Sunday Times 4719 by Dean Mayer

Yet another super puzzle from Dean that I happily meandered my way through at odd intervals during the course of a delightfully hedonistic Sunday.

As usual, much to enjoy by way of tight cluing, wit and whimsy (most notably 10a, 4d and the devious 8d) and some inventive definitions (particularly liked 7d, 1a and 19a).

Thanks, as ever, to Dean for a thoroughly enjoyable offering.

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

1 Caught in the act is very backward European (9)
DEVELOPED – Inside DEED (in the act) we put V (very) + POLE reversed (backward European). Took me a while to cotton on to the definition – caught a cold = developed a cold.
6 Bone is on far side of watering hole (5)
PUBIS – IS goes on the far side (from an Across clue perspective) of PUB (watering hole)
9 Excellent bass sound (5)
PLUMB – PLUM (excellent) + B (abbrev. bass) giving us the verb that equates to taking a sounding (as in Mark Twain)
10 Visitor given access based on pecking order? (9)
KISSOGRAM – Droll cryptic clue – rather nice
11 Cheers nearly all of the side (7)
LATERAL – LATER (cheers – “see ya later”) + AL{L} (nearly all)
12 Withdraw finance in a tricky situation (4,3)
13 One result of fighting in 1918? (5,8)
SPLIT DECISION – Once a few of the crosscheckers went in, the answer based on a possible outcome of a fight was clear enough. The reference to 1918, however, was a bit more of a challenge to me, as I’d always thought of the outcome of the Great War as having been a clear victory for the Allies. On reflection, I guess it was significantly less clear cut than (say) unconditional surrender – and therefore could be said to have been a split decision victory (if it’s not irreverent to apply a sporting analogy to this appalling event). Or maybe I’ve totally misunderstood the clue…
15 Putting together pork belly rack with salt (13)
ORCHESTRATING – OR (pORk belly – i.e. middle) + CHEST (er, rack – schoolboy slang still employed by some 60 year old schoolboys of my acquaintance) + RATING (salt – as in sailor)
19 He is one judge abandoned by church (7)
PRONOUN – PRONOUN{CE} – Church of England leaves
20 Shake bottle (7)
UNNERVE – A quirky kind of clue based around “bottle” being a UK term for strength of character / resilience (not sure if it has made its way across the Atlantic). Defied any attempt by me to parse it conventionally, but none the worse for that – it just works. Others may have a clearer view on clue type.
22 Euro Fighter deserved to be moved overseas (9)
EMIGRATED – E (Euro) + MIG (fighter) + RATED (deserved)
23 One regularly scabbarded? (5)
SABRE – Cryptic (& Lit. I guess, assuming the weapon in question is, um, unscabbarded on a frequent basis…). Every other letter (regularly) of ScAbBaRdEd
24 Noise on landing strip softly cuts through (5)
SPLAT – P (softly) inside SLAT (strip)
25 Cheese left with French toast (4,5)
PORT SALUT – PORT (nautical left) + SALUT (the French drinker’s toast)
1 Patch of colour in dead tree (6)
DAPPLE – D (dead) + APPLE (tree)
2 Crow relative with notch shape on head (5)
VAUNT – AUNT (relative) preceded by V (notch shape on head). Never seen the V/notch device before, but that’s probably because I’m relatively new to the game.
3 Crime lord able to corrupt visiting politician (7,8)
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT – *(CRIME LORD ABLE TO) with “corrupt” as the anagrind, with AT (visiting) added on the end. I suspect I was not alone in spending some time thinking “hang on, we seem to be a couple of letters short here…”
4 Stupid boy allowed to make crumpet (7)
PIKELET – PIKE (stupid boy – a write in for any Dads Army aficionado but probably totally incomprehensible to anyone who has not seen the show – did it make it across the Atlantic?) + LET (allowed).
5 Inspector Black put out of action (7)
DISABLE – DI (inspector) + SABLE (black). Knew the creature but not the colour, so I (wrongly) assumed this must be a bit like mink. Anyway, all roads led to Rome, thankfully…
6 They chased people who couldn’t keep still (15)
PROHIBITIONISTS – Once you saw that ‘still’ was referring to hooch making apparatus, you were home and, er, dry
7 Briefly having pedestrian crossing dispute (9)
BORROWING – BORING (pedestrian) going around (crossing) ROW (dispute). The definition would not sit well with my pal Simon’s 92 year old father from whom I ‘borrowed’ a pair of sandals whilst visiting the family in 1975. When Simon mentioned to his father recently that he was meeting up with me for lunch, the old boy asked Simon to enquire of me when I might be returning his footwear.
8 X over single interval (8)
SEMITONE – TIMES reversed (X over – very neat) + ONE. Much head scratching until the penny drop moment finally arrived.
13 Edited articles about love of an area (9)
SECTORIAL – *(ARTICLES) – with “edited” as the anagrind – goes around O (love)
14 Success — we should put together poems (8)
COUPLETS – COUP (success) + LETS (we should) ‘put together’. Trade mark neat stuff from Dean.
16 VAT to pay primarily for piece of clothing (4,3)
TANK TOP – TANK (vat) + TO + P (Pay primarily)
17 Up”, like “down”? (7)
ASUNDER – AS (like) UNDER (down), with the definition (I think) being the usage in tear up / tear asunder.
18 Bond line taken from Pope (6)
CEMENT – C{L}EMENT. The Pope (pick any one from 1 to 14) loses L (line)
21 Where belief conceals dissent (5)
REBEL – Neatly ‘concealed’ in wheRE BELief

