Times Cryptic 28094

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 46 minutes. I found this quite heavy going as it contained four answers I never heard of, all gettable from wordplay and checkers but nevertheless I took ages to work them out. Also I didn’t help myself by writing an answer at 23ac that I wasn’t sure of and then taking that answer as gospel so that it prevented me solving one of the intersecting Down clues. Eventually I corrected my error and the three remaining words fell swiftly into place.

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 Tiny little daughter fighting shark? (8)
D (little daughter), WAR (fighting), FISH (shark)
5 Mount near Jerusalem to be found in Old Testament (6)
LIVE (be) contained by [found in] OT (Old Testament). Perhaps better known as ‘Mount of Olives’ but I didn’t know it as an alternative name.
9 Bob not half a scoundrel (3)
CUR{tsy} (bob) [not half]
10 Destroyer of trees and fruit initiated by a man (5,6)
A, GENT (man),  ORANGE (fruit). A defoliant used extensively during the Vietnam war.
12 Drug supplier peaceful type? Not if embracing hurt (10)
PAC{if}IST (peaceful type) [not ‘if’] containing [embracing] HARM (hurt)
13 Dublin money once used for gamble (4)
Two meanings. The Republic uses the euro now.
15 Young bird caught by good trap — finally flying into it (6)
C (caught) + G (good) + NET (trap), but where does the inserted Y come from?

Later edit: The Puzzles Editor later apologised for the error and the clue was amended to
Young bird caught finally by good trap (6)
which parses as
C (caught), {b}Y [finally], G (good), NET (trap)

16 Poem about child who lived in biblical nation? (7)
ODE (poem) reversed [about], MITE (child). Edom was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan apparently. NHO it.
18 Hoarding silver is bizarre? It’s a scandal (7)
OUTRE (bizarre) containing [hoarding] AG (silver)
20 Issue of this writer securing little work after office’s closure (6)
{offic}E [closure], then ME (this writer) containing [securing] ERG (little work – unit thereof)
23 Quiet hours allowing you and me to tuck in (4)
US (you and me) contained by [to tuck in] HH (hours). I got myself into a silly muddle over this one, which I won’t dwell on.
24 Old instrument given new life — something worth having husband collected (6,4)
BORN (given new life) with ASSET (something worth having) + H (husband) contained [collected]
26 One of the aspirations of the French inventor to make national symbol (7,4)
LIBERTY (one of the aspirations of the French), BELL (inventor). Liberté, égalité, fraternité is the national motto of France. The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American independence. Davy Crockett patched up the crack in it and Monty Python pinched JP Sousa’s march of that name.
27 Something maybe in freezer that is keeping cold (3)
IE (that is – id est) containing [keeping] C (cold)
28 Track has one slipping, left abandoned (6)
S{l}IDING (slipping) [left abandoned]. Railway siding presumably.
29 Food in shell is French, load being imported (8)
CARGO (load) contained [being imported] by  EST (is, French). It can stay in its shell as far as I’m concerned.
1 Bill in old accommodation set up again from the start (2,4)
AC (bill) contained by [in] O (old) + PAD (accommodation) reversed [set up]. A direction frequently seen in printed music to save writing the first section out again.
2 Gangster gets money as early as this (7)
AL (gangster), READY (money). We haven’t seen Mr Capone for a long time!
3 Broken-up female thinking about practical joke (10)
F (female) + MENTAL (thinking) containing [about] RAG (practical joke). SOED has RAG as a prank; esp. a programme of stunts, parades, and entertainment organized by students to raise money for charities.
4 Awfully shy PE teacher keeping quiet — encouragement needed to talk (6,7)
Anagram [awfully] of SHY PE TEACHER containing [keeping] P (quiet)
6 Parrot shows resplendence with head concealed (4)
{g}LORY (resplendence) [with head concealed]
7 Physicist inventing tube is daring — no good missing out (7)
VENTURI {ng} (is daring) [no good missing out]. Never ‘eard of ‘im!
8 Group of soldiers in army secures agreements (8)
RE (group of soldiers) contained by [in] TA (army), TIES (secures)
11 Vulgarity that may render everything bland (13)
A straight definition with a cryptic hint
14 Container with a lentil mistaken for another plant (10)
POT (container), then anagram [mistaken] of A LENTIL. Never ‘eard of it.
17 The pools could disguise these awful pits (8)
Anagram [disguise] of THE POOLS. ‘Awful’ in the sense of frightening, I assume.
19 Endlessly irritable educationist means to create experimental environment (4,3)
TEST{y} (irritable), BED (educationist – Bachelor of Education)
21 Golf and aquatic sport becoming more popular? (7)
G (golf – NATO alphabet), ROWING (aquatic sport). Something of a DBE going on here as ‘growing’ on its own doesn’t imply popularity; unpopularity can also grow.
22 Trendy girl coming out, student ultimately needing a loan? (2,4)
IN (trendy), DEB (girl coming out –  débutante), {studen}T [ultimately]. Traditional ‘coming out’ ceremonies involving presentation to the Queen were abolished in 1958.
25 Monarch at home in poetic isle (4)
ER (monarch), IN (at home). An ancient name for the island of Ireland.

