Times 28948 – international learning

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Time taken: 13:43. Looks like we have another Tricky Thursday puzzle on our hands!

There is some obscure stuff in here and while the wordplay is precise, it might not be enough to get folks over the last hurdle if they are missing the general knowledge, particularly with 12 down.

How did you get along?

Across
1 Copper frames left by kind of white, synthetic substance (7)
PLASTIC – PC(copper), containing L(left) and ASTI(kind of white wine)
5 Very hard skill in bridge (7)
SPARTAN – ART(skill) in SPAN(bridge)
9 Tropical plant in sludge oddly hard to grasp (5,4)
SUGAR CANE – Letters in odd locations in SlUdGe, then ARCANE(hard to grasp)
10 Half-cut kids roving in Slavic city (5)
KIROV – half of KIds ROVing
11 One interrupts lasses playing with Desert Orchid (6-7)
LADIES-TRESSES – I(one) inside an anagram of LASSES and DESERT. The singular is spelled this way as well as the plural.
13 Key lingo one put in French person’s mouth? (8)
ESCARGOT – ESC(escape key), ARGOT(lingo)
15 Chanel pursuing return of gold for artistic style (6)
ROCOCO – the designer COCO Chanel after OR(gold) reversed
17 Loves pine leaves growing in China (6)
OOLONG – O,O(loves), LONG(pine)
19 Learned group reduced fat with regular servings of roast pig (8)
LITERATI – LITE(reduced fat) and alternating letters in RoAsT pIg
22 Deal with endlessly enthusiastic ticket supplier? (7,6)
TRAFFIC WARDEN – TRAFFIC(deal), W(with), then ARDENT(enthusiastic) minus the last letter
25 Ancient school denied guards (5)
OLDEN – hidden inside schoOL DENied
26 Remedy reform of taxation in failing area (9)
ANTITOXIN – anagram of TAXATION,IN minus A(area)
27 Render ineffective uproar about way of speaking English (7)
TORPEDO – TODO(uproar) surrounding RP(Received Pronunciation), E(English)
28 Old King Cole’s back in a pickle, right at the start (7)
RAMESES – the last letter of colE inside A, MESS(pickle) with R(right) at the beginning
Down
1 Faces of perennially upbeat soap sellers one’s often seen in Boots? (4)
PUSS – first letters of Perennially Upbeat Soap Sellers
2 Northern Irish perhaps lifting article that’s divine (7)
ANGELIC – N(northern) and GAELIC(Irish), with the A(article) moved up to the top
3 Low on energy, as American cars may be (5)
TIRED – double definition, the second based on the US spelling of TYRE
4 Operator of ferry boarded by empty Porsche or Escort (8)
CHAPERON – CHARON(operator of the ferry on the Styx) containing the external letters in PorschE
5 Shelter in filthy area with freezing water (6)
SLEETY – LEE(shelter) inside STY(filthy area)
6 Bloke with Anne rolling a bit of a joint (9)
ANKLEBONE – anagram of BLOKE and ANNE
7 Addresses I ignored in Italian city street close to palazzo (5,2)
TURNS TO – Remove I from TURIN(Italian city), then ST(street) and the last letter in palazzO
8 Not one large banking firm raised capital for province (4,6)
NOVA SCOTIA – NO(not one), VAST(large) containing CO(firm) then A1(capital) reversed
12 UK university expert wrong about very poor grade (2,8)
DE MONTFORT – DEMON(expert), then TORT(wrong) surrounding F(very poor grade). I had to piece this together from the bottom up, figuring F had to go into TORT somehow then an alphabet trawl for the rest. I was vaguely familiar with the school.
14 Financially speaking, protect jewellery dealer who’s dodgy? (4-5)
RING-FENCE – RING(jewellery), FENCE(dealer who’s dodgy)
16 Heavily cover entertaining newspaper column (8)
PILASTER – PLASTER(heavily cover) containing the I newspaper
18 Lover of one kind of meat sent back another kind (7)
LEANDER – LEAN meat, then RED meat reversed
20 Queen upset relations getting extensions (7)
ANNEXES – Queen ANNE, then SEX(relations) reversed
21 Old company keeping tax returns book (6)
OCTAVO – O(old) and CO(company) containing VAT(tax) reversed
23 Parent carries you across the Channel, in fact (5)
DATUM – DAM(parent) containing TU(you, in French)
24 Spanish lady drinks less whiskey (4)
INES – WINES(drinks) minus W(whiskey)

49 comments on “Times 28948 – international learning”

  1. Very quick start getting the top half out. The bottom really slowed me down. Could not get
    DE MONTFORT Never heard of it in Australia so could not get it with most of the crossing letters. Took ages to get TRAFFIC WARDEN. LOI RAMESES.
    Thank you GLH for your parsing particularly the lower clues.

