Times Cryptic 28610


Solving time: 27 minutes

As my solving time would suggest, I found this pretty easy. How did you do?

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 Digital device cast warmth all over the place (10)
Anagram [all over the place] of CAST WARMTH
7 Spike’s funeral ultimately a very good service (4)
{funera}L [ultimately], ACE (a very good service – tennis). A definition resolved only after I had finished the puzzle; it refers to spiking or lacing drinks for example.
9 Conclusion missing from irritable note (8)
CROTCHET{y} (irritable) [conclusion missing]. In music a crotchet is worth ¼ of a semibreve. I believe across the pond they call it a quarter-note.
10 A country almost imprisons female — one from another country (6)
A + GHAN{a} (country) [almost] contains [imprisons] F (female)
11 After reduction, slip on choice piece of clothing (6)
Contained within [after reduction] {sli}P ON CHO{ice}
13 How to make a catalogue shorter, being lethargic? (8)
The cryptic hint leads us to LIST LESS
14 A medic very confused with a large rash (5-3-4)
Anagram [confused] of A MEDIC VERY A L (large)
17 Prepares a scam, hiding ace very well (3,2,1,6)
FITS (prepares) + A + FIDDLE (scam) containing [hiding] A (ace). I’m not entirely sure about ‘fit/prepare’ but my thesaurus has it.
20 Picture of salami on ground (4,4)
Anagram [ground] of SALAMI ON
21 Noble gas found in cat’s airway (6)
AR (noble gas – argon) contained by [found in] LYNX (cat)
22 Welsh city pub hosts charity, perhaps (6)
BAR (pub) contains [hosts] NGO (charity, perhaps). As recently as 6th May we had: A charitable group located in British city (6).
23 Still going around without a role for social occasion (3,5)
YET (still) reversed [going around] containing [without – outside] A + PART (role)
25 Prison disturbance (4)
Two meanings
26 Touch antelope crossing river in remote area (10)
HINT (touch) + ELAND (antelope) containing [crossing] R (river)
2 Monkey nuts are most moreish initially (8)
Anagram [nuts] of ARE MOST M{oreish} [initially]
3 Penned unlimited rubbish (3)
{w}ROT{e} (penned) [unlimited]
4 American’s enthusiastic cry when a husband appears in court (5)
A + H (husband) contained by [appears in] WOO (court). I never heard of this word other than in the title of a Disney film for TV called The Wahoo Bobcat, but Wahoo in that was just the name of the cat.
5 Drink with friend? Absolutely! (7)
TOT (drink), ALLY (friend)
6 Chief to mark fine covering for loaf? (9)
HEAD (chief), SCAR (mark), F (fine). ‘Loaf’ is slang for ‘head’ as in ‘Use your loaf!’
7 Money English lass finally put in bank, perhaps (5,6)
E (English) + GAL (lass) + {pu}T [finally] contained by [in] LENDER (bank, perhaps)
8 One seen in pursuit vehicle (6)
I (one) contained by [seen in] CHASE (pursuit). A light horse-drawn carriage for carrying one or two people.
12 French flag flying across island is a dramatic moment (11)
Anagram [flying] of FRENCH FLAG containing [across] I (island)
15 Powerful lady‘s brief ordeal in frontier region (9)
TRIA{l} (ordeal) [brief] contained by [in] MARCH (frontier region)
16 Sea creatures not turning up under part of ship (8)
PLANK (part of ship), then NOT reversed [turning up]. I suppose this refers to the gangplank of a ship or the plank that miscreants were made to walk to their death in days of yore.
18 With pole, beat one of 300 in battle? (7)
SPAR (pole), TAN (beat). The definition refers to the Battle of Thermopylae which you can read about here if you are so minded.
19 Maybe Lichtenstein works to break up housing operation (3,3)
PART (break up) containing OP (operation). The artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997).
21 Contract with kindly pensioner at first ignored (5)
{p}LEASE (kindly – would you kindly…?) [p{ensioner} at first ignored]
24 A couple of pounds for everyone (3)
A, L L (couple of pounds)

89 comments on “Times Cryptic 28610”

  1. 10:21
    Currently a SNITCH of 57, about as low as they get. I biffed MARMOSET, MATRIARCH, & POP ART, parsing post-submission. Biffed CLIFFHANGER and never got around to parsing. LOI SPARTAN; I thought of Thermopylae, but had trouble parsing because I took ‘pole’ to be S.

