Times Cryptic 28784


My solving time was 58 minutes but I have to admit that I resorted to aids for the long answer at 11dn after 45 minutes when I was stuck with 5 words missing, 4 of them intersecting with it. The answer turned out to be a partial anagram of a complicated word I never heard of in my life, so I don’t feel too badly about that. The other missing answers then followed on quite quickly. The left of the grid was considerably easier than the right which was blocked by the aforementioned obscurity.

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 Architect’s means of keeping the rain out (10)
Two meanings, the first being Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928)
6 Shut up about grand echo (4)
CA (about), G (grand), E (echo – NATO)
9 Prop entirely losing line for seconds in rugby formation (7)
FUL{l} (entirely) [losing line] takes the place of [for] S (seconds) in {s}CRUM (rugby formation). SOED: fulcrum – a prop or support; now specifically the point against which a lever is placed to get purchase or on which it turns or is supported.
10 Survive during plot being blown up by explosives (7)
LAST (survive) contained by [during] BED (plot)
12 Naive heel in charge following fool in the White House? (10)
SIMP (fool), LIST (heel), IC (in charge). As with last Thursday’s puzzle we have more obscure American slang as indicated by ‘in the White House’.  I never heard of this example and hope I shan’t again.
13 Fright when envelope falls off part of airship (3)
{s}CAR{e} (fright) [when envelope falls off]. ‘Car’ is just a general term for accommodation in a wide variety of vehicles, so we have an unsignalled DBE here. The specific name for the passenger section of an airship was a gondola.
15 One rejected song penned by Papa Haydn initially (6)
ARIA (song) contained [penned] by P (papa – NATO) + H{aydn} [initially]. A social outcast. Joseph Haydn actually had the nickname ‘Papa’.
16 Like upper Nile region with Vikings perhaps in charge (8)
DANES (Vikings perhaps) contained by [in] SUE (charge). I spent ages trying to make this something to do with the shape of a delta.
18 Old princess has upset a servant (8)
Anagram [upset] of A SERVANT. The daughter of a Tsar.  I can’t say I remembered this although it has come up a couple of times before in 2011 and 2016, each time clued as an anagram of  ‘a servant’. Today I spotted TSAR which left little choice for placing the remaining letters.
20 Minute yellow rodent returned — it’s in many walls (6)
M (minute), OR (yellow – heraldry), then RAT (rodent) reversed [returned]
23 Clothing needing good attention (3)
{g}EAR (clothing) [needing – without – good]
24 Sea engulfing stricken giant two-master (10)
BRINE (sea – poetic) containing [engulfing] anagram [stricken] of GIANT. SOED: A two-masted vessel with a square-rigged foremast and fore-and-aft rigged mainmast.
26 Soak back of suede on dry hide (7)
SEC (dry), RET (soak), {sued}E [back of…]
27 Girl swallowing doctor’s instrument (7)
MARIA (girl) containing [swallowing] MB (doctor)
When marimba rhythms start to play
Dance with me
Make me sway
Like a lazy ocean hugs the shore
Hold me close
Sway me more
28 Position quote in speech (4)
Sounds like [in speech] “cite” (quote)
29 Concerned with setting, study words aurally, reading regularly (10)
CON (study), TEXT (words), {a}U{r}A{l}L{y} [reading regularly]
1 Wrapper cake’s missing at home (4)
MUFF{in} (cake) [missing at home)
2 Ship’s dog having short run (7)
COLLIE (dog), R (short for run). Another old type of ship to go with brigantine at 24ac.
3 Unique earlier power cable is relaid (13)
Anagram [relaid] of EARLIER P (power) CABLE
4 Small bird — cat finally got the thing (6)
TOM (cat), {go}T [finally], IT (the thing)
5 Person wrecking web programme has raised regret after it (8)
SA (it – Sex Appeal), BOT (web programme), then RUE (regret) reversed [raised]. With both IT and SA appearing in consecutive clues I thought a link to Mick H’s latest newsletter entitled Why rizz is the biz  might be of interest for those who haven’t seen it.
7 What could be a   feature? (7)
Two meanings. The indefinite article (‘a’) and article as in a newspaper.
8 Go wrong in the Spanish horse race? One could turn to wine? (10)
EL (the in Spanish) , then ERR (go wrong) contained by [in] DERBY (horse race). You’d need more than one!
11 Feature of foot, toe pear shaped, on more than one unknown fossil (13)
ARCH (feature of foot), then anagram [shaped] of TOE PEAR, then Y + X (more than one unknown). I’ve said enough about this in my intro but would only add that it has never  appeared before, even in a Mephisto.
14 A chief going heavenwards? The man so ascending is for deification (10)
A, TOP (chief) reversed [going heavenwards], HE (the man), then SO reversed  [ascending], IS
17 Character like Heathcliff or one in another novel (8)
I (one) contained by [in] anagram [novel] of ANOTHER
19 Fruit with a lot of starchy seeds put in a container for jam (7)
RIC{e} (starchy seeds) [a lot of…] contained by [put in] A + POT (container for jam)
21 One raised around a second bird (7)
UNIT (one) reversed [raised] containing [around] A + MO (second – moment). This South American bird has come up 4 times over the years and always gives me trouble. Attention to wordplay is needed here if one doesn’t know the word in order to avoid reversing A MO along with UNIT and coming up with TINOMAU.
22 Witty remark about a jolly groundhog (6)
MOT (witty remark – bon mot) containing [about] A + RM (jolly – jargon for Royal Marine)
25 Spoil dumped on lake is clayey rock (4)
MAR (spoil), L (lake). Another new one on me, but I trusted the wordplay.

