Times 28237 – Sin No More

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I had intimations of Sever-like grandeur for a while on this one before all hopes of a first-ever clean sweep disappeared like common sense fleeing the Hong Kong Government. Still, it was pretty easy, requiring only 15 minutes of my time, and a welcome confidence boost after recent travails.

The references to Jesus were particularly welcome at a time when much of what I had taken for granted in terms of the lid being kept on human lunacy for the rest of my lifetime has been shown by recent events to be chimerical indeed. Which I guess I knew anyway, but was happy to live in blissful ignorance of.


1 Mountain-dweller starts to circulate, having a month in Paris (7)
CHAMOIS – initial letters of C[irculate] and H[aving] A MOIS (French for month)
5 Calendar girl returning container (7)
9 Crazy person’s rich teatime fare (9)
FRUITCAKE – double definition (DD)
10 Game played in pub where ski jumpers may be (5)
INRUN – RU (rugby union – a game I used to play, recognise and enjoy before it was overrun by ‘protocols’) in INN; the INRUN is the steep part of the ramp where chiselled Nordic ski jumpers and Eddie the Eagle reach scary speeds before disappearing into the unknown
11 Change types of character involved in later art set (13)
13 Guarantee wife complete autonomy in the end (8)
WARRANTY – W ARRANT (as in ‘arrant nonsense’) [autonom]Y
15 Surrealist painter touring India, initially watching Hindu festival (6)
DIWALI – I (India) W[atching] in DALI; Crosswordland’s only Hindu festival
17 Creature Geordie’s mother is going to, as we hear (6)
MAMMAL – if you were living up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, you might hear a man say that ‘Mam’ll clip you round the ear, man, if you do that’
19 Woman attorney receiving directions in chapel (8)
BETHESDA – ES (directions) in BETH DA (district attorney); originally, a pool in Jerusalem at which Jesus, according to John, told a paralysed man to take up his bed and walk; used here to reference various meeting houses named after it
22 He dances madly round psychoanalyst showing delight in others’ woes (13)
25 Bishop leaves overcome, having dined (5)
26 Wonderful person, married woman, gripped by desire (9)
HUMDINGER – M (married) DI (random woman) in HUNGER; more commonly used of a thing, but also used of a person
27 Way Republican party plugs American’s celebrity status (7)
STARDOM – ST followed by R DO in AM
28 Like Arthur’s men, disowning king at regular intervals (7)


1 A 9 originally served in church tea room (4)
CAFE – A F[ruitcake] (Guardianesque cross-reference to 9 across – the editor pops these kinds of clue in occasionally so we can all say how much we hate them here at the Thunderer) in CE (church)
2 Owner of house next door? And a goat, possibly (7)
ABUTTER – oh, gosh! this is really bad. If a person has the semi next to you, he or she might be called an ABUTTER. And a goat in Crosswordland exists to be a BUTTER. Poor old thing! So reductionist.
3 Son in Holy Writ originally inhabiting a Roman port (5)
OSTIA – S (son) in OT (holy writ) I (initial letter of inhabiting) A
4 Shortage of nautical gear unknown outside Italy (8)
SPARSITY – a SPAR is ‘any piece of nautical gear resembling a pole and used as a mast, boom, gaff, etc’, so IT (Italy) in SPARS Y (unknown)
5 Sort of acid fighter pilot given time in charge (6)
ACETIC – ACE (fighter pilot) T (time) IC
6 Coy perhaps over one’s husband? (9)
MAIDENISH – MAIDEN (a string of 6 deliveries in cricket that yields no runs off the bat, with no Wides or No Balls thrown in for good measure) IS (one’s) H (husband)
7 Northern man digesting Bible, reaching a state of bliss (7)
NIRVANA – RV (revised version) in N (northern) IAN (random man) A; pretty bunginable, to be honest
8 Adult finally in agreeable surroundings existing at birth (10)
12 Vessels no man can serve, the Good Book says? (3-7)
TWO-MASTERS – this time we are in Matthew: ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon’. Plenty have tried…Two-masters are also boats, of course.
14 Gave up being dissolute (9)
16 He transfers his charges from one bank to another (8)
FERRYMAN – rather nice cryptic definition
18 Hindu sage’s headgear adopted by graduate twice (7)
20 Dexterity of Liberal in southern rowing crew (7)
SLEIGHT – L (Liberal) in S EIGHT
21 A new article on Mendelssohn’s first choral work (6)
ANTHEM – A N THE M[endelssohn]
23 Giving employment to American in centre of Zhangzhou (5)
USING – US IN [zhan]G[zhou]; Zhangzhou is in Fujian Province
24 Play about conclusion of war in ancient city (4)
TROY – [wa]R in TOY

