Sunday Times 4710 by Dean Mayer – not so simple

26:10. I found this hard, but it was immensely enjoyable. Another Dean Mayer masterpiece, in fact. He has such a knack for writing clues that seem completely baffling and impenetrable until you look at them in the right way, at which point they become crystal clear. This puzzle was full of clues like that, and the satisfying penny-drop moments that result.

So many thanks to Dean, and here’s how I think it all works.

1 Cast get Russian names
7 A lot of skill, but leaderless
9 Detailed subjects in rhyme
THREE BLIND MICE – CD. Said mice were supposedly de-tailed by the wife of a farmer using a carving knife. Seems highly improbable to me: certainly I never saw such a thing in my life.
10 One making the whole season
SUMMER – the whole being the sum of the parts. Or sometimes more.
12 Felicity is opening show
PARADISE – PARAD(IS)E. Felicity = joy = PARADISE. Perhaps a little oblique but close enough for me.
13 Full ownership of sub that’s slow
FEE SIMPLE – FEE (sub), SIMPLE (slow). I didn’t know this term, which means ‘a permanent and absolute tenure in land with freedom to dispose of it at will’. Not an easy answer to derive from the wordplay, and my last in.
14 Time to abandon factory proposal
PLAN – PLANt. A welcome easy one.
16 George‘s son returned make-up
SAND – S, reversal of DNA (make-up). In the olden days women In France and England weren’t allowed to be novelists, but they could get round this by pretending to be called George.
17 Weirdest place to house migrant workers
SPOOKIEST – SPO(OKIES)T. I got this from the definition and the SPOT part of the wordplay, and had to assume that an OKIE might be a migrant worker of some sort. It made a degree of sense in a John Steinbeck sort of way, so I crossed my fingers and put it in.
20 Picked up by inattentive boss, I cut in
MISHEARD – M(I, SHEAR)D. Cracking clue: devilish hard to spot the definition.
21 Power is turned on, finally accesses PC
LOGS IN – LOG (power), IS reversed, oN.
22 Late but worth waiting for
OUT OF THIS WORLD – two slightly cryptic definitions: one meaning ‘dead’, the other meaning ‘fantastic’.
24 Dutch partners provided parts
WIFE – IF (providing) separates (parts) W and E (partners in bridge). ‘Dutch’ is slang, but not of the cockney rhyming variety, for WIFE.
25 Dictator from one country runs into trouble

2 Because of temperature, blue nose
INTRUDE – IN, T, RUDE (blue). I struggle a bit with IN for ‘because of’, but it’s one of the meanings in Chambers. Collins also has ‘while or by performing the action of; as a consequence of or by means of ⇒ in crossing the street he was run over’. This justifies its use here of course but I’m not entirely convinced: the meaning seems much more ‘while’ than ‘because of’ to me. Can anyone come up with a better example?
3 Brief direction — and not
NOR – short for ‘north’ in, for instance ‘nor-easterly’.
4 Rules in place to cover circular letter writing
THEOREM – THE(O)RE, MS, where O is ‘circular letter’ and MS = manuscript = ‘writing’. A THEOREM is a ‘rule in algebra or other branches of mathematics expressed by symbols or formulae’, among other things.
5 Jammed cylinder usually removed from steamer
ROLY-POLY PUDDING – aka jam roly-poly, a sponge pudding that is usually steamed, like a treacle sponge or spotted dick. When they are good they are very, very good, but when they are bad they are horrid.
6 Divers get warm and use towel
7 Conversion of castle on rocky Golden Mile
REMODELLING – R (rook = castle), (GOLDEN MILE)*. I think the use of ‘castle’ for a rook has been known to elicit grumbles from the chess community, but as ever specialists don’t have jurisdiction over the vocabulary everyone else uses.
8 Showing up of American in 18’s address
FOCUS ON – FO (up of), C(US)ON, because the answer to 18dn is SWINDLE = con.
11 In earshot, PM splutters “I hate you all
15 Short people under fan
16 United penetrating limits hapless Spurs
STIMULI – U (united) in (LIMITS)*.
18 Take down leftovers, primarily to feed pigs
SWINDLE – SWIN(Down, Leftovers)E
19 Bill supporting prison in Cambridge
CANTAB – CAN (prison), TAB (bill). The opposite of OXON.
23 When animals do it, it’s habit

23 comments on “Sunday Times 4710 by Dean Mayer – not so simple”

  1. Wonderful. OKIES are people from Oklahoma but historically they were people that left Oklahoma for other places such as California during the depression. As you say, they feature in the Grapes of Wrath.
    1. That was what I had in mind. I’m really quite well read, but the vast majority of the reading happened over 20 years ago and I have forgotten almost all of the details!
  2. Top class crossword, excellent blog.. love the concision and precision of Dean’s clueing.

