Times Cryptic 28634


I needed an hour for this, but even then one of my answers had been bunged in solely from the definition, and it was tentative as I had no idea what the rest of the clue was about. Apart from two long answers, around three-quarters of the grid had been completed within my target half-hour, but then I ran into major problems with the fourth quarter (the SE) which stumped me completely for what seemed like forever. Eventually the anagram at 16dn gave way and one by one the remaining answers slowly fell into place.

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 Cat losing seconds repeatedly chasing shy rodent (5)
COY (shy), PU{ss} (cat) [losing seconds repeatedly]
4 Plan to squander and run off (9)
BLUE (squander), PRINT (run off)
9 Home with trees arranged in small group (9)
Anagram [arranged] of HOME TREES
10 Atmosphere about street is bustling (5)
AIR (atmosphere) containing [about] ST (street)
11 Live with success around German city (6)
LUCK (success) containing [around] BE (live). I nearly died of food poisoning there in 1989.
12 Change the appearance of flag, not new (8)
RED E{n}SIGN (flag) [not new]. It’s the flag of the British Merchant Navy.
14 Dismantle vehicle for the purpose of working a series of panels (5,7)
STRIP (dismantle), CAR (vehicle), TO (for the purpose of), ON (working). ‘Panel’ is the technical term it seems.
17 Brief result I brought about? Far from it (12)
Anagram [brought about] of BRIEF RESULT I. I think most if not all of the clue is the definition. To filibuster is to obstruct (often legislation) by employing delaying tactics. This was one of the long answers that contributed to my difficulties although I know the word well.
20 Victorian work is old anthem entirely unfinished (8)
I{s} + OL{d} + ANTHE{m} [entirely – all – unfinished]. Not the most helpful of definitions but the wordplay was useful in identifying the well-known comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan
21 Perhaps dredge river in front of submarine dock (6)
DEE (river), PEN (submarine dock). Another clue that held me up. I knew there is a special word for submarine moorings but was unable to remember it until the checkers arrived.
23 Something that may give one a lift from doctor on Thursday (5)
THU (Thursday), MB (doctor). ‘Give’ seems intended to mislead here.
24 Balance arm is caught in edges of one (9)
EQUIP (arm – supply), then IS contained by [caught in] O{n}E [edges]. Another word that took me ages to construct from wordplay. It’s not one I’m particularly familiar with although I remember TV advertisements for ‘equipoise lamps’.
25 At one time included, quoted in vain (9)
CITED (quoted) with ONCE (at one time) included
26 Delightful one for the king in lodge (5)
This was my LOI. Although I had thought of ‘sweet’ as a possible answer quite early in the proceedings, at that stage I had no checkers  and was unable to parse the remainder of the clue so I held off writing it in, convinced there had to be an alternative word for ‘delightful’ that would make everything fall into place. But gradually the checkers arrived and SWEET it had to be so I bunged it in and stopped the clock. Having confirmed by revealing the answer that it was correct and I wasn’t wasting my time I then continued trying to parse it. Here’s my conclusion:

WE (one for the king) contained by [in] SET (lodge).

As Wiki has it, “the royal we, majestic plural, or royal plural, is the use of a plural pronoun…by a single person who is a monarch or holds a high office to refer to themselves.” It’s actually a way of avoiding saying ‘I’ which ‘one’ in the clue already has covered, so I’m not entirely convinced it works unless we’re supposed to reason that ‘one = I = royal we’ – but perhaps I’m overthinking it. The most memorable use by a non-royal came from Margaret Thatcher on the birth of her first grandchild when she issued a press release announcing “We have become a grandmother”. As with many statements by Maggie, this led to adverse comments.

I took some convincing that ‘lodge = set’ but it’s in my thesaurus in the 6th and final tranche of meanings so I suppose it’s ok.

