Times Cryptic No 28565 — BOO

43:34. Is this puzzle hard? I can’t quite tell, but anyway I made very heavy weather of it.

1 Medic approaching sailor’s bunk (5)
DROSS – DR + O.S. (ordinary seaman)’S
4 With being a pro, presumably played a little faster? (9)
ANDANTINO – AND (with) + ANTI “NO” (being a pro, presumably)

Musically, I’m not sure this definition makes any sense.

9 Mixture from vial ko’s an E European (9)
10 Turn on setter maybe keeping a low profile! (5)
DOGGO – GO (turn) on DOG (setter maybe)

Didn’t know this word, but this is what it means.

11 Irritating person’s old fashioned goodness and cunning (6)
GADFLY – GAD (similar to ‘egad’, I assume) + FLY

Wanted this to be SLY, which held me up.

12 Exhausted hosting a church wedding (8)
ALLIANCE – ALL IN (exhausted) around A + C.E.

Couldn’t see this for ages.

14 Authorised to reduce tempo, we’re decelerating (9)
EMPOWERED – hidden
16 Right to run around middle distance (5)
GIRTH – anagram of RIGHT

Yes, I suppose GIRTH is a measure of distance in the middle.

17 In a place mentioned in reports (5)
SITED – homophone of CITED (in reports)

Had the answer as CITED for ages which held me up for ages.

19 Restricted journal and sound equipment to take from section of trunk? (9)
MICROBLOG – MIC (sound equipment) + ROB (take from) + LOG (section of trunk?)

Easy in retrospect, hard at the time.

21 Search for Cockney over — abandoned? (8)
UNTENDED – ‘UNT (search for, minus the aitch) + ENDED (over)
22 Rather broad thing their jam is served in? (6)

Is ‘their’ supposed to refer in a punny way to ‘broad’? Who can say.

25 Salad dressing ingredient used by British or American cook (5)

Y’all don’t BROIL?

26 Flirt with one in pub with lighter? (9)

To light is to land. My last in, very tough.

27 Way to stop European prizes going to China? (9)
28 Where there are no seats in first class, winter transport cut (5)
AISLE – A1 + SLE{d}
1 Face covering that could show a man’s hip? (8,7)
DESIGNER STUBBLE – cryptic definition

Pieced this one together in the most curious of ways, though I’ve never heard of it.

2 Like certain items laid out, initially useless (5)
OVOID – O{ut} + VOID (useless)

Eggs are the laid items. This wordplay vexed me til the end.

3 Buy / polish off / singer who’s often high (7)
SWALLOW – triple definition

‘Buy’ as in ‘believe a tall tale’.

4 Opposing article and what it can go with? (4)

GIN being that which can go with it = Italian vermouth.

5 One animated head of family with a chance to hug daughters (6,4)
DONALD DUCK – DON (head of family) + A + LUCK around D + D

This took me forever as well, as I couldn’t see past DAD for ‘head of family’. Serves me right as I am certainly not the head of family around here.

6 About to go off / such an acquaintance? (7)
NODDING – double definition-ish

‘go off’ = fall asleep, ‘nodding acquaintance’ = slight acquaintance. Never heard of the second definition.

7 Usually time left to pursue home learning (2,7)
IN GENERAL – ERA + L after IN + GEN (learning)
8 Haughty old heroine’s song composed about husbands (2,4,4,5)
ON ONES HIGH HORSE – O + HEROINE’S SONG anagrammed around H + H
13 He’ll come a cropper in the end? (4,6)
GRIM REAPER – cryptic definition

‘Come a cropper’ means to fail at something, so as far as I can see there’s no punny meaning here. We just have to discard the idiomatic meaning and realize that the GRIM REAPER is indeed a cropper with his scythe at “the end”.

15 Requests rubbish tip on-site (9)
18 Island out of Defoe, possibly originally associated with old bit of Britain (7)
DANELAW – I removed from DANIEL (Defoe, possibly) + first letters of ASSOCIATED WITH

Never heard of it.

