Times Cryptic No 28865 — Laughably bad

48:28. Laughably off the wavelength here. Nearly gave up but I had nothing better to do than to pound my brain against these clues until I got every last letter!

1 More than one outdoor market carries beers hiding short volume (3-4,5)
CAR-BOOT SALES – CARTS (carries) ALES (beers) around (hiding) almost all of (short) BOOK (volume)

Not knowing the definition here, it took me ages to see BOOK = ‘volume’. Though I am American, of course I do know what a ‘boot’ is — but the word doesn’t come readily to mind when I’m looking for synonyms.

I dithered for a long time over this clue because I was also unconvinced by the crossing CHANCEL.

8 Means of payment most recently in Indian currency, not English (7)
PLASTIC – LAST (most recently) in PICE (Indian currency) without (not) E (English)

Did not know PICE, but PLASTIC was easy enough to see when I had crossing letters.

9 Top bid — never the bottom (2-5)
NO-TRUMP – NOT RUMP (never the bottom)

Took me awhile to see (I don’t play bridge), but this was a cute clue.

11 Frame horse by a male illustrator (7)
RACKHAM – RACK (frame) H (horse) + (by) A M (male)

Illustrator Arthur Rackham was well-known for his many illustrations.

12 Stomach time when Henry’s missing in prison (7)
COURAGE – HOUR (time) without (when …’s missing) H (Henry) in CAGE (prison)

This took me ages to see, for no good reason.

13 Guide map includes capital of India (5)
PILOT – PLOT (map) around (includes) first letter (capital) of INDIA
14 Spread dissent about record lack of enthusiasm (9)
TEPIDNESS – anagram of (spread) DISSENT around (about) EP (record)
16 Unusual tip re corn: grow in alternating rows (9)
INTERCROP – anagram of (unusual) TIP RE CORN

Took me a very long time to find this anagram, again for no good reason.

19 Time to abandon beer, one included with the champers? (5)
BITER – T (time) removed from (to abandon) BITTER (beer)
21 Composer penning key scores (7)
TALLIES – TALLIS (composer) around (penning) E (key)
23 Nut by net’s opposite rivet (7)
ENGROSS – EN (nut) + (by) GROSS (net’s opposite)

It’s probably not true, but I’ve always understood an EN to be a printer’s length the width of an ‘n’, just as EM is the width of an ‘m’. ‘Nut’ is a synonym for EN, as I’ve now learned.

I grumble a bit at the characterization of GROSS as being ‘net’s opposite’. A counterpart or related concept, sure, but opposite?

On account of these reservations I tried to make EGG+LOSS work for awhile, but it just isn’t a word.

24 Stone for engagement day no girl’s sent back (7)
DIAMOND – D (day) NO MAID (girl) reversed (‘s sent back)
25 Bird returning in autumn, a lot roosting (7)
ORTOLAN – hidden reversed in (returning in) AUTUMN A LOT ROOSTING
26 During awful siege appeal follows emperor’s liberal acts (12)
GENEROSITIES – IT ([sex] appeal) after (follows) NERO’S (emperor’s) in (during) anagram of (awful) SIEGE
1 Where one might sing anthem[’s] opening line (7)
CHANCEL – CHANCE (opening) L (line)

As in, “I saw a chance/opening/opportunity to accomplish XYZ.”.

I suspected CHANCEL early on, but kept doubting myself because of the misleading wordplay suggested by ‘anthem’s opening’.

2 Baker perhaps chasing rodent: something toothy (7)
RATCHET – CHET (Baker perhaps) after (chasing) RAT (rodent)

This was my first in: I immediately thought of Chet Baker and slammed in the answer, thinking I’d whiz through this puzzle. It was not to be!

3 Working, approach Emergency Room about temperature measurement device (9)
ONCOMETER – ON (working) COME (approach) + ER (Emergency Room) around (about) T (temperature)
4 Fizzy drink tons mostly kept ready (5)
TONIC – T (tons) almost all of (mostly) ON ICE (kept ready)

Wanted this to be FANTA and couldn’t see past that.

