Times Cryptic No 28650 – Saturday, 8 July 2023. Outside the lines.

I thought this puzzle was easy, until I went to prepare the blog and found two clues yet to do! I’d made things hard by pencilling in a bad guess for 7dn, which made 16ac a problem. D’oh! I liked the pun at 26ac, and the timely mention of Wimbledon.

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 Horrible old male shot out of hand (9)
LOATHSOME – (O MALE SHOT)*, where O=old.
6 Darkness in which son moves, creating hell (5)
HADESSHADE=darkness, in which S=son moves from the front to the back.
9 The French consumed by Callas fever (7)
MALARIALA=the, in French consumed by MARIA Callas.
10 Betrays Poles in Italian city (5,2)
TURNS INN+S=poles, in TURIN.
11 Subject of the sultan soon turning tail (5)
OMANIIN A MO=soon, turning. If you’d asked whether Oman is a Sultanate, I’d quickly have given you a definite ‘maybe’.
13 Arthur and I have difficulty — eating this? (9)
ARTICHOKEART=short for Arthur + I + CHOKE=have difficulty eating.
14 Renegade clings to a longing for the past (9)
16 Object plucked from lecturer’s sack? (4)
LUTE – sounds like (from lecturer) LOOT.
18 Choice of ends at Wimbledon drawn (4)
WORNW OR N would be letters at ends of Wimbledon. Those who remembered the “T OR N” clue from 3 months ago would have had an advantage!
19 Report of a bishop held by state (9)
NARRATIONA + RR=bishop, held by NATION=state.
22 Way to make idols completely dependable (4,5)
ROCK SOLID – a role reversal clue. The answer is a clue for IDOLS, as an anagram (ROCK) of SOLID.
24 Is he one absorbed in studies? (5)
DENISI=one, absorbed in DENS=studies. “He” in the definition is just a random male, I suspect.
25 Sally’s current weight put on record (7)
EPIGRAMI=electrical current + GRAM=a weight, put on EP=record.
26 Leading lawyer out to lunch? (7)
BARKING – you might describe the top lawyer as the BAR KING, might you? I smiled.
28 Gloomy husband kicked out of boat (5)
DINGY – the boat was a DING(H)Y.
29 Article written about workers’ demo? Of course! (9)
NATURALLYNA=AN (the article), backwards (written about) + TU=workers + RALLY=demo.
1 Make fun of city MP with nothing on (7)
LAMPOONL.A.=city + MP + O=nothing + ON.
2 I bore everyone when speaking (3)
AWLwhen speaking, sounds like ALL.
3 After low point cheer up female boss? (8)
HARRIDANNADIR=low point + RAH=cheer, all up (so, backwards, in this down clue). I can see a harridan would be bossy, but please don’t let her be the boss!
4 City given an award, I see (5)
OMAHAO.M. = award (Order of Merit) + AHA = I see.
5 SEAT trace faulty vehicle (6,3)
6 Just some wordsmith, or a celebrated poet? (6)
HORACE – hidden in (wordsmith or a celebrated).
7 Copper’s answer is ending (11)
DISSOLUTIONDI’S=copper’s + SOLUTION=answer. I pencilled in DISPOSITION,  thinking POSITION could do for answer, and only revisited when I couldn’t crack 16ac.
8 Real wrongdoing by the church upset Elizabeth I? (7)
SINCERESIN=wrongdoing + CE=church + RE=ER upset. Why Elizabeth I? I presume Elizabeth II would be ER II, but Elizabeth I could just be ER without numerical qualification, at least during her reign. On edit: I like Kevin Gregg’s suggestion that the setter specified E I, to make it clear that she was a queen, not some other Elizabeth.
12 Brooding of acrobat isn’t unusual (11)
15 Mata Hari, say, losing head over lover once, a person of some standing (9)
GENTLEMAN – (a)GENT = Mata Hari, say, losing head + LEMAN = archaic word for lover (once).
17 Rolling Stone’s staff do wrong, nicking last of cocaine (8)
WANDERERWAND=staff + ERR=do wrong, nicking E=last of (cocain)E.
18 An explosive type, as Churchill was? (7)
WARHEADWAR HEAD, since he was P.M. during WW II. Cute.
20 Spooner’s description of what nag does for flowers? (7)
21 Bird found in very large quarry (6)
OSPREYOS=very large + PREY=quarry.
23 Took train north for first time (5)
DEBUTTUBED=took train, going north in this down clue.
27 Suffering of an unmarried philosopher (3)
ILL – John Stuart (M)ILL.

