Times Cryptic 28794 – Sat, 23 Dec 2023. Pre-Christmas cheer.

Smooth sailing for the most part. I’m puzzled by one thing – see 7dn. 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.

1 Picture suddenly changes, torrid (8)
6 Envisage about month in retreat, for break away (6)
SEE about CED (DEC, in retreat).
9 Get away from electronic gadget? Well, once! (4)
E (electronic), GAD{get}. An old exclamation: “well!”.
10 Stretcher in match forbidden, did you say? (6,4)
RUBBER (match, at tennis for example), BAND sounds like (did you say) BANNED.
11 Drawer opened by bears — jam! (10)
STANDS (bears), TILL (drawer).
13 Infrequent choice (4)
Two definitions.
14 Possible target of bowler set back by defeat (3,5)
LEG (GEL=set, back), STUMP (defeat). From the enumeration, not “middle stump”!
16 Determined, living outdoors? (6)
Living IN TENT. Ha!
18 Paid model brings good luck to drinker (6)
PRO (paid; professional), SIT (model). A toast.
20 Solid lead blocking sinks from behind (8)
HERO (lead, in a book or movie) blocking SPID (DIPS, from behind).
22 Card game, cheat (4)
Two definitions.
24 Rider put garment on display (10)
SHOW (display), JUMPER (garment).
26 Where aircraft tested, turn north into air, then left (4,6)
WIND (turn), N into TUNE (air), L (left).
28 Sharp cry of Dubliner? (4)
Two definitions, again. The second an Irish verb for weeping.
29 As it were, a selection of chocolates or toffees (4,2)
Hidden, as highlighted.
30 South American shot gun with ease, head of Yank caught (8)
Y (head of Yank), caught by (GUN EASE)*
2 Fashion range with dark clothes (9)
NIGHT (dark), WEAR (clothes).
3 Particular types journalist introduced to rubbish (7)
ED introduced to PANTS.
4 Egyptian God has shown strain, wiping brow (5)
{c}HORUS (strain, musically).
5 Small boat at the same time capsized (3)
BUT, capsized.
6 Drunk sounding mean — something in cocktail? (9)
The sound of a drunk saying SELFISH. Think “prawn cocktail”, not “margarita”.
7 Dude impressed by plain entertainment (7)
BARE (plain) in CAT (dude). I haven’t worked out why BARE is in CAT. It seems to me CAT should be in (impressed by) BARE. Any enlightenment?
8 Published papers sent up for cash in Iraq (5)
RAN (published), ID (papers); all sent up.
12 Moving through letters, I’ve arrived at “P” for ‘Paint‘? (7)
I’M PAST O: once you’re past the letter O, you know what’s next!! It’s a painting technique.
15 Adequate university top after review: put out (2,2,5)
U, (TOP)*, SNUFF (put out a flame).
17 Silent left-hander’s initial punches I sense, so brutal (9)
19 Water turning coach upside down? Correct (7)
TIDE, BUS, all upside down.
21 Mutton neck, odd bits gone in dish (7)
RAM, {n}E{c}K, IN.
23 Animal with horn, I suspect (5)
25 Ever so happy (5)
Two meanings. Jolly nice / jolly person.
27 Horse clipping top of hurdle (3)
{S}NAG (hurdle, clipping top).

33 comments on “Times Cryptic 28794 – Sat, 23 Dec 2023. Pre-Christmas cheer.”

  1. I went over Cabaret pretty quickly during the solve, but remember thinking of something being impressed (or pressed) into something else, like your footprint being impressed into wet cement. But I see your p0int.

    I took a long time to see Shellfish, and while saw Guyanese right away I had to wait for the crossers because I’ve never been able to spell it. (Or Guinea, either, for that matter). thx, b

  2. I think Paul has the right idea: BARE makes an impression on CAT. Perhaps not the best way of indicating enclosure.
    I never saw how HORUS worked, but didn’t try very hard to, what with the checkers. Is a TUB necessarily small? Liked EGAD and IMPASTO.

        1. Ahh – good point. Chambers also has “a clumsy ship or boat”. That seems to relate to design or state of repair, whatever the size.

          1. The Oxfords mention ‘short’ when defining ‘tub’ in nautical terms so I suppose in that sense it might be described as small, but I’d agree the clue is a bit iffy in that respect.

  3. Bruce writes: “ It seems to me CAT should be in (impressed by) BARE. ”
    That’s what the clue says. “Dude [CAT] impressed by plain [BARE].”
    I don’t see any cause for confusion. Edit: I didn’t read Bruce’s line closely enough.

    Think my favorite was IMPASTO.

      1. It’s hard for me to see “impressed by” as meaning “in.” I read it as meaning that the thing impressing—making an impression—enters to some extent the thing impressed.

        IMPRESS: “ make a mark or design on (an object) using a stamp or seal; imprint.”

        1. There is, or was, impressment, where e.g. the Royal Navy forcibly took a sailor from a merchant ship and made him one of the crew; the sailor was impressed into the navy; but I digress.

