Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014 — ST 4582

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4582
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Setter
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4582]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
★★★★★
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, April 19, 2014[Note 2]
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
█████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Times for the Times
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Times for the Times
- yet to be solved
Notes
[1] This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, April 19, 2014 edition of the Ottawa Citizen.
[2] Unverified as a paywall bars access to the The Vancouver Sun website.

Introduction

It took me a long time to get started on this puzzle, and even once I did my progress was painfully slow, In the end, I did fairly well but needed some electronic help to finish — in particular, in the southwestern corner.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Times for the Times, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Shake breakfast food bowl (8)

5a   Outfit absorbs union coercion (6)

10a   Something fishy about former W Indian batsman — suspect trickery (5,1,3)

A smelt[5] is a small silvery fish which lives in both marine and fresh water and is sometimes fished commercially.

Brian Lara[7] is a former West Indian international cricket player. He is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen of his era and one of the finest ever to have graced the game.

11a   Fast driver in luxury car gets round one (5)

In card games, an ace[2] is the card in each of the four suits with a single symbol on it, having either the highest value or the value one.

The monogram RR appears on the grill of a Rolls-Royce[5] automobile, a luxury car produced by the British Rolls-Royce company.

12a   Rain god rejected by Richard Nixon? Not entirely (5)

Richard Nixon[5] (1913–194) was an American Republican statesman, 37th President of the US 1969–74. His period of office was overshadowed by the Vietnam War. Re-elected in 1972, he became the first President to resign from office, owing to his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

In Hinduism, Indra[5] is the warrior king of the heavens, god of war and storm, to whom many of the prayers in the Rig Veda[5] [the oldest of four collections of Hindu scripture] are addressed.

13a   Brutish type seen in a couple of pubs and in a mess (9)

14a   Erik, say, in profit did harvest (8,2)

Eric the Red[5] (circa 940-circa 1010) was a Norse explorer. He left Iceland in 982 in search of land to the west, exploring Greenland and establishing a Norse settlement there in 986.

Of the several dictionaries that I consulted which had a listing for the explorer, all spelled his name as Eric the Red[3,4,5,10,11]. Wikipedia is the only reference I looked at which spells the name as Erik the Red[7].

17a   What really shouldn't be brought back in Aberdeen academy? (4)

I would say that this is a semi-& lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue in which the entire clue provides the definition and a portion of the clue (the part with the dashed underlining) serves as the wordplay.

Aberdeen[5] is a city and seaport in northeastern Scotland; population 166,900 (est. 2009). It is a centre of the offshore North Sea oil industry.

Caning[7] is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits (known as "strokes" or "cuts") with a single cane usually made of rattan, generally applied to the offender's bare or clothed buttocks or palms of the hands.

The thin cane generally used for corporal punishment is not to be confused with a walking stick, sometimes also called (especially in American English) a "cane" but which is thicker and much more rigid, and more likely to be made of stronger wood than of cane.

The western educational use of the cane dates principally to the late nineteenth century, gradually replacing birching—effective only if applied to the bare bottom—with a form of punishment more suited to contemporary sensibilities, once it had been discovered that a flexible rattan cane can provide the offender with a substantial degree of pain even when delivered through a layer of clothing.

Caning as a school punishment is strongly associated in the English-speaking world with England, but it was also used in other European countries in earlier times, notably Scandinavia, Germany and the countries of the former Austrian empire.

In some schools corporal punishment was administered solely by the headmaster, while in others the task was delegated to other teachers. In many English and Commonwealth private schools, authority to punish was also traditionally given to certain senior students (often called prefects). In the early 20th century, such permission for prefects to cane other boys was widespread in British public schools. [Note: In the UK, a public school[5] is a private fee-paying secondary school, especially one for boarders — what North Americans would call public schools are referred to in Britain as state (funded) schools].

In many state secondary schools in England and Wales caning was in use, mostly for boys, until 1987, while elsewhere other implements prevailed, such as the Scottish tawse [a strip of leather, with one end split into a number of tails]. The cane was generally administered in a formal ceremony to the seat of the trousers, typically with the student bending over a desk or chair. Usually there was a maximum of six strokes (known as "six of the best").

Schoolgirls were caned much more rarely than boys, and if the punishment was given by a male teacher, nearly always on the palm of the hand. Rarely, girls were caned on the clothed bottom, in which case the punishment would probably be applied by a female teacher.

In the UK, all corporal punishment in private schools was finally banned in 1999 for England and Wales, 2000 in Scotland, and 2003 in Northern Ireland.

19a   Prepare to swallow Tory cut (4)

A Tory[4] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada. Historically, a Tory was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679-80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

20a   Duff American meets one of his former presidents — nothing comes out (5,5)

In the surface reading, duff[10] is an informal British term meaning bad or useless, as by not working out or not operating correctly(i) a duff idea; (ii) a duff engine.

