Times Cryptic No 28320 – Saturday, 18 June 2022. Less fast, more fraught

I struggled a bit with this, although I think it was good clueing rather than obscurity that troubled me. I didn’t know the worm at 1dn, though it may be familiar in Britain. I eventually dredged up the tea at 16 dn – luckily, since I’d never heard of the battle! The wordplay of 5dn was pretty.

Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle. How did you all get on?

Note for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is for last week’s puzzle, posted 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 What’s made for cleaner alternative stand-up? (7)
5 One of several in ring who shows appreciation (7)
CLAPPER – I think the idea is that bell-ringing involves several bells, each with a clapper. Better suggestions welcome!
9 Releasing confidences about a former serviceman saying goodbye (5-6)
10 Spinach is to fall in value (3)
SAG – double definition, one relating to Indian food (often spelled ‘saag’).
11 Receive outside request for great seal? (6)
GASKET – GET ‘outside’ ASK.
12 Note where people dance and what they might eat (8)
MEATBALL – ME=the note. People would dance AT BALL.
14 Avoid including 500 fellows in one group promotion (13)
ADVERTISEMENT – D=500 in AVERT=avoid, then MEN in I SET.
17 An actual user’s revised reason for death? (7,6)
21 Wickedness I left behind at home, years later (8)
INIQUITY -IN=at home + I + QUIT=left + Y.
23 Suggestion about wife’s pain (6)
TWINGE – TINGE=suggestion, ‘about’ W.
25 Support garment (3)
TEE – double definition. Relieved it wasn’t a bra. A railway sleeper is a tie, so it is arguable that TIE fits the clue too.
26 A lot of cheeky hacking going on (11)
27 Hearing going wrong when one’s out in wind (7)
MISTRAL -take I out of MISTR(I)AL. This came up in reverse only last week, with the I added to the wind to make the hearing!
28 Possibly impure advance in the sack (7)
1 Bait worm put in river in overwhelming number (6)
DELUGE – DEE is the river. I didn’t know a LUG is a bait worm.
2 City trumpeter, perhaps, given great deal (7)
SWANSEA – SWAN=trumpeter, perhaps + SEA=great deal.
“To take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them” –
3 One making a pickle of things before connecting computer? (9)
PRESERVER – PRE=before + SERVER=the equipment that hosts this blog.
4 Cow pat? (4)
NEAT – double definition, the second as in down pat.
5 Tending to fancy Yank unclothed — mostly cool about that (10)
CHIMERICAL – CHIL(L)=cool, ‘about’ (A)MERICA(N). The definition is of the fancy kind, not I rather like that.
6 Jargon uncovered over time? (5)
ARGOT – (J)ARGO(N) + T. The whole clue is used in the wordplay.
7 Attendant seen around a steamship voyage (7)
PASSAGE – PAGE ‘around’ A + SS=steamship.
8 Control Greek character with pistol in rising (8)
REGULATE – ETA + LUGER, all ‘rising’, since this is a down clue.
13 Succeeding in court case with three parties (10)
15 Another place where eels are swimming (9)
16 American battle against tea that’s thrown over? (8)
ANTIETAM – ANTI=against + MATÉ=tea, ‘thrown over’. I knew the tea only from these crosswords. A battle from the American Civil War, I discovered.
18 Muscle aches regularly introduced by stumbles (7)
TRICEPS – CE from aChEs ‘regularly’, in TRIPS.
19 One that sings in prison after a year (7)
SUNBIRD – SUN=year (poetically, apparently) + BIRD=prison.
20 Forced into space with limit on payload, ultimately (6)
WEDGED – W=with + EDGE=limit + (payloa)D.
22 Stimulant drug — what one’s on when poor, mostly (5)
UPPER – if you’re very poor, you might be described as ‘on your uppers’.
24 Smash arises when ignoring area limit for road (4)
KERB – BRE(A)K=smash. It ‘arises’ to give the answer.

45 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28320 – Saturday, 18 June 2022. Less fast, more fraught”

  1. No time proffered, so probably on the hour mark.

    FOI 4db NEAT – I thought off-pat!
    LOI 25ac TEE as in T-shirt?
    COD 1dn DELUGE – jolly fisherman dig for LUGWORMS from Cleethorpes to Skegness -where I hail from. Plenty of bait in yesterday’s QC from Captain Corelli.
    WOD 5dn CHIMERICAL just fancy that!

    16dn ANTIETAM a battle that has passed me by. I would have guessed it was part of the ‘Tet Offensive’ – wrong!

    1. I thought Antietam was slightly unfair vocabulary and your comment proves it. You have unusually good US GK, so if you aren’t familiar it seems highly unlikely that many non-Americans would be. Americans of present retirement age are pretty good at Civil War battles and campaigns – note all the “write-in” comments today – because we were at impressionable ages when the 100th year anniversary fo the war came around, bringing a lot of revival interest.

      1. Paul, having studied American history and seen several documentaries, I had vaguely heard of Sharpsburg – but all is fair in love and civil war. The construction of the word is unusual. Perhaps an American setter? I certainly won’t forget it in a hurry.
        Is a second civil conflict in America inevitable? That would be calamitous.

        1. Wikipedia-“Antietam is thought to derive from an Algonquian phrase meaning ‘swift- flowing stream'”.

  2. 20:25
    I wondered about SUN, but I suppose it can be ‘year’ if ‘moon’ is ‘month’. ELSEWHERE is a poor excuse for an anagram. Is a GASKET great? I was a bit surprised to see ANTIETAM; a major battle in the (US) Civil War and likely to be known by any American solver, but.

    1. Definitely NOT Murcan ( thanks be to ?) but even being expat Brit and well over retirement age, ANTIETAM well known to me. And yes, Horryd, a second civil war seems inevitable over there! Very happy that I shan’t be around to see it.

  3. SUNBIRD must’ve been my LOI. Of course, I checked Lexico, which has for SUN “literary  A day or a year. | ‘after going so many suns without food, I was sleeping’” … Pretty sure I’ve never heard it used that way.
    I’m never quite sure how to spell ANTIETAM, but had it correct here.

  4. Finished in just over 50 minutes. Thought the goddess Ate was the Greek character at the end of REGULATE but I see eta reversed works better. Thanks for explaining TWINGE, SAG, and CHIMERICAL plus rest of blog!

  5. Time, over a week! When I come here I always pull up my solve to see if it is all correct. It turns out I’d only done about half of it, for reasons I forget. It didn’t take me long to finish it off, and then I really came here to read the blog. LOI was NEAT, which should have been obvious, and was once I realized DUSTPAN was an anagram. I never studied the civil war in detail, but living in the US ANTIETAM must be in the air, since is the bloodiest day in American History, so I had at least heard of it.

  6. Failed on this one. Couldn’t believe the unknown ANTIETAM even after I’d constructed it, and gave up with that one and TEE to get.

  7. 37 minutes. I plumped for TEE, constructed the unknown ANTIETAM, put SUNBIRD in with a shake of the head, and definitely didn’t go like the CLAPPERs. COD to LEAVE-TAKING. Thank you B and setter.

  8. I knew ragworms and lugworms as bait. Not sure why I spent any time considering DERAGE as opposed to DELUGE. Doh! DNK the battle under this name. Thanks all.

  9. 77m 55s
    Obviously from my time, I found it hard but there were some clues where I wondered why it took so long e.g. PERSEVERING and ADVERTISEMENT.
    Thanks for various decodes Bruce: the SEA in SWANSEA and the SUN in SUNBIRD.
    I also struggled to parse UPPER and CLAPPER. I think you are close enough with your take on the latter, Bruce.
    I wondered where I had seen MISTR(I)AL recently.
    From just having the N, I’m pleased with myself for instantly thinking of ANTIETAM. In the past I’ve wondered about the correct pronunciation: emphasis on the AN or on the TIE (tee)?
    Thank you, Bruce!

  10. 22 minutes for me, so definitely well on the tricky side. I finished in the NW with SWANSEA my LOI, not remembering that trumpeter was a type of swan. I had to check post-solve on the unknown battle and that SUN could mean year. Some nice clues. I liked MEATBALL, TRICEPS and ARGOT best. Thanks Bruce and setter.