1 Note girl is after hairstyle that’s refined (3-5)
CUT (hairstyle), G (note), LASS (girl). This is used figuratively in the expression ‘cut-glass accent to describe a manner of speaking that’s characterized by excessively careful enunciation.
2 Rhea, perhaps under three feet, captive in the US (8)
YARD (three feet), BIRD (rhea, perhaps). I knew this only from the nickname of the saxophonist Charlie Parker and there was an English pop group called The Yardbirds. I see it has several meanings in the USA, one being ‘convict’ which matches the definition here.
3 Cube confused with exponential? Unlikely to be called out (15)
Anagram [confused] of CUBE EXPONENTIAL. I got this from the anagram but was not sure what exactly it means. SOED obliges with ‘perfectly satisfactory or adequate’, so ‘unlikely to be called out’ or challenged.
4 Float to purchase a container for oxygen (4)
BUY (purchase) containing [a container for] O (oxygen)
5 Odd time almost completely quiet (10)
UNEVEN (odd), T (time), FUL{l} (completely) [almost]
6 Film a sheep running under tree on old homestead (6,2,3,4)
PLANE (tree), TOFT (old homestead), then anagram [running] of A SHEEP. This was another answer that gave me major problems as it was one of my last clues solved and its long absence deprived me of checkers to help with four words in the troublesome SE corner. I realised when writing the blog that I had failed to account for T OF T but fortunately the SOED came to my assistance with this entry: toft –  a homestead, the site of a house and its outbuildings. Freq. in toft and croft, an entire holding, consisting of the homestead and attached plot of arable land. OE. I never ever ‘eard of it!
7 Know instinctively northern dweller accepts temperature (6)
INUIT (northern dweller) contains [accepts] T (temperature)
8 Seat of power good for European crowd (6)
THRON{e} (seat of power) becomes THRONG when G (good) stands in for E (European)
13 British worker embracing to some extent chaps in exile (10)
B (British), ANT (worker) containing [embracing] ISH (to some extent – suffix) + MEN (chaps)
15 Lead with buffet covered in fruit (8)
HIT (buffet) contained by [covered in] GRAPE (fruit). Graphite is used for making pencil ‘lead’ so the clue works colloquially, but no doubt there will be the usual objections.
16 Division of church in ten parts roughly (8)
Anagram [roughly] of TEN PARTS. It crosses the nave to make the cruciform in a church. This was the breakthrough answer that eventually took me out of the doldrums. I’ve no idea why I needed so long to work it out.
18 Mexican, note, cross with detective (6)
MI (note – music), X (cross), TEC (detective). I feel I should be ashamed to admit that I didn’t know this word, but this would seem to be its first appearance in the TfTT era.
19 Adviser to Charlemagne Gauls caution regularly (6)
 {g}A{u}L{s} C{a}U{t}I{o}N [regularly]. This was Alcuin of York (735-804) scholar, clergyman, poet, and teacher. I didn’t know about his association with Charlemagne but I was aware of him from the age of about 7 when I attended a prep school named in his honour.
22 Kitty’s daughter chasing light-hearted pleasure (4)
FUN (light-hearted pleasure), D (daughter)

77 comments on “Times Cryptic 28634”

  1. 37:51
    It’s comforting to see that this has a very high SNITCH rating (Verlaine actually with a 2-digit time!). I submitted off leaderboard because of SWEET, which I could make no sense of and which I submitted faute de mieux. Seeing Jack’s explication, I can see that I’d never have figured it out. Don’t care much for the ‘we’ or the ‘set’. Biffed PLANET OF, never got the TOFT part, and why should I have? DNK PEN. At 3d, having the U and the B, I decided the word was UN__BLE, and then took forever to fill in the gap. I’d give this a COD, anagram division.

  2. I saw SWEET right away, but had to piece together EQUIPOISE, MIXTEC, and TRANSEPT and those took me about as long as the rest of the puzzle. 16:03 – this is a tricky one, but fun.

