Times Cryptic 28640 


Solving time: 55 minutes.

Although I saw the answer at 1ac immediately which raised my expectations for an easy time of it, I had difficulty following on from there and the result was a very scrappy solve that didn’t flow and there were gaps in every quarter of the grid almost to the end. Once again it was a pair of intersecting answers that were my last two in at 4dn and 14ac. Apparently I had an error at 25ac but I think the given answer is wrong.

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 Party time! Partying hard, bit woozy ultimately (8)
Anagram [partying] of HARD BIT, then {wooz}Y [ultimately]
5 Hopes to some extent placed in The Times succeeded (6)
ISH (to some extent – suffix) contained by [placed in] WE (The Times), then S (succeeded). I had ISH clued by ‘to some extent’ in my blog last Tuesday!
8 Lady, one potentially a queen, we’re told (3)
Sounds like [we’re told] “bee” (one potentially a queen). Not a random name that comes easily to mind so checkers were needed before this went in.
9 Caught criminal curious about computing, not going straight (10)
C (caught) anagram [criminal] of CURIOUS containing [about] IT (computing). After the recent bout of smutty clues, at least we were spared the criminal being curious about sex!
10 One old coat for Sophie, tattered? This needs tying up (5,3)
Anagram [tattered] of ONE OLD S{ophi}E [coat]
11 Work about empty environment — lines in e.g. Betjeman’s Slough (6)
OP (work) reversed [about], E{nvironmen}T [empty], RY (railway lines).

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!

John Betjeman 1937

12 For Louis I, I’m not sure this shows contempt (4)
JE (for Louis I – yer actual French), ER (I’m not sure)
14 E.g. daily fun for kids, turning on The Phantom Menace? (5,5)
PAPER (e.g. daily), TIG (fun for kids), then RE (on) reversed [turning]. I think ‘tig’ as an alternative name for the playground game ‘tag’ has come up before but I failed to think of it so it was no help to me in constructing the answer which was my last one in.
17 Aggression from Uncle Dicky breaking peace (10)
Anagram [dicky] of UNCLE contained by [breaking] TRUCE (peace). ‘Dicky’ is slang for unsound or shaky. Some may remember M. Alfonse in Hello, Hello with his ‘dicky ticker’.
20 Report from south London, say, sent over (4)
S (south) + WEN (London, say) reversed [sent over]. London as The Great Wen is something I learned from crosswords. ‘Wen’ can now mean any large congested city.
23 Games in bingo houses where bad players end up (3,3)
Hidden in [houses] {game}S IN BIN{go}. Sports jargon.
24 Support graduate with brilliance at Harvard, say (8)
BA (graduate), LUSTER (brilliance) [at Harvard, say – American spelling]
25 Editing frames of video, Aleutian offers judgment (10)
Anagram [editing] of V{ide}O [frames of …] + ALEUTIAN. The word unknown to me in the clue refers to islands in the Northern Pacific some of which are part of Alaska and others belong to Russia.
26 Writer and broadcaster, one putting out a book (3)


Writer and broadcaster, one putting out a book (3)


Update: This clue was originally posted at The Times with the wrong answer which has now been corrected, but I’m letting my original comment stand: 

BBC is the given answer, but I think the clue leads inevitably to BIC parsed as: BBC (broadcaster) becomes BIC (writer – pen) when I (one) replaces [is putting out] a B (book).  BBC might also be suspect because it requires the definition to be in the middle of the clue rather than at the beginning or end – not an impossibility, but unusual.

