Times 28919 – a noble earl and many a creature else


No pushover – I had several bits of answers entered in the grid on first pass (SCAR- of 4dn, CREAM- of 11dn, -ING of 17ac, etc.), but had to eek out the rest of those clues and a couple of unknowns. I really enjoyed it though – witty in parts, I liked the original clueing of 7ac and 13ac, and all the animals.

Definitions underlined.

1 Blooming angry expression during riparian activity (11)
FLOURISHING – LOUR (angry (facial) expression) inside FISHING (riparian (riverside) activity).
7 Elements making water good to keep for oneself (3)
HOG – H + O (hydrogen and oxygen, elements making water) + G (good).
9 Bet on clubs without experience, then left pools activity? (4-5)
BACK-CRAWL – BACK (bet on) + C (clubs) + RAW (without experience) + L (left). Is this the same as back-stroke?
10 Certain Muslims hosting very revered Hindu (5)
SHIVA – SHIA (certain Muslims) containing V (very).
11 A little craft roughly shown by French composer (7)
CARAVEL – CA (roughly) + RAVEL (French composer). I did not know this small boat, but the wordplay was helpful.
12 Women’s accessory model shows item I can’t name (7)
WHATSIT – W (women’s) + HAT (accessory) + SIT (model).
13 Eastern translation of the inspiring 1 Down producer (5)
EIDER – E (eastern) + DER ((German) translation of ‘the’), containing I (one).
15 A bum intro, playing French folk music (9)
TAMBOURIN – anagram of (playing) A BUM INTRO. NHO
17 Producing plans, relative captures pawn before more valuable piece (9)
MAPMAKING – MAMA (relative) containing P (pawn) before KING (more valuable piece).
19 Furry animal, shy, with a lead twisted round (5)
COYPU – COY (shy), then a reversal of (twisted round) UP (with a lead).
20 Possibly go and haunt this place? (4-3)
HANG-OUTa cryptic definition, I think. Anagram of GO + HAUNT. Thanks for the comments.
22 Ashes holder punching Aussie bounder in tour (7)
JOURNEY – URN (ashes holder) inside JOEY (Aussie bounder).
24 Tree resin extracted from lime leaning to the west (5)
ELEMI – reverse (to the west) hidden (extracted from) in lIME LEaning.
25 Spooner’s inhabited part of Western Europe’s land (5,4)
TOUCH DOWN – sounds like a Spoonerised “Dutch Town”.
27 Perhaps stuff Scot’s to put back (3)
EAT – TAE (Scot’s ‘to’) reversed.
28 Thesp and France’s main female novelist getting Oscar for musicals (11)
HAMMERSTEIN – HAM (thesp) + MER (France’s main, or sea) + STEIN (Gertrude, female novelist).
1 Keep a watch on this uprising from Benin’s capital (3)
FOB – reversal of OF (from) + Benin’s first.
2 Take place of officer knocked over by bounder (5)
OCCUR – CO (Commanding Officer) reversed + CUR (bounder).
3 Dog around London area shows what retriever does? (7)
RECOVER – ROVER (dog) containing EC (London area).
4 Mark and I keeping lots of coffee for Italian who worked in bars (9)
SCARLATTI – SCAR (mark) + I, containing almost all of LATTe (coffee). Domenico, composer.
5 Where many films are made with family member (2-3)
IN-LAW – IN LA (Los Angeles, where many films are made) + W (with).
6 Terrifying force once affected stoppage with power cut (7)
GESTAPO – anagram of STOPpAGE with one ‘p’ (power) removed.
7 Husband shows Sue a way to control shock? (9)
HAIRSPRAY – H (husband) + AIRS (shows) + PRAY (sue).
8 Rival of Reading close to losing final, playing Inter (11)
GLASTONBURY – last letter of losinG + LAST (final) + ON (playing) + BURY (inter). A music festival that occurs at the same time as the one in Reading.
11 Fare initially cheap on paper that’s said to raise a smile? (5,6)
CREAM CHEESE – first of Cheap + REAM (paper) + CHEESE (that’s said to raise a smile, before a photo).
14 Child, say, in part of pool with lower energy, not disheartened (9)
DEPENDENT – DEEP END (part of pool) with ‘E’ (energy moved to a lower position in the grid, then NoT (missing its central letter (disheartened).
16 Lifted a jewel with another picked up — it’s a lot of work (9)
MEGAJOULE – A GEM (a jewel) reversed, then a homophone of “jewel” (another one). At least, it is for me.
18 A slip crossing over large ditch (7)
ABOLISH – A + BISH (slip) containing O (over) and L (large).
19 Speed and ecstasy’s under a hundred pounds (7)
CRUSHES – RUSH (speed) and E’S (ecstasy’s), beneath C (a hundred).
21 Revolutionary women’s movement with time for old, symbolic item (5)
TOTEM – ME TOo (women’s movement) reversed, with T (time) replacing an ‘o’ (old).
23 This person, breaking funny bone, petrified mother (5)
NIOBE – I (this person) contained by an anagram of BONE. Greek myth, DNK.
26 Perhaps novice‘s news, entertaining for all (3)
NUN – N + N (news) containing U (universal, as a film certificate, for all (to see)).

