Sunday Times Cryptic No 5037 by Dean Mayer — standing in the smoky haze

This puzzle took me a while. I had to put it aside and return to it repeatedly. It’s probably none too easy, objectively, but I also had a lot on my mind.

Just realized while starting this write-up that the Sunday on which it will come out is my birthday. Had to stop and marvel (if that’s the word) at how old I’ve managed to become. The 12th of December is the 30th anniversary of my moving into this apartment. As you may have heard, NYC is besieged by a tripledemic. I’ve had all my shots. Button up your overcoats, everybody!

Great fun to go back over these finely crafted clues.

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

 1 Struggle to keep faith (4,3)
HOLY WAR   CD   …One of my first in, but then I had to wait for the crossers.
 5 Venomous snake — want to catch it (7)
 9 Some jazz starts to grow as dance music (5)
RAGGA   RAG, “Some jazz” + G[-row] + A[-s]   Short for raggamuffin music, a subgenre of dancehall and reggae
10 See short story with moral that may be discrete (9)
SEPARABLE   SE[-e] + PARABLE, “story with moral”
11 Most man-like, except for bust (8)
BUTCHEST   BUT, “except for” + CHEST, “bust”
12 Like pork pie, having ground nut and herb (6)
UNTRUE   (nut)* + RUE, “herb”   “Pork pie” is Cockney rhyming slang for “lie.”
14 Lark that is hiding around dicky bird (12)
CAPERCAILLIE   CAPER, “Lark” and IE, id est, covering CA, “around” + ILL, “dicky”   A big bird with a big name
17 Harmony daughter found on old lady’s piano (7,5)
CONCERT GRAND   CONCERT, “Harmony” + GRAN, “old lady” + D(aughter)
20 The German youth of the 1950s was faster (6)
Who was that?!
DIETED   DIE, “The” in German (for some declensions), TED, a “youth of the 1950s”—this time not dubbed a “tough”! Tricky with the tense in the definition.
21 Faith managed to keep priest in church (8)
RELIANCE   R(ELI)AN + CE, “church”  The ubiquitous crossword priest ELI is kept “in” RAN, rather than anything being “in” “church”—sly!
23 Conductor to check out in Italy (9)
TOSCANINI   TO + SCAN, “check out” + IN + I as in “Italy” (international vehicle registration code)
24 Ghoulish family member in list (5)
LURCH   DD   Somewhat surprised to find here the, uh, statuesque butler with the sepulchral voice (“You rang?”) from the early-sixties US sitcom The Addams Family, inspired by the cartoons of Charles Addams. LURCH is particularly synonymous with “list” in reference to the tilting of a ship to one side.
25 Dock with idiot blocking surfer’s view? (7)
MONITOR   MO(NIT)OR   Cryptic definition referring to browsing, surfing, the Web
26 Sink, or attempt to sink? (2,2,3)
GO TO POT   Jocular reference to billiards or snooker   …This is also what I do when I’m tired of drinking.
 1 Tough person defending book (8)
HARDBACK  HARD, “tough” + BACK, “person defending”  …The most recent HARDBACK I’ve bought is the new compilation of freewheeling, erudite, poetic, and uproarious essays by Bob Dylan (who penned the line from which my headline is taken).
 2 Record of person’s device used by company (8)
LOGOTYPE   LOG, “Record” + O’, “of”  + TYPE, “person”   The latter is more often than not accompanied by a qualifier, as in an odd type (while in French type is frequently seen alone, signifying nothing more than “guy”).   A LOGO, typically with text representing a company’s name, abbreviation or trademark; also, and originally, a single piece of TYPE bearing two or more unlinked characters, a syllable, or a word
 3 Met expectations of what recreates waves (7,8)
WEATHER FORECAST   (of what recreates)*  “Met” as in meteorology, but y’all know that…
 4 Stand in as secret revolutionary (10)
RESISTANCE   (in as secret)*   From Collins for “Stand” as a noun: “a stopping; halt or stop; specif., a. a stopping to counterattack, resist, etc., as in a retreat”
 5 Was unhappy parking in the rain (4)
 6 Wallflower has to wither in good shade (9,6)
SHRINKING VIOLET   SHRINK, “to wither” + IN + G(ood) + VIOLET, a “shade”
 7 Native British men in pub (6)
 8 Well this is rich! (6)
HEELED   CD, playing on “Well”-HEELED
13 Longing turned into loud cajoling (10)
15 Check delivered sink and shower unit (8)
RAINDROP   “rein,” or “Check” + DROP, “sink”  Amusing cryptic definition. Shower units keep falling on my head… 🎵 
16 Small talk is hard in peculiar dialect (4,4)
IDLE CHAT   (dialect + H)*
18 A duty to convert with Mass in part of temple (6)
ADYTUM   (A duty + M)*   The innermost sanctuary of an ancient Greek temple   …How did I know this word?! It came to me in a flash.
19 Fewer clothes, for example (6)
22 Protest over make-up artist? (4)
LIAR   RAIL<=“over”


16 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5037 by Dean Mayer — standing in the smoky haze”

  1. Yes, this one took me three sessions too and with my very last one, 22d, I couldn’t get Dior out of my head – why? he’s not even a make-up artist – until my synapses finally woke up.
    Fantastic challenge all round, but I particularly liked the clue for Heeled, and shower unit for raindrop was just superb.
    Thanks to setter and blogger – happy birthday, Guy.

