ST 4275 (Sun May 4) – E for ‘aura’

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 2:43

An easy puzzle but I just missed a PB, which is very disappointing. A mistake in the clue for 8dn, which is also disappointing.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

9 SLAP-UP; rev. of PAL in SUP
11 RE + PORT + ING (= GIN*)
14 KEEP (double definition)
15 (ORGANISE IT)* – ‘to’ in this clue doesn’t make sense in the cryptic reading.
17 SWORD DANCE – just a fairly straight definition, I think, punning on cut-lass.
21 OGLE (hidden backwards)
22 CASTANETS – this probably slowed me down the most – I was expecting a Spanish word and didn’t come back to it until I had several letters.
24 MANG[o] + ROVE – more valuable seconds wasted, as I couldn’t see where the ‘mang’ should come from. I don’t think ‘small’ meaning ‘with the last letter missing’ is acceptable.
25 C(A + SIN)O; &lit – a good clue, though not original.
27 F + LUTES
28 MON + O + POLY

2 ENLARGE; (GENERAL)* – a plural verb used to indicate an anagram of one word (as here, ‘general explode’) is debatable; it tends to be justified in barred puzzles by arguing that ‘enlarge’ can be considered as a set of several individual letters, but I don’t think this device is usually allowed in blocked puzzles.
3 TIP (hidden, &lit)
4 SUPERCONDUCTORS (cryptic definition)
5 NAOMI; rev. of I MOAN – about as hackneyed as cryptic clues get.
6 PEREGRINE FALCON; (LEARN OF CREEPING)* – a Sunday Timesy definition (‘in the air’).
8 A + C.E. + TON + E – ‘auras initially’ seems to indicate the final ‘E’ here. Maybe it was supposed to say ‘euros’?
12 PAPER-WEIGHT – another thief of time; ‘paper’ was straightforward but I needed all three crossing letters for ‘weight’.
20 ARSENAL; AR[range] + rev. of LANES – ‘starts to’ for ‘the first two letters of’ is unusual but probably as justifiable as ‘a bit of’ for ‘the first letter of’ which is a common device in barred puzzles.
23 STEAM (double definition)
26 SAP; rev. of PAS

11 comments on “ST 4275 (Sun May 4) – E for ‘aura’”

  1. Thanks for shedding light on 8dn. I thought I was being dim. ‘Euros’ makes sense.
  2. And, as no one else seems to be checking in today, thanks for blogging this one, talbinho.
  3. Agreed. Today’s is, to say the least, problematic. I hope the ST gets its act together soon.
  4. I had two queries on this.

    I didn’t really understand where the definition is in 3dn. Obviously “hint” = “tip” but then the same word has to do double duty providing a letter for the hidden word. Is this allowed? Also the surface reading doesn’t really work as an &lit as I understand it.

    As you have suggested there must be a typo in 8dn to explain the final “e”, but God help us if they meant “euros” for “auras”. If that sort of error can get through then we might as well give up on ST cryptics. But having seen ST 4256 I’m starting to think this might not be a bad idea unless I’m completely wrong about 5dn.

  5. I’m equally baffled trying to explain 2dn and 24ac (in 4276) so I’m looking forward to the blog being posted next week.
  6. Thanks to all commenters; apologies for the delayed replies, my Internet connection is being ‘difficult’ at the moment.

    jackkt: 3dn (“Some hint I present”) is definitely intended as an &lit, so the wordplay is “Some hint I present” and the definition is also “Some hint I present”. Whether you think that’s an acceptable definition or not is another matter!

    As for the more general question of words doing double duty: the general rule is that they shouldn’t, except perhaps as part of a semi-&lit (which usually means the wordplay is only part of the clue but the definition is the whole clue). To quote an example from the Listener site, “Short measures found in Chester” (for INCHES) would be unacceptable because ‘in’ is doing double duty as part of both the hidden indicator and the hidden word. But the Sunday Times tends to disregard most ‘rules’, so don’t be surprised to see a word doing double duty from time to time: e.g. from ST 4266, “Left lancers in a sorry condition” for CRESTFALLEN where ‘in a sorry condition’ is both the anagram indicator and the definition.

    dorosatt: I’m afraid I have no idea whether it has “always been this way”, being a relative newcomer to the ST. But since I’ve been blogging the puzzle (just over a year) it has been as you describe, with a very high error rate. (I actually thought the clue for CASTANETS was ok – I wonder if you know the British expression “to go like the clappers”?)

    And for sotira, jackkt and pros958: as ST 4276 is a prize puzzle we shouldn’t really discuss it until Sunday, but suffice to say that I also found it “problematic”.

  7. In the past (say 20 years ago), books of ST puzzles used to have an introduction and/or sample puzzle by Elizabeth and Derek Jewell, and it seems that they were ST puzzle editors for quite a while, probably including the time you’re talking about. An article about Barbara Hall, the current ST puzzle editor, says that she’s been supplying ST puzzles for 32 years, but doesn’t say when she took over from the Jewells. A bit of searching at Amazon suggests that this happened about 1989 – a book of ST puzzles published that year is credited to BH and the Jewells, whereas older ones were theirs alone, and later ones BH’s alone. There are other ST setters – Don Manley, for one, supplies a few puzzles. But my guess is that Barbara Hall supplies most of the puzzles herself, and ignoring any clue-style issues, doesn’t have enough help in checking puzzles to get rid of the mistakes. My guess is that the Jewells, maybe because they could check each other’s work, didn’t have the current high error count.
  8. You have left out your answer for 16D… “INN”

    This is a convenient omission because if you had included it, your answer for 15A could not be “Organise it”

    15A should be “ORIGINATES”

    1. 16dn (together with 13ac and 19ac) was omitted on purpose. It’s our policy not to include every clue (see the ‘About This Blog…’ link at the top for why).

      If you look more closely, you’ll see that 15ac above says (ORGANISE IT)*, with the * indicating an anagram. Normally we include the actual answer as well as the wordplay, although I missed it out here.

      And I’m not quite sure how you think I could have had “organise it” at 15ac: this wouldn’t have fit with 6dn, 7dn or 8dn either, not to mention that it’s two words when the answer is one and that those words appear in the clue!

  9. Nice one but I don’t understand 17a SWORD DANCE to be a pun of cut lass? Am I just being dim here?

    There are just the 3 omissions here:

    13a Either way it will soon be the afternoon (4)
    NOON. It is a palindrome (unlike NOTLOB) but having the answer in the clue without it being a Hidden Answer just looks like not very good?

    19a Gordon’s first boy is happy (4)
    G LAD

    16d We hear batting from the pub (3)

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