Times Saturday 23946 (June 21)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time – not noted as I was interrupted half-way through, but I think it was around 20 minutes in two sessions. Quite a few bits of general knowledge required, as is more common on Saturdays, and it would have scored about 6 or 7 on the pie chart.


9 M(A(ll),C(urrants),G(oing))UFFIN – a term originally coined by Alfred Hitchcock, according to Chambers.
10 NATAL – hidden, but not a meaning of the word I was aware of before.
13 RA,BAT – capital of Morocco.
15 AIRSTREAM – (rate is,arm)*
17 POL(ICED)O,(shiverin)G
20 ELYSIUM – (you smile)* less the O. The abode of the blessed dead in Greek myth, hence any delightful place.
22 NAUGHTY – sounds like “nought-y”
28 TREE-HUGGING – nice cryptic def, but which reads as maybe a straight clue to anyone who knows nothing about cricket! (The Ashes is the name of the test series when England play Australia – see link for why.)


3 FAU(V,I)ST – hmmm, art and literature in this one.
5 I,(t)ONIC – I first thought this was ION,I,C and referring to Greek architecture, but Ionic columns are capped.
6 G(UNB=bun*)OAT – butter = goat is an old crossword cliché, but I haven’t seen it for a while.
8 W(ALTER,M)ITTY – ref. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber.
16 (i)RO(n),GANJ(a),OS,H – one for fans of complicated charades!
18 C,RICKET(s) Рno mention of the game here, but six-footer for insect is one of the oldest clich̩s there is.
23 H(A)IT,I

12 comments on “Times Saturday 23946 (June 21)”

  1. Also around 20 minutes.

    I thought there were some belting clues in here, favourites being CHOC-ICE, MACGUFFIN (such a great word and concept, well-clued), ROGAN JOSH (pretty smart, getting ‘ganja’ into wordplay like that) and the sublime TREE-HUGGING – a terrific, wrong-footing cryptic.

    I liked BOLLYWOOD, too, for the use of Calloway and the Cotton Club.

    I don’t understand where the ‘in’ at 25 TWO-TIMING comes from. Could someone explain the wordplay?

    Very enjoyable puzzle.

    1. Um, thought I had, in blog shorthand.

      It’s O + TIM (old boy) inside TWIN G.

  2. You had, linxit. I was being especially dozy. I was seeing the container as TWO..G and misread your analysis.

    Thanks, both.

    1. Dorosatt – I’m not sure Cab Calloway is generally so well known in the UK. For me, he’s one of the great entertainers. If I could go anywhere, anytime, the Cotton Club with Calloway leading the orchestra is where and when I’d be heading.
      1. I don’t think I’d know Cab Calloway if I hadn’t watched The Blues Brothers six zillion times. Most people here probably know Minnie The Moocher but wouldn’t necessarily know who sang it.

        …it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses…

        Got off to a slow start on this having to divide my attention between solving and watching my 7-year-old “play” tennis and then have a swimming lesson. Sitting down later with a coffee it all fell into place.

        MacGuffin was new to me but got it from the wordplay, knew the word elysium as its the name of a rather nice and unusual black muscat dessert wine (unusual because it’s red) and fauvist was one of those words I didn’t know I knew.

        Good puzzle.

  3. Can somebody please explain why TREE-HUGGING is the answer? I got it as the only possibility, but I still don’t understand even after reading the comments about it!
    1. The clue is “Ashes, perhaps, held in this? (4-7)”.

      It’s a cryptic definition, with the surface reading making you think of what the urn that holds the “ashes of English cricket” might be called (that’s how I read it anyway, although it could be the ashes from a fire in a grate).

      Anyway, the actual reading of it is that trees might be ashes, and they’d be held if someone hugged them, hence TREE-HUGGING.

      1. Thanks Linxit, but I’m still puzzled if only because of the praise heaped on it by Sotira (“sublime”)and (perhaps to a lesser extent?) by you. I think, but I’m still not sure, that my difficulty is that I cannot believe that anyone would use the term TREE-HUGGING for an urn for ashes, whether ordinary ashes or the Test Match ashes. But you have enlightened me by your last sentence so at least half a penny has dropped!

  4. In which the Tree-huggers save the Ashes.

    There are a dozen omissions from this one:

    7a Bully – one’s mate! (3)

    11a Compiler’s job situation (7)

    12a Sweet best to keep cold (4,3)

    19a Beneficial thing to remove lead from hound (5)
    (B) ASSET

    24a Farm animals as soup ingredient (5)

    27a Free travel stopping short (3)
    RID (E)

    1d The whole – or not, did you say? (3)
    SUM. SOM (E)?

    2d A national racing venue (5)
    A SCOT. Aint Aintree – too many letters.

    4d Splashing around (figure lad)* might need one? (9)

    7d Claws out with such a malicious nature? (9)

    11a Gyrating (artiste, pers)*on on to peel off! (11)
    STRIPTEASER. Where the peeling off is done by the on from the person and the person.

    21d Joint going to bishop’s head?
    MITRE. Where the joint is woodwork NOT a reefer.

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