Sunday Times 5098 by Robert Price – be a thinker not a stinker

15:04. I found this quite tricky and very enjoyable. It’s a high-quality puzzle with some really top-notch clues. My favourite is 2dn: one of those clues that is so neat, so natural, that there is a funny sort of sense that it was always there waiting to be discovered.

Inspired by another blogger I’m trying a new way of indicating deletions. It’s a bit fiddly to do but I think it’s much clearer. What do you think?

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

1 Eunuchs Titian’s represented as cool
10 Progressive’s house saving energy and pounds
LIBERAL – LIB(E)RA, L. House of the zodiac.
11 Daily newspaper one girl switched for another
DIURNAL – JOURNAL with one girl (JO) switched for another (DI).
12 Dances a lad dances with girls
GALLIARDS – (A LAD GIRLS)*. I was all ready to get cross about this rather obscure dance clued as an anagram, but in the end I had no trouble working out where to put the spare letters.
13 Wrong to finish off the cake
TORTE – TORT (wrong), thE.
14 Hearts breaking refuse to beat soundly
15 Regularly sleep in private under this?
COVERLET – COVER(sLeEp)T. Semi-&Lit, which is to say that you can read the whole clue as the definition but not all of it is wordplay. I’ve underlined just the last two words because they’re the bit that isn’t.
18 Assignment bound to end in dishonourable discharge
20 Buttonhole damage on a cape
ACCOST – A, C (cape), COST (damage).
23 Shame the leader’s not on stage
25 Defensive measure a duke brought in to save grain
26 Wine put in river for a time to cool down?
DETENTE – DE(TENT)E. This term originally applied to an (ultimately unsuccessful, obvs) attempt to ‘cool down’ relations between France and Germany before WWI, but it more commonly refers to a similar attempt between the US and the USSR in the 70s, until the election of the hawkish Ronald Reagan.
27 A teacher, losing heart, about to make coffee
ARABICA – A, RAbBI, CA. The bean that is used to make a decent espresso.
28 Range of film put on by a trendy society
ROCKY MOUNTAINS – ROCKY (film), MOUNT (put on), A, IN, S. RIP Carl Weathers.
2 Lauren Bacall’s top out of an old bunch of stars
NEBULAR – (LAUREN, Bacall)*. What a wonderful clue! Edit: ‘nebula’ is an old (‘dated’ per ODE) word for ‘galaxy’ (see comments).
3 One self-absorbed Russian’s beginning to concede ground
NARCISSUS – (RUSSIANS, Concede)*. Not an accurate surface reading, alas.
4 Legal term: woman, possibly man
HILARY – both men/boys and women/girls can be called HILARY, but as with SHIRLEY the former is much less common, indeed almost unheard of these days.
5 Not the main activity parties by the way
SIDESHOW – SIDES (parties), HOW (the way).
6 Blue uniform in hard cloth, oddly cut
ADULT – U (uniform) in hArDcLoTh.
7 Runner from a number training, dropping back
8 How “Drinks all round!” may be made brief
CALLED TO THE BAR – two definitions, one mildly cryptic.
9 Black box primarily for lamp and taper
16 Nut a boy crushes on a spicy dish
ENCHILADA – EN (nut), CHIL(A)D (A [which] boy crushes), A. Slightly tricky but very precise wordplay here.
17 Depressing or uplifting headgear
SOMBRERO – SOMBRE, reversal of OR.
19 Absurd indentations at the front of both ears
IDIOTIC – Indentations, DIOTIC (of both ears).
21 Talk about catching one in three?
ORATION – O(RATIO)N. ‘One in three’ is a definition by example of RATIO, indicated by the question mark.
22 Admit a priest’s men sounded European
ORDAIN – OR, homophone of ‘Dane’.
24 Letters from my girl
MANDY – the letters from ‘my’ are M and Y.

32 comments on “Sunday Times 5098 by Robert Price – be a thinker not a stinker”

  1. The sense of “nut” wanted here (another name for the printer’s unit, half the width of an em), which even I (old typographer*) found quite elusive, is going to become even more obscure with the inexorable passage of time.
    * …but never used that term

        1. Pretty certain it’s been used at least once in the past 12 months. It came to mind readily enough. I wasn’t aware of this meaning of NUT until I took up serious crosswording about 18 months ago.

  2. 29:53
    One man’s GK is another’s obscurity and all, but I was surprised that K found GALLIARDS obscure. (I was going to say that Dowland wrote a lot of them, but he didn’t; and Dowland is too obscure for ODE to mention him.) Elizabeth (I) used to do them as a kind of aerobics. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but a nebula is not a bunch of stars; but the term was once used to refer to, inter alia, distant galaxies (that would look nebular). So the ‘old’ is necessary. Anyway, I liked the clue, and I liked NARCISSUS; hell, I liked the whole puzzle.

    1. I’ve never heard of Dowland so the fact that he didn’t write GALLIARDs wasn’t going to help 😉
      Now that you mention it I realise I had misunderstood the definition of NEBULAR. A nebula can be the result of the explosion of a singular star, but that obviously doesn’t work. Your explanation is the correct one I think.

      1. Not heard of Dowland?? Next thing you’ll be telling me is you’ve never heard a galliard. (Oddly enough, both words have been underlined in red by the autothing.) Actually, I’m pretty sure DOWLAND has appeared here (where I no doubt reminded everyone of his galliards). Here’s some of his stuff:

    2. There are plenty of Galliards by John Dowland available on YouTube with titles such as Earl of Essex; Queen Elizabeth; Mr Knight; and Round Battle.

      Here’s a catchy one. And this one called The Frog – it takes a few seconds to start playing but it’s worth waiting for!

