Times Cryptic No 28493 — New Year’s Re-Solution?

16:48, so my string of easier Fridays continues into the new year! I was able to biff a fair number of these, so I will be unravelling the wordplay as I write this blog.

1 Scurrilous critic having scrap in Angel (9)
6 Doctrine has a male deity returning (5)
DOGMA – A + M + GOD reversed
9 Suave young socialite sent out for broadcasting (2,3)
10 Devoted couple devil robs cruelly (9)
11 Job description: introduce fastening to short trousers (7)

A description of the biblical Job, that is. Great definition!

12 Golden cups about to be for this strong ale (7)
OCTOBER – OR (golden) around C (circa) + TO BE
13 Per capita split that’s unbalanced to be revised perhaps (4,10)

I always understood a ‘past participle’ to be a past-tense verb used as an adjective. Perhaps there’s a more subtle definition, and perhaps I should know it since I was a linguist in a former life.

17 Instigating panic, green organism spreads around clubs (14)
21 Oddly, isn’t buzz associated with an animal? (7)
INHUMAN – I{s}N{t} + HUM + AN
23 Series from BBC Horizon that has Granada scoffing? (7)
25 Trojan more serious about king Greek character imprisons (9)

I didn’t know this definition, but Chambers has “a courageous, trusty or hard-working person”.

26 Shade providing cover for troops? (5)
KHAKI – double definition? cryptic definition? you decide
27 Ecstasy going into red wine as principle? (5)
TENET – E in TENT (red wine)
28 Like large piece? Fish is excellent (5,4)
1 Reverse just defeat over English? Missile launcher found (8)
BLOWPIPE – BLOW + PIP (just defeat) + E

I think ‘reverse’ = BLOW might be in the noun sense, as in ‘setback’, but I’m really not sure. I would have accepted ‘reversal’ more readily. Am I missing something?

2 Informal discussion about mid-evening prayer? (5)
CHANT – CHAT around {eve}N{ing}
3 Beaker designed for every publican (9)
4 Tornados hit hotel, startling hosts (7)

This definition meant nothing to me, but here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-ee6p4z29Q

5 Artist on fiddle endlessly filled envelopes (7)
6 Recalled TV drama’s launch or first appearance (5)
DEBUT – TUBE + D{rama} reversed
7 Blouse from clothes laid out one wears (9)
GARIBALDI – GARB (clothes) + anagram of LAID around I
8 An eagle perhaps you might catch devouring small cuckoo (6)
ABSURD – homophone of A BIRD around S
14 Bag with tea contained and sweetener (9)
SACCHARIN – SAC + CHAR + IN (contained?)

Hesitated over this because of the wordplay.

15 Chill wine with appreciation reduced for cold game? (3,6)

Another question mark for me.

16 Man protecting good name for time in slight disgrace (8)
IGNOMINY – (I.O.M. around G + N) replaces T in TINY

More strange wordplay.

18 Charles built support after working with mentor initially (7)
MONARCH – ARCH after ON by M{entor}
19 Both kings out of joint regarding very small thing (7)
20 Fool put up money with horse bolting (6)
NITWIT – TIN reversed + WIT{h}
22 Yankee breaking thousand hearts regularly? Nonsense (2,3)
MY HAT – Y in M + H{e}A{r}T{s}
24 This writer’s past an idealised representation (5)

93 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28493 — New Year’s Re-Solution?”

  1. I can’t parse IGNOMINY even with the explanation given in the blog. IOM goes round the G, sure… But how can it also go round the first N from ‘NINY’? Me no understand.

    In other news, I was more than a little surprised to find two hidden word clues in this grid. Isn’t there an unspoken rule that the Times Cryptic should include a maximum of one such clue?

  2. Well at 16 dn, I think the wordplay works if you start with TINY, and replace the T by the following: I(GN)OM. Weird, I admit!

    Oops: vinyl got there while I was thinking about it.

  3. I had trouble parsing IGNOMINY (post-submission) but got it finally. DNK GARIBALDI, or what the tornados were doing. I was sure from the start that 11ac was PATIENT, but it took me a long time to see why. I liked Granada scoffing.
    A past participle isn’t a past-tense verb; it’s tenseless (non-finite).

