Sunday Times Cryptic No 5029 by Robert Price — Making a scene

The usual bravura performance from Bob—what else can I say? This was an absolute delight, and, as I trust you will agree, that is not to 14 the case.

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

 1 Second class fabric (4)
SILK   S(econd) + ILK, “class”
 4 Close decision (10)
 9 Means business (6)
10 Primate visiting region’s fortifications (8)
11 Priest left by chopper, dropping PC here? (8)
HELIPORTcHopper (“PC” = Police Constable) + ELI, the “Priest” (famous from the Books of Samuel and possibly more so from crosswords) + PORT, “left”   A charade that spells the word on one level but on another draws a picture that implies the definition: a place where someone could drop off something, or someone, and leave in a chopper, a helicopter
12 The way a bishop enters a school (6)
HARROW  H(A)(RR)OW, “bishop” being R(ight) R(everend)
13 Game girl trails quiet chap round seaside resort (5-9)
SHOVE-HALFPENNY   SH = “quiet”; HOVE = “seaside resort”;  ALF is the “chap” + PENNY is the “girl”: assemble according to instructions. Also known as “Shove-ha’penny”—and before that as other things—this is a pub game related to shuffleboard.   …NHO
16 Playing bezique, he lent a sovereign (5,9)
QUEEN ELIZABETH   (bezique he lent a)*   Chapeau !
20 Dog born to help (6)
22 Like a priest or prior said (8)
PASTORAL   PAST, “prior”+ ORAL, “said”
24 Piercing sound of monkey in poor health (8)
IMPALING   “imp ailing”
25 Before Mass I wait in the same place (6)
IBIDEM   I BIDE, “I wait” + M(ass)   …To an assiduous reader of footnotes like me, this is an old acquaintance, whom it is nice to see at leisure and unbuttoned.
26 Plugs leads from {e}lectric {r}echarge {t}erminals into coaches (10)
27 Film not seen broadcast (4)
MIST   “missed”
 2 Artist’s entrance (7)
 3 Eastern character of {K}orea {a}nd {n}ot {j}ust {i}ts leaders (5)
KANJI   First letters = “leaders”   Any letter in a system of Japanese writing using ideograms related to Chinese   The word also means the system itself.
 4 Cooked eels with Coney Islander once (9)
CEYLONESE  (eels + Coney)*   CEYLON is now known as Sri Lanka.
 5 Cautio{n — a PH tha}t covers flammable oil (7)
NAPHTHA   Hidden
 6 Durable wood left to bend (5)
LARCH   L(eft) + ARCH, “bend”
 7 Unexpectedly interrupt meal half-heartedly, even absurdly (9)
SUPERVENE    SUP[-p]ER + (even)*
 8 Old couple boarding vessel exhausted (7)
14 Make a drama of love poetry without cheap stuff (9)
OVERSTATE   O, 0, “love” + VERS(TAT)E
15 Labels on trendy southern firms’ top products (9)
FLAGSHIPS   FLAGS, “Labels” + HIP, “trendy” + S(outhern)
17 Not packing anything sleeveless? (7)
Dermatologist’s orders, maybe…
UNARMED   Jocular cryptic hint
18 Questions politician skirted by using rambling (7)
IMPUGNS   MP, “politician” is jumped over by (using)*
19 Cheats cut and run grabbed by landlord almost (7)
21 It is not coarse or dirty (5)
TAINT   Cryptic hint, or DD? No apostrophes in the grid, so this can be read ’T’AINT, “It is not[,] coarse[ly],” as well as the apostrophe-less form synonymous with “dirty” as a verb. I must note, however, that while Merriam-Webster has an entry for the “coarse” word, neither Collins nor do. ( has another sense, though, which you may have heard but which is not likely to show up in a Times puzzle—even on a Sunday.)
23 Stand powerless in disgust (5)


23 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5029 by Robert Price — Making a scene”

  1. 17:01
    This was surprisingly easy, although enjoyable, as always. I never did figure out where the H came from in HELIPORT. ‘islander once’ had me puzzled for a short while; I could only think of Atlantis. Somehow SHOVE-HALFPENNY came to mind–I think from PENNY, inferred from the crossers–and I biffed it, only parsing post-submission. I didn’t know the required meaning of SUPERVENE; I only knew the term from philosophy, which Collins doesn’t give, though ODE does. (See, if you dare, ‘supervenience’ in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.) I liked PASTORAL. Guy, you’ve got HAXEROS. This is a pangram.

    1. Thanks for the typo. I’d looked at that a zillion times.
      I never notice pangrams.

  2. Well done, setter! HELIPORT worth the Price of admission.
    I usually notice the pangrams, though rarely find it useful, and I thought it might be one after entering FOI 16a giving Q & Z. Had I remembered at the end, LOI HOAXERS wouldn’t have held me up, as the X was still outstanding.

  3. 36 minutes. As usual with our “in-house” setter, everything was fairly clued, though the parsing often needed some nutting out, eg with HELIPORT and my LOI SHOVE-HALFPENNY. Saw the pangram at the very end so it didn’t help in solving.

