Times Cryptic 28808


Solving time: 57 minutes. I struggled a bit with this one, but having written the blog I’m not sure why as there was only one answer unknown to me, and I possessed all the necessary general knowledge.

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 Doubt maiden’s yielding (9)
M (maiden – cricket), IS (’s), GIVING (yielding)
6 Problem with a century plant (5)
SUM (problem), A, C (century). Just for once I remembered this plant which has caught me out so often in the past, but I still needed wordplay to jog my memory.
9 Dolphin’s mostly well out around slipway perhaps (7)
GUS{h} (well out) [mostly], containing [around] RAMP (slipway perhaps). I knew the word but never realised it referred to dolphins.
10 What might mix up a salt? (7)
Anagram [mix] of UP A SALT
11 Note fight in the vicinity (5)
A (note), BOUT (fight)
12 A harvest and place to store it back in citadel (9)
A, CROP (harvest), then SILO (place to store it – the harvest) reversed [back]
14 Humour with appeal (3)
W (with), IT (sex appeal)
15 Like exhausted kangaroos that mustn’t be touched (3,2,6)
An amusing cryptic hint precedes the literal
17 Newspaper going all out for joint ownership scheme (4,7)
TIMES (newspaper), HARING (going all out – racing)
19 Illness reportedly went quickly (3)
Sounds like [reportedly] “flew” (went quickly). Fortunately the spaces available left no room for doubt as to which way round the clue worked.
20 Fine example of hospice we renovated (9)
Anagram [renovated] of HOSPICE WE
22 Poor in seven days if losing regularly (5)
{i}N {s}E{v}E{n} D{a}Y{s} [losing regularly]
24 Very impressive river, one where nothing is good (7)
AMAZ0N (river) becomes AMAZIN when I (one) replaces 0 (nothing), then G (good)
26 Eudora’s strangely excited (7)
Anagram [strangely] of EUDORA’S. Eudora was the name of several nymphs in Greek mythology – not that one needed to know that.
27 Ideal shot bags fifth of wickets (5)
DRAM (shot – small measure of spirits), contains [bags] (wick}E{ts} [fifth]. We seem to have had a lot drams recently, but I suppose at this time of year they are seasonal.
28 City to west end of the lake is drier (4,5)
BATH (city), TO, W (west), {th}E [end of…], L (lake)
1 Mother’s holding meeting — a source of eruptions (5)
MA (mother) containing [holding] AGM (Annual General meeting)
2 Eg, Liverpool game grips Everton and Anfield primarily (7)
SPORT (game) contains [grips]  E{verton} + A{nfield} [primarily]
3 Reckless drive around Oxford University (9)
IMPETUS (drive) containing [around] OU (Oxford University)
4 Show by example type of coffee I consumed (11)
INSTANT (type of coffee), I, ATE (consumed). NHO this but the wordplay was helpful.
5 Fuel cut — not keeping hot (3)
GAS{h} (cut) [not keeping hot]
6 Clever Chinese dog, not English one (5)
SHAR P{ei} (Chinese dog) [not English one]
7 Sentimental girl invited to see garden left home (7)
MAUD (girl invited to see garden), L (left), IN (home). Tennyson’s poem Maud begins: Come into the garden, Maud. It used to be widely known but is now probably unfamiliar to most under a certain age. It was also set to music as a popular song performed by Marie Lloyd. Quickie solvers may have had an advantage here as the poem was referenced in a clue set by Izetti last November.
8 Deposed dictator accuses EU for being thrown out (9)
Anagram [thrown out] of ACCUSES EU. His reign was terminated abruptly on Christmas Day 1989. 
13 Umpire to falsify extended time given new time in cooler (11)
REF (umpire), RIG (falsify), ERA (extended time), N (new), T (time)
14 Oppose HST after understanding land’s cut by line (9)
WIT (understanding), HST, {l}AND [cut by line]. In case it’s not familiar beyond these shores, HST stands for ‘High Speed Train’ which makes for a rather good surface reading. ‘Wit’ might have been better avoided in the wordplay here, having already appeared at 14ac.
16 Moved flag right onto higher part of church (5,4)
Anagram [moved] of FLAG R (right) ONTO. Construct your own anagrist!
18 Making fast million over old craze (7)
M (million), O (over), O (old), RAGE (craze). I lost time here trying to make ‘mooring’ work.
19 Fine good-for-nothing over blade (7)
F (fine), then WASTER (good-for-nothing) reversed [over]
21 Very old king I spotted in carriage (5)
I contained by [spotted in], PRAM (carriage). Legendary King of Troy.
23 Sing unknown poem by learner (5)
Y (known), ODE (poem), L (learner). Not my idea of singing!
25 Yak burgers, fat and cabbage hearts (3)
{bur}G{ers} + {f}A{t} + {cab}B{age} [hearts]

