Times Cryptic No 28608 – Saturday, 20 May 2023. The Bells are Ringing

There are some delightful definitions today! 1, 16, 18, 20 and 27 across, and 5 and 12 down all made me smile. The wordplay in 13ac also stood out. 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 underlined. (ABC)* means anagram of ABC. Italics mark anagram indicators in the clues, and ‘assembly instructions’ in the explanations.

1 Drunk in street, boss right to enter The Three Bells? (6,7)
8 Warrant ingenuity needed to defend rook (4)
WRIT – R=rook in WIT=ingenuity.
9 Soldiers guarding one in Paris deserve pay (10)
REMUNERATE – REME=soldiers, guarding UN=one, in Paris + RATE=deserve.
10 Stop blooming predator returning to access its prey? (8)
DEFLOWER -FLOW=WOLF, returning, accessing (inside) DEER=wolf’s prey.
11 Animal in mountain pasture a feline lacking tail (6)
ALPACA – ALP + A + CA=CAt (feline), lacking tail. 

I thought alps were just mountains, but apparently, in Switzerland, an alp can also be an area of green pasture on a mountainside.

13 With which to announce eg Hungary’s first goal? (10)
ASPIRATION – for most non-cockneys at least, the first letter of Hungary is an aspirate.
16 Army presence perhaps in Dublin Bay occasionally (4)
ULNA – every second letter (occasionally) of  dUbLiN bAy. The definition is a pun on the fact that the ulna bone is in the arm. 
17 Pet dog losing ball, coming across new discovery (4)
FIND – FIDo=pet dog, losing o=ball, and coming across N=new.
18 Item for making rolls in the kitchen, or boiler house (10)
KETTLEDRUM – KETTLE=boiled + DRUM=house. Definition refers to the percussion section of the orchestra.
20 I’m quite sure arts graduate’s about to eat in! (6)
BETCHA – BA=graduate, about ETCH=eat in.
22 Tour extremely tiny church, finding artwork (8)
TRIPTYCH – TRIP=tour + TinY (extreme letters) + CH=church.
24 State in case that’s set in corrupt Carolina (10)
CALIFORNIA – IF=in case, set in (CAROLINA)*.
26 Lake in Ireland viewed from the east (4)
ERIE – EIRE, viewed from the east.
27 Character on Baywatch warned off after dealing? (7,6)
TRAFFIC WARDEN – TRAFFIC=dealing + (WARNED)*. Definition relates to watching parking bays, not Pamela Anderson!
1 Undisciplined brat, heiress in Trollope’s county (11)
2 Level at condo partially raised, using smaller base? (5)
OCTAL – backwards (raised), hidden (partially) in leveL AT COndo.
3 Lob rugby player giving reminder of an earlier time (9)
THROWBACK – THROW=lob + BACK=playing position in rugby (or many other games) .
4 One of the first cities captured by wild Masai warrior (7)
SAMURAI – UR=one of the first cities, captured by (MASAI)*
5 Women laid up — could this get them going? (5)
SENNA – the women are all ANNES. Lay them up, in this down clue. Definition relates to senna as a laxitive.
6 Eliot’s editor associating pen with last letter in period (4,5)
EZRA POUND – Z=last letter, in ERA=period + POUND=pen. I didn’t know he was Eliot’s editor.
7 Habitual boozer very troublesome to start with (3)
SOT – SO=very + Troublesome, to start with.
12 Possibly where criminals meet, but for one? (11)
CONJUNCTION – come down to the CON JUNCTION, and meet the other cons. Definition has ‘but’ as an example of the required part of speech.
14 Peninsula where cool friend holds party (9)
INDOCHINA – IN=cool + DO=party + CHINA=CRS for friend.
15 Woman without issue one stopping useless soldier (9)
NULLIPARA – NULL=useless + I=one + PARA=soldier.
19 Monster movie? (7)
TITANIC – two definitions.
21 Potato dish fine, or a pudding served up cold? (5)
ALOOF – here, after the clue with two definitions, we have two forms of wordplay: ALOO=potato + F=fine; or A + FOOL, served up in this down clue.
23 In Yorkshire, the plant that might choke river? (5)
TWEED – T’=the, in Yorkshire + WEED=that which might choke.
25 Suitable for the occasion, having a pint (3)
APT – A + PT=pint.

27 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28608 – Saturday, 20 May 2023. The Bells are Ringing”

  1. Pound was responsible for the final form of Eliot’s most famous poem, The Waste Land, and Eliot addressed him in the dedication as Il miglior fabbro, “the better craftsman” (from Dante).

    Barely remembered ALOO, but took even longer to remember the Yorkshire T(he).

  2. Was I the only one to think there must be a Lake Erin hidden backwards in 26a? I thought this rather clever, with its reference to Ireland. Post solve I’ve googled it, and it exists in Minnesota!
    A fast solve spoiled by a pink lake ( there’s another of those here in Western Australia).

