Times 28,319: How Much Is That Blogger In The Window?

Moderately straightforward for a Friday, but with some excellent surfaces. 10ac took me way too long at the end, as I was looking for a word for drab-coloured, not for a doxy or floozy.

My favourites in this one were the anagrams: 13ac, 23ac, 2dn and 5dn all have amazing anagrists in the service of super surfaces. COD to 23ac I think because lift-and-separate stuff like “Doctor Crippen…” is irresistible, to me at least.

Thanks setter!

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Traditional Cluedo weapon nicked straight from the kitchen? (6,3)
PIPING HOT – (lead) PIPING + HOT [stolen]
6 Search far end of Yorkshire dale (5)
COMBE – COMB + {yorkshir}E
9 Stationery item — probably not much point going into it (6,9)
PENCIL SHARPENER – cryptic def. Hopefully there is point coming out of it though
10 Drab partners holding hands, having nothing to hide (6)
SLOVEN – S(outh) + N(orth) [partners holding (bridge) hands], “hiding” LOVE [nothing]
11 Unanimously answer child, returning call (2,3,3)
AS ONE MAN – A(nswer) + SON + reversed NAME
13 Rowdy old Tories scrambled aboard coach (10)
14 Commission from East shunned by upper-class prig (4)
SNOB – reversed BON{u}S
16 Small, soft lament (4)
WEEP – WEE + P(iano)
17 Worsening classes during last month ultimately rally (10)
DEGENERACY – GENERA during DEC + {rall}Y
19 Warship crew’s heading in to press youngster (8)
20 Visible evidence of logging puzzles (6)
STUMPS – double def with the results of chopping down trees
23 Doctor Crippen loses dad, being forced to leave home (9,6)
24 More prudent wife is heard not seen oddly (5)
WISER – W(ife) + IS + {h}E{a}R{d}
25 Ringing area in on-screen shot (9)
1 Chronicler looks briefly for an audience (5)
PEPYS – homophone of PEEPS
2 Entertaining creatures out of place in Metamorphoses (9,6)
3 Number one gundog polishing off last piece of meat … (8)
4 … eats hot chop in little bits (4)
HASH – HAS [eats] + H(ot)
5 Fluid daft nurses fed in intravenously (10)
6 Gangland boss better operating close to home (6)
CAPONE – CAP [better] + ON [operating] + {hom}E
7 One carving, with inscription, impressive Madonna and child (10,5)
8 Lustful old boy returns inside, chasing queen’s messenger (6,3)
ERRAND BOY – RANDY with reversed O.B. inside, after E.R.
12 Mercenary lover puts one off holding dance (10)
13 Children’s dog houses in display initially — placed here? (3,6)
BOW WINDOW – BOW-WOW “houses” IN D{isplay}, semi-&lit
15 Article seized by master from kid, perhaps (8)
LEATHERN – THE “seized” by LEARN
18 Small vehicle accommodating a large quantity (6)
SCALAR – S(mall) + CAR “accommodating” A L(arge)
21 Divine judgment (5)
SENSE – double def, verb and noun
22 Day in Rome that is timeless (4)

69 comments on “Times 28,319: How Much Is That Blogger In The Window?”

  1. I forgot to note my starting time but I’d estimate I needed around 40 minutes to complete this.

    I was held up along the way by SLOVEN , DEGENERACY and LEATHERN (my LOI) and I wasn’t sure about SCALAR which I arrived at via wordplay and knew it existed but not its meaning.

    PANTOMIME HORSE clued as anagram of ‘metamorphoses in’ came up in a puzzle I blogged on 12 April and gave me some problems because the definition wasn’t clear to me at the time, but this is a much better clue.

  2. On 39 minutes I capitulated, as at 15dn I had lobbed in GOATHERD and required some order in the Kent Marshes. LEATHERN! Well I never did, kid!

    (LOI) 22dn IDES – is est!
    COD 23ac DISPLACED PERSON – that’s me!

    I also missed 10ac SLOVEN – IKEA’s one piece oven glove. Mood Meldrewvian

    On edit: I fave never encountered a drab as a prostitute before.
    Thus drab an tart are synonymous!

