Sunday Times 4733 by Jeff Pearce

An enjoyable puzzle characterised by very economical cluing from Jeff – elegant, pithy surfaces abound.

Nothing too taxing, although 1ac was unknown to me and went in from wordplay on a wing and a prayer, and I needed to chip away at several of the others for lengthy periods before they finally yielded. 14d was probably my pick of a good crop of clues.

Thanks, as ever, to Jeff.

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

1 There’s one doctor left in the doctor’s game (10)
THIMBLERIG – I (one) MB (doctor) L (left) ‘in’ THE + RIG (doctor), giving the “game” (or more usually con trick) involving picking which cup the pea (or whatever) is under after they have been moved around at high speed. A bit tortuous but I managed to get there in the end trusting to the wordplay.
6 It’s hard in prison for a detective (4)
CHAN – H (hard) ‘in’ CAN (prison) giving us Charlie the sleuth. Apparently no less than 48 films have been made featuring this character: I’m no film buff, but I’d be intrigued to know if any other character has spawned so many movies.
9 Type of chemical rich and idle do when tripping? (10)
DICHLORIDE – *(RICH IDLE DO) with “tripping” pointing to the anagram
10 Boast about a lot of stuff (4)
CROW – Most of (a lot of) CROW{D} (stuff).
12 Leant over and put something on ebay? (6)
13 Criminal may bless court (8)
ASSEMBLY – *(MAY BLESS) with “criminal” as the anagram indicator
15 Stop to make a speech about international decline (11)
DETERIORATE – DETER (stop) and ORATE (to make a speech) go around (about) I (abbrev. International)
18 Order a contract (11)
21 Burlesque? Go without an item of underwear (8)
TRAVESTY – TRY (go) goes around (without) A VEST (an item of underwear)
22 American discovered in plot with the foreign official (6)
BEADLE – A (American) inside BED (plot – as in flower bed) + LE (‘the’ foreign – i.e. French)
24 Den left with strain (4)
LAIR – L (left) ‘with’ AIR (strain – i.e. tune)
25 Perhaps shot put incomplete cricketer against opening
FIELD EVENT – FIELDE{R} (incomplete cricketer) next to (against) VENT (opening)
26 Almost blacken pipe (4)
SING – SING{E} (almost blacken)
27 Tasty Celt with 22 changes (10)
DELECTABLE – *(CELT + BEADLE (22 ac)) with “changes” indicating the anagram
1 Walk unsteadily with rum in bottle? Not half! (6)
TODDLE – ODD (rum) ‘in’ {bot}TLE (not half)
2 Sculpture is visible in trendy church (6)
INCISE – IS can be seen within IN CE (trendy church). Whilst the wordplay seemed clear enough, the definition threw me somewhat as I’d always thought of “sculpture” as a noun whereas the clue seemed to be pointing us to a verb. However, in addition to the more obvious “sculpt” online resources indicate “sculpture” can also be used as a verb.
3 Expect everyone assumed reindeer comes after Nijinsky?
BALLET DANCER – BET (expect) takes in (assumes) ALL (everyone) + DANCER (one of Santa’s reindeer) coming ‘after’
4 Part of corn primarily needed to make bread (4)
EARN – EAR (part of corn) + N (primarily Needed)
5 Being drunk Republican is enticed to be thus? (10)
INDISCREET – *(IS ENTICED) – with R (Republican) also thrown into the mix – and “being drunk” pointing to the anagram
7 Wanting opening? Cut a bit of light white wood (8)
HORNBEAM – {S}HORN (cut) is without its opening + BEAM (a bit of light)
8 Honeymooner’s want is to go around with extremely lovely
wife (8)
NEWLYWED – NEED (want) ‘goes around’ W (with) + LY(extremes of LovelY) On edit + another W (wife) – thanks for pointing that out Ulaca
11 Trouser pockets are dirty (5,3,4)
14 Wily American actress has time for gentle old comedian (10)
STREETWISE – Meryl STREEP (American actress) has her P (gentle – as in music) replaced by T (time) + WISE (“little Ern” – old comedian). Very nice surface and neat clue all round, I thought.
16 Nasty insult about gold vessel (8)
NAUTILUS – *(INSULT) – with “nasty” indicating the anagram – and AU (gold) also included
17 European requires raincoat to go out (8)
CROATIAN – *(RAINCOAT) with “to go out” pointing to the anagram
19 Maintain bishop must imprison Duchess immediately, say
ADVERB – AVER (maintain) + B (bishop) ‘imprisoning’ D (duchess), with a definition by example
20 A sort of bench or perch (6)
23 Flower spotted in Heidelberg (4)
ELBE – Hidden inside (spotted in) heidELBErg

