Times Cryptic No 28697 — One to chew on

This was a toughie, for sure, although at the beginning I was terribly distracted by goings-on with children and bedtime, so I didn’t get any flow.  Somewhere around the 15–20 minute mark, my brain clicked on and I could pick up steam, but towards the end things ground to a halt again. By the end, I had too much head-scratching to submit, yet all was correct in a hair under 56 minutes.

1 Embassy official catching parent in bed with cop (8)
DIPLOMAT – MA (parent) in PLOT (bed) and D.I. (cop)
5 As well to carefully consider sounds going back and forth (3-3)
TWO-WAY – homophone (sounds) TOO (as well) + WEIGH (carefully consider)
10 Inner glow passes for beauty (5)
LOOKS – {g}LO{w} + OK’S (passes)
11 Blunder after a few drinks that has you back where you started (5-4)
ROUND-TRIP – TRIP (blunder) after ROUND (a few drinks)
12 Potentially, Swede’s success in war within reach (9)
VEGETABLE – VE (success in war, Victory in Europe Day) + GETABLE (within reach)

Not sure why I always thought this was V Day, rather than V-E Day. Probably confusing it with D-Day.

13 Jam, or a piece of cake (5)
WEDGE – double definition
14 Time to stop payment for experimental substance (7)
REAGENT – AGE (time) in (to stop) RENT (payment)

Nice tricky definition, where ‘experimental’ means ‘part of an experiment’.

16 Article by The Thunderer, Times middle section (6)
THORAX – A (article) by THOR (the Thunderer) + X (times)

I couldn’t get past seeing ‘The Thunderer’ = RA and ‘article’ = THE, but the answer was clear.

19 Key needed to open a precious metal antique (3-3)
AGE-OLD – E (key) in A + GOLD (precious metal)
21 Torment of teaching graduate to be recalled (7)
BEDEVIL – B.ED. (teaching graduate) + LIVE (to be) reversed
23 Major artery that road from the east crosses (5)
AORTA – hidden (crosses) reversed (from the east) in {th}AT ROA{d}
25 Chemist having gin, and to get going a tablet? (9)
BOOTSTRAP – BOOTS (chemist) + TRAP (gin)

What’s being said here? Are we talking ‘tablet’ like iPad or something? I now see that a definition of ‘bootstrap’ is to input initial data so as to enable the subsequent loading of a computer program.

Also did not know that BOOTS is a pharmacy chain in the UK.

27 Wielding the axe, maybe, and moving on to alibi! (9)

Again not exactly sure what’s being said here. Abolition of slavery? Or just getting rid of something?

28 Port of ME: what’s after that on main road, west of hospital (5)
HAIFA – FA (ME: what’s after that) on AI (main road), next to H (hospital)

Do I have my directions wrong? Isn’t this east of hospital?

29 Agent leaving PR info and publicity to Thatcher? (6)
OXYGEN – {pr}OXY (agent) + GEN (info)

“Oxygen of publicity” is a quotation attributed to Margaret Thatcher.

30 Leaves, bags packed, for this short time off work? (3,5)
TEA BREAK – TEA (leaves) + BREAK (bags packed, for this)
1 Food store requiring actual consignment (8)
DELIVERY – DELI (food store) + VERY (actual)
2 Power that group holds in unknown eastern metropolis (9)
PYONGYANG – P (power) + YON (that) + GANG (group) around Y (unknown)
3 Attack found sleuth oddly lacking (5)
ONSET – {f}O{u}N{d} S{l}E{u}T{h} (oddly lacking)
4 What would you do without mug and a tumbler! (7)
ACROBAT – ACT (do) around ROB (mug) + A

Not exactly sure what ‘what would you’ contributes.

6 State of old wife Dido, who’s abandoned (9)
WIDOWHOOD – O (old) W (wife) DIDO WHO anagrammed

Forgot to indicate that this was a semi & lit!

