23,654 – Cant beat last week’s time

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 31 mins

Another fast Monday time for me!
I did most of the top half first, getting the first 5 across clues at first look! Last to go in was 20A.
I only had one word to look up today – I guessed that tholes were small streams – I was wrong about that! And I looked up ‘space age’ to check what 1957 signified.
I also guessed DUMBING DOWN for 13A when I had the D and G – but quickly dismissed that when I spotted where the expected VINGT would go.


1 IN,SECT – remember batting=in.
11 MA,DAM – dam=mother wasn’t something that was familiar to me before crosswording.
12 MOA – reversed alternate letters of ‘a worm’.
13 DRI(VINGT)EST – I remember being the only child in my class at primary school to know that a score was twenty – I knew it would come in handy one day.
14 TI(PP)LE – again I only know tile=hat through doing crosswords. I think the first time I saw it was MILLINER clued as something like ‘A shop manager on the floor with tiles’ — I had no idea at the time!
20 CANT ON – I actually thought of this earlier but came back to it at the end; I think I was confused about the two given meanings of CANT – I probably would have written it in had it said ‘tipping or being hypocritical’…
27 IN,CLEMENT – another memory from primary school – we watched a TV programme about the post-war election.
28 S(PACE)AGE – the date meant nothing to me: it is the year when a spacecraft was first in orbit around Earth.


5 MULTIPLE CHOICE – know your choices for crosswords – Hobson’s is the one where you accept what is offered or nothing.
8 SEMITONE – the daily is Times (reversed) and lunchtime is one.
18 PO,THOLES – seems that thole is a verb meaning brook, in the sense of ‘endure’
21 S,ENTRY – neat, concise clue
23 TONGA, hidden word
24 SHEER=”shear”, as in you might shear in a sheep station

17 comments on “23,654 – Cant beat last week’s time”

  1. I had INSIDER DEALING at first, which slowed me down for a couple of minutes trying to get OUTPOST. I was also slow getting SHEER at the end. 13:20, but would have been sub-10 mins otherwise.
    1. You suggest SHEER for 24d but I cannot connect that to the clue at all. Any hints to the wordplay gratefully received. Rest of the puzzle quite easy, I would say.


      1. SHEER unqualified brilliance! and sounds like shear which is what you do in sheep stations.
  2. i put in STIFF instead of MADAM for 11A — which is v. close to being valid wrt the wordplay. other than that, a fairly straightforward puzzle — i even remembered who churchill lost the election to in 1945 and what happened in 1957.
  3. Could this possibly be POTHOLES? Didn’t understand the wordplay for SIDLE either (7dn)
    1. yeah pretty sure it’s PO (our e. river) and somehow THOLES must resole to brooks. but didn’t bother working that out.

      S=second,IDLE=tick over (as in a car idling).

      1. 6:00 here – Concise Oxford has “endure (Scots/archaic)” for “thole” – so it’s brook as in phrases like “an attitude that will not brook defeat”, or “brook no oppostion”. New word of the day for me. SHEER was my last answer.
        1. 8:12 for me. I have the advantage of being somewhat Scots/archaic, and so I got 18D from the wordplay.

          My favourite was finding vingt clued in the middle of driving test.

  4. 20a was the last to go in for me, and I have to say I was unimpressed by the clue (there seems to be a theme of late that any clue I can’t solve, I deem substandard…). But I was wondering, with regards to foreign languages – how obscure do they go? I’m used to seeing ‘un’ or ‘ja’ or similar, but ‘vingt’ was unusual. OK, even people – like myself – whose knowledge of French is weak will know that vingt = 20; but how far is fair?
  5. Chambers has “vingt-et-un” and “trente-et-quarante” but not “cinquante” (50) so maybe that’s as far as it’s fair to go.
  6. MULTIPLE CHOICE also appeared three weeks ago (Times 23,636) as “Six or eight for two? That’s some test”
    R. Saunders
  7. 7:12 for me. Like linxit I was held up by putting in INSIDER DEALING without seeing why but assuming that I wouldn’t have to worry once it had been confirmed by the crossing letters. And I thought of “vingt” straight away for 13A, but stupidly dismissed it on the grounds that it couldn’t possibly be fitted into the answer. (Doh!) Basically a straightforward, enjoyable puzzle.
  8. 6 mins for me – sorry about lack of seconds, but I just look at the clock on my computer. It took a while for the penny to drop on SHEER, although it was fairly obvious it must be the answer. Jason J
  9. I know I’m going to regret asking this, but why is 25A ACE* apart from Ace = Expert? Must be obvious as no-one has blogged it, but I can’t see it.

    *assuming it is!

      1. Puts on best Victor Meldrew voice: I don’t believe it! Tennis is the only sport I follow and we’ve only just finished with Wimbledon. How could I have missed it?

        Thanks for the explanation. I said I would regret asking because I knew it would make me look stupid.

  10. The Frenchman scored in 13a and then aced us at 25a.
    Well played Monsieur! Roland Garos perhaps?

    A Cricket XI of “easies” not included in this blog – some referred to in the comments above but here they are in full:

    4a Male in bad shape lives in stress (8)
    E M PHAS IS. Where the M(ale) is inside a bad SHAPE = EPHAS and lives = IS.

    10a Like novel form of (oil in fact)* (9)

    16a Oriental n(ational)* – not the first to be maltreated (7)

    19a Remote branch’s letters ready to go? (7)

    22a (Heat pots too)* wildly, hence these tricky situations (3,8)
    HOT POTATOES. A more appetising version of a Can of Worms.

    25a Expert reason for point of no return (3)
    ACE. A DD between an expert (ACE) and an unretrievable serve (ACE). Fifteen love.

    26a New addition to policy that’s given blanket coverage (5)
    LINE N

    29a Playful female taking chances (6)

    1d Bad reputation acquired by (many if)* misrepresented (6)

    3d Youngster told off, left shut in (5)
    CHI L D. Prime Minister Thatcher was rumoured to have chid some of her Cabinet from time to time?

    6d Snail’s shell is from one’s garden (4-5)

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