Times 26683 – Done Like a Kipper

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
I had all bar three (19, 20, 25) done in less than 13 minutes (or thought I had), but then took ages to finish that corner off, only to find on submission (on the Times website puzzle page) that I had one wrong. I couldn’t find that after a few minutes hunting about, and then, after clicking the Reveal button, I was red-faced to see I’d fallen for the old ‘I know what the answer is, I won’t bother to parse the clue properly’ – or ‘until the ruddy end’, as CS Lewis used to say – trick.

I wonder how many of you will join me in donning the Dunce’s Hat today, and how many suffered from a terrible bout of vocalophobia (fear of vowels) in the SW corner.


1. SOBER – OBE in SR.
8. CLAUSTROPHOBIA – anagram* of AT CLUB OR SHOP + I + A; not claustrophobic!
10. NOTORIOUS – O + RIO in NOT + US.
11. YAHOO – OO on HAY reversed.
12. COIN-OP – whimsical clue for a great British institution.
14. ANTEROOM – ANT + E + MOOR reversed.
17. UPPER-CUT – a type of pugilistic punch.
18. OBERON – [s]OBER + ON reversed.
20. IDOLA – plural of idolum; DO + L in IA. Generous cluing for those who had forgotten this one.
22. LEASTWISE – ‘at any rate’; E in LAST + WISE (way once)
24. APPLE CHARLOTTE – C (key) + HARLOT (working girl – no char here) in LATE PPE*. Clever, if rather wasted, wordplay.
25. HUMANELY – ‘with sympathy’; sounds like HUGH + MAINLY.
26. DWELT – WEL in DT; ‘well’ as in ‘They live well and vote Labour’.


2. BOAST – S in BOAT; a pram is a dinghy with a snub nose, as it were.
6. WOOZY – WOO + ZY.
13. IMPROMPTU – um, it’s I’M PROMPT + U.
15. EMBATTLED – ‘in conflict’; E + MB + [r]ATTLED.
19. VAGARY – AG in VARY; seems so easy now…
21. ALLOA – ALL + O + A; a place known to most Sassenachs c/o James Alexander Gordon.
23. ISTLE – T in ISLE; more generous wordplay prevents further embarrassment.

43 comments on “Times 26683 – Done Like a Kipper”

  1. Reading your blog I simply cannot discern your troublesome spelling mistake – please enlighten!

    No such worries in sunny Shanghai? 26 mins for a regular Monday offering.



    Edited at 2017-03-27 12:49 am (UTC)

    1. He means 8ac Horryd, and he might not be the only one. I know I wrote it in thinking “that’s way too easy for a Times Cryptic”. Should have smelt a rat.
  2. …fell into the CLAUSTROPHOBIC trap. Now it feels like I’ll never get out.

    Stared at my LOI, the obvious (from wordplay) HEREON thinking “that’s not a word”. Finally the mental hyphen appeared and the penny dropped. Or the other way round, whatever.

    Good fun puzzle, Mondayish with a twist. Thanks setter and U.

  3. Fast start, fell for the IC trap, and then stared at 24, 25, and the crossing 19 for a considerable time. Thanks Ulaca.
  4. As U says, the clueing was kind for IDOLA and ISTLE (both u/ks), and wp was wasted for APPLE CHARLOTTE. Did a quick mental: “…ah, there’s only one C here!” to avoid the bear trap of 8ac

  5. 40 minutes. I was another on course to finish well within my target but then prevented from doing so by a combination of twists in the tail and stupidity on my part – in my case writing the answer to 21dn at 23dn despite the fact that it wouldn’t fit with two checkers already in place (I actually rubbed them out to make room!). Having overcome that I struggled with IDOLA and HUMANELY as my last ones in, which between them added 10 minutes at the end of proceedings.

    I didn’t remember to go back and work out the parsing at 24ac which I agree seemed a bit complicated and wasted since the answer was so eminently biffable.

    Never even considered -IC at 8ac as I had the last two letters (clued separately) in place before I got round to looking at the anagram.

  6. A flummoxing mix of the easy and the impossible for me. Not least because I thought “deposing” was a great definition for “what models may be doing after work”, and seemed to fit with “resisting”, so baffling myself for 4a, especially as I didn’t know the part of Holland.

    Then again, I also found the bottom quarter too difficult. Even though I guessed the unknown IDOLA, the crossing unknowns of APPLE CHARLOTTE, ALLOA and ISTLE left me with too few crossers for a couple of others down there.

