23839 – Testing

I did this in a few installments over the day. Probably about an hour altogether – I never really got going.
I did really enjoy it, although I think it was one of the harder Mondays for a while.
I didn’t have the problem that some seemed to with the ones – I spent some time with ‘wisp’ and will-o’-the-wisp’ at the weekend for a crossword I am currently writing. Saying that, I wasn’t entirely sure of the wordplay for 1A until I looked up the constituents.
Last to go in for me were 6D/11A.


1 WISE,ACRE – WISE=archaic form of way; ACRE=a port in Israel.
2 MU,FFIN(=NIFF reversed)
10 SWOR[e],D(F)ISH – I love this word, mainly because of its use in Horsefeathers.
11 BAR,ON – needed the B to get this.
13 OUTER,MO(S)T – oops guessed this before I’d solved 24 – MOT is an example of TEST.
15 N(INCOM[e],P)O,OP – again got this before sussing the wordplay.
19 [un,d]ERGO
29 E(THY,LEN)E – EE=extremes of ExplosivE


1 WISP – as dorsetjimbo points out, Collins talks of a ‘wisp of a girl’ and ‘will-of-the-wisp’ as an elusive person.
3 A(U,DI)TION ie ACTION with U,DI substituted for C.
6 UNBORN, guess this sounds like ‘unborne’.
7 FOR GOOD,NESS,SAKE – put this in without understanding the wordplay. Didn’t think of SAKE=benefit at first.
14 INTE(R)STATE – originally pencilled in UNDERSTATE because it fitted in – couldn’t get it to work, then spotted why!
16 PANNIKIN – sounds like ‘panicking’ – a pannikin is a small metal cup, guessed it was a small pan of some kind.
23 H,[ob]OIST

28 comments on “23839 – Testing”

  1. Hugely enjoyable with lots of really inventive clues and it ended up being much more difficult than I expected having raced through about two thirds of it in under 15 minutes (well, that’s fast for me). But I became bogged down in the NW and SE quarters with 1A and 1D being the very last to go in.

    I’m considering 1D as my COD but I’m not absolutely convinced it quite works so I wonder if it’s trying to be a bit too clever. Failing that I really liked 19 and 28.

      1. Yes, I’ve gone for WISP. Collins talks about “a wisp of a girl” and says “will-of-the-wisp” is an elusive person as well the marsh gas meaning. Jimbo.
  2. Quite slow on this (11:02) – mainly because 7D took too long, and at 4D I hadn’t appreciated quite how many mammals count as ungulates, so doubted RHINO as an answer.
  3. I have to smile when I see “quite slow 11.02”

    For me, it was Quite fast, half an hour-ish!! (If I time it properly, my mind goes blank and I freeze).

    Loved this one, with lots of good stuff in it.
    Nice double use of “way” with different meanings, and the misleading “broadcast” in 11A.

    29A for my COD – not a hard one, but liked “choking your old man”. Evoked humorous images and sounded painful!

  4. I liked the clues in this and I also made reasonably quick progress until it came to 1 across and 1 down, which took ages to solve. 7d came immediately, which helped a lot. I’m not sure what to nominate for C.O.D. I liked all of 8(which also held me up – I’m not a golfer), 14, 19, 26, 28. Perhaps 28 for C.O.D – an easy clue, but neat surface.
  5. A harder than usual Monday puzzle that was great fun and no moans. About 40 minutes to solve. I liked a lot of the clues but particularly 10A, 11A (as already mentioned above with ON=broadcast and not indicating some awful homophone)but my pick would also be 29A with the nicely misleading “old man” to take one’s mind away from “your old”. Jimbo.
  6. 29 minutes, hadn’t come across pannikin before and only unravelled the full wordplay of a fair few clues after having solved the puzzle, particularly sake = benefit, wise = (old) way, niff/Mu, (un d)ergo and MOT/test.

    Liked 14, 18 & 28 but agree on 29 as COD.