40 comments on “Times 28237 – Sin No More”

  1. Not knowing LOI INRUN, I wasted some time trawling the alphabet to see if there was anything else possible. Some QC-level clues, like FRUITCAKE, MAHATMA, TWO-MASTER, SCHADENFREUDE. I was surprised to see that ABUTTER is in ODE (if ‘chiefly US’): ‘the owner of an adjoining property’.
  2. A DNF in 41 minutes. Serves me right for skimming over the wordplay for 15a and putting in “dinali” for the ‘Hindu festival’ which I should have remembered. I suppose it’s a variation on a theme, but for 12d I had ‘Vessels’ as the def and the rest as wordplay.

    I don’t mean to be too critical, but Guardianesque or not, 1d wasn’t exactly a HUMDINGER of a clue.

  3. 28 minutes. I also didn’t know ABUTTER but apparently it’s a legal term. Doubly annoying about the cross-reference clue is that it intersects with the one it’s referring to making that one harder to solve. I knew BETHESDA from the fountain in Central Park.
    1. Also a (Naval?) hospital close to Washington DC where presidents are regularly taken. And a hospital around the corner from me in Perth.
      1. Technicall, Walter Reed Hospital, but because it’s in Bethesday Maryland….

        And a well-known location, as a fountain, in Central Park NYC. which often appears in movies largely, I suspect, because it has a dark underpass thing right there which can be made to appear very menacing when drama is needed.

        Edited at 2022-03-14 01:36 am (UTC)

        1. It features, looking absolutely glorious, in The Gilded Age (Downton Abbey comes to 19th century New York City). Last year after a storm the whole area was flooded so that the fountain itself looked as if it was on an island in the middle of a lake. Very beautiful.

          I forgot to say earlier that I didn’t know that HUMDINGER could be applied to people as well as things and abstract entities.

          Edited at 2022-03-14 05:59 am (UTC)

  4. I’m with bletchley on the two-masted sailing ship, probably my COD. Otherwise started off slightly annoying – first four clues I read included an acrostic (starts to), two originallys and a cross-reference. Unknown Inrun was presumed to be a famous ski-jumping site in Austria, perhaps abutting Innsbruck. Quite liked the Ferryman, it’s hard to write good CDs.
    1. I was tempted for quite some time by a possible famous ski jumping site known as “D’Arts”…
  5. I agree about disliking the internal references unless they’re very clever, which I didn’t really think today’s was, and I agree that Nirvana was biff-fare, but since the man it refers to was clearly IRV, it took me a minute to rethink and parse before submission. Thanks, ulaca.
  6. Thanks, ulaca. I was somewhat puzzled about the origins of MAMMAL. DNK INRUN.
    16d FERRYMAN amused me. It reminded me of that very funny Stanley Holloway monologue: “The Runcorn Ferry”.
    COD: FERRY/HUMDINGER. I did like “married woman”.
    PS….I prefer Schadenfreude’s later symphonies to his earlier work…..

  7. Started at a sprint, diminishing to a crawl by the end, with an ET of 35:00.

    Pleased to get FOIs CHAMOIS and ACTETIC then did the full bottom half before moving upwards to the stuff that required some actual thought. Wanted 19a to be BETHSEDA for some reason (possibly multiple trips to Jerusalem and the West Bank) and 4d to be SCARCITY but avoided hard-coding these on the way to the MAIDENISH / INRUN crossing for completion. Like others, I didn’t feel great about entering INRUN, seemed like the least-worst choice.

