Times Cryptic 28532


Solving time: 28 minutes. I  found most of this quite straightforward and some of it very easy. On reflection I might have finished sooner, but speed is never a priority when I tackle 15×15 puzzles.

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 A chapter head including name of a major mountain system (6)
A + DEAN (chapter head) containing [including] N (name)
4 Exploit designed, we hear, for girl occupied in cowshed (8)
MILK (exploit), then MAID sounds like [we hear] “made” [designed]
10 Sails south to solicit votes (7)
CANVAS (sails), S (south). I did a lot of canvassing in the days when I still placed some faith in politicians.
11 Strain originally striking one in part of joint (7)
S{triking} [originally] + I (one) contained by [in] TENON (part of joint – corresponding to a mortise)
12 Brazen solicitor finally put away (4)
{pu}T [finally], OUT (away)
13 Tease Brussels’s elite primarily about posh woman driver (10)
CHAFF (tease – banter) + EU’S (Brussels’s) + E{lite} [primarily], containing [about] U (posh)
15 Speaker’s cut charge, entertaining to a high degree (9)
DOC sounds like [speaker’s] “dock” (cut) + RATE (charge), containing [entertaining] TO
16 He teaches Hindus in the morning in Westminster area (5)
AM (in the morning) contained by [in] SW1 (Westminster area – a central London postal district)
18 Prudish type at start of seasonal shoot (5)
S{easonal} [at start], PRIG (prudish type)
19 Died in fire, perhaps, with retired American cleric (9)
US (American) reversed [retired], then D (died) contained by [in] BEACON (fire, perhaps)
21 Russian revolutionary manipulating his votes by lying at first (10)
Anagram [manipulating] HIS VOTES + B{y} + L{ying} [at first]
23 Experts in nonpoetic language, mostly (4)
PROS{e} (nonpoetic language) [mostly]
26 Inflammation young relative talked of by brook (7)
SUN sounds like [talked of] “son” (young relative), BURN (brook – stream)
27 Like a big cat, one injured in row (7)
Anagram [injured] of ONE contained by [in] LINE (row)
28 Abandon principal type of convertible (8)
DROP (abandon), HEAD (principal). This is short for  drophead coupé,  a two-door  / four-seater car with a folding roof and a sloping back.
29 Gem displayed by English composer in sports car (6)
ARNE (English composer of Rule Britannia) contained by [in] GT (sports car). GT is short for gran turismo, a high-performance luxury sports car with a hard fixed roof, designed for covering long distances. The setter’s mind seems to have wandered to other matters!
1 A drunk hanging around entrance to Cheltenham racecourse (5)
A, SOT (drunk) containing [hanging around] C{heltenham} [entrance]
2 Vilifier’s part of speech about feeding wild creatures (9)
NOUN (part of speech) + C (about) contained by [feeding] DEER (wild creatures)
3 A judge unknown to imprison a one-time war hero (4)
A, J (judge) + X (unknown) containing [to imprison] A. Also known as ‘the foaming cleanser’.
5 Encroach during tango, lacking good manners (7)
IN (during), T (tango), RUDE (lacking good manners)
6 Bird following one in college initially handled with hesitation (10)
F (following) + I (one) contained by [in] KING’S (college), then H{andled} [initially], ER (hesitation). The two leading King’s Colleges in the UK are in Cambridge and London. Our new King went to Trinity Cambridge.
7 Farewell from a girl at European university (5)
A, DI (girl), E (European), U (university)
8 Plant university lecturer goes round with priest (9)
DON (university lecturer) containing [goes round] AND (with) + ELI (priest)
9 Island school, one on a detached part of Italy (6)
I (island), SCH (school), I (one), A. It’s an island in the Bay of Naples.
14 Lied maybe in this way, husband having trapped river bird (4,6)
SONG (Lied maybe – German song), then THUS (in this way) + H (husband) containing [having trapped] R (river)
15 Enlightened detectives subjected to insults, perhaps (9)
DI’S (detectives),  ABUSED (subjected to insults, perhaps)
17 Agreement about securing current for musical instrument (9)
ACCORD (agreement) + ON (about) containing [securing] I (current)
19 In South America, a vehicle principally needed in treeless plain (7)
A + VAN (vehicle) + N{eeded} [principally), contained by [in] SA (South America)
20 Graduate’s key identifying igneous rock (6)
BA’S (graduate’s), ALT (key)
22 Layman’s first attempt to embrace trendy language (5)
L{ayman’s} [first] + GO (attempt) containing [to embrace] IN (trendy)
24 Small amount of money for bouquet (5)
S (small), CENT (amount of money)
25 Fellow attorney’s last bit of work (4)
CO, DA (fellow, District Attorney). Its a passage at the end of a piece of music.

