23497 Saturday – gristly hellcat

Solving time 24:33

I had a bit of a struggle with this puzzle, as there were a few less common words with some unfriendly unches (plus a couple of stupid mistakes slowed me down a bit). Still, some brilliant clues made it well worth the effort.



1 A,SP(I)RING – I = electric current is something I remember from O-level Physics, and is used quite a lot in crosswords. Anyone know why it’s I?
9 ROSE BOWL = “beau’s role”. A week after Azed’s puzzle where all the clues had spoonerized definitions, this came quite naturally.
11 UNSUSPECTING (using puns etc)* – surface reads like a glimpse into the thought processes of the setter.
13 JO(JOB)A(n) – OK, I admit that I looked up OIL in Bradford’s to get this, and only then saw the wordplay. I wonder what the paper edition had for this clue though – in the online version it’s “Mir—, for example…”, but accented characters often come out differently because of encoding problems. Anyway, it refers to Joan Miró, the Spanish artist.
14 LOT(HA(i)R)IO(n) – originally a character in The Fair Penitent by Nicholas Rowe, who seduces and betrays the female lead. Yes, I did look it up!
15 SEC(ON)DO – some tricky stuff here. Function is often used to mean trigonometric function, in this case SEC. Other useful possibilities are COS, SIN or TAN. The second function here is just the noun ‘do’ as in ‘party’. Leg = on is cricket terminology, and finally the definition means the one who plays the bass (lower) part in a piano duet.
16 VERS(AC)E – Gianni Versace. I knew he’d been killed but was surprised to find out it was nearly 10 years ago! The AC is for AC Milan football club.
23 HORTICULTURE – Cu=copper inside (truth or lie)*.
26 DIASPORA – “Ar. op said” all reversed.
27 TERIYAKI – “I ret” rev + YAK + I, loosely &lit.


2 SHO-SHONE – a Native American tribe and their language.
3 IMMUNOLOGIST – I,(a)M ,(gums,lotion)* – I see no reason for the setter to have used “I am” rather than “I’m” in this clue. [Corrected to take I’m out of the anagram – thanks, Nestor]
4 INKST(knits*),AND – “with” = AND is a fairly common Times trick, often hard to spot.
6 AS,PE,CT – outside letters of AbusivenesS ProvokE CourT. I got this from the definition and checking letters quite a while before I spotted that.
7 GOB,I(s) – trap = gob as in “Shut your …!”, surface deceives you into thinking of an easier golf course.
12 TRA(N,SPARE,N)CY – nicely put together.
15 SULP(plus rev),HIDE
17 EX,(los)E,CUT,OR – another one built from lots of small parts. It must be hard to do this and keep a sensible surface reading.
18 CAS(HB,OO)K – pencil letters = HB, which stands for hard black.
21 UNCL(e),OG=go rev.
24 ROAM – MA(j)OR rev. – last one I worked out the wordplay on.

6 comments on “23497 Saturday – gristly hellcat”

  1. I seem to remember being told that I stood for the intensity of the current.

    I was a bit puzzled about JOJOBA – I knew the word from my shampoo! – but didn’t make the link from Mir— to Joan Miró. Thanks for that.

    Last week I didn’t understand the wordplay for 25a and was about to ask but it just came to me – I guess it is NE[wt]ON.

  2. In 3D, “I am spreading gums with lotion” indicates the construction I’M + {GUMS + LOTION}*; in other words, “I (a)m” isn’t part of the anagram.
    1. Thanks, corrected now.

      I almost made the same mistake with HORTI(CU)LTURE too, but noticed it while I was typing it in.

  3. i is for electric current “intensity”. I have said it before, and I know it doesn’t sit well with some people, who otherwise have nothing seriously wrong with their minds, and hoffentlich I will say it again. After all, it was a famous Frenchman, dont le nom mi fuît, who said “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the last you’re right to say it” (sic ;-)). And intensity probably was named thus by Ampère, who probably had no patience for plain-old engineers, and is defined in “Le petit Larousse illustré”, 1994 ed. as “quantité d’électricité que débite un courant continu pendant l’unité de temps”.

    Dimitri Boscainos

    Dimitri Boscainos

  4. It really is about time The Times online presented the clues correctly. I spent ages pondering this clue, thinking of how the space station could give me the required letters. In the end I looked under “oil” in Bradfords, like linxit.
  5. Just the 7 “easies” today including 20a which, I’m ashamed to say, was my LOI! It took me ages to see the wordplay – a real DOH! moment.

    10a Where keepers preserve life, initially Moses is to go in rushes = ZOO M – nice biblical reference about Moses to mislead us from a fairly modern word I would suggest?
    20a Poles’ approach increases such freedom = LATITUDE – only when I got the L from 15d SULPHIDE did I stop trying to squeeze S, N, or rod etc in. Also the U involved messing with a Q before the penny dropped about increasing Latitude towards the poles.
    22 Pass further around a piano = EL AP SE – “further” being equivalent to “else” caused me trouble but it had to be?
    25a Gas weight overlooked by scientist = NE (wt) ON

    5d Such flesh isn’t seen as prime time cuts what’s disgusting = GRIS T LY – a “lift and separate” where prime is part of the literal and time is the T in GRISLY.
    8d What’s designed for draining pressure on the ear = P LUGHOLE
    19d A man will (act)* crazy for a she-devil = HE’LL CAT – nice clue.

Comments are closed.