Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012 - ST 4488

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4488
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4488]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, June 30, 2012


The Brits claim to have found this puzzle a bit on the easy side. That was certainly not true in my case, as Anax managed to stump me today. Even with the assistance of my electronic aids, I found myself unable to solve 1a and 1d. Once I had obtained the solution to 1a from Dave Perry's review, the answer to 1d did belatedly become clear to me (although I still was unable to explain the wordplay until I did some research in my British dictionaries).

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   Reality show act mostly profane pensioner (8)

I don't watch much television in general, and virtually never watch so-called "reality" shows. That may explain my ignorance on the subject. While I was familiar with the term docudrama, I did not recall – while solving the puzzle – having heard of a docusoap (despite the word having appeared as the solution to a clue in a Daily Telegraph puzzle published in the National Post in September 2011). A docusoap[4] is a television documentary series in which the lives of the people filmed are presented as entertainment or drama.

In Britain, OAP[5] is an abbreviation for old-age pensioner. Dave Perry questions whether cuss is a synonym for profane (suggesting that they are not the same part of speech). However, profane can be used as a verb meaning to treat (something sacred) with irreverence or disrespect it was a serious matter to profane a tomb.

5a   Foil "wrapping" to spoil bacon (6)

A flitch[4] is a side of pork salted and cured.

9a   I'm surprised there's whisky on board this train (4-4)

Coo[5] is an informal British exclamation used to express surprise ‘Coo, ain’t it high!’ Mary squeaked. Collins English Dictionary tells us that hooch[4] is mainly a US & Canadian term.

12a   Remove bone from joint cooked by Tesco and Aldi (9)

Tesco[7], a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer, is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues (after Wal-Mart and Carrefour) and the second-largest measured by profits (after Wal-Mart). It has stores in 14 countries across Asia, Europe and North America and is the grocery market leader in the UK (where it has a market share of around 30%), Malaysia, the Republic of Ireland and Thailand. In North America, Tesco operates some 185 stores in Arizona, California and Nevada under the Fresh & Easy brand.

Aldi (short for "Albrecht Discount") is a discount supermarket chain based in Germany. The two individual company groups forming the chain were originally owned and managed by brothers Karl Albrecht and Theo Albrecht. Karl, now retired, is Germany's richest man. Theo was Germany's second richest man at the time of his death in 2010. Aldi has over 400 stores in the UK and more than 1000 in the United States (as well as several hundred more operating under the Trader Joe's banner).

13a   Bloke securing end of sale bargain (5)

Bloke[5] and chap[5] are, surely, well-known British terms for a man.
1d   River split by artificial crack (6)

The River Dee[7] is a river in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It rises in the Cairngorms and flows through Strathdee (Deeside) to reach the North Sea at Aberdeen. Or, should you prefer, the River Dee[7] is a river that travels through Wales and England and also forms part of the border between the two countries. This river rises in Snowdonia, Wales, flows east via Chester, England, and discharges to the sea into an estuary between Wales and the Wirral Peninsula in England. Should neither of these suit your taste, there are yet more choices on the River Dee[7] menu. Cod is an informal British term meaning not authentic or fake • a cod Mittel-European accent.

2d   24 seconds to fill in puzzles like this one (5,6)

The number "24" is a cross reference to clue 24d. To reveal the full clue, insert the solution to 24d in place of the "24" in the current clue.

4d   Asda and Co-op rave about tropical fruit (7,5)

Asda[7], a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wal-Mart, is a British supermarket chain. It is the UK's second largest chain by market share after Tesco. In December 2010, Asda's share of the UK grocery market stood at 16.5%.

The Co-operative Food[7] (or Co-op) is a brand used for small shops and convenience stores by The Co-operative Group as well as by other independent consumer co-operatives in the United Kingdom. The Co-operative Group is the fifth largest food retailer in the United Kingdom where it operates over 3,300 stores of various sizes with the biggest geographical spread of any retailer.

In Britain, avocados are also known as avocado pears[5].

7d   Worthless goods see you going short (3)

Tata[5] is an informal British exclamation meaning goodbye well, I’ll say ta-ta, love. Tat[5] is an informal British term for tasteless or shoddy clothes, jewellery, or ornaments the place was decorated with all manner of gaudy tat.

11d   Sweat out 21, sir (12)

Similar to what we saw in 2d, the number "21" here is a cross reference.

14d   See Spar and Lidi's casual footwear (11)

Spar[7] is a retailer based in the Netherlands that operates approximately 12,500 grocery, convenience and discount stores in 35 countries worldwide (but none in North or South America), including more than 2,500 stores in the UK.

Lidl[7] is a discount supermarket chain based in Germany that operates over 10,000 stores across Europe, including nearly 600 in the UK.

16d   Fine houses for spymaster, of course (2,7)

The definition is "of course" and the wordplay is {NOBLE (fine) containing (houses) PRO (for)} + M (spymaster)} giving NO PROBLEM. Actually, it did give me a problem. I got the solution easily enough – but failed to comprehend the wordplay until I read Dave Perry's review. In Ian Fleming's James Bond series, M[7] is the fictional Head of the Secret Intelligence Service—also known as MI6.

17d   Posh, intuitive sophistication, according to Spooner (3,5)

For a change, posh is not U. Cut glass[10] is a seemingly British term denoting (with respect to an accent) upper-class or refined. Reverend Spooner[7] would undoubtedly have mangled this into GUT (intuitive; as an adjective) + CLASS (sophistication).

22d   Too old for Euro beat (5)

I devoted a lot of fruitless effort in a vain attempt to make PULSE work here.
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)
Happy Canada Day - Falcon

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