Times Cryptic 28902 – Saturday, 27 April 2024. Cook’s tour?

We seemed to go around the world a bit in this puzzle. Happily, nothing unknown but lots of enjoyable clues. 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 Apt reforms at close of business with stock dropping (6)
COWPATCO (business), W (with), PAT (anagram of APT).
4 Man nearly does aquatic sport in island country (8)
10 Whipped cream in a doughnut, say, or a drink (9)
AMERICANO – anagram (whipped): CREAM IN A O.
11 Some irrational impulse to go around fashion centre (5)
MILAN – hidden (some), backwards (to go around).
12 Attacking left-wing group coming into existence (11)
14 Rule for cycling? It’s something boring (3)
AWLLAW (rule), with the L cycling to the back.
15 Person forced to run university after official letter (7)
REFUGEEREF (official), U, GEE (the seventh letter of the alphabet).
17 Celtic’s goalie dropping ball, running about (6)
GAELIC – anagram (running): GALIE (dropping O=ball), then C (about).
19 Joined in song, following alto up to the middle (6)
ALLIEDALTO “up to the middle”, LIED (a German song).
21 Conservative opponent goes around greeting a red (7)
CHIANTIC + ANTI goes around HI.
23 Outspoken, sarcastic American’s spirit (3)
RYE – sounds (when outspoken) like WRY.
24 Politician, one defending goal, is tender of course (11)
26 Underground women’s movement mostly without resistance (5)
METROME TOO without (outside) R.
27 Maybe foil students once, admitting current hesitation (9)
ALUMINIUMALUMNI admitting I (the symbol for electric current) + UM.
29 Provider of meal consuming large one (8)
30 Low interest from banks in awfully limiting way (6)
APATHYAY (“banks” in AwfullY) limiting PATH (way).
1 Where to find a silk cloth’s hem with golden colours (8)
CHAMBERSCH (ClotH’s “hem”), AMBERS (golden colours).
Barristers occupy chambers.
2 I’m very excited before left turn (5)
3 En Angleterre, suis-je un copain? (3)
AMIpardon? An altogether too cryptic definition, I felt at first reading. Actually, not really. “AM I” is the English equivalent of “suis-je”. I suspect a copain is more than your everyday ami. Non?
5 Affectionate daughter tucks into last of Hula Hoops (7)
ADORINGHULA, D, O (first hoop), RING (second hoop).
6 Make less attractive men diet, needing ages to change (11)
DEMAGNETISE – anagram (to change): MEN DIET AGES.
7 Lowbrow Victor Borge’s heading away from European (9)
8 What tourists in Egypt do, wanting energy, and infirm (6)
SENILE – come to Egypt, SEE [the] NILE.
9 Football side concerned with means of promoting growth (6)
13 Recipient of donations urging British Member of Parliament to pursue billions (7,4)
BEGGING BOWLB (billions), EGGING (urging), B (British), OWL (member of parliament).
“Parliament” is the collective noun for owls.
16 Clerk, saving time, getting reward for a bit of a fag (6,3)
FILTER TIPFILER (clerk) saving T + TIP (reward).
18 Strong drinks? The setter’s game (3,5)
GIN RUMMYGIN + RUM (strong drinks), MY(the setter’s).
20 Delivery time of fruit that’s eaten pureed, periodically (3,4)
DUE DATEDATE that’s eaten UED (pUrEeD, periodically).
21 Agree with politician, a despicable sort (6)
22 Gracious king’s saving seat, lowering head (6)
CRUMBSCR’S (king’s) saving UMB (BUM, lowering head).
25 With long clothing, I perhaps put a coat on (5)
PAINTPANT clothing I.
28 Weakling losing head in terror (3)

27 comments on “Times Cryptic 28902 – Saturday, 27 April 2024. Cook’s tour?”

  1. You can put an amatory spin on copain, but the primary meaning (as in Georges Brassens’s “Les Copains d’abord”) is a very good friend (which is most important, I think, in the long run)… just as “ami(e)” becomes a boy/girlfriend when prefaced with “petit(e).” I sometimes sing in karaoke Gilbert Bécaud’s “Seul sur son étoile,” where amour and copain are distinguished:
      C’est qu’on a besoin
      De quelqu’un, ou d’un amour
      Ou bien d’un copain
      Que l’on attend
      Depuis longtemps

    VULGARIAN reminds me of this article: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/03/how-donald-trump-became-the-short-fingered-vulgarian

    1. I have the Brassen’s CD Les Copains d’abord in my collection but sadly my schoolboy French is not up to appreciating it to the full.

