Times Cryptic No 28200 – Saturday, 29 January 2022. Smooth sailing for a Saturday.

Someone asked last week how Saturday puzzles compare with weekdays. I think in general they occupy middle ground between Mellow Mondays and Fierce Fridays. What do you all think? This puzzle though might be an exception that tests the rule. I found it easier than usual! Was I just on the wavelength? 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.

1 Use minimal effort dispatching a penalty (4)
3 Old mathematician rang, interrupting warlord (10)
ARCHIMEDES – CHIMED ‘interrupting’ ARES.
9 I’m right out of sweeteners for drinks (7)
11 Face carrying vase every day (7)
DIURNAL – DIAL ‘carrying’ URN.
12 Seek extremely rare beer, one often seen at the bar? (5,8)
COURT REPORTER – COURT=seek, as in ‘court approval’ + R(ar)E + PORTER=beer.
14 State ignoring an Asian country (5)
15 Gemstone quiets our rioting (9)
TURQUOISE – anagram (rioting): QUIETS OUR.
17 Reflecting on dreary housing and coastal town (9)
LLANDUDNO – ON + DULL=dreary, all backwards, ‘housing’ AND.
19 Bumpkin getting outside old lift abruptly (5)
HOICK – HICK ‘outside’ O=old.
21 Beer is drunk by the lady with courage for party game (4,3,6)
24 Tax I am able to see here? (7)
VATICAN – VAT=tax + I + CAN. The Holy See, of course.
25 Russian discounting tip from Spain, perhaps (7)
26 Jump in the air with supporter in added time? (4,6)
LEAP SECOND – LEAP=jump in the air + SECOND=supporter, of a motion for example.
27 A relative’s unchanged (2,2)
AS IS – A + SIS=sister.

1 Animal caught on high ground, friend admits (10)
CHINCHILLA – C=caught + HILL, in CHINA=friend.
2 Down payment expected to be over 500 (7)
SUBDUED – SUB=payment + DUE + D=500, in Roman notation.
4 Relaxed about muscle being admired (9)
RESPECTED – RESTED ‘about’ PEC(toral).
5 Hotel covered by flashy drone (5)
HYDRO – hidden in plain sight. A type of clue I often miss!
6 Horse to run further, finding cliff faces there? (5,8)
MOUNT RUSHMORE – MOUNT=horse + RUSH=run + MORE=further.
7 Money I’d earn working on island (7)
DENARII – anagram (working): ID EARN + I=island.
8 Only type of music on a podcast (4)
SOLE – sounds like SOUL.
10 Clumsily ban pesticides and stuff (4,3,6)
BITS AND PIECES – anagram (clumsily): BAN PESTICIDES.
13 Number absorbed by Dickens novel that involves serving on a ship? (4,6)
DECK TENNIS – TEN is the number, in an anagram (novel): DICKENS.
16 Old African island supported by Scotsman (9)
RHODESIAN – RHODES=the island + IAN=the Scot, as usual.
18 Amend atlas, one with a bygone French region (7)
ALSATIA – anagram (amend): ATLAS + I + A.
20 Somehow knows temperature accepted by arctic dwellers (7)
INTUITS – T=temperature, in INUITs.
22 Brief toast for French city is a boost (5)
TONIC – in the South of France, we might raise our glasses TO NIC(e).
23 Despise unlimited wickedness (4)
EVIL – (r) EVIL (e).

30 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28200 – Saturday, 29 January 2022. Smooth sailing for a Saturday.”

  1. I liked Imbibes, was smart enough not to put Hoist in when I couldn’t parse it, and once I realised Chimpanzee fit the letter count at 1d I didn’t give a fig for the later crossers not working. Nope.

    Nice blog, brunchn. I used to think the Saturday was like a medium-to-medium-tough Friday, but then Fridays got harder in my view, and Saturday’s easier. So now I think I’d agree with you.

  2. No problems… but I imagine (didn’t mark) that HOICK was my LOI or might as well have been.

    BTW… just as a matter of general knowledge, y’know… MOUNT RUSHMORE National Memorial was built on burial grounds held to be sacred by the Indigenous population and the faces of iconic US potentates that adorn it were sculpted by a fellow with deep ties to the Ku Klux Klan, one Gutzon Borglum (for real). He also memorialized the Confederacy in the same way, on Stone Mountain in Atlanta. While this was in the works, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, lionizing the KKK, came out (1915—fifty years after the end of the Civil War), and the film’s popularity led to increased funding for Borglum’s project.

    Edited at 2022-02-05 03:03 am (UTC)

  3. I did this over lunch, since I couldn’t do it online: once again the cursor froze (did the same today), a problem I’m not alone in having, judging from the club forum. Anyway, I biffed CHINCHILLA & SPIN THE BOTTLE, parsed post-submission. LOI IMBIBES.
  4. …so, very much at the easier end of the spectrum for me, Bruce.
    No difficulties with this one. I liked TONIC. That was clever but DECK TENNIS was my COD.
    I may have cracked this joke before but if Zimbabwe used to be Rhodesia what did Iceland used to be called? (Very British joke, I should add)
    A: Bejam.
      1. Lynne Truss used it in her wonderful book on grammar: “Eats (,) Shoots and Leaves”.
  5. Zoomed through this one a full EIGHT MINUTES faster than my previous PB …I was completely gobsmacked. Don’t think I’ll be bettering that anytime soon.