5 Overwhelm a small Scots settlement with 500 (7)
ASTOUND – A S (small) TOUN (Scots settlement) + (with) D (500)
6 Train [from] east expected outside Bombay, perhaps (7)
EDUCATE – E (east) DUE (expected) around (outside) CAT (Bombay, perhaps)

I confess to not knowing the Bombay cat, and originally tried EDUGINE.

7 Took a quiet stay — I settled into valued surroundings (12)
APPROPRIATED – A P (quiet) PROP (stay) + I in (settled into … surroundings) RATED (valued)
10 All the papers united over revolting process of coercion (12)
PRESSURISING – PRESS (all the papers) U (united) + (over) RISING (revolting)
15 Go for a revolutionary number one sausage (9)
PEPPERONI – PEP (go) PER (for a) + reversal of (revolutionary) NO (number) + I (one)
17 Land for cultivation I get all prepared (7)
TILLAGE – I GET ALL anagrammed (prepared)
18 Piece of ginger? Initially rare one unknown among roots? (7)
RHIZOME – first letter of (initially) R + I (one) Z (unknown) in (among) HOME (roots?)

RHIZOME is an underground stem producing roots, like ginger, say.

19 Early car company[’s] enthusiasm at rising appeal (7)
BUGATTI – BUG (enthusiasm) AT + reversal of (rising) IT ([sex] appeal)

If you have the bug for something, you have enthusiasm for it.

20 Bard’s lover Romeo, one mixing with louts (7)
TROILUS – R (Romeo) I (one) anagrammed (mixing) with LOUTS

Troilus and Cressida, never read it.

22 Likely loner unpaired since turning up (5)
SADDO – ODD (unpaired) AS (since) reversed (turning up)

65 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28865 — Laughably bad”

  1. 44:09
    A similar experience to Jeremy’s: ready to give up but decided to finish the damn thing. Luckily I (finally) recalled CAR-BOOT SALES from here. Like Jeremy, I was misled by “anthem’s opening”; spent a lot of time looking for a -CAL word, and in fact only parsed CHANCEL after submitting. Also post-sub parses for NO-TRUMP & GENEROSITIES. NHO ONCOMETER (and it’s not in ODE). DNK the cat. 8ac gave me a lot of trouble, since I took ‘Indian currency not English’ to be PIe; finally recalled pice.
    A tough puzzle, but fair; happy to have finished.

    1. Ah—I never did think of “pice.” So that’s one I never quite parsed. Which is to say, “biffed.” It happens.

  2. Started quickly but found the NW a tough proposition. Nho an oncometer (nor has my spellchecker which is underlining it in red) but put the device together by following the instructions. 1a resisted for a long while, as the short volume I thought likely to be VOL, and ‘more than one’ to be a number – two , six or ten, leaving me searching for a TWO-VOLT LASER or similar. This appeared about as likely a device as an oncometer.
    Finally got there in 30:30

  3. Luckily I knew what CAR-BOOT SALES are, but not ONCOMETERs although the wordplay was generous. Took it on faith that there is a Bombay cat. Like others here, this was a crossword I made hard work of, but looking back I can’t see why. LOI was EDUCATE once I decided Bombay was a cat as well as a duck (actually a dried fish called Bombay Duck). I’d never heard of Chet Baker either.

  4. Unlike Jeremy and Paul it is obvious to me why I struggled with this – it was damn hard! Was pleased, and surprised, to finish in 38.56, my best time of the last few days. I took a while to get going, starting with PILOT and TEPIDNESS about halfway down the grid. Same NHOs as others, though I knew the talented Mr Baker. Still don’t get the anthem ref in CHANCEL. BITER and PRESSURISING were LOsI and GENEROSITIES took its time appearing as well. Thanks to J.

    1. Anthem is a form of church music and Chancel is the part of a church where the choir usually sits so ‘where one may sing anthem’ is an accurate definition with a nudge in the direction of church.

      1. Oh thanks Jack, I knew chancel but couldn’t get past Star-Spangled Banner et al for anthem, thanks for the explanation

  5. I also found this very hard and needed something in the region of an hour to complete it. This sort of solving time is becoming all to frequent for me over the past couple of weeks as I’m more usually between 25 and 45 minutes.

