Times 28903 – You know my name (Look up the number)!

Time: 21 minutes

Music: Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits

This puzzle gave me considerable difficulty.   I tried to start in the top, but since I was making little progress, I shifted to the bottom, where I was able to get a few crossing letters and was able to write in some longer answers.   I eventually ended up totally stuck in the NE for several minutes.   I still haven’t parsed everything yet, and there’s one that will probably require audience participation.    However, I’ve at least reached the point where mere ignorance  can’t hold me back from a correct solution…..most of the time, that is.

1 Cause of death, possibly, with body found in melee (5,4)
6 Stylish young woman put on cape (5)
CLASS – C + LASS, with class as an adjective.
9 Public school game in which score is four (5)
FIVES – Well, it is possible, I suppose, that this is a reference to the Fall Efficiency Scale score, in which case it is F(IV)ES.    I just biffed the answer and hoped for the best.   Comments?  Well, my explanation is imaginative, and might work in Mephisto, but Kevin’s is probably the correct one!
10 Some footballer in action, one noted for footwork (9)
BALLERINA – Hidden in [foot]BALLER IN A[ction]
11 Savoury dish, lightly cooked — was tempted (7)
RAREBIT – RARE + BIT.   I would have put ragout, but that was too short, so I thought again.
12 Tree by a large expanse of water in a sorry state (7)
ASHAMED – ASH + A MED, where in a sorry state is to be taken literally.
13 Bringing down to earth about what might be not true in prognostication (7-7)
FORTUNE-TELLING – F(anagram of NOT TRUE)ELLING.   Another easy biff.
17 Socially shunned — stole off to become so? (4-10)
COLD-SHOULDERED – A cryptic hint – presumably, if you take off your stole, your shoulders will get cold.
21 Sailors bragged in front of king and queen, say, on board (7)
CREWMEN – CREW + MEN, in the sense of chess pieces.
23 Prodigal son taken in by Walter transformed (7)
WASTREL – Anagram of S + WALTER.
25 Nothing in the growth trend right for person who speculates (9)
26 Complete round-the-world trip, or just part (5)
27 Blow hot and cold, switching? That’s a problem (5)
HITCH – HIT + H,C reversed, or changing places.
28 Novel read, set between years in recent past (9)
YESTERDAY – Y(anagram of READ, SET)Y
1 Repeated piece of music before service, loud for masses (4-4)
2 Female invariably creating state of excitement (5)
3 European bishop, in surprise, leaving West (9)
4 Regular visitor somewhat put in shade (7)
HABITUE – H(A BIT)UE.   One we’ve seen before.
5 Fieldwork lasting into maturity (7)
TILLAGE – TILL AGE – do not lift and separate.
6 Reportedly attack king as citizen of republic (5)
CZECH – Sounds like CHECK.
7 Today, most of Turkey is upset with Romania (4,5)
ASIA MINOR -Anagram of IS + ROMANIA.   A small part of Turkey is in Europe.
8 Also, in short, a mixed drink (6)
SHANDY – SH(AND)Y, as in shy a few dollars.
14 President or first lady left in overnight accommodation (9)
15 Learner attached to sound of poem that’s naturally attractive (9)
16 I make city attempt form of worship (8)
18 Optimal policy they arranged with son (7)
HONESTY – Anagram of THEY + SON – honesty is the best policy!
19 University charges, under pressure, going higher (7)
20 Put the lid on strong drink (6)
SCOTCH – Double definition, a chestnut.
22 Step by step demonstration of hard stuff set up (5)
MARCH – H + CRAM upside down, with a very literal literal.
24 Bishop captured in attack that’s over the top? (5)

58 comments on “Times 28903 – You know my name (Look up the number)!”

    1. I’m sure you are correct.
      But it’s barely cryptic, if at all. And the surface is meaningless too.

  1. (I tried posting this once, then lost access to the site… again.)
    I was thinking this was a classic easy Monday as I filled in the east fairly quickly, but then I had to break for nutrition. On returning, I immediately saw HABITUE and RIFLE SHOT and was on my way again, finishing with HITCH (thought of long before it was parsed) and MARCH (which hadn’t occurred to me yet).
    Collins says FIVES is a handball game, and I guess it is played in public schools.
    (Saving this in case it fails to post again.)

    1. Our hosting provider had a short outage last night and it looks like it caught you. The hosting is in Europe so they probably schedule changes between midnight and 4 am European time.

  2. About 70 minute. Slowed by FORTUNE-TELLING due to my tendency to read things literally eg I saw definition as “not true in prognostication”. Once “prognostication” as definition sank in it opened the bottom left and the top to solution. Saw HABITUE but didn’t put it in since couldn’t parse it. Biffed FIVES when I had all the cross letters. Still cannot understand wordplay. The “Falls Efficacy Scale” score measures the “fear of falling” which doesn’t appear to be remotely related to anything in the clue. Glad to see Kevin’s post which gives an easy explanation. Clue wording needs improving since to me it says “Fives’ score is four”
    Perhaps “in which four is a score” could mean “four fives is twenty”.

