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ST 3137

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3137

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 5th Dec 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 comment. Dada has given us this time a slightly tougher than his usual puzzles, but I would say it was overall an enjoyable one.

From the net, I gathered many rivers by the name Dee that is the fate of part of the wordplay in the clue 1a. River Dee is one of the several tributaries of River Derwent located in Tasmania, Australia while another River Dee as one of the two tributaries of River Dawson is located in Central Queensland of that country. River Dee is in eastern Ireland, flowing from County Cavan to join the Glyde in County Louth. In the United Kingdom, besides River Dee flowing through parts of both Wales and England and forming part of the border between them, there are other rivers by the same name, too. River Dee runs through the extreme south east of Cumbria, a part of the Craven region traditionally part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. River Dee, in southwest Scotland, flows from its source in Loch Dee amongst the Galloway Hills, firstly to Clatteringshaws Loch, then into Loch Ken, where it joins the Water of Ken. Another River Dee is in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It rises in the Cairngorms and flows through southern Aberdeenshire to reach the North Sea at Aberdeen.

Port, as the answer to the clue of 21a, was originally called ‘larboard’ by the sailors and since most of them were right-handed, the steering oar used to control the ship was at the right side of the stern. Earlier, they used to call the right side as the ‘steering side’, but later changed to ‘starboard’, ‘star’ being the corrupt form of ‘steer’. The left side ‘larboard’ and the right side ‘starboard’ landed them in utter confusion, especially when challenging conditions at sea made it difficult to hear. The switchover from a rhythmic term ‘larboard’ to an arrhythmic ‘port’ was done to lead to a distinctive alternate name.

I also gathered from the net that tagliatelle, the definition and part of wordplay in the clue of 21d, are a traditional type of pasta shaped as narrow ribbons that originated from the Emilia-Romagna and Marche regions of Italy. The singular of tagliatelle, in the Italian language, is tagliatella.

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1a    River containing 75 per cent of fish, lower (6)
DEBASE: DEE (river) as the river flowing through parts of Wales and England is having inside (containing) three-fourths of the letters (75 per cent) of BAS[S] (fish) as a European sea-fish of the sea-perch family, leading to a verb meaning to degrade or reduce something in quality or value

4a    Difficult situation, conflict, for vessel (6)
JAMJAR: A charade of JAM (difficult situation) as an awkward situation or predicament and JAR (conflict) as a state of manifestation of discord or conflict takes to the definition of a glass jar used to contain jam or another preserve

8a    Piece inside hard fruit for hog (8)
GOURMAND: MAN (piece) as a piece used in playing chess, draughts etc. is placed inside (inside) GOURD (hard fruit) as a large hard-rinded fleshy fruit characteristic of the cucumber family, arriving at the definition of a person who eats greedily, often indiscriminately and to excess

10a    Leave post (3,3)
GET OFF: Double definition; the first meaning to leave a place, usually in order to start a journey or to leave work with permission or as scheduled and the second meaning to send a letter or package by post

11a    Part of blade, yet rotating in saw (4)
EYED: Hidden or noticed inside (part of) blaDE YEt turning around (rotating) or coming backwards as a reversal, taking to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning observed narrowly or looked at closely or with interest

12a    Transcontinental region listed, made blurry (6,4)
MIDDLE EAST: An anagram (blurry) of LISTED MADE guides to the definition of a geopolitical term that commonly refers to the region spanning three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa and encompassing the Levant, Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Anatolia that includes modern Turkey and Cyprus

13a    Stroke followed by reversed figure — might there be a comma in there? (9,3)
BUTTERFLY NET: BUTTERFLY (stroke) as a stroke in swimming in which both arms are raised out of the water and lifted forwards together and (followed by) TEN (figure) as a number or figure that is written backwards as a reversal (reversed), leading to the definition of a butterfly-catching small-meshed conical net with a wide round open end on a hoop attached to a handle, which might have in it, when put to use, a comma butterfly amongst the flutter

16a    Device that decreases pure stress, or otherwise (7-5)
TROUSER-PRESS: An anagram (otherwise) of PURE STRESS OR has a cryptic way of defining an electrical appliance that de-creases or specifically, that is used to smooth the wrinkles or creases from trousers or pants

20a    Particulars — of the hokey cokey? (3,3,4)
INS AND OUTS: A circular dance with many ins and outs, where one puts one’s left arm in and then left arm out, then repeating in, out, in, out, one starts to shake it all about that leads to the definition of complete details of any matter

21a    Alcoholic tipple left (4)
PORT: Double definition; the first being a red or tawny fortified wine, originally from Oporto, Portugal and the second a nautical term referring to the left side or the port side of a ship as also an adjective meaning left

22a    Loyal servant wearing skirt? (6)
MINION: ON (wearing) as an adverb meaning being worn by a person and MINI (skirt) as a very short skirt whose hemline is well above the knees are cryptically framed as MINI-ON, arriving at the definition of a follower or underling of a powerful person, especially a servile or unimportant one

23a    Beach behind you, grand (8)
THOUSAND: SAND (beach) as an expanse of sand, typically along a seashore is preceded by or coming after THOU (you) as archaic or dialect form of the nominative of the second person singular pronoun ‘you’, leading to the vague or hyperbolic definition of a very large, unspecified amount

