Times Cryptic 28616

Solving time: A few seconds under 15 minutes.

This was my fastest ever solve that I can recall. There were only two or three clues that I needed to revisit, the rest of the answers went in on first reading

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Check flight bringing amenity for skiers (9)
CH (check – chess notation), AIRLIFT (flight)
6 Doctrine of boxer, possibly, with university degree (5)
DOG (boxer, possibly), MA (university degree)
9 Diversions of French at city on Loire (7)
DE (of in French), TOURS (city on Loire)
10 Notedly frenzied French film director recalled in past (7)
TATI (French film director) reversed [recalled] contained by [in] AGO (past). One of dozens of Italian directions to be found in music scores.
11 Weary chap with grasp of Irish (5)
TED (random chap) containing [with grasp of] IR (Irish)
12 Insectivorous bird biting female warder at Tower (9)
BEE-EATER (insectivorous bird) containing [biting] F (female). The Beefeaters’ official title is: The Yeomen Warders of His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London, and Members of the Sovereign’s Body Guard of the Yeoman Guard Extraordinary. You can see why the nickname was invented!
13 Book space for cleaning utensil (5)
B (book), ROOM (space)
14 Commanding position of stationery items and fruit (9)
RULERS (stationery items), HIP (fruit – rose-hip for example)
17 Banker bird enthusiast entertains at home (9)
FANCIER (bird enthusiast as in pigeon-fancier) contains [entertains] IN (at home)
18 Snag about maiden at a dance in Havana (5)
RUB (snag) containing [about] M (maiden – cricket, a maiden over ), A. “To die — to sleep. To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!” [Hamlet]
19 One praising corporal, perhaps, by main road in Orient (9)
NCO (corporal, perhaps – Non-Commissioned Officer) + M1 (main road) contained by [in] EAST (Orient)
22 American associated with bird book (5)
TIT (bird),  US (American). The Epistle to Titus is a book of the Bible.
24 Muslim sect, one with post in southern isle (7)
I (one), then MAIL (post) contained by [in] S (southern) + I (isle). I needed all the checkers to work this out so I lost some time over this one.
25 Touching down between flights? (7)
Two meanings, the second with reference to the area between flights of stairs
26 Saw   17 in Zurich, perhaps (5)
Two meanings, the second referring back to FINANCIER at 17ac. Wiki: Gnomes of Zürich is a slang term for Swiss bankers who are popularly associated with extremely secretive policies, while gnomes in fairy tales live underground, in secret, counting their riches. Zürich is the commercial centre of Switzerland.
27 Again lost at sea, looking back regretfully (9)
Anagram [at sea] of AGAIN LOST
1 Trainee in rebel element, ultimately (5)
CADE (rebel), {elemen}T [ultimately]. Jack Cade’s Rebellion was a popular revolt in 1450 against the government of England.
2 Time of day for a nonet to be reproduced (9)
Anagram [reproduced] of FOR A NONET
3 Sports club employee, heading off — one delivering the goods (9)
{g}ROUNDSMAN (sports club employee) [heading off]
4 Mutiny aboard warship over service requiring bishop (15)
IN SUB (aboard warship), ORDINATION (service requiring bishop). Ordination is the ceremony by which members of the laity are admitted to the clergy. From the clue I take it that a bishop has to conduct the service but I don’t know this as a fact.
5 Bank employees least disturbed about most of party’s tall stories (10,5)
TELLERS (bank employees) + anagram [disturbed] of LEAST, containing [about] RAV{e} (party) [most of…]. I knew the expression but not exactly what it meant. Rather strangely I couldn’t find it in Collins but SOED has: traveller’s tale  – an incredible and probably untrue story.
6 Get-up-and-go? It’s a lot of nonsense (5)
DRIVE{l} (nonsense) [a lot of …]
7 Scotsman devoured by great big monster (5)
IAN (Scotsman) contained [devoured] by GT (great). GT appears a lot in place names on signs and maps.
8 It includes Judith, potentially making Cora happy (9)
Anagram of [potentially making] CORA HAPPY. Additional books of scriptures that didn’t make it to the main event.
13 Repeated strikes in cafeteria in centre of Basingstoke (9)
BUFFET (cafeteria), IN, {Basin}G{stoke} [centre of…]. Railway stations used to have ‘Buffets’ and the trains ‘Buffet cars’.
15 Game girl brought up in a fantasy kingdom (9)
RU (game – Rugby Union), RITA (girl), then IN reversed [brought up], A. The Central European setting for novels by Anthony Hope, such as The Prisoner of Zenda.
16 Restrict meat butcher finally provided in scam (9)
HAM (meat), then {butche}R [finally] contained by  [provided in] STING (scam)
20 Qualified medic participating in my jazz group (5)
MB (qualified medic) contained by [participating in] COO (my!)
21 Reportedly a girl’s cereal (5)
Sounds like [reportedly] “May’s” (girl’s)
23 Liberal leaves Indian city, securing good character in Patras? (5)
SIM{l}A (Indian city) [Liberal leaves] containing [securing] G (good). In  1972 the city was officially renamed ‘Shimla’ but ‘Simla’ is still a valid alternative. Mention of the city of Patras indicates the answer will be something Greek.