68 comments on “Times 28919 – a noble earl and many a creature else”

  1. I started well but slowed in the middle before picking up speed again and finishing after 40 minutes. There were a few unknowns here such as CARAVEL and TAMBOURIN.

    I misremembered NIOBE by assuming she was Lot’s wife but that was wrong as Lot’s wife is not named in The Bible, and anyway I imagine that being turned into a pillar of salt may not qualify as ‘petrified’.

    There were at least 5 composers of note in the SCARLATTI family and it’s a toss-up between Domenico and his father Alessandro as to who was more famous and influential. Domenico is associated particularly with keyboard music having composed some 550 keyboard sonatas.

  2. Probably 90mins but hugely pleased to finish and parse correctly. COD to Hammerstein. Thank you setter and blogger.

  3. ‘A cold coming we had of it,
    Just the worst time of the year
    For a journey, and such a long journey
    (Journey of the Magi, TS Eliot)

    After 30 enjoyable mins pre-brekker, I started the crossword. No, just kidding.
    After 30 enj… mins pre…., I was left staring at the gaps in Glastonbury. I am not a festival goer (except Edinburgh). Alpha trawl got it eventually.
    Ta setter and W.

  4. I found much of this to be pretty tough going but no complaints, all done in 48.48. Thanks to William for untangling IN-LAW, GESTAPO and DEPENDENT, all of which were biffed. There were a lot of nice clues here like EIDER, HAMMERSTEIN and MEGAJOULE. I was unaware of the duelling festivals but got to GLASTONBURY eventually.

    From Lo and Behold!:
    I come into Pittsburgh
    At six-thirty flat
    I found myself a vacant seat
    An’ I put down my hat
    “What’s the matter, Molly, dear
    What’s the matter with your mound?”
    “WHATSIT to ya, Moby Dick?
    This is chicken town!”

  5. A slight MER for me at 14D. I was led to believe that the noun (i.e. “Child, say”) was spelt “DEPENDANT” whilst the adverb and adjective had the extra “E”. I know our cousins over the pond have a different view of this and I am sure someone will tell me that the OED or Chambers gives it as an alternative spelling.
    Otherwise, an absolute cracker of a puzzle.

    1. I hadn’t even considered it, but yes, Chambers justifies the setter’s choice while also kind of agreeing with you:

      dependˈant (also dependˈent) noun
      1. A person who depends on another for support (esp financial)
      2. A hanger-on

      dependˈent (also dependˈant) adjective
      Depending, relying, contingent, relative

  6. 16:58. Didn’t know NIOBE but the wordplay was gentle, and glad TAMBOURIN was vaguely familiar.

    Glastonbury’s much earlier in the summer than Reading festival.

    Nice puzzle all round.

    Thanks setter & William.

    1. Niobe..I always thought she was just a major weeper.. however I’ve discovered she was indeed a weeper but this is because she had 12 children all of whom were murdered by Apollo and Artemis. Zeus felt sorry for her and turned her into a rock!

  7. 54 minutes with LOI CRUSHES. I didn’t think I was going to finish but perseverance paid off. CARAVEL was a construction that fitted. COD to HAMMERSTEIN. I must just like being reminded of the fifties. Thank you William and setter.

  8. I started off accidentally with the Guardian puzzle and got halfway through it before I realised I’d picked up the wrong bit of paper. Still, I felt like I was on a roll so I pressed on with it and managed to fit both puzzles into my allotted hour, so I feel unusually accomplished for a Friday.

