Sunday Times Cryptic 4803, by Dean Mayer — No escheating!

In this batch of succinct, often witty clues, we have four excellent examples of double definitions, two that use disparate senses of the same word (23a and 6d) and two that involve homonyms (17 and 21), two totally different words (although the two senses of RUNG may be—it is speculated—etymologically related) that happen to be spelled exactly alike, and thus end up both magically occupying the same squares at the same time.

I was out late at a benefit upstate at the wonderful outdoor sculpture museum Storm King (my friend David Stoltz has a few pieces there, which got us in for free), so will just post this immediately, without any further ado.

(arangams)* like this, definitions underlined…


 1 A copper has little desire to eat (8)
APPETITE—P is for penny, a “copper,” which has PETITE, “little.”
 6 Cold East German parts get very hot (6)
FROSTY—“East German” translates to “East, German,” east in Deutsch, or OST, which “parts” (divides) FRY, “get very hot.” The convention of indicating a foreign word in this way, sans comma, is very well established in Cryptic World.
 9 Film featuring British comic in free buffet? (5,9)
BRIEF ENCOUNTER—“Comic” is an anagrind telling us to rearrange “in free,” with “B” for British, to get BRIEF EN, “buffet” being the COUNTER.
10 Blue edges for stone axes (4)
SEXY—S[ton]E + X and Y axes.
11 A little field, or a domain where riches may be (2,6)
EL DORADO—A surface so smooth that one simply skates over the hidden word. “Domain” could be part of the definition, but it isn’t, because it is part of the wordplay.
14 The shop stocks very useful heating device (10)
THERMOSTAT—THE + RAT (“shop,” as in grass to the cops) storing MOST (“very”). I didn’t know whether to underline “useful” as part of the definition, but I am giving the setter the benefit of the doubt. The justification would be that “heating device,” on the face of it, indicates a device that heats, whereas a THERMOSTAT is a heat regulator—a useful device in adjusting the temperature of one’s abode or whatever. But I am not sure “useful heating device” adequately conveys that, and on the level of the surface reading, “useful” is obviously necessary to give “very” something to connect to.
16 The same result? Not quite (4)
EVEN—“The same” as in each player having “the same” score when their scores are EVEN or tied. This was my LOI, because I wasn’t sure how synonymous the word “event” is with “result.” Collins (online) lists this definition as “Archaic.” But Cambridge has a definition from mathematics: “one particular group of outcomes (= results) among all possible outcomes when experimenting with probability,” which might be what the setter had in mind.
17 Called and spoke (4)
RUNG—I liked this double definition a lot, but had qualms about whether “spoke” (radial) and “rung” (horizontal) are quite synonymous. They didn’t show up as synonyms for each other in the online thesaurus I consulted. But Merriam-Webster gives “a spoke of a wheel” as the third definition of RUNG, so all’s well.
18 Last of gulag prisoners free—what’s going on? (2,8)
IN PROGRESS—Last of “gulag,” i.e., G, plus (prisoners)*.
20 Henry likes tanks hiding in city (8)
HELSINKI—Henry = H + (likes)* secreting IN.
21 Cotton on a small piece of wood (4)
TWIG—Another excellent doube definition…
23 Postmatch (14)
CORRESPONDENCE— …and a third.
24 They may be light, using oxygen for a while (6)
OPERAS—“Oxygen” = O, “for a” = PER, “while” = AS.
25 On escaping Leviathan, finds sewer (8)
SEAMSTER— “Seamonster” minus “on.” An amusing surface. Never seen this word used.


 2 Cut out sphere, or otherwise (11)
PORTERHOUSE—(Out sphere or)*
 3 See hosts for one poem (5)
ELEGY—“See” in the sense of a bishopric, here ELY, with E[.]G[.], “for one,” inside.
 4 One squad, not a couple (4)
ITEM—I = “one” with TE[a]M, “squad” sans “a.”
 5 Legally take one key part of contest (7)
ESCHEAT—I don’t think “one” is necessary here, and while I was pondering that, I looked at a few sources for definitions of ESCHEAT (a word that has been turning up here regularly lately). The precise sense wanted was not found in Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, or Oxford—for example, in the latter the verb has only the meanings “(of land) revert to a lord or the state by escheat” and “usually as adjective escheated (with object) Hand over (land) as an escheat.” But Collins finally came through with “to cause to escheat; confiscate.”
 6 Slap bottom? (10)
FOUNDATION—Yet another brilliant double definition. The question mark is there, I guess, because the SLAP part refers to all makeup, of which FOUNDATION is but one example.
 7 One revealing deterioration in Ulster, say (9)
OUTERWEAR—“One revealing” is an OUTER, “deterioration” Is WEAR. DBE.
 8 Sailor upset at reaching river (3)
TAR—AT<-— + R.
12 Theatre part appropriate for Garbo? (5,6)
DRESS CIRCLE—Hilarious. GARB + O. For some reason, in balconies or galleries in larger theaters (says Wikipedia), “the first level is usually called the dress circle or grand circle.” I only know this term from these puzzles.
13 Still unable to suggest anything? (10)
MOTIONLESS—If you have no ideas during a meeting, you won’t move that a course of action be adopted.
15 Posh car gathering is great for spin doctor (9)
REGISTRAR—This isn’t a term for “doctor” in the United States, by the way. The “posh car” Is a Rolls Royce, appearing here as initials, “gathering” (is great)*—“for spin” is the anagrind.
19 Greek deity’s feast holding match up (7)
PRIAPUS—SUP<-—holding PAIR<—-
21 Nancy’s very small lock (5)
TRESS—On Friday, Verlaine remarked that the somewhat clichéd use of “Nancy” to indicate a French word prevented one entry from being awarded his Clue of the Day, and here it is again. Oh, well. TRES (très) for “very” and S for “small.”
22 Heading north, one on a wild ox (4)
ANOA—“one,” A, ON A <—-
23 Clubs leading in contest (3)
CUP —C is for “clubs,” “leading” is UP.