20 Part of Japan where the whole Scottish family at home? (7)
OKINAWA – if the whole Scottish family is at home then we have O KIN AWA’
23 Asian banker’s application not given to judge (5)

Thankfully have seen this one plenty.

24 Greeting given saints? Unlikely! (4)
HISS – HI + S + S

62 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28565 — BOO”

  1. 41:04, but I used aids to get NHO DESIGNER STUBBLE.
    The current SNITCH rating is 124, so it wasn’t just Jeremy and me that found it hard. I biffed several, and didn’t bother to parse them post hoc: ANDANTINO, DANELAW, OKINAWA. WIDISH was annoying; I had it early on, but couldn’t see how it worked, until I finally remembered the WI and its jam.

  2. 18:59 Hard pounding, as the Duke of Wellington said at Waterloo. Microblog the LOI. Liked the grim reaper.

  3. 42 minutes. My word, this one was fun with so much to chew over ! All the words and meanings that gave others pause for thought were known to me, which is not to say that all the answers leapt out at me, and some took some steady chipping away at before they revealed their secrets.

    The one definition I was not sure of other than ‘what else could it possible be?’ was HISS, but since it can’t be defined as ‘unlikely’ I guess we are meant to take the whole clue as the definition and perhaps that needs to be reflected by the underline in the blog?

    Jeremy is right to express doubts about the definition at 4ac. ‘Andante’ as a musical direction is usually interpreted as ‘at walking pace’ taken to mean on the slow side but flowing along. ANDANTINO is the Italian diminutive, ‘a little andante’, but there is no firm agreement as to whether this means faster or slower than andante. The Oxford Dictionary of Music advice on the subject is for performers to use their judgement, and for composers to avoid the ambiguous term. My first thought on seeing ‘played a little faster’ was accelerando which means becoming faster, but on reflection a better direction during the course of a piece of music would be più mosso (more movement).

    1. I would be fine if ANDANTINO were clued as faster than a walking pace. But where in the clue do we have the standard of comparison? It just says “faster”, which implies some sort of accelerando.

      1. Seems the setter has copied the definition out of the dictionary. Can’t fault that!
        Chambers has 2 separate, opposite meanings: “1. somewhat slower than andante; 2. now more usually intended for somewhat quicker”.
        Oxford has similar: “rather quicker (originally slower) than andante”.
        Guessed we were looking for an Italian musical direction. Andantino roughly translates as “a little bit andante”, and I’d heard of andante. Didn’t stop me thinking accelerando first.

        1. Seems like the setter has copied half the definition out of the dictionary, so I can fault that!

    2. Yes, I agree. Luckily ‘accelerando’ didn’t actually fit. In the end I decided the meaning was ‘a little faster than ‘andante”, assuming that ambiguous term to be interpreted thus by the addition of ‘presumably’…

  4. I was fine until I got to my last two, OVOID and GADFLY. I didn’t think of GAD, only GEE, and I wondered if GEESLY was a word. But I totally missed the OVOID wordplay and I bunged something in that fitted because I was ready to finish.

  5. 56 minutes. Hard for me, with some still looking hard even after solving, especially MICROLOG and PHILANDER, so happy to have finished all green. I thought GRIM REAPER was an excellent cryptic def.

    Surprised you hadn’t heard of DESIGNER STUBBLE, Jeremy; just like yours, but more UNTENDED.

    1. Surely the opposite? The whole point of DESIGNER STUBBLE (as opposed to just STUBBLE) is that it is generally very carefully tended.

      1. Maybe you’re right but a lot of the designer stubble I see doesn’t look exactly kempt.

  6. Definitely hard, but like jackkt all known and all thoroughly enjoyed. Though perhaps a few of the cryptic definitions were a bit dodgy – GRIM REAPER, I’m looking at you. Loved OVOID when I finally parsed it, things laid is excellent. Took a long time to see SWALLOW as 3 defs, it was 3LOI followed by GADFLY and OVOID.
    A bit surprised “designer stubble” isn’t known in USA.

