Times Cryptic 28256

Having completed all but four answers in 20 minutes I thought I was going to achieve my target half-hour with time to spare, but 13ac/dn, 16ac and 12dn delayed me and I needed 34 minutes to fill the grid.

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 Associates bully fat people heading off (2-7)
COW (bully – vb), {p}ORKERS (fat people) [heading off]
6 Needle game’s inconclusive (5)
PIQUE{t} (game) [inconclusive]. A feeling of anger or resentment resulting from a slight or injury, esp. to one’s pride (SOED).
9 Flyer opposing pedestrian facility (7,8)
PELICAN (flyer), CROSSING (opposing). It’s a Pedestrian Light Controlled crossing so it really ought to be ‘Pelicon’, but ‘Pelican’ keeps it in line with other UK zoological crossings such as Zebra, Puffin and Panda.
10 Some calumnious old students (6)
Hidden in [some] {c}ALUMNI{ous}
11 Dredge watering hole briefly — deer returning (8)
SPRIN{g} (watering hole) [briefly], then ELK (deer) reversed. In cookery a dredger is a container with a perforated lid for sprinkling powder such as icing sugar or flour.
13 Artless image on smart card contains file (10)
SIM (smart card), PIC (image) contains LIST (file)
14 Female group by banks of Liffey showing craft (4)
WI (female group – Women’s Institute), L{iffe}Y [banks of… the river that flows through Dublin]
16 Spot area knight has captured (4)
DUB (knight) contains [has captured] A (area). I think a daub e.g. of paint, is more of a smear than a spot, but perhaps it’s close enough?
17 Police escorting the lady when drunk like some spirits (10)
MET (Metropolitan Police), then anagram [drunk] of THE LADY
19 Left at jail without old locker (8)
L (left), AT, CH{o}KEY (jail) [without old]. A somewhat old-fashioned word for a front-door key which survives in the expression ‘latchkey child/kid’ and in frequent revivals of plays by Noel Coward.
20 Seat on elephant who had hiccups (6)
Anagram [hiccups] of WHO HAD
23 They’re likely to be told to belt up? (4-4,7)
A rather good cryptic
24 Go round little lake circling hotel (5)
WEE (little) + L (lake) containing [circling] H (hotel – NATO). ‘Go’ not standing for ‘wee’ today!
25 Perked up, seeing red cuckoo (9)
Anagram [cuckoo] of SEEING RED
1 Collar gunmen’s oil supplier (5)
COP (collar – arrest), RA (gunmen – Royal Artillery). Dried coconut kernels.
2 Hair around mouth that could form a wet oscular mush (6,9)
Anagram of [could form] A WET OSCULAR MUSH. A great clue with a very appropriate arrangement of anagrist for the surface reading!
3 Money lodged in bank not long ago (8)
CENT (money) contained by [lodged in] RELY (bank)
4 Regularly recognise Times (4)
{r}E{c}O{g}N{i}S{e} [regularly]
5 It’s about keeping right hole for illumination (5,5)
IT’S reversed [about|] containing [keeping] R (right), then PLIGHT (hole – risky situation)
6 Part of flower, first planted in raised border (6)
1ST (first) contained by [planted in] LIP (border) reversed [raised]. Remembered from biology lessons.
7 Fleet see Heath maybe coming on board, thinking shrewdly (5-10)
QUICK (fleet), then TED (Heath maybe – former Prime Minister) contained by [coming on board] WITNESS (see). ‘Coming on board’ as a containment indicator is probably a nod to Heath’s expertise as a yachtsman.  He captained Britain’s winning team for the Admiral’s Cup in 1971. If only he’d stuck to sailing boats!
8 Vigilant editor follows each elegy in translation (5-4)
EA (each), anagram [in translation] of ELEGY, then ED (editor)
12 State emphatically split during a glut (10)
SEVER (split) contained by [during] A + SATE (glut). A word dredged from somehwere at the back of my mind.
13 Rider grasps this burden with Bob (9)
SADDLE (burden – vb), BOW (bob – bend). Never heard of this, but apparently it’s another name for for the more familiar ‘pommel’.
15 Ruddy beetroot’s top coming into view (8)
B{eetroot’s} [top], LOOMING (coming into view). Having a healthy complexion.
18 Tool chap’s placed in church with letter on plate? (6)
HIS (chap’s) contained  by [placed in] CE (church), then L (letter on plate to indicate a learner driver)
21 Watered and weeded around close to beds (5)
HOED (weeded) containing [around] {bed}S [close]
22 Carpenter’s former increases announced (4)
Sounds like [announced], “adds” [increases). It’s used for cutting and shaping wood.

