Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday, May 1, 2011 (ST 4426)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4426
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4426]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, April 23, 2011


The Ottawa Citizen has goofed big time today - reprinting last week's puzzle (but this week's solution). Thankfully, the Vancouver Sun was not so careless and has printed the correct puzzle, which I have reproduced below. Should you prefer, you can also download a PDF version from here.

Update: The Ottawa Citizen has published the missing puzzle (ST 4426) on Page B5 of its edition of Tuesday, May 3, 2011, together with a number of other Sunday puzzles that had suffered the same fate. It seems that an entire page of puzzles from the previous week's edition of the paper was reprinted in this last Sunday's paper.
Apparently, the Citizen is not alone in making mistakes. In a quick visit to Times for the Times to get the link to use in the table above, I noticed that Dave Perry writes in his review "This was certainly much harder than previous offerings. It also sees an unwelcome return of the mistakes that the ST was well-known for, but had been hitherto absent since the change in editor. There is one definite mistake, but I have queries against three or four others so there may be more."

I did not read the entire review [before writing this initial posting], not wanting to spoil my experience of solving the puzzle. However, it would appear that one should set aside more time than normal for this one - and be prepared for a surprise or two.

I'm off now to solve the puzzle. I'll be back later with my review.

I'm back. 

It seems that a couple of the errors to which Dave Perry refers in his review appeared only in the online version of the puzzle in the U.K. but were corrected in the print edition of the puzzle, as well as in the syndicated version (a pleasant change!). As for several other of his complaints, I would tend to dismiss them as largely non-issues. However, there is one major issue that carried through to the syndicated puzzle - the missing byline of the setter (see Today's Errata below). And there was at least one Briticism that appears to have baffled even the Brits!

Today's Errata

1d   See me in hot seat now and again (2,5)

Like Dave Perry and some of the other Brits, I managed to solve this clue despite missing a crucial piece of information - the name of the setter. The word "me" in the clue refers to the compiler of the puzzle, Tim Moorey. It seems that starting with this puzzle, The Sunday Times has instituted the practice of publishing the name of the setter for each puzzle. However, this was done only in the printed version of the paper and not on the paper's websites - nor does it appear in the syndicated version of the puzzle.

Today's Glossary

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

[An asterisk beside an entry merely indicates that it has been taken it from a Cumulative Glossary of entries which have previously appeared, in either this blog or its companion blog, the National Post Cryptic Crossword Forum.]

Appearing in Clues

Meanings listed in this section may reflect how the word is used in the surface reading of the clue. Of course, that meaning may be contributing to the misdirection that the setter is attempting to create.

fellow - noun 3 [2nd entry] British an incorporated senior member of a college: a tutorial fellow.

Mary Jane - noun 2 informal marijuana.

outfitter - noun 1 British dated a shop selling men's clothing. 2 North American a shop selling equipment, typically for outdoor pursuits: a canoe outfitter.

Appearing in Solutions

A - [The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition] abbreviation adult, formerly used to designate a motion picture at a showing of which any child under 14 should be accompanied by an adult, superseded by PG.

alcopop - noun British informal a ready-mixed drink that resembles a soft drink but contains alcohol.

Ards - the name of several different historical territorial divisions all located on the Ards Peninsula in modern-day County Down, Northern Ireland.

bags - noun 3 British dated loose-fitting trousers.

*don1 - noun 1 British a university teacher, especially a senior member of a college at Oxford or Cambridge.

F (2) - abbreviation 12. following (page)

Le Mans - a city in France, which has been host to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race since 1923.

leman - noun archaic a lover or sweetheart; an illicit lover, especially a mistress.

*M2 - abbreviation 10 British Motorway, followed by a number, as in M1.

Majorca (or Mallorca) - an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Islands. Like the other Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Formentera and Minorca, the island is a highly popular holiday destination, particularly for tourists from Germany, the United Kingdom and to a lesser extent, Ireland.

p - [Collins English Dictionary] symbol 2. Music piano: an instruction to play quietly, an abbreviation of piano2 music adverb softly [or quietly]. adjective soft [or quiet].

