letters except the first and last. Favourite was the ‘Big noise’ def for PANJANDRUM.

  6. 26 minutes, so quite easy after a shaky start. I needed checkers to bring it to mind, but I remembered RIFT VALLEY from Geography at school although it was by far my worst subject.

  7. 13:55. My brain wasn’t entirely engaged, as I had ACTS at 1D until A_FT clearly didn’t work!

    Only eyebrow was at ESTUARY ENGLISH being defined as a ‘tongue’.

    Is anyone else finding the (Android) mobile app has stopped confirming a correct completion in the last week or two? Tells you if it’s wrong, but the timer just ticks on if it’s right.

  8. 21:19
    I enjoyed this a lot. Very clever clues, without being super-hard.
    Many thanks setter and blogger

  9. Really enjoyed the non-standard nature of some of the clues, and smashed my target 30 minutes, coming in around 16 mins. As an oil industry veteran I feel compelled to point out that a rig and a platform are not the same thing, although you might have a rig on a platform. But I knew what the setter was getting at!

    1. Would be interested to know the difference. The definitions for oil platform and oil rig in Collins are identical, which would seem to let the setter off, at least..

      1. oil rigs are those structures used during the process of actively drilling for oil.
        oil platforms are the wider structures that contain the necessary oil processing eqpt.
        many of the large oil platforms in the North Sea (Brent, Thistle etc) had one or two oil drilling rigs on them in their early days. Once the wells had been drilled many rigs were subsequently taken off .

  10. Thanks setter and vinyl1. An excellent start to the week — I clocked 30′, which is 10′-15′ less than my typical, even after time wasted trying to wrestle “pandemonium” into the space reserved for “panjandrum”. COD: ESTUARY ENGLISH.
    Small point, but I can’t help feeling that 22d should have been “Comrade(s) of Robespierre’s (are) English novelist(s)”, since ‘Robespierre’s’ is merely a pointer. The substantive word is ‘comrade’, singular. Better still, cluing this as “Comrades … novelists” would have saluted both Kingsley and Martin.
    +1 from me concerning the obsolescence of “ER” for “monarch”. There is always the other stock option of “hesitation”, if inspiration fails.

  11. Like burnt-out torches by a sick man’s bed
    Gaunt cypress-trees stand round the sun-bleached stone;
    (The Grave of Shelley, Oscar Wilde)

    Well I galloped through, mid-brekker, pausing only to think about Rig and to eviscerate the CranberrY. 20 mins.
    Ta setter and V.

  12. Well, I struggled with this taking nearly 50 mins. My excuse is that my mind is very much on other matters this morning.

    Last few in, as usual, gave me the most trouble. PANJANDRUM, JIMJAMS and, oddly enough FIRESTORM as I’m normally quite good with anags.

    I agree that there were some excellent clues. I particularly liked the anagram at 20 ac. Very clever.

    Thanks v and setter.

  13. 43.32 for me, I found it a lot harder than many. I was caught up by BLETHERING because I only knew the word as blathering and was hung up on the ‘ring’ being the required jewellery, so bling passed me by. Some enjoyable clues and some, like RIFT VALLEY, that needed a lot of work for which I am thankful to vinyl1.

  14. Just under 15 minutes. No problems really, only slightly held up with HAITI by thinking ‘island’ was giving the I at the end until I reconsidered. Not really familiar with a RIFT VALLEY either, but the cluing made it clear enough.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Ruth
    LOI Jimjams
    COD Nothing special

  15. 12’11”, steady solve. Liked the idea of BLETHERING in ESTUARY ENGLISH.

    Efharisto vinyl and setter

  16. 55m 30s
    It would have been a lot less but for RIGMAROLE, JIMJAMS, PANJANDRUM and CYPRESS.
    I agree with P.in.L about random monarchs.
    I did wonder how non-UK solvers would get on with JIMJAMS. Here in NZ, they are often referred to as PJs and that, as I have discovered is a word in Collins Online.
    COD to CYPRESS. “In the absence of meat”…I like that.

