Times 28,343: Wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom

A somewhat frustrating puzzle for me – I was happily streaming my solve, not realising that the app had conked out 3 minutes in, so I was just speaking to no avail. Fortunately perhaps this wasn’t my favourite crossword of recent months, and didn’t take a long time by Friday standards either, so less of a lost video masterpiece than it might have been.

A lot of these clues were fairly transparent, with straightforward homophones and definitions (cryptic and otherwise), rather blatant anagram indicators, and little vocab that would scare a horse. Maybe the alcohol, but given some crossers it yielded easily. I did like  the other pronunciation of “exploit” cleverly cluing ANTIC, and the gun-hating islander. Thanks setter!

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

1 What’s spoken of as model station in subcontinent (5)
CASTE – homophone of CAST [model]. Status in India
4 Stand in use finally, after furious dispute (8)
DEPUTISE – {us}E after (DISPUTE*)
8 Unorthodox spinner‘s run in different sport parodied (4-4,6)
10 One over-publicising quote for web-based facility (9)
HYPERTEXT – HYPER [one over-publicising] + TEXT [quote]
11 Workers officially organised races, one for all on staff (5)
TUTTI – T(rade) U(nion) [workers officially organised] + T.T. [races] + I [one]. A musical direction [“on staff”] for all players
12 Tetchy bridegroom somewhat cross (6)
HYBRID – hidden in {tetc}HY BRID{egroom}
14 Surely not turning back on fortune? (2,6)
NO CHANCE – reversed ON + CHANCE [fortune]
17 Islander promoting firearms ban is touring area (8)
ANTIGUAN – ANTI-GUN [promoting firearms ban] “touring” A(rea)
18 Mite or small bloodsucking fly (6)
20 Relaxed, like journalist after magazine’s closure (5)
EASED – AS ED, after {magazin}E
22 Exploit course in rock formation (9)
ANTICLINE – ANTIC [exploit, in a nounal sense] + LINE [course]
24 Read column providing special delivery service (10,4)
25 Other folk provide meals for him (8)
CANNIBAL – cryptic def; his meals are literally other folk
26 Film actor wanting lead in Psycho (5)
1 Familiar cries, a result of sharp batting in nets? (12)
2 Perfunctorily execute rogue (5)
SCAMP – just a double def, though the first one seems much more obscure, or maybe it’s a generational thing?
3 Favouring denouement in which Morse loses case (9)
ENDORSING – ENDING, in which {m}ORS{e}
4 Region’s leader among peacemakers moving crowds (6)
DROVES – R{egion} among DOVES [opposite of hawks]
5 Particle put forward and not rebounding (8)
POSITRON – POSIT [put forward] + reversed NOR [and not]
6 Base of allotment isn’t soil (5)
TAINT – {allotmen}T AIN’T
7 European twice collared by West End vagrant calmed down (9)
SWEETENED – E(uropean) x2 “collared by” (WEST END*)
9 Equipment enabling troops to set off safely? (4,8)
MINE DETECTOR – cryptic def; set off as in detonate, not depart
13 Spa whence wealthy queen came, king’s wife (9)
BATHSHEBA – BATH [spa] + SHEBA [whence the wealthy queen]. David’s (and previously Uriah the Hittite’s) wife
15 Murderous criminal: “I’m a child with nothing to hide” (9)
HOMICIDAL – (I AM A CHILD*) “hiding” 0
16 Lawyer in haste docked before sailor tried (3,1,4)
HAD A STAB – D(istrict) A(ttorney) in HAST{e} before A(ble) B(odied seaman)
19 Alcohol in plenty about to be drunk up (6)
STEROL – LOTS [plenty], “drinking” RE [about], reversed
21 Arab spirits a western distillation, we’re told (5)
DJINN – homophone of GIN
23 Press finally employ literary device (5)
IRONY – IRON [press] + {emplo}Y

54 comments on “Times 28,343: Wop bop a loo bop a lop bom bom”

  1. Toyed with FIRE DETECTOR as 9d last one in, nearly blew up in my face. It needed careful handling to detect that mine. Nho scamp as an alternative to skimp, but an alpha trawl yielded nothing other as a definition at either end of the clue.
    A benign Friday 24:19

    1. I went with FIRE SELECTOR – which I took to be the switch on a gun which selects safe, single shot, or auto. Well, it more or less makes sense.

  2. Might as well just cut and paste: had trouble seeing mine detector even guessing what I was looking for, and needing a full alphabet trawl for the NHO scamp. Cannibal also took a while even though it’s been all over the blog a day or 2 ago. Probably give it COD, a real groan when the penny dropped.

