Sunday Times 5072 by David McLean – bunga bunga

13:41. I found this quite tricky, and a few unusual expressions and what to me seemed looseish definitions lent it a quirky feel. Lots of very good stuff though. I particularly liked the Sicilian chain smoker and the convicted party animal. How did you get on?

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

1 Ship jumper off with small coarse fibres
STOWAWAY – S, TOW (coarse fibres), AWAY (off). First clue, first query. To ‘jump ship’ is ‘to desert, esp to leave a ship in which one is legally bound to serve’ (Collins). A STOWAWAY is someone who stays on a ship they’re not supposed to be on, so pretty much the exact opposite! Not sure what Harry was thinking of here.
5 Type to rebuke the King outside of Bury
10 Sicilian chain smoker aunt met on travels
MOUNT ETNA – (AUNT MET ON)*. Nice definition!
11 Extremely busy, being in charge
12 A man’s shadow?
AGENT – A, GENT. The question mark here covers the slight looseness of the definition. A shadow isn’t necessarily an agent, and an agent isn’t necessarily a shadow, but they might be.
13 Gather together in prison?
CONCENTRE – CON CENTRE, geddit? Pretty sure I’ve never seen this word in this form before.
14 Bishop with sexy pic takes the biscuit
17 Charitable donations members picked up
ALMS – sounds like ‘arms’.
19 Lean piece of lamb is primarily tasteless
LIST – Lamb, IS, Tasteless.
20 Rib counsel about convicted party animal?
22 Dodgy red routes taken without permission
TROUSERED – (RED ROUTES)*. There is usually a suggestion of something undeserved in someone ‘trousering’ money but it’s not necessarily without permission.
24 Disease of cattle caught by popular writer
IBSEN – I(Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy)N.
26 Nick’s one with lots of brothers
ORDER – DD, I think. The best I can do for nick/ORDER is ‘in good nick’, meaning ‘in good condition’. I don’t think they really mean the same thing but I can’t think of anything better. Suggestions welcome!
27 Some baring all I policed can be offensive
GALLIPOLI – contained in ‘baring all I policed’.
28 A SEAT those moved by horsepower might buy?
29 Plus-size model paints the town red
LARGES IT – LARGE, SIT. See also ‘go large’, as in Kevin and Perry Go Large. One can also simply ‘have it’.
1 During which one is out and about?
SOMNAMBULATIONS – CD. ‘Out’ in the sense ‘unconscious’, of course.
2 Underdone part of bun in the oven?
OVULE – slightly odd one this. I think the idea is just that an OVULE is an immature ovum, so it’s one ‘part’ of the necessary ingredients for pregnancy at a very early stage.
3 Faculty IT update requires a reboot
4 Room in roof of unfinished American jail
ATTIC – ATTICa. A prison in New York state famous for a violent riot in the 70s.
6 Poor player agent sent up in box
HAMPER – HAM, reversal of REP (agent).
7 Fellow seen with a count and old artist
DONATELLO – DON, A TELL, O. Better known around these parts as a Ninja Turtle of course.
8 Brain surgeon or another profession
ROCKET SCIENTIST – I think the idea here is just that brain surgeon and ROCKET SCIENTIST are stereotypically demanding and therefore high-status jobs. See here.
9 What salt can raise is chief trouble with salt
MAINSAIL – MAIN, S, AIL. I think the question of whether S is a valid abbreviation for ‘salt’ has come up before. It’s not in any of the usual sources as a standard abbreviation but if I remember rightly Peter B’s view (with which I agree, FWIW) was that it’s so commonplace on salt grinders or shakers (along with its counterpart P of course) that he allows it.
15 Did one set free second dab?
ABSCONDED – (SECOND DAB)*. To ‘do one’ is an expression meaning to run away used by the sort of person who says ‘large it’. The ‘one’ in question is a runner.
16 Good man always, for example, put up with area’s cheap accommodation
STEERAGE – ST (good man), E’ER, A, reversal (put up) of EG (for example).
18 A vault in which one is hoping to be?
21 A street artist meeting line of stars
ASTRAL – A, ST, RA (artist), L.
23 Greek character shown up by team on and off
DELTA – reversal (up) of LED, TeAm.
25 Ship going round Jersey comes to rest
STOPS – S(TOP)S. A stickler might have required the definition by example to be indicated here but the equivalence of ‘jersey’ and TOP is pretty direct.

30 comments on “Sunday Times 5072 by David McLean – bunga bunga”

  1. One definition for TROUSERED in Collins (British English) is “to take (something, esp money), sometimes surreptitiously, undeservedly, or unlawfully” (emphasis added). I didn’t know it could also be used innocuously (except as a containment indicator in a clue).
    CONCENTRE was my LOI. Sure I’ve seen LARGES IT before, but had to check.
    Had forgotten that I was still wondering about “Nick” for ORDER…

    1. See my comment below. In the way I encounter it (which is reasonably often) there is definitely a sense of it being undeserved but not necessarily (or indeed usually) of theft.

  2. 1A: One “jump” meaning in Collins is “board so as to illegally travel on”, which is exactly what a stowaway does in relation to a ship. So “ship jumper” has two possible interpretations.

    22A: dictionary defs for “trouser” suggest that legitimate “trousering” is relatively unlikely.

    8D: ODE at least has both “brain surgeon” and “rocket scientist” as informal names for a clever person.

    1. 1a: ah yes, thanks. I was so fixated on the meaning of ‘jump ship’ that I didn’t even check meanings of ‘jump’. Completely fooled by the misdirection.
      22a: I would agree that trousering is necessarily illegitimate in some way, it’s the ‘without permission’ that I think goes a bit far, in that it suggests theft. In the financial world we often talk of people trousering money from this or that deal, and it’s always done very much with permission and legal validity. That doesn’t make it legitimate!
      8d: fair enough.

  3. 34:42
    I had “def?” at 1ac; I can’t see how it could work. [ON EDIT: Didn’t see Peter’s note when I wrote this.] DNK ‘do one’ or LARGES IT. And I didn’t understand how ‘Nick’ works. 10ac was cute (I’m assuming that Mt. Etna is part of a chain), but pretty easy; it was my FOI. There are eight clues with a ?

    1. That’s ‘chain smoker’ in the sense of lighting one after the other. Mt Etna is always erupting which is just as well as, otherwise, it would probably end up being like Vesuvius and liable to pyroclastic eruptions. When I first met you online in the Crossword Club I was still living just outside Catania on the lower slopes of Etna. I first came across the effects of Etna’s ‘smoking’ in October 2002 when it erupted and coated everything in volcanic ash.

      1. I hadn’t thought of that chain; and I guess I didn’t know that Etna was such a busy volcano. Nor did I realize you lived there; I date you back to Oz.

        1. Yes, it is very busy. There was an item on the TV News here in NZ only last week about Etna erupting again.
          I know I started attempting The Times crosswords when I lived in Sicily between 2002 and 2005, but maybe we didn’t make contact until I moved back to Sydney in 2007.

            1. For me memory can be a fickle ‘friend’. I felt sure we made contact earlier than that, perhaps in the Crossword Club. I do remember that, in the early days, I only attempted the Saturday cryptic and, even then, often failed to complete it.

  4. I’ve lost my copy and can’t recall how long this took me, but I know that I gave up with SOMNAMBULATIONS unsolved and resorted to aids, only to kick myself for not realising the required meaning of ‘out’ which has come up before. Indeed SOMNAMBULATION was defined as ‘walking out of it’ in a puzzle set by Dean in January 2022.

    I remember discussing salt = S on a previous occasion and I was very sceptical about it. I thought if I could track it down it would have been 2-3 years ago so I was surprised to find it re ST 5051, also set by David McLean, as recently as March this year. I remain unconvinced but on this occasion I just thought “oh, that again” and moved on.

    I had no query over nick = ORDER having thought of the example given in the blog which I thought covered it perfectly.

    I raised an eyebrow at ship jumper = STOWAWAY but never got round to looking it up and putting my mind at rest.

    1. FWIW, the team of Joshua Kosman and Henri Picciotto also use S(alt) and P(epper) in clues for the same reason. I (their former editor) find this unobjectionable, though I’m not entirely sold on their rationales for using (over at their Patreon site, Out of Left Field) U for “Up” (quarks or video games, take your pick…).

  5. I didn’t find this one so difficult, however I didn’t understand the construction of DELTA and I still don’t. If someone could help me out here l’d be most grateful.

    Chambers gives ORDER as a spy.

    1dn has two answers, of which you can’t determine until you get 1 or 10. The other possibility being NOCTAMBULATIONS

    1. DELTA is a Greek character, “shown” = LED (I was shown the way etc), it’s up, so backwards vertically, and TA is from alternate letters in team. Does that help?

