Times Cryptic 28328


I had all but four answers in 28 minutes but I needed another 20 to find three of those missing and to decide I didn’t know the fourth. Then I cut my losses and looked up the last one.


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 Potential killer said to be stupid, repeatedly (6)
Sounds like [said to be] “dumb dumb” (stupid, repeatedly). A kind of soft-nosed bullet that expands on impact to inflict extensive injuries. It takes its name from a town in India where it was first produced.
5 Part of flower outside wilts when denied one form of support (8)
PETAL (part of flower) containing [outside] D{i}ES (wilts) [when denied one  – i]. The previous clue was cautious about suggesting that a dumdum bullet would necessarily kill you, whereas this one equates wilting with dying when all that may be needed for revival is the application of a little water.
9 Keep quiet, hold back (8)
P (quiet), RESERVE (hold back)
10 Inclined to run, when given lead (6)
AS (when), LOPE (run). ‘Given lead’ indicates the position of AS.
11 Mostly bank on pub providing a lot of beer? (6)
BAR (pub), REL{y} (bank) [mostly] —  35 gallons of the stuff!
12 Small vehicle making a round trip? (4,4)
Cryptic with reference to a round of golf
14 Separate record coming with speed — one minute saved (12)
DISC (record), then RATE (speed) containing [saved] 1 MIN (one minute)
17 Offering at mealtime could make a curate stare (7,5)
Anagram [could make] of A CURATE STARE. A rather loose definition.
20 The German to entertain stranger who is old and infirm? (8)
DER (the in German) containing [to entertain] ODDER (stranger). I seem to remember there are 6 words for ‘the’ in German and  16 grammatical contexts that determine which one to use.
22 It’s no longer a legal infringement, to be exact (6)
EX (no longer), TORT (legal infringement). I wasn’t sure the definition quite fitted but SOED has: exact  –  extort money from (a person).
23 Teacher and student finally chatter (6)
RABBI (teacher), {studen}T [finally]. From the CRS ‘rabbit and pork’ = ‘talk’.
25 Cut into rope that can be torn apart by teeth? (8)
HEW (cut) contained by [into] CABLE (rope)
26 See fellows ditching leader being thankful? (8)
BEHOLD (see), {m}EN (fellows) [ditching leader]
27 One swimming in wine staggered (6)
EEL (one swimming) contained by [in] RED (wine)
2 A French kingdom, not entirely fantastic? (6)
UN (a in French – only two to choose from here!), REAL{m} (kingdom) [not entirely]
3 Decides dirt being dished should be denigrated (11)
Anagram [dished] of DECIDES DIRT. I think there was some dissent here last week about ‘dished’ as an anagram indicator  but I didn’t follow the argument closely.
4 Preacher‘s spoken with endless distress around (9)
 MISER{y} (distress) [endless] containing [around] ORAL (spoken)
5 One making a promise in page introducing book (7)
P (page), LEDGER (book)
6 Spun-out speech to attract minimum of listeners (5)
DRAW (attract), L{isteners} [minimum of…]
7 The sun making the Spanish get up (3)
LOS (the in Spanish) reversed [get up]. SOL, from the Latin, is sometimes used poetically.
8 A state of well-being denied professional, bringing acrimony (8)
A, {pro}SPERITY (state of well-being) [denied professional – pro]. Both synonyms of ‘bitterness’.
13 Think hard about bit of money put in box (11)
ON (about) + CENT (bit of money) contained by [put in] CRATE (box)
15 Wild little creature doctor employed always (5,4)
MO (doctor), USED (employed), E’ER (always – poetic). Never heard of it. It’s also known as the chevrotain which I’ve also not heard of.
16 Trap to restrict boat at sea — a form of traffic control (8)
CAGE (trap) containing [to restrict] anagram [at sea] of BOAT. NHO this one either and it was the clue I gave up on.  I had got as far as considering ‘sabotage’ which obviously couldn’t be right but even if I’d thought of ‘cage’ for ‘trap’ I don’t think I’d have believed in the result.
18 Acre’s a ground with knight — fighting me? (7)
Anagram [ground] of ACRE’S A, then N (knight – chess)
19 Irish town with sculpture maybe mounted over shelter (6)
ART (sculpture, maybe) reversed [mounted over], LEE (shelter). As featured in the traditional Irish ballad The Rose of Tralee.
21 Considerate daughter not entirely esteemed (5)
Hidden in [not entirely] {conside}RATE D{aughter}
24 I don’t like that book, needing pair of spectacles (3)
B (book), OO (pair of spectacles)

