Times Cryptic 28352


My solving time was one minute under an hour with 21dn as my last one in. There are some words and meanings here bordering on the obscure but should be gettable by other means. Rather too many for one puzzle perhaps?

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 Cornish region perhaps welcoming to store? (4)
SW (Cornish region perhaps) containing [welcoming] TO. Cornwall is the furthest south-west county in England.
4 Doctor Braille, then married, embodying one’s belief (10)
Anagram [doctor] of BRAILLE + M (married) containing [embodying] I’S (one’s).
9 Fish and chopped nut served on ice (4,6)
ROCKS (ice – ‘on the rocks’ = served with ice), ALMON{d} (nut) [chopped]. SOED: Formerly any of several coarse fishes when used as food, esp the dogfish or wolffish: now called rockfish or catfish. ‘Rocks’ and ‘ice’ are also slang for precious stones, especially diamonds.
10 Witch for strangling knight put to death (4)
HAG (witch) containing [strangling] N (knight – chess]
11 Eucalyptus in pot starts to reach amazing height (6)
JAR (jar), R{each} + A{mazing} + H{eight} [starts]. Never heard of this.  Its first outing in the TfTT era, apparently.
12 Covering layers produce   paint finish (8)
Two meanings
14 Hour taken to feed young bear fish (4)
H (hour) contained by [taken to feed] CUB (young bear)
15 Okay method to adopt following footpath (5,2,3)
RIGHTO (okay) + WAY (method) containing [to adopt] F (following). SOED: the legal right of someone to pass over another’s land, acquired by grant or by long usage, and also the path or road used by this right.
17 Given new pitch son departs to play (10)
Anagram [to play] of SON DEPARTS. In music to transpose is to write or perform a piece in a different key from the original i.e. change its pitch.
20 Something like a goat seen in Utah ranch (4)
Hidden [seen] in {U}TAH R{anch}. Never heard of this. It has appeared before in three Mephisto puzzles and a Club Monthly but today marks its first time in a standard puzzle.
21 Singing hypocritical words, outwardly mostly inferior (3,5)
CANT (hypocritical words) contained by [outwardly] BELO{w} (inferior) [mostly]. More music! SOED: A style of singing characterized by full rich broad tone, legato phrasing, and accomplished technique.
23 Latest information — take this for class (6)
SP (latest information – Starting Price), HERE (take this). ‘Starting Price’ is a betting term for the final odds on offer before the beginning of the event.
24 Macho man unable to open reading desk (4)
{r}AMBO (macho man) [unable to open]. This has come up before. It’s similar to a pulpit.
25 Scottish soldier bombed German states (10)
HIGH (bombed – drunk or on drugs), LÄNDER (German states). Here’s a song to stir the blood of those old enough to remember it!
26 Care centre with no overnight charges? (3,7)
Cryptic definition
27 Moose have small, black, lustrous tails (4)
{hav}E {smal}L {blac}K{lustrou}S [tails]
2 John, a vagrant in resort for bombing enemy within (6,5)
Anagram [vagrant] of JOHN A contained by [in] anagram [bombing] of RESORT
3 Come to steal from elected lords and ladies? (4-5)
WAKE (come to), ROB (steal from), IN (elected). Another escapee from the Mephisto making its first appearance in a 15×15. I never heard of this but I knew ‘lords and ladies’ as a plant so I was aware of the area of knowledge required. Collins advises that it’s the US equivalent of the definition.
4 Hide ecstasy in panic (7)
E (ecstasy) contained by [in] LATHER (panic). ‘Lather’ is a state of agitation or nervous excitement so I wonder if ‘panic’ is a bit of a stretch.
5 He questioned large Northumbrian maybe storing resin used by fuel firm (6,9)
BIG (large) + NE (Northumbrian maybe  – north-eastern) containing [storing] AMBER (resin) + GAS (fuel) + CO (firm). Good luck to the  US contingent with this one! You can read about him here, if you wish, but the significant reference in the definition is to his hosting the quiz University Challenge on TV over a period of 25 years.
6 Asian ready to call colossus hides a note (7)
RING (call), GI{an}T (colossus) [hides a note]. The double G makes this appear unlikely but it’s the principal monetary unit of Malaysia. It has come up only once before, in a puzzle I blogged in 2016. I didn’t know it then and didn’t know it today but worked it out  from wordplay on both occasions.
7 The writer is a good one, but not on metaphor (5)
I’M (the writer is), A, G (good), {on}E [but not ‘on’]
8 Attempt to block chimney erected for tycoon (5)
GO (attempt) contained by [to block] LUM (chimney) and all reversed [erected]. ‘Lum’  has come up here many times and is now the first thing I think of whenever I see  ‘chimney’ in a clue.
13 Marine provided with defence against vampire attack? (11)
A straight definition and a cryptic hint. Collins advises this is slang for a member of the US Marine Corps. I knew it from the title of a war film The Flying Leathernecks (1951) starring John Wayne which used to turn up regularly on TV but is now unfashionable and long-buried. I don’t remember anything about it other than being about the battle of Guadalcanal. Unless there’s a theme going on that I’ve missed, it’s not good to have LEATHER appearing in two answers.
16 Only slim hope with this paradoxically? (3,6)
Barely cryptic. Again I wonder whether this is known over the pond?
18 Scathingly review article on Rex cat (7)
PAN (scathingly review), THE (article), R (Rex)
19 Showcase at low volume in underworld ballad (7)
P (at low volume  – piano – softly in music) contained by [in] DIS (underworld) + LAY (ballad)
21 Resolutely oppose     woman out with gay man (5)
Two meanings. The first as in ‘beard the lion in his den’. I wondered if the second might be considered offensive but the dictionaries either define it without comment or label it as ‘slang’ or ‘informal’.
22 Shoot up at court before campaign (5)
LOB (shoot up at court – tennis), BY (before). I’m not sure I’m convinced by ‘by / before’ but I found it eventually in Chambers  Crossword Dictionary so I guess it’s okay.

