Sunday Times 5012 by David McLean – Nine? Danke!

DNF. I just couldn’t see the unknown fish, and although I considered CROSSE – and even considered a possible link with LACROSSE – I didn’t have the confidence to put it in. Perfectly fair clues with hindsight. Otherwise a quirky but fun puzzle with what has to be a record at 23dn. Amazing!

How did you get on?

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

1 With company in, a worrier turned kind of green
ECO-WARRIOR – (A WORRIER)* containing CO.
7 A young girl’s in hearing, I’m sorry to say
ALAS – sounds like ‘a lass’.
9 Institution known for balancing the books?
FINISHING SCHOOL – CD, based on the idea that the young ladies attending such institutions walk around with books on their heads to aid deportment.
10 Cracking in vessel revolutionary agent plugs
SUPERB – tricky wordplay: reversal (revolutionary) of REP (agent) is contained in (plugs) SUB (vessel).
12 What’s left over after sending off a memo?
13 Damned drunk on the other side of drop of dry
15 Hand-me-down cutting of frilly material, say
LEGACY – L(EG)ACY. More tricky wordplay: LACY (of frilly material) is ‘cut’ by EG (for example, say).
17 Hot-under-the-collar European makes a racket
CROSSE – CROSS, E. The term ‘lacrosse’ derives from ‘la crosse’, which refers to the stick. Obvious with hindsight.
18 Vogue model
FASHION – DD. ‘Model’ as a transitive verb. Neat.
19 Disc Peel spun overshadowed by Mercury maybe
ECLIPSED – (DISC PEEL)*. The surface refers to the DJ John Peel and Freddy Mercury. The literal is a bit odd because Mercury can’t really eclipse the sun. Or at least if it happened (and presumably it does) I’m not sure you’d notice.
21 Pictures from travels around India
22 What might stop any angry type seeing red?
24 Chances of delightful day slim at the front
ODDS – Of Delightful Day Slim.
25 Rise and dodder about in a muddled state
2 Vital life force possessed by Achilles
CHI – contained in ‘Achilles’. The definition could have done with the word ‘supposed’.
3 Pale ale of a sort one tucked into on Friday?
WHITEBASS – I had never heard of this fish and didn’t consider a beer brand as a ‘sort’ of ale. I would argue it isn’t really, but that’s just sour grapes!
4 Concerning drug addiction loses appeal here
REHAB – RE, HABit. Semi-&Lit.
5 Grunt about new and old wine left out in the cold
IGNORED – reversal of GI (grunt), N, O, RED.
6 Looks like rebel got mixed up with mess
7 A small layer of a certain type of wood
8 A period where one might be spotted in school?
11 In trouble as likely to get rained on?
UNDER A CLOUD – the figurative meaning is the literal here, and the literal one the cryptic.
14 Highly-prized safe that tramp makes off with
16 Beef given acre to roam all over the place
18 Cooks, tinkers, cons and music producers
FIDDLES – quadruple definition!
20 An award-winning ham or club sandwich starter
IRONS – IRON, Sandwich. Harsh!
21 I might pick at face — no big deal, I’d say
MINER – sounds like ‘minor’. A coal face, of course.
23 Find out court judge and witness visit Ely’s one escort to get it? Imagine!
SEE – NONUPLE definition! ‘See if John is available’; ‘Jane is seeing John’; ‘that’s how I see the situation’; ‘did John see the crime?’; ‘Jane went to see Leeds castle’; ‘a bishop oversees a see’; ‘John saw Jane to the door’; ‘ah, I see!’; ‘I see in my mind’s eye’.

33 comments on “Sunday Times 5012 by David McLean – Nine? Danke!”

  1. DNF
    I thought of DRATTED, didn’t see how it worked (DNK RATTED). Saw the anagrist for ECLIPSED, without the vaguest idea who Peel was, and not thinking of Freddy Mercury. Thought of WHITEBAIT but couldn’t make it work, of course. Not knowing anything about ale, I would never have come up with BASS (a kind of ale, not of pale ale, I assume, since pale=WHITE); perfectly fair clue? If you say so. SEE is a tour de force, but pretty easy to get.

    1. Yes of course it is. I did realise that when solving, I’ll correct it. I don’t think BASS is really a kind of ale either – even less so in fact.

