Saturday Times 26580 (26th Nov)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 12:30, so on the easier side. There were a few very easy clues in amongst this lot, e.g. 1D, 29A – and a few that could be written in fairly confidently without having to work out the wordplay till later (I’m particularly thinking of 7D, which turned out to be a very good &lit, and 9D which had a lot more going for it than was at first apparent). I also learned a new meaning of a familiar word (14A), so it was a good puzzle for me.

1 Encourage Greek character, very, very disheartened (6)
CHIVVY – CHI (Greek character) + V(ery) + V(er)Y.
4 Fish has to avoid sailor (8)
SKIPJACK – SKIP (avoid) + JACK (sailor).
10 Puncturing vessel, hostile weapons (9)
ARTILLERY – ILL (hostile) inside ARTERY (vessel).
11 Cold, like the wind? (5)
NIPPY – double definition.
12 Understanding old marshal should adopt Democrat for president (7)
KENNEDY – KEN (understanding) + NEY (old marshal) around D(emocrat).
13 Notice work hasn’t started, then assist (7)
OBSERVE – (j)OB (work, minus the 1st letter) + SERVE (assist).
14 Thread continuously wound back over suture, ultimately (5)
REEVE – EVER (continuously), reversed around (sutur)E. New meaning of this word for me – I’ve only ever seen it defined as a magistrate or a bird before. This is a verb meaning to thread (e.g. a rope) through a hole.
15 White lies circulating in gang (8)
RIESLING – (lies)* inside RING (gang).
18 Magic words – turned out hiding something up one’s sleeve? (5,3)
THANK YOU – (out)* around HANKY (something up one’s sleeve?).
20 Servant takes so long with first of tasks (5)
VALET – VALE (Latin for goodbye, so long) + T(asks).
23 Element female has to put in a diary (7)
HALOGEN – HEN (female) around A LOG (diary).
25 Spanish city a little bit lacking in Latin love? (7)
GRANADA – GRA(in) (a little bit lacking in) + NADA (Spanish for nothing, hence Latin love?).
26 Puckish fairy originally in river doing the backstroke? (5)
ELFIN – F(airy) inside NILE (river) reversed.
27 Human organ, item preserving life, primarily (9)
EARTHLING – EAR (organ) + THING (item) around L(ife).
28 Sugar, last of contaminated variety tossed back in river (8)
DEXTROSE – (contaminate)D + SORT (variety) reversed inside EXE (river).
29 Piece that’s dark, by the sound of it? (6)
KNIGHT – sounds like “night”. Bit of a gimme, that one.

1 Nutty biscuits (8)
CRACKERS – double definition.
2 Strong set nine played (7)
INTENSE – (set nine)*.
3 Fabric to examine, eleven woolly coats? (9)
VELVETEEN – VET (examine) inside (eleven)*.
5 Opening performance in the theatre? (7,7)
KEYHOLE SURGERY – cryptic definition.
6 Frightful clothing (5)
PANTS – double definition. The first one is very much British slang I think, so might have puzzled some overseas solvers.
7 Ailing initially, not entirely well – one swallowed? (7)
ASPIRIN – A(iling) + SPRIN(g) (not entirely well) around I (one). Nothing left over, so the whole clue’s the definition.
8 Economist has important figures, nothing less (6)
KEYNES – KEY (important) + ONES (figures), without the O (nothing less). John Maynard Keynes, British economist.
9 Orkney and Skye anew cursed the nine of diamonds? (3,4,7)
NEW YORK YANKEES – (Orkney Skye anew)*. Very clever clue – as a baseball team has nine players and the field is a diamond shape so we have a cryptic definition, but also on the surface reading the nine of diamonds playing card is nicknamed “The Curse of Scotland“.
16 Monster heading off priest after prophet (9)
LEVIATHAN – (n)ATHAN (priest without his head) after LEVI (prophet). Hmm, according to Wikipedia Nathan‘s the prophet and Levi‘s the priest!
17 Hand tossing good husband in channel (8)
STRAIGHT – G(ood), H(usband) inside STRAIT (channel). A poker hand with a run of consecutive cards, e.g. 7-8-9-10-J.
19 Detailed well, I copy in English town (7)
HALIFAX – HAL(e) (well, “de-tailed”) + I + FAX (copy).
21 First member to hold a racket (7)
LEADING – LEG (member) around A DIN (a racket).
22 Fury over daughter is keen (6)
SHREWD – SHREW (fury) + D(aughter).
24 Hopeless case in passing, one released (5)
GONER – hidden inside “passing, one released”.

