Times 28501 – The silent stars go by

Some quirky clues and a bit of recondite vocab characterise this Monday offering, and mark it out from typical week-opening fare. It’s not particularly difficult, but still took me 28 minutes, not least because I was bamboozled by the clever 9a, even more so when I finally got the initial letter. Good misdirection, setter!

1 Amphibian, looking angry unfortunately, about to devour fellow (10)
SALAMANDER – MAN (fellow) in a reversal of RED ALAS
6 Measures introduced by Hampshire (4)
AMPS – hidden
8 Suddenly ordinary city” — quote recalled (8)
BATHETIC – BATH (city) CITE reversed; from the Greek for depth, bathos is described as a sudden ludicrous descent from exalted to ordinary matters or style in speech or writing
9 Religious organisation, small and lustrous (6)
SATINY – simply SA (Salvation Army) TINY (small)
10 Transport system making one complain (4)
RAIL – not sure how to categorise this; perhaps an indirect double definition (DD)?
11 Initially acting like a monarch, we hear, can be trying (10)
ARRAIGNING – A[cting] (first letter of the word) sounds like REIGNING; arraignment involves bringing someone before a court to answer an indictment, so it can lead to a trial
12 Prepare to eat meal cooked without imaginative content? (9)
DREAMLESS – anagram* of MEAL in DRESS (prepare – as in ‘they dressed the fish before cooking it’)
14 Rise and stagger round bathroom initially (5)
REBEL – B[athroom] in REEL
17 Introduction for piano arranged by unknown composer (5)
PARRY – P (initial letter of piano) ARR (arranged) Y (unknown); Hubert Parry, Prof of Music at Oxford, composed ‘I was glad’, a setting of Psalm 122 used (with tweaks) at the coronation of both Edward VII and his son George V in 1902 and 1911. Damn fine stuff! (Joseph Parry of ‘Myfanwy’ fame is another worthy contender.)
19 Daughter has one particular account of things that is amusing (9)
22 Supplicant, little alien — I will have one request initially (10)
PETITIONER – PETIT (foreign/alien word for little) I ONE R[equest]
23 Believer taking month to cross India (4)
JAIN – I in JAN; Jainism is an old version of Hinduism (Collins: ‘an ancient Hindu religion, which has its own scriptures and believes that the material world is eternal, progressing endlessly in a series of vast cycles’)
24 Most modest expense you accommodated (6)
25 More irritable, needing support after game (8)
SNAPPIER – SNAP (card game) PIER (support)
26 Millions consume what vegetarians won’t (4)
MEAT – a sort of cryptic definition with a wordplay element: M (millions) EAT (consume)
27 Acquiescent about editor being given new layout (10)
1 Cry before party, as one become sombre? (7,2)
SOBERED UP – SOB ERE DUP (Democratic Unionist Party – there are probably more crossword compilers who are affiliated to this group than any other profession); ‘as one become sombre’ has an archaic, literary air, but it basically means SOBERED UP
2 Short excursion into byway to find loo (7)
3 Do you ultimately collaborate in fact? (8)
ACTUALLY – ACT (d0) [yo]U ALLY (collaborate – verb)
4 Deprived of religious significance, diehard in sect is put out (15)
5 Critic of big country half ignored by relations (6)
RUSKIN – RUS[sia] KIN;  poet, artist, critic, social revolutionary and conservationist, John Ruskin was a major Victorian figure. Brantwood, his place on Coniston Water, is worth a visit, if you are up that way.
6 At late hour children turned up — to become these? (9)
ATTENDEES – AT TEN SEED reversed; all-in-one riffing on the expression ‘turned up’
7 Sacrament in Cornish location denied unknown character (7)
PENANCE – PEN[z]ANCE; penance is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic church. Can you name the others?
13 A time in which you’ll find troubled editors being most skilful (9)
15 Line number up on step briefly in city once (9)
16 Secluded places about to have special events? (8)
18 Like pine needles maybe in a church got up (7)
ACEROSE – A CE ROSE; from Latin acerosusfull of chaff’ (erroneously used by Linnaeus – who popped up earlier in the week – as if derived from acer sharp)
20 It’s got to fix a note up (7)
ITALIAN -NAIL (fix) A TI (note) all reversed
21 Worker in better physical shape (6)
FITTER – DD; I kept trying to fit ANT, say, into CAP, say

