Sunday Times 4836 by Dean Mayer

24:39. A magnificent toughie from Dean this week, I thought. A lot of the difficulty here is in the definitions, which often use secondary and/or oblique meanings of words. As is often the case with this setter, there’s a lot of playing with word meanings to make unexpected connections and fool the solver. There are also some fairly obscure terms, some of which I knew but none of which sprang to mind with great ease, but everything is fairly clued and all in all I found this a really enjoyable and thoroughly satisfying solve. Proper crossword nourishment and just the sort of challenge I like to see on a Sunday.

There are a couple of Dean’s trademark simple but absolutely brilliant clues in here. 5dn is an absolute doozy, for instance: it’s a clue that gives the impression of having been not so much written as discovered. Great stuff.

So many thanks to Dean for a really superb puzzle, and here’s how I think it all works…

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

1 I like this pub. It appears on some maps
ISOBAR – I, SO (like this), BAR. Weather maps, to be precise.
5 Old man’s weakness — old variety of pinball
PACHINKO – PA (old man), CHINK (weakness), O. I had never heard of this Japanese game so I had to rely on the wordplay. CHINK isn’t the first synonym for ‘weakness’ you’re likely to think of but the checking K was very helpful.
9 Waster wanting something worthwhile on the house
GOOD-FOR-NOTHING – GOOD (something worthwhile), FOR NOTHING (on the house).
10 Buzz first over moon
CALLISTO – CALL (buzz, as in ‘give me a buzz’), IST, O. Jupiter’s second largest moon.
11 Cellist gutted after awful show?
DIRECT – DIRE, CellisT. I’m not entirely sure about ‘show’ for DIRECT. Shouldn’t it be ‘show the way’ or something similar?
13 Drive home after accident, no doubt
FOR CERTAIN – FORCE, RTA, IN. RTA for ‘road traffic accident’ was new to me, but the answer was obvious.
15 Bullet shot
SLUG – DD. The second definition relates to whisky or similar.
16 Part of back is supporting neck
KISS – contained in ‘back is supporting’.
17 See prize increase
APPRECIATE – a triple definition, I think. To see the point, to appreciate, value, prize, and to increase in value.
18 Like skin turned out?
ASLEEP – AS, reversal of PEEL.
20 Stood our ground? Is that great?
OUTDOORS – (STOOD OUR)*. The great outdoors, of course.
22 Serious crime providing a dodgy dealer’s proceeds
CAPITAL OFFENCE – or CAPITAL (proceeds) OF FENCE (dodgy dealer).
24 Fly is not flying around dump
JETTISON – JET (fly), IS contained in a reversal of NOT.
25 Brownie hurt crossing river
SPRITE – SP(R)ITE. A couple of unusual equivalences made this one tricky for me: ‘hurt’ for SPITE (nothing wrong with it, just not immediately obvious) and the perhaps obscure ‘brownie’ for a type of elf or sprite who does household chores at night.