11 comments on “Saturday Times 26580 (26th Nov)”

  1. Found this straightforward .. reeve was known to me from Hornblower (but I didn’t know it was a bird too, Andy!)
  2. I enjoyed this, coming home in 1h 4m, which is good for me on a Saturday. LOI GRANADA. I’ve never been to Spain and I only knew the name through the car (as used by George Cowley in The Professionals during my misspent youth!)

    9d took me a very long time—I’m sure the setter designed it deliberately to keep my mind trying to remember The Curse of Scotland, which came up once before in a puzzle, rather than thinking of baseball, damn it.

  3. 1. It was the playing card used by Sir John Dalrymple, the Earl of Stair, to cryptically authorise the Glencoe Massacre. Certainly there is a resemblance between the nine of diamonds and his coat of arms.

    2. The Duke of Cumberland is supposed to have scribbled the order for “no quarter” to be given after the Battle of Culloden on a nine of diamonds playing card..

    3. It has also been suggested that it is a misreading of the “Corse of Scotland” ie the “Cross of Scotland” or St Andrew’s Saltire. There is a resemblance between the pattern of the nine of diamonds and the Saltire.

    4. Nine diamonds were at one time stolen from the crown of Scotland and a tax was levied on the Scottish people to pay for them – the tax got the nickname “The Curse of Scotland”.

    The first two explanations are the ones most commonly given.

    Therefore COD 9dn NEW YORK YANKEES

    WOD PANTS Time not recorded.

  4. Thanks for the full explanation of 9d = 9 of diamonds = New York Yankees. I managed to solve the anagram but thought that “cursed” was a very odd anagrind indeed – with the “anew” being part of the anagrist. It is finding out new bits of GK like this that makes extra pleasure from solving or attempting the Times X-word and visiting these pages. Thanks to all the bloggers for that.

    I thought FURY = SHREW at 22d was a bit of a tenuous link and this was my LOI. I started the solve together with a friend who is a regular Quick Cryptic solver (trying to bring her over to the Real Thing). She came up with ARDENT for 22d as a potential FOI but we had trouble finding any references to ARENT – the 4th daughter of Uranus & Gaia – so (fortunately) wrote it on the side but did not enter it into the grid.

  5. Quite tricky – top half in quickly but then slow, for about 30 mins total. NY Yankees straight in and liked its definition, though missing out on the elegance of the clue by not knowing the Curse of Scotland. A few senior moments – took forever to get Keyhole Surgery (not a comment re: Medicare) which I liked, not something I often say about cryptic definitions. And needed to trawl for SHREWD, fearing the fury would be an unknown classical entity.
    Lots of Ks and Ys in the grid, why?
  6. A halogen isn’t an element, it’s group of element’s, just as a person isn’t a crowd?
    1. I’d say that the halogens are a group of elements. A single halogen is only one, e.g. iodine or chlorine.
  7. About 45 minutes – so on the easy side for me too. Everything else has been said above, but it’s worth doubling up on the appreciation Andy mentioned for learning a new meaning for reeve.
  8. Everyone knows Zadok was the real priest, it being debatable whether Levi himself was one at all.

    At the moment England are 21d quite comfortably in the rugby against the green and yellow.

  9. 32 minutes with REEVE and NADA unknown. 9dn bunged in from anagrist with no understanding of why, and having read the explanation it’s already forgotten as my eyes glaze over at the very thought of American sports.
  10. This puzzle took me on a rather odd journey. On Saturday I started quickly in the NW getting everything bar the unknown Reeve (which I later wrote in as nothing better seemed to fit). Then I got all the SE and then got stuck.
    Returning to the puzzle on Sunday I looked long and hard until 9d suddenly occurred to me; it had to be an anagram, at least in part.Then I got 5d and started to make steady progress towards a Sunday completion. A very enjoyable challenge I thought.
    Pleased to have finished two weeks in a row.
    But have struggled so far with yesterday’s. David

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