Sunday Times 4671 by Dean Mayer

Maybe something to do with the after effects of the TfT booze up the previous day (and thanks very much to Andy for organising that), but found this one hard going. My GK was pushed beyond its limits in several places (the tower, the card game, the headgear and the seductress), so a good learning experience for me. Fortunately, all were guessable (albeit with a level of uncertainty) from wordplay and cross checkers.

Thought 3dn was brilliant – had not seen this device before, and took me an age to spot – and the surface at 11ac was a ripper. Thanks to Dean for a tough work out with some very enjoyable moments.

Definitions underlined; anagrams indicated by *(–)

1 Kind of place with supply of trees (4,6)
PINE FOREST – PIN (place – as in pin the tail on the donkey) + *(OF TREES) & Lit. One of those where the answer was clear from cross checkers and elements of the clue, but took me a fair while to see what was going on
6 Most of tag team seen in old sitcom (4)
TAXI – TA (most of TAg) + XI (team), for a US sitcom of which I’d never heard but which a straw poll of mates indicates is actually very well known
10 Sensible judge – cracking old headdress (7)
CAREFUL – REF (judge) inside (cracking) CAUL (old headdress – sort of scaled down wimple worn by women in the late middle ages)
11 An inflatable sheep found in Spar (3,4)
MAE WEST – EWE (sheep) inside (found in) MAST (spar), giving us the life vest. A contender for surface of the month, surely…
12 As sexy nurses can get married, it’s stimulating (1,4,2,3,3)
A SHOT IN THE ARM – AS + HO{TIN}T (sexy ‘nursing’ can) + HEAR (get) + M (married). The definition and enumeration may have saved many from embarking on the full analysis…
14 Absence of viewpoint about inventor (6)
EDISON – NO SIDE (absence of viewpoint) reversed (about). A light bulb moment when you finally spot how it works
15 Filling in part of puzzle, staff didn’t look happy (8)
GRIMACED – MACE (staff) ‘filling’ GRID (part of puzzle)
18 Snake cut in half by gunners in empty tower (8)
ZIGGURAT – ZIG ZAG (snake cut in half) + RA (gunners) in GUT(empty), giving the elaborate constructions erected in Mesopotamia. Unknown to me, but the wordplay was quite generous
19 A track’s climbing (6)
ASCENT – A SCENT (track)
21 Affectionate wizard’s fight to hold on (13)
DEMONSTRATIVE – DEMON (wizard) + STRIVE (fight) ‘holding’ AT (on)
24 Food eaten by fool, you might say (7)
INGESTA – Sounds like IN JESTER – very droll
25 Type of bridge in a pass (7)
CHICAGO – CHIC (in) + A GO (pass – as in an attempt): Chicago is, apparently, a particular form of the card game
26 A head teacher’s part (4)
EACH – Definition as in ten quid a head, and part of tEACHer
27 Face worker protecting awful psychic (4,6)
MIND READER – MINER (face worker) around (protecting) DREAD (awful)
1 Fairy liquid initially removed from bottle (4)
PUCK – PLUCK (bottle) loses its L (liquid initially removed)
2 In reporter’s role, cut grass with sailor (9)
NARRATING – NARk (cut grass) + RATING (sailor)
3 Judas seen here appropriately! (5,9)
FIFTH COLUMNIST – The traitor appears in the fifth column of the grid. Very ingenious, I thought
4 Part of the tale reader’s about to tell (6)
RELATE – Reverse hidden (indicated by ‘about’ and ‘part’ respectively) in thE TALE Reader’s
5 College not halved? (8)
SEMINARY – Semi nary rather than fully nary… neat
7 District around northern stadium (5)
ARENA – AREA (district) around N (northern)
8 I had to feed friendly cow (10)
INTIMIDATE – ID (I had – i.e. I’d) inside INTIMATE (friendly)
9 An American whips the Marine into shape (3,11)
NEW HAMPSHIRITE – *(WHIPS THE MARINE) with “into shape” as the anagrind
13 Criminal breezed in carrying new drug (10)
BENZEDRINE – *(BREEZED) with N (new) also added into the mix – “criminal” being the anagrind
16 C+ secures position as President (9)
CLEVELAND – C AND (C+) wraps around (secures) LEVEL (position) giving us Grover Cleveland, three times President of the USA in the late nineteenth century
17 Done with butter, I’ll make beef slices (8)
PASTRAMI – PAST (done) + RAM (butter) + I
20 Chased by police, sped off (6)
RANCID – RAN (sped) followed by (chased by) CID (police)
22 Mysterious soldier in raincoat (5)
MAGIC – GI (soldier) in MAC (raincoat)
23 Seductress denied one time (4)
HOUR – HOURI (seductress – found in Islamic paradise) without the I (denied one)

