Sunday Times 5018 by David McLean – hostile environment

22:14. I found this decidedly tricky, and as I solved I thought some of it was a bit loose. Having been through it again for the blog I don’t think this impression was fair: with the possible exception of 3dn and 12ac (and then only if you’re being very fussy) it’s all perfectly precise. A good challenge with a nice variety of clue types, including a couple of pretty nifty cryptic definitions.

How did you get on?

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

1 Island’s monarch receiving international post
PRINCIPE – PRINC(IP)E. I was a bit surprised by the abbreviation IP for ‘international post’, not having seen it before. But I think these are separate abbreviations of international (I) and post (P), both of which are in Collins. This was my last in: it took me a long time to think of this island, which shares statehood with the larger São Tomé, just off the coast of Gabon.
5 Johnson now possibly showing resistance after blunder
GAFFER – GAFFE, R. Johnson is still nominally the boss, in office but not really in power.
9 Running round meadows is unadulterated joy
10 European people, I’m told, can become vets
CHECKS – sounds like ‘Czechs’.
12 Interrupting stupid answer, wife shows judgement
FATWA – FAT(W), A. I thought ‘fat’ for stupid a bit loose. As far as I know this meaning is restricted to the expression ‘fat head’, as in ‘will you get it into your fat head’. I’m not sure it really stands alone.
13 Writer one associates with Notts Forest
14 Is enough gold being newly-found in digs?
18 What Satanists do with great intensity
LIKE THE DEVIL – two definitions, one whimsical.
21 Order step to change some Home Office staff?
23 Play doctor and primarily nurses in the morning
DRAMA – DR(AM), And. It looks very much like an N (primarily nurses) is needed here but in fact the doctor and the letter A ‘nurse’, i.e. contain, AM.
24 Cancels yearbooks after the fifth fails to show
25 Very aggressive type of delivery yob lined up
26 It is located east of southern American county
SUSSEX – S, US, SEX (it).
27 Cordial head of office following a horse racing event
AMARETTO – A, MARE, TT, Office. This confused me because I had no idea that ‘cordial’ can mean ‘liqueur’. It can.
1 Go west with old man in America on vacation
POP OFF – POP (old man in America), OFF (on vacation).
2 Think up plan to get Boris’s address shortened
IDEATE – IDEA (plan), TEn Downing Street.
3 Nowadays might one say google “throw a fight”
CAST ABOUT – or CAST (throw) A BOUT. A slightly odd definition, the idea being that if you CAST ABOUT (search) for a fact these days you would probably use Google. Dictionaries disagree as to whether the initial G should be upper or lower case.
4 One fed in the street by people with bangers?
PARKING METER – CD, a banger being a car in this case. Definition by example indicated by the question mark.
6 Can’t Stand Losing You is 60 mins by a redub’s end
ABHOR – A, reduB, HOuR. A rather odd surface reading!
7 Odd-job man about to enter big old corporation
8 Matters which have remained unsettled in Red issue
11 Flashy power shower with some cracks in it?
15 A cause of hot gusts blowing through Barnet?
HAIRDRYER – another CD.
16 Good and bad papers featuring rowdy man in Top Gear
GLAD RAGS – G(LAD), RAGS (bad papers).
17 Clothing in refuse container mostly rubbish
19 Red fog seen covering area close to Cairo
MAOIST – M(A, cairO)IST.
20 Dreadful ordeal in a border city
LAREDO – (ORDEAL)*. Fingers crossed here: this looked more likely than DALERO or LADERO but I wasn’t sure.
22 Poet’s line nicked by Republican president

29 comments on “Sunday Times 5018 by David McLean – hostile environment”

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the classic “STREETS OF LAREDO,” a traditional ballad whose modern incarnation has been performed by folks ranging from Marty Robbins to John Cale…

    [Verse 1]
    As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
    As I walked out in Laredo one day
    I spied a young cowboy, wrapped all in white linen
    Wrapped in white linen, as cold as the clay

    Oh, beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly
    Sing the Death March as you carry me along
    Take me to the valley, there lay the sod o’er me
    I’m a young cowboy and know I’ve done wrong

    1. Thanks. I realised that I didn’t know the song on listening to the Marty Robbins version and thought it was surprisingly good. We have a traditional ballad here in a similar vein called “The Dying Stockman”. Among many other singers, Burl Ives has done a reasonable version which can be found on YouTube if you’re interested.

  2. Does the Home Office really have staff who are “deporters”? What a world we live I !

  3. Yes, this wasn’t easy. I hesitated on BODY-LINE because it’s an unfamiliar phrase and LIN is lined up just like that in the anagrist.

    Members of the Satanic Temple (and I would know. Ha) actually do not believe in any supernatural beings, Old Nick included.

  4. Bloody Cricket

    The ‘Body Line’ Series refers to the ‘Ashes Tour’ of Australia 1932-33.

