Times Crossword 24013

I had trouble logging onto the club site today, but found the crossword here:

Time: Not sure, but over an hour.
I found this particularly hard to get into. The bottom half wasn’t too bad but I had loads missing in the top half and struggled to get my mind in gear for this. Really enjoyed it, though, lots of misdirection and plenty to think about.

Last in was TRAMPED – very strange – I had considered this on first read-through but couldn’t see how it worked!


1 TRA(M)PED – DEPART reversed, containing M – not sure why this took so long.
5 B(EST)REW – EST is French for East – no anagram of BEER needed, as I first thought.
9 W1’S,CONS,IN – I did spend quite a bit of time looking for a part of London as the answer.
11 GAR,B,O – B,RAG(tabloid) reversed
12 OR,PI(N)G,TON – TON=anagram of NOT
14 WRING ONE’S HANDS – sounds like ‘ring one’s hands’
23 SA,SHA(anagram of HAS) – presumably young man because SASHA is a diminutive form of Alexander.
24 AILED – DELI,A reversed.
25 SPIRITUAL – S,PI,RITUAL – S=’sung primarily’ – very clever clue, I thought
27 NERISSA – AS,SIREN reversed. Nerissa was the serving maid in the Merchant of Venice.


7 RIGHT-ON – sounds like ‘write on’ I guess.
15 HELISKIER – anagram of ‘HE LIKES RI’
20 PA[t]E,LL,A

33 comments on “Times Crossword 24013”

  1. I found this a tricky start to the week, not such much because of difficult clues but because of well-chosen answers with letter sequences that don’t spring quickly to mind. Got there in 17 minutes which felt something like an achievement.

    Several good clues – 9, 23 (although “young man” might be a quibble), 25A, 4, 13 (but perhaps loose defs?) but in the end I gave it to 7 which just happens to work very well.

    Q-0 E-7 D-8 COD 7

    1. Hi, Anax,

      On 23. Have I imagined there is a convention in cryptics to correlate diminutives of names with being young? I’m sure I have met it many a time with “Ed”.

      1. Hi there Jack.

        It does happen but, to be honest, I’d prefer references to diminutives to be just that – equating a shortened name to youth just isn’t logical. In this case, I don’t think Sasha is diminutive to begin with.

        1. I guess Sasha is a bit like Jack. Sasha originated as a diminutive of Alexander (seems hard to believe, but maybe it makes more sense in Russian), but that’s not exactly common knowledge. Likewise, my grandfather ‘Jack’ was officially John as were most Jacks of his generation, but these days ‘Jack’ on a birth certificate is perfectly normal.

          Despite the grandfather example, I don’t mind the youth idea – Wikipedia on diminutives says “diminutives are used frequently when speaking to small children”, and I’m sure there are more reliable sources that agree.

          1. And not forgetting Olenka is the female equivalent of Sasha! Expect complaints if we’re ever expected to know this.
  2. 14:16 – some answers took longer than they should have done – 16 in particular – but pleased to have survived a possible “this is Monday and taking ages” panic relatively unscathed. Only just noticed that ???INGTON for ‘part of London’ has two choices – Orp- or Isl-. (Possibly realised today from ‘cross-infection’ from 9A).

    A better puzzle than it looks I think. Enjoyed 4D – there seems to be trend for Sun/Page Three references in clues lately. Now awaiting the word for which ‘stunna’ can be worked into the wordplay.

  3. 45 minutes.

    Another slow start for me on this one, but I eventually found a foothold in the SW corner and worked outwards from there writing in lots of question-marks in the margins along the way. All of the queries were easily resolved once I had completed the grid, but I can’t say I enjoyed it much or that I spotted any really clever clues.


    The crossword site was fine just after midnight when I printed the puzzle but as Foggyweb says, there’s a problem now.

