Sunday Times 5056 by Robert Price – sometimes you eat the bar

12:31. I thought this was quite tricky in places, and I found myself stuck with a couple left unsolved. One of them was SCALES – a bit of a devilish double definition – and I think the other may have been DEFECT but I now can’t remember. In any event this was an excellent puzzle, lots of fun to solve and some nice witty clues. How did you get on?

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

1 Weapons made of pine with knots attached
LONGBOWS – LONG (yearn, ache, pine), BOWS (knots).
5 Gather together after spinner’s first stint
SCRIMP – Spinner, CRIMP. Lovely crickety surface, playing on the double meaning of ‘stint’.
9 Party girl’s neckwear
BANDANNA – BAND (party), ANNA. I think of a bandanna as something more likely to be worn around the head (think Steve Van Zandt) but they were originally designed to be worn around the neck.
10 Leave a party heading for another mistake
DEFECT – DD. The party here is a political one disguised as a social one.
12 Take out the core from passion fruit
DATES – DATE (take out), pasSion.
13 A scientist may show his Nobel off, right?
NIELS BOHR – (HIS NOBEL)*, R. Excellent, although the physicist’s name is just crying out to be anagrammed into something involving NOBEL so I wonder if it’s been done before.
14 Drink a sick soldier swallows after a virus
18 Hopeful about new wine being wonderful
21 Moslem art fresh water swirled around
MAELSTROM – (MOSLEM ART)*. A Dutch word, originally, and not one from the land of 13ac as I would have guessed.
23 Ruffle feathers initially by training topless
FRILL – Feathers, dRILL.
24 Balance plates
SCALES – DD. This was my last in, and I thought for a while it would defeat me. Two rather oblique definitions.
25 Sides playing cricket occasionally
ON AND OFF – ON being the side the batsman is not facing, of course. Also known as leg for obvious reasons.
26 Support to go home to Kiowa?
TEEPEE – TEE (support), PEE (go). I didn’t know this native American tribe but deduced it from the wordplay.
27 Body builder after a body like Vesta?
ASTEROID – A, STEROID (body builder). Vesta is a big asteroid I have never heard of, again deduced from wordplay.
1 Keeping tender leads to love if one shows desire
LIBIDO – Love, If(BID), One.
2 Why batsmen can’t practise in groups
NONETS – because batters (as the preferred nomenclature is these days) practise in nets.
3 Ship’s officer stole this empty wagon
BOATSWAIN – BOA (stole), ThiS, WAIN (wagon, think Constable’s hay version).
4 New US prisons somehow gain distinction
6 Workers on the sea coast by the sound of it
CREWS – sounds like ‘cruise’.
7 Reserve cash one kept in the fridge
ICE LOLLY – ICE (reserve), LOLLY (cash). I don’t advise keeping these in the fridge, or at least not for long.
8 Play safe and knock
PETER PAN – PETER (safe), PAN (knock). I always forget that this was originally a play.
11 Calm last words about Troy personalities
15 Earmark made by telephone receiver
RING-FENCE – RING (telephone), FENCE (receiver of stolen goods).
16 Planet inhabited by minute alien creature
17 Bishop always with time for drink
19 Cover for a geisha’s novel about love
KIMONO – KIM (Rudyard Kipling novel), ON, O.
20 Not exactly filled!
ILL-FED – (FILLED)*. Very neat, extremely compact &Lit.
22 Being listened to influenced material
SUEDE – ‘swayed’.

21 comments on “Sunday Times 5056 by Robert Price – sometimes you eat the bar”

  1. RING-FENCE was obscure enough. The best-known US pronunciation of SARSAPARILLA (not how it’s spelled) was throwing me off.
    Next to the clue for ILL-FED, I wrote, “Brill!”

  2. 49m57.
    Like Guy, I was a bit thrown by that spelling of SARSAPARILLA and I agree with him about ILL-FED.
    My favourite was NONETS.

    1. Just to be sure, this is the only spelling in print dictionaries. Wiktionary has “sarsparilla” as a variant, but according to their inclusion standards, three uses on Usenet is enough to qualify as a variant spelling.

  3. 28:27
    Another lovely one from Myrtilus, with lots of elegant surfaces (an average of 6 words per clue). I knew of the Kiowa (rhymes with Iowa), although not where they hung out–turns out there are two towns called Kiowa, one in Kansas and one in Oklahoma, so one could ‘go home to Kiowa’. I’ve got RING-FENCE marked DNK on my copy, but in fact I think I did, vaguely, know it; it took time, anyway. I’ve got checks at 5ac SCRIMP and 27ac ASTEROID, but my COD goes to ILL-FED.

  4. I might have been on target for a half-hour solve here if I hadn’t carelessly written NEILS BOHR at 13ac which made 11dn impossible.