72 comments on “Times Cryptic 28094”

  1. I often think that more difficult puzzles are clued more precisely, which is what I thought today. I liked it for about 45 minutes worth. I’d never heard that Davy Crockett story, jack, thanks. I thought that Cygnet might have been a typo — supposed to say “finally fly into it”. That reads more awkwardly, but does parse properly.

    Edited at 2021-09-28 01:32 am (UTC)

  2. I know sports clues make a lot of people mad
    And birds drive astro_nowt to limericks
    Some solvers claim all homophones are bad
    But man, plants – they can sick a bag of ducks
  3. Mob rule in the NW. Had blind spots for ALREADY and for CUR, which took me out to over an hour, and still couldn’t see it as ‘Bob not half’ until coming here. I did know VENTURI but could only get the other three unknowns (plus DA CAPO for me) from guesswork and wordplay. I agree with Jack and paul_in_london about CYGNET which I think was a boo-boo and also had reservations about GROWING.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

  4. I outdid Lou, spending maybe 10 minutes staring at _O_ENTILLA, first trying to think of a container spelled _O_E, forgetting that the E was already taken, then in a futile alphabet trawl that yielded only BOXENTILLA. DNK VENTURI, didn’t understand the half-bob, didn’t notice the Y problem; I wonder if ‘by finally flying…’ was intended. NHO Davy Crockett and the bell; as the philosopher Sidney Morgenbesser was fond of saying, believe it if you can. The bell is still cracked.
    1. Yes I was quoting from the song which along with the Disney film was all the rage at one point in my childhood. I have no idea what the verse was referencing as I know the bell is still cracked, but wondered if it was intended figuratively.

      Here’s the verse in full:

      He went off to Congress an’ served a spell
      Fixin’ up the Govern’ments an’ laws as well
      Took over Washin’ton so we heered tell
      An’ patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell
      Davy, Davy Crockett, seein’ his duty clear!

      1. I only remember the opening verse, in which he kills him a b’ar when he was only three. My main memory of the Davy Crockett craze was spending a week in a hospital ward with a 3-year-old girl who screamed constantly–and I mean all day long–for her mother, and a 3-year-old boy who almost as constantly sang what he knew of the song, what he knew being “Daveee, Davy Crockett”.
        1. You were lucky the boy didn’t know all the song’s 20 verses!

          May as well get the Davy Crockett joke out of the way (though it doesn’t quite work in print):

          Q: How many ears did Davy Crockett have?
          A: Three. His left ear, his right ear and his wild front-ier.

          Edited at 2021-09-28 06:03 am (UTC)

              1. Mainly because they’re pronounced differently. The t in ‘frontier’ is aspirated, the t in ‘front ear’ isn’t. Like ice cream/I scream.
                1. There is absolutely no difference whatsoever between the two when I say them (same for I scream/ice cream, incidentally).

