23,516 – a moment of cheeky brilliance

Solving time : 46 minutes
I made a quick start on the SE corner and then pretty steady progress. they were quite a few straightforward clues to make this accessible to beginners. There were a couple of phrases I didn’t know, but with well-placed checking letters it wasn’t too bad. 15D was a tricky one, making use of ‘wordplay in the clue.’

A few words that came quickly to mind now I’ve been doing crosswords for a while:


4 EMACI(=’I came’ reversed)ATE(=devoured) – got 8d pretty quickly and was pretty sure this would end -ATE
9 SHIMMER – hidden word. Had to be, really – I couldn’t make any other sense of the clue.
13 KNOCK-DOWN – double-meaning: a very low price or to demolish a building (or floor an opponent in a fight)
14 BUCKET SHOP – a new phrase to me, apparently a travel agency that deals in discount tickets
19 E,SPY – Mata Hari was (alleged to have been) a spy during World War 1
22 HYD(RANG)E,A – evil man refers to RL Stephenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
25 SUBSID[is]E – didn’t think about the wordplay til doing the write-up – it’s quite neat
26 SUN=newspaper,DIAL=try to contact
28 BE,LONG – I like simple little clues like this!


1 MISERABLE=downcast – anagram of mirabelles minus one L
2 MAINS – I wrote this in from the first definition – I didn’t know that a main was also a cockfighting contest.
5 MAID OF ORLEANS – anagram of ‘for Asian model’ – I spotted this quite early, helping me get a good start. Some anagram clues read better than others – I think the setter showed his brilliance more in this one than 20A.
I was reminded of the following joke: “What’s the difference between a rowing boat and Joan of Arc? One is made of wood and the other is Maid of Orleans.”
8 [t]END ON – tendon was the first synonym for sinew that I thought of!
10 RAKE’S PROGRESS – I knew the paintings but don’t think I knew they were by Hogarth. Collins English Dictionary refers to A Rake’s Progress, as does Wikipedia – but it’s still a decent clue.
15 CUPID’S BOW – the only phrase that would fit in. I think this is an example of ‘wordplay in the clue’: drunk=’in cups’ so we have I’D=’I would’ in CUPS and BOW=incline giving CUP(ID)S BOW, as defined by Collins: “a shape of the upper lip considered to resemble Cupid’s double-curved bow”
18 PITT,ANCE(stry) – fortunately Pitt was the first PM to come to mind after I had discounted the crossword favourite North!
22 HO[r]SE,D
24 AM I NO(t)

7 comments on “23,516 – a moment of cheeky brilliance”

  1. I don’t think “wordplay in the clue” quite describes this kind of trick – nearly all clues have wordplay in them! I guess the best description is “indirect wordplay” – instead of having “in cups” in the clue, you have to translate “drunk” to “in cups” and then carry on as normal.
  2. I found this very easy, so had to fill the remainder of my time working on a couple of old Indies. I did like 21 down – simple but neat.
    This is the third or fourth time in less than a week that Dr Jeckyll or Mr Hyde has featured in a crossword puzzle.
    1. I found this hard — but only because I made it hard for myself. The online interactive cryptic didn’t work and no access to a printer — so I tried solving the print version in my head. I got maybe 10 clues that way and I realized I needed to be able to fill in a grid — so I wrote a little program… etc. etc. So took a bit longer than usual!
  3. I entered a comment covering the omitted “easies” but Live Journal says it was “spam”. Is this spam LJ?
  4. As soon as I entered the question, my comment about the “easies” appeaared. Not sure what’s going on?

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