Sunday Times 5076 by Dean Mayer – heading for something

22:01. I found this decidedly tricky, and at the time of solving I thought some of it was a bit questionable. Having gone through everything for the blog I can’t see any problems, other than a query about the meaning of ‘sail’ at 19dn, which someone will no doubt clear up in the comments.

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

1 Ridicule about European backing singer with Rush
JENNIFER – JEER containing a reversal of FINN. A reference to Jennifer Rush of ‘The Power of Love’ legend. You wait years for a reference to a Canadian prog-rock band and then two come along at once.
5 A loch’s abandoned old tree
9 Open British order to accept defeat
BLOSSOM – B(LOSS), OM (Order of Merit).
10 Is prone to drink a dram? Not a little, perhaps
LITOTES – LI(TOT)ES. ‘understatement for rhetorical effect, esp when achieved by using negation with a term in place of using an antonym of that term’.
11 Oath is one (and isn’t)
FOUR-LETTER WORD – CD. OATH is a four-letter word in two senses, and isn’t in one.
13 I’m about to stay in the same place
14 Suitor said to have suitor’s charm
BOWL OVER – homophone of ‘beau’, LOVER.
17 Short interval during musical performance
18 Old model having artist’s desire
THIRST – Ford Model T, Damien HIRST.
20 Calling “nuclear” fusion sensible
23 Published policy plan
OUTLINE – OUT (published), LINE (policy).
24 Flavouring has got it in as well
ANISEED – AN(I SEE)D. I SEE = got it, AND = as well.
25 Undress in fresh air, you might say
NUDITY – sounds like ‘new ditty’. ‘State of undress’.
26 Rather clandestine boxing match
SLIGHTLY – S(LIGHT)LY. ‘Boxing’ is a (very neat) containment indicator.
1 IT pioneer no longer in employment
JOBS – reference to Steve of that ilk.
2 Account stops criminal monies becoming coinage
NEOLOGISM – (MONIES)* containing LOG.
3 Anarchic courtier, unruly and in demand
INSURRECTIONIST – INSIST containing (COURTIER)*, N. N as in Fish ‘n chips. See 7dn.
4 Unopened prizes as TV awards
6 Considering a bit on the side?
LATERAL THINKING – suitably ooh-er CD.
7 Trump’s unelected party?
8 Needs info about English team heading for relegation
10 With this cream, spot’s about to vanish
12 Hollywood can schedule with 50 in private
TINSELTOWN – TIN, SE(L)T, OWN. ‘Schedule with 50 in’ indicates SET (schedule, as in set the date) with L inside it.
15 Green (since “vert” is wrong)
VIRESCENT – (SINCE VERT)*. Unknown to me but once constructed it had sufficient looks-like-a-worditude for me to feel confident.
16 Travel ban excludes holding back permit
ENABLE – contained reversed in ‘travel ban excludes’.
19 Attack, like ships
ASSAIL – AS, SAIL. Chambers gives ‘ship or ships’ as a definition of SAIL but the usual dictionaries don’t. I’m not sure what context it would be used in.
21 Remarkable denial by Father Crilly
NOTED – NO, TED. Reference to Father Ted the sitcom.
22 Extremely tense?
EDGY – CD. Because an edge is an ‘extreme’.

59 comments on “Sunday Times 5076 by Dean Mayer – heading for something”

  1. I found this very difficult, taking the best part of 80 minutes using aids towards the end and still not fully understanding everything.

    I may return to the puzzle later, but there are two other things I wanted to mention. Firstly there is a special Jumbo Cryptic published today in a Good University Guide supplement. I only know about this because it was mentioned by Mick H in his weekly newsletter. He also put up an advance link to the supplement available here . The regular online website has access to the supplement but not, it would seem, to the puzzle, so how would online readers know about it if they are not signed up to receive the puzzles newsletter? The epaper doesn’t include the supplement at all as far as I can tell. I only went looking for it there because the puzzle on the page linked by Mick has a print command on the webpage menu but it doesn’t do anything. If anyone can find a means of printing the puzzle, please advise by replying as I have no intention of tackling a Jumbo puzzle sitting at a computer. Presumably at some point we shall blog the puzzle here.

    Secondly, for our regular overnighters I’d mention this blog was published at 05:00 UK time not 01:00 as the date stamp would suggest.

