23,788 – not as hard as I feared

Solving time: 7:20

I didn’t find this too hard, but did know the name needed at 1D – which is my COD as the anag is so apposite. Bight=loop of rope was new to me at 3D.

1 ROSE,BUD – “Girl’s” = “girl has”, American friend = BUD.
5 SURREY – “this county” tips the balance for this answer rather than ‘survey’.
8 RAIN GAUGE – ref. “raining cats and dogs”
11 COP,’IT
12 LAVISHING – ravishing = delightful with first letter changed
13 ACTED OUT – anag. wordplay in the answer for ‘cadet’
15 PRUNUS – R in rev. of sun-up. Genus of trees including cherry as well as the fairly obvious plum
17 HEART=cordiality,H=husband
19 SCARF,ACE – scarf = a type of joint in carpentry, which I happened to see in another puzzle recently
24 TARSI = (is rat) rev.
25 CONGE(N.I.)AL – for non-Brits, “Six counties” = Northern Ireland = N.I.
26 (a)RE(a),C.E.,SS. – an apse is a recess. You can read “saints” as two instances of S = Saint, or as SS = Saints.
1 RORSCHACH TEST – anag. of “Cor the shr(ink) acts”, &lit. – it’s that psychological test where you say what shapes you see in an ink blot.
2 SNIP,PET = – informally, a snip is something easily done, as well as a bargain
3 BIGHT = BIG H(i)T – a bight is a loop of rope as well as a large bay. A six is cricket’s equivalent of a home run, though not valued quite as highly.
4 DOUBLE UP = “UP UP” = “U pup”
5 SLEEVE – not sure whether the “something to hide” part of the clue refers to the expression “up one’s sleeve” or the facts that a sleeve hides most of your arm.
6 RE(GIST,R)AR – nearly confused my def’s here – a registrar is an official, but could also be the “record-holder” of the previous clue!
10 MA(GI’S)TERIALLY – “a great deal” = to a significant extent = materially. I must admit to thinking of “magisterially” as a synonym of “majestically”, not as “dicatorially”, but the dictionary says otherwise.
14 DETERMIN=(tired men)*,E
16 S(C.H.)OONER – C.H. = Companion of Honour“.
18 AS=Arsenic,PER SE = intrinsically
20 ANTHILL – thin* in all=everyone
21 KNOCKS = “Knox

14 comments on “23,788 – not as hard as I feared”

  1. This one gave me some serious problems and took just under the hour having spent about a quarter of that time on 1d alone. I gave in and looked it up eventually.

    My COD so far is 8 but I have a feeling I might choose the other dog clue, 4, when I finally get my head round it. The answer was obvious at first glance but the wordplay is giving me trouble. Is it DOUBLE (U)P where “young dog” = P(U)P and U=superior?

    Nice to see SCARFACE for “gangster” at 19 as a change from good old Al.

    My last in was 15. Another good clue, but for a tree not listed in Collins. Chambers had it though.

  2. UP + UP = U PUP, a ‘superior young dog’. I liked 5D and 16D, less enthusiastic about 5A where I debated between SURREY and SURVEY for a while.
    1. Thanks,Anon. I had all the right elements but didn’t get them to jell. I think I shall nominate it as my COD now I fully understand it.
  3. Yes, harder than yesterday, which should make most people happier. I think the answer to 5 across is SURREY being “survey” with “v” turned to “r”. I thought 15, 17 and 19 across were a run of nice clues and agree it makes a change not to have dear old “Al”. Luckily I’d already got 10 down so didn’t mess about trying to put “isal” at the end of 19. About 35 minutes to solve. Jimbo.
  4. 17 minutes, I think. I’d heard of the Rorschach Ink Blot Test before, so that came easy (especially as I’d already got the R). I found the right hand side really trick. I didn’t understand SURREY at the time (thanks anon). I’m just waiting now to see if my guess at 17a is correct. I considered HEARTY and HEALTH before plumping for HEARTH, but I couldn’t really justify any. I sense a pending need for the self-kickers.
    Another very enjoyable one. My COD goes to 4d for the a-ha moment it provided.
    1. I think 17 across is HEART+H where heart=cordiality, h=husband and hearth=home circle (defined as such certainly in Chambers). Jimbo
  5. Took about an hour, on and off, distracted by many other things this morning. 15ac was a guess from the wordplay, scarface was the last to go in. I’m going to be in Australia for the next three weeks with limited commenting/posting/crossword downloading opportunities – see everyone soon and enjoy whatever you celebrate.
  6. I agree with Peter B in nominating 1D as COD. An exceptionally good anagram, I thought, where the surface reading of the anagram ingredients made witty sense relevant to the answer.
  7. Yes, harder, took over an hour; the clue for ‘double up’ made it clearly the answer, but I didn’t get ‘2 times up’ until I read the explanations above, very nifty. I really liked ‘prunus’ also.
  8. I didn’t manage to get 17a or 18d – and only just got 5a, since I spent a long time trying to work out if it was Surrey or survey. To be honest, I’m not sure either can really be justified, but I agree with Peter in leaning towards Surrey. A few nice clues today, my favourite probably being 6d.
  9. I got off to a sluggish start with this one but finished in rather better style, eventually taking 8:47. I was less keen than others on 1D: I bunged in RORSCHACH TEST without bothering to work out the wordplay at the time, and felt the surface reading was a bit too forced (as is so often the case with &lit clues).

    I’ll go for 4D as my COD, but I quite liked 5A as well and had absolutely no doubt that SURREY was the required answer.

  10. Even with B?G?T I couldn’t find BIGHT — both defs were beyond me. Oh well. I actually liked 13A for the reverse wordplay and the sensible surface.


  11. Strictly speaking, a schooner isn’t a ship, but a boat. Among sailing vessels, you only get to be a ship if you’re square-rigged on all three of your masts. Of course, for modern liners and destroyers and what-all, there’s some other set of rules.


  12. I cannot see the ambivalence expressed by comments about 5a.

    5a Review showing very little’s right in this county (6)
    SURREY. Clearly where the V ( = very little) is substituted by an R (=right) in the Review or SURVEY to give SURREY the county.

    Five “easies” deemed to simple to be explained:

    8a Good opportunity for man to forge a partnership (5)
    G ROOM. Here ROOM = opportunity as in “room for improvement”? I found that a bit obscure.

    22a Noun operates unusually in contrived speech (9)
    ESPERANTO. Anagram of (N)oun and OPERATES. A change to have noun for N instead of new. An “idealised” European language in which irregular verbs are banished – but it appears that nouns may still operate unusually! Just like moves to regularise spelling in English – it will never catch on.

    27a Top peoples payment for literary work? (7)
    ROYALTY. What do you mean top people? I never voted for them!

    7d European’s son expelled from public school (7)
    E (S) TONIAN. Where 27a’s kids go?

    23d Small like the numbers between twelve and twenty? (5)

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