Times Cryptic 28646


Solving time: 40 minutes. Several answers went in not fully understood so I was relieved when they all turned out to be correct.

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 View of expert in confrontation (4,2,4)
FACET (view), OF, ACE (expert)
6 Bird taking piece of garibaldi biscuit (4)
Hidden in [piece of] {garibald}I BIS{cuit}
9 Where Yorkshireman needs umbrella going along? (2,5)
IN T’ RAIN The cryptic hint is based on a feature of Yorkshire dialect by which some locals say a short ‘t’ instead of  ‘the’. It was used a lot by the late Barry Cryer on the panel show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue for  Uxbridge English Dictionary definitions e.g. TAP = Yorkshireman’s smartphone program, TRACK = Yorkshireman’s wine store.
10 Dislike removing a brand (7)
{a}VERSION (dislike) [removing a]
12 Obvious and excessively large politicians’ promises (10)
MANIFEST (obvious), OS (excessively large)
13 Rubbish articles in Telegraph and Times primarily (3)
T{elegraph} + A{nd} + T{imes} [primarily]
15 Small ridge of rock does for toboggan (6)
S (small), LEDGE (ridge of rock)
16 Worry with traveller’s very small distance to cover? (8)
ANGST (worry), ROM (traveller – gypsy, Romany). A unit of length equal to one hundred-millionth of a centimetre.
18 Who recommend nowadays having face coverings (8)
AD (nowadays), VISORS (face coverings)
20 Attendant working with car (6)
MINI (car), ON (working)
23 Manage saving one from downfall? (3)
RU{i}N (downfall) [saving one]
24 Loyalty, for instance in marriage (10)
EG (for instance) contained by [in] ALLIANCE (marriage)
26 I’m surprised to see new bird making for top of dome (7)
LA (I’m surprised), N (new), TERN (bird). This went in with fingers crossed as I didn’t know La! as an expression of surprise (SOED has it as archaic), nor LANTERN as the top of a dome, although having looked it up later I vaguely remembered meeting it before.
27 An element of one free, one … er … (7)
I (one), RID (free), I (one), UM (er)
28 Noble paragon deprived of power (4)
{p}EARL (paragon) [deprived of power]
29 Swiss division soldiers needing time in winter quarters (10)
CANTON (Swiss division), MEN (soldiers), T (time in winter quarters). I didn’t know this word but assembled it quite easily as I remembered the Swiss division.
1 Considerable area covered by wood (4)
A (area) contained [covered] by FIR (wood). As in expressions such as ‘a fair amount of money’.
2 Salt, it needs putting in container (7)
IT contained by [putting in] CRATE (container). Another answer I wasn’t quite sure of but it’s a salt of citric acid.
3 After restructuring, instead target commercial sector? (7,6)
Anagram [restructuring] of INSTEAD TARGET
4 What protects boat with fine finish on English river (6)
F (fine), END (finish), E (English), R (river). I didn’t know this as a nautical term but was familiar with it with reference to fireplaces and bumpers on American cars.
5 Girl chasing bubbly and song (8)
CAVA (bubbly – sparkling wine), TINA (girl). I knew this from titles of various pieces of music including one written by Stanley Myers that was used as the theme for the film The Deerhunter 
7 Second magnitude star is swelling (7)
B-LISTER (second magnitude star)
8 Affected piety upsetting a non-mystic (10)
Anagram [upsetting] of A NON-MYSTIC
11 Bringing back monkey used for research, losing hospital award (13)
R{h}ESUS (monkey used for research) [losing hospital], CITATION (award). “Rhesus? They’re monkeys aren’t they? How dare you! I didn’t come here to be insulted by a legalised vampire!” Hancock: The Blood Donor (1961).
14 Well over square-bashing in east European footwear (10)
SPA (well) + DRILL (square-bashing) contained by [in] E (east) + E (European). I thought this item of footwear had appeared a lot recently, but it seems this is only its second appearance this year. Maybe it has been in The Guardian too.
17 Long wearing tailored sari — here, perhaps? (3,5)
LANK (long) contained by [wearing] anagram [tailored] of SARI. The definition is reflexive.
19 Tore up to support very popular dealer in Bordeaux (7)
V (very), IN (popular), then RENT (tore) reversed [up]. I thought for a moment we needed a French word for ‘dealer’ here, but fortunately not as I’ve forgotten most of the French I learned at school.
21 Be on a list queuing outside clubs (7)
IN LINE (queuing) containing [outside] C (clubs)
22 A spirit not likely to do much for the old? (6)
A, GEIST (spirit – imported from German)
25 Black mark getting start of the sum wrong (4)
Anagram [wrong] of T{he} [start] + SUM

