23,606 – good fun, average difficulty

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: about an hour (average for me these days)

I enjoyed this – nothing too tricky but lots of places to get side-tracked.
NE corner held me up – came back to after a break and it all fell in to place.
I had to look up 24D, I knew neither tope nor trope. Still not too sure about 19A.


1 CAM[p]US
4 BASILI(C)AN – after Lateran last Monday, this came quickly.
9 PALSGRAVE – never come across this medieval lord before – guessed it ended -GRAVE and waited for more letters to help out.
11 LUNATE=”loon ate”
12 EGG’S HELL – refers to the curate’s egg, a popular phrase in crosswords.
16 HEM,P – a hem is a short cough.
19 YARN – not sure about this. I think it is E taken out of YEARN, but is ‘energy’ both part of YEARN and E? Or is it something else entirely?
23 CONTRA hidden in ‘public on train’ – I don’t know many revolutionary fighters, so nice to find it hidden there.
26 VALET[a] – had to look up valeta to confirm it’s a dance. Man=valet as in ‘My Man Jeeves.”
27 IRONED OUT, anagram of ‘1 on detour’ – to start with I tried to make ‘inside out’ fit.
29 STEER; Stewer without W – refers to Jan Stewer from the poem/song Widecombe Fair – I vaguely knew it but couldn’t remember any names apart from Tom’s.


1 CA(PILLAR)Y – Caymen Islands – took me a bit too long to get this one; once I did I quickly finished off everything in that corner.
2 MIL[km]AN
3 SIGH,TSAW(=reverse of WAST[e])
5 STEM GINGER; G[o]ING in STE[a]MER – first thought was it began SANS with NS=’no score’ but I didn’t get anywhere!
7 CONGE,REEL – I didn’t know ‘congé’ meaning depart.
15 AIRED,ALES – thought it might be I,Re,Da in ales – but I was fairly sure rhenium wsn’t a gas and I had no idea what Da was!
17 PAYMASTER; anagram of ‘Mary’s pate’
18 INCOME,RS(odd letters of rise)
22 LI(VI)D
24 T(R)OPE – had to go to the dictionary for this one – tope means to drink to excess and trope is a figure of speech.
25 DO,UR – party=DO and ‘old city’=UR are the first that come to mind.

9 comments on “23,606 – good fun, average difficulty”

  1. I am not sure what your question is on 19A. You seem to have the right analysis: “long” is YEARN, and “No little energy goes into” means subtract E.

    Two nitpicks: in 28A, Hell is “Dis” rather than “dys”; and in 7D, “congé” is a noun meaning “a farewell” rather than a verb meaning “depart”.

    Embarrassingly, it took me more than a minute at the end to work out the answer to 23A. And it was only after finishing that I realised it was a hidden. I think of hiddens as probably the easiest clue type, but if I don’t spot them first time it can take me forever.

    1. Thanks for the corrections.
      I am not sure what I meant by 28A – I was happy when I solved it; I think I got muddled up thinking the definition was ‘long story’ rather than story when I came to comment.
      As for Dis, there is no excuse – I’ve recently been reading up on classical mythology after a Sunday Times puzzle a few weeks a go had Pluto=Dis, which I didn’t know.
      I looked up congé, but only glanced seeing the word depart – I must take my time. I think perhaps I did vaguely know the word from school, in the phrase ‘congés scolaires.’
  2. I’m sure you’re right about Y[e]ARN — i.e. it’s a subtraction clue with “no little energy goes into” indicating E removal. Albeit rather awkwardly.

    Cay is just a kind of Carib island (key, I think is the americanization as in the Florida Keys).

    Thanks for explaining livid — it was a mystery to me.


  3. 9:07 here – short delay working out LUNATE at the end. Also missed the full wordplay on DISSENTER, carelessly extending the “sounds like” to “centre”, which can relate to the production of notes by singers/instrumentalists. And briefly went for ROOT rather than STEM at 5D which shows that 4 and 9 both took a couple of looks.

    Congé seems to mean whatever the lexicographer wants it to mean. Chambers supports a verb meaning, and more oddly, COD has “unceremonious dismissal/rejection”, compared to “permission to depart/formal dismissal” in Collins.

  4. A steer is a castrated male of the bovine family. A cow is the female. Therefore, a steer is not a cow.
    1. “cow” is also in pretty common use with the sense: domesticated bovine of either gender. In that sense a steer is a cow, just as a bitch is a dog.
  5. Was this really average difficulty? I wasn’t too displeased with 13:46 until I read that! Lots of things I didn’t know today.
  6. I thought this was quite tough for a Monday (taking 13:02). I agonised for some time over PALSGRAVE because of the question mark at the end of the clue, which seems to me to be unnecessary, if not actually undesirable. The standard of Times puzzles is so high these days that this one, while by no means bad, seemed perhaps rather less inspired than the avaerage.
  7. Another use for “adamantine” at 14a. Being a geologist I am most familiar with its use to describe shiny minerals like diamond.

    This one was judged above to be a bit on the hard side but there are always a few “easies”:

    10a The principle of reversibility (5)
    TENET. A palindrome – in principle!

    14a Impervious to pleas, (detain a man)* falsely (10)

    20a Like a father being friendly, giving shelter to a bird (10)

    22a Shown the way to grasp snake, ran (8)
    L ADDER ED. Spent ages trying to find a word with ASP in it – DOH!

    4d The head started to lose heart (4)
    BE (G) AN

    6d Try to follow the Parisian style of today (6)
    LA TEST. No – not cricket at Lourdes.

    8d Two boys, both small at birth (5)
    NAT AL. Surprising half-back pairing for the Sharks.

    13d Planner (gets artist)* for redesign (10)

    21d Insect takes plant leaf – half of it (6)
    BEET LE (AF)

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