Times Cryptic 28436 by Jalna*


Solving time: 32 minutes


I found this one quite straightforward both to solve and blog, unlike last Tuesday’s offering. How did you get on?

*It’s very rare for us to know who compiled a weekday 15×15 puzzle but today’s setter has contributed to our discussion using his Quick Cryptic pseudonym.

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 Everyone has attire on I fashioned with white wool, for example (12)
ALL (everyone), anagram [fashioned] of ATTIRE ON I. SOED: The commencement of adjacent or closely connected words with the same sound or letter.
9 Scope of the section pre-lunch? (5)
AM (pre-lunch?), BIT (section)
10 Bar meeting the needs of Europeans on vacation? Incredible! (9)
FOR (meeting the needs of), E{uropean}S [on vacation], TALL (incredible – e.g. a tall story)
11 One running off after second runner (8)
S (second), PRINTER (one running off)
12 Difficulty caused by stinging sensation right away (6)
P{r}ICKLE (stinging sensation) [right away]
13 Place somewhere in Scotland full of clubs, note (8)
ALLOA (somewhere in Scotland) containing [full of] C (clubs – cards), TE (note). You may be surprised that I only knew this because it has a   football team,  Alloa Athletic.
15 A little skill involved in work (6)
ART (skill) contained by [involved in] PLY (work)
17 Engineers arrange repair (6)
RE (Royal Engineers), SORT (arrange). Neither definition nor answer takes its most common meaning here.
18 Edits one nasty comment in the margin (8)
Anagram [nasty] of EDITS ONE
20 Reduction of power, say, is a must for hitting green targets (6)
P (reduction – abbreviation – of power), UTTER (say)
21 High-tech, special card allows guards entry at the front (5-3)
SP (special), ACE (card), A{llows} + G{uards} + E{ntry} [at the front]
24 Those who are running maybe abruptly keel over (9)
SHORT (abruptly), LIST (keel over). Running for election perhaps.
25 Port and of course German wine (5)
RIO (port), JA (of course – yes, in  German)
26 Put forward fantastic hot dishes? Yep! (12)
Anagram [fantastic] of HOT DISHES YEP
1 Lake once also largely surrounded by piece of land (4,3)
ALS{o} [largely} contained [surrounded by] AREA [piece of land]. Arrived at via wordplay and I recognised the name, but had to take the definition on trust.  Click here if you want to read more about it,
2 Relaxation time on lake: one’s consumed by drink (14)
ERA (time) + L (lake) + I (one) contained [consumed] by LIBATION (drink). People in pubs who say ‘libation’ are best avoided in my experience.
3 Bigwig is audibly tense (5)
Sounds like [audibly] “tighten” [tense}
4 Official chooses to ignore top reviews (8)
REF (official), {e}LECTS (chooses) [ignore top]
5 Plant found in that room occasionally (4)
Hidden [found] in T{h}A{t} R{o}O{m} [occasionally]. It produces a tropical root vegetable.
6 Inflexible manifesto ultimately popular within British government (9)
{manifest}O [ultimately], then IN (popular)  contained by [within] B (British) + STATE (government)
7 Sailor needing energy opts to eat processed, starchy food (6,8)
JACK (sailor), E (energy), then anagram [processed] of OPTS TO EAT
8 Quiet spot to grab shelter (6)
SPY (spot) containing [to grab] LEE (shelter)
14 Trade vehicle held in on tracks (9)
CAR (vehicle), PENT (held in), RY (railway tracks)
16 Murder in detective’s district (8)
DI’S (detective’s), PATCH (district). ‘Patch’ in this sense is used a lot in police procedurals on TV and film, especially the older ones.
17 To some extent, it’s a perfect flipping meal (6)
Hidden [to some extent] and reversed [flipping] in {i}T’S A PER{fect}
19 Crooked dealer pocketing millions for gemstone (7)
Anagram [crooked] of DEALER containing [pocketing] M (millions)
22 Waste from fruit and produce picked up (5)
Sounds like [picked up] “cause” [produce]
23 Life story captures heart of miserable writer (4)
BIO (life story) contains [captures] {mise}R{able} [heart of…]

61 comments on “Times Cryptic 28436 by Jalna*”

  1. 26:17
    Off to a slow start (FOI PUTTER), and didn’t pick up much speed. I took 18ac to be (one nasty)*, thus wasting a good deal of time. LOI CORES: rhotic moi just couldn’t come up with a homophone that meant ‘produce’.

