Times Cryptic 28736


Solving time: 44 minutes with the last 14 spent on 13dn, 28dn and 30ac, all of which gave me trouble. Aside from a couple of frustrations this was an enjoyable solve with some nice touches of humour.

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 Country girl in working group (6)
LIZ (girl) contained by [in] BEE (working group). A ‘bee’ is a gathering for combined work or amusement; it’s usually preceded by a word specifying its purpose e.g. spelling bee.
4 Comic introducing a man of the cloth (8)
CHAPLIN (comic) containing [introducing] A
10 Worn out husband covered in spots, might one say? (9)
H (husband) then ACKNEYED sounds like [one might say] “acned” (covered in spots). This was made easier by the same answer having appeared in last Friday’s puzzle.
11 After change of heart I’m not going to move (5)
SHAN’T (I’m not going to) has a ‘change of heart’ and becomes SHUNT
12 Shipmate Ron sadly becoming a loner potentially? (11)
Anagram [sadly] of SHIPMATE RON. A hater of human kind or perhaps just someone who avoids the company of others.
14 Rounds on bishop? I don’t think much of that (3)
B (bishop), O O (rounds)
15 Add    a way to restart play (5-2)
Not quite a double definition because the first meaning would not take a hyphen
17 Reportedly understand how to make main course? (6)
SEA sounds like [reportedly] “see” (understand), WAY (how)
19 Enemy close by, Spooner says. I don’t think so! (2,4)
Spooner would say “Foe near” (enemy close by)
21 Resign from oil giant, ignoring son? Exactly (5,2)
QUIT (resign from), ES{s}O (oil giant) [ignoring son]
23 A lover once coming back in chopper (3)
A, then EX (lover once) reversed [coming back]
24 Key partner welcoming proposal in excited manner (11)
E (key – music) + ALLY (partner) containing [welcoming] MOTION (proposal)
26 Fat old cow’s complaint about ending of lease (5)
O (old),  BSE (cow’s complaint) containing [about] {leas}E [ending]. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
27 A coffee with remarkably nice aroma (9)
Anagram [remarkably] of NICE AROMA
29 Whole of body holding on (8)
ENTITY (body) containing [holding] RE (on)
30 Times in which king is tired? (6)
LEAR (king) contained by [in] BY (times). I took ages over this one as I was thinking R or K for ‘king’, and T, era, age etc for ‘times’. I’m always forgetting ‘by’ as an option but I thought of it eventually.
1 Giant insects biting horse (8)
BEE + MOTH (insects) containing [biting] H (horse). ‘Behemoth’ is mentioned in the The Book of Job and is thought by some to be a reference to a hippopotamus or a crocodile.
2 Article in El País about copper’s whereabouts (5)
LOS (article in El País) containing [about] CU (copper). I’d no idea what El País might be (it turns out it’s a Spanish daily newspaper) but ‘El’ meaning ‘the’ in Spanish was enough to indicate the direction of travel.
3 Philosophy getting up Jean-Paul Sartre’s nose? (3)
NEZ (Jean-Paul Sartre’s – i.e. French for – nose) reversed [up]. Another clue so soon relying on knowledge of a foreign lingo.
5 Nothing in plea for protection making one fearful (7)
0 (nothing) contained by [in] HIDE US (plea for protection)
6 One who dines selectively, chopping up certain apes (11)
Anagram [chopping up] CERTAIN APES. Meat forbidden, fish permitted.
7 Sketch outline of a dozy judge (9)
A, DUMB (dozy), RATE (judge)
8 One must stop impossible impulse (6)
I (one) contained by [must stop] NOT ON (impossible)
9 Sign of unity among neo-Marxists for example (6)
Hidden in [among] {neo}{Marxists}
13 On we ran desperate, now to take shelter far away (7,4)
HERE (now) is contained by [to take shelter in] anagram [desperate] of ON WE RAN. The hardest clue for me today, and having solved it, the hardest to understand the wordplay. ‘Now’ being in the clue but not clueing NOW in the answer  led me into all sorts of difficulties.
16 President’s sole veto altered by Republican (9)
R (Republican), anagram [altered] of SOLE VETO
18 Plump for jam pudding (4-4)
Two meanings. Too much of the second can lead to becoming the first!
20 Brazilian diplomacy? It might quell disorder (4,3)
RIO (Brazilian), TACT (diplomacy)
21 Case of Eros making you shudder? (6)
Case as in ‘arrow case’. Eros is portrayed as an archer and often carries a quiver, though not always.
22 Artistic performer given her head? (6)
Cryptic. Not her own head, but that of John the Baptist. According to some accounts she requested it served on a plate as a reward for performing the Dance of the Seven Veils at a feast given to celebrate the birthday of her uncle King Herod.
25 Monk astride large beast of burden (5)
LAMA (monk) containing [astride] L (large)
28 Unmarried philosopher not himself (3)
{m}ILL (philosopher – John Stuart Mill) [unmarried]

53 comments on “Times Cryptic 28736”

  1. Some really clever stuff here, with nothing obscure (though I had to guess about the pudding, of course) or terribly convoluted but still a nice workout. I strolled through at my leisure (if that’s not a contradiction), ending with SHUNT. QUITE SO and RIOT ACT have similar clues, and I liked them both.