      1. I was sorry it wasn’t said that the Bronte sisters had Bell as the name they wrote under – Currer, Acton & Ellis.

  3. 17:51, WOE
    DNK ALP, DRUM. Didn’t understand ‘baywatch’; and only got ‘Army’ after submitting. BARSETSHIRE struck me as shockingly easy; even if you’d never read Trollope. Like Corymbia, I spotted the reverse hidden in ‘in Ireland’–which is ironic, since I never spot hiddens–and ignored the little voice saying “Lake?”.

  4. 31 minutes. I had two errors from misinterpreting wordplay, saving myself from one at the last moment by changing ERIN to ERIE, but missing the other at 12dn where I had persuaded myself that CONFUNCTION might be a word fitting a straight definition that I had failed to identify. That was my LOI, and I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to finish off.

    Elsewhere I was pleased to recognise NULLIPARA as a word when I’d constructed it from wordplay.

    Somehow I managed to ignore the word ‘pasture’ when I accounted for wordplay in ALPACA. It would have puzzled me as I didn’t know of its connection with ALP.

    1. NULLIPARA was a NHO when it appeared here some time (2-3 years?) ago, and I was pleased and surprised to recall it.

  5. 84m 50s. Very hard for me but very good.
    Thanks, Bruce, particularly for TRAFFIC WARDEN.
    My list of clues which have “VG” written against them consists of BRONTE SISTERS, ULNA (‘army’!), KETTLEDRUM, CONJUNCTION (‘But for one’), ALOOF and TWEED.
    My LOI was ASPIRATION. I spent ages on it because I convinced myself that the word ended in NATION (‘eg Hungary’s)

  6. I cannot recall enjoying a crossword so much. Virtually all the clues seemed original, clever or both, most giving a chuckle when then penny dropped. NHO NULLIPARA but guessed from crossers and Nonparous. BARSETSHIRE went in immediately, then a long wait until I seemed to find the setter’s wavelength an d was flying by the time LOI ERIE fell. Overall, about average time overall as I did not find it too easy. To select a COD is impossible! Thanks, Setter and Bruce.

  7. Completed, in the usual hour, but with a couple of unknowns that required a dictionary check. NHO 2d OCTAL or 15d NULLIPARA, and although I got the wordplay for ULNA at 16ac, I didn’t know what it had to do with army presence. Same with Baywatch. Now I do thanks to the blog. Ho ho! Very witty. Thanks to all.

  8. A fail for me – several visits over several days failed to break the last 5 or so. I had/have no idea about DRUM, but am annoyed at myself for not getting the musical reference to ‘kitchen’, which is hardly unfamiliar, even outside of crosswordland. However, NULLIPARA was completely unknown – legalese, I assume – and I would never have got that. I also failed on CONJUNCTION, which in retrospect, I should also have got, as ‘con’ was a given, but yet again, I failed to spot the definition. The ‘conjunction’ of 18A, 12D, 15D and 27A was what did for me – too many missing letters to break through. A shame, as 1A was delightful, as well as 6D and 16A, with wonderful penny drop moments.

    1. According to Chambers DRUM is a slang word for a house. News to me! Collins has ‘an assembly of fashionable people at a private house in the evening’ which may be a version of the same thing.

  9. 48 minutes. I did like CONJUNCTION and ASPIRATION. For NULLIPARA I resorted to two thesauruses, neither of which had it, and eventually figured it out from the wordplay. It was a nice crossword, challenging but doable.

  10. 42 minutes and indeed very enjoyable, with lots of not immediately obvious answers needing confirmation by wordplay (BETCHA, TWEED for which I first had TRENT, NULLIPARA which seemed believable, but not really a word I knew). Among the clues I liked were ASPIRATION, TWEED, CONJUNCTION, but why stop there? Nice puzzle, hard but very fair.

  11. Apart from the completely unknown NULLIPARA constructed from wordplay, this was a smooth enough solve. Liked TRAFFIC WARDEN once I’d seen what was going on with Baywatch. Figured out the anagram for 1a without knowing that the BRONTE SISTERS were the three Bells. Like one or two others, didn’t know drum=house in KETTLEDRUM.

    FOI Sot
    LOI Nullipara
    COD Samurai

  12. I wondered whether someone would be kind enough to explain how ‘etch’ = eat in BETCHA. Is it the sense of ‘to eat away at something’? Many thanks

    1. Yes, I think in the artistic process of etching acid is used to eat away at the metal plate. Then ink fills in the grooves made by the acid.

    2. Chambers Dictionary has:

      etch /ech/
      transitive verb and intransitive verb
      To design on metal, glass, etc by eating out the lines with an acid
      To eat away or corrode
      To cut or carve

      1. Thanks – yes, wanted it to be ‘eat away’ not just ‘eat’. I think that’s why I struggled with them as synonyms. I don’t often do the biggie, sticking mainly to the QC. I guess making the jump is going to involve some progression!

  13. Loved this. Cod to traffic warden but loads of other contenders. Needed the blog for nullipara – thanks.

  14. Also loved it…but not fully finished, as rushed for time. Knew it was going to be a corker after 1a fell with a PDM, but KETTLEDRUM held me up ( had forgotten the kitchen reference). Deceived by some dastardly setting, never got ASPIRATION either, and blanked out at the constipated ladies! Very clever and enjoyable crossword.

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