Saturday Times 24921 – useful practice!

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solved on the train to Cheltenham last week, where I was going to take part in the 3D Crossword Championships (as advertised here for example). I found it pretty tough going in places, but nowhere near as tough as the competition puzzle I was to tackle later. No exact time, but around 25 minutes or so in the end. One thing that stands out in this puzzle is the number of times the wordplay is out of order. Nothing wrong with that, but it adds a bit to the difficulty. I’ve mostly put it back in the right order today as there are so many.

1 BONS MOTS – B(ritish) + ON (cricket side) + S (contraction of “has”) before MOT’S (tests).
5 PROFIT – PRO (top player) + FIT (match).
10 BLOWN AWAY – amusing double definition.
11 SALEM – SA (South Africa) + L(awlessness) + EM (a printers’ measure). The city might be in Massachusetts, where the 17th century witch trials took place, or more likely the state capital of Oregon.
12 LOSS – just hidden inside gLOSSary. Boring.
13 TENNESSEE – TENNE(r)S (notes without the R) + SEE (visit).
15 DISTRIBUTE – D (old penny) + IS + TRIBUTE (payment). Deal as in cards.
17 KNEW – (Steinbec)K + NEW (novel).
19 LARK – L(ake) + ARK.
20 FRACTIONAL – (California)*, but with T(ime) replacing I (one).
22 TEA CHESTS – TEACHES (trains) + T(ruck)S. Not quite sure what “pulling” is doing there. Looks like padding to me.
24 APSE – sounds like “apps”.
26 EDICT – ED(itor) + I(ndependent) + C(our)T.
27 NEGLIGENT – EG (say) + L (pound), inside N.I. GENT (chap from Ulster).
28 SIMONE – IS reversed + MONE(t).
29 ATTESTOR – AT + TEST + O + R(ight).

1 BABA – A + BAB(y), all reversed (upside-down). Last one in, spent far too long trying to figure out whether the answer was BABE or BABY.
2 NEOCONSERVATISM – CONS (studies) inside (Maine voters)*.
3 MINISTRY – IS inside MINT (new) + R(ailwa)Y.
7 FALLS ON ONE’S FEET – FALLS (takes place) + ON ONE’S FEET (making a speech). I had LANDS … at first, which slowed me down a little, but I soon corrected it.
8 TIMBER WOLF – TIBER (river) + FLOW reversed (swirling current), around M(inute).
9 HYPNOTIC – “hip” + NOTIC(e) (warning without the E).
14 IDOLATRESS – (stories lad)*
16 BIRDSONG – BIRDS (women) + ON + G(ood). Surprised the PC police let that one through.
18 FINALISE – (if aliens)*
21 SHUT IN – SIN (wrong) around HUT (building).
23 SIGHT – sounds like “site”.
25 STIR – double definition. Prison slang (in case this isn’t globally familiar) – you do porridge (time) in STIR (jail). In the UK we’re lucky to have been brought up on one of the best comedy series of all time, so getting this one doesn’t require you to be an ex-con.

Oh yes, forgot to mention – I actually won the 3D puzzle tournament last week. I can’t say too much about it yet, as a watered-down version of the puzzle’s still live in the monthly Calendar Puzzles competition. I might do a full report on it once the month is up, but it’s not available online yet so we’ll have to see, as I don’t have a copy currently.

10 comments on “Saturday Times 24921 – useful practice!”

  1. Just under the hour for this on the club timer, but I was interrupted a lot so I’d guess somewhere between half an hour and 45 minutes.
    Like you I had LANDS ON ONE’S FEET at first, but unlike you I didn’t sort it out quickly and I got completely bogged down in the NE. Silly really because when you’re stuck like this on a cluster of clues it’s always a good idea to revisit what you’ve already put in. Hey ho.
    Congratulations on the competition victory!
  2. Similarly held up by the more common podalic ‘land’, with BABA also last in. Forget the time, but probably c. 2.5 Linxits.

    Nice to know that I hobnob with the elite!

  3. Nice puzzle that took two cups of coffee. Agree with you about “pulling” in 22A – can’t see any purpose for the word other than to create a surface reading. Avoided the “LANDS…..” trap by solving PROFIT on first read.

    Good win – well done. What exactly is a 3D puzzle?

    1. Follow the link to the Calendar Puzzles site above and see for yourself. There are usually five or six mini-grids for Across and “Away” clues, with the Downs comprising one letter in each grid, although occasionally some answers might also turn corners. They’re usually thematic or commemorating someone’s birth/death or a historical event, and vary in difficulty getting harder as the year progresses.

      The competition puzzle had seven circular grids, including four with 16-letter perimeter answers, but no clue numbers so solvers had to solve the jigsaw as well as the pretty tough cryptic clues. There were also no starting points for perimeter answers, and diametrical answers could go in either direction. Furthermore, one of the “Downs” was an “Up”. There were also about seven or eight answers that wouldn’t get in a daily Times puzzle but would be fair game in a Mephisto or Club Monthly – although they were clued with clear wordplay. No dictionaries allowed either!

      The same puzzle will appear soon as the August competition puzzle in the year-long 3D Crossword World Championship, which is run in aid of Children In Need, but it will have the clue numbers in the top grid.

    2. I thought it was quite apt in the circumstances, if one is not so pedantic as to point out that it’s engines that pull coaches or trucks, rather than trains. So in the answer we have trains at the front and empty trucks at the rear.
  4. Congrats on your win!

    40 minutes with two long delays caused by LANDS ON ONE’S FEET and a rather careless NEO-CONSERVATIVE at 2dn, so not too bad a Saturday effort for me.

    I’ve been a bit gloomy about my timings of late as I feel as if I’m slower now than a couple of years ago, however I’ve returned to doing the DT each day this week and am regularly completing in about 15 minutes, much better than in the past, so my time spent tackling the Times has at least had some good effect there.

  5. 12:09 for me – with LANDS (ON ONE’S FEET) slowing me a little, as it seems to have done most others. Nice puzzle.

    Congrats on your win. The competition puzzle sounds pretty horrendous!

  6. Having cancelled our subscription to ‘ the Australian ‘ newspaper in view of its increasingly ludicrous stance on climate policy and economics , we no longer have access to the Times crosswords reprinted a month late, so we are getting our fix from the books of crossword selections. We are working our way through Book 19 currently. Though 9 years has passed it still seems topical. So Twitter was around in 2011! But the Donald was not POTUS. Happy days.
    23 mins for this , with some hesitation over 11a as SIMLA and SALEM vied for contention, with Salem maybe too small to be classified as a city.

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