Sunday Times 4722 by Dean Mayer

I normally try to do these blogs soon after solving the puzzle. At the very least I will make a start, which generally means reading through the clues to make sure I understand everything and getting some initial impressions down. I didn’t get round to this one until yesterday, at which point I found that I couldn’t remember a darned thing about it. I had a bit of minor dental surgery on Tuesday and the 4dn, which made me feel pretty stupid for a day or two, appears to have wiped my memory. I hope nothing important happened at work on Monday.

Anyway, this puzzle took me 20:35 to solve, which suggests something quite tricky, but looking at them now all the clues seem very straightforward. This is generally a sign of a first rate puzzle.

There’s one clue (18ac) I don’t understand, but the answer is pretty obvious from the checkers and at least parts of the clue, so I expect I just bunged it in.

With the benefit of hindsight this looks like the usual first-class Dean Mayer offering, but I’d be interested in the views of anyone who actually remembers solving it.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*.

1 One authorised bonus given to workers
TIPSTAFF – TIP (bonus), STAFF (workers). I know that this is a word, if not what it means, so I expect I knew it last week too. A TIPSTAFF is a court official or a sheriff’s officer/bailiff, depending on which dictionary you prefer. The latter seems closer to the definition here.
6 Simple house with parking on A1
PREFAB – P (parking), RE (on), FAB (A1).
10 Lincoln Cathedral’s last murder victim
ABEL – ABE (Abraham Lincoln), cathedraL.
11 Wanting charges later
AFTERWARDS – ATER (wanting) WARDS (charges, as in wards of court for example).
12 One very bright teacher is blocked by university
SIRIUS – SIR (teacher), I(U)S. The Dogstar. I do remember initially bunging in GENIUS here, although I don’t now remember why I thought it made any sense.
13 Nearly as upset as one breaking down
15 Usually on top, master criminal
18 Some odd issue of Paris Match?
ENFANT TERRIBLE – I may have understood this last week, but now I have absolutely no idea what’s supposed to be going on, other than that the issue (child) of a match in Paris would be an ENFANT. I can’t see how ‘odd’ contributes, or any reference to the meaning of the answer. Help gratefully received!
22 Block letters after G better
HANDICAP – the letters after G in the alphabet are H AND I. Then CAP (better, i.e. beat, outdo).
24 Copper market’s failed
25 I have to fill potty carried for so long
A RIVEDERCI – (CARRIED)* containing I’VE. There was some discussion on the club forum about whether this should be one word or two, but this is one of those quite common cases where I was unburdened by prior knowledge.
26 Stone work filling in wall
OPAL – OP, wALl. It’s coming back to me now: my initial thought for this was STOP, and ‘filling in wall’ is quite tempting as a possible definition. Unlike with 12ac though I don’t think I bunged this in: perhaps it didn’t seem quite convincing enough.
27 Cosiest area to catch some sleep
SIESTA – contained in ‘cosiest area’.
28 Is in heat — that’s ominous
SINISTER – SIN(IS)TER. SINTERing is a bit like soldering.

2 Cheese-coated food, primarily ungarnished?
IN BRIEF – IN BRIE (cheese-coated), Food. I suppose if something is IN BRIEF you could say it is ungarnished with detail, but it seems rather loose to me. I probably thought it was fine last week.
3 Bond eats one piece of bread
SOLDIER – SOLD(I)ER. SOLDERing is a bit like sintering.
4 I can see that odd number
5 Much about turning behind to medium size here?
FAT FARM – FAR (much) containing a reversal of AFT (behind), M (medium). Semi-&Lit.
7 Turning left and right, less important sort of wheel
ROWEL – LOWER (less important) with the L and R swapped.
8 Smoking group completely stop
FORESTALL – FOREST is the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco, hence ‘smoking group’. No, me neither. Add ALL (completely).
9 Lecture about a small level of interest
14 Concept car safety feature — grip
ABSTRACTION – ABS (car safety feature), TRACTION.
16 Attack that may cause wounding
17 She dared to cook ducks
REDHEADS – (SHE DARED)*. A type of diving duck I hadn’t heard of.
19 Old Paddy set up foreign trade?
EXPORTS – EX (old), reversal of STROP.
20 Save a great deal for servant
21 Copy one bird and others will come back
EMULATE – EMU, reversal of ET AL.
23 Clumsy writer about to get into it
INEPT – IT containing a reversal of PEN.

