Times Cryptic No 28350 – Saturday, 23 July 2022. There was a crossword puzzle that had a crooked grid …

This grid looked odd to me until I realised it has mirror symmetry about a diagonal, not the vertical axis. Happily there was nothing crooked about the puzzle. It took me a while to see the 15 letter answer, but the clue was fair enough. I liked the multilingual ploy at 11 and 12! 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 Concoct pancake? (4,2)
MAKE UP – two definitions: creative and cosmetic.
5 Concerned with recent delivery of gas the least bit short (8)
NEONATAL – NEON=the gas + AT AL(L)= the least, as in ‘not [at all/the least bit] difficult’.
9 Resting place for the great cat, not quite running (8)
PANTHEON – PANTHE(R)=cat + ON=RUNNING. Resting place for a group of particularly respected, famous, or important people – originally, the home of the gods.
10 Cook wraps poorly with fancy trimmings (6)
FRILLY – FRY ‘wraps’ ILL.
11 Gold car reversing round island I’m leaving… (2,6)
AU REVOIR – AU + REVOR=ROVER ‘reversing’, ‘around’ I=island.
12 …which is translated on right devices for listeners (6)
RADIOS – R=right + ADIOS=Spanish translation of the previous answer, ‘au revoir’.
13 Frank beginning to feel anger is in order for troops (4,4)
OPEN FIRE – OPEN=frank + F(eel) + IRE=anger.
15 Attempt to push back society entertainer (4)
HOST – SHOT=attempt, with the S pushed back.
17 Love games after Pamplona’s leader is one releasing bulls (4)
POPE – P(amplona) + O=love + PE=games. A papal bull is a kind of decree.
19 Refuse to promote religious festival (4,4)
PASS OVER – without the space, Passover is a festival.
20 Man picked up fruit, making asinine utterance (3-3)
HEE-HAW – HEE sounds like HE (picked up) + HAW=fruit.
21 Protecting arrangement of sails, cross water (8)
IRRIGATE – RIG=arrangement of sails, protected by IRATE=cross.
22 Sharp facilitator of trip in charge (6)
ACIDIC – ACID=trippy drug + I.C.=in charge.
23 Most disruptive cry for attention cut sleep after noon (8)
NOISIEST – N=noon + OI=cry + SIEST(A).
24 Part of capital in China with large retail area (4,4)
PALL MALL – PAL = “china” in CRS + L=large + MALL. This time, the capital in question is the U.K. one, not like Beijing last week.
25 Gas — more than enough bottles (6)
ETHANE – hidden.
2 In extremis, alcoholic has drunk cola up in resort (8)
ACAPULCO – A(lcoholi)C + (COLA UP)*.
3 Ten rolling, lush rises in port for storing goods (8)
ENTREPOT – (TEN)* + REPOT=TOPER ‘rising’. Entrepot is a word whose meaning I’m vague about, but perhaps Hong Kong is an example.
4 Excluding guys in rubbish heap — they’re amazing (9)
PHENOMENA – NO MEN=excluding guys, in (HEAP)*.
5 Lay claim to occupy no French island with lake (15)
NONPROFESSIONAL – NON=no, in French + PROFESS=claim + IONA=(Scottish) island + L=lake.
6 What account providers do managed to raise amount of interest? (7)
NARRATE – NAR=RAN ‘raised’ + RATE=amount of interest.
7 Convince to do carpeting, but less grand (4,4)
TALK INTO – TALKIN(G) TO=carpeting.
8 Discard song — song intended to be popular (3,5)
LAY ASIDE – LAY=song + A-SIDE=side of a vinyl record expected to be more popular.
14 Bank run with current and diverse changes (9)
RIVERSIDE – R=run + I=(electrical) current + (DIVERSE)*.
15 Tents on mountain maybe being affected (4,4)
HIGH CAMP – literal hint at the metaphorical meaning.
16 African swamp-dweller quiet over online invoice (8)
SHOEBILL – SH=quiet! + O=over + E-BILL=online invoice.
17 Moralising Republican, beastly on the outside (8)
18 Unbalanced painter with no time to plug rubbish (8)
PARTISAN – ARTIS(T)=painter, in PAN=rubbish. It took a while to see that this wasn’t related to an anagram of PAINTER.
19 Key skill of one cutting power and mains supply (7)
PIANISM – P=power + I=one + (MAINS)*. An unfamiliar word, but *of course* pianists practise pianism!

24 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28350 – Saturday, 23 July 2022. There was a crossword puzzle that had a crooked grid …”

  1. 9A Pantheon

    Wondering if the definition here instead refers to the building in which famous dead persons of a nation are entombed or commemorated?

  2. Don’t remember anything special about this. I did it in two sittings so no time, but all green. I too had nho PIANISM. I don’t recall SHOEBILL either, but bird’s names are all a bit like that.

