Sunday Times 4699 by David McLean – Yo Ho Ho!

For me this was far and away the most enjoyable from ‘Harry’ so far. Super puzzle, I thought, with plenty of wit (loved 16dn and 15a), some crackerjack anagrams (1ac and 28ac standouts), a highly ingenious device at 2dn, and the one obscurity (13a) being pretty generously clued for those of us without a working knowledge of creole headgear.

During the week I was blogging the Quick Cryptic and was taken to task by one contributor for using the word “anagrind”. I have unrepentantly continued to use it today and hope it only irritates one of our number.

Grateful thanks to our setter for a most enjoyable puzzle.

Definitions underlined: DD = double definition: anagrams indicated by *(–): omitted letters indicated by {-}

1 Many thousands of shakes? (1,5,2,7)
A MONTH OF SUNDAYS – *(MANY THOUSANDS OF) with “shakes” as the anagrind. Excellent anagram to kick off. On edit: and also an & LIT – see Galspray’s insight below (for which many thanks)
9 Battle of local against royal household (9)
AGINCOURT – AGIN (‘local’ – dialect form of – ‘against’) + COURT (royal household)
10 In training, a way to get stick (5)
PASTE – A ST (a way – street) ‘in’ PE (training)
11 Hit flipping agreement breaking Cameron? (6)
LAMPED – DEAL (agreement) with PM (Cameron) inside, all reversed (flipping). Slight twitch of the eyebrows for me here as it seems to be PM ‘breaking’ (i.e. cutting into) the DEAL rather than the DEAL breaking PM, but I may be missing something and / or being overly picky
12 Walking slowly with son to go fishing (8)
TROLLING – S leaves (Son to go) {S}TROLLING (walking slowly), giving us the fishing technique of pulling a lure (or other bait) through the water to attract fish – as opposed to the more static bait presentation associated with ledgering or float fishing (and far more fun in my opinion as a keen but spectacularly unsuccessful angler)
13 Not all bargain on gits returning headdress (6)
TIGNON – Reverse (returning) hidden (not all) in bargaiN ON GITs, giving us – as I subsequently learned – a kind of turban worn by creole women. Unknown to me (and sufficiently obscure for it not to appear in my Chambers) but fortunately the clueing was generous and as soon as the T went in from 1dn I was able to write it in with a fair level of confidence.
15 It’s obvious one must enter Mr Universe contest? (8)
MANIFEST – I (one) put inside (must enter) MAN FEST (Mr Universe contest – lovely cryptic clueing)
18 Swimmer Spooner’s said to believe lovely (8)
DEALFISH – Sounds like (said) the pesky Reverend’s rendition of FEEL (believe) and DISH (lovely – as in ‘she’s quite a dish’). Another one where I had to trust in the wordplay as I never came across trachipterus arcticus when trolling in Somerset…
19 Outlaw thanks male, an aggressive little sort (6)
BANTAM – BAN (outlaw) + TA (thanks) + M (male)
21 Some hard exercise maybe why one’s hungry on hike (2,6)
NO PICNIC – Nice cryptic DD
23 Husband with sex appeal lad chats up (4,2)
HITS ON – H (husband) + IT (sex appeal) + SON (lad)
26 City gent bringing in one pound (5)
MILAN – I L (one pound) brought into MAN (gent)
27 Irregular old lady new union saloon lets in (9)
ANOMALOUS – MA (old lady) + *(U SALOON) with “new” as the anagrind
28 Thief drops these off a dusty Land Cruiser (4,2,3,6)
SHIP OF THE DESERT – *(THIEF DROPS THESE) with “off” as the anagrind. Super clue, I thought – very nice anagram and delightful cryptic definition
1 Not one to trust a dodgy man with a salty wife? (1,3,3)
A BAD LOT – Whilst the answer was clear enough (Lot’s wife having been turned into a pillar of salt for some kind of infraction – can’t recall what exactly…), I struggled with the exact parsing here. I’ve tentatively marked it down as a DD.
2 Number with hatred for decimalisation? (5)
OPIUM – Loved the two penny-drop moments associated with this highly ingenious clue. The first was to see the definition as ‘something that makes you numb’ (and that took a while for your humble blogger). The second is to recall (if, like me, you are old enough) what happened on “decimal day” in the UK in 1971 – when the D (old penny) became the P (new penny). Thus the answer is derived from ODIUM (hatred) being ‘decimalised’ with the D becoming a P. Devious or what?!
3 Scolded Tory leader started to snub summit (6,3)
TICKED OFF – T (Tory leader) + {K}ICKED OFF (started minus its first letter – ‘summit snubbed’). Tricky.
4 Love drink? Must turn up for work (4)
OPUS – O (love) + SUP reversed (drink must turn up). The surface brought to mind one of my favourite old saws “Work, the scourge of the drinking classes”…
5 A Democrat with dull routine written up in Express 24hrs ago? (8)
SATURDAY – A D RUT all reversed (A Democrat with ‘dull routine’ written up) ‘in’ SAY (express) – and this being the Sunday Times, it’s a safe bet 24 hours ago it was, um, Saturday…
6 Country friend from the Sunderland area? (5)
NEPAL – NE (from the Sunderland area) + PAL (friend)
7 Saint bent out of shape and not having it? (9)
ABSTINENT – *(SAINT BENT) with “out of shape” as the anagrind, and the definition appealing to fans of Up Pompeii
8 Strategem that’s rather trivial in hearing (7)
SLEIGHT – Homophone – indicated by ‘in hearing’ – of SLIGHT (rather trivial)
14 Pale girl upset about quiet chap on the fiddle? (9)
GRAPPELLI – *(PALE GIRL) – with “upset” as the anagrind – going around P (quiet), giving us Stefan the great jazz violinist
16 Still upset in parts where one might find rum? (9)
INANIMATE – NI (upset IN) separates (parts) IN A MATE (where one might find rum – after the mainbrace has been spliced, no doubt…) Clever, witty clue
17 Hopeful when old Rover briefly bears north (8)
ASPIRANT – AS (when) + N (North) inside PIRAT{E} (old Rover briefly). Hopeful here being used as a noun – e.g. one putting themselves forward for selection.
18 Energy suppliers‘ loads go up during parties (7)
DYNAMOS – MANY reversed (loads go up) inside (during) DOS (parties)
20 Mail regularly tends to be sorted in Outlook (7)
MINDSET – MI (MaIl regularly) + *(TENDS). Neat clue for Microsoft users.
22 Texan dwelling on Democrat dividing county (5)
CONDO – ON D (on Democrat) ‘dividing’ CO (abbrev. county)
24 Cure and cause of a cough? (5)
25 Expression of surprise about yours truly’s birthplace? (4)
HOME – OH reversed (expression of surprise about) + ME (yours truly)