In the wordplay, duff[5] is an informal North American term for a person’s buttocks I did not get where I am today by sitting on my duff. Thus the setter uses the phrase "duff American" to denote 'what duff means in America'.

Fanny[5] is another informal North American term for a person’s buttocks. In Britain, fanny[5] is vulgar slang for a woman’s genitals. Now there is an opportunity ripe for misunderstanding!

John Adams[5] (1735–1826) was the 2nd President of the US 1797–1801; father of John Quincy Adams. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence (1776).

John Quincy Adams[5] (1767–1848) was the 6th President of the US 1825-9; eldest son of John Adams. [I wonder if, in his day, he was known as Q — as Bush the younger was known as W.]

Fanny Adams[5] is British slang meaning nothing at all [a euphemism for fuck all and commonly appearing in the phrase sweet Fanny Adams] ⇒ I know sweet Fanny Adams about mining.

23a   Nice fellows in Europe captivated by Argentinian footballer and son (9)

Nice[5] is a resort city on the French Riviera, near the border with Italy; population 348,721 (2007).

Messieurs[8] (plural of monsieur) is a French word meaning gentlemen.

Lionel Messi[7] is an Argentine footballer [soccer player] who plays as a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He serves as the captain of his country's national football team.

25a   Handle small piece with only two tenors (5)

A tittle[3] — which turns out not to be a Briticism as I had expected — is the tiniest bit or an iota.

27a   A legal action cut short in open courts (S)

28a   Laver's hit out in play (3,6)

Rod Laver[5] is an Australian former professional tennis player. In 1962 he became the second man (after Don Budge in 1938) to win the four major singles championships (British, American, French, and Australian) in one year; in 1969 he was the first to repeat this.

The Rivals[7] is a comedy of manners play by Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816) in five acts. It was first performed at Covent Garden Theatre on 17 January 1775.

29a   There's dope in the republic (6)

The term turkey[10] is slang (mainly US and Canadian) for a stupid, incompetent, or unappealing person.

Turkey[5] is a country comprising the whole of the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia, with a small enclave in southeastern Europe to the west of Istanbul; population 76,805,500 (est. 2009); official language, Turkish; capital, Ankara.

30a   Former PM's wordplay is not sophisticated (8)

Sir Alec Douglas-Home[5], Baron Home of the Hirsel of Coldstream (1903–1995) was a British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1963-4. When Douglas-Home became Prime Minister he relinquished his hereditary peerage.

Down


1d   Could be one with large public transport fleet in street diversion (7)

2d   Advanced study's hard for Rex in front (5)

Read the wordplay as A (advanced) + READ (study) has (the 's is a contraction for has) H (hard) replacing (for) R (Rex).

In the UK (with the exception of Scotland), A level[5] (advanced level) is a qualification in a specific subject typically taken by school students aged 16-18, at a level above GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education).

In Britain, to read[5] means to study (an academic subject) at a university (i) I’m reading English at Cambridge; (ii) he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics.

H[5] is the abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil

Rex[5] (abbreviation R[5]) [Latin for king] denotes the reigning king, used following a name (e.g. Georgius Rex, King George) or in the titles of lawsuits (e.g. Rex v. Jones, the Crown versus Jones — often shortened to R. v. Jones). 

3d   Middle Eastern leaves, seldom made full of beans? (8)

Even having deciphered that this was an anagram and having not only all the letters, but also all the checking letters, I still needed electronic assistance to fill in the blanks.

Dolma[5] (plural dolmas or dolmades) is a dish consisting of ingredients such as meat and spiced rice [but, seemingly, not often beans] wrapped in vine or cabbage leaves, popular in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the eastern Mediterranean.

4d   Cancel credit in subscription (5)

In Britain, sub[5] is an informal short form for subscriptionthe annual sub for the golf club will be £200.

6d   Republic formerly passed over professional racket (6)

The United Arab Republic[5] (abbreviation UAR) was a former political union established by Egypt and Syria in 1958. It was seen as the first step towards the creation of a pan-Arab union in the Middle East, but only Yemen entered into loose association with it (1958–66) and Syria withdrew in 1961. Egypt retained the name United Arab Republic until 1971.

7d   Mexican dish is a pound in new hacienda (9)

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) is the basic monetary unit of the UK, equal to 100 pence. While the symbol for pound is £, one often finds it written as L[10].

In Spanish-speaking countries or regions, a hacienda[5] is a large estate or plantation with a dwelling house.

An enchilada[5] is a tortilla [Mexican flatbread] served with chilli sauce and a filling of meat or cheese.

8d   A litre having been put away, suppress rum (7)

The comma indicates an inversion in the sentence structure of the wordplay. Thus the wordplay can be interpreted as STRANGLE (suppress) [with] a L (litre) deleted (having been put away).

Rum[5] is dated British slang meaning odd or peculiar ⇒ it’s a rum business, certainly.

