Sunday Times 4757 by Jeff Pearce

A not too stretching puzzle from Jeff which I enjoyed solving whilst sipping a couple of glasses of wine in the garden of a French farmhouse owned by some friends near Carcassonne with whom I am currently holidaying. Very pleasant all round, and not much to add by way of introduction.

Thanks as ever to our setter.

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

1 Boat outside harbour provides staff in Equity (13)
SPORTSMANSHIP – SS (boat) goes around (outside) PORT (harbour) + MANS (provides staff) + HIP (in). Whilst the wordplay led remorselessly to the answer, the “equity” definition caused me to do a bit of a double take, but I suppose both equity and sportsmanship are fundamentally driven by the notion of fair play.
10 Not oddly, David Cameron prepared a drink (9)
AMERICANO – *(CAMERON) – with “prepared” signposting the anagram – and AI (not oddly dAvId) also in the mix
11 Drink is taken in part of church (5)
AISLE – ALE (drink) with IS ‘taken in’
12 Strong worker’s extremely friendly (5)
BEEFY – BEE (worker) + ‘extremes’ of FriendlY
13 Some French bombs outside old city on the plains (3,6)
DES MOINES – DES (some in French) + MINES (bombs) going around (outside) O (old), giving the capital city of Iowa also known as the “capital of the plains” – and (perhaps surprisingly, at least to me) ranked as the USA’s wealthiest city according to NBC.
14 Place heater in cold crack (8)
COVENTRY – OVEN (heater) ‘in’ C (cold) + TRY (crack – go on son, ‘ave a crack…). The definition didn’t really help to narrow a field with an extraordinarily high number of possible answers, but the wordplay was generous.
16 Admiral in the hold (6)
NELSON – DD, the latter being a wrestling term as I recall from watching the likes of Jackie Pallo and Mick McManus on TV as a kid
19 Flag officer (6)
20 It’s a pleasure to see absence of rubbish at the shops —
no hint of muck (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL – NO TAT (absence of rubbish) + {M}ALL (the shops with no M – ‘no hint of Muck’)
22 Jazz leader — one requesting “Fly me to the moon”? (9)
ARMSTRONG – Louis of that ilk, and a supporting reference to astronaut Neil
24 Those at the front of May’s injured government have
finally bought power (5)
MIGHT – First letters of (those at the front of) May’s Injured Government Have + T (finally boughT)
25 Fresh chlorine put round something used at the pool (5)
CRAWL – RAW (fresh) with CL (chlorine) ‘put round’ it
26 Hot claret poured around pudding (9)
CHARLOTTE – *(HOT CLARET) with “poured around” suggesting the anagram, giving us the apple charlotte dessert
27 Grabbing toy he trashed Lemaître’s idea (3,4,6)
BIG BANG THEORY – *(GRABBING TOY HE) with “trashed” pointing to the anagram. Georges Lemaitre, priest and physicist: to my shame I’d never heard of this chap, but the enumeration and a couple of cross checkers meant that unravelling the anagram was fairly straightforward.
2 Items sold at school fetes made by PTA? (9)
PRESERVES – Took me a ridiculous amount of time to spot the supporting wordplay – P + RESERVES (TA)
3 Clever to cover head when this? (5)
RAINY – Cryptic clue incorporating the wordplay of {B}RAINY – ‘clever covering head’
4 It’s normal to stop on a road (8)
STANDARD – STAND (to stop) ‘on’ A RD (a road)
5 Evoke a river — one in the northeast (6)
AROUSE – A R (a river) + OUSE – the North Yorkshire river (one in the northeast) as opposed to the East Anglian or Sussex rivers of the same name
6 Accordingly a religious big-wig and artist get together for
programme (4,5)
SOAP OPERA – SO (accordingly) + A POPE (a religious big-wig) + RA (artist) combine to give us Coronation Street, East Enders or The Archers etc. There is something quite pleasing about the image conjured up by the surface.
7 One heading for snow protected by mountain is a famous
IBSEN – I (one) + S (heading for Snow) with BEN wrapping around it (protected by mountain)
8 Dressing required after hairdresser cut Rod on cheek (8,5)
BARBECUE SAUCE – BARBE{R} (hairdresser cut) + CUE (rod) + SAUCE (cheek)
9 Private Eye, say, connects famous people (13)
PERSONALITIES – PERSONAL (private) + I (sounds like – ‘say’ – eye) + TIES (connects)
15 Too much booze and dancing here and it might dawn on
! (9)
NIGHTCLUB – Gentle cryptic clue based on revelling through until dawn
17 Butcher starting to sell best medicine? (9)
SLAUGHTER – S (starting to Sell) + LAUGHTER (the best medicine, as per the adage)
18 Distressing detail about poor nag (8)
POIGNANT – POINT (detail) goes around (about) *(NAG) with “poor” signposting the anagram
21 Almost come into contact with an arboreal dweller (6)
TOUCAN – TOUC{H} (almost come into contact) + AN (with an). My scant knowledge of the toucan being limited to its apparent fondness for Guinness as per the ads of bygone years, I had to check on its habitat and sure enough it lives in rainforests.
23 Note copied about a city (5)
MIAMI – MI twice (note copied) ‘about A’
24 Some feel embarrassed about fracas (5)
MELEE – Reverse (about) hidden (some) in fEEL EMbarrassed

