Sunday Times 4451 (18 Sep 2011)

Solving time: 27:55

A bit of light relief after last week’s marathon. But then, I usually find Jeff Pearce’s contributions more to my personal taste.

Again we see that the ST has no qualms about using references to living people. Policeman Gordon Sumner gets the treatment today in 19d.

No new words for me this week, which makes a nice change, although there was a new meaning to the word corvette.

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

1 D IS ASTER – MD becomes MASTER if the D is ASTER
5 STATIC – triple def
10 PROPER = PROP + RE rev
12 CON + Grantham + A
13 ESPIONAGE – (SPIEs + GO + AN)* + Egyptian – It took me a while to parse this post-solve. The anagrist is tricky to piece together.
14 SIX OF THE BEST – I think this is just a cd, referring to the way the cane is raised before each strike. It brings back painful memories of my public school education!
21 CHAFF + IN + CH
23 EXTRA – dd, the first being one of today’s cricket references
24 ENGINE = Eats Nuts Edges about GIN – The Mallard is (was) a steam locomotive, and it holds the world speed record for such vehicles at 125.88 mph
25 FIELDING = (I FIND LEG)* – another cricket reference, as the covers is a range of fielding positions on the off side that encompasses cover, cover point, extra cover, deep cover point, deep extra cover, etc.
26 SITTER – dd – another sporting term, for a shot that takes little skill to score with.
27 AGAR-AGAR = A + RAG rev x2
2 S(A + VAN)T
4 EAU DE COLOGNE = (ODOUr + ELEGANCE)* – quite a neat &lit
8 CORVETTE = V in (TO CRETE)* – I had no idea that a corvette was a highly manoeuvrable warship. I only knew the classic Chevrolet. But the wordplay was clear enough.
15 ENAMELLER = E + ER about NAME + L x2
16 PAN + CREASe – can’t complain about E for electronic, it’s used everywhere these days – email, ebooks, ebusiness, etc, etc.
17 STRAIGHT – dd
19 ST(R)ING – Sting is the rock star, R for runs is another cricket reference
20 BADGE + R
22 FENCE – dd – with a reference to a FENCE-SITTER as someone who can’t make up their mind.

7 comments on “Sunday Times 4451 (18 Sep 2011)”

  1. 17 minutes, which suggests how unchallenging it was, although that didn’t stop me from missing BADGER (I thought R+ANGER, and hoped that somehow ‘mark’ was relevant). ENGINE was my LOI, as I’d never heard of the relevant Mallard. Nor did I understand PROPER, although I assumed that ‘prop’ has something to do with rugby. I do rather wish there were fewer clues where ‘vehicle’=VAN.
    1. A prop is a rugby player – positions cribsheet here. I hadn’t noticed VAN being more common than other possibilities like CAR or BUS.
  2. 15 minutes here. Which is as good as it gets for me. It takes me almost that long just to read the clues. I was in a rush this morning so an easy puzzle was welcome but normally I would like something a bit more challenging.
  3. 15.49 on the timer. Straightforward except for the five minutes or more spent staring at _A_G_R for 20dn, unable to get it. A big self-kicking moment when the penny finally dropped.
  4. 16.50 for me, my fastest-ever time by a couple of minutes (that was before I was brought back down to earth by this Saturday’s puzzle, which ate up all of Saturday evening and a big chunk of Sunday morning). Last in and my only sticky moment was the unknown AGAR-AGAR, but the cryptic was easy enough.
  5. You’re quite right about the was/is. Mallard is in the York Railway Museum, magnificent, shiny but completely dead. Fortunately, “Sir Nigel Gresley” can be found alive and well on the North Yorkshire Railway, hauling proper coaches up the incline. Memorable particularly to one who can remember seeing “Nigel” at Kings Cross some 55 years ago.

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