Sunday Times 5026 by Robert Price

12.27. The usual smooth and elegant clueing from Robert. I didn’t find this terribly difficult but there was enough tricksiness in it that I had to work my way through it steadily and pay attention. Nothing completely unknown but I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what a THERMOCOUPLE was.

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

1 Evil company’s left an astronomer orbiting a moon
7 Nautical officer on board Victory
MATE – DD, one a chess reference of course.
9 Holidaymaker’s complaint? Not all pick up litter!
10 Like a grizzly wee lass, finally getting stuck in
11 Make a selection of sweets for the audience
CHOOSE – sounds like ‘chews’.
13 Start off puzzles for dimwits
14 Guy’s tutorial rearranged with no need
17 One detects warmth of love in the jolly twosome
THERMOCOUPLE – THE, RM(O), COUPLE. RM = Royal Marine = jolly.
20 Big fall in needy announced by county
DOWNPOUR – DOWN (county), sounds like ‘poor’.
21 Provide home for con, understand?
TAKE IN – triple definition.
22 Contract analyst
23 Ulster, maybe remaining firm against extremists
OVERCOAT – OVER (remaining), CO (firm), AgainsT.
25 Jumper for playing golf
FROG – (FOR)*, G.
26 The old tyres are fixed in the past
YESTERYEAR – YE (the old), (TYRES ARE)*.
2 Where the lower ranks are harder to read?
3 Fish turned up lacking a head
NUT – reversal (turned up) of TUNa.
4 Carbon level trend
5 How do books put over tragedy?
OTHELLO – HELLO (how do) with OT (books) ‘put over’ (because it’s a down clue).
6 Numbers of US locums worked without iodine
SOUL MUSIC – (US LOCUMS)* containing I.
7 Bird starter in yoghurt dip with no-fuss sugar topping
MUSCOVY DUCK – MUSCOVado, Yoghurt, DUCK (dip).
8 Kind offer
12 Proud northern champion
OUTSTANDING – DD, the first in the sense of sticking out or upwards.
15 Tricky choice before crucial game
ICE HOCKEY – (CHOICE)*, KEY. Or HOCKEY, as they call it in North America.
16 University learner at a tech institute, up for final terms
ULTIMATA – U, L, reversal of AT A MIT (the Massachusetts tech institute).
18 Wines the French drink a great deal
MERLOTS – MER (French word for sea, or drink), LOTS.
19 Plague’s relative resistance being overlooked
21 That spot spoilt her evening clothes
THERE – contained in ‘spoilt her evening’.
24 Flirtatious parrot won’t keep quiet

22 comments on “Sunday Times 5026 by Robert Price”

  1. I didn’t know what to make of OUTSTANDING. Thought “Proud” might be OUT and STANDING “northern” (like, heading upward… as “western” can mean going to the left…) and “champion” (as an adjective) the definition.

    THERMOCOUPLE was also NHO, and it’s always so satisfying to discover a new word through cryptography.

  2. Thanks to Myrtilus for a champion crossword and to Keriothe for parsing MUSCOVY DUCK. I didn’t know this sugar.
    CODs 1a PERNICIOUS and 10a URSINE.

  3. 47m 34s That was a good challenge and near my average (52mins) for a cryptic.
    Never, ever, heard of MUSCOV(ado). Thanks to Corymbia I now understand ‘northern champion’.
    I think my time might have been better had I given my full attention to the puzzle instead of concentrating on the Men’s Road Race in the UCI World Road Cycling Championships in Wollongong, NSW.
    Thanks, keriothe.
    PS….THERMOCOUPLE: sex in a sauna?

  4. DNF
    I quit at 23′, having given up on 10ac. NHO the sugar. I couldn’t figure out OUTSTANDING, either, although I knew of proud flesh, and I knew that Quiggin in “A Dance…” says of his wife that she has champion looks.

    1. Outstanding puzzle from Myrtilus which I finished in 57 minutes.

      FOI 16dn ULTIMATA – easy instructions from IKEA
      LOI 24dn COY – a large goldfish hereabouts
      COD 12dn OUTSTANDING – as were Wigan for many years
      WOD 13ac LUMMOXES popular word in the fifties and sixties
      At 7dn Muscavado is the least refined, dark brown sugar from Barbados and
      British Guiana (Guyana). I use it on porridge.

      I’ll fetch me 23ac!

  5. 40 minutes. Having completed all but two answers in 25 minutes I then lost patience and used aids for the MUSCOVY portion of DUCK which helped with MATE at 7ac. I really should have seen MATE earlier. As for the duck, I had heard of both it and the sugar that would have rescued me if I’d been able to bring it to mind.

    Elsewhere I knew THERMOCOUPLE from O-Level physics, most of which is now long-forgotten.