71 comments on “Times Cryptic 28328”

  1. All done in 38 minutes – either side breaker.

    FOI 20ac DODDERER – poor Mr.Biden
    LOI 12ac ASLOPE – a Japanese Warrior
    COD 16dn CABOTAGE -old French Coastal Code of Practice, now adopted by the airlines but not Putin’s Russia, who prefer Sabotage.
    WOD 15dn MOUSE DEER – Beatrix Potter comes to mind

    17ac TARTARE SAUCE was a bit loose as Jack notes. I cannot imagine why it would be included for breakfast say, on BR, which is the modern standard. Does it go with Kippers? Just a knob of butter (NZ) for us Meldrews!

  2. DNF. Unable to figure out CABOTAGE. Of the rest ASPERITY took the most time to work out. COD to ASLOPE.

  3. POI CABOTAGE… SABOTAGE didn’t fit the definition, and then I realized that I sort of knew this. BEHOLDEN was LOI, and then seemed like it should have come earlier.

    That’s interesting about the derivation of DUMDUM, Jackkt. I had previously sort of assumed it was just short for “dummy” bullet—though they are indeed often lethal. (And these aren’t the rubber bullets that often take out eyes or do worse in Gaza or Paris…) Now find that Wikipedia says it is “after an early British example produced in the Dum Dum Arsenal, near Calcutta, India by Captain Neville Bertie-Clay.”

  4. 28 minutes. CABOTAGE was my just remembered LOI. The MOUSE DEER was new but gettable. I parsed the wordplay for CONCENTRATE as ‘about’ (=ON) ‘bit of money’ (=CENT) ‘put in’ (insertion indicator) ‘box’ (=CRATE).

    I liked BEHOLDEN and ASPERITY. Thinking about what a DUMDUM does was a depressing way to start and BOO, with the answer appearing in the wordplay, was a pretty ordinary clue to end with. I don’t like that.

    1. Evidently I didn’t CONCENTRATE when transferring the parsing from my copy to the blog as I missed ON out completely. Thanks for mentioning the omission, now restored.

  5. Quick except the last 4 ASPERITY, GOLF CART, PLEDGER and finally BEHOLDEN after fixing a misspelled SARACES. Quite liked the NHO mouse deer and the aforementioned Saracens fighting in Acre.
    COD concentrate.

  6. 27 minutes here, with my biggest problem the ASLOPE (where I couldn’t get “aslant” out of my head) and ASPERITY crossers. I was sure I learned CABOTAGE from a previous puzzle here, but I can’t find it with a search; it might actually have been Guardian 27736 by Pasquale. It probably stuck in my mind because the local area is replete with references to sailor John Cabot so I had some related knowledge to hang the word on; I think it’s even possible that his surname and CABOTAGE have some etymological link…

    1. I would have agreed 100% we’ve had it before, but apparently not. I think it was used extensively in the news here through the 1990s as Aussie governments attempted to crush the unions. The maritime union were able to exercise cabotage and kick cheap foreign crews off all ships that came to work in Australia, replacing them with Australians. Self-propelled drillships and semi-subs used to remove their propellers in Singapore, so they weren’t classed as ships, and could keep their e.g. Filipino crew.

    2. CABOTAGE. I sort of knew it had a maritime flavour but was fuzzy about the meaning although, like you, I associated it with John Cabot. One of my sisters lives in Bristol.

  7. Left with ASLOPE and ASPERITY after 30 minutes. I am reading a book on Cabot, Columbus and Vespucci at the moment so, like Matt, CABOTAGE sprang into my mind.

  8. 19:53
    Nipped in under 20 mins, so happy with that. Fun puzzle.
    Thanks, jack.

  9. Timothy Winters comes to school
    With eyes as wide as a football pool
    (needing pairs of spectacles?)

    25 mins pre-brekker. I had to construct Mouse Deer and Cabotage.
    Neat and tidy. Thanks setter and J.

