I was struck by how compact the clues were in this puzzle. It reminded me of the Sunday Cryptics! And, all very gettable.
Strangely, as I posted this blog some hours in advance, the solution still hadn’t appeared on the Club site. I hope it will be there by the time the next week’s puzzle appears – and that their solution matches mine! Anyway, how did you all get on?
Thanks to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.
Note for newcomers: The Times offers prizes for Saturday Cryptic Crosswords. This blog is for last week’s puzzle, posted after the competition closes. So, please don’t comment here on this week’s Saturday Cryptic.
Definitions are underlined. (ABC)* means anagram of ABC. Italics mark anagram indicators in the clues, and ‘assembly instructions’ in the explanations.
|1||Ruler’s wife cheers, breaking small bone (7)|
|SULTANA – TA=cheers, breaking S=small + ULNA=bone. My first thought was TSARINA, but that wouldn’t fit.|
|5||Tidy up Christmas tree sometimes (6)|
|SPRUCE – two definitions. Reluctantly, I think “up” must be part of the first definition. I say that because, as a verb, I would always say “spruce up”, but the dictionaries allow “spruce” by itself.|
|8||You might blow it by admitting to blunder on file (9)|
|RASPBERRY – RASP=file + BY admitting ERR=blunder.|
|9||Stick man (5)|
|STAFF – two definitions. No quibbles about these definitions.|
|11||State of liquor knocked back by queen (5)|
|NIGER – NIG=GIN (liquor), knocked back + ER.|
|12||Firm with large advertisement for one working with horses (6,3)|
|STABLE LAD – STABLE=firm + L + AD.|
|13||Dessert stuffed with meat for American cooking event (8)|
|CLAMBAKE – CAKE=dessert stuffed with LAMB.|
|15||Creature missing a close friend (6)|
|BESTIE – BEASTIE missing A. My first thought was to take an A out of BEAST, but where was the IE to come from? Aha – remember “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns?
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murdering pattle!
|7||Stick with statement from one who’s sickly? (6)|
|IMPALE – I’M PALE, says the sick one.|
|19||Strengthen lock on entrances to building under threat (8)|
|BUTTRESS – BUT = first letters (entrances) to Building Under Threat + TRESS=lock (of hair).|
|22||Fund, then sell, location of an early flight (5,4)|
|KITTY HAWK – KITTY=fund + HAWK=sell. Where the Wright brothers took flight.|
|23||Excuse boxer liking both men and women (5)|
|ALIBI – (Mohammed) ALI + BI=likes both men and women. Not something you would have wanted to say to him, I suspect.|
|24||Turned source of water green (5)|
|NAIVE – EVIAN=source of mineral water, turned backwards.|
|25||Actor in drag ate nuts (9)|
|TRAGEDIAN – (IN DRAG ATE)*|
|26||Close pack when approaching dormitory at last (6)|
|STUFFY – STUFF=pack (a suitcase, for example) + Y=dormitorY, at last.|
|27||Pupil runs into a certain Italian tower? (7)|
|LEARNER – R=runs, into LEANER=one way to describe that tower in Pisa.|
|1||Bring about the release of cowardly youngster (6,7)|
|SPRING CHICKEN – SPRING=bring about the release of + CHICKEN=cowardly.|
|2||Galas distributed an up-and-coming dish (7)|
|LASAGNA – (GALAS)* + NA=an, up-and-coming (in a down clue).|
|3||Warning: this may contain bugs! (5)|
|AMBER – two definitions: the traffic light, or the fossil resin.|
|4||A resource for journalists is cut after going downhill? (5-3)|
|APRES-SKI – A + PRESS KI(T)=resource for journos, cut.|
|5||Dog from Scotland reportedly in US space station (6)|
|SKYLAB – sounds (reportedly) like a Skye Lab (arf arf).|
|6||One getting stuck into new Listener that’s tough (9)|
|RESILIENT – I=one, stuck into (LISTENER)*|
|7||Man permitted flowery wreath (7)|
|CHAPLET – CHAP + LET. Not a word I knew.|
|10||Frustrated at first, I’d acquire cricket player’s stress reliever (6,7)|
|FIDGET SPINNER – F=Frustrated, at first + I’D GET=I’d acquire + SPINNER=cricket player. On edit: apparently our community doesn’t waste our time with executive toys! Here’s what it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidget_spinner|
|14||Tyrant, with complaint, preserved meat (5,4)|
|BULLY BEEF – BULLY + BEEF. No explanation needed.|
|16||Some letters from chap caught underneath boat (4,4)|
|JUNK MAIL – JUNK=boat + MAIL=sounds like (caught) MALE.|
|18||Public disturbance to support glib nationalist (7)|
|PATRIOT – PAT=glib + RIOT=public disturbance.|
|20||Issue something treasonous with no introduction (7)|
|EDITION – (S)EDITION=treason.|
|21||Last of sugar put into unhealthy-looking tart (6)|
|PASTRY – last of sugaR put into PASTY=unhealthy-looking.|
|23||Scout leader seen in fake lashes (5)|
|AKELA – hidden (seen in) f AKE LA shes. Akela was the mistress of my cub troop.|