Times Cryptic No 28829 — Glutton for punishment

16:44. This was a solid puzzle which gave me several smiles but no problems. Why should I be disappointed with that? I’m not, and it’s not the setter’s fault, but I realized that I tend to brace myself for a gut punch on Fridays, and this certainly wasn’t that! So, as much as we all like to be made to suffer now and again, I hope you could look past that and enjoy this lovely puzzle on its own merits.

1 Forgive a cheat in navy after pressure (6)
PARDON – A + DO (cheat) in RN (navy), after P (pressure)
4 Ready for stock control pub company regularly dreads (8)
BARCODED – BAR (pub) CO (company) every other letter in (regularly) DREADS
10 Coach remaining [in] location for actors (5,4)
11 New black mostly replaced white (5)
BLANC – anagram of (replaced) N (new) BLACK minus the last letter (mostly)
12 Pinch a day some weeks after Easter (7)
WHITSUN – WHIT (pinch) SUN (a day)
13 Speaking in public once before a politician (7)
ORATORY – OR (once [archaic form of] ‘before’) + A + TORY (politician)

I can’t imagine this held anyone up, since -ATORY is clear and the definition is, too, but OR is rather obscure, no?

14 Savage jumbo [in] setter’s latest style left unstarted (5)
ROGUE – last letter of (‘s latest) SETTER + VOGUE (style) without the first letter (left unstarted)

A rogue elephant is what’s being referenced here.

15 Childish about smell [being] severe (8)
INHUMANE – INANE (childish) around (about) HUM (smell)

So many words for ‘smell’ in British English! Also, I think INANE for ‘childish’ and INHUMANE for ‘severe’ are a tad tenuous for my tastes.

18 Donnish boss lives outside Oxford Universty (8)
STUDIOUS – STUD (boss) + IS (lives) around (outside) OU (Oxford University)
20 Drums initially beaten in traditional Indian rhythm (5)
TABLA – first letter of (initially) BEATEN in TALA (traditional Indian rhythm)

I was ready to biff TABLA immediately with the Indian-flavored drums in the surface reading, but I had never heard of TALA, so hesitated until the end of my solve.

23 Italian city [in] country — one in good area (7)
PERUGIA – PERU (country) + I (one) in G (good) A (area)

Don’t know the city, but the wordplay and crossing letters made this solvable.

25 Task to insert a line [in] hymn tune (7)
CHORALE – CHORE (task) around (to insert) A L (line)
26 Very curious about one piercing? (5)
NOISY – NOSY (very curious) around (about) I (one)
27 Where king may be lying about current grand cause (9)
INSTIGATE – IN STATE (where king may be) around (lying about) I (current) G (grand)
28 Staining damage linked with expensive jewellery (8)
MARBLING – MAR (damage) + (linked with) BLING (expensive jewellery)
29 Celebratory of baby to come — welcoming son (6)
FESTAL – FETAL (of baby to come) around (welcoming) S (son)

Great clue!

1 Father’s blade which can open doors (8)
PASSWORD – PA’S (father’s) SWORD (blade)
2 Blazing row in gang (7)
ROARING – OAR (row) in RING (gang)
3 Lay out a lot [of] drove pens all over the place (9)
OVERSPEND – anagram of (all over the place) DROVE PENS
5 Fool grabbing Oscar, say? One is in court who knows the stars (14)
ASTROPHYSICIST – ASS (fool) around (grabbing) TROPHY (Oscar, say) + I (one) + IS in CT (court)

I was able to get this and 9 down within seconds, which immensely helped the solve.

6 Openings of charmer’s old basket reveals arising ? (5)
COBRA – first letters (openings) of CHARMER’S OLD BASKET REVEALS ARISING

The definition is the blank “—” to be filled in. Or you could take it to be the whole clue, of course.

