Times 28945 – Blighty Bites Back

A number of expressions in this puzzle that might not be familiar to solvers from other parts. I found it a very enjoyable and satisfying experience – suitably Mondayish but with one or two trickier bits.


1 Different prayer endings beginning to anger God? (4-2)
AMEN-RA – AMEN (one prayer ending) R (the final letter of prayeR – another prayer ending) Anger; lots of different spellings avaiable for the setter to choose from to give us this ancient Egyptian deity
5 Like an exciting football match that’s lined up? (3-2-3)
END-TO-END – almost, but not quite, in my opinion, a double definition; an exciting football match often features end-to-end play, while if items are end-to-end they have been lined up
 9 Warm shoe currently black, covered in black powder (4-4)
10 Disorderly group in storm carrying goods (6)
GAGGLE – G G (two ‘goods’) in GALE
11 Criminal collared by big match (5,5)
13 Recall working twice? An impossibility (2-2)
NO-NO – ON (working) reversed twice
14 Father, as I recall, downsizes (4)
SIRE – a nice little hidden
15 Pop music routine? (3,7)
DAD DANCING – I didn’t know this was an expression, but I knew first-hand that fathers dancing was a source of great hilarity and/or embarrassment to children; Collins describes it thus: ‘enthusiastic but inelegant dancing to pop music, regarded as typical of middel-aged men’
18 Made laws with member I criticised (10)
LEGISLATED – LEG (member, as in limb) I SLATED
20 Lies flat in blind spot at first (4)
FIBS – initial letters of words 2-5
21 Cold beer to start? Smart man! (4)
ALEC – ALE (beer) C (cold)
23 Cry as cadet cooked chicken (7-3)
SCAREDY-CAT – CRY AS CADET*; used to hear this a lot at prep school back in the day, together with a few expressions (for mean people and people of a different sexual orientation, for example) that would probably land you in jail today
25 Conclusion of scandal associated with gold sweet (6)
GATEAU – GATE (conclusion of scandal in the sense that, post-Watergate, you can bung the word onto just about anything to try and cause it to be thought of as something aberrant) AU (gold)
26 90s dance craze in stadium seen on computer (8)
MACARENA – MAC (computer – nifty bit of product placement) ARENA (stadium, naturally enough); here’s the dance remix version: https://youtu.be/2zvd1JQ0EKY?si=7QDC5-jY149LWBPB. Let’s get dad dancing!
28 Stop walking briefly to collect gear (4,2,2)
PACK IT IN – KIT (gear) in PACINg
29 Describe right expression the wrong way (6)
REPORT – R (right) TROPE reversed
2 Staff study family’s kitchen implement (9)
MANDOLINE – MAN (staff) DO (study, as in ‘I did Classics at Oxford’) LINE (family); we had a discussion about this potentially lethal implement here not long ago
3 On radio, experienced swell style of music (3,4)
NEW WAVE – sounds like (‘on radio’) ‘knew’ + WAVE (swell); style of almost anything, actually
 4 Fuss when commercial is on loop (3)
ADO – AD (commercial) on O (the letter looks like a loop – setters O [geddit?] mucking about with the letter O)
5 Tenant, heading off to get key (5)
6 Stroke pet — racket follows (5-6)
DOGGY-PADDLE – DOGGY (pet) PADDLE (racket or more usually bat, perhaps) for the most basic of all swimming styles
7 In cargo pants? That’s only natural (7)
ORGANIC – IN CARGO*; in my dictionary, ORGANIC’s first sense is ‘expensive’
8 Only flogged new stockings (5)
12 Two bad marks left in homework exercise? That’s nothing! (6,5)
DIDDLY SQUAT – DD (two bad marks – before grade-inflation, compassion and ChatGPT made them a thing of the past) L (left) in DIY (homework) followed by SQUAT (a nasty exercise)
16 Spot E. Morse (in first of detective books) (3)
DOT – E in Morse code is a dot (the E in the clue is followed by another dot – is the setter overegging the omelette or am I missing something?), then we are treated to more wordplay, Detective (first of detective) OT (books of the Bible). Interesting…
17 Easy decision — ban Renoir works (2-7)
19 At home, European language broadcast is controlled (2,5)
IN CHECK – IN sounds like ‘Czech’
20 With leaders of factory leaving, do up plant (7)
FLYTRAP – Factory Leaving PARTY reversed
22 Everyone heading north on old lady’s animal (5)
LLAMA – ALL reversed MA
24 Bond finally infiltrating dictator’s organisation (5)
ADMIN -D (final letter of bonD) in [Idi] AMIN
27 Smoke, say, ignoring English scoundrel (3)
CUR – CURe (think bacon)

