Times Cryptic 28298


There were a few tricky bits along the way here so I was surprised to find myself finished in 23 minutes. I guess I was helped by a number of other clues being quite basic, so I was able to garner plenty of checkers to assist with the more difficult answers and constructions

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 Take a quick look at first of cases in hospital (4)
C{ases} [first of…] contained by [in] SAN (hospital – sanatorium)
4 Bet meat and oil are processed as essential for life (10)
Anagram [processed] of BET MEAT OIL I didn’t know this word but the first 8 letters were easy to extract from the anagrist and didn’t leave much choice as to what came next. SOED defines this as: any substance produced during or necessary to metabolism
9 Good painter works hard over place with famous address (10)
G (good), ETTY (painter), then GRUBS (works hard) reversed [over]. The address was delivered by Abe Lincoln in 1863. William Etty, 1787-1849, was an English painter. Collins defines ‘grub’ as: to work hard, esp. at something menial or tedious.
10 Appeal of the Parisian father’s embraced (4)
LE (‘the’ Parisian) contained [embraced] by PA (father)
11 Militaristic state’s ability in spring (6)
ART (ability) contained by [in] SPA (spring). To quote Wiki: Sparta was recognized as the leading force of the unified Greek military during the Greco-Persian Wars.
12 A few high on old tower (3,2,3)
Anagram [high] of ON O (old) TOWER
14 Mistake demolishing English house? (4)
GAFF{e} (mistake) [demolishing English – e]. ‘Gaff’ can mean any dwelling or place of business 
15 Not happy in place surrounded by sick (10)
PL (place) contained [surrounded] by DISEASED (sick)
17 Personal qualities frequently destroy repeatedly on board? (4,6)
OFT (frequently) contained by SS (so ‘on board’ a steam ship). Then the same sort of thing again [repeatedly] with KILL (destroy) contained by SS. But that would give us two S’s in the middle of the answer, so they need to be combined and shared between both elements of the clue. I wondered if it matters that this isn’t indicated, and I’m still not sure, but at least it’s something a bit different. I didn’t know the expression despite working in offices etc when  this sort of jargon came into fashion.
20 Holiday island where I party after going back (4)
I (island) + LAB (Labour party) reversed [after going back]. Edit: This clue was amended to avoid double duty  so have  amended my blog accordingly.
21 Support for prayer was intrusive and regularly mixed up (4-4)
PRIED (was intrusive), {m}I{x}E{d} U{p} [regularly]. A word I learnt quite recently from crossword puzzles. I’d seen them from childhood in places of worship but didn’t know they had a special name.
23 Drunken Arabs caught producing wine (6)
Anagram [drunken] of ARABS C (caught). White and very sweet, apparently.
24 Light pressure used with beer (4)
P (pressure), ALE (beer)
25 Present daily record outside parliament, ultimately like many peers (10)
HERE (present), DIARY (daily record) containing [outside] {parliamen}T [ultimately]
26 Train around area for annual race meeting (5,5)
ROYAL SCOT (train) containing [around] A (area). You can read all about the train here if you wish. Sadly this historic service was discontinued in 2003.
27 Cut record company putting out books (4)
M{ot}OWN (record company) [putting out books – Old Testament]
2 Conservative lot leading their opponents in desire for manufacturers? (5,6)
C (Conservative), HEAP (lot), LABOUR (their – Conservative –  opponents)
3 Equipment for tennis professional with suitable final income (3,6)
NET (equipment for tennis), PRO (professional), FIT (suitable)
4 What’s hot sun cracking wet earth? (7)
STAR (sun) contained by [cracking] MUD (wet earth)
5 A tortuous clue somehow about the Spanish painter (8-7)
Anagram (somehow) of A TORTUOUS CLUE, containing [about] EL (‘the’ in Spanish). A very nice misdirection as to the nationality of the painter in question.
6 I’m less than impressed with mammoth trade (3,4)
BIG (mammoth), DEAL (trade)
7 Home gets consent to opening (5)
IN (home), LET (consent to)
8 Bible books exist to be raised as a source of inspiration (5)
OT (Bible books – Old Testament again!) + ARE (exist) reversed [to be raised]. She was one of the Greek Muses with poetry, especially the naughty stuff, as her particular area of influence.
13 Circle pub argument — something to be carried on outside? (11)
WHEEL (circle), BAR (pub), ROW (argument). Things are usually carried in wheelbarrows, but not to worry.
16 Weary time in plant garden with elders (9)
BORE (weary) + T (time) contained by [in] ARUM (plant). The DBE is not indicated.
18 His rank is unusual for a deity (7)
Anagram [unusual] of HIS RANK
19 Outfit without basis to work on a newspaper? (7)
SUIT (outfit) containing [without] BED (basis)
21 Each year having a written test (5)
PA (each year  – per annum), PER (a – for each)
22 Island place (5)
IS (island), LAY (place). &lit.

