Times 23,890

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 10:48

Was heading for a fast time then came to a dead halt on 22 and 27. Tempted by LOTI for 27 (can’t now see why), but eventually “physician” sparked the thought of LUKE. Only then did I think of the adjectival meaning of CRACK.

I like both the long down clues – good anagram and good cryptic def. But I think my favourite clue in today’s puzzle is 8 (WINDSWEPT), which has such a good surface.


1 RED CURRANT (=”read current”)
6 (g.b.) SHAW
10 FO(LLI)ES, LLI being ILL(rev) – I guess “retreating” is being used transitively here
11 C(A R)RION, CRION being (CORN I)*
14 B(R)ASS
15 D(1’S SIP)ATE
20 WHI(S)T
21 MACH + O(ld) – that’s Ernst Mach of the speed number
27 LUKE – a (just) cryptic def. Perhaps I am missing something. Is there any doubt that Luke wrote Acts as well as his gospel?


1 RUFFS – two definitions including a long one for the “trumps” meaning
4 RESOUND – hidden
5 N + UCLE + U.S. – UCLE being CLUE*
7 HE(IS)T, HET being THE*
9 TRAFFIC WARDENS – cryptic def.
22 CRACK – two defs

24 comments on “Times 23,890”

  1. 7:07 Good fairly starightforward puzzle – hardest for me was the cryptic def. at 9D for which I needed all the checkers.
  2. No major problems today though 19, 24 and 26 in the SE corner put up a little resistance at the very end. My time was just under 30 minutes which is about my norm on a reasonable day.

    I also wondered about “so-called” at 27 but concluded that as the answer is a name it’s fair enough as part of the definition.

    TRAFFIC WARDENS came immediately to mind as I had all the checking letters in the first word but it took me a moment or two to realise it was justified by a cryptic definiton rather than by wordplay.

    My COD is 6.

  3. About 13 mins with no major hold-up. A couple of things puzzle me: is ‘otherwise’ any more than padding in 24D, and is ‘aspiring to achieve’ the definition in 18D? If so, not a good definition – or is ‘to achieve’ also padding?
    1. Can’t really defend ‘otherwise’. “to achieve” seems like a “provides/means” linking phrase, so I’m less bothered by it. As far as finding a solution goes, I wasn’t troubled by either of them.
      1. Thanks. Both eminently solvable, as you say, though I did get temporarily distracted by ‘otherwise’.
  4. 9:30. Nothing too tricky and everything seemed reasonable to me. Undecided between 3d (cracking anagram) and 9d (cracking cryptic def) as COD. I’ll plump for 9.
  5. The easiest of the week so far. I should have taken no more than 25 minutes, which is what took to fill the bulk of the grid. Unfortunately my careless handwriting led me to read the E of ‘windswept’ as an F, so was looking for a word ending in AFF for 15. On top of that I had prematurely written WORKERS for the end of 9 down, so it took me at least another 10 minutes to sort out the mess and complete 9 13 and 15. Guessed 1d, but as I’m not a card player the second definition meant nothing to me.
    A pleasant puzzle, though nothing stood out particularly to nominate a COD. Although it’s cryptically straightforward I liked the surface of 3, and 9 was a neat cryptic definition. I also rather liked 13, which had me guessing for so long; some might query its effectiveness as a double definition – after all the Parcae controlled destinies – but it’s neat enough to overcome any quibbles.
  6. That’s what the clock tells me although it didn’t feel that quick, especially as the entire East half felt much more difficult than the West.
    A mixture of very good and ordinary clues, and like others I’m pondering “otherwise” in 24. “Beautiful young woman appearing in boring commercial” would have been perfectly straightforward. Odd.
    I’ll join the club and nom 9D as COD, even if it did make me groan a little.
  7. 23 minutes. Pretty run of the mill in terms of difficulty and quality. Got stuck for the last 5 minutes on the 24/26 pairing.

    COD 12.

      1. Collins and COD both support “winds” as an alternative in this sense. So does real life, judging from the results of a Google search for {strings winds brass}.
  8. I fell into the “workers” trap and so was stuck for far too long on 9 down and, for some reason I can’t now fathom, 13 across.
  9. No different here, a straightforward top to bottom solve in about 30 minutes. I agree the two long clues are the best.