  3. I was surprised to finish in the quick (for me) time of 18.43 because I had a lot of trouble at the start, and the NW did not fall until I had been all around the grid and returned to it to finish. I had little idea about FIVES either, just a faint memory of references to a game young Brits played in old-fashioned books about school days. The two long acrosses were largely biffed and I wasted some time thinking 1ac was an anagram of ‘body found.’ Thank you V, your music choice prompted me to put on the same album. Since we had Durango the other day I’ve been wondering if, like Myrtillus and his poems, there is a daily Dylan ref within these grids. Today’s would be from Hurricane: ‘Couldn’t help but make you feel ASHAMED, to live in a land where justice is a game…’

  4. 22 minutes. A Monday kind of Monday. I biffed 9a from Eton FIVES (more info. here) but couldn’t really understand the wordplay; I don’t know if ‘four’ is of significance in the scoring of the game, or if it’s just ‘four’ FIVES is twenty (a ‘score’) as suggested by Kevin and KensoGhost. FORTUNE-TELLING was also a biff and I took a while to see some not so difficult ones like SCOTCH and HONESTY.

    Favourite was the surface for LODESTONE.

  5. I whizzed though this in 14:26
    Unlike vinyl I got through the top half very fast and had hopes of my first sub 10 minute time, but then slowed down quite a bit (for reasons i can’t quite fathom) on the bottom half. Didn’t understand FIVES either, but 4×5=a score is probably right. Thanks setter and blogger.

  6. 34 minutes would suggest I found this easy but I didn’t as several answers eluded me for far too long and some went in with a shrug because as I wasn’t 100% sure of the definition or wordplay.

    By the time I finished the only remaining question mark was over FIVES. I guessed the wordplay was a reference to 4 x 5 making 20 although the clue still seems somewhat loose if that was the intention. I also didn’t get the public school reference but subsequently found that the game is associated with Eton, Rugby School and Winchester. Not that I had any idea of the game itself as sport is very much not my thing. If I’ve heard FIVES mentioned I’d probably assumed it was five-a-side rugby football or something to do with rowing.

    1. I did actually think when I solved the clue that this was a version of rugby, but that’s sevens. It’s all so confusing!

  7. 9:57, sneaking in under ten minutes as I parsed FORTUNE-TELLING while entering. In hindsight I also didn’t parse FIVES, relying on the definition, the IV, and a shrug. If it is 4×5, I don’t think it quite says what it means.

    An unusual solve for me, in that I completed the bottom half before I had barely any of the top, thanks to COLD-SHOULDERED going straight in.

    Really liked RIFLE SHOT.

    Thanks Vinyl & setter.

    1. I think the clue is fine: ‘Score is four FIVES’. Or am I being too generous to our setter? (I didn’t parse it myself: had to come here and read Kevin’s post above.)

  8. Thought I was on for a sub 10′ but my FOI was wrong. Of course, Rugby is a public school and a game in which a try, in the League version, is four points. But then I got RIFF RAFF…..

    BALLERINA, FORTUNE-TELLING and COLD-SHOULDERED were all write-ins, and I finished in 10’19”.

    Thanks vinyl and setter.

  9. About 25′, having been interrupted for a time. The break helped as the remaining top half then fell into place quite quickly (seems to always help! Though spelling CZECH properly might have helped too.) For some reason I also had “procrastination” in my head for 13ac, so that also took some time. Nice Monday puzzle, LOI FIVES, after all crossers, though Kevin’s arithmetic parsing came quite quickly. Thanks Vinyl1 and setter

  10. 37 minutes with LOI CZECH. COD to RIFF-RAFF.I know my place. Took me a while to parse 13a. The fortune telling lady had even taken all her things inside. I think you’re listening to the only Dylan album I don’t have. I doubt if Desolation Row is on it. I found this a bit harder than it looked. Thank you V and setter.

  11. 18:55
    Much like our blogger my brain only started to click into gear once I tackled the lower half of the puzzle.

    No major hold-ups, no unknowns and all fairly clued. Captain hindsight thinks I should have been quicker.

    Thanks to both.

  12. A rare finish (and a rarer sub 30) at 29:26. I think I’ve parsed them all, to boot.

    Very happy as the quickie was DNF today. I enjoyed many of these clues although none came easily. I suppose it’s a gentle start to the week.

    Thanks setter and vinyl.

