Sunday Times 4756 by David McLean

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
21:50. I’m on holiday at the moment so I’ve got plenty of the stuff on my hands, but somehow I have found it more difficult than usual to find the time to write my blog. I suspect it’s the fact that in a normal work week I will generally have 1) a couple of flights, always a good time for this sort of activity and perhaps more importantly 2) a volume of more or less tedious reading material to get through, from which blog-writing is a welcome break. When the most pressing thing on the agenda is going fishing, jumping in the lake or thinking about what to have for supper, it’s somehow harder to find the time.

I obviously found this quite tricky, but I also enjoyed it a lot. Going back through the clues as I wrote up the blog I couldn’t really see what I found difficult, which in my experience is often the mark of a good puzzle.

There’s a distinct political flavour here, with a couple of mentions of our current PM, the leader of the ‘opposition’ and two of the current occupants of the White House. The fact that I didn’t find the solving experience horribly depressing in spite of this is another indicator that it must have been a good puzzle.

1 Question getting drunk by small tree, but still drink
4 Game clue like this that no-good member’s inspired
LACROSSE – ACROSS (clue like this) contained in (inspired by) LEg.
10 Tories back in charge, vent initially suppressed feeling?
CONSCIENT – CONS (Tories), reversal of IC, vENT.
11 Very squeezed by provision of social welfare cut
12 I fabricate wheeled motor vehicle on the line?
RAILCAR – reversal of LIAR (I fabricate), CAR (motor).
14 Cut cash fund in review – that might show a corporation!
CROP TOP – CROP, reversal of POT. Because one of these tops shows the tummy. Those whose midriff qualifies for the description ‘corporation’ are best advised to avoid such garments.
15 Pro Theresa May? Not at first being Republican
LADY OF THE NIGHT – May being a lady of breathtaking, criminally negligent incompetence the right, the R for republican replaced with Not. This is slightly awkward because the instruction ‘not at first being Republican’ reads more naturally as an instruction to replace an N with an R. However the rest of the clue points you to the right solution, and LADY OF THE RIGHT isn’t a recognisable expression.
18 Its flowers each developed in a straight line
22 Impose a restriction on liar involved with TUC
CURTAIL – (LIAR, TUC)*. It took me forever to see this, for some reason.
24 Potential cereal marketing slogan sounds old hat
TRICORN – sounds like ‘try corn!’
25 Spirit and punch both have bishop going kind of red
26 Certain Protestant ideals gain more ground, Tories ultimately involved
ORANGEISM – (GAIN MORE)* containing torieS.
28 Dish out insult number two for Trump in hearing
DISPENSE – sounds like ‘diss Pence’.
29 Colourful children’s writer’s fish-catching trick
CRAYON – C(RAY)ON. Nice definition.

1 In a stable way with European Community? No doubt about it!
2 One carrying coffee or tea service that you must tip
URN – RN (Royal Navy, service) with U at its tip. I think this is a reference to the abbreviated spelling used in texts. U WOT M8?
3 Dismiss dope with no comic material
5 What might be illustrated by a piece of paper
ARTICLE – because ‘a’ is an example of this (the indefinite variety).
6 Page about two conservatives, one half-cut
RECTO – RE, C, TOry.
7 Street cat briefly illuminated by flash motor
STRETCH LIMO – ST, RETCH (cat: look it up if you haven’t come across this before), LIt, MO (flash).
8 Excuse time supporting energy-filled Nick Clegg?
EXEMPT – EX-MP containing E, on top of T. Poor Cleggy.
9 Capital that’s raised then invested in British channel
BEIRUT – reversal of IE (that’s) contained in B, RUT.
13 Diligent idiot runs US? That’s not entirely correct!
INDUSTRIOUS – (IDIOT RUNS US)*. Difficult to disagree with the surface reading: precious little evidence of diligence from where I’m standing.
16 In suggesting the Queen must go down, I cross the line
INFRINGER – INFERRING (suggesting) with ER (the Queen) dropped to the bottom. Cue misguided sticklers insisting on a distinction between INFER and IMPLY. ODO for instance describes this usage as an ‘extremely common error’, a linguistic contradiction in terms. As always the language ignores the sticklers and does as it pleases.
17 When single chap is arguably sexist in Unison
AS ONE MAN – pretty self-explanatory.
19 After getting nothing in, label setters heartless
CALLOUS – CALL(O) US. In crosswords ‘you’ is the solver, ‘I/me’ is the setter, so by extension ‘setters’ must be US.
20 Expenditure published: city close to bankruptcy
OUTLAY – OUT, LA, bankruptcY
21 Old tax cut one of Corbyn’s persuasion achieved
SCORED – SCOt, RED. SCOT is an old word that survives in the expression ‘scot-free’.
23 Top mark the prime minister’s picked up … wow!
AMAZE – A (top mark), sounds like ‘May’s’.
27 Frozen climber losing heart, cold to the core
ICY – IvY with C (cold) in the middle.

