Sunday Times 4998 by Robert Price

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
11:04. Another lovely puzzle from Mr Price. Not too difficult, but beautifully put together.

The next puzzle I blog will be number 5,000. I wonder if Peter B has something special planned for us.

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

1 Respond amiably to trick Hamlet?
10 City borders of Toronto still in the wrong place
ECTOPIC – EC (City postcode), TorontO, PIC (photo, still). Most frequently encountered in reference to a pregnancy in which the foetus lodges in a Fallopian tube.
11 Large brewer run by Victor in an island state
12 Conduct could be humbler from a dictator
DEMEANOUR – sounds like ‘demeaner’. Rather topical.
13 Back lumps? The last thing a camel needs!
STRAW – reversal of WARTS. Reference to last straws and their supposed role in the breaking of camels’ backs. Lovely clue.
14 Fool modern IT, within bounds
NITWIT – contained in ‘motern IT, within’.
15 Late qualifier in race finally drawn
DEAD HEAT – DEAD (late), HEAT (qualifier).
18 Men’s clothing department displays these
GARMENTS – G(ARM)ENTS. Semi-&Lit, and an example of where what is technically the definition (i.e. what is not wordplay, here just ‘these’) needs the rest of the clue for it to make sense.
20 With no place to go, a gin looks awfully inviting
ASKING – (A GIN looKS)*. Remove LOO (place to go) before jumbling the letters.
23 Receive grant
25 Mean about donation
26 Rank rubbish safe to be put outside
27 Cheese rind taken from ramen dish in Japan
28 River crossing a forest in two ways: one’s to the east
STEPPING STONES – ST(EPPING)ST, ONES. I think that ‘to the east’ here just indicates that ONES is to the right of the rest of the answer.
2 Try from Bath leaving sides to draw
3 As PM he is somehow last to acknowledge stress
EMPHASISE – (AS PM HE IS)*, acknowledgeE.
4 Snacks sent up, like this hotel is able to
NACHOS – reversal (sent up) of SO, H, CAN.
5 Watches, say, adding seconds
6 Overturned soil packs empty ditches
DUMPS – reversal of MUD, PackS.
7 Ill-disposed to accept daughter is bad
8 Cast, well-organized, assembled quickly
THROWN TOGETHER – THROWN (cast), TOGETHER (well-organised).
9 University golf lessons with no clubs or visual aids
16 Sad ode composed about a bandit
DESPERADO – (SAD ODE)* containing PER (a).
17 Member of school got nurse in trouble
19 Root drink, say, a maiden knocked back
RUMMAGE – RUM, reversal of EG A M.
21 State often angry about those on vacation
22 Pitches left covered in spots
24 President that was the beginning of the end
TRUMP – reference to that orange bloke and the last trump that heralds the end of the world, or something. Nonsense: as pointed out by various commenters it’s The, RUMP. The surface reading is arguably factual, and I fear that putting a Trump presidency firmly in the past as this definition does may prove optimistic.

24 comments on “Sunday Times 4998 by Robert Price”

  1. A good test!
    Thanks, keriothe especially for DEMEANOUR. That sounds almost like a Cornish heroine, doesn’t it! Demelza!
    Special Mention to TRUMP. I never thought I would ever say that!
    Yes, I wonder what Peter B has in mind for next week? I think the setter should be Dean.
    PS….Regarding next week’s 5000th, does anyone else remember the kerfuffle there was over #4444? I don’t remember the details but I seem to remember there was an attempt to ‘do something different’ and it didn’t work out that well.

    Edited at 2022-03-20 06:13 am (UTC)

    1. Well, one person remembers 4444 all too well. The full “kerffufle” included a reaction from someone involved in the supply of the syndicated version a few weeks later – aside from any other points, those versions don’t generally use the same puzzle number. The way of marking 5000 will be different, and may include an article as well as the puzzle.
  2. A slow 76 minutes but enjoyed the Sunday drive. All parsed in the end though a few took a bit of working out, eg the wordplay for TAKE IN GOOD PART and the def for STEPPING STONES. I liked your take on 24d, but I think an alternative parsing would be ‘President that was’ (=definition) ‘the beginning of the’ (=T) ‘end’ (=RUMP).

    Favourite was STRAW which also appeared, clued by another couple of sayings, in a puzzle elsewhere last week.

