Times Cryptic 28118

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

I needed one hour to solve all but two clues for which I then resorted to aids. I found this very hard and at one point with less than half the grid completed I went 10-15 minutes without writing in another answer.

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 University eight maybe that goes to pieces in the water? (8)
BATH (university), CUBE (eight: 2 x 2 x 2). Bath Universtity may not be one that comes immediately to mind, but it has appeared before several times.
6 What still produces a tear in time, one’s recalled (6)
RIP (tear) contained by [in] T (time) + I’S (one’s), all reversed [recalled]
9 Foreign resort, one with pub outside hotel (8)
I (one) contained by [with…outside] BAR (pub), RITZ (hotel). This was one of the two clues I was unable to crack unaided. I kicked myself afterwards, but I had been fixated on ‘hotel = H’, and I couldn’t get past that thought.
10 Quiet road going east away from British city (6)
MUM (quiet – keep mum), B (British), A1 (road – London to Edinburgh). ‘Going east away from’ is just a positional indicator, I think, but overcomplicated. Why not just ‘Quiet road east of British city’?
12 Holiday couple blowing more on hotel? Yes and no (12)
Anagram [blowing] MORE ON H (hotel – NATO alphabet) YES NO
15 Sudden movement after surgery that can deliver a nip? (5)
OP (surgery), TIC (sudden movement). Optics are used in bars for dispensing drinks served in small measures, usually spirits. ‘Nip’ is slang for a small measure of a strong drink.
16 Relies on just one of two US actors? (9)
FAIR (just), BANKS (relies). ‘On’ is a positional indicator deploying the convention that A on B = BA in Across clues. Douglas Sr and Douglas Jr are no doubt the actors the setter had in mind, but there was also a William Fairbanks (no relation) who was famous in the silent era.
18 Fail to finish off note about your requirement when getting a flat (5,4)
SPARE (fail to finish off – i.e. not kill) , then TE (note) containing [about] YR (your)
19 Relative   security needed by one? (5)
Two meanings. The second one had me baffled when solving but I’ve cracked it now. ‘Uncle’ is slang for a pawnbroker who requires something as security before advancing money.
20 Fashionable fellow, one on verge of victory I abandoned? (3-5-4)
MAN ABOUT TO (fellow, one on verge of), W{i}N (victory) [I abandoned]
24 Elegant: the antithesis of Country and Western? (6)
URBAN (antithesis of Country), E (… and of Western)
25 One coming down with another kitchen utensil (8)
CO-LANDER (one coming down with another)
26 Vespers — last couple not staying still (4,2)
EVENSO{ng} (Vespers) [last couple – ng – not staying]
27 Material for which ordinary seaman wins award? (8)
AS BEST OS (for which ordinary seaman – OS – wins award). The other clue that completely foxed me.
1 Parking place occupied by black mini (4)
BAY (parking place) contains [occupied by] B (black)
2 Loathsome chap dragged by the ear (4)
Sounds like [by the ear] “towed” (dragged)
3 Panel in vehicle by which I’m struck! (9)
CAR (vehicle), TOUCHE (I’m struck). In fencing touché is said when acknowledging a hit by one’s opponent. Collins defines the answer as a carved or cast ornamental tablet or panel in the form of a scroll, sometimes having an inscription. I knew the word but not what it meant.
4 Copper fan, perhaps, one used to screw in place? (9,3)
BUTTERFLY (copper), NUT (fan). More usually called a wing nut in my experience.
6 Stopping at nothing, the wealthy and powerful underworld boss (5)
PLUTO{crats} (the wealthy and powerful) [stopping at nothing – 0]
7 Some bridge down — stare at it? (10)
RUBBER (some bridge – set of games in cards),  NECK (down – drink). &lit.
8 Series of eight wins is terrific for close relative (4,6)
Hidden in [series of] {eigh}T WINS IS TER{rific}
11 People offer me more French coins at auction — not a shilling — with both hands (12)
AM BID EXTR{a} {s}OUS (people offer me more French coins at auction) [not a s – shilling]
13 Put up with son poking face — a pest (5,5)
HOUSE (put up – accommodate), then S ( son) contained by [poking] MOUE (face – pout)
14 Sitting down to eat around one — not actually initially realistic (10)
AT TABLE (sitting down to eat) containing [around] I (one) + N{ot} + A{ctually} [initially]
17 One would spout “Down with Prince” with energy (4,5)
BLUE (down – sad),  W (with), HAL (Prince), E (energy)
21 Extra sub on, with change needed (5)
Anagram [with change needed] of SUB ON
22 Correct info on part of Morse alphabet (4)
The cryptic hint refers to the letter E being represented by a single dot in Morse code, with DIT being an alternative to ‘dot’.
23 Flag bringing race to premature end (4)
IRIS{h} (race) [bringing…to premature end]. ‘Iris /  flag’ caused some consternation when it appeared here very recently, maybe in a Quickie.

