Times Cryptic No 28398 – Saturday, 17 September 2022. Synchronicity or just a lucky coincidence?

As it happened, I solved this online for once. (So much TV sport, so little time!)

I finished comfortably under 30 minutes. It must have been easy – though I was helped by an unfamiliar answer I’d met for the first time only the day before! Still, lots to like, starting with the clever definition at 1ac. 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 Place with lots of appeal occupied by The Times (8)
SOTHEBY’S – THE + BY=times, ‘occupying’ S.O.S.=appeal for help. Sotheby’s auction items are in lots.
6 Ingredient used for dips in Thai cooking (6)
TAHINI – (IN THAI)*.  A Middle Eastern ingredient, not Thai.
9 Friendly greeting is of greater importance, we’re told (4)
HIYA – sounds like ‘higher’ (we’re told).
10 Pictures recently seen around hospital department, say (10)
ARTICULATE – ART=pictures + LATE=recently, around ICU = a hospital department you don’t want to need.
11 Appointment held in Frenchman’s second home? (4-1-5)
13 Dispute ends in aggro and indeed distress (4)
ODDS – last letters of aggrO anD indeeD distresS.
14 Retardant nearly worked as described (8)
NARRATED – (RETARDAN-)*, dropping the last letter off ‘retardant’ (hence, nearly).
16 Altogether popular animal in a fantasy film (2,4)
IN TOTO – IN=popular + TOTO=Dorothy’s dog in The Wizard of Oz.
18 Female entertainer kinda surrounded by instruments, mostly (6)
GEISHA – ISH = ‘kind of’, surrounded by  GEA(r)=instruments.
20 Spies block computer access, one reasons (8)
LOGICIAN – CIA=spies, ‘blocking’ LOGIN=computer access.
22 Work introduced by house band (4)
HOOP – HO=house + OP=work.
24 Part of engine splattered with dirt (10)
26 Lots of aged switches and controls (10)
28 Out of control American given sanction (4)
AMOK – AM=American + OK=sanction. (To sanction can be to approve, or the opposite!)
29 Soldier principally positioned next to gate? (6)
SENTRY – S(oldier) + ENTRY. Nice literal definition.
30 Head abandons team after fixture late on in the day (8)
EVENTIDE – EVENT=fixture + (s)IDE.
2 Start to pontificate, having drunk one drink! (9)
3 Keeper of everything, with increasing difficulty, keeping nothing (7)
HOARDER – O=nothing, in HARDER.
4 Snakes beginning to terrify crow (5)
BOAST – BOAS=snakes + T(errify).
5 Fixed way to conserve energy (3)
SET – E=energy, in ST(reet).
6 Credit, for example, includes money for issuing passes (9)
TICKETING – TICK=credit + EG=for example, ‘including’ TIN.
7 Last complete question in conversation (4,3)
HOLD OUT – sounds like ‘WHOLE DOUBT’.
8 Prominent Democrat supporting school from the ground up (5)
NOTED – ETON backwards (from the ground up) + D.
12 Revolutionary prisoner comprehends loud warning (3,4)
RED FLAG – RED + LAG, ‘comprehending’ F=loud.
15 Leaves alone in a provocative manner (9)
17 Group of passengers travelling land-to-air (9)
19 Good person getting out of bed coming in to help (7)
SUPPORT – UP in SORT. I originally thought the good person would be ST=saint, and was a bit surprised that they were a SORT. In Aussie slang, a SORT can mean a GOOD SORT=an (attractive) person. Is that it? No: as pointed out in the first comment, it’s UP in SPORT. Of course.
21 Computers let individuals initially share digital images (4,3)
CLIP ART – first letters of Computers Let Individuals + PART.
23 Jump on board, taking lead from dog (5)
OLLIE – the dog is a (c)OLLIE. It’s a skateboarding jump. I didn’t know of it, until it appeared in a crossword elsewhere, only the day before I met it in  this puzzle. Synchronicity?
25 Succeed in being extremely unshakeable (5)
ENSUE – ENS=being (a term from philosophy) + U(nshakeabl)E.
27 Piece of cloth that’s striped from time to time (3)
TIE – every second letter of sTrIpEd.

16 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28398 – Saturday, 17 September 2022. Synchronicity or just a lucky coincidence?”

  1. I think with 19D it is S[UP]PORT where “sport”, as defined in Chambers, is “a person of sportsmanlike character, a good fellow.”

    A very enjoyable puzzle and quality blog as ever.


  2. 58m 46s but about 35mins of that puzzling over 1ac SOTHEBYS. I failed to separate ‘lots’ from ‘of appeal’ for such a long time.
    I also had trouble with 23d OLLIE and 25d ENSUE. A term from philosophy, OK, but some of us are far too geriatric to know about skateboarding terminology!
    Thanks, Bruce!