  3. An enjoyable and satisfying challenge for me, which felt pretty close to the limits of my solving ability and took some remedial intervention, in addition to conventional solving.
    – My half-biffed ORNAMENTAL MASON was eventually corrected by COMBE
    – Initially entered SONARENCE / SONERANCE (tried both, neither felt right) at 25a, until FREELANCER made the obvious answer appear

    Other than those, I worked my through methodically, slowing down as the puzzle progressed and the tougher stuff held out. Finished with two half-remembered variants of familiar words, LEATHERN and finally SLOVEN, in 50:58 – thanks V and setter.

    Cataract surgery at 13:00 today, targeting my right eye – which is by far the stronger and more heavily-cataracted of the pair – so kinda critical-path. If I’m here Monday and able to read the clues / comments, we’ll be calling that a success.

    1. Thinking, on your behalf, in terms of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. All best wishes.

    2. Really hope all goes well. I had eye surgery of the same nature for short sight some 14 years ago now, and it transformed my life. No more specs or contact lenses and an end to emerging from the sea with no clue as to where my family or belongings were on the beach! NB I am wearing swimming goggles in my avatar picture – don’t ask!

      1. Thanks all for the good wishes (and I’m sure that everyone here feels the same). I’m young (59) and fit by the standards of most cataract patients, and I have a lot of confidence in the facilty and surgeon dealing with the op.

        Everything is in good shape for the right outcome – signing off now…

    3. Good luck. My 88-y-o mum came out of cataract surgery and no longer wears glasses. Makes me want to apply to have cataracts.

    4. Very good luck with the cataract surgery. I’m somewhere in the queue too.

    5. Had cataract surgery in 2004. Gave me a new lease on life. Hope all goes well for you and you can enjoy a colourful future…

    6. i’m late to the show, so you’re home by now I’m guessing. I hope it went well. In addition to clarity, I’ve heard people saying it gave them full colour vision, which they had not realised they’d lost, back.

  4. 17:31. Today my solving followed a common pattern, completing most clues fairly quickly then getting stuck on a handful at the end. They were the same three that Jack mentioned, two of which Denise also mentioned – SLOVEN, LEATHERN and DEGENERACY. They had the feeling of clues that I might have to put down and come back to so it was satisfying to persevere and solve them in one sitting.

  5. 37 mins so fairly Fridayish. Particularly liked some very good misdirection, eg 1a where I was desperately trying to remember the Cluedo weapons and missed the kitchen literal. My last 2 were SLOVEN, where I thought the hands were L and R, and SENSE, which just about made SENSE.

  6. 27:10
    Slow start–FOI WISER–followed by slow progress, culminating in a burst of slowness. Last two in were HASH and BONUS; never thought of HAS=eats, and took forever to see what the U disappeared from. DNK the MASON, DNK SCALAR as a noun. I thought of ERRAND BOY fairly early on, but couldn’t imagine that ‘boy’ could be in both the clue and the solution. 23ac was lovely, but ‘Doctor Crippen’ just calls out to be separated. Still (CRIPPEN LOSES DAD), and (IN METAMORPHOSES), are impressive anagrists. It’s been at least 60 years since I played Clue (US version of Cluedo), but I can’t imagine that PIPING was one of the possible weapons; for me that would mean the system of pipes in the house. Lead pipe, maybe? Anyway, it was easy enough. I think maybe NOISETTE for COD.

    1. Wiki advises that the weapon was originally ‘lead piping’ in the UK editions but it’s now ‘lead pipe’ – perhaps it was that in Clue all along? Also the token was originally actually made of lead.

      1. I also went to Wiki after posting! I also learned that ‘Cluedo’ was a play on ‘ludo’.

      2. Yes it was “lead pipe” in our set. It obviously wasn’t going to be “candlestick” but I did take a while to narrow down the choices.

  7. Great puzzle, thoroughly enjoyed, very entertaining surfaces. I was way off the wavelength, put it down half-empty for an hour or so before coming back and finishing it. Last few in were IRONCLAD DEGENERACY and SLOVEN.
    COD Monumental mason

  8. Despite the odd stumble—such as getting a few letters into writing in POKER HOT, which is both wrong and doesn’t fit, before seeing the PIPING—I feel that getting through this in 41 minutes isn’t too bad, especially as I’m not feeling too bright this morning (entirely self-inflicted.)

