28246 Thursday, 24 March 2022 Simples?

I was through this in 21.25 with everything tidied away: as often seems to be the case these days almost bang on the current average time. By no means a straight through solve though, as I skipped around the various corners of the puzzle where light stubbornly refused to dawn.
There’s what I think is an (unsignalled) archaism at 5, but it’s not too difficult to come to terms with it. And there’s an I-didn’t-know-it-was-an-opera to tease the solver, but again not too tricky to work out, even if (I’ve sampled it) it’s a somewhat tricky thing to actually listen to. I rather liked the wordplay at 12, which was my last in and very nearly missed out, and there are two decent &lits to delight the discerning solver.
My version of the methods of solving together with (occasionally) relevant comments are below, with clues, definitions and SOLUTIONS
1 Significance of ring, perhaps, and why it isn’t answered (7,6)
ENGAGED SIGNAL A ring might signal that the wearer is engaged (to be married), and if the ring (tone) is the engaged signal, your call won’t be answered. If overseas readers want to know what a British engaged tone sounds like here it is mixed with the ring tone in Penguin Café’s masterful Telephone and Rubber Band.
9 Move on beat — to this? (5)
TANGO Move is GO , and beat TAN. You only have to decide which to put on the other.
10 Hard with journalist on coach to clear a way through the woods (9)
BUSHWHACK I knew it in its ambush sense, but Chambers clears clearing. H(ard) plus W(ith) plus HACK for journalist are on (same order as 9) BUS for coach.
11 Contrived paintings, one functionary’s short of (10)
ARTIFICIAL Paintings generally are one form of ART, add an OFFICIAL functionary short of – um –  OF.
12 Happens not to be the thing tinned? The opposite (4)
ISN’T (The grid doesn’t care about apostrophes). The thing is IT, if it’s tinned it’s contained in SN (chemical for tin). You need the whimsical opposite, SN contained in IT.
14 Shot leaving car at home here? (2,5)
ON DRIVE A shot In cricket, forward and to the left of a right handed batsman. If you’re lucky and your estate has the space, you might leave your car ON the DRIVE when you get home.
16 African winger to go round, arrowing crosses over: just headers (7)
TOURACO Today’s tease for Astro nowt. Winger means (here) bird. To go round is TOUR, to which you add the first letters (headers only) of Arrowing Crosses Over. The football version works pretty well.
17 Soldier not belonging to the state (7)
PRIVATE A double definition.
19 For carnivore, flesh: let me see a kilo being eaten (7)
MEERKAT Compare the Market are supposed to have pulled the Russian accented beastie form their adverts, but it’s taking a while. Real ones are from South Africa, and despite looking cute are ferocious killers of anything smaller. The wordplay’s tricky: flesh gives you MEAT, which “eats” ER for let me see and K for a Kilo (ignore the a)
20 Created book without introduction; one may learn by this (4)
ROTE Created book: WROTE, knock off the introduction (first letter. Learning by rote is through (not necessarily understood) repetition.
21 Danish unit translated into another tongue (10)
HINDUSTANI An eclectic variant of Hindi. And for us, an anagram (translated) of DANISH UNIT.
24 Men on the moon were fine once, a member of staff’s gathering (9)
AMERICANS I like the (still true) definition. An ERIC is an Irish fine paid to compensate for murder. Here place it inside (gathering) A MAN’S  for a member of staff’s.
25 Arab is soon to return (5)
OMANI Is IN A MO backwards.
26 Had incentive to rework English opera (5,2,6)
DEATH IN VENICE Possibly better known as a film, based on the Thomas Mann novel, it is also an acerbic 1971 opera by Benjamin Britten. An anagram (to rework) of HAD INCENTIVE.[Thanks to anguswalker: you also need the E from English to complete the anagram. I was rather obsessed by remembering not including the TO.]
1 Spare place finally accepted by officer not attached to body (14)
EXTRACORPOREAL The (non-commissioned) officer CORPORAL “accepts” the last letter (finally) of placE. It took me a while to work out which word meaning spare could be put on the front. It’s EXTRA.
2 Nocturnal creature, European, eaten by man (5)
GENET Another carnivore, this one created by GENT for man with E(uropean) “eaten” (as in the other carnivore clue at 19.
3 Excellent man on island holiday (4,6)
GOOD FRIDAY Excellent is GOOD, and the man on island is FRIDAY from Robinson Crusoe.
4 Disaster as teacher turns up with lace undone (7)
DEBACLE A qualified teacher may be a B. Ed. Reverse that (turns up) to give DEB and add an anagram (undone) of LACE
5 Demanding some coffee (7)
INSTANT A more antique meaning of the word for the demanding bit.
6 It can produce regenerated tail, no trouble (4)
NEWT It can indeed. Something of an &lit, in which regenerated translates to NEW, and TAIL without AIL for trouble provides the T.
7 A single voracious fish announced, one demanding huge interest? (4,5)
LOAN SHARK Sounds like (is announced) LONE (single) SHARK.
8 Duck a risk here: fish unlikely to stay frozen long? (5,2,4,3)
SKATE ON THIN ICE It might help if you thought more duckING is a risk here. The second section of the clue whimsically thinks of the fish SKATE not being kept frozen for long if the ice is thin.
13 Missing centrepiece of meals, hurried for a big shop (10)
SUPERSTORE Meals are SUPPERS, remove the centre piece P as instructed, and add TORE for hurried
15 Deft, I drew out tangle (5-4)
DRIFT WEED An anagram (out) of DEFT I DREW. A tangle of seaweed
18 What may cover grave at heart of chapel? (7)
EPITAPH Another &lit. What is EH, the PIT for grave and AP from the centre of chAPel are included (cover)
19 Potty is available for president (7)
MADISON 4th POTUS. Potty gives MAD and is available supplies IS ON
22 Counters a disease vector, cutting off half (5)
ABACI One plural of abacus. One meaning (which I was not aware of) of vector is disease carrying, which justifies BACILLUS, half of which disappears to tag on to A in pain sight.
23 Evasively holding up entry permit (4)
VISA A reversed hidden “held up” in evASIVely. Back in 1989 as, I was told, the first western visitor since Hitler’s troops to Nikolaev (Ukrainian Mykolaiv) I needed an extraordinary visa to enter the town not least because that’s where the Soviet Black Sea navy was built. I met some fantastic Baptist people there, rejoicing in new freedoms under Gorbachev’s reforming regime. I fear for them and their children under the relentless pounding of Gorbachev’s successor.