    Answers or bits of answers NHO, forgotten or taken on trust were: RACKHAM, INTERCROP, CHET, ONCOMETER, TOUN, BOMBAY and PIC.

      1. Yes, I was going to say TOUN may well be in place names, and I thought of Gordonstoun, not that it’s a place as far as I know, just the name of a school in Elgin.

  6. You and me both, brother!
    Admittedly, I didn’t approach this with the right attitude, watching TV at the same time… but I got stuck after entering a handful, and remained that way, progressing at a snail’s pace for a long time (one would laugh if it were quantified!), until, suddenly, the wind filled my sails again and most of the remaining two-thirds was filled in—I really needed APPROPRIATED to get PLASTIC, RACKHAM, TALLIES and the NHO INTERCROP—leaving me hesitantly putting in CHANCEL (then parsed) but stopping myself before finalizing CAR-PORT SALES and at last finding CAR-BOOT SALES instead. Whew!
    But I’m glad I stuck it out.
    I’m familiar with RHIZOME from reading Deleuze et Guattari.
    An excellent puzzle—rather original, and no wonder that many are finding it difficult—a classic Friday, no complaints!

  7. Insomnia once again makes my brain go into overdrive – finished this in 17’20”, basically a steady solve. Nho ONCOMETER, the cat, the Indian currency; and CAR-BOOT SALES took a long time.

    Have sung a lot of anthems in the CHANCEL but the clue was clever.

    Thanks jeremy and setter.

    1. I discovered years ago that once in bed, and failing to sleep, I can solve any clue. So far i have failed to convert this for daytime use…

  8. 42 minutes. A poor start, not spotting the strong hint provided by the enumeration at 1a and it didn’t get much better. Same unknowns as already mentioned and I barely remembered RACKHAM as an ‘illustrator’.

    The def for BITER seems a bit odd; I suppose “champer” wouldn’t have contributed to the drink-related surface in the same way as ‘champers?’, hence the addition of ‘one included with the’.

  9. That crossword puzzle sure took you on a wild ride! Tackling clues like CAR-BOOT SALES and deciphering CHANCEL shows real tenacity. I totally get the struggle with different English terminologies; it’s like decoding a secret language sometimes!

  10. 71m 14s Tough.
    25ac: The ORTOLAN Bunting is a delicacy in France but the hunting of these birds was banned across the EU because of declining numbers.
    2d: Ratchet. The only deceased Bakers I could think of were Ginger and Chet and Ginger didn’t fit.

      1. I had forgotten about Josephine. She’s now been inducted into the Panthéon, as you probably know.
        Isn’t Kenneth Baker still alive?

  11. Currently on holiday, I decided to give this one a go without much expectation (it being a Friday) of a successful outcome. Very slow start, feeling rusty and taking ages to get pretty easy stuff such as the first halves of TEPID(NESS) and INTER(CROP). Also failed to account for the “revolting” part of 10d and confidently entered PRESSGANGING.

    Hotel brekkie including two strong coffeees perked me up, and I resumed with extra solving power, quickly clearing up everything except BITER and ENGROSS before realising a 10d re-think was a must. About an hour – and gratifyingly the highest SNITCH rating I’ve manageed since becoming a part-timer. Thanks J and setter

  12. 19:40. Quite a chewy one. Lots of unknowns for me, especially in the NW which held me up at the end – DNK PICE, the cat, RACKHAM, ONCOMETER or INTERCROP. COD to DIAMOND for the surface. Thanks Jeremy and setter.

  13. Another DNF to round off a pretty unsuccessful week. At least this time I was beaten by the setter, rather than myself. The crossing pair of RACKHAM and CHANCEL both needed knowledge I didn’t have, and the synonyms were far from the obvious ones.

    Thanks both.

  14. PRESSGANGING came to mind immediately and I didn’t even consider reviewing it until it became obvious that something was awry.

    27:36 all up and capped it off with ORTOLON. Hard to complain about a spelling error when it’s literally handed to you in the clue. Also didn’t realise until reading the blog that I had no idea how CHANCEL worked.

    Nice meaty challenge, worthy of a Friday. Thanks Jeremy and setter.