  3. Very tricky. I ended up with two wrong, one just a typo, and I gave up on the CONCEITED one and put CONNECTED, wondering if it might have meant “included” once, and no idea about the rest of the clue. I should have persevered a bit longer. MIXTEC was a toss-up with TIXTEC or TEXTEC, but it seemed the most likely once I’d stopped trying to find an alternative spelling for AZTEC. I was confused by the NHO TOFT in the long movie title, only heard of croft.

  4. 16m

    Apart from the horizontals in the south-west corner – DEEPEN required a river-trawl, EQUIPOISE semi-bifd/parsed/remembered and finally SWEET only parsed after the fact – I didn’t think this was too bad – the weird words were easily constructed etc

  5. Totally DNF in the SE, plus one wrong – guessed TIXTEC, rang a vague bell where MIXTEC didn’t. Lots of NHOs: Alcuin, toft, Mixtec, unexceptionable. I know graphite is carbon, but have no problem with it’s most common use as the “lead” in pencils.

    1. There are four ECs that I know of: Aztec, Mixtec (‘misteck’), Toltec, and Olmec; there may be others.

  6. 37 minutes. Another lucky one. Couldn’t parse SWEET or PLANET OF THE APES (never would have been able to), NHO MIXTEC (which sounded just a bit more likely than “tixtec”) and also NHO ALCUIN which went in, admittedly more confidently, from the wordplay and crossers. I thought of UNEXCEPTIONABLE in the sense of something to which someone is unlikely to take exception or criticise; much the same as your explanation. Just avoided a confected “confected” for CONCEITED as my LOI. I liked Lou’s “river-trawl”, something I’ve done many times.

    I was interested to read of the successful COYPU eradication program in East Anglia; I remember hearing many years ago that they were a real menace there.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

  7. Hard work but fun. All gettable bar 18dn, which I’d not heard of. The wordplay could equally produce TIXTEC for example. I was comfortable with the Royal We at 26ac. FILIBUSTERER was nice!

  8. 14:17 Stonking puzzle. Unsure about MIXTEC, but I knew MI was a note and wasn’t certain that Ti was. Now if Stokes and Broad get it right at Edgbaston, this looks like it will be a good day!

  9. I had (have) a headache and struggled with this. Never heard of TOFT (he said, to no one’s surprise). SWEET was mystifying.
    The US Congress really should get rid of the FILIBUSTER.

      1. Right. Very astute clarification. Of course, the Senate is part of the Congress, and the only part where the filibuster is a problem.

    1. The second of Aaron Burr’s notable contributions to the history of the USA.

  10. DNF. I progressed through this quite well considering the SNITCH rating, but ended with one error. I presumed it was going to be the unknown and unlikely sounding MIXTEC, but it was actually SCRAP CARTOON. When I just had the checkers for the first word I’d thought “Dismantle vehicle” is obviously SCRAP. When I later got CARTOON I never thought to question the first word or the fact I’d never heard of a SCRAP CARTOON. Pah!

    1. I started with SCRAP, too, and spent some time wondering what the second word could be; but when I got CARTOON, I scrapped it.

  11. Pretty good showing on a tough puzzle, with a couple of errors and a couple of blanks. I’m never sure of the spellings of those sol-fa notes, so went with Mextec, which messed up IOLANTHE, a shame as it’s a great word.

    Could not see CONCEITED, a surprising number of words fit : congested, connected, confected, concerted. Probably others.

    Didn’t get buffet=hit for GRAPHITE (they don’t seem the same thing to me), and was stuck on fruit = plum, for some word containing plumb=lead.

    BLUE=squander, what’s that about?


    1. ODE sv blue2: (Brit) (informal) (dated) squander or recklessly spend (money)
      I came across it here some time ago, when it was a NHO for me; I’m surprised I remembered it.

      1. It comes up quite regularly, and someone always questions it! Evidently it’s a usage that survives only in the Times crossword.

