Times Cryptic No 28530 – Saturday, 18 February 2023. People and places, real or imaginary.

I got through this relatively quickly, until I found myself staring at 9dn wondering what could possibly fit there. Eventually, the crossers suggested the relevant comic book hero, and presto! 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 A place in US city where everyone flew? (6)
LAPUTA – A + PUT=place, in L.A.   A flying island, from Gulliver’s Travels. I’d probably heard of it, but if so I’d completely forgotten. The wordplay and crossers were enough.
4 Taxi left event returning in transport system (5,3)
CABLE CAR – CAB + L + ECAR=race returning.
10 I omit Crab Co. supply, using only organic wholefoods (11)
11 Little creature nearly run over (3)
ELF – FLEe = run (nearly). Turn that backwards (“over“).
12 Old Scot going round looking embarrassed for project (7)
PREDICT – PICT going round RED.
14 Be sure voter gets this reversing excessive employment (7)
OVERUSE – backwards hidden answer (gets thisreversing).
15 Take risks with seafood item quite likely to go off? (5,2,4,3)
SKATE ON THIN ICE – a cryptic hint, based on food not being kept cold..
17 I assault author spinning something about Adelaide (5,9)
SOUTH AUSTRALIA – (I ASSAULT AUTHOR)*. A gloriously understated definition. Actually, I’m sure my South Australian friends would tell you that’s what around Adelaide is magnificent wineries!
21 Clubs greatly dislike a uniform building (7)
22 Set small dwelling by lake (7)
COTERIE – COT=dwelling + ERIE=lake.
23 Style of music regularly encountered in Croatia (3)
RAI – c R o A t I a. NHO it. Folk music originating in Oran, Algeria and popular in France, apparently.
24 Showing signs of distress with a straitened bent (11)
26 Danish manufacturer accepts editor with English guide book (8)
BAEDEKER – BAKER accepts ED + E. They manufacture Danish pastries, of course.
27 What one needs here — news broadcast in Arabic (6)
ANSWER – (NEWS)* in AR. What we need right here at 28 across, actually!
1 Streetlight failed without current and power (8)
LAMPPOST – LOST=failed, without (i.e. outside) AMP + P.
2 What could illustrate The Iliad, say, from page one onwards (3)
PIC – The Iliad was an ePIC. The clue cunningly says to read that word, starting from the (first) P (as Keriothe points out, actually the answer starts at “P1” in EPIC.)
3 Issue with anything set up to deceive (3-4)
TWO-TIME – EMIT=issue + OWT=anything, all backwards (set up).
5 A small award thus is apt ultimately for scientist (14)
6 Stand made by Hannibal perhaps descending on Nola initially (7)
LECTERN – (Hannibal) LECTER (from The Silence of the Lambs) + Nola initially. The first Hannibal I thought of was the Carthaginian general. Not relevant!
7 Pancake mostly with beef left unstarted in the early evening (11)
CREPUSCULAR – CREPe + mUSCULAR. No idea what this word meant! It’s twilight.
8 Support is right behind (6)
9 Comic book hero to catch second of outlaws behind ring (14)
TINTINNABULATE – TINTIN + NAB + U from o U tlaw + LATE=behind. Tintin is the titular protagonist of The Adventures of Tintin, the comic series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. What an amazing word! I stared at the helpers for ages without thinking of any possible answers.
13 Live to be a RA working and introducing complicated designs (11)
ELABORATIVE – (LIVE TO BA A RA)*. In the sense of an overview followed by elaborative detail, perhaps.
16 Vehicle involves a loan which runs over a year (8)
18 The engineers around at operations centre (7)
THEATRE -THE + R.E. around AT. Surgical operations, of course.
19 Learn a new job skill, getting put up in control (7)
RETRAIN – TRA=art, put up, in REIN-control.
20 Rock outcrop with a British beetle (6)
SCARAB – SCAR + A + British.
25 This instant wicket comes after not out (3)
NOW – N.O.=not out + W=wicket.

19 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28530 – Saturday, 18 February 2023. People and places, real or imaginary.”

  1. To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
      From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
       Bells, bells, bells—
     From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

            (Edgar Allen Poe, 1849)

    I don’t remember what my LOI was, but this came rather late!

