Times 28895

DNF after 34 minutes

I am very tired and threw the towel in with 13dn outstanding and a couple unparsed. I thought everything was going swimmingly to start with, but I was left with gaps all over the grid when I slowed to a stop, and I’m still unsure what 17ac and 7dn are getting at.

Although guessed correctly, I needed the dictionary to find out that FL was ‘flourish’ and I thought GAMP must be something to do with camping or glamping.

I have an inkling there’s a lot to admire about this puzzle, so apologies to the setter for not doing it justice today.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Excellent work flourished in tense environment? (3-6)
TOP-FLIGHT – OP (opus, work) + FL (flourished, of a writer etc. when exact birth and death years are unknown), all in TIGHT (tense).
6 Programme health professional put together with relevant agency? (2,3)
DR WHO – DR (health professional) + WHO (World Health Organisation, relevant agency).
9 Player’s agent introducing celebrities (15)
INSTRUMENTALIST – INSTUMENT (agent) + A-LIST (celebrities)
10 Make rueful, somewhat reflective, exclamation in bath? (6)
EUREKA – reverse hidden in mAKE RUEful.
11 Petitions involving legal affairs, by island, Indonesian one (8)
SULAWESI – SUES (petitions) containing LAW (legal affairs), then I (island).
13 Guests in Parliament: Conservative or Labour? (5,5)
HOUSE PARTY – HOUSE (parliament) + PARTY (Conservative or Labour?).
14 Scrap religious festival (4)
WHIT – double definition.
16 Small fish found in channel (4)
SIDE – S (small) + IDE (fish). As in T.V. channel/side.
17 Job on estate — one expected to save up for it? (10)
GAMEKEEPER – is this cryptic hint suggesting one who ‘keeps’ (saves up for) GAME?
19 What remains after last of our recycling efforts? (8)
REHASHES – EH (what) + ASHES (remains), all after last of ouR.
20 Tonic following tablet I knocked back (6)
FILLIP – F (following), then PILL (tablet) + I reversed.
23 Doing whatever it takes, with piratical or criminal assistance? (2,4,2,2,5)
BY HOOK OR BY CROOK – cryptic hint requiring help from a pirate (hook) or criminal (crook).
24 Moving supply of things for reading by ambassador (5)
LITHE – LIT (literature, things for reading) + HE (His Excellency, ambassador). Supple-y!
25 Last of crop seed’s run out: one must keep stocking up! (9)
SUSPENDER – anagram of last of croP + SEEDS + RUN
1 Match ending in tense tie (5)
TWINE – TWIN (match) + last of tensE.
2 Collect some bread in unusual haste (has pocket emptied)? (4,5,3,3)
PASS ROUND THE HAT – ROUND (some bread) in an anagram of HASTE HAS PockeT.
3 Parrot expression of dismay by president on film (8)
LORIKEET – LOR (expression of dismay) + IKE (president) + ET (film).
4 Temporarily put up shelter in school with parking (4)
GAMP – GAM (school) + P (parking). An untidily kept umbrella – so glad I now have a word for this.
5 Oddly glum in manner, even speechless (6-4)
TONGUE-TIED – odd letters from GlUm in TONE (manner) + TIED (even).
6 Scenes shot equally (6)
DRAMAS – DRAM (shot) + AS (equally).
7 Hear a low-pitched buzzing in London thoroughfare (11,4)
WHITECHAPEL ROAD – I have absolutely no idea and hope the commenters will come to the rescue.
8 Clothes bought here unfashionable and more appropriate (9)
OUTFITTER – OUT (unfashionable) + FITTER (more appropriate).
12 Not exactly a man to excite, with energy going spare (10)
CADAVEROUS&lit. C (circa, not exactly) + A + DAVE (man) + ROUSe (excite) missing ‘e’ (energy going). Spare as in gaunt or lean. Thanks to several commenters for clearing this up.
13 Ancient general experiences rout: not quite fully (9)
HASDRUBAL – HAS (experiences) + DRUB (rout) + ALl (fully) missing the last letter. A Carthaginian general.
15 One into wine, note, that’s average (8)
MEDIOCRE – I (one) in MEDOC (wine) + RE (note after ‘do’ and before ‘mi’).
18 Lad’s throw every so often about to land (6)
ASHORE -every other letter from lAdS tHrOw + RE (about).
21 Fine for interrupting a game (5)
POKER – OK (fine) in PER (a).
22 I repeat: I have a large bill! (4)
IBIS – I + BIS (repeat).

