ST 4221 (Sun Apr 22) – Starters’ orders

Solving time: 3:50

This was closer to the daily crosswords than most ST puzzles in terms of clue accuracy, although much easier, with some nice clues. Quite a quick time but I felt I should have ‘gone out harder’ on this – the sort of puzzle where I’d probably have been faster if someone had told me beforehand that it was a potential fast time.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

9 GAME (= plucky) + COCK (= nonsense)
12 F + ANT + ASIA
16 PLE(THOR)A – Thor is the Norse god of thunder, from whom we get the word ‘Thursday’.
19 N + A + POLE + ON
21 INN + ATE (= (TEA)*)
24 DEMERARA; rev. of (A RARE MED)
26 STARTERS; ART (as in ‘thou art’) in (RESTS)* – my favourite clue, referring to the choir? (“Novices are heard in church in between rests perhaps“)


1 A + L + MAN + AC
2 HEAD START (opp. of ‘tail end’) – another good one.
5 SYMPATHY – as in ‘tea and sympathy’.
6 MICKS; “MIX” – unusual to see a name clued in the plural. ‘Irishmen’ might have been a more conventional definition.
7 NICKERS (double definition)
14 A + P + P(LET)ART
18 HOR(NET)S[e]
20 P + LAYER

4 comments on “ST 4221 (Sun Apr 22) – Starters’ orders”

  1. MICKS: Assuming this is the correct solution – it’s the one I had too – does anybody agree that this is an appallingly lazy clue?


  2. Can’t see why that’s a lazy clue. Works quite well for me and not immediately apparent as the plural of a name is unusual
  3. I agree that 6 down is a horrible clue, and 3 down, if HERON is the answer, is just about as bad!

    Ken Macpherson

  4. I do these x-words for a bit of quiet enjoyment. I simply cannot see how people get exercised about an “appalingly lazy clue” and the like. In the words of King Louie to Mowgli in the original Jungle Book Movie (there is now a new one in 2016) “Unwind yourself”.

    Also I fail to understand the obsession with doing these puzzles in as fast a time as possible. Yes, I know there is an annual competition, and this blog is “Times for the Times”, but – with all the art that the setters put into these things – surely they are best savoured slowly?
    An example of this is the full parsing of 26a which took me ages and was my LOI:

    26a Novices are heard in church in between rests perhaps (8)
    ST ART ERS. This is an anagram of RESTS containing “are heard in church” = ART. Not sure about thy allusion to the choir O esteemed blogmeister thou may be reading in something unnecessary there?

    Mind you – this was my LOI taking several times O senhor Talbino’s time for the whole puzzle to suss out one clue.
    Hare & the tortoise – or hare & the bunny?

    There are “easies”:

    8a Rob’s warm jacket (6)

    10a Striking manual labourer gets a part (8)

    11a (Lassie)* barking in passages (6)

    23a Former temporary is difficult (8)

    3d Birds flying in northern shore, maybe (6)
    HERONS. Anagram of N & shore. What is wrong with that? Is the maybe strictly necessary though as the flying can be the anagrind?

    17d Showing tolerance, (nine let)* off (7)

    22d Muslim leader in endgAM EERed (5)
    AMEER. An unfamiliar spelling of EMIR. I have met one personally and he is definitely an EMIR. Also very keen on golf.

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