Times Cryptic 28934


Solving time: 39 minutes

I felt I did quite well with this considering it contained some tricky bits and pieces and some very convoluted parsing.

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 Record start of tweet by a politician on X (9)
TIMES (X), T{weet} [start of…], A, MP
6 Cut from blade, as some say (5)
Aural wordplay [some say]:  SAWED / “sword” (blade)
9 Seconds required with some sterling seafood (5)
S (seconds), QUID (some sterling – UK currency, £1)
10 Novel heroine and husband back call for clubbing (9)
EMMA (novel heroine) + H (husband) reversed [back], RING (call)
11 How toper opens more rum, swigging large tot (7)
T{oper) [how…opens], ODDER (more rum) containing [swigging] L (large)
12 Groups of new arrivals, tons entering during a film (7)
T (tons) contained by [entering] IN (during)  + A + KES (film)
13 Advanced runs to block improved team’s attacking options? (7,7)
R (runs) contained by [to block] BOUGHT FORWARD (improved team’s attacking options)
17 Catch partner pocketing grand — it’s won with tricks (8,6)
CONTRACT (catch – e.g. a disease) + BRIDE (partner) containing [pocketing] G (grand)
21 Finished postgrad degree with new supervisor (7)
OVER (finished), MA (postgrad degree), N (new)
23 Officer getting popular, mature and tender (7)
CO (officer), IN (popular), AGE (mature)
25 Cooked fat eel and raw, small crustacean (5,4)
Anagram [cooked] of FAT EEL RAW
26 Inspiration for writer‘s books returning after long time (5)
ERA (a long time), OT (books) reversed [returning]
27 Club — United, say — regressing (5)
WED (united), then EG (say) reversed [regressing]. Golf.
28 They may darn well see stars out to save millions (9)
Anagram [out] of SEE STARS containing [to save] M (millions). I bet I wasn’t the only solver to think of ‘seamstress’ immediately on reading the clue .
1 Rising bit of smoke’s permeating support for lab kit (4,4)
BUTT’S (bit of smoke’s – cigarette) reversed [rising] contained by [permeating] TEE (support)
2 Source of penicillin doctor pulled out of odd places (5)
MO (doctor),  {p}U{l}L{e}D [out of odd places – leaving the even letters]
3 Lamp is put up over entrance (9)
IS (reversed) [put up], DELIGHT (entrance)
4 Initially, hard to oust female feeling a certain desire (7)
AT fIRST (initially) becomes ATHIRST when H (hard) replaces [to oust] f (female). Figuratively this can refer to any longing, not just for liquid refreshment.
5 Bit of capital — one thousand pounds I invested in power firm (7)
I (one) + M (thousand) + L (pounds) + I contained by [invested in] P (power) + CO (firm). Just off Belgravia and very posh. To many its name is best known from the title of the 1949 Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico. It wasn’t so posh in those days.
6 Way to entertain little fool, perhaps (5)
ST (way – street) contains [to entertain] WEE (little)
7 Beat walls in vacated residence having sideboards (9)
WHISKED (beat) contains [walls in] R{esidenc}E [vacated]
8 Papers upset customer wanting upper-class periodical (6)
ID (papers) reversed [upset], G{u}EST (customer) [wanting upper-class]
14 Oscar Peterson ultimately dotes on swinging solo (2,4,3)
O (Oscar), {Peterso}N [ultimately], anagram [swinging ] of DOTES ON. This is CRS for ‘alone / on one’s own’ with reference to  Tod Sloan, a famous American jockey who rode in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Opinions vary as to how Sloan became associated with being alone.
15 Linguistic flaw in news by newspaper head (9)
WORD (news), I (newspaper), NESS (head – headland)
16 Good-natured dope you heard is in love (8)
GEN (dope), then U (you) [heard] contained by [is in] EROS (love)
18 Make invalid filling of lush doughnut, say (7)
ANNUL (make invalid), {l}US{h} [filling of…]. Something shaped like a ring. I think we’ve also had it clued as ‘bagel’.
19 Jazz fan, in bed, lifted by ace composition (7)
CAT (jazz fan) contained by [in] COT (bed), reversed [lifted] + A (ace)
20 Respectful gesture and awestruck remark for setter? (3-3)
BOW (respectful gesture), WOW (awestruck remark). Setter as a dog again.
22 Publication featuring King Edward’s face and Mrs Simpson (5)
MAG (publication) containing [featuring] R (King), E{dward’s} [face]. I seem to be plagued by the Simpson family in my blogs these days!
24 Succulent core of plant supplied (5)
{pl}A{nt} [core of…], GAVE (supplied). This turned up in puzzle I blogged recently and gave me trouble on that occasion. It’s stuck with me now since I discovered the plant appears in the logo of Desperados tequila-flavoured lager which I have been known to drink occasionally.

