Times Cryptic 28896 – Saturday, 20 April 2024. Pharmaceutical failure.

Once again the drug reference was a mystery. Otherwise, enjoyable but not too easy. 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.

Across
1 Rubbish celebrity almost securing a great deal (7)
FLOTSAMFAME (almost), securing LOTS.
Flotsam floats away, jetsam is washed ashore.
5 Backsliding British publication went ahead and took risks (7)
GAMBLEDGAMB=B MAG, backsliding + LED.
9 Provide food, support and help with moving things? (11)
CATERPILLARCATER + PILLAR.
10 Drink in the bar regularly (3)
TEA – alternate letters of ThE bAr.
11 Silly Republican in daft clothing? (6)
DRIPPYR in DIPPY.
Neither DRIPPY nor DIPPY is in my active vocabulary, but they’re both in the dictionary.
12 Artist is corrupt and about to steal lead from churches (8)
SCULPTORROT (to corrupt) + PLUS (and), all backwards (about), and including (stealing) C (lead from “churches”).
Tricky.
14 So her fancy meal has scope for fungus (5,8)
HORSE MUSHROOM – anagram (fancy): SO HER, then MUSH (meal) + ROOM (scope).
17 Very insignificant thing featuring in terribly asinine film (13)
INFINITESIMALIT (thing) featuring in anagram (terribly) of ASININEFILM.
21 Again accept when to open an American’s CV (8)
REASSUMEAS (when) to open RESUMÉ (CV).
As an Aussie, I’m sometimes intrigued by the setter’s distinctions between British and American words or phrases. These two are completely interchangeable for me.
23 A number of houses close to collapse, say (6)
ESTATEE (close to collapsE), STATE.
25 Bones from fish turned over (3)
DOCCOD turned over.
26 Party guest leaving us to collect that lady (3-8)
GET-TOGETHERGuEsT (leaving U-S), TO GET HER.
27 Identical signatures always primarily included in TV intro music? (3,4)
THE SAMESA (Signatures Always, primarily), inclued in THEME.
28 Accomplished revolutionary ripped apart French philosopher (7)
DIDEROTDID (accomplished), EROT (TORE, revolutionary).
Down
1 Gradually tire going round clubs after a show (6)
FACADE – F(AC)ADE.
Why not FA(CA)DE? Because, being pedantic, the clue says “C (clubs) after A“.
2 Huge tail of distinct, brightly coloured bird (7)
OSTRICHOS (huge), T (tail of distincT), RICH.
3 Empty container in a prison redesigned for waste material (5,4)
SCRAP IRONCR (empty ContaineR) in an anagram of (redesigned): APRISON.
4 Head of state on the radio (4)
MAIN – sounds like (on the radio) MAINE.
5 Sandwich possibly good, certainly with large filling (4,6)
GOLF COURSEG (good), OF COURSE (certainly), with L filling.
I vaguely remember that I was surprised last time too, when Sandwich turned out to be a golf course.
6 Decent mark on exam (5)
MORALM (mark), ORAL (exam).
7 Forget about that bird trapped among bricks! (3,2,2)
LET IT GOTIT trapped among LEGO.
8 Plans to assist lifting some weight (8)
DIAGRAMSDIA (AID, lifting), GRAMS.
13 Measure beat in heart (10)
CENTIMETRETIME (beat, as in “keeping the beat/time”) in CENTRE.
15 Paths made around an area of London (9)
HAMPSTEAD – anagram of PATHS MADE (around).
16 Crim stirred up trouble over some LSD (8)
MICRODOT – anagram (stirred up) of: CRIM, ODOT (TO-DO, over).
It’s apparently a small dose of LSD. I had no idea.
18 Money paid to host one political group in Pretoria, as intended (7)
FIANCEEFEE (money paid) to host I + A.N.C.
19 Hide from everyone at first in state of agitation (7)
LEATHERE (Everyone, at first) in LATHER.
20 Media magnate tries acquiring Time (6)
HEARST HEARS (tries [a court case]), acquiring T.
William Randolph Hearst, grandfather of Patti.
22 Mark ignores final part of suspect letter from overseas (5)
SIGMASTIGMA ignores T.
24 School somehow managed with power cut (2-2)
CO-EDCOpED.

20 comments on “Times Cryptic 28896 – Saturday, 20 April 2024. Pharmaceutical failure.”

  1. About 70 minutes. I worked steadily through without any particular difficulty. FOI GET-TOGETHER, then TEA, LET IT GO, INFINITESMAL, SCRAP IRON. LOI HEARST. Biffed MICRODOT from crossing letters. Thanks Branch for parsing. Would never have got it myself.

  2. I wasn’t sure about ‘dippy’ or DRIPPY (‘dip’ I remember from childhood, but it didn’t mean a daft person; ‘drip’ was a generally unappealing type, not a silly one). DNK Sandwich was a golf course. FLOTSAM is stuff that floats to the surface from a wreck; jetsam is stuff that is thrown from a ship. I liked 24d for its surface.

    1. Well, your take on flotsam v. jetsam is exactly what I would have said, but I made the mistake of looking in Chambers, which tells me:

      flotsam /flotˈsəm/
      noun
      Goods lost by shipwreck and found floating on the sea

      jetsam /jetˈsəm/
      noun
      Goods jettisoned from a ship and washed up on shore

      1. Chambers and I agree, then; except that I didn’t think jetsam has to reach the shore. (I now see that ODE also includes ‘washed ashore’ in its definition.)

