Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012 - ST 4505

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4505
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4505]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, October 20, 2012 [unconfirmed]
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, October 27, 2012
This puzzle appears on the Sunday Puzzles pages in the Saturday, October 27, 2012 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.

The Date of Publication in the Toronto Star is unconfirmed as there is no entry for this date on the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum blog.


Compared to the rather difficult challenges that we have encountered in recent weeks, today's offering is a welcome respite. I was able to solve approximately half the clues unaided (these being heavily concentrated on the left hand side of the puzzle) but needed to resort to electronic aids in order to progress on the remaining clues.

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   It may provide drink for artist in restaurant (6)

A Royal Academician (abbreviation RA[5]) is a member of the Royal Academy of the Arts[5], an institution established in London in 1768, whose purpose is to cultivate painting, sculpture, and architecture in Britain.

5a   Flop down on one? (6)

Question marks — and exclamation points — are usually a flag that something a bit out of the ordinary is taking place in the clue. In this double definition, the two definitions are "flop" and "down on one?" where the second definition is to be interpreted as 'an example of something on which down could be found'. Down is found on birds, and a turkey is an example of a bird (as well as being a theatrical flop).

10a   A strange type of lily (4)

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

12a   Number deviates wildly (8)

Here number is used in the whimsical cryptic crossword sense of something that induces numbness.

16a   Spots great serve around end of Wimbledon (4)

Wimbledon[7] is a district in South West London, England. It is home to the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and New Wimbledon Theatre, and contains Wimbledon Common, one of the largest areas of common land in London.

18a   Function with German relish (4)

Despite holding a degree in Mathematics, it took me forever to recognize what kind of function was required here.

19a   Top barrister almost takes Hector around old French province (8)

The definition is "old French province" and the wordplay is a reversal (around) of {SIL [SILK (top barrister) with the final letter deleted (almost)] containing (takes) ANNOY (hector)}.

Lyonnais[10] is a former province of east central France, on the Rivers Rhône and Saône. This area is now occupied by the present-day departments of Rhône and Loire.

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.
21a   Liking for Cage melody (8)

John Cage[7] (1912 – 1992) was an American composer, music theorist, writer, and artist. Cage is perhaps best known for his 1952 composition 4′33″, which is performed in the absence of deliberate sound; musicians who present the work do nothing aside from their presence for the duration specified by the title. The content of the composition is not "four minutes and 33 seconds of silence," as is sometimes assumed, but rather the sounds of the environment heard by the audience during performance.

27a   Make formal offer to nurse? (6)

I stand to be corrected, but my interpretation is that this clue is a cryptic definition which encompasses within it a double definition. My rationale is that the two definitions must be "make formal offer" (verb) and "nurse" (noun). I don't think that the word "to" can be considered to be part of the first definition and it is definitely not part of the second definition — making it superfluous to the double definition. The setter solves his dilemma of how to incorporate the word "to" (required by the surface reading) by phrasing the clue as a cryptic definition (as indicated by the question mark).

28a   Soldier, say, owing money made long speech (6)

My first choice for a solution was RANTED (made long speech) and my second choice was RANKER (soldier). However, I could not figure out how to make the wordplay work for either option.

As Dave Perry notes, the clue contains "a cheeky little bit of wordplay that crops up from time to time" — and one which always seems to elude me. Since another term for "owing money" is to be "in the red", we have ANT (soldier) contained in (in) RED giving us RANTED. The wording "soldier, say" indicates that a soldier is an example of the term that we need. A soldier[5] is a wingless caste of ant or termite with a large specially modified head and jaws, involved chiefly in defence.

2d   Trouser pocket (11)

In British slang, trouser[5] is a synonym for pocket, meaning to receive or take (something, especially money) for oneself.

4d   Part of hospital gets drunk, up for port (8)

The most frequently visited part of the Crosswordland hospital would certainly seem to be the ear, nose and throat (ENT[5]) department.

An entrepôt[10] is a trading centre or port at a geographically convenient location, at which goods are imported and re-exported without incurring liability for duty.

6d   New radiator developed as a means of moving freight (4,5)

Road train is an Australian term for a line of linked trailers pulled by a truck, used for transporting stock, etc.
Try passing this sucker!
A road train (or roadtrain)[7] is a trucking concept used in remote areas of Argentina, Australia, Mexico, the United States and Canada to move freight efficiently. The term "road train" is most often used in Australia. In the U.S. and Canada the terms "triples," "turnpike doubles" and "Rocky Mountain doubles" are commonly used for longer combination vehicles (LCVs). A road train consists of a relatively conventional tractor unit, but instead of pulling one trailer or semi-trailer, a road train pulls two or more of them.
8d   Harry set to call in on Draco, perhaps (13)

For the benefit of the few of you — who like myself — have never read J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, Draco Malfoy[7] is a fictional character and a major antagonist in this series. He is a Slytherin student in Harry Potter's year. He is frequently accompanied by his two accomplices, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, who act as henchmen. He is portrayed as a spoiled, cowardly bully who uses magic to get what he wants, often by force.

13d   Dressing Royal in vintage tie if going out (11)

Regina[5] (Latin for queen) or Rex[5] (Latin for king) — either of which is abbreviated as R[5] — is part of the official title of a monarch, now used chiefly in documents, legal proceedings, and inscriptions on coins. It may be used following a name (e.g. Elizabetha Regina, or ER[5], for Queen Elizabeth; Georgius Rex, or GR[5], for King George) or in the titles of lawsuits, e.g. Regina v. Jones: the Crown versus Jones [which would often be written simply as R. vs Jones].

17d   Messenger takes in end of Hamlet for Rosenkrantz, say (8)

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern[7] are characters in William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. They are courtiers who are sent by the king to spy on Hamlet, using their claimed friendship with him to gain his confidence.

25d   Alcohol can make you dim when put under pressure (3)

To get this clue, one must put just the right twist on the (intentionally) ambiguous wording. The phrase "can make you dim" does not mean 'can make the reader become dim' (which is the natural interpretation) but rather 'can produce for you the result dim'. The clue could be stated a bit more verbosely — and less ambiguously — as "Alcohol [that] can make dim [for] you when put under pressure". That is, should you choose to place ALE (an example of alcohol) under P (the abbreviation for pressure) — this being a down clue — the result would be PALE (dim).
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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