73 comments on “Times 28501 – The silent stars go by”

  1. Not your typical Monday puzzle; it took me well over half an hour, although I contributed a lot of time by being dim. NHO PARRY. Never figured out SALAMANDER. DNK that PENANCE was a sacrament, but then I don’t know the other sacraments, either. LOI 9ac SATINY; I persisted in reading it as S+ something, even when I thought of ‘satiny’. Jainism a version of Hinduism?

    1. I had an MER and a blink or two at Ulaca’s remark re JAINism, and I’ve now gone to Wikipedia, where I read: “…according to the twentieth-century scholar of comparative religion Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Jainism was in existence before the Vedas were composed.” Jainism is, in fact, one of several ascetic religions parallel to but expressly separate from the Vedic (Hindu) tradition (another being Buddhism).

  2. I struggled with this one but managed to get through it with all correct after exactly 61 minutes.

    There were two unknowns found from wordplay, ACEROSE (first appearance in a 15×15) and JAIN which appeared once before (in 2018) as ‘Jainism’.

    Hubert Parry is surely most widely known for his setting of William Blake’s Jerusalem.

    1. I thought immediately of Joseph Parry, Wales’ greatest composer, best known for “Myfanwy” and the hymn tune “Aberystwyth”, on which the African song “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” is said to be based.

  3. 57 minute DNF. What a difference a week makes. Managed to work out the tricky ones, only to have a silly typo in LENINGRAD at the end. (BTW, wouldn’t ‘name of city once’ been a more accurate def?). Another to be fooled by the ‘Small’ in SATINY and by the ‘It’ def for ITALIAN.

  4. ACEROSE was LOI —new to me, and took longer than any four of the other clues.
    I got SALAMANDER from the definition and the D and forgot to parse.
    As a Blake fan, I am ashamed to say that Parry, as far as I was concerned, was truly an “unknown composer.”
    I got a kick out of the blogger’s remark about DUP.
    To my mind, the definition of 26 is confined to “what vegetarians won’t [consume],” making the clue a semi-&lit, rather than a CD—but there’s no disputing how it works, however one decides to dub it.

  5. 45 mins for me. LOI was ITALIAN…I even guessed IRANIAN and tried to justify it before I went d’oh. Never heard of ACEROSE and assumed it meant like an ACER, which would have to be a pine to work and I had a (correct) nagging feeling acers are not that sort of tree. I got SALAMANDER looking at 1A as my first clue, with the grid blank, being the only amphibian that seemed long enough, but I couldn’t see how the wordplay worked so in the end I only put it in much later when I had four checkers. It would have made the top half a lot easier if I’d just written it in. Like everyone else, assumed SATINY was S followed by a 5-letter word for lustrous (but I could only think of shiny, and SSHINY was never going to work. This was definitely more of a workout than usual for a Monday.

  6. Not what I or many others, I expect, were anticipating for a Monday morning – I felt like I was hacking my way through dense undergrowth – but with a brekkie break, I made it through when I half-remembered the definition for “bathetic” and immediately followed up with POI SOBERED UP. Finally ACEROSE and a typo check, and I was feeling relieved – until…
    …1 pink for ARREIGNING – gah! I knew how to spell the word, knew what the cryptic was telling me, but failed to exercise due care and attention. Three penalty points, 37m fail.

