Sunday Times 4745 by Jeff Pearce

This, for me, was the most enjoyable Jeff Pearce puzzle that I can remember. Decidedly tricky in parts, several gorgeous surfaces, some very elegant cluing, plenty of wit and not much in the way of arcane knowledge being required. Pretty much a perfect Sunday package as far as I was concerned.

I’m sure I was not alone in finding 2d particularly tricky, and I only managed to fully parse it post-solve. 24ac also baffled me for a while. On reflection, I think what both of these clues had in common was that they were somewhat unorthodox in their structure (and nothing wrong with that as far as I am concerned) and brought home to me how easy it is to fall into the trap of adopting a convention-driven, somewhat formulaic approach to solving when in some instances more lateral thinking is required. At least, that’s my take on it!

Anyway, hats off to Jeff for a super puzzle – here’s how I think it all plays out.

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

1 Endless material about radical plays (6)
DRAMAS – DAMAS{K} (endless material) goes around (about) R (abbrev. Radical)
4 Bananas — excellent with marmite? (8)
CRACKPOT – CRACK (excellent – as in a crack shot) + POT (a marmite is a kind of cooking pot, from which the divisive spread originally took its name)
10 Is it sweet to celebrate a fast finish? (6,3)
EASTER EGG – Very nice cryptic based on Easter marking the end of Lent (fast finish)
11 Bloomer gets fearsome person beheaded (5)
ERROR – {T}ERROR (fearsome person beheaded)
12 Girl embraces very loud one at start of company do (7)
SUFFICE – SUE (girl) goes around (embraces) FF (very loud) I (one) C (start of Company)
14 Pick up note about show (7)
IMPROVE – MI reversed (note about) PROVE (show)
15 Gardener’s hemp mixed with heroin makes one barking
GERMAN SHEPHERD – *(GARDENERS HEMP) – with “mixed” as the anagram indicator – and H (abbrev. Heroin) also in the mix. Gorgeous surface!
18 Organise long gun with tear gas for something trooper
might use
? (6,8)
STRONG LANGUAGE – *(LONG GUN TEAR GAS) with “organise” signalling the anagram. Troopers remain the standard simile benchmark for swearing, but in my experience wicketkeepers can eclipse them.
22 Nearly twenty five quid in ship’s gold fund … (7)
SPONSOR – PON{Y} (nearly twenty five quid – said sum still being referred to as a ‘pony’ in some circles) inside SS (ship) OR (gold)
24 and get to tip of England by means of one (7)
GALLEON – The … device linking this to the previous clue is (unusually) critical to providing us with the definition, referring to the ship in 23a. The supporting wordplay is GALL (get to) E (tip of England) ON (by means of) – at least, I think that’s how it works. Very tricky…
25 Vehicle leaves NW city to get fabric (5)
LISLE – {CAR}LISLE (NW city loses its vehicle)
26 It’s harsh to hang one German — then another (9)
SWINGEING – SWING (to hang) + EIN (one in German) + G (another German)
28 Game making you love college after start of the working
week (8)
MONOPOLY – O POLY (love college) ‘after’ MON (start of the working week)
29 One tends to fire person having puff after school (6)
STOKER – TOKER (person having puff) comes ‘after’ S (school)
1 Arrange date for an Olympic event (8)
DRESSAGE – DRESS (arrange) + AGE (date – used as a verb to age / to date)
2 Dashing around this beast may be troubling (3)
ASS – If you put HARING (dashing) around ASS (i.e. harASSing) then you have a word meaning “troubling”. Took me an age post-solve to see how this worked. Whilst “this beast” could be seen as the definition, I think the clue really needs to be read as an overall cryptic definition (or a set of instructions).
3 On camera I made new drink (9)
AMERICANO – *(ON CAMERA I) with “made new” pointing to the anagram
5 Music magazine — famous American one (7)
RAGTIME – RAG (magazine) + TIME (famous American one – viz. ‘magazine’). Elegant cluing.
6 Budget car initially has great deal (5)
CHEAP – C (car initially) + HEAP (great deal)
7 Female abandons large puma for naughty bit of fun (7,4)
PARLOUR GAME – *(LARGE PUMA {F}OR) – with “naughty” indicating the anagram and ‘female abandons’ telling us to omit the F from the mix
8 Troy, an ancient city, important in this country (6)
TURKEY – T (Troy – the old measure used in weighing gems etc.) + UR (an ancient city) + KEY (important). The clue also ties up neatly on the basis that the city of Troy was situated in what is now Turkey. Took a while for the penny to drop regarding the T.
9 Some men have no time for Rugby (6)
SEVENS – S{T}EVENS – the Stevens of this world (some men) lose T (have no time)
13 Tree with scouts in worried relative (5,6)
FIRST COUSIN – FIR (tree) + *(SCOUTS IN) with “worried” pointing to the anagram. Something rather pleasing about the surface reading in a surreal kind of way.
16 Something very good on Kindle to underline (9)
HIGHLIGHT – HIGH (something very good) + LIGHT (kindle). Cunning use of the capital K to send us up the garden path.
17 Youth showing support in front of Harry and his gran (8)
TEENAGER – TEE (support – where a golfer rests his balls) + NAG (harry) + ER (Prince Harry’s gran). Lovely stuff.
19 Overturn trunk containing exotic dress to reveal gem (7)
GIRASOL – LOG (trunk) ‘containing’ SARI (exotic dress) all reversed (overturn)
20 England once again left beaten (6)
ANGLIA – *(AGAIN L) with “beaten” signalling the anagram, giving the old Roman name for England
21 Shelter’s variable in a humble dwelling (6)
ASYLUM – Y (variable) ‘in’ A SLUM (a humble dwelling)
23 Dust benches erected around start of evensong (5)
SWEEP – PEWS reversed (benches erected) ‘around’ E (start of Evensong)
27 Ignoring the odds dislike class (3)
ILK – Every other letter (ignoring the odds) of dIsLiKe