68 comments on “Times Cryptic 28808”

  1. I had a very different experience, found this very easy!
    I think the Quickie took me about as long. Only held up, both times, by one incautious biff.

  2. My only issue was spelling CEAUSESCU wrong, making ACROPOLIS impossible until I realized. Also, I was somewhat convinced that 6D was SMART and wondered if there really was a Chinese SMARTIE dog. I am not good on dog breeds since I’ve never owned a dog or had any interest in them. I too wasted time trying to justify MOORING before getting DREAM put paid to that idea and I realized RAGE was a lot better than RING for “craze”.

  3. I enjoyed this and got through it without too many hold-ups to finish in 21.06. LOsI were MISGIVING (which I simply could not see) and IMPETUOUS. I also thought a GRAMPUS was something else (a walrus) and floundered for a while with BATH TOWEL because I had some wrong crossers and needed a city spelt S-E- which was never going to work. Albert Camus was apparently a devotee of SUMAC because it was his name spelt backwards.

  4. 26 minutes. Not too difficult, with the CEAUSESCU spelling giving me the most trouble; I didn’t know the order of the E and U for the unchecked second and fourth letters but eventually semi-guessed correctly. Hadn’t come across INSTANTIATE before and only recognised GRAMPUS as a marine animal but didn’t know which one. Favourites were the footballing surface for SEAPORT and the ‘Clever Chinese dog’ at 6d.

  5. Nice to see ‘China’ and ‘dog’ in the same sentence outside a recipe book.

    18 mins.

  6. 29m 06s.
    Normally my times and Jack’s are reasonably close but not today!.
    Possibly helped by knowing that Gary Lineker’s last club before retiring as a player was Nagoya GRAMPUS 8 in Japan. I knew the word would come in handy one day!

    1. As a sports nut, I was absolutely devastated at a quiz when the question was what was Beckham’s last club and I said (and insisted against opposition from the Canadian woman on our team, whose specialities were science and literature) LA Galaxy. It was of course PSG, and she has never let me forget it.

  7. 25 minutes with LOI the correct (?) spelling of CEAUSESCU, having tried every conceivable alternative first. I could have sworn there was another C. COD to MAUDLIN. SEAPORT was the name given to Liverpool in Z Cars. BD to Z Victor 1. Did an Evertonian set this puzzle? It was a good one, I thought. Thank you to the setter and Jack.

    1. As an Evertonian, I would have enjoyed this puzzle more if Anfield didn’t also appear in the clue!

      1. I’ve seen some epic battles between Everton and Wanderers, particularly when I was a lad in the fifties and my avatar was leading the line for us, Dave Hickson for you. He didn’t seem to like our centre half Mal Barrass much!

        1. Going back a little before my time there – I’m more the Harvey/Kendall/Ball generation.
          I wanted to ask you – and here’s my opportunity – are you an MGS OB by any chance?

          1. We moved to Southport for my teenage years and I went to KGV. I can remember our headmaster coming back from a headmasters’ conference and telling us that another head had compared us with MGS. He’d replied that that was very flattering … to MGS. We were truly the most fortunate generation. Your school?

            1. I was at MGS, hence my question. I am a Warrington boy – so I had a choice of one Rugby team and of umpteen Football teams – I chose Everton and have suffered ever since.

    2. I was rather hoping that the pairing of Liverpool and Seaport was more of a nod towards the impressive architectural study of the city, Seaport, written by Quentin-Hughes in the 60s ?

