Sunday Times 5074 by Robert Price

12:23. Another absolutely cracking puzzle from Robert, this one of moderate difficulty. Some lovely stuff here, my favourites being 25ac and the very clever 2dn.

How did you get on?

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

1 Endless fruit by lake due to rain
PLUVIAL – PLUm, VIA (by), L.
5 The Mafia’s ok to breach warehouse security
DEPOSIT – DEPO(SI)T. The Mafia’s ok = yes in Italian.
9 Last notes left by a fool
10 French writer and partner include one caught via DNA
11 One bears the suffering of a yoga class celebration?
STRETCHER PARTY – two definitions, the principal one very cunning, the other humorously cryptic.
13 Companion skirting over row about togetherness
COHESION – C(O)H, reversal of NOISE (row). CH = Companion of Honour.
15 Cardinal rejected eating pub grub
DINNER – reversal of RED (cardinal) containing INN.
17 … a Cardinal unused to staff
NEWMAN – NEW (unused), MAN. Another kind of cardinal.
18 Pack animal that is a bundle of nerves
20 Moderate ratio, surprisingly male, admitted to cheating
23 Refining henna fluid to paste
24 Rocks failing to yield lead
25 One serving drinks except Asti spumante
BARISTA – BAR (except), (ASTI)*. ‘Spumante’ (sparkling) is a very felicitous anagram indicator!
26 Failures of gaolers — a number of escapes
TURKEYS – TURnKEYS. ‘A number of’ = N (‘there are n reasons to like this crossword’).
1 Short time I spend working with two companies
2 Seedy bloomers? Twice the slices!
UNDER THE WEATHER – UNDER(THE)WEA(THE)R. Very cunning wordplay and a flawless surface. Bravo!
3 Block cast from learning Othello
INGOT – contained in ‘learning othello’.
4 Drink unopened during uplifting Christmas meal
LUNCHEON – reversal (uplifting) of NOEL containing pUNCH.
5 Old fool’s party not finishing late
DOTARD – DO, TARDy. Unlike when they danced all night.
6 Boxes of stuff nearing the sell-by date?
7 Rent four unnumbered houses, to then opt for one
SPLIT INFINITIVE – SPLIT, INFINIT(IV)E. There is an implicit ‘which’ in the wordplay: ‘IV (four) which unnumbered (INFINITE) houses’. ‘For one’ indicates a definition by example. There is absolutely nothing wrong with splitting infinitives and never let anyone tell you any different.
8 Ancient city’s river is omitted in plays
12 Strangers travelling south go too far
14 Benches occupied by four on vacation, on promenades
16 Crew set out without providing list of cargo
19 Provider of red book, say, in trouble after uprising
BODEGA – B, reversal of ADO containing EG (say).
21 Prevent cleaners ignoring toilets
22 Note not ending up as part of speech
VERB – reversal of BREVe.

18 comments on “Sunday Times 5074 by Robert Price”

  1. 23:32
    Moderate difficulty, perhaps, but great clues. ‘Spumante’ is AOY (anagrind of the year). Loved SPLIT INFINITIVE, but COD to UNDER THE WEATHER.
    Normally, I’d now go on to today’s puzzle, but The Times, which has been logging me out daily this week, now won’t let me log in.

  2. I have a big exclamation mark next to “spumante.”
    2 is truly brill, though parsing it was an afterthought.
    Just a good time all the way.

  3. 45m 31s
    What a fun puzzle that was! I have VG written in my notes against UNDER THE WEATHER, SPLIT INFINITIVE, DETER and the juxtaposition of 15ac and 17ac. I loved the use of ‘spumante’ as an anagrind!
    Another clue I enjoyed very much was 1ac PLUVIAL. It reminded me of the French Republican calendar: ‘Pluviôse’ ran from January into February. And that, in turn, reminds me of the old poem ‘February-Fill-Dike’.
    Thanks keriothe, especially for ICE and COD.

  4. 41 minutes, slowed a little by the intersection of less than familiar words at 1ac and 1dn which needed to be constructed from wordplay and checkers. I knew GANGLION existed as something vaguely medical but not exactly what; again the wordplay was helpful.

    1. Thanks, Kevin. I’m onto it and seem to have stemmed the flow for now. I think there were about 15 messages on as many blogs. I don’t have top level access to be able to ban the sender but I have emailed vinyl1 and johninterred requesting that one of them does so. Until I get confirmation of that I shall monitor throughout the day.

  5. 2 was the only one I had marked as not understood and thanks to your blog l now do. This week’s was a good one (no appalling slang! Split infinitives are fine by me q.v. Fowler)

  6. I loved this and took just over 40 minutes. No problem with PICOSECOND since it’s a word I use pretty much every day. There is some truly clever stuff here although in many cases the answer was obvious and I ended up admiring the wordplay later.

  7. Quite chuffed to have completed this since it felt pretty tricky. A couple of biffs that I needed this blog to parse for me at 5ac, 10ac. The rest took the usual hour or so. 11ac raised a smile, as did the wonderful 2d once I got there. Ever so enjoyable! Thanks to blogger and setter.

  8. Excellent. I loved ‘one bears the suffering’, ‘admitted to cheating’, UNDER THE WEATHER and ‘to then opt’. Biggest smile came from spumante as an anagram indicator.

  9. Lovely crossword this, witty and entertaining, but still precise and accurate.
    Add me to the chorus in praise of spumante, and “Under the weather.” Both brilliant..

  10. Enjoyable over 21.27 with not a CD in sight! I liid the deliciously misleading Moaist pub at 19 and the well worked clue for UNDER THE WEATHER.

  11. Too clever for me, but seeing the parsing now, wished I had gained a foothold earlier! NHO PLUVIAL, PICOSECOND or BODEGA=red (?) and missed the Italian for ‘ok’ so was left scrambling to start, despite knowing depot had to include something. NEWMAN and GANGLION were my FOIs, biffed 2d (going only on definition) , with INGOT and LUNCHEON to follow. Hardly cracked many more without cheating, so Setter 1, Solver 0. Aah! “Provider of red”!

    1. Yes, provider of red indeed.
      I hope it’s not patronising to say that I remember the struggles you’re going through now. Solving these things is a matter of experience. Keep at it, use the blogs, you will get better.

  12. Thanks Robert and keriothe
    Enjoyed this over a couple of sittings on what turned out to be a busy Sunday – although was able to wangle a bit over the hour to enjoy this terrific crossword. Agree with what looks an almost unanimous ‘YES’ for the ‘spumante’ anagrind and the UNDER THE WEATHER clue. Was very pleased to have plucked PLUVIAL out of the recesses but did need help to find PICOSECOND and had to check on SPLIT INFINITIVE.
    Finished in the NW corner with that PICOSECOND and CODA (needed to track down the Brit slang meaning of COD ‘to fool’).

  13. Here in Australia, we get these syndicated in The Australian a bit later. The Sunday Times cryptics, and in particular those set by Robert Price, are among my favorites. Loved the surface of ‘Mafia’s OK to breach warehouse security’, but all the clues are beautifully constructed. Double ticks to 2-down and 7-down for their very clever wordplay. Thanks Robert Price and keriothe!

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