Sunday Times Cryptic No 5069 by David McLean — flipping fabulous

Did this one make me stop and think? Definitely. Yet, once solved, it’s remarkable how simple and straightforward (or at least straight-backward) the cluing is. Most of it, anyway…

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

 1 Box found in section of chest near pipe? (4,4)
BOOB TUBE   BOOB, “section of chest” (!) + TUBE, “pipe”
 5 Two ways to liquidate American agency (6)
OFFICE   OFF + ICE, “ways to liquidate”   Guess the genteel Brits don’t have recourse to such terms…
 9 Bolt one’s cell, back in prison (8)
DARTMOOR   DART, “Bolt” + ROOM<=“back”   Not necessarily a “cell” of incarceration. Could be, say, a monk’s.
10 Where people can do aerobics together (2,4)
IN STEP   Collins gives STEP tout court as “a set of aerobic exercises designed to improve the cardiovascular system, which consists of stepping on and off a special box of adjustable height.” Also called “STEP aerobics” (of course) or “STEP training.” And you might attend a “STEP class,” STEP for short.   …I found “where” a bit hard to justify at first but have come to terms with it, for this cryptic hint.
11 Sit next to a flipping fabulous writer (5)
AESOP   POSE, “sit” + A  <=all “flipping”
12 They may record a grilling of dodgy gamesters (3,6)
GAS METERS   (gamesters)*
14 Acrobatic internet-era performer (11)
ENTERTAINER   (internet-era)*
18 Disorder MD confused with pneumonia (11)
PANDEMONIUM   (MD + pneumonia)*
21 Kid associated with Creep singer (9)
CHAFFINCH   CHAFF, “Kid” + INCH, “Creep”
23 Chic or Sting? (5)
24 Pool balls backsliding new girl pots (6)
LAGOON   N(O)(O)GAL <=“backsliding”
25 Fawning follower following party in power (8)
DOMINION   DO, “party”+ MINION, “Fawning follower”
26 German bloke who’s lost a couple of pounds? (6)
27 Evergreen tune celeb covers with daughter (8)
STANDARD  ST(AND)AR + D(aughter)
 1 Light losing power by berth 18 (6)
BEDLAM   BED, “berth” + LAMp   See clue 18 for the definition.
 2 Beastly woman leaving, having made earl over (6)
OGRESS   [-E(arl), +O(ver)]gress
 3 Perhaps watch composition after interval (9)
TIMEPIECE   TIME, “interval” + PIECE, “composition”
 4 Decreased growth bound to change (7,4)
BROUGHT DOWN   (growth bound)*
 6 One likely to handle another’s hot booty? (5)
FENCE   CD   …The requisite touch of spice for a Sunday.
 7 Need thin pants ultimately (2,3,3)
IN THE END   (need thin)*
 8 Old relief vessel certain to get publicity (8)
EXPOSURE   EX, “old” + PO, antipodean slang for a chamber pot, cryptically a “relief vessel” + SURE, “certain”   …I had to look up PO.
13 Thorough-going criminal right as a dodgy trader’s description (8-3)
STRAIGHT-OUT   (right as)* + TOUT, “a dodgy trader’s description”—that is, we might describe such a dealer by that name; I haven’t found TOUT being used to describe their spiel itself, but maybe that’s in Chambers…
15 Contrary lawyer calling for confession (9)
“But I’m telling you, I didn’t do it!”
ADMISSION   DA<=“Contrary” + MISSION, “calling”
16 Spotty son liberal dons kissed quickly (8)
17 What you must do with net over fish? (8)
ENTANGLE   If you ENTANGLE the letters in “net” to get ENT and put that over ANGLE, meaning (the verb) “fish,” you get ENTANGLE, and the entire phrase is meant to suggest (which it does somewhat obliquely) that the purpose of that net is to ENTANGLE fish in it, which would make this an &lit.
19 Film can stored in Pennsylvania area (6)
20 High street dead around lunchtime? (6)
STONED   ST(reet) + ONE, “lunchtime?” + D(ead)
22 Stopped over in F{ez or F}reetown (5)
FROZE   Reverse hidden


27 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5069 by David McLean — flipping fabulous”

  1. 11:34. I’m on holiday in Canadia now so although it’s still yesterday that makes it tomorrow and I can be the first to comment. I really liked this one. I was a bit puzzled by IN STEP: I knew of the aerobics of course but had never heard it referred to as just ‘step’ (or more accurately ‘Step’). Not really my scene.