27 comments on “Times Cryptic No 28650 – Saturday, 8 July 2023. Outside the lines.”

  1. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle as ever on a Saturday with a great blog to match. I think with 7D you meant to say that Copper = DI (Detective Inspector) however.

    Thank you setter and blogger.

  2. 16:22
    Pretty easy. I wondered at the time about ‘Elizabeth I’, but the ‘I’ (could have been II) makes it clear that it’s a queen, not just some woman named Elizabeth. ‘he’ in 24ac can hardly be a random male, since it’s the definition. I liked 26ac BARKING, but COD to 16ac LUTE.

    1. Yes, but you can’t tell that from the definition “he”. Only the wordplay is useful.

      I’ve added mention of your good point about ERI.

    2. I wonder also whether it suits the surface of the clue better, since Elizabeth I certainly had many issues with the church during her reign and persecuted recusant Catholics quite as much as her predecessor hounded Protestants, although fortunately the great William Byrd (whose 400th Anniversary of death it is this year) was a favoured composer and managed to make it to old age thanks to her interventions on his behalf.

  3. 23 minutes. Very straightforward for a Saturday. My only look-up (post solve) was LEMAN / lover. I was going to claim I’d never met this before but it has come up half-a-dozen times over the years, most recently clued as ‘paramour’ in a Quick Cryptic on 7th April this year and back in 2011 it was in a 15×15 blogged by me.

  4. 62m 28s. Oh dear, others found it easy. I didn’t! And I fell at the 16ac hurdle. A lapse of something more than a momentary lapse of reason led me to put JUTE based on the presence of ‘sack’. Well, you make sacks out of jute…don’t you?
    Yes, Bruce, Oman IS a sultanate.
    I thought TUBED in 23d was as ugly a word as CHILLEST was recently, so there!
    Thanks, Bruce, particularly for OMANI, NOSEGAY and DENIS.
    Nearly time to watch the All Blacks play the Boks!

      1. 🤣
        20-3 to the ‘Blicks’ at halftime. They were 17-0 up after about 15mins and looking unstoppable.

    1. Martin, by coincidence the novel I am writing at the moment is set in Oman.

      1. Let me know when it’s published. I’ll get my friendly librarian on the case.
        I enjoyed The Collation Unit, especially as I worked at both the old and the new Riyadh Airport. I was on duty at the old airport to kick out the aircraft that had overnighted. My colleagues and I watched the first arrival into the new airport fly overhead.

        1. Glad that you enjoyed it.
          The Tip of the Iceberg is available now and the follow up, This Is Not a Pipe, will be published in October.

  5. Great Puzzle. Four went in immediately, and the top half was completed very quickly. Then progress slowed until PDM WANDERER opened the door to the last few, but overall time was now above average. FOI LOATHSOME, LOI LUTE, unparsed* as was the last half of GENTLEMAN, COD HADES. Liked ROCK SOLID, NOSEGAY , AWL and BARKING. Thanks Setter and Blogger
    *Easy enough, seeing the blog, but I’ve always thought the voweel was as in use or cute rather than coot.

    1. OED has both pronunciations for “lute”, but lists “(b)oot” before “(c)ute”.

      1. Thanks. My COED only gives pronunciations when it claims there is room for doubt and it doesn’t give one for lute. A quick count suggests that words ending in …UT (vowel) are split evenly between cute and coot, though this may not apply outside Britain, eg in a country where new is noo. To be honest, I was, as the setter intended, misled by “lecturer” and if the possibility of a homonym had entered my head I would not have doubted.