56 comments on “Times Cryptic 28256”

  1. NHO SADDLEBOW; ODE marks it as ‘chiefly archaic’. I wondered about the L of CHISEL, having forgotten about the license plate. An MER at SIMPLISTIC; ‘simplistic’ is not the same as ‘simple’. I had to play with the alphabet a bit to get DAUB, but I liked it when I got it.
    1. Yes, different. An artless person you like is behaving simply. One you don’t like is being simplistic ..
  2. Similar experience except my hold up at the end was the STRIP LIGHT/SPRINKLE crossing, and I did not know that definition of sprinkle, so thanks for that. SADDLEBOW from wordplay. Fun puzzle – 8:44.
  3. NHO SADDLEBOW but not too hard. Held up for a moment at 6A where I put ROQUE (croquet with both ends missing). I’d never heard of it but it seemed a plausible word for a needle. But then I couldn’t fit any flower parts starting with R so time for a rethink.
  4. Ditto NHO saddlebow, also had forgotten that meaning of dredge until the answer appeared and reminded me. Didn’t know if asseverate was a word or that glut could be a verb: working hypothesis had spate for glut. My last few were on the right: sprinkle, pique, quick-wittedness and LOI wily.
    Liked back-seat drivers best. Thanks all.
    1. Ditto here on spate for glut. Rightly or wrongly I tend to associate sate with satisfy (with a connotation of ‘sufficiency’ where glut would mean considerably more).
      I liked the co-workers, but they might be bordering on a PC gaffe.
  5. 26 minutes. There have been a few variations on the BACK-SEAT DRIVERS theme over the years, but this was one of the best. Didn’t know SADDLEBOW, but funnily enough SPRINKLE was almost the first word that came to mind when I saw ‘Dredge’ at 11a. I looked up the various sorts of UK pedestrian crossing after “Belisha beacons” appeared elsewhere recently, so was able to get PELICAN CROSSING quickly, although it’s not a term used here.

    Favourite was the WALRUS MOUSTACHE, which ? would also qualify as a cryptic def and therefore as a semi-&lit.

  6. 34 minutes. Glad that there’s a maker of Mac apps called Houdah Software so the alternate spelling was more of a write-in than it otherwise would have been.

    I was slowed down in the same places as most other people, by the sound of it, with DAUB and SADDLEBOW last to go in, after getting hung up on “spate” instead of “sate” for ASSEVERATE and needing the Q from QUICK-WITTEDNESS to work out PIQUE. I also apparently think of an ADZE as more of an agricultural tool, not that I think of them very much either way…

  7. 9:50. NHO SADDLEBOW. The existence — and spelling — of the ADZE is something I have picked up from doing these puzzles. I don’t remember seeing this meaning of ‘dredge’ before though.
    1. ADZE, or ADZ, shows up often enough in the NYT, so it was no problem here.
        1. Adze in the UK, adz in the US; it’s derived from Old English adesa, says Collins.
    2. As something of an expert in the kitchen Keriothe I thought you’d probably know its culinary meaning.
      1. No, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it. I use a tea strainer for this purpose!
  8. HANDLEBAR then SADDLEBAG then finally when WHEEL. turned up and the whole clue was read, SADDLEBOW. NHO It though.
  9. …I’m the EASY RIDER. 26 minutes with LOI ASSEVERATE dredged up but not sprinkled. POI was SPRINKLE, that meaning unknown, constructed once I biffed the unparsed STRIP LIGHT. COD to BACK SEAT DRIVERS. Anagram indicator of the week, having hiccups. Very enjoyable apart the last three.Thank you Jack and setter.

    Edited at 2022-04-05 07:06 am (UTC)

  10. Started fine but became increasingly quagmired by a combination of NHO answers, unfamiliar clue devices, and possibly some out-of-zone-ness. I can’t even blame brain-fog as I’ve been off the pop for over two weeks.

    Main difficulties in the SW with unknowns (SADDLEBOW, ASSEVERATE) overlapping with opaque (to me, anyway) clues:
    CHOKEY for “jail” – I think that got a mention in Ian Dury’s “Reasons to be Cheerful”, can’t remember hearing it elsewhere. Had the answer but never got close to the decode
    “Knight” = DUB – this remains unclear to me

    Thanks J and setter

    1. Dub/knight are verbs here: Dub: Confer knighthood on by ceremonially touching on the shoulder with a sword; make (a person) a knight. LOE.

      C. Kingsley Thou wast dubbed knight in this church. O. Neubecker It was the custom to dub new knights before the beginning of the fighting.


