ST 3170 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3170 (full review)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3170

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 24th July 2022

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

Greetings from Kolkata. Dada has given us an interesting Sunday puzzle that I enjoyed solving and thereafter writing a full review of the same for your kind perusal and valuable feedback.

Looking at ‘whistle-stop’, the answer to the clue of 1a, I wondered at the term ‘whistle’ and took to the net for details. I learnt that this style of political campaigning where a politician makes a series of brief appearances or speeches at a number of places over a short period of time owes its origin to the practice of a small, occasionally used railway station signalling a train so the engineer would know to stop. Inbound trains when nearing a ‘whistle-stop’ station would signal their approach with a blast of the steam whistle of the train that would alert the station attendant to their arrival. If there were passengers, mail or freight waiting to be picked up, the station master would raise a tower signal to the engineer that the train should stop, or else a different signal would be raised that enabled the engineer to pass through the station with stopping. In the 19th century, when travel by railroad was the most common means of transport, politicians would charter tour trains which would travel from town to town. At each stop, the candidate would make a speech from the train, but might rarely set foot on the ground. Any ‘whistle-stop’ campaign speech made would be from the rear platform of the train. In Europe, touring politicians still occasionally take a train, as the excellent, dense railway network offers access comparable to road travel and as it is better suited for extensive trips than any other option.

As an undershirt, the ‘vest’ of the United Kingdom is better known in Australia and New Zealand by the term ‘singlet’, the answer to the clue of 24a. However, in the Indian subcontinent, the term ‘banyan’ is more commonly used.

The meaning of the idiom ‘sacred cow’, the answer to the clue of 3d, was known to me in my twenties. However, I now became inquisitive to know about its origin and from the net, I gathered that the idiom is a figurative reference to cattle in religion and mythology and a figure of speech for something considered immune from question or criticism, especially unreasonably so. It is believed to have originated in American English in the late 19th century, although identical idioms have also occurred in many other languages. It is based on the popular understanding of the highly-exalted place of cows in Hinduism. The reverence for cows in the traditionally agrarian Vedic Hindu stems from the reluctance to harm an animal whose milk humans consume after being weaned off the mother’s milk. In Jewish tradition, there is a similar moral stigma against cooking veal in cow’s milk. A literal sacred cow or sacred bull is an actual cow or bull that is treated with sincere respect. Other than the idiom ‘sacred cow’, there is also ‘holy cow’, a slang interjection but with a different meaning. It is used mostly in the United States, Canada, Australia and England to express bewilderment, surprise or astonishment.

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1a    Brief, politically, suits premier (7-4)
WHISTLE-STOP: A charade of WHISTLES (suits) as the informal term for suits and TOP (premier) as leading or first in importance, order or position guides to the definition of a brief pause in a tour by a politician for an electioneering speech

9a    Either radical heads Conservative dissenter (7)
HERETIC: An anagram (radical) of EITHER takes the lead or the leading or first letter (heads) of C[ONSERVATIVE], arriving at the definition of a person who differs in opinion from established religious doctrine or dogma

10a    Wild tiger has gripped a covering for leg (6)
GAITER: An anagram (wild) of tiger has taken hold (gripped) of A from the clue, causing the definition of a protective covering of cloth or leather for the ankle and lower leg, fitting over the upper of the shoe

12a    Trace item of underwear, in grey oddly (7)
VESTIGE: VEST (item of underwear) as an undergarment for the top half of the body and the odd letters (oddly) of In GrEy guide to the definition of a trace or remnant of something that or no longer exists or is disappearing

13a    North American city also welcoming leader of revolution, not surprisingly (7)
TORONTO: TOO (also) taking inside (welcoming) a combo of the leading or first letter (leader) of R[EVOLUTION] and an anagram (surprisingly) of NOT, arriving at the definition of the most populous city of Canada that is in the continent of North America

14a    Musical group I observed in testament (5)
NONET: ONE (I) as the number unity that in Roman numeral is represented by the letter I noticed (observed) inside (in) NT (testament) as the abbreviation for New Testament that is the second part of the Christian Bible, consisting of writings about Christ and the Apostles after his death, taking to the definition of a musical group consisting of nine performers

15a    Pest in male fish (9)
COCKROACH: A charade of COCK (male) as representing the male of many birds in a combining form like cock-sparrow, cock-robin etc and ROACH (fish) as a silvery freshwater fish of the carp family, with pale red ventral and tail fins guides to the definition of a scavenging insect that resembles a beetle, having long antennae and legs and typically a broad, flattened body

17a    Might I prefer half of wood chopped up? (9)
FIREPOWER: An anagram (chopped up) of I PREFER and 50% of the letters (half) of WO[OD] lead to the definition of the military capability to direct force at an enemy

20a    Part blew over backwards, I say (5)
VOWEL: Part of or hidden inside (part) bLEW OVer that is found going westwards (backwards) as a reversal in the across clue guides to the definition of an example of a vowel

22a    Crime a sailor reported (7)
ASSAULT: A combo of A from the clue and SALT (sailor) as an informal term for an inexperienced sailor serving as a homophone heard by the audience (reported) takes to the definition of the crime of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person

24a    Underwear tight at first after manoeuvring legs in (7)
SINGLET: The first letter (at first) of T[IGHT] is placed after (after) an anagram (manoeuvring) of LEGS IN, guiding to the definition of a short, sleeveless type of shirt, worn alone or as undershirt, originally only for men

