Times Cryptic No 28560 – Saturday, 25 March 2023. General knowledge not essential.

Several things I didn’t know here, but nothing that made an answer impossible to get. Overall, it felt like a steady solve. 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 Propose all-out battle with head of emergency services? (9)
TABLEWARE – TABLE=propose (a motion at a meeting) + WAR=all-out battle + head of Emergency.
6 Steal from post office by a church (5)
POACH – P.O. + A + CH.
9 Note about old dry mound (5)
MOTTE – ME=a name I call myself (according to The Sound of Musicabout O=old + T.T.=non-alcoholic (dry). Not a word I recognised at all, but it seemed likelier than MOTTI. Apparently, BTW, ME is an Anglicisation of the spelling MI.
10 No ink is on spoilt paper (9)
11 Icily explain bit about unaccountable quality (15)
13 Lively person holds back bags of fine material (8)
GOSSAMER – GOER=lively person, holds MASS=bags, back. 

Perhaps “bags” in the sense of “plenty” or “lots” should produce “masses” (plural), but then maybe setter’s licence applies.

14 Painting fine Scilly isle, but not the capital (6)
FRESCO – F=fine + TRESCO=a Scilly isle, apparently. Another I didn’t know. Luckily the answer was obvious from the helpers.
16 Excused former partner, mostly insincere (6)
EXEMPT – EX = former partner + EMPTy = insincere.
18 Site for battle is too fenny, unfortunately (8)
FONTENOY – (TOO FENNY)*. Yet another I didn’t know, but again the helpers made it clear where to put the letters. A battle in 1745, in Belgium.
21 In spite of how most modern stadiums are built? (15)
NOTWITHSTANDING – presumably modern stadiums have seating for all (NOT WITH STANDING room) for safety reasons. How common it is, I don’t know.
23 Loving a party with food — but no seconds (9)
ADORATION – A + DO=party + RATIONs = food, with no s=seconds.
25 Spirit produced by rubber? (5)
GENIE – a cryptic definition. Rub the bottle, the genie appears.
26 Girl in pool (5)
KITTY – double definition.
27 Fruit the man carried in blue van (9)
SPEARHEAD – PEAR=fruit + HE=man, carried in SAD=blue. “Van” here is short for “vanguard”.
1 Turning up intellectual property chanced on in aspects of music (5)
TEMPI – I.P.=intellectual property + MET=chanced on, all turning up.
2 Beer’s watery, involving English having mixed feelings (11)
BITTERSWEET – BITTER’S=beer’s + WET=watery, involving E=English.
3 Finally The Times applied ample illustrations (7)
EXEMPLAthE, finally + X=times (multiplication) + (AMPLE)*. Plural of exemplum, as Latin students would recognise. Nice work setter, not clueing EX as former partner, for a change.
4 What might eject spirits? Answer to Scrooge (8)
ATOMISER – A=answer + TO + MISER=Scrooge.
5 What is it about jail that’s bad for a man? (6)
ELIJAH – EH?=what is it?, about (JAIL)*
6 Support for dress putting pressure on girl, right? (7)
PANNIER – P=pressure + ANNIE=girl + R=right. I knew this as saddlebags for a bike or horse, but it can also be something to make a woman’s dress stand out.
7 A duck regularly considered to be a seabird (3)
AUK – A + dUcK.
8 Fine muscular fish (5-4)
HUNKY-DORY – HUNKY=muscular + DORY=fish. Everything’s hunky-dory!
12 Lack of feeling in judge’s pronouncement about one (11)
13 Politician gets support and money abroad (9)
GREENBACK – GREEN=politician + BACK=support.
15 Go on working metal in cruset, regularly (8)
CONTINUE – ON=working + TIN=metal, in CrUsEtregularly.
17 Type of school principal (7)
PRIMARY double definition.
19 Brown mature river bird (7)
TANAGER – TAN=brown + AGE=to mature + R=river.
20 The reduced rent’s a problem for gardeners (6)
THRIPS – THe reduced + RIP’S=rent’s.
22 Envious, mostly a key sin (5)
GREED – GREEn mostly + D=a musical key.
24 Make a choice over exercise (3)
OPT – O=over + P.T.=exercise.

