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ST 3111

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3111

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 06 Jun 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. I feel delighted in presenting to you the full review of yet another Sunday puzzle for your perusal and valuable opinion. Dada has given us this time a really challenging but enjoyable puzzle with few tricky clues amidst many impressive ones.

Winger as part of the clue of 15a led me to laterally fancy two celebrated names – the peacock and the nightingale – here in India. While the peacock is the National Bird of India, the other is not actually a winger, but a nonagenarian singer, whose name is Lata Mangeshkar and who is called the Nightingale of India, because of her sweet, melodious voice. She has sung in over thirty-six Indian languages and also in some foreign languages. In 1974, she became the first Indian to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, London. She is the recipient of the highest civilian award from both India (Bharat Ratna) in 2001 and France (Légion d’Honneur) in 2007. Ironically, I learn from the Wikipedia that it’s actually the male nightingale that sings. Nightingales are named so because they frequently sang at night and the name has been used for more than a millennium, being highly recognisable even in its Anglo-Saxon form ‘nihtingale’ meaning ‘night songstress’. Early writers assumed that the female sang.

Da Vinci as the answer to 25a reminded me of the so many qualities that the artist possessed. Although he is famous for his painting of the ‘Mona Lisa’, he was also a scientist, an inventor, an engineer, a mathematician, an anatomist, a sculptor, an architect, a botanist, a musician and a writer. In fact, his application, for a job sent to Ludovico Sforza, regent and later Duke of Milan and addressed as ‘My Most Illustrious Lord’, is embellished with his wide variety of qualities and abilities. He deservedly got the job, in which he remained for around 16 years, completing some of his most memorable work that included his yet another famous painting ‘The Last Supper’.

The first appearance of the terms ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gentlemen’, as part of the clue in 6d, ever was during the Grand Ball of Paris in 1739, where, in order to distinguish the bathrooms, two signs were placed on the respective entrance doors marked ‘Garderobes pour les femmes’ and ‘Garderobes pour les hommes’, with chambermaids in the former and valets in the latter.

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7a    Accomplishment pocketing gross pay (5,2)
COUGH UP: A clever and successful stroke in a board or card game or an act of putting a ball in a pocket without having hit another ball in billiards or COUP (accomplishment) putting inside (pocketing) an exclamation of repugnance UGH (gross) indicating something very unpleasant, repulsive or disgusting

8a    God leads boy to embrace origin of Holy Ghost (7)
PHANTOM: The ancient Greek religious and mythological figure PAN (God) goes in front of (leads) TOM (boy) to together contain (embrace) the beginning or the first letter (origin) of H[O][L][Y]

10a    User of feet, flat (10)
PEDESTRIAN: Double meaning; the first referring to a person who is walking or travelling on foot and the second denoting an adjective meaning commonplace or lacking inspiration or excitement

11a    Single: piece of vinyl, nostalgic looking back (4)
ONLY: Part of or hidden inside (piece of) vinYL NOstalgic, but in a reverse order (looking back)

12a    Where salt may be taken, if necessary? (2,1,5)
AT A PINCH: Double definition: The reply for the first definition is the obvious position where the ingredient is compressed between a finger and thumb to be necessarily sprinkled over and mixed with the food to make its taste appropriate, cryptically leading to the second definition meaning if need be or in a situation of necessity or emergency

14a    At home with partner, one’s inside (6)
INMATE: IN (at home) and (with) MATE (partner) in a charade

15a    Near feeling of excitement consuming a winger (11)
NIGHTINGALE: NIGH (near) followed by TINGLE (feeling of excitement) taking inside (consuming) A from the clue, leading to the definition of a small bird of the thrush family

19a    Cat more unlikely to impress us (6)
MOUSER: An anagram (unlikely) of MORE to annex (impress) US from the clue, taking to the definition of a small animal that is good at catching mice

