Times Saturday 23539

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 13:22

I found this a lot easier than the last few weeks’ Saturday puzzles – should really have been under 10 minutes but I got stuck on a couple at the end. I suspect the likes of Pete B and Magoo may have managed sub 5-mins. Looking back at it now I don’t recall which ones slowed me up…there are a lot of cryptic definitions both on their own and as part of standard clues – very clever, most of them, and very witty. I enjoyed it.


1 BAGPIPER – got this cryptic definition straight away, so I was definitely on the right wavelength, as I never considered the surface reading for an instant!
9 YEA(r) – Another CD here + clever wordplay for ¾ of a year – again I got it instantly (although I already had 1d by then).
10 PRO,LIFE,RATE – straightforward charade – I was on a roll!
12 SUI GENERIS – (genius)* + SIRE rev – also got straight away; this was going in like RTC so far!
15 TY(pist),RANT – I wasn’t too sure about RANT=bombast, but Chambers confirms it.
16 “ME AND ‘ER” – nice one! Does this indicate a female setter today? There’s only one on the team
18 PUCCINI – I’m ashamed to admit that I had to wait till I had 17d to get this…
24 DISCOUNTER – double anagram, hence “repeatedly”, and &lit. Very clever clue.
28 TA-TA,M1(1M rev) – “so long” = TA-TA is quite deceptive, but I had all the crossing downs when this went in so no problems.
29 HYDROGEN – bit of a worrying surface reading! Luckily I live in Coventry, but if I was a Cockney I’d pronounce it ‘ydrogen.


3 I,MPRESARIO (Rome,Paris)*
4 EGO-CENTRICITY – “Gr-EGO-ry” – I wasn’t entirely sure that centricity could be a word on its own (but it is), but this would have been a good punning definition anyway.
6 EDEN – Anthony Eden, and the Garden. I don’t like “he led our race” to describe a PM though. Not very accurate, is it? Race != nation!
7 SEA BIRD (“See Byrd”), i.e. Richard Byrd, the American polar explorer.
8 THESAURI (auth(o)rise)*
11 IDIO(MA)TICALLY – I always find “dressing” a bit of a stretch as a containment indicator, but it’s very common.
14 BACK NUMBER – well-spotted by the setter, I haven’t seen this one before. You can get SIX and NINE reversed in Mar(xis)m-L(enin)ism.
19 CO(RRUP=purr rev)T
21 NOTHING – another sort of double CD &lit! Almost too clever though, makes it a very easy clue.
25 A TO M – finishing with a very old chestnut…

7 comments on “Times Saturday 23539”

  1. Clue: “Composer responsible for Toscanini’s start”.
    Answer: PUCCINI.
    But why?
    Mike O, Skiathos.
  2. The answer for 1 across published in the Times today was given as “BAGPIPES”.

    Shome mistake shurely!!

    1. Clue was: “Kind of bomb that, shortly, may be dropped in part of London.” Hydrogen can be “shortly” written as H, and dropping aitches is a Cockney speech habit.
      1. Thanks, Peter. I’m often foxed by this kind of clue, because I’m trying to break it down into bits.


  3. Quite a straightforward one – second time round. Otherwise I would have not got 12a SUI GENERIS being completely deficient in a Latin education. I can’t remember when I did this first time – I don’t think it was as far back as 2007 – but I learned Sui Generis well enough to recall it this time. Result.

    9 “easies” to include:

    5a Stone put in ring, say, for rich people (3-3)

    13a Prepare ship at a northern port (4)
    RIG A

    20a Volunteers joining monarch – it’s infectious (6)

    23a Mark’s replacement not ready for England yet (4)
    EURO. Speaking from the post-Brexit future you could safely drop the “yet” from that clue now.

    26a Consider strike on railway that provides rural recreation (7,4)

    27a One learner in from to computer unit in class (3)
    I L K

    1d (By his)* confusion about love, revealing how immature youth is (6)
    B 0 YISH

    2d Great seriousness of cause producing mass movement (7)
    GRAVITY. Double definition.

    17d Part of shoe damaged sock (8)
    UPPER CUT. Sock as in biff – not an item of hosiery at all.

Comments are closed.