Times Cryptic 28082

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 34 minutes. Quite easy to solve but some of the parsing took some decipehering e.g. 20dn and 24d.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 George Eliot, say, used pony oddly at start of Middlemarch (9)
Anagram [oddly] of USED PONY, then M{iddlemarch} [start]. Real name: Mary Ann Evans. I’ve had quite enough of literary pseudonyms after the recent Guardian puzzle!
6 Clean motorway entrance (5)
CHAR (clean), M (motorway). ‘Char’ comes up a lot, but not usually as a verb.
9 Bend old sail over that’s small and elegant (5)
U (bend) + O (old) + JIB (sail), all reversed [over]. Often cramped and overpriced when applied to hotel accommodation.
10 Fugitive girl receives warning, the first of two (9)
MARY (girl) contains [receives] OMEN (warning) + T{wo} [first of..]. A few weeks ago we had ‘fugitive’ defining ‘impermanent’ in the sense of moving from place to place, something I had not met before; today’s answer is covered by this definition from SOED: fleeting, of short duration.
11 Myrrh’s thrown over European scribes such as McGonagall (7)
Anagram [thrown] of MYRRH’S containing [over] E (European). Here’s the start of McG’s most famous piece of garbage:

“Beautiful railway bridge of the silv’ry Tay
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last sabbath day of 1879
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.”

12 Aircraftman leaves in two litres of milk (7)
AC (aircraftman) + TEA (leaves) contained by [in] LL (two litres)
13 Recorder, say, with order to capture popular street spirit (4,10)
W (with), then INDENT (order for goods) contains [to capture] IN (popular) + ST (street) + RUM (spirit)
17 Somehow Mrs King must win holiday gear for Mr King (8,6)
Anagram [somehow] of MRS KING MUST WIN. A strange definition. It works following on from the anagrist, but as it’s so whimsical I think it requires a question mark at the end.
21 Hawk circling Rhode Island’s visitor (7)
TOUT (hawk) containing [circling] RI’S (Rhode Island’s)
23 Sign   first (7)
Two meanings
25 Face, regularly, Spain’s German guards, and shoot back (4,5)
S{p}A{i}N{s} [regularly],  SS (German guards), then FIRE (shoot) reversed [back]. Typeface.
26 One running shows eastern medal with elaborate rim (5)
E (eastern), MC (medal – Military Cross), E{laborat}E [rim]
27 Private Eye doctored, so some people say (5)
Sounds like [so some people say] “spayed” (doctored – neutered). Sam Spade first appeared in Dashiell Hammett’s 1930 novel, The Maltese Falcon.
28 Man City upset about the Italian’s aggression (9)
Anagram [upset] of MAN CITY containing [about] IL (the, Italian)
1 University’s in lead by a stroke, switching bars a few times? (3-5)
U (university) contained by [in] PB (lead), CRAWL (swimming stroke)
2 Relish   server’s last word? (5)
Two meanings, the second being one of my pet hates amongst many when it comes to being served food and drink. I’ve nothing against ‘I hope you enjoy…’ but I do not like the imperative command. Still I suppose it’s marginally better than the ubiquitous ‘no problem’!
3 Prevent one with little hesitation inhaling initially untested gas (9)
DETER (prevent) containing [inhaling] U{ntested} [initially], then I (one), UM (little hesitation). Aka ‘heavy hyrogen’ apparently. I never heard of it.
4 Undoing northeastern disorder inspires India (7)
NE (northeastern), MESS (disorder) containing [inspires] I (India)
5 Cross river clutching medic, one who’s hard to grasp? (7)
MULE (cross breed) containing [clutching] MB (medic), then R (river)
6 Old ascetic service boss jails city revolutionary (5)
CIC (service boss  – Commander-in-Chief) contains [jails] NY (city) reversed [revolutionary]
7 Greek commander soon conceals ploy — the end of Priam (9)
ANON (soon) contains [conceals] GAME (ploy) + {Pria}M
8 What might emerge from flower could pass quickly (6)
MAY (could), FLY (pass quickly).  I’ve indicated thia as an all-in-one definition as it refers to the very brief lifespan of the mayfly. It does indeed ‘pass away quickly’.
14 Modern weapon protects individual on each island (3,6)
NEW (modern), GUN (weapon) contains [protects] I (individual), then EA (each)
15 Robin Hood’s band announced time for revelry (9)
MERRIMEN sounds like [announced] “Merry Men” (Robin Hood’s band), then T (time)
16 An officer in Ypres played old instrument (8)
A + LT (an officer) contained by [in] anagram [played] of YPRES. Here’s one being played in the traditional manner i.e. plucked A delightfully delicate sound.
18 At home Hilary maybe accepts current stopgap (7)
IN (at home), TERM (Hilary maybe) contains [accepts] I (current). Hilary is the New Year term at a university or session in the High Court.
19 Profitable data cut in France once (7)
INF{o} (data) [cut] contained by [in] GAUL (France once)
20 MI6 has met up in period of inaction (6)
SAT (met) reversed [up] contained by [in] SIS (MI6  – Special Information Intelligence Service). For example a court will ‘meet’ or ‘sit’.
22 Publication is to take action (5)
IS, SUE (take action)
24 Old S American resident’s mad to avoid climb-down (5)
INCAN{descent} [mad with rage) [to avoid climb-down]

