Times Cryptic No 28254 – Saturday, 4 April 2022. Impeccable performance.

Well done, setter! Clue after clue made me smile. My eye fell first on 20A, which set the tone! Things flowed enjoyably through the SW corner, then the rest of the bottom half. LOI was 6D, a fellow I’d never heard off but clearly defined by wordplay. 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 Transport two horses, astride black animal (8)
BUSHBABY – BUS=transport + H=first horse + BAY=second horse, ‘astride’ B=black.
5 Like fare the Spanish offer English to return (6)
EDIBLE – EL=the, in Spanish + BID=offer + E=English, all ‘to return’.
9 Everyone scoffing salmon I caught — it’s lush (9)
ALCOHOLIC – ALL ‘scoffing’ COHO=salmon + I + C=caught.
11 Perhaps knaves is about right for these (5)
CARDS – CADS ‘about’ R.
12 Bread to crack when lunch may be taken (7)
CHAPATI – CHAP=crack (skin in the cold, for example) + AT 1 (pm)=when lunch may be taken.
13 Show appreciation of thespian in capital part (7)
CLAPHAM – CLAP + HAM. Not all thespians are hams, of course.
14 Nobleman’s relative holding page’s shiny coat (6-2-5)
16 Where e.g. Arabs may be penning story is not in doubt (13)
INCONTESTABLE – IN STABLE=where Arabs may be. Insert CONTE=story.
20 Cat, cat or dog, or dog (7)
WHIPPET – WHIP=cat (o’ nine tails). PET = cat or dog, for example. Lovely clue!
21 One breaking out with key — a whizz! (7)
ESCAPEE – ESC=key + A + PEE=whizz.
23 Impeccable performance no longer? (5)
EXACT – it was an act once, but now it’s an EX ACT!
24 Mostly long drinks in all seasons (4-5)
YEAR-ROUND – YEAR(n)=long + ROUND=drinks.
25 Place in which there’s little flipping wiggle room (6)
LEEWAY – WEE ‘flipping’ in LAY.
26 Corner-cutting politician admitted to going downhill (8)

1 Bishop was the head of church’s local office (6)
BRANCH – B(ishop) RAN CH(urcrh).
2 Bones with curves round area towards the top (5)
SACRA – ARCS around A=area, all backwards (‘towards the top’).
3 Spooner’s greeting character created by Homer from memory (2,5)
BY HEART – HI BART. Homer Simpson’s son.
4 Phone one lightly carries about with hostility (13)
6 Wife wasting time on some current art provocateur (7)
DUCHAMP – DU(t)CH=London slang for wife + AMP=unit of electrical current.
7 Number of deliveries bowled with it, rather poorly (5,4)
BIRTH RATE – B=bowled + anagram (poorly): IT RATHER. No, not the number of balls bowled!
8 Group shifting blame seen to lack answer (8)
ENSEMBLE – anagram (shifting): BL(a)ME SEEN.
10 Disruptive chat woke flock’s dominant member (4,2,3,4)
COCK OF THE WALK – anagram (disruptive): CHAT WOKE FLOCK.
14 Plot a feature grasped by couple (9)
MACHINATE – A CHIN, ‘grasped by’ MATE.
15 Someone in America’s fair feature (3,5)
BIG WHEEL – double definition.
17 Overturned hot vessel with most of that fuel? (7)
NAPHTHA – NAP=pan, ‘overturned’ + H=hot + THA(t).
18 Pair of horny males in coarse material (7)
BUCKRAM – BUCK + RAM: both horned.
19 Salt dosage in need of amendment (3,3)
SEA DOG – anagram (in need of amendment): DOSAGE.
22 8th-century pope’s a pioneer in quantum science (5)
PAULI – PAUL I was a pope. Wolfgang Pauli was a pioneer of quantum mechanics, who formulated the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

18 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28254 – Saturday, 4 April 2022. Impeccable performance.”

  1. Very well put together, enjoyable and amusing puzzle with lots of neat tricks. Right on the wavelength, a little over 10 minutes is as fast as I can go. Probably all the cats and dogs in whippet the pick, but I liked Pauli sneaking in on the back of quantum physics. – I always mix him up with Pauling, who was also into quantum mechanics.
    Thanks setter and blogger.
  2. Having the final ‘I’ checker I biffed FERMI for the quantum mechanic. I’d never heard of Pope Ferm the first, but eighth century Catholicism isn’t my forte, so I didn’t worry until the other checkers brought Wolfgang Pauli out of hiding.