64 comments on “Times Cryptic 28784”

  1. (I’m writing this to paste in when the blog goes up.) Good fun! Worked at a steady pace, finishing in the NW (again). I biffed ELDERBERRY with just the R. Also biffed APOTHEOSIS and SIMPLISTIC. (All parsed by now, though!) NHO of TINAMOU (if memory serves). TSAREVNA and (especially) ARCHAEOPTERYX took some working out—though for the latter I knew what word was intended as soon as I read the clue (I had the X already).

  2. 40 minutes. Obvious now, but I didn’t see TSAREVNA as an anagram for quite a while and unfamiliar words like ARCHAEOPTERYX, TINAMOU and the forgotten MARL needed crossers and wordplay to eventually enter a plausible answer. My favourites were ARTICLE and the double reversal indicators in APOTHEOSIS, another one that didn’t go straight in. I wasn’t a great fan of SIMP either.

    Sorry, can’t help with the latest copy of the newsletter containing the SA and IT musings. Yes, worth a read and maybe an indication they’re on their way out in crossword land?

    1. FWIW, simp is a kind of 1930s word which would not be used today. An American editor would probably not allow it to pass.

  3. DNF
    Didn’t get ELDERBERRY. I remembered ARCHAEOPTERYX from my childhood interest in paleontology. Didn’t know SIMP was an Americanism; strikes me as a rather dated one. NHO (or DNR) TINAMOU.

  4. 20:35. Much of my time was spent in the NW, where MACKINTOSH, MUFF, COLLIER and FULCRUM all took time to yield. I had considered COLLIER before it went in, but was not confident as I only knew it as a word for a coal miner.
    I am surprised that some are not familiar with ARCHAEOPTERYX. I had no particular interest in dinosaurs during childhood, but that’s one I remember well along with diplodocus, brontosaurus, stegosaurus, triceratops and tyrannosaurus.

    1. I generally agree, but I thought TSAREVNA was gettable from tsar. But then maybe I was lucky to spot the link to tsar as I’d have had no idea otherwise.

  5. Stone Walls do not a Prison make,
    Nor Iron bars a Cage
    (To Althea, from Prison. Richard Lovelace)

    30 mins mid-brekker, but my LOI was Princess Travesna. Surely you remember her from Star Wars part seventeen, with Prince Tinamou and their droid, Marl.
    Ta setter and J.

  6. 48:54 but with one error so my second DNF in a row. Yesterday was a typo but I have no such defence today as I put in TRAVENSA with crossed fingers for the much more plausible TSAREVNA. I’ll try to blame fatigue as with the clock ticking towards 50 minutes I was ready to finish at all costs.

