Times 23786 – Silly words that can mean anything

Solving time: 49mins

Some good fun today. I enjoyed seeing PING-PONG, SINGSONG, DING-DONG and KING KONG drop out. I think that’s the lot, although I did keep thinking of the recurring Lazytown song ‘Bing Bang Diggariggadong.’ There were some slightly cryptic definitions to wake up my brain, e.g. ‘my work is late’, ‘being nosy?’
It took me some time to get going and I jumped around like a lord a-leaping while the grid magically filled up. Last to go in were 22 and 25.

Yesterday’s comment from talbinho reminded me that I didn’t thank everyone for stepping in during my extended leave of absence – so a belated thanks to everyone.

As I write this, I spot the words ‘PUN HOST’ in the third column’ – does this mean anything?


1 1MPH,A,L(end of vital) – I’d heard of the Battle of Imphal, but needed some letters first as the wordplay wasn’t immediately obvious. I have to drive round half the M25 this morning – I expect to be doing that crawling speed for some of the journey.
5 GAP,EWORM(anag of mower)
10 [t]ENDS
11 DIN,G[D]ONG – definition is ferocious, not ‘ferocious row’ as I first thought. A gong is a the medal kind, not the Christmas kind that first sprang to mind.
13 EC,HO – EC (Eastern Central) is the postcode for the City of London
18 BRONZ[e],1,NO – not sure whether Il Bronzino ever sculpted – in bronze or otherwise.
19 AIR,Y
21 [a]MUSING
23 SINGSONG – I think this is just a double definition. I have heard some critics refer to Bob Dylan’s recent performances as being singsong.
25 BETA = “beat a”
27 STRE(NGT)H – HERTS reversed, containing the even letters of knight.


2 MAHDI – reverse of “I’D HAM”
5 GEORGE GROSSMITH – anag of ‘Roger got his gems’ – George Grossmith wrote Diary of a Nobody – I saw some of the recent TV drama on BBC4.
17 KING,K(ON)G – KG=Knight of the Garter
22 INANE – the word bottle finishes ‘in an E’

18 comments on “Times 23786 – Silly words that can mean anything”

  1. I enjoyed this but took longer than I would have done if I had known GAPEWORM and BRONZINI. Still these were easy enough to guess from the wordplay.

    Is 10 ENDS? If so I can’t see exactly why.

    There are several candidates for my COD. I liked 8 but I’m going to pick 22.

    I also enjoyed the four connected answers at 6,11,17 and 23.

    1. Thanks, foggyweb, I had considered (t)ENDS but rejected it for some unknown reason. I see it clearly now you have put it up.
      1. Except that the definition should be “goals,” not “needing goals.”


  2. 9 Across

    “Tom, be seated” – it comes out as sign of rejection

    To me, “Tom, be seated” gives THUMB DOWN not THUMBS DOWN.

    Unless of course one lapses into rural speak as in…

    Oooh aarrr, that Tom he be seated

    which would give THUMB’S DOWN.

    Mike O, Skiathos

  3. This one seemed a lot of fun, and at 20 minutes non-stop was not too hard either.
    I loved the Ding Dong etc, and particularly liked seeing the mighty NASA reduced to part of nasal!
    COD for me was 5D, with the diary attributed to both George and Weedon Grossmith, (so George helped.)
  4. A nice easy 25 enjoyable minutes. I had to guess the artist but not difficult. In addition to those already mentioned, 7 down is a nice clue.

    Nice to see our practice of not including every clue has spread to The Times itself. The e-version of Mephisto 2468 has clues 1 across, 32 across and 4 down missing! I (and probably several others) would be grateful if somebody with the paper version could post those clues and enable us to finish the puzzle. Jimbo.

    1. Those 3 clues are supposed to be “unclued”. There is a short sentence just after the grid which sort of explains-cum-helps you to get the answer. If you’re like me, you’ll need as many cross letters as possible to get the answer!
      When you printed the grid, perhaps you cut off that sentence? I almost did!
      Good luck!!
  5. 16 minutes whilst eating soup. I use the same hand for both spoon and pen so there was some distraction. Never heard of IMPHAL, MAHDI or BRONZINO (or George Grossmith come to that), but they were simple enough to work out. I’m breaking the rules and nominating PING PONG, DING DONG, SING SONG and KING KONG as CsOD. Where was the Little Britain character Ting Tong ?
  6. Good fun, I liked 7D and 22D and wanted to like 8D but felt that RED SETTER, an exemplification of what is only obliquely defined by ‘my best friend’, was going a bit too far.
  7. 7:05 for this IPMPHAL and BRONZINO were new to me, though only the latter caused much delay – I considered the possibility of some other bit of scuplture.
  8. Quite a cheerful puzzle and I, too, am going to nominate for COD a combined 6, 11, 17 and 23. It wasn’t until the last one, ‘singsong’, fell into place I thought, “Hey…”

  9. Also enjoyable for me, but I didn’t see the connection either, until I opened this page. In fact, despite having singsong, dingdong and ping pong I first wrote in ‘Lion King’, thinking a Garter knight was a ‘lion’ of your empire or some such. Once I straightened that out the rest of that corner fell into place. Regards all.
  10. Guessed at a bunch of these from the wordplay – Imphal, gapeworm, Bronzino, George Grossmith (though after I wrote it in, it sounded familiar). Fun puzzle, didn’t time myself, but got most of it done while my car was being inspected, and knocked the rest out over lunch.
  11. In the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, you might have heard Martin Johnson over the referees microphone saying things like “Ping him ref!”

  12. I know – 0 MPH is not quite crawling speed – but it looked like a better place name. I stand corrected.

    Another 8 in a boat that are left out of the blog:

    9a “Tom, be seated!” – it comes out as sign of rejection (6,4)

    26a (I stir, about)* to get cracking – my work is late (10)

    28a Very little’s drunk (6)

    3d Coming from garden (when groom)* is excited (4-5)

    4d The pound is good in French capital (6)
    L IS BON

    6d Whistle and hum going to a game (4-4)
    PING – PONG. I share the query about equating PING and WHISTLE whatever Martin Johnson might have to say about it.

    16d Confirmed communist supported (ruse, as)* ordered (9)

    20d International body recently inequitable? (6)
    U.N. JUST

Comments are closed.