Times Cryptic No 28345

24:09 for a puzzle with some delightful words, many unknown to me.  Some of the wordplay will have to be figured out in medias blog, as I confess to having biffed several answers.

With this, my brief stint as a substitute blogger comes to a close. It’s been a pleasure to serve you.

1 High-risk entertaining the queen’s court (8)
5 Nag with repeated notes read aloud (3-3)
GEE-GEE – homophone of G G

I hadn’t known this but thankfully the crossing letters and the hint ‘repeated’ made it impossible to get wrong!

10 Cheap pub to bring in wicked blokes ahead of time (7-8)
11 Mixing up Torah and Bible creates a bewildering situation (6,4)

Didn’t know this one, either.  Found it in Collins, but not in Chambers.

13 About to get brief details (4)
INFO – IN FO{r} (“about to get”)

The definition was much easier to see than the (lovely) wordplay!

15 Ran with Del Boy, perhaps, almost getting diamonds (7)

Derek “Del Boy” Trotter is a character from Only Fools and Horses. Sadly, I did not know this helpful bit of info!

17 Room in northern Surrey to wander (7)
NURSERY – anagram of N SURREY
18 Unhelpful instruction for conserving something? (7)
19 Paper with unfinished petition, for instance (7)
21 Unlimited wine for chap in Cologne? (4)
HERR – {s}HERR{y}

Definition by example (“Cologne, for instance”) indicated by ‘?’.

22 Half-heartedly holding back cool old city (10)
25 Rewritten epistle torn open — you won’t like what it says! (6-3,6)

Hadn’t heard of this before. Collins defines it as “an unpleasant unsigned letter which is sent in order to upset someone or to cause trouble”. Sounds like a definition of ‘the internet’.

27 Drink knocked back before working is a spirit (6)
DAEMON – MEAD reversed + ON
28 Witches put a strain on city (8)
COVENTRY – COVEN + TRY (“put a strain on”)
1 Tom, say, catches nude show (7)
2 Scottish town‘s broadcast on the radio (3)
AYR – homophone of AIR
3 Rider‘s shout of joy suppressing a scream (10)
4 Farm sector loses leader (5)
6 Need to change prime minister (4)
EDEN – anagram of NEED
7 Rookie footballer is an employee of course! (11)

Somehow I feel like we’d call this a GREENSKEEPER or GROUNDSKEEPER here. I tried to outdo the puzzle by trying to think of restaurant employees!

8 Treaty port nearly covering up chaos (7)
ENTROPY – hidden reversed in {trea}TY PORT NE{arly}
9 Music style picked up pop jargon (8)
12 Vocally expresses disapproval of sailors’ drunken voyage (5,6)

Very funny.

14 Awfully energetic around a relative (5-5)
GREAT-NIECE – anagram of ENERGETIC around A
16 Computers from the French, a thousand at most (8)
DESKTOPS – DES (“from the” in French) + K + TOPS
18 Employed to secure luck, like a horseshoe (1-6)
20 Old wood put on walls of library (7)
23 Slowly advanced over top of obstacle (5)
LENTO – LENT + O{bstacle}
24 Charm — it’s missing from cocktail (4)
26 Rubbish / bit of needlework? (3)
TAT – double definition

This one and EDEN felt like they belonged to a rather different puzzle.

94 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28345”

  1. 19:59
    Got off to a very slow start–FOI 2d!–but picked up speed after getting a couple of downs. I don’t think I knew either RABBIT HOLE or BOOZE CRUISE, but they were easy to get nonetheless. 15ac was a problem: I recognized Del Boy as some character in some TV program, but that didn’t help. Like Vinyl, I finally went with what seemed the only possibility. ‘Job’ would probably have confused me. LOI 9d PARLANCE, where I was barking up various wrong trees (‘picked up’=homophone, ‘pop’=PA).

  2. I forgot to note my starting time but I’d estimate I needed 30-40 minutes for this one.

    LOI 9d PARLANCE, where I was barking up various wrong trees (‘picked up’=homophone, ‘pop’=PA). (pasted from above, thanks Kevin!)