72 comments on “Times Cryptic 28352”

  1. Well, total disaster, but in different places. Spent time working in Malaysia, have polished jarrah floorboards here at home so no problems there. NHO wake-robin but the cryptic was generous. NHO Bamber, and could only think of elemi and epoxy for resin. Didn’t know Northumbria was NE so was never going to get that. Knew of beard as slang/offensive but thought it was the other way around, and never expected it in The Times. Ambo forgotten, Rambo… hmmm…
    Overall a disappointing DNF. Roll on tomorrow. Did like day nursery and transposed, amongst others.

  2. 25m
    Well I thought this was fun, but that’s probably because I was able to unravel WAKE ROBIN, BEL CANTO, and most unlikely of all Bambiwhoosisface from the cryptics. Obviously I checked this last ridiculousness with google before submitting.

    Personally I’m only familiar with University Challenge from that Young Ones episode where Vivian loses his head

    1. I hadn’t realised until I looked it up that the title of that Young Ones episode is “Bambi” 🙂

  3. Really enjoyed this one – kudos to the setter. I guess it helps that I live not far from a jarrah forest! PS I think 12 across works better as ” covering (that) layers (= chickens) produce”. Then it’s a straight double definition.

    1. Many thanks, Nigel. Yes, I agree it’s neater than my original version so I have changed the blog. I should have seen it because ‘layer’ for ‘hen'(or similar) comes up a lot and I met it somewhere in a puzzle over the weekend.

  4. 44 minutes. A few uncommon words which went in with the help of wordplay. I can see JARRAH causing problems to those unfamiliar with the timber. WAKE-ROBIN now joins “cuckoo pint” and “Jack-in-the-pulpit” as alternative names for ‘lords and ladies’, at least in crossword land. I had come across TAHR before, and remembered that there is a not dissimilar, but distinct, “thar” as well.

    Thanks for the Andy Stewart link. By the look of those sways and jiggles as he was singing, I bet he had a few nifty moves on the dance floor. (The lyrics that I came across had “Tyrol” with a “y”, by the way).

  5. My wife worked in a DAY SURGERY for many years. She cared for lots of people and never charged them a penny.

    1. Not sure if you’ve realised that ‘charges’ in 25ac refers to the children being cared for?

      1. Yes, I totally agree that the alternative meaning of charges (which could include patients?) justifies the alternative answer. Maybe special care is needed when coming up with cryptic clues. They’re my favourite sort of clue anyway.

