Times Cryptic 28860 – Sat, 9 March 2024. More things in heaven and earth …

… than I’ve ever heard of. 11ac was one I didn’t know – and 12ac was a bit of a stretch, too. Delightful definitions at 8 and 15dn! Otherwise, fairly plain sailing. 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 From which Spooner might have phoned water regulators? (9)
BALLCOCKS – Spooner is imagined to have phoned from a CALL BOX. Ho ho.
6 One included in his progeny? (5)
SPROG – hidden in “hiS PROGeny“.
9 Character oddly mislaid bus pass in west side of London (7)
UPSILON – UPSI = every second letter of “b U P a S s  I n”, then LON = west side of “LON don”. A Greek letter not commonly encountered, although I discovered there is an upsilon meson!
10 Rumpled journalist chasing crew-cut Anglo-Saxon (7)
CREASEDCREw (cut) + AS (Anglo-Saxon) + ED.
11 Will lover possibly stop affair in due course? (10)
BARDOLATERBAR (stop), DO (affair / party), LATER (in due course).
This was my LOI. I was skeptical even after I saw the wordplay, but it’s in the dictionary. A Shakespeare lover, of course.
12 Sanctimonious about unnatural desire (4)
PICAPI (sanctimonious – a much more satisfactory definition of “pi” than we sometimes see), CA (about).
Two in a row; this was my POI. I had faint recollections of this meaning.
14 Publicist of legendary batsman (not British) (5)
ADMANbrADMAN (Donald Bradman, famous Aussie cricketer – no doubt unfamiliar to our US solvers!), without BR.
15 Rambling partner once joined up (9)
EXCURSIVEEX, CURSIVE (joined up [handwriting]).
16 Artist on streets breaking rules in ultimate provocation (4,5)
LAST STRAWST ST (street x 2) + RA, all breaking LAW.
18 Brushed last of locks and blubbed (5)
SWEPTS (last of lockS), WEPT.
20 Back of coat with skirt and hood (4)
THUGT (last of coaT), HUG (skirt). I might have raised an eyebrow, but Chambers has: hug (t.v.) … (4) to keep close to or skirt.
21 Reveal top competitive rider (10)
SHOWJUMPER – needs no explanation.
25 Ban retired setter, boozer with zest (7)
EMBARGOEM (ME i.e. the setter, retired), BAR, GO.
26 Our uni’s shockingly dilapidated (7)
RUINOUS – anagram: OUR UNIS (shockingly)
27 Trunk and bunk turned round thus (5)
TORSOTOR (ROT, turned round), SO.
28 Seedy old Romeo ejected from theatre in outskirts of Malvern (4-5)
MOTH-EATENO (old) + THEATrE (R=Romeo ejected), in MN (outskirts of MalverN).
Don’t try to assemble this wordplay at home. Pay IKEA to do it for you!
1 Puff of cloud, first sign of blizzard (5)
BLURBBLUR (cloud), B (first “sign: of Blizzard)
2 Five years of lechery and alcohol (7)
LUSTRUMLUST, RUM. I didn’t know this word. Apparently the Romans had a purification ceremony called a lustrum every five years!!
3 Local news broadcast ultimately betrays inexperience (10)
CALLOWNESS – anagram: LOCAL NEWS (broadcast) + S (betrayS, ultimately).
4 Musician’s twice shunning hemp plant (5)
CANNACANNAbis. “Bis” is a musical instruction meaning “twice”.
5 One above criticism landed in barge (6,3)
SACRED COWACRED (landed, as the “landed gentry” are, owning their rolling acres), in SCOW.
6 Try to find faithful person by word of mouth (4)
SEEK – sounds (by word of mouth) like SIKH.
7 Composer runs former East German province, largely (7)
ROSSINIR + OSSI + N.I. (Northern Ireland is the province, as usual)
8 Font choice upset grand poet (9)
GODPARENT – anagram: GRAND POET (upset). Cute definition.
13 Mob united with rebel force (10)
PRESSURISEPRESS (mob), U (united), RISE (to rebel).
14 The whole of humanity’s enthralled by overblown plot (9)
ALLOTMENTALL (the whole of) + MEN (humanity, or half thereof) enthralled by OTT (overblown).
15 Hearing couple reserving hotel room and early bird breakfast? (9)
EARTHWORMEAR (hearing), TWO (couple) reserving H, RM (room).
17 Sleep in hovel right behind deserted bathhouse (7)
SLUMBERSLUM (hovel), R behind BE (deserted BathhousE).
19 Polite invalid accepting kiss for heroic deed (7)
EXPLOIT – anagram: POLITE (invalid), accepting X (kiss).
22 Most inferior hammer (5)
WORST – two definitions: as an adjective; and as a verb meaning “to beat/trounce”.
23 Commit offence in pursuit of extremely rare hashish? (5)
RESINSIN in pursuit of RE (extremely RarE).
24 Burritos regularly providing energy (4)
BRIOB u R r I t O s, regularly.

