Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011 - ST 4450

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4450
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4450]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, October 8, 2011


I was able to complete this puzzle, but only with very substantial assistance from the electronic assistants in my Tool Chest. I was beginning to fear that my mind had become rusty during my recent time away, so I was relieved to see that Dave Perry also struggled with the puzzle.

Vocabulary in Today's Puzzle

Appearing in Clues

In cricket, the on (or on side) [4a] is the half of the field (as divided lengthways through the pitch ) away from which the batsman’s feet are pointed when standing to receive the ball. It is also known as the leg or leg side.

As usual, The Queen [9a] is abbreviated ER (Elizabetha Regina), Tory [10a] as Con. (Conservative) and Rector [15d] as R (the latter from The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition).

[The] White Horse Inn [11a] is an operetta or musical comedy - set in the picturesque Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria - about the head waiter of the White Horse Inn in St. Wolfgang who is desperately in love with the owner of the inn, a resolute young woman who at first only has eyes for one of her regular guests. The show enjoyed huge success around the world in the 1930s, with long runs in cities like London, Paris, Vienna, Munich and New York and was filmed several times. The White Horse Tavern or White Horse Inn is also the name of an establishment in Cambridge [England] which was in the 16th century the meeting place for English Protestant reformers who discussed Lutheran ideas.

Berks. [12a] is the abbreviation for Berkshire, a county of southern England, west of London. Berk is also British slang for a stupid person.

A haar [13a] is a cold sea fog on the east coast of England or Scotland.

Appearing in Solutions

Varese [8a] is a town in Lombardy, northern Italy - located a bit north of Milan.

An imaret [11a] is an inn or hostel for pilgrims in Turkey. Here ti is (in tonic sol-fa) the North American name for the seventh note of a major scale. Surprisingly, there were no cries of outrage from those in the UK, where the name of this note is spelled te (according to the Oxford Dictionary of English).

Anton Chekhov [16a] (1860–1904) was a Russian dramatist and short-story writer whose work, portraying upper-class life in pre-revolutionary Russia with a blend of naturalism and symbolism, had a considerable influence on 20th-century drama. His most notable plays include The Seagull (1895), Uncle Vanya (1900), The Three Sisters (1901), and The Cherry Orchard (1904).

Hang it [21a] is a mild oath (likely a euphemism for damn it). Han is the dominant ethnic group in China and git is British slang for an unpleasant or contemptible person.

Eurostar is the trademark for the high-speed passenger rail service that links London with various European cities via the Channel Tunnel.

A cooee [25a] is a call used to attract attention, especially (originally) a long loud high-pitched call on two notes used in the Australian bush. As a verb, it means to utter this call.

Gone west [26a] is a British expression indicating that someone or something has been killed or lost or has met with disaster. This phrase has an almost totally opposite connotation to that of the famous advice by American author Horace Greeley to "Go West, young man".

A leman [3d] is an archaic term for an illicit lover, especially a mistress.

Vita Sackville-West [5d] (1892 – 1962) was an English writer who, despite a strong marriage (she and her husband Harold Nicolson were both bisexual), had affairs with numerous women, including novelist Virginia Woolf. In his review, Dave Perry refers to Vita and Virginia, a two-woman play, created by Eileen Atkins, based on the letters between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.

RAC Limited is a breakdown company (a firm providing roadside assistance to motorists) in the United Kingdom supplying products and services for motorists. Initially formed as the "Associate Section" of the Royal Automobile Club, it was incorporated as R.A.C. Motoring Services Ltd. in 1978. It was then sold by the members of the Royal Automobile Club to Lex Service Plc in 1999, which subsequently renamed itself RAC Plc (public limited company). In 2005, RAC Plc was bought by Aviva and delisted from the stock exchange (thereby becoming a private limited company).

W. G. Grace [22d] (1848 – 1915) was an English amateur cricketer who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest players of all time.

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.

8a   Some Milanese rave about an Italian city (6)

The Italian city of VARESE is hidden (some) and reversed (about) in the phrase MilanESE RAVe.

11a   Recall note covering for example, White Horse Inn? (6)

IMARET (a Turkish inn) is formed from a reversal (recall) of TI (note) containing (covering) MARE (for example, white horse). Generally, examples are specific instances of a more general category. Therefore, saying that a white horse is an example of a mare hardly sounds right. But then again, saying that a mare is an example of a white horse sounds nearly as bad.

25a   Old head of English in school called to attract attention (6)

Here the wordplay is {O (old) + E (head of English; i.e., first letter of English)} contained in (in) COED (school) producing COOEED (called to attract attention). In Britain, unlike North America (where a coed is a female student at a co-educational institution), coed is a shortened form of the adjective co-educational. It is often the case in Britain that adjectives are used as nouns. Thus, a co-ed school is simply called a co-ed in the same way that an Indian restaurant would simply be referred to as an Indian. On my recent trip, I found this tendency to exist in Ireland as well. I discovered that a stud farm there is known simply as a stud. Of course, I could not resist bringing back a souvenir shirt emblazoned with "Irish National Stud".

1d   Clubs prompt with booze (7)

The wordplay is {C (clubs; one of the four suits in a deck of cards) + AROUSE (prompt)} to form CAROUSE (booze; used as a verb). Collins English Dictionary gives, as one definition of arouse, to evoke or elicit a reaction or response (which better seems to fit the clue than definitions that I found in American dictionaries).

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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