    1) When I checked it before competition submission a few minutes later, I found a typo (two characters in TURQUOISE transposed)

    2) I’m not counting it as an official PB (even with time added for correction) because it just doesn’t feel right, it’s not the same. I’ll remember this as a fun and astonishing outlier

  6. How to weigh gold? We didn’t know
    ARCHIMEDES the Greek had a go
    He tried some lavation
    And had inspiration
    Then he ran down the street commando
  7. 27 minutes so a bit easier than average but not that much so for me. I’m scraping the barrel musically today with the Dave Clark Five. LOI HYDRO, despite knowing well the hideous one at Norbreck at the north end of Blackpool. COD to IMBIBES. I enjoyed the boat trip on the St Tudno to LLANDUDNO too. A pleasant puzzle, a bit like the walk up Great Orme on a sunny day. Thank you B and setter.
    1. I’ve passed it on the tram hundreds of times. Not just hideous – the reviews on TripAdvisor, Booking dot com etc., are horrific.
  8. Very straightforward this, as Saturday puzzles seem to be nowadays.
    I remember a time, several editors ago no doubt, when Saturdays were deliberately set to be harder than weekday ones. “Well, got more time for solving it, haven’t they?” .. but that seemed to stop some years ago.
    I liked 17ac, clever clue
    1. Yes, it has been suggested many a time that Monday – Fridays solvers would be commuting with no access to reference books but weekend puzzles might contain more difficult vocabulary. I’m not sure this was ever official, but if it ever was a consideration since the arrival smartphones etc it would no longer be relevant.
      1. At a Championships years ago I asked John Grimshaw, the editor at the time, if he deliberately made Mondays easier than the rest of the week. He said he could never tell which ones would be seen as difficult or easy so did nothing to try and sort them, except that if he thought a crossword was a particularly good one he would keep it for a Saturday, thinking it might be more appreciated then..
    2. Like the new userpics, Jerry!
      As for Llandudno, judging by a recent photo in News in Pictures in The Times, the feral goats are back in town!
  9. Done and dusted in 53 minutes from FOI: RESPECTED to LOI: EVIL. Three BIFD: DECK TENNIS, TONIC and EVIL only fully understood after reading the blog. I didn’t know HYDRO for Hotel but being hidden helped. I did enjoy getting DECK TENNIS from the def alone but I do prefer to understand the parsing.
  10. Enjoyed this one. As Bruce says, a bit easier than average, but satisfying. Liked IMBIBES and DECK TENNIS. 15:25. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  11. A smooth write-in in 20 minutes. FOI 14ac INDIA, LOI 7d DENARII once I’d dictionary-checked spelling. Liked the whimsical HOICK at 19ac. Very enjoyable if, for once, not especially testing. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  12. I too found this much easier than normal finishing in about 45 minutes. LOI was ALSATIA.
    I too thought of the Norbreck HYDRO in Blackpool. I remember when it was considered very posh because it had a swimming pool.
    Congrats to setter for managing to get LLANDUDNO into a puzzle in a smooth way.
  13. Home in 29 minutes matching Lord Vinyl but only half the time of The Master. Well done, Sir!


    LOI 1ac COST!


    WOD Bejam!

  14. 21 minutes (perhaps minus one minute for proofreading) and probably my PB, being, despite the unknown HOICK, an extremely easy puzzle. The only clue that held me up at all was my LOI SOLE, since SOLO kept trying to butt in until I realized that the podcast was just the modern version of the radio (i.e., it was a homophone). Very un-Saturdayish.

    Edited at 2022-02-05 05:13 pm (UTC)

  15. A note to our esteemed blogger and jacktt

    I sadly note that there is now a web site which gives the answers to the Times Saturday Crossword (and much else) freely – on the day! How long it has been on the go? I do not know. Available on-line, I won’t name it for obvious reasons, but the world and his dog have the answers by Monday! So, what’s the point holding out for a week any longer? The Snitch has not been told, yet!

    This was inevitable. Our world has changed once more.The Saturday Prize Puzzle is no longer a prize, but just another neutrino’s trophy.

    FOI Archimedes. COD Hoick. WOD Llandudno. Time 15 minutes all by myself!

    Edited at 2022-02-05 05:26 pm (UTC)

    1. I imagine the SNITCH can’t start its magic until the solutions are released, because it needs to cull solutions with error. And by that time, the useful data is swamped by neutrino noise. So, no Saturday SNITCH for the foreseeable future.

      And, as has been said before, it wouldn’t be right to publish the blogs before the provider releases the solution.

    2. The prize is awarded to the first randomly selected correct solution, without regard to solving time. So using this site only increases the odds of a cheater winning (assuming that he needed the site to get a correct solution), lowers the odds of a legitimate solver winning, and makes the leaderboard that much more inaccurate.
    3. I answered this query a couple of weeks ago.

      We choose not to do anything that may disrupt the prize competition because we seemingly have a good relationship with Times crossword management and we do not wish to jeopardise that. The competition closes at midnight on Wednesdays so we could theoretically blog on Thursdays but then there would be nothing to discuss on Saturdays.

  16. Would have been in my top 3 times but for a typo (PIECSS anyone?) Glad it wasn’t my PB but I could always take more care, or check…

    So no hold ups, just put ‘em all in.

    Nothing stood put but that doesn’t make no less a pleasant and pleading puzzle.

    Thanks Brnchn and setter

  17. Finished on the Saturday, which is a first for me, usually I take all week. I thought I might be improving, but it appears not.

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