Times Cryptic 28568


36 minutes for all but one answer (1ac) which I eventually found by resorting to aids. Apart from being defeated by that I enjoyed this a lot.

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 Hairy skin of individual in front (6)
I{ndividua}L [skin of…] contained by [in] POSE (front). I never heard of this word and it has not appeared in a Times puzzle before, at least not in the TfTT era. I worked out the first piece of wordplay, so with that and checkers I felt I should have been able to construct the answer but I failed to do so. Having resorted to aids I had difficulty understanding how ‘front’ might mean POSE but I found it eventually in SOED, not that the word ‘front’ is actually mentioned: pose –  fig. An attitude of mind or conduct, esp. one assumed for effect; a pretence
4 At home following golf, strange game (3,5)
G (Golf NATO), IN (at home), RUMMY (strange). I was a little surprised to find that ‘rummy’ in this sense is a proper word as I’d have thought that ‘rum’ on its own did the job.
10 Travelling far, loner gets involved with gang (4-5)
Anagram [involved] of LONER GANG
11 Set aside yearbook, ignoring second article (5)
ANNU{a}L (yearbook) [ignoring second indefinite article]
12 Bullied into releasing a sweeping statement (14)
Anagram [bullied] of INTO RELEASING A
14 Use ace disguise, we hear (5)
A (ace), then VAIL sounds like [we hear] “veil” (disguise)
16 Male desert dweller, heading off with Eastern European princess (9)
M (male), {s}AHARAN (desert dweller) [heading off], E (Eastern), E (European). This one gave me some problems as I didn’t know the alternative spelling of ‘Maharani’.
18 Dinosaur droppings collected by institute’s top academic (9)
GUANO (droppings) contained [collected] by I{nstitute’s} [top] + DON (academic). There was an opportunity for misspelling here, perhaps writing A instead of the first O.
20 Soil regularly gets into mangle and grinder (5)
{s}O{i}L [regularly] contained by [gets into] MAR (mangle). ‘Mar/mangle’ seemed a bit unlikely but my thesaurus likes it.
21 Instant but extremely tortuous doubts (6,8)
SECOND  (instant), THOUGH (but), T{ortuou}S [extremely]
25 Psychoanalyst‘s right to probe rivalry (5)
R (right) contained by [to probe] FEUD (rivalry)
26 Lassitude and sexlessness in a province undergoing recession (9)
NO IT (sexlessness) + IN + A + NI (province – Northern Ireland) reversed [undergoing recession]. Not a word I’m particularly familiar with but I remembered it has come up before. February this year was its most recent outing, defined as ‘lack of enthusiasm’.
27 Provincial university beginning to tackle dishonesty (8)
OU (Open University), T{ackle} [beginning], LYING (dishonesty). The Open University is based locally to me in Milton Keynes.
28 Finally giving instrument back for nothing (6)
{givin}G [finally], then SITAR (musical instrument) reversed [back]
1 Cool and calm, the pig wallowing (10)
Anagram [wallowing] of CALM THE PIG. Now here’s an anagrind that didn’t make it to the Chambers list!
2 Row over origin of nylon fabric (5)
LINE (row), N{ylon} [origin of…]
3 Sister’s taken in by advisor or ally (7)
Hidden [taken in by] {advi}SOR OR AL{ly}
5 Prosecute light infantry pulled up for obstruction (5)
SUE (prosecute) + LI (light infantry) reversed [pulled up]. Obstruction of the intestine.
6 Churchman going round a nuclear plant (7)
RECTOR (churchman) containing [going round] A
7 Very rainy start to week quickly disheartened everyone (9)
MON (start to week), SOON (quickly), A{l}L (everyone) [disheartened]
8 Cry in my cell, lacking covers (4)
{m}Y + {c}ELL [lacking covers]
9 Angry son leaving Mansfield in a rage (8)
Anagram [in a rage] of MAN{s}FIELD [son leaving]
13 Exhibits case of rare gifts (10)
R{ar}E  [case of…], PRESENTS (gifts)
15 Mum’s eaten bananas for fun (9)
Anagram [bananas] of MUM’S EATEN
17 Heavy female companion supported by staff (8)
HEN (female), CH (companion of honour), MAN (staff). ‘Henchman’ originally had more virtuous associations than it acquired later and as suggested here by ‘heavy’.
19 Number working over 24 hours is twelve (7)
NO (number), ON (working), DAY (24 hours). An alternative to ‘twelve noon’.