  2. 22m 06s I found this very easy. Apart from the NW corner it was, for me, almost a write in, although I was unfamiliar with both RAI and LAPUTA. The latter sounds to me as if it should be the cry in a card game when you have scooped the pool. In fact, thinking about it, the word kinda resembles ‘Scopa’, the Italian card game which serves a similar purpose.
    COD: BAEDEKER. I did like “Danish manufacturer”!
    Bruce, thinking of rings and tintinnabulation, there was an item on TVNZ1 News last evening about a shortage of bell ringers in the UK for the forthcoming coronation of CR.

      1. Ah, thanks, Kevin. That, in turn, reminds me that in Italian ‘puttana’ means whore, and that’s where ‘spaghetti alla puttanesca comes from.

          1. If this were the readers’ comments section underneath any article in The Times, I feel certain we would not be able to use words such as ‘whore’ and prostitute. The AI bot that seems to control these things has even started red flagging emojis on their own for being ‘too loud’.
            Re ‘putain’, when I lived in France I sometimes used to drive through the pleasant little Norman town of Putanges Pont Écrepin. I’m sure Putanges has a totally different meaning…

  3. 36 minutes, but even though I noticed P1 in PIC I had no idea what The Iliad had to do with it. I also didn’t fully understand the cryptic element at 15ac. LAPUTA and RAI were unknown or forgotten but I had no problem solving them.

  4. 19:44
    I would have got LAPUTA a lot quicker if I hadn’t tried for so long to get PL into the answer. I knew TINTINNABULATion from the 7th grade, when I had to recite ‘The Bells’ in English class. ODE puts the origin of the word in the mid-19th century; I wouldn’t put it past Poe to have coined it. NHO RAI. COD to TWO-TIME.

  5. An opportunity not to be missed
    For hailing ASTROPHYSICIST
    With CREPUSCULAR too
    It’s a term that I knew
    And resides on my “spacey-words” list

  6. LOI LAPUTA, which looked so unlikely to me, I continued to look for something better for a while; NHO this place.
    Prior to that I thought of Tin Tin and the rest followed.
    Also NHO RAI.
    But an enjoyable solve overall.

  7. NaN:NaN was my final time! I did most of it in about 35 minutes but I had given up on 9dn until brnchn’s introduction provided enough of a hint. After a poor run of QC’s I’m delighted to have finished it.

  8. Pretty straightforward. A small point but I think in 2dn ‘page one’ is indicating PI. It could only be indicating the first P if there were another one.
    No unknowns. I don’t know how I knew TINTINNABULATE because I’m not familiar with the Poe-em.

  9. Had to trust the wordplay for LAPUTA and couldn’t have told you what CREPUSCULAR means. Needed a second attempt to work out TINTINNABULATE, even with all the checkers, and biffed PIC. Not too tricky otherwise.

    COD Lamppost

  10. I had no problems with this and found it pretty straightforward for a Saturday. My LOI was TINTINNABULATE for which I needed all the checkers. No unknown vocab – which was a relief. 22 minutes.

  11. The clock says 43 minutes, but actually it was much easier than that, except for LAPUTA and PIC, for which I spent perhaps 10 minutes trying to think of something better, fortunately without success. LAPUTA does have sensible wordplay, but you can’t be serious about PIC. (Well, I’m sure you are serious about it and I’m sure that’s what the setter intended, but it is a bit far-fetched.) When I saw “Danish manufacturer” I immediately thought of BAKER and was pleased to see that I was right when the rest of the clue fell into place.

  12. Nice crossword.
    If you share your house with four cats, you know all about what crepuscular means 😉
    Dusk is usually Ok, but dawn can be a bit of an issue..

  13. Found most of this straight forward, as others, but got held up with the comic-book hero, and never thought of the clever “Danish manufacturer”. Oh and TEARSTAINED escaped me, as I was trying to shoe-horn TRANSsomething in there. As I do these crosswords as they are issued, I don’t have the advantage of a space of time where the subconscious mind will quite often ‘throw up’ an answer, even unbidden, to northern hemisphere solvers. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it! 😵‍💫

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