Sunday Times 4209 – Had a ball rumbaing

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
It feels like the quality of Sunday puzzles has improved: this one was both harder than the run of the mill, and almost all the clues were solid. RUMBAING is a new word for me – but it’s in Chambers as a verb, so why not gerundize it (perhaps that should be gerundify)?

This is my last ST for a while – my fellow football fan, Talbinho, will be applying his far finer faculties to these puzzles while I start struggling with Tuesday.


1 SCARLET RUNNER – nice charade and it’s a type of bean (that are literally trained on poles!). Good misleading surface.
10 OP,PO,SITES – Another clever clue: rev(PO=river) followed by itself (“going this way and that”) and SITES for “places” and the cryptic definition is “hot and cold” by example.
12 DOLLY – double definition: DOLLY the cloned sheep is already part of our folklore (at first I thought of a variant of Mary as being our girl because of the lamb). And in the spirit of “The Times” rules about living people (and animals?), she died in 2003.
14 RUM,BA(I)NG– my last clue: I resisted this a long time, even with R?M?A?N?, since I was hard pressed to believe it was a word in any dictionary. But Chambers has the verb form so…
16 U(NICE)F – International agencies tend to be UN related.
19 ENRA,GE – rev(Arne) followed by rev(e.g.).
20 H(A,D A B)ALL – I resisted this as well for some time because I was stuck thinking that a HALL is always inside a building – but of course Symphony Hall qualifies as a “big building”.
25 EX[i]T,RA – slightly awkward wordplay to make the surface reasonable: “X by Y” produces Y,X – and “one – out going” means remove the I from EXIT. And of course has to be a cricket clue somewhere.
26 ELI,MINATE – Familiar biblical priest followed by (in team)*. My redherring here was to assume that it was prefixed EX and that XI was “team”.
27 KNOCK ON EFFECT – My last clue… largely because I convinced myself early that it was ????? OF EFFECT. Anyway, pretty good double/cryptic def (I remember enough rugby to know that the ball gets knocked-on after (in?) a scrum.) Paul below notes that a scrum is the penalty imposed for a knock-on. Thus a scrum is a knock-on effect…


6 NEW GUINEA – I think the wordplay must be: NEW for “not having old” and GUINEA for “money” – however, it occurs to be that this is a semi-&lit since the guinea is “old money” and NEW GUINEA no longer (if it ever) uses it.
8 BORDER TERRIER – I’m not much of a dog man so I only got this towards the end and having looked up the River Tweed which runs along the Scots/English BORDER. Also, I’m pretty sure that there’s an army unit nicknamed the Terriers.
9 PAIR OF GLASSES – Cute double/cryptic def (by this I mean that there are two definitions and one is cryptic).
15 ALGEBRAIC – cryptic definition (it’s the first time in the math curriculum that “unknowns” are introduced so it’s a pretty good clue).
17 CHA,RAB,ANC or CHAR,A,BANC – For those of you who’ve forgotten, a CHARABANC is an open-topped bus. Harry Shipley below proposes the following wordplay: CHAR=tea, BAN=bar, C=about, all of which “open” to receive A.
18 BACK,SIDE – nice charade for one’s posterior with a good misleading surface.
21 TOLEDO – tooled* — don’t why I know that TOLEDO is renowned for its sword-making and refers to particular kind of tapering sword.
23 ANTON – Hidden &lit in “…mAN TO Name..”.
24 BRIE,F[lan] – “flan three-quarters” gone doesn’t leave much!

5 comments on “Sunday Times 4209 – Had a ball rumbaing”

  1. I suggest CHAR=tea, BAN=bar, C=about, all of which “open” to receive A.

    Harry Shipley

  2. A scrum is the penalty imposed for a knock-on. Thus a scrum is a knock-on effect, hence the first part of the clue.

    — paul

    1. thanks! ah… well, at least I noticed the rugby allusion… i’ll update the text with your explanation.
  3. Something a bit tricker for the x-word bunnies today:

    11a Girl’s energy of intention reduced by mum (5)
    WIL (l) MA. Where energy of intention is having the WILL (to do something)?

    13a Musician badly cut, nipped by bird (9)
    COND UCT OR. El condor pasa over Table Mountain??

    22a Barrier constructed by police could be (black door)* (9)

    24a Boldness needed to make money (5)

    2d (My poor cl) u (e)* not superior? Dreadful material! (9)
    COPOLYMER. The not superior omits the “U” out of the anagrist and the dreadful is an anagram indicator not a description of the quality of the material. However – if you made something to wear out of this material it MIGHT BE dreadful? Was this an “easy” clue?

    3d Out of practice in game, starts to Seem Tired, Yawning (5)
    RU S T Y. Game = Rugby Union in this case – also referenced in 27a.

    4d Attractive net, fanciful sort of decoration (8)
    ENT ICING. A good example of where you should ignore the puctuation marks in the clue. Here the net and fanciful – parted by a comma – are an anagrist and anagrind pair. The following sort of decoration is cake decoration. Mmmm cake.

    5d Begrudge being on repeat mission? (6)
    RESENT. A sort of DD?

    7d Story about Conservative being on the up brings applause (5)
    E C LAT. C for Tory inside TALE back’rds. Unlikely outcome round here.

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