Times 23965

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
“Train journey into London = 31 mins – I will try hard to complete it during the journey.”

I didn’t complete it. The ones I had missing after half an hour were 4A (HAIRSPRING), 12A (EMANATED), 7D (INEPT) and 8D (GRAND).
I finished it off in an additional 15 minutes at lunchtime – 12A being the last to go in.

Getting 21D, 25A and 26A very close together I wondered if there might be a detective novel theme – Rebus being the hero of Ian Rankin’s books, Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham (he also wrote Lazybones) and Child’s Play by Reginald Hill (a Dalziel and Pascoe novel). No others spring to mind as I look back!


1 BLEW – thought about this a bit and plumped for the right one, although I did not know that blue meant squander – it’s the 26th out of 26 meanings given in my copy of Collins!
4 HAIR,SPRING – took a while to write in. I thought early on that mop could be HAIR and part of watch could be SPRING but I didn’t put them together. Never heard of the word before. I was given a watch for my 21st birthday and I wore it for about a year – only time I ever have.
11 COME TO – I went through ???? ON and ???? IN before this came!
12 EMAN,A,TED – not sure why this was last to go in – I think I was looking for something a bit more complex! EMAN,A = A,NAME reversed.
17 LI,FE(JACK)ET – this was quite smart LI FEET = 51 feet = 17 yards. I got the JACK=tar bit and immediately thought of LI=51 and thought “oh yes, that’s divisible by three” – I didn’t see the tie in with the clue until later!
20 MATE – I didn’t know the tea meaning of mate.


2 LONDON,PRIDE – not generally good on flowers, plants and that stuff – but I did know this from the Noel Coward song.
16 TIME(LAP)S,E(=bottom of page) – LAP=PAL reversed
19 T,HUDDED=HUDDERSFIELD-anagram of rifles. I penciled in THUDDED but the only Yorkshire town I could think of was Hull for a while. But that would probably be clued as a city.
22 D(E)UCE

44 comments on “Times 23965”

  1. 13:18 for this one – one of those times when the tricky clues for me were all in the same part of the grid. My last 5 answers, which probably about 40% of the solving time, were 17, 18, 19, 23 and 25. “LI feet” at 17A was cleverly done, as was the emptying of Huddersfield at 19D – I couldn’t get Chesterfield out of my mind for ages despite being pretty sure it was Derbyshire rather than Yorkshire.
  2. Solved it, but again with some difficulty, taking about an hour. I might say I am losing confidence at the moment but I sailed through Saturday’s and Sunday’s. I haven’t quite worked out all the wordplay here and I’m out of time just now so I shall be interested to read what others have to say later. 17 seems a good candidate for COD.
    1. I am a bit surprised there has been no comment re PEN in 7d and wonder if I am the only contributor who didn’t know of the organisation.

      I’m also a little concerned about the “a” in 19. I suppose it’s just padding but I thought it somewhat unnecessary, especially in a clue that is part anagram.

    2. Yes, I found Saturday’s prize crossword much easier too. ie. I managed to finish it, as opposed to this one which I gave up on after two hours. Too obscure for me, I’m afraid.
  3. 15-16 mins, of which quite a bit staring bemused at 1A and 14A. Can China/china really mean that? I thought 26A read very nicely and choose it as COD.

    Tom B.

    1. Assuming I have the right answer, then OPPO is a friend or colleague which in Cockney rhyming slang is a “China” (China plate = mate). Not quite sure where the “pilot” comes into it though. I think it might be RAF slang for co-pilot but I haven’t been able to confirm this so maybe I’m up the wrong tree.
      1. Thanks jackkt, I think PO is Pilot Officer, the next rank up from Flying Officer, but I’m not all sure about oppo = mate = friend. Chambers gives ‘mate’ for ‘oppo’, but I read it as implying that’s ‘mate’ in the sense of marital/sexual partner.

        Tom B.

        1. Thanks for explaining PO which I should have spotted. Now I’m wondering if it ought to be “Pilots”.

          My Chambers gives “Oppo” only as “opposite number” so no suggestion of sexual/marital partner there. COD has “colleague or friend” which seems better to fit the clue. Collins doesn’t list it.

          1. Thanks, if COD has ‘friend’ then that’s fine, just not the way I use the phrase.

            Tom B.

    1. I think it’s GRAND, double definition (in which the two meanings are too close for my liking).

      Tom B.

