ST 3115 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3115

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3115

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 04 Jul 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Kolkata. It gives me immense pleasure to present to you once again the full review of yet another Sunday puzzle for your kind perusal and valuable feedback. Dada has given us this time a slightly tougher than his usual puzzles, but overall it was an enjoyable one.

Bengal as the answer to 12a reminded me of the region that was once truly great. Although today’s Bengal does not go beyond the combined borders of the present-day nation of Bangladesh and the Indian State of West Bengal, aggregating approx. 237,212 sq.km, the glory that was Bengal was in much of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries when the Bengal Sultanate covered around thrice the present area that included the Indian States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, the nation of Bangladesh and the Rakhine State of present-day Myanmar. The independence and the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 further emboldened the use of the slang terms like ‘Ghoti’ and ‘Bangal’, which probably originated after the partition of Bengal in 1905, meant for the native Bengali-speaking population in India and Bangladesh respectively, with a view to demonstrating cultural superiority of one over another. That sharp cultural difference the terms once signified has mellowed with political change and the passage of time. Ganges-Brahmaputra delta is the world’s largest delta, covering most of today’s Bengal region. The people of the Bengal region love to eat fish. I recollect that in one of the quiz competitions organised in the 1980s by the Bank where I worked, the quizmaster startled our team by asking a question: How would George Bernard Shaw spell ‘ghoti’ as fish? We merely stared, but were soon even more startled when one of the teams did give the correct answer which went thus: the English word rou(gh) pronounced as ru(f), w(o)men as w(i)min and na(ti)on as nai(sh)un. Putting the pieces together, ghoti (gh+o+ti) is fish (f+i+sh). A charade of the different level! I now learnt from the net that the first confirmed use of ghoti is in a letter dated 11 December 1855 from Charles Ollier to Leigh Hunt. Ollier explains, “My son William has hit upon a new method of spelling fish.” Ollier then demonstrates the rationale, “So that ghoti is fish.” The term is alluded to in the 1939 James Joyce milestone experimental work of fiction ‘Finnegans Wake’ as “Gee each owe tea eye smells fish.” (G-H-O-T-I spells fish). Ghoti is often cited to support English spelling reform and is often attributed to George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist, who wanted a standard phonetic spelling to help everyone talk the same. Still the word does not appear in his writings, but a biography of his attributes it instead to an anonymous spelling reformer. Ghoti has come to earn a place among the most widely recognised constructed words that demonstrate English idiosyncrasies. Finally, no sooner than I learnt that ghotI, in the artistic language Klingon, is the proper word for fish, a relief of a novel kind dawned on me.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Across

7a    Intricate mosaic, but very tiny (9)
SUBATOMIC: An anagram (intricate) of MOSAIC BUT

8a    Hidden supply, notes and coins reportedly? (5)
CACHE: CASH (notes and coins) as homophone heard by the audience (reportedly)

10a    Wacky winger (6)
CUCKOO: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning mad or crazy and the second a noun being the name of a long-tailed, medium-sized bird, typically with a grey or brown back and barred or pale underparts

11a    Butcher hit rope holding lamb’s head, where chopper comes down (8)
HELIPORT: An anagram (butcher) of HIT ROPE containing (holding) the first letter (head) of L[AMBS], leading to the definition meaning an airport for choppers or helicopters

12a    South Asian region where boy meets girl (6)
BENGAL: A diminutive of a boy’s name BEN (boy) joins (meets) an informal or dialectal term GAL (girl) to arrive at the region predominantly covering the present-day Bangladesh and the Indian State of West Bengal

14a    Bird land (6)
TURKEY: Double definition; the name commonly shared between a large mainly domesticated bird having a bald head (with the male having a distinctive fleshy wattle, called a snood, that hangs from the top of the beak) and a European country whose capital is Ankara

16a    One way remaining (4)
LEFT: Double definition; the first the name of a route, road, entrance etc. opposite to the right, the second the part still to be used or dealt with

17a    Manifest one in drawing (5)
PLAIN: The Roman numeral I (one) is placed inside (in) a diagram showing how things will be arranged or a PLAN (drawing)

18a    Plant animals rejected (4)
REED: The plural DEER (animals) in the reverse order (rejected), arriving at the definition of a tall, slender-leaved plant of the grass family, which grows in water or on marshy ground

