Times 23804/moo cow

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Sometimes jet-lag is a good thing — I was up at 3am solving this. And my mind was totally clear, so it went quite fast (modulo DEEMSTER) — the thing about jet-lag is that once you’re awake, you’re WIDE awake. I’ve never really understood this — but I know I’ll be paying for this wild behavior later today.


1 [p]ALS,ACE – Of course if the Germans hadn’t been able to completely manage their anger it wouldn’t be French.
10 STONE,CHAT – A year ago I would flailed at this but the STONECHAT is not an unknown visitor to the cryptic aviary.
12 INK[ling] – nice clue but had to reverse engineer the “fish” from the answer.
14 POPE,YE – he eats spinach but I don’t see the wordplay… a cryptic def or something else? “I eat spinach and fish you served”. Turns out that POPE is a kind of fish and YE of course is “you” — I guess “served” is sort of syntactic surface sugar indicating concatenation.
16 D(EIRDR)E – rider* in D[ressag]E.
19 I,NT,RUTH – ref. Book of Ruth in the Old Testament as opposed to the other part of the Bible, the New Testament.
22 OVER A BARREL – two meanings (not an anagram): I guess a BARREL is about 40 gallons.
25 M,OO – a guess: I’m assuming that MOO is slang for an “unpopular woman” perhaps derived from cow?
26 O,TA,GO – with O?A?O the NZ geo-part of my brain fired.
27 TREATMENT – two meanings… I suppose “discussion of care” would have sufficed but I guess changing it to “NHS care?” makes its slightly ironic for the English (who, quite churlishly, don’t appreciate their FREE public health system obviously)?
29 GERMAN – hidden in “anGER MANagement”.


1 AU,S,TIN – clear wordplay but who’s the “engineer”?
2 STOCK,PORT – it’s in N. England.
3 CHE[a,p]ER – “food and drink” collectively can be CHEER.
5 EATING DISORDER – D in (rare digestion)* – almost an &lit: excellent apposite fodder (no pun intended).
8 DE(EMS)TER – EMS (European Monetary System) in DETER. Had to look this up given D?E?S?E?. My knowledge of Manx judges is weak.
9 CHIC,KEN(HEART[s])ED – Rushed into CHICKEN-LIVERED too hastily. KEN and ED are our fellows. Can someone explain why “worn by” indicates that HEART[s] is contained by CHIC,KEN,ED?
17 DREAM,TEA,M[eal]
18 TIMOROUS – (mous[y] trio)*
24 LATH,[th]E

31 comments on “Times 23804/moo cow”

  1. About 13 minutes. Very slow start in the top half. The 4 most likely to cause queries: 26 OTAGO is a region in NZ, 1D AUSTIN is presumably the bloke after whom Austin cars were named, 2 STOCKPORT is a N. England town, and 8 DEEMSTER is a Manx judge.
  2. A very enjoyable puzzle. I wrote in 1A straight away and thought I was off to a flying start but immediately ground to a halt and had to work quite hard to get the next three or four answers.

    After that I raced through all but the last few: 8, 26 and 19 (this last one due to a mistake in 2D which I eventually spotted – I had STOCKROOM which I knew was dodgy with the reference to “wine”).

    Not having heard of OTAGO I guessed ORAGO at 26 on the basis that TA are usually “volunteers” rather than “soldiers”, so the Royal Artillery seemed a better bet.

    I really liked 7 and was going to choose it as my COD until I got to 18 which I think is brilliant for its references both to nursery rhyme and in its solution, to Burns’ cowering timorous beastie who seems to have arrived a couple of weeks early for Burns Night.

