Times Cryptic 28274

Solving time: 28 minutes. This setter seems very fond of em dashes, I can’t recall seeing so many in a 15×15 puzzle!

I had more problems blogging this than solving it, and I still have a few things I’m not 100% sure of.  There’s a clue that relies on a plural that doesn’t exist and another that has two words I can’t account for and seem to be redunant. Here goes…

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 More than one dictator hinders journalist making return (7)
STOPS (hinders) + ED (journalist) all reversed [making return]
5 God to support the likes of you and me, it’s said (7)
Sounds like [it’s said] “back, us” (support / the likes of you and me). The god of wine and other delights.
9 Shut up Italian writer at street festival (9)
PENT (shut up), ECO (Italian writer – Umberto Eco), ST (street). It’s the Jewish harvest festival or Whit Sunday in the Christian church.
10 A word of thanks, having got men aboard vessel (5)
OR (men) contained by [having got…aboard] A + TA (word of thanks). The largest artery.
11 What could provide reductions to shopper primarily? (8,5)
Anagram [what could provide] of REDUCTIONS TO S{hopper} [primarily]. I think this counts as semi&lit but I happy to be corrected if not.
13 Sermonised  Pastor originally has got to (8)
P{astor} [origonally], REACHED (has got to). The clue appears in some places as: Quiet revolutionary enthralling a church — what he or she did there? (8) in which the wordplay doesn’t quite work.
15 Arrived at firm —  head of accounts encountered inside (4,2)
A{ccounts} [head] + MET (encountered) contained by [inside] CO (firm – company)
17 Big shotsthey may gather at Davos (6)
Two meanings – the first being cricket jargon for balls that are hit high into the air. Davos is a ski resort in Switzerland and not, as I had thought, one of the baddies in Doctor Who.
19 ”To some extent, inhumane” — a term for a dangerous woman? (3-5)
Hidden in [to some extent]  {inhu}MANE A TER{m}
22 Blairite hated being “out” — wanting to be this? (13)
Anagram [out] of BLAIRITE HATED. A very good &lit.
25 Special force releasing half the characters from custody (5)
POSSE{ssion} (custody) [releasing half the characters]. Followers of old Westerns will be very familiar with this word.
26 Lover‘s farewell number — entertaining end to concert (9)
VALE (farewell – Latin), then NINE (number) containing [entertaining] {concer}T [end]
27 Bird plunging into each lake non-stop (7)
TERN (bird) contained by [plunging into] EA (each), then L (lake)
28 ”Little woman should be keeping home.” Pardon?! (7)
AMY (little woman) containing [should be keeping] NEST (home). Amy is one of the four March sisters in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
1 Fool in Belfast party taking recreational drug (4)
DUP (Belfast party – Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland), E (recreational drug)
2 Study is set up — that is to finish some time or other (4,3)
DEN (study) + IS reversed [set up], then IE (that is). SOED defines sine die with reference to adjourned business etc, without any day being appointed for resumption.
3 Signs provided by females ousting head (5)
{w}OMENS (females) [ousting head]. Er… ‘women’ is a plural word so you can’t stick an ‘s’ on it! Later Edit: Thanks to the commenters who have suggested the parsing is meant to be  {w}OMEN’S (provided by females) [ousting head]. I can see that just about works, but requiring solvers to imagine and insert their own apostrophe to make the grammar fit seems a bit much to me. It clearly came from the same mind that devised today’s original clue at 17ac, and the editor might also have intervened here.
4 Mark finished in a B&B maybe (8)
STOP (punctuation mark), OVER (finished). A B&B (Bed & Breakfast) is a small hotel or guest-house that provides overnight accommodation and breakfast.
5 Sarcastic piece, no good, about India (6)
BIT (piece) + NG (no good) containing [about] I (India – NATO)
6 Another one who is in form given marks? (9)
I’ve hunted for wordplay here but can’t find any so I’m counting it as a cryptic definition. The last two words don’t add anything and could have omitted to make a neater clue.
7 Something in the blood that gets moorhen moving (7)
Anagram [moving] of MOORHEN
8 Fish on to the table: way to go! (10)
SKATE (fish), BOARD (table). I suppose the definition is to be taken simply as a mode of transport.
12 Sort of speech perhaps too sloppy (10)
Anagram [sloppy] of PERHAPS TOO. This definition of apostrophe was completely unknown to me. SOED again: words addressed to a person or thing, whether absent or present, generally in an exclamatory digression in a speech or literary writing.
14 About to have meat and veg in holiday location? (9)
CA (about – circa), RIB (cut of meat), BEAN (veg)
16 Worker in factory needing a cloak (8)
ANT (worker) contained by [in] MILL (factory), then A. I vaguely knew this from somewhere and assumed a connection with ‘mantle’.
18 Beset by loathing, son’s hidden quickly (2,5)
IN (beset by), then S (son) contained by [hidden in] HATE (loathing)
20 Couples imbibing rum — in these concoctions? (7)
TIES (couples) containing [imbibing] ODD (rum)
21 Qualification of the First Lady accepted by everyone (1,5)
EVE (the first lady) contained [accepted] by ALL (everyone)
23 Musical group turning up — one in the groove? (5)
NONET (musical group) reversed [turning up]
24 Gathering given drink with five abstaining (4)
BEV{v}Y (drink) [five – v – abstaining]. In my experience ‘bevy’ was commonly used in only one context now designated non-PC, so we don’t hear it very often. In another context it’s the collective noun for quails or larks.

