Times 23,759

Solving time: 15:10

Lots of clever and funny clues. I might choose the simple 14D as clue of the day. No obscure words, though some less than obvious meanings.

One I don’t understand altogether, namely 7D. I trust someone will explain it for me. (Explanation now added below. Thanks to Peter B)

My main hold up, though, was in the South East corner. I think 27A (DERWENT) is tricky, but can see no excuse for being so slow on 16D (TAILWIND). It looks like an anagram, and you should expect it to mean some sort of wind. But I looked at the letters several times and decided there was no anagram. Until there was.


1 WAGE WAR, WAR being (not prepared =) RAW(rev)
5 BI(SEC)T – equating biting and chewing is a slight stretch
8 ELBOW (= barge) ROOM (=MOOR(rev)) – Good surface.
9 E-BOOK = (K.O. + O(ld) + BE)(all rev) – and net-work is a clever definition that could probably be a clue on its own
12 TWENTY-TWO = (NEW TOTTY W(ith))* – attractive surface
13 GOLD (= or) MINE (= type of bomb)
15 B + (O)W W(O)W – that is B(lack) followed by WWW (=web) with O’s inserted. Cleverly constructed
17 IN(LAY)S – tricky one. “Hip” has to be read I think as an adjective (meaning IN) being used as a noun so that it can be followed by apostrophe-s. “Stake” (= bet = LAY) is the easy bit. The bit that still puzzles me is the definition. In normal usage, INLAYS would mean “embeds” rather than “gets embedded”, and my Chambers doesn’t seem to support the second meaning.
19 MAGNOLIA – I tried to find various explanations of this before I spotted it was a reversed hidden
22 LAMB + S WOOL, SWOOL being (SO LOW)* – LAMB = angel as a term of endearment
24 W((rough)H (se)A (wal)L)E, West and East being a bridge team. Easy once you split the humpback bridge
25 WHITEWASH – not sure if there might be more to this than a cryptic def? (On edit: The whole clue defines two meanings of WHITEWASH – a cover-up of bad news, and a complete defeat. Thanks to Jimbo.)
27 (un)DERWENT


2 GA(BRIE)L, GAL being LAG(rev) – I hope that isn’t a Christmas-related clue in mid-November
3 W(OW)ED – I like “It hurts” for OW
5 BUMPER – two meanings
7 CHOC + TAW – I hope someone will explain to me how TAW is clued by “melt for Irishman” (if that is how it breaks down). (On edit: TAW is “thaw” pronounced in the allegedly characteristic Irish manner where “three” sounds like “tree”.)
14 MAY AS WELL – two meanings
18 LAM + BADA, BADA being (A DAB)(all rev)
21 DOO-WOP, being (PO(WOO)D)(all rev)

18 comments on “Times 23,759”

  1. I think there are 18 but may have miscounted.

    Another very enjoyable puzzle and as usual I had problems in the NE and am still not sure I have 9a correct. Is it E-BOOK?

    I’m torn between several for COD. 21d and 19a are excellent but I shall plump for 15a.

  2. 11 minutes for me. A good one, I thought, and I will give COD to 9A which was last to go in and not easy even with all the crossing letters. Jason J
  3. By the way the answer is E-BOOK, with “Network?” being the definition, and it’s KO (finish off) O (old) BE (live) backwards. Jason
  4. I’m surprised that no-one mentions the number of W’s in the answers…….?
    Re 7 d: Chambers 2003 didn’t help. I’m guessing that it’s an Irish term for a choice marble!
    Adrian, Moscow
    1. Er, the number of W’s was mentioned by the first commenter. But I make it 21 not 18.

      7D: the “melt for Irishman” is “thaw” pronounced in the allegedly characteristic Irish manner where “three” sounds like “tree”.

      I also took too long over tailwind, but still managed 8:10. Lots of good clues but my favourite is 12.

