Times 23,836

Solving time: 9:44

Good fun. I filled in about three quarters of it pretty quickly but slowed for the north-east corner. If only I had been able to solve the anagram at 6 (ORCHESTRATE) on sight, I think it could have been one of my fastest recent times. As it was, the last clue I solved was 12 (STAGE-MANAGE), because I needed 6 for the definition.

Despite it holding me up, I think 6 would be my pick for clue of the day.


1 F + AT HOM(e) – “in short” for ATHOM is very neat
4 B(EH)OLDER – that’s “pardon” in its non-U sense of “What did you say?”
10 INEBRIATE, being (TEA I + BRINE)* – I always have to do a double-take when “inebriate” is used as an adjective
12 ST(one) AGE – MAN AGE
17 LU(THE)R(e)
24 IN TEMP ERA T(hey’r)E
29 NATURISM, being (RAIN MUST)* – can one not be a naturist indoors?


1 F + LIPS + IDE(a) – solved quickly, but took me a while to parse afterwards. LIPS is “mouth’s opening”
2 THETA – (HATTE(r))* – a relief that it was a letter rather than a character in Homer. Paris and Helen are the only five-lettered ones I can think of.
5 EYEBALL (=”I bawl”)
6 ORCHESTRATE – (THE SCORE + ART)* &lit – brilliant
7 D(iet) EAT (H) LESS – neatly worked for a good surface
8 R(HE)U + MY – the structure of the wordplay looked obvious, but I couldn’t believe it would all fit into six letters
13 EXECUTIONER – I think this is simply a cryptic definition.
16 (TA + OB + DEEPS)(all rev)
18 (ch)ANCES + TRY
22 NAPKIN – two meanings, the second one whimsical

25 comments on “Times 23,836”

  1. Solved late last night in 10:54. Held up for a while in the NW corner, where I wanted 12A to be NOBLE SAVAGE for much too long.

    My COD is 6D which I don’t think I’ve seen before.

  2. Thank goodness, an easier one after yesterday’s.
    Only had to use lookup on two of them.

    I liked 1A which took me a while to work out why.

  3. Sorry – still don’t understand ATHOM even with your explanation and also …
    if 14A is ham what is the reference to ‘under 28’ (Hip)


    1. 1A – “in” means AT HOME, and so “in short” indicates AT HOM.

      14A One’s HAM, meaning the back of one’s thigh, is under one’s HIP

  4. Richardvg, I think 22 down is NAP-KIN where NAP is a light sleep and KIN are “something related”.
    Another enjoyable but straightforward puzzle, a bit quicker than yesterday at about 30 minutes. I liked several of the clues but agree that 6 down is my COD. Jimbo.
  5. Thank goodness for an easy one, giving me time to finish the last four clues in the NE corner of yesterday’s, which I found very tough and took a little over an hour spread over 2 sessions.
    In today’s my version of 12 across has “Stone Age Homo sapiens, generation six”. Is “six” meant to be “fix”.
    I thought 15 was too easy; “key on computer” would have been enough for ESC. Nothing stood out for me to suggest a clue of the day, though 17 and 21 across had nice surfaces.
      1. Of course, how stupid of me. Having solved it right at the beginning, well before 6 down, I thought, “Oh, misprint” and didn’t really give it much further thought.
  6. I had a very discouraging start to the day. The Club login page wasn’t available at 5AM so I went in via the back door and printed the puzzle from there. All my quality solving time went into this and whilst I noticed that one or two clues appeared to have been recycled, I didn’t spot until I had completed the puzzle that I had printed 14th January instead of 14th February.

    Taking 30 minutes to solve a puzzle I had solved only a month ago whilst not recognising I had done it before is very worrying!

    Having realised my mistake I printed the correct puzzle when I arrived at the office and completed most of it fairly quickly but snatching odd quiet moments at work is not the best way to do crosswords and I made heavy weather of the last few:1A,2,4,12 and both 21s.

    6 is my COD.

