Times Cryptic 28448


Solving time: 46 minutes

I didn’t find this very easy but it was an enjoyable solve and I was never in doubt that I would finish it.

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 Only half of stores getting prompt delivery (6)
{sto}RES (only half), CUE (prompt)
5 Individual emulates retiring judge (8)
APES (emulates) reversed [retiring], RATE (judge)
9 Honour a rebel leader admitting heightened depression (8)
A, then CADE (rebel leader) containing [admitting] COL (heightened depression – it’s in the mountains). Jack Cade (1420–1450), leader of the Kent Rebellion.
10 Runs remote IT equipment (6)
R (runs), OUTER (remote)
11 Constrained style of book, long dull volume with Gaelic appendix (5,5)
B (book), LANK ( long dull – as hair may be described), V (volume), ERSE (Gaelic). ‘Appendix’ is unnecessary as positional indicator but it adds to the surface. This is verse that doesn’t rhyme. I don’t know enough about it to be sure how ‘constrained’ works as part of the definition but presumably blank verse has its own rules and conventions that need to be observed, so in that sense it’s constrained.
13 Assess age of fruit (4)
Two meanings
14 Mineral    box (4)
Two meanings. I knew ‘feldspar’, but there are many other examples of this category of mineral.
15 Virtual realm PC creates by expressing time irregularly (10)
Anagram [irregularly] of PC CREA{t}ES BY [expressing – pressing out – time]
18 Frantic detectives directed across river (10)
DIS (detectives), TAUGHT (directed) containing [across] R (river)
20 Just less than a shilling to look after? (4)
TEN D (just less than a shilling). Pre-decimalisation there were 12 old pennies (12d) in a shilling – the ‘d’ stands for denarius or denarii.
21 Cross US conflict zone returning from island (4)
X (cross) + ‘NAM (US conflict zone) reversed  [returning]. Inhabitants of the Isle of Man including tailless cats are described as ‘Manx’.
23 Convoluted message backing Communist blocks (10)
RED (Communist) reversed [backing] is contained by [blocks] MEANING (message)
25 Clothes, left out for Adelaide’s friend (6)
C{l}OBBER (clothes) [left out]
26 Right method introduced to smother rodent (8)
R (right) + MO (method – modus operandi ) contained by [introduced to] DOUSE (smother flames etc)
28 Strategy for playing softly in percussion group (4,4)
P (softly) contained by [in] GAMELAN (percussion group). I think the group has come up before. SOED defines it as an Indonesian orchestra consisting mainly of percussion instruments. Here’s a sample.
29 Fine blade was first to pierce further (6)
LED (was first) contained by [to pierce] TOO (further)
2 Play shot with cue — it features down under (9)
Anagram [shot] of PLAY CUE IT. Their leaves are eaten by koalas and  used in the production of oil that has a number of medicinal properties.
3 See nothing out of place in examiner soothing singer (7)
CORONER (examiner) becomes CROONER (soothing singer) when O (nothing) moves ‘out of place’
4 Lady‘s formal greeting reflected (3)
AVE (formal greeting) reversed [reflected]
5 Promise son to be in (5)
S (son), WEAR (be in clothes)
6 A much-loved rogue journalist executed (11)
PER (a), PET (much-loved), RAT (rogue), ED (journalist)
7 Slightly overestimate assembly (7)
ROUND UP (slightly overestimate). The assembly can take a hyphen.
8 Daily robbery? (5)
THE FT (daily newspaper – The Financial Times)
12 Mild avarice troubled leader in service (4,7)
Anagram [troubled] of MILD AVARICE
16 Buddhist’s heading for one to pray (3)
B{uddhist’s} [heading], EG (for one)
17 Condemned in a second, as was Jeanne d’Arc (9)
Anagram [condemned] of IN A SECOND
19 Propose carrying Times article, subject to official charges (7)
TABLE (propose a motion) containing [carrying] X (times) + A (article)
20 Upheaval due to stated limit on fossil fuel (7)
TURM sounds like [stated] “term” (limit), OIL (fossil fuel)
22 Where Plato met commander gathering troops? (5)
AGA (Ottoman commander) containing [gathering] OR (troops – Other Ranks). A Greek assembly place, especially a marketplace.
24 One who wrote poetry from a university hideaway (5)
A, U (university), DEN (hideaway). Here’s his poem Night Mail written in 1936 for a short film about the nightly London to Scotland postal train. The music is by Benjamin Britten.
27 Go off   tripe (3)
Two meanings