    The English captain Douglas Jardine became the focus of Aussie anger when he deployed full ‘Leg Theory’ of bowling, in order to combat the brilliance of Don Bradman, the world’s greatest ever batsman. Dangerous short-pitched, very fast, leg-side deliveries from Northern lad Harold Larwood & Co., caused injury to the Australian captain Bill Woodfull and others. The Australian Press was up in arms.Thirty years later the names of two Australian bowlers Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillee struck terror into the English batsmn, but in fairness they did not use ‘Body Line. Then came West Indians Wes Hall and Charlie Griffiths! Helmets were not introduced Into Test Cricket until 1978, although Patsy Hendren wore one, improvised by his wife, back in 1933.

    There are plenty of books written on ‘Body Line’, but the Wikipedia entry pretty much gives the whole story. It lit the fuse for the future ‘Ashes Series’, which have remained the nearest Australia and England have ever come to war! Even today the English supporters use the name ‘The Barmy Army’, fuelled by the hot sun,‘tinnies’ and the ‘red-top’ press.

    No Americans were involved or injured, as they pursued the bizarrely-named ‘World Series’. Cricket is truly ‘The World Series’ these days, with sides representing so many countries: from Afghanistan, Holland, Zimbabwe, Ireland Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Tonga etc. etc., joining the ICC. Sky’s ‘Cricket Channel’ is an international Cricketfest, with games available all year, round thanks to India, Australia and the Kiwis, Qatar and Headquartrs. Baseball is really only taken seriously outside the USA, in Japan, the Philippines and Puerto Rico to my limited knowledge.

    The only Baseball Ground of note in England was to be found in Derby. We Brits prefer ‘Rounders’, which is played by ‘mixed’ teams in Regent’s Park, mainly on Sunday’s.

    MCC Meldrew

    1. You are right cricket has a wider range of fans and participants than baseball(about 5 times as many according to one source). However you should add Mexico, Cuba, Canada, Korea, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, Venezuela and Panama to your list of countries that take baseball seriously. And true the term World Series is overly presumptuous. Supposedly it was invented as a publicity ploy by the New York World newspaper in 1903.

      1. Dear Mr. Owen Curry,
        India has millions of cricket fans, both male and female. As the Bollywood cinemas in the cities of India, have closed in droves, the IPL has brought the crowds to the cricket grounds of the sub-continent. What a spectacle!

        The additional list of baseballing nations is most welcome, thank-you!

        Panama is interesting, in that it was birth place of George Headley, one of cricket’s greatest batsmen. He played his cricket for Jamaica, before the West Indies played at Test Match level. His parents were Jamaicans, so many of whom worked on the Canal and pineapple and sugar plantations on the isthmus. Reason they were immune from yellow fever!

        GH toured in England in the thirties: my grandfather witnessed him knock-off double centuries at Grace Road and in Norfolk, against the Minor Counties.

        Also thanks for that nugget regarding the newspaper the ‘New York World’ 1903. It gives the misnomer a completely fresh perspective! Meldrew.

  5. 23:46
    This was easier for me than Harry’s puzzles usually are, although I never did parse IDEATE. I wondered about FAT, too. DNK BODY-LINE , and like Guy didn’t care for the ‘line’ remaining unchanged in the anagram. I knew LAREDO but didn’t know that it was on the border.I liked PLEASURE.

  6. Kevin, I’ve not gone off PLEASURE! I noted this puzzle was pleasantly ‘old fashioned.

    LOI 6dn ABHOR
    WOD 25ac BODY LINE

    Time 38 mins after trying PITCAIRN at 1ac when it was PRINCIPE, where Eddington’s photography of the eclipse of the sun, proved Einstein’s theory of relativity.I believe a senond Crommelin set up on Sao Tome didn’t have decent enough weather.

    And Ian Fleming’s ‘Red Injuns’ famously towed away two Italian cruise liners from Sao Tome. The Duchess of Aosta?

  7. Needed aids in the NW for 3 answers. I didn’t think much of the clues to PRINCIPE and CAST ABOUT.

  8. 20 minutes I only know AMARETTO as a liqueur, but then I’ve lived a sheltered life. COD to ISHERWOOD although my Nottm Forest supporting friend wouldn’t like that. The distinction between the city and the county matters greatly to him. A real Notts man, Harold Larwood, was referenced by BODY-LINE. Guy beat me to the Streets of Laredo, I’m trying to remember which Radio Luxembourg show had the gunfighter ballad spot every week. It might have been Kent Walton’s Swinging USA. Can anyone help? I really liked this one. Thank you David and K.

    1. I won’t see feedback emails until tomorrow, but I hope not to be replying to any from Forest fans, as “Notts Forest” here pretty clearly means “Nottinghamshire forest” rather than “Nottingham Forest”.

      1. A few years back my son, whilst at Nottingham Uni. bought an eight inch high porcelain figurine of a footballer in his red kit, at auction. At the base the inscription simply said, ‘Notts Forest’.
        We later took it to the archivist at the City Ground. He was most bemused by this item but stated that there was no such club! It was either Notts County or Nottingham Forest – no half scarves in those days. He wouldn’t even accept it as a gift.

