23,699 – talking points

Solving time: 15:36

Two more composers, Charpentier and Barber, whose names I know, but I would have difficulty telling you any more about them beyond reasonably confident stabs at their nationalities. Still, knowing names is enough for crosswording. Oh, and an author, Charles Reade, whose name I think I have only seen before in crosswords.

I struggled with a number of clues in this that now look reasonably straightforward, ending with 9A and 1D.

(Thanks to the anonymous commenter from Oxford who gave me the corrections on 16 and 23)


5 C(LIP)ON – can’t make much sense of the surface
9 I SOT + ROPY – irritatingly, I started by trying to think of words with SOT towards the end
10 DOL(e) + MEN
12 SECOND READING, two meanings – as I vaguely remember from when I attended church, I think there are three readings, being typically from (1) old testament, (2) epistle, and (3) gospel
15 READE(r) – that would be Charles Reade, I guess. I have never read anything by him, and I don’t think many people do nowadays
16 MAKE READY – not sure how to describe this. It’s more of a cryptic solution than a cryptic definition On edit: two meanings, the second cryptic – “make ready” is defined as “to prepare (esp a forme for printing)” in Chambers. So I think the first words of the clue have to be read as “Printer’s [word for] ‘process'”, so that “process” can be read as a verb.
19 FRANC (=”frank”)
20 NUCLEOPROTEIN, being (ONE CORPULENT I)* – I have no idea what a nucleo-protein is.
22 O + RI(O)LE
23 VICTOR + I + A, I think that is VICTOR(= winner) before I(=one) and A, and the words “may only go so far to make” are just linkage On edit: Victoria here refers to the coach terminus on Buckingham Palace Road, London. So there are no redundant words.
25 BARBER, two meanings, the second slightly cryptic
26 STAL(l) + WAR + T


1 MA IN STREAM – It generally takes me a long time to see ones where the answer is made up of a phrase clued as a whole like this
2 LE(n)O, referring to the dead Dan rather than the live Jay.
8 NONE, two meanings
11 (Mikhail) TAL + KING + POINT
19 FRONTAL, two meanings, the first one (=antependium) is new to me
21 BOO + B – I made life more difficult for myself by putting in BOFF at first. I’m not sure that is even a word.
24 RIA, being AIR(rev)

38 comments on “23,699 – talking points”

  1. 7:15 for this. With at least a ‘holy trinity’ of church/monastery items, plus a brace of composers; I suspect times will vary quite widely.
  2. Didn’t complete today’s puzzle. A time of around 20 minutes, but 1A, 1D and 2D not filled in, and I do get the feeling I’ll be rewarded with “doh” moments after Richard’s posting later.
  3. I had AIR for 24D at first instead of RIA, since I wasn’t convinced that “upset by slight wind” indicated reversal of “slight wind” — “slight wind upset” or “upset slight wind” both work but what’s “by” buy? Not to mention the fact that in the cryptic reading “inlet that’s upset” kind of makes you want to reverse the inlet.

    Additionally, isn’t “please” superfluous in 7D?

    1. 24D: I wrote RIA without hesitation (and also without checking letters), probably from long experience of the way these things get phrased in the Times puzzle. I think the reason is that if the answer is “slight wind”, ‘by’ has to be a link between wordplay and def, but I don’t think ‘by’ is used as such a link-word in Times clues. (Cue for someone to quote a clue from yesterday’s puzzle that proves me wrong…)

      7D: strictly speaking, yes – but I think it’s still clear what you need to do.

