Times Cryptic 28,309

A rare return to the daily blogging team for me, subbing for Ulaca who is on a holiday jaunt around Europe at present. Though it seems only yesterday that I gave up my Wednesday slot, alongside first mctext and then Pip. (actually more than seven years ago!)

Time was about 12 minutes, plus a few seconds to check that 20dn was really a thing, so a steady solve without getting stuck, but not as easy as some Mondays. Some very neat clues and good surface readings here, thank you, setter ..

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Banger lacking taste, but not cold (4)
HEAP – (c)HEAP. A motoring term, relating to the sort of car I drove until not so very long ago
3 Quiet river circles wood where food may be rare (10)
STEAKHOUSE – TEAK (wood) in SH (quiet) + OUSE, one of a number of English rivers by that name.
9 Not yet stirring filling of mint after producing pork pies (5,2)
LYING IN – LYING (producing pork pies) + (m)IN(t)
11 Dish with a bit of the French bread dipped in ginger (3,4)
PEA SOUP – A SOU (French bread, ie money, or at least it once was) inside PEP (ginger, get up & go)
12 Rake land in Middle East, knowing more about it (9)
WOMANISER – OMAN (land in Middle East) inside WISER (knowing more).
13 East End shopkeeper shows material for basket? (5)
OSIER – (h)OSIER. Do they still have hosiers?
14 Banged up vehicle parts create din, unfortunately (12)
INCARCERATED – CAR (vehicle) inside *(CREATE DIN)
18 Travelling post-haste, gent short of time may do this? (4,2,3,3)
STEP ON THE GAS – I biffed this, but now I see it is an anagram: *(POST HASTE GEN(t)). “Travelling” being the anagram indicator. A semi &lit, in that all of the clue is definition, but not all of it is wordplay.
21 One million lost in crime: swindle getting convictions (5)
CREDO – CR(im)E + DO (swindle)
22 Endlessly working for this paper then (2,3,4)
AT THE TIME – if you were on the staff you could be said to be AT THE TIME(s)
24 Bagging 50, ace cricket side runs round quickly (7)
ALLEGRO – L (50, Roman numeral) inside A(ce) + LEG (cricket side) + R(uns) + O, which is indisputably round
25 Male German teacher needs return fare from 23? (7)
RISOTTO – OTTO (male German) + SIR (teacher), all reversed.
26 Once again using program in banking (10)
REAPPLYING – APP (program) inside RELYING (banking)
27 Start to poke with stick, perhaps? (4)
PROD – P(oke) + ROD, a stick. Nearly an &lit, but not quite .. the “perhaps” being part of the definition, but not the wordplay. And the “start” is part of the wordplay but not necessarily the definition..
1 Reading for the faithful worthily composed (4,4)
HOLY WRIT –  *(worthily). A neat clue
2 A dog biting Athenian character that’s pushing it (1,3,4)
A BIT MUCH – MU (Greek character) in A BITCH (a dog)
4 Tool for holding skimpy undies husband removed (5)
TONGS – T(h)ONGS. This clue conjures up images ..
5 Relate saga’s end very quietly, sure to forget chapter (9)
APPERTAIN – (sag)A + PP (very quietly) + (c)ERTAIN, sure without the c.
6 This man is inclined to drink a port completely (4,4,5)
HEAD OVER HEELS – A DOVER (a port, which I went through only last week) inside HE (this man, or individual representing as such) + HEELS (is inclined.
7 More invention welcomed by chateau topiarist (6)
UTOPIA – hidden, in chateaU TOPIArist. The reference is to a book published (in Latin) in 1516 by Thomas More, which I confess I have not read. Thomas More is interesting for several reasons, such as the startlingly opposed views of his character as depicted by “A Man for All Seasons,” and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy. And if there is another politician who has been made into a saint, I would be surprised.. no chance of that happening again, anytime soon.
8 10 pence secured by Ben or Holly, say, turning pro (6)
EXPERT – XP (ten pence) in TREE (ben or holly, say) reversed. From Collins dictionary, in case like me, you were wondering about ben: “Any of several Asiatic trees of the genus Moringa, esp M. oleifera of Arabia and India, whose seeds yield oil of ben, used in manufacturing perfumes and cosmetics, lubricating delicate machinery, etc.” The wiki article on ben oil is also educational .. thus do we remember such words, for their next appearance
10 Info attendant turned up about helping divisive issue (10,3)
GENERATION GAP – GEN (info) + RATION (helping) in PAGE (attendant) reversed. The definition is subtle, relating as it does to issue meaning offspring.
15 Making good answer, interrupting old, irrational politician (9)
EXPIATORY – A(nswer) inside EX (old) + PI (an irrational number, 3.1415926 etc) + TORY, your politician
16 Brilliant border of alluring bedding (8)
AGLITTER – A(llurin)G + LITTER, bedding. From Collins, again: “Litter: straw, hay, or similar material used as bedding”
17 Heavenly body set off, clothed by a revolutionary designer (8)
ASTEROID – *(SET), in A ROID, which is Dior, reversed.
19 In a non-cryptic form, wanting name for cake (6)
ECLAIR – EN CLAIR (non-cryptic), with the N(ame) removed.
20 Teacher’s aids are terrible trouble to lift up (6)
REALIA – *(ARE) + AIL (trouble), reversed. My only nho today, but the wordplay was clear.
23 Go around Italy? At first, one could be here (5)
TURIN – I(taly) in TURN, a go. I confess I do not properly know what to underline as the def… are we in semi &lit territory, yet again?

