Sunday Times 4597 (6 July) by Tim Moorey

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
13:49 on the club timer for this one, so a pretty straightforward puzzle. There are some unfamiliar bits and pieces in here – a musical instrument, a fish, an unusual plural form, a word that’s escaped from Mephisto – but the wordplay is all very fair. All in all a gentle but enjoyable solve, just the thing for a Sunday morning.

Across
1 Duck (present tense)
NOWT – NOW (present), T.
4 Picked up wretched mess around musical instrument
BASS FIDDLE – BASS sounds like (‘picked up’) ‘base’ (wretched), then to FIDDLE is to ‘mess around’. An informal term for the double bass.
9 Current politician’s broadcast causing damage
IMPAIR – I is the symbol for electric current in physics, often encountered in crosswords. MP is the politician, followed by AIR for broadcast. You need to read ‘politician’s’ as ‘politician has’ for the wordplay to work.
10 I’m European and I’m keeping quiet in a Middle Eastern country
IRISHMAN – SH (quiet, as an instruction) goes inside IM, and the resulting ISHM goes inside IRAN. The surface reading is smooth, if not necessarily entirely delightful.
11 Rod’s an idiot
DIPSTICK – DD. Is this a comment on one of Tim’s Sunday Times colleagues? I’m sure it isn’t.
13 Frustrated parent grabs female
DASHED – SHE inside DAD. As in hopes.
14 More than one issue coming from temporarily unavailable vaults
OFFSPRINGS – OFF (as in ‘the carbonara is off today, would you like another type of pasta?’), SPRINGS. The plural of ‘offspring’ is usually ‘offspring’ but this alternative is supported by some dictionaries (if not the usual suspects) and even used occasionally.
16 Cockney makes hot food
EATS – or how a Cockney says ‘heats’, cor blimey Mary Poppins.
17 Standard boxes right for salmon
PARR – R (right) in PAR (standard). A PARR is a young salmon who was married to Henry VIII, often encountered in Crosswordland.
18 Without a job in large show
EXPOSITION – or EX-POSITION. Often shortened to ‘expo’.
20 By the sound of it, comparatively large kitchen instrument
GRATER – Sounds like ‘greater’. The surface is trying to disguise this as a clue about an orchestra, but the disguise is quite easy to see through. If you don’t know that the ‘kitchen’ is the percussion section you won’t even see the disguise.
21 One US state, say, in a state!
AFLUTTER – A, FL (Florida), UTTER. I suppose the exclamation mark is signalling a slightly whimsical definition.
23 It’s fresh down by the Hampshire coast
INSOLENT – or IN SOLENT. This clue appears to be using ‘down’ in the sense ‘under the surface’, which is given in Chambers but not in Collins or ODO.
24 Stiff private secretary in central part
CORPSE – or PS inside CORE.
26 Jack Dee touring Europe, first in Paris tries improvised witty display
JEU D’ESPRIT – take a J for ‘Jack’ (playing card), then DEE for the letter D, put them around the EU, and then make an anagram out of P (first in Paris) and TRIES. Tricky wordplay which I didn’t bother with when solving. The ‘Jack Dee’ device is a neat idea.
27 Heartless person from Belgrade could be the guy at Number 10
SEAN – do as Roger Federer failed to do last week by taking the heart out of a SERBIAN to get an archetypal IRISHMAN. Nothing to do with Downing Street.

Down
2 A little resistance put up in farmhouse
OHM – contained backwards (or up, as this is a down clue) in ‘farmhouse’.
3 Set up modern sort of TV in public transport
TRAMS – A Smart TV is a modern sort of TV. I have one at home, but I couldn’t tell you how it’s smarter than the one I had before. Perhaps it can do cryptic crosswords, in which case it might have come in handy for me this week, including yesterday.
4 A jolly boring processed Brie getting more out to lunch
BARMIER – insert A RM (a Royal Marine, a.k.a. a jolly) into an anagram of BRIE.
5 Cuts in NHS may be bound up with this
STICKING PLASTER – a cryptic definition, although not a very cryptic one. It’s disguised as a clue about austerity measures but rather like 20ac you’d have to be Lois Lane to fail to see through the disguise.
6 The same treatment for all in moderately good parties
FAIR DOS – or, er, FAIR DOS. Chambers has this as fair do’s, which looks greengrocerish to me.
7 Chinese hybrid in empty desert bursting open
DEHISCENT – take ‘desert’, empty it to get DT, then insert an anagram of ‘Chinese’. Not the most common word you’ll come across this week, but DEHISCE appeared very recently in Mephisto which helped me quite a lot.
8 Holiday book about computers etc? I can cope with that
LEAVE IT TO ME – LEAVE (holiday), TOME (book) around IT (computers etc).
12 For this embarrassing situation Grannie flat’s preposterous!
IN FLAGRANTE – an anagram of ‘Grannie flat’. Short for ‘in flagrante delicto’, literally ‘while the crime is blazing’ according to Chambers, which also gives ‘in the act of (illicit) sexual intercourse’, which is the embarrassing situation.
15 Time for entering board game over in tourist town
STRATFORD – T, FOR inside a reversal of DARTS. Presumably this is a reference to the home of the bard rather than the town and district in East London.
18 Brave fellow’s gone without lugs
EARLESS – or FEARLESS without the F (fellow).
19 Very legitimate request
SOLICIT – or SO, LICIT.
22 Unusual spurt coming from paint additive
TURPS – anagram of SPURT.
25 The main part of anaesthetics taken up
SEA – see 2dn.

