Times Saturday 23976 (26th July)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solving time 17:30

I thought I was heading for a fairly quick time for this one, until I got down to three left in the SE corner (25A, 22D, 23D). That’s when I ground to a complete halt and what might have been a 10-minute solve ended up at over 17. I’m still not sure of 22D, but I can’t check it as they haven’t put the solution up yet.

Update – I started doing this blog at 9am Saturday morning, but I’m just posting it now at 1am Sunday as some unexpected guests arrived (who only left an hour ago!).

1 CHIN-CHIN – enjoyed this one, but my crossword brain instantly thought boxer=dog, so it took a while to get it!
5 ACACIA – AC twice, plus IA (short for Iowa)
9 RELATIVE – TALE rev inside RIVE. That was a bit obscure – Chambers says RIVE is a poetic or archaic word meaning to tear, rend, split etc. Interesting definition too!
10 COSMIC – S in COMIC. Is this great as in large or great as in Rodney Trotter’s favourite expression?
12 BY A SHORT HEAD – (a boy thrashed)*, definition is “Just”
15 RASTA – RA (Egyptian sun god) + STA(r)
18 THICKHEAD – I thought this was a bit rude, but just in case I looked up THICKHEAD in Chambers and found that it’s “any bird of an Australian family (Pachycephalidae) related to flycatchers and shrikes.”
19 FLORA – LO inside FRA(nce)
20 SKIPPING ROPE – KIPPING inside prose*. Liked the definition once I’d figured it out.
25 OBSIDIAN – ID,IS reversed inside OBAN. Struggled with this, and couldn’t even think of a word to fit ?B?I???? that made any sense. It came to me as soon as I had the N though.
26 TRAVEL – T + RAVEL, and travel broadens the mind, which according to ODQ is an early 20th century proverb.
27 HEDGE-HOP – HEDGE + HOP. I wasn’t 100% sure this was right, but the wordplay fit and nothing better sprang to mind.

1 CORK – Nice double def.
2 IDLE – another double def.
3 CUTTY SARK – T(in)Y in CUTS + ARK for lifeboat. CUTS = veers? Hmm. Not one of the dozens of definitions for cut in Chambers…
4 INVISIBLE INK – not sure that works as a cryptic definition. A pen is often a “writer” in crosswords, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen ink so described.
6 CLOUT – yet another double def.
8 ACCIDENTAL – a double def. again, and a very good one. In music, an accidental is a sharp or flat on a single note.
11 CONSIDERABLE – (bin cleared so)*. Definition is tidy, as in e.g. a tidy sum.
13 PROTESTANT – PRO + TEST + ANT. Martin Luther was called the Father of Protestantism.
14 ASPIDISTRA – (Iris adapts)*
17 OFFSPRING – I wasn’t keen on this. Why “enjoying”? Why “their holiday season?” Surely that’s summer. Am I missing something?
21 PLANE – the downs are full of double defs, but this one I’ve seen before several times.
22 FISH – couldn’t think of anything else that fit ?I?H meaning “Search”, but it was the last one to go in and I’d spent far too long on 23 and 25 by then. I was perfectly willing to consider other suggestions for this, but the Times now has the answers online and it’s right.
23 SNIP – PINS reversed. Should have got this a lot quicker, but couldn’t think how PINS = flags. Golf, of course. Oh, and SNIP = steal as in bargain. Somebody pass the self-kicking boots!

7 comments on “Times Saturday 23976 (26th July)”

  1. I also had doubts about 4dn, not the answer but the clue.

    On 22dn, rockfish, or rock for short, is, or used to be, very popular in fish and chip shops. It also used to be called rock salmon but I suspect the trading regulations put paid to that.

  2. I haven’t looked at a dictionary, but, assuming an Italian origin, shouln’t the clue have indicated something about “sounding like” or “broadcasting”? The point is that, in Italian, CHIN-CHIN would be pronounced KIN-KIN (all the H does is makes the C hard as in CHIANTI or BRUSCHETTA). The
    correct Italian spelling is CIN-CIN.
    1. Not sure why you think it’s of Italian origin. The definition is “cheers” and the origin is actually Chinese (I just looked it up in Chambers).

      It can also mean hello or goodbye, although I’m pretty sure the only time I’ve heard it said is by posh people in black-and-white films, followed by the clink of glasses!

  3. About 25 mins standing up on the morning train. 22D was the last to go in and a bit of a guess as I could not reconcile fish = rock. Thanks for the explanation.

    3D is presumably “cut in” = veer in front of someone when driving, but a bit iffy.

    9A was easy enough – “rive” is quite frequent I think and not obscure (“the sky, is riven with angels singing..”)

  4. 9A did however raise unpleasant memories of another recent clue on the subject of incest. Same setter?
  5. Nice to have a late entry from Oz.
    Pity that, since a stuff up some months ago, the Oz version has got out of date sync with the (London) Times.
    Now we have to do Saturday puzzles on a Tuesday!
    Had some trouble with 18ac, despite being an Austraian twitcher and one of my real faves is the Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis).
    Now we know who’s the thickhead!


  6. I did not much like the use of “writer” to describe ink in 4d either but I suppose it is equally acceptable as pen. Writer = pen is something we appear to accept regularly?

    Nice to see a volcanic glass at 25a from a geological point of view.

    The Thickhead at 18a was a new bird for me. I have heard of (but never seen) a Thick-knee which is an African variant of the Stone Curlew – a wader that does not wade.

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