Times Cryptic 28854 – Sat, 2 March 2024. No googlies.

Fairly straightforward, methought. My COD was 15dn. Best clue of its type in a long time!

Thanks, setter. Very enjoyable.  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 I take turns, moving from Central Asian region (10)
TURKESTANI – anagram: I TAKE TURNS (moving). I wasn’t confident of how to spell this, and it took me a while to see the “I” went at the end. Turkestan is spread across several nations in Central Asia.
6 Treaty wrapped up in hearing (4)
PACT – “in hearing” sounds like PACKED.
8 Joker returns in the flesh, initially tasting a lot of power (8)
MEGAWATTGAW (WAG, returns) in MEAT + Tasting, initially.
9 Doctor returning British papers relating to disease (6)
MORBIDMO + RB (BR, returning) + ID.
10 Lounge’s length tripled to hold a ball? (4)
LOLL – 3 x L (length), holding O (ball).
11 Distressed, reinstated after a fashion (10)
STRAITENED – anagram: REINSTATED (after a fashion).
12 Old killer maintains right of returning, in case (9)
PORTFOLIOPOLIO (old killer disease) maintains RT (right) + FO (OF, returning).
14 Youngster turns to sink, not wrong to spit (5)
KEBABBABE (youngster) + K (sinK, not SIN=wrong); all of that turns backwards.
17 Splendour of city almost dead (5)
ECLATEC (Postcode of the City of London), LATe (almost dead)
19 One prosecuting wickedness arrests left-wing desperado (9)
DAREDEVILDA (District attorney = one prosecuting) + EVIL (wickedness)  arrests RED (left-wing).
22 Natural to tour county, rambling (10)
23 One fixing the pitch shortening a fissure (4)
CLEFCLEFt (shortening fissure). Musical term.
24 Centre of activity features extravagant outdoor amenity (3,3)
HOT TUBHUB features O.T.T. (over the top).
25 Drawing back from golf after business with Ireland (8)
COWERINGCO, W (with), ERIN, G (golf, in the phonetic alphabet).
26 Not entirely sane Roman? (4)
NERO – hidden in (not entirely) saNE ROman. The whole clue is both wordplay and definition.
27 Bearing right, soldiers enter headquarters (10)
DEPORTMENTRT (right) + MEN (soldier) enter DEPOT.
1 Sort of photographing simple tea being cooked (4-5)
TIME-LAPSE – anagram: SIMPLE TEA (cooked).
2 Soldier takes up artillery weapon (7)
REGULAR – backwards (takes up): RA (soldiers – Royal Artillery), LUGER.
3 Picture of bridges being erected very popular (8)
SNAPSHOT – backward (being erected) SPANS, then HOT (popular).
4 Amputation scare turned out an exaggerated fuss (1,5,2,1,6)
A STORM IN A TEACUP – anagram: AMPUTATION SCARE (turned out).
5 One’s a writer of certain lines of verse (6)
IAMBICI AM BIC (pen). I wasted time trying to find something starting with I’M.
6 Don’t surrender chop new peer needs to eat (9)
PERSEVERE – anagram: PEER (new) gives PERE, which eats SEVER
7 Fancy smartphone feature: welcome as replacement for earlier article (7)
CHIMERAHI (welcome) as replacement for earlier A (article) in CAMERA.
13 What hotel may offer for very few people, or a number (3,3,3)
TEA FOR TWO – cryptic hint. The number was performed by Doris Day, in the eponymous 1950 movie.
15 Contest where result of the toss could be fatal (9)
BULLFIGHT – an amusing cryptic definition.
16 Abbeys regularly keep one donating (8)
BESTOWERBES (aBbEyS, regularly), TOWER.
18 Forgive scam, being tricked (7)
20 Liven up foolish cunning (7)
VULPINE – anagram LIVEN UP (foolish). Cunning as a fox, that is.
21 Ready to sleep, but first sponge extremely wet floor (6)
SEABEDABED (ready to sleep), but SE (SpongE, extremely) first.

20 comments on “Times Cryptic 28854 – Sat, 2 March 2024. No googlies.”