  11. I had the same problem as harmonic_row, putting in ‘adse’ rather than ADZE. Frustrating to be foiled by that having figured out everything else, even if SPRINKLE (i.e. that meaning of dredge), HOWDAH, COPRA, PISTIL and SADDLEBOW were all unknowns constructed from wordplay.
  12. Liked this one, not hard but some very slick clues and surfaces I thought. 3dn for example.
    Strange, that dredge means both to add stuff, and also to remove it..
  13. 23 mins so definitely a PB for me. It has to be said that I whacked in the last four or five clues on a wing and a prayer, trusting to the wordplay rather than knowledge of the word. SADDLEBOW, HOWDAH, ASSEVERATE and that meaning of SPRINKLE all unknown.

    LOI BLOOMING where I was looking to put the B in the middle of another word for view.

    I liked all four long clues.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  14. I quite enjoyed this.
    NHO SPRINKLE = ‘dredge, nor of SADDLEBOW but the only difficulty I had was with CHISEL.
    In 12d I was working on glut = ‘spate’ for a while.
    As well as winning the Admiral’s Cup, Jack, Ted Heath plus crew on Morning Cloud won the Sydney to Hobart in 1969.
    1. Good to see someone else remembers about the 1969 Sydney to Hobart win. He was quite the Renaissance Man wasn’t he – prime minister, successful yachtsman, classical musician. And a grocer to boot.
  15. Similar word issues to others, though I did know HOWDAH having been in one in Sri Lanka more than thirty years ago.

    SPRINKLE constructed from three checkers but being a dunce in the cookery department, didn’t know that meaning.

    DAUB had me scratching through my memory until I alighted on ‘I dub thee…’ as a phrase which might confer knighthoodedness on one, which fit both checkers.

    SADDLEBOW and PISTIL both unknown and constructed from cryptic. The former might have been much more difficult had the checkers been _A_D_E_O_

  16. !4.40, so pretty much a gentle stroll. though getting stickier the further down the grid I got.
    For me, ADZE (though most often without the E) is a useful scorer in word games, though I think I know what one looks like.
    My first hit on 13d, possibly influenced by the next-door WALRUS, was HANDLEBAR, fitting the definition but nothing else. The eventual product at least looked probable as a piece of horsey kit.
    I didn’t parse my last in QUICK WITTEDNESS (what else?), so thanks, Jack, for doing it for me.
  17. I had much the same problems as Jack, going smoothly at the start and then becoming bogged down on the same intractable clues and eventually taking 31 minutes. Had never heard of dredge = sprinkle and entered it simply because it was the only word that would fit I think. It looked as if the setter was trying for a pangram and achieved the high-scoring Scrabble letters, but failed on the almost high ones like J.
  18. 20 minutes with no hold ups for this, like others SADDLEBOW from wordplay only. Knew about dredging a cake with icing sugar = sprinkling. Staying in bed today with what feels like covid but tests say isn’t, just a bronchial cold, but the little grey cells are still there.
  19. I knew all the vocabulary except Copra (which I have heard of, but didn’t know what it was, let alone whether it produced oil) and Asseverate, which again, I must have heard somewhere, as I worked it out fairly confidently. My LOI held me up for an age, until I realised that I had misremembered PISTIL as PISTAL, which worked equally well when lap/border are used as verbs. Then SPRINKLE fell into place immediately. This makes a run of around 12 with no errors, which is quite pleasing, and a definite improvement on a couple of years ago, when I often had to resort to aids. Thanks to Jack and setter.
  20. 11:36. NHO SADDLEBOW and luckily the W arrived before the B saving me from a shrug and SADDLEBAG. Nice to have an exhilarating romp straight through after a run of more arduous plods.
  21. Another one of those which was easy till it wasn’t. Unfortunately all the not so easy ones were in the SE, especially the NHO SADDLEBOW and ASSEVERATE. My glut for the last was SPATE rather than SATE which made it harder.
    In my experience it is the FRONT SEAT DRIVERS that cause all the problems.
  22. ….’handlebar’ at 12D, this one presented no difficulty, although I biffed QUICK-WITTEDNESS.

    TIME 6:51

  23. I think I knew this from some old poem or other I had to learn once upon a time. Young Lochinvar probably hoisted the fair Ellen onto his when he abducted her from the wedding. Entertaining puzzle. 12.53
    1. So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
      So light to the saddle before her he sprung;
      But no saddlebow.
      1. A bit like yesterday’s poniard then – I have only the vaguest idea where I got it from and then it turns out I made it up.
  24. 15.43. Started off in spritely fashion and thought I was on for a sub ten for a while. Unfortunately, got stuck in the SW with the unknown but well clued saddlebow, asseverate and LOI daub. In the latter case too much time spent trying to work out how I could get an N in.

    Nice puzzle, thanks setter and blogger.