    2. Replying to boltonwander re ‘Gunfighter Slot’ :

      You may be thinking of Country Style on BBC Radio 2 on Monday nights back in the 1960s presented by Pat Campbell. He certainly always had a’ Gunfighter Slot’.

      One of his catchphrases was ‘That do make it nice!’

      1. By the time the Light Programme had transmogrified to Radios 1 and 2, I was in post University bedsitter land, and mainly listening to my own albums. But I followed the lead you gave me and came up with Murray Kash, who had a Country and Western programme on Luxy in the early sixties. I think that’s where it was.

  9. 59m 53s A good but fair test, I thought, although I was held up in the NW corner.
    I agree with keriothe about fat equating to stupid in 12ac being a little loose. I also looked a little askance at ‘cast about’ equating to google.
    i did wonder how our American chums might cope with BODY-LINE.
    I see our setter dabbled in a little politics with 5ac/21ac/2d.
    I did like the separation in 27ac “a horse racing event” and in 22d “A Republican President.
    For 7d, FACTOTUM, I hope I’m able to post this YouTube video….

  10. Hmm. I managed to figure out around three-quarters of this, but the remainder were a case of finding words that fitted the grid and then trying to make them correspond with the clues. Some, 6d, 22d, still defeated me till coming here. Resisted BODY-LINE at 25ac because “line” featured also in the clue. (Also NHO. What is the crossworders’ obsession with cricket? There are so many other sports.) Overall time around 90 minutes, and not particularly satisfying. But thanks to all here for the clue explanations….and the cricket tutorial!

  11. 57 minutes. I agree with our blogger about 3d and have never seen CAST ABOUT used in relation to doing an Internet search, if that’s what was meant. PRINCIPE was a geographical unknown, and I didn’t know ‘cordial’ could mean liqueur either. At least AMARETTO made a change from the usual “grenadine” and the wordplay was good. .

    Two Notts references here, one admittedly indirect. Given the setter, I’m surprised there wasn’t a D. H. Lawrence related clue as well.

  12. I was fine until I couldn’t get IDEATE and PRINCIPE. I thought the down one might be CREATE (I’d twigged the TEn thing) but the wordplay wouldn’t stretch to it.

    The New York World story about the World Series has been thoroughly debunked, mainly because the New York World never mentioned it (except that it gave the results of the games like any other newspaper at the time). The more credible story is:

    “The real reason behind the name is thanks to Barney Dreyfuss who was the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1903, he wrote to the owner of the Boston Red Sox challenging them to a ‘World’s Championship Series’. The Pirates were the best team in the National League and the Red Sox were the best in the American League.”

  13. Yes, I see from further research that the New York World connection to the origin of the baseball World Series is properly classified as an “urban myth”. Although I see I somewhat covered myself by using “Supposedly” in making my misleading claim I do apologise to Horryd and others for furthering the propagation of “false news”!

    1. No worries! Quantum History is ever with us and it sure makes life entertaining.

      Who won the Battle of Waterloo!? Who wrote ‘The Saint’, Charteris or Fleming or both? Who won the 2020 American Presidential Election? And why was Geli Raubal (Hitler’s niece died 18 September 1931) photographed alive at the Worthersee, Austria in May 1938 with Ian Fleming, enjoying a few drinks!?!

      1. There is absolutely no doubt who won the 2020 presidential election. Perhaps you’re thinking of 2000?

        1. Between 30 & 40 million Maga voters would seriously disagree! Let’s hope the Dems hold the Senate in November.

  14. CODA: I’m disappointed that no-one has offered a comment on my posting of a YouTube video of a flash mob at Berlin’s Tegel Airport performing ‘Largo al FACTOTUM’ from ‘The Barber of Seville’.
    It certainly brought a smile to my face.

    1. Well, I skipped over it first time through so glad you mentioned it again here- very impressive and lots of fun!

      1. Thanks! I went looking to see if there was a ‘flashmob’ performance of that other lovely Figaro aria, “Non più andrai” from The Marriage of Figaro but couldn’t find one.

  15. Thanks David and keriothe
    Found this quite tough – starting with a coffee in a cafe and finishing back home over lunch – taking 72 minutes across both sessions. Did think that the use of FAT twice in the answers was a little unusual and had not known the ‘stupid’ definition of it, but found that it was. Did like both cryptic definitions at 11d and 15d. Remembered Christopher ISHERWOOD, but it took quite a while to see SHERWOOD Forest.
    Finished in that difficult NW corner with PRINCIPE (a new part of the world for me), POP OFF (having to look up the common definition with ‘go west’ to die) and IDEATE (which needed the blog to understand the parsing of it).

  16. At last a Sunday offering I could (nearly) finish – with PRINCIPE holding out, even though I had IDEATE andPOP OFF. Not too slowly, either. CODs to PARKING METER and ISHERWOOD (one of my heroes). But kudos too to FATWA – very topical!

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