Times Cryptic 28178

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 36 minutes. Nothing to say other than what’s in the blog.

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 Cheap device for identifying church by stream (9)
PIN (device for identifying – PIN code), CH (church), BECK (stream). I’ve seen this word in a puzzle quite recently, but apparently in another place.
6 Ring included in goods left by old Russian writer (5)
O (ring) contained by [included in] G G (goods), O (old), L (left)
9 Arrive with post, ultimately attracted by TV serial (9,6)
SITUATION (post – job), COME (arrive), {attracte}D + {b}Y [ultimately]
10 One-time royal attendant in the old country (6)
YE (the, old), OMAN (country)
11 One’s first step, embracing females in the wings (8)
O{ne’s} [first] + STAGE (step), containing [embracing] F F (females)
13 Instruct theatre audience: there may be a gig here (5,5)
COACH (instruct), HOUSE (theatre audience). A gig is a light two-wheeled one-horse carriage
14 Heartless devil’s discovery (4)
FI{e}ND (devil) [heartless]
16 Atmosphere associated with large animal’s retreat (4)
L (large), AIR (atmosphere)
17 Enterprising type coming right across river (10)
ADVENT (coming) + R (right), containing [across] URE (river). In the church calendar Advent marks the coming of Christ on earth. The river is in North Yorkshire.
19 Candidate‘s former partner meeting friend born in Paris (8)
EX (former partner), AMI (friend) + NÉE (born) [in Paris]
20 Coarse little devil about to pinch uniform (6)
IMP (little) + RE (about), containing [to pinch] U (uniform – NATO)
23 Form of flattery originally praising peer’s jewellery (9,6)
IMITATION (form of flattery – proverb), P{raising} [originally], EARLS (peer’s). The comparison between imitation and flattery is often attributed to Wilde, but it goes back a lot further in time.
24 Breather required before everyone’s third jab (5)
LUNG (breather), {ev}E{ryone’s} [third letter]
25 New sidesman receiving nothing in July, perhaps (3-6)
Anagram [new] of SIDESMAN containing [receiving] O (nothing)
1 Crossing street, fork out for meat and veg pie (5)
PAY (fork out) containing [crossing] ST (street). If there are any Cornish people around, the setter may be taken to task for calling it a pie!
2 Takeover involving island girl taking time in race (15)
IONA (island) + LISA+ T (time) contained by [in] NATION (race). The setter is on dangerous ground here too equating ‘race’ with ‘nation’, if previous discussions here are anything to go by!
3 Problem identified by top teacher, a revolutionary (8)
HEAD (top teacher), A, CHE (revolutionary– Guevara)
4 Some of them irritated a Muslim ruler (4)
Hidden in [some of ] {th}EM IR{ritated}
5 Flyer‘s angle accepted by two monarchs (10)
FISH (angle) contained [accepted] by KING + ER (two monarchs)
6 Game birds finally heading for one of several rivers (6)
{headin}G + {fo}R [finally], OUSE (one of several rivers). There are four or five of them. A tributary of the Great Ouse called the Ouzel runs through my town.
7 Regiment‘s drug raid sergeant mostly organised (9,6)
Anagram [organised] of DRUG RAID SERGEAN{t} [mostly]
8 Licensed church member, top person around Scottish port (3,6)
LEADER (top person) contains [around] AYR (Scottish port)
12 Cricketer is mad at first about duke’s censorship (10)
BOWLER (cricketer) + IS + M{ad} [at first] containing [about] D (duke). Read about Thomas Bowdler here if you wish to know more.
13 Officer allowed to entertain one associated with place of study (9)
COL (officer), then LEGAL (allowed) containing [to entertain] I (one). Not sure that I knew this word but it was easy enough to work out.
15 As letters may be, initially encouraging headlong rush (8)
STAMPED (as letters may be), E{encouraging} [initially]
18 Silver, say, provided by Irish tucking into hors d’oeuvre (6)
IR (Irish) contained by [tucking into] PATÉ (hors d’oeuvre)
21 English head going over German city (5)
E (English) then NESS (head) reversed [going over]
22 Woman from north involved in Muslim festival (4)
N (north) contained by [involved in] EID (Muslim festival)

65 comments on “Times Cryptic 28178”

  1. NATIONALISATION last in after the penny dropped on PINCHBECK. Studied Bowdlerised Aristophanes at school. A bit like watching a porno with all the best bits taken out…
  2. 36 minutes for me too. The only one I didn’t know was PINCHBECK as an adjective, rather than a noun. I see that in the dictionaries, COLLEGIAL has the sense given here, but to me it also means supportive and congenial, on the basis of shared experience or membership of a group or body of people, not necessarily a college or university.

