Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday, March 2, 2014 — ST 4575

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4575
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4575]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, March 1, 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, March 1, 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.


Judging by my experience, if you love a good, stiff challenge then this puzzle should be right up your alley. Yes, it is a bit of a struggle — but a thoroughly enjoyable one, not to mention the immense feeling of satisfaction one gets when the puzzle is finally completed.

I read through all the clues without solving a single one until I got to the very last clue. A second and third read through failed to advance my progress one iota. At that point, I did some research on York and discovered its Roman name. That was enough of a push to get me started and I slowly but surely worked my way through the remainder of the grid. I did call upon my electronic assistants on a couple of other occasions, once to flesh out the name of the English soccer team (I had figured out the second part, but needed the name of city where they are based) and again for the LSD clue. I must admit that I didn't keep very good records, but I don't recall using electronic aids at any other time — other than to find explanations for some of my answers. Having resorted to the use of electronic help so early in the solving process, it was virtually inevitable that every clue solved after that relied on checking letters that could be attributed directly or indirectly to that use of electronic aid.

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   Rock band keeps supporting change (6)

R.E.M.[7] was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. The group disbanded amicably in September 2011, announcing the split on its website.

4a   East wind, and also old name for York (8)

The bora[5] is a strong, cold, dry northeast wind blowing in the upper Adriatic After the Bora blows into town, there's always a story in the paper about someone getting hit with a flying roadsign or a flowerbox that was ripped from a windowsill..

The phrase "and also" is used to clue CUM, cum[5] being a preposition meaning combined with or also used as (used to describe things with a dual nature or function) a study-cum-bedroom.

Eboracum[5] was the Roman name for York.

10a   Judge mostly superior and trendy artist (7)

In Britain, U[5] is used informally as an adjective (in respect to language or social behaviour) meaning characteristic of or appropriate to the upper social classes U manners. The term, an abbreviation of  upper class, was coined in 1954 by Alan S. C. Ross, professor of linguistics, and popularized by its use in Nancy Mitford's Noblesse Oblige (1956). In Crosswordland, it is frequently clued by words such as posh or superior.

Paul Gauguin[5] (1848–1903) was a French painter. From 1891 he lived mainly in Tahiti, painting in a post-impressionist style that was influenced by primitive art. Notable works: The Vision after the Sermon (1888) and Faa Iheihe (1898).

11a   Singer having clothes on (7)

Paul Robeson[5] (1898–1976) was an American singer and actor. His singing of ‘Ol’ Man River' in the musical Showboat (1927) established his international reputation. His black activism and Communist sympathies led to ostracism in the 1950s.

12a   Although clever, too absorbed by nights out (15)

13a   Rake made snail wriggle (6,3)

15a   Smoke from wheels? One thousand parts (5)

The wordplay is {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + G (thousand; grand)} containing (parts; divides, as Moses parted the Red Sea) CAR (wheels; slang term for an automobile).

One must read this type of clue as if it were a recipe:
  • Step 1:  [Take a synonym for] wheels;
  • Step 2:  one thousand parts [the result from Step 1]
16a   Not even a tramp will get pity without it (5)

"Not even" is used in the sense of uneven.

17a   Deprived of rest home, I'm on potty, opening bladder? (9)

19a   Reason TV records useless football team (9,6)

Doncaster Rovers Football Club[7] is an English professional association football [soccer] club based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire that plays in the Football League Championship (the second tier in the English football league system), having been promoted from Football League One (the third tier of English football) at the end of the 2012-13 season.

22a   View over wing (7)

In cricket, an over[5] (abbreviation O[5]) is a division of play consisting of a sequence of six balls bowled by a bowler from one end of the pitch, after which another bowler takes over from the other end.

23a   One with doubts about being eaten by pussy? (7)

Pussy is being used in the sense of full of pus.

24a   Artist given a line of LSD? (8)

Claude Monet[5] (1840–1926) was a French painter. A founder member of the impressionists, his fascination with the play of light on objects led him to produce series of paintings of single subjects painted at different times of the day and under different weather conditions, such as the Water-lilies sequence (1899–1906; 1916 onwards).

Ry[5] is the abbreviation for railway

Of course, the setter intends for us to be misdirected into thinking that LSD[5] is a reference to the powerful hallucinogenic drug, lysergic acid diethylamide. In reality, it actually relates to a now disused system of British currency.

In Britain, especially formerly, L.S.D. (or £.s.d. or l.s.d.) stood for librae, solidi, denarii [Latin for pounds, shillings, and pence] — the principal monetary units used in the UK prior to the introduction of decimal currency in 1971.

The pound[5] (also pound sterling) was — and continues to be — the basic monetary unit of the UK. While the symbol for pound is £, one often finds it written as L[10] (L coming from Latin, libra [plural librae]). In the system used prior to the introduction of decimal currency in 1971, a pound was subdivided into shillings and pence [the plural of penny in the sense of monetary value]. A penny [commonly referred to as an "old penny" to distinguish it from a post-decimalisation "new penny"] was a monetary unit and coin equal to one twelfth of a shilling or 240th of a pound (and was abbreviated d, for denarius [plural denarii]). A shilling[2] (abbreviated s[2], for solidus [plural solidi]) was a monetary unit and coin worth one twentieth of a pound or 12 old pence.

The definition is "of LSD?", with the question mark indicating that this is a definition by example. The definition could equally well have been "of dollars?" or "of yen?", as we need a solution that is an adjective meaning relating to money or currency.

25a   Actress and, primarily, film director (6)

Mia Farrow[5] is a US actress; daughter of Maureen O’Sullivan. She starred in Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Great Gatsby (1974), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and Husbands and Wives (1992).

Director is used in a somewhat whimsical sense to indicate "something which provides direction".


1d   Queenly tipple in authentic container (7)

Reginal[10] is an adjective meaning relating to a queen, queenly, or having the characteristics of a queen.

2d   I'm comic in funnier mood this time (6,9)

The rather unusual anagram indicator is "I'm comic in". Initially, I surmised that the rationale for this usage might relate to the fact that something hilariously funny would cause one to "crack up". Thus "I'm comic in" might be interpreted as "I cause a crack up in". However, I later discovered that this meaning of crack up[10] is a North American expression, so I'm left with no plausible explanation for this anagram indicator.

The term fourth dimension[5] is a reference to time regarded as analogous to linear dimensions.

3d   See defeat in typical fashion (9)

A see[5] is the place in which a cathedral church stands, identified as the seat of authority of a bishop or archbishop.

Ely[5] is a cathedral city in the fenland of Cambridgeshire, eastern England, on the River Ouse; population 15,600 (est. 2009).

The setter whimsically uses "see defeat" to clue "rout in Ely" (as this could also be described as an "Ely rout").

5d   Drug's no use for black singers (9)

Although the solution could hardly be anything other than what it is, tracking down the explanation for the wordplay proved to be a chore.

Barbitone[6] is the British name for barbital[6], a long-acting sedative and sleep-inducing drug of the barbiturate type.

6d   Failure to catch middle management stress (3,2)

The use of B as being symbolic of middle management comes from the NRS social grades[7], a system of demographic classification used in the United Kingdom. The categories were originally developed by the National Readership Survey to classify readers, but are now used by many other organisations for wider applications and have become a standard for market research. They were developed over 50 years ago and achieved widespread usage in 20th Century Britain. The classifications, which are based on the occupation of the head of the household, are shown in the following table.

Grade Social class Chief income earner's occupation
A upper middle class Higher managerial, administrative or professional
B middle class Intermediate managerial, administrative or professional
C1 lower middle class Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional
C2 skilled working class Skilled manual workers
D working class Semi and unskilled manual workers
E Those at the lowest levels of subsistence Casual or lowest grade workers, pensioners and others who depend on the welfare state for their income

7d   Film executive caught performer burying fiddle next to grave (7,8)

On cricket scorecards, the abbreviation c[5] denotes caught (by).

Fiddle[5] is an informal and chiefly British term meaning an act of defrauding, cheating, or falsifying a major mortgage fiddle.

Sting[10] is slang for a swindle or fraud.

8d   Trough containing a suit? (7)

Suit[10] is slang for a business executive or white-collar manager.

9d   Edge of mountain chain (4)

14d   Man raised cattle to consume new sort of cream (9)

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

15d   In Christian times, admits remarkable person (6,3)

There is an adage associated with cryptic crosswords that says that solvers should ignore punctuation  — except, of course, when it can't be ignored. This is one of those exceptional clues where punctuation absolutely cannot be ignored.

If you overlooked a key element of the clue, try saying the clue aloud as you would if dictating to a stenographer.

The wordplay is COMMA (,) containing (admits) ONER (remarkable person).

The Common Era[5] is another name for the Christian era[5], the period of time which begins with the traditional date of Christ’s birth.

Oner[5] is an informal and archaic British term meaning a remarkable person or thing.

16d   Balls found in cleaner chamber (7)

Ed Balls[7] is a British Labour Party and Co-operative Party [see following] politician, who is the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer [Opposition Critic for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the British equivalent to the Minister of Finance (Canada) or the Secretary of the Treasury (US)].
The Co-operative Party[7] is a political party in the United Kingdom committed to supporting and representing co-operative principles. The party does not put up candidates for UK elections, instead, Co-operative candidates stand jointly with the Labour Party as "Labour and Co-operative Party" candidates. Whilst Co-operative Party members may join the Labour Party, they are not permitted to be members of any other political party in the UK, and the Co-operative Party is legally a separate political organisation.
18d   Source of higher (or lower?) profits (4,3)

Financially speaking, the solution would be considered a source of higher profits. To a dairy farmer, on the other hand, it might be a source of "lower" profits.

20d   Not all material is this desirable (1-4)

To accord with the definition (desirable), A-list[7] would be a noun used as a modifier (adjective) ⇒ an A-list celebrity.

21d   Flood from river equally hard (4)

As I mentioned in the introduction, this was the only clue that I managed to solve prior to calling in my electronic reinforcements. Well, at least it wasn't a shutout!

H[5] is the abbreviation for hard, as used in describing grades of pencil lead ⇒ a 2H pencil.
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


  1. Can u solve:
    Wish! And if so, a wick turns into a yokel. (4)

    1. The style of the clue is somewhat unusual. I would be interested to know where it came from.

      The definition is "a yokel" and the solution is HICK.

      The wordplay is "W is H, and if so, a wick turns into". That is, if W were H, Wick would be Hick.