Saturday Times 26490 (13th August)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 12:06, which I was quite pleased with as this looked pretty tricky in places – a trap for the unwary at 15D, a few obscure words here and there, a bit of GK required. And of course the funny-looking clue for 11A (I needed a couple of checkers in place before I made any sense of it, but it was a good penny-drop moment).

1 A revolutionary has months in charge of higher education (8)
ACADEMIC – A + CADE + M(onths) + I(n) C(harge).
9 Chap is no angler, unfortunately (8)
ALGERNON – (no angler)*.
10 Creature with a male mother discovered in 1050 (6)
MAMMAL – A + M(ale) + MA (mother), inside ML (Roman numeral for 1050).
11 HRE 60 (10)
THREESCORE – HRE is THREE’S CORE. A bit of fun, this one, which generated a lot of pro and con comments on the forum. Comparisons with old chestnuts like GEGS (9,4) and HIJKLMNO (5) were a bit unfair though – at least this one has a definition!
12 Piece of ground needs a proper cut (4)
AREA – A + REA(l) (proper cut).
13 Thief making moves to kick cop in peevish fit (10)
PICKPOCKET – (kick cop)* inside PET (peevish fit).
16 Family having rams brought over in pioneer vehicle (7)
SPUTNIK – KIN (family) + TUPS (rams), all reversed. Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite, launched in 1957.
17 Clubs fight in the US and break up (7)
CRUMBLE – C(lubs) + RUMBLE (fight in the US).
20 Plan recycling for green alcohol (10)
CHARTREUSE – CHART (plan) + REUSE (recycling). The good stuff is green, but it also comes in yellow, a bit sweeter and not as strong.
22 Negligent missing son’s absence (4)
LACK – SLACK (negligent), minus the S for son.
23 One who believes some number to be involved in disputed robbery (10)
MONOTHEIST – N (some number) inside MOOT HEIST (disputed robbery). Is that what happened to those American swimmers?
25 Super nervous reaction coming from vinegar (6)
ACETIC – ACE (super) + TIC (nervous reaction).
26 Rupees I’m circulating with Benin currency (8)
RENMINBI – (Rupees I’m Benin)*. The currency of China, as opposed to its standard unit the yuan. I think this is similar to the relationship between British sterling and the pound.
27 Acting dishonestly about effect of global warming (8)
CHEATING – C (circa, about) + HEATING (effect of global warming).

2 Applaud actor’s lines turning up in silly speech (8)
CLAPTRAP – CLAP (applaud) + PART (actor’s lines) reversed.
3 One hanging around after slow lift (4,6)
DUMB WAITER – WAITER (one hanging around) after DUMB (slow).
4 Fishing reel using gearing that’s behind the times? (10)
MULTIPLIER – double definition. I took the first on faith as I’m no angler; the second is as in the number after the x (times) in e.g. “5 x 4 = 20”.
5 Sudden change of mind about betting odds (7)
CAPRICE – CA (circa, about – alternative abbreviation) + PRICE (betting odds).
6 Stare at headless phantom (4)
OGLE – BOGLE (phantom) minus its head.
7 At home taking wine with uncle (2,4)
IN HOCK – IN (at home) + HOCK (wine). Uncle is slang for a pawnbroker.
8 Make concerned university bother about society (8)
UNSETTLE – U(niversity) + NETTLE (bother) around S(ociety).
14 Commission penny with the Queen — another coin with date (10)
PERCENTAGE – P(enny) + ER (the Queen) + CENT (another coin) + AGE (date).
15 Be a companion to old parliamentarian Liberal in fix? (10)
COMPLEMENT – O(ld) + MP (parliamentarian) + L(iberal), all inside CEMENT (fix). Helpful wordplay to prevent spelling it with an I by mistake!
16 So my acer turned out to be an American plane (8)
SYCAMORE – (so my acer)*. Clever clue as the Chambers entry shows: “a tree of the maple family (Acer pseudoplatanus) called in Scotland the plane… (in the USA) any true plane (genus Platanus)”.
18 Italian turns up in frightful uncool expression (8)
LOCUTION – IT(alian) reversed inside (uncool)*.
19 Abnormally hungry but limit must go short on calories initially (7)
BULIMIC – BU(t) + LIMI(t) (both “going short”) + C(alories).
21 Screen beginning to cut out vitamin from sunlight (6)
AWNING – DAWNING (beginning), minus the D (vitamin from sunlight).
24 Prepare for cutting hospital unit (4)
HONE – H(ospital) + ONE (unit).