  2. No time for this, but probably over a half-hour. Like Jack, I took a long time to go beyond K & R for ‘king’, and to get BY for ‘times’; it was the Y that did it. I knew El País, but took time to think of the plural articles. And I wasted more time taking ‘case of Eros’ to be ES. But it was LOI SALOME that took the most time, with alphabet trawling at the three unches. COD to ENTIRETY.

  3. I’m with Guy, some clever and entertaining clues. John Stuart Mill was particularly ILL on half a pint of shandy of his own free will etc. Salome and her desire for a head came up last week or I never would have got it, so lucky. LOI by far after a few minutes puzzling was HYPHEN. Thanks all.
    Edit: just noticed, after EDDA and SAGA symmetrically opposite in the grid yesterday, today we have John Stuart Mill and Jean-Paul Satre in clues symmetrically opposite.

  4. My main delay was on PESCETARIAN – I saw the anagram fodder delivered that, but I have only ever seen PESCATARIAN (Chambers agrees), so I eventually had to hope it was a valid alternative

  5. 29 minutes. Started slow but got in the swing and sped up after 15 minutes. Battled with the spelling of pescetarian even though it was an anagram.
    Nice fun puzzle.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
    PS hyphen my loi too!

  6. 18:29. I submitted fully expectant of seeing pink squares having put in SALOME and knowing nothing about her other than she danced. It will be interesting to see if it is only me for whom this GK was largely unknown or if others were in the same boat. Probably the former.

    1. Eight days ago SLALOMED was clued using SALOME as a dancer, and Ulaca discussed in his blog how she asked for the head of John the Baptist as reward. Without seeing it so recently I would almost certainly have failed here, but for once my short-term memory came through!

  7. 52m 40s
    Enjoyable puzzle. I seem to remember we had a very similar clue to 9d HYPHEN only the other day.
    Thanks, Jack, especially for NOWHERE NEAR, the only clue I had any real trouble with.

  8. 20 minutes or so. Getting ADUMBRATE was one of those nice ‘Oh, so that’s what it means’ moments. Like Kevin above, I tried to fit ES as ‘case of Eros’ into 21d before the Q from QUITE SO (where I took longer than I should have done to remember Esso) set me straight. MER over impulse=NOTION, though I’m sure there’s ample justification for it.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Throw-in
    LOI Salome
    COD Roosevelt

    1. Sometimes I live in the city,
      Sometimes I live in the town,
      Sometimes I take a great notion
      To jump in the river and drown.
      is the closest I can get.

      1. A good example. My thoughts when solving and blogging were more prosaic: I had an idea / a notion to do so-and-so.

        1. Collins has as (British) “an inclination or whim.” We don’t (hopefully) act on all our impulses…

    2. Chris, I am unfamiliar with these abbreviations (FOI, LOI, COD) Would you be so kind as to enlighten me? Cheers! Zeitgeist.

  9. 39 mins and good fun. Lots to like, particularly the play, BEHEMOTH, HYPHEN, and SALOME.

    Did not know ADUMBRATE, but got there with the checkers and wp.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  10. 38:31
    Neat puzzle with some clever clues, as noted by others. The OED gives pescatarian as the first option with pescetarian as an alternative.
    Thanks, jack.

  11. I wasn’t quite on the wavelength today and I had a sparse looking grid after 20 minutes of hard slog. Once the pennies started to drop I raced through the remainder within another 10 with fingers firmly crossed for SALOME.
    The breakthrough was ZEN which I got from remembering Pince-Nez glasses, which I associate with David Suchet’s portrayal of Hercule Poirot.
    Looking back there were some nice surfaces and overall it was an enjoyable solve. The only complete unknown was ADUMBRATE but it was fairly clued so no problems there.
    Thanks to the setter and blogger.

    1. I had a similar thought re ZEN, and thought pince-nez might be the reason the French word was “fair” to include.

  12. Personally I don’t care how the OED and Collins and all spell PESCETARIAN. I say stuff the anagram fodder, derive it from pisces, and confidently enter PISCETARIAN. 14a! It seems our setter with a wicked sense of humour had anticipated what I would do by hiding a near-Kenny Everettism with Eros’ alter ego and SHUNT. I retire suitably admonished.
    But this was enormous fun: after getting up J-PS’s nose I struggled to focus on the clues and SALOME, the outrageous “fat old cow”, QUIVER, and HIDE U(O)S all added to the jollity. The hint in 9 that we might be looking for some sort of spelling of SCYTHE as a symbol of Marxist unity was just as mischievous. Bravo setter, and encore!

