Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sunday, July 21, 2013 — ST 4543

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4543
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4543]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Date of Publication in the Vancouver Sun
Saturday, July 20, 2013 [see note]
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
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Times for the Times
This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, July 20, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.

As I no longer have access to the Vancouver Sun, I am unable to personally verify that this puzzle was published.


While I found this puzzle much less difficult than the one last week (as evidenced by the comparatively smaller quantity of red ink in the chart above), it was by no means a cakewalk. I still needed to engage my electronic assistants earlier than I would have wished to.

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   Nervous head of Royal Mail again justifies letters put to one side (10)

The anagram indicator is "nervous". I would say that "justifies" is merely playing the role of a link word between the wordplay and definition.

Royal Mail[7] is the government-owned postal service in the United Kingdom. I have always thought it ironic that the Royal Mail delivers the post in Britain and Canada Post delivers the mail in Canada!

7a   Cracks showing in retro box (4)

9a   Main activity is abdominal surgery reportedly (5,10)

The main[5] is an archaic or literary term referring to the open ocean.

10a   Pop in bar cheers mostly (4,2)

Cheers[5] is a chiefly British — and very versatile — exclamation. Here it is used to express good wishes on parting or ending a conversation ‘Cheers, Jack, see you later.’ However, it can also be used to express good wishes before drinking  ⇒ ‘Cheers,’ she said, raising her glass. or to express gratitude or acknowledgement for something Billy tossed him the key. ‘Cheers, pal.’

12a   Where you'd find lags  recorded (2,3,3)

In British slang, a lag[5] is a person who has been frequently convicted and sent to prisonboth old lags were sentenced to ten years' imprisonment [in other words, placed in the "can"]. In the film industry, the phrase "in the can[5]" means that a production is on tape or film and ready to be broadcast or released all went well, the film was in the can [referring to the metal canisters in which reels of motion picture film were distributed to cinemas for presentation].

13a   Rubber endlessly must erase slips (7)

Here the deletion indicator "endlessly" operates on each of the two words which follow.

15a   Colour of refurbished storey (6)

17a   Secret police force succeeded in arrest (6)

Stasi[5] is the internal security force of the former German Democratic Republic [East Germany], abolished in 1989.

In the cryptic analysis of the clue, one must interpret succeed[5] as meaning to take over a throne, office, or other position from he would succeed Hawke as Prime Minister. When used in this sense, s[5] is the abbreviation for succeeded [as one might see in charts outlining royal lineages].

l8a   Island in the end Ronald Reagan attacked (7)

This is a semi-& lit. (semi-all-in-one) clue as the entire clue forms the definition, while the latter portion of the clue provides the wordplay.

On October 25, 1983 [during the presidency of  Ronald Reagan], combined forces from the United States and several Eastern Caribbean nations invaded Grenada in an operation codenamed Operation Urgent Fury. The U.S. stated this was done at the behest of Prime Minister Eugenia Charles of Dominica. While the Governor-General of Grenada, Sir Paul Scoon, later stated that he had also requested the invasion, it was highly criticised by the governments of Britain, Trinidad and Tobago, and Canada. The United Nations General Assembly condemned it as "a flagrant violation of international law" by a vote of 108 in favor to 9, with 27 abstentions. The United Nations Security Council considered a similar resolution, which failed to pass when vetoed by the United States. [read more]

19a   Judge set out to get one assistant (8)

Mate[5] is (1) a chiefly British term meaning an assistant or deputy in certain trades a plumber’s mate or (2) an officer on a merchant ship subordinate to the master.

21a   Rat that’s seen on dam in Europe (6)

Having settled on the wrong definition at 21d, I was totally stymied here.

Rotter[5] is an informal, dated British term for a cruel, mean, or unkind person Rosemary had decided that all men were rotters

Rotterdam[5] is a city in the Netherlands, at the mouth of the River Meuse, 25 km (15 miles) inland from the North Sea; population 582,951 (2008). It is one of the world’s largest ports and a major oil refinery, with extensive shipbuilding and petrochemical industries.

22a   Potential Chancellor once a fellow good at planning growth (10,5)

The wordplay is CAPABILITY (potential; "she has the potential to go far in her career") + BROWN (Chancellor once).

Gordon Brown[7] is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer [a post equivalent to the Minister of Finance (Canada) or the Secretary of the Treasury (US)] in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007.

Lancelot Brown[7] (1716 – 1783), more commonly known as Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. Remembered as "England's greatest gardener", he designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure.

24a   Art's partner has last month off initially (4)

Art deco[5] was the predominant decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colours and used most notably in household objects and in architecture. Although the style originated in the 1920s, the name (in its condensed form) apparently only arose in the 1960, being shortened from French art décoratif  (decorative art), from the 1925 Exposition des Arts décoratifs in Paris.

