Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011 (ST 4428)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4428
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4428]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, May 7, 2011


I needed lots of electronic assistance on this puzzle (seemingly unlike the Brits who seemed to have found it relatively easy). I did spend an inordinate amount of time sorting out the Tibetan cattle from the Burmese people. Not to mention the silly error I made on 8d down, somehow thinking that the numeration was (4,9) rather than (9,4) - causing one of the more straight-forward clues in the puzzle to be the last to be solved.

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 Solutions

animadversion - noun
  • [mass noun] formal criticism or censure: her animadversion against science
  • [count noun] a comment or remark, especially a critical one.
Capri - an island off the west coast of Italy, south of Naples.

*(River) Dee - a 70-mile (110 km) long river in the United Kingdom that travels through Wales and England and also forms part of the border between the two countries (also any of several other rivers of that name in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia)

en famille - adverb with one's family, or as a family: when they went out en famille, Steven always drove [origin: French, literally 'in family']

HE - abbreviation high explosive

hieratic - adjective [1st entry] of or concerning priests: he raised both his arms in a hieratic gesture

mat - US spelling of matte
*matt (also matte or US mat) - adjective (of a surface or colour) dull and flat ; without a shine: prints are available on matt or glossy paper; a matt black
*MB - abbreviation Bachelor of Medicine [from Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus], the professional degree held by medical practitioners in Britain [equivalent to a North American MD (Medical Doctor, from Latin Medicinae Doctor]

nim - noun a game in which two players alternately take one or more objects from one of a number of heaps, each trying to take , or to compel the other to take , the last remaining object.

nisei - noun North American an American or Canadian whose parents were immigrants from Japan. [origin:(1940s) from Japanese, literally 'second generation']

piñon (also pinyon or piñon pine) - noun a small pine tree with edible seeds, native to Mexico and the south-western US. Pinus cemebroides, family Pinaceae

quid1 - noun British informal one pound sterling: we paid him four hundred quid

*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.
SS2 - the Nazi special police force. Founded in 1925 by Hitler as a personal bodyguard, the SS provided security forces (including the Gestapo) and administered the concentration camps. [origin: abbreviation of German Schutzstaffel 'defence squadron']

Streatham - a district in South London, England, located in the London Borough of Lambeth.

The Life of Timon of Athens - a play by William Shakespeare about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon (and probably influenced by the philosopher of the same name, as well), generally regarded as one of his most obscure and difficult works.

zo - noun a Tibetan breed of cattle, developed by crossing the yak with common cattle

Zoroaster - (circa 628 - circa 551 bc ), Persian prophet and founder of Zoroastrianism; Avestan name Zarathustra. Little is known of his life , but traditionally he was born in Persia and began to preach the tenets of what was later called Zoroastrianism after receiving a vision from Ahura Mazda.

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.

22a   Prophet who cooks beef in Tibet? (9)

The solution that we are looking for is ZOROASTER (a 6th century bc Persian prophet). The wordplay requires us to split the solution (2, 7) to get the phrase 'zo roaster' which could describe someone who cooks beef from zos (Tibetan cattle).

Having initially missed this wordplay, and following the lead of Dave Perry, I embarked on quite another line of research. I was set on the proper course by Peter Biddlecombe (puzzles editor for The Sunday Times) writing on Times for the Times.

Here is my initial attempt at explaining the wordplay which was built around a different meaning of Zo:
  • Zo (also spelled Zou) - a people forming an indigenous community living along the frontier of India and Burma [who, for a brief period in antiquity, apparently resided in Tibet].
The wordplay requires us to split the solution (2, 7) to get the phrase 'Zo roaster' which could mean a member of the Zo people whose profession is roasting (cooking beef).

I could find no evidence that the Zo currently live in Tibet. According to Wikipedia, the Zo are a people who presently inhabit an area straddling the border of India and Burma. They "probably once inhabited the T’ao valley of Kansu province in north-west China. Because of frequent Chinese incursions, the Zomis [Zo people] might have moved to the north east of Tibet around 200 BC. In order to avoid them [the Chinese or Tibetans?], the Zomis traveled across ridges and forests and move[d] further south. The journey probably took hundreds of years and eventually landed in Upper Burma."

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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