Times Cryptic 28926 – Saturday, 25 May 2024. No clue is an island.

Nice clues in this one. I took the wrong route to the right answer in 1ac, immediately thinking ISLAND=KEY.

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 Essential island’s maintained by Arctic supply line (8)
CRITICALI (island), maintained by CRTICA (an anagram, supply, of ARCTIC) + L (line).
Supply as an adverb, not  a verb, is one of my favourites from the setters’ boxes of tricks.
9 Still popular, musical show returning to tour clubs (8)
INACTIVEIN + ATIVE (EVITA, returning), touring C (clubs),
10 Page, back to front — the cause of head-scratching for setter? (4)
FLEALEAF=page. Move the back to the front.
It’s a dog, not our esteemed crossword compiler.
11 What’s completely empty, completely full and sealed for freshness? (6-6)
VACUUM-PACKEDVACUUM (completely empty) + PACKED (completely full). Nice!
13 Assembly of steel bridges very sophisticated (6)
SVELTESELTE (anagram, assembly of, STEEL), bridges V.
14 Figure out position after boat loses power, initially (8)
15 Did crow start to become dishevelled? (7)
16 Last of notable resistance overcome by Scots Guards (7)
ESCORTSnotablE, R overcome by SCOTS.
20 Relative beginning to laugh? Get boxing glove (8)
GAUNTLETGET boxing AUNT + Laugh.
22 Football people stuck in a tree for unofficial match? (6)
AFFAIRF.A. (Football Association) stuck in A FIR.
Unofficial as in not married.
23 One caught by flying leap sadly departs pitch (7,5)
PLAYING FIELDI (one) caught by PLAYNG FIEL (anagram, sadly, of FLYING LEAP … note that there’s only one I in the anagram letters) + D (departs).
25 Weakling takes swim in river? On the contrary (4)
DRIPR (river) in DIP (swim).
26 Article in French publication something refreshing? (8)
LEMONADEA in LE MONDE (French newspaper).
27 Vote in America overturned twice following intense anger (8)
SUFFRAGESU (U.S. overturned), FF (F=following, twice), RAGE.
2 Wave around old Kalashnikov, ultimately bringing about surrender (4,4)
ROLL OVERROLLER around O + kalishnikoV.
3 One that organises trips in LA can get very busy (6,6)
TRAVEL AGENCY – anagram, busy, of LA CAN GET VERY.
4 Cold on island, to be specific (8)
CONCRETEC + ON + CRETE, assembled as directed.
5 In the middle of ballroom, I wait in line, briefly, for drink (7)
LIQUEURI QUEUe (briefly) in middle of balLRoom.
6 Swimmer regularly beat runner, say (6)
7 Attach large sign (4)
It took me too long to see INK=sign.
8 Initially sent inside, taunts without warrant (8)
12 Expendable personnel beaten and forced to accept French decision? (6,6)
CANNON FODDERCAN FODDER (anagram, beaten, of AND FORCED), to accept NON (the decision famously preferred by Charles de Gaulle).
15 Description of cooker in US city, colloquially? (3,5)
BIG APPLE -cryptic hint.
17 Get rid of small fish, rotten on the underside (5,3)
18 Philosophy failing to sum up Henry VIII latterly? (8)
THINKING – all his portraits suggest Henry VIII was definitely not a THIN KING!
19 Suppresses ego — it’s on the rise (7)
STIFLESSELF + IT’S, on the rise.
21 Passenger vehicle available in manual and automatic (6)
LANDAU – hidden in plain sight.
24 Inverted commas used endlessly in magazine content (4)
AMMO – and hidden again, this time backwards (inverted).

14 comments on “Times Cryptic 28926 – Saturday, 25 May 2024. No clue is an island.”

  1. 24:11
    I’ve got no notes on this, other than that I biffed PLAYING FIELD, parsing post-submission; and that I spent some time taking ‘swimmer’ as the definition of 6d and looking for a fish. A MER at SVELTE=sophisticated.

    1. I wondered about SVELTE too but Collins has it:

      1. attractively or gracefully slim; slender
      2. urbane or sophisticated

      1. I meant to say that I’d seen some such definition; my eyebrow’s still up. “Max was a svelte, husky fellow….”

  2. I gave up overnight because I kept nodding off (no reflection on the quality of the puzzle!) and progress had been very limited during the 36 minute session. On resumption in the morning, with still more than half the grid to fill, I completed it in 15 minutes. ‘Sign / INK’ remembered eventually from a previous puzzle.

    1. ‘Ink’=’sign’ shows up often in the NYT, and probably in headlines: “Schwartz Inks $2M Contract With Cubs” etc.

  3. 23 minutes. A bit of biffing along the way and I didn’t know what the ‘French decision?’ was all about in CANNON FODDER. Same thought about SVELTE as Kevin, but as Jack points out, it is in Collins.

    Apparently Henry VIII cut quite a dash in his younger days, but ‘latterly’ he was definitely no longer a THIN KING. Favourite was the initially mystifying surface for VACUUM-PACKED.

  4. BIFD vacuum sealed before 6d made me revisit it and realising that ‘sealed’ was in the clue. Latterly had me imagining Henry in his later years before I twigged to ‘failure to sum up’. Liked inverted commas as the reversal indication for ammo.
    Thanks setter and Branch

  5. No notes bar my start and finish times, showing this took 25 minutes, very speedy for me. No problems – once I’d juggled the vowels into the right order for LIQUEUR, which briefly stalled solving 14ac. Shared that doubt over SVELTE. But an enjoyable bread and butter puzzle. Thanks, all.

  6. 64 minutes over three sittings. I thought I was heading for a duck getting only the last two down clues on the first pass. I crept back up the grid with CRITICAL and CARPET the last two. Thanks branch.

  7. There were some fairly tricky bits in this, eg LOI SUFFRAGE, where I’d never really considered the meaning before, despite ‘suffragette’. Liked 22a ‘unofficial match’. I did this intermittently with Friday’s left-over clues, which I found very difficult, so in some ways this was a relief. I also liked the surfaces for 12d, 6d and 5d. Thanks to setter and Branch.

  8. Don’t remember any major problems with this, though I took a while to see that the definition for 6d was at the end of the clue to get CARPET, and I didn’t figure out the ‘French decision’ bit of CANNON FODDER.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Affair
    LOI Suffrage
    COD Vacuum-packed

  9. An easy 33 minutes, but still fun. I liked THINKING, despite having misread the clue to read “laterally” instead of “latterly” — it still fits. AMMO also quite good.

  10. Time 8 days plus; just spotted 2 empty lights in 24d A_M_, and duly completed before I saw the answer.
    LOI 11a VACUUM PACKED, not easy to see, very good clue. When I first saw it I thought “Green paint!” but its in all the usual places incl Wictionary.


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