Times Cryptic 28250

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

My solving time was 40 minutes with a little help on an unfair clue. I had several misgivings about this puzzle as detailed below.

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 Those one despises in unpleasant film (4)
Two meanings, neither of them pleasant and not wildly different as the first usage relies on the second.
4 Seemingly very amused having fixed match? (4,6)
BENT (fixed – dishonest),  DOUBLE (match – exact likeness)
9 One maybe operating still from cell in Merseyside town by river (10)
EGG (cell) contained by [in] BOOTLE (Merseyside town) + R (river). Great definition. Pass the hooch!
10 Move forward as hired hoodlum (4)
GO ON (move forward)
11 Where 6’s pet food would end up? That’s 26 (2,4)
A 3-way cross-reference! Dontcha just hate them? The answer at 26 is ALTOGETHER, giving us our literal defintion. At 6d the answer is DOROTHY who in the film The Wizard of Oz had a dog called TOTO. I’m sure you get the rest of it without further explanation.
12 Reluctant to quote over cutting housing cost (8)
CITE (quote) reversed [over] contained by [cutting] RENT (housing cost)
14 Cheese mostly served with nothing to provide energy (4)
BRI{e} (cheese) [mostly], 0 (nothing). Musicians will be familiar with the direction con brio meaning ‘with vigour’.
15 Conservative swine appears in blue, wanting a plot analysis (10)
TORY (Conservative) + BOAR (swine) contained by [appears in] S{a}D (blue) [wanting – without – ‘a’]
17 Hardened animal doctor stops trainee misbehaving (10)
VET (animal doctor) contained by [stops] anagram [misbehaving] of TRAINEE
20 Bounce back as nymph consorting with Zeus (4)
Two meanings. Only one of Zeus’s many earthly conquests
21 Dead artist seen following exercise in shadow (8)
PE (exercise – Phtysical Education), NUMB (dead), RA (artist)
23 Suppose example won’t begin to contain problem? (6)
{c}ASE (example) [won’t begin] contains SUM (problem)
24 Value in warmth and love comes to republic (4)
TOG (value in warmth – the rating seen on duvets), 0 (love)
25 A firm in High Street ultimately closes, no matter what (2,3,5)
A, then CO (firm) contained by [in] TALL (high) +  ST (street), then {close}S [ultimately]
26 Article in German on singer in chorus? (10)
ALTO (singer), then THE (article) contained by [in] GER (German)
27 People to lose millions plugging dry red wine (4)
{m}EN (people) [lose millions] contained by [plugging] TT (dry – teetotal). SOED: A sweet deep-red wine of low alcoholic content, chiefly from Spain, used esp. as sacramental wine.
2 Top rate protection for new heir apparent? (5,6)
CROWN (top), PRICE (rate) contains [protection for] N (new)
3 Underground banker, no good as timekeeper (9)
METRO (Underground – The Tube), {g}NOME (banker – as in Gnomes of Zurich) [no good]
4 Book about many people in France (7)
B (book), RE (about), TONS (many)
5 Grab an anorak, loosely covering fine husband’s troubled area (7-8)
Anagram [loosely] of GRAB AN ANORAK containing [covering] OK (fine), then H (husband). Oh, FGS! The ultimately ridiculous anagram clue to an obscure answer. Utterly impossible if you don’t happen to know of it or you are very lucky with your guesswork.
6 Woman unusually hot when stuffing fish (7)
Anagram of HOT contained by [stuffing] DORY (fish). The definition was too vague for me but I got to it eventually having solved 11ac and realised what was going on.
7 Purchase property in Bow, we hear: eco-community? (5)
BI sounds like (we hear) “buy” (purchase), {h}OME (property) [in Bow – cockerney]. Another unknown, but not too difficult to work out.
8 Painter long ago pinching Napoleon’s bottom (5)
ERST (long ago) containing [pinching] {Napoleo}N (‘s bottom). I’m not sure that ‘bottom’ works for a reference to the last-letter of a word in a clue, whereas it’d be fine for the last letter of a Down answer in the grid.
13 Twelve guarding Republican representative in that town (11)
NOON (twelve) containing [guarding] R (Republican) then MP (representative) contained by [in] THAT. It has a beautiful old theatre that’s now mostly  absorbed into a more modern complex.
16 Drive away, entering plain, but go too far? (9)
SHOO (drive away) contained by [entering] OVERT (plain)
18 Warm greeting where the writer’s put up couple (7)
ME (the writer) reversed [put up], BRACE (couple)
19 Net income generator, always covering back (1-6)
E’ER (always) containing [covering] TAIL (back). Somebody who sells products on the internet.
21 Bread given in trench much appreciated (5)
PIT (trench), TA (much appreciated)
22 This will be dark horse ousting leader (5)
{k}NIGHT (horse) [ousting leader]. ‘Horse’ is sometimes used as an alternative name for the chess piece.