7 Excited jam makers like their strawberries! (5)
WIRED – W.I. (jam makers, Women’s Institute) + RED (like their strawberries)

Forgot about my jam makers.

8 One’s delighted to have Year One university exam extended? (6)
YIPPEE – Y (year) + I (one) + PPE (university exam) + E (extended?)

I couldn’t find E = ‘extended’ in the dictionary, so I guess PPE –> PPEE is extending PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics), which again is something I forgot.

Also, I’m not exactly keen on this definition, but “I’m excited” is certainly YIPPEE and it is a crossword convention to use ‘one’ for the first person.

9 Great conductor, a match for the most appealing (6)
CUTEST – CU (great conductor, copper) + TEST (match)
15 Musical show chap brought up, bringing back memories (9)
EVOCATIVE – EVITA (musical show) + COVE (chap) reversed
17 Judge ultimately right to break counsel’s talk up (9)
ADVERTISE – {judg}E + RT (right) in ADVISE (counsel)
18 Fine, round bowl for biscuit (8)
FLAPJACK – F (fine) + LAP (round) + JACK (bowl)

I didn’t know ’round’ could mean ‘circuit’ or LAP. I’d vaguely remembered JACK as being the cue ball of bowls, and I did not know FLAPJACK = ‘biscuit’. I know of biscuit as being a cookie in the UK, a softish scone in the US, and our flapjacks are pancakes.

20 Brief liability and endless danger remains (6)
DEBRIS – DEB{t} (liability) + RIS{k} (danger)
21 Have cheese sandwiches and cake (7)
BROWNIE – OWN (have) in BRIE (cheese)
22 Native American’s surprised reaction on seeing a truck overturning (6)
NAVAHO – OH (surprised reaction) + A + VAN (truck) reversed

The wordplay was clear but I wonder if some biffed NAVAJO.

24 In possession of Space Hopper given to brother (5)
ROOMY – ROO (hopper) + MY! ([oh,] brother)
26 A Scottish team lifting second title abroad (5)
SAHIB – A + HIBS (Scottish team) with S (second) earlier

Leave a comment below indicating whether you think I’d heard of the football club or not.

105 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28697 — One to chew on”

  1. Chewy, indeed (you took the word right out of my mouth), and I savoured the slowest solve of the week.

    Guessed the same about the “examination” at the end of YIPPEE, which was actually my LOI (despite my having been a Yippie). Also checked about Scottish HIBs. Just sensed some connection of BOOTS with the druggist… maybe dimly remembered…

    Some little words kept me guessing quite a while. ROOMY, indeed!

  2. This started out nicely but the southeast corner took some time to unravel, not least since I’d biffed ARBITRATE (Judge) for ADVERTISE which caused all sorts of impossibilities until I looked at how the wordplay worked, and discovered it didn’t.
    I took TEA-BREAK to be a cryptic definition around tea-bags being packed with leaves.
    HAIFA is an odd clue if you take ME to be Middle East and also a note in the do-re-mi scale.
    Having lived in Edinburgh for years, SAHIB was pretty easy.
    At BOOTSTRAP I knew BOOTS, and I know all about BOOTSTRAPS on laptops and tablets. It comes from the idea of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. The bootstrap is a tiny program that loads the main operating system, hence “booting the system”.
    Quite a few answers seemed to come in pairs: BROWNIE-FLAPJACK, TWO-WAY/ROUND TRIP, maybe HAIFA and PYONGYANG.

    1. Called bootstrap as referring to the impossible task of lifting oneself up by ones own bootstraps.
      Bootstraps are sewn into the backs of the boots to help you to pull your boots up. Not the laces.
      The task of loading any program, of which the Operating System (O/S) itself is an example, requires an O/S to be running, hence the expression.

  3. Interesting, I’d call it.

    I didn’t know the Thatcher quote.

    I looked in three dictionaries and didn’t find GETTABLE without the double T.

