Times Cryptic 28892


Solving time: 55 minutes as far as it went but I needed aids for my final clue.

I made quite heavy weather of this but it was enjoyable and inventive other than one clue which I consider to be a bit naughty.

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 juxtaposition indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Ousted duke’s son accepted in genteel circle (8)
S (son) contained by [accepted in] PROPER (genteel), O (circle). I don’t know much about The Tempest, but Wiki advises that Prospero was the rightful Duke of Milan usurped  by his brother, Antonio, who put him to sea on the rotten carcass of a boat intending him to die, which he didn’t…
5 Severe police officer removed from locality (6)
{di}STRICT (locality) [police officer – DI – removed]
9 Smoked beef initially introduced by former music academy (8)
PAST (former), RAM (music academy – Royal Academy of Music), I{ntroduced) [initially]
10 Group given hint about measure of intelligence (6)
CLUE (hint) containing [about] IQ (measure of intelligence)
12 Give up doctor resorted to in moment of change (7,5)
TURN IN (give up), GP (doctor – General Practitioner), anagram [re-sorted] of TO IN
15 Nonsense about former pupil being zombie! (5)
ROT (nonsense) containing OB (former pupil – Old Boy). We need figurative interpretations of zombie and robot for this to work.
16 Bug in can beginning to eat fruit (9)
ANGER (bug) contained by [in] TIN, then E{at} [beginning]
18 Possibly honour boy attendant identifying leaf (5,4)
TITLE (possibly honour), PAGE (boy attendant)
19 Move quickly round university, finding something to eat (5)
TROT (move quickly) containing [round] U (university)
20 US docker is eager to meet rider leaving sierra (12)
LONGS (is eager), HOR{s}EMAN (rider) [leaving sierra – ‘s’ in the NATO alphabet]
24 A carriage originally seen in ancient French city (6)
A, MIEN (carriage), S{een} [originally]. I needed aids for this as my LOI. The definition was too vague and I was nowhere near thinking of  ‘carriage / MIEN’.
25 Screechy birds regularly encountered in southern river (8)
{b}I{r}D{s} [regularly] contained by [in] S (southern) + TRENT (river)
26 American tug with sizable barge finally behind (6)
YANK (tug) , {sizabl}E + {barg}E [finally]
27 A depression overcoming that woman’s supporter (8)
A, DENT  (depression) containing [overcoming] HER (that woman)
1 Immature 13, say, at university in Pennsylvania (4)
UP (at university) contained by [in] PA (Pennsylvania). This is very devious, possibly bordering on the unfair. The answer at 13dn is ‘fritillary’ defined as ‘liliaceous plant’ but the cross-reference relies on an alternative meaning of ‘fritillary’ which is a type of butterfly, and PUPA as the intermediate stage of development between larva and adult. I’ve seen this sort of cross-reference clue in Guardian themed puzzles, but never before in The Times as far as I can recall.
2 Small rodent heading off for river (4)
{m}OUSE (small rodent) [heading off]
3 Relaxed, Peter and I, out for a spin (9)
Anagram [relaxed] of PETER I OUT. ‘Relax’ as an anagrind is sanctioned by Chambers.
4 One arguing with Republican protester? Not the first (12)
R (Republican), {d}EMONSTRATOR  (protester) [not the first]
6 Source of terrible cheek about high-class plant (5)
T{errible} [source of…] + LIP (cheek) containing [about] U (high-class)
7 Questioner at home gave up on men one’s arrested (10)
IN (at home), then I’S (one’s) contained [arrested] by QUIT (gave up) + OR (men)
8 Possibly outing blokes initially taking such medical remedies (10)
TREAT (possibly outing), MEN (blokes), T{aking} + S{uch} [initially]
11 Apathetic trade union relaxed about conclusion of action (12)
UNITE (trade union) + RESTED (relaxed) containing {actio}N [conclusion]
13 In brothers’ house cultivate liliaceous plant (10)
TILL (cultivate) contained by [in] FRIARY (brothers’ house). For my penultimate remaining clue I arrived at PRI(TILL)ORY from wordplay and decided to check a dictionary to see if it existed. Sadly it didn’t, and in the process I was presented with the correct answer so I never had another chance at it. I didn’t recognise the word but it has turned up once before in a Quick Cryptic (!) in 2019.
14 Sailors talked of stress, refusing to vote (10)
ABS (sailors), then TENTION sounds like [talked of] “tension” (stress).
17 Deport Italian involved in the old business? (9)
IT (Italian) contained by [involved in] EX (old) + TRADE (business)
21 Point former nurses ultimately made (5)
SENS (former nurses – State Enrolled Nurses), {mad}E [ultimately].
22 Black antelope’s last spring (4)
JET (black) {antelop}E [’s last] In ballet, a step in which a spring is made from one foot to land on the other.
23 Let it remain, determined to save time (4)
SET (determined) containing [to save] T. A direction used in editing meaning to cancel a previous deletion. 