    To add insult to injury, after staring at these leftovers for half an hour, even if I’d got them I’d have failed with the same mistake as others in 8a.

    So, started very “Mondayish” and then ground to a halt for a DNF in my hour. Bah.

    Edited at 2017-03-27 07:51 am (UTC)

  7. All but 5 today. (4a, 24a, 25a, 26a, 23d)

    For 1a I first tried to fit don for Spanish gentleman as it came up in the qc today.

    4a dnk Hook in Holland.
    24a dnk apple charlotte.
    22a I’m not clear why “way once” = wise?
    For 25a I was looking for fellow (largely) and then a homophone of read!
    23d IoM seems to catch me every time.

    COD 13d.

    1. not Hook in Holland – it is a promentary – whatever! Ferries go there.

      DNK Apple Charlotte! Come on Flash matey you need some lerve! Order one immediately on the ferry!

      Not sure I fully understand the parsing of LEASTWISE now you mention it – were in the same boat! More pie?!

      Edited at 2017-03-27 08:24 am (UTC)

      1. I’m currently in the ME so I will see if Waitrose does them, or maybe Delia has a good recipe!
  8. It’s not often that I count myself among those that managed to avoid a potential pitfall but I did get CLAUSTROPHOBIA today. With the amount of answers that I did biff I was half expecting to get something wrong but I went for speed today, and 11:21 is certainly my quickest for a while.
  9. Not that Mondayish for me taking 31 minutes with HUMANELY and VAGARY the last two to fall. I always have found HUGH a difficult name to pronounce, being so determined not to miss the H and U joint sound that it sounds like I’m taking the proverbial. Taking that bit more care though meant that I checked for CLAUSTROPHOBIA before risking going in. It was John Webster from 1948 to 1974 who read the scores on Sports Report. James Alexander Gordon is a newcomer! I still can’t hear Out of the Blue without being back damn near 70 years. But GCHQ won’t allow the scores to be read out in future. They’re classified.

    Edited at 2017-03-27 08:35 am (UTC)

  10. Very easy today. Not clear how one arrives at “claustrophobic” – just by guessing I suppose from definition and ignoring cryptic. More haste less speed!
    1. In this case it’s a question of bunging in from the wrong definition, since ‘with a fear of confined spaces’ gives CLAUSTROPHOBIC, and confirming with a quick glance at the anagram fodder. More haste less speed, indeed!
  11. 13 minutes, ennding with 25a and 19d, went for -IA in 8a as only one C was available; easy Monday again.
  12. This is my fifth attempt (third rewrite) to post today, something to do with the Cookie Monster, apparently.
    14.16, with 4 minutes taking up trying to fit something to do with Quakers at 25 across, on the rule “second letter U, first letter Q”. Gave up when a) nothing worked and b) remembered that Quakers are friends, not fellows.
    On 8, I saw “one with a fear of confined spaces”, biffed CLAUSTROPHOBE, realised it didn’t reach the end of the space, discounted the notion that it might therefore be poetry, and paid proper attention to the wordplay.
    Thanks for parsing the pudd’n, Ulaca. It was a well crafted clue, but I fear you may be in a class of one. “We do the research so you don’t have to”.
    Didn’t know a pram was a boat, or vice versa, but shrugged and put it in anyway
  13. 15 min: bunged in correctly at 8ac, on seeing ‘a fear…’.
    LOI 19dn, after realising 25ac didn’t have to start QU.
  14. …just under 20 minutes for this mostly easy offering but with quite a hold up on the last pair VAGARY/HUMANELY. For the former I spent far too long trying to justify words with the G after the second A. Missed the elephant trap by counting the vowels.
  15. 6:49, but also with CLAUSTROPHOBIC. Drat. It’s some comfort that I’m in such good company.

    Edited at 2017-03-27 09:09 am (UTC)

  16. A very nice start to the week, not so much in knocking the puzzle out in good time, more that I wrote in CLAUSTROPHOBIC, solved a couple more, then went back and checked the anagram fodder again, just to silence the nagging voice in my head; and changed it to the correct word. While I am shocked to realise that I am not too old to learn from my mistakes, I am not 100% confident it will happen again, so I shan’t be officially renouncing my membership of the More Haste Less Speed Club just yet.
  17. I managed to avoid the bear trap at 8a. Having considered …PHOBE and …PHOBIC, a quick check of the anagrist showed no E and only one C, so another reading of the clue confirmed the correct answer. My FOI was BOAST and the last two were HUMANELY and then VAGARY. Like Galspray I puzzled over what an extra E in a heron could possibly be, then the lightbulb moment arrived. Didn’t know IDOLA, but the wordplay was kind. 34:30. Thanks setter and U.
  18. Here in Yorkshire, a working girl is a tart – hence apple tartlette held me up somewhat.

