Times Saturday 23611

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
[At long last! I’ve been trying to post this from work all day without success]

Late again I’m afraid. I don’t seem to get any time at the weekends lately, although that’s really just an excuse for being disorganised!

Anyway, solving time 17:08, which is a bit slower than average for me. There were a few unusual words but that’s no excuse as I knew them all. They’re probably there because the grid is a pangram, and possibly an
abortive attempt at a double pangram – all but 6 letters (BGQVWX) appear in the grid twice or more.


1 E(UCL,I)D – I assume UCL is University College London but that abbreviation isn’t in the dictionary.
4 NOVEMBER – phonetic alphabet word for N (first bit of News).
10 PO(RTFO)LIO – pretty complicated wordplay. RTFO is what’s left of Hertford is you remove Herd (of cattle). I think that needs a question mark at least, as a herd could be sheep, deer, elephants etc.
21 CHARLOTTE RUSSE (as corselet hurt)* – &lit. Here‘s one – I think those little sponges around the outside are called lady’s fingers.
25 KOOR=rook<=,I=current – koori is what some native Australians call themselves.
26 S(KED)ADDLE – I think it’s strange that we say “in the saddle” rather than “on the saddle”, but it’s convenient for this clue that we do!
27 PI(MIEN)T,O – alternative spelling of pimento.


2 COR(G)I – I’ve seen my=cor quite a lot lately.
3 IN,F(IDE)L – I first thought this was ID in an anagram of fine, +L and was going to moan about the lack of an anagrind – then the penny dropped!
7 BLACK,JACK – the wordplay had me puzzled at first, until I looked up jack, which is Aussie slang for bored, fed up.
9 ALBINO,N,I – note is a very slippery word, as it can indicate N,A,B,C,D,E,F,G,DO,RE,MI,FA,SO,LA,TI or UT. Albinoni is one of those composers who I’ve heard of but know absolutely nothing else about.
17 (s)T(HEAT)RES(s)
20 YARDARM (my radar)* – I’m trying to decide whether this clue has something to do with sailors not getting any rum until the sun is over the yardarm.
23 SE(D)ER – a Jewish festival, April 2-3 this year.
24 SKEP – P(in)E, K(ernel)S backwards. A skep is a hive made of grass or straw.

7 comments on “Times Saturday 23611”

  1. Please explain clearly and simply (“phonetic”?)why the answer is November. I realised that N=”first bit of news ” but after that I am lost, and what you have written doesn’t help.
  2. Please explain clearly and simply why the answer is November. I did see that N=”first bit of news” but after that I am lost and what you have written doesn’t help, I’m afraid.
  3. Dear Linxit: I appreciate your help. I now understand
    the clue, but don’t you think the clue is strangely written with “month” almost in the middle? Would not “Month on the radio for the first bit of news be better?” Also I cannot remember seeing the radio phonetic alphabet being used in other clues but that may be old age!
    1. It’s worded as it is: “First bit of news in a month on the radio” for the surface reading, so that the clue reads as a piece of normal English. Perhaps “First bit of news on the radio for a month” might just about work, but then the cryptic grammar’s a bit clumsy. Phonetic alphabet words are used occasionally in Times clues, but usually the other way round, i.e. November in the wordplay to indicate N in the answer.
  4. 1A: UCL must be what they meant by “University”, but unless things have changed since my day it’s a college of London University, not a university on its own. And in the London student argot of my day (78-81) it was known as “UCL” rather than “University”, so you can’t justify it that way. “Imperial” was different.

    Getting back to the clue; I decided that the U for university and some “bad grade” letters, along with lack of any other E?C?I? maths bloke was enough, but probably spent at least a minute of my 11:07 thinking about this and wondering whether any grading system went down to L.

  5. Sufficient “easies” omitted to form a Rugby Union Team:

    11a Respond as cast does after rehearsal? (5)
    RE (-) ACT

    12a Encouragement to those whose braces have hitherto come undone? (5,4,5)
    THIRD TIME LUCKY. Something to do with following on from a brace of times = 2 times?

    14a Perfect commentary from croupier, perhaps (5)
    I DEAL

    16a A singleton should be so passe (3,2,4)
    OUT OF DATE. I spent quite a bit of time looking for a bridge surface here where the 4 letter word would have been SUIT – eg ONE OF SUIT – but this was a dead end.

    18a Blue (Tories qu)estion (u)*niversity after reshuffle (9)
    TURQUOISE. More of a blue-green (cyan) than a straight blue but I try not to be too palette picky.

    20a Sort of joiner left a bumpkin (5)
    YOKE L. Not a very complimentary term for country-person but probably better than Sheep-sha**er which is the term of endearment dished out by Luton Town fans back when HUFC were last in the Footy Conference. No wonder the Watford folk call them the scum.

    28a Unconcerned with correctness, bouquet is rejected by Liberal (6)
    AMORA L. AROMA = bouquet reversed then L(iberal).

    1d Write at length about initially reclusive foreigner (10)
    EXPAT R IATE. The well known term for “to enlarge in discourse or writing” surrounding the first letter of reclusive. Easy eh?

    5d It’s said to brace individual putting on a little weight (5)
    OZ ONE. This is based on the double myth that the distinctive smell you get at the seaside is Ozone and that breathing Ozone is good for you. Neither of these things are true. The smell at the seaside is Di-methyl sulphide or DMS which is excreted by marine things like plankton. Ozone is only good for you in the Ozone layer where it cuts down the amount of incident UV from the sun. I’d post a URL for a reference but last time I did that my comment was blocked as spam! You can search it yourself if it interests you.

    6d Cover of the Listener? (7)

    8d Reportedlay warrants ostentatious luxury (4)
    RITZ. SL writs.

    13d Mentioned explosive agreement that appeals to Cockney consumers (7,3)
    JELLIED EELS. SL Gelly Deals as in Gelegnite Agreements.

    15d Legless cast’s producer emerging from The Globe? (9)

    19d Britains’s weather settling over east European republic (7)

    22d Attack where Dad’s Army is seen?(5)
    ON SET

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