Sunday Times 5042 by David McLean

20:09. This excellent puzzle was a mix of the very easy and the very hard, with the latter gaining the upper hand. I got particularly stuck in the NW corner with 1ac, 10ac and 1dn taking up close to half my overall solving time at the end. 1ac is one of those clues that is extremely difficult until the penny drops, and then completely obvious. 10ac is really tough: a fairly obscure term so I needed to find the right words to spoonerise, which was very hard without the initial checking letter. In the end the key to unlocking everything was 1dn, which doesn’t seem a particularly difficult clue but took me ages to see for some reason.

Anyway, for all that I thought this was a cracking puzzle and I had a lot of fun solving it. How did you get on?

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

1 Type of person who’ll be up for a race?
JOCKEY – CD. This was my most acute self-kicking moment. I think I considered all the various meanings of ‘up’ (happy, out of bed, at university, in court etc) other than the one required. Eventually the J from 1dn got me there.
4 Your setter’s not ostentatious or indecent
10 Spooner’s lead vessels — they may sail
BLUECOATS – spoonerism of ‘clue boats’. ‘Lead’ in the detective sense. I’m not sure I knew that a BLUECOAT could be a sailor. It certainly took me forever to solve the clue, and as with 1ac I needed the crossing letter from 1dn to do so.
11 Range with original parts from Essex supplier
ANDES – AND, Essex, Supplier.
12 Blanket nurse and staff see about
ENVELOP – EN (enrolled nurse), reversal of POLE, V (see).
14 Ice store
15 Local who might look up to a chisel-jawed bighead?
18 Bank staff after wealth could be those in futures
FORTUNE-TELLERS – FORTUNE (wealth), TELLERS (bank staff). I would have said ‘teller’ is an Americanism but Collins says it’s British too.
22 One seen changing from Conservative to Green?
24 Item of clothing near item of neckwear
NIGHTIE – NIGH, TIE. Remember ties?
25 Net emptied of cargo
26 Type to inspire chaps to punch a tenor for fun
AMUSEMENT – A(MUSE [type to inspire], MEN), T.
28 Ranked men in army replaced monarch, in stated claim
ASSORTED – ASSERTED (stated claim) with ER replaced with OR. I was unsure at first if the clue was telling us to replace OR with ER or vice versa, but I concluded that ‘men in army replaced monarch’ can only mean OR replaces ER (men in army replaced by monarch would mean the opposite). The comma creates confusion but you just have to ignore it.
29 Red nut needing hair preparations
ENGELS – EN (a printing measurement, AKA ‘nut’, half an em), GELS (hair preparation).
1 Boxer on about one expelling much gas
JABBERER – JABBER, reversal (about) of RE (on). I’m not sure why this took me so long to see. I think I got fixated on ‘about one’ indicating an insertion of an I somewhere.
2 French wine producer recruiting nurses
CRU – contained in ‘recruiting’. A vineyard.
3 Superior room in old hospital unit
EXCELLENT – EX(CELL), ENT. ‘Old’ is inadvertently doing double duty here, because ENT isn’t called that any more. It’s otorhinolaryngology. A welcome simplification I’m sure we can all agree.
5 Hearing judged useless after one’s passed wind
6 Retro sort of hit by Love or the Stones?
OPALS – O (love), reversal of SLAP.
7 Support pants on men deter grasping soprano
ENDORSEMENT – (ON MEN DETER)* containing S (soprano).
8 A pancake-maker perhaps found in cooking stores
9 Draw wages to be delivered in foreign capital
TAIPEI – sounds like (to be delivered) ‘tie pay’.
13 Title-holder vets cousins in need of training
16 A shade jealous after love elopes initially
NILE GREEN – NIL (love), Elopes, GREEN (envious, jealous).
17 A request for help about prime health hazard
19 Fertilizer upended in art gallery without right
NITRATE – reversal of IN, T(R)ATE.
20 Spit that’s found in one’s mouth
21 One with roots in California a US agency arrests
23 Being out of time, dread making a mistake
27 I caught a peeper
EYE – sounds like ‘eye’.

22 comments on “Sunday Times 5042 by David McLean”

  1. 30:28
    Off to a slow start–FOI 2d!–and finished slowly, with the last 3 clues taking over 5 minutes. (Why LOI TOSSER took me so long I have no idea.) DNK BLUECOATS, and never figured out the clue. No COD, but I found this Harry’s most enjoyable puzzle in a while.