45 comments on “Times Cryptic 28274”

  1. When I did this online, at around 0:30, the clue read, “Sermonised? Pastor initially has got to”.
    1. Thanks. I’ve changed it now. The original must still be lurking in the system somewhere. It’s still not a very good clue though.
  2. 43 minutes. Same as Kevin above – my online version of 13a was ‘Sermonised? Pastor initially has got to’. Maybe our betters realised there was a problem with the initial wordplay missing that E. I thought CLASSMATE was a cryptic def but wondered if I was missing something.

    Was going well until becoming bogged down in the SW with SKIERS, APOSTROPHE (didn’t know the ‘Sort of speech’ sense either) and CARIBBEAN.

  3. I didn’t actually solve DISCOUNT STORE until after submitting; wondered what was cryptic, and why ‘primarily’, but put it in. I had DOPE at first at 1d, then thought of the DUP. I raised both eyebrows at OMENS, and wondered about ‘given marks’. LOI BEVY; I couldn’t see what the V was doing there if it was ‘abstaining’, and only after some time recalled ‘bevvy’ (not US). Coleridge says he came across this apostrophe by a deservedly unknown poet: “Inoculation! Heavenly maid, descend!”

    Edited at 2022-04-26 01:29 am (UTC)

  4. I had the quiet revolutionary, and found it puzzling. Clueing EACH as A is OK, but EA as A seems one cryptic step too many, like indirect anagrams? Couldn’t make sense of classmate either, hopefully someone will be along soon to explain.
    Nevertheless and enjoyable puzzle. COD amnesty pipped by discount store, which I’d say was full &lit.
  5. Got to the finish eventually after having to look at some of these over and over before light dawned. Appreciate all the blogger’s necessary(for me!)explanations .
  6. 26 minutes finishing with BEVY and AMNESTY. Hamstrung myself by bunging in ‘Valentino’ for VALENTINE.

    A bit of a solecism with the clue for OMENS!

  7. My last two were AMNESTY and then BEVY which took me far too long. I even thought of “bevvy” as the drinking session, but I forgot it had two Vs, one of which could be removed. And I had forgotten that AMY was one of the Little Women and I could only think of Jo which obviously didn’t work. I was another one who searched in vain for something clever going on in the CLASSMATE clue. In fact, I put it in very early and then took it out again since I wasn’t convinced I wasn’t missing something. Later, with all the checkers, it had to be.

    I didn’t know that meaning of APOSTROPHE so I looked it up once I’d finished. When I lived in France there was a program about books called APOSTROPHES and I always thought it an odd name for the program, but I guess it was the French equivalent of this other meaning. By the way, it also means the ranging of chloroplasts on the sidewalls of the cell in intense light. I wonder if we’ll get that one, one day!

    Edited at 2022-04-26 04:42 am (UTC)

  8. I just realized that DISCOUNT STORE needs the TO in the anagrist as well, or else it is not even enough letters.
    1. Thanks to both. It’s perverse that when solving puzzles (even when I’m not on blogging duty) I annotate my print-out meticulously, both the clues and answers in the grid, to indicate the parsing, but when it comes to writing my blogs I work 99.99% from my head, assuming I have remembered everything I worked out in the earlier process. I suppose it saves time and usually it’s fine, but sometimes, like this clue today, things go wrong.
  9. 40 minutes for what I found a slightly odd collection of clues. I missed a few things along the way—the anagram for DISCOUNT STORE passed me by, as did how “stop” meant “mark”. I did know that meaning of APOSTROPHE, though I only remember encountering it in the wild once, in Great Expectations. FOI 1a DESPOTS, LOI 25a POSSE, where I was thinking the special force would be something like SAS for a while. COD to 22a REHABILITATED.
  10. Fright and perplex, so also shuddered he…

    I had a shudder at Womens and Classmate, but liked the rest.
    Discount store was neat.
    Thanks setter and J.

