23603 – all very well off

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 11:15

No major hold-ups, but I found the long answers less tractable than the short ones, and that slowed up filling the grid.

Strange to see pen meaning contain appearing in the clue at 12A, and it also being the answer at 9A.

I haven’t figured out how 24A works. If a commenter could kindly let me know, I will add it in in italics. (Now done)


1 TE(MERIT)Y, TEY being YET (rev)
12 ALL THE TIME, being THE (article) in ALL-TIME – Is it unreasonable of me to be disappointed when the wordplay for a phrase breaks it down by its constituent words?
15 GAUCH(o) + (failur)E – I will not confess how long I spent trying to find an anagram of (COWB(o)Y + E)
16 TEA LEAF – two meanings involving tea-bags and thieves (for which tea-leaves is rhyming slang). But are thieves often “bagged” rather than eg “nabbed”? Bagging sounds more huntsman than policeman to me. On edit thanks to mauefw: But in relation to the thief the clue should be read “One has often bagged”, and “bag” can mean “steal”
24 SKYSCRAPER, though I do not understand why. I think the end is SCRAPE (=row) + R(iver), but if so I do not understand why “Visiting island” should be SKY. There is the Isle of Skye, but “visiting” does not seem to indicate a homophone or a truncation. Any help? On edit thanks to various commenters: row is SCRAP rather than SCRAPE and it is contained in (= visiting) SKYE
27 (d)OFF
28 TOY BOY – just because the two words rhyme. Or am I missing something?


1 T(OP)HAT, “which” indicating “that”
4 TAKE THE MICKEY, being (KEY MATCH EKE IT)* – Is “needle” slightly approximate as a definition? No. That is just my excuse for taking so long over this one.
8 D(YES + (i)T)UFF, with “I agree” indicating YES
11 BUMPTIOUSNESS, being (MISUSE PUBS + NOT)* – I like this one, though I needed almost all the crossing letters before I saw it.
14 BAR + BIRO + ILL(rev) – I wonder how many conductors we are expected to know? Stokowski appeared recently (perhaps in Times2), and I can remember seeing Wood, Toscanini, Previn and Rattle. Not forgetting that it is just as likely to be something like “cathode”.
21 A CO I PAT (all rev)
22 (lef)T + RIFLE
25 ONER (rev) – Last time Reno was clued in its old role as a divorce venue. This is more up to date, as Nevada still has more relaxed gambling laws than its neighbours.

14 comments on “23603 – all very well off”

  1. 24A: You were very close. If row = argue/fight = SCRAP, everything else fits. None of which I worried about when solving – just saw the answer as: must be the only possibility for ?K?S?R?P?R. Slightly risky reasoning, but got away with it for a 5:15 clocking. 12A: I guess it depends … on what alternatives were available and whether the ‘whole word’ elements used are different enough to produce a truly cryptic clue.
  2. Thanks to Dave and Peter. Yes, SCRAP works much better than my SCRAPE for “row”. But can Visiting A to B mean B in A?
    1. If B is a verb, yes – as long as you’re happy to count “row” and “to row” as the same thing. The current xwd ed seems happy for “to row” in a clue to mean “scrap” in an answer. I don’t know offhand whether he’s also happy for “scrap” in the clue to mean “to row” in the answer.
  3. I used a little guesswork towards the end, for ‘Reno’ and ‘gauche’, not having come across ‘oner’ or ‘gaucho’ before. Only one or two stood out today; I didn’t like ‘half of it’ for ‘t’, especially since it didn’t improve the surface particularly.
    For 16A, I read it as ‘One has often bagged’ rather than ‘One is often bagged’ – not sure if I’m right, though.
  4. Does DUFF mean useless? Also want to confirm if TRIFLE means TOUCH in the sense of a small amount.
    1. Yes to both questions. And as a meaningless coincidence both DUFF and TRIFLE are also varieties of sweet dishes.
  5. While we’re talking about the various cryptic conductors, Paul had “electrode” yesterday (apropos your cathode comment).


  6. A jumbo amount of omitted “easies” in this blog including the pachyderm at 17d.

    5a Put on the way over the hill (6)

    9a Bird shut up in prison (3)
    PEN. DD of to incarcerate and a female swan.

    10a Convince with pretence (4-7)
    MAKE BELIEVE. Another DD.

    13a Players Can Always See Through their leaders (4)
    CAST. Presumably with transparent directors / producers.

    18a Siren – there are legends attached to flowers round neck (7)
    LORE LEI. The LORE in legends is followed by the LEI as in garland of flowers.

    20a Courses dished up in (bistro)* (6)

    23a Pressure applied to mature servant (4)
    P AGE

    26a Everyone’s fit to make an ironic objection (3,4,4)
    ALL VERY WELL. Another DD.

    29a Guess the cost of vehicle I am seated inside (8)

    3d Decrepit couple going after sheep (10)

    6d … national hero has to blow the whistle (4)
    TELL. I have no idea why the clue starts in …?

    7d Bomb posing (danger)* out East (7)

    17d Size of paper (the panel)* got wrong (8)
    ELEPHANT. Is that the size of a sheet of paper required to gift-wrap an elephant?

    19d How head of state appears, say, during assemply (7)

    1. “6d … national hero has to blow the whistle (4)
      TELL. I have no idea why the clue starts in …?”

      It’s just because the setter/editor thought that 4 and 6 would make a better surface as single statement rather than two separate ones, and so 4d ends in …

      Edited at 2017-03-13 08:50 pm (UTC)

      1. Thanks Richard. In this instance I did not understand the combined surface of 4d and 6d. Just me being slow I expect.
        1. I think you are right. The surfaces don’t make a lot of sense separately or combined.

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