68 comments on “Times Cryptic 28448”

  1. Typo alert: that’s “gamelan,” Jackkt. My COD. Gamelan tuning is quite strange, as the traditional scales do not have any discernible relation to the natural overtone series.

    The constraint in BLANK VERSE is metrical. It’s written in a meter, the most common in English being iambic pentameter (five feet of two syllables each with the accent on the second).

    POI AGORA, LOI COBBER (lucky guess, or I’ve seen it before?)

    This seemed easier than yesterday’s

  2. 12:53 – got off to a good start but ground to a halt mostly in the bottom right. I liked GAME PLAN and BLANK VERSE

  3. 21:03
    LOI 6d PERPETRATE; it took me a long time to see the PER. Biffed CYBERSPACE, never parsed it; biffed 2d EUCALYPTI, parsed post-submission. I thought of TEND early on, but couldn’t see how it worked until much later; it didn’t help that for some reason I thought a shilling was 20 pence. Do they still use COBBER down there? At 11ac, I had VERSE early on, but couldn’t think of BLANK, and when I did I didn’t care for LANK=long, dull. I still don’t; long, limp, and straight, but lank hair can be shiny. Liked GAME PLAN.

    1. Lots of variety in the usual sources re LANK, but ‘dull’ gets several mentions.

      SOED has: Chiefly of hair: without curl or wave, straight, flat; dull, lifeless. L17.

      Chambers (the free online version) has: said of hair: long, straight, limp, dull and unhealthy-looking. But ‘dull’ is not in the printed edition. I don’t have access to the paid-for app.

      Collins COBUILD has: If someone’s hair is lank, it is long and perhaps greasy and hangs in a dull and unattractive way. But ‘dull’ is not in the English or American English definitions, nor in the printed edition.

      None of them mentions ‘shiny’ but I suppose that may be covered by ‘greasy’.

      1. I didn’t say that lank hair is shiny, just that it can be, thus that ‘dull’ is not a defining characteristic of lank hair. But evidently SOED and Chambers disagree with me.

        1. Thanks. That’s what the printed Chambers has under ‘lank (of hair)’. I’ve never been able to establish what exactly the free on-line Chambers is. It purports to be ‘Chambers 21st Century Dictionary’ but clearly uses a different database from printed Chambers and the paid app.

      2. Neither Collins nor the Chambers app (which is the same as the printed edition) mention dullness in their definitions of LANK. Sadly we no longer have Lexico and dictionary.com now just replicates the Collins definition. The word ‘dull’ also doesn’t appear anywhere in the various OED definitions

        1. Thanks for the further information. My understanding is that the official sources for the Monday-Saturday puzzles are Collins and originally the Concise Oxford but apparently superseded by the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English which I think was the source for Lexico. There’s no support for ‘dull’ in these unless perhaps setters are consulting Collins on-line and accepting COBUILD entries as valid.

          Other than that the only support I have found is in the two-volume SOED (as quoted in my original comment) and the mysterious free Chambers on-line. Outside the setters brief, perhaps but suggesting to me that it’s not exactly wrong.

          1. The ODE is now sadly defunct: it initially became Lexico, which was then (I assume) sold to Dictionary.com, which subsequently discontinued it.
            The Chambers 21st Century Dictionary (the online version) appears to be similar in aim to ODE/Lexico, but I can’t find any specific information on it. It’s not even clear for instance if it’s still updated. Common modern words such as ‘selfie’ or ‘troll’ (in the internet sense) are absent.

