Times Cryptic No 28620 – Saturday, 3 June 2023. Big sky country?

I’ve heard Montana called Big Sky Country. I suspect the same could apply to Arizona, but I’m not aware of any major observatories there, despite the reference in 12 across.

Overall this Saturday puzzle was medium difficult, I thought. Certainly harder than the week before. 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 Copies sent around, including one in colour (5)
SEPIA – SEPA=APES (copies) sent around. It includes I=one.
4 Via text: See you after party — quick drink and a show of some sort? (9)
DOCUDRAMA – DO=party + C U=see you, via text + DRAM=quick drink + A.
9 Flour in my pants, regularly (9)
10 Champion’s golf equipment initially hidden in grass (5)
GREAT – G=golf + Equipment, originally, hidden in RAT=grass.
11 Spoil married couple on island (6)
IMPAIR – I=island + M=married + PAIR.
12 Use observatory in Arizona — small object briefly comes around (8)
STARGAZE – S=small + TARGET, briefly, comes around AZ=Arizona’s postal abbreviation.
14 Stripped naked in canvas shelter, finding arousal (9)
AWAKENINGNAKED , ‘stripped‘, in AWNING=canvas shelter.
16 Worst is over — Duke’s protected in former royal house (5)
TUDOR – TUOR=ROUT (worst, as a verb) over. It protects D=duke.
17 Player works endlessly (5)
ACTORFACTORY=works, endlessly.
19 Tread path going around unsafe building, perhaps (9)
21 Turning point in hearing — such as this? (8)
TRIBUNAL – BUN=NUB (point), turning, in  TRIAL=hearing.
22 Receding part of cliff is sampled for geological formation (6)
MASSIF – backwards (receding) hidden (part) in clifF IS SAMpled.
25 Come to fair (5)
EQUAL – two meanings. The total equals/comes to £50.
26 Flyer admits family to chopper that arrives early (4,5)
MILK TOOTH – MOTH=flyer admits ILK=family + TO.
27 Accountant finally gets raise, holding certain financial position (9)
TREASURERaccountanfinally+ REAR=raise, holding SURE=certain.
28 Group of musicians taking back half of joint (5)
NONETtaken backwards it becomes TENON=half of a woodworking joint. The other half of the joint is the MORTISE.
1 Place prints automated slips (6,9)
2 Carefully arrange pawns, maintaining edge (5)
PRIMP – P + P = pawns (chess), maintaining RIM=edge.
3 Poisonous plant — one chokes on it (7)
ACONITE – ACE=one chokes  ON IT.
4 Foolish millions taken in by label (4)
DUMB – M=millions taken in by DUB=label.
5 After outburst, got lifted into pushchair — that needs deciphering (10)
CRYPTOGRAM – CRY=outburst + TOG=got, lifted, into PRAM=pushchair.
6 Follow trainer’s lead and go off for gentle jog (7)
DOGTROT – DOG=follow + T=Trainer’s lead + ROT=go off.
7 One of the greats from ten included in a list — wine from the south (9)
ALEXANDER – X=ten included in  A LEAN=list + DER=red (wine), from the south.
8 Mashed potato father had in an instant (2,3,4,2,1,3)
13 Ship has coil fitted to disruptive transmitter (10)
WINDJAMMER – WIND=coil + JAMMER=disruptive transmitter.
15 Visiting family, dust regularly found inside property (9)
ATTRIBUTE – AT TRIBE=visiting family, with UT=dUsT regularly, found inside.
18 Concerns after leader leaves eastern capital (7)
ROUBLESleader leaves tROUBLES=Russian capital (money)
20 She holds craft on course, finally arriving at buoy (7)
HEARTEN – HEN holds ART=craft +E=coursE, finally. (Thanks to Peter W for his comment.)
23 Nurse holds end of mesh over cut (5)
SHORN – SRN (State Registered Nurse) holds H=end of mesH + O=over.
24 Slanderous comment that stems from endless drink (4)
SLURendless SLURP=drink.

20 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28620 – Saturday, 3 June 2023. Big sky country?”

  1. 20D. I read “course, finally” to indicate the final letter of the word “COURSE”, to give the “E”.

  2. I found this one very easy, finishing in 17 minutes 23 secs, only a few minutes off my record.
    LOI was ATTRIBUTE, I kept thinking it would be estate round something, until I got AWAKENING and had to think anew.
    Thanks setter and blogger 🙂

  3. Held up by 1d. With the crossers S_U_I_ for the first word, and given the anagrist, all I could see was STUPID. Could it be self referential? A ‘stupid arrangement’ didn’t quite work, but didn’t prevent me persisting in this stupidity for a long while. When STUDIO finally came to mind, the remaining clues dropped quickly.
    A V short of a pangram.

