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April 1st, 2018

Sunday Times 4791 by Dean Mayer

As usual, a most enjoyable puzzle from Dean, which thankfully (from my blogger's perspective) was significantly less challenging than his last offering.  It's always encouraging when 1a is a write-in, and the grid started to open up nicely thanks to both the central spine of the puzzle at 5d being an eminently gettable cryptic definition and the 14 letter 11a coming with a generous visual aid.

The use of a punctuation mark at 9a to provide part of the answer may have thrown newer solvers, but fortunately I remembered this trick of the solver's trade from previous puzzles.  Some very nice stuff, paricularly the "show dog" bit of 19a and the neat cluing on display at  14a, 18a and 25a - to single out just a few of a fine crop of clues.  And the mysterious voice from the chemical toilet heard at 10a was a truly arresting surface in a surreal kind of way.

So, thanks as always to Dean, and I hope that everyone is enjoying their Easter break.

Definitions underlined:  anagrams indicated by *(--):  omitted letters indicated by {-}

Across
1 Get a posh carriage (6)
LANDAU - LAND (get) A U (posh)
5 Fool getting married, can fool around (8)
MOONCALF - M (married) + *(CAN FOOL) with "around" signalling the anagram
9 Rows of bays: car in reverse (10)
COLONNADES - : (colon) + SEDAN reversed (car in reverse)
10 A voice heard from chemical toilet (4)
ALTO - Hidden in (from) chemicAL TOilet.
11 Making MONEY (14)
CAPITALISATION - The visual aid helps us get there...
12 Prince right to chase record company (4)
EMIR - R (right) comes after ('chases') EMI (record company)
14 Minister’s opportunity to turn round (10)
CHANCELLOR - CHANCE (opportunity) + ROLL reversed (to turn round)
16 Cold egg sandwiches denounced by Scrooge? (10)
CURMUDGEON - C (cold) + URGE ON (egg - as in to egg someone on) goes around (sandwiches) MUD (denounced), giving us the archetypal curmudgeon.  The MUD / denounced equation seemed a bit of a stretch to me when I was solving, but the more I think about it the more it seems quite neat: if it's said that someone's "name was mud" then that person was, indeed, being denounced at the time.
18 Settles in French country (4)
PAYS - If you pay the bill, you settle it.  And 'pays' is French for 'country'.
19 Steeplechaser or show dog? (5-2-7)
POINT-TO-POINTER - Two definitions, the second being a delightful piece of whimsy ("see that pointer over there...?")
22 I will leave worship, being brave (4)
DEFY - DE{I}FY (the I leaves a word meaning 'to worship'). Initially the definition puzzled me as I was thinking of 'brave' as an adjective, but I think it is being used as a verb here as in "to brave / defy the elements"
23 Thick black line crossed by angry audience (10)
INEDUCABLE - *(AUDIENCE) - with "angry" pointing to the anagram - goes around B L (black line crossed)
24 Trapped, can’t stay awake (8)
AMBUSHED - (I) AM BUSHED / I can't stay awake
25 Wet anorak put over companion (6)
DRENCH - NERD reversed (anorak put over) + CH (companion - as in Companion of Honour)


Down
2 A zone with oxygen and carbon after one without life
(5)
AZOIC - A Z (a zone) + O (oxygen) + I C (carbon after one).  Vaguely recalled this word meaning "having no trace of life".
3 Doctor's surgery sent over theatre pipette (7)
DROPPER - DR (doctor) + OP (surgery) + REP reversed (sent over theatre)
4 This version of 15 is not seen (9)
UNNOTICED - *(CONTINUED) - rearranged "version" of the answer to 15d
5 Form-filling associated with the pre-60s? (6-3,6)
MIDDLE-AGE SPREAD - Cryptic definition based on "form-filling" meaning putting on girth.  And, Mr. Mayer, if the implication here is that middle age ends at 59 - with, presumably, old age starting at 60 - then I have a bone to pick with you, Sir!
6 Nothing the same in spring? (5)
OASIS - O (nothing) + AS IS (the same)
7 Gossip allowed to return property (7)
CHATTEL - CHAT (gossip) + LET reversed (allowed to return)
8 Removal of stone in house cat, the last of many (9)
LITHOTOMY - LIT (in) + HO (house) + TOM (cat) + Y (last of manY), for the medical procedure of removal of a kidney stone
13 Gold only found in quiet tomb (9)
MAUSOLEUM - AU (gold) + SOLE (only) 'found inside' MUM (quiet)
15 Went on fiddle, playing in duet (9)
CONTINUED - CON (fiddle) + *(IN DUET)
17 Unearthed sheep, reportedly still? (4,3)
MIND YOU - Sounds like (reportedly) MINED EWE (unearthed sheep)
18 Despised something which blocks leak (3,4)
PET HATE - THAT (something) inside (blocks) PEE (leak)
20 What's visible if bottom of skirt’s lifted? (5)
THIGH - T (bottom of skirT) + HIGH (lifted)
21 In church, priest remains (5)
RELIC - ELI (priest) 'in' RC (church)

