Times Cryptic No 28248 – Saturday, 26 March 2022. Names Were the Nemeses Weighing on the NW.

This got off to a good start, but the north-west corner brought me to a standstill. The setter got one up on me at one down, by getting me thinking about law enforcement, not opera. I didn’t know 3dn, and couldn’t believe 2dn was a word – as indeed it wasn’t … it was a most improbable proper name! The Russian at 8ac was frustrating – I remembered seeing him before in Crosswordland, but couldn’t remember his name. Still, it all yielded in the end. Thanks to the setter for an 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 One complaining sailor’s lost time after telephone call (10)
6 Burn hydrogen in vehicle (4)
CHAR – H in CAR.
8 Check back about unfinished pressing for author (8)
TURGENEV – URGEN(t) in VET backwards. He’s appeared more than once before. Perhaps time to memorise his name?
9 Forgive lecturer chasing expected number on course (6)
PARDON – PAR (in golf) + DON.
10 Feature of Vietnamese mountain cooking? (4)
ETNA – hidden, cleverly. Delightful definition.
11 Production of tangerine in orbit without oxygen (10)
GENERATION – anagram (in orbit): TANGERINE, ‘without=outside’ O=oxygen.
12 Well-timed strength needed to grasp large fish (9)
14 Small dispatch facility (5)
17 Goes from side to side in talk, attached to second person? (5)
YOURS – sounds like YAWS.
19 Hours trapped in tube and cars snarling up capital (9)
BUCHAREST – anagram (snarling up) TUBE + CARS + H.
22 Sheep fly far from stable (10)
RAMSHACKLE – RAMS + HACKLES. Apparently, fly fishers sometimes use flies called hackles. New to me.
23 Superiority of golf club without tungsten (4)
EDGE – (w)EDGE. W is the chemical symbol for tungsten.
24 Nearly all cycle wearing current leisure wear (6)
BIKINI – BIKIN(g) + I=(electrical) current.
25 Concluded facts mostly were wrong (8)
26 Ditch is dry, empty and retained with no point (4)
DYKE – D(r)Y + KE(pt).
27 Finished vacation with shredded tyre — this could be curtains (10)
UPHOLSTERY – UP=finished + HOLS=vacation + anagram (shredded): TYRE. I had no idea curtains could be called upholstery, but Chambers allows it.

1 Copper, possibly who became young partner of Pinkerton’s (9)
BUTTERFLY – some butterflies are called coppers. Madame Butterfly married Lieutenant Pinkerton, alas for her.
2 Add extra material to half of Wagner’s Ring, perhaps (7)
LARDNER – LARD + (wag)NER. ‘Lard’ is a verb here. I’ve never heard of Ringgold Lardner … this must be the most obscure definition I can remember!
3 A new spirit rising concerning one Italian painter (8)
ANNIGONI – A + N=new + GIN ‘rising’ + ON=concerning + I=one.
4 Avoid old lorry between harbour and west, badly hit (4,2,5,4)
HAVE NO TRUCK WITH – I just biffed it, but the wordplay is … O=old + TRUCK, between HAVEN=harbour and W=west + anagram (badly): HIT.
5 Account of investigation, perhaps, is concerning Left (6)
REPORT – RE=concerning + PORT=left.
6 School monitor could be about to sit exam again, right? (9)
CARETAKER – CA=about + RETAKE + R=right.
7 Newtlike creature? Reportedly cull many on lake (7)
AXOLOTL – sounds a bit like AXE A LOT, with L=lake. I was pleased that the Os were checked letters!
13 Goes with Scrabble letter giving one a way in to game? (9)
TURNSTILE – TURNS=goes + TILE=the bearer of a Scrabble letter.
15 Modern coffee — recommended daily allowance unknown (6-3)
LATTER-DAY – LATTE=coffee + RDA=you know what + Y=unknown.
16 Left university unemployed, turning up to church optimistic (8)
CHEERFUL – L=left + U + FREE=unemployed, all ‘turning up’ underneath CH. Are you free, Mr Humphries?
18 One’s initial cause of regret about account’s lack of clarity (7)
OPACITY – O(ne) + PITY around AC. Chambers confirms that ‘pity’ can be a cause of regret, not only the regret itself.
20 Confirm what might be Arabs uncovered after death (7)
ENDORSE – END=death + (h)ORSE(s).
21 Surfing centre of African country only 40 per cent built (6)
MALIBU – MALI + BU. The two letters, BU, are 40% of the 5-letter word BU(ILT).

