Sunday Times 4902 by Robert Price

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
8:46. A pretty straightforward one from Bob this week, but highly enjoyable with lots of concise and inventive clues. Nothing obscure or difficult, just good clean fun.

12dn appeared in almost identical form in one of the daily puzzles this week. No doubt this is just an unfortunate (albeit remarkable) coincidence: the Sunday and daily puzzles have different editors so there’s no obvious mechanism for something like this to be picked up.

Anyhoo, thanks to Bob for another fine puzzle and here’s how I think it all works…

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (TIHS)*, anagram indicators are in italics.

1 Made many of crowd push, engulfing Mussolini
9 Abused after admitting one’s crooked
10 One lover holds back, being inexperienced
NAIF – reversal of F(I)AN. I would normally think of this word as a noun, so I almost underlined the word ‘being’ as well, but Collins and Lexico both have it as an adjective so I think that’s the more natural reading of the clue. Take your pick!
11 Loom almost covered by blue-green cloth
12 Pickle got into by Penny’s husband
SPOUSE – S(P)OUSE. This is a definition by example but clearly neither setter nor editor felt this needed signalling, in a case where there are only two such examples. I endorse this decision.
13 When retired, go crazy!
BATS – reversal of STAB (try, go).
15 It’s a nut; he’s ebullient
ENTHUSIAST – (IT’S A NUT HE’S)*. Slightly odd clue here: is the definition just ‘he’s ebullient’, in which case ‘he’s’ is doing double duty in definition and wordplay? Or is it an &Lit, in which case the definition is the whole clue, and therefore a reference to a very specific type of enthusiast? More importantly, does it matter?
17 Sixties icon goes around in skimpy gear
MINISKIRTS – MINI, SKIRTS. Cf. The Italian Job (1969).
19 Complaint received about university
20 Top worn by politician, one that’s transparent
22 Gallery icon is sculpted in rock
24 Man that’s checked stock in grocery stores
KING – contained in ‘stock in grocery’.
25 Acts collecting film Oscars, perhaps
26 An editor sits shuffling paper

2 Picasso initially divides a painting into sections
APART – A(Picasso), ART.
3 Like those made homeless, unexpectedly in the main
4 Girl with net twisted around curly hair
5 Guy in Washington, mostly useless
DUD – DUDe. Mostly?
6 Making excuses for party involved in cheating
7 Feeble types ultimately shed tears
DRIPSsheD, RIPS. Not that kind of tears!
8 Scholars of retail worked to bring in computers
LITERATI – (RETAIL)* containing IT.
12 Drink with date in sports venue
14 Errors introducing attendant delays
16 Where coal is kept in sinks
18 Withdraw US president’s upsetting tweet at last
RETRACT – reversal of CARTER, T. Never mind the tweets…
21 A classic artist keeps one uplifted
ILIAD – reversal (uplifted) of DA(I)LI.
23 Explosive squaddies can set up
NITRO – reversal of OR, TIN. I wanted to put NITRE here at first.
25 Haggard work has such predictable endings
SHE – last letters in ‘has such predictable’.

50 comments on “Sunday Times 4902 by Robert Price”

  1. As Keriothe says, enjoyable while not particularly difficult. I biffed TEA-TOWEL & MINISKIRTS; inferred that the icon was the Morris Mini, not knowing anything of its iconic or otherwise status. DNK TACONITE. I also wanted to put in NITRE at 23d, but then thought it might be NITER, and that kept me from putting in either. Haven’t we had bats/stab a couple of times recently? I think perhaps Robert got tired toward the end; ‘Haggard work’…(3)?
  2. Robert’s excellent puzzle took about the forty minutes, with LOI 10a not a word I’ve come across. I’ve lived a sheltered existence, so perhaps could be said to be (a) NAIF myself. COD to MASS-PRODUCED. I loved SCUTTLES too, the sink being a sensible place to keep the coal once the bath was full. Thank you K and Robert.
    1. …or as a former colleague several decades ago once told me, his coal deliveryman once asked him how did he want it, “a la cart(e) or cul de sac(k)”!

      Edited at 2020-05-17 08:14 am (UTC)

  3. 30 minutes for all but 13ac which proved remarkably resilient despite Kevin’s comment that it has come up a couple of times recently. Maybe on those occasions I was quicker to spot the wordplay as a means of arriving at the required synonym for ‘crazy’ of which there must be dozens, plus all the slang terms so often complained about here. Also doing an alphabet trawl on ?A?S was something of a daunting task.

