Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014 — ST 4568

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4568
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4568]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Not published[Note 3]
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, January 11, 2014[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, January 11, 2014 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] The Saturday Star Cryptic Forum shows that the Toronto Star published a different puzzle on January 4, 2013.


It would appear that the setters are attempting to outdo each other in raising the difficulty level of the puzzles. I worked at this one off-and-on all week. It was somewhat of a relief to see that the Brits also found this puzzle challenging.

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   Outside old church Mormon destroyed Egyptian work of art (10)

E[10] is the symbol for Egypt or Egyptian.

A monochrome[10] is a painting, drawing, etc, done in a range of tones of a single colour.

6a   A crowd leaves Python show for food (4)

Monty Python's Spamalot[7] is a musical comedy "lovingly ripped off from" the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Like the film, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian Legend, although it differs from the film in many ways. The title comes comes from a line in the movie which goes: "we eat ham, and jam and Spam a lot." The original 2005 Broadway production won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season and received 14 Tony Award nominations. Although Dave Perry identifies it as "a West End musical", the show actually originated in the US with the British production following later.

9a   Rips up the greatest possible fabric (10)

Tattersall[10] is a fabric, sometimes brightly coloured, having stripes or bars in a checked or squared pattern.

10a   Legendary Scandinavian sculptor beheaded (4)

In Norse mythology, Odin[10] was the supreme creator god; the divinity of wisdom, culture, war, and the dead.

Auguste Rodin[10] (1840–1917) was a French sculptor, noted for his portrayal of the human form. His works include The Kiss (1886), The Burghers of Calais (1896), and The Thinker (1905).

12a   It's only right to leave scrap (6)

Even after figuring out the solution, it took some digging to explain the definition. One must interpret only[10] as a sentence connector used to introduce an exception or condition   ⇒ play outside: only don't go into the street.

13a   Set on eating this? (2,6)

15a   Cycle along with extremely loathsome bear -- did it do for Dr Black? (11)

Dave Perry may have been able to "write this one straight in from the definition and enumeration alone" but, prior to some extensive research, I hadn't a clue what this was about.

Dr. Black is the perpetual victim in the British version of the board game Clue (known in the UK as Cluedo[7]). In the North American version of the game, the victim's name is Mr. Boddy. A candlestick is one of the six possible murder weapons that may have done him in.

Do for[10] [which, it would appear, might be a British usage] means to cause the ruin, death, or defeat of   ⇒ the last punch did for him.

Stick[10] is chiefly British slang meaning to tolerate or abide ⇒ I can't stick that man.

18a   Novice backing baritone is worried (11)

21a   Tramp in cinema entertaining a member of the clergy (8)

Charlie Chaplin[5] (1889–1977) was an English film actor and director. He directed and starred in many short silent comedies, mostly playing a bowler-hatted tramp, a character which was his trademark for more than twenty-five years. Notable films: The Kid (1921) and The Gold Rush (1925).

22a   Hood and hat carried with emblem at the front (6)

Al Capone[5] (1899–1947) was an American gangster, of Italian descent. He dominated organized crime in Chicago in the 1920s and was indirectly responsible for many murders, including the St Valentine’s Day Massacre.

24a   Spirit shown by city after start of blitz (4)

25a   Not as healthy after wound -- being without a source of relief? (10)

Two explanations have been advanced with respect to this clue. The version that most people have arrived at (including Dave Perry as well as myself) is:
  • ILLER (not as healthy) following (after) PINK (wound) containing (without) A
while the alternative explanation put forward by a couple of individuals in comments on Times for the Times is:
  • ILLER (not as healthy) following (after) {PAIN (wound) + K[A] (being) with the A deleted (without A)}
Pink[10] means to to prick lightly with a sword or rapier.

In ancient Egypt, it was believed that ka[10] was an attendant spirit dwelling as a vital force in a man or statue.

26a   Foul and disgusting  fare might be found here (4)

In Britain, a rank[10] is a place where taxis wait to be hired.

27a   In hollow at end of lake, there's small area of water that's blue (10)


1d   Mare, dead carp, grouse and beef (6)

The abbreviation for mare is m.[10] [I presume this may arise from a horse breeding or racing context.]

One must interpret dead[10] as being an intensifier ⇒ (i)a dead stop ; (ii)a dead loss. Collins English Dictionary offers a list of synonyms for this sense of the word, including total, complete, and utter.

Mutter[10] is used in the sense of to grumble or complain [or, in other words, to carp, grouse, or beef].

2d   Bill's unpleasant -- heartless (6)

3d   Little creature from horrible borough near Gatwick on the radio (6-6)

I think I may be overly harsh in charging myself with having used outside assistance on this clue. I pored over a map of England until I located Crawley just south of Gatwick. As soon as I saw the name, the solution popped to mind.

Crawley[7] is a town in West Sussex, England. It is 28 miles (45 km) south of Charing Cross [considered to mark the centre of London], and had a population of 106,597 at the time of the 2011 Census. Gatwick Airport, one of Britain's busiest international airports, is situated on the edge of the town.

4d   Adjourned for some wine (4)

5d   Bitter lemon valet prepared (10)

7d   Fan painted Celtic quibbling (8)

As an anagram indicator, fan[10] would be used in the sense of to agitate or move (air, smoke, etc) with or as if with a fan.

Among other possibilities, the abbreviation C.[10] may stand for Celtic.

8d   Explorer goes south of isle for medicinal plant (8)

Sir Francis Drake[5] (circa 1540–96) was an English sailor and explorer.

The Isle of Man[5] (abbreviation IOM[5]), an island in the Irish Sea, is a British Crown dependency.

Mandrake[5] (Mandragora officinarum) is a Eurasian solanaceous plant with purplish flowers and a forked root. It was formerly thought to have magic powers and a narcotic was prepared from its root.

11d   Show contempt and tear into awful thesis (12)

14d   One dollar hidden in china cow (10)

The abbreviation d.[10] stands for dollar or dollars.

In Britain, china[5] is an informal term for a friend (or, as the Brits would say, a mate[5]). This comes from Cockney rhyming slang, where china is the shortened form of china plate which rhymes with 'mate'.

16d   Key opening hostelry (5,3)

Hostelry[10] is an archaic or facetious name for an inn.

17d   Imitate all the people present (8)

Do[10] means to act like or imitate he's a good mimic – he can do all his friends well.

19d   Miner trimmed dog (6)

20d   About to enter camp hidden from general view (6)

23d   Cut and scratch from a vegetable (4)

Scratch is used in the sense of 'the required standard' as in the phrase up to scratch[5]her German was not up to scratch.
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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