49 comments on “Times Cryptic 28250”

  1. Lots of pink squares for me (but only 1 error since they were all in the ridiculous long anagram). I bunged the letters in in some vaguely plausible way but it was not to be. I too got DOROTHY from IN TOTO since I remembered the name of her dog. COD to BOOTLEGGER and WCOD (worst clue of the day) to the obscurity clued as an anagram.
  2. Dragged my way through this, and biffed several; not a fun puzzle. I got DOROTHY from (hot), and that gave me IN TOTO, which gave me ALTOGETHER, where I’d been at a loss. DNK TOG, but T_G_ left little room for doubt. After getting most of the checkers, I thought I remembered NAGORNO something, and looked it up. I tried perfunctorily to work out the anagram, but didn’t get OK from ‘fine’, and didn’t feel like doing any more work on what is truly a bad clue.
  3. Thanks jack. I don’t have a problem with a cross Napoleon having Ns top and bottom. I naturally had a problem with the anagram — helped along by trying the clearly indicated F plus 2 Hs instead of OK and 1 H.
  4. Bootle (NHO until mctext outed himself as a Bootleite in this blog) gave Bootlegger as FOI. Nagorno-Karabakh was a write-in as 2OI after that. Though initially spelt …ach, until I wrote out the anagrist – OK not F or AI – and fixed it. It was all over the news a few years ago, site of a big war between Azerbaijan (who surround it) and Armenia (who controlled/populated it). From memory.
    Felt off the wavelength though, last few in were like pulling teeth – Bretons, bent double, and biome (heard of – but more usually as gut bacteria?). Same MER as brnchn re ERST, but otherwise a nice puzzle.
  5. Agree about the anagram, I had the letters but hadn’t the interest.

    I’m not sure ERST means long ago. Isn’t it more a long-ago word just meaning former?

  6. …I got KARABAKH right on my first try (LOI). I’m not sure (of course. Ha) that this clue is unfair. The place has been in the news from time to time in recent years. But I also recognize that my work keeps me better informed than some…

    Cross-references usually make me a bit cross, but in this case I got both answers simultaneously, and it was rather fun.

    NHO the Thermal Overall Grade, so TOGO was just a guess.

    Edited at 2022-03-29 04:48 am (UTC)

  7. Made a poor attempt at the NHO troubled area, but I think I’d have had a chance if I’d thought of OK for fine. Oh well.

    Didn’t mind the cross-referenced clues on this occasion, certainly helped me get ALTOGETHER.

    Thanks setter and Jack.

  8. I broke my rule of submitting no matter what for the second week running because of today’s place name. The best I could come up with, using AI for “fine” was NAGARNO KARABAIH. I have actually heard of Karabakh, but at a guess would have spelled it Karabagh which didn’t help (edit — I remembered that I know it through the football team, but they are called Qarabag. No wonder I was confused!).

    The unpleasant film at 1A put me in mind of the movie Scum which was indeed an unpleasant film about life in a borstal. As an impressionable teenager I thought it gritty but now I’m wondering if at least in part it was just gratuitous.

    Edited at 2022-03-29 06:23 am (UTC)

  9. 45 minutes to find I’d swapped three letters while trying to come up with the NHO 5d. Hmm.

    Edited at 2022-03-29 06:31 am (UTC)

  10. An Echo of thee in the north-wind sung.

    Coming up to 30 mins pre-brekker having known Nagorno etc., I was struggling in the NE. Eventually I saw Double and Bent which gave me Biome and Ernst.
    But no time left for Bootlegger which is annoying as I have spent a lot of time there. I always thought of it as on the coast beyond the Mersey. The interesting thing about it is that most of its streets are named after Oxford colleges (and some Cambridge ones).
    Thanks setter and J.