    1. Wondered about GETABLE too.
      Merriam-(“anything goes”)-Webster has an entry for it, as a “Variant” for the obviously correct spelling. So it’s not out of line—just a bit annoying. Ha

    1. I finally just shrugged, but it sure looked like the opposite direction must have been meant. H = hospital, of course, without one’s needing any reminder that it’s the most “westward” letter in the word.
      But Vinyl says he’s figured it out, so waiting with bated breath…

        1. Yes as I said below to isla3, if H is the westernmost letter of ‘hospital’ then ‘main road, west of hospital’ can only give AIH.
          I think it’s just a mistake.

  4. Also on the wavelength, tricky but all GETTABLE, no holdups. Wondered about flapjacks, took the west (end) of hospital to be H even though H abbreviates hospital, know that booting your computer is short for bootstrapping, heard of Hibs. YIPPEE was a strange one… reminds me of search,search 26946 where we had intermezzo with the ezzo bit not clued, just tacked on the end.

  5. 40 minutes. A lively and very enjoyable solve with many slightly surprising things going on, all of them adding to my appreciation of the whole.

    Just as yesterday I struggled with the Asian city, but unlike yesterday the wordplay was decipherable and I was able to come up with the correct answer.

    On YIPPEE, we’ve had the extended ending device before and the answer was clear so I didn’t think anything more about it.

    I didn’t notice the ‘west of hospital’ thing at 28ac because I had been busy deciphering AI and FA from wordplay to come up with the name of the port and just took H for ‘hospital’ for granted. Guy’s explanation above seems to cover it adequately anyway and the device seems rather in keeping with the playful nature of some of the other clues.

  6. Completed all the left hand side, but RHS blocked by BRIANDE which sounded like a cake, with BRIE sandwiching AND. I was getting too clever on this one. And the only chemist I could think of starting with B was Bunsen, despite my daughter working at Boots HQ in Nottingham.

    Annoyed to give up on WIDOWHOOD : what could possibly have two Ws in it?

    Liked THORAX.

  7. 45’+
    I went offline because I had to, my cursor freezing so that typing one letter simply replaced the previously typed letter. Tried to pause, couldn’t. Tried to submit off leaderboard, but couldn’t. I’m waiting to hear from Customer Service. This is the 4th time that this has happened over the years.
    Anyway, the puzzle; and a great one it was. I didn’t understand BOOTSTRAP (knew Boots, tablet was the problem), HAIFA, TEA BREAK, or SAHIB, but was pretty confident they were correct. I liked TWO-WAY, LOOKS, CUTEST, ADVERTISE, BROWNIE, and just about all the others.
    I spent a Lent Term in Cambridge years ago, and one tea shop there had what they called a flapjack which looked more like some kind of fudge; not in the least like a biscuit in either sense.

    1. I had exactly this problem the other day. Logging off and then logging back in through the main Times site sorted it out.

      1. That seems to have worked; thanks. Why the hell does this sort of thing happen? Haven’t yet heard from Customer Service, of course.

    2. I often have this problem. I use an iPad and I find solving in safari rather than the app solves it

    3. I don’t know where the setter is from, but he certainly has never eaten an English flapjack, which is in no sense of the word a biscuit! It is, as you say, a sort of fudgy consistency, and would be best described as a cake or an oat bar. It contains no flour, just oats, syrup, sugar and butter, so doesn’t achieve the consistency of a biscuit unless it’s burnt.

  8. And one keen pyramid with Wedge sublime,
    Pavilioning the dust of him who planned
    This refuge for his memory,
    (Adonais, Keats)

    25 mins mid-brekker. LOI the tricky Oxygen. Mostly I liked the wired jam makers.
    Ta setter and PJ.

  9. For the benefit of anyone, (like me), still struggling to understand 28, despite the explanation above, we’re dealing with the musical “do re me fa so la ti do” scale. Fortunately Mrs Nowt is smarter than me.

  10. 20:04. I enjoyed this, frequently feeling stretched but never frustrated. For HAIFA I presume FA is on (next to) both the main road, and the western letter of hospital. As Jeremy alluded to, NAVAHO gave me pause to double and triple check, thinking that it should be Navajo. The wordplay was unambiguous though.