                  Edited at 2021-09-28 10:01 am (UTC)

                  1. I rather doubt that, but not having heard you, I won’t press the issue. (Assuming there was an issue here somewhere.)
                    1. I can assure you there is no difference.
                      ‘Ice cream’ is admittedly a bit different, and depends on context. If it’s at the end of a sentence (‘I like ice cream’) I do aspirate the C, but in the middle of a phrase (‘ice cream sundaes are nice’) I don’t think I do. Certainly there’s a noticeable difference between the two, so I might argue that ‘ice cream’ and ‘ice cream’ aren’t homophones!
                      Such minuscule physical differences don’t make homophones dodgy IMO.

                      Edited at 2021-09-28 10:51 am (UTC)

                      1. It occurred to me in the middle of this discussion that you are fluent in French and were educated (raised?) in France (do I have that right?) and your control of aspiration may be unlike the English speaker on the Clapham omnibus. Anyway, my original comment was really in reaction to the joke; I wouldn’t have objected if the play on words had been in a clue, and in fact I don’t think I’ve ever complained here about homophones (much as I hate some of them). And good on you for spelling ‘minuscule’ right.
                        1. Yes that’s right. I think though that everyone does this: merges words into one another so that aspiration does or doesn’t occur dependent on context.
                          My position on homophones is the dodgier the better, but I accept this is not to everyone’s taste.
                  2. Phoneticists would point to the differences between ‘a black bird’ and ‘a blackbird.’ and ‘a green house’ and ‘a green house.’ Though I agree that in Crossword Land that is part of the fun.

                    Edited at 2021-09-28 11:07 am (UTC)

                    1. Yes but that difference doesn’t apply here. Again it’s a little dependent on context: if I were trying to distinguish Davy Crockett’s front ear from his back ear I would pronounce the words one way (with the emphasis on ‘front’ and aspirating the T), if I were comparing his wild front ear to his tame front ear the pronunciation would be different and I think indistinguishable from ‘wild frontier’.
        2. One of my sisters got a Davy Crockett hat for Christmas – don’t know what it was made of but it smelt really awful.
          1. I assume this was some time ago? It should, presumably, have been made of coonskin; I’ve never smelled a raccoon, and if I play my cards right I never will.
            1. Was on a boat loading up for a project at Fourchon in Louisiana in 2001 and a raccoon came aboard, and came out to sea with us. One of the Louisianans wanted to catch it and eat it, but was thwarted by the deck being grating about 0.5 m above the steel plating, and the raccoon running around untouchable underneath the grating. It scampered away when we were in port a week or so later.
                  1. Some of us are trying to maintain a serious discussion here, Paul; not me, granted, but some of us.
                1. Never close enough to tell. Also a smallish, low-freeboard boat, so it got well and truly washed by sloshing waves.
  5. Same unknowns as our blogger plus one, the Mount of Olives, so Olivet in with fingers crossed. Venturies known of (but not the physicist), but I wouldn’t describe them as tubes so much as reductions in diameter. Guess they need a tube. Also I can’t spell curtsey (sic). Had to wander off and come back to get last three: Venturi, lory and Olivet. Cygnet an obvious typo, but it puts you off when there’s so many other unknowns.
    1. Curtsy is a shortened version of courtesy .. so properly, would never need an e.. though it has had various spellings over the years,and OED gives curtsey as an allowable alternative.
      1. Thanks for that. Good to know I’m not completely ignorant; though I doubt I’ve written curtsey more than 2 or 3 times in my life.
  6. I agree with paul_in_london that though there was some unusual vocabulary today it was tightly clued. I was glad of it otherwise I might have dithered over EDOMITE, OLIVET and DA CAPO. Not so tight on CYGNET though!
  7. Could only think of boxintella, and CUR took forever, but unwilling to submit as not parsed. CYGNET also, has a mistake been admitted?

    I’ve eaten ESCARGOT. They actually cook one lot (to taste like garlicky rubber) and put it into a more attractive shell….

    Thanks jack and setter.

