Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013 — ST 4562

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4562
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4562]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, November 30, 2013[Note 2]
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
[1] This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, November 30, 2013 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.

[2] Due to the paywall that has been erected on its web site, I am no longer able to verify the puzzle that is published in the Vancouver Sun.


This week's puzzle certainly seemed to be a bit less taxing than those that we have experienced over the previous few weeks.

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   Lacking experience I acted badly behind a French philosopher (15)

In French, un[8] is the masculine singular form of the indefinite article.

A sophist[5] was a paid teacher of philosophy and rhetoric in Greece in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, associated in popular thought with moral scepticism and specious reasoning.

9a   Heather follows dog for game (7)

Ling[5] is another name for the common heather of Eurasia.

10a   Brilliant hit initially in a Celtic language (7)

A1[4][5] or A-one[3] meaning first class or excellent comes from a classification for ships in The Lloyd's Register of Shipping where it means equipped to the highest standard or first-class

I found C.[10] listed as an abbreviation for Celtic in Collins English Dictionary.

Aramaic[5] is a branch of the Semitic family of languages, especially the language of Syria used as a lingua franca in the Near East from the 6th century BC. It replaced Hebrew locally as the language of the Jews, and though displaced by Arabic in the 7th century AD, it still has about 200,000 speakers in scattered communities.

11a   Golfer Els drops one for an eagle (4)

Ernie Els[7] is a South African professional golfer. A former World No. 1, he is known as "The Big Easy" due to his imposing physical stature (he stands 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)) along with his fluid golf swing.

Erne[5] is a literary term for the sea eagle.

12a   "Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were best" (King John), for example (10)

The quotation — which comes from William Shakespeare's play King John (Act 4, Scene 3) — is an example of iambic pentameter.

Pentameter[10] is a a verse line consisting of five metrical feet. An iamb[10] is a metrical foot consisting of two syllables, a short one followed by a long one. Consequently, iambic pentameter is is a a verse line consisting of five metrical feet, each consisting of two syllables, a short one followed by a long one. 

Either this clue is scarcely cryptic or its cleverness has eluded everyone — in Dave Perry's words, "there's nothing particularly cryptic about it, unless I'm missing something".

13a   Uni has long dissertations about hero (7)

Uni[5] is an informal [seemingly British] term for university ⇒ he planned to go to uni.

In Greek mythology, Theseus[5] is the legendary hero of Athens, son of Poseidon (or, in another account, of Aegeus, king of Athens) and husband of Phaedra. He slew the Cretan Minotaur with the help of Ariadne.

15a   Row at club accepting German plonker (7)

Plonker[5] is a British word that can be used as (1) an informal term for a foolish or inept person or (2) vulgar slang for  a man’s penis.

In North America, Australia and New Zealand, dingbat[5] is an informal term for a stupid or eccentric person.

17a   Playwright takes in old dog (7)

Harold Pinter[5] (1930–2008) was an English dramatist, actor, and director. His plays are associated with the Theatre of the Absurd and are typically marked by a sense of menace. Notable plays: The Birthday Party (1958), The Caretaker (1960), and Party Time (1991). Nobel Prize for Literature (2005).

19a   He takes back food with lots of fat (7)

20a   Cunning and black rat circles one primate (10)

Shop[5] is British slang meaning to inform on (someone) she shopped her husband to bosses for taking tools home.

22a   Item of furniture used in Blue Peter -- middle part (4)

Blue Peter[5] is a blue flag with a white square in the centre, raised by a ship about to leave port.

25a   Usherette may offer this cold as part of selection (4-3)

In the UK, choc ice[5] is a small bar of ice cream with a thin coating of chocolate [similar to a Klondike ice cream bar]. From its picture, it would appear to be an ice cream on a stick without a stick — although, according to Wikipedia, "Views vary as to whether it is a choc ice[7] if it has a stick". Collins English Dictionary spells the word as choc-ice[10] with a hyphen.

26a   Primate tense and more irritable (7)

A tarsier[5] is a small insectivorous, tree-dwelling, nocturnal primate with very large eyes, a long tufted tail, and very long hindlimbs, native to the islands of SE Asia.

