Times Cryptic 28502


Solving time: 37 minutes.


My solving time was pretty good considering the puzzle contains some tricky vocabulary,  GK and clue construction. A very enjoyable workout though, and fun to blog.

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 CIA messed about with Castro’s country (5,4)
Anagram [messed about] of CIA CASTRO
6 Discover conservative attending church (5)
C (conservative), AT (attending), CH (church)
9 Good repeatedly to enter small river to fish for eels (7)
G+G (good repeatedly) contained by [to enter] S (small) + NILE (river). I’ve never heard of this word, but having arrived at it from wordplay I was delighted to confirm that it actually exists. A quick google through our archive suggests that it has never appeared before, not even in a Mephisto.
10 Wind, fog, rain, and lightning primarily (7)
MIST (fog), then R{ain} + A{nd} + L{ightning} [primarily]. It blows through parts of France in the winter.
11 Lady to pick up advert for skirt (5)
EVE (lady) containing [to pick up] AD (advert)
12 Thoroughbred animal eating seeds regularly with grass (9)
PIG (animal) containing [eating] {s}E{e}D{s} [regularly], then REED (grass). I wasn’t aware this adjectival form of ‘pedigree’ existed.
13 Using weapons in game, finally attempt to get on scent (8)
MUSK (scent), {gam}E [finally], TRY (attempt). Another less than familiar word and the definition is a bit vague but the wordplay got me through.
14 Recording evil spirit briefly (4)
DEMO{n} (evil spirit) [briefly]
17 Clean beneath exhibits (4)
Hidden [exhibits] in {be}NEAT{h}
18 Dashed into city, missing the lecture (8)
RAN (dashed) contained by [into] {The} HAGUE (city) [missing ‘the’]
21 Nibbled food with European in shabby surroundings? (4-5)
MEAT (food) + E (European) contained by [in…] WORN (shabby) […surroundings]. I had many attempts at this before the answer emerged from wordplay and checkers.
22 Subject to rising and falling temperature, one boy suffering setback (5)
T (temperature), I (one), then LAD ( boy) reversed [suffering setback]
24 Snake renamed possibly (7)
Anagram [possibly] of RENAMED
25 Second version of wine vessel (7)
RED (wine), RAFT (vessel). We keep getting ‘vessel / raft’ and it still jars with me although I think it has been verified in a dictionary entry.
26 Formerly called extremely dirty and poor (5)
NEE (formerly called – née), D{irt}Y [extremely]
27 Looking to put back a leader from Epsom with south-eastern dialect (9)
PEEKING (looking) becomes PEKINGE if you ‘put back’ an E (leader from Epsom), then SE (south-eastern). Another that took some squeezing out.
1 Shy before English class (5)
CAST (shy), E (English class)
2 Flight circling southern airspace trials bombing (6,9)
S (southern), the anagram [bombing] of AIRSPACE TRIALS
3 Viewpoints seen on outskirts of every island (8)
ANGLES (viewpoints), E{ver}Y [outskirts]
4 One succeeding when boxing each amateur (8)
I (one), NEXT (succeeding) containing [boxing] PER (each). An amateur is not necessarily inexpert, but the word can be used to mean that.
5 Some ships with radar uncovered weapon to the north (6)
ARM (weapon), {r}ADA{r}[uncovered]. The man who defeated the most famous one has just been cancelled, at least by those in charge of a school founded in his name in Lewisham, London.
6 Jointly endorse function over the phone (6)
Sounds like [over the phone] “cosine” (function). I haven’t thought about this stuff in decades but in my blog last Tuesday I had to deal with  ‘cosec’.
7 Competition you’re bound to enter? (5-6,4)
A rather fine cryptic definition. I was amused by having just solved a puzzle over the weekend in which there was a cryptic clue, ‘Three-legged race’. No discussion of the answer though, as the puzzle is still under wraps.
8 Place to fly from New Delhi over another city (9)
Anagram [new] of DELHI , then ROME (another city)
13 Chap cross with country girl who’s close to Douglas? (9)
MAN (chap), X (cross), W (with), OMAN (country). Douglas is the capital of the Isle of Man. This word appeared in one of the festive Jumbo puzzles blogged last Saturday.
15 Newspaper printed upside-down? All right, it’s the end of the world! (8)
RAG (newspaper), then RAN (printed) reversed [upside-down], OK (all right). Here’s the SOED entry: Scandinavian Mythology. The destruction of the gods; spec. the defeat of gods and men by monsters in a final battle. Cf. Götterdämmerung. Another unknown to me but deduced from wordplay and like ‘sniggle’ I was delighted to confirm it exists. Also like ‘sniggle’ our archives suggest that it has never appeared before other than in two Monthly Club Specials in 2019.
16 Old lady heartlessly trampled ancient creature (8)
MA (old lady), STO{o}D ON (trampled) [heartlessly]. It was a bit like an elephant.
19 Very likely to be disembowelled? That’s fatal! (6)
DEAD (very – e.g. accurate), L{ike}Y [disembowelled]
20 Incite purist to riot (4,2)
Anagram [riot] of PURIST
23 Second unfinished drink (5)
LATTE{r} (second) [unfinished]

