Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011 (ST 4410)

The Sunday London Times Puzzle Number
ST 4410
Publication Date in The Sunday London Times
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4410]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Publication Date in the Toronto Star
Saturday, January 1, 2011


As a pleasant change, there seem to be no errors in the clues this week - but there is a rather lengthy glossary. I admit that the word list may be just a bit longer than necessary, as I set myself the challenge of trying to find a dictionary entry for each abbreviation used in the puzzle. According to cryptic crossword convention, setters may only use abbreviations that are drawn from recognized sources. While the 'bible' for The Daily Telegraph puzzles is apparently The Chambers Dictionary, 11th edition, I'm not sure what tome The Sunday London Times editor relies upon. As for myself, I make do with a variety of online dictionaries.

Today's Glossary
Selected abbreviations, people, places, words and expressions appearing in today's puzzle

Appearing in Solutions

brainbox - noun British informal a very clever person.

DD - abbreviation Doctor of Divinity.

deer fence - noun a very high fence that deer should not be able to jump over.

E2 - abbreviation [2nd entry] informal the drug Ecstasy or a tablet of Ecstasy.

Eton College - a boys‘ public school in southern England, on the River Thames opposite Windsor, founded in 1440 by Henry VI to prepare scholars for King’s College, Cambridge. [Note: a 'public' school in Britain would be regarded as a 'private' school in North America.]
public school - noun
  • 1 (in the UK) a private fee-paying secondary school, especially one for boarders.
  • 2 (chiefly in North America) a school supported by public funds.
F2 - abbreviation [5th entry] female.

GI1 - noun a private soldier in the US army.

lathi - noun (in South Asia) a long, heavy iron-bound bamboo stick used as a weapon, especially by police.

O3 - abbreviation 4 Old.

or2 - noun gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture.

penalty spot - noun Soccer the point within the penalty area from which penalty kicks are taken.

RA - abbreviation [3rd entry] (in the UK) Royal Academician, a member of the Royal Academy
Royal Academy of the Arts (also Royal Academy) - an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose was to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain. Sir Joshua Reynolds was its first president and he instituted a highly influential series of annual lectures.
rep3 - (also repp) a fabric with a ribbed surface, used in curtains and upholstery.

repro - colloquial noun short form of reproduction

SA - abbreviation [2nd entry] informal, dated sex appeal.

storksbill - noun a European plant related to the cranesbill, with small pink flowers and fruits that have long twisted beaks. Genus Erodium, family Geraniaceae.

TA - abbreviation (in the UK) Territorial Army, a volunteer force locally organized to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined manpower for use in an emergency.

tronc - noun Possibly British (in a hotel or restaurant) a common fund into which tips and service charges are paid for distribution to the staff.

turnpike - [Collins English Dictionary] noun
  1. Historical (between the mid-16th and late 19th centuries)
    • a.  gates or some other barrier set across a road to prevent passage until a toll had been paid.
    • b.  a road on which a turnpike was operated.
  2. an obsolete word for turnstile [1].
  3. US a motorway for use of which a toll is charged.
U (5) - abbreviation 2. Education university.

umbles - (also numbles) noun archaic the entrails of an animal, especially a deer, as used for food.

Commentary 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.

10a   Perhaps only ten inches below where you're standing? (9)

The definition is "below where you're standing" which is UNDERFOOT. "Ten inches" is but one example (signified by "perhaps") of a measurement that is under one foot (12 inches).

26a   Unoriginal material turning yellow (5)

I have to confess that I missed the wordplay here, thinking that the clue was merely a cryptic definition for REPRO. This was based on the knowledge that photocopies, especially those made using some of the older copying technologies, tended to turn yellow quickly. While this may have been the setter's intent as far as the surface reading goes, the wordplay is actually REP ([upholstery or drapery] material) + a reversal (turning) of OR (yellow [heraldic tincture]).

16d   Packaged underwear provided by Einstein? (8)

Yet again I missed the wordplay - and my shins are now black and blue from self inflicted kicks. One might refer to a very clever person as an Einstein, someone the Brits might call a BRAINBOX. However, if one were to numerate the solution as (3,2,3), one would have a packaged lady's undergarment.

23d   Ecstasy is threefold round this host making his briefest appearance (5)

The definition here (this host) occurs in the middle of the clue - a clue structure that is permissible under British cryptic crossword conventions, but not typically seen in North America (in my experience). The host is EMCEE, and in his "briefest appearance" is MC. Ecstasy is E and when threefold, is EEE, which when put round MC produces EMCEE.

This is an interesting clue, in which the entire clue appears to constitute the wordplay, with the definition in the middle (and forming part of the wordplay). A clue in which the entire clue constitutes the definition and part of the clue is wordplay is called a semi & lit. However, this clue seems to exhibit exactly the opposite characteristics.

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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