  4. I enjoyed this one – far better, and more difficult for me (35 mins),than the average Monday.
    Just one quibble – is 25a “spiritual” a cryptic clue?
    1. Yes – it’s a Charade &lit – as now indicated in foggyweb’s notes. But one of those &lits where the cryptic reading can be harder to spot than the plain def.
      1. I admit to not having seen the cryptic element but if an answer is in plain sight and fulfills all parts of the clue does it then cease to be a cryptic clue? Should one look further?
        Only asking!
        1. It certainly ceases to be a cryptic clue if there is no ‘cryptic reading’, and that was true for a few ‘straight def’ Times clues in the past, though these seem to be extinct now. It’s often a good idea to look further, just in case there’s an alternative. Choices like hymn, psalm, anthem, canticle and so on suggest that there might be another 9-letter word to fit the def, though obviously a few checking letters make this unlikely.
  5. Put me out of my misery and tell me what these are. I never get these page 3 girl clues. I bet it’s something topless….
    1. Thanks. Got both in the last 5 mins. Not happy with the page 3 girl as a DISH. TART/TROLLOP etc would be better…
  6. I started this one late last night, didn’t finish it, woke up in the middle of the night annoyed I couldn’t finish it, still couldn’t finish it, and stuck the last few (TRAMPED and TOWAGE) in this morning. So something along the lines of 6 hours. Nice puzzle though, I had INSURER instead of ASSURER for a while which hurt.
  7. Solving time: 24:30. Once I realised I wasn’t going to be starting any fires with the time on this, I slowed down and enjoyed the puzzle immensely. It wasn’t one of those wordplay extravaganzas that have many of us going glassy-eyed. Just a smart crossword full of guile and variety.

    4d DISHONOURED made me chuckle and no doubt amused all the setters (a bit like drawing a naughty cartoon featuring the headmaster). ‘Dish’ for page three girl is great – I have a vague memory of ‘Dish of the Day’ being a similar feature on one of the redtops. Speaking of dishes, 20d PAELLA is a cunning clue with a fine surface which held me up for a long time. WISCONSIN, BESTREW and WRING ONE’S HANDS also stood out for me. NERISSA I had to check (The M of V is on my list of ‘must get round to it one day’ plays) but it wasn’t essential to know the character (which, of course, is how it should be).

    QED – 0,9,8

  8. Did the bottom half in 10 minutes and thought it was going to be a doddle. then got ratehr stuck in NE and NW. Crcked north east although think GARBO is clued incorrectly and then got left with 6 down which had me foxed and which i give as my COD… never heard of an orpington chciken-but i have now!
    1. GARBO is (B=British,RAG=tabloid) reversed, plus O=old, with the def being ‘Swedish-born actress’. If you were counting ‘old’ as part of the def., this kind of def./wordplay blurring is part of the game.
      1. If maestrotempus’ objection is to a charade formed of a finite clause and an abbreviation, I agree. Either ‘British tabloid written about old…’ or ‘British tabloid’s written about with old…’ is required, I think. Of course, the surface doesn’t work in either case…

        Tom B.

        1. I’m confused: The “British tabloid written” beginning doesn’t seem to me to spoil the surface, and I can’t see that it’s cryptically different to the version used. Do you object to 23A on similar grounds, requiring “Salvation Army with has converted …”. If not, the reason why not may help me to understand or possibly even agree with your objection to this clue.

          (And to those saying they think that a clue is a dud, please say why – you may save an awful lot of hot air about something else.)

          1. 23A seems fine (apart from the issue about young Sasha). It’s a charade of SA and ‘has converted’, neither of which is a finite clause/sentence in the wordplay. ‘British tabloid’s written about’ is, in the wordplay, a sentence. IMHO, a sentence/finite clause shouldn’t just be tacked on to another element (in this case, an abbreviation) in a charade – something like ‘with’ is needed. An example of such a ‘with’ is in 20D, joining (in the wordplay) ‘Head spends time’ and the ‘LL on A’ element in a charade. This works (for me) because ‘with LL on A’ forms part of an overall wordplay sentence: ‘Head (PATE) spends time (T) with LL on A’.

