Sunday Times 5106 by Dean Mayer

11:26. I didn’t find this too hard but when I came to write up the blog I found that there are a couple of things I don’t quite understand. I’ve mentioned them all below and am open to any and all helpful suggestions!

Quite a lot of artists in this one: I count four.

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

1 Religious person, a primate
CAPUCHIN – DD. A type of monk(ey).
5 For this reason, see guards left alone
10 Man wants a kiss first as a rule
AXIOM – A, X (kiss), IOM (Isle of Man).
11 Gauguin subjects I see in paintings
12 Desperate choice? Pray not
ANY PORT IN A STORM – reverse cryptic in which ANY PORT is an anagram (IN A STORM) of ‘pray not’.
13 Hollywood location fails to secure investor
LOS ANGELES – LOS(ANGEL)ES. ‘Hollywood location’ meaning here the location of Hollywood rather than a location in Hollywood.
15 Previous champion
17 When touring album peaks
18 Musical tenor quits old form of Islam
CAT STEVENS – CATS, T, EVENS (quits). The former name of Yusuf Islam. I’m not quite sure how an old name is a ‘form’ of the current one, or of the person in question, so I find this clue a bit odd but it’s very clever so I’m trying not to overthink it.
21 Event allowing seconds to be flogged?
CLOSING-DOWN SALE – (ALLOWING SECONDS)*. Very neat! In semi-&Lits like this I prefer to underline the part of the clue that is technically the definition, in the sense that it’s not wordplay, but the whole clue also functions as a definition.
23 Stab snake, being impulsive
WHIRLWIND – WHIRL (as in give it a), WIND. Impulsive as in ‘whirlwind romance’.
24 Wally’s wife in organised trip
TWIRP – (TRIP)* containing W.
25 Run back into tent for milk product
YOGURT – YURT (tent) containing a reversal of GO (run).
26 Writer, online bully, not quite honest
TROLLOPE – TROLL (online bully), OPEn.
1 Artist’s drink, something bitter
2 A party for John
PRIVY – two definitions, the first I think in the sense that if you’re ‘a party’ to something you are also PRIVY to it.
3 Part of prison complex
4 Too keen on profit
INTO THE BARGAIN – another where I don’t understand the second definition. How does BARGAIN equate to profit?
6 Thick books about British operation
OBTUSE – O(B)T, USE. The books here being the Old Testament of course.
7 Polish drink served up with salt
ELABORATE – reversal of ALE, BORATE. ‘A salt or ester of boric acid’ (Collins).
8 Talk about dust marks in veil
9 Inept toff replaced in Lords since when?
14 If down, model behaviour
SUPPOSING – SUP (down), POSING (what a model does).
16 Gas, even a bit reduced, just delivered
17 Bow Road Tube station
ARCHWAY – ARCH, WAY. A station on the Northern Line.
19 Nice article supporting high tower
STEEPLE – STEEP, LE. Nice here being the French city of course.
20 Ploughman’s £50 in bank
22 Can I start in China?
AMIGO – AM I GO? I’m not entirely sure I understand this. Is it like ‘Thunderbirds are go’ i.e. ready for action?

34 comments on “Sunday Times 5106 by Dean Mayer”

  1. Collins has for PRIVY: “law | a person in privity with another,” with “privity” defined as “1. a legally recognized relationship existing between two parties, such as that between lessor and lessee and between the parties to a contract.”

    I took “keen on profit” to be a cryptic hint based on the idea that if you get a “bargain,” you’re coming out ahead in the deal.

    “Am I go?” seems to me just as it seemed to you—can’t see anything else…

    1. John is US slang for toilet aka privy.
      Amigo = friend = china

      Actually finished this one but took most of the week.

          1. Well, if you had to figure out those things, maybe we should explain a bit more here than is typically done for the Mephisto.

  2. I think the “form” is that Yusuf Islam is once again playing concerts under his original name, Cat Stevens. So he now has two forms of his name.

    1. He has two names. I don’t see how one is a ‘form’ of the other. Like I say though I’m probably overthinking it. Edit: see below. I think it’s a reference to the ‘state of being’ of Stevens/Islam.

      1. I guess I was thinking of the person, not the name, having two forms. I agree it’s a bit of a stretch, but it at least made sense to me as another form of the person rather than as another form of the name itself.
        I think I’ve said in the past that sometimes Dean plays pretty close to the line in order to get a nice surface or a cleverly worded clue, and also that in my view he usually does produce something worthwhile. I get the discussion about this one, but I liked the result.

        1. Now I see that a couple people below have made the “form of person” point more articulately

  3. I had no idea whatever what was going on with CAT STEVENS, as I didn’t know his Muslim name. Also DNK CLOSING-DOWN SALE. I didn’t understand ‘keen on profit’. Dean has outdone himself in economy of cluing: an average of 4.9 words per clue. COD to CHINLESS WONDER.

