Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday, April 7, 2013 — ST 4528

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4528
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4528]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, April 6, 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 6, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.


Obviously my puzzle solving skills are no where near those of Dave Perry. He seems to have found this puzzle to be about average in difficulty. I, on the other hand, found it to be an extreme challenge. Although it certainly would have speeded matters up had one been a regular viewer of British TV, I was actually able to identify the British TV personalities without too much difficulty with a bit of help from Wikipedia. It was a handful of clues clustered in the bottom right hand corner that did me in.

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   Newspaper's a steal, one to replace FT? (3,1)

The Financial Times (FT)[7], founded in 1888, is a British international broadsheet business newspaper [which is conspicuously printed on distinctive light salmon pink newsprint]. The i[7] is a British tabloid newspaper published by the same company that publishes The Independent. The newspaper, which is aimed at "readers and lapsed readers" of all ages and commuters with limited time, was launched in 2010. It is seemingly a steal at only 20 pence a copy. The Independent[7] is a British national morning tabloid newspaper published in London. Nicknamed the Indy, it was launched in 1986 and is one of the youngest UK national daily newspapers.

4a   Conduct of senior politician responsible for publicity? (10)

The wordplay is a whimsical cryptic definition suggesting that a "senior politician responsible for publicity" might be known as the 'Ad Minister'.

9a   Women aboard dread flying in a Lear? (6)

Not a Learjet, but English artist, illustrator, author and poet Edward Lear[7] (1812 – 1888) who is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised.

10a   Swift's tome cried out, deism principally trashed (8)

Although totally a misdirection, Jonathan Swift[7] (1667 – 1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

11a   Secondary posters intended to reach cooler staff (10)

These "secondary posters"are not contributors to blogs, but those who redirect mail. Warder[3,4] is a chiefly British term for a prison guard.

14a   Look in a thesaurus for this old character (4)

In the Bible, Esau[5] is the elder of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob and was tricked out of his father’s blessing by his brother (Gen. 25, 27).

15a   Medical check is most poor (4,4)

In British slang, skint[5] is an adjective describing the condition of having little or no money available I’m a bit skint just now.

17a   Barker for example embraced by hairy Sid is put out (6)

Sue Barker[7] is an English television presenter [announcer] and former professional tennis player. During her tennis career, she won a Grand Slam women's singles title at the 1976 French Open and reached a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3. She is now one of the main sports presenters at the BBC.

18a   Career girl’s left work (6)

In music, Op. (also op.)[5] is an abbreviation meaning opus (work). It is used before a number given to each work of a particular composer, usually indicating the order of publication.

20a Bond has a following surprisingly in Palace? Not half! (8)

This is, no doubt, a reference to the film sequence shown during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games in which Queen Elizabeth II and English actor Daniel Craig[7], in the role of secret agent James Bond, appeared to arrive at the event by parachuting from a helicopter.

22a   German workers getting day off (4)

In Crosswordland, a Scot is usually called Ian and an Irishman is virtually always known as Pat. It looks like Hans may be in the running for the title of favourite German appellation.

23a   Opinion in Tory Right: Miliband’s respected [10)

Ed Miliband[7] is a British Labour Party politician, currently the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition in the British House of Commons.

25a   US gangster stole, a case for Chicago police (8)

The solution to this clue was absent from the list compiled by my wordfinder application. I also overlooked the possibility that a stole[5] might be a woman’s long scarf or shawl, especially of fur or similar material, worn loosely over the shoulders.

27a   Bachelor leaving disturbs rest (6)

Sometimes one is able to decipher very challenging clues while failing to solve ones that are far less difficult. Such was my experience here.

29a   “Spectator" sees Witney represented (10)

The Spectator[7] is a conservative-leaning weekly British magazine owned by the same people who own The Daily Telegraph[7]. Witney[7] is a town on the River Windrush, 12 miles (19 km) west of Oxford in Oxfordshire, England.

30a   A lot of money returned in this period (4)

In Britain, stop[5] is a dated term for a punctuation mark, especially a full stop — full stop[5] being the British name for a punctuation mark (.) used at the end of a sentence or an abbreviation; in North American parlance, a period[5].


2d   White wine bottles Dad ordered for the fish (7)

Hock[5] is a British name for a dry white wine from the German Rhineland.

3d   Gershwin is inspirational to some extent (3)

Ira Gershwin[7] (1896 – 1983) was an American lyricist who collaborated with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin, to create some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century.

