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April 15th, 2018

Sunday Times 4793 by Jeff Pearce

An enjoyable puzzle from Jeff this week, not too tricky but it kept me interested throughout and the whole thing was, I thought, beautifully crafted.  Elegant surfaces abounded, but I'd probably single out the wagon maker at 27a, the instruction to the garrulous scoutmaster at 3d and the Mad Hatter at 16d as being the surfaces that I admired most.

The North American fish at 6a was unknown to me but eminently gettable from the wordplay.  I nearly came unstuck with the sea cucumber at 20d as i could not recall whether the surgical drill bit of the clue was Trepan or Treban - fortunately I called right, but it was an authentic 50/50 toss up.  Eeverything else fell into place without too many alarums and excursions.

So, with grateful thanks to Jeff for a fine puzzle, here's how I think it all plays out...

Definitions underlined:  DD = double definition:  anagrams indicated by *(--):  omitted letters indicated by {-}
1 Support for players keeping an eye on the score
MUSIC STAND - Cryptic definition
6 Vessel follows small fish (4)
SCUP - CUP (vessel) 'follows' S (small), giving us a fish found off the Atlantic coast of North America, so I learned.  Better still, it's also known as the Porgy.
9 Earth found in rabbit’s fleece (5)
CHEAT - E (abbrev. Earth) inside CHAT (rabbit)
10 Persuasive leader spotted parking in quay (4,5)
PIED PIPER - PIED (spotted) + P (parking) 'in' PIER (quay).  Gorgeous definition.
12 Carton rep showed off round wine stall (13)
PROCRASTINATE - *(CARTON REP) - with "showed off" indicating the anagram - going round ASTI (wine)
14 Sadly Leo leaves stately home in ruins — it’s a gem!
AMETHYST - *(STATE{L}Y H{O}M{E}) - with "sadly" signalling the anagram and the letters LEO removed (Leo leaves)
15 Requirement for an audience will briefly irritate (6)
NEEDLE - NEED (requirement) + LE which sounds like - for an audience - 'LL (will briefly)
17 Tempt postponement of hospital department? (6)
ENTICE - ENT (hospital department) on ICE (postponement)
19 Famous crime writer’s serial killer (8)
CHRISTIE - DD:  Agatha and John of Rillington Place.  Some good friends of mine used to live in a "middle class ghetto" in W11 on what (it turned out after they bought it) was the original site of Rillington Place (demolished in 1978 in an attempt to bury the past).  Didn't worry them, but London cabbies - who, it seems, are even more superstititious than test cricketers - refused to drive you to their front door, dropping you off at the nearest corner instead.
21 One into folding paper and leather is an artist (3-10)
PRE-RAPHAELITE - *(PAPER LEATHER) - with "folding" signposting the anagram - and I (one) also in the mix
24 Wave to entertaining guys after a concert (9)
AGREEMENT - GREET (wave to) with MEN inside it (entertaining guys) with the whole lot coming 'after A'
25 Kid wants time to rest (5)
TEASE - T (time) + EASE (rest)
26 Old critic getting girl to leave sexy dance (4)
LAMB - ADA (girl) 'leaves' LAMB{ADA} (sexy dance), giving us Charles the literatus.  The pub in North London named after him is a gem - well worth seeking out if you are ever around Islington way.
27 In conversation cowboy actor put down wagon
WAINWRIGHT - Sounds like (in conversation) WAYNE (John of that ilk - cowboy actor) + WRITE (put down - on paper)

