Times Cryptic No 28613 — Commitment, Abby

57:06. I felt sluggish and found this one very difficult, though I was aware at several points that I might have saved 20 minutes or more if I just could have remembered a few key answers (like 1 across).

1 European PM having a pop at philosophy, briefly (9)
TAOISEACH – EACH (a pop) next to TAOIS{m} (philosophy)

I’d seen this before, and had the EACH part. I thought I was looking for a general word for ‘philosophy’ for the first bit. Many alphabet trawls were undertaken. When the penny finally dropped, I squealed with joy.

9 Where lots go, after warning to move about (7)
AUCTION – CAUTION (warning) with C (about) moved

I will let you decide if the grammar works on this wordplay. I figured it out, just barely, but not during my solve.

10 Use up to ten: aim for reduction, somehow (3,4)
EAT INTO – TO TEN AI{m} anagrammed (somehow)
11 Roll back voluble Franglais speaker’s gift? (5)
BAGEL – LE GAB, reversed

A voluble speaker has ‘the gift of gab’.

12 As an all-rounder, returning towel, bat, pad and gloves (9)
ADAPTABLE – hidden reversed in {tow}EL BAT PAD A{nd}

Did not know ‘gloves’ as a verb. (Did you?)

13 Square peg on cross put in wrong (7)
SIXTEEN – TEE (peg) on X (cross) in SIN (wrong)
15 Behind award for cycling? (5)
ABAFT – BAFTA with the last letter cycled to first

I thought of this early on but it didn’t seem like a word.

17 Censor / page? (5)
BLEEP – double definition

I don’t really think of ‘bleeping’ someone as paging them. Maybe this is a US thing but I would call this ‘beeping’.

18 Third rate musical for a rocker? (5)
CHAIR – C (third rate) + HAIR (musical)
19 Story briefly spread across papers making waves? (5)
TIDAL – TAL{e} (story) around ID (papers)

A strange abbreviation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izp52QUeSzQ

20 It’s not so acceptable in top class, book being added to wrong set? (7)
UNTRUTH – U (acceptable in top class) + RUTH (Old Testament book) next to NT (wrong set = New Testament)

Very tricky, and RUTH did pop into my head a half hour before I found this answer.

23 Swamp ended with tree: crossing hard! (9)
OVERWHELM – OVER (ended) + W (with) + ELM (tree) around H (hard)

Would have found this much faster if I’d not ignored ‘with’.

25 With fluorine, no longer having to clean teeth (5)
FLOSS – F (fluorine) + LOSS (no longer having)

LOSS was a strange definition, but I can just about make it work.

27 Come forth, when expected, by reputation, to retreat (7)
EMANATE – ETA (when expected = Estimated Time of Arrival) + NAME (reputation) reversed
28 Fare, with third deducted, has people wasting tickets? (2-5)
NO-SHOWS – NOSH (fare) + OW{n}S (has, with third deducted)
29 Put up with long day — unpleasant conclusion! (6,3)
STICKY END – STICK (put up) + YEN (long) + D (day)

Didn’t know this expression, and STICK was hard to see.

1 Old Bill — or what it is now? (3,3)
THE LAW – double definition

Old Bill = ‘the law’, as in the police. But the contents of an old bill have now presumably become ‘the law’.

2 10 up for disorder, but finally case dismissed at the end of the day? (10)
OUTPATIENT – EAT INTO (see above) UP anagrammed + {bu}T

I was looking for something clothing-related, so I didn’t see this for a long time.

3 Hazard guess finally, with some reflecting (4,4)
SAND TRAP – {gues}S + AND (with) + PART (some) reversed
4 Mafia muscle holds up deadly weapon (1-4)
A-BOMB – MOB (mafia) reversed in AB (muscle)
5 Gathered there’s a DVD shortly for release (9)
HARVESTED – THERE’S A DV{d} anagrammed

“For release” meaning “let out differently” was a stretch for me.

6 Royal award back in ’91 for rousing chiller (6)
ICEBOX – OBE (royal award) reversed in XCI (’91) reversed (for rousing)
7 I’m obliged to avoid capture (4)
KING – TA (I’m obliged) removed from TAKING (capture)

In chess, a player can never leave or put their king in (or through) a position where it could be taken.

