Times Cryptic No 28170 – Saturday, 25 December 2021. Merry Christmas, and a relaxing crossword!

This is not a prize crossword, so the blog can go up on the same day. My biggest hiccup was my ignorance of styptics. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

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

1 Churlish scoundrel with bad name say returning alone (12)
CURMUDGEONLY – CUR=scoundrel + MUD=bad name (your name is mud) + EG ‘returning’ + ONLY.
8 Clever old man brought into line (7)
9 Styptic required by north American ex-student (7)
ALUMNUS – apparently styptic pencils are made of ALUM. N=north. US=American. A general knowledge booster.
11 Fast runner from east of Germany with money to burn (7)
OSTRICH – OST=‘east’, in German. RICH speaks for itself.
12 Stylish English member introducing a set of books (7)
ELEGANT – E + LEG + A + NT=New Testament.
13 Talking bird of little importance, it may be said (5)
MYNAH – sounds like MINOR, it might be said. There are other spellings of the answer, but this seems to be the standard 5-letter form.
14 Innumerable pounds raked in by nobleman’s wife (9)
16 Gruelling contest takes a month, attracting most of Irish town (9)
DECATHLON – DEC=the month + ATHLON(e).
19 Famous clown given a drink (5)
21 Headdresses trade union leader finally proscribes (7)
TURBANS – T(rade) U(nion) + (leade)R + BANS.
23 Red coats perhaps originally tailored around the centre of Derby (7)
MARXIST – MAXIS=coats perhaps + T(ailored), around (de)R(by).
24 Time-waster ultimately agreed to go to France without one (7)
DALLIER – (agree)D + ALLER=‘to go’, in French, outside I=one.
25 Sporting triumph head of Lancing entered in file (7)
26 Boxer cheers maiden with rowing crew at bar (12)
BANTAMWEIGHT – TA=cheers + M=maiden, in BAN=bar + EIGHT=rowing crew.

1 Better way to get a new winding device (7)
CAPSTAN – CAP=better + ST=way + A + N=new.
2 Upset hanger-on by mistake? Nonsense (7)
RUBBISH – BUR=hanger-on, upset + BISH.
3 Immoral, destroying lace in hut (9)
UNETHICAL – anagram (destroying): LACE IN HUT.
4 Splendid-sounding place for nuts, perhaps? (5)
GRATE – sounds like GREAT. I assume this is a reference to roasting chestnuts? Not an Australian thing!
5 Luxurious work originally unveiled fast (7)
OPULENT – OP=work + U(nveiled) + LENT.
6 Flying eagle in descent (7)
LINEAGE – anagram (flying): EAGLE IN.
7 Adapted? It’s what the landlord did (12)
ACCOMMODATED – double definition.
10 Energy lacking in French composer’s works? That’s acceptable (12)
SATISFACTORY – take the E out of SATI(e). Add FACTORY=works.
15 Powerless to arrest retired chap impossible to identify (9)
UNNAMABLE – UNABLE=powerless. Insert ‘retired’ MAN.
17 Company register initially available in part of plant (7)
COROLLA – CO + ROLL + A(vailable).
18 Asian garments adopted by abstemious old Russian (7)
19 Learner involved in preserving Scottish game (7)
20 Old soldier’s language in court! (7)
22 Initially such a strange old name for a cathedral city (5)
SARUM – S(uch) + A + RUM. I only know this old name for Salisbury from past crosswords.

31 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28170 – Saturday, 25 December 2021. Merry Christmas, and a relaxing crossword!”

  1. I was a bit worried about MYNAH, since I’m sure I’ve seen other spellings; but Collins and ODE pretty much ignore other spellings. This isn’t a prize puzzle, but I imagine there will be some solvers who go for I and will not be pleased to be given an error. DNK BLINDER. I tried for a while to get ALI into 26ac somehow. LOI GRATE, mainly because I wanted something better than chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
    1. The nuts refer to the good ol’ days when we had coal fires – small lumps were called “nuts”.
  2. 32 minutes, delayed at the end in the SE corner by CHINDIT and BLINDER. The latter didn’t occur to me until the D checker was in place. For the language in 20dn I had considered both LINGO and LATIN before thinking of HINDI and then dredging up CHINDIT from the back of my mind as a word I had met before but without any idea of its meaning.

    One very minor point of detail in the blog (and I may be wrong anyway), I don’t think there’s any enclosure going on in BANTAMWEIGHT and that TAMWEIGHT just sits beside BAN indicated by ‘at’.

    Ho-ho-ho, everybody!

    1. I think we had CHINDIT here some time ago; chindit is also a SNITCH solver, with an impressive average time of 9:42.
      1. Ah, I never look at the SNITCH. But your’e right about it coming up before, in QC1863 at the end of April this year when it was clued as:

        WWII commando using Asian language in court (7)

        And here’s what I wrote about it then:

        CHINDIT was a problem but it’s what the wordplay and checkers gave me so in it went. I was going to swear I’d NHO it but I see it has come up in the 15×15 a couple of times over the years, most recently in 2017 when the answer was HINDI defined as ‘Asian language’ and the wordplay relied on thinking of CHINDIT and removing its end letters; I suspect I just biffed that one and didn’t pay much attention to the rest of the clue.