    Feeling pretty annoyed when I came here, so thanks Ulaca for cheering me up with the phrase “recondite vocab”. What a great adjective that is – I’m resolving to use it wherever I can (but obviously only under appropriate circumstances)

  7. 50m 39s
    Much more of a difficult puzzle for a Monday than is the norm.
    To answer Ulaca’s question about the sacraments, I could only name two or three but I was surprised to learn from Wikipedia that in the Anglican Church, marriage and holy orders are not sacraments.
    I wonder if others looked at 22ac, saw ‘little alien’ and thought of ET.
    Thanks, ulaca, for DREAMLESS, SOBERED UP and ACTUALLY as well as for SATINY. Now that you have explained it, SATINY is my COD.
    I thought ITALIAN was the hardest clue.
    When I lived in France, a Fire SALAMANDER occasionally came to out back door.

    1. Baptism, becoming part of the body of Christ on earth, and the Eucharist are the two Anglican sacraments. Much depends on what you define ‘sacrament’ to mean.

    2. ET
      Not only did I think of it, I assumed it was what provided the letters ET in the answer and didn’t bother parsing the clue beyond that.

  8. 43 minutes with LOI ITALIAN. Fortunately, I thought of SALAMANDER straightaway. (A newt is a type of SALAMANDER. Is a spistasa a type of newt?) I constructed ACEROSE with all crossers in place. Not typical Monday fare, being a mix of exalted and ordinary. Yep, COD to BATHETIC. Thank you U and setter..

  9. 20:53. I had a similar experience to others. My POI was the unknown ACEROSE, which seemed a strong contender to be a momble (which I just checked in the glossary to find it was coined 9 years ago!). I then finished with SATINY, which I’d thought the likely answer earlier but couldn’t get away from the S for small which prevented parsing.
    JAINism was at the periphery of my knowledge, but in a strange coincidence in the novel I was reading last night a character has just converted to Jainism, and then Jainism was also mentioned in the podcast I listened to this morning!

  10. His was harsh Peneance on St. Agnes’ Eve:
    Another way he went, and soon among
    Rough ashes sat he for his soul’s reprieve,
    And all night kept awake, for sinners’ sake to grieve.

    After 40 mins I kept my sanity and gave up on Satiny. I was done up like a kipper by the Small not being S – and the worry that the answer would be a NHO religious organisation like Jainism for example.
    But I liked it.
    Thanks setter and U.

  11. 18:30. That wasn’t very Mondaylike. LOI ACEROSE which I struggled to remember from the definition but the wordplay saw me home. DNK Jainism so hesitated over that until I got the N at the end. COD to the neat MEAT. Thanks U and setter.

  12. About fifteen minutes this morning, with the ugly DECHRISTIANISED LOI. Got ACEROSE from the wordplay alone – I thought much of the wordplay in the puzzle straightforward, it certainly helped with ITALIAN. Knew JAIN from the song ‘Universal Soldier’ by Donovan. Like others I’d put D.UP at the end of 1d well before solving it.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

      1. “Universal Soldier” is by Buffy Sainte-Marie; Donovan covered it, and revealed his ignorance (and laziness) by his botching of ‘Dachau’.

        1. Thanks for that Kevin, I didn’t know Buffy Saint- Marie did the original, I always assumed there was a place called Lebow, which is what Donovan sings. I very much admired Buffy’s ‘Soldier Blue’.

  13. 10:59. Moderately tricky. Like others I got held up thinking the ‘small’ in 9ac was S, and by the hard-to-spot definition for ITALIAN. DECHRISTIANISED is a strange word.

  14. A curate’s egg for me with many that went in quickly – and then there were SATINY and ITALIAN. Well played, setter, with apparently the vast majority of us heading lemming-like for the cliff of misdirection where S equals small. Just over 33 minutes of great fun.

    Thanks U for explaining all.

  15. 28 minutes. ACEROSE was unknown but not too difficult to construct from wordplay, and in a similar vein I’ve never been entirely sure what BATHETIC means. Didn’t fully parse PETITIONER as I didn’t see what the ‘alien’ was doing, so thanks for the explanation. Relieved to figure out ITALIAN – I often come a cropper on clues with such short definitions.