  13. 10:21. A steady solve slowing down for the SW corner in the end.. I never parsed FIVES, not knowing how that game was scored, so thanks, Kevin for that, and took a while to see how HITCH worked before putting it in. COD to BALLERINA for the neat hidden in a misleading surface. Thanks Vinyl and setter..

  14. 16.05

    Like some others really struggled to find a foothold anywhere, not seeing some of the easier northern hemisphere entries, but once a few checkers were in it flowed pretty nicely.

    Liked COLD-SHOULDERED and HONESTY amongst others

    Nice puzzle. Nice blog

  15. 8:20 (with a flurry of biffs towards the end).
    Nice Mondayish one, the main problem now being finding a link between the Dylan album and the Beatles song title above (not, as I at first surmised, The Undertones’ ‘You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It?)’.
    “Then you heard my voice a-singin’ and you know my name”, from ‘Train A-Travelin'”?
    I suspect my own earworm will be ‘YESTERDAY’.

  16. I found this fairly tricky, 41 mins with LOI the NHO LODESTONE.

    Another who was held up in the NE until CLASS gave me ASIA MINOR. FIVES never parsed so ta to blogger and Kevin.


    Thanks v and setter.

  17. 14.06. I don’t know why, but I thought that I had managed a faster time until I checked the timer: still, 14.06 is pretty good for my standard, even for a straightforward puzzle.

  18. About 20 minutes.

    Didn’t parse HITCH or YESTERDAY; didn’t see the four fives = twenty aspect of FIVES, though I’d heard of the sport so it went in quickly enough; and assumed 17a would start with ‘self’ for a long time before figuring out COLD-SHOULDERED.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Fever
    LOI Theoriser
    COD Riff-raff

  19. Fives is basically squash without a racket, one of those games that started as play, hitting a hard ball against a wall, and got codified by the Victorians. When my father came home from school in about 1930 his own father took him aside to explain the item on the school bill which said “fives gloves”. My father launched into an explanation of the rules of fives, only to be interrupted. “I know perfectly well what fives is young man, but what’s all this about gloves? We used to play it with bare hands”. Then he went off to run the empire.

  20. 9:03

    Monday, innit.

    I knew of Eton Fives as a game and the 4 x 5 = 20 bit just about made sense.

    I thought this was mostly pretty neat, if not particularly challenging.

  21. Like GC, I was surprised my time was 15.27: it felt quicker. I’m still trying to think of a “score” which when you replace it with IV in F(score)ES becomes the Eton game. I’ll let you know, but I think Kevin’s maths is right. I liked ROOSEVELT for its First Lady riff.

  22. 5:45. Pretty Mondayish, but a nice puzzle nonetheless.
    I’m struggling with the word ‘in’ in 9ac. Doesn’t this need to be ‘of’ for the clue to make sense?
    Edit: no it doesn’t! In dog years, one (human year) is seven. In fives, a score is four.

        1. Or, to keep it as numbers, rather than mixing it with units: “In dozens, 24 is two”. It’s a slightly clunky construction, no matter how you jig it, but the logic is clear in any of the examples.

  23. 18:42

    Caught out by bragged/crew yet again so LOI CREWMEN with all the checkers.

    Nice start to the week.

    Thanks V and setter.

  24. Yes, I used to play FIVES at public school, but methinks the setter thought he was being clever, but got it wrong. I didn’t get the RAF bit, just biffed it so thanks…

  25. 19:32 and all green. Like others, struggled at first in the NW but picked up the pace once I got going. I liked HONESTY and ORBIT. COD to COLD-SHOULDERED

  26. 30 minutes for a crossword that was mostly easy but had one or two difficult clues. I never parsed FORTUNE-TELLING, thinking it was a rather odd CD. The clue for FIVES seems very unsatisfactory: OK four 5s = 20, a score, but how does the clue define fives? It simply says that score is four; well, a score isn’t four; it’s twenty. It needs to say something like ‘a score is four of these’.

    Fives is a very good game and I suppose it is the public school connection that accounts for its lack of universal acceptance: it’s only played in a few schools and a little bit in the Commonwealth. Eton Fives, Rugby Fives and Winchester Fives are all different games but share the pelota-like feature of the ball being hit by a gloved hand. The skill levels displayed by the top performers (as witness the players in the Kinnaird Cup in that clip) are amazing.

    1. I found an explanation of the game on YouTube and was amused by the coach saying there’s no rule against playing the ball backhand but if you try it you never will again because it hurts!

  27. 17:47 – Finding a toe-hold took a few false starts that pushed me over into the NE for my first answer. After backfilling to the left it seemed to get progressively easier the lower down I went. An efficient, fairly Mondayish puzzle with only the FIVES clue posing any problem. The Eton connection was clear but the cryptic 4×5=20 wasn’t.

