Times Cryptic 28208

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 37 minutes. I found this straightforward.

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Possibly drove around address I shunned (6)
CA (around – circa), T{i}TLE (form of address) [I shunned]. Drove – a number of cattle, horses, sheep, or goats being driven in a body or moving together; a herd, a flock (SOED)
4 Game — variety of grouse? Lovely (8)
GO (game), then anagram [variety] of GROUSE
9 Father apprehended, but criminal initially escaping, tense (7)
FR (father), {c}AUGHT (apprehended) [c{riminal} initially escaping]
11 Set to secure arrest? That’s credible (7)
TELE (television set) containing [to secure] NAB (arrest). More usually ‘telly’.
12 Put out and cross, blocking recording by the Spanish (5)
X (cross) contained by [blocking] EP (recording – extended play), EL (the in Spanish)
13 Writer’s material recalled stuff for one reflecting critical situation (5-4)
INK (writer’s material) reversed [recalled], FEED (stuff), then EG (for one – example) reversed [reflecting]
14 Her figure can be so   wrong? (4-6)
Two meanings. ‘He’ can be pear-shaped too!
16 Consequence of cold snap seeing setback for this leader of warm place? (4)
RIME (consequence of cold snap – frost) reversed [setback]
19 Carry fifth child? (4)
TOT E (fifth child). ‘Tot A’ being the first, etc.
20 Teaching op, with surgery, describing disease (10)
Anagram [with surgery] of TEACHING OP
22 Web image needing time to understand for the present? (4,5)
GIF (web image – Graphic Interchange Format), T (time ), TO, KEN (understand)
23 Hate having reactive metal when short of sulphur (5)
{s}ODIUM (reactive metal) [short of sulphur – s]
25 Anger included feeling when deprived of leader (7)
INC (included), {s}ENSE (feeling) [deprived of leader]
26 Building‘s effect initially provided in cubes (7)
E{ffect} [initially], then IF (provided) contained by [in] DICE (cubes)
27 Monarch in backing of business district displays savage attitude (8)
ER (monarch) contained by [in] OF reversed [backing], CITY (business district). The business centre of London is referred to as ‘the City’ although a lot of it is further to the east now.
28 Bad leader not overthrown in middle of battle (6)
NARY (not – slang) reversed [overthrown] contained by [in] {ba}TT{le} [middle]
1 Source of drink inappropriate in church? Drink’s overturned (9)
OFF (inappropriate – a bit off) contained by [in] CE (church), then TOPE (drink) reversed [overturned], This looks wrong to me as one word but Collins allows it as an alternative.
2 Pitfall about motorway for a long walk (5)
TRAP (pitfall) containing [about] M (motorway)
3 Language in case where stormy weather penetrates shelter (8)
GALES (stormy weather) is contained by [penetrates] LEE (shelter)
5 Each seduction punished? It’s not very likely (7,6)
Anagram [punished] of EACH SEDUCTION
6 Big eater to understand about an opening for nutrition (6)
GET (understand) containing [about] AN + N{utrition} [opening]. Traditionally gannets are greedy birds.
7 Government official, male, with friends in Arab state (9)
M (male) + BUDS (friends) contained by [in] OMAN (Arab state). This word derived from Swedish entered common paralnce in the UK in 1967. It’s an official appointed to investigate complaints by individuals against maladministration by public authorities; esp. a British official of this kind (officially called the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration). (SOED)
8 Material challenged in court — end of case (5)
SUED (challenged in court), {cas}E [end]
10 Withdraw surprise answer in group (4,1,4,4)
TAKE ABACK (surprise), then A (answer) contained by [in] SET (group)
15 Mechanic, if boarding lorry, starts to examine radiator (9)
IF contained by [boarding] ARTIC (lorry), then E{xamine} + R{adiator} [starts]
17 Curious disposition around City is on the level? (9)
RUM (curious) + BENT (disposition) containing [around ] EC (City – of London , see 27ac)
18 Shame when mining rocks, bagging nothing before closure of quarry (8)
Anagram [rocks] of MINING, containing [bagging] 0 (nothing), then {quarr}Y [closure of…]
21 Moral imperative to include name of racial group (6)
ETHIC (moral imperative) containing [to include] N (name)
22 Government’s foremost official suppressing one lot of trouble (5)
G {overnment’s} [foremost], REF (official) containing [suppressing] I (one)
24 Island area accommodating casual business — holiday spot? (5)
I (island) + A (area) containing [accommodating] BIZ (casual business)

59 comments on “Times Cryptic 28208”

  1. Slowed down by the 1s, POI 1d, LOI 1ac. Also didn’t expect TELE. Fortunately, we just had a TOTE-like clue (fourth something), so I wasn’t puzzled here. I lost some time taking ‘bad leader’=B. It occurred to me to wonder about the equivalence of mechanic=artificer, so I finally just now looked up ‘artificer’, to discover that I didn’t know the current (military) meaning, only the archaic (e.g. Daedalus) one.
  2. 36 minutes, with the last five or six being spent on PEAR-SHAPED.