    FOI Amps
    LOI Satiny
    COD Sobered up

  16. 25:09

    Gah. Rather than getting held up by anything in particular I was held up by just about everything. I’m currently sitting with the highest WITCH of the day (162). This felt like a real slog with nothing to amuse along the way. I still don’t get the def for 1d, where become sombre in the clue is present tense but the answer is past tense. What am I not seeing?

    On edit, is it sort of adjectival, “as (like) one [who has] become sombre”? Still no likee.

    1. That’s how I read it, although ‘become sombre’ could also have been past tense.
      Your 162 is better than my 275 last week!

  17. Like most others I found this tougher than usual for a Monday, but managed to get all green in 40 mins. Same problem as many with Satiny, and Acerose was a guess based on wordplay. Narrowly avoided the mistake of Arreigning.
    At one point I thought I would never finish this one, but a coffee break re-aligned the neurons 😀

  18. DNF
    Gave up after half an hour – got other stuff to do today and couldn’t really focus on it properly. Will try harder tomorrow.

  19. A struggle for me today but persevered and got across the line in just over 20′. Nothing too tricky with hindsight but wasn’t confident on DECHRISTIANISED which slowed me down and spent far too long getting the wrong end of the stick with SATINY.

    A win for the setter today – many thanks (and to ulaca too)

  20. 30:28
    Definitely not the usual Monday fare. Some good cluing and I managed to grasp the wrong end of every stick that was offered. In particular, I liked SATINY and ITALIAN. Don’t quite see how DIVERSION works if the definition is “amusing”

    No problem with the sacrament (thought the thought of having to go to church and say “it is sixty years since my last confession” means that this probably won’t happen.)

    Thanks to Ulaca and the setter

    1. I took DIVERSION to be defined by “that is amusing”, but I’m not sure if that’s clearly more grammatical?!

      1. I agree with you, Rob R. “There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents…” (Luke 5:10-22 as Wikipedia tells me). Not that I’m a believer, but that’s the doctrine I was taught.

  21. For some reason this went in smoothly from start to finish. I did wonder if PARRY wrote the tune for Bethlehem (no you fule he wrote Jerusalem) but it was Vaughan Williams and unsurprisingly it’s a much better one than the tune used for the carol in America. Luckily there weren’t enough letters in “deconsecrated” for 4d or I’d have wasted some time there. 18.44

    1. I actually confidently started writing DECONSECRATED in until it slowly dawned on me that it was a couple of letters short. It was only when I realised that it had an O in it too that I finally gave up the idea.

  22. 33:05, an enjoyable challenge. Like ulaca I enjoyed the misdirection on 9a – with the leading S it was so obvious to parse the wrong way! I always appreciate when obscurities like ACEROSE have unambiguous wordplay.

    Two clues I wasn’t convinced by. 10a RAIL, would echo ulaca’s point that “making one” can’t really be considered a link phrase but also isn’t contributing to the definition.

    My other quibble is with 11a ARRAIGNING. RRAIGNING isn’t a word, so it can’t rhyme with “reigning”. Grammatically, the clue is saying “A+B = answer”, but B isn’t a thing so I don’t see how you can add it to A. I’m sure many won’t mind, but it seems loose to me.

    Thanks ulaca and setter.

    1. I don’t think homophones have to be actual words. That would vastly reduce the frequently excellent wordplay possibilities.

      1. Perhaps not. But when they can otherwise be clued ‘legitimately’, it does seem rather lazy not to do so.

        ‘Initially acting regally like a monarch, we hear, can be trying’ works well enough. Why wouldn’t the setter think so?

  23. Defeated by the NHO ACEROSE 18d. It isn’t even in my go-to aid. Had also given up on SATINY 9a until I saw the comment by ulaca that it was clever. I do think slowly sometimes!
    Extra cross with self for not skimming thru all the clues to pick out the (several) write-ins like 26a MEAT, 14a REBEL….

