Times Saturday 23462 – easiest Saturday for a while?

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
I forgot to make a note of my solving time last week, but I know it would have been sub-10 minutes but for a daft mistake at 5d which stopped me getting 5a for a while.


5 CU,R(V)ED – “very overdrawn” = V in RED, I think I’ve seen this construction before…
9 A(b)ORT,A
12 HARD TIMES – quite possibly the most-clued book title there is? (although H. Rider Haggard’s “She” is probably used more in clue constructions)
15 CENSU(re)S – put this in straight away, didn’t get the wordplay till later
17 J(MIME<=)A – “pretend to talk” = mime
22 RED PLAN,E(mploymen)T
25 SPA(GHETT(o))I(n) – cleverly worded for one shortened word inside another one
27 EPSTEIN – (SE inept)* – 11 is a good misleading clue to re-use like this, because one thinks first of XI, side, team etc. Especially in the online version, which spells out the word “eleven”.


2 (s)OIL,WELL – I don’t like “well” = “very probably”. Chambers gives “very possibly”, not the same thing at all. Not in Collins that I can see.
3 (TA,OBE)<=
4 SMITHERS – (IR(i)SH T(i)MES)* – I’d heard of smithereens, but never this. Chambers just gives it as an alternative form.
5 CO,HERE – “new order” because it’s clued as if it should read “HERECO”. For some bizarre reason I put ADHERE at first, which totally messed up my time.
14 HI(MALAYA)S – apparently it’s been Malaysia since 1963.
18 MIDWIFE – nice cryptic definition, but a man can be a midwife too.
23 ATHOS – one of the Three Musketeers, and OATHS with the O “dropped”.

3 comments on “Times Saturday 23462 – easiest Saturday for a while?”

  1. Etymologically, a man can no more be a midwife than a waitress. He can do a midwife’s job, of course, but the word means “with-woman,” or a woman who is with you when you give birth.

    Are there really any men who work as midwives?


    1. The etymology is “with-woman”, I agree, but the woman in question is the one giving birth. There are male midwives – my ex-wife’s a nurse and she’s worked with one or two.

      However, I was just being picky hoping to elicit a comment…

  2. 1a Birds quietly lying beside couples in the grass = P LOVERS
    8a A little off-colour, (he) and (I slowly)* freshened up = YELLOWISH
    11a Clumsy fIaNcE sPiTs regularly = INEPT – this answer is used as anagrist in 27a
    13a Nothing here with marbles? = ALL THERE – nothing here so all there – nothing to do with the Elgin Marbles
    19a Paper coverage for new union members = CONFETTI – where union = marriage
    23a Some SloANE RAngers rejected Wembley, for example = ARENA – reversed hidden answer
    24a Smooth bit of leg seen before end of Gypsy = SHIN Y
    26a A man or woman for each child = PER SON

    1d Exercises in examination given to stupid people = PHYSICAL JERKS – does jerk really mean stupid?
    6d Food to criticise, having complaint = ROAST BEEF
    10d Murder two animals then (anoint)* (one)*, surprisingly = ASS ASS INATION – where one = i in the anagrist to get INATION after the two asses
    20d Globe, say, within which one may operate = THEATRE
    21d Son’s breaking joint agreement = UNI S ON – union turns up in the answer this time (see 19a)

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