Times Cryptic 28381 August 29, 2022. And That’s what it’s all about.

This is my second and last appearance here for now because Ulaca is in the process of wafting back to reclaim his rightful place in the rotation.  It has been a pleasure to have been, however briefly, your influencer du jour in this space.

Right, the puzzle.  I enjoyed this one.   Some very good surfaces and neat clues, with just one ho-hum but that usually means I’m missing something.  Took me just under the 20, parsing as I went along since I’m on duty today, although 23A stubbornly resisted explanation until I wrote up the blog when I saw it immediately.  So it goes.

Finally I’d just like to say a big thank you to all those who collaborated to produce our new website.  It really is a joy to compose a blog here.

Answers in BOLD CAPS.  Definitions underlined.


1.  Son remains in band (4)

SASH.  S with ASH=remains.

3.  Following a lot of hounds that snarled (10)

THOUSANDTH.  Anagram (snarled) of HOUNDS THAT.

10.  Register a player in the French clubs (7)

ALMANAC.  A MAN=player contained in LA=the French C=clubs.

11.  Get agitated with return of dry theatre (7)

PERTURB.  BRUT=dry REP=theatre reversed (return).  Nice bit of misdirection that suggested an anagram (agitated) of “get” etc.  Nope.

12.  Amongst geese too unruly to upset a person (3,8,4)


13.  Queensbury’s third point about Oscar being no shrinking violet (6)

EGOIST.  E=third letter in Queensbury GIST=point containing O=Oscar.  Good one.

14.  Feeling ecstatic about connection with Newton (8)

SENTIENT.  SENT=ecstatic containing TIE=connection N (for Newton in physics).

17.  Enliven home with whisky, say (8)

INSPIRIT.  IN=home SPIRIT=whisky.

18.  Problem about pet entangled in partition (6)

SEPTUM.  Anagram of PET (entangled) contained in SUM=problem.  Partition in the nose that can get deviated.

21.  Not the first way of working with navy school (9,6)

SECONDARY MODERN.  SECONDARY=not the first MODE=way of working RN=navy.  For non-UK solvers, these were non-selective schools for students over 11 years old that were replaced by comprehensives in the 1970s.

23.  What’s often found in pub with no round left fit for drinking (7)

POTABLE.  POOL TABLE omitting O and L.  I had a feeling I’d seen this before but just couldn’t dredge it up and did some futile flailing around with “ale”. “pot””tab” and “table” before I just let it marinate until it floated to the surface.

24.  Horse arrives with one before queen’s runner (7)

HARRIER.  H ARR=arrives I ER=queen.  Hares run fast so the hounds that chase them have to run faster, and I believe the term can also belong to a cross-country runner (human) and a kind of war plane.

25.  Astute nuclear lab supplants power at the heart of CND’s aim (10)

DISCERNING.  Disarming would be the raison d’etre for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament so if you replace ARM=power at its heart with CERN – the nuclear research lab in Geneva that does all kinds of things I don’t understand – you get the answer.

26.  Article I have dismissing English fiction (4)

MYTH.  MY TH[e].  What am I missing?


1.  Bright spark with special point of view (7)

SPANGLE.  SP ANGLE=point of view.

2.  Magnificent reservoir finished up unserviceable (9)

SUMPTUOUS.  SUMP=reservoir OUT=finished reversed (up) US=unserviceable.

4.  Caught participating in obviously contrived game (6)

HOCKEY.  C=caught contained in HOKEY=contrived.  DNK this meaning for “hokey” which I think of as “mawkish” or in relation to putting your right foot in and out and shaking it all about.  BTW, in the US it’s the Hokey Pokey not Cokey.

5.  Never written out? (8)

UNPENNED.  Two meanings.

6.  Where men go sweeping (6-3-5)

ACROSS-THE-BOARD.  Two meanings, one with chessmen.