8 I craft something witty (3-5)
ONE-LINER – ONE (I) + LINER (craft)
14 Get to English class with dead snake? (10)
EXASPERATE – EX-ASP (dead snake?) + E (English) + RATE (class)
16 All the same classical things covered by an American writer (9)
AUTHORESS – THO (all the same) + RES (classical things, as in the plural of the note ‘re’) in A US (an American)

What a word and what a clue. EDIT: The suggestion has made, which I agree with, that RES probably means ‘things’, from Latin.

17 Nonsense about exploding fuel bottle? Hardly! (4,4)
BLUE FUNK -BUNK (nonsense) around anagram of FUEL

I never would have guessed BLUE FUNK meant ‘a state of terror’. It always sounded to me like depression.

18 Refund: respond to “I’ll scratch yours …” ? (8)

Har har.

21 Consequence of mounts being placed on piping (6)
UPSHOT – UPS (mounts) + HOT (piping)
22 Was host of children overheard following me around? (6)
EMCEED – homophone of SEED (children) after ME reversed
24 Extract firm replies from the floor, oddly overlooked (5)
ELEMI – every other letter in FIRM REPLIES  reversed (from the floor)

This one, I was fortunate enough to know.

26 Reveals where son’s lifted sack? (4)
OUST – OUTS (reveals) with S (son) moved

65 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28613 — Commitment, Abby”

  1. Friday lived up to expectation!
    Last in was 1d. THE LAW seemed too obvious to be correct, as I didn’t see the parliamentary meaning ( thanks for that Jeremy). THE TAB sprang to mind as an alternative for a bill. Trying to squeeze sex and vermouth in for ‘it’ didn’t lead to any climax. In despair TOE RAG fitted, as a description of the setter perhaps? Eventually I plumped for THE LAW, and was pleased not to find pink.
    I enjoyed OUTPATIENTS. EXASPERATE was exasperating but worth the effort. Mer at 7d, which I found underwhelming.

  2. I resisted BLEEP for a long time—thinking “page” could only be BEEP. But Collins, for one, justifies it.

    Also was very hard to see how LOSS equates to “no longer having”—and I didn’t. LOSS is a noun, so it seems it should be “something no longer had.” But “having” is a gerund, hence also a noun. Replacing LOSS in an example given by Collins: “They took the time to talk about the [no longer having] of Thomas and how their grief was affecting them.”

    Didn’t see how “New Testament” (NT) = “wrong set,” but it must be because Ruth is in the OT.

    1. Yeah I think “wrong set” is justified because of the surface “added to”. I saw FLOSS right away but hesitated til the end because of how tenuous the definition felt.

      1. With +J on the wrong set. I was also OK , after a bit of thought, on loss. Loss of innocence, no longer having innocence… there’s an extra ‘OF’ in there, but for me it’s close enough for crossword purposes. Your mileage might vary.

        1. I didn’t mean to imply that I had a problem with “wrong set,” only that it took me a minute to see it.

  3. Comprehensively outplayed, DNF. Completely stuck on THE LAW, KING, and EXASPERATE. Not overjoyed at the clue for king, but the rest was fiendish and enjoyable.
    Keepers glove the ball in cricket, glove as a verb. That clue gave me trouble, wasn’t expecting gloves to be a containment indicator. Another that held me up was HARVESTED where gathered is an obvious anagram indicator so I was looking for a word meaning release. For EXASPERATE I was wondering if ecastelate – (E CASTE LATE) put castellations on – meant “snake”, never tried putting the bits of the clue back-to-front.

    Edit: having see Kevin’s comment below KING is quite a clever &lit, so now I pronounce it enjoyable 🙂

  4. Very hard work. I made good if rather slow progress through most of it but then became stuck and eventually resorted to aids for 1dn and 2dn, both of which I should have got.

    I have some reservations about the parliamentary aspect of THE LAW as there are several stages in the progress of a bill through parliament and many fail and are never enacted into law. But I suppose that’s covered by the question mark. I didn’t help myself by having THE MET stuck in my mind even though I had even bigger reservations about that one.

    I’m going to try to commit the ‘Taoism’ wordplay in 1ac to memory in the hope that it may help me to remember how to spell the wretched Irish word. It has failed to stick so far despite all my best efforts.

    Up to a point I had been enjoying this puzzle a lot but sadly it outstayed its welcome and I came to a 29ac.