    Living in Bristol helps, as I often see our replica of John Cabot’s Matthew passing by, and that’s a CARAVEL. My only question marks were the unknown TAMBOURIN and, as with Deezzaa, an MER over the use of DEPENDENT where I’d have spelled it DEPENDANT. I think most other British people who’ve spent time in the insurance industry would’ve had their eyebrows raised along with us.

  9. 51 mins so on the tougher side. LOI CARAVEL for some odd reason as I know the word well. Ho hum.

    The convoluted HAMMERSTEIN took a few mins too.

    I liked EIDER & TOTEM.

    Thanks William and setter.

  10. 19’20”, with the excellent HAMMERSTEIN POI.

    I always thought ‘dependant’ was a misspelling, an American intrusion.

    Liked GLASTONBURY. Knew CARAVEL from Civ2.

    I should be glad of another death.

    Thanks william and setter.

    1. The first three citations in OED (1598, 1632 and 1702) are all ‘dependant’ but after the first ‘dependent’ in 1750 it’s a pretty even mix so it seems unlikely that it’s an ‘American intrusion’!

  11. 51:29, for most of which I was convinced I had no chance of a completion. RECOVER was the breakthrough that led me to the completion sequence – annoyingly, I guessed that answer 15 minutes previously – but failed to parse, and thought it must be wrong. Anyway, great to be rewarded with a result for all that effort. Thanks William and setter.

  12. V pleasant effort today, not a gimme but not too taxing either.
    I saw TAMBOURIN somewhere else recently .. but was not aware of a French folk music connection.
    Niobe, a serial killing of infants, not one of the nicer Greek myths.

    According to the OED both dependant and dependent are allowed for the noun, for the adjective only the latter. Even Samuel Johnson allowed both forms for the noun, the -ant being derived from French, and the -ent from Latin.

  13. Just under half an hour, with an inexplicably long time spent on GESTAPO – I was looking for the wrong kind of force for ages, and I didn’t spot the ‘affected’ anagram indicator.

    Didn’t know CARAVEL but the wordplay was kind; likewise TAMBOURIN, which sounded very likely; ELEMI was vaguely remembered from previous crosswords; NIOBE also from my very limited knowledge of the classics; not too fussed about the spelling of DEPENDENT.

    A fun puzzle – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Hog
    LOI Gestapo
    COD Hamerstein

  14. Sometimes it really is a wavelength thing. I could see that this was quite clever and obscure in places… even as I was bunging in the answers – to my immense surprise – relatively rapidly. 25 mins, quick for me. Really enjoyed it, particularly TOTEM, HOG and GESTAPO.

  15. 20:07. A third tricky one in a row, but I enjoyed this one most for the wit of the clues. CARAVEL was unknown but the wordplay was clear enough. I liked GLASTONBURY and CREAM CHEESE the most. Thanks William and setter.

  16. 35 minutes or so, solving on paper due to the website playing up post Windows update. Deleting all cookies appears to have done the job though so hopefully normal service resumes tomorrow.

    I think we’ve had a very similar clue for TOTEM recently, or at least the women’s movement device. SCARLATTI and TAMBOURIN also felt familiar.


    Thanks to both.

    1. Me too! Er…I mean that I also vaguely recollect a ‘women’s movement’ clue recently, and am now trying to remember it without trawling back through x amount of crosswords.

      Something to do with ‘Metro’, possibly?

  17. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Right up my street, though I think of the younger Scarlatti as Spanish, as do many Spaniards. And there’s a pub in Edinburgh called the Yellow Carvelle, where an old girlfriend used to work.

  18. 50′ but enjoyable. I liked GLASTONBURY with the “reading” misdirection (at least it misdirected me..) and megajoules brought back old physics lessons. Last two in were HAIRSPRAY, which I only understood after the alpha-trawl, and NIOBE where I saw the anagram late but didn’t know the character. Thanks William and setter.

  19. So… the easiest of the week if time is anything to go by: my 13.02 puts me 9th (!) on the current leaderboard, even if 4 minutes behind 8th.Perhaps the site’s iffy again.
    I allow I shrugged at IN LAW for where films are made – I can instantly think of 12 Angry Men, A few Good Men, and Kramer v Kramer, and that was enough, if a little feeble as a clue, for me. The real parsing is obviously cleverer, but I didn’t need it!
    TAMBOURIN is probably a refugee from Mephisto, but I got it from entering tambourine one letter short, just the sort of thing the French would do. Either that, or it was a conflation of Le Tombeau de Couperin, by the nearby Ravel.
    As one who can never remember whether it’s E or A, DEPENDENT raised not the slightest qualm. Sorry!
    I liked the cleverness of EIDER, once I worked out how to ignore FOB.