7.  Gloomy over river (5)

DOURO.  DOUR=gloomy O.  One of the principal rivers of the Iberian Peninsula.  I knew of it first because I grew up in the street adjoining Douro Place in London.  Later, when I became a student of Georgette Heyer, I learned that Marquess of Douro was a title give to Wellington in 1814 after the Battle of Toulouse when Napoleon was sent to Elba.

8.  Husband not much at home (7)

HABITAT.  H[usband] A BIT=not much AT.

9.  Concubine circulating with salon?  That’s not right (14)

UNCONSCIONABLE.  Anagram (circulating) of CONCUBINE SALON.

15.  Give out Surrey’s latest after another short boundary (9)

EXTREMITY.  There seems to be cricket going on here so if I’m a bit off tell me.  EXTR[a]=short boundary EMIT=give out [Surre]Y.  A semi &lit perhaps?  [Not exactly.  See Sawbill’s comment infra.]

16.  Capital head pulse (4,4)

LIMA BEAN.  LIMA=capital BEAN=head. A pulse is a kind of bean.

17.  One new drink I had is flavourless (7)

INSIPID.  I N SIP=drink I’D.

19.  Country’s leader working during protest (7)

MONARCH.  ON=working contained in MARCH=protest.

20.  What constricts prey though often going empty (6)

PYTHON.  P[re]Y T[houg]H O[fte]N.  Another semi &lit?

22.  Mentions summons (5)

CITES.  Two meanings.






47 comments on “Times Cryptic 28381 August 29, 2022. And That’s what it’s all about.”

  1. 24:44
    I had a good deal of trouble with this one. Like Olivia, I tried to make something of ‘ale’, ‘pot’, ‘table’; unlike Olivia, I never got past that stage, and I would never have come up with POolTABLE. Also at a loss for the definition of THOUSANDTH. I took ‘following’ to be F and ‘a lot of hounds to be HOUND, and even seeing the anagrist didn’t lead me to a definition. HARRIER also puzzled me; I knew the plane, and assumed there was such a type of dog, but ‘runner’ seemed odd. I now see in ODE that ‘Harriers’ is ‘used in the names of teams of cross-country runners’. I liked DISCERNING. Olivia, you’ve got a typo at 9d.

  2. 38 minutes. Harder than a usual Monday for me. I couldn’t work out what was happening for THOUSANDTH either, but I just took it to be if you’re the THOUSANDTH, eg in a queue to receive something, you’re ‘Following a lot’ of people. I thought ‘Feeling ecstatic’ was going to be the def for 14a, so SENTIENT was my LOI. By chance, I managed to see ‘What’s often found in pub’ at 23a without much trouble. INSPIRIT was new but pretty obvious.

    No problems with MY TH(E) at 26a. I quite like the idea of owning an article and I’m not fussed if it’s definite or indefinite.

  3. I forgot to start the clock on this one but I’d estimate around 40 minutes with one resort to aids for 3ac THOUSANDTH which then gave me HOCKEY at 4dn where I had been trying to make SOCCER fit the wordplay. 3ac had to be an anagram but I couldn’t work out anything to fit the unlikely checkers, and actually I had my doubts about UNPENNED, so that added to the general air of confusion in that quarter. Anyway having found THOUSANDTH by cheating I didn’t think much of the definition and ‘contrived = HOKEY’ would never have occurred to me.

    Elsewhere I had several answers written in with a shrug because I couldn’t quite explain them, e.g. register = ALMANAC, and nuclear lab = CERN.

    1. I started with, and for a moment stuck on, SOCCER, then proceeded through the alphabet to H. I had no problem with the definition: ODE sv ‘hokey’: ‘noticeably contrived’
      I meant to make essentially your comment on the definition of THOUSANDTH.

  4. Olivia, isn’t EXTREMITY EMIT + Y after EXTR(A). Where Extra is ‘another’ shortened?

    1. Oh yes, you’re right Sawbill. It looks as if the setter misdirected us to “think cricket” – an oxymoron where I’m concerned. Blog amended.

