Sunday Times 4724 by Jeff Pearce

11:56, slowed down considerably by a justifiable but wrong answer at 7dn, which made the unknown (to me) painting at 20ac difficult to get. Eventually I realised that the anagrist didn’t contain an E so my CYCLE LANE must be wrong.

So pretty straightforward this one, I think. There were a couple of arguably questionable and/or weak things in here, but perhaps that’s just me being over-fussy, or plain wrong. I’d be interested to hear what others thought. On the plus side there’s a good helping of fine &Lits and semi-&Lits in here, and 8dn is excellent.

1 Store stocks belt to go on back of large carriage
5 Agree to prisoner having mutt
CONCUR – CON (prisoner), CUR (mutt). I didn’t notice while solving but the word ‘to’ seems problematically extraneous here. To ‘agree to’ is to CONCUR with isn’t it?
10 Like bats but left Count and ran hysterically!
11 Patient type carries a cold sheep
12 Fool about … with this at your own risk!
NITRE – NIT, RE. Semi-&Lit.
13 Confess how you like your laundry to arrive?
COME CLEAN – this doesn’t really work for me. I like my laundry to arrive COME CLEAN?
14 Having dough — this will help an evening out
ROLLING PIN – this seems to be just a straight definition with an oblique reference to the fact that if you have lots of money (dough) you are ROLLING in it. I hope there’s something more to this that I’ve missed because it seems pretty weak to me otherwise.
17 Once provided silver to go in this pudding
SAGO – S(AG)O. Collins has ‘provided that’ as an archaic meaning of SO.
19 Provide assistance about river that’s dry
20 “Fresh Dahlia and grass” – unfinished painting by symbolist Watts
SIR GALAHAD – (DAHLIA, GRASs)*. I hadn’t heard of this painting, and the anagram was unsurprisingly tricky to work out until I had corrected 7dn.
22 Cover with the finest cosmetic
FACE CREAM – FACE as in to ‘provide with a surface of a different material’ (Collins), CREAM (of the crop).
24 Part of trout really is flaky
OUTRE – contained in ‘trout really’. Both Collins and ODO give definitions of ‘flaky’ relating it to eccentricity, which was new to me. In my experience it’s synonymous with unreliable or ditzy.
26 It might put hole in a tub at sea
U-BOAT – (A TUB)* containing O, or a ‘hole’. Semi-&Lit.
27 Alert footballer puts boots here
ON THE BALL – two definitions, one very mildly cryptic.
28 City managed to follow leaders of Tottenham Hotspur around end of tie
TEHRAN – Tottenham(tiE)Hotspur, RAN.
29 Dressing when going to the Savoy?
COLESLAW – savoy is a variety of cabbage, and COLESLAW is, er, dressed cabbage. Sort of. Not the strongest clue I’ve ever seen.

1 Cracking location in California
2 Caught a drunk outside this racecourse
3 Hot issue about a way to provide residential care?
4 Policeman arrests an international grass
PANIC – P(AN, I)C. The crossword grass.
6 Sporting description of ball in goal
OBJECT – the OBJECT ball in billiards and similar games is the one you’re aiming at with the cue ball.
7 A way to promote the use of off-road bikes?
CYCLE PATH – and not CYCLE LANE, as I initially put, making life a bit difficult for myself when it came to the painting. CD.
8 Elf or goblin of old we read about?
ROBIN GOODFELLOW – (OR GOBLIN OF OF OLD WE)*. This is a very neat clue. It took me a while to work out the anagrist: it thought at first that ELF was part of it.
9 Stopper restraining medium bucket in waterworks
15 Chill not developing when this is placed round middle of groin?
LOIN CLOTH – (CHILL NOT)* containing grOin. &Lit.
16 Its owner should follow its lead
GUIDE DOG – a not-very-cryptic definition.
18 Enclosure at back of house contains snake returned from years
PLIOCENE – PEN, housE containing a reversal of COIL.
21 Moulding one into 2 badly
SCOTIA – (ASCOT)* containing I. Not a word I knew.
23 Transport system held up by inspector, temporarily
METRO – contained reversed (‘up’, because this is a down clue) in ‘inspector, temporarily’.
25 Use net to search for a suitable appointment
TRAWL – DD. To TRAWL in the second sense is normally to look for an appointee, rather than an appointment.

24 comments on “Sunday Times 4724 by Jeff Pearce”

  1. I found this generally unsatisfactory, although part of the dissatisfaction came from my inability, for the longest time, to solve 18d, 25d, and 29ac. I didn’t notice a couple of the problems k points out, like COME CLEAN; CONCUR, though, seems OK, if we take the def as ‘agree to’. Didn’t understand how grass=panic, and didn’t know about Savoy cabbage; COLESLAW went in pretty much faute de mieux. I did like PLIOCENE and especially ROBIN GOODFELLOW.
    1. I concur/agree that the definition has to be ‘agree to’ but I don’t think this means CONCUR. If you agree to something you concur with it. I can’t think of a context in which CONCUR and ‘agree to’ are interchangeable.
  2. 4dn PANIC has two meanings the lest known is ‘panic grass’ from the panicum tree species – an old crossword chestnut.

    I thought this was an the easy side for a Sunday. 26 minutes.

    21dn SCOTIA is a hollow basal moulding.


