Times Cryptic 28286

Solving time: 33 minutes. An interesting and mostly enjoyable puzzle that seemed to take longer to solve than the time recorded on the clock.

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 Dessert wine staff for example should return (10)
BLANC (white wine), MAN (staff), then EG (for example) reversed [should return]
6 Count airmen attracted to gravitational pull (4)
G (gravitational pull), RAF (airmen – Royal Air Force). A German nobleman corresponding in rank to a European count or British earl. Perhaps best known to us from the names of German battle ships such as Graf Spee.
10 Smile after tea shows anything but delight (7)
CHA (tea), GRIN (smile)
11 Vocalist missing intro holds note in number (7)
{s}INGER (vocalist) [missing intro], contains [holds] TE (musical note)
12 Doctor’s Scotsman becoming first scientist (9)
PHYSICIAN (doctor) becomes PHYSICIST when ‘Ian’ (Scotsman) is replaced by 1ST (first)
13 One bounding area between two American cities (5)
A (area) contained by [between] NY+LA (two American cities – New York / Los Angeles). If I say we haven’t seen many antelopes around here recently I expect we shall be inundated by herds of them in the coming weeks!
14 Start to tour the States taking in large city (5)
T{our} [start] + USA (the States), containing [taking in] L (large)
15 Husband in danger back in times past in old region (9)
H (husband) contained by [in] RISK (danger) reversed [back], all contained by [in] YORE (times past). Yorkshire is an ancient region, but I suspect that ‘old’ has been included in order to mollify those of a certain disposition who might otherwise feel inclined to protest that Yorkshire no longer exists as a single administrative entity. I have no connection with the place, but since there was a similar attempt to cancel my own home county of Middlesex this sort of thing annoys me just as I imagine it does any proud son or daughter of the historical County of Yorkshire. Such places continue to exist socially and culturally despite the activities of bureaucrats and politicians who seek to destroy their identity.
17 We slither having to wriggle past (9)
Anagram [wriggle] of WE SLITHER
20 Group ends talks that have only started after a month (5)
OCT (month), E{nds} + T{alks} [that have only started]
21 Man‘s mistake: arithmetic presumably dropped by learner (5)
ERRO{r} (mistake) [arithmetic presumably, dropped], L (learner). Arithmetic is one of the Three Rs of which only ‘Reading’ actually begins with the letter.
23 Really full wolves maybe to have misgivings we hear (6,3)
Sounds like [we hear] “pack doubt” (wolves maybe…have misgivings)
25 Simple man’s abandoned without pity (7)
{he}ARTLESS (without pity) [man’s abandoned). Nice to be spared the usual Cockerney stuff.
26 Header missed in game after trial for Roman defence (7)
TEST (trial), {l}UDO (game) [header missed]. SOED: A movable screen with an arched roof, used to protect besieging troops; a protective screen formed by a body of troops in close array with overlapping shields usually above their heads. I knew the second of these definitions for its likeness to the shell of a tortoise, and I understand that’s where the word originated.
27 Perhaps 750 grammes some amount where hops dry (4)
KIL{o} (perhaps 750 grammes – a kilo being 1000 grammes), N (some amount – an unspecified number)
28 Nobel prize-winner here begins novel (10)
Anagram [novel] of HERE BEGINS. I worked this out from anagrist, checkers and a passing knowledge of German names but I can’t say I’ve ever heard of him. Dorsetjimbo would have had something to say about that. Sorry, Jim!
1 King leaving reinforcements in Lancashire town (5)
BAC{k}-UP (reinforcements) [King leaving]. This may be a problem for our overseas friends as I’ve barely heard of the place myself! Its only claim to fame seems to be  that it is the best preserved cotton town in England.
2 Flower thoughtless Hindu god sent up (9)
SILLY (thoughtless) + RAMA (Hindu god) reversed [sent up]
3 Clown is already prepared for Henry VIII role (8,6)
Anagram [prepared] of CLOWN IS ALREADY. One of Shakespeare’s lesser-known works written in part by John Fletcher, at least according to Wikipedia. One point of interest is that the pyrotechnics demanded in one scene resulted in the Globe theatre catching fire and burning to the ground.
4 Regular payment: some should cover night in Paris (7)
ANY (some) containing [should cover] NUIT (night in Paris – yer actual French)
5 Good old surgeon showing sparkle (7)
G (good), LISTER (old surgeon – Joseph Lister). He died in 1912. I wonder what is the cut-off point after which people no longer need to be defined as ‘old’, considering that by Times convention they are all dead anyway?
7 Endless trouble recalled about a style compared with rap (5)
AGGR{o} (trouble) [endless] reversed [recalled] containing [about] A. Fortunately this came up very recently so I knew it exists as a type of music although I was unaware that it had any similarities to rap.  At least I know now that I don’t need to try it.
8 Business area with people beginning to thrive. Heavens! (9)
FIRM (business), A (area), MEN (people), T{hrive} [beginning]
9 Makes sense with load put through stone when working (6,2,6)
AND (with) + STORE (load), contained by [put through] ST (stone – weight) + AS (when) + ON (working)
14 Brussels politician carried in rescue boat rides here (5,4)
MEP (Brussels politician – Member of the European Parliament) contained by [carried in] THE ARK (rescue boat)
16 Present doctrine reworked to impress university (9)
Anagram [reworked] of DOCTRINE containing [to impress] U (university). ‘Impress’ as in to enlist by force or seize.
18 Dead end that is restricting motorway progress (7)
IE (that is – id est) containing [restricting] M (motorway) + PASS (progress)
19 Thrills lover no longer mentions (7)
EX (lover no longer), CITES (mentions)
22 Length adding to value in clawed animal (5)
RATE (value), L (length)
24 In these skimpy knickers host shows no resistance (5)
TH{r}ONG (host – crowd) [shows no resistance – r]


