therotter (therotter) wrote in times_xwd_times,

Times Quick Cryptic No 1843 by Corelli

An excellent puzzle with a clever theme or NINA from Corelli, who traditionally gives us a theme of one sort or another.  Just in case you want to look for it yourself, I won’t give the game away here, but will provide details of the theme I spotted with a link at the end of the blog, as Jackkt did so thoughtfully a week or so ago.

This took me all of my 15-minute target to complete, slowed slightly by initially trying the wrong answer at 10a.  My first attempt did fit the definition, but not the word play, and caused a short delay on 11d.  Please do let me know how you got on.


1  Ada, rusty, exercising for twenty-four period (8)
SATURDAY – Anagram (exercising) of [ADA, RUSTY].  I wonder if the word ‘hour’ is missing from my version, which would allow the clue and definition to scan much more acceptably.
Leading Roman Catholic staying in a hotel (4)
ARCH – RC (Roman Catholic) inside A (a) and H{otel} (phonetic alphabet).  ARCH is used to denote chief or principal, especially in compound words such as arch-enemy, arch-bishop, etc.
8 Cooker of very exquisite nosh (starters only) (4)
OVEN – Initial letters (starters only) Of Very Exquisite Nosh.
9  Quietly changes shapes in advance (8)
PREFORMS – P (quietly) and REFORMS (changes).  To PREFORM is to form or determine the shape beforehand.
10 Turned white with pain, having spilled blood all around (8)
BLEACHED – ACHE (pain) with BLED (spilled blood) around it.  I entered the as yet unparsed BLANCHED here originally, and corrected it once I saw that the parsing didn’t work.
12  From what we hear, deserve to get the bird (4)
ERNE – Sounds like (from what we hear) EARN (deserve).
13  Tool found in workbench is electric (6)
CHISEL – Hidden answer (found in) in {workben}CH IS EL{ectric}.
16  Stylish Tessa coming out of her shell, outwardly dull (6)
DRESSY – {t}ESS{a} (coming out of her shell, i.e. dropping outside letters) and wrapped instead in (outwardly) DRY (dull).
17  Fit to dispute losing right (4)
AGUE – A{r}GUE – dispute / argue losing R{ight}.  An AGUE can be either a burning fever or a shivering fit.
18  Seb, taken aback by over-the-top editor, becoming obsessed (8)
BESOTTED – SEB reversed (taken aback) to give BES, with OTT (over-the-top) and ED{itor}.
21  Horticulturist’s fantastic red range (8)
GARDENER – Anagram (fantastic) of [RED RANGE].
22  Article in study for head of college (4)
DEAN – A (indefinite article) inside DEN (study).
23  Say nothing?  Am false! (4)
SHAM – SH (say nothing) and AM (am)
24  Crazy and terrible situation in which you’ll find Hazel? (8)
NUTSHELL – NUTS (crazy) and HELL (terrible situation) clued by a cryptic definition, where Hazel is a nut, rather than a girl.


2  German villain holds something for forging  (5)
ANVIL – Hidden answer (holds) in {germ}AN VIL{lain}.
3  United sailors in vessel (3)
URN – U{nited} and RN (Royal Navy, sailors).
Complexity of small section attached to hospital (5)
DEPTH – DEPT (abbreviated department, small section) and H{ospital}.
5  Messing around idly, Dee gave up (7)
YIELDED – Anagram (messing around) of [IDLY, DEE].
6  An hour after midday, people with time for reconcilliation (9)
ATONEMENT – AT ONE (an hour after midday) with MEN (people) and T{ime}.
7  Sat on beam, fence – regularly picked up sticks (7)
CEMENTS – Alternate letters (regularly) of SaT oN bEaM, fEnCe, all reversed (picked up).
11  Trams made to crash in European capital (9)
AMSTERDAM – Anagram (to crash) of [TRAMS MADE].
14  Bull and pig clean (7)
HOGWASH – HOG (pig) and WASH (clean).  HOGWASH has an interesting etymon.  It didn’t start life, as many believe, as a synonym for pig-swill (kitchen scraps fed to swine).  In the past, a HOG was a slang word for a shilling, and for a farm labourer in the 1500s a shilling was roughly a week’s wage.  The two largest expenses for a farm labourer at that time were lodging and fuel, which ate up the majority of this amount every week.  The few coppers remaining after rent and fuel had been paid (typically a few farthings or ha’pence) became known as the HOGWASH, and subsequently anything that was worthless or rubbish adopted the same name.
15  Book by unknown author following the French state (7)
LEBANON – B[ook} and ANON (unknown author) after (following) LE ('the' in France).
19  One eating no fat fish (5)
SPRAT – Double definition, the first referring to Jack SPRAT (who could eat no fat, whilst his wife could eat no lean).
20  Lie around in the morning after returning message (5)
EMAIL – LIE surrounding (around) AM (the morning) all reversed.
22  Note exclamation of annoyance (3)
DOH – Double definition, the first as in DOH, ray, me…, and the second exemplified by Homer Simpson when annoyed by his own stupidity (D’OH).

OK, so did you find the NINA or theme? – I looked for one as soon as I saw Corelli’s name.  I spotted the titles of many of the literary works of Ian Russell McEwan, English novelist and screenwriter.  These include:


  • THE CEMENT GARDEN (cements and gardener)




  • ON CHESIL BEACH (chisel and bleached - nice!)

There may be others, please let me know if so.

On the etymology of HOGWASH in the main blog, that’s what it is – hogwash!  See today’s date!


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