56 comments on “Times Cryptic 28892”

  1. 23:52. Many write-ins, but I still found this quite difficult to finish, having to work carefully (dare I say painstakingly), as our esteemed blogger did, through FRITILLARY, PUPA, AMIENS, etc.

  2. At 13dn, I knew I didn’t know the word, and realised it might equally start FR or PR, so went to the dictionary at once. Grump. Otherwise nice puzzle. Like V, I was happy to have the spelling of 3dn cross-checked!

  3. About 80 minutes Took over 30 minutes or so to get enough crossing letters and initially thought I would have to give up. Then progress was relatively quick except for checking words like FRITILLARY, PROSPERO and JETE in some detail as usual. Slowed a lot by LOI JETE where I initially had BETE (but no spring). FOI STET and then LONGSHOREMAN and the PAGE ending on 18A.
    AMIENS is not really an ancient city (like UR) although it has a significant historical heritage. Ancient shouldn’t be in clue.

    1. I tend to agree re ‘ancient’ but on the grounds that the clue doesn’t need it. Of course it could be there to mislead rather than to qualify the definition, and given the trick the setter pulled with the cross-referenced clue I would not be surprised. if that were so.

  4. On the wavelength today, 14’29”. No trouble with FRITILLARY, same pathway as vinyl.

    PROSPERO LOI, although I have seen The Tempest (and Return to the Forbidden Planet) – was looking to have d in the answer.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  5. I agree that using a (for me) NHO word – FRITILLARY – with two meanings is dirty pool, but I nevertheless enjoyed this rather devious puzzle and was pleased to finish in 29.29. That sounds like a Zager & Evans song but it’s not. Didn’t know Unite as a union so thanks Jack for making sense of that, still not sure why SENSE = point but seeing I got it I’m not that fussed. AMIENS always looked like it should go there so I wrote it in and kind of forced it to be right. Was held up at the end by PROSPERO, PIROUETTE and LOI JETE.

      1. A bit of a stretch. I only came here today to find out what I was missing at 21d. I’m still not convinced. A weak definition imo.

  6. 19:27
    At 1d I popped PUPA in without reference to 13d, as I hadn’t got there yet. When I got to 13d, I had a problem. For one thing, I couldn’t recall the word I (and the setter) wanted for 20ac, getting stuck at STEVEDORE; so without the checking L, I put in FRATERNITY, and even tried to parse it. Thought of FRITILLARY, but thought, No, that’s a butterfly. Finally remembered LONGSHOREMAN (dnk it was a US term), accepted the polysemy of FRITILLARY, and even more finally got LOI PIROUETTE.

  7. 18 minutes. Not a great start in the NW corner. I had no idea that PROSPERO was an ‘Ousted duke’ and only knew the entomological, not the botanical, sense of 13d which had to go in from wordplay and crossers; that at least then made sense of PUPA. UNITE as a ‘trade union’ was another NHO.

    Like KensoGhost I didn’t know what ‘ancient’ was doing in the clue for AMIENS. I wondered if it could be something to do with the etymology of MIEN, with just ‘city’ as the def, although according to the OED MIEN comes from the Old and Middle French “mine” for countenance; close but not quite.

  8. 11:39. I got through this pretty steadily but then had a lot of trouble with my last few in: the unknown FRITILLARY, TITLE PAGE, AMIENS and JETE. The last of these in particular took me ages for no good reason.
    I constructed PUPA from wordplay before I had solved 13dn so I didn’t think twice about it, but to me the cross-reference is more than just a bit naughty. The answer to 13dn is a plant. The fact that the same word can be a butterfly doesn’t change that.

