Sunday Times Cryptic No 5017 by Robert Price — pure dead brilliant

We’re looking (apparently) for some Caledonian somebody in the first clue, which may have even been my FOI, and then the last Down answer, and definitely my LOI, is a charming Scots term that could also describe this puzzle, a thorough joy from start to finish.

I indicate (MAGAs ran)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

1 Band leader in Scotland, a pipe down (4)
SASH  S(cotland) + A + SH, “pipe down”
3 The standard above Silver? (5,5)
JOLLY ROGER  CD (“Silver” being Long John and “The standard” a flag)
10 Disagree on duck egg producer (5)
OVARY  O, or 0, “duck” + VARY, “Disagree”
11 Good commission’s collected on fruit (9)
GREENGAGE  G(ood) + RE, “on” + ENGAGE, “commission”
12 Auditors sent in poorly organised workers (5,9)
TRADE UNIONISTS  (Auditors sent in)*  …Workers of the world, unite!
14 Ring bearer, at the end a monster (7)
CHIMERA  CHIMER, “Ring bearer” + A
15 Loose garment, almost secure (7)
NIGHTIE  NIGH, “almost” + TIE, “secure”
17 Turning more boring, church fixture, repeated (7)
REMATCH  TAMER<=“Turning” + CH, “church”
19 Dictator’s person vetting design of squares (7)
CHEQUER  “checker”
20 Education reducing social differences (7,7)
EVENING CLASSES  The cryptic hint alludes to what is sometimes called “leveling the playing field.”  …It’s really all the TRADE UNIONISTS are asking for.
23 Rare volume has Newton in translation (9)
24 An element of bother among sailors (5)
RADON  R(ADO)N, RN being the Royal Navy
25 Wed one of these little men (10)
WEEKNIGHTS  WEE KNIGHTS  …I used to be amused to see this in TV ads, before I ever worked a cryptic crossword.
26 Copies of timeless recordings (4)
1 Vehicles display marks of damage (6,4)
SPORTS CARS  SPORT, “display” +  SCARS, “marks of damage”
2 Chap is absorbed by bogus religion (9)
Isn’t that redundant? (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)
4 Gold on a zinc and silver backing material (7)
ORGANZA  OR, “Gold” + [A + ZN, “zinc” + AG, “silver”]<=“backing”
5 Rest of song now lost (3-4)
LIE-DOWN  LIED, German for “song” + (now)*
6 Maintenance on broken rapiers (7,7)
RUNNING REPAIRS  RUNNING, “on” + (rapiers)*
7 Join Labour (5)
8 Rock in river with fish underneath (4)
REEL  R(iver) + EEL, “fish”
9 Circulatory issue limits old husband stretching too much (14)
13 Acting group is bitter about shows (10)
REPRESENTS  REP, repertory company, “Acting group” + RESENTS, “is bitter”
16 Bound to hear confidence at Oxford (7,2)
TRUSSED UP  “trust” + UP, at university (like Oxford)
18 Drape suspended up in the air (7)
HANGING  Triple Definition (DDD?)  …I had marked it DD when working but then Triple D in the blog, noting that “up” would be redundant in a DD—“which surely would not happen here,” as I wrote before the editor’s comment. I should probably have explained further, but there is more on this clue below, after the editor’s comment.
19 Fruit drink made from powder, without a head (7)
COCONUT  COCO[-a] + NUT, “head”
21 Meeting place and street bar opening (5)
22 Fine underwear, low at the rear (4)
BRAW  BRA + [-lo]W  Scots slang  …Seems common enough that I might have seen it before, but can’t recall.

31 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5017 by Robert Price — pure dead brilliant”

  1. Yes, a braw crossword!

    In these parts, they used to advertise the evening television news on the sides of buses, saying (through the visual noise of the streetscape), WEE KNIGHTS AT 7.

    I always chuckled!

  2. 40m 29s. Very enjoyable!
    Thanks for your blog as a whole, Guy, but particularly for GREENGAGE. That, I wasn’t able to parse fully.
    Double plus good marks for RUNNING REPAIRS and EVENING CLASSES but COD to WEEK NIGHTS.

  3. 31:53
    Another winner from Myrtilus. I did wonder about R for ‘rare’, which struck me as something Mephisto would do, where every letter of the alphabet is an abbreviation for every word in the dictionary. Anyway, I don’t find it in ODE. I was surprised to see BRAW, or rather surprised not to have seen it before. I learned it in childhood from some movie, and somehow never forgot it. DNK fixture. Liked WEEKNIGHTS and JOLLY ROGER.

    1. “R” for “rare” is in Collins (both US and Brit), at least. It’s not in Lexico. I hadn’t gotten around to looking it up before.