7 Soldier died by Burmese capital without a name (7)
DRAGOON – D (died) + (by) RANGOON (Burmese capital) removing one (without a) N (name)
8 Foot [of] old flyer just over half preserved (6)
DACTYL – 6/11 of (just over half preserved) PTERODACTYL (flyer)
9 Rig renovation I arranged [giving] new strength (14)
16 See this crossing the sky or meet it broken on top of earth (9)
METEORITE – OR MEET IT anagrammed (broken) + (on) first letter (top) of EARTH
17 Prince holds member of insurgency which is growing in the country (8)
HAREBELL – HAL (prince) around (holds) REBEL (member of insurgency)
19 Dog runs into lake in extremes of terror (7)
TERRIER – R (runs) in (into) ERIE (lake) in first and last letters (extremes) of TERROR
21 Horrid child circumventing prohibition [in] old part of Europe (7)
BRABANT – BRAT (horrid child) around (circumventing) BAN (prohibition)
22 One nominally involved? Gosh, no, the reverse of that (6)
EPONYM – MY (gosh) NOPE (no) reversed (the reverse of that)

Loved this clue.

24 Audible breather [taken in] deep ravine (5)
GHYLL – homophone of (audible) GILL (breather)

Didn’t know this word, which can also be spelled ‘gill’, but it’s the only way I could form a homophone using the checking letters.

71 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28829 — Glutton for punishment”

  1. 15:50
    Maybe because it’s Friday and I was let down, but I found this rather on the meh side. Like Jeremy, I knew TABLA but not TALA, so held off until I had a checker or two. I biffed REINVIGORATION, assuming the anagrist was all there. Biffed ASTROPHYSICIST, parsed post-submission. OR=before was new to me; I suppose that the setter, having given us, as Jeremy says, ATORY and a definition, felt he could get away with it. (It’s in Collins, but not ODE. As very often happens, something that isn’t in ODE is in my Japanese-English dictionary.) Not that it matters, but I parsed INSTIGATE as IN STATE=where king may be lying. I liked FESTAL.

    1. OR for before is a frequent flyer in Mephistoland: makes for a change from “men” or “gold”

  2. 32.29 with a third of that spent in the SW trying to untangle MARBLING, EPONYM (great clue!) and LOI GHYLL. Oh and a bit more in the opposite corner struggling with DACTYL and BLANC. Very enjoyable puzzle even though I have no idea what’s going on with COBRA definition-wise. Loved the fortuitous coming together of TABLA and tala, which I took on trust as being a thing. Thanks to Jeremy for explaining the ‘or’ in ORATORY, a NHO archaic word for before. That’s it for me, I’m off to the MCG or the cricket starts.

  3. I started with ASTROPHYSICIST and REINVIGORATION and, with such a start, I made good time. But haste makes waste, and I negligently threw in BARCODES, not BARCODED, which made DACTYL my LOI (after the unknown GHYLL) when I’d corrected that; otherwise, I would have gotten it immediately from “old foot.”

  4. 49 minutes. Not too easy for me with three unknown words – TALA, BRABANT and GHYLL – and TABLA and HAREBELL at the outer limits of my memory/ vocab. Like Guy, I initially put in BARCODES at 4a which held me up at the end for DACTYL. I liked COBRA, a nice semi-&lit variant

    I was expecting 29a to be clued with something like “in the US” as I’ve always thought FOETAL is the usual British English spelling, but looking it up in UK dictionaries, it turns out FETAL is given as the first or correct spelling after all; Mr Webster obviously did his job well back in the 19th century.

    1. UK medical spellings retain the oe but Americans drop the o. For example estrogen would not emerge from the pen of any self respecting British endocrinologist. If there are indeed UK dictionaries that cite fetal as the correct British spelling of foetal they are just plain dead ass wrong.

      1. I agree with you about medical oe- words. To be fair, “oesophagus” and “oestrogen” are given as the first spelling in Chambers, Collins and the ODE with the o-less spelling given as “US” or “esp N American”, although Chambers only has the oe- spelling for oestrogen.