52 comments on “Times Cryptic 28286”

  1. Good to see BACUP get a mention – this puzzle can get too Home Counties-centric. I watched Breaking Bad but never really cottoned on to Bryan Cranston’s alias, so the Bavarian sciency fellow was last in after THONG. Wasn’t sure that GLISTER was a word but the ancient surgeon chappie came to the rescue.

    Nice to be reminded of this by FIRMAMENT: https://youtu.be/p4lSauxyFWo

    Edited at 2022-05-10 01:38 am (UTC)

    1. Although the saying existed prevously using the word ‘glitters’, Shakespeare wrote the expression “All that glisters is not gold” into The Merchant of Venice.
  2. Able to get unknowns NYALA and BACUP from crossers and wordplay. Fortunately many like TESTUDO, HEISENBERG,and GRAF were just on the outer edges of my recall. BLANCMANGE, ERSTWHILE and AMARYLLIS are all cool words to be reminded of. Blog certainly cleared up a lot of what was going on- thanks, jackkt.
  3. (The following only makes sense if you’ve heard the joke about Heisenberg, Schrodinger and Ohm getting pulled over by a policeman):

    An excited Heisenberg is at an impasse with the policeman who’s just pulled him over. “No! I don’t want to know! Not even as an integer! Nyalalala! Can’t hear you!”
    To P.C. Errol’s chagrin, the artless driver starts chanting a ragga about Cardinal Wolsey’s thong. He peers into the packed out car. “Is that Steffi Graf? Can you introduce us?”
    “No, you blancmange! It’s an an octet of physicists! We’re on our way to a theme park in Tulsa – can you give us directions?”
    “Stands to reason. I’ll have to test you though”
    “What?!? Testudo?”
    Errol sighs and stares at the glistering firmament. With the annuity from Aunt Ammaryllis, he could just about retire early and return to his erstwhile hobby of baking ratels in a kiln.
    “You’re in Bacup, heading towards Yorkshire.”

    1. Type
      “the joke about Heisenberg, Schrodinger and Ohm getting pulled over by a policeman”
      into Google if you want the joke.
  4. I biffed CARDINAL W and never figured it out, having totally forgotten the play, which I’ve read, even (well, just once). Biffed BLANCMANGE, STANDS TO REASON, parsed post-sub. Glad we had RAGGA recently (NHO then). DNK BACUP.
  5. I forgot to note my start time, but fortunately the LP side ended just as finished, and the timings were on the label – so 24 minutes. Bacup didn’t bother me, but it’s a good thing we just had ragga, as the cryptic is tricky. I just biffed blancmange, my LOI.
  6. 17:26
    Pleasant if undemanding puzzle. Heisenberg clue was clear as crystal, methinks.
    Thanks, jack
  7. Surely there is a time and place for that sort of thing!

