Times 28917 – hard work and education

I found this hard to finish without looking stuff up, and not especially enjoyable. I wasn’t keen on A for one at 5a, globulin for protein, DU for Dutch, TIN for aerosol, or those obscure African bush people. Well, if I don’t know it, it’s obscure. I hope you had more fun than I did, although I now know about organ pipes. I liked the lavish picnic and the DD for setting.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics, [deleted letters in square brackets].

1 English working in South African region in very early days? (8)
NEONATAL – E, ON (working) inside NATAL. An easy starter.
5 Old land use system‘s one required over in Florida (6)
FEUDAL – a rather clumsy surface and IMO less than good parsing. A = one, DUE = required, all reversed inside FL the abbr. for Florida.
10 Relocating elite moving between Magdalen and Christ Church? (15)
INTERCOLLEGIATE – a nice anagram of (RELOCATING ELITE)*, referring to two Oxford colleges.
11 Large exhibitions regularly held in the open (7)
EXPOSED -EXPOS (large exhibitions), hElD = regularly held.
12 Warning spirit has been adulterated (7)
BANSHEE – (HAS BEEN)*. I thought banshees were more about wailing than warning, but presumably both.
13 Rebuke harshly as fish in back of truck spoils (8)
KEELHAUL – I couldn’t see this one until I had all the checking letters in place. K (back of truck), HAUL (spoils of a robbery), with EEL inside.
15 Part of work of worker in company (5)
CANTO – ANT a worker, inside CO for company.
18 Lives around northern Dutch river (5)
INDUS – IS (lives) with N, DU[tch] inserted. Does DU often stand for Dutch?
20 Fail to advance entirely, it’s said, without company (8)
LONESOME – sounds like LOAN SOME, = fail to advance (e.g. money) entirely.
23 Prompt takes against Antigone’s part (7)
INSTANT – hidden as above.
25 Found that rhino is seen regularly in part of North America (7)
ONTARIO – alternate letters as above.
26 Ironical trait is unfortunately inconsistent with logic (15)
IRRATIONALISTIC – (IRONICAL TRAIT IS)*. Not an everyday word, but fair enough.
27 Adding yolks and whites to, say, spirit and finally drinking (6)
EGGING – EG (say, for example); GIN (spirit) G (end of drinking).
28 Month right in capital city of Russia (8)
NOVGOROD – NOV (month) GOOD (capital), insert R for right. Fortunately, I’d heard of it, from reading spy novels.
1 Fixed new trouble with editor (6)
NAILED – N (new) AIL (trouble) ED[itor].
2 Extended lavish picnic, perhaps? (9)
OUTSPREAD – an OUT  SPREAD could be a lavish picnic.
3 Famous statue, Oscar, in aluminium and tin? (7)
AEROSOL – EROS (famous statue), O[scar], inside AL = aluminium. Is an aerosol a tin? It could be in a tin, or in something else. I’m just griping because it took me ages to stop thinking about famous statues beginning with A.
4 Keen to go round ring bypass (5)
AVOID – AVID (keen) with O inside.
6 Chap mostly in charge of enhancing stock (7)
EUGENIC – EUGEN[E] = a chap, mostly, IC = in charge. I thought of the definition then found the chap.
7 Want to eliminate Republican loss (5)
DEATH – DEARTH loses its R. A reverse of Sunday’s clue.
8 Stay with key Biblical kingdom in allegiance (8)
LIEGEDOM – LIE (stay), G (a key), EDOM (a Biblical kingdom which I eventually remembered). Apparently EDOM means red in Hebrew and the kingdom was founded by Esau, who had red hair. Allegedly. Another clumsy clue IMO.
9 Good joint of meat containing a lot of roughage and protein (8)
GLOBULIN – G (good) LOIN (cut of meat), insert BUL[L] a lot of roughage. Is bull roughage? The globulins are a family of proteins, not one specific protein, if I am allowed to be pedantic. EDIT as pointed out below, by commenters, it is probably  BUL[K] not bull but I still don’t like it.
14 Melting away, no appeal with Scotland’s rising (8)
ABLATION – All reversed, NO, IT (appeal), ALBA (Scotland, in Gaelic).
16 Run a metro badly, producing fractional dividend (9)
NUMERATOR – (RUN A METRO)*. The part above the line in a fraction, to be divided by the denominator.
17 Reduce car’s energy going round motorway (8)
MINIMISE – MINI’S (car’s) E[nergy], insert MI = M1 motorway.
19 Harsh area held by Bushmen (7)
SPARTAN – PART (area) inside SAN. I had to learn from Wiki that the SAN are a hunter-gatherer people in southern Africa. Who knew?
21 Mounting or going down (7)
SETTING – double definition, as in setting a gemstone, and the setting sun.
22 Adjusted organ pipes in space outside church (6)
VOICED – VOID (space) outside CE (church). Faced with *O*CED in this clue, I wondered about VOICED and learnt from Wiki that fiddling around skilfully with organ pipes to adjust their sounds is properly called “voicing”. I didn’t know that before, but organists probably do.
24 Second Mrs Grundy’s young man? (5)
SPRIG – S for second, and Mrs Grundy was the archetypal PRIG often referred to in literature (she was not familiar to me, though). And Collins Online gives “sprig”  definition 4. (informal, rare) a youth.
25 Go to a resettled region down under (5)
OTAGO – (GO TO A)*. It’s in the South Island of New Zealand, not the bit I’ve been to but I had heard of it.


