Sunday Times 5116 by Robert Price

7:09. Not a difficult puzzle from Robert this week, but a model of creativity and elegance. Lovely stuff.

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

Across
1 Got by as staff got older
MANAGED – MAN (staff), AGED.
5 Refuse to accept failure
DECLINE – DD.
9 Head teachers’ association
NUT – DD. This should really say ‘former teacher’s association’ since the NUT no longer exists.
10 A guy keeping score is to blame
ACCOUNTABLE – A C(COUNT)ABLE. CABLE as in rope.
11 Recycled font, insecure as a water feature
SURFACE TENSION – (FONT INSECURE AS)*. Nice definition.
13 Rash of skin spots, not starting small
RECKLESSfRECKLES, S.
15 Carriage clock’s second hand, commonly gold
LANDAUcLock, ’AND, AU (gold).
17 Delight as prayers are listened to
PLEASE – sounds like ‘pleas’.
18 Delinquent teenager’s father
GENERATE – (TEENAGER)*.
20 Poetry line in “Visit Telford!” promo?
A SHROPSHIRE LAD – I think the idea here is just that Telford is in the relevant county, so a ‘promo’ for that town might be called A SHROPSHIRE AD. Insert L. The poetry here is a famous collection by A E Housman.
23 Offer to finish scrap of fruit with fork
OLIVE BRANCH – OLIVE (fruit), BRANCH (fork).
24 Doctor seen about variable pain
GYP – G(Y)P.
25 Lake mammal caught from Spooner’s coaster
BEER MAT – spoonerism of ‘mere bat’.
26 Seafood starter for the Godfather is made large
LOBSTER – MOBSTER (godfather) with the M replaced by L (large). The word ‘godfather’ for a head gangster is closely associated with the books and movies, but it predates both.
Down
1 Document from football team’s vault read out
MANUSCRIPT – MAN U’S and a homophone of ‘crypt’ (vault).
2 Ballet music buff — barmy, absolutely no question
NUTCRACKER SUITE – NUT (buff), CRACKERS, qUITE.
3 Fruit pastille losing millions before a tax cut
GUAVA – GUm, A VAt.
4 Cut iron?
DECREASE – DE-CREASE, geddit?
5 University dons had finally retired, plastered
DAUBEDhaD, A(U)BED.
6 Outwardly coy about sex, say, in Sparta?
CITY-STATE – CoY containing IT (sex), STATE.
7 Road laid by night — alternatively this?
IN BROAD DAYLIGHT – (ROAD LAID BY NIGHT)*. Semi-&Lit. Neat!
8 Studied fish on audiobook
EYED – sounds like ‘ide’.
12 Great meal interrupted by rude drunk
SUPER-DUPER – SUPPER containing (RUDE)*.
14 A European in male pants, light but strong
LASER BEAM – (MALE)* containing A SERB.
16 Toxic liquid sprayed on Hamlet
METHANOL – (ON HAMLET)*.
19 Ends up drinking Irish whiskey?
SPIRIT – reversal of TIPS containing IR.
21 Dire habits given a shrink’s treatment
REHAB – contained in ‘dire habits’. ‘Given a shrink’, i.e. reduced, is a lovely touch here.
22 Load of money, mine perhaps
BOMB – DD.

19 comments on “Sunday Times 5116 by Robert Price”

  1. Never got around to looking up Telford to parse the Housman clue.
    It was odd to see both NUT and NUTCRACKER as answers in one puzzle, and right next to each other. A couple setters I know are compulsive about avoiding such repetitions.
    REHAB was particularly good, now that you mention it.
    (K, you let your font color change run too long, above. Such touches don’t come across in the preview text on the blog homepage, by the way, where the system may cut you off in mid-sentence if you don’t put special preview text in the slot provided for it.)

  2. 26:50
    Wot Keriothe and Richard said. DNK Telford, but assumed it’s in Shropshire, and biffed. Also biffed ACCOUNTABLE, parsed post-submission. I liked NUTCRACKER, OLIVE BRANCH, DAUBED, CITY-STATE. I don’t much care for ‘common’ being used to indicate a non-standard dialect or the people who speak it.

  3. I assume Telford the town was named after Telford the engineer (it is), who built many bridges including the Menai Strait bridge to Anglesey and the amazing Pontcysyllte aqueduct. Wikipedia tells me that at one point he was Surveyor of Public Works for Shropshire, which I guess was why the town ended up being (re-)named after him. Not a hard puzzle but a fun one, messed up by me with a typo.

  4. 28 minutes with 5 minutes lost over my last two in, the intersecting answers at 5ac and 5dn.

    I enjoyed the SHROPSHIRE LAD clue.

    I’ve no problem with NUT being clued without ‘former’ as historical references are still perfectly valid.

  5. Done! Thought I had no hope at first read-through, but once concentration settled, made steady progress to complete in 35 minutes, which seems pretty decent. Biffed 8d EYED. Couldn’t see that one! Most enjoyable. Thanks, all.

  6. Crashed and burned with DOUSED at 5d in 23:28. Liked IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and SURFACE TENSION. Thanks Bob and K.

  7. Much enjoyed as usual from Robert Price. The only thing that worries me slightly is the use of ‘shrink’ to indicate a hidden clue, as in 26dn. To me if something shrinks then everything remains but just in a smaller size. But this usage is widespread and can no doubt be justified by dictionaries — not apparently Collins, but Chambers has ‘contract’ and under that is ‘shorten’, which is just about OK I suppose.

  8. 23.34

    More fine fare from Robert. OLIVE BRANCH was my fave but the long anagram semi &lit was excellent as well. Just come back from two days walking so nice to get the feet up; kettle on and start tapping away. (I do these a week in arrears)

  9. Really not hard this week (or rather last week), despite my 43 minutes to solve it, but very much as delightful as they always are. DAUBED and DECLINE were my LOI, and DAUBED would be one of my candidates for COD. But the amazing anagram IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and the misleading cluing of OLIVE BRANCH would be just as good.

  10. If we insisted on “former” for NUT, there would need to be a lot if other uses of “former” for the same reason. Any monarch other than Charles III would have to be “former”, for example, and every PM other than Rishi Sunak. Never mind actor => Tree, which would have been wrong for the entire history of cryptic crosswords, as Sir Henry Beerbohm T died in 1917.

  11. Found myself plunging straight in to this one (unusual for me for a Sunday) with 1a and 1d entered on sight. Tackled the two long ones next, and was pleased to get thEm both with little difficulty. Kicking myself about 20a, as I should have remembered it, but the only ones I couldn’t get were ACCOUNTABLE (had the ‘able’ pencilled in) and DAUBED – which I’ve not heard of in relation to drunk. A lot of very good clues, as usual, but faves were IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and NUTCRACKER SUITE .

    1. As another WE Australian reader late to the party, I can help you out with DAUBED, Jacaroo. In this case daubed means literally PLASTERED as in wattle and daub, say. Very tricky of Robert to feint to the left and step to the right, away from the usual <> allusion.

  12. Thanks Robert and keriothe
    Actually did this one on the day of publication down here but it got swamped and only checked it off tonight. Took just under the hour to complete in a couple of sessions and failed to see the word play of A SHROPSHIRE LAD.
    As others have said, many neatly constructed clues, especially the long anagrams (at 11a and 7d) as well as some clever misdirection in others.
    Finished in the SE corner with LOBSTER, METHANOL and GENERATE.

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