ST 3149 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3149

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3149

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 27th Feb 2022

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. It was an enjoyable Sunday puzzle from Dada that I loved solving inasmuch as writing thereafter a full review for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

‘Master’ as also a cryptic approach to the answer to the clue of 17a made me inquisitive and I made a trip to the net to know how some sommeliers could become the ‘masters’ of the masters of all wines. I got to learn that although the first Master Sommelier examination was held at the national level in the United Kingdom way back in 1969, it was not until April 1977 when the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) was established as an international examining body in the Kingdom with headquarters in Torquay, under the supervision of the Vintners Company, the IMW, The British Hotels & Restaurants Association, The Wine & Spirit Association of Great Britain and The Wholesale Tobacco Trade Association. The CMS has four stages of certification, viz., Introductory, Certified Sommelier, Advanced Sommelier and Master Sommelier, that grow in depth and complexity with each stage. In 1984, Fred Dame became the first person ever to pass all the parts of the Master Sommelier examination simultaneously, which is called winning the ‘Krug Cup’. In 1986, the first Master Sommelier exams were held in the United States. The American chapter of the CMS was established under the name Court of Master Sommeliers Americas. It also conducts exams and workshops in Canada. Those who achieve a particular stage are awarded a certificate and badge on the same day as the exam. However, for those who intend to take the Master Sommelier exam must have passed the Advanced Sommelier exam and have typically worked in the industry for at least 10 years. They need to be invited or recommended to sit the exam. The exam covers all aspects of the world and industry of wine, beer, spirits, cocktails and hospitality from a business, service and philosophical approach. There are three parts. The first one is the oral theory exam covering wine regions, terminology and terroir that must be passed before taking the other two parts, viz., a blind tasting of six wines in 25 minutes before a panel and a practical restaurant service component. Right from the inception of the CMS in 1977 through 2018, a worldwide total of only 274 people have earned its Master Sommelier diploma and this verity vociferates in its true perspective that the examination is the hardest of its kind in the world. ‘Waiter’ as the answer corrected by Big Dave is perfect by all standards.

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1a    Hawk biting head of raw fish (5)
TROUT: TOUT (hawk) as to advertise, talk about or praise something or someone repeatedly, especially as a way of encouraging people to like, accept or buy something is eating or swallowing (biting) the first or leading letter (head) of R[AW], taking to the definition of a chiefly freshwater fish of the salmon family, found in both Eurasia and North America and highly valued for food and game

4a    Go south with pack (5)
SCRAM: S (south) as the abbreviation for south and (with) CRAM (pack) as to stuff in a charade, leading to the definition of a verb meaning to go away

10a    Single chap, bishop with cholera, unfortunately (8)
BACHELOR: B (bishop) as the abbreviation for bishop in chess notation and (with) an anagram (unfortunately) of CHOLERA guide to the definition of an unmarried man

11a    Mushy prune eaten by operative (6)
SLOPPY: LOP (prune) as to cut away, especially superfluous parts or remove something regarded as unnecessary or burdensome taken inside (eaten) by SPY (operative) as a secret agent employed by a government or other organisation to watch others or to collect information, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning as of literature or behaviour, weakly or foolishly sentimental

12a    Stupid problem, fare from China (3,3)
DIM SUM: A charade of DIM (stupid) as mentally dull and SUM (problem) as a arithmetical problem, especially at an elementary level guides to the definition of a selection of Chinese foods, often eaten as an appetiser, usually including steamed dumplings with various fillings

13a    Ski resort ref? (8)
WHISTLER: Double definition; the first one, the name of a ski resort that is in British Columbia, Canada and consistently ranking as the number one in North America, is connected to the second one, an informal term for a person who is an arbitrator, umpire or judge or the official, going by the name ‘referee’ or a shorter ‘ref’, who controls a sports event such as a football game, especially by blowing a whistle that is sometimes needed to start, stop or restart the game

14a    Associate backing infant to the greatest degree (7)
TOTALLY: ALLY (associate) as a person who or an organisation that cooperates with or helps another in a particular activity and lying behind or at the back of (backing) TOT (infant) as a very small child lead to the definition of an adverb meaning in an entire manner or to the fullest extent or degree

16a    Cricket team left uniform on back of vehicle (6)
ELEVEN: A combo of L (left) as the abbreviation for left and EVEN (uniform) as flat and smooth or in the same line or plane is preceded by or following (on) in the across clue the last or back letter (back) of [VEHICL]E, arriving at the definition of a team of eleven in cricket

17a    Sommelier, for example, one inspired by drink (6)
WAITER: Someone who, from amongst those usually in charge of assembling the wine list, educating the staff about wine and assisting customers with their wine selections, is an example of this member of the restaurant staff and is derived by putting I (one) inside (i
nspired by) WATER (drink)

19a    Possible declaration in seat after significant figure returned (2-5)
NO-TRUMP: RUMP (seat) as the fleshy part of a human body that one sits on is placed after TON (significant figure) as an informal term for a large number or amount that came back (returned) as a reversal in the across clue, leading to the definition of a probable
declaration to play a hand without a trump suit in bridge and other card games

21a    Stance in reforms, most prudent (8)
CANNIEST: An anagram (reforms) of STANCE IN guides to the definition of an adjective in the superlative degree meaning most shrewd, especially in money or business matters

22a    Old coin placed inside seed (6)
PESETA: The definition of a historical Spanish silver coin is arrived at from SET (placed) as put or laid in a specified place or position seen inside (inside) PEA (seed) as the nutritious seed of the papilionaceous climbing plant Pisum sativum