  4. I think the “tornados hit” was a little unfair, especially with no apostrophe. It was GK I did know, so I’m not complaining that any GK I don’t know is obscure. But it came out in 1962, sixty years ago. Even I’m barely old enough to know about it, or even to know about Telstar (one of the first satellites for TV transmission). So doubly obscure. But it’s still my COD and since it is hidden, you don’t need to have heard of it to solve it.

    I had no problem with REVISED being a past participle. I don’t know enough grammar to know what else it might be. I thought “revising” was a present participle and “revised” was a past one. As in “here’s the revised document”.

    I didn’t know GARIBALDI was a blouse, last time it turned up here it was a biscuit. Also a person, of course.

    I loved the Job description once I saw it. My first equal COD.

    1. It’s impossible to tell from the clue whether ‘revised’ is the past tense of ‘revise’ or the past participle of ‘revise’. (‘revised’ is a past participle in ‘be revised’, but we don’t know from the clue whether that’s the way to read it.

      1. I think the definition here is TO BE REVISED. This is a passive voice construction that requires the past participle rather than the past tense.

        1. I don’t see how ‘to be revised’ could be the definition of PAST PARTICIPLE. The definition is as Jeremy indicates.

          1. Ah yes you are right. I saw revised as a possible past participle then used the preceding ‘to be’ to justify it, but that was a two stage process – doesn’t make sense to include it in the definition.

    2. Why would it have an apostrophe? I had no idea what was going on with the clue but with the checkers it couldn’t have been anything else so I don’t mind the obscurity.

  5. Wasn’t aware that the definition for WORKHORSE was anything but a stretchy nonce pun, so good to know that it’s an actual idiom. I found the clue to ABSURD, a homonym on a part of the word that you have to yourself extract, somewhat odd. Didn’t pause to fully parse IGNOMINY, and if I were clocking myself that would surely have increased my time. LOI CHORIZO. That and NUCLEON were the only even slightly obscure answers here (well, maybe GARIBALDI as a blouse too), but 24893 turned out to be tougher than it seemed at first—and all worth the effort.

  6. 43 minutes with a couple of clues not fully parsed at that stage and I didn’t bother to return to them later. One clue that did require close attention to the parsing was 19dn where I had biffed NUCLEUS and then found the S-checker was preventing me solving 28ac. The top half was a very tidy solve for me with each answer building neatly on the previous once, however things became a bit ragged as I progressed further down the grid.

    Reverting to a recent discussion, although using basically the same device I felt that cluing ‘n’ as ‘mid-evening’ (2dn) was made more palatable by the presence of a hyphen than ‘g’ clued as ‘midnight’ as appeared last week.

    1. I thought that too – made it clear. I wondered if the editor and setter had read the discussion.

  7. 42m 13s
    Ah, plusJeremy! You mean you never had the pleasure of attending any of the pop package shows that promoters sent round the cinemas and dance halls of Britain in the 1960s?! The Tornados were one of the bands who came to my local town, Tunbridge Wells.
    My first thought for 1ac was ‘muckraker’, but that didn’t last long.
    In 15d ICE HOCKEY, I’m assuming ‘appreciation reduced’ equalling ey[e] means someone who has an eye for something, appreciates it.
    In 1d, I think BLOW as a reverse is fine.
    12ac: Is OCTOBER ale stronger than other ales?
    9ac ON AIR was very good but COD to PATIENT (‘Job Description’)
    Thank you plusJeremy.

    1. Oktoberfest. Although that is (a) mostly in September and the (b) Starkbirrest (strong beer festival) is in (I think) March. Marzen.

      1. The beers (Biere) served at Oktoberfest in Germany are lagers, not ales. October (beer) would be British.

      2. Thanks.
        Back in May 1975 my work took me to Windhoek. Namibia had, at one point, been part of German South West Africa. I arrived just in time for the ‘Maibock’ festival. Maibock itself was a strong lager. I came away with a lovely half-litre stein but that disappeared in one of many house moves.

    2. Martin, following up on your comment yesterday about unfamiliar place names on airport departure boards (I’ve only just done yesterday’s puzzle), in Malaga recently I was puzzled by a plane going to the unfamiliar LONGATWI, and resolved to look it up.

