Sunday Times 5034 by Dean Mayer

24:21. I found this really hard, but thoroughly enjoyable as usual from Dean. There are lots of cracking clues in here, but special mention perhaps to the wonderful anagram and hidden definition in 12ac and the very tidy &Lit at 9dn. Great stuff.

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

1 Picture of small article in flight (8)
5 Running ahead, look back
UPKEEP – UP, reversal of PEEK.
10 Artificial language of someone older
NEO – contained in ‘someone older’. I had never heard of this artificial language, but the answer was pretty obvious. It was invented by Arturo Alfandari in 1961, as I’m sure you knew.
11 Detective’s appeal guaranteed offence
12 The life created in it will mutate
13 Rock etc a source of chalk
CRETACEOUS – (ETC A SOURCE)*. Another very clever anagram. I didn’t know this meaning of CRETACEOUS. Creta is Latin for chalk, apparently. I’m not sure why the geological era is named after it.
15 Fine work detail
17 Picked up leaf through grass
REED – sounds like ‘read’
18 Meet with approval as warehouse supply
GO DOWN WELL – GODOWN, WELL. GODOWN is an Indian and East Asian word for a warehouse which I have come across before in past crosswords.
21 Highbrow comedy show?
BEYOND THE FRINGE – two definitions, one whimsical. ‘Lowbrow’ would have made more sense to me here (wouldn’t highbrow be under the fringe?) but I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
23 Imagine chat
CONFABULATE – DD. I didn’t know the first definition here: ‘to replace the gaps left by a disorder of the memory with imaginary remembered experiences consistently believed to be true’.
24 Leaves volunteers to capture Spain
TEA – T(E)A.
25 Capital, as described?
ATHENS – one way to describe the word ‘as’ is A THEN S.
26 What sewer did in street was irritating
1 Schoolboy gutted, almost never in assembly?
SYNODIC – SchoolboY, NO DICe. ‘Never’ in the sense of ‘no way’ I think.
2 A pudding served up cold
ALOOF – A, reversal (up) of FOOL.
3 Passages from “Mortimer” on New Zealand areas
CADENZAS – CADE, NZ, AS. Jack Cade, of rebellion fame, took the name John Mortimer. I didn’t know that.
4 What punter may do to celebrate
PUSH THE BOAT OUT – two definitions, the more literal one being the cryptic. Funny how that happens, and quite often.
6 Factories making line in underwear
7 Playing a nice tune, say
8 Where officials try to get through to public bar
PREVENT – or a PR EVENT, geddit?
9 Cancel — not pause — mucking about
14 All in? Absolutely
EVERY INCH – EVERY (all), INCH (in.).
16 Most irate, as monarch that is in distress
17 Novel or ancient instrument cases
REBECCA – REBEC, CA. The REBEC was a medieval stringed instrument. I recognised it, presumably from a past crossword.
19 Pick fish up with the current
LEEWARD – reversal (up) of DRAW EEL. Pick/draw as in a raffle I think. The ‘current’ here is the wind.
20 Batting streak, it’s said, having no effect
IN VAIN – IN, homophone of ‘vein’.
22 Level score

37 comments on “Sunday Times 5034 by Dean Mayer”

  1. A great time all the way. I had at one point, very neatly, the entire top half worked (though with a wrong guess for PUSH) and nothing in the bottom except that part of (the excellent) CLEAN UP ONES ACT.
    Knew CRETACEOUS from the era, which made the definition here seem quite plausible.
    My experience of CONFABULATE was, historically, the opposite of yours, but I did eventually learn the “chat” definition.
    I wasn’t sure what the FRINGE is meant to be in that clue (an eyebrow or eyelash was my guess), but I had heard of the show.

    1. We use Fringe in the UK where you say Bangs ie the cut hairline. So beyond the fringe would be high on the brow.

  2. 26:10
    Another winner from Dean (today’s cryptic is also attributed to Dean; an editorial error?). DEFINITE ARTICLE definitely COD, although CLEAN UP ONES ACT is a close second. I had no idea what “Mortimer” was about; luckily, I didn’t need one. DNK the expression PUSH THE BOAT OUT. I wasn’t at all sure about ‘highbrow’, but I took it to indicate the forehead extending beyond where the hair is–I see that ‘fringe’ is what we Murcans call ‘bangs’.
    Like Guy, I’m more familiar with the psychiatric meaning of CONFABULATE, although I think it’s used more broadly than the Collins or ODE definition; e.g. subjects in ‘split-brain’ experiments who would sometimes explain their reaction to a picture with an ad hoc explanation.
    I didn’t know, but assumed, that ‘cases’ could be abbreviated ‘ca’; I now see that Collins has it, as well as my Japanese-English dictionary.

    1. Peter B. assured me today’s (which I just now finished) is by Bob, and said he’d drop a line to the person responsible for the web version.

      1. Online version now fixed, at least for the cases where the puzzle is downloaded when the solving starts.

        There is a schedule jiggle coming up. ST Crossword 5039 in the online-only edition on Christmas day will be by Dean, as a second jumbo puzzle was requested and he hasn’t had one for a fair while. David McLean follows on 1 Jan and then normality resumes.

          1. I’ve just checked the website, the iPad app for the paper, and the Times Puzzles iPad app. All now show Robert for me, though this is the first look at the puzzle in each place on the device used. Maybe refreshing or signing out and back in would help to change it, though there’s obviously no way for people to know that such steps are a good idea unless they’ve seen this discussion and already know what name should be shown. As ever, the easiest solution is “right first time”.

            PS “iPad app for the paper” = the newest version. Upgrading from the “classic” one is voluntary, apparently because the older one has some features that certain readers prefer.

            1. Thanks, Peter. I just revisited via Times online Puzzles and it’s now correct although I didn’t do anything different from the previous visit. This is via Chrome on a traditional desktop.

  3. 39 minutes. I kept looking for the def of CLEAN UP ONES ACT and failed to spot it as an &lit. I’m more familiar with the make up a story sense of CONFABULATE and for the ‘chat’ sense have seen it more often as a noun in the CONFAB abbreviation. No idea about “Mortimer” for CADE at 3d. I wasn’t sure about NOTCH for ‘Level’ but eventually decided on the meaning as in “his performance went up a notch”; seemed more likely than NOT CH, ie Switzerland is mountainous, which was my first thought. I agree with Vinyl about FRINGE.

    Thanks for clearing up the identify of today’s setter.

  4. Very hard and I felt proud to finish this one. I hate to think how long I spent on it. But the clues went in steadily, if slowly, so it didn’t stop being enjoyable. I happen to be in Berlin right now, which reminds me of “Die in Berlin” as another great clue for DEFINITE ARTICLE.

  5. 72m 58s I found this very difficult but, as ever with Anax, it was enjoyable.
    ATHENS and PREVENT, now that you’ve explained them ,keriothe, I think are particularly good.
    Thanks to Kevin, I now understand the ‘ca’ at the end of REBECCA.
    I didn’t know about “Mortimer”/Cade .
    The other solution I was unsure about the parsing thereof was LEEWARD so thanks, again, keriothe.
    The ones I enjoyed particularly were BEYOND THE FRINGE, SYNODIC and EVERY INCH but COD has to be DEFINITE ARTICLE, as you indicate, K. I always have difficulty with that sort of clue.

    1. It seems I should have been more explicit about ‘cases’: apologies. I thought it was quite common, but perhaps it’s more of a Mephisto or Azed thing.

  6. I called a halt on this at 60 minutes as yet again I had been pondering two remaining intersecting clues for far too long so I resorted to aids. On reflection I might have got EVERY INCH but I doubt I would ever have come up with CONFABULATE as I didn’t know either meaning and I’m not even sure I knew the word existed – it sounds like a portmanteau word.

  7. I got most of this but it was hard work. The CA at the end of REBECCA was a mystery. So was GODOWN.
    And guessing in order to finish I had EVERY ONES at 14d. This made 25a impossible. I looked at it every which way ( including Atos) but failed to arrive at Athens.
    And I see I had 15a wrong-it did look odd.
    COD to UPKEEP.

  8. My worst showing for months. Couldn’t make headway with this and finally had to admit defeat. Thanks to blogger for explanations.

