ST 4253 – easy enough, but …

Solving time: 7 minutes

This puzzle was pretty straightforward, considering that I don’t usually do the ST, but had some of those little faults that often make it an unsatisfying puzzle for me.

1 SPIRAL STAIRCASE = (Alsace airstrips)* – an easy anag to identify and solve, but this clue reads and works well.
9 MAESTRO – 2 defs – an orchestral conductor like (Simon) Rattle, and an Austin car of the 1980s
10 SIDECAR – (race,D=date,is) all rev. – but “that” in the clue does nothing in the cryptic meaning and could have been left out without damaging the surface.
11 CO(p)ED – short for co-educational = for boys and girls
12 S(T)AGE,COACH – a diligence is a type of coach, and here, the ? at the end of the clue means definition by example is indicated, which doesn’t always happen in the mostly stricter Times puzzle.
13 ME ‘AND ‘ER
17 N,A(TURE=true*)S
19 C(A,N)ARDS – this riles me by using “with” to link def and wordplay, which has never made sense to me. In this case, “in” would have worked pretty well.
22 ENID = dine(r) rev.
25 EN(RAGE=gear)D – “proper” as an anag. indicator gets another black mark
27 SCHOOL=training, OF THOUGHT=with careful consideration. The first of these seems very iffy.
1 SUMAC = Camus in a very chestnutty reversal
2 INEL=line*,e.g.,ANT
3 ALTO(gether)
4 S. POTTER = Stephen Potter
8 EARPHONES = (hears, nope)* – another easy anag. when ‘ears’ is/are in the the clue and the meanings are connected. But when you look back to write up these notes, you see that ‘sporting’ is doing double duty – indicating the anag. and describing the wearing of the answer. On reflection, maybe I’m fussing too much here – this seems to work as an &lit.
14 D.,ERRING,DO – a nice clue, this one
19 CREW CUT – cryptic def. – but only barely – as the term comes from the use of this haircut by rowing crews, the def. is pretty much a plain one.
23 D=Germany,WE=you and I,LT=left empty – but this, on the website version, is the worst clue in the puzzle – A house in Germany you and I left empty. “A house” for DWELT is so awful that I think something like “had” or “lived in” must have flen off the beginning.
24 IN FO(al) – if the setter gets you to believe that Gen is a girl and not news/dope/info etc., this is a clever clue – but for solvers of even moderate experience, this is a big if.

2 comments on “ST 4253 – easy enough, but …”

  1. Not only is derring do a good clue, but a great and much underused word. I spent the week using it in everyday conversation, which would be easier if I was a pirate.
  2. I am glad that our esteemed founder found fault with 23d. I thought I was missing something.

    There are eight “easies” not in the blog including the 16d – possibly from the 3ds in the altogether?

    15a Continues to travel (in Laos)* moving around south (5,2)

    20a Engineer (vacates pit)* entrances (10)

    26a Calm prisoner alone (7)

    7d Some maniAC CRAcked in capital (5)

    13d Handles detractors around N Ireland (9)
    MO N.I. CKERS. Unusual to see NI not clued as Province or the like.

    16d Alert child good with alluring music (5,4)

    18d Two notes from awkward customer (2,3,2)

    21d Measure of freshwater fish (5)
    PERCH. Caught with a ROD or POLE no doubt?

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