68 comments on “Times Cryptic 28934”

  1. I felt I did pretty well with it too, considering that my FOI was an expression rarely heard by this Yank, ON ONE’S TOD, and we also have PIMLICO, the homophone-if-you-say-so SAWED and the name of a Ken Loach film that had to be looked up after solving. I still didn’t quite “get” my LOI, B(R)OUGHT FORWARD, but it seems you’re saying that the non-parenthetical part means a BOUGHT new FORWARD improves a team’s chances on the field…

    I consider The Simpsons one of our proudest cultural exports.

    1. Yes, BOUGHT FORWARD as you have interpreted my comment in the blog.

      You may have noticed I did not say SAWED was a homophone. I have recently stopped using the terms ‘homophone’ and ‘soundalike’ in my blogs and now refer to ‘aural wordplay’ which I think better describes what’s going on – something akin to a pun that’s not intended to be taken too seriously.

      1. The “you” in that phrase was meant to be equivalent to “one.” It may be confusing, of course, that I used it more personally in a following sentence. I take it for granted, though, that some people do say SAWED the same as they say “sword.”

            1. As I believe our blogger today is an American, I suspect it’s because for them, (with a so-called ‘dark ‘R’), their pronunciation of ‘SWORD’ the R can be much more prominent, and is much further from their ‘SAWED’ (which to a Brit like me would sound more like SA-A-HD). There is a nod to this difference in the phrase ‘… as some say’ in the clueing. If you get my drift…

              1. I think you may mean the commenter, not today’s blogger (i.e. me) as I am softie-southerner English!

                1. Apologies, jackkt. I was indeed referring to the comment a few entries back by Guy du Sable, whom I wrongly thought was also the blogger.

            2. Having been raised in South London, and having lived in Lancaster since 2006, I can vouch for there being no difference in pronunciation in either location.

  2. Fun crossword. Got a little held up since I didn’t think enough and put in SWORD instead of SAWED which made getting WHISKERED impossible until I did my “if the last clue won’t go in, check all the crossers are actually correct” procedure. We do seem to be working our way through the Simpson family in recent weeks. The Simpsons started when I was living in France, so for a few years I had never seen it in English. I used to know the names of the seven dwarves in French too, since my daughter had a videotape of Snow White in French.

    I wonder when the last time was that anyone actually called a jazz fan a “cat”. It sounds as dated as “it” for sex appeal. Never mind all the way back to Beerbohm Tree.

  3. This took me forever. Biffed a bunch: SAWED (no idea what the ‘as some say’ meant), BROUGHT FORWARD, CONTRACT BRIDGE, TEST TUBE, never parsed. NHO ON ONES TOD, had to look it up. All green, but a dispiriting experience.

  4. DNF Filled out large part without problems then NW and SE corners eluded me.
    I cannot understand how “fool perhaps” is SWEET. Looked up a range of dictionaries for both fool and sweet but I cannot relate them. An explanation would be greatly appreciated.

    1. ODE sv ‘fool’2 chiefly Brit a cold dessert made of pureed fruit mixed or served with cream or custrd

    2. The following clue from a cryptic somewhere several years ago may help ‘fool’ for dessert or SWEET stick in the mind:
      Having this, one suffers fools gladly! (5,5)

    3. The fact that you would never call a pudding a “sweet” shows that you’ve been properly brought up!

  5. 32 minutes. Couldn’t get anything for a start so worked my way from the bottom up. I’m happy ‘to be plagued by the Simpson family’ and MARGE was one of my first in. I skimped on the parsing of a few like PIMLICO (reminded me of the Ealing comedy too) and ON ONES TOD, which went in mainly from the enumeration.

