23,492 – still trying, still learning

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 56 minutes
I went through this at a steady pace.
There were a good variety of clues, with quite a few straightforward ones for us beginners to get cracking with. I found 13D difficult but luckily it was long enough to have a good guess at.

I learnt a new river today and a new animal – and a few other bits and pieces.


9 DANNY BOY – D=end of ballad, ANNY=”Annie”
10 PRIOR[it]Y
12 SOPHIE’S CHOICE – I was pretty sure it was ??????’S CHOICE and thought Miss Tucker was more likely to be Sophie than Hobson, although I hadn’t heard of her.
16 EASY CHAIR – nice clue, his seat could be soft and his job could be easy – what a position to be in!
19 PO(I)SE – I initially tried to put a T in there as model=T is something I’ve come to know and love in crosswords.
20 GUARDIAN ANGEL – with ??G?L for the second word, I spent some time thinking it was mogul.
22 OR(N)ATE – knight=N in chess
23 FOOT(=base),SLO(=mostly slow),G=(going at first) – I don’t think I’ve seen FOOTSLOG before, but it was easy enough to work out.
25 PUTS,CH(=church)
26 PEER GYNT – PE(=gym) + anagram of ‘gentry’ – this came quite easily as I once played Peer Gynt!


1 INDUS,TRIAL – The INDUS is a new river to add to my list! I guessed it was something TRIAL and the rest of the clue suggested just one answer.
2 CON – I did not know that CON means to learn or to study – apparently used in the phrase ‘to con by rote/heart’.
3 ELY,S(I)UM – I’ve seen see=ELY plenty of times and somehow I remembered ELYSIUM=paradise from studying Twelfth Night at school.
4 SHOP,STEWARDS – SHOP=”blow the whistle” and STEWARDS=”college caterers” – I looked this up to check: a steward is a member of a college who supervises the catering or presides at the table (we didn’t have them in my day).
7 EX(ONE)RATING – RATING is an ordinary seaman, I learnt today. I knew the word began with E, so EX,ONE,???ING made that a pretty straightforward write-in.
11 WHISKY GALORE – I’ve read the book and seen the film!
13 PLANT,A,GENET – a bit of lucky guessing here, after I’d got all the checking letters – I’d not heard of the House of Plantagenet or the genet. I got David Starkey’s Monarchy book for Christmas so I could brush up my history, but he only talks about the Tudors onwards. I guess I still have a lot to con.
14 GREEN LIGHT – it’s always a bit annoying to see contranyms such as ‘sanction’ in clues, but naive=GREEN quickly sprang to mind to put me on the right track.
18 CHA(O)T,I,C
19 P[i]LASTER – I thought I’d come across pilaster before, but looked it up afterwards to check
21 C(O)UP
24 LAY – double definition, although I’ve only seen LAY=song (old word for ballad, song or poem) in crosswords.

3 comments on “23,492 – still trying, still learning”

  1. Nice writeup.

    I actually went to wikipedia to see if 1D could be an &lit:

    Maybe… based on this: “[River Test] widens out into a considerable estuary that is lined on its northern bank by the container terminals and quays of the Port of Southampton”

  2. Model = T: I don’t think you’ll see this in the Times puzzle – seems mainly a Guardianism.
  3. 1d The rivers of Hampshire and Dorset are, I believe, the main source of watercress in the UK. So 1d was a write-in … NOT!

    Three of the “easies” quickly showed that “watercress” was taking geographic and aquatic plant GK WAY too far in the Times Cryptic:

    1a Raise in fold = IN CREASE – no “W” for watercress!
    15a Kingdom in actual miles = REAL M – but wait “watercRess” fits!
    17a High handed style devastating (to a curacy)* = AUTOCRACY – the death knell of ” watercreAs”.

    6d Joker – I account for one with a heart disorder = CARD I AC – a bit of a double def for the “CARD” bit as Joker is part of a deck of cards but you can refer to an amusing person as a card too?
    8d Month round Irish county = MAY 0 – a good place to get illicit supplies of poteen or potato whiskey.

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