23,682 – Gunning for homophones

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
If you follow my blogs here and on Fifteensquared, you may realise that I don’t like dodgy homophones, and 24ac held me up for a minute or two today. Other than that, this was pretty straightforward. Took me just under 9 minutes.



9 CUR-A-C(i)AO – a liqueur made from sour orange peel, and a Caribbean island which gave it its name

12 FUSILIERS – US 1 in (rifles)* the US comes from “dud” in the clue, and is short for “unserviceable” – one of two clues where the answer relates to old gun-carrying soldiers

13 RE-(a)I(r)G(u)N(s) – a neat way to clue a common word


17 CHARY(B)DIS – a sea-monster in Homer’s writings, the daughter of Gaea and Poseidon. DIS was a Roman underworld god, whose name is often used in crosswords.

19 PI(STOLE)ER – the second gun-toter in the puzzle

24 AFFAIRE – supposedly a homophone of A FAIR, but with the E at the end, the pronunciation of the word affair changes to sound like A FER.

25 PYRAMID – (<=MARY) in (<=DIP)

26 TERSE – covered by “barrisTER SEnsibly”



1 V-O(CA)B

2 CH-(R-1ST)INA – referring to Christina of Sweden (1632-1689), who was Queen from 1632 until her abdication in 1654.

3 RECUSANCY – (curacy’s en(D))*

4 GO OFF THE DEEP END – double def

5 STAR-SAND’S-TRIPE-(poem)S – very good surface, although easy to spot once you had a couple of checking letters in place – the SAND referred to is presumably George Sand, the pen-name of Amantine-Aurore-Lucile Daupin, a 19th century novelist and feminist

7 PIQUE(t) – piquet is a two-player card game

8 PLEASANCE – homophone of Donald PLEASENCE, British character acor who appeared in “Halloween”, among other films. To a Scot, Pleasance brings to mind an area of Edinburgh which at Festival time, is far from secluded.



16 G(randfather)(ORB)LIMEY – had to guess at the spelling based on the wordplay – “my” is the definition

21 OGIVE – O give! – an ogive is a pointed Gothic arch, so a high-level support

23 WIDER – how a Cockney might pronounce “wader”

14 comments on “23,682 – Gunning for homophones”

  1. 9:09 here. The SE corner was fairly slow, and then 24A and 21D were last, with the latter making me go through OBI?E, OCI?E, ODI?E etc. for possibilities until the penny dropped.
  2. The hard little green oranges that flavour the liqueur are often referred to as curacao apples.
  3. A very nice puzzle it took me far too long to solve. I particularly liked GORBLIMEY and CURACAO.
    I don’t understand the objection to the AFFAIRE homophone. Surely it’s just pronounced “A FAIR” unless you put on a dodgy French accent!
    But it did hold me up as I was thinking A + F(ine) + F—- = affair = broadcast.
  4. Spent ages trying to find somthing to fit cHA—DES.
    I didn’t know RECUSANCY so I was missing the final checking letter.

    OGIVE was also new to me, or I may have forgotten it. And I didn’t know that meaning of PLEASANCE though the answer seemed obvious.

    Other than that it was quite easy. Were they letting us off lightly in preparation for two horrors tomorrow like last Saturday?

  5. I completely agree with your comments. The worst is 23d which is simply an awful clue. Jimbo
    1. We may be talking about historic Cockney rather than Eastenders Cockney, but this habit is recorded, and Times setters have been exploiting it for ages – paper/piper has certainly been done. Here’s a reputable-looking article as a bit of support.
    2. I’m afraid I see nothing wrong with 23D either. It had me fooled not because of the dodginess of the homophone but because I was looking for a 6-letter bird beginning with H!
    3. I’m another who regards 23D as entirely acceptable since quite often when I’m waiting on Acton Town underground station for an Ealing Broadway train, they announce the “trine to Riners Line”.

      8:47 for me. I thought this had a similar flavour to yesterday’s and would expect Peter B to have produced another fast time (as I would probably have done myself once upon a time). An enjoyable puzzle.

  6. I can only assume the station announcers at Ealing Broadway are from Australia. I didn’t get 16 down – “my” doesn’t seem an adequate definition somehow without an explanation mark.
    R. Saunders
    1. ..and an “explanation mark” might be very useful in crosswords, but an exclamation mark was what I meant.
  7. I think Tony’s station announcer is more likely to be a South African than a Cockney.
  8. Some interesting discussion of accents here.

    I was also surprised that our esteemed blogmeister had a big problem with AFFAIRE at 24a but had no problem with a dodgy Cockney WADER = “WIDER” at 23d.

    PB’s link discusses antipodean English and, indeed, it is noticeable that some New Zealand folk appear to pronounce the vowels “a” and particularly “e” as “i”. For example, in a recent TV commentary on field hockey, we learned from the Kiwi expert commentator that a side had “plinty of tilint on the binch”. Perhaps some aspects of Antipodean English are inherited from “old Cockney” as is suggested above by PB and his link?

    Like fgbp, above, I was looking for a 6 letter bird beginning in H until I solved all the checkers and got W?D?R. The answer was then obvious but I did query the substitution of the A for an I to go from WADER to WIDER.

    I like TS’s “trine” announcement example a lot. This doesn’t sound like a South African to me – more like a Kiwi or, more simply, a Londoner?

    Seven “easies” for the bunnies:

    6a Dispose of dog after a short time (3,2)
    MO PUP

    10a Very old article, quite unusual (7)

    11a Form of support is provided by degrees (5)
    BAS IS

    18a Ample (lager)* supply (5)

    22a Experience unhappiness on earth (5)
    BE LOW

    6d Maybe copper confronted gangster (5)
    MET AL

    20d Notes audible to a certain degree (2,3)
    SO FAR. Sounds like the notes “so fa” in the tonic scale.

Comments are closed.