Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011 - ST 4441

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4441
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4441]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, August 6, 2011


I did not finish this puzzle on the day it was published and came back to it a week later, getting the solutions to a few more clues. However, I eventually threw in the towel with four interlocking clues in the northeast quadrant (3a, 13a, 4d, and 5d) remaining unsolved. It did not help that - like Dave Perry - I had entered the wrong anagram for TASER at 6d (STARES rather than TEARS). It did sooth my wounded ego a bit to see that Dave Perry rated this to be the most difficult puzzle he has seen since he started writing the blog at Times for the Times.

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.

cove2 - noun British informal, dated a man: he is a perfectly amiable cove

*porter1 - noun 2 dark brown bitter beer brewed from malt partly charred or browned by drying at a high temperature [originally made as a drink for porters]

punter [1st entry] - noun 1 informal, chiefly British a person who gambles, places a bet, or makes a risky investment.

valve - noun 1 [2nd entry] British short for thermionic valve, noun Electronics a device giving a flow of thermionic electrons in one direction, used especially in the rectification of a current and in radio reception [North American tube or thermionic tube]

Appearing in Solutions

*b. - abbreviation 2 cricket bowled.

barbel - noun 1 a fleshy filament growing from the mouth or snout of a fish. 2 a large European freshwater fish of the carp family, which has barbels hanging from the mouth [Barbus barbus, family Cyprinidae]. 3 [with modifier] an African marine or freshwater fish with barbels round the mouth [Species in several families, including Tachysurus feliceps (family Aniidae), of southern African coasts and estuaries].

Burlesque - a seemingly little-known play written by obscure playwrights George Manker Watters and Arthur Hopkins which had two theatrical runs - the first in 1927 and the second from December 1946 to January 1948.

crayon - noun a pencil or stick of coloured chalk or wax, used for drawing. [Note: To my way of thinking, a crayon is a stick of coloured wax, and would include neither a piece of chalk nor a pencil. However, it would appear that this distinction is not accepted universally.]

*it2 - noun British informal, dated Italian vermouth: he poured a gin and it

mews - noun British a row or street of houses or flats that have been converted from stables or built to look like former stables: an eighteenth-century mews

p - [4th entry] abbreviation Music piano2, (especially as a direction) adjective soft, adverb softly

pit - noun 9 (the pit) literary hell

quite - exclamation (also quite so) expressing agreement with or understanding of a remark or statement: [First speaker] ‘I don’t want to talk about that now.[Second speaker] ‘Quite'

requite - verb formal [a] make appropriate return for (a favour, service , or wrongdoing): they are quick to requite a kindness [b] return a favour to (someone): to win enough to requite my friends [c] respond to (love or affection): she did not requite his love

tetrode - [The American Heritage Science Dictionary] A four-element electron tube containing an anode, cathode, control grid, and additional electrode called the screen. They function in the same manner as triode, but are more effective at higher frequencies due to the effect of the screen.

turn - noun [2nd entry] a short performance, especially one of a number given by different performers in succession: a comic turn

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.

10a   Broadway show band's opening surely almost arranged? Yes, take it away! (9)

The definition is "Broadway show" for which the solution seems to be the 1927 show BURLESQUE (which was restaged in 1946 for a run of just over a year) - and not the 2010 musical film starring Christina Aguilera and Cher. The wordplay is B (band's opening; i.e., the opening letter of "band") + an anagram (arranged) of SUREL (surely almost; i.e., almost all of "surely") + QUE {QUITE (yes) with IT deleted (take it away)}.

By the way, the Brits seemed to think that burlesque is merely a reference to the genre rather than the 1927 play.

9d   Do think sea cooler (4,4)

The definition is "cooler" (noun) with the solution being HEAT SINK. The wordplay is an anagram (do) of THINK SEA. Here "do" is used in the sense of 'arrange' as in the expression 'It takes her twenty minutes just to do her hair every morning'.

26d   Cries from cat heard in converted stables (4)

As Dave Perry's comment seems to make absolutely no sense in the context of this clue, I can only guess that a different clue has been substituted in the syndicated version of the puzzle from that which appeared in the U.K. The clue in the U.K. must have involved a play on the homophone pair of MEWS and MUSE. The version of the clue seen here is merely a (very poor) double definition with "cries from cat" and "converted stables" both being definitions of MEWS. In this case, the word "heard" would appear to be totally superfluous, as "Cries from cat in converted stables" would seem to stand on its own. Perhaps the original clue was something along the lines of "Cries of cat heard from Greek goddess" in which the solution would be MEWS (cries of cat) and the wordplay would be sounds like (heard from) MUSE (Greek goddess).

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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