    Quite apart from the point raised by our blogger, I thought 2d was iffy given the old S v Z argument. The letter was uncrossed and was not referred to specifically in the wordplay, so I would have thought either could be correct, unless The Times has a policy to prefer S over Z.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

    1. You make a fair point, particularly since the girl is emphatically spelt either way. I was on automatic and used the S spelling, but had the required answer been the Z version I’d have felt pretty miffed to the extend of storming the editorial barricades.
  3. Might be residual new years tiredness but I really made a meal of this one and took forever to piece together PINCHBECK and NATIONALISATION 16:17
  4. For a puzzle of relatively straightforward clueing, I took a long time with this. So naturally I have nits to pick here and there, which I don’t need to bore the rest of the gang with. But they were important to me. jack — it might be Colonel (Col) + Legal including I at 13d.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 04:12 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks, Paul. Another case of not reading my notes when writing the blog! Corrected now.
  5. Pretty straightforward stuff for a 30 minute finish before I head for town.

    FOI 1dn PASTY – something I have never liked – preferring a pork-pie everytime.

    LOI 13ac COACH HOUSE and not COACH HORSE as originally pondered!


    WOD 1ac PINCHBECK – when I was a kid in Sleaford Lincs, our milk had Pinchbeck Dairies on the bottles. Pinchbeck is the centre of the dairy industry in Holland, between Donington and Spalding. Pinchbeck’s church tower (at Surfleet St Laurence) leans at a more acute angle than the bell tower at Pisa! It is quite alarming to drive past. The bells boast the lightest peel in Britain, apparently.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 08:51 am (UTC)

  6. I went through this at a gentle canter but two pinks at 24ac from bunging in LANCE and not revisiting to get LUNGE. Most annoying.


    Never heard of PINCHBECK…


  7. I zipped through this one, barely even noticing the ‘nation’–biffed this, along with LAY READER. Nothing to frighten the horses, or amuse the solver. I agree with Paul (otherwise an L is unaccounted for), and Bletchley, about COLLEGIAL, whatever the dictionaries say.
  8. Collegial system is fine to describe Oxford, for example, even if collegiate is more usual.

    Collegiality in Hong Kong at any rate means ‘toe the line and you will have a better chance of promotion.’

  9. After a relaxing New Year’s break in the Isles of Scilly it’s now time to try to break my terrible solving run. Today was a good confidence booster in that respect, though by now I’ve come to expect the pink squares so seeing zero errors was a relief. PINCHBECK was the only unfamiliar answer, though I feel I’ve heard it somewhere. Having looked up the definition, the origin of the term is interesting: “A yellow alloy of copper with much less zinc than ordinary brass, simulating gold, invented by Christopher Pinchbeck (c.1670–1732), English watchmaker”.
  10. Found this to be an easy puzzle, really enjoyed the feeling (by my standards anyway) of zipping through it, thinking a PB may be on the cards until I bogged down in the NE, around 17m. FOI FIND then the similarly obvious LAIR – didn’t feel fast at the start, but accelerated through the grid with most of the bottom half preceding the top. Knew PINCHBECK was a word, though not the definition.

    Ended up taking a long time to see SITUATION COMEDY, which unlocked LAY READER and left me with 6d as the last to fall. Didn’t properly parse that, but I knew there were several river OUSEs, so half-biffed GROUSE.

    My fave kind of puzzle – lots of fun to do, confidence-boosting even at my modest level of skill and experience. Thanks J and setter

  11. 21:07
    OK puzzle. AMI NEE doesn’t agree adjectivally, but I guess you just have to read ‘friend born’ as two completely separate things.
    Thanks, jack.
  12. A nice easy 30 minutes here. I left a few in the top to come back to, never having heard of a PINCHBECK, for example, then had to come back to them sooner than I expected after the bottom half went in pretty easily. A few extra minutes pondering the leftovers, including long LOsI SITUATION COMEDY and NATIONALISATION and I was done. Enjoyed the topical surface at 24a.
  13. PB at 21.47 after a pretty torrid run of pink squares and DNFs.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 08:26 am (UTC)

  14. NHO PINCHBECK or of beck… so went with PINCHNECK. Ah well, we head for Canada (COVID allowing) tomorrow and I am hoping the mountain air will clear my brain…
  15. … which we used to sing at primary school. 26 minutes with LOI COLLEGIAL. COD shared between SITUATION COMEDY, IMITATION PEARLS and BOWDLERISM. I was able to construct PINCHBECK only after I’d been re-nationalised. It’s 32 years now since my beloved CEGB was laid low. And still the lights haven’t gone out. Yet! Decent puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 09:09 am (UTC)

  16. 27 mins. Reasonably simple today, the only unknowns being PINCHBECK (entered through wp) and EID, ENID bunged in with fingers crossed.