    Lots of unknowns, some tricky words, and nice surfaces. I was pleased to tease out ARCHAEOPTERYX and TINAMOU, and for some reason I really enjoyed ELDERBERRY.

    I enjoyed the challenge so I am happily beaten. Thanks to the setter and to jackkt for what must have been a challenging one to blog.

  7. 13:20
    Knowing ARCHAEOPTERYX was something of an advantage; not knowing TSAREVNA wasn’t a great disadvantage. Applause for the ANTIHERO.
    Matt Groening called his show The Simpsons because he thought it would be funny to have the word simp (short for simpleton) in their name. As the clouds part during the opening credits, they appear for a moment as The Simps.

  8. ‘Trust the wordplay’ was the watchword for this one!

    Just over 60 mins, but I really enjoyed it, especially TSAREVNA, ARCHAEOPTERYX and TOMTIT

    All these years I thought that TOMTIT was a man’s name of two words, so commonly was it used by my cockney father whenever nature called. Live and learn …

  9. 45 minutes, but totally beaten by MARIMBA, just mombling some gibberish involving Myra and a MO. But I was already undone, having given the ARCHAEOPTERYX an I instead of its Y. Not my day

  10. Late start today after bad night’s sleep, caused by the recurring nightmare of Bolton’s centre-forward missing an open goal. He still had done when I woke up. DNF after an hour with the princess and the fossil missing. COD to COLLIER for two reasons; one the memory of my old border collie and the other the memory of Dame Caroline Haslett, one of a fleet(?) of colliers that used to ‘coal’ the Thames power stations early in my career, named after an impressive female electrical engineer who is in Wiki. I guess this was a good puzzle, a bit too good for me. Thank you Jack and setter.

  11. 13:42, but with a careless ARCHAEOPTERIX. Like I suspect many people (including Pootle) I’m familiar with the creature from a childhood interest in dinosaurs and I should really have remembered how to spell it. There was also the option of looking at the clue of course.
    I thought this was excellent, lots of funny words clearly indicated and some nice intricate wordplay.
    Thanks for the link to Mick’s interesting article. The word SIMP is also an interesting Gen Z case study: it’s become quite common again but with a different meaning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simp

    1. I’ve used “simp” that new way, for “Putin-simp.” I’ve probably spelled it with a Y a time or two, to distinguish my sense from the other word’s.

  12. Crickey, we’re short on comments this morning! Perhaps because I finished in 34 minutes I was a little hesitant about posting, plus I half expected a rather explosive limerick what with three birds in the grid of varying age and obscurity.
    On which subject, oddly it was the TOMTIT that fell to earth (God noticed!) last: I just could not get going in the NW corner, not really believing dear Rennie would be namechecked. MUFFIN proved elusive because parkIN kept intruding, and I put SABOTEUR in and erased it several times because I couldn’t see the SA. The complex structure of FULCRUM also took a while.
    Elsewhere CAR took a while because I was looking at the clue the wrong way round, and it’s not the most obvious part of an airship, especially when it’s a gondola.
    A “tough for a Tuesday puzzle”. I might go back to bed for a lie down.

    1. On edit: Where did Astro_nowt go? His limerick was here a minute ago. It was good. OK he was a bit rude to a blogger but I thought it was tongue in cheek, and was acceptable.

      1. Good question. Someone has deleted it … it was not me, or Jackkt. Perhaps the censor will respond, in due course?
        I don’t like folk making personal criticisms of bloggers, or setters, or anyone. But I don’t like censorship much, either..

        1. My guess is that it was the author. This deletes the critical post that followed as well (it had a point, and not about the joke at our blogger’s expense).

  13. 16ish minutes, but I was another TRAVENSA, who could perfectly plausibly have been some old princess or other. Never heard of TSAREVNA, and while it’s obvious in hindsight, I feel it’s a bit rough on the solver. I’d have said the same had I guessed the other way, I swear.

    Thanks both.

  14. Somehow I vaguely knew the ARCH…, but the problem was that my spelling of the word contained …E… not …AE…,so for a while I wasn’t sure. TSAREVNA struck me as a bit unkind: so bad when an obscure word is clued by an anagram. CAGE took a while as there were so many possibilities even with the E. Eventually I gave up and looked at all the _A_E words, amazed to find 167 of them. Lucky that I didn’t have to look far.

