Times Cryptic No 28386 – Saturday, 3 September 2022. The Empire on which the sun never sets?

One glance at this puzzle had me ready to burst into song:

In the Philippines there are lovely screens, to protect you from the glare,
In the Malay states there are hats like plates, which the Britishers won’t wear,
At twelve noon the natives swoon, and no further work is done –
But Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. 

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 Old entertainer, firm attraction, returning after Christmas (4,6)
NOEL COWARD – NOEL=Christmas + CO=firm + WARD = ‘draw’ (attraction), returning. The composer of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, of course!
6 No heart for precipitous measure (4)
9 One severely criticising prison (7)
SLAMMER – two meanings.
10 Having stopped working, have ease (3,4)
12 Facing group of pupils, old master holding large book (5,5)
BLEAK HOUSE – L=large in BEAK=(old) master + HOUSE=group of pupils. Charles Dickens.
13 No score, even from Anfield (3)
NIL – aNfIeLd , without the odd letters.
15 Wife that is fatter than anyone? (6)
WIDEST – W(ife) + ID EST=Latin for ‘that is’.
16 Undue praise of cook, drinking coffee (8)
18 What business makes: a small pie (8)
TURNOVER – two meanings.
20 Quickly throwing spider, say, into river (6)
PRESTO – REST (at billiards, you can stretch across the table by resting the cue on a ‘spider’), in PO=an Italian river.
23 Stay close to tailless mammoth (3)
HUG – HUG(e).
24 A leaderless gathering of troops heading off sudden attack a success for France (10)
AUSTERLITZ – A + (m)USTER + (b)LITZ. A win for Napoleon.
26 Red coat tailored, 1930s style (3,4)
27 Inside deck very warm, so celebrity wants to make it snappy? (5,2)
PHOTO OP – put HOT inside the POOP deck.
28 Floor with a new riddle (4)
KOAN – K.O.=floor + A + N=new. A koan is a riddle or puzzle that Zen Buddhists use during meditation to help them unravel greater truths about the world and about themselves.
29 Extremely pitiable hush, in which thousands at first — die of this? (10)
PESTILENCE – P(itiabl)E + T(housands) inside SILENCE.
1 Curious how patsy becomes a soft touch (4)
NOSY – reverse cryptic clue: if pat(sy) has *NO SY*, that leaves pat=a soft touch.
2 Made it possible to lift key curse (7)
ENABLED – DEL=computer key + BANE=curse, all ‘lifted’.
3 Arrive almost full of emotion, and sort of leave (13)
COMPASSIONATE – COM(e)=arrive + PASSIONATE=full of emotion.
4 Valuable question about fragment (6)
WORTHY – WHY is the question, about ORT=fragment. ‘ORT’ is a dialect word I didn’t know, but the answer was clear.
5 Intensify colour, nothing blue strangely (8)
7 Easily beat teenager, no guts and light weight (7)
TROUNCE – T(eenage)R + OUNCE.
8 Perhaps fine tree one spotted in the field (7,3)
PENALTY BOX – PENALTY=fine, perhaps + BOX=tree. “Spotted” because the “penalty spot” is in the middle of the “penalty box”.
11 Local list of those to be saved in speech on revolution (9,4)
ELECTORAL ROLL – ELECT=those to be saved (God’s chosen people) + ORAL=in speech + ROLL=revolution.
14 Cane applied to part of body: up and down it goes (10)
17 Keen to play with toys — everything depends on it (8)
19 Series of races run say over a dry area (7)
REGATTA – R=run + E.G. + A +T.T.=dry (off the booze) + A=area.
21 Put on the ground, drop off (3,4)
SET DOWN – double definition. The bus will drop off / set down at the next corner.
22 Second to be arrested by base tyrant (6)
25 Programs announced in recess (4)
APSE – sounds like (‘announced’) APPS.

27 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28386 – Saturday, 3 September 2022. The Empire on which the sun never sets?”

  1. 19m 25s…..which is almost when Mad Dogs and Englishmen was first performed. That was 1931 so Mr Google tells me.
    If one is to sing or speak the words one must do so with a very clipped British accent!
    That clue about ‘old entertainer’ reminds me of one of my favourite cryptic clues, this one from #26946 in 2018:
    “Pearls from Rouen for old actor (6,6)” A: Norman Wisdom.
    I must have been on the right wavelength because I saw Austerlitz straight away.
    NHO KOAN so thanks, Bruce.

