Sunday Times Cryptic 4839, 24 February 2019, by David McLean — PROTESTERS below the CONDO

Besides the somewhat obscure word at 10 that is partly clued by an equally obscure definition, this was pretty straightforward. I know my headline is stretching the actual facts of the grid, but it’s the only political comment I’m permitting myself. (Or almost…)

I do (sagarnam)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Periodic table of a sort (10)
OCCASIONAL — DD, but the second def. seems to ask for a noun, and I haven’t found such in an online dictionary; perhaps it should read “sort of a table.” An example of an occasional table is the one that might be unfolded weekly for a poker match. But does anyone say “an occasional” tout court, meaning the noun? Still looking…
 6 Drinks knocked back can make one this (4)
SPIN —  NIPS<— &lit
 9 Tory party’s flat, according to Trump (5)
CONDO — CON is a conservative, a “Tory,” DO a “party.” The term CONDO(minium) is an Americanism (for an apartment owned by its residents or a building consisting of such apartments), hence the disturbing reminder of a certain notorious US real-estate developer.
10 Yellowish teeth may be repaired with this kind of lead (9)
LUTESCENT — LUTE in the sense here was unknown to me. What about you? In dentistry, it’s (Collins) “a thin layer of cement used to fix a crown or inlay in place on a tooth.” I guess connecting “Yellowish” with “teeth” was too tempting to pass up for the more common musical sense. SCENT is a “kind of lead,” in the sense of an indication of where you might find something, a clue. Is “kind of” strictly necessary? I was thinking for too long that “kind of lead” might be the definition. I doubt if anyone will be surprised that this was my LOI. I filled in the blanks between crossers to make what looked like a word, and lo…
12 One taking a slug, but only a little one? (13)
FEATHERWEIGHT —  CD. The boxer would, hopefully, not be only on the receiving end of slugs!
14 Boring book about passion ultimately sucks (8)
15 Possible local port for Spanish district (6)
BARRIO — BAR is “local” and the “port” is RIO. I don’t know if “Possible” was necessary; not every bar is the “local” for any particular person, of course, but I think the two words have often been used as synonyms, with no qualification.
17 Still square and homosocial essentially (4,2)
EVEN SO — EVEN, “square” + [-homo]SO[-cial]
19 Old queen enthralled by country view (8)
21 Really gutted to be suffering bird flu? (4,2,1,6)
SICK AS A PARROT — CD. Not an American expression. Whereas “sick as a dog” means physically ill, your sick parrot is terribly disappointed. Like myself on one early November evening in 2016.
24 Choose baton with European conductor (9)
ELECTRODE — ELECT, “choose” + ROD, “baton” + E(uropean)
25 Nut training around end of autumn (5)
PECAN — PE, “training” + CA, circa, “around,” +[-autum]N
26 Band seen hanging around Miss World? (4)
SASH — CD, if not very. If there’s anything else going on here, I missed it. But the reference to a beauty pageant again made me briefly suspect the presence of a distasteful theme.
27 We might be at a March exam in new radical prose (10)
PROTESTERS — (r[adical] + prose)* enclosing TEST, “exam.” Deceptive capitalization, but within the rules this time.

 1 Individual cops caught in the past (4)
ONCE — ONE “cops” (takes in) C(aught)
 2 I must stop talk about one branching out (7)
CONIFER — CON(I)FER. Nicely cryptic definition.
 3 It’s a job to make posh satanists change (4,9)
SHOP ASSISTANT —  (posh satanists)*
 4 Look, a ham must be ordered, OK (8)
OKLAHOMA —  (Look, a ham)* Neat definition.
 5 I pretend to put in air-con right (5)
ACTOR — AC(TO)R. “Air-conditioning” could have been spelled out, with no damage to the clue, but seeing it spelled this way did throw me for a bit.
 7 One promising book prefaced by head of Penguin (7)
PLEDGER — P[-enguin] + LEDGER
 8 Books written in Chinese, possibly about special symbols (10)
NOTATIONAL — “Books” is that old standby the O(ld) T(estament), inside “Chinese,” a “national” (DBE)
11 Cryptograms confused a posh gangster (13)
STEGANOGRAPHS —  (a posh gangster)* They contain images or messages hidden within images. An example of the former could be stereograms (which I love), in which a 3D image can be discerned by crossing your eyes or making them diverge, but only in cases in which the apparent image does not obviously indicate in any way that something else is hidden within.
13 Socialist leader: bald and without accent? (10)
16 A dissolute guy hugged by favourite flapper (8)
PARAKEET — P(A RAKE)ET. Two birds and a FEATHER here, not quite an ornithological theme, but… It is nice to see a definition besides “flier” or “singer.”
18 Caps former top players picked up (7)
EXCEEDS — EX is “former” and CEEDS sounds like (“picked up”) “seeds,” from the strange world of sports.
20 You might say one is the thing (7)
ARTICLE — DD. One article (definitely) is “the.” It could have read, simply, “One is the thing,” but that might have seemed too oddly curt.
22 Mail perhaps dismissing top Republican’s affair (5)
AMOUR — A[-r]MOUR. I steadfastly refuse to allege a hidden theme in this puzzle.
23 Duty paid for by this paper? (4)
ONUS — If the Times gave you a free subscription, for example, they could say it’s…

