Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 26 mins with 2 undone

I came to the end of my commute without solving 6D or 10A, and I don’t think I would have got them any time soon after that. I was trying to shoehorn AFFAIRE into 6D, but had more sense than to write it in. My comments might be slightly more critical than usual, just because I am feeling annoyed with myself for not finishing.

I wasn’t fast on the rest of the puzzle, particularly the South West corner. And I wasn’t keen on 18D (BEDFORD) even when I worked out it could not be anything else. But there were gems elsewhere. I especially liked 3 (CYPRESS) and 4 (OVERSIMPLIFY).


9 O(C)CU + PIED – of course I assumed that “old copper” would be D, not O+CU
10 O R(D)AIN, ie D(ied) in zero rain
12 S (1 L VERSE) R + VICE
15 RUFUS (=”roof us”)
16 MA(STERF)UL, STERF being FRETS(rev)
17 SHAMBOLI + C, the first bit being (BOILS HAM)*
19 MET + (g)H(o)S(t)
22 BIG TOE – cryptic def
23 LITE + RAT + 1 – I have come across “peach” meaning to “inform” only in Joyce – “never peach on a fellow”
25 TIRADE – reverse hidden
26 EGGS P.O. ON – ie eggs on the Post Office, employer of Postman Pat


1 CROSS (DR.)ES + (thi)S – “boring” is merely an insertion indicator, I think
2 O.R. + C
6 ‘AIRLINE – aargh
7 A TALE OF A TUB – by Jonathan Swift
11 PRESS-CUTTING – it would have been easier without “coming in contact”
13 LI (FT AF1) NGER – the insert being (1 FAT F)(rev)
18 BED FORD – I am not a fan of “here” being used to indicate any geographical location, and the rest of the clue is a bit allusive (on edit – Apart from my “here” quibble, this is actually a very clever clue, I now see, as it shows FORD under the BED. Thanks to those commenters who pointed this out.)
19 MUG + GERS – MUG is GUM(rev), and GERS is short for Glasgow RanGERS
21 0 BIT
24 A(nnoye)D + 0

33 comments on “23950”

  1. Tried late last night – too late, as I nodded off. Got v. stuck on the NE corner trio of 5/6/10, esp. by wanting 6 to be COMB/IN/E, with comb(e) the area of recession. All perfectly fair, just hard for me – or I’m in a poor patch of form.

    Time: say 35 mins

    Edited at 2008-06-26 06:55 am (UTC)

  2. A very enjoyable and inventive puzzle which took me exactly an hour to solve, so somewhat more difficult than average for me.

    I didn’t know the Swift title but having spotted “tub” as the last word the preceding ones didn’t take much working out. Knowing nothing about soccer I was very pleased with myself for guessing that “Gers” might be a nickname for Glasgow Rangers, and it turns out to be so.

    There are lots of candidates for COD. I liked 2,12 and 21 in particular but I’m going for 26.

    No quibbles or moans from this quarter today.

  3. Stopped the clock at 19:49 today, slowed down by putting SENIOR SERVICE in at 12A, then when that was sorted out it took me ages to see the cleverly disguised wordplay for 5A, which makes it my COD.
  4. Couldn’t get 9A so didn’t finish. 3D is my COD, although the image is rather grim.

    Tom B.

  5. Another abject failure here. 6 clues in half an hour before I decided enough was enough. A couple of others I guessed (OBIT, LITERATI), but couldn’t crack the wordplay so played safe…
  6. 29 minutes.

    Yep, it’s Thursday so it must be mental gymnastics day.

    Full of inventive, clever things, many of which I enjoyed the way I might enjoy being interrogated by the Stasi – not a barrel of laughs but you’ve got to admire the technique.

    In fairness, there was a good deal of wit here, too, once you’d untangled the webs spun by a devious setter. Like Tom B, I was struck by 3 CYPRESS, not least for the bleak poetry of the image. And the surface of 9 OCCUPIED is a riot. But my clue of the day is 21 OBIT – elegant, succinct and that “passing information” as a definition is first class.

    Only one quibble: like, Richard, I really dislike that “here” meaning “somewhere on planet earth”. If Bedford (Beds. or Mass.) was known as a hotbed of communism, this would be a great clue. But it isn’t, and it isn’t.

    And am I now or have I ever been? Better plead the Fifth, case anyone’s listening.

  7. I’m amongst those who didn’t finish, though in my case after an hour I had most of the SW corner to complete and gave up at that point, since I’d slowed to a snail’s pace. In what I did do I thought 1, 2 5 6 and 14 were all very good indeed. I’ll pick 6 as COD.
    Thursday seems to be turning into the weekly stinker to keep the competition entrants in good form.
  8. Held up a bit by SE corner and am still not sure how Bedford works? (Who first said “reds under the bed? – Ford??) Also although 19d seemed obvious the ‘one side of Scottish City’ = ‘Gers’ is maybe a bit too obscure for most.
    Some really good clues including 5a and 9a.
    14.45 today which seems not bad considering
    1. If the clue had read “in Massachusetts town” instead of “here”, I’d have been more than happy.
    2. I think BEDFORD = FORD “under” BED. Googling for “Reds under the bed” threw up some results but am still quite puzzled.
      1. Never mind my attempt at explaining the wordplay 🙂 I didn’t realize that your question was what “reds under the bed” had to do with Ford (search me!)