50 comments on “28246 Thursday, 24 March 2022 Simples?”

  1. Left one empty and forgot to go back to it. Otherwise on the wavelength, zipped through 90% of it speedily, delayed only slightly at the end by ABACI, AMERICANS, working out if EPITAPH worked, and the anagram DEATH IN VENICE. Failed on articifial. First thought was artifactal – came straight to mind after misspelling artefact a few days ago – but it didn’t parse and I couldn’t suitably massage the factotum. So only filled in ARTIF.
    Otherwise a nice puzzle, thanks setter and zabadak.
    COD newt, very elegant.
  2. 48 minutes. I’d forgotten the ‘fine once’ at 24a and missed the parsing of EPITAPH (v. good). Both the ‘African winger’ at 16a and ‘Nocturnal creature’ at 2d were only just remembered and went in mainly from wordplay. Otherwise no major difficulties though I was looking to make things more complicated than they were after yesterday’s toughie.

    Hardly an interesting word, but the clue for ISN’T was my pick today.

  3. I struggled with his one and as the hour approached I used aids to fill 22dn and 12ac. There were also some unknown words or meanings along the way that undermined my faltering confidence still further.
  4. Thanks, Z., especially for ERIC in AMERICANS and for EPITAPH.
    When out in the bush in Australia and going ‘off-piste’ we used to use the term bushbash. I always associate BUSHWHACK with people being ambushed in old Westerns.
    COD to ISN’T and NEWT.

    Edited at 2022-03-24 07:07 am (UTC)

  5. Is the sweat of Envys Foot

    25 mins pre-brekker held up by Eric and untangling the tangle.
    Thanks setter and Z.

  6. …what 6d could be. 31 minutes with LOI BUSHWHACK. AMERICANS was a biff, not knowing the Irish fine. ISN’T and MEERKAT were a bit too convoluted to be COD, and EXTRACORPOREAL too long, so I’ll give it to ENGAGED SIGNAL. SKATE ON THIN ICE was quite good too. The one thing I didn’t know DEATH IN VENICE as is an opera. Perhaps that’s why the setter went that way. Fortunately the crossers and anagram were kind. Pleasant puzzle. Thank you Z and setter.

