Times Saturday 23468 – the Persians are coming!

Solving time 12:35

In retrospect that seems like a fairly indifferent time, as there don’t seem to be too many tricky clues, although there are a few interesting answers. I remember taking a while to sort out the anagram at 2dn, but I can’t recall anything else causing me problems.


1 DELACROIX – (Cordelia)*,X. This was an immediate put-in for me, as I have a copy of Goethe’s Faust with illustrations by Eugène Delacroix.
12 OVERDRAFT – (drove)*, RAFT – I liked the definition “lack of balance”
14 BAR,B – bar as in sandbar, that is. The barb is a common aquarium fish.
18 RESOLUTE – (our steel)* – One of the rare clues where firm doesn’t mean “CO”, but the anagram fodder was very easy to spot.
21 A,NATO,MIST(“missed”)
22 AC(UT)E – “ut”=note. It’s the old equivalent to “doh”, as in doh-re-mi etc. I’ve seen it a few times in advanced cryptics like the Listener, Mephisto etc, but don’t remember coming across it in a daily cryptic before. Interesting where it comes from – this explains it.
25 NOSEBAG – (be o nags)*, &lit.
27 T,REA(SURE)R – I think the definition “Money dealer” is a bit loose though. “Money holder” might have been better…


1 DR,AMA(h) – I remembered “amah”=”nurse” from reading Noble House by James Clavell, quite a few years ago.
2 LAST SEEN WEARING – (Ales ‘n’ Wagnerites)* – I left this until I had most of the checking letters, as I’ve never read any of the Morse books (sorry Colin), but I know enough from the TV series that it’s a very apt anagram.
3 CO(U)RTES,(povert)Y – cortes for Spanish parliament is something I just knew, I have no idea from where.
5 X,ER,X,E(r),S(ucceeded) – he was the Persian king whose army of 1,000,000 men were held by a few thousand Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae.
6 I,M(P)EDE – more Persians. The Medes were conquered by Cyrus the Great in 550BC.
7 COOL AS A CUCUMBER – got this straight away from the enumeration.
13 PAN,HANDLE – nice wordplay, but I didn’t get it until I had all the checking letters
16 M.O.(=modus operandi),LASSES

6 comments on “Times Saturday 23468 – the Persians are coming!”

    1. That was 27ac from the previous week’s Saturday puzzle.
      In SE 11, poor old artist (7) – the answer to 11ac was INEPT, so it was an anagram of “SE inept”. Reminds me of a limerick I heard once:

      There’s a notable family named Stein,
      There’s Gert and there’s Ep and there’s Ein.
      Gert’s prose is all bunk,
      Ep’s sculpture just junk,
      And nobody understands Ein.

  1. BARB might be a common aquarium fish, but it didn’t make it into Chambers 1998 (though it is in the 2003 edition), nor, sadly, into my vocabulary in time for this puzzle; ‘shoal’ = BAR likewise. Thanks for enlightening me!
  2. 6a Become liable to get cold in one jog around = IN C UR – where one = I and cold = C and jog around = NUR
    9a WAS SAULT Thus concealing attack = ASSAULT – HA
    10a Mutual understanding is left after strike = RAP PORT – where strike = rap and left = port (nautical)
    11a Something useful, like radio = AS SET
    13a Place that’s relaxing and making one happy = PL EASING
    17a Scientist forgetting old name for creature = NEWT (ON)
    24a After key victory by duke, the French become weaker = D WIN D LE
    26a Composer’s fury over rival’s finale being included = E L GAR – rage back’rds with l inside it

    4d Going away? Blooming limit = OUT BOUND
    8d List furniture that may be taken round = ROTA TABLE
    19d Monks following bishop’s line = B ORDER
    20d Urgent court command = DIRE CT – this was my LOI – I did not find this to be an “easy” at all!
    23d Fellow that is climbing mountain = EIGER – Reg i.e. climbing aka back’rds

    1. Although it’s appreciated and worthwhile, updating 10-year-old blogs is probably not getting you any readers apart from myself.

      We currently have a vacancy for the Friday Times Quick Cryptic if you’re interested.

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