Times Cryptic 28908 – Saturday, 4 May 2024. You and whose army?

Times Cryptic 28902 – Saturday, 4 May 2024. You and whose army?

I did this in bits and pieces, during a disjointed day, so I don’t have a feel for how hard it was. I borrowed this headline from an old Verlaine blog, to celebrate the delightful pun at 4dn. 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 Twisted frames corroded, left in a pitiful way (10)
WRETCHEDLYWRY frames ETCHED+L.
6 Do some work in zoo — left tips (4)
SWIZ – first (left) letters of Some Work In Zoo.
9 You are initially baffled by fresh alarm (7)
PERTURBPERT (fresh), U (you), R (are), B (initially Baffled)
10 Very loud on my watch, becoming calm (4,3)
COOL OFFCOO (my!), LO (watch!), FF (very loud – a musical instruction, of course).
12 Most ostentatious, hosting a party — or quite the opposite? (10)
SHADOWIEST – when solving, I thought this was SHOWIEST, hosting A DO. But now I see that would give one too many Os. Any suggestions, people?
13 Survivor shrugging off case of Catholic priest (3)
ELIrELIc (survivor), shrugging off RC ([Roman] Catholic).
15 Two-hour passage opens legend etc of prophet (6)
HADITHADIT (passage) opens HH (H for hour, twice).
The Hadith has tales of the prophet Muhammed.
16 Very small females dancing (8)
SELFSAME – anagram (dancing): S FEMALES.
“The very person”.
18 Note makers of shelter across lake put in pair separated by pond (8)
UKULELESLEE across L gives LELE, put in UK+US (a pair of countries, separated by the “pond”).
20 Scoop from barge last of coal (6)
SHOVELSHOVE, coaL.
23 Shrink perhaps from something false, retreating (3)
DOCCOD (something false – a jest or scam, for example, retreating).
24 Become ally of Kuwait with the power to corrupt (4,2,4)
TAKE UP WITH – anagram (to corrupt): KUWAIT THE P.
26 Broadcast returns with two German couples in resort area (7)
RIVIERA – “vier” is German for 4 (two x 2). So, VIER in RIA (AIR=broadcast, returns).
27 As masochist is perhaps speaking, gas produced! (7)
PROPANE – when speaking, a masochist might be PRO PAIN. “Produced” is just there for the surface reading of the clue, I think.
28 At the right time of the month, changing leader (4)
DULYJULY, changing leader.
29 Names on envelopes potentially also put on notes and notices (10)
ADDRESSEESADD (also put on), RES (as in do’s, re’s, mi’s, fa’s, …), SEES (notices).
Down
1 Did keen team of ours put on training? (4)
WEPTWE, P.T.
2 After chopping, tree had connected with the ground (7)
EARTHED – anagram (chopping): TREE HAD.
3 Sudden switching of power on without gas hit production (4,2,7)
COUP DE THÉÂTRE COUP D’ÉTAT (sudden switching of power) + RE (on), without=outside HE (helium – a gas).
It took ages to unravel this!
4 Army crooks? (6)
ELBOWS – ELBOWS are crooks in the arm, or “army” crooks, geddit!?
This “army” comes up just often enough to make me smile every time!
5 Was servant shortage observed? (8)
LACKEYEDLACK (shortage), EYED (observed).
7 Invitation possibly to academy to pursue one place for launches (7)
WOOMERAWOO ME (to pursue one), R.A. ([Royal] Academy).
If you’re as puzzled by the word order as I was, I think you need to read it as an invitation to the R.A., to please WOO ME.
8 Director raised cap before shoot, then turned evil! (10)
ZEFFIRELLIZEF (FEZ=cap, raised), FIRE (shoot), LLI (ILL=evil, raised).
I needed the wordplay, to sort out the spelling.
11 Unwelcome sign in golf store, keeping article in safe (3,2,3,5)
OUT OF THE WOODSOUT OF WOODS (ho, ho), keeping THE.
14 Ought to echo very left-wing bore (10)
SHOULDEREDSHOULD (ought), E (echo), RED (left wing).
17 Cards to give worker on board (8)
DECKHAND – DECK (all 52 cards), HAND (to give).
19 Impolite to give Latin numbers to country group! (7)
UNCIVILU.N. (country group, as in a group of countries) + CI = 101, VI = 6, L = 50.
21 Corrupt jockey keeps at it, somehow (7)
VITIATEVIE (jockey, as in jockeying/vying for the lead), keeps TIAT (anagram, somehow, of AT IT).
22 Woolly judge quietly interrupting sounds indecisive (6)
JUMPERJ (judge), P (quiet) interrupts UM + ER (indecisive sounds).
25 Somewhere to eat a dog’s dinner (4)
MESS – double definition. The first a military eating hall.