  13. Four short, all in SE corner (ILL, BLEARY, QUITE SO and QUIVER). I thought vaguely about Cupids bow, and couldn’t think of an oil giant beyond Shell which contained an S, I think of ExxonMobil, rather than Esso.

    SHUNT was tricky with lots of five letter words with a central vowel that could switch, STAMP/STUMP, STICK/STACK/STOCK etc.

    I thought RIO TACT was great, but I passed on CHAPLAIN initially as I tried to make it fit CHAP+LAIN.

    COD HYPHEN, where I had CYPHER=sign until backtracking.

  14. DNF, not getting (m)ILL nor BLEARY, which I thought of and couldn’t parse, though in retrospect it’s quite clear (they usually are!). Didn’t initially see PESCETARIAN, and dabbled with “sapian” for the ending, thinking something clever was going on with the anagram fodder including “apes”. Enjoyed ZEN even though my French is pretty non-existent and also HACKNEYED as a nice homophone. Good puzzle despite my failure, thanks setter and jackkt.

  15. Very entertaining. Clever, fair, amusing and not too difficult. Can’t ask for more than that really.

    15:41 with one error. Cyphen (a relative of Cypher) for Hyphen. I saw the answer immediately the dreaded pink square appeared.


    1. Wot U said, absolutely, Astonvilla1 : what more can one ask of the cryptic? I didn’t finish ( bunged in PYTHON as a desperate attempt to think of a sign a neo-Marxist might come up with; and even though I’m sitting right below a picture by Gustav Klimt of Salome with John-the-Baptist’s head on plate (truly!) I still didn’t get SALOME. Go figure.

  16. Some biffage, for which thanks to Jack for the elucidation. ILL, NOWHERE NEAR and SHUNT were the ones I remember, oh yes, and SEAWAY, though I saw that after submission.

    Rather raced through this, given the NITCH, so must have been on wavelength – and my personal scores are very green. Lots to like – I found it witty, I think QUITE SO was my personal favourite.


  17. Quick question (or two). I have started to revisit the QC (which I used to do along with sudoko on my commute… I’ve now been getting acquainted with the 15×15 over the last 6 months or more). Anyways, on visiting the QC site, the name of the setter is known (though I can’t see it on my phone version?). So my questions are, where do I find the QC setter name on my phone version and … why do we not see the setter’s name for the 15×15 (or do we and I’m missing that too?)

    1. Can’t help you with the phone but others will. The names of 15×15 setters are never revealed unless one of them decides to comment here and own up to it. Very rare but it happened a few days ago.

  18. 10:30
    Another Spoonerism indicated by ‘Spooner’.

    I was at that Mecca of the modern dance in Manchester, The Ritz when they recorded the live version of ‘SALOME Maloney’ for Dr John Cooper Clarke’s ‘Disguise in Love’ LP.
    “I asked her her name, and she said ‘It’s
    Salome Maloney, queen of the Ritz’.”

  19. 42 minutes, with some slow passages of play but on the whole no major problems. I didn’t like here = now in 13dn, since one refers to place and the other to time, but no doubt some dictionaries allow it. Slow to get the PESCETARIAN anagram, partly because I’ve only ever heard the word spoken and I didn’t know how to spell it. You’d think it would start pisc… because of pisces. No moans so far about the Spooner clue; you won’t get them from me because I enjoyed it.

    1. Collins has here at this point in an action, speech, discussion, etc.; now

      Also: You use here to refer to a period of time, a situation, or an event that is present or happening now.
      Here comes the summer.
      Economic recovery is here.
      Here is your opportunity to acquire a luxurious one bedroom home.

  20. 26:59

    Quick for the first fifteen mins or so then bogged down with the last 30%. Wouldn’t have seen SALOME so easily without her popping up the other day; Thankfully thought of BY for ‘times’ quickly; Pleased to remember {m}ILL whom I have struggled with before.

    My last six, which took twelve minutes to come up with began with HYPHEN, followed by SEAWAY. Previously, I would have spelled the fish-eater PESCA- so needed the anagrist to confirm – that gave me the first letter needed for SHUNT. Then another pause thinking of a four-letter word meaning ‘resign’ – doh! – and finally QUIVER.

    Nice puzzle – thanks setter and Jack for the explanations

  21. An enjoyable puzzle bringing a chuckle with FOI, ZEN. Several clues resisted my first attempts, notably, SALOME, SHUNT, CHAPLAIN, PESCETARIAN, which I wouldn’t have spelled that way and LOI, BLEARY. Fortunately close attention to the anagrist and the crossers helped me out. ADUMBRATE led to the breakthrough in the NE. 22:12. Thanks setter and Jack.

