Times Cryptic No 28440 – Saturday, 5 November 2022. Please to remember … the fifth of November?

The fifth of November used to see celebration of Guy Fawkes day with firecrackers in Australia, but fire danger in hot and often dry weather put an end to that. So just a regular Saturday. The puzzle had some answers at the outer reaches of my vocabulary, gettable from wordplay. 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 Metal pick uncovered a turnip, possibly (8)
BRASSICA – BRASS=metal + (p)IC(k) + A. First vocab stretch.
6 Standard set by a large predatory animal (6)
JACKAL – JACK = a flag/standard + A + L.
9 Prepare cathedral to inter island’s leading statesman (5,8)
PRIME MINISTER – PRIME=prepare + I=island in MINSTER.
10 Bird’s shrewdness on turning tail (6)
GODWIT – GOD=reversal of DOG=tail + WIT=shrewdness.
11 The speaker’s rancour about church rejected as foolish (8)

I’M=the speaker’s (as in, I’m going to). BILE=rancour. EC=CE (church) ‘rejected’.

13 Retired cleric eating energy food, such as cake (10)
VEGEBURGER – R (E GRUB EG) EV, all reversed (‘retired‘):

REV=cleric. E=energy. GRUB=food. E.G.=such as.

Last week it was a VEGGIE BURGER. Same thing, according to Chambers at least, but I’m surprised to see it described as a cake.

15 Sizeable stone jar (4)
ROCK – two meanings.
16 Deferential Frenchman that startled me (4)
MEEK – M. (monsieur) + EEK!
18 Fearful priest facing Ely’s crumbling stonework (10)
PERISTYLES – two anagrams, two anagram indicators! (PRIEST)* + (ELYS)*.

Second vocab stretch. Didn’t know the word. Stone columns around the outside of something, apparently.

21 National hero backing King Edward’s assassin (8)
MURDERER – I guessed this was the answer. I wrote it backwards and discovered our National hero is RED RUM, crosswords’ favourite racehorse. E.R. at the end is of course Edward Rex. (Nothing to do with potatoes, today.)

Why a National hero? Over a five-year period in the 1970s, Red Rum won the Grand National steeplechase 3 times, and came second the other two years. Impressive!

22 Plan from first of spies about to cross border (6)

S(pies) + HEM=border, in CA=about.

23 Little remains of reforms to ban pesticides (4,3,6)
25 Paltry charge regularly billed (6)
FEEBLE – FEE + B i L l E d
26 Originally roped in to avoid knowledge getting wasted (8)

R=R(oped). SHUN=avoid. KEN=knowledge.

2 Condemn show again (7)
REPROVE – RE-PROVE, where ‘prove’ = demonstrate.
3 A thousand in disheartened crew perished at sea thus? (11)
4 Sluggish Italian team’s time to go down? (5)
INERT – INTER (Milan), with the T moved to the end.
5 Durable bearing (7)
ABIDING – two meanings. The second as in, I can’t abide that behaviour.
6 Judge worries about proposal to limit Republican internees (9)

J=judge, AILS=worries, BID=proposal, R=Republican. Nest as instructed.

7 Firm base for infant? (3)
COT – CO=firm + (infan)T. The whole clue is definition.
8 Material one found in wonderland, abruptly stifling yell (7)
ACRYLIC – ALIC(E) was in Wonderland. Insert CRY.
12 Take responsibility, as Jack & Jill failed to do? (5,3,3)
CARRY THE CAN – reference the nursery rhyme.
14 Concluded a lawsuit in capital (5,4)
UPPER CASE – UP=concluded + PER=a + CASE=lawsuit. Tricky.
17 Placid bishop collared by peer at end of debate (7)
EQUABLE – B=bishop in EQUAL=peer + (debat)E.
19 Engineer orders enamel primarily for decorative screen (7)
REREDOS – (ORDERS E)*. I know the word, but have trouble taking it seriously!
20 New service linking termini in Europe together (2,5)

The two Es are the ‘termini’ (ends) of E(urop)E. N=new. MASS=service.

22 Sportsman’s captain rendered quite powerless (5)
SKIER – SKI(pp)ER, ‘powerless’!
24 Small flap with stick raised (3)
TAB – BAT raised.

