Times Cryptic No 28686 – Saturday, 19 August 2023. Dinged on …

I struggled with the answer at 22dn, partly for reasons of grammar (ding dong). And, even more with the (very) foreign answer at 21 across, clued as an anagram. I eventually looked that one up. For the rest, we had a relatively straightforward 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. {Curly brackets} mark omitted letters.

1 Fine coat on reflection, and frill (4)
RUFF – F=fine + FUR=coat, all on reflection.
3 With due respect, improperly harassed (10)
9 Man’s regularly thrown out of trading vessel that is for special group (7)
COTERIE – AS=mAn’Sregularly. So, COTER=CO{AS}TER (trading vessel), with AS thrown out + IE=that is. Tricky wordplay.
11 Weedy wife, mischievous (7)
WIMPISH – W=wife + IMPISH=mischievous.
12 One stroke of a Chinese brush perhaps has a role to play (9,4)
CHARACTER PART – the idea is that writing a Chinese character might require several brush strokes, so each stroke would just produce a CHARACTER PART, ho ho.
14 Retract one conclusion from jury on appeal (5)
UNSAY – UN=one + SA=appeal, in times crossword usage + Y={jur}Y, conclusion. UN is “one”, as in “he’s a good ‘un”.
15 Recommended Victoria’s first two letters carry a Penny Black (9)
ADVISABLEA=from the clue + D=old abbreviation for “penny” + VI=V{ictoria’s} first two letters + SABLE=black.
17 Between houses note dreadfully small intervals (9)
SEMITONES – (NOTE)* between SEMIS=houses.
19 Last in a sequence of home games (5)
OMEGA – hidden in a sequence of {h}OME GA{mes}.
21 Her walk amazes, wiggling in this? (7,6)
SHALWAR KAMEEZ – (HER WALK AMAZES)*. NHO this, and had no idea what language it was. I might have persisted working on the anagram, if I’d been confident of 22dn. I just looked it up!

Wikipedia tells me: shalwars are trousers which are atypically wide at the waist but which narrow to a cuffed bottom. They are held up by a drawstring or elastic belt, which causes them to become pleated around the waist. The trousers can be wide and baggy, or they can be cut quite narrow, on the bias. Shalwars have been traditionally worn in a wide region which includes Eastern Europe, West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic.

24 Almost everyone in some way can be a chemist perhaps (7)
ANALYSTAL = almost AL{L}, in ANY=some + ST=way. Of all the types of analyst in the world, “chemist” is a remarkably specific example.
25 Conductors putting energy into Mass, a long piece with no piano (7)
MAESTRIE=energy, put into M=mass + A=part of the clue + STRI=stri{p}, without P=piano.
26 Player, good memory, given work to get sharper (10)
GRAMOPHONE – G=good + RAM=(computer) memory + OP=work (opus) + HONE=get sharper.
27 Hitch small horse (4)
1 Training in sensitive topic that’s to be covered as fast as possible (10)
RACECOURSE – RACE=sensitive topic + COURSE=training.
2 Undeserving rich in Grease – The Musical (3,4)
FAT CATS – FAT=grease + CATS=the musical.
4 Uncomfortable result of checking the small print? (9)
EYESTRAIN – just a definition.
5 Drain the last from capacious jug (5)
SEWERthe last from {capaciou}S + EWER=jug.
6 Kind business partner broken by strong emotion (13)
COMPASSIONATECO=business + MATE=partner, broken by PASSION.
7 Appliance secure in upturned barrel (4,3)
TWIN TUBWIN=secure, in TTUB=upturned BUTT=barrel.
8 A brickie’s tool turning up in Arab city (4)
DOHAA HOD, turning up.
10 Money and a girlfriend leading to success: that’ll start you off (5,6,2)
READY STEADY GOREADY=money + STEADY=girlfriend (sexism query) + GO=success.
13 Spectacularly bright prosecutor is into white-collar crime : two leaders dismissed (10)
BEDAZZLINGDA=prosecutor is into {em}BEZZLING=white-collar crime, two leaders dismissed.
16 Envy terms hammered out by these old parish workers (9)
18 Area between two marks needing a cosmetic (7)
MASCARAA=area, between M=mark + SCAR=another mark + A=a word from the clue.
20 Turn out, performing for team (7)
EVERTONEVERT=turn out + ON=performing.
22 Announcing consumer magazine that used to be burned (5)
WITCH – sounds like (announcing) “Which?”, a magazine I’d not heard of. The equivalent over here is called “Choice”. I thought of WITCH early, but baulked at the definition, which I thought should have been “who used to be burned”.
23 Successfully go with this fringe (4)
BANG – if something “goes with a bang”, it’s a success.

