Times Cryptic No 28733 — A father/son affair

38:00, with the last four or five clues taking 10–15 minutes! I worked on this one with my seven-year-old son, who had several good ideas, and was racing alongside me, trying to figure out how these things work.

The puzzle started easily enough with 1 Across, but I got bogged down on the right-hand side towards the end and had to grind it out a letter at a time. Still, I imagine others will find this on the easier side.

1 One’s depressed so one will stay in bed a little longer! (6,6)
SNOOZE BUTTON – cryptic definition
8 Not for good, but as regularly, arriving at island (7)
ANTIGUA – ANTI (not for) + G (good) + {b}U{t} A{s} (regularly)
9 Say nothing about a Book Club day (7)
SABBATH – SH (say nothing) around A + B (book) + BAT (club)

I somehow got it in my head that this was going to be SAY + O, or something like that, and thought there might be some English version of the Spanish SABADO!

11 Single keen on encounter (3,4)
RUN INTO – RUN (single) + INTO (keen on)

Does ‘single’ not need a question mark?

12 Vessel, one making gradual progress on way back (7)
DREDGER – EDGER (one making gradual progress) on RD (way) reversed
13 Judgement, substantial, was cut short (5)
FATWA – FAT (substantial) + WA{s} (cut short)
14 Cow’s advance, just losing way by entrance to field? (9)
SUBJUGATE – SUB (advance) + JUST – ST (way) + GATE (entrance to field?)

Didn’t know SUB = ‘advance’ but Chambers has ‘to lend money’.

16 Attack on PC maybe not originally viewed without interest (9)
HACKNEYED – HACK (attack on PC maybe) + first letter (originally) of NOT + EYED (viewed)
19 Retiring perhaps as exam failed first time is a shocker! (5)
TASER – RESAT (perhaps as exam failed first time) reversed (retiring)
21 Where documents kept neat after what’s done initially badly (4,3)
DEED BOX – OX (neat) after DEED (what’s done) + first letter (initially) of BADLY
23 School run avoiding centre was better (7)
GAMBLED – GAM (school) + BLEED (run) without the middle letter (avoiding centre)
24 Some lean back to front, getting in danger (7)
GRISKIN – RISKING (getting in danger) with the last letter moved to front

Didn’t know this one, so thanks to the wordplay!

25 Top goalkeeping feat — recalled ducking (7)
EVASION – NO. 1 (top) + SAVE (goalkeeping feat) reversed
26 Son experiencing criticism that’s got dad foaming at the mouth? (7-5)
SHAVING-STICK – S (son) + HAVING (experiencing) + STICK (criticism)
1 Protested “alien” material man-made (7)
SATINET – SAT IN (protested) + E.T. (alien)

Didn’t know this one either.

2 With small body, old WWI soldier needs trimmed dress fabric (7)
ORGANZA – ORG (small body) + ANZAC (old WWI soldier) without the last letter (needs trimmed dress)

As opposed to a new WWI soldier. This is the best I can manage for the wordplay. Let me know if you can do better.

3 Awfully lazy soul injecting energy with passion (9)
ZEALOUSLY – anagram (awfully) of LAZY SOUL around (injecting) E (energy)
4 Established old penny not made of precious metal? (5)
BASED – BASE (not made of precious metal?) D (old penny)
5 Players frozen here: cricketer turning blue, we hear? (7)
TABLEAU – BAT (cricketer) reversed (turning) + homophone (we hear) of LOW (blue)
6 Scrapping a goal — it’s a pain (7)
OTALGIA – anagram (scrapping) of A GOAL IT

An earache.

7 Remedy we find in our best friend’s coat? (4,2,3,3)
HAIR OF THE DOG – cryptic definition

And a good one!

10 Tough negotiations / where punches exchanged? (5,7)
HORSE TRADING – double definition (‘punch’ is a kind of horse)
15 Be greedy, after ordering seconds, but not all at once (2,7)
BY DEGREES – BE GREEDY anagrammed (after ordering) + S (seconds)
17 Marcher is hoping demos are entertaining (7)
CHERISH – {mar}CHER IS H{oping} hides the answer (demos)

This is a weird definition. Chambers has CHERISH = ‘to entertain in the mind’.