      1. Thanks. I copied you in on an email I sent to to vinyl1 and johninterred giving more details so hopefully they can work out what happened behind the scenes. You may not have received this as I used an address I had from years ago and it may not be up to date. The 5:00 publication was me forcing it manually.

          1. It may well be as simple as that but I’m still learning new things about how the system works so it will be useful to have it confirmed.

  2. Recourse to LITOTES is widely supposed to be a particularly British trait, which perception strikes me as not inaccurate.
    I had NHO of this here JENNIFER. Never heard of Father Crilly, either (and don’t think I missed anything).
    Looked up the Lomond Loch.
    Had the same MER about SAIL in ASSAIL, reluctant to enter it until there was no alternative.
    Your “worditude” reminds me of Ségolène Royal’s (recently mentioned here—by me) immortal “bravitude,” but yours is consciously a coinage, so not nearly as funny. Ha.
    I don’t know what “no longer” is doing in the clue for JOBS. He will always be (sub specie aeternitatis) an “IT pioneer.” He (being deceased) is “no longer” at Apple, sure, but he was not an employee there, and even if he were, that would confuse wordplay and definition… I don’t think this quite works.
    Didn’t manage to parse LOTION, so thanks a lot for that!

    1. If you don’t like “no longer” as a description of Steve Jobs as a pioneer, it is possible to read the clue as a pretty mild cryptic definition with “no longer in employment” as an undeniable fact.

      1. Hi, Peter, I hoped you would look in as perhaps you can take up the matter of the extra Jumbos (outlined in my comment above) with whoever is responsible.

        Three things:
        * Being unable to print the puzzles from Mick H’s link notified only to Newsletter subscribers
        * The extra puzzles not being available to online subscribers via the on-line newspaper
        * The whole university supplement being missing from the facsimile ePaper


        1. Hi Jackkt,
          The Good University Guide is published annually in print and online for prospective students. We thought this year it would be nice to include a crossword, to encourage budding new solvers, so while I pointed towards it in the newsletter and under the crossword in the print paper, it’s a bit of bonus content for that audience so I didn’t put it on the regular puzzles section or CC. But I appreciate that those of us who like crosswords don’t want to let any slip by! I’ve posted on the Crossword Club now. Whether the supplement goes in the e-paper or the iPad app will have been decided by those in charge of producing it. But the crosswords are on the GUG section of the website and you can print them by clicking on the top right three stripes (hamburger?) and selecting print. Mick

          1. Many thanks for your detailed response, Mick. I’ve now found the crosswords on the website which I failed to do previously other than via the advance link you posted.

            Their location is not obvious (especially if you didn’t know they existed) as you have to go to the GUG section, ignore the 8 linked article panels, and click below them on ‘Show more’. This adds an orange banner with ‘Click here’ on it. Doing that brings up the same articles but plus the Crossword links this time.

            Sadly I have to report that as mentioned in my first post, the print command doesn’t work as clicking on it stays with the grid screen and doesn’t bring up a print dialogue box. I have tested this in different browsers and on another PC. I have no other printing problems.


              1. Many thanks, Kitty. At last! Talk about going round the houses….!

                At first glance the clues look interesting. I wonder what attempts have been made to accommodate the younger target audience.

                  1. I don’t see why we wouldn’t blog it as a one-off. I’d be happy to volunteer. The answers are available on demand, but I’d suggest we allow the usual Jumbo fortnight to give people time to work through it. Let’s refer it to vinyl1 for a decision.

          2. I am a bit late to the party as I have come to this a week late but, not finding it comfortable to read from a screen, I always get the paper version of the ST. There was no University Guide included and, when I complained, I was told that there were none provided so nobody got one!

            1. Eventually I received a copy of the supplement in the post. I managed to complete the crossword; rarely the case with the Sunday Times Cryptic and it was fun and most satisfying!

      1. The clue doesn’t say “is,” “was,” “known as” or any other such thing; it merely identifies him as a pioneer, as one would ID, say, Marconi as “Pioneer in Radio Communications.”

        1. But Marconi is no longer a pioneer in radio communications, on account of being dead. It may not be necessary to make the distinction, but it’s entirely accurate and needed for the surface.