82 comments on “Times 28917 – hard work and education”

  1. Wilfully obscure with very little to enjoy. I gave up after 90 minutes and resorted to aids for 8dn and 28ac, but still managed two errors with SPROG at 24dn and SITTING 21ac. I was getting to ready to pick over a lot of nits today, but Pip has covered many of them and I feel I’ve already wasted far too much time thinking about this very unsatisfying and flawed offering. Bah!

  2. I found this tough and struggled to get home inside the hour, 55.16. I used the check function to confirm NHOs like LIEGEDOM and GLOBULIN and had no idea what was going on with SPARTAN. On the upside there were four or five words on the grid that are in Dylan songs, so that makes a change. I share many of Nelson’s reservations and I too went on a wild goose chase for a statue starting with A. All that trouble for a somewhat shonky definition, AEROSOL meaning tin.

    From Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (but spoilt for choice):
    I’m walkin’ down that long LONESOME road babe, where I’m bound, I can’t tell
    But goodbye’s too good a word gal, so I’ll just say fare thee well
    I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind, you coulda done better but I don’t mind
    You just kinda wasted my precious time
    But don’t think twice, it’s all right

      1. You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go was also in the mix. Such a bounty, but I figured one of the old ones might have broader resonance…

  3. DNF at the last – I’d never heard of Mrs Grundy, nor SPRIG as a young man. On a better day, or when my brain was less exhausted from the rest of the puzzle, I might have guessed Mrs Grundy was a prig rather than shrugging and trying SPROG, but it still wouldn’t have been a very satisfying one.

    Otherwise I enjoyed plenty of this, although I agree it was a bit much overall. Among other things, if you don’t know your NZ geography (or if you’ve not done enough puzzles to vaguely recall it) you’ve no real way of choosing between OTAGO and OGATO.

    Thanks both.

  4. I was really hoping that my OTAGO wouldn’t turn out to be OGATO, so I was glad when I came here and found it was right. But then I discovered that my guess at SPROG was wrong, so that puts me one letter off after 54 minutes—nearly twice as long as the last two puzzles put together.

    I have a feeling that I’ve failed to know that a SPRIG is a young man before, possibly in a very similar clue in the past, and I definitely knew that Mrs Grundy was a prig, I just couldn’t quite put it all together after all the other obscure hard work in the rest of the puzzle. Shame.

  5. A chore today without the usual satisfaction of completion. 69 minutes and had to come here to see the parsing of SPARTAN and VOICED (LOI).

