Times Cryptic 28904


Solving time: 21 minutes

As my solving time suggests, I found this really easy although I lost a few minutes getting started and a couple of clues (notably 12dn as my LOI) needed careful thinking through. I expect some fast times today from the speed-merchants.

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]. ]. “Aural wordplay” is in quotation marks. I usually omit all reference to juxtaposition indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Tribal conflict involving northern part of UK (8)
CLASH (conflict) containing [involving] N (northern) + NI (part of UK – Northern Ireland)
5 Blank-looking worker on short holiday (6)
VAC (short holiday – abbreviation), ANT (worker)
8 South American couple bearing a lot of intense pain (10)
PAT + IAN (couple) containing [bearing] AGON{y} (intense pain) [a lot of…]. Unless there’s a reference I’m not aware of Pat and Ian appear to be nothing more than a couple of random names that happen to fit the requirements of wordplay.
9 Amphibian wife found in trap (4)
W (wife) contained by [found in] NET (trap)
10 Wise director initially hailed in new autobiographical book (5,4,5)
Anagram [new] of WISE DIRECTOR H{ailed} + I{n} [initially]
11 Chemically analyse it in time and degree (7)
IT contained by [in] T (time) + RATE (degree)
13 It may remove dirt rapidly at first with hot water (7)
SCRAPE (hot water – difficulty / trouble), R{apidly} [at first]
15 Aquatic bird priest caught boarding vessel (7)
ELI (priest) + C (caught) contained by [boarding] PAN (vessel)
18 Casual workers conserving extremely large places of worship (7)
TEMPS (casual workers) containing [conserving] L{arg}E [extremely]
21 Survey originally catching on in period of revival (14)
C{atching} [originally] + ON, contained by [in] RENAISSANCE (period of revival)
22 Feint bringing endless disgrace (4)
SHAM{e} (disgrace) [endless]
23 Lingering sensation provided by different star at fete (10)
Anagram [different] of STAR AT FETE
24 Cross sequence of letters from tetchy bridegroom (6)
Hidden in [sequence of letters from]  {tetc}HY BRID{egroom}
25 The French woman ultimately wielding supreme power (8)
LE (‘the’ in French), VERA (woman), then {wieldin}G + {suprem}E [ultimately]
1 Mimic law enforcer unknown on twin-hulled vessel (7)
COP (law enforcer), Y (unknown), CAT (twin-hulled vessel – catamaran)
2 For treatment, attain old type of drug? (9)
Anagram [for treatment] of ATTAIN OLD
3 State of trap set up on river to the north (7)
GIN (trap) reversed [set up], then AIRE (river) also reversed [to the north]. There’s more than one River Aire but the largest is in Yorkshire and passes through Leeds.
4 Dawn’s salary hike supporting daily (7)
SUN (daily newspaper, The Times’ downmarket stablemate), RISE (salary hike)
5 Priest originally taking grain round large chamber (9)
VEN (priest), T{aking} [originally], RICE (grain) containing [round] L (large). In the Anglican Church ‘Ven’ (‘the Ven’) is the style usually given to an Archdeacon.
6 In place of wedding feast, a way to serve game (7)
A + ST (way) contained by [in] CANA (place of wedding feast – water to wine and all that). ‘Canasta’ is Spanish for ‘basket’. I used to enjoy a ruthless two-player version of this that requires nerves of steel.
7 What the unsuccessful might get currently in this place? (7)
NOW (currently), HERE (in this place)
12 Old militia do what a conductor might do (9)
TRAIN BAND (what the conductor may do). I was ready to say NHO this one, but I said that in August 2011, September 2011, 2015 and 2021. Why do some things just never stick?
14 Carelessly lose pay in Pacific island group (9)
Anagram [carelessly] of LOSE PAY IN
16 Worldly Liberal wearing blue? (7)
L (Liberal) contained by [wearing] EARTHY (blue)
17 Earnings right for a new resident (7)
INCOME (earnings), R (right)
18 Reportedly hear military engineers constructing an ancient warship (7)
TRI sounds like [reportedly] “try” (hear), then REME (military engineers)
19 Small bagpipe group has broken making no sound (7)
SET (group) contained by [has broken] MUTE (making no sound). It’s various things musical, but ‘small French bagpipe’ is one of them.
20 Italian citizen’s former nurse disturbed by current directions (7)
SEN (former nurse – State Enrolled Nurse) containing [disturbed by] I (current), then rather disappointingly E S E (directions – points of the compass)

