Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011 - ST 4460

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4460
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4460]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, December 17, 2011
This puzzle was published in the Ottawa Citizen edition of Saturday, December 24, 2011


Posted: January 8, 2012

This posting is rather tardy as I fell considerably behind in tending my blogs over the holiday period. Hopefully, my schedule will soon return to normal.

I am not really in a position to comment on the difficulty of this particular puzzle, as it was completed in dribs and drabs over a period of a couple of weeks. Judging by the comments on Times for the Times, the Brits did not seem to find it overly taxing. However, I must say that, in general, I feel that the level of difficulty of the Sunday London Times Crossword does seem to have increased recently.

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   Some corn needed initially to make bread? (4)

The phrase "needed initially" indicates the first (initial) letter of Need. "Bread" is used in the slang sense of money.

10a   Loss of reputation after cricketer follows beautiful woman without husband (8)

A "beautiful woman" might slangily be called a DISH, from which we must delete the H (without a Husband). W.G. Grace[7] (1848 – 1915) was an English amateur cricketer who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest players of all time, and who was important in the development of the sport.

11a   Being drunk with Germans do I scoff like a 28? (10)

Here "28" is a cross-reference to clue 28d (we know that it must be 28d as there is no 28a in this puzzle). Substitute the solution to 28d in place of "28" to get the full clue "Being drunk with Germans do I scoff like a pig?".

14a   First third of fabric removed for cloak (4)

Both "cloak" and the solution MASK are used as verbs in a figurative sense.

17a   One slow to learn finally eliminated with an innovative dancer (6)

Isadora Duncan[7] (1877 — 1927) was a dancer, considered by many to be the creator of modern dance. Born in the United States, she lived in Western Europe and the Soviet Union from the age of 22 until her death at age 50. In the United States she was popular only in New York, and only later in her life. She performed to acclaim throughout Europe.

30a  Old Master has year in Indian Territory (4)

Francisco Goya[7] (1746 – 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goa[7], a state located in South West India, is that country's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population.

3d   Jade knight with silver as base (3)

Archaic meanings of jade[5] are (1) a bad-tempered or disreputable woman or (2) an old or worn-out horse. Take your pick as to which one the setter intended.

6d   Butcher perhaps bearing a small present (9)

The definition is "Butcher perhaps" with Butcher referring to "one of the fictional families in the BBC soap opera Eastenders[7]" (thanks to Dave Perry for that info). I don't feel too bad at not understanding that - from reading the comments on Times for the Times, it seems that several of the Brits were equally in the dark. The wordplay is E ([compass] bearing) + A (explicit in the clue) + S (small) + TENDER (present; as a verb). I did get the solution based on the wordplay and (perhaps incorrectly) supposed that the East End might be the area of London where butcher shops or slaughterhouses were concentrated.
The East End[7] is an area of London, England, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames. Use of the term East End in a pejorative sense began in the late 19th century, as the expansion of the population of London led to extreme overcrowding throughout the area and a concentration of poor people and immigrants. The East End became synonymous with poverty, overcrowding, disease and criminality. Despite improvements such as the Canary Wharf development, improved infrastructure, and the Olympic Park, some parts continue to contain some of the worst poverty in Britain.
7d   A large travelling bag for brunch? (11)

Dave Perry's reference to "DbE" means 'definition by example'.

8d   One function hosted by Northern Ireland at a city (7)

A cosine (abbreviation cos) is a trigonometric function.

12d   Person taking risks for a rise, but after initial deduction remuneration is poor (11)

North Americans will likely fail to fully appreciate this clue. In Britain, an increase in pay is called a rise (rather than a raise, as it is known in North America). In the wordplay, "after initial deduction" indicates that we are to delete the first letter of "remuneration" and "is poor" indicates that we form an anagram of the remainder. Thus the first part "person taking risks for a rise" could be read as either someone taking chances in hopes of getting a salary increase or a cryptic definition of a mountaineer.

16d   Colour telly and Wii Henry broke (4-5)

For Brits, the surface reading would refer to a colour television set and a Wii game console. In physics, the henry[5] (abbreviation H) is the SI unit of inductance, equal to an electromotive force of one volt in a closed circuit with a uniform rate of change of current of one ampere per second.

19d   The Spectator's solution is nonesense too (7)

The Spectator[7] is a weekly British current affairs magazine.

21d   After end of season Surrey built new facility for learners (7)

Surrey[7] is a county in the South East of England, and one of the home counties[5] (as the counties surrounding London are called). The surface reading may actually be a reference to the Surrey County Cricket Club[7], a professional cricket club based in Surrey.

26d   Bloomers on line blowing around in field (3)

Bloomers[5], in addition to being flowers, are women’s loose-fitting knee-length knickers (panties), considered old-fashioned.

28d   Unforged metal regularly used when making springs (3)

The definition is "unforged metal" with the solution being PIG. A pig[4] is a mass of metal, such as iron, copper, or lead, cast into a simple shape for ease of storing or transportation. The wordplay tells us that the letters in the solution also constitute the even-numbered letters in (regularly used when making) "springs" (sPrInGs). As "regularly" could indicate either the 'even-numbered' or 'odd-numbered' letters (since either of these is a regular series), we are left to chose the one that fits the circumstances.
[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