    1. I’ve managed to learn the spelling of TAOISEACH; maybe one day I’ll remember the pronunciation. Who the hell is responsible for Irish spelling?

      1. I think it works if you just pronounce the last vowel of each cluster?

        EDIT: Oh and you have to pronounce the ‘s’ like ‘sh’, as in Hungarian (or ‘sugar’).

  5. A very long time for a DNF, a victim of THE LAW. I put in THE TAB and even though it looked wrong I couldn’t be bothered to do an alphabet trawl after such a slog. Even so, annoying to have missed by that much.

    No doubt about this one fitting the expected Friday degree of difficulty.

  6. I’ve been a reader, and admirer, here for years but never posted a comment as my Times crosswords come by post from my father three weeks after the event, but I now have subscription thanks to a generous friend. I’m relieved not to be alone in being in a Blue Funk and nearly coming to a Sticky End with Taoiseach – I liked the clue and if I can remember it will never stumble over it again.
    Thank you to Galspray for setting me a challenging treasure hunt. I have been around the planet looking for your very pleasing bridge, but I think it belongs to Hexham, NSW (not Northumberland) and in the 70s (?) as another bridge is missing. I spent an age scouring New Zealand as you commented here that your antipode lay in Portugal which would mean Wellington, Malborough or Nelson perhaps?
    Thank you plusJeremy … oh, and I nearly forgot, 50′ 38”.

    1. You made me look… you can download the bridge avatar by right clicking on it (windows), and you get it full-sized: 902 x 674 pixels.

      1. Thank you Isla; that’s a thousand times better than my botched job of trying to blow it up. I wish I’d worked that out: I was convinced I’d found it with a picture of submarines and Bridge in the Sydney Herald with no caption, which I took to be Perth WA – it was the Thames, so off I toddled to Blighty, only to discover it was NEW LONDON; two hours wasted in Connecticut !

  7. Maybe under an hour; I had 3 or 4 clues unsolved at 40′ and went off to lunch. One wrong, as I expected: instead of THE LAW (which I never thought of) I put in THE MAN (after, like Jack, trying THE MET). LOI ABAFT, which had occurred to me earlyish on, but took me forever to justify. Like my fellow-Murcans Jeremy and Guy, I wondered about BLEEP=page, but figured it had to be OK. I lit on KING after an alphabet-trawl, but didn’t get it: I thought of TA being deleted from TAKING and figured wotthehell. ADAPTABLE was a most impressive hidden. DNK CLAWBACK. Liked EMANATE, inter alia.

    1. Incredible. I had considered TA for “I’m obliged” but discounted it. Great find and now an even better clue.

  8. 38′ eventually, after struggling with THE LAW until I saw the Parliamentary meaning. One pink square though with WING instead of KING, although I have been an avid chess player.

    Liked EXASPERATE, couldn’t parse BLEEP, I will now remember the spelling of TAOISEACH, admired the cluing of UNTRUTH, and generally liked the challenge.

    Thanks jeremy and setter.

  9. I also had 7d as an &lit. TA (I’m obliged) removed from TAKING (capture).

  10. I’m afraid it was a DNF on my part after almost 20m – I couldn’t see BAGEL or KING for the life of me. I also think the clue for 7d is much cleverer than a mere cryptic definition, as it also indicates TAKING minus TA (“I’m obliged”).

  11. 90 minutes with question marks galore and a liberal use of aids. There was thunder at the well sure enough when I threw the I Ching at the TAOISEACH. A living hell indeed. CODs to BLUE FUNK and ONE-LINER for being more at my level. Thank you Jeremy for the answers and setter for putting me in my place.

  12. I ran out of patience with this after about 15 minutes, and gave up.

    A hated cross-reference clue (which referred to an answer I didn’t have anyway), a chess clue, and an obscure Americanism for a golf term (it’s an English newspaper, and it’s a bunker !) all justified my decision to waste no more time. And I won’t even start on the subject of clumsy surfaces.

    Roll on tomorrow.

    1. Surprised you (or anyone) gave up after 15 mins. I’ve hardly read through the across clues in 15 mins, and even then I’ve only got maybe 4 or 5 answers filled in. Must speed up! But did finish all correctly after about 50 mins.

  13. Another one with a US flavour to it .. I find them all a bit 14dn.
    But much is forgiven because of 7dn.
    About 20m of application to solve this

  14. 52.56. This was a grind and I didn’t like the clue for 7d. Busman is a much better and faster solver than I am, pbut I echo his sentiments, though I did persevere and complete the puzzle without aids. (Mostly parsed but not 100%).