      I didn’t get far, it was just a clumsy contraction of London Gatwick.

      1. Ha! Yes, I would have been as puzzled as you were! Somewhere in East Africa? And herein lies another puzzle….I worked my entire life in civil aviation but never discovered why the IATA 3-letter code for Malaga Airport is AGP.

          1. That is absolutely fascinating, Kevin. Thank you so much! I had heard before that the Picasso connection was a false trail but didn’t know about Agrippina.
            Thanks again!

  8. A few short, but threw in the towel at the right moment as two errors were holding me up.
    I had PUTTEES at 11a (“short trousers”), which nicely fitted three checkers and felt right, I had considered truncation but never came up with “pants” which seems to ba American usage ? Also I was working on “introduced to” meaning the front of the clue.

    Also had IMAGE, where past=AGE and IMAGO was NHO. This closed off HUNKY DORY.

    Missed both the “hiddens” today. CHORIZO was a good clue.

  9. 31 minutes, with LOI a biffed GARIBALDI, previously to me the uniter of Italy and a biscuit. COD has to be TELSTAR, written and produced by the great Joe Meek and played by Billy Fury’s then backing band. Yep, and I was sixteen going on seventeen. MER at INHUMAN for ‘animal’, as that’s what we all are. Cue Eric Burdon. CHORIZO was glorious though. Good puzzle. Thank you Jeremy and setter.

    1. Regarding Telstar: I will always have in my memory my first amble down Deptford High Street on gaining entrance to the Teachers College there, to the (very loud) strains of the Tornados’ coming from the town music shop with its doors flung open in 1962 – a very special and emotional moment for me.

  10. Great fun today – the wonderful TELSTAR, hit and satellite well known to me, only parsed after the event. CHORIZO very good, and the marvellous ‘Job description’.

    <18', thanks jeremy and setter.

  11. An ABSURD TENET or DOGMA round here
    Is that setters LOVE BIRDS, it is clear
    But I did love TELSTAR
    It’s my favourite by far
    And to date the best clue of the year

  12. Didn’t find this that easy and struggled with some of the rather strange clues and parsing as others but got over the line in 14.13. Not sure I’ve ever seen a clue like the one for IGNOMINY before

    In other news though, I had my first ever sub-2 mins (1.56) on the concise this morning which has always felt a bit like the holy grail for me so worth recording somewhere!

    Thanks J and setter

    1. Nice concise time! I think I’ve managed 1:58 twice, with every answer going straight in. I could possibly gain a little using a keyboard instead of an iPad but I prefer to solve on the iPad.

      1. Thanks – I’m definitely faster on my Mac rather than my iPhone.

        Everything went in pretty quickly, although not instantly. I can how I might be able to go 10-15 seconds quicker if I was perfect but can’t see myself threatening the speed merchants around the 1.15 mark!

        Has anyone ever gone sub-1 minute??

          1. For the concise yes, have seen it.. don’t remember seeing one for the cryptic. Though I don’t see why it wouldn’t be achievable, for a touch typist who wasn’t checking their input!

  13. 15:29. Tricky and very enjoyable. The only complete unknown for me was the Tornados hit, but I had heard of the satellite so knew it was a word and the generous wordplay did the rest.
    Today was one of the rare occasions where checking my answers was really worthwhile: I discovered three typos. Normally I either haven’t made any mistakes or fail to spot them.
    I have no problem with 16dn. The construction is a bit complicated but the mechanisms are all perfectly standard.

  14. 33 minutes. V. enjoyable. Another fan of the PATIENT def and the TELSTAR hidden. IGNOMINY only half-parsed but the rest went in OK, including the just remembered GARIBALDI ‘Blouse’; nothing to do with squashed flies for once.

    Thanks to Jeremy and setter

  15. 28 minutes. Only knew GARIBALDI as a biscuit rather than a blouse and hesitated over SACCHARIN as I thought there had to be an E on the end – of course that’s for the adjective rather than the sweetener. Biffed INHUMAN and didn’t entirely see how IGNOMINY worked, though clearly I’m not alone with that one. Enjoyed TELSTAR, which according to Ian MacDonald’s ‘Revolution in the Head’ was Margaret Thatcher’s favourite song from the 1960s.

