Sunday Times 5060 by David McLean

12:23. I made a complete mess of this. I had RATTED at 27ac and LEA at 25dn. Both perfectly good answers so I didn’t question them, which made 24ac in particular difficult to solve. Eventually I realised it was ISLE and put it in, and saw that 25dn must be SKI. At that point however I somehow failed to notice that the last letter was an A so I ended up with SKA. What a mess!

Otherwise I thought this was a quirky puzzle, with some slightly odd things which I’ve highlighted in the blog. How did you get on?

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

1 What is forgiveness?
PARDON – DD. When I was a kid I was always taught never to say ‘pardon’. In adult life my kids were taught the opposite by their teachers and when I briefly questioned this it confused and upset my young son so much I never raised it again.
5 Train as a geisha, perhaps
ESCORT – another DD.
9 Highest charge returned by a charger?
PARAMOUNT – reversal of RAP, A MOUNT.
10 Huge fuss? Take time out and head to bed!
SINK – StINK. The seabed, in this case.
11 Fragment of code beginning with L-69
MORSEL – MORSE, L-69. A strange one, this. I assumed L-69 must have some sort of special meaning, but I can’t find one. In the clue it’s treated as a normal word, so ‘beginning with’ (the ‘with’ itself is odd) indicates the first letter. Hmm.
12 Piano that son plays for a cheeky number
HOT PANTS – (P, THAT SON)*. A slightly oblique definition here, a ‘number’ being an item of clothing, and ‘cheeky’ referring either to an overall impression of impudence or something more specific.
14 Music in Easter shows features Wizard
CINEASTE – contained in ‘music in easter’.
16 I work around British people in Africa
18 A right Charlie tailgating new speed cop?
NARC – A, R, C after N. ‘Speed’ in the mandatory drug sense, here.
19 Copies of amulets newly displayed around Egypt
EMULATES – (AMULETS)* containing E(gypt).
21 Live with aircraft going over river for JFK?
BERLINER – BE, (R)LINER. ‘I am a doughnut’, as JFK famously said.
22 Grand saver stuffed in stiff containers
24 Muck, say, in passage that needs picking up
ISLE – sounds like ‘aisle’. An island in the Inner Hebrides. I’ve been to Lewis, which is a wonderful place, a few times but never to an inner hebride.
26 When being cut by lunchtime makes you slur
ASPERSION – AS, PERS(I)ON. I biffed this when solving and the wordplay seems a bit odd. ‘Lunchtime’ seems to be indicating I, which is about right I guess.
27 Having drunk last of port, dug getting loaded
MINTED – MIN(T)ED. Loaded as in very rich.
28 Bit of air with wind up in a cool state
2 Roughly assess a delegate of China in talks
APPROXIMATE – sounds like (in talks) ‘a proxy-mate’. Except it doesn’t. I generally take a very liberal approach to homophones but this one seems a stretch even to me. Or am I missing something?
3 Those with barrels thrown on board?
DARTS – CD. Apparently in darts, part of the relevant projectile is called the barrel. News to me.
4 Spooner’s gammy head’s too awful to mention
NAMELESS – ‘Lame ness’.
5 Car park?
ESTATE – DD. Or more precisely DDBE.
6 Land at Corsica in a squall
7 Look after slide and ladder
RUN – triple definition, I think. I’m not quite sure about ‘run’ ‘slide’.
8 Grapevine and herbs pale thug vandalised
13 Isn’t Tenable weird? A batty game!
15 Better to get on fast A1
EXCELLENT – EXCEL (better), LENT (fast).
17 Country song by Lambert covered by Wire?
BULGARIA – BU(L)G, ARIA. Lambert (L) is a unit of brightness.
20 Where one has a lifeline available to use
ON HAND – lifeline in the palmistry sense.
23 Large drip used in NHS unit in operation
ALIVE – A(L, IV)E. IV = intravenous drip. The NHS unit is A&E.
25 Runner bound to miss final

45 comments on “Sunday Times 5060 by David McLean”

  1. 10A. Thank you for the explanation of bed meaning seabed!
    7D. Which are you not quite sure about?

  2. DNF
    I never thought of ‘rich’ for ‘loaded’, and it wouldn’t have helped if I had, as I would never have thought of MINTED. I was puzzled by L-69, but I see from Wikipedia that there’s a group of developing nations called L.69. The ‘with’ is odd, but I didn’t notice at the time. DNK Muck, Tenable.

    1. “With” is indeed odd there. Even, dare I say, wrong. Whatever that seemingly random bit of code is, if not just a random bit of code.