76 comments on “Times Cryptic 28532”

  1. 13:16
    Pretty easy all around, although I didn’t know DROPHEAD, and LOI CODA took some time (should there by a question mark?). Biffed DOCTORATE, SUBDEACON, & KINGFISHER, parsed post-submission. I count 6 clues where the article ‘a’ clues A (1ac, 1d, 3d, 7d, 9d, 19d), and 3 where ‘one’ clues I (11ac, 6d, 9d).

  2. Mostly easy, but ended up with one wrong due to ignorance/carelessness: had CHAUFFEURE with the E at the end making it feminine and EUR for Brussels. Never seen chauffeuse, and wouldn’t have put it in even if I’d parsed it, doesn’t look like a word.
    Like Kevin I noticed all the literal As, but mostly because I’d found 4 in the first 3 clues I solved: 1A, 1D, 3D. Also found a first-letter indicator, which set antennae twitching, knowing of the disdain some hold for such a device. They would not be disappointed today, counted 11 first/last-letter indicator in 9 clues. It seemed to reduce my solving pleasure being on the lookout for particular tricks, strangely. Will have to try to avoid that tomorrow but it might be difficult – like standing in a corner and not thinking about bears.

  3. I have given up calling out this setter (Myrtilus may be along later). I am beginning to think that they are set by the editor.

  4. 28 minutes. Nothing too difficult but I couldn’t see the parsing of SUBDEACON and would struggle to come up with even one fact about ISCHIA; thank goodness for wordplay. Having just seen a TV program about some of the myths surrounding the Russian Revolution, the surface for BOLSHEVIST was my pick today.

  5. I’m betting I’m not the only one who pencilled Kookaburra in at 6d meaning to come back and figure it out later. I mean really, how many 10 letter bird names beginning with K can the galaxy possibly hold?

    1. Back-to-back defeats in a couple of cups upset rugby winger (10)
      One of my favourite Times clues.

    2. I certainly thought of KOOKABURRA, but for once restrained my biffing instinct, looked at the clue, and decided it was a non-starter. I think SWAMI led me to the right bird. ‘Kittiwake’ comes close, but.

    3. As the Kingfisher and the Kookaburra are in the same family, your substitution isn’t surprising.

    4. I bunged it in but fortunately I paused to look at the wordplay properly and KINGFISHER sprang immediately to mind.

  6. I’m a little surprised at misgivings over CHAUFFEUSE as it’s a word I seem to have been aware of all of my life. I think -euse is a standard French ending to some words when referring to females who work in a particular occupation, when the male equivalent ends in -eur. Perhaps ‘Chanteuse’ might be a more familiar example? It performs the same function as -ess replacing -er in English.

    1. Masseuse is the one I immediately thought of on seeing the answer. I was think e on the end for feminine e.g. né, née.

      1. Also danseuse. And evidently raconteuse, poseuse (ODE: ‘humorously’), diseuse. (but no diseur, at least in ODE). Conversely, there’s no chartreur..

    2. I was taught (in France, at a French school mind) that there is no such thing as a professeuse and I would have expected CHAUFFEUSE to be in the same category. My Petit Robert agrees (the word is in there but with a separate entry as a word for a chair), but perhaps usage has moved on. Or perhaps it’s one of those French terms that’s only used in English.

      1. • Le Robert en ligne has chauffeuse, first definition a female person responsible for maintaining a boiler fire, second the driver (with the note “ Au féminin, on trouve plus rarement chauffeure”).
        • The driver is also in Larousse online.
        • Wiktionnaire has three (3!) definitions for the driver: the first “rare,” for any female driver; the second, for such by profession; the third, for the idiom « chauffeuse de maitre »—a private professional. For the second definition, citations are offered from Libération in 2021 and from a book published by Presses de Sciences Po in the same year.

    3. Only got round to this today – hence the late comment. I note the comments below and think it must be a change of use over time.
      I was in France in my early 20s and a ‘young lady of interest’ was driving me and her parents. I attempted politeness and said ‘Votre fille est une tres bon chauffeuse’ (guessing about the switched ending). Confusion ensued and it was explained to me that chauffeuse meant ‘bed warmer’ – one of those long handled devices with a brass end to hold hot coals. My later career benefitted greatly from the quickly developed diplomatic skills necessary to emerge with honour from the situation!

