Times 23639

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 14:58

Pretty straightforward for the most part, if not as easy as yesterday’s. But then I came to a dead halt on 10A and 22A. Perhaps my mental filing system is less good at retreiving proper nouns? JULIAN is hardly obscure, and the crossing letters could be nothing else. THANET was less obvious from the crossing letters (my grid has six alternatvie words beside it that fit), but it was made famous by the Ian Dury song, Billericay Dickie.


1 CAR (s)PED
5 JAM (A1) CAN, one of the preserves being a noun, and the other a verb
9 ex(MO)or + TORMEN(t)
10 JU(g) + NAIL(rev)
11 L + A(D)IDA
12 T(h)E(y’)R(e) + MINUS
17 EVENING DRESS, being VEN(erable) in DESIGNER’S* – filled this in from the definition only, and worried a little about “morning dress”
22 THANE + T(his)
25 RATTI(n)G + A + N, ie with the N moved to the end – And not, as I thought at first, RAT TIG as the Pied Piper’s playful mission
27 RANKER – two meanings. This took more thought than perhaps it should have. The second meaning (one who puts things in order) took me a while to see


2 A VOWAL (=”vowel”)
4 DUMB ART + ON – ho-ho
5 JAN 1 + ROT(rev) – New Year’s Day having been a bank holiday in England and Wales since 1974 and since 1871 in Scotland
8 A(BA)C(c)USES – that is BA (for “clever man”, though many BAs I know are not clever and many are not men) in ACCUSES minus C. I appreciate the precision of the clue in telling us to remove only one C.
13 IN + F(armhous)E + STATION – station meaning natural habitat in relation to people rather than animals
15 SPECTATOR – the weekly has a good crossword
18 DE(STRO)Y, STRO being SORT* – I did not know the word Dey
19 MEN AGE – I like this sort of “complete the sentence” clue. The word “presumably” makes this one easy to spot

11 comments on “Times 23639”

  1. 8:36 – good start, slower finish. Had a silly BEE (of the ‘in my bonnet’ type) at 24, but eventually spotted that 26 had to be SLIGHTLY. Then worked out 10 (sidetracked by (g)AOL), 19, 27, 22 in that order for my last answers.
  2. 8 minutes for this one. I was hesitant on RANKER; I didn’t know it could mean a commissioned officer as well as just an ordinary soldier
    (confusing). I had also forgotten that a DEY (as well as a BEY?) is a
    governor (18D). Otherwise it seemed fairly straightforward. Jason J
  3. 25A: slowed me down a bit as I didn’t see the correct wordplay. I thought the Pied P’s mission was “Rat tig” where tig is a chasing game. Though thinking about it, the rats would have to be a collective “it” if they were to follow the PP into the river Weser.
    1. …took me 4 mins on its own at the end. I was fixated on the cross-checking T being part of the wordplay and the island being -A-E-. This despite considering at an early stage that a THANE was a nobleman but not enough letters! Madness …
      1. As a resident of Kent I was pleased to see Thanet, Britain’s least likely “island,” make an appearance.

        Despite Ian Dury’s best efforts it would be stretching things to describe it as famous.

  4. My first mistake at the daily cryptic this year. I went through this puzzle, apart from one clue, in about 6 minutes, and then spent the next 8 or so agonising over 27ac, eventually opting for RANGER rather than RANKER (but still worried that there might be a third possibility).

    You can just about argue for RANGER from Chambers (and in fact I’d have a damned good try if it cropped up in a Championship) given that the first meaning assigned to it is “a forest or park officer” (i.e. an officer commissioned to look after a forest or park), and that a ranger can also be someone who “ranges” in the sense of “arranges” or “orders”. (OK, Chambers doesn’t define RANGER as “someone who ranges”, but it also doesn’t define RANKER as “someone who ranks”!)

    Would I get away with it? I suppose I just might if the editor was feeling in a generous mood, but I have to admit that I’d forgotten that a RANKER can be “an officer who has risen from the ranks”, and would have put it in if I’d remembered it.

    A disappointment after yesterday’s clean sweep, ending a good run since 16 December last year (No. 23474) when I last made a mistake. (I’ve found that they rarely come singly, so I’m expecting another within the next few days.)

    1. I also put in ‘ranger’, persuaded after the first definition for the verb was to put in order (which surprised me). I actually found today’s quite a lot easier than yesterday’s, which I didn’t even managed to complete.
  5. After yesterday’s footy XI we have a 21d for the BOAT RACE in today’s “easies”:

    14a Appealing to no-one for such a loan? (8-4)

    20a Dry quality of canned (sardines)* (8)
    ARIDNESS. Great juxtaposition of anagrind & anagrist there!

    23a Sack of newspapers for collection (6)

    6d Officer course for American students (5)

    7d A bit of tonsILLitis could make you this (3)

    16d Repair finished on country house, say (8)

    21d Boat crew worried, according to radio (5)

    24d Entomologist’s enthusiasm (3)

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