68 comments on “Times Cryptic 28616”

  1. 8:10
    Not my fastest time, but close; it’s been ages since I’ve got below 10′. I had trouble remembering ISMAILI, and never did remember SIMLA (never seen ‘Shimla’; Collins cross-refers from Simla to Shimla, but ODE only gives Simla), so SIGMA was biffed. This was really an overgrown QC; nice to get the fast time, but a disappointing puzzle.

  2. I biffed SIGMA too. Congrats, Jackkt. I wasn’t in a particular hurry, but it does seem like Tuesday is the new Monday these days.

    1. Thanks. I like to think I would have achieved 10 minutes today if I’d gone for a speed solve, but I never do so on the 15×15, only note my starting and finishing times for reference. I also mark up my print-out as I solve each clue to indicate the various elements of wordplay in the grid using slashes and brackets, and in the clue if applicable e.g. circling anagrist and underlining definitions. This all takes time.

  3. Congrats to everyone else on their fast times! I needed 20:42 over here. Most was easy, but plenty required requisite beard-scratching. With more general knowledge, I suppose I would have been able to finish faster.

  4. My quickest too, under 20 mins for the first time since starting the big crossword this year, like jackkt I had a double take thinking I’d maybe opened the Quickie. (I completed it before going to bed so I did have to stop the clock to send the dog into the garden and put the wheelie bins out front!). No real issues to speak of, never heard of Judith but APOCRYPHA was an easy anagram and GNOME helped with FINANCIER rather than the other way round. Even the musical direction, which usually stumps me, was fairly easy since Tati came immediately to mind. Very pleased with myself though will still likely be bottom quartile! thanks setter and jckkt.

    1. The book of Judith contains the story of Judith and Holofernes, which is not for the sensitive reader. Scenes immortalised in art by, amongst others, Artemisia Gentileschi.

      1. Thank you Rob for the Gentileschi steer.
        I remember gasping on first seeing the Caravaggio version, and then being bemused by his depiction of the “How tiresome, but I suppose it has to be done” expression of Judith.
        But this – good grief!
        I stumbled across this, which includes an interesting connection with Galileo.
        Warning: Do not open while holding a hot drink!

    2. Congratulations on teaching your dog to put the bins out. I can barely get mine to sit!

      1. Haha, I think my grammar is being affected by pesky misdirecting crossword setters!!

  5. 22 minutes. RULERSHIP, ENCOMIAST and ISMAILI held me up as not commonly encountered words and I had the ‘Indian city’ and ‘fantasy kingdom’ lists to go through as well. Funny how these things happen, but despite being clearly wrong, “Audubon” just wouldn’t budge for a while at 22a.

    Well done to Jack on his PB.

  6. 19:29 , finishing with a biffed SIGMA – NHO the SIMLA variant of SHIMLA. ENCOMIAST and ISMAILI had to be constructed from the cryptic, and I spent a wasted minute on POI APOCRYPHA early in the solve, but wrote it in immediately upon revisiting

    Anyway – fast enough that I can comfortably fit in stroll to my fave brekkie spot before work – result! Congrats to all PB-ers, thanks J and setter

  7. Like others a quick solve, 19.01 being my best since coming here. This despite a couple of NHOs (travellers’ tales and the generously-clued sect), not one but two refs to offbeat parts of scripture and a weird word in rulership. Despite, also, tentatively trying to somehow put ALI into 6ac (first reflex on seeing boxer) and stupidly leaving the letters in place which threw me when it came to the relevant downs until I realised there was not actually such a word as ALIBA. One day some wily setter will slip in a different French film director and we’ll all be lost.

