ST 4213 (25 Feb) – Beetle mania

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 3:49

I have no idea who’s on the Sunday Times setting panel, but whoever set this one – more please! A vast improvement over recent weeks with some really excellent clues, 21ac being my favourite. Very frustrating nonetheless to take 25 seconds to get 25ac at the end and so miss a ‘PB’ for this puzzle.

* = anagram, “X” = ‘sounds like X’.

8 GO + DIVA – excellent surface, though aided by a superfluous ‘the’. Refers to Lady Godiva.
10 PIPE + DOWN – readers who sympathise with the surface reading (“Tube not working – it’s shut up!“) are encouraged to listen to this song. (WARNING: contains ‘industrial’ language, as I heard one of Wayne Rooney’s tirades desribed yesterday. If this offends you, why not listen to this parody instead, which is almost as good and ‘work safe’.)
12 DEL (rev. of LED) + AWARE
13 FETCHING (double definition) – a good clue but I wasted time on this, not expecting an -ING ending. ‘Fetching’ has to be read as a gerund to mean ‘collection’, as in ‘dogs are trained in the fetching of sticks’.
21 UTOPIA; (OUT)* + P[ersonal] I[nvestment] A[uthority] – a brilliant clue, though I wonder if ‘heads of’ was inserted by the editor to make it a little easier, as Chambers contains ‘PIA’ in its own right. The definition, ‘More work’, refers to the book by Sir Thomas More, who coined the word, something I learnt from a recent Listener (#3908) by Mango. ‘Sent’ (meaning ‘excited’ or ‘roused’) is fine by me as an anagram indicator.
23 TEA-PARTY – cryptic definition with PM = Post Meridiem, not Prime Minister. Initially I wasn’t so keen on this as I thought TEA DANCE fit equally well, and clashed with just one letter, but I now realise that this would be (3,5) and not (3-5).
24 IN CAMERA; (AMERICAN)* – not so keen on ‘building’ as a post-fodder anagram indicator.
25 BEETLE (double definition) – I have no idea why I took so long over this. I think I was looking too deeply and trying to split DICE and GAME (= e.g. RU, GO etc). Arguably ‘played’ is a bit superfluous, but I can’t blame that for my tardiness.
26 REPARTEE; RE (= about) + (REPEAT)*
3 DAKOTA; rev. of (OK inside A TAD) – the RAF used the Douglas Dakota C-47 extensively during World War II, including for the D-Day landings and the massed assault on Arnhem. The only such aircraft still in service is this one which now flies with the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
5 ELONGATE; (NOTE A LEG)* – another good surface reading with a clever definition (‘stretcher will do!’).
6 TITAN; “TIGHTEN” – I’m not totally convinced that ‘to tighten’ can quite mean ‘to be a mean type’. [But then, that wasn’t the setter’s intention – see comments.]
15 BUD + APES + T
17 IN + TENSE (as in ‘past tense’) – clever, but ‘past, maybe’ rang a bell immediately.
22 PLAYA (hidden in ‘hard-up layabout’) – apparently ‘a basin which becomes a shallow lake after heavy rainfall and dries out again in hot weather’. I had no idea what this meant but I knew it was a word and the wordplay was obvious so it went straight in.

6 comments on “ST 4213 (25 Feb) – Beetle mania”

  1. I think the mean type in 6 dn is a “tight un”. I wasn’t too keen on 22d (Some hard-up layabout in bed in Spain = PLAYA), since surely most playas of this kind are found on the other side of the Atlantic, whereas the sort you’d find in Spain tend to be beaches. But, as you say, a much better puzzle than some of the recent Sunday Times offerings. (5:55 for me, so nowhere near your impressive 3:49)
  2. I remember when I solved this last week I rather enjoyed the double answer for “Talk about island evergreen tree” leading to both CYPRESS=”Cyprus” and CON(I)FER. Of course, Murphy kicked in and I opted for CYPRESS first.
    1. Fascinating, thank you.

      [Tim Moorey is one of the three setters of the (consistently excellent) Mephisto puzzle in the Sunday Times.]

  3. This puzzle is a good quality solve made even harder by 2 omitted (10a and 24a) clues. Fortunately these both are blogged by )O Senhor Talbinho so I can fill in all the gaps:

    4a Open vessel leading to upset (8)

    11a Jolly B(elgian)* sadly losing his head (6)

    19a (Create)* trouble after cult film or something similar (2,6)

    2d Wretched Scrooge looking down on expert (9)

    4d Former S Africa province where mandarins not needed? (6,4,5)
    ORANGE FREE STATE. Not so easy to get ones 5-a-day down Bloemfontein way.

    7d Learn new skills on coach (7)
    RE TRAIN. Learning new ones or re-learning old ones?

    20d Run into taxi-driver and get petulant (6)
    C R ABBY. Singular Ginger Wine manufacturer?

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