Times Cryptic No 28146 – Saturday, 27 November 2021. Crossword obscura.

This was not my sort of crossword: it had references to things beyond my ken. The most mysterious was the Wystan at 15ac. I know Wyverns are dragons, but had never heard of this other. The common touch at 17dn was also new to me. On the other end of the spectrum, I thought 1ac was a delightful clue, likewise 2dn. Thanks to the setter for a very interesting 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 Jet following unseats Frenchman in spectacular rise (8)
FOUNTAIN – the spectacular rise is a MOUNTAIN. Remove M(onsieur), and add F(ollowing).
6 Second stick tossed in river (6)
DEPUTE – PUT = stick (as in, “stick it over there”), in DEE.
9 Vehicle emptied brought in prompting detailed search (13)
INVESTIGATION – V(ehicl)E, in INSTIGATION=prompting.
10 Chain letter read out on radio (6)
SIERRA – two definitions, the second being the NATO code for the letter S.
11 Northerner whose daughter replaces traveller’s first son (8)
DALESMAN – change SALESMAN as instructed. “First son” means the S at the front, not the one in the middle.
13 Wide sheds for sows (10)
BROADCASTS – BROAD + CASTS. Sowing seeds, for example.
15 Wystan Hugh leaves university for Arabian city (4)
ADEN – well, either you know Wystan Hugh A(u)DEN, or you don’t.
16 Discovered discarding uranium to be foolishly impractical (4)
FOND – FO(u)ND. A rather archaic meaning of the answer.
18 Knights guarding female initially given estate in region (3,7)
NEW ENGLAND – N + N ‘guarding’ EWE, + G(iven) + LAND=estate.
21 Have yen for sage? Me too (8)
LIKEWISE – LIKE=have yen for + WISE=sage.
22 Drunkard catches cold preceding check for booze (6)
23 Roaming brother is due to tour European islands (5,8)
OUTER HEBRIDES – anagram (roaming) of BROTHER IS DUE E, where the last E is for European.
25 Cadaver Romeo dragged into thicket (6)
26 Actor with servant confining black dog (8)
DOBERMAN – DOER=actor (ie, the one acting) + MAN=servant, confining B=black.

2 Overture to start with organ? Enter one admired player (7)
OLIVIER – O(verture) + I=one in LIVER.
3 Soldier on exercises eyes invader (5,3,3)
NEVER SAY DIE – anagram (exercises) EYES INVADER.
4 Bewildered needing way round ecstasy in abstemious group (2,3)
AT SEA – ST=way backwards + E, in AA.
5 Nymphs in car heading north across main road (7)
NAIADES – SEDAN across A1, backwards (heading north). I was pleased the wordplay said how to spell this.
6 Yields and strays — into such transgression? (6,3)
DEADLY SIN – anagram (strays) of YIELDS AND.
7 Hard to divide irrational number? Here’s letter (3)
PHI – H=hard in PI, which is an irrational number to do with the diameter and circumference of a circle, as well as being a Greek letter.
8 Metal items the disheartened must carry in battle (7)
TINWARE – put IN WAR in T(h)E.
12 Singular group of shops now perhaps champion the farmer (11)
SMALLHOLDER – S=singular + MALL + HOLDER=now the champion.
14 Caretaker one taking work unit into clubs some time ago (9)
CONCIERGE – I=one + ERG=work unit in physics, in C + ONCE.
17 Common character shown by soldiers in old company (7)
ORINOCO – OR=soldiers + IN + O=old + CO=company. Wordplay clear, definition obscure. It is to do with the Wombles of Wimbledon Common.
19 Tiny acquaintance died in workers’ respite (7)
20 Historic location should be restored as Ionic (7)
NICOSIA – anagram (restored) of AS IONIC. It has been continuously inhabited for over 4,500 years – historic, indeed!
22 London prison almost clean (5)9
SCRUB – Wormwood SCRUB(s) is the prison.
24 Milk without flaws served up (3)
TAP – PAT=without flaws, “served up”.

43 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28146 – Saturday, 27 November 2021. Crossword obscura.”

