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Sunday Times 4836 by Dean Mayer

24:39. A magnificent toughie from Dean this week, I thought. A lot of the difficulty here is in the definitions, which often use secondary and/or oblique meanings of words. As is often the case with this setter, there’s a lot of playing with word meanings to make unexpected connections and fool the solver. There are also some fairly obscure terms, some of which I knew but none of which sprang to mind with great ease, but everything is fairly clued and all in all I found this a really enjoyable and thoroughly satisfying solve. Proper crossword nourishment and just the sort of challenge I like to see on a Sunday.

There are a couple of Dean’s trademark simple but absolutely brilliant clues in here. 5dn is an absolute doozy, for instance: it’s a clue that gives the impression of having been not so much written as discovered. Great stuff.

So many thanks to Dean for a really superb puzzle, and here’s how I think it all works…

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated like (THIS)*, anagram indicators like this.

1 I like this pub. It appears on some maps
ISOBAR - I, SO (like this), BAR. Weather maps, to be precise.
5 Old man’s weakness — old variety of pinball
PACHINKO - PA (old man), CHINK (weakness), O. I had never heard of this Japanese game so I had to rely on the wordplay. CHINK isn’t the first synonym for ‘weakness’ you’re likely to think of but the checking K was very helpful.
9 Waster wanting something worthwhile on the house
GOOD-FOR-NOTHING - GOOD (something worthwhile), FOR NOTHING (on the house).
10 Buzz first over moon
CALLISTO - CALL (buzz, as in ‘give me a buzz’), IST, O. Jupiter’s second largest moon.
11 Cellist gutted after awful show?
DIRECT - DIRE, CellisT. I’m not entirely sure about ‘show’ for DIRECT. Shouldn’t it be ‘show the way’ or something similar?
13 Drive home after accident, no doubt
FOR CERTAIN - FORCE, RTA, IN. RTA for ‘road traffic accident’ was new to me, but the answer was obvious.
15 Bullet shot
SLUG - DD. The second definition relates to whisky or similar.
16 Part of back is supporting neck
KISS - contained in ‘back is supporting’.
17 See prize increase
APPRECIATE - a triple definition, I think. To see the point, to appreciate, value, prize, and to increase in value.
18 Like skin turned out?
ASLEEP - AS, reversal of PEEL.
20 Stood our ground? Is that great?
OUTDOORS - (STOOD OUR)*. The great outdoors, of course.
22 Serious crime providing a dodgy dealer’s proceeds
CAPITAL OFFENCE - or CAPITAL (proceeds) OF FENCE (dodgy dealer).
24 Fly is not flying around dump
JETTISON - JET (fly), IS contained in a reversal of NOT.
25 Brownie hurt crossing river
SPRITE - SP(R)ITE. A couple of unusual equivalences made this one tricky for me: ‘hurt’ for SPITE (nothing wrong with it, just not immediately obvious) and the perhaps obscure ‘brownie’ for a type of elf or sprite who does household chores at night.

2 Witnesses to rising sea, being at sea
SIGNATORIES - (TO RISING SEA)*. A slightly odd definition here, in that the SIGNATORIES to a contract are really distinct from the witnesses. But there’s no doubt that witnesses sign too!
3 Footwear accessories line, one stocked by chemist
BOOTLACES - BOOT(L, ACE)S. I wasted a bit of time here trying to think of famous chemists beginning with B (which I had from 1ac). I couldn’t make BOYLE fit and failed to come up with any others, before I saw the answer from the definition and it became clear that the less exalted meaning of the word was required.
4 In lift, hide American redhead
RUFUS - reversal (in lift) of FUR, then US. We had a dog called RUFUS when I was a kid. He was a black Labrador.
5 It is what it is
PERSONAL PRONOUN - because ‘it’ is one of these. Wonderful stuff.
6 Old measure made with wood?
CLOG DANCE - CD. I’m a bit puzzled by ‘old’ in this clue, but I suppose there’s no doubt that the CLOG DANCE is old by comparison to, say, the floss. Edit: actually I think it's the word 'measure' which is being described as old. Both Collins and ODO mark this meaning of the word (dance) as archaic.
7 One given task, mostly divine stuff!
8 Constant part of family
KIN - K (constant), IN (part of). K is the Boltzmann constant or the velocity constant. I suspect the former is intended because it’s in Collins (marked as American) and ODO whereas the latter is only in Chambers.
12 Pirate in combat announced attack
COUNTERFEIT - COUNTER (combat), sounds like ‘fit’ (attack).
14 Returns to harvest fruit
15 His new right to keep name gets man over the line
SHIPOWNER - (HIS)*, POW(N)ER. ‘Shipping line’ is a term for a shipping company, so the ‘man over’ (in charge of) such a company would be…
19 Are spades blocking door?
21 Words in plural form
TIFFS - I think the idea here is just that having ‘words’ is having an argument, and TIFFS is a plural. Not the strongest clue in this puzzle, IMO. Edit: Nonsense! It's really very clever. 'Words' would give you TIFF. So TIFFS is the plural of 'words'. And the surface is about grammar. Now one of my favourite clues in the puzzle, so apologies to Dean
23 Fear the sound of a blade
AWE - sounds like ‘oar’. Cue a chorus of complaints from rhotic speakers and others. When I say these words they sound identical though, which is conclusive proof that the clue is sound.


( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 10th, 2019 01:25 am (UTC)
It is what it is.....
...was, indeed, very good! My good fortune to spot that one early.
Not so fortunate with KIN, CAPITAL OFFENCE and FOR CERTAIN, so thanks, keriothe.
I have a query with CAPITAL as "proceeds". My view is that proceeds are income whereas capital is what you need to get the business going before you can generate proceeds.
My other ? is with PACHINKO. The way the clue is constructed ("old man's") led me to expect PAS.... As Dean is such a precise setter, how can one justify the "'s"? I agree that the clue does not read well without it but then, as I said, it leads one to expect an S to be in the solution.
My favourite was ICHOR.
61m 57s
Feb. 10th, 2019 02:02 am (UTC)
Re: It is what it is.....
You (and John below) surprise me; 's is used all the time in clues, seldom as the possessive.
Re: It is what it is..... - keriothe - Feb. 10th, 2019 08:23 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: It is what it is..... - boltonwanderer - Feb. 10th, 2019 09:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Re: It is what it is..... - keriothe - Feb. 10th, 2019 10:07 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Re: It is what it is..... - boltonwanderer - Feb. 10th, 2019 10:22 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Re: It is what it is..... - keriothe - Feb. 10th, 2019 11:11 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: ...proceeds from the father and the son - keriothe - Feb. 10th, 2019 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It is what it is..... - martinp1 - Feb. 11th, 2019 03:11 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: It is what it is..... - boltonwanderer - Feb. 11th, 2019 08:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It is what it is..... - keriothe - Feb. 11th, 2019 08:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 10th, 2019 01:34 am (UTC)
PACHINKO was new to me so I confirmed it after constructing it. I see what Martin is getting at re the S. Beats me too! Huge lightbulb moment when I saw 5d. Great clue. CAPITAL OFFENCE was another penny drop moment. SHIPOWNER was my LOI and took some serious cogitation before I saw how it worked. ISOBAR was FOI. Nice puzzle. 35:22. Thanks Dean and K.
Feb. 10th, 2019 02:00 am (UTC)
I could have been under the half-hour if I hadn't dithered for so long over 23d (AXE? (blade), or AWE? (fear)). Never thought of the oar blade, and it wouldn't have helped, since --of course-- 'oar' and 'awe' sound nothing alike to my rhotic ears. Not complaining, mind you; after hearing Terry-Thomas say 'shower', I'm ready for anything.
In compensation, perhaps, Dean gave me a gimme with PACHINKO; which made 8d a gimme, too, even though I couldn't parse it. CHINK by itself struck me as odd; I can only imagine it being used with 'armor'.
SHOW seemed OK at the time; show him to his room, maybe? Wonderful stuff, as usual, from Dean. COD I suppose to 5d, although I was primed for it by a couple of similar uses of pronouns in recent clues; and the very obscurity of the clue itself invites the solution.
Feb. 10th, 2019 04:35 am (UTC)
Re: 31:26
Somehow, Kevin, I don't see you as an habitue of Pachinko parlours!
Re: 31:26 - kevingregg - Feb. 10th, 2019 05:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 31:26 - paulmcl - Feb. 10th, 2019 06:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 31:26 - kevingregg - Feb. 10th, 2019 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 31:26 - martinp1 - Feb. 10th, 2019 07:09 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: 31:26 - keriothe - Feb. 10th, 2019 08:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 10th, 2019 04:37 am (UTC)
I solved this surprisingly quickly....
....although I don't seem to have noted a time. I did know about pachinko parlors, which helped. In fact, I had all the necessary knowledge, leading to a successful solve.

I believe clog dancing was at its height in the rural North during the 19th century, and could at least be considered obsolescent, if not obsolete. Certainly, 'old' is an apt description.
Feb. 10th, 2019 05:19 am (UTC)
Re: I solved this surprisingly quickly....
I'd always associated clog dancing with the (US) rural south, like this:
Re: I solved this surprisingly quickly.... - jerrywh - Feb. 10th, 2019 07:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 10th, 2019 04:43 am (UTC)
rho your boat
My LOI was probably 23, which I thought was oarful.

Didn't know what RTA was about in FOR CERTAIN, and forgot to figure it out.

