23845 – doctors and actors

Solved in 33 mins, which I was pretty pleased with. I didn’t have a very good time last week – three puzzles which I didn’t finish without resorting to dictionary or web.
I thought this might go well after getting the first two clues straightaway – a simple anagram and a bit of Bible knowledge. There were no obscure words (for me) and there was plenty of fun to be had along the way. I’ll try to do better this week!

After getting 1D, I thought there might be a theme around films – and noticing the two long down clues I thought they might be examples. And all while the after-show parties are still going on. The only winning film I’ve seen is No Country For Old Men, which I thought was really, really good.


9 C(IR(CL)E)D – guessed record was CD and the rest fell into place
10 L(EI,BN)IZ – the centre bit is “nota bene” and “id est” reversed. I had the Z from 8d, so got this from the definition before sussing out the wordplay.
11 RH(IN)O – slang for money – I’ve never seen it used outside of crosswords – anyone got any good examples?
17 WAG(O,NETT)E – I wondered if T=tax before I suddenly remembered that NETT was an alternative spelling of NET (after deduction for tax).
18 T(IT)AN – Atlas was one of the Titans in Greek mythology
22 ISA,AC – second Bible answer for me- I know my Bible pretty well due to a misspent youth!


1 OS,CAR – OS=oversize
3 H(ALLOW)E,E,N – E,N are competing players in e.g. Bridge.
4 MIDDLE OF THE ROAD – held up shortly on this as I had mistakenly written WAGONNETE, even though I’d worked out the wordplay for that one.
7 BIN,GE(=EG reversed)
8 LAZY SUSAN – I sometimes play Scrabble on one of these – the phrase always makes me smile.
16 EXTRACTOR – with the A shared by EXTRA and ACTOR.
20 PA,L,MA
21 INLET as opposed to LET IN.

29 comments on “23845 – doctors and actors”

  1. Oh joy, a nice easy puzzle to start the week. Or so I was thinking until I became bogged down in the NE corner and spent as long cracking that as the rest of the puzzle put together.

    16D seems to have been partially recycled from another puzzle I solved within the past few days where the definition was “fan”. Was it in Saturday’s Times?

    COD has to be 1D for its topicality. I have a feeling they occasionally try this sort of thing but then spoil it by missing the exact day.

  2. 1D is my COD too, one of several very good clues today although it’s a case of drat & blast with EXTRACTOR. I was squeezed into using this word in a prospective Times puzzle & resorted to the same wordplay albeit a different interpretation. Back to the drawing board! (Or maybe not – given the very long lead times before publication).

    As a quick aside, many, many thanks for the kind comments from those who have tackled the Times COD Bonus puzzle. Solution and expansive explanation list will be posted in a week or so, but I’ll keep the puzzle available for a while after that.

    1. Misremembered – the EXTRACTOR “problem” is actually confined to the COD Bonus puzzle. Phew!
  3. Another vote for 1D. 5:47 for this one – 4D must be one of the easiest phrases to spot in 15×15 cryptics.
  4. An easy one for me too. Bottom half filled in about 8 minutes (that is VERY rare for me). NE corner held me up at the end. Knowing The Times penchant for cricket, I kept on looking for an answer associated with cricket bats for 6d. Once I got BLIND, BABEL, BINGE and LAZY SUSAN quickly followed suit. A nice set of clues; nothing outstanding, but I liked both 1d and 17 (very nice surfaces).
  5. Thought I was heading for the elusive 15 minute barrier until NE slowed me a bit and then agonised over 11 for a couple of minutes until plumping for RHINO on the basis that it was the only word that would fit. Stopped the clock at 20:20 so I guess that’s a new record by all of 40 seconds.

    12a would by my COD nomination – I’m surprised it wasn’t in Anax’s bonus puzzle.

  6. A most pleasing 8:25 here. I’m nominating 6a as COD for reason that it held me up for far too long. At first reading I saw “scene of confusion” and immediately thought “tower of BABEL”, but for some reason couldn’t work out why “Lovely girl has left” led to it! That would have led to LAZY SUSAN, BLIND and LEIBNIZ being found a little quicker.
    I thought my mate Penfold would have got below the 15 minute barrier on this one, but a new PB will have to do for now.
  7. No one seems to have commented that the printed version had “Make and effort and show … .” Shouldn’t it be “Make an effort …”? Or am I missing the obvious?


