Times Cryptic No 28674 – Saturday, 5 August 2023. If winter is summer …

As the northern hemisphere gets scorched, here down under we are enjoying winter days up to 10ºC above normal. Happy to report I’m posting this blog from a coastal resort. Very pleasant, for now! The Saturday puzzle was also pleasant, with no major hiccups to report. There was one unknown Latin expression, but the anagram was guessable. 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. {Curly brackets} mark omitted letters.

1 Spectral cat behind ventilator, by the sound of it (7)
PHANTOMPHAN = fan (ventilator, by the sound of it) + TOM=cat.
5 Stout pin in the form of catch on the hotplate (7)
HOBNAIL – HOB=hotplate + NAIL=catch.
9 Tool’s completely articulated (3)
AWL – when articulated, sounds like ALL.
10 Small contribution from cowardly US agent pocketing key (7,4)
CHICKEN FEED –  CHICKEN=cowardly + FED=US agent, pocketing E=musical key.
11 A French bible translation outstanding? That’s not acknowledged (8)
UNAVOWED –  UN=”a” in French + AV=bible translation (Authorised Version) + OWED=outstanding (debt).
12 Benefit received by industrial carrier put up (6)
HOUSED –  USE=benefit (oh, what’s the use?), received by HOD=industrial (brick) carrier.
15 Decline suitable place for washing (4)
SINK – two definitions.
16 Popular titbit’s bad taste (10)
INDELICACY –  IN=popular + DELICACY=titbit.
18 Pro formerly on the plump side, say (3,7)
FOR EXAMPLE –  FOR=pro (as opposed to con) + EX=formerly + AMPLE=on the plump side.
19 Shakes containers (4)
JARS – two definitions, again.
22 Mother’s third of payment for sweet (6)
TOFFEET=the third letter of {mo}T{her} + OF=from the clue + FEE=payment.
23 Nark monarch after playing well (8)
INFORMER – IN FORM=playing well + ER=our late monarch.
25 Takes out alumnus and scholarly son (11)
OBLITERATES – O.B.=alumnus + LITERATE=scholarly + S=son.
27 Delinquent’s obligation to return missing book (3)
TED – DE{b}T to return, missing B=book. I’m sure as usual someone will remind us that Teds weren’t necessarily delinquent. (We didn’t have them down under, so I can’t comment.)
28 Foot is special on tailless ungulates (7)
SPONDEE – SP=special + ON=from the clue + DEE{r}=ungulate, tailless.
29 Learn unexpectedly about doubtful expression for DCI perhaps (7)
NUMERAL – (LEARN)* about UM=doubtful expression. DCI could be a Roman numeral, meaning 601.
1 Paper strip for nutritious snack (7)
PEANUTS – two definitions, again. The Charles Schultz comic strip, or a pub snack.
2 Various fallen Roman ruins (3,6,2)
3 Extremely tricky ruse to secure Oscar for Citizen Kane? (6)
TYCOON – TY=extremely T{rick}Y + CON=ruse, securing O=Oscar, in the phonetic alpabet.
4 Woman’s first entitlement could be over before term (6,4)
MAIDEN NAME – MAIDEN=an over at cricket, conceding no runs + NAME=term.
5 Native dance from Haiti originally, with alias (4)
HAKA – H=H{aiti}, originallyAKA=alias.
6 Aristo’s taken up residence across island for warmth (8)
BONHOMIE – BON=NOB (aristo), taken up HOME=residence, across I=island.
7 Not quite top primate (3)
APE – APE{X}=top, not quite.
8 Noblewoman always accepts old penny when rent’s traditionally due (4,3)
LADY DAY – LADY=noblewoman + AY=always, accepting D=the symbol for a penny, pre decimal currency.
13 Religious work marshals bars at Tate Modern’s opening (6,5)
STABAT MATER – (BARS AT TATE M)*. M=M{odern}’s opening. NHO this one, but the second word was a gimme. For the first word, I just tried what seemed like the best bet for the rest of the anagram letters.
14 Military leader coming forth with great weight (10)
WELLINGTONWELLING=coming forth + TON=great weight.
17 Bargained for stock (8)
EXPECTED – two definitions, or perhaps two variations on one definition. The stock answer, and the answer we expected are close to the same thing, I feel.
18 Empty fruitful land Open University’s invested in (7)
FATUOUSFAT=fruitful + OU=Open University, invested in US=land.
20 Pastry daughter in Ulster cooked? (7)
21 Damp food raised problem for marsupial (6)
POSSUMPOS=SOP (damp food), raised + SUM=problem. I didn’t know this meaning of SOP – bread or whatever soaked in liquid.
24 Constant torture ruled out on a regular basis (4)
TRUET{o}R{t}U{r}E, with the even letters ruled out.
26 National leaders from Levant and Orient (3)
LAO – first letters (leaders) from L{evant} A{nd} O{rient}.

21 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28674 – Saturday, 5 August 2023. If winter is summer …”

    1. NZ All Blacks RU team do this war dance before annhilating their opposition, including our Wallabies.

  1. 21:38
    I made the mistake at first of taking “Tate Modern’s opening” to be TM, which made STABAT MATER unparseable; I only twigged after submitting. A number of composers have written Stabat Maters; here’s Pergolesi’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzOmPUu-F_M
    Why do setters persist in errors like 27ac?

    1. They persist because ‘delinquent’ or other pejorative words appear in some dictionary entries and it’s not wholly inaccurate to say that ‘ted’ or ‘Teddy Boy’ carried such negative connotations back in the day, very much encouraged by reports in the more sensational press outlets.

      The campaign here to overcome this, at least in Times crosswords, was started long ago by our late and much missed blogger Dorset Jimbo who was a Teddy boy in his youth (always impeccably behaved, I’m sure) and by the time of his death we thought the battle had been won, but sadly it seems there is still a need to continue with it in his memory.