Lazybones, sleeping in the sun
How you ‘spect to get your day’s work done?
You’ll never get your day’s work done
Sleeping in the noonday sun
Johnny Mercer

20 Less assertive setter bitten by cat (7)
I (setter) contained [bitten] by MOUSER (cat)
22 Articulate spirit, or spirits (5)
Sounds like [articulate] “gin” (spirit)
23 Rob chap on island thoroughfare (5)
HE (chap), I (island), ST (thoroughfare). I’m not sure I’ve met this as a verb before.
24 Shock as fishcakes initially run out (4)
A{s} + F{ishcakes} [initially], RO (run out – cricket). I don’t think ‘shock’ can be used as a synonym for hair nor a particular hairstyle. Most of the definitions suggest its main characteristic is being thick and unkempt which could apply to any style if it is not cared for.

60 comments on “Times Cryptic 28568”

  1. 7:42 – fortunately knew PILOSE, I was surprised to find it has not been in a Mephisto puzzle. Glad for the wordplay for IGUANODON. Some nice surfaces today.

      1. It’s a reference to the recent killing of a Russian ultranationalist by a bomb concealed in a statuette in his likeness. The cartoonist is suggesting that ordinary Russians are queuing up to do the same to Putin.

  2. Didn’t like 1ac – my guess was PILISH, PISH being the nonsense talked by people displaying front. Gave up quickly in annoyance rather than looking for a better alternative. Wondered where the O came from in 27 ac: university = U, right? Wrong!
    Otherwise mostly easy. NHO LI or ILEUS, but gettable. Did like PHLEGMATIC, a good word that’s hard to find when given anagram fodder.
    Thanks setter and blogger.

    1. I thought of Oxford University (as in OUP); Open U never occurred to me.

      1. I had the advantage of local knowledge but a TfTT search on “Open University” (quotation marks essential) reveals that the abbreviation has come up many times before.

        1. I knew Open U, and probably have seen it abbreviated as OU; I just didn’t think of it at the time;

      1. Yes, it’s funny you should mention that because it’s in both Chambers and Collins, although secondary to Open University, but I don’t recall ever seeing it in a Times puzzle. No doubt there have been some occasions (as today) where either would work and it’s not critical to the answer or parsing which the setter and solvers have in mind.

        OUP clued as ‘press’ comes up regularly which doesn’t have any bearing on activities based at Milton Keynes.

    2. In the US southwest The University of Texas is known as UT. The University of Oklahoma is known as OU. Possibly that is to make pronunciation easier, but Texans, who take a dim view of Oklahomans (and vice versa) suspect it is due to deficiencies in basic spelling skills north of the Red River.

  3. Wow, Easy Street! Smoother than yesterday, which was a breeze… or so I was thinking, until I got to my LOI (I started at the bottom), ILEUS. which gave me more pause than perhaps it should have (especially considering that I’ve been treated for Crohn’s disease).
    I would have thought PILOSE was not a newcomer here.
    This puzzle went a bit heavy on the gin.

  4. 13:59
    I found this easier than yesterday’s. DNK POI PILOSE, but with PIL_S_ it wasn’t a problem. Nor was IGUANODON, which has appeared a couple of times. I had INANATION at first, only corrected with MOUSIER; parsed post-submission. It’s my COD. I was surprised by HEIST, and more so by AFRO as a ‘shock’.

  5. Threw in the towel at one hour, with PILOSE and SORORAL missing.



  6. Fingers crossed for PILOSE, but otherwise not too bad. 12:55.

    Took ages to see DJINN, not helped by the fact that I didn’t realise it was a plural.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  7. Indeed I didn’t pay enough attention and spelled IGUANODON wrong. A few words I didn’t know (like PILOSE) but I trused the wordplay and they all worked out fine. Fun crossword.

