23821 – You Ain’t Going Nowhere

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I did about half last night and finished this morning – probably about an hour altogether. It seemed pretty difficult last night, but not too bad this morning.
There are some interesting clues and a few words that I didn’t know.


5 SARA,TOGA – I’d vaguely heard of the Battle of Saratoga but I don’t think they talk about much in British schools.
9 P(ART,IS,)AN – first to go in – I’m used to seeing PARTISAN and ART linked in crosswords.
10 CUTTER – not sure what’s cryptic about this. It is C+UTTER, thanks to a commenter – I was fairly sure I’d missed something.
12 GUN,GAD,IN – I read the poem Gunga Din ages ago and didn’t remember he was a water-carrier. Wordplay got this for me – GAD is one of the tribes of Israel.
14 BATTLEGROUND – wordplay in the answer i.e. tablet=anagram of battle.
17 IN,CON(SIS)TENT – IN=home, SIS=sister – for a short while I thought home might be tent.
20 DOWNTOWN – Bangor is the town in County Down, not the city in Wales that I first thought of.
22 TREPAN – anagram of parent; I wasn’t sure about the ‘once’ in 22 at first, so I checked Chambers: “an obsolete cylindrical saw for perforating the skull” – the more usual trepan isn’t a saw.
25 OVERHEAR=”over here”


3 F(A,T,HERB)ROWN – T=”task initially” and HERB=simple – I looked this up to check but as soon as I saw the definition I knew that I knew it. I really enjoy the Father Brown stories and GK Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday is one of my all-time favourite books.
4 DES,CAR(T)ES – T=”origin of thinking” &lit – I currently have Discourse on The Method on my desk (and I have read some of it).
5 SEN(E,G)AL – SENAL=lanes reversed.
6 RICIN=”rice in”
7 T(0)T – TT=teetotaller; I guess the thinking is a teetotaller won’t have a tot.
8 GR(EC1)ANS – EC1 is the London postal code of Clerkenwell.
15 GUEST BEER – a clever cryptic definition.
18 SEN,TOUT – sen is a monetary unit in Japan.
19 C(ANA)AN – preseved here means put in can, I think; this took a while – I didn’t know that meaning of ana.
21 0,L,DIE

25 comments on “23821 – You Ain’t Going Nowhere”

  1. I made rather heavy weather of this one I’m afraid and having solved it in just under an hour I don’t understand why it took me so long as there was nothing really difficult in it. The only word new to me was ANA, and that’s merely part of the wordplay in 19.

    I’m not sure that “Once” is required in 22.

    My COD is 21 for its cheery sentiment. It’s just what was needed by somebody beginning to feel their age and struggling to complete a not very difficult crossword puzzle on a dreary January morning !

    1. I wasn’t sure about the ‘once’ in 22 at first, so I checked Chambers: “an obsolete cylindrical saw for perforating the skull” – the more usual trepan isn’t a saw.
      1. Thanks, I suppose “once” might make it a little easier or clearer but I think it still works perfectly without it.
  2. Sen hasn’t been a Japanese currency unit for more than half a century. Malaysia still use theirs though.


    1. Thanks for that, Steve – I’ve learned most three-letter words from a Scrabble dictionary. The link with Japan is mentioned there – now I can sound even more knowledgeable when playing Scrabble!
  3. 7:32 – as so often with x-ref clues, saw SARATOGA as a possibility from wordplay and then wondered what 14 might be.
  4. 20 minutes or so, which felt reasonably quick, but was stumped by 19D and needed the blog.
    Lots to be enjoyed here and the four &lit/semi &lit clues at 10A, 4D, 7D and 21D were excellent, the first of these getting my COD vote for its simple deception.
    Well done to the setter for an entertaining start to the week.
  5. My worst performance since memory began, with 12 missing! I just couldn’t get going and, even worse, I have nothing to complain about.

    COD to 15dn, one that I didn’t get. I think I had too much of it over the weekend.