23a    Hot food I found beside cold (6)
CHILLI: I from the clue is noticed (found) coming after (beside) CHILL (cold) as a feverish cold, leading to the definition of a hot-tasting pod of a variety of capsicum, used in sauces, pickles etc

24a    Old prison cell: it’s abysmal, some recalled (8)
BASTILLE: Part of or hidden inside (some) cELL IT’S ABysmal is brought back (recalled) or written backwards as a reversal in the across clue, arriving at the definition of an old fortress and state prison in Paris, that was demolished in the Revolution of July 1789

25a    Alloy, bargain by the sound of it? (5)
STEEL: The definition of a hard, strong grey or bluish-grey allow of iron with carbon and usually other elements, used as a structured and fabricated material is deduced from STEAL (bargain) as an informal term for a bargain or something obtained at a much lower price than its true value that serves as a homophone heard by the audience (by the sound of it)

26a    Convenient rewriting of panto (2,3)
ON TAP: An anagram (rewriting) of PANTO leads to the definition of a figurative phrase meaning handy or continuously and readily available


2d    Pragmatic type on a register (7)
REALIST: The preposition RE (on) as a commercial jargon used to indicate ‘with reference to’, ‘regarding’ or ‘concerning’, A from the clue and LIST (register) as a record of short pieces of information usually written or printed with a single thing on each line and often ordered in a way that makes a particular thing easy to find, taking to the definition of a person who accepts a situation as it is and is prepared to deal with it accordingly

3d    A thingy: utensil used at once (14)
UNHESITATINGLY: An anagram (used) of A THINGY UTENSIL leads to the definition of an adverb meaning immediately and confidently or right away

5d    Empty garage it seems for spice (7)
CARAWAY: The definition of an umbelliferous plant with aromatic fruits used as a tonic and condiment is cryptically arrived at from CAR AWAY, contracted from ‘car is away’, or precisely the impression thrown (it seems) by an empty garage that the car is being used by someone at the moment or has gone for repair

6d    Off carrying metal on the wagon (9)
ABSTINENT: ABSENT (off) as not present or being away having inside (carrying) TIN (metal) as a silvery-white, easily fusible, malleable metal, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning temperate or self-restraint in one’s appetites, especially from alcohol

7d    Highly valued fruit (4)
PLUM: Double definition: the first being an adjective meaning extremely desirable, rewarding, profitable or worth having and the second a noun meaning an oval drupe or stone-fruit with juicy, sweet-tasting yellowish flesh and typically a purple skin when ripe

8d    Propose this to queen surprisingly succeeding father (3,3,8)
POP THE QUESTION: An anagram (surprisingly) of THIS TO QUEEN preceded by or following (succeeding) POP (father) as an informal term for a father take to the definition of an informal verbal phrase meaning to make an offer of marriage

9d    Each dish fills one (6)
APIECE: PIE (dish) as a baked dish of meat, fruit or other food, typically with a top and base of pastry goes inside (fills) ACE (one) as the one in dice, cards, dominoes etc, leading to the definition of an adverb meaning for each piece, thing or person or to each individually

15d    Criminal in scarlet pants (9)
LARCENIST: An anagram (pants) of IN SCARLET guides to the definition of a person who commits the crime of unlawfully taking something from someone, particularly stealing someone’s property

18d    Article spotted reportedly, native American (6)
APACHE: A (article) as one of the indefinite articles and PATCHY (spotted) as marked by, consisting of or diversified with patches or spots serving as a homophone heard by the audience (reportedly) take to the definition of a native American of a group of tribes in Arizona, New Mexico etc

19d    Personality lacking in expertise? (7)
NOTABLE: NOT ABLE (lacking in expertise) as not having the skill or power or means to a thing cryptically leads to the definition of a person or thing worthy of note or having a distinctive or well-marked character

20d    Two girls — is one capped? (7)
PATELLA: PAT and ELLA (two girls) as the common name of two girls; the first being one of the diminutives of Patricia, a common female given name of Latin origin, and the second a popular name during the Victorian era in English-speaking countries and now most often used as a feminine given name lead to the definition of a flat, rounded triangular bone, also known as the kneecap, which articulates with the femur or thigh bone and covers and protects the anterior articular surface of the knee-joint

22d    Italian city where a drink served up (4)
PISA: The definition of the Italian city known worldwide for its leaning tower is arrived at from a combo of A from the clue and SIP (drink) as to drink in small quantities by action of the lips sent upwards (served up) as a reversal in the down clue

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 1a, 4a, 10a, 11a, 12a, 13a, 16a, 19a, 5d, 6d, 8d, 9d, 15d, 18d, 19d and 20d and my vote for the topper goes to 13a. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.

5 comments on “ST 3149
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  1. Interestingly, 6d is the same as one of the words where Dada had used ‘amount of beer’ for TIN which generated discussion when he did so – ST 3101 (March 28th last year) with the 16d clue – Dry, missing quaffing amount of beer? (9) – with the answer of ABSTINENT for the definition of dry.

    In this puzzle he chose the ‘elemental’ option.

    I wonder if this means that Dada does read the blogs?

    Thanks as always to Rahmat Ali for his review.

  2. Thanks, Rahmat.

    Anybody else have ‘crew’ as the pack in 4a? It’s fits the wordplay perfectly, just leaving me puzzling how ‘screw’ could mean ‘go’ (well, they can both mean ‘turn’?) — and of course finding the crossing down clue then becomes impossible to answer.

    I also spent ages trying to fit ‘GE’ (empty ‘garage’) into 5d, and ‘sat’ (rather than ‘set’) into 22a, and in 13a I wondered which letters could be re-sorted. Not my best start to a crossword, but I got there in the end.

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