Times Cryptic 28820

I had some problems here and and eventually gave up with 55 minutes on the clock and one answer missing at 25ac. Even after resorting to aids I was unable to find the answer so I used Reveal on The Times site. Then I had difficulty parsing it and only understood it later whilst compiling the blog.  Prior to  all that, the puzzle had been very enjoyable.

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 Rule broken by halfwit put in new position (8)
REIGN (rule) containing [broken by] ASS (halfwit)
5 Bone that always has one end in the centre (6)
The cryptic hint refers to the radius of a circle which has one of its ends in the centre.
9 Part of foreign capital deposited with financial institution (4,4)
The foreign capital being Paris. LEFT (deposited), BANK (financial institution).
10 As fish may be, but not bird or mammal (6)
12 Supporter‘s trust slightly disturbed, with second coming first (5)
Anagram [slightly disturbed] of TRUST with an additional instruction to put the S (second) at the beginning [coming first] – rather unnecessary really as ‘with second coming first’ doesn’t add anything to the surface reading whilst turning the clue into something more suitable for a Quick Cryptic.
13 Planning on behalf of crew about start of strike (9)
FOR (on behalf of) + EIGHT (crew of a rowing boat) containing [about] S{trike} [start of…]
14 Trips learner, shattering computer peripheral (5,7)
Anagram [shattering] of TRIPS LEARNER
18 Contest held by idiot the writer has planned to avoid (12)
EVENT (contest) contained [held] by PRAT (idiot), IVE (the writer has)
21 Pressure inside Venus or a wildly exploding star (9)
P (pressure) contained by [inside] anagram [wildly] of VENUS OR A. Now where else have I seen this very recently…
23 First of all, routinely attend thus in office — nine to five, say (5)
R{outinely} + A{ttend} + T{hus} + I{n} + O{ffice}
24 A minor thoroughfare, not in this country (6)
A, B-ROAD (minor thoroughfare)
25 Part of scale that is least fragile (8)
SOL (part of scale – 5th note of the diatonic scale), ID  EST (that is). This clue was my downfall as I had what I considered to be a perfectly valid answer which turned out not to be. This gave me an incorrect checker for the answer at 19dn and presented an additional problem there. When I eventually cracked that one I realised my answer here, DOMINANT, had to be wrong but I was unable to think of an alternative so I gave up. I had justified DOMINANT as a double definition:  a) it’s the 5th note of the diatonic scale, and b) it’s an adjective used to describe something that’s prevailing and most powerful i.e. least fragile. Most of its four checkers worked with the Down clues, but sadly the third one (A) didn’t.  My thinking post-DOMINANT wasn’t helped by SOLIDEST being a word I would never consider  using. If anything I’d say ‘most solid’, but I’d be more likely to choose an alternative such as strongest or sturdiest. 
26 Score less than century — that’s significant after losing first wicket (6)
{w}EIGHTY (significant) [losing first letter of wicket].  100 (century) minus [less] 20 (score) = 80.
27 Compelling reform of phony movement out of control (8)
Anagram [reform] of PHONY, then TIC (movement out of control)
1 OT prophet endlessly pursuing king’s pleasure (6)
R (king), ELISH{a} (OT prophet) [endlessly]
2 Uphold placing a female over company (6)
A, F (female), FIRM (company)
3 Reconstruct a buttress for lower level (9)
Anagram [reconstruct] of A BUTTRESS. I didn’t know this alternative to ‘substratum’ but it simply had to exist.
4 Good diversion set up in poll that may accompany proposal (12)
G (good), then FUN (diversion) reversed [set up] and contained [in] ELECTION (poll). Traditionally a proposal of marriage is supposed to be made on bended knee.
6 Finally reduced world records (5)
AT LAS{t} (finally) [reduced]
7 Without costume, cross water (8)
IRATE (cross) containing [without – outside] RIG (costume)
8 Collective punishment? Certainly not (8)
A cryptic inversion
11 It’s in support I and a Conservative assembled for appeasing (12)
IT contained by [in] PROP (support) + I + A + TORY (Conservative). Another unknown.
15 Turning over stylish reading (9)
IN (stylish), VERSION (reading)
16 Person losing faith — a part of body has run out (8)
A, P{r}OSTATE (part of body) [run out]
17 Overtake European in odd display of par golf (8)
E (European) contained by [in] anagram [odd display] of PAR GOLF
19 Where credibility helps? It may stand without further probe, ultimately (6)
STET (it may stand – cancel deletion) containing [without] {furthe}R + {prob}E [ultimately]. As in ‘Street Cred’.
20 Reference work that’s turned up, figuratively speaking (6)
CITE (reference) + OP (work) reversed [turned up]
22 Cook in pan (5)
Two meanings, the second as in ‘criticise severely’

