Times 23679/hard work

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 44:55

This felt like hard work. Exacerbated since the puzzle wasn’t available online – so, necessity being the mother of invention, I was forced onto the streets of NYC where I actually did find today’s copy of The Times (there’s now a US edition – for $3, which given the exchange rate, is probably cheaper here). As to Peter’s query as to how I got on… not well. There are far too many instances of guessing at the wordplay… which I’ve left as… um… “exercises for the reader”. Plenty of updates from comments…

1 JUL,EP=rev(PE) – as in Mint JULEP. JUL is a std abbrev of July.
4 B(L)ACKS,WAN – an Australian, well, swan. At first I thought this was an allusion to the NZ All-Blacks.
9 BALA,LAIK=”like”,A – ref. Lake (“mere”) BALA. Very hard clue for me to decipher.
11 UP-TO-THE-MINUTE – two meanings: constantly refreshed as in being kept current and ref. minutes that a secretary might be responsible for writing.
14 BOOT – two meanings: Brit trunk and to sack someone is to give them the BOOT.
15 RENT-A-CROWD – my first clue, probably “let” was the trigger.
18 ROPE-WALKER – early clue as well: (E, worker lap)* and “online” is a nice misdirection.
19 BILL – with ?I?L only weapon I could think of. Ref. a movie BILL advertising its “star” (at the top).
21 LITTLE BOY BLUE – ref. the nursery rhyme: “… come blow your horn”. Didn’t (couldn’t) work out the rest of the wordplay: “One exhorted to blow so-called A-bomb up? Not at all”. Ref. LITTLE BOY (and Fat Man), one of the A-bombs dropped on Japan.
24 ELEMI – one of my last clues: rev hidden in “tIMELEss”. It’s kind of extract of something or other providing incense.
25 BE(ERSH=hers*)EB,A – an early clue since I’ve been there (Israeli city in the Negev Desert). Ref. Auntie BEEB (the BBC).
28 MOOSE=”mousse” – is this right? OOSE is an alternative spelling of ooze which is foam and M for mouth? No — it’s a homophone of “mousse”.


1 JUBJUB[e], BIRD – ref. Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky . I’ve learnt that BIRD is slang for a (prison) sentence. Short sweet? JUJUBE is a kind of wine gum — thanks Conrad.
4 BR([sa]ID)EW,ELL – more prison slang: “stir” – BRIDEWELL was such for the mad once upon a time. ELL’s our “measure”
5 A,MATI[ns] – ref. the Italian violin makers. Ref. Christian early morning MATINS.
6 KE(YPUN)[t]CH – puny* in KE[t]CH
7 WAR M(EM=rev(me))ORIAL – I don’t understand the heraldic reference (assuming me is contained in reverse): “Monument with heraldic surrounds lifted me”.
8 N,AS,H – N is center of GreeNwich and H that of SoutHwark – ref. John NASH the Brit architect.
12 TROMPE-L’OEIL – (Promote lie, l)*. Hard anagram to find. For me – now, if the enumeration had been (6-1’4).
16 TRE(M)BLE,R[ouse]S – voice is TREBLE. “On vacation rouses” producing RS surprised me.
17 SWA(THIN)G – THIN (“flimsy”) in SWAG (“loot”).
22 LI(BY)A – BY (“Times”) in rev(ail=trouble).
23 HE([gir]L)M – “attempt to get attention” is HEM.
26 EG=”say”,O – I think. But someone needs to explain the rest: “Vowel to disappear, say another ‘I’”. Parsed as E (a vowel),GO (“disappear”) and EG (“say”),O (“another” vowel) and EGO (“I”).

18 comments on “Times 23679/hard work”

  1. Found this quite a struggle at 15:15, and will be interested to see how Ilan gets on. ELEMI at 24 came up again a bit sooner than I expected. 28 and 19 were my last two.
  2. This one was so hard I didn’t time it.

    21 Ac Re Little Boy Blue – Little Boy and Fat Man were the two bombs over Hiroshima, hence the bomb link.

    26D Ego – vowel = E; disappear = GO; or
    Say = EG; another (vowel) =O
    Whole thing means I.

  3. I think this is just “moose” sounds like (from the mouth”) mousse (= foam).


  4. I think this is just “moose” sounds like (“from the mouth”) mousse (= foam).


  5. I think you did pretty well – there was a lot of tough stuff in this puzzle. More tweaks to explanations …

    9A: I think this is actually ALAIK = “alike” inside BALA, with “ring” as the containment indicator.

    21A: The bomb gives two words of three. The last: if you’re not up, you’re down = BLUE
    1D: The short sweet is ju-jub(e), as mentioned – B=book inside it gives ‘jubjub’.

    8D: W=with, then ‘me’ rev. asyou thought, inside armorial = heraldic

    12D: skipping the apostrophes seems to be the norm in enumerations these days. I’ve probably already mentioned the time some fiend in the Guardian gave “(7,6)” for “L’Elisir d’Amore”.

    16D: well spotted – I had ‘rouses’ down as a link word, assumed RS was some ludicrous abbrev. I’d never heard of for ‘on vacation’.

  6. Well I didn’t get any today… but then im still quite new to all this.

    I wonder if somone could explain why BY = (“Times”) in 22D

    1. “four by three”, for some, means the same as “four multiplied by three” or “four times three”.

  7. Felt tired and headachy (again – Sigh!), so should probably have left it until tomorrow, but struggled through in 16:22. Some clever clues – overall a most enjoyable puzzle.
  8. Though come to think of it, ME didn’t need to be reversed, so the clue was more complicated than it needed to be.
  9. Why on earth does ‘on vacation’ mean you take the extreme letters? I can’t understand it at all.
  10. I assume 27A is MILK GLASS (not in my dictionary) but could someone please explain 3D, presumably PILATE.
    R. Saunders
    1. Rather a late explanation since I’ve not checked the site for a couple of days: “when one’s expected” = ETA (estimated time of arrival), “cheek” = LIP, all reversed.
  11. Tricky indeed so only 6 “easies” left out of the blog – and a couple of these were questioned above:

    10a Lots of material belonging to investigators (5)
    YARDS. Does this imply that there are multiple Scotland Yards?

    27a Gallons pinched by dairymaid? It’s not entirely clear (4,5)
    MILK G LASS. A translucent to opaque glass used for making decorative vessels. First produced in 16th century Venice according to Wiki.

    2d Her refrain is endless (3)
    LIL (t)

    3d Magistrate passing death sentence when one’s expected cheek to be turned (6)
    PIL ATE. ETA (time expected) and LIP (cheek) reversed. Very neat NT clue.

    13d Corrupt, having no time for children, note (10)

    20d Material in plaster causes pain, above all (6)
    GYP SUM. A hydrated calcium sulphate deposited in lagoons in arid conditions.

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