Times Cryptic 28424

Solving time: 43 minutes 

I found this one quite tough but very enjoyable, however on writing the blog I wonder what delayed me.

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 Tolerate a way that’s far from unusual (8)
STAND (tolerate), A, RD (way)
5 Mostly desire short type of tree (6)
WIL{l} (desire) [mostly], LOW (short)
8 Soldiers must carry a blade (3)
OR (soldiers – Ordinary Ranks) containing [carry] A
9 Guy wants old variety for shrub (4,6)
MOCK (guy), O (old), RANGE (variety). Aka ‘syringa’
10 Couple hire out band for show (8)
BRACE (couple), LET (hire out)
11 Problem in area backing hostility (6)
SUM (problem) + IN + A (area) reversed [backing]
12 Acceptable answer about concerning waste product (4)
U (acceptable) + A (answer) containing [about] RE (concerning)
14 Sporting wear I’d hire, like some coats (4-6)
Anagram [sporting], WEAR I’D HIRE. I’ve only come across this in ‘wire-haired terrier’ but it can apply to other animals, apparently.
17 Empty dogs repeatedly struggling with haunchthese, perhaps? (10)
Anagram [struggling] of D{og}S + D{og}S [empty] [repeatedly] + HAUNCH. More dogs!
20 Isle with species of fish that’s not alien (4)
MULL{et} (species of fish) [not alien – extraterrestrial]. The Isle of Mull referenced here is the second largest of the Inner Hebrides after Skye, but more generally a mull (as in the McCartney song) is a promontory rather than an island.
23 Howling noise from energy in short local storm (6)
E (energy) contained by [in] SQUAL{l} (local storm) [short]
24 Gall, say, marketing with short weight included (8)
W (short weight) contained [included] in SELLING (marketing). I didn’t know gall as a swelling and with breakfast not long consumed I rather wish I hadn’t just looked it up!
25 I go on horse smell changing according to one’s position? (10)
I, RIDE (go on horse), SCENT (smell)
26 Swallow departs with every other one going west (3)
{d}E{p}A{r}T {s} [with every other one going west]. Collins defines ‘go west’ as to be lost or destroyed irrevocably, also to die. It’s possibly something to do with heading towards the setting sun.
27 Hold   Lancashire town (6)
Two definitions, the first being a hold in wresting
28 Very surprised to set off escorted (8)
START (set off), LED (escorted)
1 Son certain about the present being kept in the house? (9)
S (son) + BOUND (sure – bound to) containing [about] NOW (the present)
2 Station has broadcast on low (3,4)
AIR (broadcast), BASE (low)
3 Swan below weir’s spray (6)
DAM (weir), PEN (swan)
4 EU supporting wealthy priest, a minister in Paris (9)
RICH (wealthy), ELI (priest), EU. Although he was a clergyman the clue is more likely to refer to his governmental duties.
5 Corrupt towards husband, something ending in big fight (7)
WARP (corrupt), AT (towards), H (husband)
6 Mild union in need of working capital, historically (9)
Anagram [in need of working] of MILD UNION
7 Finished with American English? Too much of a good thing? (7)
OVER (finished), US (American), E (English)
13 Some events the Spanish hotel mounted in top-flight rooms? (9)
EL (the in Spanish) + H (hotel) reversed [mounted] contained by [in] ATTICS (top-flight rooms – top of a flight of stairs)
15 Something for foundation women tend to get free (9)
Anagram [free] of WOMEN TEND
16 Brilliance in act was highly entertaining (9)
LIGHT (brilliance) contained by [in] DEED
18 Get a hundred and twenty-four sheets (7)
A, C (hundred), QUIRE (twenty-four sheets of paper). Other definitions of ‘quire’ are available, including 25 sheets of paper.
19 What’s this in Warhol being a great artist? (7)
Hidden [in] {war}HOL BEIN{g}. There was an elder and a younger Holbein, and it’s the younger who is better known. Two of his most famous works are a portrait of Henry VIII, and The Ambassadors.
21 Educational arrangement is far from perfect (7)
UNI DEAL (educational arrangement)
22 One working on buildings — top of skyscraper next? (6)
S{kyscraper} [top of…], LATER (next?)

75 comments on “Times Cryptic 28424”

  1. 22:14
    26ac EAT had me puzzled for a while, as I took ‘going west’ to mean going to the left; I wondered if it should have read ‘going east’. DNK NELSON the town, of course, and DNK MOCK ORANGE; it took me a while to come up with MOCK. Biffed DACHSHUNDS, struggling with the spelling; parsed post-submission. My LOI, annoyingly, was DAMPEN; I had a brain freeze and just couldn’t come up with the word for ‘swan’. A bit odd that two clues–1ac, 21d–have ‘far from X’ as their definition.

