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ST 3127

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3127

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 26 Sep 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Heartiest congratulations to Dada on his 150th Sunday puzzle that I found quite straightforward and enjoyed solving inasmuch as writing thereafter a review that I now happily present to you for your patient reading and valuable feedback.

The word ‘data’, as the answer to the clue of 15a, is a plural noun. But much like the word ‘information’, the word ‘data’ is now generally treated as a singular noun and its use as a plural form is now confined to the academic and scientific writings.

Plantain, the answer to the clue of 18a, was known to me since my school days as an edible fruit for the people of the tropics. However, like the Kashmiris here who prefer to eat apples as a vegetable after cooking them, we in Bengal like as well to have the plantains cooked and relish them as a vegetable with our rice. And whenever we need to soothe our upset stomach, we do have a plantain and raw papaya curry, preferably without any spice or salt, and that works really well! One can have the curry with rice or ‘chapati’ – a thin pancake of unleavened wholemeal bread cooked on a griddle. However, some twelve years back, I also got to taste a curry of plantain mixed with some vegetables prepared in the canteen of a recovery branch of the bank where I was posted. To my utter surprise, I found that the cooked horizontally-sliced plantains had their peels on! And now I visited the net to know more about them and I found that the plantains rank as the tenth most important staple food in the world. They can be boiled, baked or grilled over charcoal, either peeled or unpeeled. They can be made into chips or dried flour. They can also be served as a pudding or a ketchup.

I also learnt from the net that cardigan, the answer to the clue of 6d, was named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British Army major general who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. British officers used to wear knitted wool waistcoat during the wartime. The earl invented the cardigan after noticing that the tails of his coat had accidentally been burnt off in a fireplace. After the war, the garment became fashionable and a huge sale followed.

Telephone as the answer to the clue of 14d took me to my world of the yesteryears and I observed that it was one of the devices we never had at home! The bank I worked for provided me with a mobile for official use for the first time when I was posted as an accountant at a place called Bongaon, bordering Bangladesh, and at that time I was forty-six! And soon after that, I purchased one to be used by members of my family at home. Even to this day, I wonder how I managed without a telephone for so long many years.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    A hybrid throughout (6)
ACROSS: A from the clue and CROSS (hybrid) as an animal or plant resulting from crossing or mixing of two distinct breeds take to the definition of a preposition meaning from one side of a place or area to the other

5a    Second worker shot (8)
BACKHAND: A charade of support or BACK (second) and HAND (worker) as a worker, especially in a factory or on a ship leads to the definition of a term in tennis and other racket sports denoting a stroke played with the back of hand turned in the direction of the stroke

9a    Crumbling older reef hosting a parasite (6)
FREELOADER: An anagram (crumbling) of OLDER REEF taking in (hosting) A from the clue; leading to the definition of a person who takes advantage of or gains from others’ generosity without giving anything in return

10a    Bloodyas hens’ teeth? (4)
RARE: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning partly raw or not completely cooked, like meat especially beef, so that the inside is still red like the colour of the blood and the second again an adjective meaning extremely difficult or impossible to find or incredibly scarce to the point of non-existence like the teeth of hens

11a    Cook opening a tin, or fancy dish cooked in oven (8)
TANDOORI: DO (cook) or cook food to completion or to a specified degree bifurcating (opening) an anagram (fancy) of A TIN OR, arriving at the definition of food cooked in a tandoor or a cylindrical clay oven of a type used originally in northern India and Pakistan, and now in a broader region of Southern, Central and Western Asia as also in the South Caucasus

12a    Popular exploit, without a doubt (6)
INDEED: A charade of IN (popular) as the colloquial term for an adjective meaning much in use or fashionable and DEED (exploit) as a bold or daring feat, taking to the definition of an adverb used to emphasise a statement or response, marking a qualifying word or clause, a concession or admission

13a    Odd parts having run away, melting as volcano (4)
ETNA: The remaining or even letters (odd parts having run away) of mElTiNg As result in the definition of an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy in the metropolitan city of Catania

15a    This data processed, nevertheless (4,4)
THAT SAID: An anagram (processed) of THIS DATA leads to the definition of an adverb meaning in spite of that or having said that

18a    Insect burrowing into ugly vegetable? (8)
PLANTAIN: ANT (insect) as eusocial insect of the family Formidicae getting inside (burrowing into) PLAIN (ugly) as deficient in beauty and attractiveness, taking to the definition of a banana that is harvested green and widely used as a cooked vegetable in the tropical countries

19a    Offensive row (4)
RANK: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning having a foul or obnoxious smell and the second a noun referring to a regular line of things or people, a single line of soldiers standing side by side or each of the eight rows of eight squares running from side to side across a chessboard

21a    Skip three-month period (6)
SPRING: Double definition; the first meaning to move along lightly, stepping from one foot to the other with a hop or bounce and the second referring to the season after winter and before summer, in which vegetation begins to appear, from March to May in the northern hemisphere and from September to November in the southern hemisphere

23a    Local, a despicable type welcoming pardon? (8)
ALEHOUSE: A from the clue followed by the LOUSE (despicable type) as a colloquial term for a contemptible or unpleasant person taking in (welcoming) EH (pardon) as an interjection expressing inquiry, failure to hear or slight surprise, leading to the definition of a colloquial term for a pub or inn where ale or beer is sold and served

25a    Number in figures on gate (4)
SONG: Part of or hidden inside (in) figureS ON Gate, revealing the definition of a musical composition, especially one of several songs in a performance

