Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012 - Error-Prone Sub

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times Review Written By
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, January 14, 2012*
* I am assuming that this puzzle would have appeared in the Toronto Star on the customary date. However, I cannot be certain as no solution is posted on the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum website for that date.


Normally, the puzzle published in the UK on December 18, 2011 would have appeared today. However, as the Sunday Times published a jumbo Christmas themed puzzle on that date, the puzzle we see today has been substituted in syndication. The same situation arose last year. At that time, the incredibly observant author of the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum recognized that the puzzle published in the Toronto Saturday Star on Saturday, January 22, 2011 (and in the Ottawa Citizen on Sunday, January 23, 2011) had been published in the Saturday Star on January 19, 2008. On this occasion, the puzzle appeared in Toronto only a day before it was published in Ottawa (rather than the customary eight days before) due to the Saturday Star reversing the order of publication of a couple of puzzles. Based upon the information gleaned from the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum, with some additional sleuthing I was then able to identify the puzzle as ST 4257 which was published in the Sunday Times on December 30, 2007. Suspecting that today's puzzle has similarly been resurrected from the archives, I attempted to identify it - but without success. It does share one feature with the substitute puzzle published last year - an error. Last year the error was in the wording of the clue, this year it is in the numeration (see below). In addition to this major error, I would say that the puzzle also contains one or two other (relatively minor) errors.

Errata in Today's Puzzle

There is an egregious error in the numeration for clue 8d which should read:
  • 8d   Surprised as I am to say this, not once did I excel (4,1,5,3)
Perhaps the wording of the clue is a very fitting admission by the puzzle editor!

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue


1a   RED SKY AT NIGHT - cryptic definition of a sunset (setting)
In North America, we are familiar with the bit of weather lore that begins "Red sky at night, sailor's delight ...". However, in Great Britain and Ireland, this saying is applied to a different occupation "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight ...". Thus "setting" refers to the setting of the sun and "animal welfare groups" are shepherds.
10a   EMOL*|U|MENT~ - anagram (hidden [strange anagram indicator, methinks]) + (at) U (university) + MENT {sounds like (to hear) MEANT (†)}
Note: I use the dagger symbol "†" to indicate that a word has appeared explicitly in the clue.
11a   OLIVE* - anagram (unfortunately) of I LOVE
Olive Oyl is the sweetheart of Popeye, the sailor man.
12a   L|OUSE - L (left) + OUSE (flower [river])
In Crosswordese, a river is often referred to as a flower (something that flows). The River Ouse is a river in England.
13a   DAM|NATION - DAM (barrier) + (erected by; put up beside) NATION (people)

14a   NAISSANT* - anagram (evolution) of IS AN ANTS
Naissant is a term used in heraldry. In the words of the Oxford Dictionary of English it means "(of a charge, especially an animal) issuing from the middle of an ordinary, especially a fess"[5]. Collins English Dictionary is somewhat less obtuse, defining it as "(of a beast) having only the forepart shown above a horizontal division of a shield"[4]. While I may have missed some subtlety in the wordplay, the words "heralding", "beastly" and "division" in the clue clearly point us in this direction.
16a   CO(MB)AT - MB (doctor) contained in (finding ... in) COAT (ulster)
Ulster, in addition to being a county in Northern Ireland, is also a type of coat. Note the (intentional) misdirection created by the capitalization of "Ulster".

In Britain, the degree required to practice medicine is a Bachelor of Medicine[7] (MB, from Latin Medicinae Baccalaureus), which is equivalent to a North American Doctor of Medicine (MD, from Latin Medicinae Doctor). The degree of Doctor of Medicine also exists in Britain, but it is an advanced degree pursued by those who wish to go into medical research. Physicians in Britain are still addressed as Dr. despite not having a doctoral degree.
19a   VENI*|CE - anagram (exotic) of VINE + CE (English church; Church of England)
The sense of the clue ("Italian source of [wordplay]") is that, through executing the wordplay, one may construct the name of something (in this case, a place) that can be found in Italy.
20a   CAMSHAFT* - anagram (revolution) of {MACH (half of MACHines) + FAST (†)}

22a   ROUGH DEAL - a spoonerism for "duff reel"

24a   EPSOM - an English town possessing a famous racecourse

25a   INTER - cryptic definition referring to committing a corpse to the grave (or, perhaps, a crypt)

26a   UNCERTAIN - anagram (new) of CAR IN TUNE

27a   PENNY-FARTHING - cryptic definition of an old-fashioned bicycle


2d   ELOCUTION* - anagram (composed) of COOL TUNE I

3d   SOUSE - SO (this way; "I want it done just so") + (put to; placed adjacent to) USE (some purpose)
"Duck" is used in the sense of push or plunge (someone) under water.
4d   Y(IELD*)IN|G -anagram of LIED contained in {Y (first Year) + IN (of) + G (power)}
I do not have a great deal of confidence in this solution and welcome any better suggestions. The anagram of LIED is pretty obvious and Y being the first letter of year also seems quite solid. "In" and "of" can be synonyms in the sense of 'from' or 'out of' (as "two in every eight" or "two of every eight"). I am guessing that the setter may be employing - in a scientifically inaccurate fashion - G[5] to mean a unit of acceleration equal to that produced by the earth’s gravitational field (I was pinned to the floor by six Gs!).
5d   TOTE|MS - TOTE (carry) + MS (documents; manuscript (abbreviation)}
MS or ms.[2] (with the plural being MSS or mss.) is the abbreviation for manuscript[2] (which is a a book or document written by hand). Thus, in order to be correct, it would seem that the clue should read
  • Poles carrying manuscript (in the singular).
6d   ISOLATORS - anagram (upsetting) of TO SAILORS

7d   H|A(IT)I - H (Holiday, start) + IT contained in (in ... accommodation) AI (first-class; looks like A1)

8d   WELL I NEVER DID - Yoda-speak for "I never did well" (I did not excel even once)
Yoda is a fictional character in the Star Wars universe, noted for the object-subject-verb syntax he employs when speaking. Well I never did![5] (or well I never!) is an informal exclamation expressing surprise or indignation (something that one might say when they are surprised). However, when interpreted as having come from the lips of  Yoda, it would mean "I never did well". If the two parts of the clue were to be written in subject-verb-object format, they would become "I am surprised to say this" and "I did not excel even once".

See the section Errata in Today's Puzzle (above) for a discussion of the error in the numeration for this clue.
9d   REIN|STATEMENT - REIN (check) + STATEMENT (the financial summary)

15d   SACCHARIN* - anagram (trade) of IN CAR CASH

17d   BOATSWAIN - BOAT (craft) preceding (before) SWAIN (lover)

18d   CABLE CAR - cryptic definition of a a transport system, typically one delivering skiers to the top of a mountain, in which cabins are suspended on a continuous moving cable (line) driven by a motor at one end of the route

21d   RE-TURF - anagram (put out) of FRUit TReE {FRUIT TREE with TIE removed (off)}

23d   _UNTIE - aUNTIE (relative) with A removed (after A loss)

24d   EARTH* - anagram (breaking) of HEART
Key to Reference Sources: 

[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)
[9] - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
Signing off for this week - Falcon

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