            1. My ODE has, sv ‘lank’: (of hair) long, limp, and straight. Its first example sentence, neatly enough, is “My hair was lank and dull.”

    2. On the radio here in NZ I’ve heard the term ‘cobber’ used when talking to a correspondent in Australia but in the twenty years or so I lived in Sydney, I don’t recall hearing the term.

  4. A fairly snappy 23 minutes for me, off to a good start with 1a RESCUE and then a fairly joined-up solve from top to bottom, just coming back to finish off the odd straggler like LOI 6d PERPETRATED. WOD to CYBERSPACE just because it reminds me of William Gibson rather than because I think it’s a great word per se… ACCOLADE of the day to 9a for “heightened depression”.

      1. And a timeless quote: “The future is already here; it’s just not evenly distributed.”

      2. I’m finding he’s getting better as he goes along. (And given that he’s said they’ve done a great job on it, I’m looking forward to seeing Amazon’s telly adaptation of The Peripheral.)

  5. 45m 31s
    No real problems but a pleasant solve, as you indicate, Jack.
    Thank you for PERPETRATED (failed to ‘see’ A = PER), BLANK VERSE and CROONER.

  6. CYBERSPACE got me going on this one, I found it hard but enjoyable as I battled my way through it, making steady progress until about 25m and five clues out, when I bogged down badly. Took a brekkie break at 29m and on returning, got BLANK VERSE from the checkers – I’ve known that term since the age of 12 or so, because my old English master was very keen on repeating his fave example “The devil damn thee black, thou cream-faced loon!”. After that, the rest came in fairly short order, finishing MANX and AGORA (yay, I remembered that word after seeing it here but forgetting a couple of times!).

    Feeling rather chuffed as I filled in the final blank, I was dismayed to get an “Unlucky” …TERMOIL was the culprit – somehow I was thinking of the clue and not the solution when my fingers hit the keyboard. 35:19 fail, thanks j and setter.

  7. 36 minutes. My main query was LANK for ‘long dull’ at 11a which has been discussed in detail above. (BTW, ‘dull’ for LANK is not in the Chambers paid-for app either). Thanks also for the explanation of BLANK VERSE, yet another term I’d heard but knew nothing about.

    There have been a few variations on the CROONER / CORONER pairing over the years, my favourite (a down clue) being “Who will investigate if singer gets run down?”

  8. Forced to read AUDEN at school
    His BLANK VERSE is light-years from cool
    By some CANONISED
    I confess I’m surprised
    MEANDERING ROT as a rule

    1. Brilliant. I may be out of the loop but have you published a compendium of limericks linked to the crosswords?

        1. Plus, without the context of the offending puzzle nearby, the critics would have you up for too many bird references. Wouldn’t want that to happen, would we?

  9. 27 minutes. I biffed MANX and then immediately got the NAM reference. Maybe COBBER was used more by Aussies in the past. I’m sure as a young boy I heard Keith Miller saying it in an interview and wondered what one was. I’d have ROUNDUP as two words or hyphenated, so that held me up. Having biffed GAME PLAN, I remembered GAMELAN was a word, but had no idea it had anything to do with percussion. COD to BLANK VERSE. Good puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.

  10. 25:31. The “see” in 3d confused me for ages, and PERPETRATE was hard to parse. But all enjoyable!

  11. “I will love you forever” swears the poet. I find this easy to swear too. “I will love you at 4:15 pm next Tuesday” – Is that still as easy?

    I needed 35 mins mid-brekker. The Eucalypti anag and Gamelan got my brain whirring. Mostly I liked the Canonised anag.
    Thanks setter and J.

  12. Spent some time trying to work XI into the ‘just under a shilling’, the penny (sic) dropped when I got ROUNDUP.

    Shortly before decimalisation I remember well-known chocolate bars increasing in price from 8d to 9d, which led to a cost of 4p instead of 3p after the day.

    16’12”, no issues, some similar clues / devices having been around recently in other publications.

    Thanks jack and setter.

