Sunday Times Cryptic 5025 by Dean Mayer — Crack that c☮de!

Lots of fun here. Wild parties (one that goes on for days) and topless drinking! But the time was not wasted in utter dissipation, for I learned a few things: for example, that 1A does not mean birds, and a very interesting fact about Italy.

I indicate (Ars Magna)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Egg producers avoid legislation (9)
DUCKBILLS   DUCK, “avoid” + BILLS, “legislation”   Could be platypuses, could be dinosaurs…
 6 Opportunity to welcome new supporter (5)
 9 Love poetry by one abroad (7)
OVERSEA  O, 0, “Love”  + VERSE, “poetry” + A, “one”
10 Busy as one caught interrupting supply (7)
11 Take a little collector’{s it}em (3)
SIT   Hidden   Specifically, “Take” a test
12 I order parts for European to hang (11)
INDEPENDENT   The letter “I” has often been clued by “newspaper,” referring to what was once The Independent’s  “sister” publication (as Jackkt explains below), the i (whose name I guess still stands for “independent”), but here it must refer only to the indication of political affiliation (or, rather, lack of one).   INDENT, “order” (Collins: “to order [goods] using a special order form”) “parts” (divides) to let in E(uropean) and PEND, “to hang.”   …Last one parsed! I only knew the typographical sense of INDENT.
13 A loyal following always with me, too (3,4,7)
FOR GOOD MEASURE   A + SURE, “loyal” after FOR GOOD, “always” + ME
16 Euphoric days at wild rave (4,5,5)
ACID HOUSE PARTY  (Euphoric days at)*
20 Gulf Radio host has material about alcoholic drink (3,3,5)
TOM AND JERRY   T(OMAN DJ)ERRY   “Gulf Radio” has to be decrypted as a unified phrase, so that “Gulf” is an adjective, because “Gulf” does not specifically mean “Oman.”  According to Wikipedia, the drink “is a variant of eggnog with brandy and rum added and served hot.” The invention of this “traditional Christmastime cocktail in the United States” is “sometimes attributed to British writer and professional boxing journalist Pierce Egan in the 1820s.” Eagan used the concoction to promote his book and later play from which it takes its name.
22 Man about to chop a tree (3)
ELM   M[-a]LE<=“about”
23 Result of topless drinking bout? (7)
AROUSAL   [-c]AROUSAL   &lit!  …Well, if you don’t drink too much.
24 Distribute bread rude person delivered? (4,3)
DOLE OUT   “dough” “lout”
25 Amateur construction to gather dry air (5)
26 A single pinny’s hem covers the lady’s skirt (9)
PERIPHERY   PER, “a” + I or 1, “single” + P(HER)Y
 1 Takes one home and falls asleep (5,3)
 2 Being a pleasure giver? (8,7)
CREATURE COMFORT   CREATURE, “Being” + COMFORT, “a pleasure giver”  The charade is clear. I suppose this could be an &lit, at least if we take “Being a…” to be part of a wordy old-fashioned definition, an intro to “pleasure giver.” What do you think?
 3 Wild party? I will crack that code (7)
BUSHIDO   BUSH, “Wild” (“in the wild,” “in the bush”) + I + DO, “party”   Moral code of the samurai
 4 New partner for Pete in plain Welsh town (9)
LLANDUDNO   LLA(N)(DUD)NO  …I had to do some research for a full explanation: Dudley Moore I knew, but not Peter Cook.
 5 Exclusive small shop (5)
SCOOP   S(mall) + CO-OP,   “shop”
 6 Fixes penalties following case of damage (7)
DEFINES   D[-amag]E + FINES, “penalties”
 7 A place like Italy can rule out working in cold snap (7-4,4)
NUCLEAR-FREE ZONE   (can rule)* + FREEZ(ON)E  Wikipedia (excuse the grammar): “Italy is a nuclear free zone since the Italian nuclear power referendum of November 1987. Following center-right parties’ victory in the 2008 election, Italy’s industry minister announced that the government scheduled the construction to start the first new Italian nuclear-powered plant by 2013. The announced project was paused in March 2011, after the Japanese earthquake, and scrapped after a referendum on 12–13 June 2011.”
 8 Find right area and lines around it (6)
RARITY   R(ight) + A(rea) + R(IT)Y
14 Film performer’s needs after a walk in the park (4,5)
EASY RIDER   EASY, “a walk in the park” + RIDER, “performer’s needs”: A rider specifies an artist’s requirements when performing at a venue. Tour riders of big names are often lengthy and very detailed.
15 TV award’s put up with judge’s agreement (8)
SYMMETRY   EMMYS<=“put up” + TRY, “judge”
17 Family in yard turned unpleasant (7)
DYNASTY   YD<=“turned” + NASTY, “unpleasant”
18 It shows one’s ready to be taken home (7)
That one’s under the table?
19 A beach’s length? (6)
21 Magistrate, around Christmas, heading off for drink (5)
JULEP   J([-y]ULE)P   JP = Justice of the Peace


26 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic 5025 by Dean Mayer — Crack that c☮de!”

