Times 23,628 – Better late than never?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
My apologies for the lateness of this post – I couldn’t post while at work and then went to the cinema with my family.

Despite a low start, I solved this one in less than 10 minutes, because the long entries weren’t particularly difficult. There are a few clues here where the definition is a bit loose, and there were a few clues where I put in an answer without fully understanding why at first.


1 P(R)AWN CRACKERS – nice surface

9 (<=AIL I)-C(ondition) – The ilium is one of the hipbones that make up the hip

10 F(O-REST)ALL – I presume that the definition for RESRT is “place” as in “rest against something”, but I’m not entirely satisfied with that

11 OBSERVABLE – (babe lovers)*

14 D(<=G-ACE)ON

16 AT L(E)AST – apart from smoothing the surface reading, why is “opens” in the clue?

19 FR.-E.C.-K(i)L(l)E(d) E.C. is the European Community

20 SUIT – double def. Originally, wanted to put in SPIN, referring to a bowler’s action in cricket, but couldn’t see how that was cryptic

21 ALL-ROUNDER – L-ROUND in (real)*

24 UNEXPOSED – (no sex pude)*

26 SITTING PRETTY – double definition. Although I can’t find a dictionary reference to “rich”, I suppose a rich person would be in an advantageous position in many cases.


1 PRIMORDIAL SOUP – the mix of elements that are thought to have existed before life began. I love my food, but don’t think I’d be ordering that as a starter!

3 NIC(e)-(p)ARAGUA(y)-N

4 REF-RAIN – great clue

5 CO-ROLL-A – petals forming an internal floral envelope in a flower

7 S(PACE)WALK – men saparated from their lovers while at war or working on oil-rigs or in prison used to seal their letters with acronyms like SWALK (sealed with a kiss), ITALY (I trust and love you), HOLLAND (hope our love lasts and never dies) and BURMA (be undressed, ready, my angel).

8 OLD MOTHER RILEY – (telly hero or dim)* – despite the reference to “telly” in the anagram fodder, OLD MOTHER RILEY was a music hall drag artist, played to great success by Arthur Lucan from from the 1930s to 1950s. The character, an Irish washerwoman, also featured in a series of movies, and was the subject of a comic strip in the Radio Times.

13 BLUE MURDER – the collective noun for crows being a MURDER

15 COCK-1-NESS – COCK and “raise” are weak synonyms, but I suppose you could “COCK” an eyebrow. I think COCK UP would be a tighter synonym to “raise”

18 CO-LOSS-I – I like CO-LOSS for “joint deficit”. I is a symbol for electric current

19 FI(REDO)G – I struggled with the parsing for this, because I originally thought that “cutting tree” was FI(r), but of course a fig comes from a FIG tree.

22 DIVOT – not sure that this technically correct – the divot is not the mark left by a golf club, but the piece of grass which is sometimes lifted by a golf club.

4 comments on “Times 23,628 – Better late than never?”

  1. 14:18 here – made rather heavy weather of the top and left, so had to work upwards from the bottom. 1D was the breakthrough that got the empty area moving.

    16: “opens” is the containment indicator, “in the end” being “at last” – so if “in” was the containment indicator it would be doing double duty.

    15D: “cock” (transitive) = to set erect/upright is in the dictionary (Collins or Chambers), though it does say “often with ‘up’ “. Legs and ears as well as eyebrows…

    26: ‘rich’ worked for me. Under “pretty”, Chambers just mentions being in an advantageous position; Collins has “well-placed […] financially or socially”.

  2. SWALK = Sealed with a loving kiss, I think.

    On this subject it’s a shame to omit NORWICH, but perhaps it’s a bit too risque for this forum so I won’t spell it out, so to speak.

    1. Pretty well known I think. Suffice it to say that it relies on a misspelling of KNICKERS
  3. As happens all too frequently my LOI was a really irritating 4 letter double definition at 20a where we have to find a 3rd word to mean the same as ACTION and MATCH. As included in the blog above it is SUIT. I could not see this for ages – I usually avoid the “Quick” non-cryptic crossword for this reason.

    There were half a dozen “easies” that were just that compared even though 2 of them were also 4 letter DDs:

    12a A supportive smile? (4)

    17a Very old main road beginning to crumble (7)
    ARCH A1 C

    25a Beast died – it’s nature? (5)
    D EVIL

    2d A voyage northward, one’s assumed (5)
    A LIAS. LIAS = sail upside down and part of the Upper Triassic / Lower Jurassic.

    6d Each way? No, just one (4)
    EA ST

    23d Showed contempt for argument (4)

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