23680 – making sense

Solving time 6:57

Quick start, with 1A (a classic easy but entertaining clue) falling immediately, but slowed down a bit in the bottom half. In various clues we have references to eyes, brains and sound – probably just a coincidence. The person who got no answers yesterday should have much happier hunting, though they should also review yesterday’s solution thoroughly.

10 DA(T.U.)M – singular of data
12 FI=If rev.,LAMENT – nice change for Kipling’s poem to get a two-word description.
18 C(A.B.,IN,B)OY
21 PHARAOHS = “Faroes”
23 GAFFER – 2 meanings. A gaff is some kind of fish-hook, which I assume one kind of gaffer uses.
26 O,INKS – the pens are pig-pens
1 MISHAPS -(a, m=thousand, ships)*
2 ROUND – three defs
3 IN,DUCTION=(count I’d)*
4 THIN(g)
6 INDIA = I in the ‘phonetic’ alphabet – “As indicated by control tower” was very good.
16 PER CAPITA = appreciat(e)*
18 COP,I.O.U.’S
20 PERU’S,AL=Alabama – I guess “at” in the clue means “next to” – “next to country’s, southern state”. (I’m pretty sure the Times doesn’t use ‘at’ as a def/wordplay link.)
22 One of those pilgrims must have been a (p)ARSON
24 FAR = “a good way”,SI = “one’s taken up”

16 comments on “23680 – making sense”

  1. This is the first occasion I can ever remember where the “hidden” clue was the last one I put in. Maybe it was the “perhaps” that made a quite different reading more obvious..

    20dn: I took “careful look at” to be the definition and “country’s southern state” = perus and al

    Overall, easier than yesterday but some good clues nonetheless

    1. 15A It was the same for me except I still didn’t spot it was hidden. I was just so relieved to solve the thing I gave up wondering why.
      1. I suspect most old hands will have had the “hidden word solved last” experience at least once. If you’re stuck on one last clue, it can be worth checking whether you’ve had the hidden word yet, and if not, looking for it. [There’s a Times convention that no more than one “pure hidden word” is used, with “pure” meaning no reversals or other funny business.]

        I should probably admit to seeing ?H???O?Y and plumping initially for ‘threnody’.

        1. I’m not sure that a hidden word has ever been absolutely the last answer I’ve put in, but there have certainly been times when I’ve been horribly slow spotting one. However, RHAPSODY went in at a first reading.

          Slow again today (10:24). I’m probably being over-cautious at the moment, and spent ages justifying INDIA (and then had a real “Doh!” moment when I finally spotted it, having seen it and similar clues so often before).

  2. 11:34. Nice puzzle. Thought I was going to be in for the long haul when I only had 4 answers filled in for the first 5 minutes but then I got 1A and everything else fell into place quickly enough after that. That said, I flung in the last 3 answers (inc GAFFER and FARSI) without really knowing why.
  3. I thought today’s was going to be particularly easy, but in the end I was left with 23a, 28a, 4d and 24d unsolved – of which 28a was the one I’m definitely disappointed at not getting, although in 4d I didn’t even consider the definition of ‘fine’ which was needed. Shameful.
    Although I got ‘rhapsody’ immediately, I thought it was a very neat clue – 14d was probably the least impressive of the lot.
  4. Presumably these are SPRINGER SPANIEL and IN THE COOP, although I’m not at all sure about the latter. But I can’t see how “raise game” is something that these dogs do, and I can’t find the term in Chambers. Nor can I find the phrase “in the coop” there. So I’m probably wrong on that, since I’ve never heard the phrase.
      1. 7 Position of stock often in trouble (2,3,4) = IN THE SOUP.
        Initially, I was sorely tempted to write in an alternative based on “stock” giving cow(s) and what they are often walking around in in the farmyard.

        1. Not sure why it didn’t, but the last comment was meant to follow Peter’s reply to my original posting.
          1. Not the exact word, but the meaning of ‘raise’ is there in the History section: ‘The purpose of the breed was to serve as a hunting dog. Before guns were used to shoot game, the land spaniel would “spring” – or flush – the gamebird into the air where a trained falcon or hawk would bring it to the handler.’
  5. Another one of those irksome days for me where I make steady progress, but then just can’t quite polish it off and end up 3 or 4 clues short. The alternative meaning for GAFFER is new on me and I was convinced that the old man would give PA. FARSI is the kind of word which I’ve come across before but can never remember. The wordplay stumped me anyway, but I would argue that the word ‘in’ is a superfluous here.


    1. In a “{wordplay} in {def}” or “{def} in {wordplay}” clue, the ‘cryptic logic’ side of things would work without ‘in’. But the Times (and some other puzzles) allow such link words where they can be read as meaning that the wordplay ‘produces’ the answer.
  6. Count me in the crew whose LOI was 15a cunningly hidden in plain sight! I’m glad I did see it eventually as it is one of the 10 “easies” not included in the blog:

    1a (Stalin remix isn’t)* revolutionary like this (7-8)

    9a Healthy small meal that’s said to make news briefly (5,4)

    11a Sum up one in front of court as fiend (6)
    ADDICT. Fiend as in afficionado rather than devil.

    15a PeRHAPS ODYssey includes such epic poetry (8)
    RHAPSODY. The answer hidden in plain sight.

    19a Support for young boxer, say (4,2)

    28a (Repressing plan I)* reformulated, one used to raise game (8,7)

    7d Position of stock often in rouble (2,3,4)

    8d Time’s cut for this book’s short version (7)
    TIMOTHY. Known as TIM(e) for short.

    14d Trivial matter head doesn’t need to be bothered with (2-7)

    25d Members you’ll find in the gunroom (4)

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