8 comments on “Sunday Times 4722 by Dean Mayer”

  1. An absurdly fast time for me for a Dean puzzle, with 5d followed by 1ac as my LsOI. DNK SINTER, FOREST, or the duck, but in each case the wordplay was reassuring. Biffed 8d from TRACTION, having forgotten ABS, which came to me later. Among my post-solve notes I find ’18ac odd’, but I can’t come up with anything better by way of explanation than to think that ‘odd’ is supposed to indicate TERRIBLE. Certainly enfants terribles are rare, even among the tantrum-prone little ones of Japan, let alone the well-behaved Parisians; but still. COD to 25ac; for what it’s worth, the spelling here is what I found in what looked like a definitive Italian dictionary; and etymologically it looks correct.

    Edited at 2016-12-04 05:16 am (UTC)

  2. 48 minutes. DK SINTER or REDHEAD as a duck. Looked twice at 25 as I’d always thought of it as one word; I never studied Italian but eventually reasoned it probably works the same way as à bientôt in French. I’ve nothing to add to the explanation already given for 18 as my mind had worked along the same lines without ever arriving at a “doh!” moment when it suddenly all became clear. It still seems a bit tenuous for one of Dean’s clues so I suspect we may be missing something.

    Edited at 2016-12-04 04:32 am (UTC)

  3. 18ac I concur with Kevin. I too started with GENIUS for 12ac. I also thought 2dn might be EN BOEUF – IN BRIEF! A pig has just flown past my window!

    FOI 10ac ABEL. LOI 17dn REDHEADS. Time 62 long mins.

  4. 18ac an enfant terrible is an odd child in the sense of unconventional.. OED:
    ” A child who embarrasses his elders by untimely remarks; transf. a person who compromises his associates or his party by unorthodox or ill-considered speech or behaviour; loosely, one who acts unconventionally.”
    You need the “odd” to indicate it is not just any old enfant. What the “Some” is doing I am less sure about .. as Jack says, either it’s not one of Dean’s finest, or we’re missing something
    1. Thanks Jerry, and Jack. If this is all there is to it I’d have to agree it’s not one of Dean’s finest. Picking one word from the definition and trying to hang the whole concept on a loose synonym (unconventional/odd) seems unusually weak for DM so I do wonder if when’re missing something.
  5. 22:31 .. great fun, as always. I do remember spending some time post-solve wondering about the terrible infant. Perhaps it started out as “A shocking issue of Paris Match” or similar and was felt to be too easy. “Some odd issue ..” does hint at subterranean wordplay but I’m putting my head on the block and saying it’s a red herring.

    Thanks for parsing SINISTER, keriothe, which I never got round to looking up — sinter certainly new to me. I don’t often get round to commenting on weekends, mainly because of the problem of remembering puzzles even without anaesthetic, but I often read the blogs so my thanks to you and all who do the graft on the quieter shifts.

    It’s been a mind game week for me, having got very caught up in the world chess champs as it went along, especially after discovering the great commentaries on places like Chess24 (bonkers Norwegian / deadpan Russian Grand Master double-act — it was like watching Alas Smith and Jones). I’m no kind of chess player, being hopelessly prone to blunders, but I love watching people who really know what they’re doing. And the various commentaries and analyses available on Youtube these days are a revelation. The Carlsen Karjakin tiebreakers kept me glued to the screen for hours the other evening. Great stuff.

  6. Solved this one yesterday as I was catching up following trip to Australia. Found it unusually straightforward (relatively speaking!) for a Dean offering, and – as ever – most enjoyable.

    Similar to others, DNK SINTER or the diving bird. Must admit I didn’t dwell too long on making full sense of 18ac; I just assumed “odd” kind of equated to “terrible” and moved on…

    Was I alone in thinking 5dn was a bit convoluted for a Dean clue? Anyway, good puzzle and thanks for the blog K.

    Edited at 2016-12-04 05:13 pm (UTC)

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