Times Cryptic No 28506 – Saturday, 21 January 2023. Sticks in the craw?

Some vocabulary challenges in this one. I struggled to remember 9ac – a word that’s in the outer reaches of my crossword vocabulary, and definitely not for everyday use. Also, the bread sticks at 11ac definitely hadn’t stuck in my memory! I ended up looking them up.  For the rest, fine. Thanks to the setter. 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 ‘wordplay instructions’ in the explanations.

1 Cutting current, I take a chance, wasting energy (6)
ACIDIC – AC=current + I + DIC(E)=take a chance.
5 Some Americans love a Danish novel (8)
9 Resentment, keeping in mind son’s telling of roguish deeds? (10)
PICARESQUE – PIQUE keeping in CARE=mind + S=son.
10 A grass we’ve heard is crooked (4)
AWRY – A RYE, we hear.
11 Rings one’s cooked: one sticks out of the oven? (8)
GRISSINI – (RINGS IS)* + I. “IS” in the anagram material comes from “ONE’S”. A bit of a stretch, I thought. Perhaps I’m just grumpy that I didn’t know the word.
12 New Hampshire pair at Lord’s visiting this country for free (6)
UNHOOK – N.H.=New Hampshire + O-O=a pair of “ducks” at Lords, or any other cricket ground, visiting U.K.=this country. For any non-cricketers, a multi-day cricket match normally gives each side two innings, so for a batsman to get out without scoring (aka, a duck) in both innings (aka, a pair) is seriously embarrassing.
13 Chap reflecting every second of long hush (4)
HUGO – hidden, backwards, in lOnG hUsH.
15 Merge popular expression with one unknown (8)
INTERMIX – IN=popular + TERM=expression + I + X=unknown.
18 Force to serve port (8)
SHANGHAI – two definitions: grabbing sailors off the street, or a major port in China. The high speed rail from Shaghai airport to the city is amazing. It’s worth taking just to see the speedo at the end of the carriage say 432 km/hr!
19 Around the corner to the left, hotel close to nursing home (4)
NIGH – H + (nursin)G + IN, all to the left.
21 Argument among lawyers? One’s pushed in the street (6)
BARROW – BAR=lawyers + ROW=argument.
23 Plain English, extremely light (8)
25 Likelihood of dangerous drug supply being found by police officer (4)
ODDS – O.D.=dangerous amount of drugs + D.S.=police officer.
26 Chap wearing plain jersey perhaps too much (4-3-3)
OVER-THE-TOP – HE=chap, wearing OVERT + TOP.
27 A lot of old newspapers (8)
OFTTIMES – O + FT (one newspaper) + TIMES (another).
28 Lancashire team’s brief, speedy passage of play (6)
PRESTO – PRESTO(N). Musical intruction. Presumably the team in question is Preston North End F.C.
2 Public broadcaster, one who has viewers streaming? (5)
CRIER – Town Crier, or cutting up onions!
3 Faces unhappy moderates (5,4)
DIALS DOWN – DIALS=faces + DOWN=unhappy.
4 Minister and monarch visiting mostly get along together (6)
CLERIC – ER visiting CLIC(K).
5 Curiosity of Queen’s NI visit is kicked around (15)
6 At West Ham, was required to get match fit (8)
ADEQUATE – ‘AD=was required, in Cockney + EQUATE=match.
7 Penthouse for one visiting oligarch’s outside Irish town (5)
OMAGH – MAG visiting OH.
8 A bishop unsettled by dean ultimately offering less latitude (9)
NARROWING – (dea)N + A + RR + OWING=unsettled.
14 Reform hard, and for EU, without precedent (7-2)
16 Easy to pour warm salt water over English meadow (9)
RUNNYMEDE – RUNNY + MED (Mediterranean)=warm salt water + E.
17 Pole who somehow fell head over heels in sales area (8)
SHOWROOM – S (South)=pole + (WHO)* + ROOM=moor, head over heels. (And moor=fell, as for example Dartmoor.)
20 Exercise books at college held back (4-2)
PENT-UP – PE + NT + UP. All staples for the setter, those.
22 Holiday interrupted by ailment originally is taken another time (5)
RESAT – REST interrupted by A(ilment).
24 Take on song and dance part (5)
ADOPT – ADO=song and dance + PT=part.

31 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28506 – Saturday, 21 January 2023. Sticks in the craw?”

  1. The sticks got me too. I guessed CROSTINI without being able to parse it. I tried many permutations of the letters RINGSONEI without success. Should I complain about unknown foreign words clued as anagrams?
    I liked the rest of the puzzle, especially SHANGHAI ( are you there Horryd?)

      1. Yes, that would be very sad. It would be good if we could get definite word.
        This is a man who (has?) led a colo(u)rful life, which would make for a rip-roaring… article.

        1. Galspray may know as Horryd e-mailed both of us. But in the e-mail Horryd did say a priest had given him the last rites.

          1. That’s terrible news! Often amusing, often controversial but always interesting. I had been wondering whether he’d done one of his periodic absences, but it never occurred to me that he might have died. I don’t even know how old he was – I assumed, from his memories, that he was in his 70s, but maybe he was older than I thought. RIP Horryd – I will miss his colourful contributions.

