Sunday Times 4752 by Dean Mayer

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
20:48. Another excellent puzzle from Dean, and for my money a perfect level of challenge for a Sunday: tricky without being an absolute stinker. Actually I like an absolute stinker too, but my kids get annoyed when they’re late for sports fixtures and the like because the crossword takes an extra ten minutes. No sense of priorities, today’s youth.

I wrote much of this blog up on a flight, without internet access and hence the answers (or at least checking letters). It was quite remarkable how many of the clues I couldn’t solve, in spite of having done the puzzle just a couple of days before. A good half dozen, at least. I’m not sure what this says about me or the puzzle, but my sense is that it’s negative in the former case and positive in the latter.

Anyhoo, thanks very much to Dean for another first-rate puzzle, and here’s how I think it all works…

1 A potty essay about old model
APOTHEOSIS – A PO (short for chamberpot), THE(O)SIS.
7 Right to cut putrescent nail
BRAD – B(R)AD. A BRAD is a type of nail found in crosswords.
9 Found answer during meal
10 Receive broken bones as pretentious drinker?
WINE SNOB – win (receive), (BONES)*. Some of my acquaintance might put me in this category. By ‘some’ I mean ‘all’, and by ‘might’ I mean ‘would’. I’ve noticed that none of them mind drinking my wine, though.
11 Bolton regularly heading for Champions League
BLOC – BoLtOn, Champions.
13 Ministerial office uncertain about unfinished flat
14 Of an office, to go out to lunch
DEPARTMENTAL – DEPART (go), MENTAL (out to lunch).
17 Rocket using low gear?
DRESSING-DOWN – two definitions, one cryptic.
19 Sisal and other tangled weeds
HORSETAILS – (SISAL, OTHER)*. I needed all the checkers for this unknown weed, one of my last in.
21 Talk about North American
22 Girl, one skinny Christian
GALILEAN – GAL, I LEAN. I’d have said this was just a geographical – rather than religious – description but according to Chambers it’s also an archaic term for a Christian.
23 Dean is holding very soft toy
DABBLE – DA(BB)LE, where the ‘very soft’ relates to pencils, not music. Hands up if you put in DAPPLE thinking ‘that could mean toy in some hitherto unknown sense’.
25 Noise from exhaust? Tread on it
TYRE – sounds like ‘tire’.
26 Hot water is welcome
HOW-DO-YOU-DO – I thought this meant something akin to palaver, rather than trouble, but apparently not.

2 Teeth needing attention, carries on eating
PEARLIES – P(EAR)LIES, where a trade is something you might ply/carry on. A word that feels to me like it ought to be CRS (perhaps by association with pearly kings and queens), but isn’t. It’s short for ‘pearly whites’.
3 Put head up butt
TUN – reversal of NUT. Oo-er.
4 Ideology out of this world here in Rome
ETHIC – ET (extra terrestrial, just an adjective here rather than a particular alien), HIC (Latin for here).
5 I’m not surprised when sweet is also fresh
6 Two peaches? Or just one?
SINGLETON – SING, LET ON. To ‘peach’ is to inform, grass, squeal, rat.
7 Howl about a subdued French celebration
BASTILLE DAY – B(A, STILLED)AY. Celebration of the glorious liberation of half a dozen petty criminals and the Marquis de Sade (although sadly the last bit’s not actually true.).
8 Immediately remedy catching cold
12 Church’s framed art turning up in closet?
CLANDESTINE – C(LANDEST, IN)E. Here (thou) art turning up = (thou) LANDEST. Boom boom.
15 In it went — ie the last to score
TWENTIETH – contained in ‘it went ie the’. A score is twenty so the TWENTIETH is the last in a score. The word ‘to’ is a bit odd here.
16 Doctor, possibly in drag, taken for a ride
SWINDLED – S(WIND)LED. A ‘doctor’ is a cool sea breeze, supposedly good for the health. To ‘sled’ can be a transitive verb meaning to convey by sled.
18 Cane among youngster’s plants
BOTANY – BO(TAN)Y. ‘Cane’ and ‘tan’ are verbs here. BOTANY can mean ‘the plants of an area’ (Chambers) as well as the science of plants.
20 Continue to interrupt very lonely person
SADDO – S(ADD)O. I think ADD is ‘continue’ in the sense ‘and if I might add…’
24 Swinging love life described in print
BIO – BI, O. I guess this is swinging in the ‘both ways’ sense. The – ahem – car keys sense has nothing to do with one’s sexuality.