  15. 19:01, but well worth persisting as all the requisite pennies dropped one by one, finishing with THE LAW (like others, sorely tempted by THE TAB but luckily couldn’t quite make it work to my satisfaction). Whether by design or accident, the easier clues gave me regular footholds in the trickier parts, so I never came to a complete standstill. Proper Friday feeling, anyway.

  16. 78m 39s
    A real struggle with one wrong: 1d where, like others, I put THE TAB.
    Thanks, Jeremy. I liked ADAPTABLE, OUTPATIENT and EXASPERATE (‘Dead snake’!)
    TAOISEACH: One of my favourite sitcoms used to be “Drop The Dead Donkey”. In one episode the two news readers are discussing the TAOISEACH. “Silly” Sally can’t get her head around the term and ends up asking “But why would the Irish Prime Minister open a tea shop?”

  17. In honour of Bobby Fuller I would just say, I thought the tab but…THE LAW WON. That sole imperfection marred a marathon grind in which my ability to figure some of these tough clues out came as a big surprise to me. Some gripes: that use of loss, bleeper (huh?) and emceed, which I’m sure is now technically a word but that doesn’t stop me from hating it a lot. Time was off the charts but I was interrupted by having to fly to Rome for a suit fitting. Mostly an excellent puzzle I thought.

      1. A fellow aficionado! I’ve got the original 45 and as much as I admire The Clash the Bobby Fuller Four were the original and the best…

  18. DNF after one hour, and threw in the towel with three left unsolved. I got the feeling I was not going to enjoy this when my second one in was EMCEED, and I was not wrong. Too much dark to grope around in.
    Thanks to jeremy and other contributors.

  19. This took me ages (93 minutes) with liberal use of aids at the end, also wrong at 1dn, and I’ve only just understood the answer. But after being electronically etc. helped most of the clues seemed straightforward enough, as has been said before the sign of good clueing. One of my rare successes was seeing what ‘I’m obliged’ was doing in 7dn and it’s definitely an &lit. and a good one.

  20. I think in 16d RES is Latin for “Thing” which in my opinion is better than Re the note. Res res rem rei rei re, but I’ve forgotten the plural.

    1. Known from legal terminology res gestae, often seen in Perry Mason books. The facts of the case.

      1. And the title of Augustus’s tribute to himself on his tomb. I remember stumbling on the site by chance years ago . I’d studied Ancient History for A level and had been hopeless at Latin but fortunately was a good enough historian to succeed. Fond memories of a great subject.

    2. Might be “res rerum rebus res res rebus”? (I see I learned the cases in a different order over here in the Colonies).

    3. That’s how I saw it too. Didn’t look closely at the blog’s parsings, actually…  pretty sure I had it all figured out!

  21. 25:04 (but didn’t parse a couple). I just popped in to suggest that “classical things” fits better with Latin “res” meaning “thing” (as in “sunt lacrimae rerum”), with plural “res”.

    1. I thought that might be the case but didn’t want to look it up! Thanks!

  22. Failed to get EXASPERATE. I slung in EXAGGERATE in despair after slogging for over an hour. Also guessed THE TAB for 1d, then looked it up and slapped my forehead metaphorically. Thanks Jeremy.

  23. Tricky – definitely Fridayish. I was going to complain about the vague cryptic definition of KING, but now that others have identified it as an &lit, it’s my COD. Lovely stuff.

  24. Really pleased to complete in 24m or so – probably the toughest puzzle that I’ve actually managed to complete. Enjoyed the challenge and feels like progress!

    Great effort blogging jeremy and thanks setter

  25. Hats off to those who spotted the &lit KING. I did think of trying something meaning “thanks”, but in the end decided it was just a chess-related CD, possibly also something to do with noblesse oblige.

    1. This was my LOI and I never did parse it. Seems so obvious when you see it, d’oh!

  26. A breezy 70 minutes here, if by breezy we mean the kind of breeze experienced on a winter’s evening in Chicago standing downwind of the annual Baked Beans Supporters march.

    Biffed ABAFT without checking it and hoped for the best. I was caught by by a ‘cycling’ clue last week and was not to be ensnared twice.