27 Port thus knocked back by nurse (6)
SO (thus) reversed [knocked back], TEND (nurse). One of the main destinations of cross-channel ferries.
28 At night, unlit street’s bordering French city (8)
ST’S (street’s) containing [bordering] ARLES (French city)
1 Printer associates during lockdown with flier (6-3)
BUBBLE (associates during lockdown), JET (flier). The first element of wordplay may be a mystery to those outside the UK, but one of the exceptions to Covid lockdown regulations allowed people living on their own to associate in a ‘bubble’ with another household. I saw this for the first time in puzzle towards the end of last week (The Guardian, I think) and here it is again already!
2 Once again, came to run a PC without energy (7)
R (run – cricket) + A + WOKE (PC – Politically Correct) containing [without] E (energy)
3 White wine you once overturned? This may be on ice (6)
HOCK (white wine), then YE (you, once) reversed [overturned]
4 Briefly showing the money one gets for a quantity of gas (3-6)
AIR-IN{g} (showing) [briefly], TAKE (the money one gets)
5 Someone who flogs whiskey needing cooler (7)
W (whiskey), HIPPER (cooler)
6 European in area south of Nairobi’s outskirts poking pig (9)
N{airob}I [outskirts] + A (area) contained by [poking] SLOVEN (pig). ‘South of’ indicates the position of ‘A’. Slovens and pigs may be thought to share certain characteristics. I can’t find a dictionary entry that links the two words directly but my Collins thesaurus has pig = sloven.
7 Time engineers put into different film-making location (7)
T (time) + RE (Royal Engineers) contained by [put into[ ELSE (different). The name ‘Elstree’ has been associated with film and TV production for over 100 years but of the many studios that have fallen under the banner, only one was ever actually in Elstree, the remainder being in the neighbouring village, now sizeable town, of Borehamwood. Hitchcock made a series of films there, beginning in 1927.
13 Shake and reportedly smash type of fern (4,5)
ROCK (shake), then BRAKE sounds like [reportedly] “break” (smash). I didn’t know this but worked it out
15 Ceremony is incorporated into plan by Brussels (9)
IS contained by [incorporated into] EU CHART (plan by Brussels). An alternative name for the communion service in the Christian church.
16 Hampers are unopened, firm and small (9)
{a}RE (unopened), STRICT (firm), S (small)
18 Mounties, say, arresting ace thieves (7)
RIDERS (mounties, say – Royal Canadian Mounted Police) containing [arresting] A (ace)
19 Dreamy, liberal article good for The Scotsman (7)
L (liberal), AN (article), GUID (good for The Scotsman)
21 Like food which can be warmed up near Bow Bells (7)
{h}EATABLE (can be warmed up) [near Bow Bells]
22 Athlete‘s manager, perhaps (6)
Two meanings

89 comments on “Times Cryptic 28640 ”

  1. 35:43 WO”E”
    I failed to parse a few: PAPER TIGER (forgot TIG, which has come up a couple of times), NEWS (forgot WEN, ditto), BUBBLE-JET (DNK ‘bubble’), LOOSE END. DNK SIN BIN. Biffed POETRY, parsed post-submission. I also spent some time thinking POLE was the European in 6d and RITE the ceremony in 15d. All in all tough going. 26ac has to be BIC; I expect the editor will correct the error once he checks in.

  2. BEA went in reluctantly near the end. Why a lady? I assumed someone from literature.

    I thought an AIR INTAKE was an inlet, but I see it can also be the quantity let in, so that’s a query resolved.

    Agree about BIC.

    Overall, a challenge.

  3. 67 minutes with a pink square for BIC for 26a; I agree that it seems to be the better answer. Hard going for plenty of others, including innocuous looking three and four letter answers like BEA and NEWS, with PAPER TIGER my last in too after an alphabet trawl.

    Many happy returns to whoever or whatever.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

      1. I was floored to see that this was a difficult puzzle! That’s how it goes, of course, it’s always wavelength. There was a puzzle last week that took me 45 minutes and people were saying it was one of the easiest puzzles in memory!

  4. Are bubble and woke in the dictionaries yet? Will they last? Another BIC, but generally off the wavelength… puzzle seemed average hardness, but took forever to see things like WOKE for PC, and some of the anagram fodders. First guess at 8 was KIT – wrong sort of queen. Quite liked the simple RAIDERS. LOI STARLESS, but only because I didn’t get it first pass – no long hold-ups anywhere.

    1. Too soon for either ‘bubble’ or ‘woke’ to be in any printed dictionaries yet with these meanings, I imagine, so we need to look online.

      Collins has ‘woke’ in COBUILD and in the English section. ‘Bubble’ is in COBUILD only, explained as follows: If a group of people form a bubble, they can have unlimited contact with each other, but not with other groups, in order to help stop the spread of a disease.

      I suspect both are in the Chambers on-line ‘paid for’ app, but I don’t have access to it. Perhaps someone else could check please?

      I have no doubt at all that both words will last.

      1. I can’t see those meanings of “woke” or “bubble” in the Chambers iPhone app, but I don’t know how often the app gets updated.

        1. Interesting. I’d have thought ‘woke’ might be there. ‘Bubble’ sort of existed already as a closed group (e.g. the Westminster bubble inhabited by politicians) but it’s new with reference to disease control. Thanks for looking.