61 comments on “Times Cryptic 28298”

  1. This must be a PB -31:29. METABOLITE, PRIE-DIEU and BARSAC were vaguely known. It took a while for me.to see grub as work hard. Thought ISLAY and MOWN were very clever, also enjoyed definition “garden of elders”. I see the Opposition Party made two appearances. Thanks,Jackkt, for blog not just full of interesting info but also pointers on how clues should be crafted (SOFT SKILLS and BALI).

  2. 29 minutes. NHO SOFT SKILLS (thank goodness) which I tentatively parsed as you suggest – ‘frequently’ (OFT) and ‘destroy’ (KILL) both contained within S+S, with the middle S shared. GAFF for ‘house’ was new as was GRUBS for ‘works hard’ although it seemed plausible. I didn’t notice the apparent mistake in BALI or the (now you’ve pointed it out) rather odd WHEELBARROW def.

    Favourites were the &lit ISLAY and the ‘Spanish painter’ who wasn’t.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

  3. 36 minutes while also answering a couple of emails that came in. I missed the extra S in SOFT SKILLS. I thought for a moment I was going to have to come up with an obscure Spanish artist, but it only took a moment to realize who was really required. And continuing on the French theme, I too think I’ve only ever seen/heard PRIE DIEU in crosswords.

  4. Killing me softly.

    Not my day! A 47 minute DNF. Steamed along nicely until I hit 20ac PRIE-DIEU and 17ac SOFT SKILLS! Spare me, Lord! But these are not present at Old Trafford, my regular place of worship. Next season a few P-Ds scattered amongst the Stretford End might help improve the situation! More recently, He has become somewhat colour blind! On the day, Pep asked the United faithful to wear pale blue City shirts – which made us see Red! What was he thinking, Manchester United!?

    FOI 1ac SCAN
    (LOI) 14ac GAFF

    I have often seen 13dn WHEELBARROWs used inside large greenhouses and garden centres!? But that may well be outside the setter’s experience. But it’s not a 6dn.

  5. 13:57
    I biffed TOULOUSE-L from the hyphen and a glance at the anagrist, never bothered to check. DNK SOFT SKILLS, wondered about the S’s. I was slowed down by POI ARBORETUM, trying to figure out the parsing, and by LOI MOWN, where I had HEWN at first and tried to figure how that would work; finally got the M, and Bob was my uncle.

    1. Another here who started with HEWN. TOULOUSE-L was one of several biffs for me.

  6. LOI SOFT SKILLS. And glad to learn it!
    CHEAP LABOUR, Vinyl, is all too unfortunately a thing. It’s the blood that greases the wheels of capitalism. But don’t get me started. (Ha)
    I should have biffed TOULOUSE-LAUTREC from the hyphen. I was distracted.
    PRIEU-DIEU was one of my first in… pas étonnant…

  7. Perhaps the clue for 20a has been amended, the printed version I worked has ‘Holiday island where I party after going back’

    1. That’s what the club version was when I did the puzzle online at about 9 a.m. (i.e 1 a.m. UK time).

  8. Enjoyed the painter, ISLAY, MOWN and ‘garden with elders’. Thanks setter and jack.

  9. 17:04
    Another easy one. Garden with elders was good.
    Thanks, jack.

