Times Cryptic 28280

Solving time: 41 minutes. There were some tricky clues here but I worked my way through it steadily and was reasonably satisfied with my solving time.

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 Bess’s mate quietly quits unbridled love-in (4)
(p)ORGY ( Bess’s mate) [quietly – p – quits]. Porgy and Bess is a folk opera by George Gershwin. Here’s an
early recording of its most famous song Summertime preceded by a short overture. There are many more famous
recordings in which performers put their own stamp on it, but this one by Anne Brown, the original Bess on
Broadway in 1935,  demonstrates how the song  was intended to be sung.
3 Cheap product that reflects one snug home in river (10)
I (one) + NEST (snug home) contained by [in] RHONE (river). I think this was my last one in. I was delayed
considering ‘reflects’ as a reversal indicator and ‘Rhine’ as the river.
9 Gospel turns on church body (7)
LEG (on – cricket) + NAVE (church body), all reversed [turns]. I don’t recall meeting this word before and I arrived
at the answer only from wordplay. Strange, because I’ve known ‘evangelism’ and ‘evangelist’ since childhood and
indeed the parish church I attended in those days was dedicated to St John the Evangelist.
11 Flimsy paper kept in folder (7)
RAG (newspaper) contained by [kept in] FILE (folder)
12 Evergreen tree somehow hides each stage performer (4-5)
FIR (evergreen), then anagram [somehow] of TREE contains [hides] EA (each). At least we were spared  yet
another reference to the long-dead actor/manager.
13 Mock group running football at city university (5)
FA (group running football – The Football Association), LSE (city university – London School of Economics).
The LSE is located in the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden. ‘Mock’ in the sense of ‘sham’
or ‘imitation’.
14 Motor club’s loco controller (6,6)
ENGINE (motor), DRIVER (golf club)
18 It helps Browning saluting on behalf of king (8,4)
TOASTING (saluting), FOR (on behalf of), K (king).  More memories from childhood here; I wonder why toast
made on a fork in front of a roaring open fire always tasted better than when grilled or prepared in a toaster. A nice
diversion mentioning the poet in the clue gives some meaning to the surface reading.
21 Urge lady of the house to scrap first two tablets (5)
P{ee}RESS (lady of the house – House of Lords) [scrap first two tablets – e’s – ecstasy pills]
22 A Republican ready with large cold port (9)
A, R (Republican), CHANGE (ready cash), L (large). It’s in Russia.
24 Current game finishes early (7)
DRAUGHT{s} (game) [finishes early]
25 Draw a time-consuming flyer (7)
A, then TRACT (flyer – short notice or pamphlet for distribution ) containing [consuming] T (time)
26 Trio’s playing beside small lake that has a spit (10)
Anagram [playing] of TRIO’S, then S (small)], ERIE (lake)
27 Indicate area circled by hands (4)
A (area) contained [circled] by MEN (hands – manual workers, ship’s crew etc)
1 Stuff concerning payment given to duke (8)
OVER (concerning – e.g. arguments over money), FEE (payment), D (duke)
2 Jokes about juvenile Romeo’s Sunday best (4,4)
GAGS (jokes) containing [about] LAD (juvenile) + R (Romeo NATO). I looked for the origin of this slang
expression but was unable to find one.
4 Former slave the Spanish must have smuggled outside (5)
HOT (smuggled – illicit) containing [outside] EL (the in Spanish). SOED advises that helots were members of a class
of serfs in ancient Sparta, intermediate in status between slaves and citizens.
5 Old queen‘s English hat mounted in part of UK (9)
E (English), then TITFER (hat) reversed [mounted], both contained by [in] NI (part of UK – Northern Ireland]. A
Queen of Egypt. ‘Titfer’ (tit-for-tat) is Cockney rhyming slang for ‘hat’. Edit: Thanks to those who pointed out that TITFER reversed doesn’t give us FERTIT. I compounded the error in the clue by seeing what I wanted to see.
6 Pole, Frenchman, colonist and soldier (5,8)
STAFF (pole), SERGE (Frenchman), ANT (colonist)
7 After overture to opera I put in part for songster (6)
O{pera} [overture to…], then I contained by [put in] ROLE (part). I thought the bird might have a more familiar
alternative name, but apparently it doesn’t.
8 Cross with one representative of this cricket side (6)
A straight definition preceded by a cryptic hint:  X (cross – ten) + I (one) in Roman numerals = XI
10 Agrees enough’s converted into methane maybe (10,3)
Anagram [converted] of AGREES ENOUGH’S. ‘Maybe’ because the definition is by example.
15 Strip down poor piece finally about conservationists (9)
DISMAL (poor) + {piec}E [finally] containing [about] NT (conservationists – National Trust)
16 Surfers enjoy this band (4,4)
A cryptic defintion and a straight one.  A ‘band’ in physics can be a range of frequencies or wavelengths between
two limits, and as applied to radio technology it’s a range allocated to a particular broadcasting station or service.
Old-fashioned wireless sets used to have long and medium wave bands as standard, and some had short wave
too. Devices these days are mostly digital, but the old wave bands still exist.
17 Outline Klee’s absurdly fashionable style (8)
Anagram [absurdly] of KLEE’S, then TON (fashionable style). ‘Ton’ has been given a new lease of life with the
arrival of Bridgerton.
19 Second mole eating daughter’s creepy-crawly (6)
S (second), then PIER (mole – breakwater, jetty) containing [eating] D (daughter)
20 Concerned with tense series of courses (6)
RE (concerned with), PAST (tense)
23 Doctor abandons fight with current mammal (5)
CO{mb}AT (fight), [doctor – MB – abandons]

