Sunday Times 5000 – mmmmm

23:36. A suitably chewy puzzle for a remarkable 9ac. Not as hard as ‘Sunday Times Cross-Word Puzzle No 1’ though, which appeared on the same day and left me with the impression that if I went back to 1925 I wouldn’t understand half of what people were saying.

This one was the collective effort of five different setters, I believe our usual three (Dean Mayer, Robert Price and David McLean) plus Tim Moorey and Don Manley. Puzzles set by more than one person always seem harder for some reason, and so this one proved. Most enjoyable though.

I confess I was expecting more by way of references to the aforementioned 9ac, but I can only see that clue and 1ac. Perhaps I’m missing something?

Anyway, thanks to our quintet of setters, and here’s to another 5,000!

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

1 Apostles sadly refused to put loaves and fishes out for them?
FIVE THOUSAND – (To pUt lOaVeS AND FIsHEs)*. The jumbled up (sadly) letters of APOSTLES are removed from an anagram of TO PUT LOAVES AND FISHES. You don’t normally see compound anagrams like this in the daily Times or Sunday Times puzzles, but they are common in Mephisto and Azed. I’m not sure the apostles did actually refuse to feed the five thousand (although I believe they may have expressed some reservations as to the feasibility of doing so with the available resources) but I think we can stretch a point for what is a pretty amazing clue!
9 One small item left abandoned — a common roadside sight
10 The necessary state to turn lead to tungsten
WONGA – TONGA with the first letter (T) replaced by W (chemical symbol for wolframium, aka tungsten).
11 Heavy metal front man
12 Back goes after picking up an amplifier
HEARING AID – HEARING (picking up), AID (support, back).
14 Wild animal seen in African country, mostly occupying wood (mostly)
15 Hot cake to be reduced by one pound
17 Stomach muscle’s coming back into operation
ACCEPT – reversal of PEC (muscle) in ACT (operation).
19 Royal Society dons disclose change in direction
22 Sea dwellers with chambers in submarines?
NAUTILUSES – ‘a tetrabranchiate cephalopod of the genus Nautilus (esp pearly nautilus) of southern seas, with a chambered external shell’ (Chambers). Or two of Captain Nemo’s submarine.
23 Chap who loves one on the fiddle, I’m told
BEAU – sounds like ‘bow’.
25 Material produced in New York City reduced by 50 per cent
26 Where top grub cooked receives top marks?
GASTROPUB – (TOP GRUB)* containing AS (top marks). You can read this as a semi-&Lit or an &Lit, since the words ‘receives top marks’ are unnecessary for the definition but could be said to contribute to it, if you like.
27 Something making music, including quiet song
RECORD PLAYER – RECORD(P, LAY)ER. Similarly here, depending on whether you think the words ‘including quiet song’ are part of the definition this is either &Lit or semi-&Lit.
1 Tribe having powwow? It may result in issue being avoided
FAMILY PLANNING – a tribe (family) having a powwow might be making plans.
2 Miscreant damaging empty houses
3 You can run after driving in this sporting event
TEST – CD, referring to cricket and not some sort of motor-racing-running hybrid.
4 Order to cover one single love song
O SOLE MIO – O(SOLE)M, I, O. AKA ‘Just One Cornetto’.
5 Air ships go off-course, finding rocky reef
SKERRY – SK(ERR)Y. Not a word I knew but the wordplay was helpful, once I’d thought to separate the air from the ships and realised the latter was a containment indicator.
6 Know the neighbours — couple staying in from time to time
NOW AND THEN – the words NOW and THEN are contained in ‘know the neighbours’. An unusual device.
7 Demand leads for every new dog
ENTAIL – Every, New, TAIL.
8 Vehicle run-in blamed for crashing one?
13 Firm legislator replacing a line in union agreement
COMPLIANCE – CO, MP replaces AL in alLIANCE.
16 Let out (again?)
RELEASED – a double definition in which the first two words constitute one of the definitions and part of the other. Neat.
18 Create joint success with large banks
COUPLE – COUP, LargE (the ‘banks’ of LARGE).
20 Hard to restrict parking by a huge amount
STEEPLY – STEE(P)LY. I can’t think of a context in which you’d use STEEPLY like this. Can you? Edit: yes! See comments: house prices rising STEEPLY/by a huge amount. Thanks curryowen.
21 Keen shooter close to landing shot in the centre
GUNG HO – GUN, landinG, sHOt.
24 Painful experience, heartless sort of 3
ORAL – ORdeAL. 3 being 3dn TEST.

17 comments on “Sunday Times 5000 – mmmmm”

  1. And yeah… “restrict steeply” gets about three Google results total… (I wonder whose clue that was.)
    Didn’t know SKERRY before either.
    I biffed FIVE THOUSAND, didn’t think twice about it, missed the quite clever anagram with subtraction. I grew up in the American Baptist Church—not, thank God (ha) the Southern Baptist, which officially apologized only relatively recently for its support of slavery, and not the National Baptist either, which was founded especially for black folks. The tale of the loaves & fishes is the only miracle imputed to Jesus found in all four Gospels—in unusually consistent accounts. The disciples did not explicitly refuse to feed the crowd, but said, in effect, So we go to town and buy grub for this mob? With what shekels, chief?