      1. I was too busy grousing to myself that Pressure-Sell should have included a hyphen in the enumeration to see the more obvious incorrect answer.

  15. 56 minutes, not enjoyed that much. FOI was the convoluted TEPIDNESS, which indicated the struggle yet to come. LOI was RHIZOME. I didn’t know RACKHAM other than as the former Birmingham departmental store but all the rest were known. And were difficult, GENEROSITIES the prime example. COD to PEPPERONI. Had a Pizza last week with that on and hot honey. Surprisingly delicious. Thank you Jeremy and setter.

  16. A lot of words I didn’t know or only half recognised made this hard. I just made it inside the half hour though at 28:22. Had a late burst when I was despairing a bit, that happens sometimes.
    NHO the composer TALLIS
    NHO CHET Baker and thought it was maybe an obscure word for a baker till coming here (NHO Chet as a name either)
    NHO INTERCROP but that was obvious
    Vaguely recognised ONCOMETER I think, is it connected with oncology?
    NHO PICE the Indian currency
    A bit agricultural in the SW I thought
    Thanks setter and blogger

    1. If familiar with Ralph Vaughan Williams you might know his ‘Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis’. I have to confess that it’s the only instance of Tallis’ output that I’m familiar with

  17. 54:36 and how was CAR-BOOT SALES my last one in??

    RHIZOME rang a faint bell, luckily, but the rest went in all too slowly to be fair, so a lowish score today.

    GENEROSITIES was very satisfying once I got it. Thanks blogger & setter both.

  18. Liked this one, very Fridayish I thought.
    Vaguely knew the name Arthur Rackham but not what he did. Ditto Chet Baker. So not today, Josephine. 🙂
    Struggled to get 1ac though I have been to many, in both capacities.

  19. A lot of the time when I should be doing other things I binge on YouTube keeping up with the horrific politico-legal situation across the pond and getting more and more depressed about it. One of the things I love about the crossword is that it takes me away from all those dark thoughts for a short time every day. So it was with a shudder that I was dragged back into that world by 9A and wrote in NO TRUMP with an ‘if only…’ muttered under my breath.

    Other than that, very enjoyable. Knotty but fair. Thanks to setter and Jeremy for the blog.

    1. Just as well you don’t binge watch Russian and Chinese videos too (even if virtually all of them are redacted, vetted or approved); otherwise levels of horror would be insupportable.

  20. A visit to OWL (One Wrong Letter) club for me today – I had ‘rhinome’ rather that RHIZOME, thinking the unknown was N rather than Z.

    Didn’t know pice as the currency, but with the P and C and the start and end PLASTIC had to be right; hadn’t heard of RACKHAM the illustrator; ORTOLAN has probably come up before but I didn’t remember it; took a long time to get away from ‘_politics’ for 26a, despite having thought Nero might be involved from early on; didn’t know the Bombay cat for EDUCATE; got CHANCEL pretty quickly as I sing in one every week, but then for someone who’s sung a fair bit of Tallis I took an inexplicably long time to get TALLIES.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Chancel

  21. You know you need to take a break from these things when you put ‘Palin’ in for the guide, take it out, and put it back when APPROPRIATED confirms your suspicions by giving you the initial P.

    Besides I in PLAN not working, it also broke the Times rule about living people.

    So how did I justify that? Well, I thought it was the setter/crossword editor’s way of saying that the travel fare churned out by the ex Python man might as well have been fronted by a zombie.

    I was getting really excited about ways in which a setter might clue LUMLEY, when I finally realised my error.

  22. The Veyron in my garage* testifies to BUGATTI being no more an old car company than (say) Vauxhall or Mercedes Benz, just one of many queries in this giggle free zone. 19.41 my time, rambling through bits of TLS and even MCS (INTERCROP? ONCOMETER?). While I think I’ve heard of CHET Baker, it might just as well have been clued as the nasty brother from Weird Science or (the whole) as the nasty nurse from One Flew. RACKHAM’s was the department store in Brum (is it still?), but fortunately I’m familiar with Arthur’s fabulous illustrations. And as others have noted, PRESSGANGING was a legitimate solution to 10d until it wasn’t: doesn’t happen all that often that such ambiguity happens in the cryptics.