    2. On the subject of lovers and friends I have always found Kevin Ayers words from ‘Shouting In A Bucket Blues’ most apposite:

      “Lovers come and lovers go
      But friends are hard to find
      Yes I can count all mine
      On one finger’

      My favourite version is the one on the live album ‘June 1 1974’ featuring the magical guitar work of Ollie Halsall. As drummer John Halsey once said of him: “Ollie might not be the best guitarist in the world, but he’s certainly among the top two.”

      A very entertaining puzzle with some excellent definitions. Many thanks to setter and branch!

      1. I have all of Kevin Ayers’s albums, and I used to sing “Shouting in a Bucket Blues,” which is on his Bananamour as well as June 1, 1974—about which you may have heard this story…

        « The night before the album was recorded, John Cale accused Ayers of sleeping with his then-wife Cindy Wells, which the songwriter and heartthrob admitted to. Upon finding out that there was this underlying tension between the album’s personnel, the record took on a slightly different atmosphere: one of conflict, shame and heartbreak. Fittingly, Cale’s only solo effort on the album was his version of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, a live favourite that the former Velvet Underground star still performs to this day.

        « The tension between Cale and Ayers was captured within the album’s cover art. Taken on the night of the recording, the photographs sees Nico and Brian Eno looming over the pair, as John Cale stares at a smiling Ayers with a look of utter contempt – as though he was trying to fry Ayers with his laser vision. If that was not enough, Cale later used the adultery as inspiration for his track ‘Guts’ from the 1975 album Slow Dazzle, in which he affirms, “The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife, did it quick and split.” Followed by an entire track which seemingly espouses Cale’s desire to kill Ayers. »

        (Writers at Far Out are often rather careless, as the dangler that has the record itself “finding out” about the Ayers/Wells fling reveals.)

        1. Thanks Guy. As a longstanding Ayers/Cale/VU/Eno and all that fan I know the history very well but the story always deserves retelling! I believe a similar indiscretion led to Robert Wyatt’s confinement to a wheelchair although I haven’t followed up the facts so closely. Perhaps you have the authorised version?

          Interesting that Ayers and Cale still collaborated musically after the incident. A bit like the friendship between Clapton and Harrison. Which just goes to show the truth of the quote that started this conversation…

          1. I don’t know any other story than that he was very drunk and climbed out a window at a party at Lady Jane’s. He’s always put a positive spin on it by saying that he would probably have been killed by alcoholism if the accident hadn’t made him quit drinking. The Wikipedia entry has a distressing story about an ableist producer at Top of the Pops who objected to Wyatt’s performing “I’m a Believer” in a wheelchair as “not suitable for family viewing,” wanting him to appear in a wicker chair instead (but he did not comply).

            1. OK. So less dramatic than the one I had heard which was that he was at the party and engaging in Ayers-like behaviour with someone’s girlfriend and ended up in a fight on the balcony and fell (or got thrown) off. Your story hangs together better with his comment about alcoholism though which is typical of him as always taking the positives. Also, no, he wouldn’t have complied with the BBC directive!

              My story came from an early girlfriend to whom I am eternally grateful for having awakened my musical soul. She was always full of music biz gossip and that was one of her stories. Her mum was a palaeontologist at UCL and played bass in a jazz band which I thought was ultra cool and maybe that’s why I always love watching the bass players’ technique when I go to live music. Ayse Hassan of Savages is one who particularly impressed me for example when I saw them with Bo Ningen as support. Bo Ningen came onstage to play with them on their encore and the Bo Ningen bassist was just playing the notes. Well that’s fair enough, it wasn’t her band’s song so she didn’t know it as well, but it provided a great comparison with Ayse who was filling all the available musical space with all sorts of octaves and double stops and trills and power chords and runs and God knows what else. Anyway, sorry, I got carried away there. Back to this girl’s mum, who was always very self-deprecating about it and said things like “Oh I don’t really play, I just stand there and plonk away in the background a bit’ but I’m sure she was better than that.

              1. I had a very bad accident in March 2018 when I was meeting with some bloggers and commenters on the puzzle (not long before I became a blogger) at Pete’s Tavern in Manhattan, and of course I’d been drinking, and I wound up deaf in my left ear, after fracturing my left eye socket, but it may have been a failing ear (there had been premonitory signs…) that… precipitated my fall down a very short flight of stairs more than, or as much as, the alcohol. In any case, I have not stopped drinking, but I wouldn’t second-guess Wyatt’s decision (though it seems being in a wheelchair might be enough to keep him out of trouble). Latest news on him I’ve seen is a Reddit post from February reporting that his memory is failing…

                1. So sorry to hear that (both about you and RW). Are you fully recovered or does the deafness (or anything else) persist?

