Times Cryptic 28562


Solving time: 17 minutes

This must be a personal best, or would be very close to it if only I knew what it was! Most answers were written in after a single reading of the clue, with only one (at 26ac) giving me cause for doubt until the checkers confirmed what it had to be.

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 Spicy sauce in vessel at university (7)
KETCH (sailing vessel), UP (at university)
5 Trendy youngsters torn apart by start of unnerving nightmare (7)
IN (trendy), CUBS (youngsters) containing [torn apart by] U{nnerving} [start]. Remembered from many a previous puzzle.
9 Stop luxury car hemming in a road-mending vehicle (11)
STEM (stop) + ROLLER (luxury car – Rolls Royce) containing [hemming in] A
10 Teacher, possibly, avoiding time in jail (3)
S{t}IR (time in jail) [avoiding time]
11 Insect heading off close to rug (6)
{n}EAR (close) [heading off], WIG (rug – slang for a hairpiece)
12 Supporter male chancellor ultimately required during a depression (8)
HE (male) + {chancello}R [ultimately] contained by [during) A + DENT (depression)
14 Alluring old PM, the centre of attraction (8,5)
MAGNETIC (alluring), NORTH (old PM). Lord North was Prime Minister 1770-1782 at the time of the American war of independence. I lost a moment or two here wondering if we’d had a PM called Field.
17 Eccentric newlywed glum about key varsity sportsman (9,4)
CAM (eccentric), then BRIDE (newlywed) + BLUE (glum) containing [about] G (key). This was almost biffable with assistance from enumeration but having been beaten on my last blogging day by ‘eccentric / CAM’ I was onto the wordplay immediately.
21 Attorney framing European legislation concerning US state (8)
DA (District Attorney) containing [framing] E (European) + LAW (legislation), then RE (concerning)
23 Continental resort in island by border (6)
RIM (border), IN, (island)
25 Low state of mind daughter’s thrown off (3)
MOO{d} (state of mind) [daughter’s thrown off]
26 Predatory reptile in cold air swimming without company (11)
Anagram [swimming] of IN COLD AIR, containing [without] CO (company). I didn’t know this as a noun but I suppose it works as a class of creature in the same way as ‘amphibian ‘ does. I note that it also includes alligators.
27 Researcher originally assisting lab in some way (7)
A{ssisting} + L{a b} [originally] contained by [in] ANY (some) + ST (way – street)
28 Angry about name attached to a religious painting (7)
MAD (angry), ON (about), N (name), A
1 Fate one’s suffered supporting king (6)
K (King), I’S (one’s), MET (suffered). I was a bit dubious about ‘suffered / MET’ but SOED has meet – encounter, experience, suffer (one’s death, a certain fate or treatment, etc). There is a musical called Kismet based on music by Borodin.
2 Formula in geometry maybe or English grasped by other people (7)
OR + E (English) contained [grasped] by THEM (other people)
3 Married woman beset by need for food, an excellent person (9)
M (married) + DI (woman) contained [beset] by HUNGER (need for food)
4 Share   game on table (4)
Two meanings
5 Youth taken in by devil is terribly misguided (3-7)
LAD (youth) contained [taken in] by anagram [terribly] of DEVIL IS
6 Cut up roast, initially restricted by word of warning (5)
R{oast} [initially] contained [restricted] by CAVE (word of warning). ‘Cave’ is from the Latin ‘cavere’ meaning ‘beware’, and ‘keep cave’ was very much part of schoolboy slang at one time meaning to look out for approaching masters.
7 Blacken name of woman in pub (7)
ESME (woman) contained by [in] BAR (pub). Has anyone been named Esme in the past 50 years, I wonder?
8 Sentence on introduction of yellow elastic (8)
STRETCH (prison sentence), Y{ellow} [introduction]
13 Offer pay for US novice (10)
TENDER (offer), FOOT (pay a bill). I knew this word from an early age as there was an American TV Western series called Sugarfoot which for some reason was renamed Tenderfoot when it came to the BBC. I never found out why, but it was pointless as the show had a catchy title song that mentioned  ‘Sugarfoot’ repeatedly throughout its lyric.
15 Cancelled in full, sadly, by current newspaper boss (9)
Anagram [sadly] of IN FULL, then I (current), ED (newspaper boss)
16 A rebel with intent, rising in scholarly circles (8)
A, CADE (rebel), then AIM (intent) reversed [rising]. Jack Cade (1420–1450), leader of the Kent Rebellion.
18 State of gang girl cut down at Kent port, do we hear? (7)
MOL{l} (gangster’s girl) [cut down], then DOVA sounds like [do we hear?] “Dover” (Kent port)
19 Linguistic device sound on reflection: large one included (7)
L (large) + I (one) contained by [included] NOISE (sound) all reversed [on reflection]
20 After struggle, a stricken man finally raised capital (6)
VIE (struggle), then A + {stricke}N + {ma}N [finally] reversed [raised]
22 Crazy procedure to seal ends of cask (5)
WAY (procedure) contains [to seal} C{as}K [ends]
24 Voice disapproval of Mike’s resonant delivery? (4)
BOO (voice disapproval), M (Mike – NATO alphabet)

