Sunday Times 5028 by Dean Mayer – easy as XYZ

17:30, but with one cheat. Faced with COL?A and the indication ‘unknown’, I was unable to choose between COLYA and COLZA. Even COLXA might be a Basque word. No doubt everyone else has heard of this alternative name for rape but I hadn’t (which of course makes it obscure) so I needed some unambiguous wordplay. If I had spotted that the grid is a pangram I might have considered that a Z was needed to complete it, but 1) I didn’t and 2) it’s only a pangram if you put in a Z! So, in conclusion, harrumph.

Otherwise this was up to Dean’s usual excellent standard, and quite tricky. 2dn is a quite wonderful clue and worth the price of admission on its own. How did you get on?

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

1 Raise flag
4 After capture, saw denial
GAINSAYING – GAIN (capture), SAYING (saw).
9 It turns a lot
WHEEL OF FORTUNE – CD based on ‘lot’ meaning fate.
10 Security pass alternative?
COLLATERAL – COL (pass), LATERAL. ‘Alternative’ is a bit loose but a reasonable equivalence for the meaning in the phrase ‘lateral thinking’.
11 Artist’s work always rejected
GOYA – GO (work), reversal of AY.
12 Fancy cable holding bar in place of compass
BINNACLE – (CABLE)* containing BAN INN.
14 End of game is puzzling
STUMPS – DD. I don’t think this is right: STUMPS is the end of a day’s play in a test match, not the end of the match itself.
16 Save key that opens plant
18 Foolish joke by Mary Jane
CRACKPOT – CRACK (joke), POT (marijuana, Mary Jane).
20 One Tory figure
ICON – I, CON(servative).
22 Defeated front line left mostly separated
VANQUISHED – VAN (front), L, QUIt, SHED. I’m not sure about ‘separated’ for SHED. Collins has ‘(in weaving) to form an opening between (the warp threads) in order to permit the passage of the shuttle’, which fits but seems a bit obscure. Anyone got a better explanation?
24 Legendary cycle tour marred, the crashes after line
LE MORTE DARTHUR – L, (TOUR MARRED THE)*. The E ending in MORTE, and the fact that ‘mort’ is feminine, will tempt French speakers to put LA here. Close attention to anagram fodder required!
25 Is one entering US flat / apartment?
MAISONETTE – MA(IS ONE)TTE. MATTE is the American spelling of MAT, meaning dull or flat.
26 Crown featuring mock cross
2 Winner of Apple iPad and other spoils
APHRODITE – (IPAD OTHER)*. In Greek mythology Aphrodite is awarded a golden apple by Paris because he thinks she’s fitter than Hera or Athena. What a brilliant clue!
3 Little girl led by constant ringing
KNELL – K, NELL. K being of course the Bolzmann constant, as you knew.
4 Musical piece about a quirk of knowledge
GNOSTIC – reversal of SONG, TIC.
5 Awaiting medical study, conveyed this?
INFORMED CONSENT – IN FOR (awaiting), MED, CON, SENT. Semi-&Lit.
6 Without love, embittered and redundant
7 One trying to change baby in Istanbul?
YOUNG TURK – one of those curious cases where the wordplay is more literal than the definition!
8 Those closing down make the moneyed very poor
NEEDY – last letters (those closing) ‘down make the moneyed very‘.
13 Casually handles cooler porridge?
NICKNAMES – ‘cooler’ and ‘porridge’ are examples of NAMES for the NICK. You have to squint a bit here because ‘cassually, handles’ suggests a casual word for ‘handles’, i.e. names, but NICKNAMES is not itself a casual term. Alternatively you can consider that ‘handles’ is a verb meaning ‘to name’, but it isn’t. So you have to kind of hold both ideas in your head at the same time and not worry about it too much. Which is fine by me.
15 Try to carry on
17 Most of what makes one green metal ring
19 Worship one of the French dead
ADULATE – A, DU (of the in French), LATE.
21 It makes oil company start to leave unknown area
COLZA – CO, Leave, Z, A.
23 Scripture is just great when read regularly
SUTRA – every other letter in ‘is just great’.

31 comments on “Sunday Times 5028 by Dean Mayer – easy as XYZ”

  1. Couldn’t get on the wavelength with this one and needed 75 minutes to complete it with generous use of aids after the hour had passed. I won’t bother to recount my difficulties here as I have long since moved on..

    1. That pretty much sums up my own feelings about this one, and I also came in around the hour and a quarter mark with a little help from my “friends”.

  2. Remember finding this hard, but I thoughtlessly flung in COLYA, didn’t even think to check! I never look for a pangram.
    “La morte d’Arthur” would be Arthur’s dead woman… It’s kind of screwed-up that the failed attempt at Middle French for the title has been preserved all these years.
    Don’t think I’ve encountered BINNACLE in one of these before.
    Yes, APHRODITE is really (as ever) a winner.

  3. LA MORTE here, bunged in confidently. DNK STUMPS, although it looked vaguely familiar when I wrote it in. I took ‘separated’ as a past participle: the snake’s skin was shed/separated. Sort of works. I liked WHEEL OF FORTUNE, but COD, COM at least, to APHRODITE.

  4. The canola has been recently harvested here, and the golden whistlers are singing. COLZA and THICKHEADS. It’s terminology, Mr. Spock, but not as we know it.

