Sunday Times 4814 by Jeff Pearce

9:49. Straightforward stuff from Jeff this week. I found a few of the definitions a bit loose as I solved, but they all turn out to be supported by dictionaries and/or things I hadn’t come across before. Nothing really obscure: even the plant was familiar to me, and the half-known actress came with generous wordplay. 1ac is that bugbear of some, an anagram of a foreign word, but I am more concerned with familiarity than foreignness and I would expect this word to be familiar to most people. Or perhaps not?

Not much more to say really, so here’s how I think it all fits together…

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*, anagram indicators like this.

1 Barking seller paid for something to put on one of his plates?
ESPADRILLE – (SELLER PAID)*. Plates of meat is Cockney rhyming slang.
7 Direct all the actors in a play
CAST – DD. I was hesitant about this one. The second definition is fine of course but the first seemed weak to me. However for ‘cast’ Collins has ‘to direct (a glance, attention, etc)’, giving the example ‘cast your eye over this’. I don’t really see the equivalence – you wouldn’t say ‘direct your eye over this’ – but I guess I’ll have to take it up with them rather than Jeff.
9 After driver’s test setback attempt to get a lift for little fellow
TOM THUMB – reversal of MOT (driver’s test), THUMB (attempt to get a lift).
10 Struggle with marsupial caught for wife
COMBAT – replace the W (wife) in WOMBAT with a C.
11 Violin’s entertaining number — String of Pearls
STRAND – STRA(N)D. Again I wasn’t sure here but it turns out a STRAND can be specifically ‘a string of pearls or beads’ (Collins again).
13 Pulled everyone in — being covered in fat (8)
14 Chorister apt to go off accompanists here?
17 Climber prepared last of red salmon with bread
20 Click with H?
HIT IT OFF – HIT with IT OFF gives you H.
21 Public business initially concealed pressure to avoid responsibility
COP OUT – slightly odd wordplay here: OUT (public) is preceded by CO to give COOUT, which then conceals P.
22 The bum’s late with the payment
23 Music I love follows eloquent speech maker
25 The pictures showing “Lawrence of Arabia”?
EPIC – hidden in ‘the pictures’.
26 Titled actress has boring routine with her car
RUTHERFORD – RUT, HER, FORD. Dame Margaret Rutherford. I had vaguely heard of her I think but needed the wordplay and wouldn’t have been able to tell you her first name.
2 Guns? Small alarming things!
SHOOTERS – S, HOOTERS. This clue could have been more controversial.
3 Ancient king drops charioteer’s gift
ART – ARThur.
4 One shot in a full game of golf
ROUND – DD. When solving I thought the first definition was a reference to alcohol, but of course that would necessarily be more than one drink so I think ballistics is the relevant field.
5 Throws aquatic bird endless shellfish
6 Cuts and runs after botched case
7 Oppose match being played around rotting vegetation
8 Unable to produce tool for the auditor
SPAYED – sounds like ‘spade’.
12 Love potion from Asia? Orchid crossed with poppy, primarily
15 Small girl returned flipping wine and deer for chips?
SIDE ORDER – S, reversal (returned) of DI (girl), then reversal (flipping) of RED (wine), ROE (dear).
16 Might you see one shuffling to work in Vegas?
CROUPIER – rather obvious CD.
18 A loud guy cutting newspaper’s insult
19 Bill and Mark appearing for trial
LINE-UP – LINE (mark), UP (before the beak). ‘Mark’ for LINE struck me as a bit vague.
21 Vermin found in church box
24 Topless nob’s high
OFFtOFF. In the ‘gamy’ sense.

21 comments on “Sunday Times 4814 by Jeff Pearce”

  1. No problem with ESPADRILLE, but I did wonder about ‘plates’. Same doubts as Keriothe about CAST/direct. It was nice to see ‘runs’ (6d) clue something other than R. I was surprised, K, to see that you weren’t familiar with Dame Margaret, but then I Googled her and realized that she died in 1972. Still, quite a distinguished career. Some rather awkward clues, like 13ac and 15d. K, you’ve got a typo at CAST; the second ‘second’ should be ‘first’.