  3. 55 minutes. Mostly this was slow and steady but 2dn remained unsolved until the very end which was a distraction whilst I was trying to concentrate elsewhere in the grid. I had considered SCAMP but couldn’t account for ‘perfunctorily execute’. Then I thought of SCALP and that led to even further doubt in my mind.

    Like others I thought of FIRE as the first word at 9dn but couldn’t think of a suitable word to go with it to make a direct connection with ‘troops’. I don’t know that the term ‘fire detector’ is ever used as I’ve only ever heard of smoke detectors.

    I was pleased to arrive at the unknown STEROL via wordplay but the one that baffled me almost completely was the unknown ANTICLINE at 22ac and I was not helped by thinking of TACK for ‘course’ which fitted with two of the checkers. Once I had eventually thought of LINE, ANTIC for ‘exploit’ came to mind.

  4. Slow and not particularly steady. I put in FIRE DETECTOR, and unfortunately kept it in. DNK SCAMP (ODE calls it ‘dated’) or STEROL. I had question marks at ‘batting’ as anagrind, and ‘exploit’ for ANTIC. But I liked CANNIBAL and TUTTI.

  5. A slow 48 minutes, struggling in all the areas people have mentioned, though I did at least recall ANTICLINE from some geography lesson or other in the 1980s. MINE DETECTOR last one in, just after SCAMP. I propose that if nobody here has heard of the particular meaning of a word, then it should be removed from Chambers…

    1. A good point at the end Matt, but if you were sufficiently bored/crazy to attempt Spenser’s “Faerie Queen” you’d need somewhere to look up stuff like ‘yclept’ 😂

  6. 12:45. I liked this one, it was quirky with some original touches. My last in was SCAMP and I crossed my fingers as I hit submit because I’ve never heard the first meaning. ANTICLINE was vaguely familiar once I’d constructed it from wordplay: it must have come up before.
    I’ve become familiar with the story of BATHSHEBA from our discussions here (or rather in the old place). The #metoo movement came a bit later for her.

    1. I wonder if she’d be quite as well known as she is, were it not for the subsequent literary namechecking by Thomas Hardy?

      1. I did FFTMC at school and then at university and I only learned about the biblical character from doing these puzzles.
        Fun fact: our house was built by a publisher who turned the book down because he didn’t make any money from Hardy’s first three novels.

  7. DNF. Having mentioned to Denise yesterday that for a long time I used to often come up one clue short, I should have known my fate today 🙄. I went for SHARP instead of SCAMP, thinking of “card sharp”. Given I didn’t know the other meaning of scamp then even if I’d thought of it for rogue I don’t know that I’d have favoured it over sharp, although its similarity to skimp might have swayed me.

  8. About 40 mins
    This was really tricky. Mine detector was my LOI; I couldn’t for some time let go of the idea of fire for the first word, but when I did, I saw it. Yes, an edgy crossword with a few clues that needed to be patiently thought through until they cracked.
    Thanks, v.

  9. Slow progress especially on the lower half
    At 48 min it was one of my slowest for a while
    Liked the cannibal clue but not sure on the batting reference

    1. We’ve had ‘bats’ (in the sense of ‘mad’) as anagram indicator many a time but I don’t recall ‘batting’ before. I decided it might work in the sense of fluttering (one’s eyelashes).

  10. 33 minutes. Exactly the same as many others; NHO the ‘perfunctorily execute’ sense of SCAMP and MINE DETECTOR was my LOI, though at least I avoided the alphabet trawl. ANTICLINE and STEROL as an ‘alcohol’ were also new but seemed clear from wordplay.

    I liked working out the parsing of BATHSHEBA and CATCHPHRASES.

  11. Gave up on the hour with 4 clues not solved. Really stuck on CASTE/SCAMP/SCALP/ STAMP? And CANNIBAL and the alcohol as I had DJINS. Unhappy.

    Thanks V and setter. Too good for me.

    1. I also wondered if I needed an S at the end of the Arab spirit to make it plural. I just checked the dictionary and DJINN is the plural of DJINNI. I didn’t know that until now.

      1. So now we are expected know foreign words’ even odder plurals. What with Djin, Djinn, Djins and Bowie’s Jean Genie, I’m thoroughly confused. But thanks for the info Pootle.

      2. I seem to remember commenting once before when a setter got them the wrong way around. Maybe they’re listening to my feedback!

  12. Found this mostly very enjoyable – 3 clues from completion at 28m, 1 at 38m was pretty good going for me on a 120 SNITCH – but the slowdown eventually reached full standstill. Finishing sequence was LAYER – TUTTI…
    …then unable to pull MINE DETECTOR from the many possibilities allowed by the crossers (and too fixated on FIRE as the first word).

