23,436 – A bad beginning

Solving time : 9:35…

… but with one mistake (11A). Otherwise a very enjoyable puzzle. All the clues read well, and there are some really funny ones, especially 1A.


1 QUART(O) – because it is about two PINT(O)S! A very pleasant surprise to find something so outrageous in the Times
11 ROVER – Apparently there are teams (football I think) called Bristol and Doncaster Rovers. Not knowing this, I guessed RIVER (well, it seemed more likely than RAVER, and it runs…)
14 [b]ROGUE
16 [f]IBBER in GISH (=sigh (anag))
25 HE + [pi]LOT – a serf apparently, originally in Sparta, where helots were ritually maltreated (Wikipedia article)
26 HIN(DEMI)T+H – I know this composer’s name, but little else
28 O(PEN) UP – Oxford University Press being the publisher


5 O(TT)ER – I think I have come across “TT” meaning Tee-Totaller not in a crossword, but not for many years
6 GA(ROT)TE – ROT being TOR reversed. A bit of a stretch from “up-hill”
7 CIVIL LIST – double definition, and the last clue I solved correctly
8 TURF – being “fruit” reversed without the “i”
13 CHANNEL-HOP – double definition. The word “seeing” isn’t entirely necessary to the clue, but it helps to misdirect by making “surf” seem like a noun rather than a verb
15 GAMBOLLED (=gambled)
19 DI(GIT)AL – How very like the Times to indicate “GIT” with “silly chap”
20 FRAME-UP – because a snooker-player who is a frame up is leading
23 UNION – it took me a little time to see how this worked – “Union” could be seen in the middle of the phrase “Grand Union Canal”. But it couldn’t be anything else so I filled it in and worked it out after I had finished
24 O(HI)O

Sadly, this is the only crossword I will have time to do today. Perhaps others will chip in.

10 comments on “23,436 – A bad beginning”

  1. I thought “silly chap” for git was very dubious. I haven’t got a dictionary handy at the moment (except online) but the only meaning I know is a despicable or contemptible person. Then again, I suppose you can say “You daft git” to someone who does something silly…as I said to myself when it took me 10 minutes to figure out the wordplay for 20 down.

    Solving time: unknown, probably around 20 mins, but spread over a couple of hours as I’ve been quite busy at work today.


  2. The_od will be enjoying the irony of this one (read his bio in User Info)! No really well-known works, but I’ll never forget him – when the Croydon Schools wind band played an arrangement of his snappily-titled “Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber” at the Fairfield Halls, I scuppered the chance of us being included on the recording of the concert by missing the bus on a very conspicuous 2nd trombone entry.
    1. Yes Peter, incredible coincidence only two days into the new blog, and it certainly gave me a laugh out loud moment today!

      I liked this puzzle – enjoyed the clues and managed a good time for me, 10:39 – seemed to be on the setter’s wavelength for some reason.

  3. But what is the answer to 2 Down? If it’s AGAPE = “mouth open” then where’s the “for feast”?
    Mike O,
  4. I’m rather surprised by PB’s remark about 5 down. I must have seen TT for Tee-totaller in a hundred crosswords, and often clued by Dry. Do you do the Telegraph puzzle? I think that’s where I have seen it most over the years.
    1. I think that the comment (not by PB, but by Richard) was suggesting that (dry=)TT is *only* seen in crosswords. Not that it’s rarely seen in crosswords.
      Chris Lear
  5. 6 down – “Up-hill” seemed a strange choice; don’t think it’s even a real word is it? Or is it the 1920s version, rather like “to-day” etc?
    1. Welcome aboard. I didn’t notice this little oddity. Not sure of the vintage – My 1901 Chambers has plain “uphill”. That’s the oldest dictionary here, and 1901 is followed by a gap until Websters 3rd New International in about 1961, so I can’t say much about the twenties.
  6. 4a Early version of film showing hooligan use razor = ROUGH-CUT
    10a Structural expert rebuilt a station across motorway = ANATOMIST (astation m )*
    12a Play we halt, interest failing = THE WINTERS TALE (we halt interest)*
    18a In a stream, see crazy old animal – ARMADILLO (a r mad ill o)
    20a Joy keeps to bed = FUTON (Fu to n)
    21a Why we calibrate scales, as finishing touch? = FOR GOOD MEASURE
    27a Scruffy gold parrot is standard = OLD GLORY (gold)* lory (sort of parrot). Standard = flag, Old Glory is another name for Stars & Stripes?
    1d Time for mercy, when rent’s due? = QUARTER DAY
    2d Mouth open for feast = AGAPE
    3d Deceive a couple on newspaper = TWO TIME (S)x
    17d Looking healty and prosperous, banking pounds = BLOOMING (b £ ooming)
    22d Different theory almost worked = OTHER (theor)* (y)x

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