Times Cryptic No 28206 – Saturday, 5 February 2022. Pass that red this way.

An epicurean crossword today, with bread, asparagus, salads, fruit, soft drinks and red wine. Difficulty was Goldilocks – not too hard, not too easy, and with no exotic knowledge required. 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 For meals, leaves one’s school in grassy area (5,5)
SWISS CHARD – I’S=one’s + SCH=school, in SWARD. Not something I knew, but easy to construct.
6 Third child in eighth group (4)
SETH – if you number A, B, C … instead of 1, 2, 3 …, then the eighth set is SET H.
8 Item tossed by figure turning red (8)
CABERNET – toss the CABER, then turn TEN back to front. A red wine.
9 Cross Russia’s capital, carried by driver (6)
CRABBY – R(ussia) in CABBY.
10 Drops of the hard stuff from prince hosting yours truly (4)
HAIL – I=yours truly, in HAL=the Shakespearean prince. Amusing definition.
11 Drifting in river, like male cattle (10)
12 Uncooperative individual fires nuke off (9)
REFUSENIK – anagram (off): FIRES NUKE. Typically a Soviet Jew denied permission to emigrate to Israel.
14 Publication covering travel in Biblical land (5)
17 Returned free packaging from Amazon in worst moment (5)
NADIR – RID + A(mazo)N, ‘returned’.
19 Is divine sun best for Old Testament figure? (9)
ISRAELITE – IS + RA=Egyptian divinity + ELITE.
22 Bagging loaf, some asparagus for those in the van (10)
SPEARHEADS – HEAD=loaf in SPEARS=some asparagus.
23 Where to park behind Spanish car (4)
SEAT – double definition. Seat is the Spanish subsidiary of Fiat.
24 Beyond the pale to entertain current idea (6)
NOTION – NOT ON=beyond the pale. Insert I=electrical current.
25 European daily swallowing a drink (8)
LEMONADELE MONDE is a French daily newspaper. Insert A.
26 Baguette conceivably a source of irritation (4)
PAIN – double definition. PAIN in French means bread, of course.
27 Erato’s lute playing is a feature of Homer’s work (5-5)
LOTUS-EATER – anagram (playing): ERATOS LUTE.

1 Senior grabbing a cold drink — cool, sweet stuff (9)
SACCHARIN – SR=senior, ‘grabbing’ A + C=cold + CHA=drink; + IN=cool.
2 Wearing underwear, hiding bottom quickly (2,5)
3 Islands in North America beset by decay (8)
CANARIES – NA=North America, ‘beset by’ CARIES=decay.
4 Detective story — cryptically, read end? (1,5,2,7)
A STUDY IN SCARLET – this is one of those backwards things, where you can use the answer as a cryptic clue. Put A + DEN=study, in RED=scarlet, to produce READ END, cryptically. A Study in Scarlet was a Sherlock Holmes novel.
5 Where the accused is extremely evident in legal register (6)
DOCKET – DOCK=where the accused is + E(viden)T.
6 Slow delivery, in all, is failing to secure a maiden over (5,4)
SNAIL MAIL – anagram (failing): IN ALL IS A M. M=maiden, of course.
7 Bill a small business making condiment (7)
TABASCO – TAB=bill + A + S=small + CO=business.
13 Making water with iodine in primitive land (9)
URINATION – UR=primitive (as a prefix) + NATION, with I=iodine inside.
15 Stars ultimately fuming about a complaint by listener (5,4)
GREAT BEAR – G=(fumin)G + RE=about + A + T.B.=a complaint + EAR=listener.
16 Many a Mandarin test with problems about answer (8)
SATSUMAS – S.A.T=the test + SUMS ‘about’ A=answer.
18 Cough and cold remedy, with no top on a jar (7)
AMPHORA – (c)AMPHOR=the cough and cold remedy + A.
20 At home, cut up coat: at the edges it’s woolly (7)
INEXACT – IN=at home + AXE (backwards=up) = cut + C(oa)T.
21 Losing heart, what separates us from the French designer (6)

22 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28206 – Saturday, 5 February 2022. Pass that red this way.”