115 comments on “Times Cryptic 28646”

  1. 29:01
    The SNITCH is currently at 90, ‘easier’; it wasn’t easy for me, and I’ve got the worst numbers to prove it.
    A MER at LANTERN (DNK); I doubt that ‘La!’ made it into the 19th century. DNK FENDER in the required sense (a fender in a car is the portion of body surrounding the wheels; a boat’s fender corresponds to a car’s bumper). Biffed ESPADRILLE, SRI LANKA, parsed post-submission (long=lank?). DNK CAVATINA (LOI; I never remember CAVA, and DNK it’s bubbly). I liked BLISTER, once I got it, anyway.

  2. 12:29 – good puzzle for trusting the wordplay, as I was not sure of the definitions of LANTERN, CANTONMENT, or FENDER but the wordplay was crystal clear.

    1. Cantonment as soldiers’ quarters was familiar to me from the Flashman Papers.

    2. Well I went with LONTERN as I felt LO! Was more likely than LA for an expression of surprise so I don’t agree that the word play was crystal clear.

  3. LA surprised me too!
    For “lank,” Collins has (British English) “long and limp.”
    POI CAVATINA and LOI ANGSTROM, great clue.

      1. …whereas Dictionary.com breaks it down:
        1. (of plants) unduly long and slender: lank grass; lank, leafless trees.
        2. (of hair) straight and limp; without spring or curl.
        3. lean; gaunt; thin.
        Seems only the third definition could be summed up in one word.

  4. Greetings, all.

    I’m new to this blog, although I’ve been doing cryptics since before most of you were born (presuming you were born after 1969). Until recently, most of my solving had been of Australian puzzles, which are… well, quicker to solve than The Times ones, although DA of the Sydney Morning Herald et al has made a name for himself with his fiendish puzzles.

    I’ve followed this blog recently with interest, and been impressed by the unfailing courtesy, good humour, and mutual respect of the comments.

    I have a question: when you are solving against the clock, is it considered legitimate to use the ‘Check’ feature? (I don’t wish to be regarded as outside the spirit of the game, so to speak, as some of my countrymen are right now, which is unfair on them, as that spirit involves obedience to the laws of the game.)


    1. I can’t answer your main question, as I prefer not to be harassed by a timepiece while enjoying a leisure activity. But I can assure you that many here were born before 1969. For myself, that fateful day was in late 1955.

      1. Quite so. Crosswords defy age limitations, and help keep the mental age younger, I believe.

        1. I hope you’re right about the mental agility. I still do them, on paper as I always have, with a pencil, and not being at the sharper end of things I’m quite happy to ferret through a thesaurus when I’m stuck for synonyms. Even then I often have a technical DNF.
          1944, btw

      2. Ditto Guy, in all regards.

        Welcome Harrier, I too started on the SMH with fellow uni students at morning tea break…switched to the Australian when double subs became too expensive.

    2. If you want “ unfailing courtesy, good humour, and mutual respect” best to not mention the cricket…

    3. I do confess to a cheeky “check” now and again, but this is not allowed on the Crossword Club where purists submit their times. Hence you don’t often see me on it.

      1. Hi David, many thanks for sending the novel – arrived on my birthday whilst I was in Scotland last week. Haven’t started it yet, but will do soon and will get back with comments.



