ST 4214 (4th March) – Chewed up

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: about 9 mins, one mistake (18dn)

I thought this was better than some ST puzzles but not as good as last week’s. Most clues were fair, if a little verbose in places, with just a few that I really don’t like (11ac, 19ac, 21ac, 4dn, 22dn) and some that are excellent (4ac, 3dn, 14dn).

* = anagram.

4 ESCAP(AD)E – simple but well worded.
8 VAL(IS)E – I had all checking letters before looking properly at this and nearly fell for ‘dative’ (= ‘case’) but luckily checked the wordplay. This clue contained the requisite typo (a double clue number in the online version).
10 DI(SPA)TCH – which can be a noun meaning ‘haste’, as in ‘with dispatch’.
11 [n]OODLES – but the wordplay here doesn’t work for me (‘lost their heads’ when it is only the singular ‘head’ of the word that needs to be removed).
13 IN + TIM + ATE – living people are allowed in the Sunday Times but not the daily Times puzzles.
19 EX + P + LICIT – lots of these clues have superfluous link words, which is just a different style to adjust to, but ‘package’ here is totally superfluous.
21 CHAPEL; (PLEA)* after CH – ‘from’ meaning ‘after’ isn’t justifiable as far as I can see.
24 VICTORIA (double definition) – a Victoria Carriage is one of these
1 VANILLA; rev. of (ALL + IN + A + V) – …and a vanilla orchid is one of these.
3 MERTON; (TERM)* + ON (= ahead)
4 EMPHATIC DENIALS; (A A MILNE DITCHES P[ooh])* – this is just bizarre, another non-dictionary phrase (see ST 4212 for more) with a wordplay where the solver has to work out that ‘Milne’ = ‘A A Milne’ for the anagram. Why not just include ‘A A’ in the clue? And even if this were a genuine phrase, ‘No, no!’ is surely a singular emphatic denial, or else ‘no’ would have to be an emphatic denial in its own right to give the plural answer.
14 MOTIVATES; (I’VE SAT)* after MOT – my favourite clue of this puzzle, though very straightforward.
15 MALL + A R[oa]D + S[outh]
18 FIT + CHEW – I failed on this archaic word for a polecat, guessing ‘pincher’ after a couple of minutes’ thought at the end, most of which I spent trying to fit a word for ‘biting’ into ‘fit’. I like ‘keep biting’ for ‘chew’, but I have two questions: (1) Why the exclamation mark, which is superfluous and misleading in the cryptic reading? (Ditto for 2dn.) (2) Why is it acceptable (in crosswords generally, not just this puzzle) to use ‘to X’ in the wordplay to clue ‘Y’ (rather than ‘to Y’) in the answer?
22 PATIO; PA + rev. of IT + O (= ‘around’?) – either ‘around’ = ‘a round’ = O, which I hate, or else (more likely, I would guess) the clue should have read ’round’ instead of ‘around’.

6 comments on “ST 4214 (4th March) – Chewed up”

  1. I guess it’s just one of those little vaguenesses permitted for the sake of making convincing surgace meaning a bit easier to achieve.

    I wouldn’t object to “emphatic denials” as an answer – sounds a fairly plausible phrase. Maybe “No!, No!” would have worked better as a def …

    1. 7dn: Could be a fool, with hair standing on end (7)

      Answer: DESSERT. A fool is a kind of dessert, as in ‘gooseberry fool’; “with hair” = TRESSED, “standing on end” = reversed (in a down clue).

      Hope this helps. I think in a daily puzzle, the definition might have been tweaked to something like “What could be a fool” or “Fool, perhaps”.

  2. My wife and I got everything else, but 5D defeated us. Since you didn’t mention it, I guess it’s pretty obvious, but we’d appreciate help.
  3. Actually, we didn’t get all the others. We had one wrong, and that’s what made 5D so hard. We (OK, I) will be more careful in the future, before we post a stupid comment.
  4. I must have done this before as I managed to get Fitchew. Despite coming from deepest Herefordshire I am not familiar with dialect for ferrets.

    Lots of “easies” today – or are they?

    9a Cetaceans mutating, (I propose)* (8)

    12a It’s for playing one number, wine’s handed out? (8)

    16a Trail-blazer with vehicle escort (8)

    21a (Plea)* to be taken out from chief place of worship (6)
    CH APEL. Is chief = CH OK? S’pose.

    25a Inspect permit through this peephole (6)

    26a See first major change around the stud is impressive (8)
    EM BOSS ES. Anag. of SEE M around the Stud = BOSS.

    2d Smoking it can make (pig pinker)*!
    KIPPERING. Rosy flying pigs? Roll another one.

    5a Foreign girl’s vehicle, (total)* wreck (8)

    6d Heading for a fall? (5)

    7d Could be a fool, with hair standing on end (7)
    DESSERT. TRESSED upside-down as explained above.

    17d (Time has)* brought about this lack of faith (7)

    20d Succeeded in overtaking? (6)
    PASSED. Good ol’ DD.

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