Times 23745 – I need the loo

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Some very clever wordplay (and unlike today’s Guardian no errors!). I especially liked 1D because the definition was so well-hidden in a convincing apposite surface.


6 A,T IT – the kind that sings.
9 OPEN SESAME – ref. the (British) OPEN. I was a bit confused since “seeds” is plural.
10 P,ACE – where ACE is an adjective meaning “fine” here.
12 HIGH, FIDELITY – ref. HIGH school (and a highly amusing book by the way by Nick Hornby but a terrible movie).
17 LOO,[field]S,E – need to separate WC and Fields.
18 EGG ON – if you’ve got some on your face, it’s hard to avoid noticing.
20 S(PINE)CHILLER – ref. Friedrich.
24 ORGY – hidden rev in “paY GROcer”.
25 FOR,MUL(A,ON)E – recall “leg” is the ON side in cricket (or something like that).
27 IDIOT, BOARD – I think it’s the thing that TV announcers use.


1 P(R)OW – means “Front” and our “soldier taken” is a POW. My fav clue by far.
2 O.W.E.N – ref. Wilfred OWEN, WWI poet. Last letters.
3 GOSSIP(MO)NGER – “grapevine cultivator” is the cryptic definition. MO is (just a) “second” in (press going)*.
4 BOS(C)H – ref. Hieronymus. And C=speed of light is about as fast as you can go these days.
5 COMM(IS,S)A,R – don’t see the wordplay here… it’s a Soviet official but the rest? “Soviet official, right to arrest one’s son”. COMMA is “,” — very clever — and probably the best clue but I can’t vote for it since I didn’t see the wordplay first time through, which kind of detracts from the pleasure.
7 T,RAG,I,COMIC – I think this is right but the order of “I scrap” seems wrong (RAG I?) assuming COMIC is our publication.
11 HE’LL,FIRE,CLUB – worked out from wordplay — I guess there must have been such a society once upon a time.
16 TOUCH W,O,OD – (who cut)* – “dose excessively” is OD – nice.
22 COD,A – Cash on Delivery is pretty prompt I guess.
23 [l]LEWD – I guess “sky” is supposed to indicate reversal in a down clue… hmm… I wonder.

26 comments on “Times 23745 – I need the loo”

  1. Some really inventive clues today. I like 14D which I’m afraid to say beat me even when I had all the checked letters. There are two or three I haven’t worked out the wordplay and one (23D) that I haven’t managed to solve, but my Clue of the Day has to be 5D.
  2. I struggled with this one in 22:40, mainly because I confidently entered RUMOURMONGER at 3dn, which totally messed up the top left-hand corner.

    Favourite clue was 16dn, for the clever wordplay and the closeness of the answer to TORCHWOOD, the well-known anagram of Doctor Who.

  3. 23D beat me too, but what an entertaining puzzle – top marks to the setter. I’d also go for 5D as COD but feel sure several candidates are going to emerge. One of the best puzzles I’ve seen in months.
    1. 5D is LEWD – DWEL(l) reversed, with sky = hit into the air (cricket) as the reversal indicator. I spent the last 3 mins or so deciding that nothing else really fitted blue or sky as a def., and then finding the wordplay.
      1. Not sure I care for this one. A rather dubious reversal indicator more suitable as an anagramn indicator I’d have thought, “remain” and “dwell” are not always the same thing so don’t readily go together plus two very common checked letters that offered too many possibilities. I suppose if I’d spotted which was the definition it might have helped but maybe the setter tried to be a little bit too clever here.
        1. I have more trouble with remain=dwell, as this is only explicit in one of the two Chambers entries, not in COD or Collins, (the ref. dicts for the Times puzzle), unless these entries have changed since my editions appeared. ‘sky’ was imaginative and therefore hard, but seemed fair.
            1. That’s the Chambers def I was referring to. But Chambers isn’t supposed to be a source for the Times puzzle. My understanding is that there should be enough justification in COD and/or Collins, unless they’re thought to have missed out something that solvers should know. In the Collins / COD entries, I can’t see a really strong match between ‘dwell’ and ‘remain’, but if other aspects of the clue had been easier, I wouldn’t have been looking …
              1. I’ve only just done this puzzle (in 14:43), and 23D was actually my clue of the day: with -E-D in place I cracked it reasonably quickly, reading “sky” correctly, then thinking of DWELL for “remain”, and pleased to find LEWD appearing. But I also liked 5D, where I typed in the correct answer but then stupidly erased it again as I couldn’t see how it worked! Overall a first-rate puzzle.
  4. 13:10 – lots of very clever stuff. Can’t decide whether this puzzle is really difficult, or just took longer because it didn’t use many tricks that I’ve seen before. (Possible exception: 20A where I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the same wordplay structure before.)