30 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic 4839, 24 February 2019, by David McLean — PROTESTERS below the CONDO”

  1. I found this hard going, and after a struggle gave up on LUTESCENT and looked it up. Funnily enough I had some lute inserted in RU5 the day after I did this puzzle, after the dentist decided he’d done enough work on the root canal and sealed it off and completed the filling. I can’t remember much else about it, it’s been a busy week! Thanks Harry and Guy.
      1. British tooth notation – a bit more usually UR5 = “upper right 5” (UR1 being a central incisor). Past work experience on dental computer systems informed me that the US notation is different.
        1. I figured it was something like that, but should’ve figured it out. I haven’t had any natural teeth since tenth grade, so am not very conversant in dentist-speak.

          Edited at 2019-03-03 04:54 pm (UTC)

  2. I have no time for this one, as I evidently forgot to submit it, but I’m pretty sure I went offline to finish it, so more than a half-hour anyway. Nothing sticks in memory about this, other than the two unknown words, both of which seemed unavoidable with the checkers all in. No idea about LUTE, just assumed that ‘yellowish’ was the def. Now I’m going to look up Steve Martin to find out what he has to do with condos.
  3. 28 minutes. Like Vinyl, i thought of LUTESCENT once I had the crossers without being absolutely sure that it meant yellowish. I put in the unknown STEGANOGRAPHS from the letters and crossers, thinking it must be an extension of a stenograph, There was always a stenographer taking things down in Perry Mason. I was thrown for a while in the NE by NOTATIONAL, a word I used frequently in my Maths and Physics days but not one I associated quickly with cryptograms. Mind you, nowadays when I read a piece of Mathematical Physics my son is doing, even if it’s a proof I knew, they’ve changed notation so much it feels like it’s in code. The state of my football team has left me more suicidal than 21 across. Nice puzzle. Thank you B and David.
  4. Both setter and editor must have looked at 10ac and thought ‘yeah that seems OK’. I don’t understand how that happens.
  5. I got all of this eventually bar STEGANOGRAPHS and LUTESCENT. I had the anagram fodder for 11d and assumed it had the same base as Stenographer. I had no idea about the Lutescent clue and was thinking about dog leads for quite a while -there are different sorts. Ah well.
    I sympathise with BW about his football team. They did pretty well yesterday and only lost when they had just nine men left on the field (against eleven) some of whom allegedly had not been paid.
    1. According to The Bolton News’ football writer Marc Iles, none have been paid, David, nor the staff. We’re certain to be relegated now which must knock £10 million off the price. The potential buyers are reputedly in the middle of their due diligence. I imagine that will need to be a very thorough process. I’ll just be happy if we start next season still trading now.
      1. Administration looks increasingly likely, as it does at Blackpool and Notts County. Things look iffy at Charlton and Macclesfield too. The FA’s due diligence is anything but. The game outside the Premier League is in a parlous state.
        1. I have a ticket for the Woking v Torquay match on 6 April.
          What are my chances of seeing the game? I am a neutral but my host is a die-hard Gulls supporter!
          1. As far as I know, all is comparatively well with those two – they’re clear of the rest at the top of the league, so it’s a genuine promotion six-pointer. Enjoy !
  6. I got totally stuck on the NE corner and took ages to work out the unknown STEGANOGRAPHS too. Having looked up the unknown LUTESCENT, I took the wordplay to be a second straight definition, a reference to lutescent lead as the dentist’s material, but I appear to have been doubly bamboozled. Whatever. At least I got no pink squares.
  7. 11dn I initially went for STENOGRAPHS!! (Perry Mason indeed) then SPECTOGRAPHS but DNF as 15ac -T-RIO.
    BARRIO I knew not. But I do know a few posh gangsters!

