Times Cryptic 28818 – Sat, 20 Jan 2024. Rastaman vibrations?

Whatever the vibrations, I was mostly on tune with this one. I had to work hard at the NHO anagram at 20ac. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable start to 2024. 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.

1 Very little charity I had during my strike (6,4)
WIDOW’S MITEI’D during WOW SMITE. Wow! (an exclamation) ~= my!
6 Polish bank giving out pounds (4)
BUFFBLUFF. That sort of bank, without L for pounds.
9 Commodores ordered where launches can depart (10)
COSMODROME – anagram (ordered) of (COMMODORES)*.
10 Bring back Ras Tafari, no remotely current ruler (4)
TSARRAST(afar) (i), without afar=remotely or i=electrical current,  then all brought back.
12 Note girl from Muscat, say, a cold seeker after power (12)
MEGALOMANIAC – ME (musical note), GALOMANIAC (cold).
15 Conservative offer for leadership candidate? (9)
17 Stress I can take unless stressed initially (5)
ICTUS – first letters of each word. Stress in music or poetry.
18 Willow, very large, that is by river (5)
19 Awareness of court decision — one’s going inside (9)
SENTIENCE – I going inside SENTENCE.
20 Where queen would be executed — or hang, if theory is wrong (12)
FOTHERINGHAY – anagram (is wrong) of HANG IF THEORY.
Fotheringhay Castle was where Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed – not by hanging, obviously.
24 What sprinter said he did in the country (4)
IRAN – “I ran”, he said.
25 State taking note about university’s work to improve water (10)
FLUORIDATEFLORIDA + TE (note), about U (university).
26 Soundly cure part of foot (4)
HEEL – sounds like HEAL.
27 Jug of water (6,4)
PRISON SHIP – cryptic definition.
1 Village, once a part of Twickenham (4)
WICK – hidden in tWICKenham. An old term I didn’t know but took on trust.
2 Spot daughter on tree (4)
DASHD + ASH. A dash of sauce.
3 With opening try, man’s totally committed (12)
WHOLEHEARTEDW (with), HOLE (opening), HEAR (try – a court case), TED (a random fellow).
4 More than one sea song holds up end of Prom (5)
MARIAproM, ARIA. The “seas” on the moon, for example, are “maria”.
5 Measure pulpit in Italian city (9)
TAMBOURINAMBO in TURIN. It’s a Provençal dance. That sort of measure!
7 Prodigal son can repeatedly, in moving gun (10)
UNSTINTINGS + TIN  TIN, in anagram (moving) GUN.
8 Front about, as soak’s coming up? Who knew? (10)
FORECASTERFORE (front), C (about), AS, TER=RET (soak) coming up.
11 I lie about a following strike development (12)
RAMIFICATIONRAM (strike), I, FICTION (lie) about A.
13 Trial involving convictions in a court — king takes it hard (3,2,5)
14 Secretly enter into rental if it can be arranged (10)
INFILTRATE – anagram (can be arranged) of RENTAL IF IT.
16 Gin producer tries dill in a new variant (9)
DISTILLER – anagram (in a new variant) of TRIES DILL.
21 Comment on a text’s superficial appearance (5)
GLOSS – two definitions. Marginal comments, or adornment.
22 Finally saw tea crates splash in water near Boston (4)
WASH – last letters (finally). Near Boston, Lincolnshire; not Massachusetts.
23 Do something for puppy losing weight (4)
HELPwHELP, without W for weight.

31 comments on “Times Cryptic 28818 – Sat, 20 Jan 2024. Rastaman vibrations?”

  1. 56m 17s
    The puzzle number is wrong, Bruce; should be 28818.
    Thanks particularly for MARIA and GLOSS. I did like 27ac, PRISON SHIP, It has a Dean Mayer-like succinctness about it.

  2. 34:02
    DNK COSMODROME. DNK WICK, but like Bruce took it on trust, although I thought it was the name of a village. I first thought of TOFT (which I didn’t know; ‘homestead’, as it turns out), but that didn’t last long. Surprised myself by knowing FOTHERINGHAY. Like Martin, I liked PRISON SHIP.

  3. Papaw McCroskey was informally known as the “mayor” of FenWICK, an unincorporated wide spot in the road outside Richwood, seat of Nicholas County, West Virginia. He often returned from his residence in Hardy County to, he told us, do some work on a little one-story house he still owned there. My father found out only at Papaw’s funeral that the old fellow had a second family in that house and Dad a half-sister.

    Grand Fenwick is the name of the upstart little country in the Peter Sellers film The Mouse That Roared.

  4. Quite tough in places and I eventually gave up after 45 minutes with RAMIFICATION missing mainly because I was tired of looking at the clue.

    I wondered if there was more to ‘leadership’ in 15ac as its presence seems to add more to the surface reading than to the definition.

    I thought PRISON SHIP defined as ‘Jug of water’ was an excellent cryptic clue.