  7. I see others had trouble with 1a and 1d. I can only assume that 1a is WISEACRE, but cannot get past “smart alec” in justifying it. I’m hoping that I’m missing something really clever (or really obvious), because it would be a shame to spoil an otherwise great crossword with a dodgy clue. I’m plumping for 11a as COD – I considered BARON early on, but, like Jimbo, I was sure the “broadcast” bit meant an awful homophone, so I didn’t write it in. The aha moment came much later. About 20 minutes with two missing answers.
    1. The way I parsed 1 ac (which may be complete twaddle given my newcomerness) is old way = wise (as in clockwise, otherwise etc) and Acre being a port in Israel.

      FWIW the two 1s were the last clues I filled in too.

      1. Yes, I agree WISE-ACRE. Collins gives both definitions saying “wise” is archaic for way or manner as in “any wise” plus the port. Jimbo.
        1. Thanks Penfold and Jimbo. I hadn’t considered clockWISE – perfectly fair. I’ve never heard of ACRE being a port, but it has now been logged for future reference. I was fairly beaten and apologise to the setter for even suggesting otherWISE.
  8. Sometimes crosswords come to the rescue. Suffered a puncture on the way to work – limped in over last mile, didn’t fancy replacing it at -7 degrees. So I needed cheering up and this puzzle helped; my COD is 26A, lovely &lit.
    Sole gripe is 8D because I can’t work out the significance of “What a” – feels a bit like irrelevant padding, or am I missing something?
    1. When golfers talk about a course they will say “how did you do on the 7th?” answer “what a hole!” meaning it gave them pleasure. The 19th of course gives pleasure of a different sort! Jimbo.
      1. Thanks Jimbo – it makes sense now. I’ve never been very knowledgeable when it comes to golf. Perhaps I should take a course.
      2. Sorry, but I can’t believe this. I’ve been playing golf for 54 years and don’t remember ever saying “What a hole!”. There must be some other explanation, but I can’t see what it is.
  9. I’ll join the 1ac/1dn club, those baffled me for a few minutes, an after midnight start usually means a slow time, I think it was 20 minutes or so before I got the last two in. Fun end to the weekend.
  10. At the risk of “Me too”-ing, 1 across was the last to drop in by a long way. I’d started by thinking “old way” meant it would end “ORD” and had to struggle to get the brain to reset when that began to look unlikely.

    Funny how you sometimes get one clue that seems to have dropped in from a much tougher puzzle!

  11. No problems (20 min or so) except 16dn which I still haven’t got. PHTHISIC ? Can someone enlighten me, please?
  12. I think your real problem is that you have put AT ANY EVENT instead of IN ANY EVENT for 20 across.
  13. I cannot explain why, but unlike most of those commenting here, 1D and 1A went in immediately. I was held up for a while by the NE, where, when I finally got them, I thought 11A and 8D were the best clues today. And I play golf! Took about an hour for me, though that includes at least three conversations with neighbors and other interruptions – it’s a holiday for most in the US today. Regards all.
  14. 28A as COD for me. Nicely topical, with Lambeth Palace and Sarko in the news. I avoided most of the problems with this one, but had to look up PANNIKIN at the end. I’m not sure about ‘seeing’ as a link-word in 16D and feel that 8D doesn’t quite work.
  15. 1ac/1dn was my last pair too; partly because I’d put -ORD at the end of 1ac for ‘old way’ and was looking for a port, and didn’t correct until I got AUDITION (third last). 7:02, I think.
  16. Sounds like a day in the Kruger Park …

    There are quite a few omissions from the blog here:

    12a Way English teachers initially let it stand (4)
    ST E.T.

    17a Tool found in deAD ZEbra (4)

    20d A versatile athlete may be, whatever happens (2,3,5)
    IN ANY EVENT. This one seemed familiar?

    24a Analyse flowing water in Hampshire (4)

    26a Where gladiatorial contest took place a long time back (5)
    ARENA. AN ERA backwards – with a bit of &littishness.

    27a (A nicety I)* originally (r)espected freely in travelling (9)

    2d Filming art centre where discharge follows training (8,7)

    4d Right house to accommodate favoured ungulate (5)
    R H IN O. So rhinos have hooves then!

    8d What a hole – but the drink flows here! (10)
    NINETEENTH. Tenth drink in the bar at a 9 hole course?

    9d Closure of shelter in southern county (8)

    18d (They fear)* being shot like birds (8)

    25d Flood defence a king viewed in colour (4)
    DY K E

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