21 comments on “Sunday Times 4699 by David McLean – Yo Ho Ho!”

  1. I couldn’t get this–never heard of LAMP as a verb–but anyway, it’s agreement-breaking, not agreement breaking, so the insertion is indicated.
    1. Ah yes, thanks Kevin – I’d missed the all important hyphen (a “should have gone to Specsavers” moment…)
  2. No walk in the park, this; rather a slog in the swamp, and I didn’t help myself by being dim at times, like 3d, which I put in without ever parsing it. DNK TIGNON and GRAPPELLI, but the wordplay was kind. Dithered betwen OPIUM and ‘odium’, and chose correctly, but without understanding until Nick enlightened me. In retrospect, my COD, with A MONTH OF SUNDAYS close behind; two brilliant clues.
  3. Very enjoyable but only just crept home under the hour. My two unknowns were DEALFISH and TIGNON, the latter appearing only in Oxford Dictionary of English of the one-volume sources at my disposal. It’s also in the two-volume Shorter Oxford and the multi-volume OED. I’m a big fan of Grappelli, Django Rheinhardt and Quintette du Hot Club de France so no problems with 14dn. I saw him play the Albert Hall once but it was spoilt by being over-amplified beyond endurance.

    Edited at 2016-06-26 04:47 am (UTC)

    1. … the same here, esp. re DEALFISH and TIGNON. Though I did find the latter in ODO.

      Was never sure about “in a mate” at 16dn.

      Also saw Grapelli once though in a much smaller venue than the Albert and without the amps. Think I prefer Jean-Luc Ponty these days, where the amplification is essential but the artist gets to control it.

      Edited at 2016-06-26 06:53 am (UTC)

      1. Can you remind me what is ODO please? I feel I should know after 10 years here!

        Now I come to think of it, it wasn’t just the volume that was so off-putting but the quality of sound using an electric pick-up on his violin was harsh and all subtelty of tone was lost.

