Sunday Times 4,285 – Mamma Mia!

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic

Most people like me who subscribe to the Times crosswords always find the Sunday version a breeze (compared to the daily puzzles) and this one is no exception. If I am not mistaken, the very first cryptic crossword puzzle that I completed was a Sunday Times, way back in the early 1970’s when I would religiously send off the completed puzzle. In all my attempts in the years I was in UK, I never once got a prize… sigh  🙁


It is gratifying to note that the ST proof-reading has improved and there does not seem to be any typo or other mistakes that can be so annoying.


1 ORCHESTRA *(choirmaster minus IM)
6 HOP IT Ins of OP in HIT
9 JAPER Punch is JAB; substitute PER (a) for B (book)
11 CUT THE MUSTARD *(trust Ted a chum)
16 ONE STAR *(Sheraton minus H) This is a sort of &lit since a head must roll if the normally 4 or 5 star Sheraton is reduced to one
17 LARGISH *(girl has)
19  JUST NOW Cha of Just (fair) NO (number) W (short week)
21 GOOD SAMARITAN *(anagram to do is)
24 INANIMATE Ins of an & I (one twice) in INMATE (prisoner)
26 USURP U (university) SURP, rev of PRUS (Pru’s frrom Pru has)
dd The non-herb Basil is of course the character played by John Cleese in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers.
28 MISSHAPEN *(seamanship minus a)



1 OBJECT BALL Cha of Object (protest) ball (dance) for a term used in billiard parlours
2 CAPITAL We normally start a clue with a capital letter
3 EARTH ha
4 TEST MATCHES Quite a clever and witty cd
5 AIR ha
The non-farm term is for wild swinging blows


(c) abbreviation for public limited company + audit (scrutiny)
8 TOSH dd See Chambers 1 & 3
12 SHOW JUMPERS Ins of JUMPER (Jersey) in SHOWS (spectacles)
13 DRAWING PIN Cha of DR (doctor) A Wing (one side) PIN (leg) Very devious definition
15 EDITORIAL Ins of I in *(tailored)
18 RAG BAGS Rag (tease) bags (a great deal)
20 NO TRUMP N (name) O N (first letters of on the) RUMP (bottom)
22 ROUGH sounds like “ruff”
23 LIMB “life and limb”
25 AIM The hackeyed phrase Mamma Mia was one of Abba’s hits and was often spouted by that stereotype Italian in that British TV series Mind Your Language, which was a spectacular hit in Malaysia in the 80’s. In those VHS days, I remember having to tape this show for my children who then played each episode over and over.

Key to abbreviations
dd = double definition
dud = duplicate definition
tichy = tongue-in-cheek type
cd = cryptic definition
rev = reversed or reversal
ins = insertion
cha = charade
ha = hidden answer
*(FODDER) = anagram

2 comments on “Sunday Times 4,285 – Mamma Mia!”

  1. I suppose the anagrind in 17 means “wrong” as in “bum note”. I wasn’t sure how it worked when I solved the clue but I think this is right. I wonder if we shall have any complaints about the attempt at humour here.
    1. 17ac (LARGISH) is brilliant! I couldn’t see how that worked at all when solving. Actually this whole puzzle is very good: as well as 17ac I particularly liked the clues for JAPER, ONE-STAR, GOOD SAMARITAN (very apt!), MISSHAPEN, EARTH, LIMB and AIM. For ages I thought 1dn must be an anagram of ‘table dance’ (didn’t solve JAPER until much later).

      Thanks very much to the setter, and to yfyap for the detailed blog.

Comments are closed.