18 Arrest and fine upset very old writer (7)
NABOKOV – NAB (arrest) + OK (fine) + V (very) O (old) reversed (upset)
19 Daughter fleeing as mouse circles vessel in part of kitchen (7)
TIMPANI – D (daughter) removed from (fleeing) TIMID (as mouse) around (circles) PAN (vessel)
20 Small deer to annoy castaway (7)
SELKIRK – S (small) + ELK (deer) + IRK (annoy)
22 Gas: current, presumably, rising (5)
XENON – NON-EX (current, presumably) reversed (rising)

My only biff, and thankfully, as the wordplay was quite tricky!

93 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28733 — A father/son affair”

  1. At 14 minutes this was possibly my fastest Friday, until the pink square suddenly showed the typo BY DEGRESS, thus snitching defeat from victory’s jaws. ” Cherish ” by Madonna comes to mind, but I digress by degrees.

    1. The seven ages of man. You think of Madonna and I think of Eddie Cochran. I guess you’re in a middle stage and I’m on the last one! Sans teeth etc.

    2. I had exactly the same BY DEGRESS! Very annoying! Although I felt I was a bit off the wavelength today….

  2. A lot easier than yesterday’s but there were still plenty of challenges here and I am indebted to Jeremy for explaining quite a few where I was struggling. Like gam = school, horse = punch, non-ex = current. What has TIMPANI got to do with a kitchen, or are we talking muso slang for the percussion section? I did it in 34.46 which I thought was OK given words like GRISKIN, SATINET and the crafty SELKIRK. By my superficial reckoning we were one Q short of a pangram, a shame because there were so many Us.

  3. Went pretty quickly… on the left side, that is. At least the two CDs didn’t keep me guessing very long this time, though I had to wipe off the last part of SHAVING CREAM, where I’d blithely ignored part of the wordplay…
    NHO of GRISKIN, but got that a long time before another unremembered, SELKIRK, my LOI.

  4. GRISKIN from wordplay and biffed ORGANZA. 8:45, so must have been way on the setter’s wavelength.

  5. GRISKIN from wordplay and biffed ORGANZA, same as glh, org unknown. Slow start but it all flowed quickly after a few crossers were in, and no hold-outs at the end. Liked it – very precise, and the sweet spot (for me) in vocabulary and degree of difficulty.

      1. My guess was an abbreviation (small) for organisation, rather than the URL, but either way gets there. Not particularly liking it, but the only minor quibble I had.

  6. 34 minutes of which the last 4 were devoted to finding the unknown GRISKIN which is making its very first appearance in a Times crossword in the TfTT era. The wordplay got me to it eventually.

    I had difficulty convincing myself that ‘entertain’ can mean CHERISH but vaguely remembered expressions such as ‘cherish a thought’ and ‘cherish a dream’ which just about seemed to cover it.

    I thought SHAVING STICKs were a thing of he past, replaced by foam and gel and electric shavers of course, but Amazon still offers quite a range of them.

    I wouldn’t expect a question mark for ‘single / RUN’ at 11ac.

    1. Shaving sticks a thing of the past. Does that explain why it’s dad, not the son, foaming at the mouth?

    2. I think I agree about RUN/single. It is true that not all runs are singles (‘going for the second run was a bit risky’) but if a batter scores one run, you would say that they had scored a run or a single and in that context the words are exactly synonymous.

  7. The wordplay was no use to me at 24 since I failed to see it. Shoved in ‘grisket’ (pork brisket??), inventing the gas ‘xeton’, even though I actually knew the correct one and had it in situ.

    Similar time to Jeremy and the prodigy apart from that.