        Here’s what my ODE app and the more recent Oxford Dictionaries Premium have to say about “foetus”:
        USAGE – The spelling foetus has no etymological basis but is recorded from the 16th century and until recently was the standard British spelling in both technical and non-technical use. In technical usage fetus is now the standard spelling throughout the English-speaking world, but foetus is still found in British English outside technical contexts.

        Mm…; it’ll still be foetus / foetal for me.

        1. I didn’t know this, very interesting. Unlike most ‘oe’ words (oestrogen, oesophagus, oenology) ‘fetus’ does not have a Greek root, so it would appear that ‘foetus’ was originally a spelling mistake!

  5. 27 minutes for what I solved, but I eventually had to give up in the SE and resorted to aids for TABLA and HAREBELL.

    TABLA was a double whammy for me as I never heard of TABLA nor of TALA. I was pretty sure of TAB as I knew ‘tabor’ as a drum but that couldn’t be the answer as it’s singular. With the third checker still missing and unhelpful wordplay I couldn’t imagine what the last two letters might be.

    As for HAREBELL, ‘which is in growing the country’ was too vague a definition to be of much use to me and in any case harebells (aka bluebells) grow in many an urban and suburban garden and are not limited to the countryside.

    NHO ‘once / OR’ so 13ac went in easily enough but only partially parsed.

    What Jeremy said about GHYLL, which I’d never heard of.

    What Bletchers said about the spelling of FETAL.

    1. Harebell may refer to the bluebell in some parts of the country, but I know them as quite distinct, smaller, delicate plants with single bell-shaped blue flowers, often found on open chalk downs rather than woodland.

  6. I also didn’t find this easy! 34:08 with LOI TABLA which I needed HAREBELL to get and then had vaguely heard of (NHO TALA, just googled it now). GHYLL was another word I had to drag from the depths of my memory.
    I need a coffee now to recover 🙂

  7. … We slowed again,
    And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
    A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower
    Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.
    (The Whitsun Wedding, Larkin)

    Well it took me a shade over 30 mins mid-brekker as I got stuck in the SW, not Perugia or Terrier but the other three.
    NHO Tala, but know Tabla.
    Ta setter and PJ.

  8. DNF in 14 minutes to round off a very poor week for me. I’m less annoyed at myself on this one, however – I didn’t know the drum or the rhythm, and guessed TABRA. Feeling a little hard done by as I doubt either are particularly widely known. Perhaps it’s just me, and least I’ve learnt something (two things).

    Thanks setter & PJ.

    1. I’m old enough to remember Ravi Shankar at the Concert for Bangladesh, playing the sitar and being accompanied by Ali Akbar Khan, on tabla .. they spent some time tuning up their instruments, and got as much applause for that as for the actual performance. Still got the album, somewhere

  9. 28 minutes here, LOI GHYLL. Another NHO but between GYYLL and GHYLL I luckily plumped for the latter. Vaguely remembered TABLA from somewhere.

    Not exactly a Monday level of ease, but definitely a dip from yesterday. Still good fun. I liked HAREBELL and FESTAL too.

    COD to EPONYM. Gosh, my, jeepers, etc.

  10. 13:13

    I’m in the “meh” camp with Kevin. Some elements, like OR, TALA and the elephant thing, just irked me a little. I thought the COBRA clue was trying to be too clever for its own good

    Anyone who has been to the Lake District is likely to have been in either or both of the New Dungeon Ghyll or Old Dungeon Ghyll pubs in Langdale so no problems there.

    1. Spent some happy times at the Charity Folk Festivals in the ODG and stayed in the NDG when there were no rooms left in the ODG. Neil who runs the ODG plays fiddle and has had a 5 string violin made for him.

  11. Quick today, I think yesterday’s and today’s must have got mixed up in the pile.
    Only held up by guessing abyss for 24dn, but soon corrected. Gaping Ghyll, a well-known caving system in North Yorkshire, near Ingleborough.

  12. DNF beaten by the NHO’s, TABLA & GHYLL. Unfortunately, never been to the Lake District otherwise I’d have been bound to stumble into one of the pubs!