    I have spent almost as long trying to think of a reason why I was unable to see it after multiple alphabet trawls, but have so far failed in the attempt. Any help in identifying extenuating circumstances (especially poor clueing) would be most appreciated.

    1. Nothing to do with the clueing. I’m sure it’s because your antennae for even the slightest hint of sexism are so finely tuned that it was unimaginable for you to consider a term that could possibly be construed as being derogatory to women.

      That must be it.

    2. I spent a similar proportion of my time on PEAR SHAPED so I presume there is something about the word form that makes it harder to spot. I have no idea what though!
  3. Mostly straightforward but the last few were like pulling teeth: the crossing EMIR and RECUMBENT; IGNOMINY where I completely failed to see the anagram and was trying charades; LOI CATTLE where I didn’t know drove as a noun, so did an alphabet trawl then finally saw the wordplay.
    Some really nice clues today: TAKE A BACK SEAT, TYRANT, FRAUGHT, RECUMBENT IGNOMINY, GRIEF, FEROCITY. Much enjoyed.
  4. 33 minutes. No major hold-ups though I didn’t know ‘drove’ could be a collective noun. I was on the point of doing an A-Z run-through at the end for my LOI SUEDE until inspiration struck. Yesterday’s LINE D was today’s TOT E – there’s something going on here (and elsewhere).

    Enjoyed the surface for PEAR-SHAPED.

    Thanks to Jack and setter

  5. Great blog as usual but the wrong puzzle number is making it hard to find.

    Dave Watts

  6. Yes, my daughter, who is pretty woke (not to mention, her university friends – who are woker yet), often reflects on how much her own ethos may be traceable to my influence.
      1. Not since she was thirteen, Olivia!

        There again, as a negative influence, she would probably have a few stories to tell 🙂

  7. This seemed like it was going to hard when none of the answers came in the top half. Then it turned out to be easy (except I typed GIFT TOKEM so had a pink square). Also, delayed by putting LADE for TOTE before finding it didn’t work and re-thinking.
  8. Got up unreasonably early – even for me – and made almost zero progress on the first pass of the across clues, beginning to think this was a real toughie. However OUTSIDE CHANCE gave me some crossers to work with, and I managed to develop some reasonable momentum, which carried me through all the way. Nothing particularly problematic – though I spent a good while thinking 14a must be —-|SKATER. ARTIFICER was an unknown but there was no ambiguity in the clueing. Like J, I wouldn’t normally expect COFFEEPOT as one word.

    Finished off with RECUMBENT and LOI EMIR (only half-knowing “rime”) and submitted with high confidence of a success outcome. Current SNITCH of 86 feels low to me – possibly because of the early start and the sleep-deprived brain slowly grinding into action. Thanks J and setter

  9. Thanks, Jack, for CATTLE. I didn’t know DROVE could be noun.
    RECUMBENT v RECLINING was once discussed by a lecturer in a series on art I attended. Modigliani, for example, painted both a RECUMBENT and a reclining nude.
  10. 30 mins on the nose pre-brekker.
    LOI Pear-shaped. Mostly I liked the idea of curious disposition being Rumbent. I know a few rumbent people.
    Thanks setter and J.
  11. I nearly went PEAR-SHAPED at 14ac but knew the 1ac CATTLE/drove, being a country bumpkin!

    FOI 5dn OUTSIDE CHANCE of finishing

    LOI. 16ac EMIR — emirate?

    COD 4ac hey GORGEOUS!

    WOD 23ac ODIUM — Leicester Square?

    A very decent puzzle, whoever you are!? I do so wish we could have credits. Where else these days does the creator remain quietly anonymous — poison pen letters? Bah!

