Times Crossword 23,887

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 33 minutes
Found this pretty easy to get into. Held up at the end by 27 and 16 – I should know by now what ‘distressing’ means in a crossword! Also briefly held up by inexplicably writing ITATIC as the answer for 20D.


1 RE(CON)D,IT,E – for some reason I read ‘The Adventure of the Six Napoleons’ on Saturday – the first time I’ve read a Sherlock Holmes story for about ten years
9 E(RRA)TUM – ARR reversed
11 MOO,CH – not caught out by low=moo nowadays – CH=Companion of Honour
12 NARC,ISSU[e]S – did think about the wordplay NARC,IS,SUS originally
13 MUFF,LING – thought about the recent court case only on the second reading to check I had all the wordplay.
14 OFFA[l]
18 M(1,LLI)ARD – ‘ILL 1’ reversed in DRAM reversed
24 IN,IT,I,A,L
27 COLLAGE(N)S – took me a while to spot this at the end


2 CARB,ON FOOT,PRINT – CARB short for carburetor, I guess
3 NUT,SHE’LL – NUT=National Union of Teachers
19 FINISH – sounds like FINNISH
23 [s]EVENS

26 comments on “Times Crossword 23,887”

  1. COD. End of story.

    OK, we can mention 10, 16, 13D, maybe others, but really; how can 13A not be COD? Which just leaves the question of how long this puzzle was on the waiting list?

  2. Fairly straightforward today and I solved it in about 30 minutes. Had to check a couple of things afterwards though, for example I didn’t know the word “narc”.

    Is the clue to 23 just “Chances” as it appears in the on-line version? There’s something missing here even if it’s only (5). Does no-one proof read the clues before posting them up?

    In reply to Anax, unfortunately she’s not.

    1. 23: full clue is “Chances rugby competition won’t start (5)”.

      5:55, and should have been quicker – I went for the wrong kind of study at first in 1A (den), when I should have concentrated on the def – RECONDITE feels like a fairly common answer. Also stupidly thought about BERTH first for the next across. Then got shifting for a fairly smooth solve though 27 and 16 held me up for an extra 20 secs or so at the end. Will be interested to see how people get on with MILLIARD in these days when the “British billion” (1,000,000,000,000) is pretty much dead. In too much of a hurry to spot the good joke at 13.

      Correction: actually it was 15 and 27 that held me up. Apologies for careless typing.

      Edited at 2008-04-14 08:02 pm (UTC)

  3. An easy one today – apart from writing “shape” for 22a which slowed me down a bit.
    No doubt 13a will feature in Clues in Blue for us members of the sniggering brigade!
      1. Trying to dampen rumours of Heather chasing…

        You see, it could have been a lot worse ;o)

        1. I decided long ago that life is too short for two things: making your own puff pastry and doing The Listener Crossword. I greatly admire those who do either. I’m just far too lazy.
        2. Do get yourself a copy of Chambers for Mephisto. In barred-grid puzzles there are lots of words that may not be in other dictionaries, and definitions sometimes quote directly from Chambers to help you make sure you’ve found exactly the right word.
    1. A couple of multiple anagrams today; HEAPS, PHASE, EPHAS and SHAPE at 22A and ARNICA, CARINA, CRANIA at 6D.
  4. 10:55 the last four of which spent on 15d,2d,19d and 27a. Pretty easy stuff (no bad thing for a Monday). I was going to nominate 10a as COD and couldn’t really see why Anax enthused so much about 13a. Then the penny finally dropped as to which Heather it referred to and I’ve changed my mind.
    Never heard of MILLIARD but a few checkers and wordplay left little doubt.
  5. Agreed, a very easy canter – less than 20 minutes to solve. I wondered why Heather was missing all her putts today. That Anax gets everywhere! Jimbo.
  6. 12:30 which is a new PB by all of 5 seconds, although I can’t help thinking that if I can’t crack 10 minutes for a gentle solve like this I never will, never mind by the end of April.

    Milliard didn’t stump me as I’m familiar with its use in French, and like Peter I lost precious time on Alopecia and Collagens.

    So that Anax has some choice for the poll I’ll pick 11 as COD, although I also thought 2d was cleverly constructed.

    Thanks to 7dPenguin for giving me the full clue to 23.

