Times Cryptic 28710 – Sat, 16 Sept 2023. Hid his light?

Suitably eclectic this week. Those in tune may have flown through it, with or without being identifiable as per 6ac.

Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

Note for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is for last week’s puzzle, posted after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on this week’s Saturday Cryptic.

Definitions are underlined. (ABC)* means anagram of ABC. Italics mark anagram indicators in the clues, and other ‘assembly instructions’ in the explanations. {Curly brackets} mark omitted letters.

Answers, and their pieces in the explanations, are in BOLD CAPITALS.

1 Our close relatives guzzle fruit cups (5,4)
6 Devout Jew is able to prove who he is (5)
I needed the helpers. I wasn’t sure even then that the answer wasn’t spelt with a double S. That is an option, but the single S seems to be standard.
9 Code of conduct in transport concealed nothing (7)
10 City, you said very softly, sadly going backwards (7)
U (“you”, said) PP (very softly) SALA (alas, going backwards).
11 Dates in Rome — November 1 and 1st of September (5)
N{ovember}, ONE, S{eptember}
On Edit: I thought it was odd that the setter told us to use only the first letter of September, but left that unspecified for November, and assumed that was because the surface reading would have been weird. But, as isla3 has pointed out, N is just November in the phonetic alphabet!
12 Suitable mate with right air (9)
OPPO (mate), R, TUNE.
13 Breathe aloud, whenever retreating in fantasy (3-2)
SCI (“sigh”, aloud) FI (if=whenever, retreating).
14 Is it one 100,000th of a dollar for this girl? (9)
A thousandth of a cent would be … well, you can do the maths!
17 Doctor to go for the French meat (9)
18 Closed in thus, refusing to complain (5)
TO (closed) in SIC.
19 Pal, very excited, loves chat in foreign language (9)
(PAL VERY)*, OO (loves, plural).
Mademoiselle from Armentières, parlez-vous?
Apparently the British soldiers in France gave this decidedly ribald lyrics!
22 Discharge ambassador with funny clothing (5)
RUM cloths HE.
24 Almost defeat this person in board game (7)
REVERS{E} (defeat, almost), I (this person).
25 Stone removed from grander workshop (7)
26 Heard why competitors, losing the lead, give in (5)
Y (“why”, heard) {F}IELD.
27 Abroad, get in spa with last of yummy mummies? (9)
(GET IN SPA Y)*. The Y is the last of {yumm}Y.
1 What unequipped traveller has, up in African country (5)
the traveller has NO BAG. Turn that up, in this down clue.
2 Requisite messages sent? I already received this (9)
3 Drier river crossed by the bank nearest to us (9)
R (river) crossed by THIS TIER.
4 Twice supporting chief on crime, defending Old Bill (3,5,7)
PRO FOR (supporting, twice), MAIN, vice (crime), defending O (old).
Apparently this is an invoice for something yet to be delivered.
5 Poultryman fails badly with rising costs and low investment (15)
NHO of this word. Is it the same as “stagflationary”?
6 At intervals, they appear very excited (5)
Spelled out by every second letter (at intervals).
7 The Times keeping cool about confused situation (5)
US (The Times) keeping FAN (cooler), about.
8 Face feverish Cockney in debate (9)
DIAL (face), {h}ECTIC (feverish).
13 Do — but not does? (4,5)
clever cryptic definition. Doh, a deer, a female deer.
15 Cover placed around good books? One’s revolting (9)
INSURE (cover) placed around G (good), NT (books of the Bible).
16 Mysterious items drunkard brought in front of Edward Heath (9)
SOT brought in E (front of E{dward}), ERICA (heath, specifically heather).
20 Show gun use is heartless (5)
REV (gun), U{s}E (heartless)
21 Case of elder wine was off (5)
ER (case of E{lde}R), RED
23 Habits of a Utopian (5)
Utopia was a work of Sir Thomas MORE’S.

28 comments on “Times Cryptic 28710 – Sat, 16 Sept 2023. Hid his light?”

  1. The previous Saturday puzzle was beyond me but this was at about my level. All but ALLERGIST, STAG PARTY and INSURGENT were done in 40 minutes. Those three held out until the following day. I spent a while trying to make sense of SOLE PARTY and wondering if an INSURRECT was a thing. Getting PARLEYVOO was a lovely PDM. Thanks to branch.

  2. 35:10
    Struggled with this one, I’m not sure now why, although never having heard of REVERSI or SLUMPFLATION helped. I liked GREAT APES, ALLERGIST, & REVUE.
    Bruce, a slip at PARLEYVOO: You meant loves not rings.

  3. Struggled a bit, too. NHO slumpflationary, barely heard of Reversi, could hardly believe parleyvoo, surprised to see snafu. However it was the top left that held out longest; I’d pencilled in ORANG for the first word of 1 ac, with an e at 5dn (later to become es), and it took a long time to remove it.
    N is November in the phonetic alphabet.

