Delay Repay by Seps

Puzzle explanation

The puzzle’s theme was the film The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, released just over 50 years earlier on 25 December 1973. The extra words in clues formed a clue to the title, “Noted piece involving one losing jack”. Their initial letters could be arranged to give (Scott) JOPLIN, a “key” contributor to the film, which used several of his ragtime compositions, in particular The Entertainer as its main musical theme. The film was about a con game known as “the wire”, involving a fake set-up for betting on horse races in which the results were delayed. The delayed letters in clues spelt out “results of horse races”. The delayed letters in wordplay spelt “half a million dollars”, the amount staked by the con’s mark, Doyle Lonnegan, and lost when the betting parlour was raided. In the grid, DG (cryptically representing 500 grand) was “dropped” by DOYLE LONNEGAN and given to Henry GONDORFF, who was running the con. The highlighted third character was Johnny HOOKER, who refused his share of the proceeds. The puzzle’s title referred to the supposedly delayed race results and the revenge motive for the con (and not to the Delay Repay terms for passenger compensation specified in Great Britain’s National Rail Conditions of Travel).

Clue explanations

Conventions: * = anagram, < = reversal

No [Delayed letter]/(extra word) Answer Explanation [delayed letter]
12   AMES-ACE SE[A] < in MACE
13   DOYLE DOYEN with [L] for N
17   FRANCO ’FRO around C[A]N <
18 f[R]amed DENOTE NOT in DEE
19   BEAMY B + EA + Y(orkshire) + [M]
20 (N)oted BORES SOBER *
22 th[E]re REAM (the)RE AM(id)
24   NOHOWISH (SON WHO) * + [I]’ + H
26   RELATION (IT ON) * after REA[L]
28 Twi[S]t NASA (AS AN) <
31   ALAND ([L]D around N) after AA
32 (P)iece POGGE PO + EGG *
34   DIABLE ’D + [I] in ABLE
37 (I)nvolving HOOKER HERO * around OK
39 g[U]ns RAKEE RA + EKE *
40   OATER ((pictu)RE T[O] A(ir)) <
41   INFLATE IF + (trai)[N] + LATE
42 (O)ne SHARKED SHARED around K
1 [L]atitude GAFFER (REF + FLAG − L) <
2 coa[T]s AMERCE MER in ACE
3 Boo[S]t JELAB BALE < after J
4 [O]ption AS ONE MAN (SOME NAAN) *
5 [F]at BANC (tu)B(by) (f)A(t) (mi)N(us) (mus)C(les)
7   HEEDY H(an)[D] around EYE *
8 S[H]oo EDGE HEDGE − (S)H(oo)
9   ROAN RAN [O]N − (first) N
10   FLITES FI[L]ES around T
11 (L)osing SECESH (E + CHESS) *
15 T[O]ry NOMOI (C)ON < + MOI
16 g[R]it NORIA (A + IRON) <
21   OWN GOALS OW[L] around (A SONG) *
23   ALAAP LP around [A]AA
25 Ca[S]t HOO-HA (w)H(o)O(p) O(n) H(e)A(t)
26   RADIOS [R] in ADIOS
27 Se[E]r ELIJAH (J after I) in HALE <
29   SWEETY TEE[S] < in WY
30 w[R]aps AFREET (A + T) around FREE
32 g[A]ol PENIE PEN + IE
33 (J)ack EKKAS AKKAS with E for A
35 non-[C]ane BEER BEE(t) + R
36 qui[E]t LARK L + ARK
38 lo[S]t ORFF FOR * + F(iddlers)
  noted piece involving one losing jack THE STING THING around JEST − J
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