Times Cryptic 28740 – Sat, 21 Oct 2023. Eyes off the ball.

Solved offline, in free moments. Time and difficulty not registered. You’ll have to tell me!

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 other ‘assembly instructions’ in the explanations. {Curly brackets} mark omitted letters.

Answers, and their components in the explanations, are in BOLD CAPITALS.

1 A scare as ailing youngster leaves meal (6,5)
(A SCARE AS)*, LAD. A meal with leaves (of lettuce).
7 Turkey dish unbelievably delicious for starters (3)
spelled out by the first letters (starters) of each word.
9 Cardinal rule for audition? (9)
(for audition), sounds like “principle”.
10 Trader removing wrapping of paper for primate (5)
FT is the paper. Remove it from {F}LORIS{T}.
11 Edith or Osbert to be agreeable? (7)
Siblings from Yorkshire.
12 Victor Hugo initially abandons composer (7)
H{ugo} abandons C{H}AMPION. Thomas Campion, 1567-1620.
13 Evacuated translators coming in at all excited? (5)
TS from T{ranslator}S, in ANY.
15 Bloom’s monster containing endless rage (9)
HYDRA containing ANGE{r}.
17 Distinctive character one found in Telemann potentially? (9)
(I TELEMANN)*. Telemann was a German baroque composer, not that that’s relevant here! Lineaments are distinguishing features, often of a face.
19 Wife right on and good, or immoral? (5)
W, R, ON, G. Just follow the instructions!
20 Sport with cricket side to go down in effect? (4,3)
WEAR (to sport, clothing for example), OFF (a side in cricket).
22 Beginning to attack, officer in green hitherto unsurpassed (3-4)
A{ttack}, LT (lieutenant), in LIME.
24 Seeing but not missing sweet decoration (5)
25 Help with navigation? Boats are wrecked crossing lake! (9)
(BOATS ARE)*, crossing L.
27 Beast taking zig-zag course? (3)
East, West, East. Cute.
28 Academic involves quote recalled in the exam (11)
ETIC (cite, recalled), in THE ORAL.
1 Better policy designed to limit spending (3)
Two meanings: as a verb, and as a noun.
2 Bull heading for cows in rising flood (5)
C from C{ows}, in TIDE rising.
3 Visionary keeping rook companion used for sport (7)
AERY, as an adjective meaning visionary, is new to me. Insert R and CH.
4 Sons with Hercule Poirot initially distraught in tomb (9)
S (sons), then (HERCULE P)*.
5 Ring round when importing island flower (5)
import I into CALL turned around.
6 Pickle’s top twisted by literary matchmaker (7)
LID, twisted, then EMMA,  the Jane Austen heroine.
7 Operas at Bayreuth occasion bold action (7-2)
The Ring, in German (at Bayreuth), would be DER RING; then DO could be an occasion.
8 Police officer delivered fish for free (11)
11 Descent, with arms outstretched, down over sleazy club (7,4)
SWALLOW (down), DIVE (sleazy club).
14 Unproven local shunning any number under canvas (9)
TENT (canvas), {N}ATIVE (local).
16 Critic’s nonsense conveyed upset (9)
ROT, CARTED, all backwards (upset)
18 Within a day ghost leaving house (7)
A, MON{day}, G{ho}ST.
19 Stroll to court? Leave angrily (4,3)
a cryptic hint alluding to genteel romantic courtship.
21 Volume of water used by female shaving (5)
23 Regularly avoided kinsman, arch patriarch (5)
every second letter of kInSmAn ArCh.
26 Food often jellied found in Aintree luncheonette (3)
hidden in {aintr}EE L{uncheonette}.

15 comments on “Times Cryptic 28740 – Sat, 21 Oct 2023. Eyes off the ball.”

  1. 20:40
    I never did figure out how LORIS worked, or ARCHERY (DNK AERY, of course). I don’t think I knew CAMPION.

  2. 44 minutes with LINEAMENT unknown although it has come up a few times over the years without being commented upon by me. In 2008 is was clued, like today, as an anagram of I TELEMANN. My other unknown was AERY in the wordplay at 3dn but the rest of the clue led me swiftly to the correct answer. From a brief glance at the archive it appears to be Mephisto material.

