Times Cryptic 28124

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 41 minutes. Some of this was quite tricky.

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 Anyone check about sleuth with hound? (3,4,3,5)
MOT (check) reversed [about], DICK (sleuth), AND (with), HARRY (hound – pester). MOT (standing for Ministry of Transport) is an annual test of roadworthiness for vehicles over a certain age. The ministry title was changedmany years ago (it’s currently ‘Department for Transport’) but the name of the test has survived. ‘Tom, Dick and/or Harry’ is a Victorian expression for the man-in-the-street – or on the Clapham omnibus – considered to be of the lower orders and therefore of no importance.
9 Forget your woes — plug in the mobile (7,2)
Anagram [mobile] of PLUG IN THE. The definition seems a tad over-specific as the expression usually means nothing more than ‘don’t take things so seriously’.
10 Constituent very nearly claims overtime (5)
VER{y} [nearly] contains [claims] OT (overtime). I wasn’t sure about the abbreviation, but Collins has it.
11 Mean northern cardinal blocks passport for one (6)
N (northern) + TEN (cardinal number) is contained by [blocks] ID (passport for one – other forms of ID are available)
12 Spot conservationists with a primary food supplier (8)
PLACE (spot), NT (conservationists – National Trust), A
13 King George the Sixth appearing in poster with child (6)
GR (King George – Georgus Rex), then VI (the Sixth) contained by [appearing in] AD (poster)
15 Plot against father assuming power (8)
CON (against), then SIRE (father) containing [assuming] P (power)
18 Appear to control car trade (8)
COME (appear) containing [to control] MERC (car)
19 Hold firm‘s ambassador in centre (6)
HE (ambassador  – His/Her Excellency) contained by [in] CORE (centre)
21 Plan to avoid returning after school (8)
SCH (school), then ELUDE (avoid) reversed [returning]
23 Perhaps tablet‘s best after drink (6)
LAP (drink), TOP (best). Two different devices to my mind, but I suppose there may be overlap in the definition.
26 Our group at university tracks shark’s activity (5)
US (our group), U (university), RY (tracks – railway). Lending money at extortionate rates of interest.
27 Cut across road following flag’s course (5,4)
IRIS (flag), then HEW (cut) containing [across] ST (road). Iris / flag, yet again! Let’s hope everyone has remembered it this time.
28 Idle investor makes a hash of representing pal (8,7)
Anagram [makes a hash] of REPRESENTING PAL
1 Convincing the Yorkshire pianist to shed weight (7)
T‘ (the – as spoken in Yorkshire), ELLING{ton} (pianist – Duke) [to shed weight]
2 Tot’s vocal power (5)
Sounds like [vocal] “mite” (tiny tot)
3 Cool quartet in past maybe concentrated (9)
IN (cool – beatnik slang), then IV (quartet) contained by [in] TENSE (past, maybe)
4 Twist finding family at the heart of Dickens (4)
KIN (family), {Dic}K{ens} [heart]
5 French consul‘s personal refusal to admit a European (8)
NON (personal refusal – ‘no’ as expressed by a Frenchman) containing [to admit] A + POLE (European). I didn’t know this, but one of Nap’s titles was ‘First Consul of France’.
6 Good book in head office beginning to cause mayhem (5)
AV (good book – Authorised Version of the Bible) contained by [in] HO (head office), then C{ause} [beginning]
7 Holding back on shelter before a quarter past four (9)
RE (on), TENT (shelter), IV (four), E (quarter – of the compass). ‘Past’ is a positional indicator.
8 Distance, say, a cart must be raised (7)
EG (say) + A + DRAY (cart) all reversed [raised]
14 A large pest keeps quiet in poor accommodation (9)
A, L (large), MOUSE (pest) contains [keeps] SH (quiet). Accommodation for the poor.
16 Her mascot displayed front cover once (9)
Anagram [displayed] of HER MASCOT. Collins has this as: a decorative V-shaped panel of stiff material worn over the chest and stomach by men and women in the 16th century, later only by women. I vaguely remember meeting this before but the Google search on TfTT was not helpful when I tried to check, bringing up every previous occurrence of ‘stomach’.
17 Small copper line on celebrity’s dishwasher? (8)
S (small), CU (copper), L (line), LION (celebrity). I knew this from ‘scullery’.
18 Protective wear an essential part of Inca’s quest (7)
Hidden in [an essential part of[ {In}CA’S QUES{t}. More obscure apparel from a bygone era. SOED has ‘casque’ as a piece of armour to cover the head; a helmet.
20 Sanction representative, old, visiting the jug (7)
MP (representative – Member of Parliament) + O (old) contained by [visiting] EWER (jug)
22 Upset, your party hosts stop talking (3,2)
DUP (party – Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland) contains [hosts] YR (your) reversed [upset]
24 Venetian school master ignores current big noise (5)
TIT{i}AN (Venetian school master) [ignores current – i].  ‘Big noises’ are people who hold an important position within a group or organization.
25 Wuss in mummy’s pocket primarily? (4)
W{uss} I{n} M{ummy’s} P{ocket} [primarily]