    4. Welcome Harrier, I am a comparatively recent arrival myself and was also wondering about the check function. I tend to use it when wordplay suggests a NHO or unlikely word to confirm I have it right, but I don’t think it would be appropriate to use it, say, as a letter eliminator when doing an alphabet crawl. When I used to solve on paper in The Oz I would sometimes have to resort to Google when faced with something impossible and ‘check’ has largely replaced that. Generally I use it as little as possible – a rule that becomes more elastic as the difficulty quotient increases…

        1. I used to obsess about times and pink squares. After some self-therapy, I switched from the Club to normal online – but I never ever use aids before finishing. Only if I decide to stop do I look things up, and note a dnf.

    5. If you click on ‘About’ at the top of this page, you’ll find ‘current bloggers’ and ‘past bloggers’, with short bios of same, often including their age.

    6. Welcome, Harrier! We have a not insignificant Antipodean presence here, certainly good humoured and usually courteous and respectful to boot …
      As far as solving is concerned, my personal view is that if the clock time matters to you, you should should solve the way you would in competition, ie no looking things up until after you are done. Having said that, opinions do vary. For many here, it is just a pastime and so they are not bothered about times or using aids of one sort or another, which is fine.

    7. I also pass the pre 1969 test. I very rarely use the check feature (maybe once or twice per year) but have used The Free Dictionary. The use of the dictionary has enabled me to enjoy the crosswords and get better at them. I imagine the same would be true of the check function.

      I am now trying to solve without recourse to the dictionary.

      In my view the crossword is entertainment and it is up to you how you choose to solve it and what aids you use as long as you are honest with yourself about it. I know my times are slower than they could be because I always try to parse each clue before entering but then I am never going to be in that race having an average time of well over half an hour.

    8. Hello and welcome – regarding your question, different solvers may have slightly differing views on what is legitimate and what is not. However, this isn’t a formal competition – it’s more of a place where you can check your missing answers/parsing, while getting other opinions on what was tricky, geographical (e.g. US words vs UK words) or seemed downright incorrect.

      For myself, the parsing might suggest the occasional word that I have not seen before, and I might want to check that it really does exist before hitting the submit button. I will always say so in my comments if I have done so.

      Others may prefer to solve as best they can without any resort to checkers – it’s really a matter of whatever works for you and enjoying solving the puzzles. HTH

    9. I agree wholeheartedly with your remarks about the nature of the comments – it’s a shame that correspondents in the news sections do not follow the same attitude.
      I am 85 and never time myself but complete them just for fun, having just finished this one and enjoyed it. Hopefully it keeps my brain active too!

    10. I was born 25 years before your nominated date, Harrier, and have long enjoyed the TftT cryptic! I make it a policy to complete it first thing every morning – which often involves a certain amount of what you may call ‘cheating’. Today’s for instance left me with several NHOs, which I had to look up to be sure: ANGSTROM, CAVATINA, IRIDIUM and CANTONMENT. I never compete against the clock ( I savour every moment); and I have long given up on our resident fiendish compiler DA, not least because the education and fun derived from reading the associated blog and comments here is unique, AFAIK. My advice is: soldier on – you won’t regret it! 😀

  5. About 35 mins, with no aids. Some clues felt they had escaped from the QC : EARL, SLEDGE.

    I liked BLISTER and IN TRACK.

    I thought about AUDION ( for MINION), thinking it might be a classical Greek word used at Public School/Oxbridge for batman.

    VENEER was an early guess for FENDER which fitted my checkers (I never did parse FACE TO FACE).

    NHO CITRATE or CANTONMENT but very guessable. Or GEIST. What on earth is LA? And I thought “my” and “cor” were dated. La !


    1. I didn’t think I’d heard of “geist” until I thought of “zeitgeist”.

  6. Mostly easy, but tricky to finish off in the NE. Angstrom unexpected, Deerhunter’s theme known as Cavatina and Cava known, but both hard to find so 3LOI, followed by VERSION. LOI SMUT where I had trouble parsing the clue. The meaning of CANTONMENT and LANTERN the only NHOs/forgottens. I associate LA with Singlish rather than surprise – travelled through Singapore in the 90s quite often, locals seemed to put LA on the end of every second sentence. Like mctext used to put ‘eh’ on the end of every sentence in his blogs, mimicking the Aussies where he lived.

    1. Now I come to think of it, I associate La! with fops wearing lace cuffs and waving handkerchiefs in Restoration comedies or Blackadder the Third, and the theatricals in Upstart Crow.