I figured you can read "old man's weakness" as a "Pa chink." I can't quite bring myself to see "Pa's" as meaning "Pa has," though some will say it's supposed to be parsed that way.
Feb. 10th, 2019 07:20 am (UTC)
Pinball Wizard ?
Not this week. I had to resort to aids for PACHINKO, so my 16 minutes were a technical DNF. I thought the clue might have read better if the first word had been "state" (Philadelphia), but still wouldn't have got it.

Wasn't keen on the clue for TIFFS either (and I seldom criticise Dean).

Feb. 10th, 2019 07:33 am (UTC)
Half Arkwright with groin action
28 minutes on this very good puzzle. As martinp1 has said about CAPITAL OFFENCE, Dean has failed his Part 1 Bookkeeping exam though. The only unknown was LOI PACHINKO, which yielded to the crossers and a bit of thought. We had a wooden bagatelle board when I was a kid, which I couldn't get out of my head. I sure played a mean bagatelle. COD to CLOG DANCE for the Bill Tidy memories. Thank you K and Dean.
Feb. 10th, 2019 07:49 am (UTC)
Another Rolls Royce of a crossword from Dean .. erudite, concise, interesting words, and look at those surface readings.
So far as 21dn is concerned, the clue is barely cryptic and I assumed that I must be missing something, though no idea what. "tiff" has several other meanings beside the argument one but none seem relevant.
Feb. 10th, 2019 08:39 am (UTC)
QC report
I did get PACHINKO and ICHOR but many eluded me despite returning to the puzzle frequently.
I'm still wondering how you get from Old Measure to Clog Dance -I've never seen Measure meaning Dance before.
I agree with Martin and BW, Frank Wood would have struggled with 22a.
Feb. 10th, 2019 09:08 am (UTC)
Re: QC report
'Measure' for dance is in Collins and ODO but both mark it as archaic. So actually I think the word 'old' is a reference to word 'measure' rather than the activity itself.
Re: QC report - kevingregg - Feb. 10th, 2019 11:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 10th, 2019 08:49 am (UTC)
I echo K's sentiments on this one. I have "Tricksy definitions" scribbled next to my time of 1h 5m on my bit of paper. FOI 9a GOOD-FOR-NOTHING, LOI the slightly questionable 21d TIFFS. I'd vaguely heard of PACHINKO from somewhere, luckily, though I think I was getting it a bit confused with pinochle in my brain's filing system.

I believe "RTC" rather than "RTA" is the current police argot, as "collision" is less prejudicial than "accident" while determining cause, but "RTA" was popular for decades and you still hear it being used.
Feb. 10th, 2019 08:58 am (UTC)
PS: Anyone who, like me, also does the Guardian Saturday puzzles and enjoyed last week's Brendan should probably go have a look at the Fifteen2 blog entry for it to fully appreciate how clever it was!

Edited at 2019-02-10 08:58 am (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2019 09:23 am (UTC)
That's amazing. I solved that puzzle and completely missed the cleverness of it!
(no subject) - oliviarhinebeck - Feb. 10th, 2019 11:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 10th, 2019 11:43 am (UTC)
20:50. I wrote Déjà Vu on my copy as I'd seen each of CALLISTO, ASLEEP, REAPPEARS and PERSONAL PRONOUN in recent puzzles and had learned of 'powned' earlier in the week. If you haven't come across it, try Have I been powned?. I found I had been - several times! I loved the puzzle, apart from TIFFS - I was hoping to find here I'd missed something, but I parsed the same as K. Nice to see the Boltzmann constant. COD to 5D. Thanks Dean and K.

Edited at 2019-02-10 11:44 am (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2019 11:55 am (UTC)
It’s actually ‘pwned’. Perhaps surprisingly it’s in ODO, Collins and Chambers.

Edited at 2019-02-10 11:55 am (UTC)
Ooops - johninterred - Feb. 10th, 2019 12:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 10th, 2019 11:50 am (UTC)
No idea why I knew PACHINKO but it was rather lucky I did. Chink makes me think of Wall in Midsummer Night's Dream, or the noise of coins in the bottom of my handbag, or an Asian slur, so I was slow to see the weakness and spent time looking for a vice. For once I was more or less on the Anax wavelength - won't happen next time. 19.53. It is what it is - yesss.
Feb. 10th, 2019 12:05 pm (UTC)
47:36 another very nice puzzle where I found the LHS easier than the RHS, clog dance, counterfeit, shipowner and outdoors all held me up mightily. FOI 1ac. LOI the unknown pachinko which was derived from wp and checkers. I was also hesitant over tiffs which I couldn't really understand. I wondered if form might be a reference to the TIFF file format, which pluralized gives you tiffs, or is form and TIFF too tenuous a link?
Feb. 10th, 2019 04:17 pm (UTC)
Liked it.
Aside from amusement, one of the reasons I started doing the puzzle was to rub up against British usages and British cultural GK. I still learn something from time to time (Tring is a place in Herts?), but I find mostly what I learn these days is how many different ways otherwise reasonable people can pronounce words such as Oar.
Thanks K and D
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