72 comments on “Times 28945 – Blighty Bites Back”

  1. 35 minutes, which would have been 30 if I hadn’t been fixated on 25ac starting with {scanda}L. I even thought GATEAU long before writing it in but couldn’t see how to parse it. Then the giant penny dropped!

    DOT took up time as I learned here some time ago that Morse code also uses ‘dits’ so I wasn’t sure of the unchecked letter.

    M(ajor) ER at ‘stockings / NYLON’.

  2. 17:13
    As per our blogger, mostly standard fare but with a few trickier bits and some more unusual vocabulary which made it more interesting.

    I liked AMEN-RA although I didn’t initially twig what was going on, and I slowed myself by blindly throwing in CIG which caused issues when solving 29A. Sense eventually prevailed.

    Thanks to both.

  3. 36 mins. Yes, quite Mondayish. DNK DAD DANCING but it was the only possibility once I had all the checkers. I also took a while to see the “gate” bit. DIDDLY SQUAT made me laugh as I thought of Clarkson, now changed to Piggly squat of course.

    I liked SCAREDY CAT.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  4. 29 minutes with LOI an uncertain MANDOLINE. Shouldn’t NYLON be plural? Some nice clues here, with DAD DANCING just beating DIDDLY SQUAT to COD. After being showcased by Mick Hodgkin as the hippest 78 year-old in town this weekend, today wasn’t really the day to reveal that my music knowledge stops with leaving University and the release of Sergeant Pepper’s. But I do like Elvis Costello, so got NEW WAVE, and the Middlesbrough fans wouldn’t stop singing the wretched MACARENA when they beat Wanderers in the League Cup Final, so I knew that. Enjoyable. Thank you U and setter.

  5. 8:03.
    I had a very enjoyable afternoon at The George with fellow TfTTers on Saturday and it inspired me to return here after a bit of a hiatus.
    I was more familiar with AMON RA than AMEN RA so that gave me pause for thought. With ulaca having mentioned that there are various spellings I Googled to find what they were which led me to discover there is a US football player called Amon-Ra St Brown. Quite a name to give your child!
    Like Jack I wanted 25A to start with an L, but I actually went further, parsing the answer as LANDAU and assuming it was the name of a sweet as well as a carriage. Thankfully the unlikely looking letters this gave me in 19D meant it didn’t take me too long to spot my boo-boo.

  6. No-No, go not to Lethe, neither twist
    Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
    (Ode on Election Campaigns (no, sorry, Melancholy), Keats)

    25 mins pre-brekker. Mostly I liked Dad Dancing.
    Ta setter and U

  7. Nice Monday fare. I took the E. Morse as an abbreviation for Endeavour Morse, perhaps to throw us off track. NHO Dad Dancing and now I’m going to be very self-conscious next time I hit the floor.
    Thanks setter and ulaca

  8. 9’27” today, my offering being faster and more accurate than my attempt at the QC.

    NYLONS were a thing when I was a child, they came in pairs (unlike tights) and have to be plural.

    Loved the idioms – DAD DANCING , NO-BRAINER, DIDDLY SQUAT, PACK IT IN. And GATEAU was clever.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

  9. 22 minutes – a gentle stroll to start the week; literally in my case as I solved it while walking from Waterloo station to Victoria. I also had LANDAU for a while before IN CHECK went in.

