ST 4210 (Feb 4) – Parrot Fashion

Solving time: About 6 minutes for all but 8dn [corrected from 6dn], 23ac and 24dn, none of which I managed to get correctly in a further 10 minutes or so.

Ilan and I have swapped days, so this is my first Sunday Times post. This puzzle is edited separately from normal Times crosswords, so I’ll try to point out things which would not be allowed in daily puzzles, as well as things which are just unsound. This puzzle has several examples of both.

* = anagram.

1 [th]E MOTION – ‘the last’ = E would not be allowed in a daily puzzle.
9 RENDERING – double definition.
12 FIENDISH; (FINISHED)* – good anagram which I don’t recall seeing before.
14 FIRE-ESCAPE; (SAFE I CREEP)* – the answer is clear but I can’t really make any sense of this &lit. The anagram indication is woolly at best, while the use of ‘creep’ in the definition reading is odd.
16 LINN; rev. of N NIL
19 HEART-THROB; (HAT BROTHER)* – how can ‘doffed’ be an anagram indicator?
23 S MOKE R – ‘mule’ was the closest I could get to ‘Jenny’ before having the checked fourth letter, but when I got 24dn I thought the answer was ‘crone’ rather than ‘krone’ so had to abandon this clue. It transpires that the Regent Parrot is known as the Smoker. Again, ‘seafront’ = S would not be allowed in a daily puzzle.


3 ICE-CUBES (cryptic definition); I have heard this clue quoted as ‘Dies of cold?‘.
7 A MP LIF(I)ER – second-rate for [r]A[te] is dubious, but ‘I admit’ for ‘insert an I’ is dreadful.
8 TORCH ON – a type of lace. I thought I was looking for a word for a hand-held light, but couldn’t remember if the word was ‘torchon’ or ‘torchin’ and guessed wrongly.
13 SCREENPLAY; rev. of ALP in (SCENERY)*
15 RIGHTEOUS; (THIS ROGUE)* – a much better &lit.
17 STAMPEDE; (MAT SPEED)* – very well worded. This was one of those clues where my subconscious gave me the answer straight away but my conscious took several seconds to clock how the clue worked.
18 EMBOSOM; rev. of (MO SOB ME) – the cryptic grammar is wrong here; what it asks for is either MOSOB with ME inside, all reversed, or MOSOB to have ME (or EM) placed on top of it. The only possible interpretation is if ‘holding’ can mean ‘placed next to’, which I don’t think it can.
21 KELP IE – tricky vocab in both answer and wordplay. I was confident of the seaweed but less so about the sprite.
24 KRONE (“CRONE”) – I can’t find any support for pronouncing the currency krone as ‘crone’; all dictionaries suggest that there should be an unstressed vowel sound at the end, giving a pronunciation to rhyme with ‘toner’. That notwithstanding, this homophone clue could work either way, requiring the crossing 23ac to disambiguate. Unfortunately I couldn’t get 23ac!
25 DART – triple definition, with an unfortunate superfluous ‘of’.

2 comments on “ST 4210 (Feb 4) – Parrot Fashion”

  1. Finished in 14:38 for me, which is about double my average for the Sunday Times so this was a lot harder than usual. I had the same problems with 23/24 until I remembered that Jenny=mule=moke.

    Things like “the last”, “second-rate” and “seafront” you just get used to. At least they’re consistent!

  2. Not only did we have to put up with a dud sounds-like (OK – homophone) at 24 down with the Krone but we’re supposed to know one of a number of colloquial names for Australian avifauna that we never heard of in the first place? I got SMOKER from the clue at 23a but I had no idea what that had to do with being a parrot!
    Like Linxit I do not have a problem with S = seafront. It fitted in nicely with the seaside donkey although the surface got ruined by the rooks and parrots instead of gulls.

    There are quite a few “easies” omitted by O Senhor Talbinho so here we go:

    5a It’s obvious you can get books on (tabla)* playing (7)

    10a Something in the sauce making us jump around (5)

    11a American (fuel)* could be handy (6)

    18a Extremely nervous (4)

    22a Waders scrap with other birds (8)

    26a Portion of ice cream that’s exclusively yours? (5)
    SCOOP. A Fleet Street DD.

    27a Meadow (he sold)* in error – this being what was required? (9)

    28a (Rates)* dispute within my dominion (7)

    2d Weight of a snow leopard? (5)
    OUNCE. DD – the x-word land cat.

    4d Handy tip for the carpenter? (4)
    NAIL. Could also be footy tip but that wouldn’t work quite so well.

    6d Grave, perhaps carrying stress (6)

    20d Tedium of (bedroom)* activity (7)

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