Times Cryptic No 28122 – Saturday, 30 October 2021. As easy as ABC(D)?

This puzzle had an original feel about it! There were clues I admired, others not so much, and some I didn’t understand until I realised I’d got the wrong answer! (Saved by the blogging!)

My favourite was 2dn, closely followed by 29ac. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

Notes for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is posted a week later, after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on the current Saturday Cryptic.

[Read more …]Clues are blue, with definitions underlined. Deletions and commentary are in (brackets). Add your introduction here

1 Very soft mini-soap is squishy (10)
PIANISSIMO – anagram (squishy) of MINI SOAP IS.
6 Flip charts showing flood with unwanted info (4)
SPAM – MAPS ‘flipped’.
9 Liberal in unhappiness but not in spending (7)
MISERLY – L in MISERY. Can we agree a repetition of ‘liberal’ is implied in the definition?
10 More organised about seizing king, kidnapped again (7)
RETAKEN – K in NEATER, ‘about’.
12 Whine once undressed, overwhelmed by middle’s size (10)
13 Non-gloss used occasionally for impasto (3)
MAT – alternate letters of i-M-p-A-s-T-o.
15 Paying guest account? Nothing doing for European (6)
LODGER – open the LEDGER, change E=European to O=nothing.
16 Reportedly modern, from the time of plague (8)
NUISANCE – (‘reportedly’) sounds like NEW SINCE. You might need to slur the second word, I think.
18 Strutting of piles beside river (8)
COCKSURE – COCKS can be small piles of hay. URE is the river.
20 Dangerous point of credit happens more than once (6)
CRISIS – CR=credit. Then IS, twice.
23 Utterance frequently addressed to woolgatherers? (3)
BAA – a cryptic definition, based on what the sheep might say to their shearers. Not a clue to persuade those who don’t like cryptic definitions to think otherwise.
24 Not the usual way to get in (2-8)
BY-ELECTION – hmmm. Another cryptic definition? The normal way to get in might be BY ELECTION, but if someone resigns mid-term, their replacement would get in by BY-ELECTION.
26 Old-style car towed away, abandoned by wife (3,4)
ART DECO – anagram (away) of CAR TOWED, minus W for wife.
27 Bore hollow knife in clutch (7)
28 Dip in evacuation site, not to be annoying (4)
DUNK – the evacuation of DUNK(irk).
29 Top Shop’s offering clobber (smaller), with every exchange of small and large (10)
BESTSELLER – BELT=clobber. LESSER=smaller. Change all the Ls to Ss, and vice versa.

1 Persist in questioning footwear (4)
PUMP – double definition.
2 Leave boy enclosing the third of four initial letters (7)
ABSCOND – A B C D, with SON around the C. Very original. I tried ABANDON and ABSENCE, before I saw it.
3 Irish rise: plebs’re somehow immune to subjugation (13)
IRREPRESSIBLE – anagram (somehow) of IR + RISE + PLEBS + RE.
4 Scene with everything capsized involves unknown danger to shipping (6)
SCYLLA – SC as an abbreviation for scene is in Collins. Y is the unknown. ALL is ‘capsized’.

Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Calabria.

5 Preparation of whites only used by newcomer in guestroom (8)
MERINGUE – hidden. Well hidden, I though.
7 Fantastic beast to goad follower of Sun (7)
POKEMON – POKE + MON. Monday certainly follows Sunday.
8 Songs in system arranged with both hands (10)
MINSTRELSY – anagram (arranged) of IN + SYSTEM + L + R.
11 Certain to break handle, wander around Aladdin’s cave? (8-5)
14 One’s written on British poverty before beast died (10)
BLACKBOARD – B for British, LACK for poverty, BOAR is the beast, D for died. Until the penny dropped, I had BLACKBEARD, which fit the wordplay but made no sense.
17 Attempt to admit regrets the speaker makes repellent (8)
GRUESOME – GO admitting RUES, then ME.
19 Moderate constant urge (7)
CHASTEN – C is the constant, then HASTEN. Chasten (v.t.) meaning moderate is in Chambers. I had to check; it wasn’t familiar.
21 It brings air to the mouth and not into half of body’s frame (7)
SNORKEL – NOR in SKEL(eton).
22 What’s a person expected to do, cancelling old children’s author? (6)
NESBIT – one must do one’s bit. Quite! I only know this author from crossword.
25 Baltic supplier departs dismissed by stranger (4)
ODER – OD(d)ER. Wikipedia says the Oder flows into the Szczecin Lagoon, but since that then drains into the Baltic that’s surely good enough.

