Sunday Times 5100 by Dean Mayer

22:53. A deviously tricky one from Dean this week, which caused me all sorts of problems particularly in the NE corner, where I got thoroughly stuck for a while. Lots of tricky stuff but I think I’ll select the amazing anagram at 6dn and the wonderfully original trick at 26ac for special mention. Great stuff.

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

1 Problem for young business – defeat, mostly
4 Help me to dress when I relax occasionally
9 Type of bread plant
10 Land collapsed into sea
ESTONIA – (INTO SEA)*. By a remarkable coincidence an almost identical clue appeared in Friday’s puzzle.
11 Marble statue’s head in Gothic mansion
CHEQUERS – CHEQUER, Statue. I didn’t know that a chequer is a marble used in the game Chinese chequers, and I didn’t know that the country residence of the British Prime Minister is a gothic building, but somehow I was able to surmise both.
12 Fine day for getaway
FLIGHT – F, LIGHT. Day = daylight.
14 Sustain wild plant that’s weak
16 Donate total one’s given, say
20 Story about what’s left of ship
REPORT – RE (about), PORT (what’s left of ship).
21 It is only metal if it is turned over
TITANIUM – the word ‘it’ only represents this metal if it is reversed to give Ti.
23 Part of pig, possibly horse
24 No-one takes part in offensive
25 Fear of hit shows wrongly cancelled?
26 Bull, male? Yes!
MY EYE – M, YE, YE. One Ye = YE. Two Yes = YEYE. Very devious!
1 Copper with degree exposed young trooper
CUB SCOUT – CU, BSc, OUT (exposed).
2 One in happiness, born free?
3 Do old computers reset to stop problem?
COME UP TO SCRATCH – CATCH (problem) containing O, (COMPUTERS)*.
4 Henri’s on piano, standing up. That’s funny
SURPRISING – SUR (on in French), P, RISING.
5 Deal with old fitting
MEET – DD, one archaic.
6 A Stalin imitator’s fancy?
7 Crib incorporating a chair
8 Modest accommodation for worker?
SHANTY – SH(ANT)Y. And another &Lit.
13 Militant pic taker and outspoken drag queen
CAMPAIGNER – CAM (camera, think ‘dash cam’ or similar), homophone of ‘pain’ (drag), ER.
15 Small and packed European flight
17 50 per cent fire resistant carpeting
REPROOFfiRE, PROOF (resistant).
18 Chapter and verse about lies
19 Good hill rising to cave
GROTTO – G, reversal of TOR, TO.
22 A song about a song
ARIA – A, reversal of AIR.

29 comments on “Sunday Times 5100 by Dean Mayer”

  1. I don’t have a time for this, having gone offline after 20′ and finished over lunch; a long lunch, I suspect. Like Keriothe, I inferred the needful about CHEQUERS. I didn’t see how TITANIUM or COME UP TO SCRATCH worked. 2d is clever; Elsa, the subject of the film “Born Free”, is a LIONESS.

  2. Quite a struggle! But well worth the effort. Some brilliant clues as noted by Keriothe. TOTALITARIANISM, SHANTY and TITANIUM should be given awards.
    There is a long list of metals eight letters long ending in M. Samarium, Vanadium,Platinum,and Tantalum came to mind before the correct answer. Samarium was troublesome as the IT=sex appeal ( SA) opened a rabbit hole.
    18d was LOI for me, but I couldn’t parse it. ‘Epode’ has now been added to my long list of obscure poetic terms, undoubtedly to be forgotten before the next time it appears. Or has it already appeared and I’ve forgotten?

  3. 3 minutes short of an hour.

    Devious indeed! Especially the parsing of MY EYE. ‘Lies / IS’ too, which I can see now but would never have thought of. Along with the unknown EPODE (making its first appearance today) this meant I was only able to solve 18dn by finding a word that fitted the checkers and the definition ‘chapter’.

    1. EPODE appeared in 2008, 2010 and most recently 2016, and quite a few times in Mephisto. The first of these was a puzzle blogged by you and the clue had the same structure: ‘musical passage is cast in form of lyric poem’. I think you can be forgiven for not remembering this 16 years later!!

      1. Thanks. I must have neglected to scroll down when I searched earlier. I saw Ulaca’s blog from 2018 in which he mentioned ‘epode’ in a comment although it was nowhere in the puzzle, and then a couple of Mephistos, but nothing more. I don’t count Mephistos anyway as I never attempt them, and neither do most around here judging by the response to the blogs.

      2. Thanks for your explanations. I still don’t understand MY EYE. M I get, but Ye Ye (YE YE) for Yes! I can’t fathom. Could you please enlighten me.

        1. YES is (whimsically) the plural of YE. Another way of depicting a plurality of YEs is YE YE, as CATS might be represented as CAT CAT.

  4. I was ok until I got to the SE corner then I struggled. Never did get the parsing of 26a – that is very clever. 2d is worth a mention for having used BSc for degree, which I didn’t expect.

    I still don’t understand the parsing of 18dn. Could someone explain further please?

    1. I took it to be EPODE (verse) surrounding (about) IS (lies, as the ship lies in harbor, the road lies before you, etc.)

      1. Oh OK, I was completely misdirected by thinking verse was ODE and somehow lies were (porky) PIES, but nothing to indicate an anagram. Basic problem here is that I didn’t know EPODE.
        thanks for putting me straight on this one.