    1. I’ve only seen LINEAMENT in the plural, although ODE has an example in the singular

      1. “What is it women do in men require
        The lineaments of gratified desire”- William Blake
        (I think I was quite a good age before I stopped being confused by lineament/liniment).

  3. 52m 53s. Agood puzzle. Thanks, Bruce for LORIS, ANTSY, ICING, EWE, CAP and TENTATIVE.
    I’ve mentioned this before but I’m not happy when a single S is clued as ‘sons’ in the plural (4d)
    I did like 1ac CAESAR SALAD. ‘Leaves meal’ strikes me as a Dean Mayer-ism.

  4. Enjoyed this. Latte, fruit scone from the bakery, Saturday crossword. Half an hour of escapism.
    Thanks, b.

  5. 55 minutes. This seemed quite straightforward for a Saturday. LORIS came to mind quite early on but the parsing waited until after I’d submitted. AERY was unknown. Thanks branch.

  6. I made steady progress from the first in until I reached the NW corner, which remained empty for a long time. Then 1A opened up the remaining clues, giving 1, 4 and 5 down (where I was trying to fit in O despite having thought of LILAC initially when the C went in). I had to check CAMPION afterwards – I thought I was pretty up on obscure composers, listening to Radio 3 on a daily basis – but I had only the faintest recollection of the name. LOI a bifd ARCHERY – hadn’t thought of aery as visionary.
    I particularly liked 18D.
    Interestingly, I see we have three plants this week (including campion), following 3 birds last Saturday. Is/are the setter/s teasing our floraphobic and ornithophobic solvers?

  7. DNF, SCREAM wouldn’t come at 21d. Liked (not)ICING at 24a. Couldn’t parse fLORISt, so thanks branch.
    I thought the S Hercule P(oirot) anagrist was brilliant.
    I’m stuck in the SE this week as well. Oh dear.

  8. 17.15 with a rather large but

    Didn’t notice I’d failed to fill in the FLAKE clue, compounded by having WEAR OUT.

    Like the rest of it so thanks setter and Bruce

  9. 28’18”
    Good early pace, stayed on well.
    Aery and lineament seemed reasonable punts, but, apart from those, all were parsed and familiar.
    I must have been very much tuned in to the wavelength.
    I must admit I found Chaucer rather a chore at school, but I’ve changed my my mind about him.
    On my desk I have a very elaborate astrolabe, made of a cereal packet and three A4 sheets, one of which is on acetate. The acetate side consists of star map, peripheral protractor and hours. The other has two distinct calendars as well the zodiacal divisions and various Saints. There are revolving arms on both sides with star altitude scales.
    All in all two hours to construct, but at least six months will be needed to fully understand its proper use. And it was designed by none other than one G. Chaucer; quite the polymath it appears.
    Thank you Bruce and setter , I thoroughly enjoyed this, particularly your yo-yo-ing sheep.

  10. DNF, another entry into OWL Club for me with ‘lorus’ rather than LORIS… had no idea at all what was going on there, and thought lorus was right so in it went.

    Didn’t know that meaning of aery, only vaguely remembered the SITWELLs, and can’t recall seeing LINEAMENT before. ASTROLABE, another unknown, was the most likely-sounding answer once the checkers were in place.

    COD Disentangle

  11. For once I worked steadily through this in about an hour. Only one I didn’t parse was detractor so thanks for that. COD was ewe. Puzzled for a while and when I got it laughed out loud. Also took me a while to see it needed the oral as the exam in 28 across. Sometimes you really have to read the clues properly! I completely missed it was a leaves meal at 1 ac but had the correct answer. Very enjoyable puzzle so thanks to setter

  12. Another Nana here, with about the same completion time, but I had a few missing. In order to keep up the momentum I had to look up LORIS (known but forgotten primate), CAMPION (known but forgotten composer!) and SEPULCHRE, where I’d determined the ph had to go in to another word for tomb.
    Ah well – but enjoyed the ride and the few PDMS, especially with CAESAR SALAD, ICING and EWE. (Btw: took a punt on ARCHERY)

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