      1. 1964- Liverpool. That year I had a six month job at Bibby’s pushing a trolley up and down the Dock Road after leaving school before going to Oxford in October. It was a truly wonderful experience hearing the girls on the lard plant joining in with Cilla on You’re my World. The architecture around St George’s Hall (my sister was a librarian at the Picton) was fantastic.

        1. Quentin-Hughes, MC and Bar, was an incredible character, and lectured at the School of Architecture (my wife is an Architect, so I’m switched on to these sort of things).

  8. 37 mins so fairly straightforward. Like Jack, I wasn’t sure about GRAMPUS but the word seemed familiar when I wrote it down, so in it went.


    Thanks Jack and setter.

  9. A speedy 23 minute solve t this morning, held up for quite a while by the conviction that -O_T must be FONT, which made the rest of the anagrist impossible. NHO INSTANTIATE and I don’t ever intend to say anything quite so pompous. Some fun surfaces here, especially the unappetising yak recipe.

    Dolphins and porpoises can hear frequencies at least two octaves above the range of human hearing, and their echolocation can perceive objects as small as a tennis ball from 100m away. They also have names for each other and for their family group.

  10. 18:56. Other than the spelling of CEAUSESCU I had no problems with this. Tursday is the new Monday in my experience recently!
    Thanks setter and Jack (I think sometimes one‘s brain has a day off, like mine evidently did yesterday)

  11. About 15 minutes.

    Only realised fairly recently that the second syllable of CEAUSESCU starts with an S rather than a C, which was helpful here; wasn’t familiar with well out=gush but guessed right for the unknown GRAMPUS; either forgot or had never known king PRIAM; needed the checkers before getting anywhere near solving ACROPOLIS; constructed SUMAC from wordplay; and got MAUDLIN without knowing the literary reference.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Magma
    LOI Grampus
    COD Out of bounds

  12. Can’t spell CAEUSESCU apparently. Should’ve remembered the common -ESCU end to Romanian names, but hey ho; I was but a wee bairn when he snuffed it. A bit over 15 minutes except for that.

    Thanks both.

  13. 18:04
    No hold-ups today but I waited until all the checkers were present and correct before having a stab at CEAUSESCU. Otherwise no issues but I realised post-solve that there were a few biffs which I hadn’t bothered to work out.

    The only unknown was GRAMPUS, unless you count the horrible sounding INSTANTIATE.

    Thanks to both.

  14. 7:46. No problems today, and no unknowns. I initially put CEAUCESCU, but when I came back to 12ac for the second time I had all the checkers and it was obviously ACROPOLIS so the mistake was quickly remedied.
    SUMAC has appeared at least a couple of times in reversal clues for CAMUS.

  15. 9:56. The last few all came in a rush from the checkers. It makes a change from getting stuck on the last one or two. I’m another who had MOORING at first for 18D until AMAZING made me rethink. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  16. Apart from grinding out GRAMPUS and a ‘what’s the likely spelling here’ of the dictator, this all flew in QC style. I don’t normally have a time for the 15×15 as I take it in bite sized chunks throughout the day but this started and finished at breakfast in 23 minutes. Sitting back feeling a little shocked – will now get on with Sunday’s which I haven’t got round to yet.

  17. 37′ I found this a bit chewy, though, as Jack indicates, on reflection I’m not sure why. With MOORing in place (not sure why “ring” was a craze..), DREAM was obviously slow in coming until I disentangled the SW corner. Saw the anagram fodder for CEAUSESCU too late and, based on checkers, spent time trying create something from Crassus (though does being part of a triumvirate make you a dictator?). Seems I made life difficult for myself. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  18. OK, OK, CEAUCESCU and the lesser known Greek stronghold the ACROPOLIC. Thus I instantiate my misgivings about my mental sharpness, moor age related than impetuous wit. And bang goes my amazing dream about withstanding errors long enough to get my count back down to zero. It’s aroused the maudlin grampus in me.

  19. 15:08

    Similar Snitch score but this seemed considerably easier than yesterday’s. Got off to a good start with lots of first letters revealed by 1a, 1d and 14d. SUMAC remembered from before, but I too thought of SMART before SHARP which slowed ACROPOLIS. Same thoughts as others over MOORING/MOORAGE – the latter seems an odd word, but guess similar to Anchorage, AK?

