Times Cryptic 28688


Solving time: 62 minutes

There were a few clues here no harder than I would expect in an easy Quick Cryptic, but my goodness, some of the others made up for them! My solving experience was similar to last Friday when I struggled to finish but I was left feeling very satisfied that I hadn’t let it beat me.

Finally, a reminder:  Tomorrow (Wednesday 23 August) the  15×15 puzzle published online will be the one that appeared in the newspaper on 11 August. Those of you who subscribe to treeware will be seeing the puzzle we blogged and discussed here on that day and it’s still available for further comments.

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 A game’s official in shoe — or not? (8)
A + REF (game’s official) contained by [in] BOOT (shoe). By way of definition, ‘not’ refers back to ‘in shoe’.
5 Many describing story awaiting publication? (6)
A barely cryptic hint supports the literal definition
10 Things getting more complicated, as excavation becoming harder? (3,4,8)
A slightly more cryptic hint supports the literal definition
11 Fill completely, permeating cracks (10)
I didn’t recognise the definition here but it corresponds to ‘saturated with’ and similar expressions to be found in the usual sources.
13 Celebrity’s debut cut short (4)
STAR{t} (debut) [cut short]. An escapee from the QC.
15 Author appearing old in grubby trousers (7)
Hidden in [trousers] {appearin}G OLD IN G{rubby}. I was very late in spotting this hidden word but noticed it once I had some checkers in place. William Golding is the author, perhaps best known for his debut novel, Lord of the Flies.
17 Wretched as hen night is, heading off? (7)
{c}HAPLESS (as hen night is) [heading off]
18 A house razed from skyline, a state (7)
A, {ho}RIZON (skyline) [house – ho – razed from…], A. I thought of this state quite early on but delayed writing it in almost to the end as I was unable to understand the parsing. I had been thinking of ‘skyline’ as the silhouette of buildings against the sky rather than the visible horizon.
19 Kansas City I note in another state (7)
I + CHIT (note) contained by [in] WA (another state – Washington). This would have been one to biff and reverse engineer, but I simply couldn’t think of any city in Kansas other than the one apparently in the clue which I have just learned is in Missouri anyway! I knew of Wichita from the Glen Campbell song but had no idea of its location.
21 Duck in lake after drink (4)
TEA (drink), L (lake). Another escapee from the QC.
22 What Pablo Casals might have declared after large drink (10)
L (large), I’M ON CELLO (what Pablo Casals – world famous cellist – might have declared). I mistakenly thought the drink was called ‘lemoncello’ which led me into problems with parsing, and also when trying to solve 16dn with an incorrect checker in place.
25 Carpenter welcomes songbird flying round university town in Gloucestershire (8,7)
CHIPPY (carpenter) contains [welcomes] anagram [flying] of SONGBIRD containing [round] U (university). I fear our overseas friends may be lost on this one! Birthplace of JK Rowling – who knew?
27 Beast put on island (6)
DON (put on), KEY (island)
28 Sort of wet fluid a father has mopped up (2,2,4)
A, then SIRE (father) contains [has mopped up] anagram [fluid] of WET
1 In little time, one container consumed by another (7)
T (little time) + TIN (one container) contained [consumed] by BAG (another container). When cricketers are batting they are said to be ‘In’. This was another clue that gave me a lot of trouble and one of my last solved. ‘One’ in the clue was a distraction and for a moment I thought it superfluous, but in the context of ‘one’ and ‘another’ it’s fine. The definition was easy to overlook and mistake for a containment indicator.
2 Small deer, ever so cute, ultimately (3)
{eve}R + {s}O + {cut}E [ultimately]
3 Maker of pictures, pro keeping limited supply (4,6)
FOR (pro) containing [keeping] anagram [supply] of LIMITED
4 A great deal to do with a moderate amount (5)
OF (to do with), TEN (a moderate amount). Another one that delayed me forever.
6 CharmingEuropean city (4)
A double definition straight out of an easy QC
7 Beyond elevation, past it (4,3,4)
A literal preceded by a barely cryptic hint
8 Those wanted to bring up issue about title (7)
SEED (issue – progeny) reversed [to bring up] containing [about] SIR (title)
9 Items passed round for collection in food programme (4,4)
HATS (items passed round for collection) contained by [in] CHOW (food)
12 Survey on people supporting one worker’s job (11)
POLL (survey), I (one), NATION (people). A worker bee.
14 Person seemingly on drugs, accepted as drunk (5,5)
Anagram [drunk] of ACCEPTED AS. This definition from Collins accounts for ‘seemingly’ in the clue: a person who is eccentric or out of touch with reality, as if affected by drugs. Elsewhere I found definitions that omit ‘as if’.
16 In general, go down slope (8)
DIE (go down) contained by [in] GRANT (general). Who else thought of General Lee first?
18 With nurses almost entirely silent, calmer? (7)
AND  (with) contains [nurses] TACI{t} (silent) [almost entirely]. Another tricky one. I’d not thought of this word since the days of TV commercials for Rennies in the 1960s!
20 A horse carrying last in party, European disciple (7)
A, COLT (horse) containing [carrying] {part}Y [last in…], then E (European)
23 Where spring is in its present condition after second of bounces (5)
{b}O{unces} [second of…], AS IS (in its present condition)
24 Blade ending in side has cut skin (4)
{sid}E [ending in…], PEE{l} (skin) [cut]. A word known to me only from crosswords.
26 Dustmen dropping odd bits in truck (3)
{d}U{s}T{m}E{n} [dropping odd bits]. I learnt this one from crosswords too, soon after I started blogging here.

