Times Cryptic No 28482 – Saturday, 24 December 2022. Well, London Cabbies may have the Knowledge …

I remember a fascinating film years ago about how London cabbies acquire the “Knowledge” of London streets. Unlike them, I struggled with the knowledge to get through this puzzle. It was a challenge! In the end, everything was gettable one way or the other though. 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. Italics mark anagram indicators in the clues, and ‘assembly instructions’ in the explanations.

1 City club for one if female (7)
CARDIFF – CARD=a club, perhaps + IF + F.
5 Fan of Capone, maybe missing nothing? (3-4)
ALL-OVER – differently split, AL-LOVER!
9 Puts classification on return of proposed defence system (3)
IDS – SDI=Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, aka Star Wars. When returned, it produces ID’S=identifies.
10 Warning — abridged Hitchcock film is of little value (3,3,5)
FOR THE BIRDS – FOR(E)=warning on a golf course. THE BIRDS=Hitchcock film.
11 Sweet things, those adoring colonists? (8)
FONDANTS – FOND of ANTS, apparently. I didn’t know this sweet.
12 Sticker exhibitor cleverly put round exhibits (6)
VELCRO – hidden (exhibits), backwards (put round).
15 Wisdom, perhaps, but not an average amount (4)
NORM – who remembers NORM(AN) WISDOM?
16 Replanted fir trees in Spanish headland (10)
FINISTERRE – (FIR TREES IN)*. It was a surprise that a Spanish headland would have a name that looks so French!  It’s in Galicia. There is a French Department called Finistère, but that has only one R.
18 Might one not at some point be able to gather large support? (10)
CANTILEVER – CAN’T I EVER gathers L=large.
19 Mistake slime for yellow leaves (4)
GOOF – GOO + F(OR). OR=yellow leaves FOR. Very clever!
22 Bean: American tool used to chop British one (6)
ADZUKI – ADZ=tool used to chop (US spelling) + UK + I. Another I didn’t know!
23 Little attempt made to engage small government department (8)
MINISTRY – MINI=little + TRY=attempt, engaging S=small.
25 A busy month could somehow become time for continental celebration (8,3)
COLUMBUS DAY – (A BUSY M COULD)*. The continent is North America, not Europe, obviously!
27 Train drivers can take it to Washington (3)
AIM – well, luckily the definition was clear! I’d NHO the A1(M) motorway, nor of the town of Washington in Tyne and Wear.
28 With shiny new coat, maybe grass skirts get bigger (7)
REWAXED – REED skirts WAX=get bigger.
29 Waste a long time languishing here? (7)
DUNGEON – DUNG=waste + EON=a long time. Clue of the day, for me!
1 Material lifted off punch bags (7)
CHIFFON – CHIN=punch bags FFO=lifted OFF. Very clever, again.
2 Shakespeare character’s mad speeches for reciting, following advanced national curriculum (11)
ROSENCRANTZ – ROSE=advance + N.C.=national curriculum + RANTZ=sounds like RANTS (for reciting). A character in Hamlet.
3 Maybe expecting another Arab news article in French to turn up (2,4)
IN FOAL – INFO=news + AL=LA turning up. Amusing definition.
4 Axe-wielder intercepted by calm medical assistant (5-5)
FIRST-AIDER – a FIRER might be wielding the axe. Insert STAID. Intercept can mean obstruct.
5 Grey area on pitch (4)
ASHY – A=area + SHY=pitch (v).
6 Norma’s text, possibly, or line I redirected to Bert (8)
LIBRETTO – L=line + I + (TO BERT)*. Norma is an opera by Bellini.
7 French department assistant brought in to review goals (3)
VAR – two definitions.
8 Army corps’s hurried to get back (7)
13 Field event maybe tending to involve kicks, most of all (3-4,4)
14 Resented having to support Liberal president of similar views (4-6)
LIKE-MINDED – L=Liberal + IKE + MINDED=resented.
17 Selection of informal prints containing ink MC distributed (4,1,3)
PICK N MIX – PIX containing (INK MC)*. Some sort of lollies, I assume.
18 Old writer using upper case for part of book section (7)
CHAUCER – UC=upper case replaces PT=part in CHA(PT)ER=book section.
20 Many different parts initially for eminent nuclear physicist (7)
FEYNMAN – (MANY)* parts FEN, from the first letters of those words.
21 System of writing in code, Scottish one (6)
PINYIN – PIN=a code, for your credit card perhaps + YIN=one, in Scottish. A method of writing Chinese in western script. I vaguely remembered the word, but not what it meant.
24 Group that’s lost head for Scotland Yard (4)
26 Watch that wife gets cheap (3)
LOW – LO=watch that + W.