  11. It seems fish bait is the new subject we must learn to beat the setters (see also yesterday’s QC).
    Once again I struggled with the NW; blank until the end. LOI was SWANSEA -very well hidden from me: I was looking for a jazz trumpeter plus MEGA. I might have blown a gasket getting there. Anyway I got there in the end.
    The unknown ANTIETAM was constructed so the guidance in the clue must have been good.
    I liked TWINGE and several others.

  12. I had a “tie” not a TEE
    And hate that ambiguity
    But the greater sin
    Letting avians in

  13. I plumped for TEE and SUNBIRD. I worked out ANTIETAM, but like Gothick didn’t quite believe it, so I looked it up to confirm. Tricky in places. CHIMERICAL was my LOI. 29 minutes and a tad. Thanks setter and Bruce.

  14. 19:24

    But I had TIE not TEE – never heard TEE used for T-shirt (although I see it is in the dictionaries) and surely TIE can be a support?

    Constructed the NHO ANTIETAM and SUNBIRD from cryptics without difficulty.

    1. I had TIE before I changed it to TEE as I thought the latter more likely as TEE = Support is a bit of a crossword meme.

  15. 93 minutes over two sessions leaving three needing the blog to fully understand the parsing LEAVE-TAKING, SWANSEA (I knew the SWAN bit) and SUNBIRD as I didn’t know SUN/Year.
    I parsed PERSEVERING post solve and after reading the blog realised I had one wrong I went for TIE at 25ac
    I had to look up the American battle to be sure of that one.

  16. At 5ac like others I was doubtful about how a clapper was in a ring, but I think the bellringing explanation is best. And I also wondered why it was a great seal at 11ac. At 26dn I had and still have doubts about hack = sever.

    1. hack = sever

      I didn’t stop to think about it when solving or the same thought might have occurred to me. The setter’s off the hook though, because Collins has: hack – to cut, notch, slice, chop, or sever (something) with or as with heavy, irregular blows.

    2. As you mention bellinging, I can’t resist mentioning we hosted one of the eliminators for the National 12-bell ringing Championship here in Bury St. Edmunds in March, for which I was cajoled into compiling a crossword for the programme. My payment was… well you can read about it and find a link to the crossword under my other pseudonym Edmundo here.

      1. Hi John, looking at the bar in the cathedral (every church needs one!), is the beer in the cardboard cartons? Are they called “polypins”, learnt from Gothick in this blog a week or so ago when pin came up clueing barrel?

  17. Another TIE here for 25a. At the risk of sour grapes, I think it’s a poor clue, with no way of validating the middle letter.

  18. Luckily I thought of Tee before tie, and never looked back. Thanks for the blog, brnchn

  19. 17:17 but with TIE. I didn’t know it was a word for a railway sleeper so can’t really claim a moral victory, but surely it would have to be allowed if it came up in the champs.
    ANTIETAM was familiar to this Brit, I’ve even been there and done the tour.

    1. I put TEE eventually because I hadn’t considered TIE and I’ve also met TEE for T-shirt previously in Times puzzles, though never in real life. However also in Times puzzles I have learnt of TIE for TIE-BEAM used in building construction which is undoubtedly a form of support. Actually before the checkers forced me to change it I had written in BRA, which although a chestnut is in my view a far better solution to the clue than either TIE or TEE.

      1. I can’t see any wordplay if the answer to “Support garment” were BRA. That’s just a straight definition.

        1. In my opimion a bra is a support and a bra is a garment, so it’s a double definition, but muddied by the fact that a bra is also a support garment.

          1. As far as I am aware, the only definition of BRA is a woman’s undergarment that supports or gives a desired contour to the breasts. It’s short, of course, for brassiere. Two words pointing to the same definition do not constitute a DD. There would have to be a sense of BRA covered by “support” distinct from the “garment.”

            Oh, wait! There’s also this, in North American English: “a carbon-based cover that fits over the front bumper of a car.”
            Well, but that isn’t a “support.”

          2. As the modern idiom goes: yeah …. nah.

            As soon as I looked at the clue, I thought “bra? Clearly not!”

            I’m sure setters delight in clues whose surface clearly says one thing, but wordplay says something quite different. (Pity that here it says two different things.)

  20. Tee for me … automatic, to think of bras and tees when “support” is mentioned.
    Fortunately I had heard of Antietam (and now I can pronounce it, too!) and I think any battle with over 22,000 casualties isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, too obscure.

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