68 comments on “Times Cryptic 28124”

  1. Surprised by equivalence of laptop with iPad, say. Surely the keyboard makes the difference.

    Having just read the most engaging early-year autobiography of Stendhal (a big fan of Napoleon) helped with CONSUL.

    Thanks to Jack for the parsing of TELLING. I was wondering whether perhaps Colin Welling wasn’t a pianist, when in fact he’s not even the actor/screenwriter I thought he was. Note to self: WellAND.

  2. No real problems. DNK STOMACHER but thought it likely.

    Thanks, Jack, for the blog and along with Ulaca for the parsing of TELLING.

    I took 25d to be &lit to avoid “wuss” doing double duty.

  3. 29 minutes. I also thought there might be a pianist called Welling, but ELLINGTON{ton} is clearly who was intended. PLACENTA and then GRAVID suggested we may be heading down an obstetric path but this didn’t go anywhere. WIMP was my favourite and like starstruck_au, I parsed it as an &lit (which probably means it isn’t).

    Otherwise no problems. I look forward to an exposition on “The Importance Of The STOMACHER In The Works Of Georgette Heyer” from a certain contributor.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

    1. To be fair, there are two disciples: one upon the distaff, the other upon the spear side.
    2. I suspect stomachers predate the Georgian era Ms Heyer wrote about; certainly I only remember the word from its two previous appearances here ..
    3. A think STOMACHERs fall a bit outside Georgette Heyer’s preferred period. She did write one book set in the 16th century but I didn’t enjoy it and can’t remember the sartorial details. Ann
  4. Really enjoyed that, despite my ignorance – I’m another who used Welling, the famous pianist seen occasionally in the Times crossword. As is stomacher, though forgotten since the last 2 times: 27009 in 2018, and 25887 in 2014. Using google externally rather than the LJ search finds them easily enough. NHO casques, essayed it, the U and S gave usury and schedule so assumed it was correct. Didn’t know Titian was Venetian, but no problems there either.
    COD lighten up for the surface, but it had some competition.
  5. Slow start–FOI COHERE–but fairly steady. I biffed T, D, & H and only parsed it after submitting. I learned STOMACHER from Dickens not Heyer: Mrs. Rouncewell, Sir Lester Dedlock’s housekeeper in ‘Bleak House’, wears one. I put in TELLING wondering about Welling the pianist, but finally twigged; calling Ellington a pianist seemed a bit misleading. Liked GRAVID & USURY.
      1. Touché, I suppose. Although NAPOLEON was the solution, while ‘pianist’ etc. was part of the wordplay. And ‘consul’ is a lot more limiting than ‘pianist’. To answer your question, though, more so.
        1. I wasn’t really trying to make any particular point. Just striking to have two very famous people defined by things they aren’t most famous for in the same puzzle. It would actually make quite an interesting theme: Larkin as librarian, Ingres with his violin.
          1. Well, it’s not like calling Hitler a “corporal.” “First Consul” was the title under which Bonaparte held ultimate sway over the nation.