24 comments on “Sunday Times 4752 by Dean Mayer”

  1. Having written a comment and tried to post it, I was informed that my cookie seemed to have disappeared; let’s see what happens now. OK, they’ve found it. Anyway, I’m especially grateful to our blogger today, as there were several I couldn’t parse: 23ac, 6d, 12d, 16d. (I had thought that a drag was a type of sled, but apparently it was a type of horse-drawn carriage.) I do like TUN, but my COD goes to (my LOI) BIO.

    Edited at 2017-07-02 12:44 am (UTC)

  2. with 23ac and 24dn the culprits. I don’t ‘swing’ personally but BIO was missed by me.

    As was the ‘BB’ pencil reference (v.good I had PP) but you have not explained DALE and how that might relate to DEAN? Please enlighten.

    Could not parse 6dn SINGLETON as ‘to peach’ was not in my vocabulary but in my Chambers.


  3. Stephen Daedalus’s father’s parting advice to his son as he’s packed off to boarding school is ‘Never peach on a fellow’.
    1. Thanks Kevin, and apologies to others for having missed this. I must have seen this multiple times in past puzzles because It didn’t cause me a moment’s hesitation and ‘dean’ isn’t a word one encounters on a daily basis IRL. ‘Dale’ st least should be familiar to most people from its Yorkshire incarnation.

      Edited at 2017-07-02 07:42 am (UTC)

  4. COD: Twentieth. BOD: Keriothe (and thanks) (but get with the program, Keriothe, they are “today’s youff”). SOD: Anax. QOD: Dean = Dale ?
  5. COD definitely 11a. Wanderers to be Champions League winners 2020 while still under a transfer embargo? Loved SADDO while thinking: can that really be right? Must admit that I use HOW-DO-YOU-DO in K’s sense too, as well as it being the proper way to greet the Duke of Lancaster. This can be shortened to an unaspirated ‘How Do’ on a subsequent occasion. DALE for Dean no problem for me, and I’m sure not Mr Mayer either. About 40 minutes as I remember. Thank you K and particularly setter for making my week.

    Edited at 2017-07-02 06:44 am (UTC)

  6. I used to live in a house called Deepdene (in the Wirral, which has few if any) so should not have had a problem with that clue but still did..

    A fine crossword this one, agree that it was hard enough to be interesting but not so hard as to be a struggle. Some lovely, concise clues such as 3dn, 24dn

  7. Nice blog K. Thanks for explaining CLANDESTINE as I just could not figure out what was going on here – very cunning. Also took me an age to spot the hidden at 15d, which I thought was a bit of a gem of that particular clue type.

    Some lovely stuff, with BIO probably edging TUN as my favourite. Thanks Dean and K.

  8. Around 27 minutes of Sunday fun. Must admit that when the penny dropped on 10a I thought “Wonder if keriothe is blogging this one?” I did enjoy your comment on that one, k, and your Johnsonesque definition of BRAD.

    APOTHEOSIS gets me every time, so it just (belatedly) joined my ‘useful words’ list. If I could only remember to read my useful words list now and then, I’d be better at this than I am.

    And thanks, Dean, for the entertainment. 3d? Absolutely filth. I loved it!

