Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011 - ST 4454

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4454
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4454]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, November 5, 2011


I must have been off my form today, as I found this puzzle more than a little difficult and needed lots of assistance from my electronic aids to complete it. After the struggle that I endured, it was rather disheartening to read Dave Perry's comments regarding how easy he found it to be.

Notes 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.

1a   Quietly made call holding a knife (6)

A parang is a Malayan machete. The P comes from p (abbreviation for pianissimo) which, as a musical notation, means 'quietly'.

5a   An Athenian with an unknown element (8)

The letter y (as well as x and z) are commonly used to represent unknown quantities in algebraic notation.

11a   When abroad, one business looking strange (4)

Un is the French word for "one" (therefore, one when abroad). Unco is a Scots word meaning unusual or remarkable.

20a   What binds religious chaps at front of temple (6)

Presumably, "religious chaps" are 'Church of England men' or CE MEN.

22a   Batter fish first - then start to season tripe (10)

The definition is "tripe". The wordplay is WALLOP (batter) with COD (fish) [at the] first followed by (then) S (start to Season). From the wordplay alone, the placement of the S is a bit ambiguous - but only one placement produces a viable solution.

24a   Clobber Royal gong (4)

In Britain, clobber is slang for personal belongings, such as clothes and accessories (a robe, for example) and gong is slang for a medal (perhaps the insignia of an Officer of the Order of the British Empire or OBE).

26a   Runner without a drink in Tokyo (4)

The definition is "drink in Tokyo" with the solution being SAKI (an alternative spelling of sake). I thought the wordplay was indicating that one must remove the letter A (without A) from the name of a runner to obtain the solution. This led to a fruitless search for an athlete named Asaki, Sakai or Sakia. It turns out that the runner is a ski which must be placed outside of (without) the letter A.

30a   Hold mariner with dodgy vision (6)

A 'nelson' is a type of wrestling hold. In the Battle of Copenhagen, British Admiral Horatio Nelson (who had been blinded in one eye in a previous engagement), when advised that the signal to withdraw had been given, raised his telescope to his blind eye and, saying "I really do not see the signal", fought on.

3d   Desperate Dan's very game etc (3,2,2)

Desperate Dan is a character in a British comic book.

5d   Display caviare evenly (3)

We need to use the even letters of "caviare" to form a word meaning "display". Caviare is an alternative spelling of caviar.

6d   At centre of bank you can see its first flower (5)

This is a rather tricky clue. Here "flower" (which happens to be the definition) is used in the cryptic crossword sense of 'something that flows' (in other words, a river). The wordplay tells that "at the centre of" TIER (bank; as a bank of seats), we must place B (its first; i.e., the first letter of 'bank'). The solution is TIBER, the river on which Rome stands.

7d   Idiot holding Laurel's horse (7)

Laurel is Stan Laurel of the comedy team Laurel and Hardy. In the UK, a stupid or gullible person might be referred to as a mug.

8d   Where finally, Gordon Brown has rather short tenure? (6,3)

N (the final letter of "Gordon") + UMBER (brown) + TEN (short tenure) gives us NUMBER TEN, a reference to 10 Downing Street, colloquially known in the United Kingdom as "Number 10", which is the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister. Gordon Brown is a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, serving from 2007 to 2010.

13d   Soft soap and cloth (7)

Flannel is a British expression meaning to flatter in order to mislead.

15d   Alternative practitioner in course about Principle of Organon (9)

Organon is a system of logical or scientific rules, especially that of Aristotle.

19d   Band I note is a possible accompaniment to 26 (7)

The number "26" is a cross-reference to clue 26a. The solution to the current clue, SASHIMI (a Japanese dish of thin fillets of raw fish), is a possible accompaniment to the solution to 26a, SAKI (a Japanese liquor made from fermented rice). In music, mi is the third note of a major scale (doh, re, mi, ...).

23d   Pointless request to umpire is to cause dismay (5)

In cricket, an appeal is a call on the umpire (by the bowler or fielders) to declare a batsman out, traditionally with a shout of ‘How’s that?’. If we remove the cardinal point E (east) from APPEAL, we are left with APPAL.

25d   Irish rock star carries German drum (5)

Bono is the lead vocalist for the Irish rock band U2.

Signing off for this week - Falcon

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