  22. A fun puzzle. It took me 48 minutes because I was bogged down in the NW corner, having decided that the country in 1ac was more likely to contain an ‘n’ than a ‘z’ and that the random lass was DI rather than LIZ. Once I had seen the error of my ways everything fell into place. I too was surprised at the spelling of 6dn, but an anagram cannot lie. Is there now an unwritten rule that the crossword must contain a spoonerism? At first I thought that the puzzle was a bit bee-heavy but then realised that 26ac was not about bees at all.
    FOI – BOO
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  23. I thought the Spoonerism for “I don’t think so”/ “enemy close by” was “No, fie!”/”foe nigh”. Unfortunately the colourful time-honoured interjection “fie” is only three letters.

  24. 32:05 Deftly clued and somewhat less deftly solved. Only dither was the pesky fish-eater and its unusual (for me) spelling, one that Chambers and Oxford don’t have as an alternative, though I finally found it in American Heritage so I am assuming it is a US variant.

  25. 29’55”
    Smartly away, got a clear run, stayed on well.
    I feared a ‘breeze-block’, but when finally returning to 22 my subconscious had unveiled the devilish dancer. A Witch in the 80s (just), and all parsed and familiar, has restored teddy (BOO-BOO?) to the pram after yesterday’s failure and subsequent histrionics (BOO-HOO), the possibly troublesome fish eater’s ‘e’ checked and doubly clarified by the anagrist, unlike … (Zip it Darkness)
    Lots to like; well done setter and thank you Jack.

  26. 18.32 WOE

    Puzzled PYTHON inserted at the end – just couldn’t think of another word. Bit thick really. Shame as that was an excellent clue as was the rest of the puzzle.

    Thanks all

  27. 17’12” Good fun. I am SO going to go to a Starbucks and ask for that coffee with a REMARKABLY NICE AROMA. Not. But I’m tempted. I was glad for the crosschecking E in PISCETARIAN. 2d was a bit weird, because the article in EL PAIS is most obviously EL.

  28. Despite being a PESCETARIAN, I’ve always spelt it PISCETARIAN so never checked the anagram. Otherwise, nice puzzle.

  29. A pescatarian, however spelt, is always a welcome dinner guest here, so much easier to plan for than a veggie. It makes a pleasant change but I have noticed an otherwise satisfactory tendency to use a bit of bacon as a background flavour. I try to be firm with myself….
    Great crossword! Had my French nose upside down for a while.
    Failed to parse NOWHERE NEAR, thanks for that jackkt.
    Top marks to our setter

  30. A fail. Just like Dvynys, I couldn’t get HYPHEN at the end, despite having seen the trick several times before and bunged in PYTHON as an unknown symbol of unity, with the ‘neo-Marxists’ bit referring to Monty Python as successors to the Marx brothers; just plain wrong.

  31. A tidy and enjoyable puzzle. Slightly raised eyebrow at HERE=now. I vaguely remembered ADUMBRATE and PESCETARIAN and both were well clued so no problem. Thanks for the blog.

  32. 32:23 – got stuck in the NE corner but otherwise was relatively straightforward. NHO ADUMBRATE but the wordplay and lots of crossers got me there. does anyone else have to sing the whole Philosopher’s Song whenever the word philosopher comes up in a clue. perhaps someone could write one for composers (particularly the ones with shorter names!)

  33. 53 minutes, but a fun puzzle. I never saw a problem with PESCETARIAN, since I have never seen this word in any spelling and the anagrist was clear. I did have a problem with SHUNT, and just in the nick of time before submitting I changed my inital entry of SQUAT (“I’m not going to move”) since I couldn’t explain the change of heart. So I did solve correctly in the end.

  34. A lot to like, and trickier than the near to 100 SNITCH suggested. I liked Riot Act, made the Pisces to Piscaterean error – but had the right letteers from (unusually for me) paying attention to the angrist, so was able to right the vessel when I needed the “i” in Quite. Thanks setter, and you too, jack

  35. Like others HYPHEN my LOI and it took me a while to see it.

    Thought I was making heavy weather of an easy puzzle but was comfortably under my 30 min target and faster than some who regularly beat me.

    Enjoyed ZEN and ILL even if the latter did bring back not so pleasant memories of double politics on a Thursday afternoon studying On Liberty and moral philosophy for my A levels …

    Once again failed to identify a CD but luckily saw SALOME once I had the checkers.

    Pleased to see another Spoonerism: a good one today might I suggest …

    Thanks Setter and Jack.

  36. Mostly said in my reply to Astonvilla1 above, but the stand-out clues for me were NO FEAR, RIO TACT, OBESE ( ‘though I didn’t get it) and QUITE SO. Fun puzzle. Btw: have been trying to set a good clue for the word ADUMBRATE for a while now- so happy to see a good example here!


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