      1. I’ve read/heard parlezvous (other spellings accepted) used as a joke word occasionally, “what are they parlezvousing about?” Didn’t know the song and didn’t believe it would be in a dictionary.

  4. STUMPFLATION isn’t in Collins or Dictionary.com (let alone Merriam-Webster… pretty sure this is a UK term). And I admit to cheating a bit to find that. I didn’t know REVERSI before either, but that was more obvious. Not sure I’d ever heard of PRO FORM INVOICE; I haven’t had a career in business.

    I liked STAG PARTY—though I really wouldn’t…

    1. You won’t find STUMPFATION anywhere, but SLUMPFLATION is in Collins defined as: a situation in which economic depression is combined with increasing inflation.

      NHO UPPSALA so I trusted to wordplay and was rewarded.

      1. HAH!
        I didn’t realize tonight that I had committed a typo and then even searched with it!
        That’s a first.
        I remember now finding the answer in some dictionary somewhere last week!

        1. Easily done. I wonder if the T came from having STAG PARTY in mind as there is such a thing as STAGFLATION.

  5. Possibly fastest solve ever, though still in SCC. Knew Uppsala, associated withseveral famous men, but several NHO or hard to recall guessed by wordplay and crossers and eventually verified by lookiang up. Fantastic PDMs withGREAT APES and STAG PARTY. Thanks Sertter and Branch.

  6. Didn’t know REVERSI, was amused by PARLEYVOO, eventually figured out the anagram for SLUMPFLATIONARY, didn’t know the Utopia/More connection for MORES, and hadn’t heard of NONES.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Hyper
    LOI Nones
    COD Stag party

  7. Oh dear. This one continued my recent run of DNFs. Oddly, managed most of the acrosses, and yet still failed to make much headway in the downs, none of it helped by several NHOs: BUSHIDO, REVERSI, PRO FORMA INVOICE & SLUMPFLATION.

    1. In a similar situation to you, SBeginner, but when I’m absolutely stumped I cheat, as I did for the same words as you had: SLUMPFLATION (NHO), REVERSI (ditto), and BUSHIDO ( knew it but couldn’t bring it to mind!). But I’m happy to say that I actually followed the cryptic and worked out my other unknown, vis PRO FORMA INVOICE – which made up for the rest. CODs to STAG PARTY and HASID. Enjoyable crossword.

  8. I’m sure REVERSI was a game I had on my ZX Spectrum, so my main diffulty was accepting reverse = defeat, which I now do.

    Never spotted the hidden ESSENTIAL so that had a question mark by it until this morning, so thanks for that one branch, and for the rest.

  9. I enjoyed this and had question marks against just two clues for parsing and two unknowns:
    NHO HASID but wordplay and checking letters helped.
    ALLERGIST. I understood the GIST bit and just assumed the French bit. My French is limited.
    REVERSI. I BIFD although reading the blog I should have seen the WP.
    NHO SLUMPFLATIONARY the anagrist and checkers help with that too.

    It took me a while to see REV=Gun until I thought of an engine.

    Favourite: MILLICENT.

  10. My charity worked with the Lubavitch Jews in Stamford Hill, so HASID was a write in, though true to type they would have debated hours over the spelling. I remember as a kid being strongly reprimanded (didn’t have a clue why) for singing PARLEYVOO on a church outing. Of such memories are the fascination with crosswords made.
    I tried Googling SLUMPFLATION, and for page after page the only results were in dictionaries: not a single live use.
    REVERSI was one of the included games on Windows 3.11 in 8×8 format, easy to beat the computer (happy days!).
    Loved EGYPTIAN and MILLICENT. 28.19, no complaints.

  11. Enjoyed the clever cluing. Particularly liked SCI-FI and MILLICENT. Lots of new-to-me words but all clearly clued. Thanks.

  12. Finished in 30 minutes. I always thought parleyvoo was written parlezvous so was very hesitant to put that in. Slumpflation – i was around in the 70s and remember it well.

  13. 26.50

    Thought this was an excellent puzzle.

    PRO FORMA INVOICE emerged from the mist – unfortunately a well known phrase though work is the last thing on my mind when I do these

    Was in UPPSALA a few weeks ago so that was a write in

    Never heard of REVERSI but LOI and had to be.

    Thanks Bruce and setter

  14. 43’20”
    Slowly into stride, kept on well closing stages.
    I enjoyed this far from straightforward, but completely fair, challenge.
    I was pleased to have finished with all parsed in under 50′.
    It was another of those grids that looks easy in hindsight, but rather impenetrable when empty;
    well done setter and thank you Bruce.

  15. That was by no means straightforward for me and I used aids for my last in. DIALECTIC. I had convinced myself I was looking for a word meaning ‘face’ and it was some sort of anagram. As is always the case, I kept battering away at the same theory when what I needed was a rethink.
    RHEUM was fresh in the memory. Is PARLEYVOO really ever spelt that way? Had to check REVERSI was a thing. I needed all the crossers to work out SLUMPFLATIONARY but glad to get there.
    COD PRO FORMA INVOICE for the lovely surface.

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