Times Cryptic 28764 – Sat, 18 Nov 2023. From Lima with love?

This was fun. The setter’s tongue was firmly in their cheek on a few clues, particularly those with clever cryptic hints. I also liked the device at 19ac. A couple of clues had obscure wordplay, but luckily those answers were clear!

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 in bold and 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 Argentine team’s beef — bit near bone (10)
As an adjective, ‘argentine’ means ‘as or like SILVER’. Nothing to do with South America necessarily.  Append SIDE (team).
6 City with famous listed building (4)
cryptic definition.
9 Economic system’s statement that’s valid for Mali or Morocco (10)
For either of those countries’ names, it’s true to state: “[the] CAPITAL [letter] IS M”.
10 Determination that could decide who succeeds (4)
definition + cryptic hint.
12 Expert from university town checking manuscript (12)
PRO, OF (from), READING (university town).
15 As a rule, not many get involved in it (9)
cryptic definition.
17 Make a score of 40 or 50 in encounter (5)
L (50, in Roman numerals) in HAVE (encounter).As for the definition, a score is 20. So, to make a “score”, HALVE 40.Luckily, the clue wasn’t about darts as I first thought, because I don’t understand the scoring in darts at all!
18 Novelist that can hold a lot of beer (5)
definition + cryptic hint. Gertrude Stein.What’s the difference between a second definition and a cryptic hint? I don’t know! The second part here seem a bit more like hand-waving than a clear definition. What do you all think?
19 Enter with four letters from Lima after botching registration (9)
in the phonetic alphabet (used by airlines around the world, not just NATO, BTW), LIMA is the letter L. So, four letters starting with LIMA gives you: L, M, N, O. The answer then is an anagram of  (ENTER L M N O)*. Wonderful cryptic, with a weird surface!
20 Right work inserted in literary collection for man’s study (12)
R + OP (work), inserted in ANTHOLOGY.
24 Colour that’s fashionable, time after time (4)
IN (fashionable) + T, after T. The answer was obvious but I had to look at this more than once to understand the assembly instructions.
25 Transport players’ trainer? (10)
a “stage coach” might train actors, no? Worth a smile!
26 Kind of knot that sailors try to avoid (4)
definition + cryptic hint.
27 Shared communication systems on which politicians often vote (5,5)
definition, relating to early telephone services + cryptic hint.
1 Extreme elements in Supreme Court forming splinter group (4)
outside letters of S{uprem}E  C{our}T.
2 Indigenous person left something useful on phone (4)
3 Improperly earn interest as company, perhaps (12)
4 Aggressive outburst in nasal voice (5)
hidden, as above.
5 Part of navy does, for example, around second besieged city (9)
DEER (does, for example), around S + TROY.
7 With minimal subscription, one name above all covered by that article I edited (10)
It may be a bit convoluted, but I think this is how it works:
I (one) + N (name) above ALL, covered by IT (that article) + I ED (ed.=abbreviation for “edited”).
8 Leading to extreme upset, declare, having secured runs briskly added to score (10)
ALLEGE (declare) secures R (runs), leading to TTO (OTT, upset). Not as brisk as ALLEGRO, I gather.
11 Way old American serving in pub is obsessive (12)
PATH (way), O, GI in LOCAL.
13 Horse that’s not competitive for any course except the first (3-7)
cryptic hint. “Not competitive” in the sense of not even starting the race!
14 One Northern European eclipsed by poet is amateur (10)
I + LETT (a Latvian), eclipsed by DANTE.
16 Dramatic victim of disaster in pectoral area (9)
(PECTORAL A)*, with A=area.
21 Authorized to follow pedestrian path? (5)
Pedestrians “leg it”. LOL.
22 Sound rule that’s exemplarily right (4)
sounds like REIGN. The definition refers to the saying “right as rain”.
23 After change of heart, shut up like this (4)
Hmm. Swap the middle letters (change of heart) of SHUT to get SUHT, then turn it upside down (up) to get the answer!

26 comments on “Times Cryptic 28764 – Sat, 18 Nov 2023. From Lima with love?”

  1. 20:40
    I never did get the letters from Lima, and only got ‘does’ in DESTROYER post-submission. CLEOPATRA supposedly killed herself by holding an asp to her breast; a disaster in pectoral area, indeed!

