ST 3119 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3119

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3119

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 01 Aug 2021

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

Greetings from Kolkata. I have the pleasure of presenting to you once again a full review of yet another Sunday puzzle for your kind perusal and valuable feedback. Dada has again given us a slightly tougher than his usual puzzles, but I would say it was overall an enjoyable one.

‘Kaiser’ as the answer to 25a, reminded me of ‘Kaisar-i-Hind’, a title the British monarchs enjoyed from 1876 to 1947 as emperors of India, which I had learnt in history during my school days. Since I now wanted to know about their etymologies, I thought of the net as a place worth visiting. I found out that although both ‘Kaiser’ and ‘Kaisar’ share the same Latin origin, ‘Kaiser’ is directly derived from the Roman emperors’ title of ‘Caesar’, which is turn is derived from the personal name of Julii Caesares or Julius Caesar, while ‘Kaisar’ had its immediate root in the Persian ‘qaysar’. ‘Kaisar-i-Hind’, translated as ‘Emperor of India’ and coined in 1876 by the orientalist G.W. Leitner, is also the name of a rare and legally-protected Indian species of swallowtail butterfly, ‘Teinopalpus imperialis’. The title, at first taken by Queen Victoria from 1st May 1876 and proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1877, was a misnomer by gender as it did not exactly translate towards her English title, ‘Empress of India’, though later, a silver lining did appear on the horizon – all the subsequent rulers were males. On the other hand, in English, the term ‘Kaiser’ is usually reserved for the emperors of the German and Austrian Empires. In the course of time, the word ‘Kaiser’ has come to denote the ultimate highest increase, the best of its kind in the German language. There is ‘Kaisersuppe’ (Kaiser soup), ‘Kaisersemmel’ (Kaiser roll) and ‘Kaiserfleisch’ (Kaiser meat). While one may feel fine with the colloquial expression ‘Kaiserwetter’ (Kaiser’s weather) as a sunny weather with a deep blue, cloudless sky, one may not feel so with the name of a lightly sweetened pancake called ‘Kaiserschmarrn’ (Kaiser’s rubbish).

I also gathered from the net that the word ‘parsec’, the answer to 26a, is a portmanteau of parallax and second or, to be precise, ‘PARallax of one SECond of arc’. The term was coined by the British astronomer Herbert Hall Turner in 1913 to make calculations of astronomical distances from only raw observational data easy for astronomers and that is why, it is the unit preferred in astronomy and astrophysics, despite the light-year remaining prominent in popular science texts and common usage. Parsec as a unit of astronomical length measures the large distances to objects outside the Solar System, approximately equal to 3.26 light-years or 206,264 astronomical units, that is, 19.2 trillion miles. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is about 1.3 parsecs or 4.2 light-years from the Sun. Most of the stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky are within 500 parsecs from the Sun. Although parsecs are used for the shorter distances within the Milky Way, there are kiloparsecs for the most distant objects within and around the Milky Way, megaparsecs for mid-distance galaxies and gigaparsecs for the most distant galaxies.

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Across

8a    Isle, a state (4)
IOWA: Isle of Wight in its abbreviated form IOW (isle) and A from the clue leads to the definition of an American state

9a    Today was successful, looking back (3)
NOW: WON (was successful) in a reverse order (looking back)

10a    Player of bassoon, or instrument similarly thin, first of all (6)
OBOIST: Of Bassoon Or Instrument Similarly Thin, all with their first letters (first of all), arriving at the definition of a musician who plays the oboe or any oboe family instrument

11a    Belt holding in a belly (6)
PAUNCH: PUNCH (belt) taking inside (holding in) A from the clue

12a    You’ve done well: first violin lesson? (4,1,3)
TAKE A BOW: Double definition; the first being a figurative expression used to show appreciation of an audience’s applause by an actor or actors at the end of a show or performance by bending forward that is cryptically arrived at from the second which tells what one as a learner of the stringed instrument is supposed to do

13a    Become very angry when pest released from grip? (3,3,3,6)
FLY OFF THE HANDLE: FLY (pest), OFF (released from) and THE HANDLE (grip) in a charade, arriving at the definition of an informal idiom meaning to lose control of one’s emotions

15a    Is one charged for crime? (7)
BATTERY: Double definition; the first referring to a device or a container consisting of two or more electric cells that have arranged to produce or store electrical energy or electricity and the second a term in criminal law that defines an infliction of unlawful attack against a person, beating, wounding or threatening by touching clothes or body

17a    Across a thoroughfare, travel (7)
ASTRIDE: A from the clue, followed by the abbreviated ST (thoroughfare) as used in addresses denoting a street and RIDE (travel) in a charade

20a    Lacking position, though (15)
NOTWITHSTANDING: Without or NOT WITH (lacking) and STANDING (position) in a charade