  8. And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
    In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender’d, …
    (Keats, The Eve of St. Agnes)

    25 mins mid-brekker. I liked IGuanoDon and I got Pilose, but I thought Front=Pose was too much for such a hairy word.
    Ta setter and J.

  9. 40 minutes. Exactly the same experience with my LOI PILOSE as our blogger. Should have seen this sooner as the piloerector muscles are the ones that make our hair stand on end and give us goosebumps; there’s also something called a pilonidal sinus which we won’t go into any further. PHLEGMATIC took a while to see as referred to by isla3. Glad to have remembered DJINN was already in the plural.

  10. I knew INANITION from genealogical research – a common cause of death for infants in the past, basically starvation.

    Steady progress through the puzzle today, OUTLYING last clue read and solved, not fully parsed although I am an OU graduate and postgraduate.

    12’10”, thanks jack and setter.

  11. Another fast time and today I remembered to submit (yesterday I got distracted and forgot).

    Would have been even quicker but I took a while to work out PILOSE and ILEUS (not sure of either definition but they sounded right).

  12. 48 mins stuck for ages on 1ac and, like our setter, gave up and resorted to aids. POSE for front was a leap too far for me, plus I’ve never heard of the word anyway. Another who misspelled the Dinosaur. Oh well.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  13. DNF, defeated by MAHARANEE (I put ‘maharande’) and INANITION, where for some reason I put an M rather than the second N. Like others I struggled with the unknown PILOSE, had to trust that ILEUS was right, and didn’t know that rummy can mean strange for GIN RUMMY. On the plus side, I remembered to spell the guano part of IGUANODON correctly this time.

    COD Second thoughts

  14. 25 minutes but with an incorrect PILISH as a guess. So naturally I think that was an unfair clue. The text for the day wasn’t, ‘And Esau was an PILOSE man.” For once I’m making an anagram COD as I was delighted to see PHLEGMATIC straight away. Or on SECOND THOUGHTS…?

  15. Thank you jackkt – can I be very obtuse and inquire why NO IT parses as sexlessness? In my sleepy way I would have thought that IT is sexless, being neither HE nor SHE. (But at my advanced age I find the whole current gender thing rather difficult to follow…..!)

    1. If you think of IT as the act of sex (as in “We had IT twice a night when we were younger”) then things become more clear.

    2. Or alternatively, in the Times SA and IT both clue “sex appeal”. So no IT is no sex appeal… almost the same as sexless. That’s the way I thought of it on automatic pilot, but Busman’s parsing probably works better.

      1. I was definitely thinking along the same lines as you, isla, and actually I think it works better than the alternative cruder interpretation.

  16. 41m 34s would have been around 25-26 minutes but for INANITION, ILEUS and PILOSE.
    GRATIS reminded me of George Harrison’s ‘Concert for Bangladesh’. The opening part of the concert involved Ravi Shankar on SITAR along with other musicians. He surprised the audience somewhat by asking them not to smoke during the performance and then expressed mild surprise when the audience applauded the band just for tuning up their instruments.

  17. 15:28 but one pink square. I took the opportunity to misspell IGUANODON as IGUANADON.

    COD: AMUSEMENT – for the amusement.

  18. Tricky in parts, done in 20 minutes except for the DK PILOSE where I was a bit fixated on using PELT somehow. Just left it as P*L*S* and came here to see. I’m not impressed with how it parses, either. I liked the 1d anagram and GRATIS best. Good work, jackkt.

  19. A tricky beggar. I avoided the dinosaur trap, having spelt the beast incorrectly on a previous occasion. I knew PILOSE, but biffed it, and also MAHARANEE, before coming here for Jack to enlighten me.

    LOI SORORAL (brilliant hidden !)
    TIME 10:53

  20. NHO PILOSE either, but constructed it from wordplay and hoped for the best. Kept thinking it might be pelisse, but with an odd spelling without the final -e, but obv that was a no-hoper. There was much to like in this puzzle, which took about 30 mins. Liked AFRO, SORORAL (well hidden), DJINN and MOLAR.

