23690 – eh?

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time of 51 minutes

Quite a straightforward start to the week. There were a few things that annoyed me slightly, such as the apostrophes in 21A and 26A, but it was all pretty soluble.

Off to do the Jumbo now!


1 M(AVER)ICK – jokers take (the) Mick
10 SASHAY=”sachet”
11 INS(EC)URE – EC=postal code for city of London
13 VERANDAHED – anagram of ‘her Nevada’+D(i.e. first letter of dwelling) (Corrected after comment)
16 MALI – malice-CE(Church of England)
18 M1,STAKE,[o]NLY
21 BUR(=rub reversed),GUN,DY(extreme letters of dry)
22 CASIN[o],G – I don’t really like devices such as midnight=G (i.e. middle of night) unless they are essential to a really great surface reading, which I don’t think this.
25 SETTLE – I didn’t know the town of Settle
26 E(PIP)H,ANY – Master Pirrip is the Pip of Great Expectations. Eh can mean what as in ‘Eh? What was that you said?”


2 APPEA[r]S,E – Neville Chamberlain appeased (on paper at least) Germany before the Second World War.
3 EPO(CH) M,A,KING – CH=church in anagram of poem
6 CLEPSYDRA – anagram of ‘Percy’s lad’ – I bookmarked this site about the clepsydra a few months ago. It might make interesting Bank Holiday reading!
8 NATURAL – refers to some symbol (not a sharp or flat perhaps?) on those lines you have in sheet music – I’m not very musical but I got the reference.
12 COPPER,SMIT[e],H(=hard)
D(OM,IN)ANCE – OM=Order of Merit, IN=at home
17 AL(U,MNA)E – U=university + anag of man in ALE. Alternative spelling of alumni, that I had not come across before.
19 S,P(YH)OLE – YH=initials of ‘you had’
20 LANTERN – a lantern slide was a slide used in a magic lantern.
22 COR,GI – Roc is the huge bird – it certainly looks huge here.

10 comments on “23690 – eh?”

  1. Clepsydra was a new word for me. Fortunately it was one of these ones where there was no other likely anagram option one the checking letter were in.
    I couldn’t work out ‘natural’ from the wordplay but the definition was enough
  2. Thanks for the link to the fascinating monograph on water-clocks.

    In 17 dn, I think “alumnae” is not an alternative spelling of “alumni” but merely the plural of “alumna”, a female student, as “alumni” is the plural of “alumnus”, the male of the species.

    In 13 ac, a “d”, the first letter of “dwelling”, is also needed to complete the anagram.

    1. 13A now fixed.
      Thanks for comment on 17D; I did consider that but wasn’t entirely sure.
  3. I agree with your comments, they are irritating and so easy for the compiler to get round in these two examples whilst improving the integrity of the clue. At 25ac I’d never heard of Giggleswick but I knew Settle (which is quite large). I thought this a poor clue. Jimbo
    1. Both apostrophes are defensible, though the one in 21 across surely works only if a punctuation mark is mentally inserted after “over”, so that Maxim’s is a contraction of Maxim has. I associate Maxim with Gorki – I didn’t know it was a gun, so I was puzzled by this clue, wondering if the upper case M was there to mislead and a gun, besides being a weapon, was some sort of saying.
      The apostrophe in 26 across seems to me to be completely non-controversial and the standard fare of crossword clues, a contraction of “is” posing as a possessive. I cannot see anything to object to; I think it’s quite a nice clue actually.
  4. Is it just me, or is ‘say’ serving two purposes in 10a? It seems to be both a homophone indicator and a reference to the fact that a teabag is an example of a sachet. Both are necessary, I would say.
    1. As I see it both are necessary so “say” is doing double duty. I also think the homophone indication, with “say” coming after “teabag” is particularly poor in this clue. Even allowing for the condensed telegraphese of crossword clues it’s hard to see how the wording of this clue could be interpreted to mean ‘X is a word whose pronunciation is similar to a word that could mean a teabag’. No doubt it’ll have its defenders, but the cryptic sense strikes me as extremely inelegant.
      1. The current Times rule seems to be that “definition by example” doesn’t require an indicator. Such defs used to surprise me a year or two ago when I was used to the indicators being supplied, but I’m now used to them even though I still prefer the old way myself (MAXIM for GUN in 21 is another example in this puzzle). Barring an avalanche of protest letters, I don’t think this policy will change until the xwd ed changes. As far as I know, the “no double duty except in &lits” rule is still enforced.

        Apostrophe in 26A: This is just {[wordplay]’s [def]} = {[wordplay] is [def]} which is pretty standard Times fare. (25 and 26 across are currently numbered 26 and 27 in the report.)

        But I agree about “X, say” for “something that sounds like X” – only in xwds…

  5. A rare example of “YOUR” and not “ONES” in the Times. Not on ones life would be a bit silly?

    Eight “easies” not in the blog:

    6a Stick around pub, mostly, like a setter (6)
    CAN IN (N) E

    15a Rod possibly exerting a powerful attraction (4)
    POLE. No magnetic perches though.

    23a Like someone else’s autobiography? No way! (3,2,4,4)

    4d Mild sarcasm from press gallery, ultimately (5)
    IRON Y

    5d Move (the sink)* from English garden? (7)
    KENTISH. Kent being “the garden of England”.

    7d Born in France, but regularly iN yEmEn (3)

    14d Control of ball securing dhonour at home (9)

    24d Make lace, or trashy clothing (3)

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