71 comments on “Times 28895”

  1. I also had to throw in the towel on this one but after an hour and with only one answer missing, HASDRUBEL, which if I ever knew, I have long forgotten. This appears to be its first outing in the TfTT era. I had all the checkers and ventured HAS for ‘experiences’ but was unable to progress from there.

    I deduced SULAWESI from wordplay but didn’t recognise it as a place-name so wasn’t entirely sure of it. Btw, Will, there’s a surplus S in the parsing – LAW not LAWS.

    I needed the blog for the parsing of DRAMAS but still don’t understand the cryptic element of GAMEKEEPER.

    7dn is an anagram. ‘Buzzing’ was new to me (and to Chambers) as an anagrind but it’s a word usually associated with activity as well as noise so I guess it just about works.

    I note that ISFAHAN, unknown to several commenters in yesterday’s blog (including myself) is in all the news headlines this morning.

    1. GAMEKEEPER: A KEEPER is one expected to save (unless it’s Hugo Loris in his last year at Spurs) and if he’s up for it he’s GAME.

  2. 29:48
    Surprised I made it in under a half-hour; actually, surprised I made it at all. Thank you, Jack, for WHITECHAPEL; never thought of ‘buzzing’ as anagrind. Clueless about TONGUE-TIED until I finally (post-sub) realized that ‘oddly glum’ wasn’t (glum)*. And I couldn’t see how GAMP worked, and wondered if ‘gamp’ could be a verb, until (post-sub) I realized that ‘put’ was a past participle (Sarah Gamp is a wonderful character in Martin Chuzzlewit, who carries one). o-tsukaresama, William.

  3. Nah, couldn’t finish, gave up at 40 with CADAVEROUS and the general outstanding. Did the rest in about 30. At 13-dn, is it meant to be ‘all’ = ‘fully’, not ALI? There was some high-end obscurity here, like GAMP, like fl = flourish, like the general. Thanks for your hard work William, I too was in the dark about GAMEKEEPER and the road (an anagram! Thanks Jack!). Appreciate the help re ‘supply’, REHASHES and SULAWESI. I thought for CADAVEROUS the definition was just the last word, spare.

    1. Thanks Joyce. GAME for ‘it’ had crossed my mind but in my bleary state, I had dismissed it without thinking further. Another drat!

  4. 16:15. I thought that was excellent. Lovely devious stuff. ‘One expected to save up for it’ is genius. The definition in 12 extremely well-hidden. And the anagram at 7dn is very impressive.
    I confess I checked the existence of the general before submitting but it’s what I would have put in competition conditions so I’m awarding myself a win.

  5. 71 minutes on my still somewhat jet-lagged return from far east. You could have been gentler, Setter. I knew HASDRUBAL from somewhere, but wanted it to be Hannibal for too long. GAMEKEEPER was a biff. Mrs Gamp was an after-the-event thought, so COD to DRAMAS. Hard challenge. Thank you William and setter.

  6. DNF, not really knowing that sense of ‘spare’ and having gone for MALE in the middle. Might have put DAVE had I thought of it, but, well, I didn’t.

    Pleased to piece together the unknown SULAWESI and HASDRUBAL (eventually).

    Thanks both.

  7. 50 minutes. Couldn’t parse PASS AROUND THE HAT, had forgotten the “umbrella” sense of GAMP, wondered about SIDE for ‘channel’ and entered the unknown HASDRUBAL from the wordplay. I was stuck on CADAVEROUS at the end until it magically appeared; I see what LindsayO means about parsing it with just ‘spare’ as the def. Fortunately I’d seen FL for ‘flourished’ in just the last couple of days, otherwise 1a might have been a while coming.

    Favourites were GAMEKEEPER (are we meant to think of Lady Chatterley?) and the WHITECHAPEL ROAD anagram.