    1. Yes, I might have used a stronger term than ‘a bit naughty’, but usually when I do that about something somebody will pipe up that it’s all perfectly reasonable so I thought I wouldn’t overstate my case.

      In fact I would have been shocked by this if I hadn’t become used to Guardian puzzles regularly stretching the boundaries of acceptability and I have certainly come across heavily themed puzzles with cross-references where answers are connected by different meanings. They’re not common, but they do happen. New ground for The Times though, I think, and not welcome.

  9. A slightly stilted 25:53. Another PRITILLORY here, but I eventually spotted the other option, which was ever-so-slightly familiar. That got me to AMIENS, which I thought was tough but fair, and finally SENSE.

    Bit of a shame we had two ‘initially’ indicators, and overall quite a few sore-thumb ultimately/regularlys etc.

    On a happier note, after my comment yesterday, I actually got a Congratulations page on the app!

    Thanks Jack & setter.

  10. The on line version I am looking at has “ahout” instead of “about” which cost me a little bit of time while I wondered if it was part of a poor anagram!

    I knew fritillary as snakes head fritillary is a favourite spring flower and last year I planted imperial fritillary as I heard that it is pollinated by blue tits which sounds amazing but I have yet to see.

  11. 23:44 with a typo (PROSPERP)

    A couple of unknowns (FRITILLARY, JETE) of which FRITILLARY took a little bit of piecing together. Otherwise I was mostly on message, although I’d forgotten that I knew LONGSHOREMAN and had to construct it from wordplay and checkers.

    Let down in the end by not checking my work. When will I learn exam technique?

    An enjoyable crossword on the whole so thanks to both.

  12. 11:27. The double definition for FRITILLARY at 13D/1D was clever. I hesitated over SENSE not seeing how it meant ‘point’ for a while. A bit slow on the Across clues, but most of the Downs flew in, although I made a mess of the SW corner by biffing ABSTAINING. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  13. Gave up with the NHO plant at about 50 mins. Not at all on the wavelength and found this a struggle. Agree with comments about AMIENS which I bunged in once I had – – I -N – and didn’t bother to parse. I now réalisé that I didn’t even enter a word at 22d! What a mess.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  14. As is usual with me i had no difficulty with those most of us found hard and took ages over some that seemed easy to others. In other words a normal crossword. Exactly an hour…I do on paper.

    1. I’ve often noticed when discussing, or catching sight of, someone else’s grid that their blanks rarely coincide with my own. Hear hear to Edric!

  15. About half an hour.

    Glad I didn’t think of priory for 13d, as that might have put me off getting the unknown FRITILLARY; I was also blissfully unaware of the butterfly/plant issue for PUPA; took a while to get PIROUETTE as I had the clue the wrong way round (thinking ‘relaxed’ was the definition); NHO JETE; and didn’t fully parse UNINTERESTED.

    Thanks setter and jack (by the way, you’ve missed out a couple of the letters in the explanation for REMONSTRATOR)

    FOI Tulip
    LOI Ouse
    COD Abstention

  16. 24:29 and the app congratulated me again today!
    LOI was JETE which took an alphabet trawl till I got to J
    Before that was SENSE which I had to come here to understand as I’ve never heard of SENs – I’d been wondering if there was something called SONCE which nurses uktimately made but decided not
    I got PUPA before FRITILLARY luckily
    Thanks Jack and setter

  17. 6:56 Nice puzzle, and for once I was on the right wavelength. Fritillaries (of both kinds) are common(ish) in the UK, so no problem there, and being a bit ducal is about the only thing I remember about Prospero. The Grauniadesque cross-reference was annoying but only because cross-references in crosswords are always annoying (IMHO) – it only refers to the word itself of course, regardless of meaning, so it’s perfectly acceptable if you like that kind of thing. I wasn’t sure what a LONGSHOREMAN was but it’s come up before in crosswords. I wonder where the people who think Amiens is not ancient live…Lots of biffing today (when was “smoked beef” anything other than PASTRAMI?) but enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks, setter.

  18. 25’40”
    Going suited, finished well.