64 comments on “Times Cryptic 28820”

  1. LOI POETIC, though the definition for STREET was the most elusive. This wasn’t very hard but had some fairly fresh cluing. I hate PREVENTATIVE, which I always correct to “preventive.” Ta-ta, superfluous TA.

      1. Usually, that’s got an unneeded “ta” too. But it seems that “orient” as a verb can only be transitive, at least in American English (Merriam-Webster), whereas “orientate” can also be intransitive.

        1. I think the sport (pastime?) of orienteering was so named because they couldn’t reach agreement on whether it should be orienting, orientating etc…

          1. It derives from the Swedish word “orientering,” which means orientation. I think the extra e was added just to make it a more recognisable word when the sport began to be more international. I bet they thought that was very clever of them ..

        2. But you would never say ADAPTION. It would always be ADAPTATION (thanks A-level Biology evolution lessons!). But you would say ADOPTION and not ADOPTATION.

  2. I found this tricky, very tightly clued, and I liked pretty much everything. Thanks for the parsing of Street, jack, I couldn’t get past thinking ‘stand’ directed us to ‘tee’.

  3. I spent a long time at the end on SOLIDEST since I didn’t think to try ID EST. The PLURAL and ATLAS clues that crossed also took some time to get. I completely missed the “score less than a century”. Well, eighty is less than a century, but I missed that it is exactly a score less.

  4. 24:40
    I spent a lot of time trying to think of bones, thinking ‘foreign capital’ would be money, not remembering ID EST or that SO is also SOL. Biffed PROPITIATORY once I had ATORY; biffed GENUFLECTION & SUPERNOVA, parsed all post-submission.

  5. 19:43. Good stuff. COD nominations include SOLIDEST, RADIUS, ABROAD, EIGHTY, SOLITARY and STREET.

    Thanks Jack and setter.

  6. I am totally humbled by the times posted by the blokes immediately above, because this to me was extremely tough. The time went out the window because it was done in bursts, but easily over an hour and with one wrong at the end but yeah, great puzzle with some fiendish clueing and craftily disguised definitions. Thanks for the hard work on the blog Jack, much needed.

  7. 12:23. Line vinyl I finished up with SOLITARY, PLURAL and RADIUS. With cryptic definitions being a weak point of mine I was pleased to knock them off as quickly as I did.
    I sympathise with Jack’s DOMINANT, as once I get an answer in my head that I’m convinced is right I find it very hard to backtrack – ON THE BALL instead of ON THE GAME did similarly for me last Friday.

  8. The hunchback in the park
    A solitary mister
    Propped between trees and water …
    (Dylan Thomas)

    Coming up to 30 mins I still hadn’t cracked the excellent Irrigate, nor the quirky Plural. “Cross water” is one of those excellent bits of misdirection that have you thinking Cross is a verb and Water a noun. Nice.
    Ta setter and J

  9. 29 minutes. I would have taken much longer had I not been able to see the crossing PLURAL and SOLITARY early on. I don’t expect to drop PROPITIATORY into casual conversation any time within the next decade but this was the only obscure word and was helped by wordplay. I’m not sure about PREVENTATIVE vs “preventive” either; “prophylactic” has as many letters, but at least none are redundant.

