Times Cryptic 28916


Solving time: 31 minutes

Not the tidiest of solves for me as I wrote in several partial answers that needed to be revisited, plus I had whole words missing in every quarter until quite late in the proceedings. If only 1ac had gone in early it might have been a whole different story.

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 Is ”chaps too disturbed” appropriate for them? (10)
Anagram [disturbed] of IS CHAPS TOO. I’ve underlined the whole clue as it’s all relevant to the definition.
6 Troublemakers are weak types, lacking weight (4)
{w}IMPS (weak types) [lacking weight]
8 Receiver of post — man said to faint? (8)
Aural wordplay [said]:  MAIL / “male” (man), DROP (faint)
9 A new attempt by artist to produce material (6)
A, N (new), GO (attempt), RA (artist)
10 Players needing drink before start of match (4)
TEA (drink), M{atch} [start]
11 Judge coming down heavily maybe — or holding back (10)
REF (judge), RAINING (coming down heavily maybe)
12 Take a second job and while away time, getting frivolous? (9)
MOON (while away time), LIGHT (frivolous)
14 Accommodation for the bosses? (5)
Two definitions
17 Wickedness coming to church subsequently (5)
SIN (wickedness), CE (church)
19 Nice seats arranged for film buffs (9)
Anagram [arranged] of NICE SEATS
22 Compel a fellow to become publicity bod (5,5)
PRESS A GENT (compel a fellow)
23 Ham trimmed at the edges is what soldiers need (4)
{g}AMMO{n} (ham) [trimmed at the edges]
24 Is husband behind bar cast out? (6)
BAN (bar), IS, H (husband)
25 English at home always — waiting for one to come? (8)
ENG (English), IN (at home), E’ER (always). Another one where it’s difficult to know what to underline so I’ve done the lot, though I’m sure it’s not just the English who wait in all day for fitters to turn up.
26 Grey adult initially reluctant to come forward (4)
A{dult) [initially], SHY (reluctant to come forward)
27 Reprobate entered age falsely (10)
Anagram [falsely] of ENTERED AGE
1 Notes on paper occasionally (9)
SO + ME (musical notes), TIMES (paper)
2 City with fashionable past (7)
CHIC (fashionable), AGO (past)
3 Picture left — one nibbled by rodent? (8)
PORT (left), then I (one) contained [nibbled] by RAT (rodent)
4 Extreme cold, suggesting a big problem? (3,2,3,7)
TIP OF (extreme), THE ICEBERG (something cold)
5 Way a prisoner is in prison (6)
ST (way), A, LAG (prisoner)
6 Old nun with guise terribly naive (9)
Anagram [terribly] of O (old) NUN GUISE
7 Wife maybe has role — loveless dictator (7)
PART (role), NER{o} (dictator) [loveless]
13 Need to have inventive parent? (9)
A cryptic hint adds support with reference to the saying ‘Necessity is the mother (parent) of invention’
15 Daughter is on programme of studies in Communication (9)
D (daughter), IS, COURSE (programme of studies)
16 Figure shut in with endless pain (8)
PENT (shut in), AGON{y} (pain) [endless]
18 Small box advertisements — they are intrusive (7)
INRO (small box), ADS (advertisements). SOED: inro –  an ornamental box with compartments for seals, medicines, etc., formerly worn by Japanese on a girdle.
20 Paint Paddy applied over small area (7)
TEMPER (paddy), A (small – abbreviation for  – area)
21 With the female coming in, the old man made haste (6)
SHE (the female) contained by [coming in] DAD (the old man)

84 comments on “Times Cryptic 28916”

  1. 9:24
    My first sub-10′ in God knows how long. I didn’t understand AMMO, not knowing (or not thinking of) ‘gammon’. I also didn’t understand why one would wait for an engineer. And I didn’t know the relevant meaning of MOON. Jack, take a look at PARTNER.

  2. Around 40 minutes. For me one of the easiest Times puzzles ever. Everything went in smoothly with no holdups. No unknown words. Only slight problem was MAILDROP. All the dictionaries I consulted gave MAIL DROP.
    PARTNER role=PART, dictator: NERO so loveless dictator=NER(o)

  3. Wow, was this easy! Over before I knew it—although the 15-letter answer came late, I was a little unsure about the definition for ENGINEERS, and I had to look up “inro box” after finishing.