    Rest of it a mix of some easy clues and a couple of devils. Not to my taste today.

    Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  13. Did this either while watching cricket or when they were at tea, so no time. Good puzzle, which merited more attention. LOI EPONYM. COD to ASTROPHYSICIST. Thank you Jeremy and setter.

  14. DNF, defeated by GHYLL and DACTYL. Didn’t know either, and with G_Y_L for the former I eventually decided that a car’s grille is kind of a breather (it lets the engine breathe, right?) and invented ‘gryll’. For the latter, I thought of prehistoric creatures but didn’t get to pterodactyl.

    Like others, didn’t know or=before in ORATORY or the tala rhythm for TABLA; couldn’t have told you where BRABANT is; knowledge of Italian football helped with PERUGIA; only worked out how ASTROPHYSICIST worked after I’d put it in.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Festal

  15. 23′, unheard of for a Friday.. However didn’t really enjoy this for some reason. As mentioned by some, not particularly taxing for a Friday, to the extent I had to force myself to see much of it as QC territory and not overthink it. Maybe just my wavelength, but some of the definitions seemed a bit obvious, so quite a few write-ins off the bat. Nevertheless, I almost came to a sticky end with the LOI and NHO GHYLL. Breather=Gill eventually came from crossers but, as a Scot, homophones are often a bone of contention so I almost fooled myself into adding the usual silent “r” to make up “ghyrl”. Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  16. 13:21. I’m another in the camp that knew TABLA but not TALA so held off putting it in. I took a while to remember BRABANT at the end. Gentle for a Friday, but, unlike some, I’m not disappointed. Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  17. 17’12”, with TABLA LOI, and GHYLL needing all the crossers.

    Back to the cricket…..

    Thanks jeremy and setter.

  18. 26:29
    Ghyll, or, tala – all unknown.
    Brabant was okay; I regularly used to stay over at the Eindhoven Campanile hotel on Noord Brabantlaan on the way to and from work in Germany.
    Thanks, pj.

      1. Good stuff. We used to regard Eindhoven as the gateway to freedom when we were heading to UK on holidays from our home in Lower Saxony! Nice place to break the journey.

  19. 7:54 Gosh, that was quite enjoyable, though easier than many a Friday puzzle. I also had never come across TALA but tablas are quite well-known in Crosswordland. There are lots of ghylls / gills (including Arthur Scargill) in the north of England, for which we can blame the Vikings. My only gripe about this puzzle is that there are two clues in which the wordplay uses the same element as part of the solution, so SUN (day of the week) in WHITSUN and DACTYL (finger) in PTERODACTYL. Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine and maybe most people don’t notice these things. COD to EPONYM.

    1. I had the same thought about WHIT(SUN), but I didn’t know that the literary meaning of DACTYL comes from the three joints of a finger. Something I’m delighted to learn – etymology is fun!

  20. Keeping to the average time for me this week, 18.45, so no Friday special – yesterday took me rather longer. No real problems: I know the Indian music stuff, not least because a colleague of mine ran an Indian Jazz fusion band which included TABLA, and took TALA on trust and Mephisto. GHYLL was a bit of a hit and hope, but I couldn’t think of any other fit. Seeing the G in the anagram fodder for 9d had me giving it an -ing finish, but that made MARBLING impossible and led to revision. Is BLING expensive jewellery or does it just look that way?
    I think, if pushed, I’d have said BRABANT was more exotically placed than Belgium.

  21. 26:33

    Reasonably chewy for a Friday. I’m another who bashed in BARCODES and took a while to realise the error. OR for before was new to me as was GHYLL. I’d somehow got it into my head that BLING was cheap jewellery but now I know. COD EPONYM.

    Thanks to Jeremy and the setter.

  22. Disappointingly easy for a Friday. Got down to two left in double-quick time but foiled by the NHO GHYLL and, on top of that, failed to see the deceptive ‘gill’ from ‘breather’, so a DNF.
    By the way, I tend to think of BLING as cheap jewellery, rather than expensive. Or at least ‘tacky’-looking. (Which amounts to the same thing in my book.)

