Times 23,960

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 15 minutes. Very similar to last Tuesday’s: straightforward without ever being insultingly easy. I’d imagine the sort of puzzle that is good for newer solvers without surrendering too easily to older hands. Plus, 6 down is to my mind a gem, and a clue that for obvious reasons could only have been used in the modern crossword era…

3 DOUBLE STOP – 40 in darts is DOUBLE TOP, add a S(econd) to get the musical technique
10 RELAXED – (DEALER)rev round X, ten in Roman, half of the numerical sort of score
12 CHINESE LANTERNS – could be this, or even perhaps this, which might look like these
14 JACOBEAN – presented with _ A _ O _ E _ N, and thinking of Frenchmen, I wrote in NAPOLEON without thinking, then realised it didn’t work, and the answer was actually A COB in JEAN
17 TEARAWAY – double definition depending on whether there’s a space in between the words
18 LITMUS – LIT = “having settled”, + (SUM)rev
21 CONSCIENCE MONEY – (N)ew SCIENCE in (ECONOMY)*, a bit like Blood Money, but offered unilaterally to assuage one’s own guilt, rather than to appease a court
24 EPITHET – E(nglish) + HE in PITT, or perhaps even PITT. Who next, Pitt the Toddler? Pitt the Embryo? Pitt the Glint in the Milkman’s Eye?
25 LIEUTENANT – as in the novel by John Fowles
1 CARACAS – CARCAS(e) around A
5 BACCARAT – Jack = TAR + A(ce) + two C(lubs) + jack = AB, all reversed
6 ELECTRONIC MAIL – (remote clinical)*, brilliant surface to this one, I thought
7 TENOR = friga(TE NOR)thwards
16 GAME PLAN – a Javanese orchestra around P(iano). GAMELAN sprang to mind immediately, almost certainly because I’ve learned it from another crossword somewhere
20 SCREEN – which can mean two opposing things, see also “cleave”, which is another favourite for that reason

27 comments on “Times 23,960”

  1. Quick comment as I won’t be around till late tomorrow. 17 minutes. Really top-notch puzzle.

    21a made my eyes glaze over, as these analytically comprised anagrams always do.

    LITMUS. If that isn’t a great clue, I don’t know what is. It even evokes the atmosphere of the exam room.

    25a I got without fully understanding. Can someone help me out with the wordplay? It’s my second favourite John Fowles novel, so I want to understand the clue.

  2. Now that I think about my confident, if lousy, French, that’s about right. I’m thinking the substitute is from ‘in lieu of’. It was the other bit I was Framboozled by, but you’ve nailed it – ‘holding’. I think.
    You didn’t ask me what my favourite JF novel was. I’m shocked.
  3. The Magus. A very special book , that can only be read somewhere special.

    And I have to know – that dog in your picture.. I actually Googled it the other day, trying to jog my memory. No luck. I know I’ve seen it before but I can’t …. tell me.

  4. 11:05 for me. I was heading for a really quick time, around 7 minutes, but got bogged down with the last few in the SW corner for some reason. Eventually I saw FACTUAL and the rest all followed quickly, but that was really frustrating.
  5. So, okay, the ferret (it LOOKED like a ferret, but from somewhere I got the idea it was a lapdog) …. so what you’re saying is that the ferret is… oh, lord, have you ever run into Damien Hirst? I don’t even want to think about it.

    Good night, Dorosatt. Thank you. A ferret. Good grief.

  6. Hah! I knew it was from a Leonardo painting, having read Charles Nicholl’s excellent biography of him recently (Flights of the Mind).
  7. It’s a ferret, really. And DH? He’s Andy Warhol, without the integrity. ‘night.
  8. 6:28 which should have been at least a minute quicker, but made that mistake that Mike Rich used to call “double letter” when warning championship competitors to make sure they handed in what they intended to write, giving me EXPENSE AACCOUN at 9 and a pause in the SW corner until I realised that 25 had to be LIEUTENANT, and also kicked myself for not seeing FACTUAL quicker.

    I knew I’d seen dorosatt’s critter somewhere, but wrongly guessed that it was from a film version of something like Harry Potter. FWIW, Wiki says “actually a ferret” for the one in the picture.

    Score=20 is so common in the Times xwd that I jotted down “half” next to the clue for “score of forty” at 3A. When I saw double, so to speak, I initially thought they had the maths wrong. 5D is my COD on the grounds that I think I’ve seen 6D before.