49 comments on “Times Cryptic 28280”

  1. 11:11 which has a nice symmetry to it. There’s some slick times, and I think if I had just bunged in NEFERTITI without trying to work out the cryptic to justify it, I could have shaved some time off. I liked FIRE-EATER and TOASTING FORK.
    1. 11:11 is also my birthday, and the year of my birth is exactly divisible by 11. Obviously it’s my lucky number.
  2. As someone points out in the club forum, NEFERTITI includes FERTIT not REFTIT. Fortunately for me, I just biffed it and never tried to parse it. I did try to parse FIRE-EATER, but took FIR to be ‘evergreen tree’, and only worked the parsing out after submitting. ‘gospel’ (“good news”) translates Greek/Latin ‘evangel’ (“good news”). Never figured out PRESS, or ELEVEN.
    1. The pointer-out was me. The auditor at work

      Edited at 2022-05-03 05:34 am (UTC)

  3. 33 minutes. Another fairly gentle one. I missed the NEFERTITI mistake; one more example of seeing what you’re expecting to see. I couldn’t parse PRESS either. I tried to make [EM]PRESS work, which it clearly doesn’t.

    Sorry, but can’t help with the origin of GLAD RAGS. The OED has the first quotation from a Dorothy Dix book “Fables of the Elite” published in 1902. Thanks for the “Summertime” link.

  4. Stopped after an hour. Couldn’t think of DRAUGHT as current and couldn’t see DISMANTLE at all. Many clever definitions and misdirections. Besides the poet I thought Browning might refer to sun-tanning.
    Probably enjoyed STAFF SERGEANT and GREENHOUSE GAS the most. Thanks for fun puzzle and informative blog.
  5. 47 minutes for me. I thought the lady of the house must be MISTRESS which doesn’t work any better than EMPRESS, but I just bunged PRESS in anyway. I couldn’t see what I was meant to be doing at COATI either, but no other mammal was ever going to fit. I just biffed NEFERTITI so also missed the error. I just put in ELEVEN without seeing how most of the clue worked. DISMANTLE and DRAUGHT were my last two in as well (but I did get them!)

    Edited at 2022-05-03 02:15 am (UTC)

  6. …and not “empress” (E is a tablet, but M… well, at least one of my friends was once a meth head)!
    I also biffed NEFERTITI. I will just point out that this is exactly the same kind of error that we encountered here just a few days ago, prompting the new editor to acknowledge that mistakes had been more frequent recently.
    I’d never heard of a TOASTING FORK, and am well aware that one should not stick a fork into a toaster.

    Edited at 2022-05-03 05:08 am (UTC)

  7. Managed to see off the HKV today.

    Good puzzle. “Part of UK” is usually NI, which made NEFERTITI a gimme, and it sort of looked like TITFER had to be in there somewhere. Anyway it was so obviously an error that it didn’t cause too much consternation.

    Lots of contenders for COD, but EVANGEL has a cricket reference, so it wins.

    Thanks setter and thanks Jack, particularly for parsing PRESS correctly for us.

    1. Thanks. I’m afraid I have to admit that when I finished solving I had {em}PRESS (???) on my print-out and it was only later during the blogging process that I saw the light.
  8. I will be writing to my local MP about the reversed Cockney cap cock-up.

    I will also be owning up to my own howler, immediately thinking, ‘Oh, yes, Archangel – that ice-free port in the Arctic Circle.’ Which is of course Murmansk.


