Times Cryptic 28932 – Saturday, 1 June 2024. Easy as you like it.

I fairly flew thru this, pausing a little at 13ac and 21dn – not that they were unfair. Some of the definitions were extended, so some attention was needed. 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 Place to rest cod meat at first (7)
HAMMOCKHAM (meat), MOCK (cod).
“Cod” as an adjective meaning “mock” is in Chambers, to my slight surprise.
5 At university, attend jolly (6)
UPBEATUP (at university), BE AT (attend).
First clue to change the meaning of a word by inserting a space.
8 Dialogue in part of theatre displays great virtue (9)
9 Saw is good, cutting hardware evenly (5)
ADAGEG (good) cutting ADAE (hArDwArE, evenly).
11 Partridge possibly poked by small lion (5)
ASLANALAN (this Partridge), poked by S.
Aslan is the lion in The Chronicles of Narnia.
12 Staff periodically seem jumpy, getting menacing order (5,2,2)
STICK EM UPSTICK (staff), EM UP (sEeM jUmPy, periodically).
13 Behave fearfully, showing weakness (8)
Again, the setter changes the meaning of a word by inserting a space.
15 Smoother Liberal’s shaken off disparagement (6)
17 No longer compose kind of music that includes tango (6)
Not to be confused with “indict”, “indite” is an archaic word meaning compose (as the clue says).
19 Gloat about awful boss? One may get fired (8)
CROSSBOWCROW about OSSB (anagram, awful, of BOSS).
22 Gibbon? Surprisingly, it’s a rhino (9)
HISTORIAN – anagram, surprisingly, of ITS A RHINO.
Edward Gibbon wrote The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in six (!) volumes.
23 Revolutionary’s remark when leaving millions to the left (5)
MARATTA-RA (remark when leaving), M (millions), all reversed (to the left).
24 Minor surgery ultimately prohibited by hospital (5)
YOUTHsurgerY, OUT, H.
25 Join together where fire may be burning, but not hot (9)
INTEGRATE –  the fire is IN ThE GRATE.
26 High dosage for salt (3,3)
SEA DOG – anagram, high, of DOSAGE.
27 Giant vehicle briefly works (7)
1 Merry Andrew welcoming May and, to an inappropriate degree, August (4,3,6)
2 The setter lacking sparkle and a bit of cerebral matter (7)
MEDULLAME (the setter), DULL, A.
3 Love rise of kind of film stars (5)
ORIONO (love), RION (NOIR, rising).
4 Meet up wearing rubbish garment for football (4-4)
KNEE-SOCKEES (SEE, up), wearing KNOCK (to rubbish).
5 International group’s assistance is possibly implied (6)
Yet again, the setter changes the meaning of a word by inserting a space and, this time, an apostrophe.
6 Heading for bistro, want good deal or diabolical service? (5,4)
BLACK MASSBistro, LACK (want), MASS (good deal).
7 Vacant arsenal equipped with a security system (7)
ALARMEDArsenaL, ARMED (equipped).
10 Cheeky jester clad in old cape one’s invited to court (6,7)
14 Intended that man to support left-winger in plot (9)
BETROTHEDHE to support TROT, in BED.
16 Going on Twitch, relative and I like hard rock (8)
18 Challenge and fail to grasp leader in Sunday Express (7)
DISPUTEDIE (fail) to grasp Sunday + PUT (express).
20 Live between ice mass and old Alpine city (7)
21 Displaying fab bit of bling (6)
AIRINGA1 (fab), RING (piece of bling).
23 Maybe tricks soldier protected from the rain? (5)

14 comments on “Times Cryptic 28932 – Saturday, 1 June 2024. Easy as you like it.”

  1. 19:43
    DNK Alan Partridge. I biffed KNEE-SOCK & DISPUTE, and evidently never parsed them. I liked INDITE.

  2. 41 minutes, so not so easy for me with several answers needing to be squeezed out slowly from wordplay. NHO INDITE, which as Bruce has pointed out is archaic as was confirmed by my dictionary when I checked it. Also NHO BERGAMO although I note that it gave its name to the citrus tree ‘bergamot’ which produces fruit used to add the distinctive flavour to Earl Grey tea.

    1. How about bergamask? Didn’t Respighi do some? [Asked and answered: they’re among his Ancient Airs and Dances.]

  3. 55m 33s.
    Thanks for UPBEAT, DISPUTE and MARAT, Bruce.
    My two CODs were SEA DOG and, particularly, MAGIC.
    Regarding warm bodies being ineligible for the Cryptic, I guess it doesn’t matter about the characters they play e.g. ALAN PARTRIDGE.
    No problem with BERGAMO. The football club Atalanta come from there and they just won the UEFA Europa League.

  4. I just couldn’t get to grips with this one, never even approached the wavelength. Too many blanks to itemise, too few answers to kick on from. Just not my week. Thanks, all.

  5. 27a CYCLOPS – do we think this setter is Private Eye’s Xword setter Cyclops?
    4d KNEE SOCKs; are these items particular in any way to footie?
    20d BERGAMO, didn’t believe it was Alpine so looked it up. I never thought Lombardy went so far North.

  6. 46 minutes. Quicker than usual for a Saturday puzzle. INDITE was new to me and I biffed MARAT. Thanks branch.

  7. DNF, back in OWL (One Wrong Letter) club thanks to ‘Murat’ rather than MARAT. I vaguely remembered there was a French revolutionary with a name like that, but I couldn’t remember how to spell it and completely failed to parse the clue. Also never heard of INDITE, so relied on the wordplay for that, and had to trust there was a HISTORIAN called Gibbon.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Crossbow

  8. Forgot to check in earlier, though at work this morning from 8am till lunchtime, but I found this trickier than Bruce, getting only four on my first pass. However, slowly they began to fall. INDITE was tricky – I didn’t know that meaning of it, and it’s also archaic. Plus I can never think of Indie for type of music! 10d took longer than it should have – I was searching for an O rather than Ex, long after I had WITNESS. Liked MARAT.

  9. I found this hard (56 minutes) and especially took ages to fill in my last three, BERGAMO, DISPUTE and INDITE in that order. Of course I assumed the unknown INDITE would mean “no longer compose” (rather than no longer “compose”, which is what it really is). It seemed strange that there would be a word with that meaning, but of course there isn’t — I was just misreading the wordplay. SEA DOG is definitely my COD.

  10. I drove through Bergamo (elevation 247 metres) many moons ago and never think of it as an Alpine place. You can get a view of the Alps from there (on a good day), but the same can be said of a number of cities in Lombardy.

  11. I chuckled when I saw Bergamo because I was detained there. On a skiing holiday, my passport was stolen and I was advised to see the police who would “give me a letter that would get me through passport control”. They asked me questions via an interpreter and filled in a form and printed off the letter. It mentioned my place of birth (Accra, Ghana) but not the rather crucial fact that I am a UK citizen. The one flight out of the airport that day was held up for several hours while they investigated whether I would be allowed to fly. This despite my mum (remarried so a different surname) and my brother (same surname but ‘not a parent’) being on the flight. I was not popular amongst the other holiday makers returning to the UK from Bergamo that day.


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