  10. In my schooling there once was a stage
    Where I had to write page after page
    On John Cabot, for one
    And Sebastian his son,
    I guess I was at CABOT AGE

  11. 15:38. Held up at the end by CABOTAGE (put in eventually with fingers crossed) and ASLOPE, which needed an alphabet trawl. I see I failed to go back and parse CONCENTRATE. Thanks for that Jackkt. Thanks also to the setter for a fun puzzle. I liked CHEWABLE and REELED best.

  12. 24 minutes with LOI ASLOPE, which I’d wanted ASLANT for throughout. I didn’t know CABOTAGE but it did rhyme with a word I did know while CATOBAGE didn’t. I was looking for more in the TARTARE SAUCE clue. The recipe could have done with more capers. COD to BEHOLDEN. Thank you Jack and setter.

  13. 10:12. I had similar misgivings as others about my LOI, CABOTAGE. Half of me was thinking “well what else could it be” where the other half was thinking I’d made up a word and was about to feel stupid for it. Thankfully I avoided the stupid this time. It’ll come around again soon though.

  14. 39m 31s but I spoilt it all by typing ‘pedAstal’ in error.
    A great shame as this was on my wavelength.
    No problem with CABOTAGE. In civil aviation a cabotage route is one where carriers are permitted to fly domestically in another country. Prior to German unification, Lufthansa wasn’t permitted to fly to Berlin from within West Germany. That right was given to Pan Am, BEA/British Airways and Air France. TWA also operated into Berlin on that basis for a short while. London to Hong Kong was also considered a cabotage route.
    NHO 15d
    COD: GOLF CART. Smacks of a Dean Mayer clue.

  15. 26:53 but not convinced by CABOTAGE, having constructed it, so had to check it before submitting. COD CHEWABLE

  16. 6:55. CABOTAGE has been in the news recently: it refers to something that UK hauliers used to do unimpeded in the rest of the EU (and vice versa) but no longer can. One of the countless ways Brexit has added costs and red tape.
    TRALEE was my only unknown, MOUSE DEER rang a vague bell.

  17. 22:56 – probably my 4th or 5th fastest-ever solve time – enjoyed this very much and felt really in the zone as I went through with no major hold-ups. This is possibly because (as usual) I woke up far too early, but elected to do a practice archive puzzle, breakfast, and morning walk before3 attempting this grid.

    Tried to have CUSTARD something and CRUSADE early on, but soon got that area back on course. Was pretty sure CABOTAGE was a word. Finished on ASLOPE then a re-entered ASPERITY which I’d previously popped in but didn’t trust enough to leave.

    After about 13 months (with one-month winter break) of regular solving, this was definitely one of my best and most satisfying solves – thanks Jack and setter

  18. 22 mins. Straightforward, I thought, apart from ASLOPE and EXTORT, which I’d never associated with ‘exacting’ (and still don’t/won’t, notwithstanding the SOED def). NHO CABOTAGE, but nothing else worked. So.

  19. Nearly 18 minutes, with a fair bit of that time deciding which letter to put at the beginning of SABOTAGE other than S, sage not really being a trap, except perhaps for the unwary solver.
    Offering might be a bit loose for TARTARE SAUCE, but it did help the ecclesiastical surface reading.
    Lost time also trying to find the wordplay for GOLF CART, and scrambling through my list of creatures to eventually rely on the wordplay for MOUSE DEER, complicated by “little creature” apparently cluing MOUSE.

  20. 20 minutes or so. Didn’t know CABOTAGE, DUMDUM or MOUSE DEER, but was confident enough with the wordplay to put each of them in without much hesitation. Otherwise this was fairly straightforward.

    FOI Unreal
    LOI Aslope
    COD Golf cart

  21. 15.12. Have to confess to missing the hidden rated but seemed the only possible solution. No major hold ups apart from beholden which was my COD.
    Now about to tackle the PGA at Gleneagles with a spring in my step, unfortunately the weather’s autumnal.

  22. DNF mainly because I put MILK CART instead of GOLF CART, which made 5D impossible. MILK CART fits the clue just as well, I think, so I didn’t get suspicious and look for something else. Otherwise I knew all the words and it didn’t take too long.

    1. The one minor technical objection to MILK CART as an answer is that there’s no such thing.

      1. Lord K. Google milk cart! There is even a company called ‘The Milk Cart’ and loads of old photographs of the horse-drawn variety. They exist in museums.