    Thanks Jack and setter

  20. The same problems as several others with Ceaucescu and mooring, and the coolant wasn’t helped by my having Areapolis (a word that I thought was at the back of my mind, but obviously wasn’t, although Google supports it) for a long time. INSTANTIATE a NHO but the wordplay made it easy. 31 minutes.

    From Round the Horne, or a similar programme where they did something at the beginning and then said things like this: ‘That was an excerpt from “Carmen to the Garden, Maud” (or “Not Now I’m Bizet).’

  21. I’m not the only one, then, who confidently bunged in CEAUCESCU, without checking, and then couldn’t work out what the citadel was! Which was a shame as it was my fastest solve for months, and would have been even quicker, as ACROPOLIS was obvious once the C was corrected to S.

  22. As others, left the dictator till the crossers showed the spelling. All seemed straightforward enough – perhaps a little too much so. Quite liked the reverse waster. 21 min.

  23. 9:55
    Had to rewrite REFRIGERATE and MOORING, as well as several different spellings of the late Romanian leader.
    As a correspondent wrote to The Times after his execution on Christmas Day 1989:
    ‘The Securitate
    Were at a party
    Which is why they failed to rescue


  24. I was finding this a fairly gentle stroll including the correct spelling of the dictator (smug face) only to have the moment well and truly wiped off with no suitable coffee coming to mind. Tried most of them including ‘Indian’, which turned out to be tortuously close. Came here then for INSTANT…and the crossing NHO GRAMPUS. Well out/gush. Really?

    Thanks Jack.

  25. 9a I too was unaware of the dolphin grampus, but it seemed a good guess. I thought it was anything large and marine, but no. It is much more specific than I assumed.
    grampus (plural grampuses)
    The killer whale, Orcinus orca.
    Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus, with a blunt nose.
    The hellbender salamander, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis.
    giant whip scorpion (Mastigoproctus giganteus)
    NHO Eudora now added to my cheating machine.
    I seem to remember Benny Hill singing “Come into the garden Maud” and getting farcical flowerpots on his head as she opens the window, etc.
    LOI MOORing/AGE.

  26. I really groaned at having to spell CEAUCESCU correctly, and have just noticed that I still got it wrong here. Was never going to happen.

    Got the rest in around 20′ though so speed-wise I’m on the up. One day I’ll learn to proofread then look out top 75!!

    COD – GRAMPUS. My inner dolphin geek was chuffed.

  27. While I’m not sure I’d have described this puzzle as a doddle, I certainly made my way through it pretty quickly. So I was quite pleased with my time of 10:12, until a careless typo gave me a dreaded pink square for REFRIFERANT. Drat!

  28. The black bat night has flown. 16.38. Just going to savour the moment, it only happens once in a blue moon.

  29. 17 mins. Another MER over INSTANTIATE. Whoever made that word up?
    We have a Romanian rescue dog, and apparently the reason there are so many of them is that CEAUSESCU insisted on everyone moving into high rise blocks and they weren’t allowed to bring their dogs with them.

  30. 16.40 About as quick as I can get given my fat fingered phone typing skills. A guess at the dictator’s spelling, but otherwise a confident submit.

  31. 16.10

    FRETSAW LOI as struggled to parse it. Clever, as were ACROPOLIS (is crop plus silo a chestnut?) and CEAUSESCU.

    Thanks Jackkt and setter

  32. Sailed through this but somehow managed to type YPDEL. Bpllpcks!

    Thaks to Jack and the setter.

  33. Struggled a bit more than yesterday. Mainly due to a misspelt dictator I fear.

    LOI was SHARP, after correcting the spelling of the dictator gave me ACROPOLIS. NHO GRAMPUS, well, I had heard the word, thought it was a sea monster rather than a dolphin.


  34. SUMAC and SHARP were my first 2 in and I then had MISGIVINGs about my spelling of CEAUCESCU which were confirmed and corrected by ACROPOLIS. It was fortunate I solved them that way round! Otherwise a steady solve saw me finish off with FRETSAW at 21:35. Thanks setter and Jack.

