Saturday Times 26412 (14th May)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Much tougher than the previous week – solved on paper in about 20 mins. Looked like it was going to be a pangram as I was solving it, but there was no Y or Z. Very good puzzle, apart from the slight faux pas with 2dn.

1 Unconnected notes placed on record (8)
DISCRETE – RE, TE (notes) next to DISC (record).
5 Grant for recruit (6)
ASSIGN – AS (for) + SIGN (recruit).
8 Not all returned from Irish border (3)
RIM – hidden reversed in “from Irish”
9 Fool endlessly pleading not to be taken (2,1-7)
GO A-BEGGING – GOA(t) (fool endlessly) + BEGGING (pleading).
10 Hospital’s nurses moving around country (8)
HONDURAS – H(ospital’)S around (around)*.
11 Hands get better fast (6)
SECURE – S,E (hands, e.g. in bridge) + CURE (get better).
12 Seeing red, not silver, item of jewellery (4)
RING – RAGING (seeing red) minus AG (silver).
14 Falsification of tax is no sin for US confederacy (3,7)
SIX NATIONS – (taxis no sin)*. Nothing to do with rugby – this is another name for the Iroquois Confederacy of Native American peoples.
17 Son’s squealing after jumping across parallel bars (6,4)
EQUALS SIGN – S(on) inside (squealing)*.
20 Benefit payment an attempt to take in the taxman, once (4)
GIRO – GO (attempt) around IR (Inland Revenue, taxman once).
23 Regret bribe taken the wrong way affected one (6)
POSEUR – RUE SOP (regret bribe), reversed.
24 Busy with oxygen in supply tap (8)
STOPCOCK – PC (busy) + O(xygen), inside STOCK (supply).
25 Story of Napoleon’s rise, using brute force and power (6,4)
ANIMAL FARM – ANIMAL (brute) + F(orce) + ARM (power). George Orwell’s 1945 allegorical novel about the Soviet revolution, in which the pig Napoleon is based on Stalin.
26 Tongue is bright orange, first of all (3)
IBO – first letters of Is Bright Orange.
27 Headgear concerned with stopping hazards (6)
BERETS – RE (concerned with) inside BETS (hazards).
28 Check report of end of dry spell on radio? (4,4)
REIN BACK – sounds like “Rain back” (end of dry spell).

1 One surprisingly successful / alternative clue to 15? (4,5)
DARK HORSE – double definition.
2 French writer not one to put up with computer game (7)
SIMENON – NONE (not one) reversed, next to SIM (computer game). As a few pointed out on the Forum, Georges Simenon was Belgian, but the setter is reprieved if you take it to mean he wrote in French. My guess is that nobody bothered to check.
3 Rib available for stew (6)
RAGOUT – RAG (rib) + OUT (available).
4 Bluish article goes out in Brewers (3,6)
TEA LADIES – TEAL (bluish) + A (article) + DIES (goes out).
5 State capital — something valuable to blow on centre for trade (7)
AUGUSTA – AU (gold, something valuable) + GUST (to blow) + (tr)A(de). State capital of Maine (not Georgia).
6 Rock covers are irritating, then diverting (9)
SWITCHING – SWING (rock) around ITCH (are irritating). I spent a long time on this clue, thinking ITCHING=irritating and SW somehow denotes “rock covers”.
7 One memorably sent up doting father, finally, at home (7)
GAGARIN – GAGA (doting) + (fathe)R + IN (at home). Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.
13 What‘s given pear, extraordinarily? (9)
GRAPEVINE – (given pear)*.
15 A thing to disturb, with REM? (9)
NIGHTMARE – (A thing, REM)*, &lit. Could also be described as a DARK HORSE (see 1dn).
16 Show offender using smack consuming wine with judge (5,4)
SHOCK JOCK – SOCK (smack) around HOCK (wine), J(udge). Howard Stern springs to mind as an example.
18 Mention about academy being not short of members (7)
QUORATE – QUOTE (mention) around RA (Royal Academy).
19 Cap is right on old man, filling figure out (7)
SURPASS – R(ight) + PA (old man), inside SUSS (figure out).
21 Island one female short for holding dance: not good! (3,4)
IWO JIMA – I(one) + WOMA(n) (female short) around JI(g) (dance not good). Tricky wordplay, but the island should be familiar enough to biff and work out later!
22 Rising pop celebrity upset old primate (6)
APEMAN – PA (pop) reversed + NAME (celebrity) reversed.

