Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday TimesST 4534
Date of Publication in The Sunday TimesSunday, April 21, 2013
Link to Full ReviewTimes for the Times [ST 4534]
Times for the Times Review Written ByDave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto StarSaturday, May 11, 2013
Date of Publication in the Vancouver SunSaturday, May 18, 2013
█ - solved without assistance
█ - incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
█ - solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
█ - solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
█ - unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Times for the Times
This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, May 18, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.
IntroductionI thought that this was a bit easier than most of the Sunday Times puzzles we have seen recently.
Notes on Today's Puzzle
This commentary should be read in conjunction with the full review at Times for the Times, to which a link is provided in the table above.
1a Stratospheric rent for lowest levels in the Savoy? (9,4)
Here Savoy refers not to the area of SE France bordering on Italy, but to the Savoy Theatre in London, England. The theatre opened in 1881 and was built by Richard D'Oyly Carte on the site of the old Savoy Palace as a showcase for the popular series of comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, which became known as the Savoy Operas as a result. As an aside, the theatre was the first theatre, and the first public building in the world, to be lit entirely by electricity.
I don't imagine that there would be more than a single orchestra pit in the Savoy. Therefore, I think we have to interpret the definition as "lowest levels in places such as the Savoy" with the question mark indicating that we are dealing with a definition by example.
10a Singers can be very quiet next to an Indian princess (7)
Although Oxford Dictionaries Online defines rani as a Hindu queen, Collins English Dictionary tells us that rani means (in oriental countries, especially India) a queen or princess; the wife of a rajah.
11a Person no longer inside a part in wings of Palace (7)
12a It’s somewhat black in small island (1,3)
Ait[3,4,11] is a British term for a small island, especially in a river.
13a Planned food store’s rubbish (10)
In British English, rubbish is used as a verb meaning to criticize severely and reject as worthless ⇒
he rubbished the idea of a European Community-wide carbon tax.
14a Penny’s up to be commended (7)
In Britain's current decimal currency system, a penny is a bronze coin and monetary unit equal to one hundredth of a pound (and is abbreviated p). In the system formerly used, a penny was equal to one twelfth of a shilling or 240th of a pound (and was abbreviated d, for denarius).
16a He’s one part of a heater (7)
He is the symbol for the chemical element helium.
18a Naughty imp used kid’s stuff from Mississippi? (3,4)
Mississippi mud pie is a chocolate-based dessert pie that is likely to have originated in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The treat contains a gooey chocolate sauce on top of a crumbly chocolate crust. The pie is usually served with ice cream. The name "Mississippi mud pie" comes from the dense cake which resembles the banks of the Mississippi River.
20a In Tennessee the sun is boiling (7)
22a Finished camp pocketing a pound in part of Ireland (7,3)
Here pound is a unit of weight, not a denomination of currency. In Britain, camp may mean effeminate or homosexual. I would conclude that this is a British usage based on a comparison with the definitions in The American Heritage Dictionary and the Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary from the same link.
Donegal Bay, an inlet in the northwest of Ireland, is that country's largest bay. Three counties – Donegal to the north and west, Leitrim and Sligo to the south – have shorelines on the bay, which is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean.
24a An advantage in golf club, wife’s not there! (4)
26a Swallow one drink (7)
27a English town’s fearing bar opening (7)
Reading is a town in Berkshire, southern England, on the River Kennet near its junction with the Thames; population 142,300 (est. 2009).
28a What could contrive stuttering woe? (6,7)
This is an & lit. (all-in-one) clue. The entire clue serves as both definition and wordplay. The anagram indicator is "what could contrive".
2d Carpet repair damn slapdash? Only one answer (9)
Carpet is British slang meaning to reprimand severely ⇒
the Chancellor of the Exchequer carpeted the bank bosses.
3d Get better list so to speak (4)
4d Salary and gratuity in post (7)
5d Despicable sort let rip badly in front of European (7)
6d Soldier on for each grave (9)
7d Amateur and pro turning up in a US city (5)
8d Key, for instance given to stringed instrument (1,5)
9d Ambassador is in supreme command (6)
HE is the abbreviation for His or Her Excellency, where Excellency (usually His, Her or Your Excellency or Your or Their Excellencies) is a title of honour given to certain people of high rank, e.g. ambassadors.
15d Huge energy used in dancing (9)
I assembled the correct solution based on the wordplay, but dismissed it as being highly improbable. However, a peek at the dictionary showed that the word actually exists in the UK.
In British English, swingeing is an adjective meaning severe or extreme in size, amount, or effect ⇒
swingeing cuts in public expenditure.
17d Stimulant dope herein is out of order, nothing less (9)
18d Crazy Parisian soul is a local lady (6)
In French, âme means soul. I initially suspected that "local lady" might refer to the landlady of a pub. However, after a bit of research, I have concluded that it means a woman who is a resident of Paris. Madame is a title or form of address used of or to a French-speaking woman, corresponding to Mrs.
19d Not English, earliest cross? (7)
This is another & lit. clue for which Dave Perry gives a very complete explanation.
20d One dispute after another getting the bird (7)
Here, "the bird" is not a rude gesture but one of the feathered variety.
21d Winter transport provided by butcher reportedly (6)
23d Drug trafficker caught in Algerian port, shooting up (5)
Oran is a port on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria; population 679,900 (est. 2009). According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, narco is US slang for a drug trafficker or dealer ⇒
political bosses who may have links to the narcos.
25d Damn strikes, time for pressure to be applied (4)
Key to Reference Sources:Signing off for this week — Falcon
 - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
 - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
 - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
 - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
 - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
 - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
 - Wikipedia
 - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
 - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
 - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)