Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011 (ST 4417) - Déjà Vu

Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4417
Puzzle Number of Original Publication in The Sunday Times
ST 4393 
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Date of Original Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Link to Times for the Times Review
Times for the Times [ST 4417]
Link to Original Times for the Times Review
Times for the Times [ST 4393]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Original Times for the Times Review Written By
Date of Original Publication in the Ottawa Citizen
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Original Ottawa Citizen Cryptic Crossword Forum Review
Ottawa Citizen Cryptic Crossword Forum [ST 4393]
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Date of Original Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, September 4, 2010


If you felt a sense of déjà vu enveloping you as you worked your way through this puzzle, you would have good reason. The puzzle is a repeat of one originally published in the Ottawa Citizen on September 12, 2010. Those who read last weeks Times for the Times review would have had a head's up that this was coming, as Peter Biddlecombe (who recently assumed the post of Puzzles Editor for The Sunday Times) wrote there:
Apologies in advance for 4417 - unfortunately a repeat of a puzzle from August last year (4393), caused at least in part by a change of crossword editor. I'm already checking other "pipeline" puzzles to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
I had also been alerted to this occurrence by Peter in an email received about a month ago, in which he said:
One warning about a future puzzle.  Sunday Times crossword no. 4417, published on 23 Jan, was an accidental repeat of no. 4393 (8 Aug 2010).  I’ve made arrangements for this puzzle to be replaced in the syndicated version by another crossword from the same setter.  By my reckoning this will be the puzzle in the Ottawa Citizen on 27 February.  So on that day you’ll have no Sunday Times report at Times for the Times to refer to.  The substitute puzzle will at some point be made available to Times Crossword members, and it’s possible that Times for the Times will have a report on it.
It seems that the Ottawa Citizen and Toronto Star - or more likely some common entity higher up in the syndication chain - has declined to avail themselves of the substitute puzzle that Peter refers to in his email. Consequently, I get a bit of a respite today as I merely have to provide a link to my review of the earlier puzzle rather than (as I was fearing) write a full review of a puzzle for which no British review had been done.

As for the puzzle, it was definitely easier that second time around. In September, I wrote "I found today's puzzle a bit on the difficult side - one that required liberal use of my Tool Chest ...". Today, on the other hand, I was able to complete it without resorting to the use of my electronic aids. However, several of the clues still taxed my brain power considerably - even after having seen them before.

Changes from the Originally Published Version

There are three changes from the original puzzle. The error at 3d (discussed in my original review) has been corrected. As well, two clues have been rewritten.

26a   Ship about to be joined by big aggressive person, not British (7)

The clue in the original version of the puzzle was:
  • 26a   Ship's hands my good fellow mentioned (7)
7d   Confuse designated driver, bringing beer around (5)

In its original incarnation, the clue read:
  • 7d   It's bad having beer, designated driver admitted (5)
In yet another change, I wrote in my review of the original puzzle "The town we are searching for [in 9a] is Cortona. Although, I have heard of the Italian towns of Ortona and Cortina (well, actually Cortina d'Ampezzo), this community is new to me." Since that time, I have had the occasion to visit Cortona, a lovely walled medieval town in eastern Tuscany immortalized in Under the Tuscan Sun, a 1996 memoir by American author Frances Mayes and the 2003 film of the same name.

Commentary on Today's Puzzle

7d   Confuse designated driver, bringing beer around (5)

A comment on Times for the Times ("My only query was DD for 'designated driver' which seems such a new concept. It's not in Collins or the SOED but it's in Chamber's much to my surprise.") prompted me to do my own perusal of the dictionaries. The writer is likely referring to The Chambers Dictionary, 11th edition, as this abbreviation does not appear on Search Chambers (which is based on Chambers 21st Century Dictionary). While I did find various meanings for the abbreviation DD (among them being Doctor of Divinity, dishonourable discharge, demand deposit, and direct debit), I found designated driver only in the acronyms section at - where it appears as one of 194 possible meanings for this abbreviation.

13d   A hoarder's prayer - to have gold (9)

I'm surprised that I did not include the following definition in my glossary for the original review:

collect2 - [Collins English Dictionary] noun Christianity a short Church prayer generally preceding the lesson or epistle in Communion and other services

or2 - noun gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture

We certainly see the latter one frequently enough for it to be familiar, but I can't even recall looking up the first one on the initial time through the puzzle.

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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