9d   Archer for one has succeeded with novel ratings (4,4)

The surface reading is likely an allusion to Jeffrey Archer[5], Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare who is a British writer and Conservative politician. He resigned as an MP after being declared bankrupt, and embarked on a career as a bestselling novelist. He was deputy chairman of the Conservative Party 1985-6, but resigned after a libel case; in 2001 he was found to have committed perjury in that case and was jailed for four years.

The Archer[5] is the zodiacal sign or constellation Sagittarius.

The abbreviation s[5] stands for succeeded, in the sense of to have become the new rightful holder of an office, title, or property ⇒ he succeeded to his father’s kingdom. It might be seen, for instance, it charts of royal lineages.

15d   Tycoon's capital behind housing firm: he should look after it (9)

The word "housing" is the containment indicator.

16d   Assess girl with a lute impromptu (8)

18d   Not working a full week, pour out gin put up (4-4)

A gin[5] (or gin trap) is a British term for a leghold (or foothold) trap[7].

19d   What comes initially with CD is a bargain (7)

In this clue, there are two interpretations for the wordplay. The intended one (as stated by Peter Biddlecombe, the puzzles editor at The Sunday Times) is "that in CD = 'compact disc', 'what comes initially' is 'compact'".

The second interpretation, provided by Dave Perry in his review is "'comes initially' is C [i.e., C is the initial letter of Comes], and the C in CD is Compact".

21d   Advances unrelated issue (7)

Issue[5] is a formal or legal term for children of one’s own the earl died without male issue. Is a stepchild considered to be 'issue'? I was unable to find an answer.

22d   Anger on motorway — you can't believe it! (6)

The M1[7] is a north–south motorway [controlled access, multi-lane divided highway] in England connecting London to Leeds.

24d   Who should have notes in the right order? (5)

I solved the clue solely on the basis of the cryptic definition and totally failed to see the anagram.

26d   Walk wearily from vehicle parking (5)

Tram[3] is a chiefly British term for a streetcar.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for this week — Falcon

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014 — ST 4581

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4581
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Setter
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4581]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
★★★★
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, April 12, 2014[Note 2]
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
█████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Times for the Times
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Times for the Times
- yet to be solved
Notes
[1] This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, April 12, 2014 edition of the Ottawa Citizen.
[2] Unverified as a paywall bars access to the The Vancouver Sun website.

Introduction

Knowing that today's puzzle would be by Anax, I braced myself for a good challenge — and he certainly delivered. As you can see from the chart above (which resembles a rainbow today), I needed a fair bit of electronic assistance. Even with that help I still failed to solve one clue. While Dave Perry's review revealed the wordplay and the solution for that clue, it did not help me understand the definition. I spent a long time searching for an explanation before the thought occurred to me to check if the answer might lie in Cockney rhyming slang.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Times for the Times, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   Stays in charge to interrupt forecast (6)

Historically, stays[5] were a corset made of two pieces laced together and stiffened by strips of whalebone.

A bodice[5] is a woman’s sleeveless undergarment, often laced at the front.

4a   Extremely pompous and touchy sort of cow (5,3)

Cow is used as a verb.

10a   See parts to flog in stock left after deal (5)

Lo[5] is an archaic exclamation used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them.

11a   Sudden discovery a short time after clumsy warning (3,6)

Aha moment[5] is an informal term for a moment of sudden insight or discovery he had an aha moment when looking at my medications past and present.

12a   One using special biology terms? (12)

15a   Was singer Romeo's spotted outside dead drunk? (9)

Romeo[5] is a code word representing the letter R, used in radio communication.

17a   Criminal's lost in holiday home (5)

How did I ever manage not to see the wordplay here?

18a   Satisfied about religious books and sacred music (5)

The word "books" is often used to clue either the Old Testament (OT) or the New Testament (NT). The use of the modifier "religious" makes the intent even more clear.

19a   Gay girl's dancing around daughter's fabulous tree (9)

In Scandinavian mythology, Yggdrasil[5] is a huge ash tree located at the centre of the earth, with three roots, one extending to Niflheim (the underworld), one to Jotunheim (land of the giants), and one to Asgard (land of the gods).

20a   What befits those in trouble, receiving variable quantity? (3,2,3,4)

Six of the best[5] is a chiefly British expression, historical or humorous, denoting a caning as a punishment, traditionally with six strokes of the cane one prefect would hold you down and the other would give you six of the best.

In some British schools, a prefect[5] is a senior pupil who is authorized to enforce discipline.

24a   FA support won't start more trouble (9)

The intent here is to mislead the solver into thinking that FA stands for The Football Association[7], also known simply as the FA, which is the governing body of football [soccer] in England. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur and professional game in England.

In reality, FA[5] is the abbreviation for Fanny Adams[5], a British slang term meaning nothing at all [a euphemism for fuck all and commonly appearing in the phrase sweet Fanny Adams] ⇒ I know sweet Fanny Adams about mining.

