Times Saturday 23796 (29 Dec)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 26:55

I was held up for over 10 minutes on the last answer because I put FAST BOWLER in quite early for 22A, which left T?C?E for 23D. There were plenty of good clues in this puzzle, but the one that stood out for me was 25A. What a great anagram!


10 WALRUS MOUSTACHE (war,USA so much let)*
11 L,A,W(A,BID)ING – I wasn’t too keen on WING=hurry, but it can mean to move quickly, so I suppose it’s alright.
17 PR(OBIT)Y – “passing judgment” for OBIT is class.
18 CASTLES – double def (although purists would frown on rooks being called castles).
19 TETANUS – (a nut)* inside SET reversed. A locker indeed, but only of jaws.
22 P,ACE,BOWLER – this was one of the first answers I got, but as FAST BOWLER without really checking the wordplay. As everything went in around it I just assumed it was right and it probably doubled my time for the puzzle.
25 CONFIDENCE TRICK (kind of eccentric)* – brilliant anagram and my COD.


6 TUT,U – Tut(ankhamen) is a popular mummy.
9 TURNS,PIT – a servant whose job was to turn a spit.
12 WINDSOR KNOT – good cryptic def. A Windsor knot is a complicated way of tying a tie, that I can never get right.
14 POST MORTEM – another good CD.
16 RE(STAG)ED – i.e. STAG in DEER rev.
23 E(M,C)EE – surely that should be through identical notes?
24 WIN,O
26 (s)ILK

5 comments on “Times Saturday 23796 (29 Dec)”

    1. BLUE,BOTTLE – Down=BLUE, every glug=BOTTLE and a bluebottle is a buzzing fly. I thought it was a good clue with an excellent surface reading. Not sure why I missed it out now.
  1. ‘similar’ can mean identical (23D), though it’s a bit naughty. I wasn’t too happy about every glug=BOTTLE either. I rather liked 18A, don’t have a problem with ‘CASTLES’ and a nice ref. to every Englishman’s home.
    1. Sorry, CASTLES was a bit of an in-joke, and referred to a Col. Boslings, who had a real rant on here a few months ago about the decline in standards of the Times crossword because of the use of CASTLES for rooks (among other things).

  2. No – it doesn’t sound right does it? I wonder what happened to the Good Colonel?

    A footer XI of “easies” on the pitch in this one. I don’t know how many STRIKERS (20d) there are but there are certainly no FLANKERS (not 20d).
    I thought, quite wrongly, that FLANKERS could be “out” on the flanks. Having the wrong footer code for ages left me impossible answers at 19a and 22a. Once I switched to Soccer as opposed to Rugger this was resolved.

    5a Untidily throws down second pair of trousers (6)

    13a What’s turned out from reCIPEs is impressive (4)
    EPIC. Cecil B de Mille directs Delia Smith?

    15a Comedian appears better touring the South (7)

    21a Noble king pushing crown to the back (4)
    L EAR => EAR L. Where “crown” means head or first letter?

    27a Design paraded? (6)
    TATTOO. Edinburgh ink?

    2d Don’t open medicine, though in need of it? (3)
    (P) ILL

    3d Down every glug – get a buzz out of it! (10)
    BLUE BOTTLE. S’pose bottle = every glug.

    4d Unsettled character – though certainly not unbalanced (5)
    NO MAD. He’s no mad that Edinburgh tattooist.

    7d Is a departure so good? (11)
    EXCEPTIONAL. As in departure from the norm?

    18d Style in which redundancies effected? (4,3)

    20d Forward one out? (7)
    STRIKER. Not one out on the flanks!

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