Times Cryptic No 28152 – Saturday, 4 December 2021. Let us pray, like 23dn.

This flowed easily enough, except for the lingering doubt over 23dn, my LOI. 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 posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on this week’s Saturday Cryptic.

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

1 State time and month in which former rulers returned (7)
GUJARAT – RAJ in T=time + AUG=month, all ‘returned’. I appreciated the clue’s help with the spelling.
5 Groups of salmon right at mouth of stream (7)
COHORTS – COHO=salmon + RT=right + S(tream).
9 Commercial vehicle with identification at rear of offside edge (9)
ADVANTAGE – AD + VAN + TAG + (offsid)E.
10 Perhaps lifeguard’s singular state (5)
11 Finally converted cheerful Muslim (5)
SUNNI – convert the last letter of SUNNY to an I. Here the clue doesn’t tell you how to spell the answer. You have to rely on general knowledge.
12 Hormone synthesised by Latino men (9)
MELATONIN – anagram (synthesised): LATINO MEN.
13 As pickpocket maybe faint, being identified to police (5-8)
17 Without warning United captain is sacked (13)
21 Returned letter I afterwards get back (9)
RETALIATE – ETA + I + LATER, ‘got back’.
24 Very good to forget Lent? Do better! (5)
EXCEL – EXCEL(lent).
25 Woman partial to Chardonnay (5)
DONNA – (char)DONNA(y).
26 Holiday island’s restrained by well-ordered social solidarity (9)
27 Bats set out on shelf (7)
RACKETS – RACK=shelf + anagram (out): SET.
28 Often a requirement of the court for Hamlet’s rest (7)
SILENCE – double definition. Hamlet’s dying words: ‘the rest is silence’.

1 Ship in an American shade: green (6)
GRASSY – apparently Americans spell grey as GRAY. News to me. Insert SS=ship.
2 Remarkable value I judge in work often disowned (9)
JUVENILIA – anagram (remarkable): VALUE I J(udge) IN.
3 Senior relations to have called round (7)
4 Frightening pictures put up for all to see, one originally concealed under carpet (9)
TRAUMATIC – TRA=ART ‘put up’ + U=for all to see + MAT + I + C(oncealed).
5 Inside-out cover on fish basket (5)
CREEL – CR=C(ove)R [with the *inside* out!], + EEL=fish.
6 Header against the post? (7)
HASHTAG – cryptic definition of the label on a social media post, awkwardly worded to make it sound like a football reference … number 11 for Chelsea missing a difficult chance.
7 Bird is yellow, except head (5)
8 Song composed to capture a daughter (8)
SERENADE – SERENE to capture A + D.
14 Wicked deeds by Zulu warriors over European links (9)
IMPIETIES – IMPI=Zulu warriors + E=European + TIES=links. Whether impieties are wicked may depend on your religion?
15 Edition of Stalingrad? (9)
REDACTION – a RED ACTION: a jokey reference to the battle for Stalingrad in WWII, perhaps?
16 Escort stranger routed round part of New England (8)
OUTRIDER – anagram (stranger): ROUTED round R.I.=Rhode Island.
18 Husbandry only for the young? (7)
TILLAGE – you’re young TILL that AGE, no?
19 Every single participant making finish of a marathon (3,4)
THE MALL – THEM ALL finish the London Marathon at The Mall, I presume.
20 Fine meat, English, served with brandy (6)
FLAMBE – F=fine + LAMB + E=English.
22 Do drink (5)
TONIC – double definition. DO is the first note of the TONIC musical scale. And, TONIC is a drink.
23 Opposition party missing opening of prayer (5)
ANTIS – the answer is obvious from the helpers, but I struggled to explain it. I think the “prayer” must be a (praying) mantis. Drop the opening to give (m)ANTIS. Other suggestions welcome.

27 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28152 – Saturday, 4 December 2021. Let us pray, like 23dn.”

  1. I didn’t (don’t) understand 6d, but it had to be HASHTAG. I also didn’t understand THE MALL’s connection with ‘a marathon’.
      1. as per Marco van Basten – is without doubt the worst forward in the Premiership. To confirm The Mall is where the London Marathon traditionally ends, so that Madge gets a good view.
  2. Thanks for the blog, brnchn. One minor correction: Timo Werner misses easy chances – that’s what makes him so special…
    1. LOL. In fact I had no idea who the Chelsea No.11 is.

      I do know Sam Kerr is No. 10, but that’s another story!

