23,579 – Roedean forever?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time : 5m01s – Seemed an easy puzzle, though with some surprising words. The finish of 20 and 24 are such to suggest that 28 FOREVER is placed deliberately for some secret Nina purpose but I’m not sure what. 27 is nearly ROY DEAN previously celebrated in a Saturday puzzle a few month sago … ?


5 CAM + BRIC(k) – a cloth familiar to me from ‘Scarborough Fair’.
10 A in S(o)U(s)C(h)E(f) – lovely unusual &lit.
15 BIG (rev) + BET – the ‘depended’ is neatly misdirectional.
17 TIM + BRE(d) – not sure if TIM is still the speaking clock, but it was once.
19 ANTI + A in GUN – the 13 refers to 13ac
22 NATION + (h)ALT RUST – a good example of a semi-&lit
25 NINJA – hidden homophone, I think
27 ROE + DEAN, &lit – “Potential for school” is a pun on the fish roe.


2 M in (t)ROLLOP – funny phrasing, skilful.
5 ANY in CON – a second ref to 13ac.
6 IN I LOSS UM (all rev) – slightly more tenuous attempt at a semi-&lit.
7 ”RUE” + BARB – as in what an extra might say.
12 FORTY-NINER (anag) – “in a great rush” is cleverly ambiguous.
16 NITS in IELF (anag) – beautiful surface apparently about something else entirely.
21 CAVERN = CRAVEN with the R relegated – nice use of “chicken” here.
23 UPPER, 2 defs, as in swan-upping.
24 B + RRR, the three R’s.

14 comments on “23,579 – Roedean forever?”

  1. Mr Magoo,
    I’m surprised at you!!
    Don’t Darling, Clementine, Forty-Niner, Forever mean anything to you?
    I don’t know .. the youth of today 🙂

    1. CAVERN and CANYON are involved too (though I had to cheat and look up the song to confirm them – and still missed FOREVER).

      I took 8:50 so didn’t think it was easy. In a comment on my earlier post today, Times 2 RTC star Hilary Seidman said she took 9:40 – which means she’s at least a contender for a place in the final if she ever makes the trip to Cheltenham.

      I think TIM was the speaking clock back in the days when phone exchanges had names linked to letters on phone dials – such as HOLborn = 405. 15 or so years ago, there was a Listener puzzle based on them – 3-digit numbers as clues led to various exchange names.

    2. I didn’t spot the Nina either so thanks for pointing it out, but I think I’m even more impressed that Mr Magoo realised there was one without actually spotting it. 6:11 for me.
  2. 19A is “Thirteen firearms protecting a West Indian” — but GUN is singular and firearms ain’t.
    1. That’s what I thought too, but on reflection, “opposing firearms” as a phrase can be equated with “anti-gun”.
      1. yes makes sense. I actually thought that there was a “missing” apostrophe for “opposing firearm’s protecting a west indian” which almost makes sense but only if you substitute for 13 first. which you can’t. i’m sure you’re right.
  3. I’m a bit surprised nobody’s had more to say about this clue – certainly the first time I’ve ever come across a “hidden homophone” in 20-odd years of solving. I don’t think it’s unfair as such, but it came as a surprise to me and the penny only dropped when I had N???A.
    1. It did feel a bit odd when solving, but I’d managed to see it on first look from ‘assassin’ and probably ??N?A or N???A, so it was a case of ‘ninja again – can I justify it? – yes – on we go’. Looks like we’re getting to the point where new clues for it are as hard to find as they are for words like OKAPI – if so, it’ll go out of favour.
      1. I don’t recall coming across a “hidden homophone” before in well over 50 years of solving, and I’m afraid I didn’t realise that that was the explanation of the clue until I saw Magoo’s notes. Very slow again today (14:02), even on old chestnuts like DARLING, but I was particularly slow on BRRR (having dismissed RRR as a possible ending – doh!), a very good clue, and spent a long time agonising over whether there was an alternative to NINJA that I could justify.
  4. 19A today seems to be another example of the online printable version substituting the digits (in this case referring to 13A) with the text. Hardly a problem in the context of today’s puzzle, but potentially misleading if the clue being referenced was 4, 5 or any other common Roman numeral!

    Enjoyed today’s puzzle a lot, particularly 24D.


    1. AT = attending, inside pit = MINE, followed by back of circlE = E. Whole clue is the def., so another &lit, with pit = “area of theatre seating”.

  5. Oh my darling Clementine – such a rich lode of “easies” in such a brilliant puzzle with an undercurrent of Nile beneath a surface of the song of the California Gold Rush:

    1a Line crossed by audacious lover (7)
    DAR L ING. My beloved 8d.

    9a (Dales)* flickering in pale brown light before sunrise (5,4)
    F (ALSE D) AWN

    11a (Cook-chill meat)* rehashed as bar food? (4,9)
    MILK CHOCOLATE. Not Scampi in the Basket?

    13a Contending discs croon covers very quietly (8)

    26a Surprise (Eeyore)*, wandering around enclosure (3-6)

    28a Foreign Office setback cutting off southeast permanently (7)
    FO R EVER (SE). Lost and gone forever, awful sorry 8d.

    1d Useless second charachters in oDeon’s oUt oF aFrica (4)
    D U F F

    3d Perfect finish for bonsaI arrangement (5)
    I DEAL

    4d Good jousting practice ensures blows are like this (8)

    8d Fruit like weather that’s mild and clear, first off (10)
    CLEMENT (F) INE. Oh my – one of your 5 a day?

    14d Strange (argot)* adopted by certain stand-in (9)

    18d What could get you attending in pit and back of circle? (7)
    M AT INE E. Explained by our Maestro above.

    20d Actor from current drama screened by American television (7)
    US T INO V. A superb clue with allusion to Peter Ustinov’s probably most famous role as Hercule Poirot in “Death on the Nile” aka Current Drama. Brilliant. Otherwise current = I (as in V = IR) and drama = No (Japanese play). I’m quite surprised that such a good clue did not get a mention in the blog. Well – it is here now.

  6. Thanks to npbull as so often for filling the gaps in my report. Just out of interest, we did used to get advised to leave out some clue explanations for reasons of possible copyright infringement – I think it’s correctly recognised these days that the blog brings people to the product rather than stealing it in any way. On the other hand, I suspect this policy pandered to my laziness, and I probably took it too far.

    In retrospect, I literally cannot believe that I spent any time looking for a nina and failed to spot it here. I suspect that even when I solved FORTY-NINER I would have known (as I feel I have always known) that the word is only preserved as a result of the song, and the ball club.

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