    I’m interested that others are beginning to question the clue padding that’s going on. “Otherwise” is today’s example. Yesterday “itsy bitsy” was added to “spider” as pure padding and one blogger indicated it had misled him. A short while ago we had “circle” added to “line” purely to improve surface reading. I fear this is part of an overall deliberate move away from the Ximemes Rules that will ultimately weaken this puzzle. Jimbo.

    1. You’re right Jimbo, but I can assure you that in all of my puzzles I will never use any kind of paddington station platform.
      1. As you’ve mentioned your puzzles I have to tell you that one of your clues nearly gave me a hernia as I fell about laughing immediately after the “penny dropping” moment. It was 12A in cryptic puzzle 026 on your website. I’m not going to say any more for fear of spoiling things for others, but thanks. Jimbo.
    2. Poor old Incy Wincy, being downgraded to ‘itsy bitsy’! I thought ‘Incy Wincy Spider, perhaps…’ was fine, not least because that’s how he is referred to in the nursery rhyme.
      1. I think you make my point for me. The words are included because that’s how the nursery rhyme runs, not because they contribute to either the definition (spider, perhaps) or the wordplay. From several years experience of submitting clues to Ximenes for adjudication I can tell you he would just have struck those extra words out. It may not worry you that this slow slip away is going on, not just in this context but in others, but ask yourself where does it end? Jimbo.
      2. Translated rather than downgraded – Wikipedia has “itsy bitsy” as the US equivalent of “incy wincy”. I don’t think all definitions have to be trimmed to the least possible number of words. If a def. had “Stag beetle, say” for INSECT, would any of us say that “Stag” was padding? As IW Spider is an undisputably an arachnid, the def seems perfectly valid to me.

        In today’s puzzle, 25A today has ‘Prepared for race’ for TRAINED. You can train for other things than races, so should we insist that “for race” is deleted, or that another “say” or “perhaps” must be added to the clue? Likewise 28A – why “thrown out of plane”? It could be a ship. In both cases, the slant used on the def helps the surface, and the effect on the solver appears to be negligible – no-one has mentioned these two as causing trouble.

        1. With respect to you Peter, your thinking is a little confused for me. Stag beetle, say = insect is fine because there is such a thing as a stag beetle. There is no such thing as an IW Spider – the words are simply included to make reference to the nursery rhyme. Prepared for race = trained again fine. Prepared for sprint race, not so good. Thrown out of plane fine. Thrown out of incy wincy plane, not so good. Jimbo.
          1. No respect required – solving skill doesn’t imply anything about editing/clue-fairness skill. No problem with a good clean fight debate!

            If the criterion is “is there such a thing?”, are setters banned from using “Inspector Morse, say” = POLICEMAN, on the grounds that an Inspector is already a policeman and there’s no real Inspector Morse (except by coincidence)?

            “Incy wincy plane”: obviously no good – the only thing I can think of that’s ever ‘incy wincy’ is a spider.

            Edited at 2008-04-17 05:30 pm (UTC)

            1. I’m with Peter on this, but with Jimbo overall on superfluities, and I still feel ‘otherwise’ is extraneous. The best I can come up with, looking at it again, is that it should be taken to mean ‘looked at it another way’, ie. in terms of wordplay rather than definition. I’d like to give up anonymous posting, so…

              Tom B.

              1. I’m not defending ‘otherwise’, except on a pragmatic statistical basis. If I can only find one clue to quibble with in 30-odd when writing about a puzzle, I try to keep quiet and see what others say – just on the grounds that it’s not an exact science and 29 OK clues out of 30 isn’t bad…
  10. This seemed very straightforward, about 20 minutes or so, without any real hold-ups except the long UK-ism at 9D, which remained til last. I agree the 2 long ones are the best clues today. Regards, see you tomorrow.
  11. A good variety of subject matter I thought.

    Just the 5 “easies” not in the blog:

    12 Transparency shown by government that facilitates calculations (5,4)
    SLIDE RULE. OK for us older types but Transparency = Slide and a SLIDE RULE itself might be quite obscure for the younger solvers?

    13a Lots of classical goddesses (5)
    FATES. Where one’s lot = one’s fate and The Fates are indeed classical goddesses.

    23a Less than four inches? It’s deceptive (9)
    UNDER HAND. Where a Hand = 4″ so a horse of 16 hands would be 5′ 4″ high at the shoulder?

    25a Prepared for race – ran along track (7)

    19d Visibly embarrassed over large amount in new version (7)

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