  9. Tricky puzzle and not a smooth solve, I was picking away at it for most of the day getting an answer here and an answer there. It was very satisfying to get most of it done but in the end I needed aids to get my LOI 23ac which I just couldn’t see, no matter how long I stared at it. Thanks for explaining peaches which I think I sort of half knew in that sense but had forgotten. I also didn’t know doctor as a breeze, just thought there was some sense in which wind as a verb meant interfere with. COD to clandestine where I liked the (thou) landest bit.
  10. Similar experience to Horryd. Didn’t get the BB bit in 23a or the BIO result. Don’t really see even now that bisexual people ‘swing’. Not that I know any (I’ve not met Mick Jagger yet).
    Otherwise, did it in half an hour, a cracking puzzle, from the Dean / Dale.
    1. I know some bi people, and I think they’d be really quite offended to be confused with swingers. “Swing both ways” would really have to be used in full to differentiate from the current meaning of “swing”, sexually speaking. I didn’t like this clue.

      Edited at 2017-07-02 01:11 pm (UTC)

      1. I rather agree, and if ‘swings both ways’ is what’s intended I confess I find it a bit offensive.
  11. This one took me an hour and a quarter. I didn’t know the Doctor/Wind definition but went with the flow. FOI was BRAD and LOI PEARLIES. I was totally baffled by SINGLETON and had to use aids. Never heard of the peach/snitch definition. Lots of penny drop moments. I dabbled with DAPPLE for a while, but saw the error of my ways. Liked BIO once the LBGT reference was pointed out. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Dean and K.
  12. I gave up on this one after a couple of hours, completely off the wavelength.

    Even with a dictionary I couldn’t be sure of 23a—I was using the Collins dictionary app for iOS, which is usually pretty good, but it (a) mentions that “dibble” is an alternative spelling of “dabble”, thus giving me two possible answers, and (b) doesn’t have the required meaning of “dean”… For all I knew, there was some famous Dean Dile I’d never heard of!

  13. Many thanks for a great blog, K, and a happy Sunday to you all.

    Bi / swinging. Blimey – I honestly didn’t give it a second thought, and my apologies if anyone found it in any way offensive. I can’t justify it if it’s wrong. All I can say is it’s one of those cryptic tropes which has been around for so long that using it is almost automatic. I’ve never seen it flagged up before.

    1. Is it meant in the ‘both ways’ sense? I find that mildly offensive only in so far as it’s a euphemism, which suggests disapproval (otherwise why the euphemism?). Like ‘no better than she should be’ or ‘a friend of Dorothy’.
      1. Absolutely no idea!
        Like all setters – and certainly in the days when I was learning – I keep an eye out for useful/concise definitions, and ‘swinging’ falls into both categories. The first time I saw it used was probably along the lines of “I like swinging feet” for IAMBI, and that would be ages ago. Since then it has cropped up on more occasions than I can count, and it’s a cryptic habit to just accept what *appears* to be established as acceptable. What I mean is when you see a device used frequently you don’t feel compelled to examine it closely.
        If anything (and, I promise, this isn’t an excuse) using an old idea like this is helpful in making the clue accessible, since it’s likely a good number of solvers will have seen it before.

        Edited at 2017-07-02 03:03 pm (UTC)

        1. Thanks Dean. I don’t remember seeing this before, but that certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t.
  14. I’d have thought, if you swing, you go to both ends of the spectrum, so I can’t see a problem with the “bi” clue. Like Sotira, “wine snob” took me straight to a townhouse in Barnes, with its Thermidor – or whatever you call the thing for keeping red wine in (do they call the thing for keeping white wine in a fridge, I wonder?)

    Nice puzzle, though I was bamboozled by the double B and the peaches.

  15. Thanks K for explaining SINGLETON. The SING + LET ON ploy come up before, I see, but I have no recollection of “peach” meaning “inform”, so I was wondering if it was some British fruit variety!
  16. I was caught out at 23ac even though DALE was clear enough, so submitted PRO at 24dn being to think of anything better – (a golf pro?).

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