32 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28248 – Saturday, 26 March 2022. Names Were the Nemeses Weighing on the NW.”

  1. I also biffed HAVE NO TRUCK, parsed post-submission. NHO ANNIGONI. Didn’t understand ‘fly’, and wondered about curtains. 2d surprised me, and I can sympathize with non-US solvers who found this obscure. But Ring Lardner was a great writer, with a mastery, as Mencken put it, of the American vulgate. He also wrote a couple of absurdist playlets, with dialog like
    A: Well, my man, how goes it?
    B: [Sings ‘My Man’ to show how it goes.]
    1. I had heard of Pietro Annigone because his portraits of the Queen were quite well publicised.
      LARDNER fell into field of unknown knowns in Rumsfeld-speak.
  2. While events in the Ukraine are getting worse by the day, the TfTT is still blithely continuing business as usual, on the LiveJournal platform.

    Putin has been declared ‘a war criminal’ by Congress (The Senate) 100-0 and Russian soldiers are regularly committing atrocities, hardly fit to print. Just watch the news!

    How long does it take supposedly clever people to get onto a platform that is not covered in the blood of innocents. Your lack of progress in this direction is disquieting!

    “For God’s sake leave!”


    1. I suggest you have not been following proceedings. The “powers that be” within TftT are actively pursuing an alternative. Last heard, a new self-administered website was being considered.

      Edited at 2022-04-02 02:52 am (UTC)

      1. Martin, I most certainly have been following proceedings, both within TftT – and in the Ukriane, despite your suggestion to the contrary.

        ‘Actively pursing an alternative.”Being considered’ That is hardly positive action in my Lexicon. That was last month’s news.

        And what of the moral issue? Is that being actively being considered amongst you – or not?


        1. If you’ve been following proceedings you will know that vinyl1 posted a “Blog Update” on 10Mar and you commented on it on 13Mar. If that is ‘too last month’, contact vinyl1 for an update or do what horryd has done and withdraw from TftT until further notice. Like everyone, I’m waiting for an update from vinyl1 having provided the details he requested in his blog update.
    2. One could argue that by taking resources from Russian serviers without payment we are assisting Ukraine.. and leaving a platform after 15 years with only nontechnical unpaid volunteer labour is not as simple as you seem to imagine.

      Still I see you are concerned, and wonder what you can offer by way of help?

  3. but I fell at the 2d hurdle. Somewhere in my dim and distant past I may have heard of Ring Lardner. Like you, Bruce, I found this clue the most obscure I can remember.
    the best I could come up with was LORINER, a person who makes small iron objects, particularly items related to horses’ tack. I saw a ‘ring’ connection and went for it.
    Also like you, Bruce, I thought 1d was something to do with the detective agency.
    🎼 The Pinkertons pulled out my bag and asked me for my name. I stumbled on my answer and hung my head in shame. 🎼 (“Ballad of a Well-Known Gun”: Elton John)
    I knew ANNIGONI from the portraits of the Queen he painted but I started out with PERUGINO.
    May I say that ‘yachter’ is an awful word.
    Thank you linesman, thank you ballboys, thank you, Bruce!
    1. Non-Americans might know Lardner as the model for one of Fitzgerald’s characters (Abe North) in Tender is the Night
  4. 37 minutes. BELLYACHER was brilliant. Ring LARDNER rang a bell in my head but only after it was reduced to L?R?NER. I didn’t know that definition of HACKLE but I’d already thought of RAMS so I didn’t need much convincing. I had the knowledge for the rest. Good puzzle. Thank you B and setter.
  5. A CHÈERFUL hello — Howdy pardner
    ETNA’s lava, I guess, is a hardener
    Solving SKILL is INFERRED
    Since I’d never heard
    Of Pinkerton, ANNIGONI, or LARDNER
  6. Straightforward enough, and complete – bar one – in 35 minutes. Then spent another ten or so on 2d. Plumped for LARDNER though for the life of me I couldn’t figure out the why. FOI 1ac. Headscratched then eyerolled at 17ac YOURS allegedly sounding like YAWS; not in my accent it doesn’t! Enjoyable even so. Thanks to setter and bloggers.
  7. Had heard of Mr Lardner and Annigoni, fortunately. For me the only obscurity was connecting Pinkerton with Madam Butterfly, not being an opera buff … but I can see how others’ experiences may differ
  8. 45 minutes for what I was expecting to be a DNF, only to find that LARDNER was correct. NHO the writer, but followed the wordplay and surprise, surprise… The ‘Italian painter’ at 3d was also new and not the Renaissance master I had expected.

