Times 23756

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time 20 minutes – a fairly easy start to the week.


11 ARABI(A)N SEA(an airbase)*
12 POINT TO POINTERS – my COD; short, amusing and clever
14 FANCY MAN – I’m not sure I like ‘fancy’ as a synonym for ‘capricious’ (‘fanciful’ surely?)
17 A,BAT,TOIR(riot rev) – ‘bouncing’ is a somewhat surprising way to preserve the surface here
18 G(L)IDER – GUIDER swapping L for U
21 ROARING TWENTIES – (interesting row)* around A
24 TRAC(k),TOR – ‘tower’ meaning ‘something that tows’


2 DAL(AIL)AM,A (a malad(y) rev) – the construction was only apparent after completing this from the definition
5 BALMORAL – both a brimless Scottish hat and a walking shoe (though I can’t claim to have known either off-hand)
6 ADVENT CALENDAR – an amusing and topical definition
9 SKATE ON (THIN) ICE – I assume ‘faint’ clues ‘thin’ here, not that I needed it
15 MIDWINTE(time wind)*,R – &lit, though Midwinter isn’t quite at the end of December (22nd or thereabouts)
17 A1,R,CREW – ‘crew’ as the past tense of ‘crow’
20 SWAT,HE(ad)

23 comments on “Times 23756”

  1. 8:19 – all but two done in about 5 mins, then took about half a minute to find FANCY MAN and two or three on BALMORAL – knew about the hat and hoped for the best. COD contenders: 12, 5, 6, 15.
    1. Very similar for me – would have been sub-5 but for BALMORAL which stretched me to 6:42. I don’t think I knew the hat or the shoe so this was just a lucky guess.
  2. Curses Batman. 20 minutes or so here and I too would nom 12A as COD. But I can’t:
    4D. Pretty close.
    I’m not complaining as the chances of today’s clue being anything like a “lift” are essentially zero. But if I nom 12A it’s almost like nomming my own work.
  3. I’m not sure I fully understand “A quarter, or half” in 1a though the answer was obvious from the remainder of the clue.

    If I have understood 10a correctly:
    paints = oils + kin(g)
    so one is expected to solve part of the clue and
    then continue with the first three letters of the next word to produce a sort of concealed answer.

    Firstly is my understanding correct, and secondly is this “on”? I’m not sure I have come across this sort of thing before.

    My COD is 1d because although I solved it at a glance I wasn’t able to justify it until much later when I thought of where the scorpion keeps its sting. That was a “doh!” moment and amused me.

  4. 12 minutes plus another 6 for 5d – previous to when I started posting my times on here, I would probably have given up on this one. There is a much greater incentive to finish when you’re sharing your results with others. I really like 6d but felt it was a little too easy for COD. 12a is also a cracker, but I’m going to plump for 24A – strictly speaking,the H shouldn’t be capitalised, but I don’t mind things like this when they benefit the clue.
  5. Relieved to find that balmoral and fancy man were accurate guesses. Got home late last night and wanted to shake some fog and smoke off of me, and found the puzzle was up on the website already, so got most of it out inebriated, the rest took about 5 minutes once I came to this morning. Gentle start to the week, thanks.
  6. When did this focus on CODs begin?
    Is there a Hall of Fame for excellent clues?
    And is anyone keeping score?
    1. Suggestions for CODs began two to three weeks ago. If you look for “COWPOW” postings or use the ‘polls’ tag, you can see polls for clue and puzzle of the week, which we’ve just started to hold.
  7. Finished this in a close-to-personal-best time of 5:37. I solved nearly every clue at first glance, and only had to go back to a couple later on. Not that I’ve suddenly turned into a super solver – Rufus in the Guardian took me over 13 mins today, so I don’t think Messrs Biddlecombe, Goodliffe etc should be too worried. 🙂
    1. Thanks for this and to Penguin.

      I should have spotted k+in but was distracted by the letters already being there in the word “king”.

      I’m not sure I really understand 1a even now. Maybe a course on butchery would help!

  8. Yes, I agree an easy start. About 25 minutes. I don’t like 5 down which is two fairly obscure straight definitions of a word better known as a place. Luckily I knew about the bonnet. Contrast it with 26 across which is for me a much better example of the genre. I liked 24 across which kept me guessing for a while but my COD is 15 down. I don’t think midwinter is just one day! Jimbo.
    1. I agree with the reservations expressed above about ‘facny’ in 14A. I’d also choose 12A as COD, for its impeccable surface, narrowly ahead of 24A.
  9. Does anyone else think power=reign is not quite right? “In power” might just work but the “in” is used to mean “contained in”

    Simon H

    1. I wondered about this too.

      Collins’ Thesaurus lists the words together, so Reign (n) in the sense of Rule = Power. But it’s interesting this doesn’t appear to be supported in their latest dictionary. I can’t quite see it myself but maybe I haven’t thought of it in the right context.

    1. i have WASTE=throw away PAPER=rag with the whole thing being refuse. Not a great clue I agree since waste/throw away/refuse are too similar.
  10. The Dalai Lama seems to be popular with setters at the moment – in yesterday’s Everyman in the Observer, and in the Guardian within the last two weeks also.

    Add my vote for 12A as COD.

  11. Not much for me to add. I side and gave up on ‘balmoral’. Perhaps 6d as best clue but really, nothing overly stood out.
  12. I nominate 21a as COD, because the period sort of was an “interesting row”, and I like anagrams that refer to what they respell.


  13. This one must have seemed SO easy that half the answers have been left out. A few have been discussed above but there they are in their full glory:

    1a A quarter, or half, audibly expressed relief (4)
    SIDE. Equating a 1/4 and 1/2 seems a bit dodgy but it is OK in butchers’ land apparently – see comments above. Sounds like sighed.

    10a Paints king wearing a foul weather item (7)

    11a Young creature always let outside (7)

    13a (Roar, to)* upset speaker (6)

    23a Make new alliances with Capone in power (7)
    RE AL IGN. Power = REIGN is OK apparently – see above.

    25a Refuse to throw away rag (5,5)

    26a Release without charge (4)

    1d Sign of arachnid without sting? (7)
    SCORPIO (N). The sting is in the tail which = N.

    4d Organised party machine, originally haphazard (6)
    RAN DO M

    7d Sudden increase in power, in second, on drive (5)
    S URGE

    8d Smith supporter losing capital (8)
    (P) ARTISAN. A smith (gold, silver, word?) may be an artisan but is an artisan necessarily a smith?

    16d Where Richmond is unspoilt, I assume initially (8)
    VIRGIN I A. Not the one in Surrey then.

    19d Book put to one side (7)

    22d Collect a million as head of security (5)
    A M AS S

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