Saturday Times 26322 (30th Jan)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Apologies for the lateness – I had internet trouble yesterday. Solving time 20:12, struggled to get going at first as I was a bit bleary-eyed from the night before. Bit of a mixed bag with a few easy write-ins, others much trickier. A couple of great cryptic definitions in 21ac and 20dn, and one (1ac) that’s just plain wrong!

1 Condemn drink half-heartedly consumed (6)
BERATE – BE(e)R (drink half-heartedly) + ATE (consumed). The definition’s just wrong though.
4 Busy organising a third act — about to drop (4,2,2)
HARD AT IT – (a third act)* without the C (about to drop).
10 Confirmation given by demonstrator like Mac? (11)
SHOWERPROOF – PROOF (confirmation) next to SHOWER (demonstrator).
11 Odd bits of aviary’s character (3)
AIR – odd letters of AvIaRy.
12 Throw back tailless crustacean (7)
LOBSTER – LOB (throw) + STER(n) (back tailless). Coincidentally I’ll be making a lobster risotto tonight for tea.
14 Managers (only one English) gathering to handle releases (7)
EXCUSES – EX(e)CS (managers, with only one E) around USE (handle).
15 Mail coach delivery brought round about exit, maybe (5,9)
STAGE DIRECTION – STAGE (mail coach) + DICTION (delivery) around RE (about).
17 Carried off, horseman reportedly remains for single performances (3-5,6)
ONE-NIGHT STANDS – ONE-NIGHT (sounds like “won” (carried off), “knight” (horseman) + STANDS (remains). This probably had a 95% BIFF rating at least! I certainly didn’t bother parsing it before writing it in.
21 I soundly punish one of many in front of pupils (7)
EYELASH – EYE (sounds like I) + LASH (punish).
22 Scrap that’s spoken about, going round the houses? (7)
ORBITAL – BIT (scrap) inside ORAL (spoken).
23 Island briefly hit — from east or west (3)
COS – could be COS(h) or SOC(k), hit briefly in either direction. Normally spelt with a K, a Greek island in the Aegean.
24 Car / that can be traded at fixed rate (11)
CONVERTIBLE – double definition.
26 Returning men departed after Dad took off (8)
PARODIED – OR (men) reversed + DIED (departed), after PA (dad).
27 Hasty Republican shifts back in landing area (6)
UNWARY – RUNWAY (landing area), with the R for Republican moved back.

1 By the look of it, killer herb is cook’s last (8)
BASILISK – BASIL (herb) + IS + (coo)K. A mythical serpent which could kill with a glance.
2 Port wine given no approval from Berlin (3)
RIO – RIOJA (wine), without JA (approval from Berlin).
3 Start of tense struggle, having lost women’s support (7)
TRESTLE – T(ense) + (w)RESTLE (struggle, without the W).
5 There’s hearsay evidence of boundary as previously laid down (14)
AFOREMENTIONED – sounds like “a four” (a boundary in cricket) mentioned.
6 Want skilful nurses here in France (7)
DEFICIT – DEFT (skilful) around ICI (here in France).
7 Blast wrongly taken as hint to start (5,4,2)
THAT’S TORN IT – (hint to start)*.
8 Repetitive singer‘s extremely tough career (6)
THRUSH – T(oug)H + RUSH (career).
9 Likelihood of person catching criminal? (8,6)
SPORTING CHANCE – (person catching)*.
13 Boffin drinks with Queen — it’s puzzling (5,6)
BRAIN TEASER – BRAIN (boffin) + TEAS (drinks) + ER (Queen).
16 Source of tune players interpreted? (8)
PSALTERY – (T, players)*, &lit. A medieval stringed instrument.
18 Elevated area kept by deceased sister with distinction (7)
NUANCED – A(rea) inside DEC(eased) NUN (sister), all reversed.
19 Asian Superman needs to stay inside (7)
TIBETAN – TITAN (Superman) around BE (stay).
20 Almost every sheep’s outside in proverbially stormy location (6)
TEACUP – EAC(h) (almost every) inside TUP (sheep).
25 Potential killer revealed by blood groups (3)
BOA – B, O and A are all blood groups.

11 comments on “Saturday Times 26322 (30th Jan)”

  1. I’ve lost my printout but I think I found this moderately easy for a Saturday. I can’t see a major problem with the definition at 1ac though it may be stretching things a little. Collins has ‘censure’ for ‘condemn’ which doesn’t seem that far removed from ‘scold’ or ‘criticise angrily’ mentioned in most of the usual sources for ‘berate’. Other words that seem to apply to both are ‘reprove’ and ‘upbraid’.

    Edited at 2016-02-07 09:38 am (UTC)

  2. 13:31, so no real problems for me. I thought the definition in 1ac was a bit loose, but close enough in a disapproving sort of way. You can justify this in a very roundabout way with Collins:
    > Condemn = ‘express strong disapproval of’.
    > Berate = scold harshly; scold = chide = rebuke = reprimand = ‘speak disapprovingly to’.
    A bit of a stretch, I’ll grant you!
  3. Didn’t know the phrase ‘That’s torn it’, so that was last in after the cunning ‘excuses’ (‘handle’ for ‘use’ continued to outfox me long after I sussed the other bit). Of course, I was looking for a noun too.

    I didn’t even bat an eyelid at 1 across, so either those Linguistics degrees have made me an ultra descriptivist, or I am far more tolerant of ambiguity than I ever thought I was. Must tell the wife…

  4. I enjoyed this although it was a little on the easy side. Linxit might feel we’re ganging up on him but Collins has ‘censure’ high on its lists for both ‘condemn’ and BERATE.
  5. I had a good go at this and got most of it. Defeated by Teacup which I see now as an excellent clue; Convertible-no excuses here as I have some financial knowledge,just didn’t see it; and didn’t know Psaltery.Thought Berate = Condemn was fine.
    In contrast, have made very little progress with the 6 February crossword. David
  6. I had a question mark next to Berate as well. That is my weakness, though – I never know whether it’s a crosswords-is-crosswords looseness, a British nuance, or I’ve got it all wrong. In this case, the wordplay eliminated wrong. Orbital was a similar ‘has to be’ – I still don’t see why “the houses”. I liked starting and finishing with B-led potential killers. Thanks for the blog Andy.
    1. Paul, ORBITAL in the UK is a type of road or route that encircles a town or city, so goes “round the houses”.
  7. Definitely easy for me, although I biffed 5d, and rightly so, as I see from Andy’s explanation. I suppose I should have expected that cricket would be involved. A very slightly raised eyebrow at 1ac, soon lowered. I’ve become familiar with ORBITAL and PSALTERY thanks to these cryptics. Nice surface on 21ac.

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