    Elsewhere my childhood addiction to TV Westerns helped me with one answer but gave rise to a problem with another. A BANDANNA (although I’d have spelt it ‘bandana’) was always neckwear alternatively referred to as a ‘neckerchief’. Baddies pulled them up to cover their faces when robbing banks or stagecoaches, etc. The drink at 14ac was often ordered in saloons by visiting Easterners or willowy youths (real men drank whisky!) and was always pronounced ‘Sasparilla’, so although I had no problem recognising what the clue was referring to I had difficulty making the word I thought I knew fit the space available in the grid.

    SCALES came easily as I have seen so many clues involving ‘balance’ and ‘scales’ with reference to the star sign Libra. With that already in mind it was easy to make the connection with ‘plates’.

    1. Cowboys pulled their bandanas up (I’d use just one N myself) to keep the dust out of their mouths when poking cows. I don’t know about willowy youths–what Westerns were you watching?–but sarsaparilla was Gabby Hayes’s drink.

      1. I think sarsaparilla became associated with Gabby Hayes because it was his drink of choice as Hopalong Cassidy’s sidekick (originally called Windy Halliday, but the name changed later). I didn’t see many of those, but I remember him more playing opposite Randolph Scott and John Wayne when iirc he was always sipping whisky. The TV Western I remember in which the lead character drank sarsaparilla and was mocked for it was Sugarfoot shown here as Tenderfoot.

  5. Nothing more to add. Sarsaparilla caused a hiccup or is that hiccough. Thought it was a pretty descent puzzle.

  6. Top class effort from Robert. Nice to see Niels Bohr in evidence.
    Same problems as others, spelling the drink and spotting it was an indian tribe and not a type of fruit juice ..

  7. Pretty much the same experience as Jackkt, above, with SARSAPARILLA and BANDANNA spelling (I’d have left out the second A and the last N respectively) and a MER at 7D, unless ‘fridge’ actually means ‘fridge-freezer’ these days. I’m pretty sure DEFECT was my LOI – I have crossed through all the rest of the clue numbers except 11D, which for some reason was refusing to come up, even with all the crossers. I think I was confused by Troy – I never thought of the weight and didn’t know it was abbreviated as T. Nor had I heard of Kiowa or the asteroid, but liked the definitions! I really enjoyed this challenge, though as usual finishing it tipped over into the following day, but that’s fine for a Sunday.

    1. On your fridge/freezer point. Fridges traditionally always had small freeze boxes in them for storing items such as ice cream lollies etc and this continued for decades leading eventually to fridge-freezers and the complete separation of fridge and freezer into different appliances. I haven’t got through many fridges in my lifetime as they rarely need replacing but my current one, bought about 12 years ago is the first I’ve had without a freeze-box.

  8. Many thanks to setter and blogger. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
    Re 25 ac. – perhaps I’m misunderstanding the comment “ON being the side the batsman is not facing”. The batsman doesn’t really face either on or off which are namely the two sides of the cricket pitch.
    Re sarsaparilla, I’m surprised no-one has mentioned the tv series “Tenderfoot” in which, if memory serves, the teetotal hero only drank “sarsparella” (is what I heard).

    1. Jackkt mentioned Tenderfoot, above.
      The batsman is facing forwards, yes .. but he has his legs one side and bat the other. Leg/on is the side with the legs..

    2. Yes I suppose ‘facing’ is not really right because the batsman will turn his head to face the bowler. But his (or her) body is turned to the off side.

  9. A Sunday puzzle (which means: as always very good), which took me 50 minutes to complete. No problems at all with the spelling and pronunciation of SARSAPARILLA, a wonderful drink, though in my youth I think it was much easier to find. My LOIs were SCALES, NONETS and ASTEROID, but there were lots of very misleading and witty clues which made this a delight.

  10. Others have said it all: great admiration for Myrtilus and his ability to come up with new and witty clues on a regular basis. Stumped by SARSAPARILLA, as for some reason I had the word numeration as 3/9 ( go figure, as the Murcans say), DEFECT and TEEPEE. Especially liked MARMOSET ( for its unexpected definition) and of course ILL FED, where I failed to spot the anagram!

  11. Thanks Robert and keriothe
    Agree with most here that it was a terrific puzzle. Took it to my usual Sunday cafe and was only able to get through about 75% in the 3/4 hour there – finished the NW corner after I returned home in another 1/4 hour.
    Missed the brilliance of the compact &lit anagram for ILL-FED and had only gone with the whole definition. Had to look up who the Kiowa were and was put off with that spelling of TEEPEE (more used to ‘tepee’). Also had to double check on NIELS BOHR, ICE-LOLLY and Vesta.
    Finished with BANDANNA (another spelling different to what I expected), LIBIDO (a tricky parse) and DATES (that took longer to understand than it should have).

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