    SUPERNOVA was my pick today for the reason alluded to by our blogger; space and time.

  10. 24:33 and I was held back firstly by the NE corner which had a bunch of very clever clues like RADIUS and PLURAL, and finally by SOLIDEST which took me an alphabet trawl of several minutes till I finally got to S, and thought of SOL. I’ve never heard the worst solidest before, I thought it was solid-more solid-most solid. But anyway, got there in the end.
    Thanks setter and blogger

  11. 18:50
    Tricky, with a couple of words I don’t think I’d ever use (PROPITIATORY, SOLIDEST) and a couple of anagrams that took longer than they should have (LEAPFROG, LASER PRINTER).
    Crossing non-cryptics in the NE corner didn’t help either.

  12. 38 minutes, LOI PLURAL realised as I was putting my pen down in frustration. COD to EIGHTY. LASER PRINTER added insult to injury as Apple’s latest upgrade has seemingly left my HP inkjet and iPad unable to talk to each other. Good puzzle, hard to finish. Thank you V and setter.

  13. 29:53 with a very low WITCH of 73, so I was definitely tuned in today to this excellent puzzle. LOsI the clever nexus involving IRRIGATE, PLURAL and RADIUS. COD for me was the lovely (and hopefully inappropriate when the test starts) surface to EIGHTY.

  14. DNF. SOLIDEST being my downfall having not seen the id est and my diatonic scale only going as far as a needle pulling thread. Pity as the rest of it fell into place in a reasonable (for me) 30′ or so. I didn’t parse IRRIGATE and also didn’t pick up on the “score less than” for EIGHTY (which I’d thought was pretty random)… COD for that reason. Thanks Jackkt and setter.

  15. 38′ DNF as I could not work out PLURAL as my train was pulling in, so I biffed FLORAL and hoped for the best. Pretty sure I’ve seen this device come up before but it just eluded me today. SOLIDEST was the LOI to be correct, and I agree with those above who said it doesn’t feel like a word. I’d always say ‘most solid’. SOL as part of the musical scale didn’t sit well, to boot. I’ve always seen it as SO or SOH.

    Good puzzle all round, though. COD SUPERNOVA

  16. DNF. Defeated by SOLIDEST not thinking of ID EST. I did have an unparsed DOMINANT for a while until STREET put the kibosh on that. Nice puzzle though. I had all but the last in about 13 minutes…. but no cigar.

  17. 35 minutes, with exactly the same problem as jackkt. Got there in the end, but don’t really like SOLIDEST as a word.

    Didn’t know which capital the LEFT BANK is part of; tried to justify ‘conciliatory’ for 11d before getting PROPITIATORY, a word I can’t recall coming across before; and like one or two others, missed the clever double use of ‘score’ in 26a.

    FOI Atlas
    LOI Solidest
    COD Eighty

  18. 44:46
    I struggled today but like Derek Redmond at the ’92 Olympics I persevered.

    The NW all went in on first reading and I thought I was in for a good time but it was thereafter a bit of a struggle. LEAPFROG took far to long to unscramble, and there were a few other “why didn’t you see that earlier” moments.

    Anyway, kudos to the speedsters and thanks to setter and blogger both.

  19. DNF after 17/18ish minutes. Not surprising, as I didn’t really think there was any such thing as a FLORAL FISH. That sort of clue’s a weak spot – I remember HYPHEN doing for me similarly a while ago.

    I thought SOLIDEST was excellent, and the long entries were freshly clued.

    Thanks setter & Jack.

  20. Enjoyed this one.. some excellent clues. E + PAR GOLF makes for a tricky anagrist, needed some crossers to work that out. 100 – 20 also took time to twig. Cod, therefore.
    I quite like preventative as a word, and could not imagine preventative medicine without the TA. Save the TA!