    *Only kidding: my mode of transport these days is a road legal invalid scooter, with a top speed about 1/30 of the Veyron’s. Cheaper to run, though.

      1. Well yes, along with ŠKODA, SEAT, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche and Ducati. The Veyron still has a Bugatti radiator grill, and the spirit of Bugatti lives on!

  23. 55:25
    Tough. A couple of today’s obscurities were reminiscent of entries in the Uxbridge English Dictionary:
    Intercrop: the pan-European wheat police.
    Rhizome: Raymond is back in Australia.
    Thanks, pj.

  24. 10:10 It was a bit rash to start the puzzle exactly 10 mins before having to leave the house, but somehow I managed to biff my way through it in just about enough time to avoid a domestic incident. Maybe it helps to set a time limit. There are only so many kinds of outdoor markets so 1 ac went it quickly, and it was relatively plain sailing from there. I didn’t actually know INTERCROP or ONCOMETER, but the wordplay was straightforward in both cases. I also didn’t know “pice”, though I see now it’s the same as “pies” and “paisas”, which I seem to recall used to be on old Indian stamps. COD to NO-TRUMP for so many reasons…

  25. This took a while, in part because I’m looking over a pretty sea view on holiday so concentrating is difficult. Quite a number of NHOs (in both solutions and parsing), too many to list, so lots of working out from wordplay or biffs from definitions. Happy to get RHIZOME, since I’m in a constant fight to manage yarrow on my lawn. Thought I was going to have to find another Scottish town until TOUN came to me. Thanks Jeremy and setter

  26. Hard. DNF as used my cheating machine.
    4a Thought I remembered Arthur Rackham from Swallows & Amazons, but no it was Wind in the Willows.
    2d NHO Chet Baker, and 3d NHO Oncometer but the wordplays were generous; both added to my cheating machine.
    Delayed by wanting 4d TONIC to be astir, but it wasn’t.
    6d had NHO the blasted Bombay cat AGAIN. I know I have heard of it as it is in my cheating machine.
    Much delayed by 10d entering PRESSGANGING, as did others, which almost works but makes a lot of problems.
    19d Bugatti. Bug=enthusiasm? And the Bugatti name is very much alive and well, so the “early” was misleading. So I only pencilled it lightly.
    LOI 26a the complicated GENEROSITIES.

    1. I can see why you thought of Swallows & Amazons (that was written by Arthur Ransome, for anyone wondering!)

  27. 24 mins so not so Fridayish for me. However I had to come here to confirm 3 answers I knew were right but didn’t know why: CHANCEL, PLASTIC and ONCOMETER. As usual, my lack of knowledge in all things to do with art and classical music meant that TALLIES was also bunged in.

  28. 42:54. A struggle, but a satisfying one to complete. I was hesitating at the end, about submitting with the unparsed CHANCEL, when the penny dropped: an unexpected 5 word definition and 2 word wordplay. My COD

  29. After an hour I was DNF with 2 unsolved: I could then only manage PIASTRE for 8A and OLEOMETER for 3D – both plausible from a definition alone but clearly incorrect from the available wordplay.

    Thank you, plusjeremy and the setter.

  30. Long struggle with this and I finished in 67 minutes, with CHANCEL unparsed. Simpler than I was making it, with ‘opening’ an insertion indicator. ONCOMETER a mystery which eventually I reluctantly entered: ‘come’ doesn’t mean ‘approach’ —it’s ‘come to’ or ‘come near’, as Collins confirms. To me this is no better than the ‘ganging’ which so many people are happy with in 10dn, which surely doesn’t = ‘revolting’. ‘net’s opposite’ being ‘gross’ reminds me of William Brown’s attempt at a crossword clue: ‘opposite of cat’ for ‘dog’.

  31. 11:19. I started very slowly on this but picked up speed steadily.
    I knew of Arthur RACKHAM because we had at least one book illustrated by him when I was a kid. I’ve no idea what it/they was/were though.
    I don’t remember seeing the Bombay cat before, or an ONCOMETER. TOUN is rather obscure.