  8. With down from Leda’s C(y)gnet progeny.

    After 20 mins pre-brekker — having guessed Pot(entilla), Basset Horn and Venturi and having concluded Cygnet was a cock-up, I was left with the Mount/Parrot crosses.
    Not my cup of tea.
    Thanks setter and J.

  9. After 30 minutes I had OLIVET and EDOMITE left. Wasted time trying to parse CYGNET. Not to my taste. Thanks setter and jackkt.

  10. FOI: HUSH

    I started slowly and had to biff a couple on the first pass before checking and correcting. Revisited 9A as I had the unparsed CAD first time around. BASSET HORN was unknown but I relied on the wordplay. I was unable to parse CYGNET fully at the end, so I was delayed searching for an explanation for ‘Y’ until I could come up with nothing better.

    Edited at 2021-09-28 08:03 am (UTC)

  11. Quite a lot of unusual vocab. today, so right up my street. Only Olivet nho, but the wordplay was clear.
    Escargots are acceptable only when totally submerged in garlic sauce. If then.
    Cygnet defo une erreur.
  12. 18.02, a good workout, especially for a Tuesday.
    My first in was OLIVET, having utterly failed to get a grip on the right hand side. The “other” Great Victorian Good Friday offering is Maunders “From Olivet to Calvary”, alongside Stainer’s Crucifixion. Of the latter, Sir Thomas Beecham said “it sounds like a very good idea”. Choristers of this parish would have had no difficulty with OLIVET, nor with DA CAPO, of course.
    As per my heading, I don’t have a problem with GROWING’s definition.
    But I missed/smudged the error in CYGNET.
    Way to many possibilities for the “container” for POTENTILLA. But hey…
    POTHOLES round here are universally describes as “awful”: I’m about to drive gingerly around far too many of them.
    Decent puzzle, fine blog.
    1. I got OLIVET from the same source as you. I’ve never actually sung it but have seen it in the publishers lists that used to be on the back pages of other works. The only bit of the Stainer I’ve sung is “God so loved the World” which is quite nice, but hardly memorable. My late brother once sang the solo bass part in the Stainer. He wasn’t impressed… I’m quite good on the names of plants – though not so good growing them. I got POTENTILLA straight away. But I had a lot of problems in the NW corner and was surprised to finish at 33 mintes – it felt like a lot longer. Ann
  13. I’ve looked many time across the Jerusalem skyline at the Mount of Olives in the distance, but NHO OLIVET – luckily the clueing left little choice. However I stalled on the EDOMITE / POTENTILLA crossing, neither word familiar to me and too much ambiguity to deal with.

    Also put DE CAPO instead of DA CAPO – not sure why, because I’d solved the cryptic pretty conclusively before entering that.

  14. 18.30. A funny mix I thought with some clues glaringly obvious and others being at the other extreme. Pleased to have finally solved it. As with jackkt, a few unknowns; Venturi being the most prominent . Held up in the SW by initially putting in seed bed but testy is better than seedy.

    De profundis came the biblical olivet and edomite. Fragmental my COD.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  15. ….made worse by the corruptly clued LOI which I biffed with a shrug once I had all the crossers. I must have seen POTENTILLA somewhere before. I suppose Astronowt will be happy with the obscure NHO VENTURI, but I can’t take any pleasure in offsetting that with a dodgy baby swan.

    TIME 11:08

  16. 30:22
    Pity about cygnet. Potentilla not a good clue either – too many possible containers. Had a lucky guess with that.
    Thanks, jack.
  17. I was doing fine up til about 35 mins then got bogged down in the NE. I knew mount of Olives but not OLIVET. So 8d began with an S for a while. NHO EDOMITE either. VENTURI was a guess. Despite my Frogginess, I am also not a lover of escargots. I too had a query on CYGNET, but happily chose to ignore it! Oh well.

    Thanks Jack as ever.

  18. It was 5ac OLIVET which did for me as I put in OLIVES and came up short on 8dn TREATIES. I have been to the said Mount and been the proud owner of a portable, bright red OLIVETTI typewriter in my youth; but I digress!

    FOI 27ac ICE – to quickly warm-up!

    (LOI) 7dn VENTURI- but I venturi-ed no further!

