Times Saturday 23474 – a real stinker!

Solving time – I dread to think. Certainly over an hour, in three sessions.

After a few weeks of fairly straightforward Saturday puzzles they’ve come up with an absolute stinker. For a while I was seriously entertaining thoughts that I might not finish it – thoughts I normally only encounter when doing the Listener. Still, I persevered and got there in the end, but I still didn’t understand the wordplay on a few clues until I wrote this up.


1 LLAN(DUD,N)O – a llano is a South American plain
6 VAPID – one of the clues where I didn’t get the wordplay at first, but I see it now – replace the L of valid with P
9 GE(HEN)N,A – gen=low-down, Gehenna was the pit supposed to be the entrance to Hell.
10 END-USER – “endures” with the last three letters reversed – last one I got the wordplay on.
12 CHAR,A,BAN,C(atch)
13 KNEEL – (“Neil”)
17 WINN(OW)ING – landing=winning, winnowing is a process of blowing the chaff (ears) from grain
19 FAWNING,pLaY – I didn’t get this at first either, but now I see that it’s just a bit unfair. Fawning can be “Doe’s producer’s work” or even “Does’ producer’s work”, but without the apostrophe it’s ungrammatical (but including it would give the game away).
22 O(UGH)T
25 T,(W)OF OLD
26 (m,is)TRESS
27 YO(M(KIP)P)UR – complicated wordplay with two levels of nesting, but makes perfect sense when you parse it.


2 ASHMOLEAN (loan has me)* – The Ashmolean museum is in Oxford
3 DONATE, (m)OLL rev. – one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well
4 DUAL CARRIAGEWAY – (away, ce, guardrail)* – ce=edges of C(oncret)E – I got this from the checking letters and only figured out the anagram fodder when writing this up.
5 O,(PE)RATINGS,(the)Y,STEM – more very complicated wordplay, again I didn’t get it until I did the write-up.
6 VODKA – first letters of Voronezh Or Donetsk, KA=spirit – is that allowed, to use the def of part of the wordplay as the def of the whole thing?
7 SAP rev, T.A. – sap=trench, that’s why the Royal Engineers are called sappers.
13 KIWI FRUIT – formed from all but the last letters of KI(d) WIF(e) RUI(n) T(o) – amazing bit of wordplay there, another one I didn’t work out till afterwards.
15 DISCO, (I LOB) rev – ancient Greek discus-throwers, to be precise. An obscure word, but I was pretty confident from the wordplay.
16 NEWSGROUP – (Pug’s owner)* – I’ve just had a thought – has anyone seen “BLOG” or “WEBLOG” appear in a crossword yet? They’ve only just appeared in Chambers 2006, and also in Collins 2006 edition.
21 I(D)RIS – the Welsh giant doesn’t have his own Wikipedia entry so here’s the next best thing – Cadair Idris, his “chair”.

2 comments on “Times Saturday 23474 – a real stinker!”

  1. I’m puzzled: how is “does producers” ungrammatical?
    “Doe producer” wouldn’t, presumably be questioned, so by analogy “does producers” is equally sound.
    Def a bit of a stinker tho 🙂

  2. Finished this one early morning after a late night start. having interpreted “applying blows” in 17a clue as “beating” because of the containment indicator “belting” was indignant that threshing was being described and not winnowing! The penny dropped for blows = wind eventually – clever misdirection.

    I was also confused by 19a FAWNINGLY and did not see the wordplay but bif’d it once I got 13d Kiwi Fruit – which took an age because of the complicated wordplay. The rest was OK despite some very tortuous wordplay covered above by our esteemed blogmeister.

    In case the “easies” are also causing problems here they are:
    11a Rainbow had red ring all can see = TROUT – but I don’t understand the clue?
    14a Native moves in pursuit of pelt = RAIN DANCE
    18a Polish off table partners put in drink = S EW UP – where the bridge partners East and West are involved in drink
    24a Remove top name among American staff = U N S CREW

    1d Fair skedaddle = LEGIT – two word clue – think DD – I guess legit is a legit abbrev of legitimate?
    20d gETS A Wheelie-bin to gather this up = WASTE – reverse hidden answer
    23d Mary Rose = TUDOR – as in 1d has to be a DD – in this case the Queen and her family’s floral emblem

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