Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012 - ST 4487

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4487
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Jeff Pearce
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4487]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, June 23, 2012


I was away for the weekend and am just now catching up on puzzles and blogs. I needed to use my full arsenal of electronic aids to complete this puzzle which is well-laced with Briticisms.

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.

6a   Game at gym in the country (4)

The "game" is rugby union (RU[5]) and "gym" is not a place, but an activity – physical education (PE[5]).

10a   Naturalists playing twister outside church (9)

In Britain, a birdwatcher whose main aim is to collect sightings of rare birds is known as a twitcher[5].

12a   One might con ref and finally get reward after acting up (6,7)

In soccer and [field] hockey, a centre forward[5] is an attacker who plays in the middle of the field. [In Britain, field hockey is called hockey and hockey is called ice hockey.]

14a   Servant's fee, paid in advance (8)

The two parts to this double definition are "servant" and "fee, paid in advance". In the cryptic analysis of the clue, the 's is interpreted as a contraction of is and serves as a linkword between the two definitions. A retainer[5] is a servant, especially one who has worked for a person or family for a long time as well as being a fee paid in advance to someone, especially a barrister, in order to secure their services for use when required.

15a   Way of doing drug and endless rum (6)

Rum[5] is a dated British term meaning odd or peculiar.

17a   Goon character often spotted cake (6)

T.F. Eccles[7] (T.F. for "The Famous") is the name of a comedy character, created and performed by Spike Milligan, from the 1950s United Kingdom radio comedy series The Goon Show. Although Eccles was one of the show's secondary characters, he apparently did appear on the show fairly "often". An Eccles cake[7] is a small, round cake filled with currants and made from flaky pastry with butter, which is sometimes topped with demerara sugar (the currants giving it a "spotted" appearance).

19a   Traverse part of East End for a weapon (8)

Bow[7] is an area of London, England, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is a built-up, mostly residential district located 4.6 miles (7.4 km) east of Charing Cross[7] (considered to be the centre of London), and is a part of the East End.

21a   Hunt, say, a hare and reptile to be cooked with hint of parsley (3-10)

William Holman Hunt[7] (1827 – 1910) was an English painter, and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood[5] (a group of English 19th-century artists who consciously sought to emulate the simplicity and sincerity of the work of Italian artists from before the time of Raphael).

24a   Together with the enemy, make amends for a crime (2,3,4)

The definition is "together". The comma is crucial, as it indicates that the order of the wordplay is inverted (just as "After dinner, I read the paper" is an inverted way of saying "I read the paper after dinner"). Thus TIME (the enemy) comes last, preceded by ATONE (make amends for a crime). The "for a crime" bit may be seen to be superfluous but it does notably enhance the smoothness of the surface reading. The solution is AT ONE TIME (together).

In cryptic crosswords, we often find that time is the enemy, expressed by Irish poet William Butler Yeats as "The innocent and the beautiful have no enemy but time" meaning that innocence and beauty are each subject to the ravages of time. I have also discovered that time may be the enemy of bloggers – to which the lateness of this posting will attest.

1d   Fly drunk, and finally heave (4)

Cut[4] is a British slang word for drunk (in Canada, I've often heard of someone being half-cut, but never cut). Heave[3,4] is to gag or vomit (on either side of the Atlantic). I interpreted fly[5]to be an informal British term meaning knowing and clever she’s fly enough not to get tricked out of it. This works if cute[3,4] is used in the sense of clever or shrewd (rather than pretty or dainty), although Oxford Dictionaries characterises this sense of the word as being North American[5].

However, Dave Perry chooses to interpret the clue differently, pointing to a North American meaning of the word fly[5]fashionably attractive and impressive a fly dude. He refers in particular to "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)", a 1998 song by the American punk rock band The Offspring. It includes the lyrics "all the girls say I'm pretty fly - for a white guy" with fly meaning well dressed or smart in appearance. Personally, I'm not sure that I would necessarily equate a fly dude with a cute chick.

3d   Popular prisoner with opinion on judge is rude (13)

The wordplay is IN (popular) + CON (prisoner) + (with) SIDE (opinion) + (on) RATE (judge). Thus we have one implicit charade indicator and two explicit ones ("with" and "on"). Side is used in the sense of the position, interests, or attitude of one person or group, especially when regarded as being in opposition to another or others I would have loved to have heard his side of the argument.

4d   Legal clerks upset heavyweight group of stars (8)

In current British usage, notary[4] is another term for a notary public[4] (a public official, usually a solicitor, who is legally authorized to administer oaths, attest and certify certain documents, etc.). However, at one time the word denoted a clerk licensed to prepare legal documents.

5d   Raffles, say, article about one fellow (5)

Arthur J. Raffles[7] is a character created in the 1890s by E. W. Hornung, a brother-in-law to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Raffles is, in many ways, a deliberate inversion of Holmes — he is a "gentleman thief," living in the Albany, a prestigious address in London, playing cricket for the Gentlemen of England and supporting himself by carrying out ingenious burglaries.

7d   Rubbish containing earth and trees (7)

The solution to this clue seems to have a bit different meaning on this side of the Atlantic. According to the British dictionaries, eyewash[4] is an informal term for nonsense or rubbish. The American Heritage Dictionary defines eyewash[3] as actions or remarks intended to conceal the facts of a situation [i.e., nonsense with a purpose].

8d   United start to play against blue team initially in a crazy way (6-4)

The wordplay is U (united) + P (start to Play) + (against) {SIDE (team) before (initially) DOWN (blue)}.

11d   Reprimand one falling over soft shoe (6,7)

In Britain, a carpet slipper[5] is a soft slipper whose upper part is made of wool or thick cloth (resembling carpeting[4]). In the UK, carpet[5] means to reprimand severely the Chancellor of the Exchequer carpeted the bank bosses.

13d   Author keeping pressure on brilliant environmentalists (10)

Graham Greene[7] (1904 – 1991) was an English author, playwright and literary critic. Greenpeace[7] is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Greenpeace evolved from the peace movement and anti-nuclear protests in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the early 1970s.

18d   A revolutionary source for a smoke (7)

Ernesto "Che" Guevara[7] (1928 – 1967), commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist who was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution.
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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