Saturday Times 26592 (10th December)

Wow, that was sort of a stinker and sort of not. I solved it last Sunday on paper but had numerous interruptions, as I was on call and got called a lot! Maybe 30 mins in total, maybe longer. I have plausible explanations for everything, but may need to be corrected on a couple which are a bit dubious. Apart from those two though, I thought it was a corker.

1 Spoke to accountant about business started without talent (8)
ACCOSTED – CA (Chartered Accountant) reversed + CO (business) + STED (i.e. STARTED without ART (talent)).
9 In French field, a strange position for troops (8)
ENFILADE – EN (French for in) + (field a)*. Where they all fire at once in a long line, according to Chambers. Does this read as a slightly risqué &lit?
10 Brandy butter sent back cold (4)
MARC – RAM (butter) reversed + C(old). The cheapo stuff you use for deglazing the pan – VSOP it ain’t!
11 Encouraging ambassador, fighting dynasty, to bring in resistance (5-7)
HEART-WARMING – HE (His Excellency, ambassador) + AT WAR (fighting) + MING (dynasty), around R(esistance).
13 Swimwear is rejected by English on Greek island (6)
COSSIE – IS reversed + E(nglish), after (“on” nearly always means after in an across clue and before in a down clue) COS (Greek island). Why is it spelt like that when we always pronounce it like “cozzy”? As an aside, while I was just checking the truth of the last statement in Chambers I came across a brilliant word, corsned. This is a piece of bread or cheese they used to feed someone accused of a crime. If they choked on it they were guilty! Bet it was a big piece and they had to swallow it whole too.
14 Terrier given outing by chap, without lead (8)
AIREDALE – AIRED (given outing) + ALE (MALE (chap) minus the first letter).
15 Check on news media (7)
REPRESS – RE (on) + PRESS (news media).
16 Description of a war cry, short, to be precise (7)
CRIMEAN – CR(y) + I MEAN (to be precise).
20 At length home covered by revolutionary telephone service (8)
CHATLINE – AT + L(ength) + IN (home), all inside CHE (Guevara, revolutionary). I think that was my last one in. It only became obvious when I had all the checkers, then I managed to reverse engineer the wordplay from the answer. So BIFD + FOWL (Figured Out Wordplay Last/Later). We have a new acronym!
22 Doctor daily jabs one’s veins (6)
DRIFTS – DR (doctor) + [ FT (Financial Times, a daily paper) inside IS (one’s). Fairly loose definition – I can see what the setter’s thinking but can’t think of a good substitution test, if you get my drift, or follow the vein of my thoughts.
23 Vain academic engaged by university board (12)
UNPROFITABLE – PROF (academic) inside UNI(versity), TABLE (board).
25 Diver in lake having nothing on (4)
LOON – L(ake) + O (nothing) + ON.
26 Coin once passed round in secret session (8)
SESTERCE – hidden revered in “secret session”.
27 Healthy-sounding vegetable chopped for tea (5,3)
ROSIE LEE – ROSIE (sounds like ROSY, healthy) + LEE(k) (vegetable chopped). Cockney rhyming slang.

2 Alcohol free wine at last in cellar (4,4)
COAL HOLE – (alcohol)* + (win)E. Great clue, but pretty grim surface reading! Noooooooo!!!
3 Music expert has speaker placed round front of royal box (12)
ORCHESTRATOR – ORATOR (speaker) around R(oyal), CHEST (box).
4 Giant bird going over a loch (8)
TITANESS – TIT (bird) + A + NESS (loch).
5 Democrat attracted to left, after unusually favouring the right? (7)
DEXTRAL – D(emocrat) + L(eft), around EXTRA (unusually). I’m not really happy with this explanation – what am I missing? I don’t see what “attracted to” is doing in the clue – it doesn’t even improve the surface reading. In political terms (expecting to be corrected here), I think the US Democrats are still fairly right-wing, although more liberal than the Republicans?
6 Gala’s, perhaps, not broadcast (3-3)
OFF-AIR – OF FAIR (gala’s perhaps).
7 Vehicle: auto oddly turning over on side (4)
TAXI – wow, complicated wordplay for such a small word! alternate letters of auto reversed, plus XI (eleven, (number of players in a football) side).
8 Fit after gym session’s ending? Not if this colour! (3-5)
PEA-GREEN – AGREE (fit) after PE (gym), + N (last letter of “session”). Sort of a cryptic definition &lit., I think? It just about works for me, but wouldn’t win any prizes.
12 French teacher devised way of working, I understand, accommodating learners (12)
MADEMOISELLE – MADE (devised) + MO (modus operandi, way of working) + I + SEE (understand) around LL (a couple of learners). I suppose if we call our female teachers “Miss” then French kids do it pro rata?
15 Right to payment from engineering lessons? (8)
RECOURSE – RE (Royal Engineers) COURSE can be considered as engineering lessons. A word that’s come up regularly this week with various definitions, all valid. Do the crossword editors of the major dailies (and weeklies) get together to decide a “word of the week” that should appear in all the puzzles? It happens too often to be a coincidence.
17 Reggae fans roused by punk (4,4)
RUDE BOYS – (roused by)*. I’m not sure the definition is accurate. Chambers’ definition doesn’t mention reggae, just says it’s Jamaican slang for a sharp-dressed youth. Not that I know any better, but I’ve read A Brief History of Seven Killings and it’s not used anywhere in the book.
18 One Catholic leader‘s answer, definitely not accepting advice (8)
ANTIPOPE – A(nswer) + NOPE (definitely not) around TIP (advice). Used to be a lot of them in the Middle Ages. I’ve never understood religion – just an excuse to kill people who disagree with you while promoting peace and love to people who do!
19 Precious bank’s less generous (7)
PETTIER – PET (precious) + TIER (bank).
21 Outer London town I regularly left, taking ring road (6)
ILFORD – I + L(e)F(t) + O (ring) + RD (road). Fairly large part of NE London.
24 Former pacifist’s quarters on the outskirts (4)
PAST – here you have to split “pacifist” into quarters, i.e. PA CI FI ST, then take just the two on the outside, PA ST.