  24. 21:08, the struggle is real. Far more thought than you expect to expend on a Monday, and unfortunately I must admit that a lot of it was plodding through the alphabet, rather than beautiful moments of inspiration.

  25. More of a workout than I was expecting, but got there eventually. Funnily enough I came across JAINism a couple of days ago while watching The Repair Shop, when a lady brought in her Grandma’s religious artwork for restoration. She was a Jainist! She described it a similar to Buddhism. RAIL and MEAT were my first 2 in. ACEROSE wasn’t far behind. I was happy with the ACER bit but thought that OUS would have been a more likely ending. The wordplay was indisputable though. DECHRISTIANISED went through several metamorphoses, which were discarded as they messed up other answers, before I alighted on the correct arrangement. PARRY arrived after ADROITEST left me with PA_R_. Longest time was spent on last 2, ITALIAN and RETREATS. 32:23. Thanks setter and U.

  26. 32:34

    Felt like it took a while to get going with this and join up the dots. Not on the ball with some of the parsing either – FOI SALAMANDER simply because it has MAN in it!

    A few leaps of faith for the NHOs ACEROSE and PARRY where the parsing worked with the checkers I had.

    LOI RETREATS which with the checkers, took a minute or two to alight on.

    Thanks setter and Ulaca

  27. As Ulaca says, Parry’s I Was Glad is damn fine stuff. His best, of what I’ve heard of his music. Jerusalem was also mentioned, and Myfanwy (which I didn’t know). Aberystwyth is perhaps well-known as the hymn tune ‘Dear Lord and Father of Mankind’.

    46 minutes on a nice crossword despite nothing coming all that easily, few long holdups, not long by my standards anyway, although SATINY as with many was a problem until I saw it. This setter does like words that one doesn’t say every day: DECHRISTIANISED, BATHETIC , and ACEROSE was chosen ahead of the more obvious (?) anemone and acetone.

  28. 3 d – should it not say verb rather than noun?
    Many thanks to both setter and blogger.

  29. 23 mins. That ITALIAN had me confused at the end, along with most people’s LOI SATINY. Liked this, perhaps a few too many ‘put this in there’ clues.

  30. Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Eucharist, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction.
    Just testing myself on the RC Seven Sacraments. (Didn’t cheat, honest guv!) When you learn those things at age 7 or 8 they tend to stick.
    How about the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost, anyone? Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, dum-di-dum-di-dum-di-dum, and Fear of he Lord. The Eight Beatitudes? They’ve gone, I’m afraid.

    1. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  31. 28:47. ACEROSE was a moderately confident guess but most of the think time was spent on RETREATS, which proved inexplicably elusive. A fun start to the week.

  32. I’m pleased that others found this difficult. I thought my brain might have gone to sleep. Np unfamiliar words, but some of the definitions had me a bit perplexed (eg, that for DIVERSIONS). I bunged in several answers with a shrug, and an internal mutter, “I suppose it must be that.”
    There were enough giveaways to get a toehold in the grid.
    41 minutes.

  33. Much as above. A laborious 31’36” with SATINY last one in, and me still not understanding why SA was a religious organisation. Now explained, so thanks.

  34. Wow, a tough one for a Monday. Only half-done. Got JAIN, though. This with an initial L led to keenness to fit in LONDINIUM as “city once”.

    Seemed like a lot of obscure Compartives today: COYEST, ADROITEST, SNAPPIER.

    1. Shaky recollection of grammar lessons from over 60 years ago would lead me to say while SNAPPIER is a comparative form COYEST and ADROITEST are superlative forms.

  35. Late to the party today as it took me to the hour with, as others, ITALIAN LOI and I had to rush off out straight after.

    Several bunged in by guesswork including BATHETIC, SATINY (yes, fooled by the s too) and JAIN.

    I’m another who doesn’t get the SOBERED UP thingy.

    I did like ITALIAN, once I’d got it!

    Thanks U and setter.