  2. 26:36, just about as fast as it gets for me, though my target of “Snitch/2 minutes” might still not be met.

    LOI POP ART as NHO Liechtenstein the artist and was wracking my brain on what I knew about the microstate. Not much it turns out.

    Only heard of WAHOO as a fish or a device like a Fitbit. I guess similar to Yahoo?


    1. The name of the capital (city, not money) is worthwhile knowing for you-know-what purpose.

  3. Not so easy here, but no real holdups. Couldn’t parse CLIFFHANGER, didn’t see the anagram on writing it in and forgot to go back to it. LOI was LEASE where kindly/please didn’t seem to fit, but your example nails it. Glad we had BANGOR a few weeks ago, didn’t know it was Welsh.
    COD to LARYNX.

  4. POI LARYNX (nice clue!), LOI LEASE.
    I found it quite apt to see Female trapped in Afghan.

  5. 16 minutes. Should have been more, but I happened to get AFGHAN (sadly accurate surface as pointed out by Guy) and LARYNX quickly, two clues which could have taken me much longer on another day. I didn’t know the name of the battle referred to in the clue for SPARTAN, but can now just remember reading a poem about it way back in primary school days. WAHOO went in as an unknown but likely sounding word.

    I wish I could say that I immediately spotted ‘Lichtenstein’ at 19d as referring to ART, rather than to a small country (Merlin’s “microstate”), because I knew they were spelt differently, but I didn’t and so I can’t.

  6. 17 minutes. 21 dn and ac held me up at the end, or would have made it sub-15 minutes which doesn’t happen too often!
    LOI was LARYNX which should have been easier with hindsight.
    Thanks setter and blogger 🙂

  7. If I come in at 21.55 that means it really is easy. I too was held up for a while by LEASE/LARYNX. I don’t think the clues for LISTLESS, STIR, ALL and WAHOO were up to scratch for the fabled Times crossword and others were a bit lax if not flabby. Oh sorry, that was yesterday. Like others I haven’t heard anyone yell WAHOO, not even at Trump rallies where they seem to favour USA! USA! USA! Maybe an American can help us out. WOO-HOO maybe. Jackkt I thought plank just referred to what wooden ships were made of…

    1. Maybe not yelled, but you have surely heard it sung. Wings of an Eagle by the legendary Russell Morris!

      1. It did kind of specify an American enthusiastic cry but ok, sure, I’m with you on Russell. Will admit to having forgotten that. A few weeks ago (I wasn’t here then) ‘smoko’ came up but there were no refs to ‘the legendary John Williamson.’ I wonder why…

          1. Hey, one of my favourite films is Wake in Fright, so I am very much in touch with high Aussie art forms.

              1. It captured something of Australia as it was in the 70s, when I first visited the country.

                1. Had to study this film in detail when doing first year Visual Arts: excellent all round, especially the frightening Donald Pleasance!

    2. Like you I just thought PLANK referred to the planking of the decks and hulls of wooden sailing ships. WAHOO was known to me as a town in Nebraska because a famous baseball player, Wahoo Sam Crawford, was from there and incorporated it into his nickname.

  8. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And summer’s Lease hath all too short a date;
    (The Bard, guess the sonnet)

    15 mins got me to the last two and I needed another 5 to trap Larynx/Lease.
    My excuse, if I needed one, is that Noble gas =Argon, now abbreviate it =Ar is a bit of a double bounce. And the ‘with’ in the lease one is confusingly clunky.
    Ta setter and J.

