Times Cryptic 28692 – Sat, 26 Aug 2023. Animal farming?

This was fun! I loved the pun at 1dn, the various animal references and the jest at 20dn. The challenging anagrams were nice too. 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. {Curly brackets} mark omitted letters.

1 Iron and gold clothing of chair’s occupant (9)
PROFESSORPRESS=iron + OR=gold, clothing OF.
6 Retreats, potentially, with mass movement out of control (5)
SPASMSPAS=retreats, potentially + M=mass.
9 Religious assembly — following conclusions of that, sign agreement (5)
SYNOD – conclusions of {religiou}S {assembl}YNOD=sign of agreement.
10 Called again for version of bible without it (9)
REVISITED – REVISED=version of bible, without (=outside) IT.
11 Male is found acting inappropriately (7)
MISCAST – M=male + IS (literally) + CAST=found (what’s done in a foundry, I guess). Tricky definition, but fair.
12 Holiday-maker who’s having bad experience in fall? (7)
TRIPPER – at least two definitions: tourist, or falling. I tried to tease out a third about drug trips, but I think that’s a mirage.
13 The aspirator I’d ordered as medical specialist (14)
17 Orientating car hopelessly in unfamiliar area (5,9)
TERRA INCOGNITA – (ORIENTING CAR)*. An expression well known in Australia, because it was the pretext on which the British claimed the continent.
21 Leave without information that’s urgently necessary (7)
EXIGENT – EXIT=leave, without (outside) GEN=information.
23 No backing in a wager that’s on hold (7)
ABEYANT – YAN=NAY (no), backingin A BET. “Abeyance” is much more familiar than “abeyant”!
25 It’s gallant and smart embracing demolished rival (9)
26 Domestic arrangement as Johnson, say, houses author (5)
DECOR – DR=Dr Johnson, the dictionary guy, houses {Umberto} ECO=author.
27 Write a line about Crime and Punishment (5)
PENALPEN=write + A (literally) + L=line.
28 Daughter in bad role eclipsed by mother in sensational performance (9)
MELODRAMAM(ELO(D)R)AMAD=daughter in (ROLE)* eclipsed by MAMA.
1 Frank, like Luke and John (8)
POSTMARK – the order of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. So L & J are “post” M.
2 Noises coming from pens using old writing materials (5)
OINKSO=old + INKS=writing materials.
3 An overdue converted try (9)
4 Insignificant wound is no handicap (7)
SCRATCH – two definitions.
5 Shipyard worker from Tyne heartlessly thrown in Clyde, say (7)
RIVETER T{yn}E “heartlessly”, thrown in RIVER=Clyde, say.
6 South America greeting Japanese dish (5)
SUSHIS=south + US=America + HI. We’ve seen the “South America”  => “S, US” device before, but I always smile.
7 Contents of course as opposed to previous one (9)
ANTIPASTIANTI + PAST + I. No explanation needed?
8 Current fashion trend ignoring the odds (6)
MODERNMODE + {t}R{e}N{d}, ignoring the odds.
14 Food expert set up feast with artist (9)
DIETITIANDIE=EID (Muslim feast), set up + TITIAN.
15 Stupidly intransigent, like an inhuman revolution (3-6)
PIG-HEADED – the revolution headed by Napoleon the pig in Animal Farm, for example.
16 One appearing in awful cabaret, cause of complaints (8)
BACTERIAI appearing in (CABARET)*
18 Temporary fit around either end for example (7)
INTERIM – IN TRIM=fit, around E=either end of E{xampl}E.
19 Part of church with window on left (7)
CHANCEL – CHANCE=window (as in ‘window of opportunity’) + L=left.
20 China as location of storm that’s blown up (6)
TEACUP – a cryptic hint, referring to a storm in a teacup.
22 With fine heading, this communication might sound womanly (5)
EMAIL – sounds like FEMALE, without the F.
24 Something bent accountant set up producing capital (5)
ACCRA – ARC=something bent + CA=accountant, set up (meaning backwards, in this down clue). The capital of Ghana.

19 comments on “Times Cryptic 28692 – Sat, 26 Aug 2023. Animal farming?”

  1. 37 minutes with very few workings on my print-out which suggests I found it mostly straightforward. CHIVALRIC and TERRA INCOGNITA would have been unfamiliar but the wordplay seems to have got me to the answers.

    We shall probably never know for sure but QC setter Oink may have left us some trotter prints to indicate that he was responsible for this one.

  2. I took about an hour according to the timer, but I don’t remember if that was truly continuous solving. I also noticed OINKS and PIG-HEADED and had the same thought about who the setter might be. I also loved POSTMARK once I realized what was going on.

