Times 28647 – “it’s the thing the … Soup is made from”, said the Queen.

A classical feel to this one, with a bit of classic rock as well. If your Greek mythology wasn’t up to it, you could deduce the answers to 1a, 1d and 14d from wordplay and crossers. As a Lewis Carroll junkie I’m always pleased to see an Alice reference. I finished in around 25 minutes, I think USHERETTE was my favourite clue.

Definitions underlined in bold, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, anagrinds in italics, [deleted letters in square brackets].

1 Woman’s not spotted saving uniform for such labours? (9)
HERCULEAN – HER (woman’s) CLEAN (not spotted) with U inserted.
6 A cover-up in hospital: only a single vaccination (5)
HIJAB – H for hospital, I for one, JAB.
9 Cold? Not advisable to fall asleep (5)
CRASH – C for cold, RASH = not advisable.
10 Hesitant moving at first, becoming courteous (9)
ATTENTIVE – TENTATIVE rearranged, the AT moving to the start.
11 Quality of sound initially leaves one shaken (7)
TIMBREL – TIMBRE (quality of sound) L (initially leaves). A thing like a tambourine.
12 Stretched and felt another twinge? (7)
REACHED – if you RE – ACHED, you’d be feeling another twinge.
13 Stupidly lets cook put rum in starter (4,6,4)
MOCK TURTLE SOUP – (LETS COOK PUT RUM)*. Before the mid 1800s, real turtle soup was a rich person’s fare, but when green turtles were being hunted close to extinction, “mock” turtle soup was invented, made from various bits of calf offal or beef and sherry. The mock turtle, a character in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was created from the soup, not vice versa.
17 Delivery for one unable to rise before ten! (5,2,3,4)
SAVED BY THE BELL – a cryptic definition, based on the origin of the phrase from boxing, when “the bell” at the end of a round can save a boxer who could otherwise be knocked out. Ten being the count he would suffer for defeat.
21 Capricious wife always fighting daughter (7)
WAYWARD – W (wife) AY (always) WAR (fighting) D (daughter).
23 Left job, but also went back? (7)
RETIRED – double definition, where retired can mean “went back”as an army might fall back.
25 Horribly wet a valid reason? (5,4)
TIDAL WAVE – (WET A VALID)*, is this a semi-&lit? Somebody will tell us.
26 Sudden pain, touching a knife (5)
PANGA – PANG + A. I thought a panga was a fish, but it’s also a broad bladed knife, I guessed it.
27 Impatient snake’s first time in the grass (5)
HASTY – S (first of snake) T (time) inside HAY (grass).
28 Found a new place, having struggled after the start to house alien (9)
RESETTLED – [W]RESTLED = struggled, after the start; insert ET the usual alien.
1 Chief witch shortly organised mob for big sacrifice (8)
HECATOMB – HECAT[E] being chief witch shortly, then (MOB)*. Hecate was the Greek Goddess of witchcraft, and a hecatomb was originally a sacrifice of 100 cattle, and came to mean any big sacrifice. I knew Hecate and had heard the word hecatomb but couldn’t have told you what it meant, until now.
2 Sphere’s actual mass (5)
REALM – REAL (actual) M for mass.
3 We who are present not drinking, having no success with wine guide (9)
USHERETTE – US HERE being “we who are present”, TT being teetotal, and E being WINE without WIN (success).
4 One contacting English and American author (7)
EMAILER – E for English, Norman MAILER the American author.
5 This cancellation of a flat making you wild (7)
NATURAL – in music a “natural” is an accidental note  (C, D, E, F, G, A or B) played without being a sharp or flat, marked by “♮”> on the stave if the key signature would expect it to be sharp or flat. At least, I think that’s what I remember from my piano lessons. Wild here meaning natural as in “re-wilding” meaning returning to a natural state.
6 Chinese like to turn up in German league (5)
HANSA -HAN a Chinese ethnic group, and AS (like) reversed. I knew of the Hanseatic League so it being also known as the HANSA seemed reasonable.
7 Elvis’s can sort of rock (9)
JAILHOUSE – A reference to the 1957 Elvis Presley hit “Jailhouse Rock” and where “can” is slang for jail.
8 British city suffers vital loss (6)
BLEEDS – B for British, LEEDS city in Yorkshire.
14 Nervous, twice circling edge of dangerous whirlpool (9)
CHARYBDIS – CHARY = nervous, BIS = twice, with D the edge of dangerous inserted. Depending on the version of the legend, Charybdis was either a sea monster (opposite Scylla) or the whirlpool created when the monster belched out swallowed water.
15 Delicious things and a lot of money, the best part of a racket (5,4)
SWEET SPOT – SWEETS (delicious things), POT (money). My golf clubs also have sweet spots, but they don’t feature as often as I’d like.
16 Effusive greeting from happy worker (4,4)
GLAD HAND – GLAD = happy, HAND = worker.
18 Be likely to order a Christmas tree brought round (3,4)
BID FAIR – BID = order, FIR the tree, with A inserted. Not an idiom I knew, I think it’s more American than English (so says Collins).
19 Objectives given to sailor (7)
TARGETS – if something is given to a sailor, a TAR GETS it.
20 Police team check sample (6)
SWATCH – SWAT (police team, special weapons assault team) CH (check).
22 Calm partner holding ace (5)
ALLAY – ALLY (partner) has A inserted.
24 Learn new arrangement for organ (5)
RENAL – (LEARN)*. Relating to a kidney.


