23,538 – Good stuff – worth two looks

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 7m34s – A dipangram (2 of each letter in the grid at least), and a demonstration that this can lead to interesting words, as well as just odd ones. Also, and more importantly, a demonstration that clueing innovation doesn’t have to mean a really hard puzzle, though this was a good test of mental agility, knowledge and speed.


1 KI(t) in JUNE – Annoyingly, I immediately considered RI(g) in JUNE, gave up and moved on. This kind of failed nearly-instant solving seemed to happen regularly here.
5 BUZZWORD, pun – a bit laboured perhaps.
11 HOG TIE, pun – Given the checking, enumeration and definition, BOW-TIE will have tempted many, but I like this gag.
12 E + OFF in GREY, last one solved for me; having the O as a checking letter really militates against predicting the JE- sound at the start. I’m not used to seeing ‘point’ for E/N/S/W in The Times Crossword, though I have no objection to it occasionally.
14 MOUNTAINSIDE, anag (IN MAIDSTONE (yo)U) – I immediately parsed the clue correctly, then couldn’t do the anagram, despite having M and U placed. Grrr
20 A VI in RARA’S – for me, a pretty untidy clue, with the dated VI(olet) in a possessive – and a definition that will be simple for classicists and hard for others.
22 A in SEES + W – again the definition is almost too easy, especially combined with the enumeration (which is not as per Chambers and looks wrong and over-helpful to me)
25 ”BORE DOUGH” – nice homophone, though a (very) rare example of one that doesn’t work in my accent – the vowel phoneme in board/cord/pork/Bordeaux is different from that in bored/cored/poor/bore for my particular suburban RP.
26 QUA + (authentic)C + KER(r)Y – you really can’t argue about the precision of definitions in most of this puzzle!
27 (C)ENSURE(D) – a very nice innovatory wordplay method


3 KLEPTOMANIA, anag – Neat misleading definition.
4 EX CHEQUER – I love this, so used to seeing ‘queen’ as ER, R, Q, QU or occasionally MAN (or other chess piece reference) that a draughts piece was a big surprise. Beautifully tied up with the literal meaning as well. As pointed out in comments, this is actually EX + QU in CHEER, &lit – probably an even better clue, though not what I thought!
5 BEER GUT, cryptic definition – ‘breadbasket’ is quite quaint for ‘stomach’, but probably familiar to cryptic solvers. Nice clue as all the surface misleads combine well.
13 E in FISHY + (H)ELEN’S – very tough clue, especially as I have barely heard of this term (and finally there’s not much definition precision here!). Eventually got it from the checking – though without the F at this stage.
15 INN IS FREE – this chestnut is worth trotting out regularly. No idea why the W of welcome got capitalised – some purists don’t like this and it’s quite unnecessary to the surface.
16 POT-AU-FEU, U + F in anag of OUT PEA – Got this from the blindingly obvious UF and the enumeration. On re-reading, there’s a very neat surface that I didn’t get at all.
19 AG + U in JAR – I haven’t seen ‘horseshoe’ for U before but I like it – luckily I have seen ‘grate’ = JAR a few times recently, otherwise this might have been a struggle.

12 comments on “23,538 – Good stuff – worth two looks”

  1. I found this puzzle enjoyable but slow going (19:15). Although I filled in 9A (WISEACRE) quickly, it took me a while to see how it worked, ie W(ith) + (CASE* in IRE). That was after I had spent some time trying to convince myself that “wire” could mean “passion” as some sort of back-formation from “wired”.
  2. Also struggled – 14:48. When you mentioned pair solving the other day, my first thought was “Who’s the scribe?” followed by wondering about communication processes like lip-reading in a silent competition. But I could have chipped in with the KI for junkie (I missed 30 days = June) and maybe a quicker spotting of FISHEYE LENS. Probably not alone in pondering LAH-DI-DAH at 16D, or then trying for “posh = F in (pea soup)*” before remembering the right bit of French.
  3. Defining GEOFFREY as just ‘chap’ seems pretty vague, i mean, grey. Definitely not cold-solvable — only got it with all the crosses in place.


  4. A very nice puzzle with some clever deceptons. It took me a long time to move on after completing the first three-quarters, and even then I failed to get GEOFFREY and QUACKERY. My mind was too set on “deducted” and “(Irish) county as definitions. No criticisms of this one.
  5. I can only see one M (although it does double duty). Am I missing something?
    1. Gee – Just now I realize I only exhaustively checked the back end of the frequency alphabet
  6. Please could someone explain 27A. I can’t see how c and d are to be lifted from “censured”. If it said “Guarantee CD lifted from produced rap”, or “Guarantee produced rap lifted CD” or some such it might be understandable.
    1. I don’t like this either.
      I suppose that “produced rap” gives CENSURED but it’s pretty ugly.
      However, “lifted from CD” is terrible.
      Mike O.
  7. I made the mistake of doing this puzzle when already quite tired, and in the end felt lucky to solve it in under 20 minutes (18:53). Some good clues, and some of them pretty tough so I suspect I might not have been all that much faster if I’d come to it fresh.
  8. I was one tempted by BOW TIE at 11a but as I could not parse it – entered it in “light write”. Finally saw it as my LOI whilst in the process of looking up the correct answer. That sometimes happens – some kind of flash of inspiration before capitulation. Geoffrey at 12a was my POI after finally getting FISHEYE LENS at 13d. The Pangram helped with QUACKERY at 26a as I often forget to follow the rule of “see a U a then try a Q”. I did eventually and it worked.

    Some “easies” left out:

    9a Smart guy with passion going about bad (case)* (8)

    10a Send up staff to divide wages (6)
    PA ROD Y

    17a Steps beyond the suburbs? (7,5)

    23a Not broadcasting rotten tune (3,3)

    2d Rugby touring side initially using the same pitch (6)
    UNISON. Nice sporting diversion from a musical meaning.

    6d Marx’s unknown work training classes in rising (5)
    Z EP PO. Not Groucho, Chico, Harpo nor even Karl.

    7d What might need endless room for casualties? (3)
    WAR (D). Only 3 letters but great clue. Probably a “chestnut” my bunnies?

    8d Angry-looking bosses to form ginger group (8)

    18d Disregard second honour in decorating oneself (7)
    DI S OBE Y

    21d SilVER VEstment’s concealed zip (5)

    24a is wAgneR epiC regularly selected extract from Ring?
    ARC. Here you have to deduce exactly what “regularly” means – in this case it appears to be every 4th letter. I have capitalised differently from the printed clue to illustrate this.

  9. If you turn off auto-format it nicks all your spaces! I was just trying to stop it auto correcting my irregular capitalisations. DOH!

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