I thought the support was a PIER, while Dave Perry opted for BIER. Either works [although the setter does confirm that he intended it to be PIER].

25a   Half-inch square piece of cloth (5)

It took forever — and many wrong turns — to track down the definition here. I found lots of explanations of the wordplay but the definition is seemingly so familiar to Brits that it merited no explanation whatsoever.

Half-inch[5] is Cockney rhyming slang for pinch (in the sense of steal) ⇒ she had her handbag half-inched.

The Chambers Dictionary lists S[1] as an abbreviation for square.

26a   Virgin can, when taken by force (8)

27a   Design an alien world (6)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7] (often referred to simply as E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

Down


1d   A pain mostly there in chest? Start to exhale (10)

2d   Think about jail? (10)

A double definition with the second being the whimsical invention of the setter.

3d   Couple finishing off fancy sweets (5)

What North Americans call candy[5], the Brits call sweets. In Britain, candy[5] is sugar crystallized by repeated boiling and slow evaporation making candy at home is not difficult—the key is cooking the syrup to the right temperature.

The clue would seem to use the word "candy" in the North American sense, but that may only be because I'm looking at it from a North American perspective.

5d   A funny Scooby Doo episode? (6,3,5)

Although I originally saw this as a cryptic definition, I suppose Dave Perry may have somewhat of a point when he identifies it as a double definition.

A funny[10] is a joke or witticism.

A shaggy-dog story[5] is a long, rambling story or joke, typically one that is amusing only because it is absurdly inconsequential or pointless. [from an anecdote of this type, about a shaggy-haired dog (1945)].

Scooby-Doo[7] is an American animated cartoon franchise, comprising several animated television series produced from 1969 to the present day. The original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, featured four teenagers—Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley and Norville "Shaggy" Rogers—and their talking brown Great Dane dog named Scooby-Doo, who solve mysteries involving supposedly supernatural creatures through a series of antics and missteps.

Scooby-Doo, being a Great Dane, is not particularly shaggy, although the cartoon does feature a human character named Shaggy. Perhaps Scooby-Doo is a "Shaggy dog" because he belongs to Shaggy. Or perhaps we are meant to read it as "a Shaggy/dog story", that is, a story about Shaggy and a dog.

6d   Meeting point where explorer gets into shelter (9)

Sir John Ross[5] (1777–1856) was a British explorer. He led an expedition to Baffin Bay in 1818 and another in search of the North-West Passage between 1829 and 1833.

Sir James Clark Ross[5] (1800–1862) was a  British explorer. He discovered the north magnetic pole in 1831, and headed an expedition to the Antarctic from 1839 to 1843, in the course of which he discovered Ross Island, Ross Dependency, and the Ross Sea. He was the nephew of Sir John Ross.

7d   Outstanding work of Pindar read out (4)

Judging by comments on Times for the Times, I wasn't the only one to have trouble with this clue.

8d   Film-maker, rubbish one (4)

Jacques Tati[5] (1908–1882) wa a French film director and actor; born Jacques Tatischeff. He introduced the comically inept character Monsieur Hulot in Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953), seen again in films including the Oscar-winning Mon oncle (1958).

Tat[5] is an informal British term meaning tasteless or shoddy clothes, jewellery, or ornaments the place was decorated with all manner of gaudy tat.

9d   Parliamentary process aimed only at heading off Tory revolts (5,3,6)

Although the definition and checking letters provided sufficient information to solve the clue with the assistance of a word finder programme, I failed to decipher the wordplay.

An early day motion[7] (EDM), in the Westminster system of parliamentary government, is a motion, expressed as a single sentence, tabled by Members of Parliament that formally calls for debate "on an early day". In practice, they are rarely debated in the House and their main purpose is to draw attention to particular subjects of interest.

I tried to find an instance where such a motion was used to head off a Tory revolt. In fact, I found the virtually the opposite. The censure motion by which the Labour Government of James Callaghan was ejected had its origin in an early day motion (no. 351 of 1978–79), put down on 22 March 1979, by Conservative Party Leader Margaret Thatcher.

13d   Good law easing supply for Scot (10)

I never seem to remember that supply[5], used as an adverb meaning in a supple way, can be an anagram indicator.

A Glaswegian[5] is a native of Glasgow, Scotland.

14d   US financial interests briefly spread into personal money supply (4,6)

Wall Street[5] is a street at the south end of Manhattan, where the New York Stock Exchange and other leading American financial institutions are located. The name is used allusively to refer to the American money market or financial interests. The street was named after a wooden stockade which was built in 1653 around the original Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam.

16d   A sensible person knocked senseless? (3,4,2)

The term twit seems to have a bit of a different connotation in the UK than it does on this side of the pond. North American dictionaries define twit as a foolishly annoying person[3] or an insignificant or bothersome person[11]. In Britain, a twit[4] is a foolish or stupid person; or, in other words, an idiot.