        1. I see it now, Vijay, thanks. But I didn’t really understand it properly at the time.Maybe it is a better clue than I thought at first
  9. Supreme entertainment, with almost every clue incorporating a touch of deviousness (from the marvellous CD at 22 to the well-chosen past participle subterfuge at 10. Eventually my biro ran out of ticks and I had to resort to a sheet of Letraset (oh, those were the days).
    Biggest tick (of several that were quite large) went alongside the evocative 3D.
    Just over half an hour with no interruptions.
    1. It is YANK. ‘The pond’ refers to The Atlantic, so one across the pond is an American.
  10. Finished in 42 minutes with more questions marks than ticks finding it tough going overall but with some very clever clues.

    1a fooled me for ages as I was looking for hack to be journo or horse. 5 & 21 I liked but they’ve already been picked so I’ll go for 26 as COD given my poultry-keeper status.

    Naturally shambolic is in the Uxbridge defined as “false testicle”.

  11. I had a few laughs at the Scousers, I ooh’d and arr’d along to some of the Worzels, the Geordies were just too hard for me but the shandy-drinkers put up little resistance once things had kicked off. (Thanks Sotira)
    Thoroughly enjoyable
  12. This took me several sittings, over last night, and this morning, a lot of it on 5 and 6.

    There were some great and some odd clues here. I really liked 26A, I’d give that my COD.

    BEDFORD made me laugh, the other night I was in a pub and was dragged into a long conversation with a man from Bedfordshire who thought he had finally met another Englishman in Asheville. Poor bugger.

  13. Just what I needed after 18 holes in a gale. My sort of puzzle with clever constructions and intricate word play. 35 minutes to solve.

    I had to guess the book and thought that rather a weak clue in an excellent overall puzzle. I presumed GERS was Celtic’s alter ego and agree it’s a tad obscure (a bit like Alloa Athletic a while back). Gerald under the bed made me laugh and I can’t see the problem. I thought I had a maths one at 22A but it wasn’t to be. The construction of SILVER SERVICE is first class but like others I found CYPRESS both an excellent and evocative clue. Jimbo.

  14. Apart from an etymological link with “impeach”, the thing I remember is the punning name Peachum for a character in Weill’s Threepenny Opera.
    1. But originally a character in John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera which Brecht & Weill adapted.
      1. Sorry, I missed the point I was intending to make, that the Peachum pun dates from 1728, so this meaning of the word ‘peach’ goes back a long way. The Threepenny Opera came 200 years later.
  15. I take the point made by richardvg and sotira about “here” being used to denote “anywhere on the planet”. In general, I would agree with their dislike of the device. But, hey guys, there is a question mark after this clue (18 dn), and it is a joke, and rather a good one, I think. Nor, pace other commentators, does there have to be any particular link between Gerald Ford and reds for the joke to work. All US Presidents were proverbially supposed to be obsessed by the threat of “reds under the bed” during the Cold War era, and here is one of them, literally, under a bed, the place to look. Whether any place anywhere in the world going by the name of Bedford is or ever has been infiltrated by unusually large numbers of communist fifth-columnists is, I respectfully suggest, immaterial.

    Having said all that, I would go with 12 ac for COD, which tickled my fancy as as much as dorsetjimbo’s.

    Michael H

    1. You – and the others who have made the point – are of course quite right. I missed the neatness of FORD being under BED in a down clue. I will edit.
    2. ‘fraid I’m unpersuaded. I enjoyed the joke, just didn’t think too much of the clue for reasons already stated. We’ll have to agree to differ.
  16. Compared to last Thursday this was less traumatic…my COD is Silver service. thought Bedford was very cryptic…
  17. I did this an about 40 minutes in two sittings, but unlike other days I was entering guesses often, one of which is wrong: I entered ‘coppers’ instead of ‘cypress’ for 3D, my last entry. My guess was weak, admittedly, but I don’t understand ‘cypress’ as a symbol of death at all, nor why gas =’cs’. Ditto ‘meths’. Many other clues had a Brit-centric edge to them, i.e. the ‘gers’ for a side of Scot city, Pat’s employer, peach for rat, cutting instead of clipping, shambolic, and the US president looking for reds under the bed, which is not proverbial to us Yanks. This last comment is not political, merely linguistic; I don’t recall hearing that comment widely used over here, and I was born in the 1950’s. So I enjoyed this less than most of you others, but that is not a complaint. Just happens sometimes. As for the clues, I enjoy the short devious ones more than the tangled long ones, so my favorites today are ‘obit’, ‘big toe’, and ‘ordain’. Regards all.
    1. Picking up your other chemical one: meths = mehylated spirits – denatured alcohol, used as a fuel and solvent.
    2. I think the phrase “reds under the bed” started with McCartyism so I suspect it’s a US invention. I worked for the US conglomerate ITT for some years in the 1970s and when I was visiting HQ in the US I used to hear the phrase a lot.

      In case it crops up again a CYPRESS is also a black cloth. Jimbo.

  18. I thought this one was a cracker. I do not share any of the problems that some above had with a few of the clues.

    Just the 3 omissions here:

    20a Persistent (beating failed)* to reform (13)
    INDEFATIGABLE. Excellent anagram.

    8d Pull one across pond (4)
    YANK. Where pond = slang for the Atlantic.

    14d Scotsman cracking (gag in Wales)* (10)
    GLASWEGIAN. Possibly a GERS supporter?

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