Sunday Times 4423 (6 Mar 2011)

Solving time: I didn’t quite finish in my alloted half-hour, but the two I had left (6/7) fell pretty quickly when I picked it up again a bit later on, so I’ll say about 32 minutes.

Pretty straightforward stuff, and I probably should have been quicker than I was. I didn’t get either 1a or 1d on my first read through which left me wondering if it might be a tough one, but all four 13 letter clues fell very quickly, then 13d straight after, and the whole grid was opened up as a result.

The stats on this one show lots of quick times as I would expect for a puzzle of this standard. Not much here for the old hands, I don’t suppose, but less experienced solvers should get a lot of enjoyment out of it – and I include myself in that number. There are plenty of old chestnuts amongst the wordplay, like journalist = ED, heather = LING, mate = CHINA, worker = ANT, guerilla = CHE, etc. There’s not much by way of tricky vocab – Monodies was quite guessable, Jackanapes is a little archaic but not overly obscure, and Chinaman may not be well-known outside cricketing circles.

cd = cryptic def., dd = double def., rev = reversal, homophones are written in quotes, anagrams as (–)*, and removals like this

1 J(A + C(K)AN)APES – That’s JAPES outside A CAN which is itself around K for kilo (1000). I thought this was a plural word, but apparently not. The word derives from ‘Jack of Naples’, a term applied to the monkeys traditionally used by organ-grinders which were commonly imported from the Italian city in the mid-15th century.
6 T + OFF – I was trying to remove a T from a word meaning ‘office’ for a long time, which was why I didn’t get it straight away. I felt very silly when the penny finally dropped.
9 STORM = STORY with an M instead of the Y. Failing to clue the M in any way makes the clue quite weak in my book.
10 bRIGHTNESS – Although the word RIGHTNESS just sounds wrong to me (full of wrongness, you might say)
14 MONO + DIES – I didn’t know this word. I threw in MELODIES to start with, but spotted my mistake as soon as I came to 2d.
15 CH(IS)E + L – Che Guevara crops up quite often as a guerilla or a revolutionary.
17 K + NIGHT
19 CHINA + MAN – ‘special ball’ is the definition. For those non-cricketers out there, a chinaman is a ball bowled by a left arm unorthodox spin bowler, with the wrist action of a leg break, but which spins from off to leg for a right handed batsman. Are we all clear now? It was named after Ellis Achong, a West Indian bowler of chinese extraction. According to Richie Benaud, as Walter Robbins walked back to pavilion after being stumped during the Manchester Test of 1933, he said to Joe Hardstaff Snr, the umpire: “Fancy being done by a bloody chinaman”.
21 ACCOMPANIMENT = A + C + COMMENT about (P + IN A)*
24 A + genT + TEND + ANT
25 swALLOW
26 MADE = “MAID”
27 DEGENERATE = ED rev + (TEENAGER)* – I liked the idea of the degenerate teenager running amok, but journalist = ED is a bit hackneyed.
1 JE(S)T – Son = S is seen so often, that the ‘small’ seems a little superfluous as an abbreviation indicator.
5 wEIGHT – I’m not sure that W = weak is a standard abbreviation. Where would you see it? It makes the clue a little w.
7 ONE + ROUSe – my last one in. I was expecting a reversal to be involved somewhere, but I was overcomplicating.
8 FO(ST + herE)R + LING – Heather = LING is something of a chestnut.
16 Agatha CHRISTIE = CH + (TRIES)* about I
20 MATILDA = LIT rev in ADAM rev
23 TWEEd

6 comments on “Sunday Times 4423 (6 Mar 2011)”

  1. This took me just under 50 minutes in 3 roughly equal chunks before and after dinner, and, like Dave, I don’t see why it wasn’t faster. I wasted some time thinking that Sally Black might be some Britspeak term I didn’t know, maybe a relation of Fanny Adams. 19 was the only clue I couldn’t figure out until I read Dave’s explanation; but so long as it’s a cricket term, I’m content.
  2. For some reason, lately my submissions are either rejected because of a faulty password, or they show up as anonymous. I’m not anonymous, and I have the driver’s license to prove it.
  3. 19 minutes for me which is probably not far off my PB if I could be sure what that was. I take the neat writing in the grid and lack of jottings in the margins as a sign that everything went very smoothly in this solve.

    I saw a recipe for TOAD-IN-THE-SKY in today’s paper which may be worth remembering for future puzzles if it catches on. You separate the eggs and beat the whites before folding in, so it’s more like a souffle than the traditional toad.

  4. 25 minutes. The W = weak comes from particle physics, to do with the weak interaction. I was hoping to link a music hall song by Ernie Mayne entitled There’s no toad in the TOAD IN THE HOLE; unsurprisingly, no one has put it up on YouTube.
  5. I realized just after I had posted the solution last week that I’d typed ‘monAdies’ and not monodies…alas too late to change.
    Several weeks ago I thought we were about due for an old chestnut and sure enough there it is at 4d in this week’s ST.
    40 minutes or so.

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