74 comments on “Times 28647 – “it’s the thing the … Soup is made from”, said the Queen.”

  1. 9:12 – fun puzzle, CHARYBDIS known only from various crosswording uses. I liked HECATOMB.

  2. We had CHARYBDIS’s pal SCYLLA in the puzzle I blogged Sunday. This one brought great pleasure, and was not as hard as my having to take a break for bodily nourishment might seem to indicate. On returning to the fray, I filled in the second half even more quickly than the first.
    LOI, the quaint BID FAIR.

  3. I think the explanation for ATTENTIVE is slightly more specific than ‘TENTATIVE with the front rearranged’. The word meaning HESITANT has the ‘AT’ component literally moved to the front, and that avoids an indirect anagram.

  4. 14:07
    I biffed a bunch: MOCK TURTLE, RESETTLED, HECATOMB, USHERETTE, CHARYBDIS, parsed all post-submission. I did not figure out SAVED BY THE BELL, and in fact I never knew where the phrase came from. DNK BID FAIR was an Americanism; it strikes me, as it did Guy, as quaint. Liked RESETTLED & USHERETTE (the clue, not the solution). [on edit]: HANSA is also part of Lufthansa (‘air company’). A PANGA is the East African equivalent of a machete; I saw one once in (almost) use in Kenya, when a couple of us made a half-hearted attempt to kill a snake. It’s amazing how fast snakes can move; luckily, this one was running away.

  5. 32 minutes. TIMBREL and PANGA were both new but seemed the most likely answers. The musical subtleties of NATURAL were way beyond me but at least I recognised the wordplay had something to do with a musical note. BID FAIR was last in; I’d heard the expression without knowing what it meant, but again wordplay helped.

    TIDAL WAVE would do as a semi-&lit for me, with the clue as a cryptic def and only ‘reason?’ not part of the wordplay. SAVED BY THE BELL was my favourite.

  6. I found the top half of this very challenging and laboured like Hercules to get it all done in 39.56, let’s call it 40. Spent too long trying to make ATTENTIVE from an anagram of ‘hesitant a’, and ditto for JAILHOUSE out of ‘Elvis’s can’. Thanks Piquet for NATURAL and RESETTLED explanations, and a few more besides. In this context I think ‘can’ is slang for jailhouse, not just jail. A lot of unknowns like TIMBREL, HECATOMB and PANGA which went in on a wing and a prayer and fortunately came up all green.