    1. Ag for silver and Au for gold go in without a mention, so I think all chemical elements are fair game, even K for potassium would make a change from being clued as king, kilo or thousand.

      1. The equivalent would be ‘precious metal’ indicating AU, for instance. I’ve no idea if this happens though!

      1. Same here, to be honest.
        And I now remember that I once clued: Cat that’s trapped a rook’s airway (6) in a Sunday Times.

    2. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”, Sonnet 18- one of my favourites.

  9. I steamed through this in 23 mins with a steady top to bottom solve. I might have been under 20 mins had I not got held up, like others, on L2I LARYNX and LEASE.

    I liked the long clues, lots of juicy anagrams, the MONA LISA, and POP ART once I’d figured out we are talking about the artist and not the country. Very enjoyable.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  10. Clearly our esteemed editor got yesterday and today’s muddled up.
    Very quick; nice to see chaise… slim pickings for we Heyerites, just recently

  11. I think I must be on another planet this morning, as I had a fair bit of trouble with what was clearly an easy enough puzzle, and ended up biffing 4 or 5 answers.

    TIME 7:40

    1. If being on another planet gets this done in 7mins40 please let me know which planet you’re on, I’ll come and join you:-)

  12. 10:42. Held up at the end by LARYNX and LEASE, but not much else, although I needed the checkers to see the anagrams across the middle. Quite Mondayish… oh wait, it’s Tuesday today isn’t it? Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  13. I went through this at what seemed a decent rate jumping clues I couldn’t see and then returning once there were checking letters. All parsed other than BANGOR where I didn’t know the ‘charity’ connection and still don’t.
    LOI: LARYNX when the penny dropped.

    1. I only understood NGO today because it cropped up so recently in an almost identical clue to Bangor, and I was not alone in not knowing it that day. I should have explained it in the blog, but overlooked that some don’t solve the 15×15 every day and would not have seen it before.

  14. 9’40”, no issues. LEASE / LARYNX last in.

    SPARTAN was straight in, with ‘300’ firing the neurons. I understand that there is a comic series based on the battle, and I know (through a bad experience) that there is also a terrible film based on the comic…..

    Thanks jack and setter.

  15. 21 minutes with LOI POP ART. I wasted time earlier trying to find something to put ROY into. Whaam and Wahoo in the same puzzle sounds like a double whammy. COD to LARYNX. I prefer to keep my hinterland close and exploit it for all its worth. Pleasant puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.

  16. 4:50. This felt strangely harder than it evidently was. I failed to get the first three clues on my first attempt, and there were a few that needed attention to wordplay: the odd-looking WAHOO, most notably. But also lots of biffing, of course.

      1. It would probably still show remnants from a mate’s rather thorough birthday party on Saturday. The hangover from a 50th is somehow so much worse than that from a 30th.

  17. A rapid 15:58 for me, with about eight going in from crossers and/or definition only. Now it’s time to slow down and digest the blog and the world play I missed!

  18. 14 minutes, with the only uncertainty in the NE corner. I didn’t know CHAISE as a vehicle, but the cluing was clear and it seemed logical enough, and I didn’t twig that ‘spike’ was the definition for LACE.

    Re fit=prepare in FIT AS A FIDDLE – one good example is in ‘Away in the Manger’, with the line ‘And fit us for heaven, to live with thee there’.

    FOI Stir
    LOI Lease
    COD Devil-may-care

  19. 15.15 so, as Jack says, pretty easy. I’m not convinced by ‘larynx’ as a synonym for ‘airway’ but ho-hum.

  20. 13:19. I had it as easy-ish, rather than just plain easy. Got held up by BANGOR (cheap day out they say) but only because I had fat-thumbed CLIFFHANDER.

    Otherwise the usual enjoyable outing, and all for under a pound you know.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

    1. There was always a view that the song was really about Rhyl, and Bangor was used for its extra syllable. Rhyl and the other North Wales coastal towns certainly fit the descriptions in the song better, and were more likely places for Scousers, Mancs and other Lankies to go on their bank holiday charabanc trips.