66 comments on “Times Cryptic 28688”

  1. Excellent puzzle, finished in 30:56. To my disbelief, I was able to get CHIPPING SODBURY, though I was not able to get 1 Across in today’s quickie!

    j, it seems we got fooled by some of the same clues in some of the same ways, and I definitely tried LEE first!

    Thanks very much for parsing {ho}RIZON for me!

  2. Got THE PLOT THICKENS first thing and thought I would make quicker work of this, but bogged down with most of the left side unfinished, until I had a bite and a nip and returned to it.
    I remembered CHIPPY as a carpenter from these puzzles.
    Wanted GRADIENT for a long time before I could parse it (like EPEE!) and confidently put it in; wasn’t thinking of any specific general until I saw GRANT.
    The FILM EDITOR can be just as important to the success of a movie as the director. (And I mean “success”—primarily, at least—in the aesthetic sense.)
    I’ve already worked tomorrow’s puzzle, having found it in the digital paper on the day of the mix-up. First time I’ve done that.

  3. 42 minutes for me, but in my defence I spent the night drinking margaritas and woke up at 3am and decided I might as well do the crossword. Might be able to get some sleep now.
    I also struggled to think of cities in Kansas and eventually got Wichita from wordplay. I also had only heard of it in a song, but in my case Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. Tune!

    1. Ah yes…I heard a band covering that recently in a mashup with Sweet Dreams. Pretty effective

    2. I know it from Shawn Colvin’s “Wichita Skyline”, which, coincidentally, also references the previous clue.

  4. 14:53 To my shame I also thought of Lee first, rather than Grant, at 16dn; the more so as having spent a number of years as a Union Army reenactor. I wonder if Appomattox has ever featured in the crossword?

  5. 37 minutes. Quite hard but satisfying when it came together. Favourite bits were the ‘In’ def for 1d as discussed and the ‘Items passed round for collection’ bit of the wordplay for CHAT SHOW. I just about put in CHIPPING SUDBURY for 25a until rescued by the wordplay. SPACE CADET in the non-astronaut trainee sense was new to me.

    I did happen to remember the ‘Kansas City’ although the wordplay wasn’t easy. BTW, as well as the fact that part of it is in Missouri, there’s only one other thing I know about Kansas City; I suspect plenty of others here will know it too.

