Times Cryptic 28712


Solving time: 30 minutes

An enjoyable solve. I was delayed a little as I was tempted to biff 21ac and move on but stopped myself just in time. There was also one answer at 17dn that was completely unknown to me and looked unlikely when constructed from wordplay but turned out to be correct.

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 Take road to miraculous place? It may be a hoax (6)
CANA (miraculous place – where water was turned to wine), RD (road)
5 Dimmest female faces an ordeal outside home (8)
F (female), then A + TEST (deal) contains [outside] IN (home)
9 Dominates a group? Eric, our teacher, does this (5,5)
Cryptic hidden. {Eri}C OUR T{eacher} HOLDS COURT
10 Girl showing passion, taking time to come to the fore (4)
HEAT becomes THEA when T (time) comes ‘to the fore’
11 Father’s quiet, mother’s initially ignored (8)
P (quiet), {m}ATERNAL (mother’s) [initially ignored]
12 Engineers admitting notice must be constructed afresh (6)
REME (engineers) containing [admitting] AD (notice)
13 Divine male ‘urries along (4)
{h}ARES (‘urries along). The Greek God of War.
15 The crafted publicity surrounding a performer (8)
THE, SPIN (crafted publicity) containing [surrounding] A
18 No payment for medical assistance, making one relaxed (8)
CARE (medical assistance), FREE (no payment)
19 Pleasing sort of accent for which there is no answer (4)
{a}CUTE (sort of accent) [no answer]
21 Bird in sack losing tail? That’s horrible! (6)
CHO{p} (sack – make redundant) [losing tail], UGH (that’s horrible!). I wonder how many people joined me in thinking THRUSH and then puzzling over the parsing. Fortunately I knew this bird although it has come up only twice before in the TfTT era.
23 Sketch about an established body showing hostile gestures (3,5)
DRAW (sketch) reversed [about], AN, CE (established – official – body).  The Church of England is our ‘established church’.
25 Vehicle occupied by male down-and-outs (4)
BUS (vehicle) containing [occupied by] M (male)
26 Friars: set involved with miracle (10)
Anagram [involved] of SET MIRACLES. Aka The White Friars.
27 Margaret’s collecting last of the money for organised events (8)
MEG’S (Margaret’s) containing [collecting] {th}E [last] + TIN (money)
28 Drinks got by criminals with little hesitation to imbibe (6)
LAGS (criminals) contain [to imbibe] ER (little hesitation). Can we  have a break from ‘lags’ as criminals, prisoners etc please, Mr Editor? I think this is the third or fourth time I have had to blog it in recent weeks either in a clue or as part of an answer.
2 Distinctive character of a European capital locally (5)
A, ROMA (European capital as spelt locally)
3 One sent a message: ”Groom must wear a flower” (9)
DRESS (groom) contained by [must wear] A + DEE (flower – river)
4 Respectable ancestry, with exception of son (6)
DE{s}CENT  (ancestry) [with exception of son – s]
5 Must they seem rude? (4-6,5)
The clue gives us four examples of these plus an overall cryptic hint. The answer turned up in the singular in the ST puzzle blogged last Sunday, but this clue is much more elegant in my view.
6 Put down number turning up for information exchange (8)
INTER (put down – bury], then TEN (number) reversed [turning up]
7 It’s something symbolic to loving couple when one leaves (5)
TO, {i}TEM  (loving couple) [one leaves]
8 Firm dates arranged — days of abstinence? (9)
Anagram [arranged] of DATES, then FAST (days of abstinence)
14 Reportedly travelled half an hour to take advantage of wayside inn (9)
ROAD sounds like “rode” (travelled), HO{ur} [half], USE (take advantage of)
16 Covering a problem for rugby team in need of fresh talent? (9)
PACK AGING satisfies the cryptic hint. In rugby football ‘the pack’ consists of the forwards of a team.
17 Men introducing the short picture that was a feature of TV (8)
OR (men – Ordinary Ranks), TH{e} [short], ICON (picture). NHO this but it was a type of vacuum tube used in TV transmission; part of the camera rather than the receiver from what I can gather. This is its first appearance in the TfTT era other than in one Club Monthly puzzle.
20 Author gets nothing right? Gosh! (6)
O (nothing), R (right), WELL (gosh!)
22 Disturbance created by elevated clique (5)
UP (elevated), SET (clique)
24 Article penned by office worker, not entirely lucid (5)
A (indefinite article) contained [penned] by CLER{k} (office worker) [not entirely]

67 comments on “Times Cryptic 28712”

  1. A step up from yesterday in difficulty, I thought, but I worked thru it steadily enough, ending on the utterly unknown ORTHICON—quite a surprise!—and the just maybe barely known CHOUGH.