57 comments on “Times Cryptic 28082”

  1. I fair plodded through this. Others always say ‘Looking back I don’t know why I was so slow’, but I do; I was just on my normal form and the clues (apart from AGAMEMNON) didn’t really play to my strengths.

    Never bothered to parse INCAN, and am not sure I would ever have managed if this had been on my watch. So well done, Jack!

  2. I made quick progress through this without feeling it was very easy. The SE corner went in very quickly. I did like PUB-CRAWL.

    MAYFLY did remind me of fly-fishing in the Australian Alps – hopefully something we’ll be allowed to do again soon.

    Thanks, Jack, for the helpful blog, including why met = sat.

    Edited at 2021-09-14 02:45 am (UTC)

  3. Lots of unknowns and several unparsed, and I sort of knew the word for 7dn but would hate to be confronted with it in a spelling test. So quite happy to get the all-clear in the end.

    Based on Jack’s example, I’d say McGonagall must have attended the same poetry school as John Lillison and Gina Rinehart (DO NOT GOOGLE!!!).

    Thanks setter, and Jack for the illuminating blog.

    1. We should not forget the American poet, Julia Moore, the Sweet Singer of Michigan (1847-1920): e.g.
      Have you heard of the dreadful fate
      Of Mr. P.P. Bliss and wife?
      Of their death I will relate
      And also others lost their life;
      Ashtabula Bridge disaster,
      Where so many people died
      Without a thought that destruction
      Would plunge them ‘neath the wheel of tide.
  4. Enjoyed that, a few interesting clues and definitions. Very speedy, must have been on the wavelength, and no unknowns for once. Deuterium is hydrogen with an added neutron per atom; water made with this hydrogen is the “heavy water” that the nazis were trying to get in WW2 to make atomic bombs. MacGonagall was Spike Milligan’s favourite poet, Spike even made and starred in a film of his life which I saw once on TV.
    COD probably to Mr. King’s swimming trunks.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
      1. And continuing as we speak, just overhead? Deuterium + proton -> Helium-3 + heat & light inside the sun?
  5. I did this in two sittings, the first leaving mostly stuff in the NE to complete, which I duly did. I had no idea about the wordplay for the INCAS so I didn’t try too hard. Didn’t know CYNIC as an ascetic (was trying to get stoic in there at first). Last ones in were CHARM and MAYFLY.
  6. I found this fairly straightforward, and note afterwards that there are no answers that I would say were obscure. To my mind this is quite unusual — even ones at the easier end of the scale tend to contain one or two like yesterday’s Acis and contango (neither of which my spell checker recognises). That doesn’t stop me learning something new every day, as I’ve mentioned before. Fugitive can mean momentary and McGonagall is a poet to name but two examples. Thanks to setter and blogger for the continued education!
  7. Very happy with this result – I focused on methodical completion with no use of dictionary, no errors. It feels a lot better and more instructive than blundering through in the hope of a PB – the right choice.
    That said, three answers were entered completely unparsed when there were obviously no other choices: STASIS, INCAN, and BIJOU.

    LOI CYNIC – initially I thought I was looking for an obscure /NHO word, but diligence paid off in a particularly satisfying way.

    Decodes that are new to me and I’m going to need in future
    “bend” = U
    “met” = SAT

    Thanks Jack and setter – enjoyed it a lot

  8. At the mere touch of cold philosophy?

    25 mins pre-brekker. Most time needed on the NE, unlocked by Mayfly.
    Met=Sat is a little unSatisfactory.
    Thanks setter and J.