      1. The classic Bass is the bottled used-to-be-live (with the yeast still in, has a sediment) IPA – india PALE ale, which makes my DNF even more irritating. I had thought that when I mocked at restaurants selling SEA bass, I confidently said “All bass is from the sea” which is why I refused (wilfully) to enter WHITEBASS, used whitebait instead, so could not make any sense of 17a (CROSSE). Did think of crosse, couldn’t believe in white bass, optionally 2 words rather than 1. [Would have helped if the setter had made it (5,4)].
        Humph! Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

        1. There are lots of freshwater bass species, although they’re more common in North America. I’ve fished for largemouth and smallmouth bass in Canada but had never heard of this one.

            1. I think you may be right: to the extent they exist in Europe it’s because they’ve been introduced.

  2. Isn’t Bass just ale, not pale (white) ale? (I know there is a Bass Pale Ale but I didn’t think the clue was saying that.) Not that I was quick to get it, having considered whitefish and whitebait for a while.
    I was okay with Mercury eclipsing. A solar transit is a type of eclipse really. I wonder if Moon was considered but rejected because Keith isn’t as well-known now as Freddie.
    Loved SEE. I suppose changing ‘get it’ to ‘get letter’ would have given it yet another definition, but See for ‘C’ is Chambers, not Collins or Lexico!
    ADOLESCENCE, FINISHING SCHOOL and SEE were my favourites, but good stuff all round.

  3. I couldn’t unravel the same knotted area (and remember being glad it wasn’t my Sunday to blog). I cheated for CROSSE, then kicked myself. But the real problem was DRATTED (which is more like “darned,” “danged” than “damned”—dadblame it!), which I saw long before I reluctantly put it in, telling myself the explanation was something to look forward to in the blog.

    I had a more interesting answer for WHITEBASS for a while, but dratted if I can remember what it was now… (See, that doesn’t work, does it? Ha)

    1. My Primitive Methodist grandfather would/could not say ‘damned’ but used 13ac DRATTED instead! I grew up as a ‘dratted child’!

  4. 39 minutes. Like Kevin and twmbarlwm, I parsed 3d as ‘Pale’ (=WHITE) ‘ale of a sort’ (=BASS). Can’t say I’d heard of the fish before though. Thanks for explaining how FINISHING SCHOOL worked – v. good. Had to trawl through the list of colloquialisms for ‘drunk’ before eventually coming up with RATTED.

    I liked REHAB and ADOLESCENCE as well but there was no doubt that the nonuple def SEE was the highlight for me. Even ECLIPSED our setter’s previous octuple def for “crack” (? last year) which someone referred to recently.

    Thanks to keriothe and setter

  5. This was one of my better Sundays – I was home in 43 minutes.

    LOI 25ac 25ac DISORDERED
    WOD 2dn WHITE BASS – aka as Sand Bass in America – where it is native.
    Bass is known for being the UK’s first Pale Ale. I used to live within a mile of the old Bass Maltings off Mareham Lane, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, which ‘went for a Burton’ in 1959.

    At 9ac ‘The Lucy Clayton Charm Academy’ was the FINISHING SCHOOL best known for balancing the books!
    17ac La Crosse – as played by my dear mother at her school in Shropshire – broke her schnozz!

    1. Lacrosse is based on games played by various Native American communities as early as 1100 AD. In the traditional Canadian version each team consisted of 100 to 1000 men playing on a field 2 to 3 miles long. Games lasted from sunup to sundown for several days straight. They were played as part of a ceremonial ritual, a kind of symbolic warfare, to give thanks to the Creator.

  6. 45m 54s but I used aids to get WHITEBASS and CROSSE as I had pretty much lost interest by then.

  7. A technical DNF for me as I missed out on CROSSE as my LOI and used aids to find it.

    Laughed out loud at J Irons being described as a ham. I’m all for some of the acting profession being taken down a peg or two!

    RATTED is a politer version of ‘rat-arsed’.

    At 23dn with his 9-way definition of SEE David McLean has exceeded what’s believed to be the previous record of 8 definitions in a single clue – CRACK in ST 4939 – also set by David and also placed at 23dn.

  8. 20 minutes with a big question mark over the WHITEBASS/ DRATTED crosser. I could parse a fish called that, if there was one, but not DRATTED, although it did at least have TT in it. So I was right for the wrong reason. I did know RATTED too, but usually would use its coarser companion. I assumed FINISHING SCHOOL was a pun on the deportment classes reputed to have taken place in such establishments. COD to ADOLESCENCE. Thank you K and David.

  9. WHITEBASS: Kevin Gregg, Twmbarlwm and BletchleyReject are right — “pale”=>WHITE, “ale of a sort”=>BASS, and the notion of “pale ale” is just surface reading content. I’m not sure whether Bass made the first British pale ale (or maybe the oldest one still sold), but their red triangle logo, visible in Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergère, is supposed to be our oldest trademark.

