Sunday Times 4767 by Dean Mayer

Unfortunately you have me blogging for a second week in a row as we get back to the normal schedule following my absence on holiday. But don’t fret – Keriothe will be back next Sunday…

Maybe it was a case of post-holiday sluggishness, but I found this one pretty hard and had to chip away at it over a number of sessions. But, I got there in the end, albeit with some uncertainty regarding the precise parsing of 24ac.

As always, some very neat and elegant cluing from Dean – 2 and 3dn being fine examples – and delightful splashes of wit such as 17ac.

Thanks to Dean for a challenging and enjoyable puzzle – here’s how I think it works…

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

1 Axe meant for academic to sell (8)
TOMAHAWK – TO MA (meant for academic) + HAWK (to sell). I was quite chuffed to discover (at least in Dean’s world) as a humble MA I qualified as an “academic”!
5 Short text message about everyone’s underwear (6)
SMALLS – SMS (short text message) goes ‘about’ ALL (everyone)
9 Accelerator and choke (8)
THROTTLE – A generous DD
10 Child breaks very old snowmobile (6)
SKIDOO – KID (child) goes inside (breaks) SO (very) O (old)
12 X is in when C is out (3)
CHI – CHI{c} – “in” (as in fashionable – chic) with the C ‘out’, giving the Greek letter for X. Rather neat, I thought
13 Basic range of camping gear (6,5)
PRIMUS STOVE – DD, with the first definition based on ‘range’ as a cooker
14 Rubber housing of one part is set up (13)
CONTRACEPTIVE – CONTRIVE (set up) ‘houses’ ACE (one) PT (part)
17 Paper of grass, historically? (2,6,5)
IN FORMER TIMES – A grass (police informer) might indeed take the ‘Informer Times’ as their paper of choice in the wonderful world of crosswordland
20 Theme park being pulled through changes (5,6)
ALTON TOWERS – ON TOW (being pulled) inside (through) ALTERS (changes), giving the Staffordshire theme park
22 Short fleece for runner (3)
SKI – SKI{n} (short fleece)
23 Country clubs are initially not a thing (6)
CANADA – C (clubs) + A (Are initially) + NADA (slang term for ‘not a thing’)
24 Test driver felt answer good enough for such marks (8)
STIGMATA – STIG (test driver – as in the helmeted mystery man on Top Gear) + MAT (felt) + A (answer). The “good enough” bit of the clue left me a bit bewildered – and still does. Best theory I can come up with is that (as post solve research indicates) stigmata – in addition to being marks of infamy or disgrace – can, apparently, also refer to marks resembling Christ’s wounds appearing on the skins of holy men such as St. Francis of Assisi. Have to say this all seems a bit convoluted, and a more likely explanation is that I have totally failed to understand what is going on here!
25 Yes, I have long fingers (3-3)
AYE-AYE – DD, the latter referring to the lemur known to scientists as Daubentonia madagascariensis who is blessed with an unfeasibly long finger which it uses for extracting bugs from inside tree trunks.
26 Would one share evenly? (8)
FLATMATE – Cryptic turning on ‘flat’ meaning ‘even’
1 Short tree bird found around lake (8)
TITICACA – ACACI{a} (short tree) + TIT (bird) all reversed (found round), giving us South America’s largest lake which always sounds to me as if it should have been a Gilbert & Sullivan invention
2 Where to trade in a mutant for an alien (7)
MARTIAN – MART (where to trade) + *(IN A) with “mutant” indicating the anagram
3 What turns a sheep angry (3,2)
HET UP – EH reversed (what turns) + TUP (sheep). Trademark Dean economy and elegance.
4 Jockey intends to race, is moving ahead (6,6)
WILLIE CARSON – WILL (intends) + *(RACE IS) – with “moving” signalling the anagram – + ON (ahead) for the champion jockey
6 Ask them if parts may be improvised (9)
MAKESHIFT – *(ASK THEM IF) with “improvised” being both the definition and the anagram indicator
7 Boy runs alongside a highwayman (7)
LADRONE – LAD (boy) + R (runs – cricket abbrev.) + ONE (a). Did not know of this Spanish brigand, but the wordplay and cross checkers enabled a reasonably confident guess
8 Demonstrator in contemptible group (6)
11 Spare plastic nuts (12)
15 Politely made to pay money into bank (9)
REFINEDLY – FINED (made to pay money) goes ‘into’ RELY (bank)
16 Not entirely honest, I’m a terrible judge (8)
ESTIMATE – Cunningly hidden in honEST IM A TErible
17 Strong under pressure, leader’s elected (7)
INTENSE – TENSE (under pressure) ‘lead’ by IN (elected)
18 Some war paint man mostly used to cover a wound (7)
MASCARA – MA{n} (man mostly) ‘covers’ A SCAR (a wound). Women seem to be able to apply this makeup effortlessly and without mishap, but in my experience chaps find it damned tricky. I well remember an occasion at my (all male) Methodist boarding school when, in mischievous mood, all of us 6th formers decided to apply mascara prior to turning up for the Sunday evening service, a move inspired by our musical (I use the term loosely) hero of the day Alice Cooper. It all got very messy. To his credit, the headmaster lambasted us for the extraordinary incompetence displayed in applying the stuff and cheerfully ignored any issues regarding irreverence or breach of school rules etc.
19 Sign of soccer organisation’s intelligence (6)
FASCIA – FAS (soccer organisation’s) + CIA (intelligence)
21 A beauty’s name announced (5)
SIGHT – Sounds like (announced) CITE (name)

21 comments on “Sunday Times 4767 by Dean Mayer”

  1. Curses! 56:13 of effort nullified by yet another typo, as LADRONE finished up as LRDRONE. I liked STIGMATA and was happy enough with the “good enough” bit of the clue, as the STIGMATA, according to the RC church, was always seen, as in Padre Pio, as the sign of a very holy person. I plugged away at this puzzle, never feeling as though I was going to be completely stuck, but it took some convoluted thinking to get through it. I found it quite enjoyable. As Nick says, 17a was worthy of a special mention. Thanks Dean and Nick.
    BTW Nick, you seem to have missed the header off the blog.