  11. 56 minutes with LOI THORAX, fingers crossed. I knew I had one but didn’t know where. COD to FLAPJACK which went nicely with the unparsed TEA BREAK. I only parsed the first three letters of HAIFA too but the cryptic and crossers were kind. A Friday toughie. Thank you Plus J and setter.

  12. I found this tough, taking Ih10. LOI PYONGYANG. Same words/clues not understood as others have mentioned. OXYGEN only went in as it seemed the only word that would fit. DNK the Thatcher reference. I didn’t think references to proper name (BOOTS) were allowed? And surely the “AIFA” is east of H. Still don’t get it.

    Having said all that there is lots to like. WIDOWHOOD, BROWNIE, and FLAPJACK to name but a few.

    Thanks Jeremy, my guess is you didn’t know Hibs, and clever setter.

    1. Every time a proper noun appears someone says that 😂. A few weeks back they appeared two days running and both times there was at least one such similar comment!

      1. Indeed, and there is an entry about brand names in the TfTT Glossary accessible via our Help menu.

          1. Agreed, but I’m not sure what the point of contention is here as it’s a little confusing as to who is replying to whom.

            1. I am replying to everyone. Apologies for causing à contretemps. Still seems a bit of a grey area though and I have read the glossary. I’ll get my coat.

              1. Rosé, you have absolutely nothing to apologise for or reason to retrieve your coat. I wasn’t sure what was going on here, but if it stemmed from your comment about Boots, yours was a perfectly legitimate remark.

                The whole area of brand names has been a source of discussion over the years even going back to Peter Biddlecombe’s Notes on Times House Style posted here in 2008:

                Brand names
                As far as I know these are not allowed.

                Since becoming editor of the Sunday Times puzzle he has evidently rowed back on that policy if ever it existed, but we’ve had nothing from the current puzzle editors at The Times as far as I’m aware.

                The entry in the Glossary reflects the ambiguity whilst stating that the ‘rule’ , if it exists, has been consistently ignored on occasion over the years.

              2. What jackkt said, and you can also take comfort from the fact that you’re in very good and numerous company. As Pootle says, on the frequent occasions when brand names are used someone will always bring up the long-defunct rule!

                1. I’ve always felt there is a difference between brand names appearing as the answer where the answer is the brand named thing, (ie, Boots being the answer to a definition of ‘chemist’ and not part of a clue for shoes or cute kitten names), and brand names being part of the wordplay. The first is not to my taste, the second – which today’s is – doesn’t really bother me.

  13. 64 minutes. Didn’t beat the hour deadline but it was worth persevering. I couldn’t parse VEGETABLE or TEA BREAK and I didn’t know the technical sense of BOOTSTRAP. Like Paul I originally put in ARBITRATE at 17d and like Merlin the made up BRIANDE for 21d, both of which made this harder than it should have been. I initially thought HAIFA was a boo-boo; confusing W and E has been done before, I think in an ST puzzle about 6-12 months ago. Guy’s explanation is probably what was intended though and we’ll see if Vinyl has anything else to add.

    EVOCATIVE was helped by its appearance only 3 days ago and the subsequent discussion about the VOCATIVE case. I liked WIRED and working out the parsing for the to me unfamiliar FLAPJACK.

    Thanks to Jeremy and setter

  14. A tough one as usual for Friday….interrupted by small child but still managed to complete in 56 mins. COD was HAIFA. LOI was OXYGEN

  15. I managed a quicker than expected time of 38.19 and enjoyed much of this, but have doubts about some identified by Jeremy including FLAPJACK, ACROBAT, HAIFA and BOOTSTRAP. Thought TEA BREAK was a dodgy clue also and it was asking a bit much of most of us to recall an unremarkable Maggie quote from decades ago. Liked THORAX, WIRED and WIDOWHOOD once J helped out with the anagram.

