Times 28533 – the bishop, the rabbit and the reverend.

I had a pleasant Wednesday trundle through this one, in 20 minutes, with only one word (7d) unknown to me, although it’s probably familiar to others. I’ve never watched Holiday Inn and hopefully never shall, although it comes up in quizzes as the original place for Bing Crosby singing that song.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics

1 Leave home by November to make film (7,3)
HOLIDAY INN – HOLIDAY (leave) IN (home) N (November).
6 Mark clock setting (4)
SPOT – triple definition.
9 Rally in park finished (7)
RECOVER – REC (recreation ground) OVER (finished).
10 Supper often late initially stops one rewarding waiter (7)
TIPPLER – L (late initially) inside TIPPER.
12 Bishop with respect to rabbi has one … to anoint (5)
BLESS – Rabbi has two Bs, bishop has one B LESS.
13 A socialist party dictator embracing a US native (9)
ALABAMIAN – A, LAB (socialist party) AMIN (ex dictator of Uganda) with A inserted.
14 Country anthem having line also belonging to pop (4,2,2,7)
LAND OF MY FATHERS – L(ine) AND (also) OF MY FATHER’S = belonging to pop. “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” is the unofficial national song of Wales, usually sung in Welsh but the title translates as this.
17 Get even less to do: secret left to be cracked (6,3,6)
20 Wonders if one should intercept airmail book when dispatched (9)
MIRABILIA – I (one) inside (AIRMAIL B)*.
21 Crafting tool cutting end off flap (5)
LATHE – get in a LATHER = get in a flap, cut off the ending R.
23 Carefree? Not exactly, and note reflected that (7)
HALCYON – C (circa, not exactly), LAH (a note) reversed > HALC, YON = dialect word for “that”.
24 Now, nude dancing is not acknowledged (7)
25 Plays etc? Oh yes, every so often (4)
TOYS – alternate letters as above.
26 Reserve goalie an expert at balancing acts? (10)
BOOKKEEPER – BOOK (reserve) KEEPER (goalie).
1 Henry’s revolting, pulling down large bloomers (9)
HAREBELLS – HAL REBELS, move the L down.
2 Giving protection to clubs, enticement for crooked coppers? (5)
LUCRE – LURE (enticement) has C(lubs) inserted.
3 Police officer seeing shot in the air near corridor in parliament (8,5)
DIVISION LOBBY – DI (police officer) VISION (seeing) LOB (shot in the air) BY (near). Where the Ayes and the Noes separate to vote.
4 Branch of police department that supported hangings? (7)
YARDARM – YARD as in New Scotland Yard, ARM = branch.
5 Rather Flo than Dicky (3,4)
7 Letter in Irish supporting sensationalist preacher (9)
PULPITEER – PULP (sensationalist, as in red top papers perhaps), IR (Irish) with the letter TEE inserted. My LOI, constructed from wordplay and not a familiar word to me, although clearly reasonable.
8 City suffering reverse, way too predictable at home (5)
TURIN – Reversed, RUT (way all too predictable) then IN (at home)
11 Crackpot jailer cut loose for a prank (9,4)
15 Having no side in rugby to beat upset supporter (9)
NATURALLY – RU (rugby) TAN (beat) reversed, > NAT UR, then ALLY = supporter.
16 Accessory for stocking freezer (9)
SUSPENDER – double definition. A bank account can be “suspended” or “frozen”, so someone who does this can be a freezer or suspender.
18 Yellow light round US resort (7)
ORLANDO – OR (yellow, in heraldry) LAND (light, alight) O (round).
19 Provide place for retirement or escape (2,1,4)
DO A BUNK – double definition, cryptic for one part.
20 Get away from YHA, travel lodges (2,3)
MY HAT -hidden as above.
22 Capable of high speed — or not? (3-2)
TON-UP – TON reversed, TON UP = NOT.

A bishop, a rabbit and a reverend went into a bar…

89 comments on “Times 28533 – the bishop, the rabbit and the reverend.”

  1. Unusual for me to have the first comment, but holidaying in New Zealand certainly helps. Nothing too taxing here, but I have to record a 20 minute DNF as HAREBELLS (unknown to me) just wouldn’t come. Of course, once revealed it was blindingly obvious. It happens often. Thanks to our setter and blogger.

  2. Unusual for me to be second, too. I am in the Maldives.
    Enjoyed this. Thought of Jamaica before HOLIDAY. Thanks piquet for parsing the unknown PULPITEER.

