Times Championship Qualifier No. 3

Judging by my time, this continues a trend of gradually increasing difficulty for the qualifier puzzles, though I was fairly slow on a couple of points. Mainly 14 where I lost time by failing to mark the word break in the grid, or when writing _ L _ S _ I _ _ _ R _ E N next to a jumble of ‘salon pictures, G’ and deleting the letters already used.

1 DELILAH – L in hailed rev. “General Ignorance” question: who cut Samson’s hair? A: a servant who Delilah told to do it.
5 HACK,SAW – a new gag mined from the rich Observer/Spectator field
9 GO,BANANAS – GO is that complex Japanese game of territory occupation, and bananas come in hands.
10 P,INTO – a horse with white patches
11 T,OR SO – my first across answer. Even when it’s competitively irrelevant, just the appearance of the word “Championship” in the title of a puzzle seems to guarantee that I won’t solve the first few clues I look at.
12 WORLD VIEW – cryptic def.
14 PLASTIC SURGEON = (salon pictures, G)*
17 OR,CHEST(RATION)S – “arrangements of golden boxes” should be enough for old hands to see this word – a handy one for setters as it carves up in several nice ways for wordplay and is all “friendly letters” except for one C.
21 HE,S(I)TANCE – ref. “he who hesitates is lost”
23 PATCH – 2 defs – the “beauty spot” one wasn’t familiar, so a sporting or trader’s PITCH may mislead some into a wrong answer.
24 “O KING”
25 PTEROSAUR = (use raptor)*
26 HONESTY – hidden word
27 TAF=fat rev.,FETA – took a while to see that feta = just cheese, not ‘rich cheese’, and until that penny dropped, thought I needed to justify put=fat.
1 DIG(IT)S – if you’re “in digs”, you’re living somewhere or are “lodged”.
3 LAN(G,OUST=put out)E
4 HANDWRITTEN = (trend in what)* – ‘style’ can mean a writing implement
5 HI’S
6 C.(UP)I.D. – armed with a bow and arrow
7 SUNRISE = (insures). Needing to think of the sun as a star often used to fox me. Now it’s almost instinctive.
8 WOOD,WIND – ref. Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms.
13 R.E.,STATEMENT=testament*. The presence of NT as a ‘testament’ made the right wordplay annoyingly hard to see.
15 R.A.,IN,P,ROOF – slightly surprised to see the painter again after 2D.
16 POOH-POOH – an old chestnut and instant write-in
18 CUSHION – 2 defs, one based on Snooker
19 NUTCASE – 2 defs, one slightly whimsical
22 TOGAS – I guess “boasting, so to speak” = “to gas”, but with T?G?S and old robes, let’s not hang about. Post-comment: I think the point is that to gas is to speak in a boastful way, which makes it more convincing though not quite completely so for me.
25 P,AY=”poet’s always”

Category Score Clues
Religion 1 1A Delilah
Visual Arts
Popular Culture
Sport & Games 1 (9) go, (18) cushion
Natural World 1 (11) pinto, (25) pterosaur
Science & Tech
Other 0.5 (3) langouste (Food & Drink)
Total 3.5

8 comments on “Times Championship Qualifier No. 3”

  1. For me, this was another of those puzzles of two halves. the top half went in quite easily but I had problems further down where RAINPROOF was my sole entry for a long, long time and I gave up for a couple of days. On picking it up again I made very slow progress and eventually this morning I used every aid available just to finish it off before the blog appeared. I guessed CUSHION but I’m afraid the snooker reference eluded me and I wasn’t even sure that the other definition stood up (does one place cushions between seats?). I couldn’t decide between PITCH and PATCH so I entered PI/ATCH. I don’t get boasting = to gas at 22.
      1. Thank’s, Peter. Collins and Chambers both confirm the boastful element of “gassing”, but I’ve never met that interpretation before.
  2. Finally a decision to join the online fun and to say how much I enjoy Peter Biddlecombe’s
    efforts in the cryptic realm. I had a great time with No. 3 hoist however, by having put
    HANDWRITING instead of HANDWRITTEN thus skewering myself for ORCHESTRATIONS and
    CUSHION. Also I’d always thought it was OKAYING. Time was about 40 minutes. Then add about 3 days until the answers came out. Not bad for a colonial what? Speaking of time I hadn’t noticed how long it took Peter.

    Newspapers here in Toronto publish cryptics daily and at the weekend. They are of
    UK origin.

    1. OKING / OKAYING – I guess both are in the dictionaries. We’re not giving our times for the qualifiers just in case anyone thinks this would influence what times people claim to have taken.

      I believe the Saturday puzzles in the Globe and Mail are by Fraser Simpson, who is Canadian. I’d like to see more puzzles set by locals in countries outside the UK, and use of local culture – I believe solvers of one of the ‘UK origin’ puzzles recently needed to know about the actress Thora Hird, who with all respect to her is hardly an international figure.

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