17 comments on “Sunday Times 4597 (6 July) by Tim Moorey”

  1. So close to being my first full Tim Moorey solve – but undone by the elusive Irishman! Could not for the life of me see SEAN, and stuck in SLAV as my LOI in the vague hope that Slavs inhabited Belgrade and a bit of Dave was involved… Hopefully I won’t fall for the Number 10 trick ever again!

    Did not know DEHISCENT, but worked it out from the Chinese anagram with DT and cross checkers. Also could not parse JEU DESPRIT – convoluted or what?!

    Particularly liked LEAVE IT TO ME, and the very appealing grannie flat anagram. Thanks for a very clear blog.

    Edited at 2014-07-13 02:19 am (UTC)

  2. This has to be a Sunday pb; slowed down only (I think) by 23ac (where I couldn’t remember where Hampshire is, nor the Solent for that matter) and my LOI 3d, which just seemed so unconvincing (modern=smart?) that I kept looking for another solution. Liked JEU D’ESPRIT; I imagine someone will mention the absence of apostrophes from the enumeration–we’ve been through that here before, no? I’m sure we’ve had ‘dehisce’ before, if not DEHISCENT, or I wouldn’t have known the word.
    1. We have indeed been through it before, Kevin. It’s just a convention, applied entirely consistently as far as I’m aware, so I really don’t see the point in arguing about it (not that I’m saying you do): just get used to it! I think the alternative would tend to make things a bit too easy.
  3. Yes, Kevin’s right that we’ve had ‘dehisce’ or ‘dehiscent’ before because it caught me out so badly last time that I actually remembered it. Also I don’t recall seeing apostrophes in the enumeration in Times puzzles since I’ve been solving them.

    I’m not keen on OFFSPRINGS (surprise,surprise!) as it’s not supported in any of the usual sources, but it’s in Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, and though both American sources it’s probably sound.

    1. We’ve never had apostrophes in the enumeration, which is why some people (not me!) have objected to apostrophised terms being in the puzzles; I seem to recall a discussion here regarding O’Casey or O’Someone. Peter Biddlecombe comments on this in the forum.
      I’ve been trying to think of a context where I would–not use, I’d never use–see ‘offsprings’ without raising an eyebrow; no luck so far.

      Edited at 2014-07-13 07:02 am (UTC)

    2. My googling suggested that OFFSPRINGS may be more common in a scientific context than everyday life (where I don’t think I’ve ever encountered it). Admittedly this isn’t very scientific.

      Edited at 2014-07-13 07:34 am (UTC)

      1. Not sure if this would be covered by ‘scientific’ but I think one might conceivably talk about various offsprings of an idea or concept. However I can’t see that it can work in the context of the clue where it’s defined as ‘issue’ as in descendants or children.
  4. Slightly upset to discover that the disguise in 20ac was “easy to see through,” given how long it took me to. C’est la vie.
    Offsprings… I have ’em! I have never yet used the word, but I sense an opportunity coming on, since both will be chez moi today
    1. I suspect this was a case where a bit of ignorance helped. I know the musical meaning of the word ‘kitchen’, but only from these puzzles, and it’s not the first thing I think of. Not knowing it at all would have been a distinct advantage here.
      1. As indeed it was!

        I guess that accounts for Kettle Drum? But I have not (yet) encountered a fan forced glockenspiel…

        1. I don’t know if there’s any direct connection between ‘kettle drum’ and ‘kitchen’. It makes intuitive sense, but intuitive sense is often a poor guide in matters of etymology. And orchestral percussionists probably say ‘timpani’!

          Edited at 2014-07-13 12:01 pm (UTC)

  5. Never got Jeu d esprit – got sidetracked thinking that living people could be part of the clue but not part of the answer. I’m with Jack regarding offsprings – my marginalia notes offspring is the proper ( usual? ) plural. Otherwise about an hour, and a pleasant hour.
    1. OFFSPRINGS certainly caused me to raise an eyebrow, but I don’t see why any word that is actually in use – whether a certain subset of dictionaries recognises this or not – shouldn’t appear here as long as the clue makes it gettable, especially when you consider some of the obscurities we are expected to construct from wordplay at times!
  6. There was a lot of discussion on the Club site about 1ac (skirting around the point) but I am afraid that I wrote it in without thinking. Good to see that it was correct. Like jerrywh, I have my two offsprings with me today
  7. Thought I had a beauty with SNOWDROPS ie time for snowboarding in ski resort.

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