    The highest count for a multi-definition clue that I know about is ten – or eleven if it’s allowed to be a team effort. If you search for Sunday Times clue writing contest 1883, you’ll see the answer to this:
    Can Crucible cup holder pot well, bag frame, pocket purse? (9)
    The judge noted that he thought it still worked as
    Can Crucible cup holder sink pot well, bag frame, pocket purse? (9)

    The Mercury eclipse is impossible if the observer is on Earth, but I don’t think an eclipse has to be thus.

    I can’t see how “dratted” is any further from “damned” than “danged” or “darned”. Both of those are just euphemistic versions of “damned” so must mean the same thing (or did so whenever the euphemistic form was first used). (“drat” apparently comes from “God rot” by way of “‘od rot”.)

    1. My quibble was that a Crosse, or as it is better know, just a stick, is never ever called a racket – at least not in North America. The equivalent would be calling a golf club a bat, or a tennis racket a club. Some, very very rare times a Crosse is casually refered to as a net or a basket (because it catches and holds), but never ever a racket.

      Not that that stopped it from being the obvious answer once I’d twisted my way through the logic, but still.

      1. I don’t think “never” is quite true – searches for “lacrosse racket” and “lacrosse racquet” find pages including old US patent documents. Although dictionary defs of “racket” mention an oval shape that a crosse doesn’t have, their “strung” is not accompanied by “tightly”. To me, “racket” seems like the fairest (or at least equal fairest) choice that’s not a giveaway. “Stick” isn’t great as the main sporting “stick” here is the one for (field) hockey, which has no strings.

    2. The part about DRATTED that I didn’t get to the bottom of when working was RATTED. Though I assumed it must mean what the clue implied, I just had never heard it, and I didn’t have the energy to look it up then. The “other side of dry” made the clue look more complicated than it was. But I forgot about it until today. About the euphemism, I was just saying it is closer to all the other euphemisms than to the word it so blandly replaces (on my own, admittedly arbitrary, scale, it must rate as by far the mildest). This was not meant as a criticism but just a report on my solving process—which was nothing to brag about!

  10. 66 minutes leaving three needing the blog to fully understand the parsing FINISHING SCHOOL (I didn’t know the aid deportment bit), REHAB which I should have seen and IGNORED GI for grunt I would never have got and still don’t understand.
    As for 23ac SEE, I counted 7 definitions until I read the blog, now SEE the 9.

      1. Thank you, it’s a slang term I didn’t know but having looked it up I do now.

  11. Half an hour for all but WHITEBASS AND CROSSE, then I gave up in frustration after another fifteen minutes.

  12. I had three left after 40 minutes, so quick progress for me.
    I got DRATTED and remember this as a common alternative for Damned.
    I could not improve on WHITEBAIT at 3d, presuming Bait was some kind of ale once. It never occurred to me we might be looking for a brand. Bass was very familiar to me once; not easy for the non UK solvers.
    So I had IRATEE at 17a which parsed well and could have been a foreign racket-or should that be racquet? I had CROSSE but didn’t use it as it did not fit with Whitebait!
    Otherwise good fun.

  13. I needed to get the dictionary out to find the unknown WHITEBASS and then finish by seeing the, also unknown, CROSSE. I had to smile at Jeremy Irons being referred to as a ham. But my labours were all in vain as I unaccountably misspelt WARRIOR with an E. Grr.

  14. Like some of MacLean’s puzzles this had just a hint of North America I thought – grunt, crosse, whitebass. My views of crosse as a racket are above.

  15. Stuck thinking WHITEBAIT? until I eventually thought of BASS which made CROSSE seem likely. They were my last 2 in. 24:21. Liked ECO-WARRIER, ADOLESCENCE and COLOUR BLINDNESS. However it was all in vain due to that careless ECO-WARRIER. Drat! Thanks Harry and K.

  16. I played Lacrosse at my old school ( many moons ago!) and it could never in its wildest dreams be thought of as wielding ‘rackets/racquets’! At no time would you hit the ball with the crosse, only the heads of other poor girls who were in your way….as you can SEE, it was my sticking-point (pun intended); other than that I enjoyed the puzzle which I DNF in 50 minutes.

  17. I remember, 50 years ago, there was Red Bass (red triangle) and Blue Bass (blue triangle), both Pale Ales.

    I wonder what the difference was.

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