Sunday Times Cryptic 4817, by Jeff Pearce — Like a result in the night

Pretty easy, this one. I filled in most of the acrosses, in order, in record time, and most of the rest came fairly quickly. Four anagrams, and three in a row! I even biffed a few (not my wont), and only realized on looking at this again for the blog that I’m not entirely sure about the parsing of 14a. (It was only after naming this that I connected my title with the fact that I am currently, and with great trepidation, awaiting medical test RESULTs, which I might be able to see on a web portal this weekend… maybe tonight…)

(managras)* like this. I have started italicizing anagrinds this week.


 1 Take out permit to enter river (6)
 4 Object after armed force returned old money (8)
10 Hint left in italics confused about term of loan (9)
SCINTILLA—(L + italics + [loa]n)*
11 Bury drop a point at start of season (5)
12 About to check genuineness of carpet (7)
14 Deduce nothing that’s new in old poem (7)
INFERNO—INFER (“deduce”) + O (“nothing”) “that’s”—here, that has—N(ew) in. I think. “Poem” would be enough for the definition, but if O is “old,” then where’s nothing? I propose that a better clue would be “Deduce nothing about new poem.”
15 Make peace—no longer having an axe to grind? (4,3,7)
BURY THE HATCHET—Slightly cryptic definition
18 Police officer has to emphasise extraordinary cry for help (8,6)
22 Natter with mate outside before start of Glasto (4-3)
CHIN-WAG—CHIN(W)A(G[lasto]) Everybody here probably already knows that CHINA is Cockney rhyming slang (shortened “China plate” for “mate”).
24 Key staff collect retired bouncer for concierge (7)
DOORMAN—D is the (musical) “Key,” MAN is “staff,” taking in ROO<—
25 Gone off story after its introduction (5)
STALE—TALE after S[tory]
26 Fire and strong wind traps vehicle one’s following (9)
28 Rule out overture without leader of cellists (8)
29 Left group of women outside part of Manhattan (6)

 1 Present some French support band in church (8)
DESCRIBE—“some[,] French” = DES + RIB, “support band,” in C[hurch of] E[ngland]
 2 Bloomers on string blowing around in field (3)
LEI—Reverse hidden word “in field.” “Blowing” is strictly for the surface.
 3 Book a time to tour castle and see Measure for Measure? (3,3,3)
TIT FOR TAT—The book must be TITus (not Andronicus but one of the more obscure Paulian epistles), A T(ime) “touring” FORT.
 5 Butler once visited a cultural centre for a coffee (7)
ARABICA—I biffed this one, but “Butler once” refers to a long-serving British Conservative politician, Richard Austen Butler, or Rab Butler, of whom I knew nothing (but Wikipedia says he elided from his memoirs his support of Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” with Hitler). Here he’s dropped into, “visit[ing]” (the tense seems odd a clue in the here and now, doesn’t it?), A ICA, the latter being the Institute of Cultural Affairs.
 6 It’s a result when the force captures one! (5)
THIEF—TH(I)EF. An &lit, and not entirely satisfactory to me. I guess it’s said the police are “getting results” when they apprehend crooks, but here “It’s” refers to the answer (but in that context, isn’t it rather the result, the only one possible?), as does “one.” Both, then, are THIEF, but a THIEF is not “a result,” really.
 7 Regiment run off when there’s no one in charge (11)
INTERREGNUM—(Regiment run)*
 8 Monstrous sister backs order to keep off the booze! (6)
 9 Rip off a woolly coat (6)
FLEECE—Double definition, and they don’t come easier or older.
13 Enter an uneasy pact with pirate about India (11)
PARTICIPATE—(pact + pirate + I)*
16 Revolting chapati stuffed with a lot of old meat (9)
CHIPOLATA—(chapati + old)*
17 Cut elm behind run-down palace (8)
BLENHEIM—(elm behind)* At first, like most everybody probably, I was cutting down the tree, but I guess this is legit.
19 Busy journalist pens new joke at end of article (7)
20 Go off after second joint of meat (6)
SADDLE—S(econd) + ADDLE, “go off”
21 Behaves badly when outside court appearing for trial (4,2)
ACTS UP—AS is “when,” so A(CT)S + UP (“appearing for trial”)
23 After wicket, tip spinner (5)
WHEEL—W is “wicket,” HEEL is “tip”
27 Unkind millionaire has it both ways (3)
ILL—Hidden word, forward and reverse, in m–>illi<–onaire