  12. Liked TAKE A BACK SEAT. This is our setter with the penchant for initially (x2),deprived of leader, opening, end, starts to, closure of and foremost. Obviously he is playing with me with ‘bad leader’ and ‘leader of warm place’
  13. 21 minutes with LOI SUEDE. I biffed TYRANT, ‘nary’ not springing to mind. It’s probably wiser to make no comment on PEAR-SHAPED, and not make it COD. I’ll give that to GIFT TOKEN. WOD to IGNOMINY. I took a while to get going on this but then clues just fell into place neatly. I only know TRAMP as a long walk from a NZ friend. It’s a nice morning, so I’m off on one now. A good puzzle.Thank you Jack and setter.
  14. I was pleased to find no ambiguity in today’s puzzle, though I was still wary when submitting. I think it was a case of “one bitten twice shy”. My only slight struggle today was finishing with PEAR SHAPED. Having felt well on the wavelength for the rest I was starting to feel frustrated at not being able to spot the answer with all the checkers. Eventually I equated figure with shape and was able to biff my way to the finish.
  15. Cor 42 mins with the last three in PEAR-SHAPED, COFFEEPOT and TOTE taking a while to see, but a very enjoyable challenge.

    Ditto Sawbill’s comment above. I feel I need to borrow Horryd’s IKEA card as mine’s run out. So much sticking in, taking out, lose the first letter, add the last then turn it all round then screw it back together again. I’m exhausted.

    Some great clues that have been mentioned. Thanks J and setter.

  16. I too have tried to eradicate sexism from my thoughts and actions, as above, so PEAR-SHAPED LOI.

    It seems that OMAN is a popular part of an answer, does that help us identifying the setter?

    TOTE really was a write-in…..

    Thanks jack and setter

  17. Didn’t know the frost meaning of rime, so EMIR eventually went in with no great confidence, or that ‘tele’ is another way of spelling ‘telly’, which held up TENABLE for a while. It took me a long time to see COFFEEPOT, and only once I had that did I get CATTLE. But no real problems otherwise.

    FOI Expel
    LOI Emir
    COD Take a back seat

  18. 15:51 finishing in the NW corner with TOTE after COFFEEPOT. I liked TAKE A BACK SEAT, which took me a while to parse and OUTSIDE CHANCE for the surface. Thanks jackkt and setter.
  19. The clock says 21.26, but that includes a longish interruption. So no idea, really.
    My first shot at 10d was TAKE A STEP BACK, which seemed to more likely biff, but succumbed to incompatible crossers. I didn’t parse the real answer either, which turns out to be a shame.
    As one who has become increasing PEAR SHAPED though male, I did wonder a bit about the gender specifics, and initially tried an anagram of HER FIGURE (plus a letter from somewhere else).
    By my reckoning, we’re due the sixth something tomorrow, perhaps cheese would provide the short answer.
  20. Marilyn Monroe thought there was nothing wrong with PEAR-SHAPED. I found this quite tricky with some far from obvious stuff, especially the NW corner. GIFT TOKEN was very neat although I got stuck on “book token” (my favourite present of all when I was a kid) for a while. good puzzle. 21.29
      1. I was going to reply in another place Jerry but it seems to be down at the moment. I was thinking of MM’s line in the song Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend (“square-cut or pear-shaped these rocks don’t lose their shape”) rather than anatomical shape….
  21. Glad to find I wasn’t the only person who finished their solve by staring for some minutes at P_A_/S_A_E_ and was simply unable to see the answer, until I did. Obviously I would agree there is something about the shape, as it were, that makes it hard to see, for some of us at any rate. All good in the end.
  22. My solving radar was somewhat skewiff this morning having gotten off to a decent start last night before bed.

    Was left with SE corner plus three others scattered about the grid.

    Did ‘drove’ mean CATTLE even with all of the checkers?
    What could the ‘racial group’ clue mean, even with all of the checkers?
    With SHAPED being the likely second word, what four-letter word could precede it, again with all of the checkers?

    Scraped my way through these three, leaving 16a, 28a and 17d. It took spotting TYRANT to unlock the other two.

  23. Hour Glass came immediately to mind when I read ‘her figure’, so it was a short step to Pear-Shaped. Fortunately I had all the vocab and GK today so the rest was quick work.
  24. 4-5 mins on LOI PEAR-SHAPED. I couldn’t parse it and took a while to work it out even after reading the blog.

    I thought our esteemed blogger and TftTers were telling me that it is “wrong” to describe a woman’s figure as “pear-shaped”. Which it might well be nowadays (?) but it seemed a weak clue to me if that was the explanation.

    Finally I had the penny drop (pear drop) moment. After some googling I have discovered that one explanation of the phrase “all gone pear-shaped” is from glass blowing.