Thus "a sensible person" would be NO TWIT.

21d   Stand in line, slowly move ahead (5)

22d   Take a photo and lose it (4)

23d   Muslim provided American backing (4)

A Sufi[5] is a Muslim ascetic and mystic.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for this week — Falcon

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014 — ST 4580

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4580
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Setter
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4580]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
★★★★
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, April 5, 2014[Note 2]
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
██████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Legend:
- 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
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Times for the Times
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Times for the Times
- yet to be solved
Notes
[1] This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, April 5, 2014 edition of the Ottawa Citizen.
[2] Unverified as a paywall bars access to the The Vancouver Sun website.

Introduction

This puzzle put up a stiff challenge virtually from the word go. In the end, I threw in the towel and consulted Dave Perry's review with one clue unsolved and a couple of other clues for which the parsing was a mystery.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Times for the Times, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   This writer's second drink leads to ruin (4-2)

It is a common cryptic crossword convention for the creator of the puzzle to use terms such as compiler, setter, (this) author, (this) writer, or this person to refer to himself or herself. To solve such a clue, one must generally substitute a first person pronoun (I or me) for whichever of these terms has been used in the clue.

The wordplay in this clue parses as ME (this writer) + ('s; contraction for 'has') S (second) + SUP (drink).

In the surface reading the 's is indicating possession. However, in the cryptic reading, it becomes a contraction for 'has' — and thus a charade indicator. 

The phrase "leads to" is a link between the wordplay and the definition. The general structure of the clue is 'wordplay produces (leads to) definition'.

As a verb, sup[5] is a dated or Northern English term meaning to take (drink or liquid food) by sips or spoonfuls ⇒ (i) she supped up her soup delightedly; (ii) he was supping straight from the bottle. As a noun, it means (1) a sip of liquid ⇒ he took another sup of wine or (2) in Northern England or Ireland, an alcoholic drink ⇒ the latest sup from those blokes at the brewery.

5a   Racecourse favourite leaving route that may lead to prizes (6)

I was at a total loss here, not having heard of this English seaside resort — never mind its racecourse. However, after a bit of research, I discover that I was within about 25 miles of it when I visited Whitby this past year.

Redcar Racecourse[7] is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in Redcar, North Yorkshire, England.

9a   University not about to pursue one with royal connections (9)

Princeton University[7] is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey.

10a   Oddly pear tree provides spread (4)

11a   Old crib made of bone (6)

Crib[10] means to steal (another's writings or thoughts).

12a   Feature of Whitehall not cheap to wander around (8)

Whitehall[7] is a road in the City of Westminster, in central London. Recognised as the centre of Her Majesty's Government, the street is lined with government departments and ministries; the name "Whitehall" is thus also frequently used as a metonym for overall British governmental administration, as well as being a geographic name for the surrounding area. The name is taken from the vast Palace of Whitehall that used to occupy the area but which was largely destroyed by fire in 1698. Whitehall is also widely known for a number of memorial statues and monuments, including Britain's primary war memorial, the Cenotaph.

14a   One bird returned without a nose and tongue (8)

While I managed to find the solution with a bit of electronic help, I failed to parse the clue. My sense of failure was somewhat mitigated by seeing that Dave Perry did not fare much better at it.

The solution is GUJARATI and the wordplay parses as a reversal (returned) of {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + JUG (bird)} containing (without) {A (from the clue) + RAT (nose)}.

In British slang, bird[10] means prison or a term in prison (especially in the phrase do bird; shortened from birdlime, rhyming slang for time). Jug[10] is a slang word for jail.

Nose[5] is an informal [presumably British] term for a police informer he knew that CID men are allowed to drink on duty as much of their time is spent with noses. Rat[10] is (mainly US) slang for an informer or stool pigeon.

The Criminal Investigation Department (seemingly better known by its abbreviation CID[2]) is the detective branch of the British police force.

Gugarati[5] is the Indic language of Gujarat, spoken by about 40 million people. Gujarat[5] is a state in western India, with an extensive coastline on the Arabian Sea; capital, Gandhinagar. Formed in 1960 from the northern and western parts of the former state of Bombay, it is one of the most industrialized parts of the country.

16a   Left open but unfinished (4)

18a   Kit to boast about (4)

Kit[10] may mean (1) clothing and other personal effects, especially those of a traveller or soldier (i) safari kit; (ii) battle kit or (2) clothing in general (especially in the phrase get one's kit off [get naked]).

19a   Getting short model a cocktail of gin (8)

Surely, Dave Perry has mistyped his explanation of the clue.

The wordplay parses as TWIGG (short model; TWIGG[Y] with the final letter deleted) + ING {an anagram of (a cocktail [mixture] of) GIN}.

