Times 23577/Laban

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 58′

Meticulously fair wordplay but some pretty obscure references that had me scurrying for reference books (e.g. LABAN) and I’m not sure about the Clare reference in 13D nor the wordplay for 22A. The SE corner was the hardest for me and overall with six subtraction clues somewhat hard going.


1 MA(RIG,OLD)S – def is “flowery things” not just “flowers” to slightly improve the surface, i.e. implying something that might be worn.
6 SUM UP – two meanings: one cryptic (“Money more than before?”)
11 L,A,BAN[d] – for those of you who don’t know Rudolf LABAN was a Hungarian dancer. Thankfully the wordplay was solid.
12 WATER,FOR,D – I spent a month there one weekend last October. Not much to do once you’ve seen the Norman watchtower in the port.
14 BEE – two meanings: the second is “a social gathering for a specific purpose”
17 A,BRIDGE,MENT=”meant”
19 CO[we]S – COS in this case the Greek Island (closer to Turkey actually) but it’s often also lettuce cryptically. Cowes is I think an Isle of Wight port with fewer topless women than the Club Med at Cos.
20 DOG PADDLE – cryptic definition for what a setter does in the water. And sometimes your setter really is a dog and not a cryptic crossword compiler – though of course, not knowing the compiler in question, this might refer to both.
22 OWNER – ”One who has acquired nine points legally?” Wordplay? 9A is BITTERN which doesn’t seem relevant. Several people below note that it’s a cryptic def since “possession is 9/10ths of the law”. Read SteveJ’s link for more.
24 OIL WELL – cryptic definition
27 M(ODE)M – not just any “electronic device”, one that’s allowing me to post these comments.
28 M,IS,LEADER – I guess what James Bond would say being tortured by aliens to reveal the name of his boss.


1 M,ABEL – in my first hasty passthrough, I guessed M,ADAM.
2 RA,TABLE – Seems artificial but it really does mean “able to be rated or evaluated “.
3 G(RE,ENW=new*)OOD – it’s where Robin Hood et al hung out.
4 LONG WEEKEND – I guessed Lost Weekend first time through. Cryptic def for a 3 or more day weekend (thus Saturday alone being less than half of it).
5 SPA[in] – def is “spring” and “not favoured” is the removal indicator.
6 SUMER – rev(Remus) of Romulus fame. Nice clue.
7 MARC,ON,I – rev(cram=stuff) and electrical current is indicated by I (for intensity I think).
13 TABLE T,ENNIS – it’s a game but I can’t crack the wordplay: ”Clare’s place first to have panel game”. Thanks to AJS below, ENNIS is the county town of Co. Clare, Ireland — with a TABLET (“panel”) in front”.
14 B([h]OARD)ROOM – ‘OARD for ‘idden.
19 CANDIED – rather clever clue. The French book in question is “Candide” whose last two letters have been twisted.
21 AB,[t]EAM
23 ROGER – radiospeak for “I get you”. And he appears lexicographically before Romeo (which is radiospeak for the letter R) – unless Juliet’s first boyfriend was Roger Montague.

9 comments on “Times 23577/Laban”

  1. Roger was the predecessor of Romeo as the letter ‘R’ in the phonetic alphabet.

    Adam S.

  2. Ennis is the county town of Co. Clare in Ireland, preceded by (or “first to have”, for those who speak robotically) tablet.


  3. 5:58 here.
    14D: strictly, ‘oard = “some ‘idden stuff”, rather than just ‘idden.
    23D: The link to “I get you” is Roger = R = “received”
    12A: Your “month one weekend” comment sounds like someone’s quote about Wagner – something like “Act 1 starts at 6. After two hours you look at your watch and it says 6:15.”
    1. On the other hand, Noel Coward is said to have described Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot as “like Parsifal, but without the jokes”.
  4. A pathetic 7:40 for such an easy puzzle. I wasted time trying to think what Q was represented by in the phonetic alphabet (er, if it’s five letters it must be something like QUITO), before remembering it was QUEBEC and realising that I must be on the wrong tack. And I rashly put in second letter A for 28a (having misparsed the clue), which held me up for ages.

  5. 23d ROGER. According to the Airwaysmuseum website Romeo took over from Roger on 1 Mar 1956 so TOP GK to Adam S. above.

    I also did not know 11a LABAN but it was gettable. Could not parse 13d as I did not know ENNIS as county town of Clare and did not see 22a’s 9 points being 9/10ths of the law. The latter two were biffable answers though so the end result was a correct finish.

    Just the 5 “easies” omitted in this one my bunnies:

    15a Officious in respect of course to be taken (11)

    26a Getting close to (grannie)* can be awkward (7)

    4d Patterns that could be made by (a map) with (grids)* (9)
    PARADIGMS. I first encountered this word studying geology at university where the newly formulated “Ophiolite” paradigm explained the assemblage of rocks you see when a slice of oceanic crust has been shoved up onto land. Examples can be seen at the Lizard in Cornwall, Troodos Mountains in Cyprus and the biggest and best in the mountains of northern Oman.

    16d Old instrument that’s broken in (a lab store)* (9)

    18d Splendid journalist gets wined and dines (7)

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