2 Witnesses to rising sea, being at sea
SIGNATORIES – (TO RISING SEA)*. A slightly odd definition here, in that the SIGNATORIES to a contract are really distinct from the witnesses. But there’s no doubt that witnesses sign too!
3 Footwear accessories line, one stocked by chemist
BOOTLACES – BOOT(L, ACE)S. I wasted a bit of time here trying to think of famous chemists beginning with B (which I had from 1ac). I couldn’t make BOYLE fit and failed to come up with any others, before I saw the answer from the definition and it became clear that the less exalted meaning of the word was required.
4 In lift, hide American redhead
RUFUS – reversal (in lift) of FUR, then US. We had a dog called RUFUS when I was a kid. He was a black Labrador.
5 It is what it is
PERSONAL PRONOUN – because ‘it’ is one of these. Wonderful stuff.
6 Old measure made with wood?
CLOG DANCE – CD. I’m a bit puzzled by ‘old’ in this clue, but I suppose there’s no doubt that the CLOG DANCE is old by comparison to, say, the floss. Edit: actually I think it’s the word ‘measure’ which is being described as old. Both Collins and ODO mark this meaning of the word (dance) as archaic.
7 One given task, mostly divine stuff!
8 Constant part of family
KIN – K (constant), IN (part of). K is the Boltzmann constant or the velocity constant. I suspect the former is intended because it’s in Collins (marked as American) and ODO whereas the latter is only in Chambers.
12 Pirate in combat announced attack
COUNTERFEIT – COUNTER (combat), sounds like ‘fit’ (attack).
14 Returns to harvest fruit
15 His new right to keep name gets man over the line
SHIPOWNER – (HIS)*, POW(N)ER. ‘Shipping line’ is a term for a shipping company, so the ‘man over’ (in charge of) such a company would be…
19 Are spades blocking door?
21 Words in plural form
TIFFS – I think the idea here is just that having ‘words’ is having an argument, and TIFFS is a plural. Not the strongest clue in this puzzle, IMO. Edit: Nonsense! It’s really very clever. ‘Words’ would give you TIFF. So TIFFS is the plural of ‘words’. And the surface is about grammar. Now one of my favourite clues in the puzzle, so apologies to Dean
23 Fear the sound of a blade
AWE – sounds like ‘oar’. Cue a chorus of complaints from rhotic speakers and others. When I say these words they sound identical though, which is conclusive proof that the clue is sound.

46 comments on “Sunday Times 4836 by Dean Mayer”

  1. …was, indeed, very good! My good fortune to spot that one early.
    Not so fortunate with KIN, CAPITAL OFFENCE and FOR CERTAIN, so thanks, keriothe.
    I have a query with CAPITAL as “proceeds”. My view is that proceeds are income whereas capital is what you need to get the business going before you can generate proceeds.
    My other ? is with PACHINKO. The way the clue is constructed (“old man’s”) led me to expect PAS…. As Dean is such a precise setter, how can one justify the “‘s”? I agree that the clue does not read well without it but then, as I said, it leads one to expect an S to be in the solution.
    My favourite was ICHOR.
    61m 57s
    1. You (and John below) surprise me; ‘s is used all the time in clues, seldom as the possessive.
    2. As Kevin says, this use of ‘S, where it’s short for ‘has’, and indicates that one wordplay element ‘has’ another next to it, is really very commonplace.
      I don’t have a problem with CAPITAL as proceeds. If you sell shares at a profit this is a return of CAPITAL and you will be charged CAPITAL gains tax.
      1. This 1968 Roland Dunkerley Memorial prize winner ( some get greatness thrust upon them !) agrees with Martin, K. In economist-speak, Capital is a ‘stock’, Proceeds are a ‘flow’. In capital gains tax, it’s the delta, the capital growth, that’s being taxed. A wealth tax would be a tax on capital directly, but I still don’t think the HMRC could refer to the proceeds as capital. Still, this discussion makes a change from quantum physics and theology!
        1. ‘Proceeds’ is just money received: it isn’t specifically income. If you sell shares, what you receive is both proceeds and capital. If a loan is repaid, the proceeds will normally be a mixture of capital and income.
          1. I still say that the proceeds would be a return of capital, but hey I’m off to Church. There’s less dogma there!
              1. ‘Proceeds from the capital and the revenue’ or ‘proceeds from the capital through the revenue’. Athanasius had a view on the filioque too, possibly first included in rebuttal of Arius.

                Edited at 2019-02-10 01:05 pm (UTC)

