Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012 - ST 4501

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4501
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4501]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, September 29, 2012
This puzzle appears on the Sunday Puzzles pages in the Saturday, September 29, 2012 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.


I solved maybe half the clues on my own and the rest with some electronic assistance. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I was at a loss to explain the wordplay for 11a without Dave Perry's guidance.

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   Carp or grouse? Both (4)

I concur with Dave Perry's assessment of this clue.

4a   Deep thoughtfulness in report by former PM (5,5)

Among the first British Prime Ministers with five-letter surnames to come to mind were John Major[7] and Tony Blair[7]. I needed some electronic assistance to recall Gordon Brown[7], who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010.

The phrase in a brown study[5] means absorbed in one’s thoughts [apparently from brown in the sense 'gloomy'].

11a   What’s essential to making learners play? (4,4)

As my mother used to say, the solution is "hiding in plain sight".

13a   Dutch painter seen around Netherlands Antilles barely (6)

Sir Peter Lely[7] (1618 – 1680) was a painter of Dutch origin, whose career was nearly all spent in England, where he became the dominant portrait painter to the court.

It is not the International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code[7] (NA) for the Netherlands Antilles that we need today, but the Internet country code Top Level Domain[7] (.an). By the way, the ccTLD .na is used by Namibia (whose IVR is NAM).

Dave Perry's mention of "ISO country codes" refers to ISO 3166 (and, more specifically, to ISO 3166-1 alpha-2[7]). With a few exceptions, a country's Internet ccTLD is the same as its ISO 3166 two-letter country code. One notable exception is the United Kingdom, whose ccTLD is .uk while its ISO 3166 two-letter country code is GB.

The Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was dissolved on 10 October 2010. After dissolution, the "BES Islands" of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba became special municipalities of the Netherlands proper, while CuraƧao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along the lines of Aruba, which separated from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986.[7] [read more ...]

The two-letter country code for the Netherlands Antilles (AN) was deleted from ISO 3166-1 in December 2010 but is reserved for a period of five years to allow users to transition to the new codes assigned to the constituent elements of the former country which have replaced it.

17a   Litter and bitter in sound (4)

In Britain, bitter[5] is beer that is strongly flavoured with hops and has a bitter taste ⇒ a pint of bitter.

The definition for litter contained in British dictionaries seems to vary somewhat from that found in American dictionaries. For instance, Collins English Dictionary defines litter[4] as a means of conveying people, especially sick or wounded people, consisting of a light bed or seat held between parallel sticks. The American Heritage Dictionary, on the other hand, says that a litter[3] is a flat supporting framework, such as a piece of canvas stretched between parallel shafts, for carrying a disabled or dead person; or, in other words, a stretcher. The dictionaries do agree on what a bier[3,4] is — a platform or stand on which a corpse or a coffin containing a corpse rests before burial.

18a   Stand in Tube having been jostling with Tutsis (10)

The Tube is (a) a British trademark for the underground railway system in London, England ⇒ a cross-London trek on the Tube or (b) a train running on the TubeI caught the tube home.

20a   Sort of boasting heartlessly in disorderly house (6)

Bagnio[5] is an archaic name for a brothel.

"Heartlessly" directs us to remove an unspecified number of letters from the middle of the word BOASTING. If the fodder contains an even number of letters (as is the case with "boasting"), one must remove an even number of letters. If the fodder were to contain an odd number of letters, one would remove an odd number of letters. The string remaining after the removal process always contains an even number of letters — half of which preceded the letters removed from the fodder and half of which followed them. Thus today we remove the ST from the middle of BOASTING and are left with BOA + ING.

"Sort of" is an anagram indicator directing us to rearrange (sort) the letters remaining after completing the removal process described above. Thus we rearrange the letters BOAING to get BAGNIO.

23a   Floor tiler alongside one group of learned people (8)

The wordplay is an anagram (floor) of TILER + AT (alongside; as in "Look for us at (alongside) the canal.") + I ([Roman numeral for] one).

For cryptic purposes, floor[5] serves as an anagram indicator which I believe is based on it being a verb meaning to baffle (confuse or mix up).

24a   Man’s behind transport for people who are late (6)

As Dave Perry points out, this is two puzzles in a row from Tim Moorey in which the word arse has made an appearance. Arse[6] is the British spelling for ass[5], in the sense of a person’s buttocks or anus. I was rather surprised to see it characterized as a "British spelling" rather than  a "British word". However, taking into consideration the British pronunciation (which would be sort of like "ahse"), it definitely sounds quite similar to the North American pronunciation of "ass" and not at all like the North American pronunciation of "arse" (which always strikes me as sounding especially vulgar). In Britain, the term certainly seems to be considered less vulgar than is the case in North America. Collins English Dictionary has the following to say on this subject:
arse[4] ... Usage: Dating back at least a thousand years, and taboo till around the middle of the 20th century, this venerable "Anglo-Saxon" word now seems unlikely to cause offence in all but the most formal contexts. Its acceptability has possibly been helped by such useful verb formations as "to arse about" and "I can't be arsed".
27a   Oath from regulars in Red Guard (4)

Egad[5] is an archaic exclamation expressing surprise, anger, or affirmation.

2d   Source of milk coming from 3 directions (3)

I suppose it could be considered "three cardinal compass points", but would more accurately be described as two with one repeated.

4d   … with lover going round in strapless top (7)

The wordplay is BEAU (lover) containing (going round) AND (with). The setter employs an inverted sentence structure without punctuation which might have been written "with; lover going round" had he not wished to create a bit of misdirection.

A bandeau[5] is a woman’s strapless top formed from a band of fabric fitting around the bust ⇒ a bandeau bikini top.

5d   What could be connected with bar and, I’m sad, hundreds being lost? (3-5,7)

The wordplay is an anagram (what could be) of {[C]ONNE[C]TED + (with) BAR + (and) IM + SAD with the two Cs (C being the Roman numeral for one hundred) deleted (being lost)}.

7d   Will give agreement time after big game (9)

A Test (short for Test match)[5] is an international cricket or rugby match, typically one of a series, played between teams representing two different countries ⇒ the Test match between Pakistan and the West Indies.

8d   Replicated ’ ousing for rabbits? Nonsense! (6,5)

In Britain, double Dutch[5] is slang for language that is impossible to understand; or, in other words, gibberish ⇒ instructions written in double Dutch. This likely is gibberish to most North Americans, who will understand double dutch[3] (or double Dutch) to be a game of jump rope in which players jump over two ropes swung in a crisscross formation by two turners.

18d   Put up with a corporation (7)

A corporation[3,4] is a humorous term for a large paunch or pot belly.

19d   Little people put appeal up around church (7)

Titch[5] is an informal British term for a small person ⇒ the titch of the class. "It"[9] is a slang term for sex appeal. The expression, although having appeared in the writing of Rudyard Kipling as early as 1904, appears to have come into widespread use as a result of the 1927 film It[7] starring Clara Bow (who became known as the 'It girl'[7]).

25d   The main element of research (3)

The main[5] is an archaic or literary term for the open ocean.
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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