  8. 8:56. I’ve had an extraordinary run this week leading to a weekly WITCH of 62. I think this is because I so typically do about 90% of the puzzle quickly then get stuck at the end, but didn’t get stuck once this week.
    The few unknowns I came across today were generously clued, though I was tempted by the familiar DROP BOX before I eventually saw DEED. I only knew SELKIRK as a place in Scotland, so was interested to read about Alexander Selkirk and how Robinson Crusoe was based on him.
    Nice to read about your son Jeremy – clearly a bright lad!

      1. Thanks Zabadak. Not quite, my quickest are around the 6-7 minute mark. It’s more the fact I had three under 10 minutes and one just over in a week that is very unusual (I also had a DNF when I managed to misspell connoisseurship but I’ll gloss over that one 😉).

  9. I struggled with this, and didn’t much enjoy it – I eventually biffed five answers, for all of which I’m grateful to Jeremy and his excellent blog.

    TIME 12:43

  10. 52 minutes with LOI the unknown GRISKIN, after I at last saw CHERISH. Cherished memories, I guess. That’s today’s ear worms sorted courtesy of Eddie Cochran. I never felt like I was going to finish this one but I got here. COD to SELKIRK. I’ll be missing now for ten days on a late holiday. .Good luck to those daft enough to enter the Championship. Thank you Jeremy and setter.

    1. I always do it on paper, and infer you do too.
      I hate using phones but usually take a pc on hols abroad.
      I wonder you don’t do similar? The subscription for the paper is cheaper than buying the paper daily (if you take the ST, worth it for the Culture section) so you get an online sub inc in the price.

      1. I do have a subscription but always print off a hard copy to solve. A ten day rest may doe me good. Either that, or the brain will seize up completely!

  11. 39:25. Slow to get going. FOI 13ac FATWA. LOI GRISKIN from wordplay with fingers crossed

  12. 42 mins. LOI GRISKIN. No idea how to parse so a lucky guess.

    The top half flew in but the lower clues lead to a fair bit of head scratching. I too thought we were on for a pangram, but no.

    Jeremy, the answer for 2D is DRESS FABRIC as ORGANZA is a material specially used for making dresses.

    I liked SHAVING STICK.

    Thanks Jeremy, especially for GRISKIN, and setter.

    1. I don’t believe the wordplay would make sense with that definition. “Needs trimmed” doesn’t work.

      1. OK, but “needs trimmed dress” doesn’t really explain “take the C off ANZAC” ? Needs trimming, or “needs to be trimmed”, yes. Perhaps the clue got lost somewhere in the translation.

        1. ‘Dress’ is “the covering or ornament of the body”. If a word had “trimmed dress”, you would take a letter off the outer part, which is what I see.

          I see many are making a point that “needs trimmed” has a meaning I’m just not familiar with as an American. It’s a good point, but I don’t see a problem with my parsing either, so I’ll just leave it as is.

  13. 33 minutes. Like the blogger I started reasonably fast but then spent 15 minutes on the last few, in my case the SE corner. My LOI was TIMPANI which I thought was really clever when I cottoned on. Also spent ages on EVASION which I kept reading as noone save instead of number one save. And also the STICK part of SHAVING STICK took a while.
    Nho GRISKIN either but luckily RISKING was pretty clear.
    Thanks setter and blogger

    Chambers: (dialect) lean meat from a loin of pork
    Collins: the lean part of a loin of pork
    OED: the lean part of the loin of a bacon pig

    1. Well, yes, we all know that now! Must be the only word in the dictionaries that none of us have ever come across before. Must remember to ask my butcher.

        1. Don’t know but it looks like an automated posting that could become a pest. Perhaps johninterred and vinyl1 might investigate?

  15. 49m 20s
    It occurs to me that the clue for 8ac could have included Guam; something like
    “Against a slightly smaller Pacific Island or a Caribbean one.”
    PS…Re 2d, ORGANZA: Those who aren’t familiar with the origins of the ANZAC tradition, it’s well worth reading up on them….or just watch this video:

  16. DNF, another entry into OWL Club with ‘grisken’ rather than the unknown GRISKIN – I only thought of ‘risk’ for danger, trying to put it inside a word meaning ‘lean’ backwards, and never considered we might need the gerund.

