Times Cryptic No 28680 – Saturday, 12 August 2023. Don’t put your wife in the prison, Mr Worthington!

Generally I don’t like cross-references to other clues, but the word play in 15ac was nice enough to make up for that. I liked the literal definition at 21ac too. 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 Wife, imprisoned, absorbing English chiller (4,6)
WINE COOLERW=wife + IN COOLER=in prison, absorbing E=English.
6 Design information a little bit brief (4)
SPECSPEC{K}=a little bit, brief.
10 With trouble, hauls item on board a ship (7)
LUGSAIL – LUGS=hauls + AIL=to trouble.
11 Tories unfortunately meeting resistance in party (7)
ROISTER – R=electrical symbol for resistance + (TORIES)*.
12 New tech promo, one not carrying a lot of weight (9)
ECTOMORPH – (TECH PROMO)*. I can never remember which are the endomorphs and which are the ectomorphs.
13 Show article? Keep reading around it (5)
PANTO – AN=a grammatical article, with P.T.O.=keep reading, around it.
14 Where you might read notes for personnel (5)
STAFF – two definitions: musical, or organisational.
15 24 down work after chief lets one go (9)
MANOEUVRE – OEUVRE=(artistic) work, after MA{I}Nletting I=one go.
17 Hide unfinished design on copper vessel (9)
DISSEMBLE – D.I.=copper (policeman) + S.S.=vessel (steam ship) + EMBLE{M}=design, unfinished. (Long complicated assembly clue!)
20 Free of hesitation, fantastic learner of the organ (5)
RENAL – (LEARN)*. It’s an anagram of LEARN{ER} free of  ER=hesitation.
21 Posterior part of human, possibly seat? (5)
NATES – N=posterior part of {HUMA}N + (SEAT)*. An &lit. definition. Very nicely done, setter!
23 Jack stopped working, collaring e.g. Tom for what Edward did (9)
ABDICATED – AB=jack (sailor) + DIED=stopped working, collaring CAT=e.g. tom.
25 Spirit, as in Bible, with appealing quality (7)
AQUAVIT – QUA=as, in AV=Bible, with IT=appealing quality.
26 Hand in reference work that’s neglected (7)
OMITTED – MITT=hand, in O.E.D.=reference work (Oxford English Dictionary).
27 Picked up yellow tie (4)
YOKE – sounds like (picked up) YOLK=yellow.
28 Laying off flipping idiot during time off (10)
ABSTINENCE – TIN=NIT (idiot), flippingduring ABSENCE=time off.
1 Savage pekinese’s tail giving a wag (5)
WILDE – WILD=savage + tail of  {pekines}E. Oscar Wilde, I presume.
2 Spooner’s bird of prey sleeps and drinks (9)
NIGHTCAPS – KITE NAPS, given the Spooner treatment.
3 Catholic initially rude about wound getting extreme unction? (5,9)
CHARM OFFENSIVE – C{atholic}, initiallyOFFENSIVE=rude, about  HARM=wound.
4 Container from India with antique, funny covering (3,4)
OIL DRUM – I=India, in the phonetic alphabet with covering of OLD=antique + RUM=funny.
5 Clay to win boxing extremely tough European (7)
EARTHEN – EARN=to win, boxing T{oug}HE=European.
7 Reason waiter might be unhappy, spinning metal spike (5)
PITON“NO TIP” spinning.
8 Small hole in kind of pink material (9)
9 None too bright Republican splitting party in half? (6,8)
SIMPLE FRACTION – SIMPLE=not too bright + R=Republican splitting  FACTION=party.
14 Often sitting PM’s hosted by celebrity Yankee (9)
SEDENTARY – EDEN hosted by STAR + Y=Yankee, in the phonetic alphabet.
16 Vetting odd article in Le Figaro? You’ll have a hand in this (5-2-2)
VINGT-ET-UN – (VETTING)* + UN=French (grammatical) article.
18 One seen in parties or bar, but sloshed around noon (4,3)
BRAN TUB – (BAR BUT)* around N=noon.
19 Final Deutschmark in French and East German banks (7)
ENDMOST – DM=Deutschmark banked by EN = “in” in French + OST = “east” in German.
22 Part of e.g. Holly’s swimwear, but not all of it (5)
24 Avoid meeting magistrate around 1st of December (5)
DODGE – DOGE=magistrate, around D.

30 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28680 – Saturday, 12 August 2023. Don’t put your wife in the prison, Mr Worthington!”

