Times Cryptic 28322


Solving time: 42 minutes. 9ac and 10dn had me wondering if today’s setter might be Oink.


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 Lean jockeys in lead, with food intake making body shapely (5,7)
Anagram [jockeys] of LEAN contained by [in] PB (lead), EATING [food intake]. ‘Jockey’ may seem a strange anagrind but we’ve had it before and it’s in the Chambers list. One definition is ‘manipulate’.
8 Possibly corny item to advertise swimmer’s aid (7)
EAR (possibly corny item – ears of corn), PLUG (advertise)
9 Greedy guts swallowing last of bacon on soggy ground bread once (7)
PIG (greedy guts) containing (swallowing) FEN (soggy ground) + {baco}N [last of…]. ‘Bread’ as slang for ‘money’.
11 More bananas in dish consumed by ladies, say, and queen (7)
PIE (dish) contained [consumed] by LOO (ladies, say) + R (queen)
12 Undressed escort irrational round certain stars (7)
{e}SCOR{t} [undressed], PI (irrational), O (round)
13 Both sides in Highbury perhaps useful (5)
H{ighbury} AND {highbur}Y (both sides of Highbury). I had just been considering ‘handier’ as a possible answer at 11ac based on ‘hand’ being another term for a bunch of bananas. Of course it was never going to work with the rest of the clue but rather conveniently ‘hand’ was fresh in my mind as I came to this one.
14 Fool previously grasping an element of poetry (9)
ASS (fool), then ONCE (previously) containing [grasping] AN. SOED: The rhyming of one word with another in accented vowel and those that follow, but not in consonants, or (less usually) in consonants but not in vowels
16 Filled with spirit, steed periodically follows groups of lawmen (9)
POSSES (groups of lawmen),  S{t}E{e}D [periodically]. Fans of Westerns will be aware of posses in this sense.
19 Sports vehicle tours in escapade (5)
CAR (vehicle) contains [tours] PE (sports – Physical Education)
21 In Latin, maybe I learn afresh without hesitation (7)
Anagram [afresh] of LEARN containing [without] UM (hesitation). Roman numerals. We had something very similar in Izetti’s QC last Tuesday.
23 Decoration for the head of diminutive fellow? (7)
CHAP (fellow),  LET clued by ‘diminutive ‘, ‘-let’ being a suffix added to some nouns to indicate small or lesser e.g. booklet.
24 Party during time off jobs in bank, say (4-3)
DUP (party – Democratic Unionist Party) contained by [during] HOLS (time off). This Northern Ireland party is very much in the news at the moment.
25 Grating, 50 per cent heavy metal, released smoke (7)
IR{on} (heavy metal) [50 per cent], anagram [released] of SMOKE. As I grow  older there’s a lot that grates on my nerves and I find irksome.
26 Hurry to succeed, lacking patience (4,2,6)
MAKE IT (succeed), SNAPPY (lacking patience)
1 Not quite clean cut or appropriate (7)
PUR{e} (clean) [not quite], LOIN (cut of meat)
2 Make invalid endlessly fill unwieldy bags up (7)
Hidden [bags] and reversed [up] in {endlessl}Y FILL UN{wieldy}
3 Deliveries left for one on periods without work (3,6)
L (left), EG (for one – example), BREAKS (periods without work). SOED: in cricket – a bowled ball that spins from leg to off on pitching
4 Dispatching right goods sold abroad for displays (5)
EXPO{rt}S (goods sold abroad) [dispatching right]
5 Truss neck with something worn around it, at first (3,4)
TIE (something worn around it – neck), DOWN (neck – drink)
6 New, doubly trendy, absorbing record? One’s bowled over (7)
N (new), then IN + IN  (trendy) [doubly] containing [absorbing] EP (record – extended play)
7 Lack means to skin a certain bird, according to Spooner (4,3,5)
Spoonerism of “peel the finch” [skin a certain bird]. Not having as much money as one used to.
10 Traveller has fling in Greece, disheartened by a bit of a pig (12)
LOB (fling) contained by [in] G{reec}E [disheartened], TROTTER (bit of a pig). Pig’s trotters are considered a culinary delicacy in some parts of the UK.
15 Winning over Spain is painless: centre for training is lacking (9)
S{pain} [pain-less], EDUC{a}TION (training) [centre…is lacking]. Have some Madeira, M’dear!
17 Is it therefore African country close to Ethiopia? (7)
SO (therefore), MALI (African country), {Ethiopi}A [close to…]. And Somalia does indeed share a border with Ethiopia.
18 Travelling with pastry case, about to go (2,5)
EN {c}ROUTE (with pastry case) [about – c – to go]. Trotter en croute, anyone?
19 Boost position entering sports competition (5,2)
RANK (position) contained by [entering] CUP (sports competition)
20 Stocks cushion wife dismissed on line (7)
PILLO{w} (cushion) [wife dismissed], RY (railway line). Both were forms of mediaeval punishment involving public humiliation, but I understand that pillory and stocks were not exactly the same. In the pillory the victim was standing with head and hands restrained by holes in the board. In stocks he was sitting or lying down with feet restrained at the ankles.
22 Great pianist listened to record (5)
Sounds like [listened to] “list” [record]