    Edited at 2021-09-14 07:12 am (UTC)

  9. Finished in 34 minutes. Not very hard, but a few I couldn’t parse like STASIS and I bunged a few others in from the def without bothering to go back later to try to work them out. As galspray says, those M’s and N’s in AGAMEMNON would have done for me without the wordplay. I couldn’t have told you for sure what a PSALTERY was, but there it is, playing in the background now as I’m typing.

    I liked SPADE and the ‘mad to avoid climb-down’ wordplay for INCAN.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

  10. But with another dreaded misprint – DEUTERIMM. Otherwise steady solve, several nice clues and no obscure words.

    Thanks setter and Jack

  11. 23 minutes with LOI SPADE, a nice PDM. I found this enjoyable with lots of little smiles to myself, particularly PUB CRAWL, INCAN and COD MERRIMENT. I knew the set translation of Aeneid Book 2 in 1961 O Level Latin would come in useful some day and so it did with AGAMEMNON. I wasn’t absolutely sure about LACTEAL as a word but the cryptic was clear. Thank you Jack and setter.

    Edited at 2021-09-14 07:34 am (UTC)

  12. Two short after 45 mins, but threw the towel in at the hour mark with SPADE and LACTEAL unsolved.
  13. Had heard of DEUTERIUM, those WW2 stories, raids on Norway, as noted.

    MOMENTARY and MAYFLY last in, couldn’t be anything else. Liked INCAN.

    I did that Guardian puzzle too, but fell at the last with a completely NHO.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  14. ….DEUTERIUM, but, as a non- scientist, had no idea that it was a gas. AGAMEMNON was much more in my territory.

    SWIMMING TRUNKS was unparsed until afterwards

    TIME 9:12

  15. I seemed to know what this setter was intending even if it took me a minute or two to get the answer. No problems. Thanks all.
  16. …is the phrase that drives me mad, Jack — although the constant repetition of “perfect” as an acknowledgement is close behind.

    Ah the crossword. Catered round in rapid time only to encounter refusals at CHARM (this is not the first time the entrance (n) / entrance (v) device has floored me) LACTEAL and STASIS (I agree with Myrtilus — where does met = sat?). Finishing time slightly above my average but lots of fun along the way. COD to CHARM now I get it. Thanks setter and Jack.

  17. 16.05, with STASIS repeatedly written in and deleted until it couldn’t be anything else and then understood once I remembered we’d had SAT for met not all that long ago.
    Otherwise a cheerful, steady run, stumbling a bit in the top right and biffing INCAN, thinking it was a word for climb-down omitting a word for mad.

    A warm welcome to the fabled isle of SAN SERIF.

    No list of world’s worst poets should be without Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings, name adapted from the real Paul Neil Milne Jennings to avoid “complications”. Her only known poem “The Dead Swans” disqualifies her as a RHYMSTER, as it doesn’t rhyme.

    1. Ah yes, “San Serif” — dictator-run island and tax haven, the subject of a wonderful April 1st spoof back in the 70’s by the Grauniad, with a special supplement filled with Corporate ads by those that were in on the joke. Mrs P and I even bought the T-shirts!
  18. 14:42 Held up at the end by the NE corner where I puzzled over MOMENTARY and took a while to see CHARM and MAYFLY, my LOI. I liked SWIMMING TRUNKS and SPADE. Thanks Jackkt and setter.
    1. Likewise in the NE. Four to go after eight minutes, then the brain stopped working for another six.
  19. 7:38, but a complete disaster. I whizzed through most of this but then got stuck with four or five left. Sometimes when this happens I check my answers, hoping the mental break will dislodge something and trusting myself to enter the last few correctly. Today that trust proved completely unfounded, as I managed two typos, of which one (MOMNETARY!) was in a crossing letter, so THREE pink squares.
  20. About 45 mins with a couple of interruptions. Still on the road so a bit erratic on the solving front. LOIs STASIS and SPADE. Bunged in the gas which was a NHO from the wordplay, which was helpful. Generally enjoyable and I too liked PUB-CRAWL and the anag SWIMMING TRUNKS.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  21. PSEUDONYM and DEUTERIUM got me off to a flying start, but MAYFLY and finally MOMENTARY, held me up for a lot more than a moment at the end! Lots of answers appeared in my mind but took a while before the parsing was apparent, so a lot of penny drop moments to ENJOY. The NE corner resisted to the end, as already mentioned, but was finally opened up by LACTEAL and CYNIC. AGAMEMNON had arrived much earlier, but not been much help. 24:31. Thanks setter and Jack.
  22. I’m a slow eater and the one that drives me nuts is “are you still working on that?”. To which I can only say, not any more I’m not. Still it will be nice to go back to a restaurant now and then. Apart from failing to parse INCAN (thanks Jack) a smooth 11.21
    1. My second wife was (probably still is) a slow eater. A couple of restaurants we ate at regularly quickly got used to the concept of my starter and her main course arriving together (she didn’t do starters), with my main course coming in while she was halfway through hers.
  23. In defence of William McGonagall, for all our supposed smarts we may still be the victims of a clever prankster all these years later. Read one of his autobiographies and decide. In the meantime:

