Times Cryptic No 28632 – Saturday, 17 June 2023. H-h-help me … it’s all Greek!

I needed some helpers to g-g-get the stuttering clue at 14dn. That in turn gave me enough helpers to finally smell the flowers in the Greek clue at 20ac. The definition at 8dn was a mystery! For all that, it was at the easy end for a Saturday. 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 Attacks fail to stop cheats in football (4-5)
DIVE-BOMBSBOMB=fail stops (goes inside) DIVES=cheats in football. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh2KLm4DpXE
6 Subject this person to anti-discriminatory checks (5)
TOPICTO + I=this person checks (goes inside) PC=anti-discriminatory (politically correct).
9 Road test gathering very little information (7)
ORBITALORAL = test gathers BIT = very little information, in computer terms.
The Orbital Motorway around London is the sort of road intended.
Meanwhile, will we set a record for the number of ways a setter can say goes inside?
10 English teacher’s back in a panic, providing cover for head (7)
EARFLAPE=English + R=teacheR‘s back, goes inside A FLAP=panic.
11 Pressure noble to show some wisdom, proverbially (5)
PEARLP=pressure + EARL=a noble.
12 Movement in Labour not quite anti capital (4,5)
ULAN BATOR – (LABOUR ANT)*. ANT=anti, minus its last letter (not quite anti). Capital of Mongolia.
14 Current bridge player holding clubs and diamonds (3)
ICE I=(electrical) current  + E=bridge player (East). C=clubs goes inside.
15 Travellers — Wolves supporters, according to Spooner (11)
BACKPACKERSPACK BACKERS, given the Spooner treatment.
17 Commits a sin breaking religious way of life (11)
19 Outlaw cop brought back (3)
BANNAB=cop, brought back.
20 Home in Greek city has area for flowers (9)
DELPHINIA IN=home goes inside DELPHI=Greek city + A=area.
22 The Sound of Music lacks a vigorous quality (5)
24 Saunter around capital, flipping warm (7)
AMIABLEAMBLE=saunter. A1=capital goes inside, after flipping.
26 How to make garment smarter, worn by small person using rhetorical device (7)
IRONISTIRON IT = make garment smarter. S = small goes inside.
27 For one year, parliament vacated in country (5)
EGYPTE.G. = for one + Y=year + ParliamenT vacated.
28 Weed in extremely demure clothing along with hero (9)
DANDELIONAND=along with, goes inside DE = extremely DemureE + LION=hero.
1 Bad day to raise flag (5)
DROOPPOOR=bad + D=day, raised.
2 Shake and struggle, drinking unpleasant tot (7)
VIBRATEBRAT=unpleasant tot goes inside VIE=struggle.
3 Stick with incredibly subtle means of campaigning (9)
4 Go wrong dropping ecstasy in e.g. stag party (11)
5 What’s up for that lady? (3)
SHEEH‘S, up.
6 Personnel brought in to head for bobby’s beat (5)
THROBHR=personnel, goes inside TO + B=B(obby).
7 Equipment for artist or female friend? (7)
PALETTE – she’s a PAL-ETTE, she is.
8 Bard’s trick, capturing a Trojan lover (9)
CAPARISONA + PARIS=Trojan lover, goes inside CON=trick.
A bard could be an ornamental covering for a warhorse, AKA a caparison.
News to me, but I didn’t think there could be a poet named Caparison!
13 What may help you get a job in industry (11)
APPLICATION – two definitions.
14 Having a direct effect, I negotiate stutteringly? (9)
16 Old PC getting senior rank (9)
COMMODORE – two definitions: a 1980s computer, and a naval rank.
18 Make invalid, treated in full, ultimately healthy (7)
NULLIFY – (IN FULL)* + (health)Y.
19 Issue for Roman during Disney film frames (7)
BAMBINIIN=during goes inside BAMBI=Disney film. From modern Italian, not ancient Latin.
21 Horse, to some extent, is what rider may need (5)
HABITH=horse + A BIT=to some extent (as in, somewhat).
23 Discover 50 per cent reduction in high fashion (3,2)
HIT ONHI(gh) 50% reduced + TON=fashion.
25 Something a gambler uses up for festival (3)
EIDDIE up. Singular of DICE, as you probably knew.

15 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28632 – Saturday, 17 June 2023. H-h-help me … it’s all Greek!”