Lesley Lawson (née Hornby), widely known by the nickname Twiggy[7], is an English model, actress and singer. In the mid-1960s she became a prominent British teenage model of swinging sixties London. Twiggy was initially known for her thin build (thus her nickname) and her androgynous look consisting of large eyes, long eyelashes, and short hair. In 1966, she was named "The Face of 1966" by Britain's Daily Express newspaper and voted British Woman of the Year.

21a   Rest around river and go down (8)

Rest[10] is death regarded as repose   ⇒ eternal rest. As a noun, decease[10] is a more formal word for death and, as a verb, it is a more formal word for die.

22a   Detest old Turner being placed outside (6)

The surface reading alludes to English painter J. M. W. Turner[5] (1775–1851); full name Joseph Mallord William Turner. He made his name with landscapes and stormy seascapes, becoming increasingly concerned with depicting the power of light by the use of primary colours, often arranged in a swirling vortex. Notable works: Rain, Steam, Speed (1844); The Fighting Téméraire (1838).

24a   Party returned to middle of Pacific island (4)

The Labour Party[5] in Britain (abbreviation Lab.[5]) is a left-of-centre political party formed to represent the interests of ordinary working people that since the Second World War has been in power 1945–51, 1964–70, 1974-9, and 1997–2010. Arising from the trade union movement at the end of the 19th century, it replaced the Liberals as the country’s second party after the First World War.

Bali[5] is a mountainous island of Indonesia, to the east of Java; chief city, Denpasar; population 3,470,700 (est. 2009).

26a   Cutters go round tense swimmers (9)

27a   Belittle Derbyshire opening pair's average (6)

Derbyshire[5] is a county of north central England; county town, Matlock.

28a   Asian city new to a canvasser (6)

Nagoya[5] is a city in central Japan, on the south coast of the island of Honshu, capital of Chubu region; population 2,154,287 (2007).

Goya[5] (1746–1828) was a Spanish painter and etcher; full name Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes. He is famous for his works treating the French occupation of Spain (1808–14), including The Shootings of May 3rd 1808 (painting, 1814) and The Disasters of War (etchings, 1810–14), depicting the cruelty and horror of war.

Down


2d   Reason old mate departed gripping job at uni? (11)

In Britain, mate[5] is an informal term (1) for a friend or companion my best mate Steve or (2) used as a friendly form of address between men or boys ‘See you then, mate.’.

Uni[5] is an informal [seemingly British] term for university ⇒ he planned to go to uni.

Expostulate[10] (usually followed by with) means to argue or reason (with), especially in order to dissuade from an action or intention.

3d/17d   One speaking in a funny way about press is a comedian (5,8)

Mill[10], as a noun, can mean any of various processing or manufacturing machines, especially one that grinds, presses, or rolls and, as a verb, to grind, press, or pulverize in or as if in a mill.

Spike Milligan[5] (1918–2002) was an Irish comedian and writer who was born in India; born Terence Alan Milligan. He came to prominence in the British cult radio programme The Goon Show (1951-9).

4d   After being poorly I clear up sick (8)

In Britain, poorly[5] is not only used as an adverb, but also as an adjective meaning unwell ⇒ she looked poorly.

The wordplay is an anagram of I CLEAR UP leading to a the solution PECULIAR.

I initially thought that the anagram indicator must be "sick"; however, after a great deal of deliberation, I have concluded that it has to be "after being poorly".

I suppose peculiar means sick as in ⇒ Having had too many beers the night before, I awoke feeling peculiar.

5d   Arguments with son following arrest (3-3)

6d   What's central part of amoeba? (9)

From a typographical perspective, a diphthong[10] is a digraph or ligature representing a composite vowel. From what I can decipher, the ae in Caesar is a digraph, while the æ in Cæsar is a ligature.

Perhaps the clue might better have been written thus:
  • 6d   What's central part of amœba? (9)
Despite "œ" here being a diphthong from a typographical perspective, I was unable to find any evidence that it is a diphthong from the phonetical point of view in which a diphthong[10] is defined as a vowel sound, occupying a single syllable, during the articulation of which the tongue moves from one position to another, causing a continual change in vowel quality, as in the pronunciation of a in English late, during which the tongue moves from the position of (e) towards ((ɪ)).

Although spelled differently, the word amoeba (US ameba) appears to be pronounced identically in the UK (əˈmiːbə) and US (ə-mē′bə) with the digraph oe taking a "long e" sound in both cases.

Thus, I am led to conclude that a phonetical diphthong — such as the a in late — can be represented typographically by a single letter, while a typographical diphthong — such as the œ in amœba — may not be a diphthong at all from a phonetical perspective.

7d   Front of boat? That's not right! (3)

This is another instance where I failed to fully parse the clue. I did realize that the clue is indicating that we need to concern ourselves with the stern of the boat rather than its front — which was sufficient information to determine the solution.

Since this is an & lit. (all-in-one) clue, it can be read one way as the definition and a second way as wordplay. However, I find myself unable to rigorously explain either reading.

