Times 26776 – is that Mr. Wu cleaning windows?

Solving time : 9:59 on the club timer, as close as you can get to under 10 minutes! I’m the third time on there and the fastest, so maybe I’m more on the wavelength with the setter, or I just knew a few obscurities and had some lucky guesses.

There is a lot here for the experienced solver, with some more unusual words mostly clued by solid wordplay.

Away we go!

1 HYPNOTISE: HYPE(ballyhoo) with SIT ON(brood) reversed inside
9 ADIPOSE: A(rbuckle), then DIP(swim), O’S(ducks), (shor)E
10 COEQUAL: E,QU(queen) in COAL
11 TEPID: DIET(assembly) containing P all reversed
12 EPICENTRE: EPIC(great), ENTRE(e) (course, finishing abruptly)
13 ROOSTER: O(nothing) in ROSTER
15 CAIRN: R(Rex, king) in CAIN(an example of oneinvolved in fratricide)
17 TUTEE: alternating letters in ToUr ThErE
18 COCKY: take COCKNEY(Londener) and remove NE(Tyneside)
19 TORCH: CR(councillor) in HOT(to the minute) all reversed
20 IMMERSE: use the R to replace the N(any number) in IMMENSE
23 REGULATOR: anagram of A,RULER,GOT
25 KNOWN: hidden in crooK NOW Nicking
27 AMIABLE: ABLE(talented) containing AIM(plan) reversed
28 ROSEATE: ROSE(grew), ATE(obsessed) – maybe the definition should be pink-y
2 PEEPING TOM: cryptic definition
3 OPULENCE: U(nusua)L inside O,PENCE – an all in one clue
4 ISLET: IS,LET(permissible) – “An inch” being the definition
5 EASTERNER: RN(seamen) on E inside EASTER
6 BISTRO: BIRO surrounding ST
7 SOAP: remove the centre from PANTOS and reverse – you don’t often see the two letter deletion from the middle of a word with an even number of letters
8 TENDERLY: TENDER(present), L(orr)Y
14 TICKETY-BOO: I think this is TICKET(party’s policies)
and an anagram (het up) of O,BOY
16 INTERVIEW: move W to the bottom of WINTER VIE
17 THINKERS: TINKERS(monkeys) surrounding H
18 CHILDISH: CHIL(l), DISH(collation)
21 RENTAL: another reversal(mounted), this time of N in LATER
24 GRAFT: double definition
26 OUSE: sounds like OOZE

45 comments on “Times 26776 – is that Mr. Wu cleaning windows?”

  1. A tough one, but I managed to get them all without biffing, save 1ac (missed ‘brood’) and 16d, which I parsed post-solve. I don’t think I see what ‘extra’ is doing in 13ac. And, for what it’s worth, I’d say that CAIN=fratricide, with R inserted (‘involved’).
    1. Yes, we’ve had this discussion before that ‘-icide’ words can refer to the action or the person committing the action. Not sure if it applies in every case but does so in all the examples I can think of at the moment.
      1. the only one I can think of is
        “and an echo arose from the suicide’s grave:
        Ah, willow, tit willow, tit willow.”
        1. Good one! SOED also lists the following examples: matricide (someone who kills their mother), patricide (father), sororicide (sister), parricide/parenticide (parent), homicide (another human being) and uxoricide (wife). The only exception – and perhaps it’s because it’s not listed in the Oxfords but elsewhere – appears to be ‘mariticide’ which I can only find defined as the killing of one’s husband, and not the wife who does the dirty deed.

          Edited at 2017-07-13 05:41 am (UTC)

          1. On the other hand some -cides refer only to the agent and not to the deed. I don’t think you can commit insecticide or herbicide for example


            1. Good point, Derek, I hadn’t considered that particular route. I suppose the defining factor is whether or not the killing is a crime as I think all the examples I quoted are used in a legal sense.
              1. “Salisbury is a desperate homicide. He fighteth as one weary of his life.”
                If WS can do it, I expect we can too.
  2. I thought we didn’t mention Mr. Roscoe Conkling ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle after the sordid affair regarding the death of Virginia Rappe back in 1921. However 9ac ADIPOSE my COD!

    WOD TICKETY-BOO! Of course.

    17ac TUTEE I had not come across before!


    The SW slowed me up/down considerably. Time over the hour,

    but much enjoyed over breakfast.

  3. Got held up in the South West, which is ok if you’re visiting Margaret River, not so much fun in Crosswordland.

    I always struggle with ADIPOSE, which I think I’ve only seen in crosswords. And COEQUAL looks weird without a hyphen.

