Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 56 minutes

I made heavy weather of this, pencilling part answers in left, right and center only to find they were totally wrong!
Quite a few new words for me – and a couple of clues I’m not sure about.


1 HOG,ART,H – written in after SOWARTH and PIGARTH didn’t look quite right.
5 SE(GOV,I)A – I’d not heard of this town – had to slowly unravel it from the wordplay.
14 INTERIOR DESIGN – I don’t know how this works. Oh yeah I do now, I think PLAN – the interior of the both Lapland and aeroplane. Didn’t spot when solving!
21 THAT’S FLAT – this might be a criticism of a bad orchestra. I don’t know the phrase – does it also mean ‘there’s nothing more to be said’?
26 GUESSED – sounds like guest.
27 [w]ENCH,ANT


3 RIDERLESS – does this have a meaning outside of horses?
5 SAP – I knew sap=energy, I didn’t know to sap , meaning to excavate.
6 GAF,FE – GAF=FAG reveresed
7 VENTUR[e],1 – I didn’t know the word but it looked right!
8 ADHE,R,ENT – ADHE=anagram of HEAD, ENT=Ear, Nose and Throat.
13 COR,REC[tory],TABLE
15 EGOMANIAC – I think the definition is ‘Oneself, would would love’ – with GO inside anagram of A+CINEMA.
16 PART SONG – a song for two or more voices, that could be sung as a round.
19 RU,BELLA – I guess BELLA means striker as in someone who is strikingly attractive.
22 SLEW,S – RAFT as in a great number.
25 GAD – I know Gad as one of the Tribes – I think they all had their own territory.

26 comments on “24049”

  1. well a acracking start to the week. 45 minutes and very happy! Thats flat is used in shakespeare!…
    think Sap is a poor clue as energy needed implies sapped not sap…but there again finally twigged that 5 across was segovia which i think is a neat clue!

    Interior design i solved without realising why!

  2. About 25 mins. I tought this was a good start to the week.

    I think in 19D the BELL is the striker with A.

    Thanks for explaining 14A! I was wondering if it was some obscure reference to Father Christmas, or perhaps INFERIOR DESIGN as a slur on Lapp aero engineering.

    In 6D, at least the FAG was a “public schoolboy once” (unlike a few weeks ago.

    1. I’m sure you are right, but is a bell a striker? Surely it’s the thing that’s struck?

      1. I agree that it is the clapper which strikes the bell. The only way I got to the bell being the striker is in the sense of the bell which strikes the hour. It may be a bit of a stretch but it seemed the only answer. But foggy’s explanation has a certain appeal!
  3. Much the same tale here, Foggy. About an hour with several unexplained until much later. The other reference in 3D is to rider meaning a condition.
  4. No problem that I can see. Sap is the source of energy for a plant (and teenagers, as in sap rising). And from this you get the infinitive verb: to sap, removing the sap (energy), ie undermine. And of course, the sappers were those unbelievably stoical and brave WW1 soldiers, the Royal Engineers who tunnelled under enemy positions to set mines.

    “Thats flat”. Echoes from my youth, a common expression meaning “no correspondence will be entered into”.

    Rubella elsewhere explained.

    14 Ac and 22 Dn were last to go, groan territory, but fair enough.

    1. According to the dictionaries, the tree and military sap have different etymologies. My version of COD oddly lists “gradually weaken” under the tree version but then says that it comes from the other one.
      1. Thanks for that, you are right of course. Still, cannot be too many homonyms English which converge on the same meaning.
  5. Sorry, but I can’t let foggy’s explanation pass without quoting Bierce’s “Devil’s Dictionary”:

    “Belladonna, n. In Italian, a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.”

  6. Thanks, your example makes it work for me. I’m still feeling a bit grumpy and inclined to pedantry after 15d in this week’s ST puzzle.
  7. I completed the grid in 30 minutes but did not understand 19D or particularly 14A. I concluded that 19D is just bad clueing and rumbled 14A after a further 15 minutes wandering around making coffee and doing other things.

    Overall it’s a nice puzzle with quirky irritations. The definition at 15D is excellent. My mother used to say “…and that’s flat” meaning no further argument and the phrase is in Chambers. I can’t justify bell=striker. Clocks strike as do workers and footballers but not bells. They are struck by the clapper, which is the striker. Now that I see it I think 14A is clever.

  8. 17:27 for this one.

