Times Saturday 23533

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 21:46

Are Saturday’s puzzles getting harder or am I getting worse? I haven’t gone under 20 minutes for weeks, whereas my weekday averages are around 13 mins, with the occasional sub-10 minute time.


1 DIP,LO(DO)CUS – one of the best-known dinosaurs and one of the largest.
10 (p)O(W)LISH – strange word this. According to Chambers, apart from solemn, it can also mean either wise or stupid.
13 RECOVERY – got this from the definition, but haven’t a clue about the wordplay. [Explained in comments as (b)RECO(n),VERY – very annoying as I used to live there!]
14 CRY,ST(ALCLE=a cell*)AR
17 T(HICK’S KIN)NED (dent rev)
20 MA(EST)O,SO – I’d never seen or heard of EST (Erhard Seminars Training) before, but since last Saturday it’s already appeared in another crossword somewhere.
21 LIE,BIG – Justus von Liebig, inventor of the Oxo cube.
23 AN,TI(MO)NY – “comprehended” as an insertion indicator? Chambers gives one meaning as “to comprise or include”, so it’s okay. Never seen it before though.


2 (p)ILL(US)ORY – pretty difficult wordplay, I only got this with all checking letters and worked back.
3 LOT – who was Abraham’s nephew in the Bible.
4 DR,ONE – so that’s why Wodehouse called Bertie Wooster’s club the Drones’ Club…I got into reading Wodehouse last year after doing the Listener puzzle whose theme was the different grades of hangover listed in The Mating Game (The Consequence of Being Mortal by Phi).
5 CAMBRI(dge),C
6 SP,OTC,HECK – SP=starting price, OTC=over the counter. Only just worked out the wordplay.
15 A(N)IM,O,S(I)TY – complicated wordplay that hangs together well in the surface reading.
16 BEG,INNER – Fresher as in first-year at university.

13 comments on “Times Saturday 23533”

  1. 13A wordplay goes like this I think, but I took ages to see it

    inside part of Welsh town = B(RECO)N
    unusually = VERY

    rally = RECOVERY

    Harry Shipley

    1. I can’t believe I didn’t see that! I used to live there until about 3 years ago!
  2. I found this one pretty tough (18:17), but slightly easier than last week’s (the Roy Dean tribute puzzle) where I only just managed to scrape under 20 minutes. I think I must have come across EST in the Listener puzzle at one time or another, but never in real life!
    1. Obviously, none of you lived on the west coast of America in the 70’s if you haven’t heard of EST!
  3. I completed it with considerable difficulty and I still don’t fully understand two clues not explained above: 9A and 24D. Assuming the answers are PLATFORM and MAC, would someone care to explain the reasoning?

    I would agree the puzzles are getting harder on Saturdays. I found 23533 even worse than this one!

    1. This one is 23533! No wonder it was so hard! Anyway, PLATFORM and MAC are correct…

      9A – L inside (PART OF)* + M – “ground” being the anagram indicator.

      24D – MA(r)C – Marc is the residue left after grapes have been pressed.

      1. Thanks. I meant 23539. Had both in front of me and copied the wrong number

        I see 9A clearly now, but would never have worked out the reason for 24D. So “refuse” is cluing a specific waste-product of wine making, “marc”. How many people would spot that without already having the M and C in place, I wonder.

  4. Back in the days of the single-handed version of this blog, I kept track of my solving times for the first twenty weeks of blogging and summarized them in this posting. I haven’t kept such detailed daily stats lately, but I don’t think they would be very different for my times, except that the overall average time would be a bit lower as the most difficult puzzles seem to have been toned down a little. Not everyone agreed with my conclusions, and xwd ed Richard Browne says there’s no deliberate effort to make any day of the week easy or hard.
  5. Would somebody explain 26a?

    And yes, Ilanc, I lived on the West Coast in the 70s too, encountered EST-types, and still didn’t get the reference! (I think I’d mercifully repressed the whole idea.) And how does “so” get tacked onto “maestoso”?


  6. I know it’s weeks late, but I’ve only just done the crossword and read the blog, so perhaps Anonymous will read this: “in action” is an anagram indicator, so it’s c in (oldlawyer)*; in football a yellow card is a caution. Terribly good clue, took me ages to work it out, was misled by the fact that a card is a caution.
    1. Thanks Wil, I hadn’t seen Valentine’s post – not sure how I missed it, they get emailed to me. I’d add that SO is clued by “extremely” in 20ac (MAESTOSO). I don’t know why I didn’t mention YELLOW CARD at the time, but I did get it straight away so probably thought it was a gimme.
  7. Thankfully 2 of my ?s were blogged and the 3rd came up in the comments – phew. I did not know EST for 20a, did not see b(RECO)n for 13a – despite having played Rugby there in my schooldays – and did not know MARC despite quite liking the end product.

    Some “easies” are discussed in the comments above but here they are in full:

    7a Absolutely essential to incluDE ADress (4)
    DEAD. In my circle of friends it is the lass from Newcastle who uses this most often for “very”.

    11a Guess when birds should return (6)
    AS SUME. Just AS you think it is safe to go outside the EMUS come back.

    22a Sign from one following object of admiration home (6)
    GEM IN I

    25a Reminder for daughter (4)
    PRO D

    26a (Old lawyer)* in action containing constant caution (6,4)
    YELLOW CARD. The constant is c as in e=mc2.

    8d Grip muscles round body (6)
    ABS ORB. Abs as in 6-pack, orb as in round body. Grip = Absorb as in hold one’s attention.

    12d New (issue daft in)* content? Not at all (11)

    18d Wise guy having little prominence outside Washington (4,3)

    19d Monarch with mind on making progress (6)

    21d Illuminated word used to get attention in print (5)
    LIT HO. Ho there – are you paying attention?

    24d Refuse to go without right coat (3)
    MA (R) C. Refuse as the lees of grape pressing = MARC was beyond me as je n’ai pas connu le mot. Je do now. (I used to love Miles Kingston’s Franglais).

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