I have to suppose that in the second interpretation we are expected to parse the clue as [R]AFT (boat) that has ('s) not R (right) at the front. The 's is a contraction for 'is' in one reading and a contraction for 'has' in the other.

8d   Thick dustmen start to irritate silly old fogey (5-2-3-3)

In Britain, a dustman[5] is a man employed to remove household refuse from dustbins (the British name for garbage cans[5]).

13d   Castle in Spain or elevated cottage? (3,2,3,3)

The expression 'castle in Spain' (usually seen as part of the phrase 'building castles in Spain') means to daydream (an equivalent expression being 'building castles in the air'). An article on "Castles in Spain" has this to say:
Nowadays, ‘castles in Spain’ means something splendid but non-existent. “Fashionable adventurers in France used to impose on the credulous and get money and social advantages out of them by telling tales of their ‘castles in Spain’, which, needless to say, they did not possess,” is the explanation of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
The expression appears to have entered the English language from French where the expression is "bâtir Châteaux en Espagne".
Of course, another means of saying the same thing is pie in the sky[10], illusory hope or promise of some future good; in other words, false optimism.

In Britain, cottage pie[10] is another name for shepherd's pie.

15d   Ben and I argue about an ingredient of moussaka (9)

Moussaka[5] is a Greek dish made of minced lamb, aubergines, and tomatoes, with cheese sauce on top.

Aubergine[10] is the British name for eggplant.

17d   See 3d

20d   Fruit and nuts served up by boy (6)

The damson[3] (also damson plum) is a Eurasian plum tree (Prunus insititia) cultivated since ancient times for its edible fruit or the oval, bluish-black, juicy plum of this tree.

23d   By a pine (5)

25d   Place to leave fruit for parrot (3)
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for this week — Falcon

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014 — ST 4579

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4579
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Setter
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4579]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
★★★★
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, March 29, 2014[Note 2]
Falcon's Experience
┌────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┬────┐
█████████████████████████████████
└────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┴────┘
Notes
[1] This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, March 29, 2014 edition of the Ottawa Citizen.
[2] Unverified as a paywall bars access to the The Vancouver Sun website.


Introduction

This puzzle opened on a Canadian note.  While I was able to solve several clues on my first pass through, my progress soon slowed to a crawl as the remainder of the clues proved more of a challenge. I was pleased at having been able to work out several heretofore unheard of words based on the wordplay.

Notes on Today's Puzzle

This commentary is intended to serve as a supplement to the review of this puzzle found at Times for the Times, to which a link is provided in the table above.

Definitions are underlined in the clue, with subsidiary indications being marked by means of a dashed underline in semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions.

Across


1a   On a bay. perhaps in a Canadian constituency (6)

It's always feels good to get the solution to the first clue right off the top. In Canadian politics, riding[7] is a colloquial term for a constituency or electoral district. Officially, "electoral district" is generally used, although government documents sometimes use the colloquial term.

Historically, in England, the word "riding" denoted a third part of something, especially a county. As alluded to by Dave Perry, the three former administrative divisions of the English county of Yorkshire were North Riding, East Riding and West Riding.

5a   Pointed remarks brought about trouble for the island (8)

9a   One lofty newspaper never failing to appear (2,3,5)

The Times[7] is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register (it became The Times on 1 January 1788). The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times (founded in 1821) are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by the News Corp group headed by Rupert Murdoch. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently and have only had common ownership since 1967.

10a   New eatery with no starter lacking taste (4)

Caff[5] is an informal British name for a cafe.

Naff[5] is an informal British term meaning lacking taste or style he always went for the most obvious melody he could get, no matter how naff it sounded.

11a   Leave leaders in battle ie desert (4)

The Gobi Desert[5] is a barren plateau of southern Mongolia and northern China.

12a   Duke's with another Duke (10)

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington[5] (1769–1852) was a British soldier and Tory statesman who served as Prime Minister from 1828–30 and again in 1834. Known as the Iron Duke, he served as commander of the British forces in the Peninsular War (1808–14) and in 1815 defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, so ending the Napoleonic Wars.

Duke Ellington[5] (1899–1974) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader; born Edward Kennedy Ellington. Coming to fame in the early 1930s, Ellington wrote over 900 compositions and was one of the first popular musicians to write extended pieces. Notable works: Mood Indigo (1930).

14a   AB and C is where I'm said to be at (6)

In the Royal Navy, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman.

16a   No good a Conservative embracing Unionist of little worth (8)

A Tory[4] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada. Historically, a Tory was a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679-80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s.

Prior to Irish independence in 1920, a Unionist[4] was a supporter of the union of all Ireland and Great Britain. Since 1920, the term signifies a supporter of union between Britain and Northern Ireland.

18a   Get seats prepared as play ready to start (5,3)

If the play is ready to start, then clearly the stage has been set.

20a   Ministers cut about 500 by beginning of September (6)

D[5] is the Roman numeral for 500.

