23,833 – some flowery words

Solving time: 36 mins

Not too bad today – I had to look up a couple of unfamiliar words. A few made me smile – and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?


1 US,U(R)P
4 INCA,HOOTS – I didn’t know that a ruler of the Incas was called an Inca.
10 RE,EVE – I’ve done enough crosswords now to think of reeve and doge when I see magistrate (words I didn’t know a couple of years ago).
12 CRUCIBLE – I played John Proctor in this play while at school – I occasionally offer speeches from it as party pieces!
16 TORC[h] – last one I got, after working my way through the alphabet – when I do that, why is it always near the end? Torc is an alternative spelling of torque.
20 FLORIBUNDA – anagram of ‘fluid on bar’ – I didn’t know this and worked it out from the letters.
23 WOMBAT – “TAB,MOW” reversed.
29 DO(N)OR


2 USURY – USUALLY with R for ALL.
3 PART,ERRE[d] – I didn’t know the word parterre: it’s a formal flower garden.
5 CLEAR,STORY – a row of windows high in a church, normally spelt ‘clerestory’ – I knew the word, but wasn’t sure of the spelling, so I wasn’t held up like some mentioned in the comments.
6 H,ORAC[l]E – a sibyl is an oracle or fortune-teller in Ancient Greece.
7 OVER,BLOWN – I didn’t know the floral meaning of this word, but was happy enough with the cricket reference.
8 STELE – sounds like steel.
13 PAR(LIAM)ENT – LIAM=MAIL reversed. I was held up thinking father=pa rather than parent.
15 TOODLE-PIP – anagram of LEPIDOPTERA-ERA(ages)+0(none).
22 FE(T)ES
24 BATON – N,O,TAB reversed – strange to see bill=tab in two crossing clues.
25 THOR = sore, said with a lisp.

14 comments on “23,833 – some flowery words”

  1. Mostly straightforward today but 8 and 16 held me up at the end and took my solving time over 30 minutes.

    There are two words (5 and 16) which Collins lists as alternatives to the usual spelling.

    My COD goes to 15 as I love silly words, and this one, although I solved it at the first glance, took some working out how it should be arrived at.

  2. 6:48 – held up a little while by not knowing of CLEARSTORY as a variant (even though it makes more sense than the original!), and being ignorant of roses being overblown rather than (e.g.) overspent. Ironically, FLORIBUNDA (a rare bit of horticultural confidence for me) helped to resolve this. Rather surprised to see bill=>TAB not just twice, but in clues for crossing answers.
  3. Glad I’m in good company having to check “clearstory”!
    With my many roses though, “floribunda” and “overblown” were a gift. – Pity the setter didn’t use the names of a few varieties too 🙂

    25D made me smile, as did 15, so either for COD.

  4. Was stumped by parterre and clearstory and waved the white flag at 31 minutes. Had to check stele and torc.

    1d or 2d COD for me

  5. About 35 minutes for an enjoyable puzzle. Like others I guessed TORC and STELE from the wordplay. I had come across CLEARSTORY before but can’t remember where or when (old age!). Like Eldesdichado the roses were a gift (I had overblown roses in December last year and the cherry trees are already in blossom!). I suspect there will be a lot of nominations for COD. I think 28 across SUPPORTER deserves a mention for its nice misleading use of “second”. Jimbo.
  6. As I was solving this I thought they don’t come much easier than this, then came to the last few gaps in. 5d completely stumped me, so running out of I time I entered CLEARSTORY in desperation since that was what the wordplay appeared to indicate. I was amazed to discover it was right as I’ve never come across it. I also toyed with OVERSPENT before getting the final N from the crossing FLORIBUNDA.
    COD? I’m not sure. I liked both 9 and 1d; perhaps the definition is better hidden in 9, so I’ll go for that.
  7. I was surprised to see that most found this quite straightforward. I found it very difficult and eventually limped in at 23:50. Most of this time was spent getting the last few in at 12a and 6,7,8d. I knew I knew the Miller play, but I couldn’t get it past the tip of my tongue. I also knew that Sibyl was an (the?) oracle, but that fact refused to surface as well. I knew 8d had to rhyme with “steel” but have never heard of “STELE” before.
    I made it eventually though, and my COD goes to 1d, with a special mention to 13d – lovely surface.
    Is it coincidence that we had USURP and USURY in the top left corner, and two reversed bills in 23a and 24d in the bottom right?
  8. Started this one after midnight last night, it gave me a headache and I came back to it this morning (at least that is my excuse for this morning’s headache). Lots that I had to work out from the wordplay today, until I got the play I was torn between cleanstory and clearstory, overgrown and overblown, and a litany of 6-letter poets beginning with H. Eventually limped in, let’s call it 7 1/2 hours.
  9. Everyone is being very relaxed about this (bill = tab occurring twice, and in crossing answers). I’m not sure. It seems on the sloppy side of odd to me.
    1. Probably the result of a clue change I shouldn’t be surprised. I actually never noticed. I was completely baffled by the wordplay to BATON, and now see I was thrown by my favourite device: a joining “TO” linking bits together. Grrrr 🙂
  10. Did most of this in 15 minutes, excepting the play which took longer to retrieve from memory, but I never got ‘torc’. I’ll take an ‘incomplete’ for today. Of what I did get, 2D is my favorite. I also did actually solve ‘toodle pip’, but I have never heard it previously. Do you folks really say that?
    1. “toodle pip” is old posh slang – I can imagine it being used by Noel Coward or Wilfrid Hyde White. Any use now would be ironic.
  11. Nine “easies” not in the blog today:

    9a Dull individual back here after failure (6,3)

    11a Non-professionals treated (meanly)* (6)

    14a With various religions (in it, father)* gets converted (10)

    19a Bear’s coming back as children’s toy (4)

    26a Subject to choose shortly (5)
    TO PIC (K)

    27a (I hit boxer)* terrible showman (9)

    4d Press Club (4)

    17d Gossip’s beginning to concern milliner to the Queen (9)

    21d Section of autoPSY CHOsen for horror film (6)

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