ST 3159 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3159

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3159

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 8th May 2022

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Kolkata. Dada has given us a fairly easy and gentle puzzle this Sunday that I enjoyed solving and now it’s my pleasure to present to you a full review of the same for your kind perusal. I shall be happy to have your valuable comments.

I wanted to know more about the repertoire of ballroom dancing, as the answer to the clue of 20a, that is enjoyed both socially and competitively around the world on account of its performance and entertainment features. So, I searched the net and enriched myself with information on some of the dances. Waltz, derived from the German word walzer meaning ‘to roll or revolve’, is a ballroom and folk dance in triple time performed by a couple, who as a pair turn rhythmically round and round as they progress around the dance floor. Tango as a ballroom dance is a couple and social dance that originated in the 1880s along the Río de la Plata, the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay and is characterised by marked rhythms, postures with long steps and abrupt pauses. Rhumba, also known as ballroom rumba, is a genre of ballroom music and dance that appeared in the East Coast of the United States during the 1930s and is based on a modification of a lively and rhythmic dance with Spanish and African elements that originated in Cuba, following a square pattern. Cha-cha is a ballroom dance of Cuban origin, consisting of a series of short steps followed by a rhythmic hip-swaying and shuffling movement. Foxtrot is a ballroom dance to syncopated music, having uneven rhythm with alternation of slow and quick steps. Quickstep is a fast-moving English dance that was invented in the 1920s as a combination of faster tempo of foxtrot and the Charleston, a dance named after the harbour city of Charleston, South Carolina, in which men are allowed to close their feet and the couples move in short syncopated steps. From the net, I also learnt that the term ‘ballroom dancing’ was derived from the word ball which in turn came from the Latin word ballare meaning ‘to dance’. Earlier, ballroom dancing was a social dancing for the privileged few, leaving folk dances for the deprived classes; such distinctions being hardly noticed these days. The ballroom dances also depend on the era: balls have featured popular dances of the yesteryears such as minuet, polka, polonaise, quadrille and a host of others which are now tagged as historical dances.

Née, the answer to the clue of 14d, has come from French. It is the feminine and né is the masculine past participles of the French verb naître meaning ‘to be born’. The literal meaning of both né and née is, therefore, ‘born’. Née with the surname is written to mean a woman’s family name at birth before the adoption of another surname usually after marriage. The male equivalent né is used to indicate what a man was originally known as before the adoption of a different name.

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Across

8a    Insect beat a hasty retreat, we hear (4)
FLEA: FLEE (beat a hasty retreat) as to run away from a place or situation of danger heard as a homophone by the audience (we hear) takes to the definition of a small wingless jumping insect which feeds on the blood of mammals and birds


9a    A try for back (3)
AGO: A from the clue and GO (try) as an attempt or trial at something lead to the definition of an adverb meaning before the present or earlier as used with a measurement of time

10a    Happy story recalled by journalist (6)
ELATED: TALE (story) as a fictitious or true narrative or story, especially one that is imaginatively recounted brought back (recalled) as a reversal in the across clue followed by (by) ED (journalist) as the abbreviation for editor being in charge of the final content of a journal or a newspaper or magazine, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning ecstatically happy

11a    Tone changed around capital in Libya after first of sanctions lifted (6)
STOLEN: An anagram (changed) of TONE having surrounded (around) the capital letter (capital) in L[IBYA] is placed after the first letter (first) of S[ANCTIONS], guiding to the definition of an adjective meaning taken another person’s property without permission or legal right and without intending to return it

12a    Darn that item of underwear (8)
KNICKERS: Double definition; the second being a noun denoting a woman or girl’s undergarment covering the lower part of the torso to the top of the thighs and having two holes for the legs that leads to the first a slang interjection now referring to usually a mild expression of exasperation

13a    Nevertheless, only seating available? (15)
NOTWITHSTANDING: NOT WITH STANDING (only seating available) as a bit of information to the audience or viewers that there is no room or space for standing and thus hinting at the only available facility of sitting, taking to the definition of an adverb meaning all the same or in spite of this

15a    Cash erased, I suspect (7)
READIES: An anagram (suspect) of ERASED I guides to the definition of available money or currency that is available to spend immediately

17a    Clothing hit hard (7)
CLOBBER: Double definition; the first being a noun referring to clothing, personal belongings or equipment and the second a verb meaning to hit someone hard

20a    Artistic steps left and right, mood shifting during evening (8,7)
BALLROOM DANCING: A combo of L (left) and R (right) as the abbreviations for left and right respectively with MOOD subject to an anagram (shifting) is placed inside (during) BALANCING (evening) as levelling or giving a flat or even surface to something, arriving at the definition of a formal social dancing, popular as a recreation and also as a competitive activity, where couples use special steps and movements; the repertoire including dances developed from, inter alia, waltz, tango, rhumba, cha-cha, foxtrot and quickstep


23a    Rain said to spread in Mediterranean location (8)
SARDINIA: To anagram (spread) by rearranging the letters of RAIN SAID results in the definition of the second-largest island located in the Mediterranean and is one of the twenty regions of Italy