    NHO RAD = cool, and didn’t understand it until I looked in Collins and found this a long way down the page: slang fine; wonderful. It still meant nothing to me until elsewhere I learned it’s short for ‘radical’ and now I have remembered that it came up here not many months ago and it puzzled me then too.

    On a point of pedantry isn’t G G a repeated note?

    1. What were the words for ‘cool’ when you were in your teens/twenties? I thought ‘rad’ had been around a very long time.

      Also so interesting that ‘cool’ has been ‘cool’ for decades upon decades

      1. Interesting that this slang will date the decade of your teens.

        Groovy, Far out (60s)
        Fab, Ace (70s)
        Wicked, Rad (80s)
        Da Bomb, Phat (90s)
        Gnarly, Sick (2000s)
        Peng (2010s)
        Fleek (2020s)

          1. Fab and Ace are the latest that I seem always to have known. Everything before that is familiar and I’d have added ‘Way out’ as an alternative to ‘Far out’. We also had ‘swinging’ in the 60s with its ‘dodgy’ alternative.

        1. I was going to say that I don’t think Fleek has been on Fleek for about a decade. Things are currently dope, gucci, lit, and if you’re a gamer, poggers.

          So i think Jack is old enough for Groovy but too young for ‘gee that’s swell’ haha

          1. I’m too young for the first appearance of ‘swell’ but perfectly familiar with it as a fan of the Great American Songbook, Gershwin and Kern and Berlin etc ad infinitum. Those songs will never die so the language of their day will live forever. I doubt anyone will remember RAD in 50 years time!

            1. Alas Jack, you cannot under estimate the staying power of both the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as Bill and Ted’s excellent adventures, both franchises still going on (and popular) thirty years after they began.

              And both with a liberal use of ‘rad’. I don’t think we can predict what will stay or what will go, or what will return, as Kate Bush sits atop the charts worldwide with a hit she released in the 80s

  3. A little under 15 minutes for me. LOI was TROTTED since I had no idea who Del Boy was. I didn’t know HAP either, but the answer couldn’t be anything other than U-SHAPED. The quickie took me over 8 minutes so only twice as long to do this one.

  4. Polished this off in 23 minutes; I think it would’ve been under twenty if I’d managed to figure out the obvious-in-hindsight CHANCERY, and its crosser LOI CHARIOTEER when I first saw them rather than having to come back to them at the end. No unknown vocab for me, surprisingly. RAD, maaan.

  5. 19 minutes with LOI PARLANCE. COD to USELESS. GEE-GEE Jack used to pull the milk cart in the village where I was a kid. S = k log W came a bit later. All of the knowledge for this was well-known to an old Englishman like me, even RAD. I’m hipper than I thought. Thank you PJ for your excellent blog, and setter for a pleasant puzzle.

  6. Thermodynamics has several laws
    And ENTROPY must have a cause
    Structure decreases
    And chaos increases
    Maxwell’s DAEMON can open no doors

  7. 20 min with the last 5 on charioteer and parlance
    Never knew hap meant luck though

        1. That’s interesting – makes “Happy-go-lucky” a tautology!
          Words like Happenstance and Haphazard presumably from the same root.
          I see in the dictionary there is also Haply meaning by luck or by chance.

  8. 13:09. I got stuck at the end on the crossers of PARLANCE/EXAMPLE and ENTROPY/INFO. With PARLANCE like others I got thrown by thinking of PAR as a homophone for pa =pop. For EXAMPLE I was thinking of the usual suspects of eg or as. The “about to get” part of the INFO clue had me thinking the answer might be ANON as in soon. ENTROPY was just very well hidden.
    I’m now wondering what the up to date equivalent of RAD is. I’d have thought “sick” but I’m probably way behind the times.

  9. 27:11 – orderly solve and a decent time for my level of experience. Some biffing to keep up the pace, but I submitted with high confidence.