      1. 7D: sure it’s clear — the issue is the delicate balance between a marginally better surface with extra syntactic sugar vs. an economical and precise clue with a slightly uglier surface. Extra gravy seems indulgent and less elegant — not to mention a bit confusing (since you unavoidably search for a way to incorporate it into the wordplay).
        1. Chacun a son gout on the sugar/gravy. I’m fairly used to it from rather less rigorous clue-writing schools than the Times, so extra words like this in a few clues don’t worry me much.
    1. No – but a different kind of fringe justifies Samuel BARBER who ties with Albinoni in the ‘famous adagio’ stakes.
    2. BARBER (US 20C composer) — i thought irrelevantly of The Barber of Seville first — then looked him up.
  4. Had never heard of either composer but got them after the checking letters. Some more difficult words so double yesterday’s time but happy with that – and more enjoyable to solve
  5. Sorry if this is a silly request, but can someone explain the double meaning of 8D. (I don’t mean the Nobody part). Thanks
  6. None is a monastic office (sometimes nones)
    Make ready means ‘manufacture money’ as well as being what a printer does.
    1. of course (I think). I had been thinking of Victoria being a type of horse-drawn carriage something like a phaeton. And on reflection, “coach” might be an odd way to indicate that.
  7. 12A: Two readings per service is the norm, at least in most C of E services. At a Communion service (i.e. on most Sunday mornings in most parishes), you hear the Epistle and Gospel, both from the NT. The clue seems to be about evensong (or matins if you can find a church that still does it), in which the first reading is OT and the second NT.

    Charpentier: Like Barber, has one (in)famous piece to his name, the “Eurovision fanfare”.

    1. I have just checked, and in Catholic Sunday services there are three readings, the second one being from the New Testament. Here are the readings for next Sunday. (2007 is a year C, I think.)
  8. Of course this had to be LE(n)O, but I confess I thought of Jay Leno, and have never heard of Dan Leno. That must be because I’m from the US. I’m sure most people from the UK have been entertained by or have heard of Dan Leno. I regret I’ve haven’t had the pleasure of his company.
  9. Not surprised you haven’t heard of Dan Leno – he died in 1904! Probably only known nowadays to crossword solvers and music hall (vaudeville) historians. I suppose there are other examples of anachronisms like (Herbert Beerbohm) Tree = Actor
  10. Did anyone have problems accessing the blog today? I wasn’t able to get on to it all day at the office. Hope they haven’t put it on the barred list or I may have to do some work instead.

    Today’s puzzle came as a shock to the system after the past few easier ones. I ended up using a solver on four of them just to break the stalemate but I solved all the musical clues without cheating. I have to confess on 15A I was thinking of Piers Paul Read as I didn’t know he was missing the final ‘E’ – still, he helped me find the correct answer if for the wrong reason.

    1. I tried accessing it at lunchtime and couldn’t. A couple of other LiveJournal sites were also down at the time, so it must have been them rather than those nasty IT types at work.

      Over 18 mins today, which blew any slim chance I had of 6 puzzles in under an hour this week. Never mind, my previous best was about 1:40, so barring disasters tomorrow I should beat that!

  11. Much harder today and much more enjoyable, about 35 minutes to finish. With Dan Leno to follow Cary Grant the other day it can only be a matter of time before they resurrect “Jack Warner” as a clue for “lighthouse” (long dead actor who appearewd in iconic film The Blue Lamp. Clue appeared when he was alive as I recall)
  12. Forgot to add my name, sorry.
    Peter back to cacti = flowers from yesterday. If that’s OK then can dog = flower as in dog rose?
    1. Only if ‘dog’ means ‘dog rose’. As far as I can tell, no dictionary says that it does.
  13. I found this very tough today, as authors and composers are a weak point for me.

    A reasonably strong point though is chemistry, a nucleoprotein is any of several proteins that are associated to the RNA/DNA within a cell nucleus, hence the name, eg telomerase, is found in the telomeres, which do the same job on DNA as those plastic bits do on the end of your shoelaces

    1. Edit to my previous post, I meant telomerase, being an enzyme, adds a DNA sequence to the telomeres, and is not found in it.


  14. Recombinant DNA in The Guardian the other day and Nucleoprotein today in The Times. Hmm… what’s going on?!
    1. Yes. That’s what I thought. But most clues can be read as meaningful (if slightly contrived) sentences, and this one still eludes me.
  15. Surely the service is Nones, not None. It’s not a plural.
    Chambers (at least) does not support None = service.


  16. Only the 4 omitted easy clues in today’s blog:

    1a Singer recollecting (old times)* (8)

    17a High-range instrument (9)
    ALPENHORN. Andean Pipes are higher in both senses!

    7d Squishy (grape? No, mate)* – a different fruit, please! (11)

    14d Form of communication to engage the pupils (3,7)

Comments are closed.