Times Cryptic No 28308 – Saturday, 6 June 2022. Dead slow ahead; mind the horses

This was a struggle, full of clues that needed careful examination and littered with unfamiliar things like the racehorse and the Polish statesman, and some very long IKEA assembly clues like 9A and 12D. It all came out in the end, with a little help from a friend and more than one “aha” moment. Thanks, setter! 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. (ABC)* means anagram of ABC, with anagram indicators italicised.

1 Clumsily moving jewellery that’s not as showy as it looks? (9)
6 Racehorse showing liveliness after disregarding odds (5)
ARKLE – (SP)ARKLE. “SP” as in starting price odds.
9 Tune, if popular, good thing to improve the atmosphere (3,12)
AIR CONDITIONING – AIR=tune + CONDITION=if + IN=popular +G=good.
10 On no more courses (6)
REPAST – RE=on + PAST=no more.
11 What’s collapsed by spring in a heap — rot, sadly (5,3)
OPERA HAT – (A HEAP ROT)*. I don’t know how an opera hat works, but I’ll take the setter’s word.
13 Making out ducks in cape, along with fish (10)
CANOODLING – OO=ducks (cricket scores) in C + AND + LING=fish.
14 A bar closing early is concerning (2,2)
AS TO – A + STO(P)=bar.
16 City, then Hearts, finally beat Real (4)
ECHT – EC =postcode for the “City of London” business district + H=hearts + (bea)T. An anglicised German word.
17 Fly paper that protrudes from vehicle (4,6)
WING MIRROR – WING=fly + MIRROR=a London paper.
19 Scorn slow-witted friend of boy band making comeback (4-4)
POOH-POOH – POOH, as in Winnie-the-Pooh (‘for I am a bear of very little brain, and long words bother me’) + HOOP=band, backwards. Nice clue, defining the same thing two quite different ways!
20 Pentagon in front of stone a fair attraction (6)
DODGEM – D.O.D.=Department of Defense + GEM=stone.
23 Unbeatable things Tom’s got to beat? (3,4,8)
THE CAT’S WHISKERS – the cryptic part of this clue seems a bit surreal! Are we to picture a cat using an egg whisk? Anyway, the answer is clear – although even then, I know the expression as “the cat’s pyjamas”.
24 Needle in time removed from loudspeaker (5)
25 One who loved to see himself as saint initially incurs ragging (9)
NARCISSUS – (AS S INCURS)*, with S for saint in the anagram material.
1 Flight sergeant taking aircraft in — regularly — heads there (5)
STAIR – first letters of each word. Arguably, the collective ‘flight’ would be ‘stairs’ plural?
2 Hardly any answer call — then cheat one outrageously (1,4,2,3,5)
A DROP IN THE OCEAN – A=answer + DROP IN=call + (CHEAT ONE)*.
3 Rubbish work, with fine in store (8)
BOOKSHOP –  OK=fine in BOSH=rubbish + OP=work
4 Where Danny’s girl goes racing (4)
INDY – a mind bender, this: Ann is the girl. To make “Danny”, “ANN” goes (drum roll, please) IN “D … Y”. Indy is a form of American motor racing.
5 Zip in bizarre costume with split (3-2-3-2)
GET-UP-AND-GO – GET UP=bizarre costume + AND=with + GO=split.
6 Pig placed in trailer on ship? (6)
7 Trip horseman could make from Perth & Kinross — gee-gee’s knackered! (7,8)
KNIGHTS PROGRESS – (PERTH KINROSS GGS)*. In the clue, each ‘gee’ spells out the letter G.
8 Such shifts typically made by first-rate loom, some say (5-4)
EIGHT-HOUR – sounds like (‘some say’) A + TOWER (first-rate + loom).
12 Sick at home, call hospital — one in Chicago? (10)
ILLINOISAN – ILL=sick + IN=home + OI=a call for attention + SAN=hospital.
13 Queen, not exactly embracing pope, quietly drawing back (9)
CLEOPATRA – CA=not exactly, embracing LEO=a pope + P=quietly. Then add ART=drawing, backwards.
15 Polish statesman one risks unsettling, crossing floor (8)
SIKORSKI – (I RISKS)*, ‘crossing’ KO=floor. I knew of Sikorsky helicopters (albeit spelled with a Y, it turns out), so the answer seemed plausible. I didn’t know the statesman.
18 Source of honey and, going back years, a type of beer (6)
APIARY – YR=years + A + IPA=India Pale Ale, all ‘going back’. I didn’t know the beer, either!
21 Grandma’s wise, so many (not all) reflecting (5)
MOSES – hidden, backwards.
22 One who does make black refreshing drink? (4)
CHAR – a triple definition. Cleaning, cooking, tea.


19 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28308 – Saturday, 6 June 2022. Dead slow ahead; mind the horses”

  1. Good morning Mr. Browndog!

    No struggle if one is au fait with British history and the demise of 15dn General Sikorski in Gibraltar during WWII – was he murdered!? I believe he indeed was.
    And where did poor 6ac Arkle end up? This was my COD.
    My time just on 40 minutes.

    FOI 5dn GET-UP-AND-GO – mine GOT-UP-AND- WENT a few seasons ago.
    LOI 21dn MOSES – she was a prolific octogenarian ‘American Primitive’ artist
    WOD 22ac THE CATS WHISKERS from an old radio

    AS TO CANOODLING with CLEOPATRA? I would POOH-POOH the idea!

    1. Arkle was buried at Bryanstown, proper headstone and all.. and then exhumed. and his skeleton put on display at the Irish national stud. Barbaric.

  2. Fell at the final fence with RIKOSSKI. I now realize I have heard of the helicopter so that should have guided me, but a couple of pink squares for this one. My time was just over an hour which might mean my time was just over an hour, or that I did it in two sittings since I often cook dinner on Fridays.