    I liked the device in GOGOL (GG) which I think I have seen recently, maybe somewhere else.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  17. I started off with PASTY, then PINCH???? with the BECK only arriving after the KINGFISHER, which was quite late in the solve. The rest of the puzzle was done without too much trouble apart from last 2 in, NATIONALISATION and then SITUATION COMEDY. Was held up for ages by the former. Liked BOWDLERISM. 24:49. Thanks setter and Jack.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 09:21 am (UTC)

  18. A breeze in 13.11. The long ones helped by filling a lot of squares pretty easily. BOWDLERISM my last in, though not because I was unfamiliar with it, or PINCHBECK, come to that.
    I did wonder idly which season July was in the middle of.
  19. 13:10 Held up by a guessed PERCHBECK for 1A…. but REGIONALISATION for 2D wasn’t right either… eventually saw it was PINCHBECK (which I DNK) and NATIONALISATION so could finish with SITUATION COMEDY. I liked the topical reference to a third jab. Have we all had ours now? Thanks Jackkt and setter.
  20. 6:31. A breeze this morning, only the unknown PINCHBECK causing any significant delay. Interesting word.
  21. Flew through this today, PINCHBECK FOI, familiar from somewhere (Dickens?).

    I am a 8d, although the term varies from diocese to diocese, and 17ac went in without parsing.

    Liked COACH HOUSE, got after thinking of stadiums and arenas.

    10′ 36″, thanks jack and setter.

  22. I was hoping to break the Ten Minute Barrier but was held up by biffing Gooses(!) from game = Go and birds = definition.


  23. If I can complete this in 19 minutes then it must be very easy, but the Snitch is only saying that it’s ‘easier’, not ‘very easy’, so perhaps I had a lucky day. Nothing that delayed me for long, except perhaps pinchbeck (the sham meaning that Chambers gives is the one I knew) and kingfisher. Lisa went in by luck.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 10:33 am (UTC)

  24. by two of the long ones, which I just couldn’t see.

    NATIONALISATION and SITUATION COMEDY took a good 5 minutes or so.

    Got there in the end though.


  25. 23 minutes.
    After solving over half the clues in 10 minutes, I was hoping for a sub-twenty time, but it took another 13 minutes to get the rest. PINCHBECK wasn’t very familiar, and only solved from wordplay once I had the P from 1d. Several others were biffed without looking too closely at the wordplay.

    I agree that the unchecked S of NATIONALISATION (if that is the spelling used in the solution) is naughty. Chambers gives precedence to Z, as do Oxford and Collins online dictionaries, but the latter two give S as an example of British usage.

  26. I glanced at today’s Times cartoon after solving and I see that certain officers in the GRENADIER GUARDS are GROUSing about a former royal whose IMPURE adventures are causing HEADACHEs and they would like to push him OFFSTAGE before the SITUATION worsens. 10.31
    1. I stopped looking at Times cartoons because I found them so ugly. I was surprised to find GRENADIER GUARDS, because Private Willis, who marries the Fairy Queen, was a member, and I’d always assumed it was a fictional regiment.
  27. Mightily held up by a biffed PITCHFORK, which I admit can’t really be described as cheap, but FORK being a stream was vaguely possible.
    LOI OFFSTAGE, which I was trying to make OFFSPACE despite that not being a thing.
    I may be getting my post Covid brain to function a bit better at last.
  28. 12:41 — so v fast by my standards — for a pleasant, workaday sort of puzzle, the most interesting thing about it being the origin of the word PINCHBECK, enlightenment courtesy of pootle73.
  29. Didn’t feel like I was being particularly slow, but pleased to drop a minute and a half inside my target of 25m30s (Snitch 71 at the time of checking).

    Seemed to find immediate success on the RH side — GOGOL first in (O Level Russian helping there) before biffing GRENADIER GUARDS after a cursory look at the anagrist.

    1d, 3d and 4d then opened up a host of opportunities in the NW though PINCHBECK and the not-entirely-successfully parsed NATIONALISATION (with a hope that S rather than Z would prevail) were the last two in.

  30. 29:49. Yay. Under half an hour for the second day running. LOI PIRATE which I had to keep going back to. COD KINGFISHER
  31. Very good time for me, with LOI NATIONALISATION.
    DNK AYR was a Scottish port, so didn’t parse that one.

    Silver=pirate, what’s that about?

