Solving time : 1hr 24mins
I initially wondered whether the clue for 27A being half-printed with the Down clues had any significance, but then I spotted 24D was incomplete. According to the online version 24D should read: Spy sees six leaving Norwegian port (4).
I found this ok – a few unfamiliar words but pretty fair clues. However, I would like to finish off the year with a few faster times. My television has just blown up, so I can spend the next few days catching up on much-needed crossword practice!


11 RISORGIMENTO – (Rome riotings)* I didn’t know the word but felt sure it was an anagram, came back to it once I had a few more letters
13 OC,CULT – I’d seen CO (Commanding Officer) in crosswords before, but not OC (Officer Commanding). There are probably subtle differences between the two but I don’t have the time to check this out right now
14 [w]EIGHTIES[t] – this came quite easily when I had the first and last letters
16 (DO,PACED)<=
20 VAR,I,ETAL(=LATE<=) – last one I wrote in: I had seen the word before but it wasn’t readily available at first. I had V??IETAL and had to search my brains for a region of France to make a sensible word
22 S,QUINT – had not come across QUINT before, but was pretty sure when looking at 7D at the same time
23 RUNNING BOARD – not heard of this: I don’t think I’ve had a car with one. On first read through ‘control board’ sprang to mind, luckily it was quickly dismissed.
26 SOR(BONN)E – didn’t come easily, even though I’ve been there! Guessed it was SORE and ran through some cities and it all fell into place for my penultimate answer.
27 RE,CREATE – Collins lists CREATE as a slang term meaning ‘to make a fuss’ – I don’t think I’ve seen that before.


2 EP,IF,O,CAL – lots of little bits here, I hadn’t seen provided=IF for a while. Guessed it was EPI- then waited for some more letters to help me out
3 STERN,[m]UTATION – came across this word last week, so it was written in quite quickly (I wonder if the_od found it sneezy)
4 ROSSETTI (sister to)* – I guess the clue alludes to Christina Rossetti and Dante Rossetti who were sister and brother.
5 D(AIR)IES – I initially thought the wordplay was DIES(=is passing) round AIR(=ventilation), but writing this now makes me question it… Is this correct?
6 STRING – I didn’t know that a string was a set of racehorses from one stable
12 EXTRAMUNDANE – I thought this was right but looked it up to check, not a word I’ve ever used
18 [app]OINTMENT
21 TON(IN)G – I have seen Chinese society=TONG a few times recently – seems to be a handy word to have around
24 NAR[vi]K – Narvik is another port to add to my list – I think I’ve come across more ports this year than during the rest of my life

6 comments on “23,475”

  1. I parsed 5D like you — I guess you’re a little troubled like I am with the parts of speech of DIES and “passing”. I suppose they’re interchangeable but I’m hard pressed to find convincing sentences.
    1. … but “is passing” is interchangeable with “dies”. I think that is what was meant
      1. Yes — that’s what I meant. But are “he dies painfully…” and “he is passing painfully…” the same?
    2. just looking at this one, surely the issue is about tenses. “is dying” is the progressive tense, whereas “dies” is the present tense.

      I think a more convincing clue would be “cheesemakers ensure ventilation passes round”. Even then, I’m not convinced.

      1. I don’t think it’s that uncommon for a present continuous form of a verb to be used to clue a simple present. I’ve certainly come across it very recently in another crossword. It’s one of those cases where the two forms can be more or less interchangeable in one context and not in another. “He flies to Paris tomorrow” and “He is flying to Paris tomorrow” mean the same. So it’s not just about tenses, it’s more about context. Similarly, “as the sound passes (dies)” is sufficiently close to “as the sound is passing (dying)” that I’m not too concerned about the clue.
  2. My LOI was STERNUTATION as I had never heard of it BUT it was gettable (eventually) from the cryptic definition.
    Here are the “easies” deemed beneath worth to blog:
    1a Determined certain content of alcohol = MEA SURE D
    10a Dance judge I have got to = J IVE
    25a Noise of rotating shaft could make one jump = AXEL – sounds like “axle” and is a leap on skates – usually a double.

    7d One of several delivered in 22 = QUIN – 22a is S QUIN T
    8d Took up (dope) and (uses)* madly = ESPOUSED
    17d From on high (E)nglish (tactics)* must be revised = ECSTATIC
    19d Your body’s fat? Cry uncontrollably = BLUBBER – DD that we don’t need a reminder about as we age!

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