Times Saturday 26724 – May 13, 2017. A delight of a crossword!

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
This was full of wonderful clues. Many of them seem simple as I write the blog, but felt rewarding to solve. 28ac was my LOI, and took a little time to see the wordplay even with the helpers. I smiled at 4dn, and was delighted to be able to solve the 15 letter anagram when I didn’t know the expression. And, no obscurities except perhaps the old warriors, but even they appear regularly in crosswords. Congratulations to the setter.

It took me my usual leisurely time, but I predict some fast times from the usual suspects. Looking at the leaderboard I see that as I prepare to post, the 100th best time was just under 15 minutes, typical for a Saturday.

Clues are in blue, with definitions underlined. Anagram indicators are bolded and italicised. The answer is IN BOLD, followed by the wordplay. (ABC)* means ‘anagram of ABC’, {deletions are in curly brackets}.

1. One guarding the old sultanate (6)
YEOMAN: YE=”the” old, OMAN=sultanate.
5. Sleeps soundly after school — that’s the spirit (8)
SCHNAPPS: SCH{ool}, then NAPPS sounds like naps.
9. Series about one retro English band (6,4)
SIGNET RING: STRING=series “about” I plus GNE=ENG{lish} “retro”.
10. Piece English poet neither started nor finished (4)
ROOK: {b}ROOK{e}. Chess piece. Wikipedia: Rupert Brooke (3 August 1887 – 23 April 1915) was an English poet known for his idealistic war sonnets written during the First World War, especially “The Soldier”.
11. Alienate troubled sergeant (8)
12. Outlaw vanished without trace, ultimately? Absolutely right (4,2)
BANG ON: BAN=outlaw, GON{e}=vanished.
13. Camper usually protects land (4)
PERU: hidden.
15. Learners in nearby comprehensive (3-5)
ALL ROUND: 2 x L=learner in AROUND. Nice surface.
18. Brief message: retired doctor performs operation (8)
POSTCARD: DR ACTS OP, all “retired”.
19. Youngster needing support on course, beginning in November (4)
TEEN: TEE=support for golf ball, N{ovember}.
21. Sorted out second part of play for radio? (4,2)
SEEN TO: sounds like “scene two”. The conjunction of “play” and “radio” slowed me down in recognising a homophonic clue.
23. Prove dodgy charity’s given too much money (8)
25. Flag officer on Western Isle (4)
WILT: W=western, I=isle, LT=lieutenant.
26. Surprised about name I dropped (10)
ASTONISHED: AS TO=about, N{ame} I SHED=dropped. Assemble as instructed.
27. Unseemly to make a dash for part of hospital, right away (8)
28. Story about animal (6)
LASSIE: LIE=story around ASS=animal. Literal definition. Wikipedia: Lassie is a female Rough Collie dog, featured in a short story by Eric Knight, later expanded to a full-length 1940 novel called Lassie Come Home, filmed by MGM in 1943.

2. Fellow went by boat, shortly turning northwards (5)
ELIAS: SAILE{d}=went by boat, “turning northward”.
3. Clubs, say, youngsters renounced without question (5,4)
MINOR SUIT: MINORS=youngsters, {q}UIT=renounced. In Bridge, clubs and diamonds are minor suits, hearts and spades are major suits and score more.
4. Observing what faulty bell has? (6)
NOTING: or NO TING (tee-hee).
5. Odd — beauties don’t turn out well-dressed (6,3,6)
SUITED AND BOOTED: (ODD BEAUTIES DON’T*). DNK the expression, but seems well established in the UK.
6. Beverage drunk before prom (8)
7. An expert’s packed protective garment (5)
APRON: PRO=expert, in AN.
8. Maybe I translated this into French, say (9)
PRONOUNCE: PRONOUN=”I”, for example; then CE=”this” in French (or maybe “that” – I always get confused!).
14. Island in flourishing green and largely cool environment? (9)
ECOREGION: (I GREEN COO{l}*). A new word to me, but obvious once you see it.

