Times Cryptic 28508


My solving time was 39 minutes but I had one wrong answer which I shall save for discussion in the blog. Other than that this was mostly enjoyable and I particularly liked the cryptic definition at 1dn, but I have reservations about the equivalence of a few synonyms.


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 Standard message understood on trip (5,5)
JOLLY (trip), ROGER (message understood)
6 Fourth man went down hard (4)
SET (went down), H (hard). Adam, Cain, Abel, Seth.
8 Mobilised clan crossing border, one that’s illegal (8)
Anagram [mobilised] of CLAN containing [crossing] RIM (border) + I (one)
9 Noble attendant in the old country (6)
YE (the – old), OMAN (country)
10 Neurologist foregoing right to indulge in quarrel (4)
F{r}EUD (neurologist) [foregoing right]
11 Follow round woman going into tip (3,3,4)
O (round) + ETHEL (woman) contained by [going into] TINE (tip). I searched everywhere for a direct match for ‘tip / tine’ but without success. I can see they’re in the same area of meaning, but I don’t think there’s an exact equivalent. Perhaps someone else can find one?
12 Complain open clothes showing boob? (9)
OVERT (open) contains [clothes] SIGH (complain). I have similar reservations about ‘complain / sigh’ but at least that’s in Collins Thesaurus.
14 Bird plunged into water gets back (5)
Hidden [plunged into] and reversed [back] in {wa}TER GE{ts}
17 Around noon, what Romans once put on vehicle (5)
TOGA (what Romans once put on) containing [around] N (noon). A light two-wheeled carriage.
19 Article placed by phoney with no sex life (9)
AN (article), IM{it}ATION (phoney) [with no sex – ‘it’]
22 Bone Turkic people found in food (10)
TATARS (Turkic people) contained by [found in] MEAL (food). Easily biffable for me as I damaged one of these bones in my foot many years ago and the pain I endured at the time was enough for me to remember forever what the blighter was called.
23 Parking by river where tents pitched (4)
CAM (river), P (parking – UK road sign)
24 Ancient Cretan in love going among us (6)
IN + O (love) contained by [going among} MAN (us). ‘Man’ as the human race doesn’t come so readily to mind these days.
25 Flying first-class, carrying five people initially rejected (8)
AI (first-class) containing V (five), {n}ATION (people) [initially rejected]
26 Island finally finishes link by bridge (4)
{finishe}+ {lin}K + {b}Y + {bridg}E [finally]. The long-awaited road bridge opened in 1995.
27 Reliance on wrecked boat (5,5)
Anagram [wrecked] of RELIANCE ON. I wasted time here extracting CANOE as the boat and then trying to make sense of the remaining anagrist.
1 JFK co-star, reformed man of low degree? (4,5)
Anagram [reformed] of JFK CO-STAR. A great cryptic definition in the second part of the clue.
2 Devils occasionally appearing inside tempt for recreation (7)
{d}E{v}I{l}S [occasionally] contained by [appearing inside] LURE (tempt)
3 Call dog another animal entirely (8)
RING (call), TAIL (dog). I was thinking of the monkey aka ‘capuchin’, but it can also be a possum or a cat.
4 Admired crew given fish as reward for service (6,9)
GOLDEN (admired – successful, popular, excellent), HANDS (crew – all hands on deck!), HAKE (fish)
5 Recurrent stress? (6)
Another good cryptic
6 Modest having to accept trophy and fame (9)
SLIGHT (modest) containing [having to accept] POT (trophy). As with 12ac I’m having difficulty seeing ‘fame’ as equivalent to ‘spotlight’ although I get the association and they are in my thesaurus. But how would you substitute one for the other in a sentence?
7 New recruit drops from sky to penetrate sporting target (7)
RAIN (drops from sky) contained by [to penetrate] TEE (sporting target). I was getting ready to be picky about this one too, thinking that it referred to golf, but then I found this in SOED: tee – a mark aimed at in curling, quoits, and similar games.
13 Complicated process to have millions put in capital part (9)
M (millions) contained by [put in] RIGA (capital of Latvia), ROLE (part)
15 Trout’s tail in batter that’s needed in kitchen (3-6)
{Trou}T [‘s tail], IN, OPENER (batter – cricket). Another clue that delayed me for far too long as I was expecting an insertion.
16 Paint birds catching cat by its head? (8)
 EMUS (birds) containing [catching] L [head] of {l}ION (cat). Full marks to the setter for inventiveness here.
18 Column is penned by debauched bloke (7)
IS contained [penned] by anagram [debauched] of BLOKE
20 Published one in The Scotsman and a national (7)
RAN  (published) + I (one) contained by [in] IAN (the Scotsman  – at least in Crosswordland)
21 Brothel where nothing, in idle chat, is given up (6)
O (nothing) + IN + GAB (idle chat) reversed [given up]. I didn’t know this  and from wordplay I came up with GAS as  ‘idle talk’ to arrive at SAGNIO – unlikely looking but the best I could do. BAGNIO has appeared only once in the TfTT era in a Sunday puzzle in 2012 when I also didn’t know it. The blogger on the day, Dave Perry, noted that it was an obscure word clued as an anagram. I hadn’t realised we’d been complaining about that sort of thing for quite so long! Today’s clue was perhaps fairer by not being an anagram if only the word GAS hadn’t distracted me.