    Couldn’t parse ANTIGUA or GAMBLED (I forgot gam=school); only got ORGANZA because I remembered it from previous crosswords; didn’t know that ‘kitchen’ can be a term for the percussion section where the TIMPANI is; tried to justify ‘shaving cream’ before the K from 20d put me on the right track for SHAVING STICK; forgot that a punch is a horse so didn’t fully see how HORSE TRADING worked; and had to trust that SELKIRK was a castaway.

    Tough stuff. Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Snooze button

  17. 17’23”, nho GRISKIN, ORGANZA unparsed.

    I remember my Dad’s SHAVING STICK, part of the ritual involving a mug of hot water, safety razor and a shaving brush.

    Thanks jeremy and setter.

  18. 12:30, helped by having nice phrasal answers around all the borders. I hate long words.
    Second lipogram this week (Z on Tuesday, Q today).
    Cometh the hour, presseth the SNOOZE BUTTON (RadMac).

  19. Held up at the end by the nho GRISKIN and also TIMPANI, for some reason I thought it was TIMBALI, a momble for timbal which is a kettledrum. But I couldn’t parse it, and the PAN occurred eventually.

    Curiously, “hair of the dog” was the answer to a clue I solved only yesterday, in a Times crossword from 1996. There it was clued as “A little bit of chow recommended if you’ve got a hangover.” On balance I think I prefer it to today’s, which doesn’t make much sense to me.

  20. 13:11. Another trickyish one that I really enjoyed. DK GRISKIN obviously, and DEED BOX was unfamiliar.
    If you asked me to name the person Robinson Crusoe is based on I wouldn’t be able to, but when I see SELKIRK I remember that he’s the chap.
    I wouldn’t call HORSE TRADING ‘tough negotiations’, personally. That’s the easy bit!
    I was a bit worried about ORGANZA, having failed to parse it, so thanks for the explanation.

    1. We had Horse Trading as tough negotiations a month or so ago, and I put it in reluctantly then since I use the term as back-and-forth rather than tough. But that did prepare me for a quick write-in today.

      1. In my idiolect ‘horse trading’ refers to a final stage of negotiation where you know you have an agreement and you are just gaining or conceding things of trivial value before coming to a conclusion. I love negotiating but I dislike this phase: it can take an extraordinarily long time.

        1. Sound like about the same usage – lots of jaw-jaw, but a trade that’s going to get done gets done.

  21. After yesterday’s beauty I felt rather cheated by this one. To go through all that, with its squeezing in of all the other Scrabble™ Stars, to be missing the Q was deflating.
    Like others, I thought CREAM was ok, though I had to squint a bit to derive it from “criticism”. HORSE TRADING was perilously close to a third CD, and as for GRISKIN – doesn’t he write all those tedious legal “thrillers”? Perhaps because I was already feeling grumpy by the time I got to it, “blue” for low/LEAU felt a bit smeary.
    Not my favourite 19 minutes and 37 seconds from ?Griskin Definition Bot.

  22. I enjoyed this, although it took just over an hour, solving on a train. The train journey required me to get up early, with the usual adverse side effects on my brain. After waiting for a grandchild which still hasn’t arrived, I am now on my way to the hundredth birthday celebration of the grandchild’s great-grandmother, so there are a number of additional distractions.

  23. Bit of a struggle, about 65′, maybe because I started before going to bed! Quicker in the morning but not by much. Some references I’m coming across for the first time (eg gam=school; ox=neat) having started this particular form of torture (at least it is on Fridays) less than a year ago… But did enjoy HAIR OF THE DOG and XENON. Thanks to setter and Jeremy for the explanations.

  24. 29:34
    A nice way to finish the week. Didn’t find this particularly straightforward but ploughed through it steadily enough until I came to GRISKIN and CHERISH. Never hear of the former but eventually got it from the wordplay. Don’t remember coming across ORG as body before but I suppose I must have done.
    I though the two cryptic definitions were excellent.

