Times Cryptic 28790

Solving time: 34 minutes

I would  have finished this well within my target half-hour but for the fruit at 13ac which added a good 6 or 7 minutes to my solving time.

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 Anger gripping almost all in French train (9)
ENRAGE (anger) containing [gripping] TOU{t} (almost ‘all’ in French)
6 Impudent, but shy about certain knowledge at first (5)
COY  (shy) containing [about] C{ertain} + K{nowledge} [at first]
9 Make a splash with popular show the boss scores (3,3,9)
HIT (popular show), THE, HEAD (boss), LINES (scores). SOED: splash – a prominent newspaper headline or feature; a dramatic or sensational news story.
10 Observed at Ely perhaps, it has its ups and downs (6)
SEE (Ely perhaps – a bishopric), SAW (observed)
11 Upset a Rhode Island girl carrying goods (8)
A+RI (Rhode Island) + EVE (girl) containing [carrying] G+G (goods)
13 Daughter leaves older relative badly needing a piece of fruit (10)
GRAN{d}AD, (older relative) [daughter – d – leaves], ILL (badly), A. My LOI as a barely remembered the name of this fruit, better known (to me at least) as the passion fruit.  Its previous appearances here were most recently in a Mephisto and a Jumbo which I would not have tackled, and prior to that in 15x15s in 2012 clued as a  hidden word, and in 2009.
14 Endlessly examine horses kept for breeding (4)
STUD{y} (examine) [endlessly]
16 One maintaining pianos, you say? Something fishy here (4)
Sounds like [you say] “tuner” [one maintaining pianos]
17 My soil goes shaky? This might explain it (10)
Anagram [shaky] of MY SOIL GOES. The definition is &lit.
19 Pass through some super meat extract (8)
Hidden in [some] {su}PER MEAT E{xtract}
20 Way a little sibling defines stagnation (6)
ST (way – street), A, SIS (little – abbreviated – sibling]
23 Filming part of theatre where reports may be heard (8,7)
SHOOTING (filming), GALLERY (part of theatre)
24 Assume extremists for years have backed council (5)
DON (assume) + Y{ear}S [extremists for …] reversed [backed]
25 It peps up one tucking into fresh greens with hesitation (9)
I (one) contained by [tucking into] anagram [fresh] of GREENS, then ER (hesitation)
1 Characteristic spirit of English chap lacking master’s degree (5)
E (English), THO{ma}S ( chap] [lacking master’s degree – MA]
2 Northern boatmen circulating completely naturally (2,3,6,4)
Anagram [circulating] of NORTHERN BOATMAN
3 Disturbance at university over fellow introducing a girl (8)
UP (at university), HE (fellow), A, VAL (girl). ‘Over’ and ‘introducing’ simply indicate position, but perhaps a little intrusively.
4 Cause of discomfort, one involving head, principally (4)
ACE (one) containing [involving] H{ead} [principally]
5 Welshman takes time welcoming key priest and preacher (10)
EVANS (Welshman) + T (time) containing [welcoming] G (key) + ELI (priest)
6 Salad ingredient offered by engineer on the French railway (6)
CE (civil engineer), LE (‘the’ in French), RY (railway)
7 Disputable nature of material is absorbing old university head (15)
CONTENT (material), then IS containing [absorbing] O (old) + U (university), then NESS (headland)
8 You once strayed badly, very recently (9)
YE (‘you’ once) anagram [badly] of STRAYED
12 Amateur poet touring India with native of Latvia (10)
DANTE (poet) containing [touring] I (India – NATO) + LETT (native of Latvia)
13 Restrict online messages — and entrance supporters? (9)
GATE (restrict), POSTS (online messages) SOED: gate – confine a student to the precincts of a college or school either entirely or after certain hours.
15 Pays to register for arduous trek (8)
FOOTS (pays a bill), LOG (register)
18 Group once fashionable — a little (6)
HEP (once fashionable – now a dated expression), TAD (a little). A group of seven.
21 Less confident breed of horse, do we hear? (5)
Sounds like [do we hear) “shire” (breed of horse)
22 Fever absent-minded vicar initially escapes (4)
{v}AGUE (absent-minded)  [v{icar} initially escapes]

94 comments on “Times Cryptic 28790”

  1. ACHE and AGUE seemed apt for me this evening, but maybe I just partied too hard on Birthday Eve Sunday night. Couldn’t get GRANADILLA until I had all the crossers—fourth from the end. Then I got SEISMOLOGY, FOOTSLOG and CONTENTIOUSNESS.

