Saturday Times 24957 (17th Sept)

Solving time 51:34, but although tricky in places I don’t think it was all *that* hard! I decided to solve it on the train on the way home on Monday, but unfortunately ended up next to a 3-year-old girl who insisted on singing nursery rhymes at the top of her voice for the whole journey. I wouldn’t have minded, but I didn’t even know most of them. “Polly Put the Kettle On” was the only one I recognised. There were others about “hunting a bear, we’re not scared” and “a spotted frog sitting on a log”…where did they come from? Anyway, I found it hard to concentrate but got there in the end.

1 LONG JUMP – LONG (can’t wait) + JUMP (start).
9 INACTION – IN (fashionable) + ACTION (suit, i.e. law).
10 VERB – VER(y) + B(ook).
11 BILLINGSGATE – S(ociety) inside BILLING (advertising) + GATE (money received from those attending). Famous London fish market.
13 CEREAL – sounds like “serial”.
14 UNIONIST – (suit on)* around N.I. (Northern Ireland, i.e. his territory).
15 BABYISH – BY (close to) + I inside BASH (party).
16 APLENTY – (net)* inside (play)*.
20 ZERO IN ON – ZERO (duck) + IN ON (wise to).
22 CUBOID – sounds like “queue” (line) + “buoyed” (kept afloat).
23 BACKWOODSMAN – BACK (player) + WOODS (bowls) + [N(otts) + A + M(aiden) reversed]. The definition is “Rarely seen Lord” – from Chambers: “a peer who seldom attends the House of Lords”. Didn’t know that, got it from checking letters.
25 DOCK – quadruple definition: Plant / put in / box in court / (and) cut. .
26 MELTDOWN – LT DOW (Lt. Jones‘s colleague, ho ho) inside MEN.
27 EXPORTER – EX (old) + PORTER (beer).

2 ORESTEIA – alternate letters of “manifesto’s reproof” reversed.
3 GOBBLEDYGOOK – GOBBLED (did bolt) + GO (pass) + OK (well), around (dormitor)Y.
4 UKULELES – U(npac)K U(nusua)L E(lectrica)L E(lement)S.
5 PITIFUL – PITFUL (amount of coal) around I.
6 BANGUI – hidden in “urBAN GUIdebook”. Capital of the Central African Republic.
7 VIVA – V + I + V = XI (Roman arithmetic) + A. Short for viva voce, an oral exam.
8 ANCESTRY – (ten, scary)*
12 GENDER BENDER – GB (Britain) with ENDER (closer) next to each letter.
15 BUZZ BOMB – BUZZ (prepare to answer, e.g. on a TV quiz show) + MOB reversed + B (second rate).
17 PICK-ME-UP – PICK (finest) + MP (parliamentarian) around EU (Brussels, i.e. European Union).
18 TRICYCLE – Y(outh) C(lub) L(eft) inside TRICE (flash).
19 ANODYNE – (m)A(ny) + (Y, on end)*, the Y from Y(ears).
21 NEOCON – C.O. (conscientious objector = pacifist) inside N(ew) EON (age). That’s got to win the prize for the most misleading surface ever, surely!
24 COLT – COLD, but ending with the last letter of “desert” rather than the first.

14 comments on “Saturday Times 24957 (17th Sept)”

  1. I always save the Saturday cryptic to do on the following Saturday morning when it’s fresh in my mind. This morning I took my first cup of tea back up to bed to complete the puzzle in a rugby-free zone. (It’s hard to concentrate on a crossword during France/All Blacks) My tea was stone cold before I’d even got properly started on the crossword. Surely one of the most difficult for some time. I read all the across clues and the final one, EXPORTER, was the only answer that popped. Then I got a couple of anagrams, ANCESTRY and APLENTY. It turned out to be a very slow solve (64 minutes). It’s a good job it’s a Saturday and that I had the time to savour this puzzle. Hugely satisfying, with plenty of eureka moments.
  2. Gave up overnight after 30 minutes with only seven solved. Another hour was required this morning and a little cheating too. Not helped by writing PENALTY at 16ac early on, nor by not knowing BANGUI or NEOCON.
  3. Super puzzle, which took me two hours plus, but at least I was able to finish without aids, unlike this week. Loved the GENDER BENDER – last in BUZZ-BOMB, bringing back memories of Bamber and his starter for ten.

    Thanks to our sterling Saturday blogger for sorting out CUBOID for me. Be grateful for small mercies, Andy – at least the toddler wasn’t singing ‘I love you’ from Barney the Dinosaur.

  4. 20:26 here, for a most enjoyable puzzle – though I can’t remember anything particularly difficult about it so I guess it must have been a matter of simply plodding steadily through.

    (I assume 3-year-olds will be excluded from the Championship 🙂

  5. 43.15 for this. I found it very difficult but very rewarding and thought it an absolutely excellent puzzle. Unfortunately I spoiled it for myself with two typos: COLD for 24dn and ANODINE for 19dn. In both cases I’d fully understood the clue before putting the answer in. In the first case I was just sloppy. In the second I was quite pleased with myself for unpicking the wordplay but my dodgy spelling obviously took over subconsciously.
    I wonder if the bear song your travelling companion was singing came from We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. It’s a rather wonderful little book, although I can imagine that wouldn’t have been much comfort in the circumstances.
    1. Just had a look on Amazon. That’s the one, and why she was also saying “Squelch squelch squelch!” – well, screeching, not saying…
      1. When I was 8, I was in the hospital for a week with pneumonia, and shared a room with 2 3-year-olds, one of them a boy with a Davy Crockett comic book and a mission, to drive me out of the ward by singing, not the ‘Davy Crockett song’, ooooohhh nooo, just the one bleeding line he knew from the chorus (‘Daveee, Daaavee Crockett, King of the wild frontier’) over and over and over throughout the day. That was a week. A train ride? I, who have looked into the face of hell, can but laugh.
  6. Thanks to linxit for clarifying several answers, particularly “Rarely seen Lord” = BACKWOODSMAN.

    I had a bit of trouble finding this post. Could someone please add the crossword number, 24,957, to the blog title. Although other solvers may have moved on, I am still working through a huge backlog of puzzles.

    1. Sorry for that, tenbob – fixed now. I’m sure there was a title to begin with, but LJ has a habit of losing them if you go away and come back to it, which I think is what happened here.


  7. Seemed to take forever to get 20a, and false starts for 5d ( minibus , a bus of coal innit? ), 15d ATOM BOMB, and saw that 2d was an anagram, but not a simple reversal of the alternate letters, and so tried ORE with 5! ( that’s 5 factorial ) combinations of the S T I A E , giving a total time of more than an hour. Very tough puzzle, with many enjoyable clues.
    Doing these from book 19 , years after the rest of you, during Covid 19 pandemic isolation.

Comments are closed.