23911 – Good One

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Time: 24 minutes
I found this pretty easy but there was plenty of fun to be had along the way.
Although I didn’t write it in, I couldn’t get Paraguay out of my thinking for 1A – this was actually the last one I wrote in. Like a couple of others below, I wrote THRONE at 10A, correcting it once I had 8D.

I didn’t need to look anything up to check today – that’s rare for me!


5 RAPPED – sounds like rapt
10 THROWN – sounds like throne – I think the clue would also allow THRONE, unlike 5 where it only works one way.
12 L,ONE,R – L and R are the sides, ONE is the joke, as in ‘have you heard the one about the London Mayor and the parrot?’
13 D,1,RECTORY – where D is a key. I briefly thought that ‘one spotted’ could be di, but then remembered the spotted thing I was thinking of was spelt ‘die’.
21 D(UP)LICATE – UP in anagram of citadel. I don’t know much about the game of bridge – but I’ve heard of duplicate, auction and contract – they might all be the same, or variants. I played a few times about 15 years ago and have no idea what form I played.
23 R,EACH – EACH = ‘a head’ as in ‘tickets cost £20 a head’.
25 L,A,VENDER – I presumed VENDER was an alternative spelling for the more common VENDOR.
27 E(YES)IGHT – crew is often eight in crosswords.


3 UPPER CASE – as well as being written in upper case, LSD is an example of an upper, whereas pot is considered a downer.
4 ANTEDILUVIAN – literally means ‘before the flood’ I think
6 A,D(H)OC
19 L(A,P)DOG
20 THI(R)S,T – R= end of wateR
22 I,AMBI[t]

p.s. Happy Birthday, Mr Biddlecombe.

24 comments on “23911 – Good One”

  1. After a welcome week away – restricting myself to just updating the polls – it’s good to be getting stuck in again, and this puzzle was a nice way to be doing so.
    Several ticks; loved the treatment at 18, nice wording at 13, 27 is probably not original but good even so, 3 is great, but my COD goes to 11 – stared at this for ages before the penny dropped as I thought the trick was going to revolve around some allusion to getting a joke. That word “one” is crucial but almost passes unnoticed.
    Top marks.
  2. I agree with, Anax, this is full of good stuff. I have several candidates for COD, 3,24,15, 19, 27.

    I had three not fully explained when I started writing this which have now come to me, 12dn being the last of these; I never knew that “one” = “joke” but according to COED it does and that’s what’s needed here.

    I wonder if at 23 “by a head” is really the same as “per head” if that’s what’s intended.

    I thought 10 could justifiably be one of two answers, the correct one only becoming clear when the final checked letter was in place; unfortunately I had backed the wrong horse here so 8dn presented me with some difficulty and was my last in other than the correction needed at 10.

    I was going to grumble about the lack of anything to indicate the American spelling required for 25 to work but on checking I found that Collins and Chambers, unlike the COED, do not specify that it is American, so I have learned something.

    1. Have seen this sneaky little blighter before; the relevant fragment here is just “a head” = each. It caught me out first time so I was forearmed for its reappearance.
      1. Where’s that boot? Omitting “by” it makes perfect sense. I don’t know how I missed this.

        I can’t see a problem at 7dn, Tom B, PROF. OR M.A.and COED gives a secondary meaning: adv. as a matter of form or politeness.

        I also put SELF-HELP at 9ac but then 4dn leapt out at me and I soon realised my error.

  3. I was also thrown by putting in THRONE in 10A, and to make matters worse I carelessly wrote in SELF-HELP at 9A. I think in 23A ‘a head’ indicates EACH, with ‘by’ simply meaning ‘next to’. 9A and 11D are a nice pair. Not convinced by the wordplay in 7D, however. 3D’s my COD.

    Tom B.

  4. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Solved this in 9:55 after also getting thrown by 10A (and being surprised because I thought the Times xwd never had this kind of ambiguity), taking too long over the clever wordplay at 1A, mild surprise about ‘vender’, and not understanding 22D until well after solving, but deciding that nothing else could fit.

    21A: Auction was the standard form before Contract: main difference is that tricks made but not bid counted towards winning the game. Duplicate removes much of the luck from contract by giving every table the same set of four hands, and comparing how they get on.

    Edited at 2008-05-12 11:26 am (UTC)

    1. Looking back on it, perhaps my lack of hesitation in entering THROWN was slightly lucky, but on reading the clue I tried to work out if “said to be” would be a fully fair homonym indicator for THROWN (as in the wordplay part) as opposed to just “said” THRONE “to be” the required answer. The angel on my shoulder said the latter looked to be more within the rules but, on reflection, either interpretation seems valid enough.
  5. It was the M.A. = academic which worried me. I just think of MAs and MScs as people who have second-level degrees rather than being academics. It didn’t stop me solving the clue, and it was a very entertaining crossword.