97 comments on “Times Cryptic 28562”

  1. 11:22
    Lowest SNITCH in ages. KETCHUP spicy? I took ‘eccentric’ as anagram indicator at first, but then the C and L suggested CAMBRIDGE BLUE, which I biffed. I also took ‘supporter’ to indicate BRA or TEE; took me some time to see the light. I know of only one ESME, but that’s enough: the girl in the Salinger story, “To Esme, with Love and Squalor”.

  2. A sluggish 14:35, held up by a semi-biffed ‘academic’, which put paid to ANALYST for a while.

    Only Esme I’m vaguely familiar with would be the character from The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, although I’ve never read the book or knowingly seen any of the film versions. The Disney one might have been playing when the daughter was a nipper, I suppose.

    Not a crossword you want to make a stupid typo on if you want to improve your SNITCH.

    1. Her name is Esmerelda – I don’t think it gets shortened, but I haven’t watched the Disney cartoon version, where it wouldn’t surprise me if it is, since she would be keeping ‘Quasi’ company.

      1. Well, ‘Sailor Beware’ at least. Along with dozens of other light British comedies of the 40s and 50s, which be seen as precursors. But I can’t say I remember her in any ‘Carry Ons’.

        1. She was in Cabby, Cruising, Regardless and Constable. Not many know that she was Australian.

  3. Some very easy definitions today made for a lot of quick entries, especially when, working top to bottom, one or two crossing letters gave direction.

  4. 13:13
    Lucky 13 – second fastest ever time for me, so definitely easy in my view. I thought RIMINI sounded more likely than LIPINI, but had fingers crossed for the submission.

    I vaguely remembered that “crocodilian” could be the animal, not just an adjective. As Jack intimates, it’s the name for any specimen in the order Crocodilia, which includes crocodiles and alligators (and the gharial – apparently – that I’ve either forgotten or never heard of).

      1. Was prompted to have a closer look at the SNITCH website today. Still in awe of it.

        Looking at the “Top Ten Results” that are displayed for the reference solvers, I notice that my four “fastest” are all bogus. Not deliberate attempts to cheat of course, they all seem to relate to problems with the on-line crossword (back in 2017) and retrospective grid-filling. The rest I believe are legit.

        Is it possible to have the offending results stricken from the Hansard? (And now I have a nagging memory that I may have asked this question before, in which case please ignore).

        1. My fastest time on the SNITCH is for a concise crossword. It would be interesting to know why the SNITCH picked this puzzle up.

          1. Yeah that’s weird.

            As an aside, I’ve started doing the Concise recently and I’m hopeless at it.

            1. I do the concise from time to time and my performance varies wildly. Sometimes I do it in about 2 minutes, sometimes it takes me longer than the cryptic, quite often I just fail.

        2. Thanks, Galspray, I cannot remove them immediately but will work on a solution.

          1. I am in a similar position – used to complete on paper on the train and fill in online later, so for me, anything before say, the end of 2019 is bogus.

  5. 7:00, probably the last 30 seconds or so trying to piece together CROCODILIAN. I liked the clue for ANALYST.

  6. Similar to others, either my best or second-best time, can’t remember. And no ditches to die in today.

    As Paul says, once you were on a roll the checkers led quickly to a probable answer, just needed a quick confirmation from the clue.

    Thanks gentle setter and Jack.

  7. Completed. 61:23. Which is 1.11 Snitches. Outside my target.

    LOI BESMEAR. I think the definition is “blacken name”, with just “woman” needed for ESME. Esme Young is on the BBC reality series The Great British Sewing Bee. She must be at least 70, so your theory holds. Although names like Ava, Daisy, Grace are all making comebacks.

    I think there is a dog food called Sugarfoot. Top Cat was renamed Boss Cat by the BBC for a similar reason.

    NHO Cade, or his revolution. They don’t teach us stuff like that at school, too subversive.

    With an empty grid, GREENHORN and SOPHOMORE looked good for US Novice.