12 comments on “Saturday Times 26592 (10th December)”

  1. DNK ROSIE LEE, which was my LOI; after finally getting the wordplay, I thought it had to do with Laurie Lee, but realized after checking that that’s cider not tea–only familiar with the book from cryptics. I surprised myself coming up with COSSIE; I must have come across it once in a cryptic. My ODE gives ‘cozzie’ as an alternative spelling (it derives from ‘costume’, so I suppose the question should be why one pronounces it ‘cozzie’; and while I’m in this parenthesis, Andy, how do you pronounce ‘Aussie’?). I believe the French have now officially dropped ‘Mademoiselle’, so it’s ‘Madame’ all round.
  2. Was pleased to complete this eventually (though in well over the hour) without resort to aids, but now I find I had one wrong at 23ac where I wrote ROSIE LEA for some reason and justified the wordplay by reasoning that LEA{f} was vegetable (well it’s not animal or mineral, is it?). DK ENFILADE or RUDE BOYS.

    Edited at 2016-12-17 05:05 am (UTC)

  3. 17dn was one of the original titles for ‘Walk the Proud Land’ from ‘Tuff Gong’s’ band in the erly days – I refer to Robert Nesta Marley. Rude Boys developed from there to describe those ‘reggaed’ teenagers of ‘Trench Town’. Jamaica is my historical speciality. Ian Fleming knew Marley when he was a little lad livin’ up at Nine Mile/Prickley Pole. Norval Marley was one of ‘Busha’s’ henchmen.

    Over an hour COD 2dn COAL HOLE


  4. 24m. Quite tricky, I agree.
    ODO defines RUDE BOY as ‘a lawless urban youth who likes ska or reggae music’, so that seems OK. According to Collins they only like ska.
    In 5dn I just read ‘attracted to’ as ‘next to’. It’s not particularly elegant but not really that different to ‘on top of’ or indeed ‘next to’. Left and right are relative of course but Bernie Sanders is considered extremely left-wing for advocating universal single-payer healthcare, which everyone in Europe takes for granted.
  5. Fairly on the wavelength at 19:14. And I did enjoy this a lot.

    I saw the ‘attracted to’ the same was as keriothe. I’m fine with stuff like that.

    Love the acronym, linxit — FOWL: figured out wordplay later. It could catch on.

  6. Same as Andy on this. I didn’t really notice at solving time but yes, it is a bit clunky. FOWL is perfect, I do it all the time. That whole US political thing is simply too painful at the moment – I’m trying very hard to think of almost anything else. Puzzles help, just not quite enough.
  7. I don’t have a time for this; I got a good chunk done in my hour, but had a couple of leftovers which I went back to later in the day, especially my LOI, CRIMEAN (I kept on trying to fit “moan” in somehow…)

    My fastest one in was probably ILFORD—it helps that I was born there!

    Incidentally, if anyone’s looking for a last-minute Christmas present, I recommend Charbonnel et Walker’s MARC de Champagne chocolate truffles. They’re delicious, and also the reason I knew what 10a was.

    Edited at 2016-12-17 12:43 pm (UTC)

  8. Tougher than the last two Saturday ones.CRIMEAN took me ages,l remember the word from history lessons in ’84(the war).Ong’ara,Nairobi,Kenya.
  9. DEXTRAL my LOI, put in rather doubtfully, I too was puzzled by the “attracted to” – perhaps “attached to” would have been better. Other than that, an enjoyable solve. 20a my favourite – also FOWLed. 29:03
  10. Enjoyed this but failed to finish. I had blanks at 22a and 18d; and I got two wrong: Rosie Lea and Apostate at 18d (had never heard of Antipope).
    Looking at the answers I think 22a is a bit of a stretch and probably would not have got it with all the checkers. Loon was unknown in the sense required. Favourite 2d. David

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