      1. The quote is well-known but for anyone who isn’t a British political junkie it’s unremarkable. Who knew it was as recent as 1970s/80s, or that Thatcher coined it?

        1. To me that’s what’s remarkable about it: it’s such an everyday phrase that I had no idea that it was even a quote, let alone that Thatcher had coined it.

    1. I’m just a casual outsider, but I don’t understand the irritation about a Thatcher quote: it never occured to me, but ‘agent’ = ‘proxy’ leaving PR = oxy, with info = gen.

  16. Gave up after 35 mins defeated by oxygen and roomy. Didn’t recognise the Thatcher quote. Got the roo bit of the latter but if you need to put oh before brother to work the full answer out, I don’t think that’s a very good clue.

    I suppose I’ll just have to take out my frustration on hitting a few golf balls.

    1. “Oh” commonly introduces “brother” in the exclamation, but it’s not definitional. Here’s Collins for “brother,” with no “oh” involved: “an exclamation of amazement, disgust, surprise, disappointment, etc”

  17. 43:23
    Shame about the Haifa clue. Wouldn’t be the first time a setter has got confused about this. N/S in down clues never seems to be an issue, but E/W in across clues is a little less visually obvious, hence (I would suggest) the occasional errors.
    Thanks, pj.

      1. Hmm – but if the ‘west’ refers to the start of ‘hospital’, I can then only parse the clue to be AIFAH, or perhaps FAAIH, unless, as is most likely, I’m missing something else!

          1. Ok though wouldn’t there need to be some indication that the H came before the AI? Or is it simply, as noted by others, that ‘west’ in your parsing should be ‘east’? It may well be me missing the blindingly obvious, of course.
            Sorry, just seen Harmonic Row’s comment below.

            1. I took it that with no strict indication of order, the H could come before the AI. Maybe I’m being over generous though 😁

              1. Yes as I wrote above, I have a hard time interpreting “A on B C” as anything other than ABC or BCA, not CBA.

          2. But H means “hospital” anyway so there’s no point to “west.” I don’t see how that would necessarily indicate only the single most westward letter either.

      2. Hi, Z. You’re absolutely right, but even assuming that the west (end) of hospital is indeed H, I still can’t arrive at a correct parsing. ‘ME: what’s after that on main road, west of hospital’: this means A1HFA or A1FAH or FAA1H. It says ‘main road, west of hospital’ and not ‘west of hospital, main road’. Am I missing something? I think Grestyman is making the same point. Am I missing something? 🙂

  18. Mid 40s but at least a finish today. Like many I’m still unsure of some of the parsing but a few biffs worked. Spent some time trying parse Wisconsin for the state before seeing the anagram for WIDOWHOOD. And like Jeremy wasted a few minutes on THORAX, thinking there must be a “THE” for article. Nice to see the Hibees get a mention without reference to yet another thumping…

  19. Got nothing on first pass, so assumed it was a stinker. But then they started to fall steadily, if slowly. Ended up beaten by HAIFA and, consequently, SAHIB. Glad to see the HAIFA clue was a cock-up – makes me feel better for not seeing it.

  20. What was Tatcher doing on top of Everest?
    A real collector’s piece, this, in which, for me, every single clue was solved from the definition, the wordplay being no help at all except to confirm the answer once I’d sussed it, with a side hekping of marvelling at the ingenuity and deceptiveness of the wordplay. A simple exampled: I got WIRED from “excited” by some bizarre synapse in my mental thesausurus, then squeezed out WI for jam makers (of course, of course) and RED from one of the myriad attributes of strawberries. I don’t think I had a chance of going the other (more normal) way round.
    I finished still bamboozled as to why FA meant what in HAIFA, why a Thatcher, even with a capital T needed OXYGEN more than the rest of us, why NAVAJO was spelt with an H, and GETTABLE with only one T, and why we suddenly had E for extended added to our abbreviations list in YIPPEE. I decided the CD version of TEA BREAK (via tea bags) would have to do, and I still think that’s what our wilfully opaque setter intended.
    All that in a smidge over 26 minutes.
    I’m off to the comparative simplicity of the MCS for a relaxing break.
    Oh, since you ask, PJ (in your admirably sphinx-defeating blog) I know Hibs, so find it difficult to imagine why anyone else wouldn’t.

