Times Cryptic 28220

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

DNF. This was a very odd puzzle in that I completed three-quarters of it quite comfortably in a little under 20 minutes and then ground to a complete halt with 7 words missing around the NE segment where only 8dn and 16ac had gone in easily. With no progress after another 15 minutes I resorted to aids for two answers, both unknown to me as it turned out, and tried to continue. I had been hoping for a kick-start, but the checkers provided by these answers didn’t help me at all with the remaining clues. Eventually I threw in the towel out of sheer frustration, something I can’t remember ever happening to me on a blogging day. I wonder if others had problems?

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 Zero in maths worried Hardy, for one (6)
0 (zero) contained by [in] anagram [worried] of MATHS. I lost a little time here ruling out ‘Oliver’ which had been my first thought.
4 Mistake to eat a cut of lamb that’s salty (8)
BISH (mistake) contains [to eat] RACK (cut of lamb). This was the first one I eventually resorted to aids for. I’d have said I’d never met it before but it has come up twice, in 2016, and in 2018 (with almost identica1 wordplay). I didn’t mention it in my comments on either occasion.
10 Brisk run expands one’s whole self-image? (7)
R (run) is contained by [expands] ALL (whole) + EGO (one’s…self-image). My first one in today.
11 Physical structure shortly to be seen moving west across northern state (7)
ANATOM{y} (physical structure) [shortly] reversed [to be seen moving west} and containing [across] N (northern). Unable to get a handle on the wordplay and without any checkers other than the final A, this one proved too tricky for me. The definiton was obvious but unhelpful.
12 Wretched dwelling, not large, in seaside resort (4)
HOVE{l} (wretched dwelling) [not large – l]. Just along the south coast from Brighton, this has been part of the City of Brighton & Hove since 2001.
13 Spitting as article breaks piece of equipment (10)
A (article) is contained by [breaks] IMPLEMENT (piece of equipment). The apparently eccentric definition was beyond me and prevented my seeing the straightforward wordplay.  ‘Spit’ in this sense needs to exist as a verb for this to work as a literal definition, and eventually I found it in Collins: to impale on or transfix with or as if with a spit.
15 Declare liable for docking cat (9)
PRON{e} (liable – prone to fail at solving clues) [for docking], OUNCE (cat)
16 What’s needed for job — a steel tack (5)
Hidden in [what’s needed for] {jo}B A STE{el}. Not the usual meaning of ‘baste’ here either; it means ‘to sew loosely’, as does ‘tack’. Easily spotted as a hidden answer though.
18 A year after “essential,” stale (5)
MUST (essential), Y (year). Surely the comma needs to go after the inverted commas?
19 Moving eyes, trademark completion of portrait: his? (9)
REM (moving eyes – Rapid Eye Movement), BRAND (trademark), {portrai}T [completion]. I understand it’s a feature of some Rembrandt portraits that the eyes appear to follow the viewer around the room.
21 Sickness moving one indeed to eat right, being concerned with nutrition (10)
AILMENT (sickness) + AY (indeed) containing [to eat] R (right), moving I (one) becomes ALIMENTARY. ‘Alimentary, my dear Watson’ was the punch-line of a Muir / Norden joke many years ago.
23 Some animals fancied each way at the start (1,3)
A{nimals} F{ancied} E{ach} W{ay} [at the start]
26 Proposed law from long ago in force (3,4)
OLD (from long),  BILL (proposed law – in the UK Parliament). When it passes into law, a bill becomes an Act of Parliament. ‘Old Bill’ is slang for the police force, often specifically The Met.
27 Lose it completely, chucking policeman in river (7)
PLOD (policeman) contained by [chucking in] EXE (river). More slang for police, this time from the rather dim bobby in Enid Blyton’s Noddy books.
28 Regularly ruin board game, introducing new complexity (8)
R{u}I{n} [regularly] + CHESS (board game) containing [introducing] N (new)
29 Youngster in cot, perhaps with sharp edge (6)
LAD (youngster) contained by [in] BED (cot, perhaps)
1 Temperature, along with skin blemish, remains (5)
T (temperature), RASH (skin blemish)
2 When clear outside, start to lift one blind (9)
OBVIOUS (clear) containing [outside] L (left) + I (one)
3 Mythical vessel is back, crossing river (4)
AGO (back) containing [crossing] R (river)
5 One unable to fly into a passion turns to the bottle (7)
EMU (one unable to fly) contained by [into] RAGE (passion). This was another one that beat me. I had considered both the elements of wordplay (emu and rage) but as I didn’t know this unlikely looking word meaning the periodic turning or shaking of bottled wine, I was unable piece it together. I was convinced by ‘turns’ that something needed to be reversed. The word has never appeared before in the TfTT era, even in a Mephisto.
6 Run and hide in tell-tale city (10)
CANTER (run), BURY (hide). In another puzzle I would have really enjoyed this clue, but my lack of checkers and feeling of desperation setting in prevented me solving it. The definition refers to Chaucer of course.
7 Statue that is stuffed with paper item (5)
IE (that is – id est) containing [stuffed] MAG (paper item). This should have been obvious but I couldn’t find anything meaning ‘paper item’ to put between the I and the E.
8 Try and attend to nurse patient’s last sign of life (9)
HEAR (try) + BE AT (attend) contains [to nurse] {patien}T [‘s last]. My last entry before becoming stuck. All seemed well at that stage and with only 7 answers to go I fully expected to complete the grid within my half-hour target.
9 Stone structure puzzling old people (6)
Anagram [puzzling] of OLD, then MEN (people). Another unknown, but I expect it has come up before.
14 Post Office insanely resited for remote islander (10)
PO (Post Office), anagram [resited] of INSANELY
15 Assistant forbidding bringing dog over for hair styling (9)
POM (dog), PA (personal Assistant), DOUR (forbidding). ‘Pom’ coming up last Thursday helped.
17 Keeping calm if dragons run wild (9)
Anagram [run wild] of DRAGONS IF
19 Chatters away but sounds insecure (7)
Two meanings
20 Nightmare as revolutionary spirit rises (6)
RED (revolutionary) + RUM (spirit) reversed [rises]
22 In this group of languages charge is incomplete (5)
INDIC{t} (charge) [incomplete]
24 Savage conserves energy to use as a weapon (5)
WILD (savage) contains [conserves] E (energy)
25 Old friend is a gem (4)
O (old), PAL (friend). One from the QC to finish on!