    Tom B.

  6. Many happy rets, Peter! 19 minutes on this one, maybe I did it early enough in the morning that I was not throne by 10.

    Sounds like there’s consensus that this was a fun, not too too easy crossword. After seeing those Vs I was convinced 18 was going to be a Russian politician I had never heard of and left it until last (smacking myself on the head when I saw what it was).

    I haven’t seen VENDER in my time in the US, but I was pretty sure there’s no plant called LAVENDOR (wait until tomorrow). Final hats off to the setter for letting 9 and 11 sit at a tangent to each other.

  7. I seem to be going through a bad patch. I struggled with Friday’s and never finished, and I took ages with this. I don’t like ambiguities in clues such as 10 ac, and it was a long time before I realised that THRONE was wrong, which had made it impossible to complete 8 down, even though I was fairly sure that “beautiful girl” was ‘DISH’.
    Why is 19 two words? Chambers and COD give LAPDOG as one word.
    These niggles aside, there were some excellent clues. I’ll pick 18 as COD for it’s delightful, and occasionally appropriate, surface.
    1. Good point, dyste, and Collins also has it as one word so there’s no support for 3,3 in any of the “Big Three”.
  8. A rather sedate 35 minutes and like Foggy I spent a lot of time stopping my pen writing in Paraguay at 1ac. Wasted time unraveling the anagram at 18 too, not really believing that Conservative could possibly have two “v”s. Overall quite tricky and solved in bursts of three or four clues at a time before the next grinding halt.

    I liked eskimo and eyesight but I’ll give my nod to Tintin today.

    I’ll also add birthday greetings to PB.

    1. I thought the rule was just: read the clue carefully, and you should find that only one of the two readings makes logical sense. Rules like “if the homophone indicator is at one end, the def. must be at the other end” are just applications of this principle.

      There are times when hasty reading can suggest the wrong answer – a FUNCTION/JUNCTION choice (first letter unchecked) in the preliminary rounds of the 2006 championship comes to mind. This was a letter replacement clue rather than a homophone. The problem can also arise with reversals.

      Obviously this one is resolved by checking letters, but my impression was that one of the ‘quality’ boasts of the Times puzzle, like 50%-plus checking, was that if you understood a clue properly, you could write in the answer without needing confirmation from checkers. My hope is therfore that this ambiguity was an unintended accident, and normal unambiguous service will be resumed.

      1. Missed this. But even if I hadn’t I’d still have been uncomfortable. ‘Game’ is defined as an adjective in Chambers, so how can the word be equivalent to something that is only a verb or a noun (I think)?

        But I know The Times uses different dictionaries; I wonder how they define ‘lame’.

  9. Chugged through this one in 30 minutes without even realising there was a problem with THROWN/Throne or that Paraguay might go into 1A. Clearly only half awake after morning on the sunny links. A lot of good clues as can be seen from previous comments and I’ll add 20D for its godd construction.

    Happy birthday Peter. Jimbo.

  10. I first thought of Paraguay for 1a as well and when I got three checking letters I put it in ,however eventually worked out 3d which was my COD so stumbled on the correct answer eventually. 13.25 today which was not too bad.
  11. I took ages to finish this, having done most of it fairly quickly. THRONE was a problem and made 8dn difficult, and I also struggled with 14ac. Even now I can’t see it: why does handicap = game?
  12. I am afraid there is an inadvertent typo in the solution to 4dn. It should be ANTEDELUVIAN.


  13. I agree with Dorosatt in that I read it as “run”,”with handicap” rather than “run” with “handicap” and that seems to work.

  14. This is what I get from these pages – and also the answer to 11d.

    There are nine “easies” not in the blog:

    9a Sympathetic response nobody else can provide? (4-4)

    18a (Naïve voters)* bamboozled by (c)old politician (12)
    C ONSERVATIVE. The blog software put the double dots above the I – clever eh?

    24a Ike’s unusually short time as inhabitant of White House? (6)

    26a Adventurous young Belgian’s version of cancan? (6)
    TINTIN. Aka Kevin de Bruyne.

    1d (slept)* badly with drug and pounding instrument (6)

    2d Drawing a fine line, perhaps, in judgement (6)

    11a Help for mental problems one can never get? (5,7)

    16d Improper (dictates)* in crucial trial (4.4)

    17d Understood as text messaging is, for example (8)

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