Times Saturday 23491 – a very literary puzzle

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 16:36

Luckily it was all literature and authors I’m familiar with, so I didn’t have to look anything up – although I did need a bit of help from PB for the explanation to 1ac.


1 CO-LANDER, pun. I originally thought there was some kind of mistake, as the definition was obviously COLANDER, but the wordplay was SO=hence, fellow coming ashore=LANDER. A solander is a box that looks like a book, used for storing scientific samples etc. My theory was that the editor may have decided that was too obscure for a normal cryptic and changed the clue, but the online team screwed up again and only altered the definition part…
6 UPSHOT – ref. Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
9 FABIAN SOCIETY (Fanaticise boy)* – some kind of Labour think tank, I gather. Probably not left-wing any more then…
10 GATSBY – ref. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I spent a while trying to think of Walter Scott books (as I’m sure the setter intended).
11 R(EEDP=deep*)IPE
13 EDWARD,LEAR – same clue as 18ac. Well spotted by the setter that the same clue can be used for two different answers. Only other time I’ve seen this in a cryptic was in Navigator by Sabre, a really difficult (for me, at least) Listener puzzle last year: “Southern state’s waterway” = SNY or DECANAL.
15 S(H)AW – i.e. George Bernard.
16 EBRO – hidden in outsidE BROadcast. Makes a change from flower or banker! It’s the longest river in Spain.
18 HENRY,JAMES – two more kings, one more author.
21 IRISH SEA (his raise)* – that’s where you’ll find the Isle of Man.
22 GEORGE – name of an aircraft’s autopilot, by George!
26 A,N,N,A LIST – or could’ve been clued by adding one name to a register, surely?


2 OF(F)HAND – “of hand” = manual? I suppose so…
3 AMBASSADORS – apparently James thought The Ambassadors was his best work, though some critics disagree.
4 DIARY – ref. Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. If you’ve never read it, you’ve missed one of the funniest books ever published.
6 UNCLE,ARLY – poem by Edward Lear – read it here.
7 SHE – Rider as in H. Rider Haggard, of course. Hint for beginners – if you see “novel” in a cryptic clue and it isn’t an obvious anagram indicator, it’s probably SHE!
8 OLYMPIA – cryptic definition. The place in Greece where the Olympic Games were first held in about 776BC.
12 PI(S)C(A)TORIAL – don’t see this kind of construction of a clue very often.
14 DE(HIS)CENT – I think poppies can be described thus, where the seed-pod explodes and the seeds are scattered far and wide.
19 A,R,A,GAIN, all rev.
20 E,AGLETS – an aglet is an ornamental tag. I looked it up while doing this blog entry.

2 comments on “Times Saturday 23491 – a very literary puzzle”

  1. A real Doh! moment with the Great Hero and the Scott clue at 10a. I fell hook line and sinker for Sir Walter and could not summon up F Scott-Fitzgerald even with the glaring hint from the “Great”. Tunnel vision. Idiot!

    A few “easies” omitted including the middle of GBS:

    23a However synchronised = AT THE SAME TIME – more words in the answer & two-word clue – has to be a DD!
    25a (Art I do)*, unusually skilful = ADROIT

    5d Book substitute = RESERVE – another 2 word clue for a DD.
    17d Saint distributing a lot of (brand)*y without hesitation = B ER NARD – conjours up images of the eponymous mountain rescue dogs with the cask of cognac although strong alcohol is not advised in avoiding hypothermia? All that for the middle of GBS?
    22d Putting area right environmentally = GREEN – a 4-word DD clue!
    24d Minimal number of partners in company, so they say = TWO – as in two’s company, three’s a crowd and one’s a sole trader?

Comments are closed.