Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011 - ST 4456

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4456
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4456]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, November 19, 2011


I found some of the wordplay today to be quite tricky. I needed to dip into my Tool Chest early and often for assistance.

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.

7a   What's behind bar? Tango (4)

Tango[7] is a carbonated soft drink sold primarily in the United Kingdom and Ireland as well as Sweden, Norway and Hungary. In the cryptic reading, "bar" means 'but' (as in "all but one were successful") and "tango[5] " is a code word representing the letter T, used in radio communication.

9a   Even British Airways facing cut (8)

Of course the solution is BALANCED (not BALANCING, as shown in Dave Perry's review). [At least I'm not the only blogger to occasionally make a typo].

10a   Haggard tart heads off for her older relative? (6)

I initially thought that this clue might contain a reference to British novelist H. Rider Haggard[7] . If so, it would be a bit of planned (or unplanned) misdirection by the setter.

11a   Woody entrance to field initially sunken (6)

For me, this was the last clue to be solved. I was quite positive that there must be an F involved in the solution, but was unsure whether it was being clued by "entrance to field" or "field initially". As it turns out, it is the former. The wordplay is F {entrance to field initially; i.e., the first letter of (entrance to) "field" is placed first (initially)} + ALLEN (Woody; i.e., American filmmaker Woody Allen[7] ). To understand the intent of the clue, we must mentally insert a pause in the cryptic reading of the wordplay "Woody, entrance to field initially".

17a   Fools train having drunk gallons, left to drop (7,5)

In his review, Dave Perry says "I'm not quite sure why 'train' = STRING". Lest any readers be similarly perplexed, train[5] may mean 'a series of connected events or thoughts' which is similar to string[5] in the sense of 'a sequence of similar items or events'.

20a   Ford's blooming strike off (5,3)

The definition is "strike off" with the solution being CROSS OUT. I believe the wordplay is CROSS (ford; as "to ford a river") + (has; where, in the cryptic reading, the 's is interpreted as "has") OUT (blooming; as in "It must be spring, the dandelions are out").

21a   Being excessively close to Washington restricts a North American city (6)

I certainly hope that no local reader failed to solve this clue. I wonder - should we take this clue to be a bit of political commentary?

22a   Home Alone? Boots may be holding it (6)

Home Alone[7] is a 1990 American comedy film about an eight-year-old boy, played by Macaulay Culkin, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. Boots[7] is a leading pharmacy chain in the United Kingdom, with outlets in most high streets (primary business streets) throughout the country. As an alternative - and, in my opinion, less likely - interpretation, a boot[5] is the trunk of a car in the UK.

26a   Subject of talk: northern hollows and heights (3,7)

The Mendip Hills[7] (commonly called the Mendips) is a range of limestone hills to the south of Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England.

2d   An amusing situation repeatedly found in popular British novels (3,5)

I initially suspected that "an amusing situation" might be 'a gag'. However, I eventually came to the realization that it is 'a gas'. The "popular British novels" are Aga sagas. An Aga saga is a type of popular novel, set in middle England and populated by the middle classes of the sort that typically own Aga cookers. Agas are kitchen ranges, often very large and expensive, that are seen as epitomizing the prosperous and cosy middle-class English country lifestyle. [read more[7]]

4d   A nut's what might be said to be under the bed (5)

I recall a tour guide in Texas explaining that the "proper" pronunciation for the name of the nut is puh-KAWN, not PEE-can, explaining that a PEE CAN was what his father used to carry in the car on long family trips to cut down on the number of pit stops.

6d   Doctor Who's after run of publicity from these? (4,5)

I wondered where the O came from, but o' is a short form for 'of' (as in o'clock). Doctor Who[7] is a British science fiction television programme which should be familiar to most readers on this side of the Atlantic due to its widespread distribution in North America.

8d   Chicken pieces smelling bad in vans of Tesco and Sainsbury (6)

Tesco[7] and Sainsbury[7] are respectively the largest and third largest grocery retailers in the UK.

12d   Up-to-date position from selectors at ground (6,5)

"Up-to-date position" is LATEST SCORE. I guess "position" might be considered to equate to 'score' with "how well did you score in the competition?" having a similar meaning to "what was your position in the final standings?". The wordplay is an anagram (ground; as a verb) of SELECTORS AT.

18d   Yahoo's that corrupted on a test (2,5)

If you look very carefully at the surface reading, it makes little sense. You can read it as either "Yahoo is that corrupted on a test" or "Yahoo has that corrupted on a test", neither of which have much meaning. However, I only noticed this when I tried to parse the clue. I think the brain may subconsciously adjust the words to produce the more meaningful "Yahoo that's corrupted on a test". In the cryptic reading, the definition is "Yahoo has that" with the wordplay being an anagram (corrupted) of ON A TEST. Yes, a Yahoo has no taste.

21d   Individual cases I caught being delayed (2,3)

The definition is "being delayed" and the wordplay is ONE (individual) containing (cases; as a verb) {I + C (caught; an abbreviation appearing on scorecards in cricket)}.
[1] - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2] - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3] - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4] - (Collins English Dictionary)
[5] - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6] - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7] - Wikipedia
[8] - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
Signing off for this week - Falcon

No comments:

Post a Comment