Garry Gillard > crosswords > example solution

Solution for Times Cryptic 24663


1. 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. URGE. This is a cute clue. 'One wielding knife' is sURGEon, and you drop ('spare') 'son'.

9. RESERVED. double definition.

10. TATAMI. charade. 'Tata' = 'goodbye'. 'I'm back' is MI. And the whole thing is a Japanese mat made from rice straw ('stalks') traditionally.

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

13. PLUG UGLY. charade + anagram. A 'plug' is a piece of chewing tobacco. UGLY is an anagram of 'guy' + L ( = large).

14. DOWN THE HATCH. double definition. 'Shoot = DOWN. THE HATCH apparently = young birds. And the whole means have a drink - or 'swallow'.

17. DING DONG BELL. charade. A DING DONG is a 'fight', and in boxing it's ended by a BELL.

20. WHINCHAT. I'd never heard of this bird, but wrote it in confidently, as the wordplay is so clear. An INCH is a 'short length': put it inside the 'question' WHAT.

21. 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. PATINA. A sort of 'gloss' with an anagram of paint around A for 'area'.

23. ABLATIVE. It's a reverse inclusive in onE VITAL BAg. It's a case in grammar.

25. 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.

26. KING'S CROSS. Easy one: 'go over' = CROSS and 'KING'S' is a college or two (or twenty).


2. 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. TIE. double definition. 'Tie [up]' and 'a match' - in football, say.

4. RAVEN. V for 'very' (small) with NEAR ( = close) around it - 'up'[side down].

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. HOT BUTTON. Apparently this means something like 'current'. An 'issue' (of a magazine) can be HOT 'off the press'. BUT = 'though', and TON is 'not' backwards [upwards].

7. UNTOUCHABLE. double definition. Some Indians 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. GAMBLE. [Clark] Gable around M for maiden - another one of those very common abbreviations).

12. 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:

15. 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. 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 this puzzle.

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

19. SHEATH. 'Provides warmth' is HEAT and it's inside SH for Silence!

21. BOLUS. A word you may not know for a kind of 'ball' - especially one you swallow. It's a homophone for 'bowl us' = 'get us out'.

24. TAR. Found on the 'road' perhaps, and if you add an N you get TARN, a mountain lake.

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

Garry Gillard | New: 23 October, 2010 | Now: 7 June, 2017