    7d was a SIXTH RATE clue for some time. Six being the number of deliveries in an over with a near anagram of ‘rather’. I did rather poorly on this….

    WHIPPET good! Whip it good! I have a DEVO earworm now.


  3. Nice to encounter the great instigator of conceptual (“non-retinal”) art here. I guess “art provocateur” need not be taken as belittling his achievement. He really was an artist, even if he feigned to have given it up for chess. His influence extended into the realm of music, through Cage. Apt surface, as he was also reputed to be a lady’s man.

    Edited at 2022-04-09 01:57 am (UTC)

  4. Very enjoyable!
    No problem with DUCHAMP. The former director of the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, Edmund Capon, entitled one of his books, “I Blame Duchamp”. And so do I. Duchamp was responsible, in my view, for conceptual art. If the ‘artist’ says it’s art, then it’s art. Poppycock.
    Thank you, Bruce for explaining SACRA but I have a meh at PEE = ‘whizz’ in ESCAPEE. If the latter is a euphemism for the former then, in my 74 years, I’ve never come across it.
    Lots to enjoy though: INCONTESTABLE; WHIPPET; LEEWAY; PAULI; LEEWAY and DUCHAMP, in particular.
    1. I’ve not only come across it, I’ve used it (in my youth); I’d probably have spelled it ‘wizz’, but.
      1. It’s obviously passed me by. But I have ‘whizzed’ around the world for my work with airlines!
      1. I’m now living in my 6th different country, Bruce (NZ) but I’ve obviously missed something along the way!
    2. No more than the tons of mediocre and downright bad impressionist paintings should be blamed on Monet…
      1. I’ve only been to the Art Institute of Chicago twice but I was amazed at how much Impressionist art was on display. American collectors must have gone through Paris a century or so ago like a swarm of locusts.

        Edited at 2022-04-09 09:44 pm (UTC)

  5. ESCAPEE made me wonder if it was Sunday, but it raised a chuckle. If DUCHAMP had an influence on Cage, that’s one more reason for Martin to blame him. COD definitely to WHIPPET.
    1. “It’s art/music, Jim, but not as we know it!”
      I’m currently enjoying the many playlists on the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s website; not come across any Cage yet!
      1. Being reminded of that great song certainly brightens up the day! I only remember bits of the lyrics- Klingons on the starboard bow?
    2. Cage must be one of the most environment-friendly of composers, though. Constantly recycling his stuff.
  6. 27 minutes with LOI DUCHAMP. COD to BIRTH RATE although the Physicist in me wanted to give it to PAULI. I got that early on with just the I at the end and I needed a PDM to decide between him and Fermi. I then spent a few minutes reminding myself of the Pauli exclusion principle. I usually have either a Naan or a Paratha (other spellings are available) rather than a CHAPATI. With the plague, It’s been ages since I had an Indian meal. I could go one right now for breakfast. Good puzzle. Thank you B and setter.
  7. I found this tough at first. FOI was BRANCH, also COD for me. Once I got going I found this tractable and very enjoyable. Just over an hour.
    LOI NAPHTHA with great care over the spelling. DUCHAMP unknown. I remember a recent debate about WHIZZ from a Sunday puzzle; my mind always goes to the new airline (different spelling)- the power of advertising.
  8. 22 minutes which must be close to my best for a Saturday puzzle.

    DNK Duchamp as an artist but it’s a common enough French name and the wordplay was clear.

    I was pleased to remembered PAULI who has been unknown to me so many times in past puzzles; maybe he’s stuck at last!

    I’m another who’d never come across this meaning of ‘whizz’ but it didn’t seem unreasonable given that the answer to the clue was obvious.

    Edited at 2022-04-09 07:25 am (UTC)

  9. Very enjoyable. All done in 21:44 with the lush in last, after BUSHBABY. Liked MOTHER OF PEARL, WHIPPET and BIRTH RATE. No idea who DUCHAMP was, but worked him out easily enough. Thanks setter and Bruce.

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