Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013 — ST 4558

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4558
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4558]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, November 2, 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, November 2, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.

Due to the paywall on its web site, I am no longer able to verify the puzzle that appears in the Vancouver Sun.


After the strenuous workout thrown at us last week, it was a relief to have something a bit less taxing this week.

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. The underlined portion of the clue is the definition.


1a   Head leaving Bedfordshire town is not settled (8)

I solved the clue from the definition and checking letters, then correctly guessed the name of the town.

Dunstable[7] is a market town and civil parish located in Bedfordshire, England. It lies on the eastward tail spurs of the Chiltern Hills, 30 miles north of London.

5a   Expanding bullet for which abuse is repeatedly rejected (6)

10a   Kitty, beginner in bakery can work to deliver bread fast (9)

Think of "work" as a noun rather than a verb.

A potboiler[3,4,11] is a mediocre work of literature or art produced merely for financial gain.

An oiler[5] is a thing that holds or supplies oil, in particular ... an oilcan.

11a   Some went along with cards left after deal (5)

A talon[3] is the part of the deck of cards in certain card games left on the table after the deal.

12a   Short of capital, mobile phone company cover a certain area (5)

Orange[7] is a mobile network operator and internet service provider in the United Kingdom, which launched in 1993. It purchased by France Télécom (now Orange S.A.) in 2000, which then adopted the Orange brand for all its other mobile communications activities.

13a   Fool lured in London, say, showing naivety (9)

14a   I note game needing a court (enclosed as shown here) (2,8)

17a   What C Clay became in part of Africa ... (4)

Muhammad Ali[7] (born Cassius Clay) is an American former professional boxer, generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the sport's history — and who was nicknamed "The Greatest". In 1974, Ali knocked out George Foreman in a fight held in Kinshasa, Zaire — a bout nicknamed "The Rumble in the Jungle".

19a   ... the greatest! About right for a natural comedian (4)

For me, it was Groucho who leapt to mind. Dave Perry reveals that he "is a sucker for Chico's piano vignettes".

The Marx Brothers[7] were a family comedy act, originally from New York City, that enjoyed success in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in motion pictures from 1905 to 1949. The core of the act was the three elder brothers, Chico, Harpo, and Groucho; each developed a highly distinctive stage persona. The two younger brothers, Gummo and Zeppo, did not develop their stage characters to the same extent, and eventually left the act to pursue other careers. Gummo was not in any of the movies; Zeppo appeared in the first five films in relatively straight (non-comedic) roles.

A visitor to Times for the Times questioned this clue: "I don't understand what 'natural' is doing in 19ac but maybe I'm missing something that hasn't yet been explained."

Perhaps an incident that occurred at a performance by the Marx Brothers in 1912 might provide an answer. Originally, the Marx Brothers were not a comedy troupe, but a musical group. The performance in question was interrupted by a commotion outside. The audience hurried outside to see what was happening. When the audience returned, Groucho, angered by the interruption, made snide comments about the town and its citizens. Instead of becoming angry, the audience laughed. The family then realized it had potential as a comic troupe. Clearly, Groucho must have been a "natural" comedian as this initial comedy performance was presumably totally unrehearsed.

20a   Distribute again in proper place (10)

22a   Little time to go, fancy Tate Modern or a cathedral? (5-4)

The Tate Gallery[5] (commonly known simply as the Tate) is a national museum of art in London, England founded in 1897 by the sugar manufacturer Sir Henry Tate (1819–1899) to house his collection of modern British paintings, as a nucleus for a permanent national collection of modern art. It was renamed Tate Britain in 2000, when the new Tate Modern gallery opened.

Tate Modern[7] is a modern art gallery located in London. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group (together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online). It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year.

Notre Dame[5] is a Gothic cathedral church in Paris, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, on the Île de la Cité (an island in the Seine). It was built between 1163 and 1250 and is especially noted for its innovatory flying buttresses and sculptured facade.

24a   Get a drink and book a dance (5)

26a   Scandinavian singer is a long time going round Norway (5)

Despite (like Dave Perry) having never heard of this singer, her name was not difficult to decipher from the wordplay.

Agnes Carlsson[7], also known mononymously as Agnes is a Swedish recording artist. She rose to fame as the winner of Idol 2005, the second season of the Swedish Idol series.

27a   Rattle put in air associated with one Bellini opera (1,8)

I had all the vowels in the proper positions based on the checking letters, so all that I needed to do was place the consonants. I tried several permutations, none of which looked promising. In doing so, I somehow managed to miss the correct permutation which happens to be the only one that looks at all plausible. In the end, I resorted to consulting a list of Bellini operas.

I puritani[7] (The Puritans), first produced in 1835, is the last opera to be written by Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini (1801–1835).