    Anyway, that’s a Monday tick in the box – thanks U and setter.

  8. 13 minutes, briefly detained by LOIs, in logical order, FRUITCAKE, CAFE and ABUTTER, although they all fell in place in my head at more or less the same time. COD to FRUITCAKE, WOD to SCHADENFREUDE. I spent my teenage years in Southport, where there was a chapel called Bethesda, so with the DA clued that was a write-in. (I’ve actually been to the biblical pool in Jerusalem. There was a burst football in it in need of healing.) The newspaper was a year ahead of itself and had 5a clued as 6a. Mondayish but enjoyable. Thank you U and setter.
  9. A nice quick 26 minutes for me this morning. It might’ve been quicker if I’d seen the obvious-in-hindsight 8d CONGENITAL earlier, as that was my last one in and I had to get 6d MAIDENISH and 10a INRUN to get there, rather than it helping me out with them.

    I might’ve been a lot slower had I not done some research after spotting local chapel Clifton BETHESDA during one of my random walks last year.

    Edited at 2022-03-14 07:52 am (UTC)

  10. Tu-who;
    Tu-whit, a merry note,
    While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

    20 mins pre-brekker. No marks, no dramas.
    Starts, in the end, initially, originally (twice), finally, first, Centre of, conclusion to.
    Not great.
    Thanks setter and U.

  11. 20:45
    Got Bethesda from Bethesdaweg in Bielefeld, near where I used to live. Avoided the scarcity trap.

    Edited at 2022-03-14 08:08 am (UTC)

  12. I don’t mind the occasional cross referenced clue, but 1D felt very odd in cross referencing a letter that was already in the answer by virtue of crossing with it. Elsewhere I didn’t find this as straightforward as many, and my solve was largely epitomised by wondering what DARTS had to do with ski jumping.
    1. Like greyhounds waiting in the slips, ski-jumpers straining in the darts. Sounds right to me
    2. Cross-references clearly cause “Cough”
      Self-references stimulate “Scoff”
      So when stuck for that letter
      A more sapient setter
      Might have chosen to take that F-off
  13. Fell for SCARSITY even though that’s not how you spell it and SCARS are not nautical gear. Then “gripped by desire” misled me to HUGGER, giving HUMDIGGER which wasn’t wrong enough to sound alarm bells before moving quickly on. Clearly, trying to be too quick. I liked MAMMAL and TWO MASTERS

    PS I have just realised my time — 23:05 — would have been a personal best. So, yes, trying to be too quick

    Edited at 2022-03-14 08:51 am (UTC)

  14. 52 mins but gave up in the end on the NHO BETHESDA. Unlike some others, it seems I don’t have anything by that name around me. Nor have I ever visited one. Got INRUN by luck as another NHO. Bah.

    I quite liked the CAFE/FRUITCAKE thingy, FERRYMAN and TWO-MASTERS which I saw as a DD.

    Thanks U and setter.

  15. At 11 minutes in, I had 3 or 4 clues left, but wasted a lot of time on SCARSITY, which I knew didn’t look right. I eventually went for SPARSITY, which also seemed strange, but spent longer still on LOI, FERRYMAN, which needed an alphabet trawl. CHAMOIS was FOI, FRUTICAKE and CAFE came next. INRUN was not a familiar term, but seemed likely after I dismissed DARTS. I usually struggle to spell BETHESDA but the crossers were helpful and I knew the chapel definition. 16:37. Thanks setter and U.
  16. 7:20. No real problems this morning. I had SCARCITY initially but was able to correct it reasonably quickly. Not sure I’ve come across INRUN before but it seemed perfectly logical and the wordplay was clear.
  17. 10:58. Held up at the end by INRUN and LOI MAIDENISH where I failed to spot the cricket reference. COD to SCHADENFREUDE for the entertaining surface.
  18. Yes, definitely a Monday. There were still a few where I paused briefly to think “is that really a word?” – INRUN, ABUTTER, SPARSITY, I’m looking at you – but that’s clearly a question directed at the lexicographers rather than the setter, whose wordplay was unimpeachable.
  19. Like others I wasn’t sure that a humdinger was someone perhaps. NHO inrun, but it looked right. Doubtful about ABUTTER. Wanted to have scarcity and needed an alphabet trawl, which put my time up to 31 minutes.