    1. I had PJs as a child. But then I put off childish things. Didn’t actually know JIMJAMS, I’m happy to say, but the J gave it to me.

  17. 11:51. Held up at the end by CYPRESS taking a while to see how it worked. I liked SIGNORE and the neat China tea. Thanks Vinyl and setter.

  18. 21:57
    A puzzle with some nice surfaces and ingenious variations: e.g. “meat” for the cranberry filling and “polluted” as an anagrind. The longer ones made it easier. I thought JIM JAMS and CYPRESS ( which I only know thanks to Agatha Christie) were both excellent.

    Thaks to Vinyl and the setter.

  19. For some reason, despite the obvious (on reflection) RUTH and TURIN, I couldn’t get any hold on the LHS and progressed clockwise from top right. I loved the groanworthy EAR NEST on the way, and there was much to amuse in the inventive cluing.
    Like others, it took me a long time to arrive at RIFT VALLEY for lowland: I mean, it is, but not in the same way as (say) the Fens, the less pointy bits of Scotland or most of Holland. But a good Monday puzzle, once again tougher than Friday, at 18.38

  20. 24:31 for a good souped-up Monday puzzle. LOI PANJANDRUM, which it had to be, but I didn’t like strike=drum. I did like LATER ON and JIMJAMS

  21. 15:50
    I wasn’t expecting such a challenge on a Monday, but very enjoyable nonetheless. HAITI gave me a few seconds’ pause for thought until I realised which land mass was which, and I was expecting a homophone for EARNEST.
    LOI RUTH, which gives me my Spotify playlist for this morning, Lyle Lovett’s ‘Joshua Judges Ruth’ and Robert Wyatt’s ‘Ruth is Stranger than Richard’.

  22. 56mins but needed help with JIMJAMS having become fixated with Sam making something like same. DNK PANJAMDRUM so that corner was, um, jammed. Liked non-fiction/truth and the main platform. Quite tricky I thought.

    Thanks both

  23. Highly original clues, slightly unnerving as the answer pops up and the parsing takes a while to follow, particularly 3d VENTURE C, which had me foxed permanently so thanks Vinyl for the blog sorting it out.
    I too thought that both Kingsley and Martin deserved a mention.

  24. 12:14 – great puzzle. Nothing too onerous, original (to me) constructions, and just the right number of just familiar words.

  25. 43:55

    One of my slowest for a completed puzzle, so I thought this was tough. NHO PANJANDRUM, which meant all my problems were SW. Finally wrote in MATE without understanding the tea element (and still don’t), then DRUM, PDM at JIMJAMS (COD) and picked the right month of two possible.

    Thanks all.

  26. Everything went in fairly easily with only the usual types of hesitation which have been mentioned here so I won’t add to the list. Then I became stuck for a while with four to go. T…T at 21dn: as Vinyl says, it’s easy, but I did an alphabet trawl and gave up and yes it was indeed obvious. JIMJAMS, my LOI, was a problem to parse and I just entered it and then I saw how it worked, very good.

  27. I really liked this one, with Panjandrum being my fave. Help though please – I am suffering from brain fade and still can’t see the “tea” element of MATE.

  28. An enjoyable but average Monday crossword with an average snitch that I completed in about 22 mins. FOI CHUB, LOI CYPRESS and POI JIMJAMS (though it’s a perfectly good word that I’m very familiar with, along with PJ’s, Jammies and Jarmas).