22 comments on “Saturday Times 26412 (14th May)”

  1. Didn’t know about SIMENON, although I don’t suppose it would have slowed me down. What did slow me down was a failure to remember how GAGARIN was spelled–thought there was another R– which led me to give up on 6d for a long while. 5ac LOI.
  2. I have a list of famous Belgians ready to trot out on request, and Simenon is definitely one of them… Ickx, Merkx, Magritte …
  3. A good puzzle with SIX NATIONS taken on trust, though I would have known the rugby connection if that had been in the clue.

    I didn’t know that SIMENON was Belgian. I don’t think I could have forgotten it as otherwise he’d have been on my short list of famous Belgians. SIM was also taken on trust as the only computer games I could find are called “SimCity” and “The Sims”, not SIM alone.

    The negative in the definition at 9ac took some work to get my head round to square it with the answer, but I think I made sense of it in the end.

    1. A sim (short for simulation) is the class of game of which Sim City and The Sims are examples. I agree with you on 9ac, it was a bit strangely worded but makes for a nice surface reading.
  4. I found this tough and was pleased to get the top half done but had lots of gaps in the bottom which even after seeing the answers are not all clear.
    For 24a I had noted Stopcock in the margin but didn’t put it in. How does PC mean Busy?
    23a I was never close to and was looking for a word meaning Regret.
    16d is a phrase I know but would never have got from the clue without all the checkers and some guesswork. 19d very hard I thought. I had noted Iwo Jima and then put in Ill Wind.
    I could go on! David
    1. As Keith has said. It’s slang or dialect (Liverpool or generally northern, iirc) that I learnt only a couple of years ago through solving Times puzzles.
  5. Looked impossible on a first pass and didn’t get much easier, though some really excellent clues when things did finally start coming together. Didn’t have a clue how to parse STOPCOCK (never heard of busy=policeman) and only sort of figured out GRAPEVINE – as per Anonymous above. I loved the defs. for EQUALS SIGN, SHOCK JOCK and TEA LADIES but my COD has to go to GAGARIN.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  6. I really appreciate these blogs and read them most weekends. I wanted a little more explanation on 13dn – I get the anagrind, but where is the definition?
    1. I took it as an extended definition – it would be extraordinary if a grapevine gave you a pear.
      1. Thank you, and agree with BletchleyReject – lots of great clues…in retrospect!
  7. Didn’t see the extended definition for Grapevine, so had to take it on faith – thanks mohn2. The dual Nightmare and Dark Horse gave me a lot of crossers to work with early on; I particularly liked that the clues were all of a similar level of difficulty. thanks Andy, and setter
  8. Just to repeat here what I wrote on the Club forum on the day, no problem with “French writer” for Simenon by analogy with “French newspaper” for Le Devoir, the Canadian newspaper. Nice bit of misdirection, I thought.

    Edited at 2016-05-21 02:22 pm (UTC)

  9. 16:28. No real problems with this. No unknowns apart from the fact that SIMENON wasn’t French, which helped!
  10. Sorry about the error with Simenon. Mind you, Agatha Christie at least once appeared to forget that her own creation Hercule Poirot was Belgian
    (“Poirot was at his most French today” … )


  11. SECURE – S,E (hands, e.g. in bridge) + CURE (get better).

    The intransitive use of “cure” to mean “get better” is mentioned in the OED as obsolete and rare. A quotation from Romeo and Juliet is given…
    One desperate grief cures with another’s languish

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