Times 23601/not a dictionary word to be found

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 32’

Solved at a rather brisk pace – for me. I actually knew all the words in this puzzle or at least believed they meant what the clue implied.

A nice thing about Times puzzles is that typically there are one or two long phrases that are fairly easy given the enumeration (often anagrams) – in this case, my way in (and this goes without saying), was 5D: WASTE ONES BREATH.


1 S(PINE)T – PINE in ST. (“stone”). Small upright piano.
5 WOO(L)SHED – Sometimes “down under” really does mean Oz/NZ rather than something in the cryptic grammar. I would normally spell it WHOOSH but WOOSH works as well for “rush”. (Note that AUSSIE shows up at 22A).
9 FOR,WAR,D,S – where DS is “extremely D[angerou]S”. FORWARDS as in “attackers” in football for instance.
10 STAR(T)S – “Intergalactic travel’s earliest origins?”: def is “origins” but not completely sure how to parse the wordplay here. STARS are certainly “intergalactic” and “travel’s earliest” produces T – how to combine? Mike below shows that it’s actually quite clever: the T is among the galaxies which are made of STARS! (Though literally “intergalactic” means between the galaxies — which supposedly only contains ‘dark matter’… not a serious quibble).
11 HAIR,LINE – I suppose HAIR qualifies as a “hippy musical” though my friends from the 70’s would argue it was a complete sell-out (no pun intended). “Fine” as in HAIRLINE fracture for instance.
12 DRAWER – hidden reversed in “pREWAR Days”.
13 OR(IE,NT)AL – nice clue, especially if you ignore the perennial issue of whether the New Testament is a “book” or a collection of “books”. Note “could be Chinese” indicates that we’re indicating ORIENTAL with an example.
15 TERM – two meanings: Oxford (and Cambridge) use religious TERMs, e.g. Hilary, to name their semesters.
20 SE,DATE – Clue is: “Rather dull night out in Kent” – so Kent as per usual is SE (England) and “night out”=DATE and the def is “rather dull”. But… I don’t see how “X in Y” produces Y,X?. The wordplay actually seems to be saying: S(EDAT)E but that doesn’t work. Richard notes that the phrase “night out in Kent” can be SE DATE if SE is used as an adjective.
21 RO(I)STERS – nice clue: “leave plans” is ROSTERS, as opposed to indicating some sort of removal or subtraction and “host” indicates containment.
22 A,[e]USSI,E – presumably in charge of the WOOLSHED. Note that “publication” is ISSUE which is reversed by “circulated” and de-tailed by “briefly” in the cryptic reading.
23 ANT(I)GONE – good surface reading: I (“a single”) in (no agent)* for the best-known Greek play by Sophocles.
24 FRANKISH – ancient German language (I’ve always wondered though if these aren’t the ancestors of the modern French?) and a cryptic def of “pretty straightforward?”.


2 PRO,CAINE=”cane” – a kind of anesthetic (“number”). Surely caning is no longer allowed in the Brit school system.
5 WASTE ONES BREATH – (he treats new ASBO)*
6 LATER,AL – AL Capone is a frequent cryptic visitor. LATERAL means to one side like a (plant) “shoot”.
7 HARD,WAR,E – Egyptian capital isn’t Cairo, just E.
8 DISCREET=”discrete” – “Prudent individual, say”: quite a nice clue that sorts out the subtle spelling and meaning differences.
15 TIPS,TAFF – a TIPSTAFF is a familiar cryptic term for a kind of “court official”. TAFF is colloquialism for Welshman – according to Wikipedia, slightly derogatory.
17 HEP,TAG,ON – A seven-sided “figure” – kind of a cryptic def for what fashionable (HEP) people would have ON their clothes.
18 F(LOR[d])ENCE – “Aristocrat almost penetrates barrier roundabout girl”. Our “girl” is FLORENCE and our “barrier” is FENCE – not sure what cryptic role “roundabout” plays since surely “penetrates” indicates insertion and thus “roundabout” is redundant as a containment operator. A kind soul notes below that “roundabout” has a surface role: namely, ref. FLORENCE in The Magic Roundabout, a French TV show”.
19 PA,TRICK – Note how “X hold up Y” produces Y,X in a down clue.

8 comments on “Times 23601/not a dictionary word to be found”

  1. I also fail to see exactly how 10A works. But in 20A “night out in Kent” clues the phrase “SE date”, rather than two separate elements.
  2. I thought initially that this was a poor clue, as INTERGALACTIC isn’t a good definition for STARS. I think in fact it is a clue to the positioning of T, i.e. it is intergalactic because it is among the STARS!

    Mike Grocott

    1. Thanks, Mike – good explanation. Count me amongst those who didn’t ‘get’ it.
    2. Not totally convinced about “interglactic” – “interstellar” seems fairer. But feeling grumpy about the NE corner as I had a blind funk about 8D, just not seeing DISCREET from D?S?R??T until I’d given up and done something else for a while – so my time for today should count as something like 35 mins though the rest of the puzzle was done in about 10.

      15A: Ilan: not sure whether you’ve picked up the fact that the British term for semester is “term”.

      24A: The word “French” matches “Frankish”. Just as historically confusing as England/Angleterre = land of the Angles (who didn’t come from this island), or Scotland = land of the Scots – who originally came from Ireland.

      Magic Roundabout: originally French, but made into a British institution of the late 60s/early 70s through English narrative added by Emma Thompson’s Dad. Florence and the others were as well-known then as Homer, Marge and Bart now.

      1. Yes the NE corner did for me too, DISCREET being the last to go in. I don’t think it was helped by being unsure that STARTS was correct; it seemed such an obvious solution but I had the same difficulty justifying it as most here.


  3. Academic years are divided into 2 semesters and 3 terms at all the universities I have encountered. Therefore a semester is NOT the same as a term. Just sayin’.

    There are omitted “easies” and they are:

    17a Lift lid off crime (4)
    (T) HEFT

    19a Keep book on piano (8)

    25a Tree in hideaway by lake (6)
    L IN DEN

    3d Recently appointed employee who’ll make sweeping changes? (3,5)

    4d If bitten by dog one sets off alarm (9)
    TERR IF IER. Scary Jack Russell? Unlikely.

    14d One shot off to produce article on Tripoli’s trouble (3,6)
    AIR PISTOL. Anagram of A (article) and TRIPOLIS.

    16d The old country (so I heard) is devastated (8)

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