      1. Fortunately not! A couple of narrow misses with lampposts was as bad as it got. It was early enough that there were not too many people around.

  10. A decent puzzle spoilt by 8D, where “stockings” reduced to a singular would be a bit iffy. “Material” would actually have improved the surface IMO.

    TIME 9:34

  11. DNF, another visit to OWL club with ‘Amon-Ra’ rather than AMEN-RA. I’m more familiar with the O spelling, and with the Detroit Lions player as mentioned above (whose brother has the similarly remarkable name Equanimeous), then I assumed ‘different’ meant ‘change a letter’, i.e. Amen to Amon, and didn’t bother parsing it any further. That should teach me – but it probably won’t.

    Like one or two others, considered ‘Landau’ for 25a before the checkers pointed me towards GATEAU.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Dad dancing

    1. AMON-RA and EQUANIMEOUS are indeed curious given names but I was more intrigued by the surname. What miracle did St Brown pull off? My encyclopedia of Roman Catholic Saints doesn’t seem to include him.

  12. I got there in 21:54, there were 2 words I had never heard of my LOI MANDOLINE and MACARENA.
    I was going quite fast until I got to the SE where CUR and REPORT held me up, then I was pretty sure MACARENA had to be right, then after probably a couple of minutes I very hesitatingly put in MANDOLINE and it was right.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  13. 7:15. Pretty gentle, but enjoyable with some nice modern idioms. As a father of teenagers I’m very familiar with the term DAD DANCING.
    As Rick Stein famously demonstrated (google it) you can easily take the ends of your fingers off with a MANDOLINE but it would take some creativity to make it lethal.
    I don’t have a problem with ‘stockings’ for NYLON. It’s like defining denim as ‘jeans’: if you have the latter you have a quantity of the former.

    1. MANDOLINE is a frequent feature in crosswords and one that I rarely miss, but, until googling it a moment ago, I had no real idea what it was, although I had picked up that it involves a sharp blade. Now, having seen several pictures, I recognise that I’ve had one in my kitchen for about forty years or so. I’d never think of using it without the gadget which holds the item being sliced: it’s a guaranteed way to lose a fingertip! I guess Rick Stein knows now.

      1. I never use that gadget (I find it too fiddly) but have always avoided cutting myself by a liberal willingness to throw away the last inch or so of a cucumber!

  14. About 30 mins with interruptions as I head to Cologne for the next instalment of Scotland’s Euros debacle…. Funny that when I dance, in my head it’s much better than DAD DANCING, until I see the video. Enjoyed this and the colloquialisms. AMEN RA was a final “half-biff” till I twigged the parsing. Thanks Ulaca and setter

  15. 12:47

    Very gentle over all. I thought many of the clues here could have fitted into the quick cryptic, but then I hit the South East with the relatively tricky MACARENA, REPORT and FLYTRAP.

    I liked Dad DANCING, of which I have occasionally been guilty. We had NYLON on Friday; I think it should definitely be plural here.

    Thanks to Ulaca and the setter

  16. 14:04. Never quite worked out what was going on in AMEN-RA (a nice bit of sneakiness among the otherwise Mondayish fare), but the answer rang a bell.

    Thanks both.

  17. Carriage Return
    LANDAU, as very recently entered, is the perfect result of the wordplay for what turned out to be GATEAU. Conspiracy theorists might like to consider the heinousness of using one crossword to prompt a wrong answer in the next*. Otherwise more or less skipped through this in 12.22 (I was quicker when the answer was LANDAU). NYLON made an appearance as recently as Friday, perhaps more accurately defined as “material”.
    Today’s Quickie has proved a graveyard for those seeking to avoid pinks, including me. Give it a miss, or submit without leaderboard!
    *Word deleted to avoid breaking embargo.

