Sunday Times Cryptic No 5095 by Robert Price — sustenance

Took a few moments to find the wavelength, but I soon had a steady signal, as usual when Bob’s at the transmitter.

There are a number of references to eating and foodstuffs—it was nice to have a second serving of BUTTER. But my favorite clue here is 9, a perfect, and very apt, anagram.

I indicate (Ars Magna)* like this, and words flagging such rearrangements are italicized in the clues.

 1 Suffered pain in the neck (4)
 3 Promising article, funny except the opening (10)
10 Tripe spoiled a starter of liver (5)
OFFAL    OFF, “spoiled” + A + Liver
11 Punishment for pupils of French with pronounced anxiety (9)
DETENTION    DE, “of[,] French” + “tension”
12 Standard of living (5,3,6)
BREAD AND BUTTER    DD   “Standard” in the sense of (Collins) “relating to people’s practical, everyday needs and concerns” and/or (Collins also) “solid, reliable, but not fancy” (Collins has for BREAD-AND-BUTTER—hyphenated—“solid, reliable, or practical”); “living” as in how one earns their daily… bread.     …I used this phrase, expressing the latter sense, in a  conversation a day or two before working this. When I alerted a friend that she had misused a word, she protested, “Please don’t be pedantic with me, Sandy. That’s not like you.” (Really, Laurie? After all these years…?), and I said, “It’s my bread and butter.”
14 A long envelope for express letters (7)
AITCHES    A + ITCH, “long” + ExpresS
15 Make Sir be online, ignoring current shifts (7)
ENNOBLE    (be online)*    I as the symbol for electrical current is from the French intensité du courant.
17 Making hunger less variable (7)
19 One consumed by work finally uses drugs (7)
OPIATES    OP, “work” + I, “one” + ATE, “consumed” + useS
20 Comparatively small part? Go overboard! (4,2,3,5)
DROP IN THE OCEAN    Cryptic hint, taking the idiom literally
23 March past one had the next day? (5,4)
APRIL FOOL    CD, playing on “had”
24 Diet losing weight from round here (5)
LOCAL    LOW-CAL   …Over here in the United States, at least, we often see the spelling LO-CAL for “Diet” in this sense.
25 Allowance for rent, missing the last share (10)
26 Agile agent suppressing resistance (4)
SPRY    SP(R)Y   Almost invariably used to describe an older person
 1 Summit scoffed about British being bullied (10)
BROWBEATEN    BROW, “Summit” + B(ritish) + EATEN, “scoffed”
 2 Hi-vis strip left in unfinished canteen (9)
 4 Water spirits, first of nymphs to wear bras? (7)
Have the missionaries landed?
 5 An island chief overthrown for drinking (7)
POTABLE   ELBA, “island” + TOP, “chief” <=“overthrown”
 6 Old city stable made of precious stone we hear (14)
CONSTANTINOPLE    CONSTANT, “stable” + “in opal”
 7 Fruit — everyone buys it (5)
OLIVE    O, 0, zero, none LIVE, so…
 8 Yodelled and large beasts turned up (4)
SUNG    GNUS<=“turned up”
 9 Tall vampire — he’d worked for Dracula (4,3,7)
VLAD THE IMPALER    (Tall vampire he’d)*   Bram Stoker took the name of his fictional vampire from a historical figure, Wallachian prince Vlad III (1428 or ’31–1476 or ’77), whom « diplomatic reports and popular stories referred to…as Dracula, Dracuglia, or Drakula already in the 15th century. He himself signed his two [known] letters as “Dragulya” or “Drakulya” in the late 1470s. His name had its origin in the sobriquet of his father, Vlad Dracul (“Vlad the Dragon” in medieval Romanian), who received it after he became a member of the Order of the Dragon. Dracula is the Slavonic genitive form of Dracul, meaning “[the son] of Dracul (or the Dragon)”. In modern Romanian, dracul means “the devil”… »   Vlad’s other nickname, the answer here, was well earned.
13 For me, being friendly needs no introduction (10)
16 Flower of note smothered with praise insincerely (9)
18 Mould to bung round a vessel for firing (7)
GUNBOAT    Form from T, O, B, U, N and G, with A somewhere in their midst.
19 Bible section that’s a surprise as a play (7)
OTHELLO    O(ld) T(estament) + HELLO, “that’s a surprise(!)”
21 Country sport taken up in really odd places (5)
RURAL    ReAlLy with R(ugby) U(nion)<=“taken up” inside it
22 List of pious platitudes (4)


30 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5095 by Robert Price — sustenance”

  1. So many great clues as usual, with APRIL FOOL and VLAD THE IMPALER being particularly outstanding. What a great find the latter is.
    I can never see 16d without thinking of Stephen Fry’s “I stooped to pick a buttercup. Why people leave buttocks lying around, I’ve no idea.”
    Thanks to RP and Guy.

  2. 30m 11s
    I liked 23ac: APRIL FOOL. As I remember it, in France, it’s called the ‘poisson d’Avril’. I think the idea was to try and pin a (paper?) fish on someone’s back.
    COD: 7d OLIVE . “Everyone buys it”. I like that. Is the phrase ‘bought the farm’, meaning the same thing essentially, still in use in the US?
    Thanks, Guy.