  3. Liked this one a lot and was also held up by the top half. RECONSIDERS at 13A looked like the candidate for ages before I finally spotted the construction. 10A was a good find, 7D almost COD but that goes to 19A – very nicely worded.
        1. That’s what I had and was quite happy with it so I didn’t understand anax’s comment. Must have misunderstood.
          1. I guess Anax was trying to describe the kind of process I went through:

            • On first look, “Looks like RECONSIDERS but I can’t see why and have hardly any checking letters, so just jot it down next to the clue and move on.”
            • Pause while completing the rest of the puzzle.
            • Then “well now it looks even more like RECONSIDERS as probably nothing else fits, but remembering how you messed up SCAMPER and SCARPER the other day, be careful!”.
            • Shorter pause.
            • “Ah, now I see it.”
            1. What had really fooled me was knowing the answer had to start with RE, then “about” (=RE) forming the first part of the wordplay. It threw me because I couldn’t justify the rest.
              It’s a classic example of a setter’s ingenuity, forcing one to think along ultimately incorrect lines.
  4. About 40 minutes here with the NE corner going in last.
    Nice to see Deirdre coming into it, though I still remember Free The Weatherfield One!
    And also Alf Garnett’s (silly old) Moo.

    Don’t understand Popeye though

    1. A POPE (also known as a ruffe) is a small fish found in our rivers – I’ve caught a few in my time.
  5. And I forgot to say that the Times Crossword site is at it again.
    The link to the cryptic points to the news page, so I had to retrieve the puzzle via my history and change the number.
    1. Again? Surely still? I haven’t been able to access it properly for the best part of a month now.
  6. A nice puzzle that I really enjoyed. About 35 minutes to solve. AUSTIN is Sir Herbert Austin, car maker of distinction around beginning of last century. I don’t quite get POPEYE. I can see the fish and YE=you but why “served”? Colloins gives 21 down as two 3 letter words WON TON. I love 18 down, which I think deserves a COD. Jimbo.
    1. POPEYE: I think ‘served’ is just saying that if you serve (= provide) POPE/YE = “fish you”, you get the answer. The Times does more of this kind of stuff than most daily paper puzzles, and I don’t mind it – the result is often a better surface meaning, though in this case “I eat spinach and fish with you” would have been an alternative possibility.
  7. No, after leaving me bereft over the holidays, and emailing me to tell me to email again if there was still a problem, they manually authenticated my account last week and I gained access.

    Today’s problem just looks like linking to the wrong place.

  8. DEEMSTER was too much for me. A tough crossword overall, I found. I fully agree with at least two contributors above on the CODworthiness of 18D; strangely enough, I only thought of Burns while solving and missed the (more obvious?) nursery rhyme reference.
  9. Ilan on 9D: The Times sometimes uses “A wearing B” to indicate B going inside A rather than A going inside B. The best defence I’ve heard so far (suggested by foggyweb I think, when I was grumbling about it) is a comparison to ‘wearing’ a pacemaker rather than a coat, but I still don’t like this trick.
  10. Got all bar 8d in about 13 minutes, then wasted 5 trying to get DEEMSTER, eventually resorting to OneLook. Having never heard of DEEMSTER or EMS, I feel this clue is unfair. (Cue the barrage of “Never heard of EMS ? Where have you been these last 100 years? ).
    The rest of it was pretty good, though. My COD is 21d.
  11. Best example of MOO I can think of is Alf Garnett’s you silly moo from Till Death Do Us Part (a catchphrase missing from its US counterpart, All In The Family).

    I too drew a blank on DEEMSTER.

  12. Enjoyable puzzle – didn’t know deemster and stonechat but eventually worked them out, also put Orago rather than Otago. Other than this mistake took around 40 minutes, spent too much time on subsiding, as had it fixed in my brain that siding was a minor railway track all on its own (I used to work for the railways where much is made of degrees of track importance – up, down, slow, fast, branch, spur, hump, loop, siding etc.) Nevertheless it was a stupid mistake, confused as I was by too much pointless information on my part, as it is a perfectly good clue.


    1. The whole clue: Yellow and red suit briefly worn by fashionable fellows (7-7)

      “red suit briefly” is what gives you HEART, from ‘red suit’=hearts. This goes inside CHIC=fashionable, (KEN,ED)=fellows. The containment is indicated by “worn by” which I’ve already written about in another comment.

