Times Cryptic 28746 – Sat, 28 Oct 2023. Old Time Rock and Roll.

It wasn’t all R’n’R – or even old time; with my LOI (26ac) I wasted time vainly trying to construct a classical Italian musical instruction. After putting it aside, the non-musical answer jumped out next time I looked!! Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle, with some very clever definitions. 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 components in the explanations, are in BOLD CAPITALS.

1 After tan, ultimately, a holidaymaker removing nothing? Hardly! (8)
{ta}N (ultimately), T{o}URIST (removing “nothing”).
6 In battalion’s first reserve, I would add muscle (6)
B{attalion}, ICE (reserve), PS (I should add … at the bottom of my letter).
9 Artist whose career is taking off? (13)
a cryptic definition. As isla3 points out, it’s actually two definitions.
10 Act as solicitor, stopping first to visit restaurant? (3,3)
{b}E A TOUT (“stopping” the first letter).
11 Still bright, short pants, maybe worn by maidens by day (8)
MM (two “maidens”) worn by UNDIE{s}, then D (day).
13 One’s deified, having died in China in ancient city (10)
D (died), in  PAL IN ROME. It’s a definition by example, since “deified” is indeed a palindrome. Nice!
15 Inclined not to lose heart, if not exactly upfront (4)
CA (approximately, i.e. not exactly), N{o}T  (to lose heart).
16 One shown around foodstore (4)
I, LED; around.
18 Period before spring was enthralling (10)
21 In 1’s pub, maybe good grill for the motorist (5,3)
22 Sweet drink to have in your youth, primarily (6)
YR in SUP, Y{outh}. Thanks to Nigel F-H’s comment for the parsing.
23 Picture, evidential, led to disorder (4,3,3,3)
25 Celebrated study, The Writer’s Husband, recalled (6)
DEN, MY, H{usband}. All recalled.
26 Notes time is extremely short? (8)
MINUTES (notes of a meeting), T{ime}. I was misled, thinking the notes might be MI  and N. No joy there.
2 Woodcutter’s excuse for cutting a beam oddly (3,4)
ALIB{i}, A, B{e}A{m}.
3 With little hope of one descending on concert, yours truly performs! (11)
UN (one, as in “young ‘un” – we had that recently, to the surprise of some), PROM (concert), I SING (yours truly performs).
4 Bungling but penitent revolutionary guards (5)
hidden backwards (revolutionary) in {bu}T PENI{tent}.
5 Initially troops in disarray used to shelter from attack (7)
T{roops}, (USED TO)*
6 Old Belloc novel, one of many in circulation (5,4)
7 Cold welcome for the true origin of Xmas (3)
C{old}, HI. According to Wikipedia (and as suggested by the clue), the ‘X’ in Xmas comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Christós.
8 Model’s rapid delivery: by November (7)
PATTER, N{ovember}.
12 Note creature in river, brightly coloured: it advances from bank (5-6)
14 Move quickly to get on panel (9)
DASH, BOARD (a bus, say).
17 As strong gust changing direction, head for yacht (7)
E, {S}QUALL, Y{acht}. The wind changes direction from S to E.
19 What could make me a lord? (7)
(ME A LORD)* The whole clue is definition.
20 Relatives of writer turned up with hacks (7)
PEN turned up, HEWS.
22 Some yarn in English used in film (5)
E used in SKIN.
24 Useless when one’s no longer in front (3)

23 comments on “Times Cryptic 28746 – Sat, 28 Oct 2023. Old Time Rock and Roll.”

  1. Liked it, lots of good surfaces. MINUTEST also LOI, taking a minute or two to figure out the obvious.
    I had the IMPRESSIONIST as a double definition: artist, and e.g a comic who does impressions of people.
    Thanks Bruce and setter

  2. 69 minutes for this, so it wasn’t easy for me. NHO NUDGE BAR and 12dn was one that held out almost to the bitter end having thought of MICROLENDER which then proved difficult to think past. Incidentally Collins has MICROCREDIT as one word, which seems more logical to me – what next, micro-chip, micro-wave?

    I’m not sure the definition at 18ac works. ‘Enthralling’ would be ‘spellbinding’ so SPELLBOUND should be ‘enthralled’. Or am I missing something?

    1. That’s exactly what I thought; but I finally realized that SPELLBOUND is (also) the past tense of ‘spellbind’, so ‘was enthralling’ works fine.

