Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009 (ST 4333)

This puzzle was originally published in The Sunday London Times on June 14, 2009


As I will be away from home on July 26th, I am posting the link for this puzzle in advance - anticipating that the Citizen will adhere to the normal publication cycle.

Links to Solutions

A review of today's puzzle by talbinho can be found at Times for the Times.

Signing off for this week - Falcon

Sunday, July 19, 2009 (ST 4332)

This puzzle was originally published in The Sunday London Times on June 7, 2009


Today's puzzle was quite straight-forward with a few rather clever clues. I was quite pleased with my solving time - even though it was not at all in the same ball park as talbinho's six minutes and change.

Links to Solutions

A review of today's puzzle by talbinho can be found at Times for the Times [ST 4332].

Signing off for this week - Falcon

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009 (ST 4331)

This puzzle was originally published in The Sunday London Times on May 31, 2009


On the whole, not too difficult a puzzle. A couple of missteps initially held me up, but I eventually discovered them and completed the puzzle successfully.

Links to solutions:

A review of today's puzzle by talbinho may be found at Times for the Times [ST 4331].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

1ac Perhaps what Moby Dick had was a great experience! (1, 5, 2,1,4)

Initially, I had selected "A whale of a tale" as the solution for this clue. However, lack of progress on 7d led me to revisit this clue, and I fortunately realized that the solution might be A WHALE OF A TIME. This was confirmed when I solved 7d.

7d I harm Northern city (5)

Phrases such as "going North", "heading North", "towards the North", etc. in a down clue usually are a reversal indicator. Similarly, terms such as "going West", etc. are used as reversal indicators in across clues. The author of the Times for the Times blog, talbinho, obviously feels that the setter has overstepped the bounds in using "Northern" as a reversal indicator. As one meaning of "northern" is "moving towards the north", I can see that this usage might be appropriate. However, another meaning of "northern" is "coming from the north (as the wind)" which means exactly the opposite (i.e., moving towards the south). Oh, the precision of the English language - where a word can be its own antonym!

8d Number on a rabbit displayed with help (13)

In this clue, the setter uses a fairly common trick - so common apparently that talbinho does not even bother to mention it. "Number" here does not mean a numerical quantity, but rather something that makes one numb. A similar trick is the quite frequent use of the word "flower", not as a plant, but as something that flows (viz., a river).

17d Spot a fashionable jersey? (3,6)

Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, is noted (among other things) for its potatoes - like Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Idaho.

Signing off for this week - Falcon

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009 (ST 4330)

This puzzle was originally published in The Sunday London Times on May 24, 2009


I'm afraid that I am running a bit behind in updating my blog this week.

I managed to complete this week's puzzle successfully, although I did have concerns regarding the wordplay on a couple of solutions. However, my solving time was nowhere even close to that of talbinho (author of the Times for the Times blog) - who seems to measure performance in minutes while I measure mine in hours.

I have recently discovered that this puzzle appears in the Vancouver Sun on the Saturday prior to its appearance in the Ottawa Citizen. I also noted that the Sun doesn't publish the solution grid until the following week, unlike the Citizen which publishes the solution grid in the same edition as the puzzle. No doubt, this explains interest in my blog from the West Coast. Although I have not checked the other Canwest papers across Canada, I would not be surprised to learn that the puzzle also appears in some of them.

Links to solutions:

For a review of today's puzzle, see Times for the Times [ST 4330].

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

27ac Trio's occupation, in book-craft (5,3,2,1,4)

Having figured out most of the solution fairly quickly (THREE MEN IN A ?O?T), it was not too difficult to find the title of the book referred to by the clue. I must say, though, that this was one of those cases where I was left with a distinct feeling of having overlooked some nuance in the wordplay. When Times for the Times did not provide any evidence of this, merely referring to the clue as a cryptic definition, I concluded that I probably had a pretty good grasp of the wordplay after all - with "trio" referring to "THREE MEN", "occupation" suggesting both that they are occupying a boat ("craft") as well as the fact that "bookcraft" (authorship) is an occupation, and - of course - the solution being the title of a book.

16d Cash left aboard at return of oil spill (9)

There appeared to be a clear consensus at Times for the Times that there is misprint in this clue - that "cash" should have been "case". Ironically, this fact did not appreciably slow me down as I merely attributed the unusual meaning for "portfolio" to being just another quirky British expression with which I am unfamiliar!

23d Current resting place (3)

The solution clearly appeared to be ROOST, but, for the life of me, I could not figure out the connection with "current" until I read the review at Times for the Times. Of course, I then discovered that the answer appears in at least two dictionaries - Chambers and Wiktionary.

Signing off for this week - Falcon