  1. That’s the official time, which includes time lost dealing with cursor freeze, where typing a letter just replaces the letter just typed; same problem today, making 3 Saturdays in a row. Anyway, I did a lot of biffing, including my FOI, 4d. LOI SEAT; I’d never heard of the Spanish car. I thought of Enos at first for 6ac, but he’s the son of SETH, not of Adam & Eve.
    1. Mmm, time for a new laptop/PC, Kevin? You seem to be having a few freezing problems recently.
      1. It’s a newish (3-4 yrs old?) desktop Mac, some other solvers have the same problem, and it only occurs when I’m doing a puzzle on the club site. Customer Service, of course, has been useless.
        1. Oh, that is annoying! Since moving over to Mac 10 years ago, as the old Pears Soap advert used to say: “Since then I have used no other”.
          Computers can be an exercise in frustration, though, can’t they!
  2. You saw an epicurean bent, Bruce. I saw a mixture of the biblical and the French:
    MAGOG/SETH/ISRAELITE (Cue Desmond Dekker) plus
    I was going to say something about product placement with SEAT but I think we’ve had previous examples, haven’t we?
    Your explanation of A STUDY IN SCARLET does make sense but that was a bit much for this bear of little brain. I guessed it after a few checkers went in.
    Late PS: referring to SETH, we’ve had similar clues recently, e.g. LINED

    Edited at 2022-02-12 02:38 am (UTC)

  3. Never on the wavelength, but no real problems nevertheless. Lots of very intricate wordplay, it seemed, and unexpected synonyms: caries, camphor, caber. I also noticed the old testament rather than the food; and more product placement with Tabasco as well as the Seat.
    For some reason I think I didn’t parse A STUDY… but just BIFD it. Normally I try to parse everything as I write it in.
    Liked SWISS CHARD the best, ahead of CRABBY. Though I’d spell it cabbie.
  4. 39 minutes.

    4dn was a write-in and I didn’t bother to return and parse it fully although I realised it was ‘one of those backward things’. The title is better-known than many a Holmes story because it was the very first, so quizzers will know it for that reason.

    Edited at 2022-02-12 06:18 am (UTC)

  5. I zipped through this in 19 minutes. My only hold ups were SPEARHEADS and LOI SWISS CHARD. FOI was SETH. Lots of clues brought a smile, HAIL, CHANEL, URINATION and COD RUDDERLESS particularly. You learn something every day. I didn’t know that REFUSENIK was originally applied to Russian Jews denied access emigration to Israel. I’ve got memories of repetitively singing Camphorated to the tune of John Brown’s Body as a Wolf Cub, one of the many reasons I didn’t become a Boy Scout. Enjoyable puzzle.Thank you B and setter.
  6. I also biffed A STUDY IN SCARLET without really working out the wordplay, but I saw elements of it and that was enough. SWISS CHARD took a while to unravel. MAGOG was vaguely familiar . SATSUMAS and ISRAELITE were last ones in. I never knew what an AMPHORA was until I started doing these puzzles. Now it’s a write in. 29:07. Thanks setter and Bruce.
    1. Not very far from me there is an upmarket pottery shop called “Pots, Pithoi and Amphorae.”
      Might be worth remembering pithoi, John!
  7. This one took me ages, well over an hour. FOI 12ac REFUSENIKS, then steady enough progress until I was left with the four that I managed to fill in but not to figure out: 6,19 & 27ac, and 4d. They were just too clever for me, and I needed this blog for its explanations, thank you. Live and learn… I liked the cute 23ac.
  8. FOI was IN BRIEF; LOI SWISS CHARD which I derived from the clue and assumed must exist.
    I needed a long session over lunch to complete this.
    Some partly knowns were derived.
    I guessed A STUDY IN SCARLET without knowing how. By chance, two days ago, I noticed this unread tome on my bookshelf when looking for something else. It’s now on my list of books to read next.
  9. I was familiar with Gog and Magog.
    Apparently Magog is either a man and associated with Gog, another, or it is the land of Gog. So confusion remains in my mind but it was always going to be Magog.
    FWIW SEAT is no longer associated with FIAT but is owned outright by VW.
  10. No solving time as I forgot to check the clock upon finishing. Would have exceeded the hour though.
    I had two unsolved which I just got before coming here. PAIN and SEAT and I don’t understand why I didn’t see them on the day.
    4 clues I didn’t fully parse. SETH (I’m kicking myself now), ISRAELITE only the IS, A STUDY IN SCARLET I can’t remember how I got that and GREAT BEAR seeing just the G RE A.
    Still completed the grid correct though.
  11. I finished this, but never got to the bottom of SEAT, and forgot about it until now…
  12. Very slow going, about an hour and six minutes (perhaps because I am just recuperating from THAT disease), but a very enjoyable puzzle. FOI was HAIL (I liked the drops of the hard stuff). LOI were RUDDERLESS and then A STUDY IN SCARLET, which I parsed long before I could think of a 5-letter word meaning “den”. Actually, the only one I needed to biff was GREAT BEAR, since of course I was looking for a homonym and I wasn’t sure how anyone would pronounce TBEAR.

    Thank you setter for a pleasant hour.

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