Clues by Vlad and Grid by Aramis
Theme: The Sunday Times newspaper
The winner of the October puzzle is Julie Allen from Queensland.
Review of the October 2022 3D crossword
Vlad and Aramis have put forward a theme I knew virtually nothing about, with clues sufficiently difficult to force me into a second session before I knew what the theme was. This is one of the year’s more difficult puzzles and more unusual grid-fills.
SUN + DAYTIME x 2 (31), from the technical-looking diagram provided by Frank Paul apparently for Day 30, was never going to appear until I had solved the whole thing. And yet it’s actually a perfectly reasonable charade of the wittier kind – provided you give FP the benefit of the doubt over whether he’s really pretending to clue one day while actually clueing another. He wouldn’t – would he? As I failed badly at both – I’d been wondering what was published on the subject of astronomical measurements at Stonehenge in 1822… Nowhere near. And Graham Fox’s October Sun whose beams most glorious are was giving nothing away either.
It’s a highly ambitious grid in other ways. Three Zs made for some unusual self-searching, but not for long, since the clue to MAGAZINE was an early casualty, and that eventually let us in. Aramis is not afraid of snakes, and nor am I – this sort, anyway. All three central boulevards were found to go only part of their solution-carrying distance, and only half of the other 7-letter lights. This, I think, makes for more mystification: while a very ship-shape grid, like most of those I have reviewed thus far, may be a great achievement in itself, the going-round-corners aspect does add some spice to the solving.
So do tricky clues. Vlad is well-known to Guardian solvers for his complex but fair clueing, together with the odd political reference. None of those here: it’s hard enough to predict the next month in that area, never mind when setting over a year in advance. But we had COLUMN, where the body and the smoker were tough to find; BERTIE, requiring some GK as well as a sideways look at the calendar; PUBLISH, where an unusual anagram indicator went well with the chosen definition of ‘divulge’; and an anagrammed acrostic in PRINT. By the time these few were worked out, it was clear that the publication referred to in the rubric was to be a newspaper.
There were two clues which gave away the identity of that paper, but for my own reasons I had not tumbled to them quickly enough. The reference to Neil in the clue for EDITOR would have been conclusive, but I found it hard to solve, through not thinking of that sort of designer. Juxtaposing that word with English, thereby inhibiting certain lines of thought, is one of those tricks which we can miss but which make Vlad and his colleagues such expert bamboozlers. Yes, it was Dior. I did manage to get OZZIE from the rather old-fashioned rozzer-related clue, but I was slow to see Mr Murdoch – whom some might see as a prototype for those later, higher-tech incursions into the manipulation of democratic systems from beyond the frontier – as both Ozzie and Mogul.
Of course, once THE SUNDAY TIMES was known to be the subject, solving its own clue became easy – in retrospect. What could be expressed (STUDY IN A)* in THEME + S was no giveaway piece of wordplay; while as a virtually & lit. clue also, it allowed no easy definition to play with. The references to Neil, thalidomide (subject of that determined and justified campaign for which many will be thankful to the S T to this day) and magazines were then made clear.
I did wonder about the pairing of THE SUN with the thematic newspaper. It occurred to me to ask myself whether THE SUN might have been profitably left in the open, with DAYTIMES as another light, leaving the solver to find their own 200-year-old publication? However, we were well-treated here, with a high proportion of thematic items and some most teasing clues.
An off-beat observation to finish: at some point in around 1990, a television advertisement was filmed not far from my neck of the woods, proclaiming that its subject was ‘not a snooze-paper’. It clearly targeted the Sunday Times, which by then seemed to have about a hundred and fifty constituent parts; and featured the sign showing that the happy wanderer was entering the Norfolk village of Little Snoring. I think this was the launch of the Mail on Sunday. Those Zs brought it all back to me. As a subscriber to the Observer, I shall refrain from commenting further, whether on the weight of the News International organ, or the editorial policy of that of DMG.
I must update something I wrote on the August puzzle: Mr T Hill no longer runs his lightning routes in the state of Missouri, but for those Dolphins of Miami FL.