    Thanks to Jeremy and the setter

  25. Slow going, but got there in the end.

    Was able to get GRISKIN quite quickly. Mainly held up in bottom right by SELKIRK, GAMBLED and TIMPANI for reasons outlined by persons various above.


  26. 16:11

    I dithered a bit with ORGANZA until I had the final A from FATWA. I’d figured out the ANZA{c} bit but was worried that I was confusing ORGANZA with Simon & Garfunkel’s ORGANDY.

    Like others I also took a while to figure out what went with SHAVING.

    GAM never forgotten after a slip-up in the championships.

    Nice puzzle, apart from GRISKIN, which sounds like it should be the opposite of what it is (maybe some kind of nasty morsel of skin and gristle combined. Yuk.)

  27. 35 minutes or so but the top half was completed in 10 before I fell into some traps of my own making. I couldn’t get out of my head that 21A could be DUTY BOX and that threw me off spotting CHERISH. I know not what a duty box is but it sounded like a thing to me.
    Overall an enjoyable puzzle, with the unknowns GRISKIN and SELKIRK helped by the cluing and checkers.
    Thanks to the setter and to Jeremy for the explanations.

  28. 13:32, so not a Friday Beast but testing enough. Despite long service in the kitchen, I have never knowingly cooked or eaten a GRISKIN (and as suggested above, the word sounds like it should involve a stroll down Offal Avenue, rather than being an actual premium cut); but staying within the kitchen, I did remember to think of percussion as soon as I saw the word, having learned and forgotten that trick more than once. Spent a while trying to work out how ROE could help give CRUSOE, and find an extra letter, before realising I was closer than I had thought with that line of reasoning.

  29. 5m 32s, considerably quicker than I was for today’s QC, and plenty of biffing. Some nice breakdowns here.

  30. I wondered whether the clue for ORGANZA was printed as the setter intended. The word “needs” seems redundant. I’d suggest the clue would work better without it.

    1. Agree, which would suggest that, as I have replied above, the “DRESS” bit goes with the FABRIC, no? Otherwise it is surplus to requirements as well.

    2. As listed above, north of the border the English ‘needs xxxing’ becomes ‘needs xxxed’. Perhaps this setter is Scottish.

      1. ‘Dress’ is “the covering or ornament of the body”. If a word had “trimmed dress”, you would take a letter off the outer part, which is what I see.

        I see many are making a point that “needs trimmed” has a meaning I’m just not familiar with as an American. It’s a good point, but I don’t see a problem with my parsing either, so I’ll just leave it as is.

  31. 28 mins, the usual veggie complaint, but as it turns out none of the meat eaters had heard of it either. Too long at the end trying to fathom it out. XENON was an obscure clue to a had-to-be answer.

    1. I’m not British so I shouldn’t comment, but I would think both words end with the same sound — Chambers agrees.

      Certainly ‘tableau’ in French does not rhyme with ‘low’, but the word in question is the English word ‘tableau’, which is pronounced differently.

  32. With G_I_K_N I couldn’t believe that there was any word that fitted, so I gave up and cheated. I shouldn’t of course: if I was made of sterner stuff I’d have found risking. ORGANZA entered without understanding: I got the Anzac, but didn’t see the small body and couldn’t (and still can’t) understand ‘needs trimmed’, when it should either be ‘trimmed’, as Astro_Nowt says, or ‘needs to be trimmed’. Otherwise not really too difficult, 42 minutes, although for the second day in succession I was very slow to start: I suspected SNOOZE BUTTON but was reluctant to enter it at first.

    1. Please see my comments above: in Scotland, your grass needs trimmed, not trimming.

  33. Really enjoy this kind of grid pattern, and trying to solve the long ones around the edge first with no ‘crossers’ in place. Think I’ll give griskin a miss though- sounds like a compound of gristle and skin . .