    1. Aha, I was right! I saw that you hadn’t commented on Friday’s puzzle (which I just got around to working this afternoon) and guessed that you must be up there now. Bonnes vacances !

      1. Merci! Yeah I didn’t get round to Friday’s until late, at which point it’s already tomorrow so commenting seems a bit pointless.

    2. Welcome to Canada, at least it’s summer!
      My issue is wth “Where”. The aerobics is done ON the step, not IN it.

      1. As Guy mentioned in the blog, a step class is often abbreviated to step – ‘I’m going to Step tonight’ / ‘I was in Step when you rang me’.
        Enjoyable puzzle, with Entangled and Chaffinch my favourites.
        I thought D for dead (20d) was Chambers only…

  2. 44m 38s
    Relatively straightforward for me except I found the NW corner tough.
    Thanks Guy, particularly for IN STEP, ENTANGLE and the PO in EXPOSURE, even though I used to live in Sydney and am now in NZ.
    26ac brought back sad memories. I used to work with a DIETER, He died tragically after his car collapsed on top of him while he was working on it.
    2d started out as MEDUSA.
    Your comment about 15d made me smile, Guy. It reminded me of a billboard I once saw on the side of a freeway on my one visit to Houston. It was for a law firm and the telephone number to call was something very close to 1-800-wasntme !

    1. I was also tempted by MEDUSA for a while. I knew PO but didn’t realize it was Oz slang. I agree – this was relatively straightforward.

  3. 44 minutes. Didn’t understand IN STEP or STRAIGHT OUT and still have reservations about both clues as written. Also I disliked the cross-reference in 1dn. My copy appears to be printed with a double space before 18 which confused me for a while, wondering if the number was a typo that didn’t belong in the clue.

    1. I think the appearance of a “double space” before 18 is a result of the word space’s being measured by the beginning of the serif on the 1, which adds a little more space before most of the number than if it were a letter like, say, L.

  4. PO is antipodean? Er, I suppose it depends where you are when you say it. It’s as British as Flanders and Swann; on their list of rude words. Nice crossword

    1. Agreed – 2 of the 3 usual dictionaries call it British, the other gives no has no location.

      The F&S song to look for on YouTube is Pee Po Belly Bum Drawers.

          1. The Collins Dictionary website has content from a total of three different dictionaries:

            Collins COBUILD – this content is headed “Collins COBUILD”. The dictionary concerned is one for advanced learners of English as a foreign language. It’s not a reference for any UK cryptic crosswords AFAIK, but it sometimes includes points that make sense to me but are not in standard UK-published dictionaries of similar size. This part has no “chamberpot” definition for “po”.

            Collins English Dictionary – the content headed “in British English” – this is content from the current Collins English Dictionary, sometimes more recent than the latest print version, and this is the version that is a main reference for both Times and ST crosswords. The content there in the link you supplied is:
            British: an informal word for chamberpot
            with “(Collins English Dictionary)” underneath

            A US dictionary – headed “in American English”. This is the one that says:
            Austral & NZ: a chamber pot,
            (Most material © 2005, 1997, 1991 by Penguin Random House LLC)
            I think this means that the source is a version of the Random House dictionary.

            Although the content from multiple dictionaries on one site is potentially confusing, it is clear which of it belongs to Collins English Dictionary, if you read it carefully.