    Caffeine and nicotine levels must have been adequate as this was done and dusted by 8:20.
    I was fortunate in that the flora and fauna fell within my ken.
    Hats off to the setter for holding me up with 11d; I couldn’t see UNITE for quite a while, despite having belonged to it.
    Thank you setter and Jack.

  19. 10 whole seconds quicker than yesterday at 18.26, with the PROSPERO/PIROUETTE crossing extending the time. It’s difficult to think of a word meaning ousted with D and S in it starting with PRO, but eventually The Tempest obtruded and sense prevailed.
    In a way, the PUPA connection helped, because I knew whatever the clue at 13 said I was looking for some kind of insect and the butterfly was near enough to the surface. From my point of view, TROUT was trickier, as “something to eat” must rank amongst the vaguest ever definitions in a Times crossword.
    I didn’t spot the egregious “ahout” nor worry about the ancient credentials of AMIENS: for the French, any Regime prior to 1789 is “Ancien” so I presume the same applies to their cities.

  20. 31 mins which is quick around these parts. Held up in the NW wanting the PUPA to be a ‘bulb’, before seeing the clever twist, and not knowing PASTRAMI was smoked beef. Do now.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  21. What does it say at 1dn? “13”. And 13 is “fritillary”. Never mind how it was derived in 13. The only thing that matters is the word itself, because that’s what’s being referred to in 1dn. And that word can direct you to a butterfly. So I can’t see the problem.

    Otherwise all OK but a three-letter synonym for ‘black’ proved beyond me at 22dn, so I looked it up and stopped the clock at 44 minutes. Always miss that.

  22. 24:41 with LOI – JETE

    FRITILLARY was the one that caused the dominoes to finally fall. Of course the duke was Prospero – he was my first thought and should’ve stuck with him.

  23. FRITILLARY was new to me, and my LOI, but I do have to voice support for the setter here. The reference to 13 in 1d is a reference to the answer ‘fritillary’, so it’s entirely irrelevant if the clues use different meanings. Tbh I’d even be a bit disappointed if they didn’t.

    JETE comes up enough that it was in the recesses of my mind.

    5m 37s.

  24. 16:39 but with a very careless ABSTENsION, which probably wouldn’t have happened if it had been an across clue, or I’d paid more attention to the wordplay. Drat! PUPA was FOI and FRITILLARY and then LONGSHOREMAN brought up the rear. Thanks setter and Jack.

    1. Sympathies – I very nearly did the same, being slightly confused about where the homophone was employed, then while puzzling over the French city it caught my eye and I realised.

  25. I was another who was debating between PRIORY and FRIARY, I wrote both possibilities out, and it was only then that FRITILLARY rang the vaguest of bells. Other than this conundrum, it was a pretty steady solve, and I crossed the line in 33.57. My knowledge of the works of the Bard of Avon wasn’t sufficient for me to know that it was definitely PROSPERO, but I had at least heard of the character, and it couldn’t really be anything else.

  26. I was on the wavelength for this, finishing in 25:15 , in contrast to yesterday where I gave up with half unsolved.
    My LOI was PROSPERO, with the Duke dredged from the depths of my memory.
    I knew FRITILLARY the plant, but had to take on trust that it was also a bug with a pupal stage. Biffed AMIENS as the only French city I could think of that fitted the checkers, but did not see mien=carriage.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  27. Biffed 11d UNINTERESTED, easy enough, and never had the slightest inkling about the Unite union. So I’ve just realised it was a bit clever. 22d JETE sprang to mind but I didn’t know what it meant, so another ignorant assembly of parts.
    I was 14d ABSTAINING for ages, until I realised it had to be 20a LONGSHOREMAN.

  28. Marginally slower than yesterday at 23:29, though the last 2 mins was spent doing an alphabet trawl to get LOI JETE. No problems with VHO FRITILLARY as I didn’t rely on the cross-reference, got PUPA first and had forgotten both meanings in any case but it seems to be a fair clue to me.

  29. 28:49 but…

    …phone typo at the 4d/12a crossing – somehow entered M – grrr.

    PRITILLORY or FRITILLARY – guessed the second more likely ending -ARY but NHO. Entirely missed the link to 1d as don’t know this as a butterfly either.

    Oh well – thanks Jack and setter

  30. 38:56

    Biffed abstaining and stared at 20 and 26 for fully 15m. Even when COD LONGSHOREMAN gave me the N I went on to Y_G_E_ without thinking. If I’d seen 26 in isolation it would have been a write in. Hi hum.