86 comments on “Times Cryptic 28508”

  1. 31:47, of which almost half the time was spent on AVIATION, EMULSION, & ANIMATION. Very frustrating. I wondered about JOLLY=trip and TEE, but didn’t think anything of TINE, although now that Jack mentions it it does seem a bit off. Like Jack, I wasted time trying to think of a CANOE. No problem with BAGNIO. COD to ANIMATION.

  2. 41 minutes. Quite a bit that was at the edge of my memory / knowledge – JOLLY for ‘trip’, SETH for ‘Fourth man’, TONGA for ‘vehicle’ and BAGNIO for ‘Brothel’ – but I managed to finish with all parsed except for TEE in 7d. Needed all the crossers for RHYTHM, my LOI.

    I had no problem with TINE for ‘tip’=”point” and I wonder if SPOTLIGHT for ‘fame’ refers to both as verbs, more often in the negative sense (defame) for ‘fame’.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

    1. A bit surprised to find that, yes, “fame” can be, or was once (Collins marks it as archaic, which seems inarguable) a verb.

          1. Thank you. As a product of English 1970’s comprehensive ejukashun, “parts of speech” are as mysterious as parts of the thalamus.

    2. I hadn’t considered ‘fame’ as a verb which I note is labelled archaic as an active verb although it can be used passively and as an adjective ‘famed’. I can just about see that as ‘spotlighted’, but still think it’s a bit of a stretch without the ‘-ed’ ending.

  3. Bagnio appears in “Black Ajax”, by the Flashman author, where a butler is complaining of his adulterous employer who is having an affair with the ex-slave and Regency pugilist Tom Molyneux. He says she has turned the noble house into an “‘eathen bagnio”.

    1. Thanks. On researching the word afterwards I found the connection with slavery. SOED has bagnio An Eastern prison; a slave house. obsolete exc. hist. L16.

      But the next meaning, a bath or bathing house, is clearly the source of the word, coming from the Italian for bath bagno , and more likely to be associated with the subsequent meaning ‘brothel’ I imagine.

      1. My post-solve research, after a lucky guess of GAB, turned up The Bagnio (1743) by William Hogarth, fifth in his Marriage à-la-mode series of satirical paintings.

        1. Yes, Hogarth was where I knew BAGNIO from. There it’s not so much a brothel as a “hot sheets” establishment where clandestine couples can meet for a rendez-vous.

  4. EMULSION was one of my last in, very clever indeed. The “painting” sense is British, but I must have come across it somewhere.
    The clue for SETH is excellent. So Bible “knowledge” is good for something.
    Totally forgot to parse TOE THE LINE, so obvious from definition and enumeration, so wasn’t stuck on the dilemma of the fork.
    TONGA vaguely remembered, BAGNIO maybe also, though I got it from the wordplay.
    LOI ANIMATION (finally got “it”!)

  5. 46m 28s As Jack indicates, I found this enjoyable but some synonyms were a bit dubious. I still don’t like complain = sigh, nor tip = tine. I was going to add a whinge about golden = admired and tee = sporting target but Jack has answered those two.
    Thanks for pointing out that in 19ac ‘no sex’ simply means no ‘it’. I was trying to think of a word that didn’t have ‘vi’ in it.

  6. I was mirroring jack today: spent time on OCEAN LINER after initially extracting CANOE (who knew that ‘ocean’ and ‘canoe’ are anagrams?).

    Then, looking at LOI, plumped for SAGNIO, although I now vaguely remember BAGNIO as a bathhouse.

    Liked EMULSION and AVIATION. 17′ with one wrong.

    Thanks jack and setter.