22 comments on “Sunday Times 4733 by Jeff Pearce”

  1. Would have been a bit faster if I hadn’t blithely typed ‘left’ at 24ac, not noticing the goof until a good deal later. Biffed 7d, and only noticed now that I never went back to parse it. LOI 2d, for the reason that Nick points out. Didn’t we have THIMBLERIG recently? I seem to recall some discussion, here or on the forum. Anyway, it’s my COD.
  2. 6ac the inscrutible detective is unknown in China – more’s the pity!

    This was average for a Sunday with THIMBLERIG my FOI & WOD. LOI 25ac FIELD EVENT 31 minutes

    COD 19dn ADVERB

    Edited at 2017-02-19 10:59 am (UTC)

  3. Quite hard work which required nearly an hour with a little assistance on 1ac, unknown to me despite having commented re THIMBLERIG when it appeared on 16th January. I tried parsing 10ac with “boast” as definition and C (about) but I was unable to account for ROW as “a lot of stuff”.

    Edited at 2017-02-19 05:54 pm (UTC)

  4. 13m. I had completely forgotten the previous appearance of THIMBLERIGGER, which is quite an achievement for such a recent appearance of such an odd word. I also paused quite a lot on CROW for similar reasons to jackkt: I didn’t really like the inclusion of ‘about’ in the definition and thought ‘stuff’ for ‘crowd’ was a little oblique. I couldn’t think of anything better so in the end I just bunged it in.
    1. Fully agree with you (and jackkt) re. ‘crowd’ – “a little oblique” is a perfect way of putting it!
      1. I should say that a little oblique is fine by me. The ‘about’ threw me more, if anything, but I still solved the clue.
  5. I seem to have done this in 15.54 so obviously my queries about a couple of the definitions didn’t cause any real hold-ups. CROWD=stuff is ok-ish, as is ASSEMBLY=court. But if the answers hadn’t been obvious I might have moaned a bit. Thanks so much for Thurber’s Catbird Seat last time around Nick – I didn’t know it. There are some writers who are so good I find I don’t mind their obvious misogyny. Dahl is another.
  6. Luckily I had also remembered THIMBLERIG so it was my (slightly smugly-entered, I admit) FOI. Unfortunately an hour later I still had half a dozen to get, and finally threw in the towel with just 7d left. Defeated by an unknown bit of wood!

    Ah well. It’s better than I did today, and I enjoyed it a lot more, too…

    Edited at 2017-02-19 03:43 pm (UTC)

  7. I found this a tough Jeff, getting home in 49 minutes.

    Thanks for resolving Crowd for me (though I share K’s reservation). Might I return the favour by pointing out that the Wife has left 8 down?

  8. Rabid antisemitism too, in the case of Dahl, although that’s not so visible in the books.
    1. Yes, you’re right Keriothe and it’s easy to miss that unless you’re on the other end. I just re-read an old favourite – Greene’s Our Man in Havana and there is the N word smack dab on the first page. Oh my.
      1. I can assure you it’s quite impossible to miss if you read some of the things he wrote outside the books. Absolutely shocking.
  9. …………….Was always horrified at my committed Socialist friends reading Willy Wonka to their pre-school kids. It glorifies scabs and blacklegs.

    Thanks again to all the bloggers, we’d be lost without you.

    Tom, Toronto.

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