Times Cryptic No 28134 – Saturday, 13 November 2021. Steady as you go.

I found this very enjoyable. No “impossible” clues – either the wordplay gave the answer, or the answer was part of known space. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

[Read more …]Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions and commentary are in (brackets). Add your introduction here

1 Shares responsibility to separate bachelor from kids (5,5)
BONUS ISSUE – B=bachelor + ISSUE=kids; separated by ONUS=responsibility.
7 Young one who’d come out by kind of junction is a liability (4)
DEBT – DEB(utante)=young one who’s come out. T=a type of junction.
9 Painter‘s sitter so fidgety (8)
ROSSETTI – anagram (fidgety) of SITTER SO. Rossetti was apparently a man of many talents. I didn’t know him, but trusted the anagram.
10 Smashing fellow, potentially, left behind London attraction (6)
VANDAL – the London attraction is of course the V(ictoria) AND A(lbert); followed by L(eft).
11 Want conviction of third criminal possessing drug (6)
DITHER – E is the drug, as usual, inside an anagram (criminal) of THIRD.
13 Two orders for starters have a lot of dates perhaps (2,6)
GO STEADY – not in the order in the answer, but the starter might well cry, “ready STEADY GO”.
14 Play with those people by river mouth (3,9)
THE MOUSETRAP – THEM=those people + OUSE=a river + TRAP=mouth.
17 You need pros and cons re-evaluated (6,6)
SECOND PERSON – anagram (re-evaluated) of NEED PROS CONS.
20 What noble coats do with reportedly plain sleeves (4,4)
BEAR ARMS – sounds like BARE ARMS. The coat is a Coat of Arms.
21 Time to celebrate Labour‘s help (6)
MAYDAY – double definition: bank holiday, as they call them in England, or emergency call at sea or in the air.
22 The neckwear I have picked up for a drink (3,3)
MAI TAI – sounds like MY TIE.
23 Advertising something knights wore on horse (4,4)
JUNK MAIL – JUNK=heroin=horse + MAIL worn by knights of old.
25 What I do with husband’s third child (4)
SETH – I am the setter. What I do is SET. Add H to get the third child of Adam and Eve.
26 Try hollow brimless hat that’s sweet (10)
GOBSTOPPER – GO=try + B(rimles)S + TOPPER.

2 This tool fixed parts of the ear (8)
OTOLITHS – anagram (fixed) of THIS TOOL. Not a word I knew, but the anagram gave it.
3 Company that delivers positive experiences (3)
UPS – ho ho. Either UPS, the shipping & courier company, in all caps, or ‘ups’, not ‘downs’, in lower case.
4 Three months putting away whiskey in club in Italy (5)
INTER – (w)INTER is the three month period. INTERMILAN is the club.
5 English novel that’s On Chesil Beach? (7)
SHINGLE – anagram (novel) of ENGLISH. We can take it Chesil Beach isn’t sandy. Trick clue – ‘English’ and ‘novel’ so often have other uses in wordplay!
6 Eastern birds by ditch catch things with bugs, say (9)
EAVESDROP – E=eastern, AVES=Latin for bids, DROP=ditch. A clever definition.
7 Gathering in central section in empty doorway (6,5)
8 Make love, being a macho actor (6)
BRANDO – BRAND=make, O=love.
12 What one does under house arrest? It’s the last part (4,7)
HOME STRETCH – a cryptic hint, then a racing definition.
15 A French ruler accepts my gaining access to e.g., Burgundy (9)
UNCORKING – UN=a, in French. COR=my! KING=ruler.
16 One’s present in spirit in lecture? (8)
MORALISE – I’S=one’s, in MORALE.
18 Child backing electronic book’s cosmetic upgrade (4,3)
NOSE JOB – SON ‘backing’ + E=electronic + JOB=a book of the Old Testament.
19 People are getting on in this household (6)
MENAGE – MEN=people + AGE=get on.
21 Intended to delay appearance of English artist (5)
MANET – MEANT, with the E moved down.
24 Shock opening of Mahler composition (3)
MOP – M(ahler) + OP(us).

34 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28134 – Saturday, 13 November 2021. Steady as you go.”

