23823 – short and 9

I was a bit disappointed when I stopped the clock – I thought I’d been quick enough to break 5 minutes. As ever, there are ones where I’m now wondering why it took so long.

1 WELLS,F,ARGO – H.G Wells is the author,F=following, but then I’m slightly puzzled – I thought Argo was Jason’s boat and the sailors were the argonauts. And as we learned from WASSAILER recently, a sailer is a boat but a sailor isn’t. Have I missed something?
12 STUFFED SHIRT – cryptic def.
15 TEAG=(get a)*,ARDEN=forest area.
17 A,DEPT.
18 CHEEK – 2 defs including face=insolence
19 DETRACTOR = (rot,carted) all rev.
20 SECOND = “as such earning silver”,CO(U.S.)IN corrected after Berny’s comment
24 I,BE,X
25 DI(SCONCE)RT – sconce = earthwork is my new word meaning for today
26 LUSH – 2 defs
1 WATT = “What?”
2 LATE – 2 defs
4 ALOO,F – aloo = potato in Hindu, Urdu and Sanskrit, says COD – and King Edward is a spud variety.
5 GINGER NUT – cryptic def.
11 AS FAR AS I KNOW – thought at first that this was an allusion to ‘travel broadens the mind’, but it’s just equating the far in the phrase with geographical distance.
14 WATERCRESS – (R in SECRET in SAW), all rev.
21 (d)UNC(L)E
22 WEAR – 2 defs – one being flower=river – the Wear flows through Durham
23 STUD – 2 defs

23 comments on “23823 – short and 9”

  1. I can’t have been the only one to hurriedly put CLOCK at 18A, mildly rebuking the setter because “face” is part of “clock”, not vice versa. The mistake turned my 15 minutes into more like 30!
    Some great clues here in a very enjoyable puzzle. 13D and 22D stood out but COD goes to 27A.
  2. Firstly we have ‘have such earning silver’ in online version ie. not solver

    But, also, why ‘have such earning solver’ suggest second?


  3. I’m having a bad morning though the answers to the puzzle came quite easily. Could someone please explain the first part of 20 again? I just can’t see it.

    My COD is 7D. No contest.

    Am I the only one to be uneasy about 4D? Shouldn’t there be a question mark if King Edward is being cited just as an example of (part of) the solution?

  4. I just assumed that gold=first, silver=second etc. Re ARGO I cannot see why sailor has been used (in the online version). Is this a typo ? If not it’s time for ….. (drum roll)…. ‘Challenge The Setter’ – if the setter reads this, please explain your clue. TIA.
  5. About 16 very enjoyable minutes. However, I share the mystification about ARGO=sailor and the use of King Edward in 4D. 1D probably would not have worked as a homophone for the Scotsman in question. I agree with a previous contributor in choosing 7D as COD (from a strong field).
  6. I’ve deliberately waited until I’ve seen the paper version. It has “sailor” at 1 across so I think this clue is just wrong. Nobody will be surprised that I too don’t like 4 down with no “perhaps” or equivalent, although being an inveterate curry eater I got it straight away. I thought it was a fun puzzle, which took me around 35 interrupted minutes. I particularly like 15 across and 7 down. Jimbo.
  7. Exactly 15 minutes here. Although I got WATERCRESS at 14d, I would never have been able to justify it from the word play, so thanks to PB for that. A very enjoyable crossword today – I really liked the double defs at 2d,22d,26a and 16d, but I’ll follow others with my nomination for COD – 7d.
  8. 14d was well constructed, 1ac just doesn’t seem right, but I’ll admit I was stumped and left 22d unfilled, not being familiar with the river. Egads I’m having a bad week.
  9. The Shorter Oxford gives sailEr as the second definition for sailOr and then defines sailEr as a sailing vessel, but I didn’t think The Times relied on the Shorter Oxford.

    I don’t have a copy of Collins.

  10. Great puzzle, apart from a couple of moans as above.
    19 and 27A for COD.
    ps. I just had this sent:
    I met the bloke who invented crosswords today. I can’t remember his name, it’s P something T something R.
  11. I always thought the expression was “stiff shirt” for somebody over-formal. The clue mentions “full of starch”, which backs up my “stiff” theory, since starch is/was used to stiffen shirts. I can’t see why starch would make a shirt stuffed. Have I missed something or has the setter made two gaffes today?
    1. ‘stuffed shirt’ is what I (and more importantly, the dictionaries) remember. The apparent stiff/stuffed gap is bridged by a colloquial meaning of starch – “stiffness of manner” – which I should have researched and mentioned.
      1. Strange – it’s one of those phrases I’ve known for years and never looked beyond my first interpretation of “stuffed”. For me it was always some kind of reference to the shirt (or clothing generally) simply being stuffed with straw or similar, i.e. something rather meaningless or superficial inside a showy exterior. The stiff/stuffed connection seems to make slightly more sense!

        Quick O/T mention: For those able to pick up BBC Radio Essex, yours truly appears on their Burning Questions programme on Monday, answering questions about sudoku and cryptic crosswords. Do you reckon I might just make casual mention of the blog?

        1. Mentioning us is fine with me. If you do, you’re probaly best off suggesting that they use Google to search for ‘Times crossword blog’. The first hit at present is my puzzles site, which has a link to here. (Probably easier than dictating stuff with underscores – which were a design error on my part!)
  12. Found lots of clever clues amongst very few anagrams for a change. 8d was the last to appear – which I thought was clever. I also liked 20a and 1d but COD is 27a.
  13. Took about 40 minutes with a long break in between. I enjoyed many of these but was surprised to see WELLS FARGO as something anyone but a Yank would solve. It was my final entry, since like many above I considered ‘Jason’ as the sailor. So as an example of blatant USA jingoism it’s my favorite for today.
    1. Many older people here will know the name “Wells Fargo” from the old TV Western series starring Dale Robertson.
  14. Quite well known over here from all sorts of western films & TV series. There really was a Mr Fargo – with a name like that, what else could be do but co-found a stagecoach company?
    1. “There really was a Mr Fargo – with a name like that, what else could be do but co-found a stagecoach company?”

      Yes, and very usefully he rhymed with “cargo” so turning up in Doris Day’s immortal “The Deadwood Stage” courtesy Mr Paul Francis Webster.

  15. No response from the setter in the comments above to resolve the “mythological sailor” does not equal “ARGO” controversy. Despite all this I doubt that there were many who did not get the correct answer and just wonder where the NAUT went. Perhaps it was an accidental edit with “sailer” being corrected to “sailor” by a well-meaning sort?

    There are seven answers not in the blog:

    6a Country (also)* in need of revolution (4)

    9a Direction of taper so fitting (2,3,5)

    10a German king from the East or West (4)
    OTTO. OTTO backwards!

    27a Criminal’s life and death situation? (10)

    7d Marie’s (attention) broken heading for execution (10)

    13d Soup ingredient, yet frozen (5-5)

    16d What’s lost needs finding (9)
    DEDUCTION. Double definition. A DEDUCTION can be, for example, the sum of money LOST from wages and can be the FINDING from a scientific experiment.

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