    I didn’t know HACKLE for a fishing ‘fly’ so 22a went in unparsed. Six of one I suppose, but I parsed 24a slightly differently; ‘Nearly all cycle’ (=BIK{E}) ‘wearing’ (=IN) ‘current’ (=I) for the ‘leisure wear’ def

    Thanks to Bruce and setter

  9. I was on a train to Preston last Saturday so had plenty of time to look at this. I only had two left at Warrington so had made good progress.
    Late in were ETNA (!), MALIBU and UPHOLSTERY.
    In the end I just needed 2d. I plumped for LORINER under exam conditions just to finish. I had rejected LARDNER as I could not see the “extra material”.
    So that leads to yet another debate about GK. When I saw Pinkerton I immediately thought of the very famous opera. The painting of the Queen was infamous and I remembered the name of the artist, which was fairly easy to derive.
    I think LARDNER is very very obscure and beyond the bounds. Others will disagree.
  10. Lardner – followed wordplay and that was that. Not a great clue though.
    Thanks, b.
  11. Many of you have said it. Deeply and irritatingly unfair if you are British.
    1. Got from wordplay, with the crossers in place, but arguably is it more unfair than clueing a district in London, say, which many non-British solvers would not have heard of (and some non-Londoners also)?
      1. The difference is that being a London newspaper, it has no brief to be fair to overseas solvers. Any more than, say, the NYT crossword is… I strongly do *not* wish it to lose its UK focus, and become some sort of global attempt to cater to everyone.

        I would not agree that this clue was in fact particularly unfair. But then, I had heard of the man.. 🙂

        1. In principle, I agree with Jerry; it’s a UK puzzle with UK readers in mind. But in practice, as an American I also like the appearance of clues that presuppose a British background; it’s an added challenge. I’d rather solve LUTON than PEORIA. (yaws/yours, on the other hand …)
  12. 15:32. This irritated me because of what I considered obscurities but clearly the painter was very famous at one time so I suspect that one divides by age. Arguably the same might be said of LARDNER, although he’s clearly more familiar to Americans. I’m sure we can all agree HACKLE is a bit beyond the usual bounds of GK! Anyway I managed to get all the answers in spite of my ignorance, which I guess is the important thing.
    I’m not sure how abandoning this blog would help the cause in Ukraine so as long as we have no alternative I will prioritise material financial support over empty gestures.
    1. I agree that this was an obscurity, at least for non-US solvers, but he did show up somehow a couple of years ago, and Olivia and I both commented, I with the dialog above cited, and she with his wonderful line, “‘Shut up!’ he explained.”
  13. 31:29, but I needed assistance with the NHO LARDNER even with all the crossers it meant nothing. I was toying with LORINER but it didn’t fit the definition. I managed to assemble the NHO Italian painter. CHAR was FOI. Thanks setter and Bruce.
    I’m with Keriothe in sending financial assistance rather than signalling gestures.
  14. This took me 74 minutes with only 1dn BIFD and unparsed. I would never have got the Pinkerton connection but knew the Butterfly.
    Also, NHO LARDNER but did see the wordplay once I had checking letters.
    FOI: CHAR. I can’t remember my LOI but It was pleasing to finish with just the two issues.
  15. Never heard of the newt, though I can see the wordplay. And are we really meant to know the husband of a fictional opera character? But LARDNER takes the biscuit, that’s the worst clue i’ve ever seen.

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