  20. 28 minutes but one wrong. My elements were hydrogen and uranium which I kept in a close HUG.

  21. 56m 43s
    I thought this was very entertaining with CODs to EIDER and GLASTONBURY.
    I was initially stumped by 11ac as the CARAVEL I knew in my aviation days was the Sud Aviation CARAVELLE, a twin-engined jet.
    The Niña and the Pinta were, as far as I remember, CARAVELS in Columbus’ little fleet.

    1. I travelled once, when I was about six years old, with my mother to Paris on one of the first Air France Caravelle jets. Half way through the flight we were showered with pink liquid (I later realised this was hydraulic fuel) and the flight returned to Heathrow. I couldn’t fly again for twenty plus years!

        1. Very droll. Quite funny actually and apt, as I’m enjoying a glass this very minute but you knew that! 😎

  22. 36 minutes. Nothing too fearsome though I hadn’t heard of BACK-CRAWL either and I spent a while wondering if I needed to know the name of the main city or the currency of Benin. I liked the well disguised ‘Down producer’ def and the ‘petrified mother’ for NIOBE.

  23. 33.34. I made heavy weather of this but I don’t know why, as there was nothing particularly difficult. Perhaps I’m just in a grumpy mood, but I did not find the puzzle very enjoyable, and I would never spell ‘dependant’ with an ‘e’ as a noun, whatever the OED may say.

  24. 10:39

    I found this both straightforward (must be a wavelength thing) and very enjoyable, in complete contrast to Wednesday’s horror-show slog.*

    Just the right level of fun, quirkiness and (mostly) helpful cluing of funny words (I’ll forgive the “foreign word clued as anagram” for TAMBOURIN on this occasion).

    * I’ve just checked the SNITCH. On Wednesday I had the 7th highest WITCH. So far today I’ve got the 4th lowest.

  25. It was quite clear to me that there was a mistake with DEPENDENT, but, yes I know. But. Lots of very nice clues, particularly HAMMERSTEIN and IN-LAW, which I only understood as I was writing it in. Also TOTEM, although I’d have liked an “an” before “old”. And it would in my opinion have marginally improved the surface. Steady but rather slow progress and I came in a few seconds under the hour.

  26. On the wavelength a la Zabadak and John in Bury, no problems anywhere and zipped right through in well under average time. Knew caravel, and tambourin as something musical if not actually as French folk songs. The only NHO was back-crawl for backstroke. Liked touch down, Readings rivals playing Inter, and the setter defining joules as work: Bravo! Whatsit the only one not parsed as entered, and forgot to go back and figure it out. Never seen dependAnt, and no problems as it looks completely wrong (and it’s in Chambers, which sort-of confirms that it’s wrong).

  27. A very enjoyable puzzle. NHO TAMBOURIN, but was happy to enter it, while I didn’t give DEPENDENT a second thought as I already had ELEMI. I lost a minute or so at the end with the Spoonerism (most unusual for me to miss one of those) before finally seeing my LOI where I’d tried to start with “cl” for far too long.

    TIME 12:25

  28. Like others said, pleasant and not too taxing, 21 minutes, liked the Oscar chap clue best. Remembered the Niobe myth from the name origins of niobium and tantalum.

  29. No time today but must have been 30-35 minutes
    I thought that was one of the best puzzles for a while, Oscar Hammerstein took me much too long, and the cunning phrasing of 1 down in Eider had me looking for Fobs.

  30. 34 mins, but perplexed by ME TOO and failed to lift and separate 1 and down for EIDER. Tx to our blogger for the explanation.

  31. 15:53. This was a puzzle that for me was far harder than it seemed: I solved it steadily, never getting stuck, but it obviously just took more thought than usual. Perhaps as a consequence I really enjoyed it.
    We’re all entitled to our personal preferences of course but whether or not DEPENDENT is a common variant in British English is an empirical question with an unambiguous answer (it is).

  32. 24.21 but with an extremely careless TIMBOURAN, which I actually knew how to spell, but entered without really thinking. Bu**er! Apart from that, I enjoyed this puzzle. I thought I was going to struggle at first, when the NW yielded nothing, but once HOG went in, HAIRSPRAY and GLASTONBURY got me moving. GESTAPO resisted until the very end. Thanks setter and William.