    Benjamin Britten used gamelan in an opera called The Prince of the Pagodas, and I think some other composers followed this idea in the 60s and 70s.

  9. No comments on what I thought was easily the most difficult clue. I wrote SLUR, but is it BLUR or something else, and why?
    1. SLUR is right – it’s a double definition. An aspersion or disparagement, and indistinct speech.
  10. I thought I was heading for a PB today but a few clues on the LH side put up some resistance and scuppered me so that I came in at exactly 30 minutes. In the NW corner the problem clues were 10, 4 and 9 (something ACCOUNT, but what?), and in the SW they were 16 and 21 (something MONEY, but what?). After the event, I took ages to decipher the wordplay at 5, trying to work out where the B came from before realising that the whole thing was a reversal and not just the last three letters. COD? I rather like 15 (the clue, not the cheese).
  11. I found this far easier than yesterday’s and there was nothing to hold me up really, apart from ‘conscience money’, which I was rather slow to get, and ‘oodles’, which I should have seen early on, but which went in last.. I liked the clues for 4 and 18. 18 for COD for its neatness.
    Gamelan music is one of the few forms of Oriental music that I’ve found pleasing to the Western ear.
  12. I thought it was a baby dinosaur. Speaking of ferrets it’s nice to dig out this old clip again

    11:15 to do this one. Like Tim, despite its relative ease, I thought it was a very enjoyable one. 5d gets my COD nom just because it reminded me of “Yes sir, I can boogie” by Baccara

  13. Fairly ripped through this one in about 8 minutes, with plenty of enjoyment along the way.

    Plenty of very nice clues but I suspected my COD nom of 18A might be greeted with some bemusement – delighted to see others giving it top spot. This is my kind of clue; great surface, and superb technique it getting the def & wordplay elements to overlap smoothly – “settled problem” “turned over paper for…” work as a marvellous combination.

  14. >FWIW, Wiki says “actually a ferret” for the one in the picture.

    What’s the betting that Sotira added that bit just before she went to bed?

  15. 21:25 whilst juggling with a particularly lively egg mayonnaise roll so I’d say about average difficulty.

    I though the anagram at 6d was brilliantly observed and I also liked 4d, but my COD is 20. It was last to go in but is a fantastically constructed triple-definition (Tim, I think you missed the fact that a riddle is also a screen (per Chambers online: riddle 2 noun – a large coarse sieve used eg for sifting gravel or grain.))

  16. Unlike yesterday my immediates hunches were all correct although had never heard of a gamelan. Enough easy ones to give good checking letters for the more difficult ones and no delays at the end which is unusual. Agree about 6 – very clever.
    Time 6.07
  17. Thank you linxit; it was immediately obvious when I read what you had written. For some reason (another senior moment perhaps!), I did not think of the meaning of SLUR as in “slurred speech”
  18. I honestly don’t know what my PB is, but this must have been close at 10 minutes. Fans of constructions and anagrams were well-served here today. 5 is just brilliant, my COD tip, 16 is crafty – I went to a University with a high Indonesian population, so I had a leg up on that one. Liked 19 as well.

    If I had more time this morning I’d make an avatar of dorosatt’s picture with “Ce n’est pas une ferret” on it.

  19. Seeing Pitt reminds me that I’ll be in his US-named state in August. The Laff House in Philadelphia sometimes saves clips of performers to show on their website – be afraid.
    1. I think you’re confusing William Pitt (the Elder), after whom Pittsburgh was named, and William Penn who founded Pennsylvania.
        1. >”To an extent, yes.”

          That’s priceless. You’ll have to include it in your act.

  20. Like dorosatt, I don’t know much of darts and guessed at ‘double stop’ without understanding the reference, but it turned out alright. Also didn’t know of a gamelan, but the wordplay made it a straightforward answer. Other than that it was a quick 18 minutes or so, a faster time for me than usual. I agree 18 is best today, but challenged by 15, and 8. Also, just this past winter I saw an ermine in the wild in snowy upstate NY near Canada, and it does look like a white ferret. Regards.
  21. Well, not as bad as yesterday’s (I’m still a bit miffed I couldn’t even manage to win the wooden spoon!) About 70 minutes, of which half an hour was just trying to untangle 3ac / 8d. OK, there’s no excuse with 8d, which in retrospect was completely straightforward. But 3ac I got from the definition in the end, without ever getting the wordplay until I came here. COD for me 6d.

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