23501 – 9A

Solving time : 9:52

Apologies if my review seems a bit liverish. Last night was excellent fun, and my head is suffering slightly this morning from the beer, Rioja and puzzles.

I have a suspicion there is something going on in today’s puzzle that I am missing. There are two bags at 1D and 18. And 19D is the name of 4D’s son.

The grid is unusual for the Times in having “double unches” or consecutive squares (in 1, 8, 25 and 27 across) that are not confirmed by crossing answers.


1 DETONATION, being NOTED(rev) (ie “registered over”) plus I(sland) in A TON (=1,000kg)
6 G(r)APE
8 F(LOT)ILL + A – I suppose in American expressions like “parking lot” and “vacant lot”, “lot” means something like “plot”
9 WE + B(L)OG – “bog” meaning “slough” in the sense of wetland. No suggestion that the Berkshire town is a toilet.
14 STOR(e) + M – I am not sure I have parsed this right. “Store” is not a usual term for computer memory. (FOLDOC says it is used “in some varieties of Commonwealth hackish”.) And then I haven’t justified the “one” in the clue
17 G + HOST – “in pursuit of” meaning “following” annoys me for reasons I can’t explain. Though I accept many even more strained indicators without blinking.
19 DEMETRIUS (anagram) – I don’t really understand why Demetrius is defined as “actor’s character”. It is true there are Demetriuses (or Demetrii) in Midsummer Night’s Dream and Titus Andronicus, but then most names appear in some play or other.
22 PLAIN WORDS – an excellent style guide, available on-line. It was originally published by the Stationery Office and was intended to stop us civil servants writing in officialese.
23 DHAL, being H in LAD(rev) – I first entered this spelled as in Roald, which slowed up 20D a little
24 F(AM)INE – there seem to be a lot of words in between “brandy” and “morning”
26 BLUE – 2 meanings and = “blew”, I think
27 S(P)ENT FOR + CE – I like “put in post” for “sent” because it misled me into looking for a different insertion from the one really indicated by “without” (which in turn had me trying to leave the “P” out of “post”)


4 IVAN THE TERRIBLE – wordplay in the answer: (IVAN THE)* = I HAVEN’T
7 PI(ONE)ER – Happily my first thought on seeing “mole” was “pier”.
13 PESTICIDE – I think this works as a single anagram of PC EDITS + I (=one) + E (=key), which makes it a slightly indirect anagram. I could read it as an eight-letter anagram + E, I suppose, which would be less dodgy.
16 (RED STAR) + T
21 T(WE)EDS – I like this clue, but want to argue with most of it. I have worn tweed and have to say that there are many more sensible fabrics to dress in. And teds seem to me to be oblivious to fashion

8 comments on “23501 – 9A”

  1. I didn’t get 5 down – it must be NOWISE but it’s not in my dictionary. Neither is mole = pier in 7 down. It does have “a massive breakwater” – is that it?
    1. 5D – I didn’t stop to think about “nowise” at the time, though it isn’t a word I use. I find that is given as a variant of “noway” or “noways” in the old (1993) Chambers I have to hand, though it appears only under the headword “no”. It is also in the on-line Collins dictionary, and many of the dictionaries covered by Onelook.

      7D – As I noted in my comment, “mole” for “pier” seems fairly common to me in crosswords. The same Chambers gives for “mole”: “A massive breakwater, causeway or masonry pier”.

  2. Good to meet you on Wednesday evening, though I wouldn’t have recognised you from your photograph 😉

    Having actually solved this puzzle on the day, I thought I’d add a couple of brief notes. When I started out in computing (in the early 1960s), “store”, specifically “core store”, was the term we used for computer memory. And you’re quite right about teds: it was the mods who were fashion-conscious.

  3. When I solved the clue I took “one” in 14 across to be an example of setter’s license in the interests of the surface. If the answer is taken as a singular noun it’s just about justifiable; however, it’s less easy to equate “storm” with “rage” when it’s a noun rather than a verb.
    On the teds issue, I think it could be argued that they were just as fashion conscious as mods. Trousers with narrow bottoms and no turn-ups were de rigueur, as were black shirts and narrow ties (“slim Jims”). Many of them sported a hair-style a la Elvis Presley.
    1. I think “fashion-consciousness” implies an awareness of, and interest in, changing fashions. It was a defining characteristic of mods, whereas teds simply adopted a particular style of dress and stuck to it. The song “Dedicated Follower of Fashion” wouldn’t have been possible in the 1950s!
    2. Sorry – only just noticed the query over “one”. Surely it simply means “you the solver” (or “me the setter” or “people in general”)!?
  4. Not having access to the printed solution, may I assume “GIBRALTAR” was correct?


  5. Back on the “easies” after a month in the desert with a ream of “back numbers” …..

    10a Consequently one may read it in MothER GOoose = ERGO.
    11a One indolently forgetting everything (as roulette)* is played = LOTUS EATER.
    12a A man of few words = BIT PLAYER. Need not be a man – ladies can be extras too.
    25a Duo awarded contract to form band = BRACE LET.

    1d Carrier’s no good close to island, beginning to ground = DUFF ELBA G.
    2d Had an idea, however daft, finally = THOUGH T.
    3a Everything about weak king is a cue for renewed action = ALL C LEAR.
    5d Never once row about wife = NO W ISE.
    6d (Girl at bar)* ordered port = GIBRALTAR. Yes it is!
    15d Fine spray allowed one to get rid of new parasite = MIST LET OE. Where OE is ONE with out N(ew).
    18d Space behind front door where one’s stowed ancient bag = H OLD ALL. Yes one has put the old in the hall.
    20d Popular and healthier way of taking drugs = IN HALER. Drugs as in Ventolin not Heroin for once.

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