  2. 36 minutes. I found the ‘changing according to one’s position?’ def for IRIDESCENT the most difficult bit. The ‘educational arrangement’ wordplay for 21d was good but UNIDEAL is a pretty ordinary word. I thought that MOCK ORANGE was new but I had come across it before for “syringa” as mentioned by Jack. There was some east-west disorientation in a Sunday Times clue a few months ago and like Kevin I thought the same thing may have happened here at 26a until the other ‘going west’ sense came to mind.

    I don’t know if our setter is a dog lover, but the undoubted highlights for me were the WIRE-HAIRED DACHSHUNDS at 14a and 17a; very appealing looking dogs.

  3. LOI was NELSON as Lancashire towns are a bit of a mystery for me. Had it been clued as a South Island town, referencing a small country across the ditch, it would have been easier.
    Like Kevin and Bletchley, I thought EAT might be going east not west. Thanks to Jack for the clarification.

    1. And let’s not overlook Nelson, British Columbia, ” The Queen of the Kootenays” and ” North America’s best skiing town”.

  4. Same same. Nelson took a while – that type of hold – as did LOI iridescent with a definition so obscure it’s not even in Chambers! Not helped by spelling daschhunds (sic) wrongly. BASE and MOCK also took a bit of thinking, though no problems with going west meaning disappearing. Good puzzle, though, precise wordplay throughout. (As expected.)

    1. I don’t think the definition is particularly obscure: it just relies on the fact that an object will only be IRIDESCENT if it, or the observer, moves.

    2. Mark me down as a bad speller of dog breeds also… 22:14. Being a Lancashire lad Nelson held (hah!) no problems 😉

  5. Seemingly easy but still took my usual time.

    Interested in Syringa as Mock Orange. This is a specific American shrub, I believe. In the UK, the Mock Oranges are Philadelphus and Mexican Mock Orange is Choisya. Both are very common and in the garden outside of my window. Syringa, in the UK is Lilac.

    1. Ah well, I’m not a gardener so I shouldn’t have said anything, but ‘syringa’ is in Collins as the only alternative name.

  6. 34 minutes without really rushing. Same unknowns as many others, including never having heard of NELSON in Lancashire despite my grandparents living in the county all their life. Finished up with WARPATH and WILLOW.

  7. 8:51. I got through almost all of this quickly today but thought I was going to be delayed by my LOI NELSON. However, just as I started an alphabet trawl the wrestling hold came to me (does anyone know any other holds apart from Half Nelson?). I’ve never heard of the place, and I see with a population of about 30,000 it’s a pretty small town. According to Wikipedia it is “characterised by some of the lowest house prices in the whole of the United Kingdom”. I couldn’t find anything which suggested to me I should know it.

    1. Those who follow elections in the UK in any detail would have heard of the Parliamentary constituency of Nelson and Colne.

    2. NELSON actually had a Football League club, founder members of the old Division 3 North in 1921, before financial difficulties saw them drop out ten years later. Anyone who has been there will realise why house prices are cheap, and it’s more or less a suburb of Burnley nowadays.

    3. I remember being put in “hammerlocks” and “chokeholds” as a kid for being too mouthy.

  8. WIREHAIRED DACHSHUNDS – the doggies from hell
    Small and yappy, and quite prone to smell
    Their bellies are found
    Far too close to the ground
    And they’re also a bugger to spell

  9. 45 minutes here, the last ten of which trying to come up with the unknown town of NELSON; I found the variety of possibilities thrown up by _E_S_N very unhelpful.. Also slowed by the NHOs RICHELIEU and MOCK ORANGE.

  10. 27 minutes with LOI WILLOW after I’d been on the WARPATH. To join in Gardeners Question Time, a syringa has always been a lilac and a mock orange a philadelphus in my gardens. I liked NELSON from God’s own county but COD to SNOWBOUND. I’m dreaming of a White Christmas. Enjoyable. Thank you Jack and setter.

  11. 43m 21s but I had a momentary lapse of reason in 2d with AIR WAVE.
    Thank you, Jack, particularly for WILLOW. I am another who got confused between East and West, but I still put EAT.
    As others have pointed out, there are such dogs as WIRE-HAIRED DACHSHUNDS.
    One little surprise: I have discovered that NELSON, New Zealand is not twinned with NELSON, Lancashire!

  12. 37 mins for a stop start solution
    I knew nelson as an old Lancashire lad but NHO mock orange That one plus 5d held me up at the end

  13. Normal service resumed today with 42 mins. Held up in the SW for a while until I saw the odd sounding UNIDEAL. SWELLING etc then fell into place.