16 comments on “Times Cryptic 28908 – Saturday, 4 May 2024. You and whose army?”

  1. Could ‘party’ in SHADOWIEST be D(emocratic)? We’ve had R(epublican) a few dozen times, but I don’t recall D, but why not? I didn’t notice the problem. Biffed ELBOWS, didn’t get ‘army’.

    1. I don’t recall either R or D being clued as “party” before, but I don’t have any other good ideas either!

      1. You’re right about R; ditto for C? This well could be–dare I say it?–a mistake by the setter.

        1. I’m afraid you’re right. We have had DUP as “party” and “political party” before, but I daresay not R or D alone for the US red and blue, respectively. And it would be prohibitively ambiguous in this clue, since DO is so common for “party.” I didn’t notice the error (but think I would if I were blogging this… on any week except the last, at least. Ha).

  2. 40 minutes. Yes, I’m sure 12ac is an error. D for Democrat would be one thing but D for ‘party’ is not on.

    I looked twice at the definition of COUP DE THEATRE as I never heard of it used in any sense other than a dramatic turn of events in a play or a sensational piece of stagecraft, but I see all the usual sources have it covered as a theatrical hit.

  3. I found this challenging, and was ultimately a DNF, defeated by the north-west triangle. I understood what 1ac wanted me to do but didn’t equate WRY with “twisted” or ETCHED with “corroded”. 3d: had a guess at COUP DE but was stumped by the rest – NHO and couldn’t figure out the clue. 15ac same. Went haywire on 9ac, assuming “You are initially” meant YA… And so it went on. And ELBOWS was just plain sneaky! Will celebrate the half I did get! Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’m with the 12ac it’s-a-mistake theory. A DO in SHOWIEST was my working. Thanks, all.

  4. 12ac a mistake by the setter? Very likely. But if so then also a mistake by the crossword editor.

  5. 13:44. I got particularly stuck in the NE, where SWIZ and the forgotten WOOMERA took me ages. I say ‘forgotten’ because WOOMERA came up not very long ago (https://timesforthetimes.co.uk/times-28455) and prompted a fair bit of discussion.
    12ac is surely a mistake, as jackkt says D for ‘party’ would not be cricket.

  6. Pretty tough. Took 43:30. COUP DE THEATRE and SHOULDERED finally unlocked the SW, where I got stuck for longest, once I’d got HADITH. Thanks setter and Bruce.

  7. 63 minutes. ZEFFIRELLI, SWIZ and WOOMERA took a good while at the end. I do like a cheesy pun so ELBOWS was my COD. Thanks branch.

  8. DNF, with a return to OWL Club with ‘Woolera’ rather than WOOMERA – not having heard of the place, and not really understanding the clue beyond the RA bit, I’m surprised I got as close as I did.

    Was wondering about SHADOWIEST, so I’m glad to see the consensus here that it was an error; didn’t parse COUP DE THEATRE at all; didn’t spot the ‘army’ trick for ELBOWS; and constructed the unknown ZEFFIRELLI from wordplay.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Vitiate

  9. Thank you for the help with 7d WOOMERA. I’d found “Woo” could mean “invite” in certain contexts in Collins, and was trying to make it work for “invitation”, and then using “pursue” just for placement of the wordplay elements. That didn’t seem convincing, so I am very glad to have your explanation.
    The entreaty “Woo me, RA!” rather tickles me.

    I enjoyed this puzzle, but with clues like 18ac UKULELES, and 26ac RIVIERA, I quickly realised that this was one of the tougher Saturdays. Therefore I wondered whether there was something fiendish going on with “a party” in 12ac SHADOWIEST. But I can see now that D for (Democratic) Party isn’t particularly clever – just rather tenuous and unfair.

  10. I got “METHANE” for 27 across, thinking I (Macbeth, sometimes described as a masochist) am a Thane… But it didn’t fit with Jumper, so too clever by half!

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