Sunday Times 5022 by Dean Mayer

14:45. I found this very hard initially, with only a few clues going in after my first pass. It got a little easier as I went but not much. Going through the clues again for the blog everything seems so very clear and straightforward. This is often the mark of an excellent puzzle, and something I find a lot in Dean’s. Great stuff.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Sweet cast for funny film
6 Much love for a card game
10 Museum had to be given slats for ventilation
11 Extremely versatile way to enter small tube
12 Struggle against pitch that’s hard to deal with
SALES RESISTANCE – CD. Not a term I’ve come across before, and my last in. ‘Opposition of potential customers to selling, esp aggressive selling’ (Collins).
13 Major finding fault with grave
CRITICAL – triple definition.
15 Put soldiers in retreat for August?
ROYAL – reversal of LAY, OR.
17 Small taste? Not small, big
19 Old Ship Inn welcomes a waitress back
INDIAMAN – INN containing a reversal of A MAID. A name for a merchant ship trading with India, vaguely familiar to me.
22 The sole effect of using fossil fuels?
24 Royal flag rejected by a state of Africa
ERITREA – reversal of ER (royal), TIRE, then A.
25 To set about messenger, being cross
TANGELO – T(ANGEL)O. A cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. ANGELs deliver messages from God to flock-watching shepherds and suchlike.
26 Fox eating a weasel
TOAD – TO(A)D. Quite the menagerie!
27 Rambling without company is natural
1 Carriage I removed from port hotel
2 See, in plaza, endless filth
3 Blanket covering food
ACROSS-THE-BOARD – two definitions, one a mildly cryptic reference to ‘board’ meaning food (e.g. board and lodging).
4 Miss a trick
5 One has given out a little light, being won over
7 Fixed penalty is a lot
8 Where SWAT target is moving?
ON THE FLY – two definitions, one a whimsical reference to swatting flies.
9 Mature? One’s a pig, mad for cake
VICTORIA SPONGE – VICTOR (Mature, star of lots of movies I’ve never seen), (ONES A PIG). The only kind of cake I ever make.
14 String covering that is on foot and head
16 A way to secure principal campaign fund
18 It has a supporting role in work by Bach
20 Anger in an east Texas city
ABILENE – A(BILE)E. I knew of this city from the song of the same name, despite not knowing who wrote or sang said song, or how it goes. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard it. And it’s about a different city (the one in Kansas) anyway! Whatever gets you the answer.
21 Bread machine given to East German (Max)
AT MOST – ATM, OST. ‘Bread (cash) machine’ is neat. I had a bread machine once. I used it for a month or two, then it sat in a cupboard for about a decade, then I gave it away. The fate of many bread machines, pasta machines, ice cream makers…
23 Old hat has function as cap
OUTDO – or er, OUT, DO.

62 comments on “Sunday Times 5022 by Dean Mayer”

  1. Dang! I forgot to reconsider, uh, INDIANAN, which I guessed could be the name of a storied vessel.
    ACROSS-THE-BOARD recurred that Monday.
    “Abilene, Abilence,
    Prettiest town I’ve ever seen
    Women there don’t treat you mean
    In Abilene, my Abilene.”
    Rather the western side of C&W (which is the eastern side of the term).

    I remember this as being a challenge. The cryptic clues tend to elude me the longest, and CUSTARD PIE came very late. I am a former Yippie colleague of the notorious “Pie Man” Aron Kay. The practice of entartage as figurative political assassination, if you will, has most famously been practiced in recent years against the egregious stuffed (and unbuttoned) shirt Bernard Henri-Lévy.

    1. NHO Aron Kay, but you reminded me of Wonder Wart-Hog, who someone tried to off with pies (“Eat pie, pig!”).

  2. Calash and Indiaman embarrassingly unknown to me, but perhaps the setter generously pulled his punches with the wordplay, and I managed to solve them from that. I was okay with Abilene, maybe because I’d recently listened to the other (slightly ropy) song of the same name by Yes that wasn’t deemed good enough to be put on their 1978 album.
    Many super clues – On The Fly was great – but Custard Pie was a classic, just brilliant.

  3. Usually I don’t remember, but I was so annoyed by the redundant articles in this one:
    6a much love for A card game
    4d miss A trick (ok this one is kind of needed for the surface so I’ll allow it)
    16d A way to secure principle campaign fund

    Made more annoying by the fact that the same article was necessary to the wordplay in several other clues.

    1. For 6a Faro ‘card game’ alone certainly would have worked, but I think ‘a card game’ is just a more natural surface.
      4d Dodge is fine as you say so why mention it?
      16d War Chest, I’d say that the ‘a’ is necessary, as in west being ‘a course’ among others. And principal, not principle – see Muphry 😉
      I can see ‘a’ as a necessary component of two other clues, but I can’t say I pick up on that sort of minor repetition myself.