  6. And death shall have no dominion.
    Dead men naked they shall be one
    With the man in the wind and the west moon
    (Dylan Thomas)

    After 45 mins I had struggled to fill it in – but took too long to see SPREAD, VOID and EUGENE. NHO San as Bushmen: usually hospital.
    Ta setter ‘n’ Pip

  7. Finished in over 2 hours and didn’t enjoy it. AEROSOL is the only word fitting from the crossing letters but I didn’t believe it could be the answer. AEROSOL can be the aerosol container but “tin” even with a perhaps doesn’t make it. Tin perhaps is stretching it to define a spray can.
    Collins gives Du. as abbreviation for 1 Duke and 2 Dutch. Chambers gives Du. for Dutch.

  8. DNF after 28’+
    I’m glad I came here to find I’m not at all alone in my feelings about this puzzle. I’m also glad I stopped when I did, because although I thought of AEROSOL I couldn’t see how to parse it–still don’t–and would never have thought of KEELHAUL. No problem with Mrs. G, so it had to be NHO SPRIG. I took BUL to be bulk -k, as John Davies says. I actually think I’ve come across the San, not that they came to mind with SPARTAN. I believe a BANSHEE’s scream is supposed to be an omen of a coming death.

  9. 43:33 with the same 2 errors as jack (SITTING/SPROG), both of which would have stayed put even if I had checked my work.

    Lots of unknown elements and plenty of huffing and puffing.

    The blog was most definitely required today so thanks for filling in the blanks.

  10. 58 minutes but with a biffed SPROG. LOI NOVGOROD. I think I did know that Mrs Grundy once, but I’d forgotten her.All I could think of was the one Solomon married on a Wednesday. That didn’t end well. I started off enjoying this until I reached the bottom half, when I struggled. To be fair, my only other biff was SPARTAN, with some doubts about what ABLATION meant. I confused it with OBLATION, I think. Thank you Pip and setter

  11. Found this tough going and was beaten by ‘liegedom’ and sprog for sprig. My first post on the club site after peering through the window for 15 years. Another from antipodean parts – Victoria. Looking forward to contributing in the future.

    1. Welcome. I had a similar lengthy lurk before joining in and have never regretted peering above the parapet.

      1. Thanks P8 for the welcome. I’ve never been able to post as I’ve always done the crosswords in The Australian, which is a month behind – pretty hard to comment a month late! But, got a subscription to The Times today so will be a bit more in sync – give or take nine hours.

        1. I did exactly the same for a couple of years, it’s so much better doing it in real time! Welcome Q (we have a solid little community of solvers here in Vic…)

          1. A belated thanks for your welcome Lindsay. Nice to know there’s a few of us around. Norman

  12. 18:05
    Tricky, especially the two 15-letter, 7-vowel anagrams.
    NHO VOICED in that context and struggled with NOVGOROD (twinned with Watford, apparently).
    AEROSOL reminded me of a rather rude ‘Not the Nine O’Clock News’ sketch set in a Swedish chemist’s shop.

  13. Well, another who has been « pipped » to the post by our blogger. All done in 40 mins but a DNF after all the travails as I too wrote in SPROG. As Jack says, Bah.

    NHOs include LIEGEDOM, EUGENIC, & SAN. Dug up NOVGOROD from somewhere once I had the checkers.

    Thanks pip.

  14. I finished in 27:42
    My LOI was 24dn and I almost put SPROG before SPRIG occurred to me
    Otago must have come up before, because I was able to write it in
    Thanks Pip and setter

  15. A fail. The same as Quadrophenia, being beaten by SPRIG, for which I’d forgotten the significance of ‘Mrs. Grundy’ and LIEGEDOM for which (for no reason) I put in an F for the ‘note’. No idea about the SAN either so not a good day.

      1. Well, well. I wish I could say I put in LIEFEDOM with Fairport Convention at the forefront of my mind, but even though they’re my era, I can’t pretend that I knew the album. Thanks for the info. anyway – v. interesting.