    Nice challenge today. Thanks setter and George.

  4. 45 minutes with much time spent on the last two in, OPULENCE and COEQUAL. I thought the political meaning of TICKET was more to do with candidates than policies as such, e.g. a US Presidential candidate and running-mate for VEEP might be described as “the dream ticket”, but SOED supports that it can apply to policies too. I am not pleased to be reminded of the irritating Danny Kaye song ‘Everything is Tickety-Boo’ which is now going to be running through my head for the rest of the day. I wondered if the parsing for that one might be O (old) + anagram [het up] of BOY reversed [about]. If so, it hardly matters, but that’s the way I marked it up in my own notes.

    Edited at 2017-07-13 09:24 am (UTC)

  5. 28:02 … Phew! I found this seriously hard.

    Long delays with GRAFT, SOAP and my last in RENTAL. And a rather longer, self-imposed hold-up sorting out the HYPERBOLE I had fairly confidently biffed at 1a.

    Satisfying to sort out, for all that.

  6. 15:59. Tricky stuff this, but very enjoyable to solve.
    I agree with jackkt that the end of 14dn is a reversal of O, (BOY)*. Otherwise it’s an indirect anagram [gasps of horror] and the word ‘about’ is extraneous. I also hesitated over this one for the same reason, i.e. thinking the TICKET was a list of candidates rather than the policies. But I also checked it and the required meaning is in Chambers too.
    1. Not really. [Party’s policies old] = TICKET,O. Then this lot has to be “about” (around) something. And that is [boy’s het up] = OBY.
      1. If the word ‘about’ is a containment indicator then I can only read the cryptic grammar as an instruction to put TICKET, O inside OBY, not the other way round.
  7. Half a fat rascal finished well before this stiff challenge. One gap left after 50 mins and gave up on the hour without seeing… Epicentre. I know.
    Some tricky and clever stuff in this one. Thanks setter and blogger.
  8. 33 minutes of solid toil and well worth the effort. A tough technical test with no arcane vocabulary or GK. No demerit points for today’s setter!
  9. I hesitated over GRAFT at the end given my record of one wrong every day so far this week. I didn’t think of it as dishonest practice – I’ve heard grift for dishonest practice but I’ve only ever thought graft meant hard work.
    1. And I only ever thought it meant corruption; my English-Japanese dictionary marks the work sense ‘UK’, and the corruption sense ‘primarily US’.
  10. I might have got there if I had time to push over my hour today, but sadly I don’t, and was left with 28a and 21d left over. In fact, I was left with ROSE__E of 28a, and still couldn’t get to “ate” from “obsessed”, not knowing ROSEATE. Can’t quite believe I didn’t get to “later” from “ensuing”, mind.

    Perhaps if I hadn’t got stuck for a full ten minutes with a lot of the south left to go until I managed to put THINKERS in…

  11. ADIPOSE features in a famous Doctor Who episode, and was also the subject of a legal threat by the BBC. Agree with jack about YBOO. COD undoubtedly 14d. 36′. Thanks gl and setter.
  12. Agree with George – a puzzle for experienced solvers from which the less experienced can learn (with the help of this blog, of course!)

    A very well constructed set of clues. Thank you setter – and good time George

  13. Nice crossword and v enjoyable just under the 30 for me with 1a unparsed. The rather warm tone offered by several solutions may have added to the positive feel on completion. TY gl and setter
  14. I can remember wondering as a wolf cub why so many people seemed to be buried at the top of Lake District Hills, so the definition as used in 15a must have been the first I was aware of. It was the SW and not NW where I got stuck today though, particularly with the ROSEATE/ RENTAL crosser, having plumped for OUSE straightaway and seen THINKERS once fully IMMERSEd. Eventually RENTAL appeared making the none-too-strong ROSEATE pun apparent. My love is like a red, red rose though, even if the traditional rose of the House of Lancaster is also pink. I’ve planted a couple in disbelief. 38 minutes on a 124 current SNITCH is S+ for me. Thank you setter and George.
  15. Under 10 minutes is impressive George, it took me 45 and two cups, the SW corner took an age to succumb. Also thanks for parsing SOAP – for the life of me I couldn’t link Christmas and Shows together and see why it was what it was. But feeling a bit jaded today after the crazy excitement of the Tour de France starting stage 11 here and a late night.
    Now it’s done, it doesn’t look so hard, so it must have been ‘me’.
    Thanks for the blog.

