Times 23,974

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 9:09

This seemed heavy on anagrams when I was doing it, but in fact there are only five (1A, 9, 24, 27, 1D). But they are all good long ones with smooth or amusing surfaces.

Nothing too obscure today, though the word INRO doesn’t often appear in blocked puzzles, or in my everyday conversation. And those not familiar with G&S might have had to do some work on the anagram to get THE GONDOLIERS.


10 C(irca) HICK LIT
11 TRO(P. H.)Y – clever clue, but trying to parse it precisely is making my brain hurt. The whole clue seems to indicate TROY, while the answer is given by just the first word, I think.
13 NOTTING H(ill) + A.M.
16 INRO (hidden) – I don’t think I have seen this word outside barred puzzles before
17 CAL + M (that’s CAL as in California)
20 GOSSIP, being (P IS SO G)(rev)
26 B(R)IO


2 SO NIC(e) – I didn’t read the clue properly first time round and tried SUPER(sonic), which doesn’t work at all
4 SCRATCH – two meanings, the second being a golfing one, I think. (Thanks to a comment below, I see this is actually three meanings, and it is the last that is the golfing one)
5 ERE + C(our)T
6 S(Y MP)O + S(I)UM
12 HA(RD. A SNAIL)S – easy to guess from the definition and word-lengths, but a very cleverly constructed clue with a good surface
19 UNSOUND – two meanings. I took too long to see that the split between them is just before the last word
21 PES(T)O – the word “restaurant” is the sort of gratuitous improvement in the surface that used to annoy me in the Times. Now I find I enjoy them
23 TAB + LE

24 comments on “Times 23,974”

  1. 20 minutes dead today which I think is about as good as it ever gets for me.

    Had to guess CHICK LIT (I’ve heard of “chick flick” so it seemed quite likely), and INRO which seemed less likely but it just had to be.

    I felt the use of “literary” in 10 somewhat weakened it. Other than that they were all very nice clues but nothing screamed COD at me.

    Still no stinker this week so it has to be tomorrow and I’m glad it’s not my Friday to blog it!

  2. I couldn’t quite believe how easy this was and kept wondering when I was going to be held up by a stinker, but it didn’t happen, so I think this must be my fastest time to date at 16 minutes. I agree that there were no obvious choices for COD, but I liked 13, so I’ll nominate that.
  3. Maybe a little too easy. 12 minutes, despite having to solve it onscreen (which I hate), stuck in a motel room in what in these parts they call “the arse end of Cape Fart” with someone singing along loudly to a terrible tv show in the next room (I put a note under his door to tell him he’s a quarter tone sharp in his lower register). A few elements bordered on the simplistic, like the similarity of 7 and 25 (in clue structure and solution). No big gripes, and there were a few smart clues, but it didn’t feel like a challenge.
  4. I reckon4D has three meanings:to pull out, to damage by scraping and to be handicap-free.
  5. The generous number of anagrams – good ones, it should be said – allowed me to complete enough of the grid to make filling the rest something of a walkover, finishing after about 7 minutes.

    11A. I agree the def does double duty, TROY being the prize won by the Greeks, but I like the incorporation of the wooden horse ref. Fortunately, latching onto this quickly make lighter work of the complicated 6D and allowed me to finish with no real hold-ups. 11A was nearly COD but I give that to 12D which is pretty close to brilliant.

    It felt like one of Don’s puzzles; not difficult but classy.

  6. 14 minutes, not bad with a hangover. Had to get CARPET MOTH, CHICK LIT, and MARMOREAL from the wordplay, I liked the &lit at 11. Over/under on the stinkerooniness of tomorrow?
  7. The only answer I didn’t quite understand wasn’t discussed.
    I presume this is a triple def. If so, in what context is ‘turn’ a synonym for Autumn?
    1. It isn’t. A turn is a go, and turn is what the leaves do in preparation for autumn.
    2. Autumn is sometimes called “the turn” here in NZ. Shortened from “the turn of the season”
  8. Thursday is frequently a tough puzzle day and after 3 consecutive 20 minuters I expected a stonker. But no, it’s a 17 minuter – which is about as fast as I can read the clues and fill in the answers!
  9. Pretty quick going , like Anax I find the anagrams help to give a good start. Only a brief delay in wanting 13 to be a ‘dam’ rather than ‘ham’ city. First time I can remember chick lit appearing.
    8.48 today.Ready for a tough one tomorrow.
  10. 9.15. The two that took me the longest were the London duo at 3 and 13. Annoying, since I’m a Londoner.

    Everyone seems agreed that we’re due a real monster tomorrow. Heaven help the poor blogger, whoever it i… oh.

  11. Nothing to add. Too easy really. Less than 20 minutes to solve. Back to catching up on Mephisto with number 2,500 due on Sunday. Jimbo.
  12. I got through this in 20 minutes; it was not one of those real tough ones, but I liked a lot of the clues, especially 11 and 13. Didn’t know ‘lolly’ means ‘money’ to the Englishfolk, until today. I was trying to find some kind of candy machine in that anagram, but when I got all the crossing letters in, it became clear the ATM was the only possible answer. Good luck to all for tomorrow; it does seem we’ve had it too good for too long. Regards.
  13. I’m feeling inferior. Took all day -8 hours off and on-to do most of it.5 clues left to look up but understand now. I don’t expect to do much tomorrow if you are all waiting for the stinker.
  14. 15:40, nothing to add to what has already been said except to ask if “state” in 17 is doing double duty?
    1. I don’t think so. CALM is if anything more likely to be an adjective, and so “peaceful” is perfectly adequate as the definition, leaving “state” to contribute only to the wordplay.
      1. Duh! Pass the idiot brush. Why did I totally overlook calm as an adjective?
  15. I agree with all above that this was an easy one – but I’m surprised people haven’t complained more about some of the clues. 18a seemed a rather half-hearted attempt, 12d is ugly (“X Y its outside” = “Y in X” is just not nice) and for 1a ‘lolly from one’ isn’t really enough.

    That being said, there were certainly some elegant – if simple – constructions in 10a, 5d, 9a and more.

    One last thing – is ’till late’ OK in 1d? I hadn’t realised couch potatos were supposed to watch until the small hours.

    1. I thought this a terrific puzzle: classic Times really.
      Why isn’t “lolly from this” enough as a definition in 1ac? It wouldn’t do in the Times2 but this isn’t the Times2. It’s accurate and that’s all that matters.

  16. This was very enjoyable all the way from the excellent (Princesses had)* at FOI to Notting H (ILL) A.M. at LOI.

    There are 7 “easies”:

    8a Go and change for Autumn (4)

    9a Large insect which may be mashed to (tempt roach)* (6,4)
    CARPET MOTH. An excellent fishing surface.

    18a Satisfying food, but apparently not a round of sandwiches? (6,4)
    SQUARE MEAL. Originally in the Royal Navy?

    27a (Holding stereo)* broadcast for this operetta (3,10)
    THE GONDOLIERS. Good anagram. Some people seem to be a bit sniffy about G&S but surely it was the leading satire of its day?

    1d (Put hot cocoa)* out for one watching TV till late? (5,6)
    COUCH POTATO. Another really good anagram.

    7d Dull routine showing right across university (3)
    R U T. Have to remember that Right can = R or RT.

    25d Right books? Rubbish! (3)
    R O.T. Where right = R this time.

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