  4. In the US we wait for them but they’re not called engineers. Installers, techs, repairmen or repairwomen, the cable guy. Engineer usually means university degree in chemical, mechanical, civil, etc. (or train driver).

    1. That’s pretty much what we call them here too, plus ‘fitter’ as used by me in the blog. ‘Engineer’ is what they and / or their employers like to call them. My father was a chartered mechanical engineer so I was well aware of this from an early age. I’m not sure he even owned a spanner. In a time before computers, the tools of his trade were drawing boards, slide rules and T-squares.

    2. I worked for airlines all my working life and I came to the view that American terminology was correct.
      ‘Engineers’ build and make things while ‘mechanics’ mend/fix them when they need fixing. In British terminology they were all ‘engineers’. Meanwhile, at the sharp end, the ‘drivers’ were pilots!

      1. Seems a good distinction to make, but how does it fit with Americans calling their train drivers ‘engineers’?

          1. Men or women who drive trains (it was all men then) were named in the early part of the 19th century, well before universities had engineering programs or degrees and also well before the “Sorry, got stuck at a different job. How about a week from next Wednesday?” person appropriated the term.

  5. 19.59, which is unquestionably sub-20, an enjoyable solve. SOCIOPATHS was a clever clue with a crafty anagram, same with INGENUOUS. Thanks Jack, I never saw the gammon reference, just biffed AMMO, and like others I was confused by ENGINEER. Some of these clues were QC material but I’m not going to complain, given what we copped towards the end of last week.

    From Moonlight:
    The seasons they are turnin’
    And my sad heart is yearnin’
    To hear again the songbird’s sweet melodious tone
    Won’t you, meet me
    Out in the MOONLIGHT alone

  6. The gasman cometh…..

    In the old days you’d only be told that the engineer/ repairer would come at some point during the day. You’d wait and wait before dashing out to the shop / pick up kids etc. and return as fast as possible only to find a postcard saying ” we called as arranged but you were out…..”.

    12’07”, no issues. Thanks jack and setter.

    1. What do you mean ‘in the old days’? At best now one can usually book only morning or afternoon and the overlap in the middle of the day is so great that one has to block out most of the day in case they arrive early or are running late.

      1. Man walks into a Trabant dealership with a wad of Ost Marks, slams the cash down on the desk and says “I’d like to buy a car, please!”
        So he does all the paperwork and the dealer says “right, you can pick it up five years from now.”
        “Hold on,” says the man. “Five years?”
        He pauses for a moment. “Is that in the morning or the evening?”
        “What difference does it make?” asks the dealer.
        “Well, I’ve got the plumber coming in the morning.”

  7. Easy – but for me not as easy as the SNITCH suggests. I spent 4 or 5 mins or so staring at LOI T-M-E-A, because that meaning of “paddy” was completely unknown to me. TEMPERA may have been there in the furthest recesses of my memory – but when I entered the answer, I thought it was a pure guess after running out of solving ideas. Genuine surprise to get the green tick in 22:06 – thanks J and setter.

  8. Very quick, but in that haste I ended up with INGENIOUS. My first properly unforced error for a while, so I was due one.

    Thanks both.

    1. I so nearly made that mistake also, about a minute of my time was counting Is and Us in the anagram!!

  9. No problems with the crossword. Thanks setter and jackkt.

    Always good to see my novel, The Tip of the Iceberg, (the first in the series) mentioned. Very topical given the Russian oil discovery in Antarctica. The third, The Violin and Candlestick, will be published by Hobeck Books on July 16th.

      1. What a great idea!
        If they could work VIOLIN and CANDLESTICK into July 16th’s crossword, I’d be much obliged.

    1. I searched for it on Amazon and much like the engineer discussion above, Amazon told me it would be delivered anywhere between the 24th of May and 3rd of December!

      1. Very apposite, Tina.
        I am sure that it will be delivered reasonably quickly. Martin received his copy in NZ ok.
        The first two in the series will be available electronically from July 2nd. David

  10. Seventeen minutes yesterday and now fifteen today; apparently I’m on a bit of a roll (or at least a bit of a wavelength.) I might’ve been faster but I like to take the time to parse even when I could safely biff the answer. Enjoyed 1a most, I think.

