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Sunday Times Cryptic 4803, by Dean Mayer — No escheating!
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guy_du_sable

We have four excellent examples of double-definition clues here, two whose clues use disparate senses of the same word (23a and 6d) and two that involve homonyms (17 and 21), two totally different words (although the two senses of RUNG may be—it is speculated—etymologically related) that happen to be spelled exactly alike, and thus end up both magically occupying the same squares at the same time.

I was out late at a benefit upstate at the wonderful outdoor sculpture museum Storm King (my friend David Stoltz has a few pieces there, and got us in for free), so will just post this immediately, without any further ado.

(arangams)* like this, definitions underlined…


ACROSS


 1 A copper has little desire to eat (8)
APPETITE—P is for penny, a “copper,” which has PETITE, “little.”
 6 Cold East German parts get very hot (6)
FROSTY—“East German” translates to “East, German,” east in Deutsch, or OST, which “parts” (divides) FRY, “get very hot.” The convention of indicating a foreign word in this way, sans comma, is very well established in Cryptic World.
 9 Film featuring British comic in free buffet? (5,9)
BRIEF ENCOUNTER—“Comic” is an anagrind telling us to rearrange “in free,” with “B” for British, to get BRIEF EN, “buffet” being the COUNTER.
10 Blue edges for stone axes (4)
SEXY—S[ton]E + X and Y axes.
11 A little field, or a domain where riches may be (2,6)
EL DORADO—A surface so smooth that one simply skates over the hidden word. “Domain” could be part of the definition, but it isn’t, because it is part of the wordplay.
14 The shop stocks very useful heating device (10)
THERMOSTAT—THE + RAT (“shop,” as in grass to the cops) storing MOST (“very”). I didn’t know whether to underline “useful” as part of the definition, but I am giving the setter the benefit of the doubt. The justification would be that “heating device,” on the face of it, indicates a device that heats, whereas a THERMOSTAT is a heat regulator—a useful device in adjusting the temperature of one’s abode or whatever. But I am not sure “useful heating device” adequately conveys that, though, and on the level of the surface reading, “useful” is obviously necessary to give “very” something to connect to.
16 The same result? Not quite (4)
EVEN—“The same” as in each player having “the same” score when their scores are EVEN or tied. This was my LOI, because I wasn’t sure how synonymous the word “event” is with “result.” Collins (online) lists this definition as “Archaic.” But Cambridge has a definition from mathematics: “one particular group of outcomes (= results) among all possible outcomes when experimenting with probability,” which might be what the setter had in mind.
17 Called and spoke (4)
RUNG—I liked this double definition a lot, but had qualms about whether “spoke” (radial) and “rung” (horizontal) are quite synonymous. They didn’t show up as synonyms for each other in the online thesaurus I consulted. But Merriam-Webster gives “a spoke of a wheel” as the third definition of RUNG, so all's well.
18 Last of gulag prisoners free—what’s going on? (2,8)
IN PROGRESS—Last of “gulag,” i.e., G, plus (prisoners)*.
20 Henry likes tanks hiding in city (8)
HELSINKI—Henry = H + (likes)* secreting IN.
21 Cotton on a small piece of wood (4)
TWIG—Another excellent doube definition…
23 Post-match (14)
CORRESPONDENCE— …and a third.
24 They may be light, using oxygen for a while (6)
OPERAS—“Oxygen” = O, “for a” = PER, “while” = AS.
25 On escaping Leviathan, finds sewer (8)
SEAMSTER— “Seamonster” minus “on.” An amusing surface. Never seen this word used.

DOWN


 2 Cut out sphere, or otherwise (11)
PORTERHOUSE—(Out sphere or)*
 3 See hosts for one poem (5)
ELEGY—“See” in the sense of a bishopric, here ELY, with E[.]G[.], “for one,” inside.
 4 One squad, not a couple (4)
ITEM—I = “one” with TE[a]M, “squad” sans “a.”
 5 Legally take one key part of contest (7)
ESCHEAT—I don’t think “one” is necessary here, and while I was pondering that, I looked at a few sources for definitions of ESCHEAT (a word that has been turning up here regularly lately). The precise sense wanted was not found in Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, or Oxford—for example, in the latter the verb has only the meanings “(of land) revert to a lord or the state by escheat” and “usually as adjective escheated (with object) Hand over (land) as an escheat.” But Collins finally came through with “to cause to escheat; confiscate.”
 6 Slap bottom? (10)
FOUNDATION—Yet another brilliant double definition. The question mark is there, I guess, because the SLAP part refers to all makeup, of which FOUNDATION is but one example.
 7 One revealing deterioration in Ulster, say (9)
OUTERWEAR—“One revealing” is an OUTER, “deterioration” Is WEAR. DBE.
 8 Sailor upset at reaching river (3)
TAR—AT<-— + R.
12 Theatre part appropriate for Garbo? (5,6)
DRESS CIRCLE—Hilarious. GARB + O. For some reason, in balconies or galleries in larger theaters (says Wikipedia), “the first level is usually called the dress circle or grand circle.” I only know this term from these puzzles.
13 Still unable to suggest anything? (10)
MOTIONLESS—If you have no ideas during a meeting, you won’t move that a course of action be adopted.
15 Posh car gathering is great for spin doctor (9)
REGISTRAR—This isn’t a term for “doctor” in the United States, by the way. The “posh car” Is a Rolls Royce, appearing here as initials, “gathering” (is great)*—“for spin” is the anagrind.
19 Greek deity’s feast holding match up (7)
PRIAPUS—SUP<-—holding PAIR<—-
21 Nancy’s very small lock (5)
TRESS—On Friday, Verlaine remarked that the somewhat clichéd use of “Nancy” to indicate a French word prevented one entry from being awarded his Clue of the Day, and here it is again. Oh, well. TRES (très) for “very” and S for “small.”
22 Heading north, one on a wild ox (4)
ANOA—“one,” A, ON A <—-
23 Clubs leading in contest (3)
CUP —C is for “clubs,” “leading” is UP.