  3. India’s Hindu nationalist prime minister, Mr. Modi, hails from GUJARAT. That might be why I’d heard of it recently.

    I guessed THE MALL, seemed to make sense. It took a little while to remember the IMPI and to see what was going on with the beheaded (how frightfully appropriate!) praying insect.

  4. I cruised through this upstream in 28 minutes.

    FOI MELATONIN – a gimme anagram

    LOI 23dn ANTIS

    COD tricky as 27ac RACKETS; 20dn FLAMBE and 22dn TONIC were all contenders. But 1dn GRASSY for me. How was the American GRAY news to our Blogger!? ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was American so are they reverting?

    WOD COHO salmon – unlike eels they are anadromous!

    Mohdi & Co. speak Gujarati – that’s some 50 million ‘Gujjus’- apparently they love to travel.

    Edited at 2021-12-11 05:15 am (UTC)

    1. Quote from Wikipedia, hence the GREY.
      Zane Grey’s family changed their name from GRAY to GREY.
  5. The parsing of ANTIS also puzzled me until after I had stopped the clock, then I thought of ‘praying {m}ANTIS’. I think the definition has to be ‘opposition party’ otherwise ‘party’ is unaccounted for.
  6. Thanks, Bruce, especially for TONIC. I guess you are right regarding ANTIS. I get Praying Mantises in my house from time to time. They have a slightly unnerving tendency to leave behind the eyeballs of flies!
    COD: i lIKED HASHTAG and EXCEL a lot but it has to be THE MALL.
  7. 45 minutes, finding the SW very tricky. There were so many brilliant clues in this puzzle. I saw GRASSY straightaway so that’s my COD. I checked out COHORTS after finishing to find out about COHO. I also twigged after the event why a semi-biffed DO could be TONIC. I managed to spell JUVENILIA correctly after first being puzzled why the anagram wasn’t giving JUVENALIA. I also thought it just referred to youth culture in general and was all set to compare Ritchie Valens version of his own song DONNA with the Marty Wilde one which was the hit in the UK. I can’t do that now. Great puzzle. Thank you B and setter.

    Edited at 2021-12-11 07:34 am (UTC)

  8. Very enjoyable. I parsed ANTIS, too, as ‘Opposition party’ and with ‘prayer’ as something that prays ie Mantis.
  9. I had COHERES for COHORTS, which felt vaguely right but on close examination clearly isn’t. And an A for an I in “JUVENALIA” which is pure carelessness brought on by memories of Juvenal’s satires.

    Some really nice clues. It took me an embarrassment of ages to spot DONNA in the white wine, despite being a 10cc fan. I was pleased with myself for GUJARAT – neat to clue an Indian ruler in an Indian state. Also remembering IMPI from far too many viewings of “ZULU.

    Thanks brnchn and setter for a pleasant Saturday morning last week.


  10. Got away without a pink square because I happened to check the anagram fodder for JUVENILIA properly. The spelling makes perfect sense in hindsight, but I would definitely have got it wrong otherwise. Apart from that my notes say “about 1h 10. HARD.”

    I’d also like to apologise in advance for absent-mindedly clicking the wrong submit button on this morning’s puzzle after transcribing it. I’ll be showing up a neutrino next week…

  11. My LOI was Juvenalia which, like gothick matt, I quickly discovered was Juvenilia after ‘a fodder check’ – still sounds wrong. COD Redaction – Stalingrad was no joke.
  12. FOI the anagram at 12ac MELATONIN, LOI 6d HASHTAG, a biff I couldn’t parse. Got off to a sticky start but once the blanks started to fill, progress picked up to finish in approx one hour. Hardly record breaking but still satisfying to finish. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  13. I crashed out of the running in 34:45 with a careless JUVENALIA. Remembered the salmon, and got GUJARAT from crossers before reverse engineering the parsing. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  14. My paper copy has the SW blank; that was the quarter I also struggled with.
    Finished online with a barely parsed ANTIS. TILLAGE and TONIC prior to that.
    DNK COHO as salmon but followed my principle that almost any combination of letters can be a fish.
    This took me quite a while but satisfying to finish after a struggle.
  15. ….where I carefully checked the anagrist for JUVENILIA, but had no other problems to speak of.

    COD HASHTAG (but THE MALL ran it close)
    TIME 13:20

  16. I win this week’s Stupido Award for checking the anagrist carefully and still putting in JUVENALIA.
    I’m not rally convinced 6dn works. A HASHTAG is not typically, if ever, a header.

    Edited at 2021-12-11 09:11 pm (UTC)

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