Sunday Times 4646 by Jeff Pearce

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
I came to this with an almighty hangover, which explains what turned out to be a relatively (to others on the leaderboard) sluggish time of 12:23 for an easy puzzle. Many of these clues are so simple as to require hardly any explanation. Nothing wrong with an easy puzzle from time to time of course, and in my weakened state I appreciated it.

There are a few loose definitions in here that had me scratching my head as I went back through to parse everything properly, but in most cases they didn’t bother me when I was actually solving. And there are a couple of words that were completely unfamiliar to me, thankfully with accessible wordplay.

1 Dangerous substance pupils detected — initially hidden in a carpet
CLASS A DRUG – CLASS (pupils), A (Detected) RUG.
6 Pass a member of the crew
9 Set out on extremely excited horse
STEED – (SET)*, ExciteD.
10 A united town’s showing contempt for wide expressways
AUTOBAHNS – A, U, then TOWN with the W replaced with BAH. I’m not sure how BAH is ‘showing contempt’. Surely that would be ‘saying BAH’? You can parse the wordplay so that BAH is just ‘contempt’ but that doesn’t really work either. Hmm.
12 At first Brewer’s Trade Union is drunk and rebellious
14 Blue tin contains tip of eraser and another stationery item
15 Journalist almost backed corrupt thought
EDITOR – reversal of ROT, IDEa.
17 Appearing for trial regret being arrogant
UPPITY – UP (in court), PITY. I can’t see how PITY can replace regret, either.
19 Shell-powered vehicle leading at high speed
CARAPACE – CAR (powered vehicle), APACE. You have to lift and separate ‘shell’ from ‘powered’.
21 Got a small amount to eat but you might not like it initially
ACQUIRED TASTE – no explanation needed here.
24 President’s first speech has a ruling about gold in it
INAUGURAL – AU (gold) in (ARULING)*.
25 So typical of City to be elegant but unable to finish!
URBAN – URBANe. Neat football-related surface.
26 A,B,C,D, F or G?
NOTE – which each of these is, as well as being NOT E.
27 At first sight purse appears one belonging to a celeb
PRIMA FACIE – PRIM (purse), A FACE (celeb) containing I. To PRIM is to ‘purse the lips in a prim fashion’. Not a meaning I knew.

1 Throw out all the actors in a play
2 Parent drops Mark off outside priest’s studio
ATELIERmAT(ELI)ER. ELI, the priest in the bible who has achieved crossword immortality by having a name that is quite a handy set of letters.
3 Extremely funny team leaving
SIDE-SPLITTING – another where no explanation is needed.
4 Exhausted old man takes drug at club
DEADBEAT – D(E)AD, BEAT. According to the dictionaries I’ve looked in and my experience, this should be two words. As one word it means something quite different.
5 Expel leader of club, say
7 Against what art could represent?
ATHWART – (WHAT ART)*. Not sure about ‘against’ as the definition.
8 Pour cold water on bowl made of clay — not hot
DISHEARTEN – DISH, EARThEN. Again, I’m not sure of the definition. You DISHEARTEN a person, but you pour cold water on an idea or plan. To pour cold water on a person is the ice bucket challenge.
11 Game guy unable to see small admirer
BLIND MAN’S BUFF – BLIND MAN (guy unable to see), S, BUFF. As in crossword buff, which is what you and I are.
13 Casino cut a fixed charge
16 Metal worker with aluminium in stomach
TANTALUM – T(ANT, AL)UM. I had never heard of this metallic element. ANT here is a definition by example. It’s not indicated but it’s so common that it doesn’t really need to be.
18 Tart put one fashion designer under pressure
PIQUANT – I, QUANT under P. A reference to Mary QUANT.
20 Bitter shrub — mostly blue
ACERBIC – ACER, BICe. The ACER is that rarest of things, a plant I can actually identify: we have one in our garden. Not that I can identify 90% of the plants in our garden, but this one I can. I have never come across BICE before, though.
22 Slip top off little monster
23 Princess is back in Vienna
ANNE – contained reversed in Vienna.

17 comments on “Sunday Times 4646 by Jeff Pearce”

  1. Very fast for me, but then look at the clues, some of which–e.g. 1d or 3d–would be at home in a Quickie. I share keriothe’s reservations about some of the definitions, but–again, like him–I didn’t notice anything amiss as I solved. Wondered about the BIC of ACERBIC, but not much. ACER is the official tree of the NY Times puzzles; I have no idea what it looks like. UPPITY is pretty much a dead word in the US, ‘uppitiness’ being a possibly capital crime in the South until all too recently.

