Times 23,610 – Not feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
After finishing last week’s puzzle in what turned out to be an impressive time, I really struggled with this week’s effort. There are a few words which I barely know and some I didn’t know at all in the crossword, and some of the clueing is very difficult, but I got there in the end with the help of a couple of on-line reference sources, maily to check words, but on at least one occasion, because I was genuinely stumped.


1 KEY-PAD – A “buttoned” control, not sure if the “up” in the clue is necessary, and, for those solvers who know nothing about cricket, the “leg guard” is a PAD.

5 HIGH CAMP – “going off” = HIGH and “barracks” = CAMP, and the whole lot is a very affected style.


11 ARMCHAIR – (I march r)* round “front of Arthur” (A) – nice surface

12 NAPLES – as in “See Naples and die” – don’t know if anyone knows for sure who first coined this phrase, but some websites calim it was Goethe (amazing coincidence as his last words came up in yeaterday’s guardian, also blogged by yours truly)

13 BE-R.M. – a thin area of level ground. “Jolly” is a slang word for a marine, hence R.M. (Royal Marine)


18 SCAN-SI(0)N – anaylsis of verse

21 NUMB-A-T – an Australian marsupial

23 MAR-BLING – I suppose that this means that “bling” is now an established word.

26 A-LIE-NATION – Unlike many playwrights, Bertolt Brecht did not always want the audience to identify too closely with his main characters, so he would place his characters into alien or unusual circumstances. This became known as the Verfremdungseffekt, loosely translated as the Alienation Effect.

27 BEL-(p)ITT-LE


2 (n)ETHER – liked this clue for its simplicity and brevity – held me up a little because whenever I see “lower” in a clue, I think of cows.

3 (<=I LOP)-CEMEN(t) – Can’t help thinking of “The Secret Policeman’s Ball”

4 ISM in (<=LAD) – Economics was called the “dismal science” by Thomas Carlyle.

5 HOLY-ROMAN-E(MP)IRE – Emperors of the Holy Roman Emperor were elected by a small council of nobles, so the definition, if vague is OK. However, I have a problem with the wordplay for the EMPIRE part, which seems to me to be MP in EIRE – not only is that one leap too much, but an Irish MP is a TD (Teachta Dala), but, I may be missing something – wouldn’t be the first time!

6 GUYANESE – homophone of “guy an ease” – a native of Guyana in South America

8 MINCE “MEAT” – a reverse cryptic – a recipe for “mate” would be to “mince” the letters of “meat”. Let’s not argue about mincing meaning that the letters would be cut up rather than rearranged!

14 ENC-(c)OUR(t)-AGE

16 ATHELSTAN – (has talent)* – Athelstan the Glorious, king of England from 924 to 939

17 DI-(<=ARTS)-IT – I didn’t know that distrait (French for absent-minded) was in the English dictionary – the things you learn when you solve crosswords…

22 BAMBI – hidden in “curB AMBItion”

10 comments on “Times 23,610 – Not feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!!”

  1. Hard – 15 mins + another 5 (after a break for the Independent) for MINCEMEAT, HIGH CAMP and finally NAPLES. I was sidetracked by ‘high cool’ at 5ac, which it turns out is no more than a song title.

    BERM, MARBLING, ‘going off’ = HIGH, ‘blow’ = CLUMP, ‘dismal science’, ‘See Naples and die’ and Brecht’s effect were all new to me.

    Where’s the anagram indicator in 11ac, by the way?

  2. After a run of disastrous times this turned out to be the quickest of the week for me (9:56), but I got off to very slow start, and had WOMBAT for NUMBAT, carelessly, for a while.
    I liked the wordplay for EMPIRE: a TD, surely, is an MP in EIRE.
    BLING is in the latest COD but, interestingly, it featured in a Times puzzle at least once before this.
  3. I solved it all correctly eventually but had problems working out the reasoning in several clues. I still can’t quite accept 5D as fair as I don’t see that it contains a definition. On “One with a tiny electorate” you have confirmed what I suspected, but one what, I ask myself? I thought the MP in EIRE was rather good though, not having your knowledge of the correct term for a member of the Dail.

    I’m also still at a bit of a loss with 1A and wonder if there is something more to it?


  4. My 14:48 would have been a couple of minutes faster if I hadn’t typed in EHTER for 2D and then taken ages to spot it! I took “buttoned up” in 1A to mean “furnished with buttons”, on the analogy of “kitted up”, meaning furnished with kit, and was entirely happy with it. I had no problem with EMPIRE either. All in all I thought this was a first-rate puzzle, and if the setter is reading this then I offer him my compliments.
    1. I know “opener” is a cricket term so there’s an association with “leg guard” = “pad”, but I still can’t put this clue and solution together satisfactorily. Can somebody who understands it parse it with explanations, please?
  5. Surely, there’s no more to it than KEY = “opener”, ie a key opens a door?
    1. Doh! What a dimwit I am. Too distracted by a possible cricket reference to spot the obvious.


  6. I found this puzzle very hard, after a run of easy ones. I found ether without ever realising about “nether” and wrote in Holy Roman Empire, quite early on, with no exact idea about the reasons why until I read these comments… no complaints to the setter though, it seems hard but quite fair..
  7. Also found this tough during my post-hol catch-up (esp. DISTRAIT). 13:20, but a stupid MUSCATEL at 15A. Must remember MUSCADET / MUSCATEL / MOSCATEL as a possible elephant trap.

  8. I managed MUSCADET at 15a because I never encountered any SEA CATELS at school but nearly played the Numbat with 19a as LEEU (Afrikaans for lion – also an African) fits the wordplay quite neatly.

    Only 6 “easies” omitted from the blog – thereby demonstrating that this one was considered a bit harder than usual.

    19a Shelter posh African (4)
    HUT U. Not LEE U after all!

    25a Train gun on mark and hurt badly (4)
    M AIM

    28a Female about to scream no end, rowing here (6)
    HEN (L) LEY. About to scream no end = YEL(L) backwards.

    7d Blow to maintain constant pressure round chimney (5)
    C LUM P. Remember the crossword chimney = LUM.

    20d Group has right to eat meal (6)
    B R UNCH

    24d Feature with a hole in the middle: head could go in it (5)
    NO O SE

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