    My unknowns, which nevertheless didn’t delay me unduly, were TACONITE and the slang abbreviation NITRO.

    Edited at 2020-05-17 06:09 am (UTC)

    1. I agree with you, Jack, about 13ac. It was ‘remarkably resilient’ to the extent that it took me 16 minutes to solve!
      1. I forgot to check the clock again when I cracked it but wouldn’t be surprised if I matched your 16 minutes or even exceeded it.
  4. ….was HHA720L (OK, so it was 70’s) a rather rare 848cc automatic. Most of the autos were 998cc, and a trip to Leeds on the M62 showed us exactly why. Foot to the boards up the climb from Milnrow to the Summit only pushed her to a grudging 50mph.

    I was slow to get a foothold, and needed an alpha-trawl to finish (though it really should have jumped out and hit me). DNK TACONITE.

    FOI GOUT (don’t remind me !)
    LOI MISALIGNED (I think my grey cells were)
    COD MINISKIRTS (causing a massive nostalgia attack)
    TIME 12:23

    1. Your experience with your Mini reminded me of a time in my youth when, on a Vespa 150cc scooter, I was pulled over by the police when I was riding up a hill out of Tunbridge Wells. The officer said I had been doing 40mph in a 30mph limit. I was so chuffed! He let me off with a warning.
  5. It took that long because 13ac, BATS, took me all of 16 minutes. I just couldn’t get it for some reason but it looks like I wasn’t alone.
    And I was forced to start at the bottom of the grid. My FOI was 26ac DISSERTATION.
    16d: SCUTTLES. No problem to solve but are they still in use?
    I have no other notes on the puzzle.
  6. Don’t understand ‘shipwrecked’ Can anyone throw me a lifebelt?
    1. I’ll try again. It’s a cryptic definition, with ‘in the main’ being read as ‘at sea’. And I suppose you could say that a sailor who has lost his ship is unexpectedly homeless.
      1. Not really. If a ship is wrecked crew and passengers could be rescued or swim ashore. Crew living onboard might think of it as home if they spend months on it but might be a cross-channel ferry in which case they don’t. A clue all at sea then.
        1. I was trying to explain how I think the clue works. I wasn’t passing comment on its relative merits. (Though I think you’re taking things a bit too literally, and could perhaps cut the setter some slack.)
          1. Perhaps Capt Biddlecombe can tell us how ‘shipwrecked’ is synonymous with ‘made homeless’
            1. I fear you may be overthinking this. For the crew of a ship, said ship is, at least temporarily, their home. If the ship sinks they are therefore made homeless. That’s it.
              1. Unless it’s not seen by crew as their home ie x-channel ferry or similar vessel.
                1. Believe it or not the crew spend weeks at a time aboard the Dover – Calais ferries and do indeed see it as home. Not that the clue is affected, either way
                2. Well yes, but ‘like those potentially (and subject to, inter alios the nature of the applicable vessel, the length of the journey in question and the residence status of the relevant crew outside of their workplace environment) made homeless, unexpectedly in the main’ would have been less catchy.

                  Edited at 2020-05-17 10:36 am (UTC)

                    1. ‘It’s better to be shipwrecked than see your house burn down.’ Cambodian saying.
            2. I think the question of whether a ship is someone’s “home” is irrelevant. Unless someone shipwrecked is lucky enough for it to happen on their own doorstep, or that of friends or relatives, calling them “made homeless, unexpectedly in the main” seems perfectly reasonable to me.
              1. I’m sure survivors of the Titanic shipwreck were thinking “Oh my god, I’m homeless”. (Reminds me of a Bill Tidy cartoon where a man leading a worried-looking polar bear asks at the White Star Line office “Yes, but is there are news of the iceberg?”
      2. dcrooks, as you have a Live Journal account you may like to know you can to correct errors just as long as nobody has used the Reply button to respond to it. It’s accessed via a pencil icon.
        1. Ta.

          Just tested this. (First time, in my earlier comment, somehow managed to hit submit.)

