Times Crossword Championship 2008 – Puzzle 3

Times Crossword Championship 2008 – Puzzle 3

See the posting for puzzle 1 if the format puzzles you.


Italics = words quoted from clues, < = reversal, * = anagram, (X) = container component, (x) = dropped letter/s

1 NIGHT-SHIFT NIGH=close, TSHI=this works (anagram), F.T.=daily as in Financial Times.
3 APES being the second letters if you split LAMPREYS into groups of 2 letters.
10 SHEBEEN Queen perhaps suggests a SHE BEE.
11 LULLABY – cryptic def – send-off = send off = send to sleep, air = song
12 SETS ABOUT SEA BOUT for naval attack? Oh, go on then. This is placed around first and letters (shell) from torpedoes.
13 HOMER Double def, the latter of which is a referee whose decisions (usually unfairly) give advantage to the home team.
14 P(RE)EN RE=on, whereas in the past setters were pretty much restricted to “about”.
15 PIP + ING(H)OT.
18 PARANOIAC One of very few uncommon words but easy enough to get if you see the reversed sequence CA=about + I ON A RAP (one on a charge).
20 SUM+ER Woman succeeding in fifties for E.R. is brilliant.
21 QUI(L)P – from “The Old Curiosity Shop”
25 EXOTICA Made up of < AC(IT+OX)E.
27 KISS The X of SEX represents a kiss, of course, and, as I type this, I suddenly realise it’s one of those Q&A questions – why does X mean kiss?
28 SHRINK-WRAP P=quietly after SHRINK+W(ith)+RA. W=with – you know what I was about to say …
1 NO(i)SES
2 GUEST BEER Cryptic def
3 THE RAIN IN SPAIN falls mainly on the plain
4 H(EN CO*)OP I spent longer than I should have wanting the anagram fodder to lead to — CELL. ION CELL? Nah.
5 FELT TIP – I was thrown momentarily by the instruction to place TIP by FELT in a down clue. That has never felt quite right to me.
8 SKYWRITER The setter hopes blue pencil will have you thinking of censorship. Thankfully I wasn’t fooled.
14 PIPSQUEAK – PIP=just defeat + SQUEAK.
17 IMPEACH Reading I as ONE the suggestion is that an amazingly well represented electorate would get ONE MP EACH
19 COLOSSI LO=look in COSSI(e)
22 IRONS Links here is the golfing variety
24 ESTOP We finish with a really good clue. The answer is hidden in changES TO Plastic, with bottles the indicator.


27 X and Kiss: one website claims that: “In the Middle Ages, a lot of people couldn’t read or write. When they had to sign a document, they would make an X in place of their name. In front of witnesses the signer would kiss the X to show themselves trustworthy. The kiss has since come to be represented by an X.” Plausible but I wouldn’t bet my shirt on it.

I struggled a bit with this at first, as the list of ‘first look’ hits may suggest. Not getting 3D on first look was a very poor show, and this might have gained a minute or two with checking-letter assistance. I think 20/8 were the last two I wrote in. 14D’s ‘just defeat’ could have been very ironic if the finish had been as close as last year’s final. If I understood Neil Talbott correctly, his head banged on the desk for his last clue was 22D where he’d read links as the web-site / user interface variety and thought of ICONS. As he couldn’t see the link to “chains”, he looked further – a good move even if a few other hands went up during the process. I’m not at all sure that I’d have taken this bit of care if I’d thought of ICONS.

Based on memory … The clues I solved on first look were 6, 25, 26, 27, 28, 1D, 2, 4, 7, 9, 19, 24. The ones I wrote in without understanding wordplay were 1A, 12, 15, 17, 20 (all=SUM was enough), 18. Partial ideas noted were 14 SWAIN? = groom and a long-necked bird though not a female one, 20 LL? – wrong version of ‘fifties’, 23 loan* in {something}

One comment on “Times Crossword Championship 2008 – Puzzle 3”

  1. This puzzle didn’t go very well at all for me. I put in RELEASE for 11ac (I think the clue was ‘Send-off by air’), which unfortunately matched two crossing letters. In hindsight, ‘air’ = ‘release’ (as in ‘broadcast’) isn’t quite right, and ‘by’ would have been redundant, but it seemed close enough that I wasted a lot of time on the crossing answers before seeing FELT TIP at 5dn.

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