Times Saturday 23695 (Sep 1)

Solving time 13:48

No real problems with this fairly straightforward puzzle, just slow thinking on my part giving me a below-par (or should that be above-par?) time. Even so, that’s still much better than average for me for a Saturday, and it led in to the easiest week of Times crosswords since this blog began.


1 GAME BIRD (Ambridge*) – should really have spotted this straight away, but in the end it was one of the last I put in.
10 ‘AUNTS,ALLIES – originally the target in a fairground game, now anyone who’s the target for abuse or criticism.
12 INCE(nice*),N,DIARY
13 NANA – I didn’t know about Zola’s heroine, but Nana was the Darlings’ dog in Peter Pan.
16 ISRAELI – Lear rev. inside IS,1
24 STAFF,NURSE – A NURSE is a shark or dogfish, with rod = STAFF.
29 SHERIDAN – I knew of the Irish writer, but not the American general.


1 GLORIA – a part of the RC mass, I think it’s short for this.
2 MAL(A,CH)I – I’m not sure what the word “work” is doing in this clue, unless it’s referring to the book in the Bible rather than the prophet himself.
3 BRAIN DRAIN – nicely worded cryptic definition.
11 STRAIGHT FLUSH – e.g. 98765 of the same suit. One of the best hands you can get in poker.
14 PROMENADER – ref. Last Night of the Proms. I think this clue was published a week early!
17 BRI(CKBA=back*)T
19 P(RE,SS)UP – “staying” being the containment indicator.
21 GARLAND – i.e. Judy Garland, who played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
25 NERO – I’m sure I eventually figured out how this clue worked last week, but I can’t see it now! Any ideas? [ Memory jogged by foggyweb – it’s ZERO with the Z rotated to form an N. ]

6 comments on “Times Saturday 23695 (Sep 1)”

    1. Of course it was! Thanks, Stephen. I did get it last week, after a bit of thought. I even remember making a mental note of it at the time as a piece of tricky wordplay to comment on!
  1. The one in the Mass is Gloria in Excelsis Deo. Still called the Gloria when in English in C of E services. Gloria Patri (much shorter) is the one sung at the end of psalms – Glory be to the Father, and to the Son …

    Also found Ambridge annoyingly hard, though NERO was the last answer.

  2. There’s a trap for the unwary UNIX user in this one, which I’ve fallen into myself in the past. Despite being quite familiar with the SKUA/AUKS pairing, I once put in AWK for a clue similar to 27A, and it was only when I checked my solution that I remembered that the seabird wasn’t spelt that way. In fact I actually got as far as writing in AWK this time, but changed it almost immediately – at least giving me the slight encouragement that my memory isn’t yet completely shot. What’s more this puzzle had the added lure of OWL placed symmetrically opposite.

    The main reason I was so slow (14:21) with this one was because I didn’t know the American general and spent a long time making sure there wasn’t an alternative (being worried about the closeness of SHERMAN).

  3. Quite an ornithological offering with 12 “easies” to fill in:

    5a Reprimand backward section in privaTE PRACtice (6)

    9a Bird of prey taling lead from tame one (3)
    (F) OWL

    15a Crude producer repelled lassie I love (3,3)
    0 I LRIG

    18a Traveller isn’t commonly required to put on another coat (7)

    20a In accepting silver, showing respect (6)
    HOM AG E

    23a Provided a wake-up call for those on board (4)

    27a Bird Cockney might misidentify from sound (3)

    28a Excellent spinner following gratuitous advice (3,3)

    4d Work with needle providing continuous pain in side (7,6)

    6d Deserted by wife, cries and languishes (4)
    (W) AILS

    7d Leader of province with (a mitre)*, possibly (7)
    P RIMATE. An &lit where an Archbishop might have a mitre as a badge of office? Don’t go giving heavy sticks to those gorillas now!

    22d Yank wearing jacket (6)

Comments are closed.