25a    Peak in cold capital city, unknown (6)
CLIMAX: A charade of C (cold) as the abbreviation for cold, LIMA (capital city) as the capital and largest city of Peru and X (unknown) as a variable, unknown or yet to be ascertained quantity as used in mathematics, especially in algebra leads to the definition of the culmination or the most intense, exciting or important point of something

26a    Islander, man transporting group back (7)
MALTESE: MALE (man) as a person possessing a distinctively manly character taking inside (transporting) SET (group) as a group or collection of things that belong together or resemble one another or are usually found together going backwards (back) as a reversal in the across clue, arriving at the definition of a native or inhabitant of the island country of Malta

27a    Protestant writer travelling to castle (11)
PENTECOSTAL: PEN (writer) as an instrument used for writing followed by an anagram (travelling) of TO CASTLE take to the definition of adjective meaning of or belonging to a Protestant fundamentalist sect that often stresses direct inspiration by the Holy Spirit


2d    Potential victims, punched, keel over (3,4)
HIT LIST: A charade of HIT (punched) as a verb in the past tense meaning inflicted or struck a blow with the hand or fist and LIST (keel over) as of a ship to lean over to one side, typically because of a leak or unbalanced cargo, arriving at the definition of a list containing the names of people intended to be killed by gangster or terrorists or a list, in general, of targeted victims

3d    Untouchable item in bag, shade lower (6,3)
SACRED COW: A charade of SAC (bag) as a bag, pouch or pouchlike part in an animal or plant, containing air, liquid or some other substance, RED (shade) as a colour or pigment and COW (lower) as cryptically an animal that lows or makes the sound of cattle take to the definition of a colloquial idiom meaning an institution, custom etc so venerated that it is above criticism

4d    Run away, far from criminal! (5)
LEGIT: LEG IT (run away) as to run, usually in order to escape from someone or something guides to the definition of the colloquial, short form of an adjectival term meaning lawful or far from violating the law

5d    Troublemaker, one with a spoon? (7)
STIRRER: Double definition; the second being a person who stirs or moves something, especially in liquid form in a container, around by continuous or repeated, usually circular movements of a spoon through it, in order the mix its constituents that leads to the first a person who deliberately causes trouble between others by spreading rumours or gossip

6d    A once mysterious island area in Pacific region (7)
OCEANIA: An anagram (mysterious) of A ONCE followed by I (island) as the abbreviation for island and A (area) as the abbreviation for area take to the definition of a region made up of thousands of islands throughout the Central and South Pacific Ocean

7d    Stubble forming on adult male initially, obliged to go in — for this? (7-4)
SHAVING-FOAM: The initial or first letters (initially) of S[TUBBLE] F[ORMING] O[N] A[DULT] M[ALE] having HAVING (obliged) as being obliged or finding it necessary to do the specified thing to get inside (go in), arriving at the definition of a frothy cosmetic cream applied on face or body before shaving with a razor in order to remove the stubble of beard and other hairs of the body

8d    Nick is working under electoral system (6)
PRISON: A combo of IS from the clue and ON (working) as functioning or operating is placed under PR (electoral system) as an abbreviation for proportional representation that refers to a type of electoral system under which subgroups of an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body in the down clue, taking to the definition of a public building for the confinement of convicted criminals and accused persons waiting to be tried

11d    That male character will follow infant very closely (2,3,6)
TO THE LETTER: A combo of HE (that male) as pointing out a male person to someone and LETTER (character) as a character in an alphabet will be placed after (follow) TOT (infant) as a very young child, guiding to the definition of a phrase meaning very closely, precisely or with adherence to every detail

16d    The present time? (9)
CHRISTMAS: The occasion and time for exchanging presents as also the kids receiving presents from Santa Claus cryptically leads to the season and annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ that is celebrated on 25th December

18d    Put right or else wrong, victory secured (7)
RESOLVE: An anagram (wrong) of OR ELSE having taken in (secured) V (victory) as the abbreviation for victory as V-Day in Victory Day take to the definition of a verb meaning to sort out, settle, fix or put right

19d    Drop fruit on police (7)
PLUMMET: PLUM (fruit) as an oval fleshy fruit which is purple, reddish or yellow when ripe and contains a flattish pointed stone placed upon (on) MET (police) as the colloquial name for the London Metropolitan Police in the down clue in a charade that guides to the definition of a verb meaning to fall or drop straight down at high speed

20d    Unremarkable article in large residence (7)
VANILLA: AN (article) as one of the indefinite articles is placed inside (in) VILLA (large residence) as a large country house of Roman times, having an estate and consisting of farm and residential buildings arranged around a courtyard, taking to the definition of an adjective meaning ordinary, usual or having no special or extra features

21d    Everything absorbed by saturated pouch (6)
WALLET: ALL (everything) as used to refer to the totality of things taken in (absorbed) by WET (saturated) as covered or saturated with water or another liquid, arriving at the definition of a pocket-sized flat folding case for holding money and plastic cards.

23d    Poisonous beef consumed by little jerk (5)
TOXIC: OX (beef) as a castrated male bovine animal fattened for its meat taken in (consumed) by TIC (little jerk) as a convulsive, especially nervous twitching of certain muscles, especially of the face, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning relating to or caused by poison

There were several clues that I liked in this puzzle such as 1a, 12a, 15a, 17a, 20a, 22a, 25a, 3d, 4d, 6d, 7d, 11d, 19d, 20d and 23d, the topper being 1a. Thanks once again to Dada for the entertainment, to BD for the encouragement and to Gazza for the assistance. Looking forward to being here again. Have a wonderful day.

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