  21. A bit of a workout today. I rushed into the fray with ONSET, then ACROBATically did a WIRED ROUND TRIP through TWO-WAY and WIDOWHOOD, crying YIPPEE in the CUTEST way, before pulling myself up by the BOOTSTRAPs and removing the biffed ARBITRATE. Spotted the solfa device in HAIFA. Didn’t know the Thatcher quote so relied on crossers and definition for OXYGEN. Liked ROOMY. ADVERTISE was LOI. 29:44. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  22. 24:53. Not convinced by the H in 28 ac being the west end of hospital as the parsing would surely then lead to AIHFA. Pending a more convincing explanation, I’m putting this down to an editing error.

  23. 21:55
    Bit of a biff-fest: AORTA, HAIFA, OXYGEN, TEA BREAK and YIPPEE all went in unparsed, with several others spotted only after entry.
    BOOTSTRAP meaning to get (eg a tablet) going derives from the SF writer Robert Henlein’s novella ‘By His Bootstraps’, in which a time traveller meets himself several times in the future.

  24. I spent almost 55 minutes on this, at least five minutes of which was trying to see how the clue HAIFA worked. SAHIB was my LOI. I was never going to get HIBS. Cricket and football are my betes noirs, which is a weakness when it comes to solving the Times. I’m sure we’ve had a similar clue to EVOCATIVE recently.
    I thought the clues to TEA BREAK, WIRED and YIPPEE were quite poor.

  25. DNF, defeated by OXYGEN – didn’t see agent=proxy at all, nor separate PR from info to get the ‘gen’ bit. Assuming it was something to do with roofing (or possibly hairdressing) and having no idea about the Margaret Thatcher quote didn’t help.

    Didn’t parse ACROBAT, HAIFA or TEA BREAK; wondered about VEGETABLE with only one T in ‘getable’ and NAVAHO with an H rather than a J; wasn’t entirely confident about WEDGE as a piece of cake; hadn’t heard of the computer definition of BOOTSTRAP; and apart from the F, wasn’t sure about any of FLAPJACK, though it clearly had to be.

    Tough stuff. Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Brownie

  26. Wavelength is a funny old thing. I could swear I was slower on a puzzle with a snitch in the late 70’s earlier in the week.

    Today’s experience was – look at definition, word springs to mind, fit to wordplay. Or just biff.

    Thanks for filling in the gaps in my parsing Jeremy.


  27. Struggled slowly but happily through this until I gave up in the SW. I don’t see van=lorry for NAVAHO, could only guess at ROOMY but didn’t enter it as I had no idea of OXYGEN. Several clues went in on definition so thanks for clearing up the whys and wherefores.

  28. This was quite a workout. Once I got started I flew along for a while, picking off what low-hanging fruit was available. However, my last half dozen or so clues practically doubled my solving time, and I needed to come back on completion to parse LOOKS, BEDEVIL, ADVERTISE, DEBRIS, and ROOMY.

    I failed to parse HAIFA, which I think is just a totally incorrect surface.

    Is a van a truck? Not in my book, and I briefly toyed with “Nogawa” (a wagon, reversed) before AORTA ruled it out.

    TIME 11:58

  29. 44:15

    Very slow to get going, but picked up speed after around ten minutes and then slowed for the finale. Several that I didn’t understand as I pencilled them in. I had ROOFER (Thatcher?) pencilled at 29a, TEA BREAK (not knowing how the BREAK was parsed), _ATEST at 9d, ACROBAT at 4d.

