Sunday Times 4840 by Dean Mayer

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
14:29. This was another very straightforward puzzle by Dean’s standards, I thought. There’s the hint of a theme in here: something about an INIQUITOUS place where there are NO HALF MEASURES and HEDONISTs and HOOLIGANS DRINK LIKE A FISH listening to NINA SIMONE. ESPRESSO and ASPIRIN to follow in the morning. My kind of place.

I don’t often nominate a clue of the day/puzzle, because that’s not really how I think about these things, but I can’t help mentioning 12ac today, which I think is particularly neat. It looks like, and could be, a straight definition, and it took me a while to figure out why it wasn’t. Hiding the cryptic structure of the clue in plain sight like this very clever.

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

1 Fantastic beat in chorus
5 Makes incisions around firm plaster
STUCCO – reversal (around) of CUTS, CO.
10 Fleet‘s pressure in attack
11 More than one tough problem I see over hotel backing
HOOLIGANS – reversal (backing) of SNAG, I, LO, O, H.
12 Quaff many pints of Bass?
DRINK LIKE A FISH – my reading of this clue is that it’s an &Lit in which ‘quaff many pints’ gives DRINK and ‘of Bass’ gives LIKE A FISH. So it is a cryptic clue, in spite of appearances.
14 Singer at home while I’m cutting new single
NINA SIMONE – N(IN, AS, I’M), ONE. Also a very accomplished pianist.
15 One loving the sound of a violin player?
BEAU – sounds like ‘bow’. Here the violin player is the physical object playing the violin rather than the person holding it.
17 Left somewhat short
19 Old Italian ready to eat a new bread for cheese
LANCASHIRE – L(A, N, CASH)IRE. Kirkham’s is magnificent cheese. I’m told Shorrock’s is also excellent.
22 Forgive me for what?
24 Please hold books about captain and crew
ONE MOMENT – O(NEMO, MEN)T. NEMO being the captain of the Nautilus, of course.
25 Enclosure made by hedge
26 Retreating soldiers capture seal
SIGNET – reversal of GIS, NET. Most often seen in the form of a ring on the pinky finger of a posh Englishman.
27 Underwear for boobs

1 Small rescue vessel needed for small island
2 Aiming to get rid of good drug
3 Playboy in robbery framing mafia boss
4 Shameful reason for changing full-on approach
6 Pilot restrains British family
7 Cup of tea left on rocks
CHALICE – CHA, L, ICE. ICE and rocks are both words for diamonds.
8 Doctor has to operate in huge Kent properties
OAST HOUSES – OS (huge) containing (HAS TO)*, USE. Kent is famous for these distinctive round brick buildings with conical tile roofs topped with white cowls.
9 Ready to trade on A1?
WORKING CAPITAL – WORKING (on), CAPITAL (excellent, A1). A slightly inaccurate definition because WORKING CAPITAL doesn’t consist only of cash (ready) but it’s close enough and the intention is clear.
13 In one capital city, US base
INIQUITOUS – IN, I, QUITO (capital of Ecuador), US.
16 Leaving motorway premises drunk, getting very strong coffee
18 I caught diver’s upturned frozen body
ICEBERG – I, C, reversal of GREBE.
20 Maroon tie, also pants
21 Good acting parts see you getting past
BYGONE – BYE (see you) containing G, ON (acting, as in on stage).
23 Benefit of luxury slightly reduced

17 comments on “Sunday Times 4840 by Dean Mayer”

  1. Like Keriothe, I found this a bit less convoluted than some Anax puzzles, which is still not to say especially easy or straightforward.

    I liked Hooligans. I have a soft spot for long hidden clues, long change-the-word-break clues, and long reversals. Still, we need to have a word with Dean and possibly with the Editor about missing another chance to wind Jimbo up with a cheap and perhaps inaccurate Ted reference.

  2. Same impression as Keriothe and Paul; I wondered if Dean had been rushed to produce this because of Jeff’s departure. Anyway, not much to say about it. Biffed OAST HOUSES (NHO), parsed post-submission; never twigged to WORKING CAPITAL. My LOI was BEAU; ‘violin player’ with the checkers made me think of Menuhin, which of course was not helpful.
      1. Actually, I had–or thought I had–OAST H…ES, and ‘properties’ suggested HOUSES, and I looked it up. I think ‘Kent’ suggested SE, too, although that didn’t work.
    1. Rushed to produce it? I’ve looked back and can confirm that it was sent before we knew the schedule would need revising.
  3. I enjoyed this, taking about 40 minutes. LOI STALL. COD to DRINK LIKE A FISH which I smiled at rather than analysed. I actually saw NO HALF MEASURES while solving the wrong anagram, full-on approach yielding the NO HALF bit. Good cheese knowledge, K. Have you started shopping at Booth’s? Thank you to both you and Dean.
    1. You can get Kirkham’s at Waitrose, but it is a very young version that is hardly worthy of the name. I buy the old stuff at Neal’s Yard Dairy.
      1. Booth’s are my go to supermarket for bottled and canned beers. Better choice than anywhere else.
        1. We are on holiday in Keswick next week, one of the pleasures of which is being able to shop at Booths for the beer which you’ve earned by walking up a hill earlier that day.
  4. When I got to 14a I had the N and the S starting the two words: Singer had to be NEIL SEDAKA. I failed to consider the parsing at first; I am but a fool. Fortunately other clues led me eventually to the excellent Nina Simone.
    This was a tractable puzzle for a Dean and very enjoyable.
    MY LOI was 15a where I stared at _E_U for ages. In another Neil Sedaka moment, Yehudi Menuhin occurred to me; he’s a violin player whose name accommodates the necessary letters twice! Could Menu be the answer?
    Happily I reconsidered and a short alphabet trawl got me to Beau. So all correct quite quickly in the end (i.e. less than a day).
    I think I deserve some Lancashire cheese – from Booth’s of course.
  5. 15:38. I enjoy the trademark humour of Dean’s clues. DRINK LIKE A FISH, ONE MOMENT and BEAU all made me chuckle. We’ve got some tasty Lancashire in the fridge, but I can’t tell you the maker – the wife bought it at the local Christmas fare and we kept it snug in its wax wrapping until a couple of weeks ago.
  6. ….NINA SIMONE I’m Feelin’ Good, as I suspect it’s my first sub 10 minute Dean Mayer puzzle. OK, not his hardest, but not a walk in the park either.

    Stopped myself from biffing “hoodlums” at 11A having realised it wouldn’t fit after entering three letters. Luckily, those letters were correct !

    TIME 9:46

  7. An enjoyable puzzle with lots of humour, but as has been said, not as difficult as some of Dean’s offerings. I particularly liked DRINK LIKE A FISH too. FOI SARK, LOI BEAU. 22:39. Thanks Dean and K.
  8. Thanks Dean and keriothe
    Enjoyable puzzle that took just under the hour. Technically I got SLASHING wrong, but I think that it is quite a valid answer – slashing here means brilliant / fantastic – as in ‘the horse made a slashing run from the last furlong’ and lash is to beat forcefully against. (beaten on points though as I see the published answer is SMASHING).
    I found several clues had that deeper layer of cryptic word play as 12a. Thought that WORKING CAPITAL was very good in that regard and took a while to see the depth of what looked like a simple clue.
    Was surprised to see ‘ready’ for cash used twice – 19a and 9d – nearly adjacent too in my printed out version.
    Finished in the SW corner with INIQUITOUS and QUIT the last couple in

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