          1. I would be happy to describe Marconi as a pioneer in radio communications. And Jobs as an IT pioneer. The rest of 1dn is a bit odd, right enough.

            1. So would I! And on Radio 4 history programs there would no doubt be people saying he ‘is’ such a pioneer who ‘is’ born in such and such a year. But I can’t see anything wrong with describing a dead person as no longer being whatever they were when they were alive.

  3. DNF
    NHO Rush, and failed to think of JOBS. Figured 4d had to be EMMIES, but could think of nothing, even after an alphabet-trawl, meaning ‘prize’. Never figured out how LOTION worked. NHO Father Crilly, but like Jack assumed he was Ted of the sitcom. Which I saw 5 minutes of once and decided that was enough. ASSAIL seemed fine at the time, although examples of sail=ships don’t spring to mind. ODE does give ‘…the Royal Navy in the age of fighting sail’. LITOTES was one of Doug Dimsdale’s means of torture. COD to LATERAL THINKING; also liked ANISEED.

  4. SAIL: my iPad copy of ODE has “[mass noun] the use of sailing ships as a means of transport”

    1. My copy of ODE has a bunch of examples like “…the transition from sail to steam…” But the use of sail to power a ship, or the use of sailing ships as a means of transport, is not ships; and the clue says just “ships”. I think the ODE quote I cited does use ‘sail’ to refer to ships.

      1. Yes that was the problem I had with this: in this context it’s a reference to the means of propulsion. All the examples in ODE make this clear, e.g. ‘he chooses to come to England by sail, not steamboat.’

        1. Well, not all, if my example is what I said it is: ‘fighting sail’ means ‘fighting [sailing] ships, no? And your example suggests the same to me: sail is contrasted with (not steam but) steamboat.

      2. Well, if we say that someone made a long journey or “travelled aound Europe” by plane, air, train, rail, bus, ship or sail, I don’t think it’s certain that a single vehicle of the kind was involved.

        1. Of course not but you never say ‘I travelled by ships’. If it’s a reference to a mode of transport it’s always singular.
          Under the ‘ships collectively’ definition Collins gives an example I didn’t notice before: ‘we raised seven sail in the northeast’. That’s clearly a reference to ships and not the mode of transport.

  5. NHO 1ac which was my LOI. Couldn’t parse INSURRECTION, ANISEED or LOTION. Now I understand thanks to explanations above. I read “like ships” to mean a descriptive word for what the do. Consequently I didn’t question it. In the end I failed with 14ac which I had as BOIL OVER but was never happy with it.
    I chalk this one down to experience.

  6. Liked this one. I thought SEMITONE was a a bit meh, if it is just a cd.
    It seems strange to see Jennifer Rush in a crossword. She is not only still alive, she is ten years younger than I am, dash it. (I know the ST rules are different)
    Sail as a noun to describe vessels is in Collins: a vessel with sails or such vessels collectively. to travel by sail. “we raised seven sail in the northeast”
    It doesn’t say ships specifically but it is close enough for me. “Victory” is a ship.

  7. Back to this puzzle now. As mentioned above I needed c80 minutes. As so often I was stumped at the end by intersecting clues and used aids for JOBS and the unknown Jennifer. I put a query against ASSAIL but as I was tired of the puzzle by then I decided it was probably okay and moved on without thinking too much about it.

    NHO Father Crilly but NOTED fitted ‘remarkable’ and the checkers, and seeing TED I assumed Crilly must be a character in a TV series I never watched. Its writer has been cancelled recently so I probably won’t have the opportunity to see it now.

  8. Nope. Another one way beyond my limited capabilities. Got just four – 6 & 15d, 24 & 26ac – and hoped to progress from there, but…nope!

    1. I think on average, taking one thing with another and looking all around, the Sunday puzzles are the hardest of the week; and Dean’s are the hardest of the Sundays.
      But solving them will be something to look forward to, as he is a very fine setter indeed.

      1. Oh, I agree. And completing one – or even coming close – means an added sense of satisfaction. Frustrating thing is that once you see the answers, you think, how did I not get that? Never mind. Onward!

    1. Much earlier, but I’d have stood a better chance with a reference to Donovan’s Jennifer Juniper. It’s not just The Times setters living in the past; one of the Guardian puzzles referred to a Manfred Mann song this week!

