Saturday Times 24042 (11 Oct)

Posted on Categories Weekend Cryptic
Solved in the paper in my Cheltenham hotel room last week, and not very helpful to my confidence in the Championships! Over half an hour certainly, although I did keep falling asleep while solving it (too much vodka the night before).

1 RED SHIFT – straightforward charade, “cherry” + “smock”, nice surface reading about a pregnancy when actually it leads to an astronomical term for an effect when objects are moving away from us.
9 ROCKFALL – F in ROCKALL, “sea area” as it’s one of the regions mentioned in the shipping forecast.
10 DEMO – MODE with the two halves transposed.
11 APPREHENSION – (perhaps one in)*, &lit. although the surface is a little shaky (geddit?)
13 BIG END – I’d forgotten about the Blefuscudians, so I put THE END in to start with. In Gulliver’s Travels, they were permanently at war with the Lilliputians over what end of a boiled egg to eat from.
14 TREASURE – TREASON with SON replaced by SURE.
15 SYNAPSE – (pains yes)*, without the i. Another &lit.
16 POLARIS – hidden inside “Topol arises”. Topol is an Israeli actor, most famous for his role in Fiddler on the Roof.
20 BRAGGART – BRAGG + ART. William Henry Bragg and his son William Lawrence Bragg shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915.
22 DUCKED – “duct”
25 WAGE – W + AGE. Used as a verb here, as in to wage war.

2 ETERNITY – (entirety)*. From the poem Auguries of Innocence:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

3 SLOANE RANGER – ANGER after L (pounds) in reason*. An upper-class Londoner – the American equivalent is “preppie”.
4 IN SPADES – IN + SPA + DES (from the term “des res”, the short form found in property adverts).
5 TRIESTE – ES in TRITE. “French art” comes up now and again – the French for “thou art” is “tu es”.
6 ACHENE – HEN in ACE. New word for me, but easy enough to get from the wordplay. “A dry, indehiscent, one-seeded fruit, formed of one carpel, the seed separate from the fruit wall, as in the buttercup.” I didn’t even know buttercups had fruit!
7 BARI – BARI(tone)
8 FLANDERS – F + LANDERS. Moll Flanders, the novel by Daniel Defoe.
12 SASKATCHEWAN – (a hawk’s ascent)*. A lot of geographic answers in the Downs this week!
17 OLD SARUM – ‘OLDS A RUM. A rotten borough was a constituency with hardly any voters, but that could still elect MPs to parliament. Old Sarum had just 3 houses and 7 voters, but two MPs. In the 18th century it was owned by the Pitt family, who used it to keep themselves in parliament.
18 INERT GAS – (angriest)*. Great definition, the table in question being the periodic table of the elements, on which the inert gases are found along the right hand side.
21 ACUITY – U in A CITY. Why Bristol? Well, why not, I suppose.
24 ORBS – R (last letter of youngster) in OB’S

18 comments on “Saturday Times 24042 (11 Oct)”

  1. This one didn’t do much for my confidence either, but was solved on the Saturday morning, so I had time to forget – my firm rule for the day of competition is: no other puzzles – on the grounds that the risk and effect of a depressing long solve outweigh any ‘warm-up’ benefits of getting your brain in gear.

    RED SHIFT gave me a lot of trouble as I didn’t see the def. and wanted the garment to be a SHIRT or SKIRT. TEE SHIRT tempted me, as did RED SKIRT (not really a phrase) and RED SHIRT. But worst of all was my final answer – a careless GAMENESS at 27. Remembered just enough chemistry for the inert gases bit, but the Braggs were news to me. I think I’ve seen ACHENE in Azeds and the like, though when solving I confused it with a(c)kee, a different fruit.

    1. The Braggs (father and son) were the founders of x-ray crystallography. As a student I was enticed into attending a lecture by Sir William (the son), and was utterly blown away. He was both inspiring and spell-binding. Given the daunting nature of the subject, this had to be up there amongst the major miracles.
  2. I liked this one. Some good surfaces and tricky wordplay, and a spread of scientific and literary references. I was happy to finish without cribbing.

    27A: I am not sure about “gaminess” = “pluck”.

    I think (I don’t have them with me) Collins, (though not COED) has “gamy” meaning “plucky” as well as the more usual meaning of “high” or “spicy, salacious” but I don’t know if “gaminess” can describe anything other than the smell of decay or salaciousness. The OED has all the meanings of “gamy” but has quotations for “gaminess” only in those (related) senses.

    From the definition I was looking for “gameness” here.

    21A: same reason as the rhyming slang, I suppose!

    13A: I believe the “egg” argument was intended as a satire on the theological arguments between the Protestant and Catholic churches.

    1. Chambers gives “gaminess=the condition or quality of being gamy” and then “gamy=spirited, plucky,lively”
    2. Collins has ‘gaminess’ in the right sense. I was looking for gameness initially from the def, but should have seen “gamine not gamene!” for the wordplay.
      1. I realised that It obviously had to be “gaminess” from the wordplay.

        It’s interesting though that my 1988 Chambers does not even include “gaminess” and it appears to have made the OED only in the 1993 revision. By contrast “gamy” meaning “plucky” seems to be old-fashioned and has probably been superseded by “game” in that sense; as I said the OED offers no example of “gaminess” ever actually being used to mean “pluck”.

        I am still inclined to think it was a bit of a stretch for the sake of the surface. However, given your and Jimbo’s comments on Chambers and Collins I suppose it’s OK – humble pie eaten as promised.

  3. A very challenging solve for me, completed in around 38 minutes.

    I enjoyed the range of material, but found myself questioning a fair few definitions – those mentioned above plus ‘itching’ as ‘pain’ and ‘Sloane Ranger’ as merely ‘well-off type’.

    Still, a lot of entertainment in this. Favourite clues were TREASURE and INERT GAS.

  4. Thanks for clearing up 4D for me. That one defied research. I did manage to find my way to Blefuscu, so to speak, but I hesitated greatly regardless, as I didn’t really see a definition in the clue. “Dramatic finale” is more of a contrived description for a non-dictionary usage of BIG END, no?
    1. “Dramatic finale” is a bit contrived when it really meanins “big ending”, but I guess the idea was to have a “big end” clue with nothing about car engines in it.
  5. I thought this the best Saturday puzzle for quite a while. I really enjoyed doing it, making steady progress down the grid solving clues that responded to analysis. No great problems but also could not really justify itch=pain.

    Old Sarum was easy for me, being the hill fort village just north of New Sarum, now known as Salisbury which is just across the Dorset border in Wiltshire. It was the movement of inhabitants from Old to New as they built the Cathedral that left Old with no population but parliamentary representation until the Reform Act. Well worth a visit along with Badbury Rings.

  6. 9:03 for me. I could have done with a few more literary references (Blake, Swift, …) in the championship final, as these ones came fairly readily to mind – but I suppose those days are gone for ever. (Sigh!)
  7. Strictly, he should not have appeared – a few shocked solvers at Cheltenham pointed out that although getting on a bit, he’s still alive – he apparently appeared at the Regents Park Open Air Theatre this very summer.

    Edited at 2008-10-20 11:55 am (UTC)

    1. I thought it was “no living people (except the Queen) in answers”, although I can’t think of any other recent examples in clues. Having said that, although I knew he was still alive, I completely forgot to be shocked 🙂

  8. What’s not to like? The COD has to be the mention of the Periodic Table at 18d. Glad to hear that the rumours of Topol’s demise at 16a are very much exaggerated.

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