Times Saturday 23557

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time: 13:15

I got the two 15-letter downs quite quickly and was hoping for a much faster time, but just got stuck on a few at the end. 4d was the last I put in, really wanted to kick myself when I finally got it. Unlike the previous week’s near miss, this one is a pangram.


4 EVENT,IDES – here’s something I didn’t know until I just looked it up: IDES was the 15th of March, May, July and October, but the 13th of the other months.
11 DA(I,N(igh)T)Y – Incomprehensible surface reading, but very clever wordplay.
12 RE,JOICED (“joist”) – slightly dodgy definition of joist to help with the surface reading.
16 KLEIN Рthe mathematician Felix Klein, and the so-called Klein bottle, which is a sort of two-dimensional version of a M̦bius strip, i.e. it has no volume.
19 PIN,E(A,P)PLE – EPLE = peel*
22 QUICHE, supposed to sound like “chic” backwards. I bet it wouldn’t if you actually tried it.
25 LUIGI – (f)L(o)U(t)I(n)G (h)I(s) removing six individual characters gives the name, and Pirandello wrote Six Characters in Search of an Author.
26 T,AL(KING)TO – Nabucco (more commonly known here as Nebuchadnezzar), is a king. Also an opera by Verdi, so the surface reading is perfect.
27 S(C,HOL)A,RLY – I wasn’t too sure about RLY=railway, but it’s in Chambers.


1 S(pread),WORD,OF,DAM,OCLES(close*) – got this straight away but had to come back later and work out the wordplay.
2 A,Z,ERI(ire rev) – took me a while to get this even though I was sure “extreme letters” meant AZ.
4 EX,EC – last one I got – no reason other than stupidity.
8 ST(AND=with,ONCE,REM)ONY – another one I put in immediately but only worked out the wordplay later.
13 PRO,PR,IE,TO,R – more complicated wordplay, but runs together smoothly in a good surface reading.
15 REPLE(NIS)H – SIN inside HELPER, all backwards.
18 CO(A,XI)AL – one of the last I had left at the end. Black diamonds = COAL had me looking for a B and D or ICE in there somewhere.

13 comments on “Times Saturday 23557”

  1. You didn’t explain this one which still baffles me.

    Is the clue that CHIC when reversed is supposed to sound like QUICHE? Am I missing something (quite likely)? If not I think it’s pretty feeble.


        1. I don’t understand your complaint. There are three sounds in the pronunciation of QUICHE, namely K, EE, SH. The same three sounds in reverse order, SH, EE, K, give the pronunciation of CHIC. So, phonetically, QUICHE is the reverse of CHIC. What’s feeble about that?
          1. Only approximately true though – if you listen to a word played backwards on tape you realise that individual sounds aren’t one-dimensional points. So SH is pronounced ‘shuh’, EE is pronounced ‘eey’ and K is ‘kuh’. In reverse it’s ‘uhk-yee-uhsh’ (very rough approximation).

            That’s what I was getting at in my comment in the blog entry. Considering the adverse comments whenever a homophone is used that doesn’t work with a rhotic accent, I think it’s a fair point.

            1. Oh, that’s what you mean. According to cryptic conventions, “reversing” a word inverts the order of the component letters without inverting the individual letters, so why should the process be different for phonemes? Playing a tape backwards is like using mirror-writing, which isn’t usually expected in a crossword.
              1. Now there’d be an interesting Listener theme!

                I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “reverse homophone” clue before, so there isn’t a convention to draw upon. My first thought was “how it would sound in reverse”, and I knew from having heard such things before, that it wouldn’t sound right.

                Your argument makes sense though, and I’m happy to concede the point.

  2. I made heavy weather of this one (16:50), taking ages over FOREPARTS (fooled by “hinder”) and DESKTOP (looking at it vertically, I dismissed the idea that there could possibly be a word D-SKT–). (Sigh!)
  3. Isn’t the Klein bottle 4-dimensional?
    I’m currently revising for my Intro to Topology exam, so I hope so.
    1. …or am I making the classic error of confusing a 2-dimensional surface with a 4-dimensional shape?
      1. It’s definitely 2-dimensional. The Wikipedia link I gave tells you more than you ever wanted to know about them. The only 4-dimensional thing I know of is called a tesseract, which is usually represented as a cube within a cube.
  4. I thought the reverse “sounds-like” was a bit dodgy too but I note that we all got the answer easily enough whether or not we thought the clue was a good ‘un.

    Quite a few “easies”:

    1a Pottery fragment revealed by spades with effort (5)
    S HARD. Where hard = effort !?

    9a (Elopers’ve)* exercised and wake up late (9)

    10a Land recalled in fAIRY Stories (5)

    14a Defensive structures to protect Republican article and not hinder members (9)
    FO REPA RTS. The literal is presumably “members”? I don’t know what the “not hinder” is all about?

    17a Gelatin product used for photograph (5)
    AS PIC. Photosensitive emulsions are, or were, gelatin based so this is a nice little misdirection.

    21a Ring, by means of stirring Act I, is this (8)

    28a Lustrous, apart from first thing in the morning (5)
    (P) EARLY

    3d Raised edges of teak in modelled work surface (7)

    6d Grass (costs UK)* bucks (7)

    7d Involving muck but little brass? (4,5)

    20d Insulting coach I have to support ace (7)

    23d Smoke Channel Islands fish (5)
    CI GAR

    24d Whip female out of priesthood (4)
    F LAY

    1. I’m doing these crosswords from the 2007 book of Times Crosswords – so my comments are slightly tardy!

      I was quite surprised that none of the comments regarding CHIC/QUICHE suggested that QUICHE sounds like KITSCH (well, sort of!) in which case “the reverse of chic” would be kitsch which, according to talk, sounds like quiche.

      Well, that’s what I reckon anyway, although admittedly I’ve had 11 years to think about it!


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