    As for IPA, or Indian Pale Ale, it was beer brewed to a stronger alcoholic strength and with extra hops (bitter, but also a preservative) so that it would survive the trip from UK to colonial India. Now, here in the Western US we have “Western IPA” which is often ridiculously strong and very bitter.

  3. I have no idea of the time it took, but it took time. NHO ARKLE, and I probably used aids to find it, and then figured out the wordplay. DNK KNIGHTS PROGRESS. I didn’t know how an OPERA HAT collapses, but I knew that it collapses, which was enough; was ‘by spring’ necessary? [On edit: I was about to add, “And was ‘initially’ necessary in NARCISSUS?”, but I think it is, since S is an abbreviation for ‘Saint’ not for ‘saint’.] Didn’t understand how THE CATS WHISKERS works.

  4. 52 minutes, but very few workings in the margins of my print-out suggests a steady solve that just needed a lot of careful thinking through.

    I probably knew of the Polish statesman and one time, but if so he was long forgotten and I got the answer to his clue from the helicopter, It’s fortunate the last letter was checked or there’d have been a problem deciding between -I and -Y.

    I’d no idea of the parsing in the first half of DODGEM as I never heard of D.O.D.

    1. -ski is Polish, -sky seems to be the conventional transliteration of Russian (Tchaikovsky, Kerensky, …). The aviation Sikorsky was Russian (Ukrainian). [I just tried transliterating ‘Kerensky’ and ‘Kerenski’ into Cyrillic, and the final character is different.]

  5. No problems except I didn’t know the DOD meaning and couldn’t understand THE CAT’s WHISKERS. Enjoyed POOH-POOH.

  6. 53 minutes on this with the 8d homophone and then AS TO last ones in. Some great clues though with ARKLE, ECHT and WING MIRROR my favourites. CLEOPATRA took some assembly and DODGEM required me to guess that the Pentagon was the Department of Defence, sorry Defense, or something similar. I always called them BUMPER CARS. Good puzzle though. Thank you B and setter.

  7. SIKORSKI was the last one I saw
    As I’d never met him before
    His first name might do
    For a part-hidden clue
    “Polish man ending new lady’s law”

  8. Having lived in Sydney for several years, 4d was interesting. DeeWhy is a Northern Beaches suburb of Sydney and there are at least a couple of explanations for where the name came from. Both involve the initials DY, as in this clue. One version says the initials were found on a rock in the area and another theory says they relate to a surveyors mark.
    In any event, INDY is my COD but I also liked POOH POOH, APIARY and EIGHT HOUR.
    NHO OPERA HAT. Thanks for CLEOPATRA, Bruce. I got MOSES because it had to be that, but missed the clue completely.

  9. 27.08

    Took a while to get started (wanted 1ac to end -ring) and eventually concentrated on the long ‘uns which provided some helpful footholds

    Thought ARKLE was excellent

    Some, but not major, hesitation on the Statesman

    EIGHT HOUR last and I had to come here to understand the homophone

    Nice one

    Thanks Bruce and Setter

  10. 12:39. I had heard of the horse, perhaps from going to Cheltenham where there is a race named after him. The clue struck me as hard to solve if you hadn’t. It’s been the week for famous racehorses, with Red Rum appearing yesterday.
    I like the idea of an OPERA HAT: a solution for situations in which wearing a hat is completely impractical. We have of course devised an even better solution in more recent times.
    Like others I got the statesman from the helicopter.
    Re 1ac: STAIR in the singular can be a staircase. It’s where you might meet a man who wasn’t there.

  11. I needed ABOARD and KNIGHTS PROGRESS before I was able to get ARKLE. The horse was named after a mountain in Sutherland near Ben Stack and Laxford Bridge. Foinaven is also nearby. Ben Stack is of course where Robin Cook met his doom. I used to drive past them on my regular trips to Durness. Durness was also a holiday spot visited by John Lennon with his Aunt Mimi and there’s now a memorial garden in the village for him. However, I digress! Took me ages to get on the wavelength for this one. ECHT was FOI. ___BLING was postulated, but it was near the end of solve before SHAM joined it. I guessed CLEOPATRA before reverse engineering her. MOSES led to _GEM and I then spotted DOD for the Pentagon. KNIGHTS PROGRESS followed, with ARKLE and EIGHT-HOUR bringing up the rear. Kept me busy for 44:18. Thanks setter and Bruce.

  12. Oops!

    I missed ARKLE, not remembering SP; had AIKEN instead, which I really knew was wrong, as I couldn’t parse… and, uh, NIGHT-HOUR, which did indeed seem odd, for EIGHT-HOUR.

    And now back to today’s New York TImes non-cryptic, which is really giving me a run for my money.

  13. I had AKKIE, somewhat tortuously justified by the fact that if you remove the odd letters from it you get KI, which is a kind of life force. The racehorse died before I was born, so there wasn’t much hope of a biff.

  14. I liked this a lot although it was a 42 minute struggle. I think I had all the general knowledge required to get the answers but wonder if there is something to KNIGHT’S PROGRESS that I hadn’t understood – like a chess reference. Chess is a mystery to me.

  15. I don’t think anyone’s said this explicitly, but I thought for THE CAT’S WHISKERS, ‘things Tom’s got to beat’ referred to the fact that a cat’s whiskers vibrate (a synonym of beat). They’re otherwise known as vibrissae.

  16. Tough one for me- not having heard of Arkle or Sikorski, but thoroughly enjoyable for a’ that! Loved Pooh-Pooh, and should have got it earlier ( one of my favourite characters). Great mix of setters we’ve had this week!

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