ST 3139 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3139

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3139

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 19th 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 important feedback. Dada has given us this time a bit tougher than his usual puzzles, though it was overall an enjoyable one.

I was inquisitive to know more about satsuma, the answer to the clue of 23a, and hence visited the net. I came to learn that satsuma is a variety of tangerine with a loose skin and is named after the former Satsuma Province of Japan. It the United Kingdom, it is often associated with Christmas. The Japanese commonly call it ‘mikan’, whereas the original term satsuma is used in the United Kingdom. In Africa, they call it ‘naartjie’ and in Canada, ‘tangerine’. In the United States, they market ‘satsuma’ as ‘tangerines’, whereas it is less commonly called satsuma tangerine, satsuma orange or satsuma mandarin.

Porcupine as the answer of 27a reminded me of my first-ever class, the nursery class, in which I was studying in 1965. There used to be an A to Z alphabet chart with pictures hung on a wall beside the blackboard. I could not recollect whether A had the picture of an apple or C and D had the pictures of cats and dogs respectively. But I very vividly remembered that P did not show a pig, but a porcupine. It was its coat of sharp spines that might have seemed weird to me and prompted me to gaze at it quite often while in class. There was only one more picture that I could reminisce that chart displayed. The picture belonged to Y and was of a yacht. Although many vague reasons could be framed for having the photo in mind even at this old age, but I would rather blame the odd pronunciation of the word that did not concur with its spelling to be responsible for my over-indulgence in that photo. Another interesting event I remembered of my nursery class was about my final report written on a piece of paper that I received on the last day of the term in December. After coming out of the class when the school was over, I handed that report immediately to my maternal grandmother (my mother’s mother) who used to regularly accompany me to school and back home. In the evening, after returning home from work, my maternal uncle (my mother’s brother) asked my grandmother whether the school had given any paper, to which my grandmother replied that there was one, but unknowingly feeling nothing special or important about it, had thrown it into the dustbin area just outside our room. A search was immediately made and the report got its right place back home.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Group of waiters prompt, did you say? (5)
QUEUE: CUE (prompt) or the last words of an actor’s speech serving as a signal to the next speaker to begin is heard by the audience (did you say?) as a homophone, taking to the definition of a line of people etc. awaiting their turn for service or attention

4a    Acid test: Ireland shuffled mess around (9)
PHILANDER: PH (acid test) as a numerical measure used to express degrees of acidity or alkalinity in solutions is followed by an anagram (shuffled) of IRELAND, arriving at the definition of a verb meaning to flirt or have casual affairs

9a    Ship buried within ancient ground, always there (9)
INCESSANT: SS (ship) as the abbreviation of steamship is interred (buried) inside (within) an anagram (ground) of ANCIENT, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning uninterrupted or continual

10a    Pole working for tycoon (5)
BARON: A charade of BAR (pole) as a rod, strip or oblong block of wood, metal or similar material and ON (working) as functioning or allowing connection, supply or operation takes to the definition of an important or powerful person in a specified business or activity

11a    King referring to case of mogul in citadel (7)
KREMLIN: K (king) as the abbreviation for king in chess notation, followed by the preposition RE (referring to) as a commercial jargon used to indicate ‘with reference to’ or ‘concerning’, the outermost letters (case) of M[OGU]L and IN from the clue, arriving at the definition of a citadel, especially that of Moscow

12a    Good puzzle for cook (7)
GRIDDLE: A charade of G (good) as the abbreviation for good and RIDDLE (puzzle) as a puzzling question or anything puzzling guides to the definition of a verb meaning to cook on a griddle or a heavy flat iron plate

13a    A rule about parking on some mountains (6)
ALPINE: A from the clue is followed by LINE (rule) as a canon or rule that goes around (about) P (parking) as the abbreviation for parking, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning growing on the Alps or mountain tops

15a    Morning sickness beginning to grate in house (8)
HANGOVER: The initial or beginning letter (beginning) to G[RATE] is placed inside (in) HANOVER (house) as the royal house of Britain from 1714 to 1901, leading to the definition of after-effects, such as nausea, vomiting etc., especially of drinking alcohol

18a    Sizzling hot banger? (8)
DYNAMITE: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning hot and desirable and the second referring to an explosive consisting of absorbent matter, such as porous silica, saturated with nitroglycerine

20a    Beer, big hit (6)
WALLOP: Double definition; the first being a slang word for an alcoholic drink, especially beer and the second a colloquial word for a heavy blow or punch

23a    Fruit a necessity, as on the counter (7)
SATSUMA: A combo of A from the clue, MUST (necessity) as used to express compulsion, necessity or obligation and AS from the clue written from the opposite way (on the counter) as a reversal in the across clue leads to the definition of a thin-skinned seedless type of mandarin orange, originally grown in Japan

24a    Male has broken tool person held (7)
HOSTAGE: STAG (male) as a male deer, especially a red deer over four years old that has penetrated and separated (broken) HOE (tool) as a long-handled instrument with a narrow blade used for scraping or digging up weeds and loosening the earth, arriving at the definition of a person seized or held as security for the fulfilment of a condition

