Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013 — ST 4526

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4526
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4526]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, March 23, 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, March 23, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.


This puzzle appeared in the UK on the Sunday preceding Saint David's Day which is celebrated on March 1. The fact that Saint David is the patron saint of Wales likely accounts for the several Welsh references in the puzzle.

I suppose that it is not an overly difficult puzzle. However, as usual, I did require a bit of help from my electronic assistants today.

I have added another entry in the table above which I hope you will find useful. The entry, entitled 'Dave Perry's solving time', represents the length of time that Dave Perry reports that it took him to solve the puzzle. I have somewhat arbitrarily chosen to let each star represent a period of 20 minutes or part thereof. 

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   Place rest on end of cue (4)

3a   Treacle running round fungus in bin, perhaps (10)

10a   Large stove is new in style (5)

The range [pun intended] of cooking devices to which the name range applies is much more limited in Britain than it is in North America. In North America, a range may use any type of fuel (wood, coal, oil, gas, electricity, etc.). However, in Britain, a range[4] is specifically a large stove with burners and one or more ovens, usually heated by solid fuel. A cooking device that does not use solid fuel would be known in the UK as a cooker[5] rather than a range.

11a   In other words it can be very useful! (9)

12a   American serial killer hides gun in front of house — a plot she may have penned? (6,8)

John Christie[7] (1899 – 1953) was a notorious English serial killer active in the 1940s and early 1950s. He murdered at least eight females – including his wife Ethel – by strangling them in his flat in London. After Christie moved out in March 1953, the bodies of three of his victims were discovered hidden in an alcove in his kitchen. His wife's body was found beneath the floorboards of the front room. Christie was arrested and convicted of his wife's murder, for which he was hanged.

Dame Agatha Christie[7] (1890 – 1976) was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She wrote 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence. She also wrote the world's longest-running play The Mousetrap.

14a   Satisfied requests made by journalist (7)

15a   Welsh insect that 13 might detect? (7)

The numeral 13 is a cross reference indicator. To complete the present clue (15a), you must substitute the solution to the cross referenced clue (13d) in place of the cross reference indicator. Note that if the cross reference indicator can refer to only a single clue, the directional indication (i.e. across or down) is omitted.

17a   Succeed in sacking head and put the phone down (4,3)

The wordplay is [B]RING OFF (succeed in) with the first (head) letter deleted (sacking).

In Britain, the expression ring off[10] means to terminate a telephone conversation by replacing the receiver; in other words, to hang up.

19a   Piece of cheese on toast — lightly cooked piece (7)

Rarebit[5] (also called Welsh rabbit) is a dish of melted and seasoned cheese on toast, sometimes with other ingredients.

20a   Welsh factories arranged in a straight line (2,3,4,5)

23a   This grouse is docile when sloth returns (9)

Ai[5] is another name for the three-toed sloth.

24a   Number three is odd (5)

We encounter a cryptic crossword convention here, where a bit of cryptic licence is employed to deduce that number must mean something that numbs [by analogy to the formation of nouns from other verbs, such as a counter being something that counts or a timer being something that times].

25a   Sally put short rope in larder (10)

The word sally[10] is used in the sense of a jocular retort.

26a   Cold butter and jam (4)

Surely, Dave Perry intended to say "a ram being something that butts, i.e. a butter".


1d   We hear grain left under it is where mouse might go (6,4)

2d   New banknote featuring a tree (5,4)

The tonka bean[3] is a tropical South American tree (Dipteryx odorata) having pulpy, egg-shaped, one-seeded pods and fragrant seeds used as a substitute for vanilla and for flavoring tobacco and candies. It seems that the editors at Collins English Dictionary failed to read the memo informing them that the scientific name is no longer Coumarouna odorata[4,7,10].

4d   Persuaded hospital department to make cuts — beginning at the bottom! (7)

5d   Surprisingly it’s raised above an orbit (7)

... the orbit[5] here being the eye socket.

6d   Stuff I repeatedly fed Armstrong making him thus changed! (14)

Like Dave Perry, I also wondered about the use of "stuff" as an anagram indicator (or, as he calls it, an anagrind).

7d   Eg Willow or Holly seen in grounds of Buckingham Palace? (5)

From The official website of The British Monarchy, we learn that "At present, The Queen owns two Corgis: Willow and Holly ...".

8d   Drugs said to bring relief (4)

E[5] is an abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy or a tablet of Ecstasy (i) people have died after taking E; (ii) being busted with three Es can lead to stiff penalties.

In his review, Dave Perry refers to a "greengrocer's apostrophe". Greengrocer[5] is a British term for a retailer of fruit and vegetables. In the UK, the misuse of apostrophes with plural nouns is known as the ‘greengrocer’s apostrophe’ because of its association with the prices of fruit and vegetables displayed in shops, as in banana’s 65p per kilo and lovely, ripe tomatoe’s. 

9d   Being corrupt the hopeless MP hosts one evil character (14)

Mephistopheles[7] is a demon featured in German folklore. He originally appeared in literature as the demon in the Faust legend, and he has since appeared in other works as a stock character version of the Devil.

13d   Chemical making pork pies harder to produce … (5,5)

Pork pie[5] is a British term for raised pie made with minced, cooked pork, typically eaten cold. Pork pie[10] (or porky) is also Cockney rhyming slang for a lie.

16d   … and dealer of such — extremely beautiful one — concealed 7 perhaps (9)

Often the ellipses between clues serve no purpose in the cryptic reading of the clues. However, that is not the case today. The word "such" refers back to the solution to clue 13d (in effect, being a cross reference indicator). The numeral 7 is also a cross reference indicator, pointing  to the solution to clue 7d.

Corgi is an imprint (trade name) belonging to Transworld Publishers Inc.[7], a British publishing division of Random House. Transworld publishes fiction and non fiction titles by various best-selling authors under several different imprints. Hardbacks are either published under the Doubleday or the Bantam Press imprint, whereas paperbacks are published under the Black Swan, Bantam or Corgi imprint.

18d   Clash following loud band (7)

In music notation, the direction for loud is forte (abbreviation f)[5].

19d   Bird concealed in kangaroo’s territory (7)

21d   Prisoner skips soup for bloody fight (5)

One of the bloodiest military operations ever recorded, the Battle of the Somme[7] took place during the First World War between 1 July and 18 November 1916 in the Somme department of France, on both banks of the river of the same name.

22d   Swimmer’s second trophy (4)

A scup[5] is a common porgy (fish), Stenotomus chrysops, with faint dark vertical bars, occurring off the coasts of the north-west Atlantic.
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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