Sunday Times 4992 by Robert Price – what rough beast

10:41. Another absolutely cracking puzzle from Bob this week. Not particularly hard, but great fun. A couple of particularly brilliant ones I’ve highlighted in the comments.

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

1 Timekeeper wearing golf pants for non-executive duties
WATCHING BRIEFS – WATCH, IN (wearing), G for golf, BRIEFS. Here ‘pants’ isn’t an anagram indicator for a change.
10 Souvenir found by a degenerate
11 Particular tag on seafood sandwiches
FADDISH – F(ADD)ISH. ADD = tag on.
12 With two equal sides playing, is score extremely close?
13 Trump’s not there to behave
OUTDO – OUT, DO. I thought ‘behave’ for DO was a bit iffy but Collins has ‘to conduct oneself’ as a definition, giving the example ‘do as you please’. I would take issue with this personally but I will have to take it up with the Collins lexicographers. And by ‘take it up’ I of course mean ‘not take it up’. The surface here refers of course to the orange sloucher.
14 Interfere and save money
BUTT IN – BUT (save), TIN (money).
15 An abrasive scrap almost ending company career
CORUNDUM – CO, RUN, DUMp. I had heard of Carborundum, which is a portmanteau of this word (which I had not heard of) and carbon.
18 Stones — thanks to Richards primarily, or Jagger?
ROCK STAR – ROCKS, TA, Richards. What a brilliant clue!
20 Stretching exercises one’s exported from China
23 Snack dish being washed out
25 Adorn rice, scattering this
CORIANDER – (ADORN RICE)*. In Semi-&Lit clues like this the definition is structurally just ‘this’, but you need the rest of the clue to make sense of it.
26 1980s singer refusing to change
ADAMANT – no need to discuss whether this is or isn’t a double definition because whilst Stuart Leslie Goddard isn’t in the dictionary he undoubtedly has a space between the first and last elements of his nom de pop.
27 Thick nobles eschewing books
VISCOUS – VISCOUntS. Another brilliant clue. In defence of the nobs (not that they need it of course), among the very small number of properly aristocratic people of my acquaintance are a couple of the cleverest people I’ve ever met.
28 Societies one can barely get into?
2 John Lennon’s one song left
AIRPORT – AIR, PORT. Referring to the cheesily-named airport near Liverpool.
3 Better ragamuffins, not right little monkeys
4 Upset girl cries, missing English poems
IDYLLS reversal of DI, YeLLS
5 Where to get your present aptitude report
GIFT SHOP – aptitude as in talent, report as in grass.
6 Samba venue plugged by commercial broadcaster
7 Dislodged European departs after fight outside court
8 Coach going on motorway adds anxiety for teacher
9 Part of Wiltshire in the late PM – unmistakeable!
SALISBURY PLAIN – Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury KG GCVO PC FRS DL what what don’t you know.
16 Hideous guy’s nails — revolting!
UGLY AS SIN – (GUY’S NAILS)*. Edit: as jackkt notes below I’ve probably got the definition and anagrind the wrong way round here but it works either way.
17 Niobe, initially cold, swallows love drug
19 On top of dessert, a crust plastered in sauce
CUSTARD (A CRUST)*, Dessert.-
21 Little European swimmer
22 Start of this composer’s journey
24 A poet still without a son

30 comments on “Sunday Times 4992 by Robert Price – what rough beast”

  1. NHO WATCHING BRIEFS, and after 4 minutes of staring at the checkers, all I could come up with was MARCHING ORDERS. This was a fantastic puzzle, with great clues abounding. COD to ROCK STAR, but there was also GIFT SHOP, VISCOUS, ATROPHY, BUTT IN… I didn’t know of the airport, nor that SALISBURY PLAIN is in Wiltshire. I had a ? about FADDISH=particular. K, you’ve got an extra underline at 20ac.
    1. So have, or rather haven’t now that I’ve corrected it. Thank you. I wonder what I was thinking.
        1. In this case I know what I was thinking: nothing. It was late.