This is a subtractive clue where we start with the solution to Day 31 and then delete the letters indicated by the crossed out portions of the picture. The cycle from dawn to dusk and back to dawn is a full day (and night). The half from dawn to dusk is the daylight hours, and there are two such cycles, so:
THE SUNDAY TIMES − DAYTIMES = THE SUN
Clues and explanations
Thematic solutions are indicated with an asterisk.
|Day||Solution||Direction, Clue, Count||Explanation|
|1||AD CLERUM||20ba,19d-2 Calm disturbed with rude letter from bishop (2,6)||(CALM RUDE)*|
|2||AEGIS||27aw Occasionally take against patronage (5)||(t)A(k)E(a)G(a)I(n)S(t)|
|3||BERTIE*||4aw,13ac-2 At end of four months, draw George VI (6)||(Septem/Octo/Novem/Decem)BER + TIE|
Bertie Carvel won a Tony award for playing Rupert Murdoch in the play Ink in 2019
|4||BUCHU||17aw Shrub in German publication a little unusual (5)||BUCH + U(nusual)|
|5||COLUMN*||6aw-2,7d Upright body against employing Scottish smoker (6)||LUM in CON|
|6||DENES||35to Needs to redevelop low-lying ground (5)||(NEEDS)*|
|7||DIGESTS||35ac After jab, Tess gets frightened and breaks down (7)||DIG + (TESS)*|
|8||EARBOB||29to,27up Barbie wearing old, not current, jewellery (6)||(BARBIE+O)* – I|
|9||EDITOR*||34aw,35up English designer seen around town — as Neil once was (6)||E+ T in DIOR|
|10||GAZON||36to Horse carrying lightweight over turf (5)||(OZ in NAG) <|
|11||GLEAM||36up Flash Gordon’s opening strike — earth saved (5)||G+ E in LAM|
|12||GO-CART||32up,9aw-2 German officer’s skill as racer (2-4)||G + OC + ART|
|13||HACKS*||1d Missing wife hits 22 staff (5)||(w)HACKS|
|14||HENRY*||21to,16ba-2 Boy takes 500 from legend at table (5)||HEN(d)RY [ref Stephen Hendry, Scottish snooker player]|
First editor of Sunday Times, Henry White
|15||LIBRAN||3ba-2,2d Well-balanced type, you might expect — nothing about hoarding woman’s underwear (6)||BRA in (NIL)<|
|16||MAGAZINE*||33ba,30aw-2 Arsenal playing game in Azerbaijan (8)||(GAME IN AZ)*|
|17||MEZAIL||12to,2ac-2 I’m fighting with zeal (and visor) (6)||(IM ZEAL)*|
|18||MURDOCH*||12ba,11to Mogul’s great deal protecting Republican party (7)||R + DO in MUCH|
Current Sunday Times owner, Rupert Murdoch
|19||NASAL||24ac,25to-4 Snitch’s first indication of nerves when with Capone (5)||N(erves) + AS + AL|
|20||OZZIE*||7ac-3,8d-3 Copper having no rights to arrest 1? Possibly 18 (5)||I in (r)OZZe(r)|
|21||PAPARAZZO*||5aw-3,10ba ‘Worthless twaddle!’ Queen’s grandchild flipping cross (he does get snappy) (9)||PAP + (ZARA)< + ZO [yak-cattle hybrid]|
|22||PAPER*||5aw Learned publication in press release copy (5)||APE in PR|
|23||PRINT*||5d Freely reporting thalidomide problems, it naturally starts to make an impression (5)||Anagram of first letters (RTPIN)*|
|24||PSALM||10d Song originally sung in China by maiden (5)||S(ung) in PAL (china plate/mate) + M|
|25||PUBLISH*||5ba Divulge his secret to local lecturer (7)||PUB + L + (HIS)*|
|26||READS*||14d One involved in film studies (5)||A in REDS [Warren Beatty film]|
|27||RUMMIER||11ac Caught out comparatively unpleasant stranger (7)||(c)RUMMIER|
|28||SALISBURY COURT*||22to,18ba,15aw Brits raucously dancing in street where 31 first appeared (9,5)||(BRITS RAUCOUSLY)*|
Where 1st edition of Sunday Times was edited
|29||SAUDI||37up Arab’s second luxury car (5)||S + AUDI|
|30||THE SUN*||23ac-6 American turning in after setter (18 has it) (3,3)||(US)< in THEN|
|31||THE SUNDAY TIMES*||23ac-3,26ac,28aw New study in a subject that’s on Sabbath (3,6,5)||(STUDY IN A THEME)* + S|
|32||ZEE||31up Some geezer reviewed last of series in America (3)||(gEEZer)<|
fun puzzle [MD]
Surprisingly easy for a Vlad but still very enjoyable. Thanks to Vlad for the entertainment. [SC]
Not too tricky for a Vlad, once I’d cracked clue 31. Never heard of Mezail, Buchu or Ad Clerum but gettable from the word play. Didn’t know Rummier was a word! Fun, thanks all. [JC]
Several words were new to me (eg buchu, gazon, mezail). Hadn’t come across ad clerum before, either. Thanks to Vlad and Aramis for an entertaining puzzle. [RS]
Happily managed to crack this early on, and then it came together quite quickly. Lovely photo, and I like the idea of the sun setting on Murdoch and his evil empire… [MS]
Enjoyable as usual, though more difficult as there were entries I’d never heard of!👌😍 [MN]
Mu first thought from the date was Jane Austen, but it’s about a decade too late. Picture clue barely comprehensible. I particularly liked 24. [MJ]
I was surprised that the Sunday paper had been going as long as that. [TH]