19 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic 4803, by Dean Mayer — No escheating!”

  1. Well, as Vinyl says, ANOA should have been a write-in for me, but I simply forgot how to spell it, and put in ENOA (‘one’, heading north, on ‘a’). Naturally, the right spelling and parsing came to me about a minute after I submitted. I scribble ‘COD’ in the margins by any clue I really like, and then choose later; this time I marked FROSTY, HELSINKI, FOUNDATION, and (may I have the envelope, please) GARBO.
  2. 34 minutes counts as a success for me against this setter. My only unknonwn was ANOA.

    I particlarly liked the BRIEF ENCOUNTER clue with its references to ‘buffet’ and ‘British comic’. Key scenes of the film take place in a station buffet and some of these feature the British comic Stanley Holloway providing a bit of light relief from the intense drama.

  3. Sadly, I guessed the wrong way for the unknown ANOA and put in ENOA, parsed as Kevin mentions. Knowing this was ambiguous, I looked it up once I’d written it in, and rather gave up on the rest of the puzzle at that point…
  4. I forgot to say the DRESS CIRCLE clue is not as original as it may seem.

    In Times 25606 we had: What might suggest Garbo’s place in theatre (5,6)

    In QC 2 we had: Renowned actress seen from dress circle (5).

  5. DNF. Bah! Managed to stuff this up twice over, firstly with the lesser seen bovine enoa at 22dn and secondly by not having a clue what was going on at 24ac and throwing in spores in desperation as something light. Super puzzle though. Loved slap bottom and post-match.
  6. 19:20 with one wrong. Enoa for Anoa. In 1920 Aston Villa beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the first FA Cup final since 1915.

    COD would have been GARBO if original but jackkt points out that it has been seen before. So it has to go to FOUNDATION.

    Edited at 2018-06-24 08:49 am (UTC)

  7. I found this very difficult. Thank you Guy for EVEN and THERMOSTAT but SEXY for Blue in 10ac is still too much of a stretch for me. I chose SEAS because those letters are the “edges for StonE AxeS and blue is synonymous with sea in my view. No wonder I could not make head nor tale o 3D (elegy).
  8. 17m. I remembered the Garbo device from its previous appearance, which is quite surprising considering how long ago it was. Funny how memory can do this sort of thing from time to time, while simultaneously being incapable of telling me where I put my sunglasses yesterday.
    The ambiguity of 22dn is unfortunate: I would like to think that Dean and/or RR would have changed the clue if they had noticed it. Fortunately for me the word rang a vague bell.
  9. I was held up for a while in the SE by ANOI, which made 25a rather difficult. I eventually Googled ANOI and found it was actually ANOA after which the penny dropped on 25a and allowed me to finish in 34:08, albeit with a cheat. I had to construct PRIAPUS from wordplay, which wasn’t too difficult as I knew the word priapic. I wondered about THERMOSTAT as a heating device rather than something which controlled said device. An enjoyable puzzle which wasn’t as tricky as some of Dean’s usual fare. Thanks Dean and Guy.
  10. Not quite sure why this took 27 minutes, but Garbo was worth the admission fee even if it’s been in before. I didn’t recall it, and laughed, possibly out loud.
  11. I went one off on this one I believe – I had OPERAS as my preferred answer for “they may be light”, but just couldn’t make the cryptic work for me, thinking “a while” was cluing “A S” = a second, which just seemed too loose. In the end I threw my hands up in despair and bunged in SPARKS as some kind of really terrible cryptic def… always go with your first, gut instinct if you really don’t have anything better, is the lesson here I guess!
  12. I always struggle with Dean’s puzzles but I did better on this than average. I did put quite a lot of time into it.
    Very much enjoyed Dress Circle -not seen before by me.
    Was defeated by the Operas,the wild ox and the Seamster ( I had Spinster). David
  13. It took me 75 minutes with a long break in the middle to clear the brain, but except for my one mistake (ENOA, of course, since I had never heard of ANOA) I did manage to figure everything out. Phew!

    My LOI was ELEGY but only because I had entered SEAS (the blue?) in 10ac, formed by the edges of StonE AxeS. So my poem was going to be ENEAS or something else I didn’t really want to believe, until I realised what the axes were and that SEXY made much more sense for 10ac.

    Edited at 2018-06-24 09:54 pm (UTC)

  14. Slightly puzzled about 22D. I looked through 100 entries sent online or by email, and found just two wrong answers for it, neither of which were ENOA. So apparently the majority of solvers either recognised ANOA from somewhere, understood the intended wordplay before thinking of anything else, or check whether possible answers thought of are real words with the right meaning.
    It’s a slightly biased sample, as the first 100 listed are the last 100 to be received.
    1. Trouble is, Peter, it’s very easy to pause the puzzle and check in a dictionary which of the two possibles is right before submitting a prize puzzle. So you might well have not found many wrong. However, if you are trying to solve without aids, as all posters here attempt, I think, this clue will have been a frustrating toss-up for anyone not familiar with the answer. I have great respect for all the setters, and this one in particular, but finding an obscure word clued ambiguously was still pretty annoying, and might be one clue you would both like to take back?
  15. Those who solve on paper aren’t in as much of a hurry as many of the blog denizens.

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