          Edited at 2022-02-06 08:54 am (UTC)

  2. After “A Sunday in Hell” from Dean the previous Sunday, this was very pleasant.
    My COD was WATCHING BRIEFS but VISCOUS was also excellent, as keriothe says. I would be hopeless as a blogger as I never know what type of clue I’m looking at, other than a nanagram.
    What’s even more ‘cheesy’ about 2d, keriothe, is that the byline for “John Lennon Airport, and as seen on signs there, is “Above Us Only Sky”. Please!!
    My TADPOLE started out life as a TIDDLER.
    Finally, I wonder if you can find CORUNDUM, or even CARBORUNDUM, in Corinium, aka Cirencester.
    Thanks, keriothe!
  3. Yes, another fine production from Bob. CORUNDUM had to wait until the very end.
    “Little swimmer” might define TADPOLE, sans European, in a noncryptic, so that was the easiest. Hadn’t really been aware of “custard” as a “sauce” until my Thanksgiving initiation into spotted dick this year. I do need to cut my nails.

    It was at least a decade ago that I opined to The Nation‘s literary editor that a moratorium should be placed on using the over-exposed Yeats line evoked here. I don’t think it has been any less popular in ensuing years, and it has been resorted to (as one might well imagine) more than once recently. But don’t get me wrong—I find it quite apt in this context.

    Edited at 2022-02-06 04:18 am (UTC)

  4. Almost a theme here with Lennon, Jagger, Richards and Adam Ant coming together for this, though I doubt they would rival The Travelling Wilburys.
    Thanks to Bob for a good workout, and to Keriothe for the parsing of EVICTED.
    1. As Kevin says it can work either way but now that you mention it hideous is a closer equivalent to ugly so probably what was intended.
  5. A sort of Sunday QC, but well constructed and witty. A respectable 33 minutes.

    FOI 13ac OUTDO

    LOI 22dn TRAVEL


    WOD 16dn UGLY AS SIN

    I think of 3dn CAPUCHIN(S) as coffee coloured — I’m not fond of monkeys, after a vertiginous incident on ‘The Rock, some thirty years ago!

    1. There were a lot of mentions of “capuchins” in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man- Joyce- but they referred to the religious order and its hooded cloaks . I think the monkeys got their name from their resemblance to the friars’ dress.
  6. 25 minutes. Terrific stuff. I spent a few minutes trying to make a lavatory out of Lennon’s one song left before I remembered Speke Airport. In my life, I’ve never landed there. COD to BUTT IN, I think. Thank you, Robert and K.
  7. Strange one. Couldn’t get one till half-way through the acrosses but then the bottom half filled up v nicely and I reversed my way through the top half to leave just CORUNDUM after 23 minutes

    But nho the word and completely missed the (perhaps slightly unusual) use of “ending”? It seemed like a — dare I say it — slightly clunky clue amongst some more classics (ROCK STAR was excellent and ADAMANT took me back 40 odd years with a smile). On review today I think it’s probably just me so I’ll give another 10/10 for one of Bob’s

