Times Cryptic 28814

Solving time: 37 minutes. I was pleased with my time considering there were more than my usual average of unknown words or meanings. This suggests to me that the answers were all fairly clued.

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 Boss to lead old lady around area (3,6)
TO + PB (lead) + NANA (old lady) containing [around] A (area)
6 Bathroom fixture picked up two days before D-Day? (5)
Sounds like [picked up] “B-Day” (two days before D-Day)
9 Predators initially unnerve rabbit (7)
P{redators} [initially], RATTLE (unnerve)
10 Hiding? How come? (4,3)
Two meanings. Collins explains the first: informal – a punishment or reprimand, especially in the phrase ‘give (a person) what for’.
11 Train people to shun baboon (5)
{man}DRILL (baboon) [‘people’ to shun]. ‘Man’ and ‘people’ can both mean supply with inhabitants.
12 Marriage following conclusion of dogged flirtation (9)
{dogge}D [conclusion], ALLIANCE (marriage)
13 Chartered surveyor consuming alcohol and favourite cakes (8)
CS (chartered surveyor) containing [consuming], RUM (alcohol) + PET (favourite)
14 Regularly use satnav, driver’s ultimate navigational aid (4)
S{a}T{n}A{v} [regularly use], {drive}R [‘s ultimate]
17 Fortieth head of government to come out of public school (4)
RU{g}BY (public school) [head of government to come out]. Ruby is the precious stone associated with a fortieth wedding anniversary.
18 I pleaded slyly and plotted secretly (4-4)
Anagram [slyly] of I PLEADED.This describes a plot or plan that is carefully worked out and kept secret.
21 Toilets occupied by Sale’s wingers and prop (5,4)
LOO + HEAD (toilets) containing [occupied by] S{al}E [‘s wingers]. Rugby football jargon for the prop on the hooker’s left in the front row of a scrum. A prop is an outside front-row forward.
22 See you texting mate with reprimand (3,2)
CU (see you – texting), TUP (mate – what rams do). I didn’t know this meaning of ‘cut up’ but Collins has it:  informal to subject to severe criticism.
24 Terribly bad sign for corporation? (7)
Anagram [terribly] of BAD, then OMEN (sign)
25 Poet with name for posh opportunist (7)
CHAUCER (poet) becomes CHANCER when N (name) is substituted for U (posh)
26 Affirmations of my fine morals are vacuous at last (5)
{m}Y + {fin}E + {moral}S + {ar}E + {vacuou}S [at last]
27 Finding divorces surprisingly variable (9)
Anagram [surprisingly] of DIVORCES, then Y (variable)
1 Lacking enthusiasm, quietly stops revolutionary eating plan (5)
P (quietly) is contained by [stops] DIET (eating plan) reversed [revolutionary]
2 Re-employing dull temps in Oban, Mansfield and Harlow? (8,7)
Anagram [re-employing] DULL TEMPS IN OBAN. Jane Mansfield and Jean Harlow for example.
3 Mantel openly defends bounder (8)
Hidden in [defends] {m}ANTEL OPE{nly}
4 One acted out story (8)
Anagram [out] of ONE ACTED
5 Too grand to follow apprentice’s lead (2,4)
A{pprentice} [‘s lead], SWELL (grand – in North America)
6 Two types of neckwear for keen rower (6)
BOA + TIE (two types of neckwear)
7 Modifying word in clear piece of writing (8,7)
DEFINITE (clear), ARTICLE (piece of writing)
8 Material heartless old jailer read aloud (6,3)
TUR{n}KEY (old jailer) [heartless], then RED sounds like [aloud] “read”. A cotton fabric of a bright red colour apparently. I never heard of it.
13 Natural consequence of putting Toyota on railway (9)
COROLLA (Toyota), RY (railway). A model of car I didn’t know.
15 George avoids seafood (8)
GEO (George), DUCKS (avoids). In Canada they are large edible clams apparently. I never heard of them.
16 Brief excitement over ancient statesman bowing in a certain way (8)
SPIC{e} (excitement) [brief], CATO (ancient statesman). In music, played in a staccato style performed by bouncing the bow on the strings of a violin etc. I knew this one.
19 Female setter’s Greek god (6)
HER (female), ME (setter), S (‘s)
20 Part of shower cap worn by heroine, oddly absent (6)
LID (cap) contains [worn] by {h}E{r}O{i}N{e} [oddly absent].  SOED: Any of a shower of meteors seeming to radiate from the constellation Leo in November. Another unknown.
23 Jolly camp plaintiff? (5)
Triple definition: (a) A jolly can be a party, a celebration or an enjoyable trip. (b) A camp can be a group or party of people who hold a certain opinion. (c) A plaintiff is one of the parties involved in a dispute in law.