25a    Finally directing, guide well (6)
GUSHER: The final or last letter (finally) of [DIRECTIN]G followed by USHER (guide) as a person who shows people to their seats, especially in a cinema or theatre or at a wedding take to the definition of an oil well from which oil flows profusely without being pumped


26a    Minor blow: it’s simple to deal with (6)
BREEZE: Double definition; the second being a noun meaning a thing that is easy to do or accomplish that leads to the first also a noun referring to a wind or current of air, especially a light or moderate one

27a    Animal caught by shotgun, gracelessly falling over (3)
GNU: Part of or hidden inside (caught by) shotgUN Gracelessly tumbling or turning over (falling over) as a reversal in an across clue guides to the definition of a large dark African antelope with a long head, a beard and mane, and a sloping back


28a    Valley dropping away, largely empty, first of all (4)
DALE: The initial or first letters each of (first of all) Dropping Away Largely Empty leads to the definition of an open valley, especially in northern England and southern Scotland

Down

1d    Drunk, half-cut blokes imbibing too much (6)
BLOTTO: BLO[KES] having half or 50% of the letters removed (half-cut) and taking in (imbibing) OTT (too much) as the abbreviation of an adjective ‘over-the-top’ meaning excessive, extreme or too much, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning so drunk as to be unconscious or not know what one is doing


2d    Wife given permission, rolled in the dirt (8)
WALLOWED: A charade of W (wife) as the abbreviation for wife and ALLOWED (given permission) as let someone have or do something takes to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning rolled about or lain in mud or water, especially to keep cool or avoid biting insects

3d    Running about in the raw, pet, don’t 5 down! (5,3,4,3)
PAINT THE TOWN RED: An anagram (running about) of IN THE RAW PET DON’T leads to the definition of a verb meaning to enjoy a bout of unbridled revelry or celebration; that being another way to represent 5d

4d    Nonsense gags satisfactory, one enjoying reading (7)
BOOKISH: BOSH (nonsense) as a noun meaning rubbish or nonsense blocks (gags) a combo of OK (satisfactory) as an exclamation used to express agreement or acceptance and I (one) as the Roman numeral for one, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning devoted to reading and studying


5d    Don’t tuck your shirt in for party! (3,2,3,4,3)
LET IT ALL HANG OUT: A cryptic way of arriving at the colloquial definition of an idiom meaning to relax completely and enjoy yourself, while behaving freely without feeling worried about what other people will think of you from the given piece of advice not to waste time in tucking your shirt in if it has hung out of your trousers so as to enjoy the party to the full

6d    Evident, ship in sea (6)
MARKED: ARK (ship) as the ship built by Noah to save his family and two of every kind of animal from the Deluge as mentioned in Genesis 6:11-9:19 of the Bible is put inside MED (sea) as the informal term for the Mediterranean Sea, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning clearly noticeable

7d    More than it’s worth, sweetheart (4)
DEAR: Double definition; the first being an adjective meaning high-priced or expensive and the second a noun denoting a sweet or endearing person

14d    Appellation before marriage, ultimately? (3)
NÉE: The adjectival definition used to indicate the maiden name of a married woman is arrived at by treating the whole clue as a wordplay from the ultimate or last letters (ultimately) of [APPELATIO]N [BEFOR]E [MARRIAG]E

16d    Greek letter gobbled up (3)
ETA: ATE (gobbled) as consumed or taken food into the body by swallowing or absorbing it brought upwards (up) as a reversal in the down clue guides to the definition of the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet


18d    Get behind team that’s bottom (8)
BACKSIDE: A charade of BACK (get behind) as to cause to move backwards and SIDE (team) as a team in sport takes to the definition of buttocks or the part of the body that a person sits on

19d    Ban British in game, or otherwise (7)
EMBARGO: B (British) as one of the abbreviations for British is placed inside an anagram (otherwise) of GAME OR, leading to the definition of an official ban on trade or other commercial activity with a particular country

21d    Start of long summer run (6)
LADDER: The first or starting letter (start) of L[ONG] followed by ADDER (summer) as one that adds, especially a device as in a computer that performs addition yield the definition of a run in knitwear where the breaking of a thread gives an appearance of rungs

22d    Request lead reduced by half for pointer (6)
NEEDLE: NEED (request) as a demand or an insistent and peremptory request, made as of right followed by LE[AD] as having half or 50% of the letters removed (reduced by half), taking to the definition of a thin pointer on a dial, compass or other instrument


24d         Light in spirit initially extinguished (4)
AIRY: [F]AIRY (spirit) as an imaginary creature with magical powers and generally of diminutive and graceful human form with wings having F as its initial or first letter (initially) removed (extinguished), leading to the definition of an adjective meaning spacious, well-ventilated and having a considerable or sufficient amount of natural light

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 12a, 13a, 20a, 25a, 26a, 1d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 14d, 18d, 21d and 24d; the topper being 3a. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment and to BD for the encouragement. Looking forward to meeting you here again. Have a nice day.


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