69 comments on “Times Cryptic 28118”

  1. DNK BATHCUBE, which made it my LOI, as I couldn’t think of a B uni, until I finally got POI TOAD after an alphabet trawl. I couldn’t think of FAIR until I got the T from BUTTERFLY (DNK; wing nut I knew). Biffed HONEYMOONERS & UNCLE, figured them out post-submission. I liked URBANE, EVEN SO, TWIN SISTER (an impressive hidden), BLUE WHALE.
  2. Some excellent wordplay here. ‘Stopping at nothing’ is new to me (i.e. ignore the rest of the word), the felicitous ‘vehicle by which I’m struck’ and ‘University eight’, about to w(i)n, the top rating (best OS) – very good work.

    I pondered BAHRAINI for a while at 9.

  3. at which point I did an internet search for BIARRITZ, it said “no results” thanks to some error, and I spent a further five minutes questioning the wordplay before someone on the Twitch stream put me out of my misery. A tough but immensely satisfying puzzle.

    Little Lord Humblebrag hath spoken

  4. That’s exactly how it went, quarter by quarter, with BUTTERFLY NUT providing the first inroad to the NW. I would never have dreamed that could be the answer before I had FAIRBANKS. It seemed odd that HONEYMOONERS was my LOI, as it’s not that hard, and I’d tried figuring out what parts were anagrist at an earlier stage. But I needed CARTOUCHE to get that, and I needed BIARRITZ to get CARTOUCHE, and I needed BABY (which took forever) to get BIARRITZ.

    PLUTO was pretty cool. But that’s just a random example, really. One for the books.

    Edited at 2021-10-26 03:39 pm (UTC)

    1. Yes indeed. This is a pretty good example of we do crosswords, isn’t it?

      Edited at 2021-10-27 02:14 am (UTC)

  5. Twitchers: we note the Lesser Spotted Piper of Humble-in Is back in town for the Tuesday Special.

    FOI 1dn BABY

    (LOI) 16ac the riparian FAIRBANKS thespians.

    COD 9ac BIARRITZ — ‘where prodigals fear to tread’

    WOD 12ac Jackie Gleason’s early fifties sitcom, The HONEYMOONERS

    Whatever happened to 1ac BATHCUBES!?

    Time unrecorded as my watch had stopped!

    Edited at 2021-10-26 06:40 am (UTC)

    1. Bathcubes used to be staple gifts for mothers and aunties when one couldn’t think of anything else to buy for Christmas or birthdays. Radox salts (in unglamorous cardboard boxes that went soggy in bathroom steam) took over but didn’t fulfil the gift potential. Now it’s all liquid bath foams and bubble baths – very eco-unfriendly as they are sold in large plastic bottles.

      Edited at 2021-10-26 07:41 am (UTC)

  6. 51 minutes, finishing with a biffed EDIT. I constructed CARTOUCHE with all crossers in place, unsure of its meaning. I’d actually prefer to have a spare wheel than a SPARE TYRE when confronted with a puncture in a car, but maybe on a bike it would help. I’m giving COD to BLUE WHALE, but the award I’m giving to myself is FAIRBANKS which I got before any crossers were in place. Tough but excellent puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.
  7. DNF in my 30 minutes but that’s no surprise. What a brilliant crossword. Some of the difficulty may derive from the lack of anagrams (I think only a couple).
    How to pick a COD? Impossible. Thanks setter … I wish I had had longer to savour it.
  8. … Bird thou never wert,

    Just under 30 mins pre-brekker and I’m very pleased with myself, which sometimes happens when a crossword is so utterly brilliant and chewy with umpteen CODs and PDMs.
    The convolutions of the Honeymooners anagrist and the ‘Am bid extra sous’ were more than adequately made up for by a string of great surfaces and ingenious wordplay.
    Top setting.
    Thanks setter and J.

  9. Found the SW corner +11d easy – then completely unable to get a foothold elsewhere for ages. Eventually spotted TWIN SISTER and got a few more – but at 40m I’d had enough. Not in the zone today, and this tough challenge defeated me resoundingly.