    55m fail, thanks V and setter

  13. Surprised to find I had this all right, moving from Little Richard to Leonard Cohen in two sittings amounting to about 50 minutes. TUTTI along with SCAMP was in on a wing and a prayer. Spare a thought for poor Uriah too. Her beauty and the music overthrowing you are pretty weak excuses, even if the only thing you ever learnt from love was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you. COD to CANNIBAL. Thank you V and setter.

  14. 57m 43s
    Unlike with Verlaine, a lot of the clues were not transparent for me, so I was pleased to cross the finishing line in under the hour.
    The only clue I couldn’t parse fully was BATHSHEBA so thanks, V, for that.
    LOI: STEROL/ANTICLINE (thanks to A-level geography all those years ago, I knew it.)/CANNIBAL.
    DNK that spelling of ‘skimp’
    MINE DETECTOR was very good but COD has to be CANNIBAL. As I mentioned the other day, one of my favourite Dean Mayer clues is “Likes Eating” (11) Cannibalism.

    1. Very good. Today’s clue was very good too, but my favourite for CANNIBAL – unfortunately I didn’t record the setter, but hats off to you whoever you are – is “Fellow consumer”.

  15. Too many NHOs in ANTICLINE, SCAMP (as execute), STEROL. Gave up at 40 mins because no more time to devote to figuring them out. Liked CANNIBAL, TUTTI and ANTIGUAN.

  16. Unlike our blogger I set a snail’s pace with this one and seemed to get the wrong end of the stick at every turn. “Hypersite” (is there such a thing?) for HYPERTEXT, “parasite” for CANNIBAL etc. Slowly turned it around like a supertanker at sea and got there in the end in 26.04. ANTIGUAN was nice.

  17. 35:43

    Underwhelmed with SCAMP – was looking to chop the head off a word meaning ‘rogue’ to come up with something meaning ‘perfunctorily’.

    MINE DETECTOR could have been tighter – TIME or FIRE could have been the first word (I was thinking TIME-something which would allow the troops so get safely away before letting something off), so something more specific was needed, I felt, to point the solver in the right direction.

    Thought CATCHPHRASES was neat and I liked CANNIBAL when the B checker gave the PDM.

  18. I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this one very much, probably because I took 52 minutes over it. Some nice clues, like the Antiguan, but the CDs left me cold (as they usually do, unless they are quite brilliant, and I didn’t think these were). Quite a bit of ‘well yes, perhaps, but …’: cast = model, stand in not stand-in, the weirdness of unorthodox (why is a trap-door spider unorthodox?), isn’t = ain’t without any indication.

    1. I always read your comments with interest, Wil, and often agree in toto or in part, but not about ‘stand-in’ today. With a hyphen it’s a noun, but DEPUTUSE is a verb so it has to be ‘stand in’. A cast is a model as made in a mould for example, so I don’t have a problem with that one either.

      1. Yes Jack of course you’re right about ‘stand in’, silly mistake, and I thought of the cast-model link after posting and couldn’t be bothered to edit, as perhaps I should have done.

    2. They’re unorthodox in that they don’t spin webs, which is the more conventional kind of spinning for a spider. I thought it was quite neat, especially as it contributes nicely to a crickety surface-reading.

      1. Yes fair enough, but your average punter won’t know much about the trap-door spider, and it seems a bit much in a daily cryptic to be expected to know why this spider is unorthodox.

        1. Do you need to know that? I didn’t. I constructed the answer from the wordplay and put it in. I discovered the precision of the wordplay afterwards.

  19. ENDORSING was my FOI followed by the TRAP-DOOR SPIDER. A fairly steady ramble around the grid left me with 1a, 1d and 2d outstanding, as well as 19d and 22a. CATCHPHRASE landed first giving CASTE and a hesitant SCAMP. I thought of BARREL for plenty of alcohol, but it wouldn’t parse. Then a PDM moment as LINE arrived for course and ANTIC dropped in for an exploit. STEROL then fell into place as LOI. Relieved to find SCAMP was correct. 30:02. Thanks setter and V.

  20. 9m 53s, finishing in the unknown ANTICLINE, having figured out the ANTIC bit to help me get STEROL.

    COD for the clever use of ‘stand in’ in DEPUTISE.

    Thanks for explaining SCAMP, which I assumed must be a double def, but the first one didn’t mean anything to me. Related to skimp, perhaps?

