23,747 – poppycock

Solving time: 8:40

I had noticed CODSWALLOP and BALDERDASH as I worked down the crossword (though I didn’t spot TOMMYROT as part of the set), and so I was pleased to find the cross-reference in 27A.

I am interested to see that both 13 and 19 have gratuitous extra indicators (“or punch” and “or cutlery”). The clues would work perfectly well without them, but they do help to make the cryptic structure of the clue less obvious, and to confirm that the answer is right once found. All good. And in 18, telling us that the king we are looking for is an unhappy one serves the same purpose.


1 TOMMY + ROT, ie private + half of secTOR(rev)
9 RA(ILLER)Y – I like “bit of light…” for RAY
12 DOWN – two meanings. I have seen each used separately for DOWN. It hadn’t occurred to me that they would make a neat clue together
16 PAVLOV + A – with _ A _ L _ V _, I was half-way through writing in BAKLAVA before I spotted the right answer
17 SANG + RIA, RIA being AIR(rev) – had to do a slight double-take to realise that SANG was simply “performed”
22 TORY – initial letters &lit


8 D(rear)Y + STOP + I + A(rea) – STOP being SPOT*
14 WEATHERMAN – I do like long hiddens, and the definition is nicely cryptic
18 IS(RAEL)IS – RAEL being LEAR(rev) – I am sure we used to see the Oxford name for the Thames more often in decades gone by
19 CANTEEN – two and a half meanings
21 LESS ON – ho-ho
24 GO AT

30 comments on “23,747 – poppycock”

  1. Not the puzzle of course, but how appropriate considering the trouble I had in the SW corner.

    All the rest of it fell into place quite smoothly and I had PUBLICAN, BALDERDASH and CANTEEN in the SW. I thought 23A was an anagram but just couldn’t work it out so eventually I used a solver, also for 26A. Having put these in the grid 21D and 24D leapt out at me and I kicked myself for not spotting them earlier.

    Nothing really stands out as a COD but I liked 16A and 14D was rather good for a hidden.

  2. 6:58 of solving delight for me. If it’s not Brian Greer in thematic mood, it’s someone else doing a very good imitation. As well as the themewords in symmetrically positioned entries (do two symmetrically placed anag. &lits count as another theme?), there’s the long hidden word, a BG speciality.
    1. I’m glad you said that as I’d picked the Indy’s Mr Tuesday for this one too. 9 highly enjoyable minutes for me.
  3. Easiest of the week so far, solved in about 25 minutes with no problems and no issues. I particularly liked 23 across, 3 down and 8 down. At 19 down I think it’s three meanings. A canteen is a flask, a box for holding cutlery and a cafe. Jimbo.
  4. I enjoyed solving A,PO,STATE since the definition was so well-hidden into the smooth credible surface. So 26A is today’s COD for me.
  5. I’d vote for 14D as COD. A hidden spanning four words, combined with a neatly concealed definition and a very plausible surface is quite special.

    An excellent crossword overall, my only quibble would be with 17A: ‘having performed’ can’t, to my mind, indicate SANG, and I can’t see any other function for ‘having’.

  6. The initial problem I had with this anagram was getting ANTAGON… and ANTI… out of my head for long enough to look at other ways of starting the word.

    Colin Blackburn – posting anonymously till he is reminded of his password

  7. My daily commute is usually an opportunity for a quick glance before tackling the puzzle over breakfast but, for a change, decided to give it a blast on sight and managed a staggering 8 minutes.
    Great puzzle all round and I’d give COD to 9A for its combination of good disguise for element definitions and the “light banter” link-up.
    A slight quibble at 21D – to be pedantic, “HAVING less on” would be the interpretation of “state of stripper”, although this didn’t hold me up at all.
    1. Well if I have understood the message “Hidden” correctly there was a superfluous and misleading “Having” in 17A; maybe it should have been used in 21D.

      1. Good call! Perhaps the puzzle should have a bit of preamble: “Caution – bits of wordplay may be scattered among other clues”.
  8. A relatively easy, but thoroughly enjoyable crossword. I solved all but 26A in 8 minutes. It took me hardly any time at all to consider APOSTATE but, because I was unsure of the definition and couldn’t justify the wordplay (duh!), I spent another 7 minutes going through the alphabet trying to find better alternatives!