    Probably the same thing, but I parsed UNARMED as a double def with ‘Not packing anything’ (= American (usually) slang for carrying no weapons) and ‘sleeveless?’ as the two defs. Anyway, however you look at it, a v. good clue and my favourite for the day.

    Thanks to Robert and to Guy

  4. 25m 47s
    That was fun but, for me, relatively easy.
    Thank you, Guy, for HELIPORT. I had to read your explanation a couple of times before I ‘got it’.
    One thing I don’t understand is how, in 20ac, ‘to help’ is ASSET; or are we meant to ignore the ‘to’ and to treat ‘help’ just as a noun and not a verb?
    I suppose QEII is now a legitimate subject for all cryptics, not just Sunday ones.
    UNARMED. I remember a movie with Sandra Bullock where she said “I’m always packing”.
    I enjoyed IMPALING but my COD goes to INGRESS.
    Thanks again, Guy!

    1. QEII being allowed in the daily Times would not be new because as the reigning monarch she was always the exception to the ‘no living person’ rule.

      1. Was she the exception because she was the reigning monarch? In which case I assume we can expect CR to show up in solutions.

  5. I finished this in 31 minutes. Finely crafted as always from this setter, but I fancied just a little easier than usual. Not that I’m complaining!

  6. I managed to finish this in one sitting so it was probably an easier puzzle from Robert, as mentioned by others. But it was great fun.
    My LOI was HELIPORT with relief that our usual prophet turned up. However I could not justify the H-and still can’t! I’ll have to read the blog again.
    I did not know K for constant but I do now. My main problems were in the NW but as I rarely start there, I wasn’t held up for too long.
    COD to TAINT.
    [Got it now – Copper =PC]

    1. Mystified for a moment. We did have the K constant in a puzzle recently, but I can’t remember which one.

  7. This probably wasn’t a difficult one, yet I found it challenging even so: over an hour to cross the finish line. However, worked everything out as I went, which seems like progress. Paused over OUTWORN, a word I can’t imagine ever using before worn out, but hey ho. Thanks to all.

  8. 16A: I think the answer QUEEN ELIZABETH could have been used in a Times crossword in the past, as it doesn’t have to mean ER II.

    21D: ’tain’t, which seems the version with the most logical apostrophes, is a bit of a surprise as an omission from dictionaries that define “mustn’t” (and similar words) when the meaning is arguably derivable from “must” and “-n’t” . The same seems true for “‘t ” and “ain’t”, so I would absolutely count it as a definition, especially in my understanding of what “definition” means in a cryptic crossword clue context. “Cryptic hint” makes no sense to me, as “it is not” is _exactly_ what ’tain’t means.

  9. I really enjoyed this puzzle from Mr. Marmalade, even though it took me longer than was necessary.

    FOI 1ac SILK
    LOI 19dn HOAXERS – the pangram to the rescue!

    COD 11ac HELIPORT – a labyrinthine piece of cluemanship!
    The ‘H’ was very clever. Personally, I would never go up in a helicopter as they can often come down too quickly!
    WOD 2dn INGRES’ – no word on thIs French portrait artist, who has ever been controversial, but a huge influence on others such as Degas, Daumier, and much admired by Pablo Picasso. Often rejected by the ‘Salon’. his ‘M. Bertin’ has been on permanent display at The Louvre since 1897, a masterpiece of portraiture. Meldrew

    At 16ac QUEEN ELIZABETH makes a timely entry. ‘Polish Bezique’ is by a mile the finest card game for two players ever invented; (by a Norwegian doctor).

    1. “Polish” might make for a creative anagrind… (but on second thought, it might rub some people the wrong way). An interesting footnote on the widely renowned Ingres is that his passion for playing the violin, which he did passably well, gave rise to the expression “violon d’Ingres,” for an artistic pursuit outside one’s main one or one’s professional career. Bob Dylan’s sculpture and painting are his violons d’Ingres (he has a new book coming out too). The sense of the phrase may now be less widely known than its use as the title of a photographic work by Man Ray.

  10. Good stuff – especially liked UNARMED ( probably because it was one of my first in! And helped with ER11. Had forgotten all about SHOVE-HALFPENNY, but a good clue for it . Helps that most of Britain’s “resorts” are in a narrow strip on the south coast…

  11. Thanks Robert and guy
    A week late from our printing of this one – started it off in a cafe and then finished off at home in just over the hour. Found it pretty tough going, not knowing SHOVE-HALFPENNY or the convoluted way of generating the H in HELIPORT. Had NAPHTHA come up in another puzzle that I had done during the week, so it was a quite early entry when seeing it hidden away.
    Didn’t notice the pangram – in consecutive weeks which is very unusual for the Sunday Times.
    Finished with SUPERVENE (another new term but easily generated from the word play), that SHOVE-HALFPENNY and FLAGSHIP the last one in.

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