  33. 31:56
    A good work-out. TAMBOURIN and CARAVEL were new to me. ELEMI and NIOBE learnt from previous crosswords. COD HAMMERSTEIN.

    Thanks to William and the setter.

  34. I’ve only had time to do 2 puzzles this week – a relative shocker on the easy one on Tuesday, and a relative blinder on a harder one today. Shows that elusive wavelength well, or I’m just inconsistent!

    V much enjoyed this one, and it was a steady solve. NIOBE went in last.

    Thanks to william_j_s for unravelling a few semi biffs.


  35. Home from my travels so trying to get some crossword match fitness back. 28.14 which I thought an unlikely time after a first scan of the across clues. Gradually improved so pretty happy with the end result.

    Good puzzle , thx setter and blogger .

  36. Around half an hour, with TOTEM going in without a clue as to what was going on. Which, in the circumstances, seems just about right…

  37. 42:43

    On the harder side though made decent progress in all bar the NE which required knowing that a riparian activity might be FISHING – I didn’t. Once I’d got RECOVER and OCCUR, I shoved FLOURISHING in with a shrug – even with all checkers, I was hesitant over unheard-of CARAVEL. I did like EIDER when I ‘got’ it.

    Thanks William and setter

  38. After a discouraging 45 minutes, I turned to other things, returning much later to complete successfully, to my surprise, in 81 minutes, with nothing biffed, feeling very satisfied and having had a very enjoyable wrestle.
    COD: EIDER, with the almost total mismatch between the smooth surface syntax (Eastern translation, 1 Down) and the solution syntax (translation of the, Down producer). It constituted a PDM that made me smile.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  39. 30:54
    I can’t remember what took me so long, but it took me so long. Had no idea what Reading had to do with GLASTONBURY, but no matter. ELEMI is yet another NYT chestnut. Does CREAM CHEESE count as ‘fare’? Is SHIVA a Hindu? LOI, and COD, EIDER, which had me misled for ages.

    1. Apparently “fare” as simply food is American, whereas in British it means “a range of food and drink; diet.”
      I wondered, too, if the god could be considered an adherent to a religion, and had no idea about Reading.
      My LOI was EIDER too.

  40. Judging by some of the times posted by those that are invariably quicker than me, I think I must have been on song to finish this in 32.16. It was a pretty steady if unspectacular solve at an even pace, with nothing really holding me up to any great extent. I did hesitate at BACKCRAWL, having heard of frontcrawl and backstroke but not a combination of the two. LOI was CRUSHES which took me longer to solve than anything else.

  41. Worked this late last night, and actually thought I had made a brief comment… 
    Was just now looking for the TAMBOURIN dance in French online dictionaries.
    Wiktionnaire, it’s just not there,
    nor is it in Petit Robert.
    I find it in Larousse, though, where it’s the third definition.
    Whereas it’s the first as an English word in Collins.
    As for the instrument, the English dictionaries have “a long narrow drum used in Provence” and “an Egyptian bottle-shaped drum” (Merriam-Webster); simply “a small drum” (Collins), which is the literal French meaning; “a long, narrow drum” (Dictionary.com)—whereas Wiktionnaire says the English “tambourine” is the translation although the definition doesn’t seem to match that: « Sorte de tambour moins large et plus long que le tambour ordinaire, sur lequel on bat avec une seule baguette et qu’on accompagne ordinairement avec une petite flûte, pour faire danser », and nor does the accompanying picture of a girl with a… tambourine; and Larousse, « Tambour provençal à deux peaux, à fût long et étroit…» and le Petit Robert, « Tambour haut et étroit, que l’on bat d’une seule baguette » both have essentially the same thing. Va savoir !

  42. Thought 13a EIDER was trixy especially referring to 1 Down (1d was FOB).
    Never parsed 14d DEPENDENT.
    Ditto 21d TOTEM; clever.

  43. It took me 55 minutes, but I absolutely enjoyed this, despite having a rather bad cold. Speaking of pennies dropping, it reminded me of some old vending machines which needed a bit of shaking to work. And I had many pennies dropping very slowly in this. Among my favourites: CREAM CHEESE, TOTEM, EAT, the MAMA in MAPMAKING, EIDER with the misleading reference to 1 Down, I see I am going on and on…

  44. 32:59
    Last two in were ELEMI (which required my changing DEPENDANT with a shrug to DEPENDENT) and ABOLISH.
    I liked EIDER and MAPMAKING.


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