  7. Several unknown words and meanings and generally tricky clues slowed me down but 42 minutes was not too bad for a puzzle I began by wondering if I would ever get started on.

    The long answer MOCK TURTLE SOUP which was one of my early successes opened up the grid for me, but the other long one, SAVED BY THE BELL, my second to LOI, slowed the finish. However it gave me the B to construct BID to go with FAIR as my LOI.

    Further to that, I never heard the expression BID FAIR before, but according to SOED it dates from the mid 17th century so it seems we’re back in the realms of archaisms, not that the dictionary classifies it as such.

    For me GLAD HAND has always carried with it overtones of insincerity, even hypocrisy, perhaps because it’s so often associated with politicians, so I felt that was lacking in the clue definition.

    PANGA was unknown, as was HANSA although I entered the the latter confidently because I got the reference to Hanseatic League.

    I missed SWAT as ‘police team’ in SWATCH but was sure of the definition.

    I was pleased to remember HECAT{E} and HECATOMB after I had somehow constructed the answer.

    I parsed ATTENTIVE the same way as Aphis99 and other commenters.

  8. 13:54. I submitted nervously today, with several nagging doubts. I thought HECATOMB was a burial place so couldn’t see the definition – I might have been mixing it up with tomb and catacomb. TIMBREL was well parsed but tumbrel sounded more familiar (I see now tumbrel is a two wheeled cart). And BID FAIR just didn’t sound like a phrase. I finished with SAVED BY THE BELL, and though not a fan of cryptic definitions I must say I liked this one. The checkers for this answer were quite unhelpful until the B went in and I moved from thinking about “of the”, “in the”, etc, to “by the” at which point all became clear.

    1. Yes. It had to be TIMBREL, but I thought it was a kind of hearse. I too was thinking of tumbrel, the cart used to deliver the victims to the guillotine (so not a hearse, unless it was also used to take them away afterwards)

  9. 20:05
    ATTENTIVE was in fact my LOI, having pencilled in a mysterious American artist Elvis Johnhouse at 7dn, before cottoning on.
    NHO a PANGA.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  10. Fame, like a Wayward girl, will still be coy

    To those who woo her with too slavish knees, …
    (On Fame, Keats)

    35 mins mid-brekker with at least 75% spent on the top half. I liked it, mostly the CD for Saved by the bell.
    Ta setter and Pip.

  11. 28:01
    Good fun – enjoyed this. Steady solve; no dramas.
    Thanks, p.

  12. 12’33”, no issues. Liked USHERETTE and HECATOMB.

    Knew about the MOCK TURTLE from Alice, never knew about the soup until much later in life, so can it be said I ninja-turtled this one?

    Thanks pip and setter.

  13. 24:50

    Not being a classicist, I managed to biff and bash my way through this successfully with the following mis/un-parsed/NHOs:

    HECATOMB – vaguely heard of HECATe but couldn’t have said what it was – needed the final checker to confirm my guess.
    CHARYBDIS – seen before and bunged in from checkers, but wouldn’t have remembered what it was if asked.
    BID FAIR – tumbleweed moment for unnecessary archaism.
    NATURAL – knew the musical meaning but not the re-wilding.
    HANSA – Ninja (not MOCK) TURTLEd – with all three checkers, knew of the German record label HANSA (Boney M, David Bowie). No idea what the Hanseatic League is/was.
    PANGA – NHO but straightforward from checkers and definition.

    TIDAL WAVE took an unnecessarily long time as well!

    Thanks to P for the elucidations.

  14. Another solid finish (46:20 about a Halfsnitch, which is my goal these days ) with a couple of confirming lookups needed. I’d heard of Hanseatic, but did not know it could be shortened to HANSA, also hense as well, I think. Needed spelling of CHARYBDIS, and checked PANGA, which I thought was the Gurkha knife, it’s not, that’s the Kukri.

    LOI ATTENTIVE where I pursued an anagram of “hesitant” til the bitter end as crossers repeatedly fit the letters.

