ST 4293 (Sun 7 Sep) – Pergola alarm

Solving time: 3:34

A real mixture this week: some very good clues, much better than average, and a few that are a bit questionable. There seems to be a mistake in the clue for 14ac (PERGOLA), but perhaps just in the online version.

* = anagram, “X” = ‘sounds like X’.

9 TRACT[or] – nicely worded to make it look like a hidden answer.
10 LIQUOR + ICE – simple but elegant.
11 AMERICAN DREAM; (MADAM + NICE REAR)* – very good anagram.
14 PERGOLA; rev. of (A + LOG + REP) – oh dear, there’s a missing ‘a’ in the wordplay. Presumably this was supposed to say “…back a support…”. I’m blogging from the online version although I actually solved the paper version and don’t remember this error – perhaps it was correct there?
16 SANGRIA; SANG + rev. of AIR
17 NO(TATE)S – a reference to the Tate Modern.
19 N(O.S. + E,B)AG; &lit – unusual to have ‘bits of…’ for ‘the first letters of…’ in a blocked puzzle, but this is a pretty good &lit.
21 PANTECHNICONS; (INNOCENT CHAPS)* – this word seems to crop up regularly in the ST puzzles so it went straight in.
24 ANCHORMAN (double defn) – ‘anchorman’ doesn’t seem to be a nautical term, so the second definition here is cryptic.
26 LYDIA (hidden) – I don’t think this clue works. I can see that ‘Y is what’s essential for XYZ’ makes sense, but ‘XYZ are essential for Y’ seems wrong: X and Z aren’t essential at all.
27 SPLIT (double defn)
28 PAST(TENS)E – using an arbitrary past tense as an exemplary definition is perhaps stretching it, especially when ‘cast’ is also the present tense of the verb!

1 CAT NAPPING – with a misleading surface reading about computers.
2 AMATEUR; AM. + A[gains]T + EUR – I liked the wordplay but not having to split ‘pro-America’ into definition and wordplay sections.
3 LATHI (hidden) – easy if you knew the word, and easily guessable with a checking letter if not.
4 TALL + A + HAS + SEE
5 ESQ (hidden) – the third hidden clue. This one is good apart from the fact that the answer is an unindicated abbreviation, which is a bit naughty.
6 LOOSE ENDS; LOO + (SENSED)* – ‘gents’ for LOO requires a ‘definition by example’ indicator like ‘maybe’, ‘perhaps’ or a question mark.
7 SLIMMER – I think this is just a pun on ‘corporation’, with ’employee’ being somewhat redundant, but perhaps there is more to it?
8 TIER; rev. of (RE + IT)
12 DISENCHANTS; D + (SINCE)* + HANTS – ‘cricket county’ was much more helpful than just ‘county’ (though perhaps not for all solvers!).
13 LARGE-SCALE; (LAGERS)* + C + ALE – very good clue.
20 BR + O + ADEN – ‘close to’ is superfluous here.
22 I + S(L)ET
23 BAGS (double defn)
25 M + OP

6 comments on “ST 4293 (Sun 7 Sep) – Pergola alarm”

  1. I am also baffled by “employee” in 7d.

    On 14: My explanation was going to be that “a” can mean “on”, so I bunged in the answer and thought no more about it. But then you queried it and I looked things up and found I can’t justify it. The example I was going to put forward was “a-ship” which I’m sure exists meaning “on (board) a ship”, possibly without a hyphen. But it’s not in the dictionaries. Have I imagined this word and this usage of “a”?

    1. As Geoff points out below, ‘on’ = ‘a’ (actually ‘a-‘) is tenuously justifiable, but in a blocked puzzle like the Sunday Times I’d be very surprised if that was the setter’s intention.
  2. 14a I read it the same way as jackkt. Chambers definition; a- pfx a reduced form of the OE preposition an or on, on, in or at, …..

    Geoff Moss

  3. Like you, I assumed 14A was a simple misprint, and that the clue should have read “… back a support …”. Far more likely than the tenuous “on” = “a”, I’d have thought.

    I see that the answer to 7D is given as “Slimer”. (Typical! Last week it was “Geko” for GECKO.)

    A sluggish 9:20 for me, so I’m most impressed by your brisk 3:34.

  4. The lady at 11a that is. Now I understand the American Dream.

    Solving time within 10-20x that of the blogger (-ish).

    I didn’t spend much time trying to understand 14a – support for climbers was good enough for PERGOLA with the backward REP and A LOG – whatever.

    I did have more trouble with the SLIMER (sic – see TS above) at 7d where I needed “SLIMMER” to be an occupation within a large business for the clue to work. I haven’t seen this sort of position advertised on Linked In?

    Off to get Brahms & 6a.

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