  32. A bit of a struggle which started off relatively well but went rapidly downhill. I remembered RHIZOME, but needed TALLIES to spell it correctly. Most of the pain came in the NW corner, where that well known 19th Century woodcarver from Suffolk, Henry RINGHAM, seemed to corroberate my biffed CHANNEL(line) at 1d. I wasn’t convinced, however and suddenly thought of CHANCEL for place to sing and RACKHAM then seemed a better option for 11a. Still failed to parse CHANCEL until I read the blog. Probably 10 minutes spent on the last 4 in that corner. 33:57. Thanks setter and Jeremy.

  33. I found just enough crossers from Friday-ordinary-difficulty-level answers to bull my way through the more unusual words or definitions. But the bulling went more easily after I’d put down for the evening and had two stiff morning coffees (ala Denise T) before completing. Thx, +J

  34. It’s not often that I come anywhere near competing with the bloggers and regular posters. I am usually over an hour or DNF.
    But today I achieved my aim of finishing in the time it took me to drink a pint of ale.
    My only NHO was oncometer but parsing was straightforward.
    Thank you setter, blogger and posters.

  35. 53’55”
    Never nearer.

    Yo-yoing between the balcony -very nippy when the sun vanished- and study didn’t help, so I was relieved to finish in under an hour with only Bombay, nut and Rackham tinkling, rather than ringing, bells. I believe toun wanders south occasionally; a friend in Newcastle often refers to his neck of the woods as ‘the toun’.
    A knotty Friday nut to crack; thank you setter and Jeremy.

  36. I eventually finished in 52.25 with my LOIs CHANCEL followed by RACKHAM. I fully expected them to be wrong, having thought that the chancel link to where a choir might be situated was a bit tenuous; even though many moons ago that was where I was located as a chorister when singing anthems! I very nearly gave up on those final two, but am now glad I persevered.

  37. Very slow to start and ground through it clue by clue. FOI TONIC, taking the time to parse it and deciding as a result that I was in for a long haul. LOI PLASTIC, from the definition – NHO pice, nor ONCOMETER or INTERCROP, for that matter. I also entered PRESSGANGING, which held me up until I realised 23a had to be ENGROSS. The NW held out the longest, with all blank except RACKHAM and ONCOMETER, but finally APPROPRIATED opened up a window to carry on through. A good Friday challenge – as usual, it’s encouraging to find many with similar experiences.

  38. 34 minutes for me, which was quicker than the average Friday. Had the same problems as others in recognising unfamiliar words such as INTERCROP and ONCOMETER, but the clueing left little option. NHO PICE or BOMBAY CAT, and I was also PRESSGANGING until some surrounding answers convinced me otherwise. I was never that keen on colloquialisms like SADDO, but perhaps I should get out more. An engaging struggle.
    Thanks to jeremy and other contributors.

  39. Well there’s perseverance and there’s banging your head against a brick wall. I congratulate Jeremy on his endurance but I came here with four empty spaces. I’d never heard of Chet Baker and I’m still not sure why I should have done, nor, like Jeremy, could I bring myself to put in CHANCEL which might have helped, would never have thought of RACK for frame, so the top left remained a wasteland. Feeling a bit grumpy.

  40. 12:29. Very slow through the last few, but a really good puzzle for trusting wordplay, got ONCOMETER, RHIZOME, RACKHAM directly from wordplay, and it was very clear in sorting out the words I thought could work but I couldn’t quite associate them with the definition like CHANCEL, PRESSURISING and GENEROSITIES. Excellent puzzle!

  41. 25.22

    RHIZOME submitted with crossed fingers. Even after getting CAR and thinking ALES it still took way too long to see 1ac. And APPREHENDED failed to fit despite trying a few times. But despite that v happy with my effort after a bunch of sluggish times recently

    Thanks Jeremy (always appreciated when a blogger struggles a bit but comes with a very readable piece) and setter

  42. Too tough for me! ( still don’t really understand certain clues : CHANCEL? COURAGE? BITER? ENGROSS?)
    Too hurried to make “a good fist of it” ( some good clue-fodder there…?)


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