    20 mins pre-brekker. Old crossword favourites, Nyala and Testudo given a well-earned run out.
    Mostly I liked the skimpy knickers. I know.
    Thanks setter and J.

  8. 31 minutes here, though NHO BACUP or GRAF and didn’t parse a couple, including STANDS TO REASON. 3d was easier once I realised it wasn’t CAROLINE someone. HEISENBERG known even before Bryan Cranston’s bravura performance playing both Water White and his evil alter ego in the spectacular Breaking Bad.
  9. Not heard of Heisenberg, Jack? Or were you just uncertain about where he was or how fast he was going? Let’s hear it for BACUP Borough. Yep, and even for YORKSHIRE, I’m feeling magnanimous. 26 minutes with LOI TESTUDO. COD to PHYSICIST. I’m not sure what ERROL was randomly doing there since he wasn’t swashing his buckles. Very enjoyable puzzle playing to the sweet spots of this northern physicist. Thank you Jack and setter.
  10. I spent too long thinking about that THONG thingy (expecting an answer ending in S) You don’t say a pair of thongs unless you mean two thongs, do you?

      1. Why is the county of Kildare like the leg of a fellow’s breeches? Because there’s Athy in it.
  11. I nearly finished with a biffed GLITTER today, but managed to pull Lister out of the bag just in time. Possibly because I was in Lister house at secondary school. GRAF was an unknown, the only Graf I’ve heard of being the 1980s German tennis star who isn’t in jail. I’m left with an ear worm of You Sexy Thing since ERROL put me in mind of Errol Brown, the late singer with Hot chocolate. Maybe the THONG influenced me as well. I’m off for a cold shower…
  12. Really enjoyed this puzzle, a very satisfying solve, with the right level of challenge for someone with almost zero botanical or Shakespeare knowledge (except As You Like It, which I did for O-level). Consequently I had the RHS almost complete before making decent inroads on the left, where I also stalled for a while on THEME PARK, due to thinking EMP rather than MEP.

    So I was feeling rather pleased with myself by the time I sorted PHYSICIST and AMARYLLIS, then LOI FIRMAMENT. Filling in the final letter after the customary typo-check, I had every confidence I was a winner…
    …but I’d biffed GLITTER 20 mins previously. If I had some BLANCMANGE it’d be just desserts. Thanks J and setter.

  13. BLANCMANGE is vocab sourced in France
    And GRAF is from German, perchance?
    A linguist i am not
    I’m a sad monoglot
    Stick to English — give PHYSICISTs a chance!
    1. The principled stand that you ment…
      …ion ‘gainst German (and Latin?) and French
      As a PHYSICIST’s fear
      Yet finds HEISENBERG here,
      Your uncertainty surely to quench.
  14. An enjoyable canter. Almost got my THONG in a twist trying to fit REGGAE into the RAGGA slot and i needed Jack to explain PHYSICIST. I Knew AMARYLLIS from Russell Hoban’s Amaryllis Night and Day.

    Thanks to Jack and the Setter

    P.S. (As I know some here do the Guardian puzzles as well): I heard yesterday the sad news that John Young (Shed) has died.

    I got to know him when I lived in Ely. He was very good company with a dry, sardonic sense of humour. He was highly rated amongst solvers and his fellow setters, and was part of a setter “supergroup” who got together to produce puzzles now and then. His co-setters in the group were John Graham (Araucaria), John Halpern (Paul) and John Henderson (Enigmatist). They set puzzles under the pseudonym Biggles – the Biggles books were the work of W. E. Johns, so Biggles crosswords were the work of “we Johns”.