      1. I figured it would be in Collins or Chambers; I didn’t get past looking in ODE, which is in my electronic dictionary

      2. Here we are into philately and marcophily. The shorthand scale descends
        VR= very rare; R= rare; VS=very scarce; S=scarce; U=unusual; C=common

          1. Marcophily: the branch of philately dedicated to the study and collection of postmarks.

            Tegestology anyone!?

        1. Thank God the letter combinations VS and VR don’t come up often in English words.

  4. 40 minutes. Most of the answers took some thought and I spent a while working out and parsing the two fruits, neither of which were in my usual suspects list. HYPEREXTENSION (good surface) and my COD, the WEE KNIGHTS, were last in.

    Very entertaining and, if you like spotting that sort of thing (guilty I’m afraid), it was a pangram.

    1. Y’know, if I’d noticed the pangram (never do), my intro might’ve ended with “from start to finish—from A to Z.”

  5. Excellent stuff from Myrtilus! I enjoyed this from start to finish. JOLLY ROGER and WEEKNIGHTS deserve special mention. Our blogger’s comment on 2d also raised a chuckle.

  6. My time went unrecorded but around an hour.

    FOl 3ac JOLLY ROGER -also has a verbal extension as informed by Mr. Melly
    LOI 18dn HANGING – Babylonian Gardens came to mind
    COD 11ac GREENGAGE – lovely fruit.
    WOD 9dn HYPEREXTENSION with which l struggled at first due to hypertension.

    I did not realise that Mr. Myrtilus was Robert Price! Mr. Meldrew.

  7. Another enjoyable puzzle from Robert. FOI SASH. LOI REPRESENT.
    My notes say I had two left after 50 minutes.
    I struggled with the slightly odd WEEKNIGHTS (worth it for the joke) and RENDITION.
    I liked the Scottish flavour and was reminded of Hoots Mon by Lord Rockingham’s XI -it contains all the words you need to know in about two minutes-it’s a braw bricht moonlit nicht the nicht etc

  8. My first several reads produced nothing, but once my brain shifted into gear and found Robert Price’s groove, it was a really satisfying puzzle to get to grips with. Fun, too: loved the clue for WEEKNIGHTS. So sneaky, and an example of breaking a clue down to every single word. Really enjoyed this one, and learned a lot from it. Thanks, all.

  9. 25 minutes. COD to JOLLY ROGER. I liked the EVENING CLASSES too. The BRAW/WEEKNIGHTS crosser were LOIs. Another fine puzzle. Thank you Robert and Guy.

  10. 18D: I don’t agree with the idea of some crossword folk that any word that can be removed from a clue must be removed. Assuming that one of your possible two was “suspended up in the air”, it’s just an alternative to “suspended in the air”.

    1. That’s interesting, Peter. I will change my note.
      Once the TD is seen, though, it is hard to unsee.
      It’s true that the two non-noun definitions that I discerned in the clue are very close to each other, in one sense. In Collins’s definitions for HANGING, we of course have both “attach[ed] to something above with no support from below, suspend[ed],” and “hover[ing] or float[ing] in the air, as though suspended” (though something needn’t be aloft to be HANGING—from a nail, say).
      However, “up in the air” also has a figurative sense: “not yet decided or settled,” which can also be expressed by HANGING: “to remain unfinished or undecided; be delayed | Let that matter hang until our next meeting.”

      1. I think there’s a fair chance that the “undecided” meaning was intended- I’m away from home so can’t check setter’s notes …

        1. It must be stipulated that I, as a(n American) progressive, consider my interpretation valid regardless of the framer’s intent. 😉

  11. Great crossword, I remember, thanks for explaining GREENGAGE which I forgot to parse.
    Until I had a Scottish friend (in France) I thought BRAW meant cold and frosty, as in a braw bricht moonlit nicht, but it was explained to me that it may sound shivery but it means bonnie.

  12. On first pass, last one across the first to fall! Things got a bit better after another scan, but the SPORT part of 1d continues to elude me as a definition of ‘show’. Loved the fun of this and had no trouble with BRAW -having been wed to a Scot for 53 wonderful years; EVENING CLASSES a standout. Roll on, Myrtilus!

  13. Thanks Robert and guy
    Wow … comments not closed on this one yet :).
    Think that I had done this around the day of publication in The Australian here, but it had lost itself in the pile of undone, finished but not commented on, etc. Anyway, as the majority say here, this was a terrific puzzle which took right on the 45 minutes, according to my note on it. First in was RADON and finished with CHEQUER, COCONUT and the excellent WEEKNIGHT as the last on in.
    Missed the pangram altogether.

    1. I don’t think the comments are ever closed on these pages. Comments were closed on the old LiveJournal site because everything was being moved here. Your posts are always a blast from the past. It’s nice to look back and refresh my memory. Ah, those were the days… (haha) I am going to reuse that anagram for my next one (Jumbo Xmas 5039).

Comments are closed.