    BATHCUBE and CARTOUCHE were two words I was never going to dredge up
    After checking IRIS in Lexico (2 definitions listed), I’m still none the wiser why it’s a synonym for “flag” (and I’ve tripped up on that before)
    Thought PLUTO was a dog of the underworld – maybe I’m dyslexic
    And finally, I dunno how many times I’ve failed to make the “down” = BLUE connection, it’s really about time I learned

    1. ODE, sv flag3: a plant of the iris family … see yellow flag sense 2
      yellow flag2: a yellow-flowered European iris which grows by water and in marshy places
  10. That’s just a tad over my historical average time but, for a while, I thought it was going to take a lot longer. My FOI (OPTIC) took 6mins to go in.
    I’m still a little puzzled by EDIT but I got it right anyway.
    I really liked PLUTO for “stopping at nothing” in the clue and I also liked TWIN SISTER but my COD was AMBIDEXTROUS.
    LOI was BIARRITZ but much of the NW corner gave me some bovva.
  11. Hard work. Just scraped in under the hour at 59 minutes. Not a “properly” solved puzzle though as I had no idea what was going on in the wordplay for AMBIDEXTROUS or BUTTERFLY NUT. Whenever it appears, ASBESTOS is almost always my last in as it was today.

    I liked the surface for HOUSE MOUSE. Favourite was BIARRITZ – don’t know why, but I always associate it with the golf course there.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

  12. A very fine crossword, and I feel pleased to have completed in just over 20 minutes. If I have a minor quibble it’s that some of the wordplay was so, so fiendish I could only unravel it by flashes of inspiration from the definition(if I could spot it) and then beating it into submission: BIARRITZ (which was Bayreuth first), ASBESTOS (material?!) and AMBIDEXTROUS are prime examples but there are many others. Having said that, unravelling was both necessary and ultimately pleasurable to be sure.
    Well played and blogged, Jack
  13. A lot about which to enthuse
    With PLUTO the best of the clues
    So hats off to our setter
    It can’t get much better
    Please join me in several woo-hoos
  14. Just been to visit daughter at Bath University so of course last one in was 1A…there must be a word for this, thanks all for continued enlightenment, Regards Tom
    1. I live in Bath and it was my near last one in. Tried to get square in there on the basis that eight is the square of ….ahem…explains my tardy time! 😀
        1. I grew up and went to school in Newcastle. I miss being able to support the Toon the friendliness of folks and the Northumberland coast but not perhaps the cool summers. I think in the 18 years we lived there we sat out in the garden once (or that’s what it felt like!)
  15. I thought this was excellent. Very pleased to have got over the line safely. As others have said, too many good clues to pick out one above the rest.


  16. Yep, another one who found this pretty tough, taking just over the hour. At least I managed to finish with BIARRITZ and CARTOUCHE last in. Certainly some great clues. Loved ASBESTOS when I finally saw it and BLUE WHALE. DNK copper was a butterfly but the nut had to be.

    Thank you Jack and crafty setter.

  17. I wonder if these might be given a rating like the Sudokus?? Some days I sail through the whole thing and on other days hardly anything comes. As I read today’s blog I found myself relieved not too have wasted too much time today.
    1. A good idea in practice, but it wouldn’t really work because of the wavelength factor. Compare my time today with yesterday, when it was apparently easy — but not for me !
      1. I was thinking that when I wrote it – it’s a fair comment! If I read the blog and think to myself ‘I could have or maybe even should have got that’ I think it’s a fair cop. Today as I read it I thought I was on a different planet. Thanks for reply!
  18. 36:12. Talk about being off the wavelength; I found this incredibly hard and my SNITCH rating is off the charts. Apart from the SW corner, which went in fairly quickly, the rest was like pulling teeth, with clue after clue that baffled me completely until the penny eventually dropped.
    Very very good though, and I enjoyed it immensely even as it tortured me.
    I’m still not sure I understand EDIT. Is the idea that ‘info on part of Morse alphabet’ is indicating E {is} DIT?

    Edited at 2021-10-26 09:13 am (UTC)

    1. I indicated ‘correct info’ as the definition of EDIT and took the wordplay as E (=) DIT. I’ve no idea whether that’s correct but it seemed plausible at the time of blogging, as does your suggestion. I’ve been doing so many Guardian puzzles recently I’m getting into the habit of shrugging shoulders and moving on; I may need to watch that!
      1. In your reading I don’t know what the word ‘on’ is doing. The only way I can make sense of it is to imagine a table setting out Morse code:
        C – DAH DIT DAH DIT
        D – DAH DIT DIT
        E – DIT
        And so on.
        This table is information on the Morse alphabet so E-DIT is ‘info on part of Morse alphabet’.
        It’s a bit convoluted though!

