ST 3125 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3125

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3125

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 12 Sep 2021

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

Greetings from Kolkata. I loved solving the Sunday puzzle excellently set by Dada and thereafter writing a full review for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

Fairy as the answer to the clue of 17a reminded me of my primary school days when I read about the mythical or legendary being for the first time in ‘The Radiant Reader’ which had an extract of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and that too in an abridged version. Later, I read some stories, which had fairies, simplified from Arabian Nights for children. During my early-twenties, I got to read The Faerie Queene of Spenser and learnt the different spelling for fairy used in the English language a few centuries ago. Fairy featured in one paragraph of an essay, ‘India of my Dreams’ penned by me in 1993 for an all-India contest organised by ‘Competition Success Review’, a monthly magazine from New Delhi. Although I was the overall Second Prize Winner in that contest, the essay was adjudged as best on the topic and there were three different topics from which a contestant had to choose only one. The paragraph ran thus: “As a child, I always dreamed of fairies or being transported into a fairyland. Perhaps all children like fairies and love to dream of things that are absent in the real world. For them, land of fairies and fantasies is a magical world where the mind is free enough to build impossible castles in the air. May my India look like a real fairyland to the children so that they are happy and able to weave the fabric of perfect loveliness and pulchritude.” Now a visit to the net broadened my horizon related to the fairies. Various folk theories about their origin include casting them as either demoted angels or demons in a Christian tradition, as deities in pagan belief system, as spirits of the dead or of nature or as prehistoric precursors to humans. Fairies were sometimes thought to haunt specific locations and to lead travellers astray. Before the advent of modern medicine, fairies were often blamed for bringing in diseases like tuberculosis and birth deformities in humans. Some historians are of the view that fairies were adopted and influenced by pre-Islamic Persian mythology which featured ‘paris’ (the Persian for fairies) or angelic beings, fair and beautiful, supported by wings. This may have influenced the migratory Germanic and Eurasian settlers in Europe. With the spread of Islam through Persia, the ‘pari’ was migrated into the Islamic folklore. Early Persian translations of the Quran identified the good jinn as ‘paris’. The Turkish Muslims often accept the existence of ‘peris’ (the Turkish for fairies). The belief in ‘pari’ still persists among some of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent as one of the types of spiritual creatures. Fairies not only featured in the writings of the Renaissance and Romantic periods, there was a tremendous increase of interest in fairies shown by the authors of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

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Across

1a    Put to death, one died, canonised apparently? (6)
STONED: A combo of ONE from the clue and the abbreviation D (died) preceded by or outside (apparently) ST (canonised) or abbreviation of a dead person declared as saint, leading to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning punished by throwing stones at the culprit even unto death


5a    Reportedly, sovereign power knocked for six (6)
THROWN: Seat for royalty or THRONE (sovereign power) as a homophone heard by the audience (reportedly), arriving at the definition meaning sent someone suddenly into a particular state or condition by shocking or surprising them which they have difficulty recovering from

10a    Sign a concern, briefly pointing the wrong way (5)
ARROW: A from the clue followed by WORR[Y] (concern) without the last letter or in short (briefly) and in reverse order (pointing the wrong way), taking to the definition of a graphical symbol used to point or indicate direction

11a    Inexperienced magician with no time for London Town (9)
GREENWICH: Naïve or GREEN (inexperienced) and a woman with supernatural or magical power and knowledge, especially through compact with an evil spirit or WI[T]CH (magician) with the exclusion (no) of T (time) as the symbol for time in physics lead to the name of a town in south-east London

12a    Look at Pakistan’s opener in cricket, for example? (7)
INSPECT: P[AKISTAN’S] first or the initial letter (opener) put inside (in) INSECT (cricket, for example), taking to the definition of a verb meaning to examine critically or carefully, especially in order to detect flaws or errors

13a    Passion in Turner oddly shows (7)
THEATRE: HEAT (passion) placed inside (in) TuRnEr with the odd letters (oddly), leading to the definition of plays or a specified group of plays, collectively

14a    Leaders cutting advantage (4,5)
HEAD START: A charade of persons in charge of something or HEADS (leaders) and bitter, sarcastic or TART (cutting) take to the definition of a boost or advantage intended to overcome a disadvantage or give a better chance of success

17a    Just imaginary, ultimately, mythological being (5)
FAIRY: Impartial or FAIR (just) and the last or ultimate letter (ultimately) of [IMAGINAR]Y give the definition of a small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one


18a    Money at one’s fingertips (5)
READY: Double definition; the first being a noun informally meaning available cash and the second an adjective meaning easily available or obtained or within reach

19a    Most troublesome, riots then breaking out (9)
THORNIEST: An anagram (breaking out) of RIOTS THEN takes to the definition of an adjective in the superlative degree meaning causing utmost difficulty, problem or distress

21a    Wine drunk by little man before daylight (7)
PREDAWN: RED (wine) as alcoholic drink coloured by red grape skins during fermentation taken inside (drunk) by PAWN (little man) as the chess piece or man of the smallest size and value, arriving at the definition meaning during the period of time just before the first appearance of light in the sky or dawn

23a    Bendy food round the bend (7)
BANANAS: Double definition; the first being a noun in plural form meaning long curved fruits which grow in cluster and have soft pulpy flesh and yellow skin when ripe and the second being an adjective meaning insane or extremely silly