  7. My love admits no qualifying dross;
    No more my grief, in such a precious loss.
    (Cressida in Shakespeare)

    30 mins mid-brekker. I liked the clever stuff. 0 kin awa, really!
    Ta setter and PJ.

  8. 34:19 which feels like a great time for me on a hard puzzle. Tons of clever clues that gave me a smile even if ANDANTINO and GRIM REAPER might have been a bit too clever. My LOI was OKINAWA but the style of clues to that point made it very clear what was going on. COD OVOID, very cunning. Thanks jeremy and setter.

  9. Really enjoyed this. Bang on my 30 minutes and everything known and parsed. No COD as I could pick half a dozen great clues. Thanks setter and blogger.

  10. 51 minutes. Perseverance paid off. But is your blog micro or macro, Jeremy? OKINAWA was first a biff and then it grew on me. COD to DESIGNER STUBBLE which never has grown on me. I liked the GRIM REAPER too. Thank you Jeremy and setter..

  11. 21:27. I was held up for a while at the end in the NW corner where GADFLY and OVOID took a while to come and longer to parse. No problem with ANDANTINO as I knew it is normally faster than ANDANTE these days. I liked the WI DISH and “what it can go with”. EMPOWERED was a lovely hidden. Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  12. 15:39

    What a great advert for the Times Cryptic’s stock in trade, the well-disguised definition. Fantastic stuff, with OKINAWA the pick of many great clues.

    It took me a while to tune in to the setter’s way of doing things but once I did it was plain sailing.

    As regards ANDANTINO, knowing it as a musical term but not knowing its meaning was just the right amount of knowledge to put it in with confidence.

  13. 23’10”
    LOI GRIM REAPER – I was reduced to writing a list of possibles for ?R?M then running through them in sequence in my head, but glad I did.

  14. re ANDANTINO

    Chambers has:
    1. (a movement, etc.) somewhat slower than andante
    2. Now more usu intended for somewhat quicker

    It’s the musical ‘aloha’.

    1. Yes, it’s similar in several sources but no source that I’ve seen has ventured any opinion on when the change of meaning took place. One would need to know this in order to make an informed judgement as to composers’ intentions, especially those from the past whose works make up the majority of the classical music repertoire.

      But leaving aside the faster/slower thing, I’m still of the opinion along with Jeremy that some standard for comparison was needed in the clue.

  15. 72m 15s but, although I found it hard, I thoroughly enjoyed it. So many excellent clues: WIDISH, OVOID, AGIN, DONALD DUCK, GRIM REAPER and OKINAWA. I used to visit Kadena Air Base, on Okinawa, for my work, ‘back in the day’. Apparently there are still 32 US military bases on the island. 32!

  16. 34:39

    A very enjoyable solve, but maybe a wavelengthy thing? I did miss some bits of parsing though:

    ANDANTINO – got the AND bit – the rest went in from checkers (though not sure about the definition – would have though this word meant ‘a little slower’)
    GRIM REAPER – pencilled in early on but not sure the clue quite worked.
    INDUS – from first checker i.e. see ‘Asian banker’ 5 letters beginning with I and INDUS is a write-in.

    DESIGNER STUBBLE – surprised this isn’t better known across the pond – think post-Wham! George Michael
    GADFLY – I had wanted to use SLY and thought of FLY only when OVOID went in.

    I do like the word DOGGO, but COD goes to OKINAWA

  17. DNF, and I’m back in OWL club with ‘gadsly’ rather than GADFLY. Bah.

    Had to trust the wordplay for DOGGO, tried to justify ‘sparrow’ for 3d before thinking of SWALLOW, and didn’t understand the definition for OVOID until coming here. Instinctively I thought PHILANDER was more than just flirting, but I guess it’s justified. I would never have got anywhere near DESIGNER STUBBLE and GRIM REAPER without the checkers.

