Times Saturday 23850 (March 1st)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 16:18

Fairly tricky in places, with a couple of bits of dodgy wordplay. I need a bit of help to understand 2D, but the rest are straightforward enough.


1 PEG,A,SUS – according to Chambers, a peg is a shot of brandy and soda, so can’t really be clued as a wee dram. Pegasus is a constellation as well as a mythological winged horse.
6 SPE(A,R)ED – interestingly, this would have worked just as well if it was clued as “A runner’s first in race…” but then the surface reading wouldn’t have worked.
11 CHESTER,FIELDS – Chester has a cathedral, so it’s a see.
15 BA(Z,AA)R – I liked that, “group no longer drinking” for AA.
22 ALL IN GOOD TIME – great reverse cryptic clue. The answer is a cryptic clue for G(ALL)EON, as well as a well-known phrase in its own right.
25 STRAW – warts rev. The definition is “trifle”, one of the less obvious meanings of the answer.
26 BATH STONE – cryptic definition. Pumice can be used in the bath, but BATH STONE itself is a type of limestone mined at Bath (more as a building stone than sculpture material though).
28 DR,ESSE,R – didn’t know this meaning of dresser. “A medical student who dresses wounds”.


1 P(O)PE – PPE is short for “Philosophy, Politics and Economics“, a course at Oxford University.
2 GROUCHO – Marx is obviously GROUCHO but I can’t see how the rest of it works. [ Take MAO and replace MA (mother) with GROUCH (grumble). Thanks, Anonymous. ]
3 SNIDE – alternate letters of iS uNkInD yEs.
8 DRAWS,TRING – Tring is a small town in the Chilterns. Not an easy one for non-Brits.
12 WINDLASSES (sadness wil)*
18 CH(L)ORAL – I think “liquid” is a bit of a loose definition for this, but luckily the wordplay makes it pretty obvious.
21 FORBID – MORBID with F replacing M.
24 S(oap),(d)EAR

8 comments on “Times Saturday 23850 (March 1st)”

  1. I was also puzzled by 2D and could only think it was a reference to MA (mother) + O somehow equating to GROUCH (grumble) + O. A bit odd! Jimbo.
    1. The clue is “For surgical assistant, vital being right behind doctor”.

      ESSE is a philosophical term which means “actual existence; essence”, so “vital being” is a pretty good definition of that.

  2. Jeez, I’m getting fed up with the word “definition” on this blog and elsewhere throughout the cruciverbal universe.
    Cryptic solvers might know better than to use “definition” to mean something like “any word/s that can be substitued for another or others, in some possible context”.
    That’s not a reasonable definition of “definition”
    At the very best, the “definition” part of a clue is somewhat like a dictionary look-up: a statement of the [exact] meaning of a word.
    More loosely, this part of the clue is a potential thesaurus entry.
    I.e., you could use the “definition” to vaguely substitute for the answer.
    Otherwise, it’s much wilder; as in the chestnuts: butter/goat, number/anaesthetic, and the rest.
    You’d rarely find anything like these being a “definition” in any accepted sense of the word.
    So could we please find a better word for the (semi-)literal part of the clue?
    I suspect it’s something like a “context-free synonym”.
    Any other ideas out there … or is everyone too wedded to “definition”, given that the Latin “definire” = “to set bounds to”?


  3. Oo-er I must try not to use the D-word at least in this blog.

    There is a footer XI of omissions from the blog:

    9a Not against seeing faciities (9)

    10a Something with a hood that needs firm support (5)
    CO BRA

    13a Smooth part of deal that comes with strict rule (4,4)

    17a Leave a politician gets at end of year (6)
    DEC A MP

    27a Turned out and took part in game, having joined the seconds (7)

    4d Chant about PM may be showing disrespect (8)
    S PITT ING. We’ll have none of that in this 2nd XI!

    5d Someone primarily kept on the gate? (6)
    S ENTRY. The S is from (S)omeone primarily and the gate = entry and the whole clue is the literal. (No D-word here).

    7d Give girl massage for complaint (7)

    16d Fellow taken out as per contract (8)

    20d Difficult individual to excite, being devoid of energy (7)
    ONE ROUS (E)

    23d “Children matter!” the head ejaculated (5)
    (T) ISSUE. Dodgy omission indicator here?

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