    Hard to pick a COD today as there were so many excellent clues. I’ll plump for 14d. I’m always impressed when a setter manages to hide a reasonably long word.

  9. One of those odd days when the clues I struggled with weren’t mentioned in the run-through. I guessed ‘meally’, ‘time’ and ‘grab’ for 25a, 6d and 24d respectively – I now know that 24d was wrong, but what of the others?
    1. 25 MEASLY, 6 FINE – though now getting a bit of vocalophobia and wondering whether any other ?I?E word is better!
      1. As (almost) always, seems easy when you tell me. In fact, between writing the above and reading your reply, I’d got measly myself (that last sentence could be misconstrued…).
  10. Answer not &lit though because I enjoyed today’s puzzle. Grateful for a slightly easier one after slogging through Tuesday’s. 22 mins here.
  11. Thought I had a clear half an hour and could try timing myself today, but a few minutes in to it, I had a visitor, and so 17 minutes with one interruption. Agreeing with the rest that this was a fun solve, and got to love one decent pun and 14d.
  12. Very pleasing puzzle, and one of the quickest Times solves (11 mins) for me ever, maybe even the quickest.
  13. As yet, nobody has mentioned 27A. I don’t really see “Nothing in repeated points” as giving NONSENSE. Better, I think, would have been “Nothing in various points”.

    Mike O, Skiathos

    1. “various” would work, but “repeated” gives you a bit of extra information, in that each of N, S and E appear more than once.
      1. Richard, talking of extra indicators is there not also one in 16a? Or maybe I’ve misunderstood.
        1. I think you are right. 16A has two definitions, the ballerina and the sweet. It would have been a perfectly fair clue if it had stopped at the question mark.
          1. There’s some extra stuff here … PAVLOV, wed to A = PAVLOV,A = the ballerina. But Pavlov and Pavlova are masc. & fem. versions of the same name in Russian (and Bulgarian too I think). So (traditionally at least), if a bloke called Pavlov is wed, he must be wed to Pavlova!
  14. A very enjoyable 9:47 for me. I did the Guardian first today as it was my turn to blog it, but got completely stuck half-way through and turned to The Times for a break. This jumpstarted the cryptic solving part of my brain and I was able to finish the Guardian too, although not without a struggle.

    I did manage to put in BAKLAVA at 16ac before realising it was PAVLOVA. APOSTATE was the last one to go in, although I hadn’t really worked out the wordplay. My vote for COD has to go to 14dn, with 8dn a close second.

  15. Lots of fun today, and quite quick. Disappointed, tho, that ‘pish’ couldn’t have been worked in!
  16. I did most of this pretty quickly, and then stared fruitlessly at 1ac for a few minutes before giving up in a sulk. I then did the Guardian, picked the Times back up and saw the answer to 1ac in less than a second. I’m sure this happens to other people too. Why? Does anyone have any good tips for bypassing the ‘mental block’ stage?
    1. Talbinho… take the puzzle and go sit in the loo. Something about that room does astonishing wonders for thinking and creativity!
  17. I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as others appear to have done, though perhaps that’s because I’m feeling a bit under par with a sore throat. I made a terribly slow start, but then got going and eventually finished in 8:18. Clue of the day for me was 7D (REVEAL) where I liked “party frantically” for REVEL.
  18. As Talbinho seems to wear the Leicester City colours of blue, I’d suggest relaxing for a specified time and seeing how many recent Leicester managers he could recall in that time.
  19. Despite the 4 rubbish answers this one was far from it.

    Eight “easies” including 3 of the rubbish ones:

    13a Fish’s followed by beer, or punch, or moonshine (10)
    COD’S WALLOP. Rubbish #2

    20a Cobblers producing comparatively plain style (10)
    BALDER DASH. Rubbish #3

    25a Inadequate description of child’s complaint (6)

    27 Nothing in repeated points is one, thirteen, or twenty (8)
    N 0 NSENSE. Rubbish #4. Repeated points of the compass are NNN SS and EE. One (across) is TOMMYROT – the #1 rubbish answer.

    3d Moved by person being roughly treated (10)

    4d Not for the first time, find left-winger is on top (10)

    5d Distressed in test – it’s a disaster (7)
    TR AGED Y. AGED = DISTRESSED as in old furniture can be described as “distressed”?

    6d Fair punishment (4)

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