  2. 38 mins for me. Got a bit held up at the end with HYPOTHESIZED (despite all the checkers). I thought RIOJA was nicely misleading as a German wine. And AMBIT went straight in since I used to work for a company called AMBIT (Design Systems). No issue with ALLOA either since I lived in Edinburgh for years.

  3. Bah. Made the mistake of glancing at the clock with only CORES remaining. With a rare sub-10 beckoning I bunged in… actually it doesn’t matter what I bunged in, but it wasn’t CORES.

    And I usually parse as I go along, but I just realised I had no idea of the wordplay for SPACE-AGE, so thanks for that Jack.

    Some nice surfaces, including those for PUTTER, SPRINTER, PARTLY and SLEEPY.

  4. 34m 10s but two errors: stringer iso SPRINTER and corps iso CORES.
    Thanks for LIBERALISATION, Jack but I disagree with ‘keel over’ being the same as LIST. In marine terms to ‘list’ is only to lean to one side while keel over means what it says; to turn upside down.

    1. It occurred to me too, Martin, but I wondered if there might be a figurative sense, not directly related to ships, in which they might overlap. I now wonder if perhaps the setter confused ‘keel over’ with ‘heel over’ or there’s a misprint.

        1. I have posed the question in the Club forum. The new Puzzles Editor promised in his latest newsletter to monitor it more closely in future so I hope he will respond.

          1. It’s not before time. I was staggered last week to discover that the Editor had actually posted a correction to the puzzle on the Club forum in addition to placing it on this thread. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn’t a mirage induced by my covid state.

            Perhaps the penny has dropped with The Times that interacting with your customer base through the existing appropriate channel, which was set up partly for that purpose, and which subscribers pay for, just might be a way of reinvigorating engagement in the puzzle(s)?

            But no, that’s just a silly idea isn’t it?

            1. Mick Hodgkin (Puzzles Editor) wrote this in his latest newsletter: The Crossword Club was established as a separate site to permit leaderboards and forums, with a thread for each crossword and a general area in which you can raise other matters. I was remiss when I took over as editor in failing to look at the general forum often enough (apologies to those who were eager to know about the Crossword Championship) but I check it regularly now.

              He also went on to give US a plug and posted a live link (omitted here): Away from the Times site itself you can join in further discussion of our crosswords at Times for The Times, where solvers reveal their FOI and LOI (first one in and last one in) and choose their COD (clue of the day). My favourite piece of jargon is the expressive MER (mild eyebrow raise) that greets a clue felt to have pushed things a bit too far.

        2. Richard Rogan posted this in the forum in response to my query:

          “Yes I think “heel over” was probably intended whether through a mistype or more likely confusion. One of those things that occasionally gets past me I’m afraid.”

          But as keriothe has pointed out below, keel over does fit the surface reading better. Perhaps the clue just needed a rethink with a more suitable surface to fit the answer and wordplay.

          1. So, having looked back at my original clue, it does say “…keel over”, so that was obviously my intention, albeit one that doesn’t make much sense as I don’t think list=keel is supported anywhere. Mea culpa, apologies.

            Thanks for all the comments btw. Much appreciated as always

            1. Are you the actual setter? Kudos, for a typically great Times puzzle, even if I’m amongst those thinking list/keel over a bit dodgy. And while I might have the occasional gripe, love your (and other setters’) work. Much appreciated.

          2. Thanks, again, Jack, for following up on that. Whenever I raise a query, I’m more used to being told something like:
            “It’s meaning #17 in the OED”! 😀

  5. 33m fail – biffed 1d as AZOV SEA (I was thinking of the dried-up Uzbek one, but my geog failed me) – then 9a just had to be ORBIT.

  6. I tried to do this one section by section without leaving any stragglers and swept around the grid anticlockwise from ALLITERATION (COD) to FORESTALL in 31 minutes. RESORT wasn’t that confidently-entered, but apart from that I think I had all the parsings. WOD PICKLE.

  7. All solved and parsed in a workmanlike 34 minutes, without ever feeling on top of this one. LOI was CORES. COD to ALLITERATION. Thank you Jack and setter.

  8. 20:25
    I liked this – pleasant challenge and a steady solve. Aral Sea had to be retrieved from some deeply overlaid cerebral oubliette.
    Thanks, jack.

  9. Slow at getting into this, but picked up speed once I got a few toeholds. Knew the sea from geography lessons half a century ago. After an age, bunged in CORES with a shrug expecting a couple of pink squares. Terrible homophone imo.