  6. A super one, though I was defeated by the south east corner. Couldn’t think of Guest, though I knew it was some kind of beer. Great fun, but life was too short to finish it and I came here for the last 6 answers!

    Love 4D, 14A and 25A – any of these for COD.

  7. Alas I am undone… never heard of guest beer, I wrote in “Green Beer” thinking of the tradition around St Patrick’s day where coloured beer makes the rounds, and that kept me from the SE corner. I need to make an avatar of me looking stupid(er than I usually do).
  8. This took longer than Monday puzzles usually do, about 50 minutes for some reason. As a paid-up oldie I dislike 21 down on principle. Don’t beat yourself up about GUEST BEER, it’s a relatively new innovation that came about when legislation watered down the tie between brewer and publican and allowed other brewer’s beers into tied houses. My favourite clue has to be 4 down because Descartes is a hero of mine and I love the construction. Jimbo.
  9. 16:38 for me, which felt quite slow at the time. However, having seen some other times maybe it’s not too bad an effort. As a member of CAMRA I’ll have to go for 15d as my COD, very good cryptic def.
  10. I’d go for 14A as COD as well. About 17 mins for me, around average. I share Jimbo’s reservations about 21D.
  11. GUEST BEER was new to me as well. dorsetjimbo is right that one of its meanings is a beer offered (in a tied public house)in addition to those produced by the brewery concerned; but it is apparently also the term used (in a free house) for a beer that is available only temporarily, which seems to be the meaning alluded to here (“experience for a while”). We live and learn.

  12. GUNGA DIN (which I didn’t know) defeated me, and wasn’t at all what I was expecting – the letter pattern (G?N?A ?I?) rang a loud bell but I must have been thinking of ‘Genoa cake’ or possibly even ‘Genoa jib’. But ‘tribe’ = GAD really should have occurred to me.
    1. The clue is an &lit. – the def is the whole clue – “one to produce key, say” = CUTTER = (e.g.) key cutter.
  13. Took all day, off and on, and still didn’t know ‘guest beer’, or 27A or 19D. SARATOGA was a sop to the Americans here, but it took me a while to get ‘over hear’, since when we think of that position it’s ‘over there’, or ‘overseas’. Regards, have a wonderful week.
  14. It just shows you: don’t rely on those electronic things. In despair at ever solving 15D I gave up and the only thing it gave me was GREAT BEAR, which I naively assumed to be the answer without being able to explain it.
  15. 11:50 for me, with too much of it spent thinking about 15D. With the final three crossing letters in place, I thought of GREAT BEAR (but surely the second word had to be BEER!?) and was alarmed to have it confirmed as the other two crossing letters fell into place. Fortunately I resisted the temptation and eventually remembered GUEST BEER.

    The other clue that took me a long time to justify was 9A, where I was assuming that “savage” was a noun or adjective rather than a verb (I thought at one point that the setter might be thinking of the god Pan as a savage, which wouldn’t have been at all appropriate).

    Apart from 21D (OLDIE), which I join Jimbo in disliking, I thought this was a very fine puzzle. I’ll go for 14A (BATTLEGROUND) as my COD, as I always like that kind of construction.

  16. 15d was a tricky one even for Real-Ale enthusiasts. No wonder it had some of the (ex) colonial types in a bit of a tizz.

    There are 5 answers not in the blog:

    1a Irritated as iron dumped in lake (6)
    CHA Fe D. Lake Chad is more of a dried-up lake bed in recent times.

    11a Philosopher (can see)* that’s wrong (6)
    SENECA. An ancient Roman philosopher clued with an anagram. Easy for classics types I suppose?

    13d (Last pope – his)* moving role in the church (11)
    APOSTLESHIP. It took me until I had most of the checkers to get this one.

    16d Like betting that’s going as expected (2,6)

    24d Drink and talk endlessly (3)
    CHA (T)

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