Times Cryptic 28782 – Sat, 9 Dec 2023. Salt of the lake.

Harder than the week before – for me at least. The top half was easier than the bottom. Nice that the Salt Lake City answer wasn’t the obvious one.

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 in bold and 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.

Across
1 Ace stuff in broadcast round US capital (10)
SACRAMENTO
A + CRAM (stuff), in SENT (broadcast) + O (round).
6 Despicable people run away from mêlée (4)
SCUM
SC{r}UM.
9 Park official that is overwhelmed by huge greenhouses? (10)
ORANGERIES
RANGER (park official) + IE (that is), overwhelmed by OS.
10 A case of hefty unit oddly not used (4)
ETUI
even letters (not odd) of hEfTy UnIt. It’s a small ornamental case only found in crosswords.
12 Cook adores pig feet — a delicacy (4,2,4,4)
PATE DE FOIE GRAS
(ADORES PIG FEET A)*
14 Singular, amusing insult (6)
SLIGHT
S, LIGHT.
15 Traveller much less biased, we’re told (8)
WAYFARER
sounds (we’re told) like WAY FAIRER.
17 Choice of putting up with Liberal instead of Republican (8)
ELECTION
ERECTION (putting up), with L instead of R.
19 Precise study involving trouble (4,2)
DEAD ON
DEN involving ADO.
22 Solitary facts I dealt with well (14)
SATISFACTORILY
(SOLITARY FACTS I)*
24 Has American sprinter to lack energy? (4)
OWNS
OW{e}NS. Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics.
25 Attractive guy perhaps had been a lady’s kitchen helper (10)
DISHWASHER
DISH (attractive male or female), WAS (had been), HER (a lady’s).
26 Discard fresh, edible sandwiches (4)
SHED
hidden (sandwiched) in freSH EDible.
27 Group of rocks, in a single layer, gets moved outside (10)
STONEHENGE
ONE (a) + HEN (layer!!), with an anagram (moved) of GETS outside.
Down
1 Small firm finally went national (4)
SCOT
S (small), CO (company/firm), {wen}T.
2 Bread and serving of butter included in tea (7)
CHAPATI
PAT included in CHAI.
3 Dispute resulting from deviously tough teasers (5,3,4)
ARGUE THE TOSS
(TOUGH TEASERS)*
4 Was a trainee being denied an opening merited? (6)
EARNED
{L}EARNED.
5 Simple shirt, a “large”, to keep young child dry (8)
TEETOTAL
TEE + A L, to keep TOT.
7 Supplier of food and drink mostly consumed by home worker (7)
CATERER
TE{a}consumed by CARER.
8 Bloke bound to hide one principal motive (10)
MAINSPRING
MAN + SPRING, to hide I (one). I wasn’t familiar with this meaning of the answer, but it’s in the dictionary.
11 Research flop possibly leading to blame being placed internally (4-8)
SELF-REPROACH
(RESEARCH FLOP)*
13 Like individuals absorbing current criticisms (10)
ASPERSIONS
AS PERSONS absorbing I (electric current).
16 Righteous type rather short with celebs (8)
MORALIST
MOR{e} (as in, I’d be rather/more content with the other one) + A-LIST.
18 Agreement made by two hospital departments ending in failure (7)
ENTENTE
ENT twice + {failur}E.
20 Sea animal toy — one from Lapland, say (7)
DOLPHIN
Sounds like (say) DOLL + FINN.
21 Salt Lake City resident I see now in Austin regularly (6)
UTAHAN
AHA (I see now) in UTN (aUsTiN, regularly).
23 You’re right in the first instance to have regrets (4)
TRUE
T (TO, in the first instance) + RUE. I scratched my head for a while over where the T came from!

13 comments on “Times Cryptic 28782 – Sat, 9 Dec 2023. Salt of the lake.”

  1. 37 minutes as far as I went but I was unable to finish because I had the wrong first checker in 16dn which prevented me solving the clue without resorting to aids.

    This was because I had a different answer from the published one at 17ac. I reasoned that ‘putting up’ = ‘erecting’ and if you change the R to L you get ELECTING. The process of electing is a choice so I never had any reason to doubt that my answer was correct. I can see now that the other way works too, and arguably it’s better, but the ‘-ing’ in ‘putting’ led me straight to another conclusion without considering an alternative.

  2. FOI 1d SCOT, and no real problems thereafter. ETUI familiar from crosswords but also it’s one of those items that occasionally comes up as a project in specialist needlework magazines. All done in 40 minutes. Thanks, all.

  3. Quite a satisfactory solve, made more difficult than it need have been by falling into the same trap as Jackkt – putting ELECTING initially as 17A, resulting in a long and fruitless alphabet trawl to get 16D. Eventually I saw the alternative finish and all was resolved. LOI ASPERSIONS. ETUI familiar from crosswords, if nothing else, and generously clued. No unknowns, none unparsed – just right for a Saturday.

  4. Took ages to get PATE DE FOIS GRAS and wasn’t familiar with that meaning of MAINSPRING, but otherwise I don’t remember having too many problems with this.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Dishwasher
    LOI Moralist
    COD Shed

    1. Another PATE de FOIS GRAS here, until it couldn’t be. Coudn’t spell SATISFACTORALLY, either, until I actually had to stop and think.

  5. I found this easy (28 minutes), but fun. Nothing very hard, but a few rather nice clues including WAYFARER and STONEHENGE.

  6. Gave myself no end of problems by spacing out 12ac as (4,4,2,4). I wondered if pate foie de gras was a thing for some time and tried to rework earned and teetotal. Interesting psychological issue that I questioned everything else, including whether the setter had gone wrong, before questioning my spacing out. Still, all’s well that (eventually) ends well.

  7. Fun puzzle.
    Was foiled for a while by thinking 12a was PATE DE FOIs GRAS, which made 11d Self Reproach difficult. I suppose my French is bad enough to get a grade 6 (scrape pass) and not have a clue how one spells liver.

  8. Made heavier weather of this than I needed to: all up 8 answers I had to look up! Obviously not on the wavelength today ( it’s amazing how personal problems can affect one’s solving ability). Nuff said.

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