  2. 24:34
    I was definitely on the wavelength for this one, so I enjoyed it. I mostly solved clockwise from the NW corner and was certainly helped with my LOI by Mrs S, who looked at my DE _O_TFORT and said “De Montfort” immediately. (She works in the University sector and, even from Australia, thought this would be right.)

    Thanks, George, and setter.

  3. Once I had the the e in De rather than St then 12d became obvious . Something of , well won’t say hero, a controversial character, in these parts nr Lewes as was his father of the same name ; scourge of the Cathars if i recall my history correctly. Reasonable time for me. Bemusing to be up at this time listening to the cricket doing the x xword while the world burns . . .

    1. The father was the scourge of the Cathars, but the son, who the university is named after, was the scourge of the Jews.

  4. DNF
    Couldn’t (well, didn’t) get DE MONTFORT. NHO the university, but I did know of the man, if vaguely. I should have got TFORT, which should have given me the rest. DNK RING-FENCE in the required sense, but inferred it. DNK the orchid. ESCARGOT & TORPEDO were a long time coming.

  5. I needed the web for De Montfort as a university, and I’m a bit glad I stopped shortly enough since I don’t think I would have seen the demon part even if I’d given things more time to percolate. I liked the just unusual enough vocabulary, and for some reason today found the technically exact agreement of number between Datum and fact pleasing.

  6. 52m 07s
    Very good puzzle IMHO.
    In 11ac I biffed LADIES SLIPPER to start with.
    DE MONTFORT was my LOI. Thanks, George, for that, and for ARDEN(t) in TRAFFIC WARDEN as well as for RP and TODO in TORPEDO. I didn’t help myself by initially biffing OCTAVE iso OCTAVO. With DE MONTFORT, like others, I’m sure, I wanted the solution to start with ST.

  7. 53 minutes. I thought ANGELIC for 2dn early on but didn’t write it in because I couldn’t make sense of the wordplay. I wish I had gone with it as it might have got me to LADIES TRESSSES much sooner, and its absence caused me no end of problems with clues in the NW quarter. BTW Collins has LADY’S TRESSES as the preferred English spelling which also serves as both singular and plural.

    DE MONTFORT was my LOI. I knew the Earl and vaguely that he had a university named after him (for how much longer, I wonder?) but he didn’t come to mind until it became unavoidable with the arrival of the final checker.

  8. Nigh swooning he doth purse his weary lips
    For Hero’s cheek, and smiles against her smile.
    (On a Picture of Leander, Keats)

    25 mins pre-brekker. I enjoyed it, but my eyebrow twitched a bit at Torpedo and Ines.
    Ta setter and G.

  9. 40 minutes, with gratitude to Marillion’s live album Real to Reel, where at the very end Fish signs off with “Leicester De Montfort, thank you, goodbye…” which has apparently managed to stick in my mind for the last forty years. I didn’t manage to parse NOVA SCOTIA, but I think figured everything else out along the way.

  10. I biffed far too many to gain maximum enjoyment. Thanks to George for unravelling NOVA SCOTIA – the remainder I parsed afterwards. NHO of the orchid or the university, but I had heard of the DE MONTFORT Hall as a concert venue in Leicester.

    FOI SPARTAN
    LOI DE MONTFORT
    COD OOLONG
    TIME 13:28

  11. All green, despite never having heard of either LADIES TRESSES nor DE MONTFORT. I actually got DE MONTFORT early on since it fitted all my checkers, but I was being obtuse and couldn’t see how the wordplay worked. I was sure it was going to be St Andrews before realiizing it was the wrong number of letters. I couldn’t see how ANGELIC worked but with all the checkers it had to be. Enjoyable crossword.

