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ST 3143

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3143

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 16th Jan 2022

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

Greetings from Kolkata. Dada has given us a slightly tougher than his usual puzzles this Sunday, but overall an enjoyable one and I have the pleasure of presenting to you once again a full review of the same and would be delighted to have your precious feedback for my encouragement and improvement.

I wanted to know more about ‘rare’ that appeared as part of the wordplay to the clue of 15a, particularly when it describes a steak. While searching the net, I came across the different levels of cooked steak. Some people prefer steak that has charred edges, others a juicy, red-centre in their cut of meat and still others want their steak to be tender and without any red juice flowing when cut into it. A blue steak is dark in colour, close to purple and just warm. It is almost raw on the inside, with a light charring on the outside. It feels spongy without any resistance and is the juiciest and tenderest that any cooking level can produce. A rare steak is dark red in the centre with some juice flowing. It is charred by a grill fried on the outside and is soft and spongy with slight resistance. A medium-rare steak is more pink in colour with a little pink juice flowing. It is a bit soft and spongy and slightly springy. A medium steak is pale pink in the middle with hardly any juice flowing. It is firm and springy. A medium-well steak has a pale pink inside as well. This is the preferred level of cooking for someone who wants their steak tender and without the red juice when cut into it on their plate. A well-done steak has only a trace of pink colour but not dry. It has charred blackening on the outside. It feels spongy and soft and slightly springy. What gastronomical inferences and meticulousness!

I was also inquisitive to know more about ‘ploughman’s lunch’, the answer to the clue of 20a. I found out that the traditional ploughman’s meal of bread, cheese and beer was first mentioned in ‘Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede’ (c. 1394). Bread and cheese have been the basis of the diet of the English rural labourers for centuries. The dependence on cheese rather than meat protein was especially strong in the south of England. The OED states the first recorded use of the phrase ‘ploughman’s luncheon’ happened in 1837 from the ‘Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott’ by John G. Lockhart. The name was taken as a marketing term in 1957 by the Cheese Bureau, an organization formed to promote the sales of cheese, when it began encouraging pubs to serve this meal. ‘Ploughman’s lunch’, as the name suggested, became the most commonly eaten at lunchtime and particularly associated with pubs that often served it with beer. The word ‘ploughman’s lunch’ that was first recorded in the Brewers’ Society’s ‘Monthly Bulletin’ of June 1957, reported on an event that the Cheese Bureau and the Brewer’s Company jointly organised at Fishmonger Hall, London, though the same event was already published in ‘The Birmingham Post and Birmingham Gazette’ on 15th May 1957 in which the author defined it as ‘more cheese and beer, plus bread and pickles’. The Kensington Post of London at a similar promotional event at Hammersmith Town Hall, London on 22nd September 1961, entertained the publicans to a ‘ploughman’s lunch’ of bread, butter, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, beer and English cheese. However, the event was also aimed at increasing the awareness of the several varieties of home-produced cheese. The figure of only 20 per cent of cheese that was home produced and consumed was before the war; after the war it rose to 48 per cent.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    Trump crude, reportedly? (4)
RUFF: ROUGH (crude) as a crude preliminary sketch heard as a homophone by the audience (reportedly) guides to the definition of a verb meaning to play a trump on a card of another suit in bridge, whist or another similar games

9a    Vase: lid knocked off in wind (3)
URN: [T]URN (wind) as twist or turn in a course is having its cover (lid) as its head or first letter
removed (knocked off), leading to the definition of a vase with rounded body, usually a narrowed mouth and often a foot and especially used for storing the ashes of a cremated person

10a    A peak quantity (6)
AMOUNT: A from the clue and MOUNT (peak) as a mountain with a pointed top lead to the definition of a quantity of something, especially the total of thing or things in number, size, value or extent

11a    Teach swimming group (6)
SCHOOL: Double definition; the first being a verb meaning to educate someone or to train or discipline someone in a particular skill or activity and the second a noun referring to a shoal of fish, whales or other swimming animals

12a    On bagging last of five tries, go over (8)
REHEARSE: The preposition RE (on) as a commercial jargon used to indicate ‘with reference to’ or ‘concerning’ is storing in or stuffing (bagging) a combo of the last letter of [FIV]E (last of five) and HEARS (tries) as tries judicially or judges a case or plaintiff, arriving at the definition of a verb meaning to revise or practise a play, piece of music or other work for later public performance

13a    Rule three was broken touring nick (4,3,8)
WEAR THE TROUSERS: An anagram (broken) of THREE WAS is going round (touring) TROUSER (nick) as to appropriate money or to take anything stealthily, leading to the definition of an idiom meaning to exercise ultimate power or authority over the other partner in a relationship or to be the one in a couple to make all the important decisions