  1. I had no idea about ORINOCO but, as you say, the wordplay was clear. I only know of it as a river in South America. And I didn’t know WH of Auden was Wystan Hugh, but I did know ADEN. I don’t remember any other difficulties.
  2. I’m sure this took a while. I didn’t know that ORINOCO was a company as well as a famous river.
    But I immediately recognized Auden!
    He was an incessant reviser of his own work. The famous line that concludes the penultimate stanza of his “September 1, 1939,” “We must love one another or die,” he eventually corrected to the much more realistic, albeit less heartening, “We must love one another and die.”
    The poetic pairing seems particularly apt because Rimbaud lived in Aden for about 11 years. (The house where he resided is a tourist attraction. Probably can’t go there now because of Covid restrictions…)

    Edited at 2021-12-04 03:17 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks. It is also the name of a company, or a few, so I said, Whatever…
        But, yeah, “company” in the wordplay can’t be part of the definition.
        This seemed to me somewhat equivalent to the US Cabbage Patch Dolls, and I was neither surprised nor sorry that I’ve never heard of them. But… reading further…
        Everyone under the never-setting sun of the erstwhile British Empire has… right?

        Edited at 2021-12-04 07:20 am (UTC)

        1. Right indeed. Never to have encountered the wombles of Wimbledon Common must rank as one of the foremost signs of a mis-spent early youth.
          1. I see that I phrased that too broadly. I doubt if many children in the former colonies on this side of the pond have had a chance to make their (no doubt charming) acquaintance.

            Edited at 2021-12-05 02:00 am (UTC)

  3. Puzzled by ORINOCO, but luckily there was no choice given the checkers. Like Vinyl, I remembered Uncle Bulgaria from cryptics, but. No problem with Auden. ‘Arabian city’ is a bit misleading for ADEN, which is in Yemen.
    1. Wikipedia says it is “the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula.” Problem?

      Edited at 2021-12-04 03:09 am (UTC)

      1. Arabian=of Arabia; Yemen is an Arab state, but not (in my usage, anyway) an Arabian state. As I said, a bit misleading; but I’m not about to argue the point.
        1. Aden was a British Colony – issued its own stamps and everything. Since 2015 Aden has been the capital city of Yemen. Your geography, Kevin is woeful. How you get home some nights, I’ll never know!!
          1. Could you tell me where my geographic ignorance shows up? Or where your comment is relevant to mine? I know that Aden was a British colony, I know where Yemen is, I know that Aden is its capital. And I know that those facts, and my knowledge of them, have nothing to do with my comment.

            Edited at 2021-12-04 09:41 am (UTC)

          2. Isn’t the capital of Yemen Sana’a? Also as Yemen is part of the Arabian Peninsula I think the description works perfectly.

            Edited at 2021-12-04 10:16 am (UTC)

          3. DH, please stop posting comments like this about other contributors. You may intend it as merry banter but it doesn’t necessarily read like that and not everyone here appreciates your sense of humour.

            Edited at 2021-12-04 11:41 am (UTC)

            1. jacktt. The capital of Yemen is disputed between two cities: Sana’a, the constitutional capital and seat of government for the Houthis (rebels). Aden, the temporary capital declared by President Hadi in 2015. Sorry but DH is correct!
              Why does the guy in the Jester outfit not appreciate the merry banter!?

              1. I’m not referring to the topic under discussion, who is right or wrong about anything. I am only asking for contributors to show respect to others when engaging in debate.
              2. The “guy in the jester outfit” has engaged in intelligent and respectful banter on this site for as long as I can recall.

                Certain posters could benefit by learning some manners from him.

    2. I just assumed that the Arabian Peninsula is “Arabia”.
      Under Arabia Wikipedia says:

      Geographically, the Arabian Peninsula includes Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen, as well as the southern portions of Iraq and Jordan. The biggest of these is Saudi Arabia.

      I was surprised about the inclusion of bits of Jordan and Iraq although those countries I would categorise as “Arabic”.
      FYI Saudi Arabia is so called because it is the part that ibn (son of) Saud managed to grab from the Ottoman Empire as it collapsed.
      DH’s contribution seems to have vanished.