67 comments on “Times Cryptic 28322”

  1. 31:06. I had a pig of a time with this one! The pattern was, I would get what was going on (Spain is painless, for example), but have no idea how to make the rest of the clue work. Spent much time on CRANK UP, PILLORY, and CHAPLET.

    I wonder if anyone biffed LOONIER. I nearly did.

    1. Yes I had Loo(ni)ER with ‘in dish’=(ni).
      Loopier is clearly better, but I think a case could be made for Loonier.

    2. Yup – thought of LOONIER here too, though thankfully entered LOOPIER first.

  2. This morning I was in a bit of a hurry, so popped over to the coffee shop and ordered, ‘an Americano and a crocodile sandwich🐊 . And make it snappy!’, I insisted. 26ac my WOD.

    FOI 13ac HANDY
    LOI 12ac. SCORPIO

    Time a turgid hour – held up by 25ac for which I had entered GRILLED.
    Grill with half the letters of Lead/Led Zep (heavy metal) – the e and the d. – smoke etc. Rather IRKSOME! Didn’t help having 23ac as CORONET either.
    Fortunately 19dn SEDUCTION arrived eventually.

  3. 21′ but
    I not only flung in LOONIER, I left it there, with a brief and quickly forgotten ‘what about NI?’. DNK ‘neck’=down. Biffed NULLIFY & EN ROUTE, parsed post-submission. IRKSOME my LOI, and it took some time.

    1. It’s not the easiest thing to look up here as ‘neck’ is common enough and ‘down’ appears in every blog on the site, but both ‘neck’ and ‘down’ in the sense of ‘drink’ have come up many a time. I managed to find an example of one cluing the other directly in a puzzle I blogged on 26 October last year:

      Some bridge down — stare at it?(10)
      (some bridge – set of games in cards), NECK (down – drink). &lit.

      1. Instead of DNK I suppose I should have said DNR (did not remember); ‘neck’ and ‘nick’ both give me problems because they mean too many things.

    2. Me too. I would have thought the clue ought to be “More bananas in dish, say, consumed by ladies and queen (7)” The way it’s written doesn’t seem to indicate a homophone of the dish, to me at least.

      1. I did not take ‘say’ as a homophone indicator.
        Ladies say = example of a LOO. Dish = PIE and queen = R.

        PIE consumed by LOO……R.

        1. Thanks. See earlier comments by isla3 and myself further down the list of comments.

    3. The requisite meaning of ‘neck’ had me scratching my head, until I remembered that I used it in a clue!

      Butterfly collar around boys’ eager heads and pasty necks (7,5)

  4. 35 minutes. All in slowly and held up by the parsing of EN ROUTE and SEDUCTION at the end. Happy to have seen IRKSOME pretty quickly and this helped with CRANK UP. I liked PFENNIG.

    No spoilers, but your comments re 9a and 10d have some relevance elsewhere today too.