  21. I spent so long in the NE sector today I’ve started to sound like Ant and Dec. Didn’t help that NAVIGATE, which sort of means “cross water” wouldn’t go away, what fish do that birds don’t was elusive and the clue for RADIUS wilfully scrambled what’s left of my thinking processes. I’m currently enjoying the life SOLITARY (it’s ok to leave the loo door open), so that took a long time to emerge as a punishment. Like everyone else, and for the same reasons, the un-fragile SOLIDEST proved impossible to break when I dropped South for a respite. A puzzle to start one wondering whether Alzheimer’s is really setting in, so thanks to Jack and other contributors for allowing me to think it’s not just me. 33+minutes.

  22. 13:27. I did most of this pretty speedily, with only four clues unsolved after six or seven minutes. But those four remained unsolved for a good 5 minutes after that:
    > RADIUS: looking for wordplay involving the centre of the word somehow. My last in.
    > PLURAL: just utterly baffled until I had all the checkers.
    > ATLAS: sure ‘finally reduced’ meant D.
    > SOLITARY: another baffling CD that I failed to spot. However it was (eventually) the first of the four to fall and gave me enough of a foothold to get the rest.

  23. This was quite tricky, it’s the first time I’ve got as many as 3 incorrect answers and I also have 5 clues unsolved on top of that. The 3 were ‘Norway’ then ‘airway’ for ABROAD, ‘life bank’ for LEFT BANK and the only justifiable one, which was ‘dominant’ for SOLIDEST like the blogger.

  24. 8D left a bad taste in my mouth, for one because the clue was uninspiring but mainly because I’d prefer to leave politics to the guardian crosswords especially at a charged time like this

      1. I assume it’s a reference to the debate over whether Israel’s actions in Gaza constitute ‘collective punishment’.

    1. I’m another – got through the rest quickly apart from the NE (what a struggle) only to then find the mistake.

      1. I’m another. Rattled through most in 20 minutes or so then a tough ten minutes on irrigate plural and poetic. I’d banged in afford without a seconds thought although something nagged at the back of my head that the definition did not fit I put that down to my ignorance and never revisited.

        Thx J and setter

  25. All was going quite well, slowly perhaps but no very major problems until for a long time there was a whole area in the NE that I couldn’t even get started on. Eventually, with aids, I managed, but RADIUS, PLURAL, FORESIGHT, ATLAS, SOLITARY and IRRIGATE proved very difficult and I finished in 57 minutes. I entered SOLIDEST without understanding and had intended to return to it, but when I eventually ‘finished’ I was so relieved to do so that I forgot. SOLIDEST has a heading in Chambers, although it isn’t specified: all the explanation is of ‘solid’.

  26. You better move over, here comes a supernova – B52s.
    Crept in under the 20 minutes (19’52”). Clues varying from the hackneyed — I’m looking at you 24 across — to the pleasingly tough – stand up SOLIDEST (LOI) and PLURAL. Why did I ever think it could have been FLORAL? Many thanks

  27. DNF after 30 minutes, defeated in the SE corner. Like our blogger I had put in DOMINANT and then failed, not surprisingly, to find anything to fit 19dn. A pity, as it had been going so well up to then. Sometimes too much knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    Thanks to jackkt and other contributors.

  28. 31.56, struggled in the NE, anatomically challenged by RADIUS, and tempted by FLORAL but managed to resist and then the penny dropped.

  29. 30:27

    A nice challenge – pleased to see the tricks with SOLIDEST and EIGHTY – though got stuck in the NE at the end – could only think of TARSUS (I think that is a bone?) for ages, I had to think about each area of the body to finally think of the radial nerve and therefore the RADIUS, which then gave IRRIGATE. My LOI PLURAL still took a good few minutes more, not being able to justify FLORAL!

  30. 25:23
    Good puzzle with the North East holding out for some time. I managed to get 11 down because of the vaguely remembered phrase “propitiate the gods” and I’ve just returned from a trip to the UK with two tubs of Gentleman’s RELISH tucked into my rucksack.
    Thanks to Jack and the setter.

  31. 27 mins. As Michelin above, all went in very easily until I hit the buffers in the NE. They all seemed to need more helpful letters than I had typed in, and it wasn’t till I realised that water was a verb that the rest slotted in.
    Liked PROPITIATORY and eventually PLURAL.