  4. I found this hard going. Many misbiffs while wombling free, which required later revision. POLESTAR for the northerner in 11a, the AA SET in 4d as the abstemious group. There should be a word for semiparsing and bunging in with trepidation. Semiquaver perhaps? ( A semidemiquaver would be a lesser degree of certainty, only a quarter parsed.)
    LOI was SIERRA which took laborious alphabet trawling until the penny finally dropped.34:49
  5. I found that a good, testing puzzle. No problem with Wystan Hugh but thanks, Bruce for explaining FOUNTAIN and FOND.
    I did wonder how our overseas solvers would get on with ORINOCO, SCRUB and, to a lesser extent, OLIVIER.
    I see that the actor described as the “OLIVIER of his generation” in an obituary in The Times today, Antony Sher, has just passed away.
    COD: DOBERMAN. I like the use of DOER as actor.
  6. 31 minutes, I remembered who Wystan Hugh was, so I didn’t have to stop all the clocks. I enjoyed ORINOCO too, which deserves COD. Auden was a Yorkie, of course. Wiki has the Dalesman’s litany either with Hell in the West Riding or between Hull and Halifax. As a Lancastrian I’m honour-bound to see hell at the centre of Yorkshire, even though my Y chromosome stands for Yorkie with my g-g-g-grandfather and all his ancestors coming from just over the boundary at Heptonstall. I wondered why Nicosia was historic. It’s not in God’s second favourite county. Good puzzle.Thank you B and setter.
        1. Dearest Horryd, people living in Wimbledon, Tooting and Penge May well disagree.
        1. That far south!? As a Skirbeck Quarter, Bostonian (Lincs. Kevin), l am delighted to be an honorary Northerner. Three years at Stockport College and Brookbottom Derbys., Old Trafford and Godmanchester to add to my credentials. Holidayed at Blackpool twice, Scarborough, Anglesey and Skeg. Shot commercials up in Richmond York’s., Buttermere, Bolton, Old Trafford, Halifax, on Blackpool front. Grandparents married at Poulton-le-Fylde 1917.
          1. I have to admit that, watching my team in the “Northern” division of the National League has taken me to such unlikely venues as Kings Lynn, Hereford, and Bishops Stortford (you can see the planes taking off from Stansted at their ground !)
  7. No probs with this, which played well to my useless knowledge speciality. I hadn’t thought of Nicosia as historic, but I see that it is..
  8. Home to Sir Harry Luke for many years – has a street named after him. My useless knowledge is rather more specialised I fear!
  9. In solving this crossword perforce
    There’s much joy, of which it’s the source
    If one asks “So which clue
    Appealed most to you?”
    ORINOCO the womble of course!!
  10. I see I finished this at 1245 and not during the football results as normal; so it must have suited me.
    Same comments as others. LOI ADEN, only realising the parsing after I had thought of the city. FOI NICOSIA, despite the historic description. ORINOCO flowed from the clue but I missed the Wimbledon reference. FOND was another shrug.
    But overall I liked it.
  11. was a write in – he never used the name Wystan just the abbr. I have covered ADEN above.

    FOI 7dn PHI


    COD 17dn ORINOCO


    10ac SIERRA was clever as was 11ac DALESMAN – his wife wrote a diary – “I’m very worried about Jim!”

  12. ….in which there was nothing beyond my ken, but I do sympathies with overseas solvers on the subject of ORINOCO.

    LOI SIERRA (a real ‘duh’ moment !)
    TIME 12:28

  13. An enjoyable puzzle where all the references were within my ken, but I was undone, as Phil suggested might happen, by a careless DEPUTY, despite having noted the correct parsing. OLIVIER was LOI. 26:19 WOE. Thanks setter and Bruce.

    Edited at 2021-12-04 10:17 am (UTC)

  14. A good mental work-out again. FOI 4d AT SEA, which I hoped wasn’t an omen for my solving prospects! Steady if sluggish progress thereafter, till LOI 11ac DALESMAN. Admired the anagram at 23ac. Completed in 80 minutes.
  15. 11ac Dalesman I derived from Talesman’s (Traveller’s Tales) first letter – I never saw the son – on the following line.
    Whatever Dalesman went in without a problem. COD to ORINOCO.
  16. All done and dusted but not too quick. Around 50 mins. FOI and COD to NEVER SAY DIE. My name’s Bond, Brooke Bond. I make the tea….

    Thanks B and setter.

  17. Decent time for me. Last two OLIVIER and SIERRA accounted for 9 mins but I persevered and having rejected OPIAPER and other similar mombles was rewarded with a dawnage of light.

    Loved the common character — worth the admission price alone. Thanks setter!

    Et tu Bruce

  18. 13:24. The DEPUTY biff-trap at 6dn is a nasty one. I have no idea how I avoided it. Most uncharacteristic.
    I didn’t know that Auden was Wystan Hugh but I reverse-engineered it from the answer.

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