Times 24,010

Solving time: 7:18

An easy one, with mostly very straightforward clues. The anagrams in the two long acrosses were made slightly less obvious by having their fodder broken up. The answers included a few words that I don’t use in everyday conversation, but nothing too obscure.

I did like the wordplay for OMANI at 25A, though I only worked it out after the clock was stopped. But I think my favourite clue today was 15D – the indication of Abel as “one of the first people” is fun, and the surface is very good.


5 A PR (I) COT
10 V + ENAL, ENAL being LANE(rev)
11 SA(L)VE
12 JAN(IS S)ARY, the bracketed bit replacing the central U in January
21 C + APRIC(C I)O(t)
24 F(R)AIL
25 OMANI = (IN A MO)(rev)
27 SILENCE – cryptic def, just


3 R + I + CHEST
4 LONG JOHN’S – ho-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum
5 ALL IN – two defs
7 CONGA – two defs
8 TALLYMAN – hidden
15 RING (A BEL)L – Abel being the fourth person, according to Genesis
16 SPEC(IOU)S – I think of specs as being a detailed description or definition rather than instructions
19 IN + FAN + TA
20 C(LOSE)D – Are there people who call CDs “records”?
22 P + EARL
23 CAST + E

21 comments on “Times 24,010”

  1. 5:50 (new post-op PB) for what seemed a very easy puzzle – I remembered Janissaries from some reading about the Ottoman empire (and they get mentioned in connection with ‘Turkish music’ as heard in the finale of Beethoven 9 – the boom-chink, boom-chink, percussion bit that starts the build-up after a loud climax). This and the following two long acrosses went in without full understanding of the wordplay, on a “what else can it be?” basis. Musical mafia knowledge helped with Capriccio too. With instant recognition of 1A, 15, 16 and no messing with ORANI at 25, might have scraped under 5).
  2. Probably as easy as the Times gets with answers going in pretty much as quickly as I could write them. Less than 20 minutes to complete.
  3. 18 minutes for a pretty uninspired puzzle although I couldn’t explain omani until I saw the blog. I was thinking more along the lines of a music instruction – “inamo” – sounds better doesn’t it?
  4. An enjoyable puzzle that came together quite easily in 19 minutes which is pretty good for me. The only word I didn’t know was JANISSARY but the answer seemed obvious from the word play once all the checking letters were in place.

    I was surprised by 26 as the last time I looked Staines was in Middlesex and in fact it still is for postal purposes despite having been amalgamated into a Surrey administrative district in 1965. I’m Middlesex born and bred so please understand my sensitivity on this matter!

    I also thought twice about 25 as “In a moment” doesn’t necessarily mean “very quickly” and is often used to indicate a delay before doing something.

    QED: 0.5, 7, 6.

  5. This must have been an easy one as it is the first that I completed in under thirty minutes! (I never time but normally take about an hour – that is if I manage to finish – which I didn’t yesterday)!
  6. 11:30. As others found, it was possible to solve the bulk of this without any real clue analysis. Just as well. After yesterday, my analytical synapses are pretty well fried.

    Well done, PB, on the P-O PB.

  7. This was probably my personal best since starting timing myself, 8 minutes. Bit of relief after yesterday.
  8. What an easy week we’re having. The only pause for me came at the end, before I entered OPINION for 18d. I thought there might be some other possible word that fitted, and I was looking for a very tricky piece of wordplay, in which a word meaning ’cause of’ tears (i.e. breaks into) ON (about). Pondering this took my solving time to the wrong side of 20 minutes.
  9. Scraped in under 9 minutes but really kicking myself for the 3 minutes or so that got tagged on as I struggled with the pairing of 11 (trying to find a 6-letter word for “turmoil” shortened to fit the “soothe” def) and 3 (“that’s” = i.e.? “Extremely” – first and last letters of something?) – got a bit tied up in knots really.

    No other problems although “totally” at 13 seemed redundant.