    Yes, SEAMSTERS, rather than “seamstress” looked a bit odd, but had to be. LOI was ATHIRST which I look forward to hearing dropped into casual conversation sometime in the next decade or so.

    1. Read the MARGE clue and vaguely remembered a British king abdicated to marry an American surname Simpson, guessed the king was Ed and her first name must have been Marge. And I *know* it was Wallis, and agree with Guy that The Simpsons is one of USA’s greatest cultural exports, but still it didn’t click.
      Another SEAMSTRESSES.

  6. 12:45. The bottom half of this was much easier than the top.
    All those who (like me) hesitated before putting in SEAMSTERS, please register for TfTT Unconscious Bias Training at your earliest convenience.

  7. Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;
    Every thing is spoilt by use:
    (Fancy, Keats)

    25 mins pre-brekker. I really liked this one. Very neat. Great surfaces. I especially liked “walls in”.
    Ta setter and J.

  8. An enjoyable challenge, but, having already DNF the QC, a minor panic set in when I need to alpha-trawl my LOI, which I only parsed after biffing it – that cost me over a minute when I reckoned I’d performed pretty well.

    TIME 10:30

  9. 61 minutes, just not on wavelength. I started badly (is TIMESTAMP a thing?) and things got no better. I knew all the words apart from that and eventually could see all the parsings, but it was like pulling teeth. So, COD to BOW-WOW even if Daddy wouldn’t buy me one. Thank you Jack and setter.

    1. Digital cameras will put a timestamp on your pictures, sometimes spoiling a perfect shot. Dare one say that your entry on TftT is also timestamped, to the right of your moniker.

  10. This is in today’s Times diary:
    “Sad news: Richard Rogan, crossword editor of The Times since 2014, has died aged 62. Soon after he took on the role, Richard introduced the quick cryptic in Times2, a gateway drug for many. The first clue, aptly, was “Get singer rocking in Hello (9)”, while two of his favourites were “One needing floor that’s hard, and carpet free (3, 6)” and “View of Apollo astronaut, perhaps, reveals bottom and head (9)”. Answers at end. In 2015 he kindly helped one reader by setting a crossword that included the names of him and his girlfriend as answers and the clue: “ ‘Will you marry me’, say, that’s forward also rude! (8)”, giving an answer that combined “prop”, as in rugby forward, with an anagram for “also”. Farewell to a great man of letters.”

  11. I took 36 minutes, the last 16 of which were on the NE corner. What was especially annoying was, when I got them they were all pretty obvious and especially my LOI SAWED and the one before that WHISKERED. Before that was INTAKES when I pencilled in INTA**S and finally thought of KES, which gave me the K for WHISKERED.
    Many thanks setter and Jack

  12. I had several moments of anxiety as answers failed to come, particularly in the NW. Also I was fixated on Tess as the heroine. MARGE has appeared recently (quizzers will known her middle name also).

    Managed to complete in 19’17”.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  13. 28:17
    I thoroughly enjoyed that one, even if I did go off in completely the wrong directions at times. BROUGHT FORWARD caused the most difficulty, but creditable mentions also to TIMESTAMP and ATHIRST.

    Tuesday is normally where I post my best time for the week so that doesn’t bode well.

    Thanks to both.

  14. 11:46, but with a typo. Didn’t parse BROUGHT FORWARD, but now I see it I rather like it.

    Thanks setter & Jack.

  15. 20 minutes or so.

    Thought of INTAKES early on but didn’t enter it until I had the K from WHISKERED, and only as I was writing it in did I realise how it worked; in a similar vein, I assumed 28a would be ‘seamstress’ until I was most of the way through writing it in and hastily corrected to SEAMSTERS; not a particular fan of ON ONES TOD, as being a slightly colloquial expression you’d be much more likely to hear ‘on your tod’.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Sweet
    LOI Intakes
    COD Sidelight

    1. Agreed, but it’s worth bearing in mind that crossword entries almost (but not quite) invariably tend to be ONE’S rather than YOUR. Similarly dictionary entries where ONE’S covers all possibilities; otherwise they’d need to include ‘on your tod’, ‘on his/her tod’, etc. When The Times has ‘your’ in such an expression it’s cause for comment.