            My guess is that the most visible content comes from the same source – as far as I know, the source dictionaries aren’t identified on that site. But even there, there is more later on:

            British: an informal word for chamber pot

            I have no idea why a US lexicographer came to the conclusion that “po” is Antipodean, but I think they got it wrong. If the ultimate authority for British English is the complete OED, I’m confirming that it makes no such statement and has 7 usage examples all seeming to be from British publications.

            1. I have only now found the British definition at the very top of the Collins page, which I somehow immediately scrolled past and missed the two earlier times I looked at it. There’s usually so much Cobuild junk at the top, but not on this page.

              1. There is a slight shortcut if you can remember to use it: the English Dictionary bar at the top has a drop-down arrow with an option that takes you to the first “Collins English Dictionary” meaning, with the others following (and later the US English defs).

      1. There was a young lad from Pitlochry
        Whose morals were largely a mockery
        For, under the bed
        He kept a woman instead
        Of the usual item of crockery.
        In Ireland that item of crockery was commonly called the po, no surprise when you remember that we were a colony of Britain for 800 years.  In suburban Dublin I had a po under my bed for the first 13 years of my life. My aunt and uncle probably had one until they died in the 1990s.  They couldn’t afford the cost of the renovations to bring in the outdoor toilet.
        We flew through this one, without resorting to the usual aids.
        Thanks for all the blogs, much appreciated. You, and the other bloggers, shine light into our darkness so many times.
        Tom and Janet, Toronto

    2. I have a piece of furniture which my mother always used to call a po cupboard: a little closed box with four long thin legs below it. Surely straightforwardly British.

  5. This was one of those interesting ones which, at first and second read of the clues, seemed incomprehensible and undoable. But then, first one came to make sense: 19d PATINA, then another, 15d ADMISSION, and gradually I got into David McLean’s groove. Very, very satisfying to complete this at all, let alone in the 40 minutes it took. One BIF: 2d OGRESS, which I’m embarrassed to say I still don’t understand even after Guy’s explanation. It’s not you, it’s me… Thanks again to all.
    PS I had one more look before posting this and the penny suddenly dropped with a giant clang. Thanks!

  6. Better than many of Mr McLean’s crosswords, I thought, nothing to dislike about it. My old granny called it a po; it is as English as .. something very English indeed.
    Was going to say nho STEP in that context but come to think of it, sadly I have …

  7. Well it wasn’t exactly a cinch
    And my mode is now “STANDARD Grinch”
    Since I suddenly FROZE
    And muttered “Oh nos”
    When I spotted the evil CHAFFINCH

    1. Nice to see a limerick again. Much enjoyed, as they always have been, although I can understand if they’re rather a lot of effort.

  8. DNF

    All but BOOB TUBE and OGRESS in 25 minutes.

    I thought of BOOB TUBE but only knew the garment definition so could make nothing of “box” even though TV as a definition had also occurred to me.

    Also struggled with the word play for OGRESS where I am prone to missing a substitution clue

    Nice puzzle but just got horribly stuck at the end

  9. My comments to reflect simjt : trundling along quite happily until I got to those two, 20d and25a. Looking for the wrong definition ‘fawning follower’ in one, and a different synonym for ‘high’ (as in smelly/off) in the other. Ah well! Enjoyed the romp, especially when I finally got into the light-hearted groove that gave us BOOB TUBE and OFFICE. Even as an ex-Pom, I struggled to get DARTMOOR (looking for synonym for wrong definition again!) and OGRESS hampered by, as others, slotting in Medusa too quickly. Fun puzzle.

  10. Thanks David and guy
    Was able to complete this in a single session on Saturday whilst watching a football match on TV and finishing in a tad under the hour. Had seen DOMINION clued similarly to this a couple of times over the last week or so, making it nearly a write-in and avoiding the issues of the last two posts.
    Lovely disguising of the word play (10a, 21a, 2d, 20d) and anagrams (particularly 4d). Finished in the tricky NW corner with BOOB TUBE, DARTMOOR (had to generate the word through word play and then vaguely remembered the prison from other puzzles) and OGRESS (which I couldn’t parse).

Comments are closed.