  16. I don’t feel to bad now, having read about the struggles of some of the stalwarts! 35 mins all correct and parsed except LIEGEDOM, which is a word I suspect has never been seen outside of reference books.
    I had no problem with AEROSOL because of the ? Maybe I’m too forging because I have been doing the Grauniad crossword lately?
    Getting the two long anagrams early on was a big help. No problem with SPRIG or KEELHAUL or SETTING, so a comparatively good day for me.

  17. 15:16. I concur with the views expressed above, but I found this puzzle a bit less irritating than others because (unlike that puzzle last week) the gratuitous obscurity wasn’t – for one reason or another – what I found difficult about it. For instance:
    > Never heard of EDOM of course but the answer was biffable
    > Had forgotten the significance of Mrs Grundy but remembered the existence of SPRIG – never encountered IRL – from past puzzles and figured it was more likely she was a prig than a prog
    > Entirely avoided irritation at the obscurity at 22dn by assuming it was some sort of reference to wind pipes
    > and so on
    The one thing that did properly annoy me was the definition of EUGENIC. I don’t care what the dictionaries say: if you’re going to include a reference to racist pseudoscience you should define it as such.

      1. But doesn’t ‘eugenics’ also cover what stockbreeders (and other farmers) have been doing for centuries? (As somebody once said ‘There’s nothing so unnatural as a field of waving corn’.) Chambers does define it as relating especially to humans, but also uses the phrase ‘… helping the better stock to prevail’. Isn’t this where the nasty eugenicists got their ideas from in the first place?

        1. Collins refers specifically to humans too, and that’s the way it is invariably used in my experience.

    1. ‘Moab is my washpot. Over Edom will I cast out my shoe’ Psalms.
      Edom was where you put your shoes at night, Moab was of great use in the morning.
      School stuff

        1. Sorry, I didn’t mean to upset. I simply thought that as Kerioth(e) was in Moab, next door to Edom…..

          1. No offense taken.
            The origin of my name here is (via a roundabout route I won’t bore you with) Jehuda of Kerioth (Judas Escariot) as featured in The Master and Margarita.

  18. This felt ungenerous and obscurantist. San? Me neither. Keel-hauling referenced more as a punishment in my limited experience of the word, not as a rebuke. And ‘tin’ = ‘AEROSOL’? Well, not the first thing that comes to my mind. But hey. Finished it, albeit in 53 mins and without any pleasure.

  19. 53:19

    1 error

    Struggled through and instinctively thought OTOGA sounded more likely to be a region down under until later in the solve. I’d never heard of the SAN and then I had to assume EDOM was somewhere biblical (although, on reflection, I think I’ve heard of Edomites from my school days). Even so, Mrs Grundy was too obscure for me on the day (Wiki provides quite few literary references but the only one I must have come across is in Hard Times which I read over 40 years ago without a Dickens reference compendium to hand on that day – bad boy). Instead, I could only think that she was the one that married Solomon on a Wednesday as, I now see, did boltonwanderer.

    So I guessed (poorly – with hindsight I should have applied keriothe’s thinking) at SPROG rather than SPRIG as my LOI. One guess too many.

    Thank you to piquet and the setter

  20. 15:57 Quite tough today. I don’t share others’ antipathy towards puzzles with obscure words. Surely it’s good to bring these into the spotlight. So I now know who Mrs Grundy was (I kept thinking of Clarrie from The Archers, who is by no means a prig), where Otaga is, that a globulin is a protein, and that keelhauling is not always literal. I agree that there were a few clunky clues, but I liked the ones for INTERCOLLEGIATE, BANSHEE and IRRATIONALISTIC. I do have a minor quibble with clues like 6dn, in that the name Eugene literally means “of good stock” so the definition and wordplay have exactly the same points of reference, which is a bugbear of mine.

    1. I generally agree on obscurities, but you can have too much of a good thing! I also find it annoying when they get in the way of solving. Discovering a new word from clear wordplay is one of the great pleasures of these things.