75 comments on “Times Cryptic 28904”

  1. Thanks, jack. I had to piece together Musette which was new to me, and spent too much time thinking about what the train conductor does before the penny dropped.

  2. 18:07
    Irritatingly, I thought of CLANNISH & SCRAPER early on, but couldn’t see how to parse either until much later. I biffed CIDER WITH R from the enumeration and a checker or two. (We’ve had it a couple of times, V, a NHO for me the first time, but evidently an EHO (everyone’s heard of) in the UK; note Jack’s non-comment.) TRAINBAND took some time to recall, and LOI LEVERAGE took some time to figure out; otherwise as Jack says.

    1. I suspect CIDER WITH ROSIE is an EAACAHHO (everyone above a certain age has heard of). It was ubiquitous when I was a kid but you hear of it far less now and I suspect my kids won’t have heard of it. I’ll ask them later.

      1. I like the acronym – though it might require an elipsis, E…O, to squeeze into the glossary

  3. 8:09. Not a lot of pure biffing for me this morning, but quite a lot of semi-biffing. What state contains a reversal of GIN? South American country containing most of the letters of AGONY. That sort of thing.

    1. What S American is ten letters with “G” as the fifth? It was obviously PARAGUAYAN! Except …it wasn’t

      1. Oh yeah! The clue doesn’t say ‘country’ of course so not sure where my mind plucked that from…

  4. Summer’s almost here, and I’m starting to wake earlier, giving me time for the puzzle despite work. 29:39 – some very easy ones to pick off first, bogged down a bit midway, then a reasonably orderly run-in to completion after rejecting VENERABLE.

    When I was about 12, my French class included learning a children’s Christmas carol “Il est né le divin enfant” which includes in the second line mention of MUSETTEs. Never imagined it would come in handy, almost half a century later. Thanks J and setter.

    1. We were taught it when I was about 8, and were told to sing very clearly the line “Chantons tous son entièrement”, so that it didn’t sound like “enterrement’…

      1. I remember it as “ Chantons tous son avènement”. Wikipedia gives the lyrics of a final verse that I don’t recall, ending with “Régnez sur nous entièrement”

  5. Nicely balanced puzzle I thought, 26.59 which for me means tending towards the easier end of the scale but not a walk in the park. NHO TRAINBAND and needed Jack’s blog to explain EARTHLY, VENTRICLE and PATAGONIAN. Pat and Ian? I hope this doesn’t mark the start of a trend among setters. I thought this was going to be tougher than it turned out because I was really struggling at the start, but once again the downs came to the rescue. FOI NEWT, LOsI CLANNISH/NIGERIA.

    From Hurricane: Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties/are free to drink martinis and watch the SUNRISE.

    1. I recently discovered the existence of the album ‘The Complete Budokan 1978’, available on Alexa, 53 tracks, a much expanded version of the original double album.

      1. Interesting, thank you Rob. That is a lot of tracks so I assume it’s over multiple concerts. For some reason that album has rather fallen down the Dylan rankings, or rather been overlooked, but I will now give it another go because of your reminder. Not sure how long I’ll keep going with the Dylan refs but it’s fun for now, feel free to gazump/join in!

        1. It’s the two complete Tokyo concerts from Feb 28 & Mar 1 1978 – the only two of the run that were recorded on multi-track.

