Sunday Times 4205/Dec 31: New Years Resolution

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
A brilliant anag &lit at 4D to end the year and a Scots celebration to usher in the new at 16D. Not a bad puzzle overall but marred yet again by a missing S in the anagram fodder at 13D. Not to mention the bizarre “4 & eight” clue number in the online version.


6 A+JAR – it’s been done before: basically the answer to “when is a door not a door?”
9 SPRI[n]G – “new leaves” spring. Nice shift of role for “leaves” from noun to verb.
12 NURSERY SCHOOL – cryptic definition of where you don’t learn much in the way of gardening.
14 MISS+[h]OUR+I – “sixty minutes leaderless” is [h]OUR.
15 PRO+SIT – Elegant charade for cheers in Germany.
17 ANTHEM – Very well-hidden in “…the churchmAN? THE Magnificat”.
19 SOMBRE+RO – rev(“or”): it’s a hat in “parts of the US” too – probably would have given the game away too quickly if “in Mexico”.
21 SLEDGEHAMMERS – cryptic definition: overkill for cracking nuts.
24 DRAFTS+MEN – DRAFTS=”draughts”: Brit for checkers.
25 K+fine* – K is the “rump” (rear) of steak and you need a KNIFE to cut it off!


2 ERR(AND)S – a subtlety here in that “to stop” indicates that ERRS contains (as a stopgap) AND (“also”).
3 FIGURE OF EIGHT – cryptic definition &lit since an EIGHT can be a rowing crew and you can imagine them rowing a FIGURE OF EIGHT pattern.
4 NEW YEARS RESOLUTION – brilliant anag &lit: (only we aren’t serious)* are we?
5 [n]EARLY – cryptic definition and removal: the EARLY “bird” gets the…
9 JOB LOTS – JOB was patient followed by lost*.
11 RECORD BREAKER – cryptic definition of a really large “wave”.
13 AMBASSADOR – supposed to be an anagram: (A M’s abroad, s)* but there’s an S missing. Perhaps the setter originally had “As M’s abroad…”?
16 HOGMANAY – Scots for New Year’s Eve celebration (“this celebration”) which is apropos given it’s 31/12/2006 so the whole thing is a cryptic definition of your earliest hangover for 2007 (may it be your only one!). But (thanks to The_Od below) it’s also a case in which the answer plays a part in the wordplay: namely, (my early hangover)* is “this revelry” after you substitue HOGMANAY for “this”! Very nice… so this puzzle has two outstanding New Year’s clues (this one and 4D).
18 TO(ERA)GS – “bums” (ref. Chambers) where wordplay is rev(“are”) inside of TOGS for “clothing”, with reversal indicated by “stuck up” (a down clue). This eluded me a bit since “are” is a little word and I’m a bit shortsighted when it comes to the little things. The whole thing is almost an &lit – but “tattered” doesn’t really have a wordplay role. Or does it?
20 E(NSUIN)G – E.G. contains sunni*.
22 HAMAL – New word for me: hidden in “DoHA, MALtreated”. Could be an &lit given that a HAMAL is a kind of porter in Arabic.
23 NEAT – double meaning: NEAT is an archaic term for cow that appears often on cryptic farms.

3 comments on “Sunday Times 4205/Dec 31: New Years Resolution”

  1. Yours suspicions of the presence of wordplay were well-founded!

    This clue is a composite anagram, i.e. MY EARLY HANGOVER is an anagram of HOGMANAY REVELRY.

    Clever stuff indeed!

  2. thanks od! another great example of the answer being a part of the wordplay… I’ll update upstairs.
  3. I’m glad that 16d’s wordplay was explained – just bifd it from the crossers and the early hangover – early in the year one? Far too clever a clue for this bear of little brain.

    Not many omissions this time – they are:

    1a TV watcher about to discover part of camera = VIEW FIND ER
    10a Awfully (bored)* in fighting for furniture = WAR DROBE S
    25a Heard regrets for trick played = RUSE – sounds like RUES
    27a (Whig partly)* excited dramatist = PLAYWRIGHT

    1d Huge society gets stuck into tax = V.A. S T.

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