Times 23541/nOt sOlved at full tilt

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 40’

I did this on and off between interruptions in an hour and a bit but don’t understand two wordplays – probably a net of 40’.

Lots of words starting with O (seven) and even a couple of oxen (OXFORD and OXLIP) and overall more than usual presence of the letter O.


1 O(XLI)P – forty-one (XLI) was spelt out in the online version.
4 LUDICROUS – pretty nice clue: (r[i]diculous)*. I haven’t seen this relationship before (but I’ve done far fewer than 8000 Times cryptics so far…)
11 GO(UN)OD – it’s all GOOD having a French composer and a French UN.
12 CO,ME TR(U)E – Nice charade that requires you to separate “firm” (CO) and “measure” (METRE).
14 THERE AND THEN – (had the tenner)*. My first clue – though had to wait a bit to confirm that it wasn’t actually THEN AND THERE.
17 OS(BORNE (H)O)USE – Most obscure clue for me with tough wordplay: OSBORNE HOUSE was a royal residence on the IOW for the German Prince. BORNEO’s our “island”. OS stands for “Ordnance Survey” (Brit “mapmakers”).
20 COIN,CID,[hav]E – nice charade. CID is Criminal Investigation Dept – probably both in the US and the UK.
21 [j]OSTLE,R – OS is ordinary seaman (“Jack”) this time, “left elbow” is E but TL remains a mystery to me: offers? A kind anonymous angel has pointed out below that I got this all wrong: J for Jack leaves jostle for “elbow”.
23 A,E,GIS – I no longer blink at A as abbrev(are=unit of land measure).
24 IN THE PINK – Nor do I blink at the online version spelling out clue numbers (“thirteen”): ref. 13D (IN GOOD NICK). Brit “huntsmen” wear scarlet, aka PINK.
25 OUT,SPOKE,N – def is “Frank” (and let’s hope that he succeeds in his transcontinental “jog”). I think I’ve parsed the wordplay correctly (where SPOKE and N are poles) but I don’t see OUT: ”Frank striving to jog from pole to pole”. Another interpretation, probably correct, from another kind soul, is OUT,S(POKE)N with POKE for “jog” (hmm… shades of elbowing) and OUT (to do something) indicated by “striving to” (do something). Obscure wordplay if so.


1 OBLIGATE – ([ne]gotiable)*. Remove first two (20%) of the ten letters of “negotiable” first and then anagram.
3 PULL ONES SOCKS UP – double/cryptic def. My second clue. Confirmed 14A.
4 LOOT – rev(tool=jigsaw)
5 DISC,ON,TENT – I suppose “marker” in the form of a DISC used for keeping score?
7 OXFORD – two meanings: shirt material and a kind of shoe. One of our oxen.
8 S(ORB)ET – nice misleading clue provoking images of an ice age about to reoccur.
13 IN GOOD NICK – I guessed at this cryptic def (from NICK as a term for prison) and had to confirm that it means basically IN THE PINK.
15 FULL, TILT – clever charade since TILTing is what you do in the “list” when you’re jousting.
16 BEARSKIN – (breaks in)*. It’s what those funny hats are made of that all the tourists take pictures of during the Changing of the Guard.
18 OCT,AV,O – Ran into AV for Authorized Version of the Bible recently so I was lucky. OCTAVO is a book size from 1501.

15 comments on “Times 23541/nOt sOlved at full tilt”

  1. I suppose if you are striving to achieve something you are “out” to do it. I took “jog” to signal “poke”, so OUT S(POKE)N.
  2. A coincidence that LOOT should turn up after my remark yesterday. Shame the setter didn’t use the Orton reference to clue it though!
  3. 15D: {list = tilt} can be justified a bit more simply – if you recall list as in “listing to starboard” you’ve got verb synonyms.

    21A: I hope I can still rely on the Times not using things like {“left elbow” = E} – your left elbow is a complete elbow.

    A second successive quick solve for me at 4:27 – only 9, 17, 25, 2, 5, 7 and 13 didn’t fall on first look.

  4. I am sure Ilan is right that “marker” means DISC, but it doesn’t seem a very clear indicator. Is there some sport or pastime where the two are synonymous?

    8:17 seemed good to me, though I see Peter was almost twice as quick.

    1. Judging from the entry in Collins, the “sport or pastime” concerned is everyday urban motoring – the “marker” meaning is associated with parking discs.
      1. Chambers (2003) seems to support “marker” as an indicator for “disc”, having “marker” = “a counter or other device used for scoring” and “counter” = “a disc or similar thing, used in calculations …”
  5. In the paper 14ac is shown as 5,3,4, so it can only be THERE AND THEN. Is the online version different?
    Richard Saunders
    1. No — you’re right. I somehow ignored the enumeration — if I’d paid more attention and wouldn’t have had to agonize!
  6. “I no longer blink at A as abbrev(are=unit of land measure).”

    Two years ago when John Grimshaw was the judge of the Times monthly clue competition he predicted the demise of “are” for A since it had disappeared from C.O.D. It appears he was wrong since it’s clearly alive and kicking, presumably on the basis that it’s still in Collins. Those of us who have come to see every “are” as a potential A needn’t reprogramme our brains.

  7. Good luck to setters using the abbreviation a = are (by happy coincidence a word in very common use). Such gifts can get a setter around corners, I’d say, and as they are in dicts, are totally fair.

    Speaking personally, I’ve never heard this word used in conversation or writing. It’s 100 square metres, but an area of that size, I think would be normally referred as just that i.e. 100 square metres, not as an are.

    Hectares are another story, but not so relevant to xwords as they would not be a regular component in cryptic build-up.

  8. Annoyingly the one answer that prevented me from making a clean sweep was OXFORD. Even when I had all the crossing letters I still couldn’t see it for ages, and I then agonised further trying to find an alternative I could justify (I can’t recall coming across the “material used in shirt” before, but should have guessed the answer straight away from the “shoe”). 8:15 (Sigh!)
    1. You probably went to Cambridge. Anyway, one of the advantages of being American is that my tailor tends to be “The Gap” and, on the rare occasion that I buy a new shirt, it tends to be an “Oxford shirt”.
      1. You probably went to Cambridge.

        Er, no – Oxford, actually, which made it all the more annoying.

  9. Having a “back number” in case I have already completed the up-to-date X-word (it does happen sometimes) comes in handy in those waking hours in the middle of the night. This was such a one.

    Only the 7 omitted easies:

    9a Abusive nit endlessly circling one such as Big Ben (9)
    LI BELL OUS (E). I had initially & erroneously entered the answer to 4a – also a 9 letter word – in here as it fitted with 1d but realised my mistake when I needed the 3rd letter to be B for 2d.

    10a Deduce the number escaping fire (5)
    INFER (NO)

    26a Act as a substitute for demonstration (3,2)
    SIT IN

    2d Produced work lacking fluency (8)

    6d Game (in which press see)* changes (7,8)

    19d Little person, a maiden, I would communicate with (6)
    M ID GET

    22d Correspondence turns up in school (4)

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