    1. I was with you briefly on XI. 10d was only 80% of a shilling, so to me “just less” wasn’t quite right – it didn’t hold me up though.

  13. 12:36. A little harder than yesterday’s, I thought and the SNITCH bears me out. LOI PERPETRATED. I had PER…..ED for a while before I saw the RAT and then PET. I liked THEFT, although it surely must be a chestnut. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  14. 37 mins with lots of biffing without actually sorting the parsing
    Another start stop solution with several going in quickly and then grinding to a halt
    NHO blank verse

  15. 33 minutes + something, with a shrug: this setter’s style doesn’t appeal to me.

  16. 40 minutes, although I entered CROONER eventually, without knowing how it worked, because the ‘See’ was the first letter I thought, but eventually after it had said well done I got it. Slow to get the Joan of Arc anagram, expecting something about being burnt at the stake.

  17. 35 mins. This was a tough one, and I never worked out the anagram fodder for CYBERSPACE, never seen expressed used that way before. I was also in turmoil with TURMOIL.

  18. After a flying start with RESCUE and some of its crossing entries I slowed right down. PERPETRATED and DISTRAUGHT gave me particular trouble. In the end limped home after 47 minutes.

    I wasn’t keen on the clue to TEND (eleven pence to the shilling?) and I didn’t enter the obvious synonym for ‘care’ until both T and N were confirmed. Apart from that, I thought the clues were excellent.

    1. Didn’t mind TEND, even never having lived through LSD times, as it were. Otherwise Snap! on the flying start, then limping home after being held up by distraught & perpetrate. Probably just an off day – standard excellent Times puzzle.

      1. All correct. More my taste than yesterday’s puzzle.
        LOI was 6d. Took an age to see it.
        Thank you for the excellent blog

    2. Yes, same with me on DISTRAUGHT and PERPETRATED! Took ages, though I had the DIST bit. With 6D, I was convinced that it began with PET, ended with ED and couldn’t work out the rogue in between, which held up ROUTER.

  19. 10:12. Steady solve. Constrained is defined in Collins as ‘unnatural or forced’, and similarly in Chambers along with ‘lacking ease and spontaneity of manner’. Hal/Henry V speaks in prose when he’s chilling with Falstaff and his Eastcheap homies but BLANK VERSE when he wants to come across all royal and uneasy.

  20. 25:56 but with BLUNT VERSE. NHO BLANK VERSE and it was a toss up between the two. I lost! Thanks setter and Jack.

  21. 26:37. A bit unsure of the “constrained style” def for BLANK VERSE in spite of the comments above. It’s constrained in comparison to prose maybe, but is hardly constrained as a form of poetry. Would “constrained style” be a fair definition of poetry? A villanelle, possibly – now there’s an example of constraint – but blank verse seems to fit the definition of “looser style” rather than the reverse (not that I intend to lose any sleep over it).

  22. As with today’s QC, I was delayed in the NE corner, and had already biffed at least 3 answers in order to get there. This took me twice as long as yesterday’s did.

    TIME 14:23

  23. 35:47

    Mostly OK but missed a couple of bits of parsing:

    ACCOLADE – forgot about Jack CADE
    CYBERSPACE – from definition – thought there must be an anagram somewhere – took a while to think of this
    TEND – from definition

    Not sure I knew what BLANK VERSE is. One to look up.

  24. 4m 56s for what I thought was on the easier side, with plenty of write-ins. I hadn’t come across ROUNDUP without a hyphen before, which I don’t think I’ll be adopting myself.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen a THE FT = THEFT in the wild, so that was nice.

  25. 09:39, nice solve, with perhaps the same MERs as others – is 10 “just less” than 12? Is blank verse massively constrained? Let us not quibble.

  26. Good going, held up a little by thinking 9AC was HEARTACHE (Honour = HEART as in purple heart), a rebel leader = “A CHE”, defn = “heightened depression”

    1. Something I learned a while back: Cade is a rebel, Che is a revolutionary. At least in The Times.

  27. I enjoyed this. Started brightly, got a bit bogged down in the middle, but finished more quickly than I thought I would. LOI PERPETRATED, but I very much enjoyed it when I got it. A statistical anomaly: yesterday I finished the cryptic in 10 minutes exactly, which is satisfying enough in itself. Today I submitted with the time on – 10 minutes exactly. Again. Two days running.

