Saturday Times 24951 (9th Sept)

Solving time 14:27. Pretty good puzzle made all the better for the inclusion of 7D, which harks back to L. May’s winning entry in the Dec. 1973 Azed competition – Bust down reason? (9) for BRAINWASH, widely cited since as one of the best clues ever written. Also some neat touches in the definitions of both clues and wordplay elements, e.g. “a woman’s secret”, “something passed”, “delivery service”, “where tiny kipper is”.

1 SCORE DRAW – S(how) + CO + WARDER reversed (screw is prison slang).
6 BEBOP – B(asie) + OP (work), next to BE (live). I found this difficult to parse, as at first look the wordplay seems to lead to BBEOP.
9 AGENT – AGE (a woman’s secret) + NT (testament).
10 CHOCOLATE – HOT (taken illegally) around COLA (drink), all inside C.E. (church).
11 NOT A BIT – BATON (something passed) reversed + IT.
12 LAY INTO – L(aws) + A + YIN (negative principle) + TO. Having just read up on yin-yang on Wikipedia, I know that the definition of YIN here is a bit simplistic, but it is only a crossword clue!
13 CARDINAL NUMBER – (murder, cannibal)*, definition “one, perhaps”.
17 ALPHABETICALLY – cryptic definition, quite weak I thought at first, but then I started wondering what “manifestly” was doing in there. A manifest can be an airline passenger list, which would obviously be in alphabetical order. Late amendment – “Anonymous” has the correct parsing below. The words of the clue are in alphabetical order, which makes it an &lit rather than a cryptic def. Apologies to the setter.
21 RAMADAN – ARMADA (fleet) with the first two letters switched + N(orth).
23 CHORDAL – CHORAL (aka Beethoven’s 9th) around D(aughter).
25 MIDWIFERY – (if wired)* inside MY.
26 HOGAN – HOG (corner) + AN. I thought he’d come up quite recently on a Saturday, but it was in 24897, all the way back on July 9th. Doesn’t time fly!
27 SPLIT – SPIT (double, as in spitting image) around L(eft).
28 SANDPIPER – SAND (smooth) + PIPER (player).

1 SWAN NECK – SWANK (show off) around NEC (National Exhibition Centre, which is in Birmingham). Not sure about “outstanding” as an insertion indicator. A bit confusing for locals, as there’s also a Swan Centre in Birmingham (a big shopping centre that was a bit derelict for a few years but is under reconstruction at the moment).
2 OVERT – O (circular letter) + VERT (green).
3 ESTABLISH – (this able,S)*, the S from S(eaman). This experienced solver fell into the trap of thinking the anagram fodder was “this AB” plus something at first, and I bet I wasn’t the only one!
4 RICOTTA – COT (where tiny kipper is) inside RITA (girl).
5 WOOLLEN – WOO (court) + NELL reversed (little girl, as Nell is a contraction).
6 BOOBY – BOOB (error) + (compan)Y. e.g. one of these.
7 BRAIN CELL – BRA (has cups) + IN CELL (serving porridge). Brilliant (but see preamble).
8 PHENOL – PH (measure of acidity) + LONE reversed. Another word for carbolic acid.
14 ROLE MODEL – LO + R(iver) reversed, then EEL (fish) around MOD (Ministry of Defence). Definition “One looked up to”.
15 MICROCHIP – M(ilitary) I(ntelligence) + CROC (beastly killer) + HIP (with it).
16 EYELINER – EYE (organ) + LINER (ship).
18 BONKERS – (broken)* + S(orbet).
19 TACHYON – TON (heavyweight) around ACHY (painful). A hypothetical particle which travels faster than the speed of light, and cannot slow down to less than the speed of light.
20 CRUMBS – double definition, bloomer being a loaf of bread.
22 DRIFT – double definition, e.g. snow drift + “do you get my drift?”.
24 DIG UP – PUG I.D. reversed.

16 comments on “Saturday Times 24951 (9th Sept)”

  1. I did this in 12 minutes, which is quick for me, especially for a Saturday. I then got a 500 error on submission so had to retype all the clues, but somehow my original effort got lost and I’m showing a time of 2:16. Still only fourth place on the leaderboard though!
    Thanks for explaining ALPHABETICALLY: I didn’t understand the manifest bit.
  2. My solving time got lost along the way but from memory I think it flowed quite nicely and I was never stuck. I also wondered about ‘outstanding’ at 1dn but given the general high quality of the cluing I think we might allow a little licence here if needs be. Good lively fun.
  3. n the easy side, but one of the most enjoyable puzzles for some time. As linxit says, many definitions inspired
  4. Also no time, but I remember I was held up by carelessly putting ‘bananas’ for BONKERS.

    Today’s puzzle is a cracker.

    1. I agree with you (and the Guardian blogger). I haven’t bought the Times for years. I always print it out online and take that with me on the train to solve.
  5. Done this morning with my first cup of tea. 35 minutes. I agree about the fun definitions. Not particularly fast but a very enjoyable solve.
  6. Re 17a: What’s wrong with “manifestly” as “undoubtedly”? The passenger list feels like a stretch to me.
  7. 11:54 for me, after a slow start. Nice puzzle.

    I quite agree with Jon about 17ac: I can’t see that it has anything to do with a passenger list.

        1. The passenger list was my idea to try to save the clue from mediocrity. Anonymous is pointing out that it’s an &lit, with the words of the clue in alphabetical order. Amendment to blog coming up!
          1. Good grief! I simply hadn’t realised that you hadn’t realised that the words in the clue were in alphabetical order! I wondered what on earth you were on about with this “passenger list” business.
            1. Nope, missed it completely! That’s nothing compared to the struggle I had with this week’s though (although I did have to put up with a 3-year-old singing nursery rhymes at the top of her voice next to me while I was trying to concentrate – doing it on the train is fraught with difficulty sometimes).
  8. …first-time commenter (I think). Thanks both. I had images as the Guardian post went up of a mob directing anger at the Times that would make Hackgate look like a tea party. Wapping seems intact… for now.

Comments are closed.