  15. 18′, but defeated by the princess. Looking at Chambers, setters have a large number of variant spelling of members of the Tsar’s family.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  16. A Google search for TINAMOU and one of the first results is a Youtube video called ‘Tinamou Facts: A bird you’ve never heard of’.

  17. A very satisfying 26:46 in what I thought was a very difficult but fairly clued puzzle. Fingers were very much crossed with tinamou, brigantine, archaeopteryx, tsarevna but in each case the wordplay was helpful and complete so the unknowns were gettable. LOI Mackintosh as it took me ages to realise that the name of an architect was what we were after. Thanks J and setter

  18. 11:36 Well that was fun. No problem with the vocab really though I did have to think quite carefully about TSAREVNA. Archaeopteryxes are still much loved by small boys and I’m surprised not universally known. I also got distracted by parkin, and still maintain that muffins aren’t cakes. If I may be discourteous to the setter I don’t like clues where the same element features in both the clue and the answer, by which I mean that Tom (the man’s name) is the same thing in both the cat (tom cat) and the bird (tom tit). Just a pet peeve that I’m probably alone in caring about. I actually liked the airship clue, especially the use of the technical term “envelope”. COD to SUDANESE. It would not surprise me in the least if the Vikings made it to Khartoum in between founding Kiev, rampaging across the Hebrides and taking care of things in Constantinople.

  19. I thought this was easier than yesterday’s, took 19 minutes, with CAR my LOI. Knowing the obscure words helped, including the prehistoric bird thing. Like others, I deduced the Tsar’s daughter from the likely places for the V and A to go once we had T*A*E *N*. I’m also fed up with the IT / SA thing but I suppose it’s a useful tool for setters and hard to bypass.

  20. DNF, defeated by TSAREVNA (I put ‘travesna’). It’s funny how I’m very familiar with Tsarina and Tsarevich, but not Tsarevna for some reason.

    Didn’t see how the ‘sabot’ part of SABOTEUR worked as I missed the significance of the ‘it’ in the clue; trusted the wordplay for MARL and TINAMOU; didn’t know that ‘simp’ is American in SIMPLISTIC (where I tried to justify ‘idealistic’ for a while); had forgotten ret=soak for SECRETE; and took ages to get the right anagrist for IRREPLACEABLE.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Brigantine

  21. Not happy with the definition of simp. Too close to a ho-ho re US presidents including the one in office and if not intended should still have been seen and cut out. Also too American for my taste but I have to accept such things if with difficulty. Didn’t know the old princess but fair enough. P for power seems to be established now though not sure how that came to be. After a slow start completed in around 40 minutes and despite my complaints enjoyed it by and large: a nice exercise in words and their working. But as so often now – sailing close to the wind.

  22. 58:48 – quite a workout with a couple of Mephisto-worthy answers, though not – fortunately – clued in a Mephisto-like way. The bird, Mrs Tsar and several others from the crossers and wordplay. ANTIHERO possibly the best of an excellent bunch.

  23. I too was surprised that solvers had trouble with archaeopteryx – apart from the spelling that is. If memory serves correctly, it was a hugely important find because it provided an evolutionary link between modern birds and dinosaurs. But then I never knew CR Mackintosh was an architect as well as designing tiles and chairs and stuff which I am sure will engender many “MER”s.
    Thanks to all for your continually entertaining and informative comments

      1. Wasn’t that Callard and Bowser: another Glasgow based institution?
        NB Charles Rennie Macintosh – architect, designer, painter, all round genius – not to be confused with Charles “rainy” Macintosh, the Glasgow based chemist who invented the rubberised waterproof fabric utilised for raincoats.