19 comments on “Times Cryptic 28860 – Sat, 9 March 2024. More things in heaven and earth …”

  1. A good way to start the day this morning. 43 minutes and all green though at the end I was wondering what musical instrument is played by a CANNA. SHUTEYE seemed a reasonable guess for 17d until prised out with the help of crossers. This has been discussed before, but I think the ‘province, largely’ for NI at 7d refers to only six of the nine counties of the traditional Irish province of Ulster being included in present day Northern Ireland.

    I did manage to get it ‘in due course’ but BARDOLATER as my LOI felt like the LAST STRAW at the time. Favourites were seeing LUSTRUM again and the ‘Font choice’ def for GODPARENT.

    Thanks to Bruce and setter

  2. 27′
    Half online, half over lunch. I somehow copied Vinyl: knew BARDOLATER & PICA, biffed SACRED COW & MOTH-EATEN. COD to GODPARENT (font choice!).

  3. I have a crazy solving time of 80 minutes for this one with a note on the printout to say I found the lower half easy and the top half very difficult with more than its share of unknowns: BARDOLATER, PICA, LUSTRUM, CANNA and OSSI. If I’d known the last one I’d have entered ROSSINI a lot earlier in the proceedings, which may have helped. As it was, I was trying to explain OSSINI as a former ‘East German province’, and that was never going to happen.

  4. A steady solve, as already mentioned the unlikely looking BARDOLATER and CANNA both quite gettable.
    1ac is one of the better Spoonerisms, if there is such a thing!
    Lustrum is a Latin invention, true, but it does still crop up from time to time, particularly in academic and legal circles, just meaning a five year period.

  5. A tale of two halves. Bottom half, no problem. Top half, no chance! Just couldn’t make head nor tail of too many and I see now that I’d also never heard of a number of the answers – BARDOLATER, PICA, EXCURSIVE, LUSTRUM – making things even trickier. Plus spent ages trying to think of a typeface at 8d… Wrong kind of font! Just not my week. Thanks, all.

  6. It’s interesting that the non-Brits found this easier than we did, going by the comments above. For a start BARDOLATER was unheard-of and, more to the point, I couldn’t quite believe there was such a word. As a result, 1D took forever as well, since I had the first B and wasn’t looking for another one. I wondered about brume, but wasn’t sure if it was an English word as well as a French one. UPSILON went in from wordplay, luckily. Other late entries were the brilliant GODPARENT which then gave me PICA, most often referenced by pregnant women’s desire to eat coal, or whatever. CANNA was unparsed, as I hadn’t realised bis was specific to music so, like Bletchley Reject, was completely confused by the redundant? musician, though knew Canna lily. As always, pleased to finish all correct and enjoyed the challenge. Thank you setter and Branch.

  7. Thank you for the help with with hug=skirt from Chambers for 20ac THUG. (Also your links to the glossary is a nice touch).

    Working out what the “largely” was doing in 7d ROSSINI was rather an education for me! (BletchleyReject‘s comment explains what’s going on).

    I was familiar with province=NI from crosswords, but I hadn’t appreciated that referring to Northern Ireland as a province doesn’t go down well with everyone. I know one has to be careful relying on Wikipedia for sensitive issues, but I found the section Northern Ireland – Descriptions helpful (including reading the footnote references):

    There is no generally accepted term to describe what Northern Ireland is: province, region, country or something else.[15][16][17] The choice of term can be controversial and can reveal the writer’s political preferences.[16] …Many commentators prefer to use the term “province”, although that is also not without problems. It can arouse irritation, particularly among nationalists, for whom the title province is properly reserved for the traditional province of Ulster, of which Northern Ireland comprises six out of nine counties.[16][120]

    I’m glad that I am now aware of this issue, but I can see that recent crosswords in both the Guardian and FT have used “province”= “NI”.

  8. 17.23

    Love Spoonerisms and 1ac was a good ‘un. Didn’t know a bunch but the w/p was clear and they are the sort of clues I like.

    THUG LOI and needed an alpha trawl or two and some squintage

    Thanks Bruce and Setter

    1. No, that indication is implicit in the reference to Spooner. Spoonerisms involve only the sounds, not the spelling.

  9. Happy to complete most of the grid before looking at the blog for BARDOLATER/BLURB/UPSILON and BALLCOCKS (cross I didn’t get latter as spoonerisms are my favourite type of clue). CANNA and PICA were known, ossi and scow weren’t. Many thanks for the blog B. I’ll keep plugging away…

  10. DNF, defeated by BARDOLATER, which I got nowhere near.

    Didn’t know CANNA, but followed the instructions; had to trust that PICA is an unnatural desire; took ages to get the clever GODPARENT; only knew LUSTRUM from these crosswords.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Godparent

  11. What is the purpose of ‘largely’ in 7d? Seems that the clue is explained without reference to that.

  12. At last a Saturday puzzle (mostly) within my grasp . Only unknowns were bis (musical=twice) to reveal CANNA; UPSILON as a character; and PICA as “unnatural desire”. LUSTRUM vaguely remembered, once I had the RUM, and built the unknown EXCURSIVE from strict adherence to the wordplay. Most of the clues very cleverly presented (I dislike Spoonerisms, but this one quite neat); but CODs to EARTHWORM, SLUMBER and BARDOLATER (amongst whose number I count myself).


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