Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday, February 10, 2013 — ST 4520

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4520
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4520]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, February 9, 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, February 9, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.


In light of Dave Perry's admission that he "found this one quite hard-going", my performance may not look so shabby after all. With the exception of Allen Ginsberg, the other unknowns enumerated by him were similarly strange to me (although I did recognize maillot from French — which was not very helpful).

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   One with cat and fish is a cheeky upstart (14)

Cat[5] is short for cat-o'-nine-tails[5], a rope whip with nine knotted cords, formerly used (especially at sea) to flog offenders.

10a   It’s a fortune to post tights (7)

In North America, a maillot[3,5] is a woman's one-piece swimsuit usually cut high on the leg. It can also mean a pair of tights, especially as worn by ballet dancers and circus artistes.

11a   Ragged Dick’s writer starts to ink adventure in the country (7)

Ragged Dick; or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks[7] is a coming-of-age story by Horatio Alger, Jr. serialized in Student and Schoolmate in 1867, and released as a full length novel in May 1868. It was the first volume in the six volume Ragged Dick Series, and became Alger's all-time bestseller.

12a   Being loaded Bertie and Ian get drunk (9)

13a   Sacks, say, for endless waffle (5)

Jonathan Sacks[7] is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. As the spiritual head of the United Synagogue, the largest synagogue body in the UK, he is the Chief Rabbi of the British Orthodox synagogues, but he is not a religious authority for the Federation of Synagogues or the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations or the other movements, Masorti, Reform and Liberal Judaism.

Whereas, in North America, waffle[5] means to fail to make up one’s mind Joseph had been waffling over where to go, in Britain, it means to speak or write at length in a vague or trivial manner he waffled on about his problems.

In the UK, rabbit[5] means to talk at length, especially about trivial matters stop rabbiting on, will you, and go to bed!.

14a   Mother keeping son in control (6)

Mater[5] [the Latin word for mother] is a dated and informal British term for mother ⇒ the mater has kept on the house in London.

15a   Poet has drinks with tons of ice (8)

Allen Ginsberg[7] (1926 – 1997) was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression.

18a   Steal  a work of modern art (8)

Abstract can mean (1) to remove without permission; filch[3] or (2) euphemistically, to steal[4].

20a   Take rubbish to a cave (6)

Grot[5] is British slang for something unpleasant, dirty, or of poor quality they watch endless grot on telly [television].

23a   Mob gathered round centre of choky to see child murderer (5)

Choky[5] is a variant spelling of chokey[5], dated British slang for prison ⇒ they sent old Polgar to the chokey then?.

Herod the Great[5] (circa 74 – 4 BC), was a ruler of ancient Palestine (37 – 4 BC). According to the New Testament, Jesus was born during his reign, and he ordered the massacre of the innocents (Matt. 2:16).

25a   Start to regret argument with bouncer in atomic plant (9)

The abbreviation for atomic is at.[10] Arrowroot[10] a white-flowered West Indian plant, Maranta arundinacea, whose rhizomes yield an easily digestible starch.

26a   Nonsense muttered by 4? (7)

Here the numeral "4" is a cross-reference indicator signifying that the solution to clue 4d must be inserted in its place to complete the clue.

In North America, rhubarb[5] denotes a heated dispute rhubarbs often broke out among these less than professional players. However, in Britain, it means (1) in general, nonsense ⇒ it was all rhubarb, about me, about her daughter, about art or (2) in particular, the noise made by a group of actors to give the impression of indistinct background conversation, especially by the random repetition of the word ‘rhubarb’.

27a   Made to suffer in wicked college (7)

Wicked[10] is used in the slang sense of very good [perhaps as a wicked serve in tennis]. Ace[10], as an adjective, means superb or excellent.

28a   Our MP and a lass (with gear that’s kinky) found in dodgy establishment (7,7)

In systems of parliamentary government, such as Britain and Canada, an elected representative is known as a Member of Parliament (or MP[5] for short).


2d   Will made her a richer woman (7)

3d   7 or shivering arctic dweller (5,4)

Similar to 26a, the numeral "7" is a cross-reference indicator signifying that the solution to clue 7d must be inserted in its place to complete the clue.

4d   What a bowler doesn’t want to give  parts of a crowd (6)

The first part of the clue refers to cricket, where 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. An extra[7] may arise from mistakes, poor play or illegal actions by the bowler or a fielder. 

The second part of the clue refers to the theatre.

5d   Fuel found in dirt round well (5,3)

6d   Time spent at Balmoral with Her Majesty — it can be boring (5)

Balmoral Castle[7], a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family since 1852, when it was purchased by Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert. It remains the private property of the monarch, and is not part of the Crown Estate. According to the official website of the British Monarchy, "Balmoral Castle has remained a favourite residence for The Queen and her family during the summer holiday period in August and September."

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.

7d   Soldier almost lost blood — there’s a moral to this (7)

In the UK, para[5] is an informal short form for paratrooper.

8d   Stormy waters, calling for knots (7,7)

The roaring forties[5] are stormy ocean tracts between latitudes 40° and 50° south. If the solution were to be split (7,3,4), it would mean "calling for knots".

9d   Being fishy might our menu include a starter of mackerel salad? (6- 8)

Salad[3] is used in the literary sense of a varied mixture ⇒ The Declaration of Independence was . . . a salad of illusions (George Santayana).

16d   What a snooker player must learn to do is crazy (9)

In British billiards & snooker jargon, screw[5] means to play a shot with screw, backspin given to the cue ball by hitting it below centre, intended to make it move backwards after striking the object ball Johnson chose to screw back for the pink.

17d   Grope for board game (8)

Scrabble[5] (trademark) is a game in which players build up words on a board from small lettered squares or tiles.

19d   Strange surrealists possibly rile this composer (7)

As Dave Perry states, this is "Rather a sneaky one!" My first inclination was to call it an inverse wordplay clue, but after careful reflection have discarded that idea. In an inverse wordplay clue, the solution would contain an indicator and fodder for an outcome that is found in the clue. That is not the case here.

One writer at Times for the Times refers to the clue as a "comparative anagram" and states "[such clues] rarely appear in normal cryptics, but they are quite popular in clue-writing competitions", while a second calls it a "compound anagram" and comments "I don't remember ever seeing a compound anagram in a daily puzzle before: they were completely new to me when I started doing Mephisto and Azed (where they're common), which was fairly recently. I had assumed they were considered off-limits."

The definition here is "this composer" and the clue tells us that a possible anagram (strange) of "surrealists" is RILE + the name of a composer.

21d   English author worried American one (7)

Henry David Thoreau[5] (1817–62) was an American essayist and poet, and a key figure in Transcendentalism. He is best known for his book Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854), an account of a two-year experiment in self-sufficiency.

22d   Make mistakes in Latin (6)

My impression of this clue coincided exactly with that of Dave Perry.

24d   Small drink followed by a Hamlet, say (5)

Hamlet[5] was a legendary prince of Denmark, hero of a tragedy by Shakespeare.
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

No comments:

Post a Comment