          1. Yes, I know, but I’ve waited absolutely ages for an opportunity to somehow chuck in that Charles “rainy” Macintosh quip 😁

  24. I drew a blank in the NW but the NE yielded CAGE, ARTICLE and ELDERBERRY without too much wailing and gnashing of teeth. It still took some effort to work my way back to the NW via the ARCHAEOPTERYX, which I had heard of, but needed crosser assistance for the spelling. As soon as I had CONTEXTUAL and read Feature of foot, I knew what I needed. TSAREVNA needed care to detail and a justified guess that TSAR would feature in the answer. MARL was unknown and I had to trust the wordplay. Back in the NW, MACKINTOSH suddenly reared his head from the murky depths and MUFF conjured up LOI, FULCRUM, TOMTIT and SIMPLISTIC having been crowbarred into place shortly beforehand. I didn’t notice the IT/SA in 5d as I biffed SABOTEUR from the BOT and upside down RUE. 35:47. Thanks setter and Jack.

  25. I did not like this crossword.
    I assume it is another gift from the US, who else would think “simp” meant anything. I don’t even know what it means, though I suspect it isn’t complimentary

  26. 41:10

    On the whole I enjoyed it. A bit of help from ninja turtle Robert Langdon (without whom I might not have known the meaning of APOTHEOSIS) enabling me to finish off the SW corner. Thought it would be slow going at first with just five answers in the first fifteen minutes, then suddenly saw the DANES and I was off – ELDERBERRY (thanks to Elton John for his 70s B-side “Elderberry Wine” which brought this quickly to mind), BLASTED, CAGE, ARTICLE and SABOTEUR entered in doublequick time. I too raised an eyebrow at SIMP, pondered the unknown MARL and the guessed TINAMOU (think I’ve seen this before).

    Thanks Jack and setter

  27. DNF. After an age and reading all the clues I had about 4. OK, the clues were NOT spectacularly hard, but the style totally threw me (wavelength I suppose.) I came here to get a few like 1a. Mr Mackintosh may be famous but I NHO.
    I used the cheating machine from the beginning. After stealing 1a I got quite a lot but still there were a lot I couldn’t do.
    Interesting though.
    Not sure what happened to Astro_nowt’s limerick?

    1. In the same boat as you, andyf, not many solved by me , except ones aided by cheating! But, pleased to get ANTIHERO straight away (it didn’t help me much!)

  28. Fell on my LOI when I put the letters for TSAREVNA in a different order and so a couple of pink squares. Luckily I knew the ancient bird although it seemed too short when I first put it in since I just had E not AE. My first wife was from Stoke-on-Trent and the holes where clay had been dug out long ago were known as MARL holes so no problem there, and I dragged the TINAMOU up from somewhere, probably because it has appeared before.

  29. Took me over an hour but I got there in the end.

    Thanks for the blog, which I needed to understood clues such as MARMOT even after I’d got them. I never knew you could have a ‘mot’ without a ‘bon’ in that sense, or that a Royal Marine was a ‘jolly’.

  30. I was worried when TSAREVNA was my FOI, but soon tuned in to a more suitable wavelength. I am grateful to note that hours of my youth spent playing Animal Crossing was not a complete waste, as I donated Archaeopteryx fossils to the museum in that game, which helped me today.

  31. 32.35 but disappointed to see my cor should have been car. A toughie but lots to admire in fulcrum, marimba and sudanese as well as others. Got simplistic but never seen simp as a word before and I still struggle to see the White House bit.

    Confess to checking the spelling of archetc.

  32. Not as difficult as I thought it would be. Suddenly found myself with just 3 left. I assumed 11D would be impossible, but having the X as final letter meant there had to be a Y and once I’d thought of ARCH it was plain sailing. LOI CAR, where I had to put gondola out of my head to get the answer. Missed the parsing of SABOTEUR, bifd from RUE.

  33. I have to say I enjoyed the puzzle and the SIMPLETON clue, although surely the heel is not the current POTUS but his son?

  34. A day late… too busy yesterday. On the hard side but no real problems. What everybody else said except: NHO archaeopteryx was an easy build from Greek roots a la Vinyl; and I must be the only one here who’s heard of a tinamou. Pretty sure it was the hero’s nickname in Ludlum’s Jason Bourne books, one of which I read 40-odd years ago.

    1. Also a day late but only because I couldn’t get my brain in gear yesterday. Unfortunately put TRAVESNA so a fail.
      I’m sure it must have been used before but I did like the clue for ANTIHERO.


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