    The chicken is a noble beast,
    The cow is much forlorner,
    Standing in the pouring rain,
    With a leg in every corner.

    World’s worst poet?

    15 minutes.

  24. A fair bit of shrugging today — several unparsed.

    BIJOU — missed the U for bend
    MOMENTARY — wasn’t sure whether fugitive meant this though kind of aware that fugitive means something other than an escapee
    RHYMERS — no idea who McGonagall is, but the answer was plain enough
    LACTEAL — missed the aircraftman and the leaves bit — biffed from the definition
    WIND INSTRUMENT — got the IN + ST + RUM bits
    PUB CRAWL — biffed from definition
    ENJOY — didn’t understand the ‘server’s last word’ part
    DEUTERIUM — biffed from checkers without working out the parsing
    INTERIM — think we have seen Hilary = TERM before so reasonable guess
    STASIS — biffed from checkers.
    INCAN — biffed from checkers

    Not a good day for actually parsing very much but a very good day for (un)educated biffing.

  25. All done in 51:13, having taken ages to finish first in the south west and then, taking much longer, the North East. I feel I must have missed a quip in the blog perhaps; will I look silly for pointing out that MI6 = SIS = Secret Intelligence Service
  26. 22.04. Progress in fits and starts getting snarled up in a couple of spots. Couldn’t make anything of sans serif at first, also momentarily pondered stemis. Tempus fugit helped with the momentary meaning of fugitive. Didn’t fully parse wind instrument while solving. A satisfying solve.
  27. FOI tourist. First pass – LOI also tourist. Er, no others at all. Second sitting – to my utter amazement I began to solve this, and then finished it. OK, it took me an hour, but still delighted. Most parsed, but some nuances gained from the blog. Did not parse wind instrument, sans serif, deuterium, stasis or Incan. Thought the little hesitation in deuterium was er, not um. Looking for amen in the enjoy clue (biffed it from bijou) and did not see the last word of the server until coming here. Did not see the descent part of Incan. Thoroughly entertaining puzzle and blog on a very wet day, a nice break from weeding the filing cabinet. Thanks, Jack, and setter. GW.
  28. My LOI was 27ac – I slung in SPACE – at the time I parsed it – now is a struggle! Sam Spade (Doh!)

    FOI 1ac PSEUDONYM – Meldrew in my case



    “I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble.” The Maltese Falcon

    Edited at 2021-09-14 03:13 pm (UTC)

  29. A few interruptions and much time expended on CYNIC and MOMENTARY. MAYFLY last one in. I liked the anagram at 17. Reminded me of ‘The madness of King George’ — where they addressed each other as Mr and Mrs King I think.
    Thanks to Jack and the setter.
  30. Time 12.44 with pretty much a top down solve including the Pub Crawl, Agamemnon, Wind Instruments, Emcee and the Swimming Trunks. Sounds like ‘The Hangover IV’. COD 8dn MAYFLY. I cannot imagine how heavy deuterium is.
    1. Deuterium is twice as heavy as normal hydrogen. Two times! So it’s the second-lightest substance in the universe.
  31. 13:16 this afternoon. I enjoyed this puzzle, with its number of witty surfaces.
    POI 10 ac “momentary” and LOI 5d “mumbler” required me to find the right synonyms for “warning” and “cross” respectively . Both took a little time.
    Good to see William McGonagall making an appearance in such hallowed print. Self-titled “poet and tragedian” who once suffered the indignity of having a plateful peas thrown at him by an irate publican after one of his (possibly uninvited) recitals. Anyway it didn’t seem to deter him.
    Liked 17 ac “Spade” where for a while I was looking for a homonym for “private” beginning with “I”. “What about that bar bill, mac?” “Don’t worry, Sam Spade” — was that from a Bonzo Dog number perhaps?
    COD possibly 26 ac “emcee” with its neatly misleading surface.
    Thanks to Jack for his informative blog and to setter.
  32. Except for my last 3 – MOMENTARY, LACTEAL and CYNIC.