  5. 34 minutes, taken over the half-hour by not being able to parse LOI SEDUCTION for the life of me, after assuming that “over Spain” would be “SE” and the centre for training would be “IN”, which I was trying to remove from a synonym for “painless”. On the plus side, I’m getting better at spotting the H-AND-Y device…

    1. I thought I was getting better at spotting the H-AND-Y type of clue but it was almost my LOI today.

  6. 41 minutes with LOI PURLOIN. I used to bowl LEG BREAKS. At least I think that’s what they’d have done if only the batter had been kind enough to let them bounce. TROTTER as part of a pig was very familiar to a Bolton Wanderer. COD to FEEL THE PINCH, an excellent contribution from the Reverend. A good puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.

  7. FOI was, rather pleasingly, FEEL THE PINCH – I don’t normally get Spooner clues right away – but I found this puzzle quite tough, with the other 12-char entries holding out for extended periods. Wanted the bit of pig to be a RASHER, but a half-remembered CHAPLET had to be, as did the NHO but fairly-clued ASSONANCE. SOMALIA was, of course, a gift to me – but made me feel very hungry!

    After finishing off on the right, last pair were the 1d / 11a crossing – biffed both as PURLOIN and finally LOONIER – add me to the list. 1 pink for my 38m effort but nevertheless, a really fun and stimulating start to the day – thanks Jack and setter .

  8. 13:15. Nice to finish with all correct after yesterday’s aberration. I did risk a boo-boo at one point when I found seducing didn’t fit and so changed my answer to SEDUCTING, thinking it must be a variant. I’m just glad the checkers forced me to put it right.
    I thought the SOMALIA clue was very good, but it did make me wonder if the setter was trying to improve on his or her clue from 12 days ago: “Old African country in South Africa or one elsewhere”

  9. Well, I found it IRKSOME that I bunged in LOONIER without really reading the clue, obviously. HOLD-UPS at SEDUCTION and ASSANONCE took me to 39 mins. I liked the spoonerism and PFENNIG, GLOBETROTTER and MAKE IT SNAPPY.

    Thanks Jack and porcine setter.

  10. …small gnats mourn,
    Among the river sallows, borne aloft

    (Such assonance). 35 mins with a Loo(n)ier.
    Thanks setter and J.

  11. 13:27. Nice puzzle. Never seen the painless Spain before. COD to NUMERAL. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  12. 43 mins for a fast/slow/fast solution
    I liked 15d and 24a but was completely on the wrong wavelength for 1a

    1. Ayup Mate, not a particularly 13ac comment, with your 22dn of 21acs. A somewhat 25ac 19ac! Meldrew

  13. 30 minutes. EN ROUTE was a biff as I didn’t know en croute, but otherwise this was a steady enough solve for me. The Spoonerism took a while to come, and only once it did was I confident enough to put in POSSESSED, as the lawmen meaning of posses didn’t immediately occur to me. I also didn’t see that NULLIFY was a hidden for a long time, so I hesitated over it until the penny (or should that be PFENNIG?) dropped. An enjoyable crossword – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Globetrotter
    LOI Leg breaks
    COD Panel beating

  14. 46m 50s but, alas, I entered CRACK UP.
    Another one who started with LOONIER.
    Thanks, Jack for ‘neck’ = DOWN and also for EN (C)ROUTE. I solved both but didn’t understand till I came here. ‘Back in the day’ Beef Wellington was my go-to chat-up dish.
    Re pillory/stocks, there is a working set of stocks in the square in Stow-on-the-Wold, close by, appropriately, The Old Stocks Inn.

      1. That is interesting. I now have a mental image of you being locked up in the stocks by your parents. What did you do to deserve that?😀

        1. “Tomatoes don’t hurt,” said my Uncle Jim.
          But by gum they do, if they’re in a tin.

  15. I’m going to come right out with it: LOONIER is just as good an answer with LOO (obviously) in dish producing NI (why not?!!!!) and ER the queen. One of those where if you enter it you have no particular reason to change it for something else, and since this setter was more devious than most in their wordplay, the only slightly odd “dish” for change is not an issue. Having pushed my way round this challenging (for me) puzzle in 27.22, I feel cheated.