      1. Sorry, please ignore that comment, I don’t really know what I was thinking. I entered the answer from wordplay, wondering if GAMP was another word for “camp”. Obviously not.

  8. After 30 mins I had all bar cadaverous sorted. I gave it another 10 minutes and gave up completely bemused, even after realising arouse without the e was part of the answer.

    Having seen the answer now, it is a very clever clue but too Byzantine for me.

    I’ll now try to take out my frustration on the golf course. Could be a depressing weekend🙁

  9. Similar experience to our blogger, and another. who gave up on the unknown general. Unfortunately I also had GATEKEEPER & CHIT. Well, the first is a job on the estate and the second is a « bit » no? Ok. No then.


    Thanks William a and setter.

  10. Wow. Defeated on many counts, though I ended up with all but two correct thanks to some blank-look biffs. But now I understand the full glory of this I feel a touch of awe at some exquisite, masterful setting – way above my pay grade, sadly. The gamekeeper definition. The brilliant anagram of the London street. The lovely surfaces for poker and ibis. Well played, setter, well played.

    I fell at a guessed GYMP – NHO or had forgotten gam – and CHIT, the little-known Far Eastern religious festival that I made up.

    Not a puzzle to be attempted when tired, William! Thanks for prising this open nevertheless.

  11. Around 70 minutes Went quite fast early on. Had all but 7 solved in 30 minutes. Then stopped to crawl
    Guessed some answers by elimination without any idea if correct. FOI BY HOOK OR BY CROOK then put in WHITECHAPEL ROAD (only thoroughfare I knew) Remembered it from somewhere (perhaps Monopoly when I was a child) Got DR WHO and TOP-FLIGHT. Biffed PASS ROUND THE HAT from first letter P and saw THE HAT from the known H in last word. Got TONGUE but slow to get TIED. Had HOUSE CALLS initially but corrected to HOUSE PARTY and TIED fell out.

    Very pleased with performance as last Friday gave up after 90 minute with 6 answers found.

  12. 17a. The parsing is surely ‘keeper’ for ‘one who saves’ – shorthand for goalkeeper. And ‘game’ is ‘up for it’ as in ‘eager’.

  13. I was fortunate to have encountered Hannibal’s brother HASDRUBAL while studying for O level Latin, and that opened up the SW corner quite early on. Unlike Keriothe I didn’t enjoy this very much, but am consoled by my quickest correct completion of the week. I biffed TOP-FLIGHT and WHITECHAPEL ROAD.

    TIME 9:54

  14. DNF on CADAVEROUS, a very good clue. Had guessed C or CA to start, but was looking to put in MAN or its anagram after that. Correctly guessed HASDRUBAL and GAMP, parsed all the others except SIDE, the TV meaning forgotten even having seen it here often. Whitechapel Road from Monopoly, and known I think as Jack the Ripper’s haunt?
    Sulawesi well-known as the island that looks like a letter in a foreign alphabet. It’s been all over the news these past few days with a volcano erupting menacingly.

  15. 22:17. Like Busman, I was pleased to remember Hannibal’s brother and I knew the island too, so I can’t claim to have been stymied by missing GK. Instead I got stuck for 5 minutes at the end by my last two, CADAVEROUS and MEDIOCRE. All good stuff with plenty of enjoyable PDMs when I twigged what our devious setter had done. GAMEKEEPER was a favourite. Thank-you William and setter.

  16. 17:38

    Excellent but hard although I felt I tuned in to the setter’s tricks early on.

    I couldn’t parse TOP FLIGHT and P ROUND the H so thanks for those.

    GAMP and HASDRUBAL from wordplay alone, SULAWESI only vaguely familiar so had to rely mostly on WP for that too.

    GAMEKEEPER was fabulous and made me chuckle.

  17. Stopped after 26′, without CADAVEROUS (the word had flittered through my mind and out again); without DRAMAS (ditto); and without SULAWESI (nho).

    WHITECHAPEL ROAD is one of the cheapest (brown) Monopoly properties. Knew HASDRUBAL eventually. Only got GAMP from a previously found GAM.

    Please note: the famous TV programme, which I’ve watched since 1963, never has the Doctor abbreviated.

