Sunday Times Cryptic 5035 by Robert Price — no drugs, no drinking in the car

Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel! This one threw me a few curves, but I got there in the end. After all, love can’t go wrong. There were a few things I didn’t know before.

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

 1 Willing to defer loan by letter (10)
SUBMISSIVE   SUB, “loan” (Collins: “an advance payment of wages or salary,” from “subsistence allowance”) + MISSIVE, “letter”
 7 Fell race (4)
PELT   DD   Nice… “Fell” is uncommon nowadays for (the noun) PELT and PELT rarely means (the verb) “race.” In the surface, “Fell” is an adjective and “race” is a noun. The editor informs me (below) that “the intended surface is an event in the northern British sport of fell running [of which I’d never heard]. (Fell=northern British for ‘hill/mountain’).”   …Come to think of it, I did know that definition of “fell.”
 9 Sweet and sour dip (4,4)
ACID DROP   ACID, “sour” + DIP, “drop”   It’s also a skateboard move!   …I’ve much more experience with the verb described by reversing the order of those words.
10 King backed by two-thirds of his country (6)
ISRAEL   [-h]IS + LEAR<=“backed”
11 Bully people to serve without reply (6)
MENACE   MEN, “people” + ACE, “serve without reply” in tennis
13 Transports unopened bags by river (8)
RAPTURES   R(iver) + [-c]APTURES
14 Where flogging occurs behind saloons? (3,4,5)
CAR BOOT SALES   CD   The “saloons” here are automobiles, of course.   …What we Yanks call “sedans.” And we call yer BOOT the “trunk.” This was my LOI, which will surprise no one. (“BAD BOOK SALES?” You would’ve laughed.)
17 Wait for a PC to come back (8,4)
RESPONSE TIME   CD   Collins: “the time that elapses while waiting for a computer to respond to a command”
20 Vehicles going head-to-head to secure a game (8)
BACCARAT   CAB + CART “head-to-head” locking in A
21 Italian uniform that is trimmed with leather (6)
TUSCAN   T(U)(SC)AN   The abbreviation for scilicet, “that is,” shows up just often enough here to not be utterly forgotten.
22 Seafood starter to improve on urchin (6)
SCAMPI   SCAMP, “urchin” + I[-mprove]
23 Daring to include this setter really is playful (8)
GAMESOME   GA(ME)(SO)ME   “Really” as an intensifier: I am really confused; I am so confused.
25 Tutors in deman{d on S}undays (4)
DONS   Hidden   …Blindingly obvious, but I didn’t see it until corrected by the editor! D, it seems, abbreviates “demand” in economics, business, and finance—and, while that’s not in Collins or, it works too (ha).
26 I got out of tracing that complex timeline plan (5,5)
GANTT CHART   (trac[-i]ng that)*   Exactly as described; it outlines a project schedule. Invented by one Henry Gantt in the early 20th century.   …NHO!
 2 Topless muscleman represented America (5,3)
UNCLE SAM   ([-m]uscleman)*
 3 Forced to remove English cross (3)
MAD   MAD[-e]
 4 Doctor’s cut about to produce rapid swelling (5)
Malpractice suit!
 5 Passes on major road having elevated sections (7)
IMPARTS   MI<=“having elevated” + PARTS, “sections”
 6 Political forecasts from Split, by outspoken Europeans (4,5)
EXIT POLLS   EXIT, “Split” + “Poles”
 7 A Parisian who places tips (11)
PERQUISITES   A, “Per” + QUI, “Parisian who” + SITES, “places”
 8 Songs first in the race to be heard (6)
LIEDER   “leader”
12 A writer’s bar bursting with muscatel (6,5)
ALBERT CAMUS   (bar + muscatel)*   …The Myth of Sisyphus made a big impression on me at an (even more) impressionable age.
15 Marking helping to support pupil once (9)
OBSERVING   O(ld) B(oy), “pupil once” + SERVING, “helping”
16 One might get a stiff back cured by him (8)
EMBALMER   CD   Here “cured” has the sense of “preserved,” “processed.” Somewhat macabre, this clue.
18 Figure love can’t go wrong (7)
OCTAGON   O (zero) “love” + (can’t go)*
19 Cowboy being awkward, mostly over nothing (6)
GAUCHO   GAUCH[-e], “awkward” + O (zero) “nothing”   …That the French word for “left” also means “awkward” speaks to the… dominance of the right-handed majority (of which I am a… member, actually), doesn’t it?
21 Egg on top of toast abandoned unfinished (5)
TEMPT   T[-oast] + EMPT[-y]
24 Audible like this note (3)
SOH   “so,” “like this”


22 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic 5035 by Robert Price — no drugs, no drinking in the car”

  1. 7A: I’m sure the intended surface is an event in the northern British sport of fell running. (Fell=northern British for ‘hill/mountain”).

    25A: no need for D=demand – the answer is hidden in “demand on Sundays”

    1. I observe that the stated prize for today’s crossword 5036 on my printed copy is the usual reference books, and only one set at that.
      I do hope this is an error by The Times IT dept, and not a new ST austerity policy!

      1. It’s neither a mistake nor deliberate austerity. After more than 30 years of prize sponsorship, Cross decided to stop. The new prizes were first stated in print on 20 November, and the copy I signed off for today’s paper includes “Three runners-up win…” after the description of the first prize. I would love to see prizes that aren’t reference books, but in the current economic climate, that may be difficult to arrange.