  12. 15:34, fortunate to know of the university, although that didn’t save me a few anxious minutes being concerned it would be the name of some bloke who published the go-to university guide in the 70s.

    Thanks both.

  13. 12:44. I knew the university and remembered the orchid when I saw it would end in TRESSES, which probably made it easier for me than for some. LOI PILASTER as the last I came back to. Thanks George and setter.

  14. 20:00
    I was lucky that most of the answers were within my wheelhouse, but I did stymie myself for a couple of minutes having confidently entered De MontforD, making TORPEDO harder than it should have been. LADIES FINGERS was also an early biff, even though I know it as an alternative name for OKRA.

    As is usually the case when “on wavelength” I enjoyed that one.

    Thanks to both.

  15. 55 mins, oddly held up (this seem to be becoming a rather worryingly regular issue) by the French biased ESCARGOT and DE MONTFORT. Once I saw the “right” kind of key, the snail fell into place.

    Quiet tough generally. I liked OOLONG & TRAFFIC WARDEN.

    Thanks g and setter.

  16. 34 minutes. I had all the knowledge for once. LOI was SLEETY, which I’d thought of earlier but wasn’t quite sure about. COD to SUGAR CANE, which was easy to get but hard to parse. A good puzzle. Thank you George and setter.

  17. DNF, with a silly biffed ‘sheath’ rather than SLEETY.

    Didn’t see how ANGELIC worked; hesitated over CHAPERON for a long time because I didn’t know Charon the ferry operator and because I’m more familiar with the chaperone spelling; thought of DE MONTFORT early on but held off as I wasn’t sure how to parse it for a while; and was glad I didn’t have to know where exactly KIROV is.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Traffic warden

  18. Quirky this one, at 15.51, with some perfectly fine but unexpected wordplay, such as “kind of white” in 1ac. The ANGELIC clue was very clever, with lots of lifting and separating to manage. I quite liked it!

  19. 33 minutes. I had come across DE MONTFORT as the name of a ‘UK university’ before and managed to work my way through the rest, though was too lazy to parse ANGELIC or NOVA SCOTIA. I think having the ‘Learned group’ at 19a fresh in my mind helped with LEANDER at 18d.

    Thanks to George and setter

  20. Oddly on the wavelength throughout, and finished in just under 25 mins. Really liked DE MONTFORT, OOLONG and TORPEDO, the latter being a super clever clue. A really good challenge; difficult without being too weird or recondite.

  21. 34:42 with one wrong: a silly mis-spelling – RAMESIS – and I had been so pleased to have done all the rest. Some very nice clues here including ESCARGOT, TORPEDO, ROCOCO and even TIRED

  22. On song for once, 16 minutes for this excellent puzzle. Knew De Montfort as we are regulars at the adjacent DM concert hall in Leicester, home for the Philharmonia orchestra. The orchid was deduced from the fodder, and the rest was fine. OOLONG my CoD.

  23. 24:43, that‘s a bit better than average time for me. LOI was ESCARGOT, I needed 12dn to get that. There after getting that it was T-ORT round a bad score at the end, and after a minute or so trying to think of words ending TZORT!!, I finally dragged DE MONTFORT from my memory. That gave me the ESC for the snails. Those last two were the only holdups really.
    Thanks a lot setter and blogger
    PS Agree with piquet above COD OOLONG, very clever

  24. 25:59

    Slow start, with only one across clue, FOI LITERATI, but the downs from there spread quickly.
    Spent too long looking for a meat rather than a lover, so LOI was OOLONG.
    Liked ANGELIC best so COD.

    Very enjoyable, thanks all.

  25. As seems to have happened quite often recently I went through it all steadily enough and was heading for a time around 30 minutes, but then became irredeemably stuck and needed aids to sort out the fact that KIROV was actually a place rather than a person, as I’d always surmised. NOVA SCOTIA a mystery and entered without my being able to parse it. SPARTAN and SLEETY for no good reason very slow to fall (it looks as if The Times only just avoided the dreaded ‘with’ as a link-word). 48 minutes.