    COD BOWDLERISM and there’s a discussion about it on the Times Letter page today, following an article yesterday about Trigger Warnings for students of Ancient Greek.

  32. I agonised over 2d. Would the girl be Lisa or Liza? It would be spelled with an S here in Oz, but in UK? Plumped for the S, primed for pink. Survived. 27:14
  33. 10.10. Fast for me and a new entry at number three on my all time fastest solves on the SNITCH. It is pleasing to think that I may not yet be past my personal speed solving peak. It was definitely helpful to get the two long down clues early on. Having to work out pinchbeck and a couple in the bottom half of the grid deprived me of a sub-10 minute solve.
  34. I know a work colleague who is a LIZA- we did have a LISA, but she left a few years ago. As it’s unchecked, I’m going to give myself the clue. After misspelling KOWTOW with a C yesterday, it is annoying though. I think Morse had views on the s and the z.
    I liked the SItUATION COMEDY clue. Thanks for the blog, Jack
  35. This was Monday fare. COD Situation Comedy. WOD Imitation Pearls. I am ever amazed at the gaps in others’ knowledge! fyi adj. Pinchbeck = tawdry (from Pinchbeck jewelry) and Kingfisher is also a popular Indian Beer from Bangalore & Maidstone, which deserves a mention.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 02:22 pm (UTC)

  36. Thanks to Flashman for pointing out the relative accessibility of this one, and for directing me to the Snitch which the bloggers often mention but I had no idea what it was. So a forty-minute solve. Looked like I was on for a DNF as was stuck on pirate (LOI) for ages, wanting to put Ag in there at the end. I did see pirate, but even then it took ages for Long John Silver to show up. FOI find, but going well on first pass at fifteen in – always worth continuing once the dreaded thirteen are done. Didn’t parse everything completely, but thoroughly enjoyed the workout. Liked many of the clues. Had help from husband with collegial, (one letter) lunge (a guess, but a good one, and I saw the breather) and lay reader, as I wondered what a lay leader could be. Thanks, Jack, setter and Flashman
  37. Another 19 minute finish. Would have been much quicker if I’d managed to untie the SITUATION COMEDY, NATIONALISATION, knot earlier. I liked IMPURE and IMITATION PEARLS.

    Not many famous ENID’s. Bagnold Blyton… Apparently the latter liked playing tennis in the nude. Presumably not at the local club.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  38. ….other than that I hesitated before entering my LOI. It just doesn’t look like a real word.

    TIME 7:28

  39. A pleasant lunchtime challenge. With just two left after under an hour I wasn’t going to give up. Eventually NATIONALISATION emerged which I had guessed would start with INTER or EX but I followed the parsing in the end. Could it start with N? It did.
    That led to a laboured search for LOI PINCHBECK. LEAK for Stream seemed not quite right and when I thought of the word, it rang a vague bell. We have a beck at the end of my garden; should have thought of that sooner.

  40. Fitted solving this in around other activities so didn’t get round to timing it. Frustrating because it could have been a PB. NHO of pinchbeck (Pinchbeck Warkin kept coming to mind, annoyingly) but it was clear. Everything else fell into place steadily.
    Happy new year to all.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.
  41. LOI LAY LEADER is a thing too!
    Another morning solve, glad it wasn’t hard. I was just in too much of a hurry to finish, though (work was waiting), or I would have parsed this correctly. AYR!

    Edited at 2022-01-04 05:26 pm (UTC)

  42. 52 minutes, but much of that glaring at PINCH?E?K, which I eventually correctly filled out with a slightly educated guess. BECK is not really in my vocabulary and PINCHBECK certainly isn’t. The rest of the puzzle was very easy so it is extremely irritating to be held up by a single obscure term. As for NATIONALISATION, I simply assume the preferred British spelling is with S rather than Z, but it’s also a bit IMPURE, I would say. Not the best puzzle, really.
  43. For some reason I can’t log in to make a comment. Amy ideas. This is Leskoffer. Nice and easy. Silver = pirate is one thing. Silver = cook is another. Don’t forget The Enid.

    Ok now it has sent me another window and I can log in. Weird

  44. LOI Pinchpeck which was wrong but the rest right after picking away at this one on and off all day. Disappointed to see that most thought it very easy so, as often happens, feel a bit deflated.
  45. This one just flowed in, top left to bottom right. Must have been in tune with the setter.
    18 minutes.
    FOI Pinchbeck
    COD Nationalisation.
  46. Late entry

    KINGFISHER gave me the K for 1ac and that helped finish the NW and the puzzle

    Liked COACHHOUSE and thought the GG was a vg anagram

    Thanks all

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