23,819 – Care taken

Solving time: 9:45 

This would have been all over in about 6 minutes were it not for 27a and 17d, which between them took me just over 3 minutes. Lots of good solid clues but my favourite was 11d. 

5 (PIECES)* – SPECIE, which is money in the form of coins rather than notes.
10 STUNTS – the last one I filled in, probably because I thought the clue was a cryptic def rather than a simple double def.
16 (SKIER COLD)* – ROCKSLIDE. “Slide” leapt out of the anagram fodder as soon as I read the clue.
18 AGED in STO[-p],OR – I had a few letters in place for this one so I filled in the answer without really working out the wordplay. A dangerous tactic but it seemed a safe enough bet in this case.
19 hidden in “casserolE NO KIdding” – if you asked me before I solved this puzzle to name some mushrooms ENOKI wouldn’t have been mentioned but if you’d asked me if ENOKI was a mushroom then I would said yes quite confidently. Funny how the brain works like that sometimes.
25 (A HOLM OAK)* – OKLAHOMA. Not the most convincing anagram I’ve ever seen – did anyone take more than a second or two to get this?
27 A,D,U in GRAND – this, and 17d stopped me from getting a very fast time (for me) for this puzzle.
4 CHEQUER (“checker”),BOARD
7 (ON MINI CARS)* – MINOR came out of the fodder first and the remaining letters didn’t look promising until I remembered CANIS from somewhere or other.
11 (TEACHER)*,TAKE,R – THE CARETAKER, by Harold Pinter. My clue of the day I reckon.
17 RN in STEWARD – this, and 27a, was a major stumbling block for me. It’s actually quite a simple clue, which is probably why I went wrong as I thought the wordplay had more components parts to it.
22 initial letters of “Investigation Of Watergate Aftermath”
23 I in PAD

25 comments on “23,819 – Care taken”

  1. Yes, fairly straightforward again apart from a couple.

    If I have met GRADUAND before it went from my mind today. I eventually worked it out from the wordplay having wasted for ever trying to make GRADUATE work and find another solution to 23 that would fit with it.

    I also spent ages trying to justify RETURN at 24 before spotting the obvious right answer.

  2. 6:58 for me – a very quick start but then slowed down, though I didn’t get held up for ages on anything. My COD is 9A which I don’t think I’ve seen before. Very sound clues – can’t see any fairness quibbles.
  3. Maybe you made the connection to Ursa from a couple of days ago. Any bets on seeing Leo turn up next?


  4. Unthinkingly entering GRADUATE for 27 stopped me getting 23 for a while at the end. The two clues that struck me as the most interesting were 11 and 13. I think I’ll go for 11 as COD.
  5. Had to look up 2D but otherwise not too many problems and some delightful clues, one of those days when I ended up with ticks all over the place. Of those not already mentioned I ticked 16A (very clever treatment of unfriendly letters), 5A (I’m a sucker for &lit clues), 3D (someone’s bound to call it chestnutty but can’t say I’ve seen it before) and 8D (superbly smooth, even if anathema to my reputation), but I’m with Pete – COD to 9A.
  6. A very fine crossword, but a bit difficult if you carelessly put ‘deliberation’ in for 20A as I did. I’ll choose 23D as COD.
  7. I’m surprised nobody has pointed out, and complained, that “student” and GRADUAND (or “graduate” for that matter) are not synonymous, even closely.
    1. Collins (one of the Times crossword references) defines “graduand” as “a person who is about to graduate”. That sounds like a student to me.
  8. No!
    Somebody who is about to graduate has (normally) stopped studying some time before.
    1. Well having Googled for graduand and seen that it’s only or nearly only used for people in their gowns just about to receive their degrees at a ceremony, you do strictly speaking have a point. But I suspect the xwd ed would say it’s a minor one.
      1. I know a great many students who have stopped studying some time before, many before even matriculating.

