Times Cryptic 28878 – Sat, 30 March 2024. Slow, slow, …

I definitely wasn’t on my game with this one. I think it was me though, not the puzzle. Thanks, setter. How did all you solvers get on with this one?

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 Note held by jazz men making an entrance (5,4)
SWING DOORSWING (jazz), DO (note: do, re, mi …), OR (men, not officers).
6 Tasteless end taken off alternative to cigarette papers (5)
VAPIDVAPe (alternative to cigarette, with the end taken off), ID (papers).
9 Unapologetic newspaper article penned by expert (7)
DEFIANTI (the newspaper) + AN (a grammatical article), penned by DEFT (expert).
10 Trouble over checking almost baffling script (6,1)
LINEAR ALIA (AIL=trouble, over) checking NEAR (almost).
Read about the script here.
11 One checking posters in government department (3)
MOD – two meanings. I knew of the Ministry of Defence. I didn’t know that social media moderators are called “mods”.
12 Republican extremist at countless riots (11)
SANSCULOTTE – anagram (riots): AT COUNTLESS.
The sans-culottes were activists in the French Revolution.
14 Husband, getting on, finished job in bank? (4-2)
I liked the definition.
15 Way more bizarre strings player (8)
17 Referee, say, in game with sides conserving energy (8)
WHISTLERWHIST (a card game), L+R conserving E.
“Say” flags that it’s a DBE.
19 Writing from the right account inspires religious scholar putting out book (6)
ARABICAC inspires RAbBI, putting out B.
22 After time in cell, fail to supply weapon (7,4)
23 Filling snack ? I demand a little butter (3)
KID – hidden (filling): snack? I demand
25 Crew member wearing loose jeans in capital city (3,4)
SAN JOSEOS (crew member)  wearing an anagram (loose) of: JEANS.
It’s the capital of Costa Rica, not the city in California! Is anyone else hearing a Dionne Warwick earworm?
27 Unfinished relation about area where Moors were (7)
GRANADAGRANDAd (unfinished) about A.
28 Magistrate arresting instigator of dirty trick (5)
DODGEDOGE (Venetian magistrate) about (instigator of) Dirty.
29 Firm’s publicity getting fine in rogue states (9)
STEADFASTAD + F in rogue (anagram) STATES.
1 Turf outsiders out of home in wicked place (5)
SODOMSOD, hOMe (outsiders” out).
2 One dissenting from popular line plugged by chess authority (7)
INFIDELIN + L plugged by F.I.D.E. (the world chess body).
3 Aid for gardener caught breaking pot, say (5-6)
GRASS-CUTTERC (caught) breaking GRASS (pot) + UTTER (say).
I didn’t know what this was, but it turns out it’s just a lawn mower!
4 Choosing to invest money in mail facility once raised (6)
OPTINGTIN (money) in OPG (GPO, raised). It’s not the GPO any more.
5 Consider eating e.g. cabbage climbing up sticks (8)
RELOCATERATE (consider) eating ELOC (COLE, raised).
6 Beheaded terrible ruler in leading position (3)
VANiVAN the Terrible, beheaded.
7 Long trousers hospital medic turned up, showing spirit (7)
PHANTOMPANT (long) trousers H (hospital) + OM (MO, turned up).
8 Opposing one punching timecard at work (9)
DIAMETRIC – anagram (at work): TIMECARD + I.
13 Museum trustees getting feature installed in Windows (6-5)
LOUVRE-BOARDLOUVRE (the museum),  BOARD (trustees).
I didn’t know the expression! Hereabouts they are just called louvres.
14 Upset child flogged dresses with curvy features (4-5)
HAWK-NOSEDHAWKED (flogged) dresses NOS (SON, upset).
16 Queen tucked into jam, refusing to share, for example (8)
18 Hardened guards navy’s leader put in vessel (7)
INURNEDINURED (hardened) guards Navy (leader).
The vessel is an urn.
20 Cook cut hot rock cake (7)
21 Porridge is cold, with no flipping goodness in New York (6)
CONGEEC, ON (NO, flipping), GEE (goodness!).
24 Darn stocking following plan (5)
DRAFTDRAT (darn!), stocking F.
26 Lyrical composition, outstanding in recital (3)
ODE – sounds (in recital) like: OWED.