      1. Never watched Blackadder when it was on, though bits of it I’ve seen look very funny. Don’t remember any LAs amongst the clips.

        1. It would only have been in the one series set in the Regency era (Blackadder the Third) and possibly only one episode (Sense and Senility) in which the foppish actors appeared. I can’t be sure that they used the expression but they were definitely the types who would.

  7. No fun today, way off the wavelength if that is a thing, CNF. I probably should have got MANIFESTOS and IRIDIUM but CAVATINA, CITRATE and ANGSTROM? Give me a break. Worst answer today was ADVISOR because I don’t like it spelt like that. As there are quite a few solvers here who understand physics etc, am I safe to assume that an angstrom is officially the opposite of a light year?

    1. This might be the first time we’ve had the Å character in a crossword?

      1. Did a quick search – Angstrom seems to come up every year or two, clued as physicist as often as a measure.

  8. DNF. When faced with S_E_G_ and a definition of toboggan I thought it must be SLEIGH. Whilst I didn’t know what a “leigh” was I thought it conceivable that it could be a geological term with which I was unfamiliar. I have a nagging feeling that I’ve come a cropper with a biffed SLEIGH/SLEDGE previously.

    1. Same here, so I looked it up.
      Leigh is an alternative to Lea, field, but not a rocky ridge.

  9. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then Face to Face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
    (Corinthians 13)

    30 mins mid-brekker with a few being entered although only seen through a glass darkly.
    Ta setter and J.

  10. 15:53. Held up at the end by the unknown CANTONMENT derived from the wordplay. I think we’ve had FACET OF ACE before, but I didn’t remember it. COD to IN TRAIN. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  11. 25.26 with no errors today from old Sausage Fingers McGee here.

    Almost got caught with RESUSCITATING until I saw the right parsing, then CANTONMENT was the only likely suspect for the SE corner.

    LOI – AGEIST. For a while I had a GHAST where I should have had a GEIST. Never mix your spirits is the lesson here I think.

  12. Quite a smooth ride today.
    La! familiar to all Heyerites, though even in those days it meant only a *little* bit surprised; and Flashman spent quite a lot of time in one cantonment or another .. nho a cavatina but quite familiar with cava, so no great problem there.

        1. I’ve had kava (or kava-kava) in Fiji, definitely more effective than coffee! Illegal to import it to UK unfortunately.
          Cava is Spanish bubbly, my fav is Freixenet black label brut.

          1. Cava is proper bubbly, secondary fermentation in bottle the same as champagne. Being Spanish there is some not so great cava but actually there is really good cava as well.
            Prosecco on the other hand is carbonated, just the same as coca cola .. ’nuff said.

            1. Prosecco undergoes secondary fermentation, it just happens in a tank rather than in the bottle.

  13. Finished in 60 minutes in one sitting with five still to fully parse whittled down to two by the time I read the blog. Just ADVISORS, I could see VISORS and should have seen AD too, LANTERN the LA ‘expression of surprise’ I didn’t see and don’t think I have ever come across.
    I didn’t know or had forgotten CANTONMENT, ANGSTROM and CAVATINA but all were gettable from WP.

  14. 29 minutes with LOI CAVATINA. Fingers were crossed for LANTERN as the only LA I could hear was repeated with an OOH in front of it. The John Freeman interview I remember best on FACE TO FACE was with Adam Faith, even more than the sad one with Gilbert Harding of What’s My Line fame. We has some riveting television then. Steady solve. Thank you Jack and setter.

  15. 13:12. I did about a third of this quickly, and then slowed down quite a lot, mostly in the NE.

  16. 11:40
    I remembered CAVATINA as the theme from ‘The Deer Hunter’, which spent four weeks in the Top 20 in 1979. Originally composed by Stanley Myers as a piano piece until John Williams persuaded him to rearrange it for classical guitar, apparently.
    FACE TO FACE and BLISTER especially enjoyable.

  17. 41mins. Quite few unknowns today which were bunged in on a wing and a prayer. CAVATINA, ANGSTRÖM (Louis?), and CANTONMENT.

    Otherwise quite enjoyable.