          1. When I was 5, I got run over by a horse drawn milk cart. I still have the scar on my knee!

            1. I was carried screaming into the Doctor’s surgery across the road. My tricycle got a bit bent! However, I was fortunate that the cart had the latest wheels with rubber tyres rather than the old wooden ones with iron rims!

        1. I had to google that! That relatively recent reference (a mere 50 years old!) notwithstanding the word has passed out of use if you go by the usual dictionaries.

  23. I feel that ‘golf cart’ is an American term and that people in the UK say ‘golf trolley’. Yet the usual dictionaries don’t support this. My guess is that once upon a time it was indeed an Americanism, but that it’s come across the ocean some while ago and I never noticed. However, the fact remains that I’ve been playing golf for well over 60 years and none of the people I know ever use the term. So perhaps this just reflects on me and my circle.

    Otherwise no major problems in my 33 minutes, although CABOTAGE and MOUSE DEER were entered without my really knowing. Pleasant crossword but a few rather strained words I thought, like ASLOPE, CHEWABLE and BOO.

    1. Aren’t golf carts and trolleys just different things? A golf cart is what I would call a golf buggy, a motorised vehicle for people who don’t want to walk.

    2. I took ‘golf cart’ to be the American for ‘golf buggy’ rather than ‘trolley’.

    3. Will, did you not catch the tv and press discussion earlier in the year, when whether Tiger Woods could use a ‘golf-cart’, was under scrutiny?

      Shopping Trolley in UK – Cart in the US. Go online and the word your ‘CART’ is ubiquitous for most UK on-line shopping.

      1. Yes I’ve fudged the distinction between trolleys, which the clubs sit on, and may or not be motorised but the golfer walks, and buggies, on which golfers (as well as their clubs) sit. But there are two Collins definitions, one for what we call the buggy and one for what we call the (possibly electric) trolley, and I would have thought that it was necessary in the second one to say that it is American English, but as I said in my original post, perhaps I missed the Anglicisation. However, there is nothing wrong with the clue, which refers to the buggy.

      2. Shopping trolley in the UK…..I’ve seen signs in some supermarket car parks here in NZ referring to ‘trundler’.

        1. I think ‘The Trundler’ would therefore be a fitting soubriquet for your good self.
          Fresh avatar!?

          1. In my cricketing days, when given a bowl, which was infrequently, “trundler” was possibly one of the nicer comments one could make about my bowling.
            I think I’ll stick with the two avatars I have…until it becomes easier to chop and change…

  24. 29 minutes, held up at the end by the ASLOPE / ASPERITY crossing, until I thought of prosperity and tidied up. Remembered CABOTAGE from some previous encounter.

  25. 23:40

    Mostly romped through this though held up a bit towards the end.

    MOUSE DEER – just bunged it in and prepared to change if necessary.
    CABOTAGE – like others, thought SABOTAGE then spotted that CAGE = trap – can’t say I’d ever heard of it or John Cabot, but it fit the parsing well enough to be considered likely.

    But most of the delay was in the NE where G___/C___ had me foxed – something CART? GOLD CARD? Until the penny dropped and gave me the remaining three – DRAWL, ASLOPE and LOI ASPERITY – in quick succession.

  26. I can see how 18D is an anagram = SARACEN. But how does “fighting me?” work, please?

    1. Knights fought Saracens in the Crusades, so the knight referenced in the clue may possibly have been fighting a Saracen.

  27. DUMDUM was a term I recall from the Saint books I read as a teenager, when one of the characters said with horror “They’re using dumdums,” so that went straight in. A steady solve after that until, having assembled CABOTAGE from the wordplay, I was left with an almost blank NE corner. I eventually saw PEDESTAL which led to DRAWL and GOLF CART. That left ASLOPE and finally ASPERITY, which came along when I discarded ASLANT. 24:08. Thanks setter and Jack.

    1. I had a similar source for my DUMDUM knowledge; they were referred to with similar horror in a episode of The Professionals

    2. “… great fishes slant
      Their fins athwart the sun”

      Bit of a crap poem, but I always loved the words and image in those lines.

  28. “I’m thinking baht blowin’ you out, cos you won’t stop talking – why don’t you give it a rest ? You’ve got more RABBIT than Sainsbury’s – why don’t you get it off your chest ?” (the excellent and much missed Chas and Dave).