    Edited at 2018-09-09 12:30 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks K – now corrected.
      1972 is the year I was born, so that’s my excuse. And I don’t really go in for old movies. In much the same way I hadn’t heard of Edith Evans earlier this year.
      1. Ha, you will be telling me you don’t know Sybil Thorndike or Ellen Terry next .. I seem to know all of them, but why, I really have no idea.
        1. The former rings a vague bell. The latter not even that. If only they appeared in crosswords as often as Beerbohm Tree…

          Edited at 2018-09-09 05:37 pm (UTC)

  2. I knew Dame Margaret, so no trouble there, but my LOI, SPAYED took a while to surface. ART went in first. ESPADRILLES known from previous puzzles, and the CRS known too. The whole thing was completed in 29:39 and quite enjoyed. Thanks Jeff and Keriothe.
    1. Yes I guess so. Also casting a glance. I see now that ‘direct’ is actually one of the definitions of CAST in Chambers.
  3. 23 minutes on this, so quick for a Sunday. LINE-UP put in from crossers, and an assumption that LINE referred to one such drawn to highlight a piece of text. I had no idea what an ESPADRILLE was, though I knew the word, which was clearly the anagram solution. It sounds like a Spanish dance, but I decided that it must be a piece of Mexican food that comes on a plate. So the rhyming slang was lost in translation. Two favourite clues, ART for its use of the only charioteer I know, and the cheeky COD BEHIND even though it was a write-in. The redoubtable Maragaret Rutherford was too big and heavy ever to be Jane Marple. Thank you K and Jeff.
  4. ….with a STRAND, as the cigarette advertisement put it in 1959. They didn’t last long, but the haunting tune that accompanied the ad was a real ear-worm.

    11:25 to put this safely to bed. No real queries or quibbles.

    LOI COMPOST HEAP, where I inexplicably failed to spot that it was an anagram.

  5. I don’t time Sunday solves but my note says ‘very easy’. I can’t remember much about it now other than spending some time at the end on SPADE.
  6. I also wondered about ‘line / mark’ until I thought of the oche in darts.

    Once again I fell at the final hurdle (I seem to be writing this every other day at the moment) with 8dn unsolved. I went through the common household and garden tools in my head, so surely I thought of ‘spade’ but I didn’t maked an association with ‘unable to produce’. I tried a word-search on it after deciding to cheat but that produced a list of 143 hits for S?A?E? and after glancing at the first few items I gave up and got on with my life.

    1. I know nothing about darts but I can’t find any dictionary evidence that ‘mark’ is used for the oche.
  7. My take is that an oche is a mark in the form of a line. ‘Mark’ in the sense of a starting position like ‘on your marks’ at the beginning of a race for instance.

    Collins has ‘oche’ as: darts
    the mark or ridge on the floor behind which a player must stand to throw.

  8. DNF. Bah! I had most of this done in 20 mins but was left staring at 19dn. The second bit was obviously up but after a couple of alphabet trawls, I wasn’t particularly convinced by any of the possible options for -i-e to mean mark. I’m sure I considered line-up but couldn’t quite see how it worked. I plumped for size-up. I must have justified it to myself at the time, the logic behind that justification now escapes me. I thought compost heap and aphrodisiac produced some nice anagrams.
  9. This was a good crossword weekend for me as I finished both Saturday’s and this puzzle.
    We’ve had espadrilles in the house so no problem there and I was generally on the right wavelength.
    LOI was Line-up. I too paused over Cast and so Spayed was late in.
    One of my favourite plays is The Importance of Being Earnest and I was sure Margaret Rutherford was Lady Bracknell in the film. It turns out I was confusing her with Edith Evans. But Rutherford was in the film as Miss Prism.
    Very enjoyable puzzle I thought. David
    1. When I saw from Wikipedia that Rutherford was in that movie I wondered if she was the same actress I hadn’t heard of a few months ago. That turned out to be Evans.
    2. Dame Edith delivered the definitive vesion of the ‘handbag’ line which all professional actresses cast in the role since have studiously tried to avoid copying. The trouble is that after one’s heard Dame E do it nothing else works nearly as well. I think in am-dram they usually just go for it.

      Edited at 2018-09-09 12:27 pm (UTC)

  10. 22:35. Like others I was bemused by LINE-UP and hesitant about CAST. I liked ESPADRILLE and HIT IT OFF. About average difficulty I thought.

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