Sunday Times Cryptic No 5049 by Dean Mayer — Beam me up

This puzzle was out of this world! Seriously, I really enjoyed it, and pun intended. I don’t think there’s anything here that will be very controversial. Last Sunday’s most brilliant clue, by popular acclaim, was only three letters long. My personal pick this week is the very last Down, with a grand total of five letters. Right after I got that one, where I was helped by a couple checkers, I suddenly saw how the utterly virgin five-letter 24 worked, and put it right in.

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

 1 See, beer can be so rough (6)
CHOPPY   C, “See” (we all text now, right?) + HOPPY, as “beer can be”
 4 Expert I snapped outside hotel bar (8)
PROHIBIT   PRO, “Expert” + H(otel) + I  + BIT, “snapped”
10 Prepare to cut cloth, perhaps, and cut it (7,2)
11 One inclined to make a retreat (5)
12 Most bohemian gatherings won’t start on time (7)
And they’ll end late!
ARTIEST   [-p]arties + T(ime)
13 Ultimate challenge the day before a holiday (7)
EVEREST   EVE, “day before” + REST, “a holiday”
14 Becomes wise, full of ideas, says Roger? (4,3,7)
17 A godsend that is somehow causing upset? (7,3,4)
AGAINST THE ODDS    (A godsend that is)*
21 One island against another, almost (7)
22 History will accept Sunak as supporter of shipping (7)
TOPMAST   TO(PM)AST   “History” and TOAST are equivalent in the sense of “It’s over… put a fork in it.”
24 River banks needing water still (5)
25 The opposite of “in kind” (9)
26 Non-specific leak in pipe (8)
SWEEPING   S(WEEP)ING   No drama necessary: WEEP here means simply “to exude water or other liquid.”
27 Lacking oxygen, nuts contain astringent (6)
TANNIC   (c[-o] ntain)*   Adjective, applied to some wine
 1 Lobby group agree to abandon Left (8)
CAMPAIGN   CAMP, “group” + A[-l]IGN
 2 Sixties fad seen in old piece (2,3)
OP ART   O(ld) + PART, “piece”   …The definition seems a bit cursory and even cavalier. But you could certainly say that there was a fad for such art (in advertising, posters in college dorms, etc.). Even though op art has generally not been granted much importance by critics, Bridget Riley is still working and was honored with a major retrospective just a few years ago. Victor Vasarely’s 1937 Zebra has been seen as one of the earliest examples of op art… which this clue could be about!
 3 Cautious papa with dirty books (7)
PRUDENT   P(apa) + RUDE, “dirty” + NT, “books”   P is “papa” in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
 5 Typical but, strangely, it never repeats (14)
REPRESENTATIVE   (it never repeats)*
 6 He plans to produce a book (7)
HEBREWS   HE + BREWS, “plans”
 7 Deformed bird egg in part of garden (9)
 8 Ask for address (4,2)
 9 Train for meteorology here? (7,7)
15 Line up for a thrilling walk (9)
TIGHTROPE   CD, playing on “Line up”
16 One drunk on one cold type of drink (8)
ISOTONIC   I, “One” + SOT, “drunk” + ON + I, “one” + C(old)
18 Pouring liquid in a circle (2-5)
IN-GROUP   (pouring)*   Perfect anagrind for that word!
19 Broadcast work by author turned up in shops (7)
EMPORIA   AIR, “Broadcast” + OP, “work” + ME, “author”  <=all “turned up”
+ ME 
20 Plain juice? Plan rejected (6)
OK, OK, we’ll spike it!
PAMPAS   SAP, “juice” + MAP, “plan”  <=all “rejected”
23 Be abducted by one? (5)
ALIEN   A(LIE)N   &lit;   One definition of LIE is (Collins) “to be; exist; be found | the love that lies in her eyes.” The entire clue’s definition seems to require an implicit addendum, like “You might…”   …The answer was immediately obvious, but I hesitated to write it in until I saw the wordplay… which is amazing!


39 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5049 by Dean Mayer — Beam me up”

  1. 10A: in Britain at least, “measure up” is what people like carpenters and tailors do to make sure they produce something the right size. I would guess that the metaphor came from this meaning.

    2D Op art: the definition doesn’t tell you that much, but in a crossword clue, “(2,3)” raher than (5j reduces the possibilities considerably. I can’t think of another (2,3) 60s fad.

    1. 10A is a DD then. Dont acte. I was just taking the non-metaphoric phrase as a logical, and common, extension of MEASURE, but somehow didn’t identify it as an idiom with dictionary status.

      Re OP ART, I (obviously…?) wasn’t saying the clue didn’t work, qua clue. Liking and exploiting op art was a fad, but op art itself is… not necessarily. And certainly not, if it was really art.

