Times Cryptic No 28656 – Saturday, 15 July 2023.

The north-west corner, apart from the long anagram at 2dn, gave the most opposition. In contrast, the other long clue at 7dn was clear from the helpers, but needed some time to decipher the wordplay.

Otherwise, regular Saturday fare, except that I had to consult my brains trust about 24ac!

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 Miserable, as problem having been confronted for ages? (4-5)
LONG-FACED – a cryptic hint about facing a problem for a long time.
6 Shoots back, revealing a little bit of character (5)
SERIFFIRES=shoots, back. Serifs are those little twiddly bits on each letter, but I’m sure you all knew that!
9 Of singular renown, bishop recently arrived (7)
NEWBORN – (RENOWN B)*. ‘Singular’ is an unusual and rather nice anagram indicator!
10 Diet of cold meat and ale — less energy (7)
CHAMBERC=cold + HAM + BE(E)R, less an E=energy. The Diet is the Japanese Parliament. Technically, it seems to have two chambers though.

On edit: I didn’t know until I saw Guy’s comment below that other countries also have/had Diets.

11 Bacon for one or a number, returned separately (5)
ROGERORREG=(registration) number, with both parts written backwards (returned separately). “Bacon” always suggests “Francis” to me, but Roger was a 13th century philosopher.
12 Farmer maybe, one crashing the network? (9)
LANDOWNER – LAN=local area network + DOWNER=whimsically, one crashing (a computer or network, for example).
13 Computer facility in cars welcome (8)
AUTOSAVE – AUTOSAVE=welcome, in Latin. I kept losing my work as I typed this blog – pity this app doesn’t have an Autosave feature!
14 Very little time: Australia back in race (4)
ZOOM – MO=very little time + OZ=Australia. Turn it all back.
17 His tale something plucked from the airwaves? (4)
LIAR – sounds like (from the airwaves) LYRE=something plucked. I wasn’t sure what to underline as the definition, although clearly we’re talking about someone who tells tales!
18 Spotted president once at welcoming party (5-3)
POLKA-DOT – POLK=the 11th President of the US + AT welcoming DO=party.
21 What denotes certain combat ability that can’t be built upon? (5,4)
GREEN BELT – two definitions: martial arts, or town planning.
22 Possible warnings for ladies to lose weight (5)
OMENS – (w)OMEN’S=ladies.
24 Put up with hindrance in reverse for city (3,4)
TEL AVIVVIVA=up with (as in Viva España) + LET=hindrance, put in reverse.

[“Without let or hindrance” is a British legal expression, just meaning “without interference”. Often legal doublets like this contain one word of Saxon or German origin, and the other of French or Latin, but not this time: SOED says both words here are of Saxon or Germanic derivation.]

I didn’t understand this clue until I got help, mainly because I thought the “put” at the front was more than just an assembly indicator.

25 Legendary German singer teaching the French one (7)
LORELEILORE=teaching + LE=the, in French  + I=one. The Lorelei lured sailors to their deaths.
26 Newly put on airer, uniform has shrunk (5)
RERUN – hidden (shrunk) as highlighted above.
27 Rogue caught by friend opening stolen goods (9)
SCALLYWAGC=caught + ALLY=friend, opening SWAG=stolen goods.
1 Vessel one fills inside? (5)
LINER – two definitions. Ships, or lining material.
2 Caravanner’s anger, with water level out of control (3,3,9)
3 Complete payment, perhaps, for stool? (8)
FOOTREST – to complete the payment, FOOT the REST.
4 Tory ladies maybe in church meeting in secret (8)
CONCLAVECON=Tory + LAV=ladies, maybe in CE=church.
5 To move out after three suits, arguably, nurse or soldier? (6)
DECANT – a DECK of cards has four suits, so three suits might whimsically be a DEC. Add ANT=nurse or soldier, for example.
6 Dog taken from trailer entering Crufts? (6)
SHADOWAD=trailer (for example) entering SHOW=Crufts (again, for example).
7 Outlaw trading horse for gallon o’whiskey about to down spirit (5,10)
ROBIN GOODFELLOWROBIN HOOD needs to change H=horse to G=gallon. Then FELL=down + O + W=whiskey.
8 Father twice putting article in skip? Indeed not! (3,4,2)
FAR FROM ITA=article, put in FR FR=father, twice + OMIT=skip.
13 Creature in need of a breather after climbing a hill (9)
ALLIGATORA + LLIG=gill (breather), climbing, in this down clue + A + TOR=hill.
15 On reflection, nothing but one red cake (8)
TORTILLAALL=nothing but + I + TROT=red (communist), all on reflection.
16 Shooting scene where fair lass embraces Romeo (2,6)
OK CORRALOK=fair + CORAL=a random girl, embracing R=romeo, in the phonetic alphabet.
19 Odd venue for curling: close to London (6)
UNEVEN – (VENUE)* + N=close to LondoN.
20 Penny put on jeans, moving large hips, etc (6)
PELVISP=penny + LEVIS=jeans, moving the L=large, one letter along. Perhaps a subliminal reference to Elvis in here somewhere?
23 Influence with opening tweet (5)
SWINGW=with, opening SING=tweet.