  32. DNF, but still some great clues. DOMINANT wasn’t convincing but bunged it in anyway, until STREET ruined that. Then an over-reliance on my usual aid, which failed to offer SOLIDEST as a candidate at all!
    Excellent puzzle.

  33. DNF totally lost in the NE.
    I suppose the Rive Gauche is so anglicised that Left Bank will count as part of foreign capital.
    25a Never saw the ID EST in SOLIDEST.
    26a EIGHTY I wrote it in and moved on without grasping the clever “score less” part. DOH!

  34. Thought this was going to be easy as I solved the NW corner very quickly… then ran into trouble as had entered SUBSTRATA rather than SUBSTRATE and so got stuck on 18ac and it all unravelled a bit from there! I was another who tried to make Conciliatory work (PROPITIATORY not exactly a common term) and plumped for FLORAL rather than PLURAL as there is a Flower Fish apparently.
    I thought 26ac was one of those cricketing clues I never understand 🙂 so biffed TWENTY and that messed up the SW corner too. Could not get 25ac at all as DOMINANT was the only possible musical answer and SOLIDEST didn’t come to mind. Also thought 8d was weak.
    Nonetheless I enjoyed this – GENUFLECTION and IRRIGATE were both excellent!
    Once again my thanks to the setter and blogger and to everyone who contributes to the discussion.

  35. I started with RELISH and AFFIRM and quickly had the NW, apart from GENUFLECTION, (which arrived much later) solved. The rest of the puzzle proceeded steadily until I was left with 3 in the SE and 3 in the NE, which others also found tricky. STREET was the first to drop in when I thought of STET for stand, and SOLIDEST arrived when I considered ID EST for ie. More mental effort had to be expended before POETIC hove in to view. Back in the NE, where SOLITARY had gone in a while before, -L—L suddenly morphed into PLURAL and IRRIGATE emerged from the fog. -A-I-S needed an alphabet trawl before RADIUS crawled from under its stone. A sluggish 38:29. Thanks setter and Jack.

  36. 28 mins but must have spent at least 5 of those in the top right corner. Finally dawned on me that 10ac was plural only to jump at salutory . So a DNF and boy was I miffed to see solitary- so annoying.

    Enjoyed the puzzle though especially solidest and abroad.
    Thx setter and blogger.

  37. DNF – gave up with 4 to go – Radius, Plural, Atlas, Poetic.
    (Thought there might be a bone called the Focius!).
    Liked Genuflection, Irrigate and Reassign.

  38. Enjoyable puzzle, no quibbles with any of the clues. Happy with SOLIDEST and any number of other superlatives which others may baulk at , like FUNNEST, DANCINGEST, PEANUTTIEST, etc etc!

  39. Some gaps in the NE and SE when the rest of the grid was completed, but not SOLIDEST, where least made me think immediately of an EST ending, with the I suggesting ID EST. That helped me to finally get POETIC, but I couldn’t get past ATTEST for 19d, which didn’t parse. Eventually a missing letter search gave STREET, which did. RADIUS gave me ATLAS and IRRIGATE, but alas, I had to go to aids again for PLURAL, which immediately showed up LOI SOLITARY. So 2 helps for this one, but some excellent testing clues and I don’t feel quite such an idiot having seen how many others here likewise failed to get one or two.

  40. Clearly on the wavelength with this as 33:00 is relatively fast for Mrs T and me and well ahead of target. LOI STREET and COD EIGHTY. Like others, didn’t really like SOLIDEST as a word but it fitted the checkers we had and the parsing followed a few seconds later. Decent clue, iffy answer.

  41. Paused after an hour and a bit with RADIUS and ATLAS not yet entered, but I saw those within about 5 minutes when I came back. Lots of good clues and I was not really on this wavelength, but at least no mistakes at the end. For STRUT I first tried to justify TRUSS, but fortunately couldn’t. No problem with SOLIDEST once I had the crossers. COD perhaps to PLURAL, or RADIUS for that matter.


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