Mephisto 3004 - by Don Manley

This puzzle is on the easy side.

In the blog, the definition in the clue is underlined and followed by the answer; the parsing; any comments



ACROSS

1 Teams drink a cold tea — more than one sugar needed (11)
SACCHARIDES: S(A-C-CHAR)IDES;
9 Christmas involves companion giving financial warning (6)
NOCHEL: NO(CH)EL;
10 Piano rendering what could be gleeful lacking heart (6)
FLUGEL: (gleeful – e)*;
11 Arguing Europeans interrupted by Monsieur in charge (8)
POLEMICS: POLE(M-IC)S;
13 Big fellows — a number seen in French art (5)
ETENS: E(TEN)S;
14 A male locked in primitive building becomes a martyr (7)
SHAHEED: SH(A-HE)ED;
15 Some beer and you will get aroused! (5)
RANDY: hidden (bee)R-AND-Y(ou);
17 Friend has a sort of coat for horse (8)
PALAMINO: PAL-A-MINO;
19 Young female nabbed by fellow made a noise with tongue (8)
TCHICKED: T(CHICK)ED;
24 Soldiers knocked back drink? Nothing to be admitted (5)
TROOP: PO(O)RT all reversed;
25 Cad afflicted with ruin inclined to fly off the handle (7)
IRACUND: (cad ruin)*;
26 Porridge one gives character in Greece? (5)
SAMPI: SAMP-I;
27 Steering carelessly, lost grip? (8)
STREIGNE: (steering)*; lost=old word indicator;
28 Records set by South African sportsman crossing water (6)
ELPEES: EL(PEE)S; reference SA golfer Ernie ELS;
29 Kitchen item in stone cask knocked over (6)
NUTMEG: GEM-TUN all reversed;
30 International ceremony interrupted by flighty type, female plotter (11)
INTRIGUANTE: INT-RI(GUAN)TE;

DOWN

2 Vessel’s taking a bit over a lake (6)
AORTAL: A-ORT-A-L; bit over=ORT;
3 Tissues pocketed by hypochondriacs (7)
CHONDRI: hidden (hypo)CHONDRI(acs)
4 Pole outside pub in estate surrounded by a watery expanse (8)
ALE-STAKE; A-L(EST)AKE;
5 One boy absorbing island story of adventure (5)
ILIAD: I-L(I)AD;
6 Peer’s domain wanting tax — customs house is installed for short time (5)
DUCHY: tax=duty then substitute CH=customs house for T=time;
7 Separate, using form of screen (6)
SECERN: (screen)*;
8 Boorish old fools in activity on the block? (11)
CLODHOPPING: C(old)*HOPPING;
9 Wine served by inn with retirees getting drunk (11)
NIERSTEINER: (inn retirees)*;
11 Old plants thespian’s written about (8)
PENTHIAS: (thespian)*;
12 Not all having to collect money turned up — four such would get round together? (8)
SEMIDOME: S(DIME reversed)OME; I think two would be enough rather than four?
16 President in top position for arguing a cause (8)
PLEADING: P-LEADING;
18 Rodent eats insect and tropical plants (7)
MARANTA: MAR(ANT)A;
20 Coins celebrate independence (6)
CAROLI: CAROL-I;
21 Highest place heated? The lowest actually! (6)
TOPHET: TOP-HET; Hell;
22 Group in company set up before new year (5)
OCTET: CO reversed – TET;
23 Vet maybe about to penetrate dog (5)
CURER: CU(RE)R