    Edited at 2022-03-14 10:57 am (UTC)

  20. Just right for Monday. No major problems, though I was almost googlied by the cricketing reference in MAIDENISH. Words like SCHADENFREUDE are tricky for setters because the definition tend to give the game away too easily. But as ulaca says, this one was neat.

    Thanks to ulaca and the setter

  21. Flowed in nicely.

    SCARCITY went in, but was taken out as TRANSLITERATE went in, and SPARSITY went in with a shrug.

    LOI was the FERRYMAN.


  22. 20 minutes, so pretty easy on the whole. I entered many answers more or less as I read the clues, so I had almost three-quarters of the grid filled in ten minutes. However, I was held up in the NE corner by INRUN, BETHESDA, MAIDENISH, and CONGENITAL. I didn’t know INRUN, thinking it mst be the name of a ski resort. Like some others, I entered DARTS initially. I wasted time playing around with some form of MODEST, which was so tempting for 6. I also had SCARCITY at first, thinking SCARCT might be some diving abbreviation. 11 looked very much like an anagram, so C was clearly out.
  23. Nearly fell for scarcity but stopped myself. Speaking of schadenfreude, I recently came across a new word (to me) which is its little-known synomym: epicaricacy. Giving us the useful adjective epicaricatic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a crossword.
  24. 12:27. Paused over the unknown INRUN, but couldn’t think of anything else and mixed up the E and S in BETHESDA until SLEIGHT put me right. Very easy I thought even for a Monday and not a great deal harder than the Quick Cryptic.
  25. Smashed by old personal best time by a couple of minutes. Last three in were congenital, inrun, Bethesda. NHO inrun but it had to be once darts had been ruled out. COD Two-masters.

    Much relief after two abysmal failures at the end of last week.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  26. 21 minutes online while waiting on hold to fuel company trying to order heating oil. Just finished when they answered, took the order but couldn’t / wouldn’t give me a price (until delivery day)! Nice if easy puzzle.
  27. Half an hour. Got 1, 5 and 9, 1,2 and 3 straight off. Must be a first. LO’sI maidenish, ferryman, humdinger. Lots unparsed, but biffable. seventeen on first pass, so the Snitch is accurate for me today. With this Snitch, had to try. Sometimes doesn’t apply to me – sometimes can’t do the “easy” ones and get on better with the “harder” ones. Found this one of the easiest I’ve done. Thanks for the blog and all the parsing, U, and setter for the puzzle.
  28. Pretty smooth going with only a couple of unknowns — INRUN and TWO-MASTERS as a vessel.

    Pleased to squeak under the 20 minute mark…

  29. ….by TRANSLITERATE, which I had in as ‘transliterals’ for quite some time.

    TIME 9:38

  30. A very easy 33 minutes. I also had SCARCITY for 4dn until the fact that the anagrist for 11ac didn’t have a C in it made me change my mind. A few clues, in particular my favourite German word SCHADENFREUDE, went in before I even looked at the wordplay to see if it fit. Still, a lot of fun, quite necessary in these worrying times.
  31. Worked this morning when I woke up too early and couldn’t get back to sleep. SPARSITY was a little hard to swallow. POI BETHESDA, LOI OSTIA.

    One who uses the proper pronouns for all individuals these days is TRANS LITERATE.

  32. 09.45. A diverting, sub-ten minute romp with plenty of room left to have gone quicker still as I found myself dithering here and parsing unnecessarily there. COD to the Geordie’s mother which made me laugh.

Comments are closed.