ST 3121 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

ST 3121

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3121

A full review by Rahmat Ali

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

This puzzle was published on 15 Aug 2021

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

Greetings from Kolkata. I again have the pleasure of writing a full review of yet another Sunday puzzle for your kind perusal and valuable feedback. Dada has again given us a bit tougher than his usual puzzles, but it was overall a worthwhile challenge inasmuch as an enjoyable one.

Looking at the answer of 11a, I took a trip down memory lane an evening of 1974 when I went to watch a movie at New Empire by the name ‘Scarecrow’ starring Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. As I thought of the movie, I also started recalling other movies that I saw in that movie hall. But it summarily gave a feeling that today I remember the movie hall more than all those movies themselves and that too for a very special reason. New Empire was my favourite place where I used to frequent the most. It was the only cinema hall in Calcutta (the earlier name) that had a three-tier system: stall, balcony and gallery. It was also the only cinema hall that charged for the front stall seats the same price that it charged for the expensive rear stall seats, while the rates for the seats of dress circle and box in the balcony area at a higher tier were obviously dearer. But it compensated its audience by charging the rate of the front stall seats in the gallery area. What I heard from others it that the authorities had wanted to open up a bar cum restaurant in a higher storey in order to facilitate the audience of the balcony area. But the audience disapproved of the idea of further climbing and so the authorities turned it into a gallery – the highest balcony containing the cheapest seats that required two more storeys with even more steps to climb up the stairs to reach its two entrances. The ticket price used to be 75 paise only. In those days, the exchange value for a British pound sterling used to be around fifteen rupees. So, watching 20 movies at New Empire for the value of fifteen rupees or just one pound was indeed a thrilling affair!

Tonga, the answer of 21a, is a constitutional monarchy and the only remaining indigenous monarchy in the Pacific islands. It was interesting to read from the net that in this country, dating back to Tongan legend, flying bats are considered sacred and are the property of the monarchy. Thus, they are protected and cannot be harmed or hunted. As a result, flying fox bats have thrived in many of the islands of Tonga.

Parakeet as the answer to 2d led me to wonder about the need for another name when parakeets are themselves parrots. I found from the net that the difference between the two is very limited. While a parrot is a broad term for a class of colourful birds found mostly in Australia and Oceania, South Asia, South-east Asia, Central America, South America and Africa, a parakeet is a small member of the parrot family, found mostly in Australia. The major difference is that the parrots are much larger to the parakeets. The average size of a parrot is between 3.5 to 40 inches and can weigh around 2.25 to 56 ounces, while a parakeet can reach about 7 inches in length and weighs around 0.9 to 1.4 ounces. The name parakeet is derived from the French word ‘perroquet’. But, interestingly, the French calls the parrot as ‘perroquet’ and has a separate word for parakeet, which is ‘perruche’. Of course, there is also ‘budgerigar’, a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot and the most common type of parakeet, found throughout the drier parts of Australia. How the name ‘budgerigar’ was arrived at is still not known.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    Error’s back due to a false display of data (4-3)
READ-OUT: Error’s back or the last letter (back) of [E][R][R][O]R is followed by an anagram (false) of DUE TO A, leading to the definition of a visual record or display of the output from a computer or scientific instrument

10a    Issue English fellow took in (7)
EMANATE: A charade of the abbreviation E (English), MAN (fellow) and ATE (took in)

11a    Frightening figure in bank after vehicle impounded in half a tick? (9)
SCARECROW: ROW (bank) preceded by CAR (vehicle) inside (impounded in) a moment or SEC[O][N][D] (a tick) with 50% of the letters (half), leading to the definition of an object made to resemble a human figure, set up to scare birds from a field where crops are growing

12a    Other handle a skipper pulled back (5)
ALIAS: A from the clue and SAIL (skipper) the boat or ship as its captain reversed (pulled back)

13a    Greek character is absent in this Greek letter (5)
THETA: IS is not present (absent) or removed in TH[I][S] followed by ETA (Greek letter), leading to the definition of another Greek letter

14a    Massage round edges of brow, vigorously (7)
RUBDOWN: An anagram (vigorously) of a combo of ROUND and the outermost or extreme letters (edges) of B[R][O]W

17a    Euphoric in the extreme north? (2,3,2,3,5)
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Double definition; the second being the uppermost surface region as seen in a world map that cryptically leads to the first definition of an idiomatic phrase meaning having an exaggerated feeling of wellbeing or characterised by intense excitement and happiness