  11. I must have spent over half my time on my last four answers today — SKATEBOARD, MANTILLA, AMNESTY and BEVY. None of the clues for them was overly hard, rather today was one of those days when I just couldn’t see the answers. I did find BEVY a little tricksy because the removal of a V made it seem very unlikely that the answer was going to have a V in it. I liked the clue for that reason. SKATEBOARD was an example of my long time nemesis, the compound word. It reminds me how much I rely on seeing word patterns when solving.
  12. 23 minutes with LOI BEVY, so a top-to-bottom solve. I had only two question marks en route and they were were the same as others. There seemed to be less to CLASSMATE than met the eye, and that meaning of APOSTROPHE was something I was at best only dimly aware of. COD to SINE DIE, an expression I first became aware of in the early sixties when three Sheffield Wednesday players were given that term of suspension for taking a bribe, and I realised then that my O level Latin had its uses. I liked BACCHUS too. Thank you Jack and setter.

    Edited at 2022-04-26 07:20 am (UTC)

  13. Bad start to the week continues …found this challenging but enjoyable at first – in fact I thought I was making reasonably short work of it until I looked up at about 60% and saw the clock at 22m – then I progressively slowed down to a standstill.

    In the SW I had no idea why SKIERS could be big shots, so along with POSSE, that had to wait ages until I finally unravelled APOSTROPHE (the crux of the biscuit, as Frank Zappa once noted). Up in the NE, I then spent 10 mins or so on the crossing of AORTA and CLASSMATE – but they never came. Those no-wordplay clues often seem to get me, feel like I need to take a mental “step back” ..oh well, thanks anyway Jack and setter.

  14. If I had a favourite god
    Then BAÇCHUS, for sure, gets the nod
    Hot TODDIES are fine
    But I prefer wine
    Tho’ champers can make me feel odd
    1. A-N great to see that you’re back
      Your prose has surely been alack
      Those eloquent words
      About those ruddy birds
      I hope you’ll maintain the attack.
  15. A steady solve for me.
    Thank you, Jack for DISCOUNT STORE and the explanation of APOSTROPHE.
    With 6d, I was fixated for ages on the idea that ‘one in form’ meant ‘hare’, especially as the checkers led me to believe those were the last four letters.
    COD to POSSE (“They went thataway” and “We’ll head ’em off at the pass”) and to CLASSMATE.
    Thanks again, Jack.
  16. 40mins with the last 5 spent on staring at -O-Y at 24d as, like ulaca, I had bunged in VALENTINO early on. Once I ran out of ideas, I reread the clue and saw it needed the E At the end. Doh.

    Another MER at OMENS. Very odd. DNK that meaning of APOSTROPHE either.

    I liked DISCOUNT STORE and AMNESTY best.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  17. 15.37, with time spent unravelling the wordplay for CLASSMATE, and deciding the clue was missing something to indicate ATE. And trying to remember that NI Democratic Opposition Party so that DOPE was OK. And finding out why 1ac DEDUCES (ED in more than one DUCE) wasn’t right, apart from lacking definition.
    On the other hand, (W)OMEN’S does work if the wordplay is taken as “provided by females”: it’s then the women’s contribution. As always in the Times, APOSTROPHEs are ignored, as in any case they can’t be entered in the grid.
    An unusually problematical set of clues valiantly and entertainingly sorted by Jack.
  18. 16:59. I found this really tricky, with half a dozen or so clues causing all the problems. Other than this meaning of APOSTROPHE I knew all the words so the difficulty was just in some rather unusual wordplay.
    In 3dn I think ‘provided by females’ indicates WOMEN’S. This is a little unusual (it would normally be for) but seems OK if you think WRVS for instance.
    I don’t understand CLASSMATE. If it’s a cryptic definition, what’s the surface reading supposed to be referring to?