    Finished the top half first, FLAPJACK (‘biscuit’ consisting of syrup and oats mainly) went in once the L was in place, NAVAHO with an H was presumed correct. Finally left with 17d, 20d, 25a, 28a – with 25 increasingly looking like it might be an unknown Swedish chemist – LOI scales fell from my eyes – should have thought of the (primary?) UK High Street chemist much sooner!

    As for HAIFA, completely baffling clue, had to read all the way down as far as Astro_Nowt’s comment before I understood where the FA came from…

    Thanks setter and PJ

  30. I never rush the Friday puzzle; I like to savour it. Finished it without help, but disappointed with 28a: a loss of concentration by the compiler?

  31. About 30′, much of it on the SE.

    I should have got BOOTSTRAP much earlier – ‘By his Bootstraps’ is a wonderful story by Robert A. Heinlein.

    HAIFA was LOI.

    Two of today’s answers are in another puzzle today.

    Thanks jeremy and setter.

  32. 24:15. Jet lag seems to have kicked in properly today, this was like pulling teeth and not very enjoyable.
    The ‘west of hospital’ = H explanation doesn’t work, I think this must just be an error. Setters seem to get their west and east (usually in directional indicators) mixed up quite often.
    I’m not sure a FLAPJACK is really a biscuit, but I’m not sure what other category you’d put it in.

      1. IIRC, HM Revenue & Customs VAT department ruled that the determining factor is whether the item goes hard or soft as it goes stale. Biscuits go soft, cakes go hard.

        1. It seems that they have also ruled on flapjacks, and that they are cakes for tax purposes. They are amusingly resentful about this:

          At the inception of VAT, traditional flapjacks were widely accepted as cakes of common perception. This was not because of any specific reasoning behind such factors as their recipe, ingredients, or the manufacturing process. HMRC accepts that traditional flapjacks can be zero rated.

          We define traditional flapjacks narrowly, as it is intended to only apply to that product as it was at the inception of VAT. We interpret this with our policy that a traditional flapjack consists of oats, butter and syrup.

          We allow the zero-rating of traditional flapjacks along with few minor traditional variations, such as dried fruit, chocolate chips, and chocolate or yogurt toppings.

          Where it is unclear as to whether a product is a traditional flapjack, a more detailed assessment will need to be carried out to determine whether it is a cake in line with the established legal approach


          1. Thank you, Keriothe; as I mentioned in reply to a comment above, a flapjack is not a biscuit. I make them almost weekly, and if they were the consistency of a biscuit, they would be inedible. Furthermore, they are made in a tin and sliced after baking, unlike biscuits. Good to see the HMRC reluctantly concurs. This clue held up the solving process for some time as a result!

            1. I don’t think they’re really cakes either. To me if it isn’t based on flour, fat and eggs it isn’t either.

          2. “A flapjack consists of oats, butter, and syrup.” I would have thought the butter and syrup were added to the flapjack after it is made and not integral parts of it.

              1. Thanks, I always assumed flapjack was just a colourful synonym for pancake but I see on digging into this there’s a lot more to it all.

      2. I always make pancakes in a frying pan on a stove element. After all I imagine they must originally have been”cakes” cooked in a “pan”.

        1. They’re different from most cakes in that you use milk instead of butter but the general idea is the same so I would certainly call them cakes. Scones (also cakes) are somewhere in between.
          Flapjacks don’t have flour or eggs in them. Not cakes!

          1. Thanks for clarifying distinctions. I’ve put these things in my mouth for decades without knowing what’s inside. I just hope you’re not going to say that what King Alfred burned were “Not cakes!”

  33. 22:11. DNK the Thatcher quote but I entered OXYGEN from the checkers and assumed it must have been something she had said decades ago. Failed to parse ACROBAT and I see nobody else can explain HAIFA adequately without suggesting the setter got East and West mixed up. LOI ADVERTISE. Some good chewy stuff though. Thanks Jeremy and Setter.

  34. TWO-WAY OXYGEN DELIVERY via the AORTA in the THORAX? Or is it a ROUND TRIP? I think our setter may be a demonic physiologist or a frustrated thoracic surgeon busy replumbing human anatomy…
    45 mins, fed the cat and now he and I are both smug.

