Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday TimesST 4466
Date of Publication in The Sunday TimesSunday, January 1, 2012
Link to Full ReviewTimes for the Times [ST 4466]
Times for the Times Review Written ByDave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto StarSaturday, January 21, 2012
NotesThe Ottawa Citizen has skipped ST 4465 which was published in The Sunday Times online edition on December 25, 2011.
This puzzle seemed to be a bit less difficult than usual as I was able to complete it without the use of any electronic aids.
Note: As announced by Peter Biddlecombe, the Sunday Times Puzzles Editor, in a message posted to Times for the Times on December 20, 2011, The Sunday Times published an online-only edition on Christmas Day 2011 which included ST 4465. This puzzle, presumably with an appropriate Christmas theme, has been excluded from syndication and no puzzle has been substituted. As a result, the syndicated puzzles will now be appearing in the Ottawa Citizen four weeks after they have been published in Britain (rather than five weeks as was the case previously).
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 Date girl at Uni - funny, earthy, with outstanding degree (7,3,5)
In cryptic crosswords, as is also apparently the case in Britain, uni is a common short form for university
9a Imagine foodie dropping starter without teaspoon (7)
I spent a bit of time in trying to make PRESUME fit here. It did match the two checking letters that I had managed to identify at the time. Of course, there was no way to make the wordplay work and it certainly handicapped me on 2d. Like Dave Perry, I was surprised to see t used as the abbreviation for teaspoon. I did check to see if it might be in The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition and found that it is not.
Note: However, as Peter Biddlecombe (the Sunday Times Puzzles Editor) comments at Times for the Times, it is in Collins (although seemingly not in the online version): "t for teaspoon was a similar surprise but seems to come from a system where “tablespoon” is represented by T".17a Squash taught as something to get you fit (5-2)
In his review, Dave Perry concludes that "'taught' must be UP" but isn't entirely sure why that should be the case. I wondered if it might be related somehow to the British usage of up to mean at or to a university, especially Oxford or Cambridge • they were up at Cambridge about the same time. The rationale would be that if you are at university, presumably you are being taught.
Note: I am apparently mistaken. On the subject of UP meaning "taught", Peter Biddlecombe (the Sunday Times Puzzles Editor) comments at Times for the Times: "I was a bit surprised by this when editing but found that Collins has “taught”, followed by the example well up in Physics." [see up]19a Forgive prisoner, having been cheated (7)
Do is British slang meaning to swindle • a thousand pounds for one set of photos—Jacqui had been done.
5d One staggering person clearing weeds goes outside texting "be back later" (7)
AFAIK*, BBL is text-speak for "be back later" (LOL**).
[*as far as I know / **laughing out loud]6d He casts Potter character on Isle (9)
Focus on Beatrix Potter (not Harry).
The Isle of Man is an island in the Irish Sea which is a British Crown dependency having home rule, with its own legislature (the Tynwald) and judicial system; population 82,000 (est. 2009); capital, Douglas. The island was part of the Norse kingdom of the Hebrides in the Middle Ages, passing into Scottish hands in 1266 for a time, until the English gained control in the early 15th century. Its ancient language, Manx, is still occasionally used for ceremonial purposes.
14d Parish church's front half moved stroller (9)
In the UK, a pushchair is a folding chair on wheels, in which a baby or young child can be pushed along. According to Oxford Dictionaries, stroller is the North American name for this item.
16d Ordering a new flower (3,6)
In crosswordese, a flower is often a river (something that flows). In this case - continuing the North American theme - it is the Rio Grande, a river which rises in the Rocky Mountains of SW Colorado and flows 3,030 km (1,880 miles) generally south-eastwards to the Gulf of Mexico, forming the US-Mexico frontier from El Paso to the sea.
18d Elevated land with gold dish on top (7)
Au is the symbol for the chemical element gold.
Key to Reference Sources:Signing off for this week - Falcon
 - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
 - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
 - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
 - TheFreeDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
 - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
 - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
 - Wikipedia
 - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
 - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)