25a   Shades of celebrated young women (10)


2d   Conservative garment displayed in the capital of Morocco (3)

Rabat[5] is the capital of Morocco, an industrial port on the Atlantic Coast.

An aba[10] is (1) a type of cloth from Syria, made of goat hair or camel hair or (2) a sleeveless outer garment of such cloth.

Women wearing abayat and niqāb.
Aba is another name for the abaya[7] "cloak", a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Muslim world including in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Traditional abayat are black and may be either a large square of fabric draped from the shoulders or head or a long caftan. The abaya covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. It can be worn with the niqāb, a face veil covering all but the eyes. Some women choose to wear long black gloves, so their hands are covered as well.

3d   Idiots holding small work line up? They may be moved in argument (9)

The expression move the goalposts[5] means to unfairly alter the conditions or rules of a procedure during its course.

In the field of 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.

4d   What's possibly only OK with onset of libido? (5)

This clue has a bit of a twist to it. It may help to rephrase the clue in a more straightforward manner. Effectively, the clue is saying that one could form an anagram (possibly) of {the solution (for which the word "what" is standing in) + L (the onset [first letter] of Libido)} with the result being ONLY OK.

In a normal anagram clue, one would find an anagram indicator and anagram fodder in the clue with the anagram (which is the result of the indicator operating on the fodder) appearing in the solution.

There is also a type of clue that I call an inverse anagram (and others prefer to call a reverse anagram) in which the anagram is found in the clue and the indicator and fodder make up all (or part of) the solution.

The current clue is yet another variant in which the anagram (only OK), the indicator (possibly), and a portion of the fodder (L) appear in the clue and the solution is the remainder of the fodder.

5d   Latin stranger is more cunning (7)

Leery[10] can mean wary, cautious, uncertain, suspicious, doubting, careful, shy, sceptical, dubious, unsure, distrustful, on your guard, or chary. I didn't see "cunning" in the list — did you?

6d   In one action plan take to arms miles away (2,1,6)

7d   One's grabbed by silly arse in lift (5)

Lift[5] is the British term for elevator[5].

Arse[3,4] is the British name for that part of the anatomy that is known as the ass[3,4] on this side of the Atlantic. It would seem that the term is considered less vulgar in the UK than in North America.

8d   Competitive event in which the toss takes place after the start? (7,4)

A pancake race[5] is a race in which each competitor must toss a pancake from a pan as they run, traditionally held in some places on Shrove Tuesday.

11d   Note police force is on top of very large cut - there's no rush (4,2,5)

While, in Britain, the preferred spelling of the musical note is te[4], the setter has found it convenient to use the alternate spelling (ti[4]), which happens to be the more common spelling in the US.

The Metropolitan Police Service[7] (widely known informally as the Met[5])is the territorial police force responsible for law enforcement in Greater London, excluding the "square mile" of the City of London which is the responsibility of the City of London Police. The Met also has significant national responsibilities such as co-ordinating and leading on counter-terrorism matters and protection of the British Royal Family and senior figures of Her Majesty's Government. The Met is also referred to by the metonym Scotland Yard after the location of its original headquarters in a road called Great Scotland Yard in Whitehall. The Met's current headquarters is New Scotland Yard, in Victoria.

The sizes of clothing that North Americans would describe as plus-size[7] (or often big and tall in the case of men's clothing) would be called outsize (OS[5]) in Britain.

14d   No longer married, masses cite singular feelings of joy! (9)

I was caught way off base here in my attempts to decipher the wordplay. I thought that "cite" must be a homophone indicator, that "no longer married" was being used to clue EX, and "singular" was to be replaced by S (with singular being a grammatical term). Thus, I was trying to find something that I could append to EX such that the result would sound like ECSTASIE (with the final S coming from "singular").

As I was to find out from Dave Perry's review, "no longer married" is an instruction to delete the M from MASSES and the anagram indicator is SINGULAR (where singular[5] is used in the sense of strange or eccentric in some respect).

16d   Top performers begin on vessels (4-5)

Seemingly a British expression, the star turn[5] is the person or act that gives the most heralded or impressive performance in a programme(i) he was stopped by the arrival on stage of the star turn; (ii) she was the star turn of the night.

18d   Nice rag flourished for straight sort of nose (7)

A Grecian nose[5] is a straight nose that continues the line of the forehead without a dip.

20d   What bride says about a husband in a state (5)

21d   True change of direction upfront for William, say (5)

The definition could equally well be "true" or "William,say". Unfortunately, I opted for the wrong choice.

23d   River's character mentioned (3)

The Wye[5] is a river which rises in the mountains of western Wales and flows 208 km (132 miles) generally south-eastwards, entering the Severn estuary at Chepstow. In its lower reaches it forms part of the border between Wales and England.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - TheFreeDictionary.com (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] - CollinsDictionary.com (Collins English Dictionary)
Signing off for this week — Falcon

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