      1. If it’s not part of the definition, and it’s not part of the wordplay, then it doesn’t really belong does it?

        By your logic wouldn’t “sweet cast for a funny film” be a more natural surface for 1ac?

        I always hear about how “minimal” this setter is? (Not really a question)

        1. LouWeed, I don’t think it matters much either way (although sometimes the absence of an indefinite article can make the surface seem a little robotic). I believe editor Peter Biddlecombe is okay with an indefinite article in the surface that doesn’t contribute to the letters in the solution (from comments he’s made in the clue-writing competition) and I don’t think he’s the only one. Just seemed an odd thing to be annoyed by without mentioning anything positive too.

          1. A week later, my irritation was all I could recall. I think I largely enjoyed doing this one. Perhaps if the blogs were posted the same day as the puzzle?

            In any case, I see now that I was wrong – the indefinite article usage was ok (if not entirely consistent). Cheers

            PS I was going to blame autocorrect for “principle” but I’m pretty sure I just chose the wrong word.

        2. Just for clarity:
          “A way” for WEST indicates a number of possibilities. After all, WEST is not “the” way is it?
          “A card game”. Same thing really, but also reflecting spoken English. A spoken response to “What is faro?” would be “It is a card game”, not “It is card game”.
          “A trick”. DODGE can be noun or verb, but the latter is incorrect. The “a” confirms a noun is needed.
          While a setter isn’t obliged to offer this additional help, no rules are broken by giving it.

          1. So what exactly is Murphy’s Wall?

            This morning on YouTube I heard podcast host ‘accidentally’ say, ‘Trumps’s Liars’, instead of ‘ Trump’s Lawyers’!

            1. I was responding to your reply of ‘Muphry?’ immediately under my post, thinking you were asking what I meant.

      1. I think it was towards the end that I got really annoyed, because I was left with 1a CUSTARD PIE, 6a FARO, and 18d PARTITA and the As were doing my nut in

        Thanks as always for the excellent blog btw

  4. Too good for me. A 115 minute DNF with FARO and VICTORIA SPONGE incorrect. Maybe I should have seen the ‘card game’ but I just couldn’t get the ‘cake’ as a partial, rather than a full, anagram, even though the remaining letters of the anagram fodder made no sense for the first part of the answer.

    I remember seeing VICTOR ‘Mature’ ages ago in a few Saturday afternoon TV Epic Theatre-type roles. There’s a v. amusing critical appraisal of his work about half way down his Wikipedia entry.

    A fail, but if nothing else, worth doing for CUSTARD PIE alone.

  5. This was one of those I finished over lunch, so I submitted off leaderboard; which was just as well, as for some reason I put in OUTRO for 23d. At 9d, I tried to do something with (MATURE ONES A PIG)* but finally saw the light. (Woody Allen once said that his ideal woman should have breasts at least as large as Victor Mature’s.) It wasn’t until I finally got DODGE that I realized what was wrong with LOUVRES (slats for ventilation). Weasel=TOAD? To me, anyway, a weasel is sneaky and dishonest, a toad is repellent; TOAD was my LOI. No problem with INDIAMAN (there also used to be Chinamen, although ODE doesn’t list it) or, surprisingly, CALASH, although I think I would have spelled it caleche. I was never sure where ABILENE is; only now do I know there are two. (The Texas one was named after the Kansas one, and is much bigger; the Kansas Abilene was the end of the Chisolm Trail.)

    1. The correct title for such a boat is an ‘East Indiaman’ – bearing in mind that they were almost all the property of ‘The East India Company’ and the ‘Dutch East India Company’. They ran from the East Indies to the major European ports via the Cape of Good Hope. They did generally not sail in fleets, so the plural is much less used.
      West Indiamen did sail in fleets from the Caribbean, to London, Bristol, Lisbon and the southern ports of Spain and France.

      A ‘Chinaman’ in cricket is ‘a wrong-un’ – a ball delivered by a left arm spinner, which ‘turns’ in the opposite direction to which the batsman expects. It was named after West Indian bowler Ellis Achong, who was of Chinese ethnicity.
      Derek Inderwood Kent and England, comes to mind.

      1. Johnny Wardle of Yorkshire and England came to my mind. Underwood was almost a medium-pace spinner of great accuracy and rarely delivered a googly (chinaman).

    2. Thanks for the info, Kevin! Somehow, I had imagined the song was about Texas.
      So I had to look it up: Bob Gibson, Lester Brown and John D. Loudermilk were writing about the Abilene in Kansas.
      There’s no internal evidence that would distinguish between the two… (unless it’s widely accepted that, say, women in Abilene, Texas, might indeed treat you mean…).
      Country and Midwestern.

      1. Indeed, according to Wikipedia Gibson was inspired to write the song by the movie Abilene Town, which is about the one in Kansas.