61 comments on “Times Cryptic 28220”

  1. I didn’t find this particularly difficult, although I biffed a couple–REMBRANDT, ALIMENTARY–and demi-biffed a couple more–HEARtbeat, pronOUNCE–parsing them all post-submission. I don’t know why MONTANA popped into my mind, but once it did I saw how it worked. MONTANA gave me EMU, then REMUAGE, which I may have come across somewhere, although DNK. I liked EXPLODE.
  2. Mostly not too much trouble, but like jackkt the NE was a beast. Eventually brackish and impalement – which I really liked – appeared. The rest slowly followed, LOI the unknown remuage a hopeful guess. Some quirky definitions made it interesting all the way around, and difficult in places. Missed anatomy – was wondering if an atom was a short physical structure – groan.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
  3. SWLB as I used aids to get IMPALEMENT.
    Like Jack, that was just too hard for me.
    Oddly, the act of REMUAGE came up on an edition of Pointless that was shown in NZ recently, I seem to remember.
    Not too happy about POM equalling dog but Jack says it’s come up recently so I guess it’s OK.
    1. Indeed the canine Pom came up in the QC quite recently, where it caught quite a few of us out. It adds a whole new level of insult to the Aussie name for us Brits, Whingeing Poms, if in fact all along they were actually calling us snivelling dogs.
      1. Oh dear, I just read your first sentence as: Indeed the canine P o r n came up in the QC quite recently, where it caught quite a few of us out.
  4. With the situation in the Ukraine worsening and TFtT still being on the LiveJournal platform,
    I will no longer be posting on this blog, until a more acceptable alternative might be found.. LiveJournal is Russian owned and as we are all aware has recently undergone some odd disruptions

    I would like to thank everyone involved in the blog. I have enjoyed the company and the experience immensely.

    Best wishes to one and all.

    Au revoir


    1. LiveJournal is not owned by the Russian government, and indeed, as I understand it, is not liked by the Russian government. A few years ago, there was discussion here about leaving LJ, and Sotira argued, precisely because the Russian authorities disliked it (and are likely responsible for those ‘odd disruptions’), that we should stay with them.
      1. I am wondering if this is still entirely true…a quick search seems to suggest it now belongs, by various degrees of separation, to a media company called Rambler, which is owned by a bank called Sberbank, which is owned by the Russian state. I may be reading this incorrectly, of course.
        1. All I know (if ‘know’ is the word) is what I vaguely remember from Sotira’s posting years ago. This change of ownership might explain the lack of disruptions lately.
    2. Considering who owns the Times itself, I can’t be that much of a purist. And I doubt if our activity here affects in any perceptible manner the international balance of power. But I’ll miss you, Horry!
    3. I would like to add something to this thread as the horror in Ukraine continues and using a Russian site makes me feel somewhat unwell, shall we say. The German Wikipedia entry for LiveJournal says it belongs to the oligarch Alexander Mamut, who has been called the Kremlin’s financier because he helped finance the campaigns of Boris Yeltsin and of Putin (but who knows how long ago that was). The English Wikipedia entry states that LiveJournal’s legal basis is subject to Russian law since 2017, so theoretically any mention of a war in Ukraine would now be forbidden. On the other hand, I have just read recent postings in Russian with the conclusion that the only path to Russia’s survival in this conflict is Russia’s defeat, so censorship has not overrun the site yet (there are certainly also postings which approve of what is happening in Ukraine). Our using this site is not going to make the owner rich, but it will help him obtain advertising revenue, and I would be much much happier if we could switch to a different provider.
  5. This one started a bit slowly (hey I’m seeing a pattern here, maybe I should wait till I’ve woken up properly) then the SE corner came very easily, followed by a plod through the LHS. I found myself with ¾ of the puzzle fully complete, and the NE corner empty. Eventually saw the RACK in BRACKISH (BISH unknown to me) and got a foothold…

    …REMUAGE had a “made-up word” feeling to it, but the cryptic seemed clear, didn’t parse MONTANA – and I abandoned the puzzle with two left (IMPALEMENT, DOLMEN). I think I’ve encountered the latter word before, never knew what it meant.

    Feel like this was a decent effort for me, especially when our blogger encountered similar difficulties – thanks J and setter

    1. BISH lives solely in Crosswordland, and is not even accepted on Words With Friends (although such non-words as QGP and ZES are) ! I challenge you to use it in conversation with friends, and see if a single one of them knows what you mean.
      1. Really? Bish meaning mistake is surely a fairly common British English colloquialism. OK, a British Public-School Mid-1970s English colloquialism, but that isn’t that small a social circle — especially, I might suggest, on TftT.

        “Bit of a bish that, old boy” would certainly be well understood in Clubland …

        1. Yes, ‘You made a bish’ is the sort of thing that I heard all the time back in the day at prep school in particular. I imagine Jennings and others if that ilk used the word, but would have no clue myself, as I never read the stuff.

          Here we go: (online dictionary citation for bish) ‘1951, Anthony Buckeridge, Jennings Follows a Clue, page 41:
          What on earth was the matter with him? He never made bishes like this during PT!’

          Edited at 2022-02-22 10:01 pm (UTC)

  6. 45 mins with the unknown 5d REMUAGE last in. Spent quite a long time staring at that and 13a IMPALEMENT. Perhaps living near an estuary helped with BRACKISH. Anyway, must go and turn my wine.
  7. 48 minutes with REMUAGE LOI, constructed but expected to be wrong. I did eventually guess at the gruesome meaning of IMPALEMENT, but not until there was no other answer. COD to REMBRANDT. This was tough after yesterday’s stroll in the park. Thank you Jack and setter.
  8. Awake again this morning, so a good, for me, time of 18′ 16″ — but no leaderboard as I would not risk the nho REMUAGE.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  9. 43 minutes. REMUAGE of course unknown and went in from wordplay and crossers. The only reason I could get IMPALEMENT was that I thought there might have been a typo, with ‘Splitting’ being the intended def, but that’s not really the same thing either. Happy to have remembered DOLMEN.

    Favourite was the reference to PC PLOD in 27a.

  10. 14:37. Quite tricky this, and I knew all the funny words.
    REMUAGE is specific to champagne: the bottles are held in special racks where the cellar staff (or these days a machine) turn the bottles periodically, gradually increasing the angle so that the yeasty sediment gathers in the neck ready to be disgorged.
  11. Same probs as others filling in NE.

    BISH remembered from Anthony Buckeridge’s Jennings prep school books where bishes appear to be frequent occurrences among the schoolboys, as well as well-recalled, amusing jokes:

    Teacher: What do bats do in winter?
    Jennings: They split if you don’t oil them, Sir.

    IMPALEMENT paved the way for DOLMEN and gave the final checker for REMUAGE — as with others had thought of both RAGE and EMU, but did double check existence before submission.

    Edited at 2022-02-22 09:13 am (UTC)

    1. I had a full set of both Jennings and Just William when I was a lad. They’d probably be quite valuable now.
      1. I also loved the Jennings books — perhaps it’s time to reread them.
        Needed aids today to get “Remuage” — what a strange word.
      2. Ah, sorry, I hadn’t read this far down when I wrote about Jennings. No intention to whack you over the head with a cudgel over such a trivial thing!!
  12. Pleasantly surprised to come here and find that my last three in, DOLMEN, BRACKISH and REMUAGE, were correct, as I had heard of none of them and was left hoping I’d got the wordplay correct. I also wasn’t sure of the spitting meaning of IMPALEMENT, but the clue left no option for anything else.

    Every now and then I do the Sporcle ‘Name all 50 US states’ quiz, and one of the states that I keep forgetting is MONTANA – but in turn that means it’s now at the forefront of my mind when I see ‘state’ in these crosswords. That was a stroke of luck, as once it occurred to me the wordplay was simple enough to figure out.

    FOI Thomas
    LOI Remuage
    COD Old bill

    1. A friend of mine, doing research in Kenya and trying to learn Swahili, tried to remember *mzuri* (‘good’) by associating it with the state of Missouri. So when actually having to reply ‘mzuri’, she came up with *montana*.
  13. 24.03, with IMPALEMENT taking up what seemed like nearly all of that. True, not much else flew in, and I treated it as one where, even if the answer was obvious, I needed to sort out the wordplay to be confident.
    The teeny A FEW threw me. Some Animals Fancied Each…at the start gave SAFE, but S AFE is not a thing. Move on.
    Didn’t enjoy this one much, I’m afraid, perhaps discombobulated by a (very) early visit from the gasman. An yes, there are still taps (well, radiator valves) I can’t turn on.
  14. About 30 mins, in two bursts.
    One or two tricky clues. LOI remuage.
    Thanks, jack.

    Edited at 2022-02-22 10:12 am (UTC)

  15. Unsurprisingly, a disproportionate amount of time spent on various testing clues in the upper area of the grid. I was happy to have come across REMUAGE in a recent quiz, or that would have been even more obscure, and made the DOLMEN / IMPALEMENT nexus even more impenetrable. Still, got there in the end, and enjoyed the REMBRANDT clue along the way.
  16. There was a bit of a whiplash effect with this one with some very easy ones (OPAL and ARGO) and some real head-scratchers. I had to get another cup of tea before I remembered what EMU means in French (stirred not shaken) and even then wasn’t convinced. As Isla said, some odd definitions – MURDER=nightmare and IMAGE wasn’t the first thing that came to mind for statue although I dredged up the biblical graven images taboo. 24.53
  17. 78 mins, DNF. After a quick start, as so often expecting things would be easy and finding that this was not so, I was stuck on four clues as so often. I couldn’t see the connection between IMPALEMENT and spitting (the two senses of spitting that occurred were both wrong); REMUAGE was unknown — I found it electronically; MONTANA utterly defeated me; and why was CANTERBURY a tell-tale city (never thought of Chaucer)? Eventually I bunged in REMUAGE, CANTERBURY, IMPALEMENT and MANDALA and to my surprise three of them turned out to be correct.
  18. Yes a strange puzzle with quickie clues like OPAL mixed with unknowns. One does wonder why a setter should choose a word like REMUAGE over rampage or rummage just to chuck in a word which might make the puzzle harder than it otherwise is. Rant over.
  19. Pretty pleased with my effort this morning – found quite a few clues fairly easily jumped at even if the parsing required some thought. Helped that I knew ‘remuage’ (I masquerade as a Wine Merchant by day). Anyway, submitted with a time of 11:36 only to find myself presented with a pink square. The ‘T’ intersection at the end of ‘Rembrandt’ and ‘Heartbeat’ had inexplicably* become an ‘A’. ‘Fiddlesticks!’ I said.

    *Obviously there *is* an explanation – I’m just upset.

  20. Which is VERY annoying in that I thought of remuage, and I have heard of it (read an article on champagne a few decades ago) but didn’t put it in.
    Also BIFd 16a BASTE as had again heard of the loose stitching, but forgot it at the time and failed to parse it.
  21. … being dim today, but glad to hear I wasn’t the only one to find this hard yakka. Somehow managed to get them all bar ‘REMUAGE’, a word I didn’t know. COD to ‘brackish’ – ‘bish’ is a 70s word I’ve not heard since I was about 12. Blast from the past.
  22. 31.54. I found most of this straightforward with perhaps a little bit of head scratching here or there and I liked Canterbury when I got it. However, I had to spend a great deal of time on my LOI the unknown remuage. Firstly to convince myself there was no way that I could justify rampage or rummage, then to convince myself that I preferred remuage over ramoage. I found it a bit frustrating to be hung up on that one last clue for so long and to end up entering the solution with a bit of a sigh and fingers crossed.
  23. I also considered RAMOAGE as well as REMUAGE for the nho bottle. Would the bird in the rage be a Moa or an Emu? I plumped for the latter for no better reason than thinking the setter might have indicated that the Moa was extinct, and got lucky.