79 comments on “Times Cryptic 28814”

  1. Thanks, jack. I took a long time to see that Deep-Laid was an adjective, not a verb, probably because I was busy elsewhere in the grid learning Geoducks, Turkey Red, and the specific kind of fiddling that 16d needed. I liked the blondes. Just a nice puzzle, setter.

  2. 22:51 (off leaderboard)
    Lots of DNKs, although not quite the same list as Jack’s (I knew COROLLA & LEONID, DNK SPICCATO).
    I thought of TOP BANANA early on, but hesitated to put it in because I expected ‘old lady’ to be MA. RUBY was my LOI; finally thought of Rugby, and then saw what ‘fortieth’ was about. At 21ac, I was sure that ‘toilets’ was LOOS; never thought of HEAD, and finally looked it up; DNK, and never saw how HEAD worked. I took ‘terribly bad sign’ to be (bad sign)*, which wasted some time. Biffed PLATINUM BLONDE. NHO GEODUCKS, and it looked so unlikely I checked in ODE.

  3. I saw BIDET right away (and laughed), and this gave me DEFINITE ARTICLE as my second one in, and I forthwith got most of the crossers. So I thought I was going to make shorter work of this than I wound up doing. LOOSE HEAD I guessed might have to do with a type of propeller (but I did look it up). Took a while to remember GEODUCKS! SPICCATO also came slowly, as did TURKEY RED (not sure I’ve ever heard of it). POI was CUT UP (with an unfamiliar definition) and LOI PARTY, the triple!

  4. A fail. I opted for GEE- rather than GEO- for the NHO 15d. A few other semi-guesses and semi-parsed answers for unknown words or terms so that pink square was no surprise.

  5. Luckily I knew GEODUCK since my wife is Chinese. Wasted time trying to justify STACCATO since I’d never heard of SPICATTO. Even though I played a lot of rugby in my youth, I assumed LOOSE HEAD was something to do with a stage prop, which I got from the wordplay. Some of the other meanings were not known too. TURKEY RED sounded more like a paint color than a fabric but the wordplay didn’t leave much doubt. All correct in the end.

    1. ODE sv Turkey red:
      – a scarlet textile dye obtained from madder of alizarin;
      – cotton cloth dyed with Turkey red, popular in the 19th century.

  6. 43 mins with a couple of aids. Did not see PARTY, triple defs often trip me up. I went for PERKY (= merry). Never knew who PORGY was in Porgy and Bess, so tried that as well. Also wasted time on STACCATO, but it’s not restricted to bowing, so didn’t feel right.

    COD LEONIDS, which I have heard of. “Part of shower”, excellent.

  7. Similar experiences to many others en route to 31.09 which felt pretty good, considering all the things I didn’t know. Thanks to Jack for clearing up a few mysteries. I heard a story once (probably apocryphal) that when Jean Harlow met Margot Astor she repeatedly pronounced the final T in Margot. After two or three times Margot corrected her: The T is silent, as in Harlow…

  8. 34′ but aids needed for TURKEY RED.
    Biffs on NHOs SPICCATO and GEODUCK where the wordplay came to me a little more easily, eventually. Much of the rest was pretty straightforward. Enjoyed COROLLARY once I realised TOYOTA couldn’t be part of an anagrist and like others spent some time thinking bad sign was an anagram. Didn’t AS WELL pop up a few days ago, similarly clued “a swell”? Thanks JACKKT and setter.

  9. 30 mins with similar experiences as others. Last two in, GEODUCKS & LEONID were complete guesses, just a question of following the wp and hoping. Banged in BIDET without seeing the amusing bit.

    I liked TOP BANANA & RUBY.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  10. Bright Star! would I were stedfast as thou art …
    (Bright Star, Keats)

    25 mins pre-brekker. I quite enjoyed it, but it seemed to get a bit iffy in the SW, with the Spiccato, Deep-laid, Cut Up and my LOI GeoDucks. And the (Me’s) in Hermes.
    Ta setter and J.