    1. Current NFL champions, with the best player in the world: Pat Mahomes? And because I follow NFL a bit I know Kansas City’s located in Missouri.

  6. I took a few wrong turns along the way, notably biffing CHIPPING CAMPDEN before ACOLYTE showed me the error of my ways, and putting in LEMONCELLO despite parsing the clue correctly. It took me an alpha trawl to nail my LOI.

    TIME 14:04

  7. THE Untold want by life and land ne’er granted,
    Now voyager sail thou forth to seek and find.
    (Walt Whitman)

    35 ish mins mid-brekker, quite enjoying it, but never quite settling in.
    Not keen on UTE but I liked “I’m on cello”.
    Ta setter and J.

  8. 32.10. A very anxious first five minutes as I didn’t have a clue of a clue till Chipping Sodbury and that was a guess which I then managed to parse. The downside then became my upside as answers started to appear.

    Regular progress thereafter but the top left held me up with the last two in being batting after which I was convinced about Golding, though I made the assumption that ging was a reference to grubby. I thought it was usually the diminutive of ginger. I shall now read earlier comments to find that I’m completely wrong about the answer but got lucky.

    Lots to like about this crossword- the plot thickens, limoncello , barefoot and batting.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

  9. 52mins, I found this pretty tricky too. I knew the CHIPPING as I often stay in Stow-on -the-Wold.

    Last three in ARIZONA, ANTACID and GRADIENT all held me up.

    I liked BATTING and LIMONCELLO, especially as I often miscall it lemoncillo! Thankfully the wp left no room for manœuvre.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  10. 21’16”, satisfying. Didn’t parse EPEE. My LOI was OFTEN, still not sure about it. Liked CHIPPING SODBURY, and BATTING took a long time.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  11. Fine puzzle and great blog Jack, I reckon you had your work cut out today. I managed this in 40.22 with some heroic guesswork and a great many requiring the blog to make sense of. Like GOLDING was a hidden, who knew? Didn’t get ‘plot’ for ‘excavation’ and thought SPACE CADET def a bit weird, but there were many first-rate clues here. At GRADIENT I was totally baffled and didn’t think of any general at all. It is slightly off-putting when numbers are deemed big or small without any context, as was the case in OFTEN. If the character at 1dn gets ten, that is indeed moderate. But if the bowler gets ten it’s enormous.

  12. 14:43. For the UK town I confidently put in LEIGHTON BUZZARD on the basis that it fitted and it contained a bird. I then quickly thought to myself that I was pretty sure it wasn’t in Gloucester last time I checked. Adding to that the fact that cluing BUZZARD as “songbird” would take quite a stretch caused me to quickly backtrack. With a few checkers in I biffed CHIPPING SODBURY then wondered it it was actually SUDBURY, influenced by the fact I know two English places by the name of Sudbury. It seems a bit of UK knowledge was counterproductive today, albeit I wouldn’t like to have put it together entirely from parsing.

    FILM EDITOR reminded me of my great-uncle who was film editor for many UK TV shows around the 70s – 80s, the best known being Only Fools And Horses. As a child I used to eagerly watch the credits of anything he had worked on, giving a cheer when his name appeared.

    1. On Leighton Buzzard’s first appearance in the TfTT era (2009) I had some problems solving it despite having lived there for 30 years and at the time I was sitting for the first 15 minutes of my solve on a platform at Leighton Buzzard railway station directly opposite a 10-15 foot sign displaying its name.

      The clue wasn’t the easiest: Fire on bird crossing East Beds Town (8,7)

      1. I think I was influenced by remembering it having been an answer before. I’m sure it was later than 2009, so it must have made at least a couple of previous appearances.

  13. 51 minutes with LOI ANTACID. COD to LIMONCELLO, although it was almost a write-in once I remembered who Pablo Casals was? No, I’m giving it to THE PLOT THICKENS. I went through the Wallops and the Slaughters on my way to Chipping Sodbury. Has the grid ever been reinforced in South Kansas since Glen Campbell reported it? Tough but enjoyable. Thank you Jack and setter.

