23,760 – Bish! Bash! Bosh!

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
A good crossword to mark my last Times for the Times blog (at least for the time being!).

I found this one quite challenging at times with some of the answers sitting on the tip of my tongue, but refusing to come any further. I nearly wrote in SUB EDITOR for 16dn, then realised that the requisite letters were not in the anagram fodder, but couldn’t get the phrase out of my head, and spent a couple of minutes trying to sort out why it couldn’t be that. I had the same problem with 19, which I wanted to be BOSH for some reason, possibly thinking of “botch”, and I also wanted 11ac to start with EX-, so all in all, I went down every blind alley that the setter wanted me to.

But I got there in the end. Solving time – approximately 17 minutes.

I have enjoyed writing these blogs, and hope to return (if Peter will have me) in future, once that annoying thing called “Real Life” stops taking up so much of my precious crosswording, reading, movie-watching time.


1 DANCER – one of those clues that seem really obvious after you have solved it. Almost my COD – I don’t think the “say” is necessary, and I think the more accepted spelling in this country is RUDOLPH, but I wouldn’t die in a ditch over it.


9 MALE-F(ACT)OR(m) – Assuming that this is supposed to be an &lit. clue, I find it a little weak, as a MALEFACTOR would not be keeping the law. The question mark only slightly mitigates my objection, in my opinion.

11 TEMP-LATE – I spent a minute or so, looking for words beginning EX

12 ONE-GIN – depending on who you are, “one gin” might not keep you below the limit!

13 (<=TA)XI – simple but effective

15 C(hai)(LASSIE)R

18 C(id)-O(MEDIA)N – “cracker” = one who makes wisecracks, presumably. Personally, I don’t like the capital letter on “Cracker”, as the word it is cluing wouldn’t necessarliy have a capital letter.

19 BISH(op)

21 SINGLE – a hit in cricket.



27 BE(DM)AKER – I could have done with one of these when I was a student, but then I didn’t go to Oxbridge, so my bed was never made!


3 CHEAP-SIDE – a part of London, important in medieval times as it was the site of a large market.

4 RE-A-(<=NAG) – I assume that this refers to Ronald Reagan, who certainly appeared in Westerns (eg The Cattle Queen of Montana), although I think “fans” (if he had any) would take issue at describing him as a Western actor, as he appeared in many other types of movies (romance, war etc). I suppose he is Western (ie from the West, rather than, say, Bollywood, but that would apply to almost all actors in our ken, I would think.

5 FATHER CONFESSOR – (NHS offers care to)*


8 HAN(DINES)S – I’ve seen that clue somewhere before

14 ABOMINATE – (to be mania)*

16 SOB SISTER – (boss tries)* – a journalist who specialises in sentimental stories

17 BITE BACK (I think)

20 (TIM-MAD)<=

24 comments on “23,760 – Bish! Bash! Bosh!”

  1. Is 4d a reference to Ronald Reagan? If so, he may have been many things including an actor who made the odd Western, but by no stretch of the imagination could he be described as a Western star. But maybe I’m missing something.

    RH fell into place quite easily but I struggled a bit LH, especially the NW corner, though this contained by COD 1a with it’s seasonal reference. The approach of the Christmas party season made me wonder whether 12a might be putting out the wrong message but I suppose the question mark at least gives some pause for thought.

    I note there is yet more meat at 3d. It seems to have been a theme this week.

  2. 7:06 for this. Some good clues – my COD is 5D with 14, 16, 17 close behind. 1 would have been top but I think the “say” is unnecessary given the question mark. Briefly tempted by OREGON at 12 (Eugene is its capital), and more excusably first wrote DAMNED at 20D – fellow = Den rather than Tim.
  3. NW corner the stumbling block here – though found Reagan in the comments above and that let me finish it.
    I liked 1Ac, but the answer is obvious even if you don’t know the names of all the deer, so prefer 5ac which I’ve not come across in the Times before.
    16d had me writing in subeditor till I realised it didn’t go with the anagram.
    Good fun today though.
  4. A nice puzzle. About 40 minutes again to solve. REAGAN had me wondering if REA is a star but if it is I can’t find it. In addition to the other good clues already mentioned TAXI at 13 across and COMEDIAN at 18 across have their merits. I quite like “cracker?” as a definition. A difficult choice but I’ll go with 14 down as my COD. Jimbo.
  5. NW corner was my undoing. I still can’t figure out 9A, but suppose it must be intended as an &lit. And I assume 2D is APACE, with L subtracted from PLACE=TOWN? Also, CORPORAL defined as ‘officer’ held me up; I see Chambers gives ‘corporal’ as an NCO, whereas I’d thought only sergeants and sergeants-major could be so described.