          Edited at 2020-05-17 11:27 am (UTC)

          1. Shame I didn’t use it to remove the stray ‘to’ that got into my previous!
  7. I’m another who struggled with bats. Enjoyed everything else – particularly enthusiast. I read it as a partial &lit where ebullient is the anagram indicator and the definition and anagrist is it’s a nut he’s (an) enthusiast.
    1. I can recall many times when the England cricket team have struggled with bats….
  8. I enjoyed this puzzle but didn’t find it particulary easy. I struggled with my LOI, MINISKIRT, and NAIF was a new word to me. Liked SHIPWRECKED. 38:27. Thanks Bob and K.
  9. Happy to get under the half hour on 27 minutes, with the unknown TACONITE last in on wordplay alone. No problems with SHIPWRECKED, either solving it at the time, or looking at it again after the above discussion. Having a mental list for possible meanings or alternative words for ‘go’ bore fruit for 13a.

    MINISKIRTS brought back plenty of memories, fashion and automobile related, for me too.

    Thanks to our setter and blogger.

  10. FOI was SHE; I often start at the bottom. But then I made pretty good progress. I constructed the unknown TACONITE and finished with SPOUSE ( I’ll make that COD) in about an hour. Very enjoyable. David
  11. 10:03. Unlike some, I whizzed through this unfazed by the unknown TACONITE. LOI SPOUSE, which I rather liked COD to KING for the “man that’s checked” definition. By the way there’s a Nina down the right hand side… FETTES. The school celebrates its 150th birthday this year.
    1. I can’t see how the Nina works. The only F in the crossword is from NAIF. Don’t see how it fits. Perhaps I don’t fully understand the term. Yes, I have read the glossary.
      1. The squares on the far right-hand side of the grid (starting with the F from NAIF and going down) spell FETTES.
          1. You’re welcome. I had no idea: I don’t think I’ve ever spotted a Nina in my life.
  12. 19:59. I didn’t find this too hard and was pleased to squeak under 20 mins. Dnk taconite but the unchecked ‘o’ and ‘i’ didn’t look like they were going to slot in any other way. Statuette parsed post solve. FOI 10ac. LOI 9ac. LBOI 3dn. I’m always slow to see cryptic definitions, probably because I only start looking for them when I’ve exhausted all the wordplay potential in the clue.
  13. at 12dn cannot be passed off as coincidence I’m not convinced there’s a whole lot of editing going on! And some of the setters know it! Do all the setters agree with/like their editor!?

    FOI 2dn APART

    LOI 24ac KING

    COD 13ac BATS!

    WOD 22ac TACONITE – geology A level is of use!

    Edited at 2020-05-17 02:38 pm (UTC)

        1. Lord K – the setters must get hacked-off some times! They must insert their own NINA jabs. Hate each other’s clues. Imitate another’s style just irritate each other – you know the sort of thing!?

          And please take no notice of Bull Jordan: he’s oft deeply shallow! But more oxy than moron.

          Edited at 2020-05-17 05:27 pm (UTC)

    1. I suspect over-worked puzzle editor fatigue. That or rogue algorithms (they’re already setting Codewords, probably moved onto cryptics: cryptobots).
      1. The Times and Sunday Times crosswords are produced entirely independently, except for the possibility of a setter working for both papers. As far as I know, we’re the only paper printing crosswords by Robert Price, though I don’t ask our setters to tell me if they’re appointed elsewhere. The independence includes the editors NOT sending copies of each other’s puzzles and then deciding who has to write a replacement clue if a coincidence like this is found. Independent invention of similar clues has been observed many times by people who solve more than one paper’s crossword.

        “Cryptobots”: none here.

        1. How do we know you’re not a bot? Some kind of Turing test might be required.
          1. How do I know that you’re not a new LiveJournal account set up by “horryd” for a different variety of his snotty comments? If you look at other crossword blogs, you may notice that most of the newspaper crossword editors do not participate. I don’t want to go that way, but I reserve the right to change my mind, or ignore the people who seem most interested in being a nuisance.
    1. It can be either. To make excuses for someone is – implicitly – to accept their behaviour.

      Edited at 2020-05-31 08:34 pm (UTC)

  14. Thanks Robert and keriothe
    Another challenging puzzle from Bob that I was able to do in a single sitting that went just over the hour. The issue with the identical clue will not concern me as I’m thinking that it will be many months before I get to that daily puzzle !
    BATS was my second entry, so it didn’t present the problems to me that it had done to others here – in fact have come across versions of this a number of times. Liked the clue for ENTHUSIAST with its two potential definitions of it.
    Couldn’t parse MINISKIRTS – got fixated that IN was surrounded by some sixties icon and couldn’t find anything that would make MISKIRTS fit. Don’t think that would have picked MINI as a 60’s icon anyway. It was my second to last in with LITERATI the last.

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