  9. ‘singer with Rush = Jennifer’. This seems odd to me but I don’t think anyone has commented on this so perhaps I’m missing something. How is Jennifer a singer WITH Rush? You’d never say that Dean is a setter with Mayer. (I know precious little about all this but assume that she’s called Jennifer Rush and that there’s not a group called Rush (just checked: there is; perhaps JR sang with it). If there was it would make sense.)

    1. If you have the word JENNIFER, then with RUSH, you get a singer.
      Jennifer Rush certainly did not sing with Rush. The musical styles are, um, somewhat dissimilar. The group Rush appeared in a clue two weeks ago in a surface reading that had them covering Stevie Wonder, a similarly incongruous combination!

      1. But the singer is Jennifer Rush, not Jennifer. OK she is Jennifer, but that’s not how she’s known. So to call Jennifer Rush a singer with Rush still seems odd to me.

        1. Perhaps it’s clearer if you think of it as ‘with Rush, singer’. Or to insert a couple of implied words, ‘[a word which when combined] with Rush [gives you a] singer’.

  10. Had to cheat with this.
    Not sure about semitone being short interval, but then about music I know nothing.
    Never watched Father Ted (well maybe 5 mins was enough for me.)
    VIRESCENT NHO and a silly word, what is wrong with green? However it fits and green doesn’t.
    1d not sure that “no longer in” is doing anything.
    All that said I enjoyed it. Liked 25a NUDITY=new ditty.

    1. The setter who plays bass guitar probably got a shade of generosity from the editor who plays bass trombone on a semitone being “short”, as it’s shorter than a tone on both a trombone slide and a guitar neck. Length isn’t the whole story about pitch for most of the instruments involved, but similar distance aspects apply to any instrument using vibrating strings, tubing that’s lengthened or shortened with a slide or keys (or selected from a set of pipes), or struck pieces of wood or metal producing a defined pitch — in short, most of any orchestra or band.

      1. This got me thinking about instruments where a semitone is not physically ‘shorter’ than a tone. Wind and brass, I guess?
        In any case, in Western music the semitone is undoubtedly the smallest unit of account.

        1. Any time a brass or woodwind player changes pitch just by changing the effective length of the tube they blow through, a semitone is shorter than a tone. If you Google for “trombone fingering chart” and choose one that shows the extensions for the 7 positions, you can see this clearly. You’ll also see that you can change the pitch by far more than a semitone without moving the slide, which roughly corresponds to using a different string on a violin, guitar, etc. Valved brass instruments use the same set of seven basic lengths, but achieve them in a less clearly visible way. With woodwind instruments, the effective length is determined by the position of open fingering holes, but if you look at a recorder fingering chart, it should be possible to see that the principle is the same, except for basic recorder fingering only having 9 of the 12 different notes in an octave.

  11. 30 odd DNF

    JOBS was in out shake it all about. It kind of had to be the answer but the parsing seemed v shaky to me. Had heard of both Rush’s but the uncertainty about Jobs meant I couldn’t somehow bring jeer to mind. That was quite a tough clue. Also failed on the easier LOTION and the first half of BOWL OVER which was rather good as was the Oath clue

    Thanks Keriothe and Dean

  12. You’re right, slowittedyank! Wondered about that meself, but it had to be…
    Felt let down by my own slowittedness during this, and by my having to resort to aids finally -especially for Jennifer (NHO) and SEMITONE (NHO) and IBIDEM (had forgotten the full version). 12d held me up for quite a while as I struggled to make sense of ‘glitterati’ here ( “with fifty in private”, but made no sense of the centre part); biffed a few, like ANISEED , the oath and DESIDERATA. Really liked LATERAL THINKING and SLIGHTLY.

  13. Thanks Dean and keriothe
    Spent over a 100 minutes across two sessions last week and was stuck with what turned out to be the LOTION / BOWL OVER crossers. Only picked it up again this weekend to finally nut out, after another half hour, that they were the answers – took a while to see the ‘beau’ / lover bit and never did parse LOTION, although it had to be. Actually liked the play with JOBS as an ‘IT pioneer no longer’ when that penny dropped. JENNIFER Rush did ring some bells and she was easy enough to work out from the JEER part of the word play. VIRESCENT and DESIDERATA were new terms and had to check the meaning of LITOTES.
    Good solid work out and satisfying to finish it off.

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