  6. 18:34 with CLANNISH my LOI
    Wasn’t sure of MUSETTE and TRAINBAND but both turned out to be correct
    Thanks Jack and setter

  7. 17:24 after spending the last few minutes arranging the letters of CIDER WITH ROSIE. As for knowing it automatically I suspect I meet the requirements in terms of age but not geography. When the letters finally settled into place there was a hint of recognition, presumably from previous appearances here.

    As Keriothe said, there was a lot of semi-biffing today. For instance PATAGONIAN, TITRATE and TRIREME are all familiar terms, but I couldn’t identify any of them on a map or in a lab or a marina. I recall titrations from when my daughter was struggling with them at high school and we engaged a young tutor to help her. Turns out he had just the right chemistry (if you get my drift) and the improvement in her grades was astounding.

    Thanks setter and Jack. Good solve BTW, I don’t think this was as easy as you suggest.

    1. Yes, I was careful to say that I found it easy because it happened to fit my knowledge and experience and it’s quite a rare occurrence for there not to be one or two clues on sport or science or geography or mythology that slow me right down or occasionally beat me completely. I fully appreciate this would not have been the same for everyone but there are speed-solvers (of which I am not even close to becoming one) who would swallow today’s offering in one small gulp.

  8. I recall liking CIDER WITH ROSIE, although it took a long time to get to the action in the hay.

    A MUSETTE is now better known to me as the food bag given to cyclists during races

    Nho TRAINBAND, hesitated, otherwise would have been a sub-10′.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  9. 26 minutes with LOI SCRAPER. I’m well above a certain age, whatever that might be, and I’ve read Cider with Rosie. A charming book. I constructed TRAINBAND and MUSETTE, the latter with more confidence than the former, however many times we’ve had it before. COD to TITRATE for all the sixth form memories of burettes and pipettes sitting on stools in the Chemistry Lab. That’s long before I got a bad back. Days that are gone forever. Thank you Jack and setter.

        1. No but I do remember my woodwork master, Woody Way, he used to throw lumps of wood at us. Woe betide you if one hit you in the head. Maybe be made Peg-Leg’s prosthesis!

  10. 38 mins. No real problems except I’m another who had LOI TRAINBAND once I had all the crossers. It was all it could be really and it fit the second part of the clue. Never heard of the militia.

    CIDER WITH ROSIE bunged in when I had the C & D, not even noticing the anagram. I got MUSETTE from “bal musette” which I now realise is more accordion music rather than bagpipes, but what the heck, it got me there.

    I liked AFTERTASTE, a long one often the sign of a good wine…..

    Thanks Jack and setter.

    1. Yes, accordions pushed the bagpipes out of the “bal musette”. Easier to play and keep in tune!

  11. Pretty easy at about 19′. Main struggle was not getting access to Crossword Club so doing it on main page (which for some reason I don’t like, maybe the absence of word separators). Anyways a couple of NHOs in TRAINBAND and MUSETTE, both generously clued. Then shifting between Paraguay and Panama (I know, not south America) before seeing Patagonia (now one of my youngest son’s favourite overpriced clothes suppliers it seems). Never read the book, but was apparent from a few crossers before I saw the wordplay. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  12. 16:08
    More Monday than a Monday.

    MUSETTE and TRAINBAND were the only unknowns and both were fairly clued with helpful crossers. I wasted the last couple of minutes on CLANNISH and LEVERAGE but otherwise they all went in without too much trouble. CANA came up recently so that helped with CANASTA.

    A pleasant enough solve so thanks to both.

  13. 28m 17s
    I read 10ac years ago. I should really give the follow up, ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’ a try.

  14. 11:31, slowed a bit by misreading the fodder for ANTIDOTAL and thinking there was a second N rather than a T, which would’ve given me a shoot-out between -DANOL or -DONAL. Glad to avoid that! A few seconds spent at the end wondering if I was missing something more obvious, but a TRAINBAND made enough sense.