1 Spice meat and chew oddly (4)
MACE - Every other letter (oddly) of MeAt & ChEw.  Must admit I've had a small jar of mace sitting in my spice rack for several years now which has never been opened (nutmeg, by contrast, I use quite a lot).  I'm sure one of our resident gastronomes will be able to educate me on what it's usedful for....
2 Sword Penny found inside English tower (7)
STEEPLE - STEEL (sword) with P (penny - old currency - inside) + E (English)
3 Stop waffling and teach the scout knots (3,2,3,5)
CUT TO THE CHASE - *(TEACH THE SCOUT) with "knots" pointing to the anagram - and a fine anagram it is too
4 Return to see supporters inside the management (3,5)
TOP BRASS - SPOT reversed (return to see) with BRAS (supporters) 'inside'
5 Root veg observed growing around back of shop (5)
NEEPS - SEEN reversed (observed growing back) goes around P (back of shoP)
7 Bobby left with American composer (7)
COPLAND - COP (bobby) + L (left) + AND (with) giving us Aaron the US composer
8 Leader of regiment cut after exercise but carried on
PERSEVERED - R (leader of Regiment) + SEVERED (cut) all coming 'after' PE (exercise)
11 Serve under first-rate cabinet-maker? (5,8)
PRIME MINISTER - MINISTER (serve) comes under (in a Down clue) PRIME (first rate)
13 Alarming message picked up from reception? (4-2,4)
WAKE-UP CALL - Cryptic definition harking back to the days before travellers had smartphones
16 Mad Hatter points to cow (8)
THREATEN - *(HATTER) with "mad" indicating the anagram + E & N (points)
18 The male carrying gold to sweetheart makes a
proposition (7)
THEOREM - THE M (the male) 'carries' OR (gold) + E (the heart of swEet)
20 Clinical drill good for ocean dweller (7)
TREPANG - TREPAN (clinical drill) + G (good), giving the humble sea cucumber
22 Animal has endless hunger within (5)
HYENA - HA{S} (has without its end) + YEN (hunger) 'within'
23 Touched fabric (4)

Mephisto 3006 - Paul McKenna

An interesting grid for an average puzzle. In the blog, the definition in the clue is underlined and followed by the answer; the parsing; any comments


1 If this shipyard worker were on time he’d be prompt (6)
6 It is contracted in longer recess (7)
12 Ordinary poor-John dished out but for Jack it’s a mothering thing (8)
OOPHORON: O-(poor john – j)*; O=ordinary; jack=j (cards);
13 Yankee male in to plop on a plate small tarts (9)
15 Concerned with plague, just like African bosses (7)
16 Ensure bishop’s office starts from these ordinands (5, two words)
SEE,TO: SEE-T(hese)-O(rdinands);
17 Cheerful fellow from All Souls, say, finding flower (7)
19 Pegasus had such cobblers (13)
21 One in huff no longer to curry favour with Sturgeon (7)
CUITTLE: CU(I)TTLE; scots word for curry favour;
23 Smacker you get in concert (5)
ONCER: hidden (c)ONCER(t); smacker=one pound=ONCER;
25 Stage where certain daughters assemble tragedy destroying one son (7)
26 Being a Remainer, I hope rule gets fixed (9)
EUROPHILE: (I hope rule)*;
28 Unexcited about snow having particles equally disposed (8)
29 Are fruit dead? Assessed age again (7)
30 Sonant whirling dervish (6)
SANTON: (sonant)*;


1 Somewhat excellent / bit of salad (6)
RADISH: two meanings
2 Stern and sure rugged (9)
3 Fantastic blocked grid pulled a fast one (11)
GOLDBRICKED: (blocked grid)*;
4 Exile adult wearing clog (5)
5 Such a saga could be ever moanful (11, two words)
ROMAN, FLEUVE: (ever moanful)*;
6 Low moment ringing round (3)
7 Blocks choices about javelins (11)
8 Book will be read in punt in the future (4)
9 I goof up over one with laid-back chair — I’ll recover ground (11)
10 Donne’s done — from a pointed POV? (5)
END-ON; (donne)*;
11 Cleaner tends to struggle around yard (6)
SYNDET: (tends)* surrounds Y=yard;
14 Ripped into passé praise of folk poem’s form (9)
18 A tense quarrel about suppliers of Thatcher’s material (6)
ATTAPS: A-T-SPAT reversed;
20 Stole from Ramsay, "Soften grain by soaking in tin" (6)
SCREEN: S(CREE)N; tin=SN; soften grain=CREE; reference Allan Ramsay, Scottish poet;
21 Disguise bay rum, just what’s left of it (5)
22 Pale Roman before grasping female (5)
ASHEN: A(SHE)N; AN=ante;
24 Pay up for heater (4)
ETNA: ANTE reversed;
27 Bloody browned off with bits of those disappearing (3)
RED: (b-o)RED; b from b(rowned); o from o(ff);