26 comments on “Sunday Times 4756 by David McLean”

  1. Thought LADY OF THE NIGHT was pretty good.

    Thanks Harry, and thanks for putting the fishing on hold to do the blog K.

  2. … your’ve done it again” … (Yes, that how they say it on the ad.)

    A fine puzzle. As was often said of Araucaria: you can’t see it at first but, once solved, all looks completely fair. STRETCH LIMO was a good case in point. “Cat” had to be RETCH and, as Mr K. notes, it is!

    For some reason, I liked the deletion of “wit” at 3dn.

    Edited at 2017-07-30 04:34 am (UTC)

  3. vomit. And “cat” is an obscure meaning of both verbs. (I’ve done a fair bit of all three recently, having contracted a horryd virus.)
  4. Bah! How did l write in LADY OF THE RIGHT when ‘pro’ means tart?l guess ‘May’ misled me.That was my only error.
  5. Thanks Ulaca,l am also an avid Graun puzzles fan,please explain cat=retch,l only know the ‘vomit’ meaning.
  6. we wish you well. A dash of TCP, TLC and TCM should put you straight.

    COD 15ac LADY OF THE NIGHT – ladies of the right are to be avoided (eg the deeply shallow Kellyanne Conway).

    Wine of the day 25ac RIOJA.

    WOD 26ac ORANGEISM (eg as available The Trumpton Tanning Parlour) most unpleasant.

    Talking of which I wonder what would have happened if M*A*S*H had lost Corporal Klinger!?
    Or IAHH’s Gloria! Or the FBI HH!?

    No time recorded as I anticipated (wrongly) NtN.

    Edited at 2017-07-30 06:13 am (UTC)

  7. As K and others have said, this was a tricky puzzle while solving which doesn’t look that difficult afterwards. I was more than the hour on it last Sunday morning, on the last day of our Lancashire break, gazing over the St Annes’ dunes in sunny disposition. I don’t know how far away that is AS THE CROW FLIES but it’s 232 miles by road, most of which is being converted into smart motorway. If it’s that smart, it should have found out how to not to cause mega delays in the many years of its construction. Neither my disposition nor the weather have been sunny since. Loved LADY OF THE NIGHT, spotted quickly (couldn’t miss her in that pink holiday dress), and DISPENSE, biffed first and parsed last. Biffed STRETCH LIMO also, meaning to go back to parse, but forgot. I wouldn’t have succeeded as I’ve never used that meaning of CAT. Anyone who has seen the Southport pubs on the evening of 12 July after the march might find it incongruous to describe ORANGEISM as a protestant ideal. Thank you both K and David for the great entertainment.
  8. My heart sank when I saw all the political references in this set of clues as I come to crosswords to get away from all that, and if I were to be in the mood for it I’d turn to Cyclops in Private Eye who is the master at that sort of thing.

    No doubt I’m missing something obvious at 13dn (it wouldn’t be the first time) but I don’t see the purpose of ‘that’s not entirely’ in the clue. I was expecting to lose one of the letters in the preceding words to obtain the anagrist, but they are all needed for the answer. I wondered if the setter had got so carried away with the ‘joke’ in the surface reading that he forgot to check the nuts and bolts of the clue.

    I have no problem with 16dn. According to SOED the ‘widely considered incorrect’ meaning has been in use since the 16th century so it’s time for it to be officially recognised.

    Edited at 2017-07-30 05:55 am (UTC)

    1. I had a similar problem with 13dn: I had to count the letters quite carefully before I realised that ‘not entirely’ wasn’t a removal indicator. The fact that Trump is an idiot is however not controversial as far as I’m concerned*.

      Thanks for the SOED input. It really puts the sticklers to shame.

      *another linguistic contradiction in terms. So sue me.

      1. I have to confess that I am one of the pedants irritated by 16DN. The use of “infer” to mean “suggest” always grates on my ear, but Jack is right that this “widely considered incorrect” use has been around since the C16.

