Times Cryptic No 28584 – Saturday, 22 April 2023. Talk among yourselves …

A pleasant Saturday number, done in regulation time. I blinked a bit at the “sounds like” clues at 1ac and 19dn, but probably that’s just me. 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 Regret doll being picked up like a plant? (8)
RHUBARBY – sounds like (picked up) RUE BARBIE.
5 Old saint taking armour initially in place of mail? (6)
POSTAL – O + ST +Armour initially, in PL.
8 Revolutionary to follow deity (3)
GOD – DOG=follow, revolutionary.
9 Golfer ultimately is not accepting warning shouts, getting big wood? (10)
RAINFORESTgolfeR ultimately + AINT=is not, accepting ‘FORE’S=warning shouts.
10 A scoundrel — he’s back inside the pub! (8)
ALEHOUSE – A + LOUSE=scoundrel, with EH=HE back, inside.
11 Fire twice, missing small anti-aircraft guns (3-3)
ACK-ACK – ACK=SACK (fire), missing S.
12 Drive out of sporting contest without leader (4)
OUSTjOUST, without leader.
14 Designer’s short drink served with some water, heartlessly (4,6)
COCO CHANEL – COCOa=drink, short + CHAnNEL=water, heartlessly.
17 European to refer to acquiring great new alternative to smoking (1-9)
E-CIGARETTE – E=European + CITE=refer to, acquiring GARET=(GREAT)*.
20 Beam after recalling new story (4)
YARN – YAR=ray, after recalling + N=new.
23 Beginning to be graceful and careless (6)
BLITHE – B=beginning to Be + LITHE=graceful.
24 Underground worker takes in poorly hatmaker (8)
25 Production in which the performers need a hand? (6,4)
PUPPET SHOW – cryptic definition.
26 Do wrong Rossini extract (3)
SIN – hidden.
27 Material used for building artillery piece (6)
MORTAR – two definitions.
28 Look up new rates to tour part of Middle-East briefly? (8)
STARGAZE – STARE=(RATES*), touring GAZa, briefly.
1 Fix mum with part in song and dance (9)
RIGMAROLE – RIG=fix + MA + ROLE=part.
2 International organisation, with coercion, rejecting United strip (7)
UNDRESS – UN=the organisation + DuRESS=coercion, rejecting U=united.
3 Show prisoner the cooler? (3-3)
AIR-CON – AIR=show + CON=prisoner.
4 Bromine mixed with box of salt produces sulphur (9)
BRIMSTONE – (BROMINE ST)*, where ST=‘box’ of SalT. A word usually seen in the expression ‘fire and brimstone’.
5 Unimaginative reasons for spies heading north (7)
PROSAIC – PROS=reasons for + AIC=CIA heading north.
6 Place to drink and talk over a piece of cake? (9)
SPEAKEASY – SPEAK=talk + EASY=piece of cake.
7 Perhaps a piece of writing (7)
ARTICLE – two definitions, the first being the word “A” as a part of speech.
13 Hose on top of weed creates tricky situation (5,4)
15 Get the better of strike? Tell me everything! (3,4,2)
OUT WITH IT – OUTWIT=get the better of + HIT=strike.
16 Left on farm and able to travel a good distance (4-5)
18 Song plays badly in company (7)
19 Instruction to husband in a canoe upon hearing animal? (3,4)
ROE DEER – “row, dear”, she says. Ho, ho.
21 Names getting mixed up by one with a memory problem (7)
22 I radiate a sullen look? (6)
GLOWER – two definitions, and perhaps the whole clue is a third.

19 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28584 – Saturday, 22 April 2023. Talk among yourselves …”

  1. I found this very easy and did it in close to a PB at 15:43. As a former canoe instructor, I have to point out that you “paddle” canoes, not “row” them. Rowing involves oars. So an MER there (where M=major). ALEHOUSE took me a moment to see, my LOI, so disappointed not to break 15 minutes.

  2. 16:59
    of which the last 5 minutes were devoted to STARGAZE; just could not think of GAZA. (‘look up’ isn’t much of a definition.) I had trouble with ROE DEER, attaching ‘hearing’ to ‘animal’ at first.