    FOI Debut
    LOI Nucleon
    CODs Patient/Chorizo

  16. 26.06, but I didn’t understand all of it. The clue for ‘patient’ is a gem. Recommend Picaroon puzzle in today’s Grauniad.

  17. 23:21. I lumbered wheezily with a fuzzy head through this (I wish my current infections would clear up). Some nice clues but I struggled with parsing some and had the same question marks as our blogger. I puzzled over TELSTAR for a while before I realised it was a hit for the Tornados and was held up by the long ones and my LOI, NUCLEON. COD to the excellent hidden CHORIZO. Thank-you Jeremy and setter.

  18. 21:05

    Biffed my way through this puzzle in quick time – just as well as I would have added many minutes if trying to parse some of it.

    PAST PARTICIPLE – from four checkers, didn’t stop to parse the rest of the clue.
    SCAREMONGERING – from definition and three checkers.
    WORKHORSE – LOI – heard of working like a Trojan so shruggingly settled on this answer without working out any of the parsing
    IGNOMINY – got as far as IGNOM and just bunged in the rest – still not entirely sure of the parsing here!
    GARIBALDI – from all checkers only – may have heard of this as a blouse before but not sure.

    CODs to NUCLEON and the two hiddens: TELSTAR (one of my favourite tunes as a kid) and CHORIZO.

  19. 13:31

    Well I loved it. More like this please RR. Lots of the sort of great definitions that define a good Times puzzle.

  20. 35 minutes for a very good puzzle in my opinion. IGNOMINY was a mystery to me and I simply entered it because I was sure it was the answer, but now it’s explained it seems excellent. How can anyone have a problem with it? The GARIBALDI was also unknown, but there are so many names for blouses that I reckoned this was probably it; bright red, no doubt. I’m sure I’ve seen the pun on Job quite a few times, but so good that it doesn’t really matter.

  21. Revealed ABSURD after a prolonged stare which took me to over my self imposed 30 minute limit. I’d thought of it in an alphabet trawl and dismissed it, so that was a facepalm.

    CHORIZO (COD) was second last in, before NUCLEON. Couldn’t parse IGNOMINY, but seems obvious now! Definition for PATIENT was excellent, as already noted.


  22. Excellent puzzle, and the best one for me this year so far, as, not only did I admire the cluing, but the first one I’ve completed without any cheating (use of aids, unresolved biffs etc.) There were too many brilliant clues to have a favourite. How do they do it?!

  23. I must be well off the wavelength because I found this really tough. Almost an hour. Only TELSTAR defeated me in the end, never having heard of either the Tornados or this song, and I didn’t look for a hidden word because we’d had one already. D’oh.

    Liked NUCLEON, PATIENT and IGNOMINY, and was pleased to parse all of them successfully. NHO October beer, but clue was generous.

  24. 25:34
    I thought this was a terrific puzzle but I needed Jeremy to fully explain IGNOMINY.

    I’m another who thought only one “hidden” clue per puzzle was allowed but I certainly don’t mind of one of them is TELSTAR, the first single I ever “bought” ( at the age of ten, I imagine I didn’t actually pay for it myself). What a wayward genius Joe Meek was.

    Thanks to the setter and Jeremy – particularly for the Tornados clip; something seems to have got in my eye while listening to it.

  25. Well I hate to admit that I failed to parse Patient JOB (11a) and didn’t spot the Tornados hit TELSTAR (4d) but saw the hidden. I do remember the tune and the satellite, but had forgotten the Tornados.
    LOI ABSURD 8d as too thick to get BURD homophone.

  26. 11:15, so not a Friday Beast, but a really good challenge. As I regularly say, if there’s one thing which makes a puzzle stand out for me, it’s a brilliant definition and this had more than one.

  27. Got off to a good start with RAVIOLI and quickly followed up with TELSTAR and LOVEBIRDS. I remember watching TV when the Telstar satellite was commissioned, and the Tornado’s tune is also engraved on my memory. BACKBITER then dropped into place easily and I was on a roll. Laughed out loud when the penny dropped for PATIENT. CHORIZO also elicited a chuckle. Didn’t hang around to fully parse IGNOMINY. NUCLEON was LOI. 21:19. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  28. Yes – excellent puzzle with some fabulous clues.
    What everyone else has said about “Telstar” and “Ignominy”.
    Took me around 1 hour of thorough enjoyment.
    Thanks for the blog.