    1. A week or two ago we had a long anagram which I was able to resolve into A Drop In The Canoe – and wondered who ever would have created that image. (subsequent crossers prevailed)

  7. DNF. It’s nice to come here and find that I have company in SAGNIO. My first thought for idle chat was yak, but KAYNIO seemed unlikely. I then alighted on gas, and SAGNIO sounded plausible as a word so I went with it. If I had thought of gab I’m not sure what I’d have gone with as BAGNIO was completely unknown to me. More field research needed.

  8. It is with the usual regret
    That I have to point out the EGRET
    I’m obliged to SPOTLIGHT
    This gross OVERSIGHT
    My campaign is not over yet

  9. 39 minutes with LOI EMULSION. COD to JACK FROST despite the fact that it happens at around 273 degrees. In this cold snap, with a car that flashes a warning light if tyre pressures are low, I’ve been applying the gas laws to tyre pressure and temperature assuming the volume remains constant. But Mrs BW still expects me to freeze to death blowing the damn things up. I TOE THE LINE I didn’t think FOLLOW ROUND was a good synonym for that, by the way. I started well on this but tailed off. Thank you Jack and setter.

    1. BW. Won’t the Volume of air in the tyres decrease with decreasing Temperature, causing the tyre Pressure to decrease? Though I guess that once you are driving and the tyres warm up, the tyre Temperature will increase, causing the air Volume to increase and also the tyre Pressure. Maybe to a dangerously high level if you’ve just pumped a load of air into the tyres? Hmm. What to do for the best? Get a taxi?

      1. These are the things that keep me awake at night. The gas laws state that PV/T is a constant. P and T can be and were measured. But how much does the tyre contract in size in the cold? When the temperatute fell from the average 283 degrees K to 263 degrees K, ie about 7%, I observed about a 2psi reduction in tyre pressure of about 30, ie also about 7%. So that suggests the tyre doesn’t change much in size in the cold and that the pressure varies directly with absolute temperature.

        1. The word “much” is relevant here. The tyre does change in size. But not much ..
          If you look at the extremes of over or underinflation, the influence of air pressure becomes more obvous.

        2. Hard to find the CTE of vulcanised rubber, but it seems to be of the order of 2 to 5 x 10^-4/K. So a 20 kelvin change might see a 0.4 – 1% change in tyre size. Quite a bit smaller than the 7% air volume change.

          1. As far as I recall, the PV/T law only applies to ‘isothermal’ changes, when everything is given time to come into equilibrium. For adiabatic changes I recall something like P x V (raised to the power ‘γ’) is a constant. ‘γ’ is ratio
            of specific heats. But I can’t remember why a gas has two of them. It’s all rather complicated this thermodynamical stuff.

  10. Another SAGNIO. As RobR says, any fule kno a bagnio is a bathroom/bathhouse not a bordello. Nevertheless liked the puzzle a lot.

  11. Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
    Bring round the heart an undescribable Feud;

    25 mins mid-brekker. I too thought some synonyms a bit of a stretch, but I liked Jack Frost.
    Thanks setter and J.

  12. 48 mins with ANIMATION and EMULSION last two in and holding me up for some time. Tricky stuff. RHYTHM and YEOMAN also gave me problems.

    Luckily, I thought of gab before gas so BAGNIO went in on a prayer. Looked it up post solve. As you say Jack, looks like it would come from the Italian.

    I liked JACK FROST.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  13. 37:47. I did the Quick Cryptic first by mistake this morning and thought I’d achieved an amazingly good time. But I’m still pleased with my 38 minutes here. Nice crossword. I had SAGNIO too at first, but felt it wasn’t quite right, and switched to BAGNIO in my quick final check. I liked EMULSION and JACK FROST

  14. DNF, defeated by RHYTHM. I stared at R_Y_H for ages, having absolutely no idea what vowels would fit in there – of course none were needed. Doh.

    Worked out the unknown BAGNIO from wordplay (luckily ‘gas’ for idle chat never occurred to me), hadn’t heard of TONGA as a carriage, and didn’t know that a tee can be a target either, though TRAINEE couldn’t have been anything else. Don’t recall seeing the clever device for EMULSION before.

    Despite failing to complete it, a tricky but enjoyable puzzle. Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Golden handshake

    1. I agree the EMULSION device may be new. I have seen tail-and-top shared letters between sections of a clue a few times but don’t recall an overlap before.

      1. I’m certain this concept has been used before, but I have absolutely no hope of finding an example!

  15. Easily biffable clue following painful memory of a hospital visit led me astray to metacarpal…

  16. 24:56. I raced through most of this but then got stuck with four clues. MINOAN, BAGNIO, EMULSION and ANIMATION. I nearly gave up but happily persisted.


