Solving time – 7:23 

Just a quick blog today as this was pretty straightforward, with not much that really needs explanation. That said, I’m not completely sure that I’ve nailed the wordplay in 13d, although I think the answer is right. My COD is 10d, mainly for the definition. 

3 H in COOL in SMARM
15 RIG,IS in DIME – one of the last few I filled in, and a word I sort of knew, in a vague way, from somewhere or other.
17 (E MEAT ISNT)* – ESTAMINET is another word I only know because of crosswords.
26 L in PEASANTRY – a word which also appeared in yesterday’s Indy. I can’t remember the clue but the wordplay was (SALE)* in PANTRY.
2 AI in FENCE – this was new to me but with F?I?N?E filled in and straightforward wordplay it was a confident guess.
5 [-c]OPER,A
10 (CLAIMANT SPOKE)* – KLEPTOMANIACS. Great clue, with an excellent definition: “tealeaves compulsively”. Tea-leaf is Cockney rhyming slang for thief, for the more well-heeled amongst you.
13 FILE,ME in DENT(?) – I think this is right but the wordplay seems a little odd: is “my record” FILE ME?
18 ILL in T,AGE
20 EXAM,PLE[-a]

34 comments on “23807”

  1. Well after yesterday’s, I’m glad to find I can do crosswords again. Though it took me the best part of an hour.

    Some nice clues in this one. I liked Kleptomaniacs, and 22D Sheen is my own COD.

    And it was nice to see “pickle” for difficulty – Anybody remember “Give ‘im the money Mabel”?

    1. Ditto – back to some decent solving after some slow efforts – missed 5 minutes by a second for this, and then made good progress when continuing work on the first Listener of the year. Nice puzzle, but there should probably be a moratorium on IMAMATE unless anyone can find a new clue for it.

      “Pickle” – are you referring to gameshow host Wilfred PicklesBefore my time but picked them up somewhere. Answer: you are – just saw the cp when “Wikipeding” him to check the name & dates of the show (Have a Go, 1948-67). I thought he was responsible for “open the box”/”take the money”, but that seems to be someone else.

      1. Take the money/open the box was Michael Miles on Take Your Pick on Radio Luxembourg then ITV.
      2. Yes indeed, the very same Wilfred Pickles.
        Just revealing my age and Northern origins.

        Take the Money/Open the Box is of course the multi-talented Michael Miles in the quiz show Take Your Pick on ITV back in the black and white TV days.

        1. Even older northerners will remember that the phrase was originally “Give ‘im the money, Barney”.

          Tony S.
          (exiled Yorkshireman)

    2. Oh, yes, I remember Have A Go!

      This was mostly straightforward and a welcome relief after the trials of the past few days. Two words were new to me at 2 and 15 but solved easily from the wordplay

  2. Very few problems with this one apart from a brief dictionary-less meander through several possibilities at 13D. I do wish, though, that setters would desist from using the last letter of a regular plural to indicate S, as seen in 14A; just feels like too easy a cop-out to me.
    Same two COD clues ticked for me – 10D is great but 22D gets it for being slightly different.
  3. A very nice crossword, which I would have got through quickly but for a hold-up on 13D. I would also choose 22D as COD; the ‘badgers’ in 14A I would excuse for giving a very plausible surface. I have some reservations about the use of ‘various’ to mean ‘two different’ in 18D.
  4. Yes, back to normal solving. 35 minutes for this one with no particular problems along the way. A french flavour today at 15 across and 17 across with a number of nice clues. I think “Barney” used to hand the money out for Wilfred and Mabel. Jimbo.
  5. I had it as DEFILEMENT and took DENT to be reduce as in “dent his prospects” plus FILE ME. A bit odd but I suppose that’s why it has a question mark. Jimbo.
    1. Yes I’d got “defilement” too.

      “It made quite a dent in my finances”, is what I thought of for dent=reduction. I do like “file me” though.

      Don’t tell me you appeared on Have a Go Jimbo!!

  6. When solving, I just saw FILE ME and DENT and some containment indication, and didn’t think any further.

    I think “put my record” has to be equated with “file me”. Then you’ve got an “A, B in” structure to indicate putting FILEME into DENT. Not one of my faves but known to be allowed in Times puzzles. If you use all of “put my record in” to get “file me”, then either the containment is unindicated or ‘in’ is doing double duty – both of which are things Times setters are supposed to avoid.

    Alternative: just possibly, a word or two got droppped from the clue.

