Times 23,842

Solving time: 17:44

Found this rather tricky. Some odd words cropping up. I don’t know if I have come across ETCHANT before, so having such interesting wordplay was a challenge. And LOGE (box) and PETER (safe) aren’t exactly words I use every day.

In the end I think I was lucky in that the guess I put in at 1D was good, and I avoided a number of other temptations that would have turned out to be wrong.


1 C(irc)A + (r)USTIC
5 MUSSEL (=”muscle”) – Only just stopped myself from writing in OYSTER
9 R + ECAP, ECAP being PACE(rev) – And I wanted to put in T(R)AMP here for some reason
12 AD(V(ide) + ANT)AGE
13 EXEC + RATE – I do like “suit” (especially in the phrase “following suit”) for EXEC
15 SO O(ld) THE – Very nearly put in SO + LACE here. Not sure why
17 AFLOAT, being alternate letters of mAnFuL tO wAnT – much better hidden than alternate letter clues normally are (eg oddly and evenly)
22 L.A. Z(YB)ONES – YB being BY(rev)
26 W(E)AKE + N


1 COR + P(S DE B)ALLET, SDEB being BEDS(rev) – risked this one just on word lengths and definition and got away with it
2 U + P.S. + URGE
4 CHAP + ATTI(c) – with C _ A _ _ _ T _, I really wanted to write in CIABATTA
7 E.T. CHANT – blimey!
14 ROADBLOCK – (BACK OLD OR)* – a well-concealed anagram, from me at least
18 LO(ZEN)GE – “school” suggests ETON and POD to me. I’ll have to add ZEN to my mental list
20 I. (M.A. + GIN)E.
21 (t)UNIS + ON
23 CAC(he)T + I

19 comments on “Times 23,842”

  1. 19:15 for this – found the left side easier than the right, and ended up in the NE corner with 12, 7 and the two 5s making a tricky set of four to crack at the end. 12 and 5A shouldn’t have taken so long.
  2. I think 23841 was yesterday. These comments refers to 23842. I’m not having a good week this week; today’s puzzle and the previous two have taken far too long to complete. I don’t think today’s was especially hard, but my brain just didn’t seem to be properly focused, and it was an hour before the last entry went in. Lots of devious wordplay in 12, 19, 1dn, 5dn, 14 18 and 26. In fact I haven’t yet fully worked out 14.
    I’m not sure which to pick out of 1dn and 12 as COD. They both have nice surfaces and quite tricky wordplay.
  3. Peter’s message wasn’t there when I started writing mine. Seeing his comments and time makes me feel better. My normal solving time is 2 -3 times longer than his, so this appears to be no different.
  4. Sorry for yet another message, but to save anyone replying to my first, I have just seen 14 is a simple anagram. As I said, my brain was not focused at the time.
  5. I’m glad it wasn’t my day for blogging as far too many went in without quite knowing why. Only one wrong so far, as I had BECKON at 26 though it was not written in with much confidence – more a last desperate throw to fill up the remaining squares. Is 3D TESTY? If so I don’t know the “ornate” reference.

    A good puzzle though, which I would have really enjoyed if I hadn’t run out of time to think it all through properly.

  6. We are certainly in a run of tough puzzles. Perhaps I’m also getting a bit brain fatigued because I didn’t get quite the same buzz from this one as the last few. 7D was my last to go in with me guessing E?CHANT and running through the alphabet – going for ETCHANT because it sounded like something to etch with and only then realising the significance of ET! a lot of nice clues again but I’ll go for 13A and the clever use of “suit”.

    Can I recommend the Times COD Bonus Puzzle 001 by Anax. It can be found when voting for your COD. With a theme of nudity it should appeal to many. Jimbo.

  7. This was quite hard work, especially the NE corner, where I hadn’t come across ETCHANT before either. I was also looking for another pangram having got 13 and 22 across, so I was half expecting a J which never appeared.

    I liked 14 down, as I always think it’s a triumph for the setter when they slip in an anagram which doesn’t leap off the page / screen, even when the word ‘new’ should give it away.

  8. My 30 minute lunch break was almost over and I didn’t get as far through the alphabet as Jimbo – I plumped for ENCHANT at 7dn, obviously not understanding why. Another good ‘un with lots of clever word treatments, but I’m a little unhappy with myself at only solving 1 out of 4 so far this week.
    22a just gets my vote over 5d,13a and 10d.
  9. I’m hoping this was just an off day for me – after ten minutes I only had 4 answers in, and finally struggled over the line after about an hour. Slowest solve of the year so far by miles!
  10. I was a bit cavalier today (like Richard, I guessed CORPS DE BALLET immediately) but found it easier than yesterday’s (10:40 today, 14:30-ish yesterday). The bottom left was much the hardest section: LOZENGE and LAZYBONES went in last but WEAKEN and UNISON were stubborn as well.
    1. Yes, CORPS DE BALLET came to mind even before I had read the clue properly and LAZYBONES and LOZENGE. 1D was easy to justify but I gave up trying to justify the other two as the ‘Z’s at the intersection seemed to put things beyond question. I struggled with UNISON but it was a good clue and satisfying to solve eventually. As mentioned in my earlier posting, WEAKEN beat me.

      The puzzles seem to have been exceptionally good if rather difficult, since at least last Friday (including Saturday’s still to be discussed), but I wouldn’t mind a really easy one for a change.

  11. I really enjoyed this one, I solved it in the doctor’s waiting room in two sittings, didn’t keep the timer on. My first scan through the clues yielded almost nothing, I think 17ac was the first to go in and 26ac the last. LAZYBONES was a pretty construction.
  12. I felt tired when I started this one, and totally exhausted by the time I finished it (in 25:10!), so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have done if I’d been feeling more lively. I don’t recall coming across ETCHANT before, but at least the two dance clues gave me no problem.

    I liked the well-concealed anagram in 14D (ROADBLOCK) so will go for that as my COD.

  13. Companion with kit out to show pleasing feature (5)
    ans: charm
    Please explain the wordplay here. Thanks.
  14. I agree with everyone – this was tough. I had to resort to aids on a couple of occasions to make progress. I did get 5a MUSSEL (sl MUSCLE) unaided and so learned that pearls can form in mussels as well as oysters.

    There are 7 “easies” not in the blog:

    11a Bunch of flowers delivered by jet? (5)

    23a Companion with kit out to show pleasing feature (5)
    C.H. ARM. As above in comments Companion = C.H. (Companion of Honour) and kit out = ARM (kit out with weapons).

    24a Change into leather and turn out for dance (5)
    TAN GO

    25a Support ground (contains)*, getting hot inside (9)
    STANC H ION. Nice surface with the anagram indicator “ground” doubling up as a place that could contain stanchions – as in football ground.

    27a Payment made from untidy place aboard ship (7)

    3d Cross in ornaTE STYle (5)
    TESTY. I am pleased to be not waiting for the TfTT Boot to kick myself for not seeing that Hidden Answer. It has happened before!

    5d Ground, short time before match, very packed (6)
    MO TI V E. Another footer surface with a completely different meaning of GROUND. Good innit?

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