  29. 21:48. Tricky. I knew the phrase “working like a Trojan” from somewhere but the penny didn’t drop while solving. All very good stuff.

  30. 28:01, a pretty steady solve with no very long stares but a bit of trouble in the SW corner. Very nearly biffed DIMWIT but checked just before submission.

    I enjoyed some of the more unusal clueing – I got the device in IGNOMINY but couldn’t see IOM = “man”. NUCLEON was fun to puzzle out. Agree with jack above that “mid-evening” is less of an issue than “midnight”, so perhaps we’re not going to end up full Guardian with “groundwater” = (WATER)*

    MER on ABSURD. (a) BURD is, going by internet sources, poetic or Scottish. (b) I don’t see how you can reasonably insert things into a homophone, given they might change how the individual letters are pronounced. As so often, the clue was straightforward enough that it’s no big deal but I could see it feeling very unfair with a harder definition.

    Thanks pj & setter.

    1. FWIW I agree with you. I have made similar comments about the divisibility of homophones in the past but I seemed to be the only one bothered by it!

        1. So you did! Sorry that passed me by. I think it’s worse than odd but as I said I feel I’m ploughing a lonely furrow with this one! I can’t remember the clue I objected to on the previous occasion but I seemed to be the only person who minded.

          1. Can you explain your objection more fully? What is amiss with:

            A BIRD —> ABURD

            and then insert an S?

            1. Because the insertion of the S means that the sound represented by the homophone doesn’t appear anywhere in the spoken answer, which I think it needs to. If you don’t follow this principle you might for instance clue 1ac as [BACK] + [homophone of BEER] containing [I], which I think most people (including most setters!) would object to. ABSURD is a less egregious example because the sounds of ‘a bird’ remain more or less intact in the answer, so I acknowledge that my objection is probably a bit pernickety in this particular case, but I dislike it on the same principle.

              1. Ah! I can see that objection. Personally, I wouldn’t say that your clue for BACKBITER is unacceptable per se, but maybe a poor clue. Either way, AB(S)URD doesn’t have this problem, so it seems to meet the bar you set.

                I don’t agree with what Sandy seems to be implying, that the homophone needs to itself be a word. If the word was spelled ABSURRED, I would accept ABURRED as homophonically equivalent to “a bird”.

                1. I suppose we might call what I’m objecting to an ‘indirect homophone’, a bit like an indirect anagram.

                2. I didn’t imply any such thing. Or intend to, at least. If I even understand what you mean.

                  I said that it is “somewhat odd” that the clue features a “homonym on part of the word that [referring to the homonym] you have to yourself extract.” Thus described, though, we actually have lots of clues like that. In context, I was referring to a clue where part of the word has to be extracted to find the homonym. The same thing James objects to.

  31. 48:23 I thought this was a fantastic crossword where there were few “easy” clues. I agree with all the comments already made about the best bits. LOI ABSURD, which was an enjoyable PDM for me. Thanks b & s.

  32. I only saw this off once I’d corrected “twister” to TELSTAR. The leaderboard position of 15th suggests my performance was better than I thought it was, especially considering how far I’d gone before even getting a start !

    TIME 10:18

    1. My understanding has always been that setters are allowed up to two per grid; though you don’t see two all that often..
      Another of those “unwritten rules” I dislike; and I never pay any heed to them

    2. The ‘rule’ I’m aware of, cited by Peter B in 2008, was no more than one ‘pure’ hidden answer per 15/15 grid. Reverse hiddens are not counted as ‘pure’ but I don’t know if there are other types in that category. I’m not sure this has ever been rigidly enforced or whether it still applies, but it was probably just guidance for setters anyway..

  33. I was on the wavelength with this one finishing in 33.54 over 11 minutes inside target. Not only finishing but with everything accurately parsed including the tricky IGNOMINY.
    TELSTAR came easily to me as it was the first record I ever bought as a fourteen year old late in 1962. Instrumentals getting to no 1 were fairly commonplace in those days, but something of a rarity now I think. The Tornados had a follow up which sounded remarkably similar to their hit, and it didn’t fare too well. They then faded into obscurity. However one of the group members who went under the singularly styled name of Heinz had a few vocal hits I seem to recall. Ahh the sixties! The golden age of pop surely!