    1. Ah yes, thanks. Now that I think about it properly my parsing doesn’t really make sense, but it seemed sufficiently satisfactory at the time that I didn’t think about it properly.
  3. Another lovely one from Robert. I biffed several–SAMOVAR, ATTEMPT, OBSERVES, DESPERADO–only parsing post-submission. I parsed TRUMP like bletchley; a problem with your version, Keriothe, is that the last trump hasn’t been blown yet, making ‘was the beginning…’ odd. COD to ASKING, which took me forever to figure out.
    1. Indeed. Another problem is that there is no reference to it being the last one, which is pretty fundamental.

      Edited at 2022-03-20 11:43 am (UTC)

  4. Isn’t TRUMP “that was the beginning” giving “T” and “of the end” giving RUMP. I see I was all correct but I don’t really remember anything to remark upon, the usual problem I have with puzzles where the solution is a week later rather than the next day.
  5. 40 minutes. I missed the parsing of GARMENTS, so thanks for that, k. NHO EDAMAME but worked it out.
  6. Super puzzle. EDAMAME pretty big out east. Expensive stuff, mind, doubly so if ‘organic.’ Trebly so if also ‘fair trade.’

    I think any ‘apocalyptic’ troubles began well before Mr Trump…

      1. I find it hard to think of as a dish. Are potato chips a dish? I ask you. Well, I suppose so, but.
        1. I wondered about “dish” for edamame too, but concluded that the kind of dish described in a comment below existed, and remembered that something like “steak” as a dish usually comes with things other than steak.
          1. I thought about this briefly as well, but edamame are often served on their own as an appetiser, which is a dish in the way you might call antipasti a dish.
  7. … well, 62 minutes longer than that. LOI SPIELS. That sort of pitch! A brilliant puzzle, though, with even the easy ones like STRAW needing a PDM. Almost every clue did. COD to THROWN TOGETHER. Thank you Robert and K.
  8. 45 minutes, with the note “firm but fair” in the margin. FOI 2d ATTEMPT, LOI 22d SPIELS, COD 13a STRAW.

    When I last had EDAMAME as a starter, they were steamed in their pods, then rolled in garlic, salt and chilli flakes. You ate them by putting the pod in your mouth, lightly biting, and pulling the pod out gently, releasing the beans and the flavour on the outside into your mouth at once. I found it quite fun, but then I tend to enjoy foods that might be considered a salt delivery system rather than being tasty in their own right!

  9. Excuse my smug air but I’m very, very chuffed to have completed this, and in under 30 minutes, without aids, just steady solving. For once I was totally in the Robert Price zone. FOI 3d EMPHASISE, LOI 19d RUMMAGE. Even managed to smile at some of the clues, eg 22d SPIELS, and 13ac STRAW. Happy, happy Sunday, all, and thanks for the continuing tutorials!
  10. I thought this was tough. Only eight clues solved in my first session starting with EMPHASISE.
    I stuck with it and it was a rewarding experience. LOI was ITERATE. SPIELS and ASKING delayed me quite a bit.
    Lots of good clues.
  11. Came here to see if there was any word on 5000 – it sounds very promising. Re 4998,I posted the following in another forum last weekend: I OBSERVE that TRUMP is diagonally across from DUMP, and we did-just. He has the DEMEANOUR and STATURE of a NITWIT and if the 2020 election had ended in a DEAD HEAT the coup ATTEMPT might have been the last STRAW. Thank you Myrtilus, that was cathartic.
  12. I found it difficult to get started, but once I had TRUMP and STURGEON, I made slowly made progress. ATTEMPT and EMPHASISE came next. I liked ECTOPIC. SAMOVAR was a big PDM. Took ages to see the last STRAW, in fact it was:-) TAKE IN GOOD PART was excellent and allowed me to finish in the NE at a trot. 32:22 Thanks Bob and K.
  13. This took me 53 1/2 minutes, but they were very enjoyable ones (once I found the answers, of course). Very many excellent clues. I biffed ASKING, but did understand where the “place to go” came in just before submitting. Strangely enough, I think ECTOPIC, though obscure, was actually my FOI. COD probably to STRAW, for which I needed all of the crossing letters. What was so nice about this puzzle is that in many of the clues the wordplay did not involve the readings you were likely to be thinking of first.
  14. Thanks Robert and keriothe
    Finished in just under the hour (56 min) and enjoyed every one of them. Also started with EMPHASISE and then filled clues around the grid until getting a foothold in the SE corner. Enjoyed the post solve unravelling of the word play in quite a few of the clues with ASKING and STEPPING STONES being the most testing and therefore most satisfying when the penny dropped with them.
    I don’t know why, but I just cannot imagine sturgeon swimming around in schools !
    Finished in the top centre area with NACHOS (a clever upside down word play), the clever TAKE IN GOOD PART and OBSERVES (so straightforward in hindsight) the last one in.

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