Times 23649/what about Whitby?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 37’

Was going pretty fast and I had deluded myself into thinking I could join the illustrious crowd who solved Friday, Sunday and Monday in record times… until I hit the NE corner (e.g. 5A, 7D, 8D, 13A). I also found myself filling in a couple of answers based on the definition (27D, 19D) while still wondering about the wordplay. I hope enlightenment occurs to me while writing these notes.


1 S,N,IFFY – English has lots of useful words for “disdainful” (SNOBBY, SNOOTY etc.). Poles are often simply N and S.
5 T[his],A,KEA,WAY – I struggled with this: TAKEAWAY is a kind of “meal” and KEA’s a “parrot” (and a setter).
10 CR(ANN)Y – another struggle: perhaps because CRANNY is usually encountered with its partner nook.
11 MARA(S,CHIN)O – convincing surface: CHIN (our “feature”) in aroma*.
13 A,XL,E – have to admire this clever economical clue: “I” refers to the answer AXLE which literally takes the wheel. XL is Roman 40 (and I think that the A40 is a real road leading somewhere useful in England).
14 OGRE – hidden &lit in “sO GREndel” since she was a monster.
15 MO,THE,R-T,O-BE – def is “one expecting”, our “girl” is MO (who also I suppose might be expecting!), “right” is RT this time (not just R) and OBE is the medal.
18 DAMP COURSE – cryptically defining “soup” as DAMP COURSE is brilliant. The straight def is what’s used to line your foundations so you don’t get damp in the house.
21 SMUT=rev(tums) – SMUT doesn’t just appeal to our prurient sensibilities, it’s also a fungus that attacks grain.
23 TEST FLIGHT – ref. River TEST and a set of locks (on a river!) is in fact a FLIGHT. Nice apposite wordplay component overlap.
25 F(LAMB)E – almost an &lit but for me “extremely” spoils the surface but it’s required for the wordplay (extreme letters of “fire”).
29 C(A,N)INE – CINE is “film” and “like Lassie” is a pretty good way to define CANINE by example.


4 YE,A – “the earlier” is a good way to define archaic YE.
5 TUT,TI – musical term for getting everyone to play together. TI’s our note.
6 KICK ONESELF – which is what I did when I realized this was just (Folk, sickene[d])*.
7 ADAM,[w]ANT[s] – ref. Robert ADAM the architect. “hard stone” is the def .
8 ANNUL[ar] – I thought this the hardest clue: remove two characters from ANNULAR meaning ring-like.
12 COMPOST HEAP – excellent misleading cryptic def.
16 TAR – this is one of the mysterious wordplays for me: def is “old sailor” but the rest? “Old sailor’s short goodbye to Whitby”.
17 BE(E(T)HOVE)N – weakfish surface but solid wordplay: def is “composer”. Ref. BEN Britten (I suppose “perhaps” indicates the familiar form).
19 PO,TO,MAC=rev(Cam) – ref. the PO River, River CAM and the POTOMAC River: interesting clue in which I think the reversal is indicated by “approaching”, implicitly from either end.
22 M([h]OL[e])AR
27 ARC[tic] – def is “luminous discharge” (ref. electricity) and “half visible around the North Pole” is a rather verbose, albeit accurate, way to indicate subtraction.

15 comments on “Times 23649/what about Whitby?”

    1. Meant to say Sunday Times, and I think it’s fifth as the run started on Friday.
  1. Well, it had lots of easy bits, but I found POTOMAC tricky (was wondering if it had something to do with TAMAR for quite a while), since the reversal of CAM is only faintly indicated. I am also none the wiser about Whitby. I assumed it was an abbreviation TARA (or similar) meaning “goodbye”, although why it should be limited to Whitby I have no idea. I also note that in Chambers, “TAR” is not listed as an “old” word for sailor, although to be honest I reckon it is these days. Still, I can’t see any alternative to TAR for the answer. The puzzle took me 8 mins. Jason J
  2. I got this by taking US off ANNULUS which is a ring. But I suppose they both work!
  3. Is this a reference to Capt Cook (Old sailor) who sailed from Whitby on his Pacific expedition?


  4. 16D Ta-ra is a northern expression, and Whitby is in the North.

    17D The “perhaps” here indicates that Britten is a possible example of a Ben[jamin], though obviously not the only one. This is a pretty common crossword formulation.

    I initially took 6D to be an anagram of FOL (folk mostly) and SICKENED. All I could come up with was “dick oneself”, an expression I was not familiar with, so I Googled, with amusing results. I could kick myself.

    1. 16D Ta-ra is a northern expression, and Whitby is in the North.

      If that is the explanation then surely there would be a question mark or “perhaps” in the clue to suggest that Whitby is only one example of where Ta-rA may be used.

      The Cap’t Cook explanation looks good to me.

  5. I found this in A Dictionary of Slang in the UK:
    Ta-ra! Exclam. Goodbye! Welsh/Midlands/Northern use, 1950s (informal)
  6. I thought this was fairly easy but not extremely easy. Like the blogger the last ones to go in were all in the NE corner.

    I thought there were some nice touches. I particularly liked 4dn, 13ac

  7. The two rivers Po and Cam approach “to” and thus create the third river. John M
  8. 9:50 for this one. The A40 is London to Fishguard (SW Wales port with ferries to Ireland). It also goes to Cheltenham, which as well as being the current home of the Times xwd champs, must be one of the biggest towns in England without a bypass. Cunning A40 traffic switches to the A417 a while before Cheltenham, to reach the Gloucester bypass.

    Capt Cook is possibly intended for the surface of 16D, but for wordplay purposes other ports like Liverpool would have served equally well.

  9. (Only just got round do doing this one, hence the delay!)

    Northern maybe, but surely Lancashire rather than Yorkshire (I write as a Yorkshireman): “Ta-ra, chuck” is the sort of thing Cilla Black says.

    Around 8:30 (I forget to click my stopwatch), but I wasn’t conscious of any particular difficulty so I’m not sure where I lost time. Some nice clues (I particularly liked AXLE).

  10. Easy with some tricky bits! A boat-load of “easies” to easy for the blog:

    9a One with ambition given snake to (train)*, curiously (8)

    20a Try to locate king beside bishop’s sphere of influence (4)
    SEE K

    26a Still, (I can’t)* possibly exist without a head (8)

    28a Impractical joke? Best that’s put back (8)
    CRACK POT. The best back is POT = TOP backwards but CRACK can mean the best too as in Crack Troops but here it is a joke!

    2d Longing for what’s gone and turned out (lost again)* (9)

    3d A lot without kit in warship (7)
    F RIG ATE. Lot as in FATE. Kit as in RIG.

    20d Cheese nearly all the same weight (7)
    STIL (L) TON. Mmm Stilton & water bikkies.

    24d A little new in comedy sketch that’s very poor (5)
    SKI N T

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