  2. Way off the wavelength, stuck and had to go for a break to reset. NHO orthicon; had heard of chough, fortunately – thrush was the obvious biff, but didn’t parse. Eric confused me for too long – was he Morecambe or Wise, or Red, or an Irish punishment?Also slow on my COD, four-letter words.
    LOI war dance, not expecting CE for established body.

  3. Like others, never heard of CHOUGH or ORTHICON (and, to make things worse, they crossed). But I trusted the wordplay, which turned out to lead to implausible, but correct, answers. The fact that all the words in the clue for FOUR-LETTER WORDS had four letters passed me by, and I just put it in from the enumeration, a few crossers, and “rude” in the clue.

  4. Rodney: It’s Canard.
    Del: You can say that again bruv!
    (Only Fools and Horses, a feature of TV)

    25 mins pre-brekker left me with the unknown TV feature. And the word ‘introducing’ tricked me into thinking the men were outside something, not at the front. So took a couple of mins to construct.
    Ta setter and J.

  5. Long one for me, about 55′, though at least I finished it. LOI ORTHICON, biffed from all crossers and wordplay (and later checked to the dictionary!). Looked at thrush for a long time but CHOUGH came from somewhere as did THEA. To be honest I thought it was a little bit unbalanced (maybe just me), with the likes of PATERNAL and THESPIAN requiring little wordplay in my mind (THE just repeated in the answer). However thanks Jackkt and setter.

  6. No time for this, bur it took ages. Even the ones that should have been easy took time. I didn’t care for BUMS as the definiendum of ‘down-and-outs’: ‘bums’ is a clearly derogatory term, definitely inappropriate when applied to many a down-and-outer. NHO ORTHICON, of course. Like others, I thought of THRUSH before CHOUGH; I didn’t know ‘chop’, but it seemed likely. I spent far too much time trying to make an anagram of (firm dates). I thought HOLDS COURT was a lovely hidden; like isla I was tricked by Eric. Liked FOUR-LETTER WORDS, although like Paul I didn’t see the wordplay until after solving.

      1. It’s a common-usage Americanism? It’s in Merriam-Webster. So given the global reach of The Times and the domicile of a few commenters on here, it’s probably acceptable. I agree it’s bordering on offensive to British sensibilities though.

    1. I wouldn’t agree about BUMs. I have been known to bum around, from time to time. And Collins does not mark it as derogatory, in this usage, merely “Informal.” Nor does the OED.

  7. 8:32. Steady one. I paused at the end just to be sure I couldn’t think of anything better than the unlikely-looking ORTHICON and then just crossed my fingers.

  8. I’ve grumbled, I’ve huffed, and I’ve puffed
    The setters think I can get stuffed
    When I see all these birds
    And today I’m distinctly not CHOUGHed

  9. Got detained elsewhere so no accurate time to offer but probably just under the half hour by the time the thrush had cleared up and the TV had something I’d never heard of and have already forgotten. COD to HOLDS COURT. Thank you Jack and setter.

  10. 21:22. Like the well known homophone Myrtilus referenced I found this ‘kin ‘ard! That clue was one which held me up, as although I knew CANARD meant something in English I wasn’t sure what, and knowing it was French for duck didn’t help. ORTHICON was predictably another one that held me up.

    I thought the clue for FOUR LETTER WORDS was top drawer in its simplicity.

  11. 19′, with CHOUGH pretty early on, ‘ugh’ being the giveaway. Choughs have red legs.
    Another nho ORTHICON, but wordplay clear. THEA LOI.

    Thanks jack and setter.

  12. 20 minutes, held up by the NW corner. Steadfast and Thea took time to arrive.
    No problem with choughs, they are mountain birds, very common in the Pyrenees and the Alps.
    I see that I blogged the Club Monthly Jackkt refers to, but sadly had no memory of orthicon. But it looked right.

  13. 39 minutes. Same experience with ORTHICON as almost everybody else; it sounded a bit more likely than ORTHECIN which I was also toying with. Like Pootle, I’m more familiar with the French meaning of CANARD than the English one. I liked HOLDS COURT but COD to FOUR-LETTER WORDS.