        1. It doesn’t! It’s a clue of two parts:

          1. shown = LED, which is going “up” => DEL

          2. team on and off => t*a* => TA. “on and off” meaning take alternate letters here.

          Add DEL and TA to get DELTA

            1. Apologies for not being clearer, Richard, and thanks to BlueCormorant for stepping in. It’s sometimes tricky to judge how much explanation is needed, so please don’t hesitate to ask!

              1. I appreciate that. I’ve not been at these for long. Part of trying to do something I find challenging as I approach 70. Oddly enough I find the Memphisto more straightforward.

                In this particular case I was hung up on thinking LED was a light emitting diode. Full marks to David McLean for leading me down the wrong garden path.

  6. 52m 07s. I thought this was a good puzzle and my time was pretty much spot on average for me.
    Some points:
    1ac: NHO ‘tow’ as fibres.
    10ac: MOUNT ETNA: I rated this a QC level clue but, then again, I did live for three years just outside Catania on the lower slopes of Etna so I can vouch for its record as a ‘chain smoker’.
    12ac: AGENT: I queried this but thanks keriothe for pointing out the importance of the question mark.
    20ac: BERLUSCONI: There’s no respect any more, is there! He wasn’t clued as a ‘former PM’ or as a ‘media tycoon’, just as “a convicted party animal”.
    29ac: LARGES IT: Good grief! What is happening to the English language?!
    8d: ROCKET SCIENTIST: I don’t see how this qualifies for inclusion in a cryptic crossword.
    25d: STOPS: I tried for a while to justify S COW S!
    Thanks, keriothe.

  7. I struggled my way through this leaving three missing from the grid just writing the possible answer beside the clue all of which were correct – AGENT I just couldn’t see this but along with my guess OVULE fitted and ATTIC not knowing the jail.
    As mentioned above I had NOCTAMBULATIONS for a while which slowed me up until STOWAWAY and MOUNT ETNA forced a rethink.
    Also had a question mark against ‘Nick’ ORDER but see it now. And ‘Ship jumper’

  8. Around 45 minutes

    Loads of good stuff and a great blog as always.

    Think my only “hmmm” is the profession clue. It may be that they are technically synonyms but I can’t think of many if any circumstances in which you’d describe someone as a brain surgeon to mean they’re clever. Maybe I’m mixing up the expression “It’s not rocket science” where there definitely isn’t an equivalent”.

        1. Clearly I missed it in your excellent blog! Should have gone to Specsavers! Still it’s not exactly ophthalmology, is it?

  9. Noy bad, in under 20 minutes (just) though with several hit and hope answers as discussed above.
    Richard perfectly illustrates the issue with CDs like 1d: you’ve no wordplay as such to help you decide which of two possibilities is correct, or even to help you with the spelling of tricky words. But I can’t see them going away any time soon.
    Nice to have some quintessential Ninja Turtling.

  10. Thanks David and keriothe
    Took just under the hour across a couple of sessions to get this one out with a couple that I couldn’t work out the word play – ABSCONDED (where I didn’t know the term ‘did one’) and DELTA (where I lazily settled on the DEL character of a keyboard, ignoring the instruction to reverse it and the double use of ‘character’). Had a couple of other terms that needed looking up – TOW (as a fibre), ATTICA (the prison), CONCENTRE – again with a near priceless definition and ‘larges it’ (for wildly celebrating). Took a long time to get away from an unparsable STOWS until finally seeing STOPS and a head slapping realisation that a ‘Jersey’ was a jumper or top.
    Still a very enjoyable solve worth the ‘price of entry’ for the ‘chain smoking’ MOUNT ETNA and the ‘sexy pic’ required in BRANDY SNAP !
    Finished in the SW corner with ORDER (and resolving the right definition of ‘nick’), SADDLE (smiled at ‘horsepower’) and then seeing the bottom of SOMNABULATIONS to finish off a very enjoyable solve.

  11. Me too , MartinP1, re 25d! Clung to my delusion that the Jersey had to be a cow, but not of course, able to parse it.
    All up took around the hour to not finish, as I couldn’t make head nor tail of 1a or 2d. FOI ATTIC and LOI IBSEN ( couldn’t for the life of me remember the cow disease), with ORDER, LARGES IT (NHO) and CHIDER missing. (. NHO that term, but easy enough to work out, I suppose). Very much enjoyed (which means I got them!) MOUNT ETNA, CONCENTRE, BRANDY SNAP ( which I believe I’ve seen before, clued differently), GALLIPOLI ( excellent hidden) and the two long down clues.

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