    – Biggest delay was failing to spot the anagrind for NURSERY
    – Closing sequence was (biffed) INFO – ENTROPY – CHARIOTEER – I was a bit uncomfortable with RIOT for “scream”
    – CHANCERY court is kinda topical for those following the Musk / Twitter drama
    – COD has to be BOOZE CRUISE!

    Good start to the week – thanks PJ for your excellent outing from the sub’s bench, and setter

  10. 32 mins with a number unparsed. Another who NHO RAD or HAP but, as mentioned , they had too be. LOI ENTROPY, another word I did not know but the wp helpfully led me there. When I looked it up afterwards, I thought, hum, AN will be a happy bunny and…..

    I liked the long clues, and GREENKEEPER and CHARIOTEER.

    GOOD FUN. Thanks plusjeremy And setter.

  11. 8:04. Breezed through this, held up only briefly by ENTROPY (nice reverse hidden) and INFO. I liked DESKTOP and U-SHAPED best. Thank-you Jeremy and setter.

  12. 29 minutes. Spent a long time at the end re-acquainting myself with the alphabet to get MOJO. I was too lazy to bother parsing STALINGRAD for which I saw IN as working for ‘cool’. I’m not sure I’d ever heard of RABBIT HOLE in that sense but it seemed plausible.

    Is “def” the new RAD, or is that old hat now? “Wicked” is probably even older.

    Thanks to our setter and locum blogger

  13. 38:26. I made heavy weather of this one, but still really enjoyed it. I liked DESKTOPS, BOOZE CRUISE and PARLANCE. I think it’s a RABBIT WARREN, rather than a RABBIT HOLE, that is the bewildering situation, but it’s close enough. LOI ENTROPY after finally correcting ANON to INFO

    1. I took RABBIT HOLE as a reference to Alice in Wonderland, where she went down one.

      1. Rabbit hole; Wiktionary has
        4) (by extension) A time-consuming tangent or detour, often one from which it is difficult to extricate oneself.
        Synonym: wild-goose chase

            1. Brilliant Matt. Worth noting that LSD seems to be making a comeback, in scientific circles at least, if not recreational.

              1. A psychedelic psychiatric clinic opened just up the hill from me a year or so back, called “Awakn”, though personally I’ve been more tempted by the place in town that’s now got a couple of modern sensory deprivation tanks…

  14. 12 minutes no problems, Monday stuff. A BER at ENTROPY for chaos, entropy is a measure of the degree of disorder or chaos, not the chaos itself.

  15. 10.51 but wasn’t convinced on info even though I was pretty sure it was right. Thanks for the explanation which now makes sense. As you say, nice wordplay. Didn’t see the explanation of parlance either, so double appreciation!
    The rest was reasonably plain sailing with my LOI being trotted, just after charioteer. Serendipity or what?
    Thanks blogger and setter.

  16. 18:12 A good “overture” for the week

    All fairly gentle, though I entered RANGE for RANCH at first. I think we had ENTROPY quite recently.

    COD BOOZE CRUISE, though I’m not sure that I’d fancy going on one.

    Thanks to Jeremy and the setter

  17. NHO RAD or HAP, but carried on regardless. Took a minute to see how INFO worked. Otherwise a stroll in the park at 17:59. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  18. Same as my fellow (pro tem) Monday bloggers Jeremy and Vinyl in wanting an S in GREENKEEPER and I’m glad to see I have plenty of company in getting the parsing in PARLANCE backwards and not in the way the setter intended. Del Boy rang a faint bell but I confused him with John Boy in a 70s US tv series (The Waltons) and in any case DNK a thing about either. I think of a CHARIOTEER as a driver rather than a rider but I wouldn’t last 5 minutes on one of those things either way. 15.17

  19. 21 mins with a typo DAEMOT. Held up at the end by ENTROPY, then needed the O to get INFO. Otherwise nice and Mondayish.

  20. 16:07, a great deal of that attributable to INFO and especially PARLANCE, the latter of which led me astray in ways which have already been explained by plenty of other people!