    Thought MAGNETIC HEATH might be a thing.


    1. Thanks. I think my parsing of BESMEAR works too, but yours is probably what the setter had in mind so I have amended the blog. You may also be right about the dog food, but I am more doubtful about that one. I never heard of SugarFoot as a pet food but I checked their history on their website and they say they began over 50 years ago. They’d have to have been well -established in 1960 for there to have been a clash with the brand name when the TV Western was first broadcast in the UK.

    2. Not far from my house there is a dell named Cade’s Hole, where he is said to have sheltered while on the run after his abortive rebellion…

    3. Jack Cade in one of Shakespeares history/Henry plays says “Let’s kill all the lawyers”.

    4. I too spent time looking for a ‘magnetic heath’ Merlin, until I remembered another PM called North… . Apart from that my time was well within my ‘boundaries’ at about 30 mins; but was defeated by RIMINI (NHO).

  8. 18 minutes. Semi-bunged in CROCODILIAN so didn’t notice the def called for a noun rather than an adjective. ELISION was only half-known and I’ve never seen BESMEAR before.

    I suppose it depends on how broad the definition of research is, specifically academic v non-academic, but I wouldn’t regard an ANALYST and a ‘Researcher’ as the same thing. A researcher will usually undertake analysis as part of their work, but an analyst isn’t necessarily involved in research; they might just be analysing the last two years’ Dapto Dogs results for example.

    Thank to setter and Jack – and congrats on your PB.

    1. Now I’ve got that Gunston/Dusty earworm:
      I’ve been to Wollongong, Wollongong, Wollongong, Wollongong,
      Wollongong, Wollongong, Wollongong, Wollongong,
      Wollongong, Wollongong, Wollongong, Wollongong,
      Wollongong, Wollongong, Dapto.
      On the doggy side: Box one statistically the most successful, box 8 the least. Everywhere, not just Dapto – box 8 the hardest to win from. My pet greyhound raced as Mottza, won from box 8 ten times. This might or might not be an Australian record.

      1. “Stand tall, straight and strong, hold your nose in Wollongong”. Norman was great.

        1. Hardly a legend – never qualified for a Group 1 race – but he paid for his board and kibble, and a bit left over for his owner.

  9. DNF. A puzzle with a SNITCH of 54 was a CURSE for me, as in my haste that was what I put in instead of CARVE. “Cut up roast initially” was good for CUR, and from there I thought a CURSE vaguely akin to a word of warning and that was me done for. And I wasn’t even within my 10 fastest times anyway. Rats!

  10. Straightforward but none the worse for that. Ended up, surprisingly, on KETCHUP and POOL. Like Kevin I don’t think of ketchup as spicy, even though it has spices in it, so with the K in place I was half-suspecting kimchi or something, left it and came back to it at the end. A slight geographic feel to it – Delaware, Moldova, Rimini, Vienna.
    WOD humdinger.

  11. Law is God, say some; no God at all, says the fool,
    For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a Pool
    (Tennyson. The Higher Pantheism)

    20 leisurely mins during brekker. Very gentle.
    Ta setter and J.

  12. 31 mins held up in the NE. Not sure why. Now I realise I have bunged in CARRÉ (R in CARE, as in « take care » )= cut, so a DNF.

    DNK ELISION but followed the cryptic once I had figured out CROCODILIAN.

    I liked CAMBRIDGE BLUE especially having just watched the Boat Race this weekend, and lost my bet with Mrs R. Grrrr.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  13. I cannot solve them any faster than this. No complaints. Occasionally it is good not to struggle.

  14. 14 minutes, and I had a sluggish start. COD to MAGNETIC NORTH, even if the field wasn’t strong enough to hold America. I enjoyed the puzzle but the gloss is taken off if everybody else gets a good score too. Thank you Jack and setter.

  15. Must be my fastest though that’s still around 30 mins. Spent some time thinking “alluring old pm” was an anagram before I got some checkers and nho elision so had to work it out. Enjoyed crocodiles though not confident in putting in right away. Thanks setter for improving my times and blogger too.

  16. Yes, v quick today.
    My wife makes spicy tomato ketchup. Never come across spicy ketchup anywhere else in England …

  17. About 15 minutes. Like Kevin, in 17a I thought ‘eccentric’ was an anagrind (for ‘newlywed glum’ containing a musical key) until I got the C from ACADEMIA, remembered from last week that a cam is an eccentric, and pieced the rest of it together. Hadn’t heard of TENDERFOOT, but the cluing was generous.

    Straightforward otherwise. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Sir
    LOI Pool
    COD Vienna

    1. Pythagoras’s theorem (to take just one example) is usually stated as a formula.

        1. The ‘maybe’ is arguably essential, since it indicates a definition by example. A formula in geometry being one possible example of a THEOREM.

      1. No it isn’t! There can be formula as part of the theorem, but the proper statement of the theorem involves much more, not least a reference to a right-angled triangle.

        1. Of course there’s stuff you need to know to interpret it, but within that context the formula is a statement of the theorem. Seems fine to me. This is a crossword not a maths exam!

        2. Chambers Thesaurus gives (for ‘theorem’):
          “ formula, principle, rule, statement, deduction, proposition
          formal dictum, postulate, hypothesis”
          For a crossword clue this is surely acceptable.

  18. 20 mins for a probably PB. A wonderful experience for a 15×15 solve to just keep on rolling along without the usual blocks. Wasn’t entirely sure of the parsing for ACADEMIA but it was a write in. Dnk ELISION but it had to be. Thanks for the blog.

  19. 8:17. Well I didn’t find that particularly easy. Not terribly difficult, but about double my PB.
    In our household, if KETCHUP is spicy it’s Sriracha.
    There was at least one ESME in at least one of my kids’ classes.

  20. “Kismet, Hardy”, or “Kiss me”? I’ve always preferred to believe the latter. Revisionist historians ruin everything.

    Pretty easy, and would have been sub 10 minutes but for VIENNA. It obv ended in ‘NNA’, but still I couldn’t for the life of me see it until RIMINI fell into place.

    1. I have it on reliable authority from descendants of a sailor onboard at the relevant time that Nelson and Hardy were discussing possible locations for a time-share condo in Florida they were to purchase after the war ended. “Kissimmee? Hardly!” was Nelson’s dismissive rejoinder to one suggestion.

      1. Others still have imagined hearing a valedictory religious message, I believe: “Krishna, Hari”.

  21. New PB for me, too, and it’s not Monday ! 8 minutes of non stop entering and nothing much else to say.

  22. I appreciate that this was an easy one but still really happy with a PB of 5:22 today especially after a disappointing typo yesterday.

    Thanks J and setter

  23. I thought I was doing quite well at 29 minutes until seeing the SNITCH and some of the times and saw the truth of it. Nothing really held me up, but I had the M and was trying to involve Macmillan as the old PM (what is old?). No problem with RIMINI, which always reminds me of Fletch’s daughter in Porridge talking of ‘Ri-meany’. I wouldn’t be surprised if Esme became popular again one day. When I was a boy Emily and Hannah were considered to be very out-of-date.

  24. Nice and easy does it. 12.10 for this pleasant stroll. Good for the self-esteem to have one like this sometimes!

  25. 15 mins. Had to come here to understand CROCODILIAN because it sounded like an adjective. Completely missed the anagram
    Otherwise, not a curates egg in sight.

  26. Almost exactly 30 mins for me, easily timed as I started it when my train departed at 10am. I think close to a PB and a good reason to come out of lurking and post.

    Like Merlin, the Esme I know is from Sewing Bee.

    Thanks to Jack and setter.

  27. Entered more-or-less in order, with barely a hold-up until CROCODILIAN, which foxed me, as I hadn’t realised it was a noun as well as an adjective, so couldn’t account for the ‘reptile’. Then my POI ANALYST was held up by a carelessly bifd ACADEMIC – once that was corrected, all was clear. I couldn’t initially remember the bit after TENDER… but the T eventually brought it to mind.
    With regard to Esme, I can confirm that the name, like many of the Victorian girls’ names, is in common use nowadays, certainly in the school where I work, whereas many of the names common in my childhood have largely fallen out of use. We have Ottillie, Agnes, Sophia etc but no Jane, Caroline, Susan or Jacqueline. Having said that, it’s a fee-paying school, so there are precious few Jades or Britneys either.

  28. A gentle canter over coffee, completing in 16 minutes with little head-scratching. Was not confident about the parsing of VIENNA, though the answer was clearly right, so thanks for the explanation. I would not have said TENDERFOOT was exclusively a US expression. I am sure it was used in UK contexts (cubs, scouts?) in my distant youth.
    FOI – KETCHUP (with or without spice)
    COD – held over until tomorrow.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  29. This must have been a fairly easy one, since my coffee was still hot when I finished it. LOI was VIENNA, which is embarrassing since it is a very easy clue, but sometimes the penny doesn’t drop as quickly as it should.