  3. My copy notes “found = cast” as worth remembering, and I only now got around to confirming by looking it up. But I have to get back to this week’s now—was interrupted by a phone call…

  4. 37m 04s so pretty much ‘snap’ with Jack, but I put SWARM for 5ac. I figured ‘movement out of control’ was the definition but couldn’t do any better than SWARM until I saw Bruce’s blog today.
    Thanks also, Bruce, for SYNOD, PIG-HEADED and INTERIM. As you say, we’ve had S US clued as South America recently. I did like OINKS!
    I just loved POSTMARK. That is now in the back of my little black book of favourite clues.

    1. I was thinking of SWARM for a minute there too.
      POSTMARK is a very cool clue, especially considering that the scholarly consensus today is that Mark was written before all the other Gospels, with Matthew and Luke borrowing liberally from him (while Paul’s epistles predate Mark).

  5. 9:36
    Did a lot of biffing, parsing SYNOD, ABEYANT, DECOR, & DIETITIAN post-submission, and not bothering to verify RADIOTHERAPIST & TERRA INCOGNITA. Liked POSTMARK, of course.
    22d is a rare example of a clue with the definition in the middle.

  6. A bit of a romp, though it took 18.31. Took me a while to see what was happening in POSTMARK, but with great appreciation when I saw it.
    Grateful to the (swine of a?) setter for making sure we got the preferred spelling of DIETITIAN: it so nearly went in with a C.

  7. DNF – glad to see I’m not the only person who put ‘swarm’ rather than SPASM, as I couldn’t think of spas as retreats. And like Zabadak, it was helpful to have Titian clearly indicated as otherwise I might have put ‘dietician’.

    Liked POSTMARK once the penny dropped.

  8. 37.26 WOE. I gawped at DIETICIAN thinking I’m sure TICIAN isn’t spelt like that, and then forgot about it. Bah! Quicker than average though. I couldn’t parse 1d or 18d at the time, but looking back they are obvious. I did like OINKS. Thanks to branch.

  9. Can someone explain please. It looks to me like the sy in 9a is doing double duty? I thought that wasn’t allowed.

    1. I’d argue that the inclusion of ‘that’ negates the double duty charge.

  10. 39’20”
    Slowly into stride, finished well.
    Great little puzzle; is there really a setter named Oink ? I thought Times setters were always incognito.
    I always feel that the acid test for a really well constructed puzzle is that the last to fall is a devilish misdirection, and the setter knows it will be the last to fall for most, as seems to have been the case with postmark for me and many others.
    I have to admit an INTERIM biff. Couldn’t see it till later when I turned my solution 90 degrees anticlockwise; thirty-three years of doing this crossword and I hadn’t thought of doing that – goodness how dim!
    Thank you Bruce and compliments to Oink, if it indeed be you.

  11. 21 or so but another swarm

    If this was Oink makes sense as this was a fun puzzle and he’s definitely one of the best Quickie setters

    Thanks Branch for the blog

  12. Nice puzzle, no real problems until there was one: another SWARM, unable to figure out the clue. DIETITIAN right; previously have ignored clue conventions and put in DIETICIAN, so one pitfall avoided – to no benefit.
    Enjoyed it.

  13. Well I don’t get much quicker than this. Only a few took two glances to solve and the rest fell into place with a couple of crossers as prompts. I wondered if I was missing something in TRIPPER which didn’t seem quite as cryptic as it should? Thank you for explaining INTERIM which seemed to have too much going on despite being biffable, and also for PIG-HEADED which I never recognised as a cryptic definition and thought I was missing some word play. I liked the sequence of apostles, obvious when you see it, and the pen noises.

    Thanks setter and branch.

  14. Did this over two days on holiday in Oregon & thoroughly enjoyed it. No time, as I left the app running on my phone and so the timer shows nearly 20 hours. Which is slow even by my standards.

    POSTMARK was my favourite: I felt a bit smug remembering the chronological order of the gospels from O-Level Religious Studies: the “as-printed” order explanation never occurred to me!

    Thanks to setter & branch: I only opened this puzzle because I saw the “This was fun!” opening to the blog entry and thought, “right, I’ll give that a try.”

  15. Yes, it was fun, and more so because I nearly finished it with only looking one or two up. When the penny ( no noises please!) finally dropped on POSTMARK I thought it worth the price of admission alone. Plus OINKS of course, which came much earlier on. I’d stupidly stuck to iron being clued as FE to be the start of 1a, but got the ‘or’ correct at the tail end, disallowing me to get either 1a or 1d for a while. SYNOD went in with a half-biff. Flowed more easily from there on (never any doubts about SPASM) . Only hold-ups were ABEYANT and MISCAST for reasons unknown. Enjoyable crossword.

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