  3. 37:24, even though I biffed a bunch. I wasted some time taking ‘tripe’ to be ‘nonsense’, and ‘funny’ to be ‘humorous’. Lots to like, but my favorites were APRIL FOOL, OLIVE, & VLAD THE IMPALER.

  4. Yeah, I too biffed quite a few of these. Never bothered to work out how POTABLE or OLIVE worked. On the latter l don’t understand Guy’s explanation. Can someone help me out please?

    1. “Buying it” is an expression for going to meet your Maker, kicking the bucket, buying the farm (as Martin reminds us), passing away…

      1. Never come across it in that sense, or if I have, I’ve not noticed it. I do see an entry in Chambers for ‘Having bought it’ meaning killed. I guess I have to buy it.

        1. That is also in Collins, and has “buy it, Slang. to get killed: He bought it at Dunkirk.

          1. You can see the definition used on the Collins website, but that uses more than one dictionary. If you drop down the red “English Dictionary” tab after looking something up and there’s no line for “Collins English Dictionary” (leading to content headed “British English”, your looked-up word isn’t in Collins English Dictionary. (Unless it’s a reasonable interpretation of an entry for a slightly different word or phrase, like “have bought it” rather than “buy it”

            (Amended after two responses.)

              1. OK – I didn’t realise it was under “have bought it” rather than “buy it”.

            1. I don’t understand this, Peter. I tried it out with ‘broad’, and in a grey window got various things including ‘Collins English Dictionary’, but no ‘British English’. Do you mean that there is an entry in the general definition headed ‘broad in British English’, which of course there is, and one can get to it by clicking on ‘Collins English Dictionary: broad’ in the grey window?

              1. Yes – comment now amended. I forgot that “British English” is the heading for the content you reach by choosing a “Collins English Dictionary: ” option.

        2. There is also a matching definition for “buy it” in the Oxford Dictionary of English. Unless you intend to try barred grid cryptics, I think that’s a more useful dictionary than Chambers.

  5. 25 minutes. My only unknown was UNDINES which has appeared only once before in the TfTT era (in the singular) in a Jumbo in 2010, long before I started solving them regularly. I see it’s related to ‘Ondine’ which I would have known from the titles of pieces of music by Debussy and Ravel. It’s also the name of a classical record label.

    1. And a play by Jean Giraudoux. And a nervous disorder–Ondine’s Curse; Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS)–causing insufficient breathing while sleeping.

  6. Did this while listening to Storm Isha wreak havoc outside so I’m amazed that I managed to concentrate and almost complete. Found it tricky and got stuck at the very last with the NHO UNDINES at 4d. The clue clued it perfectly, but only in hindsight; I couldn’t see what it was asking for when I didn’t know what would result. Also insure of 7d which I guessed as OLIVE – ah, and as I write these notes (immediately after completion while it’s all still fresh in my head) the penny has dropped! Sneaky! Most enjoyable. Timed at 37 minutes which I think is pretty decent. Thanks, all.

  7. Lovely puzzle, as I recall. Especially like 17, EARNING

    Did anyone else, out of interest, have BACON AND BUBBLE for 12A before sanity reared its head?

  8. Good puzzle. I see I was worried about 7d OLIVE but there must have been a PDM as I put a tick.
    COD 22d CANT for the pun. Groan at 18d GUNBOAT.

  9. Having FOI OFFAL, I became convinced that the eatery in 2D was cafeteria, so played with the idea of CAFLETERI before deciding to wait for crossers! 1A soon put paid to that as the obvious hove into sight. Was unable to parse LOI TOLERATION or 13D, so thanks, Guy, for the elucidation. I knew Ondine for water sprite, so had to assume there were also UNDINES. Liked 14A and 7D. Thanks, Mr Price for a great puzzle.

  10. Really liked this – Robert Price is a top class setter.

    I was a Trustee of 16dn Buttercups goat sanctuary, said to be Britain’s only charity devoted to goat rescue, so I thought I ought to mention it here .. goats are fine animals, full of mischief, personality and variety. Why not adopt one?

    1. My observation on goats, Jerry, is that when living in France, people who had goats in a paddock always supplied them with a platform or platforms to jump on. It was as if goats liked to play King of the Castle.

  11. Very easy for a Sunday (34 minutes, of which I needed three or four to parse OLIVE), but as always very enjoyable. I liked the large beasts turning up in 8dn and TOLERATION particularly.

  12. First time tackling the Sunday cryptic and needless to say I got rather bogged down (all over the grid). Thanks for the much-needed blog. With hindsight everything was fairly clued and there was no tricky GK – I just need more practice. Particularly liked OLIVE, VLAD and AITCHES. Overall a very enjoyable learning experience 😄

  13. 19.29

    A pleasure as always to solve. The Vlad anagram was brilliant but COD AUSPICIOUS for me. Thanks Guy and Robert

  14. Thanks Bob and guy
    Back to a 2 week lag down here after being served up a re-played Sunday Times 4915 last week. This was fun and a comparatively quicker solve (39 min) than is normal from this setter. A couple that I wasn’t able to properly parse was LOCAL (just didn’t twig to LO-CAL, even though it is commonly used here) and PERSONALLY (again didn’t see the ‘being’ and had only ALLY in mind for the second part). Had APRIL FOOL as my favourite, closely followed by VLAD and OLIVE.
    Finished in the SW corner with that APRIL FOOL, TOLERATION (neat word play) and CANT the last one in.

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