  11. 31m 53s
    I’m surprised Jack has not heard of the Toyota Corolla. Don’t they have that model in the UK? It’s been around for ages in other parts of the world such as here in NZ.
    BIDET made oi larf! That one is now in my little black book of memorable crossword clues.
    Very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks, Jack.

    1. I used to know almost all the British car makes and models in the 1950s, 1960s and maybe early 1970s, but imported cars, with perhaps a few exceptions, I only knew makes, not models. Since they started to be designed by computers I’ve taken no interest in any cars other than the five I’ve owned myself over the years, a VW, 2 Citroens and 2 Suzukis.

      1. During the time I lived in the UK, I had 2 Citroëns as well, but at the less expensive end of the range, a Dyane and an Ami. The only car I can remember the rego of is a sky blue MG Midget: TPE 166M.

    2. Ha! Martin, I have a little BROWN book of memorable crossword clues, which I, a bit presumptuously, intend to compile into memorable crosswords! ( I first have to learn how to compile.). But clues like these are what makes this hobby so enjoyable.

  12. 12:25 but with one wrong guessing an unparsed SEADUCKS not knowing GEODUCKS after staring at it for a minute. My wife drives an old Toyota Corolla so no problem with that, but I’d never heard of TURKEY RED so just trusted to the wordplay for that.

  13. 13.30
    I knew TOP BANANA from the Broadway show starring Phil Silvers; I used to drive a COROLLA.
    GEODUCKS stab in the dark, ditto TURKEY RED.

  14. 30:17, with the LOI LOOSE HEADS after I twigged that it wasn’t plural of LOO but rather the nautical version on the end. Before that I’d had LOOSE SANDS for quite a while, which LEONID put paid to. I remember it coming up some time ago as a meteor shower reference so was quite pleased with my memory being up to snuff this time.

    Felt quite lucky to get away with GEODUCKS but what else could George be except GEO in this case? I did know Harry as Hal, so briefly sweated over whether a King George might also have had a nickname.

    Tough Tuesday. COD to TURKEY RED, but PLATINUM BLONDES was nice too.

    1. If it makes you feel better, I put in GEDDUCKS as I guessed Ged as short for George

  15. 19′, same stumbles as others: SPICCATO, DEEP-LAID and the nho GEODUCKS.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  16. 25:07

    Held up in the SE, with the unknowns LEONID, GEODUCKS, and SPICCATO taking some unscrambling. The only other unknowns were COROLLARY and TURKEY RED but they went in without too much bother.

    Thanks to both.

  17. DNF. I had no chance with 15dn, never having come across either the obscure clams or ‘Geo’ as an abbreviation for George. 😡

    1. I’m surprised you didn’t know Geo. for George as it was in common usage at one time. I don’t recall it as a version people would use as one might say ‘Georgie’, but more in formal situations e.g. addressing letters, in the names of businesses (Geo. Smith & Sons, for example) etc.

      1. Nope. Before I looked it up I assumed it must be something to do with royals. Interestingly Collins classifies it as American. ODE labels it ‘dated’.
        This strikes me as a rather odd practice, incidentally. Writing three letters instead of six doesn’t seem much of a labour saving! I wonder if there are any other names which are (or were) treated like this.

        1. William = Wm
          Thomas = Thos
          James = Jas
          to name a few, all common when I was a youngster.

        2. Not so much labour-saving, perhaps, as space-saving, for example in the signwriting on vehicles, in the style of Wm Bloggs – Haulage, and so on.

        3. My real (at least legal) name is “George.” So I know that it means “tiller of the soil,” or earth, or geo, dig! And, in reference to a post just above, I always sign my name with the middle as “Wm.”

      1. Are you spying on me?! I have literally just walked past the shop on Duke of York Street!
        I guess it’s just something I’ve never registered consciously.

  18. I “finished” in 38 minutes but had to use google to check my answers GEODUCKS, LOOSE HEAD and SPICCATO, none of which I felt confident about. I thought a loose head would be an acting prop but it turned out to be a rugger term. Also NHO TURKEY RED but felt more confident with leaving that ungoogled. Back to reality after yesterday!
    Thanks setter and blogger

  19. 26.05 but only after correcting loose sand to loose head. Took the clue too literally and rather foolishly. How could sand be a prop😞 . NHO geoducks or spiccato but managed to get them.