15a    Lack of interest rare in period of economic growth (7)
BOREDOM: RED (rare) as a comparatively rare red colour of blood in nature or the rare or still dark red in colour of meat, particularly steak, not cooked for very long is placed inside (in) BOOM (period of economic growth) as a period of expansion of the economy, leading to the definition of a noun meaning tedium or the quality of being tiresome or wearisome

17a    Train heading for Exeter expected to carry animal (7)
EDUCATE: The head or first letter (heading) for E[XETER] is followed by DUE (expected) as expected at or planned for at a certain time to have inside (carry) CAT (animal) as a small domesticated carnivorous animal with soft fur, a short snout and retractable claws

20a    A dish for one whose work is groundbreaking? (10,5)
PLOUGHMAN’S LUNCH: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition of a cold meal of bread, cheese, cold meat, pickle etc (dish) served as a lunch for a ploughman whose work is turning up the soil with a plough in ridges and furrows (groundbreaking), that is, LUNCH FOR PLOUGHMAN or PLOUGHMAN’S LUNCH

23a    Left locked in closet, for thrills (3,5)
SET FORTH: Part of or hidden inside (locked in) cloSET FOR THrills, arriving at the definition of a phrasal verb in the past tense meaning started on a journey

25a    A meal in odd bits of grub, sweet food (6)
GATEAU: A combo of A from the clue and TEA (meal) as an afternoon meal or light refreshment at which tea is generally served is placed inside (in) oddly-placed letters (odd bits) of GrUb, taking to the definition of a rich cake, filled with cream, decorated with icing etc

26a    One encapsulated by colossus in Venetian artist (6)
TITIAN: I (one) as the Roman numeral for one captured (encapsulated) by TITAN (colossus) as anything gigantic, taking to the definition of the celebrated English name of the Venetian painter Tiziano Vecellio

27a    Digit, two or eight, originally (3)
TOE: The initial or first letters (originally) of T[WO] O[R] E[IGHT] lead to the definition of one of the five small members at the front of the human foot

28a    Deity hurting back (4)
EROS: SORE (hurting) as causing pain or aggrieved written backwards (back) as a reversal in the across clue, taking to the definition of the Greek god of love


1d    Strength shown by leaders in Scottish church inspired by cross (6)
MUSCLE: The leading or first letters (leaders) in S[COTTISH] and C[HURCH] are drawn into (inspired) by MULE (cross) as the offspring resulting from cross-breeding of a male donkey and a female horse, arriving at the definition of a noun meaning bodily strength or physical power

2d    Certainly US force catastrophic under head of operations (2,6)
OF COURSE: An anagram (catastrophic) of US FORCE is placed below (under) O[PERATIONS] as the first or topmost letter (head) in the down clue, taking to the definition of a phrase used to introduce an idea or action as being obvious or to be expected

3d    Do me a favour, you’re trying to extract the wrong tooth! (4,3,5,3)
PULL THE OTHER ONE: An idiomatic expression used to express disbelief, could be a dismayed patient alerting a negligent dentist of wrongly attempting to extract a healthy tooth,

4d    Relative ignoring a book, fiction (7)
UNTRUTH: [A]UNT (relation) as the sister of one’s father or mother without having (ignoring) A followed by RUTH (book) as the Book of Ruth that is included in the third section, or the writings, of the Hebrew Bible, leading to the definition of a lie or false statement

5d    Dressmaker perhaps: in fairness he’d go for tailoring (7,8)
FASHION DESIGNER: An anagram (tailoring) of IN FAIRNESS HE’D GO guides to the definition of an example of a dressmaker who designs high-fashion clothing

6d    Young child, also cut, comes to (6)
TOTALS: TOT (young child) as a small or little child is followed by ALS[O] that is shortened (cut) with the removal of the final letter, arriving at the definition of a verb meaning adds up to or amounts to

7d    Responsibility no one else’s? (4)
ONUS: A cryptic way of arriving at the definition meaning obligation or burden that has fallen ON US and not on anybody else

14d    Held up by zoologist, a rare animal (3)
RAT: Part of or hidden inside (held) and going upwards as a reversal in the down clue (up) by zoologisT A Rare, leading to the definition of a rodent that resembles a large mouse, typically having a pointed snout and a long tail

16d    Avian with head shaved hunting bird (3)
OWL: [F]OWL (avian) as a bird of the poultry kind, a cock or hen with the first letter or head removed (shaved) takes to the definition of a
nocturnal bird of prey with large eyes, a facial disc, a hooked beak and typically a loud hooting call

18d    Regions free within island (8)
COUNTIES: UNTIE (free) as to unfasten or set free is placed inside (within) COS (island) as the third largest of the Dodecanese Islands in Greece and situated off the southwestern coast of Turkey, arriving at the definition of territorial divisions of some countries, each forming the chief unit of local administration or territories or dominions of counts