          1. The OED has several references for woke, starting with (gasp) twitter references from 2009. As always, the definition is well-crafted: “In more recent use sometimes derogatory, esp. as a means of characterizing such vigilance (or the political and social views stereotypically associated with it) as doctrinaire, self-righteous, or pernicious.”
            Bubble Is defined in this usage from 2020

  5. Has to be BIC surely. I got round in just under 30, held up by EUCHARIST and a couple of its neighbours, plus AIR INTAKE my LOI. Grateful to jackkt for unravelling quite a few of these, like WISHES and POETRY. Reading the blog I had a number of ‘oh, right!’ moments, like oh right, SIN BIN was a hidden, LOOSE END was an anagram etc. Knew Elstree from remembering Lew Grade, lord of there. When they released a movie called Raise the Titanic he said it would have been cheaper to drain the Atlantic…

  6. Oh also, at LANGUID, I think the required article is AN not A. Just to prove I can be as pedantic as anybody else…

  7. NHO, and never got, ELSTREE.
    Stymied also by… BBC? BIC? The latter must be the answer, but I had gotten impatient and didn’t think about it long enough.
    Very hard to get anywhere with a few of these, but I liked some of them quite a lot—such as REAWOKE and OSTEND, the latter because it reminded me of a great song by Léo Ferré, which I’ve been brave enough (it’s hard!) to do at karaoke,”Comme à Ostende.”
    La barmaid avait 18 ans et moi qui suis vieux comme l’hiver
    Au lieu de m’noyer dans un verre, je m’suis baladé dans le printemps
    Et ses yeux taillés en amande

    And I liked STARLESS because it reminded me of the title of the King Crimson album (and its cover art, by Tom Philips) Starless and Bible Black, which is from a line by Dylan Thomas’s Under Milkwood.
    I’ve had sebaceous cysts myself and find the NHO nickname for London rather grotesque.

    1. I actually messaged my friend Roger before setting off to Saturday’s gathering at the George, saying I was on my way to “The Great Wen”. I always thought that Dr.Johnson was the first to use the expression, but research shows that it was William Cobbett, the author of “Rural Rides”.

      1. When I asked my fellow New Yorker Paul.in.London if he crossed the Atlantic expressly for that symposium, I referred to the British capital as “Old Blighty,” another term I’ve picked up here.

          1. Indeed. I may have been confusing it with a similar term that came up here recently referring to the capital (ah, yes: the Big Smoke! That could have described New York City a couple weeks ago… and maybe this coming Wednesday, depending on the winds from Canada). I surely was not misconstruing a song I’ve never heard: “Take me back to dear old Blighty/Put me on the train for London town” (included in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations).

              1. I’ve found it lots of places besides, online. I (still) don’t have Chambers!

            1. What was weird, Sandy? That you quietly edited john.in.london after my post, without saying anything? Yes that was weird

              1. Meant that it was weird that I put in the wrong name.
                I saw your message last night and didn’t realize what you were saying, so oblivious was I! Only noticed my mistake this morning. Then, lower down, was reminded that you had noticed it too.
                (If anyone has been following this, figured they’d know what was up.)

    2. Yes, STARLESS made me think of that too, but also of the track STARLESS on the album Red. An astounding piece of music with a guitar solo that builds tension so well it’s amazing the strings don’t all snap. And from such a simple basic concept. Only Fripp could build something like that from what essentially sounds as though he has decided to stop in the middle of operations to try to tune his guitar.

  8. I didn’t enjoy this at all, and the pink square of my LOI was the final straw.

    There were too many clues where words needed to be emptied and just their first and last letters used – a mechanism that isn’t one of my favourites

    Tig as “fun for kids” took a while to strike me, and “The Phantom Menace” meant nothing to me. NHO ROCK BRAKE, but the clueing was fair.

    I’m assuming that the mysterious BEA(TRICE) is the recipient of the BIRTHDAY WISHES, and it’s this kind of “tribute puzzle” that so often doesn’t flow. CIRCUITOUS described it quite aptly.

    TIME 17:57

    1. You made me look it up: Princess Bea, potentially a queen (9th in line to the throne), was born 8/8/88 @ 8:18 according to Wikipedia, not June 27th.

  9. So, BIRTHDAY WISHES to BEA? Does she work on LOOSE ENDS for the BBC at ELSTREE? Aisling Bea?

    As to the crossword, DNF with a BIC, of course.

