Saturday Times 26634 – 28th Jan

Finally got around to solving this on Thursday evening after work,and it took around 12 minutes or so. Nothing too difficult, although a few look harder on first sight – then you figure out which is the def and which the wordplay and it all makes sense. 16D was probably the trickiest in that respect. 6D is probably another sly dig at Donald Trump (but see the Guardian for a new one every day) but my favourite was 12ac – reminds me of Only Fools and Horses.

Right, that’s me done unfortunately – see announcement above.

1 Academic who chooses to drop English? (6)
LECTOR – ELECTOR (who chooses) dropping the E(nglish).
4 Reporter’s criticising paper perhaps (8)
WRAPPING – sounds like “rapping” (criticising).
10 Head backs good history teacher (9)
GOVERNESS – NESS (head) after G(ood), OVER (history).
11 Swimmer back on diet, losing weight ultimately (5)
EIDER – RE (on) + DIET, all reversed and without the T (losing weighT ultimately).
12 Falsely report meat is packed in sets (4,7)
TELL PORKIES – PORK (meat) inside TELLIES (sets). Porky pies = lies in Cockney rhyming slang.
14 Unwelcome change to wages unions backed? (3)
CUT – TUC (Trades Union Congress) reversed.
15 Like a fox biting bird – seriously? (7)
STERNLY – SLY (like a fox) around TERN (bird).
17 People losing aspiration shortly (2,1,3)
IN A BIT – INHABIT (people, as a verb) without the H (losing aspiration).
19 Various / birds on lake? (6)
DIVERS – double definition.
21 Some film enemy carrying old weapon around (7)
FOOTAGE – FOE (enemy) around O(ld) + GAT (weapon) reversed.
23 Game of fifty overs (3)
LOO – L (50) + O,O (overs). A card game.
24 Prisoners go out in sequence (11)
PROGRESSION – (prisoners go)*.
26 Cool air all round island (5)
POISE – POSE (air) around I(sland).
27 Taste before guzzling fashionable fruit (9)
29 Refined Italian flower girl wearing hat (8)
POLISHED – PO (Italian “flower”) + SHE (girl) inside LID (hat).
30 Islands of ancient rulers, it’s said (6)
FAROES – sounds like “pharaohs” (ancient rulers).

1 Least demanding ordeal by Bounty’s captain, first to go (8)
LIGHTEST – TEST (ordeal) for BLIGH (Bounty’s captain), minus the first letter.
2 Complain about holiday accommodation the French neglected (5)
CAVIL – CA (circa, about) + VILLA (holiday accommodation) without LA (the French neglected).
3 Article carried by Oxford rowers principally? (3)
OAR – A (article) inside O(xford) R(owers), &lit.
5 Composer Bernstein is sorrowful, though not entirely upset (7)
ROSSINI – hidden reversed inside “Bernstein is sorrowful”.
6 Newspaper bosses urge ban on scurrilous leader (5,6)
PRESS BARONS – PRESS (urge) + BAR (ban) + ON + S(currilous).
7 Party chief visits home twice near a region of Asia (4-5)
INDO-CHINA – DO (party) + CH(ief), inside IN, IN (home twice) + A.
8 Go for a spin, finally reaching almighty speed (6)
GYRATE – last letters of (reachin)G (almight)Y + RATE (speed).
9 Barney erupting in the vicinity (6)
NEARBY – (Barney)*.
13 American transport operation set up, covering New York state (4,7)
PONY EXPRESS – OP(eration) reversed + NY (New York) + EXPRESS (state).
16 Adviser about to draw in two-thirds of Conservatives and Liberal leader (9)
EDITORIAL – AIDE (adviser) reversed around TORI(es) (two-thirds of Conservatives) + L(iberal).
18 Queen in tight spot showing lack of generosity (8)
MEANNESS – ANNE (queen) inside MESS (tight spot).
20 Sally astride horse in skimpy garment (7)
SHORTIE – SORTIE (sally) around H(orse).
21 No end of food during a meal (6)
FARINA – FARE (food) with no end + IN (during) + A.
22 Singular rejection of schoolboy error (4-2)
SLIP-UP – S(ingular) + PUPIL (schoolboy) reversed.
25 So-called architect, one involved in house with no roof (5)
INIGO – I (one) inside BINGO (house) without the first letter (no roof). Inigo Jones (1573-1652), English architect.
28 Best man oddly ignored foreign character (3)
ETA – even letters of “best man”.