    Thanks william and setter.

    1. Hi, Rob, I think I picked that argument over DOCTOR WHO here on a previous occasion and came away with a bloody nose. I may have misremembered it and certainly don’t recall the details but you may be able to find the conversation using ‘Search’. I’m not going there again!

      1. Bizarre but true. Peter Capaldi had a part in a dreadful 2013 film called World War Z, as a medic in World Health Orgn and his character is credited as “WHO Doctor”. A year later he became Doctor Who.

  18. Finished in 29:04 so just inside the half hour. LOI was GAMP and NHO Gam either so had five vowels to choose from! Apparently a GAM is a school of whales.
    Knew Hasdrubal all right
    SULAWESI has turned up before otherwise I wouldn’t have got it
    Didn’t get the parsing of Dramas till I came here
    Game- up for it
    One expected to save – keeper
    Thanks setter and blogger

  19. Completed in 45′, which I’m very contented with after 2 DNFs already this week. POI the NHO HASDRUBAL so very happy to find my construction worked and LOI CADAVEROUS where I had “CA” and ROUS(e) which eventually gave up DAVE. I saw the “spare” later which I’ve only connected with cadaver in crosswordland?? Thanks William and setter.

  20. I’ll never sniff at an Easy Friday again: 35 minutes on this with the two obscurities, the Island and the general, painfully squeezed out from the wordplay over much time. CADAVEROUS was very clever, I thought, with the definition (which has to be “spare”) artfully concealed by “going”.
    I’ve missed SULAWESI’s volcanic news, but I have thought that if only Israel had flung its missile at ISFAHAN 24 hours earlier it would have saved us a lot of trouble on yesterday’s puzzle.
    This was a very clever puzzle, and I liked the inclusion of Mrs GAMP, but it did encourage the feeling that wilful obscurities should be reserved for the MCS where they’re expected.

    1. Are we sure that the Times Crossword isn’t being used to pass on coded intelligence as I believe The Telegraph was during WWII?

      1. It was so accused, but found to be coincidence .. naming some DDay codenames I believe, Juno, Sword etc ..
        Not sure if the SOE might have used it too?

        1. The story I read was that it was not a coincidence, allegedly. It was said that the setter was a teacher who got help with the more mundane setters’ task by getting his pupils to compose blank grids. The problem – for the security services – was that the catchment area for the school included places where D-Day planners were stationed at the time and it was concluded that there must have been some overheard ‘careless talk’.

          It would be interesting to have confirmation, or otherwise, in the light of later information.

          I have not computed the odds for four out of forty words randomly selected from a set of thirty thousand English words which are also in the list of the hundred (or maybe as few as a dozen) D-Day code words relating to major aspects of the operation. But those odds could be quite long.

            1. There is something about the D-Day crosswords that every mention of them in a newspaper seems to miss. When DIEPPE was an answer in 1942, some concern was understandable, because it’s a real place name, though it also happens to be practically the only option for D?E?P? for a crossword setter. But all the other answers involved were codewords. Those schoolboys, and quite possibly one or two German spies, heard words like “mulberry” and “Omaha” instead of words like “floating harbour” and “Normandy” and therefore learned nothing significant. So the real story is about why codewords were used.

  21. Well that was fun! Enjoyable challenge despite a DNF in about 30 mins. Stumped by the NHO GAMP, as I had also NHO GAM! I tried GYMP on the basis that they have gyms in schools….
    At least my hydrocarbon-based career was useful for once. I spent 3 years in Indonesia, so SULAWESI was a write-in with only the U as a crosser. I also took a punt on HASDRUBAL, which I only knew as the name of a gas platform off the coast of Tunisia which I visited a couple of times. Who knew the gas field was named after an ancient general? Not me.

  22. Really liked this one; I do love an obscurity, they play to my extensive store of otherwise completely useless knowledge. Eg Hasdrubal, Hannibal’s brother, not common in everyday conversation. Isfahan, where carpets come from and so it now seems, drones head for. Sulawesi, which fortunately came up here not so very long ago. Mrs Gamp ..

