Times 23703/if it’s Tuesday, it must be hard

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 1h10

I seem to have got myself into a series of hard Tuesdays. Had to resort to online help for a couple here – partly because I made a couple of bad initial guesses: e.g. SAVANT for 3D which made some sort of sense as an anagram of satnav. And I far too quickly fell in love with MIMESIS for 5D (I thought it was hidden there). Hard to believe but I saw (the first half of) The BOURNE Ultimatum on the weekend so it was on my mind, which made 23A possible – but I still needed to check with a dictionary since it didn’t seem to have anything to do with goals.

Oh, forgot to add – I solved about half of this while driving (well, stalled really) in a traffic jam. Have to say, would have been infinitely easier had I been driving an automatic.


5 MAG,GOT – when I GOT this I thought that it’d be a great clue for Cyclops (“The Spectator” is our MAG).
9 U,NE(DUCAT)ED – one of my last because of my ill-considered SAVANT at 3D.
10 ENTR(EAT)Y – I think ENTRY is “all competitors” and EAT is “trouble” here.
11 QUIN,TA – TA are the perennial Brit “volunteers” and I guess a QUIN is one of a quintuplet – had to look up QUINTA which is an Iberian inn so presumably you can get wine there.
14 PUPPETEERS – misleading cryptic def: I kept trying to think of the analogous term to milliner that would apply to someone who makes gloves (still can’t remember).
17 NIP=”drink” AND TUCK=”food” – which reminds me to recommend “Nip/Tuck”, the US series about plastic surgeons.
23 B(O)URNE[d] – see PB’s note – I got lucky as mentioned above thanks to Matt Damon.
24 IMP,RIS,ON – IMP followed by rev(no, sir) – I guess a male teacher is still called SIR in some parts.
25 OPEN MARKET – (top men rake)*
27 STAL[l],IN – in the cryptic grammar “no end, governing as” means “remove the last letter of STALL, and substitute it with IN (for governing)”.
28 D(RUDGE)RY – ref. Barnaby RUDGE.


1 CLARE,N,DON – good credible surface: ref. CLARE College (my dad drummed Cambridge colleges into me as a boy). It’s a typeface.
2 VI(SITE)D[eo] – def is just “saw”.
3 ROUTER – two meanings: too bad about the SAVANT anagram – really slowed me down.
5 MA(CA)[s]QUE – masque is our pantomime (not mimesis!).
6 GU(TSIN=isn’t*)ESS – one of my last (because of mimesis!). I learnt some time ago that “bottle” is Brit slang for nerve, chutzpah, etc.
7 [p]O(L[ew]D)STER – I like “topless pin-up” producing [p]OSTER.
13 STAIR=”stare”,WELL – it’s a “flight” of STAIRS not the other kind.
15 P[e]ACEMAKER – I was confused by this for some time since I always associate the UN with peacekeeping not making. Nice def though: “leader at the start”.
16 SEDENTARY – pretty obvious cryptic def.
18 IRON OUT – two meanings: the second cryptic – I guess you tee-off with an IRON (and not a wood??).
22 C(RATE)D – CD really is just the letters C and D here.

15 comments on “Times 23703/if it’s Tuesday, it must be hard”

  1. Found this another tough one at 14:18. 23A is probably the toughest, as ?O?R?E, implying ??R?E(d) for ‘was desperately anxious’, seems to allow many possibilities, and the right one doesn’t seem convincing at first. “I’m burning to know …” = “I’m desperately anxious to know …” is my best offer. Fortunately, had seen bourne = goal (archaic) in one or two other puzzles fairly recently. Maybe the setter had too.
  2. 11 Quinta: didn’t know about the inn, but also an estate growing grapes, esp. for port, as in “Quinta Do Noval”.
  3. After a bit of thought I went for COURSE at 23A – wasn’t at all confident though. Thinking was if you follow a course you get to your goal and if you were cursed you’d probably be desperately anxious.

