Times Cryptic No 28626 – Saturday, 10 June 2023. Wizard prang, wot?

The World War II reference at 22 down evoked nostalgia for stories I read as a boy. Nostalgia at 1ac too, which made me think of that song recorded by many people – from the 1950s onward.

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 Priestess, northern mother with child endlessly (5)
MAMBO – MAM-mother (in the north of England) + BOy, endlessly.

I didn’t know this meaning of the word – I could only think of the dance, and the song recorded by Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin and others.

4 East German should stop immoral deception (9)
IMPOSTURE – OST=east (in German) stopping IMPURE=immoral.
9 Sea monster in time one hiding argosy’s last trace (9)
SCINTILLA – IN + T=time + I=one, all hiding the Y in SCYLLA. In Greek mythology, Scylla is a monster on one side of a narrow strait. That much I knew – I had to dredge out from memory how to spell her name!
10 Military title remains in old man’s possession (5)
11 Line on map Charlie ignored travelling from place to place (2,4)
ON TOUR – the line on the map is a CONTOUR. Ignore C for Charlie (NATO alphabet).
12 Accordingly limits sudden fear, having excised right brain part (8)
THALAMUS – THUS=accordingly limits ALARM=sudden fear, having excised R=right.
14 Pixie, not so daft, provides detailed account (10)
16 Open to an extent, Indian prince in comeback (4)
AJAR – RAJA=Indian prince, in comeback.
19 Creator of dynamite has book coming out for Xmas (4)
NOEL – NObEL invented dynamite.
20 Criminals’ life and death situation? (10)
UNDERWORLD – clever! A double definition, or a cryptic one? Your choice.
22 Bishop buzzing with energy in gown (8)
BATHROBE – B + ATHROB + E=energy.
23 Irish author’s devotee seen in Romanian capital (2,4)
LE FANU – FAN seen in  LEU=Romanian currency.
26 Doctor round surgery to wilt from tiredness (5)
DROOP – DR + O + OP.
27 Defeat, or we prove to be beaten (9)
28 Irrepressible soldiers I found in noiseless setting (9)
RESILIENT – RE + I found in SILENT setting.
29 Virgin martyr takes engagement rings back (5)
AGNES – reverse (back) hidden (rings) in TAKES ENGAGEMENT.
1 Removing spikes at the start can make you run poorly (9)
MISGOVERN – (REMOVING S)*. The “S” is Spikes at the start.
2 Slightly damp Oxonian at first seen in fog (5)
3 Grate temperature rising in fire causes flare-up (8)
OUTBURST – I put this in from definition and helpers. Now, writing the blog, there’s no way to avoid sorting out the wordplay! OUST=fire; insert TBUR, the reversal (rising) of RUB=grate + T=temperature!!
4 Unemployed daughters visiting Réunion? (4)
IDLE – D=daughters. La Réunion is French, so they would call it une île. Put D in ILE. 
5 One missile-launcher that should get the pulse going (10)
PEASHOOTER – cryptic definition. Peas are pulses.
6 Elastic pressure in fluctuating pulse (6)
7 Guardsman occasionally seen with officer in star gathering (4,5)
URSA MAJOR – every second letter of gUaRdSmAn + MAJOR=officer.
8 Small space in church given up for Welshman? (5)
EVANS – S=small + NAVE=space in church, reversed (given up, in this down clue).
13 With no means to pay, second book entry incorrect (5-5)
15 “Abundant” means the lot, regularly found in addition (9)
PLENTEOUS – TEO=ThE lOtregularly, found in PLUS=addition.
17 Ways to get round man obstructed by posh Maoists? (3,6)
RED GUARDS – RDS=ways (roads), to get round EDGAR=the man of the moment, obstructed by U=posh. A double nesting of letters.
18 Gentle exercise taken with Alps’s top climber (5,3)
SWEET PEA – SWEET=gentle + P.E.=exercise + A=Alp’s top.
21 Launch fitting with a different side indicator? (6)
PROPEL – PROPER=fitting, with L for left changed to R for right.
22 Old airman drained double in pub (5)
BADER – DE=DoublE drained, in BAR=pub. A WWII fighter pilot.
24 What you might see on the Avon, or location on the Nile (5)
ASWAN – the Aswan dam is in Egypt. A SWAN might be on the Avon river.
25 “Shut up”, author initially told (4)
PENT – PEN=to author + Told initially.

21 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28626 – Saturday, 10 June 2023. Wizard prang, wot?”

  1. 27m 50s
    Pretty straightforward with nothing really memorable except 5d reminded me very much of 21ac in #25886 on 08Sep14: “Weapon whose use may make a child’s pulse race (10)”
    A: Peashooter, of course!
    As for 22d BADER. I have read he was not well liked by his compatriots and treated his batman in Colditz very badly.
    Thanks. Bruce!
    PS….As it happens there is an article by Ben McIntyre in The Times today about BADER. It appears Bader was, indeed, an extremely unpleasant person

    1. I knew of Bader, maybe knew he lost his legs, knew nothing of his ugly side. I’m reminded of Thurber’s great story, “The Greatest Man in the World”.