    Edited at 2017-07-13 01:33 pm (UTC)

  16. Technical DNF in 22 min, with six or seven minutes for last couple in SW – couldn’t think of anything better than ROSETTE at 28ac after seeing that 26dn wasn’t OOZE, and then (with ROSEATE in place) only had RUNWAY to fit checkers at 21dn, which was clearly wrong, so resorted to aid to find what I’d missed – and kicked self.
  17. I did this in the somewhat non-optimal conditions of at my desk at work, and was pushed over the 10 minute mark for the first time this week by the pleasantly intricate constructions on offer here. 25ac into 17dn my L2I; both quite indicative of how, while the clues here are not particularly difficult once you see them, there were not a lot of things you could just bung in from definition! Well played setter.
    1. George, your blog title reminds me inexorably of a bit in Grant Morrison’s clever meta-superhero comic Zenith; in this parallel universe George Formby’s song goes “Mr Wu’s a superhuman now” and includes lyrics such as “while Mr Wu is picking up tanks, Mrs Wu’s just picking up Yanks”… genius.
  18. Definitely on the tough side for me! FOI was HACKED, LOI was TORCH. After I’d solved 1d, 4d, and 5d, the NW refused to give up any more of its secrets so I moved on to the NE which yielded quickly, and thence to the SE which took a little longer. OUSE and KNOWN then sat in the SW untroubled by any neighbours while I cogitated to little effect for what seemed like an age. Eventually I teased out the answers with THINKERS and ROSEATE rebooting the brain to totter over the line in 52:28. Smiled at PEEPING TOM when the penny dropped. A challenging puzzle. Thanks setter and George.
  19. About 25 minutes, ending by biffing in SOAP. Couldn’t parse it whatsoever. Very cleverly constructed puzzle, so thanks setter. Well done George. Regards.
  20. When will I learn the word ‘adipose’? Every time it crops up I bung in ‘adipode’, even today when I stopped and wondered how OD can mean ducks. It’s days like this that make me want to give up, but not perhaps before I’ve tried some of Johanna Konta’s processes…

    Edited at 2017-07-13 12:49 pm (UTC)

  21. 19:12 so I found it tricky but not as enjoyable as others.

    Did nobody else have NOEL at 7d? I had the O from ADIPOSE so bunged it in on the basis of Christmas as the def made from a reversal of LE{m}ON. I did leave a QM by the clue as cleaner/lemon seemed a bit loose but you do seem to get lemon in an awful lot of household cleaning products.

    1. I had 7dn as NOEL early on but had a bad feeling about it (unlike POWERLESS yesterday!).
      SOAP came late.
    2. Yes I did put in NOEL on the basis of exactly the same logic, but my doubts about cleaner/lemon were obviously a bit stronger than yours because I took it out almost immediately.
  22. Am I the only one recently to have a problem on this site? It occurs both if I log in from work on my PC or at home on my iPhone.
    1. I don’t know about malicious URLs but I do find that at times I can’t use this site on my iPhone at all because I keep getting redirected to a site that tells me I’ve won an iPhone 8.
        1. Bad luck. On the other hand, I did hear that you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault…
  23. I think I use them to mean something similar when trying a repair of something that I’m not sure about as in ‘tinker around with’ or ‘monkey around with’. I also think calling an impish child a little ‘tinker’ or ‘monkey’ are close to synonymous.
    1. Yup. Thought of that a second after posting and deleted, but you were too quick for me.
  24. Despite the 3rd qualifying crossword appearing to be a particularly easy one (based on comments), I qualified for the finals based on a time of just under an hour after having submitted the completed puzzle on a whim!

    I’m certainly not complaining, and am glad for the excuse to spend more time doing crosswords in preparation. However, does anyone know of any reasons as to why a longer time might have made it through?

    1. Either a lot of people fell into a trap (was it schema / scheme in that puzzle?) or not as many people as expected bothered to enter.

      Either way, well done whoever you are and get practising!

      1. Thanks! Fear not, practise is key for sure. Do you know where I can get hold of past competition crosswords?
  25. I did about half of this in 33 mins this morning and finished it off in another 19 mins after work. Biggest hold up was 21dn where I spent ages trying to find a word meaning “ensuing” containing an “n” for knight which if raised to a higher position (mounted) in that word would give another word meaning “charge”. I much enjoyed this puzzle despite leading myself down the garden path. FOI 11ac. LOI 21dn. COD 2dn which I thought a rather good CD when I saw it.
  26. 13:03, not helped by: 1) another horribly slow start; 2) bunging in NOEL for 7dn (despite being very doubtful about LEMON = “cleaner – relieved to see I wasn’t the only one); and 3) making extraordinarily heavy weather of HYPNOTISE at the end.

    An interesting and enjoyable puzzle though, so no complaints.

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