        2. Judging by the exchanges between you and keriothe, it’s balance sheets at dawn for the three of us!
  2. PACHINKO was new to me so I confirmed it after constructing it. I see what Martin is getting at re the S. Beats me too! Huge lightbulb moment when I saw 5d. Great clue. CAPITAL OFFENCE was another penny drop moment. SHIPOWNER was my LOI and took some serious cogitation before I saw how it worked. ISOBAR was FOI. Nice puzzle. 35:22. Thanks Dean and K.
  3. I could have been under the half-hour if I hadn’t dithered for so long over 23d (AXE? (blade), or AWE? (fear)). Never thought of the oar blade, and it wouldn’t have helped, since –of course– ‘oar’ and ‘awe’ sound nothing alike to my rhotic ears. Not complaining, mind you; after hearing Terry-Thomas say ‘shower’, I’m ready for anything.
    In compensation, perhaps, Dean gave me a gimme with PACHINKO; which made 8d a gimme, too, even though I couldn’t parse it. CHINK by itself struck me as odd; I can only imagine it being used with ‘armor’.
    SHOW seemed OK at the time; show him to his room, maybe? Wonderful stuff, as usual, from Dean. COD I suppose to 5d, although I was primed for it by a couple of similar uses of pronouns in recent clues; and the very obscurity of the clue itself invites the solution.
  4. My LOI was probably 23, which I thought was oarful.

    Didn’t know what RTA was about in FOR CERTAIN, and forgot to figure it out.

    I figured you can read “old man’s weakness” as a “Pa chink.” I can’t quite bring myself to see “Pa’s” as meaning “Pa has,” though some will say it’s supposed to be parsed that way.

    1. PACHINKO was a gimme for me too, since I have been in a Pachinko parlor, just once, on my first visit to Japan in 1983 (when there were 240 yen to the dollar). I still have no idea what I was meant to be trying to do. It’s nothing like normal pinball.
      1. You’re meant to lose money. I was impressed, when I first saw a pachinko parlor, by the zombie-like expressionlessness of the players; it reminded me of my first sight of slot machine players at Lake Tahoe: it was hard to tell which was playing which.

        Edited at 2019-02-10 06:26 am (UTC)

  5. Not this week. I had to resort to aids for PACHINKO, so my 16 minutes were a technical DNF. I thought the clue might have read better if the first word had been “state” (Philadelphia), but still wouldn’t have got it.

    Wasn’t keen on the clue for TIFFS either (and I seldom criticise Dean).

    LOI N/A
    TIME N/A

  6. 28 minutes on this very good puzzle. As martinp1 has said about CAPITAL OFFENCE, Dean has failed his Part 1 Bookkeeping exam though. The only unknown was LOI PACHINKO, which yielded to the crossers and a bit of thought. We had a wooden bagatelle board when I was a kid, which I couldn’t get out of my head. I sure played a mean bagatelle. COD to CLOG DANCE for the Bill Tidy memories. Thank you K and Dean.
  7. Another Rolls Royce of a crossword from Dean .. erudite, concise, interesting words, and look at those surface readings.
    So far as 21dn is concerned, the clue is barely cryptic and I assumed that I must be missing something, though no idea what. “tiff” has several other meanings beside the argument one but none seem relevant.
  8. I did get PACHINKO and ICHOR but many eluded me despite returning to the puzzle frequently.
    I’m still wondering how you get from Old Measure to Clog Dance -I’ve never seen Measure meaning Dance before.
    I agree with Martin and BW, Frank Wood would have struggled with 22a.
    1. ‘Measure’ for dance is in Collins and ODO but both mark it as archaic. So actually I think the word ‘old’ is a reference to word ‘measure’ rather than the activity itself.
      1. Once again, G&S to the rescue (Pirates of Penzance):

        Let us gaily tread the measure,
        Make the most of fleeting leisure,
        Hail it as a true ally,
        Though it perish by-and-by.

  9. I echo K’s sentiments on this one. I have “Tricksy definitions” scribbled next to my time of 1h 5m on my bit of paper. FOI 9a GOOD-FOR-NOTHING, LOI the slightly questionable 21d TIFFS. I’d vaguely heard of PACHINKO from somewhere, luckily, though I think I was getting it a bit confused with pinochle in my brain’s filing system.

    I believe “RTC” rather than “RTA” is the current police argot, as “collision” is less prejudicial than “accident” while determining cause, but “RTA” was popular for decades and you still hear it being used.

  10. PS: Anyone who, like me, also does the Guardian Saturday puzzles and enjoyed last week’s Brendan should probably go have a look at the Fifteen2 blog entry for it to fully appreciate how clever it was!