  2. 32 minutes for all but JARS which required an alphabet trawl lasting a further 11 minutes. Mentally checking through every word that fits ?A?S can be a lengthy business as Chambers Word Wizard reckons there are 210 of them.

    Bruce, ref your intro mentioning the northern hemisphere scorching, you can exclude the UK from that as we’ve hardly felt the warmth of the sun for the best part of two months now. Not that I’m complaining.

  3. 34m 34s
    5d HAKA. I’m not sure the All Blacks would welcome the haka they perform as being described as a ‘dance’. It is a challenge to the opposition and World Rugby, afraid of engendering cultural disrespect, has rules about how opposing teams may or may not react to it.
    Thanks, Bruce, for TOFFEE, EXPECTED and FATUOUS.
    COD NUMERAL. I did like the use of DCI!

    1. The most moving haka I’ve seen was the day after the Christchurch massacre when a group of the murdered youth’s schoolmates performed an impromptu haka in their honour. They were from all races: Maori, Anglo-Saxon, Indian and Chinese. It seemed a fitting and defiant tribute to their late friends.

  4. I enjoyed this, but found many of the definitions quite stretched, finally defeated by HOD and JAR, which I might have got I hadn’t then decided I had already spent far too long on the puzzle. On the other hand, LAO seemed so obvious I waited for crossers to put it in! No probs with TED; I remember, at the time, public perception was, rightly or wrongly, that any youths dressed in a certain way were quite likely to try to cause trouble. Liked CHICKEN FEED and the sneaky FOR EXAMPLE. Thanks setter and Branch

  5. No problems other than two marked NHO:
    SPONDEE, WP got me there though and STABAT MATER as with our blogger the second part being a gimme and the first using up the leftover letters.

    LAO was very kindly clued and I had smiley faces against HOUSED and TED. I have been around here long enough to be aware of the ‘delinquent’ complaint.
    I thought NUMERAL was a good clue too.

  6. DNF. I had this down as a stinker but from the comments here it seems it was just me having a very off day. North-west corner completed, eventually, but then couldn’t make any more than patchy stabs at the remainder. As a kickstart, used aid to get 5ac HOBNAIL, and 6d BONHOMIE, but since I couldn’t see the parsing of the latter I figured I just wasn’t finding setter’s MO and quit as the hour mark ticked by. Then, frustrated, I cheated and used aids again to have another go. Well. NHO of the first two, 13d STABAT MATER or 28d’s ungulates or SPONDEE. So, retreated once again. Just not my week.

  7. DNF

    I had PANS for 19a, although I couldn’t really convince myself that shake is one of the meanings of pan.

  8. Game of two half’s for me. Top went straight in bottom slowed me down. However I must have been being unusually patient because I returned to my usual 3 unsolved clues and finished them off correctly.
    MAIDEN NAME was fantastic. Also liked WELLINGTON which took an embarrassingly long time to see even with the TON in place.
    COD to FOR EXAMPLE for the smooth surface and the definition actually being ‘say’ this time.
    LOI HOUSED foxed again by the answer masquerading as an instruction.

    My favourite puzzle this week.

    Thanks setter and blogger

  9. DNF, couldn’t believe in STABAT MATER so I looked it up. NHO (or have forgot) SPONDEE so I cheated again. Was expecting moans about obscure words clued as anagrams, but none have appeared so far.

  10. 52 minutes, much of which, at the end, was spent on JARS (an alphabet crawl like Jack’s) and SPONDEE, which went in on a wing and a prayer after seeming absolutely unsolvable. COD perhaps to EXPECTED.

  11. I’ve just looked back at this crossword which I completed (bravely) pre-blog last week. I had to look up NHO STABAT MATER and double-checked LADY DAY, also NHO, but easily got from the generous wordplay. I biffed FATUOUS – many thanks for the explanation. Had not seen US for land before and didn’t think of fat as fruitful. BONHOMIE/HOBNAIL took quite a while I seem to recall. COD to MAIDEN NAME which made me smile when the penny finally dropped. I really enjoyed being able to finish, albeit with a little help. Thanks B.

  12. NHO SPONDEE but the wordplay was kind. Otherwise this was reasonably straightforward.

    FOI Phantom
    LOI Spondee
    COD Maiden name

  13. 27’57”
    Good early pace, spooked final furlong but recovered quickly.
    Very chuffed to be under par; I must have been on the setters wavelength.
    No problems with STABAT MATER; in so many cases, be their medium paint, marble or music, this subject brings out the best in so many artists.
    Jars were what gave me the jitters for a moment, and I loved the DCI.
    Lots to like; thank to Bruce, setter, and all here.

  14. A puzzle of two halves, as someone mentioned above, except that my two were left solvable and right not-so-much. As the 50 minute mark showed up I had a few missing there: the NHO STABAT MATER (a bit unfair I thought) and HOBNAIL (a stout pin, really?) and JARS, of course. So, three missing, but still happy to have worked my way steadily through this clever crossword. CODs to FOR EXAMPLE (well hidden), LADY DAY ( otherwise known as Billie Holiday), and NUMERAL – maybe because I got them all!

  15. My hope that the setter might run out of puff at the end was justified, 26 & 24 d and 27 & 29 across being write-ins.
    The workout became greater and thus more enjoyable…Misdirection at 22a had me looking for a sweet ending in y, as did a inner query whether the anagrist at 2 d was various or ruins.
    Thanks setter and fellow antipodean blogger. I’m solving from treeware in spring/height of the dry season, some tropical trees here are flowering on bare branches, others have red leaves which will soon drop, an odd mirror of the northern autumn.

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