16 comments on “Sunday Times 4757 by Jeff Pearce”

  1. was put in its place by Bill Bryson in The Lost Continent (1989). Rather like, Las Vegas I have no desire to visit – ‘Money can’t buy me Love!’

    This ‘Sunday Roast’ took me 45 minutes to cook.

    FOI 7dn IBSEN

    LOI 10 ac the AMERICANAO as served up by IKEA.

    14ac COVENTRY was a poor clue IMO.

  2. A gentle puzzle which didn’t pose any problems. COD to PRESERVES as PTA was clever. Surprised, like Nick, that Des Moines is ranked so highly having been there but, having googled, I see it is such a major centre for insurance among other things.
  3. For me, a bit harder than the usual Sunday offering and took about an hour. Couldn’t understand PRESERVES (easy when explained but still a good clue) and the parsing of 1a took a bit of working out. I liked NIGHTCLUB and the idea that IBSEN might have been turning out SOAP OPERA(s) had he been born a century later – ratings winners I’m sure.

    Favourite wrestlers from when I was a kid – Spiros “The Golden Greek” Arion and Killer Kowalski.

    Thank you to setter and blogger.

  4. Not hard but just wrote in PRESERVES without understanding wordplay.Thanks Nick.
  5. Found this easier than Sunday morning, but still enjoyable. 40 minutes with COD SOAP OPERA. Thoughts of Ena Sharples as Pope and Elsie Tanner as artist demonstrate how long it is since I watched one. Are you sure that Lemaître deserves the credit more than Sheldon Cooper, Jeff? Thank you both for another two enjoyable Sunday mornings.
  6. Enjoyed this one, and was all done in 55 minutes. FOI 5d, LOI 1a, COD 2d, echoing the praise for the misdirection of “PTA” and the surface overall. Thanks, Jeff and Nick.
  7. I thought this straightforward, though only now do I realise how little I understood 2dn!

    In the absence of anywhere else to say it I will mention that today’s effort by Dean Mayer is one of the best cryptic crosswords I’ve ever seen. Some amazing clues… a bit harder than this one, but still towards the easier end of Dean’s spectrum.

    1. I now feel less of an ass for taking so long to figure out the PTA wordplay!
    2. It’s good stuff, though I still have a corner to do after an hour’s work on it…
  8. 46 minutes. I don’t know much about school fetes as I never went to a school that held one, but I’d have thought ‘church fetes’ might have been more appropriate at 2dn.
    1. I’ve had the opposite attendance experience Jack, having been involved with several school fetes but not being much of a church man. The school fetes I’ve been to have been long on homemade jams (and apple pies and chocolate brownies etc.). In any event, the school fete enabled Jeff to serve up his very ingenious PTA wordplay…
    2. Good point about the mention of ‘school’ supporting the PTA wordplay. If I spotted that when I solved I had forgotten it when I came to comment a week later.
  9. I had most of this done within the hour but got stuck in a couple of places and stupidly entered “americana” instead of “americano” which meant 5dn took a while. That took my time to just over the hour. I also wondered at the definition in 1ac. I struggled to see past sun or radiator for heater in 14ac and PTA took far longer to crack than it should have done. I liked the best medicine in 17dn. COD 27ac where I was also unaware of the Le Maitre in question.
  10. I’ll have to wait for a week or two for my history to be re-established before I have any times for the weekend puzzles. I seem to remember completing this successfully, but can’t remember how long it took. I didn’t spot the parsing of 2d, so thanks for that. Liked BARBECUE SAUCE. Thanks Jeff and Nick.
  11. Have to agree with Nick about this clue. After going through this in about 20m, got stuck on 2 down. Finally dawned that TA was “territorial army” or reserves!
  12. Did you notice you have an ad in Russian for cheap airline tickets?

    Very enjoyable xword. Thanks to all concerned.

    Janet and Tom, Toronto.

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