Garry Gillard > crosswords > how to solve a puzzle > example solution

Solution for Times Cryptic 24663

(There are notes about the clue types for this puzzle.)

Definitions in italics

ACROSS

1 Answered note received by the extremely wealthy diplomat (10)
METTERNICH (1773-1859) German statesman. 'Answered' = MET. 'The extremely' means take the first and last letters of 'the' - TE. 'Wealthy' = RICH. Put them around a note - N - standard abbreviation (The Times uses a very large number of such abbreviations). So it's MET,TE,R(N)ICH. Answers are rarely this complicated!

7 Plead with one wielding knife to spare son (4)
URGE. 'One wielding knife' is sURGEon, and you drop ('spare') 'son'. This is a cute clue.

9 Set aside what I did after a let (8)
RESERVED. double definition. After a let in tennis or squash, I served again - I reserved.

10 Goodbye? l’m back! (Stalks over the floor) (6)
TATAMI. charade. 'Tata' = 'goodbye'. 'I'm back' is MI. And the whole thing is a Japanese mat made from rice straw ('stalks') traditionally.

11 Man of religion finally changes into cotton (6)
MUSLIN. 'Muslim' (man of [a] religion) 'finally changes' its last letter.

13 Some tobacco large guy chewed, very unattractive (4-4)
PLUG UGLY. charade + anagram. A 'plug' is a piece of chewing tobacco. UGLY is an anagram of 'guy' + L ( = large).

14 Shoot young birds - have a swallow (4,3,5)
DOWN THE HATCH. 'Shoot = DOWN (with a gun). THE HATCH apparently = young birds. And the whole means have a drink - or 'swallow'.

17 Fight, and what ends it, in the old rhyme (4,4,4)
DING DONG BELL. charade. A DING DONG is a 'fight', and in boxing it's ended by a BELL.

20 Songbirds short length in question (8)
WHINCHAT. I'd never heard of these birds, but wrote the word in confidently, as the wordplay is so clear. An INCH is a 'short length': put it inside the 'question' WHAT.

21 Get on top of animal to ford river (6)
BREAST. That's to 'get on top of', as on a wave, say, and it has BEAST (animal) around R for river - another one of those very common abbreviations.

22 Gloss paint smeared over area (6)
PATINA. A sort of 'gloss' with an anagram of paint around A for 'area'.

23 Case, one vital bag held back (8)
ABLATIVE. It's a reverse inclusive in onE VITAL BAg. It's a case in grammar.

25 As water bird, what dipper does round end of beach (4)
SHAG. The 'end of beach' is the letter H. Put what a 'dipper' does around that. What does a 'dipper' do? It dips! = sags. Not a very good clue, especially as the 'as' is nugatory. This is a very rare example of the 'definition' not being at the beginning or ending of the clue.

26 Go over to college in part of London (5,5)
KING'S CROSS. Easy one: 'go over' = CROSS and 'KING'S' is a college or two (or twenty).

DOWN

2 Will I deal with manager? I've ignored junior men (8)
EXECUTOR. 'I' here is the person who deals with [a] will, in the sense of 'last testament'. 'Executive' loses the 'ive' part, as indicated by 'ignored' and OR is an abbreviation for Other Ranks - men who are not officers, and so 'junior', in a strained sense. Complicated, difficult clue.

3 Secure a match (3)
TIE. double definition. 'Tie [up]' and 'a match' - in football, say.

4 Bird very small in close-up? Yes and no (5)
RAVEN. V for 'very' (small) with NEAR ( = close) around it - 'up'[side down].

5 Swimmer so able to touch bottom, as detailed (2-5)
IN DEPTH. double definition. A swimmer has to be in her depth to touch the bottom, and the phrase also means 'as detailed'.

6 Current issue thus off the press, though not picked up (3,6)
HOT BUTTON. Referring to a 'hot button issue'. An 'issue' (of a magazine) can be HOT 'off the press'. BUT = 'though', and TON is 'not' backwards [upwards].

7 Like some Indianssacred cow? (11)
UNTOUCHABLE. double definition. Some Indians (pariahs) may be said to be this, and, metaphorically from that, so may something in Western society that may not be 'touched' (as in criticised): motherhood, for example.

8 Film actor hugs maiden in punt (6)
GAMBLE. [Clark] Gable around M for maiden - another one of those very common abbreviations). PUnt = bet/gamble.

12 Movement in formation of study I put up in school (4,7)
LINE DANCING. A 'movement in formation'. 'Study' is often CON or DEN. Here it's DEN, but backwards, followed by 'I'. And that's inside LANCING. I'd never heard of Lancing College: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancing_College

15 Perhaps Richard III's intuition gets support (9)
HUNCHBACK. As played by Sir Larry Olivier, King R3 was a hunchback. A HUNCH is an 'intuition' and BACK means 'support' in the verbal sense.

16 Speech sounds the Spanish composer used under pressure (8)
PLOSIVES. Explosive 'speech sounds'. P is pressure, LOS is 'the' in Spanish (it's very often EL, by the way) and Charles Ives was an American composer (1874-1954). By the way, people have to be dead to get into the Times puzzle - tho not the Guardian.

18 Alight, I daren’t move (7)
DETRAIN. The only straight anagram in this puzzle: (I daren't)*. (An asterisk is used by us commenters to indicate an anagram when we're writing briefly.)

19 Cover provides warmth in silence (6)
SHEATH. 'Provides warmth' is HEAT and it's inside SH for Silence!

21 The ball to get us out, say? (5)
BOLUS. A Latin word for a kind of 'ball' - especially one you swallow. It's a homophone for 'bowl us' = 'get us out'.

24 It may cover the road and nearly the lake (3)
TAR. Found on the 'road' perhaps, and if you add an N you get TAR(n), a mountain lake.

Notice how the clues get easier towards the bottom right corner? I think the setter gets tired.

There are a few more examples of solutions on this site, but that's about all I can tell you.

Enjoy solving!


Garry Gillard | New: 23 October, 2010 | Now: 20 December, 2018