  2. Wait… so ENT is now ORL? Here in NYC, Bellevue still has an ENT Clinic (fat lot of good it did me).
    I see that JOCKEY is marked as my LOI, and that’s not surprising, as it’s a CD, and I’m always looking for play on more than one word. EASTER ISLANDER came somewhat late too.
    It’s obvious from my copy that I had a different answer for TONGUE first… Took a minute to remember. Would you believe… SALIVA? That would be barely cryptic at all, but then they sometimes are…

  3. I also found some of this very hard and after an hour had passed I used aids a couple of times to enable me to finish the grid. I was not helped by having IMPROPER at 4ac for much of the solve delaying the solution of the intersecting Down clues.

    I understand ‘net’ and ’emptied’ at 25ac but where does ‘cargo’ fit in with it? Or is that just an example of something that might be emptied?

    ‘Bluecoat’ as a sailor was unknown and as such it gets only one reference in Collins whereas ‘soldier’ and ‘policeman’ have more. I only knew it as applied to the order of charity schools in London and around the UK.

      1. Thanks, and it gets several mentions. Obviously a term specific to transporting goods, people etc, that I wasn’t aware of.

    1. Thanks Kevin. I remember now thinking when solving that ‘cargo’ was a bit specific, and meaning to investigate, but by the time I came to write up the blog I had forgotten and I didn’t notice it when going through the sometimes mechanical process of blog-writing.

  4. 46 minutes. Much harder than our setter’s offering elsewhere today. BLUECOATS was an NHO and my LOI; not a write-in as “redcoats” usually is. I couldn’t parse ASSORTED until I had another look at it this week. I liked the JOCKEY and EASTER ISLANDER cryptic defs, probably because I was lucky and happened to see them straight away.

    Interesting to see that there is a specific sense in Collins of “emptied of cargo” for CLEAR. I thought ‘cargo’ was there for the surface and was meant to remind us of those B&W newsreel pictures of cargo being hoisted in a net by a crane from a freighter’s hold in pre-container ship days.

    A rose is a rose. It’ll always be ENT for me.

  5. I did this in two sessions, I guess, since the clock says 5 hours. But all correct, LOI TAIPEI just after I finally got EASTER ISLANDER after trying to find a way to fit something that referred to Mount Rushmore. Or Nelson’s Column. I’m another that biffed LIME GREEN and had to unbiff it once I got the EASTER part of 15A and realized the second part had to be ISLANDER even though it didn’t fit given the wrong checker I had in place. Fun crossword.

  6. I always do as much as I can without using aids; then give up.
    I was seven clues short on this one: JOCKEY,JABBERER, BLUECOATS,TAIPEI, EASTER ISLANDER, ENGELS and the NILE part of Green.
    Congratulations to those who finished this unaided.

  7. I’m obviously being obtuse but I still don’t understand Easter Islander. Where does the chisel-jawed bighead come in to it? Grateful for further elucidation if possible.

  8. Did this over a couple of days, with various penny drop moments like 1A and 10A aiding the progress. One of the last in was ENGELS. I had the EN, no problem, been caught out too many times before, but couldn’t think of a hair preparation – I don’t use anything like that myself. I must say I’m a bit tired of proponents of communism always being clued as Reds – it’s lazy, and inaccurate. Neither Marx nor Engels was a ‘red’ – they were both philosophers and weren’t actively part of a communist society.

    1. ‘Red’ can just mean communist or socialist, it doesn’t necessarily denote any kind of activism. Even if it did, The Communist Manifesto isn’t exactly an exercise in abstract academic theorising!

  9. I couldn’t finish this yesterday (I always do the prize puzzles a week late), but finished correctly today in exactly 80 minutes total. ENGELS was my LOI, helped by seeing GELS as a hair preparation and ENGELS as a red, of course. As is always the case with the Sunday puzzles, it was excellent, very hard with many misleading clues, but solvable with perseverance. And it was absolutely fair, which I could not say about Monday’s cryptic with obscure answers clued by obscure wordplay. Thank you, setter, for another superb puzzle.

  10. Defeated by ENGELS. En and em vaguely heard of, but not nut as a printing term. Are there other printing terms with which I need to become acquainted?

  11. Thanks David and keriothe
    Started this one last week, after publication here, but only got around to finishing it off this afternoon after being stymied with IMPROPER in the NE corner. Finally unscrambled ENDORSEMENT and was quickly able to polish off the remaining five clues, including correcting 4a to IMMODEST. Over 2 hours of actual solve time across the week to finish it – so was glad that others also found it a bit of a struggle. A lot of penny drop moments. – especially JOCKEY and EASTER ISLANDER (a real head slap that one), as have been mentioned. Had to look up BLUECOATS and needed the blog to equate ‘nut’ to EN.
    TOSSER was the last one in to finish off a difficult but most enjoyable puzzle.

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