  34. 19:19. A sight easier than yesterday’s near defeat, with GRISKIN being the only unknown. Who would have thought there was a special word for a lean bit of pork.

  35. 22:12

    On the wavo today, though there were bits I missed or didn’t like much:

    SABBATH – failed to parse apart from the AB
    DEED BOX – NHO but plain enough to parse
    CHERISH – wasn’t that happy with the definition but happier about it having read the comments
    LEAU sounds like LOW – it does to me and my Third Form French
    TIMPANI – didn’t get the kitchen reference, though they are also known as kettledrums…
    OTALGIA – dug that up from somewhere

    Liked GAMBLED. Thanks all

  36. 23.42, with a few unparsed, but no matter. Possibly a Friday record for me, although I don’t keep tabs.

    Thanks both.

  37. Phew. Caught up on all the crosswords on the mat when I returned from holiday. This seemed fairly kind for a Friday aka some unknowns but all clearly clued.

    Thanks setter and Plusjeremy.
    How lovely to be bringing on the next generation. Was that not how we all started?

  38. Nice puzzle, very straightforward for a Friday. Like most, never heard of GRISKIN but very generously clued.
    I read Robinson Crusoe when I was about 12, and the foreword explained that it was based on the life of Alexander Selkirk. Like many I can remember just about everything from back then……… now what was I going to do next?

  39. Found this very tricky. DNF as I had to use aids on 4 or 5 clues. But enjoyed it nonetheless in a warped sort of way.
    COD for me was ‘SELKIRK’, which I finally got after wasting much time on a thoroughly misguided parallel track believing that CRUSOE was involved, it having the letters of ROE (deer).
    I’m surprised that the blogger didn’t know ‘sub’ as ‘advance’. I assume it stands for ‘subsidise’. “Can you sub me a tenner?” is a pretty common usage this side of the pond.

  40. I arose early(for me) this morning to vacate the holiday cottage in Skipton by 10am, so tackled this after driving home and unpacking. Now feeling somewhat weary! FATWA was FOI. I made reasonable progress but became becalmed in the SW for a while. SHAVING arrived quickly but STICK took ages and needed the S and K from BY DEGREES and SELKIRK. XENON arived courtesy of DEED BOX, but I failed to parse it. The unknown and LOI, GRISKIN took a while, and I eventually spotted the last letter to the front trick then wrote it out with the G back at the end before spotting “risking” and reversing engineering the clue. 26:11. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  41. 50’45”
    Never at the races.
    Way off the pace before I bogged myself down in the SW corner, inventing reasons why not to put in CHERISH, on top of RISK obscuring the gerund – Molesworth’s troublesome gerunds – in plain view.
    I take it ‘demo s’ is to be taken as demo(nstrates) / presents ?
    I enjoyed this, albeit at a trot; thank you setter and Jeremy – keep up the stirling work with junior !

  42. I wonder when we’ll get the slang sense of ‘say nothing’ appearing in crosswords? ‘Say nothing’ = ‘say less’ = ‘say no more’, which itself has multiple meanings in MLE. As it happens it just clued the ‘sh’ in SABBATH though.

  43. 60 mins for me, but all correct despite plenty of biffing and not managing to parse a couple. Not sure of exact time as left counter running while I had a chat with the builder. Some pretty tricky vocab today, and some very challenging wordplay. I’m in awe of those finishing quickly! COD TIMPANI, which I only got from the wordplay. Thank you setter and Jeremy!

  44. Very slow at just under 70 minutes, but satisfying to have solved with only ORGANZA not fully parsed (thanks for the interesting discussion above) and GRISKIN a NHO.

  45. Limped over the line after 83 minutes, with LOI the NHO GRISKIN. I had SHAVING BRUSH at first, which caused a lot of delay in the SE corner.

  46. GRISKIN entered extremely tentatively to give me that rare feat of correct week. Many thanks to the 5 setters (and bloggers)- as I can settle down satisfied with myself! Enjoyed this one.

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