    Edited at 2022-05-03 05:32 am (UTC)

  9. When faced with _A_T for “tense” I thought that surely it had to be taut, giving me RETAUT. Not a word I’d heard, but seemed plausible, possibly French. Oh well, I tip my titref to those of you who finished with all correct.
  10. 12:07. I was confused a bit by the mangled TITFER, but otherwise no dramas. I liked SPIDER best. Thanks jackkt and setter.
  11. 24:00
    Shame about the faulty clue; it would have been an okay puzzle but for that.
    Thanks, jack.
  12. I’m spoilt for choice. I could have Rhinestone Cowboy too. 29 minutes with LOI REPAST. COD to NEFERTITI, which I was pleased to unscramble by lowering half the Titfer. LONG WAVE, broadcasting on 1500 metres, brought back memories of the old valve wireless. A tricky puzzle but one which always felt within reach. I did reach PRESS via EMPRESS though, which I wasn’t happy with, so was glad to come here for the proper explanation.Thank you Jack and setter.
    See further comments on. NEFERTITI below.

    Edited at 2022-05-03 08:10 am (UTC)

  13. Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
    Tasting of Flora and the country green,
    Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!

    30 mins pre-brekker.
    That was the worst TitRef since the 1975 European Cup final.
    Thanks setter and J.

  14. I too would write to my MP about the Nefertiti fiasco but, he is too busy watching porn.
  15. All done and dusted on the hour. Several unparsed, ELEVEN NEFERWHATSHERNAME, COATI, etc.

    Found it all a bit of a struggle today. Must just be me.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  16. The newspaper had the right clue, which read: ‘Old queen’s new hat, half lowered, that is raised outside.’ Lower half of TITFER and you get FERTIT. Put that behind N for new and between IE raised. Voila. That was why it was my COD.

    Edited at 2022-05-03 08:09 am (UTC)

    1. “Half lowered” doesn’t appear in the puzzle on my laptop. The clue that appears is as per Jack’s blog.
      1. I’ve checked that everywhere online apart from the e-paper facsimile is still showing the clue as in my blog. The revised version is a right dog’s breakfast anyway – the every opposite of an elegant clue and something that’s looks as if it has been cobbled together at the last minute when the mistake was realised. It doesn’t inspire much confidence when on the same day they’ve managed to publish tomorrow’s QC along with today’s on the Times site!
        1. Of course I meant ‘the very opposite’ but I can’t edit it now.
        2. They’ve updated the crossword club version of the clue now

          I agree the new clue is terrible, they should have just updated it to “Old queen’s English hat half raised in part of UK”

          EDIT: “English half-raise hat in part of UK for old queen” is even better, the surface almost makes sense

          Edited at 2022-05-03 11:09 pm (UTC)

      2. It raises the question: which was the clue as written by the setter? Was the newspaper clue an amendment to an incorrect clue or was the electronic clue the result of a secondary edit trying to shorten the original. You would expect the electronic version to be more subject to late edit, but maybe a mistake was spotted and amended as the print version went to bed with nobody remembering to amend the electronic version.
  17. 54m 02s, only partially spoilt by the incorrect clue in 5d; but some people, such as Bolton Wanderer seem to have seen a clue which refers to “half lowered” which would seem to tidy things up. Perhaps our editor edited it?!
    My difficulty was in the NW corner.
    Ah! LONG WAVE….back in the day I used to listen to the BBC World Service on short wave.
    Thanks, Jack for explaining ELEVEN and PRESS. I was working on a version of (EM)PRESS.
    7d: While living in Sicily 20 years ago I was fortunate to see a Golden ORIOLE in our garden, probably on its migratory way through.
    One other difficulty was with ENGINE DRIVER. Misreading the clue I saw “Motor Club’s” and, at first, put RACing DRIVER.
  18. It sounds like lots of people didn’t figure out how PRESS worked – I’m very much among their number. Hadn’t heard of EVANGEL either, but of course it makes sense that it would exist as a word. And I didn’t know HELOT, but it seemed more likely than ‘holat’, the only potential alternative. Something else that held me up slightly was SPIDER, as I didn’t know the pier meaning of mole.

    I do these crosswords on paper, and as boltonwanderer has noted, the clue for NEFERTITI is different in the printed version. I still didn’t understand it, mind, but I bunged it in once I had the I at the end and saw ‘old queen’ (not knowing what a titfer is).