    I knew of NELSON and vaguely remembered MOCK ORANGE from a garden I once had in the UK. No probs with RICHELIEU, the devil, and I liked IRRIDESCENT. MULL mis-Ninja’d from the song, but, as our blogger says, it’s a promontory!

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  14. 46:48, scoring me the number of the beast. Greatly held up on the East side, partly by RAFTER (inexplicably swapping the top of the skyscraper for its bottom) and partly by growling at the obscure ancient city of NOLDINIUM being clued as an anagram before the penny finally dropped with a large clang.

    My mother had a WIRE HAIRED DACHSHUND called Thomas who ruled the house. One of the cleverest dogs I have ever met: when you looked in his eyes there was definitely a cunning mind behind them.

    Thanks setter for an excellent puzzle, and Jack for explaining all.

    1. I remember that the BBC’s guideline on permissible degrees of priapus was governed by the angle of the dangle of the Mull of Kintyre.

  15. 13:46. No problem with NELSON as I have a sister-in-law who lives there. I’m not a dog-lover but I liked the juxtaposed WIRE-HAIRED DACHSHUNDS. Like others I was misled by the “going west” indication. LOI BRACELET. Thanks jackkt and setter.

  16. 15:32. I did half of this quickly and then got completely stuck for ages. Eventually I managed to eke out three or four more answers and then the resulting checkers got me going again and I picked up speed for the last third or so before coming to a grinding halt again with only M?C? ORANGE left. For some reason it took me a couple of minutes of head-scratching to come up with MOCK.

  17. West side of this one fell into place in about 5 mins, but the rest took another 20. WARPATH wasn’t obvious, to me (not convinced by ‘at’ for ‘towards’), and ANIMUS resisted me for half of that. Still not wild about ‘sum’ for ‘problem’, but hey. I’ve driven through NELSON, so no problem. Liked RICHELIEU.

  18. Like Jerry I faltered a little on reaching the NE corner (hopefully not an omen for Altrincham’s FA Cup replay at Gateshead this evening !) and the last 4 answers took about 3 minutes to mop up.

    TIME 11:05

  19. Slowed a little by entering ‘herb orange’ at 9ac but so far as I can see no such plant or tree actually exists. It seemed vaguely familiar. 28 minutes on a crossword that I was a bit less enthusiastic about than some: 5ac struck me as a bit weak, with will = desire a bit doubtful I thought, and a messy l that’s comes again in ‘low’; and the surface for 27ac seemed rather thin.

    But these are mild criticsms: we expect and nearly always get very high standards from The Times crossword, which is why we do it.

    1. I don’t agree about ‘will = desire’ which is the very first nounal meaning under ‘will’ in SOED and it’s also listed prominently in all the usual sources. The will to live?

      I’m not sure I would describe the extra L in 5ac as messy and it may even have been a carefully laid trap to confuse solvers. It certainly made me look at it twice whilst wondering for a second how OW = short.

      1. Perhaps ‘the will/desire to live’ does it. The only thing I could think about was ‘he had a strong will/desire’, which are a bit different.

        1. Thanks, Wil. Yes I can see that’s not really an equivalence. SOED cites a couple of examples:

          Shakes. Jul. Caes. I have no will to wander forth of doors.

          Sir W. Scott The faculty of the present proprietor to entertain his friends is greatly abridged,…the will…remains the same.

  20. 10:27, so a nice middle-of-road puzzle for a Tuesday. Botany is one of my blind spots, so I was glad to emerge unscathed (although I did spend some time wondering if there might be a MICK ORANGE before realising it wasn’t that sort of guy I was looking for…)

  21. The MOCK ORANGE by the porch never once flowered – so we got rid of it in the end. Very slow to get going this morning but no problems once I did. I liked the BRACELET CLUE. 19.48

  22. 35 minutes. Inability to spell Dachshunds cost me about 10 minutes. Biffed Mock Orange. Still don’t know why Guy= Mock?

  23. 19.56. Top down solve with UNIDEAL holding out longer than it had any right to. DACHSHUNDS a problem too, but only because inexplicably I couldn’t account for the second H despite staring at HAUNCH for several minutes.

  24. DNF – LONDINIUM and WILLOW being the trouble-makers. I just couldn’t see past WIS{h} or WAN{t} for the first part of willow, and never spotted the clever anagrind or anagrist for the capital. I also tried to end the tree with FON{t} (short type). Oh dear – stupid boy!

  25. The AIR of 2d was my first entry, but BASE was LOI! The NE corner also held me up towards the end. The spelling of DACHSHUNDS was also a “Let’s wait for more crossers” challenge. I dallied with RAFTER, but not for long. 20:10. Thanks setter and Jack.