  1. An age and a mistake aka 28m + JULIP (No excuse really – I only know the word from the Ray Charles instrumental)

    Weird solve – I remember having 20 minutes on the clock and only the corners filled in, then I got one down the bottom – payslip maybe? And the whole thing fell out

  2. 31:10
    DNK RIDER, DNK that Italy was NUCLEAR-FREE. Didn’t think of the relevant SIT, so wondered about ‘take’. And I never figured out INDEPENDENT.

        1. They don’t have any of their own, and claim that there are none, i.e. that the US doesn’t have any here. Believe it if you can.

          1. Kevin, in all, since the bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there have been six or seven reactor accidents in Japan, the last being at Fukushima Daiihi. These are well documented online.

            Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) consistently ignored warnings from Emeritus Professor of Seismology Shimazaki of Tokyo University, regarding the possibility of a three-meter tidal wave, which then occurred at Christmas 2003 at Fukushima.

            Chernobyl l & ll (1973 -1982), were just two of eight Soviet RBMK nuclear power plants built in Russia/Ukraine. (Leningrad 1, Kursk 4 and Smolensk 1). Russians stated that Chernobyl was designed to provide power mainly for Belarus and Western Russia. Might then nuclear power stations considered to be potential future weapons of war? After the Russian invasion, on 25 February 2022, Putin’s troops swarmed all over Chernobyl for twelve days, looting the hardware and the fire fighting equipment. They have now resorted shelling it!! The IAEA and all of Western Europe are going nuts, as is Vlad!

            I imagine that if ever Japan got dragged into a war, then Fukushima would be a prime target for bombing.



    I think the beginning is A = PER single = I then as you note.
    Thanks for your solutions, love this blog for helping the parsing.

  4. 48 minutes, so at the tougher end of the spectrum for me.

    I didn’t know the cocktail TOM AND JERRY but the answer and wordplay were easily spotted.

    I looked twice at the parsing of EASY RIDER as although I’m fully aware of what a rider to a contract is I did not know it with specific reference to the needs of a performer. I also considered that ‘walk in the park’ might account for EASY RIDE leaving only the second R to be accounted for, which I was unable to do, so I discarded that idea.

    It’s probably easier on this occasion to take ‘I’ as a straightforward abbreviation for INDEPENDENT at 12ac rather than involving the ‘i’ newspaper. The abbreviation appears in Chambers, and in Collins on-line (under American English). We’ve had ‘newspaper’ cluing the letter ‘i’ a few times, and that’s fine, but the ‘i’ newspaper is not the same thing as ‘The Independent’ and never has been although they originated as sister papers. Since then the ‘i’ has been hived off and is now owned by the Daily Mail group. ‘The Independent’ is now only available electronically.

    1. Thanks, Jackkt. I was second-guessing my take on INDEPENDENT today—when I was actually away from my computer (I went to a picnic!)—feeling that it was probably the wrong way round to use the cluing convention as a definition for the… rather, for a newspaper. But I didn’t know (or remember, since it’s no doubt come up here before) that references to the i were not to The Independent, that they were just “sister” publications.

      1. You’re welcome, Guy. One other detail whilst on the subject is that the title of the ‘i’ newspaper is always written in lower case, so if the clue had been referring to it we might have chased our tails arguing whether it was justifiable to capitalise it even as the first word of a clue.

        1. I lower-cased the letter in referring directly to the paper’s name, but “I” is of course a capital in the answer—in the grid.
          Wikipedia says that your erstwhile Deputy PM and former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is a regular i columnist. In the early 1990s, he was briefly an intern at the magazine where I’ve worked for the past 36 years, The Nation—as was Eddie Miliband!

          1. The omission of “Deputy” was of course just a typo—and as for the name of his party, my mind seems to have skipped the rails to think instead of Eddie! Of bacon sandwich fame.

