23,447 – Not a giveaway / Shameless advertising

Solving time 12:28 + a tad for previous knowledge

This was the first puzzle in preliminary session B of the championship, and it was solved by 53 per cent of the competitors. After some daft mistakes in the last few days (see next Mephisto report as well as comments on Times puzzles), I’m quite pleased to have finished it at all! The W side (corrected from “E side” after posting) came out first, then the S three rows or so. I ended up fairly well stuck on 5,11,17,6 and 8. Got these as pairs of 17 and 8, then 11 and 6, and finally 5 – most of which were annoying as the tricks behind them were all pretty simple and familiar. Adding up my times for session B and adding a bit for prior knowledge gives about 33 mins – probably good enough to qualify, but in about 8th place, I’d guess, so the nerves might have been jangling.


1 T.U.,TO,RAGE – wasted time pondering tutelage
5 (ban)JOISTS – basic idea has certainly been used in clues for ‘banjoist(s)’
11 SHAFT – 2 meanings
12 PI(e)TY
13 F(I,RED)RILL – red = a signal currently showing red
15 A,S(TONI)SHED – wasted time looking where to put an “It.”
17 W(est) HAM is the soccer team
20 WEATHERMAN – MA in anag. of ‘new heart’
22 OR,CHEST,R.A. – beginners note this fairly standard break-up of a useful word
24 W.,ARM
27 ESTATE CAR – state=”condition checked” in rev. of race


1 TOM,E – a little joke about the fact that competitors could not “thumb dictionaries” you’d think, except that these were supposedly randomly selected puzzles.
4 GO,OFF – simple wordplay, but I usually “nod off” rather than “go off” – to the irritation or amusement of those with me after a few glasses.
6 ONSIDE – on=leg from cricket – beginners note this one, “onside” = in a good (well, legal) position in various forms of football, hockey etc.
7 SPANISH AMERICAN – fell right into the “Mexican criminal” fake anagram trap, then remembered hearing about this clue when this clearly didn’t fit with AMERICAN as second word. ‘shame’ in anag. of ‘in Paris can’. “A admit B” = put B in A is a bit of a stretch for my tastes – the wordplay really wants “admitting”. With ‘can’ at the end, it seems possible to do something like “… criminal in Paris admitting humiliation in front of prison”.
9 WE,A R(I=middle of shift)EST
14 F(ASTB=anag. of bats)OWLER – if a fowler hunts birds he can be “out for a duck”
18 SEAWATER – anag – “drink”=slang for seawater
21 REVE(A)L – possibly an old chestnut but a very nice clue
23 ACT,ON – London district with several tube stations, Wormwood Scrubs and the Thames Valley Harriers track now called “Linford Christie Stadium”.
25 BRIE(f)

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My times for puzzles since my last posting
23,442 – 7:57
23,443 – 6:22
23,444 – 7:58
23,445 – 20:00 – one wrong answer
23,446 – 9:27 – but EAST for ERST. Good thing Virgilius in the Indy was doable!

10 comments on “23,447 – Not a giveaway / Shameless advertising”

  1. I can’t explain to myself the def for 27A: i understand the wordplay and in fact I filled in ESTATE CAR for lack of anything else… and obviously estate cars have brakes… unless “estate car” is also a type of brake? (i thought it was just a kind of station wagon)
    1. Take a look in Chambers under brake and break(2). A brake is an estate car. I remember the term shooting brake being used when I was a child.

      1. indeed. Well, I left my one ton paper Chambers in Seattle but the online Chambers has “shooting brake”.
  2. After yesterday’s debacle, a little better for me today – managed to undercut PB for the first time ever with 9:11. And before you ask – no, I was NOT at the preliminary session B in Cheltenham!

    Obviously helped that I did not fall for the Mexican criminal “anagram”, in fact I got that one almost immediately with just the S from JOISTS in the grid.

    Loved the way the definition was worked into 20A, WEATHERMAN!

    1. “Met man” at 20 was indeed very clever – forgot to mention it. With my delay in the NE corner I’m not surprised to be undercut – plenty of my quick times have been down to exactly the same kind of “avoided problem” as you had with 5 and 7.
  3. After about 15 mins I was stuck on 5,6,8,11,13 and 17, but had CENTRAL AMERICAN for 7d (you do daft things when you’re rushing). I gave up and moved on to the other two puzzles, then went back to this one.

    I eventually figured out the wordplay for 7, and finished the rest less than 2 minutes later.

    Today, as in previous weeks, I didn’t remember the puzzle at first (and had started writing in CENTR… again when I twigged)

    1. I think this took me about 8 minutes in the preliminary, compared to about 10 for 23,435 and about 16 (with one mistake) for 23,441. For some reason I struggled to explain BRIE which wasted a bit of time.
      1. Shame about the mistake – I think you’d definitely have been in the final otherwise. My times were the opposite – I took around 12 mins for the second and 10 for the third, but about 20 by the time I got back to it for this one. I did get them all right in the end though.
  4. Completed in 1h22 this evening. I learnt a couple of new things – I’d not seen brake before and I don’t think I knew that Tell was Swiss.
    I’ve encountered plenty of new words and meanings since doing The Times crossword – and reading through the comments here certainly helps to cement them in my mind.
  5. 10a Leave castle? = MAKE A MOVE (castle is a move in chess)
    19a Duck taking drink by side of lake = TEA L
    26a From cad somewhat unscrupuLOUS Exploit = LOUSE (HA)
    28a Once more recount story about Swiss hero = RE TELL
    29a In refurbished (centre a n)*ew doorway = ENTRANCE

    2d Consider how to increase funds in bank = TAKE INTO ACCOUNT (although you would never say “I’m Taking funds into my account”!)
    8d Community charge paid off with this = SETTLEMENT ( a good example of “Lift and Separate” where the Double Definition DD is “Community” and “charge paid off with this” and the plausible word pair of Community charge is a smokescreen)
    16d Humbugs, say, for the little darlings = SWEETIES (another DD but not descriptive of many kids I have known)

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