  10. Art thou Pale for weariness…

    15 mins pre-brekker. I don’t know Barsac, but I will look out for it.
    I don’t think the “repeatedly on board” thing really works.
    Thanks setter and J.

    1. Vaguely heard of Barsac, and it very much reminded me of Australian wine…
      We’re yobs down here, make reasonably good wines but then put them in a plastic bladder inside a cardboard carton and sell them as “Chateau Cardboard”.
      Then one company said “why do we need the cardboard carton?” and started selling wines in soft plastic bags. Clarsac (sack of claret) was their red wine, can’t remember the name of the white wine.

  11. 5:32. I’d have been under 5 minutes again if it hadn’t been for ARBORETUM, which took me about half a minute to figure out. No unknowns today and lots of biffing. The BALI clue had been corrected online when I got to it. I’m not sure about the repeated use of S device either.

    1. 16d also took me a little while to figure out, before I finally plumped for ‘arbushtum’. But this was largely because I had chosen ‘basrac’ as the wine.

      Reason enough for you to put off our meeting indefinitely, I fear.

  12. About 30 minutes but a dnf on the 50/50 taken on Barcas.
    I drink enough wine so maybe I should branch out more.

    COD mustard.

    1. I was unsure about BARCAS or BARSAC. I went with BARSAC as it somehow sounded right but I couldn’t tell you why.

  13. 22 minutes with LOI PRIE-DIEU, assembled like a flat pack from IKEA. I sometimes fondly call the trees at the bottom of our garden an arboretum and any self-set elder there is mercilessly dealt with. Very fascist pursuit, gardening. What with my bad back, I then prefer to push rather than carry the WHEELBARROW. I shrugged at the number of S’s in SOFT SKILLS. COD to GETTYSBURG but I’m sure that Verlaine’s time today will demonstrate that all crossword solvers were not created equal. Good puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.

    1. Elders. Yes I remember my grandmother putting me to work with a saw to get rid of them. This was in spite of my making my first stage appearance as the elderberry fairy (aged 5) a la Cicely Mary Barker.

      1. I greatly envy you being an ederberry fairy. At the same stage I was merely a crepe-swathed, green goblin. Andrew Brown and I were sidelined for bad behaviour, which we thought was what goblins did! We were reinstated at the dress rehearsal by the lovely Mrs. Kennedy.

      2. My first stage appearance was in a school concert. My only role was to join in the chorus of one song. I was taken to one side and asked to mime because they said my singing put the others off.

  14. Off to a slightly shaky start – assuming the 4a anagram must start BIO… but TOLOUSE L sorted that one and I tentatively entered the crossers for GETTYSBURG with no inkling of how to parse the solution.

    After that an orderly solve without any major hitches, unknowns PRIE-DIEU and ERATO didn’t cause too much concern, and I think I’ve probably encountered BARSAC here a few months ago. Finished off with MUSTARD and finally SPARTA.

    32:31 – thanks J and setter

  15. 20 mins so as good as it gets for me. Every answer just seemed to jump out as I went through steadily from top to bottom. No unknowns, well maybe METABOLITE, but it had to be, and the SOFT bit held me up for a minute or two.

    BARSAC is one of the 5 communes of Sauternes along with Fargues, Bommes, Preignac and, of course Sauternes itself. A wine I love, sweet as Jack says.

    I liked ARBORETUM, T-L and BARSAC.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  16. 13:11. Although it turns out I knew how to spell TOULOUSE LAUTREC I took the time to write down the anagrist and check it at the end to be sure. Seeing the clue again in the blog, I’m taken with how good it is. It’s a lovely surface and has the misdirection of “Spanish painter” to boot. Well done setter!

  17. 29m 34s
    A whole lot of biffing going on!
    Never heard of ETTY the painter. I agree with Jack about the WHEELBARROW clue. It did make me smile though. Back in the 70s when treasure hunt car rallies were a thing, I set one clue in the town of Forest ROW in Sussex by describing the place as ‘argument in the woods?’