13 comments on “Sunday Times 4671 by Dean Mayer”

  1. I think the definition is ‘Food eaten by fool, you might say’; what is that, an &lit? lift & separate? I never know these things, but anyway, food isn’t ingesta, after all, until it’s ingested.
  2. Took me forever or so, but I did manage to finish. Had no idea what was going on in 1ac; PINE FOREST seemed totally uncryptic, so thanks to Nick for setting me straight. I was surprised to see the not that well-known CLEVELAND (who was president twice, not thrice). US solvers may have wondered what ‘Fairy liquid’ meant; Fairy Liquid is a dish detergent in the UK. A HOURI is not a seductress–unless you consider the prospect of spending eternity with one of them sufficient to lure you to blow yourself up in a terrorist attack.

    Edited at 2015-12-13 06:52 am (UTC)

  3. I usually enjoy Dean’s puzzles and this was no exception, I breezed through it over one coffee in 19 minutes, nothing unknown except the construction of the New Hampshire native from the anagram.
    3d and 11a contenders for CoD.

    Edited at 2015-12-13 10:43 am (UTC)

  4. Most completed in 50 minutes but was stumped by and cheated to get the unknown 18ac. CHICAGO bridge was also unknown but guessed eventually. Then I saw 23dn, my LOI.
    1. I took this to be architectural. No wonder I’m always losing at cards eh?

      Edited at 2015-12-13 09:19 am (UTC)

  5. This gave the needle a nudge on the crackle and fizz meter. 3dn is very good but 9dn looks as though it should have another e. I think ‘food’ is the definition at 24ac, as per n the n’s parsing. How many times has MAE WEST appeared in cryptics? I’ll give her COD for longevity.
  6. 23 minutes … if I’d been required to show my working in the margins it would have been rather longer! A SHOT IN THE ARM is a clue and a half.

    Shared your appreciation, Nick, for the inflatable sheep and the Judas device (latter sounds like a Robert Ludlum novel). I was also very happy to be reminded of Taxi which gave us one of my favourite ever television characters, the incomparable “Reverend” Jim Ignatowski. Here’s a paragraph lifted from his ‘bio’ on Wikipedia:

    Jim was thrown out of the Democratic Convention in Chicago for stealing decorations, and attended Woodstock (“500,000 people…lucky for them I went or it would have only been 499,999″). He said he kept finding God everywhere—”he kept ditching me.” He also spent a year of his life making a macrame couch, and was once traded from his commune to another one for two goats and an unspecified Donovan album. Jim once claimed that instead of finding God or Nirvana through his 1960s experiences he has only been left with recurring flashback visions of the original Mouseketeers (especially Cubby) hatching out of seedpods.

    Thanks Dean and Nick.

    Edited at 2015-12-13 09:21 am (UTC)

  7. 23:34. Tricky this, and ZIGGURAT and CHICAGO went in with fingers crossed: the latter looked unlikely as a type of bridge (I didn’t think of cards) and the former just looked plain unlikely. NEW HAMPSHIRITE took me a while too, because it didn’t look right and I couldn’t be bothered to get a pen and paper to check the anagrist.
    I’m with Nick and sidcuppa on the parsing of 24.
    Very enjoyable puzzle, as usual from Dean.

    Edited at 2015-12-13 11:02 am (UTC)

  8. I’d have thought the literal should be ‘food eaten’. Liked 3d a lot. A nice lunchtime solve on a drab Monday in Hong Kong.
    1. You’re probably right… My thinking at the time was that “eaten” put the food “in” the jester. Which would then mean eaten was doing double duty as being part of definition and also accounting for the fact that it had entered the jester, as it were. But then I guess there’s nothing wrong with a bit of double duty every now and again…
  9. I put chicane which is a Bridge hand without trumps, thinking that it would result in a pass if one were dealt. Chicago is a rather different card game to Bridge. Of course, I then had no ideas for 23D. Love these cryptics which usually take me several hours sometimes spread over several days with the occasional lightbulb moment. Then I turn to this excellent, enjoyable blog for enlightenment. Happy Christmas from Victor Harbor, South Australia.

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