    Some great clues, esp SAVED BY THE BELL and JAIL HOUSE.

  15. 27 minutes with LOI BID FAIR. I biffed ATTENTIVE, meaning to go back to parse, but never got round to it. DNK PANGA but the crossers were kind, just like the warden at the county jail. I only remembered Hecate after an HERCULEAN effort. They must have needed a heck of a tomb after that. COD to SAVED BY THE BELL. A mix of easy and difficult, but good fun. Thank you Pip and setter.

  16. 19:25. Nice one. The long ones across the middle both took me an age, but nice PDMs when I finally saw them. LOI CHARYBDIS remembered only when I’d worked it out from the wordplay. Lots of good clues, but COD to SAVED BY THE BELL. Thanks Pip and setter.

  17. 34:22. FOI 1ac HERCULEAN after which I struggled a bit but then settled into it. NHO HECATOMB but by helpful coincidence Hecate featured on television recently in an episode of Van der Valk – another example of Mike Harper’s mock turtling. I liked TARGETS and JAILHOUSE

  18. 11:15
    Our school canoe club had boats named Scylla and CHARYBDIS, which helped. Biffed ATTENTIVE and SWATCH; enjoyed TARGETS and REACHED (moreso than RETIRED).
    One of the few (OK, not so few) songs I sing on request, or otherwise, is Cole Porter’s ‘At Long Last Love’, which begins:
    “Is it an earthquake or simply a shock?
    Is it the good turtle soup or merely the mock?”

  19. 31 minutes. Didn’t understand SAVED BY THE BELL at all, remembered the word CHARYBDIS without knowing what it was, had to hope that a PANGA is a knife, didn’t parse RESETTLED, hadn’t heard of the Hecate witch in HECATOMB, and only vaguely remembered Mailer the author for EMAILER.

    A nice puzzle, tough but gettable. Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Herculean
    LOI Attentive
    COD Mock turtle soup

  20. Around 45 mins. Held up by last four in that fell into place once I saw USHERETTE. The other three were SAVED BY THE BELL (COD), CHARYBDIS and the BID of BID FAIR. PANGA and TIMBREL unknown but guessed/worked out. Like others, got HANSA from Hanseatic.

    A lot to like today.

    Thanks pip and setter.

  21. 49m 32s
    Yes, a fun puzzle but I wondered for a while if I would ever get started. As is often the case these days, i had to go down to the SW corner to get a foothold.
    My LOI was 7d, JAILHOUSE ( rock). A big ‘of course’ when the pfennig finally dropped
    The history of the Hanseatic League is fascinating. It was founded for commercial and defensive purposes but some members decided to go to war against Denmark; probably a bad batch of beer from Carlsberg…
    Thanks, Pip.

  22. 9:59. I only had three or four answers after my first pass through the acrosses but the downs proved much more amenable.
    I think of a semi-&Lit as a clue in which the definition is technically (in the sense that it’s the only bit of the clue that isn’t wordplay) one word but it doesn’t make sense without the rest of the clue, and you can also read the whole thing as the definition. So this is an archetypal example.
    I read the clue for JAILHOUSE ROCK as a CD, rather than a DD, because JAILHOUSE is not (other than in the song) a kind of rock.

  23. 15.25, thinking it was trying very hard to be difficult, with a good number of words from the further branches of the knowledge tree. Fortunately I recognised all of them, which accounts for my relative whizz through.
    I’m quite surprised by the murmurs about BID FAIR. A quick search of my Times shows the phrase in fairly frequent use: “books bid fair to be a highly popular Christmas present this year”. So unless you consider our beloved organ antiquated or too tainted by Fox News it seems to be in current British usage.
    My last in was the Elvis, once I gave up trying to dig out an obscure mineral from the minimalist clue. I take it as to all intents and purposes a CD, though I can see why Piquet (thanks!) split it into a DD.
    SAVED BY THE BELL bids fair to become a popular CoD. Despite being a CD, it was mine, too.

