Sunday Times 4698 by Dean Mayer – hey hey Mama

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
The club timer says I took 18:27 to solve this. I think I was interrupted a couple of times by the kids but still, having gone through all the clues to write this blog, I struggle to see what held me up. It’s all pretty straightforward by Dean Mayer standards, but very much up to the usual standard. A puzzle doesn’t have to be hard to be elegant and rewarding to solve.

Not much more to say, you’ll be glad to hear, so thanks to Dean and here’s how I think it all works.

1 Depression of jet-setter?
BLACK DOG – BLACK (jet), DOG (setter?). Definition by example indicated by the question mark. An expression often associated with Winston Churchill.
6 I’m fussy, angry and in a bad mood
PEDANT – PET (bad mood) containing (AND)*, with ‘angry’ the anagrind (angrynd?). You will never encounter a PEDANT round here, of course.
9 Way to open excellent wine
ASTI – A(ST)I. A gimme.
10 Sick turned into simple menu
11 Flaky men made her hurt a lot?
UNDER THE HAMMER – (MEN MADE HER HURT)*. Because if something is a lot in an auction, it is…
13 His cryptic wordplay recalled as “climb
SHIN UP – (HIS)*, reversal of PUN (wordplay).
15 Ashamed about new executioner
HEADSMAN – (ASHAMED)*, N. Not a term I remembered, although I’d be surprised if I haven’t come across it at some point.
16 Cold back needs deeply injected drug
WARFARIN – reversal of RAW, FAR IN (deeply injected). An anticoagulant.
18 Bury in storage unit after note forged
20 Some get it, but still don’t get it
TRAVEL SICKNESS – CD, and a neat one at that. This was my last in I think: I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on here, until the checkers revealed the answer and a ‘doh!’ moment ensued.
22 Think about jail?
24 Queer fellow, crude
FOIL – F, OIL. ‘Crude’ is a definition by example, so a strict Ximenean would insist on a question mark, but not me. To ‘queer’ in this sense is something most often done to someone’s pitch.
25 Keep one plugging away? No
ADHERE – AD (one plugging), HERE (away? no). On their own I’m not sure that these two are synonymous but if you ADHERE to a commitment, for instance, you keep to it.
26 Some Internet activity turns me sick
E-MAILING – reversal of ME, AILING. It’s unusual to see ‘internet’ capitalised like this these days.

2 In despair, Indian listener divides fortune
LOSING HEART – LO(SINGH, EAR)T. A 6ac might point out that if you’re in despair you have already lost heart, but as I’ve already mentioned there aren’t any of those around here.
3 Atrocity, a name for a war
4 Double 2 — that’s only the beginning
DEBUT – DoublE (because 2 is LOSING HEART), BUT (only).
5 A perk … or is it?
GOLDEN HANDSHAKE – it’s a perk, because it’s a large sum of money, but you have to get fired to receive it, which might be less of a boon. Although in some cases that is the best part of the package. And of course ‘or’ is gold, so the second part of the clue is also a cryptic indication. Neat!
6 Spread genuine scandal, reportedly
PROPAGATE – homophone of ‘proper’, GATE (scandal, as in Watergate, Irangate, Plebgate).
7 Fed up while admitting writer’s slanders
DEFAMES – reversal (up) of FED, A(ME)S.
8 Neither turning ahead right
NOR – ON reversed, then R.
12 Take a job to make an entrance again
READMISSION – READ (take, as in English at university), MISSION (job).
14 Remain in a grave
PERSEVERE – PER (a, as in ‘penny a pitch’), SEVERE (grave). The use of the word ‘remain’ here provides me with a perfect opportunity not to mention the referendum.
17 Weak box full of paper
FRAGILE – FILE (box) containing RAG (paper, as in the Daily Mail). A ‘box’ is a type of file so this is perhaps another opportunity to be thankful we don’t have any 6acs round here.
19 Glad to get rid of hot load of fuel
21 Guru’s pupil starts to choke, having thrown up beer
CHELA – CHoke, reversal of ALE. This word has come up before, and it seemed very vaguely familiar. I was grateful for the the very clear wordplay though.
23 Close partially open door
END – contained in open door.