        1. I knew the word from Noel Coward’s ‘Imagine the Duchess’s Feelings’:

          Her first son’s debts bled the family white
          Her second son blued everything and fled–
          But imagine the Duchess’s feelings,
          When the apple of her eye went Red.

  12. At a touch Sweet Pleasure melteth,
    Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
    (Fancy, Keats. Not his best work)

    After 30 mins pre-brekker, I was stuck on Graphite/Deepen/Sweet. So I did a fruit-trawl and got to Grape which unlocked it all. Not keen on Lead=Graphite, but this might be sour grapes.
    Ta setter and J.

  13. Did all the hard work on this, it was delightful to get SWEET and UNEVENTFUL, and the GRAPHITE LOI. Unfortunately, like others above, I had bunged in SCRAP as the first word of STRIP CARTOON, and hadn’t reconsidered. Otherwise 20′.

    It is raining here in Birmingham so we may be deprived of another great day’s cricket 🙁

    Thanks jack and setter.

  14. 26:20. I suspected this might be a long haul when I got only ASTIR on a first read through the acrosses. Some lovely clues that had me wrong-footed a lot of the time. LOI SWEET was unparsed with fingers crossed. TOFT was vaguely familiar from a local village name – Stowlangtoft. The SE corner held me up the most but I liked GRAPHITE when it came. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  15. Gave up after 40 minutes completely bamboozled by graphite and sweet. I thought of sweet but couldn’t work it out thinking in terms of replace R by I or CR not being conducive. Graphite is a good clue but my only thought about the element was confined to pb .
    Apart from that enjoyed the puzzle.

  16. 12:29. Tricky one, mostly very enjoyable but the ambiguous wordpay in 18dn spoiled it a bit for me. I thought MIXTEC looked a bit more likely but there’s no valid linguistic reason for that as far as I can tell so it was really just a lucky guess. I’m glad I haven’t come across the ticketing company TIXTEC before or I might have thought the opposite.
    NHO ALCUIN but the wordplay was crystal-clear in that case.
    I biffed the movie so never even registered the unknown TOFT.

  17. DNF. Another stuck in the the SE. Couldn’t see GRAPHITE, DEEPEN or SWEET. Also had TOLTEC (sounded good!) so IOLANTHE impossible.

    Oh well.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  18. Finally finished after 51 minutes, and had to check a couple of my answers with google along the way. Notably MIXTEC. LOI was GRAPHITE, which as already pointed out is Carbon not Lead.
    Found that a very hard puzzle and though one or two clues (e.g. STRIP CARTOON, THUMB) were fun I thought most of it was just hard-hard. Thanks for the explanation for SWEET which I put in without understanding it, SET for LODGE is kind of vague, but it must be, I suppose.
    Thanks setter and especially the blogger today 🙂

  19. A late start as the crossword refused to download this morning. And then I took 55 minutes with LOI MIXTEC when IOLANTHE was at last seen. I was nowhere near to parsing PLANET OF THE APES. I was also detained by SCRAP rather than STRIP for a while. I wasn’t on form this morning and even considered YARDHARE before the obvious. Tough, without looking it.Thank you Jack and setter.

  20. Just over an hour but DNF as I had THRONE for THRONG – I really feel like the parsing could go either way on this one, did anyone else have trouble?

    Still, lucky to have got that far. Tuesday toughie for me and no mistake.

    EDIT: ah, ok I totally misread the parsing, my mistake

  21. Half an hour. Biffed PLANET OF THE APES so didn’t worry about the unknown toft, had to hope that MIXTEC was right, and relied on the wordplay for ALCUIN. Like Merlin, I spent a while thinking of plums/plumb for 15d before thinking of grape and eventually getting GRAPHITE.

    Technically, Inuit is the plural, so INTUIT should perhaps have been clued as ‘northern dwellers’. But that might be too picky.

