Times 28,397: Sealed With A Loving Kiss

This put up enough of a struggle to merit its Friday slot – I finished inside 10 minutes, but it was touch and go, the SE corner in particular giving me numerous minutes of grief. The clues are very very concise, not a word wasted anywhere, and sometimes when things are this spare there isn’t a lot for the little grey cells to get a firm grip on. My favourite clue was 5dn, what’s not to like about speedy setters and delightful solvers or vice versa?

FOI 9ac, LOI 13dn into 28ac I think. Thanks setter for the laconically clued workout!

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Sent elastic strap to go round our uniform pants (9)
RAPTUROUS – (STRAP*) going around (OUR U*)
6 Auditor’s folk investigating source of firewood? (5)
COPSE – homophone of COPS
9 US car marque not allowed new insignia (7)
CHEVRON – CHEVRO{let} + N(ew)
10 Staff shielding leaders of experimental team in part of plant (7)
PETIOLE – POLE “shielding” E{xperimental} T{eam} I{n}
11 Reactionary Portuguese master turning in back gate in a certain style (10)
POSTMODERN – reversed DOM [Portuguese master]  in POSTERN [back gate]. It feels like there might be one too many reversal indicators in this clue, or is it just me?
12 Thin echo emerging from dark wood (4)
14 Any short trousers for protective wear (5)
APRON – AN{y} “trousers” PRO [for]
15 Lining up trap: earlier be a victim of one? (7,2)
FALLING IN – GIN [trap], after FALL IN [a trap]
16 Creeper I planted originally in ground close to hedge (9)
MILLIPEDE – I P{lanted}, in MILLED [ground] + {hedg}E
18 Turn of century suits put on for graduation (5)
NOTCH – reversed TON, plus C(lubs) and H(earts)
20 US college team’s first baseball kit (4)
MITT – M.I.T. + T{eam}
21 Biddable character given a gentle hint (1,4,5)
A SOFT TOUCH – or A + SOFT [gentle] + TOUCH [hint, soupcon]
25 Nervously try fire alarm a lot (7)
26 Endeavour to slash regular outlay for clothing (7)
RAIMENT – AIM [endeavour] “slashing” RENT [regular outlay]
27 King going outside city to unwind (5)
RELAX – REX outside L.A.
28 Vital English engineers in draft heading west (9)
ENERGISED – E(nglish) + R.E. in reversed DESIGN [draft]
1 Mounting horse with regulation step gets run over (5)
RECAP – reversed PACER. The exact difference between PACERS and TROTTERS is slightly beyond my pay grade but you can learn more here
2 One appeals, putting pressure on landlord (7)
PLEASER – P(ressure) on LEASER
3 Cool, practical jars contain rum (10)
4 Exclusive journalist admitted (5)
OWNED – OWN [exclusive] + ED(itor)
5 Speedy setter, delightful guy primarily filling in clues (9)
SUPERGLUE – SUPER [delightful] + G{uy} + {c}LUE{s}
6 Shrewd copper finally got there (4)
CUTE – CU + {go}T {ther}E
7 Past master with desire to carry on (7)
PROLONG – PRO [past master] + LONG [desire]
8 Completely unknown priest turning up in a German church (5,4)
EVERY INCH – Y [unknown] + REV., reversed in EIN CH(urch)
13 Small band making an impression? (6,4)
SIGNET RING – cryptic definition. A ring is a small band, a signet ring is used to press a seal into hot wax
14 Graduates brought in to reform old college (4,5)
ALMA MATER – M.A. and another M.A. brought into ALTER
15 Complimentary expression for all-in wrestling? (9)
FREESTYLE – FREE [complimentary] + STYLE [expression]
17 Side with a large following increasingly delayed (7)
LATERAL – A L(arge), following LATER
19 Stated couple settles for partial head coverings (7)
TOUPEES – homophone of TWO [couple] PAYS [settles]
22 Fake warning from driver about end of parking (5)
FORGE – FORE! about {parkin}G
23 Was repelled by violent death (5)
24 Couple without love kiss and curse (4)
JINX – J{o}IN + X

51 comments on “Times 28,397: Sealed With A Loving Kiss”

  1. 43 minutes. I was stuck for a while towards the end at the 6dn / 10ac intersection trying to think of the name of the plant part. I’d come up with PISTOLE which I knew to be wrong but found it hard to think past it.