      2. “I want to go home to the Armadillo
        Good country music from Amarillo and Abiline
        Friendliest people and the prettiest women you’ve ever seen”
        Gary P Nunn

  6. 1hr 51m 07s but a TDNF as I used too many aids to finish it off. I then SWOL so was then unable to go back and make notes about the clues I was unsure of. I do remember liking 8d, though, the SWAT clue. That made me laugh. With 15ac I toyed with RODIN, but then remembered his name is Auguste with an e.
    Not one of my better days.

  7. Apart from Martin nobody so far has given their solving time but there are mentions of this being a difficult puzzle, which rather surprised me. I completed it in 33 minutes which is 3 over my half-hour target, but it’s almost unheard of for me to achieve it on a Sunday, especially when Dean is the setter. My only unknown was CALASH but the checkers came easily and attention to the wordplay gave me the rest of it.

    1. As mentioned, my time was the blindingly fast 115 minutes with a couple of errors thrown in for good measure. 33 minutes – very impressive!

  8. Nope, too clever for me, between clues I couldn’t figure out and words I’d never heard of. Never mind, today is another day. Onward!

    1. “Courage, mon brave!” Had much the same experience- between words I’d NHO and too-clever clueing, I ended up with a grand total of 15 look-ups! I think the Snitch would have to have been pretty high on this one. Enjoyed 8d and 10a (mainly because I got them straight off), and 1a (mainly because it was too clever for me). I have never yet come to terms with the insertion type clues, which are Dean’s specialty.

      1. I still particularly look forward to Dean’s crosswords, though. Sometimes I fall into his groove and because he’s such a clever cluer it’s beyond satisfying. Good luck to us both!

  9. Damn near an hour. SALES RESISTANCE was put in from crossers, but really? I was pleased at remembering Victor Mature for the sponge and used to love Charlie Cairoli’s custard pie routine at the Tower circus, but COD to CARBON FOOTPRINT. A tough puzzle. Thank you K and Dean.

    1. Really what, BW? The clue seems unexceptionable to me. I guess having worked for a nationalised utility, you may not have met the term before? 🙂

      1. A line from my first novel: ‘The salesman was full of talk about achieving traction and developing channel partners, a broad paraphrase of which was: “We can’t sell the stuff and we haven’t found anyone else that can either.”’
        Written from bitter experience. I spent half my career in the private sector, Jerry. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of the concept, just that I didn’t think it was a stand-out phrase.

  10. Very difficult and I gave up with about half solved.
    I did know Abilene from Harvey’s Abilene Paradox, an interesting observation on group behaviour. It was the Texas town the group went to without any individual really wanting to.

  11. I chose not to note my solving time so I could attack this in a more relaxed manner. FOI SQUALOR to LOI AT MOST taking as long as it took over several sittings.

    I needed the blog to fully understand the parsing of SALES RESISTANCE which I had written to one side earlier, CRITICAL BIFD from ‘Major’ and ROYAL I had written LAYOR down so I did understand the workings of the clue but still didn’t see the obvious.

    NHO the card game FARO but the WP helped also PARTITA requiring a dictionary check.

  12. Loved this, as I nearly always do with Dean’s efforts. Look at those wonderful surface readings..
    Impressed with his ability to insult three different species, in the course of a single four-word clue (26ac).
    Familiar with Indiamen, from the excellent Hornblower series of books.
    Unlike our esteemed blogger, my bread machine is in constant use. We never buy supermarket bread. Too many undeclared ingredients such as a cocktail of enzymes. Google “Chorleywood process” to see what I mean.

    1. Surely the fox’s reputation emerges unscathed? And although a weasel could resent being compared to a toad, for the toad this might be considered a compliment.

  13. I found this hard going. Came in just under the hour with SALES RESISTANCE, APLENTY, ON THE FLY and VEINLET causing the logjam, after which LOI, FARO, replaced SOLO. Just before those, LOUVRES held up DODGE until I re-read the clue and saw LOUVRED. Thanks Dean and K.

  14. 55 minutes for a superb puzzle (as usual from Dean). It took me a while to start (CARBON FOOTPRINT my FOI) and many of the clues needed to be looked at from strange angles in order to make any headway with them (like the sweet being cast or the sole effect). In 1dn I needed to accept CALAIS as a port, rather than the usual RIO, to get anywhere. Another Sunday delight.

  15. Apparently my posited (and reasonable) LOTO is a card game which made the NE impossible though should have got the APLENTY anagram. SALES etc was unknown and incomplete once 45 minutes ticked over and I came here to see what I’d missed. Not a fan of that clue but the rest was good. Pleased to get CALASH but I think I was also thinking of caleche. INDIAMAN no problems from the O’Brian books. Really liked the Bread Machine reference

    Thanks all

  16. Cryptic definitions always slow me down, and I know what to expect from DM, so no time. Quite a few word pairs which I could see after solving a clue but which wouldn’t have occurred to me in the ordinary course: Far/Lot, Weasel/Toad, A Way/West, Royal/August. Thank you, keriothe, and you to, Dean

  17. Much of what I’d have said has been said, but I was slightly unhappy with 18dn, which suggests that only Bach wrote partitas, not the case of course (surely?).