    1. I would say ‘dish’ as an anagram indicator is more than slightly odd. If it were ‘dish in’ I could see your point (dish as in ruin) but this way round I can’t see it.

      1. Chambers has “To ruin (informal)”. However, as Wil Ransome says below the tense doesn’t work – it would need to be “in dished”.

        1. Indeed. Collins has the same, Lexico goes a bit further with ‘utterly destroy, confound or defeat’. I think though that for ‘in dish’ to work you have to read it as in ‘chicken dish’, a food course made with chicken, or in this case, made with the word ‘in’. But a dish made with X 1) usually contains things other than X and 2) often doesn’t involve ‘mixing’ X in any way (roast chicken is a chicken dish, for instance) so I don’t think it works as an anagram indicator.

    2. I’d like to agree, but while I accept that dished would be less strained, I don’t think a verbal meaning of dish is impossible, or even that a dish of “in” might return NI. A dish of vegetables is a mixture of vegetables.
      I think the problem is having “in” in the clue: of course it’s “just a link word” but we’ve been caught out many a time ignoring small things. If you pay attention to the small word, you’re saddled with what to do with it and “dish” is the indicator you the wrestle with.
      Curiously, Chambers has a second meaning under “dish” from the world of printing, which is to distribute (type). Still a verb, and subject to the same strain, but I quite like it as an indicator.

  16. 12:31. I found this moderately tricky and of very even difficultly: I never really slowed down or picked up speed.
    I failed to parse SEDUCTION, so thanks for that. Like gothick I got it into my head that ‘over Spain’ was SE (note to self: IVR for Spain is E, ES is El Salvador), and then I had to remove IN ‘centre for training’ from a word meaning ‘painless’. In the end I just bunged it in and came here.
    TROTTER is considered a delicacy all over the world. Generally speaking if there are good things to do with bits of pig they’ll have been found separately wherever people eat the animal. See also black pudding. The French chef Pierre Koffmann is (or was) famous for his trotter dish which is (or was) delicious.

  17. 09:30, like Spain, quite painless. Slight delay as I went through lots of nouns which could be a synonym for “neck” until the penny dropped. Lots of things which could have been chestnuts in less skilful hands, but weren’t, so all good.

  18. I agree about ‘in dish’. The other way round would be OK, but this isn’t: only something like ‘in dished’. 34 minutes although I entered CRACK UP at first. I’m not sure quite how my setup differs from other people’s: when I put in the last entry a window immediately appears telling me that the puzzle is solved in whatever, or telling me that I’m unlucky (rot: they’re just being polite). Often it’s a typo, which I correct and the positive window appears; sometimes I have to think a bit more, as I did here: I was pretty unhappy with position = rack but thought it might do. But I never get one of those pink squares that people talk of.

    1. It sounds like you are solving directly on the newspaper site, rather than the crossword club.

  19. 20:29. Glad I didn’t think of LOONIER first as I wouldn’t have looked any further. CHAPLET was half-remembered/guessed (Note to self: after yesterday’s SHAKO must brush up on obscure headwear names) but otherwise all seemed straightforward.

  20. Another LOONIER here, and was quite happy with the parsing. What threw me was putting in OFF BREAKS in lieu of LEG BREAKS, and again this seemed to parse to me. Eventually saw the alternative which gave me 1ac. LOI was 23ac as I had another error with CLOCK UP, again this seemed to parse with Lock being a position in rugby union. It’s a miracle I finished at all in 51.45, over 6 minutes outside of target time.

  21. 30:51

    Shame about the LOOPIER/LOONIER clue which clearly wasn’t well tested (or else a deliberately unfair trap). Thankfully entered the right one and didn’t feel enough justification to change it.

    The rest was mostly OK. Not as many unknowns as yesterday, though the half heavy metal kept me looking for LE(AD) for far too long.