    A DNF

    Someone up there, with a long memory, does not like Bolton Wanderers – after the 58 Cup Final debacle. ‘The Lion of Vienna’ would be banned for ten games these days.
    If you saw the Old Trafford and Wemberley games yesterday, you will understand that, as noted by Randy Newman, God (a half-scarf Manchunian) fixes football games. Sorry BW.

    FOI 1dn ONCE

    COD 1ac OCCASIONAL (slightly more than once)

    WOD has to be 10ac The French LUTESCENT’s daughter.

    PS My favourite ‘Wanderer’ was Ivan Campo Ramos. The hair, the swagger, the everything. I would have loved to have lived next door to him up in Bolton. An Indie band from Preston(!) named themselves Ivan Campo. He would have made a fantastic Play for Today – ‘El Vecino España’

    Taxi for one!

    Edited at 2019-03-03 10:07 am (UTC)

    1. I think the devil’s in the seat where the football is being fixed, H. And the reminder of those great days of Nat in the fifties and Ivan Campo in the noughties is a sword to my heart.
  8. ….unlike the thriving Olivia Coleman, and my attempt to shoehorn her into 19A was doomed to failure.

    Took only 6 minutes to reach the 10A/11D junction, and gave up 5 minutes later to take refuge in aids.

    Liked the tressless Socialist leader (Kinnock ?) but hated LUTESCENT with a vengeance.

  9. DNF. Had most of this done in a reasonable time but gave up on 10ac. This one spoiled the puzzle a bit for me. I know with all the checkers in and bearing in mind it looked likely to end in -scent I was only looking for two letters, almost certainly vowels. But both lute for tooth repairer and lutescent for yellowish were unknown to me. One unknown in either Def or wp would’ve been fine but I thought having the two obscurities in one clue was unfair.
  10. Oh, and while I’m at it, I’d also like to say the print edition puzzle’s move from the business section to the news review section is annoying. When it was in the business section you could fold the broadsheet in half and then in half again to get the ST grid and clues on one side and the Mephisto grid and clues on the other side. In its new home when you do the same you get the ST grid and clues and the Mephisto clues on one side and the Mephisto grid on the other, separated from its clues. Of course you can just fold the broadsheet once to get all the grids and clues on one side but it’s somehow less satisfying. Harrumph over!
  11. Our esteemed bloggist raises an eyebrow hereabouts.

    Early November 2016, I was informed, it was no longer PC to mention ‘you know what’ on this platform.

    I would suggest two weeks in the naughty chair for M. Guy de Fawkes and a week for Lady Olivia, for her tall stories – to run consecutively.

    Poor old Meldrew got six months last year; a decision upheld by the Supreme Court.

    1. Yes I’d better shut up. And just did.

      Edited at 2019-03-03 03:59 pm (UTC)

      1. As the setter explicitly brought up the topic here, I don’t think your clever and entirely factual commentary was at all out of line, Olivia, and am sorry to see you deleted the post.
      2. This is silly. Trump is explicitly mentioned in the clue, for goodness sake! And if we have to suffer other people droning on endlessly about football* I don’t see why the odd political comment is so taboo. Of course we don’t want this to turn into a political discussion forum but things can be taken too far.

        *I have no objection to people droning on endlessly about football: knock yourselves out!

        1. Ok, here’s what I said as best I recall. The Trump CONDO tower has 58 stories but he told his people to SPIN it to say it EXCEEDS that by 10 floors (and as a New Yorker G de S would know all about this). Also DT was LUTESCENT and SICK AS A PARROT about his inaugural crowd numbers being less than his predecessor’s so he had his people SPIN that too. Yup, it sounded better the first time around. Oh and my time was about 17 and 1/2 and I didn’t know the tooth cement.
  12. Lord Keriothe – sorry TRUMP is mentioned by the setter – I actually missed it first time round – thank you Guy and Olivia for pointing it out. Disgraceful!

    Droning area:-

    Football in UK is played mostly with the foot where as-

    ‘Football’ Stateside is played mostly with the hand.
    This is very silly! However, I note the knee is bent on occasion.

  13. Thanks David and guy_du_sable
    Took two sessions and just under 50 min to do this – but that was having to look up both 10a and 11d – always good to learn something new. SICK AS A PARROT was a new phrase as well.
    Didn’t quite see the first part of the ARTICLE word play – thought that it was very clever when it was pointed out. Similarly ONUS was just as good.
    Finished with PLEDGER and BARRIO

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