            ‘British tabloid written about old…’ makes no sense as a surface, so I see why the apostrophe + S is there; however, it doesn’t work for me in the wordplay.

            Tom B.

            1. I now see your distinction about “tabloid’s” – I was thinking, bizarrely, of a (whole) tabloid written about something, not something being written about by the tabloid. All I can really say about your rule for “with” is that I can’t recall seeing it stated as a requirement before, so I don’t think the setters or editor are following it. Happy to be corrected by a setter …
              1. I think I confused myself in writing about 20D. I called it a charade, but in fact it’s not a charade as I understand them, i.e. it’s a sentence rather than a list. None of this stopped me solving the clue – I only know two Swedish-born actresses, and ANDRESS has 7 letters! – but I did notice it in passing and thought it might have been what jarred with maestrotempus in 11A.

                Tom B.

                1. I think you mean 11A rather than 20D. But both are more complex than just “charade” (which for me is any wordplay consisting of elements placed next to each other). In 11, the elements B,RAG are put next to each other (a charade), then reversed, then the resulting GARB is put next to O (another charade).
                  In 20, T=time is removed from PATE to give PAE. Then PAE,LL,A is the charade.
  9. Well, at least I managed to finish this Monday. Whatever happened to the nice easy start to the week? Or, on the other hand, what happened to my brain this morning? Or, was it a mixture of both? Struggled through in three quarters of an hour, making a mess of 1d/a on the way (misread my own writing in 9ac, mistaking the W for a U, which sort of doomed the NW corner…) COD for me 14ac.
  10. About 40 minutes for this one. Nothing to add to what others have said. A good mental workout.
  11. A nice puzzle, agreed.

    Wasn’t helped by inserting Greta’s graceless sister ‘Borag’ at 11ac.

  12. Sailed through most of it but got stuck for several minutes on the NW corner, so took about 15 mins in all. Thought it was a good puzzle.
  13. I also found this pretty tough for a Monday, needing close to an hour, and having to check some references on Nerissa, wain, Orpington. Never heard of the word ‘heliskier’ before, but I will simply observe that it sounds awfully dangerous. Plus, I offer a transatlantic moan for ‘stroppy’ and ‘nosh-ups’, which I believe are fairly exclusively Brit-isms, as is the sneaky W1 reference in the otherwise American-friendly 9A. All that being said, though, this puzzle was a good bit more enjoyable than the average, and very clever throughout, an admirable outing from the setter. My COD is PAELLA. Regards all.
    1. I remember nosh-ups from reading Enid Blyton but think it is peculiar to the UK. Stroppy is not uncommon in Australia, the only dictionary I have to hand suggests it as a contraction of obstreperous, which is used by nobody.
  14. Somewhere between 25-30 minutes with 7 or 8 of those spent puzzling over the NW. Eventually got tramped and the rest fell into place quite quickly.

    Q-0, E-7, D-7.5

  15. I would just like to offer a pat on the back to the setter who has managed to use both SAY (3 dn) and FOR EXAMPLE (25 dn)in the same puzzle as definitions rather than as cryptic elements.

  16. My last 2 in were 1d and 1a and I still don’t understand one of the omitted “easies”;

    10a Feeling of vexation, suffering setback during pregnancy (5)
    ANGER. Backwards in p REGNA ncy.

    17a Hotelier banned working at subsistence level (2,3,9)
    ON THE BREADLINE. Anagram of Hotelier banned.

    21a Man copied out summaries (9)
    COMPENDIA. Anagram of Man copied.

    26a Argumentative pupil twice starts interrupting garbled story (7)

    5d Outlaw gang finally released (3)
    BAN (D)

    13d Study medicine (11)

    16d Garments finally put on by painters (8)

    18d Machine for drying drinking glass (7)

    22d Finish ahead after goal (3.2)
    END UP

    25a Authority to influence decision, for example (3)
    SAY. What a long clue.

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