  26. Took me quite a while to get started but then it was one of those that just kept revealing it’s answers- AIR BASE LOI after debating air wave and fortunately discarding that idea. Pleased DACHSHUND left only one option for the provided extra H.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  27. A bit of a mixture of some giveaways and some that took me longer to get. MOCK ORANGE was very familiar, but it took me several minutes at the end to see NELSON. Like J Donleavy above, AIR was an early entry, but BASE came much later. It should have jumped out at me. A lot of good surfaces.
    26 minutes

  28. 19 mins. Nice to have familiar geography, my son in law hails from NELSON and I’ve just come back from a week on MULL. Which is of course on the way to our favourite, IONA. Took a moment to stop myself from putting in MICK ORANGE.

  29. 24:43

    NHO MOCK ORANGE but parsing helped.

    NELSON – though I live in Lancashire, I’ve never visited. Recalled from boyhood when I was avidly into football history.

  30. 30.43
    I thought this was a toughie and was relieved when WILLOW and WARPATH finally fell in. Had AIR WAVE for a while, for want of anything better. MOCK ORANGE was new to me (can you have MOCK ORANGE soup?) ,and I now know about the elder Holbein .

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  31. Happy to complete albeit in 6hours over 4 or 5 scratchy visits during a busy day with SWELLING the LOI.

    Thanks Jackkt.

  32. Went to sleep as soon as I had finished this last night.
    Don’t think I’d ever seen “going west” used that way before.

  33. No problem spelling the dog. Dachs means badger in German and Hund is, of course, dog. I think they were bred to chase Mr Brock down his sett. Nothing obscure or too difficult today.

  34. Like Topical Tim, I toyed with Mick Orange before MOCK ORANGE occurred to me and seemed much more likely. Also challenged by botany, this was my LOI.
    Before that I wanted 27a to be Bolton-is it a town? I don’t know-sorry BW. I have reached peak Fred Dibnah watching two episodes a night on Yesterday (better than The News). But I quickly thought of Nelson with a checker; it has to be followed by and Colne.
    Last time I was in Burnley, Preston beat them largely because Jordan Pickford was our goal keeper.
    I was probably quicker than Monday’s puzzle.
    Enjoyed it.

  35. Multiple interruptions, so no time today, but it definitely took longer than it should have. Like our blogger, looking back at it I can’t see what the hold up was. Thanks for parsing MULL, which had to be but not for a reason I could unravel.

  36. I was very late starting this today, but have finally got round to it. After my five day hiatus of not taking on a crossword, I seemed quite well tuned in to this finishing in 28.22. I finished up in the top right hand corner with MOCK ORANGE my LOI, and like others briefly toyed with MICK.

  37. Apparently the Germans say Dackel now for Dachshund, which is close to the French word Teckel. They all have the same root but it’s funny that in English we are closest to the original. 14’17” LOI Nelson, a town I did not know. Many thanks.

  38. I had all but 3 done in 30 minutes. Finally saw WARPATH, which gave me ANIMUS. A shame to grind to a complete halt over NELSON which I did not know as a town and didn’t register as another meaning of hold, having been looking for, among other things, a place to store things. In terms of improving ones crossword skills, it is one thing to get faster and quite another to complete the whole grid. At least for me.

  39. I knew MOCK ORANGE but not why guy =mock. NELSON was okay too once the crossers were in there. Sadly needed tools to get IRIDESCENT though. HOLBEIN is the best hidden clue in a long while.

    1. Agree about HOLBEIN, but was unable to come up with the shrub or spell DACHSHUNDS correctly. For some reason (little grey cells not zapping? Any more?) I did not make the connection between marketing and selling either . Go figure…

  40. About 50 minutes and close to giving up with BRACELET, DAMPEN and NELSON yet unsolved. But fortunately I persisted, NELSON being my LOI and the only clue giving me any real trouble (no idea what towns are in Lancashire, but I did remember the wrestling hold). I knew DAMPEN would be something-PEN, but it took me a while to find the DAM. And for the SLATER I also started off with RAFTER, which didn’t seem quite accurate. The S is the top of the skyscraper perhaps because it is a down clue, after all.

  41. Very late start and crosswordus interrupts, but around thirty minutes.

    FOI 2dn AIR BASE
    LOI 26ac EAT
    COD 5ac WILLOW
    WOD 1dn SNOWBOUND and not snowboard as I originally thought and fought!

    MOCK ORANGE I know well but l initially thought the wrong type of ‘guy’ in the the fringes of the shrubbery. ….’Rock’ – Mr. Hudson. I’ll never forget ‘Pillow Talk’!

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