  8. I had no idea why SIGMA was the answer, but it obviously was. But otherwise a straightforward solve with a bit of a delay at LOI ISMAILI, got from the wordplay. 26 mins.

  9. 9’09”, no issues. Didn’t bother parsing the two long down clues, or SIGMA (would have had no idea) or RURITANIA.

    Am off to re-read Judith.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  10. Titus, unkind and careless of thine own,
    Why suffer’st thou thy sons, unburied yet,
    To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx?
    (TA by WS)

    20 mins pre-brekker. Neat and tidy. No marks on the page, save a ? next to the Indian city.
    Ta setter and J.

  11. 19 minutes, losing a few minutes parsing SIGMA and constructing ENCOMIAST. COD to APOCRYPHA. Quite a woman, that Judith, or are the stories about her apocryphal? Enjoyable puzzle. Thank you Jack and setter.

  12. 20 minutes with LOI AGITATO. Well done to the record breakers, no such luck for me. Remembered Simla as a city. Nothing to add really.
    Thanks Steve

  13. I’m no sprinter but at ~30 minutes it was quick for me. FOI 4 dn after guessing 1 ac but unable to parse, and looking for a checker. COD 6 dn. LOI TITUS.

  14. What a disaster! On for my best time ever, but I was going at such a pace, I carelessly entered HAMPERING for 16d which left me with T-E-S for 22ac. After scratching my head for five mins I bunged in TRESS in desperation with no idea why. What a fool.

    Well done Jack and thanks for the blog. Ta setter.

  15. Yes, quick today and no unknowns.
    Jack, the first meaning of 26ac is not at all to do with fairytale creatures but as Collins has it: “a short pithy saying or maxim expressing a general truth or principle.” Derived from the Greek word for thought or opinion..

    1. Thanks, but yes, I knew that but assumed others would too as it has come up before, most recently on 15th February. I thought it more likely that ‘Gnomes of Zurich’ might require explanation so the whole of my comment (after ‘Two meanings’) was referring to that. Sorry if it wasn’t clear.

  16. Congratulations on your PB Jack. Quick here, but way off my quickest, having to rely on the parsing for NHO ENCOMIAST and ISMAILI, and then biffing SIGMA (thanks for the parsing). Not a very satisfying puzzle really.

    I often lapse into NOSTALGIA but I don’t necessarily regret anything. But then NOSTALGIA ain’t what it used to be…..

    TIME 6:06

  17. About 10 minutes, possibly my fastest ever solve. The uncertainties were the Indian city for SIGMA, where in the end my ignorance of Simla/Shimla didn’t matter, and the unknown ENCOMIAST, where again the wordplay helped. Likewise with the ISMAILI sect.

    FOI Tired
    LOI Financier
    COD Insubordination

  18. Is mine the only Scottish name in crosswordland. I’m getting lonely.

    1. If you’re Scottish, perhaps you could explain why “Scotsman” is clued as “Ian”, please

      1. My name, Ian, is the Scottish form of John, and is presumably most prevalent here in Scotland.

        1. Thanks
          BTW apparently my surname reflects forebears from somewhere in Glasgow (not the town with a second-rate footie team)

        2. I’m originally from further west near Glasgow. As a year 2 apprentice working in a factory I heard one of the new starts being asked his name. “Ian or John” he replied…and he was “Ian or John” for ever after.

  19. 4:56. Not a PB but pretty zippy: surprisingly so given the number of less-than everyday words.

  20. A pleasant if undemanding confidence booster completed in just over 13 minutes, thinking I was quite clever to remember ENCOMIAST and ISMAILI, though the second I got to via the wordplay. I didn’t parse TRAVELLERS TALES, though I’d like to think I would have done if I needed to. Not so sure having seen Jack’s clear explanation.
    From personal experience, I can say that outside the churches with top-down governance, ordination does not require a bishop, though God knows what God thinks about that. Baptists might approve of it happening underwater as the clue suggests.