50 comments on “Times Cryptic 28502”

  1. 14:34
    This felt more Mondayish than Monday’s, although I had trouble parsing a couple. Biffed SPIRAL STAIRCASE from the S, I, & enumeration, never bothered to parse it. I knew SNIGGLE and RAGNAROK, and got them from GG and K respectively, then parsed them. But I never figured out DEADLY. It took me a while to give up on S or MO for ‘second’ at 25ac; the R of RAGNAROK finally convinced me. The setter uses the same initial-and-final letters device three times: 26ac, 3d, 19d. I liked LATTE.

  2. Yeah, this was a gas. My second one in was THREE-LEGGED RACE, entered confidently without any checkers, but I soon had a handful of them. POI MANXWOMAN and LOI MUSKETRY.
    SNIGGLE always makes me giggle.

    1. I planned to rhyme SNIGGLE with giggle
      But you’ve left me with no room to wriggle
      Sad git that I am
      I think “anagram”
      Whenever I meet the word jiggle

  3. DNF due to a lazy ANGLESEA (which I know how to spell and the clue is explicit anyway). Did not know SNIGGLE or RAGNAROK but worked them out. SPIRAL STAIRCASE and THREE-LEGGED RACE went in from the enumeration as much as anything. I thought I was going to have a very fast time when I had all but 3 or so done after less than 15 minutes. But the REDRAFT/RAGNAROK held me up at the end (and ANGLESEY did for me anyway).

  4. 48 minutes. My time looks bad on the SNITCH, but I wasn’t too unhappy given the number of uncommon words. RAGNAROK emerged from wordplay and the deepest recesses of somewhere. NHO of SNIGGLE which I do like, or of the adjectival form of pedigree, which I don’t. Hadn’t come across HELIDROME, rather than a heliport or a helipad, but it wasn’t difficult to work out. The first quotation for HELIDROME in the OED (from 1951) also gives “rotorport, helistop and helihalt” as options, none of which have stood the test of time as far as I know.

    If you’re interested in the differences between a MASTODON and a woolly mammoth, here’s a brief explanation from the US National Park Service.

  5. 48m 53s A very pleasant, satisfying puzzle with only one clue that I needed an explanation for : WORM EATEN.
    My first thought for 3d was Alderney but that couldn’t last, of course.
    With 15d, the only reason I knew of the word RAGNAROK was because there is a poster in my local cinema for the film “Thor Ragnarok”. One of the stars of that is Anthony Hopkins and I wondered if he was just doing a film like that to pay for the grandchildren’s school fees.
    I’m sure we’ve seen MISTRAL recently.
    Like jack says, I wasn’t aware of the adjectival form of PEDIGREE.
    And like Vinyl, the SE corner was last to succumb.
    After a lifetime working for airlines and handling agencies I had never heard of HELIDROME. Heliport, yes. I’ve only come across Altiport in the past couple of years, mostly because one or two have been used as stage finishes on the Tour de France.

  6. 23 minutes with LOI the unknown RAGNAROK. Is it taking place right now? I constructed it, unsure between the right spelling and RAGNUROK, and my indecision was final. SNIGGLE was also unknown and constructed, but sounded right. Otherwise, a good puzzle. COD to HARANGUE. Thank you Jack and setter.

  7. 26:27
    Ragnarok and sniggle. Well I never. Saved by the wordplay there!
    Thanks, jack.

  8. 34 mins which I’m pleased with considering I had never heard of either SNIGGLE or RAGNAROK. Ispent a bit of time wondering whether it was RAG or GAR at the beginning. I liked the long anag.

    Actually Jack, the MISTRAL blows any time of year. It is said to blow (down the Rhône Valley predominantly) in either 1 day, 3 day, 6 Day or 9 day cycles. It generally brings the temperature down by up to 10 degrees and is pretty miserable. Where I play golf in Avignon is particularly exposed!

    Thanks Jack and setter.

    1. Thanks. Looking again at my source it says ‘mainly in winter’ and I omitted the qualification, but local knowledge such as yours is sure to be more accurate.

      1. I only know so much about it because I HATE it! It is said, that in the old days, if you killed your wife during a Mistral, you would not be convicted of murder.

  9. 9:26. Ninja Turtling came good for me today, with RAGNAROK coming from the Marvel film Thor Ragnarok.
    I’ve not intentionally SNIGGLEd, but I did catch a couple of eels whilst fishing as a young boy. Wriggly buggers.

