Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013 - ST 4515

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4515
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4515]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, January 5, 2013
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, January 5, 2013 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 is blatantly obvious from the chart above, I didn't make much headway with this puzzle before issuing a call to the troops. Even with their help, I felt compelled to throw in the towel with three clues remaining unsolved. I had identified three words which fit the grid but I was so dissatisfied with them that I didn't even bother to write them in.

It was somewhat of a relief to see that these same three clues (4d, 9d, and 10a) happened to also be the last three clues for Dave Perry. I was thinking of TREAD (doormat) for 4d, COMMON (sense) for 9d, and OLDTIME (for no particular reason other than it fit) for 10a. I might actually have been tempted to go with the first two if the latter had not been so obviously implausible.

In addition to the three clues mentioned above, I had question marks against three others (25a, 26a, and 6d) which all appear on the list of clues for which Dave Perry had reservations. I did take some satisfaction in having correctly understood the wordplay in 13a (which involves a pair of Briticisms) — a clue for which Dave Perry comments "I must be missing something here. All I can see is two words meaning zero being used to clue a third, but there must be more to it than that, surely?". There is.

As a final note, if you read the comments at Times for the Times, you will see that not everyone found this puzzle difficult.

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   Dead  good (3,2,4,5)

10a   A yellow devil, one nursed by old lady (7)

Cadmium yellow[10] is a very vivid yellow containing cadmium sulphide.

11a   City record buried in volcanic hill (7)

Cologne[10] is an industrial city and river port in W Germany, in North Rhine-Westphalia on the Rhine.

12a   Mother’s reminder to change husbands (7,3)

13a   Love  means nothing (4)

Duck[10] (or ducks) is an informal British term meaning dear or darling used as a term of endearment or of general address. In cricket, a duck is a score of nothing by a batsman.

15a   They describe Scottish island’s backward hills (9)

Arran[10] is an island off the SW coast of Scotland, in the Firth of Clyde.

17a   Ski resort area nearly finished (5)

Aspen[7] is a ski resort community in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.

18a   Cast left in dump (5)

19a   Try to stop speaking at any time (9)

21a   Turn left and head for footpath that’s in front of hotel (4)

In radio communication, Golf[10] and Hotel[10] are code words that stands for the letters g and h respectively.

22a   Calm detectives entering flat, extremely serious (10)

In Britain, the detective division of a police force is known as the Criminal Investigation Department[10] or CID[10].

25a   Took back good little light with switch (7)

The definition has to be "with switch". Although any example that I can think of sounds ugly, I'll take a stab at constructing one. "The indicator lights, normally green, toggled become red" or "The indicator lights, normally green, with switch become red". I warned you it was ugly!

26a   See lips showing red (7)

Dave Perry asks (in his review at Times for the Times), "Is 'see' for C not an undeclared homophone?" To this, a reader responds "The 'c' in 'crimson' is probably not a homonym, but a footnote abbreviation for Latin 'confer'." However, the usual abbreviation is cf and I was unable to find confer abbreviated as c in any of the dictionaries that I consulted. The Chambers Dictionary gives the following as one meaning of confer:
confer vt ... to compare (obs; now only in use in the abbreviation cf)
By the way, I note that Dave Perry uses the term homophone and the responder uses homonym. This caused me to wonder "What exactly is the difference between these terms and which one is the correct?" A homophone[5] is each of two or more words having the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling such as new and knew. A homonym[5] is each of two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meanings and origins such as pole in the sense of ‘a tent pole’ and pole in the sense of ‘the pole of a magnet’. Based on this, I would vote for Dave Perry's choice.

While we're at it, how about a couple of more definitions to round out the list. A homograph[5] is each of two or more words spelled the same but not necessarily pronounced the same and having different meanings and origins, such as bow meaning ‘a knot to tie shoelaces’ and bow meaning ‘to bend the upper body as a sign of respect’. A heteronym[5] each of two or more words which are spelled identically but have different sounds and meanings, such as tear meaning ‘rip’ and tear meaning ‘liquid from the eye’.

27a   Production crew die near igneous rocks (5,9)


2d   Such people have very little in common (15)

3d   First love I trap in stages (10)

A rally[5] is a long-distance race for motor vehicles over public roads or rough terrain, typically in several stages. A gin[5] (or gin trap) is what a leghold (or foothold) trap[7] is known as in Britain.

4d   Simple thing, lifting a doormat (5)

There is a fair amount of discussion on Times for the Times as to whether "a doormat" means TIMID. Anax justifies the clue by saying "The def for TIMID is 'a doormat', so it's a fair substitution in a sentence - "He is timid" / "He is a doormat"." I think I am in the camp of the doubters on this one.

5d   Fresh as nice red rose (9)

6d   Shrewd Mayfair lady pulling plug (4)

The British postcode system[7] is somewhat akin to the Canadian postal code system, although the structure of the codes differ in the two systems. In Canada, codes are of the form A9A 9A9 (where A signifies a letter and 9 a digit), whereas in Britain, codes take the form AXYY 9AA (where A and 9 are defined as in the Canadian system, X can be either a letter or a digit, and Y can be either a letter, a digit, or not present). Postcodes[7] in the Mayfair district of London start with W1 [W1J for Mayfair (south) and W1K for Mayfair (north)]. As Dave Perry comments "I guess Mayfair for W1 is OK, although the postal district of W1 covers a much larger area than just Mayfair - Soho, Chinatown, Marylebone & Fitzrovia are all in there too."

Mayfair[7] (originally called The May Fair) is an area of central London, located within the City of Westminster. The district is now mainly commercial, with many former homes converted into offices for major corporations' headquarters, embassies and also hedge funds and real estate businesses. There remains a substantial quantity of residential property as well as some exclusive shopping and London's largest concentration of luxury hotels and many restaurants. Rents are among the highest in London and the world.

7d   Lecturer goes for surprise rave! (6,9)

In Britain, a Regius professor[10] is a person appointed by the Crown to a university chair founded by a royal patron. There is some discussion on Times for the Times concerning the appropriateness of using the term lecturer (a position low on the totem pole) for one of the most prestigious posts in academia.

8d   Leather satisfies people (7)

9d   One letter with another, in a sense (6)

14d   Nothing published — we did supply everywhere (3,3,4)

In Britain, fanny adams[5] (usually sweet fanny adams) is a slang term (often shortened to: f.a., FA, SFA) meaning absolutely nothing at all [a euphemism for fuck all].

16d   Vehicle may be unstable, so never load rubbish (9)

18d   Easy to digest? Not initially eaten by ambassador before a meal (4,3)

HE[2] is the abbreviation for His or Her Excellency, where Excellency[2] (usually His, Her or Your Excellency or Your or Their Excellencies) is a title of honour given to certain people of high rank, e.g. ambassadors.

The British distinguish between afternoon tea and high tea, although they both may be referred to simply as tea[10]. Afternoon tea[2] is a light afternoon meal at which tea, sandwiches and cakes are served. High tea[2] is a meal served in the late afternoon, usually consisting of a cooked dish, with bread, cakes and tea. Thus one would glean that high tea is a more substantial meal than afternoon tea and is typically served a bit later in the day.

20d   Run one pipe upwards (6)

Pipe[2] is to sing shrilly as a bird does.

23d   They store water through hydrokinetic action (5)

Hydrokinetics[2] is the branch of hydrodynamics which deals with fluids in motion — as compared with hydrostatics[2] the branch which deals with the behaviour and power of fluids which are not in motion.

24d   Amateur orchestra gets further (4)

LSO[2] is the the abbreviation for the London Symphony Orchestra.
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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