    Edited at 2022-04-26 08:37 am (UTC)

  19. 24 minutes, with APOSTROPHE entered with a shrug, and OMENS entered although I knew it was wrong. Actually now I’m not sure that it really is wrong: several have justified it quite convincingly enough for me. CLASSMATE was perhaps odd; I suppose that it is true that a classmate is given marks, and it seems that setters always try to disguise the fact that it’s a CD by including things that could be thought to be wordplay.
  20. No problem with this, 28 minutes, in spite of biffing some dodgy clues and no idea about CLASSMATE except as a vague definition. LOI BEVY after AMNESTY, both good ones I thought. A LEVEL was good too. Thanks jackkt.
  21. OMENS seemed at first to be a sort of Gollum-speak (what has it got in its pocketses) and then I came to the same conclusion as Z and Keriothe. Glad to see general bafflement over CLASSMATE. I think of a MANTILLA as a large piece of lace draped over a comb as a traditional Spanish headdress, rather than a cloak. I did know that meaning of APOSTROPHE. It was something old Wordsworth went in for – “Oh Sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro’ the woods” for instance, which demonstrates both kinds. 15.01
    1. Glad I’m not the only one with a MER at MANTILLA. Perhaps there is an English meaning that I have not come across, but for certain, in Spanish, it is only a lace headdress, covering just the hair, as opposed to a ‘manto’ which means ‘cloak’ or ‘covering’.
  22. 26:10, but spoiled it with a careless CARRIBEAN, which also messed up REHAIILITATED. Something that I missed when proof reading. Drat and double drat! Thanks setter and Jack.
  23. DNF with AMNESTY and BEVY eluding me, but the rest of it was somehow unsatisfactory. CLASSMATES was weird, given that the last two words of the clue are apparently otiose.


  24. I found this harder than yesterday’s, but far more satisfying. I thought the clues on the whole were very good, though I have the same reservation as others about the clue to CLASSMATE. Those to PENTECOST, DISCOUNT STORE, PREACHED and CARIBBEAN were very good.
    39 minutes, a rather slow time compared to the average times above. I’ll blame it on the sweltering heat, which is making me very lethargic.
  25. A bit of an uneven puzzle, made much harder by putting “moguls” for the Davos big shots!
  26. One of those frustrating “Get stuck on a couple of clues, go away and do something else, then come back and see them instantly” experiences for me today, in this case for DESPOTS and STOPOVER. Also completely missed the anagram in DISCOUNT STORE, had to trust the wordplay for MANITLLA, and didn’t know that meaning of APOSTROPHE.

    FOI Dupe
    LOI Stopover
    COD Rehabilitated

  27. Very few problems with this.

    Didn’t even notice that DISCOUNT STORE was an anagram.

    Bunged in POSSE without thinking what the other half of the word might be.

    (W)OMENS — didn’t think of the possessive including an apostrophe. Entered thinking setter must be behaving a little quirkily.

    BEV(V)Y — didn’t even realise a beverage had two Vs in the diminuitive.

  28. Got a bit bogged down towards the end, but it turned out not to be as hard as I made it seem, esp AORTA which I made a meal of, forgetting about that kind of vessel.
    No I don’t like WOMENS either. Seems like we have a missing apostrophe here, and an APOSTROPHE strangely clued elsewhere.
  29. The political &lit at 22 is brilliant!
    I think that was my last success before getting bogged down in the SW last night (even though I know the relevant meaning of APOSTROPHE quite well). Had to finish this morning.
    SKIERS gave me long pause—wouldn’t the other meaning be spelled SKYERS? Anyway, that’s not in the dictionary…
    BEVY is devious in that you take away V but a V is still in the word. (Also, y’know, I’m not used to saying or hearing “bevvy.”)
  30. ….BEVY, but declined to do so as I have never seen it spelled with two V’s. That stopped me from parsing it, so DNF. NHO Davos, which was distinctly unhelpful, and was largely why, having got the rest of the puzzle bar BEVY in 6 minutes, I spent as long again in the SW corner. Not a good day.
  31. 29:57. As others have pointed out some of the clues seemed to be missing something — CLASSMATE AND OMENS to name two. Others seemed a tad, well, non-Times-ish but only my LOIs, BEVY and AMNESTY, offered much resistance.
  32. Jack pointed out the many problems with this puzzle, which I did manage to finish in 50 minutes, not having properly understood a lot of the wordplay. Early on I convinced myself that 2 dn would be SOME DAY, but when it became clear that that might be SOME DIE the proper answer eventually surfaced. Then PENTECOST became my LOI. As for 3 dn, yes, there is a way to justify WOMENS somehow, but are you all sure the setter knew that? I have my doubts, judging by some of the other clues.
  33. 15.38. I found this mostly straightforward but I entered and removed classmate and stopover more than once. Wondered if there was more to classmate than met the eye and couldn’t quite square mark and stop, thought it was probably alluding to a full stop but wasn’t sure.

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