  18. I enjoyed this one with both easy and tricky clues Made a typo by putting in metabolise instead of metabolite Didn’t confirm the anagram
    Didn’t know “prie dieu” but biffed the second word and it fell into place
    CODs 9a and 16d
    24 mins which is below my daily target of 30

  19. 9:44. I somehow manage to dredge up PRIE DIEU from somewhere, but otherwise not held up by much. O liked the not-Spanish painter, the gardn with elders and WHEELBARROW for the excellent surface. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  20. 18.36. My main hold-up was the rather innocent MUSTARD, where I couldn’t work out where the H(ot) S(un) went, compounded by the belief that the last letter was U from the not happy clue at 15. Finally cracking that meant I could flash my way through DISPLEASED, then the too-many-word ARBORETUM (garden with elders duh!) and the final not-HEWN MOWN. Even then I thought there was a mistake, as if you take TO out of MO(TO)WN it’s not the aforementioned OT books.
    If ever I see someone carrying a wheelbarrow, I’ll let you know. And I’ll try to forget that I had ETTY as a 20th century American artist.

  21. 18:20
    I found this enjoyably tricky, with several ingenious clues. Stumbled around for a while, but soon found my feet when Toulouse-Lautrec fell into place.

    Are SOFT SKILLS the same as “people skills” ? (Just running that up the flag pole, trying to get my ducks in a row and touching base).

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  22. 29 minutes with a careless metaboline, corrected because it told me something was wrong. Why does that thing appear saying ‘Unlucky’? Not unlucky at all, just a mistake. I was again careless and never noticed the device of SS being round two separate things, but perhaps the ‘repeatedly’ was enough indication?

    Liked the place with a famous address.

  23. Thought it was Monday again, sprinted through this looking at a PB 11 minutes, but then spent 3 or 4 more looking at 17a trying to see why it could or couldn’t be BOAT SKILLS (personal qualities… on board !) but then saw the need for OFT and put in the correct SOFT of which I had never heard in this context. Didn’t count the S’s.
    I agree with rosé de Provence, about Barsac, and Sauternes generally, having had several days out there on château visits, but it never seems to taste as good when you’re not in France. Like ouzo in Greece or Vin Santo in Italy perhaps.

  24. “You don’t really love me, but you keep me hanging on” (The Supremes, a nice piece of vintage MOtoWN). But do check out the wildly different version of the song by Vanilla Fudge (a spliff apparently helps !)

    The puzzle didn’t keep ME hanging on, and I wrapped it up pretty quickly. Most enjoyable !

    TIME 6:22

  25. 20 mins, with somewhat of a delay as I had AUBRETIAS and SAWN, neither of which worked, especially as I already had BARSAC. I did like the ‘garden with elders’ when I finally got it.
    Since I know very little about painters, I thought “I didn’t realise TOULOUSE LAUTREC was Spanish’ and left it that.

  26. Glad to see others were nonplussed by the Ss in SOFT SKILLS. My brain kept insisting on “cleft palate” in 2d – no wonder it didn’t work – and briefly confused the wine in 23a with Barsad the spy in Tale Of Two Cities. Some good stuff in this one. 16.15

  27. 13:27, in spite of fumbling through on an infuriatingly unresponsive iphone. All made sense at the time but would similarly have put a question mark against SOFT SKILLS had I paused long enough to parse it.

  28. Very enjoyable varied puzzle. METABOLITE a common medical/biology word but I’ve never known it to mean ‘something essential for life’, it is a product of a metabolic process.
    Thanks Jakkt.

  29. 33:05. There were a few that might have held me up, but in the end it was my LOI the so simple 18dn KRISHNA. I had made up my mind that I did not know any arcane gods, and got as far as writing down the four crossers and the three other letters before it clicked. I like MUSTARD

  30. Why the angst over SOFT SKILLS? SOFT is on board (surrounded by SS) and likewise KILL is on board.

    It matters little that one S is shared.