    2. I’ve never seen “spellbind” just like that as a verb, but apparently it is. If something spellbinds (enthralls) you, it is spellbinding (enthralling), and you are SPELLBOUND (enthralled). If something “was enthralling,” it SPELLBOUND.

  3. 35:19
    Slow going, I don’t remember what in particular slowed me down; maybe everything. I (once again?) forgot ALI BABA’s profession, and with the initial A in I wasted some time with AXE. NHO NUDGE BAR, and I’m glad to see that at least one Brit hasn’t either. COD to PALINDROME.

    1. I don’t think I ever knew Ali Baba was a woodcutter before it appeared in the 15×15 on 20 July this year: Fabled woodcutter joins a party with a scholar (3,4).

  4. 30.29

    Held up muchly at the end on PALINDROME and bizarrely _A_ OUT. Couldn’t get WAY OUT of my mind and didn’t get the w/p sense here of “stopping”. No complaints though. Lots to like, particularly BLOOD CELL which I thought was very nice.

    Thanks setter and Bruce

  5. My usual hour saw this only half complete and me stumped. Defeated by too many NHOs – NUDGE BAR, TESTUDO, MICROCREDIT – and/or clueing too clever for me to work out. Wish I’d got PALINDROME – I like that one. And I DNK Ali Baba was a lumberjack. Fancy that! I was with the SPELLBINDING camp, btw., though I can see it now you’ve spelled it out, Guy. I had a similar mental block re CANT. Not my best Saturday but half is better than none.

    1. I think we’ve had NUDGE BAR before, and discussed it here, but it didn’t come easily to mind. It’s also not in the Chambers app which had me ruling it out initially.

      1. Yes, we had NUDGE BARS in a QC set by Felix in August 2021 as an anagram of DANGER BUS which made it easier to solve. Also, even though it was unknown to most of us, there was no problem relating it to the definition on that occasion which was ‘car bumpers’. Of the usual sources, only ODE lists NUDGE BAR as an alternative name for a ‘bull bar’ and includes the word ‘grille’ in the definition.

    2. Did about the same, SBeginner, never knowing Ali Baba’s profession, nor what a NUDGE BAR was, despite being a Brit originally. Similarly NHO TESTUDO nor MICRO CREDIT ( but somehow worked it out) , but failed on VAN and had a question mark next to HYMNED (failed to recognise the reversal indicator!) However the rest flowed quite nicely, and I thought EAT OUT and EARLDOM particularly good.

  6. Lots of nudge bars on Google, so it must be a thing. Nerf bar and roo bar are both more familiar to me. Liked LIVE AND LET DIE and NATURIST.
    Wiktionary doesn’t have microcredit as 2 words, but other sources do.

    1. Roo bar or bull bar down here. Though while I’ve hit a few roos in my time, never hit a bull – rolled a calf once at low speed, but it got up and ran off.

  7. For anyone else baffled by the NUDGE BAR wordplay, the “1” refers to the naturist in 1 Across.

    1. Paul, thanks for that clarification. I was at a total loss as to how it was composed/constructed. Much obliged.

  8. DNF, defeated by the unknown NUDGE BAR (I invented a ‘barge bar’, i.e. ‘bare bar’ with a G in it), which made EQUALLY impossible.

    Didn’t see where the ‘un’ in UNPROMISING came from, so thanks for the explanation.

    COD Blood cell

    1. That’s a rotten bit of luck; I too toyed with bare bar +G, but fortunately I’d spotted the veering squall before I returned to it.

  9. 34’0″
    Good early pace, stayed on gamely under pressure.

    Reading through the clues carefully again, I surprised I managed this in a couple of minutes under my par; it certainly wasn’t a stroll in the park. I’ll put it down to the right doses of caffeine and nicotine, plus fortuitously hitting the right wavelength.
    As a very small and credulous child I was spellbound by Bewitched. Or perhaps Bewitched spellbound me. I remember carefully examining the young mothers of our little cul-de-sac, trying to work out who was our neighbourhood witch, being very careful not to be put off a theory by good looks. I still retain a keen fondness for retroussé noses.
    Smooth and slick surfaces, devious definitions, marvellous misdirections and very clever clueing – the palindrome and the veering squall sharing the laurels for me; bravissimo/a setter and thank you Bruce.

  10. It took an hour and a quarter, but I found this extremely enjoyable, with some very subtle and surprising clues. I think PALINDROME was my favourite, but UN PROM I SING was pretty good, too!

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