  5. Quite a difficult one for me at around 40 minutes to solve. At 25 across WHITEWASH is both a cover up and to lose a game without scoring – the worst possible result. Thanks to Peter for TAW = THAW in Dublin, which I think is weak to say the least. I agree about 17 across. Even if “gets” means “produces” or “leads to” the tense of “embedded” is wrong. The hidden word at 19 is well disguised but my COD has to be 12 across, which set my pulse racing. Jimbo.
  6. Unexpectedly quick for me, around 8 minutes, until a disaster in the SE corner where, in a fit of early morning inattentiveness, I carelessly enetered WHITEWISH at 25A, completely ruining my chances at 20D. Took me ages to spot the error.
    Some very good clues here (my COD is 19A, an extremely well-hidden hidden) but I’m not convinced by the anagind at 16D or the wordplay at 14D.
  7. Well done on 19, that was terrifically hidden. Magnolia and Ebook were guesses. I’m proctoring an exam, so had a blissfully quiet 20 or so minutes to finish this off. I agree with Peter that 12 was a good clue too, I like ones that seem to be heading one way and head the other (anyone else spend a few minutes trying to get twenty-one in there?).
  8. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Considering the number of Ws, it was a magnificent achievement for the setter to fill the grid without obscurities. Well done. Unfortunately,I didn’t time myself on this one – it may well have been a rare sub-10. I agree with others that taw=thaw in Ireland isn’t really on. Couldn’t see the GOLD bit in 13ac at the time but, thanks to Richard’s explanation, I think it’s a cracker. My prize today, however, goes to MAGNOLIA – superbly well-hidden. I had another senior moment with 20dn; I considered MEAD in LIE but couldn’t see that that made a real word, pronouncing it as either lim-eed or limmy-add. The penny eventually dropped !
  9. I completely missed magnolia and went for cannilla (which I’d never heard of but sounded like a plausible cream) and I figured there must be a UK game show called “all in” (sounds like a poker game show), so “can” (weak for pail) on “all in” reversed. Oh well.


  10. 18:23 for me. I started off well and got the left-hand side in about 5 minutes, and there I got stuck! I eventually saw that 12ac was an anagram of “new totty w”, then saw the very well hidden 19, and got going again for a bit, but it was a hard slog from there even though there was nothing incredibly obscure. Each clue I got seemed obvious in hindsight, but totally intractable at first. Must be down to good cluing.
    Strangely enough, I didn’t even notice how many W’s there were until I looked on here!
    1. Thanks for the feedback –
      I feel I must comment on the clue to INLAYS.
      IN is an adjective with the ‘S simply tacked on. “Gets” here = “renders” ie “puts into an embedded state” – a bit forced I admit. Luckily no one here seems to have noticed that the surface reading for this clue doesn’t really hang together grammatically. The subject of the sentence mysteriously changes from the hip to the stake. But I felt folk would know what was meant 🙂
      1. And to be fair that was my interpretation. “Gets” can be read as either “becomes” or “renders” – up to the solver to pick the right one.
  11. Quite an enjoyable puzzle. 19a had me for the longest time, to the point I’d started trying to place a W to see if that could help! (I recall a puzzle some years back where every answer contained the letter C, and I was able to use that premise to solve the last clue.)

    Still, I’ll give my COD to 15a.

  12. 13:26 for me, the last couple of minutes spent pondering over E-BOOK. My compliments to the setter for a most enjoyable puzzle, with 12A my COD.
  13. I do not have a problem with melt for Irishman = TAW at 7d. I have had the pleasure to know and work with quite a few folk from Eire in my time and that is how many of them would pronounce THAW.

    A clutch of “easies” in the egg-box:

    11a I competed with climber (5)
    I VIED

    23a Help us to capture a minute island (5)
    S. A M O.S. Not complicity in the invasion of Rockall.

    26a Beer or punch (6)

    1d Branches suggesting depression hanging over bank? (7,6)

    4d Settling (r)ight (in, got so)* agitated (8)

    23d Brand carries weight and promise (5)
    S W EAR

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