Sunday Times 5030 by David McLean – little to distress or vex

12:49. I’ve left blogging very late this week (as I write this it’s 11.10 on Saturday evening) so I will be brief. I liked the puzzle a lot, there were a couple of particularly brilliant touches that I will highlight in the relevant clues.

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

1 Quit drugs and start to sew on retirement
STOP – reversal (on retirement) of POT, Sew.
4 Hallowed ground: can’t cross over area
SACROSANCT – (CANT CROSS)* containing A. ‘Hallowed ground’ is a very clever way to hide an anagram indicator.
9 Willy Nelson’s last on as he messed with a speaker!
SHAKESPEAREAN – (AS HE A SPEAKER)*, nelsoN. Brilliant clue: I love the definition and its combination with Nelson is very nicely done.
10 Grass repeating the same crimes gets caught
CEREAL – sounds like ‘serial’ (as in killer).
11 One bringing out lamps for ship’s watch? Au contraire!
EYELINER – another brilliant clue, and another great definition. In the wordplay the apostrophe-S stands for ‘has’: so rather than ‘ship has watch’ (which would give LINEREYE), it’s…
12 Pretend friend gets you locked up in reality
14 Pitiable time with, possibly, Havana revolutionary
TRAGIC – T, reversal of CIGAR.
15 Boy crossing through southern border in a tense state
ON EDGEsON, EDGE. ‘Crossing through’ is an unusual deletion indicator.
17 Groups who govern people pleading in hearing
COUNCILS – sounds like ‘counsels’. A bit chestnutty.
19 Sweet kitty taking medicine rolled around
LOLLIPOP – reversal of PO(PILL)OL.
21 One dancing in the low-lit breezy night?
CANDLE – CD. Strictly speaking it would be the flame that dances but you get the idea.
23 Normal manure spread about Saints’ first XI?
ROMAN NUMERALS – (NORMAL MANURE)* containing Saints.
24 Eastern American head of college keeps learner informed
25 Filled with bit of ire, go off and scream
RIOT – R(Ire)OT. If something/one is funny, it is/they are a scream/RIOT.
2 A sense of discernment
TASTE – DD: you could just consider it a single definition but then it wouldn’t be a cryptic clue.
3 Piece of crockery on a posh table
4 A shade unhappy? Toughen up!
STEEL BLUE – STEEL (to make hard, to toughen), BLUE (unhappy).
5 Reddish-brown ape’s biting repelled salesman
COPPERY – COPY containing a reversal of REP.
6 Old nasty type and earl release gas in public
7 Some steamer I caught in a foreign country
AMERICA – contained in ‘steamer I caught’.
8 Friendly and agreeable sort of conga line
13 Way to be overlooked by conservative crowd
CONCOURSE – CON, COURSE. I wasn’t aware of this definition of CONCOURSE but it’s the first in Collins.
14 Club together at The Fringe on meal with pound off
16 Call famous matchmaker on the mobile to create problem
DILEMMA – sounds like ‘dial Emma’, Woodhouse in this case.
17 Take heed outside parking by trade union
18 Fabulous Greek geezer who’s a bit of a nag in part
20 Beastly type together with cutting secretary
22 Young woman getting over stockholder?

16 comments on “Sunday Times 5030 by David McLean – little to distress or vex”

  1. This was hard work, with CEREAL & EYELINER taking a long time; and indeed, I never figured out EYELINER. SHAKESPEAREAN a COD with knobs on.

  2. Took a minute to see “Will-y”—not “Willy,” which would have left something to be desired.
    CEREAL may have been my LOI. But probably just last one parsed (LOP?).
    No complaints!

  3. 93m 06s
    I agree with Kevin. This was definitely hard work! It was the third in a trio of difficult cryptic puzzles for me.
    I had queries on so many across clues: 9,10,11,15,21 so thank you, keriothe.
    2d was first ‘sight’, then ‘touch, then, finally, TASTE.
    In 6d I started with ‘overt’ (‘in public’)
    Too worn out by the end to award a COD.

  4. 46 minutes. A puzzle with some great clues, and possibly one of David’s best. I didn’t know the EMMA/matchmaker thing but had no problem solving the clue.

  5. Hmm. For me this was one of those where for several answers it was a case of, “Well, I suppose it might be,” as I biffed a word that fitted rather than from the certainty of seeing the wordplay. Eg, 11ac EYELINER, 21ac CANDLE, 25ac RIOT, and 18d CENTAUR, though I now see that in the latter two I wasn’t thinking literally enough. Completed in the usual hour or so, but it was a struggle to find the wavelength. Thanks to setter for the challenge and to blogger for the insight.

  6. I found this difficult at first solving just 13 clues in a longish first session.
    But I was enjoying it and a second session got me home. FOI TASTE. LOI EYELINER without full comprehension.
    A few question marks, especially ON EDGE and CANDLE. But there was lots of good stuff.
    COD to Willy Nelson! Crazy clue; crazy guy.

  7. Excellent puzzle. EYELINER and CEREAL defeated me as the clock ticked past the half hour

    Thanks Keriothe and Setter

  8. Lots of nice clues, esp. that for SHAKESPEAREAN. But I’m afraid I still can’t see CENTAUR. Everyone seems happy with it, but it completely bewilders me. Please could someone explain.

  9. In Greek myth a centaur was half man and half horse. So he’s a Greek fellow(geezer) from fables(fabulous) who’s part horse (nag in part).

    1. Thanks. That’s what I thought it was when I gave it a bit more attention, but it does seem to be a bit feeble. However, nobody but me has moaned about it.

  10. It’s Willie Nelson, not Willy Nelson, isn’t it? Not sure that sort of liberty is fair, unless I’m missing something.

    1. The country music singer is indeed Willie Nelson. But whoever “Willy Nelson” is or isn’t, he’s just part of the clue’s surface reading. As the definition, “Willy” is an imaginary adjective meaning “like Will (Shakespeare)”, in the same style as the imaginary “river” meaning of “flower”. If we changed to “Willie”, that wouldn’t work. Convincing surface readings are good to have, but the logic side has to come first.

  11. Sorted in 22:50 with shrugs over CANDLE and LOI, CEREAL. Liked ROMAN NUMERALS and EYELINER. Thanks Harry and K.

  12. Had to look up several for what seemed to be a deviation in David’s usual style: eg EYELINER and CANDLE ( no wordplay to assist? – still don’t understand the “au contraire” bit). CEREAL also still hard to see, but I’m sure it’s me, not you! Enjoyed the ones I did get though, thought 9a and 24a were excellent.

    1. Like you, Jacaroo, I source my puzzles from The Australian, so come to the party late, when the rest of the dab hands have moved on.
      I thought therefore, I could help with your “au contraire” query. In the clue, “ship” is liner and “watch” is eye, then eye has (‘s) liner, au contraire “ship’s watch”, which is what keriothe explains.
      Anyway, this is my first post and I hope it helps.

  13. Thanks David and keriothe
    A week late, by Australian standards, in getting to this one and was able to complete it over a number of shortish sittings on Friday evening. Even though I got tangled up with the parsing of SHAKESPEAREAN, agree that it was a corker of a clue !!
    Lots to enjoy with a very good variety of clue devices that kept one on one’s toes to derive the answer and then to see through the logic – or au contraire, occasionally.
    Finished in the NE corner with COPPERY (another phrase in ‘reddish-brown ape’ that had to be separated to give the definition), ORATE (simple, but not) and that EYELINER (didn’t know ‘lamps’ as a slang word for eyes).

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