    Well, it amused me.

  28. A lot of head scratching over ROUNDUP and ACCOLADE. Biffed the latter (forgot about Jack, and not sure I’d have parsed it even if I hadn’t – ‘heightened depression’ is pretty lateral) and realised the former must be correct, even though I’ve never seen it rendered without a hyphen. Apparently I must get out more.

  29. I’ve stopped timing myself for the 15 x 15, but this felt slightly harder than average. Did anyone else have an MER at the definition for EUCALYPTI? Surely it should read ‘they feature down under’. Otherwise I liked a lot of this, remembered AGORA, and was pleased to get AUDEN without any checkers. Thanks both.

    1. Yes, I thought that at first, but “it” is part of the wordplay, and “features down under” is the def.

  30. Two goes needed to complete this one. Although I thought of CROONER early on, I couldn’t parse it until I sat down again for a second attempt – not helped by not knowing the word ‘lank’ and wanting to put ‘plain verse’ instead of BLANK VERSE, which would have completely stymied it. The rest was OK, though I took a while to remember the rebel Cade to get ACCOLADE and I had to rely on the wordplay for the unknown TOLEDO blade.

    FOI Rescue
    LOI Blank verse
    COD Distraught

  31. Got stuck as noted above, so came back later after a spot of cleaning, to finish. Couldn’t parse ACCOLADE at all – history isn’t my strong point, so despite having heard of CADE I failed to think of him. I briefly considered COL as depression, but again failed to consider a pass as being a heightened depression. Clever…

  32. After spending the best part of a couple of hours struggling to the finishing line, it’s a bit soul destroying to find the Snitch has this one down as average. Still, what doesn’t kill us etc. Also, it’s slightly alarming, from a parsing point of view, to find that nhos like Cade and Gamelan are part of the setter’s repertoire. Invariant

  33. Whilst some went in very easily my last 3 took serious picking at. Eventually saw per for a, to assemble PERPETRATED, which tied in with DISTRAUGHT- which I had assumed was going to end in D, and then finally on re-reading 28 for the hundredth time saw the straight bit and so immediately wrote in GAME PLAN and then saw gamelan! Missed the wordplay in CROONER and CYBERSPACE so thanks for sorting those. Tough for me but satisfying. Thanks setter and blogger.

  34. 22.10 this one had me working hard enough to break a sweat. Cyberscape held me up for a bit. The much loved bit of perpetrated was another straggler. Also took a while to recall gamelan. Joan of Arc was canonised and not carbonised then?

  35. I got to this late, so when I realised that there were words I didn’t know involved (Gamlan, I’m looking at you) I decided that all the other clues I hadn’t solved definitely used unknown words. Wrong assumption, but it did give me cover to put it down unfinished. thanks, jack

  36. Like others I found the NE corner hardest; LOI was DATE but pleased to be able to parse everything but ACCOLADE (NHO Cade).

  37. As usual, amazed that I started off entering the top clues as I read them, and then slowed in the lower half, but never found it really difficult- unlike many much more seasoned solvers, and unlike yesterday’s offering . Go figure, as they say (or not) over the pond. Fell at the last hurdle with 22d, thinking that with the A and O in place it would start with ATO- -, because of the positional indicator “where”, which of course left me with ???E/PLAN at 28a, which I never did get. Thought others here would be labelling this one a ‘quickie’, but no. CROONER my COD.

  38. “Eucalypti” is the plural of “Eucalyptus’. The clue should have read “…they feature down under.”

    1. ‘It’ is not part of the definition (as indicated by my underline) so doesn’t need to agree with the plural. Its purpose here is to link the two parts of the clue (wordplay and definition) and create a credible surface reading.

Comments are closed.