23853 – Easy for a Wednesday

Solving time 6:21

Quick start with a very easy 1A and chestnutty 10 and 12, so most of the top filled in quickly, then ran out of speed in the bottom half. Can’t see any outstanding clues but quite liked 21 for a bit of rhyming trickiness.

5 LAPDOG – hidden
9 SKELETON = (note,leks) rev. Today’s factoid: Leks are the displays of grouse and the places where they do it.
15 LOOFA – first letters
16 NEEDS MUST = (dustmen se(e))*
18 SAFE (= peter, crim. slang),TYNE,T – fairly unusual for river to mean Tyne.
19 O,CH.,RE(d)
24 A,TRIUM(phing)
26 EXE,M.P.,T – MP = military police
27 A GIT, A TED – ‘seven’ in the online version should of course be 7.
1 NOSE – 2 defs, one as in ‘nose cone’
2 BLEW = “blue”
3 LIE IN WAIT = (Italian wine, less ‘an’)*
4 TOOT,HAND,NAIL – corner = vb. to capture
11 BLUESTOCKING = (luck begins to)*
14 GOLF,COURSE – G = ‘Head of Geography’ = Golf in the radio/’phonetic’ alphabet
21 TRUMP – 2 defs, one ‘a good, trusty person’ = brick.
23 AGED = Dega(s) rev.

17 comments on “23853 – Easy for a Wednesday”

  1. Romped through this one virtually without a pause. Easiest for some time I think and less than 25 minutes to solve, particularly with DORSET and GOLF COURSE both in there. For the benefit of the younger solvers at 27A a TED was a Teddy Boy (or girl)in the 1950s. They were by no means all delinquents, certainly not by today’s standards of behaviour. Jimbo.
    1. (Edgar Allan) Poe,T it is, the idea being that Poe was a poet, and the def. “him” pointing back to stuff in the wordplay. Or at least that’s my reading – when solving, I just saw Poe+T and didn’t think too hard about it.
  2. Easiest of the week so far, and yes, perhaps for some time. I didn’t understand LEKS reversed in SKELETON (thanks for explanation) and ATRIUM went in last, partly because I was not absolutely certain of TRUMP for 21d, the first definition being unfamiliar.
    1. I was going to post exactly the same on each point made.

      I’ll nominate 8 as my COD because it rather surprised me and made me laugh.

  3. For the second week running I thought I was in for two consecutive sub-10 minute solves, but I came mightily unstuck in the bottom left corner. After 6 minutes I had all but 13d,24a,20a,26a,21d and 22d. None would yield for what seemed like an eternity until I realised that “Goes down hard”=LOSES H. The rest of 13d became apparent and SHORT CIRCUIT,ATRIUM,TRUMP and EXEMPT quickly followed.Another minute or so was used on POET and I was done in 19:35.

    I wasn’t keen on 21d – I didn’t know the “jolly good chap” def and a trump only takes a trick if it isn’t overtrumped.

    COD nom goes to 13d – nicely built up clue and opened up my other stragglers.

  4. Lumme – I actually beat PB with a PB of my own, just over 5 minutes. To be honest, I’m not sure if I’m delighted or disappointed as this one didn’t give me pause anywhere. That said, there are some very nice clues. 25A keeps all wordplay elements within a theme, I agree with jackkt that 8 is good but I feel I’ve seen it before somewhere, so my COD is 13; not difficult to clue, but very nicely executed.
    1. Be delighted – Just over 5 AND beating PB are great achievements.

      My three big targets for crossword solving are:

      1. Beat PBs time when we have both correctly solved a crossword – I’ve been close a couple of times
      2. Get under the 5 minute barrier for a solve – can’t see me ever achieving this. Just under 6 is my PB
      3. Solve a crossword whose answer to 7d is penguin – recently achieved

  5. No, I’m not suggesting I’m the new Peter Biddlecombe but rather that I set a new personal best for the times at 18:40. Wasted about a minute on bloody POE. I’ll know in future than “American writer” is nearly always old Edgar A.

    Hadn’t heard of a bluestocking but got there from the anagram alone and got 9 from the def without havingcome across leks.

    Liked 18 but COD nom goes to 27. Git seems to crop up quite frequently now. Whatver happened to cur and cad?

    Only another 3:41 to shave off to break 15 mins with 3 weeks of March left. A pleasing outcome after struggling with yesterday’s which I’d been tipped off was not too hard.

  6. I agree, an easier solve, about 20 minutes without any grave difficulty. I had no idea of a ‘leks’ until seeing Peter’s kind explanation here, so I nominate 9A for allowing Peter the opportunity to enlighten the rest of us, or at least me. Also congrats to Anax on lightning-like time; you would had finished by the time I started stirring the coffee. Regards all.
  7. I’m off my game today, well off my game. Putting the street at the wrong end of the answer had me unsure about 17d, and even though 11d was in a fairly recent crossword (and stumped me then), it didn’t dawn on me for a long time. Good on you, personal besters, this was three sittings, two cups of coffee, a headache and nearly a failure for me.
  8. No PB here – might have been close but ATRIUM and BLUESTOCKING took me too long at the end (and I accidentally wrote in ‘ages’ for AGED so struggled on AGITATED). 5:15 in the end.
    1. A really good puzzle, but I think “run out” is a bit of an unfair anagrind for BLUESTOCKING
  9. Well done Anax,and others getting PBs today.

    7dp: If my theory about starting young is right and you didn’t, beating 5 minutes may be very difficult. But keep on trying!

  10. No. 23,853.

    It took me 7 weeks to get half of the clues. I got lapdog, dorset, distraught, get knotted, needs must, ochre, short circuit, trump, lie in wait, nobility, nose, blew, adorn and in the long run!

    Not bad for an amateur 42 year old!

    great fun even if you know you have to turn to the experts to complete it.

    1. I admire your persistence but I’d suggest trying to find some way of spending less time per puzzle and just picking up a good range of tips and tricks. This could be something like reading the across clues we’ve analysed to understand some methods and vocabulary, and then spending a day looking at the downs, obviously with help from checking letters. When you get to the point when you can do most of the downs this way, have a go at a blank puzzle or find a way of getting fewer across answers to write in. Getting one of the ‘how-to’ books is an option, but having started off learning by doing myself, I think that’s worth doing first if you’re enjoying the chase.
  11. I thought that I was the most leisurely solver around until Anon (above) turned up with 7 weeks to get half of the clues. Now that is taking leisure seriously.

    Half a dozen omissions in this one. EAP at 22d has been covered but here they are together:

    1a (Only bit I)* can translate – “peers” (8)

    10a South-west area (sorted)* out (6)

    12a Eventually participating in marathon (2,3,4,3)

    6d Deck – there’s trouble with sailors here (5)
    ADORN. Deck as in “deck the halls with boughs of holly”.

    8d Become entangled and express disapproval thus (3,7)
    GET KNOTTED. Same to you with knobs on.

    22d American writer – this principally defines him (4)
    POE T(his)

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