23,592 – Friday fun

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
This was a really enjoyable puzzle to solve, mainly because of the quality of the clues. There were a lot of “kickselfs”, where the answer was more obvious than it seemed at first. Indeed, my first cruise through the clues yielded no answers until I reached 2dn!! The answers revealed themselves steadily after that, and in some cases, I had the answer before I knew why. Total solving time – 13 mins-ish

5 V and A-L – I kept trying to find a way of putting L into a museum, until I got 8dn and it was obvious I was on the wrong track.
10 AMERICAN INDIANS – (Asian race in mind)* – excellent &lit. surface.
13 C.I.A.+ O – another very good surface.
15 REALIGN – REAL (ale) + (gin)* – Whenever I see “gin” as anagram fodder, I think the word is going to end “-ing” but this is one of the exceptions.
17 S(LEIGH)T – Another excellent misleading surface – which had me trying to find a word with ME or PEN when “Hunt the writer” was indicating Leigh Hunt, a 19th century poet.
18 TITANIC – 21 was SHIP and 11 HIGH AND DRY, so the Titanic is a ship that is certainly not high and dry.
21 SHIP – took a while to work this out, because the surface had me looking for a K somewhere (“final indication of rank”), but eventually I worked out that we were supposed to be looking for a suffix which represents office, rank or position (eg cardinalSHIP)
22 IN EXTREMIS – (intermixes)* – took longer than it should have, because, although I had guessed it was definitely an anagram, I wasn’t sure what was the fodder and what was the anagrind (“intermixes” “wildly” and “resort” could all have done this job).
27 TH(R-ON)E – good &lit. surface.
1 T(EACH)ER(m) – another excellent &lit. clue.
4 A-WARD – very good double definition.
7 DRAW IN-GROOM – This surface also reads well. I particularly liked “train” for GROOM.
9 DIARISTS – referring to Diary of a Nobody, and the diarist, John Evelyn.
12 GIANT-KILLER – (taking)* + ILLER – took me longer than it should have to get this one.
16 NICK-NACK – I assume that the word play here is (k)NICK-(k)NACK (ie first and third “kings” removed), but not sure how NICK-NACK = “short spell”.
18 TOSSPOT – (<=tops sot) – Where I come from, this word is more derogatory than the Chambers definition would imply.
24 I-CON – CON as in study (“pore over”)

11 comments on “23,592 – Friday fun”

  1. Not too difficult, and some nice clues – ‘vandal’ for 5A would have been harder if I hadn’t been thinking of a clue along those lines previously. ‘High and dry’ was probably my favourite among these; also I liked the use of comrade in 14D.
    Not such a fan of ‘ill’ in the clue for 12D – I was wondering how the -er bit came in – and I have to agree that 18D was an unexpected entry in the Times.
  2. I found this quick to solve, apart from 21 across, which had me pondering. I rather agree with Anonymous’ criticism of 4 down, but in general I liked the clues.
    I don’t really see 1 down as &lit, though I thought “a head” for “each” was clever in the context of the clue. These days it’s a rare head that steps in for an absentee teacher!
  3. 16D surely just referred to a shorter way to spell KNICK-KNACK?

    Is anyone else not happy with 4D? A WARD is not room for improvement; it’s A room for improvement. Or is it now acceptable not to bother to clue an indefinite article?

  4. 6:20 here so the easiest of the week, but a well-crafted puzzle – the effective extra clue to 21A helped, as I got it mostly from TITANIC. 4D: perhaps the question mark indicates the setter knows this is a bit of cheek.
  5. I think the “short spell” means a shorter spelling, ie of knick-knack.


  6. I enjoyed this one and got within 4 answers of finishing (still don´t know 28 across, even though I have all the checking letters ?n?c?o?t).

    Am I reading too much into this, or did the author of this puzzle cleverly have the 12 dn Giant Killer (think iceberg) breaking Titanic (18 ac) in two?

    Hmmm…. Perhaps I should have a lie-down.

  7. A most enjoyable puzzle (I particularly liked 10A), and, thank goodness, rather easier than some of the recent ones, even though I wasn’t very fast (9:10). I started out hoping for a “clean sweep”, but was sunk by TITANIC – or rather by SHIP, as I regard it as legitimate to make a detour to a referenced clue, but found I couldn’t crack this one in a reasonable amount of time. (For the record, I’ve absolutely no objection to 4D.)
  8. Wanted to confirm my understanding of this. Aida was a princess as well as the name of an opera, right?

    PS: I believe TOSSPOT is <=SOT SPOT (meaning see)

    1. Verdi’s Aida was a princess. But there’s also “Princess Ida” – title of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. So “A princess” can be “a Ida” or “Aida”, as you prefer – it makes no odds.
  9. Like our revered founder I managed to get 21a from having twigged Titanic at 18a which I got in turn from it not being 11a (see below). Inability to unravel the wordplay in 21a – where SHIP goes at the end of LORD, STEWARD or indeed APOSTLE as it does on the day I’m sub-blogging this oldie – confirms my X-word Bunnyship.

    The “easies” are:

    1a The distrortion surrounding article is dramatic (8)
    THE SPI A N. Where SPIN = distortion as in spin-doctors.

    11a Helpless under influence of drugs but not alcohol (4,3,3)

    19a In conceitednesS,HOW OFFensive one is! (4,3)

    25a Officer in charge, captured by European artist (6,9)

    28a Quickly produce decisive result (8)
    KNOCKOUT. Double definition explained above.

    2d Farm animal’s directions going North or South (3)
    EWE. THe N or S indicates a palindrome. If it was an across clue East or West might have been confusing as these are the directions that make up the word.

    6d A pricess in operetta or opera (4)
    A IDA. See explanation above.

    8d React aggressively in US city and yell (4,3)

    14d Popular (comrade)* reformed movement out of control (10)

    20d Finishing first, with low grade on a second exam (7)
    F A S TEST

    23d Element that makes one cross, turning up before noon (5)
    X ENO N. ONE X turning up before N(oon).

    26d Negative reaction that’s repeated in error (3)

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