    I hadn’t noticed the two reversal indicators in 11ac, if that’s what they are. My knowledge of Portuguese Doms is non-existent and for all I know they may be considered reactionary.

  2. 48:28
    I just noticed that I was logged out, and in logging in lost my message. Anyway, this was tough; aside from maybe half a dozen easy clues (HATED, say, or JINX), it was a long, hard struggle for every solution. And not a biff to be had, other than NOTCH, where I didn’t get the CH. Definitely a superfluous reversal indicator in POSTMODERN; either ‘reactionary’ or ‘turning’ could (should) have been dropped. DOM is simply the Portuguese equivalent of Spanish or Italian ‘Don’, as in Juan.

      1. Yes, it is, and that accounts for ‘back’, but we are still left with ‘reactionary’ and ‘turning’.

    1. I agree. There’s no justification for “reactionary” and “turning” at 11a. But otherwise an excellent puzzle.

  3. I (though not in a hurry) was thinking this was really pretty easy, but then was still stuck on a handful of ’em when I took a break for dinner.
    POSTMODERN was one of my last and I didn’t fully parse, not noticing the doubled indicator.
    NHO PETIOLE, but finally took “in” into account.
    And when that gave me SUPERGLUE, I was a delighted Guy, anyway.
    LOI was MILLIPEDE. Just didn’t want to see it. Ugh.

  4. Felt off the wavelength, so not quick, but still steady with no holdups. Seemed to be lots of clues I had to guess the answer then see if I could make the wordplay fit. LOI TOUPEES – very good – after RECAP/POSTMODERN where I figured like jack a DOM must be reactionary. Liked the MILLIPEDE, EVERY INCH, PROLONG and COPSE.

  5. 56 minutes. Forget about SUPERGLUE, this was a slow-drying solve, exemplified by 9a where I just couldn’t see CHEVRO(LET) until the very end, despite thinking I’d gone through all the past and present GM brands among other US car makes. Gave up trying to parse POSTMODERN which only went in with all crossers in place.

    Good to see the reversed PACER at 1d. None of this fancy “harness racing” or “pacing”, it’s still popularly known as “the trots” here.

    I liked MILLIPEDE, which wasn’t an anagram after all and learnt a new word in PETIOLE.

  6. 51 minutes, so despite getting lucky here and there—my current TV pabulum of choice is Supernatural, which prominently features a 1967 Chevy Impala and came in handy for 9a—I found this hard going.

    It was the NE corner that gave me the most trouble, but once I finally saw the “filling in clues” device in the excellent SUPERGLUE I finally figured things out, ending with with PETIOLE (like Jack, I had a idee fixe; mine was PISTIL, which I couldn’t quite think of in order to discover that it was wrong) and then PROLONG, where I’d tried to make something quite simple a lot more complicated than it needed to be.

    1. PISTIL

      Many thanks for that as at least I now know the word associated with plants that I was trying to remember when I came up with PISTOLE.

  7. 24:48. I was resigned to my fate today having come up with PETIOLE as my LOI but having no confidence in it being correct – it just didn’t look like a word to me. Consequently the absence of pink squares was a pleasant surprise.

  8. Tough but fair, starting with COPSE, finishing sequence SUPRGLUE, (biffed) POSTMODERN, and LOI RECAP. PETIOLE was the only one where I had to trust the cryptic.

    Bogged down at about 40m and 6 or so clues out, I did pause for brekkie – but very satisfied with a 47:03 completion, submitted with high confidence. Second-highest, IIRC, SNITCH rating I’ve ever completed correctly – thanks V and setter.

