Saturday Times 26496 (20th August)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 16:10 for this top-class puzzle which was full of wit and invention. I’m thinking of the wordplay to clues like 14ac especially, but also 17ac, 4dn and 16dn. The praise is not all just for the setter though – the editors of Chambers Dictionary also deserve a mention for the 5dn definition.

BTW, sorry about the missing definition indicators – I tried to modernise my html markup with style definitions and span tags, but obviously LJ prefers the old-fashioned way, as it’s all just been ignored. I don’t have time to fix it at the moment either.

1 Recoiling part of gunpowder-based cavalry weapon (5)
SABRE – hidden reversed in “gunpowderbased”.
4 Base used for rest to live, not live across street (8)
BEDSTEAD – BE (live) + DEAD (not live) around ST(reet).
8 Hamlet feature is divine scenes in ruins (14)
INDECISIVENESS – (is divine scenes)*. Hamlet the Shakespeare character, not a small village! Definition ref his famous “To be or not to be” speech I presume.
10 Branch I wrapped in drained aromatic herb (9)
SPEARMINT – ARM (branch) + I, inside SPENT (drained).
11 Spaniard known for penning large whale (5)
LORCA – L(arge) + ORCA (whale, the killer whale to be precise). Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet.
12 Old Bailey hack has no love for disorder (6)
RUMPLE – RUMPOLE (self-described “Old Bailey hack” in the TV series) minus the O (no love).
14 Service’s founder to close large town’s front before the rest (8)
FACILITY – FAIL (founder) around C (large town’s “front”), followed by ITY (the rest of the word for a large town). Tricky wordplay which I don’t think I’ve seen before.
17 Is obliged to cross road in difficulty (8)
HARDSHIP – HAS (is obliged) around RD, + HIP (in).
18 Bar occupied by old William Archer (6)
BOWMAN – BAN (bar) around O(ld) WM (William).
20 Pick up head of lettuce to take home (5)
LEARN – L(ettuce) + EARN (take home).
22 Game with boxes of plant for brewer, alternative to rye? (9)
HOPSCOTCH – HOP (plant for brewer) + SCOTCH (alternative to rye, as in types of whisk(e)y).
24 Alternately 20 and work on this / stage of afternoon tea? (8,6)
SANDWICH COURSE – double definition.
25 Entire manoeuvres having enlisted men turn around (8)
REORIENT – (entire)* around OR (enlisted men).
26 Fashion line displayed in eyesore (5)
STYLE – L(ine) inside STYE (eyesore).

1 Use of pins to prevent movement on mat (8,4)
SCISSORS HOLD – cryptic definition for a wrestling term.
2 Person turning up for one hash (5)
BODGE – BOD (person) + EG (for one) reversed. IT term for what in my current job they prefer us to call a “tactical solution”.
3 Questionable silence about Catholic rings (9)
ENCIRCLES – (silence)* around RC (Roman Catholic).
4 Balkan region stunted trees after making a couple of switches (6)
BOSNIA – BONSAI (stunted trees) with the N and S switched, and the A and I too.
5 Not working, certainly needs to check in for unscheduled time off (5,3)
DUVET DAY – DUD (not working) + AY (certainly), around VET (check). bigtone53 on the Forum suggested checking out the Chambers definition for this, which is one of their classics: a day’s absence from work arranged at short notice between an employee devoid of inspiration for a plausible excuse and an employer who has heard them all before”.
6 Weight, area and length of pitches (5)
TONAL – TON (weight) + A(rea) + L(ength).
7 Drum and bass I mixed for Madness in performance? (9)
ABSURDISM – (drum bass I)*.
9 Pretty / painless, as contact should be? (4,2,3,3)
EASY ON THE EYE – double definition, one cryptic.
13 Spread disease mainly carried by horse (9)
MARMALADE – MALAD(y) (disease mainly) inside MARE (horse).
15 Smooth ruffled decoration from Prussia (4,5)
IRON CROSS – IRON (smooth) + CROSS (ruffled). Originally a Prussian war medal instituted in 1813, but reintroduced by Hitler in 1939.
16 Towering intellect genius has recorded initially is accepted by ambassador (4-4)
HIGH-RISE – first letters of Intellect Genius Has Recorded + IS, all inside HE (His Excellency, ambassador.
19 Consequence of varying South Park’s opening (6)
UPSHOT – (South Park)*.
21 Free article raised most profound point (5)
NADIR – RID (free) + AN (article), all reversed.
23 Drag heels, like lips after many a drag? (5)
TARRY – double definition, one cryptic.

8 comments on “Saturday Times 26496 (20th August)”

  1. I did pretty well, though as was my pattern last week failed with one letter wrong — I’d carelessly stuck in “absurdium” instead of ABSURDISM. Seem to remember enjoying the puzzle a lot, as a whole, and I finished in only a smidge over the hour. Thanks to setter and blogger.

    (Aha–so I was misremembering “spanine” actually being in the crossword! Thanks for clearing that up… You’d think I’d have spotted it wasn’t part of the anagram, but my brain still seems to be in “early” mode.)

    Edited at 2016-08-27 10:05 am (UTC)

  2. About 40 minutes, so not too difficult but I liked this with some amusing clues such as SCISSORS HOLD and EASY ON THE EYE. DUVET DAY (thanks for the Chambers definition which is a beauty) and SANDWICH COURSE are not terms used here (as far as I know anyway) and I hadn’t come across either before.

    Nice to be reminded of the ‘Old Bailey hack…’. I haven’t seen him on the TV for ages. I had always hoped there might be a special with Rumpole defending Arthur Daley (and perhaps even ‘Er Indoors meeting She Who Must Be Obeyed), but it never happened, more’s the pity.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  3. COD undoubtedly DUVET DAY, which is up there with onesie and wearing pyjamas all day, i.e. not in my orbit. The Hamlet was a lovely clue, but I am too imbued with the play for it to be anything other than a write-in. Thanks setter and blogger.
  4. 5dn DUVET DAY COD if not month! I thought the setter might have utilised D-DAY somehow.

    50 minutes of Saturday fun and 13dn MARMALADE, always a good start to the day along with MARMITE.

    MARMITE is not available in Shanghai these days and decent MARMALADE not so easy to find. French marmalade is usually minced – but the tangerine variety is acceptable. The Chinese and the delights of breakfast are strangers.

    horryd Shanghai

  5. Fine amusing puzzle, I recall doing it in 20 minutes or so before the little ones woke up, liked the DUVET DAY and the Spanish poet.
  6. I managed to get about half of this quite quickly and then ground to a halt. It was more accessible than the previous week but after several returns to the puzzle over subsequent days I got no further.
    I was defeated inter alia by Bedstead, Spearmint, Encircles and Rumple. With so many gaps guessing was difficult. I had Kosovo provisionally for 4d and was looking for els and oks (stunted trees).
    However it was an enjoyable puzzle. On a long train journey yesterday (27/8) I completed most of the puzzle confidently with 3 or 4 unparsed. I’ll be interested to see if it is judged an easier test. David
  7. ….can also be delivered by Amazon to us in France, I’m pleased to say, Pip!
    Thanks for an excellent blog, linxit. Yesterday we were showing Aussie friends around the Bayeux Tapestry and giving them a quick tour of the D-Day beaches, hence the late arrival of this comment.
    DUVET DAY caused a big hold-up but so did MARGARINE. I don’t think if MARMALADE as a spread but neither do I think of SINDWICH COURSE! My other credit goes to my wife Sue who suggested SPEARMINT.

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