Times 23,954 – A sinecure indeed…

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 8 minutes, and nothing to make me think this is going to detain most solvers for anything approaching their usual time. Some odd things which might be obscure in the real world, but are well-known in crossword terms. Definitely one for the solvers who feel the need for speed; those who prefer a more leisurely and challenging encounter will have to wait another day…

1 SUBPOENA – SUN(day)+A containing B POE, a man frequently cited in clues suggesting he is literally not quite a POEt
9 CHANDLER – C(aught)+ HANDLER; in the age of the supermarket, I can only recall coming across a chandler’s recently when I’ve been on a boat
10 ETUI – E(8th letter in barrister)+ T(ied)U(p)I(n) – a sewing case which I have never heard anyone use outside a crossword
13 RANDOM – (N)oisiest DO inside RAM, the computing sort
14 VENDETTA – VEN(erable)+ sounds like DEBTOR
15 FALLACY – this man + C(ostl)Y
16 SCUTTLE – even now most houses have central heating and the coalman is a memory, nuts=coal lives on in the crossword
23 MISADVENTURE – anagram of NATIVEDRUM+(S)ignalling +E(very)
25 NUMB – the Greek letter NU + (M)edicine (B)achelor
27 RALLYING – R(ALLY)ING, this being the very much less common meaning of rally as “to tease”
4 ECONOMIC – E(nglish) + ON in COMIC
6 MARGIN – RAM, the non-computing sort, reversed + GIN
7 SLUR = SLUR(p)
8 TRIPLANE – TRI sounds like TRY, and if you’ve tried Plans A, B, C, and D, next up is PLAN E
12 TWENTY TWENTY – twenty is a score, of course, but I was expecting a cricket score, given the popularity of the short version of the game recently
15 FOREMOST – M(edical)O(fficer) inside FOREST
17 CAROUSEL – USE inside CAROL, the musical best known for Anfield’s favourite song
18 LIEGEMAN – LIE + G +(NAME)rev
24 SINE – a rare mathematical clue, the function that sounds like a pub SIGN

18 comments on “Times 23,954 – A sinecure indeed…”

  1. Oh dear. I was pleased with myself for completing this in exactly 30 minutes, which is good for me, and hoped this was due to my being on top form this morning, but now I see from the blogger and first contributor that the puzzle was dead easy.

    I’m not sure I knew rally = tease but the clue left little room for doubt about the answer, and I hadn’t quite sussed the reasoning in 8dn until I read the blog. I got as far as “TRY” + PLAN + the fifth letter of the alphabet, but didn’t spot the Plan A, B, C, D, E idea.

  2. 6:08 for this – not quite in the absurdly easy class for me, though I was never stuck. Rally = tease was new to me. COD 21D for at least momentarily making me think of Christmas.
  3. Duh! I had SEAPLANE at 8D (i.e. “see Plan E”) and was completely stumped by 9A as a result – even though I thought of CHANDLER at one time but discounted it because I only knew it as a supplier of boats’ provisions. The rest was pretty easy and I should have finished in about 10 minutes.

  4. Solved this last night after a day that involved quite a lot of national holiday spirit, and still did it in around 15 minutes, so it must have been pretty easy.

    Yes, straightforward, but at least it wouldn’t scare the horses with someone new to crosswords. I think it’s healthy to have a spectrum of difficulty which includes the occasional easy one.

    I thought the surface of 9 CHANDLER would have been miles better without the “in soap”. RALLYING in the sense used here was certainly new to me. I always groan when ETUI comes up, mainly because no matter how many times I see it in a crossword, I always forget it about three seconds later – it’s such a twee little word (same root, it seems). In fact, I’m going to cut the setter a break by assuming he/she framed the clue at 10 with a legal context to reflect the Old French root of ‘estui’ – prison.

    I’m going with Peter on 21d for COD, because of its nice, if untimely, festive flavour.

      1. You’re right. I suppose I’m just willing to sacrifice precision for a good surface, which makes me hopelessly superficial.
  5. One of my fastest solves in 19 minutes. I hoped for a faster time when I checked my watch when the grid was three-quarters full, but 8 and 27 held me up a bit. I thought ‘Eighth of barristers’ to indicate E was a bit heavy-handed. Otherwise I thought the clues were fine, even if nothing stood out.
  6. Quick indeed, just over 7 minutes.
    As Sotira says, this is an excellent puzzle for those fairly new to solving cryptics – plenty of giveaways and a smattering (especially in the SW corner) of harder ones; this is the area that slowed me down a little. COD nom 21 – join the club!

    Potential addition to Uxbridge could be 14A
    Vendetta: n. small motorbike favoured by mafia members.

    1. Rightful – what a Yorkshireman is after a big Sunday lunch
      Triplane – carriageway reserved for offal lorries
      1. btw, I think your ‘triplane’ def. is priceless. Gave me a great laugh. Thank you.
  7. I thought I was on for a record time here, completing the top half in under 10 minutes. Then came a bit unstuck on the bottom half, for reasons which in retrospect really elude me, now I come to look at them. 40 minutes, then, most of that on the bottom half.
  8. 21:45 which appears to be quite slow. 2d kept me busy for a while – even with 3 checking letters I was looking for something meaning ‘not quite adult’ so that’s one of the best concealed hiddens I’ve come across. It must have been the pesky comma that threw me.

    This time I was ready for ‘on radio’ as a homophonicator after last week’s query.

    2 came close to COD but I’ll give that to 24.

    The Uxbridge defines fallacy as a) amusingy shaped and b) cocky. Rotter isn’t in but Rotterdam is a ‘construction to prevent the flow of Terry Thomas’. Random isn’t there but randomize is ‘a squint’

  9. Hmmm, another easy one that I made a real meal of, CHANDLER took forever. 23 minutes.
  10. Had a very slow start and pondered over 1,2 and 4 for a while. Once I got going it was reasonbly quick but unlike most others(except Peter) I ended up with a par score (12 minutes). So for me it was a standard , rather than easy, puzzle. 16 had me thinking of some other kind of nuts as it reminded me of a clue for scrotum I encountered somewhere.
  11. I agree that this one was pretty easy. I did it last night, while grilling a late dinner, and completed it in about 20 minutes, including the food prep. I agree with Penfold in that my favorite clue today was 24D. Like many others “rally”=’make fun of” is new to me, but no other answer was possible. Other good ones: 21, 25. I expect they’ll toss a real tough one at us tomorrow, regards.
  12. A standard easier one for me (about 35 mins), I certainly wouldn’t put it in the risibly unchallenging category. I endorse the tenor of nearly all the comments above. Like Peter B, and others, I would go for 21 dn as COD for its nicely misleading use of “season”.

    On another matter: on several occasions in recent months, I have logged in to the Concise Race the Clock feature only to be informed (incorrectly) that I have already done the puzzle and cannot submit again or, no less annoying, to find that the clock is already running, sometimes for several hours. Has anyone else had the same experience?

    Michael H

    1. For RTC troubles, I’d suggest asking at Tony Sever’s blog, linked at the top right of this page. My guess is that either you’re using the same name as someone else, or the site has lost track of your identity.
  13. I’m glad to see from some of the later comments that I’m not the only one to have found this quite tricky. I took about twice as long as usual to finish, getting stuck in the SW.

    Tom B.

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