  23. Conceded defeat with the CADAVEROUS GAMEKEEPER crossers. Could only think of GATEKEEPER. Otherwise, ok done in 25 mins. NHO GAMP too, but had to be.

  24. Approx 40 mins solving on paper.

    A few unknowns (HASDRUBAL, SULAWESI,GAMP) and slowed down particularly by 12D and 13D, plus I didn’t know what the heck was going on with WHITECHAPEL ROAD, but the answer was obvious enough after a few checkers went in.

    A good test and for once I think my standard Friday self-inflicted thick head helped rather than hindered.

    Thanks to both.

  25. 13m 49s for a tough puzzle, and I feel lucky to have guessed the unlikely-looking HASDRUBAL. I was slowed down by biffing CAMP instead of GAMP (which I don’t know, and was my LOI), which held up TOP-FLIGHT for quite some time.

    Not often we get a 28-word puzzle, impressive to put together. Even if I agree with the early commenter that DR WHO is not the name of the programme.

  26. According to my sources, ‘fl.’ is an abbreviation not of ‘flourished’, but of ‘floruit’ (admittedly synonymous).

  27. I’d never heard of HASDRUBAL, so for me it could equally well have been Hasgrubal — when I submitted after 61 minutes with Hasgrubal it told me that the g was wrong, so I rethought. The anagram at 7dn is brilliant because it’s so hard to see immediately: I could see the answer and entered it and then tried to parse it and was looking for all the things the clever setter was luring me into. Is it OK to say at 4dn that it’s a temporarily put up shelter? Surely it should be put-up?

    With this doubt and grumble over the drub/grub ambiguity, it struck me as very good.

  28. Resorted to aids so a technical DNF but I did manage to fill the grid. Failed to spot the east end anagram, and DNK GAM as school, but biffed them anyway. Like others my ‘O’-level Latin got me straight into the general after a flirtation with his brother showed he wasn’t long enough.
    This is a grid where thanks are definitely and explicitly due to setter, blogger William, also and several commenters. So thanks!

  29. 39:40 – Quite a romp and a test of determination which I was on the brink of abandoning with 1ac unsolved until parakeet miraculously became LORIKEET and all was light.

  30. Cheated on this one. Couldn’t remember 13d Hannibal’s father, never knew he had abrother, so looked him up. I tried stretching Hannibal first, but gave up and looked in Wiki. In 4d would never have remembered gamp=umbrella, but it helped we had a GAM=school a while ago; was wrongly led on by thinking of glamping. Never parsed 5d TONGUE TIED. Used my anagrammer to confirm the anagrist for 7d W ROAD. Aids for 11a Sulawesi (heard of but forgotten) and it still took an effort to parse. Never worked out where the L came from in 1a TOP FLIGHT. Had 3d as par a/i KEET for a while, unparsed of course. Couldn’t parse 12d CADAVEROUS, never saw Dave. I too wondered about 16a SIDE but I have often said “it’s on the other side ” of a TV channel.
    DNF; 17a couldn’t parse either Game or Gate Keeper so left the 3rd letter blank. Now Z has explained it it is quite good.
    Liked 6d DRAMAS, 10a EUREKA and 23a By Hook etc.

  31. I abandoned this one after an hour, defeated by SULAWESI, CADAVEROUS and HASDRUBAL. Now that it has been explained, I really like CADAVEROUS with its impossible-to-spot definition. And GAMEKEEPER

  32. I thought this was top drawer. Nothing flash – around 39 minutes, as I recall, but great fun. Managed to misparse CADAVEROUS, but once I had spotted that ‘spare’ was the definition, it didn’t matter.

  33. DNF, defeated by HASDRUBAL and SULAWESI. I’d never heard of the general, and I never thought to separate ‘rout’ and ‘not quite fully’, so I thought we needed a 7-letter word meaning rout with the last letter removed. I think I’ve heard of the Indonesian island, but I didn’t get there even with all the checkers and the eminently gettable parsing.

    Didn’t know the fl abbreviation for TOP-FLIGHT; didn’t know GAMP but did remember gam=school; nearly put ‘ibid’ rather than IBIS, thinking of a repeated reference in a footnote; not familiar with round=bread, so PASS ROUND THE HAT went in with a bit of a shrug; tried to make an anagram out of R + *efforts for 19a, with ‘off’ looking like a promising first three letters, until I remembered what=eh and figured out REHASHES.