19a    Go on tour, initially behind minister (6)
RABBIT: The first letter (initially) of T[OUR] is placed after (behind) the religious head of a Jewish synagogue RABBI (minister), leading to the verbal definition meaning to talk at length

21a    Tackle composer on the radio? (6)
HANDLE: George Frideric HANDEL (composer) as homophone heard by the audience (on the radio)

24a    American friend attending a trial in capital city (8)
BUDAPEST: A US term for friend, BUD (American friend) occurring with (attending) A from the clue and PEST (trial) as an annoying person, leading to the name of the capital city of Hungary

26a    Animals in traps, I gathered (6)
TAPIRS: An anagram (gathered) of TRAPS I, leading to the definition of herbivorous creatures, similar in shape to a pig, with heavy bodies and short, prehensile nose trunks

27a    Thin layer on end of shaft broke (5)
SKINT: SKIN (thin layer) having beside it (on) the last letter (end) of [S][H][A][F]T

28a    Brilliant throw covering pitch (9)
SPARKLING: SLING (throw) containing (covering) an area of ground marked out or used for play informally called PARK (pitch) as in soccer

Down

1d    Line in letter read out? (5)
QUEUE: The letter Q of the English alphabet as homophone heard by the audience (read out)

2d    Supporter, second on holiday (4,4)
BACK REST: To formally support or BACK (second) is placed upon (on) a period of relaxation or REST (holiday) in the down clue, leading to the definition of a back piece of a chair or a sofa, used to support the sitter’s back

3d    Performance extremely numbing, I’m heading for the exit! (2,4)
SO LONG: SOLO (performance) involving a single performer is followed by the outermost letters (extremely) of N[UMBIN]G, leading to the definition standing for good-bye, possibly derived from the Arabic ‘salaam’ meaning peace, used as a word of farewell

4d    Faculty cut, oh dear (4)
SIGH: The power of seeing or SIGH[T] (faculty) trimmed or with the last letter removed (cut)

5d    Smart, salesman dressing up (6)
DAPPER: A charade of a combo of REP (salesman) and PAD (dressing) in a reverse order (up) in the down clue, leading to the adjectival definition meaning neat and trim in dress and appearance

6d    Cut other ends off (9)
SHORTENED: An anagram (off) of OTHER ENDS

9d    Protein gel with nut spread (6)
GLUTEN: An anagram (spread) of GEL and (with) NUT

13d    Restraint in bridle as heavy? (5)
LEASH: Hidden inside or part of bridLE AS Heavy

15d    County after game generating huge wads of cash? (9)
MEGABUCKS: Buckinghamshire in its abbreviated form BUCKS (county) is placed after (after) an anagram (generating) of GAME

17d    Author and pool player? (6)
POTTER: Double definition; the first one, the surname of the author, (Helen Beatrix) POTTER, who was also an illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist, is cryptically connected to the second one, a billiards or snooker player who pots or, specifically, takes a shot by striking a ball into a pocket

18d    Round sweet (4-4)
ROLY-POLY: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning having a plump appearance while the second the name of a sweet dish in the form of a pudding made of a sheet of suet pastry covering with jam or fruit, formed into a roll and steamed or baked

20d    Clever article in the main (6)
BRAINY: The indefinite article A (article) is put inside (in) an informal synonym of the sea or BRINY (the main)

22d    Character shown by country missing out on first, bronze served up (6)
NATURE: A combo of [P]ERU (country) without its first letter (missing out on first) and TAN (bronze) placed reversely (served up) in a down clue

23d    Silly person in clip (5)
PRUNE: Double definition: the first being a noun meaning an unpleasant or disagreeable person and the second being a verb meaning to cut off or trim by cutting away

25d    In effect, a permanent record (4)
TAPE: Hidden inside or part of effecT A PErmanent

There were some clues that I really liked – 8a, 11a, 19a, 24a, 1d, 3d, 15d, 17d and 18d, but 12a was my most favourite. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a pleasant day.


 

2 comments on “ST 3115
Leave your own comment 

  1. 5*/1*….
    quite liked 1D ” Line in letter read out? (5)” ….
    Thanks to RA for the review & photos though.

    1. Thank you so much, RobinNewman, for your words of encouragement on the review and selection of photos.

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