    I knew OUTSTANDING from ‘proud’ and ‘champion’, the latter just thinking of an outstanding performance worthy of a champion e.g. in sport, but I wasn’t able to explain ‘northern’ at the time. I’m kicking myself now because ‘champion’ was a favourite expression of old-fashioned northern comedians such as George Formby.

    1. As for OUTSTANDING, just the same as you, Jackkt! My father’s family were northern and I must have heard my grandmother say the word hundreds of times, yet the northern connection didn’t register.

      1. I found an example in a Formby song from 1937 called Trailing Around in a Trailer. Each of the four verses ends with the same line. Here’s the first, the other three are probably not for the easily offended these days:

        I love the fresh air, it’s great, I declare
        Wide open spaces for me
        With trailer and car I set out afar
        A rover I’m meant to be
        Over the hills and dales
        Over the slugs and snails
        Trailing around in a trailer
        Eee, it’s champion campin’ out.

  6. I finished and enjoyed this but needed the blog to help with the parsing of several:
    PERNICIOUS, THERMOCOUPLE both BIFD and would never have got the WP.
    MATE and HEAT RASH I really should have. And MOSCOVY DUCK I would never have thought of the sugar topping.

    Lots to smile about though like URSINE, OTHELLO, EYE CHART and COY.

    LUMMOX reminded me of a landlord of a home town pub I used to frequent.

  7. I did this mainly online. I know from my paper that I started with ULTIMATA and TAKE IN.
    I think I finished with LUMMOXES, a word which I vaguely recognised once it appeared.
    No problems with CHAMPION coming from a Northern family. The parsing of Muscovy Duck passed me by, so thanks for that.
    Another very enjoyable puzzle from Robert.

  8. Hurrah! Done and dusted in a respectable 50 or so minutes, and I even knew muscovado sugar. Very pleased to have parsed every clue, too. Did I say hurrah? Thanks to setter, and, of course, bloggers.

  9. Well I completed, though sporadically, over a day or two, being on holiday, and thought it a jolly fine puzzle (particularly THERMOCOUPLE, which went in purely from wordplay, as I had no idea what it was!). However, I had COUP for 7A for the longest time, which held up 7 and 8D. I should have twigged earlier, as I thought it a poor clue, not up to Robert’s usual high standards. Embarrassingly, I completely failed to parse URSINE, though never in any doubt of the answer – now that has to be my COD. Also flummoxed by ‘northern’ (see my reply to Jackkt). Many thanks to Keriothe and to Robert for a brilliant puzzle.

  10. I enjoyed this and got everything in the end over a few sittings. The northern champion added to the disguise of ‘wee lass’ at 10ac – which, when separated, gave me COD. I came to the blog for the parsings of Muscovy Duck (dnk the sugar) and 21dn there – didn’t see the hidden. Thanks all.

  11. How enjoyable and excellent Robert’s crosswords are. I always look forward to them. The other two are good and I’m quite happy with them, but Robert is at a new level. Such smooth surfaces which always seem to fit in so elegantly.

    47 minutes. I got stuck on the 9ac/4dn bit and had to use aids for this. I wanted 9ac to be ‘heat itch’. In 23ac ‘against extremists’ is used for ‘at’. Fine by me, but there are some people who might balk at this, which is very similar to using a nounal anagram indicator.

  12. Thanks, Robt and keriothe. I was so proud to have known Victory as Nelson’s Flagship when it came up last week that I couldn’t get that connection out of my head. It took a considerable while for Mate to get into my head. I also had trouble with Heat Rash – I can see it, but I don’t particularly associate heat rash with holiday-making, so I needed all the crossers (which put paid to Some Rain) and a little luck.

  13. Not my week (end!). Laboured over this with few in on the first pass : MATE escaped me ( didn’t get the Chess ref.) and also HEAT RASH. LAMEBRAINS kept in my head for ever (but didn’t fit of course), and NHO THERMOCOUPLE. Had completely forgotten that type of OVERCOAT, and biffed TRIMESTA in in desperation at 16d. Penny CHOOSE also – happily! – forgotten! (Tooth-rotters). But overall some very nice clues : just wasn’t up for it 😕

  14. Thanks Robert and keriothe
    Took this to a cafe for brunch this morning and left after a half hour with only 7 or 8 clues entered. Had a few more sittings after an afternoon in the garden and finally, with aids, was able to complete it.
    New terms including LUMMOXES, THERMOCOUPLE (only derived from word play and then check to see if it was a word) and the MUSCAV[ADO] part of 7d (luckily knew the ‘duck’ and only had to derive the why).
    An abundance of excellent clues – FROG for it’s simplicity, MATE (excellent double definition), TAKE IN (for its even better triple definition) and EYE CHART (that drew a grin when the penny dropped).
    Finished with that EYE CHART, NUT (not sure why that waited to be the penultimate one) and HEAT RASH (another derived from word play and then a slight hmm for the definition).

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