Sunday Times Cryptic No 5045 by David McLean — Killer puzzle!

Didn’t have to bend over backwards, exactly, to work this, but it did put me through my paces. My early impression of a doleful theme, with “crisis related to old age” followed quickly by “Being old is no good,” by way of “senior designer” (and echoed later in “old folk”), was soon 11. Funny, though… the answer to that parenthetically mentioned clue also features ICE. Cool.

I indicate (MAGAs ran)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.

 1 Time sorted out a crisis related to old age (8)
TRIASSIC   T(ime) + (a crisis)*
 5 You have to say god is lazy (4)
IDLE   “Idol”
 8 Fighter by senior designer of the A5 plane? (6)
FOLDER   F, “Fighter” in designations of American planes (e.g., the F-16) + OLDER, “senior”   “A5” is a common paper size.   Brilliant clue for a very mundane word
 9 Being old is no good, receding relations admitted (8)
Sure, but considering the alternative…
EXISTING   EX, “old” + IS + (IT<=“receding”) + NG, “no good”
10 Easterly wind going over grand foreign capital (4)
RIGA   AIR<=“Easterly” crossing G(rand)   Tricky: Though an easterly direction or point is toward the east, an easterly wind comes from the east.
11 Long Island iced tea and lime in New Delhi’s top (10)
ELIMINATED   (tea and lime in)* + D(-elhi)   “Long Island” here indicates that “iced” is a particularly Yankee synonym for ELIMINATED (in the sense of “murdered”), not the other way round (if you were wondering).   …My LOI, mainly because I didn’t know what “Long Island” was doing there, besides being part of the name of a (very) alcoholic drink well-known in these parts.
12 Is a giant slob in need of styling clippers? (7,5)
SAILING BOATS   (Is a giant slob)*   What a clever surface!
16 One some bend over backwards for and then smack? (7,5)
BLARNEY STONE   CD   And thereby hangs a tale. Wikipedia:
« The ritual of kissing the Blarney Stone, according to the castle’s proprietors, has been performed by “millions of people”, including “world statesmen, literary giants [and] legends of the silver screen”. The kiss, however, is not casually achieved. To touch the stone with one’s lips, the participant must ascend to the castle’s peak, then lean over backwards on the parapet’s edge. This is traditionally achieved with the help of an assistant. Although the parapet is now fitted with wrought-iron guide rails and protective crossbars, the ritual can still trigger attacks of acrophobia.… Before the safeguards were installed [in 1897], the kiss was performed with real risk to life and limb, as participants were grasped by the ankles and dangled bodily from the height. »
18 Outfit with German officer at the front in push (3-2-3-2)
GET-UP-AND-GO   GET-UP, “Outfit” + AND, “with” + G(erman) O(fficer)
20 Range of beers European exported for head of Pilsner (4)
ALPS  AL[-e,+P]S
21 A pair of Charlies pinching a half-French fellow? (8)
ACADEMIC   A + C(harlie) + (A) + (DEMI, “half,” Fr.) + C(harlie)
22 One linked to live broadcast around ancient region (6)
IBERIA   I, “One”  + BE, “live” + AIR<=“around”
23 D{on Ly}cra trousers and nothing more besides (4)
ONLY   Hidden   Here “trousers” means that the phrase puts our answer in its pocket, so to speak.
24 Spooner’s purchased a comic in a drink store (5,3)
WATER BAG   “Bought a wag”   A “store” in a somewhat oblique sense… not the first thing you think of!
 1 Hot and steamy pair messing around with clot (8)
TROPICAL   (pair + clot)*
 2 I, at the office, help with the turnover (5)
INDIA   IN, “at the office” + AID<=“with the turnover”   I in the NATO phonetic alphabet
 3 Star involved with East German officer (8,2,4)
SERGEANT AT ARMS  (Star + East German)*
 4 Cold dessert and hot served up for old folk (5)
ICENI   ICE, “Cold dessert” + IN<=“served up”
 5 On the way home, model-type executed pose (2,7)
IN TRANSIT   IN, “home” + T, “model-type” + RAN, “executed” + SIT, “pose”
 6 One who really desires more of a Marathon? (6)
LONGER   DD, the second a bit oblique
 7 More illicit pay arranged for MP (8,6)
MILITARY POLICE   (More illicit pay)*
13 Aussie holiday or party time … (6,3)
LABOUR DAY   LABOUR, “party”+ DAY, “time”
14 in which one might plonk plonk? (3)
BIN   CD… or at least a divertingly worded clue, sounding like pure onomatopoeia. I couldn’t imagine it meaning anything else, though. Where else would you drop (“plonk”) cheap wine (“plonk” usually refers to a less-expensive brand) but the BIN? BIN can mean either a refuse receptacle or a (Collins) “a storage place for bottled wine.”
15 Cutting down drinking a little around noon (8)
Probably a good idea…
17 Join the Tory party — it’s a shining light (6)
(This is a terribly funny clue!)
BEACON   BE A CON   …Amusing (to me, anyway) that “con” can mean such… different things—and especially in French…!
19 A hard villain brought about Russian retreat (5)
DACHA   A + H(ard) + CAD, “villain” all <=“brought about”
20 Slice of Roquefort goes with fab black bitter (5)
ACERB   ACE(R)B, ACE being “fab,” R the “Slice” of the cheese, and B “black”