    2. Thanks for the heads-up. I’d seen the film and heard he wasn’t very pleasant in real life, but nothing prepared me for that level of nastiness – particularly the way he treated his batman! A very insightful article, particularly the last sentence.

    3. Martin, it is quite true about Douglas Bader. My father met him and was not impressed.
      But as he said to me, if I have both my legs amputated, and recover, and badger my way back into flying and fighting for my country, and am shot down over enemy territory and imprisoned, i will try to behave better 🙂
      The sad fact is that Bader was not untypical, in his time. Guy Gibson, no better.
      Thank heavens for Leonard Cheshire 🙂

  2. 36:34 WOE
    I flung in STONE-BROKE (the US form) even while thinking ‘Don’t they say “stony” over there?’ and of course forgetting to go back and check. The enumeration of 23ac should have made it a gimme, but I didn’t remember the name until I got the U. I never did see the anagram in MISGOVERN. Biffed URSA MAJOR, LE FANU, RED GUARDS, SWEET PEA, parsed them post-submission. Jonson called Shakespeare “the swan of Avon’.

  3. 47 minutes. I didn’t quite have to Reach for the Sky to solve this one, but pretty close to it. Never heard of MAMBO for ‘Priestess’ so had to rely on the wordplay and couldn’t work out the parsing of OUTBURST; even if I’d been blogging I still would have had to call for help. Having ‘pulse’ appear in the consecutive clues struck me as a bit odd. Favourite was the misleading surface and well-hidden anagram for MISGOVERN which was one of my last in.

    I remember seeing Douglas BADER ages ago in Pro Celebrity golf (Peter Alliss et al); he didn’t look too well at the time and I think must have died soon after. The Wikipedia article alludes to some of the points Martin has made. I then read yesterday’s (Friday 16/06) Times article by Ben Macintyre (thanks Martin) which is very thought-provoking and well worth a read.

    Thanks to Bruce and setter

    1. I recognized MAMBO once I got it, and I can’t think of how I could have unless it appeared here once.

    2. I think Ben Macintyre has written a book on Colditz in which he has put his comments on Bader.

  4. 37 minutes for all but 1dn on which I spectacularly failed. I couldn’t find a word to fit the checkers, couldn’t decide what the definition was supposed to be, and missed the anagram wordplay completely. Elsewhere I had struggled with the intersecting answers RED GUARDS and LE FANU who I’d heard of vaguely but had no idea that he was Irish.

  5. Damn, I had STONE-BROKE too (and it never even crossed my mind, Kevin, that they say “stony” over there).
    I didn’t know of the English pilot but the name looked likely. (I thought, actually, of—sic—Bader-Meinhof, though that’s really Baader.)

  6. I don’t do quick because I enjoy the first-cup-of-coffee-and-crossword ritual too much to want to rush it, but found this all slipped in quite easily until 1a, where I didn’t know the priestess so had no way of knowing, unless someone explains otherwise, if we were after Mambo(y), Mamso(n), Mamto(t) etc. I hit the same trouble with 23a where I didn’t know the currency or the author and plumped for De Fanu which sounded equally un-Irish. So it was an OWL for me. Still much to enjoy. PEASHOOTER made me smile as did UNDERWORLD.

    Thanks all.

  7. I had to use aids for LOI 1D as, like Jackkt, I simply couldn’t see the word that would fit. It’s a very cleverly misleading clue and I completely failed to see the anagram. The rest of the puzzle was reasonably straightforward, though I was itching to put in NORMA for my FOI. Luckily, it was unparseable, and MOIST put me straight, though I had to struggle to remember the priestess meaning rather than the music. Chuffed to get THALAMUS from the cryptic, as I doubt I’d have remembered the term, and likewise LE FANU, whom I didn’t know was Irish.

  8. I remember I struggled somewhat but enjoyed the challenge. BecAuse my paper came late, i solved online and see I entered BELT at 25d, so a DNF on one of the easier clues! FOI MOIST, LOI BELT, COD either PEASHOOTER or UNDERWORLD; I wondeed if the references in 6d and 18d to pea and pulse subconsciously helped the PDM in 5d..NHO MAMBO or LE FANU,. Thanks, setter and blogger.

  9. DNF, defeated by the unknown LE FANU, which in turn stopped me getting RED GUARDS (could only think of ‘red shirts’, and would never have considered Edgar as a random man’s name). Didn’t get PEASHOOTER either, and SCINTILLA went in unparsed.

    COD Exposition

  10. Never parsed 3d OUTBURST, cheated for 1a MAMBO (yes had seen these ladies in previous crosswords) and 23a LE FANU (NHO).
    COD 9a SCINTILLA, and wondered where Charybdis was lurking. Turns out she is deceased.

  11. NHO MAMBO, only vaguely heard of LE FANU (nearly got there by following the cryptic, but looked too unlikely to be Irish!), and like others never saw the cleverly hidden definition in 1a. THALAMUS also escaped me. So all up not a brilliant effort, but not too unhappy with those I got- especially IDLE, PEASHOOTER, STONY BROKE and URSA MAJOR. COD OUTBURST.

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