      1. Thanks! Feels like this will blow over soon. At least I have a good reason not to do my office day this week.

  2. 13:36
    This has the lowest NITCH in ages; the highest personal NITCH at the moment is 88. Biffing made my time faster: SYNOD, TO THE MANNER, CONTENTIOUSNESS (I had -IOUSNESS), ENTOURAGE (where I took EN to be ‘in French’), all parssed post-submission. And GRANADILLA (LOI, NHO): failing to see GRANDDAD, I couldn’t see where the D came from, but it seemed like the best bet, although I checked in ODE before submitting.

    1. I note you have written GRANDDAD, the way I’ve always spelt it but the not the way required for the clue to work. I must have seen it written as GRANDAD millions of times yet it has never occurred to me before today that the second D is commonly dropped.

      1. As I didn’t notice it in the clue, I didn’t notice what I was typing; I don’t think I’ve ever written it before (my grandfather–just had the one–was always Grandpa Roy). But I think that if I were told to write the word, so that I was consciously spelling it, I’d still use two D’s.

  3. I didn’t have a problem with the GRANADILLA (although almost put an O on the end instead of an A until I checked the wordplay more closely). I got held up at the end with DILETTANTE since even with all the checkers I couldn’t see a word, and I forgot about LETTs being natives of Latvia. And, for some reason, DANTE never came to mind either so I was struggling until suddenly my brain saw it.

      1. Must have heard the song hundreds of times without ever spotting ‘Letts’, even though I’ve always found ‘Let’s’ ungrammatical. There may be many other songs which, misheard once, are now a fixed and erroneous part of my bath-time repertoire.

      2. Me too!! One of my favourite songs…but am always surprised at how many people don’t realise that it is Letts and not let’s.

    1. I biffed GATEPOSTS too, thinking it was something to do with keeping a secret between “you, me, and the gatepost” before I realized it was more direct.

  4. 34.47 for me, I struggled a bit more than some. GRANADILLA took a while at the end (they’re stupid fruit anyway) as did HEPTAD. Thanks to Jack for explaining a few of these, including ETHOS and ENTOURAGE (missed ‘enrage’ completely). Didn’t get that sense of gate as a verb and quite a few others were biffed first and parsed later, all up a fun puzzle I thought.

      1. In Oz it was once the primary topping for the mighty Pav, but now it’s not. I’m glad you have found a use for it, I prefer fruit that actually contains…er…fruit. They love it in Queensland, but up there they also believe the choko is an actual food.

        1. They once elected a bloke called Joe-Bielke Peterson (?) PM. Then there’s always our Pauline…

          1. They finally got rid of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, he was State premier for an age courtesy of a seriously effective gerrymander and ingrained corruption of the police, public service etc etc. Pauline’s glory days are over but she still clings onto her senate spot with about, oh, 6% of the vote? It’s enough to make you choko on your granadilla…

  5. Finished in 17 minutes exactly and would have been much faster without the SW group granadilla, gateposts (where I initially biffed goalposts, before getting tuna) synod and heptad.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  6. Assumed online messages were EPOSTS but couldn’t see how the rest of it worked. Briefly distracted by memories of the Penelope Keith sitcom. Otherwise no major problems. For a change.

  7. 37m 24s.
    LOI was 13ac and I suspect it will be the LOI for others.
    It took 2d to remind me that the title of the TV sitcom was the punny ‘To The Manor Born’….

      1. I wondered who’d be the first to point that out. It’s a line that reminds me of the story about someone who when asked what they’d thought of Hamlet said ‘not bad, but too many quotes’.