            Wikipedia: “On 7 February 1800, a public referendum confirmed the new constitution. It vested all of the real power in the hands of the First Consul, leaving only a nominal role for the other two consuls. A full 99.9% of voters approved the motion, according to the released results. While this near-unanimity is certainly open to question, Napoleon was genuinely popular among many voters.…

            “The Peace of Amiens (25 March 1802) with the United Kingdom…finally gave the peacemaker a pretext for endowing himself with a Consulate, not for ten years but for life, as a recompense from the nation.…

            “On 2 August 1802 (14 Thermidor, An X), a second national referendum was held, this time to confirm Napoleon as ‘First Consul for Life.’ Once again, a vote claimed 99.7% approval.”

  6. Are we perhaps forgetting Sir Palgrave Twelling, born Beverley 1889, died Filey 1957, who mainly wrote sonatas for pianola. He ran the Scarborough Conservatory throughout the Thirties and beyond. He was best known for his ‘llkley Variations’, first performed at The First Night of the Proms 1938 (Barbirolli). The Palgrave Twelling Pianola Museum at Pontefract is well worth a visit.


    LOI 23ac LAPTOP — absolute shocker!


    WOD 14dn ALMSHOUSE — they always look so nice!

    Time: 37 minutes — should do better!

  7. Enjoyed that a lot – after a fairly sluggish start and middle section, the SE and finally NW corners were completed as a sprint finish.

    Derived a couple of unknowns (SCULLION, STOMACHER) pretty easily from the cryptic – but my downfall came when completing the (NHO) GRAVID. Failing to factor in the king part of King George, I entered the unlikely-looking GEAVID, in my haste to cross the line. I should be disappointed, but the fun factor overwhelmed any irritation …however – *must do better* and avoid sloppy mistakes, when the clues are so eminently solvable.

    Thanks J and setter

  8. Helpfully the one obscurity — CASQUES — was my FOI. This gave me SLEEPING PARTNER and the rest flowed nicely from there. I finished up with a tentative TELLING, being another who was thinking of Welling. I had an inkling he may have been a jazz pianist but I now reckon I was thinking of Fats Waller.
    1. My only previous encounters with CASQUE have been in connection with the accreditation of pubs which are deemed to keep their draft ales in tip-top condition. The scheme is run by a non-profit organisation called ‘Casque Mark Trust’. Their signs are to be seen all around the premises that have met their standards but they feature beer tankards, not helmets. Chambers has it as an alternative spelling of ‘cask’ but I can’t find that in any of the other usual sources.

      As for Fats, it’s always good to be thinking of him!

      Edited at 2021-11-02 07:49 am (UTC)

  9. At the easier end for me. Only STOMACHER unknown. I got distracted by all the numbers on the way through lighTEN up, reTENtive, inTENsive, inTENd plus six and four. Enjoyed the surfaces.
    To CONSPIRE to defraud a friend
    But USURY, I fear
    Can never COHERE
    It’s the ALMSHOUSE for them in the end
  11. 33:57
    Fairly straightforward. Had to come here to see how telling worked.
    Thanks, jack.
  12. 24 minutes with LOI the unknown STOMACHER. I didn’t know CASQUES either but it had to be a hidden. COD to TELLING. WOD to GRAVID. Very enjoyable, tricky but never too difficult. Thank you Jack and setter.
  13. I’m glad I’m not the only person who thought there must be a pianist calling TWELLING (outside Horryd’s wonderfully inventive imagination, of course).
    Thank you, Jack for that and for RETENTIVE.
    As for VOTER, back in the day, OT was the common abbreviation for overtime at one workplace.
    Still unsure how LION = celebrity in 17d (SCULLION)
  14. All done and dusted in 37:33. Some t tricky vocab I thought. Like GRAVID which I constructed easily enough, but couldn’t bring myself to write in until I had the crossers. FOI KINK. LOIs the intersecting STOMACHER and COHERE. I like IRISH STEW
  15. ‘The very casques…’, it helps to have done Henry V at ‘O’ level. Also knew STOMACHER from OU literature study, and SCULLION from the tales of King Arthur.