18 comments on “Sunday Times 4698 by Dean Mayer – hey hey Mama”

  1. Took forever, as is usually the case with me on a Dean puzzle. I was wondering about 5ac, not having noticed the or bit; and do you have to get fired? I’m glad Keriothe pointed out the absence of pedants here, as I was going to suggest that it’s the still who don’t get travel sickeness, not still; or it’s still that doesn’t get it, I suppose. But I won’t. BLACK DOG I seem to remember from Byron. My LOI was ADHERE; and it’s also Keriothe’s, or will be. COD maybe 4d; or 22ac.
    1. Oops, thanks Kevin. Now corrected.
      I suppose a GOLDEN HANDSHAKE might also apply on retirement but I think it is generally considered bad practice to give people you want to keep a large financial incentive to leave. Edit: actually I’ve suddenly realised I am confusing a GOLDEN HANDSHAKE with a GOLDEN PARACHUTE, aren’t I? The former is something you get when you sign on.
      See below for my take on TRAVEL SICKNESS.

      Edited at 2016-06-19 11:22 am (UTC)

  2. Good work-out as expected though with not too many really hard ones, at least once a few crossers were in place. New to me was CHELA and missed the significance of ‘or’ in 5d – very clever. Liked the def. for the anagram at 11, WARFARIN and my favourite TRAVEL SICKNESS.

    Thank you to setter and blogger

    PS A very serious matter. What about a moratorium on the use of ASTI for a few months or so. Maybe Liebfraumilch instead?

    1. Not as elegant as our blogger’s parsing but.
      “AN = a” is so unTimesish; Sunday or no.
      Hope this isn’t the start of Guardianism over Sunday breakfast.
      Can’t face The Other until the eggs and muffins are consumed and I’ve been for a walk.

      Also, much as I love Dean’s work, I thought an insertion of “those” between “but” and “still” at 20ac would have been a suitable edit.

  3. I thought this was at the easier end of Dean’s spectrum, but still very enjoyable.
    15ac a very elegant clue.. writing such concise, neat clues looks as if it ought to be easy, but it isn’t.
    Re 20ac I love the idea but like Kevin, not sure if it really works. I don’t know quite why, but “Some get it, but others still don’t get it” seems grammatically better to me than what was printed.
    1. something is needed between “but” and “still”. No way that “still” can be a noun.
    2. The way I read this there is a silent ‘when’ between ‘but’ and ‘still’. Sober I can solve crosswords but drunk I can’t. Seems fine to me.
      1. Anything so silent makes for an editorial intervention?
        “If”, “those”, “when” etc. all add to the collection.
        Let the dog see the rabbit.

        1. For my money, no: adding ‘when’ would wreck the surface reading, and the misdirection whereby the clue makes you read an adjective as an adverb.

          Edited at 2016-06-19 10:51 am (UTC)

  4. Mostly straightforward considering the setter but I struggled to finish with FRAGILE for some reason.
  5. As ever, some lovely stuff here. Particularly liked Propagate, and thought Deliberate was ingenious. Thanks for the entertaining blog K.
  6. 20A: Sometimes we stretch linguistic usage a bit for the sake of surface meaning. I’m struggling to see that this particular stretch is worse than others that we get away with.

    A/AN: I don’t know whether the Times bans this – if it does, that’s the first I’ve heard of it. I suspect I’ve allowed it once or twice, but can’t see an easy way to search for confirmation. Dean’s notes indicate the CRIME/A/N version in this case.

  7. I can’t thank you enough for your brilliance. Finding your site has decidedly saved what is left of my sanity.

    Susan, the second rate solver

    1. Thank you Susan! I can tell you from experience that if you use this site regularly your solving skills will improve rapidly.
  8. Not sure of my time on this one, as it was done in fits and starts on a day out in Clevedon with a bit of a hangover. Nonetheless I found it very enjoyable, hard not because of unknowns (CHELA was my only one of those) but because of artful cluing. Thanks for the parsing elucidation on my couple of biffs! 22 wins my COD, I think.

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