      1. You described the definition as seeming “a bit cursory and cavalier”, and then (and also in your reply) appeared to say that a fad is an enthusiasm for creating something rather than for consuming or enjoying it. It isn’t — dictionary definitions (including the one in my iPad Merriam-Webster) count both of those as fads. And fads linked with decades seem to me to be the consumption/enjoyment kind. Crosswords are in lists of “1920s fads”, despite a fairly small group of people producing them in the 1910s.

        1. I edited, earlier, that reply to say that the art itself was not a fad (“creating” having missed my point a bit; but what I said even then was that “creating” it was not, or would not “necessarily” be, a fad. Please). This distinction, it seems to me, does not hold only for the rarefied realm of fine art. Wearing bell-bottoms was a fad at some point in history, but bell-bottoms themselves exist even now, and are not a fad. And if I’ll allow that one can speak—loosely—of bell-bottoms themselves’ “being” a fad, it seems rather slighting if you say the same of, say, Abstract Expressionism. Or Pop Art. Or…

          Op art is a term (like “minimalism” as applied to music) that was invented by a journalist, in this case for Time in 1964, not by any of the artists who created work that was dubbed by that title. Vasarely’s Zebra preceded the Time article by 27 years.

          But I wasn’t aware that we were arguing about anything.

          1. Well, if you thought the frequently decade-related meaning of “fad”was perfectly acceptable, I’m failing to understand why a “a bit cursory and cavalier” was used, and not accompanied by “but actually it’s perfectly OK”. As for bell bottoms, “1970s fad” is what I’d expect as a description in the 2020s, rather than just “fad”.

            1. This is what I said right after “seems a bit cursory and even cavalier” (emphasis added; and it still seems a bit such to me): “But you could certainly say that there was a fad for such art (in advertising, posters in college dorms, etc.)” (emphasis in my original). And if that’s all one means by saying something is a fad (limited to a certain decade), well, OK, then… That was, at least, my intended implication.

              The above paragraph expresses the (fine) distinction I was making well enough that I don’t feel I should waste my breath any longer. Good night.

                1. I was quite chill, JerryW. What sort of forum did you think I thought this was?

                  I thought my initial comment was merely an academic gloss to which no one could take offense and was surprised to find myself having to explain it further. I clearly said the clue was OK, early on.

        2. I was actually separating (or trying to) the realm of the “fad”—consumption, consumerism—from the realm of creation.

  2. Similar to Guy, I liked it a lot. My most heavily scribed and re-scribed “+” was Bowlegged.

    I sometimes think that Dean gets away with a little Ximenean naughtiness in his clues – Op Art, as an example – because the quirks, such as they are, never stop us from having more than a fair chance at getting to the answer and the resulting clues are spectacularly entertaining and clever.

    Thanks, anax.
    Ditto well-dones to Guy and Ed (that’s you, PB)

    1. Mostly he gets away with “Ximenean naughtiness” (should there be a non- in there somewhere?!) because the ST is not quite so straitjacketed as the daily Times. Quite right too in my opinion, though others may differ.
      Even Ximenes did not mean his sensible principles to become dogma. At the time they were a necessary guide .. I have been solving some prewar crosswords lately, and can speak from experience – but so long as the clue is fair, I don’t believe he meant any one principle to become compulsory. Not even things like always a definition and never an indirect anagram.

      1. I agree 100% (and also that it should be “non-Ximenean”). I also think that the ST editing regimen is very well suited to Mayer’s particular talent, which helps a lot.

              1. Must have been too long since I posted — I tried to go back and correct the misspelling of Ximenes/Ximines, and couldn’t do

                1. It varies according to the permissions available to the individual. Bloggers have more than others, maintainers more still … I see your spelling has now magically been corrected 🙂

      2. It’s true that the ST xwds don’t follow some known rules used for Times ones. I have seen things in Times xwds sometimes that made me wonder whether I would allow them if used in an ST one – mostly questions of whether A really means B, or really is an appropriate indicator word. But I suspect every xwd ed would give a different set of answers to “OK/not OK?” for points like that in a challenging Times or ST crossword.

        As for Ximenes, I think he would be quite surprised that nearly 60 years after his book, no-one has written a book questioning any of his ideas in the way that he questioned Afrit’s allowance of indirect anagrams, except maybe for one point below. As he used the word “hate” about indirect anags, I think it’s clear that he hoped to see the back of them, though how widely he expected his principles to be followed seems unknown.

        On the second page of his chapter on “Crossword Principles”, he says that “there must be, in addition to a definition, a subsidiary part of the clue alluding to the letters or parts of the word”. I don’t think he actually intended to rule out double defs, as he later calls them a “tractable” clue type, but I do think he intended to rule out cryptic definitions, so I think it’s clear that I and all the other blocked grid editors who allow them are rejecting one of his principles.