26a    Man like that, awful clothes, a cleaner (6,4)
BAKING SODA: A combo of KING (man) as the most important man or piece in the game of chess and SO (like that), BAD (awful) covers up or wraps (clothes) and followed by A from the clue, leading to the definition of sodium bicarbonate used, inter alia, as a cleaning agent for removing odours from clothes put in washing machine, surface contamination from softer and resilient substances such as aluminium, copper or timber and stains from tea and coffee cups

27a    Strap replacing steel bat (4,4)
SEAT BELT: An anagram (replacing) of STEEL BAT results in the definition of a belt that is used to secure someone in the seat of a motor vehicle or aircraft

28a    Words of wisdom always in serenade (6)
SAYING: Aye or AY (always) as used in the North as an adverb meaning ever placed inside (in) SING (serenade) or entertain someone with a piece of music sung or played in the open air, typically by a man at night right under the window of his beloved; leading to the definition of a short, pithy, commonly known expression generally offering advice or wisdom


2d    Around countryside I ran, certainly ambling initially (5)
CIRCA: The first or initial letters (initially) of Countryside I Ran Certainly Ambling produce the definition of a preposition meaning approximately, often preceding a date

3d    In the red van, order forms filled in by head of warehouse (9)
OVERDRAWN: An anagram (forms) of VAN ORDER having entered (filled in) by the first letter (head) of W[AREHOUSE], arriving at the definition of an idiomatic expression meaning in debt or having taken money from one’s bank account beyond one’s credit

4d    Perfect boy saving sum of money (4,2)
SPOT ON: SON (boy) used by an older person as a form of address for a boy or young man or a male person in relation to either or both of his parents keeping in (saving) POT (sum of money) as the total money contributed by a group of people for a particular purpose; leading to the definition of an adjective meaning precisely what is required or exactly right

5d    Paperwork: huge amount carried by supporter in sports kit (9,6)
BADMINTON RACKET: A combo of ADMIN (paperwork) as an abbreviated, informal term for administration that includes work like record keeping and processing documents of an institution or organisation and another informal term TON (huge amount) for many or a large amount is taken in (carried) by BRACKET (supporter) as a right-angled support attached to a wall for holding a shelf, lamp or other object; arriving at the definition of a sports bat with usually roughly elliptical head of wood or metal strung with catgut or nylon

6d    Top town in Wales (8)
CARDIGAN: Double definition; the second referring to a town and a community in the county of Ceredigion, Wales that leads to the first meaning a piece of knitted woollen clothing that covers the upper part of the body and the arms, fastening at the front with buttons and worn over other clothes

7d    Staff supporting that man, biblical ruler (5)
HEROD: A charade involving ROD (staff) as a sceptre or a long, slender ornamented stick carried in the hand by ruler as a symbol of sovereignty preceded by or following (supporting) the third person singular pronoun HE (that man), taking to the definition of the Roman client king of Judea who appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew

8d    European wearing no pants (9)
NORWEGIAN: An anagram (pants) of WEARING NO leads to the definition of a native or inhabitant of Norway that is in Europe

14d    Elope, then set out to get ring (9)
TELEPHONE: An anagram (set out) of ELOPE THEN takes to the definition of a telecommunication device that one uses to talk directly to someone else in a different place

16d    Jolly, are you joking? (9)
SERIOUSLY: Double definition; the first being an adverb meaning very or extremely in the colloquial parlance and the second again an adverb that is used to add sincerity to a statement, especially after a facetious exchange of remarks

17d    Concrete Belgian mixed after last of cement (8)
TANGIBLE: An anagram (mixed) of BELGIAN preceded by or following (after) the final or last letter (last) of [CEMEN]T takes to the definition of an adjective meaning clear and definite, well defined or solid

20d    Crime on web all set up — racketeer’s game? (6)
TENNIS: Altogether (all) of SIN (crime) as an immoral act placed above (on) NET (web) is taken upwards (set up) as a reversal in the down clue, leading to the definition of a game in which two or four players strike a ball with rackets over a net stretched across a court

22d    Precious lump inspired by playing Othello (5)
INGOT: Part of or hidden inside (inspired by) playING OThello, taking to the definition of a mass of unwrought metal, especially gold or silver, cast in a mould

24d    Fifty per cent dark in lighter country (5)
SUDAN: Half the letters (fifty per cent) of DA[RK] is placed inside (in) SUN (lighter) cryptically as the star that gives light; leading to the definition of a country in Northeast Africa, of which a part became an independent state under the name of South Sudan in 2011

Among the clues that I liked were 5a, 9a, 10a, 11a, 13a, 23a, 26a, 6d, 16d, 20d and 24d, but 5d was my favourite. Thanks to Dada for the enjoyment and to BD for the encouragement. Will be happy to be here again. Have a pleasant day.


4 comments on “ST 3127

  1. Thank you so much for such an informative review. It was especially interesting to read the information on plantains. I’m now trying (and failing) to imagine eating sliced banana with its peel still on.

    And thank you to Senf and Steve Cowling on the original hints page for the trivia about the Wimbledon umpire for John McEnroe’s famous rant being an RAF dentist. A co-incidence that you both have met him; I wonder how many other mutual acquaintances there are between Big Dave regulars yet to be uncovered.

    1. Once again, thank you so much, Smylers, for your words of encouragement on the review.

    2. Thanks Smylers. You will probably have to keep on wondering as I am sure the number will never be discovered.

      I did once sleep with, well under the same roof as, Angela Rippon. Any other claims like that?

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