    1. Canard in French also has the same sense as in English. It is played on in the name of my favorite newspaper, Le Canard enchaîné. But in English the term doesn’t also have the sense of journal d’actualité de peu de valeur… as well as a few others that it has in French.

  14. I found that significantly easier than yesterdays, taking 24 minutes.
    I have to admit however to googling my LOI ORTHICON to make sure it was a real thing. (I came close to putting orthscan but couldn‘t see it as a real word, it would need to be orthoscan)
    Thanks setter and blogger

  15. Not my finest 40 odd minutes, and looking back I’m not sure why. After a long crossword-free weekend of excess I think my synapses were just not firing this morning.
    I laboured on relative gimmes such as MEETINGS and CUTE, but I just about managed to get the unknowns of CANARD, ORTHICON, CARMELITES, and ARES, thanks to a combo of helpful checkers and vaguely thinking that I’d heard of them.
    A nice mix overall and a bit chewier than yesterday.

  16. 15:38, another day with a massively disproportionate amount of time spent on my LOI, in this case the obscure ORTHICON.

  17. Much better than yesterday, when I must have been asleep. Still 18.21, a fair bit of late extra time spent on THEA because I kept trying to make sense of TLUS.
    Liked HOLDS COURT, because of the clever device.
    CHOUGH sent me to the Scottish Play, which also has shoughs (a hairy dog), and idle time was spent wondering about the pronunciation: as a bird, should it rhyme with crow?

            1. Chambers definitely concurs, but interestingly for the shough in the same (Scottish) play it gives shuf as the third option behind shog and shok, which seems eccentric.

  18. 42 minutes, extended a bit because I thought it was a full anagram at 8dn and semidraft seemed to be the only thing that fitted. Thought of Eros before Ares. Fortunately the CHOUGH was no problem because I didn’t even think of thrush. ORTHICON nho but it could be nothing else and I looked it up to confirm.

  19. DNF, defeated by ARES and CHOUGH, neither of which I’d heard of. Same experience with ORTHICON as many others, likewise with trying to make an anagram out of ‘firm dates’ before realising what was going on with STEADFAST.

    COD Meetings

  20. Plodded through steadily without really feeling tested. ‘Orthicon’ (new as to others) the last to fall. Thought the ‘paternal’ clue was a bit ABC picture-book. ‘Holds court’ had a touch of wit though.

  21. 49’20”
    Never challenged leaders, did well to get round.
    Big ditch at the third (canard), Beecher’s Brook (ares not eros), The Chair (chough) safely negotiated, nearly refused at Valentine’s second circuit (orthicon), finished – phew ! – (to name but a few.)
    Scary but very enjoyable, there were some clever traps and challenges here.
    Thanks Jack, and very well done to Myrtilus, Astro-nowt and setter.
    Let’s hope the County Cricket is less hair-raising.

  22. I think Ares is ‘arries, in the transitive sense of ‘urrying along. Makes better sense of the pronunciation (and perhaps of along?)

    1. I think ARES is meant to be a shortening of “hares”, leaving the h off the beginning. Like others, it took me a while to get past Eros.

  23. It’s a strange day when you know what a CHOUGH is but NHO ORTHICON. The last clue that defeated me.

    1. I call that a normal day. Sadly ARES and THEA proved even more difficult. STEADFAST was clever

  24. 22:57 but…

    THRUSH not CHOUGH – having just worked out the unlikely ORTHICON (which I did check), failed at the last with the seemingly deliberate bear trap laid by the wily setter. Not sure I would have parsed CHOUGH mind, if I’d thought of it first as I was looking at the clue in the wrong way. Ho hum – first error for a month, hoping I can stem the turning tide and keep it to just the one…

  25. DNF after I hour. ORTHICON, are you kidding me.

    Another ailed by THRUSH.

    Nah, not my type of crossie this.

    Thanks Jack for the explanations.

  26. Another ORTHSCAN, sounding as unlikely as any other. Managed to recover from an attack of the SEMIDRAFT once THEA was in place. Liked the aging pack.

    Thanks Jack and setter

  27. 30:58
    Enjoyably tricky. Got slightly obsessed by trying to parse INTERCOM for 6d. I liked FOUR LETTER WORDS, HOLDS COURT and PACKAGING. Less keen on ORTHICON.

    I remember, from childhood, whenever our black and white tv went on the blink, some pessimistic adult would shake their head and say mournfully “tube’s probably gone”.