    A tough puzzle, but enjoyable. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Coypu
    LOI Sweet
    COD Conceited

  22. I successfully negotiated the weird words in the bottom left, didn’t notice that I hadn’t accounted for TOFT, ignored the old Qi General Ignorance buzzer for GRAPHITE as lead, and took an age and two thirds working out SWEET (I did, too, though you can add me to the list for lodge and SET not being closely acquainted) and submitted on 26-some minutes with a short sighted BUOT. Ah well. Glad it wasn’t my blogging day: well crafted, Jack!

  23. Failure. Never heard of ‘Mixtec’ and entered ‘Tixtec’. Hard and not very enjoyable for me.

  24. Submitted off the board after a half hour had passed because there were several DNKs (too many for enjoyment) I had to look up. UNEXCEPTIONABLE is a very “Georgette Heyer” word although she uses it with a rather different emphasis, as in “faultless” (his breeches were unexceptionable). MIXTEC sounds like a type of fusion music as in Tejano. Not sure of the spelling of the coastal town Lowestoft – I think Trollope spells it Lowestoffe – but in any case I DNK the toft=homestead part and just skipped over it. Good blog Jack.

  25. Probably about an hour, 30 mins either side of taking the dog to kennels before we go off on a break. Mostly complete when I left but like most others the SE corner had me for a while, and SWEET was obviously biffed. Graphite works for me, not scientific but a nice clue. Couple of NHOs in ALCUIN and MIXTEC, one obviously easier than the other…. COD for me was YARDBIRD, just wish the setter had been able to use a band reference! Thanks to all.

  26. Spent ages staring glumly at various incomprehensible clues, making few inroads. When YARDHARE finally gave way to YARDBIRD I thought, how appropriate: Sick at heart and lonely, deep in dark despair…

    But gradually the secrets of this very good crossword revealed themselves, sort of. I am indebted to Jackkt for several parsings, especially PLANET OF THE APES. Never knew toft, maybe it explains the name of the luxurious harbourside apartment block in Elizabeth Bay in Sydney where David Bowie lived for about ten years, Toft Monks.

    In the end I finished in 62.27. But seeing that included a while in the kitchen sorting dinner, I’ll give myself time off for good behaviour and say I got there under the hour.

  27. I suppose it’s a sign of one’s background that I (and evidently several others) had never heard the word MIXTEC. Perhaps we should have done. I thought lead = graphite was a bit naughty, although it is no doubt supported by some dictionaries. Toft a word that shouldn’t feature in a daily cryptic, but then that may simply be because I didn’t know a word I should have known. The film defeated me for a long time: Places on the spot, Plates of the … I took 61 minutes and had absolutely no idea how SWEET worked until Jack explained. FILIBUSTERER struck me as a pretty awful word, surprised it’s in the dictionaries.

    1. ‘Supported by some dictionaries’?! It’s an entirely commonplace usage and I’d be amazed if it wasn’t in every English dictionary!

  28. There are a few villages called Toft in GB, including one just outside Cambridge.

    1. That TOFT is very close to the Greenwich Meridian- see below.

  29. Surely blue = blew = squanderEd

    Squander = blow

    No one else seems to think there is a problem with the clue so I must be missing something.

    1. Dictionaries have “blue” as squander. Argue against it all you want, but it’s there in black and white 😉

    2. Oxford Dictionaries Online describes the use of “blue” to mean “squander or recklessly spend” as a “dated, informal” British usage, and gives this example: “It is again time to break open a bottle of bubbly and to blue our money till kingdom comes.”…yeah I didn’t know either!

  30. 27:53, and having noted the SNITCH, after about 10 of those minutes I was thinking “this seems pretty straightforward, I wonder what held all those people up for so long”. At which point I obviously became almost-terminally bogged down in the SE corner and had whatever the opposite of wavelength is, when you can’t see the wordplay for the words (and even when you come up with the right answer, aren’t entirely sure why it must be right). I can’t even blame the cricket for distracting me (right, off to check the weather forecast for the sixth time this morning).