  15. 11:06. The long answers took some checkers to emerge. I was amused that YORKSHIRE was referred to as an old region and pleased to see the PHYSICIST Werner HEISENBERG get a mention rather than a Nobel laureate for literature I’d be less likely to know. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

    Edited at 2022-05-10 07:39 am (UTC)

  16. 39 mins. FOI CHAGRIN, LOI HEISENBERG, which I didn’t know but once I’d thrown the jumble of letters around, I managed to come up with the right answer. GLISTER also bunged in with fingers crossed. Several nice clues.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  17. 10.21. For a blissful moment I thought I might be in for another sub ten. Two in a row being unknown previously. Never mind. LOI artless, preceded by Heisenberg who fortunately wasn’t a great enough scientist to create the atom bomb first!

    Thx setter and blogger.

  18. Very quick solve, for me. Bang on the wavelength and I was writing them in more or less as I read the clues. Only one to hold me up was PHYSICIST – even when I had all the checkers. COD TESTUDO, which I really liked.
  19. Really on the wavelength today. My only slight doubts were TESTUDO and GLISTER, even though I’d figured out the wordplay in both cases, and HEISENBERG, for which I needed all the checkers. KILN was a biff as I didn’t see how it worked – far too clever for me – and I didn’t fully parse STANDS TO REASON. Enjoyable stuff.

    FOI Tulsa
    LOI Glister
    COD Erstwhile

    Edited at 2022-05-10 08:24 am (UTC)

  20. I should probably apologise in advance, but this one was a fun source of earworms, from the nearly-English of Haydn’s creation (see Ulaca’s link above) to the more recent 24 hours Gene Pitney was from Tulsa. Then, almost unbidden, Is This the Way to AMARYLLIS emerged alongside With a Smile and A THONG and Shake RATEL and Roll.
    A pleasant jaunt, though, through some rather eclectic GK and vocab, none of which was out of reach. I managed 12.46 finishing with the rather clever KILN, though I’d expect my hops to dry in an oast house, pottery in a kiln.
    Thanks for a very enjoyable and informative blog, not least for parsing STANDS TO REASON, which I (and, I suspect, most others) didn’t.
  21. Pleasant puzzle, no hold-ups, 16 minutes ending with ARTLESS. Amazed that there are people out there who have never heard of Heisenberg and his principle, or indeed GLISTERS as a word (in MoV “All that glisters is not gold” for example). There again, there are things and people I haven’t heard of (poets mostly) that others know.
    1. My dear Pip, I am amazed that you are amazed that some of us have not heard of Heisenberg. I am no physicist and have not studied the list of Nobel prize winners. However I do know what Pigato, Spanna and Xarel-lo are. Chaque un son truc. For sure, I don’t know a lot more than I do know!
      1. Point taken, but I didn’t claim to know everything… and grape varieties are more interesting than Shakespeare indeed.
        1. I’m surprised that not everybody has heard the old graffito, Heisenberg probably rules OK. It’s the only way I remember his name.
  22. Another pleasant puzzle where nothing detained me for long, and I enjoyed turning the physician into a physicist. Nobel Prize winners are always worth knowing about for quizzes, and as a non-scientist by background, I have had to educate myself on a number of them; the obligatory thing to say when there’s a question about Nobel laureates of the 1930s is that you know the answer is Heisenberg or Schrodinger but can’t be sure which.
    1. Heisenberg is uncertain on principle while Schrodinger has an equation that he hopes his cat will solve.
  23. 7:54. Gentle one: it helped that I knew all the words, although BACUP was only vaguely familiar.
  24. Amaryllis got from Amaryllis Fleming. Nice to see that chorus on YouTube. Spent ages there looking at the tasty links served up on the right. 36 minutes, which would have been less if I’d known the word ‘ragga’. Anyway I do now. A couple of subtractive clues ([he]artless and physic[ian]…), which are always a bit tricky until you see them.
  25. The bureaucratic reorganisation of YORKSHIRE had somehow passed me by (thanks Jack) and I still think of Ridings – my father’s family were from Helmsley in the North and Beverley in the East and I have a recognizably Yorkshire name. Yorkshire and THONG inevitably brought to mind The Full Monty. I splurged on an AMARYLLIS for Christmas (beautiful) and I’m nursing the bulb along in the hope that it will flower again at the end of the year. Nope, did not parse STANDS TO REASON or KILN and dithered over “kilo” until I realized that it must stand to reason that there was mention of drying hops, although as Z says that’s an oast. 14.04
    1. I was hoping someone would mention ‘to sport with Amaryllis in the shade’.
      1. Yes, I thought Myrtilus might cover that in his accustomed fashion.
    2. It’s a beautiful day in Helmsley! We live just up the road and my family have been here since the seventeenth century at least. Small world.
    3. Oh no, Olivia, they’re oasts in Kent. But here in Herefordshire (which has always grown more hops than Kent) it’s always a hop kiln.
  26. Deprived of a PB in 13:42 by biffing glitter and never returning to it. I just sort of assumed that litter was some kind of old word for surgeon and never thought of glister till i got the dreaded pink square. Gutted but never assume as they say..,…