*P2 - abbreviation (on road signs and street plans) parking.

parget - noun another term for pargeting, plaster or mortar applied over part of a building, typically with an ornamental pattern.

ragbag - noun [3rd entry] British informal a woman dressed in an untidy way.

recto - noun a right-hand page of an open book, or the front of a loose document.  Contrasted with verso.

sabbreviation [4th entry] singular.

shaman - noun a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among some peoples of northern Asia and North America. Typically such people enter a trance state during a ritual, and practise divination and healing.

spotted dick - noun British a suet pudding containing currants [... and not a venereal disease!]

step-ins - noun 1 a pair of step-in shoes; slip-ons. 2 dated, chiefly North American a pair of women's briefs. [I think North Americans would be more likely to use the term slip-ons for shoes; the term step-ins might conjure images of ladies' underwear for North Americans of a certain generation.]
step-in - adjective [attributive] denoting a garment or pair of shoes that is put on by being stepped into and has no need for fastenings.
*sup1 - noun
  • a sip of liquid: he took another sup of wine
  • Northern English & Irish alcoholic drink
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.

1a   Father finally found local bar ending drink favoured by youngsters (7)

The definition is "drink favoured by youngsters" for which the solution is ALCOPOP (in the U.K., a soft drink containing alcohol). The wordplay is POP (father) following (finally) an anagram (found) of LOCA {LOCAL with the final letter deleted (bar ending)}. Although I failed to discern the anagram indicator in the clue, Dave Perry points out that it is "found". Although Dave Perry questions "found" as an anagram indicator, I think it is quite appropriate when used in the sense of to "make (an article) by melting and moulding metal".

11a   Suspect Times is often right to cover case of absent member of Government (8,2,5)

The puzzle appeared on The Sunday Times website missing the word "is" (part of the anagrist, or fodder for the anagram). The puzzle was correct in the printed edition of The Sunday Times and in syndication.

21a   Business partnership involving Mary Jane? (5,10)

This is another clue that Dave Perry and others questioned on the basis that there is no wordplay to clue "enterprise". However, I fail to see why it does not work perfectly well as a cryptic definition.

25a   Craft minus aft, fellow lost? Could be result of this (7)

I missed the wordplay here, initially falling for the trap that "craft minus aft" would be CR. Even when I had found the correct solution, I was not able to decipher the wordplay.

Some of the Brits thought that it was bad taste to publish this clue only two weeks following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. As Peter Biddlecombe (the puzzles editor at The Sunday Times) points out, "[b]ecause the setters work weeks or months ahead of time, it's pretty difficult to avoid this kind of thing".

6d   Rock fans nod assent (9)

I fail to see the justification for using "fans" as an anagram indicator. Fan means to "spread out or cause to spread out into a semicircular shape" as a card player might do with their hand. However, as I see it, the word means simply to spread out without rearranging, and therefore seems not to meet the requirements of an anagram indicator.

16d   Marshals with slices of bread and drink (6,2)

The definition is "marshals" for which the solution is ROUNDS UP. The wordplay is ROUND (slices of bread) + SUP (drink). Judging by the discussion on Times for the Times, the Brits are of the opinion that the British expression "round" refers to a single slice of bread and therefore the clue (which says "slices of bread") must be incorrect.

I checked the definition in several British dictionaries:
The latter definition (from Collins) would seem to indicate that a round is only the two slices of bread used to make a sandwich and not the completed sandwich itself. However, I also note that Collins seems to stand alone in giving this shade of meaning to the word. Moreover, I certainly do not intend to take issue with the Brits on the nuances of their language.

20d   Tight corset shown in pages of book (6)

I initially also questioned the use of "tight" as an anagram indicator. However, one meaning of tight given by Oxford Dictionaries Online is "(of a written work or form) concise, condensed, or well structured: a tight argument", which would seem to be acceptable.

22d   Turn bit of gold into this (5)

This is another case where the clue was incorrect on The Sunday Times website but correct in the printed edition and in syndication. As discussed at Times for the Times, the version that appeared on the web site read:
  • Turn bit of gold into old cast and you could get this (5)
Signing off for this week - Falcon

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