    Thanks Ketiothe and Myrtilus for more enjoyable Sunday fare

  8. Very manageable this week, yet still with enough to test this novice. A steady solve in 35 minutes, with five of those minutes spent on my LOI 15ac, CORUNDUM, which NHO. FOI 1ac WATCHING BRIEFS. Enjoyable, with satisfying clues – I got where each answer came from. Liked the elegance of 3d. Thanks to setter and blogger.
  9. FOI YEATS. LOI at just after midday was IDYLLS.
    CORUNDUM unknown but clearly signposted I thought.
    The term “watching brief” is well known to me so it must be an English business thing.
    There was lots to enjoy in this puzzle. My favourites were ROCK STAR and AIRPORT.
  10. 44 mins and very enjoyable too. Loved the long clues, ROCK STAR and TADPOLE (LOI). Thank you Robert and Keriothe.
  11. 23:36, but defeated by MARCHING ORDERS and a misremembered and unparsed BORUNDUM. Hey ho! Thanks Bob and K.
  12. Nudist Colonies was a write-in. Anyone been to one recently? Or did they all close back in the seventies? COD Gift Shop. WOD Narcotic. Time 18:31. 2dn might have been ‘Imagine’ which someone recently, I can’t remember who, ranted about. It takes all sorts!
  13. 25A: I would count this as a full &lit with permissible use of “this” to refer to the answer. “Semi-&lit” means to me that the wordplay is accompanied by a definition that could be used in a clue with no &lit aspect, and the whole clue is a longer (and usually more helpful) definition. I hope you will never see an ST cryptic clue on my watch which is “This is” followed by the wordplay, or an equivalent. One example of this use of “this” in &lit clues is the winner of Azed 2569, which you can read on
    1. Yes that works. I had read ‘adorn rice, scattering’ as an indication that ‘adorn rice’ is scattering to give the answer. But you can also read the clue such that the answer (this) is the thing being scattered to produce ‘adorn rice’, and on that basis it’s a full &Lit.
      I’m a bit surprised by your second comment though: this sort of semi-&Lit — where there is a random word like ‘this’ which serves structurally as a definition (because it isn’t part of the wordplay) but needs the rest of the clue to make sense of it — is pretty common. Not on Sundays I guess!

      Edited at 2022-02-06 06:49 pm (UTC)

      1. My second comment should really have included “other than an &lit clue”. I would seriously hope that the clues with “this” (or similar) that you’re thinking of as “semi-&lit” can be read in a way that makes them full &lits.
        Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough, but I’m not sure what “random words” could be used other than “this”, “I” in the “I am …” quiz question style, “this is”, and “I’m”.
        Later addition: pronouns like “that”, or “who” might work, but the list seems pretty short.

        Edited at 2022-02-06 07:23 pm (UTC)

        1. Take this example from a few weeks ago:
          No charisma needed to play these? -> HARMONICAS
          I can’t read this as full &Lit: ‘to play X’ cannot be an instruction to make an anagram of X, so the clue is telling us to make an anagram of NO CHARISMA to get the answer. ‘These’ has no role in the wordplay so structurally it’s the definition.
          This sort of clue is very common.
          1. If you’re happy to read “needed to play” as the anagram indicator for “No charisma”, I think it makes reasonable sense with the question mark, and “these” as the pointer to the def. I don’t think I’d be keen on it myself, because, on a personal basis, I’d be asking “would you say the same if the answer was ‘bass trombone’?”. Have I ever allowed a clue like this? Maybe, but I hope some degree of toughness about &lits from me might have discouraged this kind of “could be but could also not be” kind of definition reading in an &lit clue.
            1. I confess I’m not particularly happy with it: it’s an awkward formulation. I can just about read it as meaning ‘X is needed, and it must also play’ or something. It would be better without the word ‘needed’ but that spoils the surface of course.
              But I absolutely cannot read ‘needed to play these’ as an instruction to make an anagram out of ‘these’, ie the answer. So ‘these’ is, necessarily, the definition. One that needs the rest of the clue to make sense of it. I do think this sort of clue is pretty common. At some point when I’m bored I will seek out other examples!

              Edited at 2022-02-06 09:12 pm (UTC)

              1. Minor point of fact: what you’re making an anagram out of is “No charisma”, in order to get the answer.
                1. That’s what I said! Or what I meant, anyway. Perhaps I wasn’t clear. But because it’s this way round I don’t think you can classify the clue as &Lit, because the answer is indicated by the word ‘these’, which plays no part in the wordplay.
  14. Thanks Bob and keriothe
    Strayed to the bottom to get YEATS and almost immediately followed with NUDIST COLONIES. Worked steadily bottom up to finish with WATCHING BRIEFS (which only got there when MARCHING ORDERS just failed to parse), RADIO and FADDISH as the last one in.
    EVICTED and IDYLLS took an age to parse whilst ISOSCELES took longer than it should have to spell correctly.
    Loved ROCK STAR for the total clue package and VISCOUS for its simple elegance.

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