        1. Yes, and it’s actually a far better film than the somewhat gaudy White Christmas made later in order to cash in on the popularity of the song.

  3. Mostly pleasant and speedy, but very slow last few. Didn’t know or guess the suspender/freezer equivalence thought the suspender was freezing the position of the stocking, couldn’t parse halcyon even though it had to be, couldn’t parse pulpiteer so had to guess it. LOI Alabamian – I’d leave out the i cf Alaskan – where I didn’t think of/couldn’t see Amin and didn’t consider the party of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to be socialist.
    COD RECOVER just ahead of MY HAT.

    1. I know more or less what a communist is – someone who oppresses you – but have never worked out exactly what a socialist is.

      1. I shouldn’t think it so complicated, but you must be thinking of historical vagaries rather than philosophical/political-scientific definitions.

        As a democratic socialist, I’d say a socialist is someone who believes government should serve the people, rather than oppressing them. Most real governments today are a mixed bag.

        And that’s because (I was gonna shut up there, but what the hell…) governments are themselves under the sway of the financial interests that—globally—really run the show, and control too many of our ostensible public servants.

          1. Ulaca, I’ve worked at The Nation since 1986. It’s a little enclave of socialism in itself (all my health care costs are covered by what I fondly call “Katrinacare”).
            Here’s a link to a book by my longtime colleague, national correspondent John Nichols, The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition… Socialism: https://www.versobooks.com/books/2062-the-s-word

            Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist!

    2. Labour describes itself in its constitution as a democratic socialist party. As to whether it is in practice, or what exactly that means, that’s a more difficult question!

      1. Interesting. I didn’t actually know what socialism is, except that Americans hate it worse than cancer. Looking in various dictionaries it seems to be what I would have said communism was – no free enterprise; the production and distribution of wealth are in the hands of the people.

        1. Yes dictionary definitions of socialism tend to be rather absolutist and pretty divorced from the way the word is generally used. Most discussions of socialism or socialist policies these days are questions of degree – Sweden is more socialist than the UK etc – in a context where the model (market economy with varying types and degrees of government involvement) would never meet the dictionary definition.

          1. I have always thought that socialism means “gimme your hard-earned money, cos I can’t or won’t earn as much as you”.

        1. Seems as good definition any other. Or how about the famous pornography one (Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, wiki tells me), ‘I know it when I see it’?

  4. 23 minutes before becoming stuck with 6ac and 7dn outstanding. After another 5 minutes I used aids to look for synonyms of ‘preacher’ and found PULPITEER, which would never have occurred to me and I doubt I would ever have arrived at via wordplay. Then with the P-checker in place SPOT leapt out at me as a triple definition.

    Although I had no problem arriving at LAND OF MY FATHERS from definition, enumeration and a couple of checkers I wondered whether something more than ‘pop’ was required to clue MY FATHER?

    I had no idea how BLESS worked, so thanks for that, Pip.

  5. A 48 minute DNF. Failed on the 1d ‘bloomers’ which I was never going to get today and couldn’t parse HALYCON. NATURALLY for ‘Having no side’ also went in with a shrug. Learnt of the existence of PULPITEER as a word and hope that I can forget it even more quickly than most other words I come across for the first time in crossword land.

    1. Me too on ?Naturally?, not helped because ‘neutrally’ has almost enough of the parts to seem as if it might work.

      1. I was with you on that one: neutrally seemed a far better definition for “having no side” than NATURALLY, but just wouldn’t fit. Some clever clueing in this one: B-LESS, SPOT, but my COD went to Flo and Dicky, who happily weren’t Cockerney 🤭.

  6. I was hung up a while on the NHO (that I can recall) UK TON-UP and DO A BUNK. SPOT was my POI, and I knew I was missing something (“clock” as a definition all on its own).
    I had the T and the enumeration and LAND OF MY FATHERS looked like a plausible title for a national anthem.
    There is some brilliant stuff here. I marked BLESS and LUCRE but there are others.

  7. Finished in 61:00, with LOI PULPITEER. Which had TEE for “letter”. Not a fan of those letter names like ay, bee, see etc. (Aitch, em and en maybe).

    I had “SETTLE THE SCORES”, as I couldn’t really quite see the exact way the anagram worked until I studied it more closely.

    TURIN was in the QC yesterday, which I blogged, so it went in fast here.

    I missed the anagram of (FLO THAN), and thought it was something along the lines of FLO being NOT HALF of Florence but three eighths.

