Times Cryptic 28874

Solving time: 45 minutes

An enjoyable puzzle with some inventive clues along the way but others perhaps a little perfunctory.

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 juxtaposition indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Secret   split into specific parts (10)
Two meanings
6 Governing body that defines regime (4)
Two meanings, the first as in a parliament or ruling assembly
10 Perhaps geeky stores beginning to restrict part of service (7)
INTO IT (perhaps geeky – into computers etc) contains [stores] R{estrict} [beginning]. Part of a church service.
11 Realise I’ve developed stabbing pain (7)
Anagram [developed] of I’VE contained by [stabbing] ACHE (pain)
12 You’re welcome to stay with me (2,2,5)
Two meanings, one figurative and one literal
13 What remains of biblical figure in church? (5)
ELI (biblical figure) contained by [in] RC (church)
14 Where one may be prone to interrupting play (5)
TO contained by [interrupting] FUN (play)
15 Cook had advanced qualification (9)
DOCTOR (cook e.g. the books), ATE (had)
17 Struggle to accept case for tenure is satisfied (9)
CONTEND (struggle) containing [to accept] T{enur}E [case for…]
20 Imagined being pretty, having lost pounds (5)
FAIR{l}Y ( pretty) [having lost pounds]
21 Sound volume requiring adjustment of dial (5)
V (volume), anagram [adjustment] of DIAL
23 Risk you reportedly run after coming last in race (9)
ADVENT (coming), U (you) [reportedly], R (run), {rac}E [last in…]
25 Knowledgeable writer who wrote nonsense about study (7)
LEAR (writer who wrote nonsense), DEN (study) reversed [about]
26 What Walt Disney did for living (7)
Two meanings
27 Cutter’s heading off vessel (4)
{h}EWER (cutter) [heading off]
28 Form of reconciliation for antagonists in Hamlet? (10)
Two meanings
1 Conservative member to go to summit? (5)
C (Conservative), LIMB (member)
2 Mindless individual’s relative mostly eating fruit (9)
AUN{t} (relative) [mostly] containing [eating] TOMATO (fruit)
3 Union in which Labour’s involvement is soon expected? (7,7)
4 Whose brain is smaller than the name suggests? (7)
5 Turnover of business centre failing to complete transaction able to recover quickly (7)
CIT{y} (business centre) [failing to complete] + SALE (transaction) all reversed [turnover]
7 Most suitable business agreement supporting auditor’s view (5)
I sounds like [auditor’s] “eye” (view), DEAL (business agreement)
8 Suspect cheery rat — of this? (9)
Anagram [suspect] of CHEERY RAT with a definition referring back to ‘rat’.
9 Daily Mail’s first objectionable attempt to curry favour (5,9)
CHAR (daily), M{ail’s} [first], OFFENSIVE (objectionable)
14 Confront dean concealing university’s apparent worth (4,5)
FACE (confront),  VALE (dean)  containing [concealing] U (university). I didn’t know ‘dean’ as an alternative spelling of ‘dene’ meaning ‘valley’.
16 Somewhat sour attitude initially tainted cult idea (9)
A{ttitude} [initially], anagram [tainted] of CULT IDEA
18 Loveless couple become confused and talk nonsense (7)
TW{o} (couple) [loveless], ADDLE (become confused). I never knew the noun ‘twaddle’ can also be a verb, but that’s what it’s required to be here.
19 Sick patient naive doctor upset to some extent (7)
Hidden [to some extent] and reversed [upset] in {patien}T NAIVE D{octor}
22 Let Liberal and Moderate meet (5)
L (liberal), EASE (moderate)
24 Regular temperature, heat may contribute to this (5)
EVEN (regular), T (temperature). Events often consist of various heats.

63 comments on “Times Cryptic 28874”

  1. Well off the wavelength, and I learned vale/dean – unlike jack I wouldn’t have recognized the dene spelling, either. When I was working through it seemed like a lot of DDs, CDs, and cryptic hints.