    As with V, my LOI was SLOVEN, and I’m not sure I’ve seen that meaning of “drab” before. Given that I worked out how the clue worked quite early it’s pretty poor that it took me that long to come up with “love” for “nothing”, though. D’oh.

  9. 28 mins for a Friday is very respectable for me
    Lots of clues went straight in but I struggled for several mins on 10a and 15d
    2d and 23a were great clues
    Overall, congratulations to the setter

    1. Ayup Mate,
      Please note that I, and others, cannot bothered to scroll back up on a daily basis, to find out what the likes of 10a, 15d, 2d and 23a are. So please follow convention, and write in the actual words in order not to be passed by.

        1. I have sent your comment to the ‘Tip Line’ of the 6/1 commitee 👁👁

  10. 17:21. I’m not sure how I managed to think STENTORIAN might be the answer to 13A, but BOW WINDOW set me straight. Some neat anagrams – I’m glad I didn’t have to know who Doctor Crippen was. I failed to parse FREELANCER, so thanks for that V. Thanks too to the setter for a fun puzzle.

  11. 46 minutes with LOI FREELANCER. I pursued Dr Crippen across the Atlantic in vain for a while. For COD, the mathematician in me would like to go for SCALAR, and the physicist RESONANCE, and I enjoyed BOW WINDOW the most, but I think LEATHERN deserves it. Toughish puzzle. Thank you V and setter.

  12. 50 mins held up by the same three as others. Can’t still quite see why SLOVEN is drab. FOI PEPYS. I really liked the long anags, especially Doctor Crippen and DISPLACED PERSON. PENCIL SHARPENER was fun too.

    Thanks V and setter.

    1. A sloven is an antiquated word for a lowly servant, usually employed in a kitchen, and a drab has the same meaning – generally encountered in historical novels these days.

      1. Thank you alto_ego. I knew the meaning of Sloven but not that of drab.
        You learn something………

    2. If you ever did Macbeth at school you would have come across it when the witches list the ingredients of their cauldon.

      Finger of birth-strangled babe
      Ditch-deliver’d by the drab,-
      Make the gruel thick and slab:
      Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
      For ingrediants of our cauldron.
      Double,double toil and trouble,
      Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

  13. While still a DNF I’m happy that after struggling with a few quickies recently I was able to get close to complete on this and was defeated only by FREELANCER (now kicking myself) SLOVEN (only ever see “nothing” as “o” and was trying to fit “men” in for “hands”) & ERRAND BOY. I didn’t believe that “BOY” would be part of the answer with “old boy” as part of the clue for that very word. I see it now of course, but it still feels a bit odd/clumsy.
    Onwards and upwards and across and down.
    Thanks setter and Verlaine.

  14. 50:53
    It took me absolutely ages to see degeneracy and leathern. At least 15 mins. I was looking for a plural ending in s in degeneracy, of course. Finally got there!
    Thanks, v.

  15. 38 minutes. A not too intimidating Friday, though trying to parse the simple looking HASH holding me up at the end. I liked the ‘Doctor Crippen’ clue and the surface for WISER. Like a few others above, I wasn’t too keen on the ‘boy’ and BOY appearance in ERRAND BOY.

  16. Ditch-deliver’d by a drab
    Just over 20 minutes for this puzzle distinguished by some spectacular anagrams.
    I claim to have been too clever by half on 1ac, seeing straight through the “from the kitchen” device to look for a percussion instrument, perhaps a variation on high HAT, with POISON as a candidate early (now forgotten) Cluedo weapon.
    “Drab” threw me like it seems to have thrown most people: it’s Shakespearian, isn’t it? And it’s a bit loose, since drab in Shakespeare is definitely a whore, and a SLOVEN is more a neglectful untidy or dirty person.
    SENSE went in with a certain reserve: I was prepared for pink with a plaintive it can mean both divine and judgement appeal to VAR.