  35. 40 mins with a break. Had to come here for several explanations including VEGETABLE and OXYGEN

  36. No time recorded as I was a taxi service today for various members of the family, and it took three sessions to finish, I would guess in about an hour. I was pleased to finish with all correct, and with the exception of BOOTSTRAP, all parsed. Having said all parsed, I should qualify that by saying I thought I’d parsed everything else but failed to spot the well discussed anomaly with HAIFA.
    As far as BOOTSTRAP was concerned, it was the reference to tablet that I couldn’t decipher. As far as the rest of it was concerned, I parsed it as Boot’s trap (Jesse Boot the chemist being the founder of Boots the Chemists). I think on this basis it seems to work without bringing the name of the store into it.

  37. Stuck for a long time at the end, since I had invented the HANAVA tribe (HA as the surprised reaction on “a van” overturning) . When 29a remained impossible, I finally got NAVAHO, leading to my LOI OXYGEN at 51:27

  38. Tricky, this, and I’m one of the ones who quite liked it in spite of some of the definitions stretching my imagination. Thx jeremy

  39. Really tough going. No time recorded, as I was trying to do this while travelling round London. I was hampered by the train strike and then a tube signalling problem, and forced to take an over-crowded and noisy bus which spent over an hour for a 30 minute trip. Not a pleasant experience, and I fear the same goes for the crossword. I’m another one mystified by the directions in 28ac.
    Thanks to jeremy and other contributors.

  40. All correct in the end, though I didn’t get to this until evening. But quite a poser for me. Ironically, my FOI was HAIFA, and I didn’t notice the anomaly of ‘west of’. FLAPJACK went in only with all the crossers and a giant MER… or rather ER. LOI OXYGEN, unparsed. As Zabadak says, most were entered from definition and post-parsed. No MER at NAVAHO with an H – I’ve seen it spelled like that before and the pronunciation is the same whether it’s a J or an H. Hoping tomorrow’s an easier ride.

  41. Again I had to go out earlyish and this time it seemed even harder than yesterday’s, so I did leave this only half done and just came back to it recently, finishing in 54 minutes. The HAIFA clue presented no problem at the time, but I think this was just because I failed to notice that it is wrong. The thing I found most odd, and which has evidently prompted few comments if at all, was that PPE is called an exam in 8dn, which is possibly true I suppose but is very unnatural. What would have been wrong with calling it a course? OXYGEN entered only because of the Thatcher quote and because it fitted.

  42. 34.31

    Also wanted BRIANDE but getting BOOTS finally made me rethink.

    Loved the Space Hopper clue. It screamed out “lift and separate” but even so, smooth and clever

  43. Got through in 30 minutes without fully understanding all the clues!! I didnt get the doremi aspect of Haifa, still less worry about the H being west or east. Got the oxygen of publicity but had no idea about the Mrs T connection. Etc etc. Though I did know about bootstrap programs, since I used to write such things.
    thanks setter and blogger

  44. I haven’t read all the comments above, but I thought this was pretty doable, especially for a Friday. Having said that, I took a good couple of hours on and off, but that’s good for me. It’s a rare day that I finish the big one by midnight and I think it’s probably a first for a Friday.

  45. 34’40”
    Slowly away, kept on well, stayed on gamely.
    I am little bemused as to how this got a 131 from the SNITCH-MEISTER.
    Quite tricky, but toddled through under par with all parsed bar semi-biffed diplomat.
    Perhaps BOOTS and FLAPJACK slowed the field.
    Compliments to the setter; I didn’t notice your West hospital glitch, if it was so.
    Thank you Jeremy.

  46. Done on Sunday. 38’02”. Not happy with the TEA-BREAK clue. Bags packed for this = break? But that is the same meaning as break in the answer. Anyway, a good chew. Are we sure Thatcher said that? Feel it might be a bit apocryphal. Need to back to my C. Moore to check.

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