Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 8:27 

Pretty straightforward I thought. I’ll go for 4d as my COD. 

1 f(ROZE)*n – ZERO.
14 hidden in “manY A LEcturer”
21 INCH,WORM – “software infiltrating network” is WORM, similar to a virus but also different. Worms, viruses and trojans (a piece of software pretending to be something benign but is actually something nasty) are collectively referred to as “malware”.
24 EARL[-y]
25 GI,(VISITING)* – GINGIVITIS. I knew the word but didn’t know it was also referred to as “trench mouth”.
26 CON AND O(Y)LE – “excellent” doesn’t appear under OLE in either of the dictionaries I currently have access to (COED and Chambers Online).
2 PAVE (going up),ORATION
4 P,REC,EDE[-n] – nice bit of deception in “lead poisoning”.
5 RAN in (PAYEE CAME ON P)* – APPEARANCE MONEY. Clever wording and good use of “hosts”.
19 SIPS (going up) in DEE
21 I,LEAC[-h]
22 COR(I)N

27 comments on “23915”

  1. Nothing much to get excited about, this one. 35 minutes to solve all but two which then took me up to the hour. I have no idea why 2 and 11 caused me so much difficulty as the clues are perfectly fair and neither word is obscure.

    I was misled for a while by the presence of “a” in 16 and wondered whether it should have been omitted. Also spent time wondering about “cid” in 17. Of course I know El Cid, but I had always understood this to mean “The Lord” and Wiki confirms this. COED and Collins are silent on the matter but Chambers lists “cid” in its own right meaning “chief, captain or hero”.

    I shall pick 11 as my COD because it had me stumped for ages but the answer was obvious once spotted.

  2. I enjoyed meandering along for 35 minutes with this interesting but never inspiring puzzle. Like Jack I queried Cid as “hero”, thinking one really needed the “El” to be accurate. I didn’t know of and can’t find INCHWORM in Collins but it’s in Chambers, although hyphenated and CLOGGED morris dancers may stump some non-brits. I thought some of the four letter answers were well clued, 1A, 10A, and 14A. My personal favourite is 5D with “hosts managed” to indicate “surrounds RAN” nicely disguised. Jimbo.

  3. Honestly! How are we Brits supposed to solve these crosswords full of American stuff? Before you know it, it’ll be “The Times Crossword brought to you by MacDonalds” and we’ll all have to learn how to spell ‘colour’ the wrong way. What with 4ac, 11ac, 12ac, 14ac (okay, so I presciently helped with that one yesterday), 21ac, 25ac, and surely a nod to Sam Goldwyn at 23ac … next thing you know it’ll be knuckle balls for googlies, and then where would we be?

    I thought this was a good puzzle to end the week. I really liked 2dn EVAPORATED, 7dn SCOOP, and the ingenious 25ac GINGIVITIS. But I’ll give a vote to 23ac STUDIO for its pithiness.

    18 minutes, BUT paulww’s comment has me doubting my answer at 20ac. I have ‘lace’, thinking:
    “Get stuck in(to)” = “lace in(to)”.

    Have I goofed?

  4. 35 minutes here, though it felt quicker because I wasn’t really stuck at any point, apart from considering all the possible entries for 20 (I also went for LOCK). Nothing really grabbed me but I was slow to realise that ‘hosts’ was a well-disguised container indicator in 5, so that’s my COD.
  5. A solving time too embarrassing to mention thanks to a moment of stupidity. Knowing full well 15 was ELASTICISE my biro/brain went on autopillock and entered ELASTICATE which made 13 something of a challenge. Ah well. Despite enough checking letters some other answers, notably 2 & 5, stubbornly refused to jump out of the box.
    COD 23, selk-kick boots size 20.
  6. Found this a bit of a slog, probably my slowest time this week. I suspect that is probably due to Friday-itis, as looking back nothing looks that hard. I won’t say how long I spent trying to make a convincing anagram of ‘tree so a spy’… COD probably 26.
  7. 25 mins. I got stuck on 2D and 5D. 7D is my COD, narrowly ahead of 23A.

    Tom B.

  8. 10:55. I nominate myself for idiot of the day award. I got GINGIVITIS from checking letters and knew it was a mouth disorder. Couldn’t for the life of me work out the word play ! I enjoyed this one. We seem to have had quite a difficult week and it was nice to have an easier one to finish off. 13d gets my COD nod.
  9. Nothing was said in the blog about this one.
    Will somebody please clarify which it is, and explain the wordplay?
  10. Like others, I hesitated between LOCK and LACE at 20 ac, eventually plumping for the former. But neither strikes me as particularly satisfactory. LACE is dubious to say the least as a synonym for “strand” and while “lace into” could roughly be a synonym for “get stuck in(to)”, the clue only has “stuck in” and “lace” by itself means something quite different, whether taken as noun or verb. LOCK = “strand”(of hair)is OK, and “lock” can also mean “to make or become fixed or immovable”, as in “the brakes locked”. But the clue has “stuck”. which is clearly a past participle, and would surely require “locked” not “lock”. Or have I too goofed? Where is Peter B when we need him?