    FOI Glad rags
    LOI Eleven
    COD False

  19. I’ve enjoyed as much as I tried of this so thanks all. Can someone tell me why Browning is capitalised in 18a . Is it a misdirection or maybe an example of the fact that with these clues you don’t always expect there to be any rules?
    1. The convention is that common nouns can be capitalised (because sometimes they are, e.g. at the beginning of a sentence) but proper nouns can’t be uncapitalised (because they never are).
  20. 10:52. No major hold-ups. I failed to parse PRESS, and noticed the TITFER error but didn’t hesitate much over putting it in. MOLE for pier has come up elsewhere recently so it came easily to mind.
  21. …. unsatisfactory, so much so that I came straight here rather than sort out the half dozen biffs myself.

    TIME 8:59

  22. Part of that was the delay while I worked out if I was missing something obvious at 5dn. Regrettably, we have long been in the position where the Times puzzle is like the Pope, in that it’s probably no longer sensible to regard them as infallible, so if you need to choose between an error in your solving or the published puzzle, it’s no longer an absolute given that it’s you.
  23. 50 minutes, which perhaps was caused by the NEFERTITI mistake (but not really: it was so obviously a mistake that I just went straight on). A bigger problem, which nobody else seems to have had, was LANCE SERGEANT, entered confidently and slowing things. Perfectly possible. I felt that it was a bit misleading saying ‘cricket side’ in 8dn. Lots of other games have 11 in the side. Couldn’t get RHINESTONE and had to use aids for this.
  24. I just assumed M was another drug I hadn’t heard of.
    One or two unknowns worked out from wordplay.
    I’m beginning to like Tuesday puzzles.
    28 minutes.
    Liked rotisserie (one of my favourite hotels in France was called Rotisserie des flandres).
  25. Mostly fine, with a few shrugs along the way:

    NEFERTITI with the messed-up clue
    PRESS — was thinking (EM)PRESS rather than the much better (and correct!) P(EE)RESS
    EVANGEL — not heard of this as a word in its own right before but the parsing was plain enough
    HELOT — with all checkers, the parsing was plain enough, though not sure if I’ve ever heard of this before

    Pleased that COATI was referenced in another post-grid discussion not long ago. Even managed to get the bird without too much fuss. COD to TOASTING FORK.

    Edited at 2022-05-03 10:39 am (UTC)

  26. … but for RHINESTONE, which delayed me for what felt like a year. One-track focus on words starting with ‘sh’ or ‘th’, stuffed me. An alphabet trawl would have alerted me immediately, but didn’t do it. D’oh.

    Thought ‘hot’ was a bit of a stretch for ‘smuggled’, but otherwise nothing to scare the horses here. Liked ROTISSERIE. Bunged in DISMANTLE without parsing; thanks for explainer.

  27. 14:55. My good run continues. Missed the TITREF bish and had fingers crossed at EVANGEL, but otherwise a straight run through.

    Edited at 2022-05-03 11:20 am (UTC)

  28. OK< so I fell asleep during my late morning solve (a very early run into central London and back to blame) so no time.
    Of course, the amended version of NEFERTITI was the one I encountered, and I thought it very clever with the half lowered device, probably because I was unaware of the bished version.
    I had PRESS as virtually my last in, and only then did I realise where the two E’s disappeared from. Are Es still a thing? I don’t move in appropriate circles.

    Edited at 2022-05-03 11:36 am (UTC)

  29. I had the new version of 5d, but didn’t pause to fully parse it as I already had most of the crossers and the definition was obvious. I did manage to parse PRESS correctly. The NE was where I finished, with ELEVEN and RHINESTONE yielding last of all. Nice puzzle. 28:09. Thanks setter and Jack.
  30. 36 minutes with a lot of time wasted on NEFERTITI. I thought that was the answer early on, but rejected becaus the clue didn’t work. Another one I delayed entering was PRESS, as I didn’t see the wordplay. Thanks to the blogger for the explanation.
  31. Never thought I would finish this but a second session got me home with LOI EVANGEL (a new word to me). My parsing was ANGEL for church body and then question mark.
    My newspaper had the right clue for NEFERTITI which is very good on that basis.
    Yet another good clue for ORGY but my favourite was ROTISSERIE. Very pleased to remember COATI.
  32. I’ve spent all day with my brain refusing to give up on remembering the hymn with the word EVANGEL in. Just got it, the last verse of ‘For my sake and the gospel’s go’, if anybody else is remotely interested. “He comes whose advent trumpet drowns the last of time’s EVANGELs.” It must be sixty years since I last sung it.
  33. More than an hour, but it would have been 40 minutes but for PRESS, which I would never have worked out the wordplay for but left in anyway, and ELEVEN. Fortunately an alphabet trawl did reveal that, so I didn’t leave my original try in, which was EXETER (I could explain the cross in that, but not much else). A mixture of easy and very difficult clues and I’m not sure what I thought of this.

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