    Hesitated over HUMDINGER because I wasn’t aware of it being applied to people, only to things, but it was clearly the answer, so I wrote it in, and I have since checked that it can apply to people as well. I’m just not up on Americanisms.

    Which brings me to WACKY – I just hate the word. If I see the words ‘wacky comedy’ next to a film in the TV listings, I know I don’t want to watch it. (Only exception is ‘Wacky Races’, cult viewing when I was in my early teens.)

  30. Marginally tougher than yesterday for me, although I did take it very steady having had a typo in the QC. Biffed two or three, but all parsed quickly afterwards.

    TIME 6:18

  31. Initially entered MAD,RE,N,A at 28a, but then couldn’t find this new type of religious painting in the books or on line. Once I realised that ‘about’ in this instance was ‘ON’, ELISION was obvious.
    Still, not a perfect solve. Yesterday’s seemed easier to me.

  32. I was a bit slow to get going, but once I was off things flowed smoothly. In the end I was only two minutes slower than yesterday’s, with a time of 22 minutes.
    I also liked the clue to ANALYST.

  33. Another straightforward puzzle today, 8’04” would be 4th best time ever but for a typo.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  34. A speedy solve for me at 19.08 spoilt only by getting 19dn wrong when I stupidly put in ESILION as the answer. As Eric Morecambe would say, all the right letters but not necessarily in the right order.

  35. From Wiki:
    Esme was among the 100 most popular baby names for girls in the UK in 2015.
    I thought you’al would want to know that.

  36. NHO RIMINI so I plumped for LIPINI, alas. Otherwise an easy day and one of my quicker times… for naught.

  37. Sailed through this one until my LOI, MOLDOVA, which, by taking me almost 1 minute to solve, tipped me over the 10 minute mark. Biffed ANALYST. 10:21. Thanks setter and Jack.

  38. I thought I’d have a quick look at this before lunch and then raced through it whilst Michael Portillo was visiting Bolton. He’s a happy wanderer.
    Well under 30 minutes with LOI ANALYST taking a couple of minutes. Not timed exactly sadly as PB territory was probably in sight.
    Cade was on University Challenge last night (in a question).
    I liked MAGNETIC NORTH, almost my first in.

  39. Another quick one for me, though not bothering my PB.

    Bottom right was what held me up, though once ELISION had been worked out, the rest soon fell into place.


  40. I’ve just looked at the Telegraph cryptic. The first clue that I saw (5a) seemed familiar: “Sauce – something sailor may use up” (7)

  41. 13:05 but…

    Had all but three after ten minutes, though I had spent some time on ACADEMIA having mistakenly thought of CAD for ‘rebel’ and wondering where the E came from.

    Last three were RIMINI, VIENNA and LOI NHO ELISION – as I didn’t know which I to put the L in front of, I looked it up i.e. I parsed all of the letters, but the setter presumably assumed that everyone would know this unheard-of word, or else they merely overlooked it…. hence a technical DNF.

  42. 1hr15 technical dnf.

    Had to resort to checking at 1hr with 8 left and discovered that “strop” for “cut up” was wrong and why I was blocked. Then got the barely heard of INCUBUS and CARVE and so on up in NE. Left with TENDERFOOT (which I needed the checker to get the starter letter) and LOI ANALYST.

    Just a checker here or there makes such a difference. Only six on my first pass but as soon as I tried the K (for king of kismet) that whole area filled up.

  43. As yesterday, nothing to say about this gentle stroll in the park. Re the Sugarfoot-Tenderfoot point raised by our blogger, the BBC did the same pointless title change when the cartoon series ‘Top Cat’ crossed the Atlantic. Never mind the fact that ‘close friends called him TC’ and Officer Dibble never once yelled ‘Boss Caaaaat!. The problem was that the strictly non-commercial BBC couldn’t have a programme with the same name as a then-leading brand of tinned cat food. Maybe there was a similar issue with Sugarfoot, though I can’t think what product that name might have been used for.

    1. I’m inclined to think that they changed it to ‘Tenderfoot’ because ‘Sugarfoot’ meant nothing to Brits. It doesn’t appear in Chambers to this day with this sense. Apparently there is a dance step called ‘sugar foot’ (as two words), but that’s it.

  44. 14 minutes!! Unlike yesterday I kept up the pace. That’s a pb I think. Of course glancing down the comments it will be a pb for many people today. But it’s still nice to get sub 15 finally without discovering I’ve done the quick cryptic by mistake.
    One or two definitions seemed slightly dodgy, I don’t think a theorem equates to a formula for instance. But not complaining!

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