    Michael H

  11. I should have added that 5 dn is my COD – for its ingenious anagrind (dithering) and container indicator (hosts).

    Michael H

  12. But as the defintiion is “get stuck” that means the same as “lock”, doesn’t it?
  13. About 30 minutes, no real problems, at least until I checked here, and see the “lace/lock” controversy. I have ‘lock’, and don’t readily see how ‘lace’ can mean ‘get stuck’. To Sotira, regards, and now you know how we Yanks feel every day! Actually, having to solve the puzzle in what sometimes is a semi-foreign language is a large part of the fun. Have a great weekend, all. Favorite today, 5D.
  14. Well, I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition… 🙂

    Now, this possum thing… My Shorter Oxford gives “play possum” as “Coloq. (orig. US)” so I’m afraid it’s one of yours. But I’ll take your New York Rangers… fair dinkum.

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose on the lock/lace thing, which is a worry. That will mean 3 consecutive ‘failed to finish’ results for me (after ‘aegrotat’ and ‘amerce’. Does that mean I get automatically relegated to, gulp, The Telegraph?

  15. Also fell into the trap of not looking carefully enough and writing ELASTICATE, thus making INSECTICIDE the last to go in by some distance.

    Also I am now being earwormed by the voice of Danny kaye singing “Inchworm” from the made-up life of Hans Christian Andersen…

  16. Mostly, yes. It’s a really big book in two volumes, which impresses the heck out of me. I’m scared to argue with it. But I know that Poe used the phrase in 1840 when Aussies didn’t get out much, so I think it’s right. Wiktionary (okay, okay, I know) says: “English play + possum (from opossum), from the behaviour of the Virginia opossum, feigning death when threatened. First documented 1822.”

    The Telegraph’s crossword is a bit easy-peasy compared to the Times. At least, it used to be. Pretty good puzzles, just less demanding (and less to argue about!).

  17. Not at all. I enjoy the ribbing. I’d already found myself looking through various references over ‘play possum’ early this morning (I tend to obsess). And I’m still completely confused about when is a possum an opossum. Or not. I guess possums don’t much care one way or the other.
  18. My thanks to jackkt. Yes, of course, “get stuck” is the definition. Now you’ve pointed it out, I can’t understand why I made such heavy weather of it.

    Michael H

    1. I like that you have included the actual references, dorosatt; this makes it very easy to follow.

      I think, strictly speaking, there is no specific reference to El Cid in the clue, though it is likely that his name passed through everyone’s mind when solving it. My first comment above refers. I’m not sure whether this would take it out of the History category.

  19. Didn’t get time to solve this yesterday (had to go to the pub at lunchtime, poor me) so made this an early Saturday morning solve. 25 minutes which is my standard time really. Remembered inch worm from the muppets (or possibly Sesame Street) song, had play possum somewhere in the memory banks and knew what a tarte tatin was having had a French student cook us a mound of stodgy gloop which purported to be one.

    I though a lot of the clues looked clumsy but then turned out to be quite clever. I wasted a bit of time trying to think of a Spanish mystery writer for 26 and had to use a wizard to get ileac – knew it was something to do with ileum but couldn’t fathom the percolate bit.

    Good weekend all and welcome back Kevin in NY.

  20. Why is inchworm an “American” crawler? There’s no reference in Collins or the Shorter Oxford to it being an American term, and apparently there are thousands of species all over the world.


  21. Oh sorry, I just got it – it’s “crawler” that’s the American word. Oops.


    1. Concise Oxford has “North American term for looper” as the def for inchworm, so the “American word for crawler” interpretation can work.
  22. About 6:30 for this. I went for LOCK at 20, though I don’t think I considered LACE and wouldn’t count is as close enough, mainly for the ‘not the same as “get stuck”;’ reason already given. LOCK was the official answer.
  23. Considered to be easier than yesterday’s with a footer XI of answers left out of the blog:

    9a Goalie who’s up for it might be one of the Rangers (10)

    10a Time is hard for us (4)
    H OUR

    12a … typically American tarte Tatin, for example (5,3)
    APPLE PIE. The … was from the previous clue 11a involving the USA and La Belle France – TO US LE.

    20a Get stuck in Strand (4)

    23a Film company boss with heart of lion (6)
    STUD (L) IO (N). Do you think it is the same lion that roars before the movie?

    27a Dull note in margins of galley (4)
    G RE Y. Soon to be out in 50 shades.

    3d Foreman goes round team leader to misjudge a corner (9)

    6d Wall’s top mimic, getting into character (7)

    7d Hot story from singular pen (5)
    S COOP

    8d Mix gallons in pool (5)
    MER G E

    18d Some morris dancers are so choked up (7)
    CLOGGED. My LOI – being a Brit does not make you immediately familiar with the attire of Clog Dancing Folk.

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