Sunday Times 4450 (11 Sep 2011)

Solving time: About two and a half hours over as many days.

A huge struggle this week. For quite a while I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish it at all. I started it on Sunday evening, and got maybe a dozen clues in about an hour, albeit with the telly on and the family around so concentration was difficult. I had another look on Monday evening, but after another forty-five minutes or so, I still had about a dozen left. I eventually ground my way through it on Tuesday lunchtime with a slightly fresher mind. As it was, I still made one mistake, but I think I can see where that was.

The only word in the solution I didn’t know was IMARET, but I had to look up ‘Haar’ before I could solve 13a, and I hadn’t heard of the Eileen Atkins play referred to in 5d and had to look it up when writing this blog.

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

4 LEG + A + LIST – LEG = ‘on’, one of this week’s cricket references.
8 VARESE – rev hidden
11 IMARET = TI rev about MARE
12 ASSES + SO + R
13 SEA MI(England)ST – a haar is a sea mist in the North of England
21 HAN + GIT – I submitted with DANG IT, thinking a Dan might be a Chinese martial artist. But Han makes much more sense.
24 GET AHEAD = (AGED)* about HATE rev
25 CO(O + English)ED
3 LEMANS = LE MANS, the French city, when separated into two words
4 LETTERS OF CREDIT – one of those clues with the wordplay in the solution. The letters of CREDIT make DIRECT when ‘ordered’.
5 GRA(VITA)SsVita and Virginia is a play by Eileen Atkins about the love affair between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf.
6 LINDA – another clue with the wordplay in the solution. To get DLA, you put L IN DA.
7 STREETS = (ST. pETER’S)* – I assume ‘try’ is the anagrind here, which I’m not convinced by.
15 NOT(THE + R)E
17 H(E)AVE + HO
20 TH(RAC)E – I’m sure we’ve seen ‘Carmen’ = AA quite recently, but this is the first time I can remember seeing their competitors crop up.
22 GRACE – dd – A cricket reference that shouldn’t leave anyone stumped (sorry!). W.G. is of course the cricketer being referred to, but his brothers E.M. & G.F. both played for England as well. In fact they all played in a test against Australia at The Oval in September 1880, which remains the only time three brothers have all played in the same international.

10 comments on “Sunday Times 4450 (11 Sep 2011)”

  1. Beaten here, too. Basically gave up and threw a couple in after an hour.

    I’m looking at the online grid in ‘play’ mode and it’s showing the corrected solutions (indicated in black), rather than my original efforts. Is this a new thing? I can’t remember, in some cases, what I originally put in.

    I’m pretty sure I’d put DAMN IT (I’m far too polite to have thought of ‘git’) and then got stuck on the cricketer.

  2. Too clever by half is a saying that comes to mind. I got through most of it but was finally stumped by 11ac, a word nobody’s heard of in a clue involving a dubious DBE (yes, I know what I said!). And I’ve actually been to the White Horse Inn so it was even more annoying I was unable to solve this clue.

    On 5dn it’s the relationship one needs to know of, not the play (which I’d never heard of either).

  3. I saved this puzzle to do this morning. It was a bit of a marathon. I was stuck on IMARET. My last in and I had to look it up. I had all except the NE corner in about 40 minutes but it took me as long again to finish. My main problem was with LEGALIST. I simply couldn’t see the cryptic although I had the first L and the S. More problems with 5d – I could only think of “Leonard” as Virginia’s partner. Strangely enough, I’d heard of Vita Sackville West but didn’t immediately associate her with Virginia Woolfe. I had a sheltered 1950s education in a girls grammar school. Such goings-on were not part of the curriculum! What’s more I’ve now picked up that ghastly “White Horse Inn” song as an earworm – it’ll stay with me all day…
  4. Very odd: so much harder than anything I’ve ever seen from the Sunday Times. Much of this wouldn’t be out of place in a Mephisto.
    47 minutes but I had to cheat to get both IMARET and SEAMIST.
    1. Well, Tim Moorey does do Mephistos and the current Crossword Editor, bless his cotton socks, is a bit of a solving hotshot. It may be that gauging the relative strength of a cryptic crossword, so far as the general readership is concerned, is something they need to work on 🙂
  5. Sotira, once the solution is available, the crossword website shows it. The only difference between “play” and “solution” is that the former highlights letters you got wrong in black, the rest blue. Or at least, that is what i always thought it did. Now you mention it, it might be better if the former shows what you entered, and the latter what you should have..

    Imaret was new to me too, but I have long since given up getting aerated about solving words I don’t know. It rather amuses me when people complain about their own ignorance, as if it were somehow the setter’s fault.

    I like Tim Moorey’s efforts.. they are inventive and interesting, though he is not always as Ximenean as some would like. I think it is time to move on from there, personally

    1. Thanks, jerry. I’d managed not to notice before – it’s mostly an issue for me when Tim Moorey’s doing the setting!

      It is a bit much to expect those of us who have trouble remembering what we did yesterday to recall what we put in a crossword grid a week ago. I suppose the ideal would be to have both the original and corrected solutions available and selectable (if anyone at the News Int tech department is at a loose end.

    2. Always pleased to learn new words, Jerry, but if I have a beef here it’s that if a somewhat unusual word is to be included then I feel the cluing ought to be scrupulously fair which I don’t think ‘white horse’ = ‘mare’ is. I doubt I would have batted an eye at ‘grey horse’ = ‘mare’ because that would allude to several references in literature and song, but I can’t think of any for ‘white’.

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