    Edited at 2022-04-03 02:30 pm (UTC)

  2. Thanks for explaining Five Thousand! I knew 5000 was how many were fed but no clue to the parsing. Got the rest after a long struggle. I just guessed Wonga because of Tonga and W but had never heard the word . Put in o solo mio first but finally remembered it’s sole. How about “House prices have risen steeply in the last quarter”?

    1. I found a lot of results for “raise steeply,” but this clue applies “steeply” to “restrict,” which seems odd, and is apparently hardly ever done.

      Edited at 2022-04-03 12:44 am (UTC)

      1. I don’t think the clue does apply STEEPLY to ‘restrict’ though: ‘by a huge amount’ defines STEEPLY in isolation. Lift and separate! In the surface reading it’s ‘by a huge amount’ that applies to ‘restrict’.
        1. Good. I didn’t see any reason to object to it until you seemed to think something was off. That was just my guess why.
  3. DNK WONGA, and never did figure out the wordplay, not getting beyond the Pb meaning of ‘lead’. Also DNK SKERRY. And I had to come here to learn how FIVE THOUSAND worked, and to appreciate a brilliant clue. Liked NOW AND THEN, but COD to FIVE THOUSAND.
  4. What a splendid puzzle! One to adorn the occasion. And a splendid blog, Keriothe!
    As for references to the occasion, yes, FIVE THOUSAND and MILESTONE, but I also think 1d FAMILY PLANNING is involved. It was a quintet (‘family’) of setters who compiled this. 8d CARDINAL NUMBER gets a guernsey, too.
    I don’t think the other perimeter clue -RECORD PLAYER- is involved though.
    I knew SKERRY from the folk song “The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry” which I have somewhere on CD sung by Maddy Prior.
    9ac was a clever anagram, I thought, and I enjoyed TEST and ORAL but now you’ve explained it, keriothe, COD has to be FIVE THOUSAND. What a clever clue!
    Thank you setterS and thank you keriothe!
  5. 65 minutes, not helped by 1ac going in very late and even then I failed to parse it.

    10ac was helped by W/tungsten having come up in a puzzle I blogged within the past month.

  6. Set out on this with no real expectation of finishing, anticipating a super-toughy to mark the 5000 milestone. Hey, and look, clues! An enjoyable – and doable – challenge, completed in around an hour. FOI 11ac LEAD, LOI 7d ENTAIL once I connected the meaning to demand. Thanks to setters and bloggers. Congratulations, celebrations, and onward.
  7. I found this very difficult and gave up with only about half completed.
    I did get GASTROPUB which appeared in the clue writing competition not long ago.
  8. … followed by It’s Now or Never. Was Colonel Tom Parker among the setters? I did find this puzzle a bit like a horse designed by a committee, and I took 50 minutes. There were plenty of good clues though with FAMILY PLANNING as my favourite. I didn’t parse the feeding of the FIVE THOUSAND at the time, thinking I’d look later. Someone else told me the parsing first. I wonder if the Galilean GASTROPUB dish of the day was Peter fish with artisan bread? Thank you K and various setters.
  9. I’m glad to see that most of you enjoyed this one. The quintet was intended to be as Keriothe thought, but one of the five was unavailable, so the editor put himself on for their clues.

    One of the lessons learned from the over-ambitious ST crossword 4444 was that as well as being published later, syndicated versions don’t use the same puzzle number, so we can’t use it as we otherwise might.

    It does seem that team puzzles are harder. Because some of the clues were mine, and having seen the grid meant that I already knew most of the other answers when I test-solved the assembled puzzle, I got someone else without this knowledge to look at the final version, with no knowledge about who wrote each clue. They didn’t see it as significantly difficult, but inevitably that was a crossword expert’s assessment.

    Edited at 2022-04-03 09:18 am (UTC)

    1. Thanks, Peter. My thought was that the self-referential solutions were well and fairly clued and solving the puzzle was an enjoyable exercise. I don’t agree with ‘boltonwanderer’s’ description of it as ‘a bit like a horse designed by a committee’; but we are all entitled to an opinion.
      Congratulations on a job well done.
      1. I bet he would not have said that, had he not been told in advance.
        We are very susceptible to such input, which is why I am still quite unsure about naming setters …
    2. I am surprised that there are so few comments here. I hope that doesn’t mean a lot of people skipped this fine puzzle.
  10. Thanks (various setters) and Keriothe
    A tricky puzzle that took four sessions (taking over 2 hours, but there could have been diversions) over the course of Saturday to get this one out. Only the FIVE THOUSAND clue was not parsed before coming here … and what a clue it is when one sees the construction – it was the crossers and knowing that it was puzzle number 5000 that enabled the biff.
    Lots of variety in the clues as one would expect from a composite setting of it and some lovely innovative devices, especially the one for NOW AND THEN. My reading up on NAUTILUS showed that it was a submarine that was first tested in 1800 and is regarded as the first practical submarine.
    Finished off with SKERRY (which I had to Google and then took some time to see the word play), COUPLE (not sure why that took so long to see) and ACCEPT (got fixated on ABS as the tummy muscles for way too long).

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