Wikipedia: An ecoregion is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion, which in turn is smaller than an ecozone. All three of these are either less or greater than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural communities and species.

I think the whole clue describes an example of an ecoregion, but the last word is not part of the wordplay, so I think this can be classified as a semi-&lit.

16. Up-and-coming crockery business needs influential organisations (9)
OCTOPUSES: POT CO reversed (“up-and-coming”), then USES=needs.
17. Pop opera eclipsing a long-running programme (8)
PANORAMA: PA=pop, NORMA=opera, around A. Wikipedia: Panorama is a BBC Television investigative current affairs documentary programme. First broadcast in 1953, it is the world’s longest-running current affairs television programme.
20. Nuts and bolts sailors fitted in part of ship (6)
KERNEL: RN=sailors in KEEL. As in “nuts and bolts of the problem”.
22. Unusually big weight lifted? Wrong (3,2)
NOT SO: OS=unusually big, TON=weight, all “lifted”.
24. Old warriors showing reserve, approaching province (5)
ICENI: ICE=reserve, NI=province.

15 comments on “Times Saturday 26724 – May 13, 2017. A delight of a crossword!”

  1. Agree about the satisfying puzzle. Have to say that, for Americans of my age, Lassie is best known as a TV show. Every week she managed to run home in order to bring help just when it was needed.
  2. I can’t remember anything about this now, other than I didn’t know the phrase SUITED AND BOOTED, which was thus my LOI. I suspect most Brits know of Boadicea/Boudicca and the ICENI, although they may be less familiar to Murcans.
  3. My target 30 minutes for all but 14 and 18 which delayed me another 8 minutes. Good puzzle, and thanks for the blog, Bruce.
  4. Good fun, and a fast 37 minutes for me. Needed to come here for the parsing of PANORAMA, not knowing the opera (I think, in retrospect that Norma has appeared here before, but not enough times for me to remember it yet.)

    FOI 1a, LOI 17d; I didn’t note a COD at the time, but I think the surfaces were rather good in general. Perhaps 20d for its nice mixture of sailors and ship parts. Thanks to both!

  5. I found this pretty standard fare and a pleasant solve, all apart from 9ac solved within the hour, that one taking me just over the hour. FOI 1ac, LOI 9ac, COD 8dn.
  6. Very fast for me on a Saturday in 25 minutes. I knew SUITED AND BOOTED which helped. I’m from the generation that used to dress up to go out, admittedly with our hair well over the collar, but it sounds like it came from the military. We weren’t going out to drink HIGH BALLS nor even SCHNAPPS but maybe to escape PANORAMA introduced by Richard Dimbleby. Very enjoyable. Thank you B and setter.
  7. All as normal. So much so that I lazily saw “flag” and bunged in IRIS ( sir + I going west) which temporarily made the ECOREGION a difficult part of the world to find.
  8. Not helped by sticking in BOOTED AND SUITED but saw my error in the end. A nice puzzle so thanks setter and brn
  9. Another Saturday puzzle which gave me a chance which I am glad I took.
    This excellent puzzle stretched me to my limit and I thought the clues were great.
    I knew Suited and Booted so that provided a firm foundation. I’d seen Iceni in a crossword recently.In the end it came down to trying to unravel Ecoregion – a new word for me but the only construction I could find. That led to my LOI 18a Postcard. Probably not difficult for many but it deceived me on a simple word and for that is my COD. I finished this “on the day” which for me is quick.
    Thanks also for the excellent blog. One or two I had not parsed and very informative all round. David
    1. Unspammed. It was the lack of a space after a full stop that did it I suspect David.
  10. 13:25. Not much to comment on with this one, at least not that I remember. ECOREGION last in, not a word I can remember coming across before.
  11. My print out says 15 minutes, no sign of any problems, liked it but easy for a Saturday. Remember Lassie from TV, no idea exactly what an ecoregion was but no need to.

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