  29. RUTH was FOI. LATER ON went in early on too. I made fairly rapid progress until I was left with 19d, 13d, 17a and 23a. CYPRESS came first but I failed to parse it. JIMJAMS were next leading to PANJANDRUM, and RIGMAROLE brought up the rear. Failed to parse the VENTURE bit of 3d too. Doh! Easy in hindsight! Liked ESTUARY ENGLISH (in written form only) and NOTHING SPECIAL. 19:29. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  30. Technical DNF as I checked PANJANDRUM was actually a word, otherwise a fairly slow but enjoyable trawl to the end. Another to get hung up on ring rather than bling and misdirected by that sort of number (doh) so unable to parse BLETHERING. Thought JIMJAMS was clever. LOI was CYPRESS as I didn’t understand ‘in the absence of meat’ and needed the checkers. Many thanks for the blog. I guessed MATE from ‘china’ but still don’t understand the ‘tea’ part – could some kind person enlighten me? Thanks all.

  31. 22′ and quite enjoyable. Like some others a dew clues were half-parsed, half-biffed before fully working them out. For instance, I sort of guessed the F(T) in 1 ac which gave me RIFT VALLEY which also gave me RUTH (doh). Thanks Vinyl1 and setter

  32. 22.33

    NOTHING SPECIAL was excellent and some nice original clueing tho mebbes some clues tended to a bit of biffage? But liked it

  33. 33:00 – not exactly easy-squeezy for a Monday but very enjoyable.

    PANJANDRUM JIMJAMS is now my new wi-fi password.

  34. Just snuck into the top 100 by the skin of my teeth, which won’t do my SNITCH “average” any good, as I normally miss out on the top 100 if I’m off the pace.

    Very enjoyable puzzle, I do like PANJANDRUM as a word.


  35. 20.27 but didn’t seem easy. LOI personages and I’d never seen apogean, though I did know apogee. Lots to like. Panjandrum , rigmarole and jimjams come immediately to mind. Think I’ll go for cypress as my favourite.

  36. Needed a bit of help with Rigmarole, where I was convinced the ending was going to be -tone, but apart from that not too bad at all. ‘Highlights’ include getting Estuary English early on from just the ‘i’, and working out Panjandrum and finding it was a real word. Jimjams was definitely my favourite today. Invariant

  37. 27’38”
    Found the going testing, stayed on gamely.

    Devious definitions and clever clueing made this a bit sticky for a Monday.
    Very enjoyable; thank you setter and Vinyl.

  38. That was a breath of fresh air! A new setter?
    Loved RIFT VALLEY.
    My only doubt was the “main platform” bit of RIGMAROLE and Chris Cox’s gracious quibble above addressed that nicely.
    Thanks Everyone

  39. 20 mins. Ran out of juice on my pad, and had to wait till I got home to get PANJANDRUM and JIMJAMS. Wonderful!

  40. No time recorded for this as I solved it in a nhs hospital waiting area, and there were too many stoppages and distractions to allow me to put it on the clock. I found it fairly straightforward, and would imagine it was somewhere in the region of thirty minutes.

  41. Not an average Monday puzzle for me, but still very entertaining and satisfying. All done in 31 minutes, delayed by an unnecessary fixation on the unparseable BLABBERING at 8dn until the penny dropped. Pan seems to have taken up residence in the West Wing.
    FOI – CHUB
    Thanks to vinyl and other contributors.

  42. About 40 minutes with LOIs (LOsI) Panjandrum/JimJams. I really enjoyed this puzzle.
    I have had Mate – I think in Brazil (although I believe it’s associated more with Argentina) – it is served boiling hot and you drink it through a metal straw – burns your mouth!

  43. 50 minutes and certainly not easy, with lots of quite clever clues. I also got off to a very slow start (CARRY ON, IDIOM and MATE were the only across clues I saw on the first run through). Lots of answers turned out to be entirely different from what I was expecting. One complaint: for someone like me who has never heard of PANJANDRUM (but most of you do seem to have heard of it), there are two months abbreviated J*N, so you need some intuition about likely English words to exclude PANJUNDRUM, which also sounds quite nice. Perhaps there is an obscure linguistic rule that might tell you that — PANJANDRUM just felt more likely.

  44. Forty mins and it just had to be panjandrum. I never like just blagging it or is it biffing in TfTTspeak?


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