    COD 14dn POTENTILLA another specimen from my grandfather’s garden (cinquefoil).

    NOT 1ac DWARFISH as the word ‘little’ in the clue was superfluous and misleading. A good clue nevertheless.

    WOD 10ac AGENT ORANGE – a shameful ‘Rainbow’ herbicide: first used by the British Armed Forces in Malaya, during ‘The Malayan Emergency” – late forties.

    I learnt 24ac BASSET HORN from Crosswordland many, many moons ago. I started doing ‘The Times’ in 1967 when it had a generous student discount.

    In those days setters who did not know their CYGNETS from their CIGNETS were sent to the gulag, with only twenty ciggies a day and a box of ‘Swan Vestas’.

    Edited at 2021-09-28 09:44 am (UTC)

    1. DNK, so thanks for the information; it’s some (very slight) consolation to learn that we weren’t the first.
      1. Hiroshima & Nagasaki bombs: both the trigger mechanisms for these and much else were British designed.
  19. Couldn’t really get going with this one — so many clues seemed like a struggle.

    Doesn’t help that my senses are dulled with a head cold nor that for a long time I had PUSH at 23a. Eventually revisited and corrected and POTHOLES sprang immediately into view.

  20. 15:16. I really liked this, because I needed the wordplay for lots of the clues and I like that kind of puzzle.
    Unknowns were OLIVET, EDOMITE, BASSET HORN*, POTENTILLA*, and VENTURI* (asterisk indicates that it looked vaguely familiar once I’d worked it out).
    Not sure about the definition at 22dn. Surely the opposite is the case!
    I love ESCARGOTs. I find the combination of earthy chewiness with garlicky butter soaked up with fresh baguette irresistible.
  21. Seemed to struggle somewhat on this as too many question marks (in my head at least) on some of the wordplays. Finally started motoring after couple of long ‘uns entered. Helps that I grow potentilla in my garden. Slightly curate’s egg feel to it all; COD to ESCARGOT (semi-&Lit); many thanks for excellent blog.
  22. After 21 minutes I had it all done except 8d and 16a, with 8d beginning with S as I had written in OLIVES for the mount, I’ve never heard of Olivet although it does parse better. Nor did I know the Edomite thing, so had to come here with a DNF to see that TREATIES was easy once 5a was corrected and the Biblical knowledge once again was lacking. Otherwise, I enjoyed it. Potentilla was easy, the garden has some. Liked ESCARGOT best, have eaten plenty and occasionally they’re not rubbery. You need to like garlic butter though.
  23. 25 mins. I didn’t pause long enough to spot the CYGNET mix-up and otherwise had the requisite horticultural, biblical and musical knowledge to cope with the rest. Biggest hold ups were where they shouldn’t have been, as often happens: ALREADY and CUR refused to come quietly and POTHOLES took longer than it deserved, courtesy of a misparsed PUSH. I wondered for a while if HOTPOLES were some sort of steaming hellish pit in some scary part of the world. The brain, eh.
  24. ‘Fraid I had to check Basset Horn so a bit of a cheat there. Just couldn’t parse it. Also spent far too long with Eremite in my head for 16 across. How could the letter E mean a poem, I was asking myself. If you think hard enough, you end up with an explanation which invariably turns out to be utterly mad. Thankfully I saw the light. I also hesitated over Potentilla because I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t mixing it up with Pointilla and Poinsettia.
  25. DA CAPO was my FOI, but I’d never heard the Mount of Olives referred to as OLIVET, so that was my LOI along with TREATIES. I spent 10 minutes on those 2 clues alone, unable to see T(RE)A even though I had TIES for secures, because of doubts over OLIVET. Eventually saw TREATIES and accepted OLIVET. Otherwise an enjoyable romp with the error in CYGNET passing me by. POT seemed the most likely vessel for our plant, so I didn’t worry over that for long. 34:47. Thanks setter and Jack.
  26. Under an hour (I have decided to use the hour as the base unit for my occasional ventures into the 15 x 15s in the same way that I generally ignore seconds for the QC). I got there in the end, but only just. VENTURI was no problem, but the other obscurities listed above all slowed me down. CUR was LOI and went in unparsed. Thanks both.
  27. Like Horryd, OLIVET made me think of typewriters but it had to be. My husband once told me a “joke” from the 1964 Barry Goldwater/Lyndon Johnson election: If Goldwater wins he’ll defoliate the jungles of Viet Nam. Guess what. Our blogger wasn’t the only one to get the wrong end of the stick with HUSH. 23.15
  28. Spent ages at the end trying to fathom out 8d only to discover that my OLIVES was incorrect. Well I’d heard of the mount of olives so I bunged it in, forget the cryptic….
    The rest of your unknowns were known to me, but OLIVET passed me by.
  29. Like others, needed the wordplay to get to some of the more arcane vocabulary, but once I’d done so, various faint bells began to ring, so all fair. Apart from CYGNET, of course, which meant submitting with fingers crossed that it was an error, as one assumes it is, though there hasn’t yet been any acknowledgement as far as I can see.
  30. Stuck for a very long time at the end, not knowing LORY, although now it feels like I did. Lack of full confidence in OLIVET didn’t help.