    1. Once I’d settled on defilement (not a habit of mine, I assure you) I too gave this a long hard look. I was split between the variably recognised stock phrases “to file something under” or “to file something in”. If the latter is OK, I think the clue works as “file me” in “dent”, without the specific need for the container indicator.
      1. It took me a few goes to see what you’re driving at here, but I think you mean that (e.g.) “put my record in that folder” = “file me inside that folder”, which would make the clue work.
        1. I just went offline for a while to scrabble around for a clue example, and it’s always the way – the one thing you’re looking for is the one you can’t find.
          There are clues where something about the wordplay removes the need to include otherwise necessary indicators; things which are always inside other things, or on top of them or whatever. IMHO I think what the setter has successfully done here is provide this type of example, provided we’re willing to accept that something can normally be filed inside something else.
    2. “Alternative: just possibly, a word or two got droppped from the clue.”

      It has come to something if we have to seriously consider this as a possibility.

      IIRC there was a printing error in Monday’s puzzle and another, admitted by the setter in the journal for ST4257.

      Perhaps this should have been mentioned in the email about the Club.

      A very sad state of affairs.

      1. Well I did say “just possibly”. Although our views about ‘cluemanship’ don’t always match, I’m happy that the standard of Richard Browne’s clue-editing is high. If I thought it wasn’t, I would be talking to him about it directly. The content of the clues is realy separate from xwd club service until we reach the day when there is no paper edition of the Times, just the subset of electronic pages you’ve decided to pay for.
  7. I struggled with this at first (lack of 12A), but eventually got my brain into gear and finished in 16:56. 15A was a new word for me, but the wordplay helped with all the checked letters in place. I agree with others that 22D is COD, with 10D a close second.
  8. A couple of familiar faces – pleasantry and felt but enough originality to make it a nice challenge with a few minutes lost on 15a snd 13d. COD is 10d – stirring tea-leaves compulsively. wery ‘umerous indeed!
  9. Yikes, after a bit of an internetless break I had a go at this one jet-lagged and found that 28 minutes, one phone call and one interruption later, I’ve made a mistake. I slogged through this, and was left with 13d, couldn’t come up with defilement, mistook “Pollution reduction” as the definition and put in REFINEMENT out of hope. Welcome to the new year…
  10. I agree with others that it’s noce to have an easier one after yesterday’s brain slog. It took me 12:40 today, the last 3 minutes of which was spent getting DIRIGISME (never heard of it, but no complaints) and DEFILEMENT. I think the latter needs “in” twice – “put my record in” is OK for “FILE ME” but that means there isn’t a containment indicator. 10d gets my vote as COD.

    Is it just me or does LiveJournal now require us to log in every day? Perhaps the cookie monster been at my pc.

  11. I found this very easy for the Times, solving quite a lot on first run through. I luckily knew DIRIGISME but DEFILEMENT was also my last after a first thought of REFINEMENT but saw no wordplay sense for it. Always tricky if most of the letters you have are vowels (4 out of 5 here).
  12. Yes, this was a relief after yesterday, in which I had 4 errors. Today’s took about an hour – had to look up ‘dirigisme’ and ‘faience’. I didn’t understand the ‘tea leaves’ reference in 10D, but seeing the explanation above makes that a great clue, the best for today. Regards.
  13. 8:50 for me. I was a bit worried about DEFILEMENT, and only thought of the “dent in our resources” meaning of DENT after I’d finished.

    I found this about the same level of difficulty as Wednesday’s puzzle, and took roughly the same amount of time over it, whereas I see that Peter B’s time today was less than a third of his time on Wednesday!

    1. “Like some gases” = INERT

      “put in” = insert

      “flush out last of badgers” i.e. remove the S

  14. It looks like normal service has been resumed with 14 omissions from this blog. A couple have been covered above but here they are in full:

    1a The man with newspaper in lift (4)
    HE FT

    9a Run into difficulty that may be a bit of a pain (7)

    11a Effect of surface damage certain to occur after a time (7)

    14a Like some gases put in to flush out last of badgers (5)
    IN (S) ERT. As mentioned above the use of “last of” with a plural to clue S is a bit weak?

    19a Daggers concealed by vILE BOys going around (5)
    OBELI. Hidden reversed.

    21a Individual celebrity, say, in Texas (4,4,5)

    24a Confession of friend in Muslim leader’s office (7)
    I’M A MATE

    27a Fingered material (4)

    4d Betrayed in trick, getting furious inside (7,2)

    7d Usual disaster admitting man, heartless old boy (7)
    ALU M(A)N US

    8d What sounds like nasty aspect (4)

    16d Engineers attending vehicle that springs back in reverse? (9)

    22d Superficial brightness of drunk’s noticed (5)
    SHEEN. Shounds like “seen” after too many drinkies with Sean Connery?

    23d Wife – troublemaker or doormat? (4)
    W IMP

Comments are closed.