Times Cryptic No 28518 – Saturday, 4 February 2023. End of Terms?

A nice puzzle for a Saturday, although I’m sorry I can’t find the previous discussions of the tricky “terms” in 9ac. 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 Fall chasing runners in exploratory part of course (5,4)
FIELD TRIP – FIELD = runners (in a race) + TRIP = fall.
6 Narrow beam in mine entrance (5)
SHAFT – two definitions.
9 Large expressions of doubts about terms of previous one-off payment (4,3)
LUMP SUM – L=large + UM + UM, about PS from P(reviou)S. I think we had a similar device previously, much discussed, where ‘terms’ or ‘terminals’ meant the letters at both front and back. Sorry, I don’t remember where!
10 Available support for remote inland area (7)
OUTBACK – OUT=available (published) + BACK=support.
11 Foreign currency Spanish gents used (not ores) (3)
SEN – SEN(ores). One hundredth of a Japanese yen.
12 Court problem — ball out, feud developing (6,5)
14 Iron lady’s soft hat (6)
FEDORA – FE=chemical symbol for iron + DORA=the lady of the moment.
15 Historic food platter for one digging in (8)
TRENCHER – double definition. I knew a TRENCHERMAN was a good eater, so it wasn’t hard to guess he ate off a TRENCHER.
17 Refinement expected of men at smart weddings? (8)
NICETIES – at the wedding, you should wear NICE TIES, gentlemen!
19 Huge flower one revered beside the Nile (6)
OSIRIS – OS=huge + IRIS=flower. The greatest of Egyptian gods.
22 Sexier rogue grabbing time to make up (11)
EXTEMPORISE – (SEXIER)* grabbing TEMPO=time.
23 Cat bell (3)
TOM – two definitions. I didn’t know a tom could be a bell.
25 Success in returning what’s owed for furniture (4,3)
TWIN BED – WIN in DEBT returning.
27 Floating duck acquired by shop for social worker (7)
BUOYANT – O=duck acquired by BUY=shop + ANT.
28 Authentic English pulp (5)
29 Polished, cut by editor then specified another way (9)
1 Flattens northern hills (5)
FELLS – two definitions.
2 This person’s wearing red, exotically fur-trimmed (7)
ERMINED -MINE=this person’s, wearing ERD=(RED)*.
3 One’s wanted to stay, heading right down in fact (11)
DESIDERATUM – RESIDE=stay, with the first letter moved right to the end, in DATUM=fact.
4 My family’s queer-headed, it’s whispered (6)
RUMOUR – OUR=my family’s, headed by RUM=queer.
5 Sneakers put pressure on boat crew crossing line (8)
PROWLERS – P=pressure + ROWERS crossing L=line.
6 Regularly shifty, lie (3)
SIT – hidden: S h I f T y. In some contexts, SIT and LIE are clearly different things, but you could say ‘let it sit/lie’, meaning ‘leave it alone’.
7 Revolving doors operate thus if all else fails (2,1,4)
AT A PUSH – a whimsical hint.
8 Switch round, and profit by performances (4,5)
TAKE TURNS – TAKE=profit + TURNS=performances.
13 Accomplished cricket side well and truly defeated (8,3)
FINISHED OFF – FINISHED=accomplished (a task) + OFF=cricket side.
14 Grief, pint being spilt in joint (9)
FINGERTIP – (GRIEF PINT)*. Would it be picky to suggest the fingertip isn’t actually a joint?
16 Flash old king’s formal supporter (8)
SECONDER – SECOND=flash. E.R.=Edward Rex; there’ve been seven of them. The setter has kept up with the changes.
18 Make allowances, keeping it up with increasing rancour (7)
CATTIER – CATER=make allowances, keeping TI=it, up.
20 Transport engineers first to prepare for new job? (7)
RETRAIN – TRAIN=transport, with RE=engineeers first.
21 Spooner’s to chuck out dismal sailor (6)
SINBAD – BIN SAD. You know how it goes from there.
24 Mum and daughter subdued (5)
MUTED – MUTE=mum + D=daughter.
26 Extra Times edition’s leader (3)
BYE – BY=times + E(dition).

27 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28518 – Saturday, 4 February 2023. End of Terms?”

  1. 16m

    Transcript of a conversation between my two brain cells:
    — Seconder or secondor?
    — God I don’t know, life’s too short to worry about that sort of nonsense. A good setter knows this and will have clued it clearly
    — uh…actually…
    — only an absolute plonker would have made it deliberately unclear
    — …
    — what?

  2. The fingertip is , of course, not a joint, though it is near one. An anagram for distal interphalangeal joint might have been more difficult for the setter.
    And now I have learnt that a tom is a bell. With the T_M checkers it had to be, but it went in with fingers crossed.

  3. 33:46
    I don’t know why this took me so long; probably just general slowth. I assumed that a TOM was some kind of bell, but do we know this? I don’t find it in ODE or Collins, or in a (perfunctory) Google search; does Chambers have it? OSIRIS is the god of the underworld, but I thought Amen-Ra was the supremo. I liked EXTEMPORISE & ERMINED.

      1. It’s in SOED too. IIRC there’s an Old Tom that strikes the hour in a clock at one of the Oxford colleges and also at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

        How does ‘used’ fit into the parsing at 11ac? It seems out of place to me. ‘Foreign currency used by Spanish gents (not ores)’ might have been better.