    HALCYON was tough to parse, I didn’t see any of the three elements, so thanks for that.

    COD BLESS. What a great clue.

    1. Congrats Merlin – I stopped just before my hour was up with one to go. PULPITEER – what a truly ugly word 😅 As BR says, I hope never to see it again!

    2. I thought it a terrible clue. The solution ‘One b less’ is missing the ‘one’ bit, and in the resulting alternative interpretation, clearly neither bishop nor rabbi is ‘b less’.

      And on top of that ‘anoint’ for ‘bless’ is very loose.

  8. ‘Land of my fathers’, which I learned when a member of a Welsh Male Voice Choir, is interesting for the tune being written by the father and the words being added later by the son.

  9. 39m 41s
    Thanks, Pip, for HALCYON and NATURALLY.
    COD must go to BLESS. Lovely clue!

  10. 13:21. I thought of HOLIDAY INN early for 1A but dismissed it as being a hotel chain rather than a film. It was some time until I realised it must also be a film.
    The clue for BLESS was very good. It must be hard to come up with unusual devices so I’m impressed when a setter manages to do so.
    I didn’t understand how to DO A BUNK could be to provide one, but Chambers has “To provide” as the 10th definition for “do” out of 26. I wonder how they order the definitions. I guess by how common the usage of each definition is, but how they discern that I don’t know.

  11. Then for the teeming quietest, happiest days of all!
    The brooding and blissful halcyon days!

    20 mins mid-brekker plus a few more for Alabamian/Pulpiteer.
    I liked it, but my eyebrow twitched a bit at “Having no side”.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  12. MIRABILIA will never cease
    Did you SPOT any HALCYON peace?
    MY HAT! NOT HALF hard
    For this amateur bard
    Felt my brain DO A BUNK for release

    1. Ah, you didn’t perhaps notice that HALCYON is a kingfisher, and the adjective came from some mythology about kingfishers providing good weather.

  13. 34 minutes. amid packing boxes, having moved home yesterday. I hope the next time I do that is in a box, preferably delayed a while. LOI was PULPITEER. I knew HOLIDAY INN as the movie Bing first sang White Christmas, so I’m making that COD. Good puzzle, despite being saddled with that and Land of my Fathers as ear worms for the rest of the day. Thank you Pip and setter.

  14. 33:05 but…

    Running on fumes this morning – couldn’t drop off to sleep then an early start, and felt that some answers such as HOLIDAY INN and BOOKKEEPER might have sprung to mind more quickly if I’d had a better kip.

    Never mind. In the circumstances, it went quite well though missed some/all of the parsing in DIVISION LOBBY and HALCYON respectively. MER at ALABAMIAN – sure I saw this in a recent grid (QC maybe?) as ALABAMAN, but gave the final checker for the unknown PULPITEER which after a few minutes of staring blankly, I had to resort to aids.

  15. Really liked this one … pulpiteer not a word I would ever use, and naturally = “Having no side” seemed a bit odd, but otherwise some good stuff here .. did like BLESS!
    I read that the hotel chain was named after the film .. never had dealings with either, sadly

  16. DNF, defeated by the unknown HAREBELLS – I put ‘horibilis’, thinking that it was Latin, so it must be the name of a plant… even though the spelling doesn’t work.

    Even apart from that, I found this quite tricky. I didn’t parse PULPITEER at all; the ‘capable of high speed’ meaning of TON-UP wasn’t familiar to me, so it went in with a shrug; I’m amazed I worked out MIRABILIA as quickly as I did; I would never have got or understood BLESS without having all three checkers; I didn’t parse the ‘hal’ part of HALCYON; and SETTLE OLD SCORES was a tricky bit of lift and separate, with the added problem of having the D from DO A BUNK, which made me think the middle word would be ‘and’ for a while.

    COD Settle old scores

  17. An enjoyable puzzle with lots of clever clueing. All done in 29 minutes after being held up in the NE corner. I too remember ALABAMAN rather than ALABAMIAN from another recent puzzle, but eventually convinced myself that the latter had to be right here. NHO PULPITEER and biffed it as I could see no other option.
    Thanks to piquet and other contributors.

  18. Still don’t really understand TON-UP, which went in with a shrug. PULPITEER was NHO and my LOI, and a guess given that I couldn’t parse it. BLESS felt a little forced to me. Finished it but can’t say I really enjoyed it, for some reason.