  21. No time posted thanks to ‘a man from Porlock’
    5d TRAVELLERS’ TALES: I have never considered them as ‘tall’, just the experiences of people who have travelled or lived overseas. It used to be the case, though, that, often, after about five minutes the eyes of listeners would glaze over and they would change the subject to the price of bathroom fittings in B&Q.

  22. Eleven minutes, no pauses except for the LOI ISMAILI which sounded right but wasn’t a familiar thing. Lots of words ending in vowels (but not E) which made it easier when the checker appeared.

  23. I never thought that with NOSTALGIA (my initial entry was nostalgic, but a glance at the anagrist made me think again) connoted regretfulness. Probably there in the dictionaries, but I’d always thought it was a sort of bitter-sweet looking back. Very easy, no probems although for a while I wanted it to be battering at 13dn. 24 minutes, not a lot harder than a QC really despite some strange words (RULERSHIP, ISMAILI, ENCOMIAST).

  24. 11’32”. I was watching some bee-eaters only yesterday. They arrive every year on the Loire near us, and make a kind of whipping noise in the air. Very recognisable and very lovely. Guêpier in French, so wasp-eater.

  25. 11:55

    Realised after 30 seconds or so that this might be a quickie, so donned my biffing cap. As it turned out, there were only a few unknowns or which required biffing:

    FINANCIER from last four checkers
    ISMAILI built from cryptic
    GNOME bunged in from well-known Crosswordland definition
    CADET familiarity with CADE as a rebel from previous grids
    RURITANIA knew of it but not its provenance
    APOCRYPHA had no idea that it encompassed Judith
    SIGMA unparsed though after the fact, am aware of Simla

    Thanks setter and Jack

  26. 05:12, thanks to generous wordplay and all the GK being more or less known already (helped in that regard by being familiar with everything that can be gleaned about India from regular visits to subcontinental restaurants – I’ve been in both a Simla and a Shimla across the years). Now I feel even more like it’s Monday…

  27. 23 mins so a bit slower than most. Only vaguely heard of ENCOMIAST, my LOI. Held up earlier by an obsession with NARNIA.

  28. 40:18 and was just happy to slap in COMBO to keep it under 45 as I’d spent a good 10 minutes in that darned SW corner.

    ‘Coo’ for ‘my’ does take me back to the days of the Bash Street Kids and Dennis the Menace. Cor! Lumme! were other favourites.

    NHO – ENCOMIAST, ISMAILI or CADE as a synonym for rebel.

    Encomiast feels ever-so-slightly like a word made up by someone just to mess with crossword solvers, no?

  29. From CHAIRLIFT to BUFFETING in 15:39, with ENCOMIAST and ISMAILI assembled from the instruction, and SIGMA entered with the assumption that a city called Simla was a real place. Thanks setter and Jack.

  30. As our blogger says, fastest time on record for me too – 14m 8s. Pretty well solved in clue order. How low will the SNITCH be?

  31. 10:43. Still chasing that elusive sub-10. ISMAILI was the only momentary hold-up. I wondered if it should be Ismaeli, which I am sure I have seen before, but on checking it seems to be a reasonably common surname in some places.

  32. 15:41
    Straightforward but fun to solve.

    9 was a gimme having spent last week cramming at a French language school in Tours.

    As with so many words, the “saw” meaning of GNOME was learnt doing the Times Crossword.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  33. Enjoyable solve with ENCOMIAST the only to raise my eyebrow. Nice tight crossword that gave all the information needed to spell answers correctly. Was pleased to see AGITATO. Thanks setter and blogger.

  34. I was flying towards a PB but crashed and burned on ENCOMIAST (how do people know these words?!?), BUFFETING, GNOME (I always forget that connection between Swiss banking and a dwarfish, subterranean being of folklore) and ISMAILI.