    Tough but enjoyable crossword – thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Eastwards

  18. SLOVAKIAN gave me pause, in passing. Not because it was difficult. On the contrary, it seemed like an almost deliberately obvious anagram. But what on earth is ‘vial ko’, I wondered? I only know the term ‘ko’ from the game of Go.
    Now I realise it means ‘KO’, knock out.

  19. A very enjoyable puzzle, with plenty of appreciative ticks and chuckles for the clues. After a slow start I got into the setter’s way of thinking, and after a little delay in the NW corner finished in 32 minutes. For 4ac I thought, in a slightly convoluted way, that ANDANTINO meant rather slow, but that if we looking for a PRO and not an ANTI, the tempo might be the opposite, that is a little faster.
    COD – WIDISH. (The WI has had a good airing here recently!)
    Thanks to jeremy and other contributors.

  20. ANDANTINO was a problem, partly because I knew the word but didn’t really know its meaning, also because the only pros that came to mind were sports professionals or prostitutes, not the simple and obvious ones. What a good crossword, lots of tricky but soluble clues, but I thought the SLOVAKIAN anagram cried out ‘anagram’. 53 minutes.

  21. A little harder than the rest of the week but not too much so, happily. No nho’s, though I would struggle to say if andantino was either faster or slower than … any other musical direction

  22. 17:00. Tricky, especially at the end where I got completely stuck on OVOID, GADFLY and SWALLOW. I kicked myself hard when I finally saw ‘like certain items laid’. Very good.
    If ANDANTINO is defined by reference to ANDANTE then the thing it’s faster than is implicit in the word itself, which is good enough for me.
    We do BROIL here, J, we just don’t call it that. We call it grilling.

  23. 32’52”, with GRIM REAPER LOI. No nhos, but didn’t parse ANDANTINO. (Andante andante, great song by Abba).

    I was held up by banging in PASSING for the acquaintance, which parses as well or better than the actual answer.

    I’ve just finished an excellent book on the Anglo-Saxons. The DANELAW was a fluid thing before and during us having Scandinavian monarchs.

    COD to WIDISH.

    Thanks jeremy and setter

  24. Didn’t get nho doggo and couldn’t think of gadfly. Andantino was a slog and still don’t quite get the parsing. but had heard of all the others, though they didn’t all come to mind quickly. as a scot, I biffed okinawa from “kin” (after a meander through clan) but “awa” means away, not “at home”???

  25. Cracking puzzle. Up here in the East Riding, we still retain aspects of the Danelaw. We’re overly fond of crisp bacon sarnies and the eldest son cops for the homestead when we pop our clogs – other sons are sent packing to that London village to fend for themselves.

  26. This was my kind of puzzle, full of cleverness and humour. Apart from my COD, I also enjoyed ANDANTINO, GADFLY, GIRTH, and ON ONES HIGH HORSE. I was rather less impressed by my LOI.

    TIME 12:05

  27. A most enjoyable puzzle. I had to dart about the grid picking off easier clues before I was able to get into a proper rhythm, but ON ONES HIGH HORSE was a big help. My first thought for 4a was ALLEGRETTO, bu t it didn’t fit. Got the correct term eventually without pondering over its exact meaning. My longest hold ups were OVOID and LOI, GADFLY. 29:40. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  28. 31:38. Our setter clearly had fun with this witty puzzle pitched at just the right level – and so did I. My knowledge of musical notation just about stretches to andante, so ANDANTINO was unfamiliar. Fortunately, I didn’t know enough to have the misgivings noted above.

  29. 44:20
    Thought this was terrific. Almost gave up after 30 minutes but persevered because I was enjoying it. Needed Jeremy to explain ON ONES HIGH HORSE. The GADFLY/OVOID intersection held me up for ages Both excellent clues as were WIDISH, SWALLOW and OKINAWA. Not so keen on SITED as I think CITED could (just about) be defended as an answer.

    Thanks to Jeremy and the setter.