  9. Or tear me piece-meal with a bony saw,
    And keep me as a chosen food to draw…

    Around 40 mins. I lost track as I was rapturous eating toast with Sarah Gray’s Mojito Marmalade.
    I liked it, mostly Superglue.
    Although suits=CH wasn’t the finest moment.
    Thanks Super setter and V.

    1. It is not the liked marmalade that is mostly superglue. Sorry if that confused. The marmalade is mostly limes, with a little peppermint oil and rum.

    2. I’ve been trying to think up something akin to “turn of century flatulence” but maybe I shouldn’t be…

  10. 47 minutes with LOI NOTCH. COD to SUPERGLUE. It might have gone to POSTMODERN if I’d known DOM. PETIOLE was a construct too. Quite a tough puzzle. Thank you V and setter.

  11. 28:52 today – and a surprise when it came up all green, having not understood NOTCH or RECAP. Good fun though.

  12. Got there in 47m + something and really enjoyed the struggle. Failed to notice the double negative or the C & H for suits, but I can live with that. Thanks to setter and Verlaine.

  13. I took much longer than most- 90m 02s. I was held up in the NW where 1d took me ages and ages for some reason but my two LOI were 2d PLEASER and 11ac POSTMODERN. I was working on PLEADER for ages (‘Land Lord’ = Leader). I agree with verlaine, though: one too many reversal indicators in POSTMODERN. It also took me ages to see where the anagram was in 3d.
    Tough puzzle. Thanks, verlaine.

  14. Grrr. A typing error left me with PROLOON and FALLINN IN. Quite spoiled what I felt was a pretty speedy time (14:22) relatively speaking. And on the way I’d felt pretty pleased with myself for seeing some nicely devious cluing. Hubris, perhaps?

    Good work, Setter. And thanks, Verlaine, for the always entertaining blog.

  15. I’m not sure where Paul-in-London is so I’ll do this for him. His ALMA MATER is MIT and it is not a college, it’s the other university in Cambridge MA. Otherwise very nice dense piece of work this although a bit Dante-esque for me (I came to myself in a dark wood where the straight way was lost). I’ve become so used to thinking of the US car as a “Chevy” that I almost forgot the “let” part. A lot of wandering round the grid until I found a toehold so a hard-fought 28.45.

  16. RAPTUROUS was my FOI and PACER followed. However, my next 2 biffs, OUTED for 4d and PLETTER for 2d, caused some problems. CHEVRON fixed OWNED, then I realised that 2d was PLEASER and POSTMODERN dropped into place. After that it was a steady progress to LOI, ENERGISED, which took a while to parse before I was happy to submit. PETIOLE was constructed from wordplay in the meanwhile. 29:29. Thanks setter and V.

  17. I think the POSTERN is a back gate. Portuguese master meant “Dom” to me straight off. Something to do with a story set in the Spanish Main where the Ps were still enemies of the Brits. I think the Brits distinguished between Spaniards and Ps by Dom/Don.
    Never parsed SUPERGLUE correctly, although I could see I needed cLUEs. Doh!
    Wasn’t confident about SIGNET RING as I could not see any wordplay: that was because there wasn’t any. Doh again.
    On edit, yet another Doh! I never saw that HATED (23d) was an anag (violent) of death, so was unhappy with my answer.

  18. 48 minutes, without ever understanding NOTCH. I thought SUPERGLUE’s particular quality was that it stuck very firmly, rather than particularly quickly? I never really understood how 3dn works: how is ‘jars contain rum’ a way of jarring ‘contain rum’? ‘Contain rum jars’ would have worked, but of course would have been a bit silly for the surface. Surely 11ac should have omitted ‘Reactionary’, a word that in any case makes the clue a bit clunky I think. Liked CHEVRON and TOUPEES.

    1. I read 3dn as: The answer to this clue meaning cool, practical is an anagram of [jars] CONTAINS RUM.

      1. OK then. But a bit of a stretch and not best in my opinion; however, the surface is very neat and it would be difficult to be simple, sound and pithy.