  9. 13A: The Cretaceous period is apparently when most if not all of the deposits that are now chalk were, er, deposited, so it’s the “period of chalk”.

    21A: Highbrow is really being used here to mean “above the brow” – I think that’s the reason for the final QM.

    17D: The rebec seems to be appearing for the first time in the ST crosswords I’ve edited. It has been in Mephisto and the GK puzzle (I remember the challenge of finding a decent picture), as well as a few Times cryptics covered here.

  10. Many thanks to our blogger for unpicking this one. Like Jack, I gave up after around an hour. I really think words like confabulate should have a bit of word play to help you along rather than just a curt double definition, but maybe that’s just sour grapes.

    As our editor says, the Cretaceous is named after the chalk deposits which formed at the time. These came from the shells of marine creatures, which is why there’s a lot of chalk in and around the English Channel. I know this because I learnt it at Dinosaur Isle on the Isle of Wight – well worth a visit!

    1. I hope the place on the IoW didn’t really link the marine creatures with the English Channel. It was formed relatively recently – less than one million years ago – and the Cretaceous ended something like 60 million years ago, when oceans and/or continents were in different places. The chalk in the Chiltern Hills or Yorkshire’s Flamborough head can’t have much to do with the English channel …

      1. Indeed. I did wonder of this had something to do with the ‘kimmeridgian’ soils which supposedly link Chablis with parts of England where people have wine to sell.

      2. Well it’s possible I skim read it a bit but it was definitely something to do with that bit being under water at some point.

  11. 8d “PREVENT – or a PR EVENT, geddit?” No I didn’t. Also could think only of FART for intersecting 15a, so didn’t enter it. DNF
    DNK “ca” for cases.
    DNK that meaning of NOTCH.
    So a hard one for me.

  12. You could never call a Dean Mayer puzzle easy, I assume, but I enjoyed this one, despite several being unparseable, though luckily not unsolvable, owing to lack of knowledge. I did not know ‘godown’ as a warehouse, nor ‘ca’ as cases, though I did know Rebec and assumed the answer. I also had no idea of Cade/Mortimer, though again, the answer was obvious. I particularly liked DEFINITE ARTICLE, the clever misdirection of PUSH THE BOAT OUT and BEYOND THE FRINGE. Thanks to Dean, and to Keriothe for the explanations.

  13. The only very slight doubt that I had about this was that an awful lot of people are too young to remember Beyond The Fringe. But perhaps it was such a classic that it is known by everyone.

  14. What a brilliant (but very difficult) puzzle! It took me an hour and a half, spread over two days, and yesterday I had under 60% done, but then one clue after another very slowly fell in. COD to PREVENT or EVERY INCH or ATHENS, I guess, but actually everything else is excellent, too. Although I doubt the setter was thinking that, BletchleyRejects’s suggestion of NOT CH to explain “level” is really quite good and in line with pretty much everything else in this puzzle.

  15. Pretty much the same difficulties as most, and every answer squeezed out painfully ( but with joy, if that makes sense!). But NHO GODOWNs, nor REBEC, nor CA, nor understand the E for Spain in TEA, though it had to be of course. CODs to DEFINITE ARTICLE and ATHENS, but many to choose from. No time, as I spent much of the afternoon with it (and the occasional aid!)

  16. Thanks Dean and keriothe
    Found this one pretty challenging, taking a bit over the hour across a couple of sessions to get it out. Nevertheless, the answers did come steadily – just with long gaps in between them. The only one I didn’t parse was GO DOWN WELL, having forgotten about the Asian warehouse.
    Didn’t realise that CRETACEOUS meant ‘chalky’, only knew it for the geological period and didn’t know the ‘imagine’ definition of CONFABULATE. The alias of Jack Cade was new learning as well. PUSH THE BOAT OUT was retained learning from a crossword done not so long ago.
    Finished down the bottom with REBECCA (the rebec has loitered in crosswords for many years), BEYOND THE FRINGE (more new learning of the comedy show, knew the idiomatic meaning of it) and NOTCH (which was ready to go in much earlier but had to understand the ‘level’ definition of it).

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