Sunday Times 4820 by Jeff Pearce

9:28. A very straightforward puzzle from Jeff this week, so much so that I felt I ought to have done it a bit quicker. A few of these held me up briefly but there were an awful lot of write-ins so I’ll just blame a mild hangover and the fact that Die Hard was on the TV late on Saturday night. I must have seen that movie twenty times but I still find it hard not to watch it. So perhaps I should just be thankful for a relatively easy one.

No absolute unknowns for me this week, although I’m not sure I’d have been able to tell you exactly what BOREAL meant, and I took HOPPER to be a general description rather than a more specific creature.

So without further ado…

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

1 One looking for extremely scarce bowman
5 Asian idol mostly seen in health club
10 Saw covering page by writer a secondary part
11 Horse heading for poisonous shrub
PACER – Poisonous, ACER (shrub).
12 China were in front — about 12 inches
DELFT – reversal of LED, FT (foot, 12 inches).
13 Before tantrum harshly criticise painting technique
DISTEMPER – DIS (harshly criticise), TEMPER (tantrum).
14 It’s best to whip a dip
PICKPOCKET – PICK (best), POCKET (steal, whip).
17 Yarn put round top of fancy sock
BIFF – reversal of FIB (yarn), Fancy.
19 Dwelling lacking hot running water
OUSE – the river hOUSE.
20 Overly dramatic choir briefly sing it badly
HISTRIONIC – (CHOIR, SINg, IT)*. I considered this answer quite quickly but dismissed it on the assumption that ‘briefly’ must apply to ‘choir’ in constructing the anagrist. Wrong.
22 Leader can take it — ideal or otherwise
24 Doctor in hospital department runs traffic light
AMBER – MB (doctor) contained in AE, then R. I’m sure the subject of A&E being represented as AE has come up before, but I can’t remember what the conclusion was. It doesn’t seem quite right to me, which is probably what I said last time before being given a perfectly good explanation which satisfied me at the time.
26 On speed one is raging
27 Not in favour of hosting current history courses in Italy
ANTIPASTI – ANT(I, PAST)I. I is ‘current’ in electrical notation that I’ve never encountered outside a crossword. I would say that ANTIPASTI is really one course, but who’s counting?
28 Require large key in order to wind up
NEEDLE – NEED, L, E (east, bearing, course).
29 Adeptly cutting mock diamonds one sells?

1 Drastically discounted an amp for entertainer
2 Pointless request to umpire causes outrage
3 Monument that’s not cheap to assemble
4 Dash to front of display to see animal
ELAND – ELAN, Display.
6 Axe decapitated insect
HOPPERcHOPPER. A word that particularly applies to young locusts, apparently.
7 Party where one is welcomed
8 Utter skill and courage initially required to get jet heading off — from this?
AIRCRAFT CARRIER – AIR (utter), CRAFT (skill), Courage, hARRIER. Semi-&Lit.
9 The most dirty footballer is French
MESSIEST – MESSI (Lionel, a footballer even I’ve heard of), EST (is French).
15 Berate players getting a single wicket?
16 Seriously ill judge starts to alarm
18 Rancour about German computer programme in the City
BIG APPLE – BI(G, APP)LE. Good to see some of you here a couple of weeks ago.
21 Buoy oddly on a lake to the North
BOREAL – BuOy, RE (on), A, L.
23 Machine for shaping endless foam
25 Small bar contains small plant used by cooks
BASIL – BA(S)IL. ‘Bail’ in the cricketing sense.

23 comments on “Sunday Times 4820 by Jeff Pearce”

  1. Nothing to scare the proverbials, although I didn’t know BAIL, or the ‘steal’ sense of ‘whip’. Biffed 1d and checked the anagrist later. I knew ‘temper tantrum’–and have seen more than my share, living in Japan– but wouldn’t have equated the two words; evidently others do.
  2. Pretty straightforward at 20:50. Was just discussing Delft with a Dutch, fellow Folkie before I started this puzzle in the lounge of the Grapes Hotel in Newcastleton in the Scottish Borrrderrs. Spooky huh? No idea where I started or finished, but it was a great weekend:-) An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Jeff and K.
  3. Another at 20 minutes with LOI BOREAL, not known in itself but seen from the Aurora of the Northern Lights. COD to PICKPOCKET. In this life one thing counts. Thank you K and Jeff.
  4. Not on this puzzle ! Perfectly straightforward 10:45 saw it off.


