Times 23631/inspiring

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 40’

Unsure about one answer: 22D. Otherwise, on the relatively easy side (e.g. easier than yesterday’s). The top-left held a couple of inspiring poetical refs (6D and 7D) – the latter had to be worked out from the wordplay and wiki-checked.


1 REAL[is]M – a kind of reverse subtraction: if “is” is taken up by REALM (“field of interest”) you get a “philosophical doctrine”.
9 CAN,NINES,S – CAN as “prison” was on my brain since cropped up in yesterday’s Rufus. Our “numbers” are NINES whose last letter is doubled for the extra S.
10 LIP,I’D – so that’s what Angelina Jolie has in her lips: lots of LIPIDs.
11 DEFORESTATION – (To find a tree, so)* — anag &lit.
14 VICE – three meanings: “number two” as in VICE president, etc. I guess VICE is NOT the second of the seven evils. Haven’t checked. Obviously should have checked: I was grasping at straws — it’s seven vices or deadly sins anyway.
18 STOP T(H)E ROT – H in (protest to)*.
19 COHO – ([s]choo[l])* – local Pacific Northwest knowledge coming in handy again.
24 AC,CR[ew],A – AC is alternating current, thus “variable”.
25 B(RO=rev(OR))AD,SIDE – one of my last clues: I kept looking to include an anagram of “team” because of “lousy”. “Men” here are soldiers, i.e. Other Ranks=OR.
27 DESCENDER – kind of an &lit – a DESCENDER is that part of a letter that goes below the line (as in “g”) — none appear in this clue.
28 R,OAST – another late clue: hops are dried on OASTS. Note how the cryptic reading is descriptive rather than prescriptive: “by” X “is” Y for XY. Nice…


1 RECIDIVIST – (verdict is)*, anag &lit for someone who keeps doing the same thing YEAR IN YEAR OUT.
3 MAIGRE[t] – new word for me defining what’s allowed to be consumed on a fast day (not much!). Ref. Simenon’s Inspector Maigret.
4 FREE STATE – turns out that Maryland’s nickname is the FREE STATE (didn’t know this…) – as opposed to the others?
5 A,T (S)EA[m] – rather awkward clue in my opinion in both the surface and cryptic readings: S (“successful”) in A TEAM (“eleven”) with the final letter removed. And if you’re AT SEA, you’re stumped.
6 C(A,LL,I)OPE – first of the inspiring clues: she was a muse of poetry. I is “source of inspiration” and so is CALLIOPE herself.
7 I,L(PENS,EROS)O – ref. Milton’s poem – the second inspired clue (by 6D presumably). EROS is “love” here.
13 DE(PORT,ME)NT – “your writer” is the setter, namely ME.
16 TWO-BY-FOUR – 2×4=eight and a TWO-BY-FOUR is slang for a small apartment – not sure about the Caribbean ref?
17 S(TEAM)AGE – TEAM crops up again – this time as a “group” not an eleven.
22 IN B[less]ED – mystery clue: “Less resting like this could make one happy”. I suspect this is a cryptic definition referring to some aphorism… but… no… it’s another reverse subtraction clue: if “less” were added (i.e. was “resting” IN BED, you’d have blessed, namely “happy”.
26 IR,A – air (“song”) with the beginning letter moved to the end.

14 comments on “Times 23631/inspiring”

  1. 16:34 for this – 28A took much too long, and at 9 I got sidetracked by the CON/prison connection, and even considered CONNINESS briefly, as well as the non-word “CON/CENSUS” for “prison numbers”. Last was 3D – MAIGRE was a new word, and Maigret as a detective isn’t the first to come to mind. Also wasted time on 4D thinking Maryland was the first US state, but I think that was actually Delaware.
  2. About 13 mins here, but I put SUSPENDER for 27ac. I understood the clue, but misremembered the word for it. That gave me ?A?S for 23dn, so I just stuck in MASS as a guess.

    NB 14ac VICE is actually a treble definition – “Evil”, “number two” (i.e. vice-president etc) and “may have a powerful grip”

  3. 16D: It didn’t ring any bells when solving, but Concise Oxford (though not Collins or Chambers) has: “US and W Indian: a small or insignificant thing, typically a building.”

    Thanks to Andy for the middle def of VICE, which I missed.

    1. A party piece is a small act or performance for an audience at a party (like balancing 2 forks on the end of your … nose).
      And HAND it is, as in “hand in marriage” and “an illegible hand”. This, and DESCENDER held me up for amost as long as the rest of the puzzle took put together. I got VICE the wrong way by thinking of second in “evil” to be V !
  4. I didn’t manage to get 8d without the aid of a dictionary – I assume the reference is to Mary Baker Eddy, of whom I previously had not heard. Also drew a blank on 7d, 3d, 27a and 19a, all words I didn’t know (although confidently putting ‘ocho’ for 19a didn’t help…)
    1. Mary Baker Eddy it is – the orginal Christian Scientist. Of the new words, Calliope (a change from Erato) and coho are the one most worth remembering.
  5. I seem to have hung on different clues from everyone else, spending the last few minutes of my 12:54 trying to get STOP THE ROT and (having misread 24a as “… getting to port” instead of “… getting to a port”) justify ACCRA. Otherwise all reasonably familiar stuff apart from TWO-BY-FOUR, which only rang a faint bell.
  6. I thought 15A PARTY PIECE was a fine clue, a little word like DO turning out to be pivotal.
    I got 22D with the same wordplay but where is the definition? It seems to want to be an &lit but happiness is typically achieved via greater, not less, time in bed is it not?


    1. I think the deifnition is just “happy”. As for the &lit’ness, I suppose you could argue that being bed-ridden isn’t a great thing.
  7. 22 dn – my interpretation is that it relates to “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”
  8. Setter says thank you for all comments. No and-littery was intended in the IN BED clue
  9. 22d has been the main topic of discussion here and appears to be a rare example of a clue where the literal definition is neither at the start nor the end of the clue:

    22d Less resting like this could make one happy (2,3)
    IN BED. If the LESS is in BED you get B LESS ED = HAPPY.
    Therefore the definition is “resting like this” = IN BED.

    Just the half dozen “easies” left out from this admirable puzzle and blog:

    4a Dealership the man’s established ina foreign country (9)

    15a Do act to entertain the guests? (5,5)

    2d Girl yAwNiNg, regularly dropping off (3)
    ANN. Dozy type!

    8d Religious woman’s movement going around in circles (4)
    EDDY. Did this without Christian Scientist knowledge. Any relation to Duane?

    20d Black tree with less growth on (6)
    B ALDER. In colour abbreviations Black is K – as in CMYK – as B is blue as in RGB. I expect Black = B in some other field though as it crops up in X-wordland quite often.

    23d Pledge of marriage given in writing (4)
    HAND. Ann & Eddy get married.

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