Sunday Times Cryptic No 5057 by David McLean — Whoa… what was in that one?!

I found this rather discombobulating. It took a while to get started, which I did with the last Across clue—the answer that was in the same place in the Saturday cryptic just before (what are the odds!?). Did finish in one go… or at least on the same night! Several answers seemed quite obvious, but the parsing was not (3 especially, as well as 5, 9, 17, 26, 27), and I had to get to the bottom of all that after filling in the grid. And then I enjoyed writing it up almost as much as I did working it.

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


 1 Emma and Kim might be found on this platform (9)
BOOKSHELF   CD   Famous books by, respectively, Jane Austen and Rudyard Kipling
 6 Turn on intro of Pure or Three Lions? (5)
PRIDE   P[-ure] + RIDE, “Turn”: “a short walk or ride, returning to the starting place, as for exercise” (Collins)   Seems that among lions two is company but three’s a PRIDE.
 9 Your setter would appeal arrests over dope (5)
IDIOT   I[’]D, “Your setter would” + I(O)T, with IT, “[sex] appeal” holding O(ver)
10 Bounder gets foolish knocking back port (9)
ROTTERDAM   ROTTER, “Bounder” + MAD<=“knocking back”
11 Oedipal song in broadcast triggers complaint (4,9)
Jim Morrison’s “The End,” maybe?
LEAD POISONING   (Oedipal song in)*
14 Cassius perhaps making love close to Nokia charger (7)
PLATTER   PL[-o, +A]TTER: O, “love” being replaced with [-noki]A
16 A personal matter under discussion (2,5)
17 Libyans primarily seen in visit over here! (7)
TRIPOLI   &lit!   TRIP, “visit” + OI, “over here!” (“Yo!”) covering L[-ibyans]   …I had, albeit reluctantly, tagged this as a CD. Correction quickly followed the post’s going live.
19 Some rejig{ging ham}-fistedly checked material (7)
GINGHAM   Hidden
21 Oscar to appear with piano legends playing benefit (3,3,7)
OLD AGE PENSION   (O, for “Oscar” [NATO alphabet] + piano legends)*
24 Deal with extremely evasive type getting a talking to? (9)
ADDRESSEE   ADDRESS, “Deal with” + E[-vasiv]E
26 Here, gibe not good after black mark given to head (5)
BINDI   B(lack) + IN, “here” + DI[-g], “gibe not good”
27 Do one small cocaine hit (5)
SCRAM   S(mall) + C(ocaine) + RAM, “hit”   …I had to look up the British expression that is the definition.
28 A possible producer of a Peck title some knocked (9)
MISTLETOE   (title some)*
 1 Way in which one might lead a young filly on? (6,4)
BRIDLE PATH   CD, playing on a double sense for “filly” (human or equid) and the (unflagged) homonym “bridal”
 2 Not all lo{ok in a wa}terway for a coral island (7)
OKINAWA   Hidden   Having two of these, especially on Sunday, is rare.   …And rather a relief, this go-round!
 3 Effect of spiked drink with bit of temazepam in it (3,2)
SET UP   “Effect” as a verb   S(E)(T)UP   SUP, the “drink,” is already “spiked” with E(cstasy) before you put T(emazepam) in it—which is why this doesn’t say “drink spiked with a bit of temazepam.”
 4 Very loud sleeper might keep this open (3-8)
…not the door, I hope!
EAR-PIERCING   The cryptic part of the clue refers to the practice of inserting something into the hole in your lobe (or whatever other part of the outer ear) so that it won’t close up overnight and you can continue to accessorize.
 5 Having lost belly, able to drink a stout (3)
I took my belt in another notch a couple weeks ago and treated myself to cheesecake!
FAT   F[-i, +A]T   Very tricky to clue the excluded I as the “belly” of FIT (“able”)!   …COD
 6 Spin result, suppressing democratic rigour (9)
 7 Where one may crash clutching old shades (7)
 8 Accessory of burglar taking judge’s award (4)
EMMY   [-j]EMMY   The American spelling of the crook’s short crowbar is “jimmy.”
12 Fruit wrappers a person ripped with glee (6,5)
ORANGE PEELS   (a person + glee)*
13 Akin to salt lake and mines scattered around area (6-4)
SEAMAN-LIKE   (lake + mines + A[rea])*
15 Tenor gets musical man out of head on rare port (9)
TRONDHEIM   T(enor) + R(are) + [-s]ONDHEIM—assemble as directed.   Stephen Sondheim was one of our own, a fan and creator of cryptic crosswords.
18 Where one might see a brother right (2,5)
IN ORDER   With a jocular literal reinterpretation of the idiom
20 Hot catch with trapped wind? One’s in shock! (4,3)
HAIR NET   H(0t) + AIR, “wind” + NET, “catch”—assemble as directed.   Cryptic definition, playing on “shock”
22 Toff on revolving stage striking grand’s a dynamite dude (5)
NOBEL   NOB, “Toff” + LE[-g]<=“revolving”
23 Special soldiers sautéed at front for US brass (4)
SASS   S[-autéed] after SAS, yer Special Air Service
25 Problem that can come with a load of money (3)


