23754 – More of a jive than a pavan for me…

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Back on form this morning, completing this puzzle in less than seven minutes. Things just seemed to click into place, and guesses turned out to be good ones.


1 TATE(r)

3 BOOK CRITIC – BOO-(trick)*-IC – “work assessor” was clever.

9 PORK PIE – brilliant, and probably my clue of the day. Of course one shouldn’t buy a pork pie (lie)

11 TEMPER-A – I’m not an artist, so can’t really explain the definition, but I assume that the setter is talking about the base acting as a vehicle for pigments?

12 FASCINATE – (fiance’s)* seizing A T

13 T OR SO – “bronze” referring to a sculpture, of which a TORSO is an example.


18 HYPOCHONDRIA – if you don’t see it at first, read the clue again, with the emphasis on “well”

22 EUPHRATES – (pure haste)* – along with the Tigris, one of the great rivers around which ancient Mesopotamia flourished.

24 DROP-OUT – good double definition

27 S(K)AT – a card game very popular in central Europe.


1 TYPE(FAC(e))E – saw this one very quickly as I am a bit of a bibliophile, but wouldn’t have thought that Typee was a particularly well-known work.

2 TIRESOME – (remote is)*

5 KITTENISH – must keep reminding myself that in Crosswordland “queen” often means “cat”

6 REMOTE CONTROL – another clever cryptic definition

10 PRIMARY SCHOOL – (rich playrooms)* – excellent

15 TWO-SEATER – haven’t worked out the wordplay for this one yet?

17 MASS-E-NET – Jules Massenet (1842-1912), a French composer, mainly of operas.

19 HINDUS – in “BritisH INDUStry” – not terribly difficult

23 P-A-VAN – a slow dance from the Renaissance period. I have a faint recollection of singing in a French choir while at University, and I think that the song we sang (“Ce mois de mai”) often accompanied the pavane (more common spelling). I may be wrong – it was more than twenty years ago.

21 comments on “23754 – More of a jive than a pavan for me…”

  1. Once again I filled in more than three quarters very quickly for me, indeed the bottom half almost completed itself, but then I became bogged down in the NE corner.

    11 and 13 were the main problems. Even having worked out the answers I needed a dictionary in order to square them with the definitions in the clues and satisfy myself they were both fair enough.

    Other things I learned today: the Herman Melville novel “Typee” and the card game “skat” at least with that spelling; I think I may have seen “scat” before.

    Candidates for COD: 1a, 25a, 8d and 15d, but my nomination goes to 9A as it raised a smile when I spotted the answer.

    I found 19d a bit lazy and the answer very obvious as a result. Also I think the definition may be a bit dodgy depending on which meaning of Hindu one has in mind. No doubt we’ll hear from the colonel if it is.

  2. 8:34 – 18A felt weak until I saw the significance of the word “well” just now. Knowing Typee and skat helped.

    Although there is a card game called scat, it’s nothing to do with skat – which is a very good game indeed, once you get used to the trick-taking and scoring rules, both unfamiliar to most British card players.

    I liked the clue at 17D, even though it’s a “musical mafia” one.

    1. Have to admit MASSENET was a lucky guess for me, entered without fulling understanding the wordplay. The “and French” element gave me ET at the end, so the rest didn’t make sense. Very grateful for dhogg’s explanation!

      6D is my COD as I’m a sucker for well-worded CDs.

  3. I loved 15a. Here “air” = “song” in this case “Daisy, Daisy” If you know the rest of the first verse you’ll spot the reasoning.
  4. Never heard of Massenet, though I concede I should probably have been able to work it out from the wordplay. There were lots of good clues again today – I really liked the definition for 10d.
    I didn’t have anything to time myself by today, so I’ll say 2 minutes. 9ac, fittingly, is my COD
  5. Found this one difficult. But now that I am learning (from this blog) to appreciate clues as well as just try and solve them this was an enjoyable 1 hr + for me. COD would be 9 but also liked 18 and 22 (because it is nice to see Iraq feature just as a crossword clue). 23 deserves a mention for the nice use of ‘deliberately’ I feel. The pavane is a slow dance after all.
  6. I’m very impressed with (a) the setter and (b) anyone who can solve this in less than ten minutes.

    Lots of super clues, with hardly a jarring surface anywhere. My favourites are 9A, 22D, 26A. Agree on skat, best card-game for three, very big in Germany.

  7. Intended to mention this earlier and forgot, but 13A would have been my COD were it not for 6D. Does anyone remember when “Trunk with twisted roots” was the ONLY clue for TORSO?
    Years ago, in a deliberate attempt to attack this old chestnut, I spotted the T + OR SO alternative and offered something along the lines of “Elephant’s tail, something like the trunk”.
    Today’s offering is an excellent development of the same elements, and how good it is to finally see a trunkotomy.
    I’ve already stated my COD intentions but I hope this excellent clue gets some more recognition.
  8. i hate rugby (i decided too early on line-out instead of DROP-OUT which made the SE corner hard).

    My fav clue is 14A… smooth surface and clever construction.

  9. My times for this week were:

    Sat 6.57, Mon 5.22, Tue 5.10, Wed (Comp) 4.48, Thu 8.01, Fri 5.38, Total (excluding Wed) 31.08. Sorry to post these here, but am out of time and have lost track of where they should be going.

    More than once, including today, I felt I was struggling to get a start, and then just started filling in longer answers. Odd.

    1. Mr Magoo starts filling in answers? Whatever next!
      I’m afraid that doesn’t exactly rank in my top ten of oddities 🙂
  10. One sitting (or lying-down in this case, getting over some allergies), just on 10 minutes, slow start, fast finish. Guessed “skat”, but wordplay made it pretty obvious, also guessed “typeface”, but easier when the definition is known.
  11. 8:49 for me, but it should have been a lot faster. I had a ghastly series of senior moments with 18A, which I kept coming back to knowing exactly what was wanted but completely unable to think of the word HYPOCHONDRIA until I had all but one of the crossing letters (and even then I had to think very hard); and I somehow managed to type in ASAAC for 21A, leading me to waste time trying to fit BAHAIS into 19D (this was before I’d solved 24A). No problem with MASSENET though :-).

    Lots of enjoyable clues again today, but my vote for COD goes to 1A (with 15D as runner-up).

  12. I took some time to get HYPOCHONDRIA. The word order of the clue strikes me as very misleading, though just about justifiable if you mentally mess around with the punctuation. To lead the solver to the answer the clue should say: “Cause of ill-feeling one well may experience”. The only way to make sense of the clue as it stands is to read it as: “Cause of ill-feeling one may, well, (ie when well) experience”. Legitimate, but for me it’s straining the natural word order a bit too much. When I solved it I didn’t feel I’d been hitherto deceived by a really neat clue.
  13. I was baffled by 8D (CRAYON) but it seems no-one else had any trouble with it, since it’s not mentioned.
    R. Saunders
  14. Eight “easies” left out of this blog. Some have been mentioned above but here they are in full:

    21a Patriarch IS A leader of Ancient Clan, originally (5)
    IS A A C

    25a One played badly in football team at home (7)
    VILLA IN. A villain may be played extremely well of course. It depends on the script and the actor. Perhaps reflects Aston Villa’s recent form??

    26a Inconspicuous part of agreement that makes little impression (5,5)

    4d A stone circle erected, last in series (5)
    O MEG A. A GEM O upside-down.

    7d Speculation of political type he’s entertained (6)
    T HE ORY

    8d Stick to colour of cold fabric (6)

    16d Aggressive pressmen following British group of young celebrities (4,4)

    20d Old man covering an object of worship in temple (6)
    P A GOD A

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