32 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28440 – Saturday, 5 November 2022. Please to remember … the fifth of November?”

  1. Likewise, never heard of BRASSICA but got it. And also had a MER on “cake” for the burger.
    Must’ve seen GODWIT somewhere (the origin of the word is unknown! How mysterious).

  2. I knew cabbage is a BRASSICA, and now I know that turnips are, too. I didn’t understand ‘National hero’–seemed rather strong for a race horse. I had a MER on ‘cake’, but I see the ODE defines ‘veggie burger’ (VEGEBURGER is a trademark) as ‘a savoury cake resembling a hamburger …’ Haven’t seen ‘fearful’ as an anagram indicator before. COD to UPPER CASE.

    1. I did wonder if you and other non-British solvers would understand 21ac and RED RUM as a ‘national hero’.
      My MER is with ‘fearful’ as an anagram indicator.

      1. I onlly knew of RED RUM because he (she?) appeared here once or twice. Definitely a MER at ‘fearful’.

  3. A wasted effort. Failed at the last with 26a STRUNTED, which seemed to pass muster as a Scottish word for drunk ,or possibly English slang for the same . Parsing could be forced as ‘stunt ed’ meaning to avoid knowledge, as in stunt one’s education. Well anyway, that’s what I came up with after several minutes floundering at the end.
    It rounds off a poor week. A pink wave in the last few days. 29:48

    1. It has been said that almost any word can be used in English (at least this side of the pond) to mean drunk, provided the correct intonation and context is applied. As in ‘I got completely (insert word of choice here) eg wombled/bladdered/hairless/shunted last night!!’ Everybody will know what you mean!

  4. 42m 11s but one error. I biffed SCHEME for 22ac iso SCHEMA.
    However I enjoyed the puzzle with CODs to UPPER CASE, GODWIT and CARRY THE CAN.
    Bar Tailed GODWITs are remarkable birds. Their migration takes them from Alaska to Australia and relatively near me in NZ sometimes nonstop, sometimes with a stopover in North Korea.
    Not sure I like ‘fearful’ as an anagram indicator.
    When I saw 21ac I did wonder how many of the non-British solvers would get it.
    Thank you Bruce!

      1. Thanks Isla3! Yes, I read about that recently; quite astonishing, and not even a stop for a leak and a cuppa in a motorway service area! A few years ago a group of ‘birders’ from NZ were allowed, with NZ government help, into North Korea to observe birds who stopped over there.

        1. Martin – Great story from you and Isla .‘Birders’ is unknown to me. In UK, as you probably know, they go by the name – ‘Twitchers’
          Mr. Astronowt.would have a fit! But he’s not usually around on a Saturday as he’s usually out ‘bagging’ a few pheasants at this time of year.

  5. Nice puzzle, with vegeburger, abiding and shrunken taking a few minutes at the end. Decided the vegeburger must be just the pattie, not the whole bun-enclosed creation. Liked shipwrecked and murderer most.

  6. Godwit was unknown to me, and I think I would rather it had stayed that way.
    I also would very much have preferred the use of the only clearly correct definition for Vegeburger – namely “abomination” – in place of the questionable “cake”. I understand that a slight re-working of the clue would have been needed, but the improvement in accuracy would have been well worth the effort.
    thanks, brnchn, ed, setter

    1. Abomination? That’s harsh! I’ve never had a bad vegeburger. Of course, that sentence would still be true without the word “bad”.

      1. No, sir, not harsh. True. Plus, they taste bad.

        And a piece of crossword-friendly advice from the US: keep your VB-virgin mouth pure. You’ll be both happy and respected.

        1. As a wise person once said, if the good Lord wanted us to be vegetarians, how come he made animals out of meat?

          1. Or, as an equally wise person said: “Vegetarians compete with MY food for something to eat, and I know who I want to win”.

            1. Recent developments in Japan have made the ‘meat’ of the vegeburger
              indistinguishable from the real McCoy. I consumed one in Kyoto restaurant, only being told afterwards that it wasn’t beef, but developed from seaweed. And I am more carnivorous than most, as I suffer from being a ‘supertaster’. Paul, l am also aware that to Americans even The idea of vegetarian burgers are wholly sacrilegious! Keep them dogiies rollin’! Innit!

