Sunday Times 4741 by David McLean

I found this one to be at the easier end of the ST spectrum, and a quick glance at the Leaderboard reveals some extraordinarily fast times amongst the senior pros. That said, for me this was by no means a cakewalk, and I’m still a bit puzzled by the detailed parsing of 7ac.

Some very nice clues, with 3dn and 12ac my personal favourites. Thanks to Harry for an enjoyable puzzle.

1 Port the old lady perhaps picked up (10)
MARSEILLES – Sounds like MA SAY (the old lady perhaps picked up). The cunning use of “perhaps” as part of the homophone fodder (rather than as an exemplar) had me stumped for a while.
7 Work at the centre of constabulary’s case? (4)
COPY – OP (work) inside (at the centre of) CY (ConstabularY‘s case). Whilst the answer flowed inexorably from the wordplay, the definition puzzled me somewhat. Chambers gives one of the definitions of Copy as “something newsworthy”, so maybe that equates to “case” – or maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick altogether…
9 One might set you back at the dentists (1,4,2,3,5)
A KICK IN THE TEETH – Cryptic definition (& Lit, I guess)
10 Empty prison covered in a TV broadcast (6)
VACANT – CAN (prison) ‘covered by’ *(A TV) with “broadcast” pointing to the anagram
12 Go off one Hawking labelled best in the biz? (5,3)
START OUT – Alternatively STAR TOUT, the appellation that could be awarded to the best hawker. Nicely misleading, with the capital H having the desired effect of sending me off looking for some kind of scientific bod before the penny dropped.
13 Some exercise? It ain’t so bad, son (4-3)
CHIN UPS – CHIN UP (it ain’t so bad) + S (son)
15 Encourage understanding on radio (6)
INCITE – Sounds like INSIGHT (understanding on the radio)
17 It sickens one to recall quote about yours truly (6)
EMETIC – CITE (quote) + ME (yours truly) all reversed (to recall)
18 Forms of sacks filled with glue, mostly (7)
FIGURES – FIRES (sacks – as in razing a city to the ground) with GU{M} inside (filled with glue, mostly)
19 Spooner says to plunder HQ, leaving one tied up (8)
BOOTLACE – or LOOT BASE (plunder HQ) as the reverend might have said. As ever with Spoonerism type clues, you either see it immediately or it can take an age. This one fell into the latter category for me, even with the cross checkers in place and was my last one in after a lengthy period of head scratching.
21 Dug-out tunnels reviewed by a prisoner here? (6)
STALAG – TS reversed (dug-out T{unnel}S reviewed) + A LAG (a prisoner)
22 Ordering tactics changed, I assign players roles (7,8)
CASTING DIRECTOR – *(ORDERING TACTICS) with “changed” signalling the anagram
24 Hollande’s refusal to import English gas (4)
NEON – NON (Hollande’s – or any other Frenchman’s for that matter – refusal) with E (English) ‘imported’
25 Yorkist all messed up with old daggers? (5,5)
DIRTY LOOKS – *(YORKIST + OLD) – with “all messed up” indicating the anagram – and a cryptic definition based on ‘looking daggers’
2 Question job for which no top’s required (3)
ASK – {T}ASK (job for which no top’s required)
3 One in party with those left of centre in state? (9)
SOCIALIST – I (one) inserted between (in) SOCIAL (party) + ST (the letters to the left of the middle letter of ST a te). Cleverly constructed clue (which roughly translates as “took me a while to work out how the hell this thing worked”)
4 One spot to smuggle in bit of Indian dope (5)
IDIOT – I (bit of Indian) ‘smuggled into’ I DOT (one spot)
5 French article describing initially-censored Trump bloomers
LOTUSES – LES (French article) goes around (describing) {P}OTUS (initially censored Trump). Fortunately I knew the POTUS acronym (President Of The United States) as used by the US military and White House staffers from watching TV shows such as West Wing; anyone who did not have this odd bit of knowledge to hand may well have struggled with this one.
6 Swinging inspector might ask to do this at a wood mill (9)
SEESAWING – DD, the second being an amusing homophone
7 Conservative taking port and crack (5)
CLEFT – C (Conservative) + LEFT (port – at sea)
8 Leave port options, principally, up to astute drunk (3,3,2,3)
PUT OUT TO SEA – *(UP TO ASTUTE) – with “drunk” indicating the anagram – and O (Options, principally) also being added into the mix
11 A time to occupy a cold toilet seat, perhaps (11)
ACCOMMODATE – A T (a time) included in (occupy) A C COMMODE (a cold toilet)
14 Name in China due to move out of bonds? (9)
UNCHAINED – *(CHINA DUE) – with “to move” signalling the anagram – and N (name) also in the mix
16 Starter and fish bill about £100 without sides, apparently (9)
CARPACCIO – CARP (fish) + ACC (bill) + C (about) + IO ({£}10{0} without sides)
18 Long stop for one on the Queen’s unfinished WC? (7)
FIELDER – FIELD{S} (unfinished WC) goes ‘on’ ER (the Queen), giving the fielding position found in kids’ cricket games. An opportunity to share my favourite W.C. Fields quote – “Horse sense is the thing a horse has that stops it betting on people”.
20 Can rounds start to tire a heavyweight? (5)
TITAN – TIN (can) goes round T A (start to Tire A)
21 It’s my fault wife leaves trouble for soprano (5)
SORRY – W (wife) ‘leaves’ {W}ORRY (trouble) and is replaced by S (soprano)
23 Fine cut by head of axe — timber (3)
OAK – OK (fine) ‘cut’ by A (head of Axe)

