Sunday Times 4701 by Dean Mayer

An interesting puzzle from Dean this week, containing (I thought – but these things are highly subjective) an unusual number of fairly straightforward clues, coupled with a few that were pretty tricky. 26a, 15d, 19d and 21d fell into the former category for me, with 10a, 2d and 6d being in the latter.

As ever, some beautifully economical clueing (25a – which was a bit of a hoot to boot) and some ingenious wordplay (e.g. 10a). Many thanks to Dean for a most enjoyable puzzle.

I’ll be flying to South America Sunday, so apologies in advance if I am unable to field comments or correct errors.

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

1 Stand out, as low-cost housing (7)
PROJECT – DD, the second referring to the USA term for public sector housing for the needy
5 Gentleman concealed nearly all work (7)
HIDALGO – HID (concealed) + AL{L} (nearly all) + GO (work)
9 Fibre in lifebelts is rejected (5)
ISTLE – Reverse (rejected) hidden (in) lifebELTS Is. Not a word I knew, but the clueing was generous and when the I appeared as a cross checker, it seemed a pretty safe punt.
10 Killer rejected challenge – it’s beyond me (9)
ERADICANT – DARE reversed (rejected challenge) + I CANT (it’s beyond me). Ingenious.
11 Like self-loathing one suffers (5,3,5,2)
ALONG THE LINES OF – *(SELF LOATHING ONE) with “suffers” as the anagrind
12 Being there two hours before noon, get down? (10)
ATTENDANCE – AT TEN (two hours before noon) + DANCE (get down). Lovely stuff.
14 Strange uniform given to senior soldier (4)
UNCO – U (abbrev. uniform) + NCO (senior soldier). During my period of exile in Australia, I found that unco was quite widely used as a slang abbreviation of uncoordinated, and I had not come across the “unusual” usage employed in this clue – which is apparently Scottish.
16 Cat fight, topless (4)
LASH – {C}LASH (fight without its ‘top’), giving us the nine tailed cat
18 Panic over swimmer caught in river branch (5,5)
FALSE ALARM – SEAL (swimmer) inside (caught in) FAL (river) and ARM (branch)
20 Come down on heavy petting? (4,4,3,4)
RAIN CATS AND DOGS – Whilst the answer was pretty clear from a combination of the enumeration, cross checkers, heavy rain coming down and pets, I can only parse this as a cryptic without any further wordplay. Which is fine – but I may have missed some cunning subtlety. Anyway, the surface took me down some interesting cul de sacs.
23 Extremely strict lodge welcomes director (9)
NARROWEST – NEST (lodge) with ARROW inside (welcomes director)
24 Awesome couple – more than one spoke (5)
RADII – RAD (awesome – slang term based on radical) + II (couple)
25 Panties off, very keen (7)
SAPIENT – *(PANTIES) with “off” as the anagrind. Trade mark Dean clue – supremely economical, amusing and a tad racy.
26 Is youth able to find water bottle? (7)
CANTEEN – CAN TEEN (is youth able)
1 Textbook covering a dance, popular like dancers (5,10)
PRIMA BALLERINAS – PRIMER (textbook) ‘covering’ A BALL (a dance) + IN (popular) + AS (like). Phew!
2 Fire rounds to pick up isolated stronghold (7)
OUTPOST – OUST (fire – i.e. kick out) goes around (rounds) OPT reversed (to pick – up). Took a long while for the penny to drop on the parsing.
3 Upset about yours truly, guy coming out (8)
EMERGENT – *(RE ME) – ‘about yours truly’ – with “upset” as the anagrind + GENT (guy)
4 The mutant fed by alien power (5)
TEETH – *(THE) with “mutant” as the anagrind including ET (fed by alien). Power giving us teeth caused me to scratch my head for a time, until I thought of “this legislation has teeth…”
5 Holds cake, holds crackers (9)
HEADLOCKS – *(CAKE HOLDS) with “crackers” as the anagrind. Saturday afternoons in the ’60’s spent watching legendary grapplers such as Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus were not entirely wasted after all. Can’t wait for the boston crab to put in an appearance one Sunday…
6 Jock’s local to serve spirit (5)
DJINN – DJ (jock – i.e. disk jockey) + INN (local), giving a Muslim class of spirits, apparently. An unlikely looking word, but with the cross checkers and wordplay it couldn’t be much else.
7 Appears, after trouble over affair (7)
LIAISON – IS ON (appears) ‘after’ AIL reversed (trouble over)
8 Bust removed from body? (3,2,10)
OUT OF COMMISSION – DD (as in broken – bust – and kicked out of e.g. the Law Commission)
13 Inclined to accept blokes painting flat (9)
APARTMENT – APT (inclined) takes in (‘accepts’) MEN (blokes) + ART (painting)
15 Official language (8)
MANDARIN – Straightforward (by the standards of this puzzle!) DD
17 Bone, radius, found in fire (7)
STIRRUP – R (abbrev. radius) ‘found in’ STIR UP (fire – as in get fired up), giving us the tiny bone in the ear
19 Simple to solve, cracking puzzle (1,6)
A DODDLE – DO (solve) inside (cracking) ADDLE (puzzle)
21 Part of carthrottle (5)
CHOKE – Another generous DD, for which grateful thanks!
22 A little mischief‘s not for Charlie (5)
ANTIC – ANTI (not for) + C (Charlie from the phonetic alphabet)