  21. 40 minutes. Really nice puzzle, cleverly clued. “Desktops” was my favourite.

  22. Monday generosity from setter as I had a 40 min solve.

    Was sure CHANCED was solid at 15a : Del Boy was a CHANCE{R} and “ran with”=”chanced”, as in “I wasn’t sure about his recommendation but I ran with it”.

    HAP is a word only existent in its -LESS form? Like GORM?

    COD HERR : tricky!

    1. Mishap, anybody? My on-line dictionary has it as » an unfortunate accident».

  23. 48 minutes for a nice puzzle, the high point of which was the Langlais in line 2 of Jeremy’s preamble.

    I’d always thought of a BOOZE CRUISE as a (pre-Brexit?) trip to France to stock up on cheap wine etc, but Chambers gives both, Collins both more or less (Aust/NZ), and Lexico supports me. Goodness knows what it’s like now.

    1. No one. No point. 24 bottles max. Over the limit? The whole lot confiscated (unless declared in advance, in which case you pay the full duty plus 20%VAT).

    2. The ferry companies working Bristol harbour make a lot of their money from booze cruises—hopefully earning enough through the summer season to keep them going in the leaner winter months…

  24. ‘This time next year we’ll be millionaires Rodders!’ Diamond comedy 😊
    24 minutes, last three on PARLANCE .
    Thanks all

  25. Happy to complete this in circa 30 minutes (estimated due to three interruptions).
    I thought a few of the clues were UKcentric with Del Boy Trotter and Booze Cruise being prime examples, and that this may be tricky for the overseas contingent. An episode of Only Fools and Horses involved Del Boy and Rodney going on a Booze Cruise I recall. Well worth watching if you have somehow failed to catch it.
    LOI was CHARIOTEER which was my COD. Prior to that ENTROPY caused me problems as I was slow as usual to see the hidden.

  26. Thank you to both setter and blogger.
    2 d – is it possible to have the answer as AIR as a homophone of Ayr? Since “broadcast” is in the middle of the clue….

    1. For the answer to be AIR the definition would have to be “on the radio”. So I don’t think it quite works that way round.

  27. 25 minutes — about three minutes of which were convincing myself that ‘Dadlingo’ (ie, pop jargon) was a style of music, probably from Brazil or somewhere. Nice Monday puzzle.

  28. 21:30

    Fairly plain sailing – just held up a bit at the end by CHARIOTEER/CHANCERY and by PARLANCE which took a while to justify the parsing!

  29. I hate answers like ENTROPY. I don’t know the word and I suspect the vast majority of solvers didn’t either.

    1. There’s no disputing taste, but really? I wouldn’t consider ENTROPY to be an uncommon word compared to some of the stuff that’s in here.

      In any case it always amuses me when people think that their personal opinions are likely those held by the vast majority.

    2. Interesting take on it there – it’s a word I’m familiar with, and think many will be too (though I’ve never used) but it takes a crossword to nail the definition for me! I think it’s because it’s close to ‘atrophy’ and so I always assume it has a related meaning. Of course it doesn’t!!!

  30. Very enjoyable and all done in about 30 minutes. LOI PARLANCE after DAEMON. I too DNK RAD =Cool.

  31. As befits the weather, a slow and steady plod, finally pulling up short with just Parlance outstanding. Wrong end of the clue issues – one day I’ll realise why I always get stuck like this. I also spent an entertaining few minutes along the way trying to parse Stalingrad, starting with the premise that Al + In were there as half hearted and cool. That only left the St Grad bit to work out. . . Invariant

  32. Hep or Hip(50’s) (This was intended as a reply to Merlin’s list but I see it miraculously appears down here!)

  33. All correct although ENTROPY took an embarrassing long time to emerge and PARLANCE LOI
    Pleasant solve
    Thanks setter and blogger

  34. “Let me hold your hand, be your lovin’ man” (‘Everything’s Alright’ by the MOJOS).

    Of course, their spelling wasn’t all right; Frank Millard docked 3 points off my mark for using ‘alright’ in an essay. If he could see the crimes committed against the English Language 60 years on….

