ST 4212 – Ewe what?

Posted on Categories Announcement

Solving time: 8:52, one mistake (6 dn).

I didn’t enjoy this much for several reasons, from obscure/invented phrases (11ac, 21ac) to incorrect wordplay (9ac, 18dn) to a frustrating finale when I was left with a handful of vowels in an anagram to an obscure word.

* = anagram.

1 PARK + A
9 STA(I)R – terrible clue (“Heavenly body I see in flight”) with the pronoun/letter treatment of ‘I’ completely mishandled. Echoes of ‘I admit’ from 7dn in ST 4210.
11 SILVERHORN FLY; (OVER FERNY HILLS – E)* – a very good anagram, but does this insect actually exist? I can’t find it in any dictionary or encyclopaedia, and both Google and Wikipedia draw a blank.
17 CURAÇAO – a trap for ‘calypso’. Like 6dn, more or less impossible if you don’t know the word and not easy to spell even if you do.
21 HARSH MEASURES; (US HARMS E HARES)* – another invented phrase, as far as I can tell.
26 MAN + I + A – ‘first’ = A is questionable, as is the past tense ‘arrived’.
27 ODEON; rev. of DO + (ONE)*
2 CHARLIE (double definition); ‘takes’ seems unjustifiable as a link word.
4 CLOTHES MOTH; (THE LOCH MOST)* – luckily I knew the word ‘tineid’ so got this straight away.
5 EWE (double definition); Loch Ewe turns out to be a bay in north-west Scotland. I hesitate to label places ‘obscure’, but this one doesn’t even have an entry on Wikipedia.
6 PORIFERAN; (A [dive]R N OF PIER)* – I wasted a good couple of minutes on this looking for the most likely anagram, eventually guessing ‘perofarin’ for which I scored 0/4 for vowel placement. The Porifera are a group of sea sponges.
7 RED EYES – the red-eye is a fish also known as the rudd. ‘Cardinal’ can mean ‘of a deep scarlet colour, like a cardinal’s cassock or hat’.
12 REFRIGERATE; (A TIGER FREE R[un])* – a clumsily worded clue, with neither the cryptic grammar nor the wordplay really making sense, though I suppose you could justify the latter by claiming that ‘run inside’ could mean ‘run inside a car’.
18 RE + H + OUSE – another poor clue: ‘re’ means ‘concerning’ or ‘concerned with’ but not ‘concerned’ or ‘concerned over’; ‘of’ and ‘us’ are both superfluous and unjustifiable.
22 SUMAC; rev. of CAMUS – Albert Camus was goalkeeper for the University of Algiers before he contracted TB. He also won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, though not for his finest aphorism: “All that I know most surely about morality and the obligations of man, I owe to football.”
23 UN + CO – a Scottish word for ‘strange’.
25 GAP – another barely cryptic definition, referring to parking a car.

6 comments on “ST 4212 – Ewe what?”

  1. No wonder we couldn’t find SILVERHORN FLY in any reference books! The correct answer as given online today is SILVERHHRRFFY!

    Couldn’t have been an anagram either then…

  2. This is a phrase I have heard … not every day, but certainly not made up.
    1. It is certainly a plausible phrase, and one I’ve heard used, but I don’t think that qualifies it to be an answer. I thought the standard rule was that any multi-word answer had to appear in an appropriate dictionary as a phrase in its own right, rather than just be a sequence of words which fit together. ‘Harsh measures’ doesn’t appear in any paper or online dictionary that I can find. I wonder in the setter was subliminally influenced by the similar-sounding ‘half measures’?
  3. 5d – Anyone who has driven around a Scottish loch will recognise that most of the animals seen there are ewes!
  4. I don’t mean anything to do with the Hamilton / Rosberg battle (I am writing this from the future in late 2016).

    No really – the online version of this puzzle has an extra space at the end of 11ac – the little known Silverhorn Fly. An insect ending in 3 letters has to be a fly or ant and, as the anagrist contains F,L and Y it has to be a FLY. Imagine my consternation when the crossing letters indicate that the F is the end of the long word (10 or 11 letters look pretty similar unless you count them) and the Y is in the middle of the 3 letter word at the end. In the end I had completed the rest of the grid and just had S?L?E?H?R?F?Y? at 11ac as the LOI or reason for DNF. It was only then, when looking at the anagrist and doing some counting, that I realised that the ? at the end was a mistake.

    Due to the symmetry inherent in all Times (and most) puzzles, I was able to check with the counterpart spaces in the southern part of the puzzle – the also controversial HARSH MEASURES. Yes indeed there are only 13 spaces here, not 14.

    I have never seen a mistake in a grid before. So pleased I spotted it before giving up and resorting to aids.

    Despite the controversies there were quite a few blog omissions:

    10a Countermands (orders I’ve)* circulated (9)

    14a Approaches made as meeting place entered (7)

    16a Following warning cry, was turning tail as anticipated (7)
    FORE! SAW. Obviously remove the ! I just wanted to make sure my errant drive did not hit you.

    19a Sadly, (I belong)* to a lower category (7)
    IGNOBLE. Hands up anyone who considered a breed of cattle here?

    24a Shooting pains, due to development of (aerial gun)* (9)

    28a Doctor may do so before the writer (9)

    1d (Rise)* with difficulty, taking a posture of defiance (10)

    3d Bottom of the lake is weird (5)
    E ERIE

    8d Upturn for key health resort, this recess (4)
    APS E. I don’t know what the comma is for – would the clue not read better without it?

    13d Brushes to convey – lots here (10)

    15d What, doubtless, you are not (9)
    UNCERTAIN. Oh but I was dear setter – for far too long.

    20d (Dub ruin)*’s rebuilding fitting for place in Africa (7)

Comments are closed.