Times Cryptic No 28554 – Saturday, 18 March 2023. Anagrammatic anomalies?

I was puzzled by a few of the anagram indicators here. I eventually realised what was happening in 10ac, but I made a note of 6dn, to check whether that one is on anyone’s list of anagram words!

A good amount of head-scratching here, but all done, even if a bit slowly. 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 Fans of Reading FC maybe with caution in the first place (4,4)
BOOK CLUB – BOOK=caution (yellow card at football, say) + FC=club, maybe. There is a Reading FC, of course, but it’s not relevant to the cryptic except as distraction.
6 Fuzz stopping covert operative? That’s smart (6)
SNAPPY – NAP=fuzz (on a fabric, say) stopping SPY=covert operative.
9 Male keeping a learner in detention here? (6)
STALAG – STAG keeping A + L.
10 Providing oxygen, say, also supply nitrogen at first (2,4,2)
AS LONG AS – (ALSO)* + N=nitrogen + GAS=oxygen, say. It was hard to untangle the order of the word-play components, but the clue is precise. As always, I was slow to recognise supply as an anagram indicator: it’s an adverb relating to suppleness!
11 Wine’s two appealing qualities when knocked back (4)
ASTI – IT + SA, both (possibly dated) descriptions of sex appeal, all written backwards.
12 Rook was forced to capture knight, giving control (4,2,4)
TAKE IN HAND – TAKE IN=rook (by a confidence trick, perhaps) + HAD=was forced (to), to capture N=chess notation for knight.
14 Cook bean, admitting it’s disgusting for a snack (8)
DOUGHNUT – DO=cook, as in is it done? + NUT=bean (both slang for head), admitting UGH=it’s disgusting.
16 Current teacher’s retiring, one controlling a pupil? (4)
IRIS – I=symbol for electrical current + RIS=sir (teacher), retiring.
18 Supplier of good fare from India, guided westwards (4)
DELI – I=India, in the NATO alphabet + LED=guided, all westward.
19 Switch positions from time to time (2,3,3)
ON AND OFF – cryptic hint.
21 Nonchalance from barbers oddly accepting on-line issues (10)
BREEZINESS – B-a-R-b-E-r-S oddly gives BRES, accepting E-ZINES=online issues.
22 Having been hurt, back in love (4)
EROS – SORE=hurt, back.
24 View Greek and Hindu deities with nothing between them (8)
PANORAMA – PAN=Greek god + O=nothing + RAMA=Hindu god.
26 Visiting Asian capital, we hear one may be in Oxford (6)
INSOLE – IN SEOUL, we hear. Oxfords are shoes in this context.
27 I’m off, needing a couple of runs (3-3)
BYE-BYE – a cryptic cricketing hint.
28 With soldiers invading, being in a complete state (8)
2 Conspirator grasses when picked up (5)
OATESTitus Oates. Sounds like OATS.
3 How waiter’s keeping busy in Crime and Punishment (7,4)
KILLING TIME – is what you do while you’re waiting.

KILLING is generally a crime. TIME is what the court could sentence you to as punishment.

Nothing to do with Dostoevsky’s novel, despite the deceptive capitalisation.

4 With the other hand, making good bulbs etc. (8)
LIGHTING – RIGHTING=making good. Change the first letter from right handed (R) to left handed (L). Nice clue!
5 Advertising strategy devoid of ideas and such like, and too old (7,8)
BLANKET COVERAGE – BLANK=devoid of ideas + ETC=and such like + OVERAGE=too old.
6 In case of self-defence, file away photo (6)
SELFIE – (FILE)* in SE = ‘case’ of Self-defencE.

I struggle to think of a sense of “away” that indicates an anagram, although JACKKT tells me it’s in the Chambers list of anagram indicators.

I’ve read through the definitions of the word in Chambers, Collins, and OED, and I just can’t see it. As JACKKT points out, it could mean “off” or “out”, but neither in a sense that conveys an anagram idea to me.

Thoughts welcome. PS: how about “away with the fairies”? That certainly conveys disorder.

