Sunday Times 5096 by David McLean

11:14. Nothing too tricky this week from Harry, but lots of fun.

A little bird alerted me to the fact that different clues for 17ac appeared in the online and print editions. I have given both clues and solutions below, I expect there may be some comment on this in the club forum when the solution is published.

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

1 Hand-drawn piece of America’s frontier?
SIX-SHOOTER – CD. The ‘piece’ here being a gun.
6 Rags and Bones
RIBS – DD. This seems so obvious now but it took me a while to see.
9 Out of consideration, return thanks without charge
APART – reversal of TA containing RAP (charge). The example given in Collins for this meaning is ‘these difficulties apart, the project ran smoothly’.
10 Ice cream sandwiches minister ate at front
ELIMINATE – ELI(MIN, Ate)TE. ‘Ice’ here being another term for ‘whack’.
12 Tighten belt and pants as tenor is slim
TRIM ONES SAILS – (AS TENOR IS SLIM)*. A felicitous anagram making for a smooth surface.
14 Dance artist in South America with group
15 Liaisons in a public lavatory
AGENTS – A, GENTS. [Kenneth Williams GIF]
17 Saw wooden sheet that’s slightly uneven
RIPPLY – RIP, PLY. I was surprised by ‘saw’ for RIP but one of the meanings in Collins is ‘to saw or split (wood) in the direction of the grain’. This was the version of the clue that appeared online. The version in the print edition is below.
17 Outward effect of drink: face goes red primarily
RIPPLE – TIPPLE (drink) with the T replaced by R (red primarily). I’m not sure the wordplay quite works here: ‘X goes Y’ doesn’t mean ‘X turns into Y’. It would work if R were an abbreviation for red (with ‘goes’ meaning ‘disappears’ and ‘primarily’ indicating that the R goes before tIPPLE) but it isn’t as far as I can ascertain. Perhaps I’m misreading it.
19 Around a minute behind time to get coat?
21 One sat playing with initial country groups
24 Wrinkle-covered worker seen by, say, plant
25 A pretty piercing
26 Sailor taking on boundless new career
TEAR – T(nEw)AR.
27 It suits ten flying starts
1 Give a hand to Friends making comeback
SLAP – there isn’t really a definition here, because ‘give a hand to’ doesn’t mean to hit. So we have a cryptic definition and wordplay. Nothing wrong with that!
2 It’s wrong to overlook fine agent
X FACTOR – X (wrong), F, ACTOR. If you’ve got ‘it’, you’ve got this.
3 Drifter lifting a hanging basket?
HOT-AIR BALLOON – CD. Nothing would induce me to go in one of these. The thought gives me the heebie-jeebies.
4 Meeting for two or twelve fifty-nine
ONE-TO-ONE – I’m marking this as one definition rather than two because in the unlikely event that I wrote ‘one to one’ to indicate the time I wouldn’t hyphenate it.
5 Old hat tipped by earl in high society?
ELITE – reversal of TILE, E (earl). Collins says TILE is ‘old-fashioned’.
7 Scottish male duo covering Queen and Foreigner
IRANIAN – I(R)AN, IAN. Trying hard not to imagine The Proclaimers doing I Want to Know What Love Is or Bohemian Rhapsody.
8 Girl connected with union priests set up
11 Petty is inciting fan to riot
13 Bitter tenant rigs explosive
16 Plain list of items in a crate
18 Cover of Boone and Fitzgerald, perhaps
PATELLA – PAT Boone and ELLA Fitzgerald. It seems they did actually perform together. I’ve never knowingly heard Pat Boone sing anything.
20 A rating possibly announced for battery
ASSAULT – sounds like ‘a salt’ (sailor).
22 Foreign article with untruth at its centre
23 Group backing grasping European banker
TEES – Reversal of SET containing E.

33 comments on “Sunday Times 5096 by David McLean”

  1. 51m 50s
    I see ELITE is in both 5d and 10ac.
    Similar to you, keriothe, I’m trying to visualise The Proclaimers’ version of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
    Also like you, I took ages to ‘see’ RIBS.
    Good puzzle. Thanks for the blog, K.

  2. Maybe that RIPPLY clue (which I hadn’t seen before) can be broken into two parts: “Face goes” and “R(ed) primarily” (meaning first in the answer word). As you say! Thing is, R is an abbreviation for “red” in RGB, for red, green, blue color synthesis and RBG Yellow, a LCD tech display reference. The first, though not the second, is an entry in Collins—and R tout court is an abbreviation for “red” in Merriam-Webster. But I can see why the clue was replaced.
    My LOI was APART, which I didn’t remember, but I marked it.

    1. RIPPLY is straightforward. Ripping is a term well understood by woodworkers. It realates to a ripsaw or table saw which you use for making pieces of wood of a usable size from larger stock. The resultant wood is rough cut hence ripped. Thence it’s planed to size.

      The clue itself is rather nice as it’s all about woodwork. It was my FOI.

      What happens to winning solutions as there are two versions of this clue? Presumably both are acceptable.

      1. The people who do the draws have been asked to allow both answers in all the entries. (Ones submitted from the club site are easy to identify, so should have RIPPLE, but we know that some people solve the version in the paper and then enter online to save the price of a stamp.)

        1. I get the paper online and got RIPPLY. Sounds like the app version also differs from the web version. I don’t use the app: since it was updated it’s become virtually unusable.