  17. 31 mins but with MINOEN rather than MINOAN. Liked the man of low degree and the paint. Took ages to see SPOTLIGHT

    thanks Jack and setter

  18. Gosh, am I really the only person to have been confused/misdirected by the misspelling of ‘foregoing’? Saw FEUD immediately, but assumed for ages it must be wrong because I was looking for something to do with ‘foregoing’ not ‘forgoing’.

    Otherwise a good puzzle, I thought: enough to challenge without being too head-hurting. DNK BAGNIO, but couldn’t see what else would fit, and it rang the vaguest of bells, perhaps indeed from Flashman. Liked JOLLY ROGER. Wasn’t wild about ‘follow’ as definition for TOE THE LINE.

      1. The spelling difference is (or was) there for an excellent reason: to immediately distinguish between homophones with different meanings. I expect better of The Times, particularly when the difference is significant/important.

        1. Spelling and language usage doesn’t exist or not exist for ‘excellent reasons’ other than that people use it. ‘Forego’ is a more or less universally accepted alternative spelling that has been in use for over 400 years.

      2. But “forego” can also mean “precede,” which is not true of “forgo.” So it should be obvious which is the best choice if you don’t mean “precede.”

        1. That’s a matter of taste, but if you’re trying to create misdirection in a crossword clue there’s no doubt whatsoever!

            1. Perhaps, but ‘forego’ could easily be a positional indicator whereas ‘forgo’ can’t. Anyway if the setter prefers ‘forego’ he’s perfectly entitled to.

        1. Ah, is that so? I hadn’t known that. I might look the book up, I am rather a fan of Flashman, unwoke though he may be ..

  19. 15:44, with a mixture of reactions, none of them unique, apparently. I had to make an educated guess at BAGNIO, but in my mind there is an undeniable connotation of naughtiness with the bath-house, so it didn’t seem a wild assumption. I, too, was puzzled by the TEE as a target, thought a TINE was a prong rather than a tip, and had to work hard to get SIGH from “complain”; on the other hand, the EMULSION device provided a very satisfying penny-drop.

  20. I came across the EMULSION device in about 1974 in a copy of Games and Puzzles (of blessed memory) — the author said that he’d inflicted this on the readers of some newspaper in Birmingham. This took a long time, partly through incompetence but also because at 5dn I had ‘repeat’, which also fits, then ‘rhymes’. Honestly, these CDs… Eventually I was wrong, with ‘overtight’ entered at 12ac — I’d rejected ‘overnight’, hadn’t even noticed OVERSIGHT, and put this in without knowing how it worked. The tee at 7dn I always thought was a mistake by the setter, who just about gets away with it after what Jack said in his blog, but I’m unconvinced.

  21. After a reasonably quick start I struggled with this for no good reason. A carelessly written N of HANDSHAKE looked like an H, so I couldn’t see ANIMATION for ages. I entered SAGNIO for 21, so one wrong. 45 minutes.

    I seem to be alone in thinking the clue to RHYTHM is pretty weak. Chambers has ” a regular recurrence, especially of stress…”. So it’s just a literal. There’s nothing cryptic about it.

    1. It’s only cryptic in the sense that it has a double meaning: it might also refer to a mental state. To my mind though the literal meaning ought to be slightly less obvious than the cryptic, which isn’t really the case here.

  22. 14:32. I found this very enjoyable chewy. I did think a few things were a bit loose but half of that was down to my own ignorance so it seems churlish to complain too much about the other half.
    Like topicaltim I knew BAGNIO as a bathhouse and an association with general loucheness was enough to give me confidence in the answer.
    I struggled a bit with RHYTHM: as Andy says it’s barely cryptic.

  23. 39:30. Found myself digging too deep for answers hidden in plain sight – the hallmark of a classy puzzle. The EMULSION device was new to me, and clever. BAGNIO was a bit of a guess and I assumed it derived from some ancestor of the notorious bath-houses of more raucous times, which the dictionary definition suggests may well be the case.

  24. 11:30. I had no problem with TINE as tip, it’s a pointy bit on a fork, isn’t it? I wondered what sport aims at a tee for a while until I thought of curling. LOI BAGNIO which was buried in a dusty corner of my memory but floated to the surface eventually. COD the clever reference to the SKYE bridge although I see it was finally finished as long ago as 1995. Thank-you Jackkt and setter.

  25. Technical DNF as I needed aids for “Bagnio”, which I’m almost proud to say I’d never heard of. I was toying with the unlikely “Paynio”.
    Some very nice clues, but some odd synonyms as others have mentioned above.

  26. Made reasonable progress starting with LEISURE and JACK FROST. Ended up with _A_NIO outstanding, and as I had NHO SAGNIO or BAGNIO, was disinclined to guess and looked it up. 23:25. Thanks setter and Jack.

  27. 5m 16s with plenty of biffing, meaning that the TINE debate entirely passed me by. Like our blogger I wasn’t at all sure at 21d, but today I was lucky in giving BAGNIO a shot.

    Some very nice definitions today. COD for 15d.

  28. 27 mins. I struggled at the end with OVERSIGHT, but my problem was that I had the clue the wrong way round. Even so, thumbs down for SIGH=COMPLAIN.

  29. Not an enjoyable puzzle for all the reasons listed above. I started well, with the excellent JACK FROST and then JOLLY ROGER and RINGTAIL and was misled into thinking it was going to be straightforward. But with 8 or 9 clues to go I ground to a halt and never recovered, needing aids (in the form of Mr Ego) to supply EMULSION and ANIMATION (which, irritatingly, I’d thought of and discarded, since I thought I was looking for a synonym of hermaphrodite). Unlike Jack, I started off with LINER at 27A but still couldn’t fathom the anagram (CANOE LINER, anyone?) until I had a couple of crossers. I haven’t been doing The Times long enough to have come across BAGNIO before so used aids for that and also for RHYTHM; like Chris, failing to find vowels to fill the gaps. TONGA was also NHO, but couldn’t be anything else, so in it went. LOI was IRANIAN, as even assuming IAN was a given, I didn’t think of RAN for published. So a dismal failure today…

  30. Well by comparison I was better on this than I was on the QC finishing in 30.46, but inevitably I managed to get a single letter wrong by joining the SAGNIO club. Unfortunately GAB as an alternative to GAS never occurred to me, otherwise I might have seen the bathhouse connection referred to by others.

  31. Having failed yesterday getting just one letter wrong (yes, in OXPECKER), I was ready to complain about LOI BAGNIO-but now I can’t as I somehow got it right. The instructions were clear enough and the only likely word I could find for CHAT was GAB. JAW, YAP and SAY were rejected. Happily GAS did not occur to me.
    Also DNK TONGA.
    Otherwise I liked this. COD to SPOTLIGHT.

  32. All correct, although I spent all afternoon pondering brothels! Eventually went for the the GAB reversed option.
    I always enjoy a puzzle when 1ac and 1d are readily solvable.

  33. I, too, got to Sagino. If I’d’ve thought all the way to Gab and Yap I would have given all three some thought, but I didn’t get there. Like others, I found some of the definitions a bit stretched, but my real definitional holdup was just not knowing that useage of boob; I might have seen a path from booboo to Oversight, but not from boob.

  34. I got off to a flying start by putting the answer for 1d in the space for 1a but apart from that I thought this was an enjoyable puzzle. RINGTAIL, TONGO and BAGNIO were in the outer reaches of my memory, there was always going to be a SETH somewhere near the start of the bible. I had no idea where the MINOANs lived but at least I’d heard of them. I’m still not sure if TATARS and Tartars are the same people but it was biffable anyway. I had a hunch that Tee might be a target in some game other than golf (I wondered about Squash, wrongly it seems). Thanks for the blog!

    1. Tatar is the actual term from the language and history of these Turkic peoples. Tartar seems to have started being used by Western Europeans as they thought the Tatars and their lands might have had something to do with Tartarus(a region of hell) in Greek mythology.

  35. I finished correctly, but in nearly two hours! After putting in DIED at 6 ac (is a die a man in some game?), DEEP at 23ac and IBERIAN at 20 dn many of the crossing words eluded me until I had another look at the three I just mentioned. Strange about 6 ac, since Seth is actually my middle name. Despite a few really clever bits, like “man of low degree”, there were also many clues I didn’t particularly like, particularly because the surface readings seem sort of arbitrary. Why would anyone, for example, pay particular interest to an article placed by a phoney with no sex life. And the definition for RHYTHM seemed rather loose as well. But at least it was hard and obviously doable if you were patient enough.

  36. 27.02. Good puzzle with a few NHOs- I thought bagnio was a bath , now I know better. Tonga ditto ( though I did know it wasn’t a bath) but generous cluing sorted that particular deficiency. Liked tin opener but gone for Jack Frost as COD. Seems appropriate given the weather.
    Thx settle and blogger.

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