Saturday Times 24987 (Oct 22nd – Championship Day!)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 32:23, on the train on the way to the Championships last Saturday morning, although I was hampered by eight loud cackly women in the next seats, on their first ever trip to London from Brum! You can imagine…

Very hard puzzle nevertheless, which wouldn’t have been out of place in the final. They always do that on the Championship Saturday though, just to worry us lesser mortals. As is often the case with real stinkers, this one’s a pangram.

NB The font has just gone back to Courier from some sans serif nonsense for typing in the entry. I am so pleased!

1 ANTIGONE – GONE (left) with ANTI (opposed to) in front. Refers to the play by Sophocles, although I remember the one by Jean Anouilh that I had to study for French A-Level.
5 NUTMEG – double definition (the second is football slang for putting the ball through an opponent’s legs).
10 CREAM SODA – REAMS (leaves en masse) inside COD, A.
11 PODIA – AID OP reversed.
12 GOZO – GO (journey) + OZ reversed. A small island near Malta.
13 SHOWCASED – WC (ladies perhaps) + AS (like), inside SHOE (footwear) + D(iamonds).
15 BUNKER HILL – ER (royal) + H(ospital), inside BUNK (bed) + ILL (sick). A battle of the American Revolutionary War.
17 EMMA – hidden reversed in “scam, mending”.
19 EONS – (pig)EONS. PIG (sort of Latin – familiar to anyone who solved the Listener crossword a couple of weeks before!) removed from PIGEON’S (e.g. Homer’s). This one caught a lot of people out, going by comments on the Crossword Club forum.
20 CATTLE GRID – C(lubs) + A TT (non-drinking) + LEG (member) + RID (free).
22 TRAPEZIUM – TUM (corporation) around (a prize)*.
24 ASHY – A(rea) + SHY (pitch).
26 AITCH – A + ITCH (long).
27 TRY SQUARE – TRY (stab) + SQUARE (old-fashioned).
28 LARYNX – LAX (loose) around RY (line) + N(ew).
29 TELETEXT – ELE(c)T (choose to omit chapter) + EX (former partner), all inside TT (times).

1 ARCH – alternate letters of “Check rear” reversed.
2 THE MORNING AFTER – (form threatening)*
3 GAME OVER – OVER (more than) after GAME (willing).
4 NOOKS – NO (small number) + OKS (passes). I thought “security areas” was a bit weak, a bit forced for the surface reading.
6 UNPICK – PICK (choice) next to UN (international organisation).
7 MAD AS A MARCH HARE – cryptic definition, ref. Alice in Wonderland.
8 GRANDDADDY – GRAND (piano) + D(aughter) + ADD (put on) + Y (variable).
9 WAGON-LIT – WAG ON (keep shaking) + LIT (burning). A sleeping carriage on a train, hence “scene of rail crash”. Brilliant!
14 OBJECT BALL – B(ook) + ALL (excluding nothing) after OBJECT (protest).
16 HYACINTH – (in yacht)* + H(ard).
18 PETANQUE – PE (exercises) + QUE (which in French) around TAN (bronze). A game similar to bowls.
21 PEAHEN – HE (Helium, light gas) inside PEA (vegetable), (ove)N. I assume “slicing” indicates insertion, but it’s really only necessary for the surface reading.
23 MAYBE – MAY (part of spring) + (tie-)BE(ams).
25 DEBT – DEB(u)T.

9 comments on “Saturday Times 24987 (Oct 22nd – Championship Day!)”

  1. I too did this on the way up to london but, perhaps not being encumbered by loud women, I didn’t find it hard.. c20mins in all.
    Ah, cream soda, that takes me back… irn bru, sarsparilla, tizer… I used to like it as a callow youth, but I very much doubt if I could stomach any of them now.
  2. Tough, but not as hard as this Friday’s (‘Polyglot’ – 24992), with first in 16dn after some minutes. Agreed that NOOKS for ‘security areas’ was weak, while EONS took me 7-8 minutes at the end. I was working vaguely around ‘Dog [Latin]’ as the bit to delete, which is actually, according to the source of all true knowledge – Wikipedia, closer to real Latin than its porcine equivalent. COD to 23 for the relative novelty of having ‘perhaps’ as the definition.

    I wouldn’t have believed a place called GOZO could exist. We have Gaza already. What chance of there being a full set – Geze, Gizi and Guzu – out there somehere?

  3. Started last thing at night this was too much for my tired brain so I gave up after 15 minutes and returned to it the following morning. In all it took me 50 minutes. I didn’t know the second meaning of NUTMEG, GOZO or TRY SQUARE but the wordplay was fair so I worked them out and didn’t need to resort to aids.
  4. 30:23. I did this in the afternoon after coming home from Wapping. I found it quite tricky but not unusually so for a Saturday. This week’s was much easier but I managed a very silly typo.
    I didn’t know BUNKER HILL or TRY SQUARE, and I didn’t have a clue about EONS – it just went in from definition. It’s a little bit stretchy but also very clever. Thanks for explaining it.
    I liked “scene of rail crash” a lot, and also the use of “perhaps”.
    I studied Anouilh’s version of Antigone too. Can’t remember a thing about it.
  5. Done today with my first morning cuppa. 29 minutes, so not all that hard. I didn’t understand EONS or NUTMEG until coming here but guessed both correctly from the checkers. I had a wonderful laugh-out-loud moment with WAGON LIT – I had the LIT part early and for ages I couldn’t think of any word to precede it. Great stuff. (Incidentally, I was once a passenger in a car that tried to do a U-turn on a CATTLE GRID. The car,a Mini, slotted in very neatly and came to rest on its axles. We had to be lifted out by four lorry drivers. Our driver was an emeritus professor of metallurgy who should have known better!)
  6. Was on the verge of hitting the ‘post comment’ icon, noticed I was ‘anonymous’, so logged in, to find my message deleted. (For some reason, I’m now being logged off this blog every day.) Anyway, I think I’d like to try whatever falooker has for tea; for me, this was a disaster: 11 clues solved in the first hour, and what seemed like no prospect for getting any more of them. In the end, I managed a major DNF: couldn’t get NOOKS or DEBT or EONS; and while I got PEAHEN and TELETEXT, I couldn’t figure out why I got them. All in all, a depressing experience.
  7. 18:40 for me. I tackled it when I was still feeling a little numb after the exertions of the Championship (I seem to lack stamina nowadays), but I’m not sure I’d have been much faster if I’d been fresher. Nice puzzle, though I agree that 4dn (NOOKS) is a little weak.

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