    I found this a little patchy to be honest, and biffed STALINGRAD (which I couldn’t parse at all), and my LOI, which I knew was a word, but hadn’t a clue as to what it meant.

    TIME 7:24

  35. Normally just a QC-er but thought I’d give this a go as I understand Mondays’ are usually on the gentler side. Battled away for around an hour and managed to complete my first ever biggie! Some answers were biffed, including PARLANCE, U SHAPED and STALINGRAD. ‘Hap’ now makes sense but ‘rad’ is new to me. No problems with the Trotter reference. LOI MOJO, FOI CHANCERY. Really liked INFO. Very happy to celebrate what is likely to be a one-off for me (for a while). Thanks all.

    1. Nice work – it’s such a great feeling when you crack the big one, isn’t it? I’m a regular QC completer and a far too frequent Biggie DNFer but, like you, enjoyed success today and am still chuffed about it 🥂

  36. No real unknowns in the answers, though GREENKEEPER seemed new, and I biffed TROTTED (“Del Roy”?!).

    1. Del Boy. Del is an abbreviation for Derek. Boy is a familiar term as in that’s my boy.

  37. BOOZE CRUISE one of my favourite homophone clues for a while. Was a bit flummoxed by PARLANCE but it all went in.

  38. Looks like I’m the only person who managed to put in sHIRAz instead of sHERRy. Oh dear! Apart from that all ok.

  39. Around Chester we are told that the term Gee Gees for racehorses dates back to the mayor of Chester, Henry Gee (1539) who inaugurated an annual horse race on the Roodee- Chester racecourse. His love of race horses was said to be so great that his name became synonymous with race horses. Probably apocryphal but makes a nice story. Enjoyed crossword. Thanks to setter and blogger

  40. Just under 4 hours for a rare complete solve 😂😂 but including 3 work meetings and 2 shopping trips. Needed the breaks though as INFO, CHARIOTEER, PARLANCE & STALINGRAD all took maximum brainpower.

    It’s definitely GREENKEEPER here in the UK (may have been commented on before – I have read ALL 70+ comments!)

    Thought RABBIT HOLE to be a brilliant anagram/clue – wonderful. It was certainly a bewildering situation for Alice and I am often going down metaphorical versions in researching tech solutions for home PC and tablet issues!

    Thanks Jeremy

  41. Similar to sltrach’s experience I battled away for around 75 minutes before finally finishing with DESKTOP. I kept going over le, la, les or du and couldn’t think of des. Needed blog to fully understand many-GEE-GEE, INFO, TROTTED, PARLANCE and CHARIOTEER plus probably others. COD to ENTROPY. There was a movie based on a cartoon character(late 60’s?), Howard the Duck, who would wander around muttering “Entropy, entropy, all systems fail.” I believe that was my first introduction to the word.

  42. With best of respect to our blogger and to the many posters who have mentioned it here, I’m sorry, but I still have no idea how we get to PARLANCE. Doubtless I am missing something blindingly obvious, but please can someone spell this one out for me? Thanks in advance.

    1. “Lance” is “pop” in the sense of what you might do to a boil.
      I think this is the last thing I parsed.

  43. 18’09” Heading for an under-tenner, then hit by parlance, charioteer and info. Totally lost stride. Entropy I know from the various popular science books I buy from time to time then pretend to understand. I know it’s terribly important, but couldn’t for the life of me say why. Thought the Bible Torah anagram was inspired. Like others, I bunged in parlance without understanding the parsing. Many thanks.

  44. Thank you so much for your delightful blogging spell, Jeremy. It’s unfortunate that you seem to have struck a particularly UK-centric puzzle for your last. This was a reasonably easy Monday-ish one for me, as I knew all the vocab and references, though I was trying to parse STALINGRAD as something around ‘in’ for cool, so was barking up the wrong tree until Mr Ego suggested Stalling without an L.

  45. 18.38. A little bit of effort required to polish this one off but nothing too troublesome.

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