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ST 3117

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3117

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 18 Jul 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. I have the pleasure of writing another full review of a Sunday puzzle for your kind perusal and valuable feedback. Dada has given us this time a fairly easy puzzle with some excellent clues.

During my childhood, I used to listen to stories which had monarchs and emperors rewarding their bards and poets for their compositions in gold on per-verse basis. I could now recall that those stories did not contain the name of either the donor or the recipient. The consequence of the wordplay to the clue of 5a made me inquisitive. So I googled and came across two names – Oppian and Ferdowsi. Oppian was a 2nd-century Greco-Roman poet during the reign of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. He wrote a poem on hunting, Cynegetica; on fowling, Ixeutica; and on fishing, Halieutica. For his didactic poem on fishing, that is Halieutica, which runs about 3500 lines in Greek hexameter and bears a dedication to the emperor and his son Commodus, he was rewarded by the emperor a piece of gold for every verse that he wrote. Ferdowsi, an 11th-century Persian poet, was not that lucky. His ‘Shahnameh’ or ‘Epistles of Kings’ is one of the world’s longest epic poems created by a single poet. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni offered him a gold piece for every verse or couplet of the ‘Shahnameh’ that he penned. After the masterpiece was complete and the sultan satisfied, he was duly rewarded, but the courtier, whose duty was to send the reward to the poet, replaced the gold coins with silver. The money arrived while the poet was in one of the public baths. Enraged at this unexpected treatment, he gave one-third of those silver coins to the man who brought them, another third to a seller of refreshments, and the remainder to the keeper of the bath. Much later, when the sultan eventually learned the truth about the courtier’s deception, he sent Ferdowsi the gold coins due to him, but just as the caravan bearing the money entered the gates of the city of Tus where the poet lived, a funeral procession exited the gates on the opposite side: the poet had died from a heart attack.

For 10a, I somehow proceeded to ring road beyond Tangier’s centre.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Wife ready to answer question in practice (4-2)
WARM-UP: The abbreviated W (wife) followed by how a child in school might indicate that they are ready to answer a question, leading to the definition of an act of preparation before an event

5a    Wrong, how bard might be paid? (8)
PERVERSE: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition by answering that the poet (bard) might be paid for PER (every) VERSE (couplet, stanza or poem) that he penned

9a    Stupid, happy band (10)
BLITHERING: BLITHE (happy) and RING (band) in a charade

10a    Ring road beyond centre of Tangiers (4)
GIRD: The two-letter abbreviation RD (road) used in addresses coming after (beyond) the middle letters (centre) of [T][A][N]GI[E][R][S]

11a    Sharp tooth, end rough (2,3,3)
ON THE DOT: An anagram (rough) of TOOTH END leads to the informal definition meaning exactly on time

12a    Symbols: children carrying them briefly (6)
TOTEMS: TOTS (children) having inside (carrying) an abbreviated or shorter (briefly), colloquial version ‘EM (them)

13a    Spots are circling near eyes, originally (4)
ACNE: The initial letters (originally) of Are Circling Near Eyes, arriving at the definition of a skin condition characterised by red spots or pimples on the skin, especially on the face

15a    Home in tree guarded by blessed good Lord! (8)
HONESTLY: NEST (home in tree) is covered (guarded) by HOLY (blessed), leading to the definition of an interjection expressing annoyance, disbelief etc.