In British slang, arsey[5] (comparative form arsier) is an adjective meaning bad-tempered or uncooperative I was half an hour late phoning her and she didn’t get all arsey about it. I think the derivation of the word is obvious.
It is interesting to note that, in Australia, arsey means very lucky. This usage comes from the expression tin arse meaning 'lucky person' where tin is slang for 'money' and is used figuratively to mean 'luck'.
27a   With time secluded ash rots, producing a threat to the forest (5,3,7)

Dutch elm disease[5] is a fungal disease of elm trees that is spread by elm bark beetles. A virulent strain of the fungus which arose in North America has destroyed the majority of elms in southern Britain.


1d   A woman finally leaves dirty old man's brother (5)

Here "old man" is an informal term for one's father.

2d   Plain green ties knotted (9)

The Serengeti[5] is a vast plain in Tanzania, to the west of the Great Rift Valley. In 1951 the Serengeti National Park was created to protect the area’s large numbers of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle.

3d   Duet's quiet song (4)

Piano[3,5] (abbreviation p[5]), is a musical direction meaning either (as an adjective) soft or quiet or (as an adverb) softly or quietly.

4d   French draughtsman has succeeded in getting permission to enter (7)

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres[5] (1780–1867) was a French painter. A pupil of Jacques-Louis David, he vigorously upheld neoclassicism in opposition to Delacroix’s romanticism. Notable works: Ambassadors of Agamemnon (1801) and The Bather (1808).

The abbreviation s[5] stands for succeeded, in the sense of to have become the new rightful holder of an office, title, or property he succeeded to his father’s kingdom. It might be seen, for instance, it charts of royal lineages.

In addition to meaning the action or fact of going in or entering, ingress[5] can also mean the capacity or right of entrance.

5d   Tried eating duck and drank to the happy couple! (7)

In cricket, a duck[5] is a batsman’s score of nought [zero] ⇒ he was out for a duck. This is similar to the North American expression goose egg[5] meaning a zero score in a game. In British puzzles, duck is used to indicate the letter "O" based on the resemblance of the digit "0" to this letter.

6d   Cameron left one frantic person working mostly in the dark (4,5)

The surface reading is likely a reference to David Cameron[5], the British Prime Minister.

7d   Prudence clutches rare pamphlet (5)

I found r.[10] listed as an abbreviation for rare in Collins English Dictionary.

8d   He may use blue or red coat! (9)

I must admit that I had totally missed the anagram before reading Dave Perry's review. Like him, I'm hard put to explain the use of "blue" as an anagram indicator. It is probably used as an adjective in the sense of melancholy, sad, or depressed (which I suppose implies that one is not one's normal self).

13d   Stamped out noisy entertainment (3-6)

14d   Found heat bliss when abroad (9)

16d   Fun time going to Ireland with a lass good at splits? (9)

Erin[5] is an archaic or literary name for Ireland.

18d   He controversially filmed game at small market (7)

While two major variants of the game of rugby exist in the real world, only one seems to have caught  on in Crosswordland. Rugby union[5] (abbreviation RU[5]) is a form of rugby played in teams of fifteen, in contrast to rugby league[5], which is played in teams of thirteen.

Ken Russell[7] (1927–2011) was an English film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style.

19d   Disgraced journo follows drunk briefly (7)

Journo[4,5,11] is an informal, and chiefly British, term for a journalist ⇒ the journos were there in force to see them play.

Blot[7] is used in the sense of to damage the good character or reputation of the turmoil blotted his memory of the school.

As one commenter pointers out at Big Dave's blog, the clue really should have been structured as "BLOTTO (drunk) mostly" rather than "BLOTTO (drunk) briefly" as 'briefly' usually serves as an indicator to use the first letter of a word.

21d   Start to criticise Yahoo's power (5)

The setter uses some unnecessary capitalization to mischievously direct our attention to Yahoo! Inc.[7], an American multinational Internet corporation headquartered in Sunnyvale, California that is globally known for its Web portal, search engine, and related services.

23d   Betrothed carries back a cake (5)

24d   One gentleman upset Murdoch in writing (4)

Dame Iris Murdoch[5] (1919–1999) was a British novelist and philosopher, born in Ireland. She is primarily known for her novels, many of which explore complex sexual relationships and spiritual life. Notable novels: The Sandcastle (1957) and The Sea, The Sea (Booker Prize, 1978).
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)
[11] - TheFreeDictionary.com (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for this week — Falcon

No comments:

Post a Comment