Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012 - ST 4481

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4481
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Jeff Pearce
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4481]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, May 5, 2012


Today we encounter at least three British military organisations, a couple of British automobiles that have not been produced for several decades and former and current British Olympic athletes.

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.

5a   Soldiers look around for protection from the elements (7)

In the UK, para[5] is an informal short form for paratrooper. Lo[5] is an archaic exclamation used to draw attention to an interesting or amazing event and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them.

9a    A soldier's fuss about sick animal (9)

The Royal Marines (RM)[5] is a British armed service (part of the Royal Navy) founded in 1664, trained for service at sea, or on land under specific circumstances.

11a   Old teacher gets martial arts practitioner in bad temper (6)

Pendant[4] is an archaic term for a schoolmaster or teacher (thus the definition being "old teacher" in the clue). Dave Perry explains from whence the more modern (but itself not-so-new) meaning of the word arises.

12a   Short author using sentimental language about Republican ruler (8)

I figured out the solution from the definition and checking letters but was not able to resolve the wordplay. I was convinced that the wrong R was the "Republican" and that it was contained in some sort of "sentimental language" following a truncated version of some author's name. Not so. The wordplay is actually (with appreciation for the explanation due to Dave Perry) VERN (VERN[E] with the final letter deleted) contained in (using ... about) GOO (sentimental language) + R (Republican).

14a   Does polish change the appearance of such items? (4-6)

Shop-soiled (or, as Collins English Dictionary prefers, shopsoiled[4]) is an adjective used in the UK to describe items that are worn, faded, tarnished, etc., from being displayed in a shop or store. The equivalent term in North America is shopworn.

22a   Winner manages to hold in stomach (5,3)

Inner man[5] is a humorous (seemingly British) term for a man’s stomach the inner man was well catered for with pizza.

23a   After volunteers returned one entered odd chamber (6)

In the UK, the Territorial Army (TA)[5] is a volunteer force locally organized to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined manpower for use in an emergency.

26a   Start Triumph in front of church (5)

Triumph Motorcycles Ltd[7] is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the UK. Triumph was also a make of automobile manufactured by another firm, Triumph Motor Company[7], which became defunct in 1984. The dormant marque is currently owned by German automaker BMW.

27a   Curry, perhaps, made from fish in boiled rice (3-6)

John Curry[7] (1949 – 1994) was a British figure skater who was a five-time British champion and the 1976 European, World and Olympic Champion.

29a   Sculptor put record on piano? No way! (7)

Sir Jacob Epstein[7] (1880 – 1959) was an American-born British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture.

2d   University teacher upset about scholar being wandering type (5)

In Britain, a don[5] is a university teacher, especially a senior member of a college at Oxford or Cambridge.

3d   Seeker of sensual pleasure dines with hot totty (8)

Totty[5] is an informal British term for (1) girls or women collectively regarded as sexually desirable loads of Italian totty in tight white shorts or (2) a girl or woman, especially one regarded as sexually desirable.

I really can't explain why "totty" qualifies as an anagram indicator. When I came across it while solving the puzzle, I just presumed it might be another British term with a meaning similar to dotty (eccentric or slightly mad).

4d   Small, kind, legal advisor (4)

In Britain, silk[5] is an informal term for a Queen’s (or King’s) Counsel [so named because of the right accorded to wear a gown made of silk].
Queen's Counsel[7] (postnominal QC), known as King's Counsel (postnominal KC) during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law. Membership exists in various Commonwealth jurisdictions around the world, while in some other jurisdictions the name has been replaced by one without monarchical connotations. Queen's Counsel is a status, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court.

As members wear silk gowns of a particular design , the award of Queen's or King's Counsel is known informally as taking silk, and hence QCs are often colloquially called silks.

