23809 – Get Thy Bearings

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 25m40s

A nice gentle start to the week after some of the monsters last week. Nothing particularly held me up – I checked WELT and ELIAN after solving, although I was reasonably sure I’d seen them before.I wrote DAMPEN in fairly quickly but wasn’t sure about the wordplay – see below.


1 LIVED,IN – LIVED=devil reversed + IN=home.
11 IN THE DOGHOUSE (anagram of ‘ones hide tough’)
13 BO[ok],HEM(1)AN
22 EN(COURAGE,MEN)T – ENT=Ear, Nose and Throat.
26 PUB,LICIT,Y=’start of you’
27 EARL,YON – EARL=nobleman, YON=that


3 D,WELT – a welt is a decorative border of a garment or pocket. I looked this after solving to check.
4 NOB,LEMAN – BON=good in French, reversed + LEMAN is an archaic term for lover.
5 [f]OREGON[e]
6 A,PATH,ETIC=cite, reversed
7 INCLUDE, sounds like ‘ink lewd’.
12 OBL,ITERATE – OBL=heart of prOBLem.
18 SUCCOUR, sounds like sucker.
20 EN(TWIN)E – east-north-east is the bearing.
21 DAM,PEN – I am not entirely sure about the second mother ‘PEN’ – at first I thought it referred to swans, but a pen isn’t necessarily a mother; then I thought it might refer to an author – I think the second is more likely. Any ideas?
23 ELIAN, initial letters – Elian refers Charles Lamb, who wrote as Elia.

18 comments on “23809 – Get Thy Bearings”

  1. I completed most of it in record time but then became bogged down in the SE quarter with 16 (very annoyed I didn’t spot the anagram), 19, 20, 21 and 26 resisting all attempts at solving for a while.

    Must try harder!

  2. An odd mix of really good good and the occasional questionable; INCLUDE = INK LEWD? The use of “lived” in the 3D clue sort of spoiled 1A a bit as well.
    But some lovely examples here too. 15A looks very obvious but can’t remember seeing it used before, liked the use of “spit” in 20D, the innocuous use of “make” in 14D, and 12D gets my COD for linking the def with the nice “heart of problem” = OBL.

    Incidentally, I’ll be posting the link to todays poll in tomorrow’s blog – gives people time to put forward their noms.

  3. 8:25 for this, slowed down a little at the end by failing to spot butcher’s = look. (If kevin_in_NY found his way to this answer despite the rhyming slang (“butcher’s hook”) and erst for “at first”, he should pat himself on the back!)

    21D: I’d vote for the lady swan unless ‘author’ is listed as a meaning of mother in COD/Collins.

    1D, 14 and 20 would be my COD shortlist.

    1. Thanks for inquiring after my welfare, but no way did I get butcher’s = ‘look’. I still don’t get it; I was suspicious there was some Cockney rhyming slang involved here. Insidious. I breezed through everything but this and 14D in about 20 minutes, and then got entirely stuck, so ended without those 2 solved. I still don’t get 14D either.
  4. 19A held me up for ages at the end, otherwise quite straightforward. 17A as COD, not difficult but a very convincing cricketing surface.
  5. Straightforward today, though got stuck on Butchers and Entwine for some reason.

    Must admit I thought Pen as a female swan a bit dodgy for “Mother”.

    7D (include) would be my COD, but then I’m not a purist.

  6. I agree a straightforward puzzle with some nice clues and a couple of silly niggles. “Pen” and “ink lude” have already been mentioned and what is the function of the word “attending” at 10 across? 1 down is a nice hidden word and I liked the use of “doctor” at 16 down but I go for 14 down as COD. 25 minutes to solve.Jimbo.
    1. Collins gives “attend” = “follow”, Jimbo, so I think it fits (SCOT following A).
      1. Of course it does! Thanks jackkt (and others) for pointing out my error. I must be going senile. I’m off to lean on the 5 bar gate, suck a straw and look even dafter than usual. Jimbo.
  7. I also thought it largely straightforward, but got stuck at the end for some time on BUTCHERS. Like a previous contributor I also objected to the superfluous “attending” in 10ac, which led me to write AT for the final letters before I finally got the answer.
    1. Possibly fooled into disregarding the “a” in this clue? I think the setter is indicating that SCOT is placed after A – although it’s easy to read Caledonian = A Scot.
    2. Normally the sort who gets worked up at the sight of needless padding in clues I don’t, however, agree that “attending” is superfluous, as it’s needed both for the cryptic bit and the surface. Seems OK to me, anyway.
  8. Easy top half but a much slower bottom. At first I kicked myself at taking so long to get BUTCHERS, but then I saw others had problems with it too, so now I don’t feel so bad. I’m a little surprised that 24d hasn’t been mentioned. I got it wrong, finally guessing Ryde, which I think is a place on the Isle of Wight and could, therefore, also be a port. Didn’t even consider TYRE. Must study my Lebanese ports. 13a gets my COD vote. An enjoyable on today, but it’s my turn for the self-kickers.
  9. Gentle start to week – was slowed down by online version having 27A as ‘four’ rather than ‘4’ – but hopefully the suggestions made will sort that out in the future and I should have remembered. Was not sure about ‘sucker’ as vulnerable person and – seems more gullible than vulnerable – but I don’t have a dictionary to hand.


  10. 17 minutes here, seems like with many others it was the SE corner. I liked the construction in 26A, I agonised over BUTCHERS for a while, but putting it in helped out the rest of the puzzle.
  11. I had much the same experience as others. I’d completed three-quarters of the puzzle (23/30) in a clean sweep making fairly good time, but then hit the buffers with BUTCHERS and struggled through the rest of the SE corner, finishing in a disappointing 9:33.

    I quite like the surface reading of 13A (BOHEMIAN), but I wouldn’t vote for it as my COD because of the use of “was” – I think the present tense really has to be used in the wordplay to indicate inclusion. Instead I’ll go for 26A (PUBLICITY) for its neat construction.

  12. The BUTCHERS(-HOOK) at 19a was my LOI but not because I had forgotten about CRS. I just had a bit of a problem equating AGGRESSIVE and BUTCH. They might go together but equally they might not. Just sayin’.

    There are 10 answers not in the blog:

    5a Address in (Ontario)* misspelt (7)

    10a Caledonian attending a sporting venue (5)
    A SCOT. No problem for me to have attending meaning coming after.

    17a Batting, decided to take on cover (6)
    IN SURE. Nice cricket surface. Was it 3rd party or deep extra?

    25a A room that’s up high (5)
    A LOFT

    28a Working (on geese)* from Italy (7)

    1d In battLE A Dragoon is shot (4)

    8d (He torments)* shifty characters at the bottom of the pile (10)

    14d Decorative woodwork – make sample (9)
    MARQUE TRY. Marque = make especially in classic cars? Marquetry pictures can be exquisite. I tried it in my youth and it is harder than one might think to get it right. I did not.

    16d Doctor (urges pub)* to disclose dangerous sort of bacterium (8)
    SUPERBUG. I messed around with DR and MO and MB for far too long before I remembered Doctor as an anagrind.

    24d Band in port (4)
    TYRE. A port in Lebanon. If my memory serves me correctly it was referred to in the Bible along with a port to the north as “Tyre and Sidon”.

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