        1. Ah, thanks for the update. Indeed, the small print says three runners-up get the dictionary.
          I already have three sets of those reference books, so won’t be entering in future!

        2. To be honest, I would much rather have a £20 book token, like the Saturday puzzle, then a heap of reference books that I largely have already. Would that not be more economical?

  2. 24:09
    I didn’t think that Robert meant ‘evil’ by ‘fell’, although that is a possible reading; so I figured it was a race on a fell–didn’t know of fell running. I didn’t understand the PC reference in 17ac, but RESPONSE TIME is another term for ‘reaction time’ in psychology: the time from stimulus to reaction. I biffed RAPTURES–stuck thinking the river was URE–and finally parsed post-submission. NHO GANTT CHART. I liked MENACE.

  3. 46 minutes with the last 6 spent on the intersecting clues 21ac and 21dn neither of which had any reason to be problematic. There was nothing unknown here other than fell/PELT but the answer came easily from the other definition and checkers so I wasn’t delayed other than to make a note to check a dictionary after completion.

  4. 68m 53s with two errors. I typed GANNT CHART in 26ac and 7ac ‘felled’ me completely. I ended up with POLE.
    In 15d I became obsessed with ‘helping’ equalling portion.
    In the VG for Very Good column went CAR BOOT SALES and RAPTURES.
    COD to EMBALMER. As Guy says, it was a macabre clue but it was fun. I really liked ‘stiff’!

  5. Another (or close enough) 68 minute DNF. I didn’t know either sense of PELT so I bunged in “poll” in desperation. I only semi-parsed RESPONSE TIME, wondering if it might be a double def but the cryptic def parsing is more plausible.

    I’d heard of a GANTT CHART but I knew nothing else about it and, unless it’s something which can help in solving crosswords, I’ll probably remain forever in ignorance. I liked CAR BOOT SALES.

  6. Excellent crossword by Robert, as always. I confidently put in MOOR for 1a Fell race (which I think works?). Fell = Moor and the Moors were an islamic people.

    1. Sort of works, leaving the crossers aside, but the OED says “A hill, a mountain,” which we fell-walkers would regard as distinct from a moor.
      Fortunately for me, the word fellmonger came straight to my mind when I read the clue. No idea why except that it is quite a memorable word!

      1. Collins says ‘a mountain, hill, or tract of upland moor‘. But as Peter says it would have to be MOORS for ‘race’ to work. That didn’t stop me putting it in!

        1. I too entered MOOR (despite being a bit worried it should be moorish) , which of course threw me out from solving 7 and 8d.

    2. I don’t think I would allow “race” to indicate a single member of a race.

  7. I was very held up by PELT which I got only after being held up by LIEDER.
    My paper copy has ICED ? DROP; I hope I corrected that before submitting online.
    But my bookshelves are full so a collection of reference books could be awkward.

  8. I, too, started off with Moor for 7A, but was not happy enough, with the reason Peter Biddlecombe gives above, to put it in. NHO the noun sense of fell meaning a pelt – checked it afterwards. NHO Gantt Charts, so that was late to the party. Didn’t understand RESPONSE TIME fully. I liked CAR BOOT SALES, ISRAEL, BACCARAT and the surface for CAMUS, which since I couldn’t recall his first name, came in useful. Thanks to Robert for an enjoyable puzzle and to Guy for the blog.

  9. 14:31. Another MOOR here, but the somewhat chestnutty LIEDER put paid to that quite quickly.
    I hear the term GANTT CHART all the time but it’s not a term you see written down much so I don’t think I knew that it had two Ts.

  10. All green for me. Unlike some others here, GANTT CHART was a write-in given a couple of checkers I already had. I also knew FELL (as a teenager I owned a pair of “fell-walking boots”) so no problem there. I don’t think I’ve ever come across GAMESOME before, but it was totally plausible. Nice crossword (attributed to Anax when I solved it but it didn’t have his feel so I wasn’t surprised it was Myrtilus).

  11. Wow! 80 minutes, but I did finish correctly despite having no idea what a GANTT CHART might be and not being quite sure of my LOI, which was PELT. But the fact that in German Fell and Pelz mean fur at least made the corresponding rare English meanings of fell and pelt seem plausible (and vaguely remembered). Nice puzzle, of the usual Sunday difficulty and subtlety.

  12. Lots of NHOs here, so not a success for me, but I did appreciate the subtleties of many of the clues, and enjoyed the PDM of CAR BOOT SALES! Thanks to Myrtilus for a usual very cryptic crossword, and to Guy for sorting it all out.

  13. Thanks Robert and guy
    A tough encounter that took three sittings and just shy of an hour and a half to complete – didn’t get far with it over a cafe breakfast (even when it took 40 minutes for my coffee to get to me). With ALBERT CAMUS the only long clue to fall early in the piece, it did limit the crossing letters for many of the clues. Really liked the cryptic definitions of the two long across clues – went down a slightly different logic with RESPONSE TIME (had it as the time that it would take a policeman to arrive at the scene of a call – work in the IT space and nearly embarrassed for not seeing that view of it). The clue that amused me most was the black humour of EMBALMER, especially as it was just not expected.
    Finished with the same two crossers in the SE corner that others did – TUSCAN (just cleverly disguised) and TEMPT (neat word play).

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