Author: JerryW

I love The Times crosswords..

72 comments on “Times Cryptic 28,309”

  1. 11:48. Liked the HOLY WRIT anagram.

    Finished by going back to have a think about REALIA, which looked slightly less unlikely than AERLIA. Never ‘eard of it despite having recently done a Master of Teaching degree.

    Thanks Jerry and setter.

  2. Stopped after an hour failing to bring REALIA or EXPIATORY home. Really admired ECLAIR, AGLITTER and EXPERT but COD to A BIT MUCH. Put in PEA SOUP somehow without understanding the sou and pep components- thanks for explaining plus for
    other useful parts of blog. I think in Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time there is also a very negative presentation of Thomas More .

  3. 14:43. Held up a bit on a few I’m not familiar with, like HEAP = ‘banger’, REALIA, and ECLAIR (which I could not parse). Thanks for clearing everything up!

  4. I see the cat is back! I never got on ‘the wavelength’ – at all. The Plum Rain brings the mosquitos and I was kept awake by six of the little madams last night – which was my FOI 2dn A BIT MUCH.
    (LOI) 24ac ALLEGRO – I just couldn’t be fagged to work out 20dn REALIA and had a bacon sandwich instead.

    We have had a week-end of terribly exciting cricket at Lords and ‘PlatJu’ celebrations at Buckingham Palace. This time round there have been large amounts of American commentators guesting on the BBC and Sky. Why do they love Royalty so!?
    And why has no one informed them that the ‘h’ in Buckingham Palace is silent? It is not pronounced ‘BuckingHam Palace’ but ‘Bucking’am Palace’ hereabouts, don’t’y’know!? Similarly David Beckham has become ‘David BeckHam’ Stateside. Tai-Quando Romae?

    On edit I note ‘Madge’ missed her trip to the Darby

  5. 17 minutes. In an automotive sense, interesting to see HEAP and ALLEGRO appearing in the same crossword. I’d forgotten REALIA which I had come across before, but I’d never even heard of ‘ben’ as a sort of TREE – thanks for the info.

    I’m still not sure if ‘Start’ (?= to PROD) isn’t the def at 27a, otherwise it seems there’s a bit of double duty going on. Regarding 18a, I take the def of a semi-&lit to be the whole clue (ie a cryptic def), but to separate it out from the wordplay, I suppose it should just be ‘may do this?’.

    1. I don’t think either are proper &lits, as they require extraneous material to make them work.

  6. 27 across seems like a legit &lit if you squint at it. I guess ‘start to’ could be part of most definitions: EAT = “to [start to] take into the body by the mouth as food” (Chambers). In any case, “perhaps?” should absolve all sins. 🙂

    18 across I agree should be a semi &lit. Jerry wrote in his blog that in such a clue, the whole clue is a definition, so I think he may have forgotten to underline the whole thing.

    1. 18ac: I would put it down to sheer ignorance, myself. Semi &lits and &lits not my strongest suit and I get confused quite easily

    2. In 27ac the word ‘perhaps’ seems entirely superfluous to me. The clue would be better (and indisputably &Lit) without it.

