Times 23655/in a flat spin

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 42’

Solved in under half-an-hour except for the top-left: 1A and 1D took another 15’ to decipher. The usual couple of wordplays that I’m still mull[et]ing over.


1 FLATS,PIN – Only after it occurred to me with ??A? S?I? that “secure” might be PIN did I see my way to a solution. Chambers has FLAT SPIN as “confused excitement” – never seen this before but it makes sense given what happens when you stall in mid-air.
5 LA(M)MAS – our priests are Buddhist LAMAS and LAMMAS is a festival, in fact presumably a “harvest celebration of yore”
9 ANA=”Anna”,COND=”conned”,A – ref. the rather large and hungry snake.
10 PIC=”pick”,NIC=”nick”
14 FIRE PRACTICE – double def (one being cryptic): ref. Brit fire drill.
18 IN(CON)TENTION – CON (for conservative “party member”) in INTENTION. (Tried BY CONVENTION and IN CONFERENCE first).
23 CHIN,A – with C?I?A this was always going to be CHINA (cockney friend from rhyming slang no doubt). I’m guessing at the wordplay though: CH[ar] for “half-portion of toast”? and “served by” for IN (as in tennis). No, it’s CHIN-[chin] for half of a toast.
24 MULLET – is this a triple def? According to Chambers, it’s a heraldic “star” and a “fish” and is the “Barnet” ref somehow an allusion to the amusing def: “a hairstyle that is short at the front, long at the back, and ridiculous all around”?
25 V,I,PERISH – V for vide (Latin “see”).


1 F(LAW)ED – FED is abbrev of the US Federal Reserve Bank. I tried to make USAGES work for far too long here at first.
3 SLOVENIAN – (an[t]inovel’s)* – “timeless” indicates the subtraction. The surface doesn’t quite make sense – but perhaps that’s the nature of the antinovel.
4 IN,DIFFERENCE – clever double definition with a consistent surface.
6 A,MISS – do schoolchildren still call their teacher MISS in England? Much of the rest of the world seems to be on first name terms.
7 MONRO[e],VIA – only got this once I had M???O?I? and reviewed my African capitals.
8 SECOND,ER – a fine clue: she really is the SECOND Elizabeth Regina.
11 C(AIRN TER)RIER – trainer* in CRIER.
15 CROTCHET,Y – too hastily filled in CACOPHONY for this at first. CROTCHET is the quarter note with the black circle and straight stem (fortunately, when I was still in England as a boy, I did piano).
16 DIL=rev(“lid”),EMMAS – ref: Jane Austen’s EMMA.
17 SCUTTLED – double def, with the first being a bit cryptic (unacknowledged) since it refers to scuttling a ship, which is thus sent to the sea bed.
20 WAR,HOL=”hole” – one might say that you need all the crossing letters to get this since war hole is hardly a proper definition of “bunker”. Ref. Andy WARHOL.
24 TREAT – hidden in “theaTRE ATtendance” where “much-reduced” means shrunken from both sides I suppose.

14 comments on “Times 23655/in a flat spin”

  1. It took 10 mins, but it felt longer. I was perhaps lucky with LAMMAS in that we have a park called Lammas Land close to where I live, so that went in quickly with only the A as a crossing letter. The ones which really took time were 7D and 20D – I only dimly remembered MONROVIA, and couldn’t have told you it was the capital of Liberia, while WARHOL was mainly difficult because of the unlikely letters, and I had started to go through the alphabet looking for candidates for the third letter before it just came into my head from somewhere else anyway. I had also forgotten that MULLET meant a star in heraldry, but with the crossing letters the answer was fairly obvious. Jason J
    1. Thanks for explaining 20D and putting me out of my misery 🙂 I filled in a couple of clues without understanding (including Raphel for 20d!) and hope these will be covered in the solution.

      1a: I put in FLAT SPIN in sheer desperation.
      24a: MULLET – didn’t get the wordplay

  2. “Barnet” is Cockney rhyming slang for “hair” (Barnet Fair) and by extension any hairstyle.

    [No pun was intended]

  3. 17:03 for this one, with Warhol, mullet and top-left corner taking the time.

    I wasn’t held up by 8D, but I don’t entirely agree with Ilan about the fineness of the clue. After all those Edwards, Elizabeth is by no means the second ER.

  4. A fairly flat-spinning 15:53. Also forgot about heraldic mullet, so assumed starfish was another name for the fish called ‘mullet’. Couldn’t really believe in Andy “War-hole” but others seem less bothered so maybe that’s just me. Also struggled with NW corner, having rushed in to BUSTUP at 2D (bust = work of art, up = on a horse = mounted) – should have trusted my instinct that this would be (4-2) rather than (6). Annoyed with myself on a couple like 4D and 9A, where I’m fairly sure I’ve seen essentially the same clue before. Anyone getting flat splin quickly from ‘panic’ and (4,4) should do comparatively well…
  5. After about 15 mins I was just left with the three in the top left corner that seem to have given everyone else trouble too: FLAT SPIN, FLAWED and ALARUM. I put it down for an hour and came back to it, and got them all pretty much immediately, so I’ll claim an approximate 17 mins for the puzzle.
  6. I’d convinced myself that 11d was Jap(anterri)er, since Japanese terriers seemed to exist, and ‘jape’ apparently derives from the same French word as ‘yap’, so that held me up for some time on 14a. I’ve also never come across ‘flat spin’, but I did get 1d without any real trouble, as soon as I thought of ‘law’.
    Particularly enjoyed 8d and 13a today.
  7. “War-hole,” might one say? I wouldn’t. As an Englishman expatriated in Ilenc’s home town of Seattle, I’ve only ever heard Warhol pronounced “War-holl,” on both sides of the Atlantic. So the clue completely baffled me, and it continues to annoy, both on grounds of definition and pronunciation.
  8. Even accepting that Warhol should be pronounced warhole rather than warholl, itself at least questionable, “war hole” as a definition for “bunker” seems to me, as to several others above, highly unsatisfactory. To the extent that it means anything, “war hole” suggests a pit or hole caused by war – e.g a bomb crater (which would have served the clue setter much better), whereas a bunker provides protection against the things that make the holes.
    1. I’ve only ever heard Warhol pronounced “war hole”, though it could be that my brain has “corrected” other variants. Since this is the pronunciation given in Collins (1986), I think it’s probably the conventional English pronunciation, even if he’s pronounced differently in the USA. As far as the “bunker” part of the clue is concerned, I used to work at an MOD site where there was an underground complex known as “The Hole”, so I found “war hole”, and indeed the whole clue, entirely satisfactory.
  9. 11:56 for me. I started off slowly and was worried that this one was going to be a total disaster, but then I got into the swing of it and had it solved in under 10 minutes. Except that I then chickened out over MULLET, not knowing (or, more likely, having forgotten) the “star” meaning, and spent another couple of minutes making sure that I wasn’t missing an alternative.
  10. Took my a few hours. Barnet refers to cockney “Barnet Fair” = hair, and mullet is a hair style
  11. No problem with 1d F LAW ED and 1a FLATS PIN for me – it was 5a and 8d that were my POI and LOI.

    There are 7 “easies” not in this blog:

    12a English duet rewritten as short musical piece (5)
    ETUDE. Anag of E DUET.

    13a Tries to stop standards getting lower (5,4)

    21a Motor (race)* rerouted, bypassing country (6,3)

    26a Drug – SpEeD – regularly consumed (6)

    27a Sea creature, unusually (large? Yes)* (4,4)

    2d A work of art, when mounted, creates disturbance (6)
    A LARUM. A then MURAL upside down.

    19d Find water wonderful (6)

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