4d   Summer is more dismal when there’s no sun (5)

Summer is a whimsical cryptic crossword invention meaning someone who creates sums [by analogy with words such as hatter, someone who makes hats].

5d   Lady sounding bubbly (3)

G. H. Mumm & Cie,[7] situated in Reims in northern France, is one of the largest Champagne producers worldwide.

6d   Fine fellow at home continued to sit up for sweet Fanny Adams (3,1,5)

Not a sniff is an informal expression meaning not the slightest amount. The wordplay is a reversal (up) of {F (fine) + F (fellow; of a society) + IN (at home) + SAT ON (continued to sit; the House sat on past midnight in an effort to pass the bill)}. Fanny Adams[5] (or sweet Fanny Adams) — a euphemism for fuck all (or sweet fuck all) — is British slang meaning nothing at all ⇒ I know sweet Fanny Adams about mining.

7d   Rather declare briefly? OK (6,5)

The Sooner State[10] is the nickname of the US state of Oklahoma (abbreviation OK[10]), which comes from the name of its early settlers.

8d   A Middle East office is to move abroad, leaving Gulf (7)

Emirate[5] is the rank [i.e., office or position], lands, or reign [i.e., office or tenure] of an emir.

12d   Ultimately Oscar Wilde wasn’t wicked, bent maybe (11)

The surface reading of this clue provides a great deal of scope for guessing at the setter's intent. Hopefully, my efforts to craft an explanation for it don't prove to be merely grasping at straws.

Bent[10] can take on a variety of meanings in British slang, among them being (1) dishonest or corrupt; (2) crazy or mad; and (3) homosexual (offensive). It may well be the latter sense in which the word is being used in this clue.

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death. Wilde was convicted on charges of gross indecency with other men for which he was imprisoned for two years' hard labour.

In Irish, Scottish and English dialects, windlestraw[10] means (1) the dried stalk of any of various grasses or (2) anything weak or feeble, especially a thin unhealthy person. I could find no evidence of this term being specifically applied to homosexuals, but it is not uncommon for them to be characterized as being weak and feeble.

13d   Pop on the coach comes from blasted trannie (7)

Pop[10] (often followed by in, out, etc.) means to come (to) or go (from) rapidly or suddenly.

16d   Caught boring formerly favoured TV presenter in the club [9)

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c[5] indicates caught (by) ⇒ ME Waugh c Lara b Walsh 19.
The above example indicates that batsman "ME Waugh" was caught out by a fielder named "Lara" on a ball bowled by "Walsh". The number "19" is the number of runs credited to ME Waugh during his time batting (and excludes any "extras" that may have been scored).
"Ant"[7] is a diminutive of the given name "Anthony" or "Antony", popular in Britain, but less common elsewhere. Anthony "Ant" McPartlin is one half of the English comedy and television presenting duo Ant & Dec, with the other being Declan Donnelly.

In the club[5] (or in the pudding club) is British slang meaning pregnant. [If you're confused, join the club!]

19d   Expert to probe some chaos (7)

Arch[4] is used in the sense of very experienced or expert an arch criminal.

21d   See you check always before beginning to invest offshore (7)

Cheerio[5] is an informal British exclamation used as an expression of good wishes on parting; in other words, goodbye cheerio, see you on Saturday.

The wordplay is CH (check) + EER (ever; e'er) + the first letters of (beginning to; beginning of) {Invest  + Offshore}. Like Dave Perry, I have reservations about the clue. Does "beginning of" properly indicate that we are to use not only the beginning letter of "invest" but the beginning letter of "offshore" as well?

24d   British actor seen in clubs (5)

Jeremy Irons[7] is an English actor who has won numerous awards for his work on stage, film and television.

26d   Lamb is partly stewed (3)

I did wonder whether a lamb could be a ewe. At, although the two American dictionaries stress that a ewe[3,4,11] is a female sheep, especially when full grown or fully mature, the British dictionary makes no such distinction. In fact, as a usage example, it even shows a ewe lamb.

28d   Bears mess endlessly (3)

Bear is a verb — not an animal.
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. For clue 12d, I found this definition of the word "bent" in my Oxford pocket dictionary:

    n. reedy grass with stiff stems; stiff flower stalk of grass. [OE]

    1. Good call, that likely explains the definition -- bent (as a type of grass) being an example (maybe) of windlestraw. Of course, one can still read the clue as a comment on Oscar Wilde's sexual orientation.