  31. 27:35

    Pootled around the grid at an even pace throughout until the last five. Broke off for a cup of coffee, came back to it and polished off promptly, solving them in order: SPARTA, MUSTARD, DISPLEASED, ARBORETUM and MOWN.

    PRIE-DIEU dredged up from somewhere with all checkers!

  32. Finished this in record time. (Well, a record for me.) Nothing very taxing here.

  33. Fairly straightforward but with one or two that slowed my progress. I was never confident about METABOLITE so didn’t enter it for some while. Ditto GAFF and and SOFT SKILLS.
    26 minutes.

  34. An irrelevant time of 08:17, as I also invented METABOLINE, which broke the most important rule of Anagram Club (after the first rule, which is obviously that we don’t talk about Anagram Club). Enjoyed the rest, but my skills, soft or otherwise, were all in vain. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

  35. 17 on the nose, so not as easy as yesterday but pretty uncomplicated. Just 272 words in the Gettysburg address, which lasted two minutes. The reporters had to ask Lincoln for copies afterwards because he’d finished speaking by the time they’d finished licking their pencils. Or so we’re told.

  36. Z-cars!

    Those long enough in the tooth will remember “Wheelbarrows John. Wheelbarrows!”
    That was what was being stolen, not their contents!
    The strangest things stick in the mind.

    1. A good Barsac is a fine wine these days, right up there with a top Sauternes and can be just as expensive. It is a dessert wine, but does not in fact taste particularly sweet, because it carries so much flavour. Worth a try..

  37. A few NHOs – royal scot? softskills? – but no real problems. Prie dieux has appeared in living memory. Metabolites, as well as the drugs themselves, are what the drug testers look for in sportspeople’s samples. Arboretum forgot to parse, wrote it in from crossers barely looking at the clue. Noted the dodgy Bali clue, since corrected; noted the dodgy soft skills clue still not fully explained. Really enjoyed Gettysburg, and Toulouse-Lautrec which totally bamboozled me – I thought he was French? Then finally worked it out. Nice one, setter!

  38. Quite a few quickest times recorded today I see, which presumably is why I had a quickie for me at 24.30.
    Wouldn’t have got PRIE DIEU without the clear directions of the cryptic pointer, and never heard of the ROYAL SCOT, only the FLYING SCOTSMAN.
    Was surprised to see GAFF as a legit word, always hearing it used in what I perceived to be a slang term in crime thrillers.

  39. Easy on the brain, this one, with mostly obvious definitions, which made it suitable for working whilst paying half-attention to a ball game. I knew Soft Skills, otherwise the S confusion would have held me up.

  40. I was not DISPLEASED with this, although it was not very hard (32 minutes including the washing and eating of one apple), but there were many clever clues. The ones I liked best were MUSTARD, MOWN, SUBEDIT and ARBORETUM, in no particular order. But others were pretty much a giveaway, in particular WHEELBARROW which I dashed down just as I read the wordplay. As for the SOFT SKILLS repeatedly on board, I see no problem with the number of Ss: OFT is on board, and so is KILL, but on the two halves of a (steam-powered?) trimaran, perhaps, not on two separate ships.

  41. 28 minutes, but a couple unparsed. Like others, I was unsure about the ‘repeatedly on board’ device and the shared S, but it could only be SOFT SKILLS, so no sleep lost, and I like Hydrochoos’s trimaran suggestion. I liked ISLAY and MUSTARD.

  42. ONE OR TWO clues were slightly tricky
    But most were a write in for me
    So I was not DISPLEASED
    My brain-strain was eased
    Lots of overseas vocabulary

  43. 17.54. A nice work out. I seem to have glossed over the precise parsings of hereditary and subedit when solving but didn’t really need either. I was keen on mustard and liked the clue for Toulouse-Lautrec.

  44. A late entry. 19.30. Zzzzzz…( that’s not a critique of the puzzle).
    Thanks setter and blogger.

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