  14. I live close to CHIPPING SODBURY but it still took several crossers before I saw it. A DNF as I had two left to do at 30 minutes Good crossword. COD to IMPREGNATE. Didn’t like the TEN in OFTEN.

  15. 25 minutes. I’d heard of WICHITA without knowing where it is, forgot that Pablo Casals was a cellist until I had enough checkers to get LIMONCELLO, didn’t know that meaning of SPACE CADET, was unfamiliar with chippy=carpenter but eventually figured out CHIPPING SODBURY, and took a while to see the hidden GOLDING.

    A nice puzzle – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Nice
    LOI Often
    COD As it were

  16. 50m 49s
    ‘Sfunny, I thought Chipping Sodbury was in Oxfordshire! Oh, well!
    A good puzzle spoilt by 3d. I saw the anagram element and figured out that ‘pro’ meant ‘for’ but still put FILE EDITOR.
    Not only did I know the Jimmy Webb song, but I’ve also been to WICHITA. A pleasant city with an art gallery that’s worth visiting, some attractive street furniture and a very helpful visitor centre.

  17. Loose Chippings
    A charming puzzle with a real mix of the tricky and the simple, the latter keeping your hopes up on the way through. Liked the Casals clue, struggled most with ANTACID and the two in the top right. I lived a few years in Bourton-on-the-Water, so CHIPPING SODBURY was no problem, but the puzzle’s drift across the pond was more of an issue: if featured in Where is Kazakhstan?, I’d have had a bash at ARIZONA and a desperate stab somewhere in the middle for WICHITA.
    Is an EPEE a blade, not having an edge? I guess it is, if it’s flashing.

  18. Gave up on the 40 mins with ANTACID and DONKEY eluding me. Might have seen them given more time, but I have a life to attend to unfortunately. Thought this was a curious mixture of the very easy and the very difficult. Liked LIMONCELLO, but prob only because it was one of the very few times in life that knowing who Pablo Casals was can possibly be helpful.

    1. Very similar experience to you, GideAndre, both in the limited time and the last ones in, not to mention finding 22a a doddle because of knowing who Pablo Casals was. Unfortunately did not finish, with the unseen GOLDING, the impossible CHIPPING SODBURY ( even though knew the chippy part!) and CHATSHOW outstanding.
      Altogether another outstanding puzzle for a Friday…too bad I wasn’t up to it.

  19. Found this tough in parts but in any event my hard earned 12’46 was all in vain as i got my towns confused and put in CHIPPING SUDBURY without thinking hard enough about the anagram fodder.

    I was pleased though to get GRADIENT quickly. I must have seen a clue like that about half a dozen times but today was the first time the answer came to me immediately so I’ll take that as progress!

    Thanks J and setter

  20. All correct with OFTEN entered hesitantly. Can’t help but think of Yes Minister when Chipping Sodbury is mentioned- think it was in “Jobs for the boys- what next a Birmingham allowance, a chipping sodbury allowance?
    Thanks setter and blogger.

  21. 13:45
    Some very NICE anagrams. LOI EPEE, LOL GOLDING.
    Can’t stand LIMONCELLO, even when it’s offered buckshee.

    1. Tried to make a trifle once, whose liqueur content was LIMONCELLO. After spending a fortune on the purchase of a bottle, found it rendered the other, scrumptious ingredients inedible! Poured the rest down the sink.

  22. 19:31, sluggish solve but an enjoyable one. Lots of stuff which needed slow unravelling (two words which also provide a concise description of my solving abilities as I get older). Last one to fall was BATTING, having spent ages toying with BATH and BUTT and all the other possible containers, until I suddenly saw that pesky two-letter definition and it fell into place.