37 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5057 by David McLean — Whoa… what was in that one?!”

  1. 17A has wordplay – L as first letter of Libyans, inside (TRIP=visit, OI=over here (attention-grabbing expressions))

    1. Thanks. I had come up with TRIP = “visit” and L[-ibyans], but couldn’t get over seeing O as “over” and wondering what would account for the I. Oy vey! Ha.

  2. Yes, Tripoli was particularly brilliant, as was Old Age Pension (where I presume Oscar refers to Oscar Peterson – probably obvious to all but the blog doesn’t mention it). For me, the toughest and finest ST Hoskins for a while, lots of ingenious details to disentangle and well worth the extra time it took me.
    Thanks to DM and Guy.

  3. I was stumped on my last one in 14a. I assumed Cassius was a PRAETOR, which fitted the checkers nicely, though I couldn’t make head or tail of the parsing. I was hoping Guy would enlighten me. He did, but not in the way I’d hoped.
    Spoiled a rare error-free month with this most enjoyable and challenging puzzle. Rotterdam, Trondheim and Tripoli constitute three ports in one grid. Is this a record?

  4. Found this week’s a hard slog! I am amazed I got it right. So many clues not understood. Took until Friday to finish it. Just didn’t click. Clearly more practice is needed.

  5. 78m 20s but Bondi iso Bindi. Too many clues I didn’t understand and which have me scratching my head even after coming here: PRIDE, TRIPOLI, BINDI, SCRAM, SET UP, FAT, PRECISION, TRONDHEIM.
    Didn’t enjoy it.

  6. Another BONDI here and other feelings similar to Martin P. I could nit-pick several points but they’re not worth it as I can sort of see how the clues work but still say to myself Really?. This puzzle just left me feeling dissatisfied and unrewarded after an hour’s slog.

  7. 13:27. Tricky one. I’m not convinced by the ‘spiked drink’ device.
    I think I had heard this about Stephen Sondheim before. I might check out his puzzles, although I can’t bear his music.

  8. Same as Jackkt and Martin P. It was too convoluted to enjoy. When one has the answer, it shouldn’t take 10 minutes to work out why (TRIPOLI, BINDI, the awful IDIOT)! By the time I’d finished, I’d given up trying to parse the last few, with the result that I bunged in PRAETOR instead of PLATTER for 14A. I’ve no idea whether he was a praetor or not, and I’d had PLOTTER until disabused by OKINAWA, but PLATTER should certainly have occurred to me. Pity, since some of the clues were great – COD to EAR PIERCING.

  9. “Pure” and “Three Lions” in 6a are, of course, both songs written by Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds, not that it matters.