        Edited at 2016-06-26 07:38 am (UTC)

  4. Tignon is in the ODO. There can’t be many words which are in that, but not in Chambers!
    For 1dn the def. is “Not one to trust” and the word play is A + BAD (dodgy) + LOT (man with salty wife.) I don’t think it is intended to imply that Lot was dodgy, though there is plenty of biblical evidence to that effect ..
    Much enjoyed this overall; thanks setter, & for the blog Nick
  5. Oxford Dict. Online. (It’s built into the MacOs as an application.)

    What was the year of the Grapelli concert?
    Electric violin pickups have got pretty good over the last couple of decades.
    Have a listen to Jean-Luc on YouTube??

    1. Thanks. I think that must be the dictionary used on Countdown since they gave up the one-volume printed ODE of which I have a copy and where I found TIGNON.

      The Grappelli concert was probably in the 1970s but I cant be sure. I will take a look at Jean-Luc when I have time.

  6. High quality crossword. I think A month of Sundays and Opium were excellent. Thought Dealfish was poor. Seemed to me this came from a different setter.
    1. Same feelings. Loved the puzzle but was frustrated by DEALFISH. I felt there were two plausible answers – dealfish and dearfish (‘fear’ for ‘believe’ seems viable).
      1. Yes, dearfish would also be a strong contender – glad I didn’t think of that as I was confused enough already by some bits of this puzzle!

        That said, I suppose “fear” for believe would not tally with the homophone indicator (i.e. spelling is correct) whereas “feal” for believe clearly needs a homophone alert. But that’s a fine line…

        1. I sort of thought of that but a homophone wrapped inside a Spoonerism is a level of complexity too far for me. So I stopped thinking about it!
  7. Thanks for explaining OPIUM, Nick. Like others, I liked this a lot, took about an hour with it, had to check TIGNON and GRAPPELLI when I was done, and wasn’t especially keen on DEALFISH. I’ve been having trouble finding time to do many puzzles recently, and this was a nice one to come up when I did get time to play.
  8. 16:05. A very enjoyable crossword, including 18ac. Yes I groaned, but I like a groanworthy clue now and then. I had never heard of the DEALFISH, but TIGNON was somehow vaguely familiar. Or maybe it just looked like it should be a word.
    I didn’t understand 16dn, so thanks for clearing that one up. I thought it must be a reference to a cocktail of some kind.
  9. Brilliant crossword, as we’re coming to expect from Mr McLean.

    Nick, you’ve got “many” as the definition for 1ac, but I think it’s an &lit, with “shakes” being a unit of time as in “two shakes”. Which makes it a very clever clue in my opinion.

    Some fiendish cluing, was surprised in the end that there were only two unknowns (to me) GRAPPELLI and DEALFISH.


    Thanks setter and Nick.

    1. Aha – thanks Galspray; yes, the & lit went right over my head… As you say, makes it even better.
  10. This is my first visit to this blog for many months – I enjoyed reading all the comments.

    Like you, Nick, I loved the anagrams at 1A and 28A. There were several neat clues, and I can highlight 16D (INANIMATE) as the one that fooled me – although the answer came easily enough.

    I didn’t think 11A (LAMPED) quite worked, as already noted. The solver has to insert a missing hyphen. However, on the principle that all punctuation, or the lack of it, is allowed to mislead, the clue can be said to be ok. I thought this clue and 2D, 3D and 5D were a bit too contrived.

    I see no problem with 18A (DEALFISH). A spoonerism only ever works on sounds, not spelling, and ‘feel dish’ for DEALFISH is fine. In that clue I’m sure ‘lovely’, for ‘dish’, is meant to be a noun.

    Thanks to the setter for this pleasant weekend crossword and to Nick for the blog.


  11. Hi
    Sorry, but i still don’t get how (1ac) ‘shakes’ can refer to a ‘month of sundays’, which means a very long period of time.
  12. Got the right ans. for all the wrong reasons. We parsed this as a “sunday” being a sort of milk shake which of course it’s not. (Jan, she’s Canadian, should have known that) Given that “sundae” is a misspelling of Sunday (to placate the religious fanatics) we thought the “sunday” spelling might have been a British thing.

    Jan and Tom Toronto

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