    Thanks setter and Jackkt and congrats to all the speedy solvers – your deeds are worthy of significant encomiasticationalismisticalness

    1. 😂😂 : I too flew through the top half of this puzzle, only to get tangled up with firstly RULERSHIP ( always forget that darned rosehip fruit!), followed by NHO Simla leading to SIGMA – think I was in too much of a hurry! Also thrown off the scent by “banker” in Zurich: was looking for a river and tried RHONE, which of course hampered my solving of BUFFETING . Also NHO ENCOMIAST (horrible word), which made my “gunna-be-good” fast solve dissipate into the ether…

  35. Having spotted the first comment in jackkt’s blog I thought I had better give this a go and from print to finish in about 46 minutes which I am pleased with although slow compared with the seasoned solvers.

    I didn’t know the French film director in AGITATO but didn’t need to, ENCOMIAST I built from WP the Muslim sect like our blogger needing all the checkers and I didn’t know the second meaning of GNOME also, SIGMA went in without knowing the Indian city.

    The parsing of INSUBORDINATION needed a second look to make sense of requiring bishop.

    FOI CADET, LOI GNOME and a smile at COMBO.

  36. Well done on your PB Jack, certainty bearing in mind the additional processes you go through in achieving it. After seeing your heads up that it may be an easier one, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t break 20 minutes, taking 21.57 to finish.
    It probably didn’t help that I biffed HAMPERING for 16dn, and even CHICAGO for 10ac. Correcting these errors all took extra time.

  37. It’s usually a struggle for me so I’m always happy to get one on the easy side. Didn’t know LOI ISMAILI but it was generously clued.
    Also good to see Basingstoke get a shout today…an underrated town, in my opinion.

  38. BIFFED BUFFETING BEEFEATERS and others besides.
    If I’d paused to unravel the ravelling of the tall tales it would have cost me another five minutes.
    In pursuit of a geometric proof my research has bumbled through many Greek spots, but never Patras, so it being Greek was an assumption. Is anyone of note associated with Patras?
    My heart sank on seeing ‘fantasy’, but thanks to Auntie Beeb’s 70s (?) P of Zenda, I got out of gaol.
    Knowing I’d have to admit to egregious biffing, I looked into the word and was delighted, but not altogether surprised, to discover that it was coined by one of the sharp minds here. Who gets the credit?
    Many congratulations to Jack, George et al with new records (I fear I’ll never near mine again) and thanks for the enlightening asides and to the setter for allowing me to be very chuffed with
    19′ 57″.

  39. 10:45. Whizzed along mostly but failed to break the Ten Minute Barrier.

    Well done to the speed merchants and all PBers.

  40. All okay.

    No need for reference to Patras in SIGMA clue, not that I know what that is anyway. Getting fed up with these obscure references.

    Just cruised through this today. Didn’t bother parsing most clues/answers. Just bunged in a solution word that fitted and had some connection with part of the corresponding clue. Too hot to spend much time on this today.

  41. Hurtled along but seeing the tape threw myself at it with a nostalgic and (despairing shrug) sagic as I hit the ground. Greetings ulaca and others. Looking for the picture. joekobi

  42. A very Mondayish Tuesday, if we can even assume the continued existence of the old Monday to Friday scale-up. But no less fun for that. I knew the word ‘encomium’, but in the solving of 19A, I shoved in the wordplay, and out came ENCOMIAST, usefully, so no qualms about that. ISMAILI also barely known, and might have spelled it with an E, but again, the crossers and wordplay indicated the correct version. All completed in a very short time for me (though I don’t time myself and am very slow normally).

  43. My standard hour on the 15×15 saw me end up with a wrong answer AGITATO (NHO – put agitate) which was definitely blocking any chance of APOCRYPHA (vaguely heard of). Down in the SW, I was left with BUFFETING, ENCOMIAST (NHO), ISMAILI (NHO). Fairly happy to get what I did in the hour.

    Well done to Jackt on his Season’s Best as we runners refer to them 👍

  44. Just as Ian is the only Scottish name in crossword land, Tati is the only French director.

  45. 37:58 for this, which is probably quicker than I managed on the QC today! Fortunate to be familiar with most of the GK, and ENCOMIAST the only unknown which was very clear from the wordplay. Thanks both.

  46. 4m 12s with no real hold-ups, other than hoping for the best with SIGMA. ENCOMIAST was my LOI.

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