Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012 - ST 4511

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4511
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4511]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, December 8, 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 8, 2012 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.


Perhaps I am having an off day, but this puzzle severely tried my 1a. I usually find some redeeming quality about any puzzle but I found that this one really did not provide much enjoyment. What with obscure words (such as the solution to 14a) and wordplay that I couldn't fathom, it was a hard struggle to try and reach the finish line — and, in the end, I collapsed just short of it.

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   Meat spread contains nice minced game (8)

In Britain, patience[5] is any of various forms of card game for one player, the object of which is to use up all one’s cards by forming particular arrangements and sequences. The North American name for this game is solitaire[5]. In Britain, solitaire[5] is a game for one player played by removing pegs one at a time from a board by jumping others over them from adjacent holes, the object being to be left with only one peg.

5a   Returning to endlessly taunt and scold somebody (6)

From the latter two checking letters, it seemed that the solution must be either BIGWIG or EARWIG, but,  try as I might, I could make no case for either.

Wig[5] is an informal and dated British term meaning to rebuke (someone) severely I had often occasion to wig him for getting drunk.

10a/11a   Dray- horses like to roam around scenic area (9,5)

The Yorkshire Dales[7] (also known as simply The Dales) is an upland area of Northern England dissected by numerous valleys. Most of the area falls within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, created in 1954 and now one of the fifteen National parks of Britain.

12a   Batting? Get help with spin if against them! (5)

In cricket, in[5] signifies batting ⇒ which side is in?. The wordplay is IN (batting) + (get) a reversal (with spin) of AID (help). Although I have underlined the word "them" as being the definition, this word would really seem to be inadequate on its own to serve as a definition. Therefore, I would think that the entire clue must provide the definition. thereby making this a type of all-in-one clue known as wordplay intertwined with definition (WIWD).

13a   Academic in favour of encasing ship in iron and gold (9)

As is typically the case in cryptic crosswords, the ship referred to in the clue turns out to be a steamship (abbreviation SS[5]).

The symbol for the chemical element iron is Fe[5]. Or[5] is gold or yellow, as a heraldic tincture. In heraldry, a tincture[5] is any of the conventional colours (including the metals and stains, and often the furs) used in coats of arms.

14a   Virtually complete time machine — order for a many- legged creature (10)

The TARDIS[7] (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) is a time machine and spacecraft in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who and its associated spin-offs. A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and any place in the universe. The interior of a TARDIS is much larger than its exterior, which can blend in with its surroundings using the ship's "chameleon circuit". In the series, the central character (known simply as the Doctor) pilots an unreliable, obsolete TT Type 40, Mark 3 TARDIS. Its chameleon circuit is faulty, leaving it stuck in the shape of a 1960s-style London police box after a visit to London in 1963.

A tardigrade[7] (commonly known as waterbear or moss piglet) is a small, water-dwelling, segmented animal with eight legs.

17a   Extra  roomy (4)

In cricket, an extra[5] is a run scored other than from a hit with the bat, credited to the batting side rather than to a batsman. A wide[5] is a ball that is judged to be too wide of the stumps for the batsman to play, for which an extra is awarded to the batting side.

19a   Spot mole on middle of green (4)

20a   Harsh American requiring strict attention to the rules (10)

22a   Maybe last person to run chilly port has staff for a long time? (9)

I did manage to arrive at the correct solution — once I had sufficient checking letters. Nevertheless, I had absolutely no idea with regard to working of the wordplay.

Anchorage[5] is the largest city in the U.S. state of Alaska.

24a   Behind back of loo there’s grim pong (5)

Pong[5] is British slang which, as a noun, denotes a strong, unpleasant smell corked wine has a powerful pong and, as a verb, means to smell strongly and unpleasantly the place just pongs of dirty clothes.

26a   Clubs are things for an evening out (5)

The second definition here ("things for an evening out") is cryptic and means 'things for taking the wrinkles out (of clothing, for instance)'.

27a   Explain salute with weapon to some soldiers at the front (9)

Present arms[5] means to hold a rifle vertically in front of the body as a salute. The Corps of Royal Engineers (RE)[5] is the field engineering and construction corps of the British army.

28a   Write note on old healthy drink (6)

Today, we get the common North American spelling ti which, for the Brits, would likely be a variation from the more common spelling in Britain, te[5]. Sane[5] has the obsolete or archaic meaning of healthy.

29a   Priest carries coffee and then small dishes (8)


1d   Masseur happiest when relaxing with history (15)

2d   After time, one wine’s stale (5)

3d   Extremely euphoric and still over the moon (8)

4d   Primate takes one elected person beneath holy building (5)

6d   Where bat is put to get discussed? Yes (6)

This is yet another instance in which I got the correct solution without understanding why (at least, until I had read Dave Perry's review).

7d   Flags on top of Headingley anger county (9)

Headingley[7] is a suburb of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. Its major claim to fame would appear to be as the location of Headingley Stadium[7], home of home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, rugby league team Leeds Rhinos and rugby union team Leeds Carnegie (formerly known as Leeds Tykes). Wiltshire (abbreviation Wilts.)[5] is a county of southern England.

8d   When touring station register complaint (15)

I have seen "touring" (bases on the meaning 'going around') used as a containment indicator. However, today's setter chooses to use it as an anagram indicator, presumably based on "touring" meaning 'moving around'.

9d   Instrument Queen used on an album (8)

By tradition, the ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs use initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus the cipher of Queen Elizabeth is ER[5] — from the Latin Elizabetha Regina.

15d   Greedy au pair with cos salad (9)

A salad typically being a mixture of ingredients, and thus constituting an anagram indicator.

16d   She got up to get betrothed right away! (8)

18d   Cheeky bathers here off Hampshire? (8)

The Solent[7] is a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the county of Hampshire on the mainland of England. Thus someone swimming off Hampshire would find themselves "in Solent".

21d   Heart of French fish extracted for toxin (6)

The French word for fish is poisson[10].

23d   North- eastern China is a hilly part of asia (5)

Nepal[7] is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India.

In Britain, china[5] is an informal term for a friend (or, as the Brits would say, a mate[5]). This comes from Cockney rhyming slang, where china is the shortened form of china plate which rhymes with 'mate'.

25d   Without cycle training Seb Coe would get chubby (5)

Sebastian Coe[7], often known as Seb Coe, is a British former athlete and politician. As a middle-distance runner, Coe won four Olympic medals, including the 1500 metres gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984. Following his retirement from athletics, he was a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party from 1992–97, and became a Life Peer in 2000. He headed the successful London bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and became chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games. He is currently a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations as well as chairman of the British Olympic Association.
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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