    1. Thanks for pointing out about the CLEOPATRA clue.
      I’ve been trying to remember to take the time to enjoy/appreciate the surfaces. But often when I am wrestling with a difficult puzzle, I forget: so I had missed that one!

  2. I think I’d go DD, since the surface doesn’t make a lot of sense. Thus, I’d follow the discreteness suggested by the clue, especially the use of ‘that’ rather than ‘who’.

  3. DD is right. It’s easy to imagine either D being the only one in another kind of clue.
    I got NON-STARTER, but had trouble separating the definition from the wordplay, which seemed to say the opposite.
    The Brits double so many letters where we Yanks don’t (“travelled,” “cancelled,” etc.) that I was hesitant about ENROLMENT. I don’t think there’s any “rule” involved here…
    The CD for PISA was fun. The cryptic way INITIALLED is clued was tough.
    Nice one. And more memorable somehow now, when I’m about halfway thru this Saturday’s. (You’ll see.)

  4. 24 minutes is probably around my best time for a Saturday puzzle. I missed the wordplay for ENROLMENT even though I had noted on my copy that the letters OLMN were unaccounted for in the mix. I enjoyed the device leading to HALVE.

    On Guy’s point, it seems counterintuitive that the usual sources all have ‘enroll / enrollment’ as US spellings whilst in Britain the double-L has been dropped long ago (it’s noted as ‘archaic’ by some). It’s usually the Americans who decide to dispense with superfluous letters!

    1. Yet “willful” is American and “wilful” (!) British.
      Somehow, the second L in “will” does not seem to me at all “superfluous,” unlike the repetition of the terminal letter in the root of a word at the beginning of a verb ending.

    2. Looking at Collins and ODE, I just get confused: UK appal, but appalling; enrol but enrolling; cancellation, but in US also cancelation. And of course no one spells spell/roll/ball etc. with one L.

  5. Around 45 minutes. FOI 1d SECT. Several biffs: 17, 19ac, 2, 7, 8d. And from branch’s parsing of them I’m not surprised. Convoluted indeed. 14d NHO LETT. However, got there! Liked 22d. Thanks, all.

  6. I found this trickier than most and got stuck in the NE corner for a long time, with 7 and 8D, and 10, 17 and 19A unsolved before finally cracking them. LOI ALLEGRETTO, doh! I can’t understand why it always takes me so long to get the music ones – it’s not as if I don’t know the terms – I just fail to spot the indication, which in this case was masquerading as cricket! PARTY LINES was tricky, as I’d forgotten the term, and it was before my time! And I didn’t know SILVERSIDE was near the bone, though it didn’t hold up the clue. I never managed to parse ENROLMENT and although I figured out HALVE, which I thought was a clever clue, I can’t, even when squinting, equate ‘have’ with ‘encounter’. Any suggestions for examples, anyone?

    1. You may be encountering / having problems seeing how they can be substituted, but evidently you didn’t have /encounter too many difficulties with the other clues.

  7. Unsure about “- bit near the bone” in 1a SILVERSIDE. Wiki mentions the relevant bone but doesn’t indicate nearness as far as I can see.
    Didn’t understand 19a ENROLMENT at the time, so thanks!
    7d INITIALLED, never fully unscrambled that so just moved on.
    A week is quite a long time as far as my memory is concerned. Might as well be a lifetime (joke). I would like to see a shorter wait for the answers. Surely the Times can mark the competitors faster than that?

    1. I do all the prize puzzles a week late so I can see the answers right away. Even if I did them on the day, I wouldn’t be fast enough to win a prize, so there’s nothing lost.

  8. Far too many cryptic definitions for my taste — several in the first few clues, and that wasn’t the end of it.

  9. About 90 minutes over several sittings with everything parsed except for RAIN. It all seemed fair enough in hindsight but I am slow with cryptic definitions. Thanks branch.

  10. The Dawning of Disappointment:

    Astro-Nowt filled the grid with delight,
    No cock, crow, nor kestrel, nor kite !
    But the setter, the rotter,
    An inveterate plotter,
    Had hidden EGRET in plain sight !

    A question:
    What exactly have our feathered friends done to elicit such animosity ?
    Did a pigeon fly into the mirror of an irreplaceable and priceless reflecting telescope ?
    A thieving magpie decamped with a glittering bit of optical glass ?
    Or, perhaps, the countless hours you’ve precariously spent scraping guano off the moving parts of the roof of your observatory ?