  26. 19.28 Good for me, so on my wavelength. For many clues the first word that crossers brought to mind often seemed unlikely, but, after a moment, a penny would drop.

  27. Having been helped by attending Leicester University yesterday for PATERNOSTER, there was further help today for DE MONTFORT. However, in my day, it was known as Leicester Polytechnic.

  28. PUSS and PLASTIC were first 2 in. Made steady progress until I was left with the orchid, the snail, the university and 2d. ANGELIC came first leading to ESCARGOT and LADIES TRESSES. DE MONTFORT took a lot more effort, but an alphabet trawl eventually triggered the memory banks when I got to DE. 23:59. Thanks setter and George.

  29. 28.24 with the last few including sleety and torpedo. The first due to trying to fit ice into sty, the second by spelling the university De Montford.

    Good test, thx setter and blogger.

  30. Just under target at 43.42, but would have broken 40 minutes had it not been for my final two DE MONTFORT followed by ESCARGOT. I was also thrown by 10ac, where I confidently put in SPLIT as a triple definition. NOVA SCOTIA led me to reassess, and TALKS TO (unparsed of course) became TURNS TO.

  31. One of those days when I had the required obscure knowledge. I was enjoying a cup of 17 ac whilst solving. Took me an age though at 75 mins including brew.

  32. 40:09

    Breeze-blocked at 23 mins with the SW and RAMESES still to do – for some reason, I’d bunged in PATHE at 23d earlier on my journey down to London – don’t even remember what I was thinking. Revisited when nothing would come – needed RING-FENCE to break the shackles, brain clicked into gear and finished in quick time from that point.

    Thanks G and setter

  33. Limped over the line in 53:39, glad to have finally solved it. LOI was DE MONTFORD, with a “but of course”. Pleased to see an educational establishment that isn’t Oxford, Cambridge, Eton, UCL or LSE making it into a crossword.
    I was also held up for ages by ESCARGOT and ANGELIC. I worked out the latter from the wordplay, but not convinced that angels are gods.

    Thanks G and setter

  34. I gave up last night after an hour with only 12dn left to fill in, and after staring at it for 10 minutes this morning finally managed to finish it. I have never heard of the university, but having listened to a podcast series on the history of England I had heard of Simon de Montfort, so I supposed there might be an obscure university named after him, and after I biffed it it did seem to fit the wordplay. Before I got this far, I had all sorts of theories, including trying to use DON as a UK university expert, SO or TOO as very, but only TORT for a wrong survived at the end. The rest of the puzzle was a bit of a curate’s egg, with surface readings involving “perennially upbeat soap sellers” and the like at the bottom of my list, but TORPEDO and ESCARGOT (and the ARDEN[T] in TRAFFIC WARDEN) near the top.

  35. I’ve been grappling away over the last few years trying to learn cryptics, graduating my way up through the QC and then past the initial brick wall of solving my first clue in the ‘grown up’ crossword!

    I only post now as this is the first time I’ve completed one that’s been described in the blog as ‘tricky’ (with a few aids 😂… TORPEDO just wouldn’t come!)

    A huge thank you to all bloggers – this forum has been invaluable!

    1. Many thanks for your kind comments and glad you find TfTT helpful. Please let’s hear more from you now that you’ve made yourself known.

  36. I’m going backwards on cryptic solving ( unlike Spog_monkey above): the older I get, the less likely I am to complete a TftT successfully! I’ve been tackling these things for a couple of decades now, learning much from ( and getting heaps of enjoyment from) the other solvers along the way. But unhappily my success rate is sliding fast, and I found this puzzle extremely obtuse – so a very much DNF for me! Was happy to get the few I did without aids ( like PUSS, LEANDER, OOLONG, LITERATI, SPARTAN) but most of the rest was a struggle, with quite a few NHOs ( DE MONTFORT, LADIES TRESSES, RING FENCE, etc). However, undaunted I shall plod on, hoping that what was once a real joy in my life doesn’t turn into dismay 😧.

  37. Kicking myself for not seeing esc as key or argot as lingo, dnf with the uni also blank.
    My solving time varies in inverse proportion to my sleep time the night before, the average has plateaued after decades of slow improvement.
    I still haven’t learned to resist a biff, which more often than not causes delay, such as ladies slipper today.

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