25a    Restriction after period of time for entrance (9)
SPELLBIND: A statutory constraint or BIND (restriction) following or preceded by (after) a stretch of time or SPELL (period of time), taking to the definition meaning to fascinate or hold the complete attention of someone as though by magic

26a    Pass by popular music genre (5)
INDIE: Come to an end or DIE (pass) following or preceded by (by) IN (popular) as currently fashionable or trendy, leading to the informal definition of an independent record company, especially one that produces music outside the mainstream of popular music and regarded as a genre

27a    Scent a catastrophic position taken (6)
STANCE: An anagram (catastrophic) of SCENT A leads to the definition of a point of view or stand taken

28a    Cad knocked over, achieve objective (6)
TARGET: A despicable person, especially a man who has been deceitful or disloyal or RAT (cad) as a reversal (knocked over) followed by GET (achieve) get the definition of a result towards which efforts are directed

Down

2d    Flags prepared, raised round Ireland (5)
TIRES: Ready or SET (prepared) taken upwards (raised) as a reversal in the down clue encircling (round) the abbreviation IR (Ireland), leading to the definition of a verb in 3rd person singular present tense denoting becomes less enthusiastic or dynamic or grows languid or spiritless

3d    Novel on top state (3,6)
NEW JERSEY: A charade of interestingly unusual or NEW (novel) and, that is placed upon (on) in the down clue, a knitted garment with long sleeves, worn over the upper body or JERSEY (top), leading to the name of the fifth-smallest but the most densely populated state of the United States

4d    Figure like playground chaser (5)
DIGIT: A charade of DIG (like) as understand or approve of and IT (playground chaser) as a player chasing other players in an attempt to ‘tag’ and mark them out of play, usually by touching with a hand in the playground game called ‘tag’ lead to the definition of any of the numerals from 0 to 9, especially used in arithmetic to represent a number or part of a number

5d    Score also picked up for mark in rugby (6-3)
TWENTY-TWO: A set of TWENTY (score) followed by TOO (also) as a homophone heard by the audience (picked up), arriving at the definition of one of two lines on a rugby pitch which are twenty-two metres from the goal-line

6d    Clean water in several houses (5)
RINSE: Part of or hidden inside (houses) wateR IN SEveral takes to the verbal definition meaning to wash with clean water to remove soap, detergent, dirt or impurities

7d    Wide lane, it is mistaken for middle (9)
WAISTLINE: The abbreviation W (wide) as in cricket followed by an anagram (mistaken) of LANE IT IS lead to the definition of central area of the human body comprising the waist and stomach

8d    Obtuse angle before centre of boat (6)
OAFISH: FISH (angle) with a rod and line following or preceded by (before) the middle or central letters (centre) of bOAt, leading to the adjectival definition meaning loutish or clumsy and unintelligent

9d    Corny as Lancashire, perhaps? (6)
CHEESY: Like (as) CHEES[E] (Lancashire, perhaps) or a crumbly, white cheese originally made in the county of Lancashire of the same name with the last letter removed and suffix Y added, leading to the definition of a colloquial adjective meaning cheap, inferior, artificial or insincere

15d    Disbelief at fitting in puzzle pieces (9)
AMAZEMENT: AT from the clue adjusting by taking inside (fitting in) a combo of MAZE (puzzle) as a network of paths and hedges designed as a puzzle through which one has to find a way and MEN (pieces) as pieces used in playing chess, draughts etc.

16d    In temporary accommodation I have to be considerate (9)
ATTENTIVE: A charade of AT (in), TENT (temporary accommodation) and the contraction or short from I’VE (I have) take to the definition of an adjective meaning very polite or courteous or assiduously attending to the comfort or wishes of others

17d    Aficionado hosting fashionable banker (9)
FINANCIER: A connoisseur or enthusiast of something or FANCIER (aficionado) welcoming in (hosting) trendy or IN (fashionable), leading to the definition of a person concerned in the management of large amounts of money on behalf of governments or other large organisations

18d    Stuffing of roadie knocked out, set for sleep (6)
REPOSE: The inner letters (stuffing) of R[OADI]E removed (knocked out) and followed by POSE (set) lead to the definition of state of rest, stillness or serenity

20d    Canopy in street, fabricated (6)
TESTER: An anagram (fabricated) of STREET leads to the definition of an ornamental cloth covering hung or held up over something, especially a throne or bed


22d    Exhausted, no one going out then? (3,2)
ALL IN: All staying indoors or ALL IN (no one going out) as a consequence (then) takes to the phrasal definition meaning worn out or extremely tired

23d    Fitting offer on film (5)
BIDET: A charade involving BID (offer) and, that is placed upon (on) in the down clue, ET (film) simply known for the science fiction movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial leads to the definition of a bathroom fixture in the form of a basin on a low pedestal, for washing the privates and the perineal areas


24d    Jog is good to take part in altogether (5)
NUDGE: The abbreviation G (good) to participate or join in (take part in) without any clothes on or NUDE (altogether) that precisely comes from ‘the nude’ that is meant by the colloquial phrase ‘the altogether’, arriving at the definition meaning to prod someone gently with one’s elbow in order to attract attention


There were several clues that I enjoyed such as 10a, 11a, 12a, 13a, 14a, 21a, 23a, 25a, 26a, 3d, 4d, 5d, 7d, 9d, 17d, 18d and 24d, with topper being 11a. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a pleasant day.


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