  18. DNF

    Thought I had a sub 15’ finish, went to the blog, and when I got to REPORT, I realised I’d stopped the clock without actually finishing the puzzle. I suspect I’d have got it pretty quickly from R_P_R_!

    Lovely to put faces to names on Saturday.

    Thanks all.

  19. 30:44. Quite a meaty Monday, I thought. But a real treat. I too considered Landau but also Landor (thinking perhaps of Lindor, who make chocolates). I liked DAD DANCING and the parsing of AMEN-RA. COD to GATEAU

    1. While we’ve got the Lions front and center, Francisco Lindor is an all-star shortstop

      1. And he was in London a week or two ago when his New York Mets played the Philadelphia Phillies there.

        1. He was indeed. But he was about .225 – 2 for 9 with 2 Ks 1 BB and 0 RBIs. Didn’t look so much like an All-Star, did he? At least 0 E in the field.
          [I’m guessing 10% of readers will decryptify that, and I’m guessing 30% will be mildly irked – what’s your guess?]

          1. I would say the 10% figure is too high and the 30% too low. Also I imagine “mildly irked” might be quite an understatement!

  20. A very slow 46 minutes. Everything solved in less than 20 minutes except the NHO DAD DANCING. I then spent the rest of the time looking for something plausible before finally bunging in what, to my surprise, turned out to be the correct answer. Frustrating, but I felt a bit more gruntled after a chuckle at the Chambers def.

  21. 5a EndToEnd – I wasn’t very happy with this, but entered it with a shrug, probably because I dislike everything if it is connected to football in any way. Bad loser has a good moan (I think we need an acronym for this such as BLAGHUM.)
    Enjoyed 15a DAD-DANCING but it took an age to find and I couldn’t let it in without looking it up and so DNF. Wiktionary has a pic of:
    “President of the United States George W. Bush dancing with members of the Euphonic Jazz Band in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in 200”
    It looked really embarrassing.
    26a MACARENA an easy solve, but had to look it up as already DNF.
    1d MANDOLINe didn’t notice it was a kitchen, not a stringed instrument, and vaguely thought “not a drum, but who cares” so defeated there.
    3d kNEW WAVE DNK. Well did but forgot.
    12d DIDDLY. Took forever, then thought of Clarkson’s farm (sole function to annoy the local council.)

  22. Breezed through this in 17 minutes, probably one of my best times. Most likely to slow down through the rest of the week. No unknown words/terms. More like this, please!

  23. 16:48. Held up by having LANDAU for 25A until IN CHECK came along but held up even more by the SE corner, taking ages to find FLYTRAP and then REPORT, my LOI. An inauspicious start to the week. Thanks U and setter.

  24. 20:52 but…

    More than a quarter of finishers so far have at least one error – I automatically entered AMUN-RA (having been to Egypt, there is no other spelling 😉 – Tutankhaten even renamed himself and his sister-wife Ankhesenpaaten to TutankhAMUN and AnkhesenAMUN in worship.) failing to parse the somewhat convoluted clue.

    The rest of the grid was pretty straightforward – I enjoyed each of DOGGY PADDLE, DAD DANCING, SCAREDY CAT and DIDDLY SQUAT.

    Thanks Ulaca and setter

  25. 14:23 – fairly painless, with a passing cloud at the singular nylon and the spelling of AMEN, which, on the rare occasions I have seen it, has been spelt with an O.

  26. 37 minutes but perhaps a minute or two less because I got all mixed up with my tablet at the end. As many have said NYLONs are the stockings, nylon is the material. Never heard of the MACARENA but no doubt should have. Now that E. (not just E) is pointed out in 16dn it does look wrong. It always seems to me that in a hidden to talk of shrinking or downsizing (as in 14ac) is inadequate: if something shrinks everything is still there, but just smaller; what is needed is an instruction to remove the outer bits. I suppose you could argue that downsizing is this, but to me it seems more like shrinking.