    Fine puzzle and blog though, thanks.

  31. 22:29. I found quite a few surprisingly simple write-ins (LONGSHOREMAN, PASTRAMI, STET, OUSE) and from a couple of crossers UNINTERESTED, so not seeing the Trade Union. Others needed closer attention. FRITILLARY rang both bells faintly. I noticed the switch of meaning and I’m OK with it. Nice cluing. Like Zabadak above, I was struck by the definition of TROUT – something to eat – a bit cheeky I thought. LOI PIROUETTE where the anagram held out to the end

  32. All good, although did not know the meaning of fritillary.

    I always raise an eyebrow with words like abstention.
    For me, “refusing to vote” is abstaining, and abstention would be “ refusal to vote“. Nobody else seems to mind, so I will shut up!

  33. NHO FRITILLARY and didn’t get as far as the FR/PR guess. Also didn’t work out JETE though should have done. The rest I found pretty doable but a DNF .. Thanks Jackkt and setter

  34. 17:54
    Definitely on the wavelength here. Don’t remember seeing “relaxed” as an anagrind before but fair enough. Put in PUPA without even noticing the setter’s sleight of hand. COD PROSPERO.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  35. 20:05 – not much to add except that PUPA went in on sight, and fortunately I never cross-referenced it to 13d, just assuming it would turn out to be some sort of insect when I got that far. By the time I did, I’d forgotten about it, which is probably a good thing.

  36. 19.37 with another ABSTENSION. And ABSTAINING before that which delayed the first bit of the SHOREMAN. Recognised FRITILLARY but insect or flower I couldn’t have told you

    Thanks all

  37. Very happy with a finish. Knew FRITILLARY as plant but not as butterfly so PUPA constructed from wordplay. Couldn’t parse UNINTERESTED – thanks Jack, had forgotten about Unite. LOI AMIENS, by several minutes! Done in two sittings. Very enjoyable. Thanks all.

  38. I think fritillaries used to grow in Christ Church Meadow in the sixties. That was when I first encountered the term.
    Enjoyable crossword that was not too taxing.

  39. Failed with JETE but also had ABSTENSION so it was a DNF anyway. Seemed to be quite a lot of clues with first/last letters indicated but enjoyable nonetheless.

  40. 49 minutes and I was surprised and relieved to have finished correctly, since my last three entries were just fortunately intelligent guesses. After not coming up with any suitable French cities for 24ac for a while, when I finally saw AMIENS I had enough crossers to clinch FRITILLARY (which I had never heard of) and SENSE. And there were other entries sort of on the outskirts of my field of knowledge (JETE, PROSPERO rang bells just barely within my hearing). But the rest was not so stressful and some of it very good. My COD would be TURNING POINT for its excellent wordplay.

  41. Glad that we did this after a disappointing performance on the QC. At just over 35 minutes, slightly under our target of half the snitch and no aids needed. It helped that we knew FRITILLARY as both a plant and a BUTTERFLY and had heard of LONGSHOREMAN. Perhaps a late evening coffee also helped. LOI JETE. We’re slowly making progress!

  42. 18.24. By the time I finally got fritillary, initially juggling with pritillory, I already had pupa so no issue with me just ignored the reference. I do think the construction of fritillary is a great clue.

    Also liked Prospero, yankee, jete and Amiens. Thumbs up from me for the setter.

  43. Thought TROUT and ROBOT were rather vague, but otherwise thoroughly agree with Brenk1. The PUPA and FRITILLARY combo was well worth a chuckle.

  44. Luckily I knew FRITILLARY and never thought of priory. And I had filled in PUPA from wordplay and so never went back to ponder on it further. I got AMIENS early on but couldn’t justify it until I realized that maybe MIEN could answer to carriage. I didn’t know UNITE but I biffed UNINTERESTED anyway and never even noticed.

  45. FRITILLARY too clever for me, so no problem with its dual identity; also never looked for a character at 1a, to my shame. However, I thought TROUT given as “something to eat” was too vague ( ie I didn’t get it), and SENSE stretching it a bit for “point”. Otherwise went well, and particularly liked Amiens, Tangerine and Pirouette.


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