    14′ 06″, thanks jack and setter.

    1. I did it for O level as well (1956) and can still quote chunks of it – including the CASQUE bit – which helped today. Ann
  16. 9:40. Steady solve, without too much out-and-out biffing.
    I was slightly confused by 1ac because it’s always been TOM DICK OR HARRY in my experience, and in its usual context (‘any old TOM…) AND doesn’t really fit.
    MER at ‘perhaps tablet’.
    LOI TELLING, where I posited the existence of WELLING for a while before the light dawned. I didn’t want to put it in without understanding the wordplay because the definition struck me as a bit loose.
    1. The only time I’ve heard Tom, Dick and Harry is in The Great Escape. Otherwise, it’s ‘or.’
      1. I had my doubts too but Brewer’s has ‘and’ only. I may have been influenced by the Cole Porter song.
    2. I think “Tom, Dick and Harry” should be “everyone”. “Anyone” is “(any) Tom, Dick or Harry”.
  17. 13:04 I hesitated at the end over TELLING, not being able to identify the pianist and LIGHTEN UP, failing to spot it was an anagram. COD to the &lit WIMP.
  18. 38 mins. Took a while to get started with unyielding NW holding me up until I saw LIGHTEN UP, MIGHT and then T,D,and H sprung out. Two NHOs GRAVID and STOMACHER but the wp was helpful in both cases. For 13ac I had a Scrabble board of letters ADGRVI til, with crossers the answer came.


    Thanks Jack, especially for the unparsed TELLING and setter.

  19. Liked this one, nothing to frighten the horses.

    Jack, Google advanced search says stomacher has appeared at least twice before; once in 27009 (april 2018) and once in 25887, which you blogged as a sub in Sept 2014.

    On edit: meant to confess I had no idea Ellington was a pianist, which made parsing 1dn difficult, though I wrote it in happily enough anyway.

    Edited at 2021-11-02 08:59 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks, Jerry. I note I said I didn’t know it then either!

      It was clued as an anagram on all three occasions and it’s not a difficult one to unravel so I doubt I ever did real battle with it, in which case it may have stuck.

  20. Enjoyed this more than yesterday’s, thank you. Bottom half faster than top. LOI placenta (there must be a clever comment there) FOI kink. NHO gravid. 50 mins
  21. Iitensive earned me an unexpected pink square as I did do a quick check.

    COD: Tom Dick and Harry

  22. I thought this was a fine crossword which took me just over 20 minutes to unravel: I’d have been much quicker if I’d got TD&H sooner, but I kept nagging at it (or it kept nagging at me) until it fell with a mighty kerplink.
    I missed out om the parsing of DRY UP, for which thanks. I never can remember the useful (to setters, at least) DUP is also a party. and tried to scrape the answer as a reversed alternate letter sort of clue, which it wasn’t.

    I quite like having the more arcane words in a grid, obviously so long as I know them.

    The distinction between LAPTOPs and tablets has blurred somewhat with keyboarded tablets and convertible laptops, and worried me not a lot. My laptop I use on my desk at the moment and my tablet often resides on my lap, but I respect the MERs.

    Edited at 2021-11-02 10:45 am (UTC)

  23. 27.52. Unusually quick for me it seems. No problems but TOM DICK AND HARRY entered with a shrug: I missed the MOT and thought the check was a tick, which left OMD as the sleuth. Not so sure about that.

    Another MER at the equivalence of tablet and laptop.