  3. 38:30, 18:30 online and 20′ over lunch.
    DNK ISOTONIC. An MER at 7d, both because ‘egg’ clued EGG, and because of the definition; I don’t think one would characterise cowboys as deformed. I especially liked PROHIBIT, ARTIEST, & HEBREWS.

  4. 66 minutes. Didn’t ‘get’ some of the wordplay and was nowhere near with ALIEN. I’m not entirely convinced by ‘needing water / HOT’ and am having difficulty accepting TURN TO as a double definition when both that I can think of are more or less the same thing. But perhaps I’m missing something?

    1. Hmm. While there’s a phrasal verb sense for TURN TO that isn’t used here—“to begin to attend to or work at something | After the storm we turned to and cleaned up the debris” (Collins)—I am now having trouble disentangling two distinct definitions from what is in the clue. But it had to be a DD, or it wouldn’t be a cryptic clue, would it?—and what are we doing here, anyway?

      1. Well, I saw “address” as the meaning you’ve described from Collins, and “ask” as the meaning in “I turn to you” used when a (possibly UK) TV presenter asks for a view from someone else in a discussion.

        1. That’s rather how I saw it too, when writing this up, but after reading Jackkt’s comment, I was having trouble seeing “Address” as clearly distinct from the other definition found in Collins.

          I’m clearly too suggestible at this hour.

          1. Well I hadn’t thought of ‘address’ in the sense of e.g. ‘address a problem’ and I accept that’s valid as an alternative but the confusion comes from ‘address’ also having the same meaning as ‘ask’ in some circumstances. Perhaps something that might have been considered (or addressed!) when devising the clue?

            We had a query over a cryptic clue being a DD in QC 2348 earlier in the week so perhaps I’m not feeling so trusting just at the moment.

            1. Words having multiple meanings is pretty much the essence of cryptic clues! As long as there are word meanings that make the clue make logical sense, distinguishing them from the others is part of the challenge, I’d say. If I can solve the clues in a puzzle in a reasonable amount of time, and confirm that the clue logic still makes sense when re-examined more carefully afterwards, I think the setter’s (and editor’s) job is done.

              1. As Led Zeppelin had it “you know sometimes words have two meanings”. And quite frequently more than two !

  5. I enjoyed this one a lot, and was happy to see ALIEN as it was featured in another puzzle quite recently (possibly a Times) and was able to pop it straight in.

  6. 24 is a down clue, not across? I wasn’t so keen on it, because I struggled to equate “abducted” with included, or contains.
    Great crossword overall, though.

    1. Ha. Fixed, thanks. Quite late in the day.
      We lost an hour last night and I lost more because of the raging incessant noise in my head. Had to sleep as much as possible… Just got up! (But it’s still raging.)

  7. 61 minutes. Enjoyably challenging. When solving last week I couldn’t see the TURN TO sense of ‘address’. As others have discussed in detail above, I can now understand it as in the (terrible) term “address the issue” or Jack’s much better “address the problem”. Other difficulties were not thinking of the correct sense of BOWER (I thought of an archer) and, through mis-parsing, wondering how TOT meant ‘History’ at 22a. I liked the TIGHTROPE cd.

    Thanks to Dean, Guy and our Editor

  8. Superb. Surfaces so good I thought it was a Myrtilus whilst the w/p was also top notch

    Just over 50. Got bogged down at one stage but persevered

    Thanks Guy and Dean

  9. Even I did better than usual for a Sunday…thought some of the definitions a bit loose, even for a Sunday: hot for water, ARTIEST for ‘most Bohemian’, BOWLEGGED for ‘deformed’. But overall enjoyment in solving the bulk of it as I did. Liked TIGHTROPE the best.

  10. Thanks Dean and guy
    Made pretty hard work with this one taking over the hour and a half to get it done and even then had to belatedly correct a not fully parsed PROMO (just couldn’t get ROM to equate to ‘water’) to PHOTO at 24a to avoid the error. Interestingly, a ‘still’ is a PHOTO that is used in a PROMO of a film, so it wasn’t too outrageous an answer.
    Really enjoyed the penny drops that occurred throughout with both his definitions and some of the word play – a real head slap when finally twigged to the right ‘train’ in 9d.
    Finished with TANNIC, the very clever ALIEN (took ages to see the word play logic) and the corrected PHOTO in last.

  11. I find insomnia a help when working on these cryptic crosswords; the answers seem to come more easily in the dead of night. I was proud of myself for figuring out REPRESENTATIVE, and enjoyed the clue for 21A. Also got ISOTONIC, then had to look up what it means.

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