  24. 23:53

    All on my wavelength today, especially CHARYBDIS which I’ve been reading about lately. Excellent book called The Baltic Origins of Homer’s Epic Tales by Felice Vinci (he claims the Iliad/Odyssey took place in North Europe – fun but bonkers)

  25. All correct with a moment of inspiration to finally get HANSA where I was all at sea.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  26. Low 20’s which is good for me. actually got quite a few on first pass, such as HERCULEAN, JAILHOUSE and TURTLE SOUP. Only had about 6 to solve but that took some time. I somehow half remembered Hecate so worked out HECATOMB and eventually got the “bid” in BID FAIR via an alphabet trawl, giving SAVED BY THE BELL, my COD once I worked it out. LOI was CHARYBDIS, needing all the crossers. Helped today by faint childhood memories of Greek mythology (via either Harry Harryhausen or Henry Treece, certainly nothing highbrow!). Enjoyed, thanks to setter and blogger.

  27. Several entered using wordplay and hoping the word was OK, which on the whole was the case. I never understood how ATTENTIVE worked until realising how it worked, very nice. Similarly RESETTLED. I wasn’t — and still am not — comfortable with the Elvis clue: surely ‘Elvis’s can’ is ‘jailhouse’; so ‘sort of rock’ would also be ‘jailhouse’ if it was a DD. I know little about all this but surely there isn’t a type of rock music called ‘jailhouse’? In that case it seems to be a CD. And a rather loose one in my opinion. 39 minutes.

    1. See my comment above: I agree. I read it as ‘the prison variety of rock associated with Elvis’.

      1. I took it that ‘jail’ is the can, ‘house’ is a kind of rock (music), and ‘jailhouse’ is associated with Elvis.

        1. Yes you’re probably right. But I still think it’s a bit of a loose CD.

            1. Indeed, familiarity with a musical genre that has only been around for 40 years (and has arguably been more influential on popular music in that period than any other form) marks you out as a spring chicken here!

  28. Re. NATURAL: Although it could be construed as per the blog, the clue here refers to the cancellation of a previous accidental. (An accidental is the alteration of the pitch of the note stipulated by the key signature – so a natural can actually be an accidental, as e.g. B natural in the key of F.)

    In the key of E minor the D natural is often sharpened, and this would be indicated by the sharp sign. The accidental only applies to the measure it appears in, so if there is a subsequent D in the same measure, it is also assumed to be sharp. However, if the musical intention is D natural, the sharp sign would be ‘cancelled’ by a natural sign. (As in, for example, the second measure of the Bouree from Bach’s 1st Lute Suite.)

    More pedantry. In days gone by, the cancellation would always appear alongside the next appearance of the note in a subsequent measure. These days most editors assume that musicians know the one-bar rule, and omit the cancellation, though some include it as a courtesy.

    And hats off to anyone who cared enough to read to the end of this comment.

    1. My hat is off, but I’m more confused that I was when I tried to explain it originally…

    2. I read it all, just to make sure you were getting it all right. 😉

    3. Bravo dcrooks. 👏🏻 I did not understand a word you wrote, which confirms my belief that musicians are incredibly gifted and explains why I never passed my grade 1 piano.

    I like a good charade clue because they are elegant, relying solely on synonyms, no containers or anagrams or whatnot. Nice surface in this case, with the clever participle/gerund switch on “fighting”.

  30. 32 mins. Tough for me with several, like ATTENTIVE, bunged in without getting why. As a rebel for the past three years, I was stunned to find that I needed help to find JAB, but maybe it’s my aversion to the things.

  31. 17:09. Lots to like, in spite of the unknown but guessable PANGA. Couldn’t parse SAVED BY THE BELL despite a determined post-solve attack, but it turns out to be simpler and cleverer than I thought.

  32. Very entertaining, with neat witty clues. Old (very distant) grammar school education stood me in good stead.

  33. No time for me today as I was interrupted. Enjoyed this though, but didn’t find it a straightforward as some of you. . I didn’t properly parse SAVED BY THE BELL but thanks for the explanation this is now my COD.

