Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014 — ST 4578

Puzzle at a Glance
Puzzle Number in The Sunday Times
ST 4578
Date of Publication in The Sunday Times
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Dean Mayer (Anax)
Link to Full Review
Times for the Times [ST 4578]
Times for the Times Review Written By
Dave Perry
Dave Perry's Solving Time
Date of Publication in the Toronto Star
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Date of Publication in The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, March 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, March 22, 2014 edition of the Ottawa Citizen.
[2] Unverified as a paywall bars access to the The Vancouver Sun website.
[3] Unverified as there is no posting on the Saturday Star Cryptic Forum for March 15, 2014.


While this puzzle provided a satisfying challenge, it was certainly less formidable than some that he has produced recently.

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   Dancing helps, to female adult (3-5)

In Britain, top-shelf[5] (said of magazine) means pornographic while, in North America, the term denotes of a high quality or excellent ⇒ some top-shelf cars are shipped overseas.

6a   Skirt or skirts for boy? I don't know (6)

One might say pass[5] when one does not know the answer to a question, for example in a quiz.

9a   I rest in Greek character's location (6)

Mu[5] is the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet (Μ, μ).

10a   Stagger around in said gunfight location (2,6)

11a   Doctor to pay those providing treatment? (10)

12a   One thousand and one staff (4)

13a   S P A D E could be represented thus (6-6)

17a   A film is not what the answer is (7,1,4)

Without a Clue[7] is a 1988 British comedy film directed by Thom Eberhardt and starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley.

19anbsp;  What fun, being left out of circle (4)

20a   Reduced demonstrating in Lincoln (1,3,6)

Lincoln[5] is a city in eastern England, the county town of Lincolnshire; population 86,800 (est. 2009). It was founded by the Romans as Lindum Colonia.

Abraham Lincoln[5] (1809–1865) was an American Republican statesman, 16th President of the US 1861-5. His election as President on an anti-slavery platform helped precipitate the American Civil War; he was assassinated shortly after the war ended. Lincoln was noted for his succinct, eloquent speeches, including the Gettysburg Address of 1863.

The phrase à bon marché[10] is French for at a bargain price.

22a   Perfect, catching ambassador with trousers down? (2,3,3)

HE[2] is the abbreviation for His or Her Excellency, where Excellency[2] (usually His, Her or Your Excellency or Your or Their Excellencies) is a title of honour given to certain people of high rank, e.g. ambassadors.

23a   Expel from class (6)

In certain British schools, a remove[10] is a class or form [grade], especially one for children of about 14 years, designed to introduce them to the greater responsibilities of a more senior position in the school.

24a   Somebody's gutted by support network (6)

25a   Short skirts are straining the church (8)


2d   Gap over 25 (8)

The numeral 25 is a cross reference indicator directing the solver to insert the solution to clue 25a in its place to complete the clue.

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.

3d   Lace, one that may be found on running shoe (5)

4d   Crack troops in alien gear (9)

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[7] (often referred to simply as E.T.) is a 1982 American science fiction film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. It tells the story of a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed "E.T.", who is stranded on Earth. He and his siblings help the extraterrestrial return home while attempting to keep it hidden from their mother and the government.

5d   Absolutely unique as this grid entry? (4,3,2,6)

The definition certainly is "absolutely". As for the wordplay, I interpret it to indicate that what sets this clue apart is the fact that its solution runs "from top to bottom" in the grid.

6d   Bill has to cut through weed (5)

The wordplay is ACC (bill; account) contained in (has to cut) BY (through; by means of).

Baccy[5] is an informal British term for tobacco.

7d   Adam Price shot first aider (9)

Adam Price[7] is a politician in Wales, and a former Member of the UK Parliament.

8d   Bag that's square, of course (6)

Apparently s is an abbreviation for square, although I failed to find it listed as such in any of my dictionaries.

14d   Wife opening a brothel around Derby (6,3)

Derby[5] is a city in the Midlands of England, on the River Derwent; population 244,700 (est. 2009).

Bowler[5] [known in North America as a derby[5]] is a chiefly British name for a man’s hard felt hat with a round dome-shaped crown.

15d   Boat is able to cross a river (9)

The Tamar[5] is a river in southwestern England which rises in northwest Devon and flows 98 km (60 miles) generally southwards, forming the boundary between Devon and Cornwall and emptying into the English Channel through Plymouth Sound.

16d   No challenge? Gulp! (8)

I have to admit that I failed to see the wordplay here. This is an inverse wordplay style clue — one in which an element of the clue could be produced by wordplay found in the solution. Thus, in this clue, the definition is "no challenge" for which the solution is PUSHOVER. The word "gulp" could be an anagram (OVER) of PUSH (plug; promote through advertising).

18d   I will not head to your shed (6)

20d   Winged Messenger's initial warning (5)

21d   River bird's one raised by wolf (5)

In Roman mythology, Remus[5] is one of the traditional founders of Rome, with his twin brother Romulus[5]. The twin sons of Mars by a Vestal Virgin, Romulus and Remus were abandoned at birth but were found and suckled by a she-wolf and brought up by a shepherd family. Remus is said to have been killed by Romulus during an argument about the new city.
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

No comments:

Post a Comment