  7. 36 minutes. Allegro Moderato would describe most of my solve but I came to an abrupt halt with five or six answers missing and it was a slow haul from then on.

    I never heard of ‘ben’ as a tree, but that one didn’t delay me as I was sure of the literal and ‘holly’ as part of the wordplay. REALIA as my LOI was also unknown but to fit the wordplay it was the only possible answer.

    My longest hold-up was in the SW. At 22ac I had written AT ONE TIME, an error that needed to be spotted and sorted out before I could progress further. AGLITTER was slow to come to mind, and the intersecting cross-referenced clues at 23dn and 25ac needed one or the other to be solved in order to unlock the pair of answers.

  8. Kicked off with an immediate STEAKHOUSE and found the top half of this puzzle quite easy – slightly unsure about hOSIER as “shopkeeper” to make the unknown OSIER, but there wasn’t a better option. Moving down the grid, the pace got progressively slower, with the tricky SW corner last to fall. Finished off with ÉCLAIR => ALLEGRO => REAPPLYING, then a full 5 minutes before concluding, without much confidence, that REALIA was the best I could muster for 20d.

    Consequently very pleased to get a successful completion in 35:46 – thanks J and setter

  9. All green, but with fingers crossed over REALIA. My LOI was HEAP that should be a write-in but took way too long on my alphabet trawel. And there are only a couple of vowels that can come after H so it should be “obvious” but somehow it wasn’t. But an enjoyable start to the week.

  10. 29 minutes here, with the unknown REALIA taking up the last five minutes, I’d guess, as I first wondered if I’d missed a synonym for “terrible” and then tried to decide between REALIA and AERLIA. “Ben” was unknown here, too. 27a PROD got a tick along the way.

  11. NHO REALIA and ben the tree. Otherwise a traditional Monday. Thanks Jerry as ulaca continues his Grand Tour.

  12. 10:48. Much of this helped to rebuild confidence after a 50% success rate over the past fortnight. That was until I came to my LOI, REALIA. It seemed entirely plausible that I had invented the word and was missing something obvious. My other minor delay was caused by biffing A BIT RICH, leading me to wonder if there was such a thing as a WIRANISER. I didn’t hold that thought for too long.
    I only learned ben as a type of tree within the past couple of weeks when it appeared in a Listener. Coincidence or the same compiler?

    1. Ben, Hazel or Holly
      I knew ben as a tree by exactly the same path: I think we just have to hope no struggling Listener solvers turn up here because it’s still embargoed, and the Listener community is ferocious about giving too much away.

        1. Absolutely nobody at all, I am sure 🙂

          From Brief Lives, John Aubrey:
          “The Earle of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to Travell, 7 yeares. On his returne the Queen welcomed him home, and sayd, My Lord, I had forgott the Fart.”

  13. 19 minutes with LOI the unknown REALIA constructed after POI CREDO and third last ECLAIR were seen almost simultaneously, but not en clair. COD might well have been the cake if I hadn’t just biffed it, just like Paddington Bear did when he met the Queen recently. So that honour goes to UTOPIA. A good puzzle. Thank you setter and Jerry for putting me in the clear.

  14. 12:43. I was a bit slow getting started on this, but got going eventually. I tried to get 11A to start with EGG for a while, but the Downs sorted me out. COD to the neat PROD. Thanks Jerry and setter.

  15. 22 min but stuck for ages on ‘realia’ Never heard of it. That goes for ‘ en clair’ but was a lot easier to figure out
    Had to check the Thomas More clue but the answer was obvious once I got the leading U
    Some of the clues were easier to answer than understand but overall a good puzzle

  16. 26m 53s
    Not much to say except, like many people I had NHO REALIA.
    I wish Jerry’s avatar was bigger so I could make out the cat!

      1. Wonderful, Jerry! The name Zaffy brings back happy memories of our time in Sicily 20 years ago. Two friends of ours, one Welsh, the other American, acquired a pair of cats from a cat charity. One cat they called Macaroni, or Maccas for short, the other was named Zafferana, or Zaffy for short, from the name of the town on the slopes of Etna where they acquired the cat. I’m pleased to say Zaffy is still going.