    Edited at 2022-03-24 07:55 am (UTC)

  7. 37:01
    Good level of challenge – took a while to unpick this one.
    Thanks, z.
  8. Enjoyed this rather a lot – up to a point. FOI ISNT was also my COD (pleased with self for remembering SN = TIN) and I chugged through this merrily until three clues out, around 30m.
    – ABACI took more than one alpha-trawl, though I liked the clue when I finally spotted the plural-shorter-than-singular
    – INSTANT was obvious, though I felt a bit uncomfortable with the definition
    – Thought about T-U-ACO for 4 or 5 minutes before adjourning for breakfast.

    The chicken suqaar this morning was a bracingly spicy number – plenty of chopped raw green chillies in the mix, served with a dollop of fuul and rotis on the side – excellent. Pedalling home from the eaterie, I thought about the remaining clue and plumped for TRUBACO (BURT as a bird) – but I was fooling myself, and missing the obvious. TOURACO was a NHO for me, a bit surprised no-one else so far has mentioned this. “The football version works pretty well.”?!?

    Frustration at the impasse got the better of me – a reminder of how I used to (not) solve a few months ago. Thanks z and setter

    1. Re football version, I think Z is referring to the surface reading, which is indeed rather good.
      Chillies for breakfast?!
      1. Uhhhh – not reading the surface – maybe I’m actually developing a proper solver mindset. All I need now is the solving ability…

        …breakfast with raw chillies works really well (for me anyway). Feels invigorating, cleansing to the palate and digestion – definitely going for that option again.

        1. You remind me of my son’s in-laws, who say much the same about going for a swim in the sea before breakfast… no plans to try either, myself 🙂
          1. Your son’s in-laws are on to something Jerry. The perfect way to start the day, even better if it co-incides with the sunrise.
  9. First solve for a while and completed in 28m — a few biffs with crossed fingers (ISNT and NEWT eg) so thanks, Z, for explaining those and also, setter, for a pleasant challenge. I shall look at MEERKATS very differently from now on.
  10. Liked this one muchly. No unknowns except who wrote the opera. I think we have had eric = fine before.. ah for the old days when murder was dealt with by a fine

    Z I was impressed with the Penguin Cafe orchestra, you have got me onto Youtube looking for them…

    1. Penguin Café are sublime! Their concerts (which still happen) are often intimate affairs: I went to one in Cecil Sharp House where there was barely enough room for their kit and we sat around like a family gathering. Southern Jukebox Music is a simple but deeply soothing piece, and Music For a Found Harmonium (the actual instrument accompanies them on tour) is the jolliest of romps. But almost anything they do…
    2. Try Broadcasting from Home — I’m sure you’ll recognise lots of the tunes which feature regularly as background music in shows / trailers / ads 😊
  11. Strictly speaking 26a is an anagram of HAD INCENTIVE plus the E of English.

    Not often a word appears in the concise crossword and the cryptic on the same day…

  12. DNF. For some inexplicable reason I put DRIFTWOOD at 15dn. When this made 24 difficult I reconsidered the crossing answers but it seemed so obviously right (I mean what else could possibly fit?) that I didn’t consider having another look at the clue. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.
    1. There could be a reason for it Keriothe, see below which crossed with yours.
      1. I’m almost entirely ignorant of the Marx oeuvre so I don’t even have that excuse. The really embarrassing thing is that I’m sure I spotted it was an anagram and still managed to put in an answer that was very obviously over-endowed with Os relative to the completely O-free anagrist.

        Edited at 2022-03-24 10:52 am (UTC)

  13. That went in nicely after yesterday’s DEBACLE. The operatic version of DEATH IN VENICE reminded me of Night At The Opera and Otis B. DRIFTwood (Groucho) although that movie features Verdi which is rather easier on the ears. Good puzzle. 16.08
  14. TANGO was my FOI and led me to think that 1d might start with EXTRA, thus leading me to ARTIFICIAL and GOOD FRIDAY. It took a while longer and some crossers before CORPOREAL materialised. ENGAGED turned up well before the SIGNAL. I carried on at a reasonable pace, although AMERICANS was a biff as I’d forgotten ERIC, if indeed I ever knew him. LOI was TOURACO. 17:16. Thanks setter and Z.

