Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012 - ST 4497

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4497
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4497]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, August 25, 2012
As no solution was posted for August 25 on the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum, I can only presume that this puzzle was published as expected. 
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, September 1, 2012


Dave Perry says that he "read all the way through the across clues until I got to 24 before I could write one in". In my case, I immediately wrote in 1a and then read all the way to 25a before I could write in another. I completed perhaps half of the puzzle in several sessions over the course of two days before calling in my electronic assistants. I finally threw in the towel with only 20d left to complete. I'm glad that I didn't spend any more time on this clue than I did as I would never have solved it in a month of Sundays.

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.

3a   After swapping starters, didn't bite sandwiches? (6,5)

In the surface reading, starters[5] is a British term for the first course of meal. However, in the cryptic analysis, it indicates the first letters of the two words forming the solution. The definition is "sandwiches" with the solution being PACKED LUNCH. The wordplay tells us that if we were to swap the first letters of these words, we would get LACKED PUNCH (didn't bite).

9a   Different people read about mounted jockeys (3,3,3)

The definition is "different people" (ODD MEN OUT). The wordplay is an anagram (about) of DO followed by an anagram (jockeys; used as a verb) of MOUNTED. I believe that do[10] is used in the sense of to work at, especially as a course of study or a profession ⇒ he is doing chemistry, what do you do for a living?. In Britain, to read[5] means to study (an academic subject) at a university I’m reading English at Cambridge or (with no object) he went to Manchester to read for a BA in Economics.

10a   County gets US money (5)

Bucks.[5] is the abbreviation for Buckinghamshire[5], a county of central England.

11a   The responsibility of those those crushed completely (4,2,3,6)

Down to the ground[10] is an informal British expression meaning completely or absolutely ⇒ it suited him down to the ground. Thus the definition is "completely" and the wordplay is "the responsibility of those crushed". In a meaning that I wasn't able to find in American dictionaries, down to[10] denotes the responsibility or fault of ⇒ this defeat was down to me and another way to describe "those crushed" would be "the ground" (just as those who are downtrodden would be called "the downtrodden").

12a   Lodge shares identical houses (6)

The definition is "lodge" and the hidden word indicator is "houses".

14a   Scoff sandwiches left in box in aircraft (8)

This clue includes a container within a container. The definition is "aircraft" and the wordplay is "scoff sandwiches left in box". The second "in" serves as a link word between the wordplay and definition. The wordplay parses as JEER (scoff) containing (sandwiches) {L (left) contained in (in) TIN (box)}.

17a   Excessively happy, as priest in attempt to turn boy (8)

Although I was unable to find it in any other dictionary, overglad[10] (meaning too glad) does appear in Collins English Dictionary — which does seem to be the dictionary of choice for the Sunday Times crossword.

18a   Call back company writer (6)

Hilaire Belloc[7] (1870 – 1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. In Britain, bell[5] is used informally as a verb meaning to telephone (someone)  no problem, I’ll bell her tomorrow?.

22a   Whip is not a thing you can hear (5)

A homophone clue in which I had never heard of either of the two words which sound like each other. A knout[10] is a stout whip used formerly in Russia as an instrument of punishment. In the dialect of Northern England, nowt[10] means nothing.

23a   Orderly fellow runs behind one? (9)

Chaprassi[10] is the name given to an office worker or doorman in India. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the word is spelled chaprasi[5] and means a junior office worker who carries messages ⇒ his uncle sent the office chaprasi to show him the way. The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition has it spelled chaprassi, chaprassy, or chuprassy[1] and lists the meaning as an office messenger, a household attendant, or an orderly.

The wordplay is CHAP (fellow) + R (runs; abbreviation found on a cricket scorecard) + ASS (behind) + I ([Roman numeral for] one).

The Brits objected to the use of the word ass — not for its vulgarity, but because it is an Americanism. The Brits would have said arse.

4d   Old farms, some of the best for cattle rearing (6)

A croft[7] is a fenced or enclosed area of land, usually small and arable with a crofter's dwelling thereon. A crofter is one who has tenure and use of the land, typically as a tenant farmer. The word croft is West Germanic in etymology, and is now most familiar in Scotland, most crofts being in the Highlands and Islands area. Elsewhere the expression is generally archaic.

6d   Pathetically mortal, a credible politician (7,8)

The Liberal Democrats[7] (Lib Dem) are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which was formed in 1988 by a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party. Following the 2010 general election, in which no party achieved an overall majority, the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with the Conservatives, with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg becoming Deputy Prime Minister and other Liberal Democrats taking up ministerial positions.

8d   Orthodox Jew can identify himself (5)

A Hasid[5] is (1) a member of a strictly orthodox Jewish sect in Palestine in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc which opposed Hellenizing influences on their faith and supported the Maccabean revolt or (2) an adherent of Hasidism[5], a mystical Jewish movement founded in Poland in the 18th century in reaction to the rigid academicism of rabbinical Judaism. The latter movement declined sharply in the 19th century, but fundamentalist communities developed from it, and Hasidism is still influential in Jewish life, particularly in Israel and New York.

16d   Wild as a murderer in escape heading north (8)

In the Bible, Cain[5] is the eldest son of Adam and Eve and murderer of his brother Abel.

19d   Reptile, one suitable for children, in good stories (6)

Here "suitable for children" is a code phrase for U. Under the British system of film classification[7] a U (for 'universal') rating indicates that a film contains "nothing unsuitable for children".

21d   Heads for the opera, so chooses an opera (5)

Tosca[7] is an opera by Giacomo Puccini that premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome in 1900.
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