  5. 48 minutes. About half my usual time for a Dean puzzle so I was quite happy, even if I couldn’t parse the ones mentioned above, plus TOM AND JERRY. Like Guy, I wasn’t confident about the parsing of CREATURE COMFORT either, but agree it would do for an &lit.

    OVERSEA looked a bit strange without the S but seemed the obvious answer. Favourite was the Pete and Dud reminder at 4d.

  6. 48m 19s
    I found this much easier than Dean’s last Sunday puzzle so I breathed a sigh of relief to complete this one in under an hour.
    10ac: Does anyone outside crosswordland use ‘busy’ to mean a (police) OFFICER?
    Thank you, Guy, for DOLE OUT and INDEPENDENT. I had to read your blog at least twice to understand the parsing of the latter.
    20ac: NHO the drink TOM AND JERRY.
    22d: CREATURE COMFORT. That made me smile because it reminded me of a series of commercials entitled Creature Comforts made by the multi-Oscar winning animator Nick Park. He went on to make the wonderful ‘Wallace & Gromit’ films but I first came across his work with those ” Heat Electric” commercials which featured claymation models speaking people’s actual words in which they talk about their homes.
    Favourites: FOR GOOD MEASURE, NUCLEAR FREE ZONE (Not just Italy; New Zealand as well), SYMMETRY and ELM

    1. Busy! I suppose not. But note the ‘Busy’ family in ‘Bartholomew Fair’.
      We in the business are all envious of Bristolian Nick Park’ talents.

      1. I forget exactly when, but my first exposure to Nick Park’s work was seeing ‘Creature Comforts’ on a Virgin Atlantic flight to the US. I remember sitting there open mouthed at the brilliance of them.

  7. Jeez, this was tough. I managed about half of it before abandoning ship. Could have stared at it all week and got no further. Needed this blog for too many to list, but 20 &26ac were typical of the mental agility – and GK – I still lack. Thanks, Guy, for the granular explanations. And well done to all who made it!

  8. I managed to finish this eventually – a sign of progress. I remembered BUSHIDO from a previous puzzle-LOI after checks.
    I was never really sure about SIT.
    And NHO TOM AND JERRY as a drink but, as we say, what else could it be?
    Always pleased to finish a Dean.

  9. Small parsing point: in 14D, it’s “a walk in the park” that indicates “easy”, and that’s the form I can see recorded in a couple of dictionaries.

    1. Well, of course. TA
      I’m glad no one seems to have spotted that I had the wrong word between subtraction brackets for the DE in DEFINES. Have to watch the easier ones especially.

  10. I took a while with this one, and didn’t get take = sit at 11ac, or see the hidden. I had SET. I think glue “takes” when it “sets”. But I like the official version better. Nice to have both TOM AND JERRY and Pete and Dud

  11. Above my pay grade, unfortunately! Found last Sunday’s ‘a walk in the park’ comparatively. Too many to look up to help with biffing the rest made nonsense of the exercise …and definitions being obscure didn’t help. At least learnt something about Italy and yet another cocktail name.

  12. Took most of the week but I got there in spite of nho busy=OFFICER (even in crosswordland), indent=order, BUSHIDO (not a computer language then) and inability to see the definition of CREATURE COMFORT. I haven’t looked it up but to me a CREATURE COMFORT is something like food and shelter, armagnac perhaps. Being a CREATURE COMFORT would certainly be being something that could be ‘being a pleasure giver’ but it’s a bit of a semantic trot? Perhaps I’m still missing something.

    Applause for SCOOP, AROUSAL, DOLE OUT and DITTY and thanks for the parsing (‘i’ in particular).

  13. Thanks Dean and Guy
    Found this one pretty tough, taking a tad under two hours across three sittings. Found a few of the clues even tougher to parse – these included FOR GOOD MEASURE, ELM and INDEPENDENT. OFFICER was entered from word play alone, having not heard of the term ‘busy’ as a police officer. Also needed the blog for the specific RIDER term of performers.
    Was nice to see the cute ‘platypus’ alter-ego make it at the top – one of our cuter animals, if you ignore the poisonous spur on their hind leg – it was obviously one of my earlier entries. Originally wrote in SMART at 5d and had an unparsed DEAL OUT initially at 24a.
    Finished with RARITY (tricky definition), that ELM (that I left till near last, basically because I couldn’t see the word play) and OFFICER (through my ignorance of the British slang for policeman). Was hard but satisfying that at least the grid was completed successfully !

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