  1. 45 minutes, so not as easy as some recent Saturday puzzles. I didn’t have any queries other than needing to look up CORPOREAL to understand the required meaning of ‘material’ in the clue

  2. 79m 05s I tried to ‘rush’ through this before the Australia v France game but failed….I managed to finish it off fairly quickly after the match.
    Some points…
    14ac started with SCORE because of the musical connection.
    8d: I became fixated on ‘cerise’ for pink.
    16d: ‘hand in this’ made me think of gloves rather than a card game.
    Thanks, Bruce, for the blog in general but particularly for DISSEMBLE, RENAL and ABDICATED.
    COD: PANTO. PTO, I like that!

  3. Took average time as far as I can remember. NHO LUGSAIL, FOI ROISTER, LOI PITON, COD CHARM OFFENSIVE, which opened things up nicely. Also liked EARTHEB, NATES and SIMPLE FRACTION. Thanks Setter and Branch,

  4. Two and a half hours over a few days. NHO NATES. BRAN TUB, AQUAVIT and MANOEUVRE were laggards but most of the time was spent on SPEC, CORPOREAL and PANTO. CORPOREAL popped into my head quite early on but I dismissed it without writing it down to check. I should stop doing that. This felt like the hardest one I’ve solved. Thanks to branch.

  5. I really enjoyed solving NATES
    Indisputably one of the greats
    With the answers all fitted
    I saw birds were OMITTED
    Thus avoiding my crossword pet hates

    1. Alas, your first line does you wrong,
      And adds a false note to your song.
      The rare word here, the charming NATES,
      Rhymes not with “hates” but with “Euphrates.”

      1. I never knew that. But I have never come across NATES outside Crosswordland, so the rhyme is fine by me.

  6. I’m not quite sure what a simple fraction is. If you Google it you get an explanation of cancelling down, no mention of a SIMPLE FRACTION, and the statement that now you have a simplified fraction. This isn’t what Chambers says: it merely has a whole number as both numerator and denominator, so it’s what I have always thought of as a vulgar fraction. In fact I wasn’t sure that a simple fraction is actually a thing, but evidently it is. I must have been to the wrong parties: the only BRAN TUBS I’ve encountered have been at fetes.

    1. I remember not understanding this at prep school some 70 years ago, and reading up on it now for the first time since, I’m very little the wiser.

      It’s apparent that simple and vulgar fractions can be interchangeable but not in every circumstance. I found this chart that makes things crystal clear (not!)

      Feature / Simple Fraction / Vulgar Fraction
      Numerator / Integer / Integer or non-integer
      Denominator / Integer / Integer or non-integer
      Examples : 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 : 1/3, 2/5, 7/9

      1. I can’t remenber if I ever knew what a simple fraction is, but the expression rang enough of a bell for me to enter it confidently. However, if I remember correctly, a vulgar fraction is, for example 1/2 (usually written with a horizontal rather than a diagonal, of course), as opposed to 0.5 which is a decimal fraction. An interesting distinction as a large number of fractions, probably a majority ( including, eg, 1/3, 1/6, 1/7, and virtually any number of sixths, sevenths, ninths, elevenths, twelfths, thirteenths etc) require an infinite string of decimal places, so cannot be recorded with 100% accuracy.

        1. In my early days as a teacher of elementary maths, there were three things that were equivalent: fractions (by which one meant vulgar fractions), decimals and percentages (thus 1/2 = 0.5 = 50%) and you knew where you stood. Teachers have, wisely I suppose, tried to connect them to real life and gone back to the roots of the word ‘fraction’ and split things into parts, which leads to great difficulties and circumlocutions when you combine vulgar fractions. In my opinion it would have been simpler not to try to explain these processes, and just say that a vulgar fraction is an expression of the form a/b and the rules for their combination are … (a lot simpler, whether you like it or not).

          1. It might have been wise, but, is something ain’t broke, it’s normally wiser not to fix it, but this does not appear to be understood by the teachers’ teachers. When I was at elementary school in the 1940s we recited tables as a class every day, and I would bet that even the dimmest of my classsmates will tell you that 12×9=108 faster than my son who has a MPhys from Oxford!

          2. I’m not a frequent commenter as I solve in the evening on paper on Australia, but I am surprised at the confusion about the fractions.
            A vulgar fraction can be simplified, a simple fraction cannot. e.g. 4/8 can be simplified to 1/2.

            1. I don’t think I ever heard of a “simple” fraction before. Maybe arithmetic was taught with different nomenclature at different times or in different places. We were encouraged not to use the clumsier form of fractions unless necessary, eg to add one half to one thitd.