    Thanks for the blogs, dhogg. ‘Real life’ can be a real nuisance!

  6. … more thanks for your work on both the blogs. I’m sure we’ll be able to find something for you to do if you come back.
  7. Best wishes dhogg – hope you’ll be back once real life has demonstrated to you its inferiority alongside crossword life.

    I thought this was a very entertaining puzzle with several classy moments. Didn’t time myself and needed the blog to fill a couple of gaps that had me beaten fair and square. A close call for COD between 10A (tightly contained theme) and my eventual choice 11A – partly for its convincing tidiness and partly because I work alongside a bunch of dragons so this clue allowed me a temporary glimpse into a fantasy world.

    You see? Crossword life / real life – no contest!

  8. I assumed that REAGAN is a double allusion to RR as a “star of the West” during the cold war, as well as his perhaps less illustrious appearances in Westerns (the films)…
  9. This finished off a bit of a bad week for me, only completing 2 out of 6. Although some of the clues were very good, I just didn’t enjoy it at all. My vote goes to 9ac.
    Is 2d APACE and, if so, why so? Is there a town call ALPACE,APALACE or APACALE?
    Jimbo, in 4dn on=re and a=a.
    1. 2D is APACE, but “a town” is just “a place” (as anon says above) – for place, Collins has “a geographical point, such as a town, city etc.”. That old “a=A” trick is worth considering whenever you’re stuck and (a) the possible answer has an A in it, and (b) the clue uses the word “a”.

      Edited at 2007-11-16 02:57 pm (UTC)

  10. Enjoyed this one a lot – Reagan took a while to work out, but before he was a politician, he was a movie star of some truly awful Westerns. We gto both meat and e coli in this one, thankfully kept at opposite corners!

    Thanks for the good work, dhogg! As one of your successors, I hope I can keep up the fine standard.

  11. Peter —

    Although Eugene is a large city in Oregon, it’s not the capital. Salem is.

    John M

    1. Whoops – should have known by now that in most cases, a US State’s capital is not the city you’d expect. My mind was feeding on late 70s distance running memories, in which Eugene means Nike and Steve Prefontaine.
      1. Reminds me of that favourite (at least in my world) trick quiz question “Which US state’s capital is Augusta?”
        I’d also like to say thanks to dhogg for the blogs. I feel there is a humorous poem to be made somewhere but I will desist!
  12. Tough one.

    I thought the ‘say’ in 1a was necessary due to the misspelling of ‘Rudolph’. Say as in pronounced.

    Anyway, that one gets my clue of the day!

  13. Please explain the wordplay for:
    9. malefactor and
    27. bedmaker …. I assume it’s be(dm)aker What’s dm?
    1. DM = Deutschmark, the former currency of Germany now replaced by the Euro, hence “obsolete money” in the clue.
  14. 9 ac: MALE plus F(ACT)OR[m], “form” being police slang for “criminal record”.

    27 ac: DM = deutschmark, now replaced by the euro.

  15. Another very enjoyable puzzle (9:43). I was far slower than I ought to have been with 1A: I thought of DANCER immediately, but failed to see the wordplay, and in fact this was the last answer to go in – despite which, I nominate it as my COD (and was glad to the final question-mark included). And I agonised for some time over 17D, since I don’t recall coming across that meaning of BITE BACK before.
  16. My COD would be DANCER — I thought had a clever surface (with team hinting at side which, given Nureyev, hinted at the cold war). Had the same problem with red-herrings (EX, BOSH). 11A is also a close runner-up (I wanted it to be PLAYMATE at first!)
  17. There are seven “easies” omitted from the blog. Some are explained in the comments above but here they are in full:

    10a Bet placed about start of National (4)
    PU N T

    25a Round vegetable turned in creamy dressing (4)
    MAY O. O YAM backwards. Could lead to 24d if not properly cooked?

    28a Queasy feeling at home? Go to bed (4,2)

    2d A learner pulls out of town at speed (5)
    A P (L) ACE

    7d Drink containing double amount of soft fruit (5)
    A PP LE

    22d It’s dark in iGLOO Mostly (5)

    24d Cause of infection making you (recoil)* in panic and run away (1,4)
    E-COLI. Anag of RECOIL minus R.

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