  22. I’m LOOnIER than those who got this right ☹️

    A lovely puzzle (I too suspect our porcine friend) and I fell into the bear trap far too easily. My LOI, GLOBETROTTER took ages to spot, as did PURLOIN.

    COD to FEEL THE PINCH. I’ve got practically a third of my submitted puzzles wrong this month – I must buckle down and get my act together. 13:15 was probably a half-decent time had I actually got it right.

  23. Loonier – I’ll argue that ‘dish’ is in the imperative case. Otherwise not much problem except for getting the G in Globetrotter, and not being able to work the traveller Gulliver (who even has a [pig’s] liver in it) up in any useful way. Though not for lack of trying. Panel Beater/ing made sense, but I’d not heard it before. Thanks, jack

  24. 18:56 but bu**ered by LOONIER. As I said in my reply to Kevin, I can’t see the homophone indicator for PIE, the way the clue is written. “Say” only appears to apply to ladies. Thanks Jack.

    1. I didn’t read it as a homophone. The full word PIE is in the answer (and the blog), and R for Regina/queen is common in The Times.
      The say is with the Ladies, a definition-by-example indicator for loo.

      1. Ah, thank you. That makes more sense. I didn’t get beyond ER for the queen!

  25. I thought this was quite playful in places -HANDY, MAKE IT SNAPPY, FEEL THE PINCH – but I got a
    a pink square for “loonier” – put in without a second thought and rightly punished.

    My dad loved pigs trotters, crubeens in Ireland. Difficult things to eat elegantly.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  26. 23.04. I was slow to warm up to this, some of the clues seemed a bit wordy, though in fact only the clues for pfennig and globetrotter go over ten words, perhaps that’s some indication of what a model of concision I’ve come to expect from The Times crossword clues and for anyone who’s tried their hand at setting, how difficult it is to achieve.

  27. Seemed easier than yesterday’s, but I still didn’t see PURLOIN until after a good night’s sleep (finally)—and then I remembered how “neck” could mean DOWN too. Didn’t know en croûte.

  28. Way over the hour, but then probably most of it spent asleep. Too hot for golf today!
    I went for CORONET too which held me up, and only entered CHAPLET with misgivings as I’d never heard of one. PURLOIN my LOI, such an easy one too…

  29. For fans of Educating Rita, assonance will for ever mean ‘getting the rhyme wrong’.

  30. Did not expect to finish this but a late burst got me home. LOI was HOLD-UPS. Spooner had been the big problem, as he often is for me. Biffing GOOFIER -it looked vaguely plausible -did not help.
    Going through some birds helped me FEEL THE PINCH and correct Goofier.
    Tricky but well worth it.

  31. 21’32”. I thought of loonier but dismissed it quite quickly. It would be most unusual to have a jumble of a two letter word in a clue. Possibly with a word indicating ‘reverse’. But not with an anagrist. That’s my tuppence-worth. In my mind the setter knew exactly what he/she was doing, and more power to him/her. Deviosity is good. Dear Mr Fantasy play us a tune; sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy. Many thanks.

  32. 1A and 1D were my LOIs – missed the reverse hidden if nullify!! Otherwise pleasant solve. Thanks blogger and setter

  33. 39 minutes and I enjoyed this quite a lot. I did have LOONIER but fortunately proofread before submission, and when I couldn’t see why Northern Ireland would be a dish, my next thought was that “queen” might just be R, making NIE a dish of course. Not much better, but then I saw the PIE. I also wasn’t sure about 1ac (sorry, Meldrew), but although PENAL BEATING as a whole seemed to make more sense than PANEL BEATING (a panel in an investigation, or on a quiz show?), I supposed beating with panels might be more likely to make your body shapely, beating as a punishment more likely to make it unshapely, so I settled for the right answer. (P.S. the OED has just told me that it’s car bodies that are being beaten, and I would never dream of punishing my car.) A fun puzzle, though, for a Tuesday.

  34. Of course PANEL BEATING is no longer an ‘occupation’, as the result of even the smallest bump (and I speak admittedly from experience!) necessitates the total exchange of body part and/or whole vehicle 😦. C’est la vie, as they don’t say in France.

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