Saturday Times 26136 (27th June)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Hope to get this done sometime this afternoon when I get a minute to spare. I’ve been busy all morning trying to rescue what’s left of the garden after last night’s battering! OK, here it is – I forgot to note my solving time but don’t remember struggling too much with it, probably sub-15 mins. A really fun puzzle though – I don’t think 18ac has ever been used as an answer before (although no doubt someone will come up with the exact puzzle number where it last appeared…) It’s something Kenneth Connor might have come out with in a Carry On film, so our American friends might have struggled with that one!

1 Habit of Conservative Member of Parliament (4)
COWL – C(onservative) + OWL (member of parliament – the collective noun for a group of them).
3 Animal in OT reincarnated three times as lamb (7,3)
BALAAM’S ASS – (as,as,as,lamb)*. Talking donkey from a story in the Book of Numbers.
9 Young politician touring at the appropriate time, briefly (4,3)
LION CUB – LIB (politician) around ON CU(e) (at the appropriate time, briefly).
11 Tie to be broadcast: semi, indeed (3,4)
NOT HALF – NOT (sounds like “knot”, tie) + HALF (semi).
12 Post holder’s description of US bodies — I hesitate to say: corrupt (9)
INCUMBENT – INC (description of US bodies? I suppose it means Inc. as in US company names) + UM (I hesitate to say) + BENT (corrupt).
13 Small antelope in pen recoiling before one (5)
ORIBI – BIRO (pen) reversed + I (one).
14 What has fellow worker maybe initially helping poor? (12)
PHILANTHROPY – PHIL (fellow) + ANT (worker) + H(elping) + ROPY (poor). I guess this must be semi-&lit (or 3/4-&lit?) because “What has” isn’t part of the wordplay.
18 School audio plays without children’s initial agreement, ironically (1,6,5)
I SHOULD COCOA – (school audio)* around C(hildren).
21 Saw underneath wheels, removing front (5)
MOTTO – BOTTOM (underneath), first letter removed and reversed.
22 Back America to beat much of India (9)
HINDUSTAN – HID (back) + US (America) + TAN (beat).
24 Paparazzi sneak forwards (7)
RAT PACK – RAT (sneak) + PACK (forwards – in rugby).
25 Italian city is situated in plain to the west (7)
TREVISO – IS inside OVERT (plain) reversed.
26 Head boy left to squeal: he was out for the count (3,7)
VAN HELSING – VAN (head) + HE (boy) + L(eft) + SING (squeal). Vampire hunter in the original Dracula by Bram Stoker.
28 Jelly range confectioner ultimately wanted (4)
AGAR – AGA (range) + (confectione)R.

1 Brand ten exercises for a female “inspiring” (8)
CALLIOPE – CALL (brand) + 10 + PE (exercises). The muse of eloquence and epic poetry.
2 Go after sort of current trendy wallpaper style (8)
WOODCHIP – WOO (go after) + DC (sort of current) + HIP (trendy).
4 Maybe take constitutional risk, deposing leader (5)
AMBLE – GAMBLE (risk), without the first letter.
5 Type appearing in drag, topless or nude (2,7)
AU NATUREL – NATURE (type) inside (h)AUL (drag, topless).
6 Film competition different university runs internally (6,7)
MOTION PICTURE – (competition)* around U(niversity) R(uns).
7 Sort of race gear a bicycle needs (6)
ARABIC – hidden in “gear a bicycle”.
8 Cockney sulks when opening number’s ending (6)
SUFFIX – ‘UFF (Cockney sulks) inside SIX (number).
10 Kind of pacifist, moderate at first, then consumed with rage (13)
COMPASSIONATE – CO (Conscientious Objector, pacifist) + M(oderate) + PASSION (rage) + ATE (consumed). (
15 A second drinks order? (3,6)
TWO SHAKES – double definition.
16 Object after this rustic Johnny finally gets old harvester’s job? (8)
SCYTHING – THING (object) after last letters of this rustic Johnny.
17 An easy target, but donor’s unsettled (4,4)
BARN DOOR – BAR (but) + (donor)*.
19 Rally, in short, not taking the rehearsed route (6)
IMPROV – IMPROV(e) (rally, in short).
20 Drug crime stopped by volunteers over time (6)
STATIN – SIN (crime) around TA (volunteers), T(ime).
23 Impossible, raising leg weight (3,2)
NOT ON – ON (leg side in cricket) reversed + TON (weight).

