Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011 - ST 4439

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4439
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4439]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, July 23, 2011


I seem to have found this puzzle to be much more difficult than did Dave Perry. There is definitely some pretty tricky wordplay present today. The implements in my Tool Chest got a good workout today. In checking my solution, I discovered that I had one of them incorrect (16a).

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

awn - noun 1 Botany in some grasses, eg barley: a small stiff bristle projecting from the lemma or glumes.

chop-chop [or chop chop] - [likely British] adverb & exclamation quickly; quick: ‘Two pints, chop-chop,’ Jimmy called [Origin: (mid 19th century) pidgin English, based on Chinese dialect kuaƬ-kuaƬ.}

cod2 - verb play a joke or trick on (someone): he was definitely codding them

codswallop - noun British informal nonsense.

dyke2 - noun 2 a ditch or watercourse.
Before encountering this meaning of dyke in British cryptic crosswords, I had always understood the word to mean only "a long wall or embankment built to prevent flooding from the sea". This led me to suspect that its meaning as a ditch might be a Briticism. However, this meaning does appear in American as well as British dictionaries without mention of it being specifically British. Since I have never seen it used in this sense outside of British cryptic crossword puzzles, it may be used in this sense more commonly in Britain than in North America - or perhaps it is found only in Crosswordland!
estate - noun 1 [2nd entry] British an area of land and modern buildings developed for residential, industrial, or commercial purposes.

hellebore - noun [a] a poisonous winter-flowering Eurasian plant of the buttercup family, typically having coarse divided leaves and large white, green, or purplish flowers [Genus Helleborus, family Ranunculaceae: several species, including the Christmas rose] [b] a false helleborine.

Joseph Heller (1923 – 1999) - American satirical novelist, short story writer and playwright. His best known work is Catch-22, a novel about American servicemen during World War II. The title of this work entered the English lexicon to refer to absurd, no-win choices, particularly in situations in which the desired outcome of the choice is an impossibility, and regardless of choice, the same negative outcome is a certainty.

*lo - exclamation archaic used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event: and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them

*para1 - noun informal 1 a paratrooper

speedwell - noun a small creeping herbaceous plant of north temperate regions, with small blue or pink flowers. [Genus Veronica, family Scrophulariaceae: several species, including the germander speedwell]

steak pie - a traditional meat pie served in Britain.
A steak pie is made from stewing steak and beef gravy, enclosed in a pastry shell. Sometimes mixed vegetables are included in the filling. Steak pie is subtly different from Steak and kidney pie. In Ireland Guinness Stout is commonly added along with bacon and onions, and the result is commonly referred to as a Steak and Guinness Pie (or Guinness Pie for short). A Steak and Ale pie is a similar creation, popular in British pubs, using one of a variety of ales in place of the Guinness. The dish is often served with "steak chips" (thickly sliced potatoes fried, sometimes fried in beef dripping). Steak Pies are also available from chip shops, served with normal chips, referred to in Scotland as a steak pie supper.
sting - verb 1 [4th entry] (sting someone into) provoke someone to do (something) by causing annoyance or offence: he was stung into action by an article in the paper

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.

16a   Stingy character's wise saying about a penny (4)

I missed badly on this tricky clue. The best I could do was put in WISE (drawn from the old adage "Penny wise, pound foolish"). The correct solution is WASP (a stingy character; i.e., something that stings - rather than the miserly person to whom the setter attempts to misdirect us).

As for the wordplay, even there my first attempt to explain it proved faulty. I initially supposed it went WAS (wise saying; i.e., sounds like "wise" - or, at least, I presumed it must in the U.K.) next to (about) P (a penny). But, no, it seems that this is not at all correct. The wordplay is WAS {a reversal (about) of SAW (wise saying)} + P (a penny).

2d   In bed I grow weary after reading most of US novelist (9)

The definition is "In bed I grow" which indicates a plant found in a garden (bed). The wordplay is BORE (weary) after HELLE

3d   Sprite gets 6 out of 9 (5)

The definition is "sprite" with the solution being PIXIE. In the clue, "6" is a cross-reference to 6d (PIE) and "9" needs to be interpreted as the Roman numeral IX. Making these substitutions, the clue becomes:
  • Sprite gets PIE out of IX (5)
Thus "gets" seems to serve as a [somewhat tenuous] link word between the definition (sprite) and the wordplay (PIE out of IX). The wordplay would appear to be PIE containing (out[side] of) IX.

7d   Cow, perhaps, eating grassy bristles at front of meadow - this will help stop that! (4,5)

Despite what the clue says, this cow (LOWER) is eating (containing) only a single grassy bristle (AWN) at front of meadow (M). The solution, LAWN MOWER, will help stop that by eliminating the stalks of grass supporting the awns.

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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