Times Cryptic 28914 – Sat, 11 May 2024. Wolf-man Lack?

It turns out my knowledge of wolf-men is lacking. Otherwise, plain sailing. 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 State secrets in British science establishment (4)
BLAB – BLAB. “Blab” is a verb here.
4 Closely examine money southern sailing brings in (10)
9 Champion driver perhaps one in black suit (3,2,5)
ACE OF CLUBS – a cryptic hint, where driver here is a golf club.
10 Excitedly eager past midnight? (4)
AGOG – AGO (past), G (the *mid* letter of niGht!)
11 Tense with anticipation peering over precipice? (2,4)
ON EDGE – another, more obvious, cryptic hint,
12 Down-and-out passed on officer’s round (8)
DEADBEAT – DEAD (passed on … RIP), BEAT (police officer’s round).
14 With rook retreating catch another bird (4)
RHEA – HEAR=catch, with R=rook retreating to the front of the answer.
15 Composer having to live invested in unstable groschen (10)
SCHOENBERGBE (to live) invested in an anagram (unstable): GROSCHEN.
17 Gnome exposed banker protecting especially valued alias (3,2,5)
NOM DE PLUMENOM (gNOMe, exposed), DEE (banker=river) protecting PLUM.
20 Second verse able at last to stir emotions (4)
MOVE – MO (second), V, E (ablE, at last).
21 Looking angry as armed defiance ends with regular losses (3-5)
RED-FACED – alternate (regular) letters of  aRmEd DeFiAnCe EnDs.
23 Country staff employed for a spell in R&A (6)
24 Yahoo’s criminal finally released (4)
LOUTL (criminaL, finally), OUT (published).
25 Parody surprisingly accurate covering scripture studies (10)
CARICATURE – anagram (surprisingly): ACCURATE, covering R.I. (scripture studies).
26 Kitty small where nap possible in game (4,6)
27 Cutting impudence faced by Conservative (4)
CLIPC (Conservative), LIP.
2 Wolf-man in only chapter that needs revision (11)
LYCANTHROPE – anagram (needs revision): ONLY CHAPTER.
Looking at the helpers, …ANTHROPE seemed plausible.  But, LYC… not so much! It’s from LYKOS, Greek for “wolf”; I don’t think it’s made it into any other English words!
3 Online connection — less important way to get together (9)
4 Winning woman with small son outside cricket club (7)
SUCCESSSUE + S (small) + S (son), outside C.C.
5 Drinks for mates and bore with problematic posture (5-10)
6 Puccini opera the French presented proportionately (2,5)
7 Edges away from unmarried people in warm place (5)
INGLEedges away from sINGLEs.
8 Maybe stone initially shed to show figure? (5)
EIGHTwEIGHT (a stone is a unit of weight).
13 Made it with rice stirred for so long (11)
ARRIVEDERCIARRIVED (made it) + anagram (stirred) of RICE.
16 Pretentious claim keeping doctor in charge (9)
BOMBASTICBOAST (claim) keeping M.B. + I.C.
18 Compete with restriction lifted in leading vehicle (4,3)
PACE CARRACE (compete) + CAP (restriction), all lifted.
19 Attention brought to craving — listener’s smart! (7)
EARACHEEAR (attention: friends, Romans, countrymen …), ACHE (craving)
21 Boozer erased from Plato’s work in scrap (5)
22 Distrust sappers abandoning temporary fortification (5)

19 comments on “Times Cryptic 28914 – Sat, 11 May 2024. Wolf-man Lack?”

  1. 34 minutes. I missed the parsing of PACE CAR which I’d never heard of, and RHEA.

    I recognised LYCANTHROPE once I’d worked it out as at one time many decades ago I used to watch a lot of horror films.

  2. Some sneaky definitions, such as 1a and 27a and some clever wordplay, eg 4a and 17a, made for an entertaining solve. I’d never heard of PACE CAR, but it parsed. I don’t think immediately of BOMBASTIC as meaning pretentious, so that was tricky, especially with the multiple versions and meanings of ‘doctor’, so it was fortunate that the composer was a gimme, showing the initial B. LYCANTHROPE was a great anagram.

  3. Thirty minutes, and left with two. 14ac – RHEA. Even once I got the word (with aids), just couldn’t work out how it came from the clue. And 2d LYCANTHROPE; knew it was an anagram but NHO and couldn’t figure out which letters went where! Bit disappointing after doing so well with the rest – which was probably on the easy side, to be fair. Thanks, all.

  4. 14a How is rook retreating moving the R to the front, shouldn’t it be “With rook advancing”?

    1. Words start on the left but the direction of reading advances rightwards. Setters can have it both ways.

    1. Think you must be right, chabuduo, as I sailed through this with nothing holding me up ( and I’m usually way behind the regular solvers !)

  5. A gentle stroll with a few smiles along the way. I liked BLAB, TO SCALE, ACE OF CLUBS and RWANDA. Took a moment to parse RWANDA. 15:30. Thanks setter and Bruce.

    1. Again, similar experience. I relied heavily on the definitions, which happily were not too well disguised, and knowing LYCANTHROPE really helped.

  6. Straightforward, though I didn’t parse NOM DE PLUME and took a long time to get RHEA. LYCANTHROPE is stretching my knowledge of Greek, but it looked likely enough.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Blab
    LOI Rhea
    COD Red-faced

  7. A very easy 26 minutes (27 1/2 with proofreading) that seemed to be right on my wavelength. LYCANTHROPE sounded familiar and after I had all the crossing letters it was easy to fill in the ones missing from the anagram to complete it. I had a lot of luck in choosing the right meanings for “stone” in 8dn or “warm place” in 7dn. Many clues were biffed, with the wordplay worked out afterwards, but I never did see the B-ROAD in BROADBAND, whether BROAD could mean “less important” in some instances. Nice relaxing puzzle.

  8. Finished in a couple of sittings with quite a few biffed then parsed, and a couple I couldn’t parse (RHEA and SCRUTINISE). No problems with LYCANTHROPE. Appreciate this was easy for experienced solvers but I’m still pleased to have finished all correct. Many thanks for the blog B.

  9. Lycanthrope is actually derived from the Greek for “wolf-man,” hence the anthrope bit. So no, not really applicable to any other English words bar those closely related such as lycanthropy, lycanthropist. But Anthropology etc are related to the second part of the word.

  10. I found this suprisingly easy. I did know lycanthrope, must have retained it from reading lots of horror novels back at university in the early 1990s. As far as I can tell 19:19 is easily my quickest effort for a Saturday cryptic.

  11. A doddle for me ( for a change!) – so happy to boast about it here! No NHOs, and the definitions weren’t too well disguised. COD; ACE OF CLUBS.


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