23,540 – Guys and Dolls

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 42 minutes, but with a mistake

I made a flying start and began to think that I’d break the half-hour mark for only the third time in my Times Crosswording life. Then I slowed up. I finished with 22a and 18d, guessing and getting the latter wrong!
This is the kind of puzzle I like – some tricky words but well-clued and possible to work out.

A few of the abbreviations that helped me out:
around=CA, church=CH, king=R, pound=L, ambassador=HE, bishop=B, doctor=MB


10 MOON,LIGHTER – I first thought that the Rev. Moon might be the doctor referred to here, but Collins lists William Moon, inventor of the Moon type. Or, as Richard commented below, it is actually MO (for Medical Officer) + ON + LIGHTER.
11 A,DE(LAID)E – the river and the city both came to me at the same time, it’s so much easier when that happens.
15 GUYS – refers to Guy’s Hospital, which treats both men (guys) and women.
19 C(L)UB
22 SE,DATE – I thought DATE would be part of the answer and began to think of places of Kent, before I realised the question mark meant Kent as an example – neat clue.
23 FLETCHER – I’d heard of Fletcher Christian, and guessed that a quarrel was a type of arrow – a quarrel is an arrow with a four-edged head shot from a crossbow.
25 AMONTILLADO; A,MON,(DO ITALL)* – not being a sherry drinker, I’d never heard of this drink – but I was pretty sure of it given the clue.
29 S(HE,B)EEN – another new word to me, a shebeen is a place for illegal drinking in Ireland, Scotland or South Africa.


1 MU(STAN)G – I did not know that a mustang was a wild horse, but guess that’s why the plane and the car were so named.
3 CO(MB)AT – two outer garments for the price of one.
4 BROAD,TAILS – I’ve seen dogs=TAILS a few times recently, so not as difficult as it might have once been.
8 HAR[d],NESS – I thought gear was a loose defn of harness, but I’ve just looked it up – it is a less common word for harness.
13 A DOLL’S HOUSE – I’ve come across a few Ibsen plays recently, luckily he’s a playwright I know. I couldn’t name any plays by Joe Orton!
17 ECSTATIC – “ex static”
18 CO(STAR)D – I got this one wrong, going for CUSTARD. I guessed that famous=STAR. I was pretty sure CUSTARD was an apple, and wondered if CUD might be some kind of joke – cows do look funny when chewing it, I thought. It turns out a COSTARD is also a variety of apple and a COD is a trick, parody or hoax.
20 BURGEON; rev. of GRUB,ONE*
26 [t]OFF

6 comments on “23,540 – Guys and Dolls”

  1. Interesting Doctors Moon you have discovered, but I think it is actually MO (for Medical Officer) + ON + LIGHTER.
  2. 18D – COSTARD

    Department of useless information! “COSTARD” is the word from which we derive COSTERMONGER, originally COSTARDMONGER, and just to confuse dim memories being recalled, there is a fruit called a CUSTARD APPLE, not a real apple though.

    Harry Shipley

  3. 4:43 here – short pause on BROADTAILS as it was a new word to me, but then decided to go for it. I guess we should watch out for karakul/caracul – the same creature. 22A and 18A/D were some of the others that got solved last. Ford Mustang: look at the radiator!
    1. being american helps sometimes… my first clue… to the tune of “Mustang Sally”.


  4. On your comment about Joe Orton plays, LOOT is a title worth knowing. I’ve seen it incorporated in a clue before now. Not sure if it was Times or Telegraph though.
  5. 1a Skirt around first of bollards in taxi (7)

    9a Knight is backing king (3)
    SI R

    12a Satisfy publican at first with tenancy agreement (6)

    16a Found, ornate (mace)* and a crucifix (4,6)

    27a Operate combine without starter key (3)
    (F) USE

    2d (Is any murder)* criminal, nanny? (11)

    5d Nothing in mostly dull game (4)
    S 0 LO (W)

    6d Heavenly, a cake decoration (8)

    7d The head, eccentric type (3)

    21d A blow for one of rowing crew (6)

    24d Singer in musicAL (TOmmy)

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