  10. I’ve been having a bit of a solving malaise recently, so it felt good to make decent progress as I went through this one – albeit with an uncomfortable degree of biffiness. Finished up top-right where for a while where I had no clue whatsoever how to make the obvious WISHES work. Eventually solved POI ELSTREE and then there was no other choice …but sadly I fell into the BIC trap, and also had REAROSE for 2D.

    Two decodes that have both tripped me up before (To some extent = ISH and PC = not necessarily police- or computer-related) – hopefully they’ll sink in this time. 27m fail, thanks J and setter

    1. ” I fell into the BIC trap” – rather you solved the clue correctly as presented, as did I and many others!

  11. 35 minutes (with BIC), aided by my father having owned a Canon BJ-130 BUBBLE-JET when I was growing up, and possibly by some somewhat misspent hours of the same youth watching Prisoner: Cell Block H, a major character of which was “Queen” BEA Smith…

  12. 70 minutes and with a BIC. Well, actually with a Parker. And it’s amazing how quickly you can forget about bubbles too. My Grannie was Beatrice, never shortened in my presence, so I had BEE until I saw REAWOKE. COD to POETRY which slowly emerged from the craters left by the friendly bombs. A tough one. Thank you Jack and setter.

  13. 9:59, with BIC of course which is obviously the right answer.
    I knew a BEA growing up but it was pronounce the French way (bay-ah). I know another BEA now who pronounces it ‘bee’ but it’s still less familiar to me so I waited for the checkers.
    ROCK BRAKE looked unlikely, trust wordplay and cross fingers.
    I like to see modern words like WOKE and BUBBLE. They may not be in all the dictionaries yet but you’d have to have been living under a rock (or out of the UK in the case of BUBBLE, tbf) not to know them.

  14. Another BIC here, of course .. also nho rock brake, which went in with a shrug. According to Collins they have sori at the end of their veins, good to know..
    PC means computer to me, so totally failed to spot the WOKE aspect. So that also went in with a shrug. Well it’s all exercise, isn’t it?

    Happy birthday BEA, whoever you are. I would pronounce your name to rhyme with beer not bee, it being short for Beatrice usually .. so yet another shrug

    1. I did check this with the setter and “Bee” is the normal pronunciation apparently. The only Bea I know is certainly pronounced “Bee” (I checked with her dad!)


      1. I am sure you are right (wife says so, which is definitive) but it is a bit odd that BEE and BEA should be pronounced identically. Inefficient …

  15. 27:50 with only the BIC/BBC debacle to leave me on tenterhooks. Just as I was thinking it’s nice to actually finish for a change!

    did not know TIG version of TAG.
    had to assume the fern was right from wordplay
    BALUSTER just looked right, and a cousin of BALUSTRADE probably. Nice word anyway.
    COD – SIN BIN was a lovely hidden

  16. 15:50
    LOI was PAPER TIGER, apparently a calque of the ancient Chinese phrase 紙老虎 referring to something that appears threatening but is actually ineffectual, popularised as a slogan by Mao Zedong.
    I knew that.

  17. 20 minutes, very much hoping that BIC is right – it surely has to be. Also crossed my fingers for ROCK BRAKE, as I’ve never heard of it, and trusted that BALUSTER is a form of support. A nice solve otherwise, with the pieces gradually falling into place.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Reawoke
    LOI Rock brake
    COD Sin bin

  18. 59m 37s but with BIC iso BBC.
    I knew as BEA once and, like the one keriothe knew, mine was a ‘bay-ah’ as well. She was our landlady in Sicily 20 years ago.

  19. 21:55 with BIC, of course. I found this rather tricky. Only the felicitations made BEA explicable (I’d pronounce the name like Jerry), and I failed to parse REAWOKE not thinking that PC. As others did, I derived the unknown ROCK BRAKE from the wordplay. LOI BALUSTER. I liked the hidden SIN BIN. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  20. DNF. I couldn’t see AIR INTAKE. Eventually I settled on AIR INRATE. And I went for BIC of course.


  21. Another all correct except Bic and another puzzle I would rather forget. Random name ‘Bea’, and an abbreviation at that: not to my taste. I also had an error on the Grauniad today, so not a great start to this Tuesday.

  22. SNITCH has it as hard, but for some reason I flew through this one in 13 mins. Only BIC (which is of course correct) and BEA presented any difficulties. Liked TRUCULENCE and STARLESS.

