23,552 – The Difficult Crossing

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 1hr 24
I found this pretty hard going – but very enjoyable. A few I guessed straightaway from the definition and didn’t fully work out til a bit later – 1ac, 17ac, 29ac. A couple I worked out from the wordplay and didn’t know the word – 8d, 22d.
I was held up by 8d and 11ac – I guessed early on (both new words to me) but waited to see if something better came along. I looked up SALLOW at 21d – I didn’t know the tree and couldn’t think of the colour.


1 HEAR,T[r]Y – to judge is to hear or to try – snubbing Regina.
4 MAGRIT(T)E – anagram of ragtime about T=time.
10 RAPT(OR)IAL – OR=’other ranks’=men in anagram of partial.
11 MO,USE – never heard of a black eye being called a mouse, but it’s there in Collins.
14 CAR = RAC(motorists) reversed – I thought motorists would reverse cars, plural.
17 GUTTED, He = H[ors]e i.e. gutted
23 OWN – the regular letters of nOt WoN.
24 LEVEL,HEADED – was boss=HEADED – I remembered a comment from a couple of weeks ago that ‘on’ in an across clue usually means after.
26 MAGIC – reverse of cigar, with a different ending.
27 BRONZEA,GE – anagram of ‘on zebra’ + EG reversed
29 SH,RAP,NEL[son]


3 TAO – reverse of OAT[h]
7 T(RUN,CHE)ON – I expected at least one of the revolutionaries to be Che
8 EX-ED,RA – wordplay suggested this straight away, but I’d never heard of an exedra (room used for discussion in ancient Greece and Rome)
9 HI,LA[r]RY – Happy as Larry.
13 BASE=wretched,BALL=delivery,CAP=better – I got this from the checked letters but wasn’t entirely sure about assume meaning to put on (clothing)
16 TWEE,NAGER=Regan reversed – Regan is the daughter of King Lear – I knew I’d come across her in a play, wasn’t sure which one! (Corrected post Tony’s comment!)
18 DEAD,H(E)AT – nowadays I see bowler and I think hat .
20 LOV,ABLE = ELBA,VOL reversed.
21 SALLOW – never heard of the tree and couldn’t think of the colour – I had a few educated guesses to look up, Sallow was the first!
22 COMMI[t]S – a commis is an apprentice chef – this was put in purely on the wordplay.
25 DIANE – EN(A1)D reversed – the last one to go in.

6 comments on “23,552 – The Difficult Crossing”

  1. The sort of puzzle I dread in a championship, where everything goes swimmingly except for one clue, in this case 17 ac, which I failed to parse correctly and must have spent more than half my total time (15:01) on. I thought of GUTTED early on as a word that would fit, but simply didn’t make the obvious connection. It was a very good clue too, which makes it all the more annoying. As I get older, I seem to find it harder to get my brain to move quickly onto new lines of thought, which is a bit worrying.

    (BTW, Lear’s daughter is REGAN, not RAGEN – otherwise the answer would have to be TWEENEGAR 😉

    1. Yes, 17A got the better of me too. I had two possible answers but couldn’t make complete sense of either. GUTTED seemed the best option but I was also toying with GETTER which might have fitted the “He may be left” part of the clue (as in a Will, for example).

      21D & 21A were not helped by knowing that catkins come from willow trees so I spent a lot of time trying to explain the second part of 21D and thinking of a word for a toast beginning with W. Got there in the end but had to look up sallow to check its tree meaning which I have never heard of before.


  2. Made heavy weather of this at 12:54, and now see I had a stupid wrong answer – CALIBRATION for CELEBRATION. No excuse whatever. The SALLOW tree was new, but mouse = shiner is an old Times xwd favourite.
  3. I’ve just looked this up in Chambers (2003) and see it has one of their joky definitions (cf éclair, for example). I’m glad to see that this tradition continues, particularly as some of them were removed from earlier editions and then had to be restored subsequently.
  4. I didn’t finish this – got stuck with the idea that “Ready to drop” = “Dead beat” at 18d, didn’t see APP(E)AL which I assume is the answer to 2d, and didn’t know SLAINTE or MOUSE being a black eye. So much for it being easier on Mondays.
    R. Saunders
  5. Only 5 answers that did not make it into the blog. Some kind of record. I found this one very enjoyable but quite a quick one for me in about 1/2 hour. Surely the most obscure word is the Scots gaelic “cheers” at 21a but the most obscure usage of a common word is at 11a. Perhaps this is a rather old-fashioned slang word? At public school perhaps? Old Times X-word favourite? Just saying.
    My LOI was 30 ac where I saw “in court” = UP but took far too long to see attend = BE AT despite having BIFD UPBEAT immediately. Another reminder to forget any idea of Championships.

    The “easies” are:

    12a Party (role) loosely associated with (cabinet)* (11)
    CELEBRATION. Quite a hefty anagram that even caused our esteemed founder a problem – even if it was a typo!

    19a Abuse coming from cruciVERBALists? (6)
    VERBAL. A not very cunningly disguised hidden answer. Does this constitute some VERBAL for our dear setter? Sorry!

    2d Shock request to ban drugs (5)
    APP (E) AL. Where E(cstasy) is our drug of choice.

    6d Object found in (resort meant) to be drunk (11)

    28d Energy required in open-and-shut case? (3)
    ZIP. Pretty easy once you discover that the ZIP originates in the BronZe Age!

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