20 comments on “Sunday Times 4719 by Dean Mayer”

  1. This took me forever, and I was relieved and rather surprised that I got them all right at long last. I have ? in the margins for 1ac, 3d, 4d 8d, and 14d (LOI; parsed it long after); Nick has opened my eyes for 3, 4, and 8. Should have twigged to 8 myself, but DNK both PIKE and PIKELET. I was (am) wondering about SPLIT DECISION–thought it might be referring somehow to a 19-18 score in some game, but then thought it might be referring to the break-up of the losers’ empires. Someone will know. I knew ‘bottle’=’courage’, and UNNERVE was inescapable, but if ‘shake’ is UNNERVE, then is ‘shake bottle’ also UNNERVE? Can they DO that?
  2. 1918 fighting was in the town of SPLIT (Croatia) and someone with better knowledge of history can say what the Split decision was. (Agree great puzzle and very enjoyable. I just finished a team effort so probably combined 3 hours) Thanks for all the weekend bloggers – really appreciated.
  3. There is a whole Wiki Article about fighting in Split, 1918-1920. I’m not sure why Dean chose 1918 specifically – perhaps he thought it would be published today, Remembrance Sunday?
  4. 13 SPLIT DECISION: I was similarly puzzled when trying to explain it. I think I had to look at Dean’s notes to discover that “1918” is treated as it is, er, pronounced. The answers 19 and 18 are PRONOUN, CEMENT – a pronouncement=decision in two parts.
  5. Surely this refers to the Austro-Hungarian Empire splitting- up in November 1918 after the Armistice.

    1. That’s the best history explanation so far, but if intended by Dean, an unstated one.
  6. 37m. Very tough, I thought, and a mixture of the very good and the mildly irritating. In the latter camp there are a number of definitions that are at best stretched, IMO:
    > ‘Caught’ for DEVELOPED
    > PRONOUNCEMENT for ‘decision’, split or otherwise (admittedly I had absolutely no idea what was going on with this clue, assuming it was something to do with Croatia).
    > SALUT as a toast. People say ‘santé’: SALUT just means ‘hello’. It’s in ODO as a toast though so I can’t really blame Dean for this one.
    > ‘Up’ for ASUNDER
    I don’t really understand 20ac either.
    Some excellent stuff in the mix though: the cryptic defs are very good, and 23ac is a great find.
    1. ‘I’m relatively new to the game.”
      Agreed, certainly not the strongest blog – quite a few unknowns.


      1. Will you please stop making snide remarks and continuing your personal campaign against this particular blogger? Your comments on the puzzles are usually interesting but this stuff is now getting beyond the pale. My finger on the Delete button is starting to get itchy.

        Edited at 2016-11-13 02:07 pm (UTC)

  7. To K’s list, I would add the V part of 2d: V notch I now see has something to do with weirs, but the head part is a bamboozlement.

    So not for me Dean’s finest, but then he is the great entertainer and artist, and we must cherish him.

    Thanks to Nick for a very fine blog. Mondays are a peace of the proverbial compared to the Sundays Nick and K take on.

    1. I read the ‘on head’ bit as just indicating that the V shape is at the front of the relative.
  8. Great puzzle, 40 minutes or so relaxing, good blog Nick, I had no idea what was going on with 1918 but now PB has explained it I am agog with admiration for the Dean’s wizardry.

    Horryd Shanghai if you only have negative or rude things to add, please don’t; no need to live up to your pseudonym or emulate your avatar!

  9. Great blog as ever, Nick – thank you very much.
    Sadly I don’t do history, so would never base a clue on the relevance of 1918 (it would probably be too abstruse anyway). The PRONOUNCEMENT trick came about after a discussion with a solving friend who asked me if I remembered clues. Sometimes I do, but only if I’ve found something unusual for a long answer. Otherwise, I forget them as quickly as most solvers do. As a test, I used the SPLIT DECISION – PRONOUN/CEMENT device from not long ago and claimed no-one would remember it, especially if I exploited it the other way around.
  10. Thank you Dean for a crossword that I loved to bits ( that’s not a reference to split decisions). I missed the PRONOUN/ CEMENT but that just adds to the sum total in retrospect.
    Thanks equally for the blog; I shall think of you as “nick the notch” after 2d.
    A joy.
  11. Quite pleased to scrape in under the hour mark on one of Dean’s offerings, if only by 2 minutes. Along with others I failed to understand SPLIT DECISION but as I wasn’t blogging the puzzle I didn’t worry unduly about it.

    I’m still not totally convinced by “caught = developed” and following on from the explanation given by our esteemed blogger I might argue that one catches a cold and then it develops.

    Thanks for another excellent blog, Nick. It’d be nice to hear from you more often on days that you’re not on duty.

  12. To shake is to unnerve; bottle = nerve, but (like cleave and public school) can (?) mean the opposite: I took ‘bottle’ to be short for ‘bottle out’, which sort of means unnerve. Perhaps there are better explanations.
    1. My understanding is that it’s just shake=disturb, applied to one’s bottle=nerve. A cryptic def, by virtue of “shake bottle” looking as if it means something else.
      1. Yes, Pete’s right. I had ‘shake’ pencilled in as a possible def to be matched with wordplay but it didn’t feel quite solid enough (“Never stopped you before”, some might say). ‘Bottle’ just turned it into something more specific while creating a reasonable false image.

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