    I don’t recall any other problems.


  33. Solved after a lunch out. Came here to see if my guesses were correct. Could not parse INCAN. Nearly caught out by MOMENTARY and CYNIC. Finished with MAYFLY.
    Fun puzzle.
  34. 19.20 but a bit of a travail over the bottom third. Some chestnuts involved- sans serif and emcee to the fore- but once remembered they eventually set up the flashbulb moment. I was determined to make hiatus fit 20 dn but eventually saw the light when sans serif went in.

    Incan was my head slam clue, put it in without seeing the descent addition. Brought a smile though.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  35. Chuffed to complete this in just over 17 minutes, but with MOMENTARY unparsed. Thanks to our blogger for the explanation, or rather the definition.
  36. 28 minutes, which for me means “very easy”, but unlike yesterday’s consistently so. Congratulations, Jack, on parsing INCAN (I could never have managed that. The DESCENT which had to be cancelled had far too many letters). I liked this better than yesterday’s but still have the same criticism that the surface meanings are often very unnatural: “Aircraftman leaves in two litres of milk”. Really? And how does he contrive to do that?
    1. I’ve been saying the same on and off for years. Perhaps your comments will receive a better welcome than mine did.

      In the absence of any meaningful exchanges on the ToL Crossword Club boards, I thought it might be worthwhile trying to address some genuine criticisms on this thread, as it seems The Times Puzzles Editor and the setters look in on the discussion from time to time. Alas, and perhaps because of that and certainly in hindsight, any real criticism on here that cuts to the fundamentals of a crossword doesn’t gain any mileage. Setters are sacrosanct. Overly-so in my opinion. But with the continuing decline in popularity of cryptic crosswords, if you’ll allow me to mix my metaphors; I think there’s an understandable reluctance to ‘bite the hand of the baby in the bath water before throwing both out’.

      Alluding to your comment, it feels like there are clunkers day after day where the setter is trying to crowbar in an otherwise very neat piece of construction which they’re reluctant to waste. Call me old-fashioned, but if the clue doesn’t make sense as a surface, no matter how cleverly constructed it is, it should be either discarded or rewritten.

      And I’ve been pooh-poohed a lot for sticking to my opinion that the modern version of The Times cryptic is simply not in the same league as when I was cutting my teeth on it thirty odd years ago. Misplaced nostalgia it may be, but I was in awe of it then. Meaningless surfaces would have never seen the light of day. But times change ‘innit’ ? (Mr Grumpy)

      1. I’d say that sounds like valid criticism anon, and worth raising.

        Not sure about the setters being sacrosanct, but I think they’re highly respected, based on it being a not particularly easy job!

        Agree that a smooth surface is something to strive for, and the example that hydro cites is indeed a shocker. No harm in pointing that out, whilst acknowledging the general high standard of clueing we see on a daily basis.

        BTW, there’s a tendency here for regulars to be more dismissive of comments that are posted anonymously. Not saying that should be the case, it just is. Why not get a livejournal id and join the fun? You’ve already chosen a perfect user name!

      2. What Galspray said. I would only add that I doubt you’re the first person to think of Mr Grumpy as a Live Journal user id, so if you try to join and find it’s already in use you can add some numbers or symbols at the end to make it unique.

        Here’s how to sign up:
        Re: Joining the Community
        To sign up for LiveJournal go to this link https://www.livejournal.com/create
        choose a username and fill in your details. You don’t actually have to post anything on your blog. If you log in and go to Times for The Times you can post comments here and they will be tagged with your username. You will also be able to edit your posts later if you wish, until such time as somebody has replied to them.

        Edited at 2021-09-15 06:48 am (UTC)

        1. Thank you.

          However, I am the original Mr Grumpy and I’m sure I used to be signed in as such? But something went wrong and I can’t get in anymore. Any ideas what I should do?

  37. Deuterium really held me up. I am constantly breaking my rule about not sinking more than 30 minutes into a crossword (no self discipline). I once read that highly successful types do not go in for crosswords (‘waste of precious time’).
  38. Struggled through to a finish, but with Wind Instrument, Stasis and Incan only partly solved — in fact not at all with Incan. The NE corner was blank for a long, long time, before I twigged what sort of entrance was involved. That’s the second or third time I’ve been caught out with that. One day it will stick. Invariant

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