  2. 53m 46s
    Thanks and Happy Birthday, Guy!
    In 19d the note I made for myself was “where’s the definition?” but you’ve answered that, so thanks again.
    My note also say “A good Anax puzzle but took ages in the NW corner”.
    NHO: RAGGA, LOGOTYPE, ADYTUM but some very good clues such as UNTRUE, WASPISH and MONITOR.
    CODs: RAINDROP (“shower unit”!) and HEELED. The latter was, I thought, a typically succinct Anax clue.
    PS: There’s a tongue-in-cheek quiz in the WaPo today relating to Gen Z-speak. Apparently these young things regard the use of a period/full stop as “a sign of anger/coldness”. Thank goodness I have very little contact with that generation.

  3. 66 minutes. A medium level difficulty puzzle from Dean but very enjoyable as always. NHO LOGOTYPE, my LOI, or ADYTUM (no flash for me) which I guessed as the most likely arrangement of the unchecked letters. I found BLARNEYING the toughest of the words I had met before.

    RAINDROP as a ‘shower unit’ is particularly apt here as we don’t seem to get rain in points, inches or millimetres any more, just a few drops at a time.

    Favourites were the surface for BUTCHEST and the “answer completes the wordplay” HEELED

    Thanks to Dean and happy birthday and thanks to Guy

  4. 47 minutes with a remarkable lack of annotations on my copy, suggesting I found it straightforward despite requiring time-and-a-half of my target.

    I noted ‘make-up artist’ as a great definition of LIAR, and ADYTUM as unknown although it has come up twice before (2012 and 2014) accepted without comment from me, but on both occasions it was a hidden word which arguably makes it easier to solve and less likely to stick in the brain.

  5. There is a problem with the clue writing contest this week. Since Friday the Crossword Club online has shown LAST CLOSING DATE. My hard copy paper, just delivered, shows LAST POSTING DATE.

  6. Thanks for the blog and many happy returns.

    I see we have a jumbo today – was that expected?

    1. Peter Biddlecombe posted in the Crossword Club forum that a few things would be tweaked this year because Christmas Day falls on a Sunday – those include the prize Christmas Jumbo appearing slightly earlier (today), and then another Jumbo on Christmas Day, next Sunday, that’s online only (no paper that day), with no prize draw.

  7. The note on my copy says 5 clues left at 7.30pm.
    That’s probably when I gave up. I was beaten by WASPISH ( gettable with hindsight) and HEELED (tough).
    Also BLARNEYING- I can’t say I like this answer- and RELIANCE.
    And I failed to put in the first part of RAIN -DROP.
    Too tough for me overall.
    I liked IDLE CHAT.

  8. I have to say how much I enjoy Dean’s puzzles. This one was no exception – lots of delightful eureka moments. 34 minutes but with one wrong. I had DIETER for 20A. I couldn’t parse it and intended to go back to it. I originally thought the German name might have some arcane 1950s significance. The answer was much simpler….

  9. I have no written comments on my copy, so the usual Dean output – difficult but all making sense with enough effort and concentration. ADYTUM unknown, but the most likely distribution of the letters. Liked BUTCHEST most.

  10. Lots of good stuff, with Butchest my favourite. I was held up in the NW because Logitech pretty much parses (if you ignore the product placement, and think that tech can be a device) but doesn’t cross all the way down. Thanks, Guy, and happy birthday.

  11. Absolutely superb puzzle, just finished after 72 minutes (with a break) — I wasn’t quite brave enough to enter LURCH sooner. Lots of CODs (DIETED, HEELED, CAPERCAILLIE, LIAR, RAINDROP), really hard to choose. Surprised and very pleased to have finished correctly after all of the subtle cluing.

  12. Thanks Dean and guy (with belated b’day best wishes)
    This took right on the two hours across three sittings, with a lot of head scratching along the way. Lots of varied and interesting clues and cryptic ways of deriving them, with RAINDROP, WEATHER FORECAST (‘Met expectations’ – brilliant) and HEELED the stand-outs for me. LOGOTYPE and ADYTUM were both new terms.
    Eventually got everything out but parsed my last one in BLARNEYING incorrectly – had gone down a mixed up YEARN (‘longing turned’) in BLING (loud) – didn’t quite make sense grammatically, but it was enough to convince me that the answer was right – the correct parsing was much more obvious when seen here.

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