        Still, I’m glad to see that I have The Times’s own Style Guide on my side: “INFER: do not confuse with “imply”; to infer is to draw a conclusion from a suggestion, to imply is to make the suggestion … The distinction may only have been clearly drawn in the past century or so, but it is a useful one, worth preserving.”

        1. This is the first I have heard of a Times style guide! Where can I read it. Jackkt out and about.
          1. A new edition of The Times Style Guide was published this year by Times Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. It’s available via Amazon and, I imagine, in bookshops such as Waterstones. Intended mainly for Times journalists, it describes itself as a “guide to English usage”.
        2. There’s nothing wrong with following any style guide (all newspapers and magazines have them) as long as you recognise it for what it is: an expression of stylistic preferences, rather than a statement of what is ‘correct’.
  9. An hour and five for me. Yet again on a weekend puzzle I forgot to note my FOI, but the fact that 5d isn’t crossed out suggests it was my last. I often miss those “article” definitions.

    Joint COD to the political crossers of 15a and 13d. Apparently I also liked TRICORN, perhaps because I’d recently seen some Chelsea Pensioners at Wimbledon on t’telly, though at the time they were wearing their shakos—another excellent crossword word.

    Thanks to setter and blogger, particularly for resolving my bafflement over the “cat”/”retch” equivalence. Never heard that one before!

  10. 47mins 20secs for me. For all that it was a bit heavy on the political references (which doesn’t always make for a good puzzle) I thought they were all well done and that this crossword was terrific entertainment. Nice to see all sides getting a mention, even the lib-dems, if you count the hapless Nick Clegg (which not many do). I loved the definition at 15ac where the ambiguous removal indicator had me hemming and haahing until the last minute. I thought 10ac a bit of an odd word, so glad of the word play there. I found this a nice smooth solve and enjoyed it very much. Thank you blogger for explaining “urn” which I biffed. FOI 1ac. LOI 9dn. COD 15ac.

    In other exciting crossword news for me personally I had a go at my first Listener puzzle last night and I believe I may have cracked it. Doing so gave me the same thrill I got when completing my first 15×15. I think the daily Times may be a dangerous gateway puzzle, you start off with a couple of dailies, you think you can handle it but before you know it you start doing the odd Jumbo or Sunday Times puzzle to keep the buzz going, from there it’s not long until you start on the hard stuff, TLS puzzles, Telegraph toughies, now the Listener. Where is the next illicit crossword high going to come from? Bungee jumping with a Mephisto?

  11. 20:36 … I have to say I thought this was pretty outstanding, perhaps my favourite puzzle by David M so far. So many ingeniously hidden definitions. And hidden wordplay, if that’s possible.

    1a SQUASH is a really beautiful example of how to exploit the grammatical ambiguity of English words and gets my vote, but much to enjoy here.

    Thanks, David and our very own bear-wrestling man of the woods, keriothe (even if he has taken the internet with him, which feels like cheating)

    1. Our concession to being in the depths of the Canadian wilderness is that the wifi isn’t very good. We used to be cut off from mobile phone signals but they seem to have put a tower in somewhere nearby.
  12. I find I completed this correctly in 39:07, but have no recollection of where I started and finished. I do recall puzzling over retch=cat, but shrugged it in anyway. Had never come across CONCIENT before but the wordplay was fair. Liked LADY OF THE NIGHT. As I look back over the grid I recognise quite a few penny drop moments. Nice puzzle. Thanks David and K.

    Edited at 2017-07-30 05:56 pm (UTC)

  13. Oh Dear, our blogger takes the opportunity to show his jaundiced political views with a nasty attack on your PM ‘breathtaking, criminally negligent incompetence’. Can I just add that the poms were extremely lucky you didn’t end up with Corbyn to take you back to the stone ages. Dodged a bullet there guys.
    1. Don’t get me wrong, anon, my views are equally jaundiced when it comes to Corbyn and his mob. It’s hard to imagine a PM worse than May but I’ve no doubt Corbyn would give it a bloody good go. Unfortunately the only way of dodging that particular bullet was by stepping into the path of another one.
  14. Point taken. We antipodeans can be sensitive little souls. Keep up the good work with your entertaining solutions…and apologies for my fit of pique. Must have been the half bottle of Shiraz talking.
    1. Thank you. You do have a point: we try to avoid politics in these blogs, for good reason. I felt that the political nature of the puzzle gave me a little bit of license (perhaps even a duty) to stretch the rules a bit but I could perhaps have done better at spreading the cynical misery around between the parties. 😉

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