  17. 13:51
    Quick solve. I was okay with realia having spent 32 years as a teacher in comprehensives.
    Thanks, j.

  18. A very rare finish in under 20 mins for me (fully parsed except for my two NHOs), so on the cox-o-meter scale this one was in that red bit where you really really need to stop at the next petrol station. I always find the puzzles with multi-words answers easier.
    NHO en clair or realia, but they couldn’t be anything else once the crossers were in.
    Nice to see an Allegro get an outing. I owned one in the 80’s, in a nasty mustard-y colour. A truly awful automobile, with suspension that made you feel like you were in a small boat in a big sea, and a gearbox which my late father described as stirring porridge with a very long wooden spoon.
    Great fun, but what am I going to do with the rest of my morning??

    1. You could always try the Weekend QC? The link can be found on johninterred’s blog of Teazel’s QC on Friday.

    2. ALLEGRO

      I owned one briefly by default, in a shade of green not far removed from ‘avocado’. It was notable for its ‘square’ steering wheel. I sold it at the first opportunity

  19. Hello folks, back in the land of the living having endured a 12 hour ferry yesterday from Mallorca to Toulon, yuk. Anyway 29 mins so straight out of the stalls.

    LOI REALIA like others a NHO. Looked it up to check afterwards. Odd word really.

    I liked UTOPIA, More invention indeed.

    Thanks Jerry for stepping in, and setter for a well needed gentle start to the week.

  20. Monday fare, 14 minutes with REALIA made up from wordplay.
    JerryW it might feel like yesterday but it was 8 years ago.
    I have read Utopia (not in Latin); we once owned a business called Utopia Design Ltd but it sadly was not the place More wrote about.

  21. 25 minutes. Held up at the end by STEAKHOUSE – with the A and the H in place, I was convinced for a long time that the wood would be ‘ash’, and with the U and the E in place, I was sure the river would be ‘Ure’. It wasn’t until I thought of the Ouse that I eventually figured it out.

    Another NHO for REALIA here, I didn’t know the ben tree, and I didn’t parse HEAD OVER HEELS. But otherwise a smooth enough solve. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Tongs
    LOI Steakhouse
    COD Lying in

  22. 15 minutes (and one second, if anyone is mean enough to check against the leaderboard). REALIA is one of those word game solutions to too many vowels, which of course you never need to know the meaning of. My last in was HEAP, which even after I had worked out it was cheap without the C took a while to associate with the sausage, firework, rad tune, head-, more readily coming to mind.
    Red Nose day has come and gone, so I won’t be tempted to offer LYING IN PEA SOUP as a fund-raiser, but it’s an additional amusement in this pleasing puzzle.

  23. 9:01 with a foggy head after a thoroughly enjoyable jubilee street party yesterday. For me this started very slowly but the downs proved easier than the acrosses and I picked up speed as I went. I liked it: it wasn’t hard but I mostly needed the wordplay.
    NHO REALIA, but I have come across BEN, in the same place as Pootle and just a couple of days ago.

  24. 20:55

    Nice gentle start to the week.

    Nothing I didn’t really get apart from ECLAIR (though I thought of ‘clear’ with all of the checkers in place, which gave me the answer) and REALIA (NHO but the parsing was plain enough).

    Last two in were HEAP and A BIT MUCH which took a good minute or two to see.

  25. 11:29, with REALIA pipping AERLIA, based on probability rather than knowledge. Quite pleased with the time, having struggled to finish today’s quick in under 10 mins.

  26. 27 minutes, but if I’d bothered about the strange tree, I’d have been longer. For some reason I ignored it, having only looked at the holly. Was a bit doubtful about dog = bitch, but it’s OK I suppose. That More device is surely a chestnut: I’ve seen it before more than once. REALIA nho, but wordplay made it inevitable.

  27. 23:04, but lazily went with HEAT for 1a. Drat. NHO REALIA or Ben as a tree. Thanks setter and Jerry.

  28. 29.03 with the same NHO REALIA as everyone else. FOI 3ac STEAKHOUSE (my family tree includes a “chophouse owner” a hundred years ago). LOI 1ac HEAP which took an astonishingly long time. COD 11ac PEA SOUP

  29. 5m 9s for a Mondayish puzzle with some lovely clues – STEP ON THE GAS was my favourite.

    Also NHO REALIA, so I was a little scared at the end.

