Times Saturday 23509

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 12:37

Not too tricky for a Saturday, the anagram at 7dn was the only entry I wasn’t 100% sure of when I put it in. Should have been quicker really, but I’m always a bit woolly-headed on a Saturday morning!


1 HAM,ME(RHE=her*)AD – nice easy starter. There can’t be many 10-letter sharks, and this is one of the best-known of any length.
9 (s)LAUGHTER – this word’s nearly always clued like this, i.e. knock the first letter off slaughter.
10 GA(RI(p))SH
11 B,LOT,TO – nice definition, “out of it”
13 GR(E(v)ENT)EA(t) – a lot going on with the wordplay while still maintaining a convincing surface reading. Great clue.
14 IN,VERT,ED’S,NOB – vert is the heraldic term for green, so no need to indicate that it’s French.
20 F(ERR)ETE,R – not someone who hunts ferrets, but someone who uses ferrets to catch rabbits.
21 S(IDE)ON – am I imagining it, or has the ide made an appearance in nearly every crossword I’ve solved this year?


4 RETRO – not sure about “Almost immediately” in the definition, but it’s every third character in NoRthErn TerRitOry, just like the clue says. How do setters spot these things?!
6 DOG(KEN)NEL – pants being the anagrind for golden.
7 AARON’S BEARD (a border as an)* – nice semi-&lit surface too.
8 (to)UL(on),STER(rets<=) – the Irish province consists of the six counties of Northern Ireland plus Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan in the Republic.
16 BECOMING – nice double definition encapsulated in a common phrase.
18 TO,R.N.,ADO
24 TWO – owt is Yorkshire dialect for “anything”.

2 comments on “Times Saturday 23509”

  1. I don’t think I’ve seen “pants” as an anagrind before, and it took me a couple of seconds to realise it was one – very cunning. I agree with you about “Almost immediately” in 4dn: I would have thought “retro” could go quite a way back into the past. However, a convincing surface reading of 13ac completely escapes me! (Time 8:47, so not disastrous, but not particularly sparkling either)
  2. I agree with Linxit on 13a – the clue is tricky but very good once worked out. Mind you – it probably took me the best part of 8 minutes to do it!

    There are omitted “easies” for the inhabitants of the x-word Watership Down:

    7a Neighbour a source of ridicule for gossip (4)
    A BUT (t). SL a butt (of jokes).

    17a (Its candle lit)*, flickering, sparkled (12)

    22a Simple task a breath of fresh air (6)

    23a Journey following such loftiness – landing here? (8)

    25a Question involving English dairy product (4)
    WH E Y. We had Curds in a recent x-word too. When will Miss Muffet visit?

    3d Rob and Charlie (3)
    MUG. DD – nothing to do with Cocaine this time!

    5d Mad design surrounds fashion (7)”
    EN RAGE D. Design = END and fashion = RAGE as in “all the rage”.

    12d Profession where doctors given the axe?
    TREE SURGEON. Chain saw more likely!

    15d (Insert the)* unfortunate numbers (9)
    THIRTEENS. Where unfortunate is both the anagram indicator and part of the literal.

    19d Shortage passing round river (6)
    DEA R TH

    21d A bit rubbish (5)
    SCRAP. DD.

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