Sunday Times 4234

Solving time 6:23

Sorry – another overdue posting which I just realised I was due to write. I had at least solved the puzzle and scrawled a rough version of this. Mostly straightforward, but one or two unusual answer words to liven things up. One grumble at 1A. The ST puzzle seems to differ from the Times one in allowing definitions only listed in Chambers, such as the one at 16A. Not a problem if the clues are clear.

1 FORGED A HEAD = “cast a bust”. I know what the setter means but this doesn’t really work – a bust is a sculpture of the head, shoulders and chest. But some folk are less bothered about this kind of inaccuracy than I am.
10 NAHUM = human* – an OT book.
11 WISE ACRES – unconscious simpletons
16 UNEDITED = (tune died)* – if you look in Chambers, unedited is “never published before” – news to me!
20 FOISON = (Soon if)* – an archaism for plenty, and a new word for me.
23 N(OLI = oil*)E
28 LEE,D.S.C.,AS=when,TLE = let* – ‘let free’ – nicely worked charade. This is the Leeds Castle that’s located in Kent, not Yorkshire. Nice to see a Leeds Castle clue not based on this factoid.
3 G,AMBLER – Eric Ambler wrote spy novels.
6 AWARDED – War = battles in ADED = dead* – ‘shot’ is an unusual AI but a fair one I think.
9 ASTRODYNAMICS – easy cryptic def if you spot space=astro-.
15 FAMILIAR – 2 defs
17 SHEPHERD – this baffled me totally – I took up my Brewer, looked up the names of all the moons of Saturn I could find, and none of them were shepherds. Then I checked the Chambers CD-Rom to see if there was some other ?H?P?E?D word to humble me. There wasn’t, but there was a def. of shepherd I didnt know about – a small moon of Saturn, which helps to keep the rings together (Collins has this too, so we should expect to see it in the Times cryptic one day…)
21 ODOR=door*,O,US – with ‘open’ as the AI for door – instinctively this feels too much of a stretch, but the Chambers def for ‘open’ suggests various meanings to justify it (‘free’, ‘loose’ for example).
22 STATIC – IT in cats, all reversed.

One comment on “Sunday Times 4234”

  1. I suppose that when our illustrious founder solves one of these in under 7 minutes then nigh-on half of them would be considered to be “easies”!

    12a Reformed (loner)* intended, reportedly, to obtain matriculation (9)

    13a Take exception, not being entirely sober (5)
    DEMUR (e)

    14a Exertion required for a newt to get around (6)
    EF FOR T. EFT = newt = the x-word amphibian.

    18a Am retreating – chased by a million insects, enormous creatures! (8)

    24a Twist (rope)* around (t)he first, bucking (mule)* It helps in getting things moving (9)

    26a (Nine tarts)* handed out, gone in a trice! (9)

    27a Nerve seen to twitch after work (5)
    OP TIC

    2d The gold edging? Not that one! (5)
    O THE R

    4d (Rods we)* bent for the diviner (6)

    5d Doubtful that (the stain)* will come out (8)

    8d Apes some leading churchmen (8)

    19d Supervise Circle lines to east (7)

    25d Former head of teaching has nothing left to praise (5)
    EX T 0 L

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