      2. Yes, I had “day surgery” as well. I liked it as a cryptic definition (and it was much more familiar to me than “day nursery”).

        Couldn’t patients reasonably meet the definition of charge in Chambers: “The person or thing in one’s care or custody”?

        1. DAY SURGERY is an operation that doesn’t require an overnight stay. I can’t find any dictionary support for it referring to a place.

          1. Fair enough. I didn’t think to check that.

            Interestingly, Collins online (https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/day-surgery) has the definition as you suggest, but then provides the example sentence: “The day surgery was closed and 30 patients sent home while pest control experts were called in to contain the problem.
            The Sun (2014)”. I find this sentence hard to read as anything but a place.

            1. How strange! Clearly it is used like that then, perhaps it’s just rare. It’s not even in the OED. I checked because although it seemed plausible I only knew the one-day surgery meaning.

              1. My Mrs did work in the Day Surgery at St George’s hospital. That is what the place was called and still is. Promise.

                1. According to the website it’s called the Day Surgery Unit, officially at least. I’m not questioning that people shorten that to Day Surgery but that usage hasn’t made its way into the dictionaries, which suggests it isn’t widespread.

          2. My local GP uses the term to describe the hours where ‘walk-ins’ can turn up and wait to be seen, as opposed to those hours where an appointment is required.

  6. DNF for me, done in by BEARD and AMBO. Despite living in San Francisco for over a decade I didn’t know that meaning of BEARD. I knew UMBO was a boss on a shield, and I knew there was a word for a writing desk something like that. A lot more like that than I’d realized. I never thought of RAMBO or I’d probably have got it. Lots of never heard of stuff, but luckily I lived in Britain back when BAMBER GASCOIGNE was still going strong because I doubt I’d have got him from just the wordplay. I’d heard of RINGGIT but I couldn’t say what country used it. WAKE-ROBIN was just weird. I did know “lords and ladies” was another name for a plant, but it doesn’t even sound like a plant.

  7. 54 minutes, never really enjoying it, especially after realising early that JARRAH would never be more than a guess, really—could just as well have been PANRAH or something else. Half a dozen question marks in the margins. Not one for the youngsters, given that BAMBER GASCOIGNE stopped presenting University Challenge 35 years ago…

  8. Half of this done over lunch, so I have no idea of the time; maybe under an hour. DNK JARRAH or TAHR, of course; it took me much too long to think of JAR, but TAHR was pretty much unavoidable. DNK with knobs on BAMBER G; without fully parsing, I thought of GASCOIGNE, the Tudor poet, and AMBER, and like Lou, looked him up. NHO BEARD, and never figured out the parsing, but B_A_D suggested it, although ‘resolutely oppose’ seems a bit off for the definition. Looking at Collins, the ‘woman …’ meaning would seem to be a UK usage, but ODE marks it as N. Amer. I’ve known FAT CHANCE since childhood. I didn’t expect this sort of puzzle on a Tuesday, but it was fun; apart from Bamber, perhaps.

    1. Hear, hear! Bamber Gascoigne only died on 22 February 2022. He’s still warm and the news hasn’t yet reached America yet! Meldrew.

  9. DNF. I struggled with quite a few today but gave up completely on BEARD. I knew it could be a verb but did not know the meaning. As for the “woman out with gay man” I had no idea about this. Chambers has it as the eighth and final definition which perhaps indicates its relative obscurity. It’s rare that I submit without leaderboard but faced with pretty much a complete guess I chose that option today.

    1. I know the term from following a well-known Chinese tech vlogger called Naomi Wu. A lesbian, she uses BEARD to refer to a man out with gay woman (her) – I suspect Chambers isn’t completely up to the minute with its definition here.

      1. Chambers has “A woman who escorts a homosexual man to give the impression that he is heterosexual”.

        1. Wu uses the term in the exact same sense, except with genders reversed. In a way, the gender-flipped version seems to be a more natural fit for BEARD because in that case it could be literal regarding facial hair.