                  What is your blogging beat? I used to blog alternate Mondays on the QC but gave up because I’m really only interested in the Daily (and The Listener although I haven’t done one for ages, just not getting enough time). The commenters were absolutely lovely on the QC and I was sad to stop but I don’t look in there much any more so if you’re over there I won’t have seen you.

                  Anyway, thanks for the chat.

                  Best wishes.


                  1. Oh but I think you mentioned earlier didn’t you? You blog the Sunday Daily don’t you? (Whereas I take Sundays off from breaking my brain).

                    1. Yes, I alternate Sundays with Keriothe, and feel fortunate to have a week to write it up (although this week’s was done very quickly).
                      I am stone deaf in my left ear, with little hope of that ever changing, but a heavier cross to bear is the incessant tinnitus, in several registers, both objective (an instrument sensitive enough could pick it up) and subjective (all in my brain). I had tinnitus before, but now I think my case must be as bad as that of Céline, whom I’ve been reading lately. Dealing with it is a trick of mind over matter. I have to stoically suppress an emotional reaction to it and always have something else more interesting to think about—or listen to. Maybe I’ll get back to making music eventually (I was doing that with computer code in later years).
                      Take care! Hope to see you one of these Sundays. You’re missing some good puzzles.

                      1. Yes, I’ll come along one Sunday and comment! Are you on tomorrow?

                        My son gets tinnitus with his vestibular migraine – although over many years it now seems to be under control.

                        Computer code music – you sound like a ‘Guy’ of many parts!

                        1. Oh I’m being stupid again. You just said you did this week’s very quickly…

                          And very interesting to hear about your strategies for dealing with the tinnitus. My son is always TATT (Tired All The Time) with his VM simply because he is using so much of his conscious mind dealing with it whereas the rest of us just deal with balance etc automatically.

                        2. Funnily enough I am only now realising how circular this conversation is. I am sitting here at this very moment trying to work out how to play Ollie Halsall’s solos from Shouting In A Bucket Blues (as I have done for many evenings past). I can’t help it: “I admire him… on this side idolatry.”

                          So I am thoroughly engaged in some analogue musical analysis whereas you sound like you do the same thing on the digital side…

                        3. Ran out of room below to reply.
                          I never tried his solos on that, though I did play around with overdubbing a lead. In my later digitized phase I did some things with MIDI and sounds on my synth and samples but the last several years only microtonally tuned drone music, mainly with sine tones generated and algorithmically controlled by the famous Max software (Radiohead uses it).

                    2. My blog this week is about last Sunday’s puzzle. Keriothe will be blogging this week’s.

                2. As you say, we ran out of space. I’ll try and get time to do the Sunday tomorrow and may be we’ll talk again.

                  1. Oh yes. Of course. Well I still might look in and have a go at it and then pick up on your blog next week.

                    1. MY blog is coming out in a few hours. About last week’s puzzle.
                      Maybe I’ll see you in two weeks, then! 😉

  2. Fortunately for me, I looked up CRUMBS some time ago when it was used here by a blogger or solver; otherwise I would have had a hard time with the clue. The setter gets ‘O’ with ‘doughnut’, ‘ball’, and ‘hoops’. I liked GAELIC.

  3. A slightly easier Saturday puzzle than usual, I thought.

    32 minutes with the last four spent on CRUMBS, but I didn’t parse it until after stopping the clock.

  4. A big DNF, as all in and parsed save CRUMBS, which for the life of me I couldn’t get, even after multiple visits. It’s not that I don’t know the expression – I’ve used it occasionally – but the lowering head put me right off, as I assumed the king was R. A shame, as the rest of the puzzle was enjoyable. I liked DEMAGNETISE and CHIANTI. Didn’t like METRO, as Me Too doesn’t exclusively comprise women – there are both male supporters and victims (a double ‘mostly’ might have solved that one).

  5. Done and dusted in 35 minutes so I agree that it must have been at the easier end of the spectrum. Still provided good training, though. Thanks, all.

  6. Only noticed when I reached 23a RYE on the blog that 22d CRUMBS was blank. Solved that, so the total solving time was about 168 hours. Nice to see King Charles III has his uses.
    I agree, at the easier end. Liked 18d GIN RUMMY and 1a COWPAT.

  7. LOI CRUMBS after penny finally dropped. Needed help parsing BEGGING BOWL (oh, that sort of parliament) and APATHY (when will I remember that banks means edges!). Liked COWPAT not least because I fully appreciate just how misdirected I would have been by this clue not 6 months ago. Thanks for the blog B.

  8. Found this fairly straightforward, with only FILTER TIP being less than familiar.

    COD Cowpat


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