Times Cryptic No 28224 – Saturday, 26 February 2022. Painless puzzle pleases.

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
After a busy week that left me with a backlog of daily puzzles, I was pleased to get through this one without problems. 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. Any hidden answers are in red.

1 Concern about a race round area that is really crazy (3,2,1,6)
MAD AS A HATTER – a double containment clue. Put A=area inside A DASH, then put all that inside MATTER=concern.
8 Bismarck, maybe, not the leader of another country (7)
RUSSIAN – Bismarck was (P)RUSSIAN.
9 Dealing with a rugby player much bigger than normal (7)
APROPOS – A + PROP=rugby forward + OS.
11 What has some fail — mental illness (7)
AILMENT – hidden.
12 Designer given a degree for artistic work (7)
13 Lists of baddies (5)
HEELS – double definition.
14 Ill-disciplined pet-lovers — missed taking dog for morning walk? (9)
OVERSLEPT – anagram (ill-disciplined): PETLOVERS.
16 Angelica’s flogged as a painkiller (9)
ANALGESIC – anagram (flogged): ANGELICAS.
19 Authority of the monarch faced by wartime detainee (5)
POWER – P.O.W (prisoner of war) + E.R.
21 Cuckoo can oust birds (7)
TOUCANS – anagram (cuckoo):CAN OUST.
23 Quiet type who shows endurance — a ”sticker” (7)
24 Screen event that engenders two opposite opinions? (7)
DIVIDER – definition + cryptic hint.
25 Is artist high priest who lives in the Middle East? (7)
26 What successful studs did, reportedly? They put food on the table (12)
BREADWINNERS – sounds like they “bred winners”.

1 Wine merchant runs short after next to no time (7)
2 Clubs for AA and RAC types? (7)
DRIVERS – golf clubs or motorists.
3 Son joining ventures — any number involved punishments (9)
4 Sound of lots of people in store (5)
HOARD – sounds like “horde”.
5 Naughty kids finally admit mistakes (7)
6 Old Greek character had to make good (7)
7 Kind of desire to pen two different articles with skill (5-7)
10 Certain brats, being naughty, who won’t think straight? (12)
SCATTERBRAIN – anagram (being naughty): CERTAIN BRATS.
15 One might take this for object that is an oddity (9)
EXCEPTION – double definition. The first is rather convoluted: the idea is that ‘taking exception’ is to object.
17 A case of weapons making one nervous? (7)
18 Relation who is a wonderful help in the office? (7)
GRANDPA – he’s a GRAND P.A. in the office.
19 Romeo will be enthralled by partner — that is plain (7)
20 Idiotic person who’s seen to have change of heart (7)
WITLESS – change the N in WITNESS to an L.
22 Short sage who was tamed? (5)

21 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28224 – Saturday, 26 February 2022. Painless puzzle pleases.”

  1. Thanks to setter for a topical crossword. RUSSIAN SANCTIONS at 8a and 3d. How appropriate! And does MAD AS A HATTER refer to Putin?
    1. I picked up more possible references. WITLESS could also refer to Putin, while TERRORS are what the Ukrainians are experiencing (and they may well be AQUIVER, too). POWER (as per the title of your post) is what Putin lives for, and he and his followers could be described as HEELS in the sense of ‘baddies’ used in the clue.

      Okay, some of those are a bit of a stretch. But I’m sure there was a deliberate effort to comment on the current situation – and maybe that led to the puzzle as a whole being easier than usual?

  2. although I did put “straightforward” in my notes, I put a question mark against 4d. I put HEARD which I still think is OK.
    I’m no good at defining the sort of clue I’m looking at -for example, I never know what is and isn’t an &lit- so thanks Bruce for defining 15d.
    My notes also say there were some QC clues such as DRIVERS.
      1. Yes, good point, Jerry. I think I must have taken the definition as being at the other end in “sound”.
  3. LOI HOARD; I couldn’t see past HEARD for a long while. (You’ve got a typo, Bruce; just one horde.) I echo Vinyl’s sentiments.
  4. 28 minutes, only 2 below my target 30 yet I made a special note on my printout that it was ‘easy’ which I now assume meant ‘for a Saturday’, but I’m not sure we have any reason (or right) to expect a certain level of difficulty on any particular day. Presumably if a competition puzzle is on the easier side The Times receives more entries and that’s good from their point of view.
    1. From the Times’s (i.e Murdoch’s) point of view, the difficulty of prize puzzles hardly matters. What matters is subscriptions. From the point of view of Times people supporting the puzzles, the more entries the better.
      1. That’s actually what I was getting at but perhaps wasn’t clear. Money isn’t involved directly one way or another but entries reflect interest in puzzles and no doubt they register somewhere when measuring what subscribers and readers more generally want from the paper. Having easier puzzles occasionally is likely to encourage more solvers to enter.
  5. 25 minutes. CODs to BREADWINNERS and OVERSLEPT. I had DIVIDER as the line on a split screen on my iPad that happens by accident and for which I always press the wrong buttons when trying to get rid of. Only afterwards did I think of the screens in A and E or for turning the Church Hall into separate rooms. I can’t make the definition fit the lethal weapon contained in a geometry set though. Enjoyable puzzle. Thank you B and setter.

    Edited at 2022-03-05 07:23 am (UTC)

  6. No particular problems with this one. All done in 24:32. Liked BREADWINNERS. Thanks setter and Bruce.
  7. For the first time ever, I think, my FOI was the first clue of the puzzle, 1ac MAD AS A HATTER. That lead to steady progress without any particular stumbles, though I didn’t completely understand 22d’s “short sage” until coming here, and 7d’s GREAT-HEARTED isn’t a word I’ve come across before. Overall, around 65 minutes, hardly speedy. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  8. Managed this in about 45 mins and enjoyed it. I liked wine merchant and the anag at 10d. COD AQUIVER. Like corymbia I noticed the interesting and pertinent juxtapositions of 1ac, 8ac and 3d. Hmmm.

    Wasn’t sure about GREAT-HEARTED but I suppose it’s fine.

    Thanks B and setter.

    1. Mr. Greatheart is a character in ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, for what that’s worth.
  9. I whizzed through in 12.16 and ruined my prize entry with an idiotic typo. Ho hum.
  10. …at 32.33 but slow to get here today. Like others, I couldn’t quite believe GREAT-HEARTED. And I couldn’t quite see PAIR as partner at the time in 19dn, but I think I’ve got it now. I liked MOSELLE and BREADWINNERS
      1. Yes. That works. I had settled for having just one glove; you would look for it’s pair

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