Times Cryptic No 28422 – Saturday, 15 October 2022. Echo of Great Power rivalry

I enjoyed the hints of 20th century power plays, although we may sink into a possible replay in the 21st century. More happily, the puzzle was all resolvable. Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable number. 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 Marry in church after brief separation (6)
4 Order in force to take off cycle race (8)
SCRAMBLE – two meanings. The first an airforce squadron taking off; the second a motorcycle race, apparently.
10 Sort of parliamentary form from America mislaid in British Library (9)
BICAMERAL – (AMERICA)* in B.L. It just means a parliament with an upper an a lower house.
11 Catholic priest’s into outdated belief? (5)
RELIC – ELI in R.C. I’m surprised “belief” is part of the definition. I think of “relics” as objects.
12 Went to bed weary again? (7)
RETIRED – cryptic hint.
13 Standing objects bordering route (7)
ENDWAYS – ENDS ‘bordering’ WAY.
14 Turned up tailing shy rodent (5)
COYPU – COY=shy + UP ‘turned’.
15 Humorous aspect of Spooner’s nature affecting all Oxford? (8)
CITYWIDE – ‘witty side’. Rev. Spooner was indeed at Oxford. Refreshing it’s not a shoe for once!
18 Wild forest dwellers rattled medic attending court (8)
20 Is a fermented extract less harmful? (5)
SAFER – hidden ‘extract’.
23 American dons in demand running space centre (7)
HOUSTON – U.S. ‘dons’ HOT. ON=running.
25 Attracting attention of husband in a bad way (7)
HAILING – H=husband + AILING.
26 Calls for CID officer, having first called earlier (5)
NEEDS – NEE=maiden name=’first called’. D.S. = CID officer.
27 With edges trimmed, season mince and blend (9)
28 Reflective journalist subjected to ordeal couldn’t stand (8)
DETESTED – DE=ED ‘reflected’. TESTED=subjected to ordeal.
29 Finished prescribed course feeling positive (6)
UPBEAT – UP=finished + BEAT=prescribed course, of a police officer for example.
1 Remove secondary plot (8)
SUBTRACT – SUB=secondary + TRACT=plot (of land).
2 Citizen cutting flower, with permission (7)
3 Host’s invitation to wake? (4,5)
COME ROUND – two meanings.
5 Head of department in hostel’s chalet abroad took charge (6,3,5)
6 Parched, drinking cold bitter (5)
ACRID – C in ARID=parched.
7 Short post from poet circling round lakes (7)
BOLLARD – BARD ‘circling’ O + LL.
8 Cut out for duty (6)
EXCISE – two meanings.
9 Show particular interest in running order for assembly (10,4)
PRODUCTION LINE – PRODUCTION=show + LINE=particular interest.
16 Dirty pots, etc, being cast ashore by tide (7-2)
WASHING-UP – two meanings.
17 Force US agents in desert to break up (8)
FRAGMENT – F=force + G-MEN in RAT=to desert.
19 Copious work mostly contributed (7)
21 Ship‘s doctor featured in final issue (7)
FRIGATE – RIG=doctor in FATE=final issue.
22 Given a bell polished under pressure (6)
PHONED – P=pressure + HONED.
24 Soviet agency netting a thousand in duties (5)
TASKS – K in TASS=Russian/Soviet news agency.

20 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28422 – Saturday, 15 October 2022. Echo of Great Power rivalry”

  1. 16:59
    Pretty bland stuff. I didn’t notice a typo, C for D in RETIRED, which gave me two errors for the price of one. Haven’t we had BOLLARD?

  2. 37m 07s
    I thought there were some very nice clues. I particularly liked CITYWIDE (Yes, nice to see Oxford not as a shoe), NEEDS (“first called”) and RELIC. Yes, I too, think of RELIC as an object.
    One objection: I think 4ac should have had the word ‘motor’ added to cycle. A scramble generally involves motorcycles or cars. A similar event involving just bicycles is cyclocross.
    I used to see COYPU regularly when we lived in France. As far as I’m aware they were eradicated in the UK many years ago.
    Thanks Bruce for explaining PRODUCTION LINE and FRIGATE and for your blog as a whole.