  23. CHIPPING SODBURY called to mind P.G.Wodehouse and I checked, but the school where Gussie Fink-Nottle presented the prizes was in Market Snodsbury, perhaps the closest PGW could have got without agitating the lawyers. 48 minutes, mis-parsing BATTING and thinking that the def. was ‘In little time’ and that it was an oblique reference to the batting of an eyelid. Much (although not all) that was straight out of a QC, but I didn’t think the NICE clue was one of them: it held me up for a while since the def could have been ‘Charming’, with E + a city; or ‘city’, with Charming + E; or something simpler.

  24. 44:57

    My wife’s uncle Massimo introduced us to the delights of LIMONCELLO many years ago so that was an easy write-in with the last three checkers. The bottom half filled itself in in reasonable time.

    My biggest problem was that I didn’t have the long one in row three which would have added valuable checkers to four of the down clues. Eventually squeezed WICHITA out, which gave CHAT SHOW and THE PLOT THICKENS then fell into place – missed the hidden GOLDING, wondering how GING would mean grubby!!

    My favourites were 1d for the misdirection and 18d ANTACID

    Thanks setter and Jack

  25. As Jack and others I found this very satisfying to finish if tough on the way. I liked the simplicity of untold and often, both of which held me up, the hidden author, whom I spent too long trying to justify on other grounds, the definition hidden in plain sight for batting, the innocent-seeming double-dealing chat show, the calmer emerging from its crossers. A class item!

  26. I found this quite a beast with its cryptic definitions, and some words with which I’m not familiar – notably LIMONCELLO, and the special meaning of SPACE CADET.
    I chipped away at at, but it took around 70 minutes.

  27. 28:50. Glad to see this was tough for others too. Excellent workout with more than its fair share of goodies, ANTACID, my LOI, being one of them.

  28. 6m 08s finishing on EPEE, where I don’t love the ‘has’ or, really, the ‘cut’.

    LIMOCELLO was fun.

  29. Wichita first heard in Planes Trains and Automobiles.

    I’m in the same county as chipping sodbury, it rang a bell, checked on Google maps and it’s 43miles away.

    COD limoncello.

  30. 32.37

    Totally bamboozled by my LOI BATTING where I wanted the definition to be something about “little time” as in the batting of an eye. Obviously it didn’t quite parse but I bunged it in anyway and awaited the pink square. I’m sure I’ve been caught out by the “in” definition before but hopefully this will remind me

    Otherwise liked it particularly the Casals clue but agree with Sawbill that the TEN in OFTEN was quite weak

  31. Back from hols to a cracking crossword which I did in 23’08” . We’ve had WICHITA before. Apart from the lineman, it also evokes the Grateful Dead’s Jack Straw, the prison escapee from Wichita who “laid his buddy down”. Golding was a wonderful author, and not just because of Lord of the Flies. His sea-faring trilogy beginning with Rites of Passage; the Inheritors, about the end of the Neanderthals; and Pincher Martin, about a shipwrecked WW2 mariner – all are brill.

  32. That was hard going, but I got there eventually. Held up mainly by not spotting the hidden GOLDING for ages, after which I managed to see the definition for BATTING after spotting BAREFOOT, which I ought to have seen much earlier. OFTEN was my LOI and I still struggled with it after having all the crossers. Messed around with Ney and Lee before spotting Grant, which then led to GOLDING. Knew who Pablo was, but still needed crossers to see where his cello went! Didn’t know the required meaning of SPACE CADET. A sluggish 43:57. Too slow to make the SNITCH. Thanks setter and Jack.

  33. Thanks for all the help with improving my ability to solve the daily Cryptic. I have been consulting the blog regularly for a number of years but remained anonymous due to my modest solving ability – usually 30-60 mins with some cheating often required after 45 mins or so!

    However, I have enjoyed both the practical help and the wit and repartee among the regular posters and I wanted to say thank you.

    I guess I can now also ask the occasional question when I am still puzzled after reading the blog – rare but not unknown.

    1. All contributions are welcome, and you’re right, this is a civilised worldlet where wit and repartee are valued, and for me make it a refuge from the unrelenting savagery of so many other sites.