  2. 61:00

    Completed with some biffing. Did not know vale=dean, and guessed {s}EWER. NHO ACIDULATE

    COD and LOI SETTLEMENT (oh, that kind of Hamlet)

    1. I meant to put a link to dene on Wiki in my blog. I should have known DEAN as a variation as it often turns up in place names, notably Rottingdean near Brighton and the neighbouring villages of Saltdean, Ovingdean and Woodingdean.

      1. I lived in Saltdean for a while but -dean did not occur to me. I thought ‘vale’ may be an archaic form of address to such a person.

  3. I thought RELIC was just a CD, as a RELIC is often just that, a preserved body part of some alleged saint. Now it looks like an &lit.

    I didn’t know of any Dean Vale!

  4. 35.19, a slow trawl at the end through ELASTIC, EWER, ACIDULATE and finally INTROIT. I got EWER by going from cutter to tailor to sewer, lose the S and presto! Hewer makes more sense. Thanks to Jack for explaining whatever was going on with dean and vale, as well as FAIRY and ADVENTURE.

  5. Fairly steady solve finishing with SETTLEMENT with its pretty unhelpful checkers. I wanted 16d to be ACIDULENT since it seems, as an adjective, to fit the clue better (but not the anagrist). I guess “somewhat sour” could be a verb.

    I think at 6a (DIET) you mean the first meaning, not the second. Although “regime” can be used in both the eating and the government sense, I suppose.

  6. 9:56. Didn’t know ACIDULATE but it seemed the only sensible way to arrange the letters after the crossers were in place.

    Liked CHARM OFFENSIVE. Seeing that one as well as SHOTGUN WEDDING quite quickly is probably what contributed to my relatively fast solve.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  7. 22′ as a straightforward solve with a couple of NHOs covered above (Jack I think you’ve left the “a” out of “cult ide(a)”. A few I enjoyed though such as DIET, FAIRY and SETTLEMENT. Thanks Jackkt and setter

  8. I DNF in 23:41, putting CONCEITED instead of CONTENTED. Don’t know why I did that, as normally I do check my answers but this time apparently not, and with hindsight I don’t see any logic to it.
    I was also slowed down by putting ETCH instead of EWER but since that had a checker I realised my mistake.
    Not my morning I guess.
    Thanks a lot setter and Jack
    Cheers Steve

  9. I couldn’t get my teeth into this, and was delayed by having to back out a carelessly biffed “fancy” when it made the anagram fodder for ACIDULATE unworkable. It took a two minute alpha trawl to nail my LOI. Practically twice as long as yesterday, which often happens the day after I produce a good time.

    TIME 10:48

  10. 26 minutes. I had the crossing M for AUTOMATON early on but couldn’t get “lime” or “lemon” out of my mind for ‘fruit’ so was stuck on this for a while. As for many others with the NHO ACIDULATE but I had come across VALE for ‘dean’ before.

    I parsed ANIMATE as a double def and non-cryptic clue-as-definition. Favourite was CHARM OFFENSIVE.

  11. 29 minutes with LOI DIET. It’s a good job I’ve never forgotten about Luther eating worms.I don’t think I knew ACIDULATE, painfully constructed from the instructions. COD to CLASSIFIED. For some strange reason, I remember Huckleberry Hound acting as a spy using a similar gag about the phone directory. Sometimes, it’s a little diversion like that that makes a crossword. And slows you down! Thank you Jack and setter.

  12. 17:12. A steady solve. I liked SETTLEMENT, and tried to get EPEE to work before the penny dropped. ACIDULATE and INTROIT (har har) new to me.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  13. 12:02. Held up for a minute or two at the end by the innocuous DIET. I liked RELIC and DOCTORATE. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  14. I saw ACIDULATE somewhere else recently, which helped. ELASTIC wrongly part-parsed.

    11’22”, thanks jack and setter.

  15. 45 mins. Started off well with the left-hand side completed in 10 mins but then ground to a halt on the right. I finally saw the excellent CHARM OFFENSIVE and I was off again.