    No one COD for me today, just lots of clues I thought were excellent: GAMEKEEPER, REHASHES, SUSPENDER, WHITECHAPEL ROAD and POKER (the latter may not be anything remarkable, but I think it’s a great example of a smooth surface and a neat cryptic clue).

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  34. I found that really tough. Got there eventually but checked that my assembly of the wordplay at 13d actually was someone. Found SULAWESI and CADAVEROUS tricky to construct. 31:25. Thanks setter and William.

  35. Very tough in places. Didn’t know FL being short for flourished.
    Two grievances though. The random man being Dave, and using words like lor as an expression. Has anyone used this in the last 100 years? Time to move on and leave some stuff behind.

  36. 33:38 but…

    Good entertainment but never entirely happy with NHOs – SULAWESI was an educated guess but had to use an aid for LOI HASDRUBAL.

    Thanks William and setter

  37. Delighted to have made it through in just under 27 minutes. I spotted the anagram for Whitechapel road after I’d put it in having most of the checkers, superb misdirection. Couldn’t parse cadaverous or gamekeeper do thanks William for that. Knew Hasdrubal from somewhere but wasn’t 100% on it. Sulawesi fit the wordplay but NHO so those two were fingers crossed last two in. COD dramas.

    Thx William and setter

  38. I loved this—hardest, best of the week, as is fitting. But it’s also the only one I didn’t finish correctly, as I flung in GATEKEEPER without ever thinking of GAME.

  39. 44.11, but the website indicates one incorrect letter that is, in fact, correct. Don’t understand it. Like many others, ‘Hasdrubal’, was unknown to me but I was able to construct it from the wordplay. Challenging but fun if only I knew why The Times gave me a pink square for a correct letter.

  40. DNF

    Tough-going. My early Classics and later Latin lessons never covered Hasdrubal – or I wasn’t paying sufficient attention. NHO ‘gam’ for school (or any of the other meanings given in Chambers) but I knew of Sarah Gamp from Dickens, so that helped. Even though it was an early entry, I failed miserably to parse 7D -I guess ‘distortion’ would have been too obvious an anagrind.

    Thank you to william_j_s and the setter

  41. That left me a bit breathless! GYMP looks believable though, ho hum.
    HASDRUBAL’s wife gets a mention in Chaucer, possibly the Nuns Priest’s Tale?
    Last studied about 60 years ago and I remember intending to find out who he was and now I know!

  42. I’m glad I left this for the morning instead of trying it while tired late last night. The result was that I only got badly roughed up instead of being pummeled to the point of needing hospitalisation. Very well done, setter. Thanks Wm.

  43. ‘Side’, as in ‘what’s on the other side?’ was only used when there were only two channels. For me that was BBC1, or BBC2. ITV was routinely ignored in our house. It can’t possibly apply to the multiplicity of channels we have today.

    ‘Rouse’ means to awaken. ‘Arouse’ means to excite.

    If ‘ashore’ is an adverb and ‘land’ is a noun or a verb, how does that clue work?

    1. I had no idea, really, what was going on with SIDE and “channel.” That’s strictly a British thing.

      The definition for ASHORE is actually “to land.” “I got in the lifeboat and headed to land,” “I got in the lifeboat and headed ashore.”

      Here’s Collins on “rouse” (second definition):
      to provoke, stir, or excite
      to rouse someone’s anger

  44. DNF after an hour, with GYMP (never heard of GAMP nor GAM, for that matter) and CAMALEROUS (but I really should have been able to see CADAVEROUS). I’m surprised that I got everything else correctly, including WHIT and LORIKEET and SULAWESI and HASDRUBAL and the rather obscurely clued GAMEKEEPER, whose wordplay I still don’t understand. By the way, there are 12 DNFs among the 65 or 66 postings currently here and actually I am surprised there aren’t more. This would make a fine Mephisto. It seems to explode the bounds of “general knowledge”, which is all that really should be required to solve the daily cryptic.


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