      That leaves “yellow” (= cowardly) as the def., and “and” as a link between def and wordplay.

      Although a heart is traditionally red, that doesn’t make ‘red’ in the clue enough to indicate ‘heart’ in the answer – there are too many other red things to make this fair. Also, if ‘red’ indicates ‘heart’, the words ‘suit briefly’ are floating about doing nothing in the wordplay. That doesn’t happen in Times crossword clues.

  13. People have emailed the Guardian about the problems with the Times crossword site. As the current crossword editor, Sandy Balfour, correctly says “it is none of his business”. Full details at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/crossword/update/0,,1008391,00.html.

    Clearly people feel there is a need to complain.

    Complaints would be much more effective if channelled in the right way. Any ideas?

    1. There are two main ways to complain: The bulletin board on the club site, and the ‘xcomments’ e-mail address mentioned on the site for feedback not intended for publication. There’s also a customer support e-mail address for Times Online in general.

      But to be honest I think the folk at the Times are painfully aware that there is a problem – I don’t think another hundred “I’m fed up too” messages are actually going to make that much difference. If you look at stuff under the ‘timesxwdclub’ tag here, you’ll see our contribution – a history of the problems and a set of proposed improvements which I’m going to summarize and send to various unlucky folk at the Times whose e-mail addresses I know. They include Sue Kentish, the club’s ‘editor’, and Richard Browne, the crossword editor. This one encourages you to add a comment saying that you agree with the proposed improvements, or adding ones you think I’ve missed. I should be sending it in this week.

      In terms of practical progress towards sorting out problems, I found a call to their helpdesk more effective than e-mail queries, though I appreciate this is little use to overseas users.

      1. Early days, but today when I opened up the Crossword Club ta-da! Did not have to log in! I’m hoping that is not just temporary.
  14. 10:48 here, for an enjoyable puzzle. I’d have preferred a question mark at the end of 4A, and I’d have solved 21D faster if it had been given as (3,3) rather than (6) (WON TON is given as two words in Chambers (2003) as well as Collins).

    I’ll go for 19A as my COD – simple but elegant.

  15. This was slower than normal but quite enjoyable. I couldn’t justify ‘deemster’ until checking the dictionary to see if such a word existed, and then looking here to find out why. (I’d had ‘deem’ for judge in my head all morning but the -ster was not working at all!) And agree with 19a as COD.
  16. I worked through this quickly (for me) in about 20 minutes, and then became stuck at the last entry, 21 d, though it was clear that it ended in TON. I picked it up again before checking this site and realized it was WONTON, which I have never seen before as one word (Chambers lists it as two words, though to be fair COD gives it as one).
    I found it slightly ironic that the clue to DEIDRE with it’s “dressage, losing heart” appeared on the same day that the results of the monthly Clue Competition were published, where the competition judge’s comment on one clue includes the following:

    Conventionally (in The Times), “heartless” means having the central letter removed, not the entire contents.

  17. Failed on 8d DEEMSTER. My knowledge of the IOM judiciary is now infinitely greater than it was.

    A total of ten “easies” not in the blog:

    4a A boy tucked into grain, having added salt (8)

    11a Sign off, say, when retiring (5)
    BAD GE. BAD = off with E.G. = say backwards.

    13a Has second thoughts about conditions in which English politicians are kept (11)
    R E CONS IDERS. English = E politicians = CONS inside RIDERS = conditions.

    20a To members of audience, players sounded fed up (6)
    SIGHED. SL SIDE = players but that would be in front of a crowd.

    28a Reserve little time for visiting holiday resort (3,5)

    6d Minor railway track sinking into the ground (9)
    SUB SIDING. Where minor = SUB but a SIDING is already a minor railway track in the scheme of things?

    7d Jog with no clothes on and you’ll get good hiding (5)
    NUD G E. Good = G is hiding in the nude.

    15d Trainers sorted out (our cadets)* (9)

    21d Dumpling puts weight on – a lot of weight! (6)
    W ON TON

    23d Demand divorcee put before a court (5)
    EX A CT

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