Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012 - ST 4509

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4509
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4509]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Falcon's Experience
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Times for the Times
This puzzle appears on the Sunday Puzzles pages in the Saturday, November 25, 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.


As a glance at the chart above will reveal, I had not made much headway on solving this puzzle when I ordered my electronic reinforcements into action today. I found the puzzle to be both very challenging and very enjoyable — and consequently there was a feeling of immense satisfaction and great accomplishment when it was completed.

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   Floor covering exchanged for sack cloth? (7)

The definition ("sack cloth") is cryptic (as indicated by the question mark). To defrock[10] is to deprive (a person in holy orders) of ecclesiastical status; i.e., to fire (or sack) a member of the clergy. The cloth[10] is another term for the clergy. The clue would seem to be a slight stretch given that the term "the cloth" means the clergy as a profession and not an individual clergyman. However, the setter has inserted a question mark which could be interpreted as an indication that the definition is not only cryptic, but also a little bit loose.

5a   “Blind” is not a word to say (7)

9a   Starts to show girl clothing for baby (5)

Sprog[5,10] is an informal and humorous British term which can mean (as a noun) a child or baby or (as a verb) to have a baby.

10a   In making 3000 from 1000, 1000 is shaky (9)

11a   Unfriendly person’s absurd rationale (9)

13a   Material written in testimony, longhand (5)

14a   Cause of sand moving around in Lord of the Rings (9,5)

Longshore drift[10] is the process whereby beach material is gradually shifted laterally as a result of waves meeting the shore at an oblique angle.

17a   A clan held tight wild animals they own? (8,6)

19a   I call on one Catholic to return (5)

20a   Those opening The Van Dyke Show will eat 16 set meals? (2,7)

The number 16 is a cross reference to clue 16 (16d as this is the only clue numbered 16 in today's puzzle). Insert the solution to clue 16d in place of the cross reference indicator to obtain the complete clue.

22a   Regularly issued arrest warrant, lacking initial restraint (9)

24a   A particular diet for one in front (5)

25a   Shock? Not half, having left us extra (7)

26a   Curiosity here — fictional computer guide (7)


1d   Trifling in amateur work, not very well (8)

2d   An MP’s power, given little in advance (7,8)

As a foreign minister is just one particular MP drawn from the ranks of the many who are elected to Parliament, one might have expected the clue to contain some indication that this is a definition by example (DBE).

3d   Sports car maker’s lead-free vehicle (5)

I initially fell for the trap, trying to find an auto manufacturer that I could remove PB from (Pb[5] being the symbol for the chemical element lead), leaving the name of a vehicle.

The Morgan Motor Company[7] is a British motor car manufacturer. Morgan is based in Malvern, Worcestershire and employs 163 people. Morgan produced 640 cars in 2007. All its cars are assembled by hand. The waiting list for a car is approximately one to two years, although it has been as high as ten years in the past.

Vehicle[10] is used in the sense of a medium for the expression, communication, or achievement of ideas, information, power, etc.

4d   In strip poker, being completely undressed leads to sex (3)

In this instance, I managed to decipher the wordplay but missed the definition. I knew that, in Britain, kit[5] means the clothing used for an activity such as a sport (i.e., what North Americans would call a uniform). However, I was not aware that the British refer to the identifying outfit worn by the members of a sports team while playing (i.e., uniform) as their strip the team’s away strip is a garish mix of red, white, and blue.

5d   Led, as a bird would in race (11)

6d   University bar near a free city (5,4)

7d   Bumpy or flatter things might conflict? (5,2,8)

8d   Queen of a country in revolution (6)

12d   Matt Newton’s new camping gear (3- 3,5)

15d   Round tours around welcoming hotel at Morecambe (9)

John Eric Bartholomew (1926 – 1984), known by his stage name Eric Morecambe[7], was an English comedian who together with Ernie Wise formed the award-winning double act Morecambe and Wise. The partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death of a heart attack in 1984. Eric took his stage name from his home town, the seaside resort of Morecambe.

16d   A child, almost completely offensive? (8)

Here I thought that child was being used as a special instance of person (just as foreign minister was used as a special instance of an MP in 2d). At least here, I said to myself, the setter has indicated the DBE with a question mark. However, Dave Perry points out that the wordplay is, in part, PER (a) + SON (child) — as in "the fee for the school trip is $5.00 a child".

18d   Failed flier is keeping wheels up half- way (6)

In Greek mythology, Icarus[7] was the son of Daedalus, who escaped from Crete using wings made by his father but was killed when he flew too near the sun and the wax attaching his wings melted.

21d   I refuse runs yet will run around (5)

The solution is how someone might emphatically express their refusal to do something.

23d   Tiller must not feature hard wood (3)

H[5] is the abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead a 2H pencil.
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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