    I’m below a certain age – I’ve heard of but never read CIDER WITH ROSIE. But one of my favourite short story writers, William Trevor, has a lovely collection called Cheating at CANASTA.

    Thanks Jack & setter.

  15. 25 minutes or so.

    I held myself up by putting ‘Siennan’ for 20d, thinking the nurse was ‘san’ containing the current and directions. I didn’t spot the error even after getting AFTERTASTE, where I didn’t look at the last letter, and that in turn held up LEVERAGE for a long time. And even then, I didn’t parse SIENESE.

    NHO TRAINBAND, and if you’d asked me I would have said it might refer to the Great Train Robbery; didn’t get the Pat/Ian part of PATAGONIAN; had to assumed that a MUSETTE is a small bagpipe; and despite having read CIDER WITH ROSIE I needed all the checkers in the first word to get anywhere near solving the clue.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Newt
    LOI Trainband
    COD Leverage

  16. 38 minutes. I was stuck on the forgotten TRAINBAND for about ten minutes at the end and submitted with little confidence. I hadn’t heard of ANTIDOTAL which seemed a bit of a stretch; still, it’s in…

    I am above a certain age and well remember CIDER WITH ROSIE, helped by visiting the lovely valley and village of Slad, just north of Stroud, where Laurie Lee spent his childhood and the last few ? decades of his life.

    1. As a former resident of Slad, I met Laurie Lee on a number of occasions mostly in the excellent pub, The Woolpack. Giles Coren reviewed it in The Times recently. By coincidence, tomorrow I am joining a former colleague who is walking from John O’Groats to Land End in aid of London’s Air Ambulance. The leg tomorrow is from Cheltenham to Stroud and I am hoping to have a pint in The Woolpack en route.

      1. Thanks. Yes, whenever I went to Slad I was by myself and didn’t go in to The Woolpack for a drink, something I’ve regretted ever since. My brother went to Slad a few years later in the early 90’s and made up for my timidity by going to The Woolpack several times and seeing Laurie Lee when he was there.

        Enjoy your walk and your pint at The Woolpack tomorrow with your admirable friend; hope he raises plenty of money for the Air Ambulance.

  17. 31:51

    Not as easy for me as most others seem to have found it. Might have written several answers in more quickly had I not been determined to understand them fully. Ultimately still failed to parse the ‘must be’ PATAGONIAN and took a while to see the NHO LOI TRAINBAND.

    Thanks all

  18. I thought this was tricky until it wasn’t: there was an awakening round about SCRAPER when the clues suddenly transformed into Quickie standard. But it still took 16.38.
    The BBC has had three cracks at filming CWR, I think the best, if you can find it, the 1971 version, though it would fall foul of today’s censors.

    1. A quick look suggests it was in 2017, at least for one exam board. Back in 2005 we did Lord of the Flies.

        1. …same for me in ’67. I seem to recall being pleased it was short unlike the Anthony Trollope book we had to do for ‘O’ level, which I never did finish.

  19. 13:41. No particular hold-ups, though I failed to see why SUN was daily for too long. LOI CLANNISH. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  20. Nearly all v easy, but slowed down by just a handful of clues. 45 mins. SIENESE went in unparsed after lots of head scratching. DNK ‘ven’ = ‘priest’, so that wasted a lot of time too. NHO TRAINBAND, but it fitted the wordplay so bunged it in with fingers crossed.

    1. Pleased to see this reference, as it is the only place I know “trainband” from. As a child we had an illustrated version of the poem, which was a favourite read.

  21. 12dn Disappointed that TRAINBAND doesn’t appear in
    the Collins dictionary that I received as a prize last year.

    1. It’s in my 2014 edition under ‘train’.

      Also online:
      in British English
      a company of English militia from the 16th to the 18th century
      Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

  22. 26 mins. Easy till the last 3. I always struggle with clues where I have all the letters but they are all vowels ie LEVERAGE. TRAINBAND new to me, and SCRAPER was too obvious for me to see.

