Times 23733 – wipers

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
NE corner held me up for quite some time — not sure of overall timing since had many interrupts but total elapsed time <1h.

I found 9A, 11A and 13A to be rather fiendish or clever or both. Had to ask Google about Bumble. I was sure it was a Dickens ref but I had no clue to what…


1 FLEECE – two meanings and almost an &lit (if you can imagine a rather cruel shearer ripping fleece off his poor sheep.
4 SHORT CUT – Bob again today: this time a (SHORT) hair-style.
9 SU(R)P,ASS – rather hard clue: ref. Dickens character Mr. Bumble who refers to the law
as “a ASS”.
11 POP,CORN – I found the definition quite cryptic albeit clever: “feature accompaniment”.
12 [k]E[g],CLAT=rev(talc)
13 HE,Y-PRES,TO – YPRES is our (WWI) “battle”. Rather hard clue – not sure the phrase is in Chambers?
14 MUST,ARD G=drag*,A[ll].S[undry]. – MUSTARD GAS was probably used at Ypres. Rather vague def (“killer”).
22 METATARSI – [locu]M followed by (as I treat)*. Not a bad apposite surface.
25 P,LATE,AU – LATE for “no more”, AU for gold “brilliant stuff” and a slightly cryptic def (“one has no inclination”).
27 DR(E)AMIER – [lov]E in married* (note “inspired” indicates inclusion).
28 PE,LLET – rev(Tell, EP), ref. William TELL.


1 FI=rev(if),SHERMAN – SHERMAN’s our “general” and another cryptic def: “networker”.
2 ENROL – hidden reversed in “saiLOR, NEver” — where “seeking promotion” indicate reversal in a down clue.
3 CLAP,TRAP – what a rubbish clue (just kidding).
5 HAPPY FAMILIES – two meanings: turns out it’s a Brit card game.
6 REPORT – two meanings
10 SCHADENFREUDE – (Dean’s rude chef)*
15 SHORTCAKE – (rats choke)* — somewhat harsh epicurean critique.
18 SCRAMBLE – two meanings (but can SCRAMBLE be breakfast, as opposed to e.g. scrambled eggs?)
22 M(OP)ED – “was blue” is the def.
24 DRILL – two different meanings

26 comments on “Times 23733 – wipers”

  1. Does anyone have any influence with the Times xword (particularly the IT) section?
    The Mephisto is still not there – and all week-end the xwords were not avaiable. (they are now)
    Could someone say something to themre the M? My e-mails seem to be ignored.
    Also – they haven’t updated hte article re the winner – it’s still last year’s!
    Merci d’avance,

    P.S. today’s is 23733 (not 23)

  2. 7:34 for this – mixture of some standard approaches at 3, 8, 17 and 22 (though the wording at 3 seemed new), and more original material like 13 where I don’t recall seeing the battle used before.

    Jason: you may find a stop watch on some electronic gizmo or other (my mobile phone and iPod both offer one if you delve around enough).

    Adrian on the Times website: I don’t know who has influence. I don’t seem to. You’re not the only one fed up with a service that’s often below par.

  3. I can’t get the seconds on my new computer (I don’t have access priveleges to fiddle with the time setting), but it took me about 9 minutes. I thought 13A was clever. And after all the fuss about Beckham and Rooney in recent years, I felt embarrassed to be slow getting METATARSI. Jason J (now installed in Japan)
  4. Inexplicably bamboozled by 1D / 9A in an otherwise straightforward puzzle. Par for the course 20 minutes up to that point.
    1. Yes, 1D did for me too. I somehow convinced myself it was FI + GENERAL (anag) and wasted ages trying to make it so. I don’t fully understand 20A.

      As yesterday I was off to a flying start and landed swiftly in the mire.

      1. 20A is a homophone – INDISCRETE – meaning “as one”, i.e. not divided into parts.
        1. Thanks. My brain must be going as I considered both spellings before settling for INDISCREET and confirmed it by solving 17D.
  5. A Great War flavour to this one at 13 and 14. To be nit picky what is justification for last two words of 2 down? I liked 27. About 25 minutes to solve. Jimbo.
    1. 2D: I think the clue is intended to be read as:
      Sign up = def
      some = hidden word indicator
      sailor, never = hiding place
      seeking promotion = reversal indicator – promotion = ‘going up’, this being a Down clue.

      I guess your interpretation was that “sign” was the def, and “up some” indicated a hidden reversal in a down clue.

      1. Thank you Peter. Yes, that’s exactly how I read it. Your interpretation didn’t occur to me. Jimbo
  6. A very enjoyable 16 minutes. After about 10, I thought it was going to be one of those days where I have several clues unsolved, struggling particularly with the NE corner. All of a sudden, I got 20ac and 5 dn and the rest fell into place. Some excellent definitions at 11ac, 13ac and 1dn. Unlike others, I was lucky enough to see the “networker” pun straight away. No complaints at today’s homophone (20ac) 🙂
  7. Very enjoyable clues ,14a and 25a especially, scanned well.A good quality puzzle but not overly diffilult ,although does 17d – detergent- contend as one of the most regular clues (with slight variations in wording) to appear in the Times/elsewhere.Managed to break 10 minutes , first time for a week or so.
  8. Anyone care to explain 3D? It’s the oly one I’m still missing, and I’ve just about lost interest.
    1. Cobblers = Claptrap; whack = clap (clap on the back); trap = nail (Chambers gives cause downfall of). Jimbo
      1. And as for the definition — “cobblers” in rhyming slang is short for “cobblers’ awls” rhyming with “balls” which means claptrap, baloney, tommyrot or the like.
  9. About 35 minutes here, slight hangover, and the NE corner had me forever. I liked a lot of the clues, finally getting 12ac helped in sorting out the corner. I had a question mark over report – I am not used to report meaning shop.
    1. Report = shop: both are “inform the police / other authorities about”, ‘shop’ being slang.
  10. Just for the record, “hey presto” is in the editions of Chambers, Collins and the Concise Oxford that I’ve just tried.
  11. FISHERMAN suddenly arrived in obvious manner and what had thrown me was my erroneous SPLAT at 12A. Without reference works to hand I guessed there might be an obscure word TALP referring to some kind of powder keg “ingredient”. So, knowing the answer I feel slightly aggrieved about the plural “contents” indicating the single letter E of KEG.
  12. 8:39 for me. Some old friends among the clues, but one or two interestingly tricksy ones (e.g. 14A, 25A, 3D) where it took me a few seconds to justify what seemed to be the likely answer.
  13. A slow one on my scale. Came up with ‘hey presto’ and “happy families’ but for the life of me couldn’t make either work! A bit schadenfreudean of me to see others struggled there, too?

  14. And as for the definition — “cobblers” in rhyming slang is short for “cobblers’ awls” rhyming with “balls” which means claptrap, baloney, tommyrot or the like.


  15. An eight “easies” rowing down the river Notinblog:

    16a Time for a chat, perhaps (4)

    19a Twelve – no cricket side! (4)
    NO ON. Tried NO OFF or NO LEG but they didn’t fit.

    20a Tactless, as one is overheard (10)
    INDISCREET. As mentioned above a homophone of in discrete.

    23a Little boy knocking over cherry tree (5)
    AL DER

    26a Glorious under tree (7)
    SUB LIME. Not Cherry nor ALDER this time.

    7d Hail of bullets put out with strong emotion (9)

    17d Stop man getting cleaner (9)

    21d Class comprising a load of drips? (6)

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