Times 23621 – with little time at the beginning should

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 25:53 with one wrong

A slow time for me. In part, I was not thinking very fast this morning – I was also slow on the Times2 puzzle. But I think this was also a tough one. The bottom left corner took me longest, though the top left was also slow.

Potentially more importantly, I am not sure I got it all right. With _U_ O_F for 9D, I thought that CUT OFF made more sense than RUN OFF, and I simply didn’t think of BUY, PUT or RUB OFF. I still can’t see a better answer but nor can I explain it. I hope someone will help me out even though I am posting this rather late in the day. And sure enough, the answer is PUT OFF, as now explained below


1 CA(ra)FE
3 WHITE + BOARD, WHITE being (WITH + E)*
10 NOT RUM (= some other drink) PER (= for every) – the definition seems a bit odd. I know that a deck is a pack of cards, but can “deck hand” have anything to do with cards?
11 COM(B)O – the lake is better known than the city, but wouldn’t work in the surface
12 (I) AM A TORY – Why Churchill, who was also a Liberal? Though it is not clear what dead Conservative would be better – Disraeli perhaps?
13 BE(HE’S)T
18 PORK SCRATCHINGS – C(old) in (RAG PRINT SHOCKS)* – the British name for deep fried salted crunchy pork rind with fat
21 JA + PANS – took me ages to realise that “very good for Viennese” meant “yes in German”
26 (s)UNLIT
29 U + TAH, TAH being HAT(rev)


1 CANTALOUPE, being O(ld) in (AN APT CLUE)*
2 FAT WA(g)
5 THROB – hidden, unfortunately with a redundant word – “committed”
6 BAC(CHU(m))S, BACS being SCAB(rev), I don’t think many weeks go by without “China” being used in the sense of “friend”. The clue also has “stopping” meaning “filling” in I think the dentistry sense.
9 PUT OFF, being OFF (=away) with PUT (=position) at the top, and with “throw” as the definition. (This was added on edit following a comment. I originally had CUT OFF)
16 TAR PAUL IN, that is RAT(rev) + PAUL (=boy) + IN (=wearing) – this was the last clue I solved. I had forgotten that it could mean “hat”, and the wordplay took me a while to figure out.
17 METER MAID (=”metre made”)
19 SE(A)TTLE – “square” means “settle” in relation to debts
20 (c)HAP + PEN – took me a long time to see that the definition was only the first two words.
22 S(I)SAL, SSAL being LASSO (truncated and rev)
24 OUGHT, being TOUGH with the T moved to the end. I wasted a lot of time looking for a four letter word meaning difficult to which I could append a T
25 QUAD – the phrase quad-bike always annoys me

13 comments on “Times 23621 – with little time at the beginning should”

  1. I am pretty sure the answer is PUT OFF. Throw=’put off’ with away=OFF + position=PUT at the top!

    I found this puzzle really hard-going!

  2. in bridge if your hand doesn’t have any trumps, i suppose it’s referred to as a no-trumper — or perhaps when the contract’s no trump, the same applies?


    1. fair enough. I have never heard or used the phrase “no trumper” but it seems bearable. It’s “deck hand” that surprises me.
  3. Just over 10 mins, but later noticed a careless CAFA at 1A, so it doesn’t really count.
  4. Not too bad today – got japans and Bacchus from the wordplay rather than the definitions. However, I did slow myself down by writing in ‘calf’ for ‘a little lower’ (quite a nice cryptic definition, I thought…) and took far too long to get ‘quad’ at the end.
  5. Ouch! Having had a good day at RTC, I had my worst day of the year at the cryptic, taking 27:23. The answers that gave me a hard time were JAPANS and PUT OFF, which were both blindingly obvious once the penny had finally dropped (I had to resort to working through the alphabet – always a bad sign). This is the sort of thing I dread in the Championship, where everyone else has finished in 10 minutes or so and I’m left struggling. (I expect Peter B would have checked his solution a bit more carefully in competition conditions – otherwise Cave Testudinem ;-). A very good puzzle nonetheless.

  6. 9D yesterday ~ “put off” ~ I don’t see how “throw” is a definition here. I worked it out as “put” = “throw” (as in “put the shot”) and “away” = “off”, but that leaves “position at the top” as the definition, which again I don’t follow.


    1. “Throw” = “put off” as in “derail”, metaphorically. And, as indicated above, PUT = “position” at the top which is “at the top” ie above “off”.

      Lots of subtleties in this puzzle – I didn’t find it too difficult apart from:
      I never fathomed the reasoning behind PUT OFF at the time, and was completely stuffed by JAPANS. And also had CALF for “a little lower” then forgot to re-solve it!

  7. Right; I too put in “calf” immediately and was very surprised when it turned out to be wrong!
    1. Ditto on ‘calf’. Like Richard, “very good for Viennese” took me an age to see, and initially writing in ‘motor’ for the first word of 17dn was extremely unhelpful.
  8. Given my avatar it is perhaps no surprise that CALF was my FOI at 8d. I see from above that I was in illustrious Times X-Word company. This had to be revised after solving 3a and 11a and 8d became my penultimate one in (POI) before the devious shiny-surfaced JAPANS at 21a.

    A half-dozen “easies” omitted:

    15a Where agent usually gets money from is not working (3,2,10)
    OUT OF COMMISSION. To a non-agent this seems true on at least two levels.

    27a Refuse to be picked up by such a person (9)
    SCAVENGER. Not a disreputable Uber driver?

    28a Scholars may thank her for helping or just scoff (6,4)
    DINNER LADY. If it was creamed spinach I did neither.

    4d Good time for those not loaded to get loaded (5,4)
    HAPPY HOUR. Great clue.

    7d Disclosure in newspaper item on military operation (9)

    8d A little lower (4)
    DROP. Not CALF sadly.

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