    Happily I don’t have to wait in for an engineer today, but the phenomenon was fresh in my mind from my young colleague Zack’s struggles to get someone back to try to make his newly-fitted smart meter actually work; he was without hot water for days because it wasn’t turning his Economy 7 on overnight…

  11. 26 minutes with LOI INROADS, fingers crossed. I didn’t know the INRO bit. COD to TIP OF THE ICEBERG. No, I’m not Sawbill’s 22ac. Otherwise, a steady solve. Thank you Jack and setter.

  12. 17:39 with LOI AMMO which I didn’t understand till coming here, gammon, of course!
    As already pointed out an easy puzzle today.
    Thanks Jack and setter

  13. Pretty straightforward 22′ today. I get a little bit miffed by the generic ENGINEER, having worked a 4 year university course to be called one! A few partial biffs, not knowing INRO or that meaning of MOON. Didn’t immediately see the anagram or its material for INGENUOUS, so spent some time trying to remember some medieval nun… Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  14. Beside the portal doors,
    Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores
    All saints to give him sight of Madeline
    (The Eve of St. Agnes, Keats)

    After 20 mins I was left pondering if Inro might be a small box. Well I never.
    Ta setter and J

  15. No time as I had to stop in the middle, but pretty quick. The last section, the SW, went in like a hurricane. I thought of sawbill’s book at 4d. Excellent read if any of you have not read it yet, by the way.

    Some nice anagrams today.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  16. 6:35
    My second fastest solve ever; once again I thought “This is how Magoo must feel all the time”.
    Started with a nice ‘& lit’ at 1 ac, finished with ASHY.
    Vaguely remembered INRO from intensive viewing of ‘Antiques Road Show ‘ (“Veneer!”)

  17. Very quick today. No holdups and no nhos, though I am always a bit restive when “engineer” is misused to mean fitters, mechanics or assorted servicefolk. In my world engineers have professional qualifications and design things. Brunel and Telford were engineers. You wouldn’t want them fiddling with your washing machine .. and come to think of it the person that does, you wouldn’t want them designing a bridge or a steamship.

    1. I agree. I worked for 20 years for an American cargo airline. ‘Engineers’ designed and built while ‘mechanics’ fuelled the planes and checked the oil as well as fixed any faults. In British airlines they were all ‘engineers’ and didn’t always like being called mechanics.

    2. From Eon: “At some point, you might need to book an appointment for one of our engineers to come to your property. Our engineers are qualified professionals with the right experience and tools to do their job. Just have a look at all the weird tools in their toolbelt, then you’ll believe us.”
      I think maybe that both proves and disproves your point.

  18. 6:01. No problems today, and no unknowns. Even INRO was familiar, from past appearances here or possibly in Mephisto. Fortunate because ‘they are intrusive’ is a bit of an oblique definition.

  19. 11:48
    That counts as my second fastest time, but I’m disappointed not to have dipped under the 10 minutes as this felt like a very straightforward puzzle.

    INRO was the only unknown element, and most clues went in on first reading. INROADS, NECESSITY and PRESS took me over the 10.

    Thanks to both.

  20. 8:39. Very gentle. My only hold-ups were MAIDROP, where I was slow to see the second half and INROADS, not being familiar with INRO = small box. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  21. 9 minutes.

    Inro was unknown, but INROADS had to be; not familiar with moon=while away time, but likewise MOONLIGHT couldn’t have been anything else; nearly put ‘ingenious’ for 6d before looking more closely at the anagrist; didn’t understand how NECESSITY worked.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Imps
    LOI Ammo
    COD Cineastes

  22. 22 minutes. Took a while to get MAILDROP and to work out NECESSITY as my LOI. I didn’t think about it at the time, but I’m another with an MER at ENGINEER, mainly for the reasons given by JerryW. SOCIOPATHS was a clever one to start with and I liked seeing INRO for ‘Small box’.

  23. Raced through this in 10 mins, v fast for me. NHO ‘inro’ but there was only one plausible answer.

  24. Today’s puzzle proves the well-known adage about sub 10 minute Times Cryptics being like London buses – you wait a year and a half for one, and then two come along one after the other.

    Nearly stymied myself in the SE corner by putting ARMS ({P}ARM{A} + an S somehow) instead of AMMO on my first pass through, but eventually spotted DISCOURSE and got back on track.