    Yesterday I was a DUMDUM, and didn’t come here after doing the puzzle at 2330 when I should have gone to bed instead. Finished in 7:11 but inevitably with a typo. I may have identified part of the problem – holding the key down inadvertently, and duplicating the letter. I was ultra-careful on this one !

    TIME 10:21

  29. I put SABOTAGE down knowing it must be wrong, but never checked it later. Embarrassingly GOLF CART was my LOI despite using them regularly.

  30. 21:50 – a momentary hesitation at the end between ARTLEE and TRALEE, with the latter happily prevailing; otherwise seemed straightforward.

  31. I was preening myself on achieving what is for me a fast time at 23.40, until I discovered that my unparsed SABOTAGE was actually CABOTAGE. I managed to convince myself that sage was some archaic form of trap. It seems that I will never learn that if their is doubt on parsing, or it doesn’t parse, it’s wrong! ☹️

  32. 28 minutes, held up by the NE corner. Had to guess cabotage was a word, but reckoned cabot might have started it, as it did. Don’t see anything wrong with tartare sauce, but thought cage was ropey for ‘trap’.
    Little story to relate about tartare:
    We once took a couple of customers out to lunch, and it was clear they were troubled by the posh menu. One of them plumped for Steak Tartare, and we suspected that he expected it to be different from what he got, but kept quiet in politeness. When it arrived, one chap said to the other “What is that you’ve got, Jim?”
    “It looks like raw mince and a raw egg, Dave”.
    It was very difficult to keep a straight face.
    He didn’t eat it.

  33. 8:49 here, first one I’ve had time to do for a week or so, so pleased that the rust hasn’t set in yet. CABOTAGE went in as a guess from the wordplay but everything else was pretty straightforward.

  34. Late to the party as a) haven’t had internet for two days, and b)so stressed with all the doings, phone calls etc one has to go through to « TRY » and get reconnected that my brain was a long way off centre. Needless to say a DNF.

    Orange inform me that someone bonked over the fibre pylon and it can’t be repaired til 5th July! So my phone is now my livebox, my computer a slave and my i-pad won’t work until I put the kettle on. Open up Safari, and all the lights come on. Ah, such is the bliss this modern life of ours.

    COD (one that I did get) GOLF CART. Re arguments above, that’s what I call it.

    Thanks J and setter.

  35. 50 minutes, my last two being ASLOPE (once I had corrected ALACRITY to ASPERITY) and then, alas, SABOTAGE. I do often make up words and discover to my surprise that they actually exist, but faced with the choice between a word I knew and the possibility that SAGE in some universe might equate to trap (for example if trap was another name for the herb) or the possibility that CABOTAGE might actually be a word, I chickened out this time, unfortunately. Some traps are cages, but they are not really synonyms, and when partisans SABOTAGE railways, that is also a form of traffic control. Not a nice clue. but everything else in the puzzle was right. I’m not sure if I like the clue for GOLF CART much, it seems a bit loose, although I solved it.

  36. What Hydrochoos said, in effect, re SABOTAGE and ASLOPE,though a lot longer than 50 minutes. I was staring at it basically on and off all day. Really rather depressing after yesterday’s marathon – I was hoping for something more on my wavelength, but Tuesdays don’t seem to fit the bill. However, maybe the fact that I was solving while doing a day’s stewarding rather than over a couple of cups of coffee where I am concentrating exclusively on the puzzle had an effect on my solving ability?

  37. 11’26”. Bit like yesterday in presenting ample biffing opportunities. Cabotage came quickly, though I’d be hard put to say what it meant. I think I must have read about it in EU matters. It seems to have different meanings depending on whether it’s air, sea or land you are talking about. I think the French used to go on a lot about cross-border hauliers, and the word cropped up a lot. The Brussels brigade would be able to explain. I would definitely not have put an e at the end of tartar had the clue not pointed the way. One to remember. Is a dik-dik a mouse-deer?

  38. 20.28

    Late entry.

    MOUSE DEER and CABOTAGE reasonably confidently entered from w/p

    Knew Tralee (or at least knew it wasn’t Artlee)

    Like TARTARE SAUCE and the clue was okay too

    Thought ASPERITY was good

    Thanks setter and Jackkt

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