ST 4288 (Sun 3 Aug) – Argy-bargy

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 9:53

Firstly, thank you very much to sotira, dorosatt, jackkt and yfyap who have blogged the Sunday Times puzzles over the last few weeks in my absence. After a largely crosswordless month I’ve now solved the back catalogue and added my twopenn’orth to each. Some of the recent puzzles have been good to very good; this one didn’t quite reach those dizzy heights. At least half of my time was spent on the bottom left, partly because of 2dn (qv).

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

4 DOWN CAST – good clue.
8 TOR + RID – neither ‘sultry’ not ‘torrid’ makes me think first of ‘oppressively hot’, but that’s what they both mean.
10 DIVE-BOMB; (B[ridgehead] + I’D MOVE)* + B – rather contrived, and this should be (4-4) rather than (8).
11 TAT + AMI – ‘ami’ is in Chambers as an English word, so technically no indication of French is required, but it might have been helpful, especially for inexperienced solvers, as the answer word is quite obscure (a tatami is a Japanese floor-covering).
13 BRAESIDE; (SEE A BIRD)* – this is a ridiculous answer. A ‘brae’ is a Scottish word for a hill-slope or bank, and there are lots of farms called ‘Braeside’ as well as an area of Greenock, but nothing sufficiently significant to justify its inclusion as an answer word.
16 OFF(END)ER – I eventually solved this having been held up by an incorrect crossing letter from 2dn.
19 ROUND + ERS[e] – coincidentally topical, with Irishman Padraig Harrington having just won the US PGA tournament (his third Major win in six attempts), the first European to do so since 1930 and the first time a European player has won back-to-back Major titles.
23 LUKEWARM – a rather weak pun on Luke’s gospel.
24 MATERIAL (double def) – I wasn’t sure about ‘grave’ when solving, but Chambers gives ‘of serious, esp. legal, importance’.
25 ERNEST; “EARN NEST” – terrible. [Wrong – see comments. My apologies to the setter.]
26 DECLINED – a triple definition, I think, although ‘fell off’ and ‘sank’ are almost the same.

2 ARGENTINE; (ENTERING A)* – I wrote in ‘Argentina’ here, which held me up badly on the bottom left, and I’m a bit cross because the definition ‘country’ is hopeless; the country is ‘the Argentine Republic’, not just ‘Argentine’ which is a citizen of Argentina or an adjective. On the other hand, ‘Argentina’ doesn’t fit the anagram and really I have only myself to blame, so please don’t cry for me.
3 IDIOTS; (I in DO) in IT’S – I think the one thing that riles me more than anything about Sunday Times puzzles is the regular mis-treatment of the letter ‘I’. ‘I gatecrash’ just doesn’t make any sense, it needs to be ‘I gatecrashes’.
4 DOUBLE-BARRELLED – this clue doesn’t really work; it’s sort of two definitions, ‘Like a shotgun’ and ‘nominally uniting two families’, but ‘wedding’, needed for the pun on ‘shotgun’, is rather superfluous.
6 CO + ROT – an artist unknown to me.
15 ADHESION; rev. of NOISE + (HAD)* – difficult.
17 FOR(BAD)E – also difficult.
18 ARM + REST – for the wordplay to work (with the plural ‘weapons’) this has to be read as an instruction, i.e. “arm [the] rest”.
20 UP + KEEP
22 WHEEL – calling this a cryptic definition would be generous!

8 comments on “ST 4288 (Sun 3 Aug) – Argy-bargy”

  1. You’re very welcome, talbinho. And thank you for the comments on the earlier entries – going back through them like that was above and beyond the call of duty.

    Agreed that this one slipped a little from recent standards (maybe it’s you!). I recall tut-tutting at the ARGENTINE clue. I’m still not entirely sure about this, since I remember hearing the country referred to as ‘The Argentine’ a lot when I was young, but it seems to have fallen out of favour.

    You set off some association in my mind by alluding to the song, and I had to look up the lyrics. They do indeed contain what sounds like a a prayer for solvers of cryptic crosswords:

    They are illusions
    They are not the solutions they promised to be
    The answer was here all the time

    Maybe Tim Rice is a crossword fan.

    1. That’s brilliant! I wonder if he is?

      (I would have been happy with ‘The Argentine’, by the way, but not just ‘Argentine’.)

    1. You’re absolutely right – thanks for pointing this out and sorry for the mistake. I’d forgotten ‘earnest’ could mean ‘payment given to confirm a contract’.
  2. 13 ac Braeside just checked there is a village called Braeside and there are 19 pubs in the vicinity
    1. I stand by this one, though. Yes, there is a village called Braeside near Greenock but it’s tiny and not really appropriate as an answer word. Maybe it was a personal reference by the setter (and I wouldn’t object to the odd such word in a barred puzzle with lots of grid constraints) but it could have been defined much more precisely than ‘part of Scotland’.
  3. late comments because we get the puzzles in the Vancouver newspaper 3 weeks after they appear in the ST, and I have to do the puzzle before looking at the comments.
    Living in Vancouver with its large Asian origin community, I came up with Tatami right away. Two families of neighbours are from Japan. Also we often throw the odd French word into our spoken English however I had never heard of ‘tat’, my 45 year old Chambers does not contain the word, however my new one does and calls it a British colloqialism.
  4. Late comments always welcome – this website sends me an email when anyone replies to a blog entry of mine, so I’ll see your comments even if noone else does!

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