Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014 — ST 4574

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4574
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Jeff Pearce 
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4574]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, February 22, 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
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- unsolved or incorrect prior to visiting Times for the Times
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by solutions from Times for the Times
- yet to be solved
[1] This puzzle appears on the Sunday puzzles pages in the Saturday, February 22, 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.


Today's offering from Jeff Pearce is relatively gentle. However, I expect a much tougher challenge next week from Anax.

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   Copy funny strip cartoon but leave out the ducks (10)

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.

6a   Hibiscus conceals bird (4)

9a   Loot left for nark (10)

In Australia and New Zealand, nark[10] is another name for a spoilsport.

10a   Smear Tory cut short by runs (4)

In Britain, blue[5] is an informal term for a supporter of the Conservative Party.

In the UK [as is also the case in Canada], a Tory[5] is a member or supporter of the Conservative Party.
Originally, the term Tory referred to a member of the English political party opposing the exclusion of James II from the succession. It remained the name for members of the English, later British, parliamentary party supporting the established religious and political order until the emergence of the Conservative Party in the 1830s.
12a   Use key and take off bolt (6)

13a   Bitterness from grub at the club (8)

Wormwood[5] is a woody shrub with a bitter aromatic taste, used as an ingredient of vermouth and absinthe and in medicine. The term can also mean a state or source of bitterness or grief The survivors of the 1996 election were relegated to a kind of mute opposition, forced to sip wormwood from the cup of their own brewing.

15a   Cool fire eater dancing with Romanian girl initially (11)

The International Vehicle Registration (IVR) code for Romania is R[5]. However, I would say that this is not how the setter has chosen to clue R in this clue. Since the clue contains the word "Romanian" (rather than "Romania"), the wordplay would seem to be an anagram (dancing) of {FIRE EATER + (with) the initial letters of Romanian and Girl (Romanian girl initially)}.

18a   Detain judge after driving, perhaps, to church (11)

The wordplay is RATE (judge) following (after) {IN CAR (driving, perhaps) + (to) CE (church; Church of England}.

As a charade indicator, the word "to" is used in the sense of "pressed against" — as in expressions such as "shoulder to the wheel" or "nose to the grindstone".

The Church of England[10] (abbreviation CE[10]) is the reformed established state Church in England, Catholic in order and basic doctrine, with the Sovereign as its temporal head.

21a   Nobleman that's, by the way, first (8)

An earl[5] is a British nobleman ranking above a viscount and below a marquess [the third highest of the five ranks of nobility — duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron].

22a   Secret about to be concealed by composer (6)

Thomas Arne[5] (1710–1778) was an English composer noted for ‘Rule, Britannia’ (whose words are attributed to James Thomson) and for his settings of Shakespearean songs.

24a   Like a royal but not grand (4)

25a   Cooked kebabs and Egyptian food campers might have (5,5)

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

26a   Stretch of water? Not so fast! (4)

The Solent[5] is a channel between the northwest coast of the Isle of Wight and the mainland of southern England.

27a   Yank in one ripping novel making one sad (10)


1d   Quality assurance worker finally left plant (6)

2d   Cold remedy includes it now! (2,4)

To see the wordplay, read it as "cold, remedy includes it".

3d   Picture with airports left out (4-8)

4d   Ready for gym after bible studies (4)

PE[5] is the abbreviation for physical education (or Phys Ed, as it would likely be called by most school kids).

Religious instruction[10] (abbreviation RI[10]) is another name for religious education[10] (abbreviation RE[10]).
According to Wikipedia, "In secular usage, religious education[7] is the teaching of a particular religion (although in England the term religious instruction would refer to the teaching of a particular religion, with religious education referring to teaching about religions in general [as a school subject]) and its varied aspects — its beliefs, doctrines, rituals, customs, rites, and personal roles." 
5d   Fan copied rail magazine (10)

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.

7d   Graduate left with just a shoe and hat (8)

Having never heard of either the shoe or the hat, I didn't feel to bad about failing to solve this without the help of my electronic assistants.

A balmoral[5] can be either (1) a round brimless hat with a cockade or ribbons attached, worn by certain Scottish regiments or (2) a heavy laced leather walking boot.

8d   Mum's more embarrassed as destroyer of confidential material (8)

11d   Fresh pine tree balm is thick (12)

As an anagram indicator, fresh[10] would be used in the sense of novel or original ⇒ a fresh outlook.

14d   Fragrance from sweet drink (10)

Although I forgave myself for missing 7d, I kicked myself for not solving this one without help from my electronic assistants.

Have[10] is used in the sense of to to eat, drink, or partake of ⇒to have a good meal.

16d   Lively person's flash dance (8)

One definition of fire[10] is a flash or spark of or as if of fire.

17d   Expert turned over twig without seeing creature (8)

A scion[5] is a young shoot or twig of a plant, especially one cut for grafting or rooting.

19d   Fabric's first for dress then a cloak (6)

20d   Take a little time and relax with paper's last puzzle (6)

23d   European guy and Henry make a mistake (4)

The henry[5] (abbreviation H) is the SI unit of inductance, equal to an electromotive force of one volt in a closed circuit with a uniform rate of change of current of one ampere per second.

Herr[5] is (1) a title or form of address used of or to a German-speaking man, corresponding to Mr and also used before a rank or occupation (i) good morning, Herr Weber; (ii) my trip with the Herr Doktor was postponed or (2) a German man.
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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