23,762 – some fast times expected, 21A

Solving time – 7:24. 

Easy start to the week but there were a few answers here and there where I waited for some checking letters before filling anything in. If I’d trusted my instincts and just gone for it I think I would have had a time nearer the 5 minute mark. 19A is still not clear to me though. My COD would be 17D. 

1 (WHO HAD)* – the anagram only occurred to me once I had ???D?H filled in. I think I knew HOWDAH (what you might sit on when you ride an elephant) but didn’t want to commit myself until I had the O in place.
9 F,ESTIVAL – saw this straight away wasn’t 100% convinced that ESTIVAL meant “of summer” so this was another one that I had to wait until some checking letters were in.
11 ERG,I< in FILE – ERG is always the first thing I think of when a clue mentions “measure of work” (or a variation of that) so I got this pretty quickly.
13 UNA,FRA,ID – spent a bit of time pointlessly wondering if there might be a relevant word ending in -BROID.
19 SKITTISH – not sure I completely understand this one. Surely SKIT doesn’t mean the same thing as “hoax”? In “it’s hard and unpredictable” is “unpredictable” both the anagram indicator and the definition. Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
20 WEE< in LAY – was really tempted to fill in LAYMAN but managed to resist.
21 (READY AS I)* – “as I can be” looked quite tempting as the anagram fodder, especially followed by “made, probably”.
24 TIDE,OVER – this was very annoying as I could see it had to be ???? OVER but that first word just wouldn’t come to me.
25 GUY,ANA – an ANA is a collection of anecdotes, literary gossip etc.
4 AVERS in HACK – one of my crosswording blind spots in thinking beyond “ed” for journalist.
5 (I NEVER GET OLDER R)* – with some long anagrams, just to be sure, I write out all the letters of the fodder then cross them off as I spell out the answer but with this one there never seemed any doubt in my mind that GOLDEN RETRIEVER was right.
7 COCK,AT,OO – I guess COCK here means “turn up” in sense of “cock an ear towards the door”?
15 LI in PC in EXIT
16 ON RECORD – easy enough but I thought the surface ready was a bit daft..
17 I,EVER in THY – I really liked this clue and you couldn’t hope for a better surface reading: “I always get caught by your wrong doing”. Excellent.
18 A,CAR in MOON – the surface reading here is even more daft than 16D: “Dream about a vehicle in biscuit”. Come again?
19 SO-AND-SO – “mediocre” is SO-SO so I guess “build-up” indicates adding the “and”?


19 comments on “23,762 – some fast times expected, 21A”

  1. Start to finish without a pause, possibly easiest of the month so far? A generous selection of good clues though – COD 7D was a grinner, especially because part of the solution and “balls” in the clue had me looking in the wrong place (as it were).
    1. Should have been without a pause and my first sub-4 for ages, but stumbled over 21, trying to use ‘as I can be’ as the anag. fodder, so stopped the clock at 4:20.

      COD contenders: 21, 17D (lots of other good ones, but it felt as if I was solving them from memory – these are ones that seem fresh. This isn’t an objection to reusing old clues or old ideas, just my COD selection policy.)

    2. 17a is my favourite for its smart literary references.

      I couldn’t explain how “a fund of reminiscences” became ANA in 25D. Chambers was no help, but trusty Collins came up with the goods in the end.

  2. There’s something amiss in the Crossword Club.

    The Times Cryptic link goes to puzzle 23763 dated November 19th but presumably tomorrow’s puzzle. 23762 is dated November 18th and can be found under Yesterday’s Solution.

  3. Yes, I solved 23,763 at about 06:45 today. So I’m claiming a fastest ever solving time of minus 17 hours and 15 minutes.

    I was struggling to reconcile anax’s and PB’s comments with the crossword I’d solved earlier…

  4. I agree that most of this puzzle is straightforward. I also had problems with 21 across until I realised that “probably” is the definition. In addition to clues already mentioned ONE LINER at 1 down and DETRIUS at 2 down are quite neat. However, I have two problem clues.

    At 9 across I thought the English spelling was “aestival” with the “a” dropped in the US? If I’m correct I think it should be the “summer in the US” or some such indication.

    At 15 across I think “upset” indicates an anagram whereas this is a reversal. So “God who suffers a reversal is cross” is fine but “God, if upset…” is an indirect anagram. Jimbo.

    1. 9A: I think strictly you’re right (without access to dictionaries to check), but the pattern in (a)estival, (o)edema, encyclop(a)edia and so on seems well-known enough for the US version to be understood. But for some irrational reason, ‘center’ or ‘color’ without a ‘US’ indication would bother me more…

      15A: upset = both “disturbed” (anag. indicator) and “overturned” (reversal indicator), I think – so you have to work out which is being used. I think you can rely on the Times puzzle not using indirect anags, so it must be the latter in this case.

    1. Ta for that. SKIT=hoax was in neither of the two dictionaries I’ve currently got access to but I might have known it would be in the Big Red One.
  5. A pleasant 11 minutes here. Didn’t understand 7 dn at the time, but it’s a good ‘un. I wonder if my enjoyment is diminished by trying to achieve a faster time at the expense of fully understanding some clues. My COD is 17d.
  6. What is the “A” for at the beginning of 3D?

    Can you have “a debris” or “a detritus”? Aren’t they both uncountable? I would have thought “Debris I trusted…” would have been better.


    1. Are you working from an electronic copy? My paper copy has “…debris I trusted would be dealt with” (the previous clue ended with “…”). Maybe a gremlin has swapped the “…” for “a” in the electronic version?
      1. Aha!

        I printed it off from the online version. The previous clue is missing the ellipsis at the end as well.

        Mystery solved!


  7. Two short sittings, but easily under 10 minutes here, I guess it was an easy crossword. I thought 23ac was cute, I have a fondness for constructions that go over several words.
  8. I don’t think the surfaces of 16D and 18D are too bad. 16D suggests, to me, some sort of municipal scheme/facility to encourage disposal of needles (not an attractive concept, but quite plausible). I don’t dream of Ferraris in anything other than red, but ‘biscuit’ wouldn’t look too bad on some cars…
  9. I think that 10A is worthy of mention — in fact, I’ll COD it. The surface is very smooth and the def is quite unrelated — very clever.
  10. 7:08 here for a delightful Monday puzzle. 10A is my COD as well – it’s possible that I’ve seen it before, but if so it’s worth repeating.

    Thanks for the explanation about the “A” at the start of the clue to 3D, which had been bothering me.

  11. A quick ‘un for me too – under the half hour.

    There are nine “easies” not in the blog:

    5a Be successful and travel (2,6)

    10a Turned and fled, pusued by police (6)
    RAN CID. Some commenters’ COD.

    12a Necessitate English translation of (Latin)* (6)

    15a God, if upset, would be cross (4)
    EROS. Sore = cross upset or backwards. Some do not like using upset for backwards in an across clue it seems.

    17a Book featuring schoolboy East (4)
    TOM (Brown) E

    22a It’s unclear how stupid fellow grasps university year (6)
    CLO U D Y

    2d Crack I discovered on vessel (3-5)
    ONE LINER. We have to accept that I = 1 here.

    6d Got to know writer with the name Edward (7)
    LEAR N ED. I wonder if Edward Lear was known as Ed?

    8d Take out of the picture subsidiary activity (8)

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