      1. Sydney pub singer Pat Drummond had “Day Trip to Woy Woy” in the late 70s, a slightly more rumbunctious interpretation.

      2. Absolutely … Connah’s Quay, Prestatyn, Rhyl, Llandudno, … as far as we went, never got to Bangor when I was a child.

  21. 16 mins LOI LEASE, a bit confused there, tx kindly for the explanation. Went through all the Welsh cities I could think of, St Asaph, St David’s, Wrexham (!) etc and forgot about the one down the road.

  22. LARYNX/LEASE meant a DNF for me. Grrr. Interesting to see how many got held up by those two.

  23. My last two of LARYNX and then LOI LEASE held me up significantly.

    No exact time, as something came up with those 2 still to go, and I forgot to press pause, but somewhere in the 13’s for me, so straightforward, but not as quick as I can go.

  24. Steady solve while all the while feeling like I should have been quicker. Could 24d be a contender for easiest clue ever? Aged 6, I pointed out a Lynx watching us on one of our family walks in the woods in Canada. I didn’t understand at the time why my parents hurried their 6 children, of whom I was not the youngest, in the opposite direction.
    LOI PONCHO Fooled me.
    Thanks for the crossword, the blog and the memories.

  25. 19m 51s
    I agree with you, Jack, with your initial doubts about FIT AS A FIDDLE .

  26. It seems, with this low SNITCH and so many people being so quick, that I really should have been faster (I took 35 minutes). While much of this was pretty easy there were a few clues that held me up, but not to the extent that I felt they were at all unfair. I’m ashamed to say — and nobody else seems to have had this problem — that my LOI was the PONCHO clue. It’s always very annoying when one is slow to see a hidden. Fits = prepares seems fine to me: surely in such cases one only needs to be able to imagine two sentences where they are interchangeable: here one might have ‘the car mechanic fits/prepares the new wheels’. Not perhaps the best example.

    1. My last in too! And on the basis that we hadn’t had a hidden, I looked for one and then found it!

  27. 09:33, held up by suffering word-blindness at the LARYNX / LEASE conjunction, which serves me right for feeling smug at spotting the vital clue in the spelling of Lichtenstein, and getting that immediately. Not sure if I’ve come across the CHAISE before (if I had, I’d forgotten it) but obviously I immediately thought it sounded just like something which would appear in the works of Georgette Heyer, as confirmed above.

    1. I’m more familiar with the post-chaise than the vanilla variety. Probably from Heyer, possibly Austen, Trollope or similar.

  28. 13:33 – with time wasted on trying to think of a country starting with AGHAN (hint to self: read the clue) and a hastily biffed TEA DANCE, happily the only wrong biff among many.

  29. It must have been easy if I can go under 20 minutes, but I’m nevertheless pleased with my time of 19.10. All was parsed as I went along having learnt my lesson from my mistake on this mornings QC, but I must confess I had no idea what was going on with the parsing of the NGO part of BANGOR.

  30. 12:58

    Fast apart from the LARYNX/LEASE crossing – as with others, no idea that the LARYNX was an airway, just thought it was the official word for voicebox. Didn’t think the clue for LEASE was great.


    Thanks setter and Jack

  31. 18:42, but sadly I invented the Battle of STANTON, with SPARTAN only hoving into view when I saw the pink squares. Drat! Thanks setter and Jack.

  32. A rare completion for me, and in just 20 minutes, so the Snitch didn’t lie. Not all parsed though, with Tea Party and LOI Pop Art both put in from checkers and definition – the latter only after many attempts to get a reference to the alpine microstate in there, having totally failed to spot that the spelling was different.

    Little known fact about Liechtenstein (the state): it was the only country in 1945 to refuse Stalin’s demand that any Cossack refugees/refuseniks be returned to him. Nearly 500 had sought refuge there and the Prince refused to give them up. Heroes come in all sizes …

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

  33. Nice puzzle, not too hard but got lucky with lease and larynx at the end so managed to get in in under 10 minutes.

  34. LOI PONCHO was surprisingly easy in the end but I see I wasn’t alone in missing the obvious here.

    Yesterday, for those not already aware, we noticed the wide geographic spread of some of the contributors to this blogg, including at least 3 from Hampshire (alto_ego, Vaccarex and me). How wild is that.