  34. I was sluggish getting through this one, being particularly delayed by last 2, EMAILER and ATTENTIVE. Those 2 probably accounted for 10 of my 37:45. Thaks setter and Pip.

  35. Nothing too scary, but plenty to think about for me anyway. ATTENTIVE and EMAILER last two in. I see same last 2 as John D above!


  36. chuckled at SAVED BY THE BELL (eventually) and was grateful for the “B” crosser which gave me my LOI which was bidding fair to be left incomplete but became my COD.
    Thanks for the jolly blog and to the setter

  37. I enjoyed this – launched straight away with HERCULEAN followed by HECATOMB. Together with CHARYBDIS this was positively Homeric. As with the previous two comments, I failed on EMAILER. I should have thought of Norman, but stuck in “enabler” – who would presumably contact others when enabling them – in the vain hope of there being an obscure American author called Abler or Nabler. At least it fitted with crosses.
    Thanks to the setter and piquet.

  38. 26.20 with bid fair causing much delay. NHO it. Hijab and reached were notquite so problematic but added their own bit of nuisance. Liked the two long anagrams with saved by the bell winning my COD.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  39. 38’45”
    Slowly into stride, one paced throughout….
    ….but very glad to have remained in the saddle and parse everything, but, as with Pip, I think the PANGA in my dusty attic was fishy.
    I wouldn’t like to single out a clue as it was all very pleasing.
    Hats off to dcrooks, Pip, setter and other contibutors; I’m feeling very spoilt today.

  40. I took exactly 30 minutes (plus 36 seconds for a quick proofread) for this and liked it very much. I agree that US HERE TT E is the best clue (but when parsing it I didn’t really see where the final E came from). I also liked the construction of ATTENTIVE. HANSA is the Latin or perhaps old German spelling, in modern German it’s the Hanse, and the cities belonging to it are still recognizable in some ways today. For example, German number plates begin with an abbreviation of the place or district name, but for the Hansa cities it is preceded by an H. So Hamburg’s code is HH for “Hansestadt Hamburg” (and just plain H is Hannover), Flensburg is HF, Bremen is HB etc.

    PANGA was the only real unknown for me in this puzzle, but the wordplay was very kind in all cases.

  41. Fingers were firmly crossed when I submitted in 50:37. PANGA, HANSA (LOI) and BID FAIR all unfamiliar. Liked ATTENTIVE and SAVED BY THE BELL. Glad to be all green. Enjoyed this one. Thanks both.

  42. I remembered Natural and Accidental from previous discussions, and Panga from something which must have been here. Like Pip, I liked the elegant clues for the slightly retro grid-fill; like Kevin I wasn’t familiar with Bid Fair as American. Nice blog; very nice puzzle

  43. I nearly didn’t bother with this given a Snitch in the 90s but chances by arm and was amazed to finish it (and in a respectable 25:01). Maybe all these years on the QC nursery slopes are finally paying dividends!

    Lots to like but COD to HECATOMB. Many thanks for the blog, Pip, I didn’t understand LOI ATTENTIVE at all!


  44. DNF I had ‘unsettled’ as some sort of definition for alien, and couldn’t sort out the word play to correct myself. I was completely flummoxed by BID FAIR. I didn’t know the expression and was wondering if this was some sort of clever cryptic definition. At least I stopped myself putting in bed bath. I enjoyed working out the many unknowns and finding them correct.

    Thanks all

  45. 65m. LOI PANGA. Clue made it obvious and not really a guess despite having NHO it. Final E in USHERETTE was from “.. no success (WIN) with wine…” COD HECATOMB. Thanks to setter for extremely gratifying and engaging puzzle.

  46. Nice puzzle, but above my pay grade! ( too many NHOs: HECATOMB, TIMBREL, BID FAIR, NATURAL and PANGA (which last was easy to guess). Will have to add a few more words to my already dictionary-length list of former ‘unknowns’!

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