15 comments on “Saturday Times 26634 – 28th Jan”

  1. Fairly easy for me, for a Saturday, although I biffed a couple, and didn’t understand 25d until I came here; although I vaguely knew that bingo is called ‘house’ in the UK, I doubt that I’d ever have made the connection here. I also biffed 5d, my chronic dimness with hiddens coming into play yet again.
  2. Enjoyed this, as others did.

    I rarely do the Guardian these day (now that I have access to the Telegraph Toughie and Indie) – but try to make an exception for John Ha, John He, Nutmeg, Arachne and the Don.

    Talking about the other Don, I suggested just the other day to John Ha that he try and work Hillary Clinton into a clue to show us she isn’t forgotten. Her letters are a veritable gold-mine for one with his brand of humour.

    Edited at 2017-02-04 08:42 am (UTC)

  3. I have no time recorded, which doesn’t matter too much, as I had to cheat to get FARINA anyway. I’d never heard of it, and I just couldn’t see the wordplay. The Saturday puzzles seem to be defeating me very solidly in recent weeks.
  4. I am sorry to see Andy moving off but it’s hardly surprising as the Saturday 15×15 is so badly supported – this is only comment number five – so far! Only a few more will read it.

    I had this one to bed in 45 minutes with FOI 1dn LIGHTNESS and LOI 21dn POLISHED as I originally had PILASTER!


    Did not parse 11ac EIDER.

    If you thought this was tough today’s (26640) is a BEAST!

  5. Just wanted to note that two readers of the Saturday blog, rarely comment (which is why we remain anonymous).
    1. Your comment “…comment number 5….Only a few more will read it.”
      My point is that the number of comments does not necessarily indicate the number of readers. There will be others, like me, who rarely comment but who always read the Saturday blog. There are at least two of us who only do the weekend crosswords and appreciate the blog, especially for knotty parsing. Perhaps noting solving time is less important a week later so less people bother to post times.
  6. Firstly many thanks to linxit for all the Saturday blogs which have helped me chart my progress from the QC. This website has been a huge help to me and I have improved hugely.
    And to prove the point I see that I managed to complete this puzzle correctly without aids -in rather a long time admittedly.
    A few were guessed: Inigo, Farina, Loo; but I am getting better at seeing where the help is in the clue.
    A few I could not parse e.g Inhabit.
    All in all an enjoyable challenge and worth the effort. David
  7. Sally,skimpy garment?He he,l like such risque clues,the answers being ‘innocent’.Ong’ara,Nairobi.
  8. Sorry to see you’re leaving Andy. I usually read the Saturday blog, but as I solve on treeware and the referenced puzzle is usually in the recycling bin by the time the blog is posted, I rarely remember much about it and have totally forgotten my time. Occasionally a clue jogs my memory and I make a comment. Always appreciate the effort all the bloggers put in though. I do remember smiling at TELL PORKIES.
  9. 12m. I read the blog as always, but wasn’t going to comment because I didn’t have anything much to say… but as we’re commenting about not commenting, I thought I’d comment to say that I wasn’t going to comment.
    Now that I’m here, I did like 12ac.

    Edited at 2017-02-04 10:17 pm (UTC)

  10. Linxit – thanks for running the site and doing the Saturday blog. It has been greatly appreciated. I always read this Saturday blog with the paper copy in hand – invariably useful.

    With regard to replacing you as Saturday blogger I’m afraid I have to refer to Horryd’s remark on this weekend’s Saturday offering. I have only just finished it on Sunday midday after resorting to all the aids I could muster!

    Best wishes – NPBULL

  11. I usually solve the Saturday and the Sunday on a Sunday morning, Saturdays being otherwise fully occupied; by the time I get to comment on the blog for the previous week it’s usually all been said or I can’t remember anything specific to comment about or my solution has been binned by the housekeeping staff. But I do enjoy reading it so please someone take it on!
  12. I am another who always reads the Saturday blog but rarely comments. Thank you Andy for your splendid blogs over the years which so often reveal the parsing which defeats me. E.g. In a bit and Inigo this week
    Barry J

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