Times Saturday 23617

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 15:59

I got off to a slow start with this one, putting only 3 or 4 answers in on my first run through the clues. I got 1dn wrong at first too, which slowed me down a bit, but once that was sorted it was plain sailing.


1 BABY – cryptic def. I think invention = baby in the sense of a pet project etc.
11 CUSTARD = mustard with a different first letter.
13 AL,DER – being RED=cherry, L(e)A(f), all reversed.
14 BAR,BILL,IARDS=raids* – I liked “local entertainment” as the definition of a pub game.
22 SNAKEBITE – nice cryptic def. A 50/50 mixture of lager and cider which turns cloudy in the glass.
24 S(HAM)POO(n) – another innovative definition too. “Set partner” from the phrase “shampoo and set”.
25 ATPE=(A pet)*,ACE=one.
26 PENALTY,BOX – definition is “area spotted?” This setter’s really on form with the definitions!


1 B(A,THROB)E – not keen on this. BE = bill of exchange, but that’s not the same as cost, is it? I originally had COVERALL, ignoring the fact that the clue said pound, not pounds (and that C isn’t a recognised abbreviation for cost)!
6 K,IS,SAND,MAKEUP – I don’t like K = top man, a bit too much indirection.
8 END,URE – I just realised I’ve been familiar with the River Ure for years through crosswords, without ever knowing where it was! (I’m a Southerner).
10 S(uffer),ISTINE CHAPEL=encephalitis* – Pope Sixtus IV had it built, and Sistine is an adjective from his name.
20 STRA=arts rev.,IN – arts defined as “music and dance, perhaps”
23 A,LA,M.O. – ref. the phrase “Remember the Alamo!”, which became Sam Houston’s battle cry.

5 comments on “Times Saturday 23617”

  1. I thought the BE = COST is from expressions such as “How much is that?” meaning “how much does that cost?” so that cost becomes another alternative to live as a synonym for “be”.

    John M

    1. I’d like to leap to the defence of “Top man” as a definition for K = King. It is slightly indirect, but I believe not unreasonably so. Don’t forget K is a chess, not a regal, abbreviation.
      I also enjoyed this. One clue held me up for ages but I can’t remember which, now …
  2. Novel definitions with a bit of humour. Well, I found them funny.

    A boat-crew’s worth of omitted “easies”:

    3a Is exam result open to appeal so surprising? (10)

    18a O Lord! Where might I seek thee? (7,5)

    21a A long letter (5)
    A ITCH

    27a Balance somewhat oveRESTimated (4)

    4d Always, books kept as record (5)
    E NT ER

    5d Discover (sectarian)* at fault (9)
    ASCERTAIN. Although it was clearly an anagram it took me too many goes to get the answer. Twas not so easy for me.

    7d Drink makes bishop frisky (6)

    19d Ignore academic success at University (4,2)

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