  10. O Rose thou art sick, The invisible worm
    That flies in the night, In the howling storm,
    Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy:
    And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy.

    25 mins mid-brekker. I really liked it, even the NHO Sniggle and just vaguely remembered Ragnarok. Some lovely surfaces.
    Thanks setter and J.

  11. Enjoyed this lively and cheerful effort… nho sniggle but managed anyway. Only a very little knowledge of Norse mythology is necessary to have heard of Ragnarok, even leaving ninja-turtling aside..
    When I bought my two pedigree Main Coon kittens, the breeder told me that if they had offspring, they wouldn’t be pedigreed.

  12. 20 minutes. My ninja-turtled RAGNAROK was a slightly different kind of penny-drop moment, as I realised “Oh, so that’s what the word from that film means”. Didn’t know SNIGGLE either, but it’s a lovely word. Like one or two others I took a while to get away from “S” or “mo” for the “Second” in 25a and figure out REDRAFT, and though PEKINGESE occurred to me early on, I struggled to parse it until eventually working out what to do with one of the Es. Enjoyable stuff – thanks to setter and blogger.

    FOI Costa Rica
    LOI Ragnarok
    COD Harangue

  13. 12:03. NHO SNIGGLE and RAGNAROK was buried somewhat in the dusty corner of words I’d heard once but didn’t know the definition. I didn’t get much apart from 1A and 6A in a first pass of the clues but the downs got me going. Finished in the SE corner with RAGNAROK, REDRAFT and LATTE, which added a couple of minutes at the end. COD to MISTRAL. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  14. 6:46. Pretty easy this morning, the only unknown for me being the delightful SNIGGLE. Worth doing the puzzle just to learn that. RAGNAROK is all too familiar to me from the Marvel movie, which I have seen twice. The perils of having boys of a particular age.

  15. 19.35 . Really testing puzzle for me. A few unknowns- sniggle and worm eaten( much more used to the moth variety). Three very good clues I thought in harangue, pedigreed ( which I almost missed by fixing on weed) and inexpert. Hard to choose a COD from them.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  16. Some tricky stuff in this one. Started confidently enough with COSTA RICA, eventually worked out the unknown SNIGGLE, but had most trouble in the SE where REDRAFT finally opened up the corner. The unknown RAGNAROK was LOI. 28:07. Thanks setter and Jack.

  17. DNF. I think I attempted a different puzzle to the rest of you! Not helped by reading 2 down as Fight circling …., nor by entering ANGLESEY incorrectly. NHO Sniggle so no giggle here. Nor Ragnorok.

  18. From the giveaways in some early Across and Down clues, this looked as if it was going to be easy, but I spent some time getting the unfamiliar SNIGGLE, the uncommon RAGNAROK, and trying to solve and/or parse the clues to MUSKETRY, PEKINGESE and DEADLY. My shaky handwriting also held me up with 4d, where my I from RICA looked more like an S.
    38 minutes.

  19. Beaten by LATTE. Stared at it, with all crossers in place, for 20 mins. Losing my mind, obv. All the rest fairly easy. NHO of SNIGGLE, but wordplay couldn’t point to anything else. Liked HARANGUE and RAGNAROK.

  20. 59:46, only just scraping in under the hour, with lots taking time to work out, especially PEDIGREED, MUSKETRY, PEKINGESE, INEXPERT and MASTODON. DNK SNIGGLE and RAGNAROK. COD MASTODON for “heartlessly trampled”

  21. Having consigned yesterday’s to the virtual bin halfway through, I hoped today’s would be more Mondayish. It isn’t, but I managed to wade through it. My LOI needed an alpha trawl, and added more or less a minute to my time. NHO RAGNAROK.

    TIME 9:29

  22. All the DNKs for SNIGGLE make me wonder if it was a US import because it felt quite familiar to me. That may be from the NY Times puzzles or it may be that I recalled a Sesame Street episode from eons ago which featured a cowboy town called Sniggler’s Gulch. I couldn’t quite place RAGNAROK (Game Of Thrones?) but the clueing was generous. 16.35

  23. Half an hour, to get to the point of creating SNIGGLE (a new word I liked) and coming here to learn RAGNAROK existed, as NHO that. Good puzzle, didn’t know PEKINGESE was a dialect of something Chinese-y as well as a yappy dog, but seemed possible.

  24. 09:33, which means I’m in the “surprisingly fast time for this level of vocabulary” camp, and also suggests that the wordplay was more than generous. That said, there was only one true unknown, as I have never knowingly SNIGGLED and anyone who says I have is lying.