  21. The widespread dissatisfaction with this puzzle, probably fuelled by the number of pink squares generated, must account for my modest 18.47 being rather elevated in the leaderboard. I didn’t mind this – rather enjoyed it actually – even if it was a bit heavy on the geographical. The SAN people can occasionally be found living in the Mephisto Safari Park

  22. 28 mins with the obligatory SPROG. Clearly I’m supposed to know all about Mrs Grundy. Harumph…

  23. 37:51

    Found this very tough going and I doubt that I would have persevered if it hadn’t been for the two long anagrams. Agree with everything Pip said, particularly with regard to AEROSOL.
    Still, I’m pleased to have learned about Mrs Grundy and GLOBULIN.

    Thanks to Pip and the setter

  24. DNF

    Gave up on the 30’ mark and glad I did. Needs to be tighter if laced with obscurity in my opinion.

    Thanks for the tricky blog Piquet.

  25. 13:13, but with an error – I’ve clearly been influenced by listening to too much classic Fairport Convention as I wrote in LIEFEDOM instead of LIEGEDOM. Apart from this personal tribulation, I struggled in the same places as others; though I did take pleasure in remembering Neil Kinnock’s socialist suggestion that The Archers should properly be titled The Grundys and Their Oppressors.

  26. To answer Pip’s query for 18 ac, ‘Du’ for ‘Dutch’ is common usage in etymology in most dictionaries I’ve seen. Agree with him in general about this puzzle, and not just because I had to use aids. Very ‘Curates egg’ for me. The biggest problem I had was IRRATIONALISTIC. I solved it virtually instantly, but is there really such a word? And I didn’t like the use of ‘dividend’. Though I did like SPRIG, SETTING and VOICED.

  27. Lots of the same problems as others. My Mrs Grundy knowledge was very weak, and I never knew that a SPRIG could be a young man, had a vague idea that a sprog was, so went with that and hoped Mrs G would sort herself out. As no doubt did several others. several weird words, like ABLATION and IRRATIONALISTIC, which needed to be ground out. Never knew that GLOBULIN = protein, which it turns out it isn’t quite. 57 minutes, with sprog.

  28. 33 – although with a SPROG and a SITTING. Some Mephisto-style obscurities to make me feel ill-informed, but what I understood I enjoyed.

  29. 39.39 but wind assisted as I googled Mrs Grundy and SPRIG, not having heard of either of them.

  30. DNF. Completely defeated by KEELHAUL (NHO); thought of GLOBULIN but wasn’t confident enough of bulk=roughage to go for it; put ‘sprog’ rather than SPRIG, having no idea who or Mrs Grundy was.

    No problem with OTAGO as I’ve heard of the Otago Volts cricket team (though if I hadn’t heard of the region I’d be as annoyed as others are, given that ‘Ogato’ could conceivably be right); had to trust that ABLATION means melting away; didn’t know the San people for SPARTAN; and despite my dad being an organist I wasn’t familiar with that meaning of VOICED.

    Agree with the criticisms made by others, but thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Neonatal

  31. This was appalling.

    LOI SPARTAN (had no idea on parsing)
    COD no nomination
    TIME 17:34

  32. 45:22

    Correctly entered SPRIG (thought Grundy must be something to do with The Archers) as SPROG didn’t make sense. Growing up in South London, the house opposite was owned by Mr & Mrs Prigg – you’d think that some folk would do anything to change their name.

    For SETTING vs SITTING, I toyed with both but went for the former as the sun sets/goes down.

    Some of the other clues left me shrugging – LIEGEDOM, SPARTAN.

    Thanks P and setter

  33. Oh well. I have to say that I completed this after leading two services and a doctor’s appointment, in 14’11”. Perhaps later in the day makes me blasé.