19d     Old weapon broken by the new weapon (7)
MACHETE: MACE (old weapon) as a heavy club with a spiked metal head used in the past as a weapon separated (broken) by an anagram (new) of THE, leading to the definition of a broad, heavy knife or cutlass used as an implement or weapon that originated in Central America and the Caribbean

21d    Not just amusement park failing to open (6)
UNFAIR: [F]UNFAIR (amusement park) as a fair with side-shows, rides and other amusements not having the opening or the first letter (failing to open), taking to the definition meaning not based on or behaving according to the principles of equality and justice

22d    Primarily coloured material in possession of young artist? (6)
CRAYON: The primary or initial letter (primarily) of C[OLOURED] followed by RAYON (material) as artificial silk fabric made from cellulose guide to the definition of one of the variously-coloured pencils made of wax or pipe-clay that is used by and is in the custody of a small, school-going child

24d    Wicked, with an audience upstanding (4)
EVIL: The definition of an adjective as morally wrong or bad is arrived at from having LIVE (with an audience) as of the theatre etc concerned with living performance as distinct from filming, broadcasting or televising that is written backwards (upstanding) as a reversal in the down clue

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 13a, 15a, 17a, 20a, 23a, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d and 19d, with topper being 20a. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Would love to be here again. Have a pleasant day.

12 comments on “ST 3143

  1. Thanks for a delightful and comprehensive review. Interesting stuff about steaks too. I have heard of a guide to assessing how one’s steak is cooked. If you press your thumb against the index finger and press the base of your thumb ( mound of Venus ) it has the same resistance as a rare steak, change to thumb and index and the mound of Venus is slightly firmer, equivalent to medium-rare, thumb and ring finger gives medium well and as James Martin described it the thumb and little finger is “ruined”.
    Personally, I like my steak so rare a good vet could get it back on its feet.

    1. Thank you once again, John Bee, for finding my review delightful. I found the video of James Martin very interesting. I even watched the Part 1 of it and got the idea of the state of most tenderness from filet to sirloin to rib eye to rib. And when I read that you liked your steak so rare a good vet could get it back on its feet, that reminded me of ‘nihari’, a popular dish of our Indian subcontinent, especially during the winter season, that is prepared mainly out of shank meat, along with bone marrow and flavoured with long pepper and also used as a home remedy for rhinorrhoea and common cold and some patients even feel having their strength regained after having it at some intervals. I now learnt from the net that in some restaurants, each day’s leftover ‘nihari’ is added to the next day’s pot. The reused portion of ‘nihari’ is called ‘taar’ that is believed to provide the unique flavour. I was even more surprised when I read that some ‘nihari’ outlets in the old, historic city of Delhi boast of an unbroken ‘taar’ going back more than a century. A few decades ago, ‘nihari’ was regarded as a poor man’s food, but it has over the years come to be treated as a delicacy and even served at weddings.

      Today, it’s a holiday for us. It’s Republic Day in our country and we are celebrating and enjoying.

      1. Happy Republic Day, Rahmat, hope you are enjoying the celebrations. Nihari sounds great – the 100-year ‘taar’ story reminds me of “Trigger’s Broom” (not sure how well that travels outside of the UK, but Google should explain!)

        1. Thank you so much, Fez. Yes, of course, we are really enjoying. I haven’t as yet heard of ‘Trigger’s Broom’, but I am pretty sure that I am going to read about it soon.

          1. Trigger is a character in “Only Fools and Horses”. He works as a roadsweeper and boasts that he has maintained the same broom for 20 years. “This old broom’s had 17 new heads and 14 new handles in its time”.

            1. A big thank you, Big Dave. That was very enjoyable. The case of a 20-year old broom is much like that of a 100-year old ‘taar’. But still I think Trigger’s paradoxical statement of the old broom having had 17 new heads and 14 new handles is somehow maintainable than the far-fetched 100-year ‘taar’. Trigger might not have honestly put his broom to work, but I wonder how the pot that contained the ‘taar’ was kept unwashed for more than a century!

  2. Many thanks as ever for your comprehensive review, Rahmat – loved all the culinary info. Rare steak for me, please. I always thought the ploughman’s lunch was a relatively recent marketing gimmick, but it seems it has more of a history than I imagined. And of course, thanks to Dada for a great puzzle too.

    1. Thank you as ever, Fez, for liking my review. I read that rare is the most sought-after type of steak in restaurants. At home, however, our culinary levels are mostly medium-well and well-done and though I would rather have the latter of the two, I always prefer a vegetarian dish to a non-vegetarian one, when available.

      1. I’m no vegetarian, and love a rare steak, but an old vegan friend with connections to Kerala introduced me to ‘Sadhya’ wihch I think is amongst the best meals I’ve ever eaten! I’d happily have that every day (and there seem to be enough varieties for that to be a possibility…)

  3. 4*/4*… surprised myself to finish this one…
    liked 3D ” Do me a favour, you’re trying to extract the wrong tooth! (4,3,5,3) “

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