        Edited at 2021-12-25 09:37 am (UTC)

  3. I’m annoyed because I checked my work and feel sure I didn’t put a Y instead of an E at the end of ACCOMMODATED.
    Otherwise straightforward by my standards, GRATE was my LOI. My first thought was not of chestnuts but of coal as you can have nuts of coal.
        1. Sir Horryd. Comment three? The one posted by Anonymous? It’s not like you to side with Anon. That comment wasn’t posted until 11:20 pm Boxing Day. The credit for knowing their nuts goes to martinp1 at the top of this thread who posted at 7:59 on Christmas Day
  4. At the easier end for me. I thought finally, ultimately, head of, originally, initially and initially were a bit repetitive. Happy Christmas to all.
  5. And so I chalked up my 10th error on the leaderboard with MINAH. Chambers tells me that mina is OK, as is myna but not minah. Never mind, it’s Christmas! Hope you all have a good one.
  6. I thought CLANNING must be a Scottish game but fortunately it didn’t fit despite my best efforts to squeeze it in. So nice to have a Saturday blog on the same day as the puzzle rather than trying to remember the clues from a week ago. Is a weekly prize competition really necessary? Anyway, festive greetings to all.
  7. Rushed through this until the MARXIST/CHINDIT crossers, then failed after ten minutes. If I’d thought of MARXIST for “red” I might have thrown in my constructed unknown of CHINDITS, but I was never going to get it from “maxis”. Ah well. A forty-minute failure to start my day off with a damp squib!

    Edited at 2021-12-25 09:07 am (UTC)

  8. Ugh. Misspelt it as MINAH, which I don’t think is any sort of variant spelling at all. Very sloppy. Spent a few minutes failing to get MARXIST, so not my best effort.
  9. ….as I started to enter ‘marathon’ before finding myself a letter short. At least I was right about Athlone, and once I got ACCOMMODATED it became obvious.

    My weirdest biff of the year was ‘cheep’ for talking bird (if you were ‘talking bird’ you might cheep, if you were ‘talking dog’ you might bark. My brain is a very strange construction).

    Held up at the end by the same crosser as Gothick Matt above, largely due to trying to think of a shade of red, and not thinking quickly enough of Hindi.

    COD MYNAH (sympathies to bear trap victims)
    TIME 10:35

  10. A PB for me on Christmas day! Around 18 mins (I know, I’m no speed merchant…). Top half complete in about 5 mins and I wondered if I’d opened the QC by mistake. Bottom half took a bit longer with a couple of unknowns, but wordplay was generous. Perhaps the champagne helped!!
    1. Congratulations. ‘Perhaps the champagne helped …’ conjures up so many issues for 2022?
  11. About 40 minutes for me while doing other things. GRATE was my LOI since I didn’t think of the right kind of nuts so I was unconvinced until I couldn’t think of anything else. Didn’t know the styptic/alum connection, hesitated between the two spellings of MYNAH. Struggled with the parsing of MARXIST since I was thinking MAX was a homonym for MACS (coats) before realizing there was no homonym indicator so it must be MAXIS which I think of as skirts not coats.
  12. Clearly this would have been finer
    If there was no OSTRICH or MYNAH
    Guaranteed to make blue
    This aged CURMUDGEONLY whiner
  13. Congratulations to coxburgler. I was three minutes slower, but it was still a PB for me too at 20:41. Like others, I struggled with 23ac MARXIST looking for a shade of red and not seeing maxis as coats at first. Otherwise a nice Christmas present. COD LINEAGE
  14. No newspaper delivery today, and then Christmas took over. I managed to get hold of a copy and sat down to it about half an hour ago, taking 25 minutes, Hence, I am a very late arrival at the ball. COD to CURMUDGEONLY. Mr and Mrs MUDGE and their unaccompanied dog? A straightforwardly pleasant puzzle, ideal for Christmas night after overindulgence. Thank you B and setter.
  15. I’m a no-show here because as far as I knew there was no Times yesterday. And there wasn’t a voucher for it in my pack. And yet I’ve just found it online. Puzzled!
  16. Even longer to get round to doing this — finally, peace on Boxing Day morning.

    I had a surprisingly good run through this, where most everything I thought of went in. I did put in the wrong MINOR until realising that 2d was RUBBISH.

    A few moments of thought in the bottom right, where COCOA gave CURLING, then MARXIST and BLINDER before all checkers on plumping for CHINDIT — never knew it was a soldier — plus a second or two dithering over my LOI — COROLLA until I got the cryptic the right way around.

  17. I wasn’t even sure that this would be blogged, so did this at a relaxed pace. The ever faithful Browndog was on hand. Many thanks! I had MINAH at 13ac an alternative spelling which as noted by Jack is present on Collins/Franklin and is OK in Scrabble.

    FOI 19ac COCOA

    LOI 17dn COROLLA

    COD & WOD 1ac CURMUDGEONLY rather descriptive of Meldrew.

    Rather pleased to see that rocket blast-off and separate successfully — in time for CNY.
    Hubble bubble burst!?

    Edited at 2021-12-26 05:49 pm (UTC)

  18. The Rocketman also has his previous successes, ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘Galveston’ to add to his list of achievements. How goes he do it!?

    Edited at 2021-12-26 05:49 pm (UTC)

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