23 comments on “Saturday Times 26490 (13th August)”

  1. Almost misspelled RENMINBI, and would have misspelled BULIMIC if I’d had half a chance (I thought it was bulemia). Like Andy, I took MULTIPLIER on faith. DNK ‘bogle’. I laughed when I finally twigged to HRE 60, but then wondered–as did some on the forum–what the surface reading was, since all I could think of was Holy Roman Empire. HRE numbers are measures of hardness, evidently, but.
  2. 9:48, so obviously on the wavelength for this one.
    11ac isn’t really one for lovers of surface readings, is it? But I rather liked it.
    I thought the definition at 19dn was rather tasteless but a little research (aka looking in Collins) shows that BULIMIA and bulimia nervosa aren’t the same thing. So I’ve learned something useful.
    I know enough about how good my spelling isn’t to be on my guard when something like COMPLIMENT appears.

    Edited at 2016-08-20 02:15 am (UTC)

  3. DNF (without resorting to aids) because of what I DNK (Chinese currency and fishing tackle amongst other things). Solved 11ac but without a clue what HRE had to do with it.
  4. Count me firmly amongst the admirers of HRE 60. I compared it to GEGS etc because I think it deserves to go down in crossword folklore, perhaps even more because it is a complete clue with wordplay and definition. It may also be unrepeatable, since once the secret is out, it becomes “oh, not that again (sigh)”. Instant chestnut. Just think though, it could easily have been just R 60.
  5. In common with a lot of recent puzzles, I got all but one answer right, finally and desperately putting in RINMENBI instead of RENMINBI. As it’s a Saturday I allowed myself to carry on past my normal hour and finished with my error an hour and ten minutes.

    Not too unhappy, but I wish I was better at guessing the right version of a completely unknown foreign word clued by an anagram.

    I also wish that coming here to check my parsings hadn’t got the theme from Convoy stuck in my head again (“…and eleven long-haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus!”)

    Edited at 2016-08-20 08:32 am (UTC)

  6. I started this puzzle on a bus coming home from Ripon Races, which wasn’t the best environment, with a lot of bumps causing squiggles, and a rowdy set of companions distracting me, but I got about two thirds of the way through it before the bus dropped us back at our local where I had a quick beer and then went home and finished the rest in around 15 minutes. I also particularly liked HRE 60, having been totally baffled by it until I had a few crossers and the penny dropped. I liked the green alcohol too. I knew RENMINBI so didn’t have to worry about where to stick the vowels. I also had no trouble with MULTIPLIER as I have one of those reels in my tackle box, so called as they have gearing which multiplies the action of the winder. Inexpertly used during a cast, they can also result in an almighty bird’s nest! A fun puzzle I thought.

    Edited at 2016-08-20 11:36 am (UTC)

  7. Too difficult for me this week. Got started in NW but then ran out of steam. I did not know Bogle nor Multiplier. No idea about HRE 60 and a few others. I knew Renminbi but was looking for an anagram of Rupees I’m. So this was not my finest hour. Haven’t looked at today’s yet. David
  8. Enjoyable puzzle, very tough. Got there in the end though some definitions were unknown to me and I’d to check afterwards. Novelty clues like THREESCORE are fine, once they are fair (as this was). Hands up those who got it from wordplay. Thanks for excellent blog.
  9. Thanks, linxit. I eventually figured out THREESCORE but from comments in the forum, I thought there must be more to HRE than there actually was. Now I’m confused by GEGS!! Z8b8d8k does have a point about R60, though! No problems with Renminbi or Multiplier.
  10. My print out says 18 minutes, clocked HRE 60 and knew the Chinese money, thanks for explaining the MOOT bit and parsing bulimic.

    Edited at 2016-08-20 05:11 pm (UTC)

  11. Fortunately,RENMINBI was in a jumbo a few years ago.How is ALGERNON chap?(chap as in bloke)?(Ong’ara,Kenya)
    1. It’s a man’s name. In the Biggles books by Capt. W.E. Johns, Biggles’s cousin is called Algy (short for Algernon)Lacey.
      1. I was feeling a bit down because I had real difficulty with this – even with the words I should have known. But then you brought Biggles into it and that cheered me right up. A year or two ago we had a period with at least one Biggles comment a week – highly versatile material to work with I guess.
        1. Glad to be the bringer of happy thoughts. When I was at grammar school in Sunderland, the school library had quite a collection of Biggles books and I read them all 🙂

          Edited at 2016-08-20 10:20 pm (UTC)

          1. I’m now also reminded of the wonderful, but ultimately tragic book, Flowers for Algernon.
            1. Ah, but that Algernon was a laboratory mouse, not a chap! You’re right though, fantastic book which I’ve been meaning to re-read for years. I even bought a copy from a secondhand bookshop a couple of months ago, having previously read it in my teens.
              1. I saw the film (B&W) before I read the book, but I enjoyed the book more. Funnily enough, my daughter recommended the book to me and loaned me her copy. There’s a lot of food for thought in the story!

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