    2. You are most welcome here Stuart, and please don’t worry about solving times. Many commenters mention them just to give some indication of the level of difficulty as they experience it on a particular day, but it’s largely subjective and really doesn’t matter. Many others simply enjoy the experience on their own terms.

  34. Something of a bitty day today, back and forth to the puzzle between chores. That usually helps tbh but not today. DNF on a few fronts. Didn’t get THE PLOT THICKENS, not helped by not solving OFTEN (though I thought of it). Nor ANTACID (thrown by the use of “nurses”)….tomorrow’s another day. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  35. Chipping Sodbury, eh? Managed to build it from the cryptic. Meh. Nice puzzle, Golding hard to spot even when it had to be. Limoncello LOI because for some reason it was enumerated 5,5 in my mind. And because Pablo Casals was a 1960s tennis player, not a musician. Google tells me in was Pancho Gonzales I was thinking of. Liked BAREFOOT, but IMPREGNATE was brilliant.

    1. You’re thinking of the tennis player Rosie Casals who was the cellist’s great-niece although she preferred commentators not to draw attention to the family connection.

  36. 42 mins. A bit of a pig, but got there in the end. OFTEN LOI submitted in hope rather than expectation.

  37. Completely bamboozled by the parsing of LIMONCELLO, thinking Casals would be saying ‘that’s my cello’ in Spanish, and trying to get ‘e mon cello’ to make sense in any language, and failing… Great workout. Thank you blogger.

  38. 36’40 ”
    Rather wide entering the straight, stayed on.
    Took the wrong route with many of the whimsical definitions.
    Are we missing something in 4dn ? A great deal to do with a number of active peers over Christmas. Amount = number is a stretch in my book; but this only a quibble about a very good puzzle.
    Thanks Jack and setter.

    1. Sorry if I’ve misunderstood but there’s no ‘amount = number’ in the puzzle, just ‘moderate amount’ = TEN , and I can’t see a problem with that other than 10 as ‘moderate’ being open to interpretation according to context, as mentioned above by LIndsayO.

  39. Got the Cotswold town straight away because it was the only one I could think of in the county that fitted 8,7 . 6dn threw me for an age because I was looking for something more devious.

  40. This was a case of slow, slow, quick, quick, slow for me, taking a total of 41 minutes. I thought at first there was going to be a strong US vibe, but then the appearance of CHIPPING SODBURY and LIMONCELLO introduced a more international touch. A pleasant workout, which I probably made more difficult than it was.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  41. No time recorded as I did it in three sessions, but certainly over an hour I would think. Glad I persevered with it as I thought it was excellent. I biffed FLORIDA for 19ac on the assumption there was a city in Kansas called Flora. Strangely enough I found afterwards that there is a township there but with a population of only 200, so definitely not a city!
    Seeing LIMONCELLO reminds me of an excellent holiday spent in Ravello on the Amalfi coast in Italy. I downed far too many of them one night thinking they were quite innocuous. How wrong I was, I had the mother and father of a hangover the following day.

  42. Liked the STAR and the SPACE CADET
    Though neither seemed that hard to get
    But a pretty good deal
    Was then ruined by TEAL
    They ain’t done with the birdies just yet

    1. I sometimes wonder if those darn birdies might still be around long after we homo sapiens have checked out!

  43. 43:33
    Very pleased to have finished this one with no errors. LTI were 18d and 4d.

    I biffed FILM EDITOR, but did not spot the anagram. I will need to add “supply” to my mental list of anagram indicators.


    Thanks Jackt and setter

  44. Credit where it’s due, this was a very fine crossword indeed! One the best, if not the best so far this year IMO. Reminded me of the old days of precision and economy of clueing. No dictionary trawls required, and no impenetrable nonsense about devout Scotsmen housing companies.

    I’ll be even nicer and overlook the bizarre ‘ten’ in 4d. And perhaps ‘saturate’ instead of ‘fill completely’ would have been even neater, but still COD for me, just pipping ‘antacid’ and ‘chat show’.

    More like this please?

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