  4. 8:50 for me today. I didn’t get slowed down by anything much this morning, although I had to go back afterwards and figure out the wordplay on a couple of clues. I thought 8D was a bit weak and was the last to go in, and agree with most that 17 is the COD, with honourable mentions to 19, 16 and 3.
  5. I found this quite a struggle: 17.51, in two sessions, with a break at around 15.30. As so often happens the simple fact of thinking about something else for a while was all it took to unblock my brain and the outstanding 5 answers came to me almost at once.

    17 ac: LI is a word I’m familiar with as meaning “a third of a mile”, a fact that caused me no end of problems trying to figure out how this clue worked. Got there in the end.

  6. re 9A If you are ‘for it’ you are in hot water. And of course water bubbles as it approaches boiling point.
  7. Like jackkt I took exactly an hour for this, with several clues not fully understood – 17a, 20a, 23a (but I’ve just seen that as I type) and 8d. Several in the SE corner were resistant until I got TIME LAPSE. Definitely tougher than the usual Monday, but I think I said that last week.
  8. Started last night, finished this morning. I know it’s going to seem obvious to a lot of people but I couldn’t get 1D for the life of me, it was my last entry. I liked 21 and 4, had the same problems as Peter, but once I got 25, after jotting a slew of anagrams of I,SPREAD, the rest of them tumbled.
    1. I assume you are referring to 2D LONDON PRIDE. I didn’t know of it as a flower but I most certainly remember it as a very pleasant draught bitter. But, while we are on the subject of 2D, I thought “cats” as a definition of PRIDE was a bit indirect.
      Mike, Skiathos.
      1. That was the one – I figured the capital was LONDON, but for a while I had P—E and was looking for a “cats” word that didn’t seem plural.

        I had many many pleasant beers on my trip to England, but missed London Pride. Through the fog I remember being partial to Mordue Workie Ticket and a few by Theakstons.

        1. That reminds me of a chap we got to know on a family holiday to the Scottish highlands, way back when. He was writing a book about Scotch whiskey. We were staying at a place that stocked something like 140 different ones. Every evening he would start out with his little notebook and a glass. He would end every evening completely sozzled and no longer writing. I doubt that book was ever written, but he seemed happy enough.
      2. One of Noel Coward’s finest (he wrote it in 1941, when London was being bombed):

        London Pride has been handed down to us.
        London Pride is a flower that’s free.
        London Pride means our own dear town to us,
        And our pride it for ever will be.
        Woa, Liza,
        See the coster barrows,
        Vegetable marrows
        And the fruit piled high.
        Woa, Liza,
        Little London sparrows,
        Covent Garden Market where the costers cry.
        Cockney feet
        Mark the beat of history.
        Every street
        Pins a memory down.
        Nothing ever can quite replace
        The grace of London Town.

        There’s a little city flower every spring unfailing
        Growing in the crevices by some London railing,
        Though it has a Latin name, in town and country-side
        We in England call it London Pride.

        London Pride has been handed down to us.
        London Pride is a flower that’s free.
        London Pride means our own dear town to us,
        And our pride it for ever will be.
        Hey, lady,
        When the day is dawning
        See the policeman yawning
        On his lonely beat.
        Gay lady,
        Mayfair in the morning,
        Hear your footsteps echo in the empty street.
        Early rain
        And the pavement’s glistening.
        All Park Lane
        In a shimmering gown.
        Nothing ever could break or harm
        The charm of London Town.

        In our city darkened now, street and square and crescent,
        We can feel our living past in our shadowed present,
        Ghosts beside our starlit Thames
        Who lived and loved and died
        Keep throughout the ages London Pride.

        London Pride has been handed down to us.
        London Pride is a flower that’s free.
        London Pride means our own dear town to us,
        And our pride it for ever will be.
        Grey city
        Stubbornly implanted,
        Taken so for granted
        For a thousand years.
        Stay, city,
        Smokily enchanted,
        Cradle of our memories and hopes and fears.
        Every Blitz
        Your resistance
        From the Ritz
        To the Anchor and Crown,
        Nothing ever could override
        The pride of London Town.

  9. 27:35 which is a bit long for a puzzle with no obscurities and little in the way of subterfuge.

    I have blow for 1ac which fits squander but I can’t see the rest of the clue, I don’t really get 9a for which I have ‘in hot water’ just because it fits and I can’t see the tea bit of 20 (mate?).

    I’m familiar with oppo as mate and think OP/PO works for pilot (Pilot Officer) going hither and thither.

    I liked 4d but I’ll pick 21a as COD for no better reason than I love Red Dwarf:

    Rimmer: “I used to be in the Samaritans.”
    Lister: “I know. For one morning.”
    Rimmer: “I couldn’t take any more.”
    Lister: “I don’t blame you. You spoke to five people and they all committed suicide. I wouldn’t mind, but one was a wrong number! He only phoned up for the cricket scores!”

