Times 23,574/Not my best effort…

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I really struggled with this puzzle. Some of the words included seem a little forced, although legitimate (UH-HUH and TERMLY for example) and there’s at least one clue I didn’t understand.


1 CA(T(h)E)RS

4 A (GOO)D JOB – as in “It’s a good job that I got this clue!”

10 PINOCCHIO – good cryptic definition

12 B(R.I.(T)P.)OP – music? A matter of taste

15 EMBRACED – not altogether sure of the wordplay – clue reads English doctor departs after career is taken up – so E for “English” and MD for doctor and “taken up” as definition – anyone?

18 FAIR ISLE – IRIS in (leaf)* – nice surface. with “flower” actually being a flower this time, rather than a river

20 UH-HUH – not keen on the wordplay here – it’s a bit vague


27 PANHANDLE – double definition, although I’m not altogether convinced by “neighbouring land”. A panhandle is an isthmus or a piece of land jutting out into another country.

29 TE(ache)R-M(oral)LY


1 C(<=by PO)OOK

2 TEN-NI(EL) – the original illustrator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

3 RICEPAPER – (<=repa(pec)ir) – took me ages to work out the wordplay here, probably because the definition is a bit weak, in my opinion.

5 GROUNDBREAKING – (going under bark)* – don’t think I’ve come across “beethe” as an anagrind before


8 BROOKE – homophone of BROOK – nice clue, referring to Rupert Brooke, the poet



17 T(HUGGE(r))RY

21 H((w)EIRDO)M – refreshing to see Queen being something other than ER

22 SPEEDO – (<=ode(EP)s) – surface¬†doesn’t read right

12 comments on “Times 23,574/Not my best effort…”

  1. I enjoyed but thought it was as hard as they get, which gave great satisfaction when I worked it all out. Some very subtle and misleading joins between definition and wordplay. EMBRACED Race = career i.e. run. Thought SPEEDO was OK – reading from this i.e. speedometer. Liked COPYBOOK, BROOKE, THUGGERY, BRITPOP. KIPPING was good too, from KIPLING. “Zealous critics do make lousy choice” for NIT-PICK was special too. The join is between do and make, I think. 14 was special too, if the answer was easy, the clue read really well.
  2. I found this one hard too.

    EMBRACED is E=english MB=doctor RACE=career D=departed
    defn “taken up”


    1. And hard again (14:10). ‘Trip-hop’ for BRITPOP held me up a bit, and TERMLY took about a minute at the end. A couple of inspired solves (TENNIEL, FAIR ISLE) offset by some thickness elsewhere (NIT-PICK, OMNIVORE).

      And I’ve just realised I had ‘Kipling’ for KIPPING. A nasty trap.

      1. Yes, I fell for that one too. I might have paid more attention to the detail if I hadn’t struggled so much to get that far. I take some reassurance from the comment above that this is as hard as it gets. I solved it eventually (apart from the L for P error in 25A) but it took over an hour.


  3. I have been unable to find RICEPAPER as a 9-letter word. Chambers, Collins and dictionary.com show it as two separate words.
    1. Try the Concise Oxford. Dictionaries vary so much on this that it’s not really worth worrying about when solving.
      1. I’m not worrying about it in the sense that I want to argue with the setter or the editor or whoever, it’s just that if it had been shown as 4,5 I’m sure it would have been easier for me to solve as I only knew RICE PAPER. This puzzle was quite difficult enough without additional obstacles!

        And sometimes they do make misleading mistakes, for example in today’s Jumbo in one clue they have put 2,5 when clearly it should be 2-5.

  4. I made the mistake of doing this when I was already tired, and my first read-through of the clues produced very few answers, leaving me worried that I was going to go over 20 minutes. But then answers suddenly started coming, and I fairly shot through the rest of the puzzle apart from CATERS, COPYBOOK and BRITPOP, which took me ages – particularly as I wanted 1 ac to be TUTORS (from “coaches”). Still I managed 18:55, which I felt was OK under the circumstances, and at least I spotted KIPPING! A very good puzzle.
  5. I am not convinced that DARING is an accurate enough synonym for GROUND-BREAKING which means ‘innovative’ or ‘pioneering'(though a ground-breaking enterprise could be daring). Nor am I convinced that to BEETLE something will break it up (though this is perhaps just on the right side of the borderline). G-B is hard to define without giving the game away just from the definition. The compiler didn’t want to deliver a good-length ball which might have been hit for six, so maybe s/he sent down a no-ball that the umpire hasn’t spotted! PSW
    1. I’ve no doubt BEETLE is fine as an anagrind (what happens to a milk bottle, for example, if you hit it with a beetle!) but it led me to wonder why I’m less happy with things like “hit” and “knock” as anagrinds. I think it’s because in the former case you’re focusing on the article being used and in the latter it’s too vague and needs some form of adverbial preposition implying disorder.
      As for DARING I think again that’s a good example where a definition can often be acceptable in a cryptic puzzle which would maybe not quite do in a plain (I know not everyone agrees on this!)

  6. Charles Darwin might have surmised this about the Creator but he wasn’t talking about anagram indicators? How or why would you hit a milk bottle with a beetle (see last comment)? I’m glad our esteemed blogmeister did that one at 5d as, although I got the answer correct, I did not see the anagrind & anagrist. Heigh-ho. Nice puzzle though – tough but fair apart from the Coleoptera.

    Some of the blog-omitted “easies” have been touched on above but here they are in their full glory:

    11a Authority makes no comment (3-2)
    SAYS 0

    13a Zealous critics do make lousy choice? (3-4)
    NIT – PICK

    14a Right to separate duck, dock and deck (5)
    0 R LOP. The well-known term for lowermost deck? No, not really – had to look that one up.

    25a Writer turning left into parking and crashing (7)
    KIP (L)PING. Rudyard swaps his (L)eft for (P)arking to get crashing (out). All the speed bunnies that BIFD KIPLING from “Writer” whilst reading the next clue – serves you right!

    26a ThEY IN General keep watching (5)

    28a One fancies most things (n)ew in novel (or movie)* (8)

    6d Start shooting here (5)
    ON SET

    19d Summons heard as a rule (7)
    ARRAIGN. SL a reign.

    24d Wilderness below Tyneside upset Greens (5)
    NE GEV. One of yer 5 a day visits the Toon?

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