  21. 12:11 with two hold-ups, which anybody who reads all the comments will have already guessed. Didn’t know SCAMP as an alternative to Skimp, but couldn’t come up with anything more compelling; and I went with MINE DETECTOR but wouldn’t have been utterly astonished if FIRE had been correct. I assume it’s referring to what I’ve always called a mine sweeper, but there you go, you live and learn*

    *learning not guaranteed, a lifetime’s experience with crosswords suggests you may just live and never learn if you’re anything like me

    1. A little learning for me (with much to learn) – I had no idea that caste has a different vowel sound to haste/paste/baste etc.

    2. Minesweepers are boats, detecting mines sown in the water e.g. all over the Black Sea at the moment – thanks, Vlad. Mine detectors are hand-held devices that e.g. Princess Di deployed (checks watch) 25 or 30 years ago, to clear land mines laid in their (100s of?) millions in the past 50 or 100 years all over the war zones in the world, responsible for millions of one-legged people – thanks USA/Russia/China et al.

  22. 23 minutes so unbelievably quick for me on a Friday.
    I’m yet another who didn’t know that meaning of Scamp.
    Discovered TEAR DROP SPIDER which fitted the crossers but not the anagram (I do miss pencil and paper for anagrams!).

  23. “I set my sail when the tide comes in, I just CAST(E) my fate to the wind” (Sounds Orchestral – 1962). It seems that a lot of people cast their fate ill-advisedly at 9D. There are only 66 correct entries from 94 submissions by 12 noon.

    I had a lot of trouble with the NW quadrant, which took up a third of my solving time. I quite liked SCAMP (a word my late Dad would use if I didn’t make a proper fist of a task he’d set me), and I really don’t understand how CATCHPHRASE took me so long to crack, especially as I’d entered ‘ phrase’ quite confidently early on ! NHO the arachnid, and again I entered SPIDER quite quickly. Unfortunately I tried to use incorrect anagram fodder. I finally biffed my LOI (also NHO) and pink squares would not have come as a surprise.

    TIME 15:43

  24. 37 mins. Was left with 1a and 2d, I was trying to think of famous hill stations, not considering that kind of station. Having eventually negotiated that, I was still left with a dodgy SCAMP. I thought that Arab spirits were DJINNI, DJINN being the singular.

  25. Laboured over this for 53m, unconvinced by putting either SCALP or SCAMP and eventually opting for the wrong one to be unconvinced about.

  26. 27:01
    I edged my way through this, slowly but steadily. That definition of SCAMP is new to me, and “batting” jarred a little. Lots to like including ANTIGUAN, ANTICLINE, HOMICIDAL and COD CANNIBAL.

    Thanks to Verlaine and the setter.

  27. Luke warm reception for this one, some lovely clues (Antiguan, Cannibal, Sterol, Positron, the spider…) but a few I didn’t think much of, such as MINE or FIRE detector, SCAMP and SWEETENED where the definition was unclear or arguable. 35 minutes while watching the Open.

  28. A ho-hum crossword, I thought this, and struggled rather to get it finished.. not keen on the mine detector.

    However mention of cannibals made up for it; “The Reluctant Cannibal” is one of Flanders & Swan’s best efforts, “If the Juju had meant us not to eat people, he wouldn’t have made us of meat!” .. “Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it.” “I don’t know what’s wrong with him, it must be someone he ate”

  29. Failed to finish this one with ANTICLINE/STEROL eluding me. Would certainly have taken me over the hour, but I didn’t help myself by attempting to watch the Tour de France, The Open from St Andrews at the same time as trying to solve this.
    Multi-tasking is not recommended when solving a crossword this tough (at least for me)

  30. DNF in about 47 mins. For me 2dn came down to a coin toss between scalp and scamp and I went for the wrong one. I found this a bit of a grind and not much fun when solving. Though in fairness, on reflection, I think it is only scamp which I didn’t like and mine detector which I thought needed more precision.

  31. Our setter almost gets a crown
    But words I’ve not seen make me frown
    A grid pleasingly tough
    One clue not good enough
    I think someone scamped on 2 down

  32. My mistake was not checking George Clooneys spelling. So for 26 ac I had loony. Actor missing lead gives psycho! We live and learn.

  33. Defeated by Caste/Scamp and also entered Fire Detector. I did get Hypertext but didn’t like the clue.

  34. Like many, defeated by SCAMP (really? Should be a rule against archaic words), STEROL, ANTICLINE NHOs ; and for 9d was attempting a safety measure beginning with LIFE …..(preserver?). Also I thought some very vague definitions ( calmed down for SWEETENED, favouring for ENDORSING,etc). However, liked CANNIBAL ( again!) and ANTIGUAN…So, a bit of an uphill slog for me.

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