    Edited at 2019-02-10 08:58 am (UTC)

  11. 20:50. I wrote Déjà Vu on my copy as I’d seen each of CALLISTO, ASLEEP, REAPPEARS and PERSONAL PRONOUN in recent puzzles and had learned of ‘powned’ earlier in the week. If you haven’t come across it, try Have I been powned?. I found I had been – several times! I loved the puzzle, apart from TIFFS – I was hoping to find here I’d missed something, but I parsed the same as K. Nice to see the Boltzmann constant. COD to 5D. Thanks Dean and K.

    Edited at 2019-02-10 11:44 am (UTC)

    1. It’s actually ‘pwned’. Perhaps surprisingly it’s in ODO, Collins and Chambers.

      Edited at 2019-02-10 11:55 am (UTC)

  12. No idea why I knew PACHINKO but it was rather lucky I did. Chink makes me think of Wall in Midsummer Night’s Dream, or the noise of coins in the bottom of my handbag, or an Asian slur, so I was slow to see the weakness and spent time looking for a vice. For once I was more or less on the Anax wavelength – won’t happen next time. 19.53. It is what it is – yesss.
  13. 47:36 another very nice puzzle where I found the LHS easier than the RHS, clog dance, counterfeit, shipowner and outdoors all held me up mightily. FOI 1ac. LOI the unknown pachinko which was derived from wp and checkers. I was also hesitant over tiffs which I couldn’t really understand. I wondered if form might be a reference to the TIFF file format, which pluralized gives you tiffs, or is form and TIFF too tenuous a link?
  14. Liked it.
    Aside from amusement, one of the reasons I started doing the puzzle was to rub up against British usages and British cultural GK. I still learn something from time to time (Tring is a place in Herts?), but I find mostly what I learn these days is how many different ways otherwise reasonable people can pronounce words such as Oar.
    Thanks K and D
  15. The usual brilliant stuff from Dean (as we call him nowadays). And then we get 21dn, which unless I’m missing something is, to say the least, not up to his usual standard. Normally I scan it and copy it into an email and send it in, but this week I didn’t, bacause I couldn’t even finish because of this pathetic (?) clue.
    1. Since I last commented I had a little ‘aha’ moment and I’ve completely changed my mind about this clue. Having words is an argument, so ‘words’ in this sense would give you TIFF. ‘Words’ is a TIFF; ‘words’ in plural form is TIFFS. The surface has a completely unrelated grammatical meaning. The way the clue plays with singulars and plurals is just perfect.

      Edited at 2019-02-11 12:13 am (UTC)

      1. That’s what I thought from the beginning, but it’s what I thought you said at the beginning, too.
        While I’m here, isn’t ‘show him to his room’ equivalent to ‘escort him’ rather than ‘direct him’?
        1. No I had understood ‘words’ and TIFFS to be equivalents, which they could be. It seems obvious to me now that they aren’t.
          In answer to your second question, I think I would say ‘no’. There’s an element of instruction in ‘show’.

          Edited at 2019-02-11 08:50 am (UTC)

  16. My goodness! Over 40 comments on a weekend crozzy! Time was when it would be a struggle to reach double figures!

    Edited at 2019-02-11 03:15 am (UTC)

  17. Thanks Dean and keriothe
    Found this very difficult across two longish sessions and needing to help to get it the grid filled and parsed. Parsed that is except for COUNTERFEIT (where I didn’t pick up the homophone of ‘fit’. I struggled with a number of the definitions for too long in the process along the way.
    Must agree that CAPITAL is what one makes the proceeds from, rather than being the proceeds itself – ‘capital gains’ = proceeds. Anyway, I think we all got the gist of what he was getting at with it and it was another good clue. I’d mark JETTISON as my cod – so simple in hindsight, but the clue took ages to unwind.
    SLUG was my first in and finished in the SE corner with SHIPOWNER (which took a while to figure out) and TIFFS (which I finally worked out the pluralities involved).

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