18a    Traveller might have one go left (8)
PASSPORT: A charade of PASS (go) and PORT (left) as opposite to starboard on the right side of a vessel

19a    Way a little torpedo moves backwards (4)
MODE: Hidden inside or part of (a little) torpEDO Moves in a reverse order (backwards)

21a    Artist in Somme trench, virtually? (6)
WARHOL: WAR (Somme) fought by the British and French against the German Empire during WWI on both sides of the upper reaches of River Somme in France followed by HOL[E] (trench) with the removal of the last letter or colloquially almost (virtually), leading to the surname of the American artist Andy who was also a film director and producer and a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art

23a    Massive wicket: dancing! (8)
WHOPPING: The abbreviated W (wicket) and HOPPING (dancing) in a charade

25a    Revolution bites back (4)
SPIN: NIPS (bites) as a reversal (back)

26a    Value of prose for poet? (10)
WORDSWORTH: Value of prose or prose value has WORDS (prose) in direct straightforward arrangement with metrical structure and WORTH (value) in a charade

27a    Obligatory paper in colour (8)
REQUIRED: QUIRE (paper) as a set of 24 or 25 sheets of paper is placed inside (in) RED (colour)

28a    Latest tip embraced by judge (6)
TRENDY: The furthest or most extreme part or END (tip) covered (embraced) by TRY (judge) or to examine a defendant and decide the truth, leading to the definition of a colloquial adjective meaning very fashionable or up-to-date


2d    Nothing out, it’s inferred, drained (3,2)
ALL IN: Double definition, the first is arrived at as a logical conclusion (inferred) to the phrase ‘nothing out’ and the second meaning exhausted or tired

3d    The best unable to produce striker? (9)
MATCHLESS: MATCH (striker) that was lacking or unavailable or bearing the suffix -LESS (unable to produce)

4d    First of petty rules for petitions (6)
PLEADS: The first letter (first) of P[E][T][T][Y] and LEADS (rules) in a charade

5d    Put the flags out, with pattern done another way (5,3,4,3)
PAINT THE TOWN RED: An anagram (another way) of WITH PATTERN DONE, leading to the definition meaning to celebrate or go out and enjoy oneself flamboyantly

6d    Pasta shapes at origin (8)
RIGATONI: An anagram (shapes) of AT ORIGIN

7d    Guillotined, peak figure (5)
EIGHT: [H]EIGHT (peak) that has its first letter removed or beheaded (guillotined)

8d    On your bike, drained, hurried to aeroplane (9)
SCRAMBLED: The informal and rude way of telling someone to be off or go away or SCRAM (on your bike) and exsanguinated or BLED (drained) in a charade

14d    Sour fruit, half of plum eaten by two animals (4-5)
CRAB-APPLE: 50% or half of the letters (half) of PLum taken inside (eaten) by a combo of CRAB and APE (two animals)

16d    Signalling plan, heroes excited about that (9)
SEMAPHORE: MAP (plan) and an anagram (excited) of HEROES around (about that)

17d    Lover of climbing heading for ledge further down (8)
FOLLOWER: OF in a reverse order or going up (climbing) in the down clue, first letter (heading) for L[E][D][G][E] and LOWER (further down) in a charade

20d    Wow, group stays part of this? (6)
CORSET: COR (wow) as an expression of surprise is followed by SET (group) in a charade, leading to the definition of a close-fitting inner bodice which the stays or strips of bone or metal sew into, in order to stiffen it

22d    Religious adherent adopted by Irish in Dublin (5)
HINDU: Part of or hidden inside (adopted by) irisH IN DUblin

24d    Knownas is music? (5)
NOTED: Double definition; the first meaning famous or celebrated and the second referring to how music is written down or recorded in notation

5a was my favourite among the many clues that I liked like 1a, 9a, 15a, 21a, 26a, 27a, 3d, 5d, 8d, 17d and 20d. Thanks to Dada for the entertainment and to BD again for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.


5 comments on “ST 3117

    1. Thank you so much, LetterboxRoy, for your words of encouragement on the review and happy to observe that the story provided some entertainment.

  1. Thank you for another interesting review, Rahmat – I always look forward to learning something new from you.
    Apologies for the delay in responding. I’ve only just caught up with this.

    1. Thank you so much, Essar, for your words of encouragement on the review. I always feel it’s something great and educative even if someone leaves a comment much later and I am happy to see here that you have found my reviews interesting. At times, we learn from each other and at times, we learn from one another. So, I thank you for your kind perusal, too.

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