Sunday Times Cryptic No 5007 by Dean Mayer — The cat’s pyjamas

Another excellent offering from Dean. The surfaces are mostly deadpan, though 20 is pretty funny and 4 seems at first a somewhat nasty joke. The most fun this time may have been had from the CDs and the brilliant (semi-)&lit 12.

And I gotta say, this new site is the bee’s knees (just noticed that, like for now, WordPress automatically produces “smart” quotation marks and apostrophes, even if you put in non-squigglies)—although, until we can get e-mail notifications when someone comments or replies (I’ll take my 9 and be patient), I will have to periodically refresh this page… and check back a week or two later to see how bruce@aus fared. (Hi ya, Bruce!) UPDATE: I have received notifications of the first two comments here. Already! But see Jackkt’s reply to one of my comments below if you want the full story.

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

 1 Part of show acknowledged as awful (4)
WACK  Hidden
 3 Designed to come out of a jar in one piece (10)
SHOCKPROOF  CD, playing on two senses of “jar”
10 Fool about in small part of desert (5)
11 He wrote Book Two (4,5)
MARK TWAIN  The Gospel of MARK + TWAIN, “Two”
12 Presumably loose clothing right for this? (7,5)
SLUMBER PARTY  (Presumably)* cloaking RT (“right”)
15 Fratricide from Zulus without leaders (7)
ROMULUS  [-f]ROM + [-z]ULUS There are varying versions of the killing of the mythic king’s twin, Remus. Nice device here!
16 Professor of great wisdom (4-3)
KNOW-ALL  CD, playing on “professor” …Over here, we only hear the version “know-it-all.”
17 Frank is cold when he’s out (7)
19 Beast of a vehicle I bought, 50 per cent off (7)
CARIBOU  CAR, “a vehicle” + I + BOU[-ght]
20 Row of grenades — time to run (12)
DISAGREEMENT  (grenades + time)*
23 Crest in a kind of black colour (9)
COCHINEAL  CO(CHINE)AL “red dyestuff consisting of the dried, pulverized bodies of certain female scale insects, Dactylopius coccus, of the Coccidae family, cactus-eating insects native to tropical and subtropical America” (Encyclopedia Britannica) Strictly off the menu for vegans.
24 Race track in Italy by second city (5)
IMOLA  I(taly) + MO, “second” + LA, Los Angeles, “city” …My LOI. Never heard of it!
25 Nonsense about hire car one’s kept driving (10)
26 One hint left within another? (4)
 1 Doctor despaired after western epidemic (10)
WIDESPREAD  W(estern) + (despaired)*
 2 Perfect rug to put down outside (10)
 4 Bit of body odour from the bottom, of course (7)
HUMERUS  HUM, “odour” + SURE<=“from the bottom”
 5 A lot of Americans fish on a boat (3,4)
CAR PARK  CARP, “fish” + ARK, “boat”
 6 Nice version of “square” (5,9)
PETIT BOURGEOIS  CD, “Nice” being the capital of the French Riviera. Collins: “…indicating a sense of self-righteousness and a high degree of conformity to established standards of behaviour”; Wiktionnaire: « Mesquin, peu ouvert, terre à terre »
 7 Work on a large stone (4)
OPAL  OP, opus, “work” + A + L(arge)
 8 Enjoyable day in store (4)
FUND  FUN, “enjoyable” + D(ay)
 9 It’s simple to use if you’re patient (6,8)
HERBAL MEDICINE  CD, playing on “simple”—an old term (Archaic in Collins) for a medicinal herb or the medicine made from it …I am vaping my own favorite variety even as I type.
13 Local police penning poem about pretty vapid figure (6,4)
BARBIE DOLL  BAR, “local” + BILL, “police” jailing ODE<=“about”
14 I will use tart on cooking show (10)
ILLUSTRATE  I[’]LL + (use tart)*
18 Begin covering each eyeball (5,2)
19 Company register on a part of plant (7)
COROLLA  CO, “Company” + ROLL, “register” + A
21 Genuine playwright, but not British (4)
22 Short slope leading to cliff (4)

41 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5007 by Dean Mayer — The cat’s pyjamas”

  1. Yes, 12a was absolutely brilliant. I can imagine Dean toasting himself after coming up with that one. I was pleased that Romulus was my second one in – those clever in-plain-sight clues are usually the ones I spend an eternity on. ‘Torrential’ was a lovely smooth wordplay/definition camouflage too. Ace puzzle altogether.
    Thank you for the new site. Even pre-war, the Russian ownership was something that deterred me from signing up to LiveJournal, and latterly I haven’t been able to post my fascinating thoughts anonymously either. Unfortunately, the Crossword Club forum is becoming more and more neglected, but maybe that can change too.
    Cheers to setter, blogger et al.