22 comments on “Sunday Times 4741 by David McLean”

  1. If ‘case’ is there to indicate CY, and ‘work’ to indicate OP inside it, what is the definition?
    1. I think it must be a literal definition, perhaps of a punny kind. Does a cop do “cop-y” work?

      Edited at 2017-04-16 02:40 am (UTC)

      1. I thought the definition was “work”, where a “copy” could be, for example, a book. Mind you, I was defeated by 3d and 5d, so I’m not exactly sure I’m right about the ones I actually wrote in…
        1. ‘Work’ gives OP, so for it to be the definition it would have to be doing double duty, which is a no-no. Every word in the clue is actually needed for the wordplay, which means that it has to be &Lit.
      2. Yes, I also went down that road for a while but could not really justify it given (as Keriothe says below) the clear equation of Work and OP. (sorry – just for clarification this comment is a reply to brnchn’s above)

        Edited at 2017-04-16 10:11 am (UTC)

  2. No major problems on this apart from being too clever on LOI 25a by trying to make an old dagger a Dirk and a Yorkist a Tyke. It must have been having to acknowledge the existence of the White Rose claim to the throne that threw me, and I felt much happier once I’d mixed them up and given them DIRTY LOOKS. I took just over 40 minutes as a result of this and being slow to twig the Spoonerism despite thinking it would be bound to involve Base. COD START OUT. Thank you Nick and setter.
  3. 14:40. No real problems, although I’m not sure I understand 7ac. Structurally it has to be &Lit but I’m not sure how the whole clue is supposed to apply as a definition. Perhaps the case in question is an art forgery?
    MARSEILLES is of course the English term for ‘Marseille’, which has always struck me as odd.
    1. I’m actually quite relieved you were also somewhat perplexed by 7a K – thought I might be missing something obvious! Always a bit of a nightmare when blogging and something incomprehensible comes along…

      Maybe we’ll get a clarification from setter or editor.

      1. Structurally it has to be &Lit, I think, and having thought about it a bit more a definition relating to a police investigation into a forged (copied) painting fraud works fine for me.
    2. Light bulb moment. Thanks K! Of course if it’s a forgery case, the “work at the centre of constablulary’s case” is a COPY. So, there’s the literal definition. Way too clever for me.
  4. Well, I’m glad that so many others have had difficulty with 7ac as I have had. I’m happy to go with keriothe’s &lit but it would be nice if our setter would settle the matter.
  5. DNF for me. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t see the rather obvious socialist. Lots to enjoy though at 1ac, the tricky misdirection in 12ac, the £100 without sides device in 16ac and my COD 18dn. I saw 7ac and thought journalist’s copy but perhaps the question mark at the end allows for the sort of Uxbridge English Dictionary, like a cop definition, alluded to by others.
  6. I think answer is COPS as in Cops and Robbers. They work at centre of Constabulary’s case, and CS is case of constabulary’s (as opposed to constabulary)
  7. I thought the definition was &lit., ‘copy’ in the sense of advertising copy or journalist’s copy, being written work, or as in copy = prep at school?

    A twenty minute solve at leisure, nearly as easy as today’s.

  8. Fast time for me (as for today’s) and just bunged in COPY. Having read everything above, I realise that we have all missed something important. I look forward to the editor putting us all out of our misery.
  9. I can’t remember many details about this one, but I obviously struggled as the Club site shows I took 1 minute under 2 hours to complete this one. However it was all correct. I wondered about COPY too, but didn’t let it worry me. I wondered how SOCIALIST worked too, in fact I’ve just seen it now that I’ve had another look at the clue. Quite clever. Thanks setter and Nick.
  10. I completed the last David McLean puzzle but could only manage about half of this.
    I too am still puzzled by 7a. I had Cope but can see Copy is better with work =copy definition.
    Had Shoo tout at 12a and many blanks. David
  11. I think the sack = fire is to do with what happens to a useless employee, rather than a destroyed city.

    Paul G

  12. Another excellent offering from David McLean, always enjoy doing battle with him.

    I parsed COPY as per Keriothe above, and I don’t really see any need for clarification. Nice clue actually.

    Thanks for the block Nick. BTW, 9ac is a straight cryptic. There’s no wordplay to get you to the solution, so it can’t be &LIT.

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