  3. 6:39 (PB)

    I thought 19dn was excellent, it brought to mind an elderly upper class couple, hopelessly lost in a river perhaps in a jungle somewhere, attempting to escape from some sort of life-threatening situation… crocodiles? Flash floods? Regular people?

  4. STARGAZE was easy, but at my job I’m always seeing reports on the plight of the Palestinians… 
    I don’t remember much else about the experience of working this, but I must have liked OUT WITH IT.
    RHUBARBY was goofy, and COCO CHANEL was in bed with the Nazis (not the clue!).

  5. At 21 minutes I found this one of the easiest Saturday puzzles ever.

    I suppose it’s possible that the husband’s partner might say ‘Row, dear’ if not understanding the difference between rowing and paddling. There’s information online about rowing canoes, including at least one authoritative film on YouTube, but the canoe needs to have been adapted by the installation of rowlocks and a new seating arrangement.

    1. I saw those sites describing rowing canoes also and my first thought was if you’ve made such significant changes to the craft that its means of propulsion is changed maybe it can’t really be called a “canoe” any more!

  6. A puzzle with well-constructed.clues which took about average time, but appeared much easier when completed, which IMO defines it as an excellent puzzle. All parsed except BRIMSTONE and nothing NHO, though many, especially 11a and 14a took ages to come to mind.FOI GOD, LOI ARTICLE, COD OUT WITH IT. Only GOD and SPEAKEASY fell at first reading, then started in SE corner, moving clockwise to NE with things getting easier after I left and returned. FOREST seemed likely early on, but I conflated it with another clue and was looking for three more letters, so this lovely clue took far too long. Thanks, setter and blogger.

  7. A gentle but enjoyable puzzle – sometimes I need a straightforward one to encourage me to persevere with the fiendish. FOI RHUBARBY, which amused me. 19D only in after checkers, with the aforementioned ‘rowing’ holding up the solution. LOI GLOWER, which I only understood after biffing it. The ‘I’ confused me, though of course it works fine. Some really nice clues – probably COD to the designer.

  8. Must have been quick because my paper copy is clean as a whistle, bar a ?! at 19dn. Canoes are paddled, as any fule kno.
    Liked 25ac, the handy puppets…

  9. Maybe canoes are paddled, but if you’re in the jungle in a canoe with your spouse and you hear a dangerous wild animal, the first thing you’ll shout is “Row, you bastard!” Which is Australian for “Row, dear.” Technical distinctions like paddling – what kids do in shallow water – will be the last thing on your mind.

  10. Struggled the most with ALEHOUSE, but got it in the end. The distinction between paddling and rowing completely passed me by – ignorance is bliss…

    FOI Yarn
    LOI Alehouse
    CODs Stargaze/Out with it

  11. 32.10, knocking 35% off my previous PB. Except for the NW this was enormously biffable. Last four were ALEHOUSE, RIGMAROLE, ARTICLE and POSTAL.

  12. I enjoyed these 37 solving minutes, even though the puzzle was not very hard. I did get off to a slow start, though, but picked up speed quickly. Clues I liked were SPEAKEASY, OUT WITH IT and STARGAZE, my LOI. But 19 down, to my mind, does not indicate the homophone correctly (quite apart from the row/paddle dichotomy), since it is the ROE DEER that one is only hearing, but ROW DEAR is what the clue seems to be defining. Fortunately BLITHE wouldn’t let me enter that, so I put in what the setter actually wanted but didn’t manage to say. “Animal hearing instruction to husband …” would have been a technically better wording of the clue (but of course with a less convincing surface reading).

    1. Imagine an interposed colon:
      “Instruction to husband in a canoe upon hearing: animal”
      No problem.

  13. Fastest for me for a while, only pausing over BRIMSTONE (which I’d forgotten as ‘sulphur’) , but which upon getting allowed me my LOI: RHUBARBY – which I thought a tad strange for a first clue. Otherwise enjoyable, apart from a MER at the “row” in 19d – having paddled a C2 along with my ex-fiancée many, many moons ago now on a lovely stretch of the Thames. ( These crosswords often bring distant memories to the fore: an added bonus!). CODs PUPPET SHOW and ACK-ACK (FOI)

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