The practice of appointed Queen's Counsel continues in a number of Canada's provinces, although appointments ceased in Ontario in 1985, and the federal government ceased the practice in 1993. No substitute distinctions have been implemented in these jurisdictions as it is felt that the practice is a form of political patronage and is best discontinued entirely. However, existing title holders continue to use the Q.C. postnominal letters.
5d   Attractive after development is complete? (10)

This was my last one in. It is a cryptic definition of an adjective describing someone who looks attractive in photographs or on film. At one time, this could only be determined once the film had been developed. With the advent of digital photography, I suppose this is no longer the case.

6d   Some games in the stationery cabinet cupboard? (6)

In addition to bridge (which Dave Perry mentions in his review), the term rubber[2] may also apply to other games such as cricket and tennis. In bridge, specifically, a rubber is a match to play for the best of three or sometimes five games. I think that Dave Perry should have used the phrase "two or more games" rather than "two or more hands" in his comment.

In Britain, a rubber[5] is a piece of rubber used for erasing pencil or ink marks a pencil with a rubber at the end. In North America, this would be called an eraser, and a rubber would likely refer to either a condom or one of a pair of waterproof overshoes (or galoshes in Britain).

13d   New Austin limo is a copy (10)

The Austin Motor Company[7] was a British manufacturer of automobiles. The company was founded in 1905 and merged in 1952 into the British Motor Corporation Ltd. The marque Austin was used until 1987. Since that time the now dormant marque has passed through the hands of several automobile companies and is currently owned by Chinese automaker SAIC. I can't say if Austin ever built a limo – certainly the Austins that I recall were all rather on the small side.

17d   Tuck stomach inside girl's bloomers (8)

Bloomers[5] are women’s loose-fitting knee-length undergarments, considered old-fashioned. Bloomer[5] is also an informal and dated British expression meaning a serious or stupid mistake he never committed a bloomer.

18d   Natter with mate outside before start of gig (7)

In the UK, chinwag[5] is an informal term meaning to have a chat he sent her to chinwag with the chiefs. China[5] is British slang for a friend [from rhyming slang china plate 'mate'].

21d   Old and rare lines we penned for writer (6)

Eric Arthur Blair (1903 – 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell[7], was an English novelist and journalist. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author.

The use of r.[10] as an abbreviation for rare is found in Collins English Dictionary.

24d and 8d: If fit, where Radcliffe will be seen this summer, ultimately (1,3,4,3)

Paula Radcliffe[7] is an English long-distance runner who is the current women's world record holder in the marathon with her time of 2:15:25 hours. Of the seven marathons Radcliffe has run so far, she has won six and set a record in five. She has run four out of the five fastest times in history in the women's marathon.

However, Radcliffe's running career has been plagued by a history of injuries and health issues that are almost too numerous to mention. Among the ailments she has suffered are injuries to her toes, feet, legs, knees, hips, and back as well as a bouts of tonsillitis and bronchitis. On top of the health issues, she has also interrupted her career on two occasions to give birth to her two children.

Although she has competed in two Olympic marathon events, her results have been disappointing. She was the favourite to win a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. However, she was forced to withdraw from the race after 36 km. due to adverse effects of medication taken to treat an injury to her leg suffered two weeks prior to the event. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she cramped during the marathon to the point where she had to stop running and stretch. She resumed the race and finished in 23rd place overall.

She is also remembered for an embarrassing episode at the 2005 London Marathon. Radcliffe won the event with a time of 2:17:42, a world's best time for a women's only race by over a minute. However, that achievement was overshadowed by a notorious moment towards the end when Radcliffe, hindered by runner's diarrhoea and in need for a toilet break, stopped and defecated on the side of the road in view of the crowd and TV cameras which broadcast the incident live. In November 2006, the incident was voted top running moment in history in the UK from a choice of ten 'unforgettable moments'.

Radcliffe – still suffering the lingering effects of a bout of bronchitis – performed poorly last month at the Vienna half-marathon.  In a recent interview, the runner – who has never won an Olympic medal of any kind – admitted that she would be "really, really happy" with a bronze medal at the London Olympics.
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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