    Thanks Jack and setter. PS I use one of those plasticky pencil things with a rubber on the end, and was born in 1953!

    1. My choice of weapon exactly! The brand I use is Papermate Non-Stop Mechanical Pencil HB made in the USA. They last for ages and if bought in packs of 10 work out at only 57p each. The rubbers work perfectly on standard printing paper, but I don’t know about on newsprint.

      They’re excellent for Killer Sudoku too where a lot more rubbing out is usually required!

      1. Yup, that’s the one. I leave the Sudokus to my wife, she’s better than me!

      2. My weapon of choice was a marbled Waterman broad-nibbed fountain pen, but that was applied to The -broadsheet- Times in the 90s. Now I’m reduced to copying the grids into a squared paper exercise book with a pencil. However, Monday to Saturday fit pleasingly onto one page.

      3. I use an erasable pen, unless I’m out and about and don’t have one with me. Then it’s a pencil. Erasable pens are great for printed crosswords, as when you put the finished one through the printer for printing the other side, it blanks it out, so you can do it all again! I actually got halfway through a crossword once, thinking it was pretty straightforward, only to discover that it was one I’d completed a week or so earlier, and the one I should be doing was on the back!

  18. 23 minutes. Agree with the comments above, especially LANTERN and CANTONMENT which went in from wordplay. Helpful to have had CAVATINA elsewhere only a few days ago. Where I come from the IBIS take more than the odd ‘piece of garibaldi biscuit’ – they’re real scroungers. I liked the IRIDIUM clue.

    1. Ibis are locally known as bin chickens in NQ
      There is an eponymous children’s book, which various grand nieces and nephews have enjoyed.

  19. DNF in the same way as Pootle above… never considered SLEDGE. Annoying after getting several words I didn’t know, including that meaning of LANTERN (where I had to hope that La is an expression of surprise), ANGSTROM and CAVATINA.

    COD Resuscitation

  20. Very much a game of two halves, or maybe 3/4 and 1/4. Up after midnight so had a glance before going to bed and Lo (or is it now La!) I quite easily made about 75% with a bunch of gaps in the NE corner, then I had to sleep. The remainder came more easily this morning after solving Angstrom, albeit ending up wondering whether CAVATUNE was a thing before CAVATINA poppedintomyhead. A few biffs based on crossers and half solves, such as CANTONMENT where I knew Canton

  21. 16’02”, with all but the NE done in 10′. CAVATINA held me up, although I have heard of it. Isn’t ‘bubbly’ reserved for champagne?

    Oh, and 1954 btw.

    Thanks jack and setter.

    1. I agree. If I asked for a glass of « bubbly » and got a glass of Cava I’d be disappointed. I’d still drink it though:-)

      1. Collins and Chambers agree but the OED says ‘sparkling wine, esp. champagne’.

      2. As I mentioned above, cava is proper Méthode Champenoise – secondary fermentation in bottle. Unlike, say, prosecco, which is separately carbonated.
        There are some very fine cavas about, though of course you will seldom see them in France!

        1. That’s a fact, though I agree there are some very good cavas around.

        2. My tipple of choice, in fact, which meant I had no trouble with that answer, as soon as I saw it began with C.

  22. 35m 23s That was fun! Thank you, Jack, for mention of Hancock and Barry Cryer. I can just hear him coming out with the likes of TAP!
    My queries included the ROM in ANGSTROM. Didn’t know it was shorthand for Romany.
    I was also unaware of the use of LA in LANTERN. Never read any Heyer but I do know that the Lanterne Rouge is the last man home in the Tour de France.
    In 14d I thought a SPA was a spring rather than a well.
    From several years of yachting, I knew what a FENDER was.
    With 29 ac, would our American crosswordistes regard Valley Forge as having been a CANTONMENT?
    Reading the whole clue in 12ac, I thought, how true!
    COD: IN TRAIN. “Hey oop”

    1. rom /rom/
      noun (pl rōˈma)
      A gypsy man
      ORIGIN: Romany, man, husband
      From Chambers

  23. Managed it in 28 minutes with LOI CAVATINA which I’ve never heard of. Pencilled in TINA for the girl’s name then got CAVA. Also NHO LANTERN as ‘top of dome.’
    Thanks setter and Jack

  24. That was quite enjoyable, although I had to hope that LA was an expression of surprise. CANTONMENT rang an extremely faint bell, but the wordplay was helpful. Liked RESUSCITATION. FENDER was FOI, followed by a biffed FACE TO FACE. SRI LANKA took some thought. ANGSTROM was LOI. 22:59. Thanks setter and Jack.