14 comments on “Sunday Times 4745 by Jeff Pearce”

  1. Definitely meatier than most of Jeff’s. I confidently flung in ‘crackers’ at 4d, which of course delayed solving 7 and 8d; DNK the ‘pot’ meaning of ‘marmite’. I also spent time trying to justify ‘Albion’ at 20d. 2d had to be ASS, but I never did figure the clue out, ‘haring’ not being in my dialect although I knew it; I’m not sure I’d have figured it out in any case.
  2. Crackers was very confidently entered at 4a . Couldn’t get 7d or 8d so in blissful ignorance until now.
  3. My print out says 15 minutes with a tick, so I must have been on form. Easier than today’s super Dean, which I’ve just finished in twice that.
  4. Lots of good stuff in this quality offering much enjoyed here too. Thank you setter and thanks blogger for pointing out the haring around the ass which I bunged in on the basis of beast unparsed.
  5. Much enjoyed and thanks to Nick for parsing ASS (which I clearly could not tell from my elbow).
  6. thanks, nick. i’m with most of the rest in finding this a nicely challenging one word at a time offering. so thanks to jeff, also. i didn’t have any trouble with ass, but did with crackpot and sevens.
  7. A fun one this, taking about 30 mins with pancakes as I remember. No problems with Harassing or Sevens (despite my usual issue with random names cropping up). Stevens, I ask you.
    My struggles were the Log in Girasol and the Galleon, which I still don’t really get. Gall, ok, E, ok, but then what?
    Thanks setter for a fun one and blogger.
    1. Must admit with LOG I just assumed it was close enough to a tree trunk, and moved quickly on (sloppy work, I grant you…) However, a quick check in Chambers reveals that the first definition of a Log (in the woody sense) is “a fallen tree trunk” so that would appear to be that.

      I also pondered the ON in Galleon for a while, but concluded it was given to us through “by means of” – as in “How did he get there? On (by means of) a bicycle”. Works for me…

      On edit: sorry, looks like my reply pretty much coincided with Keriothe’s

      Edited at 2017-05-14 06:19 pm (UTC)

    2. ON is indicated by ‘by means of’ (as in ‘I went to London on the train’ I think). The definition is ‘one’, referring back to the ship in the previous clue.
  8. I found this quite tricky and it took me over 70 minutes. Even then I had to use aids to get my LOI, SEVENS. Out of my ken! Some clever stuff. Never did parse ASS, the TROY bit of 8d or GALLEON. Liked EASTER EGG and HIGHLIGHT. Thanks setter, and Nick for filling in the gaps.
  9. Glad I could come here for the parsing of 4a, 24a, and 2d. My notes seem to suggest this one took me a very long, though indeterminate, amount of time, though they use rather more colourful language than that… Thanks to setter and blogger.

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