Enjoyable puzzle. Good range of clue difficulty with one or two more obscure that took some thinking about. [JP]
Nothing on the first read through so pleased to get going at last. A few as yet fully parsed so fingers crossed for the first attempt. Will continue to grapple. Thanks again..can’t believe it’s number 10. [HH]
A tricky setter lets his hair down to give us mortal solvers a chance; a bit similar, in that respect, to last month’s puzzle, for which much thanks. But there were a few niggles. My sources have MEZAIL as a US variant of MESAIL (not that I’ve heard of either), and I’m more familiar with GO-KART than -CART though the clueing meant nothing else. I rarely see or pay attention to THE SUNDAY TIMES these days, largely because of MURDOCH. I would love to have seen a reference to the paper’s glory days in the 60s and 70s (living history for many solvers??!!), exposing the Profumo and Thalidomide scandals, developing the Insight team, and flowering under the great editor Harold Evans (who once compared Murdoch to Milton’s Lucifer). Come to think of it, if an F could have been shuffled in somewhere, we could have had LUCIFER as an Easter Egg. [PA]
Another enjoyable puzzle and plenty of thematic solutions. Several words new to us, though some of them are quite old! Thanks Vlad and Aramis. [CW]
A enjoyable puzzle with an interesting and well-executed theme. There was a good variety of clues, some of them quite tough. I was familiar with most of the theme, which came to me about halfway through solving. Many thanks to Vlad and Aramis for their efforts. [AB]
Being a Sunday Times reader helped a bit. [JB]
Not much specifically related to the theme seen at 31, so no problem bar having to look up 28, though I don’t see how the drawing works, and am not happy with 26 – presumably ‘a’ for ‘one’ in the film ‘Reds’? [PM]
Some tough clues here; hoping I have them all right! I knew nothing about the history of the newspaper so it was interesting to do some Google research. Wow, that is indeed an old publication! Thanks to Vlad and Aramis for the challenge and to Graham Fox for the beautiful photo. [JA]
I liked this puzzle, marking the 200th anniversary of the first publication of the Sunday Times, along with its many cross-references. Very clever, thank you, Vlad and Aramis for an entertaining exercise! [SF]
Very enjoyable, despite all the references to publications I try to avoid. Some words were unknown to me but clued fairly with lovely wordplay. Thank you. [JT]
Reasonably straighforward so a pleasure to complete. [PD]
Another cracker! Thanks to all concerned. [SW]
What a relief to have just two lines of rubric! A very enjoyable puzzle, once I got started – thanks! A very clever clue to give us the theme too, I thought. [JB]
I found this hard but enjoyable as usual. My last one in was 14 Henry. I struggled but once I realised what sort of table it was the answer was obvious. [MP]
Very difficult 🙂 [RS]
It was manageable but we are unclear on much of the parsing, awaiting enlightenment from the newsletter. Thought the clue for magazine was clever. [J&JH]
Straightforward gradual solve with well advertised theme. [DM]
As usual for these puzzles, an impressive amount of thematic material crammed in there! I made good progress once the penny had dropped, but slowed down towards the end with a few new/obscure words – BUCHU, GAZON, MEZAIL. Thanks to Vlad and Aramis for an enjoyable challenge! [MC]
Finished this some time ago but having a couple of question marks, waited for Hints & Tips but none forthcoming so I’d better get it in! And it turns out to be right! Hope all is well with the team. Enjoyable with some unusual answers; it felt a bit clunky to have so many clues that didn’t really fit the grid (tails round a corner or up a level) but that is perhaps the cost of the two long wrap-around answers so is forgiven. Nice balance between slick clues and complexities. [EF]
Very enjoyable puzzle with lots of thematic solutions. Thanks very much. [BS]
Very nice puzzle and a refreshingly different theme. Thanks! [NI]
My master completed it by himself when he was up to 3 am. I think it must have been engrossing. He didn’t get up till midday. [RG]
I didn’t know about this anniversary, so it was interesting to go and discover the history of this respected newspaper. [SB]
Vlad, thanks for going a little easier on us than usual! 🙂 [JS]
A difficult one that kept us entertained on multiple trips around the country this month. We particularly enjoyed Frank’s clever drawing. [AH]