  3. I find PIANISM a little odd. A fetish for keyboards?
    The other devices for listeners were brilliant when the penny dropped.
    Adios amigos! 23mins

  4. 24:20
    DNK SHOEBILL, PIANISM, but no problem. I spent some time on 14d taking ‘diverse’ to be anagrind and ‘changes’ anagrist. I spent more time on LOI 21ac, trying to make sense of the surface. Liked PANTHEON & NON-PROFESSIONAL.

  5. Good morning Kevin.

    FOI 1ac MAKE-UP
    COD 12ac RADIOS
    WOD 17dn PRIGGISH!

    55 minutes – Hee-haw!

  6. 36m 00s
    No real problems and only one NHO: PIANISM.
    I thought that was a clever use of a ‘?’ in 1ac.
    PS: Bruce, I have not a clue what your first sentence means.

    1. If you look at the grid you will see that the left and right sides are indeed symmetrical, but only if you transfer the bottom to the top or vice versa, line by line. Usually folding the grid about a line will demonstrate symmetry, but not in this case ..

      1. If I remember my GCSE maths correctly this is called rotational symmetry and is quite normal in crossword grids.

  7. 37 minutes with LOI LAY ASIDE. I took a while to spot what lay was about. COD to NEONATAL. Nice puzzle. Thank you B and setter

  8. I forgot to time this but I noted that I found it easy apart from PARTISAN at 18dn, a clue containing at least two misdirections, and parsing the self-solving clue at 15ac, although I got there eventually when revisiting the puzzle the next day.

  9. I’m puzzled by the comment about the grid: all Times daily grids have either 180 deg or 90 deg symmetry. This one’s no exception.
    The symmetry’s by inversion, not rotation (they look the same if you turn them not if you rotate then) therefore they are all symmetrical about a diagonal by default.
    Some of the Quick Cryptic grids have rotational symmetry.

    What’s unique about this one is it has two fully cross-checked entries.

    The editor

    1. I didn’t notice anything unusual about it at the time . It is quite a friendly grid, with all those first letter checkers ..

    2. Those two fully-checked words annoy me, for no good reason. One of my two least-favourite Times grids, the other one being the one with the big F in the middle 28325. Both also have fewer clues than the ones with words all around the periphery, rather than alternate lights/blocks on the sides. Please feel free to retire them.

      1. Steady now. Variety is the spice of life, don’t forget.. and how often do they turn up, really?

  10. I managed to complete this in one sitting in about 40 minutes which is very quick for me.
    FOI was RIVERSIDE. LOI SHOEBILL with a thought about what Astronowt would say.
    Lots to like including AU REVOIR.
    NHO PIANISM like others and HEE HAW made me struggle.

  11. Most enjoyable. Completed in around an hour. Particularly liked 5d where for too long I was locked into looking for something for “lay claim to”. Devious. Also liked PRIGGISH; it’s put me in mind to go re-read some Enid Blyton. Like others NHO PIANISM. For once managed to parse everything myself. Progress! Thanks, all.

  12. 18.45

    Seemed to breeze through this. Probably as few DDs and anagrams and the w/p for all the clues was crystal clear. Liked NONPROFESSIONAL.

    Thanks Bruce and setter

  13. I’m always pedantic about this: in 18dn artist with no time is aris. Surely the fact that just one t is removed needs to be indicated?

    Rotational symmetry and line symmetry are a mystery to many people: rotational symmetry of order 2 is the symmetry of the letter S, rs of order 4 is the symmetry of the swastika, that ancient symbol appropriated by Hitler and striking a blow against maths teachers, who thereafter felt uncomfortable using it. Line symmetry if the line is vertical is the symmetry of the letter A, line symmetry if the line is horizontal is that of the letter C. Sometimes you have a shape with both, such as the letter X (as here with just two lines of symmetry); sometimes the X (depending on the font), or the square, has four lines of symmetry, vertical, horizontal, and two diagonals. If the X has just two lines of symmetry it will have rotational symmetry of order 2; if 4 l of s, then rs of order 4. (But a shape can have rs of order 4 and no lines of symmetry. Look at the swastika if you can.)

    Crossword grids just about always exhibit rotational symmetry of order 2 or 4 (90 or 180 degrees). Sometimes they exhibit both rotational and line symmetry. Rr above talks of inversion, which confuses the issue; and he also says ‘they look the same if you turn them not if you rotate then’, which is just wrong: to turn them is to rotate them.

    As Rr says, though, this one’s no exception. It has no lines of symmetry, just the most common form of symmetry (so far as I can see) in crosswords, 180 degree symmetry. The symmetry of the letter S. Rr also says that some of the grids in the TQC have rotational symmetry. I suppose this is true if you regard ‘some’ as equivalent to ‘virtually all’.

  14. Not on the wavelength at all today, despite a fairly quick start : Setter 1, JD 0😩

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