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Saturday Times 25526 (13th July)

Solving time, probably over half an hour in the end, but only because of the infamous 12ac which seemed to catch most people out. As usual I was solving this on the Monday morning commute and it was the third one in the pile (having already polished off Monday's Times and Guardian first). At Euston I had to put it away with that annoying gap, but the brain must have been still mulling it over in the background as the answer popped into my head while I was on the Tube.

1 UTTER - double definition.
4 REPOSSESS - POSSES (gangs) inside RES(t) (most of the others).
9 SHIPSHAPE - "SHIPSH" (sips, slurring) + APE (oaf).
10 RECTO - hidden reversed in "MOT certificate".
11 LOG OUT - LOUT (aggressive man) around GO (spirit).
12 LOVE NEST - (S)LOVENES (Austrian neighbours) minus the first letter + T(ime). Last one in by a distance, but judging from the forum posts on the Crossword Club site that was true for most people.
14 CHILDCARE - (Circle had)*.
16 TRUCE - C(onservative) inside TRUE (genuine).
17 NOTES - double definition.
19 SNARE DRUM - MURDERS (killings) around A N(ew), all reversed.
21 CHEYENNE - CAYENNE (very hot stuff) with the A replaced by HE (the man).
22 FIERCE - FIER(y) (endlessly passionate) + CE (Church of England, Anglicans).
25 OP ART - O (ring) + PART (piece).
26 TALKING-TO - KING (ruler) inside (total)*. Seems to have been this week's buzzword, as it appeared in at least three other puzzles I solved since last Saturday.
27 SINCERELY - RELY (depend) next to SINCE (seeing that).
28 MARRY - RR (Right Reverend, bishop) inside MAY (is allowed to).

2 THING - THIN (weak) + G (attraction's constant, i.e. gravity).
3 RESOUND - SOU (little money) inside REND (split).
4 ROAM - MAJOR (significant), without the J and reversed.
5 PHENOMENAL - HEN OMEN (poultry warning) inside PAL (China).
6 SARGENT - (strange)*. Sir Malcolm Sargent (1895-1967).
7 EXCHEQUER - X (rudimentary signature) + CHEQUE (money order), inside ER (monarch).
8 SHORT-TERM MEMORY - cryptic definition.
13 MAISONETTE - IS ONE (has lived a year) + (that)T, inside MATE (friend).
15 IN THE MAIN - punning definition.
18 SWEETIE - SWEE(p) (reduced lottery) + TIE (draw).
20 ELITISM - cryptic definition.
23 ROGER - R(esistance) + EG (like, for example) + OR (other ranks), all reversed.
24 PLOY - first and last letters of "pin tail on donkey"


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2013 10:53 am (UTC)
13.37 with the LOVE NEST taking quite a lot of that time.
Jul. 20th, 2013 12:05 pm (UTC)
I thought this was a brilliant puzzle, even though I needed to go for aids for maisonette and disappointingly Cheyenne (I was on the right tack with Cherokee). Love nest I never managed to parse even though I considered Slovenia as one of its contiguous bits.

Edited at 2013-07-20 12:06 pm (UTC)
Jul. 20th, 2013 12:16 pm (UTC)
36:00 .. Oddly I had no trouble with LOVE NEST but I struggled with REPOSSESSED and PHENOMENAL. I love the clue for SHORT-TERM MEMORY.

Am I right in thinking that the 'neutrinos' are beginning to slink away from the Club leader board? I also have the feeling that we've been consistently getting more of the tricky puzzles in the last couple of months - the two things may well be related.

Edited at 2013-07-20 12:17 pm (UTC)
Jul. 20th, 2013 12:33 pm (UTC)
My notes on this prepared last week say that it was my worst Times solve ever. I'm not sure if that was true then, but what I am certain of is that it's wrong after this Saturday's offering which I think was my first ever to breach the 2-hour barrier.

Needless to say LOVE NEST was my last in as I was distracted far too long by the possibility of LOVE SEAT. 18dn was also a problem. After the past 10 days or so I am convinced my solving skills are deteriorating.
Jul. 20th, 2013 01:01 pm (UTC)
I doubt it's your solving skills, jackkt. I honestly think we've had a lot more 'Category A' puzzles (Tour de France reference there) of late. My average solving time of probably 17/18 minutes for many years has been more like 22/23 minutes in the last couple of months.
Jul. 20th, 2013 12:44 pm (UTC)
20:46. For some reason I saw LOVE NEST pretty quickly: it's definitely the sort of clue that could have had me stuck for ages. However I spoiled it by very carelessly putting in PLAY at 24dn.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )