Saturday Times 26520 (17th Sept)

Solving time – about 17 minutes in the paper without rushing. It took me ages afterwards to see how 13ac worked, but no problems anywhere else (although I thought 19dn was a bit weak).

1 Competition to get church into expensive contract (12)
STEEPLECHASE – CH(urch) inside STEEP (expensive), LEASE (contract).
8 New and mostly strong cloth (7)
NANKEEN – N(ew) + AN(d) + KEEN (strong). Not the first synonym for strong that comes to mind, and it isn’t in Chambers either. It is in Collins though (“intense or strong”) so the setter’s off the hook. It’s a type of cotton cloth made in Nanking in China, so I suppose it is mostly strong (I’m sure quality control is as good there as anywhere these days).
9 Closes up / page (7)
BUTTONS – double definition. “Page” as in the pantomime character in Cinderella.
11 Possibly maximum speed of ship’s bow (7)
TOPKNOT – a ship’s highest speed might be called its TOP KNOT by a crossword setter!
12 Inventor / cut down to size? (7)
WHITTLE – double definition. Sir Frank Whittle invented the jet engine.
13 Tweak behind more, left to right a bit (5)
ALTER – LATER (behind more), with the L(eft) shifted to the right. Last one parsed, although I threw it in from the definition anyway.
14 Rip-off maintained by boss? I see what you mean (3-6)
LIP-READER – (rip)* inside LEADER (boss).
16 Manages to give up dessert, to get active again (4,5)
KICK START – KICKS (manages to give up) + TART (dessert).
19 Show Cockney’s claim to be tough needs rejecting (5)
DRAMA – AM ‘ARD (Cockney’s claim to be tough) reversed.
21 Foolish not to start song with backing, a Shakespeare setting (7)
ILLYRIA – (s)ILLY (foolish not to start) + AIR (song) reversed. Twelfth Night was set there.
23 Take a tumble, missing the start – that’s the end (3,4)
ALL OVER – (f)ALL OVER (take a tumble, missing the start). Quickest write-in for a long time!
24 Pair of tablets temporarily lower, with sound credit (7)
DIPTYCH – DIP (temporarily lower) + TYCH (sounds like “tick”, credit).
25 Abolish enclosure? Counsel may be for it (7)
26 Pass on instruction after break’s beginning to relax farm worker (6,6)
BORDER COLLIE – COL (pass) next to ORDER (instruction) after B(reak) + LIE (relax).

1 Paper’s prize feature on star (7)
2 Depend on soldiers to support English queen (7)
ELEANOR – LEAN (depend) + OR (soldiers), all under E(nglish). Henry II’s queen, in the 12th century.
3 Smoke in fact at intervals seen in dish (9)
PANATELLA – (i)N(f)A(c)T inside PAELLA (dish).
4 Joint, about a pound, lifted sadness (5)
ELBOW – LB (pound) inside WOE (sadness) reversed.
5 Emergency advice received here, then oil moving parts (7)
HOTLINE – (then oil)*.
6 Exclaimed, being rejected having dropped round (7)
SHOUTED – OUT (rejected) inside SHED (dropped).
7 An obsession with single number on record? (3-5,4)
ONE-TRACK MIND – cryptic definition.
10 Extra small fruit, one potentially infectious (5-7)
SPEAR-CARRIER – S(mall) PEAR (fruit) + CARRIER (one potentially infectious).
15 Boy painted round Dad – I’d finished off (3,4,2)
PUT PAID TO – PUTTO (boy painted) around PA (dad), I’D.
17 State agent goes over and over song (7)
CALYPSO – CAL (state) + SPY (agent) reversed + O(ver).
18 Drenched in mist, ramblers finally fell to their knees? (7)
SPRAYED – (rambler)S + PRAYED (fell to their knees?)
19 Miserable amount of benefit? (7)
DOLEFUL – cryptic definition.
20 Progress very limited in a social event (7)
ADVANCE – V(ery) inside A DANCE (a social event).
22 Not at all like one described as crashing endlessly round hospital (5)
ABHOR – A BOR(e) (one described as crashing, endlessly) around H(ospital).

12 comments on “Saturday Times 26520 (17th Sept)”

  1. 15 minutes written on my printout, no particular issues with this one. I think I asked Mrs K if NANKEEN was a kind of cloth, as she’s the expert in that department.
  2. I had problems starting and finishing but was quite proud of ILLYIA as first-one-in with no checkers (of course) and also pleased having biffed BORDER COLLIE with no idea for ages how it worked. I’m not convinced with 19dn as a cryptic definition. “Miserable” is a literal definition and “dole” is benefit but does “amount of” clue anything.
      1. I agree that’s how it’s supposed to work but it seemed to me like describing a sack of potatoes as a ‘potatoful’.
        1. Well, not quite, inasmuch as ‘doleful’ is somewhat more euphonious than the quadrisyllabic ‘potatoful’, and a real word, to boot.
          1. My point is that a DOLEFUL is an amount of dole (benefit) in the way a sackful is an amount of sacks. Which is to say, it isn’t.

    Time 38 mins FOI 19ac DRAMA

    LOI 22dn ABHOR

    19dn DOLEFUL was OK IMO but not up to muster

    horryd Shanghai

  4. Made good progress with this at first but could not get 1a for ages. I was also missing 3d, 4d and 5d so not much help there.
    Anyway coming back to it on Thursday I made the breakthrough and managed to finish this correctly. Could not parse 1a so thanks as always to the blogger. David
  5. 19d came up a few years ago in the Sunday Times clue setting competition. I submitted “A West End hit from awful going on to do with the French, just like ‘Les Miserables'”. (DO+LE(the French)+(aw)FUL). PB was not impressed. This clue is certainly a lot more concise.
  6. Fifty nine minutes for me, and probably the most recent puzzle I’ve completed in less than an hour. Clearly the extra time in bed on Saturday perked me up.
  7. One error, which I thought at first must be ALTER, my LOI and which I hadn’t parsed, only BIFD. But no, it was 25ac, which I got right but unthinkingly typed in the US spelling. DNK WHITTLE. I rather liked DOLEFUL, COD perhaps to BORDER COLLIE.

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