Times Cryptic No 28458 – Saturday, 26 November 2022. Whom the setter would defeat …

… they first quote myths? Certainly I was comprehensively beaten by 18dn! The rest was quite satisfyingly accessible. 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. I use italics to mark anagram indicators in the clues, and ‘assembly instructions’ in the explanations.

1 Lofty approach of Charlie, trendy still? (4-4)
CHIP-SHOT – C=Charlie + HIP=trendy + SHOT=still (photograph).
5 Root and branch from wide shrub (6)
WHOLLY – W=wide + HOLLY.
8 Mild reprimand: who’d be a mummy! (3)
TUT – two definitions: tut, tut / Tutankhamun.
9 Travelling around led here: big German town (10)
10 Some sail on gamely after reversing bloomer (8)
MAGNOLIA – reverse hidden answer.
11 Protest defeat in shouting match? (6)
OUTCRY – to win the shouting match, you might out-cry the other person. Geddit?
12 Painter with colour running short getting little done (4)
RARE – R.A. + RE(D). How do you like your steak?
14 Second dismissal having unfortunate consequences (10)
BACKFIRING – BACK=second (a motion) + FIRING.
17 Schedule when match or rearranged heat may end (4,3,3)
20 Health agency auxiliaries initially hold it (4)
WHOA – W.H.O. + A(uxiliaries).
23 Go off in pursuit of normal copy (6)
PARROT – PAR=normal (for an expert golfer) + ROT=go off.
24 Resident often on the wing (spell initiated by judge)? (8)
JAILBIRD – you can take the whole clue as a cryptic definition. The phrase in parentheses also rather cutely tells us to spell the answer with a J, not a G.
25 3 peers with time to see cult leader (4,6)
HIGH PRIEST – HIGH = ‘SCHOOL’ (as in 3dn) + PRIES=peers (verb) + T=time. Some high priests might bridle at being called ‘cult leader’, I imagine.
26 Take complaint from mostly despicable character (3)
CUR – CUR(E)=to resolve a complaint.
27 Church worker’s relations from the south? (6)
SEXTON – SEX=relations + TO N(orth)=from the south! Tricky.
28 What might be extra eg if nitrogen’s involved? (5,3)
GREEN TAX – (EXTRA EG N)*. N is the chemical symbol for nitrogen.
1 Dull account recalled type of knitwear craft (9)
CATAMARAN – MAT A/C backwards (recalled) + ARAN=a type of Irish knitwear.
2 Turning over note to obtain National Insurance number (7)
INTEGER – RE=a musical note + GET=obtain + N.I. Turn all of that over to get the answer.
3 Group travelling by sea or coach (6)
SCHOOL – two definitions: a noun, and a verb.
4 One visits troubled region at issue (9)
5 Comfortable with hitmen’s promise? (4-3)
WELL-OFF –  the hitmen might promise We will, we will off you. Not to be confused with We will rock you by Queen.
6 Slip fielder makes public disagreement about finale to match (9)
OVERTHROW – OVERT=public + (MATC)H + ROW. For non-cricketers, an overthrow is like a fielding error in baseball, which might allow the batsmen to take extra runs. Typically, it will be an error by an outfielder, not a slip fielder, so you need to lift and separate those words!
7 Rising star getting ovation, outwardly showing restraint (3-4)
LEG-IRON – RIGEL is the star. It’s rising i.e. written upwards in this down clue, and followed by O(vatio)N.
13 I agree just to follow English military command (4,5)
EYES RIGHT – E=English + YES=I agree + RIGHT=just.
15 Furry creature put out with a dog requiring attention (5,4)
KOALA BEAR – K.O.=put out (at boxing)  + A LAB(rador) + EAR=attention.
16 Voting for August the ninth to hold race (5,4)
GRAND PRIX – GRAND=august + P.R.=a form of voting + IX=nine.
18 One turned to horse by a dramatist, she to something smaller (7)
ARACHNE – well, I had no idea about this! I finally discovered that in Greek legend, ARACHNE offended Athena and so was turned into a spider (somewhat smaller than a horse!). Even once I had the answer, the wordplay took ages too. RACINE is the dramatist. Change I=one into H=horse!
19 Discover Sky broadcasting (3,4)
HIT UPON – HIT UP=sky + ON=broadcasting. To hit a ball up in the air could be to sky it. (Ignore the capital S, only there to mislead!)
21 Bob, perhaps, and Ruth involved with CIA (7)
22 Deck idiot descending on ambassador (6)
CLOTHE – CLOT=idiot + H.E. = honorific for an ambassador.

22 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28458 – Saturday, 26 November 2022. Whom the setter would defeat …”

  1. I remember this as taking some concentration, but there are no overwrites on my fairly tidy copy. ARACHNE seems like it was likely my LOI. I don’t remember looking at JAILBIRD that closely. I worked for a while in the mid-1980s for a paper called OVERTHROW (the name was always in ALLCAPS), the former Yipster Times.

    1. OVERTHROW?! You and your fellow Yippies could have been the Stewart Rhodes of your day! 😀
      Was ‘seditious conspiracy’ a thing in those days?

      1. The title was hyperbolic, figurative. We were against guns and all that kind of thing… I came to New York City from Philly to write “MOVE Massacre Deliberate,” about the incendiary bombing by the Philadelphia police of a house where a group of radicals was living, which was anthologized by Temple University Press in the Alternative Press Annual, 1985 (hardcover!). I wrote that “the conclusion must be drawn that the police opened up with automatic weapons and mowed them down as they came out to surrender” (that’s from memory, emphasis added), and my editor, not normally the most cautious in the world, was asking me if maybe I shouldn’t “tone that down a little” when we got a phone call from William Kunstler, who was defending the two survivors of the massacre, a woman and a 13-year-old boy, and the legendary attorney said that the story I had pieced together jibed exactly with what his clients said had happened. So we ran with it.

