Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012 - ST 4477

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4477
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4477]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, April 7, 2012


It was an enjoyable — albeit rather challenging solve today. As is often the case, there are a lot of references in this puzzle that might well be unknown to most North Americans.

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   Slips perhaps wholly buried in text message (6)

Smalls[5] is British slang for small items of clothing, especially underwear. Thus slips (ladies' undergarments) are examples (perhaps) of smalls. The wordplay is ALL (wholly) contained in (buried in) SMS (text message; Short Message Service).

5a   Former suspect omitted in speech (8)

Misdoubt[5] is an archaic (former) word meaning to have doubts about the truth, reality, or existence of he always misdoubted his own ability.

11a   Shop entrances half obscured (4)

The surface reading is designed to make us think that "entrances" is a noun meaning doorway. However, in the cryptic analysis, entrance[5] must be treated as a verb meaning to fill (someone) with wonder and delight, holding their entire attention I was entranced by the city’s beauty.

16a   Check dress isn't rare (8)

As Peter Biddlecombe says in a comment at Times for the Times, "'dress' has meanings which amount to 'arrange'". These include to arrange a display in (a shop window)[2], to arrange or style (hair)[5], or possibly — in the cheeky spirit of today's puzzle — even (of a man) to have the genitals habitually on one or the other side of the fork of the trousers do you dress to the left?[5] Try using this latter phrase in casual conversation at your next social gathering. It certainly trumps "Do you wear boxers or briefs?" in terms of cockiness. Of course, this usage may be on the way to becoming archaic as — with the modern style of dress seemingly requiring  trousers to be worn with the crotch situated at or below knee level — this would surely no longer be a consideration for most men.

20a   A quiet chum touring Spain how's that? (6)

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5])  is a direction used in music to mean either (as an adjective) soft or quiet (as an adverb) softly or quietly. E[5] is the International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Spain [from Spanish EspaƱa]. The question mark indicates that "how's that" is an example of the solution. In cricket, appeal[5] is used as a verb meaning (of the bowler or fielders) to call on the umpire to declare a batsman out, traditionally with a shout of ‘How’s that?’ or as a noun meaning a shout of ‘How’s that?’ or a similar call by a bowler or fielder to an umpire to declare a batsman out.

24a   Unusual opening of Parliament could be this one (4)

Rum[5] is a dated British term meaning odd or peculiar. The Rump Parliament[7] is the name of the English Parliament after Colonel Pride purged the Long Parliament on 6 December 1648 of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason. "Rump" normally means the hind end of an animal; its use meaning "remnant" was first recorded in the above context. Since 1649, the term "rump parliament" has been used to refer to any parliament left over from the actual legitimate parliament.

26a   Brother Miliband did produce issue (4)

Ed Miliband[7] is a British Labour Party politician, currently the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition.

29a   Hungarian shortly back in awe for match in Brazil? (4,4)

What a match played in Brazil would be for a British football (soccer) team. Magyar[4] may be (1) a member of the predominant ethnic group of Hungary or (2) the Hungarian language.

30a   In cast iron, knockers should be this (6)

The surface reading states that, if made from cast iron, [door] knockers should be this (i.e., ROBUST). In the cryptic reading, we must cast (throw away or remove) the letters IN from IRON ("in cast iron") to obtain RO to which we add BUST (knockers; a woman's breasts). The required interpretation of the phrase "in cast iron" seems a bit tenuous, to say the least, and generated more than the usual amount of discussion on Times for the Times.

2d   Mark antique articles for rubbish! (2,3)

The mark[5] (abbreviation M[2]) was (until the introduction of the euro in 2002) the basic monetary unit of Germany, equal to 100 pfennig; a Deutschmark Germany spent billions of marks to save the French franc from speculators.

3d   Did twist in thrash like a boisterous youngster (7)

In Britain, laddish is an adjective that means denoting or characteristic of a young man who behaves in a boisterously macho manner (i) they are told that throwing up is merely laddish; (ii) laddish late-night TV programmes.

The wordplay is an anagram (twist) of DID contained in (in) LASH (thrash) giving the solution LADDISH. Not being familiar with this British word, I thought that the solution might be BADDISH, where "thrash" is replaced by BASH instead on LASH.

4d   Fine having been issued, fast rep in deep trouble from this? (5,4)

Here we have another bit of tricky wordplay — which prompted several comments on Times for the Times. We start with an anagram (trouble) of FAST REP IN DEEP giving SPEED TRAP FINE from which we must release (issue) FINE to get SPEED TRAP.

6d   Curse sun on the river (5)

The River Wear[7] is located in North East England, rising in the Pennines and flowing eastwards, mostly through County Durham, to the North Sea at Sunderland.

7d   Hardy, say, keeps one in the theatre (7)

Like Dave Perry, I too thought that "one" seemed to be doing double duty. However, as I discovered from his review, the Olivier Theatre (named after Laurence Olivier, the first artistic director of the National Theatre of Great Britain) is the name of the main auditorium in the National Theatre building.
The Royal National Theatre[7] (generally known as the National Theatre and commonly as The National) in London is one of the United Kingdom's two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. Internationally, it is styled the National Theatre of Great Britain.
8d   Bare all in dancing? I wouldn't do that! (9)

I must admit that it took a long time for the full meaning of the clue to sink in. The wordplay is easy enough, being an anagram (dancing) of BARE ALL IN. I eventually came to realize that this is a semi-& lit. (or semi-all-in-one) clue in which the entire clue serves as the definition. In essence, the clue says "I am a dancer who wouldn't bare all during a performance." In other words, I am a ballerina, not a stripper.

13d   Crowds run in skimpy underwear (7)

In Britain, R[5] would be seen to be the abbreviation for run(s) on cricket scorecards.

15d   Guy on field injured in soccer war (9)

In Britain, a guy[5] is a figure representing Guy Fawkes, burnt on a bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night, and often displayed by children begging for money for fireworks. Thus a "guy" is an effigy of a man. The definition is "guy on field" or an effigy on a field, with the solution being SCARECROW. As a visitor to Times to Times points out "if you anagram this answer you get soccer war". That is, an anagram (injured) of SCARECROW can be found in "soccer war".

21d   Aspiring sort of bubbly agent in trouble (7)

The definition is "trouble" with the solution being PERTURB. The wordplay is a reversal (aspiring) of {BRUT (sort of bubbly; said of wines, especially champagne: very dry) + REP (agent)}. Aspire[10] is used in the sense to rise to a great height.

23d   A mountain height near Austria (5)

A[5] is the International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Austria.
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

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