  4. INTO THE BARGAIN: Ithink this makes sense with “profit” meaning gain/benefit/advantage rather than price minus costs.

    FORM: this does seem a shade loose on reflection, but maybe works with the meaning: “a linguistic element considered from the point of view of its shape or sound rather than, for example, its meaning”. It occurs to me now that “style” might have been clearer, as it can mean “ (chiefly Brit) the distinguishing title or form of address of a person”

    AMIGO: I think “go” as in Thunderbirds is “having permission” as well as “ready”.

    1. Form does also mean (Ch.) “a way of being”. Since Cat Stevens no doubt significantly changed his way of life (and back again apparently)…?

      1. Ah yes I think that works. Collins has ‘the particular mode, appearance, etc, in which a thing or person manifests itself’, which is even clearer. So it’s not the name that’s being referenced in the clue but the whole persona.

  5. 45 minutes. I had a query over the parsing of CLOSING-DOWN SALE and can hardly believe that I didn’t notice it was an anagram! If anything I had it in mind as a cryptic definition because in retail a SALE is often an event for selling off ‘seconds’ i.e. inferior or damaged goods. My query was that in a CLOSING-DOWN SALE it’s a case of ‘Everything Must Go!’ so all remaining stock would be on offer, not just seconds.

    I’ve never before seen ‘twerp’ spelt TWIRP but fortunately the middle checker didn’t leave room for doubt about what was required.

    1. I had the same thought about ‘seconds’ but I think it’s covered by the question mark: it’s just an example of what might be sold in such a sale.

  6. DNF, defeated by too much cleverness. The economy of the clueing is impressive but dare I say sometimes there’s just not enough there to get the answer before you get the answer? 12ac is my example. ANY PORT is an anagram, yes, but only indicated by IN A STORM so you need to have got the answer to get the clue… But maybe that’s just me. Thanks, all.

    1. You could say this about any “wordplay in the answer” clue, including the notorious “Gegs” (9,4), which was originally a fictional clue. But I can’t see that you can say the same thing about another clue in this puzzle, and for this answer there is a pragmatic point. Phrase answers with four or more words often have a tiny number of possibilities. In a nifty out of print book, RUB SALT IN A WOUND is the only other (3,4,2,1,5) option.

      1. One of the problems with the ‘Gegs’ clue as discussed by Mick in his latest newsletter is that it doesn’t contains a definition, but 12ac does, so I’m happy with it, just as I am with most of the reverse anagram clues that appear here.

        1. It’s fine as an answer, but we’d have to indicate that it was a song title. Likewise for the book titles that seem possible as other options.

        1. Chambers Phrase file, published 1993. Seems to be available 2nd hand. It doesn’t include book/song/film titles unless they happen to be previously recognisable phrases. Content listed in 2 ways. Once alphabetically for each overall phrase length, and once alphabetically for each combination of individual word lengths – so that version of “15 letters” starts with 1,3,2,3,6 A CAT ON HOT BRICKS and then has 1,4,2,3,5 A DROP IN THE OCEAN and A SLAP ON THE WRIST, 1,4,2,8 A WORD IN EDGEWAYS etc etc

  7. Concise and elegant, as ever. AXIOM, ANY PORT … are great examples. I quite like the clue for CAT STEVENS. As PB says, ‘style’ might have been a minor improvement.

  8. 32.05

    Some excellent anagrams here with CLOSING-DOWN SALE the standout.

    When I finally twigged CAT STEVENS I was so discombobulated by the w/p that I thought, ahh, he must be a tenor. D’oh

    As for INTO THE BARGAIN I also had Keriothe’s slight MER but in fact I now see it properly and give it my COD

    Thanks all

  9. Top class stuff from Dean, as always. Amazing, that he can put so much cleverness into so few actual words. And despite our best efforts, we can’t pick a hole in the clues ..

  10. 40 minutes. I didn’t find this hard, but it still leaves me wondering how I managed to solve it, since it is absolutely drenched in very clever clues (CAT STEVENS, ANY PORT in a storm, AMIGO, I could go on and on). The only answer I had never heard of was YASHMAK, but the wordplay was kind. My cousin once lived near the ARCHWAY, so that was no problem. Lovely puzzle (but for some reason I say that every Sunday).

  11. I enjoyed the crossword, but I did fret more than I should have done over Cat Stevens because I thought there was a convention that the names of living people – apart from the monarch – were not used. Does this rule no longer apply – or did I misunderstand it?

    1. It doesn’t apply to the Sunday Times.
      The daily applies that rule, though occasionally gets it wrong.
      Not a believer in “unwritten rules,” myself

  12. Thoroughly enjoyable- if seemingly impenetrable at first! Such economic cluing of course is typical of Dean, and what makes his puzzles so rewarding. Admit to not getting CAPUCHIN until all the crossers were in, FOI AXIOM, then much head-scratching until ANY PORT… went in. Loved the “I see in paintings” for TAHITIANS, NHO INTO THE BARGAIN, but fair enough. LOS ANGELES and CLOSING DOWN SALE helped with the rest, though I have to own up to a look-up for the CHINLESS WONDER (an anagram, no less!). Like Jackkt, thought TWIRP was spelled with an E, but otherwise very happy.


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