        Your point about 14dn is not being picky. Defining FINGERTIP as a joint is simply wrong.

        I needed 56 minutes for this. Not at all easy.

          1. Hm, I suppose that lets the setter off as a definition of ‘fingertip’ but there’s no mention of ‘fingertip’ if you look up ‘joint’ – the way the clue is supposed to work. The only definition I could find under ‘joint’ that seems to cover it is in Collins on-line under American English, i.e. imported from Webster’s: ‘one of the parts or sections of a jointed whole’.

            1. “Joint” being the clue and FINGERTIP the answer, you wouldn’t expect to find the example given with the definition, no more than ESTATE would be mentioned in the definition for “car.”

              1. I prefer not to have expectations, I just take the clue and try to solve it. It’s why I won’t have anything to do with all these “Unwritten rules” others keep on about.

                1. I was just telling Jack he was wrong about “how the clue is supposed to work,” and am pretty sure you would agree with the point I made re definitions by example versus examples as answers.

                    1. Well, DBE is not really relevant here, which is what I was telling Jack. Such definitions are fine, of course, and though it is common practice to indicate such, I know setters who occasionally get away with forgoing this custom.

                      If a rule is really not written anywhere, it’s likely that I will not remember it anyway.

  4. 50m 50s but with NECKTIES iso NICETIES.
    I did get DESIDERATUM right but I had to come here for explanation.
    My take on 23ac TOM is that Great TOM is a bell in the Tom Tower in Oxford at Christ Church College, but Jack has just told you that.
    Thanks, Bruce.

    1. I didn’t know which college, so thanks for confirming that.

      I think it it has to be more general than one or two examples, and I assume it must be to have found its way into the dictionaries. We surely wouldn’t expect to see BEN clued as ‘Bell on Scottish mountain’ on the strength of the half the name of the bell in the Elizabeth Tower in London.

  5. Struggled through this successfully but TOM went in with a shrug and LUMP SUM with relief that it had to be the answer but I didn’t know why. Thanks for clearing that up.

  6. Little bit of shrugging here too, with both tom and fingertip needing them.
    But I am certain we have had tom = big bell before, not so long ago. And as mentioned above, our setter has dictionary support for fingertip = joint.
    Re 16dn, I would have said there were 8 male ERs, not 7. Though I confess I don’t know much about the legal status of no 8. But he is on some coins…

    On edit: here we are, in a jumbo from last July.. which I blogged, which is probably why I remembered it:

  7. On Hurley’s QC during the week., I noted that I had never before managed to be certain enough of all the answers not to have to wait for crossers. This puzzle was the opposite; I suspected a toad under every stone. Part of the reason was that FINGERTIP was. my FOI, neither an obscurity nor a stretch but, as noted above, just plain wrong, however Collins is intended to be interpreted. If a setter can do that, i thought, s/he can do anything, and I am surprised it got past the editor. Having just returned home from Tenerife, i tried at 11a to fit in ASEOS (which indicated the facilities at the airport), but eventually guessed the right answer. There were some good clues, eg my COD OSIRIS, LOI SECONDER. I struggled to the finish, but with CRUNCHER and NECKTIES at 17 and 19, and admit a fair defeat in the latter by a clever clue. Thanks, Brnchn for a much needed blog, and Setter, for part of the puzzle.

  8. 19:36. Tricky one. I had forgotten ‘tom’ for bell, and not clueing this as ‘bell the cat’ strikes me as a missed opportunity.
    Like everyone else I was surprised by ‘joint’ for FINGERTIP but if it’s in Collins I guess we just have to accept it. Lexicographers do make mistakes but we generally accept these dictionaries as arbiters.

  9. 31 minutes for me. No issue with TOM since I remembered it from some Lord Peter Wimsy story. I didn’t even notice that a FINGERTIP is not a joint, I just put it in.

  10. I stupidly had FIELD DROP at 1ac, thinking it was probably something I didn’t know. Otherwise can’t remember much except that I thought the FINGERTIP was a bit odd.

  11. I’m usually too pleased to get the answer to a clue to worry too much about what the dictionaries might say about it. And since FINGERTIP was clearly the answer, I just got on with the rest of the puzzle with a shrug, assuming either a mistake or a stretch of a definition. TOM rang a bell. No unknowns, apart from SEN, generously clued. This was quite a gentle puzzle compared with this week’s (which I’m still chewing over), and an enjoyable solve also.

  12. Similar experience to alto_ego with TOM and SEN, and likewise I don’t remember worrying too much about FINGERTIP. Straightforward enough, this one.

    FOI Fedora
    LOI Seconder
    COD Buoyant

  13. 50 minutes, a few nice clues, a few requiring some care and attention (I also started with NECKTIES for 17ac, but fortunately corrected it to NICETIES just in the nick of time, and FIELD TRIP for 1 ac also wasn’t entirely steady, though I couldn’t really think of any plausible alternatives). There were other clues that also looked as if they might turn out to have been something else I just couldn’t come up with: CATTIER, for example, and AT A PUSH.

  14. 510 minutes elapsed, probably two hours looking at it. I normally just do the QCs but I did this week’s prize cryptic yesterday and had a bash at this one today. I found it very hard so I’m just pleased to have completed it.

Comments are closed.