ST 4259 (Sun 13 Jan) – Batman returns

Solving time: 5:05

A few difficult words in this but with helpful wordplays; no major gripes. Looking back at 6ac (PASCAL), I believe Don Manley (Pasquale in the Guardian) sets for the Sunday Times and wonder if this is a signature.

* = anagram.

1 PENDULUM; (NUDE)* in PLUM (= ‘Victoria, say’) – this last bit of wordplay is an example of the ‘definition by example’ to which Peter’s current poll refers (he asks whether, e.g., ‘Victoria’ in the clue would be fair for ‘plum’ in the answer). I’m still wavering between ‘Tolerable, but only just’ and ‘Never acceptable’. Please cast your votes.
6 PA’S + CAL[l] – Pascal’s Triangle is a grid of numbers in which each is the sum of the two above it.
9 BAT[s]MAN – ‘tender’ (as in ‘one who tends’) is a cunning definition. Batmen (à la Baldrick) are, alas, a thing of the past.
11 PATCHOULI; (CHAT-UP L I O)* – I wasn’t sure about this anagram and don’t remember seeing the word before, though I think I probably have.
17 UPPER VOLTA; (PLOT RAVE-UP)* – now Burkina Faso, with the splendidly named Ouagadougou as its capital.
22 U.N. + POP(U)LAR
24 SHANGHAI (double definition)
25 NEAR-BY – I don’t really get this. Is it just two definitions (or wordplay to “NEAR BY”)? If it is, they seem to be more or less the same.
27 ERAS + ER
28 EUROPIUM; rev. of RUE + OPIUM

3 DIM [sum]
4 LUNCHEON VOUCHER (cryptic definition) – this really needs a comma after ‘ticket’ for the surface reading, but perhaps that would make the cryptic reading slightly wrong, in which case better to leave it out.
5 MAC + AU
6 PENCIL-SHARPENER – a groanworthy cryptic definition.
7 (SEA SNAIL ON T)* – good deceptive clue, with ‘Fastastic’ a potential anagram indicator and ‘on’ looking like a preposition in the wordplay. This reminds me of another fishy clue: “Sea creatures in fish farm are rearing bream” (DIBRANCHIATA), from Navigator by Sabre, a 2006 Listener with clues so outstanding that I can still quote several from memory.
12 TABLET + ENNIS (rev. of SINNE[r]) – a very apt surface, given Marion Jones’s imprisonment this week.
16 N + IL
20 MAR + A BOU[t] – a large African black and white stork.
23 PO(I)SE – not keen on these link words (‘required as’).
26 ASP (hidden; &lit)

3 comments on “ST 4259 (Sun 13 Jan) – Batman returns”

  1. 25A
    The nearside of a vehicle is the side nearest the kerb, so ‘left’ is NEAR and ‘at the side of’ is BY. The definition is ‘local’.
  2. I do not have a problem with (Victoria, say) = PLUM at 1ac. A bit late for PB’s poll on the matter I know.

    Perhaps what is perhaps not so fair for many overseas solvers is LEFT = NEAR (SIDE) in 25a. In many countries the right is the near side of a vehicle?

    Just a five-a-side of “easies” omitted from the blog:

    13a ArIaDnE’s odd assistant (4)

    19a Call chap back and cuddle ultimately (4)
    NAM E

    21a The stake’s a new note (4)
    A N TE

    2d Old partner’s wide illustration (7)

    18d Gasp for breath by girl’s big cat (7)

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