  6. Not that I keep a record of my times – at 60mins plus, why would I? – but I for sure know I broke it this week at 35 minutes. Ta-daaa! So this must have been an easy one. FOI 6ac HADES and steady progress through the rest to the finish line, which for me was 16ac LUTE. I’d been hung up on JUTE (= sack(ing)) but wasn’t convinced. It took me a while to figure out that “lecturer” was one of those “sounds like” indicators. Thanks to setter for the enjoyment and blogger for the usual insight.

  7. It took me some time to get started on this one – maybe I wasn’t in the mood – but once I got going, I thought it was pretty good, with the exception of 24A – not difficult with crossers, but a really lame clue! No unknowns – leman crops up quite a bit in the Bible, though you won’t find it in many other places. The good thing about weekend puzzles is being able to leave them until the next day if other business crops up. Thanks for the blog, Bruce.

  8. Lots to enjoy. I liked the BAR-KING (I’ve met a few) and our esteemed (not so much these days?) WAR HEAD. DENIS was a neat clue, which I would have tried to spell with an extra ‘n’ left to my own devices. I was glad of the clear cryptic for 25a being a bit vague with that definition of sally, and EPIGRAM not in my day to day parlance. Women came in for a bit of bashing today with HARRIDAN and Spooner’s nag. Missed the hidden. How do they do that? It should be the easiest clue in the box.

    Thanks branch and setter

  9. The definitions were unusually loose today. Drawn for worn, sally for epigram and something in a sack for loot.

    1. ‘Something in a sack’ is not the explanation for ‘loot’, it’s what invaders do, sack, loot, pillage, plunder, destroy, strip of possessions etc.

  10. DNF. Fell for 7d DISPOSITION and couldn’t think of anything better than FIRE for 16a “sack” but it doesn’t parse.

  11. DNF. I thought it was only 24a and 17d I didn’t get, but now I see that my ‘beating’ for 26a was wrong. I had ‘leading’ as the definition, with B giving the lawyer (don’t ask me why) and ‘out to lunch’ giving ‘eating’. In turn, that completely scuppered WANDERER – though I can’t be sure I would have got it even with the right checkers. I really dislike DENIS as a clue, partly for the random name as commonly complained about here, but also because I would expect to see it spelled with two Ns rather than one.

    No issues otherwise, other than having to trust that ‘leman’ is an old word for a lover to get GENTLEMAN. Thanks setter and blogger.

    COD Turns in

  12. 31’0”
    One paced throughout.
    Despite my rather pedestrian performance, I thoroughly enjoyed this. One of its chief charms for me was the appearance of something that I know has come into season by the appearance of Enrico’s seriously heavy-duty gauntlets. The ARTICHOKES on this island are fearsome beasts that even a starving goat would hesitate to take on. Quartered and fried, along with their stems, in olive oil with lots of garlic, then tipped into a pan of simmering cubed new potatoes to which is added an egg for the last three minutes, and served with a sprinkling of local peccorino is a peasant dish that I would argue is fit for an Emperor !
    23 and 26 reminded me that I was once told by a Londoner, ‘You’re bleedin’ one stop short of East ‘Am, you are! ‘ Once I’d glanced at the District Line in my A-to-Z, I had to admit he had a point.
    Thanks to Bruce, setter et al.

  13. Was trundling along at a fair clip , with the top half falling in place nicely – then ground to a halt with the lower half . From NOSTALGIC down, I made heavy weather of it, and (even though I pencilled it in correctly from the cryptic) still don’t understand the ‘sally’ meaning of EPIGRAM ! ) I don’t have all the usual dictionaries to hand, but can find no answer to that in the one that I have on my laptop.
    Liked NOSEGAY, NATURALLY and WARHEAD, but am still reeling over my decision to put in LURE!

    1. Chambers has
      “Epigram”: 1. Any concise and pointed or sarcastic saying
      “Sally”: 4. Any concise and pointed or sarcastic saying

      Near enough for me.

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