    Nice bit of whimsy, I thought bidet was a hoot!

    Thx setter and blogger.

  20. 23.04, and lucky. I scoured my memory for several minutes for Georges, ready to discover it was some actor from the 50s I’d never heard of, before wondering if GEO could be an abbreviation within monarchical records or something, and deciding it was the best of a bad bunch. I’d have been fuming had I not got it, as in hindsight it’s tauntingly obvious, but I’ll own up to my good fortune and still think it’s a rough one.

    I didn’t know SPICCATO or TURKEY RED, but both were neatly clued. Pleased to recall HEAD for toilet, allowing me to trust the wordplay, as I know nothing about rugby. I liked PLATINUM BLONDE despite not being able to picture Jane Mansfield, and never having heard of Jean Harlow. Wasted a bit of time trying to justify CERTAINTY before recalling the Toyota – not a car guy at all, but I’ve heard of that one.

    LEONID – brilliant.

    Thanks setter & Jack.

  21. One error. 27mins+. I went with SPACCATO hoping speculation indicated excitement. I was surprised that my LOOSE HEAD and GEODUCKS were correct. Never heard of HEAD=toilet nor GEODUCKS.


    1. HEAD is a nautical term, I think. I only know it from crosswords, but a useful addition to the standard loo/bog/lav/can/john etc.

  22. Late to the ball today, detained by less pressing matters. 29 minutes, with LOI AS WELL. LEONID and GEODUCKS were constructed with crossed fingers. I did know the Toyota model but it only acted as confirmatory evidence. COD was BIDET, but I greatly enjoyed the PDM with Jayne and Jean too. There were some great clues throughout the puzzle. What a swell party this was. Thank you Jack and setter.

  23. Hated this biff-fest (TOP BANANA, DEEP-LAID, LOOSE HEAD, CUT UP, DEFINITE ARTICLE, TURKEY RED, GEODUCKS, and PARTY!) but crawled over the line in 14:40

  24. 21 mins, game of three quarters and a quarter, the SE being the problem. With 3 unknowns crossing each other (SPICCATO, GEODUCKS and DEEP LAID) I had to rely on cryptics. LOI PARTY, wasn’t at the party for that one. Tx!

  25. Still harumphing after the CARDAMO/UM debacle in the quickie, I was not inclined to be kind towards things like GEODUCKS and TURKEY RED in this one. Despite Chambers, I’m also mildly irritated by cake for CRUMPET. Often on my breakfast plate, it’s from the bread section in Tescos. And I shall resist the presaged deluge of invented car names suggested by COROLLA being present – I feel the thin end of the wedge intruding. Mind you, we also have the ANTELOPE, DISCOVERY and STAR available in this showroom, and I wouldn’t be surprised by a Fiat SPICCATO or a Kia DALLIANCE.
    BIDET was a laugh.

    1. I had the same thought about CRUMPETS. AFAIC if it doesn’t contain eggs it’s not a cake!

  26. DNF. DNK and never worked out LOOSE HEAD. Having found the loos it didn’t occur to me that we needed two different lavatories. And I did not trust the D (from the unlikely GEODUCKS) at the end. Still in the bathroom, I did like the BIDET

  27. Lots of nice clues here, and the setter very kindly and correctly clued the difficult words with easy wordplay. I had to go to Chambers to discover that the word GEODUCKS actually existed, 29 minutes if this is allowed. The sort of thing one does repeatedly when solving Azed’s crosswords. I thought that to clue RUBY with the one word ‘fortieth’ was a bit doubtful. Wasn’t keen on the ‘with’ in 22ac and tup = mate seemed a bit of a stretch.

    1. Tupping time is a common expression amongst Yorkshire farmers when they put the Tups with the ewes.

      1. I remember many years ago, a farmer saying he and wife were off on holiday, so they had arranged the lambing for a fortnight later than usual. When I said “How can you decide when the lambs are born?,” he just gave me a look .. worked it out eventually 🙂

  28. DNF, defeated by LOOSE HEAD and GEODUCKS.

    NHO head=toilet, and slightly surprised it hasn’t come up before in the (admittedly fairly brief – four years or so) time I’ve been doing these crosswords – though maybe someone can find a recent example of it that I’ve completely forgotten about. And I wasn’t familiar with GEODUCKS or with Geo as an abbreviation for George, so even though I thought of avoids=ducks I wouldn’t have guessed it.