13 comments on “Sunday Times 4701 by Dean Mayer”

  1. Surprised it didn’t take me longer, as several clues held me up for what seemed forever at the time. NARROWEST my LOI; the only ARROW I could think of was Kenneth the economist, that it was simply ‘arrow’ didn’t occur to me at the time. Annoyingly, 17d was my 2LOI; I just couldn’t come up with the name. FALSE ALARM took me some time because it didn’t seem to fit the definition of ‘panic’. And APARTMENT took time because ‘blokes painting’ seemed to require MEN ART; but of course blokes painting are art men. No problem with UNCO or DJINN (‘Arabian Nights’ and all). 10ac COD, 11ac COD, anagram division.
  2. I think you’ve overlooked that ‘heavy petting’ (an Americanism? surely dated, anyway, no?) is canoodling.
  3. Once again I’m glad that I don’t blog ST puzzles so I can just solve them to the best of my ability and not worry too much about some of the finer details of parsing. As it happens I got one wrong answer today, at 10ac, where I couldn’t get beyond EXA for “killer rejected” and the remaining checkers, with EXAMINANT as the only word that fitted.

    At 12ac I couldn’t explain “DANCE / get down” as I’ve never heard the expression – my dictionary says it’s N. American – as is, apparently, “PROJECT / low cost housing”, another unknown to this citizen of Central Beds. “RAD / radical” I learned recently but didn’t manage to connect it with “awesome” at 24ac as I’m not generally into yoof speak.

    But for all the above, this was enjoyable enough and quite fun at times, unlike this week’s self-indulgent bore, however I look forward to a themed puzzle celebrating the forthcoming Proms season in due course.

    Edited at 2016-07-10 05:01 am (UTC)

    1. I rather wondered about this one, as well as ‘heavy petting’; I suppose the Brit equivalent is ‘council housing’? Public works project, I think is the origin; in any case, ‘living in the projects’ is not what one wants to do.
      1. I’m not sure we’ve got a direct equivalent. There are (smaller) areas like that, which are mostly council housing, it’s true, but I don’t think anything like (US) “the projects” would spring to mind with the phrase “council housing”. Perhaps that’s because a lot of councils were smart enough to dot their council housing all around the city rather than focusing it in big sprawling areas. (Or perhaps that random distribution was provided by German bombs deciding where rebuilding would take place!)
      2. ‘Heavy petting’ is used in the UK too, Kevin. ‘Get down’ is also common in my experience, although it may be a US import.
    2. What a great idea!

      The first clue might be:

      A dark theme I present at The Proms? (5,6)

      Editor, no more themed ST crosswords please.

      1. A dark theme I present at The Proms? (5,6)

        Answer please. Know very little about classical music.

        1. KATIE DERHAM

          I dislike themed puzzles (so, apparently, does jackkt).

          He facetiously suggested the Proms as a theme.

          I came up with an even more facetious clue using the word THEME. I think it is an anagram and a semi & lit ( but I am an amateur)

          Katie DERHAM presents the Proms but I couldn’t tell her from Wayne Rooney.

          Apologies on every level.

  4. Although I raced through the rest of it in an hour, the northeast corner held me up for at least another couple of hours over the next day or two, at which point I gave up.

    HIDALGO and UNCO being completely unknown wasn’t helping, neither was not knowing that “jock” could indicate a DJ, though I’d probably have recognised DJINN if I’d had enough crossers. Sadly I was also missing the LIAISON of ERADICANT HEADLOCKS, no matter how much I stared. Thanks for the elucidation.

    Looking at today’s, I should just have carried on with last week’s for another hour to fill in the time.

  5. 13:46 for this, relatively gentle by Dean’s standards but very enjoyable. After reading the comments above I will now approach today’s puzzle with some trepidation!
  6. There’s a now probably inappropriate joke from the ’70s which asks: Why did so many more African-American soldiers get killed in Vietnam? Because, when the sergeant yelled “Get Down” they all stood up and danced. Thanks for a great blog

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