  4. A time of 61m 38s suggests I found it difficult but my notes say nothing about that.
    Thanks for ACTRO, TUDOR and NONET, Bruce.

  5. 37 minutes. No problems noted on my printout, though I did notice the missing V.

    1. I’d assumed that studio apartment (US)=bedsit (UK), but I’ve also assumed that a studio apt. has a kitchenette (and bathroom), while judging from Collins, anyway, a bedsit need not.

  6. I can’t find any notes I might have made, but looking at the blog recall that I finished it with a good deal of thought and a few chuckles, probably in about average time. COD CRYPTOGRAM, and pleased to guess that ARIZONA was more likely to be part of the wordplay before I consulted Google. At least two MRTs at 10a, where I wondered whether RAgeT was a word. Shouldn’t the clue say MIXED WITH rather than HIDDEN IN? I don’t think I’ve seen that usage before. Thanks Brnchn and setter.

    1. MIXED WITH could indicate an anagram perhaps, for instance RA “mixed with” GET.

      HIDDEN IN more suggests straight insertion: G (RE) AT.

          1. I’m even more confused now, but I’ve amended my question which I had mistyped!

  7. I usually write my comments as soon as I finish. This time I didn’t, for some reason. Mental exhaustion, maybe? I found this ever so tricky, and although I completed it, a number of my answers were guesswork. Couldn’t figure out the how of 16ac – I’ve never come across worst as a verb, and yet to best is very familiar so I should have worked it out. Always forget factory for works… 17ac. Didn’t know tenon joint at 28ac. Didn’t fully work out 7d – the a lean/list segment. But got there in the end regardless. Lucky I’m a good guesser! Thanks to setter, and blogger for the explanations.

  8. I struggled with the TRIBUNAL/ATTRIBUTE intersection, took far too long to see that UNIFORMLY was an anagram, and didn’t figure out ROUBLES until the end, even though we’ve seen variations on the ‘(t)rouble’ clue before. Didn’t know that a WINDJAMMER is a ship or that an ACONITE is a plant, though the cluing was kind in both cases, and hesitated over entering ACTOR as I couldn’t parse it for a long time.

    Thanks setter and blogger.

    FOI Massif
    LOI Roubles
    COD Milk tooth

  9. I found this difficult, but I haven’t made any notes, probably through exhaustion on finally finishing! I didn’t notice the almost pangram. MILK TOOTH went in from crossers – I’d never thought of ‘ilk’, being obsessed with ‘kin’. HEARTEN was also bifd and post-parsed. LOI appears to have been AWAKENING, since it’s not crossed off. There were no unknowns, I was just way off the wavelength of this particular setter.

  10. This was easy peasy until it wasn’t. Hit a wall in the SE, eventually using aids for the anagram fodder for 1d, unsure whether place or slips were the definition (I convinced myself either could be the anagram indicator.) Without the ensuing ‘e’, I would never have COME TO EQUAL, clever. Couldn’t see why it was ACTOR or TUDOR so thank you for that. I was 4d about spotting ROUBLES, which could have helped me in the SW much sooner than it did. COD to WINDJAMMER a neat clue and nice little local cafe where we keep our tender.

    Thanks setter and blogger

  11. Sorry for the late post. 41 minutes without too many difficulties as I recall from last week. I do remember liking WINDJAMMER, ships which used to come down to this part of the world long ago, and MILK TOOTH.

    The main reason for the post is just to point out that the ‘observatory in Arizona’ in 12a almost certainly refers to the Lowell observatory. The planet (that’s what I like to call it anyway) Pluto was discovered using a telescope at the observatory and it played an important role in mapping the lunar surface for the Apollo program. I’d heard of the Lowell Observatory before but can’t pretend I knew it was in Arizona.

    1. In that connection, I wanted to respond to the blogger’s remark: “I suspect the same could apply to Arizona, but I’m not aware of any major observatories there, despite the reference in 12 across.”

      Arizona is bursting with important observatories – in the South the Kitt Peak National Observatory, the Fred L. Whipple Observatory at Mt Hopkins, the Mount Lemmon Observatory, and the Mt Graham International Observatory, and in the North the Lowell Observatory and the US Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station. And so on.

  12. Not plain sailing for me (despite biffing WINDJAMMER), but used the clever charade-clue to work out DOCUDRAMA first and went haltingly from there. Most trouble came from STARGAZE as I was certain of the answer but unable to parse all but the AZ. Had to use help to untangle the STUDIO APARTMENT, but the TRIBUNAL/ROUBLES crossing gave most trouble. Also only knew TENON as a type of saw, and not half of a joint. Biffed many, but overall enjoyed the workout.

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