13 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28482 – Saturday, 24 December 2022. Well, London Cabbies may have the Knowledge …”

  1. A tough one, all right; took me over an hour. LOI AIM; no idea what was going on and biffed. DNK 17d PICK N MIX. I wasn’t sure of the 2d definition of VAR, but I knew the department. “Norma” was written by Bellini (who’s Romani?). I liked CHIFFON and IN FOAL.

  2. I ground to a halt at the end and basically gave up since the only thing I could fit at 11a (FONDANTS) was FENTANYL although describing it as a sweet thing seemed odd. That left me with FORTY-NINER who wielded a (pick-) axe in the gold mines. But the wordplay made no sense. So lots of pink squares when I came back to take a look today.

  3. I sure didn’t remember Norman WISDOM, and PICK N MIX is not anything with which I am familiar. But CAR-BOOT SALE I knew because it was an answer in an ST puzzle I blogged. Didn’t figure out AIM either (so that clue’s not about D.C.! ha).

    NH ADZUKI, but now likely never to forget it (really).

  4. This was the promised stinker after an easy week, wasn’t it? It took me most of the day, on and off. I had considerable difficulty with all the 3-letter ones, which are normally my starters. Never heard of SDI (it was always referred to as Star Wars by the Press), VAR was a guess, as I don’t follow sports these days. AIM was incomprehensible until Mr Ego pointed out that the A1M took you to Washington in the NE England, which I didn’t know as I’ve never been there! This was a pangram, by the way. I started looking when ADZUKI finally went in… The bean rang only a faint bell, but luckily I trusted the wordplay, and it gave me the Z that unlocked the fiendishly-clued 2D ROSENCRANTZ. Also NHO COLUMBUS DAY. PICK ‘N’ MIX are sold in the UK – basically a large selection of tubs of different, often lurid Haribo-like sweets. You select and bag the ones you want (with tongs) and pay by weight.
    I had a bit of a MER at 1D for CHIN=Punch. Not really the same thing at all and made CHIFFON very tricky to get. Liked NORM a lot.

  5. I thought this was one of the best of recent times, with lots of clues that brought a smile, rather than a tut of irritation. AIM was brilliant, and it was nice to see a first appearance for VAR, which is known up here as Video-Assisted-Rangers.

  6. Managed to find my copy of this. Spent a lot of time on it and worked out NHO ADZUKI and FEYNMAN.
    I failed on 9a guessing IBS; it was all a mystery to me. I went ballistic!
    I liked VAR.

  7. Defeated by ADZUKI as I didn’t know the bean or the tool. Also slowed myself down by putting ‘finisterra’ before checking the anagrist and correcting it to FINISTERRE.

    Some very clever clues here, I thought – ALL-OVER, AIM (nicely disguised definition!), GOOF, DUNGEON and IN FOAL stood out in particular.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  8. Worst effort of the week! But being ‘time-restricted’ (ha! Retired but never been busier), plodded through and finally threw in the towel with plenty of blanks. Didn’t help that I NHO IDS, ADZUKI, VAR or COLUMBUS DAY, but the likes of ALL OVER, FEYNMANand FIRST AIDER were too good for me. Really liked PINYIN (Scottish husband helped), and IN FOAL and ROSENCRANTZ (nearly my first one in – always liked Tom Stoppard’s play “ Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”)…although MINISTRY true FOI as relatively simple!!

  9. A struggle but all correct. Held up by trying to make TELEMARK DAY work given the L, M, D and Y. QUAD fixed that and COLUMBUS DAY gave me CHAUCER, my LOI.

  10. Not a pangram! – no j that I/we can find!
    It took a very long time to solve this but got there in the end (with aids!)

  11. Took me a long time. Didn’t get to it over the Christmas season. But I really enjoyed it in the end. Really chuckled over in foal and Velcro. I knew Of aduki beans but then realised adzuki was an alternative name. Loved Rosencratz. So although I did it long after the day I thought it great fun.

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