  27. Miffed by Amen and not Amun or even Amon because it would have been my first sub 20. Bah! I know that is nothing much in this league where I feel a bit Luton Town.

    1. We do not compete with each other. Times are given to try to establish some measure of the relative difficulty of the puzzle.

  28. AMON-RA, when will I ever remember to parse the simpler ones properly?
    DAD DANCING is only embarrassing if videoed, which should be a capital offence.
    FLYTRAP simple and elegant, so I took ages to spot it.
    GATEAU, when will I ever be alert to the “gate/scandal” duality?
    Thanks everyone

  29. AMEN-RA was my FOI and I just used the prayer endings without considering alternate spellings. After slightly more than 10 minutes, I had 3 clues left to do in the SE but had to hurriedly save the puzzle for later and dash out for my appointment with the hairdresser (a semi annual shearing event these days!) On my return I constructed the NHO MACARENA and assembled the FLYTRAP. A mis-biffed CAD at 27d held up REPORT for a while longer but once I’d seen how it worked, I corrected CAD to CUR and submitted at 14:04 for a nice all green grid. Thanks setter and U.
    On edit: I had a MER at NYLON too.

  30. 23 mins, was convinced it was spelt MANDOLIN like the instrument, so hesitated, as I did with NHO DAD DANCING. As commented above, lots of nice idioms here, almost a theme.

  31. Finished in just under an hour. Had no idea how GATEAU worked (thanks for explanation). Not too pleased to be reminded of the MACARENA but did like DAD DANCING.

  32. I saw DAD DANCING very early on, but refused to believe it. Put it in last… after checking! Ha

  33. 28 minutes. DOT seemed like a triple definition, one of which was cryptic. Having recently spent an age spotting a triple definition it went straight in. DIDDLY SQUAT and LOCAL DERBY were the last two. A nice puzzle. Thanks ulaca.

  34. Nice puzzle, nearly did it between us. one thing, curing uses salt etc, and is not the same as smoking.

    1. But Collins has for CURE “to preserve (meat, fish, etc) by salting, smoking, etc.” So whatever more technical distinction may be drawn, the word is used that way, so legit for our purposes.

  35. 19’31”. Most done in ten minutes then slowed way down in the bottom right. The macarena had passed me by until my 4 year-old daughter started doing those aggravating hand moves.

  36. Quite quick today – around 20 minutes – much of which deliberating Amen/Amon/Amun. I think the clue would have been better if “Two prayer endings” rather than “Different prayer endings” to avoid people opting for Amon/Amun.
    Enjoyed the two football clues during the Euros tournament and enjoyed the neat “In cargo pants” anagram.

  37. Solid 35:16. But did not get AMEN, went with AMON. Pesky hieroglyphics.

    Liked gate= conclusion of scandal.

  38. Amun-Ra here too 🙁
    No problem with Dad Dancing, I have a mug illustrating how to do it (from an earlier Father’s Day); COD for me.

  39. 32:17. AMEN-RA and LANDAU basically doubling my time., the rest done in about 17 mins… I am strictly an AMUN guy. Thanks ulaca and setter!

  40. Well, AMEN-RA has successfully passed me by for the last 80 years, so a DNF there! Also DAD DANCING as a phrase ( and not just an embarrassing spectacle). But happy with what I did manage to sort out, because on first reading the clues seemed impenetrable; only after relaxing and taking my time did I begin to enjoy the challenge – first in SCAREDY CAT and the rest of the SE followed with no hold-ups. (although a slight MER at CUR being clued as “scoundrel”, which surely has more favourable connotations?). The SW was altogether a different matter: the colloquial PACK IT IN coming straight from Breeders, I suggest🥴. A gentle romp through the rest, apart from LOCAL DERBY, which is another new one on me.

  41. Total time wasting crap as usual. Unsolvable without cheating. No wonder editor has got another puzzle to try and lure the youngies. Here’s a hint dickheads puzzles have to be solvable to be enjoyable.


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