23,687 – riddling askant

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic

Solving time: 11:09

I was told at last night’s drinks that we crossword bloggers should be less sycophantic. But this is a particularly good puzzle, with lots of imaginative approaches, and smooth and witty surfaces. Splendid fare, even.

I struggled a little at first, and had to work up from the South East corner, 1A being the last answer I put in.


1 DECAMP, being (P.M. ACED)(all rev)
4 EVI + LDOER, being I’VE(rev) + OLDER* – very neat surface
10 MINOR PLANET, being (LONE TRIP MAN)* – but is a minor planet really a rock from space?
11 INN – I shouldn’t have needed a checking letter for this. I must add the Inn to my mental list of common three-letter rivers along with Cam, Dee, Don and Exe
12 CODE + IN + E – wondered about “governing” = IN. I guess it works when used as an adjective applied to a political party
14 SARDINE – two meanings – I had never heard of the orange-red chalcedony one. I find it appears in the King James Bible (Rev 4:3)
15 AS SETS TRIPPING – I was not quick to see that “like groups” didn’t indicate an adjective
17 BOARDING SCHOOL – Nor was I quick to get the first word, which now obviously means “getting on”
22 OVER + LAP, LAP being PAL(rev)
23 COG – two meanings, the second expressed cryptically
24 C(onman) LEANS + HAVEN
27 A S KANT – not a word I knew existed, but obvious enough


1 DEMO + C + RAT
2 CAN – interesting clue – CAN is what ameriCAN and CANadian have in common
5 VANISHING POINT – two meanings. But is the more cryptic one right? Wouldn’t bluntness be the result of a point vanishing rather than vice versa?
25 VI + A, sex being Latin for six

16 comments on “23,687 – riddling askant”

  1. Either an easy puzzle or beer does my solving good – 4:42. 5D’s answer came up somewhere in the last week or two, so the initial V, (9,5) and ‘perspective’ was enough. Lots more well-written clues today.
  2. Assuming the answer is VIA, why is sex=VI? Unless this is a typo and the clue should have read “six”!
    1. Sex = Latin for ‘six’, which is appropriate when representing VI rather than 6. Cue for an old gem (from Brian Greer, I think), which apparently produced some sniggers at a Times final:

      In which three couples get together for sex (5)

  3. The only two I failed to get were 26a and 20d, neither of which are listed above – any takers?
          1. because “three couples” can be read as 3 x 2, which is 6. And “in Latin”, 6 is sex.

            In theory the same clue could be used with a (7) for SWEDISH, or a (9) for ICELANDIC, as 6=sex in those languages as well.

  4. 14 Stonefish? (7)
    I understand that:
    a) sardine is a fish (but not a stonefish), and
    b) sard is a stone (gemstone).

    Is there any other link between clue and answer that I am missing? These two points do not seem to be enough?

    1. Sard is an already obscure word meaning a type of gemstone, “sardine” is a biblical version of “sard”. I think this it is biblical in the sense that the only people to use it in this sense were those who drafted the King James version of Revelations. I don’t think St John implied any connection between chalcedony and fish.

      So SARDINE is indicated both by “stone” and by “fish”.

      A purist might object to the two indicators “stone” and “fish” being run together without so much as a hyphen. And anyone might be aggrieved at such an obscure meaning of SARDINE being used in a daily puzzle.

      1. I’ll confess to not knowing about sardine as a stone, but saw the possibility from memories of sard. Obscure, yes, but both sardines are in the Concise Oxford. This helpfully tells you that sardine is the same thing as the ‘sardius’ also mentioned in the good book, e.g. at Exodus 28:17. (All clear now, eh?)

        Given the meaning of -ine, you could possibly justify sardine from sard as a ‘fish of stone’, on the same sort of perverse logic as flower = river.

  5. Biffed the SARDINE at 14a not knowing, despite being a Geologist, about it being a word for a stone.

    But I have a big problem with one of the “easies” not complying with my sense of onomatopeia. More of this later – here they are:

    21a (Red rose)* arranged as decoration for altar (7)
    REREDOS. Another part of a church learned in x-word land.

    26a Sifting through wordplay (8)
    RIDDLING. I know that sifting can be justified as an alternative word for riddling in the dictionaries. But, for me, riddling involves all the coarser stuff like stones and clumps of earth that you do in the garden and it makes a rattly sort of sound . Sifting is what you do to much finer stuff like flour and caster sugar and – certainly with the latter – has that “sift” sort of sound when you do it. Rant over.

    6d Vigourously proceeds with (triples)*, ringing the changes (4,3)

    7d It shows view of race if it’s a cross-country event (7,4)
    OPINION POLL. Kinda assumes you only have them in General Elections?

    8d Viable idea for athlete (6)

    16d Temporary fastening? Yank can undo it (4,4)
    SLIP KNOT. Nothing to do with American Metal Bands.

    20d British competitor needed a stiff drink (6)

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