  1. 52m 07s which is my historic average for the cryptic.
    My favourite was 5d IAMBIC. Very clever.

  2. I still haven’t fathomed the wordplay for TEA FOR TWO. Are hotels known for offering tea? Two, three decades ago, I stayed in a number of bed & breakfasts in Bloomsbury, hoping for one that had real coffee (no luck!), but I think of a hotel as a grander establishment.

    1. The big London hotels (e.g. The Ritz) do a roaring trade in serving afternoon tea. It’s a way of drawing in non-residents to sample the delights of service and plush surroundings on offer. Lesser establishments also.

      Prices for afternoon tea at The Ritz start at £75 per person and you can see what’s on offer here. Claridges charges from £90 a head. The Dorchester starts at £110.

      1. Aha. Thanks.

        And thanks for the link. The sandwiches at the Claridge and the Dorchester must be even more “finely cut.” Nice to know that one doesn’t have to worry about how to hold one’s cup. Really an enlightening document… “The Ritz was the first hotel to welcome unchaperoned ladies to enjoy Afternoon Tea together. In fact, The Long Gallery was designed specifically for two ladies to walk side by side in their voluminous dresses.”

  3. I needed 54 minutes to complete the grid but there’s nothing on my print-out to suggest why it should have taken me so long – not a single question mark or note in the margins other a couple of workings of anagrist. It will remain a mystery.

    The song Tea For Two by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar first appeared in the musical No, No, Nanette which opened in Chicago in 1924 and transferred the following year to Broadway, pre-dating Doris Day’s association with the song by some 26 years.

  4. I don’t have a time; 20′ online and then leisurely over lunch. I liked IAMBIC & A STORM… (we say ‘a tempest in a teapot’). Bruce, at IAMBIC you’ve got a superfluous A, and ‘of’ should be underlined.

  5. Done in two half-hour sessions. First, the left half, without too much head-scratching, but then stalled, unable to get a foothold in the right. A break and a mug of tea did the trick. Although completed, I was left with a couple of q marks in the margin. I couldn’t parse 13d’s TEA FOR TWO – I didn’t think of that kind of number! – and KEBAB = spit? So the method rather than the result? Never knew that. I’m always grateful for this blog’s insights. Thanks, all.

  6. I have no notes for this, for some reason. However, it wasn’t a stinker and there was some nice wordplay – liked TEA FOR TWO, HOT TUB and KEBAB, though I admit that was post-parsed. CHIMERA was another bif from the crossers, parsing subsequently. I note that right is clued twice in the puzzle as RT and British as BR – I’ve become used to the more normal R and B. A good, fun Saturday workout, thanks, setter. Now off to cast an eye over today’s offering.

  7. Didn’t parse NERO, thought of HOT TUB early on but for some reason didn’t see the parsing for a while so held off on it, and needed all the checkers for PORTFOLIO. Not too tricky otherwise.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Loll
    LOI Portfolio
    COD A storm in a teacup

  8. This by no means fell in. I needed the B to see what kind of ‘spit’ we were after. The cryptic was helpful for not entirely confident understanding of ECLAT, STRAITENED and CHIMERA, words I know but couldn’t have used confidently in that context. The homophone and the cryptic definition needed crossers to drag up PACT and BULLFIGHT even when I knew what was expected of me. Came here for the explanation of TEA FOR TWO and PORTFOLIO although these went in early.

    Thank you Bruce

  9. 27 minutes but I see I bunged in a woeful ISMAIL at the end for IAMBIC

    The STORM anagram was good, ditto BULLFIGHT

    Thanks Bruce and Setter

  10. Did no one else experience a MER at equating a daredevil with a desperado? The latter smacks of illegality to me.

    This was a pleasant solve, thanks to setter and blogger. LOL(l)to seabed.

  11. Enjoyed enormously, especially the larfs given by SEABED, BULLFIGHT and KEBAB (where I had tentatively put the K at the end for a long time). FOI PACT, then LOLL, then the anagrams fell swiftly. Better effort from me for a Saturday puzzle for a long while: maybe currently reading David Astle’s book ‘ Rewording the Brain’ helped? Oh and thanks for the clip Keriothe!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *