Sunday Times 5058 by Dean Mayer

8:56. I took a while to get going with this one, but once I had a few in the rest flowed pretty steadily. Another very fine puzzle from Dean. I have one query at 5dn but otherwise no problems. The rather obscure word at 13dn might cause a little difficulty but it has come up before (most recently here) and fortunately I remembered it.

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


1 Master almost certain to get horse
6 Sees Molotov — is it safe to hold?
VISITS – contained in ‘Molotov is it safe’.
9 Level 42, say, with bass up front
BAND – B, AND (with). An appropriate surface because Mark King was both bassist and lead singer of Level 42, well-known for his slap bass style as heard here
10 Under the table and out of sight?
BLIND DRUNK – a definition and a cryptic hint, referring to being blind.
11 It could be written grammatically
PAST PARTICIPLE – CD, because ‘written’ is – grammatically speaking – one of these.
12 Move together carrying light metal trumpet
HERALD – HER(AL – aluminium, light metal)D.
14 Opera songs but not, eg, baroque singers
16 As one in time and space
IN TANDEM – IN, T, AND, EM (a space in typography).
18 Soldiers only destroyed trust
20 Rewritten — as lecture — short and sweet
23 Taking over gangs, turn informer
24 When to be fighting fit
BOUT – two definitions, one slightly oblique so I’m not sure whether or not to call this a double definition. Not that it matters in the slightest.
25 Time to start fires
LETS GO – or LET’S GO! To LET people GO being another term for realising synergies.
26 Source of milk giving us energy when drunk
2 Peacekeepers — shame — are in the dark
UNAWARE – UN (peacekeepers), AW (diddums, shame), ARE (er, ARE).
3 Thick fog around delta (5)
MIDST – MI(D)ST. As in ‘in the thick of battle’.
4 Two ways to have hair criticised
UPBRAIDED – you can wear your hair UP or BRAIDED.
5 A group of under 40 people?
THIRTY-SOMETHING – I’m struggling to see how this word in the singular defines a group rather than an individual.
6 Composer not right about sacred writing
VEDIC – VErDI, C (about). I was puzzled by this one: when solving I took the definition to be ‘about sacred writing’, but ‘about’ is needed for the wordplay. I didn’t think that VEDIC was a noun, but a little investigation revealed that it can refer to the language of the Vedas.
7 Outing into tiny shopping area
8 Brown jelly over fruit
13 A peasant’s muddy feet
15 Shark or dog taking pee first
PORBEAGLE – P (pee), OR BEAGLE. A species of shark that is quite commonly found around the UK coast.
17 A creed contains nothing like it!
19 Cloud of smoke, perhaps, under medical observation
OBSCURE – OBS, CURE (as in a kipper). OBS is not uniquely a medical abbreviation but it is commonly used in that context: ‘obs ward’ for instance.
21 Left behind old rope
22 SA port, but no capital city

18 comments on “Sunday Times 5058 by Dean Mayer”

  1. 5D: I understood this as a double def – thirty-something being a group rather than one (of anything) and also possible to use as an adjective, like “teenage”, which matches “of ‘under 40’ people?”

    1. A DD where the definitions are superimposed in the clue, rather than in the answer? Hmm, well, OK… but…
      Looks like a CD to me, playing on “a group of under 40…” but with the real, dictionary-status definition being the adjective (which latter, though, I would expect to have a hyphen) .

      1. My two definitions were “a group” and the rest of the clue, which I thought I’d made clear by stating one of them. But Dean’s notes say CD.

        The unhypenated spelling, presumably influenced by the TV show (also in the singular form), is as in Collins, which is the main reference for spellings in the Times and ST. The first 20 hits in a search of our online content were all unhyphenated and included adjectival uses.

        1. I was actually referring to the distinct difference in meaning between “a group of under 40 people” and “a group of under-40 people.”

          Both Collins and Merriam-Webster (which we go by at The Nation) have “thirtysomething” (as well as “twentysomething”…) without a hyphen (as in the TV show title), while doesn’t have an entry for it. But in this puzzle it’s hyphenated.

  2. DNF after 35′
    I had everything but BAND, HERALD, & (I think) MIDST done in 15′, but gave up with BAND and HERALD to do. Got HERALD later, but BAND was beyond me. NHO Level 42, so I could make nothing of the clue. I should have thought of with=AND. DNK PORBEAGLE; a rather un-sharky name. I liked LETS GO.

    1. Never heard of Level 42 either. This kind of thing has been happening to me a lot lately…!

      1. You’ve both come across Level 42 before if you read the blog on 1 May!

        1. Ha. I must be conflating two memories of momentary confusion.
          It did seem like there was a similar case not long before…

  3. I made the mistake of tackling this late at night when I was overtired and I managed only about a quarter before deciding to abandon it. On resumption in the morning progress was steadier but still slow. By the end I was glad to finish without needing to resort to aids.

    My only unknown was STRIP MALL but I had no doubt that the answer was correct.

    Like Guy and keriothe I was puzzled over the parsing of THIRTY-SOMETHING , and concluded like Guy that it had to be a cryptic clue for its grammar to make some sort of sense. I wasn’t entirely convinced but nor am I by Peter’s interpretation, so it strikes me that the wording of the clue might have benefited from a rethink. A very rare thought indeed for one of Dean’s!

  4. 34m 51s
    My notes just say: easy puzzle for Dean.
    No problem with Level 42, of course, nor with THIRTY-SOMETHING.
    My favourite: 4d UPBRAIDED.

  5. 21.31

    Thought this was excellent. Lots of lovely clues but NICE ONE was my favourite.

    Thanks Keriothe and Dean

  6. Minor point: the explanation for “NICE ONE” should not include “A,” as that is not part of the answer. “A creed” rather than just “Creed” is intended to get round the fact that “Nicene” as a single word is an adjective, which 99.something per cent of the time describes a particular creed.

  7. DNF. 9a BAND.
    Well, I’m pretty sure I read the blog on May 1, but what with short-term memory and all, either I was asleep while reading or it is just gone.
    I thought it had something to do with Douglas Adams’ “Answer to life the universe and everything” so that was never going to work. And I’ve been fooled by with=and before as well. DOH! Chalk 1 to Dean.

    PS The band picked the name for the same reason.
    From wiki, Level 42:
    The name of the band is a reference to the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, in which “42” is the answer to “the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.”

    1. I didn’t remember Level 42 either but they weren’t in the puzzle, just mentioned in passing by a couple of commenters. I don’t have the time to read every post in detail and certainly not the brain capacity to recall everything that’s been said.

  8. It took a while, but I finally realising that Level 42 must be a band’s, so managed all correct. Given Dean’s proclivity for brevity, I’m surprised he clued BOUT with five words instead of two.

  9. Thanks Dean and keriothe
    Able to get this one out in a single session, although with some digital assistance of a couple of clues near the end. One of those was confirming the BAND, Level 42, whom I’d not heard of and familiarising myself with them as I type. Needed help to remind myself of the NICENE Creed as well.
    Enjoyed working out the word play of UNAWARE and POSSESSING after getting the definition and conversely using the word play to build STRIP MALL.
    Finished in the SE corner with OBSCURE, URBAN and the quirky BOUT the last one in.

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