  24. 24:24. LIGHTEN UP was a well-hidden anagram (from me at least) which I didn’t spot until the post-solve damage assessment. Fortunately the crossers left nothing to chance. Not sure about TELLING as “convincing”, even after looking it up. It seems to have quite a narrow definition of “revealing” or very near variants.
    1. As an adjective, rather than a verb? “Ali landed a telling blow” – maybe not the best example, but that sort of thing.
  25. Started very slowly and feared it would defeat me… but then they started to come. DNK GRAVID or STOMACHER, but they looked like the obvious answers. TELLING was my LOI; knew it was a pianist after ‘t’ missing a weight word/letter, but damned if I could see it. In the end just biffed it because I couldn’t see a viable alternative.
  26. Good fun and a quicker than expected finish. STOMACHER and CASQUES were both new but reasonably straightforward. I needed Jack to explain the pianist, and the consul might have proved more difficult if hadn’t just finished Ruth Scurr’s Napoleon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows.

    SCULLION always brings memories of Tom Sharpe’s Skullion in Porterhouse Blue.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

    1. Old Dick Emery Sketch (abridged):

      A journalist is interviewing a general at an army camp.

      General” “We’re very informal here. We call all our colonels George, all our majors Arthur, and all our sergeants John.

      Journalist: “What do you call your privates?”

      General (taken aback): “Tom Dick and Harry. Why, what do you call yours?”

  27. Off to a flying start as I got the two 15-letter across clues straight away. Slowed down somewhat thereafter but no major issues. I am another who imagined some obscure pianist by t’name of Welling.
  28. I enjoyed this one, starting with KINK and then TELLING. T,D&H didn’t arrive until I saw what was going on at 2d, and was then a write in. CASQUES and STOMACHER were both unknown, but easy enough to work out. GRAVID, another unknown, was my LOI, from wordplay. 26:00. Thanks setter and Jack.
  29. DNF. Bah! A pleasant 15 minute solve scuppered by a fat fingered typo at almshuuse.
  30. Another lunchtime solve, today starting very slowly. I thought I wouldn’t get beyond the bottom half which went in first, including STOMACHER which I cannot decide if I’ve seen before.
    Eventually I got YARDAGE then TOM DICK AND HARRY and then raced to a finish with INTEND LOI. An hour or so.
    Lots of excellent clues. I gave a star to COMMERCE but TELLING also excellent inter alia.
  31. Thanks for TELLING me what was going on with the wordplay, every bit of which was a mystery to me, in 1d. Didn’t even stop to wonder about MOT<= in 1a, and thanks for that too (FOI, nevertheless).
    This morning I realized how sleepy I had really been when I set this aside last night, as the last three (which I won’t even list) went in instantly.

    Edited at 2021-11-02 07:21 pm (UTC)

  32. 21.50 after a slow burn to start. LOI gravid which I was very pleased to work out . I think Barry Cryer would appreciate 1 dn, the alleged Yorkshireism being a staple of his contribution on Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

    Got a bit put off by intent and intensive being so adjacent but took the plunge. All in all a very enjoyable puzzle I thought.
    Thx setterand blogger.

  33. Enjoyable crossword — a few unknowns: GRAVID, STOMACHER, CASQUES but all eminently guessable.

    Failed to completely parse H/STEW (seen the IRIS part plenty of times now), INTEND and INTENSIVE.

  34. Completed in two sessions. The second took 27 minutes, the first untimed but short so this could have been a personal best.
    I had heard all the obscure words previously, even if I could not have defined them. Only failure of parsing was in 1ac where I took ‘about’ to indicate a wrap around rather than a reversal and ‘check’ to give us ‘tomand’ which I took to be an unheard of tartan. I was quite pleased with this invention, much more fun than a boring MOT! Even if totally incorrect.
    Thanks for the explanation Jack and thanks to the setter.
  35. 12:44 this afternoon, after completing chauffeuring duties.
    I really enjoyed this puzzle with its entertaining range of clues, albeit with a few obscurities which necessitated the odd biff or two.
    NHO 16 d “stomacher” but trusted the anagrist and the definition.
    Also NHO of POI 13 ac “gravid”. I’d always thought he was a Dutch international footballer.
    LOI and COD 1 d “telling”. By that stage I needed no convincing that I had heard of a Yorkshire pianist called George Tellington, so fired in my answer. Thanks to Jack for the explanation and hats off to setter for foxing me completely.
    Thanks to Jack for a fine blog and to setter for the mental stretch.

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