23702 – red is blue

Solving time 41:50

Quite enjoyable, some fun clues and interesting wordplay. A few new words for me: I had to look up beech mast and twenty-fourmo, but they were quite gettable from the wordplay. And I also guessed new meanings of lairy and blue.
I had read about Alexander Selkirk a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t need to know much about him today.


1 PUERTO RICO – anagram of ‘tour price’+O(=old)
10 GO(Z)O – unknown is normally X,Y or Z.
12 STRADI,VARIUS; 1 DARTS reversed + VARIUS=”various”
15 INEF,FABLE; INEF=angram of FINE
17 L,AIRY; L=last of hotel – I didn’t know this meaning of lairy, being more familiar with it describing someone who is aggressive and confrontational.
18 P(IL)AU
19 BEECH MAST; Beecham with with last two letters swapped + ST=extremes of succulent.
25 VICE CONS,UL(starts to upset local)
26 S,PRY – there is a Paul Pry pub near where I used to work so I know that Paul Pry is the title character in the John Poole play. Not sure how well known this is.
27 TH(RE)ESCORE; THE SCORE covering RE(about)


1 POMP; POMPEY without EY(YE backing)
3 TWENTY-FOURMO; anagram of ‘women try out’+F
4 RUMBA; UMBRA with the R(=Republican) moved to the top.
7 UN,OR(I,GIN)AL; I=current
8 TR(OT,SKY)ITE; OT=Old Testament
11 DI’S(POSSES)S; DI=Detective Inspector – POSSES=law enforcers – S=son
16 BOB,SLEIGH=”slay”
21 GREBE; GLEBE with R(=river) for L(=lake)
22 OS,LO; OS=outsize – when Ibsen lived there it was called Christiania.
23 BLUE – I didn’t know blue was an Australian term for someone with red hair.

19 comments on “23702 – red is blue”

  1. quite an enjoyable puzzle at 34′ — i especially liked 27A — very clever. Probalby got 23D wrong though — total guess at BLUE.
  2. Several unknown words and meanings today but all worked out from the word-play.

    I’ve never heard of TWENTY-FOURMO before nor BEECH-MAST – this wasn’t helped by having TROTSKYIST at 8D for most of the time.

    I didn’t know BLUE = a redhead. Does anyone know its derivation?

    Did Ibsen live in OSLO under another name?

    If 26A is SPRY I don’t know why.

    Is “Expel” the definition in 13D? If so I can’t square this with DISPOSSESS which seems to fit the word-play.

    All interesting stuff though.

    1. 9:50 for this – good start but slowed down at the bottom and spent a couple of mins looking for anything else S?R? to fit possible defs at 26A. (S=saint, and apparently Paul Pry is a character in a comedy of the same name by one John Poole.)

      Ibsen / Oslo – it was Oslo that had another name in Ibsen’s day – Christiania.

      1. Paul Pry seems a bit obscure to me. I’m an avid theatre-goer yet I’ve never heard of him or Poole. Down to my ignorance I suppose but info about character and author did not exactly leap out at me when I googled. Are you happy with 13D (my query above)?
        1. From Collins Dictionary: dispossess to take away possession of something, esp. property; expel.
    2. As an Australian I use blue for red in the same way that I’d call my largest mate Tiny. To the best of my knowledge it is only ever used in reference to hair colour.


      1. If only we could get the Republicans to adopt the same convention, we would have a clear victory in 2008!!
    3. The city was called Kristiana when Ibsen lived there. The name was changed to Oslo in 1924.
  3. I enjoyed this one and felt I learnt something from it, although Paul Pry did appear rather obscure, even when I looked him up. I also had to guess at BUST, having never heard of Houdon’s Voltaire. Nevertheless, it was all guessable from wordplay, and I managed 9.18, even with a bit of hesitation (on SPRY) before pressing the button. Jason J
  4. 12:01 here, which is reassuringly close to Peter’s and Jason’s times for me πŸ™‚

    BUST was an educated guess, as police raid = bust has come up in the wordplay to several clues lately. I’d never heard of Paul Pry either, so SPRY was a guess too. I thought BLUE was an Australian synonym for “mate” rather than redhead, but got it anyway from the other half of the clue. Last to go in was BEECH MAST, just after BOBSLEIGH.

    TWENTY-FOURMO held me up a bit, but I had the right anagram fodder and saw TWENTY as a possible first word, then thought it must be wrong, as I couldn’t see a word from the remaining letters. Once I had INEFFABLE, however, the penny dropped, and I knew the word and should have got it first time.

  5. My time was probably around 8 minutes total, but I got interrupted by a workmate who insisted on relaying one of those really rubbish jokes that gets circulated via email.
    BEECH MAST was my final entry too, although BOBSLEIGH went in very quickly thanks to remembering another joke that did the rounds some months back after the death of Bob Woolmer and the suspicions that centred on the Pakistani cricket team – we were told they’d decided to abandon playing cricket to take up the sport of BOBSLEIGHING. Oh, how I laughed.
  6. 7:21 here, the only one that I couldn’t justify from my own knowledge being BUST. An entertaining puzzle with some varied stuff in it. I studied F-U-M- being amazed that I wouldn’t know the component of the double-barrelled word. FOURMO didn’t occur unil I had all the checking of TWENTY to go with it.
  7. Like many others I had to guess BUST, SPRY and BLUE. My thanks for explaining SPRY which I couldn’t make any sense of. Some good clues and overall an interesting puzzle. About 35 minutes. Jimbo
  8. Somewhere at the back of my mind is the thought that there is a bird or something called an Australian Blue that has a red head, but Google suggests this is a fantasy.

    In 8D “book” led to “OT”. Usually it’s “books”, isn’t it?

    1. The OT books are at least occasionally a single volume together, so “book” rather than “books” is justifiable.
  9. My sort of puzzle, where I knew all the references. I’d probably have done it quite fast if I hadn’t just spent an exhausting half-hour on Saturday’s, but had to settle for 9:29.

    (In the old days, I expect they clued HOUDON with simply a cryptic reference to his bust of Voltaire and no wordplay. Much more fun πŸ˜‰

  10. Two unknowns in the “easies” – a sculptor and an inspiration for a book:

    6a Houdon’s Voltaire found in police raid (4)
    BUST. The police raid and 4 letters, especially with ?U?T, lead one to deduce that Houdon was a sculptor – of philosophers? Well at least one then.

    20a One whose study is of earth-shaking significance (12)

    24a Border on which we’re ill at ease (4)

    2d AlexandER SElkirk’s language (4)
    ERSE. This is a hidden answer and therefore belongs in the “easies” but I could not find any reference to a fact that Selkirk was a Scots Gaelic speaker – just that he was a likely inspiration for Robinson Crusoe. The clue suggests that he definitely spoke Gaelic with no ? at the end.

    13d Expel policeman’s son law enforcers arrested (10)

    14d Person with pull contributing to various changes? (4-6)

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