  23. 15:49 – a Goldilocks puzzle: nothing went in too easily but nothing too difficult either. TRAINBAND was a guess and the obvious-once-you-see-it ANTIDOTAL took longer than it probably oughter.

  24. 4m 48s. The kind clueing and checking letters meant I didn’t have to strain too hard to remember how to spell RECONNAISSANCE. As for CIDER WITH ROSIE, I biffed it as soon as I got C?D?R at the start – read it a good few years ago, and hadn’t realised it had faded from public awareness a little.

  25. 18:45

    Another here that found it pretty approachable though for some reason I could get nothing in the NW until I’d finished everywhere else. Less than enthralled with SCRAPER, never heard of MUSETTE, TITRATE or TRAINBAND but none of them too difficult to piece together. Needed to write out the anagrist to spot the WITH and then filled in CIDER and ROSIE on either side – terribly dull book as taught to me forty-something years back. That opened up the NW for a brisk finish.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  26. 23:13 and all green. I started this one at a run having inadvertently seen Jack’s short comment at the head of his blog – “I found this really easy” – but I stumbled painfully with the early clues and dropped down to a more comfortable pace. Still a good time for me, but not “really easy”. I spent a couple of minutes at the end trying to find something better than the NHO TRAINBAND

  27. A much more satisfying (and correspondingly quicker) solve than yesterday’s effort – 80-95 is definitely my Snitch sweet spot for now. The top half went in relatively quickly, but the Trainband and Musette nhos lower down the grid interrupted the flow, and needed all the crossers before I was confident with the cryptics. Loi Leverage also took some time before lift and separate came to the rescue and allowed me to downgrade my search parameters. Invariant

  28. 21:17
    Found this pretty easy apart from my last two: LEVERAGE and SIENESE which cost me about five minutes. I remembered TRAINBAND from History O-level – the Tudors and Stuarts.
    I’d never heard of MUSETTE which is perhaps a little surprising as my wife can play the bagpipes (though, being a lady, she, refrains from doing so).
    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  29. I thought they did a TV dramatisation of CIDER WITH ROSIE not that long ago, or maybe it was, time goes so quickly. Anyway, for people in the UK, it would be tricky to avoid being aware of it I would have thought.

  30. CLANNISH was FOI. I watched my daughter take part in an AM Dram production of CIDER WITH ROSIE about 10 years ago, so that was biffed from C-D-R. PATAGONIA was immediately derived from AGON when the G from NIGERIA appeared. SIENESE and LEVERAGE took a few moments of thought. TITRATE rang a bell from Chemistry A Level once COPYCAT was in place. SCAPER was POI with VENTRICLE LOI. 15:01. Thanks setter and Jack.

  31. I thought I was heading for a PB on this one until I got stuck in the troublesome NW corner. Eventually emerged after 25 minutes. No big issues, just slow on the uptake with some of the less straightforward clues. NHO TRAINBAND but the clueing was helpful once all the crossers were in. Is Patagonia a country? See the entertaining article in Wikipedia about the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia – there is a continuing line of French pretenders to the Kingship.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

    1. It’s not, but I think you could still call a Patagonian a South American. Similarly, you could call a Texan a North American.

  32. 35’13”
    Got boxed in for no apparent reason.

    Foolishly I questioned everything when it really was that simple. However, it was pleasing to drag up musette from a dusty corner of my memory.
    Thank you setter and Jack.

    1. I squinted at that too. Collins has “unrefined, coarse, or crude,” which could refer to something sexually explicit or suggestive, but “blue” seems to have a more pejorative cast than EARTHY.

  33. 31:54
    LOI was PATAGONIAN, which I had earlier entered then deleted, since I could not see how PATIAN=couple. Thanks for pointing out that it splits into two random names.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *