Sunday Times 5002 by Robert Price

12:30. A fairly gentle puzzle from Bob this week, with several very simply-constructed clues and no difficult words other than 27ac, which is very clearly indicated.

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

1 Promise to give meat and drink to a setter
WORDPLAY – WORD (promse), PLAY. ‘Give’ indicates PLAY here, but I’m not sure if it’s intended in the sense of leeway, room for manoeuvre or in the performing sense ‘he gave his Hamlet’.
5 Did criminal court go after a fiend?
9 Tension in South America hems in Ecuador’s capital
SUSPENSE – S, US, PENS, Ecuador.
10 Language of love pursuing hearts in days gone by
PASHTO – PAS(H)T, O. The language of Afghanistan.
12 Do vote, but not “Yes”
13 Cases one’s crackers to tackle
NUTSHELLS – I spent a while looking for wordplay here, based on NUTS for ‘crackers’, but it’s just a cryptic definition referring to nutcrackers, which you use to ‘handle’ NUTSHELLS.
14 Working for rum, a baler or thresher?
18 Bar missing the starter, serving meals in full
21 Club course in Techno dancing
TRUNCHEON – (TECHNO)* containing RUN.
23 Love notes, three of them
ADORE – three notes: A, DO and RE.
24 Trees men planted around ponds originally
25 Computers using Windows finally after DOS kept crashing
DESKTOPS – (DOS KEPT)*, windowS.
26 Bar getting hold of cask stout
27 Like stars round a grand semicircular moulding
ASTRAGAL – ASTR(A, G)AL. I didn’t know this word but the wordplay was clear.
1 Hot paste used to be a bit lacking in temperature
WASABI – WAS (used to be) A BIt.
2 Monkey god’s shortened title
3 Expressed alarm saying this beast could fly
PTEROSAUR – homophone of ‘terror saw’. I’m glad the O was checked because for some reason I always want to spell this with an A, in spite of being perfectly aware that it’s always -OSAUR.
4 A bishop in rapture tended to become forgetful
ABSENT-MINDED – A, B, SENT (in rapture), MINDED (tended).
6 Passing trade at hardware stores
DEATH – contained in ‘trade at hardware’.
7 Vapers are healthier, pubs half-heartedly admit
8 Chancellor’s latest cuts to consumers’ pockets
TROUSERS – T(chancellorR)O, USERS.
11 Travellers gripping newcomers outside a pub
15 Without fail, greaser will provide crude transport
16 Cheat to write about pinching millions
17 Tart fixed with better filling
19 Sustained by limitless good tea
OOLONGgOOd, LONG (sustained).
20 Women’s support for someone crafty
22 Inoffensive European’s boring family

17 comments on “Sunday Times 5002 by Robert Price”

  1. I took “give” in the first sense you mention, not sure I’ve ever heard the second.

    Knew ASTRAGAL, don’t know from where.

    I couldn’t quite come to terms with PTEROSAUR, but it somehow eluded me that “saying” meant “saw,” so of course now it makes perfect sense. Thanks! I knew Bob wouldn’t let us down.

    (I’ve just written next Sunday’s blog already… so there will be more time for my taxes tomorrow.)

    Edited at 2022-04-17 01:21 am (UTC)

      1. I always do, Paul. I have just the one job, and one mutual funds package, to report, and I don’t itemize deductions, so it doesn’t take long. I am spending some extra time, though, trying to figure out why I owe more this year. The standard deduction on federal is higher, and more for me because I’m over 65, and yet…!

        Edited at 2022-04-17 03:24 pm (UTC)

  2. …so not quite “a fairly gentle puzzle” as experienced by keriothe.
    I also made two errors. I couldn’t make any sense of 12ac or 2d so I just entered a couple of words which sounded vaguely plausible.
    Row 1 seems to refer to our setter!
    Thank you, keriothe for RASCAL and BEANO, both of which I failed on. Also thank you for TWO TIMER and OOLONG.
    I biffed ‘treasury’ for 8d at first.
    Ones I liked included PASHTO, SUSPENSE and DEATH.
    1d was one for Kevin.
    27ac -ASTRAGAL- should not be confused with a Samuel Beckett character…
  3. I was held up by the NW corner, WASABI (POI, *pace* Martin) & SUSPENSE (LOI) being my last. I saw ‘love’ at 23ac and casually biffed AMORE, intending to go back to it, and for once I did, and corrected it. I liked STRUMPET, though I suppose I shouldn’t, WORDPLAY, & NUTSHELLS.

    Edited at 2022-04-17 03:15 am (UTC)

  4. 43 minutes, ploughing, sowing, reaping, mowing after unscrambling FARM LABOURER. The NW was distinctly stony ground. Up to about five years ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue about WASABI and I still actually thought it was the name of the restaurant chain I’ve eaten at a few times. I really should take my glasses and study the menu next time. COD to PTEROSAUR. Is it the same thing as a Pterodactyl? Another excellent puzzle. Thank you Robert and K.
    1. You’ve never had sushi? That green stuff is wasabi. Well, actually it us usually fake wasabi, since the real thing is hard to grow and expensive, so you rarely get it. In the Japanese supermarket near where I live a single piece of wasabi (that you then grate) is about $6.
      1. I’ve had Sushi often enough, not that it would ever be a first choice with me, but confess ignorance as to what some of its constituent parts are called.
  5. Nice crossword. I didn’t solve it that fast but I don’t remember any particular holdups. Like most people, I didn’t know ASTRAGAL but the wordplay didn’t leave room for anything else, and it seemed plausible. I was going to say that you can’t have a semi-circular moulding, only a quarter circular, and then I realised it must be a moulding on the outside of the building, not in the corner where the wall meets the ceiling, which is where I think of mouldings going.
    1. I think astragals are mostly indoors – they’re just mouldings applied to flat surfaces rather than 90-degree angles. Try a Google image search for “astragal moulding” …
  6. I can’t recall what happened here as my printout shows I abandoned this for the night after 20 minutes but there’s nothing to indicate how much I had solved at that stage. On resumption in the morning I needed 43 minutes to complete the grid, making a total of 63 minutes. The only trouble spot I can identify now was in the SE corner where two unknowns, OOLONG and ASTRAGAL intersect.

    Edited at 2022-04-17 05:47 am (UTC)

  7. I put ASTRAGAL on my Big List O’ Words To Feel Guilty About Not Learning when I failed to finish 27044 back in 2018, and luckily back then I was still actually revising the words occasionally, so it came to me pretty quickly last Sunday.

    I found the rest of it quite hard, though, and took a while to get started, finally finishing with 12a BEANO in 38 minutes.

  8. All but 4 in the NW done in about 25 minutes but I just couldnt see those 4 despite having WASABI early doors. I thought 1a was rather dastardly but entirely fair. Wanted will for “promise to give” and even when “word” briefly crossed my mind the (extended) definition foxed me completely. struggled with all the myriad synonyms for title, monkey and God and managed to think of none of them for RASCAL. I’ve seen the BEANO thing before but it eluded me here whilst the dinosaur needed a few more checkers than I had

    Think I make that Mr P 4-0 Mr D.

    Excellent crossword as always

  9. This puzzle was not easy for me and had me wondering if I was going to finish at times. The NW held out until the end, when PTEROSAUR led to WORDPLAY and RASCAL , after which I got LOI, SUSPENSE. NHO ASTRAGAL, but managed to construct it. STRAPHANGER kept me dangling for ages. 37:16. Thanks Bob and K.
  10. Not gentle for me; in fact I felt I had been hit by a TRUNCHEON. Could not get the PTEROSAUR and was trying to fit BALLOT into 12a.
    Could not get the tea even after seeing the OO from GOOD; unknown to me. The wordplay for 27a led me to: AS ORION or ASTRA for stars round A and G; close but not there. And where was the bra in 20d?
    Of course there was much to like including WORDPLAY.

  11. Excellent as always. WATERING HOLE was very good which after Dean’s classic clue for it took some cojones.
  12. Thanks Bob and keriothe
    Got to this one last night and was able to complete it in exactly the hour, but using a word finder for a couple of the later ones as I got tired.
    Really interesting definitions used throughout in both the answer and the word play bits. Unlike others OOLONG and ASTRAGAL were my first two in – the former I know well, the latter pieced together from the word play, rang a bell as a valid word and quickly confirmed with references.
    OIL TANKER was an interesting clue which I enjoyed – it reminded me of one of my favourite all time cryptic clues from a book of Sunday Times puzzles from the 1970’s – ‘Calls for careful navigation, if not slick handling.’
    Whilst initially thinking it a cd for NUTSHELLS, ended up going down the same rabbit hole later looking for a wordplay involving NUTS (crackers). Hadn’t come across the term ‘meat and drink’ in this context.
    Finished in the NW corner with SUSPENSE (tricky word play), RASCAL (when identifying the Egyptian god) and BEANO (with a grin).

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