  23. Hopefully the answer at 26ac has been corrected by now.

    I am sure anyone called Bea would be dismayed to learn that they have a “random” name 🙂


    1. … and what is the Nina? I am guessing that Bea works for the BBC rather than Bic?

  24. 15:08, and whatever problem there was with this puzzle, it has clearly been fixed, as my BIC was marked correct, as it clearly should have been all along.

    Incidentally, I happened to look at the forum at just the right moment, as I have spotted a reply to the often-asked question (in this case asked by Sue) “Will there be an in-person Times Crossword Competition this year” and the answer from Mick Hodgkin is “discussions are happening, and I hope to have some news for you soon”. Which is…positive? I think?


  25. 26:31
    Can’t say I enjoyed this. BEA, REAWOKE, BUBBlE JET and PAPER TIGER were all a bit laboured for me and several other clues were oddly irksome. I misparsed PAPER TIGER by thinking “daily fun for kids might somehow refer to the comic Tiger which I sometimes read in the ’60s.
    I did like SIN BIN and the lovely word TRUCULENCE. The BIC problem had been fixed by the time I entered it

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  26. I found this tough going, especially in the NW corner, with REAWOKE my last in once I’d corrected BEE to BEA. It’s amusing that WOKE has become a standard insult in the US among the MAGA enthusiasts. I would have thought it was rather good to be aware, enlightened, vigilant, and all those other meanings that can be hung onto the word.
    For me the big issue with this puzzle (not a complaint, really) is the higher than usual level of deceptions that would trip experienced solvers. As an example: “One old coat for Sophie, tattered” where most of us (well, me, anyway) would automatically go I(one) O(ld) coat for (SOPHIE)*.
    I wasn’t sure of aggression for TRUCULENT, which for me has more the flavour of a moody teenager, but Chambers OKs it. It’s so unfair, I hate you.
    Does anyone know the derivation of ROCK BRAKE? I’d hate to think it was just because someone couldn’t spell bracken.
    BIC fortunately corrected by the time I did the thing this morning: after 32.35, a pink square would have left me truculent (see above).

    1. It is not just in the US that “woke” is an insult. Here in the countryside it is too, very much so.
      I steer well clear ..

    2. OED says ‘brake’ is another word for bracken with the same root (although the exact derivation is unclear).

      1. Now you come to mention it, I have seen “brake” used as a word to describe an area covered (I assume) in bracken, in a similar way to “thicket” or undergrowth.

  27. I was doubtful about LOOSE END, because it seemed to be an anagram of (one old) round s[ophi]e, which struck me as dodgy because ‘tattered’ would have had to apply to ‘one old’ and it’s so far away from it. But the correct parsing is clearly in the blog. BIC because it obviously wasn’t anything else. By the time I’d finished (63 minutes) it had been corrected.
    Who is the Editor of The Times Crossword? I always thought it was Richard Rogan and that Mick Hodgkin was the Puzzles Editor (including Futoshiki, Kenken, etc.)?

    1. Richard Rogan is the Crossword editor.
      Mick is the puzzles editor, which includes the crossword of course.


  28. Forgot to pause timer during a distraction but guess c 50 mins. Found quite straightforward all in all and managed to parse everything. Liked Bubble jet and birthday.

    Thanks setter and Jack

  29. By the time I did the puzzle, BIC was the correct answer to 26a, so the confusion passed me by. I found it quite hard to get started, but then got into my stride, with ROCK and SIN BIN putting me on track, and somewhat later, having finally spotted REAWOKE, corrected BEE to BEA. I know a Bea and she is pronounced Bee. I then concentrated on LOI, 11a, and after a bit of cogitation came up with POETRY. 23:38. Thanks setter and Jack.

  30. 14:36. We had bubbles in Australia as well, so no problem there. ROCK BRAKE was the only unknown (ELSTREE and BALUSTER half-known) but all very gettable. Glad I missed BIC-gate.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  31. 50:10. I was pleased with that. I liked REAWOKE and NEWS. If 26ac had been BBC it would have had to be (1,1,1)

    1. Interesting point, but I’m not so sure about that. I tried checking to see if it had ever come up as an answer before but there were too many false trails to investigate so I gave up. I think we can take it as read that The Guardian puzzle would settle for (3), but would The Times be a little more fussy?

  32. 38:49

    Nice little Nina across the top – anyone in particular? Or just anyone born on June 27th?