    1. Am I the only one here who knew REALIA? [On edit, and with thanks to BletchleyR] Sorry, harmonic_row. [on another edit] and to MichelinP.

      1. harmonic_row above explains he/she was familiar with the word after many years as a teacher, the only one I can see who did know, apart from your good self. I see that I had it in my “Words I’d learnt from cryptics” file but of course had forgotten it.

  30. Nothing much here to scare the horses, save REALIA, (yes, Kevin, pretty much!), which I concluded was more plausible than AERLIA, and the NHO ben, for which the setter kindly offered an alternative. I forgot to parse HEAD OVER HEELS, confirmed by the crossers and didn’t know en clair, either, but got to the answer by assuming that it was a cryptic version of the name Claire! Well, it worked…

  31. 07:48, with a disproportionately large part of that spent on REALIA which I have (never seen before / have seen and forgotten)*. Otherwise a nice and typically Monday-ish puzzle.

    *delete as applicable

    1. REALIA appeared as part of the wordplay in a jumbo in 2013 and a Mephisto in 2017 as an answer in another Mephisto in 2017. So I’ve certainly come across it before and forgotten it.

      1. I have lived long enough to know that the one thing you never say round here is “I definitely haven’t come across this word before” 😀

  32. 27:23
    Not quite sure why this took so long, although I did struggle a bit over APPERTAIN and EXPIATORY. “Ben or Holly” made me think of Hur and Buddy.

    I used to have an emergency carrier bag of REALIA when I was a TEFL teacher. Its contents include a laminated menu from a greasy spoon, some postcards, an old mobile phone, a torch and a golf ball. No problem getting a two-hour lesson out of that lot.

    Thanks to JerryW and the setter.

    1. “a laminated menu from a greasy spoon, some postcards, an old mobile phone, a torch and a golf ball”

      Worst episode of Ready Steady Cook ever.

  33. Happily finished in just over an hour. I’m glad to say. 10/10.

  34. Just over 10 minutes. LOI the NHO realia. Guessed it but seemed more likely than aerlia. Got pea soup without working out why so a bit lazy there. Good Monday workout.
    Thx setter and blogger

  35. Not seen it mentioned in the comments but Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is a kids programme featuring elves (it’s very good). I would have been surprised if that bit of knowledge was needed, but wasted some time trying to fit “elf” in somewhere on 8d anyway.

  36. About 18 mins, which is about as fast as I ever get. Like others, NHO REALIA which, as no-one has explained further, I am now about to look up.

    OED: 1. Objects and material from everyday life, esp. when used as teaching aids. 2. Real things or actual facts, esp as distinct from theories about or reactions to them.

    Which about covers it.

  37. Over 50 minutes on this – I thought it tougher than a typical Monday, but maybe the Jubilee celebrations had worn me out.
    I’m another NHO wrt “Realia”.

      1. Thirty years teaching Mathematics, with a strong preference for Pure absolutely guaranteed that I would not know the horrible REALIA.

  38. Found time for this and the QC today; both much enjoyed, so thanks to both setters and bloggers. Like others, NHO BEN or EN CLAIR, but solved with incomplete parsing. FOI HOLY WRIT, FOI EXPERT, COD, from many clever clues, ALLEGRO… is this what bloggers call an IKEA clue, and am I just imagining that such clues have been used more often recently?

  39. Decided to try and finish this. Got EXPIATORY once I dismissed the idea that Pitt was the old politician.
    LOI was REALIA; constructed by following the instructions but I did not think it was a valid word. Something learnt today.
    Otherwise made steady progress.
    I’m watching Bangers and Cash almost daily these days ( on Yesterday) so the Heap was easy. Amazing what people have stored in barns and garages.

  40. 26 minutes and very easy and a smooth solve, briefly held up in the SW and the NE corners. Wasn’t quite sure whether “en clair” would be an English phrase (but then ECLAIR isn’t an English word, either). And I just assumed the trees would perhaps be names of people, such as an actor often seen here, not quite expecting them to be real wooden trees. Otherwise not much to say, nothing outstanding in the positive or negative sense.

  41. An ‘almost finish’ today, but fell at the last hurdle on REALIA, of which I was ignorant, despite 2 distinct Teachers College experiences 20 years apart! But happy to have gotten this far….

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