28a   Middle East country housing is for regime sycophants (3-3)

29a   Writer using wrong books (8)

Penguin Books[7] is a former UK publisher that has now become an imprint of Penguin Random House — which is controlled by the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann.


1d   Style any MP "a real runt" and one could be this (15)

A semi & lit. clue.

2d   Stupid person is raising a protest (3-2)

Nit[5] is a British term for a foolish person ⇒ you stupid nit!.

3d   Overhead for small supermarket better than expected (5,3)

Dave Perry has a better explanation than I managed to come up with. I supposed that "small supermarket" must be denoting SPAR with the initial S removed. This did seem to be a bit strange as I have only seen this construction used to clue the initial letter of a word (as in 22a) — not the removal of the initial letter. Dave Perry suggests that we need to substitute ABOVE (overhead) for S (small) in SPAR (supermarket).

Spar[7] is a retailer based in the Netherlands that operates approximately 12,500 grocery, convenience and discount stores in 35 countries worldwide, including more than 2,500 stores in the UK — but none in North or South America.

4d   Ring up about one purple shrub (5)

6d   U-turn Maggie finally contrived? Not so (6)

7d   Trouble in a desperate condition endlessly upset eastern leader (5,4)

The Dalai Lama[5] is the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism and, until the establishment of Chinese communist rule, the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet.

8d   Model did many a service? She would, wouldn't she! (5,4-6)

Isn't it amazing how the names of those associated with sex scandals seem to stick in one's brain — or is it just me?

This is a really marvellous clue on so many levels. 

Mandy Rice-Davies[7] is a British former model and showgirl best known for her association with Christine Keeler and her role in the Profumo affair, which discredited the Conservative government of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in 1963.

In July 1961, British osteopath Stephen Ward[7] held a pool party at Cliveden, the Buckinghamshire mansion owned by Viscount Astor during which he introduced Christine Keeler to John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War. Profumo began having sexual relations with Keeler, unaware that she might also have been having sexual relations with Yevgeni Ivanov, a naval attaché at the embassy of the Soviet Union. When the affair became public, Profumo was forced to resign. In the fallout of the Profumo scandal, Ward was charged with living off the avails of prostitution (on which he was found guilty) and procuring prostitutes (on which he has found not guilty). Ward committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping tablets on the last day of his trial and died before sentence could be pronounced.

During a magistrates court hearing, it was put to Mandy Rice-Davies that Lord Astor denied having had sex with her, to which she replied, “He would, wouldn’t he?”. In his review, Dave Perry incorrectly attributes the quote to Stephen Ward, an error that doesn't escape several visitors to the Times for the Times site.

9d   Korean, for example. appears in London soccer team, one on top of league (8)

Another clue that was easy enough to solve without ever having heard of the British football club.

Leyton Orient F.C.[7] are a professional football [soccer] club in Leyton, in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, England. They play in Football League One, the third tier in the English football league system, and are known to their fans as the O's.

15d   In SW London district, one's accompanied by singers (9)

My difficulty here came from incorrectly supposing that the solution would be "a SW London district".

Barnes[7] is a district in south-west London, England, within the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.

One meaning of the preposition to[10] is accompanied by ⇒ dancing to loud music.

The wordplay is BARNES (London district) containing (in) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + ('s; in the cryptic reading, a contraction for has) TO (accompanied by)}

16d   Look up a bird and carry on (4,2,2)

A tit[Britannica Concise Encyclopedia] is any of several songbirds closely related to the chickadee, including the great tit (Parus major), found in Europe, North Africa, and Asia and the tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor), native to North America. These birds are called either "chickadees" or "titmice" in North America, and just "tits" in the rest of the English-speaking world.[7]

18d   Head inspires a right row in public school arrangement (8)

In the UK, a public school[5] is a private fee-paying secondary school, especially one for boarders [what North Americans would call public schools are referred to in Britain as state funded schools].

Head[5] is a nautical term for a toilet on a ship or boat they were cleaning out the heads.

The bog[5] is British slang for the toilet.

21d   Sounds like ecstasy reduced for a tenant (6)

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.

23d   Extract from English and Italian leader (5)

Duce[5] is an Italian word meaning leader. In 1922, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini assumed the title Il Duce.

25d   Note friend from Paris is in US city (5)

Appropriately enough, mi[3] is the American spelling of the third tone of the diatonic scale in solfeggio. British dictionaries appear to disagree on the preferred spelling of the name of this note. Chambers 21st Century Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries Online indicate that the principal spelling is me, with mi being a variant spelling.[2,5] Collins English Dictionary takes a contrary stance.[4]

Ami[8] (plural amis) is the masculine form of the French word meaning 'friend'.
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)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for this week — Falcon

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