23895 – toponyms

Solving time 5:40

Started quickly and hoped to dip under 5 mins for a while, but didn’t quite make it. Maybe easier for the geographically savvy, with three place names.

1 HORS(D)E,COMBAT = “to struggle”
10 PATAGONIA = (a goat pain)* – mostly a flat plateau, but includes the Andes which ‘craggy’ fits.
11 FOOTPA(d),TH(e)
12 ASCENT = “assent”. On edit: we should record the editorial slip that had “Hilary and Tenzing” in the clue – the well-known beekeeper had two Ls.
17 RAJ = jar rev.,PUT – someone claiming descent from an old warrior caste – I knew the word, though not exacty what it meant
20 COL(LE(ft))T – which is some kind of band round a shaft, it turns out
21 SORRENTO = (resort on)* – a popular tourist destination s. of Naples, so a semi-&lit I think.
24 P.H.,ENOM=(moneyy(y) rev.),ENA
1 HA(R.M.,F)UL
2 ROMEO AND JULIET – 2 defs, one about R and J in the ‘radio alphabet’
3 DeRbY,UP = on horseback
4 CAPSTONE = (once past)* & lit. – one of the stones on the top of a wall or building.
5 MO(n)TH
7 INTELLIGENTSIA = (elistist leaning)* &lit.
8 MAR,TYR = a Norse war god, arguably a day too late as Tuesday is named after him
14 HOUSEBOAT – Ouse in (O,bath)*
16 AUTO,MATA(Hari)
17 RE,CIPE=epic rev.
19 EGO TRIP – ‘got ripe’ with the E moved ‘all up’
23 V(E)IN – ‘claret’ = blood

24 comments on “23895 – toponyms”

  1. A nice straightforward solve for me today. Didn’t know COLLET but it came easily from the wordplay, and TYR was new to me too. I nominate 23 as my COD. Under 30 minutes for once.
  2. 26A’s just a weakish cryptic definition, I think. I find ‘all up’ in 19D a bit hard to interpret as ‘move to the top’, but solving the clue was straightforward enough. This one took me about 11 mins.

    Tom B.

  3. Apologies but 23874 hasn’t been blogged and apparently isn’t on the site either? Although as I still have no access to the site (since 23/12……)
    Therefore most grateful for clarification of:

    22 d: Water fetcher’s second tumbler (4)
    ?I?? – I think it is Jill (as in the nursery rhyme, Jack and J). Quite proud of getting that, I thought BUT

    27 ac: Watch salesman scoff when fed properly (8)
    ?E?E???R – looks like repeater (=watch) but I can’t use most of the clue. Also, the seventh letter = fourth letter of Jill.

    Many thanks to the kind soul who eases my misery,
    Adrian Cobb, Moscow

    1. Thank you once again.
      The watch clue as written is a faithful copy of the wxord.
      1. Who knows when these posts were made…27A is “jeweller” which is a watch salesman (jeer with “well” inside)

        So Jill is correct. Wow.

  4. Re 27 ac: Watch salesman scoff when fed properly (8)

    Qn 1: Is this how the original clue reads? I wonder whether it’s “Watch salesman’s scoff when fed properly (8)”. The clue as typed above is ungrammatical, I think.

    Qn 2: Though the wordplay is perfect, is the surface reading plausible? I mean, why should someone scoff when fed properly (even if he is not grateful).

    1. I took it as a salesman selling watches. Now I understand that it’s a suggestion to someone to watch (a) salesman doing something. I should have examined it further before raising the question. Thanks for the response.
  5. 12:40. I thought I was heading for a second sub-10 in a row, then came to a grinding halt with my last few. Glad I guessed AUVERGNE correctly. I agree with Tom B that STANDARD LAMP is just a (v weak) cryptic def. MOTH was my last to go in but I couldn’t justify it even several minutes after stopping the clock – what an idiot I felt when I looked on here! Overall another enjoyable solve, my COD going to 1d
  6. One of those clues that seems to just be a fairly straight def. written to look as if it has some cryptic wordplay, but doesn’t – in this case just punning on light = delicately constructed. This kind of clue used be used fairly often but dropped out of fashion – not quite forever it seems,as we’ve had a few of them recently.
  7. After 8 minutes I was left with 16, 18 & 23, took ages to unravel these and ended up at something closer to 20 minutes!
    26 certainly is gentle, but not altogether a bad thing. To my mind there’s nothing wrong with occasionally harking back to a less sophisticated cryptic model and I’d guess some solvers who were brought up on e.g. earlier Telegraph puzzles will get a welcome kick of nostalgia – and why not? It’s also one of those clues which will be appreciated by those just venturing into cryptics. Even if they don’t get the answer themselves, a kindly word of explanation will give a nice nudge towards understanding what sorts of tricks setters get up to.
    I didn’t tick that many clues but – being an inveterate “show me an &lit and I’m yours” kind of chap – I’ll go for 14.
  8. 30 minutes but should have been faster – polished off the right hand side in 2 or 3 minutes and thought this was my chance to crack the 10-minute barrier but then got stuck for a while until harmful fell in.

