Times Cryptic No 28470 – Saturday, 10 December 2022. With a sting at the start …

It stung that I took so long to see 1ac, but overall this was a regular Saturday puzzle. 18dn may be unfamiliar to some, but I think I’ve heard the word used that way before. 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 Do sting, with advanced technology? (5)
SMART – two meanings. Ow, that hurts; or as in smart phone. I wasted time trying to construct something using “I.T.”
4 Run away from highway without leaving instructions (9)
INTESTATE – the highway is an INTE(R)STATE. ‘Not leaving instructions’ here means ‘without a will’.
9 Usual memo for broadcasting in the Taj Mahal, say (9)
10 Large quantity of people in discomfort being heard (5)
ACRES – sounds like (being heard) ACHERS, as in ‘bellyachers’.
11 One breaks soil — it’s hard to go straight (6)
HARROW – H=hard + ARROW=go straight.
12 Second group of workers very keen for education (8)
STUDYING – S=second + T.U.=group of workers + DYING=very keen.
14 Mad about problem surfacing shortly (5,3,4)
ROUND THE BEND – ROUND=about + THE BEND(s)=what happens if a diver surfaces too quickly.
17 Such a romantic story from Borges, timely in translation (3-5-4)
20 Order for eggs is far too simple (4,4)
OVER EASY – OVER=far too (as in over-elaborate) + EASY=simple.
21 For people of fashion, this comes with a small charge (6)
PROTON – PRO=for + TON=people of fashion (an expression from French, as seen in a Georgette Heyer novel, perhaps). Protons and electrons have as small an electrical charge as you can get.
23 Keep recovery vehicle (5)
TOWER – fort, or tow-truck.
24 In the centre, mould found in recreated sauce (9)
REMOULADE – (m)OUL(d) found in REMADE=recreated. Basically, a type of mayonnaise, it seems.
25 Item worth getting recycled, it’s common sense (6,3)
MOTHER WIT – (ITEM WORTH)*. Not a familiar expression for me, but obvious enough.
26 Piece of information a corporation’s given to board at last (5)
DATUM – (boar)D + A + TUM=corporation.
1 Appeal to turn up bottom of skirt: before me, too (4,4)
SAME HERE – SA=(sex) appeal + HEM turned up + ERE=before.
2 Final change to where one would find Fish, the constellation (8)
AQUARIUS – you’d find fish in an AQUARIUM. Change the last letter.
3 Not wicked enough to use a bookie? Regret there’s a catch (3,4,2,2,4)
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE – TOO GOOD=not wicked enough + TO BET=to use a bookie + RUE=regret.
4 Thought one loved, dropping resistance (4)
IDEA – I=one + DEA(R)=loved.
5 Multiplication aids one son’s forgotten in arrangements for school classes (10)
TIMETABLES – the multiplication aids are (or, rather, were) TIMES TABLES. Lose an S. Our teenage relatives don’t seem to know that there are such things as times tables! What are calculators for, after all?
6 Don’t budge from seating area at home stadium? (5,4,6)
STAND ONE’S GROUND – STAND=seating area (oddly enough) + ONE’S GROUND=home stadium.
7 Resourceful, start to replace oxygen in passage (6)
ADROIT – R(eplace) and O=oxygen, both in ADIT=(mine) passage.
8 Some dozens ignoring a flag (6)
ENSIGN – hidden (some).
13 Tries to get a lift with company, which makes a painful squash (10)
THUMBSCREW – THUMBS=tries to get a lift. CREW=(ship’s) company.
15 Forgetful diarist confused time (8)
16 Palace ordered hemline to be below end of thumb (8)
18 Ship on water only held by chain across harbour (6)
BOTTOM – TT=off the grog, so perhaps on water only, held by BOOM=chain across harbour. I didn’t know a boom could be a chain, and I only vaguely remembered that shipping lines might call their vessels BOTTOMS.
19 In hole, lift up little bird (6)
PEEWIT – WEE=little, lifted up, in PIT=hole.
22 Order the thing to take out (4)
OMIT – O.M.=Order of Merit + IT=the very thing.