  19. DNF. I had ??L?ITEER but couldn’t come up with either a preacher or a word for ‘sensationalist’ that fitted, and 6ac seemed one of those short clues with almost infinite possibilities. For some reason I just couldn’t be bothered to eke it out this morning. No complaints mind.

  20. After 26 minutes I was left with 6a and 7d. Eventually I got SPOT, but I still couldn’t see 7d and resorted to an aid. I should have seen PULP from ‘sensationalist, as I understood the rest of the wordplay.
    30 minutes DNF.

  21. Dnf. I couldn’t decipher Harebells and Pulpiteer. But both were fair enough.


  22. 45 minutes, having like others been a bit held up on PULPITEER, but it was reasonable enough and the word is somewhere in the recesses of my mind. John Wesley or someone like that … Also on MIRABILIA, which was new to me (mirabilis is the only word I knew). When a setter has a triple definition it seems that the definitions can be a bit remote: SPOT is only given in Chambers Crossword Dictionary under mark, not under clock or setting. A bit uncomfortable with do = provide in DO A BUNK, but if it’s there in the dictionaries then OK.

  23. I thought this was the trickiest in ages, taking 14m 50s, but looking at other responses & the leaderboard, I might be in the minority. PULPITEER & HAREBELLS were the last to fall, but I made heavy weather of plenty of others as well.

  24. Hard work but rewarding. I had a MER about 12a BLESS until I had a PDM just before coming here, and amended my ? to a pair of ticks. Was also v slow to spot the triple def at 6a SPOT, only “clocking” it after entering 7d PULPITEER.
    Couldn’t parse HALCYON, as others. Was interested to find that the noun is just kingfisher, whereas the adjective is only loosely related to the bird.

  25. 31:20. A gentle enough jog for the brain though PULPITEER and HALCYON were only half parsed by the end so thanks for the explanations. I did wonder if “in November” would have been better defined as “by December”. If you have to do something by a certain time doesn’t that mean completing before then?

    1. I think you have misinterpreted the clue. It is IN (home) “by” i.e. next to, N for November. Not by November, in a timing sense. Pip

  26. I made good progress with only 6a, 7d and 8d left after 17 minutes. TURIN came first, but SPOT and finally PULPITEER took me to 33:06 and I could see PULP as sensational, but failed to see TEE in IR. Thanks setter and Pip.

  27. To me sensationalist pulp suggests ‘pulp fiction’ rather than red top newspapers, though there is some overlap between the two genres.

  28. I thought someone might not have heard the story!

    A bishop, a rabbit and a reverend went into a bar. The barman looked at the rabbit.
    “What can I get you, then?”
    The rabbit replied.
    “I’ve no idea. I’m only here because of a spellcheck error.”

    I’ll get my coat.

      1. All done in 25 minutes but a DNF as I had to resort to aids for pulpiteer that I would never have got. Thanks for parsing halcyon which I knew was right but not why.

        Enjoyable puzzle.

        Thanks P and setter

    1. There’s a similar one I can’t remember which is something to do with blood types and the rabbit is a “type-o”.

  29. I thought this was the easiest one this week. The only unknown word was pulpiteer, but it fitted.

  30. Having got the H from 1 dn and the N of 5 dn I couldn’t get HOWARDS END out of my brain, but despite not being able to make the parsing work rashly bunged it in anyway. It didn’t help my progress much, though I finally fell in after the parliamentary answer.
    I don’t know why, but I found this puzzle curiously unsatisfying despite some v good clueing.

    1. Ah, you confused me for a moment or two by referring to 1dn (where your answer wouldn’t have fitted) instead of 1ac.

    2. Me too with Howard’s End!
      Had to consult with my teacher for “bless”. It’s always interesting how my brain doesn’t understand certain types of clues. i expect this is why we continue to practice!

  31. Just about within target at 44.15, but with a stupid error with my LOI. I transposed the A and the I in 20ac and put in MARIBILIA. I think I was too keen to hit my target without considering that the word derivation may be connected to MIRACLE.
    I also never worked out how BLESS and HALCYON were parsed, but all in all an enjoyable crossword

  32. Dnf – done for by the NW and the pulpiteer/Alabamian cross. Liked SPOT and a lot of others.

  33. The fact that “Mae hen wlad fy nhadau ” is unofficial was news to me. So I looked it up on wikki and it really is. But try telling a Welshman that their anthem is unofficial and you could start a riot. I suppose it’s a legal technicality but, to all intents and purposes, it is a nationally recognised national anthem. (Though these days “Yma o Hyd” is a strong contender in the Rugby Anthem stakes) I was recently on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse on Facebook because I dared to suggest that Land of our Fathers is a bit of a dirge. The Welsh think it’s the greatest anthem in the world. I agree that it’s not the worst (IMO, that prize goes to the unsingable US offering) but there are a lot better ones around. (My favourite is the Italian job).
    Re Crossword: 30 minutes. I couldn’t parse BLESS or HALCYON though both were easy to biff.