    Edited at 2015-06-21 02:31 am (UTC)

  2. Yes indeed, straightforward even for those of us very much at the lower end of the batting order. But, enjoyable and thought 25ac was a standout clue – very elegant and witty.

    Re. AUTOBAHNS, I parsed it as BAH simply being an indicator of contempt which is “shown” (i.e. displayed) inside the rest of the elements of the answer.

    Thanks for the blog Keriothe. Hope you do not approach today’s from Dean with a major hangover – it’s somewhat stiffer!

    1. Thanks Nick. I haven’t attempted today’s yet but I am in much better condition!
  3. Well, if you take Chambers very literally, then the definition ‘expressing…contempt’ – following the italicised part of speech ‘interj’ (word classes typically not being construed as a part of the definition, even if is arguably doing double duty here) – fits the bill perfectly!
    1. Curiously Chambers isn’t consistent on this. ‘Hurrah’ is ‘an exclamation of approbation’, ‘wow’ is ‘an exclamation of wonder’, ‘cor’ is ‘an expression of surprise’… but ‘blimey’ is just ‘expressing surprise’. In any event, I still haven’t found a way of substituting BAH with either ‘showing contempt’ or ‘contempt’ in a sentence, but then neither have I lost any sleep over the question. I had no problem getting from ‘(showing) contempt’ to BAH, which is the important thing.

      Edited at 2015-06-21 08:58 am (UTC)

  4. Got there without resort to aids with CERULEAN and BIC{e} unknowns and I didn’t know the required meaning of ‘prim’ either. No problem with BAH as ‘show contempt for’ – not that I thought about it much – but ‘bah’ is usually accompanied by ‘humbug’ in my experience as an expression of contempt for something e.g. overblown Christmas festivities. If it’s good enough for Scrooge, it’s fine by me!

    Edited at 2015-06-21 12:33 pm (UTC)

    1. I don’t have a problem with BAH as an expression of contempt. My point is that ‘showing contempt’ is synonymous with ‘saying BAH’, but not with BAH on its own. It’s like defining ‘cheese’ as ‘smiling’.
  5. 11:15 on paper here, so definitely at the easy end of the scale. BTW, although the Times website agrees with you, this was actually puzzle no. 4646.
    1. So it was. I just copied the number from the online puzzle. Amended – thanks.

      Edited at 2015-06-21 03:16 pm (UTC)

    2. Andy (or any other seniors here who may be able to assist)

      Apologies for being off topic, but I have a question re. next Sunday’s blog and this seemed the best way to raise it.

      I’ll be flying from Australia to UK next weekend. Given the timings of the flights etc., would it be OK if I posted the blog for Sunday Times 4647 late Saturday evening rather than first thing Sunday morning? Or is there some smart way (couldn’t see one but I may have missed it) to set the Posting page to actually post the blog at a predefined future time?

      Appreciate your response.

      Many thanks


      1. Nick you can write the blog in advance and then set it to post when you want. At the top of the page as you are writing the blog you will see the date, which you can change. I do this every week: I wrote this blog a week ago and set it for 1am today.

        Edited at 2015-06-21 10:19 pm (UTC)

        1. Ah, thanks keriothe – hadn’t realised you could do that!

          It displays local time on the Post page (i.e. it’s currently showing 8.39am Monday, which is what it now is in Sydney), but then when it publishes a comment it seems to date stamps it GMT. I guess I use the local (Sydney) timer…

          1. Sorry, can’t help on that point. You might want to check with one of the other non-UK bloggers. I think George uses the same method for his Mephisto blogs, for instance.
  6. Ditto Kevin. You most definitely would not see this in a US puzzle, and for good reason. That’s not out of an excess of PC (as with niggardly) but because it really is offensive. 9.39
    1. Wrong! For example, in The New York Times of Friday, January 14, 2011,”Uppity” is the clue for ON ONE’S HIGH HORSE. I’ve seen it the other way round too.
      It’s not deemed offensive unless attached to an ethnic identifier…
      (I posted this with a link and was told that it qualified as spam. Then looking at the page in Safari, my comment didn’t appear at all. I can still see it in Firefox, but I reposted. Sorry if this is redundant.)
  7. For those who didn’t know, like me…
    Bice (f. French bis = dark-coloured) is a green or blue pigment.

Comments are closed.