    1. Yes, I liked Citywide, but where’s the homophone signifier to explain the spelling changes? What have I missed?!

        1. Thanks for this. I had in mind that Spoonerisms are single letter swaps:
          I saw you fight a liar in the quad; you must leave by the town drain; you have tasted a whole worm. But now I remember the homophone, You have hissed my mystery lectures.

  3. Over the line in just over the hour, all very Saturday-ish.

    FOI 6dn ACRID
    LOI 15ac CITYWIDE – wittycide was murder using wit, innit!?

    I note that the COYPU (aka nutria) were eradicated from the UK by 1981. They became a terrible blight on the Norfolk Broads ruining the indigenous otter habitats and much else. I saw a couple on the Chatsworth Estate of the Duke of Devonshire up in Derbyshire, back in the mid-sixties. Matlock Meldrew.

  4. 35 minutes. No issues but NHO WOODMICE only ‘woodlice’ so I double-checked the wordplay. Also NHO CIT for ‘citizen’ which SOED advises is archaic and Collins agrees, adding ‘derogatory’.

    I looked twice at ‘relic’ as ‘outdated belief’ too although I am aware of it used in the abstract as an in an idea or custom being a relic of the past.

    1. Collins (Webster’s New World) does have ‘cit’ as American English; also ‘cit.’ as an abbreviation. I doubt that I’ve ever seen it, and I wouldn’t use it, but.
      The definition of RELIC seems just wrong to me; : ”The dig turned up many relics” vs. ?”Times leaders from the 50’s contain/express many relics”.

  5. MERs at SCRAMBLE = cycle race, not motorcycle or motorbike, and at OPULENT = copious, instead of luxurious; though Collins appears to support it.

    1. Collins also supports the setter’s use of cycle: 8. short for bicycle, tricycle, motorcycle

  6. I seem to have left this puzzle in Cornwall, where we were last weekend, but a check on the answers reveals that I was badly off wavelength on this one, failing to complete several clues – CITYWIDE, BICAMERAL (I think, though I might have worked it out from the anagram fodder), WOODMICE (NHO, though my knowledge of fauna is fairly broad) and SCRAMBLE. Partner helped with several other contributions. It’s fairly unusual for me not to complete given enough time, so being on an away break may have contributed, but looking at the answers, I don’t think I would have got there. Some crosswords just defeat me, happily, fewer as time goes on…

    1. Well, Gill, I’m unhappily the other way round! A few years ago I could complete some of these by end of breakfast: that is slowly slipping out of my grasp as I age. Think it’s the same syndrome as forgetting names – a lot of synonyms now escape me. But I plod on womanfully…

  7. Done but with some guesswork, and it took more than an hour – maybe 70 minutes. Couldn’t figure out 4ac SCRAMBLE – didn’t think of the old airfield context – or 27ac INTEGRATE, nor 21d FRIGATE. Oh, and NHO 10ac BICAMERAL though worked it out from the anagram. Hit no other particular problems though progress was stodgy. Thanks to setter, and blogger for the insight.

  8. I’m another who took more than an hour (68 minutes) with most clues needing time and thought. Lots though looked so straightforward when looking back on them. I spent some time trying to work with shoe for Oxford (a trick by the setter that was not so nice) but still liked CITYWIDE

  9. I too struggled with 15a trying to justify COTSWOLD -what’s cold about that? But not humorous enough.
    I took a long time to get SCRAMBLE, but I remember the term from war films; I did wonder about whether cycle could include motorbike.
    Enjoyed a lot of this . Maybe COD to BOLLARD.

  10. I’m not sure why I found this so hard because everything looked fairly obvious in retrospect bar the unknown (or forgotten) BICAMERAL, which I had to look up eventually, in order to unlock the NW corner. CITYWIDE took some coaxing out despite knowing exactly what I was after. ENDWAYS was well hidden but my favourite was NEEDS, such a peculiar surface that’s actually a straightforward cryptic.

    Thanks setter and blogger

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