15 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28470 – Saturday, 10 December 2022. With a sting at the start …”

  1. 19:14
    It took me longer to see LOI 1ac than you, Bruce; in fact I never did. I also didn’t get the ‘surfacing shortly’ part of 14ac, biffing from ‘Mad’. REMOULADE parsed post-submission. I had no idea they weren’t teaching the times tables; sounds like a mistake to me. By coincidence, I just discovered from this morning’s paper that cursive handwriting is being dropped. (Although come to think of it, my handwriting is so horrible I stopped using cursive years ago.)

  2. Dang! I never did go back and figure out how REMOULADE worked! Thanks, Bruce.
    Although I did check BOTTOM—as the sense required was vaguely remembered.
    Tuesday night, meeting at a bar with Nation comrades I hardly ever see in the flesh these days, I said SAME HERE so many times, it was like a mantra… (And it was a totally honest reaction in every case. Which is saying something, isn’t it…)

  3. 36 minutes with only ship/BOTTOM unknown. I’m sure times tables are still used in some form but I doubt they are taught as they were in my early schooldays (aged 5) with the whole class chanting them up to 12×12 every morning before the first lesson of the day.

  4. 39m 31s but a couple of pink squares in 1ac so very much a sting in the start. I put SHAFT for want of anything better.
    I liked the puzzle but I had many queries so, thank you, Bruce for:
    I had never heard of MOTHER WIT nor that a BOTTOM could be a ship. 18d was my LOI and I spent at least 10 mins on that.
    COD: 1d SAME HERE.

  5. A week ago today I was on a train going to Crewe. It somehow feels that I was very lucky to have made that journey at all. TIMEsTABLES have been abandoned both at stations and schools.
    I had plenty of time to do this puzzle. LOI was ACRES. Struggles were: BOTTOM and HARROW (couldn’t get beyond Hoe for too long).
    MOTHER WIT was new to me. ADROIT was hard to parse but adits are becoming common in puzzles at least.
    I enjoyed this. COD to the fiendish SMART.

  6. 18:07. Tricky. Bit of an American flavour (or rather flavor) to this with SMART, the interstate and OVER EASY. No complaints from me, though. SMART in this particular context is an English usage even if its origin is American, and if my kids are anything to go by the more general ‘clever’ sense is becoming pretty common on this side of the pond.
    BOTTOM is a bit of a double-obscurity but once I had spotted ‘on water only’ for TT there was no other word that would fit.
    In my experience REMOULADE is usually finely julienned celeriac in seasoned mayonnaise, and not a sauce in the normal sense of the word.

  7. 12:19. I see I never parsed REMOULADE and ROUND THE BEND. I didn’t remember coming across BOTTOM for ship before, but the wordplay was clear. COD to SAME HERE. Thanks Bruce and setter.

    1. Unannounced Americanisms are an increasingly frequent feature of English English. As well as ‘smart’ (see above) my kids also say ‘gotten’. They don’t yet refer to the motorway as a highway though.

      1. Up to us to correct them! Show them a more literate way!
        I remember in infants school being told always to avoid using got, get or lot; because there was always a better alternative. What that teacher would think of gotten doesn’t bear thinking about!

      2. I wonder if the use of “gotten” is possibly a backformation from “begotten”. The King James Version has” only begotten Son” from John 3:16 which is ( or was?) much quoted.

        1. I think it’s just an old form. The OED gives lots of examples of it in common use as a past participle in English texts. We still say ‘ill-gotten’.

  8. SMART went in pretty late on – it might even have been my LOI, and I didn’t much like it when I got it. But for a long time I was trying to justify COME HERE, as ‘appeal to turn up’. When I realised that HEM was turned up, I had to look again at the construction and then the old SA chestnut finally fell into place. Late to the table today, as we had a Christmas party last night, which not only meant that I was too busy to do more than half of yesterday’s crossword, but also that I spent most of today washing up, clearing away and working out what to do with the left-over food (no problem with the left-over booze!) Now, normality restored, I can settle down to today’s issue.

  9. I sympathise with alto_ego’s plight above! It’s only since becoming a widow and having more leisure time that I’ve been able to spend more time on this crossword ( and therefore get better at it). Never did ‘get’ SMART, which held up AQUARIUS for longer than it should have done; NHO BOTTOM (in that sense) and have always thought of REMOULADE as Keriothe above. Didn’t spot the anagram at 17a, so had GOD BLESS ???? for far too long, which made the easy THUMBSCREW harder to get. Note to self: be more vigilant re anagrams !

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