39 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic 4817, by Jeff Pearce — Like a result in the night”

  1. Biffed a couple–TIT FOR TAT (was totally stumped) and ARABICA (got the RAB bit, no idea about ICA). No problem with INFERNO, although your version is clearer (and thus easier), and no problem with THIEF; when the police nab a thief, it’s a result. A problem with BLENHEIM, though: cut the last letter of a sequence of two words? ‘elm behind’ isn’t a phrase, even.
      1. Which is what I said, and the clue says: it’s a result when they catch a thief=the catching is a result. It’s a relief when I solve a puzzle, it’s a shock when I get my credit card bill, etc.
        1. I’m just saying that in the wordplay “it” is THIEF (a result of THE F catching I), whereas in the surface meaning “it” does not refer to said perp.
          1. Why should it? The surface and cryptic readings work completely differently but that’s surely quite normal.
            And there are other possible results from ‘the force catches one’ (MEAT, for instance) so THIEF is indeed a result.
            1. I didn’t get enough sleep (too upset over my results) to explain any further what was bothering me. Something to do with the fact that both “it” and “one” in the clue refer to the answer—but only sorta, for the former. I don’t think “a result” here refers to any possible interpretation of the words “the force catches one” but only to what that means in this clue, to which one would expect there to be only one possible answer.

              It sounds like you have your work cut out for you with this week’s. I am suddenly out of ink so probably won’t try it today.

              Edited at 2018-09-30 03:00 pm (UTC)

              1. I do read it like that: there are many possible results from the cryptic indication ‘force catches one’, and THIEF is one of them.
                I didn’t find today’s particularly hard. Wavelength thing perhaps.
  2. Mostly straightforward and all completed in 25 minutes. At 17dn I don’t see a problem with ‘elm behind’ not being a recognised phrase as the words fit together in context of the clue to give a valid surface reading and provide the anagrist plus the letter which needs to be cut.
    1. This is the one I had an MER over last week when I questioned whether it was pushing the envelope. It is unusual to have to ‘envelope’ words together before applying the ‘cut’.
      And ‘Elm cut behind…’ would have been just as good a surface. ‘Elm cut down behind…’ might have been even better.

      Maybe ‘Elm behind’ is a condition suffered by sedentary lumberjacks.

      Edited at 2018-09-30 08:51 am (UTC)

        1. I don’t see the problem. Elm+Behin(d) is the anagrist. I think we allow lots of convoluted ways of creating the anagrist.
          1. It’s my impression that when parts of the anagrist are separated by other words here, those words usually indicate that they are to be taken with the other parts.
            1. What do you make of – for example:
              Am endlessly pressed — ideally making this comment? (2,4,3,6)
              This is from Times (26995) 7 Feb 2018.
              (AM PRESSE(d) IDEALLY)*
              I think ‘endlessly pressed’ is like ‘cut behind’. I don’t think this sort of creation of anagrists is unusual.
              Of course, in this example ‘making’ is not a great anagram indicator.

              Edited at 2018-09-30 04:10 pm (UTC)

              1. I’m not surprised to see that, actually. I’m really not up to par today, please excuse me.
  3. I was a shade longer than the contributors so far at 37 minutes, though I found it reasonably straightforward. I was too long parsing BLENHEIM, which was a write-in as a biff, and in finding the anagrist for LOI PARTICIPATE. I swallowed a FARTHING as a baby. All things must pass, fortunately. I did parse ARABICA eventually. Rab Butler was always described as the best prime minister we never had. In the interest of balance, and from the other side of politics, how about Denis Healey? Thank you Guy and Jeff.