    1. Good clue for PRISON SHIP, but MER at the phrase’s absence from any dictionary I could consult.

      1. Dickens uses it quite a lot in Great Expectations, but I see it’s hyphenated in there.

  5. All done in 35 minutes which I assume means it was at the easier end of the scale. Still satisfying though. NHO ICTUS at 17ac, or, on the same theme, TAMBOURIN at 5d. 4d MARIA biffed: a mystery to me! Everything else within my capabilities/GK. 35 minutes! Thanks, all.

  6. Thought I had completed this correctly, while having a couple of answers I couldn’t parse, but alas, a one letter mistake in Fluorinate. I had FLA for Florida and U and Te, with a mysterious ‘orin’ I didn’t understand – d’oh! The other NHO was MARIA for seas. Otherwise, a satisfying crossword. Particularly liked WIDOW’S MITE and ACT OF FAITH.

  7. DNF, back in OWL (One Wrong Letter) club with a silly ‘fluorinate’ rather than FLUORIDATE. It never occurred to me that the state might be written out in full in the answer, and in the end I just guessed.

    Never heard of TAMBOURIN, or an ambo as a pulpit; worked out FOTHERINGHAY from the anagrist; COSMODROME was an ‘I guess that must be it’ answer.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Infiltrate

  8. No probs with this one, though being a huge Sandy Denny fan I had to think for a moment about the extra H. It also took me time to work out that spot = dash, which of course it does if you look at it right and aren’t fixated on punctuation…

  9. I was enjoying this. I thought there were some sneaky clues (an impressive amount of engineering went into TSAR for example) but was working my way through them slowly and carefully until the SE stopped me dead. I worked out Fotheringhay from the anagram fodder but had to plumb the depths of the interweb to discover why it was the answer. That left the last 3 which I kept coming back to over the rest of the afternoon. I DNK but finally guessed that jug was another name for PRISON. I skipped round the kitchen when I worked out where everything went to make FLUORIDATE. A splendid clue. Sadly I lost patience so DNF. I should have biffed GLOSS but I simply could not drag that meaning of the word up from anywhere.

    Thanks Branch

  10. Very enjoyable one , this.

    COD to PRISON SHIP for succinctness and wit. If it’s a chestnut I’ve not seen it before!

  11. Thank you for the extra information on the definitions of ICTUS, MARIA and TAMBOURIN. I think I briefly looked them up after solving, but your blog will help me to remember them in future, I hope!

    In 14d, is the “into” part of the definition? (“Secretly enter into ” = INFILTRATE).

    Otherwise, the use of “into” as a linking word seems a bit strange: when you have the definition at the beginning of the clue, and anagram wordplay at the end?

    “Secretly enter into rental if it can be arranged (10)”

    “[Definition] into [wordplay]”, seems unusual. Compared to: “[Definition][wordplay]”, or “[Definition] from [wordplay]”, or “[Wordplay] into [definition]”.

    Particularly in the case of this clue: “[Definition] into [anagram fodder][anagram indicator]”.

    1. In 14, “into” is not necessary for the definition but acceptable as part of it, as it helps the surface to word the clue that way, with “into” smoothing the transition between definition and wordplay. But it’s not part of the wordplay nor workable, as you point out, as a connecting word standing apart from the definition.

  12. Sneaked a look at the blog for RAMIFICATION after drawing a complete blank but otherwise everything went in correctly, if slowly. I think GLOSS has come up recently, possibly in the QC, so this went in easily. FLUORIDATE was flouridate to start with but luckily I thought it looked a bit odd and retyped. Had to check COSMODROME was a real word. NHO PRISON SHIP so this was a guess from the checkers I had at the time. Liked WIDOWS MITE best, although I didn’t understand the wordplay at first (my = wow – doh). Many thanks B.

  13. 28.21

    Nice puzzle. Surprised to work out FLUORIDATE but also a Sandy Denny fan so FOTHERINGHAY a write in after ending a letter short first up. On the subject of famous women singers, very sad to see the passing of Melanie – despite being too young to enjoy her songs when they first came out I listened to her a lot when she became pleasingly untrendy in the late 70’s and 80’s

    Thanks Bruce and setter

  14. I was a bit confused to see WICK as a village since I didn’t know the word with that meaning and I thought of the Wick in Caithness. But it seemed to be too large to be called a village. After all, it has a train station and an airport.

    I too had to add an H into the middle of what I thought was spelt FOTHERINGAY to fill the whole clue.

    All correct except I had a careless typo so a technical DNF.

  15. Really enjoyable way to start off Saturday morning! Especially as it was my best effort for quite a while; all (except TAMBOURIN -NHO) went in with an ease and a smile not recently experienced! Oh, I tell a lie: had to look up PRISON SHIP, as I hadn’t a clue as to what was going on – didn’t remember jug for prison: very clever, and a ‘keeper’. Surprised myself by entering ICTUS, FOTHERINGHAY and MARIA without hesitation, but especially liked WIDOW’S MITE, as it held me up for a while.

  16. Think 1d definition should be ‘village once’ – plenty of wicks around Worcester (!) Like others a bit bemused by the extra h in the castle where MQoS was apparently clumsily beheaded – think it was (and probably still is) a tradition for executioners to be half-cut to perform their duties – check out Pierpoint’s excellent autobiography… Loved the misdirection in 22d – like the red herrings in Only Connect!

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