  35. Solid middle of the road puzzle which I enjoyed.

    Similar hold-ups to others and finished in a par time for me of 27m.

    Thanks Setter and Jackkt

  36. When I saw Jack’s header that he struggled a bit with this one I feared the worst, so when the answers came to me fairly swiftly I was surprised. I fully expected to grind to a halt at some time, but I kept up a decent pace finishing in a very tidy (for me) time of 25.47. My only stumbling blocks were 6dn where I biffed SMART knowing nothing of Chinese dog breeds, and the spelling of CEAUSESCU where I kept wanting to find an extra C from somewhere. With two wrong letters to contend with, it was little wonder ACROPOLIS was effectively my LOI before returning to correct both 6dn and 8dn. I got there in the end for a very pleasing fully parsed finish.

  37. <smug face> Can I buck the trend, and say: found it on the easy side. Knew grampus as seagoing mammals (woulda said whales) and knew I knew how to spell Ceausescu, but also knew I didn’t remember it. And I actually used the word “instantiate” in a real sentence the other day: tasked to get a gstreamer UDP stream from a linux box displaying in a windows machine I said I’d instantiate gstreamer in a command window to receive and display it</smug face>.
    Knew Ceausescu because I clued it 15 odd years ago, remembering seeing him on the news dragged out, stood against a wall, and summarily shot. Didn’t remember it was Christmas. Finally remembered my clue, very precise in spelling it correctly. For the hell of it I looked up that puzzle, and saw another clue which was my own original which appeared word-for-word identical in The Times a few years ago. Huh! Plagiarism! I thought.
    But then just recently, as I occasionally do, I looked up an old Times puzzle in the state library’s archives from about 1997 (a puzzle I’d never seen – only started doing The Times in about 2007) – and the exact same clue had appeared then, too, verbatim. Someone else had beaten me to it – I could be accused of plagiarism, but my effort was an original thought. Some answers must suggest obvious clues.

    1. I don’t think you’re bucking the trend, Isla, as everyone other than me seems to have found it quite easy. I still can’t account for my problems.

      1. Trying to say more that many had guessed at instantiate, grampus, and Ceausescu’s spelling whereas I knew them all. It’s often that I’m often on the other end of things, not knowing e.g. artists, composers, poets, conductors (in years gone by), French words, Greek mythology etc.

  38. In case no one has mentioned it (joke) CEAUSESCU was tricky and stupidly I ended up misspelling it because I had put SPATULU!

  39. One of my top 5 times today – 14:07. Everything flew in and managed to immediately correct my misspelling of the dictator by solving acropolis. Like one of the earlier commenters my only knowledge of grampus was from the Japanese football team.

    Liked out of bounds and time sharing for their wit.

    Thanks J and setter

  40. I too found this rather easy (33:33 minutes on the clock when I finished), but I did get off to a slow start. And like everyone else, apparently, I misspelled CEAUCESCU until I counted the frequency of each letter in the anagrist and decided the middle C was the one which needed to be an S. With the crossers I saw that 12ac would be ACROPOLIS, which helped me to replace SMART by SHARP for the cleverness of the Chinese dog. And I had MOORING before deciding that rings had little to do with crazes, rant and finally rage suggested themselves as alternatives. No other problems and a very good distraction from my bad (and semipermanent) cold.

  41. 18’35” with the NHO INSTANTIATE my LOI. GRAMPUS also new to me, but the wordplay was clear enough.

  42. Pleased to finish this in 30 minutes. Held up slightly by thinking that there is a D in Refri(d)gerant and by Moorage at the end.

  43. Did well, ran out of steam at 30 mins, with GRAMPUS and ORGAN LOFT, where I wasn’t expecting a two-stage anagram. Felt very much on the gentle side.

  44. 17.25 not helped by having to have a few gos at spelling Ceausescu. NHO instantiate but fantastically clued. Didn’t know Grammys was a dolphin but I did know it was a sea creature.Had to change mooring but realised in time.
    Nice puzzle, thx setter and blogger.

Comments are closed.