              1. A fraction is an expression of the form a/b where a and b are integers and b is not zero. A fraction is vulgar if a > b, so 5/3 is vulgar but 3/5 is not. If a or b is not an integer then it isn’t a fraction to begin with. I don’t know what a simple fraction is. These were the definitions when I was at school, which was in the 80s and 90s. It’s the kind of thing that a big deal is made of when you’re at school, but you find out later on that there is no consensus!

  7. Needed the blog to clarify some of the parsing most of which I had parsed correctly other than MANOEUVRE as I had NHO OEUVRE = artist work and AQUAVIT where I was missing the QUA = is.
    Also looked up ECTOMORPH and VINGT-ET-UN (pontoon) post-solve to understand their definitions. Both of which I got from crossing letters and leftover letters amazingly with the latter.

  8. A bit of a struggle this one over 31 minutes. It pleases me to have MANOEUVRE in the grid, because it takes me back to my schooldays when I had written it in correctly but my history teacher crossed it out and had 3 goes at spelling it right without succeeding.
    I had a bit of a debate on Discord about CHARM OFFENSIVE, not convinced it was in the best possible taste, and I still think it has a definition rather shoehorned into an answer. Mind your, when one of my staff need to be encouraged to be less controversial in his comments, I introduced the idea of a charm offensive. He promptly put a fiver on the eponymous horse in the 12.10 at Southwell, at 7/2. It romped home.

    1. There must be something about CHARM OFFENSIVE that’s passed me by.

      I thought it was where repulsive politicians tried to convince the public they were likeable enough to be electable, for which process I thought “extreme unction” was quite a cute description!

      1. It’s more that extreme unction has a specific meaning in the Catholic Church as the anointing of a dying person, though more recently it’s come to be used in less terminal circumstances. Is it appropriate to reference such a sensitive action in for, as you suggest, oleagenous politicians? I’m not that fussed, but thought it was a question worth raising.

  9. 42’20”
    Kept up the same pace throughout, a very leisurely one.
    I have to thank the setter for giving me the word to describe the visually comic effect of the St. Radegund Novice Boat in the 2005 Cambridge Town Bumps. From 7 to Bow it looked fine but the colossal cox – well over six foot Ollie, No.7 of the Beer Boat – was facing a half-pint ECTOMORPH in the stroke seat, cox of the Beer Boat, me.
    I don’t like to single out clues, as there was lots to like here, but you ‘done me up like a kipper’ with the last two to fall; charm offensive and vingt-et-un.
    Thank you Bruce and setter.

  10. I just heard “done me up like a kipper” last night on the British/French show The Tunnel (Netflix DVD) said by Roebuck, to the perplexity of Elise.

  11. Didn’t know LUGSAIL, PITON or AQUAVIT, and I’m not familiar with BRAN TUB parties, but in all cases the wordplay got me there. Like the blogger, I’m not normally a fan of cross-reference clues, but I liked MANOEUVRE with its excellent surface.

    FOI Wine cooler
    LOI Corporeal
    COD Manoeuvre

  12. I was delighted to finish this the Sunday after, having given up late on Saturday night (after a few drinks at the boat club post sailing race week festivities) and still taking over an hour. Several unknowns, LUGSAIL (ironically), ECTOMORPH, NATES (technically a did-not-remember as I’m sure we’ve had this before), PITON. So grateful for clear directions from the setter and a few lucky guesses. Only AQUAVIT unparsed so thank you for that branch.

    A perfect way to set up the day before a long walk to the pub for lunch.

  13. I wasn’t familiar with Bran Tub; elsewhere it was the kind of puzzle which didn’t suffer distraction well. I didn’t think Charm Offensive was particularly tight as a clue, but I also didn’t think it was, as the Times used to say “not suitable for drawing room conversation”. Thx Bruce, setter

  14. Again, I must be way off the wavelength, as I stared down a few across clues with no lights flashing, until the helpful (as always) anagram at 12a. Then a wasteland until NATES and TRUNK, followed by STAFF, SEDENTARY and YOKE. Then nothing…until RENAL and SIMPLE something? As my time is limited, (excuse of course), I then cheated to find LUGSAIL (NHO), AQUAVIT (NHO QUA part), ENDMOST and DISSEMBLE. Those helped me biff CHARM OFFENSIVE ( for which my COD). Never did get ABDICATED, MANOEUVRE or ABSTINENCE, but guessed the rest , feeling let down by my lack of extra effort.

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