28 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28656 – Saturday, 15 July 2023.”

  1. Sez here “parliamentary bodies in Japan, Poland, Hungary, Bohemia, the Scandinavian nations, and Germany have been called diets.”

    In France, you would not say “Viva!” but “Vive !”

    I took “hindrance” to be a reference to the sense of LET in tennis and squash: “a minor infringement or obstruction of the ball, requiring a point to be replayed” (or that point itself)—not having heard of that somewhat obscure legal phrase.

    Didn’t manage to parse DECANT, and forgot to go back and try again.

    1. At one time every British schoolboy and schoolgirl would have been taught about the 1521 Diet of Worms to which Martin Luther was summoned by a Papal Bull and ordered to recant his beliefs which were deemed to be heretical. Used to be a source of great amusement in less sophisticated times.

      1. This one-time British schoolboy remembers sniggering about the Diet of Worms!

        1. Me too. Only bettered by the defenestration of Prague. Happened twice, obv to two different people as it is quite a drop from the castle window.

          1. I believe there were at least five or six defenestrations; two of which, one non-fatal thanks to a dung heap, led to major nastiness. I constructed a tour of them one afternoon, while waiting for Le Nozze di Figaro at the Estates Theatre, which stood in for Vienna in the film of Amadeus, and where Mozart conducted the premiere of Don Giovanni.
            I used a Cadogan (?) guide, which are very good as they are almost devoid of pictures, and so seeing the splendours of Prague was a series of wonderful visual surprises.

            1. Fascinating! I think I should learn more about those defenestrations.
              PS…..’Porgi Amor’ is one of my very favourite arias.

    2. I believe I’ve said this before, but the Japanese word for Japan’s legislative body (国会 kokkai) is the same word for ‘Parliament’, ‘Congress’, ‘Assemblée Nationale’, etc. Why it is (usually) translated as ‘Diet’ I don’t know; ‘Parliament’ would be preferable. (And the Japanese don’t refer to their fast trains a ‘bullet trains’, either.)

  2. 28:08
    I biffed a few, including TEL AVIV & ROBIN G, being too obtuse to notice that I’d parsed them correctly: I wrote ‘viva=up with?’ at TEL AVIV, and ‘down=fell?’ at ROBIN, forgetting the ‘hill’ meaning of both. DNK NEW AGE TRAVELLER. I liked PELVIS.

  3. I couldn’t parse DECANT, and spent much too long trying. Thanks to our blogger for deconstructing it, but I remain underwhelmed by DEC as three suits. And is a RERUN newly put on? A ‘remake’ would be, perhaps, but a rerun is surely put on again rather than new.
    I’m hoping for a record-breaking tail wagging by Australia at Old Trafford, or failing that a long spell of northern English rain.
    22′ 41″

  4. 42 minutes. I had several queries on wordplay and am still not entirely convinced by come of it e.g. re DECANT and FOOTREST. I found justification for ‘singular’ as anagrind having been pointed in that direction by the blog, but I had to scroll deep into the SOED entry to find it and I note that it’s not in the extensive list of possible anagram indicators offered by Chambers.

    1. I liked the use of ‘singular’ as an anagrind. It has largely stopped being employed as ‘strange’, but there’s plentiful use of it in Sherlock Holmes stories, so it was common in Edwardian times.

  5. 46m 29s in two sessions separated by watching the All Blacks beat the ‘Boks.
    Thanks, Bruce, especially for ROGER, TEL AVIV, DECANT and ROBIN GOODFELLOW.
    The ‘Roger Bacon’ I remember is the person who used to write a wryly amusing page at the back of ‘Flight’ magazine, at one time a must-read aviation journal for me.
    I join Jack in looking askance at DECANT.
    On the other hand I did enjoy LANDOWNER, LIAR, FOOTREST and PELVIS.