        1. I wish now that I’d persevered, but I started late last night and was short on time this morning.

  30. Two errors in 23 mins. MICROPLUG for MICROBLOG and OKINARA for OKINAWA.


  31. I spent an hour and a half on this and was still unable to crack OVOID and GADFLY. Lots of good clues. I like Square Leg’s description – enjoyable, like an uphill walk – even though i didn’t reach the summit myself

  32. Enjoyed some great clues – ovoid, grim reaper and swallow amongst them. Couldn’t finish in the end with andantino, philander and microblog. Thanks for clearing it all up.

  33. 41:36. Very thinky in parts, getting a bit bogged down with most of the clues previously mentioned. I would never have been able to get the two long down clues right and left without the crossers, but weirdly, I got DONALD DUCK almost straightaway for reasons I am unable to fathom. Guesses count too, eh?? 😉

  34. 39 hard fought minutes. Last 2 in, as many of you, GADFLY and OVOID. Would have helped if OVOID clue wasn’t quite so obtuse, brilliant as it was. NHO GAD.

  35. Also 39 minutes or thereabouts

    OVOID I did get fairly quickly but it was the GRIM REAPER that did for me

    That clue wasn’t amazing imho but plenty of excellent stuff elsewhere. I eventually bunged in ANDANTINO even though I just couldn’t parse it. Clever stuff as was OKINAWA

    Thanks Jeremy and Setter

  36. Feeling quite smug today as I did this in 26 minutes… though a lot of luck and what you guys call biffing was involved.
    Biffed BASIL for 25 ac (at which point I had 5 letters ending in L) which then gave me immediately the DESIGNER STUBBLE only to discover later I had had completely the wrong idea. So that was very lucky.
    ANDANTINO and OVOID I just biffed without understanding why before I came here.
    My LOI was UNTENDED one of the easier clues, had the ‘UNT but just couldn’t get ENDED.
    COD for me was SWALLOW clever triple definition I thought. (GRIM REAPER also clever but *R*M at the start made it too easy)
    Thanks again to everyone involved.

  37. A really enjoyable and tricky puzzle. I thought it had a definite Sunday whiff to it with those misleading surfaces – ‘certain items laid’, W.I dish, AGIN and the cracking hidden at 14A. Only unknown was MICROBLOG as a restricted journal, but it was obvious enough with the crossers already in. LOI was OVOID, involving a bit of an alphabet trawl before the PDM. I had PASSING for 6D until DOGGO, but the irritating thing was that I knew I had done exactly the same thing on a previous crossword when, also, I’d not been able to call NODDING to mind.

  38. Got to this very late in the day, and with so many distractions and stoppages don’t have a recorded time. My estimate would be about the hour mark however, and my perseverance was worth it as I finished with all correct. I share others concerns regarding ANDANTINO although with the crossers in place it had to be. A very enjoyable crossword apart from this minor gripe.

  39. Just (well eight minutes) over an hour, and yes, it was a bit hard but rather enjoyable. My LOI was GADFLY, and I also wanted to end it with SLY but then just trusted that FLY might also mean cunning. Lots of other clues that required second and third thoughts. I thought the GRIM REAPER was quite good, as were WIDISH and SWALLOW .

  40. 50 mins of hard but rewarding work. I thought this was tough but really enjoyable. I might have been a bit quicker if I hadn’t put cited in at 5 ac? But got there eventually. COD grim reaper.

  41. 23’08” on Monday. A question about 3d which no-one will see, but here it is anyway. Is a swallow a singer? Not all small birds are singers, surely. Or am I missing something?

  42. Not my day: NODDING and DOGGO went straight in, then nothing. All looked way too obscure to me . Ah well…
    Liked GRIM REAPER though.

  43. Swallows do sing, rather chirpingly, but not silent!
    Where is astronowt? Haven’t seen a comment, or a limerick, from him for days! Is he lying doggo? Or is he “ovoid-ing” the excellent company? Or just nodding off?
    By the way, is dross an acceptable synonym for bunk?

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