    Didn’t read past the first two words of the CYGNET clue, so didn’t notice the error there. But I agree with Kevin that “by flying” might have been the intended version.

    I think “kilt him a bar” was my favourite lyric around the age of seven. Apparently it’s frequently cited as a mondegreen, “Killed in a bar, when he was only three”. Not sure how that would work as Davy’s back-story though.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  31. 38.09. This was a bit of a grind and I found myself wafting airily at more than a few in the corridor of uncertainty. The already / cur crossers were hard enough without fretting over whether cygnet was correct due to it appearing to not quite parse. I also had olives and had to revisit to get to treaties. Fortunately basset horn came up in the clue competition a few years ago and I remembered it from that. At 17dn potholes I took the definition to be just pits with awful part of the wordplay to indicate that when anagrammed the solution potholes could be the pools in disguise, in one of those work back from the answer type clues.
  32. Hard work. An hour and twenty. Anyway, I did finish it. Olivet LOI, heard of the Mount of Olives but not Olivet. Treaties was parsed so Olivet went in in desparation. Some Gimmes – punt, ice, in debt, which I guess provide light relief, or fill gaps in a grid. Lots biffed today, and Agent Orange provided by husband while I thought about it. Had escargot once in a restaurant, tasted of garlic butter and zero else. Made it at home once in my youth, fed the snails on bran for days then followed Jane Grigson’s recipe. Turned out like the ones in the restaurant but a lot more effort, not to mention the mess. Thanks, Jack, and setter. GW.
  33. I am shamefaced and deserve being given the bird — and all that checking letter by letter, as I thought! SORRY!
    1. Thanks for owning up, Don, when you could have remained silent and nobody here would have known it was you. I wonder what the editors’ excuses are?
  34. Just over 20 minutes for this rather tough old bird. My LOI was Treaties as Olivet was unknown. My Uncle Bertram played both French and Basset horns in some orchestra in the US, although I have no idea of the difference. My COD goes to Pharmacist.

  35. 14:17 early this evening, chauffeuring duties and a walk in the morning before the rain came, responsible for the delay.
    As others have said, GK was important today. For my part NHO 5 ac “olivet” ( so had to trust 8d “treaties”) nor 16 ac “edomites”. However had heard of 7 d “venturi” (from school science days) and 14 d “potentilla” as we had some rather im-potent ones in our garden at one time.
    Certainly had heard of “potholes” as they were a recurring feature of my driving duties earlier!
    Confess I had to biff 9 ac “cur” although with the crossers in place it had to be.
    COD 29 ac “escargot”. Interesting to read of your culinary experiences, funny no one has mentioned the crunchiness of the shells are a bit off-putting.
    Thanks to Jack for a fine blog and to Don, evidently, for the challenge.
    1. Thanks for your thoughts which gave me the opportunity to revisit this blog. I have now updated my comment to reflect that The Times later apologised for the error and revised the clue accordingly.

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