        ‘Graduate’ for GRADUAND cost me some time too; 5:53 in the end, but ROUX was a lucky guess.

  9. My first game of golf this year followed by an excellent puzzle. Who could ask for more. As far as GRADUAND is concerene a student isn’t just somebody who hasn’t yet qualified. A student is anybody who studies a subject. A doctor is a student of medcine. As I don’t think anybody has mentioned them 1 across and 12 across are also nice clues, the puzzle is full of them but I’ll also go for 11 down as the best of them. Jimbo.
  10. 11D’s actually the only one I have reservations about. I’m not sure that the wordplay entirely hangs together. Since ‘teacher’s’ must stand for ‘teacher is…’, it seems to me that we then need something like ‘with’ followed by ‘meeting’ rather than ‘meets’ (which spoils the surface, of course). Or am I being too pernickety?
    1. I don’t have a problem with it.

      “teacher”(anag. indicated by “‘s unusual)=THE CARE
      “interpretation” = TAKE
      “meets resistance” = (followed by) R

  11. I think you need to read the clus as: Drama. Teacher is unusual. Interpretation meets resistance. Jimbo.
    1. It’s just the lack of a link-word such as ‘and’ between the [teacher is unusual] and the [interpretation meets resistance] elements that I’m uncomfortable with. Perhaps wrongly so – I’m interested in others’ views. Maybe the setter would argue it’s deliberately unconnected and ‘Pinteresque’…
      1. I read the clue in exactly the same way as Jimbo, and it seems quite OK to me. I wouldn’t have thought a link-word was necessary (the absence of one certainly didn’t worry me at all).
    1. FAQ! Except that we call it ‘About This Blog’ – one of the ‘links in the sky’ at the top of this page.
  12. Two sittings for this one today so don’t really have a time. I’m kind of frenetic today, but I was relieved because graduand is a word I use on almost a daily basis, so that sped things along.
  13. Phew! The clue that gave me most trouble was 21dn, which I wanted to be BORNE (= lifted), possibly referring to a particularly light alloy (“Born metal”?) developed by the German metallurgist Friedrich Born (brother of the physicist Max Born?). However, fortunately I thought further and eventually came up with the right answer. Slow work, though, in 11:49.

    I thought this was a first-rate puzzle, with several very fine clues, including 5A, 9A, 24A, 27A and 13D, of which I’ll go for 24A as my COD.

  14. I would be grateful if somebody could explain these two clues:
    18: Mostly prevent men going round old part of theatre (5,4)


    26: Issue about getting sister accommodated in pleasant property (3,3)



    1. 18A: ‘Mostly prevent’ is STO(P) and ‘men’ is OR (=Other Ranks); STOOR goes around AGED (‘old’). Tricky, as it’s natural to assume old=O.

      26A: ‘Issue about’ is SEED reversed, ie. DEES. SR (‘sister’) is ‘accommodated’ in this to give DESRES.

  15. I know, it’s late Sunday and this was Friday’s crossword, but I’ve only just got round to solving it. It took just over 20 minutes, and I enjoyed every second. What a stunningly good crossword it was. My nomination for COD is all of them (except 25a)
  16. There are 10 omissions from the blog. At least one has been explained above but here they are in full:

    9a Son having Indian food gets runs (8)

    15a Entertainment of old a theatre company rejected (5)
    O PER A

    24a Finally decide between right and wrong answer (6)
    R E TORT

    26a Issue about getting sister accommodated in pleasant property (3,3)
    DE SR ES

    1d Performers in stage musical, giving twirl at the end (4)
    CATS => CAST

    2d Bitter herb said to make sauce base (4)

    6d Old man’s half-hearted talk (5)
    PAT (T) ER

    8d Be careful of morally suspect female’s charm (4,4,2)

    13d Thought about assigning right and left wingers to team (10)

    21d Lighter piece of metal, say, can be lifted (5)
    BAR GE

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