  25. I got quite stuck at the end on PEDIGREED, which should have been easy, but I was thrown by having P_D_N_E_D because of a careless cosine at 6dn. Also nho SNIGGLE or RAGNAROK, although they could be derived from the wordplay. Sniggle was fine and I was pretty sure such a word existed, but couldn’t justify sunnarok. Also slow to write in PEKINGESE: it couldn’t be that, could it? It’s a dog; and anyway who knows anything about Chinese dialects? But it could. So as a result of general incompetence I took 51 minutes.

  26. Really nice puzzle – took me around 1 hour.
    As others above have said, “Harangue” was a great clue.
    All that reading stories about the Vikings held me in good stead with “Ragnarok”.

  27. 27:26, so somewhat behind the curve, it seems. Quite a few unparsed, including PEKINGESE where I couldn’t get past KING for the leader. Some excellent clues among the hold-ups.

  28. 23:12

    No real hold-ups, just a few unparsed or Never/Vaguely-Heard-Ofs.

    Unparsed – WORM-EATEN (had HALF-EATEN until the STAIRCASE went in)

    NHO – SNIGGLE (but the parsing was helpful); RAGNAROK (vaguely heard of – something to do with Marvel’s version of Thor?)

    Liked the clueing for MANXWOMAN


  29. I thought I knew how to spell ANGLESEA but I didn’t, and didn’t check the parsing but I should’ve. Another pink in 26:25. The week is not going as well as it might. I have sniggled but not knowingly.

  30. Another fail here. I worked out SNIGGLE, DEADLY, MUSKETRY and PEDIGREED, but failed to get WORM EATEN and the unknown RAGNAROK.
    Not doing well this week

  31. 24 mins. Another curates egg, with being on time for a PB, then being utterly stuck on what turned out to be RAGNAROK, REDRAFT and LATTE. I even turned to helpers for 15d and all I could find was NAINSOOK which is a fabric so that wasn’t right. Eventually it was the RED wine that got me going again. Had to come here for the parsing of WORM EATEN. I’d failed to lift and separate NIBBLED and FOOD.

  32. 50:51. After yesterday’s struggle I was hoping for something quicker today, but still found it slow going overall. I had all but the last 4 or so after 30 minutes, but WORM-EATEN, MANXWOMAN, MUSKETRY and LOI INEXPERT took an age. Like Keriothe, children of a certain age gave me RAGNAROK. SNIGGLE is a word that I look forward to trying to introduce into a conversation soon. Thanks s & b.

  33. I’m just pleased to finish this with all correct and properly parsed. A host of unknowns such as SNIGGLE and HELIDROME and a just about remembered RAGNAROK. No time for this as done in two parts with a rather nice lunch with a couple of pals from my uni days in between. The first part went in considerably more easily than the second part for some reason! 🍺🍺

  34. I got off to a flying start with 1ac and 10ac, then rapidly decelerated. Finished in 34 minutes, having struggled, like others, to complete the SE corner. Norse mythology and Chinese dialects are two of my many blind spots but I muddled through, thanks to the generous clueing.
    COD – MASTODON (love it!)
    Thanks to jackkt and others.

  35. 22.43. A fun puzzle with some excellent definitions and SNIGGLE very fairly clued. COD PEKINGESE, took some real puzzling out and I like the device for moving the E. Thanks all.

  36. With my chosen non-league match falling foul of the weather I had some spare time and eventually completed RAGNAROK my LOI preceded by PEKINGESE where I thought I was moving an A and WORM-EATEN. Very pleasant solve- thanks to blogger and setter.

  37. A nice puzzle. I did not know SNIGGLE but I’m very happy to know it now. I was ultimately defeated only by RAGNAROK as I couldn’t decide on RAG or GAR from the wordplay but no hard feelings. Thanks for blog.

  38. I thought this was Monday’s today to start with, as the first half or so went in with barely a thought. Then ground to a halt. Definitely never heard of SNIGGLE – eventually worked out from the S and the 4-letter river with I second. It’s entirely possible I may have heard of/seen publicity for one of those Marvel films – whatever, I started with OK and worked backwards, getting RAN from the N and RAG from the A. (At least, having already got the really excellent HARANGUE, my COD, I wasn’t tempted by SUNNAROK.) I did think RAGNAROK sounded very plausible as either a Native American or Norse concept – of course I only know it as Gotterdammerung. I also was tempted by ALDERNEY, before deciding it wouldn’t do.

  39. I really enjoyed this, which took me just 30 minutes (well,10 seconds over, but the last minute was proofreading anyway). The unknown entries (like SNIGGLE) had generous wordplay and several clues were quite amusing, as it turned out. MASTODON and my LOI, MANXWOMAN, for example. Yesterday’s was definitely harder.

  40. Very enjoyable puzzle, which I failed to finish, mainly held up on PEDIGREED (didn’t keep at it long enough), SNIGGLE (lovely word), and WORM EATEN. Knew RAGNAROK ( back of mind), but failed on PEKINGESE. Ho Hum – but a good workout.

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