  5. 34 minutes with LOI GET SOMEONES GOAT. I needed all crossers for some unaccountable reason. COD to THOUSANDTH, penultimate in. I’d say HOKEY POKEY too for something being fiddled. Hokey Cokey would be the dance where you shake it all about. I wanted to say that I used PERTURBation Theory for 11a, but I did see it straightaway. I didn’t need the LHC for 25a either. But my biology is close to non-existent and SEPTUM took a while. Decent puzzle. Thank you Olivia for a great blog, and to setter.

  6. 24′ 14″, with THOUSANDTH LOI.

    I agree with sawbill about EXTREMITY – an ‘extra’ is an additional ‘another’ run. Lots of no-balls in the Tests recently.

    Thanks Olivia and setter.

  7. look the spangles
    that sleep all the year in a dark box

    25 mins pre-brekker. Neat and tidy.
    Thanks setter and O.

  8. Put an hour on the clock but came up well short, with many gaps on the right hand side. <100 on the Snitch should do better. Must be Bank Holiday pace.

  9. 37m 26s
    Thanks, Olivia, for another enjoyable blog. And thanks for explaining several clues, notably THOUSANDTH, EGOIST, SECONDARY MODERN, POTABLE, UNPENNED and EXTREMITY.
    Matters Arising
    – Passing the 11 Plus at the second attempt got me to grammar school in Tunbridge Wells otherwise it would have been the village SECONDARY MODERN school.
    – I remember SPANGLEs!
    – I once visited the museum at CERN, near Geneva, and understood very little of the information on offer.
    – I was a Hash House HARRIER for over 25 years so no problem with that clue. A collection of ‘packs’ worldwide, ‘the Hash’ has been described as either a running club with a drinking problem or a drinking club with a running problem.
    – Hokey Pokey is also an ice cream!

  10. 25min with thousandth and hockey holding me up
    Worked my way from south to north with answers going in on a regular basis
    Still not sure I like “following” in 3a

  11. When you think “Hey, no birds for a while”
    And that SUMPTUOUS thought makes you smile
    Then a HARRIER appears
    And it drives you to tears
    So you end up here, venting your bile

  12. 39:53
    Tricky, but got through it. Still can’t see how thousandth works.
    Thanks, o.

  13. 16:26. I was mostly done in 10 minutes but then slowed to a crawl for my last handful of answers, in the NE corner and then finishing with MONARCH and MYTH… Like others I tried and failed to make 4D SOCCER and took a while to see THOUSANDTH. No 19D wasn’t a country and got I MYTH from the checkers before realising it was MY THe. Nice puzzle. Thanks Olivia and setter.

  14. DNF. Stuck in the NE. No idea what was going on with 3ac with only the A and the D, I was struggling with the downs. Gave up well after the hour. Should have got PERTURB which might have opened it up. Bah!

    Thank you Olivia for standing in.

  15. There were several like THOUSANDTH and UNPENNED which went in with a shrug and even now seem a bit thin, but OK I suppose. But most of this seemed good. 32 minutes.

    I agree with others about EXTREMITY — what’s a bit misleading is that you get extras in cricket but the extra here is nothing to do with cricket. That’s the problem with our US bloggers, despite their excellence: they are fast asleep when slips are pointed out and we expect them to react immediately to our comments. I’m sure Olivia will get to it in due course.

    [It may be that I’m doing something wrong, but everything I wrote and which seems to have appeared reappeared with the POST COMMENT instruction and my post not there. When I clicked on that, I was told that a duplicate comment had been detected and was invited to go back. I opened a new tab and the comment was indeed there. Goodness knows what’s happening.]

