Sunday Times 4455 (16 Oct 2011) – Just my cup of tea

Solving time: 29:13, albeit with one mistake – Just under the half-hour. An ideal time for a gentle Sunday solve.

I quite enjoyed this one. It was pitched at just the right level of difficulty for me. It made me think, but not too hard. I was left at the end with 25 & 26 unsolved when my youngest son came into the room and I could sense an interruption coming, so I hastily threw a couple of answers in, and only one turned out to be correct.

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

1 SO + UP – the wordplay is so well hidden that at first I thought it was just a cryptic definition that was so weak it was practically a straight clue!
4 SECOND-RATE or, as Rev. Spooner would say, “RECKONED SATE”. I’m not keen on these Spoonered clues, but I’m sure there are probably many others out there who love them
9 ME + MOI + R – So that’s ME for the setter, MOI for ‘me’ in French, then reading is one of the 3 Rs in basic education
10 RIG + A + DO + ON – I think I’ve come across this baroque French dance before in another crossword in the dim and distant past.
11 BEC(H)AME + L
12 TO + PUPS
16 SHOPPING CENTRE – one of those clues where the wordplay is in the solution, with the centre of SHOPPING being PP, or double parking
20 EGOIST – hidden in onE GO I STop
24 TASMANIA = (I AM SATAN)* – the home of the Tasmanian devil
25 IMPORT – This is the one I got wrong. I went for IMPART without any real justification. It’s a dd – a computing term for adding the contents of an external file to a document, and something that has importance.
26 TH(UNDER)ING – It took me a while to work out why ‘cup of tea’ = THING, but both are colloquial terms for something one likes, as in ‘Soap operas aren’t really my cup of tea. They’re more my wife’s thing.’
27 DOOM = MOOD (feeling) rev
3 POOCH = COO (My!) rev in PH (public house)
4 STROMBOLI = (IT LOBS MORe)* – I remembered this as the name of the villainous showman from Disney’s Pinocchio, and I asssumed it was also a volcano. It is indeed a (still active) volcano just north of Sicily.
5 CUR(DismaL)ED – ‘as did smoke’ = CURED in terms of food preservation
6 NIGH + T
8 TROUPER = (TOUR)* + REP rev
17 HOG + WAS + H – ‘corner’ as in ‘to corner the market’
18 GADDAFI = G + ADD + (IF A) rev
19 EMBARGO = B in (GAME OR)*
21 TINGE = TIN + EG rev
23 RA(P)ID

8 comments on “Sunday Times 4455 (16 Oct 2011) – Just my cup of tea”

  1. 40 minutes. It was MEMOIR and THUNDERING that held me up at the end. We’ve had the PP in SHOPPING twice in the past week, I think, and on the other occasion it was ‘pianissimo’. I wonder if this is the first time that the “dead or alive” status of the subject of a clue has changed between the publication of a puzzle and its solution?
  2. 12:34 .. The ST seems to be settling into a nice groove now, with this at the easier end of its spectrum.

    Good point, jackkt, about the “dead or alive” status change. Unlikely ever to affect the daily Times puzzle (unless, say, Lord Lucan is found living happily in Eastbourne), but one can always hope.

    Last in I think was THUNDERING

    And thank you for the blog, Dave. Weekend blogging is a noble task and is much appreciated, even if the comments aren’t as numerous (people presumably too busy trudging round shopping centres and other ‘relaxing’ pursuits).

  3. Just got back from lunch at rugby club and came here as a kind of reflex action. It was only after reading this excellent blog that I remembered that I’d had to leave the puzzle unfinished this am. Now I’ll never know if I would have got THUNDERED and MEMOIR unaided. About 25 enjoyable minutes so far.
  4. Under 10 for this, but I liked it a lot. I like Anax crosswords generally, even if a recent one in the Indy caused me a lot of grief.
    This week’s was a lot harder, and I managed to misspell the capital of my wife’s homeland. Oops.
    The Gaddafi thing is quite remarkable.
  5. Thanks all for the kind comments and to Dave for an excellent blog. Just bobbing in briefly as I’m the middle of a fight with my mobile phone which refuses to make available some Times Champs photos from one of its memory locations.
    Yes, a very odd thing about the Gaddafi clue. At the time of setting I think he was actually still in power and I had no inkling of how things were going to turn out.
    Must ensure I get Mugabe in the next one. Fingers crossed, eh?
    1. If you managed to bring down Mugabe, too, I’d go to church and light a candle. And they’d probably have make a movie about you (Setter of Vengeance, or some such).
  6. This took my 38′, and I still had 1, 9, 3 (LOI), 26, & 27 to do; I have no idea how long they took, but it was a long time; but the kind of struggle that’s enjoyable. I had thought 1ac was a poor clue, too, until coming here; as always, I’m grateful to the bloggers. Unlike Dave, I didn’t know of the Pinocchio villain, but there was a famous –maybe no longer famous–movie, ‘Stromboli’, by Rossellini, with Ingrid Bergman; which is how I knew of the volcano.

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