  6. Some excellent clues in an imaginative puzzle which I completed in under average time, though I did not find it easy. FOI NEWBORN which took a long time, LOI SWING, COD LANDOWNER., LOD CHAMBER, I always chuckle when I see DIET used thus, for the reason Jack gives above. Completed SW corner first then clockwise. Did not parse the crafty DECK. Thanks Setter and Bruce.

  7. Well. Pride comes before a wipe-out. After last week’s smugness over my record time, this was a reality check. Managed only half before resorting to aids, and am dismayed that even once I had the remaining answers, too many of them remained mysteries. Just didn’t understand… 10, 11, 24, 26ac, 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 13, 15down. Also went wrong with 1ac, with LONG SINCE, and 4d DECAMP. Dreadful showing this week. Thanks to setter – I think – and definitely blogger.

  8. Left DECANT blank, thought of it (and decamp) but couldn’t justify it. What is the nurse doing there? Soldier ant fair enough but. Never thought of DECk as 3 suits, so thanks to blogger and a win for the setter.
    Forgot to fill in LIAR so a double DNF.
    I am waiting until next week for my pet moan re today’s puzzle.

    1. I found this on-line

      “Nurse” ants lick the wounds of fallen comrades, and this helps them survive.

      Chambers has them as a worker ants (or bees) that tend to the young.

  9. DNF. 17ac
    My first question mark was against 9ac NEWBORN. I had no trouble getting the answer just the anagram indicator.
    With AUTOSAVE I needed the blog as I didn’t know AVE Latin. The answer was obvious though.
    I just couldn’t see 17ac I did think of LIAR but just didn’t see the required WP, or homophone even though it is indicated by ‘airwaves’.
    I BIFD TEL AVIV so the blog has enlightened me.
    DECANT went in solely on crossing letters and Def. as without the ‘N’ I would have put DECAMP, the WP meant nothing to me. The same goes for TORTILLA needing the crossing letters.
    I did have a smiley face against SHADOW so I must have enjoyed that one.
    Thanks to the blogger for the necessary enlightenment for those I didn’t fully understand. Also the setter for an enjoyable Saturday exercise albeit with one answer missing.

  10. Not too difficult, but nicely chewy as I remember. I forgot to add notes, but looking at the blog brought most of it back. 1A always reminds me of that silly joke… A horse goes into a bar. The barman says, ‘Why the long face?’
    It took forever to tease out the long anagram on 2D, but 7D went in from the word ‘outlaw’, as ROBIN came immediately to mind. And after that the second word could only be GOODFELLOW, confirmed by ‘spirit’, and parsed subsequently. Was pleased to get both DECANT and SERIF quite quickly, as these were clues that would have foxed me a while back. Lots of nice PDMs, but I think all along I was on the setter’s wavelength, understanding where the clue was going, even though groping for the correct vocabulary. For 10A, having the B in place, I mombled CLAMBAL as a possible ‘diet’, but thought better of putting it in, and the final R put me right on track with HAM and BE(E)R.
    LOI SCALLYWAG, COD LORELEI. Thanks setter and Bruce – good fun.

  11. 27.53

    As Corymbia said save for the creekay. (Pouring down here in Bath and I’m 200 miles south of Manchester).

    Was minded to think DECANT was a horror show of a clue but slightly warming to it. Otherwise excellent puzzle.

    Thanks Branch and setter

  12. None of this seemed terribly tricky until I hit a wall in the southwest. I thought I might not finish at all until, after a break, I saw it was not a LUNG but a GILL reversed in ALLIGATOR. Then I saw how LIAR worked and that it was TEL to unlock the city. I nearly came a cropper at 20d as I was working (again steadfastly sticking to the wrong track, will I ever learn?) with D for penny, from the old British denomination, to produce ‘devils’. Were they anything to do with rose fruits? Thankfully no.

    Much fun as always.

    Thank you branch and setter

  13. 41’35”
    Seriously outpaced, tailed off.
    However, I was very pleased to get over the line with everything parsed en route.
    Thank you to the setter for a very enjoyable solve, Bruce and Andyf for bringing back lovely memories of Prague.
    Now I’m thirsty; recollections of monastic brewers.

  14. Looked at this with a long face at first, due to not ‘seeing’ any to get me started. NEWBORN then appeared, followed by the NEW AGE TRAVELLER, and I was off (but unfortunately not) running. Slow drag across the grid with much use of aids eventually saw me home after 50 mins, but not pleased with my effort. CODs to SERIF, PELVIS and FAR FROM IT. Thanks to Branch for sorting it all out for me.

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