24 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28122 – Saturday, 30 October 2021. As easy as ABC(D)?”

  1. Found this very tough, but pleased to get to the finish intact. Some brilliant clueing for ABSCOND, BESTSELLER,DUNK & POKEMON! Top class puzzle. I take my hat off to the setter. 45:20
  2. I went offline at 30′ with NESBIT, BROOKED, & BESTSELLER left to solve, a rather recalcitrant threesome. I didn’t know that POKEMON was a beast, as I’ve never seen one long enough for it to register. I lost time on RETAKEN, taking ‘more organized’ to be (MORE)*. I liked the three final clues, but COD to LOI BESTSELLER.
  3. 29 is especially ingenious (along with 2, as has been remarked). Overall, I enjoyed this a lot. The surfaces are worth revisiting.

    Edited at 2021-11-06 04:03 am (UTC)

  4. …and I had to use aids for CHASTEN and BROOKED.
    DUNK eluded me completely. I put DENT.
    In 23ac I started with BOO as that is what I would say to a daydreamer to rouse them from their reverie.
    To take so long and still get one wrong means I didn’t enjoy that too much and to have so many clues I might have solved but couldn’t understand didn’t help either.
    1. I only took 15:47 to make exactly the same mistake. Bugger ! COD LODGER, though the adjoining excruciating homophone raised a smile
  5. with much of the South East unfinished – I clean forgot a revisit. I doubt I’d have ever gotten 29ac BESTSELLER with IKEA being the shop! I never read 22dn NESBIT.


    (LOI) 21dn SNORING instead of SNORKEL!



    My worst outing for a long time.

  6. … or with BAA Baa Black sheep, The Railway Children, BLACKBOARD and Pokemon, (I still talk about having a cup of Charmander), a return to various generations of childhood. 30 minutes with the top distinctly easier than the bottom. NUISANCE is as dodgy as it gets. Enjoyable. Thank you B and setter.
  7. I had MARINADE in at 5d for ages until finally NUISANCE Showed itself but then I forgot to relook at the error. Oh well. About 50 mins to get to that point , so fairly tough.

    Thanks B (especially for BESTSELLER) and setter.

    Edited at 2021-11-06 09:27 am (UTC)

  8. 14:16. I liked this. As others have noted ABSCOND and BESTSELLER are particularly clever. MERINGUE (where I think the word ‘only’ is part of the definition) is also a very good hidden.
    The homophone is awful of course but I quite like that.
        1. Always? I–and no doubt the rest of us–generally distinguish the two vowels as you indicate. Which is why I offered my example: ‘Nothing new since last week’ vs. eg ‘Nothing new since’.
  9. A bit trickier than average, taking me to 42:49, with BEST SELLER LOI and not completely parsed. DUNK was a very late entry. Struggled with ABSCOND but there was a son in there somewhere! Thanks setter and Bruce.
  10. Another challenge. Biffed lots of this, eg 18 & 28ac, 22 & 25d… Got answers that fitted but no idea why, which makes for a frustrating experience. Took almost two hours. FOI 1ac PIANISSIMO, LOI one of the many guesses. As usual hope to learn from the blogging masters….
  11. My DENT was a DING, not a slam dunk.
    My paper copy has blanks in the SE; SNORING at 21d was the culprit. And another MARINADE at 5d. That was a nuisance.
    Needed aids to finish this. But lots to like; a special mention for SPAM.
  12. I struggled a little but I compliment the setter for the originality (and our blogger). Did everything work? Not quite but still very enjoyable.
  13. 47 minutes. Very late, but I liked this so much I had to give my thanks to the setter. The best Saturday Times for ages. I loved the device for BEST SELLER, the original ABSCOND, the PULE for ‘Whine’ at 12a and BAA amongst many other good clues. Eventually working out the NHO MINSTRELSY was a nice way to finish.

    Thanks to Bruce and (again) to setter

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