23a    Little time to grasp an old, funny old instrument (8)
MANDOLIN: Minute in its abbreviated form MIN (little time) to hold inside (grasp) AN from the clue and an anagram (funny) of OLD

25a    Leader is between king and a queen (6)
KAISER: IS from the clue is placed inside (between) a combo of the abbreviation K (king) as in chess and A from the clue and the abbreviation ER (queen) for Elizabeth Regina, leading to the definition of the emperor of the German or Austrian Empire or the head of the Holy Roman Empire

26a    Abnormal capers, astronomical length (6)
PARSEC: An anagram (abnormal) of CAPERS takes to the definition of a unit for measurement of distance of stars

27a    Knight, for example, has hair cut (3)
MAN: MAN[E] (hair) trimmed or with the last letter removed (cut) leads to the definition of one common name for any of the several pieces of a player’s army in a game of chess that include one, as an example, that is traditionally shaped like a horse’s head and that can move two squares in any direction vertically followed by one square horizontally, or two squares in any direction horizontally followed by one square vertically

28a    Long river in Israel I navigate the wrong way (4)
NILE: Hidden inside or part of (in) israEL I Navigate in a reverse order (the wrong way)

Down

1d    Possible reason for extra head on everyone (2,4)
NO BALL: NOB (head) is placed upon (on) ALL (everyone) in the down clue, leading to the definition of a delivery of a ball, in a game of cricket, to a batsman adjudged contrary to the rule that could be one reason for the extra run awarded to the batting team

2d    Tailored Croatian item of clothing (8)
RAINCOAT: An anagram (tailored) of CROATIAN leads to the definition of a long coat, made from waterproof or water-resistant fabric, to protect the body from rain

3d    Initially up that tree, pals etc playing (2,3,5,5)
IN THE FIRST PLACE: The expression IN THE FIR (up that tree) is followed by an anagram (playing) of PALS ETC, arriving at the definition meaning in the beginning or originally

4d    Nervous crone in tragedy, gutless (7)
TWITCHY: WITCH (crone) is placed inside (in) T[R][A][G][E][D]Y with the inner letters removed (gutless)

5d    Fashion presenter in rambling hypocrite! (4,4,7)
LOOK WHO’S TALKING: A style or LOOK (fashion) is followed by a radio or television programme HOST (presenter) placed inside (in) WALKING (rambling), leading to the phrasal definition that is used to convey that a criticism made applies equally well to the person who has made it

6d    Cook particular course, speciality (6)
DOMAIN: A charade comprising DO (cook) and MAIN (particular course) or the full-course meal following the first-course or starter with appetiser

7d    Capital of Latvia seemingly obvious originally, looking north (4)
OSLO: Of Latvia Seemingly Obvious having their first letters (originally) in a reverse order in the down clue (looking north), leading to the definition of the capital of a Nordic country called Norway

14d    Top pool that’s bottomless (3)
LID: LID[O] (pool) as an open-air swimming pool that’s having no bottom (bottomless) or without its last letter in the down clue

16d    A match earlier (3)
AGO: A from the clue and GO (match) takes to the definition meaning past, gone or before the present

18d    Large star in danger, it exploding (3,5)
RED GIANT: An anagram (exploding) of DANGER IT, leading to the definition of a very large star of high luminosity and surface temperature of around 5,000 K or lower

19d    Overwhelming disaster, it arising to obscure source of light in the morning (7)
TSUNAMI: IT from the down-clue in a reversal (arising) to hide inside (obscure) SUN (source of light) and the Latin phrase ‘ante meridiem’, denoting ‘before noon’, in its abbreviated form AM (in the morning), arriving at the definition of a very swiftly travelling sea wave that attains great height, caused by an undersea earthquake or similar disturbance, wreaking havoc and disaster and the term, a borrowing from Japanese, is literally translated as ‘harbour wave’

21d    Top of wall that is hardest to jump over? (6)
WIDEST: The first or the topmost letter (top) of W[A][L][L] in the down clue and the Latin phrase ID EST (that is)

22d    Require lead, shortened by half, for pointer (6)
NEEDLE: NEED (require) and LE[A][D] with two letters removed or 50% reduced (shortened by half), arriving at the definition of a long, thin piece of metal on a scale or dial which moves to indicate a figure or position

24d    Capital of Turkmenistan erased from geography book, woe is me! (5)
ALAS: T as the head or capital letter (capital) of Turkmenistan is removed (erased) from A[T]LAS (geography book) or a book of maps used in geography, leading to the definition of an ironic exclamation of sorrow or distress

Some of the clues that I liked were 11a, 12a, 13a, 20a, 25a, 28a, 5d and 24d, but 19d was my favourite. Thanks once again to Dada for the jolly good entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a pleasant day.

2 comments on “ST 3119
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  1. Thank you for an interesting and comprehensive review, which has helped me tremendously as a relative beginner to solving cryptic crosswords.

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