    Thanks to Jack and the setter

  28. I knew CHOUGH. DNK Cana so CANARD was in hope.
    And like everyone else it seems, DNK ORTHICON. I spent some time working it out and came here. TESTCARD was my first thought before letters got in the way.
    A question for Astro_Nowt, does Canard count as a bird?

  29. 29 mins with a typo. Astronowt must be spitting feathers to have two birds in one clue. Yes, I was another THRUSH till I queried it at the end.

  30. 25:17. I struggled to get on the wavelength with this even though I knew CANARD and CHOUGH (but not ORTHICON, of course, had anybody here except Vinyl heard of it?). I liked HOLDS COURT and PACKAGING. Held up by having MARS for 13A until I rethought having spent ages looking at A_A_H_U_E , and then that strange obsolete television camera technology. At least I had the right checkers for that so worked it out from the wordplay like everyone else. Look out for other such technological marvels, e.g. EPIDIASCOPE appearing in other crossword soon! Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  31. Late to the fray today, and after zipping through the QC was brought down to Earth by this one. I roamed about the grid trying to get going, but only got isolated answers that I couldn’t build on. Eventualy things started to materialise. UGH gave me CHOUGH, which I knew from a Doc Martin episode. I was fairly confident that 17d started with ORTH, but needed MEETINGS and CARMELITES before the ICON emerged. Seemed plausible but I couldn’t have defined it. A posited WAR at 23a resulted in FOUR LETTER WORDS. Took a while to realise FIRM was the definition and not part of the anagrist at 8d. Remembering water into wine was the key to the NW. ARES was LOI. Liked HOLDS COURT. 36:36. Thanks setter and Jack.

  32. 45 minutes. Stuck on Semidraft for a while and almost entered Orthscan, but luckily avoided both traps.
    Good puzzle – except Road as a homophone for Rode (IMO).

  33. Held up for a while in the SW corner, but finally emerged victorious after about 43 minutes (including a short doze). Like others, NHO ORTHICON, but the clueing was helpful.
    COD – FOUR-LETTER WORDS (and liked PACKAGING too).
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

    1. Pleased to meet another dozer. I’m never sure if the suspension of consciousness allows the little grey cells to work in the background, thus making little overall difference to the time, or if I’m just kidding myself. Either way, both the crossword and the doze are enjoyable retirement perks!

  34. 29.06. Heard of CHOUGH, which was a rare bird-related win for me – thankfully never saw THRUSH or I might have been in trouble! NHO CARMELITES or CANA, and only know CANARD as a sort of debunked statement (not that old canard!), but vaguely remembered some recent discussion elsewhere about it meaning hoax, so got a bit lucky there.

    FOUR-LETTER-WORDS got an appreciative groan.

    Thanks both.

  35. Must have been on wavelength, coming in at 14’35” – and that with a fair bit of background bants from Madame. CHOUGH no problem. As soon as I saw THAT’S HORRIBLE, my mind said it ends in – UGH. And there’s no other -UGH bird I can think off. A cliff-dwelling corvid. WAR-DANCE was LOI, because though I suspected that must be the answer I couldn’t see why. NHO ORTHICON. I thought it might be the correct word for the test-card (the girl plus clown of our youth). Many thanks.

  36. 22.10 WOE

    Exactly the same as Mike H with a v similar time. Got the TV word, and no typos but THRUSH as my POI was just too tempting

    Nice puzzle. Thanks setter and Jackkt

  37. 58m. DNF. Was never getting AROMA as unable to dislodge a persistent ALOHA earworm. NHO ORTHICON but no alternative given the wordplay. Considered parental at 11ac for 10 minutes until eventually saw it didn’t even fit!

  38. I originally had TOKEN at 7d thinking it was ‘to Ken’, the loving couple being the currently popular Barbie and Ken. Felt very trendy for a while until 10a and 12a proved unsolvable. Heigh-ho, that will teach me!

  39. Couldn’t get a foothold on this until way down the puzzle, with WAR DANCE and ORWELL FOIs. Picked here and there, then constructed FAINTEST and THEA, when COURT revealed itself and I saw the clever HOLDS COURT. Never did get CANARD ( even though seeing it recently at this site) as didn’t know CANA as a miraculous place. Had the UGH for the bird but had forgotten its name, and thought PACKAGING risible when I finally got it . As to ORTHICON, forget it! ( which I very probably will).

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