24a    Lima, an extraordinary capital city (6)
MANILA: An anagram (extraordinary) of LIMA AN takes to the definition of the capital city of the Philippines, a southeast Asian country

25a    Soldiers confronting wicked troublemaker (6)
MENACE: MEN (soldiers) as non-commissioned soldiers facing (confronting) ACE (wicked) as a slang term for wicked, excellent or admirable in a charade, leading to the informal definition of a person or thing that causes trouble or annoyance


1d    God: American under clerical council raised to accept one (8)
DIONYSUS: US (American) as the adjectival abbreviation for the United States or belonging to the United States is placed below (under) SYNOD (clerical council) as an assembly of the clergy, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application that is written upwards (raised) as a reversal in the down clue and also having to contain (accept) I (one) as the Roman numeral for one, arriving at the definition of the ancient Greek god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, fertility, orchards and fruits, vegetation, festivity, theatre, ritual madness and religious ecstasy

2d    By the sound of it, panel fed up (5)
BORED: A long, thin, flat slab of wood or other hard material used for some specific purpose or BOARD (panel) is heard by the audience as a homophone (by the sound of it), taking to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning felt tired and impatient because one has lost interest in something or because one has nothing to do

3d    Person who criticises prison? (7)
SLAMMER: Double definition; a slang term for a prison or correctional institution (second definition) is arrived at from a person who slams or criticises harshly (first definition)

5d    African girl keeping a diary up (7)
ANGOLAN: ANN (girl) as a popular name for a girl having inside (keeping) a combo of A from the clue and LOG (diary) as a regular or systematic record written upwards (up) as a reversal in the down clue, leading to the definition of a native or inhabitant of Angola, an African country

6d    Traveller with black dog (3-6)
JET-SETTER: A charade of JET (black) as a glossy black colour and SETTER (dog) as a dog of a large long-haired breed trained to stand rigid when scenting game, arriving at the definition of a member of the wealthy social set who frequently travels by jetliners for pleasure to fashionable resorts around the world

7d    Deny judge employment (6)
REFUSE: The short form of referee or REF (judge) as an arbitrator, umpire or judge in sports and USE (employment) as employment causing wear in a charade, leading to the definition of a verb meaning to decline to accept or grant something offered or requested

9d    Anything finished? Little following delay, oddly (6-5)
DIDDLY SQUAT: DID (finished) as completed and SQUAT (little) as small or short and thickset is preceded by (following) the oddly-placed letters (oddly) of DeLaY, taking to the definition of a pronoun meaning anything at all

14d    Layer helping lab test (9)
TITRATION: A charade of TIT (layer) as a type of small songbird which is an egg-laying feathered vertebrate and RATION (helping) as a serving or helping by way of a fixed allowance of provisions or food, arriving at the definition of a common laboratory method of quantitative chemical analysis to determine the concentration of an identified analyte or a substance to be analysed

15d    Distance set to change over mountains (8)
ESTRANGE: An anagram (to change) of SET is placed upon (over) RANGE (mountains) as a line or series of mountains in the down clue, leading to the definition of a verb meaning to separate or disconnect or to create distance between people

17d    New road in London’s opening first, say? (7)
ORDINAL: An anagram (new) of ROAD IN followed by L[ONDON’S] as its opening or first letter (opening), taking to the definition of an example of a number that exhibits the position or order of something in relation to other numbers

18d    Ultimately, chowder is fish dish (7)
RISSOLE: The ultimate or last letter (ultimately) of [CHOWDE]R is followed by IS from the clue and SOLE (fish) as an elliptical flatfish of the genus Solea, arriving at the definition of a fried ball or cake of minced seasoned meat or fish, coated in breadcrumbs

19d    Weak, working for company? (6)
INFIRM: A charade of IN (working for) as indicating someone’s occupation or profession and FIRM (company) as a business house or a company, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning not physically or mentally strong, especially through age or illness

21d    What goes into grandpa’s tagliatelle? (5)
PASTA: What goes inside or is part of (what goes into) grandPA’S TAgliatelle is the definition of what tagliatelle are

Among the clues that I liked were 4a, 8a, 13a, 16a, 20a, 22a, 23a, 1d, 6d, 9d, 14d, 15d and 17d and 13a was the clear winner. Thanks to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a pleasant day.


4 comments on “ST 3137

  1. Thank you, Rahmat, for all the work that you put into your weekly reviews. I always find your prologues interesting and thought-provoking.
    As we face another uncertain Christmastide, I send all good wishes that everyone, wherever they are, will stay safe and well and that we may all look forward to a better 2022.

    1. Thank you once again, Essar, for your words of encouragement on the review. Thank you also for all your good wishes to everyone that includes me. I pray to the Almighty to keep all of us in good health and safe from all impending dangers. I also pray to Him to release all of us from the bondage of the new normal situation as we are not meant for that and restore our earlier days when we used to breathe normally and that can never be outdated. Pray that Christmas for everyone this year be as merry as in the past except last year due to pandemic and also wish you a happy and prosperous new year 2022.

  2. 4*/4*…
    liked 6D ” Traveller with black dog (3-6) ”
    interesting discourse in RA’s comments about the origins of “port” and “starboard” !

    1. Thank you so much, Robin Newman, for finding the discourse on ‘larboard’ and ‘starboard’ interesting.

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