Sunday Times Cryptic No 5059 by Robert Price — Ha Ha Harare! (Formerly known as ‘To Havre and Havre Not’)

Is this as hard as it seemed? Or should I have simply replaced the videos with some (instrumental) music and focused exclusively on this excellent puzzle? But then I might have finished much sooner and had to decide what to do next, among all the unread books, unfinished business, etc., confronting me.

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

 1 Shrub’s rating in puzzle — hard! (8)
ROSEBUSH   R(OS)EBUS + H(ard)   O(rdinary) S(eaman)
 5 Show boldly cut to accommodate piano (6)
 9 Intricate prank, but ruined (8)
BANKRUPT   (prank,  but)*
10 Parrot fancier’s hobby? (6)
RAPTOR   (Parrot)*   Definition by example
12 Before a town crier almost replaced a comedian (4,9)
ERIC MORECAMBE   (crie[-r])* + MORECAMBE, “a town”
14 International pilot (4)
TEST   DD   Noun short for “test match”; adjective corresponding to “pilot” in the sense of (Collins) “serv[ing] as a trial unit for experimentation or testing”—and/or (?) identifying a kind of aircraft pilot
15 Ending for one piece about intellectual property (10)
PARTICIPLE   PARTIC(IP)LE   Definition by example
17 Off course old vehicle has river to follow (10)
EXTRAMURAL   EX, “old” + TRAM, “vehicle” + URAL, “river”
19 After retiring finally settled on Lincoln (4)
ABED   ABE, “Lincoln” + [-settle]D  …Somewhat odd surface, as are a few others here. I guess you might picture someone choosing a volume of the Civil War–era president’s letters, say, with which to read themselves to sleep. Or perhaps deciding to buy a condo for their golden years on a street that shares his name.
22 Old style darts can bust water vessels (4,3,6)
ARTS AND CRAFTS   (darts can)* + RAFTS, “water vessels”
24 Essay by a writer of tales in verse (6)
POETRY   POE, “a writer of tales” + TRY, “Essay”
25 Fruit fly brought back only from the east (8)
TANGELOS   GNAT, “fly”<=“brought back” + SOLE, “only” <=“from the east”   Unusual to have separate reversal indicators for each part
26 PM forced out by border chaos (6)
MAYHEM   MAY, “PM forced out” (torn from the headlines!) + HEM, “border”
27 Does Love Island featuring oldies for a change (8)
IDOLISES   IS, “Island” with (oldies)* inserted
 1 Little bridge support collecting river plant (6,4)
RUBBER TREE   RUBBER, “Little bridge” (a set of three games) + T(R)EE   Probably most famous from the song “High Hopes”!
 2 Magistrates crime detectives listened to (7)
SYNDICS   “Sin dicks”
 3 Warcraft one team rowed with another over (6)
BIREME   CD   Or at least it is if you first think of or only know the video game Warcraft instead of one of that word’s definitions in Collins and Merriam-Webster (but not as a vessel (ship or plane) used in battle. Seems the game is indeed played by teams, so you might have been fooled for a few seconds.   …I was sure that Minecraft was a game and Warcraft sounded a faint air-raid siren.
 4 Unaffected by wicked magic (12)
SUPERNATURAL   SUPER, “wicked” + NATURAL, “Unaffected”
 6 Shop quick to stifle abuse (8)
 7 Port in a new mug (7)
ANTWERP   A + N(ew) + TWERP, “mug”
 8 Rush out of capital city, avoiding the centre (4)
HARE   HA[-ar]RE   Involving the capital of Zimbabwe   …as the earliest commenters have promptly informed me, instead of Le Havre, which had occasioned a Major Eyebrow Raise (as my LOI), since Havre tout court is an infrequently used (or I should hope!) alternative for Le Havre, the capital of a canton in Normandie. Now, there is a town in Montana called Havre (pronounced “Haver”), but it’s a county seat, not a capital. Harare makes a lot more sense!
11 Measurement by part of the UK Met Office (8,4)
SCOTLAND YARD   SCOTLAND, “part of the UK” + YARD, “measurement”
13 Sadly ego stops scientists surveying (10)
GEODESISTS   (ego)* + DESISTS, “stops”   “Geodesists measure and monitor the Earth’s size and shape, geodynamic phenomena (e.g., tides and polar motion), and gravity field to determine the exact coordinates of any point on Earth and how that point will move over time.” —The (US) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
16 Wine? Enter a US alternative! (8)
SAUTERNE   (Enter a US)*   This is almost an &lit, as the wordplay seems to allude to the fact that SAUTERNE with a terminal S, which we don’t have here, is from the eponymous French region and sans the S means a similar sweet wine from anywhere in the United States, according to Wikipedia, while Collins specifies California.
18 Disaster of old in loveless old city (7)
TRAGEDY   TR[-o]Y, “loveless old city” encompassing AGED, “old”
20 Puzzles sound diverting devices (7)
21 Runner in decline, not entirely careful (6)
23 Plots showing up in emails, regularly filtered (4)
Soon to be revealed in a conspiracy trial in Georgia?
SPAM   MAPS<=“showing up”


25 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5059 by Robert Price — Ha Ha Harare! (Formerly known as ‘To Havre and Havre Not’)”

  1. 8D: HA[-ra]RE (Capital of Zimbabwe)?
    Possible new title for blog “The LOI Harare”?

    1. Excellent, thanks a lot!
      As I said, I must have been a bit distracted.

  2. Fairly tough in parts. BIREME and SCOTLAND YARD were particular favourites and RAPTOR was superb but took me a while. I surprised myself by dredging SYNDICS from the back of my mind.
    I thought HARARE was the capital in 8d.