  8. I agree the misprint in the printed version. It didn’t trouble me. A nice easy 20 minute jog to start the week. I also read 12A and thought of Anax – what have you done to us, mate? 17A is also a well constructed clue but it has to be 1D for COD today. Jimbo.
    1. I’m a bad influence. I blame it on my childhood. I was a bad influence then as well.
  9. I was intrigued by the derivation and use of rhino for ready money. From Google I’ve found that it originates from the late 1600s and was £250 (a small fortune in those days). It supposedly derives from the smuggling and sale of rhino horn as an aphrodisiac. I personally have never heard it used in real life and only come across it in crosswords. Jimbo.
  10. Not that I like the idea of rocking the boat, but just noticed something and hope someone will tell me there’s something I’ve missed.

    In 1A, am I right in thinking “of” is doing double duty – cardinal sin? “Constituents” on its own doesn’t suffice as an a anagrind, but “of” (which would make it OK) is part of the fodder.

    1. I think ‘constituents’ alone is being used as an anag indicator. In the past, ‘letters’ used to be used in a similar way, but I got the impression that it had been stamped out. I’m not keen on either.
  11. I agree, there’s something unsatisfactory about this clue. I spent a while assuming that ‘is’ was anagram fodder, whereas I guess it’s just a link-word. ‘Constituents’ doesn’t make much sense in the surface either – was it something else originally? ‘Re-shuffle’ might be one option.
    1. Constituents is fine in the surface as it links well to MP (i.e. people in the MP’s constituency), but agree that the “of” can’t be both part of the anagram and the anagram indicator.
  12. 13 minutes with one interruption, slow start up the top but the bottom half practically filled itself in. Having had more than enough with the annual movie tradition, I did crack a smile with 12A and I’d go with that as COD, also liked 13D.

    George vs the Listener Crossword is up and running, so if you want to giggle at my ineptitude on that front, check it out.

    1. Good luck with these, George. You’ll be amazed how quickly (and far) you improve. After 20+ years, every Listener still looks impossible to me at first sight – but most succumb in the end. Sometimes you have to trust to your subconscious; if you’re blocked, go and do something else, and often a breakthrough will come. And if you become completely hooked, eventually you’ll feel the urge to set one of the things!
      1. Thanks, anonymous – feel free to comment on the blog, I’ve set it up to allow anyone to comment now.
    1. The “crown” of a road is the raised central part from which the water will, if it’s been built properly, naturally drain into the gutters at the side.
  13. That’s a nice relaxing way to start the week, first sub-ten minute puzzle for quite a few weeks. I’m sure when I was a young(er) man, Monday crosswords were always traditionally the most straightforward of the week, so as not to make Monday morning any worse than it already was for all those who did the crossword on the way to work.
    1. P.S. would join the chorus for 1d, very much liking the idea of the stars arriving at the ceremony in their OS cars.
  14. Regards all. No real comments beyond what was already stated here, and I agree it was a relatively straightforward one to start the week. I had just returned from a weekend winter sports/snowmobiling excursion to a place called INLET, in New York towards the US/Canada border, still in possession of all my limbs, teeth, no broken bones, etc. So, 21D is my self-congratulatory favorite clue today.
  15. Yes, a breeze compared to some of last week’s! (Didn’t have much of an opportunity to comment on those.)

    I immediately thought of Anax when I saw 16d, having enjoyed his bonus puzzle last week. And don’t know why but 12a gave me the most trouble and was last to go in. I think I’ll give that COD.

  16. I seem to remember Paul in The Guardian using the Oscar clue in a puzzle themed around films last year. Is he on the Times team as well?


    1. Paul is on the Times team. But I’d be wary of identifying the puzzle as his based on just one clue.
  17. This was quite fun. I was interested to read in the comments about the possible equation of rhino = money. £250 for a nose horn? More than that now sadly to the detriment of our bad-tempered pachyderm pals.

    A total of 9 omissions from the blog including the OTHER easiest 15 letter answer:

    1a Constituents of (fat MP – he is)* no longer important (3,3,3)

    13a Bung cheese round top of bun (5)
    BRI B E. Wot no comments about top of as a first letter in an across clue?

    14a (Rouses old)* hurt, though not raising a stink (9)

    19a (Pint seems)* to be poured out in a vacuum (9)

    24a Astronomer, girl attached to one particular constellation (7)
    GAL 1 LEO

    27a Fighting man (restarted)* after break (6,3)

    5d Make and (sic) effort and show a leg? On the contrary (4,2,4,5)
    PULL UP ONES SOCKS. The typo in the clue made it through to the digital version it seems.

    6d Like a bat in the shade (5)
    BLIND. Why did I put in BEIGE first – what was I thinking?

    23d Younger son (acted)* badly (5)
    CADET. Why is this cadet?

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