  25. 19.43, but with RAN instead of RUN, the sort of thing that happens when you know downfall in these things is always rain and ignore the tense of manage. After it’s in, it looks right.
    My other hold up was AGEIST, but only because I had written in ALLIEGANCE thinking how odd it was to have a soft G before an A. It does derive from liege, no? Harrier (welcome, by the way) needs to make the most of the 17 years he has before catching up with me and before the marbles start dropping out.
    CAVATINA, once I saw it, hit my emotional button because I know it best as the version with the the immortal Cleo Laine and John Williams.
    I parsed neither FACE TO FACE nor CANTONMENT, the latter because I thought it was the Swiss division and didn’t know where the winter quarters came in.

    1. I initially thought of RAN with the same rationale, but thought twice and came up with RUN (to no avail anyhow as I only thought once for SLEIGH).

  26. Strange how things go: I thought this was one of the really easy ones and expected to see a SNITCH in the 50s or 60s, taking 25 minutes, with a five minute hold-up at the end. Nothing was really difficult, although I took that meaning of LANTERN on trust, and was a bit unsure that it was really LEDGE and not leigh. I’m also surprised that nobody has mentioned that the Cavatina from Beethoven’s String Quartet Op 130 is very highly regarded in some circles and considered to be one of the most wonderful pieces of music that has ever been written. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDHwkuy7E1U.

    1. Thanks for that: I didn’t really know it, but it struck me that Mahler could be done for plagiarism when writing the adagio for the fifth

  27. 17:30

    Found this fairly straightforward with a few caveats.

    NHO: LA and did not know that meaning of LANTERN; GEIST as a spirit, but now see Poltergeist; CANTONMENT as winter quarters.

    Was stuck on last two – 22d and 29a trying to think of the word for a Swiss division. Had been thinking 22d would be AGEING or AGEIST – eventually CANTON came to me confirming 22d as the latter.

    Thanks setter and Jack

  28. One of the easiest ever for me as I seemed to have all the general knowledge required, including la and lantern. Very enjoyable. COD resuscitation. 1954 for me and I solve on paper but if it’s a very hard one I go to the online version and do a bit of checking to get me unstuck.

  29. DNF. Had recline for incline (misreading the position of “on” in the clue) which made the very gettable MINION impossible. Didn’t have the wit to return to the down clue and look again, but opted for BIERON, one of the lesser-known attendants of Zeus. Or not, as it turned out, and bier isn’t really a car either, so on the whole not much to commend it as an answer.

  30. No problems today, steady 25 minutes solve.
    I print off and solve on paper with a pen, so the “check” option doesn’t arise. But if I’m blogging (on Wednesdays), when I’ve finished solving I do look up any unknown meanings before posting, so I don’t get it wrong (I hope).

  31. Argh! So frustrating to untangle so many just-on-the-edge of my GK/ability and then DNF. All done in under an hour (my usual time) bar those clues others have mentioned. Brought in the washing (sudden downfall) then popped all but ANGSTROM straight in. I couldn’t get past ‘eat’ for worry (should know by now to drop and find another tack) and have been caught about by the unremembered ROM for Romany before. Unfortunately I needed both bits of wordplay as the physicist and distance were unknown to me. No more. Like Z I thought 29a was the Swiss division. Must remember RID/FREE. Would have saved me some time.

    1965 and only check after finishing (or not).

    Thanks Jackkt and setter

  32. Whizzed through most of this, must have been bang on wavelength, then was held up for 5 mins by MANIFESTOS, which I just couldn’t see, despite all the checkers. I was looking for “obvious” for some reason. If I’d had the other set of checkers it would have been immediate!

    Still a reasonable enough time.