    Best of luck to Ilan on 11D – easy for me as their caves are only about 7 miles from my front door.

  5. I’m relieved others found this difficult as I thought I was having two rough days on the trot. I have guessed BOSCH at 4 down, don’t see the wordplay and also LEWD so thanks Peter for explanation. I’m still pondering if SKY is a fair indicator of reverse up. Good to see a homophone that works at 26 across. Picking a COD is difficult because a lot of clever clues but I’ll go with 5 down. Jimbo.
  6. Sesame is the tree or plant or whatever so “one that provides seeds” clues the singular. That’s my take on it anyway.
  7. 5D’s fiendish trick is using the punctuation in the clue. In “Soviet official, right”, “, right” = COMMA R.

    7D has to be read as “In (time, I), scrap …”

    11D the Hellfire Club were a bunch of high-class hooligans.

  8. After 30 minutes I still had 6 to solve (4,7,12,21,23,25). After Onelooking for the missing answers, I have no complaints whatsoever. I was beaten by the setter’s deviousness, pure and simple. An excellent crossword with some really well constructed clues. My clue of the day (for reference only) has to be 5d for its cheeky use of a punctuation mark (comma).
  9. Lewd was last one and took a few minutes – eventually decided on it through equating blue=lewd. Some good clues which I solved first and worked out the wordplay later, comma = , was good. I seem to remember a full stop or exclamation mark being using in a similar fashion somewhere else. 16.55 – not to bad in the circumstances.
  10. Boot to face day again. Gave up on 23d after 30 minutes of being convinced sky was the definition, and wrote in bead out of desperation. I wonder if it may have been a deliberate on the part of the setter to make us think rumourmonger was 3d (just like 5D on 23743), as I fell for it (to the point of having “open market” for 9ac using “market” as one that could provide seeds). Enjoyable frustration for my lunch break (wishing I got it out of the way faster so I could sneak a few more minutes on Listener 3953, where I’m tantalisingly half-way after two sittings).
  11. Poor Ilan had a raw deal solving the Guardian online, but this was to do with the online errors, not the puzzle itself. In view of Ilan’s introductory comments, I (also a Times setter) feel I should point this out lest unfavourable comparisons be made unfairly. Pasquale
    1. no aspersions (see 13D) intended to be cast at the quality of today’s Guardian — which actually wasn’t bad — in fact I feel rather ashamed that I didn’t work out at least some of the errors myself (after all it was just an “off-by-one” error).
  12. I agree. An entirely enjoyable puzzle, and 5d was a ripper! Was sitting there saying to myself, Come on, where’s the bleeding comm… Oh, THAT comma!

    Missed ‘lewd’, and it took a while to work ‘formula one’ through.

  13. I don’t understand this. ilanc didn’t think it was necessary to explain it, so it’s probably quite simple, but I can’t see what’s going on. Looks like some sort of cryptic definition connected with weddings, but …

    It’s 23745 not 23755.

    5D was very nice.

    1. I read it thus: you play a keyboard with the fingers, and the one most likely to be “in a band”, i.e. with a ring on, is the RING FINGER. A think it was worded a bit clumsily to suit the surface reading, but just about OK as a CD.

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