  17. Yes I think I must have had “drab” from Shakespeare – Hamlet probably, it usually is. Those anagrams were a tour de force, especially the Crippen. 16.23

    1. See my post above. It’s in the witches chant “Double double toil and trouble”. The drab delivers the “birth-strangled babe” in a ditch. A horrible image that has stuck with me – why I remember it….

  18. All complete bar SLOVEN, which defeated me. Prob would have got it if I’d been prepared to mull it over another hour, but lost interest. NHO LEATHERN, but it could be nothing else. Slightly irritated by SNOB, because bonus and commission aren’t the same thing. But hey, whatever. Liked CAPONE and IRONCLAD.

  19. Thanks for explaining FREELANCER, V, I was thinking a LANCER was some kind of dancer. 30 minutes with LOI SLOVEN from wordplay, didn’t know that meaning. Wasted time on a GOAT—- idea as well.

  20. 44 minutes for a puzzle that is for me just about right. Not a write-in, so far as write-ins ever go, but it steadily yielded. Took a while over SLOVEN (a noun, rosédeP; the more common adjective slovenly presumably comes from it ) but good clue. I was less than happy with the boy repetition at 8dn. Is the inscription part of a monumental mason’s job description? 9ac was the sort of CD I approve of: unlike so many of them, it does in fact give two routes to the answer.

    1. A monumental mason works explicitly with headstones, so I guess inscription is probably part of the job…

  21. Sadly, defeated in the end by SLOVEN. With all done under the hour I simply couldn’t see the ‘love’ = nothing, convinced that I already had that with the ‘o’, so resorted to aids. I knew both SLOVEN and Drab, so no excuse really, but I’d NHO SCALAR, so grateful for the generous clueing. Thanks to setter for a great puzzle, and to V, for making me feel better about not quite making it!

  22. 14:07 for a puzzle with some very interesting long answers. The main hold-up was much shorter, of course, as I finally managed to construct SLOVEN, although it took a bit of shuffling of potential synonyms before I got a match.

  23. 20:06

    Same as others regarding the last few to get: SLOVEN, LEATHERN, DEGENERACY and FREELANCER.

    As an IT contractor, I should baulk at FREELANCER = mercenary, but I am reminded of an old boss, who would frequently refer to us under his breath as mercenary b**tards.

    FREELANCER fell first which ruined my notion of INDE___ACY – needed LEATHERN for the last checker, but was still another minute or so before seeing DEGENERACY.

    LOI SLOVEN – had been convinced that O_E_ would be OPEN, but SNOPEN didn’t make any sense!!

  24. DNF. All wrapped up in 30 mins or so bar LEATHERN, which remained unwrapped up despite guessing the H for the article and having all the other crossers in. An honourable defeat by a tricky puzzle – but I suppose I would say that.

  25. I also had to construct SLOVEN from the wordplay as I didn’t know the required meaning. It was my antepenultimate entry, leaving me to ponder over LEATHERN, which then made LOI, STUMPS simple. PEPYS was FOI, helped by having seen it in a very recent puzzle. An enjoyable puzzle. 26:45. Thanks setter and V.

  26. Hated SLOVEN! If you Google a word and still can’t find it’s meaning, surely this is a sign that it’s too obscure even for The Times? In the end after 5 minutes I finally disobeyed my cardinal rule and submitted with SLOVEN as a guess, and for once didn’t get the dreaded 5xx score.

    On the plus side, PANTOMIME HORSES was some anagram.

    1. Maybe it’s a generation thing, Sheapey, but even with what I’d rate as a well-above average grasp of how to do things on-line it would never occur to me to use Google to find the definition of a single word. There are dozens of free on-line dictionaries designed specifically for that purpose and you only need two, perhaps three, of them for everything you’re likely to meet in a Times puzzle.

    2. I googled “sloven” and it popped straight away. It’s also in the Chambers word wizard. Maybe you should change your online dictionary. It’s a reasonably well-known word – usually used as a synonym for ‘slut’ and as an adjective ‘slovenly’.