    1. Don’t know if you’ve been watching the morning’s cricket, Penfold, but I seriously suspect a chat with Rimmer would be more cheering.
      1. Hmmm. I’ve been folowing it on live text but I know what you mean. Matbe I should have chosen another quote.
    2. and 20: maté stimulating drink: a milky drink popular South America that contains caffeine and is made from dried leaves. -MSN Encarta
    3. 1A is BLEW (squander in the past), which also sounds like BLUE (another word for squander, see e.g. blue2 in Chambers.
      1. Thanks Ross/Linxit. I now take back what I said about no obscurities. I’ve never, ever, ever heard blue used like that (it isn’t in Chambers online or Dictionary.com) and I’ve never seen maté in my local Tesco or even Lidl which is full of foreign oddities.
        1. Try the second verb def at the free version of Collins. Their example: “I consoled myself by blueing my royalty cheque”
            1. OK, answering my own question. It’s just the homophone. I still think there’s something fishy about this clue.
              1. I’m with you on this one, sotira. “Blew” doesn’t really equal “squander in the past”, in as much as I can’t think of a sentence in which the two are interchangeable. I know what the setter’s getting at, but don’t like it.
                Also not too impressed with 8d or 23a, had no idea with 14a (‘oppo’ makes me think of an opponent, rather than a friend – too much Neighbours, perhaps) and I thought 17a was very good, apart from ‘say’, which seems to serve no purpose.
                1. While I’m complaining, I didn’t think much to 19d or 9a either. Not a good day for me, all told.
  10. Got on quite well although the NE corner was a bit slow.Couldn’t equate comprehensive to grand. Actually put in blow instead of blew at 1 as I didn’t really understand the clue. I thought 9 was a cunning clue.
    11.27 today but 1 mistake
  11. 14:30, but a few solutions jotted in without full understanding. I didn’t find this very satisfying, but there was plenty of interest in it. Re OPPO, I’m currently editing a relative’s wartime letters (he was RAF then the Paras) and he uses the word to mean ‘mate’.
    1. Just came across this comment whilst catching up on last month’s crosswords – funnily enough I was (sort of) the opposite, having done a year with the Paras whilst in the RAF. ‘Pilot’ for PO isn’t really accurate, as any officer in the RAF could hold the rank of Pilot Officer regardless of whether they were a pilot or not, but I suppose it’s ok.


  12. Thoroughly enjoyable except for the rather weak GRAND. I didn’t time myself today but it seemed like around 20 minutes. Excellent spot with the fictional detectives, Foggy, but do you really think the editor would allow the crossword to be besmirched by 21st century literature? Heaven forfend, whatever next!
    I too only know London Pride as a mighty fine draught beer (and my favourite in a bottle or can). George, next time you visit Yorkshire, seek out Black Sheep Best and order several. I’m off in search of Mordue Workie Ticket – are you sure you haven’t made it up?
  13. ‘Oppo’ meaning ‘mate’ is military parlance – soldiers are encouraged to pair up within their sections and it is short for one’s resultant opposite number.
  14. No idea about Blue = squander at 1a. I did guess BLEW correctly but if it had been clued as a homophone of 24a I might have been a bit more confident about it as my LOI.

    Half of the puzzle left out of the blog:

    9a Bubbles may appear for it (2,3,5)
    IN HOT WATER. The bubbles appearing as the hot water starts to boil and FOR IT being the literal.

    10a Second-rate boat easily towed away to start with (4)
    B oat E asily T owed A way = BETA

    14a Pilot goes hither and thither to find China (4)
    .O .P P.O. Pilot officer that way and this gives us our mate.

    15a Tending to prove (divine tale)* falsified (10)

    21a Happy, perhaps, chasing embarrassed star (3,5)

    23a Crop in open? (6)
    UNLOCK. As in crop someones hair off.

    24a Unusual moon is down (4)
    BLUE. Not linked to 1a unfortunately.

    26a Lazybones (helped) out with (easy)* bits (10)

    27a Circle round in block ED DY ke (4)

    5d Frequently arrested, I am free at last at the eleventh hour (2,3,4,2,4)
    IN THE NICK OF TIME. Not sure about exactly how this works?

    7d Incompetent set up association of writers in Italian (5)
    I NEP T. Don’t know how this works exactly either.

    8d Comprehensive’s principal (5)
    GRAND. Don’t understand this one either.

    13d (Candles a bit)* loose – I’ll hold them together (7,4)
    ELASTIC BAND. Fork handles?

    18d Yodel something very different (1,3,3)

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