  10. Awake with horrid shout, my foemen’s ears,
    And Beard them, though they be more fang’d than wolves and bears.

    30 mins pre-brekker after alpha-trawling for Sphere and guessing Beard.
    Earlier I had painfully constructed Wake-Robin and guessed JARrah, but that clue is not really fair.
    Not much fun.
    Thanks setter and J

  11. 51 minutes with LOI JARRAH, not known as wasn’t TAHR or WAKE ROBIN. BEL CANTO and LEATHERNECK at least did ring bells. There was a surfeit of leather though, and I didn’t enjoy this much. COD to BAMBER GASCOIGNE. Thank you Jack and setter.

  12. Well, that was a bit hard. Managed all in the end except BEARD and AMBO, no idea about the hirsute lady or the pulpit. JARRAH and TAHR were guessed. I was in Granada Studios in the late 60s with Bamber so that was a write-in. Well blogged jackkt.

  13. Found this a pleasingly stretching puzzle, making slow but consistent progress through the grid and enjoying the PDMs. Wasn’t at all convinced I was heading for completion until BEL CANTO got me a foothold in the hold-out SW corner, and I vaguely knew the gay community slang for LOI BEARD.

    Unfortunately about 15m earlier, thinking I was about to throw in the towel, I’d entered the rather unconvincing VATRAH at 11a – so I kinda spoiled this ship for a ha’p’orth, because 37:31 for a 130-plus SNITCH would have been one of my best performances ever. Thanks J and setter

  14. 48 min but got 21d wrong Never heard of either of the explanations
    Several obscure words and clues jarrah ambo tahr..
    Also sphere and class was a bit stretched
    Liked 12a and 13d

  15. Back down to earth with a bang today. Over the hour but Bunged in BOARD in desperation ‘cos that’s what I was by then, bored.

    All the same unheard ofs as others, some generously clued and some not, but at least I got them. Didn’t like (R)AMBO and never heard of BEARD in that context. Never parsed ROCK SALMON , thanks Jack for that.

    Two leathers is definitely one hide too many, though the second one did bring to mind the film as mentioned.

    Thanks Jack and super devious setter.

  16. Perhaps this was spiced up by a few, shall we say more interesting entries, but the cluing was always fair. Thus a good puzzle for me that may have taken a few minutes longer.

    I note the odd comment above discussing whether or not Americans, and by extension other nationals, will understand what is going on. That is, what is going on in a ‘The Times of London’ crossword. I’m absolutely sure that Americans aren’t thinking of Brits too much as they compose their own crosswords! Please let’s not ‘internationalise’ our GB gems.

    1. I don’t imagine The Times setters give much or any consideration to the needs of American solvers, nor should they in my view, but TfTT is truly international in its readership with several Americans who contribute every day so the differences in terminology and word usage are sure to come up in our discussions.

    2. Actually, the NYT crossword often enough has a UK word, although always clued as such: ‘loo’, ‘arse’, come to mind.

  17. DNF. Had to resort to aids to find the unknown JARRAH at the end after 25 minutes of struggle. DNK that meaning of BEARD, so that was a guess, or WAKE ROBIN, checked with the dictionary, got the unknown TAHR from the wordplay and failed to parse RINGGIT. Too many obscurities in one puzzle for me. Thanks jackkt and setter.

  18. JARRAH a write-in, BAMBER a “what the…?”. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

  19. 71m 58s
    A struggle.
    LOI: BEARD. NHO the second definition which Lexico has as ‘North American informal’.
    We have TAHR here in NZ, Jack, mostly up in the high country on the South Island. They are a species that was introduced for hunting purposes but they now have to be culled as they damage plants that provide food and shelter for native animals.

  20. Same comments/complaints as many above, but several new words added so thank you setter and thanks Jack for explaining all, especially BEARD, the obscure slang version of which seems rather unTimesCrosswordlike.

    Bamber Gascoigne lived almost next door to my parents on the riverfront in Richmond, and went swimming in the Thames daily. That was back in the 70s before industrial pollution and health and safety made such things impossible.

  21. 10:56. Well I enjoyed this: I like working out obscurities from wordplay and I thought most of this was fairly indicated. Mind you I seem to be more or less the only person who knew both meanings of BEARD and JARRAH is not a great clue. I hesitated for ages over that one at the end and only picked the right answer from several options on the basis that it would be the one that would made me most cross if I got a pink square.
    I wonder what the age threshold is for having heard of BAMBER GASCOIGNE if you live in the UK. I was 15 when he stopped presenting University Challenge, I would guess that anyone much younger might struggle.