        But to my mind, though I am native here
        And to the manner born, it is a custom
        More honoured in the breach than the observance

            1. In the movie, it’s Salieri, trying to think of something to support Joseph’s negative comment.

              1. Ah, well, the movie. I saw it once when it was first released, but with utter disappointment. I had the privilege of seeing the original National Theatre production at the Olivier in 1980 with Paul Scofield as Salieri and Simon Callow as Mozart. I sat in the then cheap seats about three rows from the stage . It goes down probably as the greatest theatrical experience I have ever had, Fortunately a year or two later BBC radio put out a full length adaptation with the same cast which I recorded so I have been able to relive the occasion many times over the years. The film, rewritten with the aid of an uncredited adapter was as as nothing for me.

              2. The quote — too many notes etc — was the hidden theme in the Spectator crossword a couple of weeks back.

  8. The short-liv’d, paly summer is but won
    From winter’s Ague for one hour’s gleam
    (On visiting the tomb of Burns, Keats)

    25 mins pre-brekker. I quite enjoyed it. No probs with Granadilla.
    But LOI was Seesaw with a MER at “at”.
    Ta setter and J

  9. I was moving steadily towards a relatively swift (for me) solve of less than 40mins. Beaten in the end by two NHOs GRANADILLA and HEPTAD so no complaints. I enjoyed many of the other clues but GATEPOSTS and DILLETANTE were joint favourites.

    Thanks setter and Jackkt.

  10. 8:49. I’m another who needed the wordplay to spell GRANADILLA right – I’ve always spelt it with an E instead of the first A. LOI HEPTAD took a bit of finding. COD to SEISMOLOGY. Thanks jackkt and setter.

  11. Nice enough puzzle, but I had to write out the anagrist for my LOI.

    Today’s earworm is “Tattooed Lady” by the late, great Rory Gallagher – brought about by SHOOTING GALLERY.

    TIME 6:48

    1. The greatest rock/blues guitarist of all time imo, simply for his live performances. BBC 1976 is a cracker. That energy never quite transferred to vinyl though.
      He was by no means a perfect player, but it didn’t matter because you appreciated the ethos behind it and his devotion to the genre. Such a nice man too, who had time for everybody.

  12. 17:51

    Pretty smooth though required some thought as to what would work with TAD and ensuring that the fruit had the correct spelling, otherwise nothing to scare the horses.

  13. About 25 minutes. Like Mkgnao above, for 13d I thought ‘online messages’ was giving ‘eposts’ so I wondered how ‘gat’ could mean restrict, before getting GRANADILLA eventually made GATEPOSTS inevitable. I think I was aware of the sitcom To The Manor Born before I heard the phrase TO THE MANNER BORN, so instinctively I went for the former until I realised the enumeration wouldn’t work.

    No problems otherwise – thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Gateposts
    LOI Cocky
    COD Dilettante

    1. I also have vague recollections of the sitcom and until about 6 months ago I thought the saying was “To the MANOR born” because of it.

      It makes me wonder what other puns I have fallen for over my years…

      1. I confess, having been raised on the sitcom (not much on the telly in those days) I also thought its title was the correct quote. The shame.

          1. We three have been knocked off our pedal stools and we’ll surely find ourselves social piranhas on this site.

  14. 12:08
    That is my fastest online solve by a margin, helped I think by tackling the quick cryptic first as I always find it takes a little while for my brain to warm up to the task.

    GRANADILLA rang only the vaguest of bells but that was reasonably clued in my opinion, and I had no other issues on my way around. The last in was HEPTAD as I needed the checkers but having had HEP recently that didn’t slow me too much.

    A mild but nonetheless pleasant solve so thanks to the setter and of course to jackkt for the blog.

  15. A nice and quick 23 minutes. NHO GRANADILLA as a passion fruit, but the wordplay worked well. I remembered PENTAD from a previous crossword but managed to stop myself writing it in until I’d looked at the clue properly and worked out HEPTAD. LOI CELERY

  16. 9:15
    As a proud Prestonian, I’m unhappy with the supposed homophone for TUNA; less so for SHYER.
    (As it happens, I’ve just fired off a letter to the editor to join the debate about the Northern rhotic ‘R’.)

    1. While that R can be found in many parts of Lancashire, I was surprised that Blackburn was the example cited. It can be heard far more easily just up the road in Burrrrrnley.