  1. Pretty straightforward, with I think only OTOLITHS unknown. I had a recall problem with GOBSTOPPER, where all I could think of was ‘gobsmacker’. I liked EAVESDROP and GO STEADY.
  2. For some reason, I noted not only my POI (UNCORKING) but also my APOI (BONUS ISSUE)… and yet somehow didn’t mark my LOI. It could have been OTOLITHS, which was pretty cool, the puzzle’s highlight. Although it reminds me of the unfortunate fact, of particularly sad personal relevance, that when our aural hair cells are severely damaged they do not, as in other mammal species, restore themselves to vibrant, vibrating health but rather turn to stone.

    THE MOUSETRAP was Agatha Christie… but the DINNER PARTY was Neil Simon.
    And Judy Chicago!

    Edited at 2021-11-20 04:58 am (UTC)

  3. 42 minutes. JUNK MAIL is all too familiar unfortunately but I didn’t get the drug reference. For some reason MORALISE eluded me.
  4. Swizzles of New Mills, Stockport made 26ac GOBSTOPPERS – I lived for two years at Brookbottom, just in Debyshire – a couple of miles from ‘Willy Wonker’s’ Sherbet Fountain Factory.

    FOI 9ac ROSSETTI (LV NB the double-S)

    LOI 22ac MAI TAI the ‘girly drink’ as opposed to MAO-TAI ‘for Men’! Gam-bei!

    COD 10ac VANDAL! A museum piece.

    WOD 14ac THE MOUSETRAP – Agatha’s Marathon at St. Martins – Fleming makes mention of it at the beginning of the ‘Dr. No’ film.

    23ac JUNK MAIL is now a thing of the past in Shanghai at least – it’s been halted!

    Time 45 minutes.

    Edited at 2021-11-20 06:37 am (UTC)

    1. ‘The Mousetrap’ opened in the West End at the Ambassadors theatre in 1952 (where I saw it in 1960) and moved next door to St Martin’s in 1974. Towards the end of lockdown but before the theatres reopened for business St Martin’s was used for location-shooting of a film called ‘See How They Run’, a murder mystery set in the early days of ‘The Mousetrap’. Some of the original cast, including Dickie Attenborough and Sheila Sim, are represented by actors in the film. Disney are involved in the production. It is now in post-production and should be out sometime next year.

      Edited at 2021-11-20 02:53 pm (UTC)

  5. ….I put BETH instead of SETH. I failed to make sense of the clue so, thanks, Bruce.
    I also failed to understand JUNK MAIL although I got that one right.
    Thanks again, Bruce but it’s been a bad week for me with errors on most days.
  6. 33 minutes with LOI BEAR ARMS. COD to UNCORKING. I guessed OTOLITHS would have those first three letters and then it was the only answer available. So many good clues in a good puzzle. I think your birds have lost an r in 6d, B. Thank you as always for a great blog, and to the setter.
  7. With reference to 18 November….I think,….. it has been a rather confusing week

    Thanks to Rose de Provence for the verse
    And it’s ok — I’m not in a hearse
    But please don’t go “full-time”
    As your rhyme was sublime
    Showing my grasp of metre’s much worse

    And for anyone interested to know the (apparent) resolution of the Times (classic) app saga, the crossword available there today is the same one as yesterday…..but with a reference number that is one greater.

    Henceforth, this temporal realignment in crosswordland will be known as the Great Grid Sýzygy.

    This appellation suggests itself because, with the exception of astronomy textbooks, the word syzygy doesn’t get out much; and also because, if you ever need to win a game of Hangman, you now know the word to choose!!!

    1. Glad to know you are still with us:-) Syzygy, what a great word (had to look it up, needless to say!)
    2. I’m intrigued by Sýzygy. How and why is the first Y accented? It must be purposeful – almost impossible to do it by accident on PC or Android phone (no access to tablet or Mac). I noticed a few days back one of your comments had a similar acute accent on an R of all things. Are yyou getting all subversive, ready to overthrow democracy (hint: too late)?
      1. Copy & paste: Sýzygy
        I suspected the acute mark is just a pronunciation guide but Googling brings up the name of a videogame character.