  23. EPONYM a good clue, but I entered it without understanding because I thought it was EP + (no my)rev. ; I missed no = nope and couldn’t acount for the PE or EP. No other major problems, although one or two entered in hope: was only very vaguely conscious of BRABANT, which I thought was a type of car — ah, I see why (Trabant) — and the Tala/TABLA clue was slightly guessed. 28 minutes, but I don’t feel it really counts until you grasp all the parsing.

  24. 12:19 – usual unknowns, tala and or, but I didn’t even notice I didn’t know them until coming here. I put a question mark next to “expensive jewellery”. Like several others, I had for some reason thought bling meant cheap, showy jewellery. I see I was half wrong, but the defining quality of bling still seems to be its ostentation rather than its price.

  25. 24:20

    Quite enjoyed though there were bits I didn’t know e.g. OR for before, and GHYLL (easy with all of the checkers though – what else could it be?). TALA also unknown but knew TABLA so took a punt on that. Poor on the first pass of acrosses but seven long downs certainly helped to speed things up. Liked HAREBELL and FESTAL.

  26. A few NHOs but got there eventually.

    BLANC not in Chambers app but GCSE French made it obvious.

    Being picky, you can’t see a meteorite in the sky unless you pick it up and throw it. It’s a meteor until it hits the ground.

    1. Thanks for that. I’m hopeful I can irritate someone with that piece of trivia.
      Pedantry for ever!

  27. Unlike several others, I thought this was a terrific crossword – not because it was easy – it wasn’t *that*easy! – but because I got nearly everything from the clueing, not from biffing, which made for a satisfying solve. The one I bifd initially – Gully – turned out to be unparseable and I was forced to rethink. Luckily, as Jerry and Stavrolex said, anyone who’s spent time in Yorkshire or the Lakes will be familiar with GHYLL. Didn’t like FoESTAL, did like practically everything else, especially EPONYM and HAREBELL, my last ones in, and purely from following the wordplay.
    Jeremy, FWIW, for 27a the 1st part of the definition is ‘Where king may be lying’, as recently deceased monarchs are said to be lying in state, and that is ‘around’ IG.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Jeremy for unravelling 14A, where I couldn’t see the significance of jumbo…

  28. 10:51. This one seems to have been a bit Marmite. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t find it terribly difficult but I’m nonetheless astonished that mohn did it in under 4 minutes. 🤯
    I didn’t know tala, GHYLL or BRABANT but I did know TABLA fortunately. That clue strikes me as a bit mean.
    MER at ‘expensive’. As others have said the defining characteristic of BLING is its appearance, and to the extent there’s any association with cost it’s the opposite.

    1. Apparently, the “expensive” connotation is more American, as it does not appear in the British definitions in Collins, but Merriam-Webster has “flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth or status | broadly : expensive and ostentatious possessions.”

  29. 7dn needs ‘old’ or ‘ once’ – Rangoon (Yangon)is no longer the capital of Burma (Myanmar). It was changed ages ago to Nay Pyi Taw (Naypyidaw), a new and completely separate city.

    1. I thought that using Burma instead of Myanmar was meant to indicate pre-Naypyidaw

  30. Very slow today, and two wrong. I had a K instead of the C in DACTYL (I never could spell terrordaktyl) and then I invented the TABRA. Well, now I know

  31. I knew TABLA, as my grandchildren once had a lesson on playing them in the village hall on the island of Coll, but wasn’t sure of TALA. MARBLING was held up by a biffed ABYSS, and the fact that I thought BLING was cheap jewellry. Got there eventually. As Penfold mentioned, the ODG and NDG in Langdale will be familiar to any regular visitors to the Lake District. PARDON was FOI and DACTYL brought up the rear after a few moments thought. 19:25. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  32. Very enjoyable crossie. Naypyidaw is actually the capital but I suppose it still works as a clue now that the country is called Myanmar