  1. 22:53
    For some reason I forgot about this after submitting, and made no notes. I was puzzled about CAPARISON, and assumed that bard had that meaning; fitter for Mephisto, I’d say. A typo, Bruce, at OOMPH; you mean OOMP(a)H.

  2. BATTLEBUS was new to me, and the “bard” sense of CAPARISON elusive… that may very well have been my LOI.

    1. BATTLEBUS is more to do with British elections, of course. I think a good example is the red bus that Boris used during the Brexit referendum campaign and had the fanciful claim on the side about saving £350 million if Britain left the EU.

  3. 43m 54s
    I thought this was a good test, especially in the NW corner.
    Thanks, Bruce, especially for TOPIC. I had heard of CAPARISON before but I hadn’t ever come across the bard meaning.

  4. 45 minutes. At 28ac I didn’t think past ‘D AND E’ being the extreme letters of ‘DemurE’, adding my own conjunction and evidently ignoring ‘clothing along with’ when I came to parse the clue. Still, it got me to the right answer and at least I avoided my usual misspelling, ‘dandilion’.

    I didn’t understand TOPIC, but the answer was clear. I knew CAPARISON and even what it was, but BARD as an alternative name for it came as news to me.

    Speaking of BARD, has anyone experimented with the Google so-called AI application of that name? It’s terrifying that it presents its findings so articulately and authoritatively (although there is a small-letter disclaimer that information may be inaccurate) yet if you ask it about any subject on which you have a reasonable knowledge you will soon spot that a large proportion of the material is rubbish and it presents generalised opinions as fact.

  5. I enjoyed this puzzle . I admire those savants who do the puzzle quickly but it always takes me much longer than regulation. I sometimes feel that the ideal qualification for these crosswords is a mixture of Egyptologist, to decipher the clues and an astrologer to read the runes. An encyclopedic knowledge of historical and geographical arcana is also a real help.

  6. I completed the NW corner quickly, but the rest was more of a challenge, which took average time..FOI DROOP, second week running, LOI IRONIST, NHO but helped by wordplay, COD BACKPACKERS, where overseas solvers could be at an advantage not being distracted by the (likely for them) NHO https://www.wolves.co.uk/. COD as I usually struggle more with Spoonerisms. Parsed some of TOPIC, but did not get PC = anti-discriminatory and am still unconvinced as it can equally be discriminatory! MER at ORBITAL, which I know only as an adjective. ThanKs, Setter and Blogger.

  7. DNF, used aids for 6a TOPIC and 8d CAPARISON. Thanks for the parsing. Not convinced PC=non-discriminatory. I would be insulted if anyone accused me of being PC.
    Nearly failed on 12a ULAN BATuR, but checked the anagrist to correct.

    1. For PC, Chambers has:

      political correctness noun

      The avoidance of expressions or actions that may be understood to exclude or denigrate groups or minorities traditionally perceived as disadvantaged by eg race, sex, disability, class, political alignment or sexual inclination

      The use of recommended alternative expressions intended to be non-discriminatory (abbrev PC)

  8. Not so quick for me in 26-some minutes. Another who (eventually) wrote in CAPARISON from the simple enough wordplay without discerning what it had to do with Shakespeare, except that it’s the sort of word he’d shove in if he needed 4 syllables to make up the pentameter. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas caparison / Clothing the green in red” Could have worked.

    1. Yes, actually that’s better than what Shakespeare wrote. I can’t see a down-to-earth guy like Macbeth throwing “incarnadine” in there.

  9. Only unknown was CAPARISON, but the cluing was helpful. Don’t think I fully parsed OOMPH, as with the O _ _ _ H it was pretty clear. Reasonably straightforward otherwise.

    FOI She
    LOI Caparison
    COD Battlebus

  10. Funnily enough, CAPARISON was one of my first in, as (after following the cryptic carefully) I was convinced that THE bard had used the word ‘somewhere’. Later found that it was in Richard 111, where he yells : “Come bustle, bustle! Caparison my horse!” However, it was probably not that one intended. WWYGI
    (Whichever Way You Get It) it stands. Having DROP-KICKS in confidently at 1a held up proceedings in the NW for quite a while, after the gimme DROOP, and had to cheat for BATTLEBUS (NHO). Also completely stumped by IRONIST (not in my Mrs Bradford!); but the rest an enjoyable romp. CODs to IMMEDIATE and BACKPACKERS. Also liked BAMBINI for “issue for Roman”.

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