Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013 — ST 4565

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4565
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, November 24, 2013[Note 3]
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4565]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, December 21, 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, December 21, 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.

[3] Dave Perry, in his review at Times for the Times, mistakenly shows the date of publication in the Sunday Times as being November 25, 2013.


Today's puzzle has a varied mix of clues — some are very straight-forward, while others are very tricky employing, for instance, some rather imaginative anagram indicators.

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   Fat boy swallowing last of burger (4)

4a   Reptile got policeman on the toilet (10)

A head[5] is a toilet on a ship or boat they were cleaning out the heads.

9a   Leave coin for the Australian resident (6)

An anna[5] is a former monetary unit of India and Pakistan, equal to one sixteenth of a rupee.

Goanna[5] is an Australian name for the monitor[5] (also known as the monitor lizard) a large tropical Old World lizard with a long neck, narrow head, forked tongue, strong claws, and a short body. Monitors were formerly believed to give warning of crocodiles.

10a   Cameron is nervous with answer being filmed (2,6)

David Cameron[5] is a British Conservative politician who has been Prime Minister of the UK since 2010 (in coalition with the Liberal Democrats).

11a   Junk beats our destroyer (8)

In the surface reading, junk[2] refers to a flat-bottomed square-sailed boat, with high forecastle and poop, from the Far East.

As an anagram indicator, junk may be a bit weak. The word would seem to have the connotation of to discard or abandon rather than to break up or smash. Perhaps its use can be justified based on it meaning "to throw out" as 'out' is a common anagram indicator.

13a   Skill displayed by man camping? (6)

The man is named AL and he can be found in TENT (camping implying "in tent").

14a   Threw unsold pens out (10)

16a   Jump with guitar at end of recital (4)

An axel[5] is a jump in figure skating from the forward outside edge of one skate to the backward outside edge of the other, with one (or more) and a half turns in the air. The move was named after
Norwegian skater Axel R. Paulsen (1885–1938).

17a   Blinking tough cause? (4)

I think the idea behind the clue is that a stye would cause blinking to be difficult (tough).

In the surface reading, blinking[5] takes the role of an intensifier, used in informal British English, to express annoyance ⇒ (i) computers can be a blinking nuisance to operators; (ii) I’ll sign off however I blinking well like.

18a   Cut out alcohol and start to forestall beastly complaint (5,5)

The use of "out" as a containment indicator seems a bit of a stretch. Perhaps it is based on out[5] (as a preposition) being a non-standard contraction of out of he ran out the door. More likely, though, the setter may expect us to insert some missing punctuation into the clue, reading the wordplay as "cut out; alcohol and start to forestall".

Swine fever[5] is an intestinal viral disease of pigs.

20a   Rip off  a jacket (6)

Fleece — in addition to being a fabric — may also be a jacket or top made from such a fabric[4] or a garment made or lined with such a fabric[11].

21a   Meticulous member of the clergy on a cycle (8)

A curate[5] is a member of the clergy engaged as assistant to a vicar, rector, or parish priest.

The abbreviation c[10] stands for cycle.

23a   Beef put on butter is prime bit (8)

Past[10], as an adverb, can mean on or onwards ⇒ I greeted him but he just walked past.

I interpreted the clue in a similar manner to Dave Perry with "is prime bit" signifying the first letter of the word "Is".

Thus the wordplay is PAST (on) + RAM (butter; male goat or sheep) + I (Is prime bit).

I presume that "put" is employed as an explicit instruction to the solver, being the first in series of operations (with the others being implicit). This "put" PAST [as the first element of the charade]; [then add] RAM; [then finally add] I.

Pastrami[5] (a word of Yiddish origin — not Italian as I had always imagined) is highly seasoned smoked beef, typically served in thin slices.

24a   Attack from male hiding in a woody plant (6)

26a   Comfortably Numb melody is pure metal! (10)

Here is another instance of an anagram indicator (which Dave Perry refers to as an anagrind) that, depending on one's point of view, might be described as variously questionable or imaginative — or, in the words of Peter Biddlecombe, puzzle editor at The Sunday Times, "novel". I suppose getting comfortable implies a transformation. As one commenter says on Times for the Times, "I thought 'comfortably' = 'loosely' might cover it".

"Comfortably Numb[7]" is a song by the English rock band Pink Floyd, which first appears on the 1979 double album, The Wall. It was also released as a single in 1980 with "Hey You" as the B-side.

Molybdenum[5] (symbol: Mo) is the chemical element of atomic number 42, a brittle silver-grey metal of the transition series, used in some alloy steels.

27a   Petition against introduction of toxic fat (4)


2d   Stir caldron regularly (3)

3d   Scavenger beginning to drag short bar (5)

A dingo[5] (Canis dingo) is a wild or half-domesticated dog with a sandy-coloured coat, found in Australia.

4d   Gas and water required to live in French manor (7)

In French, the word for water is eau[8]. There may also be a play on the term eau de vie[10] meaning brandy or other spirits (which, in French, means 'water of life').

5d   Dilly-dallying drawn in a strip cartoon (15)

As a anagram indicator, draw[5] would be interpreted in the sense to pull or move (something) in a specified direction.

6d   Thrilled to have gone out without cold (7)

7d   After touring Haiti mule is put down (9)

As an anagram indicator, touring would be interpreted in the sense of  'moving about'.

8d   A perfect example with note used in thorough contract (11)

The solution to the clue is ARRANGEMENT. However, the clue is flawed (as Peter Biddlecombe, the puzzle editor at The Sunday Times, admits in a comment at Times for the Times). The wordplay is intended to parse as {AN (a) + GEM (perfect example) + E ([musical] note)} contained in (used in) ARRANT (thorough). However, this produces ARRA(AN|GEM|E)NT — with one too many As.

Even had this wordplay produced the correct result, I would take issue with substituting "an gem" for "a perfect example". It is fine to substitute "an eagle" for "a bird", or vice versa, but I think that the indefinite article should accord with the noun it accompanies.

12d   In short, work with a cook to get booze (11)

While I managed to determine the type of booze using a word finder program, I did not comprehend the wordplay until I read Dave Perry's explanation.

Amontillado[5] is a medium dry sherry, named after Montilla, a town in southern Spain where the original wine was produced.

15d   Soon object to being in work (9)

18d   Caretaker takes note into small room with patients (7)

Te[5] is the British spelling of ti which (in tonic sol-fa) is the seventh note of a major scale.

19d   One in test about carbon left to cry (7)

The symbol for the chemical element carbon is C[5].

22d   On public transport a puzzle's the answer! (5)

25d   Second explosive novel (3)

HE[5] is the abbreviation for high explosive.

She[7], subtitled A History of Adventure, is a novel by English writer Henry Rider Haggard (1856–1925), first serialized in The Graphic magazine from October 1886 to January 1887. She is one of the classics of imaginative literature, and as of 1965 with over 83 million copies sold in 44 different languages, one of the best-selling books of all time. Extraordinarily popular upon its release, She has never been out of print.
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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