    1. The ‘river’ part of the clue helped me get it (in my ignorance), but on stopping to parse: Bootle is a town, river an R, and ne’er the twain shall meet.
  11. 41 minutes, with LOI ERNST. I was surprised to finish. I didn’t bother to sort out the anagram after biffing NAGORNO-KARABAKH, which I have heard mention of on the News in the ongoing dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. I liked METRONOME, STORYBOARD, IN TOTO, BOOTLEGGER and INVETERATE, so I’m making this a good puzzle. It was a brave decision to include the disputed territory, which would have been hard to clue without an anagram. Thank you Jack and setter.
  12. I had heard of NAGORNO KARABAKH from a few years ago but the name came up again when I did a little research on where else in the region Putin might go next. Transnistria, South Ossetia and Abkhazia seem the obvious choices.
    I did have a few queries so thank you Jack for TENT, E-TAILER, NORTHAMPTON and CROWN PRINCE. I was going to query BENT DOUBLE on the grounds that a tennis match with 4 players is a DOUBLES match but, as you’ve explained, it’s another sort of match that’s at work here.
    My first thought for 9ac was MOONSHINER,
    COD jointly to: PENUMBRA, METRONOME and IN TOTO.
    I had an Auntie Queenie in BOOTLE once. My Aunt Doris used to take me on the tram to see her.
  13. Gave up with about 2/3 of the puzzle complete, realising that I wasn’t having fun, and wasn’t in the zone mentally.
    – Failed to re-check 11a after solving DOROTHY
    – Had a typo in PENUMBRA that hampered further progress in the SW
    – Couldn’t figure out a decode for “twelve” that wasn’t XII or DOZEN (one for the crib sheet there)
    Only redeeming feature was a correct NAGORNO-KARABAKH – for some reason I have a vivid memory of Robin Day pronouncing that name.
    1. Same for me: not on the wavelength today, although I did get NAGORNO-KARABAKH early on and am surprised at our blogger’s reaction to the clue. About a quarter of the puzzle eluded me, however, in the half hour I gave it before throwing the towel in. Sometimes the fun just isn’t there: no idea why, but today was such a day.
  14. ALTOGETHER, IN TOTO, kinda bad
    Though no SCUM birds that would make me sad
    But those cross-reference clues
    That will give us the blues
    Belong in Private Eye’s mis-spelled Grauniad
  15. I hit submit by mistake (which takes some doing) with half a dozen to go so a record low score for me with many pinks. Not that bothered really because I had lost the will to live on that unfair anagram and some other clunky cluing. Tomorrow is another day.
  16. Hmm, no problem at all working out what was going on in 5dn, but spelling it was quite another matter. Managed in the end by writing out the anagrist and crossing the letters off one by one. Thank heavens that clue wasn’t in a championship xword!

    I’m not usually a fan of cross-references but laughed out loud at 11ac and it actually helped me get 26ac, which in turn helped me correct e-wallet to e-tailer. So for me, this setter seems to have got off scot-free..

  17. Trotted through this in 17.39, trying at the end to make sense of the wordplay for the horrible E-TAILER, and failing miserably. Couldn’t get past “back” as a reversal indicator.

    The only problem I had with NAGORNO KARABAKH was whether it was -CH or -KH, resolved when I twigged where the other K came from. Not so long ago, the BBC always referred to it as “Disputed Enclave Nagorno Karabakh” as if that was its full name, rather like Cowdenbeath Nil. I understand things are hotting up there again as overspill from the Ukraine fiasco.

    IN TOTO made DOROTHY and ALTOGETHER much easier.

    Good honest blog from Jack on a grid with some nasty sticky stuff.

    Edited at 2022-03-29 08:44 am (UTC)

    1. Nice post title. I wondered if we had met them somewhere, possibly back in those heady days when we made the Europa League.
  18. Well I enjoyed it. I’m not a speed-solver though, and I’m certain that for most 5 down wasn’t a write-in from the letters. And yet, as an old Araucarian, such things don’t bother me at all: don’t know it? Well, get to know it!

    Didn’t mind ‘Napoleon’s bottom’ for N either. Seemed a commonplace device to me.

  19. Gave up on the hour after staring at YOU KNOW WHAT for ages. Never ‘erd of it and the alphabettispaghetti of letters didn’t help.

    I liked BOOTLEGGER, STORYBOARD and AT ALL COSTS. A good crossie ruined IMHO.

    Thanks Jack (never did parse ALTOGETHER)

  20. Even with all of the checkers, I had no idea what 5d might be — never heard of it. Looked it up and still none the wiser.

    Before even reaching that point, there was some painstaking solving to be done in the NE corner — had a not quite parsable DANTE as the painter at first. BIOME proved the key to unlocking the rest.

    I liked the 6d, 11a, 26a puzzle — solved the last of these first and worked backwards.

  21. I could see the answer to that word, but the problem was how to spell it. For a while I thought it was like Rwanda. The setter is getting an awful lot of stick, but it must be pretty difficult to clue the word without using an anagram. It seemed OK to me. 41 minutes.
    1. Horse or no horse, a couple of kings have surrounded horse in disputed region

      Edited at 2022-03-30 04:06 am (UTC)

  22. Oh dear, after double checking for errors, I found I BEND DOUBLE when I’m very amused. Ah well..
    I tried KARADOKH at first until i needed an A.
  23. Yup, had to wait for all the checking letters of 5d and then write out the remaining ones to see where they might go. It did ring a faint bell. Like Martin, I started out with “moonshiner” on the theory that other things beside hooch can be bootlegged. The setter put a “maybe” in there however so that covers it. British style duvets didn’t fully catch on in the US so “tog” isn’t all that familiar. 20.09
  24. Liked this one, didn’t think N-K region was unfair, deciphered the anagram early on. Held up for a while at the end by BENT DOUBLE, BIOME and GOON as was fixated on MANET or MONET as painters at 8d at first. Nice puzzle, 28 minutes, thanks jackkt.
  25. 10:22 in total on two devices, as the letters started disappearing immediately after entry on my iPad so I had pause and switch to my laptop.
    Fortunately I knew the troubled area but I still waited until I had all the checkers before attempting to spell it, and I needed the wordplay to confirm the penultimate K. Definitely a bit harsh as an anagram.
    I don’t usually like cross-reference clues but this one was amusing.
  26. Unfortunately I’m not up to speed on my Azerbaijani / Armenian / etc. geopolitics, so I fell at the last hurdle -having painstakingly put together what seemed like a plausible answer, I had NAGORNO-KABARAKH. I feel like such a fool.

    Just over 11 minutes with that error, after a slow start. IN TOTO was one of the first I got, though, ahead of both DOROTHY and ALTOGETHER, and it obviously helped a lot with those. Only so many places that pet food could go, I figured.

  27. Decent puzzle, with the glaring exception of 5 down. Clues which expect that degree of specialised knowledge have no place in a cryptic crossword. Shame on you, setter.
  28. 54 minutes. Made heavy weather of this. I did remember the “disputed enclave” at 5d, but wouldn’t have known how to spell it without anagram fodder and crossers. I thought I’d parsed all the rest until coming here and seeing that I bunged in TOGO from the def, having no idea about the duvet/doona rating. Long live eiderdowns anyway.

    I’m not usually a fan of multiply cross-referenced clues, but this one was excused by the TOTO reminder.

    1. Amen. They’re called comforters or quilts here and we also use the old-fashioned top sheet (and warm blanket in the winter). I’ve got my late mother-in-law’s home-stitched quilts and they are works of art.
  29. Surprised not get some pink squares, as I submitted this without too much checking, having got a bit fed up with it.

    I agree with Jack re the long anagram and ERNST and, though I accept that it exists, I think E-TAILER is E-xcruciating.

    That said I did like the IN TOTO, DOROTHY link which I managed to reverse engineer from ALTOGETHER.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  30. ….cross-referenced clues, and obscurities clued as anagrams. I also expect a little amusement, but couldn’t find any. A waste of my time if the truth be told.