    1. I was also lucky with BEARD. I knew the verb from an Asterix book, from what I remember, I think the line “Are you going to beard him in his tent?” is used to tease a Legionary commander after one of Getafix’s potions causes rapid hair growth among the Romans. I had to have the noun version explained to me after one of my “alphabet mafia”* friends used it a while back when talking about some celebrity or other.

      *The LGBTQIA+ community on TikTok currently self-identifies as the “alphabet mafia” after someone used it as an insult, and-as is the time-honoured response-the community decided it was a charming way to refer to themselves and stole it.

      1. Yes one does hear it used in reference to various celebrities I won’t name here out of respect for their privacy and fear of litigation.

  22. Too tough for me. Having JARRAH and WAKE-ROBIN in the same area did for me, because I’d NHO either. BEARD and LOBBY also defeated me – the latter I also found rather iffy. Found this one irritating, even when the answers were fun (BAMBER).

  23. I had most of this done in about 6 minutes, despite the vast array of unknown vocabulary, then screeched to a halt with most of the SW corner unfilled, and no idea how to spell or parse what I always thought was RINGIT. After about 3 minutes I got BEARD, from which BEL CANTO, then another couple of minutes to figure out LOBBY and AMBO. Unfortunately I hazarded RINEGIT, thinking that maybe colossus = IT in some way that I didn’t understand.

    Definitely an education today, and hopefully I’ll remember the double G another time. I fear that WAKE-ROBIN will be just as big a surprise the next time I see it.

  24. I always thought FAT CHANCE and BEARD with that meaning were American rather than British slang. I see I’ve been confusing that GASCOIGNE (who I had heard of) with the many D’Ascoyne characters played by Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts And Coronets. There was a movie called Starter For Ten a few years back which I saw at some point. No sign of garlic or a crucifix in the LEATHERNECK clue and I was put off by already having LEATHER in the grid so that took a while. This went in in fits and starts adding up to 24.32 but it felt longer.

    1. I was looking for “stake” something to shove into the wicked vampire’s heart.

  25. I managed one clue. I got JARRAH, I guess is my advantage as both an Australian and an Australian who has been renovating a house for 13 years.

    I think i would have gotten HANG as well if I had tried harder. Not so much the rest.

    Pretty funny how vocabulary works.

    1. If I can’t get, say, four or six on the first pass I give it a complete miss or use aids on any anagrams to try and get a foothold.

      1. Yeah I’m not too stressed about the big puzzle atm I’m still a QC newbie. I just like to read the clues see if I can get any then come to the blog and learn me some vocab

        It was just funny to me how so many ppl found jarrah hard, but if you nho something you nho of it!

  26. Many obscurities, the same as others have listed — frequent use of a dictionary to confim things that were either quite unknown or only vaguely heard of. Eventually I entered BEARD with a shrug and was surprised to find that it was correct, so 56 minutes. I’d always thought a highlander was just someone who lived in the highlands, but now I see that there is another meaning. Does lob = shoot up? Hardly shoot, I should have thought.

    1. If a football striker takes a shot at goal, executed as a lob to clear a goalie who’s off his line – then that’s a shot up. Kinda contrived, but it works

      1. Yes, but the clue says »at court » therefore implying tennis, as Jack says.
        A lob in tennis is really a « lifted shot » (I used to play middlesex league tennis) and if you were to « shoot «  a lob into the air, the chances are the ball would be well long!

  27. I got through most of this without too much trouble, but struggled with the obscurities. I managed to conjure up JARRAH but looked it up to confirm. I finally remembered AMBO when I posited BEARD for 21d, but only knew one of the meanings, so looked it up to find the NHO slang meaning. WAKE ROBIN NHO but got from wordplay. All in vain anyway as I knew Bamber, but failed to parse the clue correctly and bunged in GASGOYGNE. A bit of a chore TBH with all the obscurities. Thanks Jack. Oh 43:13 I won’t get back!