19 comments on “Sunday Times Cryptic No 5045 by David McLean — Killer puzzle!”

  1. 27:47
    I biffed GET-UP-AND-GO & ACADEMIC, parsed post-submission. Biffed ELIMINATED, and never got close to parsing it. Unfortunately I had learned here of a drink called Long Is. iced tea, and that got in the way of any attempt at analysing the clue. I liked BEACON and SAILING BOATS, but COD to FOLDER.

    1. Oh, yeah, the Long Island Iced Tea sounds innocuous but can knock you right out! (It has only the color of tea.) I was assuming this was widely known, but of course the need to “lift and separate” was what made this my last solve. I’ll add to the note above.

      1. There’s some knowledge of Long Island Iced Tea this side of the pond. I don’t think I’ve ever had one, but it’s apparently available in a tin in Tesco supermarkets. My guess is that I’ve seen the name when idly browsing a restaurant cocktails list while waiting for food to arrive.

        (And while on the booze, “bin” is sometimes used in wine branding – the Aussie brand Penfolds has a lot of wines with Bin 309 or similar as part of the name.) – cf VAT 69

  2. Tricky stuff but some of it was very rewarding to solve. As the hour approached I gave up on what would have been my LOI, BLARNEY STONE as I had no idea what was going on. By that stage I might have done better if I’d stopped thinking about the clue and simply looked for something that fitted the checkers.

  3. 27.46

    Excellent puzzle. I couldn’t quite work out (though sufficiently to solve it) what was going with ELIMINATED (my LOI) but now I do I like it. Can remember a few student nights with plenty of them and more besides.

    Time helped by seeing BLARNEY STONE reasonably quickly.

    As for the surfaces – some lovely ones – in particular for ACERB MILITARY POLICE and ICENI

    Thanks Guy and Mr M

  4. As usual, it was Mr Ego who managed to BIF the totally obscure BLARNEY STONE from crossers, using what he refers to as his mental data base, something at which he’s brilliant and I’m hopeless. I’d even done the deed myself, many years ago on a visit to the castle! He also explained LOI, ELIMINATED to me, which makes perfect sense when you separate ‘tea’ from its oh-so-alluring ‘Long Island iced…’ I’ve never had it, but the association was firmly implanted in my mind. ‘Iced’ is a term I’ve only really come across here as I rarely watch violent American gangster films, but I certainly know it. I thought GET-UP-AND-GO was clued much better than it had been during the week before this puzzle came out, when I got the answer, but had a stretch to justify it. POI was WATER BAG, which caused much head-scratching to make sense of with just the A and E crossers. BAG was obvious, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one trying to fit an initial M to a drink! Very clever! In fact, some really clever clues all round – too many to mention, but I loved the giant slob! Thanks to David, and to Guy, for flagging up the ageing theme!

