The Times 23720 – Just the capital missing

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 51m 48s

Annigoni and shandygaff were new words to me – everything else I’ve come across either in real-life or crossword-life.
After realising each letter had been used apart from J, I expected a pangram and was trying to slot a J in somewhere on the last few.


1 CAT’S-TAIL: I got this one straight away – a Manx cat only has a tiny stub of a tail.
10 IN,(T),ACT
11 [th]E VERY THING:
13 WATERFALLS: anagram of 23A, a waterfall is called a force in the north of England – I thought this was the case, looked it up to check.
16 B(I,Z)AR,RE – current=I,unknown=Z, sandbank=BAR and note=RE (also called ray).
17 IM,PULSE: IM=M1 reversed.
23 FATS WALLER – Jack Sprat could eat no fat, so he wasn’t a FAT SWALLOWER – remove the O=old and W=wife.
25 ALI(CI)A: inter alia=among others.
26 RAN C(HER)O: CO=company=business – I think I’ve seen this construction before for RANCHERO.
27 PLE(BE)IAN: live=BE in anagram of ALPINE.


2 ANN, I GO, NI: Pietro Annigoni is an acclaimed painter of royalty – I don’t remember seeing him before.
S(HANDY)GAFF: GAFF=”gaffe” – I’d not heard of this, but it was ok once I had a couple of letters.
5 LU(NET)TE: LUTE is a sealant and LUNETTE is an opening in a dome. Both words I’ve learnt in the past year of crosswording.
7 ESPIAL: odd letters of ‘mess up finally’ being removed.
8 LARGESSE=”Large S”
14 R(E(MUN)ER)ATE: NUM=National Union of Mineworkers, E’ER=always, RATE=level.
15 A,QU,A,MARINE – the second A is the first letter of acquired.
18 SONATINA: I think this is SATIN(used for relaxation) around ON(acting) and A(area) but I’m not entirely sure!
19 HILL,TO,P: Sir Rowland Hill, the postal reformer.
24 A,PE,X

13 comments on “The Times 23720 – Just the capital missing”

  1. 10:07 – guessed CAT’S TAIL fairly quickly, but took a while at the end to work out Annigoni as the artist. The name meant nothing to me – now see that he painted a familiar portrait of the only living person allowed to appear in the Times xwd.
  2. Laid up with a heavy cold myself – looks like I’ll be a non-solver for the next day or two.
  3. 14:28 for me. I wasn’t all that fast on CATS TAIL, and had never heard of either ANNIGONI or SHANDYGAFF, so that corner took me a while to sort out. Jason J
  4. The whole of the LH fell into place quite quickly apart from ANNIGONI which I guessed and looked up to check before moving on, but the RH posed a lot of problems particularly the NE corner. I finished it eventually but I still have some I can’t explain including 13A (WATERFALLS?). But it was nice to see one of my all-time favourite musicians providing the anagram material for this!
  5. Annigoni’s portrait of The Queen in a blue cloak is something anyone over the age of 60 will remember very well -it was THE portrait we were all brought up with. This raises an interesting question about whether there will be any time-dependent cultural references in championship puzzles. In some crosswords now (notably The Indy) the puzzle is a bit biased against the older generation!
  6. After my first 6-in-a-row for ages last week, I failed miserably today with 3 missing (1ac, 2dn and 5dn). I have no idea why I didn’t consider the tailless cat at 1 ac.

    Like others, I haven’t heard of Annigoni or Shandy Gaff. Nor have I heard of Lunette (or,indeed, lute as a sealant)

    Re 13ac, a waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales is known as a “force”, eg Thornton Force.


  7. 16:51 here. Mysteriously spent too long agonising over 18D – SINFONIA or SONATINA -, only putting in the latter once I had worked out the tortuous wordplay. Only now do I see that SINFONIA didn’t actually fit. D’oh.
  8. I failed on 1 Across, 2down, 5 down and 18 down – and 25 across as well, if SONATINA’s right. I had ANNELI s a not wholly convincing hidden.
    So here’s one 44-year old who prefers the Indy’s obscure references, and hope there won’t be any like these on Sunday! Mick H
  9. Annigoni painted a number of royal portraits and was often referred to in the Giles cartoons in the Daily Express – which is the only place I have come across the name.
  10. I susect there will be a fair number of ‘cultural ref’ clues on Sunday. I just hope it’s a fair mixture and that wordplay can be used to sort out most of them. Not true for CAT’S TAIL but that wasn’t that hard to work out.
  11. I felt I made heavy weather of this one at 10:51, but judging from other people’s times perhaps that wasn’t too bad, particularly as I’d just done Saturday’s.

    Like others I made extremely heavy weather of SONATINA (you put SATIN, but I expect you meant SAT IN = “used for relaxation”, as in an armchair), and I’ve probably met CAT’S-TAIL before but it wasn’t familiar and was the second-to-last answer to go in.

    At least I’m old enough to have had no problem with ANNIGONI – apart from wasting some time trying to think of a female artist ending in NIA!

  12. I am apparently old enough to remember Annigoni and his portrait of ‘ER indoors at Buck Palace. I vaguely remember some controversy about his signature being inside the Royal Port Lughole?

    There are 8 answers that did not make landing in the blog:

    9a Submarine requiring no end of protective coating (8)

    12a Anglar lad concealing name (4)
    BO N Y

    20a Acknowledgement (of sins once)* out of order (10)

    22a This can be made up, remember (4)
    MIND. A Double Def.

    4a Rear parts of hospital viewed later? (10)

    6d Anxious youth leader holding up centre of barrier (4)
    (H) EDG (E) Y. Good to see hedgerows aren’t disappearing in x-word land.

    16d Promote cashier, giving rise to explosion (8)
    BACK FIRE. Cashier = Fire from the military forces.

    21d Recording husband pinched from unimportant person (6)
    NOT (H) ING

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