  2. DNF – didn’t know Austerlitz and didn’t have the patience to try to work it out. Only other problem for me is SET DOWN, which looks like the same definition twice rather than a double definition. Koan known from Hofstadter’s seminal work “Gödel, Escher, Bach”.
    Nice puzzle, lots of interesting wordplay. Too many good clues to mention, but COD to pestilence.
    Didn’t know the mammoth’s name was Hugh!

  3. 16:42
    I biffed AUSTERLITZ, parsed post-submission. I thought orts were leftovers (ODE doesn’t have an entry for ORT, only ORTS); it used to appear frequently in the NYT. I didn’t get the ‘spotted’ in 8d, but that wasn’t a problem. KOAN my COD; “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” is an example. Bruce, as isla suggests, you have a typo at HUG: it’s HUG(e).

  4. 29 minutes. NHO KOAN nor of ORT as ‘fragment’ although I know it as a German word for ‘place’, but the answer had to be. I missed the parsing of ELECT as ‘those saved’ so thanks for that.

    Speaking of old entertainers (great to see ‘The Master’ get a mention, btw), one of Coward’s contemporaries born in the same year, 1899, was Fred Astaire whose real name was Frederick AUSTERLITZ.

    1. KOAN appeared not so long ago, in TImes Cryptic 28120 (28 October, 2021),
      and you said, “The main unknowns were KOAN and the crane.”

      In the previous year, Cryptic 27744 (Saturday, 15 August, 2020), when SATORI was one that “stumped” you, I said I was “disappointed…that so few knew SATORI. I guess we won’t be getting KOAN any day soon.”

      As Kevin commented then, Zen was a thing for many in our generation.

      1. You make the mistake of thinking I can remember what I wrote one and two years ago when I can barely remember things from two weeks ago (see today’s discussion of DEAL re Jumbo 1572).

  5. Agree this was enjoyable and I was able to work out the unknown KOAN. WORTHY unparsed but it had to be.
    LOI was KEYSTONE which took me ages to unravel even after I’d spotted the likely anagram.
    AUSTERLITZ emerged from many trips round the Paris Metro.
    I remember not knowing SATORI and I still don’t.

  6. I know I completed this, and recall that the right hand side was trickier than the left. Unfortunately I’ve chucked out my copy – old school: I do it in the printed paper – and notes. So, from memory, NHO KOAN but figured it out. (And thanks, Kevin Gregg, for the example.) Could not work out the wordplay for 1d NOSY. Liked the simplicity of 25d APSE. And how refreshing to see a sport-but-not-cricket clue at 8d! All done in an especially slowcoach time of around 80 minutes. Enjoyable time well spent. Thanks, all.

  7. It struck me also that the two definitions for SET DOWN are too similar (in fact they seem to me to be almost exactly the same) unless I’m missing something.

    I suppose Art Deco was a 30s style in that it went on into the 30s, but surely it began earlier? According to Wikipedia it started in France before WW1 and it took its name from the Paris Expo in 1925.

    25dn struck me as a bad clue because it isn’t clear whether it’s APPS or APSE. I can’t now remember if checkers made it obvious, but whether or not they did the clue was poor: it could perfectly well have been ‘Announced programs in recess’ in which case it would have been unequivocal, as it should have been.

    1. I hadn’t noticed it on reading the blog earlier, but since you have raised the issue and I have referred to the notes on my print-out I don’t think 21dn is intended as a double definition. It has wordplay: SET (put), DOWN (on the ground).

      Your point on ART DECO starting in the 20s is perfectly valid of course, but it was also a leading style in the 1930s so surely the definition in the clue is okay? My impression, based on very little actual knowledge but more on feeling is that the style boomed and was reproduced everywhere during the 1930s which may have led to its eventual fall from favour.

      I can’t recall now whether I thought twice about APPS vs APSE at 25dn. I may have had the E-checker, in which case there’d have been no reason to question it, but ‘Programmes announced’ would seem to indicate clearly that APPS is not the target word. I think the clue might need to be ‘Programmes in announced recess’ to go the other way.

      1. SET DOWN in that sense does not seem to me wordplay at all but just the common meaning of the words and phrase.

        1. You may well be right. I was reporting how I parsed and marked it up when I solved. TBH I didn’t think too much about it.

          1. And TBH, Jackkt, this was my LOI, and I never quite came to terms with it. I think something along the lines of “put in writing” would make a good half of a DD.