    Considered SPROG but knew it couldn’t be right, knew SPRIG from gardening. No idea about SPARTAN. Knew KEELHAUL from navy novels, LIEGEDOM from other books (Shogun?). NOVGOROD / VOICED LOsI.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  34. NEONATAL got me smartly off the mark, and several more top half entries didn’t cause too much trouble. I had to knuckle down and concentrate after that. AEROSOL was a very late entry after all the crossers were in. I struggled to remember anything about Mrs Grundy, but once it was obvious that the youngster would be a SPRIG or a SPROG, the answer was obvious, given that she was unlikely to be into Prog Rock. NOVGOROD emerged from the mist after I looked at 25d and noticed I’d typed OTAGA instead of OTAGO. SETTING arrived after LONESOME and also assisted with 28a. Strangely the two long anagrams dropped straight in, which was a big help. LIEGEDOM was new to me, but fitted the wordplay. GLOBULIN dropped in after BANSHEE. I also parsed it as BUL(k) for roughage. VOICED was LOI and another unknown from wordplay. On the whole I didn’t find it too difficult although there were plenty of obscurities. 26:08. Thanks setter and Pip.

  35. I didn’t expect people to find this difficult. I finished it in 30 minutes – roughly my average since I’m not a very fast solver. No problems except SAN in Spartan – never heard of them but the answer had to be.

  36. I hoped that getting a couple crossers in place would open things up, but it didn’t for me today. Thanks very much, pip, for pulling me out of several holes. My addition to the comments above is that there is no reason the unknown Mrs Grundy couldn’t have been a left-voting Prog. My observation for today is that very long anagrams can be remarkably difficult, even with some letters in place.

  37. I am a newcomer to this site but have done Times 15×15 for years. The crosswords I like best are those that use no more than two or three obscure knowledge clues. They should not cross each other and be well clued. But thats my perfect crossword and i dont expect to get it often

  38. Enjoyed this and managed to finish with all answers correct, although they needed some teasing out. I entered the answer to 10a promptly once I had 1 and 4 down, before I realised it was an anagram.

  39. Keelhaul is surely not ‘rebuke harshly’. To be keelhauled was to sentenced to an agonising punishment, with almost certain death

    1. “To rebuke harshly” is most assuredly the second definition in Collins of KEELHAUL.

      1. It does indeed but it really ought to qualify that (as the Oxfords do) as being figurative or humorous.

        1. It’s only figurative if you happen to know the original meaning, for something that hasn’t been done for a couple centuries. Merriam-Webster doesn’t add such a tag either, and its note on the history of the word concludes, “Even after the practice was banned on European naval vessels in the mid-1800s, the word keelhaul remained in English as a term for a severe scolding.”

        2. It obviously is figurative but so are thousands of other expressions whose literal origins are unknown to most people using them.

  40. 14:41

    Loved it. I like to be challenged, and you won’t catch me whining just because I took longer than usual.

    1. You won’t catch me patronising a group of experienced solvers by sneerily suggesting that their dislike of a particular puzzle is ‘whining’.

  41. One pink square after a 36 minute solve, with SITTING. It sort of made sense, with mounting a horse, and sitting down in a chair, but I see now that SETTING works better.

    AEROSOL was my COD, for the misdirection that had me looking for an AL—-SN word fora while.

  42. Interesting that so many found this unsatisfying. I thought it was pretty well OK and I cracked all bar KEELHAUL in 32 minutes for a DNF. I agree with a comment above that defining that as ‘rebuke harshly’ is under-egging it a bit and GLOBULIN is not well clued IMO, but I did get it once the checkers were in, albeit unparsed. Not the greatest of puzzles then, but not as bad as some others seem to have found it.

  43. I’m one of the few who didn’t mind this. In fact I was astonished to see the Snitch at 130! I had to guess OTAGO and the spelling of GLOBULIN. But I missed all the other gripes, probably by virtue of mucho biffing. 21’16” all up.

  44. Finally gave up on this with 8d and 24d unfinished. I couldn’t think how to parse either SPRIG or SPROG and got as far as LIEFEDOM but wasn’t convinced. I was expecting to hear most people enjoyed it, so it was a pleasant surprise to find that my struggles were not unmatched. VOICED made perfect sense once I landed on the solution, but San was a mystery and FEUDAL was more hope than eureka, as I didn’t expect A for ‘one’ and had no confidence 8d began with L. Still, another day, another puzzle…


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