14 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28560 – Saturday, 25 March 2023. General knowledge not essential.”

  1. 17:23
    The same DNKs: MOTTE, FONTENOY, PANNIER. There are 140 Scilly Islands; I don’t suppose they all have names, but I don’t know any of them. Not that it mattered.

  2. 47 minutes. My unknowns (or forgottens) were FONTENOY and THRIPS.

    Motte-and-bailey was a type of castle built by the Normans, some of which survive, so I knew MOTTE from that and remembered that a mound was involved.

    I think I knew PANNIER as some sort of frame worn underneath voluminous dresses although I know the word better as the basket attached to bicycles for carrying shopping, books etc that was popular at one time and is commonly seen in period detective dramas set in English Villages, such as Miss Marple.

    Nice to see my Monday co-blogger getting a name-check at 26ac.

    I wonder if I was alone in nearly biffing ‘Exorcist’ at 4dn?

  3. MOTTE means the same thing in French, where PANNIER in the same sense (and also Jack’s, of “basket”—it all originates in the word for “bread”) has but one N, but FONTENOY was worked out from scratch. I didn’t give a second thought to the Scilly island, just bunged FRESCO right in.

  4. MOTTE:Fans, like me, of Ordnance Survey maps will be familiar with the phrase motte & bailey.

  5. I don’t remember much about this except that it was 8d and I finished it . TABLEWARE was FOI. Liked NOTWITHSTANDING which I took as a clever DD, recalling visiting top Football grounds as a boy when everyone stood except the wealthy few, then going much less often as stadiums became all-seating at a significantly higher ptice. So the setter is spot on with both definitions, as indeed also with KITTY. Like other commenters on this side of the pond, 9a came quickly, as there are many motte-and-baileys here. However, I pauesed, having always thought that the bailey was the mound and the MOTTE the moat which presumably once surrounded it. A diversion to Wikipedia soon corrected my GK. Thanks setter and brnchn.

  6. This was quite straightforward, but none the worse for it, with some interesting vocabulary and definitions. I was helped by quick solutions to the 15-letter words. FONTENOY was dredged up from somewhere, though without the anagram, I’d have been lost. PANNIER was unknown in this sense, but as a woven framework for a dress seemed inevitable given the basket connection. I think when I get to my LOI my brain freezes in apprehension that it will be unsolvable – it’s the only reason I can think of why the very obvious PRIMARY didn’t come immediately to mind! Liked the devious TABLEWARE and SPEARHEAD. COD to HUNKY-DORY.

  7. Only FONTENOY was new to me. Tresco is beautiful and has wonderful gardens and a delighful museum of carved figureheads from shipwrecks. COD to NOTWITHSTANDING

  8. Liked this one, especially inexplicability and notwithstanding.. standing spaces were removed from all premier league grounds in the 1990s for reasons of crowd safety, I believe, after the Hillsborough disaster. I thought I had read somewhere that one or two clubs were reinstating them; but Wikipedia says all-seater is still compulsory, for the Premier League at least..

  9. 10:54. I’m surprised at how many people haven’t come across MOTTE in the motte-and-bailey context. Motte-and-bailey is also used to describe a form of argument in which someone advances a controversial proposition but when challenged retreats to a similar but more easily defensible one without acknowledging the shift.

    1. Green is envious as in “green with envy” and the “mostly” just tells you to use only 4 of the 5 letters.

  10. Sinking feeling when 1a is so obscure (to me) – never got it or would’ve! But took a bit more heart when a couple fell easily (POACH, AUK, ONIONSKIN, HUNKY DORY), and the two long ones were not too hard to fathom. Guessed (Bifd) a few: TEMPI, EXEMPLA and FONTENOY (NHO). So finished the East side of the puzzle , with the other half remaining mostly blank for too long. Came here for elucidation – for me a mix of the ungettable and the obvious ( which of course is what these crosswords are all about!)

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