39 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28686 – Saturday, 19 August 2023. Dinged on …”

  1. No time for this, as I went offline at around 30′ with a half-dozen clues to do, including of course the ineffable 21ac. LOI 1ac, where I rashly had taken ‘…as possible’ to indicate a superlative and put in a final _EST; took me a long time to give that up. It also took me a long time to think of a musical other than ‘Hair’. DNK the magazine. On ‘that’, it’s quite frequently used, perfectly grammatically, in a definition. (‘magazine who’ won’t work!) NHO SHALWAR KAMEEZ, and will never HO it again. Having got all the checkers in, I played around with H,E,L,K,A,M and came up with the right answer, checking ODE before settling on it. (ODE has ‘shalwar’, but helpfully adds that it’s often worn with a kameez.)

  2. I had to look up those trousers too. The term is in Collins, but split into entries for SHALWAR and KAMEEZ, with the compound phrase mentioned only in the former: “a pair of loose-fitting trousers tapering to a narrow fit around the ankles, worn in South Asia, often with a kameez (called a shalwar kameez).” Dictionary.com has only a separate entry for each word.

    Seems the full title of the magazine referenced in 22 (the organ of a consumers’ advocacy organization) includes a terminal question mark.

    1. Thanks. Since it’s a “sounds like” clue, I couldn’t hear the question mark in Which? I’ll add it.

    2. The Z from 13 down limited the options for the garment. They sell shalwar kameezes at the corner of my street. I have lived among Bangladeshi neighbours for the last 40 years so the term is not at all remote GK for me. Cricket on the other hand….

  3. 10:32. Who would have thought that attending a wedding in Pakistan 25-odd years ago would prove so useful for solving crossword puzzles? I don’t think I have the SHALWAR KAMEEZ I bought then any more but it’s not a term you forget. As familiar as it was to me I’m amazed that this got through the editorial process as an anagram. If the surface reading were more apposite you might stretch a point but it’s about as unsexy a get-up as you could imagine.

    1. Yes, a perfect example of your pet peeve in clues, the unfamiliar term that must be derived from an anagram.
      S0 you have a Pakistani relation?

      1. Indeed. My oft-stated rule that things are obscure if I haven’t heard of them is, of course, tongue-in-cheek. As familiar as this term is to me I don’t think an anagram is remotely fair.
        I have a very good university friend whose family is from Pakistan, he got married there.

    2. Hard (for me, anyway) to see a way of cluing this other than as an anagram. But then how to clue this should have been a problem for a Mephisto setter.

      1. Yes it’s not immediately obvious! But as you say if it can’t be done the clue shouldn’t be in this puzzle.

      2. D’accord. For a Mephisto, unfamiliar words are often worked out from an anagram, but there recourse to a dictionary (i.e., Chambers) is an accepted part of the solving process. I don’t mind so much finding a Mephisto-style clue in the mix any day of the week, but I am not one who notes (let alone publicly records) their precise time (no more than Mephisto solvers generally do). Checking a source would of course be totally out of bounds in a competition

  4. 45 minutes with 21ac outstanding of course. What a swizz after all my hard work elsewhere only to run into a brick wall that should never have been given planning permission!

  5. Didn’t find this too easy, but completed in below average time. Like almost everyone else I cheated on 21a, but as a UK resident did not need to on 22d. FOI RUFF, LOI BANG, COD READY STEADY GO. Enjoyed this although I understand its critics.Thanks setter and Bruce.

  6. Apart from quickly giving up on the garment and looking it up, I don’t remember much about this crossword.

  7. True as it is that one person’s obscurity is not necessarily another’s, in our multicultural Britain you are now as likely to pass a gentlemen (or lady) in a Shalwar Kameez as a suit. I am surprised so many have never been made aware of its name. In defence of the paper I think the inclusion of this way of dress is perfectly acceptable for a crossword set in today’s UK. I very much liked ‘money and girlfriend’ READY STEADY, but COD to Grease-The Musical, which was both clear and not.
    Thank you for the blog, branch.

  8. I’m with blogger in finding this relatively straightforward, including 21d SHALWAR KAMEEZ. And I’m chortling at the general indignation of those who hadn’t heard of it. Welcome to my world! All your cricket terms, and scientific and music terms, and NHO poets and inventors…Hah! Done in 35 minutes.