    1. The sleeping habits of us US bloggers are a problem Wil but better late than never!

  16. 41 minutes here, not entirely sure what was going on with a couple of answers at the end, but that’s probably down either to the head cold I’m suffering or the whisky I was drinking to combat it last night 🙂

    I’ve done a few 10Ks and half marathons and there are certainly a lot of people about with “Somewhereorother Harriers” on their running shirts on these occasions. On the other hand I’d never heard of the DOURO, and had only considered the River Glumo (it’s probably somewhere near Gormenghast) before I got THOUSANDTH…

  17. DNF as I can’t spell SUMPTUOUS and didn’t know us for unserviceable! Otherwise struggled in NE until deciding THOUSANDTH must be right and the last 4 dropped into place. So one letter off a correct solution.

  18. FOI was SASH and ACROSS THE BOARD brought proceedings to a close. POI was THOUSANDTH where I could see the anagrist but struggled with the definition. It still seems a bit woolly to me. Liked DISCERNING. 27:04. Thanks setter and Olivia.

  19. 16:47 Very enjoyable and a sense of achievement to finish with a few unparsed till I came here (e.g. myth).
    Thank you Olivia.

  20. Nice work, Olivia, and thanks for the Pokey not Cokey tip which might (or might not) come in useful one day if I venture across the pond again.
    Struggled with this for half an hour, put in THOUSANDTH because it fitted and still don’t understand it, no problem with MY TH(E) and a MER at CERN for nuclear lab (although I can see how a non sciency person might think it was that).
    Tough stuff for a Monday.

  21. 23:37. “Following a lot” seemed rather vague for THOUSANDTH and provided the fourth hold out in the NE corner along with PERTURB, DOURO and HABITAT. Thanks to our blogger, I see POTABLE was cleverer than I saw at the time, the generous definition and an unscrambled mental image of pots and ale being enough to point the way.

  22. Not a great start to the week. Gave up after 30 minutes defeated by extremity and secondary modern. Don’t know how I missed the latter.
    Hope for better tomorrow.
    Thanks setter and Olivia for being such an excellent stand in.

  23. This took me almost 50 minutes despite making a good start in the top half. Bit of a slowcoach today, and not really on the setter’s wavelength. I thought the definition for THOUSANDTH was pretty weak. I took ages to get DOURO (only after I got THOSANDTH), and even longer to get MYTH (LOI after MONARCH). I wasn’t at all keen on the clue for MYTH. Cryptically it works, yes, but it’s based on a meaningless phrase. Surely a collocation should have some sort of meaningful application. Initially I had doubts about the clue to UNPENNED, but I now think it’s quite neat.

  24. 25:52. The North East made this a lot harder than the usual Monday fare. “Follwing a lot” seemed a bit thin for THOUSANDTH as does “”not right” for UNCONSCIONABLE. However PERTURB , SENTIENT and DISCERNING more than made up for these.

    Don’t see so many pool tables in pubs these days, thank goodness.

    Thanks to Olivia and the setter

  25. Thanks, Olivia, and setter. Some nice clues which I felt clever to unravel. Thousandth and Harrier went in because they had to, and only made sense when I thought about them overnight.

  26. 09:54, an enjoyable Holiday Monday solve, and I, too, found myself echoing Peter Kay in remembering SPANGLES. Thanks for the brief spell of influencing, Olivia.

  27. I came a cropper with the hounds in the NE corner. Although I got the letters for the anagram correct, just couldn’t produce a word from them. Like others, still don’t really understand the clue. Liked the pool table without its bits, and enjoyed the (to me) complexities of Extremity.

  28. I found this unexpectedly tricky for a Monday, after reasonable start. I just couldn’t get tuned in at all. Bank Holiday lethargy? Or distracted by the (eventually scrubbed) Artemis launch? Ended up using a thesaurus to nudge myself along, which (as so often) didn’t really help, so a technical DNF. Nothing too difficult in the end though, so I should’ve done better. But as a puzzle, I found it a bit ‘meh’. I liked PYTHON, and that was about it. I’m now going to look at other posts which I’ve deliberately eschewed up to here, to see if I’m alone.