    Edited at 2017-03-27 10:40 am (UTC)

  19. Oh dear. I thought I was on for a PB until I dimly put Apple Tartlette. Things went badly from there so a Dnf for me. At least I parsed 8a. I believe this is V’s non-drinking week so 1a is a good one for him.
  20. I thought I’d wasted time by checking all the letters going into CLAUSTROPHOBIA but now I’m glad I did! I did chuck a few others in unparsed, but managed not to come a cropper on them.
    Some kind clueing, as previously commented, for IDOLA & ISTLE, for which I was most grateful. All done in 6m 36s.
  21. There are a lot of phobics among the fast crowd on the Club board. I was rather similar to (although much slower than) Tim – I went back to do a letter check on the word because I wasn’t sure if it was CLAUSTR O or A and in doing so found my mistake on the end. You want to be careful about pronouncing HUMANELY around here or you start sounding like you-know-who who pronounces it YOUmanely. 13.9
  22. Would’ve been under 6 minutes, but like many others it seemed I bunged in CLAUSTROPHOBIC, thinking that that was “one with a fear…”. If only a nagging voice in my head had suggested to me that that was actually a CLAUSTROPHOBE, I’d be laughing now.

    Mrs V is away in Morocco all this week so I came to the crossword after a full hour in the kitchen washing up, doing the laundry, cleaning surfaces etc etc single-handed. Inhaling the fumes from cleaning products really dulls the brain and clearly as the intelligentsia we should be exempt from doing more than ~5 minutes housework a day…

  23. I was about to start with a “yipee” for a PB of just under 35 mins until I read the blog and realised that I too had fallen into the CLAUSTROTHINGY trap, so technically a DNF. Oh well. Haven’t seen COIN-OP for many years. Enjoyed the puzzle though, so thank you setter and Ulaca.
  24. Biff fest for me as well which worked fine (even got ‘ia’) until I bunged in embroiled and I seized up in the SE.
    DNK IDOLA but obvious from def.
  25. 14:36. At 8ac I started writing with the idea of seeing how many spaces I had left after the B. That led me to count the letters in the fodder which in turn pointed me towards the true purpose of the fiendish “one with a”.

    I’m surprised nobody has beefed about 4a. “Random” peoples’ names as answers are one thing, but is a beheaded one as part of the wordplay taking things too far?

  26. Jogged through this at a fair pace ( for me ) until I came to 23d. which totally failed to compute. Never heard of ISTLE but I shall be sure to use it at the first available opportunity ……. possibly never in my lifetime.

    Time: DNF in about 35 mins..

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  27. Solution to 2 down: “pram is a dinghy”…….really??
    23 down: “istle” . so obscure, a very odd mind thought of this one. I still cannot see the connection man, fruit or fibre.
    1. The “man maybe” is the ISLE of MAN. “Last of frui(t)” is the letter T. Insert in your ISLE and you get the (not so well known) fibre.
  28. 13 mins, so a fair bit slower than some of you but at least 8ac went in correctly. VAGARY was my LOI after HUMANELY. Although the enumeration didn’t hold me up I’d always spell 17ac as one word.

    As far as Penfold’s mini gripe about 4ac is concerned I didn’t have a problem with the idea behind it.

  29. I first wrote in 8a with IC at the end, and then realized that IA would fit too so I’d better check the wordplay. So I avoided that one.

    For some reason, took me forever to see HUMANELY and then I thought HUMAN must be the fellow and was trying to work out why ELY was “largely read aloud”. But I got there in the end. Solved on paper but probably about 25 mins.

  30. Things were going pretty well until (as you hinted) vocalophobia took hold in the SW corner. I struggled home eventually, but my 10:39 compares unfavourably with Magoo’s 3:04.

    I biffed CLAUSTROPHOBIA, having failed to spot that CLAUSTROPHOBIC was even a possibility, though I think I may have glimpsed “one with a” out of the corner of my eye. Or perhaps just subliminally?

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