          1. The RIPPLY version is, as far as I know, in all the electronic versions other than the “Sunday Times e-paper” which is a replica of the print version. They all come ultimately from the same file, and although that file could be altered, you would have to know what you were doing to amend it successfully. I’m assuming that “virtually unusable” applies to something other than completing the crosswords – that process is now identical on all platforms except for differences relating to the kind of device used.

              1. I’m puzzled. I can’t remember seeing that happen in any of the Times / ST versions of online puzzles in what must be about the last 20 years. If you can send a screengrab illustrating it to, I’ll do my best to get it investigated.

  3. 39:32
    This took me longer than it should have. Pat Boone and Ella Fitzgerald? Que diable allait-elle dans cette galère? I had a query at 8d about ‘up’ as anagrind, but wotthehell. I had a query at 1d, but I can’t read it. I saw how 27ac works, but the surface lacks a certain je sais quoi. The surface of 15ac, on the other hand, is a winner. Ditto for 12ac, my COD.

  4. I didn’t record my time but I don’t think it took me much if anything beyond my half-hour target. I did have one letter wrong however with RIPPLE instead of RIPPLY at 17ac despite having the online clue which might have led me to RIPPLY if I’d understood the parsing.

    What does [Kenneth Williams GIF] mean in the comment at 15ac?

    1. A GIF of KW doing a shocked reaction (and possibly saying ‘matron’) would be an appropriate reaction to the surface reading of the clue, but I don’t know how (or want, really) to put a GIF in the blog.

      1. Ah, I wondered if it might be failed attempt to insert one. I believe it’s possible but I’m glad it doesn’t happen here as a rule because I hate crossword blogs with images inserted all over the place. I rarely go there now but the DT blog on Big Dave hurts my eyes and the images distract rather than enhance the content.

  5. A joiner once told me that if you are sawing down the grain, you use a rip saw which has slightly different teeth arrangement but nowadays they don’t seem to be made.

    And I had a wonderful serene trip in a hot air balloon once and would recommend it although the landing is anything but graceful.

    1. I’ve actually come across the term ‘rip saw’ (in crosswords of course) but completely failed to make the connection!

      1. I put in RIPPLY largely because I knew ‘ripsaw’ (never seen, let alone used, one), which I’ve never seen in a crossword.

        1. I’m reasonably confident that with a little effort I could prove that you have seen it in a crossword, but I can’t be bothered.

  6. Another outing in the slow lane. Again found this one tricky, taking punts on some of the answers without really understanding the workings of the clues, eg 17ac, RIPPLE: face goes red primarily. Huh? Still, seemed to muddle my way successfully to the end. Liked the simple logic of 4d. Thanks, all.

  7. A mixture of the pesky and the sublime, as is usual with Mr McLean, imo of course.
    This one better than most, no drugs and 15ac is a wonderful clue.

  8. All vocabulary known, and all correct, but with protracted solves on 9a LOI (THAT sort of charge!) and RIPPLY, but did like SIX-SHOOTER, EGLANTINE and PATELLA once I’d moved on from David and F. Scott…

  9. 43 minutes with RIBS, X-FACTOR and APART as the last clues to succumb. Fairly easy for a McLean puzzle, but very good and with many subtle clues, as always.

  10. I would argue that ‘X goes Y’ can mean ‘X turns into Y’, or at least ‘X becomes Y’.

    Unfortunately the first example I can think of is the execrable ‘go woke, go broke’ mantra.

    Or maybe “let’s get through this traffic light before it goes red”?

    1. ‘X becomes Y’ (where Y is an adjective) is not the same as ‘X turns into Y’ where Y is a noun. In your examples woke, broke and red are all adjectives. ‘Red primarily’ is (in cryptic grammar terms) a noun.

      1. Yes I see what you mean.

        What about “We need you to go goalie in the second half”?

        Unfortunately it’s a usage that doesn’t seem to be supported by the dictionaries, but what would they know.

        1. I don’t think that means ‘we need you to turn into a goalie’ though. I hesitate because it’s not entirely clear exactly what ‘go’ in that context does mean, but I interpret it as roughly equivalent to just ‘be’. I suspect the phrase arose as an adaptation of ‘go in goal’.

  11. Totally thrown by 1a to start a torturous slog through the grid, as I was looking for SEA/——— , or even SAN/——-. But really liked the clue when it revealed. So many downs depended on this one (pun intended) so had to work hard to pick the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of ONE-TO-ONE and ELITE. Even with the explanation, still can’t see RIPPLY, but that was just one of my blanks . Also confused my “Boones” by thinking of Daniel ( 1a still in my head!) and entered DANELLA as a possible cover. Oops. Managed 14 out of the 27, but hey Ho. CODs to AGENTS and the cleverly misleading STEPSISTER.

  12. Thanks David and keriothe
    Actually did this one on Saturday, but a visit to my 93yo mother in the country has delayed the checking off process. Took 76 minutes across three sessions but was probably side-tracked with other things in the process. We obviously got the print version and had RIPPLE in at 17a – so will take that as a pass. SIX-SHOOTER raised a grin when the penny dropped and liked X-FACTOR as well (very clever).
    Finished in the NE corner with STEPSISTER (not sure why that took so long to see), ELIMINATE (with well-disguised definition) and IRANIAN (liked the ‘twin IAN’s)


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