    LOI SETTLEMENT. Some tricky stuff here today. I like the two long clues.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  16. 9:38. I started very slowly on this and thought it was going to be a stinker, but then I picked up some speed on the downs.
    I didn’t know what was going on with vale/dean/dene. I thought a dean/dene was a wood. Collins says it’s a wooded valley so I wasn’t too far off.

  17. Just under half an hour, eventually finishing with DOCTORATE and ACIDULATE (the only unknown).

    Nothing too tricky really, though I had to trust that a dean is a vale for FACE VALUE.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Climb
    LOI Acidulate
    COD Charm offensive

  18. 17:22
    No real problems today, with the same unknowns as others above (ACIDULATE, DEAN = VALE) but the cluing and checkers were generous.

    I did the GK as a warm-up today and I didn’t think there was a great difference in level between the two.

    Thanks to both.

  19. 30 mins. FOI was INTROIT, which worried me because it was a lucky guess (dredged up from compulsory school church services) back-parsed to fit the wordplay and I thought this was going to be rather difficult. Wasn’t in the end, though FATHEAD, SETTLEMENT and CLASSIFIED held me up a bit.

  20. 26.25

    DIET went in quite quickly but got held up on some of the easier ones. Also had EDGE for cutter, making a Horlicks of my presumed vessel.

    Liked CHARM OFFENSIVE, ADVENTURE and TREACHERY all with very smooth surfaces

  21. I was slow to get started and thought it was going to be hard, but in fact I sped through it all by my standards, but then took over 10 minutes on FATHEAD, DOCTORATE and SETTLEMENT, finishing in 41 minutes after giving up and using aids on two of them, after which the third became obvious. Silly really, because they were all quite straightforward. Rather a lot like this, just two meanings. And also CDs.

  22. 17.32

    NHO LOI INTROIT, but after a couple of minutes I saw the potential of INTO IT for geeky and was fairly confident.
    Enjoyed this again, particularly the two long ones.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  23. 27:39, all green. Stuck for a while at the end with LOI FAIRY. I liked AUTOMATON, especially the way it accommodated the tomato

  24. 23:00 but…

    …cheated on NHO LOI INTROIT – couldn’t work out what was going on there – if I had heard of the word before, I guess I might have had a chance.

    Didn’t get the parsing of ADVENTURE while in flight, and missed ‘that’ meaning of Hamlet. NHO ACIDULATE either and took for granted VALE=dean, not knowing that it was an alternate spelling of dene.

  25. DNF INTROIT, otherwise a steady plod around the grid in around 45 mins or so. ACIDULATE sounded plausible but was unknown. Didn’t know that TWADDLE could be a verb. ‘Dean’ no problem for this ex-Brightonian. Liked CHARM OFFENSIVE. Many thanks Jack and setter.

  26. I was well inside target for most of this puzzle but slowed towards the end. My main problem was the top half, in particular the nw corner. CLASSIFIED took longer than it should have, but my LOI INTROIT was an unknown, and only solved after seeing a geek could be considered as being ‘into it’. I eventually fell over the line in 43.21 having enjoyed the challenge.

  27. LEAVE it to me to let 22d go unparsed, and rue the day.

    DIET was also my LOI, also unparsed fully until I got here. Thanks blogmeister and setter.

    1. I also DNF due to putting in LEAVE. Apart from that it took around 25 mins to complete. A crossword of fairly average difficulty but I’m surprised the snitch isn’t a bit higher, I was expecting one in the 90s not 80s.

  28. I enjoyed this. A good mix of fairly straightforward clues with others which required a bit of work. I was held up for a while in the SE corner, but then 23ac dawned on me and the rest followed, so all done in 25 minutes, about par for me.
    FOI – DIET
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  29. I enjoyed this. Just that nice level of challenge which makes you feel happy that you finished it. Only unknown was INTROIT, but as in all good clues it was eminently gettable. Thank you setter and Jack.

  30. 25’40”
    Conditions favourable; ran creditably, if not a blinder.

