Saturday Times 26598 (17th Dec)

A leisurely unhurried 10:33 on a print-out so this was definitely at the easy end of the spectrum. Mostly very straightforward wordplay so not too much to say about it below. Hats off to the setter for 25D though – great fun and easily my COD.

1 Grounded for messing about, he’s no favourite (8)
UNDERDOG – (grounded)*.
6 Shot round on eastern motorway, one getting circulation problems (6)
EMBOLI – LOB (shot) reversed, next to E(astern) M(otorway), then I (one). Plural of embolus, a clot obstructing a blood vessel.
9 Singer’s beginning to shake booty (4)
SWAG – S(inger) + WAG (shake).
10 Deranged Poles boarding low vehicle (10)
MOONSTRUCK – N,S (pole) inside MOO (low) + TRUCK (vehicle).
11 Program with right allure for learner (10)
APPRENTICE – APP (program) + R(ight) + ENTICE (allure).
13 Completely unknown bedfellow (4)
ALLY – ALL (completely) + Y (unknown).
14 With film not starting, writer’s yawning (4-4)
WIDE-OPEN – W(ith) + (v)IDEO (film not starting) + PEN (writer).
16 Depressed little Edward goes backwards — and forwards (6)
DENTED – NED (little Edward) backwards + TED (little Edward) forwards.
18 Hard stone urn is cut evenly (6)
STRICT – ST(one) + alternate letters of “urn is cut“.
20 Seize back and sharply strike hospital chart (3,5)
BAR GRAPH – GRAB (seize) reversed + RAP (sharply strike) + H(ospital).
22 The burden borne by The Times (4)
ONUS – “ON US” (borne by The Times).
24 Ship rocks, vessel going around river (10)
ICEBREAKER – ICE (rocks) + BEAKER (vessel) around R(iver).
26 Careful to dress Italian lady in white (10)
CHARDONNAY – CHARY (careful) around DONNA (Italian lady).
28 Dismiss leader going AWOL in mounted combat (4)
OUST – JOUST (mounted combat) minus the J (leader going AWOL).
29 Naturally remove moisture from divers (6)
SUNDRY – SUN-DRY (naturally remove moisture from).
30 Industrial region‘s seediest vagrant (8)
TEESSIDE – (seediest)*. An area of NE England comprising Middlesbrough and other nearby towns.

2 Cheap paper‘s report of recognised race (9)
NEWSPRINT – sounds like “knew sprint” (recognised race).
3 Prepare to defend yourself from dreadful anger from across the Channel (2,5)
EN GARDE – (anger)* + DE (French for from).
4 The spirit of March and November (5)
DEMON – DEMO (march) + N (November in the phonetic alphabet).
5 Golf balls in sludge perhaps (3)
GOO – G (Golf in the phonetic alphabet) + OO (balls).
6 Person in capital has endless comfort and cash, say (9)
EASTENDER – EAS(e) (endless comfort) + TENDER (cash, say).
7 Saving income? What to buy if so (7)
BARGAIN – BAR (saving) + GAIN (income). Semi-&lit.
8 Boozer encouraging weight loss (5)
LOCAL – “LO-CAL” (marketing-speak for low calorie, i.e. diet food).
12 Soldier overturned sort of gas in base (7)
IGNOBLE – GI (soldier) reversed + NOBLE (sort of gas, another word for an inert gas).
15 Planned a trip, ready to ditch English Heritage (9)
PATRIMONY – (a trip)* + MONEY (ready) minus the E for English.
17 Forced out old media boss (9)
EXPRESSED – EX (old) + PRESS ED (media boss).
19 Covered small hardened cases (7)
INSURED – S(mall) inside INURED (hardened).
21 Arguments are involved with issue (7)
REASONS – (are)* + SONS (issue).
23 What’s in vase returned for statesman (5)
NEHRU – EH (what) inside URN (vase) reversed. Jawaharlal Nehru, 1st Prime Minister of India.
25 What hatchback and Cadillac do with black frost announced (5)
RHYME – sounds like “rime” (frost).
27 Score half as many from the back (3)
NET – Score doing double duty under its alternative meaning of 20, NET is TEN backwards.

7 comments on “Saturday Times 26598 (17th Dec)”

  1. so definitely on the easy side; not complaining, mind you! I could have done it quicker if I could ever remember that ‘boozer’ can be a place as well as a person (not in my idiolect, though). LOI 11ac; straightforward, but I have yet to get APP=program into my head. Liked 25d, but my COD goes to the naughty 9ac.
  2. Heading for a very quick time till held up by ONUS, INSURE and RHYME which I, too, liked. SUNDRY appealed, because I like the word divers; and enjoyed the trickiness of 9 and 10 ac where the clues send you the wrong way.
    A relief to get an easier one.

    Edited at 2016-12-24 04:50 am (UTC)

  3. He he ,loved 9a just like Kevin,l have noticed the tendency of modern setters to include some smutty clues eg Arachne in the Graun and Ray T in the DT.ONG’ARA,NAIROBI.
  4. Just could not get on the wavelength this week. Not sure why as the blog shows it was not that difficult. I got 14 clues spread over the grid; virtually nothing in the SW. For example I simply could not see what was needed in 1a-did it mean Grounded including Pet for favourite? 26a, had not a clue.
    I still don’t get 22a -does The Times refer to “Us”?
    Still on the learning curve.
    Thanks for all the Saturday blogs, much appreciated. David

    1. ‘Us’ is quite common in the Guardian to refer to that newspaper and its readers. It does sadly seem that that usage may be spreading to the esteemed portals of the Thunderer.

      Such modernistic usage usually gains a footing on a Sunday, so it is strange to see a Saturday used for what might indeed be the thin end of the daily wedge.

  5. I’m surprised nobody else has complained about 25d. To my ear “hatchback” and “Cadillac” do not rhyme at all in normal pronunciation. I suppose it can be forgiven since the solution is fairly easy.

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