  2. 26:51
    A terrific puzzle, as always. DNK WACK, CHINE, IMOLA, but these weren’t really a problem. I did have a problem with POI 3ac: having PROOF, for some reason I just couldn’t come up with SHOCK. I have checks by half a dozen clues: DUNCE, MARK TWAIN, TORRENTIAL, CAR PARK, PETIT BOURGEOIS, LOI HUMERUS. But I never saw what was going on in the brilliant SLUMBER PARTY, which is now my COD.
    I’m unable to get today’s ST, 5008. I get a 404 error message instead, and it doesn’t show at all among the puzzles that are listed when I search by number. Anyone else having trouble?

    1. Yes, and there’s no Forum entry for this puzzle yet either, as I found after registering my complaint on the one for last week’s instead.

      I didn’t see what was going on with SLUMBER PARTY for way too long either. Had the answer, too…!

      (Meanwhile, it seems that e-mail notifications have been implemented already! We really have a crack team!)

      1. Well, I take some small comfort from knowing it’s not just me. (I went to the Times site, and can get the puzzle all right, but I can’t print it out.) Today being Sunday, I expect we’ll have to wait a while before anyone notices the problem.

        1. I’ll report the problem later today. By my understanding, anyone who can use the crossword cub version can also read the paper online, and there, 5008 seems to be working.

            1. Go to the Times site, click on the puzzle, then click on the upper right icon, the parallel lines; ‘print’ will be one of the choices.

                1. The site seems to have a right margin display problem with indented replies on an Android phone
                  Your message show as



                    1. OK. I had only tested up to level of 3 indents across form factors. This is the first time we’ve had this many levels of reply for a long time… and is why the theme had such a small level of indentation. Will change the level of indent on the smallest device widths. Thanks for letting me know!

          1. Thanks, Peter. The Times site is working–indeed, the club site is, too, except for this puzzle–but my attempt at printing a copy didn’t work. On edit: I did print it; I don’t know how I missed the print option the first time.

            1. Not really replying just to you, Kevin, but adding my two pennyworth at the end of what seems to be a thread: I too had the 404 error and did the crossword via the paper. It occurred to me to ring them up because I thought it might be just me, but evidently not so I won’t.

              When I submitted it I got an automatic response from the ST suggesting that I’d done something wrong. But I couldn’t tell which was wrong: the crossword, the sudoku, or the chess, all of which I’d submitted. This may be related because I checked the number of the chess, which I’d emailed.

      2. Guy, I think this is your first blog since the switch so you won’t have experienced it previously, but email notifications to the blogger on duty have been in place since Day 1 – hence the conversation on Wednesday when Picquet (Pip) was overwhelmed with notifications pouring in simultaneously on various devices. I think there are moves afoot to make that optional at some point, but the main change will be when people who post a comment in a discussion can choose to be sent an email notification whenever somebody replies directly to it. John M has confirmed above that work is in progress on this.

        1. Thanks. I missed the Wednesday conversation, but was in the past few hours beginning to wonder if comment notifications had not already been implemented for bloggers before the recent post about “Minor Enhancements” and only the matter of those for commenters was still hanging fire.

  3. Yes,brilliant puzzle.Enjoyed BRECHT, BARBIE DOLL, ROMULUS and SLUMBER PARTY most.Thanks,Guy, for explaining all the things I didn’t see.

  4. Thanks, Guy, but although I solved SLUMBER PARTY, I still don’t get it, sorry!
    My solving time was 75m 48s the last 5 clues took 26 minutes.
    Thanks, Guy, again, for explaining 23ac and 9d. I couldn’t see how ‘herbal’ meant ‘simple’.
    In 13ac I thought it was slightly unusual to have a descriptive -‘pretty’. To me it’s ‘pretty’ irrelevant.
    Lots to like including: ROMULUS, SHOCKPROOF and PETIT BOURGEOIS.
    Usual top class stuff from Dean.

    1. SLUMBER PARTY is an anagram of “Presumably” and (the two letters together) RT, and the participants in such a (typically children’s) sleepover would likely wear pajamas in the US, pyjamas in the UK, which are loose-fitting to facilitate relaxation. At first I was going strictly from the apparent definition, and PAJAMA or PYJAMA PARTY didn’t fit, so…

      The BARBIE DOLL is generally considered to be “pretty” in a “vapid” way, if not “vapid” in a “pretty” way (I find her a bit grotesque). A comma would have made that clearer—so less cryptic.

  5. I need around 50 minutes for this enjoyable romp.

    My unknowns were WACK as ‘awful’, IMOLA and CHINE as ‘crest’ though I knew it as a cut of meat.

    I’m having trouble understanding the cryptic 3ac, so further explanation of that would be appreciated.

    1. Superficially, the clue seems to refer to something that can be extracted from a (literal) jar without breaking, whereas SHOCKPROOF means capable of being jarred or SHOCKed and emerging relatively unscathed (“in one piece”). SHOCKPROOF most often refers to watches but can certainly also be applied to utterly unflappable individuals.