  3. Hey, didn’t you go to school in France? It’s my impression that “Pardon” is rather common there. I like to say it myself, and always the French way!
    I think a “slide” can be a RUN in… baseball! Don’t know about cricket.
    I don’t understand your RATTED for MINTED at all, but this was my LOI, and I didn’t find this definition in any online dictionary. Nor do I see how LEA might mean “Runner,” though that word occurred to me too.
    Snopes rates the “doughnut” interpretation of JFK’s famous remark as fallacious. (I put in a link, but that made my post subject to moderation. That’s never happened before)
    But you probably knew that.
    I decided the “69” was added to make the L part of a current term for “the developing countries”… [Again, just go to Wikipedia and search f0r L.69, Group of Developing Countries.]
    …though it looks like that is pretty universally spelled with a dot instead of a dash.

    1. ‘Pardon?’ was one of Nancy Mitford’s non-U utterances (I think you were supposed to say “What?”). One may score a run by sliding into home, but a slide isn’t a run (and of course it’s not running).

      1. Well, then, do you think a sled can be said to RUN over the snow or ice? (Of course it can.)

          1. This was (obviously?) an alternative explanation, because what I was thinking earlier didn’t satisfy you.
            Yes, I would definitely say a runner* on a sled slides. (So a sled on runners slides too.)

            (*M-W: “either of the longitudinal pieces on which a sled or sleigh slides”)

      2. “Pardon”—in French, au moins—doesn’t necessary mean “What?” It can also be—without the question mark, of course—an “Excuse me” prompted by other reasons. For example, when I power-walked past some (French-speaking) people during my constitutional the other day and they had to make way for me.

        1. When in France I use PardON? for what?, and PArdon for sorry .. both work OK.
          Nancy Mitford notwithstanding, it is rude to say “What?” if you didn’t hear what someone said to you. Her unspoken point was that if you are sufficiently upmarket it is OK to be rude.

          1. As a child, I would be called out for responding “What?”, (rude) or “Pardon?”(above our station).”Excuse me” was approved as the suitable compromise.

            1. I always say “Say again?” .. this radio ham usage confuses everyone attempting to work out my social station, but anyway, doesn’t sound rude..

          2. I remember thinking, “What a load of crap!” when learning that “Pardon?” was non-U; it would never have occurred to me to say “What?” to other than friends. Kingsley Amis has some choice things to say about the rudeness of the British upper class.

            1. Sorry Kevin, “What a load of crap” is also very non-U, as are almost all expletives. Servants have been let go or turned away (nb: not sacked or fired) for less.
              As an American, you have no alternative I am afraid but to regard the English upper class (nb: only English; there is no British upper class) as a foreign country; thankfully in somewhat decline. Although I am English, it is much the same for me…

              1. Note that I said “I remember thinking ‘What a load’ etc., not saying. Not that I’ve ever had the slightest interest in being, or seeming, U.

                1. Just as well, since no American, or other foreigner, could ever be U no matter how patrician (!) they may seem to be at home..
                  Exceptions are made for royal families, at least those from certain of the more cultivated countries; and maybe Jackie Onassis. But never her husband.
                  It is a total blight on humanity, and moreover one that looks reasonably harmless, but isn’t. I wish we were rid of it, but we aren’t. Here in England, the “Upper ten thousand,” as they think of themselves, are still in full flow.

        1. Well I can see that you did do a post, then amended it, and then deleted it. There are no posts awaiting moderation.
          As a blogger I would have thought you should be able to post a link, if not speak to vinyl

          1. Jonathan hasn’t yet replied.
            I took the links out and it was still unposted, so I started over.

            1. If you put more than one link in a comment it gets flagged for moderation. Sorry I was on a 390 mile return trip to York today to bring my son ‘s stuff home from Uni so didn’t see it.

    2. RATTED and loaded both mean drunk. If you rate something you like it, dig it.
      The LEA is a river.

      1. I finally find at the very bottom of the page in Collins “26. to rank very high in estimation | The new teacher really rates with our class

  4. 39m 16s
    I found this very pleasant. I have no problems with the homophone in APPROXIMATE, keriothe.
    Thanks for explaining BULGARIA but MORSEL still puzzles me. Until reading earlier comments I had never heard of the L.69 groups of countries.
    Some excellent clues: PARDON, SINK, NARC, GRAVES, DARTS and ON HAND but COD to BERLINER.

  5. L-69 I found this puzzling as well, however a friend pointed out that 69 could signify “the other way round” as in position 69. Which sort of implies “beginning L-69” means not beginning L but ending L
    I have to say I’m not convinced.

  6. 38 minutes. No problems apart from not understanding L-69 even after googling. Quite apart from anything else even if one takes it to be the group of developing nations it doesn’t bring anything to the surface reading of the clue so why not find a word or phrase that would?

  7. Didn’t get MINTED, never used or heard of it although it now makes sense.

    Unlike L-69. I would like a coherent explanation, even if to say it’s a mistake.

    I really liked APPROXIMATE, perhaps its my accent.

    Thanks keriothe and setter.

  8. Usual mix of the creative and the overcreative.. entertaining stuff but with questions, add me to the L-69?? brigade.
    Nho “minted” meaning wealthy before.