  7. More than an hour for this one and I used aids for a couple of answers , so this definitely seemed harder than the average Saturday puzzle.

    SOED describes a VEGEBURGER as a cake and advises it’s made from soya.

    Chambers has ‘fearful’ in its list of anagram indicators, perhaps in the sense of jittery or jumpy?

  8. Completed this in an hour or so but, as usual, with several biffs. NHO 18ac PERISTYLES, though the anagram fell into place. Couldn’t make sense of 13, 15 ac nor 8d, so thanks to blogger for the insight. So obvious once they’re explained. Think I also went with SCHEME, not SCHEMA, since my parsing is still somewhat patchy! Otherwise, a satisfying and enjoyable experience. Thanks to all.

  9. I had two left at the end. I saw VEGEBURGER and wasn’t sure about the spelling; in fact I think it was in another puzzle recently spelt differently. Anyway, in it went. Eventually settled on GODWIT as LOI as it sounded vaguely right; Peewit better known to me.
    No problem with Red Rum. I went to see him in his stables at Southport after one of his National victories.
    Had been trying to fit a spelling of Gargoyles at 18a; PERISTYLES was new to me.

  10. I also wondered about cake=vegeburger, but the wordplay was clear. Thought about PEEWIT but it wouldn’t parse so I didn’t enter it, then REPROVE came along and so did GODWIT. PERISTYLES came purely from wordplay. SHRUNKEN was LOI with a PDM! SCHEMA was almost SCHEME until I re-read the clue. 18:17. Sadly, I’ve just discovered that a biffed IMBECILIC at 11a left me with IMBECILC. WOE is me 🙁 Thanks setter and Bruce.

  11. Bizarrely, I was unable to parse GODWIT, though it was the only possible answer. It’s perfectly obvious now I look at it. Also didn’t know turnips were BRASSICAs, but here the clueing was clear, so I took it on trust. I don’t remember coming across fearful before as an anagram indicator, but I accepted it with a shrug, since employed as a synonym of ‘awful’ it passes muster. FOI BRASSICA, LOI SHRUNKEN, appropriately – I was also looking for a word for getting drunk a la Corymbia.

  12. Completed in several sittings (with covid booster in between) and with aids for ABIDING and GODWIT (latter seen before but sadly not remembered). Knew BRASSICA but didn’t know turnip was one. NHO PERISTYLES but had the advantage of all the checkers. Couldn’t parse UPPER CASE (didn’t think of per = a). LOI SHRUNKEN – very hung up on synonyms for drunk! Many thanks for the blog today. Liked JAILBIRDS and UPPER CASE.

  13. Completed at one sitting for once. Just over the hour. Upper case really confused me. Thanks for the explanation I hadn’t seen. LOI shrunken which I like I too was looking for a word for drunk.

  14. Very few of these went straight in for me but there was fun in teasing out each answer at a fairly steady pace. So I was disappointed not to finish. Could not see ROCK as jar and still seems a bit of a stretch. SHRUNKEN never came because I would not let go of ‘gen’ as the knowledge. Probably should have taken a break and come back fresh, which often works. Who knew a turnip was a brassica? Well many of you I suspect, but I was glad of the wp.

    Thanks setter and blogger

  15. 45 minutes and correct despite the many unknowns, all gettable from wordplay. I’ve seen RED RUM in crosswords before, so no problem with that (in fact I mentioned the name to my son-in-law just offhand the other day, since I am sure its being MURDER backwards is not entirely a coincidence). LOI was SHRUNKEN (and CAN in 12dn) after rejecting SCRAPPED with CUP as making no sense in terms of the wordplay. Enjoyable puzzle!

  16. For the record:- Time lousy.
    FOI 6ac MEEK- Sir Arthur Meek. I used to love his books – so informative.
    LOI 18ac PERISTYLES with his bruvver Hari, bringing up the rear.
    COD 14dn UPPER CLASS – innit!
    WOD 19dn GODWIT -deserves more publicity

    23ac BITS AND PIECES -great memories of ‘The Dave Clarke Five’! c, 1963

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