    I’m another gen xer – same birth year as Pootle it seems. I’ll use check if it’s a beast of a puzzle and I want to test out an idea.


  33. A rare DNF for me, defeated by Angstrom which is strange since I am a physicist.
    The north-east definitely the tricky bit for me.
    Alright La! Is a favourite greeting in my neck of the woods, but I’m not in favour of such antiquities still being used. I would put coo in the same category.
    We need to update some of the language so as not to alienate youngsters like me! 1960 btw.

    1. As a fully signed up youngster (1989) I agree – makes it rather difficult for me to get friends interested in crossword when there are references as old as that! “You just have to get used to it,” I shrug, as I see their enthusiasm plummet. An alternative would be to keep the old faithfuls but include some more modern references alongside. I live in hope, but am unconvinced of the reception that would get among more experienced solvers…

  34. Well LA di da and blankety bLANK!

    I thought this was a witty, and engaging puzzle. Having been chuffed to have got AGEIST, ANGSTROM, and CANTONMENT, I finally ran aground missing LANTERN and SRI LANKA. I really must read a Georgette Heyer soon .

    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  35. I found this fairly easy to begin with, but then got bogged down. After 46 minutes I was left with 5d and 10a unsolved, so put it aside. I went back to it after supper and saw VERSION after a few minutes, which helped finish of 5.

  36. A leisurely solve while watching Murray v Peniston on the box. Completed as the fourth game of the first set was in progress, so about 28 minutes. NHO LA in the sense required for 26ac, so thanks for the explanation.
    FOI – IBIS
    LOI – SMUT
    COD – IN TRAIN, as tribute to Barry Cryer RIP.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  37. Unseated rider.
    Less bruised by the fall than by the kicking I’m now giving myself.
    Got all the tricky ones and then misspelt allegiance, which fouled up a geist – lovely clue.
    A cracking puzzle and a corking blog; compliments to the setter and Jack.
    Pleased to meet you and welcome Harrier.
    I’m far too young to blame my 41 minute fiasco on a senior moment; conceived in the late Summer of Love, so arrived, late, in 1968.

  38. A nice, on-the-wavelength one for me today. FOI FACE TO FACE, from parsing, and pleasingly, many of the others were got from parsing rather than semi-biffing. CANTONMENT and LANTERN (in that sense) were unknowns, but easily worked out, and the T gave me AGEIST, which I’d guessed, but wasn’t sure of. It certainly does pay to read some Georgette Heyer, as I did years ago – I’ve lost count of the clues that I’ve got through a familiarity with the expressions, dress and transport of that period, and she researched her material well. I must have heard of ANGSTROM, since the answer came into my head, having already guessed the traveller would be ROM. Not having a clue about astronomy, I thought BLISTER (LOI) was a term for a second-magnitude celestial object, which gave Mr Ego a laugh!

  39. I think this is the latest time that I’ve done the 15×15, as it’s been one of those days. I went off at quite a gallop and had only seven left to solve after about fifteen minutes. I then hit a brick wall, and it was like walking through treacle. It took me about another 30 minutes before my LOI ANGSTROM was finally in place.
    As everyone is confirming their year of birth, I can add mine at 1948. I was born two months before the nhs came into being, and I was born ‘at home’ as many were in those days. I clocked in at 11 and a half pounds and nearly killed my mother apparently! As a rather spooky footnote, she told me that for a full thirty minutes after emerging I didn’t breath and I was given up for dead. I then suddenly burst into life of my own volition!

  40. Vintage 1946 for me. No time recorded for the puzzle as I had the same peculiar problem as other over Angstrom when submitting from my iPad.

  41. Done in two sessions, combined time 53:29 and all green. Surprised myself by parsing them nearly all as well. Loved IN TRAIN as a former Yorkshire resident. As mentioned above, 1949 and still chugging along. Thanks jacket.

  42. Is it reasonable to import GEIST (without a hint about German)? I know about Zeitgeist, but not really the same thing, is it?

    1. ‘geist’ is in all the usual dictionaries, listed by Collins as ‘British English’ and defined as:
      1. a spirit or ghost
      2. the quality of being spirited, motivated, or intelligent

      so I’d say it’s fair enough, although I did look twice at it.

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