    1. You’ll see I didn’t actually express indignation, although it was to be expected. I’m prepared to look up things that are totally unknown to me. The art is knowing which ones to give up on!

  9. 48m 17s
    The advantages of having had an empire! SHALWAR KAMEEZ was relatively straightforward for me, not that I came across many growing up in the Sussex countryside. Also, the newspapers in Britain often used to carry photos of Jemima Khan (née Goldsmith), and married to Imran Khan at the time, with her friend Diana, Princess of Wales, both dressed in Shalwar Kameez.
    Thank you, Bruce for UNSAY and MAESTRI.
    In general I thought the surface readings were very good.

  10. Same problem as some of the other contributors with 21ac. The old issue of potentially obscure answers clued with anagrams. Also, I’m not really up on fashion; if you put me in an Armani suit, I would still look like a burst sofa.
    Thanks, branch.

    1. Your comment made me laugh! It reminded me of a line in Noel Coward’s Present Laughter: “She’s one of the few actresses living who can be dressed by Schiaparelli and looks as if she had been upholstered by Maples.”

  11. DNF. Like several others, defeated by SHALWAR KAMEEZ… absolutely no chance. Also failed to see the ‘win’ part of TWIN TUB so I invented a ‘trig tub’.

    COD Bedazzling

  12. 23:34. I enjoyed this puzzle. I knew shalwar kameez, but did resort to Google to check I had got the spelling correct.

  13. 55.39 A typical time for me. MER at 8d. Brickies of my acquaintance consider a hod to be a labourer’s tool. Evert is new. I wondered if Ejecton might be a little known European football team. Here in Birmingham a shalwar kameez is unremarkable so that was one of the easier clues. Thanks to branch.

  14. Stopped at 30 with the dress unknown.

    Enjoyed the rest, particularly BEDAZZLING

    Thanks Branch and setter

  15. DNF. Like an idiot I put SHALWAR KAMEZE which made 13d impossible. So I cheated and the only word that fit was REPAPERING, so I kind of assumed that this was a reference to “paper hanging” an Americanism for writing cheques that bounce. Doh!

  16. Yes this was a crossword of two halves for me also: everything except for 21 ac, which I whizzed through, and 21 ac, which after a really long time I finally gave up on and googled.

  17. Can someone clarify please. Usually when the second part comes before the first on a down clue, we have “on” or similar to indicate such. But, in 1d is there any indication that race comes before course , is this normal or have I got it wrong?

  18. My only problem was UNSAY. The clue didn’t mention that it was a foreign “one” they were after. But what else could it have been? The rest was fairly straighforward. I liked the anagram at 3A. A very enjoyable 23 minute solve. A good time for me on a Saturday puzzle.

    1. It’s not a foreign ‘one’, Ann, it’s one as used in phrases like “good ’un” or “wrong ’un”.

      1. Thanks K. I meant to remark on that in the blog, because it’s a bit unusual. Now done so.

  19. Can I be annoying and say that I worked out the KAMEEZ from the anagram and a faint bell tinkling in the background? Add the completely false assumption that it related to chemise. I couldn’t se another way of fitting in the rest of the letters, so it made scarcely a dent on my zippy 13.41. BEDAZZLING snapped through to Pet Cook and Dudley Moore: “Would the words Prince of Darkness mean anything to you? Beelzebub? Mephistopheles? The horned one?”

  20. SHALWAR KAMEEZ? You can’t be serious!!! Indeed, some people really have heard of it, but in my opinion this clue is completely inappropriate for an ordinary cryptic puzzle.

  21. 57’07”
    Struggled to keep up with the pace.
    He done me up like a kipper with racecourse.
    I felt the anagram was fair in that,once the cossers were in, it seemed the most likely.
    I enjoyed this immensely.
    Thank you setter and Bruce.

  22. DNF because of silly clues like 18AC that are so vague you could go through half the dictionary sorting them out rather than brilliantly clued anagrams like 21ac, far and away the finest clue in the crossword. I felt the same frustration with 9AC and 26AC too; I always struggle with these alphabet assembling clues. Thanks for the mental exercise!

  23. DNF and DNL (did not like). Too many intricate assemblage clues and one outright wrong ‘un in SHALWAR KAMEEZ! After thinking, wrongly, that I was on an easier one today after entering RUFF, I struggled mightily with most of the rest, I’m ashamed to say – especially RACECOURSE (cleverly hidden definition) and GRAMOPHONE and ANALYST (“can be a chemist?). Happy to get the half of them that I did, but dejected that more weren’t forthcoming.

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