          1. I visualised the press gang roaming the streets of Wapping, or perhaps waiting outside the pubs nearest the docks!

          2. Not a digression at all, quite to the point. I have actually heard of this sense of “impress,” relating to “impressment.” (It’s in Collins, too, though a bit far down.) I guess you could say that “BARE” is “forced” into CAT (against the word’s “volition”), but both become a part of a larger whole; BARE doesn’t become part of CAT (as a former landlubber would become part of the navy). Surely I’m overthinking it, but this is why the other sense didn’t occur to me until you mentioned it.

          3. Voila! If a sailor is impressed by the Royal Navy, the sailor is in the navy. Not vice versa!

            1. Yes, I got that—as I said, or at least implied clearly enough—but we don’t have an equivalent of “navy” in the clue, a whole that both CAT and BARE would become part of. Both BARE and CAT are “impressed,” in that sense, to become CABARET.

              1. Clearly I’m confused … perhaps I should suggest “let’s call the whole thing off”! But, the Gershwin brothers aside, isn’t “dude”=“sailor” and “plain”=“navy”. Where’s the third thing mentioned?

                1. In impressment, someone is forced into and becomes part of a greater whole (the service he’s coerced to join).
                  The “greater whole” here is the word CABARET. CAT is impressed by BARE, and they both become CABARET.
                  On that basis, I don’t see how BARE could be “impressed” by CAT, because CAT is not CABARET, just part of it.
                  I can see how you could take it that way, though.
                  So if you don’t follow, just chalk it up to my admitted “overthinking.”

  4. 33 minutes. I’m glad I parsed the two components of 7dn and moved on without considering the containment element. On a blogging day I’d probably have had my doubts about ‘impressed’ too.

  5. 39m 58s
    Well I’m on Bruce’s side. ‘Impressed’ here means CAT should be inside BARE, which, of course, doesn’t make sense.

    1. I don’t know why you don’t find the much more common definition of “impress” acceptable!

      1. That’s because the meaning of ‘impress’ applied here to put BARE inside CAT doesn’t impress me. The wording of the clue clearly indicates the reverse to me.

        1. I don’t see how! There’s no reference to the Royal Navy, hein ?
          “Dude impressed by entertainment” normally would mean the offered diversion made an impression on said fellow.

  6. Took ages on this one. Needed SHELLFISH to get SPHEROID. Needed SPHEROID to get the NHO RAMEKIN. Is Ram the animal the same as mutton the meat? Wrote cabaret in without a thought though!

  7. Had a satisfying half-hour at this, but then, with only half completed, I stalled and just couldn’t get any further. Although I got the answer, NHO 18ac PROSIT. And how the answers came from the clues at 11, 20, 28, 30ac, and 2, 4, 8, 12, 17d would have remained a mystery without this blog, and yet now they all look so simple and obvious. So frustrating! Thanks, all.

  8. I was happy enough with impressed meaning ‘pushed into’ not to spend any more time thinking about it, although CABARET went in from the checkers, so I didn’t have to. I have no notes on this, but I enjoyed it, except for 2D, where I hesitated between NIGHTWEAR and NIGHTGEAR, finally deciding it had to be the latter, as you don’t say ‘wear’ for clothes, but you can say ‘gear’. Did nobody else have this dilemma?

    1. I think you can say ‘wear’ for clothes – sometimes as part of one word (e.g. sportswear), but also separately (e.g. maternity wear).

  9. Don’t remember any real problems with this one.

    No issue as far as I’m concerned with CABARET: ‘bare’ pressed into ‘cat’ seems a perfectly logical interpretation of ‘impressed by’ here. Didn’t parse IMPASTO, didn’t know that KEEN is an Irish verb, and would have expected PROSIT to be indicated as not English – then I looked it up and saw that it can in fact be used in English (I associate it more with German).

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Rhino
    LOI Spheroid
    COD Standstill

  10. This took me well over an hour. Thankfully CABARET went in without thinking too much.
    I did look twice at GUYANESE thinking African, not South American. Ghana not the Republic of Guyana.
    Also, I had NIGHTWARE as an anagram of ‘range with’ realising it made the definition ‘dark clothes’ which doesn’t really work but led to the correct answer.

  11. I found this hard (just over an hour) and my LOI was LEG STUMP, expecting pink squares because I know practically nothing about cricket. But I knew LEG was a cricket side, so it seemed possible in any event (and I never saw GEL as being given by “set”). As for NIGHTWEAR, I put that in for a long time before seeing that it is an anagram of “range with”, which clinched it. ALFWEAR saw the anagram, too, I see, but I hope NIGHTWARE in his comment is a typo and he put the correct spelling in the grid.
    Very enjoyable puzzle.

  12. I, too, believe 2d is an anagram: ‘range with’ is fashioned into clothes you wear for the dark, ie dark clothes

    1. Yes, indeed! I think I saw that last week!
      “Fashion” is the anagrind, “range with” the anagrist and the definition is “dark clothes.”

  13. Really enjoyed this, with its ‘funky’ terms: (UP TO SNUFF, SORT OF, etc) but didn’t get all, needing help with SPHERIOD, HORUS and JOLLY (to my shame!). Had an unexpected nap in my lift chair, and subsequently the rest went in easily.
    Especially liked RUBBER BAND, PROSIT and EGAD – mainly because I got them without too much head-scratching. Good fun Saturday puzzle, done with a fair bit of biffing.

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