19a    Cat hair covering wig, trimmed at the front (7)
TIGRESS: TRESS (hair) as a plait or braid of hair embracing (covering) [W]IG that is cut off at the left edge (trimmed at the front) or the first letter removed, arriving at the definition of the female of a fierce, yellowish, black-striped Asiatic animal that is the largest living cat species and a member of the genus Panthera

21a    Habit of Romans to blockade northern kingdom (5)
TONGA: A loose flowing outer garment worn by the ancient Romans TOGA (habit of Romans) to surround (blockade) the abbreviation N (northern), leading to the definition of the Polynesian country that is an archipelago of 169 islands, of which only 36 are inhabited

24a    Scrabble tiles key (5)
ISLET: An anagram (scrabble) of TILES, arriving at the definition of a low island or reef

26a    Get chairs out for assembly in Germany (9)
REICHSTAG: An anagram (out) of GET CHAIRS takes to the definition of the lower house of parliament of Germany during the Second Reich and the Weimar Republic

27a    Pick up figure in lift (7)
HEARTEN: A charade involving HEAR (pick up) or detect or receive a signal or sound and TEN (figure) as a numeral, arriving at the verbal definition meaning to encourage and make confident and happy or raise a person’s spirits and confidence

28a    Life earnings originally spent (7)
INNINGS: [W]INNINGS (earnings) or money won, especially by gambling, having its first letter (originally) taken out or used (spent)


1d    First of nails pulled from gift fixed earlier (6)
PRESET: The first letter (first) of N[A][I][L][S] is taken out of (pulled from) PRESE[N]T (gift)

2d    A collector stuffing favourite bird (8)
PARAKEET: A combo of A from the clue and RAKE (collector) forcing into (stuffing) PET (favourite), leading to the name of a small long-tailed parrot

3d    About to fill in puzzle, jumbo, say (3,7)
FOR EXAMPLE: The preposition indicating ‘with reference to’, ‘concerning’ or ‘regarding’ used as a commercial jargon RE (about) to go inside (fill in) baffle or FOX (puzzle) followed by somewhat bulky of its kind, large enough or AMPLE (jumbo)

4d    OK in the main, others way different (9)
SEAWORTHY: An anagram (different) of OTHERS WAY takes to the adjectival definition meaning fit for a sea voyage

5d    Number coming up with a story (4)
SAGA: GAS (number) as an anaesthetic that produces insensibility in the whole body or numbs being reversed in down clue (coming up) followed by (with) A from the clue

6d    Mexican, say, in Lisbon, Italian heading north (6)
LATINO: Part of or hidden inside (in) lisbON ITALian as a reversal or going up (heading north) in the down clue

7d    Experienced a little unease, as one does (8)
SEASONED: Hidden inside or part of (a little) uneaSE AS ONE Does

9d    Sharp, sweet or savoury dish (4)
TART: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning acidic and intense and the second referring to a noun denoting an open pastry case containing a sweet or savoury filling

15d    Lovely sense of humour, feature required in request (10)
BEWITCHING: A combo of WIT (sense of humour) and CHIN (feature) is placed inside (required in) BEG (request)

16d    Kids bound to support cricket side (9)
OFFSPRING: SPRING (bound) to hold up (support) in the down clue OFF (cricket side)

17d    Immediately extinguished, just (8)
OUTRIGHT: A charade involving OUT (extinguished) and RIGHT (just)

18d    Phone signal gone in outskirts of Tadcaster, unfortunately (8)
RINGTONE: An anagram (unfortunately) of a combo of GONE IN and the outermost letters (outskirts) of T[A][D][C][A][S][T][E]R

20d    Miss street in Irish county (6)
GALWAY: GAL (miss) and WAY (street) in a charade, arriving at the definition of the name of an Irish county

22d    Splendid time of year (6)
AUGUST: Double definition; the second being the name of the eighth month of the year leads to the first being the required synonym of the adjective which means marked by majestic dignity or grandeur

23d    I become faint after lifting skirt (4)
MIDI: I from the clue and DIM (become faint) after going upwards (lifting) together as a reversal in the down clue

25d    Bear: little one ending in cave (4)
TOTE: A very young child or TOT (little one) and the last letter (ending) in [C][A][V]E lead to the verbal definition meaning to carry or bear

There were several clues that I liked such as 11a, 13a, 14a, 17a, 19a, 28a, 2d, 4d, 15d, 17d, 18d, 20d and 22d. However, my favourite was 3d. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment while solving and to BD for the encouragement. Hoping to be here again. Have a wonderful day.


1 comment on “ST 3121

Comments are closed.