        Edited at 2021-10-26 12:38 pm (UTC)

        1. Well you’ve convinced me it’s better than my version but it still lacks something. Another poster mentioned how finely-tuned the clues are but I’d add this as one that lets the puzzle down along with 10ac which is far worse in my opinion.
        2. Crikey, it is convoluted. I got as far as correct =edit and left all the rest well alone!
  19. Lovely stuff. ASBESTOS and URBANE were the pick of what I thought was a very fine puzzle. Finished by spending some time pondering the French resort, having followed everyone else down a rabbit-hole of working out where the devil the H went…
  20. A tricky beast which I was relieved to complete, even though it took just over 50% longer than my average. SPIRIT was my FOI after I drew a blank in the NW. PLUTO followed with a smile. Then the slog really began, although TWIN SISTERS was another early spot. RUBBERNECK and MUMBAI were my last 2 in. Loads of stand out clues. CARTOUCHE and BUTTERFLY NUT were the keys to solving the NW, giving me the CUBE after which BABY, BATH and TOAD arrived. 45:09. Thanks setter and Jack.
  21. I had much the same solving experience as jackkt: took me more than an hour, used aids eventually, had a long period in the middle when I made no progress. But no complaints — an excellent crossword and almost all the things I wasn’t quite happy with have been explained and are perfectly OK (although I’m still a bit uncomfortable with ASBESTOS), but I do agree with Jack about the better form of 10ac.

    It seemed to me that the setter was trying to achieve a pangram but gave up on J and Q.

  22. Great clues that I really enjoyed working through. So very surprised to find I had finished in just 42:46. I’ll go for HOUSE MOUSE as my COD among so much brilliantly tricky stuff
  23. ….which kept me on my toes throughout. I biffed a few, but the only one I couldn’t parse at the end was EDIT.

    MER at the A1 going east — it’s not called the Great North Road for nothing.

    I particularly enjoyed the clever device of PLUTO, the copper fan, and the brilliant rowing misdirection of BATHCUBE. The Uxbridge English Dictionary synonym for a kitchen utensil made me chuckle. I had a favourite though — a quite delightful PDM.

    FOI HONEYMOONERS (anagram of the year ?)

    LOI MUMBAI (with only the U in, I tried desperately to work with my birthplace, Hull)

    COD ASBESTOS (I had the S from the clever AMBIDEXTROUS, and convinced myself for quite some time that it was an obscure cloth starting with OS)

    TIME 12:31 (only 27 seconds slower than yesterday, so “Wavelength Theory” strikes again !)

    1. I thought that at first then I thought “the road is going to the east of the B in the answer” so it’s a bluff from the setter to put us off the track I guess.
  24. Very tricky and well put together – I fell at the final hurdle, not remembering CARTOUCHE and trying to get CARMOUCHE to work, hoping it had something to do with OUCH in ME. A little under 11 minutes with very few of them going in easily.
    1. Cartouche is a word that I know from watching “Bargain Hunt” — how embarrassing is that?
      I know that if a Vesta case has a cartouche without monogram, it has more value than one with a monogram. Sign of a wasted older age?
      1. I didn’t notice anon’s typo but obviously he/she meant 24ac. I’m more concerned that the second anon replied to the query 16 minutes after I had already posted the explanation. How could they see one posting without noticing the other immediately below it?
    1. URBAN is the antithesis (opposite) of ‘country’ and E (Eastern) is the opposite of Western.
  25. I seemed to rattle through most of this, albeit with some left over holes, but the NW left me flummoxed. With the prospect of a DNF in sight, the unlikely answer for copper finally revealed itself when the NUT became apparent. That still didn’t help much, but it gave me CUBE, which I’d wondered about earlier, and everything else fell into place
    COD because hotel is always H BIARRITZ
  26. 24.50 with the last one in being honeymooners. Well, mine was 40 years ago so easy to forget!

    I thought I was going to come a cropper with this puzzle with optic the first one in and not a great deal more on the first run. Fortunately, got a bit of momentum in the later down columns and progress developed.

    Loads of good clues today I thought- man about town, bathcube, mumbai and fairbanks to the fore. But my favourite was urbane.

    Edit had me stumped as to why it was correct but couldn’t think of anything better.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  27. 34.54. I found this one a tough nut to crack. Some clever clues to appreciate in retrospect but at times I felt I was wading through treacle and probably didn’t enjoy the solve all that much.
  28. ….I’d written in RUBBERDUCK which was changed to RUBBERNUCK when I spotted FAIRBANKS and I failed to spot that DUCK/NUCK should have been NECK, so one pink square.

