23,847 – it’s that red stuff again

Solving time 7:08

A good puzzle which feels like the kind where experience pays off in solving time. Red biddy has definitely been seen in the last few months, and I think track shoe made a recent appearance too. Nectarine and agtitprop seem like fairly regular visitors. I made good progress but needed a few minutes at the end to sort out the NE corner, where fabric, agora and corsetry all took a bit too long.

5 FAB = mega =praiseworthy,RIC(h)
9 BEAR ARMS = “bare arms”
10 SOLD(i)ER – blown = departed. Fuse and solder are both verbs here, I think
13 NECTARINE – RI = Rhode Island in CANTEEN* (though in my haste I somehow though the state was ARI(zona) while solving).
14 CHILLI POWDER – (L,L,how I priced)*
18 GENDER BENDER = GEN, Ben in (red,red) rev.
21 TIME = bird (prison sentence),PIECE=gun. Bird(-lime) = time is old Cockney rhyming slang.
23 P(L)ATH – My COD for simplicity and originality combined
24 REEFER – 2 defs, one a sailor’s jacket
25 B(LOTCH=cloth*)ED
26 POSTER – 2 defs, one about what I’m doing right now – nicely punned with the surfer and (message/bulletin) board.
2 WHALER = “wailer” – “some hear” is for the benefit of those who pronounce “wh” with the H. Not sure whether the wailer is a Lorelei kind of siren or a factory hooter, but it matters not.
3 TRACKS,HOE – spikes and track shoes are both running shoes
4 WOMEN’S LIBBER – W,(rebels in mob)* – another COD contender
6 AGO,R,A – an ancient Gk. marketplace or similar area
7 RED=left,BIDDY=old woman – regular readers will remember this from a few months ago. The def seems a bit weak as it’s red wine mixed with meths, unless I’m forgetting some other meaning.
8 CORSETRY – resort* in C,Y – for once, resort is the anag. fodder rather than the indicator
11 ACTION REPLAY – cryptic def., unless someone’s going to report some subtle wordplay I haven’t noticed – they have and I didn’t – see comments
17 E(NUMBER)S – morphine (e.g.) = number – something that numbs, in ES = (ecstasy) tablets, as in “he took some es at the rave”
19 CASH,EW=we rev.
20 SH(ODD)Y – cloth made from scraps of other stuff (stuff as in 5A)
22 P.E.,EVE – bug = annoy

15 comments on “23,847 – it’s that red stuff again”

  1. I thought this was pretty good fun – no real problems as a time of just under 40 mins suggests.
    I remembered red biddy from last year and also remembered it was defined in Collins as ‘cheap red wine’.
    I think I see the wordplay in 11 – ACTION,RE(P)LAY, where P=’source of penalty’. Could that be it?
  2. A bit harder today at 40 minutes. I agree that 11D is ACTION=process, RELAY=broadcast containing P(enalty). Quite a nice clue as were 3D and the amusing 18A. I didn’t know shoddy was a cloth made from clippings but guessed the answer from the wordplay. Jimbo.
  3. Definitely took longer than it should have considering my flying start. I think I put the mockers on myself whenever find myself doing well and then have a mental block part way through solving or at the finish, or sometimes both.

    5 and 8 gave most trouble. And I never solved 22 as I didn’t notice until just now that it was incomplete.

    I’m going for 16 as my COD.

    1. ‘Snotty’ is another name for a midshipman – like ‘jolly’ for a marine. So watch out for {reefer = snotty} or vice versa …
  4. Too hard for me. Gave up after 40 mins with 7 lights unfilled. Failed on most of the NE corner, didn’t get gender bender (I’m used to gen being information rather than news) or action replay. Decided that 2 down was the name of a Lorelei-type siren I hadn’t heard of.

    LIked 12 and 8 but will go for 21 as COD

  5. 21:22. Took ages in the NE corner and wasn’t helped by seeing “river area” and “greek characters” and writing in DELTA on the strength of it. It was definitely a case of more haste, less speed. 16d gets my vote, just for using GIT. I think I’m reverting back to my childhood. I blame Anax and his clue competitions ;o)
  6. Struggled with this and really kicked myself for not spotting AGORA more quickly – it had a not entirely dissimilar treatment in a puzzle only a few weeks ago. To compound matters, the last entry (in desperation) was POWDER at 10. It felt wrong at the time and I left it there partly out of relief because I’d finally finished the puzzle. A real “doh” moment on spotting my mistake.
    A good selection of high quality clues, though. 5, 23, 25, 4, 16 and 22 are all candidates – I’ll plump for 22.
  7. Enjoyable, but I was floored by the NE corner and 24A. I’ll choose 4D as COD. Is anyone else bothered by ‘fashionable’ as anagrind in 8D? I prefer anagrinds either to describe an altering/altered state or order me to make an alteration, whereas this one just seems to indicate that alteration is a possibility.
    1. Yes, got to admit I was surprised by ‘fashionable’ to indicate the anagram as well, but I don’t do the Times xword that often so unsure how acceptable it is to the regulars.


      1. Not mad keen on “fashionable” – just because something can be fashioned, that doesn’t imply it has been …
        But forgiven in this case for the novel use of resort.
  8. I think Peter hit this one on the head nicely. Red Biddy and reefer had previously undone me in Times 23751 so it was already (ahem) red flagged in my mind. Reefer went straight in following the sailor/sailer debate of just a few weeks back. 10 minutes.

    I thought 8 down was a brilliant clue, very deceptive

  9. …I think there’s a mini-theme in the grid: “By The Way” (27ac) was a 2002 (#1 & platinum) album by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (7dn/14ac). Can’t see anything else though, so perhaps it’s just a coincidence.

    Great puzzle – 6:46 for me, and I agree with Peter’s remark about experience helping, especially with REEFER, RED BIDDY, AGITPROP and ‘stays’ for CORSETRY.

  10. 10:47 for me – clearly a bit slow in comparison with the speed kings! Some nice clues, of which I’ll choose 8D as my COD.
  11. This one was a lot of fun with a nice range of vocab. Only 2 omitted “easies”. A sign of a top notch puzzle?

    12a Minor change of direction going through wood (5)
    T W EAK

    1d Be brought up during appointment or discussion (6)
    D EB ATE

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