Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014 — ST 4567

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4567
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tim Moorey
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4567]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, December 28, 2013[Note 3]
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, January 4, 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 4, 2014 edition of The Ottawa Citizen.

[2] This information is unconfirmed as a paywall on its web site precludes verification of the puzzle published in the Vancouver Sun.

[3] This information is unconfirmed as there is no entry on the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum for Saturday, December 28, 2013.


As seems to be the norm recently, I solved this puzzle during several sittings spread over a week. Of course, by the time I sat down to write the blog, I had forgotten most of the clues that had been solved a week previously. It was, therefore, a bit eerie to look at the solution to the first clue and realize that I was listening at that very moment to a Billie Holiday album. Was it a coincidence that I had chosen to put that selection on or was it my subconscious at work?

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   Leave to the end tab that's for an American singer (6,7)

Billie Holiday[5] (1915–1959) was an American jazz singer; born Eleanora Fagan. She began her recording career with Benny Goodman’s band in 1933, going on to perform with many small jazz groups.

8a   Seamen with daughter run for it (7)

In the Royal Navy, able seaman[5] (abbreviation AB[5]), is a rank of sailor above ordinary seaman and below leading seaman. [Note that, in the clue, the plural is used.]

In Spanish, con[8] is a preposition meaning with chile con carne (chilli pepper with meat).

9a   No smooth backing in structure on bottom of ship (7)

A keelson[5] is a structure running the length of a ship and fastening the timbers or plates of the floor to its keel.

11a   Notable  Mousetrap attraction! (3,6)

The capitalization of "Mousetrap" is likely intended to suggest the stage production of that name.

The Mousetrap[7] is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie. The Mousetrap opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. It has the longest initial run of any play in history, with its 25,000th performance taking place on 18 November 2012.

12a   Eastern inn used by lesser airline (5)

13a   Rogue to be announced in tabloid (6)

14a   Indeed so flipping unfair (3-5)

Ratbag[5] is British slang for an unpleasant or disliked person (i) she’s a snobby old ratbag (ii)  they blamed the ratbag photographer.

17a   They could be shifting in the chase (8)

19a   Very new head of administration set about at work (6)

22a   Slightly wet Chinese communist article discounted (5)

A Maoist[5] is an adherent of the communist doctrines of Mao Zedong as formerly practised in China, having as a central idea permanent revolution and stressing the importance of the peasantry, small-scale industry, and agricultural collectivization.

24a   Forty-five right for second tenor in Italian musical foursome (7,2)

Are "fory-five" and "quarter to" really synonymous? Yes, twelve forty-five is a quarter to one — but the terms are used in relation to two different points in time.

The abbreviation for tenor is t.[10].

In Italian, quartetto[8] means quartet.

25a   A cracking lodge in US city (7)

26a   One terribly boring fat man (7)

27a   Reformatory man to charm head of State, ER (6,7)

As an anagram indicator, reformatory[5] is used as an adjective meaning tending or intended to produce reform.

The regnal ciphers (monograms) of British monarchs are initials formed from the Latin version of their first name followed by either Rex or Regina (Latin for king or queen, respectively). Thus, the regnal cipher of King Edward was ER[5] — from the Latin Edwardus Rex.

Thomas Cranmer[5] (1489–1556) was an English Protestant cleric and martyr. After helping to negotiate Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, he was appointed the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury in 1532. He was responsible for liturgical reform and the compilation of the Book of Common Prayer (1549). In the reign of Mary Tudor Cranmer was tried for treason and heresy and burnt at the stake.

For the benefit of those whose knowledge of 16th century English monarchs[7] might be a bit rusty, Henry VIII ruled from 1509-1547. He was succeeded by his son, the "boy king" Edward VI who ruled from 1547 until his death at the age of 15 in 1553. His period on the throne was followed by the disputed reign of Lady Jane Grey (a Protestant great-granddaughter of Henry VII) who ruled for nine days (July 10-19, 1553) before being displaced by Mary I (the Catholic daughter of Henry VIII and half-sister to Edward VI).


2d   Clear understanding in place for auditors (7)

3d   Latrine hard work? Nothing in it with say, Ajax (9)

The surface reading may suggest a well-known brand of toilet bowl cleanser.

In Greek mythology, Ajax[5] was either (1) a Greek hero of the Trojan war, son of Telamon, king of Salamis. He was proverbial for his size and strength or (2) a Greek hero, son of Oileus, king of Locris..

4d   Gutted England side unexpectedly goes down the plughole (6)

In the surface reading, "England side" refers to a sports team (side) representing England in international competition.

Plughole[5] is the British name for the drain in a bath, basin or sink.

The Ashes[5] is a trophy for the winner of a series of Test matches [also commonly referred to as the Ashes] in a cricket season between England and Australia. The name arises from a mock obituary notice published in the Sporting Times (2 September 1882), with reference to the symbolical remains of English cricket being taken to Australia after a sensational victory by the Australians at the Oval [an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth].

In his comments, Dave Perry is referring to the 2013-14 Ashes series played in Australia in December 2013 and January 2014. At the time that he wrote his remarks, Australia had already scored decisive victories in the first two matches and were very likely leading in the third match as well (which they eventually won by a margin of 218 runs). Australia went on to defeat England in the final two matches of the series to hand England a 5-0 drubbing in the series.

5d   Forsaken wild plants (3,5)

The oak fern[5] is a delicate fern of woods and damp places in the uplands of northern Eurasia and North America.

6d   Thoughts of top team as getting relegated (5)

In the surface reading, relegate[5] is used in the sense to transfer (a sports team) to a lower division of a league United were relegated to division two. However, in the cryptic reading, it is likely used in the more general sense of to assign an inferior rank or position to they aim to prevent women from being relegated to a secondary role.

7d   Charlie got better opener out without doubt (7)

Charlie[5] is British slang for a fool ⇒ what a bunch of charlies.

8d   Absurd but clear aims I put out as a writer (6,5)

Albert Camus[7] (1913–1960) was a French author, journalist, and key philosopher of the 20th century.

10d   Nothing inspires English rock singer (4,7)

Neil Diamond[5] is a US pop songwriter and singer. Among his many hits are “Cherry, Cherry” (1966), “Sweet Caroline” (1969), “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (1978, a duet with Barbra Streisand), and “Hello Again” (1980).

15d   Defeat appeared to restrict Old Testament study (5,4)

Do[5] is used in the sense of to learn or study ⇒ I’m doing English, German, and History.

16d   Major retreat in the past, for example in board game (8)

Chequers[10] is the British spelling of the board game checkers[10] — which is also known as draughts[10] in the UK.

Chequers[5,10] is a Tudor mansion in Buckinghamshire, England which serves as the official country residence of the British prime minister [the British equivalent of Camp David (US) or Harrington Lake (Canada)].

Sir John Major[5] is a British Conservative statesman who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1990 to 1997.

18d   Commemoration: mine's in messy heap (7)

20d   Start of crop area, for example could be represented as this (7)

21d   Standard clothing lines on order primarily showing whiteness (6)

23d   Sort of pole to carry with difficulty on motorway (5)

In Britain, a motorway[5] is a dual-carriageway road [divided highway] designed for fast traffic, with relatively few places for joining or leaving [controlled access].
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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