Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013 — ST 4530

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4530
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4530]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, April 20, 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, April 20, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.


As is usually the case with puzzles set by Anax, I needed to call out my electronic reinforcements fairly early in the battle. In the end, I threw in the towel on one clue. The correct solution had actually occurred to me, but I dismissed it as I could not decipher the wordplay.

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.


4a   Work in  trouble (3)

"Work in" is used in the sense of applying a finish to a piece of furniture, for example.

The rub[5] is the central problem or difficulty in a situation that was the rub—she had not cared enough [from Shakespeare's Hamlet ( iii. i. 65)].

7a   After bible classes, will copy sinner (9)

"Bible classes" is used here as a stand-in for 'Religious Education' (RE). Wikipedia, in an article on Religious education,  says "in England the term religious instruction would refer to the teaching of a particular religion, with religious education referring to teaching about religions in general". A former article entitled Religious Education (note the subtle difference in capitalization of the titles of the two articles) has now been removed from Wikipedia. It stated "Religious Education (RE) is a compulsory subject in the state education system in the United Kingdom. Schools are required to teach a programme of religious studies according to local and national guidelines."

I have sourced this information from a blog posting that I wrote on October 28, 2011 reviewing a Daily Telegraph cryptic crossword (DT 26622) in which "bible classes" was used to clue RI (religious instruction).

Probate[5] can mean (1) the act or process of officially proving the authenticity and validity of a will; (2) the official certificate stating a will to be genuine and conferring on the executors power to administer the estate; or (3) the probate copy of a will (an authenticated copy of a will certified by a judge to be valid). In Britain, it would seem, the word "probate" is used only as a noun. The word appears to exist as a verb only in North America.

9a   Border crossing over here and there (5)

In cricket, an over[5] is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

11a   Is this produced with end of trial? (5)

Dave Perry indicates that this is an & lit. clue — one in which the entire clue is the definition (according to one reading) as well as the wordplay (according to second reading). This would be the case if one can justify the words "is this" being part of the wordplay.

As I interpret the clue, the wordplay is GAVE (produced) + (with) L (end [last letter] of triaL) — which does not include the words "is this". If my interpretation is correct, then this would be a semi & lit. clue (rather than a true & lit. clue) since the wordplay constitutes only a portion of the clue — not the entire clue, as it would in a true & lit. clue. Nevertheless, I don't discount the fact that someone more knowledgeable than I might have a different interpretation. Or, perhaps, Dave Perry just does not consider it meaningful to make a distinction between true & lit. clues and semi & lit. clues.

12a   Cruising behind wind (3,6)

I spent a lot of time trying to concoct a rationale for SEA BREEZE. I eventually ditched the idea when I could not make it work with a couple of the intersecting clues. As I was to find out, "wind" is used in a totally different sense.

13a   Passing comment while couple occupying farm sold us ground (6,4,5)

"Passing comment" is a cryptic reference to a statement made just before passing from this life to the hereafter. The anagram indicator is "ground" (used as a verb).

14a   Likely to forget a host? Oddly, needs him on board (7)

16a   Ruckus about one’s lawyer showing contempt (7)

I had expected that there might be complaints from some Brits that District Attorney is an American term — but none materialized.

18a   Having fit iron glove, it can’t go unnoticed (6,9)

The anagram indicator is "having fit".

21a   This be poor Lit badly written (9)

Here we have a situation that is somewhat similar to the one that we encountered in 11a. If the word "this" is considered to be part of the wordplay, this clue would be an & lit. clue i and, if not, it would be a semi & lit. clue.

22a   Wise seabird circling island (5)

Ernest Wiseman (1925 – 1999), known by his stage name Ernie Wise[7], was an English comedian, best known as one half of the comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, who became a national institution on British television, especially for their Christmas specials.

24a   Really describing a good man as offensive (5)

I tried to construct the solution as NY (?) containing (describing) {A (from the clue) + ST (good man)}. As I discover from Dave Perry, the wordplay is actually NAY (really) containing (describing) ST (a good man).

Nay[5] may be used in the sense of 'or rather' (used to emphasize a more appropriate word than one just used) permission to build the superstore will take months, nay years. However, the discussion on Times for the Times offers various other explanations.

The use of the word "describe" as a containment indicator is a cryptic crossword convention. The device relies on describe[3] being used in the sense of to trace the form or outline of ⇒ describe a circle with a compass. Thus, in today's clue, we have NAY (really) containing (describing) ST (a good man; saint). The idea is that the container (NAY) forms an outline around the contained entity (ST) in a similar manner to the circumference of a circle forming an outline around the circular area contained within it.

