Times Cryptic No 28284 – Saturday, 7 May 2022. Solved to the sounds of Haydn?

I’d never heard of the political arrangement at 12D, so no music played for me … tho’ I’m sure it was different for some. Anyhow, the answer was clear from the helpers. Nor was my geography up to naming the answer to 2D – that one I had to look up. Everything else was within my ken. 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 this week’s Saturday Cryptic.

Clues are blue. Definitions are underlined in bold italics. (ABC)* indicates anagram of ABC, with the anagram indicator italicised.

1 Better gets on convenient-sounding race (8)
HANDICAP – HANDI sounds like ‘handy’. CAP=to better.
9 A very important fact about unusual native animals: just tips for birds (8)
AVIFAUNA – first letters (tips).
10 Make a picture, forswearing a beer (4)
11 To try going viral is tragic (5-7)
HEART-RENDING – HEAR=to try (a court case). TRENDING=going viral.
13 I don’t care if this protects pig from sunburn? (2,4)
SO WHAT – the SOW wears a HAT.
14 Perhaps tiger at first makes no time for aardvark (8)
MANEATER – M(akes) + AN(t)EATER.
15 To put on head, secure large cushion (7)
BEANBAG – BEAN=head + BAG=to secure.
16 Inclined to take too much, admitting scarcity not ended (2,1,4)
OF A MIND – OD=overdose=take too much, ‘admitting’ FAMIN(e)=scarcity.
20 Holder transferred from can to cup (8)
22 Renounce somewhat degenerate backing (6)
RENEGE – backwards hidden.
23 Independent voter annoyed by crazy Bren toting revolutionary (5-7)
25 Choose either end of coiled string (4)
CORD – if you choose either the start or end of coiled, you end up with (ta da): C … OR … D.
26 Immoral relative has time for a bit of lunch (8)
UNCHASTE – UNC(l)E replaces L=’a bit’ of Lunch, by HAS + T. I don’t like the use of ‘a bit’ to mean ‘the first letter’. I don’t see where that comes from.
27 Food here may be taken back to the lab (5,3)
DOGGY BAG – a cryptic definition, I suppose. The ‘lab’ is a Labrador retriever.
2 Here skiing challenge has an extra round (8)
AVIEMORE – A MORE=an extra, around VIE=challenge. I couldn’t see it and didn’t know the place, so had to look it up.
3 Work on New Year list and act as host (2,3,7)
DO THE HONOURS – DO=work + THE HONOURS=a list at New Year (and other times).
4 Mike comes in to devise a tasty indulgence (5,3)
CREAM TEA – M=mike, in CREATE=devise, + A.
5 How long Dad took to complete crosswords, for example (7)
6 Potentially Iron Age bird? (6)
PIGEON – PIG iron, also known as crude iron, is an intermediate product of the iron industry. EON=age.
7 No end of bother over one mystic (4)
SUFI – FUS(s) ‘over’, then I=one.
8 Emblem carried by revolutionary was continually annoying (8)
12 Clamour to play with Haydn, in this state? (4,8)
DUAL MONARCHY – (CLAMOUR HAYDN)*. The Austro-Hungarian Empire apparently was a dual monarchy, and Haydn of course was Austrian..
15 Reserve weapon: it can reduce work for members? (4,4)
BOOK CLUB – BOOK=reserve + CLUB.
17 Copper abandoned remote obsession (8)
FARTHING – FAR=remote + THING=obsession, as in “I’ve got a thing about … “
18 Stretch of land without a green? Keep out of it (2-2,4)
NO-GO AREA – NO GO=without a green (traffic light). AREA=stretch of land.
19 Kept short socks, initially coloured (7)
21 In surprise attack start to beat into a pulp (6)
AMBUSH – B(eat) in A MUSH.
24 Make contact with skin, scraping the top: the reaction? (4)


21 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28284 – Saturday, 7 May 2022. Solved to the sounds of Haydn?”

  1. No problem with AVIEMORE since the first time I tried to ski was there. DUAL MONARCHY was something I’d never heard of and I assumed (wrongly it seems) that it was a period like the UK (actually I think just England and Wales) when it was reigned over by William and Mary in 1689. Apparently they were “joint monarchs”. I see from looking at it that I finished all correct in 41 minutes with LOI UNCHASTE. But I don’t remember anything else especially noteworthy.