  11. Finished in around 2 hours but needed the blog to fully understand the parsing of HALVE L for Lima, ENROLMENT got the ENROL bit, INITIALLED got the I, N and ALL and ALLEGRETTO BIFD other than R = runs.
    With RAIN I got the homophone first then stared at the clue for a while until the ‘right as rain’ idea came to mind.
    Favourites: CAPITALISM and LEGIT.

  12. DNF in 20 or so

    Everything went in nicely until RAIN which I could make neither head nor tail of. I used a wordfinder after giving up and even then had no idea what the answer was. Should have got it from the w/p but the definition bit was tough.

  13. 32’08”
    Smartly away, quickened home straight, stayed on well.

    Whilst being delighted with a 12%-under-my-par performance, I was sorry it didn’t take longer as I was enjoying it so much. All familiar and parsed, but the subscription and registration were unravelled in retrospect, needless to say.
    Speedy solving necessarily involves barely registering surfaces, but, sometimes, from the pen of a skillful setter comes a surface so smooth that you cannot help but momentarily take it at face value.
    “Leading to extreme upset, declare, having secured runs briskly added to score” led me up the garden path of  “Ah, yes, Ben Stokes’s tactics lately.”
    Similarly, “Horse that’s not competitive for any course except the first” led me to “That’s Clantime; bloody fast,  but couldn’t stay five furlongs, which makes things tricky in a country where that’s the minimum trip ! Didn’t stop him winning at Epsom though, did it? All downhill, bar the final hundred yards – thank you Mr. Bookmaker.”

    I’ll stop there, but I could cite more examples here of superbly smooth surfaces combined with masterful misdirection. 
    I’d stake a large percentage of my Clantime winnings on our setter having had at least a couple of decades of experience at this game.
    I’m with you Wil Ransom; Guardian Rufus tormented my Monday mornings for years with his cryptic definitions. But these weren’t impossible-without-seeing-the-joke little monsters (of which I am NOT accusing the much missed Rufus), but elegant, amusing and eminently gettable with the crossing letters.

    Perhaps I’m rambling, but here we so are often slow to praise but quick to chide (mea culpa). Credit where credit is due, so……
    Bravissimo/a in spades to the setter, don’t you dare think of retirement any time soon, and thank you Bruce for your equally elegant explanations.

    PS Forgot to praise the devilishly devious devices, the hapless MI6 agent in Chile being but one.
    PPS Why “Right as a trivet”? Trivets are only as right as the surfaces they are put on, which in Italy is nowhere !
    PPPS I really do hope the “all-EGRET-to” was deliberate (see above).

  14. Thanks for the blog as always. I’ve been reading these for about 18 months now – and it’s entirely due to these blogs that I am now getting pretty adept at the more difficult wordplay that often appears in the Saturday puzzles.

    It was really just 7D “that article” = IT, that I was not too confident about, so pleased to see the confirmation here.
    I think I needed to think of it also as part of the longer phrase “that article I edited” (to give “ITIED”).

  15. Completed in several sittings with a fair few peeks at the blog for parsings and a couple of answers. Totally stumped by parsing of INITIALLED (particularly that article = it), ALLEGRETTO (did not recognise ‘ott’ as extreme, DNK Lett in DILETTANTE and failed to separate ‘pro of’ in PROOFREADING. Looked at answers for RAIN and STAGECOACH (doh). Many thanks for all the explanations B – so helpful. Favourite clue was CLEOPATRA.

  16. Pun day. Fun day.
    Thank you setter.
    Thanks also for the blog explanation of 22d. Was seeking a word meaning sound, I’ll blame the torrid weather.

  17. Pleased to have finished this with reasonable speed and very little ‘cheating’. I’m a fan of CDs, so, the more the better for me. Oddly enough, the one clue I felt I needed to look up was STAGECOACH – admittedly before I had any crossers in it (a bad habit): should have left it until later. But of course that helped me get LEGIT, RAIN and THUS.
    Thoroughly enjoyed, probably because I fared rather well:SILVERSIDE straight in, despite thinking that there was an Argentinian soccer side called the Silvers! And loved being reminded of one of my favourite songs “Let’s Fall in Love” – such clever lyrics. Whatever happened to lyrics? Lots to like, and a good start to a Saturday.

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