      1. Indeed. I got used to the idea that it is always ONES many years ago, but as you say there is the very occasional exception.

  16. 13:40
    Pretty much your standard Tuesday stash.
    I enjoyed BOW-WOW and GENEROUS, but my COD went to TODDLER – I’m currently reading a collection of Leo Baxendale’s excellent ‘Sweeny Toddler’ comic strips from Whizzer and Chips (among others).
    I see Oscar Wilde used my LOI in Salomé’s address to the severed head of Iokanaan:
    “I am ATHIRST for thy beauty; I am hungry for thy body; and neither wine nor apples can appease my desire.”

  17. Quite pleased with 16 minutes on this, as there were plenty of clues needing careful thought, and one, ATHIRST, which needed all the crossers as well.
    B(R)OUGHT FORWARDs are not necessarily the key to improving attacking options, as Spurs can adequately testify, but there is a ? at the end.
    Both OVERMAN as a noun and SEAMSTERS required a degree of faith in the setter’s skill, and failing to think of catching/contracting (eg) Covid made me nervous of the BRIDGE.
    But elegant and classy cluing, well blogged.

  18. 25′, two visits having got off to a very fast start and then having to take time out as my phone ran out of gas. Lost the thread in my second visit and struggled with the NW corner (SAWED, really?) and I knew EMMA was in there somewhere. However KES, (brings back memories of the PE teacher acting out his inner Bobby Charlton) gave me WHISKERED and the rest fell into place. Thanks Jackkt and setter

  19. 10:57, so pretty zippy. Only held up by putting in SEAMSTRESSES and piling up at the end of the word, though it didn’t take long to unravel the lesser-seen male version; also being convinced that KOW-TOW must be involved in what turned out to be the BOW-WOW, which it wasn’t.

  20. Thanks for the explanation of 1d.

    I could see that it had be TEST TUBE, for lab kit, but persuaded myself that it was TET (the rising), with S (a bit of smoke) inserted, but was unable to see how the rest of it worked.

  21. Not on the wavelength. It all felt very difficult, and I stopped on the hour with GENEROUS missing – had been staring at it for the last 15 mins without inspiration.

  22. My issue is that a doughnut is a TORUS not an ANNULUS – as a mathematician, I considered it but was troubled enough to leave it for a bit!

  23. 47 minutes, having gone smoothly enough until BROUGHT FORWARD and ATHIRST held me up f0r ages. Eventually the first one fell, rather good, but I gave up on the second one and used aids and since ATHIRST was the only thing given I put it in without understanding. ‘Initially, hard …’ should have set the warnings off, because if you were setting a clue, why would you have ‘Initially, hard’ when ‘hard’ would be perfectly OK? SEAMSTERS wasn’t a problem, because I thought it was a well-known word in the US. Then later I discovered that it was Teamsters.

  24. 22:30 22:30 Mostly straightforward, with ON ONES TOD retrieved from some memory cell where popular idioms from the past are buried but never quite forgotten

  25. 1a POI, surprised to notice en passant that my Cheating Machine didn’t have TIMESTAMP(s) in it. As an old IT person (previously EDP, DP, IS, god knows what else) I didn’t think the word in any way unusual.
    6a SAWED missed the “aural wordplay”, DOH! Started with SWEEP as in an oar/blade plus cricket stroke.
    12a Remembered enjoying KES the film. Worked near Hoyland for HSBC 30 years later. They still thought they were the Midland Bank (bankrupt; bought the US Crocker s*** Bank, rescued by the HK-based bank).
    13a V BrOUGHT FORWARD, Setter missed the oppo of a def for bullish buying behaviour. I’ve only just noticed that it wasn’t intended. DOH. I hate footie anyway as no doubt I already bored all and sundry with.
    28a Correct, I tried to squeeze SEAMSTress in. It doesn’t fit.
    COD 5d PIMLICO; I enjoyed the film. Tried to buy a place there in about 1982 I think but it was already too posh, though the Paviour’s Arms wasn’t.
    15d WORDiNESS, forgot AGAIN about the old Independent paper, renamed for its on-line focus.