    1. I was a little surprised by your comment about ‘minted’ as I thought it turned up regularly, but having searched the TfTT archive I failed to find a single instance before this puzzle, so I was mistaken, but perhaps I’ve met it a number of times in other puzzles such as The Guardian or Everyman. Anyway it’s in Collins and SOED.

      Loved your comment about Nancy Mitford, btw. Spot on!

  9. Completed this eventually in a time too long to note, with many question marks and NHOs in the margin, and only after resorting to aids, too. One of those that, as one still wearing my L-plates, I found incredibly frustrating because even once I had an answer the wordplay was so obscure, not to say inexact, that I couldn’t fill it in with any confidence. 11ac is, of course, the most obvious example. I’m not sure I learned much from this one. But as always thanks to blogger and commenters for the discussion.

  10. Various responses:

    11A: on “with”, one def in ODE is “in relation to”, and I think it’s fair to say that L is the beginning in relation to “L-69”. I didn’t understand the significance of L-69 either, but the surface story is about “code”, so any mysterious string of characters starting with L could be used as an example, whether code means “encrypted text” or “a set of characters used for identification purposes”.

    12A: I assumed that “cheeky” related to some of the content of the hot pants.

    2D: “a proxy mate” seems close enough for a four-syllable homophone. The “y” is a bit different to the “i” in the answer, but the initial “a” sounds right when the rest follows immediately, and the final “a” is the same when “approximate” its a verb rather than adj, as the answer clearly must be.

    5D: “park” and “estate” can mean the same – in the meaning in “The factory was in an industrial park/estate”

    7D: “run” seems to me the same as “slide” in “he winced as he ran his hand over his ribs” – an example in the thesaurus content for “run” in my iPad Collins – “slide” being in a group of alternatives to “run” as “move or pass quickly”.

    1. I thought “a proxy mate” was great fun, a pun in the tradition of Muir and Norden on My Word and not intended to be taken seriously as an exact homophone.

      1. I agree with your Muir/Norden sentiments Jack. People are much too fussy about homophones.

        Those bits at the end of the programme were wonderful. I’ve read them written down but they’re not the same. How nice it would be if the BBC put a whole lot of them on iPlayer.

    2. Is it possible to ask David McLean what he intended by L-69? Are you in contact Peter?

      1. It is possible, but I’m not going to. Although the Sunday Times crypto crosswords are attributed to setters, they are subject to editing which can involve any number of changes from zero upwards. Such changes are agreed between me and the setter, and I don’t say where they are unless I’m responsible for an error in the fianl version. I’ve already said why I don’t think it matters whether solvers recognise any particular meaning for “L-68”

  11. following a disastrous few weeks got this solution quite quickly bar one ,Cineaste. never heard of this but it’s another new word for the dictionary. another plus was getting morsel but judging from the comments about minted it must be an age thing as this expression used to be in ‘ common’ use

    1. Minted.

      SOED has it as late 20th Century.
      Chambers Slang Dictionary says 1990s+

      To someone of my age that counts as quite modern!

  12. Not much to say about this – all correct, but no notes for it, so from memory, it was OK, but not massively enjoyable. LOI appears to have been BULGARIA. However, better than the previous Sunday, where I couldn’t get a toe-hold at all, unusually. Didn’t understand L-69 at all.

    1. Sorry. I forgot to say I would do a reply to you to test you are getting your notification emails correctly, but here it is. Let me know by reply to this message if you get the notification. [For the curious and technical, it seemed like notification emails were not being sent or going missing, but this turned out to be a problem for our hosting provider. They suggested an SPF DNS record addition to improve deliverability, which has been done and should now have propagated through the DNS infrastructure]

  13. Thanks David and keriothe
    Funny the different solving experiences we each have – SKI was my first one in, with the unfamiliar ‘Muck’ and MINTED (after reference confirmation) within the first half dozen or so. My trouble was caused by writing in a false GUESTIMATE in at 2d within those same half dozen entries – that didn’t get resolved until near the end of the solve.
    Found it an entertaining solve, liking BERLINER and a number of penny-drop moments with clues for SINK (finally seeing the riverbed sense of things), the word play for BULGARIA and the ‘cheeky’ reference in HOT PANTS.
    Finished in that NW corner with NAMELESS (neat Spoonerism), MORSEL and the craftily hidden CINEASTE (which I never did understand the ‘producing Wizard’ reference).

  14. With the hugely cryptic 1a I immediately thought “Uh- oh”, and moving on confirmed my fears. Oddly enough, CINEASTE was my FOI, with BUSH TELEGRAPH and HOT PANTS not far behind (pun intended.) I have been known to ‘wear them’ in my day…😎. Liked the slightly off-beat definitions, like GRAVES = “stiff containers”, and “features Wizard”= CINEASTE.

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