Times 23,670 – I take issue with ATISHOO

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
The easiest puzzle of the week so far. Took me only 6:23.


1 LEFT BACK – a defender in football and a reference to the return to power of the Labour Party in 1997.

6 F(I)AN-C.E. – good &lit.clue

10 BY ACCIDENT – (baccy)*-I DENT – liked this one.



16 VANISH – like a van – geddit?

20 WARFAR(e)-IN – a colourless compound used as a rodenticide

24 MAKE A PITCH – double def.


28 HOVE(l) – on the SE coast of ENgland

29 H(AWS)ER – where AWS=(was)* – TOWER is one of those misleading words that appear in crossword puzzles and which could often mean “that which tows” rather than the more obvious “tall structure”. Other examples would be LOWER (cow?) or FLOWER (river).



2 EXCLUSIVE – (sex vice lu)* – the LU comes from “lust” with no way (no “st”)

3 TER(M-IT)E – TERE=(tree)*


5 KEA – part of “taKEAway”


7 ADD(IS)ON – Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English essayist who co-founded The Spectator in 1711


12 SAR-AWA(y)-K – (Edited after helpful comment below)Sarawak is part of Borneo

15 TAXIMETER – (extra time)*



21 ATISHOO – homophone (kind of!) of AT ISSUE…hmmm

25 AIDER – another homophone of ADA, as long as you’re not Scottish, like me

20 comments on “Times 23,670 – I take issue with ATISHOO”

  1. 7:39 here. Held up a little by 14A, but 6:23 sounds a good time. (Now stand by for the sub-5s…).
  2. Not as fast as you guys, with 8:55. Mostly straightforward, but 6A took me a while to work out. It helped that we’ve had both WARFARIN and HOVE(L) recently, perhaps. Jason J
  3. I was reasonably pleased with my 9:01 until I came here.

    Sarawak at 12 down didn’t hold me up, but I am a bit alarmed that it should be clued as “state”. State can already legitimately indicate: any of the 50 US states, including any of their various abbreviations or contractions; and any nation state. (Not to mention that it might indicate “condition”, “situation”, country” etc.)

    Are we now to consider also states of any other country, or just the thirteen states of Malaysia as possible answers? I look forward to the clue for Terengganu.

    1. If I’d been asked, I’d probably have said Sarawak was a whole island rather than a state on part of one. “Island state” pointed me in the right direction, though that’s not really the def.

      I share the same concern, with some hazy memories of another shocker like state = SA = South Australia. But in this case it’s such a distinctive word that S?R?W?K and any geographical nudge is probably enough.

      1. Sorry, just realised that that doesn’t work – had mispelt TERENGGANU when copying it down!
  4. For me, ATISHOO is a perfect homophone for AT ISSUE – but I suspect there’ll be a number of people who pronounce it A CHEW (or variants).
    1. I think dhogg’s point here is that for some folk, “tissue” has a “ss” sound rather than a “sh” one. I’m not going to delve into the thorny issue of which the homophones that work for some parts of the UK or English-speaking world should get used in crosswords.
      1. “I think dhogg’s point here is that for some folk, “tissue” has a “ss” sound rather than a “sh” one”

        But wouldn’t those same folk pronounce “issue” similarly?

        1. Sorry, I should have been talking about ‘issue’. Yes they would, so an ‘at issue’/’a tissue’ homophone would work. But as far as I know, ‘atishoo’ always has the ‘sh’ sound, and it’s ‘at issue’/’atishoo’ that the clue relies on.
  5. 12:01 for me, but I was held up in the SE corner after putting in MAKE A STAND for 24. That gave me A?T?H?O for 21, and I was thinking AHTCHOO? ATTCHOO? AATCHOO? After a couple of minutes I thought of SLIPCOVER and everything fell into place, but it definitely cost me a sub 10-minute time today.
  6. 10:39. I also put in MAKE A STAND but saw SLIPCOVER quickly so was able to correct it without too much delay. 20A was a guess and filled in SARAWAK without thinking too much about it.
    1. After similar trouble yesterday, I guess the lesson is that when a multi-word answer has a punny cryptic def clue, one should write the answer very lightly, or wait for all the checking letters.
  7. Feeling tired (again!) and so slower than I ought to have been at 9:51. Things were actually going pretty well until, like others, I confidently put in MAKE A STAND for 24A, and took a long time to recover, wondering how I could possibly spell ATISHOO with A-T-H–.
  8. I was going fine until I got stuck on 17D, 21D and 30A, but didn’t kick myself for taking so long over those three, because it’s surely (4,5) not (9) at 17D. I haven’t seen all the dictionaries, but both Chambers and the Chambers Crossword Dictionary give SLIP COVER not SLIPCOVER. Not that it would have enabled me to get it more quickly, I suspect.
  9. I can’t sympathise with anyone who put “MAKE A STAND” since it doesn’t match the definition “Bid for contract”. And yes, I did it as well.
    1. I thought MAKE A STAND might be another of those damned bridge terms which don’t know about!
  10. This slowed me way down since Americans say ah-choo. (Perhaps our noses and yours are built differently.) But my main complaint is that atishoo isn’t word. (Ah-choo isn’t either.)


  11. The original puzzle was published after the main Hay Fever Season was over but here I am, nearly 10 years later, solving back numbers at the height of it in flamin’ June. So no problem with 21d.

    Just the 6 “easies” left out of the blog:

    9a Tree expert’s right (4)
    ACE R

    13a Confess crime to avoid “time” (4)
    S (t) ING

    18a Automatic response on approaching bend (6)

    22a Tense editor’s lonG daY finishes (4)
    ED G Y

    23d Woman brigs up an excellent daughter (5)
    D IA NA. AN A1 D upside down.

    27d Hard left accepts a royal prince (3)
    H A L

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