23,573 – Plenty of standards on view

Solving time: 5m45s – Got held up badly at the end by 6d/7d/13ac which was feeble – guessing correctly at 13ac but then worrying enough about the other two that I crossed it out before re-writing it in! Somehow one start in each corner provided the tipping-point for that area until then, though I didn’t think this puzzle utterly simple, despite the proliferation of old familiar constructions.


1 CUB + A – I quite like CUB = Ursa Minor
3 C + ASUS BE (anag) + ILL (rev) – again, a piece of cake for classicists
13 TENSE, 2 defs – “not together?”, I take it, means ‘strung up’ or ‘nervy’.
14 MAIDEN SPEECH, anag & lit – Very neat clue with ‘originally’ a well-selected anagram indicator. ‘Penning’ is probably just chosen to encourage a possible expectation of a container indication.
18 VIN ORDINAIRE, anag – Nice anagram indicator again to bind the clue. I listened to a Frenchman gently explaining the concept of drinkable table wines to some English people in a restaurant on Tuesday – though he spoke English, they were talking different languages.
22 TIPPERARY, cryptic def, reference to “It’s a long way to…” a well-known ‘air’.
24 HEAT in SHE – the hardest clue here, maybe, with ‘that woman’ and ‘put up’ being pretty tough to identify the real meaning for?
26 ASTRID IN in E.G. – careful construction to allow IN to be part of the contents.


2 JAM in BENIN – an old chestnut.
6 BEAUTY CONTEST, cryptic def – In hindsight, obvious – but at the time I suspect that as usual on seeing C-N-E-T I fell into my usual panic about how many possible words fit this pattern including several that I invariably forget to think of like CONCEIT and CONTEXT. This all blurred my thinking.
7 LIT A NY – Nothing clever going on here except an unusually long definition – enough to fox me.
8 IN DEED – wordplay-in-answer, describing how ‘flat’ converts into ‘deflated’. Not problematic for Araucaria aficionados.
16 P + IN A “FOUR” – Another elegant construction with the excellent “musical craft” linked in neatly to two other music elements
19 “CHASED” – one of those ambiguous clues – some inveigh against these, I don’t really mind if they’re disambiguated by checking.

10 comments on “23,573 – Plenty of standards on view”

  1. 6:13 for me – also failed to take advantage of some familiar material. Held up by putting ‘good’ rather than ‘well’ in 17D – I think I’ve made the same slip before.
    1. So did I. Glad to see I’m in such good company. Took me quite a lot longer though.
      R. Saunders
  2. 9:48 – I think this is one of those weeks when I’m simply off form. I made particularly heavy weather of LITANY, but also spent far too long trying to cram CAN into BENIN for 2 dn, still tentatively hoping for a clean sweep at that stage with only the B in place. (Fat chance!)
  3. A distant 7:44 but thanks to Mr Magoo for his explanation of 19ac, not because I didn’t understand it* but because it caused me to realise that ‘inveigh’ and ‘inveigle’ are in fact two different words with entirely different meanings, which may explain why these words have caused me difficulties in the past…

    * not that I did understand it – ‘chase’ = ‘engrave’ meant nothing to me.

  4. Familiar material ?? maybe in a few more years for me. 9ac – did spirits a guy can get = peg “measure” and if so wouldn’t that mean double usage of the phrase, the reason I ask is because in the recent Times Clue Challenge I used a similar ploy and the feedback was negative because of this. I did manage to finish this puzzle albeit with some help from Google and Chambers. My time most assuredly didn’t require a stop watch.

    1. Clue was: Wine and spirits a guy can get attached to (4,3) – answer TENT PEG.

      My parsing is:
      Wine = TENT (if baffled, look up ‘tent’ in the dict.)
      and = (goes next to)
      spirits = PEG (the sense you mentioned)
      “a guy can get attached to” = definition (guy = tent-securing rope)

      I don’t think there’s any “double duty” going on, but there is a bit of “implication” in the def., which some might say should be something like “something a guy can get attached to”, or “a guy can get attached to this”. Best I can offer without spoiling the surface is “which a guy can get attached to”. For the clue comp, I’d suggest trying to avoid this “implication” issue as well as double duty.

      1. Thanks for the reply Peter. My issue with peg is that I take it to mean a measure of spirits not spirits. To me that is like saying milk for pint?
        1. There are contexts where the measure-word means the stuff. If I suggest a few pints after work, pints=beer is taken for granted. In cases like peg, where it’s a measure of spirits and nothing else, this is more likely to happen – I might have a few rashers in my breakfast in a minute…
  5. Quite a few “easies” here including 9a Tent Peg. I did not know peg = (a measure of) spirits so thanks as ever to our illustrious founder for the enlightenment.

    9a Wine and spirits a guy can get attached to (4,3)
    TENT PEG. See above.

    11a Tried eating duck cooked in one way (7)

    12a (Recitals)* composed to include (n)ew instruments (9)

    21a Greeting covers small island and part of large one (5)
    H AIT I

    25a Hollow in road, however, quickly covered by staff (7)

    27a Wood for a split deck (4)

    1d Modern kind of scanner to search around a burial site (8)

    4d A shrub planted round front of garden in row (5)
    A R G UE

    5d Engaged in doing drug, fully informed (2,2,5)

    10d One needing MP’s backing (5,8)

    15d Tiny lead (horse had)*, frantically covering last part of straight(t) (5,4)

    17d OK? Better than just OK (4,4)

    20d Various seabirds (6)
    DIVERS. I had EIDERS – they are seabirds but not so various!

    23d Briefly visit old man at home (3,2)
    POP IN

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