    How about “In so doing, he showed himself to be a top class … setter?”

    JerryW (not signed in)

  3. Great puzzle, as always. LOI MISHEARD; I couldn’t make sense of the M D (which I looked up afterwards; DNK). The Okies weren’t necessarily workers, of course; as in ‘Grapes of Wrath’, whole families, especially of people who had lost their farms, moved west (the state of California tried to stop them, but the Supreme Court said it had no such authority). Merle Haggard had a hit song in the 60s, “I’m Proud to be an Okie from Muskogee” (“We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee”, etc.; another reason to move west). I remember FEE SIMPLE from Chaucer, and was surprised to find it in common use in Hawai’i, where the fee simple/leasehold distinction is important. COD to SAND.
  4. Dutch meaning wife definitely comes from ‘Lunnon Tarn’and is of cockney origin – but as you rightly say is not CRS – dutch being the diminutive of duchess.

    I took about 45 mins. FOI 9ac THREE BLIND MICE

    Initially I had 15dn as BORROWER but logically FOLLOWER prevailed LOI.


    horryd Shanghai

    1. Indeed. It’s commonly believed to derive from ‘Duchess of Fife’, but the usage has been shown to predate the existence of such a Duchess.
  5. I hadn’t noticed this at the time, but it does seem a bit of a stretch. But maybe, say, “In signing the form, he forfeited any right to appeal.”? “In using the term, he left himself open to accusations of racism.”? On edit: Sorry, Jerry, I overlooked your comment.

    Edited at 2016-09-11 07:06 am (UTC)

  6. Always pleased to finish a Sunday puzzle under an hour and I achieved that here, just, by about 3 minutes. FEE SIMPLE was a write-in for me, having worked in a legal environment for over a decade where my duties often involved reading documents relating to transfer of land. I’ve got a load of useful terms from Scottish law stored up too.

    Edited at 2016-09-11 06:25 am (UTC)

  7. Yes, the usual excellent puzzle from this setter which was difficult (and therefore time-consuming) for me, but fairly clued and therefore possible. As someone with no legal background, fell at the last with FEE SIMPLE and had a guess at a few others. Best clues were ROLY-POLY PUDDING (even though a variant of ‘Jammed cylinder…’ has appeared somewhere else in the last few weeks), DNA for ‘make-up’ in SAND and MISHEARD.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  8. Thanks to Jerry and Kevin for better examples of this usage of ‘in’. I confess I still struggle with it: for me even in the phrase ‘in signing the form, he forfeited his right to appeal’ the signing of the form and the forfeiting of the appeal are one and the same thing. One does not lead to the other. I also confess it’s a fine distinction!

    Edited at 2016-09-11 11:14 am (UTC)

  9. My pennies were dropping quickly on this lovely puzzle, my print-out says it took me exactly 20 minutes. And I am not trying to be fast, it just flowed. Especially liked 22a.
  10. I too found it flowed very nicely and didn’t take long to solve at all. Lots to enjoy so thank you to Dean and Keriothe – I share the latter’s views on bad 5ds
  11. Unfortunately social duties precluded visiting the site and commenting yesterday, but thanks for a top blog K. Great puzzle as ever from The Dean. Must admit I struggled to see how LOG = power in 21ac, but I fear I am missing something obvious as no one else has mentioned it!
    1. Short for logarithm: ‘the power to which a fixed number, the base, must be raised to obtain a given number or variable’ (Collins).
  12. Performed dismally in this top-notch puzzle.Still don’t get how George=sand in 16a,someone please help.Ong’ara,NRB.
    1. George Sand was the the nom de plume of Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, a French novelist. See also George Eliot, aka Mary Ann Evans.
  13. Thanks Keriothe,now clear,blimey,so Eliot was female,never knew that.Chadwick Ong’ara,Nairobi.

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