  10. At 20 mins, this was one of my quickest for a while
    Everything came easily so I guess I was clearly on the setters wavelength

  11. 21:35. At time of writing I have the highest personal NITCH suggesting I was well off the pace. I do wonder if it was because early on I looked at the REPAST clue but rather than seeing REPAST I saw an almost PASTIE. With a pastie being the perfect meal I couldn’t see beyond this so was convinced there had been a mistake. It was only near the end that I got REPAST and got rid of my nagging doubt. Given that the reversal was right there where I was looking for it I should have looked further in the first place!

  12. Over an hour and I wrong, ARAN SEA. Definitely not on the wavelength today. Took me an age to fill in the NW not seeing JACKET, PICKLE, SLEEPY, OR PARTLY for an eternity. Not helped either in the NE by having bunged in DEAD SEA to start, which I changed when I finally got the anag at Iac, and saw what was going on with white wool.


    Thanks Jack and setter.

  13. 6:03. I came quite close to a sub-5 today but HYPOTHESISED and SHORTLIST both delayed me. In the latter ‘keel over’ is needed for the surface but it does seem wrong for ‘list’.
    “There’ll be complaints”, I thought as I put in the (in my accent perfect) homophone at 22dn.

  14. Today l was well off the pace/wavelength – what you will.

    FOI 5dn TARO
    LOI 23dn BIRO – I had ‘Hugo’ as l reckoned Victor Hugo was a ‘miserable’writer.
    A bear-trap methought. Small biros on piece of string are available at IKEA.
    WOD 7dn JACKET POTATO – from ‘Spud-You-Like’. I much prefer ‘MacDonalds’ fries.

    I do love a pickle – particularly chip-shop pickled onions, chutney, my mother’s crisp red cabbage but utterly dislike kimchee. No time for pickled eggs either. I’ve been in a pickle or two myself over the years! Meldrew

  15. Seems that getting up early helps, 11’22” today (England v NZ on pause).

    Didn’t parse LIBERALISATION until afterwards, nho TARO, ARAL SEA memory checked by wordplay.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  16. The Titans fierce, self-hid, or prison-bound,
    Groan’d for the old allegiance once more,
    And listen’d in sharp pain for Saturn’s voice.

    35 ish mins mid-brekker. No crosses, no MERs. One tick for Jacket Poratoes.
    Thanks setter and J.

  17. 9:45. Like Kevin I was held up by trying use “one nasty” as the anagrist in 18A, but the only others that gave me too much pause for thought were my last 2 – PICKLE and CORES. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  18. Completed in a reasonable time but I found the puzzle a bit of a chore rather than a pleasure. I’m unhappy about the grammar in ‘Titan’: I can see the homophone as as ‘tension’, but not as ‘tense’.

    1. I was going to make that point too. But I suppose you can ‘tense’ your biceps or something like that. All done and dusted in 22.50 with just that mer.

  19. 20:53 Good puzzle, reasonably straightforward. Only real hold up was CORES (Cares? Curds? Corps?). I liked ALLITERATION and FORESTALL.

    Re PICKLE: I had often heard the Scottish phrase “many a mickle makes a muckle” without ever really considering its meaning. Could it be “a lot of small difficulties make a large one” I, not unreasonably I thought, asked the missus. A Blairgowrie snort of derision indicated otherwise, which, I suppose, is help of a sort.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

    1. According to Chambers both ‘mickle’ and ‘muckle’ mean ‘much’ or ‘great’, and the saying ‘many a little (or pickle) makes a mickle’ – meaning ‘every little helps’ – is ‘often absurdly’ rendered as ‘many a mickle makes a muckle’.

      1. Interesting. Collins defines mickle as “great, abundant” but then goes on to say: “4. Scottish:
        a small amount, esp in the proverb, many a mickle maks a muckle”

        1. A bit less judgemental than Chambers! From OED I learn that it’s an old Germanic word, the origin of ‘much’, and cognate with mycket in Swedish, as in tack så mycket (thanks very much).

          1. Well, each to their own. The last thing I would want to do is to turn a stooshie into a stramash. 😊

  20. 17.41

    Decent time for me and no typos for a change.

    I’m not normally a wavelength believer but maybe this one might get me through the church door. Flowed nicely with some neat clues. Liked the POTATOES and CORES though I seemed to contemplate every single type of tatty (Hasselback anyone?) save for the right one.