7 Toady shaving head and beard (3)
AWN – fAWN=toady.
8 One starting a suit with no design, turning up fine suit (9)
PLAINTIFF – PLAIN=with no design + FIT=suit, turning up + F=fine.
13 Person tidying Barnet Hospital, bearing furniture item (11)
HAIRDRESSER – H=hospital + AIR=bearing + DRESSER. Barnet (Fair) is CRS for hair.
15 A doner mostly very bad? It’s just in need of cooking (4-5)
17 Shady criminal with uncertainty over time period in work (3,5)
DAY SHIFT – (SHADY)* + IF=uncertainty (that’s a big if) + T=time.
20 Countenance gossip about getting stuck into struggle (6)
VISAGE – SAG=gas (gossip), about … stuck into VIE=struggle.
23 Liberal punching old Tory moderate in hooter (5)
OWLET -L=liberal, punching O + WET=Tory moderate.
25 Portion of sorbet or an antiquated mince pie? (3)
ORB – hidden answer. “Orb” is more a poetic than an antiquated word for “eye”, I’d have thought. Or is it “mince pie” as CRS for “eye” that’s antiquated!?

15 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28554 – Saturday, 18 March 2023. Anagrammatic anomalies?”

  1. 12:29
    Now that Bruce points it out, I don’t see how ‘away’ works as an anagrind. But then I’ve become accustomed to the diversity of anagrinds; I certainly wasn’t bothered by it at the time. Biffed AS LONG AS, parsed post-submission. COD LIGHTING.

  2. It seems I worked this in a semi-somnolent state, as I didn’t notice the oddity of “away” as an anagrind (I don’t think I’ve ever seen it, on reflection!), and meekly accepted ORB as a “mince pie” without remembering the CRS (those Brits, crazy names for everything…). Well, I did put a question mark there. My LOI is not marked, but might’ve been that…

  3. 28 minutes for this relatively easy solve. I didn’t pay any attention to ‘away’ as anagram indicator until we spoke behind the scenes. As mentioned, it’s listed as such in the Chambers Dictionary (12th edition) supplement and it’s also in their Crossword Dictionary, although they are probably both based on the same source material. I’m sure I’ve seen less likely anagrinds that I can’t recall at this moment.

    1. I took AWAY as anagrind in the sense that somebody crazy may be “put away”. Setters seem to be getting more inventive in their selection. I did not know that Chambers or anyone had compiled an official (?) list.

      1. I don’t think it’s official in the sense that it’s intended to be exhaustive, but just a helpful list for guidance presumably based on words that have been used as anagram indicators in the past.

  4. 15.22

    Thought some of the clues were excellent (KILLING TIME, TAKE IN HAND and OVEN READY) and others almost so (BOOK CLUB – love the idea but not sure the surface quite works).

    On the gentler side but no harm in that

    Thanks Bruce and setter

  5. Writing this Saturday night before I forget. So much to like about this puzzle and only AWN NHO, but guessed. FOI ASTI, LOI ENTIRETY, COD DOUGHNUT until I saw DAY SHIFT, but almost all would qualify in most puzzles. Partly parsed OVEN-READY, so a DNF if it’s wrong! Saw the deception with READING FC quickly, but didn’t cash in as I first biffed BOOKWORM. At about 50 minutes, a little quicker than average for me. Thanks and come again, Setter and Bruce

  6. Not too difficult overall and good fun.
    My problem was with LOI 28a where I had biffed ELDORADO as an improvement over COLORADO. OR for soldiers was the problem.
    As a result the SE held me up unduly. POI OWLET put me right.

  7. Don’t remember having any real problems with this one – AWN was the only word I wasn’t completely sure of.

    I’m not one to worry too much about anagram indicators, so I didn’t think too much about SELFIE.

    FOI Book club
    LOI Eros
    COD Killing time

  8. I found this enjoyable, but very easy for a Saturday puzzle (under 25 minutes). My LOI was OWLET and I never did understand ORB (though I do now), but I do know what Barnet is doing in 13dn. The clues I liked best were ASTI and KILLING TIME.

  9. Bruce, I would have said that 19A is actually a double definition – ON AND OFF are both switch positions, so that qualifies as an answer in its own right.
    I found this offering very much to my liking. No unknowns, though a barely remembered AWN didn’t hold me up long. 12A was cleverly deceptive, as I hunted in vain for a chess connection, and both that and my LOI, PLAINTIFF, were parsed after solving. FOI ASTI (groan)… Difficult to select a COD from the many contenders, but ultimately I’ll go for TAKE IN HAND which had me foxed for so long. Thank to setter and Bruce.

  10. This type of puzzle (with many cleverly misleading definitions) much to my liking, and I trundled happily through until reaching 28a, where I misguidedly entered AR for soldiers (?) and couldn’t get a word meaning ‘being’ to fit around them and mean “a complete state”. Oh dear. So OWLET consequently held up, even though I’d twigged ‘wet’. Nearly there…

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