    In glassblowing, a perfectly spherical vessel can be ruined if the glass is overheated. This makes the shape of the blown glass change as it cools, leaving a pear-shaped container.


    1. I wasn’t suggesting it was wrong, only that it’s not exclusive to any particular gender so perhaps it’s not best form for the clue to assign the quality to one rather than the other.
      1. Yes, I understand that jackkt. My problem was that I didn’t initially grasp that “wrong” was one of two alternative meanings for “pear-shaped”. Your blog was perfectly clear. I was just a bit dim.
    2. According to the OED ‘pear-shaped’ was originally RAF slang, so I’d be surprised if it made the leap to there from glass-blowing. Wiki suggests it was a euphemism for ‘tits-up’. I’m not sure I believe that explanation either but it’s tempting to!
  25. Pear shaped was my LOI and I just couldn’t see it, so I asked my wife who spotted it immediately.
  26. 20:14 with no quibbles — although on reading the blog I see I misparsed TYRANT, briefly wondering on the way to the obvious answer whether the TT races could accurately be described as a battle. The can’t and apparently they weren’t.
  27. 27 minutes, so 50% longer than yesterday’s time, though it didn’t feel 50% harder. Wordplay to KNIFE-EDGE took a bit of figuring out. I couldn’t work out the rationale to PEAR-SHAPED, though it’s actually fairly straightforward.
  28. Took a minute or 2 before FOI TRAMP, but the NW then populated nicely, and the SW filled up kicked off by TOTE(getting the hang of these now!). TAKE A BACK SEAT allowed KNIFE EGDE to get the NE on its way and I was soon left pondering over LOI EMIR. PEAR SHAPED occurred to me fairly quickly as I had most of the crossers. I saw the failure definition immediately but took longer to recognise “her figure can be so.” Enjoyed this one. 21:24. Thanks setter and Jack.
  29. All fairly simple today, with lots of biffing and semi-biffing opportunities. Like others, I finished on PEAR-SHAPED as by far the trickiest one to enter – all done in 5m 32s, and would have been sub 5 mins without that one.
  30. 16.49. A definite game of two halves. Struggled initially with the LH side but RH went in pretty quickly . Eventually got stuck in the top LH corner till coffeepot saved me. Didn’t parse cattle but stuck it in anyway and I still don’t get pear shaped. Liked ferocity but COD to fraught.
    Thx setter and blogger..
  31. All straightforward. I think Tote is the third time we’ve had that style of clue in recent days. LOI pear-shaped
  32. I’m with you there, Olivia, with the book token. I also got stuck on 10d, but not as above but because I was convinced that the group was TAKE THAT. It took a long time and the accumulation of helping letters before I guessed the answer, albeit that I never parsed it at all.
  33. 29.45. I had trouble getting to grips with this one generally. I was thrown by coffeepot at the end where for some reason having worked out that I had to start by putting OFF in C and E, I thought that had given me coffee and did not spot that it had only given me coffe. Getting tope eventually sorted that out and then allowed me to see LOI by some margin, pear-shaped.
  34. Finished this over lunch and coffee with a few biffs. Came here to see if I succeeded.
    LOI was RECUMBENT. Incumbent never seemed right but there could have been a 10th definition in Chambers. Prior to that the difficult RIME/EMIR.
    COFFEEPOT ate in; I had a BEAN in mind.
    And I too stared long and hard at 14a -the second word was definitely SKATER (winter Olympics etc.); until I saw the light.
    All good in the end. An enjoyable puzzle I thought.
  35. About 20 minutes for this one, nice puzzle. LOI was PEAR-SHAPED which Mrs K saw straight away when I read out the checkers. Apparently she is pear-shaped, and not avocado-shaped as I had thought. I was fixated on -SKATER for a while, thinking figure skating.
    1. Well you were right of course in that an avocado is of course an alligator pear. On reflection perhaps best not to mention this.
    They won’t EXPEL the birds that we get,
    INCENSE, past belief,
  37. Easily a PB for me. I have been learning to do these over the last few years and am beginning to get to the point where I don’t look at a puzzle and think “it’s never going to happen”.

    Thanks to all the bloggers for the help because there is no way that I would be able to do this without learning from the pros.

  38. 43 minutes, so a bit slow-going, but everything eventually fell into place. PEAR-SHAPED was my LOI of course, the only thing that would fit the crossers and I did vaguely remember that there was something pejorative about it.

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