Sunday Times 5078 by David McLean

6:49. I breezed through this, but I thought it was very neat. There are lots of very good surfaces in here and the clues are models of elegance. Quite a lot of anagrams (I count 7).

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

1 Felt shocking (ate rotten game)
9 King to open a herb store
10 Music mag that’s printed on paper
RAGTIME – RAG (paper), TIME (mag).
11 Conservative cuts problem for dregs of society
12 Aunts doing wrong is surprising
13 Business trouble
15 Isle in record book or digest
EPITOME – EP(I), TOME. I didn’t know this meaning of EPITOME but it’s in Collins.
17 A way to stop row: being better at fighting
TASTIER – T(A, ST)IER. ODE defines ‘tasty’ as ‘involving or good at fighting’, and gives the rather colourful example ‘no one messes with me — I’m a little bit tasty, know what I mean?’
19 Austere hospital admits person with cut
20 King possibly following guiding star
LEADING MAN – LEADING (guiding), MAN (king possibly).
22 Places one might go in Battle
LOOS – DD. From Wikipedia: ‘the twelve attacking battalions suffered 8,000 casualties out of 10,000 men in four hours’.
25 A good article about sometimes surly author
NAIPAUL – reversal of A, PI, AN, sUrLy. A 7dn, as it happens.
26 Finally fit, a donor plays Twister
27 Instantly suspicious of a path to hatred
1 Linesman back ultimately worries
2 Compositions turns once mangled
3 I’m old, contrary and beginning to tire and forget
OMIT – reversal (contrary) of I’M O, Tire.
4 Trump’s top motive for betrayal
5 Inlet into which sound flows?
6 A Republican chap in a state
7 West Indian trade really is not inspiring leaders
TRINI – first letters of ‘trade really is not inspiring’. Short for ‘Trinidadian’.
8 Electric vehicle reversing on eco-friendly plant
EVERGREEN – EV, reversal of RE, GREEN.
13 Spanish region in stupor turning centre to left
CATALONIA – CATATONIA with the central letter (T) changed to L.
14 Remove main elite with a reshuffle
16 Manipulator manipulating a photo set
18 Soldier in uniform
19 found brilliant place to retreat
START UP – STAR, reversal of PUT.
21 Leaning close to wall, up to no good outside
ATILT – AT I(walL)T.
23 Jet that produces wind without resistance
SPOUT – SPrOUT. Tee hee.
24 Composer’s rotten, as Queen might’ve said!
ORFF – sounds like a posh person saying ‘off’.

17 comments on “Sunday Times 5078 by David McLean”

  1. What? No comments yet? I thought by the time I finished this week’s, there’d be at least a few here.
    The requisite sense of “tasty” is absent from Collins and, but it had to be.
    I had a question mark next to SPOUT, but pretty sure I get it now, thanks to your amusement.

  2. 19:40
    Far and away the easiest offering from Harry in a long time, for me anyway. Several DNKs: KING OF THE CASTLE, TASTIER (My ODE defines it as ‘very good’, and gives as an example ‘He’s a bit tasty with a football’), LOOS. Didn’t understand SPOUT, and am beginning to think I’d just as soon not.

    1. An episode of The Young Ones (Sprouts Mexicane) will leave you in no doubt as to 23. More than a passing reference to bodily functions in this week’s.

  3. A brief comment then: finished this in 27 minutes which by my standards is a breeze 🙂
    Yes remember the sp(r)out thing

  4. 22 minutes, which is fast for me for a Sunday puzzle.

    The required definition of ‘tasty’ is covered in Collins. It’s not specific to fighting but the only example given uses it in a fighting context:

    British informal
    skilful or impressive
    she was a bit tasty with a cutlass

    1. I did find a reference specific to fighting, but can’t find it again. Don’t think it was in a standard dictionary.

      1. It’s also in the OED: ‘British slang. Violent, combative; spec. (of a person) good at fighting. Also in extended use: skilled at a particular activity. Usually in a bit tasty‘.

  5. I don’t suppose anyone knows where the winners are to be found in the new Times Classic app? There was always a puzzles round-up section that seems to have gone.

  6. Hurrah, hurrah, and thrice hurrah – I finished this, and I don’t care if it was an easy one, it’s boosted my confidence after a fallow run of weekend puzzles. No real problems in 40-odd minutes if I recall correctly through the euphoria….Thanks to setter and blogger.

  7. I have this noted as a relatively easy puzzle for a Sunday. It helped to get the two 15-letter clues early on. I didn’t understand 17A, but it had to be the answer. I also haven’t heard the abbreviation of Trinidadian before, but the setter left no doubt about it. After a selection of very tricky (or not on the wavelength) Sunday puzzles, either not finished or laboriously teased out over several sessions, it was a relief to get one that surrendered without too much of a battle. I liked NAIPAUL once I’d stopped trying to fit in a G – he certainly could be both surly and combative, too!

    1. There’s a humorous calypso song from Lord Kitchener “Take yuh meat out me rice” that features a Trinidadian and a Barbadian arguing about who contributed the most to a joint meal. “Trini” appears throughout the song, as in the following:
      “Trini, I’m a born Bajan
      I don’t like to fight
      But when it come to occasion
      Man, I die for my right!”

  8. First one in was YEATS at 1d, thinking it was the back of “ultimately” with eats. Held me up for quite a while as it indicated that 1a could not be an anagram, having a Y deficiency. Much later the eye-rhyming KEATS led to a doh moment!

  9. Needed the blog for LOI NAIPAUL (known but defeated by wordplay). Not sure I’ve come across PI for ‘good’. Does it have anything to do with pious I wonder? EPITOME = digest was new to me. Otherwise a slow, steady crawl. Many thanks.

    1. Yes, it’s short for ‘pious’. Remember it, it appears regularly. It often has a connotation of false piety.

  10. Afraid I didn’t have such an easy time as others here: thinking more of “piggy? In the middle” than KING OF THE CASTLE ( for some reason had the wrong anagram letters!), which held me up for several of the downs. FOI SCUM, then the SW corner followed ( think I’ve heard Luther describe someone as “tastier” in this sense); LOOS and AT THE DROP OF A HAT were write-ins after CATALONIA and the amusing ORFF.
    Good enjoyable puzzle, but I wasn’t on the wavelength 😩.

  11. Thanks David and keriothe
    Although I found most of this pretty straightforward, there were a couple of unknowns that stretched the finish time beyond the hour, across two sessions last Saturday afternoon. Didn’t know anything about that definition of TASTY and messed around before entering my last one in – SPOUT as the ‘wind’ consequences of eating sprouts didn’t twig at all.
    Had to check up the Battle of LOOS for my penultimate entry, although it dwelt in the depths of the mind somewhere and needed your prompting that PART[Y] was an oblique reference to a ‘person’. Took a while to see KEATS – kept expecting it to be the ultimate S in worries and was unsuccessfully looking for a word for ‘back’ to go in front of it.

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