    Double/cryptic definitions are an Achilles’ heel of mine, but somehow today I managed to dodge them until crossing letters made them obvious. All was accounted for, bar an adventure that had to be justified retrospectively.
    I seem to be getting better at Snitch guessing; if (big if) you can dispassionately assess how well/ badly the hash you made of it went, and thus what you ought to have done, then add/subtract a few points for the advantage you gained from an obscurity that fell in your ken or the contrary, it seems that, as often as not, the tail ends up within 5% of the donkey’s derriere.

    Thank you setter and Jack; brief enough to be completed enjoyably on the balcony without the shivers setting in.

  31. CLIMB was FOI. A biffed EGGHEAD slowed up INTROIT until it became obvious from the crossers. SHOTGUN WEDDING then enabled CLASSIFIED and FAT replaced EGG. I dithered over EWER as I’d become fixated on Sewer and missed Hewer, but went with it after a minute or two. The SE caused some delay too. SETTLEMENT was POI, with EWER LOI. 21:38. Thanks setter and Jack.

  32. Another EGGHEAD here, held me up to take me over the 20 mins. It was the I.T.O.G that made me doubt.

  33. A few short: INTROIT, ACIDULATE were unknown to me. First puzzle after nearly a year off solving. I might subscribe to the online paper again, as I enjoyed the solving experience.
    Good to see familiar names on the blog. Thanks Jack

  34. 19:39

    Fairly straightforward, mainly thanks to the two long ones. I needed Jack to parse ELASTIC and SETTLEMENT (having fallen for Hamlet’s capital letter). COD CHARM OFFENSIVE.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  35. 19.23. A bit slow again, and I’m still plagued with the crossword on my iPad repeatedly flipping to an adjacent page when I select letters. The phenomenon only began when The Times changed its format.

  36. I keep failing with one or two so it was good to finish all correct today.
    Funny that my LOI DIET was FOI for some.

  37. 35.01 A relatively rare completion for me. I used to live in the Vale of Taunton Deane so I had a vague idea that vale and dean were connected. ELASTIC was biffed. ACIDULATE, DEVIANT and SETTLEMENT were the last three. Thanks Jack.

  38. I spent most of this thinking that I wasn’t likely to finish, only to surprise myself by having just 2 left along the bottom row. I mused over (S)EVER, before thinking of EWER, but also initially ascribing an S to it before Hewer occurred to me. That left a bifd SETTLEMENT, which I post-parsed. Quite a bit of biffing in this. Like Guy, I also thought RELIC was a CD, but like it much better as a clever &lit. I never even thought of RC, as it’s used so rarely compared to CE and CH. Unusually, I was left with 4 unparsed, (13a, 15a, 23a, and 5d) but still better than a DNF. Thanks, Jackkt, for the elucidation.

  39. 16.38 with LOI fathead. Wouldn’t have done to miss that. Some nice clues with elastic giving me some contortions till I looked at it the right way up.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  40. On the remote chance of anyone seeing this, can someone explain how to get “char” from “daily”?

    (I’m hiding from life by tackling the 15×15 for once.)

    1. Hi, Steel City, ‘daily’ is old-fashioned Brit-speak for ‘daily help’ i.e. traditionally a lady who cleans (or ‘does’) also known in old-fashioned Brit-speak as a ‘char lady’ or ‘char’.

      1. Thanks! I had learned char for char lady, but didn’t know daily. (Thought it might be something like a daily cup of tea actually.)

  41. I also took time to get started but then everything fell in steadily. No hold ups, but I had to trust in ACIDULATE and VALE. Liked FUTON.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  42. 15.47, taking several of them to sort out the olla-podrida engendered by entering BIGHEAD at 4d before much else was in. BE MY GUEST was barely cryptic, surely, and RELIC could have been taken as such, but only because the wordplay was so smooth. I stayed with EWER long enough to chop the head of HEWER rather than SEWER, just in case the answer was a decapitated jug meaning cutter. Gently does it.

  43. I too found this relatively easy in the main (for me) as I rather like cryptic definitions; but both INTROIT and ACIDULATE were unknowns, and I left an unparsed LEAVE in place. So, not a perfect score, but a valiant attempt. Very much enjoyed CHARM OFFENSIVE.and the hamlet.


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