  5. The excellent ELIMINATED took me such a long time to parse that I wasn’t 100% confident it was right until then. I wonder if that was an idea that came from the setter playing with the phrase ‘Long Island iced tea’ and seeing if any word could come out of it. SAILING BOATS was my top favourite. Thanks to DM and GdS.

  6. 54 minutes. I think I parsed ELIMINATED at the time of solving last week, but I had to do it all over again today, helped by not knowing ‘Long Island iced tea’ as a thing. Last in was BLARNEY STONE, admittedly thinking of a word that fitted the enumeration and checkers first and parsing later. The two appearances of the ‘German officer’ had me looking for a couple of obscure words until again enumeration and checkers cleared the confusion.

    I liked the apt surface for EXISTING, though as noted by Guy, “You might as well…”

    Thanks to David and Guy

  7. Liked this one, one of Mr McLeans better ones, I thought.
    Still not sure what a water bag looks like .. and I thought FOLDER a little weird, too. To do with paper planes, I suppose.
    I managed to parse 11ac, though assumed Long Island iced tea was just some strange tea drink. ‘Murcans do do weird things with tea .. on edit, looked it up. It turns out to be one of those “One measure of absolutely everything you have in the drinks cupboard, with a little green thing to garnish” cocktails

    1. “Still not sure what a water bag looks like…”

      Sorry about the dodgy sound and it does go on a bit, but you may want to have a look at this YouTube video.

      “Real man” stuff, but in the likely event you’re ever stranded in the Australian outback in the near future, you’ll find it indispensable.

      1. Similar things are very traditional where I like to walk, in the Pyrenees; though there they mainly contain Cotes-du-Rhone, or suchlike ..

  8. Managed to get and parse ELIMINATED but failed on RIGA, FOLDER and INDIA.
    The rest was an enjoyable challenge.

  9. Struggled badly and dnf on WATER BAG and folder (for which I had Condor hoping it might be the name of a fighter plane and the designer of another). No problems with BLARNEY STONE though.

  10. 49:03 for an enjoyable puzzle. Your comment, Guy, on EXISTING mirrored my Mum’s advice: “Peter,” she would say to me, “Don’t ever get old.” OK. And thanks for expanding the already amusing BEACON. There was a good french film – Le Diner des Cons – ages ago. I did not get F for Fighter but FOLDER was one of my favourites, and SAILING BOATS

  11. If there is one absolutely reliable thing one can count on in this very chaotic world, it is the quality of the Sunday cryptics, and this one is, as usual, absolutely superb (though it only took me 45 minutes to complete). What wonderfully misleading clues (Long Island iced, indeed! I grew up on Long Island, but I think I have never had Long Island iced tea, unless it is the innocuous iced tea I used to consume in large amounts on Long Island). COD to FOLDER, when I finally was able to pick that one apart. My LOI was ACERB, which I know only in the context of “acerbic” and which I had to understand the wordplay for before daring to put it in.

  12. Enjoyed what I managed of this ( which was all bar FOLDER , IBERIA, ELIMINATED and WATER BAG). Oh, and BLARNEY STONE, where I had no idea that kissing it was so hazardous! The rest took me about an hour, to my shame, but I stuck with it until most were slowly revealed. Especially liked EXISTING, SAILING BOATS, ACADEMIC and BEACON. Like kapietro ‘s Mum, I too tell my son “Never grow old “!

  13. Thanks David and guy
    Nice puzzle that took an hour and a quarter in two sessions (the first over brunch) and the second later that evening. Started off well enough seeing TROPICAL and IDLE early on, but it was more of a grind to the finish after that. Did get lost in the parsing of ELIMINATED and without really getting the definition of ‘iced’, it was basically a guess from crossers, I guess !!!
    Only knew IBERIA as the peninsula where Spain and Portugal live, not the ancient region in Georgia. Did have something wrong in where ACERB eventually went, but can’t read my overwritten scribble any more to see what it was.
    Finished with the SAILING BOATS anagram, BIN (with probably the best place for cheap wine, but also was across the ‘bin’ use in better wines, like the Penfolds mentioned above) and FOLDER (that took a lot of self-convincing, especially the F for ‘fighter’) as the last one in.

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