  26. 23:12. wasn’t sure that OVERMAN, in that sense, was a word and, like others, had to backtrack to get SEAMSTERS. I was OK with ATHIRST (I feel we’ve seen it here before) and it reminds me of a memory from Sunday School, I guess, of those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. I thought it meant you needed something to eat and drink after being good

  27. I still think ‘KES’ is Ken Loach’s best achievement. I once encountered him at the Camden Recycling Centre in Kentish Town as we were both unloading our environmental sins, and (rather patronisingly in retrospect) told him so. He did not demur, but who would in such circumstances?

  28. Much enjoyed, very pleasant puzzle. Read Kes at school, though down here it was called “A Kestrel for a Knave”. Pronounce SAWED as SWORD, but plenty of people see an R in a word and pronounce it. Woulda put Pimlico near Victoria Station… but haven’t been to London in many decades. Is that near Belgravia?

  29. Yes, I was wondering how I could put TORUS in as 7 letters
    27 mins, found this a bit tortuous, but got there in the end. LOI ATHIRST, even with all the letters in place, it wasn’t easy.

  30. Shoved TEST TUBE in, then reverse engineered it. Then before I knew it, the top half was done! BROUGHT FORWARD was biffed. Bottom half took a bit longer. Liked BOW WOW. Hesitated slightly over SEAMSTERS so I’d better sign up for K’s course! I’d biffed ON ONES OWN earlier and had to correct it when WATER FLEA and WEDGE arrived. COINAGE was LOI. 18:33. Thanks setter and Jack.

  31. 11:37

    Some quirky cryptics in this one, which I suspected would raise the SNITCH above a typical Tuesday level. Most of the answers came quickly to me, which I think was just dumb luck. I wonder how many, like me, blithely threw in an initial P in 2-Down, only to be stymied and have to return to the NW having done the rest of the puzzle?

    Favourite clue: BROUGHT FORWARD. Must be in anticipation of the upcoming Euros. Final clue: ATHIRST, which would have been very difficult without the crossers, due to the well-concealed definition.

  32. 25:43

    Nicely paced grid unlocking its secrets with pleasing regularity. I missed the parsing of INTAKES and TEST TUBE, have NHO OVERMAN though the meaning is clear, and am another who so wanted to stick SEAMSTRESS in at 28a. I did like BROUGHT FORWARD.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  33. I think I must have been on the setters wavelength today finishing this in 29.36, certainly in comparison with some of the times posted by those usually much speedier than me. It was essentially a crossword of two halves for me, with the bottom half all complete and parsed in about 10 minutes. The top half was a good deal slower, and my LOI ATHIRST held me up more than any clue.

  34. 55 mins, in two sessions, on the tougher side I thought. Held up in the NW until l finally saw TIMESTAMP and last two in MOULD & ATHIRST followed. I agree with a previous comment that the south was much easier than the north.

    I liked ON ONES TOD & BOW-WOW.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  35. 26:54
    A fun puzzle. BOW WOW was COD. I needed Jack to parse TEST TUBE.
    I agree about the Simpsons. The world needs both its Homers.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  36. 39:40
    I had biffed CAPTAIN for 23a, which then held up being able to get WORDINESS or GENEROUS. After convincing myself that WordPress could not be an alternative name for a linguistic flaw I finally spotted my error, making COINAGE my LOI.
    COD to PIMLICO. I wasted time thinking capital=currency, and thinking PESO must be involved somehow.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  37. 53 minutes. The SE was slow. MOULD, DIGEST and GENEROUS were all biffed. ATHIRST was LOI. I did think of SEAMSTRESS, but nothing like immediately. Thanks Jack.

  38. As usual I took an age to complete this but, as it was all correct, felt it was worth the effort.
    I don’t pronounce SWORD and SAWED the same but maybe that’s just me.

  39. Tod Sloan was just a random addition to rhyming slang I think? There was no requirement for him to have a reputation of being alone. He just had to rhyme.

  40. Around 40 minutes – two twentyish minute sessions separated by preparation and consumption of family supper. The second session was much more productive than the first – mainly after realising that 7 down was not an anagram of” walls in re” – so I should stop trying to look for one! It also helped realising that “timesheet” was wrong ! Those two stumbling blocks out of the way, I was able to get through most of the rest relatively happily.
    LOI & COD – Athirst


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