  21. Good fun. Thought this even easier than yesterday, at least I did till I was eaten alive by the dreaded IGUANADON. Write out a hundred times: “Always parse the answer carefully before entering it.”

    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  22. A pleasant puzzle. Plenty of unusual (to me) words, such as PILOSE, MAHARANEE, INANITION, ILEUS, MONSOONAL, but the clueing was usually generous. 20 minutes without any serious hold-ups.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  23. Had to use aids for 1a PILOSE. Didn’t like pose=front.
    Also aids for NHO 5d ILEUS. Note that sue and prosecute are entirely different things in as much as you can only do one or the other, but heh they are pretty closely related. Note that “Trespassers will be prosecuted” is a lie, but they may be sued. Anyone remember Piglet’s Uncle Trespassers W, short for William, which was why Piglet’s house was so labelled?
    16a Was aware you could spell RANEE so why not MAHARANEE? But I took ages to find (S)aharan.
    28a GRATIS was so easy I biffed it and missed the sitar completely I think. Or did I spot it as I was writing? Not sure.

  24. I was relatively pleased with my time of 36.30, but ultimately defeated like others by 1ac where I was a whisker away with PILOSH. POSE just didn’t occur to me, although I would have not have considered it a reasonable alternative if I had.

  25. All was going very smoothly and then I became quite becalmed on PILOSE, PHLEGMATIC, IGUANODON and ILEUS. The anagram I just couldn’t do; I thought that IGUANODON was an anagram of (dinosaur I); PILOSE I’d never heard of and couldn’t get from wordplay, missing pose = front; and ILEUS was also unknown. So I gave up. Aids helped a bit but the parsing was beyond me. So a very emphatic DNF.

    One of P.G. Wodehouse’s short Jeeves stories was called ‘The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy’. so at least that presented no problems.

  26. 8m 38s with PILOSE & INANITION proving tricky to get; DJINN was my LOI.
    Some nicely hidden devices today, including SORORAL and the anagram for GENERALISATION.

  27. Definitely a curate’s egg today, most done in 10 mins, but needed 20 mins to finish off. NHO ILEUS, but bunged in on the assumption it was something to do with ILEUM. Thrown by setter being I and INANITION a word I’d heard of but no idea what it meant was another bunged in.

  28. I got IGUANODON correct last time out, but the lurgi has dulled my brain today. I also failed miserably with MAHARANIE even though I couldn’t parse it. 16:38 with 2 errors. Thanks setter and Jack.

  29. 25:04

    Some trickier stuff today – PILOSE, SORORAL, ILEUS each entered from parsing though unsure of their meaning – and failed to parse OUT (thinking U for university mixed up somehow with TO, rather than OU + T).

  30. All worked out successfully over a leisurely lunch. I’m with others above in nho pilose, maharanee and ileus but the cluing must have been good as it all worked. Djinn probably caused the most pause. Thanks for the blog.

  31. 27:52 today, most of which was taken up with the schoolin’ I received from a handful of unknown words, although SORORAL & MONSOONAL were easy-ish to get, the latter being a word I made up on the spot but which looked plausible. (That’s how I do all crosswords haha) Every time I see “dinosaur” in a clue, I immediately think IGUANODON because the clue in that format comes up pretty regularly. The rest of the puzzle was fairly easy, with AFRO being my COD.

  32. In Hong Kong they strike a gong
    And fire off a NOONDAY gun
    To reprimand each inmate
    Who’s in late

    Noel Coward, ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’

    Offered as an alternative to the Mercer reference above.


    In Rangoon, the heat of noon
    Is just what the natives shun.
    They put their Scotch or rye down
    And lie down.

    And, of course:

    Hindoos (sic) and Argentines
    Sleep firmly from twelve to one,
    But Englishmen detest a

    It’s no good: I’m going to have to find a recording now.