        Edited at 2021-11-20 06:11 pm (UTC)

      2. I honestly have no idea!!

        Certainly not intentional.

        And definitely not subversive — subversion takes time and effort, and it’s hard enough to find the time to do the crossword as it is….

  8. Around the hour for this. Very enjoyable and quite taxing in parts. I really liked SHINGLE, EAVESDROP, and SECOND PERSON. All clever clueing. Many moons ago, when I finally got round to seeing the Mousetrap, it was set in modern times. Very disappointing.

    Thanks b and setter

  9. Was this a very workmanlike crossword? Seemed like it with some very straightforward clueing. FOI 9ac ROSSETTI, then a steady solve through to LOI 21d MANET approx one hour later, though it took me a while to figure out the how of this one. Similar mystery to 23 & 25ac, and 18d, so this blog essential for its clarifications, thanks.
  10. I had to work out the unknown OTOLITHS and struggled with SETH, my LOI. MORALISE also took a while to come. However, I was all done in 24:48. Lots to like. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  11. In under 17 minutes , but an enjoyable romp. I agree with garden mole that the SHINGLE clue is a belter, perfectly accurate in both wordplay and surface.
    I was grateful for the anagrist for ROSSETTI, often spelled (by me) with one S, and with shades of Christina’s Bleak Midwinter rather than DG’s obsessive pictures of Fanny Cornforth.
  12. ….and I particularly liked SECOND PERSON, BEAR ARMS, JUNK MAIL, SHINGLE, BRANDO, and NOSE JOB.

    OTOLITHS was NHO, but easily sorted out.

    It took me until the 6th. clue in to get started, but then it felt as if it were over too soon.

    LOI & COD UPS (One of my favourites of the year so far)
    TIME 12:58

    1. You and Bojo! He used to spend his spare time building model buses out of cardboard and colouring them red. Or something.
  13. 14.21 minutes for a top-notch puzzle. COD to 5dn Shingle -oh so well hidden! In London the black-cabs and the buses share the bus-lanes. Also 3dn UPS was very clever.
    I note St. Somo – a mental health advocacy & environmental justice institute in Northern California, gets a mention on the seventh down.
  14. 23a
    Is it usual to have an interim translation of junk=heroin, then heroin=horse?
    I don’t think i’ve seen this before
    1. I failed to make the connection myself and thought it was a bit dodgy when explained to me later. Maybe it’d be more acceptable in other circumstances but reliance on such nuances of drug-related slang is perhaps not quite what we expect of The Times.
      1. On the contrary, it is exactly what I expect of The Times – all the setters seem to have a suspiciously extensive acquaintance with drug argot. I have commented on it before, more than once.

        Must wangle an invite to one of their lunches …

    2. Not really an intermediate translation, I thought. More a clarification: ‘junk=horse, in the sense of heroin.’
        1. As we say here, yeah … nah!

          A good test is, can you give a sentence where either word fits without materially changing the meaning?

  15. Enjoyable puzzle, marred perhaps by two crossing unknowns – otolith and Rossetti, but both were guessable enough. Still the last two in.
    Minor MER at mayday/help. Not adjectival – a mayday call is a help call, but help isn’t an adjective according to the dictionaries. As a cry for aid it doesn’t work: it’s not mayday, but mayday mayday mayday. Doesn’t work as a verb – mayday isn’t. Must be a noun, and the dictionaries say a mayday is a call for help – but is that a help? Nevertheless the answer was obvious, just unsatisfactory.
    1. I don’t see any way the clue implies an adjectival answer (“helpful”?), but it’s true that the procedure in an emergency is to say the word three times. The word was chosen as a homophone of m’aidez (or m’aider, with an implied venez before the infinitive) and indisputably means “help,” as an imperative verb—as Bruce says, “an emergency call.”

      Edited at 2021-11-20 05:19 pm (UTC)

  16. Enjoyable, otoliths unknown but gettable. Anyone who has gone in the water at Chesil Beach and been pounded by what I can only describe as rocks in the swell will vouch for it not being sandy! Amazing place well worth a visit.

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