25a   Virginno slag? (9)

In the second definition, slag[5] is the stony waste matter separated from metals during the smelting or refining of ore. A countryside not marred by heaps of slag could be described as unspoiled.

The surface reading of the clue relies on slag being derogatory British slang for a promiscuous woman.

26a   Old woman beginning to tie knot (3)


1d   Old maid puts doctor under pressure (4)

Doctor in the sense of falsify.

2d   Boxer Billy who sings in French — yes, soprano (3,5)

Joe Louis[5] (1914 – 1981) was an American boxer; born Joseph Louis Barrow; known as the Brown Bomber. He was heavyweight champion of the world 1937–49, defending his title twenty-five times during that period.

Billy Joel[6] is a US pop singer and songwriter.

The French word oui[8] means yes.

3d   Servant girl with bible standing up (6)

Primarily a British term, the Authorized Version (AV)[5] is an English translation of the Bible made in 1611 at the order of James I and still widely used, though never formally ‘authorized’. It is also called the King James Bible — a name by which it is undoubtedly better known in North America.

4d   Covered in grass, circuits got worse (8)

5d   A river runs through bend in Northern town (6)

Barrow-in-Furness[7] (commonly known as Barrow) is a large industrial town and seaport in the county of Cumbria in North West England.

6d   When playing, actor Niven also relaxed (14)

David Niven[7] (1910 – 1983) was an English actor.

8d   Flags down vehicle for this designer? (8,6)

The meaning of this one took a long while to sink in. In Britain, a pavement artist[5] is an artist who draws with coloured chalks on paving stones or paper laid on a pavement to earn money from passers-by. In the UK, unlike North America, pavement refers to the sidewalk — not the roadway. A flag[5] is a flat stone slab, typically rectangular or square, used for paving. Thus paving stones laid down to form a walkway are the surface on which this artist creates his (or her) designs.

10d   Persuades train station to keep gutted livestock (5,4)

13d   Devour jars of peanuts (5,4)

15d   Fell over during shortened rest (5,3)

A fell[5] is a hill or stretch of high moorland, especially in northern England.

Where have we seen over before — oh yes, in 9a.

17d   Work ending, so claimed benefit (6,2)

19d   Sandwich is one yours truly’s thrown up — it’s got a little horse in it (6)

The sandwich[5] was named after the 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718 – 1792), an English nobleman said to have eaten food in this form so as not to leave the gaming table.

This clue garnered several mentions on Times for the Times commenting on its timeliness. The 2013 meat adulteration scandal[7] is ongoing in Europe; foods advertised as containing beef were found to contain undeclared horse meat, as much as 100% of the meat content in some cases, and other undeclared meats, such as pork. The issue came to light on 15 January 2013, when it was reported that horse DNA had been discovered in frozen beefburgers sold in several Irish and British supermarkets.

20d   Red cabbage wants nothing in spring (6)

23d   More wheels? Pretty much — works fantastic! (4)

Unlike Dave Perry, I was not able to decipher the wordplay. However, I take some small comfort in knowing what the Eddas are. An Edda[5] is either of two 13th-century Icelandic books, the Elder or Poetic Edda (a collection of Old Norse poems on Norse legends) and the Younger or Prose Edda (a handbook to Icelandic poetry by Snorri Sturluson). The Eddas are the chief source of knowledge of Scandinavian mythology.

The wordplay is rather convoluted. Start with a reversal (wheels [turns about]) of ADDED (more) which gives us DEDDA. The phrase "pretty much" indicates that a letter must be deleted. As I recall, such a construction would usually indicate that the last letter is to be deleted — but, in this case, it is the first letter (unless one considers that the deletion is to be done before the reversal, but that is not the order in which the instructions appear). In any event, we are expected to end up with EDDA.

The definition is "works fantastic", where "works" is a noun and "fantastic" is a postpositive adjective.
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


  1. Hi there Falcon - your very grateful setter logging in to say hello and thanks as ever for such a comprehensive write-up.
    I'm really glad you've raised the subject of the differences between &Lit and Semi-&Lit clues. Some may have slightly different opinions on the subject, but the way I've always seen it is this: If the clue uses wordplay ONLY to point to the answer, then it's &Lit. Absolutely ANY extraneous stuff (even an innocuous 'this', for example) makes it Semi-&Lit.

  2. Hi Anax,

    Thank you for dropping by. It's always great to get comments from you.