20a    Draw ring circled by the pony, lamely (8)
HONEYPOT: The circle-looking letter O (ring) encompassed (circled) by an anagram (lamely) of THE PONY, arriving at the definition meaning any place or anything that is a draw or that attracts people in great numbers

22a    Opportunity destroyed (4)
SHOT: Double meaning; the first being a chance or an attempt or endeavour to do something while the second a verb in the past tense meaning bombarded or shelled or hit or killed by shooting

23a    Solid block stuffed with stewed dates, crisp food (10)
BREADSTICK: BRICK (solid block) filled inside (stuffed) with an anagram (stewed) of DATES, leading to the definition of a long, thin stick of bread dough baked until crisp

25a    Artist in diva upset about rhetoric, ultimately (2,5)
DA VINCI: An anagram (upset) of IN DIVA around (about) the last letter (ultimately) of [R][H][E][T][O][R][I]C, leading to the name of an Italian artist who was actually a polymath

26a    Forward, picket (7)
STRIKER: Double meaning; the first being a player in the front line, chiefly in football, as an attacker, and especially one whose task is to attempt to score goals and the second being a person who stands outside a workplace to protest or to persuade other workers and staff not to enter during a strike


1d    Need some grip over tyrant (7)
POVERTY: Part of or hidden inside griP OVER TYrant

2d    Giant of giants, really enormous initially (4)
OGRE: The first letters (initially) from Of Giants Really Enormous

3d    Dog riding sheep (6)
MUTTON: A charade of especially a mongrel or MUTT (dog) and ON (riding) leading to the jocular definition of the animal

4d    Theory shows obsession about family (8)
THINKING: THING (obsession) around (about) KIN (family) in a charade

5d    In casual manner, friend currently playing well? (10)
INFORMALLY: The reply to the interrogation notation could well be a charade in that the one IN FORM (currently playing well) is ALLY (friend)

6d    Creation of TS Eliot, ladies and gentlemen (7)
TOILETS: An anagram (creation) of TS ELIOT, leading to the definition of public lavatories commonly separated into male and female facilities through their traditional signs

9d    On top shelf perhaps, thinner pen (11)
HIGHLIGHTER: Of excellent quality or HIGH (on top shelf perhaps) and LIGHTER (thinner) in a charade, arriving at the definition of a broad-tipped felt pen for highlighting parts of a text

13d    Unfortunately I step on it, a plant with brightly coloured leaves (10)
POINSETTIA: An anagram (unfortunately) of I STEP ON IT A

16d    Tough second book (8)
HARDBACK: A charade of an adjective meaning stiff or HARD (tough) and a verb meaning to support or BACK (second), leading to the definition of a book bound in stiff covers

17d    Permission from Indian state leader (2-5)
GO AHEAD: GOA (Indian state) and HEAD (leader) in a charade leading to the definition serving as a nod or licence to proceed

18d    Nicked, pop getting cut, hurt (7)
POACHED: PO[P] from the clue with the last letter removed (getting cut), followed by ACHED (hurt) leading to the definition meaning nabbed, stole or robbed

21d    Rubbish untidy, natural state (6)
NUDITY: An anagram (rubbish) of UNTIDY leading to the definition of the obvious state when we are all born into this nature, that is, without any clothing

24d    Realise it’s a bit of wood (4)
TWIG: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to understand or perceive and the second a noun denoting a small thin shoot from a branch or stem of a tree or shrub

There were good many clues that I liked – 8a, 10a, 12a, 20a, 3d, 5d, 17d and 18d, to name a few, but 15a stood above them all. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a cheerful day.


7 comments on “ST 3111

  1. Thank you Rahmat, for another comprehensive review which cleared up a couple of parsing problems i had.
    As always an informative and entertaining post.

  2. I would like to share with you all a happy news related to me which came up in Morning India, Kolkata today.

  3. 2*/4*…
    liked 6D “Creation of TS Eliot, ladies and gentlemen (7)”….
    congratulations Rahmat Ali on your eighth Masters degree !

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