  34. Finally a puzzle completed in regulation (for me) time. 43mins. Most of my thoughts have been mentioned above. Some tricky stuff here.

    I did like the two inclusions and RAVIOLI (filled envelopes, really) BLOWPIPE and PATIENT.

    Thanks Jeremy, I hadn’t parsed IGNOMINY either, and setter.

  35. 31 mins with a load of unresolved biffs. In particular ABSURD, BLOWPIPE and TELSTAR.

  36. Terrific puzzle. My first all correct for 2023. I was held up by the NUCLEON clue for a very long time at the end, and resorted to 20 minutes of meditation. It all then became clear.
    So, two hidden clues allowed then?
    Thank you setter for a great puzzle, and Jeremy for the excellent blog.

  37. Great puzzle, half an hour, loved TELSTAR which I well remember. The October ale (Oktober?) was a guess.

  38. Excellent puzzle, and a tough one which I thought was taking me a lot longer than the 39 minutes recorded by my iPad. IGNOMINY was great, and I’m glad to say that I parsed it and solved it without much thought. Many here struggled with it, it seems. I’m always interested to see cases in which I struggle to see things which others find plain as day – and they’re much more frequent than the reverse experience. Just goes to show we’re not all wired the same, I guess. TELSTAR took me a long while, but I guess now I’ll always know it was the Tornados who had the hit (I certainly didn’t know before now). BACKBITER is still puzzling me: what’s the link between ‘backer’ and ‘Angel’, please? (See: I said we’re not all wired the same.)

    1. Angels are the people who put up money to back shows in theatres. I think it’s applied to the smaller scale investors rather than impresarios.

      1. In finance we also refer to ‘angel investors’, who invest in companies in the very early stages before they are mature enough even for venture capital.

  39. Another very strange puzzle which took me 57 minutes to solve, with a number of difficulties, the main one being that I kept nodding off while solving it. PATIENT was really very good, but 16dn was IGNOMINIOUS (IOM around GN for T in TINY? Really!). Being rhotic, I couldn’t quite identify tea with CHAR rather than just CHA in SACCHARIN, and it took me a while to see WORKHORSE or the joint in NUCLEON. For the strong ale, the word play seemed to be suggesting ORTOBEC (a Belgian beer, perhaps?), which kept me from seeing ABSURD until the very end. So a mixed bag, or perhaps the parson’s egg, I suppose.

  40. I’d not heard ‘work like a Trojan’ (where I was raised it was ‘work like a stevedore’), and I happen to be reading The Iliad this week so I spent precious minutes reviewing the lists of heroes in Books II and III in my mind and trying to think of a name. I wasn’t helped because I had not yet parsed the nearby Nucleon, but had seen the kings in the cluing and assumed that Priam and Hector’s rough contemporary, Cleon, was part of it. I was thinking once the setter dipped into the classics it was hard to get out.
    Nice puzzle for a January Friday. Thanks jeremy

  41. Am used to Friday puzzles being a tad harder than those from the rest of the week. But pleasantly surprised that I managed to rip through this in 26 minutes, including erroneous pizza delivery at front door – right house number, wrong road!

  42. Maybe a bit late in the UK day but has anyone any inside information on Horryd? I know he has medical issues. I sent him an email on the 4th but have not yet received a reply, so now I’m concerned.

  43. No problems today although I only vaguely remembered TENT (red wine), GARIBALDI (blouse) and OCTOBER (ale) from previous crosswords and wondered a bit about BLOW for reverse. I remembered that TELSTAR was a satellite that inspired a pop tune but unfortunately by some very approximate retrieval process I now have “24 hours from Tulsa” stuck in my brain instead. Thanks for the blog. (PS. crossed over with the previous post, apologies).

  44. All said above: admired this setter for his/her novelty and wit, and enjoyed every minute of the forty-something that I spent on it, especially PATIENT, TELSTAR ( emotional response), and CHORIZO. Going off for a good bawl now…

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