ST 4294 (Sun 14 Sep) – Boxing clever

Solving time: 8:00

Some good stuff this week, with the definition in 4dn the highlight for me, but also several quibbles. This didn’t feel a very fast solve, which would be in keeping with the rest of the day so far, following last night’s Listener 4000 dinner. 18dn and 25ac in particular held me up at the end.

* = anagram, “X” = sounds like ‘X’.

4 CO + HE’S + I(O)N – an apt surface given the current financial crises.
8 RECESS (double defn) – both this…
9 RESERVES (double defn) – …and this are somewhat hackneyed, as double definitions go.
11 PUT + ELI – this rang a bell, and the wordplay was pretty unambiguous. A puteli is a flat-bottomed boat used on the Ganges.
12 COCK AT + O,O
13 ASPHODEL; (LAD HOLDS)* [corrected] – I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that someone (famous) considers this to the most beautiful word in the English language.
16 IMAGINED; (MEDIA)* around GIN
19 CARAVANS – a very thin cryptic definition.
23 RE(BUTT)AL – the ‘of’ is a little awkward here.
24 ALTRUIST; TRU[e] in A LIST – not sure what word I thought I’d read for ‘Philanthropist’ but it wasn’t ‘Philanthropist’; I think I saw ‘Philosopher’. It didn’t really hold me up though because I just left it straight away and came back with most of the letters in.
25 EYELID – I think this is just a cryptic definition, but have no idea what ‘can’t bowl’ is doing. Perhaps it’s intended as a kind of riddle, as in “What’s batted but can’t bowl?”. Actually that’s a pretty good riddle, especially if it’s the setter’s invention, just not sure it works as a crossword clue (especially without a ‘What’s’ at the beginning).
26 HOUS(E)MAN – the poet is Alfred Housman.
3 ASPECT; (SPACE)* + [astronau]T
4 CARDBOARD CARTON; CARD (= ‘Joker’) + “BORED” + (OR CAN’T)* – I rushed into ‘cardboard cut-out’ here (thinking this might be something a boxer used during training) which held me up. The verb ‘sounds’ (‘sounds bored’ = BORED) doesn’t really fit with the cryptic reading, and I’m not sure about ‘bother’ as an intransitive anagram indicator (as in ‘or can’t bother’ = (OR CAN’T)*), but ‘boxing article’ as a definition is excellent.
5 HOSEPIPE – a cryptic definition, I think, with a pun on ‘nursery’, but unless there is a meaning of ‘play’ that I don’t know I can’t explain the middle part of the clue.
6 STRUT (double defn)
7 OVER-LIE – sort of a double definition, but ‘with crushing effect’?
14 OLIVE TREE; (TO RELIEVE)* – again, not sure about ‘worry’ as a post-fodder anagram indicator (cf ‘bother’ in 4dn); ‘worried’, or the imperative ‘worry’ before the letters to be anagrammed, would both be ok, but the intransitive usage doesn’t seem right to me, though I’m sure many readers will have no problem with either verb used in this way.
15 ENCOMIUM; (INCOME)* + U + M – rather loosely clued (‘great number at university’ = U,M).
17 MORE + LL + O – why ‘cherries’? The plural of ‘morello’ is ‘morellos’.
18 INVALID – I thought this was a better double definition than those above, and it took me a while to see as I was thinking of the adjectival meaning of ‘patient’.
20/22 RUBBER TYRES (= “TIRES”) – ‘rubber tires’ is a nasty trap for transatlantic solvers here. This double clue was bizarrely presented in the online version.

6 comments on “ST 4294 (Sun 14 Sep) – Boxing clever”

  1. Quick bit of pedantry, the anagram fodder is (LAD HOLDS) in 13. I am always lost on tires/tyres. I thought splitting answers (which is common in the Melbourne Age and seems mandatory in the Guardian) was a no-no in the Times.
    1. Thanks for the correction to 13ac. I think you might be right about answers split across two clues in the daily Times, but the Sunday Times seems to have its own set of rules.
    1. Thanks jackkt – given this new information, “play in the nursery” is actually quite clever, although the implied “Something” at the start of the clue still grates. Why not “What might be played in the nursery?”?
  2. Quite correct – I do not have a problem with:

    14d Oil supplier to relieve worry (5,4)
    OLIVE TREE. Anagram of (to relieve)* with the anagrind being WORRY.

    Our esteemed blogmeister is probably correct on intransitive vs transitive usage but I find that I don’t bother analysing the grammar of a clue to those lengths.

    25a is the practically statutory cricket clue. To paraphrase 10cc – I don’t like cricket (in crosswords) – I love it.

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