    Thanks all

  21. Finishing 2 in a row is rare for me so I’m happy although I was expecting my LOI CORES to be wrong but couldn’t think of anything else.
    COD PUTTER (lovely surface)

  22. There are people who say how they solved the crossword quite easily when other distractions, which hardly affected them, were going on. I’m not one of those. The radio was on and I was keenly listening to the New Zealand-England cricket match, so it took me over an hour. Also a bit unhappy with list = keel over.

  23. Didn’t enjoy this much, and biffed 3 or 4 as I was losing the will to live (all were correct fortunately). Absolutely no problem with CORES, but I’m a Northerner.

    TIME 14:27

  24. 24 mins. A few MERS at the end, CORES and TENSE come to mind, and EMERALD is a stray from the quickie. An average score for me, so I’d call this one about average

  25. I had this done, apart from 22d, in around 30 minutes then spent the best part of 15 minutes trying to come up with a homophone for produce that sounded like CORES. In the end I biffed CORNS. Bah! 43:55 WOE. Thanks setter and Jack.

  26. 8m 18s, with the last minute or two spent figuring out CORES. A curious mix of write-ins and puzzlers, I found.

  27. Just like yesterday I started slowly thinking I was in for a slow solve. After a pretty unproductive 15 minutes picked up pace, crossing the line in 35.16, which for me is quickish. LOI was PICKLE which probably put an extra two minutes on my time.

  28. 13:18, steady solve, finishing with SHORTLIST, even though I can’t claim enough nautical knowledge to have been especially confused by the nuances of keeling and heeling. Enjoyed the penny-drop moment of the ALLITERATION.

  29. 41:46

    Self-kyboshed by entering REPAST as REPAAT which made 24a somewhat tricky. Didn’t notice for ages.

    RHS seemed easier than LHS which was a bit like pulling teeth at times.

  30. All correct, but took a long time to get into the groove after 1ac went straight in.
    I liked the potatoes clue. ‘It’s the season for them.
    Initially biffed RESCUE at 17, and this slowed completion of the SW corner- the HEEL and LIST terminology didn’t occur to me.
    Thank you for the blog, and thank you Setter.

  31. 1ac straight in- starting ALL, with white wool as the definition, couldn’t be anything else. Slowed down a bit after that, but not difficult. Major – not minor – eyebrow raise at list for keel over – just wrong. No problem with tighten = tense as a verb, both usually seen with up afterwards. If I see a zombie I tighten up/tense up. Cores/cause works for me as a homophone – not American or Jockwegian.
    COD putter – saw the clue and confidently wrote in putting., only to find it had too many letters.

  32. I needed a couple of sessions for this. Finished with REFLECTS and SHORTLIST. At 4d I thought of referee immediately and then was certain that chooses =SELECTS which led me to REELECTS and a question mark. I finally saw it.
    Completely missed the Keel problem.
    In golf you normally hit the green with an iron or wedge. The putter is used on the green mainly.
    Used off the green it can be called a Texas wedge.
    Enjoyable puzzle.

  33. Nice to hear from the setter.
    I had the 1d definition as just “lake” (since it still is one), with the “once” being the equivalent of the “is” we sometimes see in definitions – as in “once/after you do the following cryptic manipulations” and helping the surface along.
    I was surprised no one argued that the Space Age is SO 20th century – you know, more power in your mobile than in all the moon-visit NASA computers taken together and all that. I guess we were too busy thinking “cores/cause, what to say about that?”

  34. Plodded through this at a dogged pace. Needed a few aids to keep things moving and was another ARAN SEA so a bit unsatisfying for all my efforts.

    Thanks settter and blogger.

  35. Was it me or or just a hard clue?
    Did my friends on TFTT struggle too?
    A poor time, and the cause
    Was not spotting CORES
    Fellow solvers, I’m there with you

  36. Enjoyable crossword with some very nice clues. It took me a while, and I eventually managed to do all but one. I gave up on CORES.

  37. Seems like CORES defeated many here (Me Too!), and that was after nearly giving up on the whole shebang after many blank minutes. Happy to have spotted ALLITERATION early on ( having spent a while considering types of sheep!) , but SPRINTER and PICKLE eluded me. Couldn’t match “one running off” with printer. A few PDMs: JACKET POTATOES, PUTTER and SPACE AGE, where the surface readings were excellently misleading. Thanks to setter for a tough but fair puzzle, and to Jack for the (as ever) helpful blog.

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