    I am a member of the wonderful Watts Gallery so no problem with 20ac SIR GALAHAD

    horryd – Shanghai

  3. Hello Keriothe,l think in 14a ‘evening out’ is flattening dough using a rolling pin when cooking.Ong’ara,Nairobi.This one was a rather gentle crossword for me.
    1. Hi Ong’ara. Yes, I realise that, perhaps I should have been more explicit in my comment. It’s the other meaning of the clue that I struggled with a little. Having looked at it again I think the ‘rolling in it’ aspect I saw is a red herring: it’s just a CD with a surface meaning that’s about having money when you go out and a cryptic meaning about pastry.
  4. 34 minutes. DK SCOTIA as moulding. No problem with 29ac which as indicated above is defined by the whole clue. Dressing + Savoy (cabbage) can make coleslaw.
  5. 7D: I thought “off-road” was a way of steering solvers away from CYCLE LANE, but I see that the Oxford Dictionary of English spoils this by including “road” in their “cycle path” definition. One that I might gently question, as their only road def that I can equate with cycle paths would imply that they think cycle paths are wide.
    1. Thanks Peter. I wasn’t complaining (I don’t mind if checking letters are required to resolve a potential ambiguity), and I agree that PATH is clearly the better answer if you think about it. To the extent I did think about it I may have been influenced by the cycle lanes I see most often, on Blackfriars Bridge and the Embankment. They are completely separated from the road, so arguably off it. It is important never to get into a conversation with a taxi driver about these lanes.

      Edited at 2016-12-18 12:14 pm (UTC)

  6. I tend to agree with you re 5a (concur means agree, and they take different propositions, and to can’t be acting as a link word) and also 29a, which just seems like a Christmas cracker-like play on words. However, I rather like 13. If you take off your pedantic specs and imagine a conversation where someone asks another ‘How do up you like your laundry to arrive?’, I think it’s quite permissible – in a whimsical clue of this type, unlike 5a, which is essentially a grammatical clue – to reply, ‘I like it to come clean.’ I mean, the poor setter is allowed some latitude, especially, I contend, when he ventures into latitudinarian territory.

    Edited at 2016-12-18 09:13 am (UTC)

  7. Not a bother with this one, just under the 20 minutes at leisure, and didn’t have my pedant specs on for once.
    Just finished today, The Dean’s big Christmas job, what a treat!
      1. It was a treat, but unexpected for me. It shouldn’t be really: they do it every year, but I never remember. Fortunately I had time this morning.
  8. Thanks for the blog K. I just popped in to record my time, as I may never have the chance to post a better one.

    Funny thing is I opened the crossword as I settled in to watch a bit of England v India, so it didn’t really have my full attention. Perhaps that’s the secret!

    Today’s Dean took almost twenty times as long, but was worth every minute.

  9. If someone proposes something, you may agree or agree to it – in which case, you concur. However, you are concurring *with* the *person* rather than the thing.
    1. I don’t know where you get this ‘rule’ from, but it isn’t so. ‘Concur with’ is often used in conjunction with a ‘thing’, as you put it: ODO gives numerous examples in which it is used for agreement with an opinion, decision, appointment etc.
      However having looked at this again it occurs to me that ‘agree to’ and ‘concur with’ don’t quite mean the same thing, since ‘agree to’ implies consent, whereas ‘concur with’ doesn’t, even if it can imply a strong element of approval (‘we strongly concur with this recommendation’ is the first example given in ODO).
      Whichever way you cut it, I can’t make ‘agree to’ mean CONCUR, and the word ‘to’ doesn’t perform any wordplay function, so I still think it’s extraneous.
  10. Several people have mentioned a 23 x 23. I would love to see it but am writing from a cheery -24C Canada and cannot find it online. Is there a link available that I could download?
    Cheers, MJ
    1. Hi MJ. We were in Canada for Christmas. Lots of snow but thankfully not that cold!
      A 13×13 appeared on Christmas Day. It’s still available on the crossword club but I don’t known if it’s accessible elsewhere. I’m pretty sure it won’t be available for nothing. How do you normally access the puzzle?

      Edited at 2017-01-07 07:58 pm (UTC)

      1. We see the puzzles 3 weeks after you in the Saturday Toronto Star newspaper. We just finished 4725 which we had so looked forward to thinking it would be the Christmas one that had previously been alluded to in this blog, but instead got a repeat of a 2014 whose clues rapidly began to ring a bell. One suspects the larger size would not fit in the usual paper’s puzzle page format.

        I would be more than happy to pay for the thrill of a big Mayer Christmas treat!

        Being fairly new cryptic fans, this blog has saved our lives in not having to wait for a week for answers, but especially in the parsing. Instead of all afternoon sessions we have actually got a couple of 27 minute solves which a year ago would have been unimaginable!

        1. If you subscribe to the Times you get access to the Crossword Club site, which has all the daily and weekend puzzles, including jumbos (13×13). It also has archives going back years, so you can practise solving to your hearts’ content!
          I don’t know any other way you’d find that particular puzzle.
  11. ……..from patting ourselves on the back.

    Two weeks in a row we’ve completed the puzzle in a single sitting without aids, about an hour each. First time ever.

    Usually we hack away at them for days. However we’d be lost without you bloggers for some of the parsing. Thanks again.

    Jan and Tom, Toronto.

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