Times 23565/gubbins

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: About an hour but in two sessions

The top-half was a lot easier than the bottom. A couple of new words that had me reaching for a dictionary (which had to wait until I found an internet café…). No obscurities really (except for 28A and 18D but I suspect this is just simple ignorance on my part).


1 CRE(AM)TE,A – I suspected this given the wordplay but wasn’t sure that CREAM TEA was a well-known term for a kind of snack. Now I know.
10 WHISTLE-STOP TO,UR – (to Welsh pits)*. Probably not much electioneering was done in ancient UR.
11 RECT=”wrecked”,[w]ORSHIP
13 CROW – two meanings: one of which must be a Native American tribe.
18 GREETER – two meanings though not sure about what must be a Scots mourning ref (“One who welcomes mourner in a kirk?”). Peter notes below that “greet” is keen up there.
19 R(ALE)IGH[t] – Another Queen Elizabeth I pet (last time it was Leicester – but perhaps that was in The Guardian?)
21 BUTT – two meanings: one being “stick” as in abuse and BUTT as in target of abuse and ridicule.
22 F(IRST)LIGHT – stir* in FLIGHT.
25 IN BLACK AND WHITE – excellent clue: good surface decomposing into two meanings (one being cryptic). “The Good German” being a modern exception.
27 [u]SHER,PA – I think this is S for “heading” and HER PA for “old man”. Not quite sure what role “off” plays? Have I got the wrong end of the stick here? Peter below demonstrates the correct end of stick to hold: “guide” is usher and “old man” is just PA.
28 APERIENT – (in repeat)* — realized this an anagram but couldn’t work it out until I reached the internet café: APERIENT is a laxative by the way.


1 COWERED=”coward” – no rhotic comments please!
3 MET,HO(D’I)STS – rev(I’d) in MET for “assembled” and HOSTS for “crowds”.
7 P,R(OGRESS)ING – the definition (“promoting”) and answer seem too similar structurally in my view for this to be a great clue.
8 SCREW-UP – two meanings. Neither of which has anything to do with the other meaning of SCREW.
12 CONTE[nt]S,TABLE – Only worked out the wordplay as we speak: “book’s list” is contents and “sections” is TABLE. Clever.
14 W,ALL,F,LOWER – Not sure how “pairing up” contributes to the wordplay… in fact, it only marginally improves the surface reading. Missing something?
16 GA(R)L,ICKY – perhaps that explains why she’s a wallflower?
18 GUB,BINS – I think this is right: rev(bug=bother) following by BINS for containers with the whole thing meaning “rubbish”. If so, nice clue.
20 HO,T,TEST – “mouth of the” yields T and I know enough Brit cryptic idioms to remember that there’s a River TEST.
23 SUN,UP – SUN-UP is an Americanism for dawn (22 is first-light) and rev(NUS=National Union of Students) where UP indicates reversal: so, an instance of wordplay in the answer.

12 comments on “Times 23565/gubbins”

  1. 7:48 – also found bottom harder than top.

    Various explanations/minor tweaks to explanations:
    18 The meaning you don’t know yet but won’t forget is greet = “weep or cry” (Scots) – so watch out for {greet = keen}
    21 Although various ‘butt’ meanings that seem to at least roughly make this work, I think one of the intended ones is “stick one on” = to strike = butt, sometimes exploited to get {butter = ram}
    27 guide = usher, ‘heading off’ => SHER, then “old man” = PA. Fine-tuning your cryptic ear a bit, to get “her pa”, they should really say “girl’s old man” or similar.
    1 – no problem for rhotic folk this time as both words have an R! Think of the choices with pored/poured/pawed. It’s the two pairs with “pawed” in that cause the trouble.
    12 I think “book’s list of sections” = “contents table”.
    18 Not sure how much of the meaning/origin of “wallflower” you remember, but it’s often used in the context of dances, where those too shy to take part are close to the wall, and of course not “paired up” with a partner.

    1. some of my best friends were wallflowers — in fact, I was the male equivalent myself (any offers for the correct term?)
  2. 21ac. There’s a third meaning for “butt” which I think is clearly intended by the setter: a target in archery, or the mound of earth behind the target.
  3. 8:56 here, the last minute or so spent agonising over BUTT. (I would have thought it impossible (and irrelevant) to say which “target” the setter intended in 21a – it could be an archery one or it could be a target of abuse and ridicule as Ilan suggests.)

    I’m not sure if there’s a term for a male wallflower, but I’m tempted to suggest a wall-vegetable ;-), since the convention in most dances in this country, and perhaps the USA as well, is that the man asks the woman to dance.

  4. Got stuck after 45 mins at 18d and 21a, I used Chambers to check Gubbins but had to give up on BUTT, I suppose the jokes on me.
    1. Wish I’d gone to the theatre Monday night instead of Tuesday: saw “The Entertainer” in which Robert Lindsay makes liberal use of GUBBINS.
  5. I was a bit puzzled by the definition of “progressing” as “promoting”. “Promote” is a transitive verb, whereas “progress” is generally intransitive; the transitive use is fairly uncommon, and I haven’t yet thought of a sentence in which the two words could be interchanged. I could only link them via a word chain: “promoting” = “advancing” = “progressing”, but unlike a mathematical equation, where a = b and b = c, c does is not necessarily equivalent to a.
    1. 7D was provided: P,R(OGRESS)ING – the definition (“promoting”) and answer seem too similar structurally in my view for this to be a great clue.

      5A was TRIP(O)S (ref. Cambridge exams)


  6. A cream tea isn’t a snack calorie-wise?

    As usual I had most trouble with a couple of short double defs – namely the brave boast at 13a and the Glasgow kiss at 21a. Some “easies” requests above but here are the omitted answers in full:

    5a Blunders getting no marks in important examination (6)
    TRIP 0 S. Spent ages trying to get 0M into this.

    15a Putting on a party at pub rejected – no good (7)
    DO NNI N G

    17a (A supply)* that’s faulty gives trouble (5,2)

    2d Priest seen among non-bELIvers (3)

    4d Beer manufacturers won’t use first two jugs (5)
    (BR) EWERS

    6d Artist with small part in Spellbound (4)
    RA PT

    9d One tearing after street entertainer (8)

    24d Fish initially placed at bottom of crate? (4)
    CAR P

    26d Strong emotion of father losing son (3)
    (S) IRE

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