guy_du_sable (guy_du_sable) wrote in times_xwd_times,
guy_du_sable
guy_du_sable
times_xwd_times

Sunday Times Cryptic 4871, 6 X 2019, by David McLean — In good form

Me, I’ve had a cold since last Saturday, but this puzzle is hale and hearty, and its wit could’ve cheered you up if you’d caught a chill with the onset of the season mentioned in 15. Today in Brooklyn promises to be sunny and to warm up a bit, so I want to schedule this soon and get some fresh air.

I worked this at my usual unhurried, deliberative Saturday evening pace, and was pleased to see everything quite clearly, until my LOI, 9. The answer was obvious, but a key part of the parsing wasn’t. Only others in the non-UK contingent, I imagine, will have had the same experience.

I am happy that my “namesake” Guy Joao has been cleared by the Scottish police, who eventually realized (well after the contrary was broadcast by French and international media) that he isn’t the one with a “criminal past” whom the French police have sought for eight years now.

I do (nasargam)* like this, and italicize anagrinds in the clues.


ACROSS
 1 Car, say, one with plenty of gas? (10)
MOTORMOUTH — MOTOR, “Car” + MOUTH, “say”
 7 It is one reactionary English publication (4)
GAME — E + MAG <=
 9 Does a criminal past lead to strife? (8)
PERFORMS — PER, “a” + FORM, “criminal past” + S[-trife]  I finally found the relevant definition, in Collins, of FORM as “a criminal record” (strictly British!), but in my perplexity I had sent a message to our esteemed editor, Peter Biddlecombe, who offered this interesting background information: “OED seems to confirm my impression that ‘form’ as ‘criminal past’ comes from sport, especially horse racing, in which form is a horse’s level of performance, and a ‘form guide’ shows records of past performances. The sporting version goes back more than 200 years, but the criminal version only about 60, from the citations.” My Googling “form” and “criminal past,” before I found the definition, turned up references to employers’ background checks. Though I’d heard of racing forms, I was just assuming that one’s past encounters with the law would be shown on some official form. For Word Reference Forum, FORM has a wider scope, as it “can mean record or reputation. If a person ‘has form‘ it means the person has a well-founded reputation for being or doing something. He has form as a long-time critic and did not miss this opportunity.” But someone queried the forum about the phrase ”he’s got form for,” citing this example from a convo between two cops: “He’s got form for assault, theft, a couple of other armed robs.” Apparently this sense of the term is not uncommonly heard in British police procedurals. I also found a citation from a book called Frozen, by one Lindsay Jayne Ashford: “I mean, if he’s got form for living off immoral earnings, he’s going to be on file anyway.” (I’m sure this isn’t news to most of you! Sorry to be a 1a!)
10 A table on a train (6)
ABOARD — A table, a board
11 Good man repelled by constant affairs (6)
EVENTS — EVEN, “constant” + ST<=
13 Liqueur a popular retired crossword compiler doesn’t finish (8)
ANISETTE — A + IN, “popular”<=, SETTE[-r]
14 Often reflect on turning slightly red? (4-2-6)
LEFT-OF-CENTRE — (Often reflect on)*  Hey, no red-baiting allowed! I’m pretty far left, so don’t consider such a locution an insult—which nullifies its usually intended effect.
17 One tip: pool is fantastica great place to start (4,8)
POLE POSITION — (One tip: pool is)*  I’d heard this phrase, but only used figuratively, as I didn’t know that (Wikipedia) “in motorsport the pole position is the position at the inside of the front row at the start of a racing event.” It goes to the driver who does best in the preceding trials. Give the best driver an advantage? Guess he earned it…
20 State protocol or a document containing it (8)
COLORADO — Hidden
21 Young minister announcing NHS statistics, perhaps (6)
CURATE — “Cure rate.”  Not at all sure a CURATE must be young, though one definition is an assistant to a priest. He might have started later in life (which reminds me of the argument of those who supported Proust for the Goncourt Prize in 1919 that the foundation’s charter stipulated that it was to reward “young talent”—not necessarily a young person).
22 Shock a maiden with essentially adult paintings from the East (6)
TRAUMA — A + M(aiden) + [-ad]U[-lt] + “paintings,” ART <=
23 Limb caught in a register, I’d be worried by that (8)
ALARMIST — A L(ARM)IST  Me, I’d know better.
25 European visiting a hospital after hostel is very well (4)
YEAH — E(uropean) comes to A H(ospital) after Y, “hostel” (YMCA, or YWCA)
26 DD is one goliath bust! (10)
THEOLOGIAN — (one goliath)* Doctor of Divinity (not a hard science). Collins says “goliath” can be uncapped, but I really wouldn’t advise it.

DOWN
 2 Ever vow to change? (first of inquiries in survey) (8)
OVERVIEW — (Ever vow + I)*
 3 High? Not at work! (3)
OFF — Shh, don’t tell the boss! DD
 4 Extra small habits (5)
MORES — MORE, “Extra” + S(mall)
 5 Clue spa differently for Tatler’s readers, perhaps (7)
UPSCALE — (Clue spa)*
 6 Stuff cash in thy bloomers (9)
HYACINTHS — To foil muggers? (cash in thy)*
 7 Work? I really must achieve something more! (2,3,6)
GO ONE BETTER — ”Work,” GO + ONE BETTER, “I really must”
 8 Mass revolutionary anger that Boris ultimately deserves (6)
MERITS — Tell me about it! M(ass) + IRE<= + [-tha]T [-Bori]S
12 Pretty poor in bed? Feel without mojo initially (3,2,2,4)
NOT UP TO MUCH — NOT UP, “in bed” + TO(M)UCH
15 Save for a season in America, go to pieces (4,5)
FALL APART — Autumn aside…
16 Noble Italian crook returned item of value (8)
CONTESSA — CON, “crook” + ASSET<=  (an Italian noble, rather)
18 Irreverent supporters seen on end of terrace (7)
PROFANE — PRO + FAN + [-terrac]E
19 Broadcast programme of inferior quality (6)
COARSE — “Course”
21 Conservative liberal drinking bitter in drag (5)
CRAWL — C(RAW)L
24 Face flipping Magnus Carlsen? You must be drunk! (3)
MUG — G(rand)M(aster) swallowing U, for “You”
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