    Dean’s crosswords always take me ages (75 minutes for this one), and one isn’t helped by the abundance of CDs, which everyone except me seems to like. Is 12ac really all that wonderful? To me it seems barely cryptic.

    1. I don’t see how the clue suggests any more than some of Bach’s works being partitas. Looking at the Wikipedia article on partits, I’m struggling to imagine anyone else being better known for writing them. Presumably, from the stated reason, you would moan about “work by Agatha Christie” as a clue for “detective story”.

      1. If you were being very strict on DBEs you might argue that ‘Agatha Christie, say’ was required, but this (and ‘work by Bach’, IMO) is very much in Old McDonald territory.

      2. I agree, I thought “partitas” was fair, and put it in without hesitation, even though I knew Glass and a few others had written partitas.

  18. I would say that partitas are sufficiently associated with Bach to justify non-indication of the DBE. As a test I put ‘partita’ into Spotify and what comes up is a long list of Bach recordings and something by someone called Caroline Shaw!
    I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say that 12ac is wonderful but it has two clear meanings (the surface one being cricket-related) which is all that’s required for it to qualify as cryptic.

    1. Not just cricket, I’d say. The mountaineering version of “pitch” could certainly be implied, and maybe the tar-like substance.

    2. There seems to be a little confusion about how DBEs work. Had the answer been CAPITAL and the setter chose “Paris” as the def, that wouldn’t be enough – “Paris, for example” or something similar is needed. The PARTITA clue is the other way around, where the answer is the example, not the def. If the answer was LEMMING the def wouldn’t (indeed couldn’t) be “animal, for example”.
      The PARTITA clue asks the solver to think of some Bach works and find the one that works via wordplay.

      1. It works both ways really. A work by Bach might be an example of a partita (another example being a work by Walton) and a partita might be an example of a work by Bach (another example being a prelude). So if you were a real stickler you might insist on indicating it in a way you wouldn’t if the answer were The Well-Tempered Clavier.

        1. Let’s take this from a different angle. Many setters exploit French words in, or as part of, an answer. In clueing MADISON I might want to use “Nice house” for the MAISON component but, of course, MAISON means “house” wherever you happen to be in France. The clue uses a false specificity as an example.
          In “work by Bach” we have something more specific. While partite have been composed by others, there is no doubt that Bach wrote them too, and that’s all we need to indicate. PARTITA satisfies the def in the same way LEMMING would satisfy “animal”.

          1. Yes I’m not suggesting that we should indicate it here, just that you could arguably apply the logic of DBEs to cases like this. A PARTITA is not necessarily a work by Bach, just as MAISON is not necessarily a Nice word. A lemming, in contrast, is always an animal. There’s a case for indicating this, but it’s not one I would support: it would just make for more clunky clues for no good reason. I often feel the same about DBEs.

            1. And another way to look at this is a simple TRUE or FALSE question with the logic extending no further than that. Is PARTITA a work by Bach? Yes it is. Others composed them too, and Bach’s greatest hits include other numbers, but they don’t come into play.
              ABILENE in this puzzle is defined as being in Texas, but there’s an Abilene in Kansas, one in Virginia, and one in Alberta, Canada. Is it true that there is an Abilene in Texas? Yup. The others don’t matter because the statement is fundamentally true.

              1. The answer to your first question is ‘not necessarily’, which is the point. If we were applying this rule strictly you would have to define Abilene as a ‘town in Texas, say’, which kind of illustrates how silly it would be! But I sometimes think the insistence on indicating DBE can be similarly unnecessary.

  19. Thanks Dean (and for dropping by) and keriothe
    Found this one quite tough taking just over the hour and a half across four sittings to complete. The solve was typified by 9d which was a mid-solve get by which time had figured out that there was a SPONGE cake involved, needed help to know of a VICTORIA SPONGE and then see that it was actor ‘Mature’ rather than ‘mature’ as a part of the anagrist. This was the experience with other clues as well.
    Had a similar experience as others after initially writing in LOUVRES and then having to accommodate DODGE later. ABILENE and CALASH were both unknown, but did know the INDIAMAN.
    Finished by correcting the LOUVRED / DODGE pair and then patching up PARTITA (initially getting Bach and Beethoven mixed up and writing in EROTICA (ERO-T-ICA at first) and nearly missing where I’d fixed up the P and R.
    Excellent puzzle that I’d made harder work of than what was needed.

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