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ST 3135

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3135

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 21st Nov 2021

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Heartiest congratulations to Dada for having successfully completed three long years of Sunday puzzle-setting. My best wishes to him for his endeavours in the years ahead. I enjoyed solving this Sunday puzzle of Dada and now have the pleasure of presenting to you a full review of the same for your kind perusal and valuable comments.

Ceylon as the answer to the clue of 27a was the former name of Sri Lanka, but again Lanka as the name of that country is as old as the hills and the Sanskrit epic Ramayana tells us about Lanka as the abode of King Ravana. The name Lanka itself means any island. I gathered from the net that Ceylon was also known by the name Sielen in the past. The Romans called it Serendivis, the Greeks Sielendiva, the Arabs Serandib and the Persians Serendip. The colonial era brought forth further derivations: to the Portuguese it became Ceilão, to the Spaniards Ceilán, to the French Seilan, to the Dutch Zeilan and to the English Ceylon. However, it was something else that reminded me of Ceylon and to which I had great attachment. And that was Radio Ceylon. During my teenage life, I used to listen to Hindi film songs relayed from that radio station. Ours was a big locality with very few houses in those days and people often kept wooden bedsteads or charpoys made of coir ropes knotted to wooden frames outside their homes and welcomed neighbours in the evening to have a chat with them or listen to the Hindi film songs from their radios. We did not have a radio at home and so I used to join them, more particularly for listening to the Hindi songs. One of the famous programmes was Binaca Geetmala, which I recollected Radio Ceylon used to air for an hour every Wednesday at 8.00 p.m. IST. Despite the fact that we were Bengali speakers and there were families who spoke in Bengali, Urdu, Hindi or English at home, the neighbours were too crazy about the Hindi film songs and I was no less. It did not matter to them even if they failed to get some space to sit on the bedsteads already occupied by others; they remained standing, listening to the songs for the entire one hour was all in all they wanted. However, I often used to wonder as to why Radio Ceylon, belonging to Ceylon, a small island country where people speak only Sinhala and Tamil, was broadcasting Hindi film songs originating from India and why the radio stations from such a vast country like India were not doing so, and, as ill-luck would have it, nobody had any answer for me then. But the opportunity of solving this crossword and coming across the name of the island country made me inquisitive to know about the mystery and, to my surprise, I got the response of my nostalgic query from the net. The golden era of Hindi film music was in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1952, All India Radio and other radio stations suddenly stopped broadcasting the Hindi film songs soon after the-then Minister for Information and Broadcasting had begun to tag them as vulgar, erotic and westernised. Radio Ceylon took advantage of this and immediately launched a Hindi service by broadcasting songs from Hindi movies. Overwhelmed by the programme, the audience flooded Radio Ceylon with letters requesting a countdown of Hindi film songs and the idea of Binaca Geetmala was born, subsequently leading to an increased listenership for the radio station.

Looking at the deliverer of mail lending a helping hand to reach to the American novelist in the clue of 4d, I felt like coining a new term ‘mailier’ as the carrier or deliverer of mail, though the term ‘mail’ itself refers to the person or method of transport by which mail is conveyed, so says the CD.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Strike, touch careless (8)
SLAPDASH: A charade of SLAP (strike) as blow with the hand or anything flat and DASH (touch) as a small amount or a trace leads to the definition of an adjective meaning hasty and careless

9a    Capital invested in exotica, then squandered (6)
ATHENS: Part of or hidden inside (invested in) exoticA THEN Squandered takes to the definition of the capital and largest city of Greece

10a    Peninsula in African country refusing leader (6)
IBERIA: [L]IBERIA (African country) as a country in Western Africa is rejecting (refusing) leader or the leading letter L, arriving at the definition of the name of the peninsula in Southwestern Europe, containing the countries of Spain, Portugal, Andorra, the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar and southern parts of France

11a    Fancy pants in use, old (8)
DELUSION: An anagram (pants) of IN USE OLD leads to the definition of a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea or a figment of imagination

12a    Spread margarine on, and fruit (8,6)
MANDARIN ORANGE: The definition of a small and oblate kind of orange of Chinese origin is arrived at from an anagram (spread) of MARGARINE ON AND

15a    Edge on front of bowler — that’s it! (4)
BRIM: RIM (edge) preceded by (on in an across clue) the initial letter (front) of B[owler] gives the projecting edge on a hat

17a    Second hot drink, coffee (5)
MOCHA: A charade of MO (second) as the slang abbreviation for moment or a very short time and CHA (hot drink) as a hot drink made by infusing the dried crushed leaves of the tea plant in boiling water takes to the definition of a type of fine-quality coffee, typically with chocolate added for flavour

19a    Follow narrative on the radio? (4)
TAIL: TALE (narrative) or a fictitious or true narrative or story as a homophone heard by the audience (on the radio) leads to the definition of a verb meaning to follow and observe someone closely, especially in secret

20a    Perilous arrival, something flipped onto floor at end of flight (7,7)
PANCAKE LANDING: A charade of PANCAKE (something flipped onto) as referring to a flat thin cake made by pouring batter onto a hot greased pan and flipped to cook on both sides and LANDING (floor at end of flight) as the instance of bringing an aircraft to the ground in a controlled way, taking to the definition of an emergency or irregular landing in which an aircraft levels out close to the ground and drops vertically with its undercarriage still retracted

23a    Flower father keeps out back, one ending in soil (8)
DAFFODIL: DAD (father) as a childish and colloquial term for a father surrounds or guards (keeps) OFF (out) as away or out of continuity, written backwards (back) as a reversal, I (one) as the Roman numeral for one and the ending or last letter (ending) in [SOI]L, arriving at the definition of a bright yellow flower with a long trumpet-shaped centre and belonging to the genus Narcissus