    Q-0 E-6 D-5 COD 11 (simple “but” deceptive)

    1. Yes, of course you are right that the “totally” is entirely unnecessary. I hadn’t spotted that. But it does make the surface read a little better, and it doesn’t conflict with the cryptic reading.

      The Times crossword editor seems very tolerant of extraneous words like this, and I can see his point. But lots of other editors, or Azed, wouldn’t countenance them. So long as I know which game I am playing I am happy with either approach.

      1. I’m interested by your comments on extraneous words and the latitude of the editor. I participated as this crossword moved from the strange being of the 1950s where there were almost no rules to become probably the world’s best daily cryptic by the 1990s. I now fear that I’m participating in a slow decline of standards of which extraneous words is but one symptom.

        As you say AZED has thankfully not followed this path and last sunday’s Mephisto is a model of how a difficult but fair crossword should be compiled. If this trend continues in the daily then we will end up playing a game that is a bit of a nightmare – as I well remember all these years later.

        1. You may be right. But my impression is not of a slow decline of standards but of an editor who has a very clear grasp of what the rules are and a willingness to allow his setters to exceed them in certain ways and up to a certain point in order to make the puzzles more fun.
  10. 25 mins here; agreed on dullness.

    An (un)interesting personal observation on crosswords -Paradoxically, I sometimes find the T2 ultimately harder than the cryptic (in terms of completion rather than times of course), being left scratching around for a synonym or a solitary unknown. I suppose in terms of information theory this makes sense given that with the cryptic you (should) always have more than one lead to go on compared to just the one (at least, usually) in the concise. Has anyone else experienced this?

    1. Exactly right. In the hands of a good setter a cryptic clue gives you far more information than a straightforward def: Animal (3) – given letters -AT.

      I remember being bamboozled for ages by a clue in a Daily Mail back page puzzle some years ago – Threaded fastener (5). Straight def but very misleading.

  11. I agree with richardvg that 15 dn has to be COD – lovely surface reading and brilliant use of Abel. Otherwise very easy for a Friday – some clues (e.g. 28 ac) almost absurdly so. Just under 30 mins, which is fast for me.

    Michael H

    1. Easy for a Friday. Hmm, we’ll see tomorrow won’t we.

      I thought this was going to be really hard since on the first skim through I got no across until silence on the bottom row. But then the whole thing crumbled in less than 20 mins.

  12. Yes, of course, I meant easy for a Thursday! Yet another senior moment. No doubt Friday’s will be stinker

    Michael H

  13. I expected to see some quick times even though I was a bit slow on the uptake myself taking longer than I should have on 16, 21 and having to work out which was the most logical combination of iiee for videlicet as I was a bit unsure of the spelling
    Agreed pretty easy
    9.35 today
  14. I agree with everyone else: pretty much an easier than average outing in just under 20 minutes or so. Nothing stood out. See you tomorrow.
  15. 15:10 so easy but I enjoyed the ride.

    Omani was the standout clue for me despite the reservations expressed above. Although it CAN mean later on it can also mean quickly as far as I’m concerned.
    Q-0, E-7, D-2.5

  16. One of the easiest in a while – I enjoyed it for that. The unknown JANISSARY at 12a was clued fairly so no complaints there.

    Just the handful of “easies” despite that:

    9a Claimed in error? Good for you (9)
    MEDICINAL. Anagram of (claimed in).

    13a Man and teacher act, totally reforming school district (9,4)
    CATCHMENT AREA. Anagram of MAN + TEACHER ACT. The two word “totally reforming” anagram indicator is viewed as non-U “padding out” in some comments above as “reforming” would have been sufficient. Where’s the Colonel when you need him?

    17a Fuel supplier of sort with potential to change (6,7)
    PETROL STATION. I was looking for some kind of substance used to make fuel before the rather prosaic penny dropped.

    28a Communicated with European protected by armour (1-6)

    6d Is it following priest’s repeated call? (7)

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