The Times 23, 636 – multiple choice?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving Time: 51 minutes

Last one to go in was 21D, I didn’t know the word, but I still feel a bit thick.
Also, just checking my answers online, I think that 20A could be TYROL or TIROL.

I’ve being trying a range of puzzles from the Times Archives recently – I seem to have been quickest on the ones from 2003. I wonder why…


1 BE A ST – nice easy, fun clue to get started.
4 MUR(MAN’S)K – needed all the checked letters before I thought of this.
11 TRADE – fairly sure this was right, but I hadn’t heard of the trade winds.
12 SOR(TI)E – appeal is often IT=sex appeal
17 OR,ANG(E)RY – OR=other ranks
20 T,YROL or T,IROL which is what I wrote in – but checking this it seems that LORY is the main spelling of the bird (although LORI is an alternative). Also there are two spellings of the state – so I guess both are acceptable…
22 PY,ROMANIA – got this quickly – I spotted PY and the word burning.
25 HERALDRY – like others this took a while — I went through the alphabet and waited for the best answer. Check out the comments below…
26 S(HE)AF[e]


1 B,AM, BOOS, HOOTS – good fun, but I was trying to think if bambams were vegetables.
4 MA(LOR[d])Y – I’d heard of Sir Thomas Malory, but knew nothing about him.
6 AD,0,PT
13 REAR,RANGE – wasn’t sure about this at first, but I guess rear, like when a horse rears.
16 D(RIP,F)EED – again this was a result of going through the alphabet, with the wordplay coming later…
21 LIANA – hidden word. I didn’t know what liana meant – guessed it was a plant or animal that wouldn’t be found in the Alps!
23 NO(I)SE

15 comments on “The Times 23, 636 – multiple choice?”

  1. About 9 mins but that felt slow. Slightly stunned by ‘science’ for heraldry, but then remembered the ‘noble science’ and decided you could probably get away with using ‘science’ for just about any knowledge or skill.
  2. 15 mins, but I lost a minute or two when my wife appeared. Furthermore, I put in MURMANSK the first time and then changed it to MIRMANSK, so ended up spelling it wrong. I’m not sure why, but I was very slow on the anagrams for RECUSANT and UNSPOILT, so the top part of the puzzle took me quite a long time. Jason (jamesj)
  3. Hoping smoeone will explain the wordplay for 12A — asuming it’s SORTIE.

    And 21D is quite clever — took a while to get the meaning of “Yes and no”

      1. WATTLE – 2 mngs – the fleshy bit on the neck of (e.g.) a turkey, and twigs/sticks woven together to make a fence or wall, esp. in the phrase “wattle and daub”. (Also an Aussie tree).
  4. For reasons I now find hard to understand, I was completely unable to get 25A (HERALDRY) or 16D (DRIP-FEED), and gave up on the puzzle after 20 minutes with these two unsolved.
    1. Those were the last two I got too, although I also struggled with SORTIE. I still don’t buy science as a definition of HERALDRY though. Eventually got into it when I saw that “into action” could be D(????)EED.
  5. I am afraid I think it has to be TYROL this time, so that the parrot returns
  6. I was also going to register disapproval of this clue until I looked up “heraldry” in Chambers and found: the science of recording genealogies and blazoning coats of arms.

    Wasn’t sure about Tirol being a state, but on checking I find it is exactly that and I was ignorant of the fact despite having been there on a dozen or more occasions.

    I’m ashamed of that and also of how long I pondered over the reason for 1A being BEAST before the penny dropped.

  7. I think the bird has to be Lory – unless more recent editions differ, COD, Collins and Chambers all have Lory and not Lori. Given the very closely related words lorikeet and loriinae, lori is understandable, but still wrong.
    1. Certainly I went for LORI, knowing lorikeet. When I came to check I looked at, which had “(Zoöl.) Same as Lory.” – from Websters 1913; perhaps it is an American spelling.

      Just checked in OED – plenty of spellings “Forms: 7 lourey, 8 laurey, lowry, 8-9 loory, lury, 9 loeri, lorie, lowrie, 8- lory.” but no LORI – so I guess I am wrong!

  8. I really struggled today, especially on HERALDRY/DRIP-FEED and the top right corner, partly through ignorance of RECUSANT. ‘Murdansk’ was my last (incorrect) entry – about 22 mins total.
  9. I wasted far too much time going for a clean sweep which eventually fizzled out at GET THE HANG OF (and even if I’d got that would have been blocked by HERALDRY, where I needed all the crossing letters). So 8:31, but it should have been a minute or two faster. A very enjoyable puzzle, particularly as I now find it gave some other Championship contenders a hard time 😉
  10. 5d might be an anagram but the answer surely isn’t such a common word for it to be omitted from the blog? Anyway – here it is with its 10 “easy” mates:

    8a Six or eight for two? That’s some test (8-6)
    MULTIPLE-CHOICE. Nice Cricket surface – bad at Lords but disastrous at the WACA.

    10a Only trousers called for in suburbs? (9)

    14a (No tulips)* damaged? Perfect! (8)

    18a Flesh on throat gets covered with daubing (6)
    WATTLE. A DD of turkey neck and old wall construction.

    24a Promising band needs arena for gig (10,4)

    2d Distribute generous amount to audience (5)

    3d How stars appear for a short time (9)

    5d I can’t agree (Etruscan)* has been translated (8)

    9d Work out how to put up wallpaper? (3,3,4,2)
    GET THE HANG OF. Fortunately Mrs npbull is very good at this.

    15d Little friends upset (at my lapse)* (9)

    19d Transporter heading off on unknown, vital route (6)
    (c) ARTER Y

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