  31. Identical with Tim above. That darned triplet of clues! I haven’t heard Charles describe himself as ‘we’ yet, so maybe it’s another king. I’d associate it more with Queen Victoria. 31 mins.

  32. 10m 18s, so I might be the only person who found this one easier than yesterday’s – but still on the tricky side, particularly GRAPHITE / SWEET / DEEPEN.

    Some tricky vocab today, such as TOFT (although I biffed it and didn’t see that until coming here) & the unknown MIXTEC.

  33. Much harder than yesterday’s walk in the park, and I was pleased to complete it – on another day, I might not have. Like Jackkt, I was particularly held up by the SE corner and, again like Jackkt, my LOI was sweet; it did occur to me before I had all the checkers, but I couldn’t immediately parse it, even though it occurred to me that ‘lodge’ might provide SET; my main problem, as ever, was the looseness of the synonym sweet/delightful; once I had all the checkers, I decided it must be sweet and then the penny dropped with the parsing.

    I entered MIXTEC with little confidence; I know that a few of the old Central American peoples have names ending in ‘tec’ but had never heard of the Mixtecs -but at least I could parse it.

    I could not parse BLUEPRINT at all, not the ‘blue’ part anyway; so I have looked it up since reading Jackkt’s blog above. I guess this is another case where I am just too young (66) to be aware of the usage concerned; I actually struggled to believe it.

  34. Another defeated on the hour mark by GRAPHITE and SWEET. On checking the answers I note that I carelessly put in ALCUON at 19dn, and I would have been really mad with myself if that had been my only failure.

  35. Struggled on for 67 minutes then gave up on LOI, REDESIGN and looked it up. Slapped forehead moment. Sumbitted off leaderboard and found I got the rest correct. Sheesh! 67:17 before throwing in the towel. thanks setter and Jack.

  36. Didn’t know a lot of this including blue=blow and toft (so didn’t get blueprint which led to not getting Planet of the Apes). Guessed Mixtec, assumed Alcuin was right and failed completely on sweet. Overall not my best day.

  37. 31:16
    Drifted through this without too much trouble. Good puzzle. Mixtec from wp.
    Thanks, jack.

  38. 55’19”
    Finished exhausted; try over a shorter trip(?)
    As has been highlighted, the mediant could have been been a leading-note (ti), so I was fortunate there.
    By sheer good luck the rest were fully justified; I once, with a three-iron, hit a shot from the western into the eastern hemisphere at Meridian GC,
    TOFT, Cambridgeshire, and looked into the odd place-name.
    Fine work from both setter and Jack; thanks to both. I’ll now fail to relax with the cricket.

  39. Well, that’ll teach me to complain that yesterday’s was too easy! I thought this was going to be too when the NW corner went straight in but then I ground to a halt. Technical DNF as I checked MIXTEC was a thing before entering. Like others, NHO TOFT, but didn’t really need to and couldn’t parse SWEET. Nearly 20 minutes, which is slow by my standards.

  40. 42:49

    Some uneducated guessing for MIXTEC (good job I thought of MI first rather than TI) and ALCUIN both built from cryptic.

    Heard of anglepoise lamps so not a great jump to follow the cryptic and come up with EQUIPOISE from both of the E checkers. With the P in place and figuring that if the third word of 6d was THE and the last six letters of the answer were an anagram of A SHEEP, I hit on THE APES, and consequently saw PLANE (didn’t think too much about TOFT!).

    Didn’t realise that FILIBUSTER could have a further ER on the end of it, but that was all I could make of the anagrist. Liked DEEPEN once I’d thought of PEN (had thought of DEE very early on, but was thinking ‘dock’ might be to DE-tail or something similar). Couldn’t make head nor tail of LOI SWEET.

    Thanks setter and Jack

    1. I got into PLANET OF THE APES the same way. Sometimes a partial parsing is all you need.

  41. 35’21” with ten minutes on REDESIGN at the end. Couldn’t get a -TION ending out of my mind. Surprised Snitch so high. Thought it was just me being thick.