      1. I was about to remark that I got your message in my email inbox 20 minutes ago but found nothing here; now I have two messages in my inbox. Anyway, thanks for the links; and thanks for showing me that my original belief, that Dowland wrote galliards, was not ill-founded. Reading the Wikipedia page on Dowland suggested I had the wrong composer in mind, or the wrong dance.

        1. Thanks, Kevin. Sorry about the duplication. I forgot that even as a member of TfTT admin I am not exempt from postings with more than one url link being held back for approval. When I discovered what had happened I had to go in behind the scenes and approve the posting myself.

  3. Nice puzzle – I liked Mandy and I liked the up and down Sombreros. thx, keriothe, and thx Mr Price

  4. 37 minutes, so I found it a little easier than some of Robert’s offerings but none the less enjoyable.

    I rather like the grey deletions as an improvement on the standard cross-through which I find distracting and sometimes misleading or easy to overlook especially when applied to single letters. I wondered if the cross-through was still necessary in addition to the grey, but it is because grey doesn’t register when using dark mode.

  5. Solved over several sittings but needed the blog to fully parse five:
    DIURNAL I’m not sure how I got the answer but I wrote DI above girl. I think it was a bit of a lucky guess as NHO.
    NARCISSUS Bifd and after reading the blog I should have seen the anagram.
    HILARY I got from male or female as I didn’t know the legal term.
    ENCHILADA from EN=nut and the definition.
    IDIOTIC Bifd. I wrote OTIC above ears.
    NHO of GALLIARDS but like the blogger the spare anagrist got me there.
    Favourite MANDY, a type of clue that would have foxed me once.

    1. Wiki:
      Hilary term is the second academic term of the University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin. It runs from January to March and is so named because the feast day of St Hilary of Poitiers, 14 January, falls near the beginning of this term. All terms are dated from this day in the following way:
      Michaelmas term – 13 Sundays before to 5 Sundays before the feast day of St Hilary
      Hilary term – 1 Sunday to 9 Sundays after the feast day of St Hilary
      Trinity term – 15 Sundays to 21 Sundays after the feast day of St Hilary

      The term originated in the legal system during medieval times. The courts of England and Wales and the Courts of Ireland divide the legal year into four terms: Hilary, Easter, Trinity and Michaelmas.

      1. Thanks, I had intended to look that up – I was aware of the name of the academic terms but not a legal connotation – but forgot!

  6. As usual a lovely crossword from Robert. I couldn’t understand the ENCHILADA clue because I was fixated on lad, when it should have been child.

    Dowland is much admired by Sting, who a few years ago produced a rather nice and temporarily very popular CD of his galliards etc.

  7. Had a typo with Flight Redorder alas butI agree with all above, this was a very nice puzzle.

    MANDY was a highlight, ARABICA is becoming something like my nemesis as I never remember it till it’s too late, and COD maybe to DIURNAL with its lady-swapping shenanigans.

  8. Thanks keriothe your deletions are very clear.
    DNF, 6d DNK blue=ADULT, well I do now but not last week. I punted AZURE which made 13a impossible. Bother!
    16d Didn’t notice the EN “nut”, so was a bit foxed. Didn’t let it stop me though.

  9. A really excellent puzzle with lovely surfaces. Your mention, K, of defunct male appellations reminds me of John Wayne, whose real name was the unlikely Marion Morrison!
    As mentioned by others, this was one of the less tortuous offerings from Mr Price and all the answers were known, though I couldn’t account for the CHI in ENCHILADA, so thanks for the explanation – ‘child’ indeed. I see it as progress that I’m finally thinking of tent as a potential wine and nut as a potential en, to say nothing of the MandY ploy, which has foxed me in the past.

  10. Completed, with no time as left the clock on overnight but quite slow, though all the better for enjoying the usual quality clues.

    Struggled with how “bound” worked in the EMISSION (wanted a word for bound); totally foxed by MANDY for ages; also wanted lad in the spicy dish etc. But with Robert’s puzzles you know that it’s you not the setter and that the answer will be staring at you in the face.

    As Keriothe mentions NEBULAR is a perfect clue imho, and like Jerry enjoyed MANDY too (amongst many others)

  11. Very enjoyable and yes, I have finally finished it nearly two weeks later. Not unusual for me but if I get the pleasure of completing it, it’s worth the wait.
    Three clues bunged in – Mandy, idiotic and enchilada. Thank you keriothe for the explanations. Although I’d heard of ens and ems in printing terminology I didn’t know about nuts so that’s a new one.
    I did enjoy galliards though. William Byrd composed many fine Pavans and Galliards for keyboard.

  12. Thanks Bob and keriothe
    Found this one quite challenging – started off in a cafe and made little progress after 40 minutes. Used an anagram finder to get 1a which enabled the rest of it to fall out steadily, albeit slowly. A couple of new terms for me in GALLIARDS, HILARY (in the legal sense) and needed the blog to see DIOTIC (another term that had not seen).
    Always get slightly confused with LIBERAL meaning ‘progressive’ – in politics here the Liberal Party is the conservative one (well used to be anyway) and the Labor Party is considered as the progressive one.
    Lots of very good clues to make it an entertaining Saturday solve, finishing in the SW corner with ROCKY MOUNTAINS, the clever MANDY and DETENTE (which I needed all of the crossers to determine the wine in the middle).

  13. Again a fabulous offering from RP, one I took a little longer than usual figuring out, but all in apart from the legal term (should have remembered the Uni association) , the dances ( I biffed in ‘dalliances’ !) and the excellent MANDY. Poor old memory going quite fast these days. Some lovely neat clues ( SOMBRERO among them) as usual.

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