    Edited at 2022-05-14 12:16 am (UTC)

  2. Failed to get the Scottish place but had everything else finally come out right. Enjoyed SO WHAT , DUAL MONARCHY, and CROSS-BENCHER. Thanks ,brnchn, for clearing up all the things I didn’t follow.
  3. Lots of neat wordplay in this, like famin(e) create a, pa’s time. LOI by far was Aviemore – vaguely heard of, having occasionally worked in Aberdeen and heard there was skiing nearby. I would have spelled it Aviemoor without the helpful E, and the cryptic.
  4. I found that a lot of fun although I only just about get UNCHASTE.
    It was a puzzle that was really on my wavelength.
    With 15ac, I had the first B so my first thought was Bolster. BEANBAG only came later.
    Favourites were: 17d FARTHING; 13ac SO WHAT; 2d AVIEMORE; 5d PASTIME; 27ac DOGGY BAG. That use of ‘lab’ is becoming something of a chestnut, I think.
    Thank you, Bruce.
  5. After a fairly straightforward solve I was unable to finish this without resorting to aids for SUFI and AVIFAUNA. I think I might have worked out the latter if I’d looked the former up first, because the U-checker would have been a great help. Unfortunately I chose the wrong one which didn’t help me with the NHO SUFI.

    Of course setters can’t be expected to know in advance which words individual solvers may find obscure (although I often think they could make a jolly good guess!) but as far as this solver is concerned they seem to have unerring skill at picking the words I don’t know and placing them so that they intersect in the grid.

  6. I forgot to write down my time but I think it was in the normal range. I liked the female pig’s titfer the best, although the labrador’s takeaway ran it close. DUAL MONARCHY was last in, I think. As a young child, I once swallowed a farthing. A beautifully witty puzzle. Thank you B and setter.
  7. SO WHAT AVIFAUNA is shown?
    A PIGEON! To the setter a groan
    You’re UNCHASTE and unkind
    And I am OF A MIND
    To let out a HEART-RENDING moan
  8. Another failure to get AVIEMORE here. I’d heard of it, I think, but never seen it written down and didn’t know they skied there. In the end that one took me ten extra minutes over my half hour before I threw in the towel.
  9. Why is it “reduce” work for members? Because it’s less effort than going to a library?
    many thanks to both setter and blogger
    1. Good question. Perhaps the book club reduces the effort to understand the book under discussion?
    2. Chambers has “A society that sells at reduced prices, buys, circulates on loan, or prints books for its members”, and as soon as I read that I remembered I used to belong to one of them, years ago…
  10. With a typo

    Thought DUAL MONARCHY was excellent.

    Struggled a bit to get a toehold but with a few checkers I got into the swing if it

    BOOK CLUB puzzled me a bit too but it had to be

    No problems with AVIEMORE as was there last Summer. Bit surprised local folks wouldn’t know it but then again I like my maps. Ask me a question about something sciency and I’m struggling

    Thanks setter and Bruce

  11. My LOI was AVIFAUNA, an unknown word I was pleased to construct. My other problems were also in the NE- MANEATER, PIGEON and BADGERED all held me up.
    I enjoyed this puzzle although it was difficult for me.
    The musician Richard Thompson (and his then wife Linda) joined a Sufi Muslim community during their marriage; I probably knew the term from that connection.
    Do listen to “Dimming of the day”.
  12. Thanks for the explanation of UNCHASTE
    Confused because half of the answer was in (l)UNCH
  13. I found this a real struggle to get into, and it ended up being a joint effort with Mr Ego to solve it. However, clueing was fair enough, particularly with the unknown AVIFAUNA, and there were some great ones: DOGGY BAG, the SOW HAT and MANEATER, to name but a few. Like others, a MER at L for ‘a bit of lunch’.
  14. I struggled with this one, and needed help for my LOI, SUFI. I had all the ingredients, but failed to invert FUS(s). Knew AVIFAUNA. AVIEMORE took a while to see even though I’ve driven past it quite a few times(I don’t ski). 49:01. Thanks setter and Bruce.
    1. Back in 1985, the company car tax rules specified that you had to do 2500 business miles in a year to avoid the taxable benefit. I was based in London at the time and had struggled to get the mileage in during the previous year. I had to go to a two day business conference in Aviemore so I decided to drive it. It’s a long, long way up that A9!
      1. It is indeed! When I was working I sometimes struggled to get my mileage below 25000 a year!

  15. This took me 82 minutes in one sitting and lots of studying wordplay was needed to get me through this.
    I had four I couldn’t parse so needed the blog to unravel them which were: HANDICAP, CREAM TEA and NO GO AREA all BIFD.

    AVIEMORE helped by checkers and looking up.

    AVIFAUNA NHO but ‘just tips’ got me there. And SUFI was also unknown to me but the wordplay and checkers helped.


  16. I struggled with this one, and needed help for my LOI, SUFI. I had all the ingredients, but failed to invert FUS(s). Knew AVIFAUNA. AVIEMORE took a while to see even though I’ve driven past it quite a few times(I don’t ski). 49:01. Thanks setter and Bruce.

  17. I recall little of doing this puzzle, but after 14:39 I fell victim to a skiing accident at “ABIEMORE”. I knew the place, but it was the inevitable typo from using the phone ☹️

    I’m changing my name to BUSMAN as of today.

    (Phil Jordan)

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