    Thanks J and setter

  27. Didn’t know bacup, or graf, and remembered (test)udo from judo!

    All done in about 45 mins.
    COD heisenberg, though I have forgotten most of the physics learnt at uni.

  28. Rattled through this despite a few semi unknowns. Only holdup was misspelling BLANCMONGE till ANNUITY put me right.
  29. 18:09. BLANCMANGE took a few goes, delaying the NW corner with its half-recalled BACUP. Bit puzzled by “old” Yorkshire. Unified administrative district it may no longer be (and hasn’t been for quite a while) but surely it’s still a region?
    1. It certainly seems to be here when I look out of the window, now that Middlesbrough has been re-sited back into it, since the demise of The Teesside Unitary Authority.
  30. 20 minutes.
    I found this easier than yesterday’s. Quite a few answers bunged in with little thought. The only hold-up was at the end with the crossing AMARYLLIS and PHYSICIST. The clue for the latter wasn’t hard, but I was fixated on a proper name. RAGGA was unfamiliar, but the wordplay was straightforward.
  31. A gentle ramble through this with my second coffee of the day, began with GRAF, (As Jack mentioned, the Spee helped with this), and continued with RAGGA ad NYALA. STANDS TO REASON was soon biffed, and the RHS populated nicely. HEISENBERG accompanied me during my first year at Uni, so there was no doubt where he was going. A steady plod through the wordplay saw the LHS filling up nicely and CARDINAL WOLSEY brought the proceedings to a close. 20:32. Thanks setter and Jack.
  32. Initially had SILO down for the hops dryer — it also has 750 grammes, but couldn’t make the rest of it work. Corrected when THEME PARK showed up.

    I’d also bunged in FUNDAMENT and PHYSICIAN which screwed up my GLISTER and INTEGER for some time.

    Got there in the end but by a somewhat circuitous route.

  33. Possibly my quickest ever solve; yesterday was definitely my best. A few leaps of faith, notably BACUP, which rang only the faintest of bells. But overall good fun and nice to see physics featuring.
    1. Congratulations on your times this week! In case you don’t know, you can find your top 10 according to the SNITCH (along with other data about your performance) here: https://xwdsnitch.herokuapp.com/solvers/702. According to this, yesterday was a PB and today was certainly in your top 10.
  34. Irritated to complete today’s puzzle, only to discover I’d put in KILO rather than KILN. Since I only knew of hops drying in oast houses, I failed to understand the reference. I’m always caught out by these cryptics that require you to take 3/4 of the word or phrase to work with, as in this case, and then substitute something else. PHYSICIST would have done for me also, had it not been for GLISTER, but I was so pleased to have worked that one out, I failed to return to the confusing KILO for another look.
  35. 27 minutes, so a very good time for me. And a very easy puzzle, except for one or two traps I fortunately didn’t fall into (never heard of GLISTER, but I decided it was more important that I had also never heard of a surgeon called LITTER. And RAGGA could perhaps have been something else, but luckily it wasn’t. And BACUP was the remaining unknown, but the wordplay was kind enough.)

    Edited at 2022-05-10 04:20 pm (UTC)

  36. 19.16. This wasn’t too hard but I dawdled through it, dragging my feet here and there to unravel some of the parsings where I had a little uncertainty.
  37. Enjoyable enough but my LOI was a guess and REGNA didnt seem any more or less possible than RAGGA though admittedly missing the wrong end. NHO the correct solution and I doubt I’ll remember it in future either.

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