  42. 11 is my lucky number, my birthday is 11/11, and my finishing time has me 11th on the leaderboard. I biffed furiously through this, and nearly entered “tixtec” for the unknown Mexican. My LOI was 100% hit and hope….as was SWEET which was in the “got to be right but how does it work?” category.

    TIME (ahem) 11:11

  43. Happy to finish this in 30 minutes, no problems with MIXTEC, or TOFT. Eventually managed to understand SWEET before popping it in. Nice puzzle.

  44. Thanks for another comprehensive blog Jack. I struggled immensely with this and gave up after around 45 mins with 6 or 7 still unsolved. I suppose I might have done better if I’d spelt BUOY correctly, but probably not. I also infuriatingly dismissed ?????? of the sape, ?????? of the seap and ?????? of the peas before the penny eventually dropped after BLUEPRINT went in.

    I’ve never been to Lübeck but I did see some coypu in Germany a few years ago. Quite cute creatures with very large orange teeth.

  45. Well done for parsing SWEET, I gave up, defeated. Could only guess MIXTEC, TOFT & ALCUIN from the wordplay due to my own general knowledge failures. Knew PEN from those that I think still exist in Bordeaux. But a good puzzle I think. Thanks for the blog!

  46. I thought this was going to be the easy one of the week, as I raced through the entire left-hand side in double-quick time, checking upwards at one point to see if I’d printed the quickie by mistake! Then, apart from 3 clues, the right-hand side remained blank until I got home and enlisted the help of the master anagram solver, Mr Ego, for the ridiculous FILIBUSTERER. Finally, BLUEPRINT came to me, only because I suddenly remembered finding ‘blue’ here a year or so ago, having never heard of it before. That gave me the ‘plane’ tree for the film and at last the SE corner began to fill out. LOI the annoyingly obvious SWEET, which we parsed when it couldn’t be anything else, having already thought of ‘set’ for lodge. MIXTEC was unknown, as was preppy ALCUIN, but it couldn’t be anything else. What a strange mixture of a puzzle!

  47. Not a Monday puzzle NOR a Tuesday puzzle, I would say. My clock says 1:22:42, but actually only two words were missing when I took a break after an hour: GRAPHITE (after my mind cleared and I believed GRAPEs would be the only fruit that fit the crossing letters) and then finally SWEET, correctly parsed once it was clear there would be no I to replace by R or K. Most of the rest was, well, tolerable, despite unknowns like BLUE for squander and MIXTEC. I’m very glad Jack survived Lübeck.

  48. About 33 minutes. A strange puzzle, with some horrible words, and seemingly not to enable any sort of nina or theme. Thought MIXTEC very unfortunate – a complete NHO for me (and it seems many others), with ambiguous wordplay, making it a test of your knowledge of native Mexican peoples. Bit much for a daily, that.

    Thanks both.

  49. I guessed correctly on Mixtec, remembered Blue, and liked Sweet – though I wondered if King should be capitalized in that context. Otherwise I was glad I had an on-and-off mental committment day, so could put down and come back as needed.

    1. I’d certainly never capitalize, when it’s not part of a name, “king,” “president,” “pope,” anything like that, but somehow some people think that’s all right. Today, as it happens, I caught a typo at the eleventh hour before the pages went to the printer (I just happened to see it as I prepared the Web edition): “Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs.” The page was redone to uncapitalize “pharaohs.”

      1. I am glad to see I am not alone in my never-ending campaign to rid the world of the scourge of over-capitalisation, which usually occurs in reference to something the writer regards as Very Important.

      2. In this case I thought that both the phrasing of the clue and also the implied use of “we” for “I” or “one” as a characteristic of the English Royals specifically referes to Charles and not to some random king, and as a consequence must be capitalized.

        1. Makes no difference to mine (and The Nation‘s, and The New York Times’…) style. “King Charles asked where his teddy bear was. The king was told that he forgot it at the breakfast table.”

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