  7. The fastest I’ve managed in a while – 11 minutes, several of them struggling with 18 and 8. I fell asleep last night trying to justify the one-word clue for 23, which now makes me feel like the person who mistakes the building work at the art gallery for a surrealist installation.
  8. Didn’t time myself, solved on two quick breaks at work. I really liked this one, and while I was solving I was thinking “this is a perfect crossword to get people hooked on cryptics”. Nice constructions, I could pick a lot of clues as COD, but 1a as a starter is just a beautiful construction.

    Milliard popped up in a Mephisto or a Listener recently, but I can’t find it on a quick blog search. I am also hampered by not having the full clue at 23d, but from checking letters there’s one likely candidate.

    1. Just peeked, it was a cute clue. I agree in joining in here improves the solving skills, becoming a blogger even more so. Try the Mephisto as well, don’t be discouraged if you can’t get much of it, took me a few years to “master” it (I’ve made an error in each of my last two Mephisto solving blogs), but you really become good at wordplay after working through Mephisto solutions. Then if you’re a glutton for punishment, go for the Listener.

      I once bought a paper shredder at the Staples in Bryn Mawr…

  9. I also thought this was an easy start to the week, about 30 minutes altogether, but that long only due to staring for about 15 minutes at 18A and 16D, both of which are new to me.
  10. Straightforward 15 minutes despite sabotaging myself by also putting in “SHAPE” without thinking hard enough, and simply not seeing ITALIC, which meant the SE corner felt was very slow, and felt more so after the NW went in without much thought at all.

    Still, nice one to come back to after a week in Paris, where they don’t do crosswords, but there are more than enough other things to occupy the mind.

  11. Annoyed with myself for not noting what time I’d started today, since this was close to record time for me, certainly. I put down 13D as my COD, but didn’t notice the 13A gag – despite recently using the clue “If writer is to sleep with Heather… (7)” myself.
  12. >”If writer is to sleep with Heather… (7)”

    That made me think of cakes, which in turn made me think of Jane Asher. Weird. Veggie burger anyone?

  13. I got stuck on the SE corner, but easy enough until that. Still don’t fully understand 21ac…


    1. Jon, is that appointed?

      Def = given a job, wordplay is A + P (the musical notation piano (softly) rather than the instrument) + POINTED (sharp).

      1. Thanks! I could see ‘appointed’, and should really have seen pointed = sharp…


  14. I’d like to think I’m not normally this slow on the uptake, but I really don’t see the joke at 13a?! Can someone please enlighten me!
    1. The apparent reference in the surface meaning to Heather Mills and her recent action = case in the divorce courts.

      Edited at 2008-04-16 05:16 am (UTC)

  15. As a few people have had an extra go at 13a here is my humble contribution:

    13a Keeping quiet very loud Erica at Old Trafford? (7)

    This one was on the easy side – a whopping 14/30 score on the Omissions Meter. That does not mean to say that it was not entertaining. I liked it a lot. Here are the “easies” together (a couple have been discussed above):

    6a One’s own room aboard makes transport popular (5)
    CAB IN

    10a Robin’s slayer used extremely sharp weapon (7)
    S (har) P ARROW. With his little bow and arrow.

    17a Is this show to continue? I don’t believe it! (4)
    GO ON. Whatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

    21a Given a job to make piano sharp (9)
    A P POINTED. You could put it in a freezer room – that would make it sharp?

    22a Stage in which (heaps)* become confused (5)
    PHASE. Try to select the correct anagram boys & girls.

    25a Expert I have employed for historical records (7)

    26a Strange (chant)*, obviously (5)
    NATCH. Naturally.

    1d Cold chamber, by the sound of it (5)
    RHEUM. M. Clouseau needs the key to his rheum.

    4d (Mint)* rebuilt to accommodate gold supplier now expected (8)

    5d Guarantee unconfident leader’s to be changed (6)
    (U) E NSURE

    6d (Arnica)* might be produced if these are broken (6)
    CRANIA. I am a rock doctor rather than a medical one but I have a feeling that putting arnica on fractured skulls might be a tad ineffective?

    7d Brilliant flyers (despair if board’s) reformed (5,2,8)

    15d Type of money that does go on trees (8)

    20d Latin is not exactly an upright type (6)
    ITALI C. I am not quite sure of the parsing of this clue. The latin appears to be an Italian who swaps “an” for “c” = “circa” = “not exactly” to get a type that is not exactly upright? Therefore an &lit?

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