    Edited at 2018-09-30 07:05 am (UTC)

      1. I can remember well his fight, fight, and fight again, speech to the 1960 Labour conference as he tried to prevent the party going for nuclear disarmament, to boos from the delegates. It’s often described as the most courageous speech of our lifetime. Sadly, he was dead a couple of years later, and we got Harold Wilson, who had his own way of fixing the Party. I’d walk past a memorial to Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell in New College Cloisters in 1964. For some strange reason, that’s where the football team photo was taken.
  4. I was up early and decided to try to get a couple of clues online before getting the paper. I got Bury the Hatchet early and then just kept going, finally getting a bit nervous about the time taken. Normally I spend an hour or two on the weekend puzzles and then try to mop up the stragglers.
    On this puzzle I stared at my LOI 24a for a bit and decided it had to be Doorman (hadn’t parsed it) and I crossed the line in 25:37. Miles better than anything I’ve done before.
    It helped I thought of Rab Butler quickly and did not think too hard about Blenheim. David
  5. 32 minutes here—as Vinyl observes, a tad easier than today’s!—and I come here to find it’s unsurprising that I couldn’t parse 5d, having never heard of the required Rab and only vaguely of the ICA. Apart from that, pretty plain sailing. FOI 1a DELETE, LOI 26a GALVANISE.

    Hope the medical results are all clear, Guy!

    Edited at 2018-09-30 07:42 am (UTC)

  6. 24:58 but with a stupid typo due to solving this one online – Burt the hatchet – which I think was Bobby Darin’s less successful follow up to Mack the knife.
  7. ….says he’d happily settle for only dropping a single point at the start of the season. On a technicality however, you can only drop either 2 or 3 points per game nowadays.


    Biffed SCINTILLA

    LOI BLENHEIM (I can’t see a problem though)

    COD GORGON – no grog is a thoroughly unappealing idea !

    Finished in 10:09 so it wasn’t a tricky one. Wasn’t going to buy the paper today, but the couple of earlier comments have goaded me into it. There’ll probably be tears before bedtime.

  8. Thanks for the blog Guy.

    A couple of minor points, but I think you’ve missed “left” from the parsing of SCINTILLA and “D” from ENGAGED.

    As you’ve observed, a few of these were a bit convoluted but mostly solvable.

    Hope your results are OK.

    PS I agree with your parsing of INFERNO – I think 700 years qualifies as old!

    Edited at 2018-09-30 12:14 pm (UTC)

    1. Thanks for pointing out the omissions.
      My results were “suggestive” of my worst fear, but not as definitive as I feared…
  9. I seem to have found this quite straightforward as I completed it in 26:41, but I can’t remember much about it, having just spent a few days with university friends on our annual get together. In fact I am surprised to be able to think at all, considering! The Morgan car factory was an enjoyable experience. Nice cars but not too practical if you have more luggage than an overnight bag. I do remember having a tussle with BLENHEIM, and DISTRESS SIGNAL took a while. No problems with Mr Butler(I wonder if he ever buttled?). After comments here I approached today’s puzzle with trepidation, but found I was right on the wavelength and finished in less than 30 minutes, and that’s straight after driving home from Malvern and unpacking. That’s assuming I haven’t cocked it up of course. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks Jeff and Guy. Wishing you the best of luck with your ongoing health issues, Guy.

    Edited at 2018-09-30 04:43 pm (UTC)

  10. Less than 15 minutes, mostly not worrying about any of the slightly dodgy clues. I can see what’s “wrong” with clues for THIEF, BLENHEIM and INFERNO but only once my eyes had been opened by checking here. I don’t recall fully breaking ARABICA once Rab Butler was in the bag. I think once you’re running fast, there are some bits that rather blur into acceptability, and it’s only when others point out deficiencies that you notice they may have a point.
    1. I have agree with the end of your post. Being a speed merchant by nature, I do end up taking a lot of answers for granted, and come back to parse them later. It’s a bad habit, but after 55 years of solving cryptics I’m unlikely to change.

Comments are closed.