Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012 - ST 4510

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4510
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4510]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, December 1, 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, December 1, 2012 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.


I got off to a slow start but made steady progress once I had established a toehold. However, the last half dozen clues proved to be extremely stubborn and mounted a vigorous challenge that gave me a strenuous workout — even with the aid of my electronic helpers. I could get nowhere against 19a — although it does not seem so daunting in hindsight.

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   Close relative holding small, prepared fur (8)

I concluded that the definition is "prepared fur" based on sealskin[10] being the skin or pelt of a fur seal, especially when dressed with the outer hair removed and the underfur dyed dark brown.

5a   Troublesome kid has teaspoonful by mistake (6)

Collins English Dictionary tells us that t.[10] is the abbreviation for teaspoon(ful). Let's hope no cook mistakes it for ton!

10a   A barrier put around unfinished tomb in compound (9)

11a   Cycle with a couple on island such as this (5)

Capri[10] is an island off W Italy, in the Bay of Naples that has been a resort since Roman times. Technically, the definition is "this" which, of course, is a demonstrative pronoun referring back to "island". This device allows "island" to effectively perform double duty (serving as part of the word play as well as being the definition) without actually doing so.

12a   Part of chair back left in row (5)

13a   Opener coming from Irish city second team (9)

Cork[10] is a city and port in S Republic of Ireland, county town of County Cork, at the mouth of the River Lee.

14a   Each walking purposefully in part of Yorkshire (4,6)

East Riding of Yorkshire[10] is a county of NE England, a historical division of Yorkshire on the North Sea and the Humber estuary.

17a   Fly recklessly leaving Lord behind (4)

In Britain, fly[5] is an informal term meaning knowing and clever she’s fly enough not to get tricked out of it.

19a   Mean adult from the east giving present? No (4)

I guess I developed a severe mental block on this clue as I failed to decipher it even with the help of all the electronic assistance that I could muster. The definition is "present? No" which, of course, denotes the opposite of present — or, in other words, absent.

20a   Ghastliest works? Burns (4,6)

22a   What some alcohol reformers might do in grounds (9)

Note that a superfluous S has sneaked into the solution given in Dave Perry's review. One's position on an issue might be based on specific grounds or a particular rationale.

24a   Course, one that’s not English (5)

Ascot Racecourse[7] is a famous English racecourse, located in the small town of Ascot, Berkshire, used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 9 of the UK's 32 annual Group 1 races. The course is closely associated with the British Royal Family, being approximately six miles from Windsor Castle.

"One that's not English" might be a Canadian, or a Dane ... or "a Scot".

26a   Stones hit making a comeback on disc (5)

27a   Boldness going wrong in Democrat party (7- 2)

28a   Given recurrent idea in southern sea (6)

From a British standpoint, "the Med" (Mediterranean) would be considered a "southern sea". Unfortunately, I spent virtually all of my time searching for a large body of water in the Southern Hemisphere.

29a   Final courses, flipping tense (8)

In the surface reading, flipping[5] is an informal British expression used for emphasis or to express mild annoyance (i) are you out of your flipping mind?; (ii) [as submodifier] it’s flipping cold today.


1d   Where to find sad train-spotter getting lost? (8,7)

This is a kind of semi all-in-one (semi &lit.) clue that Scchua, one of my fellow bloggers on Big Dave's Crossword Blog, likes to describe as 'wordplay intertwined with definition' (WIWD). The entire clue serves as the definition with a portion of the clue ("sad train-spotter getting lost") constituting the wordplay — an anagram (getting lost) of SAD TRAINSPOTTER.

In Britain, a trainspotter[5] is a person who collects train or locomotive numbers as a hobby. The term is also used, often in a derogatory fashion, for a person who obsessively studies the minutiae of any minority interest or specialized hobby the idea is to make the music really really collectable so the trainspotters will buy it in their pathetic thousands.