    2. Superglue is practically instantaneous. One or two seconds to set. No shortage of people have presented at Emergency (Australia) ER (USA) God Nose (UK) with fingers stuck in nostrils or elsewhere, or eyelids glued shut, or other similarly silly/unfortunate parts of the body glued to other parts from using superglue carelessly.

  19. 9m 17s finishing on PETIOLE, where I too took some time to realise ‘in’ was part of the string of initials.

    I felt very on the wavelength until the last half dozen or so clues. This was an excellent puzzle that had the subtle touch of a master at work.

  20. 28:08. Good fun, with most of the other difficulties centring on the NW quadrant, apart from a guess at PETIOLE. A puzzle where I had to rely even more than usual on the cryptics to do the heavy lifting but they were sound and reasonably generous.

  21. sorry what does biff mean exactly 🙂 I keep seeing you guys use it but don’t know if it’s good or bad

    1. See the glossary, link is top right on a computer, but might not be on phones and tablets.
      An acronym coined by one of the bloggers was BIFD – Bunged In From Definition. Backformed into the word biff.

  22. Gave up on the hour with three missing in the NW corner. Irritated not to finish. Liked SUPERGLUE.

  23. This was hard enough for me, but got there in the end with one trip to the dictionary, about an hour. Most of the wordplay was very clear, but I would never have parsed Notch, so thanks for the explanation Verlaine. COD Superglue. Thought it
    was clever to get two words ending in X to intersect.

  24. The usual gristly fare served up on a Friday. When FOI was 6d I thought it would be an aborted effort. Vacillated over whether to walk the couple of miles to see the new King & Consort on their first stop in Cardiff but decided on a dance class. It invigorated the grey cells and I ground out a finish. Several clues were gnarly. Some were neat.
    Liked 19 d & 9 ac . The first time I’ve seen ‘setter’ used differently.
    Some school biology stuck but I’d gone through all other plant anatomy before a PDM.
    Not sure that a millipede is a creeper. With so many legs I think it can move faster than a ‘creep’.
    Thanks as always to blogger and setter .

  25. 43 mins. A game of 2 halves. After completing the LHS in almost record time, I was anticipating Verlaine’s disappointment. However the RHS was an entirely different experience, and it took quite a few aha’s and duh’s to get there. LOI NOTCH for which I had to come here to find out what was going on.

  26. I had PLESSOR for 2Down. Chambers defines it as a percussion hammer, so one that AP-PEALS (as in a bell), P+LESSOR, one who grants a lease, ie a landlord. Having justified it to myself I think I prefer it to the correct answer!

  27. 21’51”

    A perfect WITCH of 100. Thought this was going to be a stinker after getting 3 clues in 8 minutes. I always like to start a puzzle in the NW, and this was where the hard ones were for me. Once I got a few more elsewhere though, I began to become attuned to the setter’s style of misdirection at every turn, and it became a steady and very enjoyable solve. Best puzzle of the week, as it should be on a Friday, methinks.

  28. 32.47. A good challenge requiring some application. It was the petiole / prolong crossers that held me up for an age at the end. Struggled to recollect the former, had the wrong end of the stick for the latter trying to fit desire around on to get a past master. COD Superglue.

  29. A tough solve but pleased to get there in the end. Guessed at PETIOLE from the definition. Thanks for explaining POSTMODERN.

  30. Sunday night, very slow – 58’03”. Surely it wasn’t that hard? But while some clues seemed very simple, others had me baffled. PETIOLE, POSTMODERN, CHEVRON, PLEASER, RECAP- I’m looking at you. Oh well, got there in the end. Loved SUPERGLUE.

  31. Another Friday a bit of a stretch for me, but satisfied to get the ones I did, starting with CHEVRON quite quickly and then a long wait until the next few crumbs : BONY, APRON , A SOFT TOUCH and TERRIFY. Struggled to eke out the definitions on too many, so hats off to the crafty “setter”. Particularly liked the well-hidden anagram for UNROMANTIC.

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