  36. 58:33 with one silly pink square for misspelling REDESIGNED having done all the hard work elsewhere. An unexpected tough session, as others have said, for all the same reasons. LOI ITALIAN

  37. Not the easiest Monday; but you already knew that.. liked petitioner.

    Jainism is one of the world’s more attractive religions, if there is such a thing. Their commitment to nonviolence is such that many walk, brushing the ground in front of them, to ensure they don’t inadvertantly step on a living creature. And they don’t eat root vegetables, because the act of pulling them out of the ground may harm an insect or similar…

  38. Not at all on the right wavelength today, but I did get JAIN (and quite a few others). The Jain community is, I understand, largely found around the Mumbai area, although there will certainly be many elsewhere in India. I know little about the religion, but I do know that Jain people are strict vegetarians and that they will not eat anything which grows beneath the surface of Mother Earth, i.e. they will eat what she offers , but they will not take from her. Among other things, this rules out onions, garlic and ginger – three core ingredients of Indian cooking a la Norm0 (I am a keen cook and especially enjoy Indian food). And yet, even without these critical flavours, Jain food is superb, and wonderfully tasty. Restaurants in Mumbai invariably offer Jain dishes even if their menus are not restricted to Jain food, and my advice, if you ever happen to be there, is to go right for it. Not for the first time, I find myself thinking that I really need to find a good Jain cookery book.

  39. Despite somehow seeing “Dechristianised” straight off – I couldn’t finish this puzzle without aids.
    I couldn’t see “Bathetic” – not sure if I knew the word – similar situation to “Potsherd” last week. That meant I couldn’t see “Sobered Up”. Also couldn’t see “Retreats” – not sure that the clue should include “to have”.
    My first Monday fail for a while.
    Thanks for the blog.

  40. Like others late getting to finish this having a number of forced interruptions. No time recorded but I’m sure an hour in total would have elapsed.
    A tough start to the week, and I was pleased to finish thinking all correct and parsed …. until I discovered I had misspelled ARRAIGNING with an E instead of a second A. I know perfectly well how to spell it, so I’m thoroughly cheesed off to once again get a single letter wrong

  41. I thought this was a mixed bag. I loved the “silent r” at the beginning of rraigning and thought “little alien” was deliciously insulting but while I saw 20d (ITALIAN) easily enough I think it’s one of the most unpleasant clues I’ve ever come across, and I agree with previous comments about 19a (“that is amusing”) not working. I also thought for one horrible second we were in for “debed” for “rise” in 14a (on the pattern of “debus”) but mercifully I saw the real answer before completely embarrassing myself. Thanks for the blog.

  42. Got there in the end, ITALIAN the last one to fall which meant I had to put an I in JAN rather than JUN or MON(th) to finish. Rather more taxing than I expected or really had time for on a Monday but pleased to finish. Thanks blogger and setter.

  43. Started late, and gave up after 55 minutes with one still to go: RETREATS, which with hindsight doesn’t look the trickiest of clues. I think my brain is done for today. Thanks s & b.

  44. I got SATINY early in, and the long anagram came with perseverance, but had to check ACEROSE in the dictionary. I failed to get ITALIAN and PETITIONER in the time allowed.
    A tough one. I hope tomorrow’s is a bit more straight.
    Great blog

  45. Yes, a tough one for a Monday but good for the little grey cells.
    Thanks to blogger and setter.

  46. 30.00 but undone by acerose. Nearest I got was acetone for no other reasons than it fitted and I guessed that the chemical might be something extracted from pine needles. Bit of a sly one as a clue as Acer is, I believe, maple. Never mind the week is young even if I’m not.

  47. Didn’t find this all that tough, thanks to a few gimmes, but SATINY went in in with a shrug , and like others, had to think what the meaning of BATHETIC was ( had the reversed CITE in early.) Also NHO Parry, to my shame, but guessed, nor JAIN, and I was determined (like Merlin) to fit LONDINIUM into 15d. But encouraged by the fact that I did much better on this than the previous impenetrable puzzle, I retired happy.

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