    Quite liked ‘LE GAB’, and hope for more Franglais, Dinglish etc. clues in future!

  27. BLEEP is specifically a term for a pager in hospitals (consultants will have their “bleep number” listed, for instance) and IIRC the NHS still uses 10% of the world’s pagers even though governments have been trying to phase them out for years. No objection to this synonym from me

  28. DNF, Outpatient and King got me, and still not “overwhelmed” with either… Got off to a good start, even looking at the clock, then much biffing and subsequent parsing. I did like The Law and Bagel, though they did not come quickly! Thanks to all.

  29. Finished in about 55 minutes
    Most of the clues I thought were hard rather than clever, but KING and BAGEL I liked and my LOI TAOISEACH I really liked and was annoyed with myself for being so slow. The problem there was the first letter I got was the H at the end which immediately made me think of Metternich which got me thinking it would be a historical character. It really shows the danger of getting locked into a way of thinking!!! I was staring at that clue for ages thinking, oh no 2 DNFs in a row 😉
    Anyway at least I finished today and in the end an enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  30. DNF, defeated by TAOISEACH, THE LAW, OUTPATIENT and ABAFT, the last of which I’ve never heard of. Put me down as another who didn’t see the &lit for KING, and I was unfamiliar with BLUE FUNK too.

    Really tough stuff, so kudos to those who finished it and thanks to the blogger and setter.

    COD One-liner

  31. 55:43

    About two-thirds done after 30 mins, the remaining third taking a further 25 mins. The RHS was much easier than the LHS though didn’t see the parsing for KING. ELEMI easy to remember from the brand name with an S on the end.

    Somehow picked out NOSH OW{n}S and BLUE FUNK along with BLEEP, after which it was a bit like pulling teeth with occasional relief as another answer wafted into view. Didn’t really like THE LAW – nice try setter, but a bit too vague. Well played with TAOISEACH though, which was a nice PDM.

    Thanks Jeremy for unravelling.

  32. DNF – a desperate THE TAB and KING thrown in at the end of a seemingly endless struggle. I couldn’t fully parse either of them (though I saw the “ta-king” bit) and duly got my desserts.

  33. 65 mins but at least I finished it. Always a struggle with the first answers in the SE corner. Confess to checking the spelling of Taoiseach but I have no conscience about that. Abaft was my last one in.

    Not been my best week by a long way but all solved in the end.

  34. Way over my head today. Not much more than a quarter done in over an hour. Well done to those who persevered and succeeded. For me, time to find something else to elevate and entertain.

  35. Threw in the towel after an age, which produced most of the right-hand side, but little of the left. Would never have got TAOISEACH, but thankfully I can henceforward spell it correctly, thanks to the Taois(m),each. Having not got 10A, 2D was also impossible and although I knew what I was looking for with 17D, having a U and an F, I was still unable to come up with BLUE FUNK. Even though I was convinced 24D was ELEMI, I couldn’t work out why. For me, this was the beast that followed yesterday’s difficult-but-fun challenge – a very-difficult-but-not-fun sequel.

  36. It’s a day late and it did take me 95 minutes to solve it (correctly, without aids), but I must post a comment just to join in the chorus about KING, which I, too, disliked intensely at first but now would also classify as my COD after having been told how the wordplay really works. Brilliant!

  37. I must have spent nearly three hours on this and fell at the last fence – entering Ring rather than King for my LOI.
    My shaky logic was that Ring could mean avoid (ring a city) and Ring could mean capture (ring them in) and no idea about “I’m obliged”! I know it doesn’t work but I didn’t see the chess reference – so I end up rather crestfallen after all that effort.
    I agree that King is a clever clue but too much so for me.

  38. Like Vaccarex, I ended up chucking in the proverbial towel , after realising that this was going to be too tough for me. For starters, I hadn’t a clue about 1a (well, i mean it was there , but I failed to understand it), and moved on hesitantly to my FOI AUCTION, which I thought a clever clue. However, as+J has shown, nearly all the clues were even more clever, consequently being my ultimate failure. Liked those I did get, however, like SIXTEEN, ICE BOX, UNTRUTH, CHAIR, ELEMI, and ONE-LINER ( to name most of them!)

  39. Tough, DNF. I used Aids to check the spelling of TAOISEACH, then again to see if ECASTELATE was a word, at which point Google’s first response was Isla3’s comment which included the correct answer.

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