  28. Pretty straightforward I thought, but 17a COLD Sh… Couldn’t parse it. Doh!
    As others couldn’t understand FIVES. We had 3 fives courts at my school (Direct Grant, the County found it cheaper to place us in a public school than to expand the grammar school.) I am unaware whether every school has a different version and also whether it is restricted to public schools. We made up our own rules I think, ours were very much like squash. We had a low back wall in ours, but if the ball hit it it was out. I was told the ball was a fives ball but probably it was a squash ball, small and rubber, low pressure so squidgey. We didn’t have gloves, like Old Quacksalver above.

    1. My non-Public School in the West Riding had an outdoor Fives Court which was well used in all break times. Various nefarious activities also took place round the back of it.

  29. 18:14

    Very Mondayish but good fun. COD RIFLE SHOT.

    I do like crosword-land, where lasses wear stoles and wastrels can still be found.

    Thanks to vinyl and the setter.

  30. 21:19

    Didn’t seem difficult and am inside my Snitch target (67 = 23:30) however I’m 130th of 190 on the leaderboard which suggests to me that I was a little slower than most. There was stuff I didn’t parse – FIVES, FORTUNE TELLING and BALLERINA where I didn’t see the hidden.

    Thanks V and setter

  31. DNF as I failed to get CZECH or ASHAMED but what I did I did relatively quickly (about 26 mins). I don’t get the fuss about FIVES, it was my FOI and it makes perfect sense – I’d go as far as saying it’s the COD in fact.

  32. FOI was FEVER. FIVES followed and I saw that 5×4=a score straight away. RIFF RAFF and the rest of the top half populated quickly, but FORTUNE TELLING and COLD SHOULDERED resisted for some time, the latter mainly because I thought the second word started with the H of HONESTY due to misreading the grid. I finished in the SW with SCOTCH, HITCH and LOI, THEORISER. I was surprised to find that my 18:05 put me well outside the top 100 on the leaderboard, but that’s what happens when you solve later in the day. Thanks setter and Vinyl.

  33. I always arrive here far too late in the day to add any value to the conversation, but I thought I’d mention that I did play fives at school. It was an enjoyable game, but also a useful place to hide away for a smoko as the courts were beyond the far side of the cricket field. As far as I recall it was single point scoring, so (as Kevin said 13 hours ago) this clue is a simple 4×5 (or 4 in Base 5, which has also been mooted), I think.

    Anyway, a nice easy Monday puzzle, much enjoyed!

  34. Really enjoyed this puzzle – got FORTUNE TELLING and COLD SHOULDERED immediately which nicely opened things up – bit patchy with SW corner until SCOTCH HITCH and MARCH fell into place – 16:44 in the end quicker than usual Thanks to Vinyl and setter

  35. Yet again, I’ve found a low Snitch (67) puzzle to be real struggle, and much more difficult than others with a harder rating. Although quite a few answers did go in without any problems, those that resisted, especially in the NW corner, took forever and a day to tease out. I guess I’m wired differently to most. Invariant

  36. Another very enjoyable puzzle.

    Just a quick comment on Fives, although I’m well out of date as I left my school (St Dunstans, Catford) over 60 years ago. I believe the most common version was Rugby Fives which was the subject of much interschool competition. We produced a number of outstanding players, including national champions such as Eric Marsh and my contemporary John Howe. I also remember the name John Pretlove who I seem to remember was at one of the Bedford schools and was a top class player.

  37. 40 minutes, but not really a hard puzzle, just a bit cloudy in places. No clues were really boring, but there were several that were easy to biff, but somewhat harder to understand the wordplay of, after the fact. RIFLE SHOT was quite good, but there were others, too.

  38. Progress is happening for this QC-er, as I managed to finish without help in under an hour. It’s a big chunk of time out of one’s day though, so I’ll have to keep it down to a couple of times a week. Liked IDOLATRY and MARCH, thought RIFLE-SHOT was gruesome. I took forever to see RIFF-RAFF because I dutifully lifted and separated “repeated piece of music”.

  39. Doing this one on Tuesday morning. I thought it was a really nice puzzle with my favourites being – Roosevelt, Eastbound, Ballerina and Riff Raff.
    35 minutes of good entertainment.

  40. 34’44”
    Trainer reported coughing in the stable.

    I was quite pleased to finish under my par as I’m feeling like death. I was glad to see class as an adjective – why not classy – described as slang by Chambers, and I fail to see what it has to do with style. Apart from that all were parsed.
    A good workout for a Monday; thank you setter and Vinyl.

  41. 57:58 had about 7-8 on the first pass then only added a 3-4 more and was ready to give up at 30mins. But then chucked in ROOSEVELT and HITCH to give some hope. But didn’t add much and was ready to give up at 40mins then saw RIFF-RAFF and they all tumbled from there. Amazing what a few checkers will do for you. SNITCHing at 67 when I attempted.


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