Times Cryptic 28830 – Sat, 3 Feb 2024. True art!

I solved this on paper. As I typed it in, I was struck by the clever definitions. Thanks, setter! A very enjoyable workout.  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 Confused notice about following hospital systems for handling data (8)
INFOTECH – anagram of (confused) NOTICE, about F (following) + H (hospital).
5 Anticipate abandoning everything in place of green growth (6)
FORESTFORESTall, abandoning ALL.
8 Confront authority about central element of boardroom’s make-up (4,6)
FACE POWDERFACE POWER, about D (the central element of  boarDroom).
9 Left out densely packed material (4)
FELT – anagram (out) of LEFT.
10 Literature that’s certainly not true art? (7,7)
SCIENCE FICTIONSCIENCE (not art), FICTION (not true). Nice clue.
11 Doctor held up when starting late was aimless (7)
DRIFTEDDR (doctor), LIFTED when starting late.
13 Person providing money to secure opening of organisation? (7)
FOUNDERFUNDER to secure O (opening of Organisation). The whole clue is both definition and wordplay: in the jargon, an &lit. clue.
15 Get irritated about woman’s gushing output (7)
FRESHETFRET about SHE. A word I knew only vaguely.
18 Out-of-stock product shortened career following complaint (4,3)
BEEF TEABEEF (complaint), TEAr (career, shortened). Deceptive definition, referring to beef as stock.
21 Fantastic icon I arranged for religious ceremony (14)
SANCTIFICATION – anagram (arranged) of FANTASTIC ICON I.
22 Duke attacks, having succeeded earlier (4)
FISTFITS (attacks), with S (succeeded) earlier.
23 Anybody let in, if “nipping back”, stays endlessly (10)
INFINITELY – hidden (stays) backwards (back) in: anybodY LET IN IF NIpping.
24 Pay gunmen to challenge arrests (6)
DEFRAYDEFY (challenge) arrests RA (Royal Artillery; gunmen).
25 Attacked camp (8)
AFFECTED – two meanings: attacked by a disease, or camp like e.g. an arty type.
1 Soaked female wearing second-hand clothes (7)
INFUSEDIN (wearing) + USED (second-hand) clothes F (female).
2 Superficial screening merely halved reproduction (9)
FACSIMILE – FACILE (superficial), screening SIM (SIMplyhalved).
3 Maximum speed of boat in configuration of locks (7)
TOPKNOT – TOP (maximum), KNOT (speed of boat). Another nice definition.
4 One maybe collecting lowers bloke into unruly crowd (7)
COWHERD – HE into anagram (unruly) CROWD,
5 After moving about, might fail to stop (9)
FORECLOSE – FOREC (FORCE=might, with C=about moving to the end) + LOSE (fail). I struggled to see how this clue worked!
6 Gorilla in travelling funfair (7)
RUFFIAN – anagram (travelling) FUNFAIR. I liked the clue.
7 Suppress blasphemy perhaps outside empty little church (7)
SILENCESIN (blasphemy, perhaps) outside LE (empty LittlE), then CE (church).
12 Choose lines encapsulating doubt and shock (9)
ELECTRIFYELECT (choose), RY (railway lines) encapsulating IF (doubt, as in “that’s iffy”, perhaps).
14 Impression surrounding English border that is damaging (9)
16 Break formal procedure constraining power of medium? (7)
RESPITERITE constraining ESP.
17 Dispatched men to obtain answer for politician (7)
SENATORSENT + OR to obtain A (answer).
18 Officer of the law misrepresented alibi for felon initially (7)
BAILIFF – anagram (misrepresented) ALIBI + initial letters of For Felon.
19 Fire over pit needed for grill (7)
EXAMINEEXA (AXE=to fire [staff], over) + MINE.
20 Angry with receiving contradictory responses mainly (7)
ANNOYEDAND receiving NO + YEs, mainly.

20 comments on “Times Cryptic 28830 – Sat, 3 Feb 2024. True art!”

  1. 31:33
    I can’t remember what took me so long; maybe everything. The setter seems fond of inclusion clues: 24ac arrests, 1d wearing, 2d screening, 12d encapsulating, 14d surrounding, 16d constraining, 17d obtain, 20d receiving. [on edit:] I’m surprised at all the DNKs for FRESHET.

  2. After a mostly enjoyable struggle I gave up with 64 minutes on the clock and resorted to aids for my one missing answer, FRESHET. I had been going to say that I never heard of it but I note that it appeared in June 2018 and April 2015 when I also didn’t know it. On each of those occasions it was clued as ‘flood’ which at least is a more direct definition than ‘gushing output’ which seems unnecessarily devious for such an obscure word.