  29. No time recorded for this as I was interrupted by my 5 year old grandson who insisted I play his game of skill on his tablet/play station. After 15 minutes or so of utter confusion (on my part) he said ‘you’re rubbish grandpa’ and left me to complete the crossword. I estimate finishing in about my target time of 45 minutes, but now discover there are no such thing as a Latvian RIGA BEAN!

  30. 8:22. No problems here, and I liked it. I’m clearly in a minority in thinking THOUSANDTH a very good clue: ‘following a lot’ seems perfectly accurate to me (999 is a lot in most contexts) and nicely tricky to spot, which is the idea after all.

  31. No time today, as I was tackling the puzzle while watching a recording of Rory McIlroy’s spectacular victory in the FedEx Golf Championship in Georgia. A mere $ 18 m for first prize. What would Old Tom Morris make of that I wonder?
    Anyway, back to the puzzle which I enjoyed,although I had to biff 26 ac ” myth” and although I solved the anagram at 3 ac ” thousandth” I couldn’t work out why it was right.
    Plenty of pleasing clues and I quite liked 8 d “habitat” as “home” wasn’t “in” for once.
    Thanks to setter and to Olivia for a most enjoyable blog. I would suspect a full time role could be in the offing some time!

  32. 6:15 with several biffs to make pleasing sub-9min “double” with QC at 2:41. Enjoyed the Oscar Wilde clue, and others made me smile. Someone mentioned about successive consonants (excluding Ys) – for common 10-letter+ answers try WATCHSTRAP, or SIGHTSCREEN, but taking the biscuit must be the punk rockeresses who according to Chambers might have been called RIOTGRRRLS (and, no, that’s not a misprint!) but I’m not sure it’s been used on the back page yet …

  33. A long struggle but got there in the end, albeit with help for Thousandth and loi Sentient. Couldn’t parse Potable, but it’s so good I suspect I will have no problems next time it comes up. Tipton Harriers were my local running club, not that my feet ever made an appearance, but the name stuck. DisCERNing was ‘another’ write-in 😉 Invariant

  34. The clock says 52 minutes, but some of that was proofreading. THOUSANDTH really was a strange clue, but there were lots of other things that were quite nice. I did eventually see the eviscerated POOLTABLE in 23 ac, but EGOIST was actually my LOI, after doing an alphabet trawl for the second letter. DISCERNING was actually the only clue I needed to biff — DISPING (with the P to be replaced by CERN) made no sense at all, nor did anything else I could think of.

  35. Needed help for PERTURB, UNPENNED and EGOIST, but had no problems with (and liked) MYTH and THOUSANDTH. Thanks for explaining POTABLE.

  36. A slow steady solve in various sittings between jobs about the house. I had to sleep on the PERTURB clue.
    I was hoping the SNITCH would level out at a 100 or more, but pleased that I’m getting better at the trickier puzzles, if not yet ready for ‘stinkers’.

  37. Forgive me for hijacking this thread, but can anyone help me crack the wordplay for ‘Alexandrian’ in Saturday’s Jumbo? ‘Boy or girl also, cheerful with time away from African port’ was the clue. Boy or girl = Alex. Also = and. But how does ‘cheerful with time away’ = ‘rian’ ?? Thanks for any input. David Mc.

    1. On TFTT the blog for the Jumbos is timed to coincide with when the answers are published in the Times which I believe is 2 weeks later. We are enjoined not to comment ahead of time on prize puzzles here so I’m afraid you won’t get a reply. There are websites that may tell you what you want to know but I’m not sure what they are. Otherwise you will have to wait a couple of Saturdays.

  38. Getting better at it at last! One eluded me : PERTURB ( which I just couldn’t see), and an unthinking entry of HACKED at 4d threw me off the track at first. No problems with the excellent POTABLE, SECONDARY MODERN or ALMANAC though, so an enjoyable romp for me early on a Saturday morning (here in Oz).

Comments are closed.