Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011 (ST 4427)

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4427
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4427]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, April 30, 2011


It was a fairly challenging workout today. I certainly needed lots and lots of help from my Tool Chest to complete today's puzzle.

Dave Perry comments "I would have expected to see the enumeration for 19 to be (10,10) and omitted entirely from 10a, rather than enumerating them separately". The numeration that he complains about may have been specific to the online version of the puzzle in Britain or it may have been corrected prior to syndication, since the clue is published in the Ottawa Citizen with precisely the numeration that he "would have expected to see".

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.

whinge - British informal verb complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way: stop whingeing and get on with it! [North American whine (although the word whine seems to be used in the U.K. as well)]

Appearing in Solutions

André-Marie Ampère (1775 – 1836) - French physicist and mathematician who is generally regarded as one of the main discoverers of electromagnetism. The SI unit of measurement of electric current, the ampere, is named after him.

compound1 - verb 3 [2nd entry] settle (a debt or other matter) in exchange for money or other consideration: he compounded the case with the defendant for a cash payment

*flog - verb 2 British informal sell or offer for sale: he made a fortune flogging beads to hippies

H2 - abbreviation henry, noun Physics the SI unit of inductance, equal to an electromotive force of one volt in a closed circuit with a uniform rate of change of current of one ampere per second.

Sir Andrew Motion - English poet, novelist and biographer, who presided as Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009.

Pistol - a character in the play Henry V written by William Shakespeare.

roe deer (alternative of roe2) - noun a small Eurasian deer which lacks a visible tail and has a reddish summer coat that turns greyish in winter. Genus Capreolus, family Cervidae: two species, in particular the European roe deer (C. capreolus)

sim - noun informal a video game that simulates an activity such as flying an aircraft or playing a sport.

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.

4d   Jot last bit of recipe on posh writing material - we hear it'll have many uses in the kitchen (5,6)

This must be the clue to which Dave Perry is referring in his observation concerning "a dubious homophone" - although he misidentifies the clue as 16. The definition is "it'll have many uses in the kitchen" which denotes WHITE PEPPER. The wordplay is WHIT (jot) + E {last bit [i.e., letter] of (recip)E} + PEPPER {sounds like (we hear) PAPER (writing material) when spoken in an upper class British (posh) accent}. Remember that both 'pepper' and 'paper' would undoubtedly be pronounced with a 'soft' R in Britain - quite unlike the 'hard' North American R.

At Times for the Times, jackkt argues "that pepper has only one use in the kitchen, namely to add the flavour of pepper." However, I would suggest that "it'll have many uses in the kitchen" could be interpreted as 'it will be used frequently in the kitchen' rather than 'for many purposes'.

7d   Business with loads of money settles a debt (9)

I failed to see a bit of the wordplay here until I read Dave Perry's review. However, I will offer a variation on his solution. The definition is "settles a debt" for which the solution is COMPOUNDS. The wordplay is CO (firm; i.e., abbreviation for company) + (with) M (loads of; M being the Roman numeral for one thousand) + POUNDS (money).

Does M stand for 'thousand' or 'million'? Dave Perry suggests the latter. However, a cryptic crossword device that I have seen many times is to use phrases such as "a large number", "a great many", "a large amount", "a great deal of", etc. to clue any large Roman numeral - either L (fifty), C (one hundred), D (five hundred), or M (one thousand). It seems to me that the phrase "loads of" certainly fits this mould.

Signing off for this week - Falcon


  1. Hi folks... I was hoping for some elaboration of 29A, i.e., how does "Having had too much one's about to chuck outside" yield "RIESLING"? But the absence of any discussion suggests the problem must be pretty much mine alone. That said, I would really appreciate it if someone would clarify that for me. TIA.

  2. Hi again... Never mind; just read the full commentary. It might be an explanation, but to my mind, it's no excuse for what strikes me as a pretty sloppy clue.

  3. Hi Mike,

    As you have no doubt discovered, Dave Perry points out in his review that the clue would be much clearer if phrased "Having had too much [of this,] one's about to chuck outside?". If we accept his claim that this is a semi-&lit clue, then the whole clue would constitute the definition. I suppose I might be persuaded to accept this - especially after a sufficient number of glasses of this libation. The wordplay is I (one) contained in (has ... outside) {RE (about) + SLING (to chuck)}. In the cryptic reading of the clue, the 's stands for "has", whereas in the surface reading it clearly means "is".