Times Cryptic No 28326 – Saturday, 25 June 2022. Plodding, or poetry …

This was a smooth solve, until I hit a block trying to explain 17dn. The answer seemed obvious but the poetry of the wordplay was prose to me. Finally it jumped out at me, and there we were!

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.

Definitions are underlined. (ABC)* means anagram of ABC, with anagram indicators italicised.

1 Manufacture bacteria, mutating with frequency (9)
6 Easy to understand one covering the eyes touring capitals (5)
LUCID – UC=capital letters (upper case), in LID.
9 Shortly summon agent about love song (7)
CALYPSO – CAL(L) + SPY ‘about’ + O.
10 Hellish march the Devil’s not completed (7)
DEMONIC – DEMO=march + NIC(K).
11 A priest I see a selection of names for leader of mission (10)
REVIVALIST – REV=priest + I +V=abbreviation for ‘see’ + A + LIST.
12 Group of students finally pay attention (4)
YEAR – (yea)Y + EAR=attention. Friends, Romans, countrymen …
14 Rocker possibly gives shock to clubs (5)
CHAIR – C=clubs + HAIR=shock (not in my case!).
15 Continual changes maybe a shot in the arm (9)
INOCULANT – (CONTINUAL)* – not a familiar word!
16 Block a view of a certain conversion (9)
18 Took a risk, and died freezing? (5)
DICED – D=died + ICED=freezing. An eybrow raised briefly at the change from an -ING ending in the clue to an -ED ending in the answer.
20 One may stand at it, a short stand (4)
EASE – EASE(L)=stand. Referencing the military command.
21 Be endlessly agitated by hooligan, but persevere to the end (3,7)
25 Roped in girl with reference work (7)
LASSOED – LASS + O.E.D., a reference work known and loved by us all. Actually, I normally use Chambers because the iPad app is friendlier.
26 I snore; I may be potentially causing more disturbance (7)
27 Get cold feet about run in worst part of winter? (5)
28 A number of years pleasant, not one showing decline (9)
1 Father maintaining one is a problem (5)
2 Stole round numbers of Romans in the country (7)
BOLIVIA – BOA ’round’ LI + VI (a series of Roman numerals).
3 Finished poking cheeky beggar (10)
4 Does its lagoon answer to “large lake”? (5)
ATOLL – A=answer + TO + L=large + L=lake. (Of course!)
5 Current building material for lighthouse (9)
EDDYSTONE – EDDY + STONE. A lighthouse off Cornwall.
6 Pathetic Liberal with tiny representation in the Commons (4)
LIMP – L=Liberal + 1 MP (as few representatives as a Parliamentary party could have!).
7 A measure of light tin and lead compound (7)
8 Given an award held forth after several weeks (9)
DECORATED – ORATED after DEC(ember).
13 Wife not helpful enough for precocious child (10)
WUNDERKIND – W + UNDER-KIND, to coin a word.
14 Something for chewing thickened then beaten (9)
CUDGELLED – CUD=something chewed + GELLED.
15 That’s shocking declaration of innocence (1,5,3)
I NEVER DID – double definition.
17 Modernist poet initially bathed in inspiration not to be forgone (4-3)
MUST-SEE – Thomas Stearns Eliot gives us TSE, ‘initially’. Put that in MUSE, obviously. My LOI, because I couldn’t figure out the wordplay until finally I asked myself, “who or what might give TS”?.
19 Prudence and Charlie taking the lead in sale (7)
CAUTION – AUCTION=sale, with the C moving to the front.
22 Head pulled up lining of nice jacket (5)
TUNIC – NUT=head, ‘pulled up’ to give TUN. Then (n)IC(e).
23 Host offering some Turkish or decaf (5)
HORDE – hidden.
24 One may be thought repulsive to a duke (4)
TOAD – TO + A + D=duke.

25 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28326 – Saturday, 25 June 2022. Plodding, or poetry …”

  1. This was an easy-ish Saturday for me – I was over the line in 30 minutes.

    LOI 12ac YEAR!
    COD 15dn I NEVER DID and I won’t do it again!

    9ac CALYPSO facto

  2. I found this really easy, done in 17 minutes. Unfortunately I typed INNOCULATT so technical DNF. I made no attempt to unravel the wordplay for MUST SEE. You won’t know it, but all the chips in your electronics depend on a process known as DAMASCENE (not named after St Paul, but after the old pottery technique).

    1. I related this fact to Mr. Chips & Co and they have now lost their faith in St.Paul.

  3. 16:45
    DNK FACER & CANDELA; fortunately did know EDDYSTONE, so I wasn’t misled into thinking that ‘current’=I. Didn’t like ‘numbers of Romans’. No problem with DICED. But DREAD is poorly defined as ‘get cold feet’; dread is a state, for one thing, while to get cold feet is a change of state, a change that needn’t–normally doesn’t–involve dread. COD to DAMASCENE (I think the underline should extend to ‘of’).

    1. I’ve extended the underline. Thanks.

      I think “I get cold feet about writing this blog”, while not exact, is close enough to “I dread writing this blog”.

  4. 33m 59s
    One of those puzzles that seemed difficult at first but after a couple of solutions went in, things got easier.
    6ac: Thank you, Bruce. I ‘saw’ ‘capital’ as C but couldn’t work out where the U came from.
    17d. Thanks again. It had to be MUST-SEE but the TSE escaped me.

  5. I had all but two answers (17 and 27) in 15 minutes but needed another 14 minutes to come up with MUST SEE and DREAD. Actually I had already considered DREAD before the E-checker arrived but had dismissed it for the reasons already mentioned by Kevin above and also at that stage I hadn’t thought of DEAD as ‘worst part of winter’. The E-checker left me with no other likely alternative.

  6. 16 minutes with LOI MUST SEE. COD to DAMASCENE, not blinded by the light. Thank you Bruce and setter.

  7. 58 minutes which for me is a fast time but annoyingly with one wrong.
    On completion I had four still to fully understand:
    REVIVALIST, I didn’t know or had forgotten V=SEE.
    DAMASCENE I understood the wordplay and just assumed the definition looking up after.
    LIMP I had LAME which I could only account for the L. I should have realised was wrong and spent a little more time on it; I was trying to get inside the hour.
    MUST SEE BIFD. I would never have got the wordplay.

  8. FOI HORDE. Visited Edison Lighthouse before finding the one required. I now recall that there was a 60s band of this name; Wiki reminds me that love grows where my Rosemary goes.
    Struggled with the parsing of a few including DREAD and LUCID.
    LOI was TOAD.
    Did not take me too long.

  9. This didn’t take me long either, at about 11 1/2 mins, but a carelessly biffed GET THROUGH left we with 2 pink squares. I think there’s a moral here about making sure I have parsed everything before submitting a prize puzzle. Thanks Bruce and setter.

  10. 7:03. One of those curious puzzles where the vocabulary makes it feel like it should be harder than it is. NHO EDDYSTONE, and FACER only rang the faintest of bells. It has come up before, last time in 2015.
    I very nearly biffed GET THROUGH but fortunately paused to check the wordplay. I should have done the same this week!

  11. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. First one for ages that just seemed to fall into place quickly. I usually complete over several days. I think my cod was 24 d as it made me laugh. Last one in 17d but I did work it out.

  12. Thanks Brnchn for elucidating LUCID. I couldn’t see where the U&C came from.
    I had a problem with FACER as a problem, as I’d not heard of it in this context, but just as a brick.
    But it parsed so in it went. 17:22

  13. Same as Nana for 17D MUST-SEE. It was one of my first assumptions, but last in after all the checkers forced me to parse it properly, resulting in my COD. Also liked DAMASCENE, partly because I got it quickly and also it’s a word that I relish for its evocative meaning. Although 11A (REVIVALIST) had a very clunky surface I enjoyed it, as I bunged it straight in from the start of the definition as I read it, parsing as I went, which is rare for me, and gives a great boost to the confidence.

  14. 41 minutes. Managed to avoid the “get through” and “lame” traps at 21a and 6d. Trying to make sense of the wordplay does have its rewards after all.

    Favourites were DAMASCENE (a good word for cryptics with its other meanings) and MUST-SEE, once I’d worked out where that TSE came from.

  15. I’m not sure why so many people, myself included, dislike clues where you have to assemble Roman numerals in the right order, as in 2dn. How is it any different from ‘river’ indicating ‘Ouse/Nile/Limpopo/etc’? In each case one has to make an intelligent guess based on the rest of the clue. Yet it always grates. Why?

    Does 13dn need a question mark at the end? Now I look at it again perhaps not, but I thought so a week ago when I wrote down 33 minutes and also this possible comment.

  16. I’d say no to the question mark otherwise wouldn’t every clue with even a hint of a cryptic element to it require one?

  17. Just over 50 minutes for a successful result. I realize I have more chance of completing when I haven’t depleted my energies doing a QC first! Many entered without knowing all parts-i.e. LUCID and CAUTION- so grateful for blog for explaining. Admired I NEVER DID and CUDGELLED but COD to WUNDERKIND.

  18. Under 25 minutes, so very easy for me. I saw most of the wordplay and avoided all of the traps, although I didn’t correct GET THROUGH until the very end. And FACER was an unknown, but the wordplay demanded it. Favourite clue: I NEVER DID.

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