    1. Both Chambers and OED give two meanings for ‘freshet’: basically amounting to either ‘flood’ or ‘gushing output’. Perhaps it’s a case of paying your money and taking your choice. I was with Vinyl1: if it parses, in it goes!

  3. I don’t remember finding this particularly hard, but it was certainly entertaining, as Bruce says. I knew all the words, even vaguely the phrase BEEF TEA, which provided the most vivid memory from this episode when I looked that up and found out that Bovril, from which it is often made (though the product turned vegetarian for a couple years!) is still banned in the United States because of fear of “mad cow disease” (mad cows and Englishmen! ha). The alternative over here (no, thank you!) is called Bovrite.

  4. 54 minutes. I’ve just finished this, having held it over from last week. Thank goodness for the little present in the grid (thanks, setter) which helped me feel more confident about FRESHET, the only word I didn’t know (or it turns out had forgotten). I agree, some of the defs were excellent; to those already mentioned I would add ‘One maybe collecting lowers’ which was not at all obvious from the surface.

    Favourite was the INFINITELY reverse hidden, with ‘endlessly’ an unexpected def rather than the usual deletion indicator.

    Thanks to Bruce and thanks again to our setter for the solving aid – simple but effective

  5. DNF, bamboozled by the north-east and south-west corners: 5ac, 9ac, 15ac, 22ac, 5d, 7d, 16d &17d remaining stubbornly blank. Will study the blog and try to learn for future reference! Already that’s told me that I was wrong at 24ac with SALARY, which didn’t help. And add me to the NHO FRESHET list…. Thanks, all.

  6. The employment of one of the less used consonants in every across clue certainly helped me get the last 2 across clues, 15 and 24, as they weren’t shown in the crossers. FRESHET was dredged up from somewhere, and gave me POI, RESPITE, though I couldn’t parse it, having forgotten ESP.
    Thanks to the setter for an excellent puzzle (loved BEEF TEA) and to Bruce for the elucidation.

  7. DNF here too. Lots missing. I have added INFOTECH (ghastly word) and BEEF TEA to my cheating machine. I had heard of beef tea and was surprised at its absence.
    I must have run out of time as I was ready to cheat and had underlined FANTASTIC ICON I but had not completed SANCTIFICATION.

  8. DNF, defeated by FRESHET (didn’t know it) and FORECLOSE. Wasn’t familiar with BEEF TEA, and only now do I see what ‘out-of-stock’ is getting at, but put it in anyway as it sounded plausible.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Face powder

  9. 34;17

    BEEF TEA, COWHERD and RUFFIAN were highlights of a very enjoyable puzzle (as I recall).

    DEFRAY was an unknown for me, but the wordplay helped immensely. Took a gamble on FRESHET also due to wordplay and checked it after submitting. Odd word but one I’ll log for future!

    Thanks blogger and setter

  10. A solve on paper over several sessions. Eventually got there, I’m happy to say. Dnk FRESHET and wasn’t sure of the parsings of a few others. Thanks for clearing it all up.

  11. Got as far as I could in 2 sittings today. Peeked at the blog with 3 unsolved: FRESHET, FIST (should have remembered this from last time) and DEFRAY. Very pleased to slowly solve all the rest. BEEF TEA was biffed but unknown – assumed it was something like Bovril (apparently it is – yuk). Needed blog to help parse FACSIMILE and SCIENCE FICTION (doh). Liked TOPKNOT and INFUSED. Thanks B.

  12. 47:30, but I am a bit slow, so I am surprised that so many people took longer or found it very difficult. Maybe I am slowly learning to sniff out the deceiving phraseology (for example, I immediately suspected that the out-of-stock product might have something to do with cattle). The clues were tricky, but not really unsolvable in any way. My LOI and only unknown was FRESHET, but fortunately I didn’t accept any of the alternatives presenting themselves (FRESHER, perhaps, with HER encoding “woman’s” and SERF somehow being irritated). Once I saw the FRE…T on the outside I was much more satisfied with the wordplay and ventured to enter the right answer (and was pleased to see that it was indeed the right answer). Good puzzle!

  13. Been waiting to see, after I missed my chance above, if any of my fellow Dylan fans would use the phrase “not my cup of meat.”

  14. No time as fell asleep pondering (too many games of Catan with the kids). Think about 30 minutes as polished it off this morning without too many problems helped by the generous w/p for FRESHET and bunging in an unparsed FORECLOSE at the end.

    COD to SCIENCE FICTION as saw Dune (Part 1) on Friday and now can’t wait for Part 2.

    Nice puzzle – thanks Bruce and setter

  15. I thought this was going to be easy but ground to a halt in the southwest. I used aids for DEFRAY which gave me an unparsed RESPITE but even then the unknown FRESHET evaded me. Not my finest hour.

    Thanks B and setter


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