    Didn’t parse DRILL as I didn’t know mandrill; worked out the unknown TURKEY RED from wordplay; quickly spotted what might be going on with Harlow in 2d but still took ages to figure out PLATINUM BLONDES; took similarly long to remember Cato the statesman and get SPICCATO.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Tepid

  29. 7m 27s but very surprised to discover I was right with GEODUCKS, since I’d not heard of them and also never come across anyone called Geo.

  30. GEODUCKS was new but fairly straight forward. Never hear that definition of CUT UP before and just about managed to avoid PERKY, before gaining two pink squares for DEFINITE ARTICELS. My fingers now seem to be operating quite independently from my brain. Good fun nevertheless.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  31. 29:35

    Some unknowns – DEEP-LAID, BOATIE, GEODUCKS, SPICCATO (entered with trepidation) – but did know both toilets (the latter came up on a re-run of an episode of The Chase the other day – Which of these is a name for the toilet on a ship? Head, arm or butt) and the Toyota. Like PLATINUM BLONDES a lot.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  32. I always thought it was very misleading to recognise the Corolla as the highest-selling car model of all time. Toyota used the name on a series of cars that evolved as to be almost unrecognisable as the same model.
    So unlike the VW Beetle which for almost all its production run retained that unmistakable shape.

  33. Plenty of unknowns for me pretty much covered by everyone else, and was pleased to find on turning to the blog that I had managed to get everything right. CUT UP and PARTY were my final two, after deciding there was no sensible alternative to the unheard of SPICCATO. A pleasing finish in 37.45.

  34. I had the same unknowns as most, but the wordplay was reasonably generous. Knew the car so that was no problem. Liked BIDET and PLATINUM BLONDES. Took a PDM to see the parsing for TOP BANANA. Didn’t know the LOOSE HEAD, but did know the two toilets. Another PDM. The clam and the bowing style were constructed as per instructions, as were DEEP LAID and TURKEY RED. 20:22. Thanks setter and Jack.

  35. 25.37

    Not the sharpest today but fortunately did know the GK including GEODUCKS as just re-read Snow Falling on Cedars in which they appear (also knew Geo as the abbreviation).

    BIDET was absolutely brilliant imho and totally bamboozled me (my LOI)

    Thanks setter and Jackkt

  36. Will bloggers please restrict their abbreviations to those shown in the official (I think) TimesforTheTimes glossary?
    So what is a SOED?!😄

    1. There are several abbreviations relating to dictionaries: ODE, OED, SOED etc. I don’t want to add all of them to the Glossary, but I will add an entry under “Dictionaries,” and list a few. Hope that will help.

  37. Too many guesses for this to be an enjoyable outing and slightly surprised that only one was wrong, TARGET RED.

    FOI and immediately voted COD was BIDET.

  38. After yesterday’s sub-18 minutes (a rarity for me) this was more obscure, but all the usual NHOs were constructed as per instructions, and all turned out as required. Given that fact, I was delighted to collapse over the line precisely on my target max of 30:00, after a thoroughly enjoyable romp. Bidet solved early, but I was still chuckling over it at the end. Thanks, setter and jackkt!

  39. DNF — went for PERKY. I’d considered PARTY but could only see one of the three definitions. Should have tried harder.

    Still, I was pleased to get the very unlikely-sounding GEODUCKS.

    I’ve never heard ‘heads’ being used in the singular, but apparently that’s how the Americans say it. A friend of mine who worked for the MOD told me the toilets were always called ‘heads’. Probably from the days when it was a home for retired admirals.

  40. I was so preoccupied with LOOSE HEAD, and its meaning, that I failed to notice that I hadn’t entered an answer for NHO TURKEY RED, but then I also failed to put in 23D, having considered PERKY. So I very much doubt if I would have finished correctly. Terrific puzzle, though, and thanks, Jackkt, for the enlightenment.

  41. Same problems as most with those unlikely-looking words (especially GEODUCKS, which I refused to put in, despite knowing GEO) and TARGET RED was my unfortunate choice for 8d. A few good PDMs : TOP BANANA, BOATIE, YESES and PLATINUM BLONDES, but my favourite was BIDET, when that old coin finally dropped. Am still a little annoyed that some people feel upset with themselves for taking AS LONG AS fifteen minutes to complete a crossword of this difficulty.😏

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