25a    Wanderer returned bearing small fruit (6)
DAMSON: NOMAD (wanderer) as a member of a wandering pastoral community came back (returned) as a reversal in the across clue carrying inside (bearing) S (small) as the abbreviation for small, taking to the definition of a rather small, dark-purple plum

27a    Old country only reforming after evacuation of Chile (6)
CEYLON: An anagram (reforming) of ONLY following or preceded by (after) C[HIL]E experiencing the consequence of having nothing inside (evacuation) or having the inner letters taken out or removed, leading to the definition of the former name of Sri Lanka, an island country in South Asia

28a    An insect on the move, most cautious (8)
CANNIEST: The definition of an adjective in the superlative degree meaning most shrewd or astute is arrived at from an anagram (on the move) of AN INSECT


1d    Society member in black suit (4)
CLUB: Double definition; the first being an association of persons for social, political, athletic or other ends and the second referring to a playing card with black trefoil pips

2d    Saved, source of water and wine (6)
SPARED: SPA (source of water) as a mineral spring or a place where water wells up from an underground source and RED (wine) as alcoholic drink coloured by red grape skins during fermentation in a charade, taking to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning excused, relieved or saved from

3d    Dump building outside (4)
SHED: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to discard something undesirable, superfluous or outdated and the second referring to an outhouse or a building built near to or up against a main building that can be used for garden storage, to shelter animals or as a workshop

4d    Did he deliver as US novelist? (6)
MAILER: The definition of a mail carrier or a person who delivers the post or mail is cryptically constructed as a MAIL-ER that leads to the surname of an American novelist whose eleven books were best-sellers, at least one in each of the seven decades after World War II and more than any other post-war American writer

5d    One of those roasted in joke? (8)
CHESTNUT: Double definition; the first being a glossy hard brown edible nut which develops within a bristly case and which may be roasted and eaten that leads to the second meaning a stale joke or cliché

6d    Asian individuals coming in from Kolkata, say? (10)
INDONESIAN: ONES (individuals) as individual persons entering (coming in) INDIAN (from Kolkata, say) as a native or inhabitant of India that has Kolkata as one of its cities, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning belonging or related to a country called Indonesia that is in the continent of Asia

8d    Equine sheep beyond a mix-up of characters! (7)
ANAGRAM: A combo of NAG (equine) as a horse, especially a small one and RAM (sheep) as a male sheep is preceded by or following (beyond) A from the clue, giving rise to the definition of a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase

13d    A personal failing, with mistake finally admitted, for high-fliers (10)
AEROPLANES: A from the clue followed by an anagram (failing) of PERSONAL with the last or final letter (finally) of [MISTAK]E taken in (admitted), taking to the definition of heavier-than-air power-driven flying-machines with fixed wings

14d    Specific taste of macaroni cheese (5)
NICHE: Part of or hidden inside (taste of) macaroNI CHEese unfolds the definition of an adjective meaning denoting products, services or interests that appeal to a small, specialised section of a population

16d    Soldier: I quit legion (8)
MANIFOLD: MAN (soldier) as an uncommissioned soldier, I from the clue and FOLD (quit) as collapse or cease trading take to the definition of an adjective meaning many in number

18d    A gang on leave (7)
ABANDON: A from the clue, BAND (gang) as a group of people bound together for any common interest and ON from the
clue lead to the definition of a verb meaning to desert or leave a place empty, without intending to return

21d    Passionate office into music, for example (6)
ARDENT: DEN (office) as a private domestic room or office for work or pleasure placed inside (into) ART (music, for example) as the art, inter alia, of instrumental performance, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning zealous or very enthusiastic

22d    Fix pipe supplying water perhaps in field (6)
DOMAIN: A charade of DO (fix) as to work on something to bring it to a required state and MAIN (pipe supplying water perhaps) as a principal pipe or conductor in a branching system distributing water, leading to the definition of an area, land or territory

24d    Fasten hair (4)
LOCK: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to fasten or secure something with a lock and the second referring to a piece, strand, tuft or ringlet of hair

26d    River of Ukraine seems endless, initially (4)
OUSE: The first or the initial letters (initially) of Of Ukraine Seems Endless guide to the definition of a river in North Yorkshire, England

There were so many clues that I liked such as 7a, 9a, 10a, 11a, 15a, 17a, 20a, 23a, 25a, 27a, 28a, 1d, 2d, 3d, 6d, 8d, 13d, 16d and 22d; 20a being my favourite. Thanks to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Would love to be here again. Have a nice day.


4 comments on “ST 3135

  1. Thanks again for another excellent review from Kolkata. I agree this was a rather good Dada to celebrate his 3rd anniversary. I do like the American author and there was much debate in the hints as to which American author could be the best.
    I did like the bit in your preamble about listening to the Hindi songs on the radio. I was trekking in Nepal in the 1990s and was enjoying the local porters who sang delightful folk songs as they toiled uphill with our luggage. It was only when we got to the days camp that the Head porter with the best English told me that they were actually singing the themes from various radio adverts. The song I admired the most turned out to be for a local brand of baked beans. Thanks again to Dada and your good self.

    1. Thank you once again, John Bee, for liking my review and this comes to me as an encouragement, as usual. I was delighted to read about your happy moments in Nepal in the 1990s. But I guess the thematic songs from various radio adverts must have been in Nepali. Not only the language is similar to Hindi, its script is also Devanagari, like that of Hindi.

  2. 2*/3*….found the cryptic easier than the quickie….
    liked 25A ” Wanderer returned bearing small fruit (6) ” … also RA’s reminiscence about Radio Ceylon !

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