23,439 – Two ports today

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 1h 46m

Ports would have to be my weakest area of general knowledge and I get two of them in my inaugural review; I knew Rotterdam, but Oran was a new one to me. I knew the author Georgette Heyer, but did not know that georgette was a dress material. I had also not heard of Lifar. So three new words learnt today.
I finished off the right-hand-side in about 30 minutes, then struggled with the left.


1 LLA,N,DUD,NO – reverse of dud(=counterfeit),n(=note),all then NO
9 FORT(=fought),RAN(=published) – the word FORTRAN comes from for(mula)+tran(slation)
13 AIRE,R(=close to sandbar) – AIRE is an English river, it’s when I need other rivers I am out of my depth
14 O(=start of outing),RANG,UTAN(=anagram of aunt) – what a great word – I’ve seen this clued three times so far this year, I’m sure there are plenty more to come
18 OUT(=old fashioned),DO(=party) – for some reason this clue had me thinking of someone breaking up a beetle drive
19 CLOCK(=record),GOLF(=flog reversed)
24 RIGHT,ON – Brighton is an English resort town, not sure if other Brightons are considered resorts


1 L,I,F,A,R – Serge Lifar was a Ukrainian dancer (one of the most famous of the 20th century, I learned today)
2 AARON,S(R)OD – AARON(=high priest) and R(=first to ram) in SOD(=turf)
4 DANGEROUS CORNER is a play by JB Priestly
5 ON THE WATER FRONT -Anagram of ‘theatre now’ + FRONT(=mask) – lovely clue
13 AR(AU,CAR)IA – I am sure that the crossword compiler could also be decribed as evergreen
15 GEORGETTE – Georgette Heyer is an English author and (I learned today) georgette is a kind of thin silk material
16 TITLE DEED – anagram of ‘deleted it’
20 OR(G)AN – Oran is an Algerian port: this was the last one I filled in today
21 KITTY – another name for the jack in lawn bowls; my grandparents were avid players

9 comments on “23,439 – Two ports today”

  1. In that case I can feel pleased with myself – solving time about 12 minutes. Ditto regarding LIFAR; one of those answers that makes you wonder why the more accessible LIFER wasn’t used – struggle to write a decent clue?

    3 corners were completed very quickly but the SW held me up for a long time.

  2. I had to look up three answers in the end, in the SW corner also. I still don’t understand why CORNER = hole in 4 Down, and especially why CLOCK = record in 19 Across. Surely to clock something is to notice it, rather than write it down?

    Re: LIFAR, I guess it’s to introduce some variety for the shorter words. Times style seems to be give an easy clue for short, hard words; give a difficult clue for short, easy words.

    1. Hard clues for easy words & vice versa (any length!) is fairly common practice – though not always necessarily followed. I rattled through this one, with LIFAR a classic ignorant but quick solution – never heard of the bloke, but “starts to” in the clue was what Magoo calls a “screamer” for me. CORNER = hole: both are sticky situations. Clock = record: didn’t bother me when solving – Collins has “record time as with a stopwatch”, and clocking in/out is a sort of recording. Didn’t know the bowls meaning of kitty, but the cat and checking letters did enough. Similar with Georgette – what other Heyers are there? Araucaria = evergreen: have you ever seen a Monkey Puzzle tree without its leaves (OK, spikes or whatever they call them)?
      1. 7m 4s for me – LIFAR certainly gave me pause, clear as the wordplay seemed – quite outside my knowledge. I think foggyweb was well aware of the evergreenness of the monkey-puzzle tree, hence his amusing ‘also’. I was annoyed that neither of the 15-letter answers was a straight write-in for me though I had heard of both plays.
        1. Evergreen: read the words more carefully Peter! Now rather chuffed with 4:05, though wondering what might have happened if the DUDNO on the end of LLAN had come to me sooner and provided three more starting letters (some folk are never satisfied…). One of those times when enough answers came out quickly for the trickier ones to be cleared up with checking letters, and some potentially tricky ones weren’t tricky for me – I can remember playing clock golf as a kid, for example.
  3. I had the same experience: rattled through the right-hand side. Then struggled through the NW corner — and finally the SW corner didn’t yield at all. Too much obscurity: bowls, golf competitions. I gave up — and did something easier (Everyman!) — actually I’m surprised that this was a Monday puzzle.
  4. I believe I beat my best-ever time today. It often depends on the start you make, as vividly described by Talbinho on Friday’s puzzle.
    This one was noteworthy for tormenting the anti-linkword brigade, especially the militant anti-“in” faction (:-) ), with, I think 6 cases of the “dreaded” word!
  5. One of last night’s contestants on Mastermind took questions on the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer. I should have no problem remembering her name now.


  6. 6a Petty quarrel about river fish = SP R AT
    10a Speak badly of a duke during ceasefire = TR AD UCE (not wanting to traduce the blogger – is that an easy one?)
    11a Book missing from office in hacienda = (B) RANCH
    12a Watch programme that includes commercial for beauty aid = EYE SH AD OW
    17a Intended recipient of letter to give a lecture to key European = ADDRESS E E
    18a Defeat old-fasioned party = OUT DO
    22a A stab or a shot = GUESS (I guess anyway)
    25a Stir (me a lot, a)* porridge = OATMEAL
    26a Displease some? Small number within = AN NO Y

    3d Evil drug, an unknown quantity = DARK HORSE (horse is slang for heroin – I learned that from this blog not in an opium den)
    6d Cut line inside window frame = S L ASH
    7d Plump? Here’s a single slice of bread = ROUND (DD)
    8d (Two naked)* wrestling – old martial art = TAE KWON DO (*(TAE KWON D) O)
    23d Auction fetches million in state capital = SALE M (capital of US State Oregon)

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