ST 4242 (Sun 16 Sep) – Sticky tape

Solving time: Gave up on 20ac after 20 mins, with 17dn also wrong.

My main quibble today is with the non-dictionary phrases at 1ac and 18dn. On the other hand, a couple of the (many) cryptic definitions were quite good, including one I couldn’t get thanks to a confident wrong answer at 17dn.

Explanations for 19ac would be welcome.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

1 RETIRED RUNNER (cryptic definition) – a curious phrase; cf 18dn.
10 HEARTLESS – pun on ‘heart’ = ‘pump’, but I don’t like the wording at all.
11 [re]VENUE – ‘not about finance’ is the questionable wordplay.
12 OTTER (hidden) – very weak (hidden in ‘hotter’).
13 EQUALLING (double definition)
15 OVERRATE – but why ‘record’? Wouldn’t ‘Exaggerate the delivery time’ have done the job?
16 ASSUME; “SUM” in SEA*
19 OCTAVE – I can’t explain this (“A fence standing between two pitches”).
20 CASSETTE – perfectly fair cryptic definition (“One can be heard playing on the deck”) but an incorrect crossing letter from 17dn prevented me from getting it.
24 L + U + CID
26 P + LAST + ER + ER

2 ENACTMENT (cryptic definition)
3 [p]INTER – refers to Harold Pinter.
4 ELEVENTH [hour]
5 RE’S + CUE – but I don’t think the singular ‘engineer’ can justifiably give RE (for Royal Engineers).
7 ENNUI; rev. of NNE (North-North-East) + U + I
8 CHRONOLOGICAL (cryptic definition) – pretty good, if easy.
9 LEAGUE LEADERS (cryptic definition) – this fooled me for some time. I’m not sure why the clue is phrased as a question, though.
15 REVEALING; (EL + VINEGAR)* – an indirect anagram but ‘the Spanish’ for EL is so hackneyed that this was easy enough.
17 URTICARIA; (A CURT AIR I)* – the one that scuppered me; ‘utricaria’ looked the only sensible arrangement. Apparently this means ‘nettle rash’, from the Latin urtica meaning ‘nettle’, from urere, ‘to burn’.
18 LAZY PAIR; (PAIL AYR Z[oo])* – what on earth does this mean?
23 EVITA; rev. of [innov]ATIVE

9 comments on “ST 4242 (Sun 16 Sep) – Sticky tape”

  1. Double Defintion – one fencing-related and the other music-related.

    Chambers defines Octave as: “the eighth of eight basic parrying positions (fencing)”


    1. Thanks, I’d missed the fencing reference – though does “A fence” really make sense as a definition for this? Or “standing between two pitches” for the musical version, for that matter?
      1. I had assumed that “A fence standing” was a slightly disguised version of “A fencing stance”; and that “between two pitches” was a reference to an octave being the difference between the pitch of two successive notes in a scale?

        However, being neither a swordsman nor a musician, I may have missed both the point and the counterpoint!


  2. In 18D the answer was fairly obvious from the anagram material and there’s a sort of cryptic definition so I assumed LAZY PAIR must be also be a term, perhaps used in a card-game, but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. I thought there was a convention that phrases in answers had to be in common usage or in a dictionary?

    I’m completely baffled by 1A unless it’s just as feeble as 12A and I should not be wasting my time trying to credit the compiler with more skill than is immediately apparent.

    1. The Sunday Times has its own ‘conventions’, which include ignoring the one you mention about answers appearing in dictionaries. I think a pun on ‘shy’ = ‘retired’ is the most 1ac has to offer, and agree it is very weak, even if you accept that the phrase exists.
    1. It is possessive, but the clue says engineer’s which means that ‘engineer’ has to give RE, which I don’t think makes sense. If instead the clue said engineers’ there would be no problem.
  3. The phrase “retired runner” would be put against the name of race entries who have withdrawn from the race
  4. 1a does not make any sense to me either. With all the checkers it is possible to guess the two separate words but the combination of RETIRED and RUNNER as the answer is not obvious from the clue:

    1a This rather shy athlete has now given up for good (7,6)

    “Rather shy” would read as RETIRING rather than RETIRED so I don’t quite get this.

    Similarly the answer to 18d is strange but at least the answer is derived from a rather obvious anagram.

    18d Overturned (pail Ayr z)*oo initially needed for a couple of sloths (4,4)

    There are some “easies” not in the blog:
    22a (Next, I)* remodel with (clay)*- not true to form (9)

    25a A party I attended, though claim to have been elsewhere (5)
    A LIB I

    27a Relative called for, (during a wealth)* reallocation (8,2,3)

    6d (Vets lions)* mauled – read their stories! (9)

    21d Sit around – opt out! Don’t do that any more! (4,2)
    S TOP IT

    14d Language we don’t speak, but the French can (5)
    LA TIN. We might not but Boris Johnson does when he’s asked a question he doesn’t want to answer.

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