  33. Thanks for parsing Pilose, Jackkt. That was the one that defeated me too. Otherwise, an entertaining and not too taxing puzzle. COD Maharanee. Stared at it a bit until I thought of Saharan when everything fell into place. Also liked the calm, cool pig with its unusual anagrind.

  34. I had no trouble with 1a, perhaps because I knew that “poilu” in French means hairy.

  35. As above, DNK PILOSE. Got as far as LOI PIL-S- and eventually plumped for PILUSH, which sounds unlikely, but not as unlikely as POSE for front. No problems with IGUANODON, as ‘guana’ is not dung, but I was less than impressed with many of the definitions. COD to GRATIS.

  36. 53:56. I was so embarrassed to come here and see how speedy everyone else was. I am posting late so that no-one sees me. Had trouble with the same NHOs as most, and had to spend time on them, just rather more time than most. I think I parsed everything though and happily accepted front = pose once I’d seen it.
    Tricky elsewhere too. Took ages to see AVAIL and the anagrams wouldn’t get themselves into shape.
    Frustrated by the IGUANODON; I know there is a word for dinosaur droppings* but I couldn’t remember it and I thought it was needed to solve the clue. so I just got stuck.
    But an enjoyable tussle

    * The word is copralite. It wouldn’t have helped with the clue, but if I’d remembered it I could have discarded it and moved on sooner

  37. 56 minutes with one mistake, and it was not where I was expecting it (in ILEUS or INANITION or DJINN), but where indeed “there was an opportunity for misspelling here, perhaps writing A instead of the first O.” All the more disturbing as the wordplay forces the right spelling for iGUANOdon. Still, my last three entries, given above, and PILOSE, did require one to understand the wordplay, so I will forgive myself. I liked the surface reading for MONSOONAL — reminds me of the weather we’ve been having.

  38. 33.21 in two sessions. Would have been quicker if I had been able to write out the letters of the anagram at 1d earlier.

  39. I knew it was PIL-something but would have plumped for PILOUS, had the checkers not corrected me. SHOCK for AFRO didn’t do it for me. I thought a shock was …well, a shock of hair, not a style. Thankfully avoided the mistake I made last time with IGUANODON. I bet the compilers always make sure the O is on a non-check square. 15’08”

    1. Interesting suspicion. Most Times grids have 9-letter words with letters 1,3,5,7,9 checked, and the even letters – including the vital O – unchecked.
      There are some grids that swap words/blocks columns part-way across. In a quick perusal, I found only two Times grids out of the standard 70 or 80 where IGUANODON could be entered with the first O checked. e.g. puzzle 27505 position 12ac or 19ac.
      So it’s not a conspiracy, just overwhelming probability.

  40. 20 minutes – Loi ILEUS which I had never heard of but was work-out-able.
    Found it pretty easy today to be honest. Didn’t know the word PILOSE but pose wasnt hard to get as the containing word. I was struggling to remember copralites as well!
    Thanks again to everyone really appreciate this blog and the comments.

  41. 31 minutes.This is one of those treacherous puzzles that seems childishly easy at first and just as you think you’re headed for a personal best it starts flinging words like PILOSE and INANATION and ILEUS at you. Reminds me of mint juleps as described by P.G.Wodehouse: ‘Insidious things. They creep up on you like a baby sister and slide their little hands into yours and the next thing you know the judge is telling you to pay the clerk of the court fifty dollars…”

  42. Failed on MAHARANEE, INANITION, and PILOSE. The vocab goes up a gear in these parts! 20 mins for the rest.

    Thanks Jack.


  43. Managed to get the unusual words bar DJINN, so a DNF. I found most of it straightforward, but the last six clues in the bottom half took a lot more thought.
    Thanks J and Setter

  44. 27.23 and pleased to finish but have to admit I didn’t have a clue about pilose, ileus or inanition. Had to check each after I put them in. Is that a half cheat?

    I don’t mind the odd NHO but today was a bit OTT.

  45. Same problems as others, with PILOSE (NHO), INANITION and IGUANODON left out. A lot to like, especially FOI GIN RUMMY, SORORAL , GRATIS and MAHARANEE. Pity I did not have time to finish.

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