    1. No offence intended by “unofficial”, I was a bit surprised myself to find that out; perhaps you have to be a “sovereign nation in its own right and full member of the UN” (to quote Pointless) to have an official one. I like the Australian one. “God Save The King” is a bit of a dirge too.

      1. Billy Connolly did a sketch on the subject, suggesting that the theme from the Archers should be used 🙂 He also mentioned the second verse about crushing rebellious Scots. “Oh ye bl**dy think sae!”

        1. Well, it is the sixth verse of six, not the second; and no longer part of the official version, though imo it should be 🙂

    2. You’ll be pleased to know that the music for the US anthem is an 18th century English drinking song. (Also that the anthem itself is having a bit of difficulty due to the use of the word ‘slave’ in one of the verses which don’t usually get sung).

    3. I rather like the US one, although I take your point about ‘unsingable’. To me almost everything is unsingable though. I think we English/Brits (delete as appropriate) have the worst one. It’s awful.

    4. I think the anthem “Advance Australia Fair” is a worse dirge, and I’m Australian.

  34. BLESS was a brilliant clue which I completely failed to get. I put BREIS, thinking of BRIS, for which the cryptics half-worked. Sort of.

    Otherwise all done in 34 minutes. Like others, it took me ages to twig that the socialist party was LAB.

  35. Similar to the early commenters, I am away, but in my case I’m skiing. I started this early this morning and found on resumption that I hadn’t stopped the clock. Then I fell asleep before finishing, so not the most productive effort.
    Nothing amusing to add beyond the fact that I am not in THE LAND OF MY FATHERS as I usually am.

  36. I’m feeling especially dull-witted due to not knowing Harebells or Ton Up, then trying to squeeze the better defined Neutrally into the cryptic for Naturally, and finally what sent me to bed hungry: twisting the Native American Apache every which way to get a nine letter version of the proper sociaslist Apparatchik. Got to learn not to try to push a string.
    Thanks for the Rabbi(t) definition and joke, ulaca

  37. I plainly found this more difficult than others, although finally finished by biffing Bless and Pulpiteer. The latter is a word I know but was nowhere near until I eventually clocked Alabamian (I had spent most of my time racking my brains for some suitable Native American tribe – it didn’t help that Arapahoan fitted!)

  38. 29.45 so a sluggish solve. I blame golf in the rain🙁. Nothing too exacting though pulpiteer was a NHO and I guessed halcyon without parsing.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  39. Only began this evening, so very late commenting, but amazingly, all in and correct. I had to do an alphabet trawl to get pulp for LOI 7D, which took quite a while, naturally. POI was SPOT, which was easier than I’d thought it might be once I realised it was a triple definition, without which I certainly wouldn’t have got PULPITEER. I got HAREBELLS from the checkers, and post-parsed it – very clever, actually, I thought. There were some very canny and misleading definitions in this, and I did enjoy it, despite the difficulty. Liked BLESS, DIVISION LOBBY and NOT HALF, despite not realising it was an anagram!

  40. 22’46” – slowed down in top-right. I knew 6ac must be a triple definition but just couldn’t get it. And I wasn’t convinced a person from Alabama shouldn’t be an ALABAMAN, rather than an ALABAMIAN. Funnily enough we watched HOLIDAY INN only the other night, as part of our let’s-become-expert-in-old-movies drive. It was great! Bing goes off to open a country hotel where there are performances on the big national holidays – so Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc. The big tune of the film was supposed to be Be Careful, it’s My Heart, but the public thought otherwise and White Christmas it was. Wrecked now by all the mawkish associations, but in the original film it’s sweet.

  41. I parsed halcyon thus: halcyo (not exactly)
    and note (n) , reflected that (“that” being the definition. I think it somehow worked until I saw how Piquet did it. 59 mins all parsed if you allow “that”.

  42. Late start and late finish. All correct though. I couldn’t parse HALCYON, so thanks for the explanation in the blog. LOI was at 7d.
    This felt about the same level of difficulty as Monday’s

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