  27. DNF this excellent puzzle. Gave up at 55 minutes with sloven, ironclad, freelancer and degeneracy still resisting.

    Like Mike Harper, I was a bit miffed about mercenary equalling freelancer but there is at least an overlap in their ranges of meaning. Should have worked out ironclad. In 17ac, was looking at ‘May’ or ‘ult’ for last month rather than the (obvious) last month of the year. In 10ac, was determined that ‘hands’ had to be L and R. Was tempted by a new word ‘sloren’, but resisted the temptation and gave up.

    Despite not finishing, enjoyed this work out. Several clues yielded the ‘oh yes, that’s it’ response and the anagrists were tremendous. Well done setter. Thanks Verlaine for the explanations.

  28. 25.50 with a guess at scalar, but there didn’t seem any options. Can’t recall leathern but “the “ gave a big boost to getting the answer. The SE corner was were I finished off sense leasing to stumps and the latter to leathern.

    Nice puzzle . COD stumps but displaced person, ironclad and bow window also appealed.

    Thx setter and blogger.

  29. I fell victim to SLOVEN too, as I had never connected it with “drab”, and just never thought of Pepys, despite saying peeps to myself. Definitely a senior moment. Otherwise an enjoyable solve. Liked the lead piping and Dr Crippen.

  30. 32’23” on train back to Paris. Like just about everyone else I was nearly stumped by Sloven, but finally saw it after an alphabet chase. Never a satisfying experience but at least I got there. I kind of knew there was a noun drab but it hadn’t occurred to me there was also a noun sloven. Obvious though when you think of it, what with slovenly and all. Like Denise (good luck by the way) I had ornamental mason for far too long. The Madonna and Child is brilliant. So brilliant it must have been done before, though I don’t remember ever seeing it. Many thanks to all.

  31. “Don’t call me Scarface – my name is CAPONE” (Prince Buster’s All Stars : ‘Al Capone’)

    A most enjoyable puzzle, which kept me thinking – but never for too long.

    TIME 11:57

  32. 33:47 and a good finish to the week. As others, SLOVEN one of the last in, not helped by thinking of fabric for drab (as it sometimes is in crosswordland) sateen perhaps if I could just sort out the middle.
    I don’t get why 3dn NOISETTE and 4dn HASH had to be connected by ellipses. They are freestanding clues. What does it add?
    I enjoyed PIPING HOT

  33. Very enjoyable. 25 minutes. SCALAR was the only unknown but easy to parse.

  34. 29:56 and quite content to have crept in under 30 minutes. As Verlaine says -some excellent surfaces in a very enjoyable puzzle. SLOVEN was LOI but COD was STUMPS.

    Thanks to Verlaine and the setter.

  35. 49 minutes, but very enjoyable with superb surface readings and some amazing anagrams. For anyone interested, a SCALAR is just a number, so a quantity, as opposed to a VECTOR, which has a direction (in space) and a magnitude. Scalars just tell you how big something is (on a scale, I suppose), vectors point somewhere. I didn’t know drab and sloven as prostitutes, but since “slovenly” is in my vocabulary, I assumed SLOVEN could be a word, too, and it certainly fit the wordplay. For 15dn I originally thought of LEATHERY, wondering about Master Leary, but the N replacing the Y eventually came to mind and it made so much more SENSE (or was more divine) that way.

  36. I saw the gimmick for Sloven right off, but spent time trying to fit R(ight) and L(eft) plus O into S and N. The rest, as many above, was a steady solve with appreciation for the long anagrams and for the Ma Son.

  37. never start until 7pm BST/GMT so little point in commenting but often made aware of how much one’s age contributes to the knowledge needed for many clues.

  38. 31.28. This one stretched the little grey cells. LOI sloven took an age, spent too long trying to lift and separate the partners holding hands into S & N around L & R.

  39. T’riffic puzzle that did indeed stretch the little grey cells! Started off well with PEPYS straight in, but a lot of head-scratching over the weapons in Cluedo made me ignore the important part of the clue, being the last part. Also STUMPED by DEGENERACY (not seen it in noun-form before) , IRONCLAD (simples if one just followed the wordplay!) and LEATHERN. Thank you V for explanations!

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