  6. I took damn near the hour on this. BARBIE DOLL for pretty vapid figure indeed! I didn’t remember SIMPLE as a herb so HERBAL MEDICINE needed all crossers. I wasn’t sure if I’d parsed SCAR correctly but I’ve found here that I had. I knew the one at GORDALE. I think I’ve heard of a SLUMBER PARTY but have never called it that. CAR PARK, PETIT BOURGEOIS and COD ROMULUS were absolutely brilliant. Thank you Dean and Guy.

    1. I had (W)edge for a long time – I still kind of like it as an answer

  7. The usual 1 1/2 hours and a bit for one of Dean’s puzzles but well worth the struggle. Some difficult cryptic defs with PETIT BOURGEOIS taking a long time at the end. I missed the parsing of CONSUMMATE for no good reason and only semi-understood SHOCKPROOF – thanks for explanation above.

    Same favourites and DNK’s as others. I would also add IMOLA, with the wordplay instead suggesting Monza, which is very close to or ‘by’ Italy’s ‘second city’ Milan.

    Managed to print out today’s puzzle (5008) by following Kevin’s instructions. Works on a laptop but not on (my at least) iPad.

    Thanks to Guy and Dean

  8. I can’t see how 26A is an &lit. Dean’s notes don’t claim that, and my solving copy confirms that I saw it as just a sandwich/container and contents clue, with “one hint” as the definition. I’d count it as a semi-&lit if I thought that the whole was also a definition, but as I can’t think of a real-life example of a clue within a clue, I can’t see that it is. One exception: there are often tips inside clues in cryptic crosswords, but we don’t call the internal ones clues.

    1. Agreed. I would also say 12 is semi-&Lit because the words ‘for this’ are not part of the wordplay.

      1. I had a feeling you were going to say that. I hate underlining just “this” as a definition, and before I saw the anagram, I took this as a (weak) CD.

    2. OK, amended. But I was indeed seeing “clue” as being more loosely defined and used in more than one sense for the sake of the wordplay. The entire clue is often made up of various specific “clues”…

  9. Brilliant crossword with too many great clues to highlight. I did this on my phone in Spain with a bunch of friends gathered for the Barcelona F1 race today (not IMOLA). I am back home not wishing to fry in the Catalonian sun. Thanks Dean and Guy.

  10. Great puzzle. The two highlights were PETIT BOURGEOIS and SLUMBER PARTY. For the latter, I had an additional parsing to those above, possibly erroneous – but I enjoyed it, which involved ‘loose’ in the sense of morals for a slumber party for adults.

  11. 14:50. Great stuff. I associate WACK – along with ‘wigging out’ – with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and ‘simple’ with Philip Larkin:

    Or, after dark, will dubious women come
    To make their children touch a particular stone;
    Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
    Advised night see walking a dead one?

    Still can’t access 5008.

  12. I found this tricky but with lots of PDMs. Sadly after 48 minutes I gave up on the second bit of 6d and looked it up. Just couldn’t see BOURGEOIS. WIDESPREAD was my FOI. Liked MARK TWAIN, IMOLA, CAR PARK et al. 49:51. Thanks Dean and Guy.

  13. Loved this one. 48 mins so par for the course. Loved ROMULUS, PETIT BOURGEOIS and SLUMBER PARTY which I never even saw as an a granma (apologies to GdS who has probably used this). Thanks Guy and setter.

  14. As usual a brilliant puzzle from Dean, which took me 53 1/2 minutes with, unfortunately, two mistakes, which I didn’t even mind. One was a typo (PRTIT BOURGEOIS). As for the other, since I did not know the archaic meaning of simple I decided VERBAL MEDICINE (make someone feel better by saying “it’s simple”) made more sense than HERBAL MEDICINE, which I did think of but which made no sense at all to me. These weren’t the only clues I was not quite sure of, but the others were correct.

  15. As a slow solver on paper in Sydney, so late to the party, I lurk rather than comment. But, as this may get read, I’ll add my commendation of this crossword. Last in was 6D, having spent to long trying to think of a French expression for a town square.

  16. Thanks Dean and guy
    Started this one on an aeroplane trip back from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland last weekend and wasn’t able to complete it until I got home with some aids for three or four of the long clues. As has been mentioned a number of top notch clues along with the usual high standard ones as well. Didn’t understand SLUMBER PARTY (missing the word play of it) until coming here – what a fabulous clue.
    Also didn’t know that meaning of PETIT BOURGEOIS – only of the shopkeeper and clerical class – so it was entered only with hope. WACK was the other unknown term.
    Finished all over the shop with that SHOCKPROOF (that took a while to sink in why), TORRENTIAL and HERBAL MEDICINE (did finally remember ‘simple’ as a term for a herb).

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