26a    Space behind a duck (5)
AVOID: VOID (space) as an empty space is placed after (behind) A from the clue, leading to the definition of a verb meaning to evade or shun an unwelcome responsibility or undertaking

27a    Different pincer up, nipping old rodent (9)
PORCUPINE: An anagram (different) of PINCER UP taking inside (nipping) O (old) as the abbreviation of O as in OT or Old Testament, taking to the definition of a large rodent with sharp erectile bristles mingled with the fur

28a    Go and strip in game (9)
PARTRIDGE: A charade of PART (go) as to leave a relationship and go different ways and RIDGE (strip) as a narrow elevation or raised strip along any surface leads to the definition of a short-tailed game bird with mainly brown plumage, found chiefly in Europe and Asia

29a    River runs through marquee (5)
TRENT: R (runs) as the abbreviation for run or runs scored in cricket placed within (through) TENT (marquee) as a portable shelter made of canvas or other cloth, supported by one or more poles and stretched tight by cords or loops attached to pegs driven into the ground, arriving at the definition of the third-longest river, after Severn and Thames, in the United Kingdom


1d    Sucker bringing fleet onto beach (9)
QUICKSAND: QUICK (fleet) as fast and nimble in movement is placed upon (onto) SAND (beach) as an expanse of sand, typically along a shore, leading to the definition of a loose wet sand that yields easily to pressure and sucks in anything resting on or falling into it

2d    Host entertaining my clients, embarrassing everyone initially (5)
EMCEE: The initial or first letters (initially) of Entertaining My Clients, Embarrassing Everyone take to the definition of a colloquial term for master of ceremonies or a person who directs the form and order of the ceremonies to be observed on some public occasion; the term being derived as a phonetic representation of the abbreviation MC

3d    Slope in squiggly foreign letter (7)
EPSILON: An anagram (squiggly) of SLOPE IN guides to the fifth letter E or ε of the Greek alphabet

4d    Seafood pieces about right (6)
PRAWNS: PAWNS (pieces) as chess pieces or men of the smallest size and value is placed around R (right) as the abbreviation of right, leading to the definition of marine crustaceans that resemble large shrimps, many varieties of which are edible

5d    Key left under form of granite (8)
INTEGRAL: L (left) as the abbreviation of left is placed below (under) an anagram (form) of GRANITE, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning basic, vital or indispensable

6d    Walking in the morning, sparkling stuff (7)
AMBLING: AM (in the morning) as the abbreviation for the Latin word ante meridiem meaning before midday and BLING (sparkling stuff) as expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewellery in a charade, leading to the definition meaning walking or moving at a slow, relaxed pace

7d    Dread playing with wicked, reckless type (4-5)
DARE-DEVIL: An anagram (playing) of DREAD followed by (with) EVIL (wicked) as bad or wicked, taking to the definition of a rash and daring person

8d    Reach Apennines, for example (5)
RANGE: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to stretch or reach and the second denoting what Apennines that extend along the length of peninsular Italy are an example of

14d    Red spike in root, twisted (5,4)
PINOT NOIR: PIN (spike) as a thin piece of metal with a sharp point at one end used for fastening things together is followed by an anagram (twisted) of IN ROOT, taking to the definition of a wine made from the dark black grapes and coloured by their skins

16d    Works performed by company, object to show (9)
REPRESENT: REP (works performed by company) as the short form of ‘repertoire’ or a stock of plays, dances or items that a company or a performer knows or is prepared to perform and RESENT (object to) as to be bitter about or dislike in a charade, taking to the definition of a verb meaning to depict a particular subject in a work of art

17d    Penniless criminals finally caught (8)
STRAPPED: The final or last letter (finally) of [CRIMINAL]S is followed by TRAPPED (caught) as caught someone or something out with a plan or trick, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning suffering from scarcity, especially of money

19d    Second ruled out, begin to crumble (7)
MOULDER: The abbreviation of moment, MO (second) as a slang term for a very short time is followed by an anagram (out) of RULED, arriving at the definition of a verb, meaning to slowly decay or disintegrate, especially because of neglect

21d    Offensive, a flavouring by the sound of it? (7)
ASSAULT: A from the clue is followed by a substance used to give a flavour to food or SALT (flavouring) as a homophone heard by the audience (by the sound of it), arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning used in attack, preparing or prepared for attack

22d    Attack price levied for service (6)
CHARGE: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to attack at a rush and the second referring to a price asked for a service rendered

23d    Sour note (5)
SHARP: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning bitter or acerbic and the second referring to a musical note raised a semitone above natural pitch

25d    A group of players whispered remark (5)
ASIDE: A from the clue is followed by SIDE (group of players) as a team or a group of players opposing another or others in a game, contest or debate, leading to the definition of words spoken in an undertone to someone, so as not to be heard by the others present

There were so many clues that I liked such as 1a, 4a, 9a, 11a, 15a, 23a, 24a, 27a, 3d, 6d, 14d, 17d, 21d and 23d; 15a being the topper. Thanks to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again in the coming year and wishing everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2022. Have a nice day.


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