10 comments on “Times Cryptic 28878 – Sat, 30 March 2024. Slow, slow, …”

  1. I don’t remember much about this except it seems to be all green. Several words that were very plausible but I don’t think I’ve come across before: INURNED, LOUVRE-BOARD, GRASS-CUTTER. LOI was RELOCATE.

  2. I don’t think it was just you, Bruce. I wrote on my copy ‘expletive deleted hard’ and added that the solving experience had not been enjoyable.

    I didn’t pick out any clues as particularly troublesome other than LOUVRE BOARD which was unknown to me, but I remember struggling throughout and finishing with 55 minutes on the clock.

  3. Just did this a few hours ago, finishing in 48 minutes. I found it quite difficult too. I didn’t know the MOD abbreviation for a social media moderator, the ‘chess authority’, a LOUVRE-BOARD as a thing, INURNED (not a v. attractive sounding word) or CONGEE as a sort of ‘Porridge’. HAWK-NOSED for ‘with curvy features’ didn’t immediately occur to me either and only went in with the help of the crossing W.

    Favourite was the ‘up sticks’ def for RELOCATE which was my LOI. Yep, I’m hearing the (56 year-old) earworm loud and clear!

    Thanks to Bruce

  4. This was a struggle that ended as a DNF – so technically, it didn’t end at all! I was stumped by several, starting with 1d where I plumped for first SEDGE, then SEDUM. Seems I was at the wrong end of the clue! NHO SANSCULOTTE, LOUVRE BOARD, INURNED, CONGEE, and simply beaten by ARABIC, plus several others. I think my brain had waved the white flag… Can’t say I enjoyed this one – even those I got didn’t feel like they clicked into place. Thanks to all.

  5. I couldn’t get the measure of this one last Saturday and revisited it on Tuesday, when I was able to finish the last quarter or so. I didn’t make notes at the time, but MOD as moderator was unknown, and I had to take SAN JOSÉ and FIDE on trust. The type of door took a long time to see, as jazz and swing aren’t synonyms and there was nothing to indicate DBE. Likewise GRASS-CUTTER and LOUVRE BOARD were odd terms I wouldn’t use. I was also held up by having HOOK-NOSED for a long time. I thought PHANTOM and SANSCULOTTE were great clues, however.

  6. No idea of the time, but it took time. No idea what the poster-checker was, but M_D left little room for choice. NHO that CONGEE, only the (irrelevant) French one. Didn’t care much for GRANADA (well, I wouldn’t, would I? considering how much time it took me): Granada? Oh, right, the place where Moors were. And HAWK-NOSED means have a (one) curved nose; hardly ‘curvy features’. I did like ‘[climbing] up sticks’.

  7. Thank you for the blog (and the helpful links).

    I enjoyed the “one checking posters” MOD clue (11ac) – modern usages can be good and fun (and I can see it’s in Collins). But I did wonder if it would be rather obscure for people who aren’t online so much. If people on this website hadn’t heard of it, it might be really tough for some other solvers!

    I was familiar with it from message boards/ Facebook pages: “I hope this advert is within the rules, if not can mods please delete” etc.

    But also concerning BTL (below the line) comments on newspaper websites. “I tried to comment on [controversial columnist]’s latest article, pointing out his mistakes, but the [newspaper title]’s mods are deleting all negative comments” etc.

  8. Didn’t parse LINEAR A; only vaguely remembered FIDE for INFIDEL; never heard of CONGEE so relied on the wordplay; didn’t know cole as cabbage for RELOCATE; didn’t realise SAN JOSE is the capital of Costa Rica, and fortunately didn’t need to.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Van
    LOI Swing door
    COD Mod

  9. Late entry with a 45 min finish

    FIDE a write in for me (Candidates Tournament currently in full swing) and knew CONGEE but couldnt get the LOUVRE bit because I stared blankly at ____OMER for yonks (PATHOMER LANEOMER MODEOMER etc) . That was v g misdirection as was the upside down cabbage. Even when I had all the checkers and could only see RELOCATE I couldnt see the definition

    Thanks Bruce and setter

  10. Too difficult for me: only managed a few myself – about half. Several unknowns:LINEAR A, COOGEE, SANSCULOTTE, INURNED, LOUVRE BOARD. And I take issue with “Curvy features “ being (singular of course) HAWK NOSED! In my experience, people with that feature generally have the opposite of curvy features. (Sour grapes, as I’d put in HOUR GLASS).


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