    LOI E-TAILER (kept seeing e-mailer)
    TIME 12:30

  31. Another who normally dislikes cross referenced clues, but enjoyed these. I got IN TOTO from ALTOGETHER and then saw DOROTHY. BRIO and INVETERATE were first 2 in. AT ALL COSTS and E-TAILER were APOI and POI respectively, leaving 5d. I hadn’t heard of the troubled region, but carefully wrote out the anagrist, assuming OK for fine, and assembled the jumble of letters into what looked something like a possibility, then looked it up before submitting. As it happens I’d managed to assemble the letters correctly, but I’m distinctly unimpressed with the clue. I thought it was difficult enough without the fine ambiguity! 38:08. Thanks Jack.
  32. 19.17. No real problems with this, had heard of the troubled area (probably from a news report at some point) just don’t ask me to find it on a map. Got Toto before Dorothy. The Metro (G)nome raised a smile. I finished in the NE corner struggling to find bent double and biome but got there in the end. A lot of this solve involved spotting the solution from definition and checkers and then reverse engineering the parsing to justify which I find a less satisfying way of solving.
  33. 53 minutes, but I found it enjoyable. Since I didn’t get ALTOGETHER until near the end, it was no help with 11ac and 6dn, but that didn’t matter. In fact, with the crossing letters I biffed IN TOTO and then it was clear that 6dn was going to be DOROTHY even without reading the clue. I rather liked that. My last two in were the unknown BIOME and finally, GOON. NAGORNO-KARABAKH was no problem once I had some of the letters in the right place and realized “fine” and “husband’s” would not be FHS, but H and something else that was “fine”. I have recently been reading independent Russian newspapers (until the last one was closed down yesterday), so I’m sure I’ve seen this place name recently, but expected it to be Nagorny Karabakh — of course the STORYBOARD saved me from that.
  34. Interesting how divided the comments are. Nagorno-Karabakh is one of my favourite place names which can be rolled around the tongue to create all sorts of different effects. It’s so long since it has been in the news that I couldn’t remember where in the world it was but it sprang to mind instantly.
    I liked the cross-reference for once.
    This was a good time for me but the only clue I failed to complete (and would not have got right if I had given myself the rest of my allotted hour) was 27ac which no one else has mentioned. I like wine. A lot. I have never heard of tent in relation to wine. Perhaps I should have thought of TT in relation to ‘dry’ which may have led me to the solution but I would have been wary of inserting something which made no sense whatever that I could see.
    Oh well. Still working towards a fully correct week.
    Thanks to setter and to Jack for the enlightenment.
    1. You are not the only one who failed at TENT having successfully completed the rest of the puzzle. I was astonished that no one else seemed to have a problem with it, as I am also familiar with most wine types . I can only surmise that it is a ‘crossword’ wine, unreferenced in the real world. I shall store it for the next outing…
  35. With reference to comments about 5d including my own in the blog, it seems that most (if not quite all) of the posters defending the clue knew the answer or at least were aware of the existence of a place named something like that which was historically a ‘troubled area’. That’s fine, and I’m pleased for them, but I covered that in my original comment. To others, and there are a good number of us represented above, the answer was utterly obscure and there was no way to the answer other than getting the checkers and then trying to arrange the remainder of the anagrist into something that looked feasible. The fact that the clue turned out to be only a partial anagram so that one had to deduce fine = OK rather than F, and husband = H made this even more difficult. In my book, that ranks as an unfair clue.
  36. I didn’t have any problem with N-K. It’s occasionally in the news, and for me forms part of general current affairs. Tent is definitely an old crossword fave. My OED says it’s from the Spanish tinto: “A Spanish wine of a deep red colour and low alcoholic content. Often used as sacramental wine.” Liked the Dorothy Toto Altogether connection.
  37. ….I would have been more accepting of such an obscure word/name like NAGORNO KARABAKH as a clue if a full anagram had been used rather than a partial one.
    One reason I had heard of that enclave was a piece in Private Eye which referred to someone riding something like a “six cylinder Nagorno Karabakh motor cycle”.

    Edited at 2022-03-29 08:18 pm (UTC)

  38. 22.15. A very enjoyable puzzle which had me hooked and nervous all the way through. LOI biome, shortly after the forehead thumping goon. Have to confess to looking up the spelling of Nagorno Karabakh but excused myself on the basis I did know the answer!

    Lots to like but my COD in toto.

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