        1. Wow! I had never heard of the MOVE massacre. Reading the Wikipedia account now makes for startling reading.

  2. Luckily for me I saw Arachne right away which opened the bottom of the grid right up – if I’d had to think about it for more than a second I probably would have puzzled over it for a long time. Nice clue, I thought. I also marked liking Eyes Right, but I don’t see it as that special a week later.
    FWIW, baseball uses the term overthrow for roughly the same error, though ‘missing the cut-off man’ is a more common mistake.
    thanks, brnchn, nice blog

  3. I forgot to note my finishing time and I have no recollection of how long I needed for this other than it wasn’t excessive. But I used aids for my LOI, ARACHNE as I didn’t know the character and H-checker prevented me thinking of the dramatist who is little more than a name to me in any case. I had no problem coming up with JAILBIRD but put a query against it thinking there may be wordplay in the clue that I had missed.

  4. 77m 37s
    I’m glad I’m not the only person to be defeated by ARACHNE. I had to use aids for that, just as Jack did.
    Thank you, Bruce for CUR, JAILBIRD, OUTCRY and HIGH PRIEST, all of which contributed to me solving time of well over the hour.
    OVERTHROW was very good but COD to WHOA.
    Thank you, Bruce.

  5. I thought this was a thoroughly enjoyable Saturday puzzle that presented just the right amount of difficulty. Admittedly, some of the answers were reverse engineered, not least ARACHNE, where I guessed the ‘she to something smaller’ almost immediately, helped by the A crossers, and subsequently landed on Racine as the dramatist. Although I never studied Greek, I knew a few of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and because spiders are classified as Arachnids after her, had no trouble recalling her to mind. MAGNOLIA was well hidden and I loved NAME THE DAY. CHIP SHOT came purely from the cryptic, as I know nothing about golf. Didn’t get WHOA until I had the H in place, but thought it brilliant, likewise WHOLLY, which I wouldn’t have arrived at without the crossers. My only question mark was against SEXTON, which was obvious, but I couldn’t parse it – thanks to Bruce for the explanation and to the setter for a very good workout.

  6. DNF

    Gave up after 25 mins as the day calls. ARACHNE and JAILBIRD outstanding.

    Thought ARACHNE was a terrible clue if only because the surface is so clunky. But I’m becoming persuaded it’s a good’un

    But does JAILBIRD really work as a cryptic? Hmmm.

    Rest was very good though

    Thanks Setter and Bruce

  7. This took 43:38 and I thought it was excellent. I particularly liked 5dn and 6dn, I’m a cricket fan so always enjoy these references, particularly with the misdirection of “slip fielder”. Before coming here, I hadn’t understood ARACHNE which I would never have figured out, and also GRAND PRIX was a mystery because I hadn’t thought of that meaning for August, or the reference to P.R. Thanks setter & blogger.

  8. I parsed 1A completely differently and still got the right answer! Chip is, like Charlie, a diminutive form of Charles, and hot is a synonym for trendy, so I read it as ‘Chip’s hot’. I couldn’t work out what ‘still’ was doing in the clue, though, so thanks for the explanation.

    I only got ARACHNE by patiently trawling through Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (which served to remind me that it’s my favourite reference book). Otherwise I found this reasonably straightforward.

  9. I found this a bit chewy, taking 23:26. I guessed ARACHNE from the checkers but never parsed it. I wasn’t entirely clear what was going on with JAILBIRD, but I think you’ve got it, Bruce. Several ticks on my copy – WHOA my favourite, but I also liked CUR, SEXTON, SCHOOL and HAIRCUT. I was surprised to see no comment about KOALA BEAR. It’s not a bear, is it? Thanks Bruce and setter.

  10. Another defeated by ARACHNE. APACHEE did not parse.
    As a golfer I know a chip shot is generally low, a pitch is high in the air. But that’s a minor quibble.
    The RHS seemed much easier than the left.

  11. I seem to remember enjoying some of this but struggling. A lot went in partly parsed, and the same happened with today’s. I spent ages on 1a; both CHIP and SHOT crossed my mind but not together, although I am well aware of what a chip shot is. Ironic to get a DNF on one of the easiest clues.

  12. Took ages to figure CHIP SHOT
    But ARACHNE was one that I got
    Without excessive pain
    But I save my disdain
    For the WHOLLY unwelcome PARROT

  13. 50 minutes solving time, but with a long break before entering my LOI CLOTHE, since I first had to correct CAGEBIRD to JAILBIRD. I never did notice that the phrase in parentheses was a hint to the desired spelling. Otherwise, many subtle clues and lots to like about this puzzle. COD perhaps to WHOLLY or KOALA BEAR — actually it’s easier to say which clues definitely are not CODs than to pick the one which is.

  14. This totally defeated me. Had so many blanks and some I got I couldn’t parse so finally gave in today and came to the blog. Thank you Bruce for the explanations. All made complete sense in retrospect. First time for ages I have been defeated although I often take several days over it.

  15. As with Nana Elly above, (and another nana to boot!) I was totally defeated by this – giving up with half undone. Once I looked at some of the blog , I got quite a few of the downs (biffed admittedly), but have to protest the inclusion of a koala as a bear! Since I’ve been in Oz for the greater portion of my life, it always astounds me that the poms refuse to accept that it is not a bear…
    I too thought WHOA particularly good, perhaps because I got it immediately? But TUT and HEIDELBERG were my first two in.

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