    NW was the trickiest to solve — I’ve never heard of copper = BUTTERFLY, so needed all of the checkers for that. CARTOUCHE went in once HONEYMOONERS was in place, but that put paid to using ISIS (University eight) somehow in 1a. BIARRITZ unblocked my mental block on seeing that a Parking place is a BAY (doh!) and the rest is history.

    Pink squares are more galling when typo’d than if one simply has the wrong answer.

  29. Found this very difficult with six unsolved: blue whale, uncle, colander, asbestos, edit and iris. I agree that there was some fine clueing but also some that were sloppy (mumbai and edit) and others that were obscure to a fault.
    Should have remembered down=blue, flag=iris, uncle=pawnbroker as all are regular crossword fodder.
    Enjoyable in parts but finally unsatisfying.
    Thanks anyway to the setter and grateful thanks to the blogger for the explanations
  30. When I saw the snitch and the average times on the club website I was daunted but astonishingly found myself on the wavelength to romp home in just under 26 minutes and 75th at time of completion.

    The clueing today was exquisite and I couldn’t pick out a COD, perhaps the superb hidden TWIN SISTER.

    Several i biffed without full understanding until coming here for enlightenment.

    Thx Jack and setter.

    PS it goes without saying that when I started my cryptic journey on retirement 5 years ago I’d never have got anywhere with this. Progress owes a heartfelt thanks to all the bloggers and contributors on here, you’re a lovely bunch

  31. Why are we such a “lovely bunch”?
    I’m not sure but, I do have a hunch
    Cos we share what we’ve done
    Not for profit — for fun
    (And some of us are right “out to lunch”!)
  32. 34:56 over 2 sessions as I failed to finish before I had to go out for the day. Clever stuff. Lovely hidden TWIN SISTER and I enjoyed SPARE TYRE, BATHCUBE, HONEYMOONERS and BLUE WHALE when I saw them. LOI BIARRITZ. Thanks Jack and setter.

    Edited at 2021-10-26 03:02 pm (UTC)

  33. Total time 1 hr 41 m. Had to complete in three visits to refresh brain. Anyone — why does this work? You’d think concentration would be lost. LOI Attainable FOI Baby
    1. I think it is not so much about losing concentration as such but allowing the brain to break out of a recirculating rut
    2. When I was doing A level maths many moons ago my teacher told me that if you’re struggling with a problem, walk away for 15 minutes and do something else- your brain is still working on it in the background. It’s something that worked for me then and I kept using it during a career programming and as an analyst. Even came in handy when writing tedious reports to senior management when I’d been promoted away from the tools😊
  34. …….as I found myself getting absorbed in the T 20 cricket, so decided to multi-task. This didn’t affect my enjoyment of what I agree was a top- notch puzzle, with a large number of appreciative ticks in the margin by the end.
    I tend to self-impose a 30 minute max and even allowing for distractions from the TV, I doubt if under normal conditions I would have sorted out my LOI 1 ac “Biarritz” in time. Like Jack and others I was besotted with H for “hotel” and forgot all about Ritz. So game set and match to setter.
    I was in Biarritz in 1979 and felt it was a bit passe, no doubt it has been freshened up since then.
    Among many candidates, I hereby award COD to 12 ac “honeymooners”.
    Great fun, many thanks to Jack for a fine blog and to setter
  35. Reached an hour but just couldnt get the panel or the resort. Did consider CAR.., for the former and did vaguely know the word but the enthusiasm was rather fading at that point. Ritz for hotel was very sneaky — but that’s the setter’s job!

    Great blog and puzzle

    Thx all

  36. This was a tough puzzle but very enjoyable. I was hung up on “Sukumi” for “Mumbai” for a long time (as it contains M1 and UK) but doesn’t make sense (and is probably spelt Sukhumi anyway).
    I didn’t understand why “Uncle” until coming here.
    Thanks, Jack, for the blog.
  37. A fantastic puzzle which i have done a day late – needing three sessions because of work interrupting. Some wonderful clues. Biarritz was the last to fall. Like everyone else I was fixated by hotel = h. Spent a lovely few days there in 2019, at the G7. Beautiful beaches, which lured me back this summer to the same region – or a little north along the Landes coast. Wonderful. Also spent far too long wondering if Polycube existed, and if universities and polys are synomymous in any way. Thankfully decided they weren’t, even though polys have all become universities now of course.

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