23478: what about flight lieutenant?

Solving time : 13:11

I entered two words wrongly, but managed to recover them. Last word solved PERRON, of which I have never heard.

Lots of fun clues today, but also a number of clues that seemed slightly flabby, with extra words to make surfaces work that weren’t really justified by the clue structure.


1 FAIR(PLace (replacing W(ife))AY – It took me a while to accept that “fair play” could be a synonym for “being a good sport”, but of course they both fit at the end of “I am firmly committed to…”, meaning much the same.
8 OH(I)O – I think we had “I” for electrical current not long ago. “Finding” is a bit gratuitous as a link-word
9 GREASY POLE (=(player goes)*) – As said (first, I think) by Disraeli on becoming Prime Minister for the first time. Took me longer than it might have because “vicious” is not an obvious anagram indicator
11 A + LT + AIR – Not clear what the word “naval” is for, as lieutenant is not exclusively a naval rank. Perhaps the point is to have an “a” for the wordplay rather than “an”? But I have seen setters expect us to make that switch ourselves.
12 HARD(y) – Lucky I had the R before I reached this, or I would have written in HACK without much thought
17 W + UNDER + KIND – good surface
20 (I + LED)(rev) – Here and in 16, “one” is used for “I”. I had fixed in my head that in the Times “one” was always “A”, but I obviously got it the wrong way round
23 P + ERR + ON – Not a word I knew, and I was held up for a while by having entered 13 as DUDRANNCH (as you do). Anyway, “perron” seems to be a raised platform or terrace at an entrance door, or an external flight of steps leading up to it
24 WOR(L)D C + UP – ie L(ine) in WORD (=promise) + UP (=riding) after C(olt). I didn’t know C for colt, and I have added it to this list
27 ANTHER (hidden)
28 EDE(MY)N + A + G (all rev) – the capitalised, singular “God” is a bit misleading as a clue for the cupbearer to the gods. But the clue reads rather well


3 PIGEON – 2 meanings or possibly one and a half. I think “pigeon” means a baby bird, and means a dupe or gull. But I don’t think it means baby. (On edit after comment) It can mean baby, in the sense of a pet project. So I guess that makes three meanings.
4 A(WEST)RUCK – the words “to drop full” are not needed for the cryptic reading, though they help the surface
5 YAP(rev) + BACK
6 SHO(R)T + HAND – Isaac Pitman invented the leading form of shorthand
7 (E + GAELIC)* – I foolishly wrote in ELEGAIC first. Luckily this only got in the way of ALTAIR which was reasonably straightforward
13 C in (A HUNDRED)* – I wondered whether “resort” was doing double duty, being part of definition and anagram indicator. But of course, the “one of” probably saves it.
15 CON + SORT + AI(rev) – A1 used to be a crossword staple, indicated by “excellent” or the like. It seems a long time since I have seen it (or the three-toed sloth)
19 RAN + COUR(se)
21 EX + CLU(D)E – I enjoyed “one example of my work” for CLUE. “Without” (as in ex dividend) makes a nice change for EX, as well
22 FL(O OZ)Y – The first two words (“Have to”) seem redundant for both cryptic and surface readings?

5 comments on “23478: what about flight lieutenant?”

  1. I must be a bit dim today. In what way does “hard” = “badly”?

    “Hack” fitted the clue really well I thought.

    1. England just lost the Ashes. I took it hard, didn’t you? (Of course, you might be an Aussie…)
  2. Two things: I thought that it was OK to use “drop X in Y” rather than just “X in Y” for containment purposes. Secondly, qualifying “point” by “full” made lots of sense since by convention cryptic points are just N, E, W, S.
  3. Thanks for explaining that because I really had doubts about it and only accepted it as there was no alternative. I did get the idea of full point (West) though.

    Solved in just under 30 mins which is fairly good for me for the Times, not least as I solved only 2 clues on my first run-through.


  4. One’s pigeon is “one’s particular responsibility or business” (COED). One’s baby is “a project of personal concern” (Collins).

    Roger Phillips

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