  5. 79m 40s
    I found this very difficult. Unlike normal Anax puzzles there was not that much that made me smile except WHEEL OF FORTUNE, SURPLUS (“and”!) and NICKNAMES. Oh, APHRODITE was good.
    Thanks, keriothe for explaining NEEDY, VANQUISHED and INFORMED CONSENT.
    I had never associated ‘constant’ with K before.
    I thought STUMPS might fox some non-British solvers and Kevin’s comment confirms that. Perhaps Jack might be able to tell us if we have ever had the term to indicate the end of a rugby union match ‘NO SIDE’ in a puzzle before.
    NHO COLZA. My first thought was COPRA.
    LOI: NICKNAMES/ LE MORTE D’ARTHUR. I know it’s accepted practice not to indicate apostrophes but I don’t have to like it.

    1. I’m sure we’ve had NO SIDE at least once, since I know it, and can’t imagine how I could otherwise.

        1. Good God, no!
          I just looked up ‘no side’ in my English-Japanese dictionary, and sure enough it’s noosaido ノーサイド.

      1. A search reveals 11 hits on “NO SIDE” but all of them were in wordplay cluing a reversal leading to inventor EDISON. Only one of these clues (in April 2012) made reference to it as a term used in rugby.

        Not sure how this query has arisen re this puzzle – something following on from STUMPS perhaps?

        1. Thanks, Jack.
          Yes, I thought STUMPS might stump some overseas solvers and thought NO SIDE as the end of a game of rugby would have the same effect.

          1. Thanks. I have a feeling I have seen NO SIDE quite recently with reference to rugby. Perhaps in The Guardian. Or maybe I’m thinking of another rugby term I didn’t know.

            1. I remember hearing the term at the end of rugby matches but that was a few years ago. Nowadays, a hooter goes off to signify the end of 80 minutes but the game continues until the ball goes dead or is kicked out which is when the ref blows his whistle. I just don’t seem to hear the term NO SIDE much these days.

        2. I’m very surprised by this because I am absolutely certain that I only know this term from encountering it in crosswords, and I would have sworn blind that I’ve done so much more recently than 2012.

          1. I found a link now from my blog December 2019. Didn’t find it before because I did an exact search but omitted the hyphen. It’s at 1dn and there’s some discussion about it in the comments below.

            1. Ah yes, thank you. I don’t seem to have commented that day but I’m pretty sure that’s where I’m remembering it from.

  6. A 43 minute DNF with LA MORTE… . Should have read the anagram fodder more carefully, but even so, LE would have looked wrong. NHO the “canola as we know it” COLZA, but seeing that the Z was needed for the pangram helped. No problem with NICKNAMES but I probably didn’t think about it enough.

    APHRODITE would have been my favourite if I’d known anything about the episode with the golden apple. I know even less about the Boltzmann constant and plan to keep things that way.

  7. I should have spotted the game/day’s play difference for STUMPS, especially as “End of play is puzzling” seems fine as a clue. Possible change when we get to about no 6 in the books.

  8. I surprised myself by getting BINNACLE and remembering what it was. But I had COLYA and a number of blanks. I found the anagram at 24a but LA ROUTE …. led me nowhere.
    In the too difficult category for me.

  9. I only got 7 of these but since everyone here has commented on how difficult it was, I’ll pat myself on the back for getting even this tiny quota. Um – re the parsing of 12ac BINNACLE, isn’t it BINNACLE – (CABLE)* containing INN, for “bar”? I know – hark at me! Thanks, all.

  10. 9ac — ‘It turns a lot’ for WHEEL OF FORTUNE. If this is a DD and a lot is a wheel of fortune then fine, but I don’t think it is (if it really is then it’s only an example of one), so it has to be a CD. And if so, then how is the WoF a lot (in the sense of a chance)? I can’t see how a WoF is either 1. one of a set of objects, as straws or pebbles, drawn or thrown from a container to decide a question or choice by chance, 2. the casting or drawing of such objects as a method of deciding something: to choose a person by lot, or 3. the decision or choice made by such a method. Looks a bit vague to me (vaguer than separated/shed), but perhaps some other dictionary justifies it?

    1. I didn’t really think about this much when solving but now that I look at it again I think you can read it in two ways: 1) it rotates a great deal and 2) it changes (turns) someone’s fate (a lot).

  11. thanks for a much-needed blog, keriothe (noting only that Aphrodite didn’t get the apple due to being fitter, but due to offering the best bribe: the already married Helen). DNF with the unknown producer of canola undone; I was trying to think of the funny names for palm trees.

  12. I was another LA MORTE not paying attention to the wordplay. Otherwise I don’t remember anything specific over a a week later.

  13. On a different wavelength for 16. I reasoned Fescue with R in rescue substituted by the musical key of F. Explanation given for Rescue is much more satisfactory I must admit.
    22 I got vanquished but reasoned van + (s)quished as being almost shed.

    2 down didn’t seem problematical as c or k are frequently used in calculus and physics for any constant, not solely Boltzmann’s.
    FOI 9ac.

    One wrong apparently.

  14. Thanks Dean and keriothe
    As others did, found this very tough and got to the end in a bit over an hour and a half across a couple of sittings. Ended up with an error of the big down clue at 5d – INFERRED CONSENT, which wouldn’t parse beyond a cryptic definition and should have known that Dean would not have settled for that – pretty tough word play all of the same. Don’t look for pangrams in the ST puzzles as they happen so rarely.
    STUMPS is interesting – it does mean the end of the day’s play when the umpires used to pull up the stumps – I guess that when the match is completed, technically it is the end of the day’s play. These days, however, the bowler who has taken a bundle of wickets would probably beat them to take as a souvenir. It was my last one in, preceded by PROSECUTE and APEX – testing but very enjoyable crossword.

  15. I note that you still have a link under Other Solving Blogs for the Ottawa Citizen. This blog has not been updated since 2014 when the Ottawa Citizen stopped carrying the Sunday Times puzzle.

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