  25. 16:14

    Very straightforward. Only INROADS and TEMPERA (always confused this with tempura) stopping this be a PB.

    Thhanks to Jack and the setter

  26. Allow me to be contrary. I don’t know whether I slept poorly or what, but although I was below average time by the skin of my teeth, I have a horrible red WITCH.

    Couldn’t think of synonyms, couldn’t untangle anagrams, NHO INRO. All in all, one to forget.


  27. The horses slept through the entire operation.

    TIME 6:29

    * In my early days as a computer operator on big mainframes, there would always be the “engineer’s room” on site. It’s where they smoked and drank coffee while they waited for the next hiccup or malfunction – and there were plenty of those back in the late 60’s.

  28. 10.31. Still unable to crack the 10 minute barrier despite the gentleness of the puzzle. Probably a PB though.

  29. 14 mins. Very easy after a slow start. Frustrating to find such easy clues as DEGENERATE when I’ve nearly finished. Could have started there!
    COD NECESSITY, which I didn’t get at the time. Tx!

  30. Of course the SNITCH was very low — in no other way could I have taken 15 minutes, only held up by my last two, PORTRAIT (perfectly simple) and MAILDROP, where the equivalence of drop and faint seems a bit thin. NECESSITY had to be and I meant to return to it because I couldn’t parse it, then forgot. I never really understood ENGINEER, but assumed, and it was. Not so sure about that one …

  31. 05:24, so yes, a nice puzzle left over from Monday (albeit with a few very crossword-y things like the INRO).

  32. Very gentle, and mostly solved in my head, as no writing material to hand. SOCIOPATHS took a while, and I hesitated over LOI INROADS, till I was sure there was no alternative, as NHO inro. I liked NECESSITY and ENGINEER best for the cryptic element.

  33. A very straightforward puzzle completed by me in 22.29. All nicely parsed with the exception of INROADS, where inro seemed such an unlikely definition for a small box.

  34. 4m 31s, nothing to scare the horses. As with most cryptic definitions, 13d was not my favourite.

    COD to 1a.

    1. That’s right in the expression ‘board and lodgings’, but ‘board’ can also mean to place in lodgings i.e. to provide accommodation. A boarding house is expected to provide both accommodation and food.

  35. 12:39

    Very comfortable apart from mangling the letters of SOMETIMES so that 12a was starting with an I – took more than a few seconds to see the error of my ways. Careful with INGENUOUS making sure that all of the anagrist letters were inserted correctly. INROADS bunged in from checkers, not sure I’ve heard of the box before. Dredged up the word for a bunch of film-goers – I’m sure there must be a good reason why that is the name for them.

    Re. ENGINEER – in the final throes of my career, the team of which I am part is called Platform Engineering which seems a bit grand for effectively a jumped-up Unix administrator (though for the past seventeen years, I have been contracting with the even grander title of IT Consultant).

    Thanks Jack and setter

  36. One of my quickest – just over 11 minutes.
    After doing the quickie cryptic (where ‘pistachio’ was an answer), I immediately saw what I thought was a similar anagram in 1 across and automatically put in ‘pistachios’, as in ‘nuts’.

    It made perfect sense at the time, but realised my error when trying to do the NW down clues…

    1. Hi, Kevin, please don’t reveal answers in other Times crosswords on the day. It’s probably late enough now not to spoil anyone’s enjoyment so I’ll let it pass this time.

  37. 12.26

    A few chestnuts (nothing wrong with that); liked TEMPERA. Will now look up the box

    The East Germany joke was very good indeed

  38. Comments on the QC blog indicated this was not too hard.
    I agree; finished over lunch. LOI INROADS; inro unknown.

  39. FRom STALAG to INROADS in 18:47. I could have knocked a minute or more off that, but not knowing INRO for box made me hesitate and try to find an alternative. Pleasant puzzle. Thanks setter and Jack.

  40. Oh dear i rocketed through by my standards in 22 mins (paper) then i look and see 4 minutes. I cant get my biro to work in four minutes

  41. 46.10 I struggled with this and I’m not sure why, though INROADS and NECESSITY mystified me. Thanks Jack.

  42. I seem to be the only person to put CINEESTAS. Thought it didn’t look right. Apart from that this was a quick one, even for me.


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