  7. 32m 10s
    Very straightforward for me.
    CHAUFFEUSE: Sometime in the 1990s, the Sydney Morning Herald’s whimsical column, Column 8, reported that a female limousine driver had been seen at the arrivals area of one of the domestic terminals holding a sign saying she was waiting for ‘Mr Wright’…..
    CODA: Derek & The Dominos’ ‘Layla’ probably has one of the best known codas in music.
    The songwriting credits went to Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, Gordon’s being for the coda. Fine except it is believed he stole it from his then girlfriend, Rita Coolidge. Nice man Gordon: he’s still serving time for murdering his mother….

            1. If you say so. I really don’t know what’s so funny. And that looked like a wicked grin. Let’s just not ever talk of this again.

  8. A DENOUNCER, I’m just not enthused
    My birdie-detector just fused
    If creating this TENSION
    Was our setter’s intention
    I hope they can be DISABUSED

    1. Good stuff… I can certainly see why you didn’t try to get “kingfisher” in there. Not a lot that it rhymes with..

      A note about kingfisher
      from a sincere well-wisher
      Not much, I know
      But I did have a go

      1. Much appreciated 😀

        Here’s the best I can come up with…

        To erase the SONG THRUSH and KINGFISHER
        We’ll need a big bird extinguisher
        A road roller might do
        It could kill quite a few
        Because it’s a bloody great squisher

  9. Now side by side, with like unweary’d Care,
    Each Ajax labour’d thro’ the Field of War.

    20 ish mins mid-brekker. As Sawbill predicted, I am along later to grumble about the start/end letter fiend. Nine today. Not great.
    Ta setter and J.

  10. 16 minutes. I didn’t parse SUBDEACON, and I hesitated over GARNET, as I hadn’t heard of it and thought ‘carnet’ was also possible until I remembered the GT car. TOUT was a long time in coming, as I took a while to realise that ‘brazen’ and ‘solicitor’ needed to go together. No problem with CHAUFFEUSE, even if it’s not commonly used, and I’ll leave the discussion about all the As to others.

    FOI Swami
    LOI Tout
    COD Bolshevist

  11. 16.04, but I thought that I should have been quicker. On the light side but enjoyable.

  12. Oh Calamity!

    Sailed through this quite happily, noting that SUBPARSON (Arson =fire) was almost certainly wrong and needed revisiting – but then forgetting to do so. Three pink squares!

    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

    1. I wonder if your heading was intentional? Anyway it brought back happy memories for me of dear old Robertson Hare who towards the end of his long career played the Archdeacon (one up from SUBDEACON) in the TV sitcom All Gas and Gaiters

        1. “Oh, Calamity” was his catch-phrase for most of his career, possibly dating back to the days of the Aldwych farces in which he appeared regularly.

  13. Mostly quick, but held up a little by confidently inserting BODY in 25dn (bod = fellow) and then wondering if CYGNET was a gem as well as a swanlet. But got there eventually..
    Surely everyone heard of chauffeuse, danseuse, masseuse etc?

    1. Masseuse, yes. Danseuse… maybe, maybe not. Chauffeuse, you’re having a laugh, there’s no such word. In Australia.

      1. Not entirely unknown. I just used it in my diary.

        LOI doctorate took a shamingly long time, did not spot the need to separate to from a high degree.

  14. After making heavy weather of the QC, I sailed through this one. No problem with CHAUFEUSSE. I had CODA in place when I looked at 29a, and ARNE and GT sprang straight to mind. From AJAX to BOLSHEVIST in 15:18. Thanks setter and Jack.

      1. Ah yes, an F–in’ spelling error 🙂 My daughter CHAFFEUSED me into York in her new AMG Merc last night 🙂

  15. 08:39 which suggests pretty standard fare, though I won’t suggest that means dull. Apart from anything else, it’s not as dull as this comment (in fairness to me, I think a lot of us in the Northern hemisphere feel a bit uninspired at this time of year).

  16. I thought I was heading for a time of around 15 minutes, but some, such as ANDEAN, CHAUFFEUSE SUBDEACON, and CODA slowed my pace near the end, so it took 19 minutes to complete. A few parsing queries en route (CAHUFFEUSE, SUBDEACON), but I managed to sort those out.

  17. Finished in 20 minutes, which is good for me. No issues with CHAUFFEUSE, which I knew and could find in any case from the clueing. NHO DROPHEAD, but again it was obtainable from the clue. No guffaw moments, alas.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  18. I was going to say how good this was, a nice example of The Times at just the right level of difficulty (I took 45 minutes but it seems I should have been quicker), but when I came here there were lots of moans about the first/last letter indications, and a quick glance reveals eight or nine of them, perhaps too many. But otherwise.

    TOUT was my LOI since I’d always equated simply tout with solicitor, and wondered what ‘Brazen’ was doing, but pretty obvious really. Perhaps the discomfort some people have with CHAUFFEUSE is similar to the discomfort they have with actor/actress.

    1. I’m sure they will correct me if needs be, but I had the impression that the people who had problems with chauffeuse were saying they never heard of it rather than worrying about modern sensitivities.

  19. 37:25 but with one pink square for ACCORDION where I ignored the usual spelling, and the wordplay, and spelled it my way. OK with CHAUFFEUSE (the word) but struggled a bit to nail the parsing. Struggled most in the North West quarter. Liked SUNBURN and CODA

  20. I believe CHAUFFEUSE has an alternative meaning in French related to the unflattering ‘allumeuse’. Once you know that, you tend to avoid it in both languages.

  21. 8:06 but with a stupid error I’m too embarrassed to admit to. I was a bit surprised by CHAUFFEUSE (see comment above) and that and TOUT had me becalmed for a couple of minutes at the end.

    1. Also with regard to the above, I got the first T in the brazen Tart as the clue directs, then spent a minute figuring that “art” couldn’t be convoluted into “away”.

  22. Silly error here, as I put in CHAFFEURE without parsing. For a good while I had BODY at 25d, which I think does work, although admittedly “bit of work” would rather undersell “body of work”. It made GARNET rather harder to figure out.

      1. A cricketer called Ajay Jadeja,
        A footballer called Jay Jay Okocha-
        These names contain words
        Sounding suspiciously like birds
        Sure to give poor Astro-nowt apoplexia.

  23. Rattled through this one with a very quick finishing time (for me) of 22.58, a little over half of my target time. I did briefly misspell CHAUFFEUSE, with all the right letters but not necessarily in the right order as Eric Morecambe would say, but solving 5dn and 6dn put me on the right track.

  24. 14:53 this afternoon. A relatively straightforward and fair puzzle, although I take others’ point on board that there were probably too many clues of a similar construction.
    No real obscurities – I’ve heard of Ischia, although it’s one of the places in our beloved Italy that Mrs P and I haven’t yet visited.
    For 4 ac “milkmaid” I wasn’t convinced that “designed” was the equivalent of “made”. For example a company’s speciality might be described as the “design and manufacture” of widgets which suggests, in that context at least, that the activities are discrete – but Chambers says otherwise.
    Confess to biffing LOI 12 ac “tout” – as an earlier posting has mentioned, it was easy to treat the first two words separately. However there was little doubt that the answer had to be tout.
    Thanks to setter and to Jack for the blog.

  25. 21:15

    Surprised at the amount of comment about CHAUFFEUSE which I confidently entered, sure that I’d learnt it from the Times Cryptic (having been caught out on a previous occasion).

    I found this grid remarkably comfortable in that everything parsed, though it did take a little extra thought to come up with my last four: CANVASS, DENOUNCER, ANDEAN and LOI DOCTORATE

  26. Another Chauffeure here- didn’t check the wordplay carefully enough.
    Otherwise a steady solve.

  27. A finish in one sitting, so comments about how easy it was were to be expected. Ischia was the only unknown, but the wordplay was very kind. Chauffeuse needed a few crossers for the pdm, but was recognisable, which is more than I can say for my attempts at parsing – fixated on the wrong sort of tease. Loi was Doctorate . . .sometimes you just have to laugh. Invariant

  28. 17’51”. I’m glad ACCORDION had the right crossers because I can never remember how to spell it. In French it’s ACCORDEON. Like MANICURE (eng) and MANUCURE (fr).

  29. I finished it! In 21:13! Super pleased. My new strategy of checking the Snitch and having a go if it’s green enough is paying off. COD to SPRIG.

  30. Weekend solve in 18.20. Nothing to add – decent fare. Take the point about the a’s though they don’t overly worry me.

    Thanks everyone

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