Here the setter appears to have based his spelling of "train-spotter"[2] on Chambers (which spells it with a hyphen). Oxford spells it as a single word[5], while Collins has it as either a single word or two separate words (without a hyphen)[10].

London Stansted Airport[7] is a passenger airport located at Stansted Mountfitchet in the local government district of Uttlesford in Essex, 48 km (30 mi) northeast of Central London. Stansted is a hub for a number of major European low-cost carriers, being the largest base for low-cost giant Ryanair with over 100 destinations served by the airline. In 2011, it was the fourth busiest airport in the United Kingdom after Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

The clue indicates that a trainspotter might be rather unhappy should he get lost and find himself at Stansted Airport. However, all might not be lost. He could seemingly engage in his pastime at the Stansted Airport railway station[7].

2d   Theatre supporter, a name back stage (5)

3d   Leading act is surprise on vessel (4,4)

Star turn is a British name for the person or performance that is the most interesting or exciting[10] or the person or act that gives the most heralded or impressive performance in a programme[5] (i) he was stopped by the arrival on stage of the star turn; (ii) she was the star turn of the night.

4d   Tax- efficient investment on account for Sarah’s son (5)

In the Bible, Isaac[5] is a Hebrew patriarch, son of Abraham and Sarah and father of Jacob and Esau. ISA[10] is an acronym for individual savings account: a tax-free savings scheme introduced in Britain in 1999.

6d   Cop out? Former case of sabotage keeps copper in (6)

Cu[5] is the symbol for the chemical element copper.

7d   Recording left in Niger accidentally (9)

8d   It’s a slow train? Ay, change for Charing Cross and Queen Street perhaps (7,8)

Charing Cross railway station[7], also known as London Charing Cross, is a central London railway terminus in the City of Westminster, England. It is the fifth busiest rail terminal in London.

Glasgow Queen Street[7] is a railway station in Glasgow, Scotland, the smaller of the city's two main line railway termini and the third-busiest station in Scotland. Cardiff Queen Street railway station[7] in Cardiff, Wales is the second busiest railway station in Wales.

9d   One finally invested in bank that’s lost sense of direction (8)

Barings Bank[7] (1762 to 1995) was the oldest merchant bank in London, founded and owned by the German-origined Baring family. The bank collapsed in 1995 after one of the bank's employees, Nick Leeson, lost £827 million ($1.3 billion) due to speculative investing, primarily in futures contracts, at the bank's Singapore office.

Thus, the phrase "bank that's lost" could be interpreted in either of two fashions. It might mean a 'bank that has lost [money] — big time!' or a 'bank that is lost (no longer exists)'.

15d   Type of broadcast that doesn’t get much of a greeting? (5,4)

16d   Fan had rides in blimps (8)

In Britain, a blimp[10] (or Colonel Blimp) is a person, especially a military officer, who is stupidly complacent and reactionary. The term is based on a character created by Sir David Low (1891–1963), New Zealand-born British political cartoonist. In North America, a blimp[5] is a fat person I could work out four hours a day and still end up a blimp. Diehard[5] is noun (often used as a modifier) that refers to a person who strongly opposes change or who continues to support something in spite of opposition (i) my stepfather was a diehard Republican; (ii)a diehard Yankees fan.

18d   Jump into suits? Not for these cinemas (8)

I must admit that I totally overlooked the containment type wordplay in this clue. Instead, I supposed that it was merely a cryptic definition alluding to the fact that one would not bother putting on a suit before going to such a place of entertainment. I think this could be considered another wordplay intertwined with definition type clue where the entire clue serves as a cryptic definition and a portion of the clue constitutes the wordplay. Fleapit[5] is an informal British term for a dingy, dirty place, especially a run-down cinema.

21d   Sweet American appearing in some cast (6)

In Britain, sweet[5] is another name for pudding or dessert.

23d   Look around outskirts of Rimini for a top spot (5)

25d   Smoke fish, one caught up in leading position (5)

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c[5] indicates caught (by) ME Waugh c Lara b Walsh 19.
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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