19 comments on “Saturday Times 26136 (27th June)”

  1. You’re right – never heard I should cocoa, but it was the only thing that fit. Similarly, I figured out what Van Hesling wanted pretty quickly but didn’t have the GK – not being an anagram he was tougher to work out. Thanks for the blog. Hope the garden recovers.
  2. This took ages (about 50 minutes) but I got there in the end. I found it very difficult to get started and didn’t seem to be on wavelength this morning. Finally got going with ORIBI, BALAAM’S ASS, and PHILANTHROPY. I still can’t see “brand” as CALL in 1d, but the answer was obvious from the definition. I had a giggle at the “out for the count” definition of VAN HELSING, and generally enjoyed this puzzle very much – in spite (or maybe because) of all my problems. It’s a pity that no one seems to comment on your Saturday blog. It’s like a voice crying in the wilderness! But many thanks for your contributions. Ann
  3. 25 mins. I struggled with this one, and BALAAM’S ASS was my LOI after I decided that it had to be the answer based on the wordplay. A post-solve trawl through the web suggested that “Balaam’s donkey” is the more usual translation of the original Aramaic/Greek/Latin, but as I hadn’t heard of either I can’t use it as an excuse.

    This might have been a puzzle from one of the setters that I usually have plenty of trouble with. 12ac, 14ac, 26ac and 2dn were all charades but it seemed to take me an age to identify them as such. I also biffed MOTTO so thanks for parsing it Andy.

  4. Enjoyed this immensely, even though it put a hole in my morning. VAN HELSING is beautifully clued, as is MOTTO and INCUMBENT among others. I should have watched more Carry On films because I SHOULD COCOA was completely unknown but had to be right. I endorse Ann’s comment re your Saturday blog.
  5. Took forever, and then I blew it by typing in ‘Trevino’ (associating with the golfer?). Somehow, I actually did know I SHOULD COCOA–well, not know, but it was hidden in memory. Ditto Ann and sidcuppa; today even more than usual, since a number of clues escaped me. A lovely puzzle, but I could have done without the Arabic ‘race’.
  6. Between the ASS and the COCOA, I was, like others fairly well stumped. I think I only heard the latter as “I should bloody well cocoa” (Sid James?) and had no idea what it meant. Seems it’s CRS. Forgetting VAN HELSING didn’t help either; but loved the “literal”.

    Wasn’t around for the blog this time last week (26130) but meant to say that a WIGWAM is far from being a tent. Perhaps the setter was getting it confused with a teepee (tipi)?

    1. However, one of the defs in Chambers for WIGWAM is “often applied to the cone-shaped dwelling more correctly known as a tepee”.So the setter is on safe ground.
  7. Interesting and enjoyable puzzle. I was initially confused by 18A as I knew it as “I should coco”, which was an album by Supergrass, but it turns out that’s just an alternate spelling. Not a fan of answers like BALAAM’S ASS, which doesn’t seem to be a standard phrase even if it’s gettable from the wordplay.
    1. BALAAM’S ASS was my second one in after COWL, but from what people have been saying here and on the CC forum those two caused a lot of problems. I probably came across BALAAM’S ASS as a phrase at Sunday School – they’ve probably changed it to DONKEY now to prevent juvenile sniggering at the back – we were a lot more innocent 40+ years ago!

      I was sure I had a Supergrass album (Road To Rouen) but I can’t find it now. Your comment reminded me of their existence and made me want to play it again 🙁

      1. Funnily enough, the hint I needed to get the unknown BALAAM’S ASS was seeing the checkers and anagram fodder and then recalling a random Scottish band called Balaam and the Angel, which sounded like a biblical reference. It’s extremely rare that my non-crossword-obtained musical knowledge is of any use in Times puzzles, so for it to help with two clues in one puzzle was quite the surprise.
      2. You may have been innocent, but I remember standing in the synagogue with my friend, both of us trying desperately to repress the giggles as the rabbi read, “And Abraham arose, and saddled his ass,…”
  8. It’s simple: Chambers should have more sense and use ” often confused with” rather than “often applied to”. Anthropologists unite!
  9. Thank you very much for this solution.
    I can complete the QC most days and look at the Saturday crossword most weeks (I have completed a few with difficulty).
    I looked at this for about 10 minutes and could not get a single clue.
    Must try harder! David
  10. A bit tardy, perhaps, but I’d like to echo an appreciation of the blog. I found this quite challenging, but in the end only “I SHOULD COCOA” was unknown. Eventually finished after 62 minutes. NW corner was my undoing. I remembered a parliament of rooks and crows, but had forgotten owls. Guessing apes (thinking of behaviour at PMQ’s perhaps), I got stuck on 2d. I quite liked BALAAMS ASS, 12a, 1d and 6d, but VAN HELSING was my favourite.
  11. Thank you very much for this solution.
    I can complete the QC most days and look at the Saturday crossword most weeks (I have completed a few with difficulty).
    I looked at this for about 10 minutes and could not get a single clue.
    Must try harder! David
  12. Thanks for the blog. Eventually get round to checking the answers and parsing some of them. I’m appreciative of all the bloggers’ efforts, especially the weekend ones, where not many people comment., so it may seem less rewarding. Keep up the good work!
    Linda Lofthouse

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