    I agree with Keriothe that “courses” isn’t quite right at 27A, and the singular would be the correct form (and would still work).

  5. I have been in Italian meals where the antipasti were about 20 courses, along with far too much wine, before finally asking if we actually wanted anything more. so it can definitely be courses. and it is plural of course.

    I’m not sure if “I is ‘current’ in electrical notation that I’ve never encountered outside a crossword” is meant to mean that you think it is one of those things like TREE for actor, or TENT for wine, that really do only seem to come up in crosswords. But I can assure you that I come across ‘I’ for current almost every day at work. It is not crosswordese in the slightest.

    I forget how long I took but it was quick.

    Edited at 2018-10-21 08:21 am (UTC)

    1. I would say that you were served lots of different dishes in a single course: that’s what an ANTIPASTI course is, whether there are two or twenty dishes. The course ends when they serve the pasta!
      I meant nothing in particular about i beyond what I said: I don’t mind it at all. It’s clearly not obsolete like TREE and TENT.

      Edited at 2018-10-21 09:08 am (UTC)

      1. The clue, of course, has the plural because ANTIPASTI is the plural form of “antipasto,” which Wikipedia et al. define as (Wiki) “the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal.” You will certainly be offered several different choices for your appetizer, so the menu may indeed say ANTIPASTI. But I think you have in mind a stage of a meal partaken of by several people (each of whom, as so often happens, might choose an antipasto, which any of the others might share). I, in any case, never have more than one if eating alone.
        1. Yes an ‘antipasto’ is a dish. I rather suspect this is a back-formation from the plural, since the traditional thing is to have a variety of dishes that are shared around the table, so the singular is otiose.
          Any which way, it’s a course.
          1. I am far from thinking “antipasto” is a back-formation. (My mind rather boggles, even, at the idea of a singular form being a back-formation from a plural.) Admittedly, my experience with Italian meals is mainly limited to restaurants. But, as I implied, I think the setter and editor were correct in using the plural. I haven’t found a dictionary or other webpage yet that doesn’t say “antipasto” is the name for the first course, though I remain open to further input.

            Edited at 2018-10-22 02:54 am (UTC)

            1. I’m just going from experience of the thing in Italy. You never get served ‘an’ antipasto.
              1. Maybe we’ve just been to different cities, or different restaurants. I never ordered, and was thus never served, more than one appetizer in Venice, Rome, or Florence.
                1. Possibly so. My experience of the traditional meal is more from the sort of places where there are only two pasta dishes to choose from, if you’re lucky.
  6. 15:34 with one typo I spotted as I pressed the submit button. Aargh! An Act of Supreme carelessness.

    I was surprised to see “Messi” as part of the wordplay in 9 down. I thought the convention was you had to be dead to feature as a person in The Times Xword? No doubt this has been discussed here many times before. Am I incorrect or does it just apply to the daily puzzle and not the Sunday version?

    1. It only apples to the daily puzzles. The Sunday ones are edited separately (by Peter Biddlecombe) and operate on slightly different rules.
  7. I limped home on this one in a comparatively slow 50:20. On review I can’t see anything too problematic. I think I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I tackled it.
  8. 11:49, according to my records. Done online, for once, so not got any notes. It did seem rather straightforward at the time – quite possibly my fastest Jeff puzzle. I liked HISTRIONIC for its entertaining surface.
  9. For the less advanced solver, I thought this was pitched perfectly.
    I got 1a and 1d as my first two in and that gave me a big confidence boost. Hold ups later on were Sherpa and Hopper.
    Enjoyed Messi -although he’s just broken his arm I read, and Biff which I worked out and was helpful on yesterday’s Pointless (words ending FF). Biff wasn’t; Pontiff was.
    LOI was Pickpocket which I stared at for ages. Good fun -and I finished it.

  10. First time I’ve ever finished the Sunday Times crossword so it must have been an easy one. Still, nice to get one on the board. Probably about five hours! Back to the QC.

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