    Having ?U?T at 4D, I kept thinking of the beloved aunt from Curb Your Enthusiasm!
    I think I’ve seen gaunter as an old term for glove maker.
    I did this in 56mins – don’t think I’d ever have got BOURNE. I will next time.

  4. I found this one hard too, mainly because of BOURNE and PUPPETEERS, which took me ages, particularly the latter (OK I know it should have been obvious). GUTSINESS took me quite a while to untangle too. I stayed in a QUINTA in Madeira a few years ago (highly recommended if anyone is going), so that wasn’t too hard after I had a letter or so. Time: 17.15. Jason J
  5. I knew QUINTA straight away, as I had a very nice bottle of Quinta da Cavadinha vintage port only last week. I got stuck at the end for a few minutes with BOURNE, but eventually put it in as a best guess, as it fit the wordplay even though I didn’t know the definition. The only other thing I could think of was COURSE, which seemed a bit weak. Stopped the clock at 16:43.
  6. I should probably not have tackled Saturday’s, Monday’s and today’s puzzle when I did as I was feeling tired, but as my wife had gone out for a couple of hours it seemed a good opportunity. Unforunately when I was about five minutes into Saturday’s, someone started a road drill outside, and although this was probably no worse than Harold Franklin wandering about talking loudly to people during Championship finals (as older solvers, who cursed him, will remember), my brain seized up for the 15 minutes it kept going, and by the time I reached today’s puzzle I was in a state of exhaustion.

    So, 42:19, a good half-hour of which was spent on BOURNE – but at least I got the damned puzzle right this week!

  7. I seemed to get on same wave length as compiler and so found this one tough but straightforward at 40 minutes. I too had a problem with 23 across. To me BURN implies passion rather than specifically anxiety but I had a dim memory of BOURNE appearing in Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” and thought it meant one’s objective. Having looked it up in Chambers I now think it means “domain” in that context so got the right answer by faulty reasoning. Jimbo
  8. Me, not the puzzle. Utterly defeated by the NE corner, failing at 5A, 11A, 5D & 6D. Gave up (ran out of time actually) after 40 minutes. Seeing the explanations, have to say favourite clue is the one for GUTSINESS – definitely a case of being defeated fair and square; hats off to the setter.
  9. Yes! The Beloved Aunt was one of the funniest episodes on Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is my favorite TV sitcom.
  10. I didn’t find this quite as tough as some, though I certainly struggled with BOURNE. I wrote PUPPETEERS in immediately I saw the clue, but then had doubts when I couldn’t get 15 down for a while. I agree that the clue for GUTSINESS is lovely and I liked the clue for 5 down as well. Hats off to the setter for this one.
  11. Yes, a bit hard for me too.
    I usually find leaving them and going back for half an hour works, but not today.
    Coverage and Bourne in particular.

    Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

  12. I couldn’t get BOURNE but looking up GOAL in Bradford’s provided the answer immediately. I also thought you would normally use a (wooden) driver from the tee, but I’m not a golf player.
    R. Saunders
    1. An iron from the tee is quite normal, particularly on the shorter (par three) holes and most drivers are metal these days. Jimbo
      1. Yes but although they’re made of metal they’re not called irons. I agree that this is a bit misleading: one doesn’t usually drive with an iron; it could perfectly easily have been amended, for example by adding the word “sometimes” at the end.
  13. Just the six “easies” left out of the blog for this harder than average puzzle:

    8a Exam success (though not a first) for slow-witted person (3)
    (P) ASS. A long clue for a mere 3 letters!

    12a Family men daughter notices (4)
    D ADS. Shorter clue for 4.

    20a Fifty percent of graduates are upright (4)
    STUD (ENTS). A stud is a vertical post in a wooden framework.

    26a SAnDrA regularly used as name for girl (3)

    19d Soldiers stopping homeless person getting a lift? Come off it!
    D RE AMON. The Royal Engineers fill in a topsy-turvy NOMAD.

    21d Husband abandons the country with a will (7)
    T (H) E STATE

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