Times Saturday 23545 – better late than never!

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 14:26

I was away for the weekend and didn’t get a chance to post this entry until now, so apologies for the delay. I’ve just had to re-solve it this morning as I forgot to bring my original solution in to work, so at least it’s fresh in my mind!


9 SEA(PE(t))RCH – this came up in a clue somewhere recently as a definition for BASS.
11 CARD,(A)MOM – if a well-known two-word phrase like “Queen Mother” appears in a clue, you often have to split it.
14 (e)LITE – last one I put in when I first solved the puzzle. Not a word I’m fond of, and ?I?E is a nasty pair of letters to be left with at the end of a puzzle.
17 BLIGHTY – nice cryptic def
21 PA,PA – this works as a clue to PA, what is there to indicate doubling up (other than the fact that you don’t get two-letter words in the Times)?
25 G(ALL)O,WAY – Galloway is an earldom, and earls are “belted”, whatever that means…
27 DINETTES (“dye nets”) – I don’t know about the so-called homophone though. I pronounce it with a short ‘i’ myself.


2 HE,RBARI(briar*),A
3 P,EM,BROKE – the printers’ measures EM and EN are very common in crosswords.
5 PSYCHES (“Sykes”) – there are a few Dickens villains, but Bill Sykes is the one that always springs to mind first.
6 FAIRY TALES (I falter say)* – Charles Perrault wrote Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella etc.
8 CHAMBER,Y – didn’t know the ski resort but I vaguely knew it was a place.
13 S(ALE,SPIT(tips rev))CH – only just worked out the wordplay fully.
15 P=soft,A(PILLO(w))N – another one with tricky wordplay that you don’t need to follow exactly to solve the clue.
19 TOW(PLAN)E(r) – a towplane is one that pulls a glider up.

6 comments on “Times Saturday 23545 – better late than never!”

  1. I hesitate to tell you this, as it’s the sort of information that old tortoises like me rely on to improve their chances in crossword championships, but it’s Bill Sikes, not Bill Sykes! I put CARDAMOM, but can’t see any reason why the answer to 11a shouldn’t be CARDAMUM. And I too assumed that “belted” in 25a referred to the Earl of Galloway – I think this is a reasonable explanation, even if it isn’t quite as good as Peter’s. (13:59 – I can’t remember what it was that held me up.)
    1. Of course, it’s now almost guaranteed that SIKES will be an answer at the next Championships, with the I unchecked and playing on a homophone of “psyches”. I’d hope CARDAMUM would be accepted too for the prize competition, but the O spelling is the one I consider to be the correct one.
    2. I made a note last weekend to check whether the published solution was CARDAMOM or CARDAMUM and I am rather sorry to see that it is CARDAMOM.

      As TS has pointed out there doesn’t seem to be anything in the clue to to specify one rather than the other, and since both Collins and Chambers classify MOM as(chiefly) an Americanism and The Times is published in the UK I would have expected MUM to prevail.

      This was a competition crossword and I hope that no entrants were penalized for choosing MUM. Is it possible to find out?


  2. I thought the fact that we had publicists and not publicist would suggest more than one PA.
  3. I think of “Mom” as being American and “Mum” from England but what about our Welsh colleagues – do they use Caradamam?
    Despite not being in the slightest American I still spell the spice Cardamom – that is what it says on the labels and in the cookbooks. I first encountered Cardamom in coffee offered by the Bedouin in the mountains of Northern Oman. I have no idea what they call cardamom nor how they spell it.

    Quite a few of those “easies” here:

    10a Split (up) with (my girl)* in bad-tempered way (8)

    12a Preliminary printing – (hope for set)* to be corrected (5,5)

    15a Female duo showing a bit of leg (7)

    22d For NASA it’s a drop in the ocean (10)

    23a Out of controL URCHIN Goes staggering unsteadily (8)

    26a Old boy’s story about Conservative in bar (8)

    4d Sign of hospital having trouble in wintry weather (4)
    H AIL

    7d Dowdy swimmer keeps bottom covered (8)

    16d Authorities raised prize money (3,5)

    18d Mild oath concerning restless type (8)

    20d Given heavy blow, son’s carried with great difficulty (7)

    24d Baked dish left to cool outside (4)
    F L AN

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