    Edited at 2017-10-14 11:32 pm (UTC)

  2. I thought “may be” was the anagram indicator in 6dn. It would be unusual for a word to do double duty as answer and wordplay.
    1. Yes, I pondered that as well but concluded (albeit not too confidently) that “may be” did not quite amount to an instruction to rearrange, whereas “may be improvised” definitely did. either way, all roads lead to Rome…
  3. Quite a few unkown words and/or meanings and more than one clue went unparsed but at least it was all gettable one way or another by biff or by wordplay. By contrast there is one clue in today’s offering that is utterly ungettable if one doesn’t happen to know it, and even then there’s an element to it that may take additional research.
    1. I wonder if that’s one of the ones I’ve got a question mark next to? I can’t even figure out how to tell if my submission was correct on the prize puzzles…
    2. You’re right. Eventually I gave up and used a word search app – even then I had to go through the definitions of the results until I found one that fitted. Not a clue that would have made it through on a weekday I suspect.

      Edited at 2017-10-15 09:13 am (UTC)

    3. I didn’t even notice that while solving, but now you point it out it does seem rather unfair. This gives me something controversial to write about next week, so I’ll try to be snotty about it and with a bit of luck our friend Pat will return to tell me off again.

      Edited at 2017-10-15 08:51 am (UTC)

    4. If it’s the one I think you mean, I know it for a slightly silly reason, which I’ll reveal next week!
  4. 62 minutes. I only know SKIDOO to mean ‘skedaddle’ but the cryptic was clear. LOI LADRONE, known but constructed from cryptic and crossers. I biffed but did not parse CHI(c). Does that mean I passed or failed the chi-square test.? As john_dun was too, I was happy with your STIGMATA construction, Nick, a word I’ve always known for its religious connotations. In juxtaposition, COD CONTRACEPTIVE, bringing back memories of schoolboy jokes about ‘who’s pinched my rubber?” Mind you, I was so square I didn’t get it (the joke that is) until the sixth form. I’m now used to (Ca)NADA for nothing but it still sounds like a school for aeronautical actors to me. An enjoyable hour. Thank you Nick and Dean.

    Edited at 2017-10-15 06:38 am (UTC)

    1. If you ever get the chance to try a SKIDOO, do give it a go. I have great memories of zipping through snowy landscapes on one in Finland.
  5. This was part of my recent run of DNFs that seemed to last about a fortnight. In the end I had a few left, but as I’d never heard of TITICACA, wasn’t sure how the clue worked, and probably wouldn’t have come up with an inverted arbitrary tree, I think I’m glad I gave up early. On the other hand, assuming I got today’s puzzle right, perhaps sometimes you can just come up with the goods no matter what…

    Thanks to setter and Nick.

    1. Yes, I remember thinking at the time that I was mightily relieved that I actually knew this lake, as constructing it from the wordplay alone would have been pretty tricky.
  6. 20:24. Another enjoyable solve, and another week off for me, for which thanks Nick.
    I knew LADRONE, I assumed from a past cryptic: a google search suggests it’s only come up in Mephisto though.
    In 24ac I just read ‘good enough for’ as filler: the wordplay elements are good enough/sufficient for the answer. I think it was mctext who several years ago dubbed something like this – which helps the surface without contributing much to the wordplay – a ‘surfactant’.
    I had 13ac as just a cryptic definition: a basic stove (range) that is part of your camping gear.
    1. Thanks K. Yes, I think you are right regarding 13a – I over-egged it somewhat.

      Re. the “surfactant”, Dean is such a master of economy that I always assume every word in each of his clues has a critical role to play – so yet more over-egging on my part!

  7. Found this one tough despite having pretty much all the required GK. Did most in 1hr 26 mins but still had blanks at 11dn, 21dn, 24ac and 26ac so put the puzzle down and returned to polish it off the next day with no real difficulties. A very enjoyable challenge.
  8. Thanks for another fine blog Nick.

    I gave up without getting LADRONE or TITICACA, which sounds like a character from a Carry On film to me.

    COD 13a which made me chuckle when the penny eventually dropped.

  9. I could have done with advice from your Albanian border guard when it came to CHI, Nick!
      1. And I needed him for 9ac in yesterday’s. I’ll be interested to see how keriothe parses it. I had to cheat and I think, from the suggested solution, that it looks like an all-in-one. No comprende!
  10. I read this as ‘Ask them if’ parts = the parts of ‘ask them if’, and ‘may be’ as a link to the definition ‘improvised’. Perhaps you could say that the actual rearrangement of the parts is not indicated, but I think this is being unnecessarily picky.

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