Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012 - ST 4473

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4473
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Dean Mayer
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4473]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, March 17, 2012
According to the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum, the Saturday Star seems to have reversed the order of publication of ST 4473 and ST 4474, with the former puzzle having been published just yesterday while the latter puzzle appeared last weekend.


I found this to be one of the most - if not the most - difficult puzzles that I've ever encountered. I only managed to solve a handful of clues before I was forced to call my electronic assistants into action. I used the entire spectrum of them extensively, and managed to complete the puzzle. However, I only fully understood the wordplay for a couple of clues after I had read Dave Perry's review.

Meet the Setter

Here is what Crossword Who's Who has to say about Dean Mayer, the setter of today's puzzle.
Dean Mayer
Dean Mayer's first foray into published cryptic crosswords was as a member of the Birmingham Post team, headed by Roger Squires, in the mid-1980s.

He now sets crosswords for The Independent (as Anax); for the Financial Times (as Loroso); for the Toughie series in The Daily Telegraph (as Elkamere); and anonymously in The Times.

He also sets the Sunday Times Concise Crossword and, under his real name, sets one in three of the Sunday Times cryptic crosswords (as of September 2011).

Outside crosswords he is a keen musician and songwriter. As well as writing and recording original material he plays bass for a funk/soul/disco covers band.

Anax Crosswords, Dean Mayer's crossword blog.
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.

9a   Cars may have these fitted for a trip through ice (4,5)

Although I managed to find the correct solution, I missed the wordplay here. The definition is "cars may have these fitted" and the wordplay is an anagram (trip) of FOR A contained in (through) ROCKS (ice) with the solution being ROOF RACKS.

11a   Pub with posh lady as host in alleyway (6)

I spent a long time cracking this clue. Gel[5] is an informal British term for an upper-class or well-bred girl or young woman • fastidiously reared Home Counties gels. In Northern England, a ginnel[5] is a narrow passage between buildings; an alley.

17a   One battered tent - are cops checking body? (12)

Inspectorate[5] is a chiefly British word meaning a body that ensures that the official regulations applying to a particular type of institution or activity are obeyed the factory inspectorate.

20a   Initially exchanged bill, perhaps, for lottery (5,3)

Luckily, I recalled this British game of chance from a previous puzzle. A lucky dip[5] is a game in which small prizes are concealed in a container and chosen at random by participants. The wordplay is based on a Spoonerism, where ducky lip would be the bill of a duck.

1d   Piano music over mature rock music (6)

Garage[5] (also known as UK garage) is a form of dance music incorporating elements of drum and bass, house music, and soul, characterized by a rhythm in which the second and fourth beats of the bar are omitted.

According to Oxford Online, the name comes from Paradise Garage, the name of a Manhattan dance club as opposed to, as Dave Perry, suggests "from the sorts of places these bands were thought to practice" [which certainly sounded like a reasonable explanation to me].

4d   Gun collector's strange place (4)

Unco[5] is a Scottish word meaning unusual or remarkable. The definition ("strange") is found in the middle of the clue with "piece" acting as the hidden word indicator.

7d   Limit components of hi-hat (8)

A hi-hat[5] (or high-hat) is a pair of foot-operated cymbals forming part of a drum kit. The "components of hi" are H AND I.

8d   Camper's opening yard - shut it in quick (3,5)

I wondered how one got SH from "shut". It turns out that one doesn't. The SH comes from "shut it". SH is a way of telling someone to be quiet. Depending on how it is expressed, it could be either a polite or rude admonition. I don't believe there is a polite way to say "shut it".

15d   Spike one small drink, getting up when man swallows (8)

A gill[5] is a unit of liquid measure, equal to a quarter of a pint. Spike Milligan[7] (1918 – 2002) was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor. His early life was spent in India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He became an Irish citizen in 1962 after the British government declared him stateless. He was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of The Goon Show[7], a British radio comedy programme broadcast by the BBC from 1951 to 1960.
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)
[10] - (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for this week - Falcon

No comments:

Post a Comment