    More heavy weather here, where 5A/D and 7 were a tricky trio at the end. Should have had ‘venturi’ earlier as an occasional trombonist – the non-cylindrical interior of the section of piping just after the mouthpiece has this name.

    Two wrong initial ideas held me up too when they should have been discounted entirely – GRAND TOUR with its anag of Tudor at the end, and THAT’S THAT – I know it doesn’t work but it’s the phrase I know. I have similar trouble when “Adam’s wine” is used – to me, it will always be “Adam’s ale”.

    18D ‘Bella’ is a nice idea but leaves us with the fairly ugly “with” as a wordplay/def link word. Best I can offer after checking dictionaries for any unexpected meaning of ‘striker’, is Colin Bell of Manchester City – a great player of the age when I cared about football. (But still alive, so only kidding).

    For me, “Solving time” is when you’d be happy to say “I’m done and I think this is right” which doesn’t always imply full understanding of wordplay.

  9. 17 minutes, a few lucky guesses.
    Might have been faster, but for some reason I’d written HALF PINT in as 16D (thinking round being of drinks).
    Guesses: SAP (knew it meant to dig tunnels), INTERIOR DESIGN (didn’t see wordplay), THAT’S FLAT (from the definition crossing the two clues), SLEWS (from definition).
    That’s an uncomfortable number of guesses, though SLEWS was the only one I thought might have been wrong.
  10. Time: 21:30. A game of two halves with most of the top going in fluently then things getting very stickly below the 14th parallel. I pencilled in ‘half pint’, too.

    Lots of original music in this – I really liked VENTURI, EGOMANIAC and the Lapland fliers – but a few wrong notes for me, too. That ‘needed’ in 5d is slightly dishonest padding. 21a feels very sloppy and is a less than logical extension of 17, hardly saved by the catch-all ‘may’. The bell/striker thing has been mentioned above. And I’m not convinced by ‘out of condition’ for RIDERLESS – ‘without condition’, surely.

    But I’m not complaining too much. It was an interesting solve.

    Q-2ish, E-8, D-8

  11. 16.04. Main difficulty was 16D – I had the right general idea but thought the thing was called a PART WORK, and it took altogether too long to backtrack and correct the mistake.
  12. Not the usual Monday breeze. I didn’t get one clue until I got to 25a, and ended up taking 45 minutes, not helped by entering THAT’S THAT like Peter. I didn’t understand 14 at all, but now it’s been explained it strikes me as inventive, though I’d prefer some other word than “decoration”; interior design is more than just decoration. Interesting clues across (and down)the board.
    1. I was also a slow starter. My first clue solved took 5 minutes and turned out to be 1D after reading all the others.

      I just discovered I had one wrong, having put SKEWS ar 22. I’d thought of SLEWS but neither made any sense to me so I tossed a coin.

  13. It is probably the easiest of the lot, but the one I still can’t get is 20d. Any ideas?
  14. After seeing some of the experts’ times I feel much happier with my 15 mins. It took me a while to see SEGOVIA – think of him as a guitarist rather than the place.
  15. Re Kurihan’s comment on Belladonna, or Deadly nightshade. The juice squeezed into the eyes, was said to dilate the pupil, giving a dark and lustrous appearance, hence ‘bella donna’ or beautiful lady. I believe the active ingredient is atropine, which is used in medicine to dilate pupils.
  16. My oar into the 19d RU BELL A debate is that a BELL might be referred to as a striker – as in the example above. The details of which bit strikes what is not relevant in that example. The clapper is usually part of the bell anyway?

    I did this quite quickly and was surprised that some found it difficult.
    There are 9 omitted “easies”:

    10a Singer appears loud in church (5)
    F IN CH

    12a Government office makes available report of former inspector (9)

    17a Orchestra so bad when playing at every level …
    ACROSS THE BOARD. Anagram of (orchestra so bad).

    24a No charge, presumably, so to speak (5)
    0 RATE

    25a Bill eager to change name (9)
    GABRIELLE. Anagram of (bill eager). Shame on you if you put GABRIELLA!

    1d With great difficulty? No (6)

    4d Type of gun – Colt? (5,6)

    18d Beer makes you stagger and feel ill, so we’re told (4,3)
    REAL ALE. Nectar when at it’s prime – expensive flat yuk when not.
    Caveat poteur.

    20d From outset taxman rejected witness (6)
    ATTEST. My LOI – I got this from checkers but did not know how to blog it – Sotira to the rescue! It is a reverse hidden in namxAT TESTou.

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