        1. Apologies I should probably have been a bit more explicit in my explanation here: ‘lies’ for IS is one of the devious things in this puzzle.

  5. I have no notes for this, but re-checking the answers via the blog reminded me what a terrific and devious puzzle it was. Some answers were instantly biffable like 2d from ‘born free’, and thank goodness for that, or I’d never have finished. Like K, CHEQUERS went in by assumption. TITANIUM was a PDM – I was looking for something clever and luckily guessed his game, which helped with the tricky SE corner. LOsI were the unparsed EPISODE and MY EYE – very clever, though epode was unknown, so it was very much fingers crossed for both. Many thanks, Dean and Keriothe.

  6. Obviously I’m a DNF this week – way too devilishly clever for me. And that’s not a complaint, simply an observation. And thus I’m chuffed to have completed half of it, and in awe of those who got the lot. Chapeau! Thanks, all.

  7. Current Chequers is clearly not Gothic. According to RIBA, it was once Gothicized but then restored to its original in the late nineteenth century. Is the average crossworder really supposed to know this?

    1. I obviously didn’t! I just took it on trust, I had no idea what Chequers looks like. This looks like an error but I’d be surprised if it prevented anyone from getting to the answer.

      1. Well, I didn’t get the answer, but it wasn’t because of this, so I think your point lies well made.

    2. I was a bit surprised by “gothic”, but found text about the conversion to a Gothic style. I should have continued reading and discovered the reversal. As an apparently true fact, I didn’t expect others to know about it, but as a well-known property, “mansion” seemed enough significant info.

  8. Very similar to SBeginner – pleased to have completed around half then looked at much-needed blog. Still not sure I understand MEET (either definition!) and just checking MY EYE is an expression meaning bull in the ‘that’s rubbish’ sense… Thanks all.

    1. “Meet” can mean “deal with” – example from Collins:
      British manufacturing failed to meet the crisis of the 1970s
      As a bit of old-fashioned English, it can also mean “fitting” in its “appropriate” sense, as used in some responses in old-style communion services with religious repetition:
      “Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God.
      It is meet and proper so to do.
      It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty …”

      “My eye” meaning “that’s rubbish” is a shorter version of “my eye and Betty Martin” – see

  9. Very tricky. After a full week of coming back to it I was left with Chequers, noisome and campaigner unfinished and pencilled in episode, my eye and come up to scratch as couldn’t parse them. Did see titanium immediately though…two years of doing this puzzle and I’m finally on high alert for elements in short words at the start of a clue!!

  10. Well, I finished it, in two sessions and somewhat over an hour. But despite entering EPISODE, CAMPAIGNER, TITANIUM, and MY EYE correctly, I never did understand how they worked. (For example, I talked myself into believing that YEYE might be a slang version of the affirmative YES.) As always on Sunday, an absolutely marvellous puzzle (this time especially so). So thank you, Dean, and thank you, keriothe for explaining all of these devious jewels.

  11. 24.32

    Late entry but enjoyed it a lot. Also couldn’t parse a few but did get MY EYE which was very clever.

    Thanks Dean and Keriothe

  12. Yes: very clever and especially devious! I was led up the garden path a few times – notably with TITANIUM , as I still don’t recognise those pesky two-letter words as elements! – and tried a reverse hidden of ‘tifilatem’ which is nothing known! Also missed the French hint of “Henri’s on” so didn’t get SURPRISING. Liked LIONESS and BLOOMER a lot ( both my era!), also COLIC which is scarcely heard of for infants these days. Didn’t know CHEQUERS was a Gothic mansion, and bunged in CHERUBIN for the marble statue! ( A failure to lift and separate again). As I’m hopeless with anything grammar ( despite nominally being a teacher of English) I didn’t get the second half of 16a. But overall, I did better on this than on the previous week’s puzzles, so, happy with that! Dean just keeps on getting better and better…

  13. Nho bloomer as bread, but it had to be.
    Had to resort to aids for 13d, couldn’t get expected starters war…. out of my head.
    Many thanks for the workout and the blog.

  14. Thanks Dean and keriothe
    Took this to a cafe for breakfast yesterday and came home after about 40 minutes with less than half done – so no swaggering out ! Took another 3/4 of an hour to eventually finish the grid fill with a lot of help, but still missed the parsing SOMETIMES (just didn’t see ME TIME), CAMPAIGNER (stuck getting passed CAMP (‘drag queen’) and didn’t see the tricky YE YE = YE’s logic (very clever indeed).
    Smiled at 2d, which brought happy memories of the ‘Born Free’ and ‘Living Free’ books which were probably the last presents given to me by my grandmother back in the 60’s. – and still have them !
    Finished in the SE corner with that CAMPAIGNER, NOISOME and EPISODE (only partially parsed as well – not seeing that IS could mean ‘lies’).
    A great puzzle made better by understanding all of the mechanisms in it via the blog.

  15. Another member of the one-week late club (because we do the paper version in the Weekend Oz) endorses just about everything already said and a big thanks to KERIOTHE for explaining several, especially TITANIUM, MY EYE, LIONESS and COME UP TO SCRATCH. I finished it and now have been told how. Brilliant puzzle. I was working on a newspaper subs desk years ago when the news came through that Joy Adamson had been killed in the African jungle. First reports were sketchy and there was an early suggestion she had been mauled to death by a lion. Instantly one of my colleagues came up with a headline: ELSA FULL OF JOY.


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