      2. The legal distinction between FLOTSAM and jetsam is that the former can be reclaimed by the ship’s owner but the latter becomes the property of the finder. I always felt the logic was backwards-if you throw things overboard in a storm to lighten the ship you’re acting under duress to avoid sinking, not suggesting you don’t want the stuff!

  3. MICRODOT posed no problem. I lost track of how many times I dropped acid but the last was on the Fourth of July in 1993. As it happens, as I tune in here I am watching an interview (YouTube) with the “analytic idealist” (very Jungian) philosopher Bernardo Kastrup and he was just now talking at length about his experiencing ego death on psychedelics (synchronicity!). Very “I am he as you are he as you are me / And we are all together.” (I first encountered Kastrup the other day in an aborted debate—ending in mutual acrimony—with materialist philosopher of physics Tim Maudlin, whose views on quantum mechanics and how the Bell Theorem proves non-locality I’ve found enlightening. I fell into this rabbit hole just last week, Maudlin’s gravitational field having pulled me in when I was in YouTube free fall.)

  4. 36 minutes. MAIN and SCULPTOR were my last two in. The definition of CATERPILLLAR was tricky and stopped me in my tracks for a while.

    The DIPPY / DRIPPY device came up in a 15×15 puzzle I blogged on 2nd April.

    NHO MICRODOT as drug-related, only as a data storage medium used by spies etc.

  5. The discussions here are endlessly fascinating – I’d come for them even if I didn’t need the blog’s help for the crosswords! So, anyway, done, but it took longer – even longer – than my usual hour, stumped by 14ac -NHO HORSE MUSHROOM; are we back on drugs again? 5d was slow to connect to golf course, and I didn’t know the association between MICRODOT and LSD. Naively I was thinking around pounds, shillings and pence… Guesswork got me there eventually. Thanks, all.

  6. 12a I was unable to parse SCULPTOR so thanks branch.
    re 21 a Resume; Aussie/US imports of words I noticed when there that there are quite a lot, but some Americanisms haven’t made it. I often fail to see Americanisms as such as I worked in UK for US firms for 20+ yrs. I know much less antipodean argot, and occasionally don’t understand.
    POI 25a COD (not clue of the day), I only knew of Bones=doc from Star Trek.
    14a HORSE MUSHROOM familiar to me, mum would always collect them if she saw them. They are just very large mushrooms which one may be pretty confident aren’t poisonous (if you can peel them then they are OK). There are thousands of fungi, quite a lot of which resemble shop-bought edible ones. A very few of these are NOT edible. Not sure about meal=MUSH though.

      1. One long weekend, our day school went to visit a boarding school for a sporting event. Our hosts invited us to lunch, which the visitors all scorned. The boarders fell on it with gusto tho!

    1. JerryW’s school experience apart, Chambers has this as its very first definition:

      mush: Meal, esp cornmeal, boiled in water or milk until thick.

  7. 19:32

    Unknowns included HORSE MUSHROOM though checkers indicated that it couldn’t be much else. Took a while to justify THE SAME. Liked LET IT GO.

    Thanks B and setter

  8. Didn’t submit this as we’re in the States and I forgot, though having had a Saturday win just a few weeks ago, I don’t expect I’d be lucky so soon. HORSE MUSHROOM taken on trust, as was MICRODOT, no clue of why the answer was thus… We’re on an island with 6 golf courses, so taking ages to get Sandwich as a course was slightly embarrassing, though we don’t play ourselves. The attraction is the beautiful scenery and the abundance of wildlife, particularly birds (sorry, Astronowt!) Anyway, thanks for the enlightenment, Branch.

  9. NHO Messrs DIDEROT or HEARST; relied on wordplay for MICRODOT; didn’t parse HORSE MUSHROOM. No real problems otherwise.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Tea
    LOI Hearst
    COD Sculptor

  10. I took 53 minutes and found this very enjoyable, although slow going at times. DRIPPY was doable only because it has come up before (as Jack reminded us) and for MICRODOT I originally had MICRODAT, the MICR coming from crim but with ADO as the trouble to be turned over and no idea how the T was to be explained. Then the penny dropped and I corrected it before submission. DIDEROT no problem, but my knowing HEARST perhaps shows my age, since he was at least famous for some time after his death (and I was born before it). Of course DIDEROT was somewhat older.

    1. But film literates will know Hearst as the real-life inspiration for Citizen Kane.

      (Dropped in from QC-land again, DNF after 83 minutes, lacking GOLF COURSE, FLOTSAM (shame!), CATERPILLAR (even more shame!). 🙃)

  11. Interesting to see a self-confessed “drop-in from QC-land”! I wonder if there are many such, who come here just to read the witty and informative blog and comments. I know that much of my enjoyment in tackling the TftT comes from this.
    I did ok, happy to remember DIDEROT, and DOC from Mash, but although I had INFINITESIMAL straight away, didn’t enter, as I was convinced it had 2Ss! That aside, a fairly steady solve, with only NHO the HORSE MUSHROOM, which I will now Google in a futile attempt to fix it in my diminishing brain. COD FIANCÉE.

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