  3. 24:25
    For some reason I have no notes on my printout, other than that I parsed CLIP ART after submitting; I’ve come across the term, probably here once. Surprised to see ENS. Somehow I knew OLLIE, God knows why. SOTHEBY’S was probably my LOI.

  4. I got on quite well, thank you. I parsed SUPPORT as Stuart did. Nothing marked for question or particular comment on my copy, but certainly no objections! SOTHEBY’s may have been my LOI too, come to think of it.

  5. 38 minutes with a guess as to vowel placement in the unknown TAHINI* [usual mutterings about foreign words clued as anagrams] but at least I got one right this time. Other unknowns were OLLIE (no complaints about that as the wordplay was clear) and the ENS in ENSUE which made a change from printers’ measures, but will I remember it? Fortunately constraints of space and checkers prevented me putting an R in Sothebys.

    I note that TAHINI has appeared as an answer once before, in November last year, but the wordplay was an Ikea job which led me successfully to the answer.

    1. TAHINI appears all over the place in NYC, but I first learned the word when living with friends in Philly who belonged to a co-op. It’s about as exotic as “falafel.”

  6. “Kinda” isn’t a word. Or if it is, I don’t like it. I won’t give it the benefit of being looked up. “Somewhat” would have made for a better clue.
    Got a jar of Tahini in the fridge, albeit it has been there for perhaps 18 months and nobody dares take the lid off any more to see what might be going on inside.
    No probs otherwise, ENS we have seen before. Ollie I knew, though heaven knows how, I grew out of skateboards before they were even invented..

  7. I also spent a disproportionate amount of time on 1a; my notes say that this took 34 minutes, with about ten of them spent on SOTHEBY’S at the end. No ticks in the margin, unusually, though that probably reflects my slightly hungover state of mind last Saturday than any judgement on the puzzle!

  8. I’ll never presume to describe a Times crossword as easy, but this was certainly very do-able. My LOI, like everyone else, was SOTHEBYS but I got there in the end. NHO OLLIE, but it was the obvious answer, and it made a refreshing change to be puzzling over a non-cricketing term. Around 45 enjoyable minutes. Thanks to setter and blogger.

  9. Just under the hour with LOI the NHO OLLIE. As Jack says though, the wp was helpful. I liked SOTHEBYS which went in early, perhaps because I visited an auction house in The Cotswolds the other week. I knew TAHINI as Mrs R puts it her hummus. Didn’t know the ENS for being though. Good fun.

    Thanks b and setter.

  10. I don’t think I ever found out about ENS in ENSUE, but it seemed obv. Thanks for the steer, I didn’t bother to look it up (seemed too short to have a sensible meaning) and I remained in the dark.
    Had to look up Ollie after the event. I will never attempt to get on a board let alone ollie (verb) on it. Every time I see a board I feel that it is very close to being out of control and it is going to whack me in the ankle any time, but soon, and hard.

  11. Same as others in the main. Knew TAHINI but it wasn’t my first thought. DNK OLLIE.
    Vaguely remembered ENS from a previous puzzle to get ENSUE.
    Also stuck on parsing of 19d with S …..T but saw SPORT eventually.
    LOI was GEISHA without understanding the parsing.
    An enjoyable puzzle.

  12. My notes have gone missing – l think that ‘er indoors must have consigned it to the trash! Bless!

    FOI Sotheby’s who are well represented here in Shanghai ; I receive their online catalogue on a monthly basis.
    LOI 23dn OLLIE – l thought he was the Oval Pope!
    COD 11ac PIED-A-TERRE ln the eighties l had one in Pimlico!
    WOD 6ac TAHINI we too have an ancient jar lurking in the fridge. It will be evicted tomorrow!

    I have spent one night in an ICU – ‘Dante’s Inferno’!

  13. 50 minutes without knowing ENS or OLLIE, but not a problem. I liked SOTHEBY’S which converged quite readily from “lot” and “times” (after dismissing X). COD GEISHA where I liked kinda = ish, an equation that’s equally informal on both sides

  14. 18 Across: Female entertainer kinda surrounded by instruments, mostly (6)
    GEISHA – ISH = ‘kind of’, surrounded by GEA(r)=instruments.

    Clueing GEAR by “instruments” seems extremely vague.
    The sense of the term “gear” being alluded to is (to quote the ODE) “equipment or apparatus that is used for a particular purpose”. So “instruments” should have had some sort of indicator (“perhaps”, “say”, “?”, etc) to show that this was a particular type of gear.

    Or we could have had something along the lines of “Female entertainer kinda wearing clothes, for the most part”.

  15. I needed the crossers for GEISHA POI, and had to trust the wordplay for LOI OLLIE, obviously an obscure term for a knight’s move.

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