  33. DNF. Refused to reconsider 11a BLANK (rather than BLANC) so no 8d DACTYL, and was very worried about OR for before in 13a ORATORY.
    Was unable to parse 14a ROGUE, thanks plusjeremy.
    NHO 20a TABLA nor tala. Tabor yes, but singular.
    Don’t like the unmarked use of US fetal for foetal in 29a. I accept that all professional users have dropped the o, but I haven’t. Don’t really believe in FESTAL as a word, but it is in the usual sources.
    Rangoon is now Yangon, we should have had a pointer IMHO. Also as Paratsoukli points out that city hasn’t been the capital for a long time. Getout as Chris above points out is that Burma is also defunct.
    DNK 24a GHYLL
    “Ghyll (Scotland, Northern England) A ravine.” So abstruse and not indicated. Have been to Lake District but managed to miss the two pubs mentioned by Penfold. On the other hand I did manage to get to quite a lot of others with odd names, one of which is known as “The Struggle”, officially The Kirkstone Pass Inn.

  34. Just under half an hour, with the final ten minutes spent on HAREBELL. I spent ages looking for long names of princes, then looking for eight letter country names ending in L, before finally remembering Prince HAL and REBEL. By that point my brain was so frazzled that I spent a while staring at HAREBELL thinking “is that a word?”
    Owain Glyndwr is the most famous rebel to have been defeated by Prince Hal, and he was never captured.

  35. Finished in around 45 mins although I did hit reveal for the NHO TABLA, and double-checked that DACTYL was indeed a foot, so DNF. Often in the Lakes so no problem with GHYLL. Dredged BRABANT from the recesses. Trying to tackle around 3-4 of these per week as I graduate from the QC. Some days I’m totally baffled, others, like today, I have a fair crack. All very enjoyable.

  36. 38 mins including a deep sleep…. LOI DACTYL, you either see it or you don’t. I didn’t.

  37. Did this a while ago, and have forgotten most of it already. Had BLANK for a bit until I realised it was DACTYL.

    Moderate level, and SNITCH tells me my time was more or less exactly what should be expected.


  38. I decided to avoid what looked to be a headache inducing alpha-trawl for the missing bits of G-Y-L, so Instopped with one left empty. For neatness, I think the “lying” goes with “where the king is” rather than with the “about”. Thanks, jeremy

  39. FWIW, I parse INSTIGATE slightly differently:

    IN STATE (where king may be lying) around (about) I (current) G (grand)

    “Lying in state” is a thing after a monarch dies. You may remember in Autumn 2022 the queue to see the late Queen’s lying in state – and when that became full, the queue to get into the queue.

  40. 19.07 but a couple of educated guesses with ghyll and dactyl. Saw tabla straight away but didn’t bother to work it out.

    Liked Harebell and the aforesaid ghyll but eponym was my COD.

  41. 39’20”
    Failed to quicken at any stage……

    …but very enjoyable nonetheless, albeit at an up, rather than down, Langdale pace.
    I narrowly avoided an attempted entry of The Dungeon Ghyll Inn via the roof when losing my footing on the precipitous path above it; whether it was the Old or the New I know not. I had no idea that there are two.
    Lots to like; thank you setter and Jeremy.

  42. Got all of this fairly easily especially with the easy long answers at 5d and 9d. Only missed out on BLANC and DACTYL which seem obvious now I have read the blog :).
    As ever, general knowledge helped with PERUGIA, GHYLL and TABLA.
    A HAREBELL is often called a “Scottish Bluebell” . It’s a more delicate summer wildflower than the more widespread bluebell which gloriously carpets the woods in springtime.

  43. So many of these clues were flying in I had to keep checking this really was Friday (catching up on old crosswords after a trip North) and then, like Jack, knowing neither the drums nor the beat, I gave up on TABLA.

    COD WHITSUN. Beguilingly effortless.

    Thanks Jeremy

Comments are closed.