    1. Aha. I didn’t even know about the idiomatic UK sense of “Three Lions,” let alone the song or the band! Did wonder why “Pure” was capped…

  10. Thanks, Sandy, for the interesting link to Sondheim – I hadn’t known that about him and his article about how to do ‘English’ crosswords is fascinating. When you consider what a superb lyricist he was, it comes as no surprise that he would compile cryptic puzzles.

  11. I agree with other comments regarding some convoluted clues. Although I biffed 3d and 27a, I couldn’t parse either and being uncertain I didn’t submit my solution.

  12. after a slow start picked up a head of steam. However Idiot , Platter and Bindi were far too clever for me. Still don’t understand Bindi and can’t work out what relevance Nokia has.
    this weeks cryptic awaits

  13. Plenty of the usual drug references. The BINDI clue I never understood, at the time or now — I still can’t understand how ‘in’ = ‘here’. 1dn didn’t seem to be sound. Pity, because some of the clues, like 17ac and 4dn, were good.

      1. Or arrived/here as in “Is the train in yet?” – though you could imagine both meanings in a text sent to someone at the place concerned, so maybe I should have asked for something different. OTOH, something I was initially inclined to change but in the end left alone has raised no comment at all.

        1. Now I’m curious…
          I detected resonance between LEAD POISONING and “triggers,” but it could only be a linking word for the surface. Clyde Barrow died of a serious case of LEAD POISONING, haha. Still not really a “triggers complaint,” however.

    1. 1D: If you can accept that a bridle path could be a way into somewhere, it’s just a “way in” that fits the description in the rest of the clue, with filly=horse.

      1. Wouldn’t it have been simpler and better grammatically to have the clue as “Way on which to lead a young filly”?

        1. Grammatically, yes, but it’s supposed to be a cryptic clue, with the possibility of different meanings of some of the words.

  14. BONDI for me too, thanks for the enlightenment.
    I also thought of Cassius as a PRAETOR. Perhaps someone could enlighten me as to the PLOTTER part. Thanks

    1. “Gaius Cassius Longinus (c. 86 BC – 3 October 42 BC) was a Roman senator and general best known as a leading instigator of the plot to assassinate Julius Caesar on 15 March 44 BC.”

      1. Thank you.
        More known to me is the Cataline Conspiracy and Lucius Cassius Longinus (c. 66BCE). He was a Praetor, which fit except for word-play, and I biffed it.

  15. 27ac Could someone tell me how “Do one” = “scram”? To me, not even “do a runner” has the same meaning as “Scram!” And I’ve certainly never heard of “Do a scram”.

  16. After taking well over 90 minutes I thought I had finished this (battled through it to be exact), but now I see not as my biffed Praetor should have been Platter! Thanks Guy du Sable for the correction. At least I wasn’t alone!

  17. Glad to come here and find that other (more seasoned ) solvers found it vexing, at least, in parts. I too found myself filling in the grid with quite a few unparsed . Some of the clueing was a bit “off” I thought: especially for FAT and IDIOT , NOBEL and SCRAM. But lots to like, nevertheless, especially (for me) HAIR NET, BRIDLE PATH and BOOKSHELF.
    Now must get on with the day! Oh, and thanks to Sandy for the link to Sondheim: very interestink!

  18. Thanks David and guy
    Did this one last weekend when it was printed here but only got around to doing the last run-through, basically to parse the ones that I couldn’t at the time – was able to eventually work out how PRECISION and FAT worked and found the new term “Do one”. Could not work out the word play for TRIPOLI (or at least the I bit, as it turned out the OI bit) nor the E of SET UP and had PRAETOR (unparsed) instead of PLATTER.
    Found it a bit of a slog, taking 2 and a half hours, but gained enjoyment for the tricky ones that I could get and work out why. Finished all over the shop with the incorrect PRAETOR, the clever INDIGOS and that SET UP (with more hope than science) as the last one in.

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