    Standard lamp and vein were last to go in. Like others I don’t really get the former.

    I liked 2 and 15 but will go for 4 (capstone) as COD – didn’t see the anagram until after I’d put in the answer, so a nice “double whammy”.

  9. Mon dieu! An agonising 36 minutes. Miss G, the kindly lady who tried so hard to imbue me and the rest of 4A with a love of all things French, will be turning in her grave, bless her, at the half hour it took me to find ‘hors de combat’, not to mention my battle for ‘Auvergne’. Mister E, the English master, would be similarly appalled at my protracted grasping for Romeo and Juliet. In truth, Mister C, the geography teacher, wouldn’t be in the least surprised that it took me forever to see Sorrento, despite my having lived there. To them all: you were right. Too much time dreaming.

    And to the sisters of the convent school: I promise I crossed myself and said a few Hail Marys when ‘Augustine’ was my last clue solved. A good catholic education is a terrible thing to waste.

    Oh, and I caused myself more problems by misspelling ‘intelligentsia’. Which says it all, really.

  10. I got there in the end, but it took an awfully long time. But maybe I was just being a bit dim, given how long it took me to get the play in 2d. After that I thought there might have been a few more Shakespearean references (it’s his birthday today, apparently), but unless I’m missing something?

    I felt quite pleased with myself in the end that I managed to get both 1ac and 17ac from the wordplay, despite both being completely alien to me! COD nominations for me 1ac, 16d, or 12ac.

  11. I tried very hard to do myself in, managed in the end to complete things in 16 minutes. Got off to a great start by confidently writing HORS DE BATTLE, and was then wracking my brain trying to figure out what would fit at 8d. A canter after smacking myself in the head over that one, until my geographical knowledge started to fail miserably. My last two in were SORRENTO and AUVERGNE, the latter of which had a question mark beside it. As did RAJPUT and COLLET, which I had to get from wordplay. 4d was very clever, and like penfold, I didn’t spot the anagram until after entering the answer (my college is riddled with capstone courses).

    Nice little challenge though, and I feel relieved that my guesses were good, and molto tres better at European geography.

  12. Rather cheeky use of Kitchener in 17D to mean someone who frequents the kitchen. Mustn’t grumble though.
  13. This took somewhere around 20 minutes, but I had to halt midway and return later to finish, so that’s a rough estimate. I liked the misleading Kitchener clue best, and the Mata reference in 16D. But, even after reading the comments here I still don’t get 26A, which was my last entry. Regards all.
    1. I’m not sure how common the term “standard lamp” is these days in the UK, let alone the US, so I can understand why this clue has given some cause for concern. It’s in Chambers and COED but not in Collins.
      1. Er, it’s also in 23,896 not 23,895! My mistake! You’ve got the right puzzle.

        My 1991 Collins does have ‘standard lamp’ as an example of “a piece of furniture consisting of an upright pole or beam on a base or support. (I’m now struggling to think of standard anything else in the furniture line…)

        Edited at 2008-04-24 03:52 pm (UTC)

        1. Thanks, Peter. It’s interesting that the Collins 2007 edition makes no reference to it. Maybe it’s an indication that the term is less commonly used these days. Incidentally none of the definitions I’ve seen mentions the supporting pole being particularly “slender” as clued.
          1. I should have mentioned that this def for ‘standard lamp’ was in the fairly long entry for ‘standard’. I’d be surprised if all trace of it had disappeared, esp. as their online version has it.
  14. Just over an hour again, with the last 30 minutes or so spent on the annoying 26A (could it really just be STANDARD LAMP?), 23D (VEIN, so obvious when I saw it), 5D (MOTH, which I had no explanation for until reading Peter’s).

    And then there was 2D. Oh, god, I thought, another inside joke. Some damned British radio show from the 30s or 40s that nobody outside the UK has ever heard of, and not one single bit of wordplay to give a non-Brit any hope of figuring it out. I came up with a couple of possibilities and felt no compunction in Googling them. RAMBO AND JILKES? Nothing. RUMMO AND JOLLEY? Ditto. I sat back and stared at the letters in the grid, fuming. Worked myself into a lather worthy of Emily Litella (Google it). Then, of course, it came to me. Oh. Oh, yes, well . . . , never mind.

  15. I managed the HORSE trampling the Duke to get HORS DE at 1a but the COMBAT took much longer until the wall component, insect and saint finally appeared. Nice bit of geography – always popular with me.

    Just the 4 “easies”:

    9a Expression of surprise following odd game (5)
    RUM MY! The expression now largely replaced by unprintable variants.

    25a What’s difficlut subject for an artist? (5)
    POSER. Not so difficult dear setter – consigned to the “easies”.

    26a Slender structure offering light support (8,4)
    STANDARD LAMP. I didn’t really understand this clue?

    22d Quick attack seizing power (5)
    RA P ID. It as an &lit quality to it as a RAID sounds like a quick attack? So – is the “quick” sneakily acting as the literal AND part of the cryptic?

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