  28. Some really odd vocab here, not perhaps fair fare for the Times backpager. I think both DAY SURGERY and DAY NURSERY should be accepted as both adequately fit the clue. Indeed I started with NURSERY and then changed it to SURGERY. I don’t much approve of the double unches in the grid design which caused this issue. Bit if a bah humbug day for me. At least the bizarre WAKE-ROBIN had generous wordplay…

  29. Managed about half this one which I was fairly happy with as a newbie to the 15×15. No problems with Bamber G (must be an age thing) or bel canto. New words for me today were Jarrah, ambo, beard, and Wake Robin. Also didn’t know by = before… Many thanks for the blog.

  30. Well, that puts me in my place! I now know why I normally stick to the QC…. More or less finishing yesterday’s 15×15 lulled me into a false sense of security, maybe I should try them more often…. Today, I managed about 4 clues – and one of those was a hidden (albeit a word I didn’t know and had to guess which bit it was). Do the 15×15 crosswords really vary that much in difficulty?

    1. Well over the years my times have varied between 6 minutes and infinity!

  31. DNF

    Back last night after a weekend celebrating a “significant” birthday with family in London. Totally unsuitable training for the likes of WAKE-ROBIN, AMBO, and JARRAH.

    BAMBER GASCOIGNE raised a smile, but then he often did.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  32. 19:10, after a struggle with the obvious unknowns. TAHR was unknown but at least the wordplay didn’t leave much room for doubt. JARRAH took longer, though it rang a faint bell (at least enough for it to get the nod ahead of PANRAH); and then for a long time I pondered the possibility that if there was an umbo (which I knew), there might also be an IMBO (derived from himbo), so I neeeded the penny to drop on the BEARD before I got to the actual solution.

  33. 16:29 this afternoon. Although I don’t keep a record of such things, I feel this must be a PB as far as I’m concerned for a crossword with such a SNITCH level – often I record a DNF in such situations.
    Needless to say, a lot of things had to go right. After FOI 4 ac “liberalism” I immediately thought of dear old Bamber for 5 d and was pleasantly surprised that I could parse it. For 13 d I originally had “leatherback” but was a little suspicious until I realised that “leatherneck” fitted the bill.
    For 11 ac I was toying with the idea of “panrah” but then thought that “jarrah” looked a more Aussie kind of word.
    LOI “beard” was a biff, in the sense of not being aware of the word covering the second part of the clue but at that stage I just went for it.
    Thanks to the setter for a fascinating puzzle and to Jack for his comprehensive blog.

    1. FWIW – the Leatherneck name comes from a leather neck protector, sort of like a corset except much more substantial, which US Marines wore in the late 18th and early 19th century to protect against (mostly cavalry) sabers, which makes the double definition a little weak.

      The other Marine name – Jarhead (interestingly almost duping Jarrah) – comes from the WWII haircuts leaving not much on the head and ears for handles.

  34. Total mess after a good time yesterday.

    I had TUNA as “chopped nut” for my fish at 9a. And I thought BAMBERG was the Northumbrian as Bamberg castle, but could not parse after that. Went with PANRAH.

    Did not know either of those BEARDs.

    Also why SPHERE=class?

  35. Different kettle of fish from yesterdays alright! Went just over the hour and undone at the end like others by BEARD. Put in BRAND with a shrug, and wasn’t the least bit surprised to see it was incorrect. Tough, but no complaints.

  36. I would’ve been late to the party anyway, but this tester added hours to the delay.

    NHO Jarrah, Wake-Robin, or (the more easily unscrambled) Tahr, and knew but didn’t remember Ambo. Knowing the origin of the Leatherneck nickname (see above) the clue was almost redundant.

    This may be a US thing, where Elk are related to but different from Moose and – unless we’re talking about the Benovolent and Protective Order of The Elks – usually appear as Elk in both plural and singular.

    1. The animal known as an elk in Europe is the North American moose. The animal known as an elk in North America is a different animal – the wapiti.
      Whichever animal we’re talking about I personally would say elk plural, but all the dictionaries give both.

  37. Just done this weeks later. I think the definition of lobby is court before campaign. Lob is just shoot up and by = at

    1. It’s an idea, but I’m not sure why lobbying/courting support would be before a campaign, surely it’s part of any campaign and continues throughout?

Comments are closed.