  17. Under half an hour, but slowed at the end by the fruit and the small, once cool group like many others. COD to the topical SEISMOLOGY. Iceland is wild, elemental and stunningly beautiful, and life there is barely tolerated by Gaia.

    I know this was an easy one but Mohn’s time is incredible. I couldn’t type the answers that fast if I were a neutrino.

  18. 7:01. No problems today, a little care replied for the unfamiliar fruit and to ensure the correct number of Ls and Ts in DILETTANTE.

  19. 18 minutes. A bit of biffing eg for ENTOURAGE and I wasn’t very confident about the only just heard of GRANADILLA, but otherwise not too many problems. I was another one tripped up by having watched too much Peter Bowles and Penelope Keith and was most put out when it didn’t fit on my first attempt.

  20. Good fun. Breezed through it, apart from the fruit but AGUE unaccountably became AUGE when typing. As penance for my carelessness I will wear cross-gartered yellow stockings.
    Thnks to Jack and the setter.

  21. So I went straight through this in 9.23, with only DILETTANTE and SHOOTING GALLERY offering slight resistance, and SHYER being SHIRE before I needed it not to be. If I could type quicker, I might have given Mohn a run for his money. GRANADILLA is easy if you already have the crossers. It seems I had a variety with my passion flower vine, though the flesh was red rather than yuck, and I never learned it as a little grenade, though now you see it it’s quite apt.

  22. Played around with all the elderly relatives but never came up with the right combination for the unknown fruit. Otherwise nice and straightforward.

    Thanks Jack

  23. 18:16
    Hep – good retro word. Iirc, Molesworth talks about ‘hep cats’, or something of the sort.
    Thanks, jack.

  24. 19 minutes after a late start. GRANADILLA was unknown and constructed, so fingers were crossed. I entered HEPTAD with more confidence. You mean I should no longer claim to be a hepcat? COD to SEISMOLOLOGY. Enjoyable Thank you Jack and setter.

  25. 27′. Quite a few went in on first pass providing helpful crossers. RHS filled quickly, LHS a bit more chewy for me. HEPTAD needed a trawl for “HEP” and LOI GRANADILLA was NHO and purely wordplay. Easier than recent Mondays I’d say. thanks Jackkt and setter.

  26. In his early days writing for The Sunday Telegraph the now chief cricket correspondent of The Times referred to Alastair Cook batting ‘to the manor born’. I never quite worked out if this was just a straightforward spelling mistake, or something more subtle.

    About as easy as it gets, 20 minutes, worked out the tricky ones like HEPTAD and GRANADILLA from wordplay. Didn’t help myself by stupidly having shire. In 1ac I took a while to see that it was enrage not just rage, which didn’t quite work.

    1. ‘To The Manor Born’ was a sitcom on BBC television a few decades ago starring Penelope Keith. Not my cup of tea, but it was very popular and Mike Atherton may well have watched it and just missed the pun.

  27. First time under 8 mins, and a big PB. Personal NITCH 36!

    Only the NHO GRANADILLA (v. helpful wordplay) and HEPTAD (LOI) really held me up. Lots of biffing and post submission parsing.


  28. Most of these were a shoe-in from the start. GRANADILLA was unfamiliar, and GATEPOSTS was slow to emerge. I knew it must begin with GATE, but the ‘online messages’ eluded for a while. I stupidly entered SHIER for 21 initially, why gave a very odd pattern for the second word of 23. Once corrected, I got the whole answer, and sped to the end. YESTERDAY seems to be cropping up a lot.

    25 minutes

  29. A very speedy (for me) 23.25, which I would say confirms this as the easiest offering for some time. My only holdups came at the end with first GRANADILLA which had to be carefully constructed from the wordplay, and finally DILETTANTE which must have taken me a full three minutes. It came up fairly recently in a crossword, and if it hadn’t, it may have taken me even longer to get.

  30. 17’34 smasharooni, with fingers crossed re GRANADILLA.

    The wordplay was fair enough and I squeak through with a PB 🙂

    COD FOOTSLOG as it’s a lovely word. Thanks blogger and setter!