  25. The same clues that held Jackkt up held me up. I filled all but those in 12 minutes, but I needed another six to get those four. Like a solver above, I also toyed with SPATE for ‘glut’.
  26. I clocked in 4 minutes ahead of the Australian Magoo, so have enjoyed my day immensely, thank you.
  27. 7:52 – of which at least the last minute was spent trying to get ASSEVERATE up from the depths of my mind.

    A quick biff of QUICK-MINDEDNESS threw me off track for a bit, but that was quickly put right when 17a could be nothing other than what it was.

    NHO Saddlebow, so relieved that was right, similarly (and as per others) dredge/sprinkle

    Looking forward to the new TfTT when it comes along, and also – who knows – there may even be a championship this year?!?!?!?

  28. Nice and simple, if not necessarily SIMPLISTIC 🙂

    Never heard of the SADDLEBOW, but not hard to work out when one letter was left to fill in. And I spent enough time with Mary Berry (vicariously) during lockdown not to be puzzled for too long by that meaning of “dredge”.

  29. EONS and ALUMNI were first 2 in and I was making rapid progress until I received a phone call from the PANORAMIC anti viral trial people, and forgot to pause the puzzle. I tested positive for covid yesterday, although symptoms are very mild as yet. Returning to the puzzle after 12:37 according to my recent call list, I carried on and finished with SPRINKLE, where I didn’t know the dredge meaning. SADDLEBOW was also constructed from wordplay. I submitted at 23:51, so a tad over 11 minutes actual solving time. Thanks setter and Jack.
    PS. Covid brain has obviously set in already. 12:37 was the time I received the call and it actually lasted 5 minutes, so the recalculated solving time is 18:51.

    Edited at 2022-04-05 04:31 pm (UTC)

  30. A very quick (for me) solve over lunch, spurred by the need to get the 2.35PM train.
    LOI ASSEVERATE which took a long look. Before that DAUB and the NHO SADDLEBOW.
    Some of this seemed quite easy but it was all fun.
  31. Exactly the same pattern as Jack. FOI co-workers and went happily on from there until I reached the SE corner. Only saw how ‘latchkey’ worked when I finally gave in and wrote it in. NHO saddlebow. First thought of ‘burpah’ for ‘who had hiccups’. Presumably a cross between howdah and burpee, though what a form of vigorous exercise might have to do with the seat on an elephant escapes me.
    It’s funny the differences in words we know. ‘Asseverate’ is one of my favourite, if rarely used, words. It has a splendid ring to it.
    Thanks to Jack and to the setter.
  32. About half an hour. FOI pelican crossing, eight on first pass. Seven unparsed. NHO asseverate or saddlebow. Tried saddlebag but it left no possibilities for a word where wheel should fit. I biffed quick-mindedness which was only corrected once I got the meths. Lots to like here. I liked sprinkle best. Haven’t seen a dredger since school – we had flour dredgers for sprinkling flour over cakes to give them a “finish.” Not something I do now. If I made a cake other than at Christmas it would be a red-letter day.
    Thanks, Jack, and setter.
  33. 6m 28s with quite a bit of tricky vocab — dredge to mean SPRINKLE was something of a surprise, as was PISTIL. The likes of ADZE & COPRA came from crossword knowledge only.

    Funny that the cryptic for 13d could also have worked with CROSSBOW, which fortunately didn’t fit.

  34. Didn’t know what was up with “Dredge,” though the answer was clear. NHO SADDLEBOW either. Have I ever seen “chokey”? (So many argot terms for incarceration!) Didn’t entirely parse CO-WORKERS—and “porkers” is downright nasty! But this one was not hard. I confidently set it aside last night, after getting (the excellent) BACK-SEAT DRIVER and one or two others, knowing I could finish it over coffee this morning…

    Edited at 2022-04-05 03:48 pm (UTC)

  35. 11:28 finishing with SPRINKLE. Another who DNK SADDLEBOW but it couldn’t be anything else. I liked BACK-SEAT DRIVER best… my wife is possibly the worst imaginable and I regularly have to tell her to just stop it.
  36. Quite a lot biffed so I was happy to see all good. LOI 6d Pistil for no other reason than that I didn’t focus on that till the end. NHO Saddlebow, Asseverate or Sprinkle, in that sense. COD 16a Daub.
  37. No great difficulties. Same observation as others’ re.sprinkle = dredge. Is it a coincidence that blooming = ruddy both literally, and as a mild swearword? I suppose blooming is a way of not saying bloody. And so perhaps is ruddy, but as a rhyme. In which case, it is a total coincidence that they mean the same thing. Unless ruddy developed as a mild swearword because it was a way of not saying blooming! But that can’t be right!

Comments are closed.