    Edited at 2022-02-22 01:37 pm (UTC)

  24. To jackkt.

    A huge thanks once again for de-mystifying some humdingers!

    Your honesty about your own person battle to solve this quasi-monster gives encouragement to us all.

    I eventually solved the thing after several attempts at some answers.

    Dolmen was dredged up from the abyss of my memory banks.

    Thanks again, jackkt – an inspiration to all of us!


    1. Many thanks for your kind comments, Jovan. I don’t think we’ve heard from you before? But apologies if you have contributed and I’ve forgotten the name. How about signing up for a free Live Journal account so that we can get to know you? You can choose an avatar / user-pic too.
  25. I certainly found this tricky in places after being initially softened up by ARGO, OPAL and TRASH. REMUAGE was a leap in the dark, made possible when the penny finally dropped regarding IMPALEMENT (COD).

    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  26. ….as Sherlock Holmes never actually said.

    This kept me on my toes, and it was fortunate that I didn’t consider ‘moa’ before my final biff.

    LOI REMUAGE (NHO, wine is for poshos)
    TIME 10:42

  27. I share your pain — had exactly the same problems with exactly the same clues.

    Very good puzzle but defeated by Dolmen, wondering how to fit rage and Emu together completely lost confidence and missed brackish and Canterbury and image. Thanks J and setter

  28. On the road in Italy at the moment so crossword solving (or not solving as it happens today) very sporadic.

    DNF with IMPALEMENT, OLD BILL, RICHNESS and INDIC all missing.

    Did know REMUAGE through my connections years ago with the Champagne trade. Very well explained by Keriothe.

    Bienvenuto domani. Thanks Jack and settter

  29. Another DNF to report, though I was quite persistent until finally chucking it in after 1h40. IMPALEMENT, REMUAGE, and DOLMEN all soundly beat me, and I couldn’t parse PRONOUNCE either. Annoying, given how precisely clued they were.
  30. DNF as DNK remuage. Was wondering if there was a River Ime, but then remembered the Exe. Had to “reveal” murder, and pick one in the NE to help me in that tricky corner. I chose remuage, oddly enough, which was lucky. With that in place I managed the rest. Parsing was another matter altogether. Thanks for explaining everything, Jack, and for the puzzle, setter. FOI Hove, only four on first pass. COD Old Bill, enjoyed plod being in there as well. Liked Dolmen. Time-wise – who knows? But lots of it.

    Edited at 2022-02-22 04:54 pm (UTC)

  31. I came to this late and decided to come here with the NE blank.
    Commiserations -and understanding -to our blogger.
  32. An hour and a quarter (so I can certainly commiserate with Jack), and a DNF but only because of a silly typo (PPONOUNCE), which is not to say that I understood all of the clues. Lots of obscurities and somewhat strange synonyms (like IMAGE for statue). In REMUAGE I fixed on the EMU early on, but it took me a while to see the RAGE, and although I entered it with some misgivings, just as I was submitting I realised what it meant. I recall going on a tour of a Champagne winery, in Champagne, many decades ago and deciding to join the one in French because there would have been a long wait for the next one in English. They explained REMUAGE and then, at the end, shook and uncorked a bottle, spraying the contents over all the visitors with the comment “ça ne tache pas!” (it won’t leave a mark). I am still wondering if they dared to do that on the English tours, but it did seem exceedingly French at the time.

    Edited at 2022-02-22 07:08 pm (UTC)

  33. I struggled through this for over an hour, with IMPALEMENT, POI, and was then left with 5d and 9d. I flirted with RUMEAGE and REMUAGE, but neither seemed likely so I checked and found it was the latter. I managed to work out the parsing for DOLMEN, and recalled having seen it before in these parts, but inexplicably typed DOLMAN. Drat. I submitted off leaderboard anyway, but 1 pink square in 67:03. Thanks setter and Jack.
  34. Was it real or just a mirage?
    Did i just see a rare REMUAGE?
    Since it seems crossword clues,
    For odd words, are like zoos
    Terms seldom encountered “at large”

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