  35. My fastest time for quite a while, 13 minutes. No holdups anywhere.

  36. All steady enough apart from the ridiculous ‘American’ exclamation – hardly worthy of the name ‘word’, in my opinion, any more than any other random exhalations might be. A DNF for me, but if this is the standard to which we are now reduced, well THRRRRUP!

  37. 8:02 and all correct. I guessed at POP ART in the hope of nipping under the 8 minute barrier. I biffed WHOOP instead of WAHOO which stopped me getting closer to a PB.


  38. low 20s for me, must be an easy one!! Liked hinterland but only after I biffed it when I ran out of patience trying to use impala rather than eland. thanks to all

  39. Late again, as just finished solving after a full-on day. At first sight, I couldn’t get anything much, but it was one of those where the answers become suddenly obvious with just a crossing letter, and in the end all was completed with a certain amount of biffing and post-parsing. CLIFFHANGER was an early guess, but the inability to parse it meant it only went in with all the crossers, then the penny dropped. An excellent anagram! WAHOO only confirmed by CROTCHET – otherwise it would have been ‘woaho’, which seemed equally plausible, to be honest! I wouldn’t have said it was easier than yesterday’s, but each to his own.

  40. 14.30. Pretty steady. Almost thrown by wahoo, expecting the answer to be yahoo but saw sense. Didn’t parse afghan but put it in anyway. Ashamed I didn’t get Mona Lisa till my second pass.
    Enjoyed it. Thx setter and blogger.

  41. Didn’t feel like a 57 Snitch. More like a 75. I came in at 17’22”, slowed at the end by LEASE-LARYNX. Liked the French flag anagram.

  42. Raced through this and then ground for a half for a bit on the 21a/21d pair (LARYNX and LEASE).

  43. 13.40

    Also thought CLIFFHANGER was excellent.

    Same last two crossers as well

    Thanks all

  44. 28.08 A PB, so definitely an easy one. Struggled with PONCHO and held up for several minutes at the end by LACE.

  45. Well, I’m not sure what this SNITCH is all about?!

    Accidentally did Monday’s 93 Snitch last night thinking it was this one. First pass not much, a couple of checks set me right and then it went in steadily to the hour when I had 2 left and one wrong. Thought that was a good performance.

    So high hopes with this SNITCHING at 58. What a struggle. Had 8 answers after half an hour and about two-thirds done at the hour mark and a good 5 or 6 of those went in at 55-mis. Gave up at 1hr30 with 5 left. Couple of schoolboy errors but all in all seemed a lot harder 🤷‍♂️ Strangely the only word I didn’t know was CHAISE and I’d considered that two mins in on my first pass and discounted. Might have helped out with LISTLESS and SPIKE which were two of my give ups, along with LEASE/LARYNX.

    Incidentally, as a big fan of the film Major League as a teenager, I recall baseball’s Cleveland Indians had a mascot called Chief Wahoo. Now retired due to its uncomfortableness for Native American Indians.

    1. Admirable honesty, L-Plates! I’m certainly not a newbie to this crossword, but still struggle to complete even one with a very low Snitch, as this was. However I did very nearly all – only one wrong was POP ART (where I bunged in TOP ACT in desperation, despite having majored in the Visual Arts at Uni !) Like others, didn’t notice the spelling difference. Oh and LARYNX, where I didn’t know AR for argon. Other than that, quite happy, having completed it in a relatively short time (for me). Missed the anagram for CLIFFHANGER, so that was biffed, as were the two phrases. CODs TEA PARTY, BANGOR and MONA LISA.

      1. Thanks Jacaroo – how frustrating to be one away and on a subject you are familiar with 😬

Comments are closed.