        1. Perhaps we are at cross purposes? You said you thought the clue wasn’t clear. I said why I thought the clue made it clear that APPS was not the target word and then gave an example of how the clue might be worded if it were. Anyway the checker provided by 29ac would have settled the matter.

          1. Yes evidently I didn’t grasp what you were getting at. But I’m not sure that the clue did make it clear that APPS was not the target word. The ‘announced in’ could have applied to the programs or to the recess, although yes perhaps the word ‘in’ makes the last word more likely to be the definition.

            I know some people don’t mind and are happy to have ambiguities decided by the checkers, but my own view is that the clue should, to use a word I used in a previous post, be unequivocal.

      2. Dear Ransome, L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderenes in Paris in 1925, was the starting point of the ‘Art Deco’ movement.
        The term itself didn’t really gel into the language until c.1968!

        However, in terms of archtitecture, things didn’t materialise until 1930 when the final construction phase of the ‘Chrysler’ building began in New York; almost certainly the finest example of an Art Deco exterior! This was soon attended by the ‘Empire State’ building, with its exquisite public space interiors.
        I have much interest in ‘Deco’ as my grandfather Hedley Mobbs’ was a noted Art Deco architect, who designed the ‘Cord Garage’, the ‘Zion’ Methodist Church, the ‘Mason’s/Hopper’ building, the Central Park Gates and ‘Cammacks’ Furniture Emporium (1932), all in Boston.
        The finest Art Deco building in the UK was the ‘Hoover’ building at Syon Hill, west London (1933). Much of it was torn down and vandalised overnight by corporate developers, in the late sixties. It is now a shadow of its former-self and serves as an outlet for ‘Tesco’!
        In 2016 I stayed for four days in the town of Napier in New Zealand. In 1932 it was levelled by an earthquake and was soon rebuilt to become one of the world’s finest Art Deco conurbations: Hastings is a smaller exemplar.
        The Architect la Courbousier kept the movement population until 1939, when war became inevitable. There were Art Deco estates built in Frinton and other parts of south Essex.
        The cinema moguls, particularly the Odeon and British Gaumont chains, built scores of Deco movie theatres all over Britain and America. Here in Shanghai the ‘Paramount Theatre’ is still a fine example, amongst many hundreds of Deco properties in downtown Pusi.

        Automobiles, trains, jewellery, stamps, couture, statues and particularly statuettes got the ‘Deco’ treatment. Most collected were the paintings and graphics that derived from the earlier ‘Cubist’ movement in Paris during WWl.

        I have lectured on ‘Art Deco’ in Shanghai for the last fifteen years and would urge you to study this fascinating subject, which can be seen very often on ‘Bargain Hunt’ via the tableware of Clarice Cliffe & Co.

  8. Anyone for a TARTOLET? I could never have gotten TURNOVER, but it was my only mistake in an enjoyable puzzle, which took me 50 odd minutes not to complete. I also didn’t like the definition for SET DOWN. From the paucity of comments today, even for a Saturday, I gather everyone is more occupied by other things and one can imagine what they are.

  9. I would have struggled with AUSTERLITZ if the ever-erudite Times sports section hadn’t come to my rescue. Reading it over lunch, there was a reference to some sporting achievement being ‘the greatest French victory since Napoleon won the Battle of Austerlitz’.

    Like others, I couldn’t see the wordplay in NOSY, and I didn’t get TURNOVER at all – like hydrochoos, I put TARTOLET, which sounded like a small pie, even though I was pretty sure it was wrong.

  10. I don’t recall any holdups solving this and I see I’m all green in under 40 minutes. NOEL COWARD went straight in (“Christmas” pretty much gives it to you). No problem with AUSTERLITZ or KOAN. My LOI seems to be KEYSTONE.

  11. 25 or so

    Liked it

    Slightly surprised lack of knowledge of AUSTERLITZ but I’d probably be on the receiving end for science references

    Thanks all especially Horryd for his interesting post

  12. Managed most of this in fits and starts today. Slowly improving. Many thanks for the blog. Beak and ort were new to me. NHO KOAN – could someone please explain why K.O. = floor? Many thanks all.

  13. Following the inimitable Noel Coward (and who wouldn’t?), I fairly flew through this until I hit AUSTERLITZ and then KOAN – never liked History much, and my knowledge of Zen is thin, so took a stab at KNAO! Otherwise an enjoyable romp: thanks setter and our brown dog.

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