  3. Just looked back and this one took me 57 mins which is probably about average for me on Sunday. LOI RAPTOR, and I suspect penultimate was HARE because I remember trying to think of capital cities starting with H and taking a while to come up with Harare.
    I‘m going to wait until morning after coffee to look at todays puzzle!
    Thanks setter and blogger, as always.

  4. I gave up on this one after an hour and resorted to aids with six clues unsolved. I can’t remember all the problems now but PARTICIPLE and PHARMACY were two I failed on. My two unknown answers were SYNDICS and GEODESISTS which I was pleased to deduce from wordplay and then find were correct. I had no luck with parsing HARE but I was sure of the answer and wasn’t on blogging duty so I just bunged it in and moved on.

    This didn’t feel like a regular Robert Price puzzle to me. I’ve no real complaints because it’s all perfectly fair but I’ve never given up with so much unsolved before and usually I get satisfaction from the challenge, but not this time.

  5. Over an hour, but complete. HARE was my LOI, but I didn’t think of Le Havre (capital city?); I Probably worked backwards from HARE. I biffed ERIC M, PARTICIPLE, RUBBER TREE, & SUPERNATURAL, parsing them all post-submission. I liked EXTRAMURAL & RUBBER TREE.

    1. ODE sv ‘runner’, 5: a long, narrow rug or strip of carpet, especially for a hall or stairway

  6. 75m 29s
    I have had a string of puzzles recently which kept me occupied for over an hour and which I nearly gave up on, but I’m glad I persisted with all of them, particularly this one as I thought there were some excellent clues, especially SPLASH and MAYHEM. With regards to the former UK PM, I’m currently reading a collection of newspaper columns in book form by The Guardian writer, Marina Hyde. She entitles one column dating back to 2018 “May, you live in interesting times”. I like that.
    My LOI here was RAPTOR. That occupied me for 14/15mins.
    Thank you Guy, especially for FRUGAL.
    PS As far as I’m aware, Guy, Le Havre is a subprefecture in the département of Seine-Maritime while Rouen is the prefecture or capital.

  7. Warcraft clue as a CD: It works if you can get the video game out of your head and see “warcraft” as the art of war – a meaning in Collins but not ODE or Chambers. I hoped to find an example from Google books, but that seems swamped with books about the game, so the only other support I could find easily is a def in the big Websters 3rd New International.

    1. The pertinent dictionary definition is a vessel—ship or plane—used in war, the third one given in Collins, not the first (the “art” of war), and the CD could be seen as playing on the first definition, the one used by the name of the game. The clue is just a straight definition of a BIREME if you don’t think of the video game and/or of the first definition before you see the third. Confusion with the game seemed intended, as making the clue a bit more cryptic. Are you saying that this is an unintended connection?

      1. I don’t know what story Robert was intending to tell, but for me, the story starting “Warcraft one team” reads as odd English unless “Warcraft one” is a recognised concept in the game. The version with warcraft as something like “statecraft” seems a much better bit of text to me.

        1. I never heard of the video game–I doubt if I’ve ever heard of any–and took ‘warcraft’ to mean a warship. ‘Team’ seemed a bit odd, I grant, but.

        2. I read online: “There was Warcraft one, two, and three which were RTS games…” (whatever that is! Ha).” Admittedly, I wasn’t thinking of this but only of “Warcraft” as an instance of playing the game.
          Keriothe, whom I asked last week, had the same take.

          1. Well I don’t do computer games, but apart from the word “team” it seemed a regular clue with a regular answer, war-craft being a warship to me. I just assumed that the two tiers of rowers would not normally speak to each other, and might have been managed as competing teams.
            So I suppose I need to know about “world of warcraft” or whatever but I don’t want to, so I won’t, SO THERE!
            Ho ho

  8. I really liked this one, not too easy but all the answers, when you get them you know they are right .. good stuff Robert.
    I hadn’t noticed but now you mention it, there are some quite strange surface readings here ..

  9. It all makes perfect sense once it’s explained…. Sadly found this one next to impossible, managing to come with only five answers. But at least they were correct! Thanks for the clarity of explanation, blogger.

  10. 57.00

    Wow, a toughie and tend to agree with Jackkt that not like many of Myrtilus’s puzzles.

    Eked it all out eventually. IDOLISES and RAPTOR were top class. Slight MER at RUBBER clued as “little bridge”. Some bridge, sure.

    Thanks Guy and Robert

  11. Yes a toughie indeed, and I had to look up more than one answer to get a hold on the puzzle. But very pleased that I cheated and then soldiered on (no oblique reference to BIREME – of which NH). Also NHO SYNDICS or GEODESISTS, but managed to work out that last. RAPTOR had me completely baffled (clever misdirection!) as I only vaguely remembered ‘hobby’ as a bird of prey. Same with ARTS AND CRAFTS, where the last thing I was looking for was an old style movement…and so on. Gruelling but engrossing!!

  12. Needed your help with the first 4 across but then enjoyed completing from there. I knew of trireme so bireme was easy and I assumed it was one team of rowers over another one (on each side).

  13. Thanks Bob and guy
    Did this one last weekend spilling over from the Saturday to the Sunday, but have only got around to checking it off this weekend. Like others, found it quite testing in places and was pleased to get it out. The only parsing miss was with SUPERNATURAL, not seeing the obvious out of order breakdown of the component bits. Didn’t know about GEODESISTS or SYNDICS until piecing the bits together with them. The Lancashire town was also new knowledge. Some lovely penny drop moments with RAPTOR (after remembering about the ‘hobby’ bird of prey), TRAGEDY and ANTWERP. Finished in the NE corner with that RAPTOR, SPLASH (simples in hindsight) and HARE (taking the full week to remember HARARE).

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