  31. Another joyously quick solve, though held up at the end by GATEPOSTS and HEPTAD. As soon as I thought of POSTS, as opposed to SMS/EMAILS/TEXTS/TXTS, the answer fell, and with the latter, it was when I thought of ‘hip’, having already put in a tentative TAD. Luckily, I had heard of HEPTAD from previous crosswords, unlike GRANADILLA, which went straight in from the cryptic, thank you, setter. Never knew it was the proper name for passion fruit. Every day’s a schoolday!

  32. Second fastest time ever at 12:25! Never heard of ‘grenadilla’ but it had to be so from the wordplay

  33. Almost there, but defeated by SYNOD and HEPTAD. The latter is a NHO made up from to pretty tough words, would never have got it. Always pleased to give up at the right time, one of the underrated skills of this game: knowing when to fold.

    1. Snap! I was pleased to get the rest but stumped by those two short words in the SW corner. And I also agree about knowing when to accept you’ve reached your limits. Practice definitely helps but sometimes there’s a word – or a cricketing term 🙂 – that is a NHO…

  34. 12:36. Stupidly failed to see the ness/head thing in 7d, leaving me to wonder if the “nature” in the clue was doing double duty as the nature of disputable and the nature of material (the implausible contentness). Obviously not, for a multitude of reasons, though the actual answer was never in much doubt.

  35. 11:51 – would have been a rare sub-10 but GRANADILLA (nho) took some teasing out.

    Thanks both.

  36. Slowed down by a dodgy elbow and solving from my armchair, on the TV screen using magnifier, which then only shows sections of the grid, so a bit fiddly. Even so I was surprised that my 22:20 put me way down at 138 on the leaderboard! Mind you I didn’t tackle the puzzle until early in the afternoon. I started off fairly quickly with ENTOURAGE first in. The rest of the top half followed nicely, but I slowed down, down under. I had to write out the anagrist for SEISMOLOGY and LOI, CONTENTIONSNESS, the latter not being visible as a whole word on my screen. I also had to replace SHIRE when SHOTTING GALLERY arrived. I waited for the crossers for the unknown fruit, but the wordplay was kind. Thanks setter and Jack.

  37. Heptad and Footslog held me up a bit but it was the crossing Dilettante and Granadilla that caused the greatest problems. All very enjoyable in the end.

  38. I didn’t time myself but wish I had – must have been under 30 minutes so speedy for me.
    Luckily we had “hep” for fashionable recently and today we were helped by the setter kindly adding “once”.
    Enjoyable puzzle.

  39. 26 minutes, but for some bizarre reason I chose GRANDAM as the older relative, giving me a GRANAMILLA. Otherwise a nice easy solve.

  40. Enjoyable puzzle, though my 36 minutes take me well outside competition range. NHO the fruit, but the wordplay was clear enough. I liked the GATEPOSTS. SYNOD took a while to dawn and gave me my LOI HEPTAD – also NHO, and, although I had the HEPT** sorted out, I couldn’t complete the last two letters before the council had appeared. Thanks to setter and blogger, as ever.

  41. Just 21 mins, but very late in the day. LOI STASIS, would have been FOI if I’d seen it first.

  42. As a CEng I object strongly to the two-letter term used in the solution for 6d. It ain’t acceptable whatever any dictionary may say.

    1. My error, not the setter’s. Only trying to be helpful, but I got it wrong. Should have put ‘Civil Engineer’. Some dictionaries offer ‘Chief Engineer’ but none I have seen has ‘Chartered’.

  43. 14’04”. Feel I should have been quicker, seeing all the fast times. Is entourage the same as train? I’d have said one surrounded, the other followed.

    1. Probably literally so, but figuratively followers, train, entourage, retinue can all mean a group of people who band together in one way or another

  44. Yes, another unexpected quick solve here, but thoroughly enjoyable. Looked up GRANADILLA to confirm, and never got the NHO HEPTAD. But still happy. Have to say I’m always surprised at the number of extremely intelligent, knowledgeable and witty people here that don’t “get” puns ( like manner/manor, letts/let’s.). Maybe they’re obvious to me as my father was an inveterate punner, so I grew up with them….

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