  7. I really enjoyed today’s, finishing in around 15 minutes. I hadn’t twigged the “in short” bit in 1a until I saw Richard’s comments. I thought it was a very weak double expansion of F. Now I think it’s brilliant, as I do 6d and my nomination for COD, 12a.
  8. Finished (albeit that I incorrectly guessed at a Homeric character called THERA, which begs the question, does “not quite” indicate that you rearrange only the first five letters of hatter rather than perm any 5 from 6?) in 29 minutes whilst simultaneously eating a plate of biryani.

    In 8d please can someone explain why “I declare” becomes “my”? Is it a “me” homophone?

    A very enjoyable puzzle with lots of good clues although dealing with the verbalised numbers of the online version was a pain.

    I particularly liked 1d, 6, & 12 but my COD nomination goes to 29 for its brilliant surface reading.

    1. THETA: My first instinct with ‘almost’, ‘not quite’ and so on would be to drop the last letter – anything else would be unusual in the Times, though I’m wary of saying ‘impossible’. 8D: “I declare!” and “My!” come from the big bag of exclamations.
    2. In 8D, “my” and “I declare” (like “lawks” and “goodness”) are – or were – mild expressions of surprise
  9. I forgot the inability of the on-line version to display numbers as numbers, which meant I took more time than I should over the three or four clues which referenced other clues.

    As already said, AT HOM was very neat and the last one I filled in.

  10. I was quite worried by this one for a while, as I only had six answers in after 8 minutes, and some of those were pretty obscure. Then I looked up and realised I was doing the Club Monthly Special by mistake (I printed them both out today).

    49:15 for that in the end, with lots of dictionary help! 12:27 for this one, where I got briefly held up in the SE corner for no good reason.

  11. Aware of continuing problems with numbers/text, just want to point out two across clues tomorrow (15/25) contain numerical references which appear as such, correctly, in print.

  12. After getting tripped up with errors a few times this week, I was cranky, so printed this off last night and completed it in about 25 minutes. Made me feel better to get through entirely. My favorite is 4A, with the cute ‘eh?’ inserted, which raised a giggle. Regards.
  13. Good fun, though the ‘dark boil’ and ‘inflamed swelling’ weren’t ideal over breakfast. ‘Homeric’ isn’t ideal in 2D, as Homer was an oral poet; ‘a character in Thucydides’ would have been a nice touch. 8D as COD for me, a tough one to solve.
  14. Bit of a struggle for us tyros. Should have clocked six as 6 in 12 across. Could someone explain please 25 down? I assume answer is avast but what is the eleven connection?
    1. In 25D, eleven is 11A (CEASE). So the definition for AVAST (nautical word for stop) is “cease at sea”.
  15. I don’t think this has been praised enough. The best clue I’ve seen in the Times for weeks.
  16. I didn’t get a break to solve this until a late lunch break way into the afternoon. Tricky, but a really good solve, no clues I have issue with but several I thought were really fun. The duo of 6dn and 12ac were the last to fall but I thought were very cleverly and fairly clued.
  17. A nice one. It was evidently deemed to be quite easy as there are XI answers sitting on the bench. Some have been covered above but here they are together in one place:

    11a Stop cold and relax (5)
    C EASE

    14a Histrionic player under twenty-eight (3)
    HAM. 28 (down) is HIP.The ham(string) – muscle in leg – is below that as long as the body in question is vertical at the time..

    19a Petrifying woman taking Continental water to America (6)

    23a Tot’s problem for hyperactive children (3)
    A. D. D. Attention deficit disorder?

    26a Part of LucKNOW Not recognised (5)

    27a Parade in previous tax year? (5,4)

    3d Oddly lacking hOt AiR that propels floating craft (3)

    9d Virginia is unable to be thoughtless (6)

    20d Occasionally employed by paper? (2,5)

    25d An extensive eleven at sea (5)
    A VAST. Eleven (11a) is CEASE and AVAST! is pirate for STOP!

    28d Swinging joint (3)
    HIP. The one above the HAM!

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