22a   Heather is embraced by William in Essex town (10)

Like Dave Perry, I wanted to incorporate LING in the solution. While I needed to scour the atlas to find the Essex town, not knowing of its existence is likely excusable for someone who grew up some 3000 miles away from it.

Erica[5] is a plant of the genus Erica (family Ericaceae), especially (in gardening) heather.

Billericay[7] is a town and civil parish in Essex, England. It is a commuter town located 28 miles (45 km) east of central London with a population of around 36,338 (2011 census),

24a   Collars seen over in Brisbane (4)

Brisbane[5] is the capital of Queensland, Australia; population 1,945,639 (est. 2008). It was founded in 1824 as a penal colony.

26a   Network provided in organisation for ladies (4)

The Women's Institute (WI)[5] is an organization of women, especially in rural areas, who meet regularly and participate in crafts, cultural activities, and social work. Now worldwide, it was first set up in Ontario, Canada, in 1897, and in Britain in 1915.

27a   Junior male swamped by lowest voice in choral work (1,5,4)

The Mass in B minor[7] (BWV 232) by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) is a musical setting of the complete Latin Mass. The work was one of Bach's last compositions, not completed until 1749, the year before his death.

29a   Young woman going around SW1? Actually it's W4 (8)

SW1 and W4 refer to postcodes within the London postal district[7] . Postcode is the British equivalent to postal code (Canada) or ZIP code (US).

The SW1 postcode district[7] includes such prestigious addresses as Buckingham Palace, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and 10 Downing Street (the residence and office of the British Prime Minister).

The W4 postcode district[7] covers Chiswick[7], a district of west London, England, and part of the London Borough of Hounslow.

30a   Meat Loaf song at first adopted by robust tenor (6)

Michael Lee Aday (born Marvin Lee Aday) is an American musician and actor best known by his stage name Meat Loaf[7].

Haslet[5] is a chiefly British term for a cold meat consisting of chopped or minced pork offal compressed into a loaf before being cooked.


Down


2d   Ravel trio including new opening (5)

The surface reading may be a reference to Maurice Ravel[5] (1875–1937), a French composer whose works are somewhat impressionistic in style, employing colourful orchestration and unresolved dissonances. Notable works: the ballets Daphnis and Chloë (1912) and Boléro (1928) and the orchestral work La Valse (1920).

3d   First wife getting left out of testaments brings animosity (3,4)

4d   Enter into conflict with police officer and head for ... (2,7)

DS[10] is the abbreviation for Detective Sergeant.

5d   ... bad jolt, losing position initially (3)

6d   Sage used in supper is hit (5)

A rishi[5] is a Hindu sage or saint.

7d   One's drunk around noon and in the evening (2,5)

I had to search through three dictionaries, but I was eventually able to find one which listed the abbreviation for noon as n[2].

8d   Drifting naturally around France (3-6)

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for France is F[5].

13d   Type of fringe for the nut (7)

15d   I air things dubiously but not good to be racist (4-5)

17d   Yacht so mighty close to mishap at sea (5,4)

Gipsy Moth IV[7] is a 54 ft (16 m) ketch that Sir Francis Chichester commissioned specifically to sail single-handed around the globe, racing against the times set by the clipper ships of the 19th century. The name, the fourth boat in his series, all named Gipsy Moth, originated from the de Havilland Gipsy Moth aircraft in which Chichester completed pioneering work in aerial navigation techniques.

On 27 August 1966 Chichester[7] sailed his yawl Gipsy Moth IV from Plymouth in the United Kingdom and returned there after 226 days of sailing on 28 May 1967, having circumnavigated the globe, with one stop (in Sydney, Australia). By doing so, he became the first person to achieve a true circumnavigation of the world solo from West to East via the great Capes. The voyage was also a race against the clock, as Chichester wanted to better the typical times achieved by the fastest fully crewed clipper ships during the heyday of commercial sail in the 19th century.

The first recorded solo circumnavigation of the globe was achieved by the Nova Scotian born, naturalised American Joshua Slocum[7], in 1898 but it took him three years with numerous stops – Slocum also took up the harder challenge of sailing east to west, against the prevailing wind.

19d   After a change of direction, young women become hunting types (7)

In Scotland, a gillie[5] is a man or boy who attends someone on a hunting or fishing expedition.

21d   Parties engaging a lot of upright, highly energetic people (7)

23d   Mostly poor performer on the field is a teacher (5)

Rabbit[5] is an informal term for a poor performer in a sport or game, in particular (in cricket) a poor batsman he was a total rabbit with the bat.

A rabbi[5] may be (1) a Jewish scholar or teacher, especially one who studies or teaches Jewish law or (2) a person appointed as a Jewish religious leader.

25d   Beat time in fleet HQ (5)

28d   Bug found in church no end of a shock at first (3)

In Scottish and Northern English dialects, kirk[5] means church.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for this week — Falcon