    Plenty unparsed here:
    LOOSE END – completely missed the anag
    PAPER TIGER – had no idea what one was – have now. Failed to parse the second word.
    NEWS – I wonder if there are any Londoners that knew London was referred to as the Great Wen – I certainly hadn’t (though have seen it in these puzzles before), and it’s a bit of a rubbish name anyway imho.
    BUBBLE-JET – had forgotten about these!


    Oh, and BEA as a lady’s name is a bit poor again imho.

    BIC – I liked this clue, and all green on submission.

    1. With you all the way on this one, Mike, except for my time which was about double yours, and I still didn’t get STARLESS or BALUSTER! ( Had forgotten ARLES, and NHO BALUSTER). Spent a great deal of time on 4d, which I’d somehow mis-enumerated to 6/3, so the answer wasn’t possible. FOsI SIN BIN and LOOSE END . Although I own a bubble-jet printer, couldn’t get the first word, even with the crossers! So more practice needed here, for sure. 😳

  33. DNF. Was never going to parse 2a WISHES, so truculently left it blank, and what with entering an unjustifiable PAPER CHASE at 14a was never going to solve the NW corner. 16d with leading E for R was also unsolved, ditto NEWS so pretty much a disaster.

  34. 33’31”
    Good early pace, failed to quicken under pressure.
    There are lots of Bea..s hereabouts; but never abbreviated and pronounced /Bay-ah-‘treech-é/. It’s one of those names that seems to work better in Italian. I’d argue the same for Laura and Alice.
    Does the botched BIC mean the SNITCH is on the skewhiff today ?
    (My BIC butty still appears to have a crab paste filling !?)
    Thanks to all.

    1. Interesting question, re SNITCH. I suspect it will be a little higher than it would have been without the error, because:
      Generally it’s roughly constant through the morning. Mid-afternoon onwards it comes down a bit as the top-100 solvers (including neutrinos) finally attempt and finish it.
      Today: half the top-100 solvers (and neutrinos) got an error, so aren’t counted in the SNITCH. There’s a large number of “average” solvers included, fewer good solvers.
      I’d expect it to be:
      1. slightly higher than normal,
      2. not drop off so much in the afternoon.

  35. 18.11. No real problems, assumed BIC was correct of course.
    Needed to look at the Phantom menace post solve.

    Didn’t like Bea, but then my thoughts on random names, especially those shortened to 3 letters, are well documented. Surprised there was no indication that this was a shortened name. But there you go.

    1. A Koppite finishing the Times crossword in 18 minutes, you must be from the Wirral😉

  36. 22:17. No problems with BIC, BEA or ROCK BRAKE, though the latter two were unknown and – as I was solving on paper – I was not aware of any quibble about the first. Nice solid puzzle.

  37. Surprisingly about 80% of this went in very quickly. Less surprisingly the remainder didn’t and left me with a DNF on PAPER TIGER even with all the crossers and having parsed PAPER. Currently have a 5 hr time difference so the whole BIC/BBC trauma passed me by. Couldn’t parse NEWS; WEN for London was new to me but I had heard of the Great Wen… obviously without knowing what it meant!

  38. DNF an unusual result for me, having major holes in the NW and SE.
    Not sure if I’d ever have got all of these.

  39. All correct with paper tiger LOI. Pleasing challenge, thanks as always to blogger and setter.

  40. 61 mins , makes me feel better than admitting it took over an hour. I found this really tough and I was much relieved to check it was all correct. Don’t think Bea was the best answer ever thought of and though I managed to work out paper tiger, in my long lost youth the game we played was tick with variants such as offground and ball.

    I put Bic in and surely that must be right given the reference to putting out a b(ook).

    COD eatable but baluster in the same league. Thanks setter and blogger.

  41. 29:04. I can’t claim that it’s anything to do with me but this humble solver was very excited to see the top line in the puzzle given that it is indeed my birthday today. As for the solve, the bic error had resolved itself by the time I got to it. Air intake held me up a bit at the end.

  42. I thought there were some odd clues in this one – not least BIC/BBC. I was pleased, however, to see a Rugby League reference – “Sin Bin” in the puzzle. Took me around an hour with a break to refresh my weary brain.

  43. So Times, what’s it to be? ‘We’ or ‘us’? You used ‘us’ last week.

  44. Maybe it’s a North/south thing but I think tag is an alternative for the game of TIG?

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