    Edited at 2022-03-24 10:51 am (UTC)

  15. Fun to do and a relief to finish one correctly after two failures.
    i didn’t know about Eric. Leaving aside their current problems, finding out that Meerkats are ferocious killers somehow makes the adverts funnier.

    I vaguely remember being taught to dance the MADISON about 50 years ago.

    Thanks to z and the setter.

  16. Must be doing something right. That went in so smoooothly. Very much enjoyed Engaged Signal, Newt (FOI) and Isn’t.
  17. 82:06. Hard and slow but satisfying to complete. FOI ISN’T, LOI ABACI. I found another way to parse 5dn INSTANT (Demanding some coffee) taking coffee as the definition, given by “some” of insistent (demanding). I liked GOOD FRIDAY

    Oops. My spelling has tripped me up yet again

    Edited at 2022-03-24 11:53 am (UTC)

  18. 29.01. LOI isn’t which was a bit of a chore. I hate these four letter words though I’m no prude! 1dn was troublesome too. Gotthe corporeal bit but extra time needed for the first part. Good puzzle I thought. Thx setter and blogger.
  19. 38:55. Seemingly off the pace again but at least I finished with all complete and correct — and enjoyed everything en route as well. What more can a mortal hope for?
  20. After some hard thinking and what I thought was inspired solving, I was left with a possible ISNT or maybe PSST, and A-E-I-A-S which didn’t jump out at me unfortunately, and I’d not come across that ERIC before.
    Fortunately it all turned out in the end
  21. Gave up on 35 mins after staring at 22d for five minutes and, once again, like Jack I looked it up. Bah. Otherwise a good offering and a shame not to finish.

    I liked all the long clues which posed no probs and for once OMANI was Imaginatively clued. Denise, I’m a NHO for TOURACO, worked out from wp.

    Thanks z and setter.

  22. Gave up after 55 minutes with two sets of crossers uncompleted. Worked out NHO genet from wordplay but hesitated to insert it. With t-n-o should have seen tango but didn’t. Likewise, while I didn’t see that it was a hidden, visa should have been obvious. The definition of 24ac went straight past me. Bushwhack took a great deal of compiling to create a word unknown as a transitive verb. Failed to parse newt and epitaph.

    Thanks to the setter for a tricky puzzle and to Z for the explanations.

  23. Appallingly slow today — for a Snitch of 84 when I checked, I should have been nearer 34 minutes.

    Bad start in lunchtime office environment — delightful colleague distracting me with work questions — continued on train home, where at least three ignoramuses chatting irritatingly into their phones, spoiled the serenity required for decent concentration.

    Consequently never really got going — maybe it was just a wavelength thing — didn’t really have any complaints about the solutions though so probably a bit of both.

  24. 45 minutes, but could not see abaci. Biffed Americans but could not understand how to parse it. Have never heard of that definition of Eric.

    thanks z for the explanation

  25. Never got the NE — I thought the bird spelling was Turaco, but needing an extra letter to make “go round” I chose N, for Turncoa. You can see the problems that raises. I liked ISNT and TANGO. Thanks, Z
  26. I thought this was all pretty damn clever. Did wonder about INSTANT; didn’t get around to looking it up. FOI HINDUSTANI, POI EXTRACORPOREAL, LOI ON DRIVE (cricket, so of course). NHO of DRIFT WEED, so that took a while too.

    Thanks for the Russian vignette, Z.

  27. I had forgotten about him, Olivia! Do you think he represents “the good old days”?! 😉
  28. SoME ERK AT the Times loves birds
    O MAN, I so hate these nerds
    ISN’T it a DEBACLE
    That TOURACOs spoil our crosswords?
  29. 46 minutes, with a few brilliant clues and a few biffable but otherwise impossible ones (AMERICANS, for example; ERIC may be a lot of things but how is one to know that it is a fine?). For 8dn I started off with SKATE ON SOFT ICE, but as that obviously wasn’t working out I corrected it eventually. COD to ISNT, which strangely enough didn’t give me mch trouble, or to NEWT with its wonderful &lit clue.

Comments are closed.