  2. PICARESQUE is a fairly common term in literary criticism.
    I didn’t know GRISSINI but found it.
    No idea about the team, of course, but got PRESTO anyway.
    My copy is a little messy… but all correct!

  3. DNF
    NHO GRISSINI, could only think of crostini, which wouldn’t work. I suppose I could complain about a foreign word clued as an anagram, but a) I should have seen the anagrist, and b) if I had the blank squares would have been easy to fill. Didn’t see how ADEQUATE worked,

  4. 44m 48s
    I thought this was a good test. There were only two queries outstanding: NARROWING and ADEQUATE.
    NARROWING I now understand but I question ‘was required’ = ”ad’. What am I missing.
    The whole of the NW corner was my LOI but there was much to enjoy. I particularly liked 21ac: BARROW. ‘Argument among lawyers’ reminded me of a clue I set for a treasure hunt-type car rally in the 70s which went through Forest Row in Sussex: ‘An argument in the woods?’.
    Other highlights: PICARESQUE, NIGH, CRIER and OMAGH. I like the way ‘for one’ didn’t mean ‘eg’.
    I also liked the nice surface reading of 17d: SHOWROOM.
    Thanks, Bruce!
    PS….A pangram but for J and Z

    1. “Was required to” = “had to”. Drop the H, since West Ham is in the East End, I assume.

        1. There’s a bit of sleight of hand with that “to”. You need to separate it from “was required” else you’d have “ ’ad to”. So it serves subliminally to give us “ ’ad”, but formally goes with “to get”.

  5. 42 minutes with GRISSINI unsolved. NHO it (this was its first appearance here outside the Mephisto where it has appeared only once) and although I guessed an anagram was involved I was unable to establish what the grist was.

    Elsewhere I didn’t know the cricket reference in UNHOOK, that the MED sea was necessarily warm, or the exact meaning of PICARESQUE although I knew the word existed.

  6. I was relieved to get it finished, having spent longer than usual. FOI INQUISITIVENESS, LOI CLERIC, COD NARROWING. The fact that the cluing was so precise that I was able to complete such a tough puzzle with ALL clues completely parsed (an unusual occurrence) made me suspect the hand of a regular Quick Crossword setter. However I found the definitions were more stretched than in most QCs (eg OFTTIMES is not the first synonym for LOTS to come to mind), and the wordplay appropriately obscure and unhelpful, though infuriatingly precise. But the humour was still there (eg BAR ROW). Enjoyed, Thanksq D and Brnchn

  7. Like others I was a teeny bit cross about GRISSINI which I failed to get. ORNSEGNI was my answer, which required Clergy at 4d.
    My team is Preston North End , so that came quickly; they used to play West Ham . And I was solving this puzzle near West Ham’s ” new” ground. They used to play at Upton Park and the nearest tube was East Ham; and then someone decided the ground was called the Boleyn ground. Perhaps all that was just to confuse away supporters. Now they are in Stratford.
    West Ham seems to be the go-to team in Crosswordland; not many heroes in the current team.
    I liked the rest of the puzzle.

    1. One of my earliest memories of following English football was West Ham playing Preston North End in the F A Cup Final some time in the 1960’s.

  8. I’m another who went for crostini when nothing else presented itself. I got narrowing but with a question mark – I now get owing=unsettled – thanks.

  9. I have no comments written over this week’s puzzle, so I take it I had no problems as such. The only marking on the paper is C-I–, from which I recall I had some trouble getting the wrong public broadcaster out of my head. In the end it was the viewers streaming that made the penny drop. PICARESQUE was one of the first in – I didn’t even have to think about it, given the Q from 5D, and GRISSINI was also a write-in – when my son was small, I used to give him grissini sticks to chew on as he was teething – but I did wonder if it might cause eyebrows to raise!

  10. I got GRISSINI, but only because it was the most likely option once I’d figured out the anagrist. Didn’t know PICARESQUE either, but the wordplay was helpful, and had never heard of the ‘force to serve’ meaning of SHANGHAI. I liked ADEQUATE – that’s twice West Ham has featured in clues this past week to indicate removal of Hs.

    COD Unhook

  11. 9:59. No problems with this, I knew GRISSINI but I needed a few checkers to spot the definition.

  12. 35 minutes and no problems at all, except for the spelling of GRISSINI (GROSSINI? GRISSONI? GRESSONI? … it all depended on finding the right anagrist, and I do know what they are. Quite good as party snacks). Very sorry about the news (hopefully fake news) about Horryd.

  13. Firstly, I’d like to say how much I enjoyed Horryd’s input in the past, and now miss it: I do hope he has not ‘popped his clogs’ – who will find out?
    Re this puzzle : I was determined that BENT was the answer to 10a (fits the definition perfectly), so that made 7 and 8 d impossible, and therefore 12a. PICARESQUE forgotten in this context and NHO the Lancashire team, so…altogether a fail for me, although I really liked HUGO (my grandson’s name), BARROW and RUNNYMEDE (no idea the Med was warm !)

  14. Last, presumably, to comment as a pm Sydney solver. NHO GRISSINI, so I checked on google before entering it, but I could have just asked Mrs Crucihacker, who was surprised that I had not heard of them.

    1. Penultimate actually.
      I got Presto/n early, having spent a week there while my other half attended a conference at UCLan. Hospitable place.

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