23600 – lots of food and drink today

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 1h36
Pretty tough going. Luckily the two long ones were places I have heard of – might cause problems for some. I didn’t get the wordplay for ABSCOND until I did this write-up.
It was a shame that Besançon did not appear correctly online, as it was important to the clue.
Good fun and no complaints from me.


5 RANDOM – Roderick Random was new to me.
10 BARROW-IN-FURNESS(“furnace”) – I drove past the town about six months ago, and I didn’t have to wait for too many letters before I wrote it in.
11 LANTERN; N(knight) in LATER[a]N – I had heard the term ‘Lateran Basilica’ but wasn’t entirely sure if it was right – looked up to check.
12 SINGLET – there is a ‘single t’ in centre of Luton but a ‘double t’ in Sutton – I’ve seen SINGLET=’single t’ in crosswords a few times now.
13 STRESSED; reverse of desserts e.g. gooseberry fools
18 CHELA (corrected spelling post comment) hidden word – guessed this then checked – it’s the claw of a crab, scorpion etc.
20 DORM,OUSE – the DORMOUSE was a guest at the tea party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
23 ABSCOND – I wrote this in before sussing the wordplay, I think it’s ABS,C(ON)D; ABS=ratings(sailors) and ON=’just after’ inside CD=record.
25 CEDILLA – this doesn’t make a lot of sense if you’re doing this online – the ‘ç’ of Besançon appears as a box here. With a few helpful checked letters I got this and it all made sense!
26 BURTON-UPON-TRENT – took a while to unravel the wordplay here: BUR,TON-UP,ONT,RENT; BUR=rub reversed, TON-UP=high speed, anag of NOT, RENT=charge.
27 EMBOSS; rev. of ME(note)+BOSS; I wasn’t sure about the definition at first – I think it refers to embossing being the adding to or raising of e.g. a surface and graving being the carving out or removing.
28 NEARCTIC; anagram of ‘it can’+CER(odd letters of cheer) – originally pencilled in ‘serrated’ thinking of the coastline of Greenland.


2 LORGNETTE – cryptic (but not very) definition – I knew the word, had to check the spelling.
3 SLOVENE; ENS reversed about LOVE. En is a useful unit to know – it’s the width of a capital N in printing – half the size of an em (M).
4 ALIEN – I wrote this in before getting 12A and guessed that would end ET!
6 A(CRONY)M – Ernie is the Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment used in selecting premium bond numbers.
8 MISS,TATE – Henry Tate, the sugar man, established the Tate Gallery in London.
9 OFFSIDER=”off cider” – I hadn’t come across the NZ + Aus word for partner, despite being born in NZ and watching Neighbours for more than 2/3 of my life.
19 A,MORO,US – I vaguely knew the name Moro – I guess this is the correct construction.
21 [h]OL(D)STER – a greybeard is a name for an old man, whereas an oldster can be a man or a woman – but I’m not complaining!
22 MASTIC[ate] – I’d heard of mastic but didn’t know it was an aromatic resin. This along with NEARCTIC at 28a were the last to go in.
24 SHRUB – I knew elder was a shrub; I had to look up to check that SHRUB was also a drink – see meaning 2

15 comments on “23600 – lots of food and drink today”

  1. You’ve got a typo for 18A – should be CHELA.

    Didn’t like CD for ‘record’ in 23A (although Chambers says a disc (or formerly a cylinder) on which sound is registered for reproduction by an instrument such as a gramophone) or ME instead of MI in 27A (Chambers says an anglicized spelling of mi).

  2. An easy one for me – gained from geographical knowledge, the right bits of literature and other ‘general knowledge’, and having a printed copy for CEDILLA. Time: 6:22. Didn’t worry about wordplay for 23 or 26. Alliterative characters: watch out for Peregrine Pickle (Smollett again), and Anthony Adverse (much later). Tonic sol-fa note names: alternate spellings abound – Do/Doh, Re/Ray, Mi/Me, Fa/Fah – and the rest in similar style.
  3. I opted for BARROW-UPON-TRENT for 26A thinking there might be a wheelbarrow theme going on — didn’t hurt the crossing lights and the wordplay seemed superficially ok (e.g. a problem’s ROW 🙂


    1. Rather unfortunate that Barrow-upon-Trent is a real place. Burton is better known – next time you’re in a British pub, ask a real ale or Marmite fan to fill you in on its significance.
  4. On = “just after” baffled me for a while; I can’t think of an example offhand. Feel I should have known Roderick Random but have obviously read too many Ngaio Marsh stories featuring Detective Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn, so couldn’t think of any others.
    R. Saunders
  5. Anyone else fazed by the inconsistent hyphenation of Barrow-in-Furness and the pulling of the hyphens from Burton-upon-Trent? I got B-in-F early on, but hesitated over B-upon-T because the clue showed commas. Irritating, I thought.
    1. Hyphenation in general is pretty variable between diciotnaries, so I’d advise against using it to draw any conclusions about answers. Both Wikipedia and my UK road atlas are with the Times on Barrow-in-Furness and Burton upon Trent, though Collins dictionary hyphenates both.
    2. My copy of the Times shows hyphens for both, so there was no problem there, although I thought the wordplay for Burton-upon-Trent was a little involved – having spent a while trying to work out if it could be Henley-upon-Arden (which is in fact Henley-in-Arden), I got the Trent bit and worked from there.
      I very much enjoyed acronym being broken down into a-crony-m the first time I came across it; it still has its merits now. Less convinced by 14D and ‘sided’ = ‘was partial to’.
  6. 27 Across

    I thought this was “offside” since all meanings of grave as a verb that are opposite to “emboss” are described by Chambers as obsolete or archaic. Overall this was very hard for me!

  7. Evidently my mistake, for using the Collins dictionary and not checking the road atlas. (Also, I do the puzzle online.)
  8. 15A: Please explain MERIT
    16D: Didn’t get RESIT=exam
    27A: Is BOSS regular crosswordese for governor?
    1. Slovenia is now part of the EU, so presumably a SLOVENE is a fully-fledged European.


  9. Only the 5 omitted “easies” in this one but one of these – 15a MERIT – needs explaining to one anonymous bunny. Here it is with its “easy” mates.

    1a Nothing in (cell was)* so strange as healthy food (8)
    C 0 LESLAW. The anagrist does NOT include the “so” as this would result in a superfluous S. The necessary “O” comes from nothing = 0 and therefore = O. The anagrind is thus “so strange”.

    15a Advantage of a high order? (5)
    MERIT. This is a simple double definition as far as I can see. Merit can equate to an advantage and there is an “order of merit” somewhere in some honours system I suspect? Not easy to get with 5 blank spaces but not too hard with M?R?T.

    1d Clumsily patch up old paving stone (6)
    COBBLE. A pretty easy DD.

    7d Live and prosper without love (5)
    D (0) WELL

    17d Take off immediately for biker’s trial (8)
    SCRAMBLE. Another DD. This conjures up images of the chaps running for their Spitfires in B&W WWII films and 1960s off-road motorcycle racers covered in mud on the B&W tele. It is called Moto-X now isn’t it?

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